WDW Refurb Update: Rock’n’Roller Coaster Closure in May

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We have been advised that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be closed for refurbishment beginning on May 15 and re-open on May 21.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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‘Hairspray’s’ Nikki Blonksy Cast as Star in New ABC Family Series ‘Huge’

Golden Globe®-nominated Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”) has signed to star in the new ABC Family original scripted drama series, “Huge,” which will begin production next month (April) and is set to premiere on the network in summer 2010. Funny, heartbreaking and provocative, “Huge” follows the lives of seven teens and the staff at a weight-loss camp, as they look beneath the surface to discover their true selves and the truth about each other.

In “Huge,” Blonsky will portray Willamina, a teen whose sardonic and rebellious nature make her a menace to some and revolutionary to others. Additional cast include Andrew Caldwell as Trent, Zander Eckhouse as George, Harvey Guillen as Alistair, Ari Stidham as Ian, Ashley Holliday as Chloe and Hayley Hasselhoff as Amber.

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Report: Disney Bus Collision at Epcot Injures Eight; One Seriously Hurt

WESH and the Orlando Sentinel are reporting that a Disney Bus rear-ended a Mears Transportation near the Epcot Toll Plaza earlier today at approximately 2:30 pm ET, injuring eight with the driver of the Disney Bus having been airlifted to the hospital in a ‘very  serious condition.’  There were 20 guests in all aboard the Disney Bus with only the driver aboard the Mears bus.

UPDATED at 3:35 pm

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Classic Disney Tunes Get a Twist on New Album ‘The Disney Reggae Club’

The magic of Disney meets the magical isle of Jamaica, as Walt Disney Records readies an album of classic Disney songs newly recorded by a cross-section of top reggae musicians. The Disney Reggae Club features songs from immortal Disney animated films – from “The Little Mermaid” to “Jungle Book” – recorded by such esteemed artists as Grammy winning reggae legend Toots (of Toots & the Maytals fame), five time Grammy winner Ziggy Marley, reggae’s most prolific and long lasting production team Sly & Robbie, multiple Grammy winner Cedella Marley, Grammy winner Burning Spear, legendary British band UB40 and Hasidic rapper Matisyahu. The album is set to arrive in stores and at online retailers June 8.

“The genius of Disney songs is that they are timeless and adaptable to every musical genre,” said executive producer Brian Malouf. “Reggae is so joyous and spirited, we knew these songs would lend themselves perfectly. I’m happy to say the artists, many of them true legends of reggae, all jumped at the chance to participate.”

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New Toy Story 3 Characters Introduced: Dolly and Mr. Pricklepants

Animatie.blog.nl who has exclusively debuted two of the fourteen new characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 courtesy of Walt Disney Studios NL.

(L-R) Nanette, Juliet © 2010 Touchstone Pictures. All Rights Reserved. First up is Dolly the Rag Doll (voiced by Bonnie Hunt). Here’s Dolly’s description from her manufacturer:

Dolly is a soft and sweet dress-up rag doll, and is the perfect gift for any young child! Her floppy body and sunny smile will make her an irresistible new member of your family. Dolly has purple hair, googly eyes and gently blushing cheeks. She comes with a pretty blue dress, but templates are included to create and sew your own outfits! Machine washable on gentle cycle.

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Scrapblog Named Official Memory-Maker for Disney’s D23 – Offers Exclusive D23 Content

Scrapblog D23 StoreScrapblog™, the leading online service for social storytelling through photos, announced today that it has been named by Disney as “The Official Memory-Maker for Disney’s D23.” For the first time, Disney fans can get creative with one-of-a-kind Disney content for their scrapbooks, calendars, family trees, travelogues, yearbooks, fan tributes, greeting cards, and any other creations they make on Scrapblog.

Scrapblog users can decorate their online photo creations with unique stickers and backgrounds featuring Mickey, Minnie, and the classic crew, plus beloved Disney feature film characters like Ariel, Tinker Bell and the Mad Hatter. The content featuring these familiar Disney friends, and many more, can be found exclusively in the Scrapblog D23 store. In addition to its new Disney selection, Scrapblog has also created content that is available exclusively to D23 Members.

D23 themes full of charming character stickers and whimsical Disney-themed backgrounds are available immediately on Scrapblog, and there is much more magic to come in 2010. Also, Scrapblog will host a variety of creative contests with great prizes, including D23 Memberships and tickets to exclusive D23 events held throughout the year.

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Eegalagoo! Win a Copy of Disney’s ‘Stitch Jam’ for Nintendo DS

Disney's Stitch Jam for the Nintendo DS by Disney Interactive StudiosAvailable to own for the Nintendo DS on March 23, Stitch Jam from Disney Interactive Studios lets players assume the role of Stitch as he embarks on rhythm-based missions that take place in ten stunning locations, from tropical beaches to outer space and defeat Dr. Hamsterviel in an epic galactic showdown to save his kidnapped girlfriend, Angel.

Screenshot from Disney's Stitch Jam for Nintendo DS by Disney InteractiveDisney Stitch Jam is also equipped with two-player co-operative play via download, where players can share the game with friends and play as Stitch and Angel and includes special additional features such as:

  • Complete story mode to unlock and play as Angel, Reuben and Felix in free mode
  • Unlock special costumes and accessories to disguise Stitch and friends, and download special co-op stage and play with a friend as Stitch and Angel
  • Includes access to DGamer, the online community exclusively for Disney gamers on Nintendo DS, allowing them to chat with other players and unlock additional items in their game
We have teamed up with Disney Interactive Studios to offer the opportunity for three of our readers to win a copy of Disney’s Stitch Jam of their own. To enter, simply fill out the form below.

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Actor and Activist Pierce Brosnan to Narrate ‘OCEANS’ from Disneynature

Today is World Water Day and so it was revealed by Disneynature that the narrator of its upcoming release OCEANS, which debuts in theaters on Earth Day (April 22) will be veteran actor Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan is also an outspoken environmentalist who is active in promoting ocean conservation efforts, lending his support to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s “Save the Whales Again!” campaign, as well as working with environmental organizations including Sea Shepherd, California Coastal Protection Network, Ocean Futures Society, Oceana and Waterkeeper Alliance, among others.

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Miley Cyrus to Mentor/Perform on American Idol; Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato Also Set to Perform

First the show inspired the attraction, then the attraction spawned a contestant and now Disney is invading the stage this week as Miley Cyrus will not only mentor the Billboard #1 hits themed show this week, but she will also perform her song When I Look of You from her upcoming film The Last Song. Also joining Miley on stage during the results show on Wednesday night will be Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato performing their new joint Make a Wave which will be featured in Disneynature’s upcoming release OCEANS.

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ESPN Launches Unprecedented Cross-Media Research Initiative: ESPN XP

ESPN XP

Today at the ARF’s Re:think 2010 conference, ESPN Research+Analytics revealed plans for ESPN XP, a research initiative unprecedented in its scope, to study consumer behavior around major sporting events beginning with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.  Using one of the largest collections of research companies ever assembled plus a top-tier business school, ESPN XP will attempt to measure media usage and advertiser effects for the World Cup across all media platforms – TV, radio, Internet, mobile and print.

“We have learned a lot about cross-media behavior since we began work in this field in 2002,” said Artie Bulgrin, Senior Vice President, Research and Analytics.  “ESPN XP represents a major step forward in our commitment to further advance our knowledge about multi-media use, and the total and incremental impact it has on our clients’ media campaigns.”

Companies joining ESPN in this initiative include The Keller Fay Group, Knowledge Networks, The Media Behavior Institute, The Nielsen Company and The Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI).  Additional members of the collective will be announced at a later date.

ESPN XP is unique because it represents the first time a media company has attempted to measure all media platforms around a single event, including both media usage and advertiser effects.  It is different from previous work on cross-media audiences because it is an ongoing initiative — measuring the World Cup is only the first project in a series of quarterly projects to fall under the ESPN XP umbrella.  ESPN will take the best of what is learned from the World Cup and apply it to football in the fall and other sports during 2011.   The goal is to create a scalable research plan to measure cross-media audiences 12 months out of the year by 2012.

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