ThinkGeek.com has listed its Disney-themed Japanese pocket puzzles at 50% off, now just $4.99 each. There are three different versions of the puzzle: Alice in Wonderland, Winnnie-the-Pooh and Mickey & Minnie Mouse.
Details along with a link for additional information and photos below:
Still coming down off the high off of the debut of Disney Store’s Imagination Park concept, it’s time to offer a new fix in way of what we can expect from the Disney Store this holiday season thanks to the Disney Consumer Products Holiday Tour which is finishing up its New York leg today.
But first, with New York in mind, here’s some information on the Disney Store Times Square in New York City that we’re eager to share. The store is slated to open in November, just in time for the holiday season. I got to watch a short video with a very hoarse Disney Store President Jim Fielding on a recent visit to the new space located in the heart of Times Square. There’s really nothing to report inside (at least not downstairs), but there was some plywood concept art type stuff along the side of the escalator. Although he has declined to call it a flagship store elsewhere, Fielding has previously stated this will be the largest Disney Store, encompassing two floors. In the video, he explains that while the second floor will be the Imagination Park concept, the entire first floor will be devoted to exclusive Disney-NYC branded merchandise.
Before being introduced to the new product lines and the holiday theme and products, I was also informed that (select) Disney Store locations will be selling vinylmations and that there are planned Disney Store exclusives on their way as well.
With Walt Disney Animation Studios presenting Tangled in November, there is a whole line of products rolling out soon to support it, but rather than repeat it all here, we refer you to the original article covering the Tangled products from Disney Store and Disney Consumer Products. We also covered most of the Disney/Pixar Toy Story and Cars product news in this article.
That brings us to the new line of Disney Princess Singing dolls which we first touched upon in the Tangled report. Although they are not the final bodies, the articulated dolls feature a small, easily-accessible button in their right hands. When pressed, the doll plays a fifteen second snippet of the princess’ respective iconic song in a cappella style. In order to do this, Disney Store enlisted all of the original voice actresses (except for Cinderella and Aurora) to record the song especially for the dolls. All of the arrangements are unique and performed to the liking of the performer, so while Anika Noni Rose’s Almost There is relatively what one is used to, Jodi Benson delivers a true but breathy performance of Part of Your World while Paige O’Hara’s Belle and Lea Salonga’s A Whole New World provide powerful and border-line operatic performances. The dolls, marketed as toys moreso than collectibles, are an unusual 17″ tall and will retail for $29.50 each.
Just in time for the home video release of Beauty and the Beast will be an extensive collection celebrating Belle and her enchanted friends aimed at every one from the toddler to the serious collector.
As a follow-up to the extremely popular limited edition deluxe Snow White dress which sold out, Disney Store will be introducing a very lush Belle dress limited to 2,000 pieces worldwide and retailing for $149.50. But perhaps the most exciting news, while not on display, is word of a whole line of high-end collectibles described as (air quotes) ‘life-size replicas’ (end air quotes) based on the enchanted friends. Specifically, there will be a Cogsworth at his character’s respective height which will be fully operational clock; a Lumiere which will hold candles; and a Mrs. Potts fully detailed china set — you get the idea. Unfortunately there are no plans for a life-size replica Belle at the present time.
In honor of the upcoming Epic Mickey game exclusively for the Nintendo Wii from Disney Interactive Studios and Junction Point Studios, Disney has released several new screenshots as well as the following teaser trailer (look out for what appears to be the Partners statue — with a twist).
The game will allow the player to explore the cartoon wasteland as Mickey Mouse, using the Wii remote as either a paintbrush or paint thinner, respectively creating or erasing items in the game with promises of changing the gameplay based on the player’s choices.
Also released is this behind-the-scenes video which includes some gameplay and concept art
Epic Mickey is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
Disney Parks, Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Classic have joined forces to create a rebel alliance in order to introduce this brand new ‘Jedi Mickey’ open edition collectible from WDCC. The hand-crafted porcelain piece is 6 1/4″ tall, retails for $125 (plus tax) and includes a certificate of authenticity.
It can be ordered by contacting Walt Disney Event Services at 407-827-7600 from 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday. Orders must be received no later than August 10 at 3 pm ET.
For more information and to view more images of ‘Jedi Mickey,’ visit Duckman’s blog.
MLB-Themed Mickey Statues Now Appearing Throughout Southern California; Scavenger Hunt to Award All-Star Game Tix
Beginning today, Major League Baseball Properties and Disney Consumer Products are populating key locations throughout Southern California with thirty-six varieties of life-sized MLB-themed Mickey Mouse statues in celebration of the 2010 MLB All-Star Week festivities taking place July 9th – 13th in Anaheim, Calif. As part of the previously announced new collaboration between the organizations, the statues are being placed in high-profile areas throughout Anaheim, Los Angeles, and surrounding areas in Southern California, including Angel Stadium, Anaheim City Hall, Downtown Disney, the Kodak and El Capitan Theatres, L.A. Live and the Hollywood Walk of Fame area. All 36 statues will be in place by the end of next week and will stay through the All-Star Game on July 13th on FOX.
The 36 life-size statues, commissioned in conjunction with MLB licensee Forever Collectibles, are uniquely decorated with bold graphics featuring each of the 30 MLB Clubs as well as four All-Star designs, an American League and a National League design. Each life-sized statue is 7.5 feet in height and weighs 989 pounds.
MLB and Disney Consumer Products will launch on June 11th a Find Mickey Scavenger Hunt, which rewards people for visiting the different statue locations and being the first to find and tweet a photo with the life sized MLB Mickey Mouse statues. Also, the first person to take a photo in front of all 36 statues and tweet a link to their photo gallery will win the grand prize of two tickets to the MLB All-Star Game on July 13th in Anaheim. There will be thirty-six winners in total and one grand prize winner. For a complete list of rules, hash-tags and instructions on how to participate, see www.mlb.com/mickeymouse, and for updates on the scavenger hunt, follow @AllStarGame and @DisneyLiving on Twitter.
“Major League Baseball is excited to bring the 2010 All-Star Game to Anaheim and we want fans all throughout Southern California to feel like they are a part of the entire experience,” said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball. “As an iconic figure, Mickey Mouse is the ideal ambassador to connect fans with the premiere sporting event of the summer.”
“When the original Disneyland opened in Anaheim in 1955, Walt Disney’s cartoon characters came to life not just on Main Street, but throughout the world,” said City of Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle. “Mickey Mouse just may be the most popular and most photographed All-Star this summer!”
Unveiled last month, miniature versions of each of the statues are available in a 7.5-inch size through MLB.com and DisneyStore.com, as well as additional retailers including MLB stadium shops, Walgreens and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Photos of all variations are available at MLBPressBox.com and DisneyConsumerProducts.com. In addition to the statuettes, fans can also obtain a wide variety of merchandise and apparel featuring Major League Baseball and beloved Disney characters, including caps, t-shirts, sweatshirts, drink ware, pins, throws and beach towels in time for the All-Star Game.
There was little surprise yesterday about how quickly the YouTube video of a Talking Mickey character test at Disneyland garnered attention, turning just a few dozen views from when we first reported it to tens of thousands less than a day later, but realizing that there would have to at least be a patent application somewhere before the technology was debuted, we set out to find the source of the marveling magic.
But nothing could have prepared us for the shock when we discovered that not only was there an application in place, but an actual patent had in fact been granted — in 1994. Yes, while everyone you knew was at the movies watching The Lion King, inventors Michael I. Savic, Seow-Hwee Tan and Il-Hyun Nam had created something still portrayed in film and television as sci-fi future tech and had already trained their sights on the world’s most beloved character and the voice of his creator.
‘In 1928 Mickey Mouse was introduced to the public… Walt Disney, who created Mickey Mouse, was also the voice of Mickey Mouse,’ the patent begins. ‘Consequently, when Walt Disney died in 1966 the world lost a creative genius and Mickey Mouse lost his voice.’
Perhaps encouraged by the loss of another creative visionary, Mel Blanc (a.k.a the man of a thousand voices) in 1989, Savic, Tan and Nam created the very thing we got out first look at this past week: a walking, talking theme park character which could — in real time — perfectly replicate the characteristics of any existing voice by transforming it on the fly.
The patent continues: ‘A need thus exists for a high quality voice transformation system that can convincingly transform the voice of any given source speaker to the voice of a target speaker. In addition to its use for motion picture and television productions, a voice transformation system would have great entertainment value. People of all ages could take great delight in having their voices transformed to those of characters such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck or even to the voice of their favorite actress or actor. Alternatively, an actor dressed in the costume of a character and imitating a character could be even more entertaining if he or she could speak the voice of the character.‘
Of course this leads to dozens of other questions. Why now? Why only this? Could it have been that Disney was simply waiting on the additional technology being used to come into its own? Or does the recent appointment of Bret Iwan as Wayne Allwine’s successor indicate that there was some initial hesitance on someone’s part to already make use of the technology in other areas? Can and should voice actors ever really be faithfully replaced by others who don’t possess or even need those same talents?
For your reading pleasure (if you enjoy reading code that is), we have attached U.S. Patent 5,327,521 here.
And speaking of patents and meet & greets, don’t forget how we took a look at another that may very well be used for a future Disney Fairies meet greet as part of the Fantasyland reboot.
UPDATE: We dug up the patent that Disney has held for YEARS that makes this technology possible. Read more!
The day of reckoning has come, dear readers.
A friend sent us a link to these YouTube videos showing Mickey Mouse greeting a couple of fans at Toontown in Disneyland a couple of days ago and it appears that the technology first used in the character heads of the Dream Along with Mickey Castle show at Magic Kingdom may very well have found its way into the meet & greet scenario in a huge way (and with some further enhancements).
Please feel free to marvel as Mickey’s eyes blink, mouth moves and — most impressively — Mickey greets guests by name in the following clips.
This second clip is actually meant to be first as Mickey introduces himself to the group in the room, but we reversed it so we can provide it as a bonus to anyone whose jaw is still above the floor.
Please note that this does appear to be a test (or — perhaps more likely — a proof of concept) and it’s not likely that you’ll be able to just stroll into a meet & greet with Mickey and interact with him audibly anytime soon, although we certainly hope this will be the case at Disney parks worldwide and with additional characters. As it is, our friends at Inside the Magic have confirmed with the guest who uploaded the videos that Disney management was on hand filming the test and guests were required to sign releases of some sort.
A couple of weeks ago, the official Disney Parks blog made it known that Disney had plans to jump on the Silly / Crazy Bandz tween craze and was going to introduce a line of Disney-themed (shaped) elastic bands.
So far, six sets are being offered (all pictured below): Mickey Mouse & Friends (Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Daisy); Princess #1 (Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White); Princess #2 (Tiana, Jasmine, Ariel, Snow White); Disney Fairies (Tinker Bell, Silvermist, Fawn, Rosetta, Iridessa); Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story #1 (Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye, Rocketship); Toy Story #2 (Alien, Hamm, Slinky Dog, Mr. Potato Head, Rex); Toy Story #3 (Lotso, Twitch, Sparks, Chunk, Stretch) and Disney/Pixar’s CARS (Lightning McQueen, Snot Rod, DJ, Boost, Wingo).
UPDATE: 5/4/10 – We spoke to Forever Collectibles who are manufacturing the products, known as Logo Bandz, and have learned that despite pre-orders promising a delivery of July, the products may be shipping as early as mid-June. In addition to the Disney line of Character Bandz (which also includes two additional Toy Story assortments we hope to be getting more information on soon), Forever is creating lines for NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, AFC/NFC and College teams. Also on the Disney front will be a line of Marvel inspired Character Bandz including Spider-Man (which we have a photo of that’s yet to be posted), Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Wolverine and two sets simply titled Superheros.
UPDATE: 6/8/10 – The Disney Bandz have begun appearing at various retail locations in Walt Disney World. On a local level, the best place to check is Modell’s (because the manufacturer produces mostly sports-related product) and sightings have been reported at Walgreens. Of course, Amazon.com is one of the best choices since you don’t have to go anywhere to chance finding them.
Photo: Former ‘Bachelor’ Jake Pavelka and ‘Dancing With the Stars” Chelsie Hightower at Magic Kingdom
Jake Pavelka (second from left), star of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” strikes a dance pose March 13, 2010 with his fiancee, Vienna Girardi (left) while Mickey Mouse poses with professional dancer Chelsie Hightower (right), star of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Pavelka and Hightower are partners on the new season of “Dancing with the Stars” which premieres March 22, 2010. Pavelka, Girardi and Hightower were vacationing this weekend at Walt Disney World Resort. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
Expected to be released this month is the adorable set of Kingdom Hearts avatar mascot straps. The Play Arts #2 King Mickey rules the collection, however, expected to be released in July along with the gift of joy provided by Santa Sora. Also expected to be released in July is the highly anticipated Pixar Formation Arts collection featuring characters from Wall-E, Ratatouille and UP.