Disney Unveils Digital Network Built Around Maker Talent & Brands – Digital NewFronts

Disney unveiled the Disney Digital Network, which utilizes creators and brands from its Maker Studios, at the IAB Digital Content NewFronts Tuesday in New York.

The network, which Disney says reaches over one billion followers, combines more than 300 social media channels and includes Disney’s in-house branded content service, Disney Co/Op. The network will be made up of existing Disney editorial brands including Oh My Disney, Disney Style, Disney Family, Babble, Polaris, and StarWars.com and Star Wars App.

In December, Disney folded Maker’s digital operation into its content and media business division, with a plan to shift the focus of Maker’s shortform content to build a digital media network targeting millennials and kids.

“With an audience of over one billion highly-engaged followers, the Disney Digital Network is one of the most impactful publishers in digital media,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “This network extends our stories to the platforms Gen Z and Millennial audiences are on every day, with diverse editorial voices that integrate top creators and influencers.”

Disney Co/Op also leverages partnerships with top social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through Facebook Anthology, which pairs publishers with Facebook advertising insights. Several new Facebook Anthology video programs will launch later this year.

“This network is our response to how our advertising partners have been telling us they want to engage audiences: with high-quality content, mobile formats including micro-content and short-form video, social media influencers, and diverse distribution options across all major platforms,” said Rita Ferro, President of Sales, Disney-ABC Television Group. “We can now connect these opportunities with first-party data, proprietary insights, quality of service, and brand safety. This is something only Disney can deliver and we are excited to bring this incredible opportunity to the advertising community.”

Disney’s slate includes Science and Star Wars, an episodic series that explores the parallels between science fantasy and the real-world scientific breakthroughs the saga has inspired; Club Mickey Mouse, a digital-first variety series that celebrates the original show through a new, diverse cast of young creators; and animated action-comedy COIN, an animated action-comedy on Polaris that follows a team of misfits tasked to save their world.

Here is the complete slate:

Science and Star Wars: An episodic series that explores, explains, and demonstrates the parallels between the science fantasy of Star Wars and the real-world scientific breakthroughs the saga has inspired. Join show host Anthony Carboni and his rotating roster of IBM Researchers, scientific experts, guest stars, and Watson, to explore and experiment with technology that isn’t so far, far away anymore. Presented by IBM; Facebook exclusive through Facebook Anthology

Oh My Disney Show, Season 2: Comedy, news, trends, and sketches combine in this always-on show built for every Disney fan’s feed.

Club Mickey Mouse: Club Mickey Mouse is a digital-first variety show that celebrates the original show of yesteryear but brings it into the present-day with a diverse cast of talented young creators, and, of course, everyone’s favorite mouse. Presented by HP Inc.; Facebook exclusive through Facebook Anthology.

Disney IRL: Oh My Disney brings iconic animated Disney characters and moments to real life, surprising people on location and our viewers at home.

COIN: COIN is an animated action-comedy on Polaris with a distinct, game-inspired aesthetic that follows a team of misfits tasked to save their world. Brought together by time traveling robot Crohnobot, Donovan (a gruff plumber quick to anger), Kid Victory (a master of weaponry), and the Sisters Vicious (twin masters of illusion who hate each other) must defeat super-villain Gamovah and retrieve the coin of Chorder before it’s too late.

Disney Design Challenge: The best and brightest young designers are invited to push the boundaries of their art form to create beautiful, innovative, and memorable works inspired by Disney films. In the first season, we challenge students in the fashion design program at Otis College of Art and Design to create an eight-look clothing line inspired by Disney’s “Frozen.”

Disney Magical Starts: This show is for the parents who want to spend more time creating experiences with their kids, but don’t know where to start. Our host parents and their kids help you tackle every day, and every new season, from holidays to back-to-school, with meal ideas, activities, crafts, tips, and more. And with a little help from our beloved Disney characters, family time is even more magical.


Disney Cruise Ship First Through Panama Canal’s New Locks

Disney Cruise Line made history over the weekend when Disney Wonder became the first passenger cruise ship to transit the Panama Canal’s new locks.

The 2,713 passenger Disney Wonder was transformed in late 2016, expanding the length of the Disney Wonder to 984 feet.

Headlining the ship’s enhancements are new imaginative spaces for children – including areas themed to the Marvel Universe and Disney’s “Frozen” – a jazzy restaurant inspired by Disney’s “Princess and the Frog,” and an authentic neighborhood English pub with subtle nods to classic Disney films.

The Disney Wonder Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.


Dwayne Johnson says he’s planning Jungle Cruise makeovers with Disney

Disney’s Jungle Cruise rides around the world are going to be re-imagined, according to the Instagram account of actor Dwayne Johnson.

Johnson (account name @therock) posted pictures from what he called “Disney’s highly secure R&D facilities” over the weekend. The first post showed Johnson standing in front of a large vintage-style Disneyland map.

“We’ll partner with Disney’s brilliant Imagineers to help re-engineer and re-design the #JungleCruise ride in all the Disney theme parks around the world,” the post stays.

On Monday afternoon, Disney confirmed that Johnson had been hosted by Imagineers for “a tour and brainstorm about the Jungle Cruise attraction inspiring a potential film.” But a spokeswoman said there are no plans to change the theme-park attractions at this time.

There are Jungle Cruises operating at Magic Kingdom, Disneyland in California, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. The attraction debuted in Adventureland when Walt Disney World opened in 1971.

Johnson, a former professional wrestler known as “The Rock” and football player for the University of Miami, has been tapped by Disney to star in a “Jungle Cruise” movie based on the attraction. The project is in pre-production and a release date has not been announced.

He voiced the character of Maui in the Disney film “Moana,” which debuted in November. He’ll star in the “Baywatch” film, set to open May 24.

Another post on Johnson’s Instagram account feature him standing among the Disney vault files, where he says he looked at original concept art and learned more about the attraction’s “infamous and relentlessly entertaining” skippers.


The Rock Visits Disney Vault To Research Jungle Cruise

Walt Disney Pictures is delving deep into its own company history with their upcoming collaboration with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, taking a page out of the Johnny Depp Book of Success and hoping to kick start another franchise.

But people still raised a eyebrow when it was revealed the Rock was collaborating with the House of Mouse to make a movie about the Disneyland ride Jungle Cruise.

Johnson looks like he’s taking his role as producer seriously and is immersing himself in research material to prepare for the upcoming film, hoping the ride-based movie is more like Pirates of the Caribbean and less like the Haunted Mansion.

The Rock posted to his Instagram page today, indicating that he’s digging up all sorts of material to learn more about attraction than what an Disneyland goer might find out while checking out “the back side of water,” aka the 8th Wonder Of The World.

Johnson will star in the film and is producing alongside his production partner Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Entertainment; shooting is expected to begin in the spring of 2018

Rumors of Disney’s Jungle Cruise-based film have been floating since 2015.

It will be Johnson’s most recent collaboration with Disney after films like Moana and the Tooth Fairy.

Johnson’s career has shifted more toward adaptations and reboots lately. The actor is currently participating in the production on a film based on the video game Rampage. He’s also starring in the remake of the `90s classic Jumanji—itself an adaptation of a children’s book.

His next film is a reboot of the `90s drama Baywatch, starring alongside Zac Efron.


Stunningly lifelike ‘Avatar’ animatronic from new Disney ride revealed

Theme park aficionados have been offered a glimpse of things to come, after a video preview of a cutting edge Avatar themed attraction was released online.

Video of the “Na’Vi River Journey” ride at the upcoming “Pandora – The World of Avatar” attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, US, was posted to YouTube by media publication Inside the Magic yesterday.

The video, taken from what appears to be a ride boat, shows a large animatronic figure – a “shaman” – perched on an alcove overlooking an artificial river.

The Avatar-themed ride was first unveiled in January.

The Avatar-themed ride was first unveiled in January.

As the boat approaches, the figure sings and waves their arms about with decidedly human grace.

The video has since been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The attraction, which was unveiled back in January, is set to open later this year.

Developed in collaboration with Avatar director James Cameron and inspired by the film’s fictional world of Pandora, the attraction will feature one additional ride, titled “Avatar Flight of Passage.”


Pirates 5 – ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Event Coming to the Disney Tsum Tsum App in May

In anticipation of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, characters from the Pirates franchise are coming to the LINE Disney Tsum Tsum app in May.

The Pirates event should start soon after the current Star Wars event. Screenshots of the upcoming characters were released today via a Facebook fan page.

So far, only three characters have been revealed — Captain Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones and Elizabeth Swann. Hopefully we’ll see some other additions like Barbossa, Will Turner or even Captain Salazar in future updates.

Below are photos from the future update.

From what we can make out from the leaked graphics, the Pirates event seems to be a treasure hunt. It’ll likely play very similarly to The Lion King event from a few months ago, in which players had to find the hidden animals.

No date yet, but considering the Star Wars Tsum Tsum event will run through at least May 12, it’s likely that it will start a few days after that because the first Lucky Time ends on 5/17.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales premieres on May 26, 2017.


Beauty and the boat: A look at Disney’s new movie-inspired sea venture, and the rest of the themed cruises on offer

It’s set to be one of this year’s biggest family blockbuster films, and now Disney is offering special Beauty And The Beast cruises for a chance to visit the sights that inspired the famous story.

The River Rhine cruise will take in France, Holland, Germany and Switzerland, with excursions to medieval villages full of cobbled lanes and half-timbered houses that look just like the backdrops to the film. You’ll expect to bump into Belle or Gaston around every corner.

Disney’s all-inclusive eight-day river cruises use the upmarket boats normally operated by AmaWaterways.

Disney is offering special Beauty And The Beast cruises for a chance to visit the sights that inspired the famous story, including the village of Riquewihr in north-eastern France (pictured)

Disney is offering special Beauty And The Beast cruises for a chance to visit the sights that inspired the famous story, including the village of Riquewihr in north-eastern France (pictured)

One of the main attractions will be a tour of Riquewihr in north-eastern France, the historic village that was the inspiration for French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s original 1740 tale.

There will be six Beauty sailings in 2018 which will also include visits to German fairytale locations the Black Forest and Heidelberg Castle.

Expect on-board film screenings and themed dinners, too. Adult fare starts at about £3,500.

  • If you can’t wait that long for a floating Beauty And The Beast experience, Disney’s own Disney Dream cruise ship will be staging the first ocean-going live musical stage show of the story from November 6 this year on its itineraries in the Caribbean. Expect Disney’s renowned Broadway-style quality. Visit disneycruise.disney.go.com.
There will be six sailings in 2018 in an ode to the family blockbuster movie (pictured)

There will be six sailings in 2018 in an ode to the family blockbuster movie (pictured)

  • Disney’s announcement followed news that this year’s Star Trek cruise on the NCL Norwegian Pearl was a complete sellout. It was another example of modern travellers’ appetite for film-themed cruises. The Star Trek cruise organisers quickly arranged two repeat cruises for January 2018. Book quickly – this year’s cruise sold out in just two months. Captain James Kirk, or actor William Shatner, was the star figure on board this year’s trip. Next year’s six-day cruises from Miami on the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Jade will feature Mr Sulu, actor George Takei. Single cabins are from £1,740pp. Go to startrekthecruise.com.
  • If your heroes are of a more sporting nature, Princess Cruises has just announced big-name speakers on Crown Princess sailing from Southampton between April and September this summer. Celebrity speakers include former Tottenham football boss Harry Redknapp, former England cricketers Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting, snooker player John Virgo and goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Prices start at £799pp for seven nights. Visit princess.com/holiday.
  • The ultimate luxury sports holiday is offered by Azamara – a World Cup cruise to Russia in June next year. The 12-day trip on a boutique ship sails from the heart of London, through the Baltic Sea to Scandinavia and Russia. The highlight will be a visit to St Petersburg’s Zenit Stadium to watch a World Cup game. Cruises cost from £6,998 for a two-berth cabin. Go to azamaraclubcruises.co.uk.


What it’s like to walk, ride and fly through Disney World’s new Pandora park

Midway through James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi action film “Avatar,” set on the distant planet of Pandora, lead character Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) observes, “Out there is the true world. In here is the dream.”

He’s referring to his ability in the film to inhabit an alien body, and not, of course, a theme park. Yet Disney, at its Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Fla., will on May 27 attempt to transport guests to an otherworldly reality — a place not inhabited by princesses and castles and singing ghosts but by floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and mysterious creatures who rustle plants just out of sight of guests.

Pandora — the World of Avatar, which was inspired by the Cameron film but does not feature any of its main characters, aims to put a true-to-life spin on the fantasy universe. Situated in Animal Kingdom, Pandora will play up themes of conservation as it presents a fragile world on the road to rehabilitation. Set about a generation after the conflict of the film, much of Pandora, which we visited as part of a preview today, conveys a tranquil setting.

The Na’Vi River Journey boat ride is an intimate (the boats seat about eight people each) and calming trip through a bioluminescent forest, culminating in a visit with the Shaman of Songs, a Na’Vi relaxing and serenading guests amid the glowing fauna.

The Shaman of Songs also happens to be one of Disney’s most impressive audio-animatronics to date, possessing almost human-like fluidity. Along the journey, guests will encounter flowing jellyfish, pulsating orange plants and the wolf-like creatures that haunt Pandora. The effect is akin to floating through an above-ground coral reef.

Elsewhere, the more thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage aims to simulate the effect of riding a banshee, one of “Avatar’s” winged, dragon-like animals. After traversing up a small mountain — consider it a very moderate hike — guests enter a cave and see ancient Na’Vi drawings. The cave eventually reveals itself to be a science center, where humans are working with the Na’Vi to protect the banshees from extinction.

In Flight of Passage, guests are matched with an alien body. The aim is to create the illusion of becoming a Na’Vi, who can train and tame the banshees. After boarding a solitary, stationary-bike-like ride system, a back support will rise and push guests forward. Once the ride begins, a screen is revealed and, with the help of 3-D glasses, attendees will soar amid Pandora’s flying mountains.

The first half of the 4 1/2-minute ride is rather thrilling, as the banshee careens down mountains, through waterfalls and nearly gets into a tussle with a Great Leonopteryx, a bigger, more orange-hued dragon. The second half slows down, as guests again visit some of Pandora’s glowing forests.

The ride was longer than I expected, and also far smoother. As someone who doesn’t fare too well on motion simulators — I cannot ride Star Tours: The Adventure Continues without getting sick — I experienced no such nausea on Flight of Passage. I attribute that to the variation in ride pace, but also the crispness of the effects.

Pandora is big, about 12 acres, and everything in it is billed as an attraction. Some plants, for instance, will allow guests to interact with them — acting as drums that affect the lighting of the land or release spores into the air. At night, the ground will glow beneath guests’ feet.

If you rush through the land just to hit the two rides, Joe Rohde, the Imagineer behind the project, cautions that you’re “wasting your time.” Once it opens, for instance, Disney will have cast members act as Pandora expats who will chat up guests on Pandora wildlife.


Walt Disney World plans to deploy driverless shuttles in Florida

Walt Disney World in Florida appears poised to launch the highest-profile commercial deployment of driverless passenger vehicles to date, testing a fleet of driverless shuttles that could cart passengers through parking lots and around its theme parks.

According to sources with direct knowledge of Disney’s plans, the company is in late-stage negotiation with at least two manufacturers of autonomous shuttles – Local Motors, based in Phoenix, and Navya, based in Paris. It’s unclear whether contracts would go to both or just one of the companies.

The sources, who asked not be identified to avoid offending Disney, said the company plans a pilot program later this year to transport employees in the electric-drive robot vehicles. If that goes well, they said, the shuttles would begin transporting park visitors sometime next year.

Currently, there are no plans for driverless shuttles at Disneyland in Anaheim, according to the sources. The reason is unclear, but Florida puts few restrictions on driverless vehicle deployment, while California is overhauling regulations that have been criticized by industry as unnecessarily heavy handed.

Disney did not return emails and phone calls seeking comment. Navya and Local Motors declined to discuss Disney.

A barrage of media coverage on driverless cars over the last year or so has primed the public for their appearance on public roads. Although vehicle manufacturers say individuals won’t be able to buy driverless cars for several years, vehicles are being gradually introduced to the public in limited areas.

Waymo, the driverless arm of Alphabet-Google, has begun offering rides in driverless cars in Phoenix.

Last year, several driverless shuttle companies started testing the vehicles with public passengers in business parks and college campuses in Finland, Singapore, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and other locations.

Autonomous shuttles are bound to be “the first exposure most people have to driverless technology,” said Ben Stinnet, chief operating officer at Auro Robotics, a start-up in Santa Clara, Calif. The company, which is not involved in the Disney deal, is testing small shuttles at Santa Clara University.

Other shuttle start-ups include EasyMile of Toulouse, France, and SB Drive of Tokyo.

Most of the vehicles are shaped like tall bricks on wheels. With plenty of headroom, the shuttles typically can carry up to 12 to 15 passengers. Equipped with cameras, radar and laser sensors, they’re limited in “geofenced” areas – zones where the environment is well-mapped and understood by the vehicles’ artificial intelligence software and hardware.

Though the shuttles are capable of driving 25 mph or more, their speed is usually limited in initial deployments to 5 to 10 mph.

“They should be boring,” said Alain Kornhauser, an autonomous vehicle expert at Princeton University. “Riding in an elevator is boring. It takes you where you want to go.”

Shuttles like those planned at Walt Disney World “are in a sense going to demonstrate to the public that (robot vehicles) really work.”

Walt Disney World is comprised of several theme parks covering vast territory near Orlando. Hundreds of buses, boats and parking lot trams transport park guests and employees. There are also three monorails.

Some Disney watchers see driverless shuttles recapturing the futuristic vision set when monorails were introduced at Disneyland in the early 1960s and Walt Disney World in the early 1970s.

Driverless vehicles “would make transportation at Disney World cool again,” columnist John Frost wrote on the Disney Blog in 2013.

No one’s sure how big the market for autonomous shuttles might be. Driverless technology and app-based on-demand transportation are expected to transform public transportation. But huge questions remain unanswered. Will cities go driverless with their big buses? Or will those be gradually replaced by smaller shuttles driving dynamic custom routes, based on demand?

Kornhauser said transit officials are just beginning to come to grips with such questions.

In the meantime, companies are out to grab a big piece of whatever market does emerge.

Local Motors is building its Olli driverless shuttle on 3-D printers at a factory in National Harbor, Md. It has shuttles running in Berlin and the Washington, D.C., area.

In January, the company demonstrated the Olli on the Las Vegas Strip during the Consumer Electronics Show, and it plans a more permanent deployment.


Forget Glastonbury, DISNEYLAND PARIS is about to host its own music festival for adults

FESTIVAL-goers will have the chance to release their inner child this summer when Disneyland Paris hosts a one-day music festival.

The iconic theme park will broaden its target audience when it opens its doors to ravers and festival heads from all over Europe for one night only on July 8.

Disneyland is opening its doors to festival goers this summer

Disneyland is opening its doors to festival goers this summer

Headlined by DJ Steve Aoki, the night will feature a number of musical acts, as well as spot parties, theme park rides, and appearances from Mickey and the rest of the Disney gang.

Advertised as a dance/electro gig, ‘Electroland’ will be decked out with giant LED screens and projection mapping on an open-air stage.

Steve Aoki will headline the 25th Anniversary Disney festival

Steve Aoki will headline the 25th Anniversary Disney festival

The festival is open to just 10,000, with tickets starting at £52 each.

If you aren’t sure what to expect, the festival’s slogan tells you all you need to know: “where music meets magic.”

Mickey Mouse and all the popular Disney characters will make an appearance at the festival

Mickey Mouse and all the popular Disney characters will make an appearance at the festival

Disney Business Solutions, the events arm of Disneyland Paris, said “Electroland needs to be seen to be believed.”

Electroland was created to mark the 25th anniversary of the park opening.

Electroland promises an open-air, LED-lit stage

Electroland promises an open-air, LED-lit stage

Disney fanatics on Twitter have already proved rather excited about the festival’s announcement.

A Disney music festival is happening this summer OMG MY LIFE IS COMPLETE !!!!!

a music festival happening in disneyland Paris????? GET ME THERE

So Disneyland will be having it’s own music festival, Electroland, in Paris


Paris’ Disney resort features two theme parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park – both with themed hotels, bars and restaurants.


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