Walt Disney World VoluntEARS Donate 20,000 Toys to Toys for Tots Program

Mickey Mouse and Duffy the Bear deliver donated toys to 'Toys for Tots'With approximately 20,000 brand new toys in tow, Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS were on a mission this morning to make the holidays brighter for thousands of local children. Joined by Mickey Mouse and Duffy the Disney Bear, Disney VoluntEARS made a special delivery to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Central Florida Toys for Tots headquarters to drop off the sizable donation.

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ESPN Acquires Real-Time Virtual Image Technology from PVI Virtual Media Services

ESPN has acquired substantially all of the intellectual property of PVI Virtual Media Services, located in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The acquisition will augment ESPN’s innovative use of virtual technology across its multiple platforms. Under this agreement, ESPN will hire substantially all of the highly-talented staff of engineers who have developed many of PVI’s virtual innovations. As a result of the transaction, ESPN will hold the rights to substantially all of PVI’s intellectual property including intellectual property which relates to virtual insertion, player tracking, iTV applications as well as 3D graphics development. In addition, certain rights to PVI’s technology have been separately sold to a third party.

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Disney Celebrates 100 Million Fans on Facebook; Announces New Twitter Presence

On Walt Disney’s 109th birthday, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced a major social media milestone as it surpassed one hundred million fans across its network of Facebook pages.

Since August of 2009, more than 200 official Disney brand, property and character pages have been created and managed by The Walt Disney Company and its in-house social media agency DigiSynd including: Disney, Disney Pixar, Toy Story, Alice in Wonderland, Dory and Mickey. These pages feature original video content, photo galleries, news, highlights and links to other Disney-branded pages. Boasting astronomical growth, Disney Facebook pages currently attract more than 5 million new fans per week.

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Walt Disney Company Completes Sale of Miramax Films to Filmyard Holdings, LLC

The sale by The Walt Disney Company to Filmyard Holdings LLC of Miramax Films for $663 million subject to certain adjustments has been completed, it was announced today by both companies. Partners in Filmyard Holdings include Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Colony Capital LLC, Ronald Tutor, and Qatar Holding LLC.

The sale of Miramax Films includes rights in over 700 film titles, including Academy Award winners Chicago, Shakespeare in Love and No Country for Old Men. Also included are non-film assets, such as certain books, development projects and the “Miramax” name.

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Award-Winning Journalist, Ben Sherwood, Named President, ABC News

Ben Sherwood, an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and digital media entrepreneur, has been named as the new president of ABC News, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, to whom he will report. In this position, Mr. Sherwood will be responsible for all editorial, programming and digital aspects of our global news business encompassing all ABC News programs on the ABC Television Network, ABC News Radio, ABC News.com and ABC News NOW.

In making the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated, “Ben’s proven success in the news business, along with his entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and keen intellect, make him the ideal choice to lead ABC News into the future. His previous tenure at ABC led to the most successful seasons in GMA’s history, and his success as a bestselling author and digital entrepreneur demonstrate a unique skill set that is as valuable as it is diverse.”

Mr. Sherwood said, “It’s a great honor and privilege to be asked to lead this amazing news organization, and I am humbled by the opportunity. For more than 20 years, I’ve known firsthand of the passion, excellence and integrity of the people who work for ABC News. I am thrilled to be coming back home, and look forward to harnessing our innovation and creativity to build on our great history of success.”

Mr. Sherwood began to explore a career in journalism with student internships at KCET public television in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, and the CBS Evening News in New York. In 1984-1985, during a year off from college, he worked for The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; the Los Angeles Times Paris bureau and the United Nations Border Relief Operation in Aranyaprathet, Thailand.

He launched his career in earnest when he joined ABC News in 1989, serving as an investigative associate producer and producer for ABC News’ PrimeTime Live with hosts Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. During that time his investigative reports explored flaws in the secretive B-2 stealth bomber program, the dangers of unlicensed mental health practitioners, and the unheralded risks of an overprescribed heart medication.

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Video: Walt Disney World Union Workers Release ‘MouseTrapped 2010′ for Public Viewing

With a contract set to expire on December 11 and contract negotiations which have not seen any significant movement over the past six months, workers from the 20,000+ strong Service Trades Council Union have produced and released an updated edition of ‘MouseTrapped’ to make their appeal to the company and (now) the public at large. At the heart of the dispute appears to be a proposed 3% wage increase vs. rising cost of living expenses including the cost of health care and needed medication. The film also makes some sharp accusations that the company’s emphasis on safety is nothing more than lip service to boost its own public image.

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The Walt Disney Company Announces Share Dividend, Date and Location for 2011 Shareholders’ Meeting

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) board today declared an annual cash dividend of $0.40 per share, up five cents from the previous year. The dividend is payable on January 18, 2011 to shareholders of record at the close of business December 13, 2010. The January dividend payment represents the 55th consecutive year of dividend payments to shareholders.

“The Walt Disney Company had a strong year both creatively and financially in 2010,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We are pleased to be able to raise our shareholder dividend while continuing to invest for future growth.”

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Themed Entertainment Assocation Recognizes Imagineer Kim Irvine, ‘World of Color,’ TRON ARG and More

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) today announced the fifteen recipients of its 17th Annual Thea Awards with nearly a quarter of the coveted awards going to The Walt Disney Company and the Disney family.

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Disney and Beech-Nut Announce New Food Line that Allows Toddlers to Eat with Pooh

Disney Consumer Products and Beech-Nut are proud to introduce a new line of great-tasting and nutritious toddler foods featuring the Disney Winnie the Pooh characters. The new line is made from all natural ingredients and has a great taste that even picky toddlers will love.

Highlighting Disney’s long-term commitment to providing more nutritious food options for kids, the Beech-Nut toddler food line for kids age 12 months and older have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The products adhere to Beech-Nut’s strict ingredient standards in order to maintain an authentic taste and provide nutritious and delicious food for this active age group. The packaging features favorite Disney characters including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet.

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Walt Disney Studios VP, John J. Nicoletti, Named VP of Communications for Disneyland Resort

John J. Nicoletti has been appointed vice president of communications for the Disneyland Resort effective Nov. 1, 2010.

In this new role, Nicoletti will lead the Resort’s communication functions, including media relations, external and internal communications, guest and executive communications. He will serve as a top spokesperson for the Resort, and will be responsible for growing relationships with news media and other external stakeholders. Nicoletti will report to Lisa Haines, vice president of public affairs.

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