Girls can become Disney storybook stars for $150

The latest marketing effort at Disney Springs: You can make your child the star of a storybook, with pictures shot at the entertainment complex’s PhotoPass studio.A 24-page storybook costs $149.95.The storybook is aimed at girls, featuring famous movies...

Girls can become Disney storybook stars for $150

The latest marketing effort at Disney Springs: You can make your child the star of a storybook, with pictures shot at the entertainment complex’s PhotoPass studio.A 24-page storybook costs $149.95.The storybook is aimed at girls, featuring famous movies...

25 February 2017 Saturday 05:52
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Girls can become Disney storybook stars for $150

The latest marketing effort at Disney Springs: You can make your child the star of a storybook, with pictures shot at the entertainment complex’s PhotoPass studio.

A 24-page storybook costs $149.95.

The storybook is aimed at girls, featuring famous movies with Disney princesses including Elsa from “Frozen,” Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” and Snow White. It is only for kids 14 and younger. (Already customers have requested something similar that boys would like.)

Last month, Disney Springs announced a new personal shopping service costing $250 an hour. 

Skyplex adds ride

Skyplex Orlando’s developers released details Thursday about another thrill ride coming to the planned International Drive complex.

Sky Jump joins a lineup of attractions including the Skyscraper roller coaster; SkyFall, a 450-foot drop ride; and SkyLedge, where guests wear a harness and walk around the edge of the complex’s massive tower.

With Sky Jump, guests will free-fall dive about 500 feet from the top of the tower.

Wallack acquired rights for the experience, which also operates at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. The Stratosphere reaches top speeds of 40 mph as guests descend 829 feet. There is a similar attraction at Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand.

The development also includes a proposed zip line, a surf park, retail outlets and a 450-room hotel.

Originally saying that Skyplex would open in 2018, developer Josh Wallack has more recently been giving a 2019 target. Wallack said that’s because of all the complexities of making the complex come together. “Just the facts of being a real estate developer make these projects sometimes go a little bit longer than you want,” he said. 

“People are asking me, `When are you breaking ground?’” he said. “This is not like a taco stand here. It’s so complicated.”

Disney garage moves ahead 

Reedy Creek, the Disney-controlled taxing district, is moving ahead with a third parking garage to serve Disney Springs. This garage will be on the other side of Buena Vista Drive from the complex and its two existing garages.

A $75,985 agreement with HHCP to prepare concepts for the garage was approved Wednesday by Reedy Creek, which also approved a $3.4 million contract with Jr. Davis Construction Co. to construct earthwork and stormwater improvements for the structure.

Disney hadn’t originally planned for the third garage. But planners want to reduce left turns and illegal U-turns drivers are making to park. Those have resulted in minor collisions with Disney buses.

The garage is expected to open in mid-2019. 

Homecomin’ tweaks name

What’s in a name? Over at Disney Springs, one less letter. Art Smith’s Homecoming has dropped the “g” from its name, instead going with the more southern-sounding Homecomin’. 

Spokeswoman Heather McPherson said the shortened moniker, reflected on the restaurant’s website, menus and sign, matches how celebrity chef Art Smith talks. 

“We’re just sort of assessing some things, and he says `Homecomin’,” McPherson said.

SeaWorld to report earnings

SeaWorld Entertainment will report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings Tuesday morning.

The theme-park company on Tuesday announced its 2016 revenue and attendance both declined from the previous year. The company said it pre-announced the information in connection with a potential debt refinancing transaction.

Now, “all the focus should be on expectations for 2017,” Pacific Asset Management analyst Bob Boyd said in an email.

 It appears the company made progress in the fourth quarter, he said.

“Certainly, they’d like to announce that they’ve reached agreements to refinance their bank debt and that is something they should be able to do.  The refinancing is helpful for management, but more important is improving results and their confidence in what they can achieve in 2017.”

Disneyland reports loss 

Hong Kong Disneyland reported an annual loss last week, as attendance and revenue declined.

Attendance fell to 6.1 million from 6.8 million. Revenue declined, and the resort reported a net loss of $22 million for the fiscal year. In fiscal 2015, it had a $19 million loss. 

The company said the loss was because of a softening tourism market and because the previous fiscal year was a week longer.

Caitlin Dineen contributed. spedicini@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5240; Twitter @SandraPedicini

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