Disney Increases Ticket Prices at Theme Parks; Charges More for Magic Kingdom

Effective tomorrow, June 2, 2013, your Disney Parks vacation is likely to get a bit more expensive, particularly if you haven’t yet purchased tickets. That’s because — as it should come as little surprise — the theme parks are once again raising the price of its admission.

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Disney Patent Seeks to Ease Airport Security Checkpoint Woes

Disney's Airport Security Screening SystemSometimes it just takes a mouse to build a better mousetrap.

They may never be described as being happy or magical, but if Disney has any say about it, airport security screening areas may become a lot more traveler friendly by addressing checkpoint congestion issues by moving much of the process outside of it.

The existing problem, according to the patent application, is that complying with existing TSA policies is time consuming, with travelers needing to spend most of their time in lines by removing and isolating certain objects from their carry-ons, cleaning out pockets, removing shoes, etc. The process gets exponentially more difficult when families have small children who need additional assistance, slowing down the process and creating a chain-reaction, directly affecting other passengers.

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Stan Lee Subpoenaed in Lawsuit Against Disney Over Marvel Properties

A subpoena was issued earlier this week by the United States District Court in California against Stan Lee in the lawsuit by Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLMI) against The Walt Disney Company (USDC Colorado, case 12-cv-02663). The multi-billion dollar lawsuit claims that it is SLMI, not Disney/Marvel, that owns the rights to characters that Lee owned, but then transferred to Marvel in the late ’90s. It was prior to this that Lee founded SLMI (which would later fail), the shareholders of which are claiming Lee signed the rights over to them and therefore never had the rights to transfer to Marvel, which would then go own to be owned by Disney, including iconic properties such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, X-Men, Thor and the Incredible Hulk, amongst others.

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George A. Kalogridis Named President of Walt Disney World

Effective February 1, 2013, George A. Kalogridis will become the president of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, it was announced today. Kalogridis, a 41-year veteran of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was named president of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. George will oversee a workforce of more than 66,000 Cast Members at the world’s premier vacation destination.

Since 2009, George has served as president of the Disneyland Resort, where he leads more than 25,000 Cast Members at the over 500-acre resort, which comprises the world-famous Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Paradise Pier Hotel and Downtown Disney.

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$15 Million Tower of Terror Lawsuit Against Walt Disney World Dropped

Paperwork was filed earlier today with the comptroller’s office in Orange County, Florida earlier today, which announces that a lawsuit against Walt Disney World by Leanne Deacon, on behalf of her daughter, was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice. This likely indicates that an out-of-court settlement between the parties has been reached.

The lawsuit, which was filed in early 2009, alleges that Deacon’s then-teenage daughter suffered permanent brain damage after collapsing as a result of riding Disney’s Tower of Terror attraction in 2005. Deacon claimed Disney Parks and Resorts was negligent in providing ample warnings about the potential dangers of the attraction and was reportedly seeking in excess of $15 million, an amount Deacon claimed would be necessary to support her daughter for the remainder of her life.

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Disney Completes Acquisition of Lucasfilm, Star Wars

Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced today that Disney has completed its acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Lucasfilm to the Disney family,” said Iger. “Star Wars is one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time and this transaction combines that world class content with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets, which we believe will generate growth as well as significant long-term value.”

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Netflix Adds New Disney Content; Will Offer Streaming During ‘Pay TV’ Window Starting 2016

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) today announced a new multi-year licensing agreement that will make Netflix the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run live-action and animated feature films from The Walt Disney Studios.

Beginning with its 2016 theatrically released feature films, new Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature titles will be made available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the pay TV window on multiple platforms, including television, tablets, computers and mobile phones. Also included in the agreement are high-profile Disney direct-to-video new releases, which will be made available on Netflix starting in 2013.

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Disney World Employee Claims Fired Over Citing Safety Issues

Safety, courtesy, show and efficiency; these are the four guiding principles (or keys) that Disney Parks and Resorts ingrains into its ‘cast members’ that not only highlight how to conduct themselves in their ‘roles,’ at the parks, but stress their order of importance. Therefore, safety is the primary concern of the company and its employees.

But what if a cast member were to run ‘afoul’ of the organization and its management and cite concerns regarding safety? And especially where management is effectively swapping the importance of safety for the sake of efficiency? Worse yet, what if that cast member claims retaliation for their whistle-blowing and says they were wrongfully terminated as a result?

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VIDEO: Disney Uses Kinect to Create Interactive Juggling Robot

Disney Research Pittsburgh has just released the video below which demonstrates one of its latest projects: an audio animatronic robot that can interact with people by playing catch with them. The system uses an off-the-shelf Microsoft Kinect (according to the video’s narration) along with an external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) to locate balls and a Kalman ?lter to predict ball destination and timing. So not only is the robot able to track a human’s position and size by the location of their head, but it can attempt to move its hand to catch the ball. If the robot misses the catch, it’s fully aware and even responds with one of several different humorous animations to elicit a response from the person interacting with it.

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