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October 29, 2006
Cast Returning For 'National Treasure 2'
Most of the original cast of the film "National Treasure," including star Nicolas Cage, has signed on to make a sequel of the U.S. film from Disney. The L.A. Daily News reported that Jon Turteltaub, the director of the hit action movie, has confirmed nearly all of the cast will be back when the cinematic sequel begins shooting later this year.
"High School Musical" is hitting the road with a nationwide concert tour featuring stars of the hit TV movie that has grown into a pop-culture phenomenon. Cast members including Monique Coleman and Lucas Grabeel will take part in the 40-city tour that is scheduled to begin Nov. 30 in San Diego. "High School Musical: The Concert" expands the Disney Channel franchise that has already produced a triple-platinum selling soundtrack and a planned movie sequel. The concert, to feature songs from the film, will also include cast members Corbin Bleu, Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens. Joining them will be Drew Seeley, who co-wrote "Get'cha Head in the Game" and sang on the "High School Musical" soundtrack.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a voluntary recall of the Minnie Mouse Cardigan Sets distributed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc . Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. No incidents or injuries have been reported.
Four new "Walt Disney Treasures"DVD sets are to be released December 19th 2006. These DVD sets include: The Complete Pluto Volume Two, More Silly Symphonies, Your Host-Walt Disney, and The Mickey Mouse Club Featuring The Hardy Boys. These DVD sets are released in limited edition and are typically only released in small groups each year.
As part of the Year of A MIllion Dreams, the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts are both awarding guests exclusive stays in one-of-a-kind suites. As part of the Disney Dreams Giveaway, lucky guests will be chosen early in the day to spend that night in a penthouse atop the Disneyland Hotel or a royal suite inside Cinderella Castle.
Unused space originally envisioned as in-park accommodations for the Disney family is being transformed into Cinderella Castle Suite -- a place where lucky Walt Disney World guests will spend a dream-come-true night beginning in late January 2007. After the rest of the Magic Kingdom guests have headed home, these lucky guests can wrap themselves in the cozy comforts of their dream suite replete with rich details befitting the 17th century fairytale and the French chateaus that inspired the design of Cinderella Castle.
Beginning Dec. 1, 2006, Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Resort in Southern California will boast one of the most unique, and certainly one of the most "Disney," VIP lodging experiences in the world -- the all-new Mickey Mouse Penthouse. The penthouse offers spectacular views of the 500-acre resort via floor-to-ceiling windows in addition to a happy mixture of luxury, technology and whimsy featuring one-of-a-kind decor, artwork and magical touches that bring to life all the fun that Mickey represents.
Disney Creative Entertainment previewed the forthcoming Finding Nemo-The Musical with animated puppets and two songs from the musical at Manhattan's Palace Theatre. Finding Nemo-The Musical will immerse Walt Disney World guests in the story of Marlin and Nemo through a dazzling production that combines puppets, dancers, aerialists and animated backdrops. The undersea world that charmed audiences around the world in the Disney-Pixar smash hit film "Finding Nemo" will come to life in an all-new musical stage show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Preview performances begin in November with the premiere set for January 2007.
Dreams of becoming a young buccaneer or pretty princess can come true during the new Disney's Pirate & Princess Party on 13 select nights from Jan. 22 through March 8, 2007. With an adventure map and treasure pouch in hand, families can embark on a quest for colorful beads, chocolate doubloons and fun during this after-hours hard ticket event at the Magic Kingdom theme park. Guests will encounter the brand new Disney's Enchanted Adventures Parade and Magic, Music and Mayhem Fireworks in addtion to themed entertainment, special character meet-and-greets and some of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions.
Pirates and Princesses Bloom at 14th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
A flower-festooned pirate ship will drop anchor and Disney princess topiaries will color the landscape at the 14th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival April 5-June 3 at Walt Disney World Resort. Pirate Mickey Mouse and Princess Minnie Mouse, plus Cinderella and Prince Charming, Belle and her Beast from "Beauty and the Beast," and other popular characters make topiary appearances throughout the park. Previously running for seven weeks, the popular festival expands to 60 days this year and offers more floral fantasy and gardening fun than ever before.
Since it first hit the movie theaters in 1993, Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" has become a holiday tradition -- one that spans two holidays! As animation legend Don Hahn describes it, it truly is a "cult classic." Now that beloved classic is returning to the theater, in a way you've never seen it before. Don told about the process of turning "The Nightmare Before Christmas" into a 3D spectacular, and how the unique charm of the movie was preserved.
The Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts have ended their Wonderland Music CD-on-Demand system. The "Wonderland" machines allowed guests to burn copies of albums not elsewhere available for generations. A Disney representative has stated the system has been ended due to lack of popularity.
The Walt Disney Company will begin serving more nutritionally balanced meals at its domestic theme parks and will sign movie and other endorsement deals only with restaurants that limit fat and sugar in menu items, the company said Monday. Trans fats will be eliminated from meals at domestic parks by the end of next year, and will not be included in licensed and promotional products by 2008, Disney said. Disney CEO Robert Iger said the move came in response to comments from parents about the eating habits of their children.
Restaurant Critic Takes on Epcot's 11th Annual International Food & Wine Festival
Central Florida restaurant critic "The Hound" has been out traipsing around Epcot and its 11th annual International Food & Wine Festival. As has been the trend for the last few years, the organizers have kept the things that work and tweaked the things that irked. There are some new attractions and tasting venues tucked among some of the usual suspects. Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival is currently running daily in Epcot's World Showcase and continues through November 12, 2006.
Twelve new honorees were inducted into the Walt Disney Company Legends program on October 9th, 2006. These included Peter Jennings, Joe Ranft, Paul Frees, Sir Elton John, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Tim Considine, David Stollery, Ginny Tyler, Don Edgren, Al Dempster, Jimmy Johnson. The Disney Legends program was established in 1987 to acknowledge and honor the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney magic. The awards are given annually during a ceremony at The Walt Disney Studios.
The Disney musical "The Lion King" roared a final time October 8, 2006 at Shanghai Grand Theater, as its run in China's largest metropolis came to an end. Shanghai is so far the only Asian city to host the Tony award-winning production. The English-speaking musical has overtaken "The Phantom of Opera" as the longest-running Broadway show in Shanghai, according to Fang Shizhong, president of Shanghai Grand Theater.
Disney time shares are coming to the Animal Kingdom, with a plan for 458 units, the company said Wednesday. According to Disney, the time shares will be a mix of new construction and renovated accommodations in part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. They'll feature African-inspired details and most will offer views of a savannah inhabited by a variety of animals. Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas will be the company's eighth time-share property -- the sixth at Walt Disney World -- and was hailed Wednesday as a smart business decision.
The Walt Disney Co. has opened its first high-end apparel store. Disney Vault 28, a reference to 1928, the year Mickey debuted in the cartoon "Steamboat Willie," opens its doors at Downtown Disney, a collection of shops and restaurants nestled between the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim. At Vault 28, T-shirts aren't $20 or even $50. Most run about $75. For the fashion-conscious, there are pouty Tinkerbells and hard-to-find designer Mickey-wear once found only at trendy boutiques.
Jeff Calhoun has signed on to direct the world professional premiere production of Disney's High School Musical with Atlanta's Theater of the Stars (TOTS), according to a company spokesperson. The show will play 10 performances at the Fox Theatre January 13-21, 2007. Casting has not yet begun for High School Musical, according to the TOTS spokesperson.
Walt Disney Co. has partnered with an Indian company to sell its products in India as part of efforts to expand its presence in one of the world's fastest growing markets, a company official said Monday. The Burbank, Calif.-based company plans to unveil the details of the agreement with the Jaipuria Group later this week, Disney spokesman K.R. Seshasayee said. A newspaper report Monday that said the agreement will allow Disney to set up retail stores to sell a variety of its products, from toys to apparel.
Even to those who have worked closely with Robert Iger, the Walt Disney Co. chief executive is something of an enigma -"easy to like but hard to get to know," in the words of one former senior officer. Since ascending to the top a year ago last week, Iger has kept an unusually low profile, a relatively tricky task at an entertainment icon whose leaders have been household names for nearly all of its 83 years. In his short tenure, Iger has amassed goodwill by patching up feuds he inherited from his predecessor, Michael Eisner.
The 2006 Funai Classic -- the 36th edition of a PGA TOUR fall tradition that began in 1971 when Jack Nicklaus won the first "Disney" -- will be played in a pro-am format during the first two rounds on Disney's Palm and Magnolia courses. Following a cut to the low 70 scores and ties, pros only will play the final two rounds on the long, 7,516-yard Magnolia course. Lucas Glover returns to the Funai Classic Oct. 19-22 to defend the title he won in 2005.
For the first time in history, a family today had the Magic Kingdom all to themselves. They entered the park to a view never seen before by any Disney guest -- Main Street, U.S.A. completely empty, no other guests, no Disney cast members, just a red carpet stretching out a welcome. The family had their pick of favorite attractions. There were no lines. Because no one else was there. This unprecedented moment in Disney history was all part of the launch of Disney's "The Year of a Million Dreams" celebration, during which literally millions of dreams will come true at Florida's Walt Disney World Resort and California's Disneyland Resort.
Buena Vista Games to Buy British Video Games Developer
Walt Disney Co. is buying Britain's Climax Racing, its first European games acquisition, adding the maker of MotoGP and ATV Offroad Fury to expand its Buena Vista Games division outside the United States. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies announced last Thursday that they expect it to close in October. Disney plans to develop new racing games with Climax, which developed MotoGP with THQ Inc. and ATV Offroad with Sony Corp.
In an attempt to lure more visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland, its management will today push out annual passes. These passes, in three categories and with prices ranging between HK$370 and HK$1,800, will be valid for between 230 days and a full year, except for so-called block-out days. The management is hoping the passes will attract more visitors after it failed to reach its target of 5.6 million visitors in its first year of operation. The three types of passes are good for weekday visits, weekdays and weekends without 25 specific days, or all year round.
ESPN is closing down its cell phone company for sports fans after less than a year, planning instead to forge deals in which it provides content to other wireless operators.The planned shutdown of Mobile ESPN marks the first major bust in a rush of specialized wireless ventures targeting niche audiences they contend are underserved by the Cingulars and Verizons of the world. ESPN was quick to stress that its change in strategy had no bearing on Disney Mobile.
It was one of the toughest jobs in corporate America: Restoring the corporate image of The Walt Disney Company. The House of Mouse was in the headlines more for its boardroom battles than its bottom line. Last year, after 21 years at the helm, the charismatic Michael Eisner, was forced out by angry shareholders. CNN's Andrew Stevens began by asking Iger his strategy for restoring Disney's corporate image to its former glory.
This summer while the nation was wrapped in red, white and blue bunting for Independence Day celebrations, Shawna Tice-Miles was thinking orange. Orange as in the 300 foam-core pumpkins that needed to be carved for Disneyland's Halloween windows. And orange as in the orange-and-white cobweb cakes created to dazzle children's eyes in the costume shop. As one of the top window-display artists at Disneyland, the Fullerton resident works months in advance to capture seasonal elements for 20 showcase windows in the resort. Tice-Miles, 28, must maintain Walt Disney's mantra: Every window on Main Street must tell a story.