Disney Animator Dave Michener Dead at Age 85

Animator and story artist Dave Michener, who worked at Walt Disney Studios for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 85.  His wife Donna said he died at his Los Angeles home on February 15 from complications due to a virus.

Michener co-directed “The Great Mouse Detective” alongside John Musker and Ron Clements.

Michener starting with Disney in 1956, right out of college, and worked there until his retirement in 1987.  He contributed to classics like “Sleeping Beauty,” “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day,” “The Aristocats,” “Robin Hood,” “The Rescuers” and “The Fox and the Hound.”

He was hired by Walt Disney himself, who had seen one of his art exhibits at the Chouinard Art Institute. Michener also produced and directed character animation for Epcot Center in the 1980s, followed by similar duties at Tokyo Disneyland’s “Meet the World” attraction and the pre-show PSA on the history of aviation at Disneyland.

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Tokyo Disney Resort Set for Major Expansion

Oriental Land, which operates the Tokyo Disney Resort complex that includes the Disneyland and DisneySea theme parks, has revealed plans for a massive expansion. Completion is expected in 2023.

The company plans to invest nearly $2.7 billion to upgrade and expand facilities and attractions, while planning to double visitor numbers by 2020, the year of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. With the planned expansion the 100-hectare complex is expected to grow 30%.

Oriental Land operates Tokyo Disney Resort under license from Disney. Since its start in 1983 with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, the theme park, hotel and shopping complex in Chiba Prefecture, has grown to attract nearly 30 million visitors annually.

From Variety

Tokyo Disneyland Adding Beauty and the Beast Land, Big Hero 6 Attraction

Tokyo Disneyland’s newly announced attractions might bring new people in to be their guests.

The Oriental Land Company, which owns the whole Tokyo Disney Resort, announced expansions for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Parks that would be completed by the end of 2020.

The big highlight is a revamped Fantasyland centered around a new area with a heavy Beauty and the Beast theme.

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Expected to arrive in Spring 2020, visitors will be able to experience the Beast’s legendary castle and Belle’s bucolic village. The main ride in the castle puts riders on “enchanted serving dishes that dance in rhythm to the film’s well-known music and follow Belle on a romantic musical adventure inside the enchanted Castle where she dances her way into the heart of the Beast, just in time to break the fateful spell,” according to a press release.

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Big Hero 6 lovers also received good news. Baymax will accompany riders on a 90-second whip ride set to music. Like Beauty and the Beast, it’s estimated to open in Spring 2020.

From Entertainment Weekly

New ‘Finding Nemo’ Themed Attraction Coming to Tokyo DisneySea

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Oriental Land Company has announced that a new attraction themed to the world of the Disney•Pixar film “Finding Nemo” and its upcoming sequel “Finding Dory” (to be released in 2016) will open in Port Discovery at Tokyo DisneySea Park in spring 2017.

Guests will board a submarine that “shrinks” to the size of a fish and uses a ride system that seamlessly blends visuals from the films with a motion system. In this immersive underwater experience, guests will be able to explore the vast ocean from the same point of view as Nemo and Dory and meet different characters and make new discoveries each time they ride.

The development of this attraction is only possible because of the collaboration between Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Oriental Land Company. The teams have worked together to create new, popular attractions and entertainment at Tokyo Disney Resort and make the resort one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations. We are also pleased that the teams will continue this collaboration as they work with the production staff of “Finding Dory” who will help create the visual images for this attraction.

New Themes Announced for Tokyo Disney Resort

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Oriental Land Company revealed the theme for the eighth port in development at Tokyo DisneySea Park will be Scandinavia with a portion of the area themed to the Disney film “Frozen”. Additionally, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Alice in Wonderland” will be the themes for two new areas in development in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland Park.

These new enhancements are part of the resort’s 10-year, 500 billion yen expansion plan that we shared last year. As part of the plan, Tokyo Disneyland Park centers on the redevelopment of Fantasyland, which will nearly double the size of the themed land. For Tokyo DisneySea Park, the new eighth themed port will be developed in the expansion site located south of Lost River Delta.

This new development is a result of the shared vision and strong partnership between Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Oriental Land Company that has been cultivated over the last few years to chart a course for the resort’s future. This collaboration has led to the creation of exciting new attractions, entertainment and dining experiences, helping to make Tokyo Disney Resort one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations. We continue to be excited about this development and the new offerings guests visiting Tokyo Disney Resort will enjoy.

Disney Names Chapek Chairman of Parks and Resorts

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Bob Chapek has been named Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Thomas O. Staggs, Chief Operating Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

A 22-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company, Mr. Chapek has served since 2011 as President of Disney Consumer Products, driving a technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations. He assumes his new role effective immediately.

“Under Bob’s leadership, Consumer Products has seen great success, focusing on brands and a franchise-driven strategy while launching new products and retail experiences that combine technological innovation and creativity,” Mr. Iger said. “He is an experienced and versatile executive well-suited to lead Parks and Resorts into the future.”

As Chairman of Parks and Resorts, Mr. Chapek succeeds Mr. Staggs, who was named Disney’s Chief Operating Officer earlier this month. Mr. Chapek will report to both Mr. Iger and Mr. Staggs.

“Bob is stepping into this role at an incredibly dynamic and exciting time for our Parks and Resorts business,” Mr. Staggs said. “The ongoing construction of Shanghai Disney Resort as well as the new Avatar-themed land at Walt Disney World continues an era of unprecedented growth and historic expansion.”

“I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had during my years at Disney, and am thrilled to join the incredible Disney Parks organization,” Mr. Chapek said. “I look forward to working with the remarkably talented team dedicated to creating magical memories for millions of guests around the world.” A successor to Mr. Chapek at Disney Consumer Products will be named at a later date.

Prior to leading Disney Consumer Products, Mr. Chapek served as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios from 2009 to 2011, and was responsible for overseeing the Studios’ overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms including theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media. He also served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful “vault strategy” for the company’s iconic films and transformed the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.

Before joining Disney in 1993, Mr. Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz Company and in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.

Mr. Chapek earned a B.S. in Microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Expansion Announced by Oriental Land Company

Tokyo Disneyland Expansion

Oriental Land announced plans to expand Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Some of the work on the expansion has already begun. In addition to the renovation of the existing Fantasyland, major new attractions, restaurants and shops are being considered for installation in the expansion site.

The redevelopment of Fantasyland will nearly double the size of the themed land.

Under consideration for Tokyo DisneySea is the development of a new themed port in the expansion site located south of Lost River Delta. This eighth themed port will include major new attractions, restaurants, and shops.

Oriental Land announced that it will also further invest in the two parks in multiple ways: renovation or creation of attractions and entertainment programs; development of hardware that will enhance the guest experience in the parks; further improvement of restaurants; easing of congestion; development of measures to protect Guests from hot and cold weather; and other ways of to make a more comfortable environment for all guests.

Bob Iger Named “2014 CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine

Bob Iger

Chief Executive magazine today announced that Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, has been named “2014 CEO of the Year,” an honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of CEO peers. This is the 29th year the award has been given, with past honorees including Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE and Michael Dell, founder, chairman and CEO of Dell Computers.

“Even iconic brands need fixing from time to time,” says JP Donlon, Editor in Chief of Chief Executive magazine. “But instead of the easy fixes, Bob Iger played the long game by addressing Disney’s cultural issues head-on with a three-pronged strategy, making it a stronger, more profitable company with greater depth in its overall brand. For this reason, he is well-deserving of this year’s CEO of the Year honor.”

Just the sixth CEO in the company’s history, Iger, who took over the helm in October 2005, transformed the organization into a profit-making powerhouse. He acquired Pixar Animation Studios from Steve Jobs in 2006 and Marvel Entertainment in 2009. In 2012, Iger negotiated a deal for Lucasfilm, which gave Disney the rights to the Star Wars brand. During Iger’s tenure, Walt Disney’s 2013 shareholder return was 202 percent. In February of this year, the stock price hit an all-time closing high of $79.23, compared to just$23.81 when Iger first took over as CEO.

Nominations for CEO of the Year were garnered from among the readers of Chief Executive magazine. The 10 most frequently cited nominations were evaluated and a winner voted upon at a meeting of a peer Selection Committee, which took place earlier this year inNew York City.

The 2014 CEO of the Year Selection Committee was comprised of: David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell, and 2013 Chief Executive of the Year; Dan Glaser, President and CEO, Marsh & McLennan; Fred Hassan, chairman, Zx Pharma and partner/managing director, Healthcare at Warburg Pincus; Tamara Lundgren, President and CEO, Schnitzer Steel Industries; Tom Quinlan, President and CEO, RR Donnelley; Christine Jacobs, former chairman and CEO, Theragenics, and director, McKesson; Bob Nardelli, CEO, XLR-8, Bill Nuti, Chairman and CEO, NCR’ Jeff Sonnenfeld, President and CEO, Chief Executive Leadership Institute, Yale School of Management;Mark Weinberger, Chairman and CEO, EY; Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications; and Tom Saporito, Chairman and CEO, RHR International.

“Bob is a visionary and innovator who consistently delivers terrific performance across a diverse portfolio of businesses,” Dan Glasersaid.

“He’s been a disruptive innovator in taking the entertainment industry to another level using new media and new technology,” addedTom Quinlan. “He took a great brand and made it better, which isn’t easy to do.”

Iger’s 2014 CEO of the Year designation will be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by NYSE Euronext and the Chief Executive Group at the New York Stock Exchange in July.

Tokyo Disney Resort Celebrates 600 Millionth Guest

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The Tokyo Disney Resort amusement park complex near Tokyo received its 600 millionth guest Saturday, according to Oriental Land Company.

Yumi Sakai, a 39-year-old nurse from Nagoya who was visiting with her husband and two daughters, was greeted by Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters as she became the milestone figure.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I want to come here with my kids again and make wonderful memories.”

The resort which opened as Tokyo Disneyland in April 1983 with Tokyo DisneySea added in 2001, marked 100 million visitors in May 1991 and 500 million in August 2010.

Located in Urayasu, Chiba prefecture, the park logged a record-high 31.3 million visitors in fiscal 2013, which ended in March, due to events commemorating its 30th anniversary and a pickup in the Japanese economy.