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June 2011 Archives

June 2, 2011


Highlights include celebrity appearances, movie sneak peeks, what's new at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the 2011 Disney Legends ceremony, the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament Presented by Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit | Disney Edition and more!

BURBANK, Calif. - June 2, 2011 - The first-ever D23 Expo in 2009 left Disney fans asking when there would be another. From August 19-21, 2011, the Expo returns, bringing all the wonderful worlds of Disney under one roof at the Anaheim Convention Center for three remarkable days. From celebrity appearances and eye-popping pavilions to fascinating presentations and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, there's plenty of magic for everyone at D23 Expo 2011.

Highlights of the Expo will include:

The Walt Disney Studios will give fans a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the exciting roster of projects on the horizon. From exclusive video clips and live performances to filmmaker discussions and star appearances, audiences will be treated to an up-close look at select movies from the Studio's upcoming film slate.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will be showcasing its "great big beautiful tomorrow" with a sneak peek at imaginative new experiences in the works for Disney Parks around the world, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club.

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit will offer a unique glimpse into the fantastic world of the Walt Disney Archives as we throw open the vaults and bring out the crown jewels of our amazing collections in an exciting, never-before-seen showcase boasting costumes and props from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean to Tron and LOST.

The Disney Living pavilion, presented by Disney Consumer Products, will inspire the Disney lifestyle through the worlds of Style, Play, Celebrations and more. From the nursery to the runway, from hot toys to cool book apps, favorite Disney characters will come to life in exclusive and never-before-seen products, collections and experiences for Disney fans. Meet the artists, designers, authors and innovators who create the magic and fun, and join in hands-on demos, activities and immersive environments.

Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior will jump off the screen at this year's D23 Expo! Look for special appearances from many of your favorite stars from our biggest shows-and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences sure to delight the whole family.

Radio Disney invites you to join the party as we celebrate the ultimate Disney fan event with music, fun, games and the chance to meet some favorite Radio Disney stars!

Disney Interactive Media Group pavilion will bring beloved Disney stories and characters to life digitally though exciting new interactive experiences. Guests will be able to try out new and upcoming games for videogame consoles, mobile and online, as well as fun creative activities from Disney.com.

D23 Expo Dream Store will be filled to the brim and bursting with D23-themed merchandise and other specialty items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise. From souvenirs and upscale logo assortments to Disney-inspired art and collectibles, ear hats, pins, Vinylmation™ and more, it will be a Disney enthusiast's dream come true.

Disney Fan Art Gallery will feature the creative talents of D23 Members at D23 Expo 2011, putting the "spot"-light on One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Disney lovers were previously invited to create work inspired by the beloved animated film, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Winners, selected by a panel of Disney's creative executives, will see their work prominently showcased in the D23 Expo's Fan Art Gallery, themed to the infamous House of de Vil, inside the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit.

Collectors Forum will be the ultimate Disney marketplace for fans. Collectors, dealers and other vendors will have the opportunity to showcase their collections in this ultimate forum for buying, selling and trading Disney merchandise and memorabilia.

This year, in addition to Disney, Pixar and ABC collectibles, the Forum will feature items from the amazing world of Marvel, the newest addition to the Disney family, and Star Wars, in celebration of the reimagined attraction Star Tours - The Adventures Continue at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort.

Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament
Presented by Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit | Disney Edition is an exciting new addition to D23 Expo 2011. The eccentric, professorial quack-meister Ludwig Von Drake will preside over the festivities as competitors demonstrate their deep knowledge of all things Disney, including park attractions and shows and parades, past and present; films and TV shows through the years; consumer products, games, company history and, of course, Walt and his family. No corner of Disney's magical kingdom will be left unexplored in this quest to find that uniquely talented individual who knows more about Disney than anyone else. Trials for the Tournament will take place on Thursday, August 18 at the Convention Center, the day before the Expo opens.

D23 Expo 2011 will also feature the Disney Legends Awards-a tradition that pays tribute to the talented men and women who have made indelible contributions to the Disney legacy, and a product showcase featuring Disney Pins and Vinylmation in a special area where collectors can swap stories, treasures and meet the artists.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2011 are available at a discounted price through June 30, 2011. All D23 Members-both Gold level and Silver level-can take advantage of additional exclusive admission savings at www.D23Expo.com.

Gold-level D23 memberships are $74.99, and Silver-level memberships-which provide all benefits with the exception of a subscription to Disney twenty-three magazine-are just $34.99 a year. All discounts and special promotions are available to both Gold- and Silver-level D23 Members.

About D23

The name "D23" pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official community for fans in Disney's 88-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 new collectibles line, the Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 19-21, 2011.

Fans can join D23 at www.Disney.com/D23, all Disney Store locations within the United States, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us "DisneyD23" at Twitter and on Facebook.

June 3, 2011

The Little Mermaid’ Attraction Opens June 3 in Disney California Adventure Park

ANAHEIM, Calif., June 2, 2011 - Guests will enter the enchanting story of "The Little Mermaid," complete with characters and songs from the Academy Award-winning Disney animated motion picture, when they board The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure, premiering Friday, June 3, in Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort.


Set in and around Ariel's underwater world and located inside a new space on Paradise Pier, the new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney "dark ride" with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure adds to the excitement of Disney Soundsational Summer, June 3 through Sept 5, a season that offers guests even more ways to make special memories at the Disneyland Resort.

Adventurers on the attraction will feel as if they are descending below the ocean's surface, one of the special effects that take this "dark ride" to a new level of sophistication. Once "under the sea," guests will find themselves immersed in the classic story of "The Little Mermaid," sharing Ariel's adventure through advanced Audio-Animatronics technology, a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along.

"Being involved in this attraction is a dream come true for me," said Lisa Girolami, Walt Disney Imagineer and Senior Show Producer for The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure. "I watched the movie when it first came out and I've seen it many, many times since. To be able to create Ariel's world and bring it to our guests, and then get to watch the faces of the kids and parents as they come through here, is just going to be the best thing ever."

'Out of the sea - Wish I could be - Part of that world'

The fun begins outside the attraction, where the building housing The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure is a new landmark along Paradise Pier. Its Victorian Exposition-style exterior, including a statue of King Triton and relief carvings of frolicking mermaids (Ariel's sisters), was inspired by the spectacular pavilions found in the classic seaside amusement parks of the early 20th century.

"Many times I've thought, 'Why didn't we have a Mermaid attraction sooner?'" Keane said. "But now I'm glad we didn't. They've done this one so well."

Actresses Pat Carroll (left) and Jodi Benson (right), who voiced the roles of Ursula and Ariel in Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' are reunited at the all-new attraction 'The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure' at Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday. The first-ever attraction based on the classic Disney film opens June 3, 2011. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)



In The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Ariel's story unfolds in colorful scenes filled with Audio-Animatronics characters and memorable music from the hit Disney animated motion picture, "The Little Mermaid." The Disney California Adventure park attraction brings the popular motion picture to life in magnificent scenes where guests can sing along with Sebastian and friends, keep an eye out for the evil Ursula, and experience the romance of Ariel and Eric. Special effects transport guests "under the sea," taking them into Ariel's world in ways never before seen.


The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure - Fun Facts Disney California Adventure

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure opened to guests on June 3, 2011, at Disney California Adventure park. This whimsical underwater adventure begins when guests board pastel-colored clamshell vehicles and head "under the sea" to visit Ariel and her friends in a musical retelling of the classic motion picture. During this immersive experience, guests will see the Little Mermaid falling in love, getting her legs, losing her voice and winning the prince as the best-loved musical numbers bring the attraction to life all around them.
"This is the first Disney ride-through attraction that takes you "under the sea" with Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian and Ursula, with music and scenes from "The Little Mermaid" film.

•Nearly 200 Audio-Animatronics figures perform in the attraction. The Under the Sea scene alone has 128 figures, including 50 spinning starfish.


•Ursula is the largest Audio-Animatronics figure in the show at 7½-feet tall and 12-feet wide. She also has a squash-and-stretch function in her torso and flexible materials so she can bounce along with the music.


•An 86-foot long, hand-painted mural greets guests in the loading area of the attraction. The mural depicts many of the characters guests will see within the attraction including Prince Eric, King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder and, of course, Ariel.


•The attraction was created by a team of talented Imagineers and consultants including Senior Show Producer Lisa Girolami, Creative Director/Show Designer Larry Nikolai, and Frank Antonides, director of project management - all from Walt Disney Imagineering - along with Chris Crump, production and show designer, and Danny Troob, musical arranger and orchestrator.

•The attraction building was inspired by the Dragon Gorge scenic railway at the long-gone Ocean Park amusement zone in Southern California.

•The building's façade features a statue of King Triton and relief carvings of six frolicking mermaids. The mermaids are Ariel's older sisters: Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana.

Little Mermaid

•The Palace of Fine Arts rotunda, originally the entrance to the former "Golden Dreams" attraction, has been incorporated into The Little Mermaid attraction architecture and is now part of the entrance façade.

•A special skin technology had to be incorporated into the Audio-Animatronics figures for Ariel, King Triton and Ursula since they have so much skin exposed.


•The attraction features an Omnimover ride system pioneered by Walt Disney Imagineers in the 1960s and used for the "Doom Buggies" of the Haunted Mansion, as well as in Adventures Through Inner Space, formerly in Tomorrowland.

•Attraction vehicles are sculpted multi-colored, pastel clamshells.

Little Mermaid

•The attraction experience is approximately 5½ minutes from the time guests load the clamshell to the time they exit the clamshell.

•Music in the queue features an orchestral medley of songs from the film.

•Songs from the original film written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are featured in the attraction: "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl," "Poor Unfortunate Souls," and the Academy Award winning "Under the Sea." Guests will recognize the voices of Jodi Benson (Ariel) and Pat Carroll (Ursula).


•The Little Mermaid feature film debuted November 15, 1989, and the film won Academy Awards for Best Song, "Under the Sea," and Best Original Score.

•The Little Mermaid was the first Disney film based on a classic fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty three decades earlier.

•Imagineers working on the attraction consulted with Ariel's animator in the film, Glen Keane, who recommended that her hair be treated as a character all its own.

•Each scene of the attraction was first built as a one-quarter-inch scale model and then as a one inch scale model, so Imagineers could "ride" through the attraction scene-by-scene before full construction began.

Little Mermaid

•The attraction concludes with a surprise ending that takes us beyond the ending of the film.

•A similar version of the attraction is scheduled to open in the new Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Star Tours the Adventures Continue Grand Opening Disneyland






Photos from the live broadcast from the Disney Parks Blog

America’s Olympic Gymnastics Star Nastia Liukin Talks About Competing in London 2012 Games, Dallas Mavericks Postseason Run


Reigning Olympic gold medal winner Nastia Liukin of the United States works with young gymnasts Friday during the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase at Walt Disney World and gives her most definitive remarks to date on defending her all-around title at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Liukin, 21, gave instruction and encouragement to four Orlando-area gymnasts - including Clermont's Olessia Dunaeva - at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

Liukin, who trains in Plano, TX, also interacts with the USA Basketball Women's under-19 team, including fellow Dallas-area hoops star Alexis Jones (Irving, TX), at the sports complex at Disney and gives her thoughts on the Dallas Mavericks-Miami Heat NBA Finals matchup.

The USA Basketball Women's under-19 team is competing at the sports complex as part of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase, which brings together one of the biggest collections of elite female youth athletes in the country. The three-week sports festival involves nearly 15,000 elite and recreational female athletes competing in basketball, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), softball, taekwondo and volleyball.

June 6, 2011

Enchanted Tales with Belle - A Peak Behind the New Fantasyland Walls

Information and Photos from the Disney Parks Blog by Jennifer Fickley-Baker

"Beauty and the Beast" was released in theaters in 1991, and to say that I was obsessed with this movie is putting it mildly. I was 12 years old when it debuted and I must've seen the film at least 10 times that summer. In my mind, nothing was better than spending an afternoon wrapped up in this tale of "far-off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!" I remember sitting in the theater, dreaming of visiting Belle's quiet French village, exploring the halls of the Beast's mysterious castle and whirling across the golden ballroom in a gown of the same color.


Soon fans of all ages will have the opportunity to do just that and take a trip through the world of "Beauty and the Beast" at the Enchanted Tales with Belle storybook adventure, which is currently under construction as part of the Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom Park.


Walt Disney Imagineering is currently building Maurice's workshop, which will serve as scene one of the experience. The workshop, which is modeled after a French cottage, will be surrounded by a wishing well, footbridges and lush landscaping. Once inside, guests will step through a magic mirror and find themselves inside Beast's expansive library, which he created as a gift for Belle in the film. This room will serve as the setting for a memorable character interaction experience with Belle - which will require a little help from Lumiere, the enchanted candlestick.

Another "Beauty and the Beast" experience planned for this area is the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which will allow up to 550 guests to dine in the ballroom, gallery and "West Wing" area of Beast's castle.

These and other Fantasyland enhancements will open in phases starting in late 2012.

Lion King in 3D premieres at the D23 Expo 2011


BURBANK, Calif. - June 6, 2011 - Fans attending Disney's D23 Expo (August 19-21, 2011) will have access to an exclusive advance screening of "The Lion King" in Disney Digital 3D™, ahead of the film's highly anticipated theatrical and home entertainment releases, The Walt Disney Studios announced today. The screening will be held August 20 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

"With Disney fans coming from all over the world to experience the D23 Expo, we've got the perfect setting and the perfect audience to share in the 3D launch of 'The Lion King,' " said Steven Clark, head of D23. "We're thrilled to bring our most devoted fans an exclusive look at one of the most iconic and beloved Disney films of all time. This is Pride Rock in a way it's never been seen before."

The Circle of Life takes on a new dimension as Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa grace the screen once again, this time in breathtaking 3D. Beginning Sept. 16, a special two-week theatrical extravaganza will showcase the Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winning film on the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™ for the first time ever, followed up by the home entertainment debut Oct. 4, celebrating the Diamond Edition release of the epic movie "The Lion King" in high-definition Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™.

Released in 1994, "The Lion King" remains one of the most successful animated films of all time. The classic tale of the African savanna wowed audiences worldwide with spectacular hand-drawn animation along with inspiring songs by Sir Elton John and Tim Rice, plus an evocative score by renowned composer Hans Zimmer. Three years later, the landmark film was adapted into a Tony Award®-winning musical, becoming an instant hit on Broadway, where earlier this year it became the seventh longest-running show ever. Winning over 70 major awards, it has delighted more than 55 million theatergoers around the globe.


The D23 Expo-The Ultimate Disney Fan Event-brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks as never before. Tickets for the D23 Expo 2011 fall into three different pricing tiers, based on purchase date (visit www.D23Expo.com for details), and D23 Members can enjoy additional savings plus members-only benefits. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available for both D23 Members and the general public.


The name "D23" pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official community for fans in Disney's 88-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 new collectibles line, the Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 19-21, 2011.

Fans can join D23 at www.Disney.com/D23, all Disney Store locations within the United States, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us "DisneyD23" at Twitter and on Facebook.

June 8, 2011


D23 Disney's Fan Club Logo




Tickets On Sale Now at www.elcapitantickets.com or at (818) 845-3110

Event to Also Feature First-Ever Digital Projection of Newly Restored Feature Film, Rocketeer 20th Anniversary Collectibles and Film Exhibit

BURBANK, CA, June 8, 2011 - Acclaimed director Joe Johnston joins an out-of-this-world panel as D23: The Official Disney Fan Club celebrates the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer. Johnston, whose work for Disney includes The Rocketeer, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Hildalgo, also helms this summer's highly anticipated Captain America: The First Avenger. He joins the Rocketeer himself, actor Bill Campbell, make-up designer Rick Baker, screenwriters Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo and renowned illustrator William Stout to honor this Disney film favorite.* Writer/producer/director Kevin Smith - whose film credits include Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma - will host the panel, which also includes rare film footage and photos, immediately before a special screening of the film on June 21, 2011, at the legendary El Capitan Theatre, where the film premiered two decades ago.

The evening celebration includes the first-ever, public presentation of the new, digitally remastered and projected version of The Rocketeer. All audience members will receive a complimentary Rocketeer 20th anniversary program and D23 Members and their guests will receive a special commemorative Rocketeer gift.

Following the screening, the celebration moves to the Hollywood Museum, located in the nearby historic Max Factor building, where guests are invited to explore four floors of movie memories and exhibits highlighted by a special presentation of props and costumes from The Rocketeer, curated exclusively for this event by the Walt Disney Archives.

Rocketeer fans will also have access to a selection of commemorative and limited-edition Rocketeer merchandise and collectibles, available for purchase from D23 and event co-sponsor, Creature Features. Merchandise includes Bulldog Cafe coffee mugs and T-shirts, Rocketeer black light and 20th anniversary posters, assorted commemorative T-shirts and pins, Hughes Industries giclee prints, and the limited edition Cirrus X-3 double pin set (packaged inside a miniature replica of the Hughes Industries 1939 New York World's Fair prop folder used by Howard Hughes - actor Terry O' Quinn - in the film). A highlight of the merchandise offerings is the highly detailed Bull Dog Cafe Art Directors Model, limited to an edition size of only 23.

The Rocketeer follows the adventures of stunt pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) who discovers a stolen rocket pack and sets off on a series of heroic (and sometimes hilarious) adventures that attract the attention of Howard Hughes, the FBI, gangsters, a band of Nazis and one aspiring actress, namely Cliff's girlfriend Jenny (Oscar® winner Jennifer Connolly). Directed by Johnston, the film also stars Terry O'Quinn, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton and Paul Sorvino. Check out the trailer at: http://d23.disney.go.com/expo/062111.EE.EVENT_Rocketeer.html

Tickets are on sale now to both the general public and D23 Members online at www.elcapitantickets.com or by calling (818) 845-3110. Event ticket cost is $50 per person. Event check-in begins at 6:45 p.m. at the El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd; panel and screening begins at 7:30 p.m. The Walt Disney Archives exhibit will follow the screening from 9:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Museum located at 1660 N. Highland Ave.

June 10, 2011

Disney Parks Ticket Prices to Increase

The Disney Parks Blog posted today:

".... that ticket prices are increasing at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The new prices go into effect on June 12, but today we're sharing an early look at pricing details as well as some existing special values for Florida and California residents.

At Walt Disney World Resort, the Magic Your Way ticket offers a variety of options for you to customize your ticket purchase and save on your visit. Florida residents can also take advantage of the monthly payment plan we launched last year to give them greater flexibility when they purchase an annual pass. All updated pricing is posted on the Blog and also will be added to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets-passes/.

And at Disneyland Resort, details about ticket prices are posted on a special page we've created on the Disney Parks Blog. The information will also be available at http://disneyland.disney.go.com/tickets/ on June 12, including details about special summer values for Southern California and Northern Baja residents, as well as our Southern California resident pass, which is more popular than ever with the monthly payments option."

June 13, 2011

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

From the Disney Parks Blog...

Details will continue to unfold between now and the start of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, themed "Passport to a World of Flavors," but here are the early highlights for the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

From Sept. 30-Nov. 13, Epcot World Showcase Promenade features a panoply of delicious tastes, wine and cocktail pairings and other drinks, live entertainment and special culinary fun. More than 25 international marketplaces feature tapas-sized portions ($3 to $8) paired with beer, wine and cocktails.


What's hot this year? Here are the headlines:

• Hawaii, the Caribbean islands and Portugal all debut Marketplaces - look for Kailua pork sliders in Hawaii, ropa vieja in the Caribbean and calamari salad in Portugal.

• The new Odyssey Lounge opens, where guests can check in with friends and family back home, play games and surf the web while enjoying a specialty cocktail or a glass of wine or beer. There's even a charging station for mobile phones and other electronic devices.

• Celeb chefs are back - top culinarians like Jeff Henderson, Cat Cora, Alan Wong, Gale Gand, Suvir Saran, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Celina Tio and more. All told, more than 270 chefs participate.

• There's always fun stuff at the Festival Welcome Center, from a wine bar to tasting seminars and free sessions with cookbook authors.

• Eat to the Beat! Concert Series is back at America Gardens Theatre with first timers the Pointer Sisters, The Orchestra starring former members of ELO and Gin Blossoms. Taylor Dayne kicks it off opening weekend.

• Also back are First Bites Opening Reception on Sept. 29 (one time only); Kitchen Memories (formerly Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen); Mixology Seminar, and "3D" Disney Dessert Discovery. And of course the grand Party for the Senses!

• A new Cranberry Bog display by Craisons tells the story behind the cranberry's rich agricultural heritage.

The Party for the Senses grand tasting events and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) for information and to make reservations for special events and programs (Aug. 16 is the date you can start booking). Festival details are available at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Takes Shape

From the DisneyParksBlog....

You can watch the incredible progress in action on this special time lapse video - you aren't going to believe how much of the ship is completed already!

June 14, 2011

Early Buyers at Golden Oak Get VIP Benefits at Walt Disney World Resort

New Residential Resort Community at Walt Disney World Resort Announces Disney Amenities for Homebuyers; Breaks Ground on Clubhouse


LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - Early homebuyers in Disney's unique residential resort community, Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort, will receive Disney VIP park passes to Walt Disney World with no block-out dates, free parking, personalized service when making dining reservations at Disney restaurants, access to special early or late theme park hours each day and select merchandise discounts.

Sales began in January and homes are currently under construction in the one-of-a-kind community. Strong interest from buyers prompted Golden Oak to make available most of the estate, grand estate and village homesites in the initial phase of the 980-acre community. Whether from the United States, South America or Great Britain, interested buyers all have something in common: a strong affinity for Walt Disney World Resort and a desire for a retreat where family and friends can enjoy time together creating lifelong memories.

Families who close on the purchase of a homesite or completed home in the exceptional luxury community before December 31, 2011 will receive one complimentary five-year VIP Pass for the homebuyer, providing admission for the Passholder and up to four guests. The special Golden Oak VIP Pass will allow admission to all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Water Parks, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex every day of the year with no block-out dates. Also included are complimentary parking for one car and discounts up to 20% on select merchandise purchased at select Walt Disney World Resort Parks or Downtown Disney area locations.

"The dream of families buying homes at Golden Oak is unique access to Disney," said Page Pierce, vice president, Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort. "We're excited to offer these incredible VIP benefits to homeowners in what is a truly one-of-a-kind community."


Every homeowner at Golden Oak will be a member of the private social and recreational Golden Oak Club. As part of their Club Membership, homeowners will receive Door-to-Park transportation, complimentary merchandise delivery to their home in Golden Oak, special golf services, and access to the Extra Magic Hours Benefit at Walt Disney World (early- or after-hours access to one of the four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks daily). Disney-designed holiday décor, golf program and in-park special event tickets will be available for an additional fee. I

n addition to the first custom homes, construction is underway for Summerhouse, Golden Oak's 16,000 square-foot residential clubhouse designed by Walt Disney Imagineers for club members and their guests. Located in the heart of the community, current development plans for Summerhouse include indoor and outdoor dining areas, lounge with wine storage and full bar, family room with gaming area, demonstration kitchen for guest chef appearances, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness facility, locker rooms and pool with towel service. An outdoor fire pit, courtyard, function lawn, and park areas are planned for year-round recreation. Programs are anticipated to include kitchen demonstrations by Disney chefs, seasonal parties and family events hosted by Golden Oak Resident Services professionals. Resident Services at Golden Oak will bring Disney's personal guest service culture directly to residents and guests. A dedicated onsite team at Golden Oak will help arrange personal, residential and resort requests such as move-in services, pre-arrival and post-departure home maintenance services, travel and private transportation, holiday home décor, grocery shopping, VIP tours and more.


Golden Oak will initially consist of three types of single-family homes: Village, Estate and Grand Estate Homes. Village Homes will capture the romantic look of a Mediterranean village on homesites up to one-quarter acre. Estate Homes, on approximately one-half acre homesites, will offer a variety of architectural styles including Tuscan, Spanish Revival, Venetian, Italianate, Dutch Colonial and Island Colonial. At up to three-quarters acre in size, Grand Estate Homes will include architectural styles consistent with Estate Homes and will accommodate the needs of large families. Home prices start at $1.4 million.

Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort brings together family, friends and cherished Disney traditions in a unique, luxury residential resort community of single-family custom homes. To live at Golden Oak is to enjoy a destination experience year round, with distinctive neighborhoods, expansive natural preserves and inviting amenities-including a private clubhouse, concierge-style resident services and Walt Disney World Resort Park offerings. Also planned for the community is Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, with a golf course, spa and restaurants. For more information, visit www.disneygoldenoak.com.

Disney Announces Worldwide Celebration to Honor 10th Member of the Disney Princess Royal Court, Rapunzel

'Rapunzel's royal celebration' To Take Place At Kensington Palace In London, UK

Girls From Across The Globe & Every Disney Princess Character To Join The Festivities

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Disney will officially welcome Rapunzel as the 10th Disney Princess character at a high profile, star-studded celebration, to take place in front of a global audience on October 2, 2011. Little princesses from across the globe will watch Rapunzel be welcomed into the Disney Princess royal court by Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, Snow White and Tiana.

In a world first, Kensington Palace, London, UK, was chosen by Disney as the perfect location for this magical welcoming ceremony of a Disney Princess, as it has been the home of many real life princesses over the centuries.

"Once Rapunzel becomes an official member of the Disney Princess court, she will be celebrated and recognized as such across Disney, and will be included in all Disney Princess products featuring multiple characters, in addition to her own merchandise line. Plus, across all Disney Parks, Rapunzel will for the first time wear her royal tiara, stolen from the kingdom by Flynn Rider in the Tangled film," said Mary Beech, vice president of girls franchise development and marketing at Disney Consumer Products. "With London knowing a thing or two about bringing royal celebrations to a worldwide audience, it seemed only fitting for the city to become the stage for the celebration to welcome Rapunzel into our own Disney Princess royal court. We are inviting girls from across the globe to welcome each Disney Princess character to the Palace and celebrate with Rapunzel on her special day."

Independent charity Historic Royal Palaces has joined with Disney to help stage the event, in a collaboration that aims to encourage children all over the world to explore the stories behind the real kings, queens, princes and princesses alongside Disney's. "Our aim is to help everyone explore the stories of how monarchs and other royals have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built," said Ruth Gill, Head of Interpretation at Historic Royal Palaces. "Kensington Palace has always been a place of spectacle, beauty and majesty, and home to many inspirational real-life Princesses. We are therefore delighted to celebrate our relationship with Disney by hosting this magical event that will welcome Rapunzel as the 10th member of the Disney Princess royal court."

All ten Disney Princess characters will take part in the royal celebration and will be joined by VIPs, celebrities and little princesses from across the globe in festivities including a procession through Hyde Park, party activities and a welcoming ceremony.

Each Disney Princess character has a unique story that empowers girls to imagine and live their very own fairy tales. Rapunzel is a modern heroine - she may have lived her entire life locked inside a hidden tower but Rapunzel is no damsel in distress. The girl with 70 feet of glowing, magical hair is an energetic, inquisitive young lady who fills her days with art, books and imagination. She is full of curiosity about the outside world and can't help but feel her true destiny lies outside of the lonely tower walls.

Kensington Palace has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century and is famed for its associations with Princesses. Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria, Britain's longest reigning monarch) was born at Kensington Palace on 24th May 1819 and was christened the following month in the Cupola Room. Her love for the palace ensured the renovations of the State Apartments in 1897 which were opened to the public on Queen Victoria's 80th birthday. Today, parts of Kensington Palace continue to serve as residences for members of the Royal Family. The best known resident in recent years was Diana, Princess of Wales, who occupied apartments in the north-west part of the palace from 1981-1997.

Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom - A Closer Look!

from the Disney Parks Blog

With all the updates we've done on the "royal" side of the Fantasyland expansion - Beast's Castle, Maurice's Cottage and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid - the plans for Storybook Circus seemed to be a bit more mysterious. Until now.


Storybook Circus will be based on our animated film, "Dumbo." Here, Casey Jr., the famous locomotive from the movie, has rolled into town and brought the grand Storybook Circus with him. The area will be filled with colorful circus tents and nods to the famous film. For example, guests - especially little ones - are welcome to cool down with Casey Jr., who can be found near the train station, getting splashed by playful circus animals.


Just past Casey Jr., guests will encounter big-top circus tents that lead to a "double" version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Also, in the tradition of classic air shows, Barnstormer will take on a new look and theme, becoming a spiraling stunt plane built by The Great Goofini.


June 15, 2011

International Soccer Star Kaká and NFL Players Converge at Disney Before Intl Cup Youth Soccer Event


International soccer sensation Kaká played football and soccer Wednesday with several NFL players and Mickey Mouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, FL.


Kaká, the Brazilian star of the Real Madrid team, played around with NFL players such as Bryant McFadden (Steelers, center in the photo above), Travis Johnson (Chargers) and Greg Jones (Jaguars), who train at the sports complex with renowned trainer Tom Shaw.

Kaká was at Disney in advance of next month's prestigious Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament, which features nearly 200 teams from 16 countries.

June 16, 2011



Regis Philbin, Jim Henson, Disney Princesses Jodi Benson, Paige O'Hara, Lea Salonga, Anika Noni Rose, and Other Talented Contributors to Disney History Take the Spotlight at a Special Ceremony on Friday, August 19

BURBANK, Calif. - June 16, 2011 -Television icon Regis Philbin, Muppets creator Jim Henson, the extraordinary actresses who vocally brought to life many modern-day Disney Princesses including Jodi Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid), Paige O'Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast), Lea Salonga (singing voices of Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan from Mulan), Linda Larkin (speaking voice of Jasmine from Aladdin), and Anika Noni Rose (Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog) plus other equally impressive contributors to the Disney legacy will be named and honored as official Disney Legends during the D23 EXPO at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 19, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

The Disney Legends Awards program is a 24-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, and the three-day D23 EXPO provides a rare opportunity for the public to be a part of the always touching and memorable presentation. The awards ceremony will kick off the first day of the D23 EXPO, hosted by noted television personality Tom Bergeron (host of ABC's Dancing with the Stars and America's Funniest Home Videos), and will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 19, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

"From giving voice to some of our most iconic and beloved Disney princesses to bringing a smile to millions of television viewers every morning for two decades, we are proud to present these 12 men and women with our highest, most coveted honor, The Disney Legends Award," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "Our newest honorees now join this unique and prestigious circle, which recognizes those whose incredible talents and outstanding contributions have had a lasting, meaningful impact on Disney's great legacy."

The 2011 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

JODI BENSON is an acclaimed voice actress and soprano singer who provided both the singing and speaking voices for Disney's Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid and its sequels. For more than 20 years, Benson has voiced Ariel in film, television, video games, toys and at Disney Parks. She also starred as Sam in Disney's Enchanted and voiced Barbie in the hit Disney/Pixar films Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, plus Weebo in the film comedy Flubber.

BARTON "BO" BOYD began his career at Disney 1968 as an Assistant Merchandise Supervisor at Disneyland. Continually advancing over the course of his 33-years with the company, Boyd was an integral part of the team creating merchandise specifically for Disneyland and Walt Disney World and held positions including Merchandise Division Director and Vice President, Retail Merchandising. In 1997, he was named Chairman of Disney Consumer Products where he oversaw one of the longest periods of sustained growth in the history of Disney merchandising with such initiatives as Licensed Merchandise, Walt Disney Records, the start of Hyperion Press, the entire line of Disney magazine products, Disney Catalog, Disney Interactive for computer games and educational software, ESPN-The Store, Walt Disney Classics Collection, Walt Disney Collectors Society and the establishment of the first Disney Store outside the grounds of the Disney Parks.

JIM HENSON, an Emmy Award-winning television producer and Oscar-nominated film director, was an American puppeteer and the creator of global phenomenon, The Muppets. The cross-cultural appeal of The Muppets propelled television shows like Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock to new heights. The success of these series led Henson to explore feature films including The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan, as well as the technologically ground-breaking fantasy classics The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. The Muppet legacy continued with popular Disney films such as The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island, as well as the upcoming The Muppets, premiering this November.

LINDA LARKIN is a celebrated actress and popular voice performer best known for providing the voice of Princess Jasmine in the Disney animated feature Aladdin, its sequels, spin-offs and television specials. She has also been vocally featured in the Disney animated television series House of Mouse and the popular Kingdom Hearts video game.

PAIGE O'HARA is a Broadway actress and singer best known for providing the voice of Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, its sequels, series and games. She also starred as Angela in the Disney film hit Enchanted. O'Hara has also been vocally featured in the Disney video game Kingdom Hearts and as Belle on the 64th Annual Academy Awards.

REGIS PHILBIN is an Emmy Award-winning, cultural icon who has entertained millions of people through talk shows, game shows, books and albums for more than 50 years. For the past 23 years, Americans have woken up to Philbin, thanks to the nationally syndicated hit talk show LIVE! with Regis and Kelly which originated in 1983 when Philbin created The Morning Show for WABC in New York. In addition to his daytime success, Philbin launched ABC's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire into a primetime powerhouse and hosted a variety of shows including NBC's America's Got Talent, CBS' Million Dollar Password, and the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

JACK AND BONITA WRATHER struck a deal with their friend Walt Disney in 1954 to build a luxury family hotel on property adjacent to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Ground was broken on March 18, 1955, and the hotel opened six and a half months later-104 rooms in five two-story buildings at a starting room rate of $15. The Disneyland Hotel, originally conceived as simply lodging, presaged future developments in how Americans entertained themselves, pioneering, as Jack's son Chris wrote, "new forms of dining as entertainment, shopping as entertainment and the use of a waterfront setting"� in an urban environment. The Disneyland Hotel has since played host to kings, queens, presidents, entertainment and sports legends and families from around the world.

ANIKA NONI ROSE is a renowned actress and singer who provided the voice of Princess Tiana in Disney's The Princess and the Frog. In addition, some of her Broadway, television and film credits include her Tony Award-winning performance in Caroline, or Change, the blockbuster feature film Dreamgirls, and television series including The Starter Wife and The Good Wife.

LEA SALONGA is a celebrated actress and singer who provided the singing voice for two Disney Princesses: Jasmine in Aladdin, and Fa Mulan in Mulan and Mulan II. In addition to her recording and television career, Salonga's vast Broadway credits are highlighted by her performance as Kim in Miss Saigon which garnered her numerous awards including a Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics' Circle and Theater World Awards.

RAY WATSON was President of The Irvine Company when he was asked to join the Board of Directors for Walt Disney Productions in 1973. Watson's early tenure on the Board saw the expansion of Walt Disney World, the 1976 opening of River Country-Disney's first water park, and the opening of EPCOT Center, in 1982, which at a cost of $1 billion was the largest private land development project ever at that time. In 1983, Watson was elected as Chairman of the Board and after stepping down as chairman 1984, remained on the Board until he retired in 2004 after serving the Company for 30 years and establishing a worldwide reputation as a real estate development visionary.

GUY WILLIAMS was an acclaimed actor who starred in the hit Disney television series Zorro and two feature films, The Sign of Zorro and Zorro the Avenger. Williams' charming portrayal of Zorro helped galvanized the character in the public's imagination and made the series a favorite among the Baby Boomer generation and beyond. His other popular television credits include the hit series Bonanza and Lost in Space.

Each honoree receives a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity and magic they have brought to the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients also participate in a handprint ceremony, and their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company's Burbank headquarters.

The first Disney Legend, actor Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), was named in 1987. Including this year's honorees, a total of 237 Disney Legends have been named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Robin Williams, Julie Andrews, Howard Ashman, Annette Funicello, Peter Jennings, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Sir Tim Rice, Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Walters. At the inaugural D23 Expo in 2009, the Legends Awards ceremony, which honored Robin Williams, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McLanahan, Betty White, Tony Anselmo, Bill Farmer, Harry Archinal, Don Iwerks and Leota Toombs Thomas, was presented to thousands of Disney fans for the first time.

Tickets to the D23 EXPO are available at http://www.D23Expo.com. Admission includes access to all experiences and entertainment at the D23 EXPO, including the Disney Legends Ceremony, and can be purchased for single days or for the full three days of festivities. Admission is $42 for a one-day adult ticket and $32 for children 3-12. Three-day passes are $121 for adults and $91 for children. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will receive a discount for up to four admissions, as well as early entry to each day of the D23 EXPO for themselves and their guests.

June 20, 2011

D23 Expo - Live Auction and Dream Store to Return

Special logo apparel, product debuts, artist signings, and a new silent auction will highlight the Ultimate Disney Event for Fans and Families August 19-21

BURBANK and ANAHEIM, Calif. - June 20, 2011 - Bursting with D23-themed merchandise and other specialty items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise, the Dream Store returns to D23 Expo 2011 with something magical for Disney fans of all ages. From Disney-inspired art and collectibles to classic character collections featuring such beloved characters as Mickey Mouse and Dumbo among others, the D23 Expo Dream Store is a Disney enthusiast's dream come true.

Highlights include:

D23 Expo Logo Merchandise will allow D23 fans to take home a piece of the magic from this year's D23 Expo, with an assortment of merchandise including apparel, headwear, pins, and Vinylmation™. The heart of this collection is the official logo of the D23 Expo 2011.

Remember... it all started with a Mouse is a tribute to Walt's legacy and visionary imagination. As part of this year's D23 Expo, Disney Consumer Products commissioned local artist Noah to create an iconic graphic celebrating this year's themes. In exquisite detail, Noah has captured the joy and laughter that come from Walt Disney's ever-familiar and contagious smile. By carefully selecting a beautiful palette of colors, he cleverly reveals this year's celebrated Disney film anniversaries, which include One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo and Beauty and the Beast. For the past decade, Noah has continued to magically interpret Disney characters through his unique style, which has become a favorite among Disney collectors worldwide. For more information on Noah, visit www.noahfineart.com.

Disney Theme Park Merchandise debuts some of its newest releases, including the Disneyland Vintage Collection, which pays tribute to attractions from yesteryear, as well as the release of the much-anticipated, limited-edition TRON Monorail and the Disneyland Monorail play set. In addition, the latest releases from Disney licensees and artists, including Precious Moments, Robert Olszewski, Jim Shore, and more will be unveiled.

D23 Expo Anniversary Collection pays tribute to this year's historical anniversaries of the beloved Disney classic films One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, and Dumbo. Each day of the Expo, the Dream Store will release limited quantities of commemorative merchandise from each of these celebrated films.

Disney Dream Collection and D23-Exclusive Jewelry will captivate and dazzle audiences with new pieces of fine jewelry featuring classic Disney icons and characters, such as the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Tinker Bell, among others.

Acme Archives Limited invites guests to make the magic come alive in your home with the latest releases from Disney-Pixar, Disney Studio Art, Disney Limited and Disney Underground.
Dream Store Autograph Sessions will give D23 fans the opportunity to meet and greet some of their favorite authors, artists, Disney Legends and other notable celebrities. Autograph sessions will be posted daily at the D23 Expo Autograph exhibition area.

Dream Store Showcase and Trading Area invites fans to find out more about what is "in store" from the world of Disney Theme Park Merchandise, including Disney Pins, Vinylmation™, Duffy the Disney Bear, limited-edition ear hats, and more. This special area is the place to trade, collect, and swap stories with fellow Disney fans.

D23 Expo 2011 Live and Silent Auction offers Disney enthusiasts the rare opportunity to bid on unique experiences, tours, artwork, props, and more-specially designed for Disney fans. The D23 Expo 2011 Live and Silent Auction takes place Saturday, August 20, 2011. Tickets for the Live and Silent Auction go on sale June 20, 2011, at 8:00 a.m. via www.ArtofDisneyParks.com. Separate D23 Expo admission is required.

Please continue to watch as we release more details about Dream Store merchandise, offerings, live and silent auction lots, and more on www.Disney.com/D23 and www.ArtofDisneyParks.com and on Facebook and Twitter at "DisneyD23".

Tickets for D23 Expo 2011 are available at a discounted price through June 30, 2011. All D23 Members-both Gold level and Silver level-can take advantage of additional exclusive admission savings at www.D23Expo.com.

About D23 Expo 2011

The D23 Expo-The Ultimate Disney Fan Event-brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks as never before. Tickets for D23 Expo 2011 will fall into three different pricing tiers, based on purchase date (visit www.D23Expo.com for details), and D23 Members can enjoy additional savings plus members-only benefits. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available for both D23 Members and the general public.

About D23

The name "D23" pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official community for fans in Disney's 88-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 new collectibles line, The Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 19-21, 2011.

Fans can join D23 at www.Disney.com/D23, all Disney Store locations within the United States, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us "DisneyD23" at Twitter and on Facebook.

June 21, 2011

Real-life Rafiki - a Baby Mandrill - Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., June 15, 2011 -- After six and a half months of waiting, Disney's Animal Kingdom is welcoming a "colorful" addition to its animal family. A male baby mandrill was born May 30 to first-time mother, Kelley, and is the third one born at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Mom and baby are doing very well.

Native to Africa, mandrills are among the largest species of monkey in the world and are considered endangered. They're known for their bright coloration, furry head crests, manes and beards. Adults also have thick purple and blue ridges along their noses, big red lips and golden beards. Fans of Disney's animated movie "The Lion King" might recall Rafiki, who was not only a colorful character, but a mandrill as well.

So far, Disney's animal care experts are encouraged by the bonding between mother and infant. The baby spends most of his day nursing and sleeping, and is under close observation by the animal care team. The baby and mother are starting to make short forays into their habitat on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, joining other members of the mandrill group.

"The new mom is very relaxed but protective," said Barb Weber, primate zoological manager at Disney's Animal Kingdom. "We're pleased another young female mandrill, Scarlett, has taken a keen interest in the newborn. This is a great experience for her because she is learning from the baby's mom how to be a good mom herself."

Preparations for motherhood began long before the baby mandrill was born. For example, primate keepers worked with Kelley during pregnancy to pick up objects which helped simulate holding her baby after birth.

With the new baby, the number of mandrills that make their home at Disney's Animal Kingdom has grown to 12. Disney's Animal Kingdom is part of a breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that is focused on sustaining the mandrill population.

Fun Facts:

Typical mandrill babies weigh between one and two pounds at birth.
Adult female mandrills weigh an average of 30 pounds. Adult males are larger and average 60-100 pounds.
The average life span of a mandrill is approximately 20 - 30 years.

Victoria & Albert’s Once Again Receives Highly Coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., June 21, 2011 - For the 12th consecutive year, Victoria & Albert's at Disney' Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been awarded the coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award. Victoria & Albert's is the only restaurant in Orlando and one of only three in Florida to be honored with the highest accolade a restaurant can achieve.

Victoria & Albert's Chef Scott Hunnel has drawn national and international applause for his preparation and delivery of American regional cuisine with classical influences at the elegant, 50-seat restaurant.

"Earning the AAA Five-Diamond Award is like winning an Oscar," said Victoria & Albert's Chef Scott Hunnel. "To be one of 55 restaurants in all of North America to receive this prestigious award is such an honor. It confirms our philosophy that it takes passion and a synchronized team to deliver consistent, top-quality cuisine night after night!"

A Disney cast member for more than 20 years, Chef Hunnel understands that the fundamentals of cooking don't change, rather with time, palette's change. He believes it's the continuous evolution that goes into each dish that makes the cooking and the menu at Victoria & Albert's different from other restaurants. To keep pace with the ever-changing food & beverage industry, Chef Hunnel takes gastronomic journeys to visit world-class restaurants, hotels, farms and markets for healthy and savory inspirations.

"Working for Disney has been very gratifying because the company understands that to be the best, we must never stop exploring and growing in constant pursuit of excellence."

Take for example one of his signature dishes -- the prosciutto-wrapped lamb served with cipollini onions and sherry vinaigrette - which tastefully demonstrates classical European influences combined with the culinary expertise behind the Victoria & Albert's team of award-winning chefs.

"What makes Victoria & Albert's exceptional is not only the incredible cuisine, but the entire dining experience," said Kevin Myers, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort Operations. "From reservations, the very personal table-side service, sommeliers, chefs and pastry chefs.....the whole team is dedicated to delivering a memorable evening for each of our guests. We couldn't be prouder of the entire team."

Those memorable experiences have led to other accolades including the Orlando Sentinel's 2011 Culinary Hall of Fame, the Forbes Four Diamond Award, Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence and Florida Trend's Golden Spoon Award. Chef Hunnel was also a 2011 semi-finalist in the annual list of top chefs in the country by the James Beard Foundation. He has also been recognized annually since 2007 by the Foundation for his refreshingly contemporary approach in the kitchen and straightforward cooking philosophy.

June 22, 2011



Exclusive autograph sessions and meet and greets with celebrities including Bruce Boxleitner and Billy Dee Williams at the ultimate Disney fan event!

ANAHEIM, Calif. - June 22, 2011 - Celebrity management company Coolwaters Productions LLC is bringing a cavalcade of talent to the D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, August 19 - 21, at the Anaheim Convention Center. Each day at the Coolwaters booth, located in the Collectors Forum, fans will enjoy celebrity meet and greets and autograph signings, including rare photographs and limited-edition Tron pin sets created by D23 especially for this event.


• Doug Jones: Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (also starred as Billy Butcherson in Disney's Hocus Pocus and will be signing images from both films)
• Matthew Wolf: Voice of Thor in the animated film Thor: Tales of Asgard


• Bruce Boxleitner: Alan Bradley/Tron in Tron, TRON: Legacy, the videogame TRON: Evolution and the upcoming animated series TRON: Uprising

• Cindy Morgan: Lora/Yori in Tron, and the videogame TRON 2.0

• Jackson Bostwick: Sark's Head Guard in Tron

• Anis Cheurfa: Rinzler, Clu's right hand man in TRON: Legacy

• Rob Daly: Clu's Lead Sentry in TRON: Legacy


• Isaac C. Singleton: Bo'sun in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

• Greg Ellis: Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves in all four installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean films

• Treva Etienne: Koehler in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

• Vince Lozano: Jacoby in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

• Tyler Tuione: Boiler Room Attendant in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

With the recent opening of Star Tours-The Adventures Continue at the Disney Parks, D23 Expo 2011 is honored to welcome Hollywood icon and Star Wars luminary Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian). Williams, an award-winning artist, has created an exclusive piece of artwork featuring Disney characters which will be available to attendees as a limited edition poster only at the Expo.

All celebrity appearances are subject to change at any time. There will be a charge for each signature signed during the event from the celebrities listed in this press release. Autograph tickets will be available for purchase during all Expo hours at the Coolwaters Productions LLC booth at the Collectors Forum and are on a first-come, first served basis.

Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon at the Magic Kingdom


(June 22, 2011): Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon (left), his wife Susie (right) and two-year-old son Sebastian (center), serve as the grand marshals June 22, 2011 in the daily parade at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner from St. Petersburg, Fla., also celebrated his 33rd birthday with family at Walt Disney World Resort today. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

June 24, 2011

Advance Discount on D23 Expo 2011 Tickets Ends June 30




The highly anticipated D23 Expo 2011: The Ultimate Disney Event for Fans and Families returns to the Anaheim Convention Center from August 19 - 21, 2011, once again bringing all the wonderful worlds of Disney under one roof, and offering attendees unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks as only D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can!

Highlights of D23 Expo 2011's activities will include:

* 2011 Disney Legends. Paying tribute to the talented men and women who have made indelible contributions to Disney entertainment, including Regis Philbin, Jim Henson, the Disney Princesses and many more
* Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. A 12,000-square-foot exhibit featuring dozen of props, artifacts and costumes, including a special beachfront display of items from LOST and Pirates of the Caribbean, a spectacular Tron room, the House of de Vil-which includes the Fan Art Gallery-and much more. Plus, on the show floor, see a 23-foot-model of the Black Pearl, Walt Disney's limousine and the Volkswagen van from LOST.
* The Lion King in 3D. The Walt Disney Studios will showcase sneak peeks of upcoming film projects including an exclusive screening of The Lion King in 3D.
* Phineas and Ferb's Platy-bus. The hit Disney Channel/Disney XD animated series comes to the D23 Expo with a 27-foot Airstream trailer dedicated to the show's beloved Perry the Platypus, decked out with games and "Perry-oke."
* Collector's Forum. Where attendees can buy, sell and trade Disney collectibles, memorabilia and merchandise. This year the Forum also includes the worlds of Marvel and Star Wars.
* D23 Expo Dream Store and Live Auction. Bursting with D23-themed merchandise and other specialty items, the D23 Expo Dream Store will feature Disney-inspired art and collectibles as well as Vinylmation and pins. The D23 Expo Live Auction returns-this year with an added silent auction-offering Disney enthusiasts the opportunity to bid on unique experiences, tours, artwork, props and more.
* The Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament will allow participants to demonstrate their Disney knowledge as they compete for outstanding prizes.
* Many more one-of-a-kind D23 Expo pavilions, panels, presentations and experiences which will be announced in the coming weeks.

This is your LAST CHANCE to purchase discounted D23 Expo 2011 tickets?! D23 Members can save as much as $144 off Expo tickets if they purchase by June 30!

Read more details on specific prices on the D23 Web site:


Al Weiss Announces Retirement


A career with The Walt Disney Company that started as a teenager and spanned nearly 39 years will end in November as Al Weiss retires as president, worldwide operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

"Al Weiss has made a profound mark on Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and the accomplishments and milestones that encompass his legacy are many," said Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs. "His relentless pursuit of excellence and his passion for the guest experience are unsurpassed, and have been an inspiration to many."

In addition to his accomplishments with Disney, Al has also left his mark on Central Florida, lending his expertise to the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Give Kids the World, among other organizations.

Return to Blog Central

About June 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in June 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2011 is the previous archive.

July 2011 is the next archive.

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