After an 18-month investigation, the European Union issues anti-trust lawsuit against Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros, as well as Britain and Ireland’s Sky TV. The suit specifically calls into question copyright laws which allow Hollywood studios to sell their content individually to national markets, creating a divided European market in defiance of EU rules, according to the commission. Specifically, subscribers to the Sky TV’s network of channels are blocked from accessing its offerings of films and TV series outside Britain and Ireland. Competition Commissioner Vestager:
European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU. Our EU economy Internet antitrust investigation shows that they cannot do this today. We believe that this may be in breach of EU competition rules. The studios and Sky UK now have the chance to respond to our concerns.
NBC and Warner said they were in talks with the Commission. Fox declined to comment.
A bronze bust of Cosby that has been in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza at Hollywood Studios since 1994 is removed. Traitz started a Change.org petition seven months ago to have the statue removed from Disney. Her niece:
He has no place in Disney. It’s not a place for a predator. To see the bust of Bill Cosby as a hero on a pedestal in Disney after the family history, and we know of what had happened to my aunt all those years ago, it’s hurtful.
Birton will direct Disney’s live action version of Dumbo. The film will use a mix of CGI and live action and will add a family story that parallels Dumbo’s journey.
Iger accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates Olivia Pope, Peter Quill and Tony Stark.
Disney releases artwork titled Genie in the Stars paying tribute to Williams, created by Genie at Disney supervising animator Eric Goldberg. CEO Robert Iger:
We’re deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, a wonderfully gifted man who touched our hearts and never failed to make us laugh. An incredible actor and a comedic genius, Robin will always be remembered for bringing some of the world’s favorite characters to life, from his zany alien on ABC’s Mork & Mindy to the irascible genie in Disney’s Aladdin. “He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed. We join Robin’s friends and fans everywhere in mourning, and offer our thoughts and condolences to his family during this difficult time.
E! online reveals a first look at Georgina Haig as Elsa in the upcoming season of Once Upon A Time. In the two photos, Haig is wearing the trademark blue dress of the Ice Queen. Of her new blond look, Georgina wrote
Favreau announces that he has cast ten-year-old Neel Sethi for the role of Mowgli in The Jungle Book. Sethi will play the young Indian boy that is found in a jungle and taken in to be raised by a pack of wolves. Favreau:
Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative. Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.
Once Upon a Time casts Georgina Haig (Fringe) as the Queen of Arendale, Elsa. The story surrounding these characters will take place post-Frozen with Elsa keeping her powers in check through the love and bond she has with her sister, Anna. However she is still very aware of how much of a threat she can be if she loses control again. Once Upon A Time co-creator, Adam Horowitz:
We are very well aware of how beloved [Frozen] is, so we’re very careful that we want to tell a story that is uniquely ours but also honors those characters that everyone fell in love with this past year.
The thing we love about Elsa is she is perceived to be a villain but is clearly misunderstood, and that goes to the heart of our show.
Disney announces that Kingsley has been cast as the voice of the black panther, Bagheera, in the live-action film The Jungle Book. The movie is slated to be released in 2015.
In a master class, organized by the Academy for Teachers, Sondheim reveals that Disney has asked for changes to be made to the Into The Woods script/libretto. The writer admits that in the revised version of the script, Rapunzel does not die, the Prince does not sleep with the Baker’s Wife and the song Any Moment will most likely be cut. This announcement has been received negatively amongst fans of the original musical.
And they’re right. But you have to explain to them that censorship is part of our puritanical ethics, and it’s something that they’re going to have to deal with. There has to be a point at which you don’t compromise anymore, but that may mean that you won’t get anyone to sell your painting or perform your musical. You have to deal with reality.
Disney announces the Toy Story That Time Forgot television special that will air on ABC December 2 at 8pm. Hanks and Allen return to voice Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Official plot summary:
During a post-Christmas play date, the Toy Story gang find themselves in uncharted territory when the coolest set of action figures ever turn out to be dangerously delusional. It’s all up to Trixie, the triceratops, if the gang hopes to return to Bonnie’s room.
Walt Disney Company enters into an agreement to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas.
For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s strength gives Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.
Along with this announcement, Disney reveals plans to continue the Star Wars franchise. At least three new films in the Star Wars saga have been confirmed as well as upcoming television shows and feature films.
Big Top Souvenirs opens at Magic Kingdom in Florida. The shop sells treats like caramel corn and cotton candy, in addition to storybook-themed clothing and toys. The store is decorated with a circus theme.
Big Top Souvenirs is incredibly detailed with beautifully ornate designs that capture the golden age of the circus perfectly.
Disneyland donates an old ride vehicle to the National Roller Coaster Museum. The ride vehicle comes from the Matterhorn Bobsleds roller coaster, which received new vehicles along with its refurbishment.
We’re delighted to provide these pieces of Disneyland Resort history to the National Roller Coaster Museum, an organization that celebrates our industry. The Matterhorn bobsled and California Screamin’ signage represent two of our most beloved attractions, from the first tubular steel-tracked roller coaster in the world to one of the longest and most thrilling.
Disney Cruise Line is rated the #1 large-ship cruise line for families by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. This is the fourth consecutive win for the cruise line. Disney Cruise Line has been honored as one of the top five cruise lines for eight years in a row.
Our cast and crew members are passionate about surprising our guests with a magical experience at sea, so it means a great deal to us that we have exceeded your expectations.
The Disney Dream, one of the Disney Cruise Line’s ships, departs on its maiden voyage to the Bahamas. Guests on board are treated to exclusive parties and a fireworks show at sea.
Whether you’re a toddler, teenager or grownup, there’s something for everyone on the Disney Dream. From fun clubs for kids and teens to nightclubs and lunges exclusively for adults, the ship is a terrific mix of imagination, innovation and pixie dust.
The Winnie the Pooh ride and gift shop reopen at Walt Disney World. Both the loading area of the ride and the shop, which sells apparel and toys, include redesigned features and theming.
And beginning Thanksgiving week, young guests will start their adventure through the Hundred Acre Wood by jumping with Tigger, crawling through Eeyore’s house and playing in Rabbit’s garden before they board the attraction
Duffy the Disney bear debuts at EPCOT and California Adventure. Duffy is Mickey Mouse’s teddy bear, and he can be seen in the parks for meet and greet experiences. A line of Duffy-themed merchandise, including teddy bears, doll clothes and keychains, also debuts in the parks.
Duffy is not just your typical stuffed bear – he’s Mickey’s bear and he resembles his owner. Duffy’s face is shaped like Mickey’s, he has Mickey heads on his paws, and he has a very unique birthmark on his hip.
As part of EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival, Disney debuts the Wine & Dine half marathon. Guests run 13.1 miles, starting at ESPN Wide World of Sports, and ending inside EPCOT. Unlike other half marathons, this race is run at night. At the end of the race, runners attend an exclusive party where they dine on some of the food and wine from the festival.
One of the other really cool features of the event will be a two-person relay team option. Hey, dividing up the 13.1 miles between two runners is a lot easier than running the entire way by yourself – especially when there is a plate of Smoked Ribs with Braised Red Cabbage and Chestnuts and a nice California Chardonnay waiting for you at the finish line.
The Karamell Küche bakery and store opens at EPCOT in Florida. The bakery is sponsored by the Werther’s candy company, and it sells treats made with Werther’s caramel. Guests can watch cast members as they make the caramel treats.
A fun fact about this unique shop is that it is the only freestanding retail location for Werther’s in the world, and not only will carry items made fresh daily but a variety of specialty merchandise and gifts that are only available at Epcot.
Disney celebrates Elephant Appreciation Day at Animal Kingdom. During this day at the park, guests can learn about elephant dietary habits, create elephant-themed crafts, play games with a pretend elephant trunk and more.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day with a host of activities for children and families at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a salon for girls and boys at Walt Disney World, offers the Knight Package for boys ages three and up. The fairy-godmothers-in-training apply colorful gel and confetti to guests’ hair and give them a toy sword and shield.
Your transformation will prepare you for far off adventures filled with slaying dragons and stopping mischievous doers in their tracks.
Disney announces the Mickey’s Costume Party cavalcade, a small processional celebration added to Mickey’s Halloween Party, a separate ticketed nighttime event at Disneyland. The cavalcade features characters in costume, a themed float and more.
I’ve also heard that the upbeat, spooky music will have you dancing, jumping, shaking and maybe even howling along as we celebrate the magic of make-believe and spooky Halloween fun.
The Best Friends Pet Resort, an animal boarding facility, opens at Walt Disney World. The luxury resort has VIP suites, play yards and other amenities for dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and more. Guests can drop off their pets at the resort while spending a day in the parks. Different kinds of animals are kept in separate areas, and certain activities—like the water park—are offered only to dogs.
And yes, bedtime stories with staff will be included as one of the special features at the 50,000-square-foot resort. You’ll also be able to choose from a list of la carte activities for your pet, including one-on-one play times and social playgroup with other dogs and ice cream time.
Disney adds a themed soundtrack to the Space Mountain attraction in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Whereas the ride was silent before, it now features music and space-like sound effects as guests experience the roller coaster.
“Starry-O-Phonic Sound” compliments a slew of enhancements that debuted on Space Mountain last year, including new lighting, storyline elements and updated decor.
Vidia, a friend of Tinker Bell’s and a fellow fairy, begins participating in meet and greet interactions with guests at Walt Disney World. Vidia can be found in Pixie Hollow at Magic Kingdom, along with Tinker Bell and the other fairy characters from the franchise.
Vidia is one of the stars of the upcoming movie Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue set to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and via movie download on September 21.
The Via Napoli restaurant opens at EPCOT in the Italy Pavilion. It is the second Italian restaurant in the park. Via Napoli serves wood-fired pizza along with appetizers, salads, pasta dishes and Italian desserts. The restaurant is a table-service establishment with a 300-seat capacity.
Created by the Patina Restaurant Group’s CEO Nick Valenti, the menu is based on his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York. Valenti spent time in Naples studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon.
Disney announces a unique experience for quests at Animal Kingdom. The trek allows guests to hike across the Harambe Reserve, home to many African-native animals, as well as the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. The hikes will be guided by a cast member.
During the excursions, you’ll be able to spend more time observing the wildlife on the savannah and have a chance to learn about the animals and their behaviors from one of our Disney guides. Adventurers will also trek through an undeveloped forest area of the Harambe Reserve and then board a unique vehicle specially designed for the rest of the quest.
Disney announces a monthly payment plan for annual passes. Florida residents can buy an annual pass to Walt Disney World with a down payment equal to the cost of a one-day ticket. The rest of the cost is split up among 12 monthly payments.
What are the benefits of being a Passholder? The list is long but most importantly, you have access to Disney “magic” all year — attractions, characters and events.
Sign language interpretation services are offered at select attractions, shows and other locations throughout the Disneyland Resort. Interpreters are present at Disneyland park on Mondays and Saturdays and at California Adventure on Sundays and Fridays. Guests do not have to make arrangements in advance, but it is suggested that they call or text Guest Relations two weeks in advance to confirm the interpreter schedule.
In addition to complimentary sign language interpretation, the Resort also has available assistive listening and handheld captioning devices for guests with hearing disabilities.
The World of Color show premieres at Disney’s California Adventure park. The show integrates 1,200 water fountains, video projections, pyrotechnics and other light and water effects. The show is set to a backdrop of classic Disney music. The event takes place after dark over the water.
You will get to experience some of your favorite Disney stories – from the charming to the adventurous – in a magical, new way.
Disney hosts a World Oceans Day party at EPCOT. The event takes place during the day inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion. Several booths are set up at which guests can learn information about ocean conservation, and the booths have different activities to keep guests engaged.
In one of several special activities, families can learn how coral reefs form, what wildlife live there, and the threats that face coral reefs today.
The Main Street Electrical Parade returns to Walt Disney World Resort as part of the Summer Nightastic celebration. The parade, which has performed back and forth between Disneyland and Walt Disney World for decades, receives a makeover with new floats, updated audio technology, and new LED lights.
Disney Parks Social Media Director Thomas Smith:
Tinker Bell will lead the parade waving from the basket of a magical balloon aboard a new float.
Glow Fest, a nighttime light show, opens at California Adventure park at Disneyland in California. The show starts in Sun Plaza at 6 p.m. and continues in the Hollywood Backlot area of the park, and it lasts until the park closes. Glow Fest is part of the Summer Nightastic celebration, and it’s meant to complement the World of Color water show on the other side of the park.
Glow Fest begins with the sound of drums and powerful rhythms that will draw you to Sunshine Plaza. An electric energy fills the evening air. As the sun goes down, colors burst to life and music starts to play from a brightly-lit stage that seems to glow. Dancers and world music performers create a fun vibe that you will only find at Disney California Adventure park.
A female baby elephant is born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. This is the fifth elephant born at Animal Kingdom and the second baby born to elephant mother Donna. The calf’s name is Luna, and she weighs 288 pounds at birth. Including Luna, thirteen elephants in total live at Animal Kingdom.
Elephant births are among the most amazing and complicated processes in the animal kingdom. Our animal care team has worked with Donna attentively throughout the course of her pregnancy. At this point, we’re optimistic for the calf’s likelihood of survival and are thrilled that both Donna and her calf are doing well.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom park hosts a Turtle Day party and celebration, in addition to the company’s other wildlife conservation efforts. From the morning to the afternoon, guests catch a train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to learn about turtles and tortoises and even get an up-close look at some live turtles.
Turtle Day activities include games that help families learn what threats turtles face in the wild, find out if they are smarter than a turtle, and experience what it’s like to find food with “turtle sight.”
Five baby goats are born within days of each other at Circle D Corral at Disneyland park in Anaheim, California. Three of the kids—named Squishy, Dory and Pearl—are born to mother Gadget, and the other two kids—named Stitch and Lilo—are born to mother Mulan.
You can see several animals, including two more expectant goats in Big Thunder Ranch at Disneyland park, and you’ll be able to see the baby goats at Big Thunder Ranch in a couple of weeks.
Disney announces the opening of the first international sales center. The center is located at Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, and it informs guests about the benefits of the Disney Vacation Club and allows them to purchase membership to the club.
The 15,000-square-foot interactive center will give guests a peek at Disney Vacation Club resort hotels as well as other vacation offerings Disney offers. Guests can see for themselves a two-bedroom model of the vacation home accommodations that DVC members and families can expect to find on the island of O’ahu at Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai’i.
A stroller and wheelchair rental area opens at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The shop is located in the courtyard in between Disneyland park and Disney’s California Adventure park, so guests can save time by renting a stroller or wheelchair in one central location.
This means you can rent what you need BEFORE you enter the park. You can even team up with one of your family members and have them wait in the park line while you go to the stroller shop.
D23, Disney’s official fan club, celebrates its first anniversary at Disneyland. D23 members from around the world attend the after-hours party to eat treats, enjoy the attractions, and hear announcements about the future of D23.
After Disneyland theme park closed to guests on Wednesday night, D23 Members were welcomed into the happiest land of all with a burst of pyrotechnics from Sleeping Beauty Castle. From there, guests—who had traveled from 25 different states as well as from places like New Zealand and Japan to be at the event—crossed the drawbridge to enjoy the event.
Disney announces the sale of the Disney Premier Passport, which allows guests year-long entry to all Disney parks in the United States. In addition to admission to the parks, other passport privileges include free parking at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, subscriptions to Disney magazines and publications and admission to the Disney water parks.
Thomas Smith, Disney Parks social media director:
If you’re already holding a Premium Annual Pass for both Resorts, you’ll automatically be issued a Disney Premier Passport—with an expiration date based on the later of the two annual passes. You may also upgrade your annual or seasonal pass for one resort to a “Disney Premier Passport” for an additional fee.
The passport costs $700 per person per year.
Construction begins on the expansion of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This is the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom, and it includes four differently themed areas where guests can be immersed in their favorite Disney stories.
Thomas Smith, Disney Parks social media director:
Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a beloved MK Attraction, will take center stage on its own new mini land with the addition of a second attraction.
An endangered gorilla is born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. This is the third gorilla born at the park, the first in 1997 and the second in 1999. Guests can see the baby gorilla as they walk the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail attraction.
Thomas Smith, Disney Parks social media director:
The newborn gorilla is doing well and has already become an integral part of the gorilla family group that includes first-time mother, Kashata, father Gino and two other females.
The baby girl gorilla is named Lilly.
The Harlem Globetrotters perform at the relaunch event of ESPN Wide World of Sports. The complex, which spreads over 220 acres, is rethemed to match the famous sports network. Guests at the show receive free T-shirts to commemorate the event. Pro athletes and other TV personalities are also present.
Darrell Fry, Disney sports media director:
The game will be more than just a game as ESPN’s popular radio duo Mike & Mike will serve as honorary coaches. And several high-profile pro athletes and other well-known ESPN on-air personalities are expected to be in attendance and available for autographs. Then, of course, there’s unique brand of basketball entertainment that only the Globetrotters can deliver.
In honor of the Star Wars Weekends events at Hollywood Studios, Disney announces a new character: a droid named R2-MK. R2-MK is the same class of droid as R2-D2, but he has red details and wears a Mickey Mouse hat. R2-MK appears for meet and greets during Star Wars Weekends, and he serves as the model for merchandise such as toys and figurines.
This spring you can find Jedi Mickey’s own droid, R2-MK, exclusively at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.
A baby white-cheeked gibbon is born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The baby’s mother, Melaka, has two other children, named Suki and Tuyen. The gibbon family lives in a habitat near the Kali River Rapids attraction. The birth coincides with a gibbon Species Survival Program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
White-cheeked gibbons, an endangered species, spend their lives in the tops of trees. They produce offspring about once every 2-3 years after 7 to 8 months of gestation. Infants have the ability to cling to their mothers immediately after birth, which allows females complete range of motion while moving about the forest with their offspring.
Gatto joins the cast of Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba. The show is 90 minutes long and features many different artists and acrobats used to tell a story along with music and visual effects. La Nouba takes place in a big white tent at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Anthony, who holds 11 world records in juggling, uses simple hoops, clubs and balls during his act. What makes his act remarkable is speed and seemingly impossible accuracy with props — it’s hard to look away.
Disney VoluntEARS, including Walt Disney World cast members, receive calls and donations during the “Hope for Haiti” telethon, operating out of the Disney Reservations Center in Orlando. The telethon lasts for two hours and allows viewers to donate online and on the phone to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
Thousands of Disney Cast Members have personal ties to Haiti and some are still trying to locate friends or family members in the region.
D Street, a new Disney merchandise location, opens at Downtown Disney at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. This shop sells edgier merchandise tailored for tweens, teens and young adults.
This new location seems to push the envelope. The walls are tagged in a graffiti-like style with familiar Disney characters, and the artwork, apparel and accessories that line the walls have a much more dark, creative vibe.
In addition to selling clothing, D Street also sells Vinylmation figures, which are stylized Mickey Mouse figurines.
As a new holiday event, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort begins offering holiday-themed sleigh rides. The sleighs, which are decked out in garlands and other holiday decorations, are equipped with tires and driven through the campgrounds. A sleigh ride for groups of up to five people costs $60.
You’ll depart from the Blacksmith’s Shop near the Settlement area inside Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and travel into the forest on each 25-minute ride.