# 4 – ABC Shoehorns Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge into EverythingEarlier this year Bob Iger joked that Disney wouldn’t have to advertise the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. In February, Iger suggested he could just tweet “it’s open” and that would be enough for the crowds to come. Spoiler Alert: they didn’t come, leading to Bob having to explain a decline in Disneyland’s attendance after the land’s debut in May. After a jam packed opening day in Florida in August, Walt Disney World also had an unexpected lull in crowds.So Disney decided it was finally time to advertise Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Where? Everywhere. Billboards. TV ads. Digital ads. Magazine ads. iTunes app store ads. They even put a giant ad on the side of an airplane. If there was a place for Disney to plug the new land, they’d find it, including their own TV shows.Now, for those readers too young to remember, TV shows shoehorning an intrusive element just to plug something is nothing new. Sometimes it is through product placement, and other times it can be to launch a new TV show by having characters of the new show interact with characters of the show you already like.Back in the 1990’s, NBC used its popular show Friends to help out the show Mad About You.Disney, who owns the ABC television network, put Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge references in seemingly every show on the network. America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Rookie, Modern Family, and more. Some of the references were in the background, like a ridiculous Kowakian Shoulder Monkey puppet sitting on a desk in American Housewife. Other times it was characters having actual discussions on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode.Grey’s Anatomy. Double Secret Honorable Mention – You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the Disney Outlet Store Photo ReportA lot has been happening over at the Disney Outlet Stores this year. Thanks to the influx of vloggers looking for content, a whole bunch of new procedures have been put in place. This includes the introduction of a switchback queue just to get into the stores. Imagine having to wait 30 minutes to an hour outside in the Florida heat just to have the opportunity for the most miserable shopping experience of your life.For a brief period of time, the Outlets tried to cut back on the obnoxious amount of people filming videos inside the store. This didn’t last, but did allow us at the Ye Olde Monthly Outlet Report to have some fun with the idea of how we would get around the camera ban using a classic episode of The Simpsons.Your Humble Author heads into Mordor. (art by @n8creative)Turns out, people on TouringPlans Facebook weren’t laughing. In fact, even though we have been doing The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! every single month for over six years, we are being held personally responsible for dishonoring the Orlando locals and ruining the Outlet Experience.Our response? Well, we reached out to our Public Relations department: # 5 – Skyliner DebutsThe long anticipated Disney Skyliner made its debut this past week to many favorable reviews (including TouringPlans’ own Len Testa). The new transportation system is definitely cool to ride in, and along with the Skyliner’s opening came some really great merchandise. One surprise is how often the Skyliner has been stopping. Usually the stoppage is only for a brief amount of time, but it is not an uncommon occurrence. Several times during the week an entire segment of the Skyliner has been down for a period of time, with guests being ushered onto busses to bring them to their next destination.Skyliner signage. (photo by Blog Mickey)This made us think of another “character wrap” that should be added to the Skyliner rotation, referencing another attraction with unexpected downtime.Appropriate Skyliner wrap. (meme by SuperWeenieHtJr) # 3 – Tomorrowland’s New EntranceIn last week’s SAT 6 we had gorgeous photos from @bioreconstruct showing all the latest projects at Walt Disney World, including the debut of a new entrance arch in Tomorrowland.Tomorrowland. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Seeing the very same arch from a different angle could make you think Disney built something different… # 2 – IllumiNations endsThe theme park “In Memoriam” article later this year just got its headlining act, as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fired off its last fireworks shell this past Monday night. Twitter user Ham Jenkins III used a tear jerking moment from Toy Story 3 to explain how we all felt during the last show. # 1 – EPCOT Forever debutsTo fill the void of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth until the HarmonioUS nighttime spectacular debuts in 2020, the temporary EPCOT Forever show had its first show on Tuesday. A show built around nostalgia, EPCOT Forever made the interesting decision to have the voice of a young child be the narrator. “Interesting” because a young child wouldn’t be aware of any of the musical references to Horizons, Listen to the Land, or Tomorrow’s Child. Those in attendance noticed the lack of overall fireworks explosions in EPCOT Forever compared to IllumiNations, but everyone seemed to agree the jet skis with firework-laden kites stole the show. Most were ready to give EPCOT Forever at least a “mild” thumbs up overall, which isn’t too bad considering it is replacing an iconic nighttime show that has lasted almost twenty years.However, many opinions changed immediately when the song “A Whole New World” from Aladdin began to close out EPCOT Forever. It was a stark reminder that the park’s former mission statement of education and world culture is about to be replaced with one singular goal: Intellectual Properties. Well, at least it wasn’t “Let It Go” from Frozen…From Bob Chapek’s dream journal. (meme by SuperWeenieHtJr)One Twitter user suggested using Agrabah as one of the cities we fly by in Soarin’ Around the World to help complete the synergy.Soarin’ Around the IPs. (meme by @theme_park)Along with a poster for the show.EPCOT Forever. (meme by @theme_park) Share This!This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at recent theme park news via MEMES! A lot has been happening since the award-winning SAT 6 investigation team covered what was happening in the wacky world of theme parks, but today we are going back to the well once again to examine all the hot topics in the only way we know how…via theme park memes.# 6 – Attack of the Killer BeesUniversal’s newest attraction – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – has been beset by technical problems since the ride made its debut in Islands of Adventure back in June. The thrilling coaster has been wowing guests who have been able to get on – with many calling it the best ride at the Universal Orlando Resort – but it has routinely been closing early for test & adjust or opening late because of tech issues. All of a sudden a new problem reared its head in the attraction with bees. That’s right, bees.Honey bees are an important part of the Florida ecosystem, and in the last decade or so many advancements have been made in the state to help reduce negative impacts on the bee population. Universal brought in bee specialists to help with efforts on moving the bees away from the ride, including man-made hives backstage. It seemed that the situation was taken care of relatively quickly, but reports this very week have bees still milling in the area. Hopefully this is a situation that can be (see what we did there) remedied in the coming days and weeks and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure can go back to being down for its normal reasons.At least it’s not “at capacity” again. (meme by Alicia Stella)Believe it or not, this isn’t even the first time bees have been a nuisance for a Universal attraction. Back in 2014, Rip Ride Rockit had to be shut down for a hot minute thanks to bees as well.Several bee-related Easter Eggs in this pic. (photo by Mike Sperduto with an art assist by Matt Cleary) Trust me. I FEEL YOUR PAIN. Honorable Mention – #SaveBurudikaDisney has been making a lot of budget cuts to make up for the lack of guests post Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Our beloved Muppets Present: Great Moments in American History? Gone. Royal Majesty Makers in Magic Kingdom? Gone. Pit Crew dancers by Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy and the JAMMitors in EPCOT have either been cut or had their amount of shows reduced. One of the rumored cuts that has been hard for many is the band Burudika in Animal Kingdom. A lively show that is always well attended, the Burudika band has been entertaining guests in Harambe Village for years, and bring the entire area to life. The Radio Harambe podcast has been doing everything they can to try and stave off the inevitable, including starting #SaveBurudika on Twitter. This has led to many people posting their fond memories of the show and how much the band has meant to the family’s trips.These things always work, right? (meme by DMemes_MTeens) Side view of the Tomorrowland entrance arch. (photo by Blog Mickey)The ultimate “You Are Here” Disney Starbucks cup. (meme by @timtation) Goodbye Reflections of Earth…(meme by Ham Jenkins III) So there you have it: A Look at Theme Park News via MEMES! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 1)The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 2)The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 3)The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 4)The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 5)The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 6)The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Theme Park News via Memes (vol 7)Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.Show us the lie.
The Intel Small Business profile series focuses on small business owners and how they are reacting to the demands and opportunities presented by emergent technology.“The best karaoke experience is simply about connecting with friends and singing together. At Voicebox that means private suites, an inviting space, exciting food and drink, and exceptional service.”When Voicebox Karaoke opened its doors in 2008, the purpose was solely to bring a more personalized touch to karaoke. Scott Simon, founder and president of Voicebox, wanted to bring an Asian-influenced box style to Portland, OR karaoke aficionados, and the business caught on fast. With a total of 13 employees last year, Voicebox now staffs over 25 and is only continuing to grow as it expands its locations and its partnerships via Voicebox Industries. They cater to a clientele as vast as children’s birthday parties and bachelorette parties, witnessing a variety in customer-base on an hour-to-hour, day-by-day basis. And for Simon, technology represents the heart of the his brand experience.Voicebox is a small business with a big IT footprint; its current infrastructure is almost entirely dependent upon internet — right down to the POS system — and the entire guest experience revolves around technology. Each room is its own devoted karaoke stage, complete with multiple televisions, disco lights, several microphones, and remote-controlled song selection. The interactive tech that serves to build a greater sense of connectedness has proven to be the key selling point for Voicebox, so Simon considers himself lucky that all the business founders are technically-savvy.With no designated IT person to date, Simon and his fellow executives have embraced a DIY mindset until recently, at which point they decided to enlist a third party to help field the growth the business is currently undergoing. One of the main challenges Simon faces today is the rate at which his tech must scale alongside his business; the hunt for a partner who can grow with the complex demands of Voicebox has been challenging, and Simon has turned to Intel to alleviate his current needs.Voicebox is powered by the Intel NUC for a computing solution that’s low in overhead but high in performance. They also recommend and install Intel NUC for their Voicebox Industries partners. “The combination of power and form-factor in the NUC is exactly what we were looking for. Having the Intel name behind it and the quality of the build is a big thing for us. The construction quality has been really good,” states Simon. And as the business continues to grow, he imagines Intel technology will remain a core part of his infrastructure. “Creating value is a virtue,” says Simon.For Simon, the ultimate competitive edge has been derived from investing in technology that will create value and a better human experience. Rather than saving on the initial investment, he prefers to embrace emerging technology that will challenge legacy systems and bring about a greater guest experience. If you’re a small business owner focusing on long-term goals, saving money in the short-term — such as retaining old systems for fear of wasting money on new solutions — can lead to losing money in the long-term.Here at Intel, we recognize that more and more small businesses are dealing with greater IT footprints yet lack to staff to oversee increasing demand. Every day, we continue to build our resources for small business owners hunting for that perfect solution.To continue the conversation and stay up to date on the latest Intel Small Business profile, follow us at @EmpowerSmallbiz or use #IntelSmallBiz.
Here are my top 5 highlights of IDF15 that networking enthusiasts can’t miss:1. Intel Network Builders Community (http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/intel-developer-forum-idf/san-francisco/2015/idf-2015-san-francisco-technology-showcase.html): IDF15 marks the second anniversary of the Intel Network Builders ecosystem program (http://networkbuilders.intel.com), which is helping to drive network transformation by building a community of vendors and providers working together towards solutions optimization, integration, and deployment. The Intel Network Builders community at IDF features 24 ecosystem partners demonstrating the next generation SDN/NFV, Mobile Edge Computing, and Carrier Grade technologies and solutions. This is at the top of my list to see in the Technology Showcase because it provides direct access to a diverse set of technical experts and networking demonstrations.2. 5G: Innovation from Client to Cloud Mega Session: This ”Mega Session” features Sandra Rivera, Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager, Network Platforms Group, and Aicha Evans, Corp. Vice President, Platform Engineering Group, and General Manager, Intel Communication and Devices Group. They will take the stage to provide a glimpse into the next-generation networks, devices, and consumer experiences that will define the mobile industry’s “5G era.” I think this is a must see for networking enthusiasts and hope to see you there on Wednesday, August 19, 11:00-12:00. If you can’t make it you can catch my tweets @renunavale!3. Networking Technical Sessions: All of the sessions I’ve chosen below will give you an opportunity to learn from Intel technology experts and discuss some of the hottest technologies impacting software defined infrastructure and data center networking. Use the session titles and session IDs to find more information from the IDF15 webpage: Software Defined infrastructure: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Network Infrastructure Design and Optimization (INFS002)Tech Chat: 100Gb Ethernet Service Function Chaining on the Intel® Open Network Platform (INFC002)Tech Chat: Intel® Open Network Platform Addressing SDN/NFV Industry Needs Through Innovation (INFC001)Programmable, Scalable and High Performance Data Plane for Network Functions Virtualization (INFS010)Optimizing Video Processing and Delivery with Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 Solutions (DCWS003)Hands-on Lab: Data Plane Development Kit 101 – Discover the Performance Secret Sauce (DCWL001 & DCWL001R)Intel® Open Network Platform Solutions for Network Functions Virtualization (INFS003)Implementing Software Defined Infrastructure for Hyper-Scale (INFS001) 4. 4.5/5G Wireless Pavilion and Data Center Community: As mobile continues to evolve beyond 4G to the fifth generation (5G) mobile standard the need for the next generation network evolves with it. The 4.5/5G Wireless Pavilion (Hyperlink text before to http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/intel-developer-forum-idf/san-francisco/2015/idf-2015-san-francisco-intel-pavilions.html) showcases cutting-edge wireless concepts designed to serve as the networking foundation for future mobile applications. I encourage you to come see what is driving the future of mobile networking and get an early glimpse into tomorrow’s mobile experiences. While you are in the area I suggest you visit the data center community which is showcasing the latest Intel technologies and ecosystem solutions that enable more automated, agile, and efficient data center infrastructure, including several networking related demonstrations.5. Data Center Escape Game: For the first time at IDF, the Data Center Group will host a live room-escape experience. While not directly related to networking technologies, this is a fun and competitive game that challenges your puzzle skills! With 30 minutes on the clock, teams of 5 are locked in a simulated control room and must work together to bring the data center back online. The championship will be on the line, and some amazing prizes too! I recommend you reserve your spot in advance at: https://infrastructurebuilders.intel.com/escaperoomOpens in a new window or visit the game in the Data Center and SDI Community.There you go – five networking stops to add to your IDF15 agenda. I look forward to seeing you there. By Renu Navale, Director of Intel Network BuildersIt is an exciting time to work in the networking industry! Networking technology is going through a massive transformation as software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions open the door to new business opportunities. Network infrastructure is also gearing up for 5G, the next wave in mobile connectivity expected to ramp by the end of the decade. With so much innovation on display, the Intel Developer Forum is an excellent place to dig deeper into network transformation and take the pulse of the rapidly changing industry landscape.