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  1. olegc's Avatar
    "(Someone from another division of Disney once told me about the multiple hoops through which he had to jump to get permission to have his division's logo put on ears, so this really surprises me. I wonder if anyone at Disney thought about it that way...)" probably not... it's most likely another example of so many groups "empowered" to be profitable... My guess? as soon as it's discovered this is an issue (if corp thinks it is) you won't be able to buy a blank one. You will have to at LEAST get one item added. no blanks will be sold. that's totally an opinion, of course.
  2. Andrew's Avatar
    We picked up our Cat Cora book at 10:00 AM sharp (as you know) but there were still plenty on the cart when we went back at 2:30 for the signing--and there was no line. I hope she didn't feel unappreciated.
  3. AVP's Avatar
    Update with lots of menu information:

    Taste of California Marketplace:

    [One of the event managers said that I must have hit the Taste of California Marketplace at the wrong times, because they have enjoyed record sales today.]

    Lobster Lollipops -
    Lobster tails breaded with panko, bread crumbs, served with roasted bell pepper remoulade.

    California Skewers - $5.25
    Grilled beef and chicken skewers with vegetables and a chipotle glaze.

    Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin Slider - $5.00
    Served on a brioche roll topped with crispy onions and citrus mojo criollo sauce.

    Wild Mushroom Risotto - $3.75
    Shiitake and crimini risotto with asparagus tips finished with creamy mascarpone, Italian parsley, fresh grated grana padano and crostinis.

    White Cheddar Soup - $4.00
    Featuring Karl Strauss Pale Ale with smokey bacon served in a Boudin sourdough mini-boule.

    Hummus with Pita Chips - $3.75
    Traditional hummus topped with diced red bell peppers, carrots and cucumbers. Served with pita chips.

    Festival Cheese Plate - $5.00
    Grana padano, huntsman cheddar bleu, and derby cheeses with elderberry wine, accompanied by lavender honey, grapes and a lavosh crisp.

    Seasonal Berry Trifle - $4.00
    Served in a martini glass layered with fresh strawberries, lemon pound cake, vanilla custard and whipped cream.

    Ghirardelli Chocolate Marquise - $4.00
    Luscious Ghirardelli chocolate mousse on a bed of dark chocolate praline, hazelnut and almond crunch.

    Dynamite Merlot - $4.00
    Mirassou Chardonnay - $3.00
    Mirassou Pinot Noir - $3.00
    Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. Hefeweizen - $3.25

    Sparkling Bar menu:

    [This place was hopping when I was up there Friday afternoon]

    Each wine flight offers a tasting (2 oz.) pour of three different wines served together.

    First-Class Flight - $15
    Banfi Rosa Regale, St. Hilaire and Fairy Tale Cuvee

    A Marriage Between Grapes - $20
    Brassfield Serenity, Flora Springs Poggio Del Papa and Miner Family Aia

    Highway 5 to Napa - $16
    Baileyana Edna Valley, Buena Vista Carneros and Hill Family Napa

    Hanging Ten in Malibu - $16
    Saddlerock Chardonna, Semler Syrah and Rosenthal Surfrider Red

    Old Vines - $22
    XYZin 10 year, 50 year and 100 year-old Zinfandel vines

    Perfect Pinot - $22
    Acacia Carneros, Buena Vista Carneros and Sapphire Hill Russian River Valley

    California Royalty - $45
    Chappellet Signature Napa, Silver Oak Alexander Valley and Nickel & Nickel Carpenter

    Appetizer Selection:

    Spicy Marinated Olives - $7

    Spanish Jamon Serrano with Melon - $13

    Wine Country Cheese Platter - $15
    Three hand-selected cheeses with country bread

    Cured Salmon Flatbread with Dill Creme Fraiche - $12

    Duo of Bruschetta - $9
    Tomato-Basil Tapenade

    Assorted Cookies, Fruit and Valrhona Chocolage Dipping Sauce - $10

    Food and Wine "Inspired" additions to DCA menus:

    Award Wieners

    Gourmet Portabella "Philly" - $6.79
    Grilled portabella mushrooms featuring Karl Strauss Amber Lager reduction of sauteed onions and bell peppers topped with pepper jack cheese. Served with choice of apple slices or chips.

    Acacia Vineyard Pinot Noir - $7.50

    Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Hefeweizen - $6.50

    Corn Dog Castle

    Gourmet Cheese Corn Dog - $5.79
    Delicions corn dog infused with chili and cheddar cheese. Served with choice of apple slices or chips.

    Pacific Wharf Cafe

    Chinese Chicken Salad - $8.69
    Julienne chicken, greens, fried wontons, almonds, carrots, sesame seeds and scallions with a cilantro and soy ginger dressing.

    Cucina Cuccamonga

    Bunuelo Fritters - $3.29
    Traditional Spanish dessert, airy dough with berriers, lightly fried and tossed in chinnamon sugar and dusted with powdered sugar.

    Beaulieu Vineyards Reisling - $7.50

    Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Hefeweizen - $6.50

    Farmer's Market

    California Wrap - $7.99
    Marinated grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, apricots, sliced red flame grapes, cilantro and baby spinach lightly tossed in a dressing of non-fat yogurt laced with amber honey, wrapped in a spinach tortilla. Served with choice of apple slices or chips.

    Pizza Oom Mow Mow

    Chilled Shrimp Pasta Salad - $9.29
    Angel hair pasta tossed with shrimp, fresh basil and tomato concasse in a light pesto vinaigrette.

    Sterling Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc - $7.50

    Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Hefeweizen - $6.50

    Taste Pilot's Grill

    Beaulieu Vineyards Reisling - $7.50

    Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Hefeweizen - $6.50
  4. ForeverWDW's Avatar
    Virtual World News - Business news, Strategy, Insight, and Analysis is currently running a story about the closing of VMK. Several people have already shared their stories there in the hopes it will reach the right people. Many more have yet to find this place to voice out against the closing. Please take a moment and read (bring tissues). If you can please leave a comment or share your story.

    If the real life stories there dont break your heart, nothing will. Disney is doing more then just simply shutting down a project. They are destroying childrens hopes and dreams. They are taking away the one place where children of all ages can be free to explore, learn, commincate, grow, imagine, heal, florish, and DREAM.

    I know "Yavn" is watching out there somewhere in cyber space. Please fight for us Yavn. I find it difficult to believe that your sitting back watching your own project go down the drain while thousands of children are crying out in despair and your doing nothing to stop it. Please help bring the magic you once believed in back to life. Please help dry the eyes of the children you have touched worldwide.
  5. AVP's Avatar
    Encountered another test yesterday, and this time I was able to get a slightly better look at the unit. They come from Fun Finder GPS (link), a company that currently operates the service at the Grand Canyon and has a whole list of "coming soon" venues including the Phoenix Zoo.
  6. AVP's Avatar
    Oh great, just when I introduced my nephew to this game. He plays ToonTown Online, but there's really a limited amount of stuff you can do with the free version, and $80/year seems like too much to spend to me.
    Especially when there is no reason to believe that the game will continue for any set period of time. By closing VMK, Disney is setting a very unfortunate example. I look at all of the people who bought specific Disney merchandise *just* to get the VMK code that was offered with it, who opted to stay in a Disney-owned hotel at WDW so they would get the special codes that came with such a stay, who made multiple trips to Disneyland to complete quests offered there, who bought specific Disney movies (like Herbie) to get the VMK codes packaged inside, or who bought specific brands of Kellogg's cereal, or who redeemed Disney Movie Rewards points for VMK items, and I really feel for them. Though the announcement said that VMK was a promotional game designed for the 50th anniversary, and has gone on much longer than Disney intended, none of that ever quite made it into the game's marketing message.

    Now Disney is essentially saying that none of that matters - it was a promotion, it's over, it's all virtual anyway, time to "graduate" to a new game. Yet their actions have to make players seriously question how much time to devote any time to these new games. Why spend time - or especially money - building a new character in a new community when they could just as easily pull the plug there when the game no longer serves their corporate purpose?

    Closing VMK in this manner devalues everything that VMK players have done for the past three years, dismisses the very real community that has been built, puts the lie to all of Disney's marketing about this project and calls into question their long-term commitment to any of their other games. This may sound extreme, but having been once burned by a Disney game, I think players are really going to have to think again about investing so much again.

    It's been suggested to me that Disney has no choice but to close VMK. Sulake, the company behind Habbo's Virtual World that actually built VMK for Disney, issued a press release in February announcing their new partnership with the William Morris Agency (link). According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, Sulake signed a deal with Paramount Digital Entertainment sell licensed "virtual" souvenirs for "The Spiderwick Chronicles," "Beowulf" and "Mean Girls" (link). A day or two before the VMK announcement, Sulake announced a advertising partnership with Double Fusion to provide targeted marketing to consumers within the Habbo worlds (link).

    Sulake also created the original online CokeStudios environment, which Coke later rebuilt and now operates independently of Sulake. One rumor floating about is that Sulake is not willing to extend the license of the game they created for Disney. (The timing fits - the game is scheduled to close two days shy of the 3rd anniversary of the Beta launch in 2005, so there may be something to this theory.)

    All of this is rumor, and so far Disney isn't talking.

    I've been somewhat surprised by the effort many VMK players are making to save this game. I've personally been contacted by three different players asking if MousePlanet would write about the closure, and apparently one of the players actually got CNN to consider running a blurb. (That story was reportedly spiked when Disney would not provide comment.) There are surely more important issues on the world stage, but it's intersting just how committed some of the players really are. There have even been reports that the in-game hosts, presumably Disney employees, have been encouraging players to contact Disney to protest the closure. You can't walk into a public room in VMK right now without seeing a "Save VMK" chant or signature file.

    I don't think this is over yet.

  7. stan4d_steph's Avatar
    Oh great, just when I introduced my nephew to this game. He plays ToonTown Online, but there's really a limited amount of stuff you can do with the free version, and $80/year seems like too much to spend to me.
  8. olegc's Avatar
    hmm - sounds like VMK became just like Second Life - without even knowing it. However, second life went ahead and allowed people to do things with real money - even online banking. Of course, they now also had their first bank closure - and all the funds are gone - and the guy basically said "it's just a game, right? " second life never had anything to truly protect itself or others against this - and the US courts are not prepared for it.

    Damn - should have been an Internet attorney :-D
  9. olegc's Avatar
    this I believe is similar to the WDW tests they conducted. My guess would be that the desired applications on the device, or the data collected, would be different between parks. AND - they would not have to use GPS. Doesn't the park today use embedded pucks in the ground to track floats during parades that is then all controlled from one show building? what would stop the park from installing these in hidden areas all throughout so they could track when you "pass" a point in the park.

    IMHO the initial applications are data collection and later analysis, and maybe alerts about shows or maybe entertainment. The "unfair" part comes when they start to offer things that regular park guests may not be aware of and, as Kevin Yee always says, this will create more of a "planned and guided" experience instead of discovery and randomness. I like to plan - but not every single minute and all of my movements. They will have to be very up front with what they collect, how they use it, and how long they plan to hold on to it. My concern is that if they entice people with free stuff - then the lowest-common-denominator guest will just accept it - and try to sue later for someone using information about them (to no avail).
  10. adriennek's Avatar
    Which is smarter - your smart phone or your smart car?
  11. olegc's Avatar
    we saw that carriage on Sunday and wondered what was up. I agree with the DTD thing. It seems the only umbrella marketing that is done is the usual Resort tags, mentions on trams and such, and brief notage in marketing pieces for trips to disneyland. I guess like any mall, the money coming in from the primary tenants (espn, rainforest, hob, patina group) keeps people happy - even though a marketing person for the area is tasked to create something.

    In a previous life I ran a small food stand at Westside Pavillion and it was always the same. Tenants would complain that the mall did not do enough to promote all of the stores (especially smaller ones) but no one wanted to participate in events being promoted. Don't wanna work for it - but expect benefits from it (of course I am assuming that there were desired outcomes for the week but nothing materialized).
  12. olegc's Avatar
    hey - why not get Google to sponsor Innoventions - and then they can collect our data right in person!
  13. AVP's Avatar
    Sorry Helga, missed your comment. That collection is expected in April.
  14. Maus's Avatar
    "Royal Doulton is also doing a new Winnie the Pooh line of mugs with matching figurines, (MSRP $43), plus a new christening collection."
    Adrienne, is the christening collection available yet? Or should I ask, when will it be available?

  15. sunfun94's Avatar
    Thanks for the info.. I have been into your store many times and am amazed by the wonderful items you have in there! Now I have a small iota of a glimpse of all the goes into choosing the items. Really cool.. thanks for the posts
  16. Crazy4DL's Avatar
    You can't have enough legos if you are a Crazy! My grandsons - and grown sons - heck, even my daughter - are all over the Indy Lego sets.
  17. AVP's Avatar
    I actually did try to go to the rug section before I left the Home building Saturday night, but the rug showrooms had all closed up early. I had heard from another vendor that there are new lines of Disney home furnishings to be introduced at the Vegas show, and I've toyed with the idea of popping up there for a day to see what I can see. But to answer your other question, no, we don't generally receive notices of new licensed merchandise outside the catagories we usually stock. I know that there is supposed to be a huge new collection of juvenille furniture, but I'd never see that catalogue unless I either searched out the company, or tried to get someone at Disney Consumer Products to put me in touch with the vendor. This is where being both a retailer AND a reporter gets tricky.

  18. lisap's Avatar
    The Giselle sculpture is really lovely.
  19. Mr.Abominable's Avatar
    Hey AVP, thanks for the intersting info. I read recently that a Home interior company was licensed to create area rugs(classic designs not characters) for Disney and that they are supposed to be introduced this spring at the World Market Center here in Vegas. Is this type of product something that you recieve info on? We are always looking for cool, artistic items for our home so I was just curious.

    PS. I know you skipped the rug section of the show and you specialize in collectables but you know more than anyone else I know, so I thought I would ask. Thanks
  20. adriennek's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AVP
    I'm trying to figure out of I can justify opening an account for the sole purpose of buying Christmas presents...
    I believe that the answer is an unqualified: Yes. Yes, you can.
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