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Home --> News Archive: October, 2006
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October 16, 2006  
From Box Office Prophets: Originally released in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas has been such a successful franchise for Disney that the merchandise spawned by the film is among the best-selling for the company. Jack Skellington, Sally, Dr. Finkelstein and Oogie Boogie are amongst animation's most recognizable characters, which is impressive when you consider that the movie made just over $50 million in theaters. Its real, lasting life has been on video, where multiple generations have now had the chance to enjoy the highly unique story.

On October 20th, Jack Skellington and friends will be appearing on a small number of theaters in 3-D format. Just in time for Halloween, the Walt Disney Company is re-releasing the film in the same style that brought them success with 2005's Chicken Little.

For those unfamiliar with the story, which was created by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, the movie centers around a gentleman known as Jack Skellington, King of Halloweentown. Jack gets a little bit bored with the blase existence of being scary all the time, so he goes out to seek some other places in the universe. Upon finding Christmas Town, he simply cannot grasp the conscept because it's such a drastic difference. Skellington loves a Frankenstein-esque girl called Sally and is in conflict with a big bad known as Oogie Boogie, one of the great Disney villains ever.

Thanks to the nostalgia factor and plenty of Goth fans, The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D should be a big hit at Halloween-time 2006.

New Time Shares Roar Into Animal Kingdom
October 16, 2006  

From the Orlando Sentinel: Disney time shares are coming to the Animal Kingdom, with a plan for 458 units. According to Disney, the time shares will be a mix of new construction and renovated accommodations in part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. They'll feature African-inspired details and most will offer views of a savannah inhabited by a variety of animals. Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas will be the company's eighth time-share property and the sixth at Walt Disney World.

October 15, 2006  

From Reuters: Walt Disney Co. said Monday it will change the way it licenses its brands for foods aimed at children by limiting the amount of calories, fat and sugar it will allow on products bearing the faces of Mickey Mouse and others.

In a statement, Disney said it will also eliminate artery-clogging trans-fats from both the food served at its theme parks and in its licensed and promotional products. The move by Disney follows the expiration this year of a decade-long exclusive deal the media company had to promote its films at McDonald's Corp.'s fast-food restaurants.

This is a great move by Disney, as morbid obesity in adults and more disturbingly, children is becoming more prevalent.

October 5, 2006  

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Oct. 4, 2006) -- For the first time in history, a family today had the Magic Kingdom all to themselves. They entered the park to a view never seen before by any Disney guest - Main Street, U.S.A. completely empty, no other guests, no Disney cast members, just a red carpet stretching out a welcome.

The family had their pick of favorite attractions. There were no lines. Because no one else was there.

This unprecedented moment in Disney history was all part of the launch of Disney's "The Year of a Million Dreams" celebration, during which literally millions of dreams will come true at Florida's Walt Disney World Resort and California's Disneyland Resort.

"The Year of a Million Dreams" is a first-of-its-kind event celebrating the individual dreams of Disney Park guests from around the world. So Disney made the Spangler family from Randolph, Ohio - winners of an online sweepstakes used to help kick off the celebration - the ultimate, one-of-a-kind Magic Kingdom VIPs. Disney Parks literally rolled out the red carpet for the Spanglers on Main Street, U.S.A. at Walt Disney World Resort.

But there were more surprises in store. As the Spanglers reached the center of Main Street, U.S.A., fanfare trumpeters broke the morning silence from atop the buildings lining the street and the familiar strains of "Be Our Guest" began to play - a signal for a whole lot of smiles. Appearing almost magically to form a receiving line fit for royalty were 1,500 Disney cast members and Disney characters, beaming and bubbly.

For the Spanglers, their morning was nothing short of incredible. In a park that hosts millions of guests each year, Magic Kingdom attendance was four as Ray and Tammy Spangler and their children, 13-year-old Derick and 11-year-old Ashley, walked toward Cinderella Castle between rows of smiles lining the red carpet. "It was amazing," said Ashley. Derick chimed in, "That was awesome!" With their Disney VIP host leading the way, they rode their favorite attractions, met their favorite Disney characters, appeared on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" and lived out a dream.

"This is beyond the dream," Ray said. "This is something that you can't even think of dreaming of, yet we have it."

As the lands of the park filled in behind them with other guests, the Spanglers dined with Disney royalty in Cinderella Castle during A Fairytale Lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table and were named grand marshals for the "Disney Dreams Come True" parade. They were to conclude the day with an "unbirthday party" inspired by the "Alice in Wonderland" story and then enjoy exclusive viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks spectacular "Wishes."

For Tammy Spangler, winning this most remarkable experience was a dream-come-true - but one she figured was probably a proverbial "pipedream" when she entered the sweepstakes.

"I hardly ever enter these things," she said, "but Disney's the most fun we've ever had on vacation, so when I discovered the contest when I was [online], I entered it. But I really didn't figure we'd win, not in a million years."

But this is "The Year of a Million Dreams" and the Spanglers won't be the only ones finding their dreams come true at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

During "The Year of a Million Dreams" celebration, literally millions of dreams will come true.

"Our guests the world over have told us they believe a Disney Park is the place 'where dreams come true' and that something magical happens when they walk through our gates," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "And that's never been more true than during 'The Year of a Million Dreams' as we bring more magic to life than ever before."

Dreams to surprise and delight guests and unique experiences will be hallmarks of "The Year of a Million Dreams."

As part of the celebration, extra-special dreams will be awarded through a random process as part of the unique Disney Dreams Giveaway. With the sprinkle of a little pixie dust by day, a vacationing mom might be chosen to spend that night with her family in a new royal suite inside Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort, or at Disneyland, a lucky guest may be surrounded by All Things Mickey that night in a new Mickey Mouse Penthouse overlooking the Disney domain in California.

Disney Vacation Club memberships, traveling around the world as a parade grand marshal in each Disney theme park, sporting exclusive pins and Mouse ears - dreams from fun to fantastic will shower down on guests during the celebration. Other amazing dreams-come-true: magical Disney Cruise Line sailings; Adventures by Disney vacations; a private shopping spree for Disney merchandise; Dream FASTPASS badges to enjoy many popular park attractions; special park after-hour events; or a visit to Walt Disney's apartment at Disneyland including a dining experience.

For the overnight stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite, a Walt Disney World guest at the parks or Downtown Disney will be selected randomly by early in the afternoon almost every day beginning in late January. The guest and up to five members of their party will begin their dream-come-true night that evening at Cinderella's Royal Table, the popular restaurant located in Cinderella Castle.

Can't be in the parks? You may still have a dream-come-true through a mail-in entry (details at www.disneyparks.com/rules). For example, mail-in winners could win prizes such as the Disney Vacation Club membership, grand marshal of a Disney parade around the world, exclusive trading pins or Mickey Ear Hat. (Some prizes, such as the Castle and Mickey Mouse Penthouse stay, require same-day use so mail-in winners will receive a prize of comparable value.)

Dreams will be awarded every day at Disney parks and Downtown Disney in Florida and California. While workers complete the Cinderella Castle Suite (opening late January 2007) and Mickey Mouse Penthouse (opening December 2006), the other fantasies begin Oct. 1 as Disney launches enough dreams to make Tinker Bell blush.

And all it takes: a tap on the shoulder by Disney cast members on special assignment as the Dream Squad during the magical year.

Meanwhile, thousands more Disney cast members - famous for guest service every day of the year - will be creating an unprecedented number of Magical Moments during this magical year. They're taking Disney friendliness to new heights with personal interactions marked by special surprises.

Amazed guests might find themselves leading the countdown and sprinkling pixie dust to open a Disney park in the morning. Or they might join the performers on a float in "Mickey's Jammin' Jungle" parade. Or aboard Cinderella's Golden Carrousel they might suddenly find a Disney princess sidesaddle on the next horse.

More pixie-dusted Magical Moments: being selected to be guest of honor in daily park parades; getting a Tinseltown rush doing a celebrity-style handprint ceremony; being Official Wildlife Spotter on a Disney's Animal Kingdom safari.

"Disney cast members have a rich history of making this magic, treating guests to legendary service and special moments," Rasulo said. "During 'The Year of a Million Dreams,' those moments go stratospheric as our cast members reinforce Disney parks as the place where dreams come true."

A first-of-its-kind Disney spectacular, "The Year of a Million Dreams" also includes a whole lineup of immersive entertainment that draws guests into the middle of the action.

Guests can enter into magical worlds, living the buccaneer life by being a pirate of the Caribbean, "getting royal" with a Disney prince or princess, or joining in the dancing and singing "High School Musical" pep rally. Guests at Walt Disney World Resort might be welcomed to saddle up cowboy-style with Woody and the DisneyoPixar gang.

As if thousands of dreams bestowed daily aren't enough, Disney guests will also be treated to major new attractions and shows debuting at Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts as part of "The Year of a Million Dreams."

On top of an already magical year, special entertainment and programs will be in place at the parks and resorts so guests can follow their dreams, whether it's a princess or pirate, adventurer or space explorer. Guests will be able to customize their visit to a Disney park to pursue the Dream Paths of their choice with online planning tools and technology to help them become the hero or princess they've always dreamed of being.

October 4, 2006  

More Than 2,000 Little Mermaid Products Come Ashore at Retail This Fall

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This month, in celebration of the first-ever two-disc Platinum Edition DVD release of Disneys most beloved animated film, The Little Mermaid, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) in collaboration with Walt Disney Home Entertainment brings to stores the largest assortment of Little Mermaid merchandise available since the films 1989 release more than 2,200 fun and imaginative products glimmering with an under-the-sea theme. Available now for the first time in seven years and first time in limited edition, two-disc DVD, The Little Mermaid release and consumer products campaign reconnects families with the worlds most cherished mermaid and the #1 most beloved Disney Princess, Ariel(a).

Beginning this month and into the holiday season, DCP brings the timeless story to life with an array of merchandise that glitters, sparkles and shines inspired by key moments in the film, including: toys, electronics, apparel, home décor, personal care, school supplies, party décor and much more. Products will be available at retailers nationwide, with key retailers such as Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart displaying merchandise from varied categories alongside the DVD in one-stop feature shops fashioned in an Under-The-Sea theme.

Bound to top many wish lists this holiday season, following are key highlights from The Little Mermaids magical assortment:

  • Little Mermaid Magical Talking Salon (ages 3 and up): This child-size vanity featuring voice recognition technology allows young girls to join Ariel in an interactive salon session. Little princesses will be delightfully surprised when they hear Ariel speak and see her image magically appear in the special light-up mirror. The salon with stool includes molded compartments, working drawer to store accessories, play sink, and play accessories such as a hair dryer, hair spray bottle, dingle hopper (comb), scissors and curling iron. SRP $69.99

  • Shimmer Lights Ariel (ages 3 and up): Already a hot-selling item outpacing last years popular Twinkle Lights Cinderella Doll, the Shimmer Lights Ariel Doll invites little girls to relive the adventurous fairy tale of the Little Mermaid. Ariels glitter-filled tail illuminates with multi-color lights as she sings and says phrases. Completely waterproof for adventures on land or at sea. SRP $19.99

  • Little Mermaid CD Boom Box: This boom box has mermaids in mind with a clam shell design that opens and locks shut. The water-resistant player is perfect for afternoons at the pool and other outdoor uses. In addition to an AM/FM tuner with a digital display, it plays CD/CD-R/RW discs through stereo speakers. Available at Toys R Us, SRP $39.99

  • Little Mermaid Video Games: Join the adventures of Ariel and the cast with Undersea Adventure for Nintendo DS (ages 6 to 9 years, SRP $29.99) and Magic in Two Kingdoms for Game Boy Advance (ages 4 to 6 years, SRP $19.99).

  • Little Mermaid Books: An assortment of fun titles featuring a classic retelling of the magical world of The Little Mermaid, including from Disney Press Disneys The Little Mermaid Special Edition Book and Disneys The Little Mermaid Under the Sea Night-light and Storybook (comes with a detachable night-light); and activity storybooks such as The Little Mermaid Storybook and Music Box ($24.99, Reader's Digest) and The Little Mermaid Reusable Sticker Book ($6.99, Random House).

  • Little Mermaid Apparel & Accessories: An assortment of casuals and separates to complete a princess wardrobe, including sleepwear and dress up. Available at retailers such as Sears and DisneyShopping.com.
  • Little Mermaid Personal Care: Whether its fin or skin, get protection from the elements and stay ready for adventure with essential Ariel-themed personal items, including Sun Pals Sunscreen, Chapstick lip balms and Bubble Bath. SRP $1.99 and up

  • Under-the-Sea Ariel Bedding: A new assortment of comforters, sheets and pillowcases with colorful patterns of bubbles, pearls and seashells, along with Ariel and her friends Flounder and Sebastian. Finally, a bedtime to look forward to! Available at: Sears and Kmart, SRP $19.99 to $59.99

  • Little Mermaid Aquarium Kit: Experience Ariels underwater world with a 1.5-gallon freshwater aquarium kit, stocked with everything needed to care for a few finned pals. An air pump and overhead light provide the necessary creature comforts for pet fish, while the statuette of Ariel and Sebastian are the perfect décor for this tranquil aquatic environment. Available at Wal-Mart and Petco, SRP $29.97 to $39.99

  • Little Mermaid Assorted Party Supplies: Parties will become an affair to remember with Ariel-themed party supplies from Hallmark. From greeting cards to cake decorations, Ariel and friends are there every step of the way. The assortment also includes party plates, gift bags and scene setters for the home. Retailers: Mass and specialty retailers nationwide, SRP $0.89 to $4.99

About The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was released theatrically in 1989, grossing almost $180 million at the domestic box office (adjusted to 2005 dollars). The Academy Award®-winning animated adventure (1989 Best Song and Best Original Score) combined music, fun and excitement to become one of the companys most cherished films and one of the top 10 best-selling animated films of all time on VHS. Ariel, the fun-loving and mischievous mermaid, is enchanted with all things human. Disregarding her fathers order to stay away from the world above the sea, she swims to the surface and, in a raging storm, rescues the prince of her dreams. Determined to be human, she strikes a bargain with the devious seawitch, Ursula, and trades her fins and beautiful voice for legs. With her best friend, the adorable and chatty Flounder, and her reluctant chaperone Sebastian, the hilarious, reggae-singing Caribbean crab, at her side, Ariel must win the princes love and save her fathers kingdom all in a heart-pounding race against time!

October 2, 2006  

St. Mary's Dominican High School, Lake Forest Charter Elementary School, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School, and Eleanor McMain Secondary School, along with Desire Street Academy of Baton Rouge and St. Bernard Unified School in Chalmette are among the schools to benefit from the largesse of the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as 52 donated instruments including several sets of drums, xylophones, chimes and other percussion equipment make their way to hurricane-swept schools on the Gulf Coast.

Tim Hill, director of Special Programs for Disney Destinations said, "We wanted the instruments to go to schools that had been affected by Hurricane Katrina. Many schools from that area have entertained our Theme Park guests with their Disney Magic Music Days performances. We wanted to give something back."

Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation Executive Director Felice Mancini said, "We're thrilled that Disney Magic Music Days at the Walt Disney World Resort is so supportive of music education around the country. Through this donation of exquisite instruments, hundreds of students in dozens of communities will now be able to enjoy the gift of music. We thank the Disney organization for such generosity."

Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which was inspired by the motion picture about the profound effect a dedicated music teacher had on generations of students, supports music education through the donation and repair of musical instruments.

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