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Thursday July 30, 2015
Disney Merges Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive
Live Entertainment Takes the Stage at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort
Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Introduces New Ways to Turbo Charge Your Disney-Pixar Cars Collection
New Look and Products Found in Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Frozen fans all warm at Disney's Hollywood Studio

Disney Merges Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive

Market Realist - On June 29, 2015, The Walt Disney Company (DIS) announced it will merge two of its stand-alone segments into one. Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive will become Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. Disney will report financial results for the newly combined segment in fiscal 2016, which begins in late September.

Disney Consumer Products generates revenue through licensing deals with third parties for its popular characters. Third parties are allowed to use the characters for merchandise, children’s books, magazines, and comic books. The products are sold as retail merchandise through stores and online shopping sites.

Disney Interactive develops and sells multi-platform games, subscriptions to online and mobile games, licensing content for Disney-branded mobile phones in Japan (EWJ), and online advertising and sponsorships.

As you can see in the above graph, Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive together made up ~11% of Disney’s total revenues of $25.8 billion in 1H15. The two segments together had revenues of ~$2.9 billion in the first half of fiscal 2015.

Overlapping segments

There’s a growing overlap between Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive. Disney Consumer Products is increasingly developing toys that embrace digital technology. This includes application-based storybooks such as Star Wars Journeys and mobile learning apps (applications) like Imagicademy and Playmation that use wireless systems and motion sensors. They will be unveiled later this year.

Disney Interactive, which had been battling losses, turned profitable in the last fiscal year due to a good response to its console game Disney Infinity, a game that leverages the company’s intellectual property. For example, when the movie Frozen was released in theaters, Disney Interactive released a Disney Infinity collectible figure of the Frozen princess. When the figure was plugged into the Disney Infinity base, it unlocked video game adventures.

The Disney Interactive segment is facing tough competition from Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) popular Skylanders game, Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Amiibo game, and Electronic Arts’ (EA) console games.

You can get a diversified exposure to Disney by investing in the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY), which holds 7.63% of the stock.

In the previous part of this series, we looked at The Walt Disney Company’s (DIS) merger of two segments: Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive. Now we’ll take a closer look at Disney Consumer Products.

As you can see in the above graph, ~61% of Disney Consumer Products’ 1H15 revenue came from licensing and publishing. The remaining 39% came from retail and other sources. The total revenue for Disney Consumer Products was ~$2.4 billion in 1H15.
 

Disney licenses its popular characters to third parties for use in consumer merchandise. The Disney Consumer Products segment had licensing and publishing revenues of $1.4 billion in 1H15, an 18% increase over 1H14. This was due to an increase in merchandise licensing to third parties driven by the success of the movies Frozen and The Avengers.

Licensing is driven by Disney’s IP (intellectual property) such as evergreen characters Mickey and Minnie. Disney has 11 franchises that did $1 billion in retail sales last year.

Disney’s publishing business includes Marvel Worldwide, which publishes comic books, learning products in print and digital format, children’s books, and magazines. It competes with other comic book publishers such as DC Comics (TWX), which owns the IP of Batman and Superman.
 

Disney Consumer Products’ retail business had revenues of $922 million in 1H15. The segment markets Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm–themed products under the Disney Store name and through online websites like DisneyStore.com and MarvelStore.com. Disney’s merchandise also retails through online retailers like Amazon (AMZN).

At the end of fiscal 2014, Disney had 210 stores in North America, 73 stores in Europe (EFA), and 45 stores in Japan (EWJ).

You can get a diversified exposure to Disney by investing in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), which holds ~1% of the stock.

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Live Entertainment Takes the Stage at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

DisneyParks Blog - As Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs, shopping, dining and entertainment are still at the forefront of all we do here. Lately, the latter is stealing the spotlight in a big way!

In a typical week, up to twenty different acts take the stage, performing roughly 300 sets. Whether you fancy freestyle rap, delight to the notes of the didgeridoo, or prefer to sway to the sounds of a sultry saxophone, chances are, you can find it at Downtown Disney.

I spend most of my time here during the daylight hours, and although I know we have an incredibly full talent lineup, even I was surprised by how much live music I encountered throughout the West Side during my latest nighttime visit to the property. On most evenings, the West Side comes alive with musical flair by 6:30 p.m.

Visiting earlier? At the Marketplace, performances start at 12:30 p.m. daily near Dockside Margaritas. I recently saw one of my favorites, Pat Frost, a master who mixes steel drums, the ukulele and conch shells (yes, conch shells!) to create a unique sound that you won’t find anywhere else at Walt Disney World Resort.

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If carefree island music isn’t for you, fear not … at this locale, you can also hear everything from pop hits to new age world music. Entertainment Manager Jenni Kloote Quick shared, “we look for musicians with a fun, laid back vibe. We want them to have an inviting attitude and welcome guests to stay and enjoy the great combination of world-class music and gorgeous water views.”

No matter what your style – classical, Latin rock, or Top 40 tunes – it’s here!

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Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Introduces New Ways to Turbo Charge Your Disney-Pixar Cars Collection

MarketWatch - Fans of Disney-Pixar’s Cars are invited to start their engines as Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) announces “Cars Daredevil Garage,” an all-new, action-packed mobile app that allows fans to collect and scan Mattel diecast cars into a stunt-filled virtual world. This fall DCPI is also set to introduce Precision Series, a new line of detailed and movie accurate collector diecast cars that feature articulated elements unique to each Cars character.

Cars Daredevil Garage” is a mobile app experience that allows fans to collect and scan any of Mattel’s 2015 mainline diecast cars into the app and use them to perform extreme stunts in real-world environments inspired by the way kids play with their diecast cars. This app is free-to-download and allows players to race with Lightning McQueen and earn more racing friends through gameplay. In addition to scanning the diecast cars, players can also purchase 80+ cars within the app. Featuring more than 160 cars, thrill-seeking fans of all ages can collect their favorite Cars characters, and enjoy an exciting blend of high-octane stunting, both on and off the screen. Racers have several tracks available to race on at launch, with additional tracks available for purchase and even more tracks scheduled for release through the summer.

Cars is one of the most popular animated film franchises of all time, and we are excited to provide fans with another way to celebrate their love for Cars in both the physical and digital worlds,” said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “In the app, children and adult fans alike will love stunting towards the finish line in true Lightning McQueen style.”

Precision Series will launch at retail this fall and includes high-end diecast cars and playsets with unique features including detailed undercarriages, PVC tires, suspension and other distinct elements tailored to each character such as light features, specialized engines and hoods that open and close. The playsets are modeled after the landmarks in the Cars movies and will connect together so fans can build out the main road in Radiator Springs. All playsets light up, come with a special diecast and will have the ability to connect to other Cars story sets from Mattel.

“Working with Disney from the ground up on these two exciting Cars initiatives has been an exciting journey,” said Doug Wadleigh, SVP and Global Brand GM, Toybox, Mattel. “They are terrific examples of Mattel and Disney collaborating to creatively engage and delight fans with fun new ways to play.”

Cars Daredevil Garage” is available now on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, and Cars diecast are available now at mass retailers nationwide. Fans can get a sneak peek of Precision Series at D23 Expo – The Ultimate Disney Fan Event – hosted at the Anaheim Convention Center August 14-16, 2015. The first playset in the series, Flo’s Café Playset, will be available at retail this fall with subsequent playsets and diecast cars launching in 2016.

“This is truly an exciting year for the Cars franchise,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president global licensing, Disney Consumer Products. “With a range of new products and digital entertainment experiences that reflect the storytelling, humor and racing from the movies, there is something for fans of all ages to enjoy.”

About Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media

Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company DIS, +0.25% that brings our Company's stories and characters to life through innovative and engaging physical products and digital experiences across more than 100 categories, from toys and t-shirts, to apps, books and console games. DCPI comprises two main lines of business: Disney Consumer Products (DCP), and Disney Interactive (DI). The combined segment is home to world class teams of app and game developers, licensing and retail experts, a leading retail business (Disney Store), artists and storytellers, and technologists who inspire imaginations around the world.

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New Look and Products Found in Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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DisneyParks Blog - Disney’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith celebrates another anniversary this week. This super fast attraction originally opened in 1999 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I still recall my first ride with my father during that summer many years ago. Recently, I stopped by Rock Around the Shop, the merchandise location found at the attraction, to check out the latest rockin’ products.

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Periodically, our location planning and merchandise presentation teams make adjustments to merchandise shops. There are a variety of reasons for these changes including testing new products or improving visual statements. The last time I wrote about this location was in April 2013. For this latest incarnation, gone are the giant “Rockin’ Gear” graphics which were replaced with images of audio speakers and other vibrant graphic patterns.

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The shop also has a few new items not previously offered including an art gallery featuring the works of Jerrod Maruyama (I’m a big fan of his hipster Mickey art). There is also an expanded line of women’s apparel and accessories.

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The shop still offers various Aerosmith and attraction T-shirts and accessories for women and men.

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Finally, the location now carries headphones by SMS Audio, the official headphones of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Happy anniversary to my favorite super stretch limousine!

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Frozen fans all warm at Disney's Hollywood Studio

Orlando Sentinel - One joy of being a Central Floridian armed with a Walt Disney World annual pass is that you can watch a fireworks show any night — or every night.

Recently, I decided after dinner to head out to Disney's Hollywood Studios to check out the limited-time "Frozen" Fireworks Spectacular, part of the theme park's Frozen Summer Fun promotion. Although some Disney fans find the content to be a bit thin at DHS — three closed attractions in the past year bolster that impression — I returned with several notes and nuggets.

•First and foremost, I enjoyed the fireworks. There are a lot of elements seen elsewhere at Disney: the big smiley face; the loud-popping white ones; the crackling sizzlers; the bright red, solid-smoke effect denoting evil; and an array of staggered pyrotechnics across the horizon of Hollywood Studios with a darkened Great Movie Ride in the foreground. That last part is almost as exciting as the Magic Kingdom's occasional perimeter fireworks.

But I was impatient during the live, on-stage portion at the beginning of the presentation, which includes Olaf the snowman playing hide and seek and Anna asking the crowd if they've had a good day. I mean, light the fireworks already. Craftily, Disney has installed another chance for little guest princesses to see the "real-life" Anna and Elsa in action.

The show itself is relatively short, in the 15-minute family. That probably suits the attention span of the target audience just fine.

•Speaking of target audience, I've been pretty sure I wasn't part of the "Frozen" one. I don't wear fashions from Arendelle or have a sweet-yet-opaque daughter to put on my shoulders during parades or other overpopulated theme-park functions.

But maybe I'm wrong. At the past two Hollywood Studios visits, I've heard grown men burst into song — that tricky two-part one, "Love Is an Open Door."

•I know she's not real, but, boy, Elsa is on my nerves. She always has to make a grand entrance, and then she makes a big show of fixing things. She's the Fonzie of "Frozen."

•I wanted to see the new Ice Palace Boutique across from the ABC Commissary, but it was closed for the day. I wandered to the nearly abandoned Streets of America. There, a woman was excitedly describing the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights to her family. It's easy to get blasé about annual events, but this was a good reminder for me that most people don't have access to Disney-level spectacles in everyday life.

•Around the corner, a man asked "Isn't there a backstage ride or a backstage tour?" Oops, too late, sir. This was a good reminder that not everyone lives and breathes the latest WDW development.

•The back half of the park is roped off early for the fireworks, so all guests were milling about Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. There was barely a place to sit until the standing-room-only "Fantasmic" started. But this enhances the great people-watching opportunities.

•Have you ever wondered who sells masking tape to Disney World? The parks sure go through a lot, laying down the boundaries where guests may and may not stand for parades and such. Then cast members rip it up the moment the event has passed. (Also, is there not a market for a contraption that puts tape on the ground, akin to lining a football field? We can put a man on the moon but not find a masking-tape work-around?)

•The Villains in Vogue store on Sunset Boulevard has been restocked and renamed. It's now Reel Vogue. Let's just say the theme isn't as evil or as apparent.

•Favorite random line from the fireworks, especially when standing in the Central Florida heat, from Olaf: "Some things are worth melting for."

Frozen Summer Fun

What: A slew of "Frozen"-oriented activities, including a royal processional, sing-along, "Olaf's Summer Cool Down" stage show and fireworks.

Where: Disney's Hollywood Studios, off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando

When: Daily through Sept. 7

Cost: Included in park admission. A one-day ticket Hollywood Studios is $97 ($91 for ages 3-9)

Phone: 407-824-4321

Online: disneyworld.com

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Wednesday July 29, 2015
Reservations Open Tomorrow for Premium Events at the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Review: Disney’s ‘Descendants’
Disneyland Paris rejects price discrimination claim

Reservations Open Tomorrow for Premium Events at the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Disney News - Planning on heading to this Years Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Then perhaps you might be interested in one of these Premium Events offered by Walt Disney World.

Rockin' Burger Block Party
Nosh Pit Seating – Block Party VIP style!
Party for the Senses Category #1: Wine View Lounge
Party for the Senses Category #2: Reserved Seating
Party for the Senses Category #3: General Admission
Culinary Demonstrations
Mixology Seminars
Beverage Seminars
Cheese Seminars
What's Cookin' With... (Special Guest Chef on Different Dates)
IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party
Eat to the Beat Concert Series Dining Packages
Food and Beverage Pairings at World Showcase Restaurants
Culinary Adventure in Signature Dining at a WDW Resort or DTD Restaurant

Reservations Open Tomorrow for Premium Events at the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Reservations for all the premium events can be made by calling Disney at (407) 939-3378 starting July 30, 2015. For all events taking place inside Epcot, park admission is required and is not included in the event pricing.

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Review: Disney’s ‘Descendants’

Variety - Largely threading the needle between Disney Channel’s tween audience and family members who will relish its ties to the broader Disney fairy-tale universe, “Descendants” is a playful and tuneful TV movie, exhibiting much higher ambitions than, say, the “Teen Beach” franchise. Granted, one might wish the focus tilted a bit more heavily toward the adults — Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent steals every scene she’s in — or that the second half wasn’t as heavily padded. Still, the songs are clever, the look is sumptuous, and the idea is so good it goes down easy even if the broth’s a trifle undercooked.

More earnest than something like “Once Upon a Time” but plucked from the same set of ribs, “Descendants” begins with the premise that the defeated Disney villains have been relegated to a sort-of exile in a place called the Isle of the Lost, where they have been confined but are free to raise families. (Never mind that they all seem to be single parents or had one kid at exactly the same time; nitpickers, begone!)

Growing up without magic, the kids kick off the festivities by singing an energetic number in which they embrace their family lineage, “Rotten to the Core.” But then four of them are chosen to attend school alongside the good kids, who live in the glittering kingdom of Auradon, where Ben (Mitchell Hope), the son of Belle and the Beast, is about to be crowned king.

So into this strange environment come the children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar — in sequence, Mal (“Liv and Maddie’s” Dove Cameron), Evie (Sofia Carson), Carlos (Cameron Boyce) and Jay (Booboo Stewart). Alas, Maleficent dispatches them with plans of stealing the wand of Fairy Godmother (Melanie Paxson, also a hoot), thus paving the way to unleash the sorceress back on the world.

“Descendants” thus engages in a somewhat predictable nature/nurture argument, with the four transplants starting to like their new home, while Mal — initially the most committed to the notion of DNA determining destiny — gradually beginning to fall for Ben. And while there are obviously thick strands from Disney’s animated classics woven into the story, the borrowing goes beyond that, including a bit of Harry Potter, including a game that looks like a hybrid of Lacrosse and Quidditch.

Written by Josie McGibbon and Sara Parriott, and directed and co-choreographed by Kenny Ortega, the movie boasts a stronger, more assured story than most of the recent youth-oriented live-action musicals Disney has offered, with plenty of brightly colored bells and whistles as well as songs that range from Broadway to rap. About the only cautionary note is a climactic sequence that might be scary for some young kids, given the difference between CGI creations and full-blown animation.

Fortunately, parents who might have been tempted to seek shelter elsewhere from these exercises in the past will be compensated, principally, by Chenoweth, who clearly embraces the opportunity to cut loose with her “wicked” side.

While such brand extensions always require care, Disney has been adept at wringing additional mileage from its old fairly tales and movies, including preschool titles like “Sofia the First” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” And while there’s always the risk of sullying storied franchises with such offshoots, in the case of “Descendants,” at least, the studio proves they can do some good without being bad.

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Disneyland Paris rejects price discrimination claim

AFP - Disneyland Paris on Wednesday denied allegations that it overcharges customers from certain countries a day after the European Commission said it had launched a probe.

"Our prices are strictly the same everywhere in the European Union, apart from exchange rates," Disneyland Paris vice president Julien Kauffmann told AFP, adding the only other variations concern special offers.

"The only difference at any given time is linked to the fact we make special offers that are not necessarily the same, and not available at the same time in all European countries," Kauffmann said.

"Needs are not fundamentally the same in all countries. In Italy or Spain, we'll more likely offer packages including meals or free transport, while in France -- where people often arrive in their own cars -- we will offer the same discount applicable to a hotel room," he said.

Kauffmann said the timing of the offers varied by country because "an English (visitor) will reserve a holiday six months to a year in advance, while with the French it's four to six months ahead."

- 'Scrutinising complaints' -

"The European Commission and European Consumer Centres frequently receive consumer complaints involving unjustified differences in treatment on the grounds of nationality or residence," a European Commission spokeswoman said in a statement to AFP.

"We are currently scrutinising a number of complaints, including several against Disneyland Paris," she said.

The announcement of the probe came amid reports that Europe's biggest amusement park was being investigated for overcharging British and German customers.

The Financial Times reported that Disney charged French visitors 1,346 euros ($1,487) for a premium package, while Britons were charged 1,870 euros and Germans a whopping 2,447 euros.

Customers from France generate 50 percent of the park's income, followed by visitors from Britain, Spain and Italy.

Kauffmann noted, however, that Disneyland Paris's website does not engage in geo-blocking, meaning visitors are free to consult prices on offer in other countries. Should they prefer to take advantage of deals available in other countries, he added, they may do so by reserving them through their local call centre.

Kauffmann said the company had not yet received notification of the probe from either the European Commission or French authorities, who have the responsibility of ensuring that Disneyland Paris is complying with EU fair trade laws, according to an EU source.

The case comes just days after Disney was among several Hollywood studios targeted in a separate investigation as part of a wider Commission crackdown on unfair treatment of consumers.

US firms have borne the brunt of the crackdown, with high-profile cases launched against Google, Apple and Amazon.

Last week, the Commission accused Sky TV and six top Hollywood studios including Disney of breaching antitrust laws by using movie licenses to block access to pay TV content in other European countries.

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Tuesday July 28, 2015
Garden Grill Restaurant Breakfast and Lunch Reservations Open Today
Exclusive benefits and events for Chase Disney Visa Card Members at 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
Fire department serving Disney in talks to drop special operations
Behind the Scenes: Recreating Rapunzel’s World for ‘Tangled: The Musical’ for Disney Cruise Line
Michael Chabon to Write Disney's 'Bob the Musical'
Brawl erupts at Walt Disney World

Garden Grill Restaurant Breakfast and Lunch Reservations Open Today

DisneyParks Blog - Tucked into the back of the Land pavilion at Epcot, Garden Grill Restaurant is known for family-style food, unique views of the “Living with the Land” attraction, and fun antics and interactions with our favorite chipmunks — Chip ‘n’ Dale.

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Beginning November 8, Garden Grill Restaurant will begin serving up breakfast and lunch in addition to dinner. The new Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Breakfast Harvest Feast will have all the fixin’s served in an all-you-care-to-enjoy family style. What’s on the menu? Look for breakfast favorites like biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, Mickey waffles, and their signature item, Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake.

At lunch, look for your all-you-care-to-enjoy favorites from the dinner menu, like “Living with the Land” Harvest-inspired Farmer’s Salad (which utilizes greens from the attraction), char-grilled sliced filet of beef, roasted all-natural sliced turkey breast with freshly-harvested vegetables and scrumptious side dishes.

For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Exclusive benefits and events for Chase Disney Visa Card Members at 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Disney News - Chase Announced Today that as in previous years, Chase card holders will again have exclusive access to complimentary, non-alcoholic refreshments, charging stations and a interactive section at the Chase Lounge at the 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. 

The lounge which is located on the third floor of the American Adventure in World Showcase, will be open daily during the 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival from 11am until park close.

New this year are three special dining events exclusively for Disney Visa Cardmembers during the festival:

  • Brews, Breakfast and More, September 28, 2015. Over a three-course breakfast that uses beer as an ingredient and pairing, learn about innovative beer styles and brewing processes dating back to ancient Babylon and Egypt.

     
  • The Making of the Party for the Senses, October 27, 2015. Discover how the culinary team makes this popular tasting event come alive. Over lunch in the Wine View Lounge, event creators offer a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes magic.

     
  • The Creation of the Food and Wine Festival Marketplaces, November 9, 2015. Enjoy breakfast on the promenade before the Festival opens with a Walt Disney World Chef, Beverage Professional and Imagineer for a sneak peek at Marketplace creations and their menu delights.

Tickets for these dining events are subject to availability and are on sale for Disney Visa Cardmembers. Disney Visa Cardmembers also have an advanced booking opportunity on July 28 and July 29 for all special events offered at this year’s Festival before sales open to the general public on July 30. For more information visit DisneyRewards.com.

“We are thrilled to offer exclusive dining experiences to our Disney Visa Cardmembers to make their experience at the Festival even more memorable,” said B.J. Mahoney, general manager, Chase Card Services. “In addition, the Chase Lounge has become a welcome destination for all Chase cardmembers attending the Festival, which is why we have exciting activities for everyone to enjoy.”

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Fire department serving Disney in talks to drop special operations

Orlando Sentinel - The government agency providing fire-rescue service to Walt Disney World has proposed disbanding its special-operations-and-response team, whose members get specialized training on complicated jobs such as rescues from collapsed buildings and detection of chemical agents.

The proposal is a point of contention in contract negotiations between Reedy Creek and the union representing its firefighters. Fire-rescue personnel have worked without a contract since January, when the last one expired.

"They're going to take away that training from these people and not have them certified anymore," said Tim Stromsnes, president of the Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Association Local 2117. "I think it's a disservice to the guest … for us not to have that team."

Reedy Creek is a public agency similar to a county government. It is controlled by Walt Disney World, which owns most of the land within the district and is by far its largest taxpayer.

District Administrator Bill Warren said there has been "minimal need for the program to respond, and so we're taking a hard look at it." Disney had no comment.

Reedy Creek created its special-operations team — known as SOAR — after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. On its website, Reedy Creek said it created the team "to establish a timely response for detection and mitigation of hazardous situations without relying on, or depleting our neighbor's resources." Incidents the group has responded to include a chemical reaction in a hotel kitchen, fuel spills and the rescue of a worker from a hotel under construction.

The 45 members of the special-operations team would perform regular fire-rescue duties just as they do now. They would no longer be paid an extra dollar an hour, and the higher-level continuing education would no longer be provided.

The department said it would save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by disbanding the team. Those savings would be poured into more advanced training for its general-emergency force — though not at the in-depth "tech" level of the special-operations team.

"The cost of the program is not the driving force here," Warren said. "It's the delivery of the highest qualified team, and the county clearly has that."

Disbanding Reedy Creek's team would mean relying more heavily on Orange County firefighters for unusual situations. Reedy Creek already has a mutual-aid agreement with Orange County.

Orange County's fire-rescue department has had a special-operations team since 1989 that provides services to local cities as well as unincorporated areas. "If we're needed, we'll be there" for Reedy Creek, spokeswoman Kat Kennedy said.

Stromsnes argues that because Disney World is so high-profile and attracts so many visitors, it warrants having its own specialized force that could quickly respond to a catastrophe.

Reedy Creek's team would no longer be able to lead a rescue operation if a building were to collapse. It also would not be able to handle hazardous chemicals.

Though the special-operations team gets advanced training for rescues from high buildings, Reedy Creek says its firefighters can still handle many of those calls.

The union and Reedy Creek are also in disagreement over pay and insurance benefits. Reedy Creek has proposed an average 3 percent pay increase and paying 3 percent more in insurance costs.

The union also wants access to body scans as part of its annual physicals. Reedy Creek says it is investigating that cost.

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Behind the Scenes: Recreating Rapunzel’s World for ‘Tangled: The Musical’ for Disney Cruise Line

DisneyParks Blog - When “Tangled: The Musical” debuts on stage aboard the Disney Magic this November, audiences can expect to be immersed in a vibrant, Bavarian world featuring the storybook locales we know and love from the film.

The show’s set designer, Brad Kaye, is no stranger to the challenge of re-imagining an animated world for the stage; he also developed the scenery for “Disney’s Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular” aboard the Disney Fantasy. In the video below, Brad tells us all about the scenic elements he is designing for this new show . . . including a first look at the forest and Snuggly Duckling scenes.

 

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Michael Chabon to Write Disney's 'Bob the Musical'

THR - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon is in talks to work on Disney’s long-in-the-works comedy, Bob the Musical.

At the same time, Bret McKenzie, one half of musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords who wrote many songs for The Muppets and won an Oscar for best original song with "Man or Muppet," has been brought on board to compose ditties for the feature.

The project had been in development since at least 2004 but now has a renewed voice with director Michel Hazanavicius, who helmed the Oscar-winning 2011 film The Artist.

Additionally, Tom Cruise is circling the lead, a regular guy who, after a blow to the head, suddenly can hear the inner songs of everyone’s heart as his reality is instantly turned into a musical, much to his dismay.

Tripp Vinson, Chris Bender, JC Spink and Beau Flynn are producing.

Mike Bender (Not Another Teen Movie), John August (Frankenweenie) and Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (City Slickers) are among those who previously worked on the script over the years.

Chabon, the writer behind such as acclaimed novels as The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, has done movie work before. He wrote on 2004’s Spider-Man 2 and on several projects for Disney. He worked on 2012’s John Carter, as well as the still-in-development remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Magic Kingdom, which has Jon Favreau attached.

Chabon is repped by UTA, publishing agent Mary Evans, and attorney David Colden.

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Brawl erupts at Walt Disney World

FOX News - Walt Disney World may not always be the happiest place on earth. 

On Saturday, three women waiting in line for Epcot’s Test Track ride were captured on video as a verbal disagreement quickly escalated into physical violence.

In the video footage obtained by WFTV, a woman wearing a Goofy character hat starts arguing with another woman. Soon a third woman, joins the fray and starts hitting guest multiple times with what appears to be an umbrella.

(Video Has Been Removed)

A Disney employee is seen trying to restrain the woman in the Goofy hat but eventually gets pushed away by the fighting women.

“There’s kids here!” an angry park goer is heard shouting as people distance themselves from the scene of the fight.

The unidentified man who recorded the fight said the women were eventually all escorted away from the attraction by Disney personnel.

"Probably, they were tired and it was a little hot and probably in that heat, the people got angry for some reason," tourist Mariela Ugaz told WFTV.

A Disney spokesperson said no injuries resulted from the incident and no one was asked to leave the park.

Local Orange County authorities were called to the scene but no arrests were made. WFTV contacted the sheriff’s department but a spokesperson said further details will not be released since the incident involved a minor.

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Monday July 27, 2015
'Ant-Man' wins box office for second straight week
First Look at Commemorative Products for 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
First Look: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters Rolling into Disney California Adventure Park
Disney CEO Iger: ESPN could one day be sold direct

'Ant-Man' wins box office for second straight week

Fox -  "Ant-Man" crept past new opener "Pixels" to claim the top spot at the box office this weekend by an ant-sized margin. The Disney and Marvel superhero pic brought in $24.8 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $106.1 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.

"Pixels," meanwhile, just barely missed first place with a $24 million debut. While studios always hope for the bragging rights of a No. 1 debut, the real issue here is whether or not the Adam Sandler end of the world comedy will make up its $88 million production budget.

"It's been a little competitive in the marketplace when you consider the extent of the performance of 'Jurassic' and 'Inside Out,'" said Sony's President of Worldwide Distribution Rory Bruer. "To get to where we opened to was quite good."

Critics were not fond of "Pixels," which shows 1980s video arcade game characters attacking Earth, but younger audiences still turned out to theaters — an estimated 62 percent were under the age of 25.

Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak's senior media analyst, said Sandler can still attract an audience, but the expensive film has a lot of ground to make up.

"They're really going to have to count on the international component. That's going to be key," he said.

Overall, the box office is down 3 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Lucy" opened particularly strong. Dergarabedian said that though some are attempting to link last week's theater shootings to any dip in the box office this weekend, "the numbers just don't bear it out."

Holdovers "Minions" and "Trainwreck" took the third and fourth spots with $22.1 million and $17.3 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, the R-rated boxing drama "Southpaw" surpassed expectations and landed a place in the top five with its $16.5 million opening.

Dergarabedian said that its performance is likely due to star Jake Gyllenhaal's enthusiastic promotion of the film and also the fact that it provides an alternative to the standard summer blockbuster fare.

"'Southpaw' felt like a really good fall movie," he said.

"Paper Towns," an adaptation of John Green's coming-of-age novel, opened in sixth place with $12.5 million. The Fox film only cost $12 million to produce, but considering Green's fan base and last year's massive $48 million debut of "The Fault in Our Stars," which Green also wrote, it's a bit disappointing.

A straight comparison isn't entirely fair, though. "The Fault in Our Stars" had a much bigger following and transcended age and gender groups with its story of two teens dying of cancer and falling in love. "Paper Towns" is a more narrow and lighthearted high school tale.

According to exit polls, 71 percent of the "Paper Towns" audience was female and 78 percent were under age 25.

Also, Shailene Woodley was a much bigger name when "The Fault in Our Stars" came out, whereas Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff are somewhat lesser known.

Woodley's "Divergent" association took the modest film "to another level," Dergarabedian said.

"I think we have a job ahead of us in the coming weeks to find more of our potential audience who we weren't able to reach this weekend. But I think we can do that," said Chris Aronson, Fox's domestic distribution president.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Ant-Man," $24.8 million ($35.4 million international).

2. "Pixels," $24 million ($21.4 million international).

3. "Minions," $22.1 million ($44 million international).

4. "Trainwreck," $17.3 million ($220,000 international).

5. "Southpaw," $16.5 million ($3.5 million international).

6. "Paper Towns," $12.5 million ($8 million international).

7. "Inside Out," $7.4 million ($28.3 million international).

8. "Jurassic World," $6.9 million (47.6 million international).

9. "Mr. Holmes," $2.8 million.

10. "Terminator Genisys," $2.4 million ($10.7 million international).

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First Look at Commemorative Products for 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

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DisneyParks Blog - The countdown is on to the start of my favorite event at Walt Disney World Resort – the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The festival opens September 25 and runs through November 16, and will feature more than 30 global marketplaces (including some new experiences in Future World.) This year also marks the 20th time this event has been held at Epcot. Here is a first look at some of the merchandise commemorating this milestone anniversary.

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There are three distinct art programs for this year’s merchandise. The World Showcase logo program includes icons from each of the 11 pavilions. The Disney character program will feature Mickey Mouse and, my favorite, Figment dressed as chefs. We will also offer a “Brews Around the World” assortment, a returning favorite from previous years.

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Other returning favorite items include Vinylmation of the Swedish Chef from The Muppets, collectible pins on recipe cards, and three new Dooney & Bourke handbags. Guests will also find drinkware, four different appetizer plates, and some holiday ornaments.

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I love the coffee mug that uses Figment’s tail as the handle. I also thought the bottle opener on the “Brews Around the World” baseball cap was creative. Finally, I was happy to see salt and pepper shaker trash cans which were inspired by items released last year in Disney Centerpiece at the Marketplace Co-Op.

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Stay tuned in the coming weeks for details about a new activity called “Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak” that includes limited release pins.

The best place to find many of these items starting September 25 will be in the Festival Center. This location will be found in Future World between Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE pavilions. Additional merchandise locations throughout World Showcase will also carry select items. There are no plans at this time to carry these items on our Disney Parks online store.

Do you have a favorite item? Please share in the comments below.

I hope to see you at Epcot this fall.

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First Look: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters Rolling into Disney California Adventure Park

DisneyParks Blog - As we first told you back in February, Luigi – the most famous tire salesman in Cars Land – has temporarily closed his Casa della Tires to visit family in Italy. Today, I’m excited to tell you that he is returning with some special guests!

 Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters Rolling into Disney California Adventure Park, Image Courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering

Luigi has invited all of his cugini (cousins) from his hometown of Carsoli, Italy, to visit his Casa della Tires. To help celebrate Race Day in Radiator Springs, they will demonstrate the dances of their village with Cars Land guests when the all-new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters opens early next year.

Keep an eye here for more updates as our special guests continue to settle in at Disney California Adventure park!

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Disney CEO Iger: ESPN could one day be sold direct

CNBC - Walt Disney chief Bob Iger said Monday he sees ESPN as a media property that could be eventually sold directly to consumers like Time Warner's HBO, but not in the next five years.

"If we end up seeing more erosion in the so-called multichannel [cable and satellite TV] bundle, quality will win out," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"While the business model may face challenges over the next few years, long term for ESPN ... they'll be fine. They have pricing leverage, too," Iger said. "Disney [Channel] is another ... brand and product that could be sold directly to the customer."

Disney owns ABC television and ESPN, theme parks and resorts, and movie studios under the Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar and Marvel banners.

"Technology is the most disruptive force that so-called traditional media ... is facing," he said.

"[But] we decided to view technology as a friend, not a foe," he continued, to bring better customer experiences across all of our businesses from making media look crisper on HD televisions to mobile and online viewing apps to enhanced attractions at theme parks.

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Sunday July 26, 2015
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Saturday July 25, 2015
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Friday July 24, 2015
No News Updates Today

Thursday July 23, 2015
Disney Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ Crosses $500M Worldwide
EU opens antitrust case against Disney, other big studios
Disney-Pixar releases movie trailer for 'The Good Dinosaur'
Celebrating National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
United World Soccer Store Re-Opens at Downtown Disney
Coral Reef Restoration Project at Castaway Cay

Disney Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ Crosses $500M Worldwide

Deadline Hollywood - Disney Pixar’s Inside Out has just crossed $500M worldwide in box office reciepts on Tuesday, making it the eighth consecutive Pixar film to reach the milestone and the third Disney release to do so this year. The animated family film, which was released in June, now stands at $510.1M through July 22. This is Pixar’s 11th film overall to pass that mark.

With $311.5M domestically, Inside Out has become the third highest grossing Pixar film ever. Internationally, it is open in 61% of the marketplace and has earned $198.6M. It has made roughly 62% of its money domestically. Major markets still to come include the UK, opening this weekend, as well as Germany and Italy.

The film debuted domestically on June 19 with $90.4M, the biggest opening ever for an original property.

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EU opens antitrust case against Disney, other big studios

CBS News - The European Union has opened an antitrust case against six major U.S. movie studios for preventing British satellite broadcaster Sky from showing their products outside the U.K. and Ireland.

The EU Commission, which assesses antitrust matters for the 28-country EU, said Thursday it has sent a statement of objections to Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros regarding "contractual restrictions" that prevent Sky offering their full services to consumers in other EU nations.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that "European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU."

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Disney-Pixar releases movie trailer for 'The Good Dinosaur'

What if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs simply passed by the Earth in glowing, cosmic beauty?

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios explore that possibility in "The Good Dinosaur," and they released the trailer for the movie Tuesday

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The movie opens in theaters Nov. 25 and features the voices of Neil Patrick Harris, Anna Paquin and Bill Hader.

In less than 24 hours, the trailer garnered more than 1.5 million views. It had more than 1.8 million views at the time of publication of this article.

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Celebrating National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

DisneyParks Blog - This week is National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week, and we are celebrating our keepers and aquarists with special activities to recognize their hard work and dedication. If you are visiting this week, be sure to tell them hello and thank you!

I could not be prouder of our tremendously talented team of cast members, who continue to impress with their expertise and compassion. They have dedicated their lives to caring for animals, and everything they do and learn here helps contribute to saving animals in the wild. The difference they are making is immeasurable.

Below are just a few of our dedicated cast members. We asked them to tell us about their favorite moments and why they enjoy their roles.

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‘In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.’ (by Baba Dioum) This quote is the definition of why I’m an animal keeper. My job is awesome because of the animals I get to work with, but my job also makes it possible for guests to learn about these animals and love them as much as I do.”
– Katie Lusnia

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“I am very lucky that my favorite moment as an animal keeper happens every day. I love when my animals are excited to see me, even though they are more likely excited to see the food in my hands. I also love their quiet munching once they have all been fed and are happily in the barn.”
– Chelsea Lynn

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“My favorite moments usually involve us being able to help out an animal that, in the wild, would not have survived. Most recently, we had a sand gazelle calf born with multiple issues. After a pretty rough few days and 24-hour care, this calf started to gain strength. After a couple weeks, she was basically fully recovered. Seeing your hard work result in the survival of animal, especially a young animal, is pretty awesome.“
– Matthew McHarness

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“We are involved in daily training, enrichment programs, assisting the veterinarians during procedures, sharing our knowledge with the guests as well as making memories for them during their visit.”
– Kelly Savage

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“I enjoy the interaction and observation of the many different species … I also find it very interesting working with the veterinary staff performing health assessments on many different species of animals.”
– Chad Spicer

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“I feel like we make a difference in the lives of the animals that we take care of. We form a relationship with every single animal that we take care of and that is very rewarding. Also, baby animals are super cute.”
– Danielle Boggs

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“After having helped with the endocrine research and care of the mother for more than two years, witnessing the birth of a giraffe calf was incredibly rewarding to me.”
– Gretchen Mueller

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“[I have] access to the best and most-advanced facilities for the care and development of the animals who roam our savannas. The animals … are truly the driving inspiration in what makes Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge a premiere resort… Being able to work with the Disney Conservation Fund is also a reward that may go unnoticed by some, but the keepers at Disney know that we are both igniting a passion in future generations and doing our best to preserve the natural wonders and animals better than anyone else.”
– Ashley Roth

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I enjoy being an aquarist because I have always been captivated by the ocean and everything that can be found in it … I also strive to provide educational moments for our guests so that they can learn about and respect our oceans, and hopefully help make changes that can benefit all of our planet’s ecosystems.
– Eric Grunthaner

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“When I first started, it was so cool to see the amazing relationships keepers have with their animals … The animals recognize me now and come over to say ‘Hi.’ That’s a favorite moment every day.”
– Erin O’Neill

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United World Soccer Store Re-Opens at Downtown Disney

Will this be it's final Home?

It's rough to say but after moving so many times United World Soccer has a new home in Downtown Disney at the former Hoypoloi Store next to Sosa Cigars.

Again you will find the latest in soccer apparel from your favorite World Team and of course Orlando City Soccer.

Operating hours are Sunday to Thursday 10:30am to 11pm, and Friday to Saturday from 10:30am to midnight.

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Coral Reef Restoration Project at Castaway Cay

DisneyParks Blog - Did you know there is a multi-year project to restore the coral reef in the Bahamian waters near Castaway Cay? Disney’s Animal Programs and Disney Cruise Line are working ensure these “rainforests of the sea” will thrive for generations to come. Watch this video to learn more about how Disney is doing research to protect the reef:

 

At Disney Cruise Line, efforts to share our environmental programs have become an integral part of our goal to inspire others to take environmental action in their everyday lives. For more information about coral reefs and the role they play in our underwater ecosystems, visit Disney Animals.

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Wednesday July 22, 2015
Disney's D23 Expo 2015 Schedule
Checking Out Latest Arrivals to Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic Collection at Disney Parks
Woman found naked, disoriented outside Downtown Disney bar
Here's all the fun new 'smart' toys Disney is rolling out in time for Christmas
Top 5 Hot Dogs to Celebrate National Hot Dog Day at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Disney Continues to Dominate Broadway With The Lion King and Aladdin
Show Your ‘Inside Out’ #DisneySide For a runDisney Race! Part V: SADNESS

Disney's D23 Expo 2015 Schedule

Moviefone - Just a heads up -- in case you can't get to Walt Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA from August 14-16 -- heaps of new Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel and Disney movie intel will be coming out of the event, so put yourself on standby for cool previews.

Disney just shared a press release with the 2015 schedule. You'll see it's noted that "a bevy of special guests will be on hand to offer a look at an unparalleled slate that includes Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Jungle Book, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens—and much, much more." Also, "Filmmakers will unveil never-before-seen footage from Pixar's upcoming The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory and Disney Animation's Zootopia and Moana." So if those movies, and all Disney/Pixar projects, are of interest to you, just know some good teases should be coming out of this.

Here's the full schedule breakdown:

HALL D23 PRESENTATIONS:

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films, Hosted by John Lasseter

Friday, August 14, 3:00 pm - Hall D23

After meeting the Emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old, taking a trip to San Fransokyo, where a boy genius and his robot save the world, and falling in love with a queen with icy powers who wants to "let it go," come see where Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios plan to take you next. In what has become a D23 EXPO must-see, host John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, presents this in-depth look at the animation studios' slate. Filmmakers will unveil never-before-seen footage from Pixar's upcoming The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory and Disney Animation's Zootopia and Moana. The event will include surprise announcements, musical performances, and appearances by the films' star voice talent.

Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios

Saturday, August 15, 10:30 am - Hall D23

Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm are home to some of the planet's best storytellers, immersing audiences fully in the world of each film from beginning to end and beyond. In this exclusive Hall D23 presentation, join Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn for a tour of upcoming live-action projects from these legendary film studios. A bevy of special guests will be on hand to offer a look at an unparalleled slate that includes Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Jungle Book, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens—and much, much more.

Frozen FANdemonium: A Musical Celebration!

Sunday, August 16, 3:00 pm - Hall D23

Join host Chris Montan, president, Walt Disney Music, and the Oscar®-winning songwriting team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez as they take you on a once-in-a-lifetime musical journey through the world of Frozen. This one-day-only performance features your favorite friends from the Walt Disney Animation Studios film—including Anna and Elsa––with sing-along experiences and fascinating stories behind some of your favorite Frozen songs.

CALENDAR OF KEY EVENTS:

In Conversation with the Filmmakers and the Emotions Behind Inside Out

Friday, August 14, 11:30 am – Stage 28

Get the inside story on the making of Pixar's latest summer release, Inside Out. Hear from Academy Award®-winning director Pete Docter (Up, Monsters, Inc.) and producer Jonas Rivera (Up) as they reminisce and share their personal stories of creating a world that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen.

Welcome to Zootopia!

Saturday, August 15, 1:30 pm - Stage 28

Welcome to Zootopia, a magnificent mammal metropolis, and home to Walt Disney Animation Studios' next feature, the comedy-adventure Zootopia. Join directors Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph), producer Clark Spencer (Wreck-It Ralph, Bolt), and artists from the incredible production team as they introduce rookie rabbit-officer Judy Hopps, con-artist fox Nick Wilde and a host of dynamic animal characters, sharing footage and behind-the-scenes stories with D23 EXPO-goers.

Pixar Secrets Revealed! Hear the Stories They Didn't Want You to Know!

Saturday, August 15, 3:00 pm – Stage 28

Ever wonder where your favorite Pixar stories began? Hear the stories you don't know about the classic films that you love. Pixar senior development executive Mary Coleman hosts this experience, welcoming the storytellers behind some of Pixar's most successful films, including Darla K. Anderson (A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3), Mark Andrews (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Brave), Ronnie del Carmen (Up, Inside Out) and Dan Scanlon (Cars, Toy Story 3, Monsters University), as they talk about the twists and turns of crafting a narrative and share some of the crazy story ideas that didn't make the final cut.

Toy Story: 20 Years Later, the Original Crew Looks Back

Saturday, August 15, 4:30 pm – Stage 23

From flipbooks to feature films, animation has taken audiences to fantastical new worlds, far beyond the limits of any real-world setting. Pixar Animation Studios has been at the forefront of this evolution, blurring the line between art and technology and bringing beloved characters to life with heart and humor. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of 1995's Toy Story, the first computer-animated feature film, join members of the original crew, including filmmakers John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Galyn Susman, Ralph Eggleston, Sharon Calahan, Eben Ostby, Bob Pauley and Bill Reeves as they share their stories and the challenges they faced along the way.

Aladdin – The Making of a Classic

Saturday, August 15, 6:00 pm - Stage 28

Join Walt Disney Animation Studios filmmakers, including legendary directors John Musker and Ron Clements, animators Eric Goldberg (Genie) and Mark Henn (Jasmine), as well as Jasmine herself, Linda Larkin, and the two actors who gave life to the character Aladdin: Scott Weinger and Brad Kane, as they unveil the stories behind one of the great Disney classics, Aladdin, a film that led to a "whole new world" for animation.

The Shorts of Walt Disney Animation Studios: from Paperman to Prep & Landing, Feast to Frozen Fever

Sunday, August 16, 11:30 am - Stage 28

When Walt Disney and his brother Roy founded the Disney Brothers Studio in 1923, their first medium for storytelling was the animated short. More than 90 years later, Walt Disney Animation Studios continues this tradition, making groundbreaking and award-winning shorts including Feast, Paperman and this year's hit Frozen Fever. Join the filmmakers behind these shorts and so many others, including Get A Horse!, John Henry, Lorenzo and The Ballad of Nessie for a conversation about this truly animated art form.

The Tunes Behind the Toons: Screening/Q&A

Sunday, August 16, 6:00 pm, Stage 28

D23 EXPO invites you to a special screening and Q&A panel for The Tunes Behind the Toons, a short form documentary that celebrates the power of music in animation. From the silent film days when organists played live accompaniments, to the music within today's animated features, this documentary traces the origins of cartoon music and its pioneers. Featuring interviews with Alan Menken, Randy Newman, Patrick Doyle, Mark Watters, Bruce Broughton, Richard Sherman and many others. Producer/director Dave Bossert will lead a star-studded Q&A following the presentation.

ON THE EXPO SHOW FLOOR:

The Walt Disney Studios – Show Floor Exhibition

Step into the worlds of The Walt Disney Studios in this wide-ranging showcase of exciting projects from Disney Live Action, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. Among the many highlights:

· For the first time at D23 EXPO, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios have created a joint experience no Disney fan should miss. With live demonstrations, presentations, and autograph signings with top filmmakers from each studio, plus free giveaways and interactive displays featuring the films Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Zootopia, Finding Dory and Moana, this is a can't-miss attraction for animation fans.

· Explore costumes, props and photo ops from the Studios' live-action films, including Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Disney Movies Anywhere Tweet Suite

Take pics and share them in the Disney Movies Anywhere Tweet Suite. It's also the perfect opportunity to learn more about Disney Movies Anywhere, Disney's digital movie app that lets you watch your Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movie collection across your favorite devices, anywhere you go.

Say Aloha to John Lasseter's Film-Themed Hawaiian Shirts

Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios John Lasseter takes Disney and Pixar animation to heart—literally. For nearly every film—from Finding Nemo and Wreck-It Ralph to Frozen and Inside Out, Lasseter has commissioned an exclusive movie-themed Hawaiian shirt. And those who know the Oscar®-winning storyteller know that he loves his Hawaiian shirts—and dons one for almost every occasion. Animation fans will see their favorite film characters "materialize" before their eyes in this colorful collection, which will be exhibited on the show floor.

An Animator's Gallery: Eric Goldberg

D23 hosts the first public exhibition anywhere of "An Animator's Gallery: Eric Goldberg." Celebrate Goldberg, whose artistry at Walt Disney Animation Studios began with his groundbreaking work on Genie in Aladdin, and continues to this day on projects such as the upcoming Moana and the 2014 Oscar®-nominated Mickey Mouse short Get A Horse! The exhibition features a collection of more than 100 of Goldberg's caricatured creations of Disney characters, drawn in a style reminiscent of art seen on the famed walls of Sardi's Restaurant and The Brown Derby. This incredible collection of art is from the newly released book An Animator's Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters, and will be available for purchase in the Walt Disney Publishing pop-up shop on the EXPO show floor.

Frozen Album Signing

With the purchase of Frozen: The Songs or Frozen Picture Disc at the Disney Music Emporium, guests will be issued a wristband to secure a space for an album signing with Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez and Tom MacDougall (Co-Producer, Frozen Soundtrack) on Saturday, August 15 at 10:30 am.

For more details, visit D23EXPO.com.

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Checking Out Latest Arrivals to Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic Collection at Disney Parks

DisneyParks Blog - On July 22, 2015, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates another anniversary. To mark the occasion, I recently stopped by Tower Hotel Gifts to check out the latest arrivals from the Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic collection. You may recall that in February we released several new products inspired by this thrilling Disney Parks attraction. Here is a quick recap of some items I found.

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One of my favorite items now available is a luxurious bathrobe. This black robe contains an embroidered Hollywood Tower Hotel logo, and is an update to the previously offered white robe seen in this article from 2013. I love the feel of this robe so much that I’ve been known to wear it around my office.

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Other new items include a women’s shirt, a sweatshirt with an iconic front desk bell, and a Raglan T-shirt with a bellhop silhouette.

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You can also find a notepad and a nice packaged pen both of which are perfect for sending greetings from the beyond fifth dimension.

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The pin team gave me a first look at a new open edition pin coming later this year to Disney Parks. The pin includes an image that slides to reveal Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck.

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Finally, I couldn’t resist sharing this image of my son for this anniversary. He loves riding this attraction every time we visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While exiting one time, he spotted this nod to an original television show episode and proceeded to try walking through it. Luckily, I pulled him back before he became lost in another dimension.

Happy anniversary, Hollywood Tower Hotel!

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Woman found naked, disoriented outside Downtown Disney bar

WESH - The Orange County Sheriff's Office is investigating a possible rape in Downtown Disney.

According to an incident report, an officer was called to investigate a sexual battery that happened sometime after 2 a.m. last Thursday.

The victim was found naked and disoriented by a Disney security officer in some bushes along the walkway leading to a parking lot behind the House of Blues and Circque Du Soleil around 5 a.m., the report said.

The victim told the responding deputy that after drinking two Redd's Apple ales and several shots of vodka while at her apartment, she and her roommate arranged transportation to the House of Blues Music Hall.

The victim said she remembers being at the House of Blues dancing, but not leaving.

"At this point, the victim has no recollection of the events that occurred to her until she was located along the walkway," the report said.

According to the report, the victim did not know whether she'd been involved in any sexual activity, but said she was certain any activity of the sort was not consensual. She said she has no memory of who might have taken advantage of her and left her naked and helpless in the shrubbery.

The victim also said she doesn't know the condition or whereabouts of her roommate.

Authorities were called to the area to set up crime tape to preserve the scene.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has released surveillance images of a man being sought as a person of interest in connection with the case. Anyone with information should contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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Here's all the fun new 'smart' toys Disney is rolling out in time for Christmas

OC Register - There was a time when kids ran around outside, pointed their fingers like a gun and pretended to shoot down a nearby G.I. Joe figure or plastic dinosaur stationed under a tree.

The advent and popularity of video games quashed that kind of play in recent years.

But the Walt Disney Co. is bringing back those adventures – with a modern twist.

Later this fall, Disney will unveil Playmation, a new system of wearable technology and smart toys it hopes will “inspire kids to run around and use their imaginations” – and help boost its newly created consumer and interactive division.

Think laser tag with interactive Disney smart toys. The first series of Playmation, Marvel’s Avengers ($120), is slated to come out in October.

“Playmation Marvel’s Avengers puts kids at the center of stories from the Marvel Universe, taking them on active adventures right alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” Paul Gainer, executive vice president of Disney Retail, said in a statement.

Disney on Tuesday previewed its upcoming holiday consumer products, including a new “Frozen” ice castle, Princess Animator dolls, and Disney Junior’s “Miles from Tomorrowland” toys.

But the highlight of the event was the preview of the company’s successful Infinity

video game franchise, and its newest tech toy, Playmation.

The Disney Infinity 3.0 edition “Star Wars” (set to be released in August) and Playmation are among the first consumer offerings from the company since it merged its Consumer Products and Disney Interactive divisions last month into the newly created Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media division.

As a standalone division, Disney’s Interactive group bled money, losing more than $1 billion in the past five years. In 2014, the company laid off more than 700 employees in that division.

That same year, however, the interactive division also posted its first profit thanks to the success of Disney Infinity, a hybrid toy and video game that allows players to play their favorite Disney toy characters and place them in a virtual world.

Between the first edition, which made its debut in 2013, and the second edition released last year, Disney Infinity has generated more than $1 billion in sales.

The third edition is expected to surpass that with the introduction of the popular “Star Wars” franchise, Disney’s “Inside Out,” and new Marvel characters.

“For a long time, Disney had this endless cycle of creating one-off video games from their newly released movies, and players would buy it, get bored and throw it in a junk pile,” said Roy Choi, managing editor at TechnoBuffalo, an online technology news site.

“But Disney Infinity allows them to create characters from the movies and bring them to life in a virtual world. In a sense, it brings more value to consumers.”

Playmation, Choi said, plays off that same idea except the kids are the heroes.

With Playmation Marvel, kids wear a repulsor – or electronic brace – on their arm. Like Iron Man, Jarvis – his artificially intelligent butler assigns kids a mission on the repulsor.

Other missions can be obtained via a smartphone application. While wearing the repulsor, kids can place a power activator or base station with a smart character on top nearby (15 to 20 feet maximum range), and from there they can shoot it down and make the character eject.

Choi said that with its newest toy, Disney is trying to capitalize on the wearable tech craze and make it kid-friendly.

“It really plays off the kid’s imagination,” Choi said. “You can be Iron Man, or Elsa. Disney is already selling the costume pieces and now they are just adding technology to it.”

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Top 5 Hot Dogs to Celebrate National Hot Dog Day at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

DisneyParks Blog - Tomorrow is National Hot Dog Day, but at Disney Parks we celebrate year-round! Did you know Walt Disney Parks and Resorts guests enjoy more than 6.4 million hot dogs annually? In honor of National Hot Dog Day, I’m sharing my Top 5 hot dogs from coast to coast:

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  1. Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog (Restaurantosaurus, Disney’s Animal Kingdom): This dog is topped with creamy macaroni and cheese and bacon bits, sure to satisfy your prehistoric hunger.

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  1. Vegetarian Portobello-Mushroom Philly (Award Wieners, Disney California Adventure park): Even carnivores will love this dish with grilled Portobello, onions and bell peppers sautéed in Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale and topped with pepper jack cheese.
  1. Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll (Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, Disney’s Hollywood Studios): This dog is perfect when you’re on the go, the Dijon mustard inside the roll will help keep you mess-free for your silver screen debut.

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  1. Chili-Cheese Dog (Refreshment Corner, Disneyland park): Combining Walt Disney’s love for chili with an all-American hot dog, this classic might be the perfect Disneyland tribute.

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  1. Barbecued Pork and Coleslaw Gourmet Hot Dog (Casey’s Corner, Magic Kingdom Park): Topped with barbecued pulled pork and refreshing coleslaw, this hearty dog begs to be enjoyed picnic-style in the new Hub grass area.

How will you celebrate National Hot Dog Day?

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Disney Continues to Dominate Broadway With The Lion King and Aladdin

The Street - Disney (DIS) has taken over Broadway. 

Out of the top three highest grossing shows on Broadway this past week, Disney Theatrical Productions Limited, a subsidiary of Disney, has two of them. As a highly successful multi-faceted company, Disney tends to dominate any market it gets into and theater has been no exception.

The two shows taking over Broadway currently are the long-running The Lion King, which grossed just over $2.6 million last week alone, and newer production Aladdin, which grossed just over $1.8 million last week. Both are among price leaders for Broadway tickets on the secondary market.

Disney Theatrical Productions Limited, also known as Disney on Broadway, was founded in 1993 by Ron Logan as Walt Disney Theatrical. The company began putting on Broadway musicals and plays in 1994 when it produced Beauty and the Beast. Other notable Disney productions include King David (1997), The Lion King (1997-present), Aida (2000-2004), Tarzan (2006-2007), Mary Poppins (2006-2013), The Little Mermaid (2008-2009), Arcadia (Revival) (2011), Sister Act (2011-2012), and Peter and the Starcatcher (2012-2013).

Face prices for Disney shows tend to be expensive, too, but currently not as expensive as other top Broadway productions, such as The Book of Mormon which costs around $129 at its cheapest. The lowest price for The Lion King is currently $92 and Aladdin tickets begin at $49.50. On the secondary market, The Lion King tickets average $243 and Aladdin averages $191 per ticket, according to TiqIQ. Even with those relatively steep prices, fans are getting what they pay for: an amazingly produced Disney production that brings audiences back to their childhood years.

Many Disney shows have made the Longest Running Broadway List. The Lion King is currently at No. 4, Beauty and the Beast is No. 9, Mary Poppins is No. 22, Aida is No. 35, and Newsies is No. 101. Aida grossed just over $700,000 on average per week during its run, and Mary Poppins grossed on average $882,000 per week during its run, which is quite impressive overall. 

So what's next for Disney on Broadway? In January 2014, CEO Bob Iger announced that the hit animated film Frozen was in early development stages for a theatrical adaptation. A musical adaptation of the iconic film Pinocchio is set to premiere at the National Royal Theatre in December 2016. Also the Hunchback of Notre Dame was performed at the Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey this past year, and some say that may come to Broadway in the near future.

Fans can see the current Disney productions of The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre or Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre, the oldest theatre on Broadway.

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Show Your ‘Inside Out’ #DisneySide For a runDisney Race! Part V: SADNESS

DisneyParks Blog - It’s common for runners to experience the “Post-Race Blues” during the weeks after a race. You’ve had so many emotions the past few months and your race is now over. You’ve experienced FEAR, DISGUST, ANGER and JOY, but now another emotion pops up that you probably weren’t expecting.

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If you feel SADNESS come over you, don’t be discouraged because it is normal to feel this way. It’s important to realize that every emotion is essential – and sometimes you’ll find that more than one is in control of Headquarters!

This cute shirt from the Disney Store can help cheer you up! Also, check out other items from Champion and New Balance to show your Inside Out #DisneySide.

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One of the best ways to overcome Sadness is to have another finish line in your future! Sign up for e-mail updates from runDisney to know when registration opens for upcoming races. You can also follow us on Twitter @runDisney, Instagram/runDisney and Facebook.com/rundisney for up-to-date information!

The Disney•Pixar film “Inside Out” ventures inside the mind of Riley and introduces us to the Emotions that guide her – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. Based in Headquarters, the five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy, whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. “Inside Out” is directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter ('Monsters Inc.”, “Up”) and produced by Jonas Rivera (“Up”) with an original score by Michael Giacchino (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up”). “Inside Out” is in theatres now in 3D and is rated PG.

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Tuesday July 21, 2015
No News Updates Today

Monday July 20, 2015
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Celebrates 50 Years at Disneyland Park
Amy Schumer in Trouble With Disney, Lucasfilm for "Inappropriate" GQ Star Wars Shoot
Disney Springs begins work on second parking garage, more resort projects
Ant-Man heading to Disney Infinity 3.0

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Celebrates 50 Years at Disneyland Park

DisneyParks Blog - On July 18, 1965, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln officially opened at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland park. Walt Disney first debuted the attraction honoring our 16th president in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, and after earning international acclaim, made Main Street, U.S.A., its permanent home the following year.

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Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln not only pays tribute to history, but it marks a milestone in Audio-Animatronics technology. Debuting one year after Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room introduced Audio-Animatronics figures, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was the very first attraction to use the breakthrough technology to create a lifelike human figure.

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In 2009, the classic attraction was refined to incorporate advanced Audio-Animatronics technology. Before the opening of The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, we gave you an in-depth look at the Lincoln figure’s extraordinarily realistic expressions and took you behind the programming board to see how Walt Disney Imagineering integrated modern enhancements with elements of the original show.

Now, fifty years after its original opening, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln continues to bring history to life and dazzle guests at Disneyland park.

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Amy Schumer in Trouble With Disney, Lucasfilm for "Inappropriate" GQ Star Wars Shoot

US Weekly - Disney is not happy with Amy Schumer's sexy Star Wars-inspired GQ cover
The force may not be so strong with Amy Schumer. The hilarious comedian, 34, covered the latest issue of GQ magazine with a sexy Star Wars-themed photo shoot, but the companies behind the sci-fi franchise are hardly pleased with the images.

 Amy Schumer on the cover of GQ

The official Star Wars Twitter account responded to multiple tweets from outraged fans who took issue with the steamy cover. Schumer, 34, is captured on the front of the August issue with C-3PO, and is shown sucking the Star Wars droid's finger while wearing a Princess Leia-inspired getup. 

Inside the issue, Schumer puts a lightsaber in her mouth while wearing the braids and bikini. She also poses topless in bed with C-3PO and R2-D2, a cigarette hanging from her mouth as she suggestively cozies up to the two famed characters. 

Responding to a Tweet reading, "I can't believe @Disney signed off on the use of @starwars characters/props in the fashion depicted in @GQMagazine," the Star Wars account wrote, "Lucasfilm & Disney did not authorize, participate in or condone the inappropriate use of our characters in this manner." 

The reps for Star Wars continued to send the same message over and over again to fans who called the pictures "distasteful." The movies' veteran lead star Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), however, had a different take on the shots, tweeting this past weekend, "Got excited when I saw @amyschumer @GQMagazine pics & thought she was just cast in Ep 8! We should be so lucky."

While Schumer may not be in the upcoming Star Wars trilogy, she is seeing her own big-screen success with the weekend release of her Bill Hader-assisted comedy, Trainwreck. Written by Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow, the flick hit theaters on Friday, July 17, and made an impressive $30 million on its opening weekend. 

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Disney Springs begins work on second parking garage, more resort projects

Orlando Business Journal - Anyone waiting for Disney Springs' second parking garage won't have to wait long, as work is now underway.

Walt Disney World each week files permits with Orange County on new projects underway, which this week includes starting work on the future multi-story parking garage at Disney Springs. According to the permits, DPR Construction in Orlando is the contractor building the garage located on the eastern side of Disney Springs. DPR built the already-existing, similarly designed garage that opened in November near Disney Springs' Westside.

Other projects Disney filed over the past week include some rehabilitation work at Disney's Hollywood Studios Animation Tour, Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom and work around Disney's Animal Kingdom. Typically, Disney's projects include anything from mechanical upgrades and renovations to smaller projects such as installing antennas, updating paint jobs and more.

These projects, albeit sometimes small, all play key roles in Disney's ability to maintain its standards that help lure millions of tourists to the region and keep the $60 billion travel and tourism industry busy.

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Ant-Man heading to Disney Infinity 3.0

IGN - Marvel's unique size-changing hero Ant-Man may very well join the rest of the Avengers in Disney Infinity 3.0.

An image on the Disney Infinity Twitter account has shown off an image of several Marvel heroes crowded around a tiny figure in Hulk's outstretched hand. Above it is the message "Something big is coming to Disney Infinity."

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Though it has not been made official, Ant-Man's inclusion in Disney Infinity 3.0 would make sense. His solo movie debuts in theaters this weekend, and it's already been confirmed that he'll be joining the Avengers in future films. What remains unknown is how big or small his figure will be.

Disney Infinity 3.0 will also feature characters from the Star Wars universe. Look for it on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, iOS, Android, and Wii U on August 30.

You can also read IGN's Ant-Man review to learn more about the scientific wonders of Pym Particles.

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Sunday July 19, 2015
No News Updates Today

Saturday July 18, 2015
No News Updates Today

Friday July 17, 2015
HAPPY 60TH ANNIVERSARY DISNEYLAND
No News Updates Today

Thursday July 16, 2015
Ice Palace Boutique Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Frozen Summer Fun This July
The 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Booths and Menus
See Video of Walt Disney Preparing for Disneyland’s Opening
Hess out, Speedway in at Disney World gas stations
Will Disney Find Box-Office Success Again with Ant-Man?
Made with Magic Sippers Coming Soon to Disneyland Resort
Disney plans 'Aladdin' live-action prequel
Ex-Disney Cruise worker sentenced to 5 years in molestation case

Ice Palace Boutique Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Frozen Summer Fun This July

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DisneyParks Blog - I’m excited to announce the Ice Palace Boutique will join Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting July 26. This wintry salon is where guests ages 3-12 can undergo a magical transformation as they prepare for Coronation  day revel in a flurry of “Frozen” fun. The Ice Palace Boutique will be located on Commissary Lane across from ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Unique to this location, guests can purchase select packages where families can also join in the “Frozen” fun. Additional party members can enjoy the exclusive Ice Palace Café, an immersive “Frozen”-themed café with included snacks while they wait for their Anna or Elsa.

The party will also get reserved seating at one show of “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” at Hyperion Theater.

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The “Frozen”-inspired packages include:

  • Frozen Summer Fun Boutique Package – This package includes Anna or Elsa-inspired shimmering makeup palette, face gems, nail polish, a braided hair piece with sparkling snowflake accessory and an exclusive photo opportunity. Package retail: $75, includes tax.
  • Ice Palace Boutique Package – This package includes the items offered in the Frozen Summer Fun Boutique Package. It also includes access to the Ice Palace Café and reserved seating at one of the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” shows. Package retail: $175, includes tax.
  • Ice Palace Boutique Deluxe Package – This package includes an Anna or Elsa costume plus the items offered in the Ice Palace Boutique Package. Package retail: $240, includes tax.

The Ice Palace Boutique Package and the Ice Palace Boutique Deluxe Package is for up to 6 guests, including the child getting the magical transformation.

Reservations can be made in advance and are highly recommended. To book your appointment starting July 17, please call 407-827-7400. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. The location may be able to accommodate guests without reservations on a limited, first-come, first-serve basis each day.

Ice Palace Boutique will only be offered during Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios which continues through September 7, 2015.

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The 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Booths and Menus

Disney News - Get your appetites ready for this Year's
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Celebrating it's 20th Anniversary.
Ready, Set...Drool!

Africa
 Food:
–Berbere-style beef tenderloin tips with onions, jalapeños, tomato and pap
–Buttered chicken with micro cilantro and naan bread

To drink:
–Indaba Chenin Blanc
–DeMorgenzon DMZ Cabernet Róse
–Fairview Pinotage
–Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz

American Adventure Coffee Cart
 Drink:
–Frozen Strawberry-Lemon Sunset: Frozen Strawberry and lemon, topped with Grey Goose Vodka

Australia
 Food:
–Grilled sweet and spicy bush berry shrimp with pineapple, peppers, onions, and snap peas
–Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies
–Lamington: Yellow cake dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut

Drink:
–Coopers Brewery Extra Strong Vintage Ale
–Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling
–Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay
–Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz

Belgium
 Food:
–Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef and smoked gouda cream
–Belgium waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream
–Belgium waffle with berry compote and whipped cream

Drink:
–Hoegaarden
–Leffe Blonde
–Palm Spéciale Belge Ale
–Stella Artois Cidre
–Chilled coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
–Beer flight: Hoegaarden®, Palm Amber Ale, Leffe Blonde and Stella Artois Cidre

Block & Hans
–Champagne Enchantée Brut, Champagne
–Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley
–GoGi Goldie Chardonnay, Sta Rita Hills
–Lasseter Family Winery Enjoué Rosé, Sonoma Valley
–Fess Parker Frontier Red, Santa Barbara County
–Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
–Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Brazil
 Food:
–Escondidinho de carne, “Little Hidden One”: layered meat pie with mashed yucca
–Crispy pork belly with black beans and tomato
–Pão de queijo: Brazilian cheese bread
–Cocada: Brazilian coconut candy

Drink:
–Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer
–Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine
–Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça

Brewers Collection
–Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
–Norbertus Special Hefeweizen
–BraufactuM Progusta IPA
–Shöfferhofer Zitrone Weizen-Mix

Bier Flight:
–Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
–Norbertus Special Hefeweizen
–BraufactuM Progusta IPA
–Shöfferhofer Zitrone Weizen-Mix

Canada
 Food:
–Canadian cheddar cheese soup
–Chicken sausage with creamy polenta and Minus 8 onion jam
–“Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce

Drink:
–Moosehead Lager
–Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine
–Inniskillin Vidal Icewine
–Tawse Vineyard Cabernet Franc

Cheese StudioNEW! 
Food:
–Trio of artisan cheese
–Karst cave-aged cheese served with honey
–La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin® bread
–Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote
–Sweet goat cheese panna cotta with guava gellé
–Cheese fondue with sourdough bread

Drink:
–Robert Mondavi FuméBlanc
–Still River Winery Apfel Eis (apple ice wine)
–Sterling Vintner’s Collection Cabernet Sauvignon

Chew LabNEW!
 Food::
–Olive oil poached salmon with fresh corn, bacon and pepper jam
–New York strip, parsnip silk, balsamic glaze and arugula foam
–Liquid nitro chocolate almond truffle with warm whiskey caramel

Drink:
–Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley
–Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
–Smoking Hibiscus featuring Montelobos® Mezcal Joven

China
 Food:
–Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce
–Gaoli beef slider
–Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles
–Chicken pot stickers

Drink:
–TSINGTAO Beer
–Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Riesling
–Ritzy Lychee with cognac and vodka
–Happy Peach with peach liqueur and dark rum
–Kung Fu Punch with vodka and triple sec
–Mango jasmine tea with popping bubbles

Craft Beers
 Drink:
–Brew Hub Keybilly Island Ale, Lakeland, FL
–Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, FL
–Orlando Brewing Grateful Pumpkin, Orlando, FL
–Swamp Head Wild Night® Honey Cream Ale, Gainsville, FL
–3 Daughters St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL
–Florida Beer Company Passport 20 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Cape Canaveral, FL
–Funky Buddha Vanilla Espresso Porter, Oakland Park, FL
–Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Clearwater, FL

Flight #1: Florida Harvest
–Brew Hub Keybilly Island Ale, Lakeland, FL
–Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, FL
–Orlando Brewing Grateful Pumpkin, Orlando, FL
–Swamp Head Wild Night® Honey Cream Ale, Gainsville, FL

Flight #2: Craft Beer Lovers
–3 Daughters St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL
–Florida Beer Company Passport 20 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Cape Canaveral, FL
–Funky Buddha Vanilla Espresso Porter, Oakland Park, FL
–Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Clearwater, FL

Food:
–Craft beer snack mix: sweet and savory blend of nuts, fruits, and crackers
–Charcuterie plate: Country pâté, cured meats, and crostini
–Pimento cheese dip with pretzel crisps
–Bloody Mary shrimp cocktail

Desserts & Champagne 
Food:
–Chocolate cherry explosion
–Strawberry-basil champagne “toast”
–Guylian® Belgian chocolate seashell truffles

Drink:
–Nicholas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs
–Möet & Chandon Impérial
–Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin “Yellow Label”
–Dom Pérignon
–Möet & Chandon Nectar Impérial
–Orange Blossom Brewery Toasted Coconut Porter float with caramel ice cream
–Cream soda float with caramel ice cream
–Frozen S’mores featuring Monin Toasted Marshmallow Syrup

Dominican Republic — Back from 2007
 Food:
–Lechón asado: Roasted pork with mangú, pickled red onion and avocado
–Soufflé de yuca: Yuca soufflé topped with griddled cheese
–Pescado con coco: Seared grouper, pigeon peas and rice with coconut sauce
–Caramel flan with rum-roasted pineapple

Drink:
–Presidente Pilsner Beer
–Frozen Dominican piña colada featuring Ron Barceló Blanco Rum
–Frozen sugar cane cocktail featuring Ron Barceló Blanco Rum

Farm Fresh
 Food:
–Loaded mac n’ cheese with Nueske’s pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions
–Griddled “yard bird” with braised greens

Drink:
–Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider
–Wyder’s Dry Pear Hard Cider
–Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider
–ACE Hard Pumpkin Cider
–Florida Orange Groves, Key Limen Wine
–Tom Gore Chardonnay
–Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon

Hard cider flight:
–Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider
–Wyder’s Dry Pear Hard Cider
–Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider
–ACE Hard Pumpkin Cider

Fife & Drum Tavern
–Ghirardelli Ice Cream Sundae
–Mmmmhops Pale Ale

France
 Food:
–Croissant aux escargots with garlic and parsley
–Boeuf bourguignon: Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes
–Crème brûlée vanille chocolat: Vanilla & chocolate crème brûlée topped with caramelized sugar

Drink:
–Beer, Kronenbourg Blanc 1664
–Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, Vielles Vignes Mommessin
–Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet
–Sparkling Pomegranate Kir
–Ice Pop Pomme: Apple juice, vodka, and St. Germain liqueur
–La Passion Martini Slush: vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice

Germany
 Food:
–Schinkennudeln: Pasta gratin with ham and cheese
–Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll
–Apple strudel with vanilla sauce

Drink:
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett
–Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese
–Kallstadter Kobnert Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Spätlese Dry

German Riesling flight:
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett
–Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese

Greece
 Food:
–Vegetarian moussaka with Gardein sausage crumbles
–Greek salad in a cone
–Chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce
–Spanakopita

Drink:
–Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
–Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko/Athiri
–Alpha Estate Axia Syrah Xinomavro
–Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

Hawai’i
 Food:
–Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole® Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise*
–Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips

Drink:
–Kona Brewing Company, Big Wave Golden Ale
–Kona Brewing Company, Pipeline Porter
–Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine
–Mai Tai featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum

Hops & Barley 
Food:
–New England Lobster Roll
–Florida grass fed beef slider with pimento cheese
–Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing

Drink:
–SweetWater Take Two Pils
–Goose Island Honkers Ale
–Samuel Adams Rebel IPA
–Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA
–La Crema® Chardonnay
–Cambria Estate Winery Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
–Beer Flight (Includes 4, 4 oz. servings)
–SweetWater Take Two Pils
–Goose Island Honkers Ale
–Samuel Adams Rebel IPA
–Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA

Intermissions Café
 Food:
–Asian Tuna Salad with Noodles
–Southwest Chicken Wrap
–Tuna Salad with Pita
–Cucumber and Tomato Salad
–Crudité of Carrots, Celery and Broccoli with Creamy Pepper Relish
–Fruit & Cheese Plate
–Side Salad
–Grapes
–Key Lime Pie
–Brownie

Drink:
–Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley
–Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
–MARTINI Prosecco
–Caposaldo Peach Moscato Sweet Sparkling Wine
–Iron Horse Vineyards “Fairy Tale Cuvée” Sparkling Wine
–Presidente Pilsner Beer
–Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider
–Assorted soft drinks
–Dasani Water

Ireland
 Food:
–Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie
–Kerrygold® cheese selection: Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig
–Warm chocolate pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard

Drink:
–Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
–Bunratty Meade Honey Wine
–Chilled Irish Coffee featuring Bunratty Potcheen
–Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur

Italy
 Food:
–Ravioli alla caprese: Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil
–Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala: Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread
–Cannoli al cioccolato: Chocolate-covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit

Drink:
–Moretti Lager Beer
–Moretti La Rossa Beer
–Pinot Grigio, Placido
–Corbinello, Montegrande
–Chianti Classico, Placido
–Moscato Fior d’Arancio, Montegrande
–Prosecco, Bosco del Merlo
–Frozen margarita with limoncello and tequila

Japan
 Food:
–Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce
–Teriyaki gyoza bun: Steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki sauce
–Miso Udon: steamed shrimp, vegetables, and noodles in a spicy broth

Drink:
–Kirin Draft Beer
–Pineapple Fuzed Sake
–Sake – Komatsu Tateaki Samurai
–Sake – Suigei Drunken Whale

Mexico
 Food:
–Tacos de camarón: Battered shrimp, pico de gallo, pickled onions, and chipotle mayonnaise
–Chilaquiles de pollo: Corn chips layered with seasoned chicken, queso fresco, sour cream and cilantro
–Pastel de elote con queso: sweet corn cheesecake

Drink:
–Dos Equis Lager Beer with Floater
–Mexican sangria
–Tequila Flight
–Guava margarita

Morocco
 Food:
–Kefta pocket: Ground seasoned beef in a pita pocket
–Harissa chicken roll
–Baklava

Drink:
–Casa Beer
–Guerouane White
–Sangria
–Mimosa Royale

New Zealand
 Food:
–Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs
–Seared venison loin with wild mushroom marsala sauce and kumara dumpling
–Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney

Drink:
–Kim Crawford Pinot Gris
–Brancott Estate Flight Song Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
–Kim Crawford Chardonnay
–Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir

Odyssey Coffee Cart
 Drink:
–Tropical Delight Mango Smoothie with Coconut Syrup and Grey Goose Vodka

Patagonia
 Food:
–Beef empanada
–Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée
–Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri

Drink:
–Undurraga Sparkling Wine Brut
–Calle Ocho Chardonnay
–Kaiken Torrontés
–Terrazas Reserva Malbec

Poland
 Food:
–Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream
–Sauerkraut pierogi with pork goulash

Drink:
–Okocim Brewery, Okocim O.K. Beer
–Donausonne® Blaufränkisch Hungarian Wine
–Frozen Szarlotka Apple Pie featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

Refreshment Port
 Food:
–Croissant doughnut with cinnamon and sugar
–Dole fruit bowl: choice of pineapple tidbits or mandarin slices
–Fried chicken chunks with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce
–Pineapple Dole® Whip soft-serve ice cream
–Pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve ice cream with Bacardí® Coconut Rum

Drink:
–Dragon Berry Refresher featuring Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum

Refreshment Cool Post
 Food:
–spicy hot dogs with kimchi slaw and korean mustard

Drink:
–Mango Star featuring African Starr Rum t
–frozen “Brown Elephant.”

Scotland
 Food:
–Haggis with neeps and tatties: Traditional Haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes
–Fresh potato pancake with Scottish smoked salmon and herb sour cream
–Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon
–The Tipsy Laird: Whiskey-soaked cake with lemon cream and toasted oats

Drink:
–Innis & Gunn CASK OAK Aged Beer*
–Brew Dog Punk Ale
–Citrus Thistle featuring Hendrick’s Gin
–Glenfiddich Single Malt 12-Year Scotch
–Glenfiddich Single Malt 15-Year Scotch
–Glenfiddich Single Malt 18-Year Scotch
–Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch flight (12-, 15- and 18-year)

Showcase Coffee Cart
Drink:
–Hot, Iced, or Frozen Chai Latte with Grey Goose Vodka or Bailey’s topped with cinnamon and whipped cream

South Korea
 Food:
–Korean Barbecue Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi
–Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw

Drink:
–iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew
–Myungjak Bokbunja Raspberry Wine
–Soju Banana Milkshake featuring The Ginger People® Ginger Soother®

Sustainable ChewNEW!
 Food:
–Pork Spareribs with red wine, fennel, and cheesy mascarpone grits
–Ricotta & zucchini ravioli with tomato sauce
–Vanilla panna cotta with fresh figs and pistachio brittle

Drink:
–Founders Spectra Trifecta (Chamomile Kolsch)
–Frozen Chew-tini
–Beso Del Sol White Sangria

Test Track Coffee Cart
Drink:
–Iced Coffee Dream: bold roast coffee, chilled and iced, with light cream, topped with Bailey’s Irish Crème and whipped cream. Also available hot.

Wine StudioNEW! 
Food:
–Trio of artisan cheese
–Karst cave-aged cheese served with honey
–La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin bread
–Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote

Drink:
–Avviato Pinot Grigio, Oregon
–14 Hands Chardonnay, Washington
–Franciscan Equilibrium White Wine, California
–Acacia Pinot Noir, California
–Dry Creek Zinfandel, California
–Spellbound Petite Sirah, California
–Clayhouse Malbec, California
–Line 39 Cabernet Sauvignon, California

Menus are Subject to Change without Warning

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See Video of Walt Disney Preparing for Disneyland’s Opening

TIME - With Disneyland marking its 60th anniversary this week and news that Disney plans to open a park in Shanghai, it’s worth remembering that the theme park that started it all almost wasn’t ready in time for its planned July 17, 1955, opening day.

 

As shown in this exclusive clip from the PBS American Experience special Walt Disney, which premieres Sept. 14 and 15, Disney took a hands-on approach to the park that bore his name. He was personally involved in the planning, design and the last ditch effort to open the gates on time–which required thousands of extra workers and tripled the estimated cost of the project.

Disney so committed to opening on time that he even made the tough decision between working bathrooms and working drinking fountains–only one would be ready.

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Hess out, Speedway in at Disney World gas stations

Orlando Sentinel - Folks fueling up on Walt Disney World property this week may notice a change in the gas station's signage. Locations that were Hess stores will now be Speedway.

The transition is happening nationwide as a result of Speedway LLC's 2014 purchase of Hess Retail Holdings, which came with a $2.82 billion billion price tag. Speedway was given three years to make the changeover.

The change affects 1,200 stations in the U.S. -- including nearly 250 stations in Florida, dozens in Central Florida and the three on Walt Disney World property.

The outlet near Disney's BoardWalk was altered Wednesday, followed by the Downtown Disney stop on  Thursday. The Hess at the Car Care Center near the Ticket & Transportation Center and Magic Kingdom will convert into Speedway on Friday.

The three Disney World stations became Hess outlets in 2004.

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Will Disney Find Box-Office Success Again with Ant-Man?

Zacks - The Walt Disney Company latest offering Ant-Man hits the theaters on Jul 17. Given the runaway success of Marvel these days, this relatively unknown caped crusader is likely to win at the box office.

Ant-Man has created a lot of buzz, thanks to Disney’s unparalleled marketing abilities. Analysts estimate Ant-Man to rake in $60-$65 million in its opening weekend domestically and another $60 million across international territories, taking the total weekend count to $115-$125 million. The estimates are almost in line with the collections of Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor in their debut weekends.

Moreover, analysts have been drawing parallels with last summer’s smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a high risk venture for Disney being based on a relatively obscure comic book series set entirely in outer space.

However, Guardians of the Galaxy defied all odds, and nabbed a powerful $160.4 million in its opening weekend worldwide. At domestic box office, it opened at the no. 1 slot with $94.3 million in collections. The movie made $774.2 million in its entire theatrical run globally and became the year’s third highest grossing movie. Guardians benefitted from its witty and humor laced script, brilliant SFI and an impressive cast.

As per the Ant-Man trailers, it looks like director Peyton Reed has done a good job at combining humor and action, plus Disney has been  branding it as a family film, which we believe will work in its favor. Critics have given favorable reviews to the movie as reflected in an 8 out of 10 score on IMDb and a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Ant-Man has an impressive cast with Paul Rudd in the titular role while Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily, Corey Stroll, and Michael Pena play some prominent characters. The plot is pretty simple. Scott Lang (Rudd), a thief is given a chance at redemption by Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) to take on the Ant-Man suit and carry out a heist that would ensure the survival of mankind.

All the above mentioned factors will work in Ant-Man’s favour, giving Disney the scope to boast of yet another success in 2015 after Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Pixar’s Inside Out.

However, the movie might face some serious competition from Minions that has literally gone ‘bananas’ at the box office. After a fantastic $115 million opening weekend, this Despicable Me spin-off continues to have a strong hold at the box office.

Going into the second weekend, collections of this Comcast Corporation (CMCSA ) animated flick is estimated to hover as high as $60 million and above. In such a scenario, analysts believe that Ant-Man might not open at the no. 1 slot.

In addition, Trainwreck, another offering from Comcast owned Universal studios, might snatch a share of business from Ant-Man. This R rated comedy, starring Amy Schumer has garnered strong and favourable response from the critics. It has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Trainwreck is expected to earn an impressive $18 million to $20 million in its opening weekend.

Ant-Man will open in about 3,800 screens including 361 IMAX and 388 premium large format screens across North America. It will release simultaneously in 50 international territories.

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Made with Magic Sippers Coming Soon to Disneyland Resort

DisneyParks Blog - Become part of “Fantasmic!” and “World of Color – Celebrate!” in a whole new way. Made with Magic sippers will be sold at select Food and Beverage locations in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks beginning July 17.

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“Fantasmic!” Chernabog sipper locations include:

  • Glow Carts throughout Disneyland park
  • The Golden Horseshoe
  • Stage Door Café
  • Ship to Shore Marketplace
  • River Belle Terrace
  • French Market Restaurant
  • Mint Julep Bar
  • Blue Bayou Restaurant
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant
  • Harbour Galley
  • Aladdin’s Oasis

“World of Color” sipper locations include:

  • Glow Carts throughout Disney California Adventure park
  • Smokejumpers Grill
  • Mad T Party
  • Studio Catering Co.
  • Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
  • Pacific Wharf Café
  • Lucky Fortune Cookery
  • Fillmore’s Taste-In
  • Cove Bar
  • Paradise Garden Grill
  • Bayside Brews

The sipper without a beverage is $25.00 (tax included) or $28.00 with a beverage (including fountain soda, frozen carbonated beverages and frozen lemonade).

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Disney plans 'Aladdin' live-action prequel

Relax News - "Genies", a live-action comedy adventure, is currently being written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift according to an exclusive by the Hollywood Reporter.

The much-loved 1992 Disney movie "Aladdin" is set to be revisited, with a prequel entitled "Genies". The story will explore how it was that Genie, played by the late Robin Williams, ended up in the lamp. The original Disney movie was inspired by an old Arabic tale.

Although plans are only at an early stage, Disney already have Tripp Vinson lined up as producer. Vinson is currently producing "Bob the Musical" and "Prince Charming" for the same studio. Writers Shannon and Swift are mainly known for their early work in the horror genre, but have more recently segued into comedy scripts.

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Ex-Disney Cruise worker sentenced to 5 years in molestation case

Local 6 - A former Disney cruise line worker accused of molesting a young passenger was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Thursday after entering a guilty plea.

Ahmed Sofyan, 37, was originally arrested back in 2014 on charges of lewd molestation and false imprisonment.

Investigators say while the Disney Dream cruise ship was docked at Port Canaveral, Sofyan lured a 13-year-old girl into a cabin and molested her.

Sofyan was sentenced on Thursday by a judge to 5 years 10 months in prison. The state had requested a sentence of 10 years in prison.

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Wednesday July 15, 2015
Shanghai Disneyland Themed Lands to Include New Attractions, Live Shows
Disney's Iger 'not concerned' about China economy
Disney (DIS) Stock Gains on Shanghai Park Plan
Child drowns in pool at Disney's Art of Animation Resort
California craft wines to debut at Disney World's Epcot festival
Mickey’s Halloween Party Expands to 17 Nights with Return of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, September 11-November 1
Wreck-It Ralph 2 Is Happening, Get The Details

Shanghai Disneyland Themed Lands to Include New Attractions, Live Shows

DisneyParks Blog - Just a few minutes ago in China, Disney chairman and CEO, Bob Iger unveiled new, exciting details on Shanghai Disney Resort, the area’s first Disney destination, and the six themed lands planned for the Shanghai Disneyland theme park.
 
 
 
 
 

Shanghai Disney Resort will be a world-class family entertainment destination that blends the magic of Disney and the cultural spirit and beauty of China. And during a special event that included Disney COO Tom Staggs and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek, Bob Iger shared a peek at what the Resort will look like with the unveiling of a spectacular scale model showcasing its two hotels, Disneytown – its international shopping, dining and entertainment district, Wishing Star Park’s beautiful gardens and six themed lands of mainland China’s first Disney theme park – Shanghai Disneyland.

“We are building something truly special here in Shanghai that not only showcases the best of Disney’s storytelling but also celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage to create a one-of-a-kind destination that will delight and entertain the people of China for generations to come,” said Iger speaking to media during today’s presentation at the Shanghai Expo Centre. “We are taking everything we’ve learned from our six decades of exceeding expectations – along with our relentless innovation and famous creativity to create a truly magical place that is both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.”

 Shanghai Disney Resort Shanghai Disney Resort

At Shanghai Disneyland, Disney stories will come to life at the tallest, largest and most interactive castle at any Disney theme park. The themed lands will offer something for everyone with live stage productions, world premieres and thrilling attractions ­­– many never seen before – that will appeal to guests of all generations. Guests also will be able to experience Disney characters in each land, including Mickey and his pals on Mickey Avenue and in Gardens of Imagination.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Along with Tomorrowland, we have a more detailed look at the lands coming to Shanghai Disneyland:

Fantasyland will be the largest land and home to the majestic Enchanted Storybook Castle that we’ve already featured here on the Blog. In this fairy-tale paradise, guests will float through familiar Disney stories on Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, hitch a rollicking ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and take flight over the skies of London on Peter Pan’s Flight. They may also explore the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh or follow Alice through a dazzling Wonderland maze.

Treasure Cove – will be the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park. As guests explore this pirate world, they will enter Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, an attraction that transforms a boat ride into a thrilling journey with cutting-edge innovations in robotics, animation, set design and multimedia. Adventurous spirits will be tempted to board a pirate ship, paddle through the scenic cove on Explorer Canoes and dine at Barbossa’s Bounty.

Adventure Isle will immerse guests in a newly discovered lost world, filled with hidden treasures and a chance to explore its mysteries. The mighty Roaring Mountain will tower over guests and beckon them on their journey. Guests can blaze their own trails at Camp Discovery, travel around the world on Soaring over the Horizon, or embark on the thrilling rafting adventure Roaring Rapids, straight through the heart of Adventure Isle. There they discover the underworld realm of a mysterious, fearsome creature.

Tomorrowland will not only include the TRON Lightcycle Power Run but also offer the chance for guests to go to infinity and beyond on Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, a new space ranger adventure, or break the bonds of gravity on Jet Packs. The land will feature a massive, color-shifting canopy near the TRON Lightcycle Power Run.

Mickey Avenue will be the first main entry at a Disney park inspired by the colorful personalities of Mickey Mouse and his pals. In the neighborhoods of this welcoming, whimsical avenue, guests will share a hug and get a photo with some all-time favorite Disney characters. Avenue M Arcade, one of the many shops along the avenue, will feature the largest selection of gifts and collectibles inside the theme park.

Gardens of Imagination will celebrate the wonders of nature and the joy of imagination, as guests leave everyday life behind to enjoy the seven whimsical gardens. Guests will take a spin on the Fantasia Carousel, soar on the back of Dumbo the Flying Elephant and enjoy the area’s iconic Disney entertainment, including Castle stage shows and “Ignite the Dream, a Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light.” From several places in this land, guests will enjoy “Mickey’s Storybook Express,” an exciting parade with its own musical soundtrack and colorful performers on the longest parade route in a Disney park.

Since breaking ground in 2011, Disney and Shanghai Shendi Group announced that they were expanding the park by adding additional attractions and entertainment to allow more guests to have a spectacular Disney experience at Grand Opening in spring of 2016. Stay tuned for more updates on Shanghai Disney Resort.

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Disney's Iger 'not concerned' about China economy

Finance - Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) Chairman and CEO, Bob Iger , told CNBC he was "extremely bullish" about China's long-term prospects, as he unveiled details of its first theme park in the country.

Shanghai Disneyland, due to open next spring, will include six "themed lands"-Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, Tomorrowland, Mickey Avenue and Gardens of Imagination. The project is expected to cost Disney, along with partners the Shanghai Shendi Group, $5.5 billion.

The grand unveiling of the park in Shanghai comes at a difficult time for businesses in China, following weeks of market volatility - but Iger said he was not concerned.

"We build things to last many years. Disneyland was built 60 years ago and has been through the ups and downs of the U.S. economy for six decades," he told CNBC Wednesday.

"So we're not concerned with the Chinese economy and we're extremely bullish about the long-term prospects of it."

A recent meltdown in Chinese stocks has seen the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fall over 25 percent over the last 30 days. However, on the year it is up around 17 percent, reflecting the rock-and-roll ride in Chinese markets of late.

Despite this volatility, China is becoming an increasingly important market for global companies. Although the rate of growth has slowed, its economy still expanded by 7 percent year-on-year in the second quarter. Beijing is also pushing for more consumer-led growth and the middle class is booming - all appealing factors to big business.

As such, Iger said the Chinese theme park was one of the company's "most important projects."

"China represents a great opportunity for the Walt Disney Company," he added. "Growing in China is a huge priority for us and our primary approach in terms of growth is this park, so obviously it's extremely important and very exciting."

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Disney (DIS) Stock Gains on Shanghai Park Plan

The Street - Shares of The Walt Disney Company (DIS ) were gaining 0.4% to $118.35 Wednesday morning after the company announced it will open a new park in Shanghai.

Disney CEO Bob Iger unveiled plans for the new $5.5 billion park at a press conference in Shanghai, according to Bloomberg.

The new Disney Shanghai Resort will include six themed lands including Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, and an area that will feature Star Wars and Marvel movie characters. The Tomorrowland park will include Jet Packs, a Tron-theme Lightcycle, and the largest parade of any Disney theme park.

The project is Disney's largest foreign investment to date. Iger said the park "celebrates and embraces China's incredibly rich heritage," and is meant to "delight and entertain the people of China for generations to come," according to Bloomberg.

TheStreet Ratings team rates DISNEY (WALT) CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DISNEY (WALT) CO (DIS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • DIS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • DISNEY (WALT) CO has improved earnings per share by 13.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, DISNEY (WALT) CO increased its bottom line by earning $4.25 versus $3.38 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.08 versus $4.25).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Media industry average. The net income increased by 10.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,917.00 million to $2,108.00 million.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, DISNEY (WALT) CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,918.00 million or 15.47% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DISNEY (WALT) CO has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 14.53%.

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Child drowns in pool at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Orlando Sentinel - A 3-year-old child drowned Tuesday in a pool at Disney's Art of Animation Resort, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The child was found shortly after 8 p.m. The child was pronounced dead at a hospital, deputies said.

According to deputies, the child visiting from out of town was somehow separated from his parents. After a search, the child was found underwater.

Other details were not immediately available.

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California craft wines to debut at Disney World's Epcot festival

LA Times - Napa Valley Chardonnay and a Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon will make their debut at the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in Walt Disney World Resort starting Sept. 25. The wines were specially created to celebrate the annual event's two decades.

Each wine, which includes "festival" in its name, will be served from a keg that holds 26  bottles, according to a Disney World statement. The point? To cut down on waste such as bottle, cork, cardboard and paper labels.

However, bottles of the wines will be on sale too.

The Epcot festival will feature ethnic and specialty cuisines. New marketplaces include Napa Valley-inspired Artistry of Wine & Cheese, which will serve tastings of each, and a New Eats area based on the ABC-TV show "The Chew" with chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and others.

The show will broadcast from Epcot during the festival and spin off two marketplaces: Sustainable Chew, which will serve dishes inspired by the "Chew" hosts, and Chew Lab, which toys with the molecular side of cooking.

Highlights of the festival include a masquerade party with gourmet tastings and cocktails on Oct. 31 and Burger Block Parties thrown by "The Chew" cast on Sept. 25, Oct. 8 and Nov. 6.

Entry to the festival, which runs until Nov. 16, is included in the cost of admission to Epcot. A  single-day ticket costs $97 for adults and $91 for children 3 to 9 years old, excluding tax.

Tickets for special events such as the Yelloween Masquerade Party for the Senses and Burger Block Parties go on sale July 30.

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Mickey’s Halloween Party Expands to 17 Nights with Return of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, September 11 – November 1

DisneyParks Blog - The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration continues into Halloween Time when the season begins again September 11, with the addition of the new “Paint the Night” parade during the expanded 17 nights of Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland park!

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In addition to the popular Halloween Time seasonal attractions, Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, famous Disney Villains, Mickey Mouse and his friends in Halloween costumes, the Dia de los Muertos celebration and the special after-hours Mickey’s Halloween Party (a separate, ticketed event), guests will also be able to enjoy the new nighttime spectaculars that are the signature of our 60th anniversary celebration – “Disneyland Forever” fireworks, “Paint the Night” parade and “World of Color – Celebrate!” as well as special sparkling Halloween decor in honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

Please note: This year, Mickey’s Halloween Party will include “Paint the Night” parade and “Halloween Screams” fireworks. Mickey’s Costume Party cavalcade will not be featured this year; “Disneyland Forever” fireworks will be presented on non-party nights.

You can purchase your Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets early – and on your mobile device – Be sure to mark your calendars for the following dates:

  • July 22: Tickets on sale to Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders, Disney Rewards Visa card holders and Disney Vacation Club members
  • July 29: Tickets on sale to general public
  • Mickey’s Halloween Party 2015 dates: Friday, Sept. 25; Monday, Sept. 28; Wednesday, Sept. 30; Friday, Oct. 2; Monday, Oct. 5; Wednesday, Oct. 7; Friday, Oct. 9; Monday, Oct. 12; Wednesday, Oct. 14; Friday, Oct. 16; Monday, Oct. 19; Thursday, Oct. 22; Friday, Oct. 23; Sunday, Oct. 25; Tuesday, Oct. 27; Thursday, Oct. 29; and Saturday, Oct. 31

Keep an eye on here and Disneyland.com/Halloween for more updates on Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort and Mickey’s Halloween Party, and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #HalloweenTime.

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Wreck-It Ralph 2 Is Happening, Get The Details

Cinema Blend - While there has been talk of a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph ever since the first one smashed box office records, it’s been a little while since we’ve heard anything about it. That has now changed. We’ve received some confirmation about Wreck-It Ralph 2 from the best possible source, Ralph himself, John C. Reilly.

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Penny Hart is a producer on the Irish radio program RTE Arena, on which John C. Reiley was recently a guest. On the show he confirmed that he has officially signed on to voice the video game villain turned hero for a sequel. While we had heard a year ago that the Wreck-It Ralph 2 was being written we’ve heard essentially nothing since then, so it’s good to know that the follow up is moving forward. It looks like composer Henry Jackman and director Rich Moore will also be back for another game.

A new movie will give the filmmakers new opportunities to fill the screen with even more cameos from famous video game characters. Moore previously stated he would like to include characters as diverse as the Angry Birds and Mario, who he tried to get into the first movie but wasn’t able to for a number of reasons. The first film saw guest spots from everybody from Q-Bert to Street Fighter to Root Beer Tapper, so really anything is possible in a sequel as long as they can make the deal.

While we don’t know yet what Wreck-It 2 will be about the director has mentioned one idea, which has Ralph confront multiple versions of himself, since one would assume Ralph’s game has been popular through the decades and has been ported, spun-off, and rebooted through the years, potentially creating multiple Ralphs. Its certainly a fitting idea for a sequel.

The next task will be to see if the co-stars from the first movie will also return. As great as Riley was in the film his supporting cast of Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, and Jack McBrayer were a big part of what made the original so good. We hope to get all the old characters back along with a whole bunch of new ones. We have no idea how long the wait will be before Wreck-It Ralph 2 hits theaters, but we can't wait to drop another quarter in Fix-It Felix Jr.

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Tuesday July 14, 2015
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Coming to the Disney Magic This Fall
George Lucas, Susan Lucci named as Disney Legends
Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2016
Downtown Disney promoting 'Ant-Man' with tiny billboards
Registration now open for the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Coming to the Disney Magic This Fall

DisneyParks Blog - Aspiring young princesses and knights are in for a treat when Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique debuts on the Disney Magic this fall! This whimsical salon for children ages three to 12 is coming to Deck 10 in the forward part of the ship.

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Our fairy godmothers-in-training are storing up fairy dust for the very special makeovers they’ll be granting at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Kids can choose from several looks, including a Disney Princess, royal knight and more. On pirate party night, this boutique becomes The Pirates League, and pirates of all ages can be transformed here from landlubber to buccaneer.

 Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Pirate’s League

Tweens are also in store for new adventures when Edge moves to Deck 9 midship. This super cool space will feature a dance floor and high-tech gaming stations. What won’t change is the fact that this area is reserved just for 11- to 14-year-olds, giving tweens the chance for a little independence from their parents (under the supervision of our fun youth counselors, of course!)

Cruisers on our transatlantic voyage from Spain to Miami, departing September 19, will be the first to enjoy these enhancements. The Disney Magic will then sail 4- and 5-night voyages from Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean throughout the fall.

Is your little one most excited about becoming a princess in a paradise or a pirate IN the Caribbean when you visit Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Disney Magic?

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George Lucas, Susan Lucci named as Disney Legends

Orlando Sentinel - The man who brought us "Star Wars" and the woman who was Erica Kane are among the eight people that will join the ranks of official Disney Legends this year. George Lucas, Susan Lucci and the rest will be honored in a ceremony next month during the D23 Expo.

Lucas' first Disney project was "Captain EO," a theme-park film featuring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He's also been involved with Star Tours and various "Indiana Jones" attractions.

Lucci starred in daytime drama "All My Children" throughout its 41-year run on ABC. She currently stars on "Devious Maids," an ABC Studios production that airs on Lifetime.

Other honorees this year include:

+ Composer Danny Elfman, who provided the score and songs for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" plus the scores for Disney films such as "Good Will Hunting," "Dick Tracy," "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Flubber."  His music is heard in the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction at Disneyland.

+ Animator Andreas Deja, who created bad guys Gaston ("Beauty and the Beast"), Jafar ("Aladdin") and Scar ("The Lion King.") plus other animated characters.

+ Artist Eyvind Earle, who began working with Disney in 1951, doing background work for "Peter Pan." He's best known for the styling and backgrounds for "Sleeping Beauty."

+ George Bodenheimer, who worked at ESPN for 33 years before retiring as its executive chairman in 2014.

+ Julie Reihm Casaletto, who was named Disneyland's first ambassador in 1965.

+ Artist Carson Van Osten, who oversaw creative content for motion picture tie-in advertising, Disney publications and established some of the first licensing style guides for Disney Consumer Products. He designed logos for Mickey Mouse’s 50th and 60th birthdays, the Walt Disney Studios logo and the Disneyland Hotel clock tower “Mickey” logo in Paris. 

Each of the incoming Legends receives a 2-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture and will participate in a handprint ceremony at the Aug. 14 event. Those prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at company headquarters in Burbank, Calif.

This group brings the number of Disney Legends to 257. Among the honorees have been Julie Andrews, Regis Philbin, Annette Funicello, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Betty White, Robin Williams, Leota Toombs Thomas and Don Iwerks.

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Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2016

DisneyParks Blog - We have a truly royal announcement to share today. Prince Harry is bringing his Invictus Games to Walt Disney World Resort next year.

The event celebrates our wounded servicemen and women from around the world competing in a variety of sports events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, May 8-12, 2016.

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The Invictus Games drew more than 400 athletes from 13 countries – plus some 65,000 spectators – in its inaugural year in London in 2014, which was seen by more than 10 million more fans on TV.

The Invictus Games at Disney next year will be the first time the event takes place in the U.S. and is expected to involve a similar number of athletes from up to 14 nations competing in 10 sports – archery, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

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The idea behind the Invictus Games is that the event uses the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for all those who serve their country as well as their families and caregivers.

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In case you’re wondering, the word Invictus means “unconquered” and became famous after William Ernest Henley’s 1878 poem “Invictus” which is about strength during times of adversity. The word embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded service personnel who are on the journey to recovery.

We will have more details on this inspirational event in the coming months, so follow this blog for all of the latest developments.

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Downtown Disney promoting 'Ant-Man' with tiny billboards

Orlando Sentinel - In the shadow of Downtown Disney landmarks like AMC Theaters and Planet Hollywood are ant-sized billboards promoting Marvel's latest movie. 

Blending in with landscaping, they may go unnoticed to some Downtown Disney visitors, but these tiny billboards have been popping up around the world as a clever promotion for Marvel's "Ant-Man." 

"Ant-Man" tells the story of con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who embraces his inner-hero when he is given a special suit that gives him the ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength

 Downtown Disney Tiny Ant-Man Movie Signs

The film hits theaters nationwide July 17, including showings at AMC Downtown Disney in RealD 3D.

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Registration now open for the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon

Disney News - Registration is now open for the runDisney 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon taking place from February 18 to February 21 2016.

To book your place you will need a profile at http://www.active.com. afterwards head HERE.

The following races are available to register.

  • Disney Princess Half Marathon: February 21 - $175 if registered by August 4 2015
  • Glass Slipper Challenge: February 20-21 - $305 if registered by August 4 2015
  • Disney Enchanted 10K: February 20 - $110 if registered by August 4 2015
  • Disney Princess 5K: February 19 - $65 if registered by August 25 2015
  • runDisney Kids Races: February 19-20 - $15 (Dashes) and $30 (Mile) if registered by August 25 2015

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Monday July 13, 2015

20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Expands for First Time into Future World

DisneyParks Blog - For the first time ever, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is stretching into the park’s Future World with four new food and beverage marketplaces.
 
The festival opens September 25 and runs through November 16, and will feature more than 30 global marketplaces for sipping and noshing throughout the park.
 
 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Expands for First Time into Future World
 
Along the walkway toward Future World West, the new Artistry of Wine & Cheese festival area will feature the Cheese Studio (offering a cheese sampler served on an artist’s palette to pair with wines) and the Wine Studio with premium wines on tap – each keg keeps the wine super fresh and holds the equivalent of 26 bottles, eliminating bottle, cork, cardboard and paper waste. Bottles, corks and materials from other marketplaces are recycled.
 
Then, near the Epcot Character Spot, the new Next Eats area will debut with Sustainable Chew and Chew Lab marketplaces inspired by ABC’s Emmy-Award® winning lifestyle series “The Chew,” starring co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz. Sustainable Chew will feature three dishes, and Chew Lab will show off hot culinary tech trends like a Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel.
 
Beginning July 15, you can call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) or go to epcotfoodfestival.com for more details. Booking for premium events like the new Rockin’ Burger Block Party (details soon!), Party for the Senses and Signature Dining Experiences will begin July 30.

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Disney News - Now that Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios has closed yet another attraction, in this case 'The Magic of Disney Animation' so what's next for this part of the park? Well if rumors are right it looks as if the former 'Magic of Disney Animation' building will soon become a Star Wars Land Preview Center much like the Blue Sky Cellar preview center at California Adventure in Disneyland Resort. 
 
Now this makes a whole lot of sense since another rumor has 'One Man's Dream' also closing but with smaller rumors indicating that 'One Man's Dream will simply be moving.
 
So at this point we are led to believe that 'The Magic of Disney Animation' building will hold the current 'One Man's Dream' along with a Star Wars Land preview Center.

As always this is just a Rumor and should be taken as so until confirmation is made through Walt Disney World.

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Orlando Sentinel - Disney World is fighting two discrimination lawsuits from security workers, and several other employees in that division have made similar complaints during the last few years.

Disney World has more than 1,000 security workers who watch over guests throughout the resort. Six former and current workers filed lawsuits in Orange Circuit Court from 2011 to 2014 saying they were harassed and unfairly targeted based on race, religion and national origin. A jury ruled against one plaintiff and three lawsuits were voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs.

Disney has denied the workers' claims. "We have a rigorous process in place to thoroughly and independently review any and all workplace issues," spokeswoman Kim Prunty said in an emailed statement. "These lawsuits are baseless and without merit."

Camelia Joseph has a trial set for this summer. A black Haitian woman who works at Disney as a security guard, Joseph says in her lawsuit she applied for a job in 2010 as an emergency coordinator but the position went to a white man with less experience and education. Her lawsuit alleges that after she complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she was reprimanded and "subjected to intense scrutiny on the job."

"After I filed against the company with the EEOC, everything turned upside down," said Joseph, who has started an online fundraiser for her legal bills.

Another suit is pending from Nabil Boromi, a plain clothes operative who was fired in 2013 for "using electronic devices" while monitoring security cameras. Boromi, who is Moroccan and Muslim, alleges in his lawsuit he was subjected to a higher standard than other workers, who were not fired even though they engaged in similar behavior.

Boromi says in his lawsuit he "complained about Arabic patrons being treated with greater suspicion whenever they entered the park" and that officers were instructed to watch black customers "because they 'committed a lot of retail thefts.'" Disney has denied those accusations in court documents.

Boromi filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, which last year issued a letter saying it determined that "no reasonable cause exists to believe that an unlawful employment practice occurred."
According to a deposition in another lawsuit, a group of plain clothes operatives was fired after managers found them on surveillance tapes sleeping or using electronics in a room where they were working monitoring cameras.

Boromi said he was using a cellphone to call his wife to check on a sick baby.

"We never knew there was surveillance," he said.

Both Boromi and Joseph are represented by Orlando attorney Jerry Girley. The other four were represented by Jacksonville attorney David Sacks.

The case that Disney won went to trial last year. Two lawsuits were dismissed by the plaintiffs in 2013 and one was dismissed by the plaintiff last month.

"It sounds to me like a relatively large number" of lawsuits from one department, said Joseph W. Little, emeritus professor at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law, whose specialties include employment law.

Some of the employees are mentioned in paperwork in each others' lawsuits.

Many department employees are represented by the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America. Union representatives could not be reached for comment.

Several of the complaints have been made by longtime Disney employees.

Xonia Book, a plain clothes operative who lost her case last year, has worked at Disney since 1995 and is married to a security manager there. According to a deposition in the case, she has been involved in uncovering illegal ticket brokers and detected "a possible terrorist issue" that involved a subject who was later killed in a drone attack in Pakistan.

Book, who still works at Disney, said in her lawsuit she faced discrimination and that a fellow employee was instructed to place her under surveillance. A judge dismissed Book's claims of retaliation and disparate treatment. A jury ruled in Disney's favor on the claims of a hostile work environment.

According to the lawsuits from the plaintiffs who dismissed their own suits dating back to 2011:

Security manager Sharon Cardinez, a foreign-born black woman, said she endured "racially insensitive" remarks. She also said she was harassed in ways that included having to provide her brother's death certificate when she requested bereavement leave, which white employees didn't have to do. Cardinez said she dropped her lawsuit recently because it was becoming too expensive and difficult to pursue while dealing with deaths in the family.

Marissa Rivera, who was terminated, said a co-worker repeatedly used racial slurs toward her. Rivera could not be reached for comment and Sacks said he could not comment without her permission.

Elaina Evans, who worked at Disney about 30 years, claimed racial discrimination. Evans, who is black, said she was moved without explanation from resorts to parks in 2009. She was given heavier workloads than other security managers and then given menial tasks compared with her white male counterparts, she said. She withdrew her case in 2013; she and her attorney cited issues linked to a personal bankruptcy. Evans also mentions in the lawsuit other workers she said suffered similar treatment.

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Sunday July 12, 2015
No News Updates Today

Saturday July 11, 2015
No News Updates Today

Friday July 10, 2015
No News Updates Today

Thursday July 9, 2015
New 10-Course Menu at Victoria & Albert’s Expands Exquisite Dining Experience
Disney World removes Confederate flag from Epcot display
Johnny Depp visits Australian children's hospital dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow
Check These 4 Facts Before Buying 'Disney Infinity 3.0'
Snap a selfie with Princess Leia on new Star Wars app

New 10-Course Menu at Victoria & Albert’s Expands Exquisite Dining Experience

DisneyParks Blog - With the distinction of being the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Central Florida (and one of only three in the state), Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa continues to raise the bar.

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The award-winning dining room is adding a new Chef’s Degustation Menu, a series of 10 small courses featuring some of Chef Scott Hunnel’s favorite dishes inspired by the seasons and by his world travels to Asia, Spain, Italy and France. The seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu will remain, and the kitchen will continue to meld tradition with innovative cuisine “for an avant-garde culinary journey,” says Israel Perez, maître d’hôtel.

Other big changes include a focus on food-and-wine pairings in the adjacent Queen Victoria Room. With just eight seats, diners will be offered Chef Hunnel’s 10-course menu paired with exclusive wines from Victoria & Albert’s impressive wine cellar. “The wine pairings will be exclusive to the private room, and we want to enlighten our guests about how the chef and sommelier work together to perfectly pair food and drink,” says Perez.

Adding the 10-course menu in the main dining room creates a more leisurely dining experience, and other special tableside touches have been added, such as a cheese trolley, tableside butter carving and a custom chocolate box for selecting post-prandial sweets.

The popular Chef’s Table, tucked in a cozy kitchen alcove with a front-row seat for watching the action in the kitchen, continues to offer 10 to 13 courses, small tastes of everything from caviar to Japanese Wagyu beef, paired with wine and spirits. The dinner lasts nearly four hours, the time filled with delectable tastes and conversations with the chef and his team.

“Diners now have a choice of three distinct dining experiences with food-and-wine pairings in Queen Victoria Room, two menus in the main dining room and the Chef’s Table in the kitchen,” says Perez. “Whichever they choose, they will enjoy the finest quality ingredients and impeccable service.”

The seven-course menu is $185 ($250 with wine pairings); the 10-course menu is $235 ($340 with wine pairings). Dinner in the Queen Victoria Room is $340, and includes 10 courses paired with wine. The Chef’s Table in the kitchen is $250. The restaurant is open daily for dinner. For reservations, call 407-939-3862.

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Disney World removes Confederate flag from Epcot display

Orlando Sentinel - Walt Disney World has joined the list of businesses and governments distancing themselves from the Confederate flag.

The resort has removed a version of the Confederate banner from a flag display in Epcot's American Adventure. Disney acknowledged it took down the flag recently but would not comment further.

The banner, which was among more than 40 displayed from throughout America's history, was the third flag of the Confederacy. The familiar "Southern Cross" symbol does not take up the entire banner as it does in the Confederate battle flag. Instead the blue cross with white stars on a red background is displayed in the upper-left-hand corner, bordered by a field of white with a thick, red stripe at the other end.

Sheri Labowski, a Connecticut tourist relaxing outside the American Adventure on Wednesday, said she agreed with the flag's removal.

"I think in this day and age we shouldn't be promoting a part of our history we're not proud of," she said.

The American Adventure includes an animatronics show taking the audience through American history. It makes references to the Civil War, slavery and abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass.

In the wake of last month's slaying of nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston, S.C., the flag of the South in the Civil War is undergoing new scrutiny.

It is viewed by many as a symbol of racism, though others argue it is a part of history that represents their Southern heritage.

Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man charged in the Charleston church shootings, was captured after a motorist spotted his Confederate license plate. Images on a website created in his name months before the attacks show him posing with the Confederate flag.

A bill is passing through South Carolina's Legislature that would remove the flag from above a memorial on the State House grounds. Wal-Mart and Amazon.com announced they would stop selling merchandise displaying the "Stars and Bars." Alabama's governor has ordered Confederate flags removed from a war memorial at the Capitol.

The banner is the second controversial object Disney World has removed recently. On Tuesday, Disney said it is taking down a statue of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza at its Hollywood Studios theme park. Disney's decision came a day after unsealed court documents revealed Cosby testified in 2005 he had obtained quaaludes with the intent of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex. More than two dozen women have alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them during four decades.

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Johnny Depp visits Australian children's hospital dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow

USA Today - It’s been a while since we’ve seen good ol’ Captain Jack, and it looks like the rascally pirate has been up to some good for a change!

 

While in Australia filming the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp took some time to surprise patients at a children’s hospital in Brisbane.

Dressed as his beloved character, Depp snapped selfies with some of his Australian fans and even starred in Juiced TV, a show made by and for the children in the hospital.

The hospital also posted an appreciative Facebook message full of patient-and-pirate filled photos. Apparently, Depp and his co-star spent more than three hours visiting, “making a real difference to sick kids and their families in hospital!”

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Check These 4 Facts Before Buying 'Disney Infinity 3.0'

Forbes - Disney Infinity 3.0 will be released in the US on 30th August and UK on 28th August 2015. Families eager to take advantage of pre-order incentives should check the following facts to ensure they get the right version for them:

  1. Rise Against the Empire Empire Play Set Availability
  2. Starter Pack Owners Digital Download Option
  3. Toy Free PC Version
  4. Disney Infinity 1.0 and 2.0 Price Cut Value

 

1. Rise Against the Empire Availability

At launch you can only play the classic Episodes IV-VI (Rise Against the Empire Play Set) adventures if you purchase the $114.99 Star Wars Saga Bundle exclusively on PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4. Also this is the only route to access the Boba Fett figurine and character.

These will be available outside the Saga pack one month later — sometime towards the end of September. While this favors PlayStation owners initially, Xbox and Nintendo players don’t have too long to wait until they can catch up. Of course, theoretically, other platform owners could buy the Star Wars Saga pack and then obtain the disc for their system via another retail pack, but this would be costly.

  • The Disney Infinity 3.0 Starter Pack features the Star Wars Twilight of the Republic Play Set, the Disney Infinity 3.0 Video Game Software and Base, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker character figures, and a web code card that unlocks content for PC and mobile devices
  • The Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Special Edition (exclusively for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3) features all of the above plus an additional Boba Fett figure and get the Rise Against the Empire Play Set.

If your family is eager to play the classic Star Wars episodes at launch then the Saga pack is for you. The overall cost is higher, but this is actually less than it would cost to purchase the different items separately when they are available in September.

2. Disney Infinity 3.0 Game Only Upgrade

In the UK players with a Disney Infinity 1.0 or 2.0 Starter Pack can purchase just the Disney Infinity 3.0 Video Game disc, and then add either the Twilight of the Republic Play Set or Inside Out Play Set separately and use the base they already own.

In the US there is a Digital Download version of the game that will be available at launch, as confirmed by VP of Production on Disney Infinity John Vignocchi on Twitter. It’s worth noting this because currently it is not listed on Console online stores. Also, as there is no physical version in the US it’s not visible at retail.

The official Disney Infinity page for the UK makes sure that families are aware of the game-only option, stating “Do you already own a previous Disney Infinity Starter Pack? Then the 3.0 Video Game Software Disc with Twilight of the Republic Play set Bundle might be an option for you.” However the page in the US has no mention of a game-only option.

This game-only route is also good for those who focus mainly on the Toy Box world as it enables you to use any of the 3.0 figurines you own in the game creation mode without the need to buy more expensive Play Sets.

It’s great to see the launch day digital download option, but it would be good to see this better highlighted online (as it is for the UK) to ensure families can make an informed pre-ordering choice.

3. Toy Free PC Version

If your family is mainly concerned with the on screen action rather than the collectable figurines, the PC version of the game offers a cheaper route to purchase. Better still you can download the basic Toy Box experience for free to try things out. You can then purchase different character and Play Set packs at a price that is far less than the equivalent content on consoles.

Although we’ve not got a firm date for the 3.0 version of Disney Infinity on PC, it’s likely to follow not too long after the console release. In the meantime there is plenty of 1.0 and 2.0 content to enjoy this really isn’t a problem. Another limitation worth noting with the PC version is that it is only a single player experience

4. Disney Infinity 1.0 and 2.0

As is generally true with shiny consumer products, last year’s versions are usually cheaper having lost their shine. If you have not played Disney Infinity 1.0 or 2.0 already there is still considerable value there at a low entry price. In particular the original Disney Infinity 1.0 comes with three Play Set adventures in the box.

At the time of writing you could get the original Disney Infinity Starter Pack on PS3 for $27.99 on Amazon. Add a couple of matching figurines on this, again available at a discount price, and you have a great package at a fraction of the cost.

The strong upgrade routes Disney Infinity offers means that you can jump on with the 3.0 experience at any point via the digital download, re-using your existing Infinity Base USB peripheral

 

 

Conclusion

Disney Infinity 3.0 offers great value for families this year, not least with a lower overall price point, no more blind packs and better cross-over features on the Star Wars characters. With competitor products like Lego Dimensions and Skylanders SuperChargers also working the value angle, some research around the points I outline here is important to identify the right route to purchase

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Snap a selfie with Princess Leia on new Star Wars app

Fortune - Disney officially released its Star Wars app on Android and iOS Wednesday, full of information on the blockbuster franchise ahead of its next installment set to debut this December.

Users are able to pull up interesting history and trivia facts as well as a handful of silly features that will delight fans of all stripes–from a selfie with Pricess Leia to exclusive interviews and lightsaber training.

But, clearly, the most useful feature of the app is to keep fans updated on what’s going on with the media maelstrom around the release of “The Force Awakens” and potentially other titles. Depending on your level of fandom, you can set the app to either push you major alerts or read updates directly in the app via a news ticker.

Disney DIS 0.46% says the app will continue to grow and evolve with the franchise. For now, you can check out the app’s features in the video below.

 

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Wednesday July 8, 2015
2015 Candlelight Processional Packages on Sale
All The Disney Infinity 3.0 You Can Buy Come August 30
Disney wins extension of tax break in Anaheim, California
Disney Confirms Plans for Han Solo Spin-off Movie
Bill Cosby statue comes down at Disney park after drug revelations

2015 Candlelight Processional Packages on Sale

DisneyParks Blog - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! (Deck the Halls with Boughs of …)

Wait! It’s not holiday time yet, is it?

While it may not be time to unwrap presents quite yet, it’s time to let you, our guests, start booking dinner packages for the 2015 Candlelight Processional at Epcot.

Right now, in fact!

Regular readers know that I am a HUGE fan of the Candlelight Processional, one of the most beloved holiday traditions part of Holidays Around the World celebrations at Epcot.

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The dramatic re-telling of the Christmas story with celebrity narrators like Neil Patrick Harris and Whoopi Goldberg; the spectacular mass choir singing traditional and contemporary Christmas songs; the swelling sounds of the Walt Disney World orchestra — I love it all.

This year’s event runs nightly at The America Gardens Theater at Epcot from November 27 to December 30.

We also have a sneak peek at some of our narrators from this year. Here’s the list so far: (Entertainment and times subject to change)

  • 11/27 – 11/29 — TBA
  • 11/30 – 12/3 — Neil Patrick Harris
  • 12/4 – 12/5 — Whoopi Goldberg
  • 12/6 – 12/8 — Joe Morton
  • 12/9 – 12/11 — TBA
  • 12/12 – 12/14 — Meredith Vieira
  • 12/15 – 12/16 — TBA
  • 12/17 – 12/18 — TBA
  • 12/19 – 12/20 — TBA
  • 12/21 – 12/23 — TBA
  • 12/24 – 12/26 — Edward James Olmos
  • 12/27 – 12/28 — TBA
  • 12/29 – 12/30 — Amy Grant

The Candlelight Processional is presented three times per night at the American Gardens Theater at Epcot. Show times are 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. *

Dining packages include appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at select Epcot full-service restaurants (or one full buffet where applicable), and guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional. Dining packages do not include park admission.

For Dining Reservations that include preferred Candlelight Processional Seating, please call Disney Dining at 407-WDW-DINE.

For more information on Holidays Around the World at Epcot and the Candlelight Processional or to make reservations for a Candlelight Processional dinner package, check out disneyworld.com/holidays. And check back to the Disney Parks Blog for updates on who fills those last coveted slots in our narrator lineup.

*Dining packages are not available on Sunday, December 6, at 5:00 pm.

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All The Disney Infinity 3.0 You Can Buy Come August 30

Kotaku -  Today Disney announced an August 30 release date for the Star Wars-themed Infinity 3.0 starter pack, but anyone who has invested in one of the annual toys-meet-games titles knows that the starter pack is just the beginning.

Were it only the $64.99 price tag for the starter, which includes the “Twilight of the Republic Play Set” with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano figures. PlayStation 4 owners can also opt for the Star Wars Saga bundle, which includes the chance to play the “Rise Against the Empire” playset earlier than most with Anakin, Ahsoka, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Boba Fett for $114 or so.

So that’s the base game. It’ll also be available for digital download for folks that already have Infinity portals platforms, which explains why Anakin, Ahsoka and the “Twilight of the Republic” playset are also available in a standalone pack.

 All The Disney Infinity 3.0 You Can Buy Come August 30

Solo figures (not to be confused with capital “S” Solo) available on launch day include the fab four from Star Wars: Rebels, Sabine the Mandalorian graffiti artist and those other three less important guys.

Disney proper will represent with Mickey, Minnie, Mulan, Olaf, and the physical release of Sam Flynn and Quorra from Tr0n Probably Should Have Stayed Dead.

From Disney-Pixar’s Inside-Out, a movie that made me cry for 30 minutes straight until the cat bit, we get a special playset pack featuring Joy and Anger, with Sadness, Disgust and Fear sold separately.

Finally there’ll be a four-pack of Power Discs featuring a Tomorrowland theme.

So let’s see, using Target prices as an example, getting everything at launch (not counting the special PS4 set) is $64.99 for the starter plus one adventure pack at $34.99, 13 figures at $13.99 apiece and $9.99 for the Power Discs. That’s $291.84. Mind you many major retailers hold special launch day sales (buy one, get one 50 percent off happens a lot), so plan your shopping accordingly.

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Disney wins extension of tax break in Anaheim, California

Reuters - The Walt Disney Co has won a 30-year renewal of a special tax exemption for visitors to its attractions in Anaheim, California, as part of a planned $1 billion-plus expansion of the famed theme park complex there.

The five-member City Council voted 3-2 early Wednesday to approve the company's proposal to go ahead with its Disneyland Resort makeover in exchange for a continued waiver of any future admissions tax the city might impose on entertainment venues.

The resort's current exemption was granted by the city in 1996 and was due to expire on June 30, 2016.

No entertainment gate tax has ever been levied by the city of Anaheim, but an extension of Disney's special waiver would reimburse the company for any such taxes imposed during the next three decades.

Disney and its supporters said the exemption is merited because of the huge economic benefit Anaheim derives from the resort, which is the largest employer in the city and Orange County as a whole, accounting for 28,000 local jobs.

The three hotels Disney operates within its resort and surrounding hotels that cater to theme park visitors also generate roughly $110 million a year in "transient occupancy" tax revenues paid to Anaheim, according to the city.

Mayor Tom Tait, a City Council member who backed the original tax exemption, had opposed extending it, citing an estimated $500 million in unfunded pension obligations now faced by the city.

"Chaining the hands of future residents on their ability to impose taxes will jeopardize the city's financial health," he was quoted as saying in the Orange County Register.

Both supporters and opponents packed the Tuesday hearing, which stretched into the early hours of Wednesday.

Disney's plan calls for breaking ground by the end of 2017 and finishing construction by 2024. A study commissioned by Disney projected the project would support an average of 2,600 local jobs a year and lead to creation of 2,100 permanent jobs.

The company has not specified whether Disneyland itself or the adjacent Disney California Adventure park, or both, would be enlarged, or what new attractions might be added. The project is to include a new 5,000-space parking structure.

Disneyland's original theme park opened to the public in 1955. No admission tax is currently collected at any Disney park in the world, company spokeswoman Suzi Brown said.

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Disney Confirms Plans for Han Solo Spin-off Movie

TIME - The first film in the new Star Wars franchise isn’t even out yet, and already details are emerging about more of them.

On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the duo that directed The Lego Movie, are working on a Han Solo origin film set to be released in 2018 as part of the Star Wars anthology series.

Disney, which bought LucasFilm in 2012 for $4 billion, confirmed the movie, in a statement with comments from the directors: “We pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us,” said Miller and Lord.

The Han Solo movie will be part of a standalone anthology series, the first of which, Rogue One, comes out in 2016. Separately, the first film in the new trilogy, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, comes out in December of this year.

As THR notes, the Han Solo news should be candy to big Star Wars fans for a number of personal details about who is involved. Miller, who will-co-direct, interned at LucasFilm when he was younger and, at one point, even put on a Stormtrooper costume at George Lucas’s request. Meanwhile, the screenplay is being written by father-son team Jon and Lawrence Kasdan—the latter, 66, co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which starred Harrison Ford, who played the original Han Solo.

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Bill Cosby statue comes down at Disney park after drug revelations

The Washington Post - A major Disney theme park is removing a likeness of Bill Cosby after this week’s revelation that the comedian provided drugs to women with whom he wished to have sex.

Hollywood Studios is a Disney theme park near Orlando — the eighth most popular park in the world, by one industry measure. Formerly Disney-MGM Studios, it opened in 1989.

“The World you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood — not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic,” reads an inscription signed by Disney chief executive Michael Eisner in 1989. “We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was — and always will be.”

 

In pursuit of that dream, the park began erecting busts of popular entertainers inducted into the East Coast Hall of Fame of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Cosby was inducted in 1992, and his visage joined the likes of Carol Burnett, Sid Caesar, Mary Tyler Moore, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas, Milton Berle and Walt Disney.

“I’ve never had a statue before,” Cosby said at the time. “And what I want to make sure is that the face on the statue I feel is really my face. And then I want to make sure that they don’t make my stomach too big.”

But now — in the wake of Cosby’s recent legal catastrophe — the comedian’s bust will come down. Disney announced the statue would be removed after the park closed Tuesday night, offering no explanation, as the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The statue, however, was the target of a family member of one of Cosby’s alleged victims: Linda Traitz, who said Cosby offered her a briefcase full of drugs before assaulting her in 1969. (Cosby has denied the charge.)

“It had assorted sections in it, with pills and tablets in it, different colors arranged and assorted into compartments,” Traitz told The Washington Post in an interview last year. “He offered me pills and said it would help me to relax, and I kept refusing but he kept offering.”

Months ago, Brittany Gavrilova, Traitz’s niece, started a Change.org petition denouncing the statue.

“In light of recent circumstances it is prudent that the bust of actor Bill Cosby be removed from Disney’s Florida theme park,” the petition read. “The Disney name is synonymous with family-friendly entertainment and with Mr. Cosby in the media daily facing accusations of sexual assault with the number of victims ever-climbing, it is inappropriate for Disney Parks to have a replica of Mr. Cosby’s likeness on display.”

Though the petition garnered fewer than 300 signatures, Gavrilova looked forward to a win as the park prepared to bring the statue down.

“I just got word that the Disney company has heard our petiton [sic] and due to recent developments in the Cosby saga a decision regarding the bust is pending!” she added. “Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for a victory.”

In a television interview, Gavrilova elaborated further on why she wanted the statue gone.

“He has no place in Disney,” she told WKMG 6 in Orlando. “It’s not a place for a predator. To see the bust of Bill Cosby as a hero on a pedestal in Disney after the family history, and we know of what had happened to my aunt all those years ago, it’s hurtful.”

Cosby’s bust is not the first — nor will it be the last — likeness to be attacked by those it offends. Recent examples: A statue of Penn State head coach Joe Paterno came down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal in 2012; a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes came down at the University of Cape Town in South Africa in 2015, and Confederate statues have been vandalized in the wake of the shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C., last month.

As a student who called for removal of a statue of Jefferson Davis at the University of Texas at Austin told the Huffington Post: “Statues are [a] means to memorialize and glorify the ideals and values of whomever they depict.”

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Tuesday July 7, 2015
What to expect from Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Travel + Leisure Readers Rank Disney Cruise Line #1
New Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’sOpens at Downtown Disney in Florida
Coming to Disney Stores: 30-minute Playmation demos
Darth Vader Set to Appear in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One
Chef Arts Florida Fish Camp coming to Disney Springs in early 2016
Prince Charming Movie Planned at Disney
Celebrate Tanabata With New Beverages From Tokyo Dining in Epcot

What to expect from Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom

LA Times - It seems appropriate that the new Avatar Land coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom will be located in an area of the Florida theme park originally set aside for a never-built land devoted to mythical and legendary creatures.

Instead of a Beastly Kingdom dedicated to dragons, unicorns and sea creatures, the otherworldly Avatar Land debuting in 2017 at the Walt Disney World park will be populated by blue-skinned Na'vi people, bioluminescent trees and flying banshees from the 2009 "Avatar" movie.

The new themed land will be tied to a trio of sequels continuing the story set forth in the highest-grossing film of all time. James Cameron, who directed, wrote and produced the original science fiction epic, promises Avatar Land will let visitors "live, eat, breathe and smell Pandora."

During a recent visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I found most of Avatar Land hidden behind construction walls in the former Camp Minnie-Mickey area between the Africa and Oasis sections of the park. The framework of a large show building surrounded by towering cranes can be seen rising from nearby roadways.

Avatar Land will take over a location once occupied by the Disney character meet-and-greet area and the "Festival of the Lion King" show, which has been relocated to a new theater.

The alien land's marquee attraction will be an E-Ticket banshee flight simulator similar to Soarin' at Epcot and Soarin' Over California at Disney California Adventure. Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who is spearheading the project, says the new ride system will be "considerably more thrilling" than the original Soarin'.

A D-Ticket indoor boat ride similar to Pirates of the Caribbean will take riders on a river journey through the illuminated forest of Pandora.

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Travel + Leisure Readers Rank Disney Cruise Line #1

DisneyParks Blog - The votes are in and Travel + Leisure readers have spoken. We’re excited to share that for the seventh consecutive year, readers have recognized Disney Cruise Line as the #1 Mega-Ship Ocean Cruise Line for Families in the 2015 World’s Best Awards. We’re also overjoyed that they ranked Disney Cruise Line as the Top Mega-Ship Ocean Cruise Line overall for the second time in a row!

 The Disney Magic at Sea

Readers who participated in this year’s survey rated cruise ships on the quality of cabins, food, itineraries and excursions — in addition to value.

It’s always an honor to be named the best of the best by our guests and fans.

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New Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’sOpens at Downtown Disney in Florida

DisneyParks Blog - As a southerner who was born and raised outside of Atlanta, GA, there’s nothing I love more than a perfectly brewed glass of iced tea—sweet, of course! Soon, I’ll be expanding my tea palate and exploring a variety of loose leaf teas from The Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s, a brand-new tea café joining other new venues in The Landing, the first of four planned neighborhoods coming to Downtown Disney as it transitions into Disney Springs.

Whether you enjoy your tea stepped hot, iced, blended, spirited or even edible (yes, they’ll be serving delicious tea-based cookies and treats), there’s a tea for you.
 

 Enjoy Tea from The Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s Coming to The Landing at Walt Disney World Resort Enjoy Tea from The Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s Coming to The Landing at Walt Disney World Resort

If you’re like me and have a lot to learn about tea, be sure to engage with the onsite Tea Smith who hand-blends loose leaf and herbal teas and can discuss tea selections if you’re unsure what to order.
 

 Enjoy Tea from The Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s Coming to The Landing at Walt Disney World Resort Enjoy Tea from The Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s Coming to The Landing at Walt Disney World Resort

Modeled after a 1940s warehouse setting, this modern-meets-Old World tea café will feature teas from the finest tea gardens around the globe. Joffrey’s CEO Ted Abrams promises “complex flavor profiles” and hopes to “introduce guests to the vast world of tea that cannot be found in local grocers.” Based on all I’ve heard, I’m ready for my introduction!

The Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s is now open in the heart of Downtown Disney. For the latest real-time updates on openings and new offerings, follow Downtown Disney on Twitter at @WDWDowntown.

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Coming to Disney Stores: 30-minute Playmation demos

LA Times - Walt Disney Co. is preparing to launch a new line of smart toys, called Playmation, that relies on a system of interconnected devices to put users in the middle of the action.

It's a marriage of digital and traditional playthings, and one that requires a bit of explanation to understand.

So before it debuts in October, the company will give consumers a chance to demo Playmation in an experience that will introduce the complex toy to children - and more importantly, retail experts say - to their parents.

Disney will offer immersive demos of Playmation at 90 of its namesake stores in North America starting Saturday. Participants will be able to try out the system for up to 30 minutes, playing against Disney Store workers and other consumers.

"Disney's strategy is genius on two fronts," said Jason Moser, an analyst at the Motley Fool.

"It actually gives them a chance to educate parents and kids about the toys in real time," he said. "In the process, they are in the Disney Store; what's to stop you from buying more stuff on the way out?"

The free demos are to be held on Saturday and Sunday mornings before the stores open.

Playmation will launch with a line of "Avengers"-themed toys that includes a plastic Iron Man "repulsor" glove worn by players. A starter pack, which will retail for $119.99, also comes with four other smart toys, including two action figures.

Users who wear the glove will be guided on missions that allow them to jump, duck, dive and run around. A free app will allow their progress to be charted.

Playmation is aimed squarely at a new generation of children who have been weaned on digital devices and are fluent in all things tech-centric. Their parents, however, may not be so savvy.

Toy makers know that there is no better way to illustrate a product's features - and win over befuddled moms or dads - than by letting them watch their children play with it, analysts said.

"If you see your kid having a lot of fun with a toy like that, our first inclination is to make our kids happy," Moser said. "It shuts down all rational decision-making, and they just buy it."

Other companies have utilized in-store demos to help educate consumers about their smart toys. When Activision launched Skylanders, a line of video games that also incorporates action figures, it put on events "everywhere," said Laurie Schacht, co-publisher of the Toy Insider, a toy reviews website.

"They did numerous demos to get kids into stores," she said. "The first time kids saw the toys come to life was a big deal."

Disney's demos are especially important because the Playmation toys are pricey, Schacht said.

"It could be one of the hot toys for the holidays; the one downside is the high price point," she said.

Elissa Margolis, senior vice president of Disney Store North America, said putting Playmation in the hands of would-be customers would "really help to show the power of what can be experienced."

"It is different from anything out there that is in the market," she said.

Margolis said that Disney did not believe that consumers were required to use Playmation in order to understand it. To that end, Disney Stores will feature two shorter demos that allow a user to do things such as try on the "repulsor" glove, but not actually play a full mission. Those stripped-down demos will be offered at Disney Stores during normal operating hours and do not require advance registration.

By October, the full-fledged demos - which require participants to sign up ahead of time on a Disney website - will be made available in 100 of the company's roughly 210 stores.

That retail infrastructure allows Burbank-based Disney to offer a service that few competitors can match, experts said.

"Retailers typically don't educate parents; it really falls on the toy manufacturers," Schacht said. "But because it's Disney they can take advantage of the stores they own."

In the Los Angeles area, Disney Stores in Glendale, Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, Brea and Montebello will offer the demo program. Online sign-ups begin Tuesday.

The 30-minute demo will allow participants to play a special mission tailored for Disney Stores that allows them to roam around the shuttered retail outlets. The demo will also take advantage of the theaters that most of the participating stores include. Disney Store employees dressed in special "Avengers" lab coats will get in on the action. 

Playmation was developed over a roughly three-year period. Disney declined to disclose the costs associated with creating it.

Since 2013, Margolis said that the company had discussed ways to offer an engaging demo of Playmation in its stores, which are part of the company's Consumer Products and Interactive Media business unit.

The demo plan has "evolved over time as the product has evolved," she said.

Playmation, which was developed in collaboration with Hasbro, isn't Disney's first foray into a product that merges digital and more traditional playthings.

The company has found success in recent years with "Disney Infinity," a video game that incorporates physical toys into the on-screen action. The game, which is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and other platforms, was released in 2013 after a development process that cost Disney about $100 million.

Margolis said Disney Stores had previously been used to offer demos of "Disney Infinity," allowing consumers to get a better feel for the video game.

The stores are also regularly home to other events, among them gatherings for special releases of new products and get-togethers centered on holidays including Halloween.

Parents bringing their children to the Playmation demo events will be able to preorder the system in the stores. They'll also be able to peruse other Disney merchandise. But Margolis said that generating sales of other products is not a goal of the demo program.

"This is really about getting them to understand the Playmation product," she said. 

Still, Disney could very well see a sales bump from the extra traffic, analysts said.

"Once parents are in the store, maybe they'll get a T-shirt or get a watch too," Moser said. "Disney will realize some incremental sales."

The demo events are scheduled to run through October.

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Darth Vader Set to Appear in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One

ComingSoon - Following the just-announced news that directors Phil Lord and Chirs Miller will direct a Han Solo spin-off movie, Birth.Movies.Death reports that none other than Darth Vader will appear in the first solo “Star Wars” movie, Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. The site reveals that Vader will not be the primary antagonist of the film but will be “behind the scenes, pulling strings” and will literally appear onscreen via a viewscreen or holo projection.

The first in the “Star Wars Anthology” series of spin-off films, Rogue One will follow a rogue band of resistance fighters united to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the galaxy. “It’s the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good,” director Gareth Edwards said at Star Wars Celebration.

John Knoll, the Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor who currently serves as chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic, is executive producing the film along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (“Band of Brothers,” “The Pacific”) are on board to produce with John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) attached to co-produce. It was also recently confirmed that Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The King’s Speech) will be providing the score.

Starring Felicity Jones as a rebel soldier along with Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman), Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One is set for release on December 16, 2016.

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Chef Arts Florida Fish Camp coming to Disney Springs in early 2016

Disney News - Chef Arts Florida Fish Camp is coming to Disney Springs in 2016 according to restauranteur Charles Arthur Smith.

Noted on Smith's Facebook page, "very excited about the planning of Chef Arts Florida Fish Camp at the new Disney Springs opening next Spring at Walt Disney World. I've dreamed since I was a kid working there in 1980 that I return to the most magical place on Earth. I am very excited to welcome you all."

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Prince Charming Movie Planned at Disney

ComingSoon - Disney has been having a lot of success lately with live-action adaptations of some classic fairy tales, many of which the studio famously and previously adapted in animated form. Some, like Kenneth Branagh’s recent Cinderella, have offered direct adaptations while others, like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, have served as quasi-sequels. Then there’s cases like Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent where the story is retold from a new perspective. It sounds like it’s that latter approach that Walt Disney Pictures is after today as The Hollywood Reporter brings word that a Prince Charming movie is in the works at the studio.

Originally scripted by Matt Fogel (who previously served as assistant to Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), the Prince Charming movie script was picked up by Disney today with the trade only going so far as to say that Fogel’s script offers a “revisionist take.”

Prince Charming, the archetypal fairytale hero, has actually been brought to the big screen by Disney a few times in recent months. Richard Madden played the Prince in the Branagh film while Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen played dueling iterations of the role (one Rapunzel’s Prince and one Cinderella’s Prince) in Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods.

The Prince Charming movie joins a number of live-action Disney fairy tale films heading to the big screen. Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book hits theaters April 15, 2016 with the aforementioned Beauty and the Beast following on March 17, 2017. After that, plans call for a Tim Burton-directed Dumbo and new live-action versions of Winnie the Pooh, Mulan, Pinnochio and more. There’s also a sequel to Alice in Wonderland on the way with Alice Through the Looking Glass (arriving May 27, 2016), reports of one for Maleficent in development as well and a live-action Peter Pan spinoff, Tink, set to star Reese Witherspoon as the iconic fairy.

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Celebrate Tanabata With New Beverages From Tokyo Dining in Epcot

DisneyParks Blog - Today is Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival in Japanese culture. This holiday celebrates the one day of the year that two loves, Altair the Cowherd and Vega the Weaver, were allowed by the king to be together. The rest of the year they are separated by the Milky Way. In Japan, many festivals take place to celebrate Tanabata—in fact, Tokyo Disneyland celebrates the festival with a parade lead by Mickey and Minnie.

Today at Walt Disney World Resort. Tanabata is being celebrated in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. Cast members wear traditional Kimono, and in the afternoon guests are invited to write their wishes on slips of colorful paper and place them on a bamboo tree in the Mitsukoshi department store. Continue the celebration at Tokyo Dining, where you can share a meal—and some drinks from the new beverage menu—with a loved one.

 MJPD4489105

Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Garin Williamson, beverage manager for Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo, who walked me through the new beverage menu. With a focus on natural, fresh ingredients, these drinks have a distinct Japanese flair.

 Shochu Squeeze from Tokyo Dining at Epcot Shochu Squeeze from Tokyo Dining at Epcot

For a “hands-on” experience, try the Shochu Squeeze: choose grapefruit, lemon or orange to hand-squeeze into a glass of clean, crisp shochu for the ultimate refreshment.

 Junmai Sake Flight from Tokyo Dining at Epcot Sake from Tokyo Dining at Epcot

There are many ways to sample sake—choose from a new carafe or masu box—purposely overflowed to show generosity—or try the Junmai Sake Flight, a sampling of three premium sake: Junmai, Junmai Ginjyo, and Junmai Daiginjyo.

 MJPD4489102

On a hot day, cool down with the Sake Mojito with sake, shochu, Japanese shiso herb and fresh mint, or go for something tropical like the Okinawa Beach with gold tequila, blue curacao, pineapple juice, sour mix and calpico. Tea lovers will enjoy the Green Tea Martini with honey-infused matcha tea and vodka.

Celebrate Tanabata today with your loved ones or next time you visit the Japan pavilion at Epcot. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Monday July 6, 2015

Disney Races Past $3B Global Box Office; Sets Studio Speed Record

Deadline Hollywood - In what is becoming a year of record speed to box office mile-markers for many of the majors, Disney has crossed $3B worldwide. The studio actually hit $3B earlier this week on June 30, significantly outpacing last year’s record which was set on August 5. The total worldwide box office as of today is $3.086B

 
The June 30 milestone came five days after Disney crossed $1B domestic — that one achieved in a record 174 days on June 25, beating the 188-day previous record set on July 8, 2012.

This is the 6th consecutive year Disney has reached $3B global and the 9th time ever for the studio. Box office for Disney has been notably led in 2015 by Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Cinderella and Inside Out.

Those films breakdown thusly: Ultron – $1,383.5M ($454.2M domestic, $929.3M intl.); Cinderella – $540M ($200M domestic, $340M intl.); Inside Out – $363.46M ($246.16M domestic, $117.3M intl.). Ultron notably added $6.5M in its Japanese bow this frame — a two-day score that bested the start of 2012’s Avengers by 60% in the market. Inside Out for its part, had an estimated $18.6M frame.

Still to come, Disney unleashes Marvel’s Ant-Man into the world beginning July 14 and still has Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens among key releases over the next several months. The lauded Inside Out is currently playing in only 45% of the international marketplace, meaning it has many more hearts and minds to conquer.

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Blaze Pizza headed to Downtown Disney in 2016

Orlando Sentinel - Fast Fire'd Pizza is planning a larger concept restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort property, with 5,000 square feet and seating for 200 diners.

Downtown Disney is getting a fast casual pie joint when Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza opens at the shopping district in May 2016.

The restaurant, which already has a location near the University of Central Florida, is planning a larger concept restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort property, with 5,000 square feet and seating for 200 diners. 

The new restaurant comes as Disney prepares to convert the property from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs and add several new restaurants, such as the recently opened the Boathouse, and renovations to others such as Planet Hollywood.

"True to Disney's high standards, we are building an amazing flagship restaurant that will include interesting architectural elements, great service and fantastic meals," said Rick Wetzel, co-founder of Blaze Pizza in a statement.

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DisneyParks Blog - Disney fans, do I have an exciting tip for you! On July 16, look for a special commemorative birthday collection to debut at select locations as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. The collection will include adult tees, a mug, magnet, keychain, button set with zipper pouch, toothpick holder as well as a pin. Most items will feature the July 17, 1955, and July 17, 2015, dates. As you can see the navy blue tee, has a gothic ‘D’ screened on the front with the birthday collection logo on the back. Tip: This particular t-shirt will come in the commemorative cinch bag seen here. Take a look!
 
 DPB_60thBirthdayCollection11
 
Also debuting as part of the collection will be a teal, foil embellished ladies logo tee and grey ‘D60’ tee for men.
 
 DPB_60thTees22
 
Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders, keep an eye out for a t-shirt designed just for you! This light-blue birthday collection logo tee features a silver-screened ‘60’ and an Annual Passholder name drop. Tip: This tee also comes in a commemorative cinch bag.
 
 DPB_60thPassholderTee_Cinch-Bag33
 
If you’re wondering about the pins, keep watching here; I’ll be covering all of the details on pins releasing this July very soon.
The birthday collection will be available to purchase at the following locations, while supplies last: Emporium and Star Trader in Disneyland park; Elias & Co. in Disney California Adventure park; and World of Disney in the Downtown Disney District, Shopping Tip: The magnet, keychain and button set will only be available at Disneyland park locations (Emporium and Star Trader).
 
Not able to make it to the Disneyland Resort? Look for a special online opportunity to purchase the birthday collection logo tee with cinch bag and Annual Passholder tee with cinch bag, available for a limited time only, July 17-23 at DisneyStore.com/ParksEvents.

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Orange County Register - Blaine Gibson, who as a Disney imagineer sculpted pirates to presidents, has died, the Walt Disney Family Museum said in a statment. He was 97.

Gibson started his career with Disney as an in-betweener, an artist who draws the frames between the key ones illustrarted by the head artist, and an assistant animator.

He worked on such classic films as “Fantasia,” “Bambi” and “Peter Pan.” While working at the Disney Studios, he took evening classes in sculpture at Pasadena City College.

At one point, Walt Disney saw some of his sculptures and assigned him to the Disneyland project.

Eventually, he became the head of the sculpture department for WED Enterprises, the precursor to Walt Disney Imagineering.

 

He sculpted figures such as Abraham Lincoln for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, which ended up as the centerpiece for Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction, and dozens of audio-animatronic pirates for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Other Disneyland attractions he worked on included the Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room.

“Blaine Gibson was one of the most important storytellers among all the great talents on Walt Disney’s team of imagineers,” said Marty Sklar, former vice chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering. “He showed all of us how to make our Disney park show characters so realistic you never had to guess the role of any three-dimensional figure in our attractions.”

After his 1983 retirement, he continued to consult and sculpt for Disney, including continuing his tradition of sculpting U.S. presidents. He sculpted every one of the audio-animatronics for Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents up to George W. Bush.

Gibson was also commissioned to sculpt “Partners,” the iconic statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse that went up in 1993 at the north end of Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. The bronze statue has become a popular backdrop for photos by the park’s guests.

Others sculptures he did included Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain and Will Rogers for the American Adventure Pavilion at EPCOT.

In 1993, Gibson was named a Disney Legend, the company’s highest honor.

Gibson, who lived in Montecito, is survived by his son, Wes, who lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and son. Gibson was preceded in death by his wife, Coral.

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Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries This Milestone with New Shirts on the Disney Parks Online Store

DisneyParks Blog - With the start of a new month, I’m excited to highlight a few new shirts coming to the Disney Parks online store. Guests can order these limited release shirts by visiting DisneyStore.com/ParksEvents during the following dates in July. Please allow 3-5 weeks for delivery.
 
 NJTS5573992

July 7-13
This month marks the start of a new series of companion T-shirts featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. For July, Mickey and Minnie are covered in sparkling lights for a salute to the Main Street Electrical Parade. Look for new companion tees each month with nods to other classic Disney attractions, shows and experiences (the EPCOT Center ones are spectacular!).
 
 NJTS5573993

July 17-23

Celebrate 60 years of Disneyland Resort with this commemorative “Day Of” T-shirt for this milestone anniversary on July 17. We will also release the second shirt – Dumbo the Flying Elephant – in our original Disneyland park attraction series that day. Please note that the images above contain concept artwork for these two shirts.

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Fox 13 - The Disney actor who won hearts as “Gaston” has died in a fireworks incident over the weekend.
 
According to the state Department of Public Safety, 22-year-old Devon Staples placed a fireworks mortar tube on his head and set it off.
 
He died instantly after the firework exploded.

WCSH reported Staples and his friends were drinking at the time of the incident.
 
It reportedly happened in the backyard of one of Staples’ friend’s homes in Calais, Maine.
 
The NY Daily News said Staples’ brother Cody told officers Devon was joking around with the firework and lighter when it accidentally ignited.
 
“There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there,” Cody told the Daily News. “It was a freak accident … But Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid. He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh.”
 
Devon was living in Orlando, Florida, where he worked at Disney World.
 
Officials say this is the first fireworks-attributed death in Maine since they were legalized two years ago.
 
It was revealed on Monday that Staples, who lived in Orlando, used to work as Beauty and the Beast character “Gaston” at Walt Disney World.
 
He was most recently working as a dog walker.
 
One of Devon’s friends, who identified herself as Kara, posted a video of Staples performing as “Gaston.”

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Sunday July 5, 2015
No News Updates Today

Saturday July 4, 2015
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
No News Updates Today

Friday July 3, 2015
No News Updates Today

Thursday July 2, 2015
ABC’s ‘The Chew’ Will Broadcast from 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival; Also Featured in Two First-Ever Future World Marketplaces
‘Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky’ Fireworks Live Stream Set For July 4

ABC’s ‘The Chew’ Will Broadcast from 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival; Also Featured in Two First-Ever Future World Marketplaces

DisneyParks Blog - We all have a favorite host from ABC’s “The Chew” – superstars Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz each have a special way of sharing their culinary know-how on the Emmy-Award-winning lifestyle series. And for the first time in the show’s history, these dynamic hosts are leaving the Manhattan studio to tape shows October 7, 8, and 9 from the 20th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. The five festival episodes will air October 12-16.

 

Shows will be taped before a live audience (visit thechew.com for information on how to obtain tickets), and we’re sure the hosts will be all over Walt Disney World Resort discovering remarkable dining finds, getting a taste of innovative, fun and healthful eats – the best the vacation kingdom has to offer.

 CLINTON KELLY, DAPHNE OZ, MARIO BATALI, MICHAEL SYMON, CARLA HALL

Along with the taping of the show, “The Chew” will be featured in two marketplaces throughout the festival’s 53-day celebration from September 25-November 16, helping celebrate 20 delicious years. For the first time in the festival’s history, marketplaces will expand into Future World in the new Next Eats festival area with three delicious dishes from “The Chew” in their Sustainable Chew Marketplace: Savory Pork Spareribs with Cheesy Mascarpone Grits; Ricotta & Zucchini Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and Pistachio Brittle. (Herbs and veggies from The Land pavilion will flavor the marketplace dishes when harvested.) The eco-home-inspired marketplace will offer a chance for guests to learn more about how food is grown and the importance of sustainability.

Also in Next Eats, Disney chefs are collaborating with “The Chew” for the Chew Lab, a cutting-edge marketplace inspired by food-science labs and the hottest culinary tech trends.

“The Chew” airs on ABC Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. EST, noon CST. For updates on the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit epcotfoodfestival.com throughout the summer.

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‘Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky’ Fireworks Live Stream Set For July 4

DisneyParks Blog - So you’re not able to be at Walt Disney World Resort for the Fourth of July but you want to celebrate the holiday in Disney style? Well, the Disney Parks Blog has you covered. We are excited to announce that the Magic Kingdom Park July 4th fireworks show will stream ‘live’ at 9 p.m. EDT right here on the Disney Parks Blog.

 JULY 4TH CELEBRATED AT WALT DISNEY WORLD IN FLORIDA

Join us as “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert In The Sky” paints the sky red, white and blue and fills the air with patriotic music. This special show features perimeter fireworks launched from around Magic Kingdom Park and an island in Seven Seas Lagoon.

To make sure you have the best view in the house we are providing two live cameras for you to choose from. One camera in front of Cinderella Castle and the other near Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to take in the entire perimeter spectacular. Guests viewing from their desktop will be able to switch between the two cameras during the show. Those ‘on the go’ and joining us on mobile devices, will be able to take in the live view from the castle location.

The live feed starts at 8:50 p.m. on the Disney Parks Blog, with the fireworks show beginning at 9 p.m.

We are excited to offer this unique opportunity and hope you join us as we celebrate this great nation Disney style.

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Wednesday July 1, 2015
Final Phase of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Opens Today
This is How Disney Knows You Won't Get Dismembered On A Rollercoaster

Final Phase of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Opens Today

DisneyParks Blog - The final phase of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club property at the Walt Disney World Resort opened today, marking the completion of all 360 Deluxe Villas at the resort.

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I recently had the opportunity to stay in one of the resort’s Deluxe Studios and it was truly a fantastic experience. During my stay, I zipped over to Epcot via the monorail and made it back in time to watch the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from the resort. I strolled along the resort’s beach area and tested out room service (late-night pizza was fantastic, but not as yummy as eating Tonga Toast in bed the next morning). At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort I took my son on his first pontoon boat ride on Seven Seas Lagoon, spoiled his lunch by getting him a Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai and sampled drinks on the outdoor patio of the new Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

In addition to the resort’s unbeatable location and fun amenities, the features within our Villa make this my favorite Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Studio to date. We especially enjoyed the spacious split bath design, the hidden pull-down bunk-size bed and the kitchenette (the fridge would have been perfect for our leftover take-out pizza, had we not polished the whole thing off right away).

Want to see more? Take a tour of this unique accommodation in this video.

 

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This is How Disney Knows You Won't Get Dismembered On A Rollercoaster

Jalopnik - If you’ve ever been on Space Mountain at Disney, you just know deep down that if you stuck your arm out, your limbs would get chopped off by one of those rafters flying by. Except it doesn’t. No one’s limbs ever get chopped off. This weird looking device is how Disney makes sure it doesn’t happen.

 

Well, hopefully doesn’t happen.

In a post about the banning of selfie sticks on reddit’s r/offbeat, a user claiming to be a Disney employee under the nom-de-plume EnglishMobster noted that this is the only real way companies have to be sure that you and your unusually long-necked family won’t get your heads forcibly separated:

We have a thing called the “Envelope of Protection.” Basically, all attractions made since 1965 are designed in such a way that the human body cannot reach out and touch anything — here’s a vehicle they use to test this (that’s from Walt Disney World in Florida, but California uses the same concepts). This means that when a rollercoaster is going 45 MPH, you can have your hands out and you won’t get hit (it’s not a good idea to test that, however — we do tell you to keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times).

As you can see from the video, it’s basically a big spindly disc that simulates the furthest possible reach even the most orangutan-shaped human could muster. If it can make it through the ride, you can (most likely) make it through the ride.

Not all “envelopes of protection” look like this, though. Some look like this, though they’re generally all built around the same concept.

Anyways, EnglishMobster went on to talk more about why selfie sticks are now banned at theme parks, which mostly boils down to the fact you are all idiots who can’t be trusted not to bring them onto the ride no matter how many times people tell you not to do it.

Oh, also, there’s huge matters of good taste here, since selfie sticks are the new Crocs and Socks combo.

But that last part is actually just my personal opinion.

Which is correct, right, and true.

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