Club Penguin Celebrates the Holidays in a Big Way

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Disney Interactive today debuted new mobile offerings for the #1 virtual world for kids,Disney’s Club Penguin. The Club Penguin app launched for Android on the Google Play Store, and a new original holiday television program, We Wish You a Merry Walrus, is available for download on iTunes ($2.99 HD and $1.99 SD) and on Apple TV.

Since the Club Penguin app launched on iOS last December, mobile has become a significant and growing platform for Club Penguin, with 25 percent of Club Penguin players now coming from mobile and tablet devices.

To join in the festive fun, players can take part in the Merry Walrus celebration running in-world through December 29. The holiday special also inspired a float in the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, which will air on ABC on December 25 at 10:00 am ET.

 

Club Penguin App

Now available for both Android and iOS, the Club Penguin app lets players experience the #1 virtual world for kids on tablet and mobile devices, offering a massive multiplayer community like no other. To celebrate the launch, Club Penguin is offering a special promotion on clubpenguin.com and for Android users: buy a one-month membership and receive a code for a bonus one-month membership to gift to a friend. The full app description can be found here.

 

We Wish You a Merry Walrus Holiday Special

Set on Merry Walrus Eve, the story follows a seafaring penguin named Roofhowse who arrives at Club Penguin Island only to find himself wrapped up in an unexpected festive adventure! Following a magical Blue Crystal Puffle, Roofhowse and his new friends journey to the fabled Merry Walrus Island and learn that they must band together to stop their favorite holiday celebration from being silenced forever.

We Wish You a Merry Walrus is produced by Disney Interactive Labs, Disney Club Penguin, and Factory, an award-winning UK-based production company. The director is Tobias Fouracre (Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Koala Brothers), creative producer is Matt Danner (The Looney Tunes Show, Xiaolin Showdown), and the writers are Martin Olson (Phineas and Ferb) and Christopher Painter (Tom and Jerry Tales).

We Wish You a Merry Walrus will also air on Disney Channel internationally and will be translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch.

 

Club Penguin In-World Merry Walrus Celebration (Dec. 18 – Dec. 29)

To get Disney Club Penguin fans in the spirit, the online destination is hosting a special in-world party, the first ever Merry Walrus celebration, through December 29. Players participate in Merry Walrus’ quirky traditions to celebrate giving. The whole island will become a decorated winter wonderland where players take part in mini-quests to spread festive cheer, which include decorating the tree to festive food fights, and searching for six blue crystal puffle ornaments hidden around the island. Players will be rewarded for their efforts with items and at the end of the final quest and Merry Walrus will appear to present members with their very own blue crystal puffle, which they can keep as a souvenir after the party ends. Players will also be able to donate their virtual coins to the annual global Coins For Change initiative to help unlock projects funded by a $1 million donation from Club Penguin to charitable causes around the world.

As the world’s largest virtual world for kids, players can log in to explore the colourful online world in the form of a penguin character where they can play games, chat to other penguins, design and build an igloo home and adopt small pets called puffles. Club Penguin has built an unrivalled global reputation with an unwavering commitment to online safety with features consisting of cutting-edge word filter technology, live moderation, and an ad-free environment. The Club Penguin app is also available on iOS with mobile players enjoying the same gameplay and social features found in the online world. Club Penguin is played in more than 190 countries and since launch over 220 million penguins have been created.  Visitwww.clubpenguin.com

ESPN Kicks Off MLS Season with Orlando City SC vs New York City FC

ESPN will kick off its coverage of Major League Soccer’s 20th season with live presentation Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC, two highly anticipated expansion teams playing their first league match, on Sunday, March 8, at 5 p.m. ET, from Orlando’s Citrus Bowl on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN. It is the first of 34 matches primarily on Sunday at 5 p.m. each season – through a new eight-year rights agreement ending in 2022. (The complete MLS on ESPN schedule for 2015 season will be announced at a later date.)

The match will feature two FIFA World Cup champions – Orlando City SC’s Kaká (2002 with Brazil) vs. New York City FC’s David Villa (Spain in 2010). With Kaká, Villa and legendary former England National Team player Frank Lampard (New York City FC player on loan to Premier League champions Manchester City), the two teams boast the best rosters ever for an expansion team in Major League Soccer.

Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC highlights (via ESPN Stats & Information):

  • With the addition of New York City FC and Orlando City SC, the 20th MLS season begins with a record 20 teams;
  • Villa is Spain’s career scoring leader with 59 goals in 97 national team games, including nine FIFA World Cup goals. He won three La Liga titles with Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, and the 2010-11 Champions League title with Barcelona;
  • Kaká, who won the 2007 Ballon d’Or as the world’s best soccer player, will be the third Ballon d’Or winner to play in MLS – former Bulgarian international Hristo Stoichkov (1994) and German international Lothar Matthäus (1990). He scored 29 goals in 89 games for Brazil;
  • As of today, Kaká and Villa will be the only two FIFA World Cup winners playing in Major League Soccer. Other World Cup winners in the league’s 20-year history: Lothar Matthäus (1990), Branco (1994), Youri Djorkaeff (1998), Thierry Henry (1998), Kleberson (2002), Denilson (2002) and Alessandro Nesta (2006);
  • Lampard is Chelsea FC’s career scoring leader with 211 goals. He has six goals in 14 matches while on loan from the New York City FC with Manchester City in the current English Premier League season. He retired from international soccer after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with 106 matches and 29 goals for England.
Africa Marketplace Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Imagine the colors, scents, savory tastes and boundless activity of a village marketplace in Africa. That sensory scene is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a spring 2015 opening planned for Africa Marketplace – a new shopping and dining option for park-goers in Harambe, the village anchoring the Africa section of the park. One highlight of the new space will be Harambe Marketplace, a new quick-service food and beverage location offering street-inspired dishes from walk-up windows. Guests will find plenty of shady places to relax and eat. For their convenience, the new space also will open up a new pathway from Africa to Bradley Falls and the Asia section of the park. Together with the new Harambe Theatre housing “The Festival of the Lion King,” the addition of Africa Marketplace will double the size of the original Harambe Village. Paired with previously-announced projects throughout the park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is undergoing the largest expansion in its history.

MARVELKIDS.COM Launches Avengers Destination

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Marvel continues to expand marvelkids.com with its latest destination dedicated to the mightiest Marvel Super Heroes – The Avengers!  The Avengers destination is designed to captivate the next generation of Marvel fans with digital products and destinations that younger “digital natives” will love, featuring games and immersive activities assembling Marvel’s greatest Super Hero team.

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At avengers.marvelkids.com younger Marvel fans can take on the role of Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and more in a variety of interactive games including:

  • Black Widow - The Black Widow undertakes a difficult mission for Nick Fury

Marvelkids.com’s Avengers destination has all of these games and several more!

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Also included at marvelkids.com is a power pack of activities with Avengers downloadable coloring pages, mazes and word searches. Hours of entertainment to challenge the mind of any young Avenger!

In addition to the exciting games that marvelkids.com offers, fans will also be able to watch several “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”video clips from the hit animated TV series, airing Sunday mornings inside the Marvel Universe on Disney XD. Fans will also be able to explore the Avengers’ universe through in-depth online hero and villain bios that will keep any fan up-to-date with characters from “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” and the Marvel Universe.

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“Marvelkids.com launched in September as a new online experience exclusively for kids that allows them to engage with the Marvel heroes they love and even play the role of hero themselves through a variety of fun and exciting games,” said Kristin Vincent, VP of Digital Products. “We started with Spider-Man and have now expanded to include the Earth’s mightiest Super Heroes – the Avengers!marvelkids.com will keep rolling out new games, videos and other content so kids can have fun online while in a kid-safe digital environment.”

Be sure to check out marvelkids.com here along with the Avengers and Spider-Man destinations:

http://www.marvelkids.com/

http://avengers.marvelkids.com/

http://spiderman.marvelkids.com/

Kermit Sings “It Feels Like Christmas” at Disneyland

Kermit the Frog gives a very special holiday greeting at Disneyland with a live performance of “It Feels Like Christmas” from The Muppet Christmas Carol.

All Apple TV Users Can Now View ABC Episodes A Week After They Air

All Apple TV viewers can now access full episodes a week after they air. Like WATCH ABC for mobile devices and desktop, viewers can now watch such shows as ScandalHow to Get Away With Murder,Modern Familyblack-ishOnce Upon A Time and Castle, among others, a week after they air.  Sign in is required for ABC’s live network feed and its most current episodes.  The Apple TV WATCH ABC app has also been updated with a new bolder, immersive look and feel, more short form video and a continuous play mode!

College Football Awards Leaving Walt Disney World

 Beginning in 2015, each year’s college football stars will be honored at the home of the game’s greatest legends as The Home Depot College Football Awards will move to the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta as part of a new multi-year agreement between ESPN and the Hall of Fame. Airing live on ESPN on December 10, 2015, The Home Depot College Football Awardswill feature the presentation of nine of the most prestigious accolades in college football and pay tribute to the remarkable successes of each year’s standout student-athletes both on and off the field. The 45-yard-long indoor football field at the new 94,000-square-foot attraction doubles as a fully-functioning event facility and will serve as the show’s new home.

“Disney gave us a wonderful home for The Home Depot College Football Awards for more than two decades. Now, the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame will provide us the opportunity to enhance both our coverage and the experience for attendees and fans. The show and this new venue are not only a natural fit, but a great way to mark 25 years of ESPN televising the awards,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisitions.

The Home Depot College Football Awards celebrates exceptional student-athletes, and there’s no more fitting venue for this prestigious ceremony than at our spectacular new facility, which celebrates college football every day,” said John Stephenson, president & CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame. “The Hall of Fame was designed, built and wired for premier broadcast events like this, and we will honor this decision to move the show by providing exceptional hospitality and a celebratory experience to the players, their families, coaches and fans.”

“The new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta provides an amazing platform for the entire college football community to celebrate the game,” said National Football Foundation President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “ESPN has been a great supporter of all of the initiatives of the National Football Foundation, and we are extremely pleased that they recognize the unique and powerful role that the new Hall of Fame can play in raising the profile for The Home Depot College Football Awards.”

Each year The Home Depot College Football Awards presents nine National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) player awards, including such prestigious awards as the Bednarik, Biletnikoff and Maxwell Awards and the Outland Trophy. Also presented are The NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award, The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, The Disney Spirit Award, and the Walter Camp All-America Team.

“The move to Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame will offer an exciting new perspective on The Home Depot College Football Awards,” said Mark Wolpert, NCFAA president. “The Hall of Fame was designed to provide visitors with an interactive experience which allows guests to explore the rich history of college football in a way never before possible, and the new facility will allow a whole new approach to the production of the show. All of the NCFAA members are excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Home Depot College Football Awards in Atlanta next December.”

New Roles for Dan Abrams and Byron Pitts at ABC News

ABC News President sent the following note to his team today regarding new roles for Dan Abrams and Byron Pitts:

Team,

I want to share big news for two of our key players, Dan Abrams and Byron Pitts.

Earlier this year Dan came to talk to me about taking on a new role at ABC News and returning to his true passion – running the websites and company he founded, Abrams Media.

Dan has decided to step back from his full-time role as Nightline anchor after tonight, but I’m very happy to report that he will bring us his brilliant insights as chief legal analyst for ABC News for years to come.  From Trayvon Martin and Bill Cosby to Ferguson and Staten Island, we count on him to provide legal context and scrutiny to important stories that capture national attention.

As co-anchor of Nightline Dan has showcased some of our best storytelling and been a crucial part of the Nightline team that has taken us to #1 in late night.  On a personal level, I wish Dan great success expanding Abrams Media beyond the impressive milestones they have already achieved.  I’m thrilled that Dan has committed to continue to appear on all our programs and platforms for many more years.

I’m delighted to announce that Byron Pitts will join Nightline as co-anchor.  Byron is a truly passionate storyteller and deep thinker about the critical issues of our time, as his work from Soweto to Ferguson makes clear.

Last week for our “Race. Justice. In America” series, Byron delivered compelling reports told with incredible compassion and his singularly distinctive voice. He reported on the distrust between the public and the police in his hometown of Baltimore, and he delved deeply into how fathers and sons talk about race.

Our chief national correspondent since 2013, Byron has been committed to finding stories and voices rarely heard on the national stage.  He profiled an American lawyer – inspired by Nelson Mandela – helping hundreds of South African orphans go to school; got a closer look at New Orleans’ comeback as the Hollywood of the South; and memorably talked to the self-described pope of Satanism preaching in the heart of the Bible Belt.

I couldn’t be happier we’ll now see even more of his outstanding work on Nightline and all our platforms.

Byron joins the Nightline team in its strongest position yet in its new time period; in November they won the third consecutive sweep in Total Viewers.  Turning in their best results ever at 12:30 A.M., they showed us once again that great storytelling leads to great results.  With Roxanna, Dan Harris, Juju and Byron leading the way, I know there are even more great days ahead.

Please join me in congratulating Dan and Byron on their new roles.

James

Tusker House to Feature Character Dinner

The Tusker House restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be extending its character dining program through dinner. This means that the restaurant will be character dinning all-day. The African-inspired buffet will feature Donald Duck, Daisy, and Goofy. The character dinner will begin March 8, 2015.

Breakfast is 8 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 4 p.m. The cost is $29.99, $16.99 ages 3 to 9 for breakfast, $34.99 and $17.99 for lunch and $41.99 and $19.99 for dinner. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE or visit disneyworld.com/dine.


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