KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mickey Mouse paid a visit to Kansas City this weekend, Walt Disney’s hometown, as he celebrated the unveiling of a traveling art exhibit that pays homage to Walt’s lifelong love of trains. He also unveiled the latest Mickey Mouse-inspired toy train set, Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo, releasing in time for the holidays. Local preschoolers along with Kansas City officials and hundreds of fans saw Mickey off as he kicked off his virtual train tour departing Union Station for Los Angeles, where he will arrive just in time for a viewing party showcasing the upcoming Disney Channel primetime special, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo Choo Express airing Sunday, October 25th (7:00-7:45 p.m. ET/PT).
Families and their kids can track Mickey’s travels online at www.YouTube.com/DisneyLiving, where they can now view the debut of “Mickey’s Evolution,” a video retrospective that reminds us why Mickey Mouse is a bona fide global icon. Fans can also follow Mickey’s virtual train tour on www.Twitter.com/DisneyLiving, and on Facebook, search word: Disney Living, as he makes his way to the Travel Town Railroad Museum in Los Angeles.
The Art Exhibit
The exhibit captures the history of Walt’s and Mickey’s love of trains with a nod to life on the railroad in the early 20th century. Introducing visitors to rare animation art, historic photography and some of Walt’s personal train-related artifacts, the gallery tells the story of a simpler time when Mickey and friends traveled by rail and Walt himself was building one-of-a-kind miniature railroads in his backyard for friends and family. Including photographs of Walt riding the “Lilly Belle” or Mickey rushing to catch a train in an early animation sketch from Mr. Mouse Takes A Trip, this unique art collection comprised of nearly two dozen pieces, will be on display at Union Station from October 10-11, 2009; select images will then move to the Travel Town Railroad Museum in Los Angeles, Calif.
In a video message released today, Pixar director Lee Unkrich has announced that the limited double-feature release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 has been extended beyond October 2, although no specific date was given.
Lee also mentioned that a new, unnamed character in Toy Story 3 will be voiced by Kristen Schaal, who is known primarily for her roles on HBO’s Flight of the Conchords as well as a contributor to The Daily Show. Unkrich also announced that comedian and character actor Blake Clark will be stepping in for the role of Slinky.
With a trip for four to Walt Disney World plus a holiday party for the winning town/village in the United Kingdom, now’s the time for our UK friends to submit their hometown for the opportunity to be dubbed the ‘twinned town’ for Walt Disney World.
For full details and to enter, visit the official site here. Entries are being acceped through November 22.
ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 12 — George Kalogridis, a 38-year Disney veteran and former Disneyland executive, has been named president of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Kalogridis most recently served as chief operating officer for Disneyland Resort Paris, where he was responsible for leading the operations team and overseeing the highly successful 15th anniversary celebration of the resort.
Kalogridis, 55, will report to Al Weiss, president of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He replaces Ed Grier, who is retiring from the company.
“George is a proven strategic thinker whose operational expertise and strong leadership skills will serve him well in leading the Disneyland Resort,” said Weiss. “We are excited to welcome him back to California and look forward to his leadership as we continue to expand and grow this beloved place.”
From 2000 to 2002, Kalogridis served as senior vice president of Resort Operations for the Disneyland Resort, where he played a significant role in the first expansion of the resort – the opening of Disney’s California Adventure park and Downtown Disney. In addition, he was responsible for the daily operations of both theme parks and three hotels, as well as Downtown Disney.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Disneyland, particularly during this exciting time of significant expansion,” said Kalogridis. “I look forward to working with the Cast who make the magic for our Guests everyday and partnering with the Orange County community to ensure the Anaheim Resort Area continues to thrive.”
Hand-painted and made of stone resin, this nearly-a-foot-tall sculpture of a haunted castle features ten Disney classics villains. Ursula, Scar, Hook, Tick-Tock the Croc, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent Dragon, the Evil/Wicked Queen, Shere Kahn, Jafar and Hades stand guard as motion activated light-up eyes and spooky sounds make this the Disney fan’s Halloween decor to have… for next year.
You can pre-order the item here for $135 with shipment expected first quarter of 2010.
With no formal date announced, Disney has shifted the release timeframe of the Vinylmation Cutesters (pictured left) from October until December. When a formal date is announced, we will post it as information becomes available to us.
The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau has introduced a fun new online game titled Find My Smile in which the goal is to find your own photo (either uploaded or chosen from stock photos) amongst a giant mosaic of your photo composed of hundreds of other Orlando area vacation photos. Zoom in to find hints and bonuses along the way as you compete against the clock and your friends and family for the best score.
For our beloved Twitter followers, here’s your chance to win your very own set of The Princess and the Frog Fortune Telling Card Game. Created as a promotional item for the upcoming movie, these are available only through select outlets and we have been fortunate enough to obtain a few sets to give away. Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on this exclusive collectible game consisting of 12 individual cards, each beautifully presenting a different character from the film. Contest details are as follows:
Entertainer and Doll Designer, Marie Osmond introduces her newest creation, Halloween Bitty Belles and the latest addition to her signature collection of Disney inspired dolls. Decked out in authentic reproductions of costumes designed by Disney Designers, this pair of vinyl dolls are all ready for trick or treating. Sold only as a set, Halloween Bitty Belle’s are limited to an edition size of 300 and will be available while supplies last for $80, plus shipping and applicable tax. Disney Visa, Cast Member and Disneyland Premium Annual Passholder discounts apply.
To order, click here.