Handy Manny to Fight Flu in New Disney Channel Interstitial Beginning December 11

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Handy Manny, a hugely popular character among the preschool set and star of Disney Channel’s hit series “Handy Manny,” highlights the importance of washing hands and offers other tips to prevent the spread of germs, especially during flu season, in a new interstitial segment premiering FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 (9:25 a.m. ET/PT) during Playhouse Disney, the learning-focused programming block for preschoolers seen daily on Disney Channel.  The interstitial will recur multiple times daily and will be available at PlayhouseDisney.com, with a link to the Center for Disease Control’s flu prevention micro-site and printable tips for parents on how to prevent and treat the flu.

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Vinylmation 3″ Cutesters Series 1 and Urban Series 3 to be Released at Disneyland Dec 15

In conjunction with the grand opening of the new Disney D Street at the Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney on December 15, the Disney Design Group has announced that Disneyland Resort will begin selling both the 3″ editions of the Vinylmation Cutesters Series 1 and Urban Series 3 figures.  Dates for the Walt Disney World releases have not yet been announced, but are expected to take place shortly after.

DDG has also announced that the artist release party for the series will be put off until January, when the Urban Series #3 9″ figures are released at both resorts.

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Kirk Cameron Joins Epcot’s Candlelight Processional as Narrator December 12 & 13

As per Disney Parks, Kirk Cameron will be replacing Vanessa Williams as narrator on December 12 & 13. It was also previously announced that Abigail Breslin extended her role, commencing on the 14th.

Click here to see the full schedule.

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Marvel Shareholders to Vote on Disney Merger on December 31

After a few postponements, Marvel has finally set the date for its shareholders to vote for the acquisition by The Walt Disney Company on December 31. All those who own Marvel stock as of November 23 are eligible to vote at the meeting which will be held at the offices of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, 75 East 55th Street, New York, New York.

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ABC.com Kicks off New Season of Scrubs with WinstonUniversity.com

Just in time for the hour-long season 9 debut of Scrubs on ABC tonight at 9 pm ET/PT, ABC.com launches WinstonUniversity.com, a website dedicated to the educational institution that serves as home to the new Sacred Heart.

Not much on the site as of yet, just a couple of bios and blogs of students Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishe) and Drew (Michael Mosley) who will face the comic tutelage of  Dr. Turk and (of course) Dr. Cox. They will be joined by fellow student Cole (Dave Franco) who evidently has other priorities in life than blogging (at least for now).

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‘Mary Poppins’ Touring Company to Offer Free Performance in Los Angeles December 4

LOS ANGELES — Four actors that are currently appearing in the West Coast premiere of “Mary Poppins” (which is being presented at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre) will perform songs from Broadway’s perfectly magical musical in a special free performance at The Grove in Los Angeles on Friday, December 4, 2009, at 3 p.m. Gail Bennett, playing the role of Mary Poppins, and Dominic Roberts, playing the role of Bert, will be joined by Katie Balen and Carter Thomas who play Jane and Michael Banks (respectively).

In addition to the performance the actors will answer questions from Mark Wallengren of KOST (103.5 FM). The performance will take place at 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles – in The Park.

“Mary Poppins,” a co-production of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, opened on Broadway on November 16, 2006. Based on P.L. Travers’ cherished stories and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, “Mary Poppins” the stage play features the Academy Award®-winning music and lyrics of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The stage production has been created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has written the book, and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have composed new songs and additional music and lyrics.

Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre leads the award-winning creative team, with co-direction and choreography by Tony® and Olivier Award winner Matthew Bourne. “Mary Poppins” features set and costume design by Tony® Award winner Bob Crowley, co-choreography by Olivier Award winner Stephen Mear, lighting design by Howard Harrison, orchestrations by William David Brohn, and music supervision by David Caddick. The tour’s creative team includes Tour Director Anthony Lyn, Associate Choreographer Geoffrey Garrett, and Music Director James Dodgson.

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New Gameplay Video for Split/Second Introduces Power Plays

Earlier this year, we introduced you to Split/Second, the revolutionary video racing game from Disney Interactive and Black Rock Studio in which players manipulate the environment to eliminate the competition and alter gameplay.

Today, courtesy of game director Nick Baynes, we get our first glimpse of how power plays work in the game and see actual game footage of how the player can use the environment as a weapon as well as change the actual course.

Slated for a May 1 release, Split/Second is available now for pre-order for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows.

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Walt Disney Animation Studios Leads Nominations for 37th Annual Annie Awards

BURBANK, Calif., Dec. 1  — The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced nominations today for its 37th Annual Annie Awards recognizing the year’s best animated features, television productions, commercials, short subjects and outstanding individual achievements in the field of animation. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog” received eight nominations, including Best Animated Feature and individual nominations for animated effects, character animation, production design and voice acting, while its “Prep and Landing” received nine nominations including Best Animated Television Production and individual nominations for character animation, character design, music, production design, storyboarding and writing.

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Muppets Make Mailings Merrier in December

USPS Muppets Postmark

NEW YORK, Dec. 1  — What do the U.S. Postal Service, the Muppets and Santa Claus have in common? Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will keep them from delivering dreams this holiday season.

Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear joined Postmaster General John E. Potter today at the historic James A. Farley Post Office lobby in New York City to kick off the holiday mailing season and the Postal Service’s Letters to Santa program.

“The holiday season isn’t just the busiest time of the year for the Postal Service — it’s our best time of year,” said Potter. “For nearly 100 years, the Postal Service’s Letters to Santa program has made dreams come true for those in need. This is a time to celebrate how postal employees, charitable organizations and businesses have made a difference in the lives of children coast to coast.”

“We’re excited to be helping the Postal Service make the holiday special for kids across the country. It’s the perfect way to celebrate,” said Kermit the Frog. A postmark of Kermit the Frog will appear in the upper right-hand corner of holiday cards and letters mailed throughout the month of December.

“Helping Santa Claus is always a good idea, especially at this time of year,” added Fozzie Bear, who saluted the Postal Service for 234 years of delivering holiday cheer — and saluted Santa just to be on the safe side.

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Disney Announces A Hole New World for TRON:Legacy Team

Checking to see if the dust has settled from the last bombshell from the Walt Disney Studios… close enough.

It’s being reported that Studios Chairman Rich Ross, after just having put the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake in turnaround, has greenlit a remake of another Disney classic, albeit a tad more contemporary.

From Team Tron (director Joseph Kosinski and producer Sean Bailey) and screenwriter Travis Beacham comes a ‘re-invention’ of the 1979 film, The Black Hole.

Details on the updated film are few and far between although it’s said to be based more on actual science (as scientific as Hollywood can get) and Maximillian the menacing robot is scheduled to make an appearance.

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