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March 2, 2009

Disney Makes Fan Experience a Whole New Ballgame During Braves Spring Training Season

Special viewing areas, concerts, all-you-can-eat options and expanded Disney character appearances among features aimed at creating more immersive experience for spectators

LAKE BUENA VISTA- (Feb. 19, 2009) - Fans attending Atlanta Braves spring training games this year at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex have the opportunity to customize their experience with a variety of new immersive features created specifically for spectators.

Among the features at Disney:

· On-Field Spectator Experience ($75 per person): Sponsored by Kodak, this option allows a limited number of fans to watch pre-game batting practice and warm-ups on the field in an area behind home plate. Fans purchasing this option will also receive a free disposable Kodak camera.

· House of Blues Entertainment (Free): Special pre-game and in-game concerts in the ballpark featuring blues musicians Ruth King and Jeff Coffee at select games.

· All-You-Can-Eat Buffet ($18.95 per person): Designated patio along the third base side that features all-you-can-eat hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, peanuts, soda and bottled water.\

· Disney Character Appearances: A classic Disney character will be on hand at all 18 home games. Characters will accompany first-pitch contestants to the mound.

· Music-Themed Games: Six games will be themed with music from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as Latin music.

Additional fan features include trivia contests and several promotional nights, all designed to give fans a baseball spring training experience they can't get anywhere else.

"With these new guest enhancement options, fans will have the ability to immerse themselves in Braves spring training like never before, creating a customizable experience at an affordable price that can bring them closer to their favorite players and enhance their overall spring training experience at Disney," said Faron Kelley, director of Marketing and Communications for Disney Sports. "We think these fan options, coupled with the Braves' extraordinary spring schedule that includes the Yankees, Red Sox and reigning World Series champion Phillies, will make this year's spring training season one of the best ever for fans attending the games."

The 12th edition of Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney features the best schedule ever at Champion Stadium including games against the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, the Boston Red Sox and two World Baseball Classic exhibitions against Venezuela and Panama. The Braves open the spring season Feb. 26 against the Houston Astros.

Individual game tickets range from $15 (general admission lawn seats) to $28 (lower reserved); please add $4 per ticket for Premium Games (Yankees, Mets and Red Sox). Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster (407/839-3900 and ticketmaster.com) and at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex box office.

Information on the Braves' spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at disneysports.com. Fans may also purchase Atlanta Braves Spring Training travel packages through Spring Training USA. Travel packages include Braves game tickets, accommodations at Walt Disney World Resort and other benefits. Information is available online at springtrainingtours.com.

2009 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule
At Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex

Game Date Opponent Time
Thursday, Feb. 26 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 1 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3 World Baseball Classic Exb. 1:05 p.m.
Wed., March 4 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Thurs., March 5 World Baseball Classic Exb. 2:05 p.m.
Friday, March 6 Houston Astros 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 Washington Nationals 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 15 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 19 Detroit Tigers 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 20 Florida Marlins 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 21 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 24 Pittsburgh Pirates 6:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 26 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 27 Detroit Tigers 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 30 Boston Red Sox 1:05 p.m.

All times are Eastern and are subject to change.
All games to be played at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training Ticket Prices:

Seat Location Season Individual Game
Lower Level Reserved $425 $28
Upper Level Reserved (Rows A-L) $340 $24
Upper Level Reserved (Rows M-W) $323 $22
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 104-106) $340 $24
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 101-103) $323 $22
Grass Berm - General Admission $255 $15

(Add $4 per ticket for Premium Games: Yankees, Mets and Red Sox).

Five-Game Mini-Plan includes tickets to: Nationals (3/12), Astros (3/15), Mets (3/17), Marlins (3/20) and Yankees (3/28) games for $128 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

First Half Three-Game Mini-Pack includes tickets to: Phillies (3/1), Yankees (3/4) and Astros (3/6) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Second Half Three-Game Mini-Pack includes tickets to: Pirates (3/24), Tigers (3/27) and Red Sox (3/30) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Single-Game Tickets: Ticketmaster - 407/839-3900, www.ticketmaster.com or DWWS box office

Season and Group Tickets/Suites/Mini-Packs: DWWS Sports Sales - 407/939-GAME (4263)

March 5, 2009

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas to Open May 1, 2009

Sanaa (pronounced sah-NAH), the new table service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Villas' Kidani Village is set to open May 1, 2009. Named for the Swahili word for "artwork," Sanaa will feature African-inspired cuisine with an Indian touch and will be open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will serve familiar foods prepared in tandoor ovens, along with slow-cooked specialties showcasing the flavorful spices of Africa.

The following are some of the dishes that will appear on Sanaa's menu:

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Lamb Kefta with Tamarind and Papaya Sauce.

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Grilled Flank Steak, with spinach and mushroom pancake served with oven-dried chutney.

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Tandoori Chicken served with basmati rice or seven-grain pilaf.

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Tandoori Lamb Chops served with basmati rice or seven-grain pilaf.

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Grilled Pork Chop Loin, glazed with pickled lime and ginger served with sauteed spinach.

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Mustard seed-crusted Scallops with a coconut cream sauce.

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Dum Biryani, Fresh vegetables and basmati rice, wrapped in bread dough served with pineapple raita.

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Slow-cooked beef short ribs, shrimp with green curry sauce, served with basmati rice or seven grain pilaf.

Disney Princess Meet and Greets, character breakfast and Princess-themed after party highlight huge women-focused race weekend

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Mar. 5, 2009) - Thousands of women from around the world are bringing out their inner Princess at the inaugural Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Lady Foot Locker. Runners from every U.S. state and 17 other countries is taking part in this three-day celebration of women's health and fitness that includes special features that are all things Princess.

Participants and their family and friends can experience a variety of exclusive opportunities including Princess meet and greets, a character breakfast, a makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a Princess-themed after party at Disney's Hollywood Studios with live entertainment and a special gift at the stroke of midnight.

The weekend, kicks off Friday, March 6, with Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo at the Jostens Center at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. The expo, open to everyone, will involve renowned fitness experts leading seminars on training, racing and nutrition, and the latest running and fitness equipment. (Expo schedule below.)

"This is a tremendous opportunity for women to educate themselves about their health and fitness all in one place," said Disney's Endurance Series Director Kathleen Duran. "Not only does it provide awareness and empower women to live a healthy lifestyle, but they will have a great time doing it."

More than 11,000 runners are competing in various races throughout weekend, making this event one of the largest endurance race weekends geared towards women. The signature event, Disney's Princess Half Marathon, is Sunday, and takes runners on a 13.1 mile royal journey through Magic Kingdom and Epcot. On Saturday, there is the Royal Family 5K at Epcot and the Princess Kids' Races.

Every runner will receive a commemorative Champion Ladies Tech shirt and runners crossing the finish line will receive a special Princess tiara-shaped medal. While the event is geared towards women, men can run in support of the special women in their lives.

For a complete schedule of events, visit disneyprincesshalfmarathon.com. Also, additional post-race party tickets can be purchased for family and friends at the Fit for a Princess Expo or at the party.

Disney's Princess Half Marathon will support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Disney has a long-standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation that stretches more than 27 years. Disney has contributed more than $11 million in cash and in-kind donations each year and used its magic to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. With more than 6,000 wishes granted every year - including visits to the Disney Parks, Disney Cruises, Disney Characters visits, attending sporting events and visiting TV and movie sets - Disney-themed wishes continue to be the most popular requests by children to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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Speaker Series & Character Appearances
Jostens Center at Disney's Wide World of Sports

Friday, March 6, 2009 Expo Hours 12:00pm - 7:00pm

12:30 - 1:15 pm Sonja Friend-Uhl is a USATF elite runner and coach. She will present Fit for a Princess Running Clinic, featuring tips on training & racing strategies, nutrition for runners & positive imagery techniques.

1:30 - 2:15 pm Liza Hunter-Galvan is a two-time Olympic Marathoner. She won the San Antonio Marathon six times, participated in the 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In 2004, Liza won the Dallas Marathon and was named "San Antonio Sportswoman of the Year" in both 2004 and 2008. In 2008, she was presented with UTSA, Distinguished Service Alumnus Award.

2:30 - 3:00 pm BREAK - Character Appearance

3:00 - 3:45 pm
Tara Gidus is a nationally-recognized expert on nutrition and fitness. Good nutrition is vital to sport performance. Learn how what you eat and when you eat it can affect your energy and how well you do during your race. Get the latest tips on what to eat before, during, and after training runs and races, how to prevent injuries through good nutrition, and the most updated hydration guidelines.
~~AND~~
Betsy Hughes is Co-owner of Track Shack Orlando. Come and hear Last Minute Tips - Preparing for Event Day.


4:00 - 4:30 pm BREAK - Character Appearance

4:30 - 5:15 pm Sally Edwards and Maggie Sullivan present Running Faster, Running Further - The Secrets of Running Far and Fast. If you are ready to turn up the intensity and increase your stride, ultra-marathoner Sally Edwards can show you ways to accomplish that and even more. You can get stronger, lose weight and run further than ever before if you add a blend of power and fun to your running program. Join Sally Edwards for this motivational and entertaining presentation.

5:30 - 6:00 pm BREAK - Character Appearance

6:00 - 6:30 pm Jon Hughes, Disney's Princess Half Marathon Marathon Race Director is joined by Tom Ward, Technical Director, to provide Last Minute Tips and Information and a final look at the half marathon course.


Saturday, March 7, 2009 Expo Hours 10:00am-5:00pm

10:15 - 10:30 am Make-A-Wish - Twelve year old Wish Kid Jerry describes the experience of his wish to meet author R.L. Stine. Jerry's mother discusses what the wish meant to Jerry's family.

10:30 - 11:00 am BREAK - Character Appearance

11:00 - 12:00 pm Lady Foot Locker presents Sarah Haskins, Finding Your Passion. Learn about setting goals to pursue that passion, the journey it takes for you to achieve your goals and the techniques to achieve your own personal dreams.

12:00 - 12:30 pm BREAK - Character Appearance

12:30 -1:00 pm Tari Rose, faculty member and education specialist with the American Council on Exercise, as well as a free-lance writer, TV guest and motivational speaker, will share her health & nutrition philosophies included in her upcoming book BodyInstinct - Creating Lean Strong Healthy Bodies Discover how to get the most out of food, exercise and your bodies metabolism!

1:15 - 2:00 pm Sally Edwards and Maggie Sullivan present Running Faster, Running Further - The Secrets of Running Far and Fast. If you are ready to turn up the intensity and increase your stride, ultra-marathoner Sally Edwards can show you ways to accomplish that and even more. You can get stronger, lose weight and run further than ever before if you add a blend of power and fun to your running program. Join Sally Edwards for this motivational and entertaining presentation.

2:00 - 2:45 pm Liza Hunter-Galvan is a two-time Olympic Marathoner. Liza won the San Antonio Marathon 6 times, participated in the 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In 2004, she won the Dallas Marathon and was named "San Antonio Sportswoman of the Year" in both 2004 and 2008. In 2008, she was presented with UTSA, Distinguished Service Alumnus Award.

3:00 - 3:30 pm BREAK - Character Appearance

3:30 -4:15 pm Jon Hughes, Tom Ward, and Betsy Hughes provide Last Minute Tips and Information and a final look at the half marathon course.

4:30 - 5:00 pm Patricia Fox, PhD, LMFT, is a motivational sports therapist & running coach and Certified ChiRunning® & ChiWalking® Instructor. Learn How to get the most out of your run-effortless & injury free: Power Running, Pose Method® or ChiRunning©.

March 6, 2009

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Birth of Colobus Monkey

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 5, 2009 -- Walt Disney World Resort recently welcomed a black and white colobus monkey - the first of its species born at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The infant arrived February 17 after a six-month gestation and may be seen along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail with a group of five other colobus monkeys.

While the weight, size and gender are still unknown, animal care experts are encouraged by the amount of care given by first-time mother, Kabibi. "The baby was born looking healthy and vigorous," said Rebecca Phillips, a primate manager at Disney's Animal Kingdom. "We're encouraged that the mother and baby seem to be adapting well."

At birth, colobus monkeys are covered in white fur that is gradually replaced with black hair matching the adults. The monkeys are distinguished by their black body and white shoulders, backs and beard. The monkeys stand between 18- and 27-inches tall and weigh approximately 12 to 32 pounds. Unlike most primates, the colobus do not have thumbs, although they have long tails that help them navigate through the forest quickly.

Kabibi came to Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2008 as part the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan, which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. Disney's Animal Kingdom also participates in AZA Species Survival Plans for several other animals, including elephants, cotton-top tamarins and okapi.

Currently, approximately 65 colobus monkeys exist in AZA-accredited facilities around the United States.

March 7, 2009

Kids Sail for 50% Off on Disney Cruises this Spring

CELEBRATION, Fla. - Families looking for a fun-filled getaway this spring can set sail on the most magical ships at sea with a new Disney Cruise Line "Kids Sail for 50% Off" offer. This special offer is available on all Disney Cruise Line itineraries, including three-, four- and seven-night sailings to The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Guests 12 and under can sail for half the price of prevailing cruise rate as quoted on disneycruise.com when accompanied by two full-fare paying guests within the same stateroom. This offer is valid for most sailings from March 26 through May 14, 2009, and covers all stateroom categories. While the cruise fare with this special offer is half price for guests 12 and under, guests who book will be responsible for Government Taxes and Fees for all stateroom occupants, including those 12 and under.

This offer is available on all Disney Cruise Line itineraries, including the new seven-night eastern Caribbean itinerary featuring Tortola. The island features centuries-old ruins, botanical gardens, sugar mills, sensational bays and beaches. The itinerary also stops at St. Thomas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

Guests wishing to experience a shorter Disney cruise vacation can take advantage of this special offer on Disney Cruise Line's three- and four-night Bahamian itineraries aboard the Disney Wonder. The ship recently premiered "Toy Story - The Musical," an original stage spectacular featuring a new seven-song score, amazing costumes and larger-than-life scenery.

Guests sailing with Disney Cruise Line during this period will have the opportunity to experience Disney Digital 3-D, a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience available on both the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. Guests will delight as first-run Disney films leap off the silver screen and take on a whole new dimension thanks to 3-D technology installed in theatres onboard the ships.

A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line delivers a cruise experience that every member of the family feels was created for their own individual vacation wants and needs. Departing from Port Canaveral, Fla., Disney Cruise Line offers three-, four- and seven-night itineraries to The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

To book a vacation or to obtain complete details on the "Kids Sail for 50% Off" special offer, guests can contact their travel agent, visit disneycruise.com/kids50 or call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500. When making the reservation, guests should ask for or input booking code KHO.

Disney Honors Randy Pausch with Fellowship

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 4, 2009 -- The Walt Disney Company has announced the creation of the Disney Memorial Pausch Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University in recognition of the passion and energy Dr. Randy Pausch brought to his work at both Carnegie Mellon and Walt Disney Imagineering. Pausch is best known for his life-affirming "Last Lecture," which he delivered to his students and colleagues a few weeks after learning he had just months to live. Intended as a roadmap for his three young children, the lecture included his insights on finding the good in other people, working hard to overcome obstacles and living generously.

"Randy Pausch lived his life inspiring his students, colleagues and co-workers. Now, the vitality and energy he brought to his classroom lives on and serves as an inspiration to millions of people he never had the chance to meet," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "We are proud to honor Randy's passion by supporting the innovators and dreamers of tomorrow with these fellowships."

Pausch fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a Walt Disney Imagineer in 1995 when he joined the Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio during a sabbatical from his university teaching position. Imagineering, with its collaborative teams of artists, engineers, sculptors and software developers, proved the perfect environment for him. After his sabbatical was complete, Pausch continued as a consultant to Disney, and began nurturing a relationship between Carnegie Mellon and Disney through Imagineering's internship program. Pausch earned his PhD in computer science at Carnegie Mellon in 1988 and was a professor in Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department, Human-Computer Interaction Institute and School of Design from 1997 until his death in July 2008.

The Disney Memorial Pausch Fellowship will support two graduate students, one in the School of Computer Science (SCS) and one in the College of Fine Arts (CFA), reflecting Pausch's enthusiasm for the interplay of arts and technology. His fascination with this type of synergy at Disney led to the development of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center, a program designed specifically to foster collaboration between technologists and fine artists on projects intended to entertain, inform, inspire, or otherwise affect audiences. The Entertainment Technology Center's Masters of Entertainment Technology degree is jointly conferred by Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science.

"Arts and technology are two pillars of strength at Carnegie Mellon," said Jared L. Cohon, president of the university. "Randy Pausch was tireless in his efforts to bridge the gap between them by creating innovative classes and graduate programs, as well as through his own research. Disney's generosity in sponsoring graduate fellowships in computer science and fine arts further establishes Randy's educational legacy by benefitting talented students who share his passion for interdisciplinary collaboration."

To mark Pausch's achievements, a specially-themed medallion will be placed in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and inscribed with words from his lecture: "Be good at something; it makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome." The unique artistic element is located near the Mad Tea Party ("tea cups") ride, which was celebrated in a photo that Pausch displayed on his desk, showing his niece and nephew enthusiastically enjoying the attraction.

The relationship between Disney and Carnegie Mellon that Pausch nurtured continues to evolve. In August 2008, Disney announced a major Research and Development initiative to engage top technology universities to conduct research and development for many of Disney's divisions. Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and its sister lab, Disney Research, Zurich, connect Disney with Carnegie Mellon and other renowned academic partners who have world-class science and technology talent. The labs will engage in research and development on computer animation, computational cinematography, autonomous interactive characters, robotics and user interfaces, among other initiatives.

Disney Cruise Line Begins New Construction

Disney Cruise Line

PAPENBURG, GERMANY (March 2009) - Disney Cruise Line began construction on two new ships today with a steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Scheduled for completion in 2011 and 2012, the new ocean liners will further advance the company's one-of-a-kind guest experience and create more family cruise options with a brand guests know and trust.

"When we launched our business in 1998, we recognized a need in the marketplace for a cruise experience created just for families," said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. "With these new ships, we are continuing to build upon that vision of providing more families with an unforgettable cruise vacation and the chance to explore new destinations with Disney."

The first piece of steel cut for the new ships was part of the art deco inspired scrollwork that will grace the bow of the ships. Similar to the scrollwork on the Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the intricate pattern is reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s, designed to reflect the glamour of the golden age of cruising with added touches of Disney whimsy, such as the Mickey Mouse medallion in the center of the design.

Pixie Dusted Steel


Since finalizing a contract with the Meyer Werft shipyard to build the two new ships, Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering have created a truly distinctive design for the new ships. Over the next few years, construction will continue, bringing the design to reality. The design details will be unveiled at a later date.

Holz noted that the fleet expansion will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line. Each ship will have 1,250 staterooms and will weigh 128,000 tons. Similar to the existing ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the new ships will be purpose built with families in mind, with specially designed areas and activities for each member of the family to allow for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to provide a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create.

Known for bringing family travel to the cruise market, Disney continues to be a leader in the industry and was recently named the top large cruise ship experience by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the 9th annual "Reader's Cruise Poll." The Disney Wonder, which sails three- and four-night cruises to The Bahamas, was ranked as the No. 1 cruise ship in the "Large Ship" category. The Disney Magic was also ranked in the top five cruise experiences overall. The Disney Magic primarily sails seven-night cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean and, beginning in the spring of 2010, will embark on a season of limited itineraries exploring Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

March 8, 2009

Disney Releases Rehabilitated Manatee

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 24, 2009 -- Marine mammal experts from Walt Disney World Resort returned a manatee to its natural habitat today in the warm waters of the St. John's River at Blue Springs State Park near Orange City. Approximately 3,800 endangered manatees exist in Florida.

The manatee, named "Bock," was rescued as an orphan from the St. John's River in 2001 as part of a manatee rehabilitation program managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He arrived at The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot in 2003 weighing about 500 pounds. At The Seas, marine mammal experts weaned him from the bottle and began feeding him a diet of romaine lettuce, fruits and other vegetables. After extended treatment and therapy, he now weighs more than 1,000 pounds and is approximately eight years old.

Bock's release is timed to coincide with the arrival of several other manatees currently wintering at Blue Springs. During the next few months, he will be able to swim with other manatees, learn appropriate behaviors and hopefully return to Blue Springs again in search of warmer water.

Bock will be fitted with a satellite tracking belt to follow his movements and allow for behavioral observation after his release. His progress will be monitored by the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) in which Disney's Animal Programs has been involved since 2001 when the MRP was established. The MRP is a cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal entities that monitors the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees.

While the care associated with manatee rehabilitation at The Seas with Nemo and Friends was provided by Disney, Epcot guests have also helped other manatees in the wild by supporting the company-matched Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). The DWCF has contributed more than $348,000 for manatee research and awareness around the globe. Since its inception in 1995, the DWCF has supported manatee research and community conservation in countries including the United States, Belize, Guatemala and Gabon, and worked with organizations including Mote Marine Laboratory, University of Florida and the Wildlife Trust.

March 9, 2009

Liza Galvan’s Victory at Princess Half Marathon Caps Three-Day Celebration of Women’s Health and Fitness

Over 11,000 runners participate in one of largest endurance race weekends geared towards women

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - (Mar. 8, 2009) - In a perfect end to a fairytale weekend, Liza Galvan of San Antonio, Tex., led over 7,500 women runners from around the world to victory at Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Galvan, 39, battled second-place finisher Nadezhda Tuptova for most of the 13.1 mile race through Magic Kingdom and Epcot before cruising to the finish line in 1:18:18. Tuptova (Gainesville, Fla.), 33, crossed the line in a time of 1:19:24. Firaya Sultanova, 47, also from Gainesville, Fla., posted a time of 1:20:26 to finish third.

In the Masters Division, Lilian Kroner (Monroe, N.Y.), 43, won in a time of 1:22:25 - besting the next competitor by nearly four minutes. Jacqui Kapinowski from Point Pleasant, N.J. crossed the finish line in a time of 1:22:26 to win the wheelchair division.

Disney's Princess Half Marathon was the signature event that saw more than 11,000 women runners compete in various races that included the Royal Family 5K and the Princess Kids' Races, making the inaugural event one of the largest endurance race weekends geared towards women.

The weekend also involved a health and wellness expo that included renowned fitness experts leading seminars on training, racing and nutrition, and the latest running and fitness equipment. Participants and their guests experienced Princess meet and greets, a makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a Princess-themed after party at Disney's Hollywood Studios with live entertainment and a special gift at the stroke of midnight. While the weekend is designed for women, more than 200 men participated on behalf of the women in their lives.

About Disney's Endurance Series
Disney's Endurance Series gives recreational athletes of all ages and abilities the chance to walk, jog, run, bike and swim their way "around the world." From marathons to road races to triathlons, athletes from across the country and around the world compete to stay in shape, achieve personal-best times and raise donations for charitable causes. Popular Endurance Series events are the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon (January), Expedition Everest Challenge (September), Disneyland Half Marathon (September), Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (October) and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K (October). Visit disneyenduranceseries.com for more information.

March 10, 2009

THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT LONG-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS


Strategic Environmental Objectives and Targets Outlined in
Disney's First Comprehensive Corporate Responsibility Report

BURBANK, Calif., March 9, 2009 -- The Walt Disney Company today announced a landmark set of strategic environmental goals and challenging 3 to 5 year targets to reduce emissions, waste, electricity and fuel use, and its impact on water and ecosystems.

The goals are part of Disney's 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report, which details the company's approach to critical corporate responsibility issues ranging from charitable giving to nutrition and from online safety for kids to workplace diversity.

"Disney's enhanced corporate responsibility efforts make our brands and products more attractive, strengthen our bonds with consumers, make the company a more desirable place to work and build goodwill in the communities we operate," said Disney president and CEO Robert A. Iger. "All of this contributes to shareholder value."

The interactive multimedia report, now available online only at www.disney.com/crreport, provides a detailed snapshot of the company's philosophy and activities in five areas; children and family, content and products, environment, community and workplaces. Details include the company's first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory and updates on Disney's pioneering policies on healthy food guidelines and smoking in films.

Building on 20 years of work by Disney's environmental affairs department, the new goals and targets were formulated over the last two years by an Environmental Council of senior executives from across the company. Charged with developing and implementing sustainable strategies for Disney's impact on the environment, as well as ways to use the company's media reach to encourage positive action, the Council has taken a measured, scientific approach in analyzing company operations and crafting strategic objectives.

"While Disney has always been a leader in environmental stewardship, we are taking ambitious steps to help preserve our planet for future generations," said Disney Senior Executive Vice President and CFO Thomas O. Staggs.

The long-term environmental goals outlined in the report are:
-- Zero waste
-- Zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions from fuels
-- Reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption
-- Net positive impact on ecosystems
-- Minimize water use
-- Minimize product footprint
-- Inform, empower and activate positive action for the environment

For additional details and medium-term targets visit www.disney.com/crreport

"We applaud Disney for its leadership in adopting these goals, especially at such a challenging time in the global economy," said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International. "Disney's vision underscores the continued interest in the environment among people worldwide and the growing recognition that environmental leadership can help revitalize the economy." Conservation International provided advice to Disney on its new goals and targets.

The 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report represents the latest phase in Disney's longstanding heritage of corporate social responsibility and reflects a company-wide effort to build an integrated, transparent strategy focused on serving the needs of the company's primary stakeholders; consumers, employees, shareholders, business partners and the communities in which it works.

The report is organized as follows:
-- Children and Family - guiding principles, kids' health and nutrition, creative practices, programming philosophies and marketing policies
-- Content and Products - standards and practices, content diversity, product safety policies and parks accessibility and safety
-- Environment - environmental initiatives, progress and long-term goals
-- Community - charitable giving, VoluntEAR and community outreach updates
-- Workplaces - employee diversity, benefits and international labor standards

The report anchors a broader suite of publications being issued today. Six additional reports provide information specifically on Disney's Parks & Resorts segment and the following operations: Disney Cruise Lines, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. The suite of reports highlights issues of importance to local communities at some of the company's largest sites.

Disney Announces Names for New Cruise Ships: Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy

CELEBRATION, Fla. (March 10, 2009) - Today at the 2009 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company, Disney announced the names of the company's two new cruise ships.

"Last week, steel cutting began on our next two Disney cruise ships. Today I'm pleased to announce their names," said Robert A. Iger, Disney president and CEO. "The Disney Dream will set sail in 2011, while the Disney Fantasy will hit the high seas in 2012."

Similar to the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the names were chosen to celebrate Disney's unique heritage of creating enchanting places and stories where dreams really do come true.

"The names are very telling of our brand and are part of our history," said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. "Disney is known for making dreams come true, and for creating worlds of fantasy that go beyond the imagination. The names are a natural choice for our ships."

As noted, Disney Cruise Line began construction on the new ships with a steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The first piece of steel cut was part of the art deco inspired scrollwork that will grace the bow of the ships. Similar to the scrollwork on the existing Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the intricate pattern is reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s, with added touches of Disney whimsy.

Since finalizing a contract with the Meyer Werft shipyard to build the two new ships, Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering have created a truly distinctive design. Over the next few years, construction will continue, bringing the design to reality, with the Disney Dream scheduled for delivery in 2011 and the Disney Fantasy in 2012.

The new ships will be purpose built with families in mind, and specially designed areas and activities for each member of the family to allow for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to provide a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds only Disney can create.

The expansion will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line. Each ship will have 1,250 staterooms and will each be 128,000 tons.

DISNEY ANNOUNCES "D23: THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DISNEY FANS"

Disney's First Official Fan Organization Launches with New Quarterly Publication, Web Site, Fan Events and Collectibles Line
First Quarterly Publication Features Exclusive Interviews with Tim Burton, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, as well as behind-the-scenes visit to Pixar Animation Studios

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Oakland and Burbank, CALIFORNIA (March 10, 2009)/PRNewswire/- Disney today announced the launch of D23 (www.Disney.com/D23), the first official community for Disney fans in the Company's 85-year history. Through D23, fans will go backstage and behind closed doors to get the inside scoop from every part of Disney, while experiencing the nostalgia, adventure and fantasy of Disney as never before.

"We have a fantastic legacy that started in 1923 and is based on timeless stories, beloved characters and unforgettable experiences, but it's our fans that keep the spirit of Disney alive year after year, generation after generation," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger at the Company's annual shareholder's meeting. "D23 is our way of saying 'thank you' and celebrating our fans, who bring the magic of Disney to life every day in every corner of the world."

As a part of this new Disney fan experience, today also marks the launch of D23's new quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; the all-new D23 Web site at Disney.com/D23; and a new collectibles line, The Walt Disney Archives Collection, which was created specifically with D23 members in mind. D23 also will host special events for its members throughout the year, highlighted by the organization's signature event, the D23 Expo, which will be held in Anaheim this September 10-13.

A one-year D23 membership ($74.99) includes:

* Disney twenty-three quarterly publication: A one-year subscription (four issues) to D23's new collectible magazine filled with stunning photography, dazzling illustrations and the ultimate Disney insider perspective. This advertising-free keepsake is the all-access pass to discovering the magic of Disney's past, present and future.
* Membership Certificate and Card: The D23 membership card and suitable-for-framing member certificate - both specially created for D23's Charter Year - feature many of Disney's most beloved characters.
* Surprise Collectible Gift and Member Merchandise: Each member who joins D23 will receive an exclusive collectible gift from the new Walt Disney Archives Collection. This merchandise line was created specifically with D23 members in mind, and each piece is authorized by the Walt Disney Archives. D23 members will have exclusive or early access to a wide assortment of Walt Disney Archives Collection pieces.
* D23 Expo and Member Special Events: The D23 Expo - to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center from September 10-13, 2009 - will be "The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience," featuring incredible speakers, celebrity appearances, breathtaking exhibitions, interactive experiences, sneak peeks, film screenings, one-of-a-kind merchandise, and much more. All Disney fans are welcome, but D23 members will receive a discount on Expo admissions and early access to the show daily. D23 also offers unique members-only special event opportunities throughout the year.
* Disney.com/D23: All fans can stay connected to Disney every day through D23's new Web site, featuring up-to-the-minute Disney news, feature stories, event info and more, but only D23 members will receive regular email updates on special event and merchandise opportunities exclusive to them.

Disney twenty-three quarterly publication

Disney today launches its new quarterly publication Disney twenty-three, a hybrid entertainment and lifestyle magazine that is the all-access pass to discovering the magic of Disney's past, present and future. Its name pays homage to 1923, the year The Walt Disney Company was founded.

The premiere issue of Disney twenty-three includes exclusive features such as:

* Interviews with Tim Burton, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens
* Inside look at the new Disney/Pixar animated film Up, featuring interviews with Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera, concept and production art, and a look at the new animated short Partly Cloudy.
* A rare look inside Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. Meet the Pixar team and learn the secrets behind the success of their films.
* The doors open for two of the most exclusive, magical suites in the world: the Cinderella Castle Suite at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Dream Suite overlooking New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America at the Disneyland Resort.

Disney twenty-three's regular featured departments include:

* A Walk with Walt: A look back at the trials and triumphs of the man who made dreams come true and whose imagination started it all.
* D Society: From gala movie premieres and grand openings to candid Disney moments and memories, D Society takes readers backstage and onto the red carpet.
* PHOTOfiles: The legendary Walt Disney Archives Photo Library houses millions of Disney's most cherished photographic memories, and the Archives team shares its Top 100, five in every issue. Let the countdown begin!
* Where in D?: Try to identify where in the world of Disney each issue's mystery photo was taken.
* The Funny Pages: For the first time in decades, enjoy the vintage newspaper comic strips that helped make many of Disney's most popular characters famous.
* Making Magic: Crafts for children of all ages, inspired by Disney's favorite stories and experiences.
* Recipes from Disney's most popular restaurants and eateries, past and present.

Disney twenty-three subscriptions are available only by becoming a member of D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans. Individual issues of Disney twenty-three retail for $15.95 and are available exclusively at all U.S. Barnes & Noble booksellers, all domestic Disney Stores, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, and Disneyshopping.com.

DISNEY.COM/D23

The D23 site on Disney.com will serve as the premier online destination for Disney fans, highlighted by breaking Disney news, exclusive feature stories, blogs, historical retrospectives, a collectibles boutique, special event information, and other content. The D23 online experience includes News & Features, Walt Disney Archives, Disney twenty-three, Expo & Events, and Boutique23. Highlights include:

NEWS & FEATURES

* Late-breaking news, press releases, and photos of interest to fans from every part of Disney.
* "Twilight Bark" - inspired by the Disney animated feature 101 Dalmatians - offers up the latest tidbits and news "bites" from all around the world of Disney.
* Feature articles and interviews on current Disney topics from theme parks and animation to television and motion pictures, as well as historical retrospectives.
* Official Disney Bloggers - Get regular updates on films in production at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, current Walt Disney Imagineering projects, and the Walt Disney Archives.

WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES

* "This Day in Disney" - A daily walk down memory lane.
* "What's Old Is News" - Go back in time and enjoy rare, vintage and classic articles, stories, interviews, press materials and other highlights from deep within the Disney Archives.
* "Ask Dave" - Disney Legend and Chief Archivist Dave Smith answers your questions about Disney history.
* "Archives Library" - helpful Disney reference tools including biographies, filmographies, award chronologies, Disney A to Z updates, historical profiles and other archival information.

DISNEY TWENTY-THREE

* The online home of Disney twenty-three, D23's quarterly publication.
* Expanded stories, interviews and imagery.
* "D Society: Online Edition" - regularly updated photo gallery.
* "The Funny Page: Daily Edition" - a delightful daily dose of vintage Disney comics that haven't been seen outside the Disney Archives in decades.
* "Making Magic" - An archive of the unique crafts featured in Disney twenty-three.
* "Disney Dish" - Always be able to find your favorite recipes from Disney twenty-three.

EXPO & EVENTS

* "D23 Expo" - The official Web site for everything you need to know about "The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience" September 10-13, at the Anaheim Convention Center, including programming, show hours, celebrity appearances, keynote speakers, ticket information, vacation packages, and more.
* "D23 Member Special Events" - Throughout the year, D23 hosts special events created just for its members. Members can find out which ones they want to attend and how to register.

BOUTIQUE 23

* D23 merchandise and collectibles, including D23 member-only offerings from the Walt Disney Archives Collection
* Hosted by Disneyshopping.com

D23 membership

D23 membership is not required to visit Disney.com/D23, but some merchandise and special event opportunities are exclusive to D23 members.

Fans can join D23 at www.Disney.com/D23, all Disney Store locations within the United States, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, and www.DisneyShopping.com/D23.
About D23

The name "D23" pays homage to the wonder and excitement that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. Through the years, Disney has captured the imagination of millions around the world, and, as requested by Disney fans everywhere, D23 gives them a greater, richer connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic.

March 13, 2009

TrenD, New Downtown Disney Retail Offering, Blends Retro Style and Current Trends with a Touch of Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - A stylish boutique with designer flair and eclectic offerings becomes a premier shopping spot at Downtown Disney Marketplace with the March opening of TrenD. The urban-inspired Walt Disney World specialty store is a one-of-a-kind, hip destination for fashion-conscious shoppers seeking trendy apparel and novel accessories.

"This unique environment, filled with textured fabrics, new silhouettes, and whimsical art and design allows us the opportunity to push the creative envelope as it relates to fashion and our characters," said Mark Perrotta, director of Product Development and Design. "Our guests continue to respond to trend merchandise and novel products that they can't purchase at home. TrenD speaks to what is happening today with a blend of vintage and hip with stylized Disney influences."

Offerings include organic loungewear, embroidered handbags, jeweled sunglasses and trendy accessories set among stylish art and unique furnishings. The eclectic environment offers a raw and unfinished feel with jeweled chandeliers, distinct fixtures and mod furnishings.

Much of the merchandise will not be available anywhere else at Downtown Disney. Designers such as Kidada Jones, Tarina Tarantino and Roxy will showcase their artistry - blending it with Disney-inspired creations.

"With its exclusive product lines and new environment, we think TrenD will complement the existing merchandise offerings at Downtown Disney," said Perrotta.

TrenD is in a 2,500-square-foot venue near Pin Traders and Once Upon A Toy. The space previously was used by Summer Sands.

March 15, 2009

Walt Disney World Resort Releases 2008 Community Report

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 11, 2009 - As part of The Walt Disney Company's first consolidated corporate responsibility report, Walt Disney World Resort released the 2008 Community Report that highlights the many ways the company remains actively involved in Central Florida.

The community report focuses on accomplishments related to the environment, workplace and community, with a special emphasis on children and families. The detailed snapshot also represents the latest phase in Disney's longstanding heritage of corporate social responsibility and reflects a company-wide effort to build an integrated, transparent strategy for serving the needs of primary stakeholders, including guests, Cast Members, shareholders, business partners and local communities.

"Our commitment to the Central Florida community is unwavering," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "We are focused on helping to make this community an inviting and dynamic place to live, work and play, not only for ourselves, but also for our nearly two million neighbors."

In 2008, Walt Disney World Resort and its Cast Members contributed approximately $32.5 million to local organizations for programs that focus on building a brighter future for children in Central Florida. In addition, Disney VoluntEARS donated more than 204,000 hours to benefit local non-profit organizations. Highlights from the report include:

The Environment

Walt Disney World Resort is committed to minimizing its overall impact on the environment as it encourages and inspires environmentally responsible behavior on the part of Cast Members, guests and business partners.

· In collaboration with Keep Brevard Beautiful and the Ocean Conservancy, Disney VoluntEARS participated in the 2008 Florida Coastal Cleanup, removing more than 3,500 pounds of trash and storm debris from the shores of Lake Fran in Orlando.

· Conservation biologists from Disney's Animal Programs released a loggerhead sea turtle into the Atlantic Ocean as part of a program to raise awareness of threats to sea turtle survival.

· In April, Walt Disney World Resort completed the state's Green Lodging certification program for its 23 Central Florida resort hotels and Disney's Vero Beach Resort. The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary state initiative that encourages hotels and motels to adopt cost-saving green practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources.

Our Workplace

Walt Disney World Resort is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace. In recognition of the magic Cast Members create for guests each and every day, Walt Disney World Resort offers a wide variety of programs, services and benefits that are designed to make a difference in Cast Members' lives.

· In October, Walt Disney World Resort opened the Center for Living Well - a state-of-the-art, on-site health and wellness center - to provide eligible Cast Members and their families a "one-stop shop" for primary medical care and related services. The $6 million, 15,000-square-foot facility includes a pharmacy, lab, basic radiology, and wellness and behavioral health resources.

· With 62,000 Cast Members speaking 59 languages from 81 countries, diversity and inclusion are core values that drive growth, creativity and innovation at Walt Disney World Resort. The company received the highest honor at the 2008 Beacon Awards ceremony, which celebrates diversity in the greater Orlando-area workforce.

· Walt Disney World Resort is actively involved in cultivating the workforce of the future. In January 2008, the resort hosted Disney's Dreamers Academy, an innovative program that aims to expose high-school students to creative and non-traditional career opportunities, while inspiring them to exceed the boundaries of their dreams and imaginations.

Our Community

A tradition of community service has been an integral part of the Disney heritage since the company's early beginnings in Central Florida. That commitment extends from charitable giving to minority business development to generating tax revenue for the local community.

· In March, Central Florida celebrated the opening of a Boys & Girls Clubs facility in the Pine Hills area of Orlando. Walt Disney World Resort donated $1 million toward the construction of the new building which includes computer stations, learning centers, game rooms and a multi-purpose gym.

· Walt Disney World Resort awarded $700,000 in Disney's Helping Kids Shine Grants to 38 Central Florida non-profit organizations for programs that focused on building better futures for children.

· During the 2008 Heart of Florida United Way Campaign, Cast Members contributed $3.2 million to help local agencies assist fellow residents in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties.

· Walt Disney World Cast Members conducted a successful Back-to-School Supply Drive, donating more than 6,000 backpacks to Central Florida students and more than 467,000 supplies to A Gift for Teaching.

· In August, Walt Disney World Resort helped bring a second Historically Black College and University football game to Central Florida. The MEAC / SWAC challenge brought thousands of fans to Central Florida from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.


Disney's 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report may be found at www.Disney.com/crreport.

March 16, 2009

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure Exhibit to Open this Spring at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot

T. Rowe Price to Collaborate with Walt Disney World Co. to Promote Financial Empowerment and Education for Families

BALTIMORE, March 16 -- T. Rowe Price, the global investment management organization, today announced that it has signed a sponsorship agreement to create an innovative financial education and entertainment experience at Epcot. Designed in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering, The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) is scheduled to open this spring at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. This interactive exhibit will bring basic saving and investing concepts to life in a fun and captivating way. The experience will entertain and empower families, while encouraging them to engage in regular dialogue about the importance of saving and how to manage money responsibly.

The first-of-its-kind exhibit, in conjunction with a companion online game and associated web site, broadens T. Rowe Price's longstanding investor education initiatives. The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) will offer lessons on four key financial themes: setting goals, saving and spending smartly, staying ahead of inflation, and diversifying your investments. Discussions began over three years ago with Epcot Business Development and Walt Disney Imagineering to bring this experience to guests visiting INNOVENTIONS.

"Empowering parents to initiate discussion of the topics of saving and investing with their children is more important than ever before," said Edward C. Bernard, vice chairman of T. Rowe Price Group. "Financial awareness and decision-making is heavily influenced by one's early experiences, making vibrant family discussion a powerful and lifelong educational influence that can help children develop sound financial values and habits. In watching families during play-testing of the exhibit, it has been rewarding to see how The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) engages families in a unique way and really does get the conversation started.

"T. Rowe Price has a long history of educating investors and helping people reach their financial goals," Mr. Bernard added. "We can't think of a better way to expand those efforts than by collaborating with an organization that is a true innovator in turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and whose name is synonymous with world-class family education, entertainment, and service excellence."

Dan Cockerell, Vice President of Epcot, shared his excitement about working with T. Rowe Price to create this unique experience. "At INNOVENTIONS, our focus is on encouraging guests to imagine, invent, inquire and inspire while exploring amazing innovations that make our lives better. The Great Piggy Bank Adventure will give our visitors a better insight into what it means to save and invest in an innovative and engaging manner."

March 17, 2009

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora To Open New Walt Disney World Restaurant

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 17, 2009) -- Chef Cat Cora and Disney are joining together to open an exciting new family dining restaurant at Disney's BoardWalk Resort. Kouzzina by Cat Cora will feature a menu of Mediterranean-style cuisine that pays tribute to the chef's Greek roots.

The restaurant, to be owned and operated by Disney, is scheduled to open by fall 2009 in the space currently occupied by Spoodles.

"I am pleased to welcome Cat Cora and her engaging new concept for Kouzzina to the Walt Disney World Resort," said Jay Rasulo, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "This collaboration between Cat and Disney represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to offer unique culinary experiences and choices for our guests."

As a Mississippi native born to a family of Greek restaurateurs, Cora grew up immersed in two different and flavorful cultures , and has taken from that unique background the kitchen "know-how" handed down through generations. The cuisine at Kouzzina (Greek for "kitchen" and pronounced "koo-zee-nah") will showcase Mediterranean cuisine and Chef Cora's philosophy to create simple yet sensational meals.

Cora said that the new restaurant will feature "time-honored recipes passed down from my ancestors, as well as my favorite Greek and Mediterranean dishes that my family loves."

She began working with Disney in 2008 by creating a Disney Video on Demand series to showcase ways to help families develop more healthy eating habits. "I'm extremely excited about this latest extension of my relationship with Disney," she said. "Together, we're going to develop a truly amazing contemporary Mediterranean restaurant."

The first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network's hit show "Iron Chef America," Cora is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She also is Executive Chef for Bon Appétit magazine. In addition to hosting the instructional cooking demonstrations for Disney Video on Demand, Cora has been a featured chef at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and at Disney's California Food & Wine Festival at Disneyland Resort.

March 18, 2009

Disney Bowl-A-Thon Strikes Support for Economic Education in Local Schools

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 16, 2009 - Showing power in numbers, approximately 5,800 Walt Disney World VoluntEARS teamed up this past weekend to extend their reach into local classrooms via the Disney Bowl-A-Thon. The two-day fundraising event, held March 14-15 at bowling centers across Central Florida, raised more than $ 237,000 for Junior Achievement; ultimately benefiting thousands of local children.

Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization that enhances economic education and programs by striking a balance between the business community and schools. Seeking to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy, Junior Achievement helps students connect the real world to what they learn in the classroom.

"We help students understand money and credit," said Gary Blanchette, president of Junior Achievement of Central Florida. "We help provide solutions to financial illiteracy in America." Thrilled to collaborate with Walt Disney World Resort, Blanchette explained that all of the dollars raised by the Disney Bowl-A-Thon go to work immediately. "Thanks to Disney, we can expand our mission in the classroom. Twelve-thousand children in Central Florida will benefit from Junior Achievement outreach," said Blanchette.

Jessica Herrera, a Stonewall Jackson Middle School eighth grader, credits Junior Achievement for helping her understand the importance of her actions and improving her test scores. "Junior Achievement showed me that what I do today will impact the future that I have tomorrow," said Herrera.

Disney VoluntEARS, along with volunteers from other companies, donate time teaching Junior Achievement curriculum for grades K-12 in schools across Central Florida. Funds raised from the Disney Bowl-A-Thon will go toward Junior Achievement programming, educator kits and classroom supplies.

Over the past 14 years, Walt Disney World Resort has raised more than $3.2 million for Junior Achievement.

March 20, 2009

Disneyland Resort Celebrates Third Shift Cast at Annual Breakfast

On March 18, about 1,400 third shift Cast Members from around the Disneyland Resort were celebrated during a sports-themed breakfast in the early hours of the morning. These Cast Members are instrumental in gearing up the Resort for its guests - doing everything from pruning trees to cleaning streets and keeping the hotels moving throughout the night. This group normally works behind the scenes while most people are sleeping, however their efforts are clearly visible and highly important to the Resort's daily operation. During the breakfast, the Cast Members were acknowledged and thanked by their leaders and Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier. Grier and other executives were on-hand to assist with the event to show their appreciation for the work that is done by these dedicated Cast Members in the early hours of the day. They enjoyed a hearty breakfast, fun games, an opportunity prize drawing and a thank you gift.

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Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier and Cast Member Genie Levert, of the Disney's California Adventure night custodial team, play a game of Nintendo Wii Bowling during a sports-themed breakfast in honor of third shift Cast Members. Photo ©Disney

"Re-Imagineering" Disney's California Adventure

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Photo ©Disney

16 March 2009 -- The latest sign of expansion and "re-Imagineering" in Disney's California Adventure park is the new illuminated "Paradise Pier" sign on the "California Screamin'" roller coaster. Installed overnight between Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, the sign reflects the "vintage Disney" themeing that is part of the Disney's California Adventure expansion. It was designed in the style of beachfront amusement park signs from the 1920s and '30s, the era when Walt Disney first arrived in Hollywood and begin producing animated cartoons. As the "re-Imagineering" continues at Disney's California Adventure this spring, the ferris wheel attraction will reopen as "Mickey's Fun Wheel" and the Games of the Boardwalk will reopen in completely new versions featuring Disney characters.

Disneyland Resort Highlights Commitment to Community, Environment and Workplace in 2008 Report

Resort donates more than $12.4 million, providing support to tens
of thousands of individuals and families in Southern California

ANAHEIM, Calif. - March 19, 2009 -- The Disneyland Resort has published its 2008 Community Report, which highlights the company's approach to addressing crucial issues related to the environment, the workplace, and the community - with a special emphasis on children and families. The report details the combined outreach efforts and contributions of the Disneyland Resort and its Cast Members, including cash, in-kind donations and volunteer time that totaled more than $12.4 million and touched tens of thousands of lives.

"We are a company known for creativity and innovation and we've applied these concepts not only to our operations and attractions, but also to our approach to community involvement and corporate responsibility," said Ed Grier, Disneyland Resort president. "We give back in a variety of ways that benefit the environment, the community, and our own Cast. I am particularly proud of our 20,000 dedicated and diverse Cast Members who spent nearly 82,000 hours helping others last year."

Disneyland Resort's commitment to assist those in need and to protect the environment was evident through the company and Cast Members' involvement. In 2008:

  • Cast Members and Guests recycled more than 5,269 tons of materials.

  • Blood donated at Disneyland Resort drives saved 3,306 lives.

  • More than $8.6 million of in-kind merchandise and equipment donations were made to schools and community groups and diverted from landfills.

  • Disneyland Resort executives served on 47 non-profit and industry boards.

  • Nearly 600 children with life-threatening illnesses were granted "wishes" at the Disney Wish Lounge.

Since the company's earliest days, a tradition of community service has been integral to its culture. Walt Disney himself frequently visited children in hospitals and guided resources toward supporting organizations that helped children. The dedication of the new Disneyland Resort Ambulatory Clinic lobby at Children's Hospital of Orange County last May exemplifies this philosophy. The new clinic, funded in part by a $1 million donation from the Disneyland Resort in 2006, continues Walt's legacy of generosity and helps to ensure that children throughout Orange County will continue to receive the critical care at first-rate facilities. Other community partnerships, along with examples of local economic support, can be found in the report.

Disneyland Resort is making concerted efforts to embed environmental stewardship into the decisions and actions of its Cast Members and Guests through its programs and policies. Teams work diligently to identify and understand the impact that Disneyland Resort facilities, operations and products have on the environment. The cornerstones of the Resort's approaches - conserving water, energy and ecosystems, reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and inspiring others to take action for the environment - are detailed in the report.

Cast Members' growth and success is encouraged and supported through a number of training and development opportunities. In addition, the Resort offers programs that encourage a healthy and balanced lifestyle both in the workplace and at home. The report highlights several initiatives including the "Disney College Program" and "One Simple Change," demonstrating why working for the Disneyland Resort can be a positive, life-changing experience.

Please click here to see Disneyland Resort's 2008 Community Report. <http://ts.go.com/bk?bs=1&bj=42998666&bu=9448309&bt=170038262> To see additional details of Disneyland Resort community involvement or to obtain a copy of the 2008 Community Report, please visit http://www.disneyland.com/publicaffairs.

16th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Celebrates Floral Fun and 'Going Green' March 18-May 31, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - An elaborate "Cinderellabration" topiary and an environmentally friendly Green Garden bring fresh springtime flair to the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, presented by Disneynature, March 18-May 31, 2009. Amid a colorful tableau of more than 30 million blooms, Walt Disney World guests of all ages can explore myriad exhibits and activities geared toward gardening and outdoor fun.

Every spring, Disney gardeners channel their creative energy into presenting an intricate topiary display against the backdrop of Spaceship Earth. This year, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip, and Belle and Beast from "Beauty and the Beast" debut in all their "blooming finery" as the grand front-entrance topiary during the 75-day festival. Seventy other topiaries appear throughout World Showcase and Future World.

Flower Power concerts spread a groovy vibe each weekend (Friday-Sunday) at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase. Acts appearing for 2009 include Davy Jones, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Jose Feliciano, Chubby Checker, and for the first time at Epcot, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes.

More information about the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available by calling 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or by visiting disneyworld.com/flower. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

March 23, 2009

Biggest Character Breakfast Ever

California family wins the biggest character breakfast ever -- as part of last year's Year of a Million Dreams program, this family won the chance to have breakfast with two dozen characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Peter Pan and more!

March 25, 2009

Actor John Stamos Finishes Filming ER...

... and guess what he's going to do next?!

March 27, 2009

‘Get 2 More Nights Free’ to Savor All the Exciting New Summer Entertainment At Disneyland Resort

New Travel Packages Deliver Great Value and
Complement 'Free on Your Birthday' Offer

ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 25, 2009) - With free admission to a theme park on your birthday throughout 2009, new adventures and entertainment at both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure parks, and a special travel offer that will add two free nights to your three-night stay, a visit to the Disneyland Resort this summer offers value-minded vacationers plenty to celebrate.

By purchasing a three-night Disneyland Resort vacation package this summer, guests can magically extend their visit with an offer worth celebrating: Get two more nights free! This special Disneyland summer vacation offer provides a magical and affordable way for families to take in all the new fun and adventures at the Happiest Place on Earth this vacation season.

"We know travelers are looking for great value in their vacations," said Ed Grier, president, Disneyland Resort. "With the new '2 Nights Free' offer and all of the new entertainment and attractions at our parks, we are providing our Guests with even more reasons to come celebrate with us this summer."

With the new summer vacation packages, guests pay for three nights of hotel accommodations and three days of theme park admission, and then receive two more nights at the hotel and two more days of theme park admission. Together, the special deal provides guests five days and nights of Disneyland fun, for the price of three.

Bookings for this limited-time offer must be made between March 24 and August 11, 2009. The summer vacation package offer for two more nights free is valid at all three Disneyland Resort Hotels - Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for arrivals between April 1 and September 26, 2009. Beginning May 1, the offer is also available at participating local Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor Hotels, providing guests with a wide range of hotel accommodations and prices to fit every budget. Guests at a Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor Hotel must also begin their travel by September 26.

New Entertainment and Experiences

In 2009, the Disneyland Resort is pulling out all the stops by asking guests, "What Will You Celebrate?" As part of the yearlong celebration, guests will enjoy many new magical experiences. "Celebrate! A Street Party" launches this spring at Disneyland Park. A cast of dancers, DJs and Disney characters invite guests to join the celebration as they take to the street for a high-energy street party featuring lively music, colorful costumes, confetti and streamers. Guests will join in twist dancing, a conga line and all the colorful fun of a celebration on Main Street, U.S.A., or at "it's a small world" mall.

Meanwhile, because there's so much in life worth celebrating, in April, Disneyland Park will also present the Celebration Roundup and Barbecue at Big Thunder Ranch, a good ol' cowboy-style hoedown featuring food and fun for the whole family.

This summer the Happiest Place on Earth will be the Most Exciting Place on Earth! At Disneyland Park, Fantasmic! is bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before. And the skies above Sleeping Beauty Castle will come to life with a spectacular new fireworks show that will have guests celebrating across the Magic Kingdom. Over at Disney's California Adventure Park, Tinker Bell works her pixie magic and brings a bright new sparkle to the guest-favorite and classic Disney's Electrical Parade.

In 2009, guests can also visit a Disney park for free on their birthdays. For guests who wish to visit on their birthdays and also take advantage of the paid summer treat of two more nights free, the Resort offers a selection of birthday treat options available with the packages. Just present your valid Park Hopper ticket on your birthday at the Main Entrance ticket booths and receive one of the following options instead of the free theme park birthday admission:

* A birthday FASTPASS ticket for certain attractions for up to six people in the birthday party (the number of birthday FASTPASS tickets is limited and may not be available after 11am; all guests must have valid Theme Park admission). Or"

* A Birthday Fun Card in an amount equal to the price of a 1-Day/1-Park Disneyland Resort ticket (based on general admission price or the reduced admission price for Guests ages 3-9 at the Main Entrance ticket booth, respectively). The Birthday Fun Card can be used at participating locations in the theme parks for select merchandise, Disney's PhotoPass on-site services and tours. Or"

* A 1-Day/1-Park Ticket that can be used anytime in the next 12 months, starting from the celebrant's date of birth. This ticket may be used by the Birthday celebrant only.

To book a Disneyland Resort vacation package, visit www.disneyland.com, call (800) 854-3104 or visit your local travel agent. For general Disneyland Resort information, park hours and entertainment schedules, call (714) 781-4565 or visit www.disneyland.com. The summer vacation offer cannot be combined with any other discounts.

Free theme park admission details: To receive free admission to one of the Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks on your birthday in 2009, guests must bring valid ID including proof of birth date. Guests who have purchased a valid multi-day ticket they will use on their birthday may choose from other birthday treats instead. No cash refunds or credits will be given. To register your birthday and find out more details, visit www.disneyparks.com. For terms and conditions of the Birthday Fun Card and details on participating locations visit disneyparks.com/birthdayfuncard.

"Get 2 Nights Free" offer is valid for bookings from 3/24/09 through 8/11/09 for arrivals at a Disneyland Resort hotel from 4/1/09 through 9/26/09 with travel being completed by 10/1/09, and is valid from 5/1/09 through 9/26/09 at participating Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor hotels with travel completed by 10/1/09. Upon the purchase of a 3-night package, with 3-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Bonus Tickets, at a participating hotel for a family of four (2 adults, 1 junior (ages 10 to 17) and 1 child (age 3-9), two (2) consecutive free nights will be added to the hotel stay and two (2) days added to the tickets. Limited to two (2) free nights per package / reservation and not valid for previously booked rooms. Check for offers associated with longer night stays. The Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Bonus Tickets expire 13 days after first use or 10/13/09, whichever occurs first, and each day of use of a ticket constitutes one full day of use. Tickets may not be sold or transferred for commercial purposes. Offer subject to availability and blockout dates; advance reservations required. Not valid with any other discount or promotion. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Walt Disney Travel Company CST: 1022229-50, NYST # 2006-0198.

March 28, 2009

A PERFECT 10: Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes meets 1999 National League MVP Chipper Jones

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A PERFECT 10: Mickey Mouse warms up with Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes (left) and 1999 National League MVP Chipper Jones (right) as they exchange their #10 jerseys and autographs March 27, 2009 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Jones, who plays third base for the Atlanta Braves, is currently playing at the complex's Champion Stadium during the Braves' Spring Training season. Holmes, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is training with several of his teammates on the complex's football fields in preparation for the upcoming 2009 NFL season. (Diana Zalucky, photographer)

March 30, 2009

The Seas Granted Accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

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Silver Spring, Maryland, March 30, 2009 - The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that The Seas was granted accreditation by AZA's independent Accreditation Commission.

"The Seas has been awarded AZA accreditation because of its high standards in every aspect of its operations," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "Orlando should be proud to have one of the top facilities in North America as a valuable community asset and economic engine."

To be accredited, The Seas underwent a thorough investigation to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process in order to be members of the Association, and are required to resubmit to this process every five years.

"Every visit you make to The Seas supports wildlife conservation." Maddy added. "It's an opportunity for families to get together and connect with conservation."

The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution's operation in areas such as animal care (including living environment and daily enrichment), keeper training, safety for animals, staff, and visitors, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, visitor services, and other areas. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission's decision is made.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit www.aza.org.

Disney Cruise Line to Homeport Disney Wonder at the Port of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Calif., (March 30, 2009) - Disney Cruise Line announced today that it plans to reposition the Disney Wonder from its Florida base in Port Canaveral to the West Coast in 2011. The company is working with the Port of Los Angeles to finalize a two-year agreement with a three-year extension option. The contract will be considered by the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on April 2, 2009.

If approved, the new Disney Wonder sailings could generate more than 250,000 guests passing through the Port of Los Angeles over a five-year period.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he is pleased to welcome the renowned family cruise line back to the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro.

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"Having Disney Cruise Line operating out of the Port of Los Angeles will provide a great boost to the local economy by generating business and tourism revenue in San Pedro and throughout the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "The return of Disney Cruise Line to our port speaks volumes about our ability to attract world-class cruise lines to the area."

The addition of a new homeport for Disney Cruise Line is part of the overall expansion plan for The Walt Disney Company. Two new ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, will arrive in Florida's Port Canaveral in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

"We are looking forward to returning to the Port of Los Angeles and offering our special brand of family cruises on the West Coast," said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. "Having a Disney Cruise Line ship based in this region is something families on the West Coast have wanted for a long time, and we're pleased to bring the Disney Wonder to Southern California in 2011."

Disney Cruise Line has successfully tested the West Coast market with two summer seasons of Mexican Riviera itineraries from the Port of Los Angeles. The Disney Magic cruise ship first called on the West Coast during the summer of 2005 as part of Disneyland's 50th anniversary and returned again during the summer of 2008. Disney Cruise Line has not yet announced the details of its itineraries for 2011.

"The return of Disney Cruise Line to the Port of Los Angeles is just one more reason visitors will come to Los Angeles to help our city thrive," added Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.d. "The LA area is already home to Disneyland - it's a natural fit."

The Port of Los Angeles continues to be one of the busiest cruise ports on the West Coast. Known for its proximity to area attractions, including Disneyland Resort, and ease of convenience for transportation and nearby airports, the Port of Los Angeles provides cruisers with a great experience.

Disney Cruise Line delivers a cruise experience that every member of the family feels was created for their own individual vacation wants and needs. Specifically designed areas and activities for each member of the family allows for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to allow families to reconnect, adults to recharge their batteries and kids to immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create.

Known for establishing family travel in the cruise market Disney Cruise Line continues to be a leader in the industry. The Disney Wonder was recently named the top large cruise ship experience by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the 9th annual "Reader's Cruise Poll." The Disney Magic, which was also ranked in the top five cruise experiences in the poll, will embark on a season of limited itineraries exploring Northern Europe and the Mediterranean in 2010. Additionally, the line continues to move forward on the construction of its two new ocean liners at the Meyer Werft yard in Germany.

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About March 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in March 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2009 is the previous archive.

April 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.