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July 2010 Archives

July 2, 2010

DISNEY VACATION CLUB LAUNCHES SALES FOR AULANI, FIRST RESORT IN HAWAI`I

CELEBRATION, Fla. (July 1, 2010) - Disney Vacation Club began selling real estate interests for the company's first family-friendly destination resort in Hawai`i today. Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai`i, is scheduled to open its first phase in fall 2011 and will mark the eleventh resort for Disney Vacation Club.

"We are thrilled to give families joining Disney Vacation Club a new resort option in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world," said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. "Once Aulani opens, families will be able to immerse themselves in the culture of Hawai`i while knowing that they will get the quality vacation experience only Disney can deliver."

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai`i, is planned to include 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas and 360 traditional hotel rooms upon its completion. Other family friendly resort amenities are scheduled to include an 18,000 sq. ft. spa, two restaurants, a wedding lawn, a kids' club, a conference center and a pool area complete with a feature pool, wading pool, tube slides, sunset-facing hot tubs and a snorkel lagoon.

Built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, Aulani is located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development, near the existing Ko Olina Marina and a Ted Robinson-designed, 18-hole Championship Golf course. Located on the western side of O`ahu, the resort will also offer easy access to other points of interest on the island, such as the North Shore area and Pearl Harbor.

Disney Vacation Club offers families unparalleled flexibility and is designed to accommodate changing vacation needs, as families are able to determine where to go, when to visit, how long to stay and what size of accommodations best suits their needs on each trip.

To begin, Disney Vacation Club members are able to choose from among a variety of exciting vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club resort, a trip on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships, a guided vacation with Adventures by Disney or a jaunt to one of more than 500 other destinations around the world. Plus, members staying at Disney Vacation Club resorts truly get "more room in the room," as they can choose from four sizes of accommodations that sleep from four people up to 12 and range from 350 sq. ft. to more than 2,000 sq. ft. Additionally, vacations at a Disney Vacation Club resort can last any length of time, from one night to several weeks.

"Families can experience diverse destinations around the world with their Disney Vacation Club membership," Lewis said. "Plus, Disney Vacation Club can be enjoyed by generations of family members, allowing families to continue to experience the magic of memorable Disney vacations year after year."

Disney Vacation Club revolutionized the timeshare industry in October 1991 when it introduced a flexible, vacation points-based model. Today, more than 450,000 individual members from approximately 100 countries and all 50 states have discovered the joys of membership with Disney Vacation Club.

To learn more about Disney Vacation Club and Aulani, call 800-500-3990 or visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.

‘World of Color’ Goes Online and On Tour

Iconic Locations in California Cities Will be Transformed Using Digital
Projections and Favorite Disney and Disney-Pixar Stories

Viewers Invited to Watch and Participate Online

Anaheim, Calif. (July 1 , 2010) - Viewers around the world will join a one-of-a-kind, online phenomenon in July to experience the extraordinary magic of "World of Color," the new after-dark spectacular presented nightly in Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim. The interactive tour will feature live shows in four California cities, and the online audience will travel "virtually" to each location to watch the shows and interact with the webcast.

In each city, specially produced animation will be projected onto a familiar city landmark, using a sensational mixture of special effects, high-tech projections and one of the storytelling themes presented in "World of Color."

The public is invited to participate online only at the "World of Color" Road Show website (www.worldofcolorroadshow.com), where viewers will enjoy a rich experience that includes Disney animation and music, video entertainment and a "viewer's choice" opportunity to vote for the starring color in that evening's show. Each city will have a broadcast location designed for media only.

This "online spectacular" is inspired by the dazzling "World of Color" show, which combines music, animation, water and a multitude of special effects in a magical celebration of Disney characters and storytelling. A new venture for the Disneyland Resort, the tour will utilize streaming online video to bring its own special magic to the World Wide Web and to iconic locations in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. Each locale will deliver a different, amazing show.

ONLINE EXPERIENCE: Viewers will be able to access the webcast performances live and on encore nights at the website, in English at www.WorldofColorRoadShow.com and in Spanish at www.coloresdisney.com. The site also features an artistic video mashup, interviews with the creators of "World of Color" and the voting option. Video clips from each iconic location will be added to the show on ensuing nights, inspiring viewers to follow the virtual tour throughout California.

CAST YOUR VOTE: Just as fairies cast their spells, online viewers will cast their votes each night for one of three colors representing each of the Three Good Fairies from "Sleeping Beauty" - Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. The color with the most votes will be featured in the show's opening moment, complete with a trail of pixie dust. In true Disney style, the winning fairy will fly from computer screens to the landmark location and she will conjure the magical transformation of the landmark using the chosen color - red, green or blue. With this bit of magic, online audience members are able to lend their own spark of inspiration to the show.

SHOW THEMES: A different theme will come alive in each of the four cities, with each show reflecting a theme from the "World of Color" production at Disney California Adventure. To experience the show in each city, people will have to visit the website. There will be no accommodations on site in each city.

SAN FRANCISCO: In San Francisco, the unique animation will be projected onto the façade of a landmark that will be revealed online on Opening Night. The presentation is dedicated to the theme of "Love," featuring romantic couples from Disney and Disney-Pixar animated films. The live show, presented Wednesday and Thursday, July 7 and 8, will repeat continuously from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Pacific time and will be shot from several different angles for the ongoing, live webcast. Encore webcasts (not live) of the San Francisco show will appear online from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 9 through 11.

SACRAMENTO: With forest and garden scenes from such films as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pocahontas," "Bambi" and "Alice in Wonderland," the online experience in Sacramento will be built around the theme of "Nature." Presented Thursday through Sunday, July 15-18, in historic Old Sacramento, it will be webcast live from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. each evening.

SAN DIEGO: The next stop will be San Diego where, appropriately enough, "Water" will be the theme of the interactive experience, featuring scenes from "The Little Mermaid," "Finding Nemo" and others projected onto the U.S.S. Midway Museum at Navy Pier. The San Diego webcasts will be live from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, July 22-25.

LOS ANGELES: The final shows of the online tour will be projected onto the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles Thursday and Friday, July 29 and 30. The theme will be "Sky," illustrated by scenes from such films as "Aladdin" and "Fantasia." As before, the live online presentation will be repeated continuously from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Encore performances (not live) will be webcast from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and August 1.

 

Editor's Note: This is intended to be an online event only and NO accommodations are being made for the public to view it live at any of the locations. Experience it online - enjoy the rich content and explore the interactive components!

July 6, 2010

Essence Communications Joins with Disney Parks, Steve Harvey to Help Take Disney’s Dreamers Academy to the ‘Next Level’

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NEW ORLEANS (July 2, 2010) - Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey, a program created by Disney Parks to provide career-exploration and mentoring to high school teens, has gained another "voice" - another big, national voice: Through an agreement announced today with Essence Communications Inc., the annual event is being relaunched as Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.

The program, which brings together 100 high school students from across the country for several days of interactive workshops and seminars, mentoring and inspiration focusing on careers and life enrichment (all sprinkled with Disney fun), will be convening its fourth class at Walt Disney World Resort in early 2011.

"Essence is closely aligned with Disney and Steve Harvey in supporting the mission of Disney's Dreamers Academy and its commitment to positively impacting our youth," said Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine. "Disney's Dreamers Academy is helping teens take steps in the right direction, and we want to be right there with the students, both encouraging them and sharing their stories."

Tracey Walters-Powell, executive champion of the program for Disney Parks & Resorts, added, "Disney's Dreamers Academy is a perfect platform to further the goal, shared by Disney Parks, Essence Communications and - it goes without saying - by Steve Harvey, to inspire children. We are genuinely excited about the possibilities ahead as Essence joins with Steve and Disney to take the initiative to the next level."

Upon creating Disney's Dreamers Academy in 2007, Disney joined forces with Harvey, a nationally syndicated radio personality, actor and best-selling author, to launch the initial nationwide search for high school students who possess a winning combination of attributes that reflect strong character and an attitude that will enable them to seek and take advantage of opportunities for their future.
Each fall since then, thousands of teens have been nominated by parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves. A distinguished panel of leaders from communications, education, industry and entertainment - includingHarvey and Disney cast - reviews the applications and selects a Dreamers Academy class of 100 teens in grades 9 through 12.

"This is really such an amazing collaboration," Harvey said. "We have the gold standard of international entertainment with Walt Disney World Resort. Essence is known the world over for being a clear and positive voice for African American women. Disney and Essence will bring these kids so much hope and show them the world is right at their fingertips if they learn how to dream. Disney's Dreamers Academy is evolving into more than I even imagined it could be."

As Disney, Essence Communications and Harvey formulate plans for the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy, their collective minds will be to develop a program that inspires high school students to "dream bigger, explore a world of possibilities and get started making those dreams a reality," according to Disney's Walters-Powell.

The "getting started" or "training" component being developed marks an elevation to the "next level," she added.

"Motivation, inspiration is a building block," she said. "Now we are going to add the nudge that puts these young people's plans into action as they prepare for productive adult lives."

Nominations for the Class of 2011 can be submitted from July 2-Oct. 31, 2010, with information about procedures at www.DisneysDreamersAcademy.com. The 100 high school students selected will travel to Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando in central Florida, for Disney's Dreamers Academy March 3-6, 2011.

July 7, 2010

D23's Destination D Event September 24-25, 2010

This year is the 55th anniversary of Disneyland Resort, and D23 is celebrating this milestone year with the premiere of Destination D: Disneyland '55, a brand-new, two-day event that illuminates the fascinating history behind Disney's flagship park.

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Destination D: Disneyland '55 will take D23 Members on a mesmerizing journey through the design, creation, debut and magical history of the world's first Disney theme park. The event will offer two full days of special presentations, panels, screenings and guest speakers that give fans an inside view of this fascinating era in Disney history and let them meet and talk with key figures in Disneyland's history. Future Destination D events will explore other important aspects of Disney's amazing creative legacy. Following its premiere in September, Destination D will alternate annually with the enormously popular D23 Expo.

Event highlights include our Mickey Mouse Club 55th Anniversary presentation, reuniting original Mouseketeers Sharon Baird, Doreen Tracey, Bobby Burgess, Karen Pendleton, Sherry Van Meter (formerly Alberoni), Tommy Cole, Cubby O'Brien, and Mary Geoff (formerly Espinosa) for a delightful trip back in time to the dawning of the television era with the club that was, like D23, "made for you and me."

Destination D will also mark the debut of the Disney Legends Celebration, a heartfelt tribute to those who have made a lasting contribution to the Disney legacy. All Destination D attendees and Disney Legends will be invited to attend E-Ticket: Music from the Disney Parks, a concert of memorable tunes through the years at the Disneyland Resort with some very special guests, including Disney Legend Richard Sherman.

All guests will also receive a limited-edition set of colorful, vintage Disneyland postcards from the Walt Disney Archives Collection. It's a reproduction of actual postcards sold when Disneyland opened in 1955 - it's just a coincidence that the complete set features 23 images!

There will also be a selection of limited edition merchandise available for purchase at the event.

DATES: September 24-25, 2010

LOCATION: Grand Ballroom, Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland Resort

TICKETS: Tickets go on sale Monday July 12th at 10am PST
$125 per person
$165 per person for Destination D and D23's Scavenger Hunt

SCHEDULE:
Panels, presentations and events to run from approximately 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.


Shown below is the current lineup for Destination D: Disneyland '55 (times to be announced later this summer; panels and talent subject to change):

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010

Mickey Mouse Club 55th Anniversary
Join original Mouseketeers including Sharon Baird, Doreen Tracey, Bobby Burgess, Karen Pendleton, Sherry Van Meter (Alberoni), Tommy Cole, Cubby O'Brien and Mary Geoff (Espinosa) for a magical walk down memory lane as they recall their favorite behind-the-scenes stories from the classic Disneyland attraction Mickey Mouse Club Circus.

Weird Disney
From the startling visuals of the 1930's Fanchon & Marco "Mickey Mouse Idea" vaudeville shows to Disneyland's "Kap the Kaiser Aluminum Pig" and the "Crane Bathroom of Tomorrow," Disney's history has included some pretty offbeat stuff. Join Archives Director Becky Cline and Disney historian Paul Anderson as they act as your tour guides on a fun-filled, irreverent and often-surprising road trip through the wonderfully weird and wacky side of Disney.

From Quirky to Collectible: The Wonderful World of Disneyland Merchandise
Curiouser and curiouser! From a Mark Twain Riverboat AM radio to a Matterhorn bank, we will present a treasure trove of timeless trinkets and unique souvenirs. Merchandise mavens Stacia Martin and Paul Anderson and Disney Archivist Rob Klein will take you to a collector's Cloud Nine, including the "Top 5 Rarest Pieces of Disneyana" and the "Top 5 Strangest Items of Disneyland Memorabilia." You won't believe what they have found!

The 1964 New York World's Fair and the Development of Audio-Animatronics® Characters With so many incredible Disney achievements over the years, it's hard to pick one as most impressive. But one milestone - Disney's contribution to the 1964 New York World's Fair - arguably stands far and above any other for its impact on Disneyland, the dawning of Walt Disney World and now, the Disney theme park experience around the world. Hosted by historian Paul Anderson, this is a fascinating and remarkable story of how 50 years ago Walt and his Imagineers broke the barriers of technology and pioneered an entirely new chapter in the history of entertainment, and in doing so, drastically changed the course of Disney theme park history.

Imagineering the Magic of Disney
Disney Legend Marty Sklar hosts a prestigious panel of some of Disney's most creative minds made up of Imagineering Legends and current Imagineers. Join us as Bob Gurr, Blaine Gibson, Dave Durham, Kathy Mangum, Kevin Rafferty and other Imagineers share their memories and favorite moments about creating iconic attractions at the world's most popular theme parks.

E-Ticket: Music from the Disney Parks
As part of this year's inaugural Disney Legends Celebration, D23 Members are invited to join some Disney Legends for a colorful concert of music from the past and present of Disneyland Resort. Highlighting the concert will be Disney Legend Richard Sherman, who - along with his brother Robert - has contributed a multitude of songs to the Disney parks legacy, including "it's a small world," "The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" and many more. Performing will be a host of special guests, including John Tartaglia (Avenue Q, Johnny and the Sprites), Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), Wilson Cruz (Rent, My So-Called Life), members of the Disney Employee Choir and many more, all paying tribute to some of the most enduring tunes in the Disney canon.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

Disneyland Through the Eye of Television
Archivist Rob Klein presents this unique look at the history of Disneyland as it was first seen by the general public - on television. This vibrant presentation includes Walt's first announcement of Disneyland, highlights from the original Disneyland television anthology series showing progress on the park and classic anniversary specials, as well as rarely seen promotional spots for Disneyland from the '60s and '70s for the Matterhorn, Main Street Electrical Parade, "New" Tomorrowland 1967 and much more!

Disney Undiscovered
No creative idea, no matter how marvelously imagined, is guaranteed to make it from the sketchbooks of Disney Imagineers to the parks. 2010's D23 Member gift, Disney Undiscovered, pays tribute to Disney's enduring creative spirit by celebrating the work of some of Disney's greatest dreamers and artists, whose feats of creative daring - even if never completed - will stand the test of time as masterpieces of the imagination. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the further fascinating details about these rare, never-produced park attractions and the Imagineers who dreamed them up.

Disneyland: The Happiest Place in Pop Culture
A humorous and informative journey through 55 years of popular culture as reflected in the original Magic Kingdom. Featuring rarely seen photos and film clips, the presentation, hosted by Disney authority Tim O'Day, will take you down memory lane, narrowly escaping bad fashions, bad hair and park entertainment, and events and attractions that definitely belong in Memoryland.

Disneyland: The Way We Were
Remember the Mickey Mouse Club Circus, Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, TWA Rocket to the Moon, The Frito Kid, or America Sings? Join Disney Chief Archivist Dave Smith as we explore some vintage images of Disneyland: first some rare color photographs taken during the park's construction, then a look at some beloved, gone-but-not-forgotten attractions, shops and restaurants. Throughout this presentation, Dave will reminisce about early visits to Disneyland, taking the audience back to some classic moments in the park's rich history.

A Word from the President
Disneyland President George Kalogridis shares a very special presentation with D23.

The Wonderful World of Vintage Disneyland - In Color!
Media Preservationist Ed Hobelman and Imagineer Tony Baxter share a trove of archival treasures and screen rarely seen color footage of Disneyland from the 1950s and 1960s.

Disneyland, U.S.A. Screening and Panel
A big-screen presentation of the classic 1956 People and Places featurette, Disneyland, U.S.A., followed by a panel featuring members of the film's restoration team, Disney Imagineers and Disney Legends who experienced the park first-hand during those early years, including Tony Baxter, Ed Hobelman, Dave Smith and Geri Bumpass. Hosted by Tim O'Day.

NOTE: Available only to D23 Members in good standing. Members may reserve a ticket for themselves and one (1) guest. There are a limited number of tickets available. The room will be cleared during several breaks; during these breaks seats may not be saved. Meals are not included with the price of the ticket. This is a separate event from D23's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt. D23 Members will be required to provide their membership number when purchasing tickets. Credentials may be picked up only with a valid photo ID AND D23 MEMBERSHIP CARD. D23 Members who do not bring their membership card may not be admitted to the event. Ticketed Members who do not attend the event forfeit their place as well as all experiences, benefits, and gifts associated with the event. All D23 Special Events are subject to change without notice. Panels are subject to change. Talent is subject to availability. There are no cancellations or refunds, and tickets are not transferable.

D23's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt at the Disneyland Resort

The Hunt is on!
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Get ready for the most incredible scavenger hunt in Disney history as D23 hosts the Great Disney Scavenger Hunt at the Disneyland Resort! Teams will take off across the Resort in search of the answers to some challenging - but fun! - questions. Think you know your way around Disneyland? This will be the ultimate test as you and your team race against the clock to gather as many points as possible. The top 10 teams will win fantastic prizes, including goodies and collectibles from our friends at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Records, the Walt Disney Collectors Society, Walt Disney Publishing and the Walt Disney Archives.

Get a good night's sleep because registration starts at 7 a.m. in the Exposition Hall of the Disneyland Hotel. And at 8:45 a.m., it's off you go" You and your team will scour the entire Disneyland Resort - from Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Resort Hotels to Disney California Adventure and, of course, Disneyland - for answers to our quizzical queries.

You'll have just over five hours to gather as many answers as possible before returning to the Exposition Hall for judging. And don't be late - points are taken off for every precious minute! Comfortable shoes and attire are recommended!

Once we're done tallying the totals, we'll announce the winners - and the top teams can collect their bounties! Think you're up to the challenge? We can't wait to find out!

DATE
Sunday, September 26, 2010

LOCATION
Exposition Hall, Disneyland Hotel
Anaheim, California

TICKETS
On Sale Monday, July 12, 2010 at 10 a.m. PST. Check back here for link to order tickets.

COST
$50 per team for D23 Members (up to four people); $75 per team for non-members (up to four people).

SCHEDULE
Registration begins at 7 a.m.; Hunt kicks off at 8:45 a.m.

Rules:

Park admission for the Hunt is NOT included. Teams are responsible for their own entry into the parks. Special convention-rate tickets will be available for purchase.

The Hunt will take place in Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney and throughout the Disneyland Resort Hotels.

The person who registers his or her team for the Hunt will be considered by D23 to be the Team Leader.

Each team must consist of no fewer than two (2) players and no more than four (4) players.

Each member of the team must fill out a waiver before registering at the event.

The Team Leader will be responsible for checking the team in. The entire team does not need to stand in line. However, the entire team must be present at the start of the Hunt in order to participate.

Inside the registration packet will be a "runner's bib" (similar to what runners wear in a marathon) with the team number and safety pins with which to attach the number. ALL team members must wear their bibs on the front of their shirts at all times.

Team members must be together at ALL times. (In the case of bathroom breaks, team members may wait outside the restroom.)

No running at any point. Any team seen running by D23 Scavenger Hunt representatives or Disneyland Security may be disqualified.

No cheating, obviously.

No impeding the success of other teams (e.g., trying to cover or remove answers to clues).

No asking Disney cast members for help.

D23 Scavenger Hunt representatives in the Resort may, at any time, check a team to make sure it has the appropriate number of members. Teams that do not remain together will be disqualified with no appeals.

All teams must have at least one digital camera to document certain moments on the Hunt. The team is responsible for having a working camera. Should a camera not function properly, it is the responsibility of the team to correct the problem.

Any questions or issues will be decided by a panel of D23 judges at the Hunt. These decisions will be binding and final.

All written answers must be legible. No points will be awarded if judges are not able to read the answer.

In the event of a tie, there will be a lightning round of questions between one representative from each of the tying teams. The round will be overseen by one of the D23 judges. All decisions are binding and final.


NOTE: Contestants may book for a team of two to four people. No solo teams permitted. The person who registers for the Hunt will be designated the Team Leader. Only the person who registers needs to be a D23 Member in order to utilize the D23 Member rate. You must secure your spot in advance to participate; if space remains, additional spots will be filled the morning of the event at a higher price. Park entry is not included with the price of the Scavenger Hunt and will be required if teams wish to answer questions inside Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. There are a limited number of team slots available. D23 Members will be required to provide their membership number when reserving tickets in order to secure the special D23 Member price.

July 9, 2010

Top Soccer Clubs from Around the Globe Compete in Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament

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Nearly 200 teams bring international flavor to largest field in tournament history

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (July 8, 2010) - On the heels of the FIFA World Cup, nearly 200 elite youth soccer teams from around the world, including the Haitian National Women's Under 17 team, will compete in the Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, July 12-17.

Clubs featuring boys and girls (ages 9-17) from countries such as Brazil, Great Britain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, the United States and others will be joining the Haitian team in creating the largest field in the tournament's 12-year history.

More than half of this year's field comes from outside of the continental United States with Puerto Rico leading the international team count with 18 registered clubs. Canada is next (16), followed by Brazil (11). In all, 18 countries are represented.

"This year's field is one of the most diverse and largest we've had in our tournament's history," said the event's tournament director Mark Luster. "The Disney Cup continues to be a great opportunity for teams from around the world to compete against other top young athletes while also getting to relax and enjoy a vacation at Disney."

Each team will play at least four games before advancing to a single-elimination tournament format. Championship games in various age divisions from under-9 through under-18 take place July 17.

Since 1999, the tournament has attracted teams from more than 20 countries giving participants a unique opportunity to compete on the same fields as teams from the English Premier League and Major League Soccer. For instance, Celtic Football Club, Blackburn Football Club, the MLS Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake have all competed or trained at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

July 10, 2010

Endangered Sea Turtles Thriving at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 9, 2010 - Two ailing Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are on the road to recovery after being brought to Walt Disney World Resort last month from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. to make room for animals directly impacted by the Gulf oil spill.

The sea turtles, suffering from pneumonia, were flown to Orlando June 25 and placed in the care of Disney animal experts. Kemp's Ridley turtles are among the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world. The two are being monitored in a special backstage area at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and will require several months of rehabilitation before they are released back into the wild. Progress so far is favorable.

"They're doing very well," said Tom Hopkins, animal operations area director for Walt Disney World Resort. "One still has a touch of pneumonia but is doing much better. The other sea turtle is eating more and beginning to gain weight."

Animal experts at Walt Disney World Resort have extensive experience rehabilitating sea turtles. Since 1986, Disney animal care teams have nursed more than 250 endangered sea turtles back to health. Most recently, Disney animal experts cared for 15 green sea turtles injured from the cold weather snap that affected Florida earlier this year.

As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Disney's Animal Programs supports the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 injured and orphaned wild animals each year. The team participates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other zoological facilities and conservation groups in the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership. The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot is a designated rehabilitation site for rescued manatees and sea turtles until they are well enough to be returned to their habitats.

July 13, 2010

"I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!"

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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade prepares to take a three-point shot as he is guarded by Mickey Mouse July 11, 2010 during a short 3-on-3 game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Wade joined the Disney character and members of two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams that are currently competing in a national championship tournament for girls 16-and-under. The Disney World visit ended a week which saw Wade re-sign with the Miami Heat, where he will be joined next season by newly signed stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

July 14, 2010

Celebrate Disneyland’s 55th Anniversary July 16-18, 2010 at the The Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum
 Walt Disney Family Museum Logo

IMPORTANT NOTE: Tickets to these events are completely sold out, but not to worry: The @WDFMuseum will be live-tweeting from all three events! We will also be sending out a photo recap with highlights of our Disneyland 55 weekend.

On July 18, 1955, Disneyland officially opened its doors in southern California. Fifty-five years later, a rare gathering of Disney Legends, family members, former executives (2 Disneyland Presidents), Imagineers and other special guests are gathering in San Francisco at the new Walt Disney Family Museum - many of whom will share their personal stories about working with Walt.


Special Guests include:

Diane Disney Miller - daughter of Walt Disney (Friday, July 16 only)
Tony Baxter - current SR VP of Creative Development for Disneyland
Jack Lindquist - former President of Disneyland
Dick Nunis - Disney Legend and former Chairman of Walt Disney Attractions
Matt Ouimet - former President of Disneyland Resort
Buzz Price - Economist who helped Walt Disney find original site of Disneyland
Craig Russell - Current Chief Design and Project Delivery Executive,
Walt Disney Imagineering
Marty Sklar - Disney Legend and former Vice Chair of Imagineering
Bruce Vaughn - Current Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

WHERE: Special Exhibition Hall, The Walt Disney Family Museum - Main Post of
the Presidio, San Francisco

WHEN:
Friday, July 16, 2010 - 6:30 pm
Saturday, July 17 - 3:00 pm
Sunday, July 18 - 3:00 pm


The Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street, The Presidio of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94129

WEBSITE: waltdisney.org

TWITTER: twitter.com/wdfmuseum

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/TheWaltDisneyFamilyMuseum

July 16, 2010

New Adventure for Guests Coming to Animal Kingdom

As reported by the Disney Parks Blog:

If you've ever wanted to venture off the beaten path and farther into the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition savannah, you'll have a chance later this year. Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be offering a new, immersive experience that'll take a small group of Guests on personalized, guided treks along some unexplored areas of the Harambe Reserve.

During the excursions, you'll be able to spend more time observing the wildlife on the savannah and have a chance to learn about the animals and their behaviors from one of our Disney guides. Adventurers will also trek through an undeveloped forest area of the Harambe Reserve and then board a unique vehicle specially designed for the rest of the quest.

Walt Disney Imagineers are still working on many of the details. Reservations for this specially priced tour won't begin until later this year.

Best Friends Pet Care Resort - Fun Facts

A Tail-Wagging Welcome: Beginning Aug. 27, 2010, Pluto welcomes dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs and pocket pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs to the new 27,000-square-foot Best Friends Pet Care Resort at Walt Disney World Resort.

Lap of Luxury: Up to 270 dogs of all breeds and sizes can curl up comfortably in standard and luxury indoor-outdoor suites. The truly pampered pooch may beg for an oversized luxury suite with plush raised bedding, TV and a private outdoor yard.

Meowificent! No "knead" to fear -- at least 30 cats will be "purrfectly" content at the resort's Kitty City pavilion with two- and four-story cat condos.

Polly Wanna Cracker? Cockatoos and other pet birds stay in their own special facility along with hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets and other pocket pets.

Go, Dog, Go! No bones about it, the resort's exclusive dog park is the place to burn off canine calories. Inside a fenced walking trail, dogs will have a squirrel-chasing good time in the 3,300-square-foot play area covered in artificial turf. Another 4,500-square-foot area is dotted with shade trees for owners who want to sit and watch pets play. The park's 1,300-square-foot splash-and-shake zone is a cool extra.

Day Tripping or Sleeping Over? Park-hopping guests can book their pets into the resort just for the day. Overnight stays make Fido feel right at home when the family settles in at a nearby Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Tales and Treats: Routines make a pet feel right at home. If your pup is used to a bedtime story, a staff member will read a "tuck-in" tale. If kitty craves fish, order Tuna on a Ritz room service. The resort's TV sets play favorites like "Milo and Otis" or "Homeward Bound" for media-savvy pets.

Doggie Play Dates: There's plenty of room for canine cavorting at the resort's two 1,100-square-foot doggy-day-camp rooms that open onto their own play yards.

Extra, Extra! It's a pet's world, after all, and that's why pet parents can choose from among many a la carte activities for their best friends. Amenities and upgrades include: Ice Cream Treats, Puppy Cuddle Time, Bottled Water and Premium/Orthopedic Bedding for dogs. Feline guests can be pampered with private playtimes, activity toys in their suites, or Ice Cream Treats.

Best in Show: Practical pets know that extra cuddles are in store when they greet their families after a "go-home-fresh bath," offered along with other services at the resort's grooming salon.

Two Paws Up: Best Friends Pet Care Resort is located across from Disney's Port Orleans Resort at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway in Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. Guests can make reservations at wdw.bestfriendspetcare.com or by calling 877/4-WDW-PETS.

July 19, 2010

Behind the Scenes of World of Color at Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure has officially added a 3rd showing of the World of Color show each night through Labor Day.

Step into the control room for the World of Color!!

July 20, 2010

Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival Celebrates Sixth Anniversary with Six Weeks of Culinary Delights

Annual Festival Will Run April 29-June 12, 2011, at Disney California Adventure Park

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Disney's California Food & Wine Festival will celebrate its sixth anniversary in 2011 with six weeks of culinary experiences for guests of all ages, April 29-June 12 at Disney California Adventure park and select locations across the Disneyland Resort.

Chefs, winemakers and guest speakers will focus on cultures, tastes and traditions with hundreds of tantalizing demonstrations, along with outstanding wine and spirits seminars. Guests will also feast on delicious food, wine and beer available throughout Disney California Adventure park.

Look for celebrity chefs, Disney chefs and culinary masters to present their gastronomic talents in a full menu of complimentary demonstrations and signature paid events. In years past, the signature events have included Sweet Sundays, "Taste Wine Like an Expert" classes, and Taste Food-Wine-Life, a night that celebrates the essence of the festival with a mosaic of food, wine and live entertainment.

Disney's California Food & Wine Festival includes experiences for anyone who appreciates the art of food, wine and beer.

  • Many of the popular live culinary demonstrations and autograph sessions feature celebrity chefs. The 2010 lineup included chefs Guy Fieri, Cat Cora, Robert Irvine and Jeffrey Saad.
  • At the spectacular ticketed events, food and wine aficionados collect cooking tips from chefs, mingle with noted winemakers and celebrate the flavors presented by culinary masters.
  • Guests sample from the delicious tapas menu at the Taste of California Marketplace.
  • Some Festival events held in Disney California Adventure may require park admission, which is not included in the event price.
  • As the date gets closer, look for details at www.disneyland.com/foodandwine.

Baby Warthogs and Oryx Calves Join Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 14, 2010 - Babies abound at Disney's Animal Kingdom this summer, which has seen multiple births over the past few weeks. Adding the pitter-patter of tiny hooves to the herd: three baby warthogs and two oryx calves.

Earlier this month, Disney's Animal Kingdom welcomed three baby warthogs, all males -- born July 1. This is the first litter for their mother, who is doing an excellent job raising her offspring. The three new piglets increase the warthog population at Disney's Animal Kingdom to six, including four males and two females. Disney's animal care experts expect the baby warthogs, which are currently in their backstage home, to join their mothers on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna in several weeks. There, these animals will help guests learn more about the challenges that warthogs face in the wild due to habitat destruction.

In late June, two male scimitar-horned oryx calves also were born at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Scimitar-horned oryx are extinct in the wild due to poaching and other challenges. Efforts are under way to reintroduce this species to protected areas of Senegal, Africa. With the new calves, Disney's Animal Kingdom now has four males and five females in the herd. The oryx moms and their calves are bonding in their backstage home.

"We are proud that guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom have the opportunity to see wildlife that are extinct in the wild, like the scimitar-horned oryx, and fascinating species like the warthog," said Matt Hohne, Disney's Animal Programs Animal Operations director. "By connecting people in a personal way with wildlife and nature - and talking with them about conservation and what they can do to help - we hope to inspire them to protect wildlife and wild places."

The recent Animal Kingdom births follow recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which coordinates Population Management and Species Survival Plans for animal care facilities in North America. Through cooperative involvement with the AZA, Disney's Animal Kingdom has successfully reproduced many endangered animals, including African elephants, black rhinos, okapi, gorillas and many rare birds.

Cast Members to Perform Benefit Concerts for Make-A-Wish Foundation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Rehearsals are underway for the Encore! Cast Choir and Orchestra's summer production, Dream Our Dreams, A Musical Tribute to the Legacy of Disney. Known for staging spectacular charity concerts, the volunteer ensemble has chosen Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & Northern Florida as their 2010 beneficiary.

Encore! offers Cast Members an outlet for their creativity and a chance to showcase their talents while performing great music for worthy causes. The troupe, founded in 2002, has grown to include roughly 330 singers, 100 instrumentalists, 50 dancers and a production team of 40. Encore! producer Bruce Light says at least half of the group has jobs outside of entertainment and aren't performers by trade. For all involved, it's a labor of love.

Since its inception, Encore! has donated the funds from its ticket sales to local charities, raising more than $115,000 to date. The group recognized early on that they could do a lot of good by giving back. "We were getting a good amount of money from ticket sales and we didn't need it," said Clay Price, Encore! co-founder, artistic director and conductor. "We thought let's give it to an organization that is going to benefit from this more than us."

Each year, Encore! determines its beneficiary by group vote; Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & Northern Florida is the current recipient of their charitable giving. Past recipients include United Arts of Central Florida, SPCA of Central Florida, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and A Gift For Teaching.

Dream Our Dreams is scheduled for Aug. 6 - 8 at Epcot World ShowPlace. Performances are open to the public. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door and available through www.encorecentral.org.

New Pizzeria "Via Napoli" Set to Open August 5th at Walt Disney World

NEW YORK: July 20, 2010 - Patina Restaurant Group will open a new casual pizzeria August 5th, called Via Napoli, adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante, its restaurant in the Italy pavilion in Epcot® World Showcase at Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This will be the first authentic Italian pizzeria to ever open in the park.

Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York which was awarded the coveted certification of "La Vera Pizza Napoletana." While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.

"I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza," Valenti says. "It's a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot."

Via Napoli will feature a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza bianca, quattro stagioni, piccante, ortolano and a traditional margherita. Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo will serve as executive chef at Via Napoli, where he will craft the pies using simple and delicious Italian ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.

"We're excited to be working with the Patina Restaurant Group once again on this significant expansion project," said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. "Via Napoli will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase just in time for our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival."

A unique feature at Via Napoli will be the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy - Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven will be sculpted with the "face of the volcano" -- reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano's history.

The architecture and design of the new pizzeria will be based on a mix of traditional Italian styles, with the Florentine architect Stefano Nardini (of Magris & Partners) working in conjunction with Rick Swisher Architect to build it. Renderings are available upon request. Menus are attached.

For reservations at Via Napoli, please call (407) WDW-DINE / (407) 939-3463.
Please note, between August 2 and September 9, 2010, guests will be accommodated on a walk-in basis only. Beginning August 6, 2010, reservations will be accepted for dates September 10th and later.

Full Menu with pricing!!!

July 21, 2010

Disney Vacation Connection Desktop Widget Serves Up Planning Information in a Fun and Creative Way for Disney-bound Guests

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Planning that next magical Disney vacation? The newly released Disney Vacation Connection desktop widget is a free application that can be downloaded to a PC or Mac computer to view news, videos, weather, park hours, events and vacation planning tips. Also included is a Disney vacation countdown clock that will tell guests the days, hours and minutes until their next Disney vacation.

Content on the app includes Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, Disney's Vero Beach Resort, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii.

With the Disney Vacation Connection widget loaded on their desktop, Disney guests will be able to:
· Stay up-to-date on the latest news and special offers
· Plan their next magical Disney vacation
· Count down to the vacation with the countdown clock
· Check Disney theme park hours
· Learn about upcoming special events
· Find out the weather forecast for the Disney vacation destination

The widget is a free download. Guests can learn more about the Disney Vacation Connection desktop widget, and download it, by visiting www.DisneyVacationConnection.com.

2011 Adventures by Disney Itineraries Announced

Adventures by Disney specializes guided group trips that provide a chance to see the world in a whole new way with exciting, behind-the-scenes encounters found nowhere else, combined with Disney's famous attention to detail.

And now Adventures by Disney has just announced two brand-new itineraries for 2011 that will give travelers a chance to visit one of the most dreamed-of destinations in the world - Egypt, with its spectacular history and beguiling modern culture.

Adventures by Disney will offer two Egyptian itineraries filled with daily activities that are fun for the whole family. One itinerary is a one-week program featuring a journey into the heart of Cairo that includes a private guided tour of the mummies and ancient artifacts in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, an up-close view of the Great Pyramids, and a visit to the tombs of Ramses VI and King Tut. A three-day Nile River Cruise follows on a beautiful ship that sails from Aswan to Luxor.

The alternate itinerary includes all the same elements, plus an additional two days on the Red Sea in the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh. Sharm is famous for its underwater national park full of coral reefs and arrays of colorful tropical fish, a veritable snorkeling paradise for first-time and veteran snorkelers alike.

To see all the 2011 Adventures by Disney itineraries click HERE.


July 26, 2010

New Disney Resort in Hawaii Begins Taking Reservations for 2011 Stays – Opening Date Set

KO OLINA, Hawaii (July 21 2010) - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i will begin accepting reservations for hotel rooms and vacation packages Aug. 2, 2010, through the Walt Disney Travel Company.

Aulani is scheduled to welcome its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011.

"Aulani will represent a new way for every member of the family to enjoy a vacation in Hawaii," said Djuan Rivers, vice president of Aulani. "It is designed so that parents, children, guests of any age can find their own kind of fun and relaxation. Families will experience the island in ways they might never have discovered before."

With age-specific programming planned for ages 3-10, tweens, teens, adults and the entire family, there will be something for everybody. From pool parties with Disney characters to excursions into the rainforest and surf to learning how to prepare Hawaiian cuisine with local chefs, days and nights will be filled with the magic of Disney in the beautiful setting of Hawaii.

Introductory room rates start as low as $399 per night. Guests may choose from a variety of room options, including ocean or garden views.

The resort, built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, features 359 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas. Rooms are housed in two 15-story towers with commanding views of the ocean, mountains and magnificent grounds. On site are two restaurants, a wedding lawn, a conference center, and extensive water activities including a feature pool, 900-foot tube-floating watercourse, wading pool, body slides, sunset-facing hot tubs, a quiet adult pool, a snorkel lagoon and a conservation pool. Aulani will also include a signature kids' club - Aunty's Beach House - where kids will explore Hawaiian culture through arts and crafts, as well as fun and games, including interactive touch-table games. Additionally, kids can enjoy the enchanted fireplace, "make it rain" in order to start movie time and enjoy many other experiences created just for them.

Aulani is located on the western side of Oahu, upon 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development. The resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and features convenient access to a Ted Robinson-designed 18-hole championship golf course.

To make a reservation at Aulani or to learn more about the resort, guests may visit www.disneyaulani.com or call 866/44-DISNEY.

July 27, 2010

‘Last Tour to Endor’ Party During Star Wars Celebration V Lets Guests Be ‘the First Among the Last’ to Experience Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Darth Vader moonwalks and Donald Duck sports Imperial stormtrooper armor, something special must be happening.

With a heaping helping of Disney magic, the Star Wars galaxy will descend upon Walt Disney World Resort from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2010, for an exclusive party to let fans of the sci-fi saga provide a special send-off to Star Tours before the popular attraction "powers down" in preparation for a new, 3-D Star Wars adventure that will open in 2011 at Disneyland park in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.

But before the blaster doors on the attraction close temporarily, Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park will host "Last Tour to Endor," an after-hours, private event that will feature live entertainment, Disney characters in their favorite Star Wars attire, a special Star Wars-themed fireworks spectacular, the "Death Star Disco," Jedi Training Academy, Star Wars trivia challenges and more.

And yes, Darth Vader may even moonwalk.

The Dark Lord of the Sith and his stormtroopers, known to many Disney guests for their Michael Jackson-like dance moves to songs like "Thriller" and "Beat It" during the popular "Hyperspace Hoopla" at the park's annual Star Wars Weekends event, will take the stage during the "Last Tour to Endor" for a special edition of "Hyperspace Hoopla." They will be joined by a cast of Star Wars characters moving and shaking to their favorite 1970s and 1980s dance tunes in the "Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars."

"Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars" premiered several years ago and has since become a hit not only for Star Wars Weekends guests each year, but also for millions more on YouTube. (See more detail about the "Dance-Off" at the "Last Tour to Endor" party below, including the scheduled cast of characters and tune selections.)

And while the Star Tours attraction serves as the galactic centerpiece of the celebration, "Last Tour to Endor" guests also will be able to enjoy other Disney's Hollywood Studios attractions during the evening, including The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, "The American Idol Experience," Toy Story Mania!, The Great Movie Ride and more.

"Last Tour to Endor" tickets are $75 in advance, and will be $89 at the gate (if available). Advance tickets may be purchased online at starwarscelebration.com.

Here are some other fast facts about the "Last Tour to Endor" party*:

• This is the largest private party ever held during a Star Wars Celebration.
• Fans are encouraged to get into the Star Wars spirit and dress in their favorite Star Wars costume for the event.
• Special Star Wars-themed entertainment, created just for this party, will be showcased throughout evening.
• Last Tour to Endor" event-exclusive memorabilia, collectibles and merchandise will be available for purchase at the party.
• Just like during Star Wars Weekends, Mickey Mouse and his pals plan to join the fun by dressing up as their favorite saga characters. Mickey Mouse becomes Jedi Mickey; Donald Duck becomes Stormtrooper Donald; Goofy does his best Darth Vader impersonation, and Minnie Mouse dons a honeybun-style wig and white dress in honor of Princess Leia.
• Free round-trip shuttles to the event from the Orange County Convention Center will be offered for Star Wars Celebration attendees.
• A salute to the Star Tours attraction will cap the evening in grand fashion.
• While the party officially begins at 8 p.m., "Last Tour to Endor" ticket holders can get a head-start on their theme park fun and enter Disney's Hollywood Studios as early as 4 p.m.
• Hyperspace Hoopla" will feature Star Wars characters stepping outside of their galaxy and putting on a display of dancing like never before. Here's the lineup scheduled for the "Last Tour of Endor" party:


"Grease is the word" that Chewie heard: Chewbacca, Han Solo and the Jawas put on their dancing shoes (except Chewbacca, of course, who will be frantically moving his furry feet) and perform a tune from the 1978 hit movie-musical "Grease." In fact, Rebel spies have provided initial intel that Chewbacca's fur will be fashioned into a 1950s pompadour hairstyle just for the occasion.

"Nobody puts Leia in a corner": Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia will go back to the 1980s with a dance number from the box-office hit "Dirty Dancing."

"Strike a pose, there's nothing to it": Some of the most famous females from the Star Wars saga -- including Queen Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, Zam Wessel and Aurra Sing -- will join forces for an ensemble dance number set to one of the biggest pop hits by the "material girl" herself, Madonna.

King of Pop, or King of the Dark Side?: Returning by popular demand will be Darth Vader and his crew of dancing stormtroopers, cutting a rug (and no, not cutting it with a light saber) to a hit medley from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. At previous "Hyperspace Hooplas," the Dark Lord has been known to even don a single, sequined glove as he channels the iconic music superstar.


For tickets and more information about the "Last Tour to Endor" event, guests may visit starwarscelebration.com.

*Note: Event activities subject to change without notice

July 30, 2010

Walt Disney World Resort Expands Relationship with HP Into Youth Sports at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (July 29, 2010) - Walt Disney World Resort today announced an expansion to its long-term business relationship with HP, which now includes naming rights for the 165,000-square-foot fieldhouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Beginning today, the fieldhouse will be renamed with the HP brand and will feature several new high-tech elements designed to enhance the sports experience for the nearly 1.5 million athletes, coaches and fans who visit the complex each year. HP also becomes the official imaging, printing and PC partner for ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the leading multi-sports venue in the nation.

The centerpiece of the soon to be renamed fieldhouse will be the HP Creation Zone where athletes, coaches and fans can download, design and enhance commemorative photos and images of their events, then immediately produce and print them onsite. The HP Creation Zone will also include a retail area featuring a variety of imaging-related products and options for youth athletes and consumers, such as creating life-size posters of action photos, custom wallpaper coverings for the home and other photo keepsakes/memorabilia.

"HP's innovative technologies further differentiate the athlete experience at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in ways that no other youth sports venue can match," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "The HP technological enhancements in the complex are just the latest in a growing number of technology-driven projects that are at the core of our growth strategy, which centers around continually elevating the sports experience for our athletes, coaches and fans."

There will also be an HP internet "café" capability inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Grill featuring HP TouchSmart PCs. Individual stations will offer online access to a variety of sites, including ESPN.com, ESPNRISE.com, ESPNWWOS.com, Disney.com, Disneyworld.com and others.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Welcome Center, an onsite concierge facility, will offer kiosks that also feature HP TouchSmart PCs. The kiosks, which will also be located at additional locations throughout the complex, will enable athletes and fans to access and print a wide range of sports event information, including field assignments and schedule updates, as well as general Disney information and resources, such as dining reservations and vacation planning tools for theme parks, resorts and water parks.

"The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex continues HP's decades-long collaboration with Disney to captivate audiences through technology innovation and digital entertainment," said Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at HP. "The HP fieldhouse will deliver the ultimate sports environment, combining state-of-the-art athletic facilities with a rich, interactive technology experience to extend the spirit and passion of sports beyond the field of play."

The fieldhouse accommodates virtually any indoor sport, including basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, martial arts, team handball, roller hockey, cheerleading and dance, trampoline and tumbling, indoor tennis, etc., in addition to concerts and conventions. Opened in 1997, the venue has a seating capacity of 5,500 and room for six full-size collegiate basketball courts.

HP's presence at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex extends the company's long-standing relationship with Disney, which began in 1940 when HP worked with Walt Disney to enhance the acoustics in movie theaters before the release of Disney's "Fantasia" movie. Currently, HP sponsors the MISSION: Space attraction at Epcot and is one of the sponsors of the Disneyland Dream Home at Disneyland Park. Disney is one of HP's largest customers and utilizes thousands of HP business PCs, servers and printers, in addition to technology services, business intelligence software and storage.

The expansion of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex's relationship with HP comes on the heels of the complex's most comprehensive redesign since it opened in 1997. In February 2010, the complex, which was already the leading multi-sport venue in the world, was re-imagined with the ESPN brand, bringing the signature elements of ESPN to the complex to create a one-of-a-kind sports experience that lets athletes, coaches and fans feel as if they've reached the big time with ESPN.

Curtain Call! By Popular Demand, ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ Extended Indefinitely at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (July 29, 2010) - With its glittery galaxy of 23 illuminated floats, 80 performers, and trademark synthesizer music sweetened with Disney theme songs, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" has been leaving Magic Kingdom guests aglow all summer.

Now, the cherished entertainment spectacular is being extended by popular demand, Walt Disney World announced today.

"The return of Disney's 'Main Street Electrical Parade' to the Magic Kingdom has been an overwhelming success," said Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes. "Guests begin cheering as soon as they hear the opening fanfare and see those fantastic floats covered in lights. The parade is a magical part of a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort, so we're thrilled to be announcing we're leaving the lights on."

Fronted by a new lead float starring Tinker Bell, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" officially bowed at Magic Kingdom June 6, 2010.

Beloved by generations, the parade anchors Disney's multi-park "Summer Nightastic!" entertainment extravaganza of attractions and events. Once "Summer Nightastic!" draws to a close on Aug. 14 as previously announced, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" will continue an open-ended run.

The iconic pageant of illuminated floats dates to 1972 when it first debuted at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and became an instant hit.

Prior to its current run in Florida, the parade last performed at Walt Disney World Resort from 1999 into 2001. This summer, Magic Kingdom guests have been treated to all-new elements that continue in the encore phase of the run:
--Tinker Bell leads the eye-filling procession, waving from the basket of a balloon floating gracefully above a magical garden shimmering in fairy light.
--Pinocchio and the boys from the classic film's Pleasure Island sequence join the parade, and ---Snow White joins the Seven Dwarfs on a diamond mine float.

There are new lighting effects, and the parade's highly recognizable musical theme is brightened by new technology.

Beloved floats like the Honor America finale display - featuring the American flag and giant American eagle - are among parade favorites, along with popular characters such as Alice, Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

Especially Good News for Florida Residents

The extension will enable Florida Resident Seasonal and Weekday Select Passholders to experience the parade on their passes. And with the ability to sign on for a new monthly payment program, Florida Resident Passholders can enjoy the parade and so much more Disney theme park magic for as little as $16 a month, after an initial down payment. The payment program is available only online and complete information is available at www.disneyworld.com/payments.

July 31, 2010

Injured Sea Turtles from the Gulf Arrive for Care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney donates $100,000 to help with rescue and environmental efforts in the Gulf

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 30, 2010 - Eight turtles injured by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico today began their rehabilitation at Walt Disney World Resort under the care of Disney animal experts.

Animal care experts from Disney's Animal Programs returned Thursday from the Florida Panhandle with six Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles - among the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world - and two Green Sea Turtles injured by the spill. The Disney animal care team stands ready to help in the Panhandle as needed and rehabilitation facilities at Disney's Animal Kingdom and at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends are available for treating turtles and birds impacted by the spill.

"Oil can have a devastating effect on the health of sea turtles, marine mammals and birds," said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president for Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives at Disney Parks. "Over the next several months, many of these animals will require intense medical treatment over a prolonged period. We want to be sure that we provide top-notch medical care wherever we can - whether it's on a beach or in a state-of-the-art veterinary facility. Ultimately, our goal is to re-release these animals so they can once again thrive in the wild of our oceans and coastline."

In addition, as part of the coordinated response to the spill, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), supported by Disney's Friends for Change: Project Green, has donated $100,000 to help with environmental and animal rescue efforts, including $50,000 to The National Audubon Society for their response in the Gulf. Another $50,000 in grants from the DWCF Rapid Response Fund is being awarded to various grassroots organizations assisting with the cleanup.

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. For this current effort, engineers and water science experts have already converted a backstage area into a temporary rehabilitation facility - setting up salt-water pools capable of housing up to 35 sea turtles.

Since 1986, Disney animal care teams have nursed more than 250 endangered sea turtles back to health. Earlier this summer Disney animal experts began care for seven Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles diagnosed with pneumonia. The turtles were moved to Walt Disney World Resort from facilities in Mississippi to make room for animals injured by the oil spill.

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund provides annual awards to nonprofit conservation organizations working alongside their peers here and in other countries. A special emergency fund also helps animals and people in times of environmental crisis.

Disney Dream - The Engine

A major milestone was achieved for the Disney Dream this week when testing began on the ship's five engines at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. Several months ago, the engines were installed on the ship, and this week the team at the yard started the engines for the first time!

Talk about powerful " The five engines combined have a total output of 103,000 horsepower, which will give the ship a top speed of 23.5 knots.

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At 128,000-tons and 14-decks tall, the magnificent Disney Dream continues to take shape. This initial test begins several months of engine testing, which will continue through the ship's sea trials. With just 180 days until the maiden voyage on January 26, 2011, the excitement of each milestone continues to build as we approach the Disney Dream becoming a reality.

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About July 2010

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

June 2010 is the previous archive.

August 2010 is the next archive.

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