Entries in Disney (6)


New MagicBand Changes Disney Park Entry, More

Kent Phillips(NEW YORK) -- Months of speculation surrounding a wrist band replacing paper tickets at Disney parks is over.  An official announcement confirming the band was made Monday on the Disney Parks blog.

A Disney spokesperson told ABC News the bands would be rolling out this year over the next several months.

Worn on the wrist, the "MagicBand" will serve as a guest's room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one.

"At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests," Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts wrote.  "We're always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better.  Over the past few years, we've devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us."

The introduction of the band is part of a larger effort named MyMagic+ and includes a new My Disney Experience website and mobile app.

Guests can plan dining and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more in advance through an enhanced FastPass system called FastPass+.  Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to change their plans.

Of course, the gathering of data on guests makes sense from a business standpoint for Disney, the parent company of ABC News.  The more it knows about guest preferences, the more it can tailor the guest experience.  But some skeptics worry about just how much information might be stored on those MagicBands.

"Ensuring the security of our guest's information is obviously very important to us, and no one is more focused on this than we are," a Disney spokesperson told ABC News.  "Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us.  Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information.  Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm for $4 Billion

Terry O'Neill/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction valued at $4.05 billion.  Lucasfilm is 100 percent owned by Lucasfilm chairman and founder, George Lucas.

Under the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on Oct. 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying half of the consideration in cash and issuing 40 million shares at closing.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

Disney is the owner of ABC News. Its last big purchases included a $4 billion deal for comics giant Marvel in 2009 and a $7.4 billion deal for animated movie studio Pixar in 2006.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see  Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas.  “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 reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

Lucasfilm includes its popular 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,” Disney said in a statement.

“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.  Ms. 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,” according to the statement.

“The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box office to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Disney CEO Robert Iger Joins Board of Apple, Inc.

Robert Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Image credit: Disney(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Robert A. Iger, the president and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, will take on an additional role as a member of the board of Apple, Inc.

Arthur D. Levinson becomes Apple’s new chairman, succeeding Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in October.

The announcement was made by Apple on Tuesday from its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Iger, 60, has been the chief executive at Disney since 2005 and before that was the company’s president and chief operating officer starting in 2000. He first came to ABC, Inc., in 1974, rising to become president and chief operating officer of ABC from 1994 to 1999.

Jobs and Iger knew each other for many years. Shortly after Iger became Disney’s chief executive, the two agreed in 2006 for Disney to acquire Pixar Animation Studios — a company that, under Jobs’ aegis, had reimagined the business of animated films. Under the agreement, Jobs joined the Disney board and became the company’s largest stockholder.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Disney to Build Avatar Attraction

Filmmaker James Cameron and Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, share their collaborative vision for bringing the incredible world of AVATAR to life in Disney parks. PRNewsFoto/Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Scott Brinegar(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Pandora, the mystical world featured in the 2009 movie Avatar, will be brought to life, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger announced Tuesday.

Disney has partnered with filmmaker James Cameron to create the first “Avatar themed land” in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Fla.  Construction is slated to begin by 2013 and will be completed about five years later.

“Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Avatar with an unprecedented sense of reality,” Cameron said in a press release.

The Avatar attraction will reportedly span several acres and is expected to cost around $400 million.

Cameron told reporters the attraction would likely include animatronics, rides, themed food and 3-D multimedia shows. The sequel to Avatar, Cameron’s top-grossing film, is scheduled for release in December 2014. Avatar 3 will be released the following year.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Disney Reveals Details on Fantasyland Expansion at Magic Kingdom

Photo Courtesy - Disney Parks(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Disney revealed Wednesday details of its largest expansion ever at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

The expansion, which will nearly double the size of Fantasyland, will include attractions featuring Disney princesses Ariel and Belle, an additional carousel featuring Dumbo and a new roller coaster called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that will swing passengers back and forth as they go ride through the track.  A royal court, Princess Fairytale Hall, will also be built to house Disney princesses like Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Rapunzel.

Work on the new Fantasyland will be completed in phases, with most new attractions opening by 2013.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Disney, ABC Reach $200-Million Deal with Netflix

Photo Courtesy -- Netflix(LOS GATOS, Calif.) – ABC has reached a $200-million streaming deal with Netflix, reports the Los Angeles Times.

ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., has reached an agreement that allows Netflix to stream ABC and Disney content over the Internet around two weeks after their original network broadcast.

In the agreement, Netflix paid $50,000 to $150,000 per episode to stream the television shows, adding to their rivalry with competitor Hulu, which is partially owned by Disney.

Netflix charges customers a monthly fee, starting at $7.99, for unlimited access to movies and TV shows on the Web.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio