Disney D23 Announces Slate of Member Exclusive Events in 2011; Disney Legends Ceremony Returns

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is pleased to announce the coming year’s slate of special events, designed especially for its diverse and growing membership base.

Among the exciting offerings for 2011 are exclusive D23 Studio Tours throughout the year, four free 50 and Fabulous film screenings on the Walt Disney Studio Lot in Burbank, D23’s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt: Walt Disney World, the highly anticipated Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, the perennial favorite Sip & Stroll event during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, a D23/Disney Junior ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ event on the Burbank Studio Lot for the budding Disney fan, the festive Magic and Merriment event at the Walt Disney World Resort to kick off the holiday season and, of course, D23 Expo 2011.

D23 Members receive advance notification of all special events through D23’s biweekly FanFare email, and all events are offered on a space-available basis. More details on events, and on becoming a D23 Member, can be found at www.D23.com.

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Report: Disney Store Times Square (NYC) Soft Opening and Merchandise; D23 Event with Jodi Benson

DISNEY STORE TIMES SQUARE HAS NOW OPENED! CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE GRAND OPENING AND LEARN HOW TO WIN A FREE DISNEYSTORE SINGING ARIEL DOLL SIGNED BY JODI BENSON!

Early yesterday morning, a small group of Disney D23 members were invited to visit the all new Disney Store Times Square before it opened its doors to the public for a private shopping experience and in-store continental breakfast. With the store operating in soft mode since last Thursday, Disney Store President Jim Fielding was on-hand to celebrate with the Disney D23 members as was Jodi Benson, the voice of The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and Toy Story 3‘s Barbie.

With check-in for the event commencing at 7:30 am sharp, guests were ushered into the lower level of the store which features a combination of New York City-themed merchandise, exclusive to the Disney Store Times Square location, as well as seasonal Disney Store merchandise and that aimed towards an older demographic, but more on that later. At the event’s official start time of 8 am, guests were invited to journey upstairs to the more ‘traditional’ ‘Imagination Park’ concept store which is where Fielding addressed the crowd from the store’s gazebo which serves as the 350 square foot Disney Store Theater.

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Fielding talked about the store’s genesis in August of 2008 and how when he first saw the location at 1540 Broadway, former home to the world’s largest Virgin Megastore, he knew he had to have the space. According to Fielding, it took nearly a year for Disney Store to obtain the lease for the store because the space was in such high demand. He spoke of the nearly 250 cast members, some of which had returned to the company, it took to conduct interviews, hire and train new staff for the store which maintains 24 hour shifts to keep the store in tip-top shape. Although the store is open until Midnight most days, Fielding noted that they have had to keep running the store to 1 am due to large groups of guests still remaining inside. He mentioned that by year-end, they will have opened 19 of the new concept stores with an expected 30 – 40 in 2011, including two in Canada (but declined to identify where specifically). Surprisingly, the most profitable store worldwide is the Paris on the Champs-Élysées store according to Fielding, but he joked that the Times Square store calls Paris daily to make sure they’re beating them.

Of course Fielding spoke to the store itself, which consists of two floors, although the Virgin Megastore it partially replaced was four. He explained that the mezzanine from the former store was removed, resulting in a longer escalator ride and that half of the fourth floor, which houses the store’s internal offices, was also removed, allowing the store to have its high ceilings. About 80% of the merchandise found on the lower floor, according to Fielding, is unique to Disney Store Times Square while the upstairs is what he referred to as ‘”Imagination Park” on steroids.’ The ‘Imagination Park’ portion at Disney Store Times Square is roughly twice the size of the norm so far, all told easily making it the largest Disney Store in North America. The store is so large in fact that its Disney Princess castle is 20 feet tall and features not one, but two of the magic mirrors.

After tackling a brief Q&A session in which Fielding responded to questions along the lines of  the current location of the Mickey and Minnie Mouse figures that once hung over the entrance to the former World of Disney store (they’re in storage at Walt Disney Imagineeering as the World of Disney was operated by Disney Parks and Resorts, not Disney Consumer Products as Disney Store is), he introduced Jodi Benson to the attending crowd.

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D23 Invites Members to Meet and Greet with ‘TRON: Legacy’ Writers December 3

On December 3, D23 members and their guests will be able to join TRON: Legacy writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis for a panel hosted by D23 celeb Jeffrey Epstein at the TRON: Legacy Pop-Up Shop in Culver City, CA.

Horowitz and Kitsis will also hold a signing for The Art of TRON: Legacy which will be available for purchase at the event. As a special bonus that night, D23 members will receive a free limited-edition Premiere Film Cell from TRON: Legacy (no minimum purchase required).

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Report: D23 2010 ‘Sip & Stroll’ Event and Dave Smith Retirement Dinner (Day One)

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Last evening saw the commencement of the 2010 Sip & Stroll event from Disney D23. The bulk of the event to take place Saturday, Friday night was a relatively short (but incredibly sweet) time for most of the attending D23 members and their guests. After checking in for the event, guests were invited into the rotunda of the American Adventure pavilion for a wine and cheese reception.

A wide assortment of cheeses, fruits, vegetables and bread were available to sample along with an open bar offering wines, beers and soft drinks. Although I tried to fend off the temptation, I eventually had to cave and found a new love in the form of a combination of five English cheddars coupled with the cheese fondue.

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D23 Details 2010 ‘Magic & Merriment’ Event at Walt Disney World

D23 members and up to three guests each are invited to attend this year’s Disney D23 Magic & Merriment event at the Walt Disney World Resort from December 10 – 12, 2010.

The festivities will kick off at 9 pm ET on Friday, December 10 as guests congregate at One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to enjoy a private screening of Archiving the Archives, a new documentary celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Walt Disney Archives.

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D23 Announces ‘Disney and Dickens’ Holiday Event at Walt Disney Studios, December 8

On Wednesday, December 8, Disney D23 members and their guests are invited to visit the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California for the rare opportunity to experience an area of the Studios rarely seen by the public. After check-in begins at 4:00 pm PT, guests will have the opportunity to explore the on-site Disney Store and Walt Disney Studios employee store before being escorted to the famed Legends Plaza where hot cider and other treats will be offered prior to the event’s start.

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Disney D23 Announces Sneak Peek at Disney Store Times Square in New York City, November 7

Disney Store Manhattan, New York City © Stitch Kingdom. All Rights Reserved.On Sunday, November 7, Disney D23 members and their guests are invited to attend a sneak peek at the newest and largest Disney Store, the two-level level store in the heart of Times Square in New York City.

Beginning at 8 am ET (check-in at 7:30), D23 members will be served a complimentary continental breakfast inside the store. Jim Fielding, President of Disney Stores Worldwide, will share behind-the-scenes stories of the design, development, inspiration and evolution of this unique retail design. Disney Store cast members will also be on hand to show off the store’s interactive exhibits.

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Disney D23 Announces 2011 D23 Expo Events and Trivia Contest, Walt Disney World Anniversary Events

This weekend D23: The Official Disney Fan Club announced The Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament as an exciting addition to the already highly anticipated D23 Expo 2011. The tournament will allow Disney enthusiasts to compete for the title of Disney Trivia Champion at “The Ultimate Fan Event” to be held next August 19-21 in Anaheim, California.

In a little more than a year, D23 has grown into a community of tens of thousands of Disney fans from every state in the U.S. and more than 30 different countries.

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D23 Announces Next Walt Disney Studios and Archives Tour for November 13; Tix Available Sept. 29

D23 Members will have the rare opportunity to enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour tour of The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Archives, hosted by D23 and Archives staff. Guests will have the chance to stroll through the old Animation building where beloved films like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland were created, see the historic soundstages used for filming Disney classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and explore the beautiful Legends Plaza, which honors those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy. There will be eight individual tours offered that day (9 am, 9:30 am, 10 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1 pm, 1:30 pm and 2 pm). A tour can accommodate 25 participants and lasts approximately two-and-a-half hours.

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Photo Gallery: Paige O’Hara Joins D23 Tea Party at Disney Store San Diego Grand Opening

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In celebration of the new Disney Store Imagination Park grand opening in San Diego, Disney D23 members were invited to a private tea party event in which Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast appeared to meet and greet with fans. O’Hara was also presented with her very own Mrs. Potts limited edition tea set, part of the Disney Store limited edition Beauty and the Beast collectible line that was launched at the event.

Below is our gallery of photos from the event which features Paige O’Hara and the new limited edition collection.

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