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Disney, Kodak share images in kiosk concept Kodak and Disney have reached an agreement to permit the use of Disney characters and scenes from Disney movies in Kodak Sticker Prints Kiosks and Kodak Fantasy Theaters.

Located in movie theaters, retail stores, theme parks and other tourist attractions, the kiosks and fantasy theaters allow fans to be photographed with Disney characters or in scenes from Disney films.

The Kodak Fantasy Theater uses green-screen technology - similar to that used for special effects in movies -- to create the illusion that the customer is standing in a scene from a Disney movie. The photos purchased can range from wallet-size to poster-size.

In Kodak Sticker Prints Kiosks, customers are photographed with their choice of Disney characters. A sheet of 16 photo stickers can be created in about 30 seconds.

ULI forum for entertainment, development execs Urban Entertainment Development, a forum sponsored by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is slated for March 1-2 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The event will bring together executive decision-makers, strategists and creative minds from both the real estate and entertainment industries to discuss the future of location-based entertainment concepts.

The attendees will include location-based entertainment executives; commercial real estate developers and investors; creators and providers of entertainment attractions; shopping center owners and managers; mayors and downtown redevelopment specialists; real estate consultants and strategists; cinema operators; entertainment retailers; and theme restaurateurs and architects.

The event costs $950 for ULI members; $1,100 for non-members; and $650 for representatives of government and nonprofit entities. An optional all-day tour of the city is offered March 3 for conference registrants only at a cost of $195.

Call (800) 321-5011 to register. E-mail Karol Kaiser at [email protected] with any questions.

Valley Crest creates new theming division Valley Crest, a Calabasas, Calif.-based landscape and site construction company, has introduced a water features and theming division. Based in Anaheim, Calif., the division will handle Valley Crest's major projects that involve water features and themed environments. Previously, these were handled on a project-by-project basis by the firm's nine nationwide offices.

Valley Crest has created themed environments for such high-profile projects as the Getty Center in Los Angeles, Universal Studios Florida and Walt Disney World, as well as a number of Las Vegas casinos and various retail projects.

"We see retail environments as one of the primary drivers for our division's growth," says Hugh Hughes, the group's director of business development.

The new division will offer expertise in the construction of naturalistic waterfalls, lakes, streams and ponds; architectural fountains; choreographed and interactive fountains; natural and artificial rock formations; sculpturing; and themed elements with mechanical interface.

REIT seeks entertainment property Captec Net Lease Realty, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based REIT, has formed a joint venture with an unnamed capital partner to invest in entertainment-themed retail venues.

The joint venture, Family Realty Inc., is a private fund focused on the development and acquisition of net-leased entertainment-based retail properties, such as stadium-seating movie theaters and ice arenas.

Captec's joint venture partner, an institutional investor, provided all of the $30 million of startup capital to begin the partnership. Family Realty's goal is to acquire $100 million in properties.

Frozen treat heats up Dippin' Dots Inc., a Paducah, Ky.-based firm that markets its product as the "ice cream of the future," recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with sales of more than $18 million.

The confection, sold in 160 mall outlets as well as amusement parks and sports stadiums worldwide, was the brainchild of Curt Jones. A microbiologist by profession, Jones employed a method of freezing bacteria with liquid nitrogen as a way to make ice cream in BB-sized pellets.

The ice cream is frozen in about two seconds. This flash-freezing method reduces the amount of ice crystals and air in the ice cream, thus producing a more flavorful product, say company officials. But the product also requires specialized handling, which puts some limits on where it can be sold and how quickly the company can distribute it.

Dippin' Dots must be stored at 40 degrees below zero and served at 20 below. These are colder temperatures than most commercial freezers maintain, so special ones must be used.

"I doubt the product will ever be sold at the grocery store," says Terry Reeves, director of corporate communications for Dippin' Dots.

But sales have continued to climb in the past decade, particularly in malls and amusement parks. The overseas market is also growing in Japan, South Korea and Australia, where the company recently completed a distribution agreement.

While the firm's current $18 million in sales is all wholesale, it is looking at franchising in the future.

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