Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Brings Imagineers and Their Creations, Future and Past, to D23 Expo

BURBANK, Calif., Aug. 3 — What will Disney’s theme parks and resorts look like in the future? Fans will learn the answer to that question and many more as they take a “behind-the-magic” tour of their favorite Disney destinations at the inaugural D23 EXPO, where the entire world of Disney will come together under one roof at the Anaheim Convention Center in California from Sept. 10-13.

Through a series of stunning displays and not-to-be-missed presentations, D23 EXPO attendees will explore the rich legacy and future of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – a story that began in 1955 with Disneyland and has since grown to include 11 theme parks at five vacation destinations around the globe, as well as new immersive vacation experiences including Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club. On Saturday, Sept. 12, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo will share some behind-the-magic details as he pulls back the curtain on several new projects – including the 12-acre Cars Land that’s set to open at Disney’s California Adventure in 2012.

Here’s a sampling of exciting Disney Parks experiences that D23 EXPO attendees will discover:

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Park Tickets Increase 8/2 on Both Coasts, Renewing WDW Passholders Could Get Three Months Free

As expected, ticket prices will increase on Sunday, August 2 at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Details are as follows:

Sample prices at Disneyland Resort: Single Day/Single Park tickets will increase by $3 to $72 per Adult and $62 per Child; Premium Annual passes are up $40 to $429;  Deluxe Annual Pass is up $20 to $298; Southern California Annual pass is up $20 to $194; and Southern California Select Annual pass is up $10 to $144 (source)

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Disneyland Resort Introduces Summer Nightastic! PhotoPass Cards Offering Discounts

Disneyland Resort now offers Summer Nightastic! branded PhotoPass cards that include a discount for either either $10 off the PhotoCD when purchased online, or free shipping.

(and if anyone can send me a decent scan of one, I’d greatly appreciate it!)

Source: D23

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Halloween at Disneyland Combines New Additions with Old Favorites

Returning to life September 25 and continuing through November 1, Halloween Time brings fun for all ages to the Disneyland Resort with new screams at Space Mountain and a new, nightly fireworks show. Halloween Time offers families a chance to interact with some of Disney’s most beloved characters, dressed in seasonal costumes at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks. It also gives guests a unique opportunity to experience some spooky fun with Disney’s more sinister characters, the Disney villains.

For older kids and adults, Halloween Time offers a new attraction: Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. For the first time, riders will experience not only the thrill of flying through the galaxy, but the exhilaration of ghosts and ghouls screaming through space trying to contact them. Creepy creatures lurk around every turn as the eerie attraction provides thrilling drops like never before.

New this year is a fireworks spooktacular that will haunt the nighttime sky throughout the Halloween season. Jack Skellington, the Master of Scaremonies, invites everyone to join in the celebration, including a cast of Disney villains who get into the sprit with a wicked sense of fun.

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Disney Legend Marty Sklar Retires After 54 Years; Honored with Window on Main Street

Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador holds his tribute window at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, the 54th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador holds his tribute window at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, the 54th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

ANAHEIM, Callif., July 17, 2009 – Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador, spent a lifetime making magic for the Walt Disney Company. After 54 years of service, he was honored with a tribute window at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, July 17. The celebration coincided with the 54th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, the place where Sklar began his Disney career.

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Vinylmation Mickey: The New $40 Autograph ‘Book’

Vinylmation Mickey Blank Turned Autograph Book

Vinylmation Mickey Blank Turned Autograph Book

While I make it a hobby to track down and photograph characters, I am no autograph hound. In fact, I don’t recall ever obtaining a single Disney character autograph on purpose — until now that is. After several days on site, I needed a new way to occupy my time and when something caught my eye at The Animation of Disney shop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it was love at first sight. Or a new hobby anyway. There on the counter was a 9″ Vinylmation blank decked out with several character signatures. I fought the urge for a while but there was just no walking away from it, I had to try it.

So for $39.95, I walked away with a Vinylmation blank and a fine-point sharpie given to me by the cast member at the store (they really ought to sell sharpies there too). And over the next two-and-a-half days, as time allowed, I tracked down every single character I could find and got them to sign my Mickey. Even Mr. Incredible, who normally uses a rubber stamp, signed him.

The idea itself really is novel, if not awkward, and I think it should provide a really good springboard for new )and hopefully less-expensive) autograph-related products. Let’s face it, we all (well, not me) do the autograph books and for most who manage to keep them around, they sit on the shelf for most of the time. Here we have a three-dimensional, tangible object that does its best work when it does the exact same thing and sits on a shelf.

So after two-and-a-half days and gathering a total of 61 autographs, I learned a few things that might help the next poor unfortunate soul who follows suit.

First, the fine-point sharpie (or even a ball-point pen) is a must. Especially when dealing with face characters who can be very nimble, particularly with signing in dwindling spaces and have intricate autographs. Characters with bigger hands didn’t seem to have as much an issue with the fine-point itself, but were challenged when it turns out the first sharpie I had was about to die. Which leads to the next tip:

Make sure the sharpie (or whatever) is in amazing shape. If it is, writing on the vinyl figure will be smooth and dark. You can use the bottom of the feet to test the autograph pen (unless you have other plans for his normally not-visible bottom).

There seemed to be an issue with touching him, particularly when signatures were fresh. They wouldn’t be immediately affected, but over time, areas that got touched a lot seemed to fade really fast and would sometimes smudge. For this reason (and the next), I recommend physically handling him as little as possible. When toting him around, don’t flaunt him, put him in a bag (or at least flaunt him in a clear bag).

People (and characters) will love him. Kids will become downright obsessed with him and won’t think twice about picking him up if he’s left vulnerable and checking him out.

A semi-tip: The eyes pictured on my Mickey were courtesy of Pluto. It seems you can get away with decorating the face a little bit as characters seemed hesitant to ‘tattoo’ it anyway (although the eyes made that situation even more clear) and still have room for autographs.

Bottom line, despite the imperfections that accumulated during the process, I’m proud of my Autograph Mickey and the slightly smudged memories that come with it.

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Innovative Entertainment Technology Drives ‘World of Color’ – the Next Milestone in Expansion of Disney’s California Adventure

Concept Art for World of Color at Disney's California AdventureANAHEIM, Calif. (July 16, 2009) – Elaborate preparation is underway for “World of Color,” the spectacular nighttime water show that will astound guests with its magnitude and creativity when it debuts in spring 2010 as the next major milestone in the expansion of Disney’s California Adventure park. Surpassing all Disney water productions, “World of Color” will bring Disney animation to life with powerful fountains that become stars of the show as they create the world’s largest projected water screen.

For months now, guests at Disney’s California Adventure have been peering into the lagoon near Paradise Pier as Walt Disney Imagineering and Creative Entertainment have installed the massive infrastructure and innovative technology that will create the stage for this extraordinary combination of music, animation and stunning water effects. Teams of Disney workers have built nearly an acre of superstructure to support the complex “World of Color” production.

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Walt Disney Studios and Disney Parks Team Up at National Association of Black Journalists Convention; Tiana to Make In-Person Debut

WASHINGTON, July 10  — Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are combining forces at this year’s National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention and Career Fair to present an exciting lineup of entertainment, including a sneak preview of special footage from Walt Disney Pictures’ animated comedy adventure, “The Princess and the Frog,” and the debut of Disney’s newest princess, Tiana, voiced by Tony Award(R) winning-actress Anika Noni Rose.

Rose will also perform a song from “The Princess and the Frog.” The performance and the sneak peek of select footage from the upcoming film are part of the NABJ Convention’s “NABJ Presents” event on Thursday, Aug. 6 at the Tampa Waterside Marriott Hotel and Marina.

“Disney’s magic is in full-force again this year and we are especially thrilled they have chosen the NABJ Convention to highlight ‘The Princess and the Frog,'” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. “We are also proud of Disney’s involvement in the African-American community through multiple initiatives including Disney’s Dreamers Academy. And we are pleased that convention attendees are offered the opportunity to experience the theme parks of Walt Disney World Resort first-hand.”

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will unveil Princess Tiana live and in-person, just as she will appear to park guests, at the NABJ Convention — two months before her scheduled debut at Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Park in California.

“This is the first time anyone will see the new princess,” said Craig Dezern, vice president of Global Public Relations for Disney Destinations. “We’re excited for NABJ attendees to see first and first-hand our newest Disney princess.”

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Mickey Monsters Invade Disney Parks

Mickey MonstersMickey Monsters are here to visit the Disney Theme Parks. They try to blend in by disguising themselves as Mickey and a host of other characters that they encounter on their visit. Keep any eye open for Mickey Monsters – They could be right in front of you!

The first series of six Mickey Monster characters’ names are Murff, Cheeky Bubbles, Ogg, Keeti, Ralf, and Eeku.  They will each come with a special hang tag that contain stories about the character and therefore bring the character to life for our guests.  Each character will retail for $12.95.

Mickey Monsters have been designed to bring smiles to kids of all ages. Which Mickey Monster is right for you? Read on to find out!

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Julie Andrews and Toby Bluth Product Releases & Signings, August 29 at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel

Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs and LullabiesAcademy Award® Winning Actress, Julie Andrews will be on hand for the debut of her newest book titled, Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, which will be released in October 2009. As part of this product release and signing, Guests will have the opportunity to pre-purchase the book before its released to the public.

In addition, Artist Toby Bluth will be on hand for the release of his latest work, titled Poppins and Penguins, which was created in celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the beloved Disney film, Mary Poppins.

More details to come.

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