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August 31, 2006
Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade 2006
Mickey's Boo to You Halloween Parade 2006 runs on select nights from September 15, 2006 right up to Halloween itself, and features a catchy theme song you'll be singing for weeks afterward. And according to the designers, that's just what the creative team was aiming for. Each unit of this years parade represents a different land and incorporates a snippet of a different song into the theme music. The grand finale for 2006 is a brand-new float, Goofy's Candy Factory.
She's hailed as a team builder, sharp big-picture strategist, strong communicator and someone steeped in Disney traditions. As the new president of Walt Disney World, Meg Crofton will likely be a steady force steering the world's most popular theme park. Two weeks ago, Crofton, 52, was named the fourth president and first female president in Walt Disney World's 35-year history. She ascends at a time when Disney World's growth no longer hinges on the development of new theme parks, but instead on gradual expansion, improvements and innovations.
The 2006 Golden Ticket Awards were announced August 27, 2006. The awards are presented by Amusement Today- a monthly trade publication covering international amusement parks, waterparks, and midway businesses. Surveys were sent to a database of amusement park fans around the world asking them to rate the "bests" in 23 categories, the top vote getters in each category receive a Golden Ticket award with special regonition going to the winner in each category. Disney Theme Parks & Water Parks took home a total of 26 Golden Tickets this year. Disney's only category winner this year came with Epcot's win in the "Best Outdoor Night Production" category.
Animal Kingdom Donates Endangered White Rhinos to Uganda
Two white rhinos took their first steps on African soil today, officials said, after being flown into the country from a Disney theme park in Florida to boost stocks. The couple, which have a combined weight of 5.5 tons, bring the number of endangered white rhinos in the country to just eight. The Ugandan sanctuary can accommodate 50 rhinos and it is hoped that Nande and Hasani, aged 7 and 5 respectively, will settle down and breed within the next year.
Partners Have Plans to Build Largest Hotel in Celebration
Celebration, the community Walt Disney Co. created in Osceola County, is getting its third hotel -- the largest one so far. Mona Lisa Development, the U.S. affiliate of Mona Lisa Hotels and Residences of France, is partnering with the Related Group of Florida, one of the state's biggest condo builders, to build a 450-room condo hotel in the southern part of the community. The French company's affiliate is already building a 240-suite Mona Lisa at Celebration condo hotel at the north end of Celebration, near U.S. Highway 192.
Disney has ditched plans to start a UK virtual mobile network (MVNO), blaming adverse changes in the retail environment for its decision. Part of Disney's problem is that, in the UK, the brand is more associated with young children; official government advice is that children under 16 should only use a phone for "essential" calls. Further, Tracking children has proved more contentious in the UK where the Data Protection Act guarantees privacy, even for children.
Walt Disney Studios has reunited with the directors of its box office disaster "Treasure Planet" as part of a plan to get back into the decidedly unfashionable business of traditional animation. The new project, "Frog Princess," will put a female spin on the classic fairy tale, according to sources. Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, who now run Disney's feature animation operations, are interested in exploring Disney's pioneering 2-D tradition.
Jann Wenner, the magazine entrepreneur who founded Rolling Stone, has bought out The Walt Disney Co.'s 50 percent stake in Us Weekly magazine for an undisclosed amount, the two parties announced Wednesday. Wenner brought in Disney five years ago as a partner as he made a major investment in the magazine and revamped it from a monthly to a weekly format. Many were skeptical at the time that the investment would pay off.
Meg Crofton Named New President of Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World this afternoon announced that Meg Crofton will be the new leader of the Orlando resort. Crofton, 52, replaces Al Weiss, who has run the organization since 1994. In November, Weiss was promoted to oversee all Disney parks worldwide. Crofton has been with Disney for 27 years and held executive leadership roles in worldwide Human Resources, Operations and Sales.
Get Your Play On: "High School Musical" Becomes a High-School Musical for Real
There surely has never been a more natural story to make the transition from screen to stage than "High School Musical." The movie tells a heartfelt tale of a bookish girl, an athletic boy, and the musical production that takes them out of their separate worlds to bring them together on stage. It practically cries out to be performed by real high-school students as a real high-school musical, a case of life imitating art imitating the life that's the subject of the art ... well, we feel a little dizzy now, but suffice to say that it's a smashing idea.
French theme-park operator Euro Disney reported a 13 percent rise in third-quarter revenues on Wednesday and said it was making encouraging progress with new rides aimed at getting more visitors. The company behind Disneyland Paris said revenue for the quarter ending June 30 rose to 286.6 million euros ($362 million) from 254 million a year earlier.
Disney's current hit run of a Lion King Musical stage play in Shanghai may only be a taste of things to come. A Chinese t.v. station has recently reported that pre-construction work has begun on what may be Disney's second theme park in China.
The Disney musical, "The Lion King", with a few added Chinese characteristics, almost brought the house down during its premiere at the Shanghai Grand Theater on Tuesday, July 18th. The characters in the play borrowed tricks used in traditional Chinese shadow plays, and crack jokes and attempted conversations with the audience in Chinese. They adapted one of the musical's tunes to "Laoshu ai dami" or mice love rice, a well-known Chinese pop song.
It hasn't receive formal go-ahead, but authorities in Shanghai are starting to prepare a site for the proposed Disneyland. If approved, the theme park would be the second in China after Hong Kong. The government of Chuansha town in the Pudong New District, where the Disney theme park is planned, has set up a special office for the anticipated relocation of its residents.
The sports division that spanned the globe to give viewers a constant variety of sports and famously asked pigskin-crazed fans if they were ready for some football has a new name: ESPN on ABC. ESPN will become the overarching brand for all sports programming carried on the ABC Television Network beginning Saturday, Sept. 2 -- the debut of ABC's college football season. "We're using the word evolutionary," said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks. "We're trying to move the ball forward in sports television and we think this is another step in that direction."
It is reported that The Walt Disney Company has got stolen of director, Robert Zemeckis (Monster House, Forest Gump) from DreamWorks Pictures and they are very close to signing a deal to bring his company, ImageMovers over to Disney in a multi-year agreement. Bob Iger feels that while Pixar was a good first step into making sure Disney is the preeminent force in animation, it's only the first step." says an insider. Disney is said to like the idea of having animated movies of Pixar quality for half the price of a Pixar made one.
Disney 3Q Profit Rises on Studio, Theme Park Growth
Strong DVD sales of "Chronicles of Narnia" and continued growth at its domestic theme parks drove higher third-quarter revenue and profits higher at The Walt Disney Co. Shares of Disney rose 97 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $29.95 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The Burbank, Calif.-based media conglomerate reported gains in all four divisions, including its movie studio, which had been lagging of late and last month laid off 650 people in a worldwide restructuring.
High School Musical and the Woody and Jessie characters from the Toy Story movies will be joining sidewalk shows at Magic Kingdom this fall as part of Disney's Year of a Million Dreams campaign. Walt Disney World is planning at least five new outdoor shows including four that will involve audience participation. Dates for the new shows' openings haven't been announced, but all are part of Year of a Million Dreams, which starts Oct. 1. Disney planning a "High School Musical Pep Rally," a "Royal Court Academy," a "Woody's Cowboy Camp," a new, yet-to-be-nammed castle forecort show and a new morning parade along Main Street U.S.A.
Disney Announces Walt Disney World Resort Peace of Mind Tropical Weather Policy
Disney Destinations and Walt Disney Travel Co. have announced a new policy providing greater flexibility to modify or cancel Walt Disney World Resort advance reservations in the event of a hurricane warning -- and it represents a bit of financial sunshine. During the 2006 hurricane season, in the event a hurricane warning isissued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for the guest's place of residence within 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, the guest may call in advance to reschedule or cancel their Walt DisneyTravel Co. Magic Your Way vacation package without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.
Walt Disney World Resort Raises Ticket Prices for 2nd Time in 2006
Walt Disney World said today it is increasing its base ticket price to $67 Sunday, the second price increase this year. Disney officials did not say what is prompting the $4 increase -- which also affects prices across the board in the company's "Magic Your Way" flexible ticket plans -- except to say the new price is in line with the needs of the travel industry.
Disney/Pixar's Cars will be street-ready Nov. 7 with the new animated short "Mater and the Ghost" and the backing of the studio's largest promotional campaign to date. Prebook is Sept. 12, and the DVD has a suggested retail price of $29.99. The studio didn't announce any plans for a Blu-ray debut of the animated hit. Directed by Oscar-winner John Lasseter, the $229 million-grossing movie is set in the world of cars and features an all-star cast led by Paul Newman and Owen Wilson.
The Walt Disney Company has announced a major expansion in its offerings for 2007 for its Adventures by Disney vacation option. Robert Iger has mentioned in previous interviews that expansion would be coming for the Adventures by Disney program, and it is now known these changes will start in 2007. The 2006 Season tours being retired are the Canadian Rockies and Oahu & Hawaii tours. For the 2007 Season eight brand new tours will be joining the line-up.
Theme park revenue will help drive third-quarter growth for the Walt Disney Company, according to a report by Credit Suisse. "We believe the parks will benefit from strength at Disneyland Paris, eight extra vacation days in the quarter due to the Easter shift, as well as room reservations pacing up high single digit," said William Drewry, an analyst for the research firm. When Disney reports its third-quarter earnings on Aug. 9, Drewry said that he expects theme park revenue to increase 9.9%
Disney Vault 28 Store to Open Fall 2006 in Disneyland's Downtown Disney District
The former site of Hoipoloi will go will offer guests a totally unique Disney shopping experince come Fall 2006. Disney Vault 28 will feature an upscale "Disney" creative edge - where guests will find unexpected apparel, jewelry and accessories is synony'mouse' with today's latest styles. The hip location will will offer an ever-changing mix of clothes and accessories for both men and women.
Disney Partners with Imagination Farms to Produce "Disney Garden" Brand
With the mission to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among children, Indianapolis-based Imagination Farms has taken significant positive steps in that direction with two recently announced partnerships with prominent fruit producers. In the first alliance, Imagination Farms joined with Ito Packing Inc. in Reedley, CA, to market stone fruit and blueberries under the "Disney Garden" brand. The items were the first fresh produce products to carry the brand. Disney Garden stone fruit products packed and sold by Ito will include a variety of sizes of peaches, plums, nectarines, Pluots, California cherries and California blueberries. They will be packaged in clamshells, poly bags and cartons with PLU stickers featuring Disney characters and themes.