MousePlanetWatch Disney News

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 182 - MousePlanetWatch news

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Walt Disney World News

  • Congratulations once again to MousePlanet reader and MousePad member Justin Muchoney, who was named Disney's first Chief Magic Official last week in a ceremony in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. In case you missed it, Justin joined us on yesterday's show.
  • Also last week, on Earth Day, Disney's Animal Kingdom turned 10 years old. If you couldn't make it to the park for the event, you can watch the festivities with the official Disney podcast or a pair of videos from both the rope-drop ceremony and the history talk by Joe Rohde as part of the "A Wild Decade" event shot by Ricky Brigante of Inside the Magic and Orlando Attractions Magazine.
  • MousePlanet's Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is at Walt Disney World, and she reported on the new Build-An-Ear merchandise on her MousePlanet blog over the weekend. For photos of the merchandise, check out Monday's Park Update.
  • The 52-year-old Alabama woman convicted on April 11 of battery in the "line rage" incident at the Mad Tea Party attraction has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, with credit for the 32 days that she has already served.

  • The latest in the series of "Disney Dream Portrait" fantasy celebrity images by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz was released last week. Actress Julianne Moore portrays Ariel, The Little Mermaid, while Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps swims by in his own merman tail. Other "finned" swimming stars in the background include Janet Evans, Rowdy Gaines, Brendan Hansen and Cullen Jones. To see video images from the photo shoot and a podcast about the photo, see Disney's multimedia press release (link). Photo © Disney.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays are now 6-0 at Disney's Wide World of Sports, sweeping the Texas Rangers last year and the Toronto Blue Jays last week.
  • The list of construction permits filed with Orange County includes work on the canopies at all Magic Kingdom boat landings, Epcot's China pavilion, eateries at Disney's Hollywood Studios, light poles at Fort Wilderness, and plenty of other work across Walt Disney World.
  • Quick Takes:
    • E-Brands Restaurants will reportedly open a two-story restaurant in Downtown Disney sometime next year, possibly in the former Rock 'n' Roll Beach Club.
    • As of three weeks ago, the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station has moved to a schedule of being open only from 5-9 p.m., only on nights when park closes after 9 p.m.
    • A wedding ring set presumed lost forever was found and returned to its grateful owners by a team of dumpster-diving Disney volunteers. For the full story, check out the Orlando Sentinel's writeup.
    • For a limited time, Arribas Brothers is offering free domestic ground shipping on orders of $75 or more for purchases made at their Walt Disney World locations.
    • On March 24, the Pennsbury High School Band from Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania became the first high-school marching band to perform at every Disney resort around the world as a part of the Disney Magic Music Days program.
    • Building on the enhanced commuter bus service begun last year under a $470,000 grant from Walt Disney World, Disney has joined the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in a new agreement that will funnel as much as $7.36 million into more bus routes and more frequent bus service in Central Florida.
  • In breaking news, Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney was evacuated around 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon as a 21-year-old former employee made a bomb threat. Jason Davis returned to the restaurant, asking to get his job back. After managers refused, he reportedly threw his backpack on the ground between the gift shop and a stairwell and said "I hope it is a bomb because this earth deserves to die today." Although Davis tried to take back the comment, the restaurant and the area were evacuated and the backpack was removed by sheriff's deputies and detonated. Afterward, it was determined that the bag only contained Davis' personal effects. Davis was arrested on a charge of making a bomb threat and was taken to the Orange County Jail. He was later quoted as telling local TV station WKMG, "I scared a lot of people but I think I did it for the better good. I think I'm the devil. I have a mindset as a devil but I mean I'm a good guy trying to make the world a better place." Planet Hollywood reopened at around 7 p.m. that evening.

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

Disneyland News

  • The Disneyland Resort is offering annual passholders the opportunity to win a sneak peek at the new Toy Story Mania! attraction in Disney's California Adventure.
  • Tickets are still available for Taste, a signature event of Disney's California Food and Wine Festival.
  • MousePlanet columnist David Koening reported on a Tinker Bell "attraction" in his MousePlanet blog on April 24.
  • As 15 young women from California, Florida, Arizona, New York, Texas, Illinois and Puerto Rico made their way up a red carpet and onto a stage in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle last Thursday night, the Disneyland Resort introduced a new Quinceañera event service targeted to the Latin-American community.
  • This and That:
    • The debut of the new Monorail Red has been delayed at least a week, with one cast member telling MousePlanet that the new train will not be in service until at least mid-May.
    • Artists Dave Avanzino and Noah will be appearing at Disney's California Food and Wine Festival on from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4 in the Flower Garden.
    • We've heard that there will be "Dream" events on Monday, April 28 and Thursday, May 1, both at Disneyland.
    • Tickets are now on sale for the Anaheim Garden Walk gala VIP preview party on Thursday, May 15 2008.

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

The Walt Disney Company News

  • The next step in trying to bring more people into – and back to – Hong Kong Disneyland is underway, as the park opened its version of "it's a small world" on Monday.
  • Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird was honored back in the United States on Friday as the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles presented him with an Industry Leadership Award.
  • The Walt Disney Company continues its push into Russia with the introduction of a new localized web site.
  • Disney Interactive Studios worked with the production crew of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian to shoot two extra scenes exclusively for the video game version of the story.
  • Disney and Crocs are coming out with three more lines of Disney-themed plastic footwear with matching Jibbitz charms, themed around Hannah Montana, High School Musical and WALL-E.
  • The Disney Cruise Line announced on Monday that it will join the other major cruise lines in charging passengers a fuel surcharge. Any reservations made through May 27 will be surcharge free. Starting May 28, all new bookings will carry a charge of $8 per day, up to $112 per person per voyage, for the first two passengers in a stateroom. Additional passengers in a stateroom would be charged $3 per day, up to $42 per person. You can book through MousePlanet's preferred travel provider, Small World Vacations.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to file civil charges against Ann Mather, former Chief Financial Officer at Pixar over alleged violations of securities laws in connection with the backdating of options distributed to certain Pixar staffers in 2001.
  • Former Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last Friday.
  • A photo of Disney Channel star Brenda Song appears in an ad for an escort service in L.A. Weekly, an alternative paper, with the caption "Layla: Hawaiian beauty. Come get lei'd." Song has filed suit against Vibe Media, looking for $100,000 in damages.
  • In the photo that has launched a thousand blog posts, Miley Cyrus appears in a photo taken by Annie Leibovitz in Vanity Fair magazine wrapped in a silk sheet with her bare back exposed. Her hair is mussed, and her lipstick appears smudged. Cyrus felt the need to issue an apology, and Leibovitz released a statement saying that there was nothing wrong.
  • Disney movies are drifting downward in this week's box office report, with no new releases until May 16.

Administrative stuff

You can send us feedback via email or by calling our toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278. Don't forget that we love voicemails because then we can put your voice on the show!

Wrapping up

On April 27, Mark will be walking to raise money for the March of Dimes for the third time. Please consider supporting him. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.



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Thanks to our West Coast correspondent Andrew Rich, and audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.


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