Report: Disney Bus Driver Arrested on Child Pornography Charge

WTSP-TV, Channel 10 in Tampa Bay, is reporting on a second round of arrests in a large scale child pornography investigation in Polk County, Florida. Among the fifty arrested is Mark Kephar whom the station reports as a Disney bus driver. The report also notes that Kephar, who is facing one count of  child porn, also operates a side business offering rentals for children’s parties.

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Rayovac Announces ‘Rayovac Powers Your Vacation’ Disney Parks Sweepstakes

Rayovac, the official provider of batteries at the Disney Parks, has announced its ‘Rayovac Powers Your Vacation’ sweepstakes in which one winner will receive a vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort.

One grand prize winner will be awarded a 5 day/4 night vacation for four to the winner’s choice of either the Walt Disney World or Disneyland resorts including round trip coach airfare, airport to hotel transportation, a standard hotel room, theme park tickets, a $250 Disney Gift Card and a ‘magic wand’-themed gift basket.

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Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach Rental Packages Now Available in Advance

Thanks to a tip from a valued Stitch Kingdom reader, we have learned that full packages that used to require same day rentals on a first-come, first-serve basis are now available in advance.

The package, which consists of: 1 cocktail table; 1 large umbrella; 2 lounge chairs; and 4 towels, may be reserved up to 180 days in advance at a cost of $40 plus tax, payable upon booking. There is a 24-hour cancellation policy and a full refund if the package is canceled by Disney due to inclement weather.

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Epcot’s 2010 Holidays Around the World Dates Announced

We have been told that Epcot will hold its annual Holidays Around the World this year from November 26 (the day after Thanksgiving) through December 30, 2010.

At this time we have no additional details as to what will be part of the annual tradition other than the Candlelight Processional will return and, of course, the tree. In addition to the Processional and tree lighting, countries from participating pavilions in the World Showcase have traditionally offered storytellers, most often in the form of their respective Santa Claus. Last year saw the first year without the  colorful Lights of Winter as the resort turns to more economical forms of lighting in the way of LEDs. No official word yet if it will be replaced this year.

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Disney Favorites from Travel Channel Arrive on Blu-ray and DVD for First Time

It absolutely never fails. Each time Travel Channel decides to run a block of its Disney-themed program, threads pop up on every Disney fan site message forum and quickly fill with dozens of responses ranging from ‘Thanks for letting us know!’ to ‘I’m watching it!’ to ‘Aww, I wish I would have known’ to the perennial favorite, ‘I’ve got my DVR full of them all!’

That’s why when we heard the news that the Disney Parks oriented programs produced by Lightship Entertainment were finally coming home to DVD and Blu-ray, we could barely contain ourselves and couldn’t wait to be the first to deliver the news.

Distributed by Questar, the Disney Parks collection promises to bring all the secrets, stories and magic from the world’s most beloved vacation destinations: the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts.

“Disney granted us unprecedented access into their theme parks, resorts, and attractions which has allowed us to present over five hours of programming that reveals incredible information and imagery,” said Andy Perrott, President and Executive Producer of Lightship Entertainment. “Working closely with Disney Parks, we proudly present over five hours of the most definitive collection of insiders information and imagery on Disney’s theme parks, resorts, and attractions.”

There are three different editions available in the Disney Parks collection: A DVD pack consisting of six of the programs; a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack featuring three of the programs; and a single-disc edition DVD consisting of two of the programs. In addition to those, Questar has announced an additional special Premier Collection in special gold foil-wrap that will be available exclusively through Disney outlets.

“Questar is truly honored to be the exclusive provider of Disney Theme Park content,” said Kevin Silverman, Vice President, Digital Distribution and Programming at Questar Entertainment.  “This is an exciting start to 2010 and proves that in its 25th year, Questar still has ‘Everything in the World Worth Watching.’”

(more…)

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Urban Pop Culture Meets Disney Product at D Street Now Open at Downtown Disney West Side

D Street at Downtown Disney West Side © DisneyA new store has joined the unique collection of shopping and dining experiences in the Downtown Disney area with the opening of D Street, where urban-inspired product “intersects” with a Disney creative edge.

D Street is located in Downtown Disney West Side and showcases a mix of products for both men and women.  Items include cutting-edge apparel, pop culture novelties and Vinylmation™ collectibles.  The store offers an unfinished “industrial look” with fun, oversized props adorning the venue.

Product lines feature vintage looks from Disney and urban influences.  Vintage apparel includes artwork from classic Disney attractions and characters.  D Street also provides a great venue to showcase Disney art created by local artists.

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Central Florida School Children Become Engineers for a Day During IBM’s Engineers Week at Epcot

Dr. Stefanie Chiras of IBM teaches Central Florida students about polymers and how these chains of molecules play an essential role in everyday life during IBM's annual Engineers Week (PRNewsFoto/IBM)IBM is hosting more than 850 students from schools throughout Central Florida during Engineers Week at IBM’s Smarter Planet exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort. The annual Engineers Week program, running April 13-15, is designed to help motivate and inspire young children in the local community to pursue technical careers and to excel in the core subjects of math and science.

Students, grades 2 through 8, are given a unique opportunity to meet real-life engineering experts from IBM and other program sponsors, and to think – and play – like engineers in a series of activities and rides. This year’s Engineers Week sponsors also include GM, HP, NASA, Red Hat, Siemens UL and Walt Disney World Engineering.

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The Disney’s PhotoPass Pre-Purchase Offer Free-for-all Has Returned

We’ve known about this for a few days now and were awaiting official word from Disney’s PhotoPass but as word is getting out (and we have been receiving multiple emails from our readers — for which we graciously thank you), we feel it’s only fair to share the news with all our readers.

The no-email-required PhotoPass pre-order is back!

The URL itself has changed, but the old one actually forwards to the new one, so now it appears all Walt Disney World guests can pre-purchase not only just the PhotoCD for $99.95, but the Ultimate Memory Package as well for $149.95, consisting of both the PhotoCD and a Custom Cover PhotoBook worth up to $79.95.

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‘Amateur’ Photographer Claims Harassment by Security at Downtown Disney

On his blog, photographer William Beem recounts a recent run-in with security at Downtown Disney at the World Disney Resort when he was attempting to photograph the exterior of the House of Blues, specifically experimenting with high dynamic range (HDR) photography which essentially requires a tripod and multiple exposures of the exact same image.

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‘Disney in Shadow’ Author Ridley Pearson Accompanies Local Fans on Epcot Journey

Ridley Pearson engages some of his local fans with the aid of Scuba MickeyIn honor of the release of his third entry in the Kingdom Keepers series, Disney in Shadow, New York Times best-selling author Ridley Pearson recently escorted a group of young fans from Windy Hill Middle School in Clermont, Florida on a special Kingdom Keepers tour through Epcot at the Walt Disney World resort.

Pictured in the photo are Pearson and some of the invited students as they discuss some of the clues from the book with the assistance of Mickey Mouse, in full scuba gear.

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