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Almost 40 years ago, Bruce Jenner’s Olympic success came as a result of strengthening both his mind and body leading to his status as one of the world’s greatest athletes, but the decision to publicly come out as a transgender woman took a different kind of courage and acceptance of one’s self. To celebrate that bravery, ESPN today announced that Jenner will be presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 2015 ESPYS Presented by Capital One. Presented annually to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is the pinnacle of the sports celebration, which will be televised Wednesday, July 15, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.

Jenner’s unyielding resolve and hard work enabled him to win a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics and break world records. He then parlayed that success into a variety of roles across different areas including television, film, auto racing and business. Although Jenner first captured the attention of the nation for his athletic prowess and determination, the same strength of character shone through this past April when he sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer to come out as a transgender woman.

“In the past few months, the overwhelming outpouring of support from all over the world for my journey has been incredible,” said Jenner. “However, being honored with this award, which is named after one of my heroes, is truly special. For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers.”

Added executive producer Maura Mandt: “Bruce has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time but The ESPYS are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming Caitlyn. She has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces.”

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Discover a whole new world in Disney’s Aladdin: Diamond Edition, as it rides it’s way for the first time on Blu-ray and Digital HD! Enjoy this magic carpet ride of non-stop comedy with Aladdin, Jasmine, The Genie and other memorable characters as it soars on Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) and Digital HD September 29th, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack October 13th

http://www.laughingplace.com/w/news/2015/06/01/aladdin-diamond-edition-to-be-released-this-fall/

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James A. Rasulo will step down as chief financial officer of The Walt Disney Company effective June 30, 2015, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive officer. Afterward, Mr. Rasulo will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to Mr. Iger and to assist in the transition.

“Jay has been a valued colleague and friend, as well as a vital contributor to Disney’s success, particularly in his roles as chief financial officer and chairman of our Parks and Resorts division,” Mr. Iger said. “I look forward to working with him in this new advisory role, where his strategic acumen and savvy insight will continue to benefit the company.”

“It has been a true honor to work at Disney for these many years, and for a great leader in Bob Iger,” Mr. Rasulo said. “And as I look to the horizon for future endeavors, I am privileged to continue my friendship with Bob and remain as an advisor to him and the Disney team.”
A new chief financial officer will be named at a later date.

As senior executive vice president and CFO, Mr. Rasulo has also been responsible for the operation of recently acquired Maker Studios. Prior to becoming CFO five years ago, he served as chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where he oversaw the launch of a major expansion of Disney’s California Adventure, the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, the addition of two new cruise ships to Disney Cruise Line, and initial development of the new Shanghai Disney Resort. Before leading Parks and Resorts, Mr. Rasulo was chairman and CEO of Euro Disney; he also served as senior vice president, Corporate Alliances and led Disney Regional Entertainment. Mr. Rasulo joined Disney in 1986 as director, Strategic Planning and Development.

Prior to Disney, Mr. Rasulo held positions with Chase Manhattan Bank and the Marriott Corporation. A native New Yorker, he has a degree in economics from Columbia University and both an M.A. in economics and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

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As excitement continues to mount for the biggest comic book event of the year, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) continues to unveil merchandising programs in support of Marvel’s Secret Wars. Secret Wars is a new storyline where the world of the Marvel Universe and the world of the Ultimate Universe collide, obliterating everything we’ve come to know and forming a new world – Battleworld – featuring new versions of familiar characters.

The Secret Wars licensing program marks the first time that Marvel is supporting a comic book event with its own merchandising program and many key partners are already on board. Mad Engine and Bioworld are developing apparel lines inspired by the newly reformed Marvel Universe, while Funko debuts new collectible figures and Cardinal unveils puzzles. Marvel is also working closely with Diamond Comics to create assortments, displays, and special products including apparel and drinkware designed specifically for comic book stores.

Secret Wars is an unprecedented comic book event that completely alters the Marvel Universe and we are pulling out all the stops to honor the overwhelming excitement coming from our fans,” said Paul Gitter, senior vice president, licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products. “For the first time we are working with our best in class partners to create a robust retail program that encapsulates the storylines from our comic book universe and offers fans new ways to interact with our Super Heroes off the page.”

 

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Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson star as the teenage sons and daughters of Disney’s most infamous villains, in Disney’s “Descendants,” a live-action movie that — with a knowing wink at traditional fairy tales — fuses castles with classrooms to create a contemporary, music-driven story about the challenges in living up to parental and peer expectations.  Made for kids, tweens and families, the movie premieres FRIDAY, JULY 31 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel and Friday, July 24 to verified users on the WATCH Disney Channel app and WATCHDisneyChannel.com.  The notable cast also includes Mitchell Hope, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Maz Jobrani, Kathy Najimy and the Tony Award-winning Kristin Chenoweth.

Disney’s “Descendants” will also usher in Disney Channel’s new comedy series “BUNK’D,” premiering immediately after the movie.

Emmy Award-winning Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical”) directs, choreographs and executive-produces Disney’s “Descendants.”  Wendy Japhet (“An Education,” “The Italian Job”) is also an executive producer.  Paul Becker (“So You Think You Can Dance Canada”) is the co-choreographer.  The script was written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott (creators and Emmy and WGA Award-nominated writers on “The Starter Wife”; writers of “Runaway Bride”) who are also co-producers.  Mark Hofeling (“Teen Beach Movie,” “High School Musical”) is the production designer and Kara Saun (“Project Runway”) is the costume designer.

The story, set in the idyllic kingdom of Auradon, playfully presents the unexpected possibilities of what happens after the “happily ever after.”   As it unfolds, Ben, the benevolent teenage son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”), is poised to take the throne.  His first proclamation is to offer a chance at redemption to Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, the trouble-making offspring of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar, who have all been sequestered on the forbidden Isle of the Lost for 20 years. These villainous descendants are allowed into Auradon for the first time to attend prep school alongside the teenage progeny of Fairy Godmother, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Mulan.  Only time will tell if these evil teens follow in the footsteps of their wicked parents.

As these sons and daughters of evil meet the children of goodness, their story incorporates empowering themes about self-confidence, finding the beauty within, freedom of choice, personal responsibility, teamwork, justice and empathy.

Disney’s “Descendants” premiere schedule in the U.S. is:

FRIDAY, JULY 24

  • Advance viewing of Disney’s “Descendants” available to verified WATCH Disney Channel users on WATCHDisneyChannel.com and the WATCH Disney Channel app for smartphones, tablets and connected TVs.

FRIDAY, JULY 31

  • Television premiere of Disney’s “Descendants” (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel.
  • Movie available on DVD at retailers nationwide.  The DVD includes a free “Isle of the Lost” bracelet packed inside, plus exclusive bonus features including cast dance rehearsal footage conducted by Kenny Ortega, bloopers and more.
  • “Descendants” soundtrack is released from Walt Disney Records. Available for pre-order at Amazon.com and iTunes later this month, the soundtrack includes songs performed by the cast with four bonus tracks.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1

  • “Descendants” is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

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Disney Interactive today released new assets and information for Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic, one of the three Star Wars™ Play Sets to be released for Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition this year.  Developed by Ninja Theory, in partnership with Avalanche Software, the game is set to deliver an authentic family-friendly Star Wars game experience with enhanced combat system.

Set during the latter years of the Clone Wars, players will travel to four locations and explore open worlds of Tatooine and Coruscant, battle droids in Geonosis and partake in an epic boss battle in Naboo. Along the way, players will use the Force™ and master their Lightsaber™ skills as they fight alongside Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda to save the Republic and defeat the Separatists.

Each Jedi character is given specialized Force combat abilities and Force finishing moves, as well as unique Lightsaber forms with powerful combo attacks. As Jedi Master Yoda, for example, players will leap into action with his agile and acrobatic prowess. Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano uses her lightning-fast dual Lightsabers to carve up Battledroids, while Darth Maul uses his double-bladed Lightsaber and power in the dark side of the Force in a death-defying duel against the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic Play Set is included in the Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Starter Pack available this fall for $64.99, which also includes the Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Base, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker character figures, and a web code card that unlocks content for PC and mobile devices. The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB and will be available this fall.

Two additional Star Wars Play Sets will be available for Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition this holiday, including Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In addition, players will be able to unlock the ability for all Star Wars characters to play inside all of the Star Wars Play Sets, as well as in the newly enhanced Toy Box, along with all characters previously released for Disney Infinity.

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Recently, “No Selfie Sticks” signs have appeared at various attractions at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World.  Here are some of the signs that indicate the attraction guideline.

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Bursting with D23 EXPO 2015 – themed official merchandise and other specialty items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise, the Dream Store returns with something magical for Disney fans of all ages. From Disney-inspired apparel, art and collectibles, accessories, books, and more, the D23 EXPO 2015 Dream Store is a Disney enthusiast’s dream come true.  Highlights include:

Official D23 EXPO Merchandise–Disney fans can take home a piece of the magic from this year’s Expo, with an assortment of official D23 EXPO 2015 merchandise including tees, fleece, baseball caps, novelty headwear, D-Tech, jewelry, drinkware, souvenirs, accessories, pins, and Vinylmation™. And for the first time, guests can bring home a selfie party-pack inspired by a few of our favorite Disney characters, as well as an “R4-D23” droid and Princess Kneesaa the Ewok plush. D23 EXPO Tip: Look for a specially themed Walt’s Kingdom collecti

Disney Theme Park Merchandise: Showcasing some of its newest releases and exclusive offerings from ACME Archives Limited, ALEX AND ANI, Steve Adams, Dave Avanzino, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, David Bird, Britni Brault, Stephen Cargile, Bob Elias, Collector’s Choice, Disney Design Group, Disney Dream Collection, Disney Fine Art by Collectors Editions, Disney Parks│PANDORA, Dooney & Bourke, HARVEYS, Ink & Paint Artists, Rob Kaz, Jerrod Maruyama, Bridget McCarty, Miss Mindy, James Mulligan, Rick O’Brien, Robert Olszewski, Maggie Parr, Mike Peraza, Larry Nikolai, Precious Moments, Linda Rick, Tim Rogerson, Javier Soto, George Scribner, Sketch Artists, Michelle St.Laurent, Yakovetic, and more.

ALEX AND ANI will debut several new styles at D23 EXPO 2015. Fans can expect a variety of jewelry designs featuring everyone’s favorite, Mickey Mouse and a very special “Celebrate” wrap.

Disney Dream Collection and D23 Expo-Exclusive Jewelry: Guests can enjoy a sparkling selection of fine jewelry created for the Disneyland Resort Celebration.

HARVEYS– Created especially for D23 EXPO 2015, this new collection features historical “A, B and, C Ticket Media” on some of their most popular silhouettes.

Dream Store Autograph Sessions–Disney fans will get the chance to meet some of their favorite authors, artists, Disney Legends, and other notable celebrities inside the Dream Store. Autograph sessions will be posted daily via the D23 EXPO Mobile App (available later this summer) and daily at the D23 EXPO Dream Store.

Details about Dream Store merchandise offerings, special artist appearances, and more will continue to be updated on www.D23EXPO.com, www.DisneyParksBlog.com,www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com and on Facebook and Twitter at “DisneyD23”.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are available at a discounted price for a limited time. Now through June 30, 2015, tickets are $67 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $58 for a one-day adult admission and $42 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $188 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit D23EXPO.com.

 

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Oriental Land Co., Ltd. announced that a new attraction will open in Port Discovery at Tokyo DisneySea® Park in spring 2017. The new attraction will be themed to the world of the Disney/Pixar films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory (to be released in 2016). This indoor attraction will immerse Guests in the underwater world of these popular stories by using a ride system that seamlessly blends visuals from the films with a motion system. Boarding a submarine that “shrinks” to the size of a fish, Guests can explore the vast underwater world from the same point of view as Nemo and Dory. Guests can meet different characters and make new discoveries when they ride. In addition, the production staff of Finding Dory (to be released in July 2016) will be involved in the creation of visuals for this attraction. Beautiful ocean scenery can be enjoyed on screen in this attraction.

This attraction will replace StormRider which will close Mid-May 2016

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For the First Time, Disney’s Official Fan Club Takes Its Popular Event Global, Bringing the Fun Directly to Fans With the Biggest Lady and the Tramp Viewing Party Ever.

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is bringing its popular Fanniversary event into the homes of members and Disney fans around the world, with Fanniversary Home Edition. This year’s inaugural home event celebrates the 60th anniversary of Disney’s classic canine love story Lady and the Tramp. Fans can join the fun by visiting D23.com/D23Fanniversary.

Starting May 29, guests can begin preparing for the party by downloading invitations, decorations, crafts, games, and even a traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe provided by the talented chefs of The Chew.

Then from June 12–14 it’s time to party! Throughout the weekend, D23 will unveil new and classic content on D23.com about the animated favorite, including:

  • A new video featuring original artwork from the Animation Research Library
  • A series of the original “Scamp” comics
  • A gallery of Lady and the Tramp items from the Walt Disney Archives
  • Features full of fun facts about the film, including a piece by Disney music historian Randy Thornton looking at the development of the movie’s beloved songs
  • A story on Walt Disney’s own dogs and how they influenced some of his movies

Plus, fans are encouraged to join the conversation on D23’s social media using the hashtag #D23Fanniversary (follow “DisneyD23” on all platforms). One of the many downloadables will be a “selfie station” where fans can pose as the film’s canine couple enjoying a plate of pasta at Tony’s Restaurant, and then upload their shots on social media. Throughout the weekend, D23 also invites fans to post “Dogglegangers”—photos of their own pooches who look like the dynamic dogs from the film—and share stories of dogs they have adopted.

Fans are encouraged to watch the beloved film all weekend long. And for those who would like to watch as one big group, at 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, June 13, D23 encourages fans around the world to hit “play” on their DVD, Blu-ray, or digital device to kick off the largest Lady and the Trampviewing party ever. Follow on Twitter, as D23 will be live tweeting out fun facts, commentary, and questions for the audience.

Lady and the Tramp, which had its premiere on June 16, 1955, tells the story of Lady, a young cocker spaniel from a “respectable” home, who falls in love with Tramp, a mutt who lives in the railroad yards. The idea for the film came from a short story by Ward Greene entitled “Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog.” The film stars such voice talents as Barbara Luddy as Lady; Larry Roberts as Tramp; and Peggy Lee as Darling, the Siamese cats, and Peg, the show dog.