Nikki Reed Named Vice President of Original Series Development for Disney Channel

Nikki Reed has been named Vice President, Original Series, overseeing live-action development for Disney Channel and Disney XD, it was announced today by Adam Bonnett, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channel, to whom she will report.

Reed, who has more than 13 years’ experience overseeing feature films and television series development, will be responsible for developing new live-action series geared towards kids, tweens and families on Disney Channel, Disney XD, as well as numerous platforms around the world.

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Disney Previews a Very Spirited Vinylmation

Today on the official Vinylmation blog, we get a sneak peek at some artwork for an upcoming Vinylmation release. The mysteriously vague entry simply asks if you recognize just who this fellow is?

It took us all of half a breath to scream out the answer, thanks mostly to a vivid memory of a particular toy from Fisher Price.

Did you figure out where he’s from yet? Click on the Show below if you’d like some  help.

Show ▼

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes White Rhino to the World

Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed a healthy white rhino to the family last week with the addition of a female calf born Sunday, Jan. 17.  Kendi, an 11-year-old white rhino, gave birth to her third baby after a 16-month gestation period. The baby, which has not yet been named, is the eighth white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; her mother, Kendi, was the first.

“A rhino birth is considered to be a significant event since the species was once nearly extinct and is currently endangered,” according to Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Disney’s Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives. “Under protection and careful management, this species has grown to approximately 11,000 worldwide, with 190 residing in North American zoos.”

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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Wuennenberg Family in Response to Monorail Tragedy

According to the Courthouse News Service, Christine P. Wuennenberg, mother of the cast member killed in an accident involving two of Walt Disney World’s monorail trains in July, has filed a wrongful death claim in Orange County Court.

The claim asserts that Disney was aware of the dangers of the functions being performed at the time and deliberately ignored safety procedures enacted by Disney itself as well as disobeyed explicit warnings included in the operations manual provided by the manufacturer.

According to the complaint, Disney commonly forced pilots to disregard the guide, “as it did not want to keep customers waiting, which would impact the ability for Walt Disney to maximize profits.”

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How Disney Plans to Revolutionize the Theme Park Experience

You may recall a couple of years ago, the Magic Kingdom was ‘testing’ a very popular device called the Disney Magic Connection: a special cartridge locked into an otherwise-ordinary Nintendo DS that provided guests beta-testing the device the ability to know where the nearest facilities were based on location, estimated standby times for attractions and more. Many have since wondered what became of the project and we now have an idea.

Last week, a patent application from Disney Enterprises was published and although it describes the Disney Magic Connection system to a tee, what the application covers is ready to propel the entire theme park experience to a whole other level, integrating technology into virtually every aspect of even the most traditional element.

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‘Captain EO’ Mea Culpa on Disneyland Debut Date; Will Closing Date Work?

After a question arose earlier today on Twitter in regards to our initial report that Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was scheduled to be closed until January 29, making the assumption it would re-open as Captain Eo, we went back and confirmed with the original source which has since been updated and currently reads as closed until January 29, 2011.

So someone made an unfortunate, honest mistake, either us for initially mis-reading it, or they for publishing the wrong year, but it looks like all we currently can surmise is that Captain Eo should be running at least through the remainder of the year before closing to switch back to HISTA which will re-open on January 29, 2011. In either case, we apologize for the mis-information.

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Pixar Director Auctions ‘Toy Story 3′ Memorabilia for Haiti Efforts

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich is auctioning off his own personal memorabilia from the upcoming Disney/Pixar film for charitable efforts in Haiti. Unkrich has pledged 100% of the proceeds from the auctions to go to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

The first item up for auction is a Toy Story 3 teaser poster featuring Sheriff Woody Pride and signed by actor Tom Hanks.

The poster, which is listed as including free shipping, can be found on eBay.

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First Look: Hand-painted Disney Instruments to Benefit Music Education

Last month,the official blog of Disney Parks introduced us to the first of five custom hand-painted Disney-themed instruments that will be auctioned off to benefit music education in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney World’s Magic Music Days program.

There, the blog showed off the Genie by animator Brian Kesinger. Today we get our first look at the remaining basses in this unique collection. Pictured above, from left to right, are: Dumbo by Supervising Animator Michael Surrey and his daughter Ellen; Rapunzel by Claire Keane, Visual Development Artist for Rapunzel; The Princess and the Frog by animation designer Lorelay Bove; Genie; and Cheshire Cat by animation designer Douglas Rogers.

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New ‘Yellow Light Cycle’ Billboard Ad for Tron Legacy (Hi-Res Image)

Released a few days ago, exclusively through MTV, Walt Disney Studios has now offered us the following hi-res image of a sleek new Tron Legacy billboard ad featuring a yellow light cycle. This ad compliments the original blue version we first introduced you to last month.

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First Look: 3D Sculpture of Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland (Update)

Note: Updates in bold.

Months before the official announcement, we were one of the first to share the blueprints for the new Magic Kingdom Fantasyland with you. Today we are thrilled to be able to show you this image we acquired of an actual sculpted model of the Fantasyland redo.

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