ABC’s ‘The View’ Launches Search to Find America’s Ultimate Volunteer

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Today, in celebration of volunteerism, ABC’s Emmy Award-winning talk and entertainment program, “The View,” launched a search for America’s “Ultimate Volunteer.” The show is asking viewers to nominate someone they know who goes above and beyond to help others in their community and who inspires others to action. The winner will receive one million Starpoints from the award-winning SPG loyalty program of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, plus $10,000 spending cash. In addition, the winner and his or her nominator will travel to New York, where the winner will make a special appearance on “The View” the week of October 19.

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Universal Orlando Reveals Details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Opening Spring 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 15, 2009) – Universal Orlando Resort, together with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, today revealed first-ever details about the incredible scope of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Universal also announced that the highly anticipated land will open in spring 2010.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters – and faithful to the visual landscapes of the films – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple attractions, shops and a signature eating establishment.   This completely immersive environment will transcend generations and bring the wonder and magic of the amazingly detailed Harry Potter books and films to life.

The expectations of Harry Potter fans are high and Universal Orlando Resort is collaborating closely with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Warner Bros. Harry Potter brand team to ensure that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an experience of a lifetime.  The Harry Potter films’ production designer, Stuart Craig and art director, Alan Gilmore, in cooperation with a corps of artisans from Universal Creative are working daily to construct the most authentic Harry Potter experience possible.  Guests will be able to sip Butterbeer in Three Broomsticks, buy Extendable Ears at Zonko’s and experience a state-of-the-art attraction that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in a way never before imagined.

“All of the action and adventures of Harry Potter’s world will come to life here at Universal Orlando Resort,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts.  “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be unlike any other experience on earth and we can’t wait to see the looks on our guests’ faces as they enter this rich environment.”

“Harry Potter continues to spark the imaginations of fans of all ages and we really have seen the anticipation continue to build for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” added Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.  “We are excited to share with fans a first glimpse into the truly enchanted world we are bringing to life with all of our partners at Universal Orlando Resort.”

From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:

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

Buzz Lightyear sets foot once more on this planet Earth (Tony Landis/NASA)TO INFINITY… AND BACK!: Buzz Lightyear returned from space on Sept. 11, 2009 aboard space shuttle Discovery’s STS-128 mission, having served as the longest-tenured crew member in space. In a photo taken Sept. 11, 2009, the toy Buzz Lightyear that was sent into space May 31, 2008 aboard the STS-124 mission is posed in front of space shuttle Discovery on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He will be celebrated in a ticker-tape parade together with his International Space Station crewmates and former Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Oct. 2, 2009 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. While on the space station, Buzz supported NASA’s education outreach program – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by creating a series of fun educational online outreach programs. To celebrate his return, Disney is partnering with NASA to create a new online educational game and an online mission patch competition for school kids across America. NASA will fly the winning patch into space. In addition, NASA plans to announce on Oct. 2 the details of a new exciting educational competition that will give students the opportunity to design an experiment for the astronauts on the space station.

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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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