D23 Invites 50 Guests to Special Screening of Ponyo at the El Capitan Theater (Sold Out)

Fifty D23 Members will be among the first to see Ponyo, at the July 27 exclusive screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s breathtaking animated film Ponyo, which will arrive in theaters in limited release on August 14. The masterfully told and gorgeously realized film tells the unforgettable story about a young, independent-minded goldfish named Ponyo, who breaks away from her undersea home in hopes of becoming a human girl.

This event is now sold outg. The first 50 D23 Members to RSVP will receive email confirmations (good for Member plus one guest). Please listen carefully to the instructions when you call.

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Vinylmation Mickey: The New $40 Autograph ‘Book’

Vinylmation Mickey Blank Turned Autograph Book

Vinylmation Mickey Blank Turned Autograph Book

While I make it a hobby to track down and photograph characters, I am no autograph hound. In fact, I don’t recall ever obtaining a single Disney character autograph on purpose — until now that is. After several days on site, I needed a new way to occupy my time and when something caught my eye at The Animation of Disney shop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it was love at first sight. Or a new hobby anyway. There on the counter was a 9″ Vinylmation blank decked out with several character signatures. I fought the urge for a while but there was just no walking away from it, I had to try it.

So for $39.95, I walked away with a Vinylmation blank and a fine-point sharpie given to me by the cast member at the store (they really ought to sell sharpies there too). And over the next two-and-a-half days, as time allowed, I tracked down every single character I could find and got them to sign my Mickey. Even Mr. Incredible, who normally uses a rubber stamp, signed him.

The idea itself really is novel, if not awkward, and I think it should provide a really good springboard for new )and hopefully less-expensive) autograph-related products. Let’s face it, we all (well, not me) do the autograph books and for most who manage to keep them around, they sit on the shelf for most of the time. Here we have a three-dimensional, tangible object that does its best work when it does the exact same thing and sits on a shelf.

So after two-and-a-half days and gathering a total of 61 autographs, I learned a few things that might help the next poor unfortunate soul who follows suit.

First, the fine-point sharpie (or even a ball-point pen) is a must. Especially when dealing with face characters who can be very nimble, particularly with signing in dwindling spaces and have intricate autographs. Characters with bigger hands didn’t seem to have as much an issue with the fine-point itself, but were challenged when it turns out the first sharpie I had was about to die. Which leads to the next tip:

Make sure the sharpie (or whatever) is in amazing shape. If it is, writing on the vinyl figure will be smooth and dark. You can use the bottom of the feet to test the autograph pen (unless you have other plans for his normally not-visible bottom).

There seemed to be an issue with touching him, particularly when signatures were fresh. They wouldn’t be immediately affected, but over time, areas that got touched a lot seemed to fade really fast and would sometimes smudge. For this reason (and the next), I recommend physically handling him as little as possible. When toting him around, don’t flaunt him, put him in a bag (or at least flaunt him in a clear bag).

People (and characters) will love him. Kids will become downright obsessed with him and won’t think twice about picking him up if he’s left vulnerable and checking him out.

A semi-tip: The eyes pictured on my Mickey were courtesy of Pluto. It seems you can get away with decorating the face a little bit as characters seemed hesitant to ‘tattoo’ it anyway (although the eyes made that situation even more clear) and still have room for autographs.

Bottom line, despite the imperfections that accumulated during the process, I’m proud of my Autograph Mickey and the slightly smudged memories that come with it.

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Wizard Entertainment Announces Anaheim to Get Comic-Con April 16-18, 2010; Tickets On Sale

Anaheim Comic-ConNew York, NY (July 16, 2009) – Gareb Shamus, CEO of New York-based Wizard Entertainment, today announced the launch of the first-ever Anaheim Comic-Con, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center from April 16-18, 2010.

Richard McWilliam, Upper Deck Chairman/CEO said, “Gareb and I have been friends for many years now, and I’m happy to see him once again back in Southern California. On behalf of myself and Upper Deck, we congratulate Gareb for bringing the fans here another great Comic-Con.”

Upper Deck recently announced a licensing agreement with Marvel Entertainment to create products based on Marvel characters, including Trading Cards, TCGs and Miniatures Games.

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Ashley Tisdale Volunteers for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s Get on the Bus Campaign

“EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION” HELPS A FAMILY WHO MADE ROOM IN THEIR BIG HEARTS AND TINY HOME FOR FOUR MORE KIDS ON ONE HOUR’S NOTICE

On July 14, 2009,”Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Green County, Missouri to tell the eight members of the Hampton family – all living in a cramped one-bedroom, one-bath cottage, 792 sq. ft. total – that they’ll have a new home in seven days. The original family of four doubled in size not long ago after a fateful phone call from a social services agency. Chris and Niki Hampton were told they had just one hour to decide if they would take in their four nieces and nephews or let them go to foster care.

Chris and Niki didn’t hesitate to open their hearts and home to young Gage, Kira, Lexi and Jacob, who now range in age from two to eight years old. Squeezing out the space for them, together with eleven-year-old son Dakota and eight-year-old daughter Hannah, has been the real challenge. Currently the three boys share one set of bunk beds in the dining room, and the three girls share another set of bunks in what used to be a utility closet. Since the cottage has no closets, plastic storage bins are stacked floor-to-ceiling in every room. Dinner is served assembly line-style, and everyone sits on the floor except for the youngest children in booster seats.

What the family lacks in comfort and space, they more than make up for in love. The children are incredibly close – literally and figuratively – and Chris and Niki look forward to the day when they move beyond full legal custody of their nieces and nephews to become their adoptive parents. Chris, a land surveyor, basketball and football coach, and president of the Missouri Family Rodeo Association (MFRA), and Niki, a saleswoman and MFRA secretary, also have rescued six horses that live on their five-acre farm along with three dogs.

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Disney/ABC Television Group Scores 60 Primetime Emmy Nominations

The Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) captured 60 Primetime Emmy nominations, it was announced today by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This total reflects nominations for ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC.com and Disney Channel programming.

The ABC Television Network received 56 nominations, including a Drama Series and Writing in a Drama Series nomination for previous Emmy winner “Lost,” produced by ABC Studios, and key nominations in the acting categories: Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Sally Field for “Brothers and Sisters”; Christina Applegate captured a Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nomination for her starring role in “Samantha Who?”; Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson both were recognized in the Supporting Actress Drama category for their roles on “Grey’s Anatomy”; “Lost’s” Michael Emerson, a past Emmy winner for a guest appearance on “The Practice,” captured his third straight Supporting Actor nomination as the mysterious Benjamin Linus; William Shatner was recognized with a Supporting Actor nomination for the last season of “Boston Legal,” along with his co-star Christian Clemenson; Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series nominations went to previous Emmy nominees Kristin Chenoweth for “Pushing Daisies” and Vanessa Williams for “Ugly Betty.”

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Report: Bus Collision Near Contemporary Resort Sends At Least 8 to Hospital

WESH is reporting that two Disney Transportation buses collided this afternoon near the Contemporary Resort. They report eight to fourteen guests have been sent to Celebration Health for treatment but that all injuries appear to be minor. You can read their coverage here.

Also tweeting live from the scene was Disney Moms Panelist Erin Foster.

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‘Blueprint’ Surfaces of (Big Gulp) Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland Makeover – It’s Huge.

A big tip o’ the ears to our lovely friends at the Disney Report who have obtained and posted a very highly detailed blueprint of a long rumored upgrade to Fantasyland (now removed). Personally, I don’t take too much stock in rumors and I think I have a talent for knowing what’s likely and what’s not and while I would never believe anyone if they told me what this design foretells, it does have some key elements that I’ve been ‘aware’ of myself. Most notably the fact that something big was coming to the Magic Kingdom alas the upper crust felt the park was being neglected so they started to shift focus to it, that the Little Mermaid was coming to Magic Kingdom (reportedly one of the conditions of being able to bring it to Disney’s California Adventure was to be able to replicate it in the Magic Kingdom to reduce costs) and that it (and/or something big) was finally going over the huge plot of land that once was the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (and now hidden by lots of trees).

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Innovative Entertainment Technology Drives ‘World of Color’ – the Next Milestone in Expansion of Disney’s California Adventure

Concept Art for World of Color at Disney's California AdventureANAHEIM, Calif. (July 16, 2009) – Elaborate preparation is underway for “World of Color,” the spectacular nighttime water show that will astound guests with its magnitude and creativity when it debuts in spring 2010 as the next major milestone in the expansion of Disney’s California Adventure park. Surpassing all Disney water productions, “World of Color” will bring Disney animation to life with powerful fountains that become stars of the show as they create the world’s largest projected water screen.

For months now, guests at Disney’s California Adventure have been peering into the lagoon near Paradise Pier as Walt Disney Imagineering and Creative Entertainment have installed the massive infrastructure and innovative technology that will create the stage for this extraordinary combination of music, animation and stunning water effects. Teams of Disney workers have built nearly an acre of superstructure to support the complex “World of Color” production.

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SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Grant $700,000 to Help Protect At-Risk Animals

SEAWORLD & BUSCH GARDENS CONSERVATION FUND LOGO

ORLANDO, Fla., July 16  — Endangered species and habitats under stress will get a much-needed lift this week thanks to $700,000 in grants being awarded by the non-profit SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund to wildlife protection projects in the U.S. and around the world.

The Fund’s board of directors approved grants to 83 projects, including wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts, research of little-known species, protection of critical habitat, and grassroots education efforts aimed at increasing awareness and changing behaviors.

One of the Fund’s 2009 grant recipients, Save the Elephants, is working to protect the Earth’s largest land animal, using technology in unexpected and effective ways to reduce conflicts with humans.

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A Look at Some of the Disney San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives

From Acme Archives Direct (Booth #: 5429)

Princess and the Frog LE PrintWhat is it: The Princess and the Frog Fine Art Print on Museum Quality Watercolor Paper
Edition Size: 50, hand-numbered and signed by talent from the film
Cost: $79

 

TRON Concept Art LE PrintWhat is it: TRON Concept Art Print
Edition Size: 82 (as in 1982, the year the film was released)
Cost: $79

 

From BOOM! Studios (Booth #: 2543)

Hardcover Editions of Disney/Pixar and Muppets ComicsWhat is it: Hardcover editions of The Incredibles: Family Matters, Cars: The Rookie and The Muppet Show
Edition Size: 250 each, individually numbered
Cost: $50

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