Tiding Central

The latest Disney news, stories, and quirky tales, served up fresh daily with a generous helping of our snarky two cents.

Disneyland Grad Night 2013 Celebration

JUL 27High School Seniors - I'm talking to you! Get ready for the most exciting grad night event in the country - Disneyland California and Disney's California Adventure Theme parks.

Planet Explorers - Walt Disney World 2011 Review

OCT 10 Martin reviews the Planet Explorers - Walt Disney World Edition ebook that is now available. It is perfect for kids and teens and is available in pdf, kindle or ebook form for order.

Spooky Buddies DVD Blu Ray Giveaway

SEP 19 We're giving away a Spooky Buddies DVD / BluRay Combo - click for your ways to enter!

Disney 40th Anniversay Plans

SEP 12 Disney isn't giving any details, but they told everyone who will be at the Magic Kingdom on October 1st to expect some surprises in honor of the 40th anniversary. I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves!

Kimba the Lion King

JUN 11 If you're old enough, or if you've watched enough obscure cartoons from long, long ago, you may remember a so-so character called Kimba, a young white lion who got himself into typical jungle adventures. Had Disney heard of Kimba before creating Simba?

No SEAL Team 6 Trademark for Disney

MAY 28 In a daring raid by members of the Navy's LEGAL Team 6, the trademark applications filed by Disney for "SEAL Team 6" were terminated, with extreme embarrassment, and with no official comment as yet from the Mouse.

Pirates 4: Critics Say Sink, Bob Says Arrr!

MAY 20 The first Pirates movie was an unexpected thrill. In the second and third films, the thrills were expected, and so became gradually less thrilling. Many critics have panned the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, released today. Mateys, are ye daft?

Disney Presents: Seal Pals 6

MAY 18 With Disney's interest in trademarking the name 'Seal Team 6', the group responsible for removing Osama bin Laden from the world, is it such a stretch to imagine an animated movie in which heavily armed Disney characters land in Abbottabad and...

Book Review: Mouseschawitz

MAY 18 Hands up: who thinks working for Disney is a dream job? Angela Lovell's hands are not up. For her, Disney was not a dream job but a death camp, and she wrote about it in her new book, Mouseschawitz, which takes us behind-the-screams at Disney World.

Book Review: Spinning Disney's World

MAY 17 Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway's book, Spinning Disney's World, has been out for a few years, but only recently in a Kindle edition. As a Disney press agent and publicity director for over 30 years, Charlie's got some stories to tell.

Enchanted Tiki Room Gets Old Lease on Life

MAY 15 The phoenix rises from the ashes. Maybe, just maybe, the ashes left behind by this year's fire at Disney World's Enchanted Tiki Room mean that the original birds will rise to take back the lease from the 'new management'. Disney says: yes!

Disney's Comic Creator Contest

MAY 5 Bring some pow! frzzt! kathoom! into your day with a new app from Disney that lets you create your own Marvel comic book from pre-drawn objects and then share your masterpiece with others. Not enough? There's a contest, too. With prizes. Excelsior!

Pluto: Murderous Mutt or Grieving Dad?

MAY 4 Earlier this week, a blogger for Mental Floss named Stacy Conradt dug up the dirt on 10 of Disney's most obscure characters. Her article revealed some seamy gaps in Disney genealogy. Shock! I put Stacy on the spot to learn more of this scandal.

Disney Wonder Brings Magic to Vancouver

MAY 4 Snow, polar bears, Alaska - not what most people associate with a Disney vacation! But as Ted Topping reports, that is exactly what you will encounter if you book a cruise on the Disney Wonder departing from its new port in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Happy Birthday, Bob!

APR 30 On May 1, 2010, my last birthday, I hadn't even come up with Disney Dispatch. Now here I am, another year older, which is more crappy than happy, but something does make me happy, and it has to do with you...

Matthew Palm Finds Big Brother at Disney World

APR 23 The Orlando Sentinel's Matthew Palm feels repressed, in a Big Brother sort of way, by Disney's harmless though pernicious new marketing campaign, Let the Memories Begin. Matthew thinks Disney is forcing him to have... memories. Would he rather forget?

Fairies Fume Over Tinker Bell Half Marathon

APR 23 Let's say you love fairies. And you're fleet of foot. And a guy. Is Disney's new Tinker Bell Half Marathon your dream come true? Even though it's 'geared for women', Disney says you're 'allowed' to register. Sexist? Disney?

Avengers Assemble... at Disneyland?

APR 20 Imagine a bright day at Disneyland, with Winnie the Pooh halumphing over to your kids and a man dressed in black aiming a sniper rifle at Pooh... Relax! It's all part of the show. The gentleman with the rifle is the Punisher - would you like a photo?

The Reality of Disney Animals

APR 19 On the Jungle Cruise, no one really thinks the animals are real. But Walt wanted to use real pythons and crocodiles and hippos ... oh, my! He didn't. Zac Hogle tells that story and also ponders how real life is the springboard to fiction.

Newest Disney Dream: Johnny Depp and Patti Smith

APR 19 Johnny Depp and Disney? Sure. Disney and a punk rocker known for her social activism, including a call for the impeachment of former president Bush? Well... sure! Put them together and you have the latest Disney Dream Portrait.

The Disneyland Ordeal of David Bly

APR 19 At a Disney Park, I don't mind the line cutters, the shouters, the rude Trogs as much as I do the cynical, wearily tolerant folks who wish they were someplace else and who regard Disney with disdain. Like this guy...

Preview: Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

APR 16 Of all the Disney parks, Epcot is where you're most likely to learn something. You could, possibly, write an entire encyclopedia about Epcot. Sound crazy? Not to R.A. Pedersen, author of a new encyclopedia about... Epcot!

Howard Stern and Disney Kissin'

APR 12 Just when you thought the media could squeeze no further juice from the 'story' of David Arquette and Courteney Cox on vacation at Disney World, here is David Arquette on the Howard Stern show to prove them all wrong.

Ted Topping and the Disney Customer Experience

APR 12 Everyone knows that Disney provides a fantastic customer experience, perhaps the best of its kind in the world. But knowing and doing are two different things. How to take what you know and do it for your organization? Ted Topping has some ideas.

Lisa, Peel Me a Grape

APR 11 Who thinks marketing healthy foods to kids is a good idea? Everyone except Lisa Wade, a blathery blogger who is unhappy that Disney is distributing 'Disney Princess Grapes' in grocery stores where kids might be exposed to such... nutrition!

Jeff Kober Chats about the Customer Experience

APR 6 Mickey's methods, the business principles that Disney perfected over time to provide an optimal 'customer experience', can be learned and applied by others. The best way to learn Mickey's methods is from a great teacher. Like Jeff Kober...

Disney Pick Up Lines

APR 2 Ah, affairs of the heart! You've come to the right place. If you've been unlucky in love, we've got for you here today the very best Disney pick up lines, guaranteed effective when in close quarters with the Disney social media mom of your desire.

Introducing Disney Pat

APR 2 Researchers from the University of California have concluded that the gender gap between Disney princes and princesses is closing, and perhaps one day may result in a faceless, shapeless, sexless entity known as Disney Pat.

Perfecting the Customer Experience

APR 1 The real Disney magic isn't so much the Mouse as it is the customer service. Duplicating that level of service isn't easy - unless you learn the 'business behind the pixie dust' from Jeff Kober and Ted Topping next month at Disneyland.

The Coming of Kingdom Keepers IV

APR 1 One day, Ridley Pearson had a fantastic idea: write a series of adventure stories set IN Disney World! He called his heroes the Kingdom Keepers. In just a few days the fourth book in his series debuts. Get ready...

A Chat with Disney Action Hero Dave

MAR 29 Dave Longstreth reveals more about his real-life Disney adventure, which started when a thief stole Dave's stuff, including two iPhones, and ended after Dave pursued the thief across Bay Lake in a speed boat right into the arms of Disney security.

Disney Guest Turns Action Hero to Foil Thief

MAR 29 This is the stuff of adventure: a pastor from Pennsylvania notices his valuables have been stolen at Wilderness Lodge and uses technology, quick thinking, and a high-speed chase across Bay Lake to nab the thief.

Disney Soundtrack for Thor Spoils Plot

MAR 26 When a new movie is released, you try not to read reviews that give away the plot or discuss the film with others who've seen it. But watch out! In a rare bonehead move, Disney has sent out spoilers for one of its own movies.

Mickey, Maybe, in a Feature Film

MAR 26 Don't you love how rumors get started? Somebody says something, another body takes it and calls it a 'scoop', and pretty soon the Martians have landed. In this case, it's not Martians, it's Mickey. Let's get to the gossip.

Tangled Release Party and Giveaway

MAR 25 On March 29, Walt Disney will release Tangled on DVD. Let's have a party! Well, let's have a widget, instead. The Tangled widget features videos, activities, and games. Courtesy of Disney, I'm giving away stuff, too. Get yours...

Jeff Kober and the Accessible Attraction

MAR 23 Is there anyone opposed to making Disney rides and attractions fully accessible to the disabled? Nope. The issue tends to discourage criticism of any kind. But can accessibility create new problems? In the Haunted Mansion... yes.

Bad Advice at Disney from Chris Brogan

MAR 22 Chris Brogan is a social media superstar. He was also a headline speaker at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. Most of his advice was good. But at the end he dropped such a huge stinker, such bad advice, it deserves rebuttal.

Disney Princess Squinkies

MAR 22 Does the world need tiny, squishy toys in the shape of Disney princesses and called Squinkies, a nonsense word that I dare you to forget now that you've heard it? Well, of course, it does! And you'll be buying them soon. Here's why...

The Costly Lesson of Mars Needs Moms

MAR 21 Mars may need Moms, and Disney may need social media Moms, but the rest of us could do without, thank you very much, especially when it comes to hugely hyped movies that debut not with a bang but with a murky motion capture whimper.

Voting Begins for 2011 Theme Park Awards

Find out whether Disney got any nominations...

FEB 17 Last month, I wrote a short article about the 2011 Readers Choice Theme Park Awards organized by Arthur Levine, the Theme Park Guide for About.com. Nominations were accepted through February 11, and then Arthur took a few days to select the finalists. It's now time to vote! You have until March 8 to... MORE

Autistic Child Allegedly Bullied at Disney

Mother blames Disney - but is Disney really to blame?

FEB 17 On New Year's Eve, Amanda Broadfoot was seated with her family (consisting of ten adults and four children, one of them her autistic son, four years old) at the ABC Commissary in Disney's Hollywood Studios. According to Amanda, a group of 'rude, aggressive' teenagers were at the next table. Some of... MORE

It's No Dream: It's Fantasy!

Disney lays the keel for its newest cruise ship

FEB 13 Just a few weeks ago, the Disney blogs were a-buzz about the Disney Dream, the company's latest addition to its fleet of cruise ships. The Dream weighed anchor for its Inaugural Cruise on January 26, 2011. Now, in nautical deja vu, we awaken from the Disney Dream into a Disney Fantasy. On... MORE

Give Peace a Chance at the Polynesian

John Lennon disbands the Beatles at Disney World

FEB 8 What you may not know, however, is that the group officially disbanded only when John Lennon added his signature to a legal document dissolving their partnership. He was the last Beatle to sign. And he signed in his room at the Polynesian Resort in December 1974. I've known this fascinating bit of 'rock 'n roll... MORE

Disney CareerStart in Mothballs

Disney cancels popular student program for Fall 2011

FEB 7 Disney CareerStart was a fantastic program. If you were a recent high school graduate and able to pass an easy phone interview, you could work for a semester at either Disneyland or Disney World. Disney would put you up in its housing, pay you for working full-time at the parks or resorts, and even offer... MORE

Tortuga Tavern Tells No Tales

Disney World opens 'new' restaurant in Adventureland

FEB 7 Disney World long-timers (the politically correct way to say 'old-timers') will remember the 'now it's open, now it's not' schizophrenia of El Pirata y el Perico, the quick-service restaurant in Adventureland that served perfectly functional Mexican chow. I have fond memories of its empanadas. Now, I have... MORE

Chewing the Scenery

What matters more at a Disney restaurant: food or theme?

FEB 5 Like Jennifer, I've been to Sci-Fi many, many times. I've memorized the bad movie trailers. I'm so used to the theme that often I don't notice the theme. Which leaves the food. When I'm in the mood for a plain burger and fries, this is where I like to have it. Comfort food, comfort theme. Both relatively invisible... MORE

Of Planning Charts, Feathers, and Bunkers

The merits of a meticulously planned Disney schedule

FEB 4 My friends over at The Mouse for Less usually deliver more, not less, of my daily consumption of Disney digital dainties. Like the short article posted today by Naomi called I'm Doing What???. The title caught my eye, of course, and no, smart guy, it ain't what you're thinking. What Naomi's doing is... MORE

Getting What You Want at Disney

All you have to do is ask - the right way!

FEB 4 Some people are ask-challenged. Either they don't ask for something that they're entitled to have, or they ask in such an abrasive way that they're not likely to get it. At Disney, I've noticed a different problem. People expect satisfaction in every little thing because, well, they're at Disney, and they... MORE

Lee Beatens Wants Your Email

And he might even pay you for it

FEB 3 Every so often it's nice to have a plain ol' Tiding: nothing fancy, nothing snarky. Here's one now! Lee Beatens runs Disleelandia, a 'virtual archive' of Disneyana, as he puts it. Lee updates his site often with clever, well-written posts, such as his recent mini-series about the Lenox line of china... MORE

Feminists Still Freaky About Disney

'Say It, Sister' has a lot to say about princesses

FEB 2 If Disney creates a 'truly feminist animated character', they should also create characters acceptable to masochists, misogynists, and even transgender morbid emos. Let's fill the kingdom with artificial princesses whose genesis is due entirely to special interest pressure. Sister, you may be... MORE

Custom Disney Countdown Ticker

Bob creates a countdown ticker for a very important event

FEB 1 Countdown tickers! Everybody needs one. If you want the world to know when you're leaving for Disney, the best way to do it is with a free, custom countdown ticker that relentlessly informs you, second by second, how long your pre-departure anguish will persist. I have to thank the Disney Diva for... MORE

Pizza Flyer Mafia Threatens Disney Tourists

Disney World supports arrest, prison for pizza flyer thugs

JAN 31 Your pizza will be delivered by two large men. The pizza will have pepperoni on it. You didn't order pepperoni. They don't care. The pepperoni, by the way, costs a hundred bucks. Pay up. If you don't, they'll unravel your towel animals. In front of the kids! And then the pepperoni will cost two hundred bucks. Pay the freak up. ... MORE

A Happy Time at the Harmony Barber Shop

But Bob is wistful over lost wisps of lustrous hair

JAN 29 Sometime in the 1970s, probably during the Ford Administration, I had my hair cut at Harmony, and I made sure to take my son there many years later. Now, as a teenager, my son recoils from the word barber, and my follicles are past the point of 'a little off the top'. But the memories, if not the... MORE

Toy Story Responsible for Skill Crane Captivity

Young child crawls into skill crane in imitation of Woody and Buzz

JAN 29 A two-year-old English boy named Jake did just that, presumably by crawling up the chute into the 'toy-grabbing machine', as the British apparently call skill cranes. How is that Disney material? According to Jake's mother, he had watched 'Toy Story' the previous night and decided to... MORE

The Smoking Kingdom

A short history of lighting up at Disney

JAN 28 Ted Tamburo today tackled the theme of smokes - in particular, smokes smoked at Disneyland and Disney World - in an article on Parkeology, one of my favorite Disney sites. Ted brings up a tidbit that I had forgotten: the Main Streets in both Disneyland and Disney World used to have tobacco shops. ... MORE

Disney's Portobello Debuts New Beer Dessert

Take beer, add whipped cream, get ... sick?

JAN 28 The biramisu was invented as a whimsical dessert by Top Chef Tony Mantuano and added to Portobello's dessert menu by protege, Steven Richard, the restaurant's executive chef. I think you know where this is going. The 'bira' in the Biramisu is beer, a dark porter with hints of dark chocolate and coffee. Into the beer go...... MORE

Newest Disney Princess Debuts: Princess Ke$ha

Rapper stars in short MTV film to parody Disney

JAN 26 Rap star Ke$ha filmed a short video for MTV entitled Walt Disney's Princess Ke$ha. The description promises a run-in with a cross-dressing hobo fairy godmother. Okay - that's worth a click. The video is 2:32 minutes long. It starts out beautifully with an animated blue butterfly coasting into... MORE

Cruise Critic Scores Direct Hits on Disney Dream

Popular site also scores a few misses in definitive slideshow

JAN 26 I found some good Disney Dream coverage. Dan Askin, Associate Editor for the popular site Cruise Critic, along with some colleagues, put together a slideshow entitled 17 Hits and Misses from Disney Dream. (Ironic title since in the naval world I think 'hit' is a bad thing, 'miss' a good thing.) Slideshows are... MORE

'Game Over' for Many Disney Gaming Pros

Disney stages mass layoffs in its console gaming division

JAN 25 Despite the strong success of Epic Mickey, a 'console' game for the Wii, Disney has followed through on its unofficial plans to low-brow console games and focus instead of 'casual' games, especially those integrated with social media. The follow-through came in the form of layoffs, hundreds of layoffs, affecting... MORE

A Death in the Richards Family

Marvel ices flagship hero in Fantastic Four #587

JAN 25 What's a comic book review doing on Disney Dispatch? Well, Disney does own Marvel, and I've loved Marvel comics since they cost 20 cents each on the spinner rack at the local newsstand. But I'm guessing my core audience here isn't much into comic books. Today, however, you'll be hearing quite a bit about comic... MORE

Urban Mickey Scowls in Disney D5 Collection

An urban twist on a rural mouse - with half-steppin', too

JAN 24 I don't scare easy. And Mickey Mouse? Are you kidding me? He couldn't scare a ... mouse. But Mickey has, well, changed. In Disney's upcoming D5 line of branded apparel, Mickey has channeled some deep, subterranean stream of rabid rodentia. He's become angry. Troubled. Scary. Last week, in the Disney Parks... MORE

Extreme Piratical Makeover

Pirate Name Generator does all the namin'; you do all the piratin'

JAN 23 With Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides set to debut later this year, cool people world-wide will once more struggle to channel their inner brigand. But is it enough simply to pepper your conversation with 'yarr' and 'matey'? No. It is not. To truly be a pirate you need a pirate name. Unfortunately, it's not easy... MORE

The Lap Bar at Splash Mountain

No, it's not that kind of a bar

JAN 23 If you're like me, you dislike restraints. I'm not talking about handcuffs or the restraints in use at mental institutions. (Please, let's not talk about those, okay?) I'm talking about the restraints on rides at theme parks. In a few rare cases, such as Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, I understand. But Splash Mountain? I've... MORE

A Family's Descent into Disney Hell

From New Jersey to Disney, Dante-style

JAN 22 There are bad trips to Disney, and then there are terrible trips, even rotten trips. Sometimes the magic backfires. What'cha gonna do? Several years ago, Jersey Diva Mom had a rotten trip to Disney. So rotten, in fact, that she calls Disney "Dante's vision of Hell". And so scarring, apparently, that she's... MORE

Princess, Where Art Thou?

Princesses polish up resumes as Disney pants over Potter

JAN 19 My millions of readers probably remember The Once and Future Princess, my take on Disney's decision not to put princesses in future films after the huge success of 'Tangled'. I thought the decision short-sighted, but I can live without princess films, especially now that my daughter is teetering perilously... MORE

Disney Does Away with the Dominican Republic

Nations appear, disappear as if by magic

JAN 18 As part of its scheme to achieve global domination, Disney indulged in a bit of creative nation-building on its website. A journalist for Dominican Today reported that her attempt to buy park tickets through the official Disney site was foiled because Disney had taken over the Dominican Republic and... MORE

Tempest in a Tiki Room

As the smoke clears, will the 'old management' take over again?

JAN 14 On January 12, a small fire charred part of Disney World's Enchanted Tiki Room. It was quickly put out. Damage: minimal. Mostly smoke, a few singed feathers. No big deal. What has become a big deal is whether Disney will use the fire as an excuse to return the Enchanted Tiki Room to its 'old management' team... MORE

2011 Readers' Choice Theme Park Awards

Nominations being accepted on About.com in multiple categories

JAN 13 Remember Arthur Levine, the Theme Parks Guide for About.com? I published an interview with him just a few days ago, and if you haven't read it, now is the perfect time to do so. Today, Arthur is back, not looking for trouble but rather with news of his 2011 Readers' Choice Theme Park Awards on... MORE

Disney Dispatch Expands for 2011

Bob Bares His Pixels, Foretells Site Future

JAN 09 The britches have burst. In August 2010, I unveiled DisneyDispatch as a tiny, rather ugly site to give humorous 'shout-outs' to other Disney sites. The next few months saw fitful progress: some interviews, a couple of guest columnists, occasional features like the 13-part culinary guide to Epcot's Food & Wine Festival. But... MORE

Disney Plans New 'Park' in Israel

The Mouse soon to be found in unlikely locale

JAN 09 In what might perhaps count as further evidence of Disney's impending world domination, it revealed its plans last week to build a new 'theme park' in Haifa, Israel. True, the Haifa park isn't really a 'park' so much as it is an entertainment complex, but still it represents more expansion by Disney in tough economic.... MORE

Read Tidings Past: 2010