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Disney is raising your kids on social networks

Author and social media strategist Shel Israel gazes into the crystal ball and sees a future populated by children who learned everything they needed to know about how to interact online from a Disney owned Social Network or Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG).
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VMK: Saving Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom

This is the story of how Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK) came to its end and how and why it doesn’t have to be that way.

The year is 1959. Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom of Disneyland is just about to enter its third year of operations. Disneyland has been very successful not just in attendance, but in creating a new type of community; a remaking of Main Street America in Walt’s image. Walt calls Disneyland his great experiment. He uses it to cross-promote his movies, television shows, and his growing interest in urban planning.

However, something is not quite right. The surrounding area has penned his magical kingdom in with cheap looking motels and tourist traps. Disneyland really needs to grow, add new attractions, even remake whole parts of the theme park that just aren’t working. Walt has got grand ideas, add a steel roller coaster hidden inside the Matterhorn, bring online a monorail system (even extending to Downtown Los Angeles), remake parts of Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and even Main Street. Perhaps to open even a whole new city where urban blight will be a thing of the past.

All that will cost money, take time, and talent. Those are resources Walt could use elsewhere in his growing company. So he decides that his ‘experiment’ in 360 degree themed entertainment has been a success. But he wants those customers go enjoy one of his other projects where there is a higher margin so he can afford his future plans.

So, shocking everyone who has come to love and enjoy Disneyland, worked there, made friends there, even come to regard its wide avenues and wondrous attractions as part of Americana itself, Walt Disney decides to end his experiment and set up shop elsewhere (perhaps Florida, where he’ll have more room).

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Disney’s growing Social Media efforts

Lee Aase attended a speech by Duncan Wardle, Sr VP Disney Global PR, on Disney Park’s social media efforts. It’s worth a read. This was a very interesting presentation. If big brands like Disney are realizing they need to cede control of their messages (or… Read More »Disney’s growing Social Media efforts

Roundup – What’s open in my tabs right now

Things that are open in the various tabs of my browser right now:

  • Slate article on "Five Days Of Disney" where a single traveler immerses himself in the Walt Disney World resort and makes all sorts of witty remarks and a few decent ones.
  • Traveling to Walt Disney World soon? Order custom park maps delivered for free (as in free beer). These are pretty cool treasure map looking maps too. I saw some families using them in the parks and they said they loved them too.
  • James Baxter, whose studio did the hand drawn animation for Enchanted after Disney found they no longer employed enough artists to do the job themselves, has announced his return to Dreamworks Animation. Baxter recently gave a seminar on animation and the Seward Street blog has been kind enough to provide his notes (day one and day two). I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, but I would have loved to be in that room. This is must read stuff for anyone at all interested in a career in animation.
  • Dreamworks Animation is hinged to Paramount studios for a while yet, but the talent behind Dreamworks might be looking to split. The NY Times digs into the twists and turns that would result over who gets to keep what rights to which films. I see a court date in the future on this one.
  • is the pre-opening promotional site for Universals re-branding of the Back To The Future ride to the popular The Simpsons cartoon. Build your own Simpson’s Avatar and take it on the ride.
  • All the pictures in Flickr with ‘Disney’ in the text sorted by ‘interestingness’.
  • Finally, Twitter is open, of course. The Disney Blog is closing in on 300 followers on Twitter? Why not become one yourself? Check out this great video for an introduction to Twitter if you’re still wondering why. It’s "Twitter In Plain English" and it’s right below the cut.

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SeaWorld’s User-Generated Content Coaster Campaign

When it comes to theme parks, I usually don’t stray too far from either Anaheim or Orlando, but this is too cool a project to pass without mentioning. SeaWorld already has a contest where you can submit your photos of the park and be entered to win free park tickets. That’s for the whole SeaWorld… Read More »SeaWorld’s User-Generated Content Coaster Campaign