Adventures by Disney Named ‘World’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator’ and Winner of Two Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

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BURBANK, Calif., Nov. 10 — Adventures by Disney (AdventuresbyDisney.com), provider of high-end family travel experiences, was named World’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator and North America’s Best Luxury Tour Operator by the 2009 World Travel Awards. Adventures by Disney was also presented two Travel Weekly Magellan Awards for its consumer Web site and consumer collateral in fall 2009.

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Mickey Mouse to Act as Grand Marshal of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival®

Mickey Mouse will serve as Grand Marshal for the 18th Annual  Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® taking place November 21 along Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue. Mickey will be joined by some of his friends as Disney Parks presents its own float in the procession. Also attending and performing during the event will be Disney recording artist and Disney Channel star Mitchel Musso.

Mickey will also be in town to celebrate being this year’s official Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade mascot by appearing later this week as we reported here.

For more information on the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, visit the festival’s official website.

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Orlando CVB Introduces New Online Game Guaranteed to Make You Smile (and Find It)

The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau has introduced a fun new online game titled Find My Smile in which the goal is to find your own photo (either uploaded or chosen from stock photos) amongst a giant mosaic of your photo composed of hundreds of other Orlando area vacation photos. Zoom in to find hints and bonuses along the way as you compete against the clock and your friends and family for the best score.

The game is available in two versions: Standalone and as a Facebook application.

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Twitter Contest: Win an Exclusive Set of The Princess and the Frog Fortune Telling Cards

The Princess and the Frog Fortune Telling Card GameFor our beloved Twitter followers, here’s your chance to win your very own set of The Princess and the Frog Fortune Telling Card Game. Created as a promotional item for the upcoming movie, these are available only through select outlets and we have been fortunate enough to obtain a few sets to give away. Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on this exclusive collectible game consisting of 12 individual cards, each beautifully presenting a different character from the film. Contest details are as follows:

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Where to Download Free Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern Stencils – Disney, Muppets, Pixar and More

While there are plenty of commercially available Disney-themed pumpkin stencils, there’s still quite a few to be found online for free. Per a reader’s request, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of some (well, most) of the resources online in which you can download free Disney-themed stencils to create your own jack-o-lantern this Halloween.

Not surprisingly, I must confess that most of these resources you have probably seen before if you’ve gone hunting for them in the past. However, I do believe I’ve managed to throw in a few that may not be all that commonly known.

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John Lasseter Named as 2010 Inductee into Toy Industry Hall of Fame

The Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA) announced today the selection of its 2010 inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame:

* John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios, and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering
* Sam Walton, founder, Walmart Stores (posthumous award)

“As the director of blockbuster movies such as Toy Story and Cars, John Lasseter has brought toys to life on the big screen,” explained Alan Hassenfeld, chair of the Hall of Fame Committee and 1994 Hall of Fame inductee.

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Report: D23 Member Preview Weekend at the Walt Disney Family Museum (Review)

It makes its official debut this Thursday, October 1, but D23 members were offered an exclusive preview this past weekend to visit the new Walt Disney Family Museum located in San Francisco’s The Presidio. Reports of the free tickets selling out fast were all too common and it’s not any fault of the Museum. A steady stream of D23 Members crowded the ten galleries focusing on visually and audibly telling the story of Walt Disney’s life.

From the moment you step into the beautiful but non-descript building, you get a taste for what you’re in for. Nine trophy cases line the walls filled with literally hundreds of different awards and recognitions received by Disney along with a few bonus items thrown in. Also on display in the lobby area is some of the original furniture from the Disney apartment above the Disneyland Fire Department as well as the multi-plane camera just inside the gift shop area (the multi-plane camera is so large that it actually extends to its proper exhibit on the second floor).

Inside the first Gallery, you are introduced to Walt’s family, even pre-Walt. There are literally hundreds of photos that help depict the life of the childhood of Walt and his siblings. You also get your first taste of the technology heavily employed within the museum: LCD monitors (a few of *many*) play a short, stylized video along with actual records of Walt recalling his youth — everything from growing up on a farm to forging a document so that he’d be accepted by the American Red Cross to join an Ambulance unit in France during the war after being rejected by the Armed Forces for his age (he was 16 at the time).

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 10, Remembering Walt Disney

Our series peeking into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum comes to a close with Gallery 10: Remembering Walt Disney.

Mickey CryingWalt Disney died on December 15, 1966. Reactions from around the world, in newspaper articles, editorial comment, and letters and telegrams present an appreciation of the joy, hope, and inspiration Walt provided to millions of people around the world.

All images © Disney Enterprises, courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum

Visit the official Walt Disney Family Museum website and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

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Disney Launches Nationwide Environmental Science Competition for Classroom, Prizes Include Class Disneyland Celebration

BURBANK, Calif. — With the school year in full swing, educators will have a new environmental science learning tool to draw from as they develop their curriculums. Disney today announced the nationwide launch of Disney’s Planet Challenge, a project-based environmental competition for 4th – 6th grade classrooms that will empower students to make a difference in school, at home and in their local communities. With more than 15 years experience running highly-acclaimed classroom environmental competitions in regional markets including California and Florida (as “Disney’s Environmentality Challenge®”), Disney developed the new Disney’s Planet Challenge in response to growing demand across all 50 states. Program collaborations with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the K-12 Alliance and state and federal government agencies ensure academic and environmental excellence. Participation in the program is free, and enrollment is open today at www.disney.com/planetchallenge.

“Disney’s environmental legacy is carried forward today in our ambitious environmental goals that not only focus on how we operate our businesses, but on how we inspire others to learn about the planet and take action as well,” said The Walt Disney Company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, Tom Staggs, who oversees the company’s environmental efforts. “Disney’s Planet Challenge is an excellent example of how our unique connection to children can give us the opportunity to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.”

To ensure Disney’s Planet Challenge promotes excellence in science education and adheres to the specific educational standards of each state, Disney is collaborating with NSTA and the K-12 Alliance. Disney has also worked closely with the U.S. and California Environmental Protection Agencies, U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Department of Education to achieve the highest in environmental standards.

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