Disney Parks Technology Recognized by American Foundation for the Blind

Disney's Outdoor Audio Description Technology for Guests with Disabilities © DisneyOn Friday, March 11, the American Foundation for the Blind will recognize and award Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for its innovative Assistive Technology Device which debuted in summer 2010 at its annual ceremony in Seattle. Along with Disney, CBS Television, Lexmark International and Accessible Twitter will also be recognized by the non-profit group.

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Disneyland’s ‘Walk of Magical Memories’ Program to End February 28, 2011

The Disneyland Resort has announced that its program which allows guests to sponsor personalized commemorative paving stones between the main entrances to the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks will end on February 28, 2011.

Guests who have put in an application for sponsorship prior to the end of the program can anticipate their paving stone to be installed by August 31, 2011 if it hasn’t been installed already. No waiting list for sponsorships will be offered prior to the termination of the program.

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First Look: ‘Magic, Memories and You’ Guests’ Photo Show at Walt Disney World

'Magic, Memories and You' on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. (Todd Anderson/Disney)At a special ‘what’s next’ presentation held for media earlier this evening, the Walt Disney World detailed the ‘Magic, Memories and You’ show which is a fanciful slideshow of photos of guests who have used the Disney PhotoPass service that day. An intelligent computer software program selects 500 photos taken throughout the day by PhotoPass photographers and fits them into the 10 minute program that’s projected onto the facades of 'Magic, Memories and You' on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. (Todd Anderson/Disney)Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and “it’s a small world” at Disneyland. At the Magic Kingdom, a combination of sixteen projectors positioned in four different locations help create the show. Although concept photos were shown to the press earlier tonight, here is your first look of real photos from earlier tests.

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The Walt Disney Company to Celebrate 45 Years of “it’s a small world” in 2011

For the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York, Walt Disney was commissioned by the Pepsi-Cola Company to produce an attraction to benefit the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With less than a year to create it — and with the vision of former Disney Imagineer Mary Blair and catchy tune by the Sherman Brothers —  Disney introduced “It’s A Small World” to the public. In 1966, the attraction re-opened at Disneyland, albeit in a modified form, and ‘the happiest cruise ever to have sailed’ has been a perennial favorite for millions at Disney Parks around the world since.

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Disney Vinylmation Villains Series #1 to be Released Exclusively at Disney Store January 31

As we announced yesterday via twitter, Disney Design Group today confirmed the release of its Vinylmation Villains Series #1 will be taking place on January 31, 2011. The edition is exclusive to Disney Store, so it will only be available at Disney Store locations that sell Vinylmation as well as likely to become available online. You can view all of the figures from the series as well as the chaser here.

Captain Peg-Leg Pete by Enrique Pita from Disney Vinylmation Villains Series 1In related news, D-Street at the Disneyland Resort will be releasing its 55th anniversary 9″ figure for Fantasyland on January 21, followed by the figure representing Frontierland on January 28.

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Photos: Disneyland Salutes Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

Staff Sgts. Erick Gallardo and Salvatore Giunta

An institution at the Disneyland Resort, the lowering of the U.S. flag takes place each evening in the Town Square of Disneyland. Unlike its sister ceremony at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom, however, the ceremony rarely honors individuals who have performed service in the country’s military.

Yesterday evening, that rare and distinct honor went to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest service award possible to a member of the United States military, by President Barack Obama.

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‘The Incredibles: Heroes in Training’ to Begin at DCA Jan. 14, Memories Campaign on Jan. 21

While construction continues at Disney California Adventure, the park will be offering alternative entertainment to the ‘Pixar Play!’ parade which went on hiatus late last year. Using elements from the parade, parkgoers will have the opportunity instead to watch mini-shows. Initially titled ‘Pixar Pop-Ups,’ the Disneyland Resort has announced that the first mini-show will be titled ‘The Incredibles: Heroes in Training’ and will begin performances on January 14.

A week later, on January 21, the Disneyland park will begin its in-park celebration of the 2011 campaign, ‘Let the Memories Begin,’ by projecting Disney PhotoPass photos of the day’s guests on the ‘it’s a small world’ facade on a nightly basis in an entertainment offering titled ‘Magic, Memories and You.’

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Vinylmation Animation Series 1 9″ Figures Available Online; Full 9″ Set Revealed

Vinylmation Animation Series 1 9" FiguresDisney Design Group’s Vinylmation Animation Series 1 went on sale today at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Two of the 9″ figures previously revealed by the official blog also went on sale on DisneyStore.com – the 9″/3″ combo set of Elliott the Dragon and Pete from Pete’s Dragon and Beast from Beauty and the Beast, both designed by by Monty Maldovan. The combo set is a limited edition of 1200 pieces while Beast is limited to 1000 pieces.

Vinylmation Animation Series 1 9" FiguresAlso revealed via the packaging for the figures are the remaining five figures in the 9″ collection for the series. In addition to Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasia (LE 1200, also previewed on the blog) are: Genie from Aladdin (LE 1200), Bolt (LE 1000), Merlin from The Sword in the Stone (LE 1000) and Willie the Operatic Whale from Make Mine Music’s ‘The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met’ (LE 1000).

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Disney Stars Bridgit Mendler and Adam Hicks to Host SchoolJam USA Finals at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney, January 15

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) today announced that up-and-coming Disney stars Bridgit Mendler and Adam Hicks will participate in the second annual SchoolJam USA, where the nation’s top 10 teen bands will perform for the title of the nation’s best teen band on Saturday, January 15. SchoolJam USA is a national program that rewards aspiring teen music makers, between the ages of 13 and 19, and their respective school music programs with music funding and prizes, as well as the opportunity to perform live before the public and a panel of music industry professionals. This year’s event will take place at the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., during the weekend of the popular NAMM Show, the largest musical instruments and products trade show in the world.

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Alma Mater Recognizes Disneyland President George Kalogridis for Achievements

Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis with Dr. Eileen Holden, president of Polk State CollegeThe Polk State College Alumni Association honored Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis with a Distinguished Alumnus award during the Florida school’s commencement ceremony on December 16. Kalogridis, pictured with Dr. Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College, received his associate of arts degree in 1973 from what was then Polk Junior College, prior to earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida. Kalogridis, a 39-year Disney veteran who started as a busboy at the Contemporary Resort, also was part of the original team that opened Walt Disney World in 1971. Since that time, he has held key roles including vice president of Epcot, senior vice president of operations at Disneyland Resort and chief operating officer at Disneyland Paris.

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