Disney Teams up with First Lady Michelle Obama to Create Healthier Generation

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As part of its ongoing effort to promote healthy lifestyles and nutrition for kids and families, Disney today announced that it will develop a program in collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama supporting “Let’s Move,” her newly announced campaign to create a healthier generation.

“Having been at the forefront of making healthier lifestyle choices appealing to kids and families, Disney is delighted to work with the First Lady to promote exercise, nutrition and healthy living”

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ABC Affiliates, Advertisers Cry Foul over Actions by ESPN and ABC News

Disney has been driving on thin, black ice lately when it comes to their ABC affiliates and their advertisers.

Two separate events are threatening the financial stability of the ABC network’s affiliate stations, most notably throughout the southern region of the United States.

The affiliates are noticeably upset over recent moves by Disney-owned ESPN taking several sporting events away from the affiliates, most notably several NASCAR events. It’s believed that ESPN, which has been producing all sports for the ABC network since 2006, is being handed carte blanche from the parent corporation in terms of which events it can air exclusively because it helps justifies the already industry-high retransmission fees from cable operators. The affiliates fear a significant loss in programming and local ad revenue as a result.

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Video: Drew Brees Ticker-Tape Parade at the Magic Kingdom

Here’s some footage courtesy of Walt Disney World from today’s ticker-tape parade for the 2010 Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints

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Mary J. Blige to be Keynote Speaker at 2010 Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey

Singer/producer/actress Mary J. Blige, the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” will be the Keynote Speaker as part of the third annual Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey. The event will be held Feb. 11-14 at Walt Disney World Resort.

In partnership with nationally syndicated radio personality Steve Harvey, Walt Disney World Resort will host 100 high school students from across the nation at this year’s academy – giving them unprecedented access to the magic behind Walt Disney World Resort and creating unique, interactive seminars with a wide range of enriching and inspiration topics from “the unseen jobs of entertainment” to “the business of sports” to “the power of networking.”

Blige, whose latest album “Stronger withEach Tear” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts, will speak at the academy’s Commencement Ceremony, a graduation of sorts for the students. Past Keynote Speakers include Judge Greg Mathis and BET Founder Bob Johnson.

Other celebrities scheduled to share their blueprints for success at this year’s academy include R&B star Cupid; actor Roshon Fagen (“Camp Rock”); CNN correspondent Christopher Lawrence; actor Daniel Curtis Lee (“Disney’s Zeke & Luther”); songstress Kimberley Locke; actors Chris (“Zoey 101″) and Kyle (“Cory in the House”) Massey; actress Tamara Mowry (“Sister, Sister”); producer Will Packer (“Stomp The Yard”); singer Ruben Studdard; gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7; and celebrity trainer Harvey Walden. As in 2009, Sherri Shepherd, actress and co-host of “The View,” will return to host the celebrity conversations. Contemporary gospel star Yolanda Adams will speak at the event’s opening ceremony.

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Disney Animal Experts Say Farewell to Flippered and Furry Friends

Key Largo Woodrat. Photo courtesy of DisneyBreaking up is hard to do – especially before Valentine’s Day. But for a team of animal care experts from Disney’s Animal Programs, saying goodbye often means a new beginning for the wildlife they’ve taken under their wing.

During the next few weeks, animal managers, veterinarians and behaviorists will wish farewell to dozens of endangered animals that will return to their native Florida habitat after spending weeks, months or even years with members of the Disney team. The animals range from a tiny, 11-ounce endangered rodent to a recently rehabilitated four-pound sea turtle to an eight-foot, 828-pound manatee. Whether flippers or feet, the common thread is that each one has received top-notch care as a reflection of Disney’s commitment to animal conservation and wildlife rehabilitation.

CRACKING THE CODE ON WOODRAT LOVE
Most recently, the animal care team collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Lowry Park Zoo on the first-ever reintroduction of 14 Key Largo woodrats to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Florida. The woodrats were bred at both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa as part of a recovery plan to augment the existing population found only in Key Largo. Scientists estimate that this native species has dwindled to about 500 after years of habitat loss, drought and the invasion of non-native animal species, such as the Burmese python.

“Although small in size, the Key Largo woodrat plays a larger role in the circle of life,” according to Anne Savage, senior conservation biologist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Through diligent study, we may be able to link these tiny rodents to the distribution of essential sources of food for other animals. That activity could facilitate the growth of fungus, trees and other fauna. That’s an important reason to be concerned about saving them.”

Prior to their release at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the Key Largo woodrats were placed in individual enclosures with nest structures designed and built by refuge volunteers.  Supplemental food was provided for nearly a week while conservation biologists observed the animals in their new environment and felt comfortable removing the animals’ protective enclosures. Each animal has been fitted with radio-collared transmitter which will help scientists track their movements once released.

Breeding this elusive species was a challenge since scientists had very little information about social structure, reproductive biology or ecology. Through diligent research, Disney animal experts studied the behavior of this nocturnal animal and found ways to successfully breed 30 of the native species. Since June 2006, 18 litters have been born in Disney’s colony with litter size ranging from one to three pups.

Aside from scientific discovery, researchers develop special attachments to many of the Key Largo woodrats. “It feels similar to sending children off to college,” said Savage. “As scientists, we hope the woodrats have cultivated the skills to survive on their own and they will be successful in their natural habitat. It’s exciting to be part of this conservation effort and see them move on to their next chapter.”

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Photo Gallery: Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees in Ticker-Tape Parade at Magic Kingdom

Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees joins Mickey Mouse Feb. 8, 2010 in a celebratory parade in the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Brees, the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, is the latest celebrity to star in the “I’m Going to Disney World!” and “I’m Going to Disneyland” commercials which aired only hours after the NFL championship game ended. Brees led his team to a 31-17 victory over the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

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New Muppets Ink and Paint Cel Release on March 20: The Wocka Wocka Room

Ink and Paint Cel: The Wock Wocka Room featuring the MuppetsOn March 20, join Disney Design Group artist Costa Alavezos and Ink and Paint artists James Bonserio, Erin Magill, Theodora M. DeLaney, David Rippberger, Lynn Rippberger, Sharon K.Vincent as they introduce The Wocka Wocka Room featuring the Muppets at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s Studios Animation Gallery from 10 am – 1 pm and 2pm – 5 pm.

The Wocka Wocka Room is a limited edition, hand-painted cel with an edition size of only 1500 pieces. An exclusively designed pin has been created to commemorate the release of the new cel, the pin is available with the first 750 orders placed for a framed cel only.

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ESPN Taps Comic Book Heroes’ ‘Move Out of the Way’ as 2010 NASCAR Coverage Theme

Comic Book Heroes (L-R): Steve, Colin, Ned and Koz. Photo courtesy of Comic Book Heroes.Comic Book Heroes’ (CBH) new single “Move Out of the Way” off their “Take A Seat” EP has been chosen by ESPN as the featured song for the network’s coverage of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. The season opens at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon ET on ESPN2.

To kick off their new relationship with ESPN, CBH filmed a video for “Move Out of the Way,” portions of which will be used throughout the season during ESPN’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecasts. A new music video for the teen rock band’s first single, “Catch Me If You Can,” and six original songs from CBH also will be included in promotions for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage. Throughout the 10-month NASCAR Nationwide Series season, CBH’s music, videos and promotions will be featured in 35 races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

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Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Offer Louisiana Residents Free Night’s Stay

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, which is located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, is awarding the fans of the football champions with the “I’m off to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort!” deal.

As congratulations for their team’s victory, residents of Louisiana will receive a free night at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort when booking two nights at standard price. Fans must book their vacation by Feb. 28, 2010, but will have a full year to take advantage of the offer and celebrate their team’s victory at the place known for championship celebrations.

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Saints’ Drew Brees ‘Going to Disney World’ To Celebrate Victory, MVP Performance in Super Bowl XLIV

So how is New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrating his heroic play in Super Bowl XLIV? In the frenzied moments just after his team claimed the National Football League championship Sunday night in South Florida, he stood in front of a TV camera and shouted five words that have become an almost iconic reaction to milestone achievements: “I’m going to Disney World!”

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