Photo: John Lasseter Plays Game with The Princess and the Frog

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John Lasseter plays a game of The Princess and the Frog for the Nintendo Wii from Disney Interactive StudiosJust a few days ago, Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter found some time to squeeze in a game of The Princess and the Frog for the Nintendo Wii while at Odeon Leicester Square in London. Due out in November, the game will also be available on the Nintendo DS. See here for more details on the upcoming release.

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Disney Wonder Heads to Alaska, Mexican Riviera in 2011; Magic to Summer in Europe

Photo by Diana Zalucky/DisneyCELEBRATION, Fla. (Sept. 11, 2009) – For the first time ever, Disney Cruise Line will offer Alaskan cruises during a four-month season of seven-night sailings aboard the Disney Wonder in summer 2011. Combining the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience provided by Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Wonder will depart out of Vancouver, B.C., calling on popular ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.

Before and after the 2011 summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

In response to guest demand, the Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean in 2011 with 10- and 11-night cruises sailing out of Barcelona. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, the Disney Magic will visit Tunis in northern Africa and the island nation of Malta.

“We’re excited to offer this incredible choice of itineraries for 2011, with cruise vacation options for every family – whether that’s outdoor adventure in Alaska, the beauty and culture of Europe, folklore and pageantry of Mexico or tropical fun in the Caribbean,” said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. “The unique advantage of Disney Cruise Line is that we offer a customized ship experience that brings families together, while still catering to the personalized vacation needs of every guest who sails with us.”

Disney Cruise Line also will offer a number of repositioning cruises and special sailings in 2011, including a 15-night Panama Canal crossing, two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a five- and six-night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and Vancouver to Los Angeles, with first-ever stops in San Francisco and Victoria, B.C., and 10- and 11-night holiday sailings to the Mexican Riviera and the eastern Caribbean.

Guests will be able to book Disney Wonder and Disney Magic itineraries for the 2011 season beginning Sept. 28, 2009.

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Video: D23 Expo Walt Disney Studios Presentation Featuring Dick Cook et al

Enjoy footage from the exciting events and announcements from the Walt Disney Studios presentation featuring WDS Chairman Dick Cook. Dick welcomes numerous celebrities to the stage for the event including directors Robert Zemeckis, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tim Burton, actors John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Ella Bleu Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, the Muppets, a performance by Miley Cyrus and more. Plus see what the fans have to say! Footage courtesy of Disney

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All New Disney/Pixar ‘Cars Toons’ Rev Up on Disney Channel, Disney XD and ABC Family

All-new episodes of Disney•Pixar’s “Cars Toons,” an animated short series directed by Academy Award©-winner John Lasseter with Rob Gibbs co-directing and starring Lightning McQueen’s rusty friend Mater, will debut beginning FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 on Disney Channel, Disney XD and ABC Family. They are titled “Unidentified Flying Mater,” “Monster Truck Mater,” “Heavy Metal Mater” and “Tokyo Mater.”

Mark Mothersbaugh (“Devo”) composed the music for three episodes and BT (“The Fast and the Furious”), a prominent composer of dance and electronic music, scored “Tokyo Mater.”

The four new stories follow the popular shorts that began debuting in October 2008 and which have reached 22.9 million Kids 2-11, or 56% of all kids in that age group in the U.S., and 67.5 million total unique viewers.

“Cars Toons” are directed by John Lasseter, (“Cars,” “Toy Story 2,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story”) and co-directed by Rob Gibbs (“Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc” and “Toy Story 2″). Kori Rae (“The Incredibles” and “Monsters Inc.”) is the producer. Victor Navone (“Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”) co-directed the episode “Tokyo Mater.”

In “Unidentified Flying Mater,” premiering Friday, November 20 on Disney Channel, Mater meets a cute little bucktoothed UFO named Mator, takes him out for a night of fun and they quickly become best friends. But when Mator is captured by the military, Mater and Lightning McQueen come to the rescue.

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Video: Bob Iger Addresses D23 Expo / Betty White and Robin Williams Become Disney Legends

Below is some footage provided to us by Disney from both the Bob Iger address and the induction of both Betty White and Robin Williams into the Disney’s Legends program. Enjoy!

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D23 Expo Day One: Bob Iger Address / The Princess and the Frog

Scheduled to begin at 10 am, the address by Disney President and CEO Bob Iger actually began at 10:30 am. Although it was clear by the fact that the 4,000 seat Arena was still having guests being ushered in after checking all cameras and cell phones and being wanded by security, it wasn’t until Iger took the stage that he declared the popularity of the address the ultimate cause for the delay. Popularity is a major understatement as well as although the address was set to begin at 10, D23 Expo guests came to the Anaheim Convention Center as early as 4 AM to wait for the doors to open at approximately 6:45 AM, only to immediately go wait in another line to enter the Arena.

Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger launched the first-ever D23 Expo with an hour-long presentation in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, exploring the incredible future of Disney and exciting projects that are taking shape around the globe. (DISNEY-ABC TELEVISION GROUP/ADAM LARKEY)The presentation began with a powerful video that really underlined the expanse and reach of The Walt Disney Company. Not just the conglomeration of individual divisions, but how the company is experienced by people the world over (indeed I learned that there was a reporter from Russia covering the event). The titles quickly formed the sentence ‘Every Minute of Every Hour, Someone is Experience the Disney Difference’ (or somthing to that effect) and flashed through snippets of productions past and productions yet to come in all mediums. The film ended with flashing The Walt Disney Company over and over in different languages.

Then Iger took the stage and talked about the birth of D23, how he would constantly have guests ask him why there was no way for Disney to reach out to its customer base and how a visit to the Walt Disney Archives became the catalyst for D23. He talked about how only a company like Disney could have the type of fan base that would enable them to pull off a convention like the D23 Expo.

Crediting it all to the fans, Iger talked about being a fan of Disney himself as a child. A brief mention of the Mickey Mouse Club quickly transitioned to a lengthy ode to Davy Crockett. Anette, he said, was cute, but she had nothing on Davy.

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D23 Expo: Photo Call for The ABCs of Disney

Prior to the ABCs of Disney event, the stars (minus Tom Bergeron and Courteney Cox) appeared on a small red carpet for photos and media interviews, mostly by outlets like Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight. I actually stumbled onto this event by accident when determining what the queue would be like for the event and was initially told I had the wrong type of pass to be allowed into the area, but the cast members had a change of heart and let me in and even called for a media host to be assigned to me so I wouldn’t have any further issues.

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Celebrating the Start of the Third Year: Disney Expands Walt Disney World Moms Panel and Seeks New ‘Mouse’ Experts for 2010

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Sept. 10 — Is Disney your go-to family vacation? Are you a master at coordinating everything from character breakfasts to family reunions? If so, then Disney Parks would like you to apply to be on its third annual Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Disney Parks announced today its search for 10 park-savvy parents to reside on the 2010 Walt Disney World Moms Panel, www.disneyworldmoms.com, where they’ll join panelists from previous years to make this the largest panel to date.

Similar to asking a friend or neighbor for advice, this online forum, led by parents sharing their ultimate park smarts, serves as a resource for families planning a Disney vacation. Beginning today, Sept. 10, the Moms Panel search begins online, www.disneyworldmoms.com/2010 and will close on Sept. 20, or when 20,000 applications are received, whichever comes first.

Parents who pride themselves on being Walt Disney World vacation experts are encouraged to visit www.disneyworldmoms.com/2010 for what will be a magical seat on Disney’s Moms Panel.

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Video: Mickey Mouse Checks in on D23 Expo Preparations

It’s the eve of D23 Expo and Mickey’s hard at work making sure everything goes off without a hitch. Join Mickey Mouse as he checks out The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives and all sorts of things going up for the Expo like the 5’3″ Buzz Lightyear made entirely of LEGO bricks and the fully interactive Storytellers’ Sandbox from Walt Disney Imagineering. Footage courtesy of Disney.

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Mandy Moore lets down her hair for “Rapunzel”

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – After combing the acting landscape, Walt Disney Pictures has chosen Mandy Moore to voice the lead role in its Digital 3D-animated musical action-adventure “Rapunzel,” inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

Zachary Levi, star of NBC’s “Chuck,” has been cast as the voice of the dashing bandit who finds himself on the road with the rebellious teen “hair apparent.”

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