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Ears the News with Richard


Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced a $2 million cash contribution to the relief and rebuilding efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

He shared, “It’s hard to fathom the utter devastation from this storm. Thousands of people in the hurricane’s path lost everything and face the daunting challenge of putting their lives and communities back together. We hope this helps provide immediate aid needed to get through this disaster and begin the road to recovery.”

One million dollars will be donated to the American Red Cross for immediate assistance, and another $1 million will be designated for organizations working on rebuilding efforts. Also, employee donations to nonprofits involved in disaster relief will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Disney Employee Matching Gifts: A Program of The Walt Disney Company Foundation.

In addition to financial support, public service announcements will run on ABC, ABC.com, ABCNews.com, Radio Disney and ESPN’s family of networks to encourage viewers to support Red Cross relief efforts. Disney Channel will also continue to air a spot that helps families prepare for disasters and other emergencies.

The valet parking fee at Walt Disney World Resort hotels has increased by $3, up from $12 to $15.

Photo from the Disney Parks Blog
The official Disney Parks Blog has revealed a new piece of concept art showing the full entrance area of the new Test Track.

Typhoon Lagoon has closed to begin its annual refurbishment.  It is scheduled to reopen on 1/6/2013, with Blizzard Beach remaining open during the refurbishment.

Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels returns to Downtown Disney on 11/ 9-11/ 2012 for its 37th year. The prestigious open-air fine arts festival features nearly 150 award-winning artists, sidewalk chalk art, limited-edition fine art, photography, sculpture, jewelry, glass art, Disney collectibles, live music and more. The event takes place from 10:00 AM.-5:30 PM. Friday and Saturday; 10:00 AM.-5:00 PM Sunday.

Art from an array of Disney artists also will be on display and available for purchase. The Disney Artist Village tent at Pleasure Island will feature Disney character art created by masters from various Disney disciplines, including Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative design and development arm of The Walt Disney Company. At the Art of Disney, artist Dave Avanzino will create art pieces using prop-like elements and fonts based on signs and attractions found around Disney theme parks. Both locations will feature artist appearances throughout the weekend.

For the first time ever, the event will feature an Emerging Masters area, where more than 30 up-and-coming artists will showcase works and compete for awards. Guests also can become part of the festival with interactive fun. Various activities presented by Michaels will be available, including “Make It Take It” crafts, a do-it-yourself fashion show, and the “Michaels Master Mural” where guests can help create a mosaic-like mural.


Other activities will include complimentary face painting and live entertainment by performers from La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, a chance to construct an 8-foot tall LEGO Hulk figure, domino games at Fuego by Sosa Cigars, live music at various venues, such as House of Blues and Bongos Cuban Café, and more. Admission and self-parking are complimentary at Downtown Disney.


The celebrity list for this year’s Candlelight Processional has become complete with the addition of actress Alfre Woodard.

There will also be a change to the Recessional medley that plays at the end of the show, with a new piece replacing the “Wonderful World of Christmas”.


In a move that surprised the entire galaxy, Disney announced that it is acquiring LucasFilm and everything that falls under the LucasFilm name.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on 10/26/2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise.

As if that new was not enough to nearly make the entire internet explode, Bob Iger also announced that work will immediately begin on the next movie in the Star Wars series, Episode 7. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

No word has been given as of yet on any expansion of the Star Wars theme park offerings.

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