Disney Dynasty

I’m beginning to move into the territory in which some of my parenting references are based only on my Brazil experience. Which is ultimately going to contribute heavily to my becoming Brazilian.

Last night we took my daughter to Disney On Ice. I’m not sure how it works in the U.S., but in Sao Paulo the stadium was pouring with people selling stuff, practically the entire time from what I could tell.  Hot dogs, juice, churros… and not just food. Vendors were hocking ridiculously expensive, crappy quality, spinning toys with lights.  Before we even got in the stadium, we were bombarded with guys on the street selling lighted Minnie Mouse ears and booths outside the entrance with, what I can imagine based on my experience thus far with the toy industry in Brazil, items costing in excess of U.S. $100.  So of course, despite the fact that we had pretty good seats, my daughter spent most of the time pouting instead of enjoying because she wanted what she thought was a chocolate covered marshmallow, but turned out to be a chocolate covered strawberry (god forbid she ever eats a strawberry on purpose), and a spinning, lighted toy, which we wouldn’t buy her because we fell for that trick too many times before. It never fails that the overpriced, spinning, lighted toy is completely ignored the minute we return home.

Disney has also cornered the market on birthday parties here in Brazil. In my short experience, nine times out of ten (yes, I have been to enough birthday parties here to collect a statistically relative sample) the birthday theme is a Disney character. And we are not just talking that you are eating birthday cake off a Mickey Mouse plate. Social rooms and infantil buffets are loaded down with Disney trademarked (I assume) collateral. The birthday children must also be dressed in a corresponding Disney costume (see Barbies and Brigadeiro). It’s as if mom and dad get parenting points for every Disney item they put on display in some twisted Sao Paulo social game.

Disney has seen some disappointing numbers from their Walt Disney Pictures arm with non-Disney-character movies such as “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and  “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” But really, what were they thinking? I mean, how greedy can you get? Stick with the cash cow of characters you mostly ripped off from the Brothers Grimm. “Tangled,” a movie based loosely on the story of Rapunzel, grossed three times what “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” made and “Toy Story 3” beat it out SIX time over. Yet, Walt Disney Pictures has “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” on their docket for this year….

If there is that much pressure from the board on Disney to continue to “grow,” for the love of God, open a theme park outside Sao Paulo. With a ticket strategy similar to the U.S. that allows for the middle class to still have access, but lets the rich pay more to get in the front of the line, I assure you, the revenues will know no bounds.

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7 Responses to Disney Dynasty

  1. danielle says:

    Hahaha, wow. Doesn’t it just feel a little bit uncreative? To make everything Disney themed? Like…the kids aren’t getting much out of it beyond the pleasure of recognition. Why not an under the sea theme, and have tactile displays with lifelike sea creatures? A little more work, since you can’t just buy up the Goofy section of the store and splatter his face around the room, but more memorable and enriching, I’d say.

    But who knows? I don’t have kids. I might get busy or impatient and just stick Ariel up everywhere, too.

    • HA. They think they ARE being creative!! Some of these mom are putting weeks of work into making their birthday parties look like Disney stores! But I agree… you could make something really good without the Disney anchor (and I was at one that had a dance theme… oh yeah, and one was a dinosaur theme… ok, those aren’t so creative…).
      FYI – I still can’t seem to comment on your blog via my wordpress identity… weird…

  2. Sarah says:

    Ha, very well put. You’re right – it´s impossible to avoid. Even though I refuse to send a single penny to Disney’s coffers, I came home yesterday to find the walls of my daughter´s room covered in Disney “princesses.” (Couldn’t name them all – I get lost after Ariel – i think The Little Mermaid was the last Disney movie I watched!) Our babysitter/nanny found them for free somewhere and the two of them re-decorated the room! What do you say to an incredibly earnest “Mãe, você gostou?”…”Um, no, I think they’re terrible role models, not to mention totally unoriginal and rather tacky”…? So now I am plotting to make the princesses disappear mysteriously….hahahaha (insert evil laugh here….)

  3. I know! You know what really bugs me about Disney and the princesses… if you go to play any online games on the Disney Princess site, the only game they had for a long time (not sure if it is different now) was a game that had you pick out dresses for their parties. That was it. So basically, if you are a woman, you only worry about party dresses and accessories. I was horrified!

  4. Ray says:

    No wonder Brazil’s trade deficit from China went from something like 3 Billion dollars a year to over 60 Billion dollars a year in just a few years. It must be a bunch of imported cheap crappy Disney toys in the bundle.
    No worries, not all is lost, Brazil has already imposed higher tariffs on imported Chinese Toys, Shoes and a lot of other stuff to try to stop the abuse, they don’t want to see Brazilian factories going down the drain like in the US.
    I just wish the US would do the same to try and bring some factories back, God knows we desperately need the jobs here.

    Ray

  5. Yes! That makes sense! It is all the crappy Disney toys manufactured in China.
    I worry about the U.S. regarding employment as well as its ability to sustain itself as a country. Let’s face it. Political decisions are mostly selfish and short sighted. But I hope that the more aware individuals become, the more power we demand.

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