IBM Debuts New Smarter ‘SmarterPlanet’ Exhibit at Epcot’s Innoventions (Video)

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A look at IBM's New SmarterPlanet Exhibit at Epcot's Innoventions. Photo courtesy of IBM.IBM today unveiled a new experiential exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort, which invites guests to discover the possibilities of building a smarter planet.  The exhibit is powered by a new Smarter Data Center, providing a real-life demonstration of optimized computing that reduces energy costs by up to 25 percent.

SmarterPlanet presented by IBM offers visitors to the park a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of how technology is helping solve the world’s most complex problems – from reducing road traffic and city crime to improving food safety and local water supplies.

The experience encourages guests to think about their individual role in creating a smarter planet as well as understand how smarter data centers are the heart of a more sustainable, technology-enabled world.

For example, hands-on interactive kiosks offer guests a “match” game that reveals societal and technological implications of creating a smarter planet.  Guests will discover how more than two billion people are using mobile phones to open and use bank accounts for the first time; or that only 11 percent of the United States money supply is cash; or that by unplugging household appliance while not in use homeowners can save cash, up to $286 every year; or how smarter food systems track the temperatures of foods from one location to another to prevent spoilage.  From the same kiosks, guests can take a Smarter Planet poll and compare their answers with those of other visitors.

The exhibit also features Runtime, created by Walt Disney Imagineering, which transforms guests into personalized avatars as part of the video game experience.  Players run, jump and dance through a timeline of IBM’s achievements in the history of computing, journeying from the Babbage computer, through vacuum tubes and chips and bits, to the Internet.  Guests can also email their personalized version of the game to any computer, extending the Runtime experience to their home.

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D23 Anniversary Events at Disney Parks Details Announced; Tickets Available February 4

D23 has released some details on what we can expect from their first anniversary member-only events at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts, which we share with you below. Tickets will be available beginning February 4 at 1 pm ET/10 am PT.

WALT DISNEY WORLD, MARCH 5 – COST: $140 PER GUEST (PARK ADMISSION INCLUDED)
Check-in for the event will take place beginning at 9 am at Magic Kingdom’s Guest Relations and will move to the brick kiosk at the park’s entrance at 2pm and remain there until check-in closes at 6:30 pm.

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Disney Fine Art Presents Limited Edition Courvoisier Miniatures Featuring Classic Disney Art

'A Smile and a Song' featuring Snow White from Courvoisier MiniaturesImagine going back in time to historic Courvoisier Galleries® and adding a cel from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Fantasia to your collection. It would be a dream come true, right?

Impossible? Not any more!

“Today we’re making every animation art collector’s Courvoisier dreams come true,” said Michael Young, President of Collectors Editions, publisher of Disney Fine Art and exclusive global distributor for Courvoisier Miniatures. “I am thrilled to announce the immediate availability of Courvoisier Miniatures©, an important and unique line of Disney vintage-style animation art.”

In 1937, Courvoisier Galleries introduced original Disney animation art to the world and — for ten years — sold the brilliant pieces that today form the cornerstone of virtually every collection of vintage Disney art.

“The idea behind the new Courvoisier Miniatures program was to turn back the clock and rekindle the Disney flame of those bygone times and bring the techniques that personified Disney art in 1937 to a whole new generation,” said David Pacheco, Disney Master Artist and art director for the program. “It has been more than 60 years since Disney produced artwork like Courvoisier Miniatures. Now Disney art devotees and collectors can not only acquire real handmade Disney fine art, but acquire it at an affordable price as well.”

“This unique and exciting program of re-creating Disney art using original vintage materials and techniques was 15 years in the making”, said Ron Stark, Director of S/R Laboratories Animation Art Conservation Center in Westlake Village, California, where all Courvoisier Miniatures are made by Disney-trained master animation artists, decorated, and framed. “All the old methods and formulas now live at S/R Labs. Even our pen points are 50 years old, and are the same used to create the brilliant Disney art decades ago.”

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New Video Gives a ‘Second Look’ at Castaway Cay Upgrades

Disney Parks has just released this video on their YouTube channel featuring Walt Disney Imagineer David Smith as he provides a brief overview and a few looks at some of the many upgrades coming to Castaway Cay to support the larger build of and larger number of guests aboard the Disney Dream.

Of course our dear fans will remember that we first brought you a photo of the new Pelican Plunge play area way back in September.

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Recall Alert: Princess and the Frog Toy Necklaces Sold at Walmart

About 55,000 of metal toy necklaces featuring The Princess and the Frog and sold exclusively by Walmart between November 2009 and January 2010 have been voluntarily recalled due to high levels of cadmium which can be toxic if ingested by children.

The necklaces, manufactured in China, are produced by FAF, Inc. of Greenville, R.I. and sold for about $5 each.

Parents who purchased these items are advised to take them away immediately from children and return them to Walmart for either a full refund or a replacement product.

No incidents related to this product have been reported at this time.

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Disney: Miramax Still Alive and Kicking… Sorta

The Associated Press is reporting that The Walt Disney Company affirms that the Miramax label will continue to exist and the films reported as being shelved will be distributed throughout theaters through 2011.

Disney says the most recent move was in line with the long term plans involving Miramax which include reducing the number of films produced per year to a maximum of three.

The article attributes an email sent from a [former?] Miramax employee, directing recipients to a specific Disney employee as the source of confusion.

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World-renowned Juggler Anthony Gotto Joins Cast of ‘La Nouba’ at Downtown Disney

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil announced today that an incredible new act featuring world-renowned juggler Anthony Gatto will be added permanently to the 90-minute spectacle at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort beginning Feb. 5, 2010.

Anthony Gatto comes to La Nouba from the tour of KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil and holds 11 world records in juggling.  In the nine-minute act, Gatto juggles balls, hoops and clubs in unprecedented numbers at amazing speed with seemingly impossible accuracy.

Gatto joins the ranks of professional athletes, dancers, vocalists, musicians and comedic performers in the cast of 67 artists in the incredibly creative and dynamic gem La Nouba.

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ABC Invites Viewers to ‘The Bachelor: Jason and Molly’s Wedding’ Special on March 8

Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, the first “Bachelor” couple to ever walk down the aisle, will share a dramatic new chapter of their love story with millions of viewers when ABC televises their much anticipated wedding on “The Bachelor: Jason and Molly’s Wedding,” MONDAY, MARCH 8 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

The couple, who announced their engagement in October, will let viewers in on all the exciting festivities – from Molly’s dress fitting for her dazzling custom-made gown to Jason and Molly planning the big day with their wedding planner and event designer. Then it’s on to their bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the next stage of their romantic journey with a beautiful wedding ceremony in the perfect location.

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Harlem Globetrotters to Perform for ESPN Wide World of Sports Grand Re-opening

On February 25, the Harlem Globetrotters will be performing for guests at the Milk House located at the newly dubbed ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Also on hand to commemorate the event will be the popular ESPN sports broadcasting team of Mike and Mike along with several other high profile athletes and ESPN personalities.

Tickets are now available from ticketmaster.com and range from $30-$50 in price. Attending guests will also receive a free commemorative t-shirt marking the event.

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Disney Shuts Down Miramax; Shelves Films Not Yet Released

The Wrap reported yesterday that Disney has officially decided to shut down Miramax Films after a recent period of slowly shrinking the production and distribution company, most recently ousting its president Daniel Battsek and closing the New York offices. Founded in 1979 by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the pioneering film company was named in honor of the Weinsteins’ parents (Miriam and Max) and was acquired by Disney in 1993. After a strained relationship with The Walt Disney Company, the Weinsteins left Miramax in 2005 and began another new film company on their own.

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