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Friday August 29, 2014
No News Updates Today

Thursday August 28, 2014
As Old Entertainment gets Retired New Entertainment Comes to World Showcase at Epcot
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party gets going at Disney World
Top 5 Reasons Not to Miss ‘The Great Irish Hooley’ at Raglan Road
Jingle Cruise Returns to Magic Kingdom this Holiday
New and Returning Frightful Favorites During Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park
Epcot Taught Me to Love International Food
Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park
Disney Faces Even Larger Autism Lawsuit as Plaintiffs Could Nearly Triple

As Old Entertainment gets Retired New Entertainment Comes to World Showcase at Epcot

DisneyParks Blog - Today, we have news about some updates coming to World Showcase at Epcot. One of the best parts of the World Showcase experience is feeling fully immersed in the culture of each country, and the live entertainment presented in the international pavilions plays a large role in creating that atmosphere. Beginning this fall, we will be refreshing the atmosphere entertainment around World Showcase with the addition of new acts and enhancements to some existing performances.

New experiences debuting over the next several months will contribute to the rich mix of entertainment at Epcot, and provide fresh experiences for our guests. In the near future, you can look forward to enjoying a traditional Berber music and dance troupe in Morocco, a corps of dynamic flag-waving performers in Italy, a thrilling lumberjack-inspired show in Canada, a Celtic folk music ensemble at the United Kingdom, and more.

As we embark on this enhancement of World Showcase entertainment, we bid a fond farewell to Mo’Rockin’, Off Kilter, Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps and World Showcase Players. We thank these performers for all they’ve done to make the Epcot guest experience enjoyable and memorable, and we invite you to come out and see them in their farewell performances over the next few weeks.

More details will be shared, as they become available, about the timing of certain transitions, as well as each of the exciting new entertainment additions coming to World Showcase.

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Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party gets going at Disney World 

Orlando Sentinel - Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

WHAT: Disney World starts celebrating the spooky season early with the initial Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Monday. The after-hours, extra-ticket event at the Magic Kingdom theme park stars Disney characters in Halloween gear and special shows. New in 2014 are the "Villains Mix & Mingle – Live on Stage" show near Cinderella Castle and Club Villain, a dance party experience at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon. Returning are Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade (pictured) and the Hallo-Wishes fireworks display. Trick-or-treating is included in the admission price.

WHEN: Sept. 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26 and 28; Oct. 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30. (The Oct. 31 event already is sold out.) The event's operating hours are 7 p.m.-midnight.

WHERE: Magic Kingdom, off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando

COST: $62-$71, depending on date ($57-$66 for ages 3-9)

CALL: 407-824-4321

ONLINE: disneyworld.com/Halloween

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Top 5 Reasons Not to Miss ‘The Great Irish Hooley’ at Raglan Road

DisneyParks Blog - Recently, Pam Brandon shared details about one of my favorite Raglan Road events, The Great Irish Hooley. I like it because it’s authentically Irish – outside of the Emerald Isle, you rarely have the chance to experience this sort of spectacle, unless of course, you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity of the Downtown Disney Area during Labor Day weekend!

Though it was hard to pick my ‘Top 5,’ I think I’ve done it. Below, in no particular order, are the things you just can’t miss:

  1. Scythian – Haven’t heard of this ultra-talented band? One listen, and you’ll never forget them! The group includes a trio of classically trained fiddle players, a jazz percussionist, and an accordion and banjo player. Currently promoting their new album ‘Jump at the Sun,’ they’ll be taking the Raglan Road stage nightly at 9:30pm.

     

  2. ‘A Knights Brunch’ & ‘The Rollicking Raglan Brunch’ – Whether you’re cheering for UCF or Penn State, football fans from far and wide are invited to watch the Croke Park Classic football season opener taking place in Dublin, Ireland on August 30th at 8:30am. (Yes, brunch starts at 8:00am that morning, with Guinness, Bloody Marys and more on the menu! The venue is no longer accepting reservations, but walk-ins are welcome.) On Sunday, you can book Raglan Road’s traditional Irish Brunch offering, starting at 11am.

     

  3. ‘From Our Roots to Riverdance’ – We’re all familiar with ‘Riverdance,’ right? Ronan McCormack, the original choreographer, will trace the origins of Irish dance from early jigs to the modern era in this energetic and entertaining event, taking place daily at 6pm on the outside patio (weather permitting). Bonus: Guest participation is encouraged.

     

  4. Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s Amazing Menu – If you like traditional Irish fare or a more modern twist on Irish cuisine (like me!), you’ll find something special on the menu, created with only the finest ingredients sourced from the best suppliers. The gluten-free fish ‘n’ chips continues to get rave reviews – and they have gluten free onion rings, too. Who knew?

     

  5. The Great Irish Ceili – I’m always awed by the Raglan Road dancers and this event puts the spotlight on their fancy footwork. Guests are invited to take part in the ceili, a traditional form of group folk dancing, on Saturday, Sunday at Monday at 3:00pm.

Farewell, summer. Hello, fall fun, ushered in the way only the Irish can do it! 

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Jingle Cruise Returns to Magic Kingdom this Holiday

Disney News - Jingle Cruise returns once again to Magic Kingdom.

Jingle Cruise is a holiday overlay to the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland which brings Holiday cheer to the queue, and a holiday script for the skippers.

Jingle Cruise starts November 7th 2014 through the holidays in Magic Kingdom.

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New and Returning Frightful Favorites During Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park

DisneyParks Blog - Halloween Time is just around the corner here at the Disneyland Resort, and already our guests have been purchasing tickets for the popular Mickey’s Halloween Party. Don’t have yours yet?

New this year, the stars of “Frozen” – Elsa, Anna and Olaf – will appear in their special pre-parade prior to “Mickey’s Costume Party” cavalcade.

Not to be outdone, the Disney villains have plenty of bad-apple fun planned for “Villains Square.” Throughout the evening, Disney villains such as Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts, Judge Frollo and Lady Tremaine will arrive in Town Square on a black horse-drawn carriage, inviting guests to party like a Villain!

Of course, there’s so much more to enjoy at Mickey’s Halloween Party, including:

  • The opportunity to play in Disneyland park three hours before the party starts
  • Trick or Treating for candy and healthy treats ­in the ultimate Disney neighborhood
  • “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular (presented exclusively for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party, weather permitting)
  • “Monsters U Dance Party” at Tomorrowland Terrace
  • Cadaver Dans, a ghoulish quartet performing Halloween-themed tunes aboard a drifting graveyard-themed raft on the Rivers of America
  • Access to your favorite Disneyland park attractions, including Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

So get your tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party here and join us for all the spooky fun!

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Epcot Taught Me to Love International Food

Slate - I grew up at Disney World. Or, more accurately, I grew up just outside of Orlando—which means going to theme parks fell into a category closer to routine trips to the mall than once in a lifetime family vacations. In any case, I went a lot. And as Florida’s questionable history suggests, regular exposure to parades, polyester-dressed princesses, and price-gauged soft drinks inevitably warps one’s perspective on life. Through the lens of Disney, a child’s expectations tend to veer about a hundred degrees too saccharine. Everything at Disney World is appealingly safe and familiar, with just a hint of whimsy and novelty—especially the food.

And yet it was Disney World—specifically, Epcot—that taught me to love trying new foods.

I learned early on that while Epcot’s rides are nothing to write home about—the stultifying troll ride hasn’t been updated since the eighties—it’s the only place in the park where you can get a Norwegian cream horn. And there’s no reason to stop there. By visiting the eleven countries represented in the World Showcase area of the park—Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada—guests can “taste [their] way around the world.” A spin though France promises custardy, flaky Napoleon. Drop by the United Kingdom, and you can come away with fish and chips wrapped in oil-spotted newspaper. Not all the vendors strive to serve you something new: At the tiny, confused Africa outpost, a smiling man from Nigeria will sell you a hot dog and a chocolate chip cookie.

Apart from Taco Bell, this global tour of gluttony was my first real experience with international food. Instead of the generic chicken fingers and pink-frosted cupcakes I inhaled at Magic Kingdom, at Epcot I savored crępes stuffed with roast chicken and béchamel, cannoli with candied lemon, and sweet potato tempura. These dishes were by no means wholly authentic. (The crępes were not buckwheat. The cannoli cream was chocolate-flavored.) But I liked them. A lot. And they taught me that there were many delicious things in the world to be eaten.
 
Since then, I’ve visited quite a few of the Epcot countries for real, far away from Florida soil. I started by taking baby steps away from American food: There was a family vacation to London when I was in middle school, then a school trip to Paris, which I spent searching unsuccessfully for the ham and cheese croissant that Epcot France had promised me.
 
At first, I had a tendency to subconsciously judge the local food based on what I now like to refer to as the Epcot test: How does it compare to its Disney-fied counterpart, and how well does it meet my Disney-fied expectations? China, as one of my first big destinations, failed miserably. Turns out it’s not all deep-fried eggrolls and fluorescent orange chicken over there. Unprepared, I struggled to choose something that I recognized from Epcot on restaurant menus laden with descriptions of chicken feet and chili beef. Needless to say, I ended up eating a lot of rice.
 
Despite these initial hiccups, the overall lack of authenticity at Epcot didn’t impede my growing appreciation for international cuisines. Travel pushed me to expand my palate. As I let go of my childhood expectations, I learned that taking a risk on something unfamiliar could yield great gustatory reward. Soon, I found new benchmarks, standards, and food memories while devouring the real deal. Veal goulash in Berlin was so rich and syrupy it was more molasses than stew. The asparagus gelato I tracked down in Venice—surprising, cool, refreshing—provided a welcome break from thickly sweet caramels and chocolates. I’ll never forget snacking on fried cheese sandwiched between brioches in Prague. It tasted so familiar, like late nights studying at a college diner with friends, and still so foreign.
 
I recently went back to Epcot for the first time in five years. Lots of adults who’ve traveled internationally might be inclined to criticize Disney for its lack of authenticity, to reject its dishes in favor of “purer” versions of the same thing. But instead, after eating a lot and then eating some more, I realized that Epcot’s lack of authenticity helped develop my curiosity about international food. Epcot gave me a starting place and a point of comparison. For example, their dumbed-down version of tacos, the blandest iteration possible of ground beef and cheddar cheese, made an unfamiliar meal just familiar enough for me to try—a step toward the lamb barbacoa and rajas I love today.
 
In turn, traveling internationally also increased my appreciation for Epcot. Not all of Epcot’s offerings are so basic or predictable: Its Moroccan baklava is an exact copy of the kind I sampled in Turkey (except for the resinous, otherworldly honey that drove me to carry boxes of the real thing home). And its kakigōri with condensed milk could pass for the original Japanese version.

Still, my recent trip to Epcot reminded me of one thing I’ve slowly come to understand since I first chowed down on fried bread in Epcot Canada: that authenticity isn’t required to enjoy a meal. In fact, some things are better when they’re unauthentic—I will always defend the genius of the underappreciated ham and cheese croissant, which Epcot France does very well. From red sauce Italian-American classics to the beloved Chinese-Cuban restaurant by my old apartment, authenticity is irrelevant if the meal is well prepared, hot, and eaten in good company.

I have been lucky to share many wonderful meals under many circumstances in many different countries. But there’s one memory I’m especially fond of: My boyfriend and I are sitting by a lake, dipping warm, salty tortilla chips into fresh guacamole, laughing at the birds staking out our leftovers—at Epcot.

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Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

DisneyParks Blog - Check out the sketch of this year’s gingerbread creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday, the masterful work of a year-long collaboration between Disneyland Resort chefs, the Entertainment team and Walt Disney Imagineering. The masterpiece debuts when Haunted Mansion Holiday opens at Disneyland park on September 12.

“The Ghost Host of Haunted Mansion Holiday always says, ‘even a gingerbread house can be scary,’ and we’ve definitely taken the design towards scary this year,” says Tim Wollweber, Graphic Designer/Sculptor.

This year’s creation is based on an iron maiden torture device from the Middle Ages, says Wollweber. “It was basically a large, coffin-like box with spikes on the inside, and any person forced to stand inside would get uncomfortable very fast.”

Of course, the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house adds a little whimsy with a hapless gingerbread zombie trapped inside – and those frightening spikes are very sharp, red-and-white candy canes. The gingerbread house also will feature opening and closing doors and lights.

The wood foundation is wired, then sent to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply 200 pounds of gingerbread, 200 pounds of royal icing, 150 pounds of fondant, and all sorts of other sticky treats. The gingerbread house stands at almost 7 feet tall.

There’s plenty of time to take it all in – Haunted Mansion Holiday goes through January 6, 2015.

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Disney Faces Even Larger Autism Lawsuit as Plaintiffs Could Nearly Triple

The Wrap - A discrimination suit brought against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is seeking to add even more plaintiffs, nearly tripling in size, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday. Attorneys for the 26 plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleging disabled access issues at the company's various theme parks have asked for an amendment to add an additional 69 plaintiffs.

Of the new potential plaintiffs, 36 are disabled, with the remaining 33 family members. The original suit was filed in April, and accused Walt Disney Parks and Resorts of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act in regards to the then-recently implemented Disability Access Service. That suit included 16 disabled individuals and 10 guardians.

The DAS was implemented as an effort by the company to weed out scammers who were taking advantage of their prior system allowing disabled people to skip waiting in line to experience the rides.

According to the families in the initial suit, the new DAS card was extremely problematic for those with “cognitive impairments” like autism. “For persons with cognitive impairments, the DAS has not only made the Disney Parks experience less than equal, it has made it downright awful,” the new filing states.

According to the amendment, the original suit led to “an outpouring of phone calls and emails from victims and their families, similarly situated to the 26 existing plaintiffs.” The undersigned counsel agreed to represent many of them, leading for the request to expand the number of plaintiffs in the case.

All plaintiffs are being represented by Andy Dogali of Dogali Law Group P.A. and Eugene Feldman, Attorney at Law APC. Legal representatives for Walt Disney in the case did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.

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Wednesday August 27, 2014
Four Things You Need To Know About Disney's Drones
September 2014 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort

Four Things You Need To Know About Disney's Drones

Forbes - In May of this year, prominent drone attorney Brendan Schulman and I appeared on a panel at the Association of Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI) trade show.  AUVSI is the lobbying group for the drone industry, an industry that is begging the FAA to promulgate regulations to govern the use of drones.  On the panel, Brendan and I argued that the FAA’s regulations needed to be carefully crafted, lest they stifle innovation.  A few hours later we were standing in the Harry Potter Diagon Alley exhibit at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida.  For the show, AUVSI rented out the entire exhibit for the exclusive use of trade show attendees.  The sprawling exhibit was a picture perfect scene that made visitors feel as if they were in the town surrounding the Hogwarts Castle.  As we looked at the Hogwarts Castle, I turned to Schulman and said, “You know what’s missing from this?  Flying broomsticks.”  Schulman nodded, “That’s right, they just need drones!”  We both chuckled and I jokingly tweeted ”What Universal needs at Harry Potter park…drones with broomsticks.”

Well, it turns out the joke was actually a pretty good idea.  Disney Enterprises the rival of Universal Studios has filed a patent application for the use of drones.  The company calls their invention an “
aerial display system with marionettes articulated and supported by airborne devices.” Here are four things you should know about Disney’s plans.

Disney’s vision is exciting and the application reinforces the arguments that drone proponents have been making for years — let people innovate and develop new uses for this technology.  The company envisions using drones as part of an aerial display system consisting of multicopters and aerial marionettes or puppets supported by drones.  The system will have a fully integrated ground control station that directs the operation of multiple drones or individually operated drones as part of the display.  Disney says drones can solve a problem with aerial displays which have been “limited in how easy it has been to alter the choreography and to provide a repeatable show.”

What Disney wants to do is teach an aerial display system to control multiple drones that can carry blimp-sized marionettes or puppets.  Many Disney characters fly in their stories, but according to Disney, prior to this proposed invention, “it was typically not technically feasible to create a flying object that mimics the characters due to size, weight, dimensions or other design challenges.”   Disney is innovating, and as I’ve stated in the past, burdensome regulations can prevent companies from doing so.  Here we see Disney’s application demonstrating how allowing companies to create new inventions can allow for previously unimagined uses for drone technology.  The company is gambling with this invention, premising their hopes on the belief that the FAA will allow them to use their new devices.  The question is, will the FAA allow Disney to use the drones once they are created?

If Disney tried to use drones today, the FAA would immediately order them to cease their operations.  That’s because the FAA believes that the commercial use of drones is unlawful (barring some limited exceptions) until such time as the agency promulgates new regulations.  In fact, the FAA claims the authority to regulate flights of unmanned vehicles at any altitude.  That prohibition is wide ranging, and it means that drones flown at any altitude for commercial purposes are prohibited.  Thus, a Tinkerbell sized drone flying around the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland (under 77 feet) would be prohibited by the FAA, as would a flight five feet off the ground.  That may sound ridiculous, but the FAA’s rules are pretty absurd.

Even if the FAA promulgates new regulations, it is not clear that they will allow Disney’s flights.  That’s because many believe that the FAA is planning to issue regulations that privilege certain types of drones and drone manufacturers — specifically those drones that have been previously used by the military or that are produced by major aerospace companies.  If the FAA takes that path, attempting to centrally plan for the types of drones that they determine are best for predetermined uses, the agency may very well foreclose the development of new types of drones for previously unimagined uses.  Drones that may make sense for law enforcement, or military, or agricultural uses may not be the right drones for the aerial displays that Disney or smaller entertainment venues want to conduct.  If the FAA’s regulatory process is captured by large aerospace companies, pushing MILSPEC hardware, innovation may be grounded.

Disney notes that while it is desirable for them to “provide exciting and surprising shows, each large aerial display must also be presented in a safe manner…[some] aerial displays rely on fireworks, which can be dangerous to implement and often provide a different show result with each use.”  Disney’s drones will be designed with safety in mind, which isn’t surprising given the high stakes associated with a mishap at a Disney show.  The patent application details a variety of technologically enabled safety protocols, with human overrides for emergency situations.

Allowing a company like Disney to innovate is exactly what the FAA should be enabling, and in fact empowering.  The company is in a great position to prove that drones can be operated safely, even over spectators.  Disney controls the usable airspace in the immediate reaches above its property (generally understood as below 500 feet).  Given the size of the company’s resorts, they will be able to define safe viewing areas that pose no risk to other aircraft and limited and manageable risks for persons on the ground.   This is a great opportunity for Disney to prove what drones can do; once they’ve created their flying puppets the FAA should encourage not prohibit their use.

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September 2014 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort

DisneyParks Blog - Just wait until you see what merchandise events we have headed your way this September at the Disneyland Resort!

September 6 – 7: Meet artist Gabriela Ruiz (Serpenthes) who will be setting up shop inside WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District for the month of September. Meet Gabriela from 2 – 5 p.m. on September 6, 7, 13, 14, 27 and 28.

September 12: Artist Jerrod Maruyama will appear at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District from 5 – 7 p.m. as we debut his latest piece titled Date Night.

September 13: Join us as we welcome back Miniaturist and Sculptor Bob Olszewski who will be on hand to sign his newest Gallery of Light, featuring Madame Leota. Bob will appear from 9 – 11 a.m. at Disneyana in Disneyland park. Not able to make it to the event? A limited number of pieces will be available to purchase via DisneyParksMerchandise.com. 

September 13: Continuing the celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion comes this new piece, titled Evening Constitutional by artist Tony Harris. Available September 13 at Disneyana in Disneyland park.

September 13: Artists John Coulter, Liana Hee, Noah and Dave Quiggle will take part in an artist signing from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District, as we celebrate the release of some of their latest works.

September 20 – 21: If you have been waiting for just the right time to order one of artist Dave Avanzino’s Custom Letter Plaques, you’re in luck! Dave will be appearing from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., each day at Disneyana inside Disneyland park.

September 27: Join us as we celebrate everything “Maleficent and Other Fairies.” Artists Dave Avanzino, Britni Brault, Bruce Boyer, Bob Elias, Brian Kesinger, Daniel Killen, Bridget McCarty, Miss Mindy, Larry Nikolai and Yakovetic will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 1 – 3 p.m. at Off the Page in Disney California Adventure park.

Artist in Residence: Appearing at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District throughout the month is artist David Lozeau. Look for artist showcases on the following dates: September 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 and 26 from 6-10 p.m.

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Tuesday August 26, 2014
Night of Joy Event Schedule
3 Reasons Disney's Stock Could Fall

Night of Joy Event Schedule

Disney News - Here's the line up for Magic Kingdom's 'Night of Joy' Hard Ticket Event taking place Friday September 5th and Saturday September 6th.

Friday, September 5th

Castle Forecourt Stage

Matthew West - 7:40pm
Chris Tomlin - 9:20pm
Hillsong United - 11:30pm

Galaxy Stage

Building 429 - 7:30pm and 8:50pm
Mandisa - 10:25pm
for KING & COUNTRY - 12:10am

Rockettower Plaza Stage

Matt Maher - 8:05pm
The Neverclaim - 9:40pm

Saturday, September 6th

Castle Forecourt Stage

MercyMe - 7:40pm
Phil Perry - 9:30pm
Casting Crowns - 9:50pm
Skillet - 11:55pm

Galaxy Stage

Colton Dixon - 7:30pm and 8:50pm
Britt Nicole - 10:25pm
Israel Houghton & New Breed - 12:10am

Rockettower Plaza Stage

1 Girl Nation - 8:15pm
We As Human - 9:40pm
Rhett Walker Band - 11:20pm

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3 Reasons Disney's Stock Could Fall

The Motley Fool - Can anything derail Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) stock? Not judging by the recent earnings report or box office tally. Guardians of the Galaxy is on track to end the weekend as the top summer film at U.S. theaters, according to The Hollywood Reporter. These factors and more have pushed Disney stock up over 40% over the past year, to better than $90 a share.

What's going right

There's much to like about Disney's business right now. Existing (e,g., The Avengers) and new (e.g., Frozen) franchises are pushing revenue, profits, and margins at the Consumer Products group to new highs as theme parks get more automated for serving large, deep-pocketed crowds. Companywide operating margin has improved in each of the past four quarters as a result. So have returns on equity and capital. 

3 reasons Disney stock could fall anyway

Impressive as that looks, history is rife with stories of outstanding businesses whose stock prices stalled because of a variety of pitfalls. Disney could suffer the same fate, especially when you consider the following three factors:

1. Valuation. Disney stock now trades for north of $90 a share and 23 times earnings. That's anything but a cheap multiple. Look at Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) , a close peer that trades for 17 times earnings. Disney's comparative outperformance last quarter -- including an 8% revenue boost versus just 3% for Warner -- accounts for some of the premium, but what happens when growth slows? (And it will, because it always does.) There's little room for error at this valuation.

2. Even with Infinity, gaming is still an unknown. Toys-to-life games such as Skylanders and Infinity are hot right now, and that's been a boon for Disney's Interactive division. Group revenue soared 45% in fiscal Q3. Next month, Marvel characters join the Infinity universe, which should produce further growth. And if they don't? There's little else to fall back on. (Remember: in March, Disney cut 25% of staff at the Interactive division.)

3. Ant-Man may disappoint. Edgar Wright stepped away from Ant-Man three months ago after spending eight years working on the project. Fans I've talked with are cautiously optimistic that Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas can pull off another win for Marvel Studios, but a lot depends on how well director Peyton Reed and writer Adam McKay get along. Reed's comments to reporters at last month's Comic-Con appear promising, but a lot could go wrong between now and July 2015, when the movie is scheduled to arrive in U.S. theaters.

Foolish takeaway

Disney has been a holding of mine since early 2010, when the Marvel Entertainment shares I purchased in 2008 converted to Disney stock. My hope is to never sell. Between Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar, and its own internally developed properties, Disney is home to what are arguably the most lucrative franchises in entertainment.

But as an investor, I also can't ignore the risks. The stock isn't cheap at present levels, gaming is a wild card, and creative changes could hurt Ant-Man at the box office. Any of them of could stall momentum and cause Disney stock to fall from recent highs.

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Monday August 25, 2014
Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle
Disney files patent applications to use drones in its theme parks

Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle

DisneyParks Blog - Starting Monday, you can make a reservation for this fun new, must-do last stop of the evening at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Villain’s Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle.

First you enjoy preferred viewing for Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade and the HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular. Then head to Cinderella’s Royal Table for devilish desserts and wicked entertainment in celebration of the villains’ favorite time of year.

Lady Tremaine takes over Cinderella’s Royal Table after everyone has gone to bed, and she’s invited some of the most evil friends and special guests for a decadent dessert party (maybe you’ll see the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil or Dr. Facilier?).

Lady Tremaine will welcome guests, and her personal piano player provides live music. (She’ll sing a few haunting solos while guests enjoy the delicious desserts inspired by the villains.)

Cost is $99 ages 3 and older, plus tax (gratuity included). Admission to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is required – this is a separate ticketed event not included in Magic Kingdom Park admission. Tickets for the soiree are limited and reservations recommended! Call 407-939-5262 – no online reservations.

Your ticket includes:

  • Preferred Viewing for the 8:15 p.m. Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade
    Watch the Headless Horseman lead off the parade on a hair-raising ride, followed by a collection of frightful floats and some of your favorite Disney Characters in Halloween costumes.
  • Preferred Viewing for HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular
    The Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion and some of the most notorious Disney Villains light up the sky to wicked remixes of their favorite songs.
  • Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table
    Lady Tremaine shares her musical talents while you enjoy themed desserts, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, entertainment and visits from some of your favorite Disney villains. Each guest gets an autograph card and souvenir Maleficent dragon cup.

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Disney files patent applications to use drones in its theme parks

Orlando Sentinel - Has Disney decided to go all in with the U.S. military’s anti-terrorism efforts? After all, why else would the company file patents to use drones?

A closer look at Disney’s UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] patent applications reveals language about the company’s plans for “entertainment” and “projections screens” at its theme parks, but surely that is just subterfuge in these dangerous times. Loose lips can sink steamboats, right Willie?



At any rate and according to a report that first surfaced last week on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch blog, Disney has filed a trio of applications involving drones.

One of the applications is for a multi-drone system that would hold aloft a projection screen for a nighttime display. Such a display would utilize what Disney calls “flixels,” which is an Imagineer word creation for “floating pixels,” according to the background information Disney submitted.

In the second patent application, Disney said “the UAVs execute the flight plans to move and to position the flexible projection screens within the display air space,” according to the patent application abstract. These multiple flexible projection screens, Disney says, would have little wind resistance and offer a surface for reflecting light.

With both of these patents, the systems could be used for the drones to carry either screens for displays or lights overhead. Both would be lightweight and flexible enough to move easily and be controlled from the ground. Of course, both easily could be seen as creating a high-tech digital fireworks show overhead that would be safer and more controlled – and which would cost less than the nightly pyrotechnics that go off at the parks now, as well.

The third patent application is as bizarre-sounding as it is futurist in concept. It would use multiple drones attached to balloons or super-large puppets to make them move – and in the case of the puppets, seemingly walk – as the drones control the movements of the characters’ limbs.

Maybe the patents are for peaceful purposes in the theme parks, odd as they might sound and knowing what we do about how drones are often used by U.S. forces overseas. Still, we know that it is possible that Disney could be drawing up plans for an air offense against its enemies. After all, its land forces were announced online yesterday. And the princesses, clearly, are ready for battle.

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Sunday August 24, 2014
No News Updates Today

Saturday August 23, 2014
No News Updates Today

Friday August 22, 2014
No News Updates Today

Thursday August 21, 2014
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Sold Out for October 31st
Behind the Scenes: Planting the Disney Cruise Line Halloween Pumpkin Trees
Disney Unveils New ‘Star Wars’ Game for Mobile Devices
‘Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!’ Street Party Debuts This Fall at Magic Kingdom
Festival of the Masters Update

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Sold Out for October 31st

Disney News - This Years Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Halloween Night, October 31st, has Sold Out, all other dates remain available.

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Behind the Scenes: Planting the Disney Cruise Line Halloween Pumpkin Trees

DisneyParks Blog - We’re nearly two weeks away from the start of this year’s first Halloween on the High Seas cruise! As we prepare for our extra spooky celebration, bringing ghoulishly good fun to all four ships, we’re putting the finishing touches on our new Pumpkin Trees. Check out these behind-the-scenes photos of our team getting the trees ready to plant on the ships …



If you look closely, you may even see some of the décor for our Very Merrytime Cruises. And you thought you needed a lot of space to store your holiday decorations!

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Disney Unveils New ‘Star Wars’ Game for Mobile Devices

The New York Times - Disney’s 20-month effort to integrate “Star Wars” into its Magic Kingdom appears to be hitting light speed.

Disney Interactive on Thursday announced Star Wars: Commander, a free-to-play game for mobile devices. The Disney Channel on Tuesday said it would unveil a new animated movie, “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion,” on Oct. 3. Disney XD, a separate channel, will roll out the related “Star Wars Rebels” series on Oct. 13.

Construction plans are progressing at multiple Disney theme parks for “Star Wars"-themed “lands.” (The model is Cars Land, a successful two-year-old addition to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.) Disney Stores recently added “Star Wars” merchandise to shelves for the first time; new non-toy products – in particular “Star Wars"-licensed food – begin to reach retail aisles starting this week.

The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm, the boutique “Star Wars” studio, for $4.05 billion in October 2012. As the two-year anniversary of the acquisition approaches, Disney executives are eager to show integration results. The promise of “Star Wars” – once plugged into Disney’s vaunted franchise management system – is one reason Disney’s stock price has climbed 18 percent this year, to about $90.

Disney is also facing pressure from Lucasfilm fans, some of whom have been increasingly impatient about the arrival of fresh “Star Wars” content. The last theatrically released film, “Revenge of the Sith,” came in 2005. The last new television show, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” arrived in 2008.

“The natives are getting very restless,” said Brander Roullett, 44, a longtime “Star Wars” devotee, in an interview last month at the Comic-Con International fan convention in San Diego. “What’s taking so long?”

Because of Disney’s intricate cross-departmental approach to mining entertainment brands, integration efforts tend to move gradually – at least from the outside looking in. It took Disney more than two years to demonstrate significant synergies with Marvel Entertainment, which was acquired in 2009 for $4 billion.

With Lucasfilm, Disney’s first priority was setting up a new big-budget “Star Wars” movie. Production on “Star Wars: Episode 7” is now underway, with a release scheduled for December 2015. “The footage we have seen so far is spectacular, certainly worthy of the fan frenzy and excitement this movie is generating around the world,” Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, told analysts this month.

The new video game announced on Thursday is particularly notable. Disney Interactive – home to gaming, Disney.com and, as of last month, StarWars.com – has struggled with layoffs and retrenchments, not to mention financial losses. With the release last year of Disney Infinity, a video game and action figure initiative, the division has finally strung together four profitable quarters in a row, but the hope is that Lucasfilm properties will bolster operations even further.

(Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes arrives in stores on Sept. 23. A “Star Wars” version is expected late next year.)

Developed internally, Commander is a free-to-play combat strategy game aimed at what the entertainment industry calls “mid-core” players – people interested in a more in-depth experience than offered by a Candy Crush Saga but less time-consuming and expensive than a Call of Duty. Commander, initially available exclusively on Apple devices, features an array of classic “Star Wars” vehicles and characters, from Chewbacca to TIE Fighters.

“We’re being very careful about where we choose to invest our resources,” said James A. Pitaro, Disney Interactive’s president, “and ‘Star Wars’ is a huge priority.”

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‘Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!’ Street Party Debuts This Fall at Magic Kingdom

DisneyParks Blog - The “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party has been a guest favorite at Magic Kingdom Park since its debut in 2009. This fall, we’re kicking things up a notch with new music, new characters, and a new way for you to be part of the show!

We’re even giving this party procession a new name – “Move it! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party. The fun begins on Main Street, U.S.A., as a high-energy party anthem heralds the arrival of favorite Disney characters – including new additions Stitch and Phineas & Ferb – who parade toward Cinderella Castle as the emcee, stilt walkers, and the rest of our party peeps encourage everyone to join in.

Things heat up in the Central Plaza when hosts Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy appear atop giant gift boxes, leading everyone in a medley of remixed classic party songs. Once you’ve moved it, shaken it, and danced it, it’s time to help decide what comes next, as you vote for one of three current hits during the “Play It!” part of the show. You never know which way it might go!

The “Move it! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party will be presented several times daily, starting this fall. In the meantime, you can still enjoy the “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party each day at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Festival of the Masters Update

DisneyParks Blog - If you’ve been to Downtown Disney lately, you know changes are coming. The area is undergoing the largest expansion in its history. As we prepare for Disney Springs, much of the area that traditionally houses the Festival of the Masters is unavailable due to expansion work and unfortunately we will not be able to host the event.

We appreciate the enthusiastic support we’ve received from the arts community, both locally and nationally, which has contributed to the long-running success of the Festival. Walt Disney World Resort is a strong supporter of the arts and we remain committed to nurturing the arts.

We ask for your patience and understanding during this time of growth and look forward to building new memories with you at Disney Springs.

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Wednesday August 20, 2014
Everything You Need to Know to Attend Villains Unleashed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Welcome a Sumatran Tiger to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
A Beautiful Day to Debut a New Bridge and Boat Dock at Downtown Disney

Everything You Need to Know to Attend Villains Unleashed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

DisneyParks Blog - More than 50 Disney villains are set to rule Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23, as a part of the new Villains Unleashed event.

Villains Unleashed, which is a one-night event that requires a separate party ticket, will feature appearances by rare villains, meet-and-greet opportunities, an Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show, “Villainy in the Sky” Fireworks and much more.

The park will be buzzing with activity and fun that night. Here are some tips on how to make the most of it!

  • Parking – Guests arriving by car for Villains Unleashed should come through the Main Auto Plaza, the south entrance located off US-192 and World Drive. The satellite entrance (across from the Hess station) will be closed for this event.

     

  • Arrive Early – The party starts at 8 p.m., but guests with an event ticket can enter the park as early as 5 p.m.

     

  • Event Guide – Pick up an Event Guide for show times and details on which characters can be found in different areas.
     

     

  • Kick Off The Party At Hades Hangout – The fun begins at 8 p.m. at Hades Hangout as he summons the villains for the night’s festivities.

     

  • Meet Characters – Villains available for character greetings will have established queues with posted appearance times. There will be separate queues for each villain, so you can be sure of meeting the one you want.

     

  • Fantasmic! – Arrive early so you don’t miss the pre-show with the Night Crawlers (starts at 9:35 p.m.).

     

  • Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – Four showings during the night at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. (Some content may be too intense for young children.)

     

  • See Special Fireworks – “Villainy in the Sky” starts at 12:45 a.m. Excellent viewing is available in front of the Sorcerer Hat, and all along Hollywood Blvd.

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Welcome a Sumatran Tiger to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

DisneyParks Blog - Sohni is a name of Hindi origin which means beautiful. This is certainly a fitting name for the newest tiger that can be seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a self-guided walking tour set in the land of Asia.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is home to many different species including komodo dragons, birds, bats and hoof-stock. Until very recently only one species of tiger could be found on this trail, but with Sohni’s arrival comes increased diversity in the form of a Sumatran tiger, a species that is only found in the wild on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. To help you identify the difference, remember that Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies. Females weigh between 165 – 242 lbs. and males weigh between 220 – 310 lbs.

Human population growth has dramatically reduced the tigers’ natural habitat. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and it is estimated that there are fewer than 500 individuals left in the wild. You can help protect tigers and many other species by supporting conservation organizations through contributions or volunteering.
You can learn more about tigers including Sohni on your next visit, but until then here are a few tiger fun facts:

  • Tigers mark their territory with visual signals, such as scratches on a tree or on the ground, and chemical signals, such a spraying a tree with urine and scent gland secretions.
  • Tigers can be extremely swift for short distances, running 30 to 35 mph, and can leap impressive distances averaging 13 feet.
  • Tigers seem to enjoy water and can swim well. They use rivers and lakes to seek relief from the heat and to catch fish.
  • Tigers are carnivores and are the top predators in their ecosystem. A male tiger in the wild requires nearly 3 tons of food per year.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) supports local and global nonprofit organizations that address the planet’s most urgent conservation issues including tigers around the world. In spring 2013, the DWCF supported an emergency request to assist the rehabilitation of orphaned tiger cubs in Russia. For more information and an update on the tigers supported in this project, check out the video on IFAW’s website.

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A Beautiful Day to Debut a New Bridge and Boat Dock at Downtown Disney

DisneyParks Blog - Ninety degrees, clear blue skies and the sort of fluffy white clouds you see in magazine advertisements – it was a perfect morning to officially open the new Marketplace Boat Dock and Saratoga Bridge at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Earlier today, I joined Vice President of Downtown Disney, Keith Bradford, along with cast members and guests who had gathered to celebrate the milestone- one of many that will ultimately take place as the property undergoes the largest expansion in its history, as it transforms to Disney Springs.



The newly-opened bridge offers a pedestrian-friendly connection between Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and more than 70 shopping, dining and entertainment offerings available at Downtown Disney. In addition, the Marketplace Boat Dock, now conveniently located near the Marketplace Bus Loop, provides easy access to the West Side and Pleasure Island. Guests aboard the complimentary water taxi may even learn more about what’s on the horizon (literally!) as they travel from district-to-district.

One of my favorite views of Downtown Disney is from this new vantage point; with a view of the entire complex, it’s a great reminder of how much there is to see and do (which, I’ll admit, I sometimes take for granted, since I’m here every day)!



Want to experience it for yourself? The Marketplace Boat Dock operates daily starting at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting.

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Tuesday August 19, 2014
Imagineers Unveil the Storyline of Disney Springs
Disney World sponsoring college cheer, dance contest for College Football Playoff
Disney’s Marketing Force is with ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Oct. 13 Launch
Elsa & Anna’s Boutique and More Thrilling Transformations Coming to the Disneyland Resort

Imagineers Unveil the Storyline of Disney Springs

DisneyParks Blog - How does Walt Disney Imagineering re-imagine an area of Walt Disney World Resort that guests have enjoyed for more than 40 years?

That’s the creative challenge our Imagineering team, including Executive Creative Director Theron Skees, has been tasked with – to transform the area currently known as Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a destination that’s being expanded to include more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. From an Imagineering perspective, this means developing a storyline and creating a sense of time and place that influences everything from the architecture to the costumes.

We were also excited to share that our Imagineers will continue to share updates here in our “All in the Details” series in the coming months as their work progresses. Here’s the first piece, in which Theron introduces the Disney Springs project and Imagineering’s role in it.

The first “neighborhood” in Disney Springs – the opening of The Landing – is set for 2015. Construction on Disney Springs will continue into 2016, so be sure to stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes looks at the progress happening as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs.

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Disney World sponsoring college cheer, dance contest for College Football Playoff

Orlando Sentinel - The inaugural College Football Playoff in January will bring change to the highest level of college football.

To celebrate this change, Disney Parks has teamed up with ESPN and Varsity Spirit to create the "Cheer On Your Disney Side" contest.

The promotion invites college cheer and dance teams to create a 30-second Disney Parks-inspired routine set to remixes of music from classic Walt Disney World attractions, including It's a Small World, Enchanted Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. 

The winning cheer or dance team will win a $100,000 grant for their college spirit program.

According to the official rules, routines must show "how you feel when you visit on of the [Disney] Parks."

The judging will be based on creativity and school spirit. It is not meant to be a skill-based competition. 

The top four teams will be announced Dec. 11 during a live broadcast of an ESPN college football special at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. The announcement will follow the College Football Awards Show, held annually at Walt Disney World. 

The winner will be announced Jan. 12, the day of the College Football Championship. 

Teams can register and submit their routines from Sept. 3 to Nov. 10 by visiting ESPN.com/CheerMagic. 

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Disney’s Marketing Force is with ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Oct. 13 Launch

Variety - The marketing force is strong with “Star Wars Rebels.”

Disney will promote the Oct. 13 launch of the new animated series on Disney XD starting Sept. 29 with a one-hour film “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion,” available first for users of the Watch Disney XD app.

The animated film will then premiere on Disney Channel on Oct. 3 and Disney XD on Oct. 6 before the premiere of the “Star Wars Rebels” series on Oct. 13 on Disney XD.

Disney is giving the show a major push across its channels around the world, making it available in 34 languages in 163 countries.

The move to offer up the “Rebels” movie first on digital devices — tablets, smartphones, computers and set-top boxes – is an interesting one, however — one that borrows from the trend by studios to release homevideo titles two weeks earlier before their discs hit traditional retail shelves through Digital HD.

Doing so will give Disney several more weeks to eventize the launch of its new “Rebels” series by building buzz on social media as viewers react to the film and carry the digital word-of-mouth on through the more traditional release strategy on its cable networks.

Either way, Disney is providing a glimpse of how it plans to promote its upcoming “Star Wars” movies, beginning with next year’s “Star Wars: Episode VII.” “Star Wars Rebels” marks the first major launch of a “Star Wars” project since Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012.

Naturally, Disney will also make the “Rebels” movie available for purchase, starting Oct. 4 on Apple iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Google Play, before selling it on DVD on Oct. 14. The DVD will include the movie, a free Ghost 3D model ship, four “Star Wars Rebels” shorts, and additional content that takes viewers deeper into “Rebels.”

The “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” film was shown at San Diego Comic-Con, introducing the look of the “Rebels” series to fans for the first time and the crew of the starship Ghost — cowboy Jedi Kanan, ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the “muscle” Zeb, warrior firebrand Sabine, and cantankerous droid Chopper — as they rebel against the Empire and confront new villains.

“Rebels” takes place five years prior to the 1977 “Star Wars,” when the Jedi are in hiding. The series’ designs are influenced by the work of original “Star Wars” concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.

Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) created the series with Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”), and Carrie Beck, producing it with Lucasfilm Animation.

Filoni and Kinberg also serve as executive producers, with Greg Weisman (“Gargoyles”).

Freddie Prinze Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, Taylor Gray, David Oyelowo, and Jason Isaacs voice the characters.

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Elsa & Anna’s Boutique and More Thrilling Transformations Coming to the Disneyland Resort

DisneyParks Blog - Like Olaf, I’m a big fan of summer. However, like you, I also enjoy experiencing “Frozen” fun all year long. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the introduction of the newest location to the Downtown Disney District, Elsa & Anna’s Boutique. Currently home to Studio Disney 365, this location will undergo a transformation starting August 25, and will re-open in mid-September. I’ll be back soon with details on the new transformations, inspired by beloved characters like Anna, Elsa and Olaf, as well as details on some of the product offerings that will be available. In the meantime, here’s a look at the art for the logo that will grace this “cool” new location.

Here are a few other things to prepare your crew for if you are planning to visit the Disneyland Resort this Halloween. Set sail in the direction of Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree from September 12 through October 31! Here, a world of themed offerings await you, including special Halloween entertainment and activities, pumpkin carvers, yummy treats and the return of The Pirates League. Recruits three and older can chart their own course, choosing from a selection of pirate-inspired looks that are both swashbuckling and spooky.

Now, Halloween Time wouldn’t be same without a little help from our Fairy Godmother, or in our case our Fairy Godmothers-in-Training at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Keeping with their simply sweet tradition, we welcome back the Halloween Minnie Mouse-inspired transformation through October 31. Just a quick reminder, transformations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland at Disneyland park are only for our younger fans, ages 3 – 12 years. Quick Tip: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will offer extended operating hours on Mickey’s Halloween Party nights for any Trick-or-Treaters in need of a royal transformation.

So if you are planning a visit to the Disneyland Resort to take part in some of these festive Halloween Time experiences through October 31, or if you can’t wait to check out the newly-transformed Elsa & Anna’s Boutique and take part in new experiences they will have to offer, call 714-781-STYLE (7895).

For those of you planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort this Fall, be sure to make your appointments for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Magic Kingdom park or World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace, as Halloween packages will go fast. If you ‘arrgh’ hoping to take part in The Pirates League at Magic Kingdom park, chart your course now. Call 407-WDW-STYLE (7895) today!

Reminder: Separate theme park admission is required for transformations venues located inside Disney Theme Parks.

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Monday August 18, 2014

 
Forbes - Disney announced a Disney Infinity 2.0 Toy Box Combo starter pack, including Merida and Stitch characters and two mini-adventures. This offers younger players an alternative to The Avengers Starter Pack launching in September.
 
The pack focuses on the Toy Box mode and will enable players to create their own games with Merida and Stitch alongside other Disney and Marvel characters (it’s compatible with all the characters from the original Disney Infinity game). It’s also grants access to any Marvel characters and play-sets too if they are purchased.
 
John Blackburn, General Manager of Avalanche Software, said of the new pack “Disney Infinity fans spend the majority of their time inside the Toy Box mode, and with our new Toy Box Starter Pack, we’re giving Disney fans an alternative entry point to the Disney Infinity sequel. We’ve completely re-tooled the Toy Box for this year’s version of Disney Infinity, and we want every Disney fan to experience it using their favorite Disney or Marvel characters.”


 
The Disney Infinity 2.0 Toy Box Combo Pack includes:
  • The Disney Infinity 2.0 Video Game Software
  • Disney Infinity 2.0 base
  • 2 Disney Originals Figures (Merida and Stitch)
  • 2 Disney Originals “Toy Box Game Discs” – Stitch’s Tropical Rescue and Brave Forest Siege
  • 1 Web code card
  • 1 poster
     

 
Disney Infinity 2.0 Toy Box Bundle
 
Currently there is no firm word on an upgrade for existing owners of Disney Infinity, although this is understood to be in the works. In the meantime the Marvel and Disney Starter Packs grant full access to all the 2.0 content — although they will duplicate the Infinity Base peripheral for existing players.
 
I spoke to Ryan Rothenberger, Senior Producer on Disney Infinity and he explained how the digital upgrade path worked for existing players. “[Digital Upgrade] won’t exist at launch but that is something that we will most likely  roll out before the holiday.”
 
Getting this message clear for parents will be important to enable families to choose the right upgrade. Some will not want to wait for the digital option, but this looks like it will be the most cost effective if you already have the Infinity Base.
 
Another consideration is whether to buy the Marvel or Toy Box Combo starter packs. This may come down to the age of children in your household. The Marvel game will suite an older demographic while the Toy Box pack contains more classic characters.
 
Finally, eagle eyed fans will have spotted the image of Beymax and Hiro characters on the packaging. These are characters from the upcoming Big Hero 6 film. Their presence is something of a double edge sword, it’s nice to have them confirmed but they now seem unlikely to get their own Play Set adventure.
 
Disney Infinity 2.0 Toy Box Combo Pack will be released on 7th November.

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New Capt. Cook’s Debuts at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

DisneyParks Blog - In true Disney fashion, look for a big wow at the new Capt. Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – the menu makeover brings island-style cuisine to the popular quick-service spot that’s open around the clock.

Start with the classic lobster roll served on a buttered bun. They’ve added blackened fish tacos, a noodle bowl (beef or shrimp) and delectable coconut curry meatballs. A new gourmet hot dog is slathered with garlic ketchup and mango relish. And our favorite – crispy fried chicken and waffles, a hearty breakfast favorite that stays on the menu all day.
 

 
No worries, the favorite hot beef ‘n blue sandwich stays, says Chef Pete Bruenen. Ditto for the pizzas, grilled chicken sandwich and house-made sushi, delivered from Kona Island upstairs. The grab ‘n go case stays filled with drinks, salads, sandwiches and the popular cold noodle salad and turkey club, says Chef Pete.
 
Fans of the breakfast Tonga Toast will still find it on the menu, along with a new breakfast burrito with egg, bacon, potatoes and Cheddar cheese.
 
Bridget Sherren, operations manager for Food & Beverage at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, shared a little news about Pineapple Lanai, opening the end of August. “Dole Whip gets its own dedicated spot,” she says, a new window in the courtyard for Dole Whip soft serve and floats (pineapple or vanilla Dole Whip). “It’s a great spot for families,” says Bridget.
 
Another new treat is Hawaiian shaved ice at Kona Island on the resort’s second floor. Located just off the monorail, Kona Island serves specialty coffee and pastries all day, and now shaved ice joins the lineup, along with takeout sushi. Hours are 6:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m.
 
And watch for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to open in spring 2015 next door to Captain Cook’s. Details soon!

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THR - Disney is eyeing a production date of early 2015 for its long-in-development retelling of Jules Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, with the studio asking the Australian government to increase its incentives to secure what is being mooted as the biggest budget feature to shoot in Australia.

Disney had an agreement with the then Labor government announced by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard nearly 18 months ago under which it would have received a $21.6 million location incentive to shoot the big budget feature down under. That was just under a $25 million grant that 20th Century Fox received to make The Wolverine here in 2012.  That film, according to politicians, created over 1,750 jobs, used more than 1,000 Australian companies and generated $80 million of investment across the country. It had the effect of raising the Locations Incentive to around 30 percent. 

But a change in government last in September appears to have led to doubts that the new conservative government would honor the previous government’s commitment to Disney.

Now its emerged that Disney has asked for that $21.6 million to be increased to 30 percent of the films budget, and union the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has backed Disney’s call for the the government to increase the incentive.  MEAA said it is currently negotiating a labor agreement with Disney for wages and conditions for crew who will work on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea in early 2015.

In a statement MEAA said it “understands the Federal Government has agreed to allow the additional funding incentive originally reserved for 20,000 Leagues to be reallocated to this new production, however the studio has asked for a funding top-up to 30% of the budget”.

In an open letter to federal arts Minister George Brandis, MEAA director Malcom Tulloch  said the union support Disney’s request and pressed the case for a permanent increase to the location offset. The current location offset is set at 16.5% but the previous government had offered several films a higher incentive on a case by case basis.

“As you would be aware the Location Offset plays an integral part in securing international feature films in a very competitive global market …. However the strong Australian dollar and increased competition between international jurisdictions has led to some of the lowest of offshore production on record. This is of serious concern,” Tulloch’s letter said.

“MEAA is aware that there have been a significant number of productions that have applied for a one off increase to the Location Offset to make productions viable. None of these productions have however come to fruition. As a result of uncertainty in this area Australia is now being overlooked by international feature film producers,” the letter continues.

“We would encourage the Federal Government and your department to work constructively with the film’s producers to ensure that this production is filmed in Australia. We would also encourage the Federal Government to consider increasing the Location Offset to 30% permanently and thus support in the long term the feature film Industry in this country,” Tulloch said.

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Orlando Sentinel - Disney World will close its American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park earlier than previously announced. The last day for the attraction, based on Fox's television singing competition, will be Aug. 30.
 
In June, Disney said the curtain would drop on the theme park show sometime in January 2015. The changes are part of the continuous review of the company's entertainment options, a Disney World spokesman said Friday.
 
Disney is not ready to announce plans for the idle Idol space, he said. 
 
The attraction opened in 2009 to much hoopla. A blue-carpet event that included TV host Ryan Seacrest and a sea of "American Idol" winners and other contestants attendants. For the first time, all "Idol" champions appeared on the same stage at the same time. On hand were Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and David Cook.
 
Later, "American Idol" champs were prone to saying the trademark "I'm going to Disney World" during their victory celebration.
American Idol Experience features theme-park guests as contestants. Winners of each show during the day return for a grand finale around park closing time. The champion of that round, determined by audience vote, receives a "dream ticket" that gives the winner front-of-line access for auditions to the "American Idol" TV show.
 
The Hollywood Studios show includes a host and three judges that give feedback to the contestants. Singers choose from a list of prerecorded musical selections. 
 
Previous tenants of that building include "Doug Live!" and "Superstar Television."
 
Disney recently announced that its summerlong celebration of animated hit "Frozen" will continue at Disney's Hollywood Studios through Sept. 28. The event includes mass singalongs, a royal processional, ice skating and, on select evening, specialized fireworks.

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Disney Heats Up at Walmart After Being Shut Out at Amazon

24/7 Wall Street - About a week ago Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) removed the pre-ordering option for several DVD releases of popular movies from Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS). The dispute between the two companies over pricing is not Amazon’s first go at trying to force its proposed payment schedule on content producers. But the online retailer may have picked the wrong target.
This past Friday Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) began promoting pre-orders for the same films that Amazon has shunned. The titles include “Muppets: Most Wanted,” which was released to video on August 12; “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” due September 9; “Million Dollar Arm,” due October 7; and “Maleficent,” due November 4. “Muppets: Most Wanted” is available at the Walmart website at a 50% discount to the list price of $29.99.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Maleficent” can be pre-ordered at the same price discount, while “Million Dollar Arm” is discounted 14% to $18.96 from its $21.99 list price.

The Muppet movie, which was released by Disney last week, is available at Amazon, but the others carry the notice, “Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.” A subtitled version of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is available from Amazon sellers, but not from Amazon itself.

A Walmart spokesman told Bloomberg that pre-orders for “Captain America” are up by 90% and the other titles are up 40%.

Amazon has not cornered the video distribution business the way it appears to have muscled into the book business. And there is really no moat deep enough or wide enough that Amazon can build to keep Disney from distributing its films. Amazon may have picked a fight it can’t win this time.

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Disney News - 'Villains Unleashed' is just a few days away, on August 23 2014 to be exact, so more details about timings and schedules have been released for the event.
By the way, Tickets are still available for the event. The schedule information is subject to change, so make sure to check a times guide at the park for any changes.

Hours

Villains Unleashed begins at 8pm, with event tickets allowing entry from 5pm. If you are already in the park, you can obtain event passes at the Epic Theater and Soundstage One.

Parking

  • From 3pm, the secondary entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios will be closed. After 3pm the only entry will be via the main entrance on World Drive.

Entertainment

  • Hades Hangout - Sorcerer Hat Stage
    8pm to 1am
  • Event Start - Sorcerer Hat Stage
    8pm
  • Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show - Theater of the Stars
    8:30pm, 9:30pm, 10:30pm and 11:30pm
  • "Guardians of the Galaxy" Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party - Stage 5 Animation Courtyard
    8pm to 12:45am
  • Fantasmic! with special pre-show - 10pm show time, pre show starts at 9:35pm.
  • Villainy in the Sky Fireworks - 12:45am

Meet and Greets

  • Darth Maul - Star Tours area
  • Boba Fett - Near Backlot Express
  • Darth Vader - Star Tours event stage area
  • Stormtroopers - Star Tours area
  • Emperor Palpatine and Royal Guards - Outside SciFi Drive In
  • Cruella de Vil - Streets of America
  • Dr Facilier - Streets of America
  • Jafar - Streets of America
  • Bowler Hat Guy - Streets of America 
  • Constatine - Near MuppetVision
  • Shan Yu - Streets of America
  • The Queen - Streets of America
  • Captain Gantu - Streets of America
  • Dr Hamsterviel - Streets of America
  • Barbossa (until 11:30pm) - Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
  • Maleficient (until 11:30pm - Animation Courtyard
  • The Witch - Sunset Blvd

Characters through out the Park

From 8:30pm to 1am

Hades Hangout

  • Captain Hook
  • Mr Smee
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Big Bad Wolf
  • Goevernor Ratcliffe

Streets of America

  • Gaston
  • Judge Claude Frollo
  • Lady Tremaine
  • Anastasia
  • Drizella
  • Prince John
  • Sherrif of Nottingham
  • J Worthington Foulfellow
  • Gideon
  • Stromboli

Star Tours area

  • Stormtroopers
  • Zam Wesell
  • Aurra Sing
  • Tusken Raiders
  • Asajj Ventress
  • Jawas
  • Jango Fett
  • Greedo
  • Gamorrean Guard

Epic Stunt Theater area

  • Shenzi
  • Banzai
  • Ed
  • Br'er Fox
  • Br'er Bear

Attractions

  • The Great Movie Ride - Until 11:15pm
  • Star Tours
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Tower of Terror
  • Rock n RollerCoaster
  • Toy Story Mania - Until 11:30pm

Food and Drink

  • Club Evil - Hollywood Brown Derby

Merchandise

  • Studio Prop Shop opposite Honey I shrunk the Audience Playground and throughout the park

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Bam Smack Pow - That didn’t take long. Last week, we joined in the speculation that Disney might use the Guardians of the Galaxy characters at Walt Disney World, because the contract that binds most Marvel characters to Universal Studios in Florida apparently doesn’t apply to any heroes and villains who haven’t appeared on Universal property to date. With the Guardians continuing to rack up fans and box office revenue, it only made sense that Disney would use them sooner or later.

Sooner it is. According to top Disney blog Inside the Magic, Star-Lord and Gamora will be appearing a week from today at a special after-hours event called Villains Unleashed. The event features over 50 Disney (and Star Wars) villains in a night of food and drink, fireworks and entertainment, now bolstered by the addition of the Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party. Disney’s official announcement doesn’t reveal much except that there will be a DJ and other surprises, but warns people that they never know when the Guardians might crash the party to retrieve the cassette.

It looks like Disney is dipping its toes into the water to see what will happen here. The big question is whether or not Gamora will try living up to the legend of Footloose and succumb to Star-Lord’s “pelvic sorcery,” or whether she’ll maintain her strict non-dancing stance. 

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Meet Moana, the new Disney Polynesian princess

SheKnows - Forget the Nordic princesses of Frozen. Moana hails from Polynesia and is all set for a tropical ocean adventure in 2018.

Prepare to go about 2,000 years back in time — way before Europeans like the British navigator Captain James Cook set sail in the South Pacific, looking for new land.

In the upcoming computer-animated film Moana, we'll meet a fiercely brave princess who's able to navigate the ocean by herself. Disney describes the movie as a "mythic adventure set across a series of islands set across the South Pacific."

Moana is the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators and will set off on a marine adventure, calling on the help of demigods and spirits from traditional Polynesian culture.

Though we don't know which mystical deities Moana will summon, some possibilities are Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, her older sister Namaka, the water spirit, and the fire god Lono-makua.

For supporting characters, there's a whole ocean of possibilities. Moana may befriend an orca or another type of dolphin. We'd like to see a singing octopus or even a dancing sea horse. We're betting that at some point, Moana will have a shark encounter, creating high-stakes drama for the young princess. It's possible that Disney could go against stereotype and create a shark character that's not vicious, but rather some type of ally for the princess.

Weather could also play a role in Moana's tale. She could possibly face a tsunami or typhoon; however, it's unlikely she'll face a sharknado.

As for actresses to voice Moana, no one's been cast yet, but we'd like to see Q'orianka Kilcher (The New World), Selena Gomez, or even the hilarious Mindy Kaling.

One thing we can be sure of: Disney will no doubt use Moana to promote its Hawaiian resort Aulani, located in Ko Olina, Hawaii.

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Sunday August 17, 2014
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