Central Florida Charities “Shine On” Thanks to $700,000 in Disney Grants

Mickey MouseLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 21, 2009 – Showing a strong commitment to building a better future for the children of Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort gave a total of $700,000 in grants to 34 worthy non-profit organizations via prize patrols that blanketed the region during the last two weeks.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of these very deserving non-profit organizations that tirelessly work on behalf of our community’s youth,” says Eugene Campbell, vice president of Community Relations and Minority Business Development for Walt Disney World Resort. “Walt Disney World Resort is always looking for ways to invest in the children of Central Florida. By doing so, we hope to ultimately create a stronger community for us all.”

Disney’s Helping Kids Shine Grants recognize those who commit their time and talent to making a difference in the lives of Central Florida’s children. This year’s recipients were chosen by panel of judges made up of Central Florida community leaders and Walt Disney World Cast Members. In order to be considered for a Disney’s Helping Kids Shine Grant, non-profits must offer programs that focus on children in four specific areas: connecting with adults, constructive use of free time, character development and compassion.

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A Look at Washington’s D.C. (That’s Disney Connections)

The internet’s all abuzz with the recent announcement that Disney has invested in some land in the National Harbor project with intentions of building a hotel right outside DC. The truth is that Disney has a long track record of promoting tourism not just to its own parks, but nationwide, and that especially includes our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

In order to promote United States visitorship abroad, Disney produced and donated a seven-minute, cross-country odyssey that tells the story of American hospitality and friendship, through the faces of this country’s greatest asset – its people. The $2.5M video is currently shown to foreign visitors at 105 American consular and embassy offices worldwide, at several of the nation’s busiest international airports (including Dulles International) and even onboard various airlines on their way to the United States.

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With National Harbor Land Purchase, Mr. Mouse May be Going to Washington (Area)

Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo with Milton V. Peterson, chairman of the Peterson CompaniesNATIONAL HARBOR, MD (May 19, 2009) – The Peterson Companies announced today the sale of land at its National Harbor development near Washington, DC to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney is considering using the 15-acre site overlooking the Potomac River in National Harbor, MD as the location for a resort hotel for families and others visiting the National Capital Region.

“We’re thrilled Disney has decided to invest in National Harbor,” said Milton V. Peterson, chairman of the Peterson Companies. “Disney is the top family entertainment company in the world, and its purchase is a great vote of confidence in the future of National Harbor and the Washington area as a top family tourism destination.”

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Disney Parks Chairman Jay Rasulo Testifies Before Senate in Support of Travel Promotion Act

Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts © Gene Duncan/Disney

Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts © Gene Duncan/Disney

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2009 — Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, Jay Rasulo appeared on Capitol Hill this week to communicate his strong support on behalf of the Travel Promotion Act.  The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, seeks to create a nonprofit entity that would execute a nationally coordinated travel promotion program encouraging more people to visit the United States.

Appearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion, Rasulo told the body that, in addition to having a much easier, user-friendly entry process, the United States would greatly benefit by the creation of travel promotional entity that could speak with one voice, to welcome those who have avoided visiting the U.S. since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and more recently, because of the effects of the economic recession.

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Pixar to Open Second Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Woody and Buzz are heading north.

To accommodate a growing slate of nonfeature projects, Disney and Pixar will launch an animation studio in the fall in Vancouver.

The focus will be on Pixar’s established characters, including Buzz and Woody from the “Toy Story” films and Lightning McQueen and Mater from “Cars.”

“The operation will be small in size and dedicated to producing short-form quality computer animation for theme parks, DVDs, television and theatrical exhibition … for several different divisions of the Walt Disney Co.,” Disney/Pixar president Ed Catmull said.

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The Walt Disney Company Reports on 2Q Earnings

BURBANK, Calif. – The Walt Disney Company today reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter and six months ended March 28, 2009. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the second quarter were $0.33 including restructuring and impairment charges which had a $0.10 per share impact on EPS. Excluding these items, EPS decreased 26% to $0.43 from $0.58 in the prior-year quarter.

For the six month period, diluted EPS was $0.78. In addition to the restructuring and impairment charges, EPS for the six month period included a gain on the sale of our investment in two pay television services in Latin America. Collectively, these items adversely affected EPS by $0.07 per share for the six months. Excluding these items, EPS decreased 30% to $0.85 from $1.21 in the prior year six months.

“We had a difficult second quarter due to the weak economy and other factors,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “At the same time, we remain focused on our core business strategy and believe our creativity, brands and businesses will serve us well as the economy recovers.”

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Disney to Soften Your Brain on Hulu with Current and Classic ABC Shows, Soaps, Disney Channel and More!

LOS ANGELES — Hulu and The Walt Disney Company today announced that Disney, through a subsidiary of ABC Enterprises Inc., has agreed to join NBC Universal, News Corporation and Providence Equity Partners as a joint venture partner and equity owner of Hulu, a leading online aggregator of video content. Upon closing, the agreement will enhance Hulu’s programming line-up through the expanded online distribution of Disney’s most popular current and library primetime series and library feature films. In particular, full-length episodes of hit current and library programs like Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Ugly Betty, Scrubs, Greek, Hope and Faith, Less Than Perfect, Wizards of Waverly Place, Phineas and Ferb, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, General Hospital, The View and The Secret Life of the American Teenager will soon be streamed on Hulu on an ad-supported basis.

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Auditing the Disney English as a Second Language (ESL) Schools for Chinese Children

The Wall Street Journal has published an article which peeks into life at Disney’s schools that teach English to China’s youth. Focusing on apparent attempts by Disney to push its brand throughout the country, the article questions the motives and effectiveness of the school. Well received by the Chinese middle class, Disney plans on creating new schools in both Shanghai and Beijing and is contemplating introducing the schools to other countries in the future. Article here.

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ESPN Targets Chicago Sports Fans with New Website

CHICAGO, April 9 (Reuters) – ESPN will launch a website dedicated to the Chicago market on Monday in an effort to reach more fans and generate more revenue from local advertisers, after more than 10 years on the radio in the Windy City.

“This is our first entrance into the local marketplace,” Marc Horine, ESPN’s vice president of digital media, said on Thursday.

“We thought the time was right to go beyond just the local radio station website,” he added. “We have no immediate plans to move beyond Chicago; (but) we’re looking at this as an incubator.”

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