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MouseStation 224 - MousePlanetWatch news

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Walt Disney World News

  • Last Friday, Edwin Sotomayor filed suit against Disney in state Circuit Court in Orlando, challenging their ban on guns at work and demanding his job back. Sotomayor's attorney insisted that the burden of proof will be on Disney to show that it is exempt from state law, and that if they offer the 13-year employee his job back without affirming his right to have his gun in his car, they will continue the suit.
  • An armed guest headed to the AMC Pleasure Island theater complex shot himself in the leg as he was securing the gun before leaving it in his vehicle. At around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Giovanny Munoz Perez of Haines City told his 12-year-old son to get out of their vehicle so that he could safely clear the .40-caliber Glock. He then removed the semiautomatic handgun from his waistband and was clearing the round from the chamber when the weapon discharged, striking him in the leg. Perez's son then called authorities to report the shooting and request assistance.
  • In a story just hitting the news last week, Disney is suing a family-owned party company in Clermont, Florida for copyright infringement over the company's use of characters that bear a strong resemblance to Disney's Tigger and Eeyore characters. The million-dollar suit against David Chaveco, 32, Marisol Perez-Chaveco, 31, and their company, Kool Klown Party People Inc. made several demands when filed back on May 8. The case did not come to light until the couple filed a response in federal court in Orlando, stating that they had complied with all of Disney's demands except for turning the costumes over to Disney to be destroyed. The couple had instead returned the costumes to the company in Peru from which they bought them on eBay in order to get a refund. The $500 plus shipping that they spent on the costumes was a significant amount for the family of four, which receives public assistance.
  • DVCNews.com is reporting that the Disney Vacation Club has been polling members on their interest in new destinations. The attention appears to be focused on Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Los Cabos, Mexico. The Las Vegas location would be 30 minutes away from the strip. The Lake Tahoe resort would be on the north shore of the lake, with "ski-in, ski-out access to a major local ski resort." The location at Los Cabos would feature a beach at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. This doesn't mean that they're actually going to build any of these resorts, but it's interesting to see that Disney is actually trying to gauge member interest in more sites located away from the theme parks. For a more detailed description of the potential resorts, check out the story on DVCNews.com.
  • Pleasure Island's clubs aren't the only Walt Disney World mainstays to be shutting their doors on September 27. After 10 years at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends will hold its last performance on the last Saturday in September. At this time, there is no immediate replacement planned for Grandmother Willow's Grove, the 400-seat amphitheater near the Festival of the Lion King theater. Pocahontas herself will remain in the park for meet-and-greets, while all other members of the cast and crew will be reassigned.
  • Quick Takes:
    • Last month, we reported that the schedule for the Candlelight Processional would match last year's show times of 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. It now seems tat the last show has been moved up by 15 minutes and the actual show times will be 5:00, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. this year.
    • Interestingly, the official Walt Disney World refurbishment calendar shows Typhoon Lagoon closed for refurbishment from November 1 through December 31, but no closure of either water park in January. At this point, we can't predict whether the Typhoon Lagoon refurbishment will be scheduled to last into January or if New Year's Day will mark the reopening of Typhoon Lagoon and the start of Blizzard Beach's annual refurbishment. We'll let you know once the schedule is finally updated.
    • The new baby African elephant born two weeks ago now has a name. sah-vo, spelled Tsavo, was named after a region of Kenya where the Uganda Railway crosses over the Tsavo River. Tsavo is also the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world.
    • Registration for the Expedition Everest Challenge is now 70% full. The Walt Disney World Marathon is still at 70% full.
  • In breaking news since Monday's Park Update, an 18-year-old Disney attractions host was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl. The girl was allegedly picked up at her house by Morency Dorelus, who originally told authorities that she spent the night with friends at the Buena Vista Palace hotel near Downtown Disney. The girl had been reported missing on Saturday, and when she called home the calls were traced to the apartment where Dorelus lives with his mother.
  • In a story that I posted on my blog last week but somehow neglected to include in Monday's Park Update, The Kidani Village annex for Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas will be available for stays beginning on May 1, 2009. DVC members with the Animal Kingdom Villas as their home resort can start making reservations on August 10. If there is any availability remaining, those reservations will become available to all members once the 7-month window opens.

This and other news can be found in this week's Walt Disney World Park Update.

Disneyland News

  • Disneyland plans to mark its 53 anniversary today with several merchandise events and a low-key rededication ceremony from 4:45 to 5:15pm in Town Square, just after the flag retreat ceremony. The merchandise events begin at 9:00 in the morning with an artist chat with Manny Hernandez, who painted "The Happiest Street on Earth," a piece that commemorates the park's birthday. The chat will be held in Carnation Plaza Gardens near Sleeping Beauty Castle. The public can purchase a lithograph and two canvas giclees of his painting at the Disneyana Shop on Main Street.
  • Come celebrate the 53rd anniversary of Disneyland Park and the eighth anniversary of your favorite Disney Web site today! We're planning two meeting times today to accommodate those who plan to spend the whole day in the parks, and those who can't.
  • After making a brief public appearance on July 3 and 4, Disneyland's new Monorail Red was put back into limited passenger service last week. Though air scoops have been installed on top of the passenger cabins, cast members tell us that the new monorail must be taken off line once the outside air temperature climbs near 85 degrees, and is put back into service only when the temperature drops. On hot days this means two monorails are in service for the peak morning and evening rush when Disneyland Resort hotel guests use it as a means of transportation to and from the hotels, but only one monorail is online when guests want to return to their hotel for an afternoon swim or nap. Follow the link above for photos.
  • The Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in The Anaheim Resort (a MousePlanet sponsor) unveiled its new Castaway Cove water attraction last week. The hotel closed and filled in one of their two pool areas to create this water play area, which features a 30-foot tall pirate ship with water canon, cargo-net climb, and two slides. Castaway Cove also offers a 300-gallon drench bucket that spills every seven minutes, a 15-person hot tub, Speedy’s Sprayground toddler pool and fountain play area, outdoor shower area, and restroom facilities.
  • Join MousePlanet staff and readers for the 2008 CHOC/Disneyland Resort Walk in the Park on Sunday, October 19. If you're interested in participating please contact Team MousePlanet captain Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix. We need a minimum of six walkers to form a team, and a $75 registration fee is required from each walker. Team registration begins on Friday, August 1, and additional details about how to complete the online registration to join Team MousePlanet will be published in an upcoming Disneyland Park Update.
  • This n That:
    • Following an incident last month where a tram leaving the Mickey & Friends parking structure hit a billboard, causing minor injuries to some passengers and minor damage to the tram, the tram route in front of the first loading zone has been repainted with colored stripes to help guide drivers as they pass another tram. The first loading zone is still not in use, and the damaged billboard has not been replaced.
    • Brady MacDonald from the Los Angeles Times wrote last week about the 36th annual Knott’s Scary Farm event in his blog, including details of new and returning mazes.
    • The Knot, Inc, which operates the popular wedding Web site theknot.com, is sponsoring a sweepstakes with five grand prizes of a Disney Dream Honeymoon package. Though the contest is aimed at couples, the official rules state "(v)acations are for one (1) winner of the Sweepstakes and one (1) guest of winner's choosing," so singles and already-married couples can also enter. July 31 is the last day to enter.
    • MousePlanet's Lisa Perkis had the opportunity to watch WALL-E at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood last week, and reports that "the stage show is one of the better ones I have seen at the El Cap, and if you like WALL-E merchandise, it's really worth a trip up to check out what the Studio Store offers."
  • The MousePlanet crew is planning a series of social events for readers this summer and fall, and you're invited! On July 17, you are invited to come celebrate the 8th anniversary of your favorite Disney Web site (and Disneyland's 53rd birthday). Details are forthcoming, but MouseAdventure fans can look forward to a little treat.
    Finally, our second annual MousePlanet night at Mickey's Trick or Treat Party is Friday, October 3. This is one of the annual passholder discount nights, and tickets are already on sale through the AP Web site.
    Stay posted for additional details and events throughout the summer.

This and other news can be found in this week's Disneyland Park Update.

The Walt Disney Company News

  • Somehow, Mark neglected to include this in the news the last couple of weeks, but BNY Mellon Shareholder Services sent a letter to Disney shareholders on June 20 that a box of data back-up tapes had gone missing, and an investigation determined that one or more tapes contained names, postal addresses, Social Security numbers and share ownership information for shareholders of The Walt Disney Company, among others. Discussion of this issue took place in our MousePad discussion forums.
  • Back on June 12, we reported that Disney is merging its Internet and video gaming units into a single digital media organization to centralize all development under one roof. Some of the reorganization is becoming clearer following an internal email from Steve Wadsworth that was obtained by paidcontent.org.
  • Meanwhile, there were two announcements this week regarding the two different sides of the business. First, Disney.com broke its all-time traffic records last month with more than 30 million unique users, six percent over the previous record set one month earlier. The site also set a new daily record with 3.17 million visitors on June 23 with a huge boost from guests viewing the one-day-only online showing of Camp Rock, which attracted 863,000 video plays.
  • On the Disney Interactive Studios end, that side of the house announced its lineup of upcoming video games and showed them off at the E3 Media & Business Summit invitation-only industry event.
  • The Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert movie is set to debut in 3-D on the Disney Channel at 8 p.m. Eastern Time next Saturday, July 26 following an all-day marathon of Hannah Montana episodes. One hour later, a commercial-free version will start its run on Starz in both standard- and high-definition. The following night, Starz on Demand and Starz HD on Demand will start showing the 3-D versions of the movie.
  • The Walt Disney Company, along with the other five major studios, will place anti-smoking public service announcements produced by the California Health and Human Services Agency in the opening minutes of DVDs of all new movies with tobacco use that are rated G, PG and PG-13.
  • Last Thursday, the Screen Actors Guild met with the studios and made a counteroffer to the "final" offer. The studios said that the counterproposal still contained some dealbreakers, and that the final offer stands. They have demanded that SAG leadership submit their final offer to the membership for a vote.
  • WALL-E dropped from #2 to #4 with two new blockbusters opening last weekend, but still took in $18.8 million, bringing its 3-week total to $163 million. That already makes it the number 5 movie of the year to date after just three weeks. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian took in a little over a quarter million dollars, bringing its 9-week total to $139.3 million, good for eighth place so far this year.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).