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April 25, 2012

Disney with a Shot of Starbucks

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wouldn’t you know it? Hours after I returned from a regulatory compliance conference in Orlando, FL, Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, announced a deal to open-up cafes with Disney, the world’s largest theme park company.


I spent much of last week getting the world’s biggest headache while attending portions of a conference which focused on the latest assault of regulatory oversight in the banking and financial services sector of the economy.


In an attempt to regain some semblance of sanity after the conference, I spent a couple of the days at Walt Disney World communing with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy – all the while, searching in vain for a good cup of coffee.


I’ll be happy to write more about the economic compliance conference in a future column – after I feel better. I’m told the twitching will stop soon. However, the trembling and shakes may last, at least until after the Oval Office changes hands.


All of which continues to explain much of the prolonged economic malaise; that is, much of the financial capital in the nation remains in a state of catatonic paralysis in fear for what the government and the teeming horde of regulators will do next.


Suffice it to say that the Obama Administration, much of the leadership of the Democratic Party, and the newly-minted regulatory agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are going to solve all the problems in the financial markets – by essentially shutting down all mortgage lending in the country by way of a bureaucratic “distributed denial-of-service(s) attack” or “DDoS attack.”


For those not familiar with a DDoS, it is a technological term used to describe a malicious attack on a computer network by way of overloading the system with an overwhelming number of requests for services, much of which are impossible to fulfill.


When you read the following explanation provided by CNET, just replace the word ‘server,’ with ‘mortgage lenders,’ and ‘user’ with ‘government.”


“In a denial of service attack, the user sends several authentication requests to the server, filling it up. All requests have false return addresses, so the server can't find the user when it tries to send the authentication approval. The server waits, sometimes more than a minute, before closing the connection. When it does close the connection, the attacker (government) sends a new batch of forged requests, and the process begins again – tying up the service indefinitely.”


The Dodd-Franks Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and especially the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – all compliments of the Democratically-controlled 111th Congress, will essentially tie-up the banking industry indefinitely with layer upon layers of paradoxical and often conflicting regulations, all enforced by a bewildering array of competing government agencies and bureaucracies.


Dodd-Franks is a veritable employment-lollapalooza for government sector workers that will hinder private sector job creation and prolong a high unemployment rate.


Not to be overlooked, says Timothy Carney in a column which appeared in The Washington Examiner on July 24, 2011, “according to a Bloomberg Government Study: 23 of the largest public financial companies in the United States face $22 billion in additional expenses and lost revenue, and likely a good deal more once all the regulations are put in place.”


After several days of this mental mayhem and madness, I sought refuge in Disney’s Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.


According to Rebecca Stropoli, whose column I found when Googled the (working) title of this column, Starbucks “announced on April 23 that it would be moving into its first Mouse House – Disney’s Anaheim CA, Adventure Park – in June, following suit in the five other locations in the months to come…”


Candice Choi noted in an Associated Press article that was widely carried by media outlets: “The other locations will be at the nearby Disneyland Park and at the parks in Orlando, Fla. — Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot…”


Actually for me, I have little criticism of how Disney runs its Orlando theme park, except its coffee. That said, I am always looking for healthier food choices at Walt Disney World and find myself in agreement with Bruce Horowitz of USA Today, who wrote on Monday: “For Disney, which has often been criticized for the limited food and beverage choices at its parks, this is a huge move forward…”


The lack of good coffee at Disney has been a complaint of mine for so long that I gave-up on it ever being solved. Then, it so happened that this trip I stayed in the Disney Swan and Dolphin complex and, lo and behold, it sold Starbucks coffee. This got me wondering why Starbucks, or another quality coffee purveyor, did not team-up with Disney – that has perfected partnering with other companies.


Apparently, according to The Disney Food Blog, I was not the only Disney-groupie to feel this way: “We speculated about a Starbucks-Disney collaboration a few months ago, and it turns out the rumors are true!


“For decades, one of the biggest food-related complaints about Disney parks was the lack of decent coffee (Disney for many years relied on instant NesCafe …). Now that Starbucks is planning to join forces with the Happiest Places on Earth, coffee addicts can finally ditch the jitters.”


Ms. Choi noted that the first café will debut in Disneyland (CA) Adventure at a café “called the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, after the characters in the Three Little Pigs. The Starbucks logo will not be posted outside, although the name will be printed vertically on posts on either side of the entry way.”


The description of the café’s theme and approach sound like fun, but in the end, I really, really, do not care as long as I can finally get a good cup of coffee to go with my conversations with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy.


… I’m just saying. . . . .


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