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June 30, 2007
Hong Kong Disneyland and ZUJI Sign Hotel Deal
Travelocity-owned online travel company ZUJI, and Hong Kong Disneyland have entered into a distribution agreement to market the resort's hotel rooms online via ZUJI sites in Asia Pacific. The Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel are located next to the Disneyland theme park on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Other Disney hotels, such as those at the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, are already available on ZUJI and Travelocity. A planned future enhancement will allow Hong Kong Disneyland theme park tickets to be sold on-line as well.
Disney Store is bringing some Parisian flavor to your local mall this summer with its exclusive offering of toys, apparel and home goods themed after Disney Pixar's summer comedy film, Ratatouille. Disney Store designers worked with the Pixar creators to bring the magic of the film home to the entire family...a full set of plush friends, interactive toys and colorful tees await gourmands inspired by Remy and his pursuit to become Paris' greatest chef. Delight the gourmet in kids and parents alike with coordinating chef sets, which include aprons, hats and oven mitts. Start grooming those soon-to-be master chefs at home with a kids' cooking set, which includes a full set of kitchen essentials: 10 cup non-slip bowl, measuring cup and spoons, whisk, cake pan and more!
Hong Kong Disneyland said Tuesday it recorded double- digit growth in mainland Chinese visitors last month, but it was unclear if it can boost business enough to keep banks happy with current lending arrangements. "The next few months are key for us...This is the biggest quarter where roughly 50% of our business is done," Managing Director Bill Ernest told reporters. "We are expecting solid performance all summer."
The Disneyland Resort has partnered with the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts for a joint celebration of the Festival's 75th anniversary and the Resort's Year of a Million Dreams. The two Orange County-based landmarks are commemorating these milestones with a special exhibition entitled "Dream, Imagine, Create: The Art of Disney Parks" on display throughout the Festival's anniversary season of July 1, 2007 through August 31, 2007. Works of art in the exhibition include pieces commissioned from artists from various segments of the Walt Disney Company, including Imagineering, Publishing and Consumer Products.
Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" is opening her closet to fans, launching a full collection of clothes, accessories, home decor and even real electric guitars as Disney goes after the increasingly powerful tween market. "It's not a costume. A tween girl isn't doing dress-up; they want to look like they could be Hannah Montana's friend," said Donna Sheridan, vice president and general manager of apparel, footwear and accessories for Disney Consumer Products. "This is a fashion line."
The Walt Disney Co. will premiere the Chinese-language movie "The Secret of the Magic Gourd'' in Beijing on June 30, 2007 -- one of a number of projects aimed at carving itself a strong position in China. The film, made in Hong Kong, is based on a popular Chinese story about a boy who discovers an enchanted gourd -- a squash-like vegetable -- that grants him wishes. The movie, made and animated by Hong Kong's Centro Digital Pictures, is the first-ever Disney-branded movie made outside Hollywood.
The Disney musical Tarzan - based on the animated film of the same name - will play its final performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre July 8 at 6:30 PM. When it closes, the musical will have played 35 previews and 486 regular performances. In a statement Disney Theatrical producer Thomas Schumacher said, "I am disappointed that the Broadway production of Tarzan will close earlier than any of us had hoped, and I would have loved for it to have been as successful in New York as it is now in Holland. Patrons with tickets purchased for performances after July 8 should contact the point-of-purchase outlet for information.
Two black bears injured in the "Bugaboo" wildfire in Columbia and Baker counties in May have been returned to the Osceola National Forest. The 18-year-old mother and her cub received emergency medical care at the UF veterinary center in Gainesville before moving to Disney's Animal Kingdom near Orlando for more treatment and rehabilitation. "The black bear experienced significant trauma and we are very pleased with her recovery," said Scott Terrell, a veterinarian at the Walt Disney World Animal Programs.
Global retail sales of Walt Disney Co. consumer products are expected to rise 13 percent to a record $26 billion in fiscal 2007 and the company plans to nearly double that figure within seven years, Disney Consumer Product Chairman Andy Mooney stated. Disney has more than doubled global retail sales and diversified product lines since Mooney took over in 2000, when 80 percent of sales came from Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse merchandise. Disney licenses its characters and intellectual property to manufacturers, and receives royalties and other revenue equal to a low double-digit percentage of retail sales.
Disney announced its "first console video game created specifically for young girls." Called Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey for the Sony PS2, PC and Nintendo Wii. A second game called Disney Princess: Magical Jewels is releasing on Nintendo DS. Both Disney Princess games will release Fall 2007.
Walt Disney Co. is forming a new unit to distribute movies, TV shows, children's programs and other entertainment around the world. The new global distribution group unifies under one roof several divisions within Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Walt Disney Studios.
The Disney Publishing Group is planning an e-Book project later this year, making favorites such as The Jungle Book and Cinderella available online. Disney will offer books to general consumers charging a fee, still to be determined, for downloads.
The typically long wait lines at Soarin', one of Walt Disney World's most popular attractions, are providing Disney with a new opportunity. As a "play test," Disney engineers and designers are installing interactive video technology, motion detectors and other devices at the Epcot attraction, so that visitors might be able to entertain themselves while they make their way through Soarin's queue, which one day last week had a wait exceeding two hours.
Disney Creative Entertainment is pleased to announce that Toy Story has been brilliantly adapted for the Disney Cruise Line by the talented team of Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn. The production is expected to launch on Caribbean sailings in Late January 2008. The show is planned to be offered along side "Disney Dreams . . . An Enchanted Classic", a "plussed" show which debuted Spring 2007.
When one of Disneyland's original E-ticket rides, a submarine journey to see "reptilian patriarchs of the deep," was shut down nine years ago, it was the end of an era. What in 1959 represented the latest in visual and sound effects had become campy - dubbed "fish on strings" by many a Disney exec. Ride attendance was down in the late '90s, and it was time for something fresh, keeping true to Walt Disney's mantra that "Disneyland will never be completed." Riders peer through the portholes watching just about every "Nemo" character talk, swim and frolic - some with the original voices from the movie, such as Barry Humphries (Bruce). An original soundtrack inspired by the film score was composed by Ed Kalnins.
Walt Disney World officials have announced that an area of the Disney-MGM Studios park will be named for Pixar once Toy Story Mania opens in 2008. In tandem with this announcement, officials have also stated that the park itself will remain named the "Disney-MGM Studios" park despite industry analyst speculation of the "MGM" name being dropped in favor of "Pixar".
Pixar Studios has announced "Up", a film about about a 70-year-old man who teams with a wilderness ranger to fight beasts and villains, as their 2009 feature theatrical release. Pete Docter (of Monster's Inc. directing fame) will head-up the project, while Pixar vet Bob Peterson will write the script andl co-direct. "Up" fills in the remaining gap in the animation powerhouse's annual line-up through 2010. After this summer's "Ratatouille," it will release "Wall*E" in summer 2008 and "Toy Story 3" in summer 2010.
The Walt Disney Company and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation announced the completion today of Disney's spin-off of its wholly-owned subsidiary ABC Radio Holdings, Inc. and its subsequent merger with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citadel. Prior to the spin-off, Disney transferred to ABC Radio Holdings its ABC Radio Business consisting of 22 large-market radio stations and the ABC Radio Network. The transaction did not include Disney's ESPN Radio or Radio Disney network and station businesses.
The world's most popular cricket website, Cricinfo.com, has been sold to Disney's US sports network ESPN yesterday. Cricinfo is the world's leading cricket website, ranked number one in all of its major markets. Cricinfo currently reaches more than 7 million internet users every month and now reaches beyond the internet with content for mobile phones.
Orange County deputies and Disney said they are taking a Connecticut couple's robbery and abduction claim very seriously. The couple claims they approached a car in the Downtown Disney park lot very early Sunday morning to answer a question the driver had asked, but were rather forced into the car, beaten, robbed and then left at an Osceola County landfill. Disney officials said they are concerned about the story and will work with deputies to prevent any future attacks.Orange County deputies said a crime in the Downtown Disney area is extremely rare, in fact, Disney is one of the most-heavily policed areas of the country.
Walt Disney Co. will triple the amount of money it spends developing video games to benefit from strong growth prospects in the global market, the entertainment company's chief financial officer said on Friday. "We are ramping up our investment in video games ... It is a market where there is real opportunity," Disney's CFO Tom Staggs told journalists during a briefing in London. Part of the entertainment company's strategy centers on making sure hit products sell strongly across the business, irrespective of whether they start as a film, product or game. Disney spent around $100 million on gaming development last year and will spend $130 million this year.
Walt Disney Co. is set to announce a joint venture with India's Yash Raj Films to make animated films voiced by Indian movie stars, the Wall Street Journal said in its online edition on Monday. In Mumbai, a spokeswoman for Yash Raj declined comment on the specifics of the report, but said a press conference was scheduled for Tuesday and that it concerned Disney. The report said the venture will make at least one animated film per year.
The Travel Channel brings another hot line-up of Disney shows as the Summer heats up. Catch "Fan's Guide: Walt Disney World", "Undiscovered Walt Disney World", "Disney's Animal Kingdom", "Disney Cruiseline" and "Walt Disney World Resort: Behind the Scenes" on the Travel Channel to get your Disney Travel fix. If you missed it last week, the Food Network is re-airing "Food Network Challenge: Villain Cakes" four times this week. Toon Disney is airing a Contemporary line-up this week with such favorites The Emperor's New Groove, Hercules and A Goofy Movie, as well as, such sequels as Leroy & Stitch, Brother Bear 2 and The Hunchback of Notre Dam II.
Walt Disney Internet Group is launching a special mobile content to celebrate its popular cartoon character Donald Duck's birthday. For this, a unique 'Donald Zone' has been created has been created on Reliance mobile world, Planethutch and Airtellive for mobile users across India. WDIG will also present a 13 episode series titled 'Donald Duck - lost in time' specially designed for mobile viewing.
Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. and Walt Disney Co. have made new arangments regaring the license to operate the Disney Store retail chain in North America. As part of the deal, Children's Place said it is developing a new prototype for the Disney stores and will obtain Disney's approval of the prototype this month. The retailer said it will remodel 234 existing stores into the new store prototype by Jan. 31, 2012. It will also open at least 18 new Disney stores using the new store prototype by early 2009.
The Disney-ABC Television Group has signed a deal to supply three Disney-branded channels to subscribers of Italian-owned ISP Tiscali's internet TV (IPTV) service in the UK. The Disney Channel and preschool service Playhouse Disney will now be available as part of Tiscali TV's kids pack, while family channel Disney Cinemagic will be offered as a standalone premium subscription channel.
Disney Channel has given the series go-ahead to "Imagination Movers," a show for the preschool-targeted "Playhouse Disney" daily programming block that stars the New Orleans-based music group of the same name. In addition, the group, whose music videos have been airing on Disney Channel since the fall, has signed with Walt Disney Records.
Unions representing about one-third of Walt Disney World's work force approved a three-year contract late Wednesday. The vote was the second in a month for members of the Service Trades Council, a group of six unions that represents 21,000 full-time workers. It passed 3,056 to 2,676. Workers previously rejected an identical contract by about 2 percentage points on May 18th.
Walt Disney Studios has signed an exclusive multi-year first look deal with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment. Under the multiyear agreement, the studio gets first shot at films, TV shows, books and video games devised by the 84-year-old Lee and his company, POW! Entertainment. Lee is no longer associated with Marvel Entertainment Inc., which produces comic books and feature films based on characters he created while employed there.
Walt Disney Co. predicts strong results from theme parks even as Disneyland in California faces difficult comparisons from 2006, its 50th anniversary year. Theme-park profit rose 19 percent to $254 million last quarter on an 8.7 percent gain in sales to $2.45 billion.
The Reedy Creek Fire Department put out a blaze caused by a paving machine catching fire in the Downtown Disney WestSide parking lot. Prior to the fire department arrival, the blaze caused several large plumes of smoke visible in the surrounding area. There have been no reported injuries or damages attributed to the blaze. The cause of the blaze has not been reported.
The Travel Channel is sending a tidal wave of Disney Shows across the airwaves this week. Catch Disney's Great Escapes, Disney Cruise Line, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Great Hotels ~ Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts all profiling excisting Disney Destinations. Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End is sailing through theaters and it's premier show is being re-broadcast on the TV Guide Channel. Have a taste for devlish delights? Then you won't want to miss the premire of Food Network Challenge: Villain Cakes on the Food Network.
Star Wars Weekends kicked-off June 1, 2007. Villains and heroes from the entire Star Wars saga will roam the theme park and participate in autograph sessions, parades, and photo opportunities each weekend. Young Padawans will be given the chance to participate in Jedi Training Academy and test their skills in a climactic battle against the evil Siths. Also enjoy; presentations on the making of the Star Wars films, Star Wars trivia contests and a Hyperspace Hoopla party each evening at 7PM. Star Wars Weekends are included with regular Disney-MGM Studios admission and continue through June 24, 2007.