September 11 - 17, 2011
September 17, 2011
|Friday September 16, 2011|
"The Lion King" Leaps Off Screen in 3D|
Head of Disney Channels resigns
"The Lion King" Leaps Off Screen in 3D|
The Trades - Chances are that if you were born at any point up to or before the mid-1990’s, you’ve seen “The Lion King.” It’s one of Disney’s most successful and critically-acclaimed films in their entire catalog, and it would be tempting for me to just tell everyone who hasn’t seen it yet to do so immediately, but this movie deserves more than that. Not only is it a gorgeously realized adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s most renowned plays, “Hamlet,” it’s an adventure that captivates the imaginations of anyone that watches it, regardless of their age. It’s filled to the brim with genuine humor, superb style, and an incredible story. If any of this sounds like hyperbole, that’s because it is, and “The Lion King 3D” absolutely deserves it. This is one of the greatest animated films of all time, and Disney’s decision to rerelease it in 3D will introduce the company’s magnum opus to a whole new generation, which cannot possibly be a bad thing.
It’s difficult to find a place to start with this film, considering the fact that every aspect of it was crafted with such care and love that they all shine equally as bright. Aurally, “The Lion King 3D” is astounding. The Oscar-nominated original tracks and orchestral score by Elton John and Hans Zimmer respectively are especially note-worthy. If you can make it a week after seeing this movie without humming the choruses from at least one of the many beautiful, catchy-as-all-get-out songs, hats off to you. The all-star cast brings some formidable talent to the voice work, with some stand-outs being James Earl Jones as the brave and courageous Mufasa, Jeremy Irons as the magnificent evil uncle, Scar, and Matthew Broderick as the playful and naïve Simba after he spends some time with Timon and Pumbaa, voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella. Other notable talent includes Robert Guillame, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, and Cheech Marin. On the visual side, the fidelity, detail, and beauty of the animation in the film is simply breathtaking. The magnificent character designs, the stylistic looks and movements of the animals, the wide range of color, and idyllic scenery has done for the world of animation what James Cameron’s “Avatar” did for computer generated images back in 2009, and the 3D effectively enhances the experience of the film without detracting from it in anyway (no need to worry about brightness issues, in other words).
While the impeccable audio/visual experience is the most prominent aspect of the film, the story also deserves its share of acclaim. The story follows Simba, the son of Mufasa, the king of a pride of lions. Simba is next in the line of succession to lead as the king of the pride, while Mufasa’s brother Scar gets the short end of the stick. Scar and his troupe of hyenas then hatch a plan to seize the throne from Mufasa and get rid of Simba in one fell swoop. The story follows one of the most brilliant and perfectly plotted three-act structures in cinema, filled with heartwarming and heartbreaking moments that both adults and children alike are sure to enjoy to no end.
I said it at the beginning of this review, and it bears repeating: if you haven’t yet seen this movie, you really should. If you don’t, you will be doing yourself and the amazing team at Disney who brought this project to life a great injustice.
LA Times - In the second top-management shake-up this month at Walt Disney Co., the executive in charge of the entertainment giant's powerful Disney Channel is leaving the company after less than two years on the job.
The departure of Carolina Lightcap, president of Disney Channels Worldwide, comes on the heels of the abrupt resignation last week of Disney Consumer Products Chairman Andy Mooney.
Taking over for Lightcap is Disney Channel veteran Gary Marsh, who was president of entertainment and chief creative officer for Disney Channels Worldwide. He played a key role in developing such hit shows as "Hannah Montana," "Wizards of Waverly Place" and "Phineas and Ferb," as well as top-rated cable TV movies "High School Musical" and "Lemonade Mouth."
In a statement announcing Marsh's promotion, Disney gave no reason for Lightcap's resignation. During the last two years, the domestic Disney Channel grew its ratings 9% in the all-important demographic of kids ages 6 to 14. The channel's total viewership rose too, according to Nielsen.
However, people close to the company said there were issues regarding Lightcap's management style. She was considered a micromanager who, despite the global scope of her responsibilities, would, for example, delve into giving script revisions on hit shows, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Lightcap, who was tapped in November 2009 to succeed Rich Ross after he left Disney Channels Worldwide to run Walt Disney Studios, was an unexpected choice for the high-profile post overseeing a network that served as a launching pad for several new "tween" brands. Although she had been at Disney since 2000, she spent most of her time overseeing the marketing and programming of the company's Latin American cable operations.
When Lightcap was promoted, Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks, said Lightcap's "wealth of experience, leadership acumen, and programming, marketing and franchise building skills make her the ideal executive to lead Disney Channels Worldwide into the future."
Lightcap did not respond to a request for an interview, but in an email to employees Thursday said she thought the "timing was perfect to move on to my next challenge." Sweeney said in a statement that the company was "sorry that Carolina decided to leave us."
Many in the industry considered Marsh the obvious successor to Ross, but at the time he wanted to focus on what he'd done so well: running the Disney Channels' entertainment side.
"Gary Marsh has been the driving creative force behind Disney Channels' remarkable growth for the past 15-plus years," Sweeney said in a statement. "He not only understands the zeitgeist of kids' culture, he helped create it."
Marsh will now be responsible for both programming and business operations for Disney Channels Worldwide, which reaches into 169 countries. In addition to Disney Channel, he will oversee Disney XD, a channel aimed at young boys; Disney Junior, a 24-hour channel for pre-schoolers that launches in February; and Radio Disney.
Disney Channel has long been one of the jewels of the Walt Disney Co. empire. This year, it is expected to take in $1.15 billion in operating revenue, consulting firm SNL Kagan said. Of that, more than $650 million is profit. It is one of the most valuable and most expensive cable channels. Cable and satellite companies pay fees of more than 90 cents per subscriber per month for the right to carry the channel, SNL Kagan said.
|Thursday September 15, 2011|
Animation Turns into an Attraction at Under the Sea ~ Journey of
The Little Mermaid|
Mouse ears: Disney tries to top itself
Disney Research, Swiss Design & Engineering Students Collaborate on Climbing/Paragliding RobotClub Penguin Goes Mobile with "Puffle Launch"
Updates Coming to Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure Park
Fancy Pumpkin Beignets From Club 33 at Disneyland Park
Disney expert, parent offers tips for families at Epcot Food & Wine Festival
Celebrate Five Years of Magic and Meet the Walt Disney World Moms Panel
A list of all you can eat at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
New Muppet Trailer
Minnie’s Moonlit Madness at Disneyland Resort
Disney's Anne Sweeney: Steve Jobs Pirated 'Lost'!
Vintage Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom Park Marks 20 Years
As 'Lion King' goes 3-D, cast and filmmakers recall making
Famous Entertainer Charo Surprises Guests on the Disney Magic with a Special Performance
Animation Turns into an Attraction at Under the Sea ~ Journey of
The Little Mermaid|
DisneyParks Blog - One of the highly anticipated attractions coming to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park is Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.
The attraction, a seaside grotto beneath the castle of Prince Eric, is where guests enter the world of Ariel and her friends for an adventure filled with songs from the classic film. But you don’t have to wait until it opens to take a look inside. Walt Disney Imagineering just shared this video with us, in which Imagineer Eric Miller explains how the team is creating a realistic underwater environment for Ariel that’s inspired by the film.
This amazing and detailed process involves sketches, models, computer technology, construction and artistry. See for yourself!
Orlando Sentinel -
Disney has taken its iconic mouse-ear hats beyond basic black.
Make that way beyond.
Core77 - While you've heard of Disney's
Imagineers, you've probably never heard of Disney Research. That
latter organization is a collection of research labs that
partners up with schools like Carnegie Mellon and the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), providing a kind of
decentralized creative skunkworks.
Their latest project (this one done in conjunction with ETH and not Carnegie Mellon) is the Paraswift, a robot that travels upwards via a climbing mechanism, then releases itself from the vertical surface and floats downwards through the air via paraglider. A team of industrial design, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering students at ETH helped develop the robot, which was designed for "technology with entertainment factor," though it will hopefully be paired with real-world applications someday. "Our robot should not just inspire from a technical point of view," write the students. "Together with industrial design students we are intent to bring function and design together."
Video of the jump after the, um, jump...
Okay, just thought of an application: Forget Disney's theme parks, I want to see the Paraswift adapted for use by Manhattan restaurants and take-out joints. The 'bots can climb buildings, delivering lunch directly to my window, then sail back down to street level. While I'll look silly yelling "Hey, you forgot the duck sauce!" out of my window at a paragliding robot making its descent, at least I won't have to tip the guy.
Updates Coming to Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure
DisneyParks Blog - Throughout the Disney California Adventure park transformation, Walt Disney Imagineering has kept guests updated on the expansion at Blue Sky Cellar – a space dedicated to special sneak peeks of the new experiences coming to the park. Beginning Monday, September 19, Blue Sky Cellar will close in order to be updated once again. When it reopens on September 23, guests will find new videos, models and renderings of the latest additions coming to Buena Vista Street, Cars Land and more.
Last week, we showed you the topping off of the Carthay Circle Theatre with the arrival of its 17-foot, 5,000-pound cupola. I know that many of you have commented on how much you enjoy the time lapse construction videos we show from time to time. Below is a peek at one of the items to be featured in the updated Blue Sky Cellar – a time lapse video of Carthay Circle Theatre construction through last week.
Check back for more from inside Blue Sky Cellar – and be sure to check it out for yourself at Disney California Adventure park.
Fancy Pumpkin Beignets From Club 33 at Disneyland Park|
DisneyParks Blog - When the weather cools, we always plan our
Disneyland park visits around the beignets at the Mint Julep Bar
in New Orleans Square (with a latte for dipping). For the
upcoming holidays, we scored the recipe for an “upscale” version
of our favorite fancy donuts – pumpkin beignets with a divine
maple glaze, on the seasonal menu at the private Club 33 (open
only to members, in New Orleans Square).
So even if we can’t book at table at Club 33, we can serve these elegant beignets for the winter holidays. And you can always skip the maple glaze and just eat them puffed, and golden, and hot!
Club 33, Disneyland Park
Makes 24 beignets
For pumpkin beignets:
For maple glaze:
Orlando Sentinel - The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival begins in two weeks, and just the thought of it has many adults salivating. But if you have young kids, you may wonder if this is an experience the whole family can enjoy. It’s hard to imagine some children being willing to part with the chicken nuggets, right?
As a parent and former Walt Disney World cast member, Jennie Hess knows the ins and outs of the event and offers suggestions for families. If you will be attending the festival with young kids, first try the perennial favorites:
** Nuernberger sausage in a pretzel roll at Germany
** Cheddar cheese soup in Canada
** France’s Crème Brûlée au Chocolat au Lait
** Baked cheese ravioli at Italy
Last year, my own children discovered the cheese fondue with sourdough bread and we had to visit the Cheese Marketplace more than once that day. They definitely recommend the dish.
If your children are more adventurous eaters and would like to see what’s new this year, be sure to stop by the Hops and Barley Marketplace near the American Adventure. Don’t worry, Hess isn’t suggesting the kids sample the beer. This station features:
** Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll (all lobster meat with Linda’s special secret sauce)
** Linda Bean’s Lobster Claw Cuddler with drawn butter (all claw meat)
** Pumpkin Mousse with Ocean Spray Craisins sprinkled on top
Other new foods the whole family might enjoy include:
** Kalua pork slider at the Hawaii Marketplace with sweet-and-sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise
** Ropa Vieja with white rice at the new Caribbean Marketplace
** Swedish meatballs with Lingonberries at the Scandinavia Marketplace
** Dessert trio of Lemon Chiffon, White Chocolate Macadamia Mousse with Dark Chocolate Beads and Tres Leches Verrine at the Dessert & Champagne Marketplace.
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs Sept. 30 through Nov. 13.
DisneyParks Blog - Oct.1, the Walt Disney
World Resort celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Walt Disney
World Moms Panel has been giving our guests advice for four
years. In January of 2012, the website will commemorate five
years of making magic for our guests!
Meet past, present (and maybe future) panelists at the second “Walt Disney World Moms Panel Fan Meet!” Saturday, Oct. 1, noon-2:30 p.m. Held at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you can nosh on light hors d’oeuvres and snacks, chat with members of the Moms Panel and if you have room, head over on your own to the second day of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival*!
To request attendance for you and up to five additional Moms Panel-loving friends or family, please RSVP here! Space is limited. Not all requests will be accommodated. If we can accommodate your request we will send you a confirmation email with the location and instructions by the week of Sept. 23.
*THEME PARK ADMISSION IS NOT INCLUDED.
Park and attraction hours subject to change without notice and the event may be cancelled without notice. This event is not open to cast members of The Walt Disney Company or any of its affiliates or their immediate family members.
A list of all you can eat at Epcot International Food & Wine
Orlando Sentinel -
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is coming right up,
kicking off on Sept. 30. It's not too early to scope out your
food favorites. Here's a marketplace-by-marketplace look at the
edible options for the 2011 event, presented in a clockwise
fashion, beginning as if you bear left after entering the theme
park's World Showcase.
New Muppet Trailer|
AP - Below is the latest Muppet Movie Trailer spoofing 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'
Moonlit Madness at Disneyland Resort|
DisneyParks Blog - Tuesday night I
participated in my first Minnie’s Moonlit Madness, one of the
many cool activities we get to participate in as cast members.
The event had me dashing through Disneyland park in search of
clues and puzzle pieces to win medals and bragging rights.
Here’s how it worked – 351 teams consisting of four cast members, family or friends tested their Disney knowledge by completing a trivia-based Q&A followed by a two-hour, clue-solving adventure. Each team was bound together by rope and given 10 assignments, one at a time. The challenge was to complete as many as possible before the clock struck midnight. Sound familiar?
At one point I found myself at Alice in Wonderland counting the number of teeth on Cheshire Cat. Some clues required covering less ground and more thinking, like unscrambling a list of long-gone Tomorrowland attractions.
I left feeling great because the event provided $15,500 to the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, not to mention my team completed all 10 adventures. I can’t wait to view our results on Friday!
Penguin Goes Mobile with "Puffle Launch"|
MarketWatch - Club Penguin (clubpenguin.com),
the #1 virtual world for kids, announced that its first iOS
game, Puffle Launch, is now available on the App Store. Puffle
Launch features fast paced gameplay in which players blast pet
Puffles through a series of challenging levels. Originally
debuting as a game within Club Penguin in March 2010, Puffle
Launch became an instant hit, and is now played by more than
150,000 kids each day in the virtual world.Puffles are the
penguins' pets in Club Penguin, and have become a phenomenon of
their own. In fact, a new Puffle is adopted every second in the
virtual world, with more than 20 million Puffles already adopted
in 2011. In the Puffle Launch App, the Puffles take to the skies
to seek revenge when a cranky crab steals all the snacks.
"Kids are going mobile and have been asking for Club Penguin to go there with them. Disney pioneered virtual worlds and social gaming for kids, and now we want to enable kids to connect with their friends and our worlds on the go," said Lane Merrifield, Co-founder and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. "This is only the beginning for Club Penguin on mobile and we have some really exciting plans that will unfold over the next year."Key Puffle Launch features:
Take on 24 high speed levels - Get back all the Puffle O's, dodge obstacles, discover surprises, and find a fiery prize at the end of every level.
Challenge boss levels - Battle the cranky crab and his mechanical claw, and counter his moves with some of your own.
Easy to use touch controls - Use your skills to blast through the skies, conquering each level.
Unlock new modes - Take on Time Trial Mode, Turbo Mode, and replay all the levels in Slo-Mo.
Earn virtual coins to transfer - Collect
Puffle O's and earn virtual coins to transfer to clubpenguin.com.
In addition to the success of its virtual world, Club Penguin has extended its franchise with several offline offerings, including a successful line of products in 10 major categories. These products are available in more than 25 countries, and include books, toys and games, as well as the #1 selling Disney property ever on the Nintendo DS.
The Puffle Launch App is available for
$0.99 from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at
About Club Penguin
Club Penguin ( www.clubpenguin.com ), a product of Disney Online Studios, is the #1 virtual world for children. Club Penguin works to maintain a fun and safe online entertainment experience by using filtering technology and live moderators. The award-winning virtual world of Club Penguin contains no third-party advertising and is free to use and enjoy, however a subscription membership provides access to additional features that enhance the play experience. Club Penguin is headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, is enjoyed by parents and children around the world, and can be played in English, Portuguese, French and Spanish.
About Disney Online Studios
Disney Online Studios (DOS), part of Disney Interactive Media Group, develops and publishes an industry-leading suite of online virtual worlds for kids and families. Products under the DOS brand include Club Penguin, one of the largest virtual worlds for children, World of Cars Online, based on the hit Disney/Pixar animated feature "Cars;" Fairies Pixie Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Toontown Online. Disney Online Studios offices are located in North Hollywood, California.
Disney's Anne Sweeney: Steve Jobs Pirated 'Lost'!|
Reuters - Anne Sweeney called her first viewing of "Lost" on the iPod "spectacular," but the Disney Media Networks co-chair was left with one question following Apple chief Steve Job's groundbreaking presentation of the device's video capability to her and her boss, Disney CEO Bob Iger, several years ago.
"I forgot to ask him how he got a copy of 'Lost','" said Sweeney, producing laughs while speaking Wednesday at the Paley Center for Media International Council's forum Wednesday.
Sweeney, who also has the title of president of the Disney/ABC television group, began the afternoon session by recalling her unease in 2005 when the Paley Center's forum mashed content providers like herself with the tech leaders -- who foreseeably would be sending television and film content out into a world of piracy and free downloading.
“Just all the animals in the zoo,” quipped Sweeney, “in this very small space debating the future.”
Several days later, Iger told her to expect a call from Jobs.
Also read: Despite Health Concerns, Disney Re-Elects Steve Jobs to Board
“Steve called and said, 'I have a new device, and I want to talk to you about putting some of ABC’s shows on it.'”
Jobs and his team flew down from Apple's Cupertino headquarters with a video iPod and a beta version of iTunes.
“I remember holding it in my hands,” said Sweeney, “watching an episode of `Lost’.” The show looked and sounded “spectacular”, recalls Sweeney, who had her eureka moment (where did he get a high-rez, digital copy of "Lost" in 2005?).
It was the start of a beautiful friendship, but before long as the iPod went forth with Disney/ABC content, “Steve called to say, 'You’re doing it all wrong.' You’re not talking about yourself the right way. You keep talking about content -- you’re a content and technology company, and you better come to terms with that, better embrace that.’”
Soon thereafter, Sweeney’s head of digital R&D came in with a way of streaming video with advertising, and a new era was underway.
“We have 12 patents pending from that one moment,” Sweeney said
Sweeney also talked about her team's reliance of consumer tweets for instant audience feedback, and dodged a question about whether Disney and its partners might put Hulu up for sale. Meanwhile, asked for a five-year outlook, she cited what she called Disney's unofficial mantra: "We create what’s next."
Finally, Sweeney spoke of a lesson she learned from Jobs, who told her one of his favorite films is a training movie from McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, in which he said his proudest moment was creating a product that never saw the light of day.
“It’s being that great editor,” concluded Sweeney, knowing when to release something and when to hold back.
The Paley Center event, emphasizing international themes, continues over the next two days with live streaming available on the center’s site.
Vintage Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom Park Marks 20 Years|
DisneyPark Blog - Surprise! That was the theme when the Walt Disney World Resort celebrated its 20th anniversary back in 1991. At Magic Kingdom Park, the new Surprise Celebration Parade featured Disney character balloons that towered 35-40 feet in the air and celebrated festivals from around the world.
And to kick the Surprise Celebration into high gear, the 20th anniversary enticed guests with the new advertising campaign “20 New Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World.” One of those reasons was the “Surprise in the Skies” show at Epcot as depicted below in a magazine advertisement.
Magic Kingdom Park was also rededicated on Oct. 1, 1991, by Michael Eisner and Roy Disney. The festivities were capped with a supersonic surprise flyover for all in attendance. With a shindig this big, I’m sure this was one surprise party everyone knew about!
As 'Lion King' goes 3-D, cast and filmmakers recall making|
LA Times - When 'Lion King' was being made, it was seen as a secondary project. A huge success at the box office and on stage, the film is being released in theaters in 3-D and on Blu-ray.
Walt Disney's 1994 animated blockbuster
"The Lion King" certainly hasn't been an endangered species for
the studio. Not with an international gross of $788.2 million.
Though it hasn't been out on DVD or VHS since 2004, Disney
reports it is the most successful title in home entertainment
history. The film has also spawned two straight-to-video sequels
and a TV series. And the Broadway musical version has played
more than 5,000 performances as of this week and won six Tony
Awards including best musical.
Famous Entertainer Charo Surprises Guests on the Disney Magic
with a Special Performance|
DisneyPark Blog - Just last night, guests aboard the Disney Magic were treated to an exciting performance by one of the most well-known entertainers of the decade – Charo!
Charo’s thrilling performance of
pop-oriented songs and traditional flamenco guitar, combined
with her witty humor and flamboyant stage presence, deserved
nothing short of the standing ovation she received.
Her performance came as a surprise to guests on the Disney Magic’s westbound transatlantic crossing as the ship heads back to Port Canaveral after the Mediterranean cruise season. Charo also surprised guests during the eastbound transatlantic crossing as the Disney Magic sailed from Port Canaveral to the Mediterranean this past May.
A Spanish-American actress, comedienne and one of the world’s best flamenco guitarists, Charo is best known for her appearances on the television show “Love Boat” and for her trademark expression “cuchi cuchi.” I guarantee you that her performance last night on the Disney Magic is one that our guests will never forget.
|Wednesday September 14, 2011|
Walt Disney World Resort Earns Top Honors for Supporting the
Disney unveils two new dining experiences
Treats, Not Tricks, at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park
‘When You Wish Upon A Star...’ - Disney’s Sister Fills Museum Archives
So Dear To My Heart: Uncle Robert
Baby Elephants Jabali and Luna Are Becoming the Best of Friends at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney Channel Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Disney/Pixar's "Cars 2" Ranks #1 at the Domestic Box Office Among This Year's Animated Titles
Top Picks for Fall Décor, Movies & More!
More details about applying this week for Disney World Moms Panel
Disney Makes Healthy Living Fun with New 'D-Lightful Living' Program To Help Families Make Better Health & Nutrition Choices
Disney brass miffed ABC missed Jackie exclusive
New-and-improved Disney Store to open Wednesday in St. Louis Galleria
Carmichael Acting Studio Features Disney Star at Acting Workshop
Walt Disney World Resort Earns Top Honors for Supporting the
DisneyParks Blog - I have some exciting news to share. Americans for the Arts just named Walt Disney World Resort as one the 10 best companies in the U.S. for its exceptional commitment to the arts. Walt Disney World Resort will receive the BCA 10: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America for 2011 award on October 5 at a black-tie gala in New York City.
As a company that began with a drawing of a mouse, Disney has a legacy founded in artistic expression and rich storytelling. Creativity and innovation are just part of the DNA here at Walt Disney World Resort as is support of the arts community in Central Florida.
For nearly four decades, Walt Disney World Resort has helped foster the local arts community through millions in cash, in-kind donations and the knowledge and expertise of its cast members. Among these contributions is a $12.5 million capital investment in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Last year alone, Walt Disney World Resort gave more than $565,000 to the local arts community, including Disney Helping Kids Shine grants to support local youth arts programs such as A Gift For Music, which provides free classical music instruction to economically disadvantaged students.
With approximately 3,000 performing roles at Walt Disney World Resort alone, the Orlando area is considered the nation’s fourth largest creative talent base after New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. A cultural community needs support to thrive – I’m so proud to see Disney take a starring role in these efforts and earn some great recognition for it.
unveils two new dining experiences|
Orlando Business Journal - As the Orlando area hits the halfway point of Orlando Magical Dining Month, Disney plans to introduce two new family-oriented dining experiences in the coming months: a character lunch and a holiday dinner.
Starting Dec. 4, Animal Kingdom’s Tusker House Restaurant will be the site of the new duck-dominated Donald’s Dining Safari Lunch, which will feature Donald and Daisy, as well as all-you-can-eat African-inspired cuisine, reports the Disney Food Blog. Reservations can be made beginning Sept. 15.
The Duck Duo already are featured in a daily Donald’s Breakfast Safari at Tusker House, which will continue.
Meanwhile, Master Chef Kevin Dundon of Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant has come up with a special Thanksgiving meal to debut this year for just $26.95 per person. The meal will include turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry and more with an Irish flair. The restaurant’s regular menu offerings also will be available on Nov. 24.
Sure, we haven’t even gotten close to Halloween yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your holiday eating plans.
Treats, Not Tricks, at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland
DisneyParks Blog - If you’re looking for a safe, fun and just-spooky-enough place to take your little monsters trick-or-treating this Halloween season, check out Mickey’s Halloween Party. Adults and children alike are invited to dress up and trick-or-treat in the ultimate neighborhood – Disneyland park! In addition to exclusives like Halloween Screams fireworks spectacular and Mickey’s Costume Party Cavalcade, Mickey’s Halloween Party guests can enjoy treats from multiple treat stops throughout the park.
“Mickey’s Hide and Go Treat Trails” are located throughout Disneyland park and feature dozens of treat stops, including new locations near Pirates of the Caribbean, The Golden Horseshoe, Village Haus and Pixie Hollow.
This year, trick-or-treaters will bag nearly half a million pounds of candy and healthy treats total – including apple slices, carrots, raisins and fruit snacks – during the 10 nights of Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Tickets are on sale now, so get yours here!
‘When You Wish Upon A Star...’ - Disney’s Sister Fills Museum
LCL - There are
some things about a man only his kid sister can know. For Baby
Boomers who grew up inviting Walt Disney into their living rooms
every Sunday evening, ‘Uncle Walt’ was an open book. We regarded
him as an extended family member; we were convinced that with
the famed animator, what we saw was what we got. In spite of the
postmortem accounts of Disney offered by biographers obsessed
with revealing his ‘dark side,’ there was substance to the
kindly persona we knew from an elusive distance, a gentle nature
that his sister, Ruth Flora Disney, has since confirmed. Before
her death in 1995, Ruth instructed her children to release the
letters she and Walt exchanged over the years, and they have
since honored her last wishes by releasing almost 3,000
‘artifacts’ (letters, photos, diaries) to the Walt Disney
Hometown Museum in Marceline. Kaye Malins, the museum’s curator
and a Disney family friend, has reviewed most, if not all, of
those artifacts and offers insights that many of Walt Disney’s
biographers were either unaware of or disregarded because the
material didn’t support their theses and agendas.
So Dear To My Heart: Uncle Robert|
WDFM - Robert Disney was a younger brother of Walt’s father, Elias. He is one of many Disney family members whose actions forever influenced Walt’s life and career.
“Robert is the one who…persuaded Elias to move to Marceline,” Disney historian Dave Smith says. “Elias, of course, had been living in Chicago, was not pleased with the big city life and its impact on his children. Some local kids had been arrested for robbery, and he was just worried about bringing up his kids in that kind of an atmosphere.”
That was in 1906. Robert owned a few hundred acres of land just north of the town, and in addition to renting this property from his brother, Elias also bought 45 acres. The next five years were deeply influential and had an ineffable impact of Walt Disney throughout his life.
When Elias and Flora determined to move to Kansas City in 1911, the fact that Robert and his wife Margaret were there motivated the decision.
Robert was a successful businessman with diversified investments including land, commercial property, and mining. When he retired in the early 1920s, he chose the perpetual summer and simple small town life of a Southern California hamlet called Hollywood.
When Walt made a decision to leave Kansas City for the greater opportunities available in filmmaking in California, the fact that his always-supportive brother Roy was there, and that the hospitality and support of Uncle Robert was available to help the transition.
Although Robert had encouraged Walt to come to California, when Walt and Roy approached him for financial assistance to start their movie studio in October of 1923, their uncle declined. It may be that Walt had simply overstayed his welcome at his Uncle’s home, or that Walt’s approach to finding work was not as direct as Robert might have respected. It has even been reported that Walt and his uncle had gotten into a trivial dispute about whether Walt’s train west, the Santa Fe California Limited, had passed through Topeka, as Uncle Robert asserted it had, or had not, as Walt maintained. Even after a call to the railroad had proved Walt right—the California Limited line ran south of Topeka through Newton, KS—Robert remained annoyed. Even Walt later admitted, “He demanded a lot of respect and didn’t think I gave it to him.”
Whatever their temporary disputes might have been, by mid-November of 1923, Uncle Robert loaned Walt and Roy 200 dollars, another 150 ten days later, and two loans totaling 150 dollars in December. Walt paid the loans back when he received a payment from the distributor for his first short in January of 1924, and Uncle Robert even appeared as an extra in at least one of Walt’s “Alice Comedies.”
When Roy married Edna Francis in April of 1925, the wedding took place in Uncle Robert’s bungalow at 4406 Kingswell Avenue in Hollywood.
Robert Samuel Disney died in Los Angeles on July 28, 1953 at the age of 91, having seen his faith and investment in Walt and Roy Disney pay dividends beyond anyone’s expectations.
So Dear to My Heart screens daily through September at 1:00pm and 4:00pm (except Tuesdays, and September 17 and 24). Tickets are available at the Reception and Member Service Desk at the Museum, or online at www.waltdisney.org.
Baby Elephants Jabali and Luna Are Becoming the Best of Friends
at Disney’s Animal Kingdom|
DisneyParks Blog - We just couldn’t resist doing another post on
our baby elephant Jabali, born August 24 at Disney’s Animal
Kingdom. Now that he’s out on the savanna with the herd, each
day brings new discoveries. Of course, mom Vasha and big sister
Kianga are always nearby, and our animal care team is keeping a
Since they’re so close in age and
elephants are very social, we were wondering how Jabali and Luna
(who turned one year old a few months ago) would get along.
Members of our elephant team report that, at first, when Jabali
approached Luna, she would run away, probably not sure what to
make of the new kid on the block. Then, once she became more
comfortable, she would try to wake him up when he took a nap
– until big sister Kianga put a stop to that. Now, the team
reports Jabali and Luna are hanging out together.
And it’s been wonderful to hear from our Kilimanjaro Safaris and Wild Africa Trek guests how much they’ve enjoyed seeing Jabali and the rest of herd during recent visits.
Disney Channel Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month|
modoration - Beginning Thursday, September 15th, Disney Channel is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with some fantastic original programming.
Here’s a list of the programs celebrating the month:
Premiering THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, the new interstitial series, “This Is Me,” features real-life kids talking about what makes them and their families unique, including favorite foods and traditions that help define their family origins. Disney XD will debut new spots highlighting stars Ryan Ochoa (“Pair of Kings”) and Mateo Arias (“Kickin It”) discussing their family traditions and role models.
Also on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, Disney Junior will debut a new episode of “Special Agent Oso” (12:30 – 1:00 p.m., ET/PT) featuring guest stars Rita Moreno, Rico Rodriguez and Raini Rodriguez. In the episode titled “For Tamales with Love/Piñata Royale,” Oso teaches Carmen and her cousins how to make their abuela’s (voiced by Moreno) famous tamales and helps Luis (voiced by Rico Rodriguez) and Miguel with a piñata for their sister Mariana’s (voiced by Raini Rodriguez) quinceañera.
The new 45-minute special, “Handy Manny Great Garage Rescue,” premiering MONDAY, OCTOBER 3 (1:00-1:55 p.m., ET/PT), follows loveable handyman Manny Garcia (voiced by Valderrama) and his talking tools. They travel to Concrete Falls to help Manny’s brother, Rubén (voiced by Freddy Rodriguez), save the family’s auto repair shop before Mayor Johnson (voiced by O’Neill) tears it down. Takei and Perrineau also guest star as residents of Concrete Falls. On Monday, September 19, DisneyJunior.com will launch a new “Handy Manny Great Garage Rescue” micro-site featuring the new game, “Handy Manny’s Fix it Fast Garage,” where kids can help Manny and the tools fix up old cars by identifying the problem and picking the correct tool out of Manny’s toolbox. The site also features new recipes and crafts themed to the episode.
Disney/Pixar's "Cars 2" Ranks #1 at the Domestic Box Office
Among This Year's Animated Titles|
PR Newswire - The Walt Disney Studios announced today that the Disney/Pixar animated feature film "Cars 2," which opened on June 24, 2011, has earned $189 million domestically, ranking first among this year's animated features. The film has earned $548 million to date at the domestic and international box office, making it the 16th highest-grossing animated film in global cinematic history.
Additionally, on September 7, The Hollywood Post Alliance nominated "Cars 2" in two categories: Outstanding Editing-Feature Film (Stephen Schaffer, A.C.E./ Pixar Animation Studios) and Outstanding Sound-Feature Film (Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Michael Silvers/Skywalker Sound).
"This is the real fast and furious," said Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers in his June 23, 2011, review. "And it's even better than before. The sequel is a tire-burning burst of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood. You can bet 'Cars 2' will rev your engines."
John Lasseter directed "Cars 2," a follow-up to his 2006 two-time Oscar®-nominated and Golden Globe®-winning "Cars." "Cars 2" is co-directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar®-winning film "Ratatouille," and produced by Denise Ream (associate producer, "Up").
A culturally diverse, comedic spy-thriller set in cities around the world, including Paris, London and Toyko, "Cars 2" has surpassed the worldwide box-office totals of other Disney/Pixar hits such as "Monsters, Inc." and "WALL-E."
"Cars 2" is the 12th feature-length animated film from Pixar Animation Studios (its first 11 have earned $6.5 billion at the global box office). Pixar, winner of 29 Academy Awards® and seven Golden Globes®, celebrated its 25th anniversary last month.
An all-star cast voiced "Cars 2," including Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, John Turturro, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, and Joe Mantegna.
for Fall Décor, Movies & More!|
Disney Insider - Summer's over, the kids are
tucked away at school, and now is when the whirlwind of fun
really begins. From Halloween to the Harvest Moon, we've got you
covered with the best of the best from Disney
Add a tad of Disney magic to your fall and holiday planning with
handpicked gems that include everything from décor, crafts, and
recipes to outdoor activities, movies, and more. This cornucopia
of creative ideas is sure to make autumn days a breeze – there's
enough to keep you busy every afternoon from now through
Thanksgiving! Here are our top picks to welcome the changing of
the season ...
More details about applying this week for Disney World Moms
Orlando Sentinel - If you haven’t applied for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, there’s still time. The application period lasts until Friday or when 20,000 applications are received, whichever comes first.
Although the odds may seem great, there currently are 43 panels whose expertise spans Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney and — coming in 2012 — Disneyland Resort offerings. That’s way up from the first panel of 12 five years ago.
We first reported the job description, requirements and benefits here, but now we have a few more details.
Applicants must answer eight of the 10 questions in the first round of the process. The first four are basics about the applicant. The next four are used to demonstrate knowledge of Disney, and applicants must answer either two for Disney World or two for Disneyland. Finally, the last two questions are about Disney planning. In total, there are only two essay questions, and answers are limited to 100 words or less.
Click here to get started. Finalists will be notified the week of Nov. 14 that they have qualified for the next round.
Disney Makes Healthy Living Fun with New 'D-Lightful Living'
Program To Help Families Make Better Health & Nutrition Choices|
MarketWatch - Getting kids to become animated about healthy lifestyle habits is not always easy. Today Disney Consumer Products (DCP) announces an exciting new program to help equip parents and busy families with the tools they need to incorporate more of these habits into a busy schedule.
Through a series of weekly challenges over the course of 12 weeks, D-Lightful Living: Animate Your Daily Routine will give parents tips inspired by fun Disney-branded products on how to help motivate their families to make simple and easy changes like eating more fruits and vegetables, improving oral care habits and preparing for cold and flu season. Hosted on DCP's official Facebook page known as Disney Living, each week DCP will feature a video challenge from the "Go-To Mom," Kimberley Clayton Blaine -- a mom blogger, child development expert and licensed child therapist. She will showcase simple tips and product suggestions to help other parents guide their kids toward a healthier lifestyle using products that feature their favorite Disney characters. The program will run weekly through the end of November.
"Encouraging children to incorporate health-minded changes, even small ones, into their daily routines is often frustrating for parents," said Blaine, a mom of two boys. "With help and inspiration from Disney-branded products that feature some of kids' favorite characters, moms and dads can inspire healthier habits that feel like fun and not a task."
Beginning today, families can visit the D-Lightful Living page on Disney Living Facebook to find out information on each weekly challenge including tips from Blaine and information about relevant Disney-branded products to help succeed with each challenge. Parents can also download a checklist outlining all 12 weekly challenges and tack this up around the house to help track the family's progress. They can also join in the online forum to share their own tips toward healthier habits and enter to win a weekly Disney-branded product prize package. Through a sharing function, program participants are encouraged to let their Facebook friends in on all the action by inviting them to participate or working together to help each other meet their family's goals.
"From our nutritional guidelines to the 'Magic of Healthy Living' PSAs and programming, Disney has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to encouraging families to make better choices concerning their health and nutrition," said Embola Ndi, vice president of Food Health & Beauty, DCP. "The D-Lightful Living campaign gives moms meaningful ideas and product solutions to help her family make these better choices while also showing kids that Disney makes healthy living fun."
In 2006, Disney announced new food guidelines aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. Under these guidelines, Disney committed to using its name and characters on kid-focused food products that meet specific criteria, including limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar. The guidelines also included a long-term target for balancing the licensed food portfolio such that 85% will be everyday foods with the smaller 15% comprised of special-occasion treats. DCP has achieved this goal in North America.
brass miffed ABC missed Jackie exclusive|
New York Post - Walt Disney Co. brass apparently were furious that the world exclusive on the embargoed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis book and tapes from her 8 1/2 hours of interviews with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. ran first on NBC, not on ABC, which like the book’s publisher, Hyperion, is owned by Disney.
Carmichael Acting Studio Features Disney Star at Acting Workshop|
SFGate - When thinking of Disney, one thing comes to mind, family television at its best. The Carmichael Acting Studio of Calabasas is holding a workshop on September 24, 2011 from 9am to 2pm and it will be one to remember. Disney Star and Award Winning Actress, KIMBERLY J. BROWN has agreed to come and speak at the Carmichael Acting Studio.
|Tuesday September 13, 2011|
Fantasy Stern Character Sculpture|
Things You Might Not Know About Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park
Four Seasons finalizes deal for $360 million hotel at Disney World
See Ireland’s Na Fianna at Raglan Road at Walt Disney World Resort
The World at 40
It’s a Real Beach House! Aunty Makes a Place for Kids at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Aloha! Disney Gift Cards Available at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Disney’s Wedding Pavilion Time Lapse at Walt Disney World Resort
Where's Lilo and other fun and games at Disney's Aulani hotel
Boo to You: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Scares Up Fun at Magic Kingdom Park
Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Songs Set for Sept. 20 Release
THE MUPPETS: Images, Character Descriptions, Fun Facts
Does Disney's 9/11 Video Hint at Bob Iger's Political Aspirations?
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort set to open in 2014
Fantasy Stern Character Sculpture|
Line - We are excited to
give you an exclusive look at the Disney characters who will
adorn the stern of the Disney Fantasy! Check out these
Things You Might Not Know About Haunted Mansion Holiday at
Blog - With Halloween Time coming up at the Disneyland Resort,
spooky preparations are taking place all around Disneyland park.
Four Seasons finalizes deal for $360 million hotel at Disney
Orlando Sentinel - Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts said Tuesday it has secured financing for a $360 million luxury resort at Walt Disney World and will begin construction of the long-planned project in December.
The 444-room hotel, which will include a rooftop restaurant with views of the Magic Kingdom and a "lazy river" water feature, among other amenities, is expected to open in mid- or late 2014. The project will also include as many as 40 Four Seasons time-share units and up to 90 Four Seasons private residences.
Four Seasons will hold a 30 percent stake in the project, with the remaining equity split between Silverstein Properties, a New York real-estate developer, and Dune Real Estate Partners, a New York private-equity fund. Grupo Financiero Inbursa, a Mexico City-based bank, will provide $190 million in debt financing.
"This is something that we've been very excited about for a long time, so this is exciting for us to get to this milestone," said Scott Woroch, Four Seasons' executive vice president of worldwide development. "And we're very enthusiastic about being on the cusp of getting shovels into the ground."
Toronto-based Four Seasons bought the land for the hotel from Disney World in August 2008 for approximately $51 million, according to property records. The land, in the northeast portion of Disney World, includes Disney's Osprey Ridge golf course, which will be incorporated into the resort.
Officials initially hoped to open the resort by last year, but the project was slowed by the global recession and credit crunch.
"When we first went into the market and started talking about this in '08, there was no market. No one wanted to talk to us," said Larry Silverstein, chief executive of Silverstein Properties, which secured the construction loan and oversaw master planning, among other responsibilities. "It got a little better in '09 and it got a lot better in '10."
Silverstein estimated that 2,000 construction workers would be hired to work on the project. Four Seasons says it expects to employ "several hundred" workers to staff the hotel along with its restaurants, spa and other facilities.
It was Disney that first approached Four Seasons about buying the land. Disney is banking on Four Seasons, one of the most prestigious brands in the lodging industry, to provide an enticing amenity for buyers in "Golden Oak," a residential subdivision of multimillion-dollar homes that Disney is developing in the same area. About a dozen Golden Oak mansions are under construction currently; Disney says the project will ultimately have about 450 homes.
Four Seasons will become the second elite hotel brand to build at Disney World in recent years. Waldorf Astoria in 2009 opened a 498-room resort on a piece of land in Bonnet Creek, a small area in the midst of Disney World that is not owned by the giant resort.
Although the Four Seasons will include approximately 37,750 square feet of meeting and event space, the Disney World hotel is likely to cater to a higher mix of leisure travelers than the typical Four Seasons. The company currently operates 85 hotels, with roughly two-thirds in cities and the other third in resort destinations.
Woroch said he expects a roughly 50-50 split between leisure and business travelers at the Orlando location.
See Ireland’s Na Fianna at Raglan Road at Walt Disney World
DisneyParks Blog - One of Ireland’s most popular bands, Na Fianna, will perform nightly at Raglan Road at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort through Oct. 1.
This four-piece traditional/ballad group performs music that’s enhanced by mandolin, accordion, guitar and bodhrán. Their nightly repertoire features a wide variety of songs from “Galway Girl” to the “Rocky Road to Dublin.”
Na Fianna rose to fame in 2009, when the group appeared in the “All-Ireland Talent Show” television talent competition. After four live television performances to a viewing audience of 700,000, the band finished in second place out of more than 6,000 competitors.
Na Fianna will perform Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m., and Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m.
Don’t forget that this weekend, Raglan Road will hold a special “Half Way to Paddy Day” celebration that will feature the music of Na Fianna and the popular U-2 tribute band Elevation, Irish dancing, competitions, and more.
The World at 40|
Chicago Tribune - Back in 1971, Disney promised us the World. And that's precisely what it delivered — in spades.
Walt Disney World's castle door flew open Oct. 1 that year, unwrapping an entertainment complex that would go on to vastly overshadow its Western sibling, Disneyland.
I was there, as a youngster, during that inaugural year, after begging my parents to take me.
I clearly remember my first Mark IV monorail ride, excitedly sliding across the car's seats, the four swinging doors loudly clacking open. Then my first wondrous glance at the gleaming turrets of Cinderella Castle. I was hooked!
The Walt Disney World experience became indelibly entwined with fond memories of fun, friends and family. Very moving and truly magical.
That's by design, of course. Walt Disney's design, fulfilling his biggest dream, transformed some 40 square miles of orange groves and woods into a paradise.
A vivid memory from my first visit was the Disney promise: that Walt Disney World would never be complete. It would be ever evolving, constantly growing, continually updated.
The magic of that promise has come to pass in glorious fashion.
When the World opened, it consisted of the Magic Kingdom theme park, two themed resorts at the Contemporary and the Polynesian, and the Fort Wilderness campground.
Today the San Francisco-size property houses four theme parks, two water parks, 25 Disney-themed resort hotels (seven with Vacation Club digs), the Downtown Disney entertainment district, Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, a cruise line, a wedding pavilion and more.
After 40 years and hundreds of millions of guests, that promise continues.
Far behind Cinderella Castle, a monumental project is rising from the Pixie dust: It's the stunning Fantasyland expansion, the largest in the history of the Magic Kingdom. When complete, Fantasyland will be doubled in size. Various phases will open throughout the next two years.
Amid the lush green forest covering the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea site, a castle of another sort spikes dramatically into the air. The central point of a new Belle neighborhood, the Beast's majestic castle will house Be Our Guest, a 550-seat restaurant presenting three dining themes: the lavish ballroom, gallery and West Wing from the classic "Beauty and the Beast" film. There will be fast food by day and table service by night.
Nearby, Maurice's cottage will beckon guests to Enchanted Tales With Belle, an interactive meet-and-greet. A 21/2-foot Audio-Animatronic Lumiere magically whisks guests through a mirror and into the Beast's library to join Belle for a retelling of their story. Elsewhere in Belle's village, guests can enjoy a rousing visit to Gaston's Tavern.
Turn the corner, and you will approach Prince Eric's castle and the seaside home of Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, a sweeping attraction retelling the story of Ariel. Guests board clamshell omnimovers to bob above and below the waves, reliving the great scenes from the film, encounter an ominous 7-foot-tall Ursula and enjoy hundreds of singing and dancing Audio-Animatronic sea creatures. It's all topped off with a meet-and-greet with the "real" Ariel, a live character, and Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt, an interactive game for kids.
Smack dab in the center of the new Fantasyland forest will be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a cross between a family coaster and a dark ride. Featuring an innovative new ride system with vehicles that sway from side to side responding to the track's every twist, guests are whisked inside and out on a rollicking jaunt through the Dwarfs' diamond mine to Snow White's cottage with, perhaps, a visit from the Evil Queen and Snow White herself.
Once the Dwarfs are in their new home, Snow White's Scary Adventures becomes Princess Fairytale Hall, a new meet-and-greet royal court for live characters Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and all the princesses.
On the former site of Mickey's Toontown Fair, the new Storybook Circus area will boast a Double Dumbo. That's two carousels of Dumbo the Flying Elephant whirling guests on the classic flight from behind pachyderm ears. Straddling the Dumbo wheels, a Big Top tent will burst with interactive games.
Next door, the Great Goofini, a re-imagined Barnstormer roller coaster starring Goofy, will swoop guests on a daredevil mission.
Growth is ubiquitous in Walt Disney World. The former Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney is getting its own makeover. Other enhancements dot the Downtown landscape: a newly expanded Lego Imagination Center; AMC dine-in movie theater; Apricot Lane Boutique; and Splitsville, a music, dining and game venue.
Adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, the Art of Animation Resort, readying for a January opening, will offer 1,120 family suites themed after the "The Lion King," "Finding Nemo" and "Cars," plus 864 rooms themed inside and out to "The Little Mermaid."
And let's not forget the March maiden voyage of Disney Fantasy, Disney's fourth cruise ship and a sister ship to this year's Disney Dream. Similar in size and layout to its predecessor, the Fantasy will offer an AquaDuck water coaster; the first Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at sea; and "Animation Magic," a dinner show allowing families to create characters that "come alive," interacting with classic Disney characters.
The future is thriving at Walt Disney World. Who knows exactly how the promise will play out?
At least one new pavilion someday will be added to Epcot's World Showcase. Will it be Brazil? Spain? Switzerland? Perhaps more Pixar attractions in Disney's Hollywood Studios? Australia in Disney's Animal Kingdom? The return of "Mickey Mouse Revue" to Fantasyland?
Whatever the future may bring, one thing is for certain: Walt Disney World, for me, will always do what it does best: instill heartfelt memories of the wonderful moments families and friends share there.
If you go
Current single-day tickets at Walt Disney World are $85 for ages 10 and older and $79 for ages 3-9. Those are only the starting base prices. Disney's Magic Your Way ticket packages give you scores of options and price points depending on the number of days you stay, whether you select the Park Hopper option, the water parks option or the no-expiration option. The per-day price goes down the longer you stay.
Staying at a Disney resort hotel ranges from $82 per night in a value resort to $240 per night and more in a deluxe resort. Amenities provided to resort guests include optional packages for park tickets and dining plans, exclusive theme park admission during Magic Morning and Evening hours, free Magical Express bus transportation to and from the airport and transportation throughout the Disney property via monorail, bus or boat.
Bruce's advice: Don't go just for the rides and attractions. To appreciate the entire experience, you need to catch each theme park's character parades, amazing fireworks, stage shows and themed restaurants.
It’s a Real Beach House! Aunty Makes a Place for Kids at Aulani,
a Disney Resort & Spa|
DisneyParks Blog - Now that Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is open and vacationing families are discovering and enjoying it, I have to say that one of the great surprises for me, even after supposedly being told everything about it, is Aunty’s Beach House. This is the “kid’s club” at Aulani, where children hang out while their parents are doing other things, but it’s a unique experience: a little piece of island lifestyle tucked into the resort.
For one thing, it really does look like someone’s beachside home. It’s easy to believe that Aunty and Uncle have lived here for years, collecting and displaying the souvenirs of their life and travels together while creating a cozy place for younger family members to play and learn.
Once you enter, you’re immersed in the rooms of the house – each one serving as a different kind of play space. There’s a dress-up area in the living room (which also includes a magical fireplace and skylight, both featuring surprising images that appear unexpectedly). There are video games in separate rooms targeted to older and younger children.
A tropical storm can be created right outside the windows of Uncle’s Study when children need an excuse to stay indoors and watch movies. There’s also Uncle’s Garage, where kids can build fun stuff; there’s a place for them to gather ‘round while Aunty tells stories; and there’s a place for a visiting “professor” to help them conduct really messy experiments.
Of course, I never doubted that Aunty’s Beach House would be a fun place for kids and a place where parents could confidently leave children in the care of Aunty, Uncle and the members of their extended ‘ohana. I just wasn’t fully prepared for this fully imagined Beach House experience. Kids at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, really do have a house of their own to play in and make new friends.
Disney resorts offer something for every member of the family, and yet … Aunty’s Beach House is one of those features that make me wish I was six years old again.
Aloha! Disney Gift Cards Available at Aulani, a Disney Resort &
DisneyParks Blog - In honor of the opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, two new Disney Gift Cards are now available exclusively at the resort! Treat yourself with these fun new cards that showcase Aulani’s Disney roots and Hawaiian style.
The first design, “Mickey & Friends Aloha,” captures the beautiful scenery of Hawai’i and architectural details of the resort. The card features a festively dressed Mickey enjoying a casual luau with pals Minnie, Goofy and Donald.
The second design, “Aulani Laniwai Spa,” is a uniquely designed card found at Laniwai Spa. The serene blue waves on the card reflect the calming nature of the Spa while staying true to its name, Laniwai, which means “freshwater heaven.” This special Disney Gift Card also features a completely transparent top!
Get these two Disney Gift Cards today at Aulani!
Disney’s Wedding Pavilion Time Lapse at Walt Disney World Resort|
DisneyParks Blog - Ever wonder what it takes to pull off a seamless wedding event at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort? If so, have I got a treat for you! We worked with Disney Fine Art Videography to capture an entire ceremony, from setup to cleanup, and then sped it up to make everything unfold before your eyes in under one minute flat.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment below to let me know what you think of the video! And as always, to stay up-to-date with everything happily-ever-after connect with us on Facebook.
Where's Lilo and other fun and games at Disney's Aulani hotel|
LA Times - My 11-year-old daughter, Hannah, has wanted to visit Hawaii since Disney's "Lilo & Stitch" movie came out in 2002.
The wacky animated movie about a Hawaiian girl who adopts a pet that turns out to be an alien was filled with surfing, hula dancing and exotic locales. But mostly it was about ohana – the Hawaiian word for "family."
So when we arrived at Disney's new Aulani hotel in Hawaii it seemed like a no-brainer that we'd find Lilo and Stitch here to welcome Hannah to the tropical paradise that filled her dreams and imagination.
We spotted Stitch almost immediately wearing a lei and a floral print hat, but no matter how hard we looked we couldn't find the spirited and eccentric little girl who seemed such a natural fit for a Disney resort in Hawaii.
Everywhere we went in the resort, we asked: Where's Lilo? We were variously told Lilo was at school, on vacation or surfing on Kauai – but none of the answers sufficiently explained the obvious storytelling oversight.
The $800-million Aulani in Ko Olina on leeward Oahu opened in late August with an official grand opening scheduled for Sept. 22.
I've been staying at the Aulani for the last few days with my wife, Nancy, and Hannah, where there was no shortage of family activities to keep us busy.
The new resort has gone to great lengths to emphasize the Aulani's historic Hawaiian theme and keep the Disney touches to a minimum.
Make no mistake, you'll find vacationing versions of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip, Dale and Stitch posing for photo ops – but only in small doses.
Here are some of the family activities we took part in during our recent visit:
Upon arrival, our first stop was at Aunty's Beach House, a kids club featuring a host of activities: hula lessons, luau parties, science experiments and comedy shows.
Adorned with surfboards, boat oars and fishing gear, the kids club is a concept lifted from the Disney cruise line with repurposed props and decorations from Disney World's defunct Adventurer's Club.
Aunty's is filled with tabletop touch-screen video games, arts and crafts, dress-up costumes, storytelling sessions and big-screen TVs showing endless movies – making it difficult for parents to retrieve their children. Hawaiian renditions of Disney favorites such as "Be Our Guest" and "You've Got a Friend in Me" play over the sound system. Replica photos made from the collection at the Bishop Museum, the Hawaiian history museum in Honolulu, line the hallways.
But with an age-range that topped out around 10, Hannah felt a little old for the crowd at Aunty's. She preferred the Painted Sky teen spa that offered movie nights, pool parties, beach bashes, stargazing tours, lei making, dessert decorating, scavenger hunts and fitness challenges. Disney counselors warmly welcomed her at both locations regardless of her age, and she soon became a regular at each place, reveling in her dual grade-schooler and tween status.
Similarly, the Pau Hana community hall served as a family room where parents and kids could spend time together. The three of us made bracelets with our favorite Hawaiian words. Hannah's bracelet said powawae, or soccer, surrounded by kukui nuts and turtle-shaped beads.
Next door was an ingenious waiting room for hotel guests that had already checked out but hadn't left for the airport yet because of a late flight. The Luana Lounge included couches, big-screen TVs, lockers, showers, a swimsuit water extractor, computers for printing boarding passes and a constantly updating flight departure board from theHonolulu airport.
At the community hall, Nancy, Hannah and I checked out a modified Android cellphone that doubled as a GPS wayfinder on the Menehune Adventure Trail, a treasure hunt game in which hotel guests search for Hawaii's mischievous little people.
About 300 menehune statues were scattered throughout the resort and spotting them quickly became Hannah's favorite pursuit. They could be found under footbridges, inside the shave ice stand and atop bookcases. Hannah's favorite menehune was sleeping in the upper reaches of one of the elevators leading to our room. On more than one occasion we waited in the lobby for the menehune elevator to arrive.
On the menehune trail, we used the wayfinder to track clues leading to madcap menehune mischief. By speaking into the phone, we caused the menehune to appear in rocks, blow conch shells and even start fires. The finale sent us into a dark cavern where volcanic lava began to flow.
"Daddy, look at the walls," Hannah said, gripping my hand tightly. "They're glowing."
After our treasure hunt, the cell phones were easily repurposed into electronic guides to the Aulani's gardens and artwork, which I enjoyed on my own.
One of my favorite activities at the Aulani was the nightly fireside storytelling hour, where families listened to Hawaiian tales of star-crossed lovers told with a ukulele accompaniment. Less successful was the poorly attended sunset gathering, where a conch shell was blown and hotel guests were encouraged to chant as day turned to night. Most people seemed confused or disinterested.
You'll notice that so far I have written little about Disney's famous walk-around characters. I've saved the worst for last. You'd assume that Disney would have their character interactions dialed in by now.
I was surprised by the contrived and disruptive afternoon character poolside party that featured a Disney employee, using a public address system, extolling swimmers to scream, splash and hop up on deck for a hula contest. The pump-up-the-energy vibe so upset the tranquil mood that poolside loungers cringed at the paradise-wrecking spectacle.
A similar dry-land surfing lesson for kids withChip and Dale employed more amplified pep rally exhortations that echoed throughout the resort.
I would have dismissed the overexuberance as grand opening jitters if not for the Starlight Hui, the resort's marquee event held several times a week. In an effort to avoid the pan-Polynesian luau common at most resorts, Disney produced a tradition-rich show that paid tribute to Hawaii, its people and customs.
As the stirring show drew to a close, a youth counselor jumped up on stage in a but-wait-there's-more moment and called out all the Disney characters one by one. The folklore-rich show steeped in myth and legend quickly devolved into a disco nightclub with the characters leading the crowd in the "Electric Slide" and other line dancing steps typically reserved for weddings and reunions. It left me almost dumbstruck until I jumped up to boogie with Hannah, who could care less about thematic consistency and coherent storytelling.
I trust Disney will dial down the excitement level of the character appearances over the coming weeks as complaints start rolling in.
Boo to You: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Scares Up Fun
at Magic Kingdom Park|
DisneyParks Blog - Halloween is by far my
favorite holiday, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate
than by attending a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at
Magic Kingdom Park.
Parties, which take place from 7 p.m. – midnight on select evenings September-November, feature trick-or-treat locations, Disney characters in costume, enhanced holiday décor and special stage shows. Two major highlights are the Boo-to-You Halloween parade, which features the Headless Horseman, Disney characters in Halloween regalia and the stars of The Haunted Mansion. Another is the Happy HalloWishes fireworks spectacular, which illuminates the park in glittering color and light.
Dates for this year’s party nights are: Sept. 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30, Oct. 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, and Nov. 1. Prices vary based on event night.
Oh, and don’t forget that dressing in costume is encouraged!
Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Songs Set for Sept. 20 Release|
They're among the crown jewels of the Disney songbook: classics sung by princesses and princesses-to-be, from Cinderella to the Little Mermaid. Now, Walt Disney Records collects the best of those memorable melodies on Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Songs. The set includes hits from great Disney animated films going back decades, as well as a brand new song, "The Glow," written and produced for the collection by Adam Watts and Andy Dodd (Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato) and sung by British teen sensation Shannon Saunders. Serving as the official Disney Princess anthem, "The Glow" will inspire young girls to believe in their dreams, overcome challenges and fulfill all their wishes. The 14-track album arrives at stores and online retailers Sept. 20.
Disney royalty represented in the set include Pocahontas, Cinderella, Snow White, Mulan, Belle from "Beauty and the Beast," Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," Rapunzel from "Tangled" and Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog." The new song, "The Glow," arrives at iTunes Sept. 13. "We were honored to write 'The Glow' and contribute to the amazing history of Disney princesses," said co-writer/producer Adam Watts. "It was a fun challenge to create a song that reflects the unique qualities of a princess, and stand among such an incredible legacy of music."
Little princesses from across the globe will watch seventeen-year-old Shannon Saunders perform "The Glow" on Oct. 2, as Rapunzel is welcomed into the Disney Princess court at a high-profile and star-studded celebration at Kensington Palace, London, UK. Last year, Shannon won the nationwide vote in her native England for Disney Channel UK's "My Camp Rock 2" talent contest, inspired by the Disney Channel Original Movie "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam." Shannon also recorded "I See the Light," the Oscar-nominated song from the Disney animated film "Tangled," a track featured on the new princess collection.
Songs included on Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Songs are:
"Something There" (from "Beauty and the Beast") "I See the Light" (from "Tangled") "Down In New Orleans" (from "The Princess and the Frog")"The Glow," performed by Shannon Saunders"Where Do We Go From Here" (from "Pocahontas")"I Wonder" (from "Sleeping Beauty")"Part of Your World" (from "The Little Mermaid") "Beauty and the Beast" (from "Beauty and the Beast") "Almost There" (from "The Princess and the Frog") "Everyday Princess" (from "The Princess and the Frog")"When Will My Life Begin" (from "Tangled") "Reflection" (from "Mulan") "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" (from "Cinderella")"I'm Wishing" (from "Snow White")
Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Songs will be available wherever music is sold on Sept. 20, 2011. For more information on Walt Disney Records' releases, please visit Disney.com/music, become a fan at Facebook.com/disneymusic or follow us at Twitter.com/disneymusic.
THE MUPPETS: Images, Character Descriptions, Fun Facts|
Collider - Collider is operating under the assumption that you can’t get enough of The Muppets. If this is not your situation, you need to exit out of this page quick. This post is packed with Muppet goods. We have more high-resolution images of Jason Segel and Amy Adams alongside their furry co-stars. There are detailed descriptions of the character arcs for everyone from the lead Segel to the new Muppet Walter down to Animal in anger management. And Disney has provided four pages worth of fun facts about the November 23 release. All this and more after the jump.
We’ll start with the character bios. The level of detail is ridiculous, so beware of spoilers. The new images will be interspersed throughout
GARY (Jason Segel) is loyal to his brother Walter—the two do everything together. “Gary is from Smalltown, USA,” says Jason Segel (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), a longtime Muppet fan who created the role with himself in mind. “He’s very naïve, sweet and innocent, and he’s very much in love with his girlfriend Mary. He’s torn between his brother and growing into a new phase of maturation where it’s time to be with his girlfriend. He’s lived with his brother forever so that is his big struggle.”
The plot thickens when the trio decides to take a vacation. Says Segel, “The movie starts out with me and my brother Walter, whose wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets. My goal is to take a vacation to L.A. with my girlfriend Mary. So we all come to L.A. and while taking a tour of Muppet Studios, which are now decrepit, we find out that they’re going to be torn down to drill for oil. So we have to find Kermit, reunite the Muppets—who have disbanded because of professional rivalries—and put on a show to raise enough money to save the studio.”
Gary throws himself into the effort, putting his relationship with Mary on the back burner—again. Will he ever be able to grow up and embrace true love?
With his Kermit t-shirt and watch, WALTER (Walter) is a devoted fan of the Muppets. The lifelong resident of Smalltown, USA, dreams of meeting his heroes one day, and feels that—just maybe—he belongs with them. So when brother Gary and his girlfriend Mary plan a trip to Los Angeles, Walter joins them with hopes of realizing his dream once and for all.
The role marks the big-screen debut for Walter, and one seemingly written for him. “I play Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan,” says the star, “which is a real coincidence, since I happen to be the world’s biggest Muppet fan and my name is Walter. It’s like I was made to play this part.”
Walter finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time—or is it the right time?—when he overhears evil oil baron Tex Richman discussing a plot to destroy Muppet Studios. With the help of Gary and Mary, it’s Walter who sets the plan in motion to reunite the Muppets and save the studio. His pure-hearted enthusiasm for all things Muppets just might save more than the studio, too.
MARY (Amy Adams) is a valued shop teacher in Smalltown, USA—at least if the number of apples on her desk are any indication. She is Gary’s longtime girlfriend who often finds herself playing third wheel to Gary and his brother Walter.
Mary shares Gary and Walter’s sweet, innocent disposition, but she’s growing weary of sharing her boyfriend with Walter. She can’t help but hope for a magical proposal during their Los Angeles vacation, but her plans are derailed when news of Muppet Studios’ pending demise spur the trio into expressly non-marriage-proposal action.
Amy Adams (“The Fighter,” “Julie & Julia”) was called on for the role—in a way that was impossible to miss, says the actress. “Jason and Kermit sent me an invitation to be in Disney’s “The Muppets”—they asked if I’d read the script and consider the role of Mary. Kermit was a big part of my decision. I don’t like to tell Jason that ‘cause he’s a little sensitive that I might be partial to Kermit, but I am.”
KERMIT THE FROG (Kermit the Frog) lives a quiet, solitary life. It’s been a few years since the Muppets last performed together and Kermit doesn’t realize how much he misses his friends until he’s tracked down by Walter, Gary and Mary from Smalltown, USA, and convinced to reunite with the rest of the Muppets to save Muppet Studios.
Returning to the role he made famous in six previous Muppet movies, “The Muppet Show” and countless TV specials and internet videos, is Kermit the Frog. “I’ve played other parts, like Bob Crachit in ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’ and Captain Smollett in ‘Muppet Treasure Island,’ says Kermit, “but I think me is my favorite part.”
The role is a bit of a departure for the frog known for his unifying spirit and award-winning songs like “The Rainbow Connection.” “The movie is filled with comedy, music and adventure—like all the Muppet movies,” says Kermit. “But I play quite a dramatic role. You see a side of me that maybe you haven’t see before—and I’m not just taking about new camera angles. Acting wise, I really stretch to play me. One of my favorite moments is singing a brand new original song called ‘Pictures in my Head.’ I walk through the halls of a big mansion looking at portraits of my Muppet friends and missing those guys. It was very emotional…and I think it will disprove critics who’ve said ‘the frog can’t emote.’”
Kermit, who’s always the glue that holds the Muppets together, has a big job in this movie, going head to head with Tex Richman—a guy who’s lost his laugh—to save the studio.
TEX RICHMAN (Chris Cooper) is a rich oil baron who’s concocted a devious plan to destroy Muppet Studios, presumably to dig for the oil he claims is underneath.
But the truth, says Chris Cooper (“Adaptation,” “The Bourne Identity”), who portrays the villain, is that Tex has a personal vendetta against the Muppets. “He blames the Muppets for a terrible event that happened to him at his 10th birthday party,” says Cooper. “He is unable to laugh and has vowed to destroy the Muppets.”
But Tex Richman’s inability to laugh doesn’t stop him from taking part in other Muppet antics. He may be cold-hearted and conniving, but this oil magnate has a few secrets up his sleeve that are more fun than fiendish.
MISS PIGGY (Miss Piggy) showcases her diva attitude and big personality in a new made-to-order gig in Disney’s “The Muppets.” As plus-size editor of Vogue Paris, she shares her sublime fashion sensibilities with readers worldwide… at least until Kermit shows up.
The Frog is there, of course, as part of his mission to reunite all the Muppets to save Muppet Studios from Tex Richman. But Miss Piggy can read between the lines: she knows an invitation for love when she sees it. And really—how could she say no to Kermie?
Playing the role of Miss Piggy is none other than Miss Piggy (“Muppets from Space,” TV’s “The Muppet Show”). “It’s the role I was born to play,” says the internationally famous star. “Moi plays a high-powered, confident, charismatic, gorgeous, scene-stealing star who saves the day and wins her frog’s heart.”
Her fans would expect nothing less.
FOZZIE BEAR (Fozzie Bear)
lives to make people laugh. So during the Muppets’
extended hiatus depicted in Disney’s “The Muppets,” the stand-up
comic bear was determined to keep his act and the spirit of the
Muppets alive—even if it meant joining up with a Reno casino
tribute band called the Moopets. Imitation is the sincerest form
of flattery, and the Moopets may be sincere, but they’re also a
“The Moopets recreate great Muppet moments,” says Fozzie Bear (“The Great Muppet Caper,” TV’s “The Muppet Show”), who is back on the big screen as his namesake, “at least that’s what they told me we were doing. Could’ve fooled me.”
Regardless of who he shares the stage with, Fozzie will try anything to tickle the audience’s funny bones: gags, novelties, whoopee cushions, banana peels, custard pies and recycled jokes that earn more winces than laughs—particularly from his in-house hecklers, Statler and Waldorf (aka “those two old guys in the balcony”) In truth, Statler and Waldorf just might be the bear’s biggest fans. Though they’d never admit it, they may actually be happy to see Fozzie and the Muppets reunited—and they might have to throw the bear a laugh or two this time if it means saving Muppet Studios.
VERONICA (Rashida Jones) is a network executive called on by the Muppets to air their studio-saving telethon. She’s not easily swayed, and it’ll take a big-name star to seal the deal.
Actress Rashida Jones (“The Social Network,” TV’s “The Office) portrays the tough-as-nails woman to impress. “I play a hard-nosed, stressed-out TV executive,” says Jones, “but I am the only one who gives the Muppets the chance to air their fundraising telethon. I definitely crack the whip, though, because I’m scared of losing my job and I’m scared it’s not going to be successful—I yell at Kermit a lot.”
It won’t be easy, but hopefully, Kermit can charm Veronica like he charms every woman, network exec and diva pig he encounters.
GONZO THE GREAT (The Great Gonzo) has been very busy since the Muppets last performed. In Disney’s “The Muppets,” Kermit, Walter and the gang find that Gonzo’s career is down the drain—literally. “I play a plumbing magnate,” says the daredevil who returns to the role he singlehandedly made famous. “In this movie, we see what happens when I pursue plumbing—my original career choice. Actually, show business and plumbing have a lot in common—especially when it comes to clogs and snakes.”
It takes some convincing—and an increase in health insurance coverage—to get Gonzo back on stage. Fortunately, Gonzo (“The Muppets Take Manhattan,” TV’s “The Muppet Show”), a pioneer of all things weird, can’t resist the temptation of the wild and wacky stunts he performs to earn the eternal admiration (not to mention shock and awe) of his audience—and one very special chicken named Camilla.
Gonzo’s stage act, which includes shooting himself from a cannon, balancing a piano on his nose, or eating radial tires to classical music, will likely always end in disaster… but that’s the whole point!
ANIMAL (Animal), the ultimate rock n’ roll survivor, finally addresses a troublesome personality trait and finds himself in an anger management program in Disney’s “The Muppets.” He’s traded in his drums for a flute and is struggling to redefine his identity. As if…
But fear not, fans of the over-the-top,
monosyllabic, appetite-with-legs drummer from Dr. Teeth’s
Electric Mayhem Band. Once reunited with the Muppets, Animal’s
incessant (yet innocent) pursuit of rock n’ roll, food and women
(not necessarily in that order) returns. “Me like,” says Animal
(“Muppet Treasure Island,” TV’s “The Muppet Show”). “Movie
And here are Disney’s fun facts.
BY THE NUMBERS
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ACCESSORIES
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
THEY’VE GOT CHARACTER
Does Disney's 9/11 Video Hint at Bob Iger's Political
THR - The Disney CEO sent out a video to all employees in support of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. But it could also be seen as a future campaign video.
Watch the video, sent on 9/11 to all Disney employees, and you tell us: Is Disney CEO Robert Iger simply commemorating Disney’s support for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York or is something else going on here?
Some have speculated that Iger harbors political aspirations and this video -- featuring testimonials about Iger and his leadership from a seemingly emotional Diane Sawyer and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg -- is unlikely to dispel that notion for anyone. Not with Bloomberg declaring, “Bob Iger has been a great leader. . . He really is a great American.”
“Never doubt -- he’s a New Yorker,” Sawyer intones. (Cue soft music, “I’m coming home. . .”) Iger also stresses his connection to New York ("It was my home") and then back to Sawyer, who says (somewhat awkwardly), "It's a great leader. . . a great gift. Let's say what it really is -- courage. Future."
The video was made in connection with Iger being honored (with the CEO of Sharp Electronics) at an event last week emceed by Billy Crystal supporting the memorial. In an email to staff with a link to the video, Iger said his visit to New York was “an opportunity to express our Company’s continued commitment to this historic place, and to share my personal reflections about the horror and heroism of 9/11 and the way this moving memorial honors those it remembers.” Disney has given $5 million to the memorial fund and has donated such services as design work and crowd control advisors.
The three-minute video, which was sent to Disney employees because they had participated in the donation process, depicts Iger in hard hat at Ground Zero as construction of the memorial was underway. Sawyer talks about Iger’s concern for the staff on the day of the attacks and how she knew on the day of the attack that “Bob had friends who he was very worried about.” Iger -- still in hardhat -- is then seen telling a New York official that his college roommate, Jay Fischler, was a battalion chief in the New York City fire department who was present on 9/11 and survived. “So there’s a special connection for me, not only to New York City fire department but with this site,” he says.
Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha says Disney was one of first contributors to the museum. "Bob was honored at a dinner along with the jury [that picked the memorial design] and Sharp Corp. And everyone had a video and that's what this was for," Mucha says. She adds that Iger "is a New Yorker, he grew up there. It was about what that museum means to people when they visit."
So is Iger -- born and raised on Long Island -- commemorating the past while thinking of the future? Watch and decide.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort set to
open in 2014|
Albawaba - Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has entered into a joint venture with Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate Partners to develop a 444-room luxury resort at the Walt Disney World Resort. Construction is set to begin on what will be the largest Four Seasons resort in the world this December, with a target opening date in 2014.
“Four Seasons had the unique opportunity to purchase a fantastic site at the Walt Disney World Resort,” says Kathleen Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Then, we partnered with Silverstein and Dune, some of the world’s most astute players in real estate to develop the project, which enabled financial commitments to be secured and the project to move forward. We are also delighted to work with The Walt Disney Company, which shares our vision for a family vacation experience unlike any other.”
Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hotel brand, acquired the land from Disney in August 2008, and will retain a 30 percent ownership interest in the project in addition to operating the resort.
Four Seasons has been working closely with New York-based Silverstein Properties, one of the nation’s most respected real estate development, ownership and management organisations, since July 2009. Silverstein advanced the design and master plan for the new resort in consultation with Four Seasons, including acquiring necessary approvals, assembling and directing architectural and engineering teams, and negotiating the construction contract with Turner Construction. This effort enabled financing to be secured.
“We are very pleased to be working with Four Seasons on this exciting project,” says Larry Silverstein, president and CEO, Silverstein Properties, which will continue to oversee resort development and construction. “It’s a great design in a great location, and we’ve assembled a great team who are going to make this resort a reality in a few short years.”
New York-based Dune Real Estate Partners, a highly regarded real estate private equity fund led by Daniel Neidich, is the majority investor.
“The opportunity to partner with Silverstein and Four Seasons, both distinguished leaders in their respective fields, has given us the confidence to make a significant investment in a new development,” says Neidich. “This is an irreplaceable asset - a rare opportunity in a remarkable location, with a prestigious brand that we believe will provide attractive returns to our investors for many years to come.”
Mexico City-based Grupo Financiero Inbursa has agreed to provide USD 190 million in construction financing for the project. Grupo Financiero Inbursa is one of the largest banks in Mexico, and this is their second large construction loan in the US.
“Four Seasons continues to seek out innovative partnerships with like-minded individuals and organisations who share our vision,” says Scott Woroch, executive vice president, worldwide development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Despite the difficult financing environment brought on by the global economic downturn in the last few years, the development concept we created with our partners for this unique site attracted debt and equity sponsorship, and is now moving forward.”
|Monday September 12, 2011|
The Florida Project Event|
Behind the Scenes: Transforming Magic Kingdom Park for Fall
Disney's new Aulani hotel dining options are few and pricey
How Does a Horse Become a Disneyland Horse?
Highlights from The Florida Project Event at Epcot
Today in Disney History: Hong Kong Disneyland Opens
‘Lion King’ Has a New Life
Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, FOX and Row 44 Turn Air Travelers' Wi-Fi Devices into In-Flight Video Screens
Disney’s ‘Spooky Buddies’ arrives in plenty of time for Halloween
Photo's from The
Florida Project Event|
Here are some photo's from this past weekends The Florida Project Event. The photo's from upcoming pins from MNSSHP and other Parks around the World do not do any justice to the actual beauty of these pins.
Behind the Scenes: Transforming Magic Kingdom Park for Fall|
DisneyParks Blog - Have you noticed? It’s looking a lot like fall around Magic Kingdom Park. And one of my favorite things about this time of year is visiting with David Hartmann, Art Director with Walt Disney Entertainment and the other cast members who help transform the park. They’ve been up late installing our fall decor and it looks amazing. See for yourself in our newest behind-the-scenes tour.
LA Times - The
restaurants at Disney's new Aulani hotel in Hawaii are expensive
and limited, unless you like fine-dining food and prices at
How Does a
Horse Become a Disneyland Horse?|
DisneyParks Blog - Disneyland park is a special place to work – even if you’re a horse. Have you ever watched the horses strutting along Main Street, U.S.A., and wondered how they got a job at the happiest place on Earth? Me too! So I asked Alan Cooper, Equine Trainer Leader at Circle D Corral.
When casting a new horse for a role at Disneyland park, “what we’re looking for is comfort,” said Alan, who has been at Circle D for more than 25 years. He said that the handlers will observe things like interaction and personality when “interviewing” a new horse to work in the park – they look for one that will be comfortable when surrounded by lots of people and activity.
Alan also looks for horses that have unique colors and other visual traits – things that will be noticed by guests and create conversation.
Roxy is a great example – in addition to her beautiful white coat and mane, she is also a blue ribbon winner at the L.A. County Fair International Draft Horse and Mule Show.
Next time, I’ll tell you how a new horse prepares for his role in the park.
Highlights from The Florida Project Event at Epcot|
DisneyParks Blog - This past weekend we held
our annual Disney Trading event at Epcot. Titled “The Florida
Project,” the theme was a salute the 40th anniversary of the
Walt Disney World Resort. For three days, guests from around the
world spent time making friends and trading pins or Vinylmation
figures. We had guests from more than 36 different states and
countries like Japan, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia! The
event was held inside World ShowPlace pavilion, which was
decorated to resemble a Preview Center from the early 1970s. If
you were unable to attend this year, here is a brief look at
Each year, I’m excited to how the Park Event Operations team will decorate World ShowPlace. Back in August, I gave you a sneak preview of their concepts for the event. I was beyond happy to see the Orange Bird come to life; the standing Orange Bird looked amazing (I wonder if he would fit in my office). The display team also hid several Orange Bird cutouts around the pavilion including one on an actual 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction vehicle.
I spoke with Julie Young, product developer for Disney Pins, about her experience at the event.
“We had a great time with our guests,” exclaimed Julie, who worked in special preview area for upcoming pins throughout the weekend. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to speak directly with fans. For most of the year, we spend our time in a backstage office location. We love seeing the excitement in our guests’ eyes at these events.”
Each year, the pin team hosts a presentation offering a glimpse into future development. This year, the presentation was hosted by Julie and fellow product developer Jeanne Lewis. The image above features only a handful of items shared including a new open edition alphabet series, a pin set coming to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, in October, a new Pin Trading Night collection coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and a create-your-own pin display kit.
On Sunday, Vinylmation was in focus with the second annual Vinylmation Showcase. This was a separate ticketed event that featured Vinylmation trading, sneak previews and more. I spoke with Donald Ferro, product developer for Vinylmation, about one of the most exciting things to be announced at the event.
“Since the beginning of August, Vinylmation fans have been asking ‘What is Project Z?’,” explained Donald. “I am thrilled we were finally able to answer that question by revealing a new Vinylmation series that celebrates classic Disney characters from Disney Theme Parks around the world.”
This new mystery series designed by Disney Design Group Artists Thomas Scott and Casey Jones is called “Park Starz” (hence Project “Z”), and it will be released in mid- to late October 2011. Here’s a hint to one of my favorite figures not pictured above – “If we can dream it, we can do it.”
Lastly, we announced the themes for next year’s trading events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The details of these events are still being finalized, so please stay tuned to DisneyPins.com or Vinylmation.com.
Today in Disney History: Hong Kong Disneyland Opens|
Hong Kong Disneyland opened its gates Sept. 12, 2005, making Disney history as the first Disney theme park to open in China.
The park, which was built on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay, consists of four lands – a Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland.
The park features classic Disney attractions like “it’s a small world” and Jungle Cruise, as well as popular new guest favorites, such as Festival of the Lion King and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Hong Kong Disneyland also regularly incorporates Chinese customs and holidays into its event schedule, with special celebrations held for Chinese New Year (see above photo), in addition to Halloween and Christmas.
Expansion plans are already underway at the park to add a Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point, which are set to open in late 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively. Toy Story Land will feature three main attractions themed after characters in the popular film franchise: the RC Racer, Slinky Dog Spin and Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.
The resort’s two hotels, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, also celebrate their anniversaries Sept. 12, 2005.
‘Lion King’ Has a New Life|
New York Times - Theater owners are furious with movie studios for speeding up the release of movies on DVD and video-on-demand services. Except when they’re not upset about it at all.That would seem to be the case with a new 3-D version of“The Lion King.”On Friday,
“No, we are not concerned,” said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners.
On one level, it’s an example of Hollywood’s tendency to conduct business with confounding inconsistency. (We’re not paying stars $20 million a picture anymore! Until we do.) Theaters, eager to milk the animated classic anew, are looking the other way and calling “The Lion King 3-D” a special case that doesn’t set industry precedent the way Home Premiere did.
Home Premiere is a video-on-demand service, introduced by DirecTV in April, that delivers films into homes about two months after their release in theaters; theater owners were angered because the service shortened by 50 percent their exclusive window.
“The ‘Lion King’ movie was released in 1994,” Mr. Fithian said. “A DVD release in 2011 has a 17-year window. The fact that exhibitioners and our patrons can benefit from a 3-D release is gravy.” Disney’s move is also palatable because “The Lion King 3-D” will play in theaters for only two weeks, which is expected to give consumers who want to experience it on the big screen a sense of urgency.
Surveys that track audience interest indicate that “The Lion King 3-D” could sell $10 million to $12 million in tickets over its first three days, and some marketers with access to the data say $18 million is possible.
But “The Lion King 3-D” and its quickie DVD release — a strategy by Disney to use the attention that comes with a theatrical run to drive disc sales — could still set a precedent that may hurt exhibitors in the long term, industry analysts say. Some consumers, especially those in big cities, could become further disillusioned with moviegoing when they see theaters charging $17 for an adult ticket to a film that they will be able to see in their living rooms just days later.
Disney said “The Lion King 3-D” was not a test; even if it goes well the studio does not plan on routinely converting other beloved films in its library to the format and rereleasing them in theaters. A Disney spokeswoman said the 3-D release was more of a way to keep an aging film fresh while allowing a new generation of children to experience it in theaters.
Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, FOX and Row 44 Turn Air Travelers' Wi-Fi Devices into In-Flight Video Screens
PR Newswire - Row 44, Inc., provider of the world's leading In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform, will now offer a wireless video-on-demand service that enables passengers to access an extensive library of movies and television episodes in-flight, streamed to their smart phones, tablets and laptops. Row 44's new service is launching with many popular current and classic movies and TV shows -- from launch partners Disney, Universal, Twentieth Century FOX and Warner Bros.
Passengers can now use their Wi-Fi enabled devices in-flight to access all genres of video entertainment from major Hollywood studios – episodes of Friends, Glee, The Office, Modern Family and The Three Stooges, for example, or movies such as Avatar, Harry Potter, Inception, Toy Story and the Hitchcock classics. Action-adventure, drama, children's, comedy, and other genres of movies and TV are available in Row 44's video-on-demand library, to satisfy the diverse interests of the flying public.
Row 44 will continue to enhance the programming available in-flight through additional partnerships and innovative programming opportunities.
In addition to this new streaming video service, Row 44's In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform also offers in-flight service for live streaming IPTV – enabling passengers to view on their Wi-Fi devices live broadcasts from such networks as CNBC, FOX News Channel and VERSUS (to be rebranded NBC Sports Network on January 2).
"Passengers want flight time to pass quickly – and that means a wide selection of entertainment opportunities," said Howard Lefkowitz, Row 44's Chief Commercial Officer. "Adding live streaming IPTV television and now an extensive library of on-demand movies and TV shows to our world-leading broadband Wi-Fi connectivity system creates an unmatched in-flight entertainment offering – an outstanding experience for passengers and maximum revenue-generating potential for airlines. Row 44 brings it all together – and this is just the beginning of our innovation in this space."
Lefkowitz added, "For airlines that do not want to deal with the cost, weight and installation time of adding seatback screens – and even airlines with onboard IFE systems – Row 44's In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform offers a much more robust and modern solution. Passengers already bring their own Wi-Fi devices onboard; the growth in that market has been staggering. Being able to use my own device in-flight to choose from so many video entertainment options – and still Facebook with my friends and see pictures of my children – is like sitting me in my living room while I fly. That's the unmatched customer experience we bring to our airline partners."
"Southwest knows our Customers want the ability to customize their onboard entertainment experience," said Dave Ridley, Southwest's Chief Marketing Officer. "Allowing our Customers to choose from hundreds of TV shows and movies on a Southwest flight will be a great addition to the Southwest in-flight product offering. We're very excited about unveiling this service later this year."
Disney’s ‘Spooky Buddies’ arrives in plenty of time for
Orlando Sentinel - The puppies of Disney’s popular Golden retriever, Air Bud, are back in a new Halloween adventure, Spooky Buddies: The Curse of The Halloween Hound. Even though this a direct-to-DVD movie, it has been eagerly anticipated at our house.
This is the fifth adventure of the Buddies — Budderball, B-Dawg, Rosebud, Buddha and Mudbud. Disney describes it this way: “The irresistible talking puppies are back in an all-new movie that takes them far across town to a mysterious mansion where something very spooky is going on. With the help of some unexpected new friends including a friendly ghost this exciting adventure is howling-good Buddy fun. In a race against a no good hound, the Buddies and their new friends, Pip, Zelda, Rodney, and Skip, must stop Warwick the Warlock and save the world from his dastardly deeds.”
Watching the Buddies movies with my children is fun on many levels. They laugh and laugh at the puppies’ antics, which makes me chuckle at their silliness. I have always been fond of Golden retrievers, so staring at the cute puppies is no chore, unlike some kids’ movies I have willingly endured. And my son and daughter always seem to have a renewed interest and kindness for our Golden, Sunshine, after watching the pups.
Spooky Buddies: The Curse of The Halloween Hound comes out Sept. 20. The Blu-ray version includes a “Monster Mash” music video with the cast of Disney Channel’s Shake It Up; a sneak peak at the next adventure, Treasure Buddies; and a tour of Rosebud’s home.
September 11, 2011|
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