Photo: Kermit the Frog Helps First Lady at National Tree Lighting Ceremony

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Kermit the Frog with First Lady Michelle ObamaDressed for the colder weather (read: completely naked save for a scarf), Kermit the Frog of the Muppets was on-hand yesterday evening to assist with the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, DC.

Hosted by Carson Daly, the ceremony also featured performances by OneRepublic, Rodney Atkins, Marsha Ambrosius and Big Time Rush. Kermit joined First Lady Michelle Obama as she read a story to the attending children.

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Fantasia Takes Center Stage at 2012 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

A little gardening magic will go a long way when an eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary holds court at the entrance to the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7 – May 20, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort. Standing atop a 12-foot-tall floral mountain cliff and towering above the park’s front-entrance topiary bed, the commanding Sorcerer Mickey will direct a riot of color in the manicured shapes of dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators and elephants straight from the classic Disney film, Fantasia.

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Disney Parks to Host ‘Disney Memories’ Event in Times Square, November 19

We have learned that Walt Disney World will be hosting a ‘Disney Memories’ event this Saturday, November 19, in the New York City Times Square area, as part of its ‘Let the Memories Begin’ / ‘One More Disney Day’ campaign. Details are sketchy, but sources have told us the event will take place at 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm by the Disney Store location and will involve virtual appearances by Mickey Mouse and some of his friends.

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Disney D23 Declares 2012 the ‘Fanniversary’ Celebration; Events Held Nationwide

In 2012, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will take the show on the road as it kicks off a year-long celebration for D23 members with a bold lineup of fantastic events.

Throughout the year, D23 will delight Disney fans from Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Palm Springs to Orlando, Burbank and even Marceline, Missouri — Walt Disney’s boyhood hometown — with the thrill and excitement of uniquely magical Disney experiences.

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Disney Takes Center Stage at Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® presented by BMO Harris Bank, the country’s largest evening holiday celebration, will ring in the 2011 holiday season for the nation on Saturday, November 19 with a “bigger, better and brighter” schedule of events. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved holiday tradition.

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Photos/Video: John Lasseter Receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

John Lasseter Two-time Academy Award®-winning director John Lasseter today received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from the The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his many and varied feature animation film credits, Lasseter serves as Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering.

The celebration was emceed by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Leron Gubler, with special guest speaker, actress Bonnie Hunt. Also joining the celebration were Owen Wilson, Brad Paisley, Emily Mortimer, John Ratzenberger, Patton Oswalt, Don Rickles, Randy Newman and Cheech Marin. Key Disney and Pixar executives in attendance included Studio Chairman Rich Ross, Studio President Alan Bergman, Production President Sean Bailey, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull, Pixar General Manager Jim Morris, among many other prestigious guests.

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Disney Gallery to Celebrate Disney Trains in New Exhibit, November 12

'Walt in Train' by NoahThe Disney Gallery located at the base of Main Street, USA at the Disneyland Resort will be playing host to a brand new exhibit celebrating Walt Disney’s legacy, titled ‘All Aboard: A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney.’ Set to open on November 12, 2011, the exhibit will replace the current one displaying the art of Disney Legend Mary Blair.

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Disney on Ice ‘Dare to Dream’ Treats Young Cancer Patients to Day Spa

Disney on Ice Presents 'Dare to Dream' Princess Pampering EventIn honor of Disney on Ice Presents Dare to Dream from Feld Entertainment, the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in New York City was transformed into a day spa for young princesses currently undergoing treatment for cancer. As part of the campaign dubbed ‘Hairy Godmother,’ the show held a Princess Pampering event featuring hair stylist Andrew Disimone, who assisted with fitting and styling wigs for the girls.

Along with the wig fittings, the girls were also treated to other activities such as chocolate facials, manicures and pedicures, a make-your-own-sundae bar and a special meet and greet with Rapunzel herself.

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Photos: ‘Mary Blair’s World of Color: Centennial Tribute’ Panel

Pictured here (left to right): art director Daisuke 'Dice' Tsutsumi, animation historian and host Charles Solomon, art director Susan Goldberg, animator/director Eric Goldberg, Oscar®-winning Composer Richard Sherman, Oscar-winning animated feature director Pete Docter and animator Michael Giaimo. (Todd Wawrychuk / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Last night, the art of Mary Blair, along with the artist herself, was feted at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills by a panel of animators, each talented in their own right. The panel included Pete Docter and Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi from Disney/Pixar and Disney animators Mike Giaimo, Eric Goldberg and Susan Goldberg. The attending audience was also filled with notables such as composers Richard Sherman and Michael Giacchino.

We are fortunate to have some photos from the event courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which we present to you below. Click on any of the thumbnails to see larger versions of the photos.

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‘Star Wars’ Author Timothy Zahn to Offer Signing at Walt Disney World, October 14

'Heir to the Empire' 20th Anniversary Edition by Timothy ZahnOn Friday, October 14, 2011, noted author Timothy Zahn will be on hand to sign his latest Star Wars novel, Choices of One as well as the 20th anniversary edition of the best-seller, Heir to the Empire.

Zahn will be at The Writer’s Stop located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 1 – 3 pm. As always, theme park admission is not included and items must be purchased at the event (no personal items).

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