Disney Post | Official Blog of The Walt Disney Company

Disney Post | Official Blog of the Walt Disney Company

March 27, 2015

Disney News This Week: Disney Junior Options Fancy Nancy Series, Disney Cruise Line to Sail First British Isles Itinerary in 2016 and ESPN Leads Industry with 57 Sports Emmy® Nominations

By Beth Deitchman, The Walt Disney Company

Disney Junior has optioned Fancy Nancy, the New York Times bestselling book series by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, for development of an original animated TV movie and series, slated for premiere in 2017. Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said, “Children have been captivated by Fancy Nancy’s wit and irrepressible spirit for a decade, and we are very eager to give her an even bigger stage on which to perform.” In addition, HarperCollins and Disney Publishing will collaborate on book editions based on the television series. Susan Katz, President and Publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Disney Junior to bring Fancy Nancy to the small screen and the next generation of fans. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this bestselling series, it’s exciting to see our beloved character making her TV debut.” Now in its 10th year, Fancy Nancy includes more than 60 titles, has sold more than 28 million books and has been translated into 20 languages.


On Tuesday, Disney Cruise Line announced that it will sail its first British Isles itinerary in 2016, visiting Scotland, England, Ireland and France. The first sailing is scheduled for June 5, 2016, from Dover, England; and the 12-night cruise will sail to Invergordon, Kirkwall and Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland; Newcastle and Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; Le Havre (Paris), France; and Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. All of these, except Kirkwall, are first-time ports of call for Disney Cruise Line. On this itinerary, guests can explore the majestic beauty of Scotland, experience Highland culture, sample traditional cuisine and spirits and discover the country’s iconic castles. Elsewhere on the itinerary, guests will experience the merry, cosmopolitan city of Dublin, the culturally rich and romantic Paris, the birthplace of the Beatles and the British Invasion in Liverpool and the charming countryside of Guernsey.


This week, ESPN, Inc. led the industry with 57 Sports Emmy® Award nominations for 2014 across its platforms—ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN Deportes, ESPN.com, ESPNEWS, espnW, Grantland.com, WatchESPN and, in its first year of eligibility, SEC Network. The company’s initiatives in enterprise journalism and storytelling led the way with seven nods each for E:60 and SportsCenter, along with six nominations for FIFA World Cup from Brazil. Three nominations went to the SEC Network, launched in August 2014, while WatchESPN received its first nod for the College Football Playoff Championship “Megacast.” The announcement was made Tuesday by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the winners will be announced Tuesday, May 5, in New York.

March 26, 2015

Disney and Boys & Girls Clubs Los Angeles County Alliance Celebrate 2015 Youth of the Year Finalists

By Cynthia Momdjian, The Walt Disney Company

For more than fifty years, Disney and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have teamed up to help kids create the great futures they imagine.

Last night’s Boys & Girls Clubs Los Angeles County Alliance’s Youth of the Year ceremony at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, celebrated that mission and the extraordinary achievements of Club youth.

With Disney as the presenting sponsor of the 2015 Youth of the Year Competition—a Boys & Girls Club premiere leadership program that focuses on Club involvement, community and personal growth—two finalists were honored and named LA County Youths of the Year. Disney Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo presented Ronnie Oloimooja (Boys & Girls Club of the South Bay) and Brian Juarez (Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club) with their awards, and each will receive a $3,500 scholarship made possible by Disney and advance to the statewide competition.

“Disney’s history with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America spans more than half a century, and we have worked together year after year to inspire generations of dreamers and doers,” Rasulo said on stage at the ceremony. “We are honored to recognize the promising achievements of Angeleno youth—many regard them as the promise of tomorrow, but I view them as the leaders of today.”

Ben Savage from Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World, Modern Family star Rico Rodriguez and his sister, Austin & Ally’s Raini Rodriguez, and emcee Elex Michaelson from ABC7 Eyewitness News joined hundreds of youth from all 27 Boys & Girls Clubs in the Los Angeles Alliance market area and took part in the evening’s festivities.

From all of us here at Disney, congratulations to all of the finalists!

Disney Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo (far left), Mickey Mouse (center) and Elex Michaelson from ABC7 Eyewitness News (far right) present Ronnie Oloimooja (second from right) and Brian Juarez (second from left) with their awards at  the Boys & Girls Clubs Los Angeles County Alliance’s Youth of the Year ceremony.
All 27 Boys & Girls Clubs Los Angeles County Alliance Youth of the Year nominees on stage at the El Capitan Theatre.
Boys & Girls Clubs Los Angeles County Alliance Youth of the Year nominees pose for a photo with Ben Savage from Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World,” Manny Rodriguez from ABC’s “Modern Family” and Raini Rodriguez from Disney Channel’s “Austin & Ally."
Topics: Citizenship
March 25, 2015

Women In Animation Host ‘Star vs. The Forces of Evil’ Panel

By Robert Koontz, Disney/ABC Television Group

Star vs. The Forces of Evil comes from the mind of creator and executive producer Daron Nefcy, a 29-year-old female graduate of Cal Arts, who was recently named in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and one of Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch. With a female lead—Star Butterfly, a teenage princess from another dimension who is sent to live on Earth in an effort to protect her powerful magic wand—it’s no surprise that this show and its creator caught the attention of Women In Animation (WIA).

WIA brings together a global community of animation professionals to empower and support women in the art, science and business of animation. The group recently held a special screening of the new series and panel, featuring Daron, Eden Sher (the voice of Star), Lisa Salamone, senior vice president, Production, TVA, Brooke Keesling, director, Animation Talent Development, TVA and Maija Burnett, the director of the Character Animation Program at Cal Arts.

The group engaged in a discussion that spanned topics related to the series, the Star Butterfly character and women’s involvement in animation in general.

“At Disney, nobody had a problem with her getting to be her,” Nefcy said about her lead character, Star. “What I like about Star personally is that she is girly and she’s not just a tomboy, which is kind of nice. I think she really gets to be her own person. She’s kind of perfectly imperfect.”

And there indeed may be more Star Butterflys on the way with women’s influence in animation growing, as evidenced by the statistics of attendees in Cal Arts’ Animation Program.

“The percentages in terms of gender breakdown from 10 years ago was about 25 percent female, 75 percent male,” Burnett explained. “Now it’s the reverse, so it’s 75 percent female and 25 percent male.”

Those numbers certainly indicate a shift to the direction WIA envisions, which is “a world in which women share fully in the creation, production and rewards of animation, resulting in richer and more diverse entertainment and media that move our culture forward.” And according to Lisa Salamone, a 20-year veteran of Disney Television Animation, she’s noticed the change.

“It’s really great to see the storytelling end of it,” she said. “When you look at all of our show org charts, it’s peppered now in a much heavier way with female board artists and writers, and it’s just great.”

Brooke Keesling’s job is to find those talented individuals, both male and female, and she spans the globe searching for the best and the brightest.

“I was at the Rhode Island School of Design last week. I’ll be at NYU, Pratt and SVA in a month,” she said. “The Ottawa Animation Festival, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival—all over the world, all over the country… I look everywhere.”

Luckily for Disney, Nefcy was right down the street and eventually right in the building, working on Wander Over Yonder before getting the chance to helm her own project.

The princess from another dimension that Nefcy started drawing in college is now ready to stake her claim in the animation space. 

From L-R: Maija Burnett, director of Cal Arts’ Character Animation Program; Brooke Keesling, director, Animation Talent Development, Disney Television Animation (DTVA); Daron Nefcy, creator and executive producer, Star vs. The Forces of Evil; Lisa Salamone, senior vice president, Production, DTVA; and Eden Sher, who voices the role of Star Butterfly.
March 24, 2015

Disney Cruise Line to Sail First British Isles Itinerary in 2016

By Rachel Green, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Today, Disney Cruise Line announced its first British Isles itinerary, visiting Scotland, England, Ireland and France in 2016. That summer, Disney Cruise Line also will return to Norway, Iceland and ports of call in more than 15 European countries.

Guests can experience a range of highlights on these exciting new itineraries—they can explore the iconic castles of Scotland and cosmopolitan city of Dublin, Ireland; experience the culturally rich and romantic city of Paris, France; discover the birthplace of the Beatles and the British Invasion in Liverpool, England; or relax on the charming countryside of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands.


In addition to the tour of Europe with limited engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, British Isles, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean, Disney Cruise Line will revisit favorite destinations elsewhere around the globe including Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

To read more about the Disney Cruise Line 2016 summer sailings visit the Disney Parks Blog.

March 20, 2015

Disney News This Week: Big Hero 6 Becomes 2014’s Biggest Animation Release, Date Announced for Release of Live-Action Beauty and the Beast, and Disney Channel Begins Developing Throw Like Mo

By Beth Deitchman, The Walt Disney Company

Last week, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award®-winning Big Hero 6 became the No. 1 animated title of 2014 with more than $620 million globally. The film, which has earned $221 million domestically, also surpassed $400 million at the international box office. The film continues to perform strongly in China, where it has surpassed Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated release ever from Disney or Pixar. Big Hero 6 is the second-highest grossing Disney animated release ever in Japan, the second-biggest Disney or Pixar animated movie ever released in Korea and Russia and the biggest animated release of all time in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Big Hero 6 has also surpassed Tangled to become the third-biggest Walt Disney Animation Studios release ever globally, behind only Frozen and The Lion King. It is also Walt Disney Animation Studios’ third-biggest domestic release of all time.

The Walt Disney Studios announced that Beauty and the Beast will be released in 3-D on March 17, 2017. The beloved tale will be retold for the big screen with a modern live-action lens and the help of transformative CG magic. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens will star as Belle and the Beast/Prince, respectively, and Luke Evans will play the role of Gaston. Emma Thompson has joined the cast as Mrs. Potts, and Kevin Kline will play Belle’s father, Maurice. Eight-time Oscar®-winner Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards for the 1991 animated classic, will score the film, which will feature new recordings of the original songs in addition to several new songs written by Menken and Sir Tim Rice. Bill Condon will direct from a script by Stephen Chbosky, and the film will be produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Production begins in May at Shepperton Studios in London.

Development has begun on a Disney Channel Original Movie, Throw Like Mo—a biographical movie that will tell the inspiring story of Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old sports prodigy who made history in August 2014 as the first female to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series. Davis, a member of Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons and the first Little League player to make the cover of Sports Illustrated, will consult on the movie. Emmy® Award-nominated producer Debra Martin Chase (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Disney Channel’s The Cheetah Girls movies) will executive produce Throw Like Mo, which is being written by Sheldon Candis (writer and director of LUV, A Slave in the White House and director of Under Armour’s Misty Copeland campaign, “I Will What I Want”) and Justin Wilson (LUV, A Slave in the White House). espnW will also consult on the movie.