Disney Interactive Media Group Acquires iPhone Veteran Developer Tapulous

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The Walt Disney Company today announced the acquisition of Palo Alto-based Tapulous, Inc., a leading developer of music games for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Through a merger agreement, Tapulous is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company reporting into Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG).

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Disney Archivist Dave Smith to Retire Late 2010; Cline Named Successor

Dave Smith at the Disney Studio Archives (Christina House / For The Times)On the eve of a special event at the Walt Disney Studios in which Disney President and CEO Robert Iger will recognize Disney Legend Dave Smith for his forty years of service to The Walt Disney Company, particularly presiding over the Walt Disney Studio Archives which has been preserving Disney memories for decades, the LA Times reports that Smith will be formally announcing his retirement in October at the age of 70.

According to the article which explores Smith’s illustrious career with the company as well as takes a photographic tour inside the Archives, current manager Becky Cline is poised to fill the void left behind by Smith.

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Ryman Arts and The Walt Disney Company Establish Sklar Legacy Fund Honoring Disney Legend Marty Sklar

Ryman Arts, together with The Walt Disney Company, today announced the completion of a major grant that creates the Marty Sklar Legacy Fund, honoring the 54-year career and retirement of Disney legend, Marty Sklar. Amid a tough economic climate prompting closure of a number of art programs in public schools across Los Angeles, the Fund will help ensure a quality arts education for a new class of Ryman Arts scholars.

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Disney Institute Expands Program Offerings at Disneyland Resort

Disney Institute announced today that it is adding a new slate of programs at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. The new programs, which will premiere in July, will focus on a specific topic each day, and are available for individual registration or groups of up to 10 people.

“These new offerings will help us meet the growing demand from Southern California business professionals who wish to learn Disney best practices and apply them to their own organizations,” said Jeff James, vice president of Disney Institute.

The new sessions include the following courses:

  • Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence

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Patent Watch: Disney’s World of Color, Dance Ring Video Game

Disney's fluid effects apparatusWe have a couple of interesting patent applications from Disney Enterprises to share with you today, although the first one up, arguably the more interesting of the two, is not the lightest read imagineable.

Probably the most difficult aspect of digesting this patent application is that all the talk of water constantly makes us need to visit the bathroom, but out of jest, it appears that this could be some of the technology behind the new World of Color show at Disney California Adventure.

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Disney Patent Roundup: Articulated Character Heads, Smokeless Fireworks and Who Moved My Chair?

When it rains, it pours; now it’s raining cats and dogs and we just stepped in a poodle. Unfortunately there’s no web rim shot patent to share with you today, but out of several patent applications we came across from Disney Enterprises this morning, there’s a few we thought were worth sharing with you all. You can thank us later since there’s no patent here for instant gratuity either.

First up is a patent whose fruit will be very familiar to most of us by now as it played a part in the famous Talking Mickey Mouse episode although you may not recognize it at first.

Character Articulated Head System, Front and BackFrom inventors Tim Eck, William Wiedefeld, David Hynds, Jeffrey Schenck, William Brasher and Brendan MacDonald comes a new take on a new classic: the articulated character heads. This is not the original patent that covers the heads featured in the stage shows at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, but rather a newer type of head/system that makes the interactive character scenario more plausible.

Titled ‘Method and System for Articulated Character Head Actuation and Control,’ the patent application is two-fold. First, it attempts to seek out the first major problem with the now-antiquated heads: noise. According to the patent, even when the old heads weren’t actually moving, they were prone to generating an audible standby noise. It appears that by ‘simply’ upgrading the quality of the motors and servos et al, that the noise is minimized to a whisper-quiet level, allowing the heads to safely articulate even in close environments with audience members (guests).

(more…)

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Disney Patent Aims to Create New Generation of Guitar Superheroes

Possible embodiment of musical instrument edutainment systemThere’s just no denying the success of video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band (even to the point of successful ports to the iPhone), but when it comes right down to it, they’re nothing like playing actual instruments. Instead, the plastic ‘guitar’ one holds is nothing more than a glorified typical video game controller with a bunch of colored buttons. Hardly beneficial to anyone who wishes to learn the real thing.

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New Logo for California Adventure Theme Park Has Some Scratching Their Heads

Original logo for Disney's California Adventure (Top) and the new Disney California Adventure logo (bottom)Yesterday, Disney Parks revealed the new logo for its California Adventure theme park at the Disneyland Resort, which is famously undergoing some physical transformations as well.

Guests probably didn’t need it, but Disney helped point out a ‘name change’ as well. What once read as Disney’s (possessive), now reads as Disney. According to the comments on the blog as well as other places, guests are crying foul.

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Disney/Pixar Presents a Video Introduction to Pixar Canada

Disney/Pixar Animation Studios recently opened a production studio in Vancouver, Canada to handle animated shorts, which will initially appear to be mostly the next generation of Cars Toons as well as the Toy Story Toons we speculated about back in March.

In the video, John Lasseter and Pixar Prez Ed Catmull are joined by Pixar Canada’s Creative Director Dylan Brown, CTO Darwyn Peachey and General Manager Amir Nasrabadi as they introduce the new complex and its expectations. Also along for the ride is a very clever mix of the Pixar Animation Studios family against live action footage of the studio’s new home.

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Disney Employee Arrested for Insider Trading; Claims Iger in Talks to Sell ABC

Bonnie Hoxie, an administrative assistant to Disney’s head of Corporate Communication, Zenia Mucha, was arrested earlier today along with her boyfriend Yonni Sebbag (a.k.a. Jonathan Cyrus) by the FBI on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud in an attempt to sell inside information on the company’s latest quarterly earnings report.

The duo allegedly sent emails via a gmail account to hedge funds and investment companies in New York. Posing as hedge fund investors, the FBI arranged to receive insider trading information from Sebbag in New York which included disclosing earnings per share hours prior to the public disclosure.

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