Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook Resigns

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Exactly a week after his mind-blowing presentation at the D23 Expo (give or take a few hours), Dick Cook has has saved the biggest bombshell for last and has announced his resignation from The Walt Disney Company after 38 years.

Having started at the Disneyland park as a train and monorail operator, Cook worked his way up the ladder to head one of the largest studios in Hollywood.

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D23 Expo: Lasseter Turns Back the Page on New Winnie-The-Pooh Movie

As part of his presentation Sunday at the D23 Expo, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter spent a great deal of time talking about the upcoming Winnie-the-Pooh movie from Walt Disney Animation that was announced a few months ago.

Lasseter began by fighting off the notion that Pooh was just for kids and that he and co-directors Steve Anderson and Don Hall recently reviewed the original Walt Disney Pooh films, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Hunny Tree and Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day and how they found them just as charming and funny today as they did back then and it was there they found inspiration for the new film.

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iPhone App Review: Disney Fireworks

Disney Fireworks for iPhoneTitle: Disney Fireworks (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: September 11, 2009
Cost: $1.99
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Based off popular game genre, familiar images/music
Cons: Cost
Review: This is Disney’s iPhone version of the arcade/video game smash hit Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) with a couple of twists. Choosing from one of four environments, each with its own instrumental music: Peter Pan’s Neverland with ‘Second Star to the Right;’  Mulan’s Emperor’s Castle with ‘Reflection;’ Lilo and Stitch’s Hawaii with ‘He Mele No Lilo;’ and Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the premise is to press the appropriate color as the fireworks shell crosses the line at the top. Press the shell on target and it explodes into one of varying colors of fireworks, even the occasional Hidden Mickey firework. The  line is often not straight across either so it provides a larger challenge when you have competing shells being fired upwards. Complete a level and you can save it as a video to watch later (why, I haven’t quite figured out yet).

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iPhone App Review: Toy Story Photo Hunt

Toy Story Photo Hunt for the iPhoneTitle: Toy Story Photo Hunt (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: September 15, 2009
Cost: Free
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Free, addictive, simple play
Cons: Addictive
Review: The type of video game commonly found in bars, Toy Story Photo Hunt brings all the fun home to the kids and is surprisingly just as challenging when sober. Billed primarily as a promotional free app for the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 re-release, this app also includes a countdown to October 2 (when the films are re-released in theaters in 3D) and the TS/TS2 trailer along with some promotional information for the Toy Story Mania! game for the Wii.

Toy Story Photo Hunt for the iPhoneThe concept itself is quite simple: identify all of the differences between two of the otherwise-same image from one of the Toy Story films. In Normal mode, you have to find the differences before the clock runs out. You start out with having to locate 2 differences and, as you progress, so does the number of differences you need to find, up to nine per image. A wrong answer penalizes you on time, but you start with and earn additional bonuses that will instantly offer you more time or even find the differences for you. In Free mode, there is no clock ticking so you can guess for the differences as much as you’d like without the fear of running out of time. In Challenge mode, you need to find only one difference between each set of photos, but the clock burns much faster, so you only have time for one bad guess (assuming you guess quickly enough). Normal mode lets you run out of time without solving all of the differences 3 times, but Challenge is far less forgiving and one mess-up ends it all. Both the Normal and Challenge modes even have a public scoreboard available so you can submit your level and see how you rank up against others.

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Disney Star Mitchel Musso Gets Goofy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios September 18

Mitchel Musso with GoofySinger & Actor Mitchel Musso (“Hannah Montana,” “Phineas & Ferb”) poses Sept. 18, 2009 with the Disney character Goofy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Musso was at the Walt Disney World theme park to meet fans and sign copies of his self-titled debut CD. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

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‘WALL-E’ Screenwriters Receive Humanitas Honor

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter walked away with the feature film award for their “WALL-E” screenplay Thursday at the annual Humanitas Awards, which honor TV and film writers whose work enriches human understanding.

In his acceptance speech at the Beverly Hills Hotel luncheon, Reardon noted that to keep themselves thematically on-point while writing their script, the “WALL-E” scribes referred to their animated protagonist as Johnny Humanity-Seed.

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A Sneak Peek Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum: Gallery 10, Remembering Walt Disney

Our series peeking into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum comes to a close with Gallery 10: Remembering Walt Disney.

Mickey CryingWalt Disney died on December 15, 1966. Reactions from around the world, in newspaper articles, editorial comment, and letters and telegrams present an appreciation of the joy, hope, and inspiration Walt provided to millions of people around the world.

All images © Disney Enterprises, courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum

Visit the official Walt Disney Family Museum website and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

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D23 Expo: Wizards of Waverly Place Fashion Show, Screening, Panel; Performance by Honor Society

Baljeet, Jeremy, Candace, Buford, Phineas and Ferb in Phineas and Ferb's 'Wizard of Odd' © Disney XD Still flying from winning their Creative Arts Emmy the day before, the cast of Disney Channel’s Wizard of Waverly Place held a panel on Sunday in which thousands of fans were treated also to a brief runway fashion show showing off a clothing line inspired by the show, the premiere of the third season (which airs October 9) and a performance by Disney recording artist Honor Society. Hosted by Radio Disney’s Ernie D, the only cast member unable to appear was David DeLuise who had broken his clavicle at the awards ceremony.

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Tron: Legacy to be Released as IMAX(R) 3D Film On December 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17, 2009 — Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and IMAX Corporation (Nasdaq:IMAX) (TSX:IMX) today announced that Tron: Legacy, the intense, high-tech 3D adventure starring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde, will be released to IMAX(R) theatres in IMAX(R) 3D simultaneously with the film’s wide release on December 17, 2010. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Tron: Legacy will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(R) with IMAX DMR(R) (Digital Re-Mastering) technology. Tron: Legacy is the third film of the previously announced five-picture agreement between IMAX and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

“This is an ideal movie for IMAX’s immersive format,” said Mark Zoradi, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group. “Tron: Legacy already packs a punch in Disney Digital 3D(TM), and to give audiences the option to experience the enhanced premium IMAX 3D version is a real treat. We’re particularly excited to reach a much wider audience now that the IMAX network is expanding with its digital locations.”

“2010 is shaping up to be a powerful year for IMAX 3D releases, and Disney’s Tron: Legacy is a great addition,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “We believe the buzz that already surrounds this film, combined with its fan-boy following and high-tech visual effects makes it a perfect fit for IMAX and we look forward to its release next year.”

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New Toy Story Mania! for Nintendo Wii Gets Blasted in Europe

Toy Story Mania! Blaster Accessory by ThrustmasterBeing one of those who are easily confused by video games whose controls consist of more than a single button, I was pretty relieved when I had the chance to play Toy Story Mania! last week. Now for those in the Europe market, gameplay has gotten a lot more fun, if not simpler. The new Ray Gun Toy Story Mania! accessory by Thrustmaster is inspired in part by both the attraction and Space Command weaponry.

The accessory is essentially a glorified case for the Wii remote. With no batteries required to use it, it’s just a matter of plugging the Wii remote directly into it.

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