The Walt Disney Company claimed a number of momentous milestones and achievements in 2012, such as boasting the highest-grossing film of the year (Marvel’s The Avengers). But as Disney reached some considerable points, they also faced and developed a handful of issues. This special edition of Disney In Depth looks back at the world of Disney in 2012, with my top 10 best in this edition, and “bottom” 10 worst (with some suggestions on how to remedy those problems) in next week’s edition.
Continue reading for the best of list.
10. DisneyParks’ YouTube channel produces informative, fun videos
Nearly every day DisneyParks releases yet another interesting and entertaining video on its popular YouTube channel. The assortment of types of clips is as varied as the offerings within these must-visit destination spots. I am a big fan of the “Every Role a Starring Role” series, which explores the various types of positions Cast Members possess. My favorite video of the year goes to this one featured below, starring Belle and Beast in a parody of the hit HGTV show, House Hunters International. Take a look.
9. Disney and the public embrace Oswald, The Lucky Rabbit
Since Disney reacquired one of its earliest characters in 2006, they have slowly been integrating Oswald into the atmosphere. He was more of a sensation than ever in 2012, from the trendy give-away “Oswald ears” at the E3 event, to his participation in the latest Epic Mickey game. This is one lucky rabbit, for sure.
8. Disney and Pixar release fantastic short films
The Academy Award-nominated La Luna was just one of many much-loved shorts released in 2012, a year that also saw Tangled Ever After, Toy Story Toon Partysaurus Rex and Paperman. Disney and Pixar’s diversity in their works, and the amazing quality each one possesses, suggests their leadership in the animated short film business. Tangled and Toy Story have been utilized quite well as brands, whereas La Luna and Paperman prove that striking subtlety can inspire awe and tears of joy.
7. John Carter leaps into our hearts, even if it fails financially
One item you will find on both the best and worst lists is none other than John Carter, but for different reasons. If you have ever been stirred by grand action-adventures with romance, drama and even some comedy, John Carter captures those themes in one product. Disorganized at times, yes. Confusing for parts, certainly. Yet if you can overlook those flaws, this film celebrates the best of science-fiction past and present, with some electrifying visuals, music and some solid performances.
6. Newsies succeeds on Broadway stage and recoups early investment
Read all about this! Newsies, the film that bombed in theaters two decades ago and built a cult following is now the “King of New York” – on Broadway, that is. Disney’s sensational musical brings together the real-life underdog story of underpaid newsboys, Alan Menken’s and Jack Feldman’s instantly-catchy music, and some of the best choreography you have ever witnessed. Take it from me, as I caught the show in person. And who can argue with the fact that the play has already recouped its entire initial investment? The Newsies are here to stay.
5. New Fantasyland captures imagination of famous fairy tales
The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast hold stable residences in the newly-expanded Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, a magnificent space that claims new dining, attractions and relaxing landscapes. These gorgeous atmospheres help show why Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world, and one of the most beautiful, too.
4. Disney-ABC’s Day of Giving raises much money toward hurricane relief
When a disaster like Hurricane Sandy strikes American soil, it raises public consciousness of the importance of community. Individuals flew out to help regenerate damaged neighborhoods, and businesses supported efforts with massive campaigns. The Walt Disney Company was one of those corporations, holding a nationwide “Day of Giving” that encouraged individuals to provide financial aid. Disney utilized its networks and personalities to help raise nearly $17 million from viewers and supporters. Great work!
3. Disney acquires the Lucasfilm and Star Wars forces
Few news bytes stay a secret in our increasingly fast-paced and non-elusive digital world, but somehow Disney’s several-billion-dollar purchase of Lucasfilm remained quiet until the official announcement. Yes, rumors have persisted for years, and even Blue Sky Disney had premonitions early in 2012, but most of us were (pleasantly) stunned by this late October news. Star Wars could be viewed as just another acquired brand for Disney, but the opportunities in which the company can continue to uphold its fandom are absolutely infinite.
2. Wreck-It Ralph signals promising new era in Disney animation
The “wrecking guy” and his crew of video game members are now as well-known as Rapunzel and Flynn Rider in Tangled, the last Disney animated feature to make strides in box office receipts and in our near-universal praise. (Sorry, Winnie the Pooh just didn’t create the same impact). Wreck-It Ralph contains the ingenuity and fun absent from many modern films. The fact that this precedes the highly-anticipated Frozen in the Disney animated feature canon hints that we might be experiencing that long-awaited third renaissance.
This brings us to the best “thing” Disney shared with us in 2012…
1. Disney California Adventure Park transforms into a mega destination
The much-criticized park, once in the hands of then-CEO Michael Eisner, has evolved in truly incredibly ways in just the span of five years. The openings of Cars Land and re-themed entrance area Buena Vista Street capped off a most lengthy and pricey alteration to Disneyland’s sister park. The emphasis on setting, detail, amusement and unforgettable experiences has made California Adventure a must-visit place, breaking attendance records and exceeding even Disney’s best estimates.
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Please check out my “bottom” 10 list next week on Disney In Depth. Remember to follow me on Twitter for updates of new editions of Disney In Depth, Thursdays on Geeks of Doom!