To Infinity and Beyond! Disney Parks and NASA Send Buzz Lightyear into Space



    - Mission Coincides with "Launch" of New Educational Initiative and the
    Debut of Toy Story Mania! at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts -

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 29 /CNW/ - It's a dream come true for Buzz
Lightyear as Disney Parks and NASA send the 12-inch-tall action figure "to
infinity and beyond!" Buzz Lightyear will blast off aboard Space Shuttle
Discovery on mission STS-124. Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center is scheduled
for 5:02 p.m. ET on May 31.
    Buzz's dream of going "to infinity and beyond" will finally come true
during the mission when - with the help of the crew - he will fly in zero
gravity inside the International Space Station as part of NASA's "Toys in
Space" initiative. Through this program, Buzz will help introduce fun elements
from space into science and math classrooms across the country.
    With Buzz will launch the aspiration of millions of school children who
dream of space travel. STS-124 will coincide with the kickoff of the Space
Ranger Education Series - part of NASA's "Toys in Space," an educational
program for teachers and students. The program builds on NASA's educational
goals of encouraging students to pursue studies in science, technology and
mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are vitally important in sustaining U.S.
economic competitiveness and technological leadership.
    Developed by Disney and NASA, "Toys in Space" features materials for
educators to download and integrate into their classroom curriculum as well as
online, educational games linked to each key component of the mission. The
series, hosted at www.nasa.gov, will be available throughout 2008.
    "NASA is excited to help students understand the science and engineering
currently underway on the International Space Station," said Dr. Joyce
Winterton, NASA Assistant Administrator for Education. "The educational games
and resources from this partnership will allow students to explore the science
and math behind space exploration with a beloved character."
    Buzz's groundbreaking mission into space also coincides the launch of his
latest debut on earth in Toy Story Mania!, Disney Parks new attraction that
opens May 31 at Walt Disney World in Florida and June 17 at Disneyland Resort
in California.
    "The Space Ranger Education Series will give teachers an opportunity to
incorporate a fun and engaging moment into the classroom with a character that
children really love," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and
Resorts. "We're pleased to join NASA in creating a program that can help keep
kids excited about math and science."

    BUZZ'S SPACE ITINERARY

    Buzz will spend several months in space at the International Space
Station (ISS) testing the limits of zero gravity before returning home to a
hero's welcome at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida later this year. While
in space, Buzz will participate in an experiment flying in zero gravity and
appear in a video downlink from the ISS.
    The Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-124 will travel with seven
astronauts to install Kibo's large Japanese Pressurized Module (JPM) and the
lab's robotic arm system.
    For additional information about the educational series and NASA
programs, guests may visit www.nasa.gov.

    (Note to Editors:

    Thinkway Toys, the original Toy Makers of Buzz Lightyear in 1995, are
proud to be working in conjunction with Disney-Pixar and NASA to bring Buzz to
life again on his historic and epic return to space on board the Space
Shuttle.
    For news media inquiries and photos, please visit Disney Parks'
media-only news sites - www.wdwnews.com or www.disneylandnews.com - or call
Walt Disney World Public Relations at 407/566-6397 or Disneyland Public
Relations at 714/781-4500.)




For further information:

For further information: NASA Media Contact: Sonja Alexander, (202)
358-1761, sonja.r.alexander@nasa.gov; Disney Parks Media Contact: Duncan
Wardle, (407) 566-6397, duncan.wardle@disney.com

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WALT DISNEY COMPANY PARKS & RESORTS

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