Disney Patent Application Lays Groundwork for End of Refillable Mugs at WDW Resorts

Today a finger scan facilitates your entry into one of the Disney theme parks, but in the age of tomorrow, it may help to quench your thirst. So suggests a new patent application from Disney which describes a ‘Self-Service Beverage and Snack Dispensing Using Identity-Based Access Control’ system.

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ABC Owned Television Stations Group President Walter Liss Retires; WABC President Rebecca Campbell Named Successor

Esteemed television executive Walter Liss today announced his retirement as President, ABC Owned Television Stations Group.  He will immediately move into a consultancy role for the Station Group to assist in the transition.

In commenting on the announcement, Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company said, “I’ve worked with Walter for almost 25 years, and I know him to be a one of a kind person: a great executive who knows his business well and has always had a passion for it. He is a no-nonsense guy, who ran the best station group in the country, and loved every minute he spent in the station business! We are all grateful for his leadership, his contributions and his friendship, and we are thankful for ensuring our stations are so well-positioned for the future. Although he has definitely earned the right to retire, he will be sorely missed.”

“I’ve been in this wonderful business for over 50 years.   More than 30 of those years have been with the best Company in the world…The Walt Disney Company,” added Mr. Liss.  “Early next year I’ll go to work on my golf game.  All those guys on the Champions Tour better watch out.”

Walter C. Liss was appointed president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, in May 1999.  In this role he had chief management responsibility for the 10 ABC owned television stations and for the Group’s ABC National Television Sales rep firm.

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Disney in a Financial Wonderland with Marvel-ous 2Q Earnings Report

The Walt Disney Company beat expectations today when it reported an earnings-per-share (EPS) of $.48, representing a 45% increase over 2Q 2009.

Although net income was up across the board, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media shone above other business units with an increase of 20% each over the same time period in 2009. DCP, which yielded $596M for the quarter, had its success tributed to both the Disney/Pixar Toy Story and Marvel properties.

The studios also turned in a strong performance for the quarter, mostly due to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, helping to increase revenues 7% to $1.5B for the quarter, smashing last year’s performance which consisted of films such as Confessions of a Shopoholic and Race to Witch Mountain.

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Disneyland Paris Reports Net Loss of $145M in First Half of 2010

Despite the introduction of the Disney New Generation Festival this year, Euro Disney S.C.A has reported a net loss of approximately $145 million in the first half of the 2010 fiscal year (ending March 31), compared with a net loss of approximately $108 million for the first half of 2009. While individual guest spending did increase, the overall effect was an overall 7% decline in both theme park and hotel revenues with the bulk of that being blamed on a decline of visitors from the United Kingdom.

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Photo: Dedication of ‘Roy E. Disney Animation Building’ at Walt Disney Studios

Don Hahn, Mickey Mouse, Robert Iger and Roy P. Disney dedicate the Walt Disney Animation Building in honor of Roy E. DisneyThis past Friday, hundreds of D23 members were joined by Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger, producer Don Hahn, Roy E. Disney’s son Roy P. Disney and, of course, Mickey Mouse, as they re-dedicated the Walt Disney Animation Studios building in honor of the late Roy E. Disney at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.

Pictured are (L-R): Don Hahn, Mickey Mouse, Bob Iger and Roy P. Disney. Photo courtesy of Disney.

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Patent Reveals Disney Had ‘Talking Mickey’ Technology for Almost 20 Years

Patent drawing for voice transformation used in a theme park characterWhat could be more surprising than walking into a room and having Mickey Mouse talk to you? How about the fact that Disney has been sitting on the technology for well over a decade?

There was little surprise yesterday about how quickly the YouTube video of a Talking Mickey character test at Disneyland garnered attention, turning just a few dozen views from when we first reported it to tens of thousands less than a day later, but realizing that there would have to at least be a patent application somewhere before the technology was debuted, we set out to find the source of the marveling magic.

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Report: Miramax to Return to Co-Founders

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax and later sold it to The Walt Disney Company are about to take the reigns once more. At a reported $600 million, the Hollywood power duo will once again oversee the production and distribution company they named after their parents.

Full story here.

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The Walt Disney Company to Donate $150K to Aid Quake-Affected Schools in China

The Walt Disney Company announced today it will contribute $150,000 to the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) to help rebuild schools devastated by a powerful earthquake in the western Chinese province of Qinghai.

“On behalf of The Walt Disney Company, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of China and hope our contribution can help the children and families affected by this terrible earthquake,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, who announced the donation while visiting Shanghai.

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Spidey’s Slippery Slope: The Kirbys’ Spectacular Case Against Marvel

Just how serious is Disney/Marvel about producing an Ant-Man movie? Few in the world are likely to be more interested than the children of comics author Jack Kirby who have named  Ant-Man along with Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Thor, Nick Fury a seemingly endless list of comics titles and specific issues in a lawsuit claiming they are the rightful (co-)owners of these creations.

Filed on March 9 in the US District Court in the Central District of California, the complaint filed by Lisa, Barbara, Neal and Susan Kirby as well as the estate of Kirby’s wife, Rosalind, rebquests a trial by jury, seeking unspecified damages against previous and current earnings on these properties of which Disney/Marvel has current control.

Making a very persuasive argument, particularly if it’s all true, the complaint inks a portrait in which a financially strapped Marvel purchased the comics from freelancer Jack Kirby ad hoc — sans contracts and that Kirby created everything on his own time in his own place of residence with his own tools so that he was at no time able to be considered ‘work for hire’ as Disney/Marvel has contended.

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Newly Registered Domains Suggest Projects, Keychest Progress, Toy Story Getting CARS Treatment

Another day, another series of domain names being registered by Disney.

The domain name that stands out the most is BILLIONDOLLARFRESHMAN.COM which sounds like it could be an upcoming film either for Walt Disney Studios, DreamWorks or Disney Channel. Replace the B with an M and you have what sounds like could have been a Kurt Russell live action comedy from Disney in the 70s.

For its Keychest technology, Disney has also registered KEYCHESTLAB.COM and KEYCHESTLABS.COM. It is speculated that Disney will be licensing the technology, so this will probably be an opportunity to showcase or sell the technology moreso than a consumer destination.

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