As you probably know by now, the “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” telethon airs tonight. And the growing list of volunteers involved now includes hundreds of Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members.
Disney VoluntEARS will be fielding calls and processing donations real-time from the Disney Reservations Center in Orlando. They’ll also be offering their expertise in guest services. Thousands of Disney Cast Members have personal ties to Haiti and some are still trying to locate friends or family members in the region.
The two-hour telethon airs worldwide on major networks and cable outlets tonight at 8 p.m. ET. “Hope for Haiti Now” will be accepting donations online at www.hopeforhaitinow.org and by phone 877-99-HAITI.
With our official re-launch taking place on February 25th, we’re excited to bring you the first of many announcements.
Get ready soccer fans: Major League Soccer is making its return to Central Florida!
The inaugural Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic will feature two days of intense pre-season competition to help re-launch the Wide World of Sports complex. Two-time MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC will make their way to Disney as they compete during the 2010 ESPN The Weekend.
February 25th is the first round of play with games at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. On February 27th the two losing teams will kick off at 6 p.m. with the championship game between the two winning teams following at 8:30 p.m.
Where else can you catch some great soccer, meet elite athletes and enjoy the magic of Disney for only $13.50? Head to our web site for ticket information and be sure to check the blog for more exciting announcements from Disney Sports.
Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of just how much creativity has been expressed within This Company…Literally, three of my service award sculptures frolic atop my desk 24/7, in the characters of Tinkerbell, Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio. How could one not be inspired by the presence of such endearing and cherished role models?
Earlier this week we shared a video that gave you a sense of the fun we’re having with the construction of “World of Color.” As promised, we’re sharing additional video today that helps tell the story of how all the different pieces are coming together – from fountains, water screens and fire to lights, sounds and Disney and Pixar animation.
Today’s clip shows how various Disney cast members have been working behind the scenes to get ready for this spectacle. You’ll see video of projections on water screens, fountain-test footage from August 30, 2007, a lighting test on November 18, 2009, and a test of fire effects on November 24, 2009.
You’ve been getting to know Steve Davison since he joined the Disney Parks Blog, and now you can also see him hosting today’s video from the platform of the Paradise Bay Lagoon. You’ll also see new footage with Dave Bossert, Creative Director at Walt Disney Animation Studios, who explains how the team is creating new animation specifically for this show.
To help us answer some of your questions about “World of Color” and give you some information you want to know, tell us in the comments what you want to learn about this spectacular, new water show.
You may have missed these…but that’s why we post “Quick Hits” every week – to share items that didn’t make it to the blog. First, Disney “foodies” should know that reservations are now being accepted for a new, exclusive dining experience at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Queen Victoria’s Room. The experience begins February 5 and features personalized menus. Queen Victoria’s Room also has its own reservation line – 407-939-3862. Here’s more.
There are a few other items this week you may want to know about.
Special Disney Heritage Pin Collection — Created especially for annual passholders, this open edition pin collection features TV shaped pins with images of Walt Disney in the different lands of Disneyland® Park.
A couple of months ago, we shared a photo of Walt Disney outside his apartment on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland park, and a number of you expressed interest in seeing more photos of Walt’s apartment. With this rare photo, we’re showing you the apartment just as Walt enjoyed it, with all of its original furnishings and décor. You can just imagine Walt and his grandchildren enjoying some family time in this Town Square hideaway.
“How cute!” This is the phrase I most commonly hear when someone sees the newest 3-inch Vinylmation figures – the Cutesters. I have to agree – they are pretty cute (it’s probably why we named them “Cutesters” and not the “Girly Series,” which was once a possibility for their name). This series is a departure from the previous Park, Urban and Holiday series we’ve released. I caught up with Lisa Badeen, the artist responsible for their design, to learn more.
“I submitted six designs around December 2008,” explained Lisa. “I thought these figures would make a nice addition to a future Urban series. I never thought they would become their own collection.”
As it turns out, timing is everything. The development team was looking to expand Vinylmation in a new direction by offering a “bright, over the top sweet and cute” (there’s that word again) collection. Before Cutesters, the Vinylmation packaging featured a rather dark palette with mostly black and gray colors. Cutesters would add a much needed “pop” to balance the various series.
Lisa explained that she was responsible for not only the 3-inch figure designs but also the packaging for Cutesters.
“I was asked to create the packaging for the Cutesters by Thomas Scott, lead designer for Vinylmation,” continued Lisa. “I pulled different elements from the 12 figures and incorporated those details into the packaging to tell a complete story. Brainstorming the concepts, however, took longer than actually drawing them. There were many concepts that didn’t make the final cut.”
When asked about her favorite figure, Lisa responded, “The owl is my favorite figure! The design is so simple and really fit the Mickey Mouse shaped canvas. In fact, I love the owl so much that I used it in some of the apparel items I also designed.”
Some of these new apparel items recently made their debut at D-Street, the new Vinylmation Mothership/urban inspired location that opened at Downtown Disney District in California. The bag pictured above (which is my favorite apparel item and according to Lisa has a “few extra secrets”) will fly into stores in Spring 2010.
Speaking of extra surprises, Guests should pay particular attention in this collection for something we haven’t done before. We think it will have you saying . . .
When I’m out in the park I’m always looking around for my next favorite photo, and when I say “around,” I mean I literally turn a full circle to see what I may have missed. This photo is a result of that practice with a slight twist. I was on a lift at the Hub a few years ago waiting for an event to start, high above one of my favorite photo subjects, the Partners statue. I had already done the full circle to see what was around me, when I remembered to look down — and there it was, one off my favorite photos just waiting for me.
Aloha! I have the distinct pleasure today of sharing some exciting news from Hawai`i. Believe me, I only step away from the beach — I mean office — to share really important news.
As you know, construction is well underway here on the Leeward Coast of O`ahu on Disney’s new family destination resort. For months, that’s what we’ve called it. Disney’s new family destination resort. Descriptive, but not too catchy.
That’s why I’m so excited to tell you that the place now has an official name: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai`i. The name Aulani, for you mainlanders, means “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages,” and it reflects our company’s ongoing commitment to celebrating the great culture and traditions of these magnificent islands.
Our oceanfront resort, planned to feature 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom-equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas, is scheduled to open its first phase in fall 2011. Until then, you can stay up to speed online at www.DisneyAulani.com, where you’ll find the latest updates, images and more.
I’ll leave you to that as I head back to the beach. I mean conference room.
Adam Carr, 11, of Tampa, Florida, created a patch showing Buzz soaring past the International Space Station that’s pretty unique. NASA has decided to make Adam’s design into a commemorative mission patch that’ll be flown into space on a future mission. After the mission, he’ll get the patch with a certificate from NASA and Disney Parks.
Adam says he dreams of one day becoming an astronaut and hopes his design will inspire others to reach for the stars. Congratulations, Adam.