News Column

Disney removes PUSH the Talking Trash Can amid contract dispute

February 10, 2014

By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel



Feb. 10--Three days after Walt Disney World claimed that PUSH the Talking Trash Can "isn't going anywhere," the giant resort acknowledged Monday that the popular Magic Kingdom animatronic figure had been removed.

Disney said its contract with Real Simple Ideas LLC, the Orlando product-development company that owns PUSH, expired over the weekend and was not renewed.

Disney would not say why the contract lapsed. But Daniel Deutsch, the inventor in PUSH and co-owner of Real Simple Ideas, said he had some concerns about revised intellectual-property rights provisions that Disney had inserted into the proposed contract renewal.

There was "some ambiguity to the verbiage as to what they owned and what I owned," Deutsch said.

Deutsch said he proposed revised terms to Disney today but has yet to get a response from the resort.

"As far as I'm concerned, I would love to have PUSH remain and continue entertaining guests," he said.

Built to look like a simple silver-and-blue trash can, PUSH made surprise appearances each day inside the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom. The robot would wheel around and speak to guests.

Deutsch said Disney paid Real Simple Ideas -- which owns the robot and employed the human operator that accompanied him in Disney's theme park -- to have PUSH perform seven times a day, seven days a week. He declined to say how much Disney paid for the attraction.

PUSH had been a Tomorrowland staple for 19 years, developing a loyal following among the millions of visitors to the Magic Kingdom who stumbled on one of its performances. Rumors began circulating last week that Disney was preparing to remove the attraction, prompting a firestorm of online protests that included a #SavePush Twitter campaign and a Facebook page that had attracted more than 8,000 "likes" by this morning.

On Friday, Disney said there was "nothing to" rumors that PUSH might be removed. On Monday, it said only that there had been "additional communication" since then and that the contract was allowed to lapse over the weekend.

The company would not elaborate.

"While our contract discussions are confidential, there was additional communication since Friday and we were unable to reach agreement to extend the contract," Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.

jrgarcia@tribune.com or 407-420-5414

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Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)


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