More Than a Year Later, NASA Legend Buzz Lightyear Returns to Earth; To be Honored at WDW Oct 2

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D23 Expo: Attendees (and John Lasseter) Create Massive LEGO Mural; Sneak Peeks at New Releases (Video)

The showpiece at the D23 Expo LEGO booth was definitely the 8×15 foot mosaic featuring a photo of Walt Disney and the D23 Expo official portrait by Tim Rogerson.

A 'before' photo of the LEGO Mosaic The completed LEGO mosaic

The mural, which consists of more than 150,000 1×1 bricks (in 19 colors), was assembled over 3 1/2 days by thousands of D23 Expo attendees. Each volunteer was handed a randomly chosen color-coded square to which the individual bricks were attached.

John Lasseter pictured along side LEGO Master Builder Erik Varszegi (Photo by Adrienne Helitzer/courtesy of Disney Consumer Products)The incredibly popular LEGO mosaic creation was so fun that even Disney and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter couldn’t wait to do his part.

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D23 Expo: Winner of Coveted Rare ‘Duckster’ Award Announced

img_1668 Just prior to the D23 Auction, a ceremony was held in which the winner of the official Donald Duck portrait was announced. The contest was held in honor of Donald’s 75th Anniversary and took advantage of recently-discovered unawarded Duckster awards within the Walt Disney Archives. The award, originally commissioned by Walt Disney, has been awarded less than two dozen times and has not been given out in at least two decades.

Mickey and Donald joined the stage as the winning portrait was unveiled, announcing Jennifer Sleeper as the winner.

Congratulations to Jennifer and all of the other well-deserved finalists.

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D23 Expo: Performance by Disney Fine Art’s David Garibaldi (Photo Gallery)

16 The D23 Expo Auction event kicked off with  ‘Rhythm and Hue’ artist David Garibaldi taking the stage (and often taking to the air). Using a combination of music, movement, paint and inspiration, Garibaldi (who once toured with the Blue Man Group) creates portraits of cultural and historical icons in just 5-7 minutes each right before the audiences’ eyes in a super dynamic performance.

Between paintings (three in all), David would address the crowd and offer words of inspiration and dream chasing, citing his own years as a misguided youth as a street graffiti artist.

Each of David’s three paintings that night were also introduced as surprise lots during the auction. His rendition of Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, a landscape-oriented portrait (rare for Garibaldi), was not only performed for the first time ever during the event, but also provided one of the auction’s more intense moments with a heated bidding war to help close the night.

Below is a photo gallery of David’s performance of his second two paintings of the night along with some photos from backstage where Garibaldi signed and even dedicated his pieces — at least when he wasn’t being bombarded by his legions of fans.

As always, click on any thumbnail to see a larger version or click on the PicLens link to start the slideshow and be sure to check out Garibaldi Arts.

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Holiday-themed Special Features New Songs from TMBG and ‘Sensational Six’

A primetime special for preschoolers and their families, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo Choo Express,” starring Disney’s beloved Sensational Six – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Pluto – premieres SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25 (7:00-7:45 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. In the colorful special of this Emmy Award-nominated series, Mickey and pals climb aboard the Clubhouse Choo Choo Train for a snow-filled adventure. Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band They Might Be Giants and the Sensational Six themselves each perform a new song in the special.

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Radio Disney Presents All New ‘Next Best Thing’ on Radio, TV, Online and Mobile Phones

Burbank, September 11, 2009  —  Radio Disney, which Billboard magazine ranked among the Top 20 on its Maximum Exposure list of ways to get music noticed, will launch an all-new edition of its “Next Big Thing” (N.B.T.), a daily multi-platform programming feature that puts the spotlight on young recording artists and provides them with national broadcast and online exposure.   Over the course of 10 weeks, beginning WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, Radio Disney listeners will be introduced to five unsigned N.B.T. artists, age 12-17, and invited to look, listen and vote for their favorite at RadioDisney.com or by texting “NBT” to DISNEY (347639) (Msg. & data rates may apply. If you’re under 18, get your parent’s permission first.) . The highest ranked N.B.T. artist will have the opportunity to have their single featured on the upcoming Walt Disney Records’ Radio Disney Jams 12 CD.  Simultaneously, Disney Channel will present a preview of each artist and a sampling of their musical talent in interstitials hosted by Tiffany Thornton (“Sonny With a Chance”).

Michael Riley, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Radio Disney, said: “We’re creating a fully encompassing environment to showcase great new artists on Radio Disney with further exposure on Disney Channel, Disney.com and our N.B.T. mobile website; providing a truly immersive multi-platform experience for kids and families.”

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New Season of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ is Celebrity-packed with ‘Get on the Bus’ Campaign

Two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton (ABC’s new series “The Middle”) and music group Five For Fighting will be the first stars for Season 7 to volunteer in the GET ON THE BUS campaign on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The new season begins with a two-part episode, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (7:00-8:00 & 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

Capturing the momentum of the Obama administration’s focus on volunteerism, “EM:HE” will show that community service is cool again with the new GET ON THE BUS campaign. For the first time ever for the series, “EM:HE” will have famous celebrities and extraordinary volunteers GET ON THE BUS for the weeks of house-building during the season. So far the other celebrities volunteering include Tyler Perry, David Duchovny, Mary J. Blige, Clint Black, Xzibit, Trace Adkins, Ashley Tisdale and Kellie Pickler.

When the new season begins, these special guests will contribute far more than special appearances – they’ll be part of the design team. In each episode, the iconic “EM:HE” bus will pick up a new volunteer to join the team and help during the build, providing a rare chance to visit America’s heartland and connect with real people who need help. Celebrity volunteers will pull up their sleeves, create a design project and put their personal stamp on the home. They will get to know the family’s circumstances and needs one on one. In between pouring foundations and framing walls, some of the celebrity volunteers will jump right into the center of the town — connecting with the locals, hanging out with the design team, spearheading a community project and bringing their unique personality and talents to the project. It’s not all hard labor and sweat — every episode has plenty of room for good times with good people. Getting on the bus will allow America to get to know the celebrity volunteers in an entirely new way — as a real person who wants to make a real difference.

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‘Disney’s A Christmas Carol’ Premieres in London November 3, 2009; Tickets Now on Sale

BURBANK, Calif., Sept. 13 — London will host a traditional Dickensian Christmas with a little Disney magic this holiday season as Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Bob Hoskins and Academy Award -winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis come together to celebrate the World Premiere of “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” on November 3, 2009. The festivities include a history-making coordinated Christmas Lights Switch-On: for the first time ever, the world famous Christmas Lights on Regent and Oxford Streets, plus the festivities in The City of London – at the very heart of Dickensian London – will share the same theme of “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.”

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‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Revamps Money Tree, Allowing Hot Seat Contestants to Walk Away with Even More Money

NEW YORK, Sept. 14  — “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira is making big changes to the show’s “money tree,” giving hot seat contestants the opportunity to win even more money this season! Contestants will still face 15 questions to win the top prize of $1-million, but will be able to reach the higher level questions faster as the monetary values of the first eight questions will increase. The new “money tree” will take effect on Monday, September 14.

Millionaire will no longer start with the first three questions being valued at $100, $200 and $300. Instead, contestants will jump right into big-action game play with their very first question valued at $500. Contestants will reach the first safety level of $5,000 (formerly $1,000) after correctly answering the first five questions. At that point, they are guaranteed to win at least $5,000 from their hot seat appearance. The monetary values for the next three questions will also increase, leading up to the next safety level of $25,000.

“We’ve launched our own little stimulus package this season on Millionaire,” said Michael Davies, Executive Producer on the hit game show. “Regular Americans from all over the country have always been the stars of our show. This season, we’ll be giving them the opportunity to win even more money in the Millionaire hot seat,” he added.

Here is a rundown of the newly revamped Millionaire “money tree”:
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D23 Expo: Lasseter Reveals Details on Cars 2

Cars 2, due out in summer of 2011, finds its foundation when Lightning McQueen is invited to participate in the International Race of Champions, a world-wide race in which McQueen competes against all genres of racing cars.

Inspired by the press junkets Lasseter used to make around the world while promoting Cars, Lasseter said he often found himself wondering ‘What would Mater do?’ when encountering all of the different types of unique driving experiences around the world, such as driving on the other side of the road in London, the roundabout in Paris, viewing scooters in Italy as gnats, etc.

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