Disney Unveils Plans at Licensing Show

Following yesterday news about primetime Handy Manny projects, Disney unveiled plans for new product line extensions for the Toy Story franchise, two new Princess characters (Tiana from The Princess and the Frog and the lead heroine from next year’s Rapunzel), new Mickey Mouse initiatives, a new Winnie the Pooh 2D theatrical movie set for spring of 2011 and the expansion of the Disney Fairies DVD series.

Pixar’s Toy Story franchise will be basking in the limelight again thanks to the fall’s 3-D re-release of the first two movies as well as the third feature set for a summer of 2010 release. Among the cool items planned for Cowboy Woody and his buddies are light-up apparel and home d’cor to toy lines such as the motor-powered Ultimate Buzz Lightyear robot which responds to 25 voice commands as well as an assortment of collectible figures and food, personal care, stationery and party items.

“The Toy Story films and characters will always hold a very special place in our hearts. We’re excited to bring the first two films back for audiences to enjoy in a whole new way with the latest Disney Digital 3D technology,” said John Lasseter, Disney/Pixar’s chief creative officer and director of the first two Toy Story features. ‘As new technologies present great new possibilities in the art of animation, they also create opportunities for true innovation in product development making it possible to create very cool merchandise that stays true to the characters and brings them to life right in the homes of families and playgrounds all over. I’m obviously a huge fan of toys and the new Toy Story toy line will push imagination boundaries- it’s truly fascinating to see characters you created come to life that way.”

To mark the occasion and to celebrate LEGO’s first ever Toy Story line planned for next spring, a 5-foot tall LEGO model of Buzz Lightyear, constructed from 40,000 LEGO bricks in 250 hours by three Master Builders, was unveiled by LEGO and DCP at the Licensing International Expo this week.

From right, Wilmer Valderrama (voice of Handy Manny), Disney Channels worldwide president Gary Marsh and Disney Channel star Handy Manny meet their fans at the Vegas Licensing Show.

Disney Consumer Products is also exploring new merchandising plans for its upcoming Pooh feature, planned for 2011. This will be the first theatrical outing for the honey-loving bear since 2005′s Pooh’s Heffalump Movie. DCP will focus merchandise strategy on moms of infants and toddlers, with a secondary focus on women. Other Disney businesses, including Disney Publishing, are developing Pooh content for a new generation of consumers that will further drive the growth potential of this classic character.

Mickey Mouse will also play a bigger role in the company’s upcoming merch plans, with the new companywide Disney Have-A-Laugh initiative that will showcase the library of original Mickey cartoon shorts across a variety of formats and platforms, including television, online and DVD starting this fall. The Mickey of “Have a Laugh” is described as young, funny, a bit mischievous, and contemporary.

Also in the works in the fifth Disney Video Premiere feature in the Disney Fairies series. The new feature will be titled Tinker Bell: Race Through the Seasons and will be promoted on DisneyFairies.com, which is now available in 20 countries and has 16 million unique avatars.

Mickey Mouse joins the models on stage at the Mickey Fashion Show at the 2009 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas

You can find out about the company’s 2009 consumer product initiatives at www.disneyconsumerproducts.com.