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The Walt Disney Company announced that it is accepting applications for its second Disney Accelerator program powered by Techstars. Disney Accelerator will select a class of 10 startup companies for a three-month mentorship and investment program beginning July 6, 2015 and concluding with a Demo Day on October 6, 2015.

The program is open to technology-based startups with a vision for making an impact on the world of media and entertainment. Participants will be offered $120,000 in investment capital along with mentor support from top Disney executives, entrepreneurs, investors and other notable business leaders from the entertainment and technology communities.

In 2014, Disney launched its first Disney Accelerator with companies focused on a range of products including connected toys, mobile video, STEM applications, social media, advertising technology and more. Disney continues to work with many of the alumni from the inaugural class, which included Choremonster, Codarica, Jogg, Naritiv, Sidelines, Smart Toy, SnowShoe, Sphero, Twigtale and TYFFON.

The 2014 Disney Accelerator class reached a number of significant milestones during the program. SnowShoe secured $2.2 million in seed financing; ChoreMonster and Codarica both launched mobile apps; Sphero introduced its new Ollie product and Smart Toy was acquired by Cartwheel Kids, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of children’s products.

“The Disney Accelerator was born of Disney’s long term commitment to innovation and its position at the intersection of technology and entertainment,” said Kevin Mayer, Disney’s Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development. “The 2014 Disney Accelerator demonstrated that pairing Disney’s creative and business talent with entrepreneurs can produce an energizing and valuable exchange of ideas and promote tremendous innovation. We look forward to working with a new group of start-ups in the months to come.”

For more information, please go to

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Disney has announced the performers scheduled to perform at the 2015 Night of Joy events at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The lineups are:

  • Friday, September 11 - ­ TobyMac, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Colton Dixon, Big Daddy Weave, Francesca Battistelli, Rend Collective, I Am They and Veridia
  • Saturday, September 12 -­ Skillet, Lecrae, For King & Country, Mandisa, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, Capital Kings and Seventh Time Down

Tickets to the events will be available in the spring. For more information, visit

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Deadline is reporting that Disney is reportedly eyeing Chris Pratt to take the lead in a revival of the Indiana Jones franchise.

Chris Pratt reached a new found level of stardom after playing Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He will also play the lead in Jurassic World which is being released this summer.

Disney purchased the rights to distribute the franchise from Paramount following their acquisition of Lucasfilm,

Disney would not comment on this report

PicMonkey Collage

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Fortune is reporting that Disney’s Bob Iger ranks in the top 5 of CEO’s expenditures on corporate jet travel. In 2014 Disney spent $391,411 on his personal travel on a corporate jet. In Disney’s proxy statement the company states that “security requires the CEO to use corporate aircraft for all personal travel”.

The other 4 CEOs on the list are Brian Moynihan at Bank of America, James McNerney at Boeing, Jeffrey Immelt at General Electric, and Ryan Lance at ConocoPhillips.

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Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris and show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron shared that the Oscar-winning songwriting team from “Frozen,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, are in the midst of writing an original multimedia, musical sequence, “Moving Pictures,” which Harris will perform on Oscar Sunday, February 22, on ABC. Harris made the initial announcement on his Twitter account, posting the network’s first tweet using its new mobile video camera feature.

“On the heels of the international success of last year’s “Frozen” and their Oscar for “Let It Go,” we couldn’t be happier to have Kristen and Bobby Lopez write an incredibly special song for Neil Patrick Harris and special guests to perform this year on the Oscar stage,” said Zadan and Meron. “YouTube, get ready!”

“We love the Oscars® and have always been huge Neil Patrick Harris fans, so when he asked us to write him a song for this year’s show we said, ‘Yes!’ before he could finish the sentence – it’s possible he may have been asking us for something else,” said the Lopezes. “We are having so much fun collaborating, and have even enjoyed weaving our experience as Oscar nominees into the song.”

Lopez is an Oscar, Tony®, Emmy®, Grammy® winning songwriter and co-creator of the worldwide smash-hit Broadway musicals “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon.” Anderson-Lopez in an Oscar-winning songwriter for film and television, who along with her husband, co-wrote songs for “Frozen” and “Winnie the Pooh.” The pair won an Oscar for original song for “Let It Go” from the 2013 Oscar-winning animated film “Frozen,” and are currently working on music for the upcoming stage musical “Up Here.”

The 87th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars, produced by Zadan and Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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With nearly 75,000 Cast Members who call Central Florida home, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to making a difference in the community. In 2014, that commitment added up to a record $37.9 million in Disney’s cash and in-kind donations aimed at strengthening local children and families.

“Here at Walt Disney World Resort, our Cast Members are honored to give back to the community in a variety of ways – from supporting our schools to grants for local nonprofits to the countless hours our VoluntEARS devote to the causes close to their hearts,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney World Resort.

As part of its support for Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort donated a total of $3.8 million in grants, sponsorships, event support and other contributions through Disney Grants in the past year. The 87 local organizations, including five school districts, selected as grant recipients support children and families by promoting the arts, economic development and basic health and wellness needs. More than 85,460 children throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties will benefit from Disney Grants donations in the coming year.


Adding to the Company’s community impact were more than 150,000 hours Disney VoluntEARS gave toward improving the lives of Central Floridians in the past year. Whether donating millions of school supplies to local students or serving more than 9,000 meals to the homeless, Cast Members enthusiastically supported a variety of nonprofits and community groups.

In honor of their service, Disney gave more than $1 million to hundreds of Central Florida nonprofits through the company’s EARS to You grant program. The annual grants recognize Cast Members’ VoluntEAR service with a contribution of up to $2,000 to the eligible charity of the volunteer’s choice. Top EARS to You grant recipients in 2014 include Give Kids the World, the Pet Alliance of Central Florida (formerly known as SPCA of Central Florida), A Gift for Teaching and Central Florida Community Arts. In addition, Disney recognizes a VoluntEAR of the Year and VoluntEAR Team of the Year each year with $2,500 cash donations to the charity of their choice.

Other Disney contributions in 2014 include more than 720,000 pounds of prepared, un-served food collected and distributed to local food banks through the Disney Harvest program. Walt Disney World Resort also continued to help meet the needs of nonprofit organizations with more than $14 million in in-kind donations, such as clothing, industrial equipment, home and office furniture, and personal hygiene items.


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According to the Dallas Morning News, Disney shops in J.C. Penney’s children’s department are gearing up for the release of Disney’s live-action Cinderella. These stores-within-stores are located in select J.C. Penney locations.

As the exclusive retail sponsor of the Academy Awards on Feb. 22, the retail outlet is devoting one of its 30-second spots to Cinderella merchandise. In addition, the ball gown worn by James in the movie will be on exhibit Feb. 12-22 at the J.C. Penney store in Manhattan.

As part of the promotion for the film J.C. Penney locations will be offering free movie tickets with Disney purchases of $50 or more from Feb. 27 to April 1. Cinderella tote bags will be given to customers spending at least $25 on Disney merchandise from Feb. 19 to April 15.

Since the Frozen Fever short will be attached to Cinderella, they will also be adding summer Frozen merchandise to its stores on March 1, including beach towels, swimwear and flip-flops, she said.

J.C. Penneys has a long history with Cinderella. In 1950, when the animated movie was released the store issued a print marketing piece that included details of the film and a free pattern that could be used to sew a Cinderella-inspired apron from fabrics sold at Penney.


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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucasfilm has hired Chris Weitz to write the first Star Wars stand-alone film that is being directed by Gareth Edwards. This news follows the departure of Gary Whitta who left the project after completing a first draft.

Weitz also wrote the upcoming Disney live-action adaptation of Cinderella which will be released this March.

The subjects of the two stand-alone Star Wars films in development are still unknown.

The film is scheduled to be released December 16,  2016.