American Film Institute Showcase Permanently Closing

American-Film-Institute-Showcase

According to reports, the American Film Institute Showcase will be permanently closing on August 17, 2014.

Located at the end of the Studio Backlot Lot, the exhibit features props, costumes and memorabilia from current and past movies. The collectibles gift shop at the exit is also closing.

The Studio Backlot Tour will continue to operate, but guests will no longer exit through that building.

No plans have been announced for the space.

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The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic to Air This Fall

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If the air feels crisp this September, it’s not just the cool fall breeze. Walt Disney Animation Studios and ABC are giving viewers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the making of FrozenThe Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic premieres Tuesday, September 2 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The special will also offer a glimpse toward the next chapter for Anna, Elsa, and friends, as well as an exclusive sneak peek at Big Hero 6 which hits theaters this November.

The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic offers a look at the origins and evolution of the Academy Award®-winning blockbuster—now the biggest animated feature of all time. The special tells the real story of making a modern movie based on a timeless tale that nearly overnight became a cultural touchstone for legions of fans.

Viewers will get a rare look inside Walt Disney Animation Studios and unprecedented access to the creative team that brought Frozen to life. Throughout the one-hour special, the audience will hear from Frozen stars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, the directors, songwriters, producer, and artists, as well as Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter—the team who dreamed of making a cherished Hans Christian Andersen story into a spectacular big-screen animated musical.

Viewers will journey to the breathtaking Norwegian villages and landscapes that inspired the look of Arendelle, Frozen‘s fictional kingdom, and see images and footage from the research trips to Norway, Quebec, and points beyond that helped create the film’s unforgettable look and feel.

This special will also include some exciting announcements about the next chapter of Frozen and a never-before-seen preview of the Frozen characters, who are set to appear on the ABC hit seriesOnce Upon a Time when the show returns Sunday, September 28. Members of D23 will get a special peek at what’s to come on Once Upon a Time in the Fall 2014 issue of Disney twenty-three.

The program will culminate with an exclusive sneak peek at the action-packed comedy-adventureBig Hero 6, currently in production at Walt Disney Animation Studios—under wraps until now—as the team prepares for their next big-screen epic. Sounds like September 2 will be the perfect night to “chill out” at home.

Celebrate Five Years of Magic at The Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of the museum’s opening with special programming all month long. On Wednesday, October 1, they will be extending their hours with half price admission from 6 to 8pm and treats will be available for purchase from food trucks starting at 6pm. Catch animated shorts in the theater and get creative with lots of hands-on activities in the Learning Center. They will have special programming just for members, too. Be sure to join everyone for some spooky New Orleans-themed fun at the after-hours event, Animate Your Night: Haunted Mansion Halloween on Friday, October 24. For the most current information on all of the celebratory programming during October, please be sure to check the website.

To enjoy access to members only events during the month of October, and special pricing for future museum events, become a member today!

New Vice President Named for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Djuan Rivers has been named the new vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Djuan Rivers has previously been the general manager of Aulani, and as a vice president of  Hotels and Business Solutions at Disneyland Paris. Most recently at Walt Disney World, he had served as general manager of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and vice president of Downtown Disney.

Current vice president of  Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Josh D’Amaro will be taking over as senior vice present of Resort and Transportation Operations. This position has recently been vacated by Tom Wolber, who is heading to Disneyland Resort Paris, in the role of President of Euro Disney S.A.S.

Tower of Terror Begins New On-Ride Video Souvenir with Memory Maker and MagicBands

Hollywood Tower Hotel

Guests that have a MagicBand linked to the Memory Maker photo package can now get a souvenir onboard video at the Tower of Terror.

The Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the first attraction at Walt Disney World to offer on-ride videos as part of the new MyMagic+ system. More attractions are expected to follow, with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Haunted Mansion strongly rumored to get the on-board photo and video experience.

After riding, those guests with a MagicBand and a linked Memory Maker photo package should expect to see their videos online at My Disney Experience within 24 hours of riding. The video is captured, edited, and uploaded to the guest’s My Disney Experience account automatically – all driven from the MagicBand and RFID readers in the attraction.

The on-ride video will not be available to any guests not wearing a MagicBand with a linked Memory Maker account.

Walt Disney World Announces 2014 Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Dates

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas at Walt Disney World? Not if you like visiting Walt Disney World during the Holiday Season.  Walt Disney World began the installation work on the Streets of America for this year’s Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 11th.

It takes installation crews over 2 months to install the 5million+ lights that make up the display.

The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights will take place this year from November 7 2014 through to January 4 2015.

My Disney Experience Bringing Improvements to Dining Reservations for iOS Users and Website

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Starting August 13th, the ‘My Disney Experience’ website and iOS apps will begin offering an improved dining reservation service.

Guests will now be able to make same day dining reservations 20 minutes out. This improves on the current system by a couple of hours.

Initially, the update will only be available to iOS users on iPhone, iPad and iPods. The My Disney Experience website will also offer the new functionality. The improved functionality is expected to arrive on the Android platform later in the year.

PANDORA Jewelry and Disney Announce New Strategic Alliance

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Today, PANDORA Jewelry announced a new strategic alliance with The Walt Disney Company that will give the brand a presence in Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, beginning with the sponsorship of the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida this fall.  In addition, PANDORA, in collaboration with Disney Consumer Products, is creating an original collection of beautifully designed Disney-themed jewelry launching at retail locations this fall.

“To say that PANDORA is excited about our relationship with Disney is an understatement,” said Scott Burger, President, PANDORA Americas. “Having a presence in the theme parks gives the brand another opportunity to engage with families and play a significant role in both the big and small moments of their lives.

Our consumers and retail partners have been requesting Disney-themed products for years and we are thrilled to finally offer them a brilliant assortment of charms that are the perfect balance of sophistication and whimsy. Our design teams have worked to build a collection that meets the exacting quality standards of PANDORA, preserves the integrity of the Disney characters we have all come to love over the years, and gives our consumers another way to share their stories,” continued Burger.

The new collection of hand finished sterling silver and 14K gold charms will feature inspirations from some of Disney’s most beloved characters. The initial launch, expected to roll out to PANDORA stores early November 2014, will include 25 different styles; an additional 16 styles will be sold at Disney merchandise locations, including the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.  The Disney collection from PANDORA will also be available in PANDORA stores throughout Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America and the Caribbean in November.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunities ahead through our alliance with PANDORA,” said Tiffany Rende, senior vice president of Disney Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants. “In addition to debuting a new line of PANDORA jewelry at retail that we know will be a fan favorite, we are collaborating on other product lines and guest experiences at our domestic Parks and Resorts.”

Later this fall, select merchandise locations at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Vacation Club properties and Disney Cruise Line ships will begin selling the collections.  Additionally two Disney merchandise locations, Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and La Mascarade d ‘Orleans in Disneyland Resort in California, will unveil unique retail installations, combining PANDORA’s sleek aesthetic and Disney’s creativity.

The new Disney products represent PANDORA Americas’ third licensed collection to launch within the past 12 months.  Starting in 2015, Pandora will become presenting sponsor of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend held annually at the Disneyland Resort.

Robin Williams, Actor Who Played the Genie in Aladdin, Found Dead at Age 63

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Legendary actor Robin Williams was found dead Monday at the age of 63 from an apparent suicide, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,” the sheriff’s office said.

“A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted,” the release continued.

The sheriff’s office said they received a 911 phone call at approximately 11:55 a.m. reporting an unconscious male not breathing inside his home. Emergency personnel were dispatched to the area where they pronounced Williams dead at 12:02 p.m.

Disney DVD’s Land in Amazon Jail Over Fee Dispute

Courtesy of The Disney Blog
Courtesy of The Disney Blog

From the Chicago Tribune

Amazon.com blocked the pre- order option of Walt Disney hit movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and other titles in disk form, repeating a tactic used in disputes with publisher Hachette and Warner Bros.

“Maleficent,” another Disney summer blockbuster, also isn’t available for DVD pre-order on Amazon’s website. The world’s largest online retailer still offers both movies in pre- order on its online streaming service.

Amazon’s clashes with media companies have intensified in the past months as the Seattle-based company seeks to use its heft in markets from books to home video to demand better terms from its vendors. While the dispute with Time Warner’s Warner Bros. is getting resolved, the spat with French publisher Hachette Book Group is escalating.

“They are squeezing studios on DVD pricing, understandable given their market position,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who rates Amazon the equivalent of a hold. “Disney can’t cut them off, and Amazon can cut Disney off, so I would say Amazon has the leverage.”

Home Media Magazine reported the disappearance of the pre- order option for some Disney DVDs, also including “Muppets Most Wanted” and “Million Dollar Arm,” last week. When Amazon removed pre-orders for Warner Bros. titles from mid-May to late June, it was the first time it used the tactic during negotiations with a movie studio, Home Media Magazine said.

Paul Roeder, a spokesman for Burbank, Calif.-based Disney, declined to comment. Amazon didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Studios count on the home-entertainment market, including DVD sales from Amazon, to help deliver profits. In fact few films reach profitability in theaters because studios split ticket sales with exhibitors.

“Captain America” is the top-grossing movie in U.S. and Canadian theaters this year, with ticket sales of $259.5 million, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. “Maleficent” is fourth.

Among the Warner Bros. pre-orders that Amazon blocked for about a month earlier this year were “Transcendence” with Johnny Depp and “The Lego Movie,” the second top-grossing movie this year. Those titles are now available.

In digital-book sales, Amazon dominates with a 60 percent share of the market, according to Forrester Research. The online retailer also helped pioneer the e-book market with the introduction of the Kindle device in 2007.

Last week, Amazon made its case for lower book prices in its standoff with Hachette, saying that sales of titles go up when prices are cut, based on data gathered on its website. For every copy of an e-book that sells at $14.99, Amazon would sell 74 percent more e-books if priced at $9.99, the retailer said.

A letter signed by more than 900 authors was published in The New York Times on Sunday, urging readers to tell Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos what they think of the disagreement over the price of digital books. Amazon had itself asked readers to contact Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch last week.

“Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books,” Amazon said in a letter on its website, readersunited.com. “We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices.”

Amazon also appealed directly to authors in a letter last month, offering them all of the proceeds from the sale of any e- book during the dispute.