NEW YORK, July 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Disney Junior and XPRIZE are partnering on "Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions," a nationwide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) learning-focused program that invites young children ages 2-8 and their families to develop their own "out-of-this-world" creations for the chance to win prizes, including a trip to Kennedy Space Center to experience space exploration first hand. The six-week online initiative inspired by Disney Junior's animated "Miles From Tomorrowland," 2015's #1 series across preschool networks in Total Viewers, is designed to lay the building blocks for learning in critical STEAM-based areas.
The program was announced today by Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide and Robert Weiss, President and Co-Chairman, XPRIZE. A kickoff event will be held at New York Hall of Science tomorrow, Thursday, July 16.
Ms. Kanter said, "We're excited to be partnering with XPRIZE as we look to enthuse young children about their role in building our future. Since launching 'Miles from Tomorrowland' we've heard from parents that their children are asking questions and wanting to know more about space, science and technology. We hope this initiative will build on that interest and inspire this generation to become leaders in the STEAM fields."
Mr. Weiss said, "At XPRIZE, we believe innovation can come from anyone, regardless of age. The 'Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions' program provides an incredible opportunity to engage young innovators in creative STEAM-based activities that promote a deeper understanding of critical educational disciplines, helping them become the XPRIZE winners of tomorrow."
Coinciding with the program announcement, "Miles from Tomorrowland" guest star and renowned scientist, author, entertainer and CEO of The Planetary Society Bill Nye spoke about the importance of encouraging kids' interest in space, science and technology at a young age. Mr. Nye said, "Science and technology are the key to our future so it is imperative that we get young people engaged in these fields as early as possible. 'Miles from Tomorrowland' is already part of that and I think this challenge that Disney and XPRIZE are presenting will inspire kids with the message that they can do anything - create machines, spaceships, vessels to travel anywhere they want to explore."
"Miles from Tomorrowland" star Adrian Grenier ("Entourage") and NASA astronauts Dr. Mike Massimino and Dr. Yvonne Cagle will participate in the event activities alongside young attendees and their families. ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee from "Good Morning America" is confirmed to host the event.
Following the kickoff event, science centers nationwide, spearheaded by New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), Saint Louis Science Center (SLSC) and COSI in Columbus, Ohio, will have onsite activations ranging from an immersive "Miles from Tomorrowland" virtual reality experience to building rockets and creating the surface of a planet.
Participants in "Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions" are invited to submit creations in three themed categories – technology, vehicles and planets – and their appropriate level of engagement based on age. The grand prize winning family, to be announced in September, will receive an exclusive trip to Cape Canaveral, FL to experience the past, present and future of space travel. The trip includes a VIP experience at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, a tour of Moon Express and the chance to watch the launch of a SpaceX rocket. Four first runner-up winners will receive a 3D printer from 3D Systems and 100 second runner-ups will win Google Cardboard Viewers. Official Rules and details are available at DisneyJunior.com/SpaceMissions.
"Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions" is part of Disney ABC Television Group's "Summer of Creativity" which highlights how creativity can strengthen communities and change the world.
About Miles from Tomorrowland
Miles from Tomorrowland charts the outer space missions of young adventurer Miles Callisto and his family - mom and ship captain, Phoebe; mechanical engineer dad, Leo; tech-savvy big sister, Loretta; and best friend pet robo-ostrich, Merc - as they work together to help connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Curiosity and discovery is central to the show's STEAM curriculum and the episodes incorporate unique space and science facts into each storyline. Experts from NASA and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Space Tourism Society and Google serve as consultants on the series, which is designed to inspire young children's natural interest in the world that lies beyond their own.
About Disney Junior
Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior's series blend Disney's unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. In the U.S., Disney Junior is a daily programming block on Disney Channel and a 24-hour channel reaching over 220 million U.S. homes. In total, there are 34 Disney Junior channels in 26 languages around the world.
Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.
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