Posts tagged ‘Disney World’

Disney World's Best Attraction

I am currently sitting in Disney's best attraction, and it is almost empty: The lobby of the Grand Floridian Hotel, with their orchestra playing. Even if you don't stay here, find an excuse to stop here on the monorail one evening. great way to decompress from the running-with-the-bulls experience in the parks, and a better time machine than any of their rides.

It Is Getting Harder and Harder to Write Satire

A portion of my novel BMOC was satire of oddball lawsuits.  In that book, for example, I had a woman suing Disney because she found that the characters at Disney World were people in costumes rather than the actual animated characters she had expected.  I thought that was enough beyond reason and reality to constitute satire, but I guess I was wrong:

On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers who also apparently believed that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.

Updated Disney World Reviews

I have updated my post on Disney World reviews and advice based on my October trip with my daughter.  Below is a picture from the trip.  I am the one in orange.

coyote_tigger

More Sick Children

I mentioned yesterday that, consistent with our perfect 15 for 15 history of having sick kids on the family vacation, I missed a day of skiing to take care of my sick son.  Well, the other shoe dropped today, and my wife missed a day of skiing with my sick daughter.  Fortunately, we only have two kids so we may all ski tomorrow.

By the way of disclosure, I enjoy the fun my family has skiing but it really is not my favorite activity or even in my top 50 or so activities.  Too cold, too much stuff to bring, too expensive, too many lines.  Like having to buy $1000 of equipment to go to Disney World and finding that they moved it to Alaska.  With the added risk of breaking a leg.

Disney World Reviews and Advice

For a while now, I have meant to publish a guide to Walt Disney World (WDW).  For a variety of reasons related to a recurring family reunion, I have spent at least 50 days at WDW in 10 trips over 25 years.  Over those years, I have learned a fair amount about surviving WDW.  Since we may not be going back for a while (the crowds are just too crazy, see below) I thought I would
share some of my experience.  My thoughts, review, and tips on Disney World are below the fold.

Note:  I have made updates in blue from my October, 2008 trip.

Continue reading ‘Disney World Reviews and Advice’ »

Does the Web Demand New PR Technologies?

Two different inputs recently have gotten me thinking about public relations and the web, and just how far behind the technology curve many PR departments may be.

The first input was a comment I got on one of my posts that I wrote while on vacation last month.  In this post I mentioned that I would be heading for Disney World for our traditional family reunion, but that growing crowds on Thanksgiving week would probably force us to try a different week next time.  I got a comment from someone who sounded like a Disney employee, recommending a better week.  Now, it turns out that it was not a Disney employee, just a helpful reader (one of my loyal 34 or so).  But it got me to thinking.  Are corporate PR departments keeping up with the web?  If Disney was not doing stuff like this, why aren't they?

The second input was this post in Reason's Hit and Run blog.  They point out TIVO efforts to manage the use of the TIVO copyright to ensure that they do not lose the rights to the name.  (Though the article mentions Xerox and Kleenex, my understanding is that Formica actually came the closest to losing its copyright on that name due to overuse as a generic term for, uh, whatever Formica is).  How can companies possibly keep up with their trademark usage on the web?

Back when I worked for a large corporation, we had PR people, either in or out of house, who would provide us with weekly news summaries of where the corporation was in the press.  This was particularly helpful to those of us in marketing, who wanted to make sure we saw all the reviews of our product (so we could use the good ones and refute the bad ones).

In the world of the Internet, this approach seems hopelessly dated.  In the "old days" I used to walk to school 20 miles each day in the snow, up hill both ways  (sorry, always feel like I am channeling my dad when I say "in the old days") the media might have 10  or 15 mentions of our product every two weeks.  Now, on the web, there might be 10 or 15 an hour. Every day employees may be talking about the company in a chat room, customers may be commenting on the company in some place like epinions.com or in Amazon reviews, blogs may be posting on the company, and authorized or unauthorized vendors may have set up shop to sell the company's products online.

How does  a company keep up with all this?  If I was a large company, I would be actively searching the web for key words associated with my company and competitors, looking for new posts or entries or reviews or even whole websites.   Employees spilling secrets in a chat room?  Need to tell legal.  New web site selling our product? Send it to marketing to make sure they are authorized and are using our trademarks and product descriptions correctly.  Blogs posting on us?  We might want to add our own comment to the post.

What we need is the modern technology version of the clipping service.  The technology would probably be pretty straight forward - a company wouldn't even have to build it's own search engine - it could just take a full snapshot of the Google results one day and compare those results to a search the next week, and look for changes.

Or, better yet, why doesn't Google provide this service to corporate accounts itself?  After all, they do need something to justify their sky-high PE ratio, maybe this would help.  Wouldn't Exxon pay $50,000 a year for this service?  Heck I pay D&B several hundred dollars a year for a credit watch service on my company's credit rating, I would certainly pay some hundreds a year for a PR watch of my small business and my competitors.

UPDATE:

One company that seems to be doing something ike this is BuzzMetrics.  Link courtesy of RatherBiased.com

Incredibles and Atlas Shrugged

Cool article in Reason about the similarities between the Incredibles and Any Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Now I definitely have to see this movie.  As a side note, I actually met Mr. Incredible today at Disney World (OK, I "met" a twenty-something underpaid college student in an uncomfortable costume today).  Disney World trip roundup coming soon...

Florida Attraction Recommendation

We never go to DisneyWorld without Bob Sehlinger's book "the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World".  I don't know if he does a lot of unofficial guides or just concentrates on Disney, but from reading it you would swear he spends every waking moment here.  Totally recommended over every other guide out there.

Anyway, as we were reading our guide the other day in our hotel room, planning the next day, my wife happened on the Q&A section where a reader asked him "What is your favorite Florida attraction?"  His answer:

What attracts me most (as opposed to my favorite attraction) is Juniper Springs, a stunningly beautiful stream about one and a half hours north of Orlando in the Ocala National Forest....Winding through palm, cypress, and live oak, the stream is more exotic that the Jungle Cruise and alive with birds, animals, turtles, and alligators.

This was really cool, since my company runs the Juniper Springs recreation area and the Juniper Springs canoe run.  Yeah for us!

ACME Featured Product XI

This series explained here. We get many of our featured products here.  You can find all of our past featured products here.

Our ACME product this week was chosen to help me walk all over Disney World chasing my two kids.

Triplef

PR and the Web

A comment I got on one of my posts on Friday got me to thinking about corporate PR departments and whether they are really keeping up with the web.  In this post I mentioned that I would be heading for Disney World for our traditional family reunion, but that growing crowds on Thanksgiving week would probably force us to try a different week next time.  I got a comment from someone who sounded like a Disney employee, recommending a better week.

Now, I don't know if they were an employee, or whether they found the post by accident or through an active search program.  But it got me to thinking.  Are corporate PR departments keeping up with the web?

Back when I worked for a large corporation, we had PR people, either in or out of house, who would provide us with weekly news summaries of where the corporation was in the press.  This was particularly helpful to those of us in marketing, who wanted to make sure we saw all the reviews of our product (so we could use the good ones and refute the bad ones).

In the world of the Internet, this approach seems hopelessly dated.  Every day employees may be talking about the company in a chat room, customers may be commenting on the company in some place like epinions.com, blogs may be posting on the company, and authorized or unauthorized vendors may have set up shop to sell the company's products online.

How does  a company keep up with all this?  If I was a large company, I would be actively searching the web for key words associated with my company, looking for new posts or entries or even whole websites.   Employees spilling secrets in a chat room?  Need to tell legal.  New web site selling our product? Send it to marketing to make sure they are authorized.  Blogs posting on us?  We might want to add our own comment to the post.

So I got to thinking - was that Disney that found my site?  If so, is this what they are doing to manage their online PR?  And if not, why aren't they doing it?  You wouldn't even have to build your own search engine - just take a full snapshot of the Google results one day and compare those results to a search the next week, and look for changes.

Or, why doesn't Google provide this service to corporate accounts itself?  They need something to justify their sky-high PE ratio, maybe this would help.  Wouldn't Exxon pay $50,000 a year for this service?  Heck I pay D&B several hundred dollars a year for a credit watch service on my credit rating, I would certainly pay some hundreds a year for a PR watch.

UPDATE #1

See comments below - the original commenter apparently not a Disney employee.  Never-the-less, the idea still excites me.  A company like Disney rests almost completely on its reputation - why isn't someone out on the web every day monitoring what is happening vis a vis their company?

Headed for Florida

Headed for our once every two years (is biennial twice a year or once every two years?) family reunion at Disney World.  Years and years ago, when we first started this tradition, Disney World was deserted on Thanksgiving week - no one wanted to be away from their families.  Now, its a total zoo and about the busiest week of the year.  Though I am a sucker for tradition, I am going to petition the family for a date change before the next one.

Every time I go to Disney World, I think of this exchange from National Lampoon's Thats Not Funny, Thats Sick:

(fake) Mr. Rodgers: "would you like to go to the magic kingdon?"

Stoned-out Bassist (Bill Murray): "no thanks man ... I gotta drive."