Woman unconscious at Disney World ride

A woman lost consciousness while getting off a Walt Disney World ride, which two people have died on in the past 13 months, authorities said.

The 35-year-old woman was getting off "Mission: Space" when she fell about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

She told rescue workers she had tingling in her arms and hands, Jones said. She was in stable condition at a local hospital.

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DISNEY’S MOVIE-TO-MUSICAL TARZAN FIZZLING ON BROADWAY

The Walt Disney company, whose animated films Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King metamorphosed to successful stage shows on Broadway, may be about to experience its first "mega-flop" as ticket sales slow for Tarzan, the New York Post reported Wednesday. One veteran Broadway producer, who was not identified, told the newspaper, "Tarzan is not going to close today or tomorrow because the advance is big. … But right now they're taking out more money than they're taking in, and if that doesn't change, I don't care how big the advance is, they're going to blow through it sooner or later." David Schrader, managing director of Disney Theatrical, told the newspaper that the company plans to launch a major ad campaign in August. "August is one of the highest-selling ticket months," Shrader told the Post. "People take more time to read and see what's going on, and we're going to take advantage of that."

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DISNEY-ABC TELEVISION GROUP GARNERS 81 PRIMETIME EMMY NOMINATIONS

ABC Receives 64 Nominations for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Up 13 from Last Year, and More Than Any Other Broadcast Network Including 11 For Greys Anatomy, Nine for Lost And The 78th Annual Academy Awards, And Multiple Nominations for Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal and Dancing with the Stars

Touchstone Television Receives 44 Nominations, Including Outstanding Drama Series for Greys Anatomy, Outstanding Comedy Series for Scrubs, And Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for The Amazing Race

Disney Channel Receives Seven Nominations, Including Outstanding Childrens Program for High School Musical

Disney-ABC Television Group garnered 81 Primetime Emmy nominations, it was announced today by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This total reflects nominations for ABC, Touchstone and Disney Channel programming.

The ABC Television Network received 64 nominations for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, up 13 from last year, and more than any other broadcast network. Greys Anatomy earned 11 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nods for Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson. Candace Bergen from Boston Legal was also nominated in this category. Geena Davis from Commander In Chief was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. William Shatner from Boston Legal received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and Alfre Woodard was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Desperate Housewives. Dancing with the Stars received six nominations total, including Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, while Extreme Makeover: Home Edition received a nomination for Outstanding Reality Program. The 78th Annual Academy Awards received nine nominations, including Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

Touchstone Television received 44 nominations, including series acknowledgements in the Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Reality-Competition Program categories for Greys Anatomy, Scrubs and The Amazing Race. In addition to Touchstones acting nominations for Commander In Chief and Desperate Housewives, Tony Shalhoub received his fourth consecutive Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the USA series Monk. Laurie Metcalf was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress for Monk.

Disney Channel received seven nominations, garnering six for High School Musical, including Outstanding Childrens Program and Outstanding Directing and Choreography for Kenny Ortega. Also nominated are the live-action series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and the animated series Get Ed, produced by Walt Disney Television Animation.

The 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented Sunday, Aug. 27, in Los Angeles.

Disney-ABC Television Group is home to all of The Walt Disney Companys worldwide entertainment and news television properties. The Group includes the ABC Television Network, Disney Channels worldwide portfolio of kids channels, ABC Family and SOAPnet; as well as television production and syndication divisions Touchstone Television, Walt Disney Television Animation, Buena Vista Worldwide Television and Walt Disney Television International. Disney-ABC Television Group also manages the Companys equity interest in Lifetime Entertainment Services, A&E Television Networks and E! Networks.

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Jack Sparrow joins crew on Disney ride

Call it the "Pirates of the Caribbean featuring Capt. Jack Sparrow."

The anticipated reworking of Walt Disney World's classic ride Pirates of the Caribbean is complete and ready for a grand reopening Friday — the same day Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the second movie of the franchise, opens in theaters nationwide.

The old ride, which inspired the first Pirates movie, was the last attraction personally supervised by Walt Disney before his death in 1966. Since the changes were announced in February, many longtime fans had expressed concern that Disney might compromise the ride by turning it into a shill for the movies.

The ride's story does change, slightly, but bears no resemblance to the movie plots. Disney has added the movie characters of Capt. Barbossa and Capt. Jack Sparrow, played respectively by Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp.

And at least a few longtime fans, such as Joanne Quinn, 58, and her daughter Julie Collier, 36, both of Boston, said Monday they were not disappointed after getting a chance to preview the ride during a "soft opening."

"It looked so authentic to me. I loved it," Quinn said. A slightly different version opened last week at Disneyland in California.

Show producer Kathy Rogers of Walt Disney Imagineering said she had insisted the new version remain true to the original, as much to pay homage to the show's first designers, Marc Davis and Blaine Gibson, as to appease loyal fans. The reason the ride has been so successful — it opened at Disneyland in 1967 and at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in 1973 — is because of the original designers' vision, she said.

"We have such reverence for Marc Davis's storytelling," Rogers said. "This is not about making it the movie ride."

In the original ride story, pirates invade an island town, loot it and terrorize the people into revealing where gold is hidden. The old pirate captain has now been replaced by Barbossa figures. Barbossa and his pirates are still looking for the gold — but they also know that Sparrow is in town, and they seek him as well.

Robotic versions of Sparrow make three appearances as the plot unfolds. At the end of the ride, Sparrow winds up with the gold, replacing a scene in which the pirates stood before the gold and captured soldiers.

An image of Davy Jones — a menacing ghost from the second movie — also makes an appearance, emerging from a high-tech waterfall to warn away visitors.

None of the ride's other characters was changed. The movie's other key characters — Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley — do not make appearances.Disney engineers also replaced the ride's sound system and lighting. Rogers said the pirates' dialogue, much of which was missed by many visitors for decades, can now be heard more clearly.

Rogers said the Sparrow characters were sculpted to look as Johnny Depp might have been interpreted by the ride's original sculptor, Blaine Gibson. Valerie Edwards, a Gibson protegee, did the new work.

"Our characters in here are very caricatured," Rogers said. "We actually did tweak the characters of both Barbossa and Capt. Jack Sparrow in this so they live in our world, because our world is not the real world."

The rest of the 120 or so old pirate figures are still animated by 1960s-era robotics technology, while the new figures use 21st-century technology. So the Sparrow and Barbossa figures move much more naturally than the others.

Quinn said she was fooled.

"I thought they were real people," she said.

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Boy who died at Disney had heart flaw, autopsy says

An autopsy found congenital heart abnormalities in a 12-year-old boy who died after riding a high-thrill roller coaster at Walt Disney World, medical examiners said on Friday, but the cause of his death was not yet known.

The boy, Michael Russell of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, had no signs of injury, according to a statement from the Orange County Medical Examiner's office in central Florida.

But the cause of his death was left pending until further studies are finished, Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Sara H. Irrgang said in a written statement.

Russell collapsed as he exited the Rock 'N' Roller Coaster ride with his mother, father and 7-year-old brother on Thursday at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Russell's father and the ride operator tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the boy was taken by ambulance to Celebration Hospital, where he was declared dead.

The boy was the third person to die in the past year at Disney after riding a high-thrill attraction.

Separately on Friday, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan C. Garavaglia ruled that a German tourist, Hiltrud Bluemel, who collapsed in April after riding Mission:SPACE at Disney's Epcot park, had died of a stroke resulting from hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

He ruled the 49-year-old woman's death was due to natural causes.

Preliminary findings on a 4-year-old boy, Daudi Bamuwamye, of Pennsylvania, who died in June 2005 after riding Mission:SPACE, also turned up previously undiagnosed heart defects.

Rock 'N' Roller Coaster, which opened in 1999, is an enclosed, 82-second ride with a roll-over corkscrew feature accompanied by a blasting Aerosmith soundtrack.

Bo Jones, deputy chief of the Reedy Creek Emergency Services, said his department has responded to previous health incidents at Rock 'N' Roller Coaster, but no others involving significant injury. The ride reopened on Friday after safety inspections indicated it was operating properly.

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Newest Disney director refuses $65,000 annual salary

Apple Computer Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs has asked not to be paid the $65,000 annual salary he is entitled to as the newest board member of The Walt Disney Co.

Disney's board Wednesday approved a modification of its director compensation policy for non-employee directors to exclude Jobs from compensation, according to a regulatory filing.

The modification was at Jobs' request, according to a filing Disney made Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jobs has a history of declining compensation for board service and has taken token salaries as CEO at Apple and at Pixar Animation Studios, where he was chairman and CEO before Disney bought the company earlier this year.

Instead, Jobs has taken stock options or large ownership positions in his companies. Apple has also found other ways to reward Jobs. In 2001, for instance, the company gave him a $43.5 million Gulfstream V jet.

At Apple, Jobs is paid $1 per year and receives no compensation for serving on the board. At Pixar, he was paid $1 per week and received nothing for board service.

At Disney, Jobs, like other directors, is entitled to a base salary of $65,000 per year, plus an additional $10,000 per year if he serves on a board committee and another $15,000 annually if he chairs a board committee, according to Disney's policies.

Disney directors also receive an annual stock option grant of 6,000 shares and an annual deferred stock unit grant worth $60,000.

Jobs joined Disney's board in May after Disney bought Pixar. Jobs became Disney's largest shareholder with 138 million shares, which valued his stake at $3.9 billion when the deal closed.

Jobs has not yet been assigned to a board committee, Disney said Friday.

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Wall St. sees ‘Pirates’ hauling in loot for Disney

Wall Street expects "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" to haul in plenty of box office booty for the Walt Disney Co <DIS.N>, performing at least as well as the $654 million worldwide treasure for the first "Pirates" film.

"Dead Man's Chest" opens in U.S. theaters on July 7, and expands around the globe in weeks ahead. Audience expectations are running high, which is a good sign for Disney because it has spent a reported $450 million to make "Dead Man's Chest" and an upcoming movie in its trilogy of "Pirates" films.

Beyond the movies, the company has updated its classic theme-park ride with likenesses of star Johnny Depp and other characters, and it expects to rake in tens of millions of dollars more in DVD, video and other product revenue.

Already, advance ticket sales are more than 20 times higher than 2003 surprise hit "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," according to online seller MovieTickets.com.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. said the movie industry also has high hopes for "Dead Man's Chest."

"The buzz around the campfire in Hollywood is, 'Could this be the film to post the biggest opening weekend of all time?'" Dergarabedian said.

The holder of the record for the biggest opening weekend is Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man," which made its debut with $114.8 million in ticket sales in 2002.

Disney's studio division helped drive earnings growth for the company in late 2003 and early 2004 with the success of the theatrical and home-video sales for "Black Pearl" and "Finding Nemo," a joint release with Pixar Animation Studio.

But division revenue has been down the past four quarters, partly due to weak box-office results and film costs.

Analysts were looking to "Pirates" and Disney-Pixar release "Cars," which opened earlier in June, to drive studio-division revenue through the end of Disney's fiscal year, which closes on Sept. 30, and into the first half of fiscal 2007.

Although "Cars" got off to a slow start, all signs point to a strong opening for "Pirates."

TREASURE TO COME?

"We are really off the charts with comparison to the first 'Pirates'," Joel Cohen, vice president of business development for MovieTickets.com, said. "There is significantly more demand for this movie."

"Dead Man's Chest" also was tracking 12-times stronger than "Cars" at this point in the sales cycle, Cohen said.

To date, "Cars" has grossed $189.8 million in the U.S. and in a limited international release, according to box-office tracking firm, BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Sanders Morris Harris financial analyst David Miller said "Dead Man's Chest" should at least equal the global box office for "Black Pearl," and that doing so could add a half-cent to Disney's quarterly earnings.

"This is the last major (earnings) catalyst in the calendar year for Disney," Miller said. "But the real earnings accretion lies in home video this Christmas — that's the fiscal first quarter of '07."

Pali Research's Rich Greenfield has not made forecasts for "Dead Man's Chest" but said it is under pressure to perform. "Given the less than exciting results so far for 'Cars', it has stepped up the importance of 'Pirates'," he said.

The new movie tracks the adventures of pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, as he tries to avoid repaying a blood debt to the evil Davy Jones, ruler of the ocean depths and captain of the ghost ship, Flying Dutchman.

Skeptics ridiculed Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer for basing the first "Pirates" film on a theme park ride, but it took in $46.6 million its debut weekend and spent 12 weeks in the box office top 10.

Bruckheimer said that despite the cost, the films were "less risky because you have the expectation of a film that will draw a lot of people the first weekend."

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Boy, 12, dies after Disney ride

A 12-year-old boy died after riding a roller coaster at the Disney-MGM theme park, the latest in a string of mishaps at Walt Disney World.

Michael Russell's father noticed the boy was limp as the family got off the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, said Barbara Miller, Orange County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

The boy was pronounced dead after he was taken by ambulance to Celebration Hospital, Disney said in a statement.

No cause of death was immediately determined. State officials say he is the ninth person to die at Disney World since 2003.

The theme park said the roller coaster was operating normally, but it closed the ride pending a full investigation.

A Disney website description of the ride says: "Zoom from 0-60 miles mph (97 kph) with the force of a supersonic F-14, take in high-speed loops and turns synchronised to a specially recorded Aerosmith soundtrack".

The sheriff's office was investigating at the scene.

A Disney spokesman said the company was helping the family from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Michael had gone on the ride with his parents and seven-year-old brother.

"Our deepest concerns are with the family," Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietre said.

Two people have died after going on another Disney ride, Epcot's Mission: Space.

The space simulator spins riders in a centrifuge that subjects them to twice the normal force of gravity.

Daudi Bamuwamye, four, of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, died on June 13, 2005.

An autopsy determined he died of an irregular heartbeat linked to an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle that can cause sudden death.

In April, a 49-year-old woman from Germany became ill and died after going on the ride.

A medical examiner's report said she died from bleeding of the brain and had severe, long-standing high blood pressure.

The ride has signs warning people with heart, back and neck problems not to ride.

Epcot now offers a tamer version of the ride that does not include centrifugal force.

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High court turns away Disney in Pooh appeal

Walt Disney Co. lost a round at the nation's highest court Monday in a 15-year-old legal feud with the company that owns the merchandising rights to Winnie the Pooh characters.

The Supreme Court, without comment, turned away an appeal by Clare Milne, granddaughter of Pooh creator A.A. Milne. Clare Milne and Disney have been working together to wrest rights away from Stephen Slesinger Inc., which traces its stake in the Pooh characters to a 1930 agreement with A.A. Milne. Disney was seeking to end its obligation to pay royalties to Slesinger.

English author A.A. Milne sold the rights to his Pooh creations in 1930 to Stephen Slesinger, a New York literary agent. When Slesinger died in 1953, the rights passed to his widow, Shirley. In 1961, she agreed to license the rights to Disney in return for a cut of the company's revenue from sales of merchandise.

At the Supreme Court, Clare Milne sought to invoke a provision in federal copyright law that in some circumstances lets family members of authors recapture the rights to works that prove unexpectedly popular.

An appeals court said that legal provision didn't apply because of a 1983 renegotiation of the Pooh rights. That agreement involved Disney, the Slesinger company and Christopher Robin Milne, A.A.'s son and Clare's father.

Disney, which didn't formally take part in Clare Milne's appeal, is paying her legal expenses, Slesinger said in court papers. The copyrights for Milne's four Pooh books expire around 2020.

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Disney awaiting China OK for Shanghai park

Walt Disney Co. is awaiting approval from China's central government to build a theme park in Shanghai, the China Daily reported on Saturday.

Shanghai's mayor in March said the city was eager to host Disney, after the $1.8 billion Disneyland Hong Kong opened in 2005, while China's capital city Beijing also wants one.



Disney has been in discussions with Shanghai officials for a long time, group chairman George Mitchell told the China Daily, and talks are now under way between the Shanghai municipal government and the State Council, which has the final say.

"Our discussions have been with Shanghai officials, and now they are engaging with the national officials," the paper cited Mitchell as saying.

"We have an interest in proceeding and we hope that satisfactory terms can be worked out and we can proceed."

He did not give a time-frame for a final deal or opening.

"We try to proceed as quickly as possible after the execution of the contract, but until we execute a contract we don't get into when we are going to start," the paper cited Mitchell as saying.

Disney and Shanghai are believed to want to open the park in time for Shanghai's World Expo in 2010. City government preparations for the Expo rival in scale and enthusiasm Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics.

A Disney park in Shanghai would be able to draw visitors from the populous and prosperous cities of the Yangtze Delta, while Beijing has few wealthy cities in its immediate vicinity.

Shanghai's park could be located in the Chuansha area, the China Daily said — midway between the city's international airport and the financial district in Pudong.

Disney had been coy about its mainland plans in the run-up to its opening in Hong Kong in September. But Mitchell said there was a market for both attractions, and that a new park in Shanghai would not undermine the Hong Kong site, the China Daily said.

"There has been very careful analysis from us and Chinese government officials," Mitchell said.

"There are a very large number of people in the Shanghai area and we don't think that this (a new park) will have any more of a negative effect on Hong Kong than, say, having a park both in California and Orlando, Florida."

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