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May 31, 2005
Could Car Crashes Soon Be A Part of Tomorrowland's Past?
Putt-putt-putt ... BANG! That's a sound that you can hear echoing throughout Tomorrowland virtually all day long. The sound of one Autopia car suddenly smashing into the rear-end of another Autopia. Sometimes this happens because you're dealing with an inexperienced driver. Still other times, these collisions occur because ... Well ... You're dealing with someone who knows exactly what they're doing, who deliberately smashes into the car in front of them. Because they thought it might be fun and/or they're out to avoid the driver that's just ahead of them. Whatever the reason that this "accidents" actually occur, this collisions at Disneyland's "Autopia" as well as at the "Indy Speedway" at WDW's Magic Kingdom cause considerable wear and tear on the cars. Not to mention all the damage that's done to the vehicle's occupants.
Three Paso Robles High School students might be on their way to careers as Disney Imagineers after creating a miniature roller coaster ride through an Egyptian pyramid. Students Matthew Gustafson and twin sisters Melanie and Elaine Silver won the fifth annual Roller Coaster Building Contest on May 20 at Paramount's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara with their creation "Shifting Sands." Afterward, a Walt Disney Co. Imagineering director approached the three and offered them internships and the possibility of jobs after college, according to the students and their teacher.
Hong Kong Disneyland doesn't open until September, but officials are already talking about expanding the theme park. The park has room to add new attractions after it opens on Sept. 12, Disney spokeswoman Esther Wong said. "We have not fully used up our land yet," she said. But Wong declined to give a timetable or other details for the plan, saying that the company is focused on a successful opening.
Beginning June 10, lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom Park will become a character-dining experience. "A Fairytale Lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table" will be served daily from noon to 3:00 p.m. The price is $23.99 plus tax for Guests ages 12 and up and $12.99 plus tax for Guests ages 3 to 11.
American Family Association Ends Nine-Year Disney Boycott
The Mississippi-based American Family Association is announcing the end of its years-long protest against the Walt Disney Company. For nine years, the pro-family organization has urged its supporters to avoid anything Disney, but the boycott has now officially come to an end. AFA president Tim Wildmon says there are a number of reasons for this recent decision, and chief among those reasons is what he calls "a culturally crowded battlefield." The ministry's leadership decided it was time to end the boycott, he explains, "because there are so many other issues we need to move on to and deal with that are taking our time and energy, and we feel like, if you're going to call for a boycott of a company -- if something has become that serious -- you need to have all your resources behind it."
Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Hall, the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will be pictured on a postage stamp to be issued by the U.S. Postal Service on May 20.The stamp is part of a series titled "Masterworks of Modern Architecture." Disney Hall, which opened in 2003, is the most recent building to be honored.
Benefit to aid an INTERCOT Community Member's Son in his fight against T-Cell ALL Leukemia - One thing that INTERCOT members know is that, at INTERCOT, when a member hits a rough spot, they often come to the INTERCOT Discussion Boards seeking advice and a sprinkling of Pixie Dust. The INTERCOT Pixie Dust Chain of support is legendary and has helped comfort many a member over the years. Now, a member needs more Pixie Dust than INTERCOT has ever had to muster before. Little Sam Wood (He just turned 2), the son of INTERCOT member Melanie Loughry (screen name: harlowandthemermaid) is fighting T-cell ALL leukemia. While Sam is a tough little guy, the going has been a bit rough for him lately and now he and his Mom need your help.
Disney is embarking on an extraordinary expedition to the mountains of the Himalayas to explore the legendary "realm of the yeti." Conservation International and Discovery Networks will join Disney on Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas in the search for new species and ancient legends. The scientific and cultural journey to China and the eastern Himalayas is planned for August through October 2005. "This extraordinary expedition, in collaboration with Conservation International and Discovery Networks, is another example of the lengths to which Walt Disney Imagineering will go to research subject matter in developing our story lines," said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts President Jay Rasulo. "Our passion for bringing great stories to life has taken Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to amazing places over the past 50 years. Over the next 50 years, we will continue to scale new heights in our ongoing quest to create great experiences for our guests."
Roy and Patricia Disney have pledged $10 million to Providence Saint Joseph Foundation to build the San Fernando Valley's first and most comprehensive free-standing cancer center, it was announced today. In recognition of their generosity and commitment, the integrated cancer facility, the largest provider of cancer services in the valley, will be named "The Roy and Patricia Disney Cancer Center." The Disney Cancer Center will provide clinical, therapeutic, emotional, and spiritual services, creating a comprehensive healing environment for the valley and extended communities.
Warren Beatty has sued Tribune Media Services for $30 millon, saying it had violated an agreement to give the actor rights to make another movie featuring comic character Dick Tracy. Beatty, in a 1985 deal, gained the rights to play Tracy in the color-saturated movie of that name, made by Disney, that also featured Madonna. It got mixed reviews in 1990 but made over $100 million. Beatty was required to give it back at the company's request, under several conditions and following a two-year notification process. In 2002, according to Beatty's lawsuit in Superior Court in Los Angeles, Tribune Media Services (part of the Tribune Co.) took back control of Tracy and notified Disney, but not, Beatty claims, through the process outlined in the agreement.
An all-new venture in live family entertainment, Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh, produced by Feld Entertainment, Inc., will tour the United States for the first time ever. In theatres nationwide, Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh brings the Hundred Acre Wood and its lovable inhabitants to the stage in an interactive and three-dimensional production designed by a Broadway-caliber creative team. "The Disney Live! brand gives us a chance to do something unique: present top-quality theater to families with young children. In our premier show, I am thrilled to bring Winnie the Pooh, one of the most beloved characters in children's literature, to stages across the country," says Producer Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. "Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh is like one big hug from Pooh to every person in the audience; it draws the audience in and actually gives them a supporting role in telling the story. This is something that will be a hallmark of Disney Live! in all of its shows to come."
McDonald's Chief Skinner Toys With Changing Disney Deal
You may wish you'd hung onto all your plastic figurines from your McDonald's Meals; they're becoming bona fide collectibles. Their black market price may soar with the news that the fast food restaurant's dependency on The Walt Disney Co. for movie-related promotions could be coming to an end: "Our deal with them expires in 2006 and we are looking forward to the opportunity to have flexibility around promotional activities and products," McDonald's Chief Executive Jim Skinner told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Chicago.
There were many proud parents at Epcot on Tuesday, as Disney honored 100 students from Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk and Seminole counties in a lavish ceremony with costumed characters and confetti, silver streamers and balloons shot into an Epcot pavilion.The Dreamers and Doers award honors students -- most of whom are academic successes -- who have shown exemplary leadership, character or community involvement. They were picked from the 500 nominated by public and private schools in the five counties.Some of the students had overcome family tragedies or were living with serious health problems, including cancer, burns, diabetes and spina bifida. Despite obstacles, they are tennis stars and dancers, student-council presidents and Boy Scouts, musicians and chess players. They tutor classmates, volunteer at their churches and help with pregnancy-prevention programs.
A team of Walt Disney World officials and more than 20 renowned scientists will spend two months in the Himalayas this fall, gathering geological and cultural data that they'll use to authenticate Disney's newest Animal Kingdom attraction, Expedition Everest.The coasterlike thrill ride, scheduled to debut next spring, will capture both the folklore and legend surrounding the yeti -- better known at the abominable snowman -- as well as true-to-nature elements discovered during the research trip.By studying the region -- and its insects, birds, plants and people -- Disney officials say they'll be better equipped to give visitors an accurate portrayal of the Himalayas."At the highest level, it's a thrill-ride attraction," said Joe Rohde, lead designer of Animal Kingdom, who will accompany the scientists during the research trip. "But it's still about nature and the sanctity of the land."
Walt Disney World's new luggage delivery service, which saves travelers the hassle of checking bags at the airport, is the wave of the future, travel industry experts say.The system, which has the blessings of the new federal airport security watchdog agency, in essence extends the arm of the federal bag-checking system to hotel lobbies. It kicked off officially Thursday for hotel guests at the Disney resort.Both the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Rep. John Mica, who chairs the House Aviation Subcommittee, support the concept of securing bags away from airports and having TSA-approved control of the bags to and from airports.In the Disney program, called Magical Express, Disney resort guests take their bags to their hometown airport as usual for the flight to Orlando. Disney then picks up the bags at Orlando International Airport and hauls them directly to the guest's hotel room.
Walt Disney World joined Disney parks on three continents Thursday in launching an 18-month-long marketing campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney's original Disneyland in California.Legendary entertainer Art Linkletter, who presided at Disneyland's opening in 1955, walked slowly onstage to applause at Disneyland once again and helped kick off the festivities.Parks in Tokyo, in Paris and in Hong Kong, where the 11th Disney park is scheduled to open in September, also are participating, along with the Disney Cruise Line, in the company's first worldwide promotion. "It feels like only yesterday," Linkletter said of the opening a half century ago of Disneyland, the small park that launched the modern theme-park industry.With the same twinkle in his eye and smile that endeared him to generations of children and families, the 92-year-old Linkletter declared: "Over the years, it's been wonderful to watch Walt's dream spread."
Today is a big day for Disney. It's when the company kicks off Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration by officially launching new rides and attractions at most of its parks while announcing plans for even more potential tourist magnets in the future. It's easy to get lost in all of the celebratory glitz behind the so-called Happiest Celebration on Earth. This is a mouse-eared merchandising dream with 18 months of turnstile clicks that will turn even the loudest of hype horns into mere ambient noise by the time this party comes to a close at the end of next year. Yet, if you listen hard enough -- somewhere between the English and Spanish monorail boarding announcements and the intermittent scrapes of a popcorn vendor scooping up kernels -- you will hear four faint syllables that will build to a deafening roar by the time it's all over: Disney gets it.
Iacon Announces The Addition Of Two New Stores At Downtown Disney
Iacon, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Oakley, Inc., today announced the addition of two new sunglass specialty stores located at the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, California. These stores, set to open this summer, will offer a wide range of sunglass brands and styles. "We are excited to strengthen our relationship with Disney by adding these two premier locations to the Iacon brand. The flagship store, which will be branded as Sunglass Icon, will be similar to the very successful design featured at our Downtown Disney store in Orlando," said Iacon President Jeff Obstfeld. "We plan to add a Southern California flavor to this Sunglass Icon as well as include a dedicated `store-within-a-store' concept that will highlight and feature Oakley-branded product."