Disney Interactive Studios Acquires Wideload Games, Inc; Halo Creator Seropian

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Wideload Games CEO Alexander SeropianBURBANK, Calif. — Disney Interactive Studios announced today it has agreed to acquire Wideload Games Inc., a Chicago-based producer and developer of original interactive entertainment. As part of the agreement, industry veteran and creative visionary Alexander Seropian, Wideload Games founder and CEO, will join Disney Interactive Studios in the newly created role of vice president of creative, leading the company’s global creative efforts. Seropian, who is relocating to Glendale, Calif., is renowned as the founder of Bungie Software and was among the creators of the highly successful Halo® series – one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Seropian will report directly to Global Product Development Senior Vice President Jean-Marcel Nicolai, and be tasked with overseeing creative development across Disney Interactive Studios’ portfolio of video games.

“Wideload Games is among the premier small creative game development studios in the world. Wideload Games will be a great fit for our portfolio of internal studios, and Alex joining the global product development team provides the entire Disney game portfolio with a strong creative influence,” said Graham Hopper, executive vice president and general manager, Disney Interactive Studios. “Alex has built his reputation around the power of original thinking. In leading the studio that created Halo, he helped turn great storytelling, exceptional design and polished gameplay into the ‘killer app’ for Xbox. Alex’s leadership of our creative community will enhance our ability to be a magnet for the best talent in the industry and enable the company to take an even more significant role in developing industry leading products.”

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Finding Mickey: Exploring the Art of Bret Iwan, Voice of Mickey Mouse

Quick on the heels of the report from LP that Bret Iwan was named the new voice of Mickey, we eagerly followed up and made the connection to his now former position as a Hallmark illustrator, another tidbit that’s widely been reported since.

We are now pleased to present you with samples of some of Bret’s own illustrations of Mickey, for whom Bret Iwan has professed a life-long love of as well as visiting the Disneyland Resort and it absolutely shows through both his talent and his lifestyle. While I am in possession of many different works of art that show off Mr. Iwan’s broad range, for obvious reasons, I’m focusing on the Disney elements.

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Jaeyung Hyung, 38, Places First in Disneyland Half Marathon

Disneyland Half Marathon 2009Jaeyung Hyung, 38, of Las Cruces, N.M., celebrates his victory Sept. 6, 2009 at the Disneyland Half Marathon, held at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. Hyung finished the 13.1-mile race in a time of 1:10:44. Thousands of participants from every U.S. state and 13 countries took part in the fourth annual event that is part of a three-day celebration of health, fitness and family fun. More than 18,000 athletes were registered in various races throughout weekend, including 13,500 for the Disneyland Half Marathon. (Will Norton, photographer)

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Cast of ‘LOST’ to Appear at D23 Expo; Plus Sneak Peek at Upcoming LOST Prop Auction

This Saturday, September 12, in Anaheim, CA, LOST cast members are going to be making a public appearance at Disney’s D23 Convention; additionally some really fantastic pieces of LOST history are going to be on display- including Kate’s toy plane, Hurley’s winning lottery ticket, Locke’s hunting knife, Sawyer’s letter and many other surprises! These items will be on view Thursday September 10 through Sunday, September 13, the entire weekend of D23, and will be up for auction after the series finale in May of 2010.

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Disney Consumer Products and LEGO Group Unveil New Six Foot Woody Statue at Venice Film Festival

LEGO Sculpture of WoodyVENICE, Italy — LEGO models of Woody and Buzz Lightyear were unveiled by Disney Consumer Products as part of a dedicated Toy Story-themed family area at the 66th Venice Film Festival. Constructed from 13,600 LEGO bricks in 150 hours, this was the global unveiling of the Woody model which stands at over 6 1/2 feet tall. The Buzz Lightyear model, seen for the first time in Europe, was constructed from 40,000 LEGO bricks in 250 hours by 3 Master Builders and stands just over five feet tall.

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Photo Call: John Lasseter and Pixar Receive Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award in Venice

Disney world of color 1269 The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 66th Venice International Film Festival (2nd-12th September 2009) was awarded to the American director and producer, John Lasseter – one of the protagonists of the innovation in contemporary animated cinema – and to the directors of Disney*Pixar. Exceptionally in the history of the Venice Film Festival, the award celebrates not only a single filmmaker, but also the contribution of all the directors of this visionary studio.

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Bret Iwan Named as New Voice of Mickey Mouse

Laughing Place has noted that the program for Feld Entertainment’s newest Disney on Ice production, Celebrations!, has listed Bret Iwan as a voice talent and has also dedicated the show to the memory of former Mickey Mouse voicer and Disney Legend, Wayne Allwine.

Also linked to in the news item is a link to the studios where Iwan has recorded some material for Mickey.

So what does Bret do when he’s not providing the voice for the world’s most famous animated personality? Evidently he is/was also an illustrator for Hallmark and according to this irresistibly cute story from Hallmark about Bret visiting a school, he’s been a fan for years, drawing and voicing Mickey for the amused students.

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D23 Expo Update: Celebs, a Guide, Merch, a Peek Inside (and More)

- Of course the biggest news is that very shortly after we released a readable D23 Expo schedule, D23 released the full guide in PDF format that will be distributed at the Expo. If you haven’t already, you should get it now from the Expo schedule page. If for some reason it gets updated between now and Thursday, we will alert you as soon as possible via twitter and facebook.

– Panelists have been named for each of the films in the 50 and Fabulous film festival which is jam-packed with Disney Legends such as Dave Smith, Tommy Kirk and Mary Costa amongst others. More info on the film festival’s page here.

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WDW Refurbs Update: Ketchakiddee Creek Closed in December

I’ve been holding on to this one for several days because while Typhoon Lagoon is scheduled to be closed in November, this is the only attraction for the park listed in December, so I’m just going to go with it until I learn otherwise.

With that in mind, Ketchakiddee Creek is scheduled to be closed all of December.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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