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The winner is brought on stage as part of the ceremony where she endured jokes about her height with dignity.

Saturday was another beautiful day at the International EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival, almost like any other. But Tinker Bell and her Pixie friends brought a little bit of extra magic to the park to help reveal the winning house in a Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow “Design A Fairy House Art Contest.”

The winner and her family was flown out from Frazier Park, CA about 100 miles from Disneyland. The fairy house, inspired by 15-year-old winning designer, Zoe P., was revealed during a special ceremony attended by EPCOT VP Dan Cockerell, and director Brad Raymond and producer Helen Kalafatic of “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”, the third film in the recent Tinker Bell DVD series.


With a dash of pixie dust from Tinker Bell, Zoe revealed her winning fairy house.

“Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue” features Tink’s first encounter with humans. Tink is caught inside a Fairy House built by a little girl to provide shelter for the fairies as they work to bring summer to England. The girl and Tink develop a great friendship, while the other fairies attempt a rescue.

“We were thrilled to honor Zoe and her winning design at this very special celebration,” said Jason Everett, Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow product director. “This contest offered the Pixie Hollow community an exciting opportunity to utilize their love for Disney Fairies as inspiration to create their very own fairy house art design. To see that design come to life and be featured in the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival is truly a delight for everyone.”


Zoe and her family (click for larger)

Zoe was the perfect choice for this award. She and her family are huge Disney fans and visit Disneyland at least once a month. After seeing the contest on Pixie Hollow, she new she had to make a drawing. They raced to the post office to drop off their application right at the last minute and never expected to win.

Not only did Zoe’s drawing inspire the winning house, she was able to help build it by assisting Disney’s talented team of fairy house architects. The main focus of the house is the copper and brass fixtures on the front, which Zoe figured would confer and exclusive status to the house. In the concept a rubber band would be hooked to the front door and, through a series of clock gears, would generate music on the attached music box, alas that part didn’t make it into the final build.


The winning drawing, now autographed by the movie’s director and producer. She also wrote a backstory for the house.

Of course there are two hidden mickeys in the design. The vinyl record base makes mickey and there is a bottle cap on the roof with the iconic ears. But even more special is the ‘Ellie Badge’ Grape Soda bottle cap, which you can barely see under the flower on the roof. Zoe’s whole family are huge fans of Pixar and particularly the movie “UP”, when I saw Zoe’s mom wearing an Ellie Badge of her own, I knew right away she was one of us, a Disney fan.

It’s clear Zoe has a talent for telling a story through art. That’s one of the main requirements to be an animator, which, as it turns out, is Zoe’s career choice. I hope someone at Disney Studios is able to make her happy again and arrange a tour through their offices and Walt Disney Animation Studios.


Zoe with the plaque that bears her name.

Zoe’s house will spend the rest of the festival as part of the Pixie Hollow playground in a place of honor next to a plaque bearing her name.

More photos from the event, including a close up of the fairy house, below the cut. Video

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For many years Tinker Bell had a huge following among Disney fans, but almost no merchandise featured the pint sized fairy. Eventually someone at Disney marketing figured out they were missing out on a steady line of guests willing to shell out for their favorite pixie. Since that moment (about the late 90s) Tink has been just about everywhere.

The culmination of this trend is the series of direct to DVD movies that are under production. The first came out last year and was actually a small gem of a story. The second is scheduled for this fall and looks to repeat the magic. Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com, but released October 27, 2009.

The full press release is below the cut:

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Tinker Bell Topiary greets guests as they enter Pixie Hollow (click on each image to expand).

Guests of EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival are in for a new kind of Disney fantasy when the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden magically immerses them in the enchantment of Tinker Bell and her friends as never before. The garden will be open as part of the festival which runs for 75 full days, March 18-May 31, this year.

The Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden is one of the most detailed creations ever dreamed up for Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival,. The lush and leafy play area showcases Tinker Bell, Rosetta, Silvermist, Fawn, and Iridessa in the form of sparkling, detailed topiaries. The fairies’ tools and treasures—ingeniously crafted with objects they’ve found during visits to our world—adorn the serene setting.

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After the opening ceremony Tink and her fellow Pixies play in the garden with the day’s honorary pixies (really Cast Member’s children).

Most wonderful of all, the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden offers kids plenty of “pixie power” with hands-on activities at Tinker’s Nook Workshop and the joy of exploring all the adventure they can imagine. Every day at 2 p.m. children are invited to dress in their favorite fanciful frocks and be part of a grand Fairy & Princess Processional through the colorful surroundings.

On March 21, special festivities commemorated the opening of the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden and the direct to DVD animated feature, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. The fun started with a kickoff celebration that included a visit from two-time Emmy-nominated director Klay Hall and producer Sean Lurie, who signed autographs and took photos with guests.

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Newly appointed EPCOT Center Vice President Dan Cockerell greats guests at the ceremony. Director Klay Hall and producer Sean Lurie look on

These festivities and events, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, will be among the bonus features to enjoy when Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure premieres in Fall 2009 on Disney Blu-Ray and DVD.

For more information about the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, click on www.disneyworld.com/flower.

More photos from the Pixie Hollow Grand Opening Ceremony below the cut:

A few years ago John Lasseter swept into the Walt Disney Studios on the waves of the Pixar / Disney merger. Like Obama, Lasseter had a mandate. His mandate was to reform the culture of Walt Disney Feature Animation. Make it more like the successful culture up in Pixar, while still retaining that which is essential to Disney. Near the top of Lasseter’s list, end the direct to video sequels (aka cheapquels).

So why in the world has Disney released yet one more Direct to Video movie? And how could it involve one of Walt Disney’s more beloved and classic characters – Tinker Bell. How could you let that happen Uncle John?

Well, he let it happen because, hey turns out the idea was pretty good. It needed some tweaking, a real reworking, really. They had to upgrade from the ‘TV afternoon quality’ animation the movie started with, rework the story, rework it again, and again, and then suffer while all the merchandise that was created for the original release date hit the streets with no movie to tie-in too.

So the question is, was it worth it?

My answer is yes. “Tinker Bell” turns out to be a good movie. Yeah, they didn’t get Tinker Bell’s look or personality right. Yes, it’s computer animation, not hand drawn. But if you think of it as a re-launch, or an update to keep the character relevant, then they did a good job. In fact, if you can get over the fact that Tinker Bell speaks, you can easily overcome all the other changes that Pixie Hollow brings.

Some of those changes are good things. The story has heart, great characters, and a good message. You certainly can’t ask for more when you’re looking for good home entertainment from Disney. I guess that’s the reason the DVD is number one on the Amazon sales chart right now.

Now we hear that not only is the second Tinker Bell film well under way, a third film is being scripted. There’s a fourth and fifth film in the series if those two do well too. All this is part of the Walt Disney Company’s plan to make the Disney Fairies brand as big a money maker as the Disney Princess brand. I wish them luck.

The full press release with details on the DVD, Blu-Ray and Special Features is below the cut. So click on through.