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February 29, 2008
Disney Parks and Resorts signs Deal with PATA
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have forged a new strategic partnership, both organisations have announced. By becoming a PATA Premier Partner, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts gains exclusive access to a range of co-operative opportunities including market intelligence, business development and co-branded events and products. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts joins a select group of PATA Premier Partners such as Visa International, Amadeus, CNN International, TIME and Fortune.
Desipite refusing to make a public statement on the matter, the Walt Disney World resort has filed paperwork to sell Disney Vacation Club units at its Contemporary Resort. Disney formally states in official public filings that the Disney Vacation Club will "add a ninth component site to be known as Kingdom Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort" and be connected to the exsiting tower via a 5th story bridge. Beginning with an initial 75 units the structure will ultimately contain 281 units, according to the filings.
Disneyland Resort Paris has launched a campaign site to promote the launch of its new ride, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at the Walt Disney Studios park. Part of a through-the-line campaign for the April launch of the ride, disneytowerofterror.com allows users to upload photos that can then be manipulated to make them look like the subject has travelled to the 4th dimension.
The Walt Disney Company's consumer product retailing arm will soon add 135 new stores to its existing 15 in India over the next four years to strengthen its foothold in the rapidly growing market. 'Devyani International', which runs the company's present 15 stores, will operate the future stores in a franchise model under a license agreement with prospective companies.
The Walt Disney World resort has started to file paperwork to extensively renovate Disney's Treehouse Villas, a community of 60 two-story units. The three-bedroom villas -- essentially octagonal town houses on pedestals, looking a little like treehouses -- are scattered throughout a forested back road between a Disney World golf course and a canal. Although Disney officials have not released details of their planned use for the units post-renovations, Disney World spokeswoman Andrea Finger stated that "We are bringing them back as a popular option for our guests" confirming they will be re-opened to the public.
Visitors to the Animal Kingdom theme park can now see Disney's conservation efforts of Florida Key woodrats on a tour in the Rafiki's Planet Watch section of the park. Disney scientists are running a captive-breeding program for the Key Largo woodrat at its in-park facilities. Its population is confined to a single island in the Upper Keys, where development has destroyed much of its habitat.Stray cats and pythons slithering into the Keys from the Everglades have been known to hunt the rats.
The Downtown Disney Pleasure Island District at the Walt Disney World Resort is revving up its revelry for 2008. Today the District kicked-off its first holiday event of 2008 by transforming into "Sweetheart Island", featuring special decorations and entertainment to celebrate both the lovelorne and the lovedoves. In March, the Island will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Sham-Rock 'n' Roll 2008. In Early June, the Island will debut a new event entitled "Summer Kick-Off". In October, the Island will celebrate Halloween with Dance the Fright Away 2008 . To cap off the year, Guests can experience the ultimate party extravaganza when the Pleasure Island New Year's Eve Party returns on December 31, 2008.
Millions of Disneyland visitors lined-up from 1957 through 1967 to catch a glimpse of The "House of the Future," a pod-shaped, all-plastic dwelling that showcased mind-blowing gadgets such as handsfree phones, wall-sized televisions, plastic chairs, and electric razors and toothbrushes. Disney is set to open a second futuristic abode in Tomorrowland's Innoventions -- this time in partnership with 21st century technology giants. The 5,000-square-foot home scheduled to open in May will look like a normal suburban home outside, but inside it will feature hardware, software and touch-screen systems that could simplify everyday living.
Hong Kong Disneyland recorded double-digit growth in attendance in the fiscal quarter ending late December, contributing part of the Walt Disney Company's quarterly earnings, the theme park's executive vice president and managing director said Thursday. Inaugurating a traditional Chinese dragon dance featuring Disney classic Mickey Mouse in celebration of the beginning of the Lunar New Year, Bill Ernest said visitor flow had been steady throughout the quarter with prolonged festival celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas.
A fire on February 10th on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom left one Guest slightly injured Between 3 and 4 p.m. a fire broke out near the front of the truck. Three fire and medical vehicles were dispatched to the scene, said Bo Jones, Reedy Creek Fire District's assistant chief, but the fire was mostly out by the time they arrived. The fire was caused when an engine hose failed, resulting in a fire in the engine compartment, said Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger. The attraction reopened February 11th for normal operation.
Disney will unveil Toy Story Mania this Summer, an attraction more than three years in the making, and estimated to cost about $80 million. Riders, wearing 3-D glasses, will board vehicles that career through an old-fashioned carnival midway, operated by characters from the popular "Toy Story" film franchise. Vehicles stop at game booths - 56 giant screens programmed with 3-D animation from Pixar - and riders play virtual-reality versions of classic carnival games. The New York Times has gotten the first peak inside the construction of the Disney's California Adventure location.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans Thursday to create a live performance attraction based on "American Idol" at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park. "Our goal is to try to recreate the excitement of those 24 people who show up on that 'American Idol' stage," Disney Parks chairman Jay Rasulo told The Associated Press. Much like the hugely popular Fox singing competition, the as-yet-unnamed attraction -- scheduled to open in late 2008 -- will allow theme park guests to audition then perform before a live studio audience.
Pirate & Princess Party tickets for April, May, & June 2008 dates are now on sale. Join Magic Kingdom guests on a quest for beads and chocolate treasures, be witness to a Pirate and Princess parade, character greetings, fireworks spectacular and some of the most popular attractions. Experience Pirate Coves and Princess Courts filled with treasures and special themed entertainment. Call (407) WDW-AHOY to order.
Slated to debut late this summer in Epcot's Innoventions complex, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes will aim to teach visitors the importance of home safety in a fun, interactive way. The attraction will allow visitors to discover what it would feel like to experience severe weather, such as a hurricane. After "the storm," StormStruck will teach guests about weather-related science and cutting-edge technology used to protect homes from a disaster, featuring an exercise in "rebuilding" a home.
The most famous Mouse of all is inviting families to celebrate the Lunar New Year and Year of the Mouse at Disneyland Resort. From February 5-29, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will mark the Year of the Mouse by appearing in festive Asian attire to greet guests and pose for photos near Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.
The Walt Disney Co. reported another strong quarter of increasing revenue and profits this afternoon, and beat expectations by offering diluted earnings of 63 cents per share, though that was lower than last year's offering. In Disney's first quarter, which ended Dec. 29, revenue was reported at $10.45 billion, up 9 percent for the quarter over the same three-month period in the 2006-07 fiscal year. Disney reported a strong quarter for its parks and resorts segment, where revenue totaled $2.77 billion, up 11 percent over last year, and operating income reached $505 million, up 25 percent over last year.
Disney is looking to increase its holding in a Indian media group that controls Bollywood's largest film studio. Disney currently owns 14.9 percent of UTV Software, a conglomerate that runs businesses from videogaming to cable television and is one of the most visible presences in India's booming media sector. UTV Software Communications is also the parent company of UTV Motion Pictures (UMP), a film subsidiary created to bring Hollywood-style business models to Bombay and valued at about $220 million.
Walt Disney Co.'s President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert A. Iger, and Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Thomas O. Staggs, have signed new five year contracts with the company. These contract extensions will keep Iger and Staggs on board in their current positions till January 3, 2013 and April 1, 2013 respectively.
The Walt Disney World Resort recently earned its fourth and fifth four-diamond distinctions from the American Automobile Association (AAA) for its Contemporary and Polynesian Resort Hotels. Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort joined Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa with their own official four-diamond ratings for 2008.