U.S. Army Recognizes Walt Disney World Resort for Support of Military Families

Major General Reuben D. Jones presents the commendation to Walt Disney World President Meg CroftonWalt Disney World Resort received the Army Freedom Team Salute Commendation for Disney Parks’ “Armed Forces Salute Program” for military families and for Walt Disney World’s ongoing collaboration with Shades of Green, the Armed Forces Recreation Center resort that is on-site at Walt Disney World.

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ABC to Debut ‘ESPN Sports Saturday’ Programming Block Beginning April 3

ESPN Sports Saturday on ABCESPN Sports Saturday, a new block of sports programming on ABC, will launch Saturday, April 3, from 4-6 p.m. ET, it was announced by John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. The two-hour window will consist of a new 60-minute, highlight-driven series titled Winners Bracket and a mix of some of ESPN’s most distinctive offerings, including films from the acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, episodes of ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine E:60 and installments of the interview-focused Homecoming with Rick Reilly.

ESPN Sports Saturday will generally be featured Saturdays from 4-6 p.m., from April through mid-August, and will return for another round of shows December through August 2011. For certain weeks, as the schedule dictates, ESPN Sports Saturday may be less than two hours.

ESPN Sports Saturday is a creative way to mix more high quality sports product with ABC’s strong live event lineup,” Skipper said. “Winners Bracket will review the sports week using a fresh and fun approach, while some of the very best ESPN series will provide an extremely compelling companion.”

Bill Hoffman, vice president, general manager, WSB-TV in Atlanta and the chair of the sports committee for the ABC Affiliate Board of Governors commented, “We are excited about this brand new sports offering from such a trusted brand. This program comes as a result of great creative thinking and collaboration between the ABC Board and ESPN.”

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Disney Legends The Sherman Brothers Receive Window Dedication on Disneyland’s Main Street USA

They’ve written some of the most memorable songs in Disney theme park – and motion picture – history, and on March 11, 2010, the Academy Award-winning composers of the music from “It’s a Small World” and The Enchanted Tiki Room, as well as “Mary Poppins,” will receive the highest honor that the Disneyland Resort bestows. The Sherman brothers, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, will receive a tribute window on Main Street, U.S.A.

Among the Shermans’ more than 150 Disney songs are such familiar Disney theme park compositions as “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” (theme of The Enchanted Tiki Room), “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” (theme of Carousel of Progress) and “It’s a Small World,” one of the most translated and performed songs on Earth. All three are still performed in their attractions at Disney theme parks around the world, making the music as contemporary today as when it was composed.

“Richard and Robert Sherman’s contribution to Disney spans 50 years and has touched virtually every aspect of our company,” said Robert A. Iger, president and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “By dedicating a window on Main Street, U.S.A. inside Disneyland we are pleased to recognize them with one of the highest honors our company bestows.”

“The music of the Sherman brothers has left an indelible mark on the Walt Disney Company and still resonates in Disney parks around the world,” said Tom Staggs, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman. “Their songs – particularly ‘It’s a Small World’ and the score of ‘Mary Poppins’ – are not just touchstones of Disney, but of American culture as a whole. The whole world sang these songs when they were new and they still sing them today almost five decades later. Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman are honored members of the Disney family.”

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Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa, ESPN Wide World of Sports Rank Amongst Nation’s Top Uniforms

Announced during the 2010 North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD) Convention and Expo in Las Vegas, Walt Disney World took home top prizes for its uniforms (costumes) during the Image of the Year Awards.

“From the officer who arrests criminals to the doorman who greets you when you arrive at a hotel, uniforms are an integral part of any customer-facing business,” said Richard Lerman, President and CEO of the NAUMD. “This year’s winners are a dynamic group of companies who have created a competitive edge in their businesses by placing a strong focus on the image of their staff.”

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Showtime Networks to Get Exclusive Cable Rights to DreamWorks Films Thru 2015

Disney-ABC Domestic Television, a division of The Walt Disney Company, and Showtime Networks Inc. have entered into an exclusive output agreement under which up to 35 of DreamWorks Studios’ films, to be theatrically released between 2010 and 2015, will air on the network.  The announcement was made today by Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. and Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

“We are very pleased to be in business with The Walt Disney Company in bringing us theatrical films from DreamWorks,” said Blank.   “We expect a great supply of high-profile commercially successful films from Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider and their wonderful team. Combined with our current supply of theatrical titles, our subscribers will enjoy a diverse slate of films for years to come.”

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Walt Disney Studios Extends Cable First Rights Agreement with Starz Thru 2015

Starz Entertainment, LLC, and Disney-ABC Domestic Television, a division of The Walt Disney Company, announced today the signing of a new, exclusive long-term licensing agreement for theatrical releases from The Walt Disney Studios through 2015. The previous output agreement was set to run through 2012. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Florida Hospital for Children Unveils First Milestone of the Walt Disney Pavilion

With help from a world-famous mouse, dozens of eager children and a shower of confetti, officials opened the doors to the welcoming, new lobby of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children and unveiled the first physical milestone of the hospital’s innovative model of pediatric health. The entrance serves as a gateway to the remainder of the children’s hospital where the smallest patients from around the world will receive superior treatment and care from renowned physicians.

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First Pages of ‘Kingdom Keepers 3′ by Ridley Pearson Available Online

On his official blog, Ridley Pearson, popular author of young adult novels, has made the first several pages of his upcoming title Kingdom Keepers 3: Disney in Shadow (April 6, 2010; Disney Hyperion) available for download (Adobe Acrobat Reader required). The newest book in the series has our heroes back in the theme parks of Walt Disney World with a new challenge, obstacles and enemies to overcome.

As Ridley has promised us, Stitch has a prominent role in the book, appearing first on page one, but his badness level appears to be questionable at best. Only time (and the rest of the book) will tell if Stitch counts Maleficent and the Overtakes or Finn and the rest of the DHIs amongst his ‘ohana.

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Disney’s D23 Announces Biennial ‘Destination D’ Multi-Day Event; Sets Dates for 2011 Expo

It’s a milestone year for the Disneyland® Resort, and D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans is celebrating with the premiere of DESTINATION D, a brand-new, two-day event exclusively for D23 Members that illuminates Disney’s fascinating history.

D23 announced its latest members-only event on its first anniversary – capping a year in which Disney’s first-ever fan community grew to encompass tens of thousands of members from all 50 U.S. states and more than 30 countries worldwide.

The inaugural DESTINATION D, whose theme is “Disneyland ’55,” will be held this Sept. 24-25. DESTINATION D: Disneyland ’55 will take D23 Members on a journey through the design, creation, debut and magical history of the world’s first Disney theme park. The first DESTINATION D will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel.

DESTINATION D: Disneyland ’55 will offer two full days of special presentations, panels, screenings and guest speakers that let fans meet and talk with key figures in Disneyland’s history. Future DESTINATION D events will explore other important aspects of Disney’s creative legacy.  Following its premiere in September, DESTINATION D will alternate annually with the enormously popular D23 EXPO.

The next D23 EXPO is set for Aug. 19-21, 2011, returning to the Anaheim Convention Center. Tickets for the 2011 D23 EXPO will go on sale Aug. 19 (one year in advance), with specially priced tickets available exclusively to D23 Members. In addition, D23 Charter Members will have access to a special Charter Member Lounge at the 2011 D23 EXPO, at no additional cost.

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ESPN Films to Produce Vince Lombardi Biopic Starring Robert De Niro

Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro is attached to play legendary coach Vince Lombardi in the theatrical motion picture LOMBARDI being developed by ESPN Films, Andell Entertainment and the NFL. Additionally, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Good Shepherd) has come on board the project which will chronicle Lombardi during the years he transformed the Green Bay Packers from the worst team in the National Football League into five-time NFL champions.

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