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February 2010 Archives

February 4, 2010

Spring Issue of D23 Magazine

Plans for Walt Disney World's Fantasyland Forest and Exclusive Interview With Alice in Wonderland's Helena Bonham Carter Also Featured

BURBANK, Calif. - February 3, 2010 - Seventy years ago, Walt Disney opened his tree-lined, campus-like studio lot in the heart of Burbank, and Disney twenty-three magazine travels back in time to tell the story of how Walt's dream factory was created - one of more than a dozen new features and articles in the Spring 2010 issue.

The latest issue of Disney twenty-three magazine is available beginning today, and will be mailed directly to members of D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans. It's also available at select Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstore locations, online at DisneyStore.com and throughout the Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Resorts.

Rare and never-before-seen photos from the history of the Walt Disney Studios include the testing of vehicles for Disneyland's Submarine Voyage (which was actually carried out in a specially built a tank on the Burbank lot); images of the Studio's construction; and behind-the-scenes pictures taken during the production of such classic Disney movies as Darby O'Gill and the Little People, The Love Bug and Pete's Dragon and Zorro.

The Spring 2010 issue of the glossy, oversized Disney twenty-three magazine also takes readers into Walt Disney's office and onto the lot during key moments in the Studio's history.

But it's not just Disney history on display in the Spring 2010 issue of Disney twenty-three - it's Disney's exciting, vibrant future, as well.

The magazine takes an in-depth look at the upcoming expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Theme park fans will want to pore over this seven-page article that's filled with large, detailed, full-color images of this ambitious expansion.

Disney twenty-three also features an exclusive interview with award-winning actress Helena Bonham Carter, who plays the Queen of Hearts in Tim Burton's soon-to-be-released Alice in Wonderland, and reveals some unexpected attributes of her character along with secrets of how the Queen's bizarre appearance was created.

Michael Giacchino, nominated on Tuesday for an Academy Award for his memorable score to Disney-Pixar's Up, is also the subject of an in-depth profile, showcasing his impressive list of Disney credits, including videogames, theme-park attractions and complex, highly lauded music for ABC's Alias and Lost, which has just begun its final season.

The 64 pages of Disney twenty-three magazine's Spring 2010 issue are filled with surprises for Disney fans of all ages. The magazine is free to Gold-level D23 Members, and has a retail price of $15.95. Subscriptions and D23 memberships can be purchased online at www.disney.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. D23 is the first official community for fans in Disney's 85-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website at www.disney.com/D23; a collectibles line, The Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 members throughout the year. Fans can join D23 at www.Disney.com/D23, select shops at Disneyland® Resort and Walt Disney World® Resort, and www.DisneyStore.com.

February 5, 2010

Pollo Campero and Levy Campero Announce First Combined Restaurant Concept to Open at Downtown Disney® Marketplace

New Restaurant Slated to Open in Late 2010

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pollo Campero, an international Latin chicken quick-service restaurant chain, has partnered with franchisee Levy Campero to deliver a new restaurant concept in Downtown Disney® Marketplace at Walt Disney World® Resort. The restaurant will feature Pollo Campero's signature Latin chicken, as well as a new restaurant concept featuring fresh, healthy food. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This new restaurant will replace the Marketplace's McDonald's, which will close its Downtown Disney location in April 2010.)

"This is an exciting opportunity for Pollo Campero to introduce its famous chicken, along with our newest fresh restaurant concept of salads and wraps, to visitors from all over the world," said Adam Cummis, president of Levy Campero. "We are thrilled to collaborate with one of the strongest brands in the world to showcase our Latin delicacies and look forward to a long working relationship."

Walt Disney World guests will be able to savor combinations of freshly prepared Campero Latin chicken, unique, flavorful side dishes such as yuca fries and sweet plantains, and Latin drinks including horchata and tamarindo. The menu also will include nutritious and delicious meals such as chef-prepared salads, sandwiches and wraps using simple recipes derived from only the freshest ingredients.

"We're pleased to offer this new Latin-style restaurant to our guests at Downtown Disney," said Keith Bradford, vice president of Downtown Disney. "Its diversity of offerings and well-balanced options are the perfect addition to our current blend of dining experiences."

"For decades, Walt Disney World has introduced its guests to rich cultural experiences," said Juan Jose Gutierrez, chief executive officer of Pollo Campero. "We will build on the park's rich cultural heritage, helping visitors discover the unique tastes and togetherness of family-style Latin dining."

Pollo Campero's food is freshly prepared each day. Fried and grilled chicken is marinated, sending the distinctive Campero flavor all the way to the bone. Fried chicken is hand-breaded in seasoned flour and slowly pressure-cooked without trans-fats, resulting in a flavorful and juicy meal. Grilled chicken features the taste of lime and orange juices, red bell peppers, and a special blend of Latin herbs and spices. The new fresh concept menu will feature fresh salads, sandwiches, fruits, and healthy snacks, as well as vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, low-sodium or organic offerings.

This new family-oriented location at one of America's beloved destinations - Walt Disney World - exemplifies Pollo Campero's drive to become one of the top 50 quick-service restaurant brands in the United States. Pollo Campero has spent decades building a brand while retaining the values and service of a family-run business. By combining its efforts with Levy Campero, Pollo Campero has opened new doors including the expansion into Walt Disney World Resort.

About Pollo Campero

The world's largest Latin chicken restaurant chain, Pollo Campero offers its customers "Flavor You Can't Campero." The company serves more than 85 million customers each year at more than 300 restaurants in 12 countries around the globe. This includes more than 50 locations already open in the United States, with additional stores slated for this year. For more information, visit www.campero.com.

About Levy Campero

Levy Campero is a subsidiary of Levy Family Partners, LLC, a holding company established by entrepreneur Lawrence F. Levy for his family's investments in real estate partnerships, securities and private businesses. Levy Campero owns the franchise rights to operate Pollo Campero restaurants in Florida and Illinois, and is headquartered in Chicago. The company currently operates five restaurants and is focused on successfully developing and operating Pollo Campero franchised restaurants in its territories.

February 8, 2010

Saints’ Drew Brees ‘Going to Disney World’ To Celebrate Victory, MVP Performance in Super Bowl XLIV


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - So how is New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrating his heroic play in Super Bowl XLIV? In the frenzied moments just after his team claimed the National Football League championship Sunday night in South Florida, he stood in front of a TV camera and shouted five words that have become an almost iconic reaction to milestone achievements: "I'm going to Disney World!"

Brees's pronouncement, part of the production for one of TV's most enduring and celebrated commercials, was captured after the Saints' 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts - a game during which he earned the MVP honor, completing a Super Bowl record-tying 32 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He was 16-for-17 in the second half, twice leading the Saints from behind. It added up to be a catalyst for the Saints' first Super Bowl celebration in team history

On Monday (Feb. 8), Brees was to go to the place where millions of vacationers celebrate their personal milestone moments - Walt Disney World Resort. He was to be joined in the Magic Kingdom by NFL Youth Football players, who will participate with the Saints star in a Super Bowl celebration parade down Main Street, U.S.A.

This latest commercial is the 42nd of a series that began in 1987 following Super Bowl XXI. The first "I'm going to Disney World" commercial, featuring New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, was regarded as a groundbreaking concept - a produced national commercial involving a current event, airing on major networks within hours of its conclusion. Brees joins a lineup of people from sports and beyond who have celebrated milestone accomplishments in "I'm going to Disney World" commercials.

A Look Back at "I'm Going To Disney World!"

First Spot: Super Bowl XXI (Phil Simms, New York Giants)
Number of Spots Since Inception: 42
Chronology of "I'm going to Disney World" Spots:
2010 Super Bowl XLIV (Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints)
2009 Super Bowl XLIII (Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers)
"American Idol" Season 8 (Kris Allen, singer)
2008 Super Bowl XLII (Eli Manning, New York Giants)
"American Idol" Season 7 (David Cook, singer)
2007 Super Bowl XLI (Tony Dungy and Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis Colts)
2006 Super Bowl XL (Hines Ward, with Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers)
2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII (Tom Brady, New England Patriots)
Major League Baseball World Series Champions (Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox)
2003 Super Bowl XXXVII (Jon Gruden and Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
2002 Super Bowl XXXVI (Tom Brady, New England Patriots)
2001 Super Bowl XXXV (Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens)
Major League Baseball home run record (Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants)
2000 Super Bowl XXXIV (Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams)
1999 Super Bowl XXXIII (Terrell Davis and John Elway, Denver Broncos)
Women's World Cup (United States Championship Team)
1998 Super Bowl XXXII (John Elway, Denver Broncos)
Major League Baseball home run record (Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals)
1997 Super Bowl XXXI (Desmond Howard, Green Bay Packers)
Holiday Gift-Giving (Santa Claus)
1996 Super Bowl XXX (Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys)
1995 Super Bowl XXIX (Jerry Rice and Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers)
1994 Super Bowl XXVIII (Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys)
Winter Games XVII (Nancy Kerrigan, U.S. Figure Skater)
1993 Super Bowl XXVII (Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys)
Stanley Cup (Patrick Roy, Montreal Canadiens)
1992 Super Bowl XXVI (Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins)
1991 Super Bowl XXV (Ottis Anderson, N.Y. Giants)
NBA (Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls)
1990 Super Bowl XXIV (Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers)
Graduation (Jim Thompson of Temple University, and
Matt Kaldenberg, Phyllis Kaldenberg and Laura McEwen of Simpson College)
1989 Super Bowl XXIII (Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers)
NHL (Al MacInnis, Calgary Flames)
NBA (Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons)
1988 Super Bowl XXII (Doug Williams, Washington Redskins)
Miss America (Gretchen Carlson)
World Series (Orel Hershiser, L.A. Dodgers)
NBA (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers)
1987 Super Bowl XXI (Phil Simms, N.Y. Giants)
America's Cup (Dennis Conner)
NBA (Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers)
World Series (Frank Viola, Minnesota Twins)

* The Super Bowl has been the catalyst for the most "I'm going to Disney World" spots (23)
* There have been four "I'm going to Disney World" repeaters: Joe Montana (1989 and 1990), Emmitt Smith (1994 and 1996), John Elway (1998 and 1999) and Tom Brady (2002 and 2004).
* "I'm going to Disney World" spots immediately following the Super Bowl have featured non-Super Bowl MVPs nine times: 1989, 1995 (shared), 1996, 1998, 1999 (shared), 2001, 2003 and 2007 and 2009 (shared)

Disney Animal Experts Say Farewell to Flippered and Furry Friends


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 8, 2010 - Breaking up is hard to do - especially before Valentine's Day. But for a team of animal care experts from Disney's Animal Programs, saying goodbye often means a new beginning for the wildlife they've taken under their wing.

During the next few weeks, animal managers, veterinarians and behaviorists will wish farewell to dozens of endangered animals that will return to their native Florida habitat after spending weeks, months or even years with members of the Disney team. The animals range from a tiny, 11-ounce endangered rodent to a recently rehabilitated four-pound sea turtle to an eight-foot, 828-pound manatee. Whether flippers or feet, the common thread is that each one has received top-notch care as a reflection of Disney's commitment to animal conservation and wildlife rehabilitation.

Most recently, the animal care team collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Lowry Park Zoo on the first-ever reintroduction of 14 Key Largo woodrats to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Florida. The woodrats were bred at both Disney's Animal Kingdom and Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa as part of a recovery plan to augment the existing population found only in Key Largo. Scientists estimate that this native species has dwindled to about 500 after years of habitat loss, drought and the invasion of non-native animal species, such as the Burmese python.

"Although small in size, the Key Largo woodrat plays a larger role in the circle of life," according to Anne Savage, senior conservation biologist at Disney's Animal Kingdom. "Through diligent study, we may be able to link these tiny rodents to the distribution of essential sources of food for other animals. That activity could facilitate the growth of fungus, trees and other fauna. That's an important reason to be concerned about saving them."

Prior to their release at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the Key Largo woodrats were placed in individual enclosures with nest structures designed and built by refuge volunteers. Supplemental food was provided for nearly a week while conservation biologists observed the animals in their new environment and felt comfortable removing the animals' protective enclosures. Each animal has been fitted with radio-collared transmitter which will help scientists track their movements once released.

Breeding this elusive species was a challenge since scientists had very little information about social structure, reproductive biology or ecology. Through diligent research, Disney animal experts studied the behavior of this nocturnal animal and found ways to successfully breed 30 of the native species. Since June 2006, 18 litters have been born in Disney's colony with litter size ranging from one to three pups.

Aside from scientific discovery, researchers develop special attachments to many of the Key Largo woodrats. "It feels similar to sending children off to college," said Savage. "As scientists, we hope the woodrats have cultivated the skills to survive on their own and they will be successful in their natural habitat. It's exciting to be part of this conservation effort and see them move on to their next chapter."

Facts on Key Largo Woodrats

· Key Largo woodrats share little in common with the average city rat.
· The rodents make their homes in the forested areas to avoid human interaction.
· Gestation period is estimated between 37-40 days.
· In the wild, males and females live separately and only come together for breeding.

As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Disney Animal Programs supports the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 injured and orphaned wild animals each year. During the past month, hundreds of Disney Cast Members rallied to support the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in their efforts to rehabilitate as many as 4,500 sea turtles impacted by cold temperatures around the state. Because turtles are cold-blooded, frigid waters slow their metabolism which may lead to life-threatening comas.

As part of this rescue effort, Walt Disney World Cast Members logged over 10,000 miles throughout the state carrying more than 500 rescued turtles to warmers waters or rehabilitation facilities. They also delivered much-needed equipment and critical medical supplies including towels, bedspreads, syringes, ointments and pharmaceuticals to areas in need.

To assist efforts in South Florida, Disney sent a team of veterinarians and hospital staff on a proverbial "house call" to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. Working alongside several other surgeons, technicians and volunteers, the Disney veterinarians performed delicate surgeries to remove tumors from the eyes and fins of the green sea turtles in a makeshift, M*A*S*H-like field hospital along the beach. While still recovering from their surgeries, the sea turtles will eventually be released back into the warm waters off South Florida's coast.

At Walt Disney World Resort, engineers and water science experts quickly prepared for an incoming group of animal guests and converted a backstage area into a temporary rehabilitation facility - setting up heated, salt-water pools for 14 critically injured sea turtles that may require months of care. Once rehabilitation is complete, the sea turtles will be released back into the wild in the same area where they were rescued.

"Some of these sea turtles will require intense medical treatment over a prolonged period," according to Mark Stetter, DVM, Director of Animal Health at Disney's Animal Programs. "We want to be sure that we provide top-notch medical care wherever we can -whether it's on a Florida beach, an African savannah or a state-of-the-art veterinary facility. Ultimately, our intent is to contribute to the world's knowledge base of animals through research conducted in a broad spectrum of disciplines, all intended to improve care for animals in zoological habitats and conservation efforts in the wild."

Since 1986, Disney animal care teams have nursed more than 250 endangered sea turtles back to health. Many of the turtles have been rescued from cold northern waters, nursed back to health at Disney and released in Florida.

With one team focused on sea turtles, another group of Disney marine mammal experts are getting ready to return a manatee to its natural habitat in Brevard County later in February. With only 5,000 around the state, manatees are considered an endangered species around Florida.

This particular manatee, named "Kringle" was rescued from the Indian River in 2008 as part of a manatee rehabilitation program managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kringle arrived at The Seas with Nemo & Friends after suffering cold stress and missing his right front pectoral flipper from an earlier, unknown incident. During his 14-month rehabilitation, Kringle received treatment and therapy from marine mammal experts and now weighs more than 800 pounds.

Kringle 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.

"After caring for an animal like Kringle for several months, it's easy to become attached," said Jane Davis, curator at the Seas. "While it's often hard to say farewell, there's also a lot of joy to see an animal return to his natural home."

Disney guests also play an important role in the rehabilitation of wildlife through their contributions to The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, (DWCF). Through its Rapid Response Fund, DWCF recently donated $50,000 to help facilities rescue and care for sea turtles and other animals affected by the cold weather.

February 9, 2010

Superstar Mary J. Blige to Be Keynote Speaker at 2010 Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey

100 Nationwide High School Students Selected to Attend Innovative Learning Environment at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Singer/producer/actress Mary J. Blige, the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul," will be the Keynote Speaker as part of the third annual Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey. The event will be held Feb. 11-14 at Walt Disney World Resort.

In partnership with nationally syndicated radio personality Steve Harvey, Walt Disney World Resort will host 100 high school students from across the nation at this year's academy - giving them unprecedented access to the magic behind Walt Disney World Resort and creating unique, interactive seminars with a wide range of enriching and inspiration topics from "the unseen jobs of entertainment" to "the business of sports" to "the power of networking."

Blige, whose latest album "Stronger withEach Tear" hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts, will speak at the academy's Commencement Ceremony, a graduation of sorts for the students. Past Keynote Speakers include Judge Greg Mathis and BET Founder Bob Johnson.

Other celebrities scheduled to share their blueprints for success at this year's academy include R&B star Cupid; actor Roshon Fagen ("Camp Rock"); CNN correspondent Christopher Lawrence; actor Daniel Curtis Lee ("Disney's Zeke & Luther"); songstress Kimberley Locke; actors Chris ("Zoey 101") and Kyle ("Cory in the House") Massey; actress Tamara Mowry ("Sister, Sister"); producer Will Packer ("Stomp The Yard"); singer Ruben Studdard; gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7; and celebrity trainer Harvey Walden. As in 2009, Sherri Shepherd, actress and co-host of "The View," will return to host the celebrity conversations. Contemporary gospel star Yolanda Adams will speak at the event's opening ceremony.

Special sessions for this year's academy include a unique look inside the newest Disney animated hit "The Princess and the Frog" with Disney animators Bruce Smith and Marlon West. Dwayne Edwards, designer of celebrity shoes for Nike, will share his vision for non-traditional careers in sports. Students with culinary aspirations will get a hands-on tutorial from celebrity chef Jeff Henderson in the Walt Disney World kitchens, and the aspiring gamers of the group will learn practical tips for video game design from digital media expert Jacqueline Beauchamp.

As part of their experience, Disney cast members and executives, along with executives from sponsors Eastman Kodak Company and Jostens, will provide insight and impart real-world experience from corporate America. They will offer an honest, straightforward look at what it takes to get a job in the New Millennium including the importance of technology; the ever-shrinking global workplace and how the combination of hard work and belief in your dreams can accomplish almost any goal. And, of course, the students will get free time to explore Disney's world-class theme parks and attractions.

"We are very excited and truly honored to have Mary J. Blige as our Keynote Speaker and all of our celebrity participants," said Tracey Walters, executive champion for Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey. "This year, Walt Disney World is celebrating the volunteer spirit of families throughout the country; and their words will hopefully inspire our students to think about their dreams as conduits not only to help themselves achieve, but to help others as well."

The Search for 2010's Dreamers

In conjunction with "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," Walt Disney World Resort conducted the Dreamer's Contest to identify the participants, grades 9-12, in Disney's Dreamers Academy. This program was created for high school students who show promise - but may need additional motivational support to excel. However, all of the selected students share a trait: the power to DREAM. Parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves nominated thousands of aspiring dreamers from across the nation for the program.

"Each year we strive to find young people who may have a will or passion, but may not have the courage to explore their dreams," said Harvey. "So we hope to unlock the power that will allow them to pursue their heart's desires. Walt Disney World and I both are excited to be a part of these young dreamers experience that will encourage them to bring their dreams to life."

Participants in this year's Disney's Dreamers Academy class were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including: Harvey; Rushion McDonald (executive producer of "The Steve Harvey Morning Show"); Jasmine Guy (actress, singer and dancer); Sherry Paramore (executive director, UNCF); Rilous Carter (vice president, Disney's Hollywood Studios); Tracey Walters (director, Theme Parks & Resorts Pricing / executive spokesperson); Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe (actress/former model); Eduardo Correia (director, Multicultural Marketing, Eastman Kodak Company); Cassi Davis (actress, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"); Carla Willis (vice president, Community Relations, Florida A&M University); Will Packer (film producer, co-founder and chairman of Rainforest Films); Stephen A. Smith (sports writer & media personality); Tracy Brown (editor, features/family/education at Atlanta Journal Constitution).

Disney's Dreamers Academy and Kodak

Disney's Dreamers Academy events are also made possible by the generosity of Kodak. Kodak sponsors the career workshops "Each One, Teach One!" and provides each participant with a Kodak EasyShare digital camera. As the world's foremost imaging innovator, Kodak helps consumers, businesses and creative professionals unleash the power of pictures and printing to enrich their lives. To learn more, visit http://www.kodak.com and follow our blogs and more at http://www.kodak.com/go/followus. Known for helping people worldwide capture Kodak moments, the company's current messaging reminds consumers that "real Kodak Moments happen when you share." More than 75 million people worldwide manage, share and create photo gifts online at KODAK Gallery - join today at www.kodakgallery.com.

Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey was launched in 2007. For more information visit http://steveharvey.com/disneysdreamersacademy/.

February 10, 2010

Star Wars Weekends Artwork


From StarWars.com:

This summer, Walt Disney World® continues the tradition of offering new Disney/Star Wars-themed logo art for its Star Wars Weekends event, with Jedi Mickey fending off laser blasts from the galaxy's best bounty hunter, Boba Fett!

2010 celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, the film which originally debuted Boba Fett, and for those fans with a slant for the old-school Star Wars aesthetic, you can't miss that nod to the classic double-bar wrap-around logo!

Look for this event logo artwork on merchandise offered at Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida starting in May, and don't miss the four Star Wars Weekends happening this summer:

* May 21 - 23
* May 28 - 30
* June 4 - 6
* June 11 - 13

February 11, 2010

Main Street Electrical Parade Lights the Night Again as Walt Disney World Resort Launches ‘Summer Nightastic!’

New Terror for Tower, too

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2010) - The "Main Street Electrical Parade" lights up the streets of Magic Kingdom and headlines a season of after-dark excitement coming to Walt Disney World Resort.

"After the sun goes down, our Walt Disney World parks will light up the night with 'Summer Nightastic!', " announced Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort, at a media event Wednesday.

Disney magic will shine and shimmer in a whole new light. Here's a look around:

* With floats and characters appearing for the first time at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" returns with its joyous sights and sounds. Direct from Disneyland and marking its first engagement in Florida since 2001, the cherished parade will be led by Tinker Bell waving from the basket of a magical balloon aboard a new float. Pinocchio and Snow White join the parade this summer, aboard bright new floats. Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" is set for its summer-long nighttime premiere in early June at Magic Kingdom.



* The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror welcomes "drop-ins" this summer with even more pulse-racing surprises. New lighting effects and the addition of a new drop sequence, created especially for "Summer Nightastic!", will bring unexpected frights to guests who step into that infamous service elevator. If they dare.

* What could be more summery than fireworks on a star-studded night? Magic Kingdom will treat guests to a special summer fireworks spectacular. The night sky will explode in vivid colors and brilliant visual effects as whimsical music fills the air.

* Other fun! The return of the Sounds Like Summer concert series to Epcot and extended evening hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom several times a week add up to summer fun as only Disney can do - at all four Walt Disney World theme parks.

World-Record Sculpture of Canned Goods

As part of the event celebrating family volunteers and to dramatize the spirit of giving, Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday unveiled a mammoth structure of canned goods - food that will be donated to food banks in Orlando, Miami and Atlanta.

The canned food sculpture - titled "Celebrate Volunteers" - was revealed for media and guests at Epcot. Disney VoluntEARS shaped the sculpture with a larger-than-life Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto - all sculpted out of cans. Goofy's trademark hat consisted of cans of bread crumbs, for instance. Mickey's famous head was shaped from cans of black olives, and cans of sliced pineapple made up Pluto's eyes.

The cans represent approximately 70,000 meals, according to Dave Krepcho, president/CEO of Second Harvest of Central Florida. "Each can makes a difference in someone's life who cannot afford this food," he said. "Much of this food goes to children in need, working moms trying to provide, senior citizens coping on fixed incomes and people whose disabilities keep them from working."

The spectacular, character-themed structure - consisting officially of 115,527 cans - was also a world record, according to Guinness World Records, the internationally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement. Guinness World Records Thursday authenticated the achievement as the Largest Canned Food Structure ever created, easily eclipsing the previous record of 54,527 cans set in June 2009 in New Zealand.

February 12, 2010

‘Give a Day, Get a Disney Day’ Program Reaches 600,000 Volunteer Sign-Ups – and Counting!


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2010) -Against the backdrop of a world-record sculpture of canned goods destined for food banks, Disney Parks officials on Thursday announced a major milestone with the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program, a first-of-its-kind effort to help inspire 1 million people to perform volunteer service.

Since the program's launch only six weeks ago, more than 600,000 people in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada have volunteered or signed up for volunteer projects in their communities, announced Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

"With the launch of our 'Give a Day, Get a Disney Day' program, we hoped to spark something truly special," Staggs said. "But even we have been overwhelmed with the response."

To recognize their good deeds, in 2010 Disney Parks is celebrating those who volunteer through the program by giving them a free one-day admission to either a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Volunteers can start the search and sign-up process by going to www.disneyparks.com.

HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute and the largest volunteer network in the nation, is supporting the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program by connecting volunteers with projects.

According to Michelle Nunn, co-founder of HandsOn Network and CEO of Points of Light Institute, 10,000 community organizations, through the Disney Parks program, are getting the volunteers they need to meet important community challenges.

"The level of volunteerism we have seen in the first weeks of 2010 is tracking to new highs," she said. "Our dream at HandsOn Network is for everyone to recognize their power to make a difference. Disney is helping us make that dream a reality, a million times over."

Since the launch of the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program on Jan. 1, 2010, volunteers have trekked through wetlands near Long Beach, Calif., and through mountain preserves in Phoenix, Ariz., clearing away non-native vegetation. A continent away, volunteers have whisked away trash on Atlantic Coast beaches in Brevard County and Dade County, Fla. In Port Huron, Mich., "soccer families" have picked up paint brushes to help spruce up a community center. In Atlanta, Ga., volunteers have assisted hospitalized children as they create arts and crafts projects. And with the forecast for a cold night ahead, the homeless in Central Florida were handed blankets by caring volunteers.

In addition to celebrating the "Give A Day, Get a Disney Day" program, Disney Parks welcomed to Walt Disney World Resort Thursday other outstanding volunteer families from the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada who gave back to their communities in special ways, as part of Disney's celebration of family volunteerism in 2010.

"Today we are here to celebrate you," Staggs told the families. "With each of your efforts, you make a difference."

Volunteering: A Snapshot

Organizations have seen a dramatic increase in volunteer efforts during the past few years. People of all ages have made a conscious effort to get out and do more, especially intheir local area.

* Since 2007, the number of people working to fix a community problem has risen 31 percent - a substantial amount - further benefitting local communities especially during the current economy, according to Volunteering in America 2009.

Spending time together is usually always a priority for families - and many parents are using this time to set an example for their children.

* More parents than single adults (68 percent vs. 55 percent) plan to volunteer in some way in 2010, according to a survey conducted by New York-based Kelton Research in November 2009.
* Approximately five out of six (84 percent) moms surveyed would like their children involved in youth volunteer activities, according to the 2008 Quaker Youth Volunteerism Report.
* In fact, Just Kid. Inc. reports 37 percent of kids, 44 percent of tweens and 46 percent of teens would volunteer more if given the opportunity.
* Young adults (ages 16-24) are helping lead the way in volunteerism - with more than 441,000 young volunteers in 2008 versus 2007, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Youth today believe it is essential and "very important" to help others in need, the report also found.

Nonprofits were especially helped by those who contributed their efforts in 2008, and planned to increase their reliance on volunteers in 2009. Additionally, local communities are reaping the ongoing benefits of these added helping hands.

* Between September 2008 and March 2009, more than a third (37 percent) of nonprofit organizations planned to increase the number of volunteers they used, and almost half (48 percent) expected an increase in 2009, according to a national survey of nonprofit organizations.
* Parents also are noticing the benefits of volunteering at home. Family volunteerism is a hands-on way to teach children the values of kindness, compassion, tolerance, community responsibility and good citizenship. Additionally, family volunteerism helps mobilize thousands of new volunteers and instills the next generation with a lifelong commitment to volunteering.
* Moms have identified respect (88 percent), teamwork (87 percent) and compassion (85 percent) as the positive traits that a young volunteer develops when helping others, according to the 2008 Quaker Youth Volunteerism Report.

Volunteerism has seen a surge of interest in recent years - in fact, almost 60 percent of all Americans would rather resolve to give back by volunteering in 2010, according to the New York-based Kelton Research survey from November 2009.

* More women than men (62 percent vs. 54 percent) include volunteering as a 2010 goal.
* When asked what Americans anticipate they could accomplish in 2010, 30 percent selected volunteering as a foreseeable goal.

HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute, is an international nonprofit organization whose core mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.

* The organization has more than 250 Action Centers (local affiliates) serving 83 percent of the American population and 12 international communities.
* HandsOn reported a 43 percent increase in volunteers registering in 2009 and a 58 percent increase in people signing up for new volunteer opportunities.
* The first six months of 2009 saw a 29 percent increase in the unique opportunities available for volunteers, compared to the same period in 2008.
* Collectively, it is estimated that 30.4 million total service hours were completed by volunteers engaged by HandsOn Network in 2008, according to findings from the 2008 Annual Affiliate Report.

Through HandsOn Network affiliates, those looking to donate their time have a variety of unique volunteer service opportunities to choose from - whether it's disaster relief and environmental causes to seniors, children/youth and community enrichment programs. Below are examples of opportunities available through the HandsOn Network affiliates located throughout the country:

* Help package donations at a food pantry
* Plant, weed and tend a community garden
* Participate in a local community clothing or toy drive
* Visit nursing homes to play games, make crafts or share talents with senior residents
* Read books to children at a local daycare center
* Assemble backpacks with school supplies for under-resourced schools

Volunteerism has been a part of the Disney culture for more than a quarter century, encouraging cast members to dedicate their time through Disney Parks' VoluntEARS program.

* Launched in 1983, Disney VoluntEARS have donated 5.5 million+ hours of service.



(L-R): Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Michelle Nunn, co-founder of HandsOn Network and CEO of the Points of Light Institute; and Ty Pennington, host of the ABC-TV series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," pose at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Feb. 11, 2010 with Mickey Mouse and Goofy in front of a sculpture made up of 115,527 canned goods. The canned food structure, featuring Disney characters and a "Celebrate Volunteers" message, was unveiled during a special event for Disney Parks new "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" volunteer initiative. The canned goods in the sculpture represent more than 70,000 meals and will be donated to food banks in Orlando, Fla., Miami and Atlanta. The sculpture was authenticated by Guinness World Records as a new world record for canned food structures. To recognize their good deeds, in 2010 Disney Parks is celebrating those who volunteer through the program by giving them a free one-day admission to either a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Volunteers can start the search and sign-up process by going to www.disneyparks.com. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

February 15, 2010

New Addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family: Baby White-Cheeked Gibbon

White Cheek Gibbon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 15, 2010 -- Guests visiting the Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom are getting a glimpse of the latest addition to the park's family - an endangered white-cheeked gibbon born Feb. 2.

The yet-to-be named male and his mother, Melaka, are bonding well according to the animal experts who oversee the daily care of primates. Guests may see them and the baby's two sisters, Suki and Tuyen, in their habitat near Kali River Rapids.

This most recent birth is the fourth gibbon born at Disney's Animal Kingdom as part of 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.

White-cheeked gibbons typically produce a single offspring every two to three years after seven to eight months gestation. Following birth, infants are able to cling to their mothers, allowing the females complete range of motion as they move about the forest with their offspring.

The species is also distinguished by the changing characteristics of their fur which differs by gender and age. While nursing, babies typically maintain a light-brown or golden-colored fur that easily blends with their mother's coat. Once weaned around the age of one, babies' fur transitions to black. While the males maintain black fur for their entire lives, female gibbons will change back to golden fur between the ages of six and eight.

As social animals, gibbons are strongly territorial and defend their boundaries with vigorous visual and vocal displays. During early morning singing, female and male gibbons emit loud vocalizations that result in complex duets between mated pairs. Solo performances may also signal invitations to mate or advertise territory.

White-cheeked gibbon Fun Facts:

The average life span of the white-cheeked gibbon ranges from 25 - 30 years, but some have been known to live up to 40 years

Both males and females measure between one-and-a-half to two-feet tall

An adult gibbon may weigh up to 18 pounds

They are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals

White-cheeked gibbons are found in Laos, Vietnam and southern China in evergreen tropical rainforests and monsoon forests

Gibbons spend their whole lives in the tops of rainforest trees. You can help their rainforest homes by purchasing shade-grown coffee, which grows in the shade of the rainforest trees

February 23, 2010

Harlem Globetrotters Join Forces with ESPN & Disney Sports

Special Globetrotter Performance on ESPN2 This Friday Night
Will Showcase Re-Launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three of the biggest names in sports and entertainment will come together this week when the Harlem Globetrotters join forces with ESPN and Disney Sports as part of the official re-launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

"The Globetrotters are proud to be global ambassadors of both sports and family entertainment, and partnering with the undisputed worldwide leaders-Disney Sports and ESPN-in both those categories is a tremendous honor that we take great pride in."

As part of the gala "re-opening" night festivities, the Globetrotters will take on the Washington Generals at the complex, with an all-star Globetrotter roster, including Special K Daley, Scooter Christensen, Big Easy Lofton and Flight Time Lang being joined by a bevy of sports celebrities, ESPN personalities and Disney characters. The game will be taped before a live audience on Thursday and televised nationally on Friday, February 26, at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The special performance will include ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic from Mike & Mike in the Morning, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary on the air, serving as honorary coaches. In addition, ESPN's Emerging Technology Group will use the game as a first test run for the network's much-anticipated ESPN 3D network, scheduled to launch later this year in conjunction with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In addition to the opening night event, the Globetrotters will also once again take part in several events throughout the popular annual "ESPN The Weekend" (Feb. 25-28) at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park and the newly re-imagined sports complex.

"We're thrilled to bring the Globetrotters' magic to this landmark event," said Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. "The Globetrotters are proud to be global ambassadors of both sports and family entertainment, and partnering with the undisputed worldwide leaders-Disney Sports and ESPN-in both those categories is a tremendous honor that we take great pride in."

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 300 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, accommodating 60 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries.

Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, Spalding, Howard Johnson and America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, the Original Harlem Globetrotters are in their 84th consecutive season of touring the world. The Globetrotters are one of only six teams to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

‘Captain EO’ Returns to Disneyland Park, Classic Attraction Featuring Michael Jackson Now Open


ANAHEIM, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2010) - "Captain EO," the classic musical spectacular that thrilled Disneyland park guests from 1986-1997, is now open at Disneyland. The attraction's return to Tomorrowland provides new audiences the opportunity to experience the original 3D production for the very first time, as well as a nostalgic look back for longtime fans wanting to see "The King of Pop" in a rare performance created for the big-screen.

Twenty-three years ago, at the height of his phenomenal entertainment career, Michael Jackson joined forces with Disney, producer George Lucas and director Francis Ford Coppola to create a groundbreaking 17-minute 3D film experience starring Jackson as Captain EO performing two original songs, and featuring Academy Award®-winning actress Anjelica Huston, and a cast of merry, mythical space characters with dual personalities who undergo magical transformations to become Jackson's electronic band in conquering the forces of darkness.


The colorful Disney-created characters include: Hooter, the little green elephant-like creature who sneezes wild musical notes through his flute-like trunk; Fuzzball, the orange-haired space monkey with butterfly wings; the Geex, a golden-haired, two-faced personality with two left feet, one right foot and two shaggy heads named Idy and Ody; Major Domo, whose mirrored silver costume becomes a complete set of drums, and Minor Domo with his sparkling purple torso that turns into an electronic synthesizer played by Hooter.

For all its technology, "Captain EO" is first and foremost a musical spectacular and a thrilling space-fantasy adventure. The realism of the 3D process will once again make it seem that Jackson dances right out of the screen into the theater. While it's not possible to replicate some of the special effects elements from the original presentation, it will boast a new 70mm print of the film and sound better than ever thanks to acoustical enhancements made to the theater since the film last played there. The total effect is one of motion, color and high energy filled with Jackson's musical brilliance and various illusions to create an exciting and realistic journey in space for the audience.


During the journey, Captain EO and his merry crew discover a colorless planet where they are confronted by the Supreme Leader (Huston) and her forces of darkness. Using the power of music, dance and light to fill the planet and the theater with all the shades of the rainbow, the EO crew turns the black and white land into a magical world of color and happiness.


"Captain EO" makes use of more famous-name talents than any other film of its length ever produced. The production called on Hollywood's finest choreographers, set designers, costume creators and special effects artists - all of them excited by the challenge of shooting this kind of imaginative film in three dimensions.

"Captain EO" is presented multiple times daily at Disneyland.

February 24, 2010

D23 Anniversary Party at Disneyland!

D23's one-year anniversary party at Disneyland is coming up on March 10!

A very limited number of tickets are still available at www.disney.com/D23 for this incredible evening. The party will take place in Fantasyland after Disneyland's normal operating hours - and all Fantasyland rides will be open. (Yes, this means no huge waits to enjoy Dumbo and Peter Pan's Flight, among others!)

There will also be some very special Disney guests on hand. In addition to D23 Members, of course, the party will play host to a number of VIPs who have contributed to Disney's legacy, including:

* Imagineers Bob Gurr and Tony Baxter
* Actor Kevin Corcoran, from "Old Yeller," "The Shaggy Dog" and "Swiss Family Robinson" (among others)
* Bill Farmer, Disney Legend and the voice of Goofy
* Margaret Kerry, the live-action model for Tinker Bell
* Dave Smith, Disney Legend and chief of the Walt Disney Archives
* "LOST" actor Dan Roebuck, who portrays Dr. Leslie Arzt on the hit TV series
* Actor David Stollery - best known as Marty in "The Adventures of Spin and Marty"
* Denny Newell, senior show director for Disneyland

The D23 Anniversary Party will also feature some really exciting surprises ... and while many will be under wraps until the party, here are a few:

-- There will be the chance to see the electric car that Walt Disney used to transport VIPs throughout Disneyland
-- appearances by some rarely seen Disney characters

--dessert and beverage stations throughout Fantasyland.

It's going to be a very special event!

February 25, 2010

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Expands Diversity of Events in 2010… and Beyond

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2010) - Already distinguished for its unparalleled diversity of sport, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has added an even wider variety of events in 2010 and beyond, highlighted by the debut of its first-ever Major League Gaming Pro Circuit tournament and the expansion of events that are part of the ESPN RISE Games. New and expanded events range from traditional sports (baseball, softball and soccer) to up-and-coming sports (lacrosse and rugby) to non-traditional sports (Major League Gaming and VEX Robotics).
The ESPN RISE Games in July is expected to expand considerably, with more than triple the number of athletes from last year. In its second year, the event includes seven sports, with new events involving AAU basketball, U.S. Lacrosse and USSSA softball.

This year, the complex will serve as a 2010 tournament stop on the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit, bringing together the nation's top professional and amateur video gamers for a three-day competition at the complex. In all, the tournament plans to attract more than 250 teams, comprised of nearly 2,500 gamers, with competitors facing off in a variety of popular games. Major League Gaming is the largest professional video game league in the world, targeting the approximately 40 million North American consumers who have a passion for playing video games as a competitive social activity.

The famed Harlem Globetrotters return to the facility for a special performance on Feb. 25 as part of the official re-launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The clown princes of basketball play the Washington Generals in a special performance featuring sports celebrities, ESPN personalities and Disney characters, in a game that airs on ESPN2 on Feb. 26. The Globetrotters have entertained fans around the world for more than 84 seasons and have won more than 23,000 games.

Capitalizing on the excitement of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Walt Disney World Resort will host viewing parties across the resort, including at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, for guests looking to follow the action of their favorite countries while on vacation.

TRADITIONAL:Varsity Brands has extended its relationship with Walt Disney World Resort through 2014 and will look to add to its list of national cheerleading championships and events that currently includes the College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the National High School Cheerleading Championship, the National All Star Cheerleading Championship, the National Dance Team Championships and the Cheerleading and Dance Worlds Championship. These championships are broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2 to more than 90 million homes each year. More than 40,000 cheerleaders and 80,000 fans attend these events annually.

Those events join several other recently announced events such as the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, Oct. 1-2, which culminates with a 13.1-mile nighttime race and after-hours party inside the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. And the inaugural Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic (Feb. 25 and 27), a four-team exhibition event featuring two-time MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo, the New York Red Bulls, who reached 2008 MLS Cup Final, FC Dallas and Toronto FC.

USSSA, a longstanding partner of the complex, has expanded its event offerings to include a new 64-team elite baseball national championship, and two additional girls fast pitch softball national championships. Additionally, the USSSA Pride, a pro women's softball team, will be playing two four-game homestands at the complex in the summer of 2010.

Another new event is the Rawlings Gold Glove baseball tournament, an invitational tournament with players (ages 10-18) from around the country, scheduled for fall 2010.

Pop Warner Little Scholars, the parent organization of the Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheerleader Championships, has expanded its event lineup to include Pop Warner-branded flag football tournaments.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will be hosting the NIKE Football Combines, providing SPARQ testing to thousands of high school athletes wanting to measure and track their athletic capabilities.

UP-AND-COMING:The national governing bodies (NGB) for USA wrestling, judo, gymnastics, fencing and lacrosse have extended their relationships with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and will host several new and expanded events between 2010 and 2013.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) has extended its involvement through 2014, with the complex hosting the 2011 MAAC Men's Soccer Championships, the 2012 MAAC Cross Country Championships, the 2013 MAAC Women's Soccer Championships and the 2014 MAAC Volleyball Championships. The MAAC has hosted conference championships at Walt Disney World Resort since 1998.

In September, the complex will host the Touch Rugby USA Nationals, an international rugby tournament with limited physical contact. The event features some of the best adult touch rugby athletes from around the world.

Disney's Soccer Showcase, which features the top youth soccer players in the nation, will add a fourth college showcase tournament to its popular lineup of events in the summer of 2010.
AAU is expanding its national championship events at the complex with the addition of three more girls' basketball championships and showcase tournaments, and the addition of a boys and girls national cross country championship in December.

The high school and college spring training program, presented by Champion, at the sports complex, which involves baseball, softball, lacrosse and track & field teams from around the country training at the sports complex, will expand to include golf this year.
A volleyball summer camp in June, hosted by Kaylee Scholarship Association, will become the first-ever high school team camp offering.

In November, the VEX Robotics competition returns for the annual VEX Robotics All-Star Challenge Tournament. The Vex Robotics Competition, the largest secondary school robotics program in the world with more than 2,500 teams in 20 countries, features middle school and high school teams competing against each other with their student-built robots in a game that tests their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.

The Iron Kids Triathlon has been added to the Iron Man 70.3 Florida Triathlon Weekend, held at Walt Disney World Resort. Similar to the Iron Man event, the Iron Kids Triathlon involves swimming, biking and running.

About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 300 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, accommodating 60 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 220-acre facility features: The Fieldhouse, a 165,000-square-foot fieldhouse which seats 5,500 for basketball; Champion Stadium ballpark (cap. 11,500); Hess Sports Fields, which include multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields; Jostens Center, an 80,000-square-foot multi-sport fieldhouse; and Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology group to develop ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras (42 robotic, 10 handheld and four studio) and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, that can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art Production Center that features eight edit bays and links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.wdwnews.com for releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports.

New and Expanded Events for 2010 and Beyond

Major League Gaming
Harlem Globetrotters
Major League Soccer
FIFA World Cup Viewing
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
Rawlings Gold Glove Baseball Tournament
Pop Warner Flag Football
Varsity Brands
AAU Girls Basketball Championships and Showcase
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships
USSSA Baseball and Softball
VEX Robotics
Touch Rugby USA Nationals
Kaylee Scholarship Association Volleyball Summer Camp
Iron Kids Triathlon
New Events Tied to National Governing Bodies for Wrestling, Judo, Gymnastics, Fencing and Lacrosse
Disney Soccer Showcase
Disney High School Spring Training Program

New Sponsorships to Enhance Sports Experience At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2010) - A dynamic lineup of new sponsors have joined on with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, while many existing sponsors have expanded their relationships, further creating one-of-a-kind sports experiences that athletes, coaches and fans won't find anywhere else.

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. and Rawlings Sporting Goods signed new multi-year deals with the sports complex involving new events and a new interactive video-gaming facility. In addition, several existing sponsors, such as Jostens, Champion, CIGNA and Clif Bar, extended and expanded their relationships with the complex, which was recently re-themed with the signature elements of ESPN with the aim to take the youth sports experience to the next level.

Champion, title sponsor of the ballpark at the complex, is opening the Custom Tee Center by Champion, giving athletes, coaches and fans the opportunity to customize their sports event T-shirts with more than 50 different designs. The center is located inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill with additional mobile locations throughout the 220-acre sports complex. Additionally, Champion is the performance apparel outfitter for the complex and recently designed the new cast member (employee) uniforms. Champion also sponsors several events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including Disney's Core Spring Training.

Jostens, maker of school yearbooks, class and championship rings and graduation products, along with Super Bowl rings and the Heisman Trophy, has been selected as the official designer for all medals and trophies by the sports complex. Jostens, a sponsor of Disney Youth Group Programs, is the title sponsor of the Jostens Center, a 45,000-square-foot multi-sport fieldhouse.

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. is the title sponsor of PlayStation Pavilion, a new video-gaming experience located adjacent to ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill. PlayStation Pavilion is designed to entertain guests between competitions and host gaming tournaments. The game pavilion will include 17 PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system stations and features a SingStar stage as well as a collection of sports-themed video games and other new releases. The consoles feature built-in Blu-ray disc players, hard drives, Wi-Fi and access to PlayStation Network for all guests.

Rawlings Sporting Goods and Worth Sports are the official Disney baseball and softball providers at the complex, supplying equipment, including balls and gloves, to the tens of thousands of athletes competing at the complex. In addition, Rawlings is title-sponsoring three events, including a new Rawlings Gold Glove tournament, a Rawlings' Salute to Baseball Festival and the Worth Showcase Softball Tournament, along with being presenting sponsor of all other Disney-created baseball and softball events. Rawlings will also create special products for athletes competing at the complex and open an on-site retail location.

CIGNA, presenting sponsor of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, is extending its relationship with the Walt Disney World Marathon through 2013. Earlier this year, the weekend-long event attracted more than 55,000 runners, the highest number of any marathon weekend in the United States this year.

Clif Bar has expanded its multi-year deal to include additional races as the official energy bar and gel of Disney's Endurance Series, and provider of the official pace team for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Clif Bar also provides training tips and product samples to the more than 100,000 registered runners in Disney's Endurance Series events.

About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 300 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, accommodating 60 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 220-acre facility features: The Fieldhouse, a 165,000-square-foot fieldhouse which seats 5,500 for basketball; Champion Stadium ballpark (cap. 11,500); Hess Sports Fields, which include multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields; Jostens Center, an 80,000-square-foot multi-sport fieldhouse; and Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology group to develop ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras (42 robotic, 10 handheld and four studio) and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, that can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through a state-of-the-art Production Center that features eight edit bays and links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.wdwnews.com for releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports.

February 27, 2010

Shawn Johnson - Olympic champion and "Dancing with the Stars" winner with Minnie Mouse

Olympic Gold Medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson poses Feb. 27, 2010 with Minnie Mouse at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Johnson, a past champion on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars" series, was at Walt Disney World appearing at "ESPN The Weekend," a sports fan festival held annually at the theme park. She also was a special celebrity guest for the grand "re-launch" of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.


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About February 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in February 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

March 2010 is the next archive.

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