Wednesday, July 23, 2008

She's just being Miley

God, I feel awful about all the rubbish Miley Cyrus has to put up with. Yes, she gets some of he "rockstar" lifestyle a lot of people really want, but she also takes a lot of rubbish from people and comes out the other side smiling, it's commendable on her part.

For example, it appalled me when I started hearing that mothers were "outraged" at Miley for some "racy" photos hacked out of her MySpace. Before we get to the ridiculousness of condemning her for photos meant to be private, let's address the issue of their existence and content full stop.

Trust me on this. I'm 16 and I socialise with a lot of girls of my age. Very few girls who use MySpace don't have similar pics. It's quite common and not unreasonable. People seem outraged that Miley's doing it, even though she's not alone. Why is that? Because she's famous, a role model?

Wake up. Miley's a kid still too. She's 15, you can't hold her to the same moral standards as, say, Barack Obama. What Miley chooses to do in private to explore her childhood is her business. Let Miley be Miley.

Setting thta aside, let's return to how the pictures got made public. It's not like Miley posted them on her official site, she had them in a private area of her MySpace. A hacker obtained them to prove he could hack MySpace. Miley's the victim here, not the fans. MySpace failed to protect her privacy, the hacker violated it.

Okay, so now someone's probably asking about the infamous photoshoot. Oh please. That's the least erotic magazine photoshoot I've ever seen. It's clearly an admittedly mediocre arthouse peice. It's hardly going to lead young girls to go and strip off. And besides which, even if they did copy it, they'd still be covering themselves, so what does it matter?

To stay with the righteous outrage, I wan to know what it is that makes prents think it is Miley's job to raise their children. Miley has better things to do than police the coverage of her so you can ignore your children. If you want your kids not to see hose pictures, keep an eye on them. I've heard many say "I can't be there all the time, what do is ay to them if they do find the pictures?"

That's flat stupid. You explain that Miley took those pictures in private and only wanted certain people to see them because they're not things you should show or do in public. You tell them it's not something they should imitate, that Miley didn't want it imitated, that's why she hid it. Tell them they'll understand when they're older and that Miley/Hannah Montana as she appears normally is still a good role model.

Well whaddya know? I addressed the issue without telling a lie or hurting feelings.

So that's the key takeaway from all this, it's your job to control the message, not Miley's. In private, let Miley be Miley. In public, she's the very picture of a perfect role model and that's what matters.

The other stuff Miley has to endure is more insidious. I'm talking here about the adults who viciously insult, demean and defame Miley for no reason other than common malice.

I mean, honestly. What has Miley Cyrus ever done to deserve that? She's personable, nice, well-behaved and friendly. It's not like she's Britney or Linsay Lohan. She's Miley Cyrus, I can't easily think of a more inoffensive celebrity.

It's annoyg, it's kind of worrying, it should stop.

She's just being Miley.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Disney Cruise Line: London

In an actually true story of Disney opening new doors over here in the UK, Disney Cruise Line has recently announced their intention to open a London Office.

Spokeswoman Christi Erwin Donnan said Disney Cruise Line is hoping to increase its presence internationally. The London office will also ensure Disney is “well-positioned to tap into the European market and competitively recruit new talent.”

Disney is having two new liners built in Germany, which will double the size of the company’s fleet to four ships when they arrive in 2011 and 2012. Many industry analysts expect Disney will then opt to base a ship permanently in Europe.

I for one am delighted at Disney's move to bringing the Cruise service more permanently to Europe. And, like the above quote says, given the two new ships Disney is having built, it makes sense to base one of the fleet of four over here in Europe.

Source: The Orlando Sentinel via The Disney Blog

Jens Out

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Disney Adventure Theme Park

I have exciting news! A Disney UK insider has leaked information on an incredible and dramtic event to this blog. They were buying a theme park. A British one. The now defunct American Adventure theme park, which is currently listed as For Sale under the name Shipley Lakeside, is to become a Disney Parks and Resorts property.

In truth, m sources say, Disney are in fact buying the land and as much of the surrounding area as they can not to rebrand the existing park, but to build an all-new Disney Adventure Park. Similar in theme to Disneyland Resort, think of it as half Disneyland Park and half California Adventure (Though possibly with a British theme).

The surrounding land will be used to extend the car parks and to build Disney's other resort amenities, such as hotels. As for expansion into a muti-park resort, it sounds like that's not in Disney's game plan. Disney UK's top brass are apparently more itnerested in several of these smaller, more British, Disney parks scattered around the UK than the more American Resort approach.

Their eventual goal, my source's claim, is a network of attraction to rival that of the Tussaud's brand (Merlin ENtertianments' UK Theme Park branch). Other suggested park anmes include Disney's Highland Island (Allegedly to be built on - a potnetially manmade - island off the coast of Scotland, presumably to the North) and Port Mickey (Rumoured to be a Disney-owned seaside resort, like Skegness but witht eh entire are Disney wned and operated - and more modern naturally).

As to Disney Adventure, my source indicates Disney wish to begin preparing the site for construction (IE, tearing down Ameircan Adventure's remnants and beginnign landscaping) this summer, pending finalising the land purchases. The Imagineers are apparently hard at work preparing plans for a cyclical park, where guests can either use the traditional hub system (Apparently to be built out and onto the lake in a "floating" promenade, hub and weenie with bridges off to various stages of the adventure), or journey through the adventure step by step.

As to what form the adventure will take, information was scarce. My source was able to confirm elements of Disneyland Resort's two parks (As mentioned above), but how these are woven togther and into what narrative, he was unable to discover.

This narrative idea though is an itneresting one. It takes the traditional Disney idea of themed areas, or sets, and spins them out into a longer story, which can still be accessed ad-hoc through an impressive sounding floating hub. It will be interesting to discover what form the floating wienie will take. My source and I, on discussion, suggest a pirate ship is a likely choice - owing to the aquatic placement, adventure theme suiting it and DIsney's newfound foundness for pirates thanks to the blockbuster movie trilogy and by extension their Princess equivalent for boys.

This last point also adds further reasoning. All of Disey's main parks currently feature Princess castles as Wienies (Disneyland Park, Magic Kingdom, Parc Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland). It makes sense that now Disney has an alternative, to use this alternative occasionally.

A second suggested wienie is an artifical mountain either beyond the lake and bridged to from the hub or indeed replacing part of it, possibly with some of the lake moved to it's other side, "extending" the lake - though in fact merely creating two smaller lakes with one significantly larger than the other or even atually extending the lake with water allowed to flow around the sides of the moutnain.

For this mountain's style, think Grizzly Peak at California Adventure.

Well that about wraps up the information I currently have on Disney's plans for UK-based theme parks.

More as it develops.

Jens Out

Monday, March 31, 2008

Here in the big world

Out here in the big world, the Disney fans are fuming. Fans of pop artist Mary Blair are incensed. The egneral public in cases where they are aware, are extremely surprised. And what's caused all this ruckus? Disney's world famous It's a Small World attraction at Disneyland Park is rumoured and conirmed to have some controversial changes in store for us when it reopens.

Now, I feel the need to provide my input.

The first change, and only confirmed one, is the inclusion of some Disney characters in the rides' scenes. Now, so long as the characters are appropriate (Aladdin and Jasmine representing the middle east, Woody and Jessie for example as the cowboys in the finale scene, Simba as a lion in Africa), I'm not opposed. Sorry, it just doesn't bother me. I've seen pictures of the Hong Kong version which has similar ideas actually implemented and its fine.

The next idea is replacing the rainforest with a tribute to America. Um. No. Sorry, just no. Disney, no. You cannot and should not do that. It defeats the point of the ride - multiculturalism. If people wanted a view of America, they could go to Mainstreet, USA; New Orleans Square or Frontierland, entire areas of Disneyland Park dedicated to emulating America.

The final rumour is about changing the song. I haven't got details on how they plan to change it, but I undecided. Some of the other versions, notably aris, use modified songs. In theory though, I still say no.

Later this year, I'm headed to the 'World, so coming tomorrow I have the latest version of Birnbaums Official Guide to Disney World. We have the 1991 edition, but as you can imagine it's a touch out of date. It predates one of the 4 parks by over half a decade!

I'll probably review the book after read, and then again after the trip (Which I'll cover on here). Incidentally, I still say the Contemporary is the most exciting hotel on Disney property, if not in the world. The freaking monorail goes into the exciting A-Frame tower for crying out loud.

Ahem. Anyway.

Jens Out.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Mickey Phone in action

Hey guys, just found a quick video of the phone I was talking about in action:

Seems to work okay. It's not god, but it looks alright. Better than some of the phones I've seen people toting.

The user in the video has the black model. I stand by my belief that the white one looks better.

Jens Out

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Best Mobile Ever Conceived? I think so

I was spurred into looking into the demise of Disney Mobile's US operations by the rather nifty ad for the Japanese version which has hit the internet recently, featuring a cover of everyone's favourite jingle, the Mickey Mouse March.

Here it is for your viewing and listening pleasure:

Credit to The Disney Blog for bringing it to my attention

I decided to look and see if any of the old and now (I assume potentially) virtually useless handsets were on eBay. A few of them are. But whilst I was looking at those, caught sight of a Mickey Mouse iPod/Mobile Phone sock. Which was cool enough and I think I might just get one for my iPod touch.

But then my gaze fell upon the Mickey Mouse LT2. To put it simply, it's a Mickey Mouse branded Smartphone. I believe it originates from China (It seems to be distributed by CECT, a subsidiary of Qiao Xing Universal Telephone Inc.) and is only available via importers on, for example, eBay, here in the UK.

It's Dual-Band 900Mhz and 1800MHz, so I can imprt it and use it here no trouble.
It's not huge, sporting a screen pretty much identical to the one on my RAZR V3, but I can get it here for £76. Which is less than I was going to pay for less exciting phones by a wide margin.

It's also actually lighter than my RAZR, which is fairly impressive. And it packs a better camera by a megapixel, and slams the RAZR to the ground with more media featurs and support for SD Memory and out of the box USB support.

It comes in White and Black (I've included pictures of the White model) and ships with a case which sports a plushie (But tiny) Mickey on its side.

I'm going to try and buy one in late March and of course I'll review it here.

And I'll be making Hilary Duff's rendition of the Mickey Mouse March the ringtone.

Jens Out

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Disney on TV

Disney Channel is a premium-only service. Here in the UK, it is available on all three major premium TV services (Sky Digital - Satellite; Virgin Media - Cable; and Tiscali TV - True TVOIP).

Which is fine of course. Available to us are The Disney Channel UK, Disney's Cinemagic and Playhouse Disney, as well as their various Plus Ones and whatever. I think there's room for more. We'll get to that later.

We also get ABC 1 (A strange name, there is only one ABC channel here. Sky used to name their primary channel Sky One for similarly vaporous reasons, though they have since added a Two and Three). ABC 1 however is not a premium channel and is freely available, even on our Free-to-Air digital terrestrial service Freeview.

Freeview has but three children's channels. The rebounding CBBC serves CBBC and CBeebies (A channel for younger children in the vein of Playhouse Disney), whilst the moribund CITV is a waste of good bandwidth.

For you to fully understand the true sorry state of free children's programming in the UK and what Disney has to do with it, first you need a history lesson on UK Children's TV over the last decade or so.

In 1998, ITV relaunched their dominant CITV segment with a return to presentation. CBBC had been once again ailing for a period of a few years, bolstered only by a later finishing time and shows like Blue Peter and Newsround. CBBC's programming was characterised by some kids as being stuck up and not fun.

CITV had hits like evergreen favourite The Sooty Show, surprise hit Bernard's Watch and game shows like Finders Keepers and Fun House.

CBBC did have hit cartoons like Count Duckula and low profile cultural hits like Around the World with Willy Fog - an imported cartoon based on Around the World in Eighty Days, but overall, the wind was in CITV's sails.

A year before CITV relaunched, CBBC fell victim to the BBC's corporate rebranding. The CBBC logo was switched from a fun, colourful number to a boring black on yellow affair. The studio, previously anarchic with pictures and children's letters everywhere became ruthlessly modern and was stuffed with transparent "fun" gimmicks which ended up never being used other than at their introduction.

However, CITV was being poorly managed by the men upstairs. That it was still successful was down to the creative genius of lower ranking producers and managers.

Truth be told, things went wrong first in, yes, 1998 when ReBoot - a show with adoring fans - was axed. Management were not as in touch with he audience as their hits might suggest.

From 2000 onward, the production quality of CITV's shows deteriorated at an alarming speed. There were hits, like My Parents are Aliens, but on the whole the output was sub-par. To make matters worse, popular foreign cartoons Digimon and CardCaptors were axed despite their potential to be critical shows for boys for example.

But even British hot property Sooty felt the pain as producers clearly struggled o put together a consistently high-quality show on what was clearly too little money. Fans balked at a disastrous move in the last season to attempt to redesign the puppets and - in two cases - the characters.

The final season was nowhere near the "The New Sooty-era" peak of quality Sooty Heights which managed to match or surpass its predecessor, the final "The Old Sooty-era" series.

Things have gotten worse. CITV has moved to channel only - there is no CITV segment on ITV1 any more and CITV no longer produces its own shows - even My Parents are Aliens is gone. CITV now relies entirely on bought programming.

CBBC meanwhile has surged ahead, redesigning itself in 2002 and largely walking away with the market as CITV struggled to stay afloat. CBBC used bought programming like Mona the Vampire and surprise cult hit Arthur to lure kids over and those same children were then led into watching shows like Tracy Beaker and the sublime Jeopardy.

The heat-death of CITV is a shame. ITV were Disney's partner for free-to-air programming - to the point of co-branding quirky Saturday and Sunday morning show Diggit, which aired Disney shows like Recess, Pepper Ann and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. This show replaced the older Saturday Disney.

CBBC has since relaunched again in a format more similar to their mid-nineties days. But the quality of the programming is ebbing slightly and some shows come across as increasingly aged. Blue Peter for example has never been closer to death. They did score a hit with an international co-production Shoebox Zoo.

The death of high profile free-to-air Disney programming (Toonattik, the lousy replacement for Diggit's lame replacements Diggin' It and Up on the Roof, still broadcasts Disney cartoons) has got me thinking. Why can't Disney offer a free Disney Channel?

It could run reruns, use some of Disney's archive of cartoon hits (Which are currently being under-utilised in my view) as well as live action classics like the Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV show.

Disney Channel 3 (As I'm going to refer to it) could have ads to support it, after all CITV was/is ad-supported, so why not? It would give wider access to Disney content and it wouldn't be a particularly difficult operation to run.

As to that 3...Disney Channel 2 should be a second channel, tandem to 1 (The current Disney Channel) which shows more cartoons. Kids do still like cartoons as well as live action sitcoms, Disney Channel 2 would be an outlet for new animated shows so live action production would not have to be cut back.

So firmly do I believe that a free Disney Channel on Freeview could be a smash hit, I would happily run it myself with payment being tied entirely to viewing figures, with no viewers meaning no money. I think I'd make a fair bit of money.

Not that I expect Disney to just e-mail me with a job offer. I'm simply making a point.

That being said, if Disney did want me to work for any part of Disney Channel UK (Aside from things like cleaning before you start) I would say yes, even to an assistant's job. In fact, I hope to take up such a position once I'm out of uni.

Working for Disney would be a dream come true ;)

Anyway, to put it simply, I think Disney needs to offer a free way for kids to watch Disney shows in the UK other than ITV's ailing weekend output. Even a segment on ABC 1 would be good.

But for crying out loud, schedule it as a 4-6/7 thing, after school when kids want to sit down and relax in front of the TV. Do not dump it in the early morning, a lot of kids like to sleep in, especially in the UK and make sure you keep the Saturday Morning cartoons tradition alive as well.

Jens Out