Morning Round Up – July 17th

  • True High School Musical fans know that it wasn’t Zac Efron’s voice on the soundtrack for the first film. Instead Drew Seeley was asked to lay down the tracks for the final version. Apparently Zac was surprised by the change when he saw the initial release. With a role in Hairspray (and shortly in Footloose) Zac must have worked on his pipes, because it will be his voice in High School Musical 2. We’ll soon find out if this is a good thing. HSM2 debuts August 17th on The Disney Channel.
  • Disney announced DGamer an online community for Nintendo DS gamers. I think we’d better keep an eye on Disney’s development in this area. Although the platform is Nintendo specific right now, I think they’re laying the footwork for a new means of communicating with their customers and fans. (See also last weeks XBox movie rental announcement)
  • Justice comes too late for Walt Disney’s Secretary. Back in 2002 Alicia Waters discovered someone was embezzling money from trust set up for her, yesterday her lawyer was sentenced to jail for that crime. Alas, Waters died in 2005 at the age of 92.
  • The UK Times Online points out a battle for tourist dollars that is brewing over the cheap cost of travel to Disney World now that the dollar is so weak. Seems that Ticket Brokers who paid top pound when the exchange rate was higher have to lose money to compete with brokers who recently purchased tickets with the lower rate. Either way, it’s a good deal for consumers. I hope to hear plenty of friendly British accents over the next few years. 
  • The bus strike in Anaheim is over. Full schedules should resume soon and everyone can get back to work. Both sides lost money during the strike, but the union members probably lost more in wages than they stood to gain from the new contract. What was the point again?
  • The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Powers has a roundup of the five significant injuries that occurred at Central Florida theme parks in the last quarter. No deaths were reported. Coasters and Waterparks account for all the injuries this time.
  • The Secret of the Magic Gourd, is the first film from Disney that was made for the Chinese market. It features a combination of live action and animation. Gourd made US$ 1 million in the Chinese box office in its first week and is expected to find its way to the US market eventually. If you can’t wait, Disney Comics Worldwide has put up a link to the official site and instructions on how to watch the trailer.
  • Remember that rumor of Disney building a theme park near Houston, Texas? Well, there is a theme park, but it ain’t Disney. Earthquest, a massive Disney-style entertainment complex and theme park, is moving ahead to construction with an opening date as soon as 2012. The park looks to be more EPCOT than Magic Kingdom with plenty of Dinosaur themed exhibits.
  • Don’t miss The Disney Blog’s ‘Shared Links‘ to see how other blogs are celebrating Disneyland’s 52nd anniversary.