George A. Kalogridis Named President of Walt Disney World

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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.

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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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The Walt Disney Company Pledges $2 Million+ to Hurricane Sandy Relief

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The Walt Disney Company Commits $2 Million for Hurricane Sandy Relief and Rebuilding Efforts

BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today a $2 million cash commitment to the relief and rebuilding efforts for those severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. One million dollars will be donated to the American Red Cross for immediate, critical assistance, and another $1 million will be designated for organizations working on rebuilding efforts. In addition, Cast Member and employee eligible donations to organizations involved in disaster relief will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Disney Employee Matching Gifts: A Program of The Walt Disney Company Foundation.

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Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm; ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ in 2015; Lucas Talks Retirement

Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

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Walt Disney Company Establishes New Paper Sourcing and Usage Policy

Disney today announced a new Paper Sourcing and Use Policy, establishing guidelines for paper used in Disney’s day-to-day business operations as well as its consumer products and packaging. The policy — effective immediately — continues Disney’s commitment to responsible forest practices and conservation, and will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will focus on paper sourced directly by Disney or on behalf of Disney for use in Disney-branded products and packaging, and the second will address paper sourced by the Company’s independent licensees.

The policy aims to:

  • Minimize the consumption of paper

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Cablevision to Add Disney’s WATCH Anywhere Service, ESPN 3D and ABC News/Univision

 

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced a comprehensive distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to Cablevision TV customers across television, internet, tablets and handheld devices. The new agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms.

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