Date: March 2002 - March 2005
February 2006 - ? (multi-year contract)
   
Description:

The Walt Disney Co. announced on March 5, 2002 that Michelle will be a spokeswoman and celebrity representative for the company. This is the second recent deal between the Walt Disney Company and a high profile athlete --Tiger Woods signed with Disney in June, though Michelle's agreement and duties are said to be far broader than those performed by Tiger. Financial terms of the 3 year agreement between Michelle and Disney were not disclosed, though it is estimated at $1 million a year.

Michelle will be a representative for a number of Disney products and services, including its theme parks, restaurants, cruise lines and hotels, as well as movies, television and radio. She will work with divisions throughout Disney. Among her activities at Disney, Michelle will make personal as well as radio and television appearances, host public service announcements and serve as a presenter at Disney awards programs. She will be featured in marketing and promotional activities for Disney's theme parks, restaurants, cruise line, hotels, publishing activities, consumer products, motion pictures, television and radio activities and retail stores.

Disney spokesman Ken Green said the decision to sign Michelle was made before the Olympics, and was based on Michelle's previous relationship with the company. "We were planning this with (Kwan) regardless," Green said. "She's an icon ... She's got the charisma, the pizzazz, the enthusiasm and the international appeal we love. We saw her as the ideal celebrity spokesperson for us irrespective of how she would have performed in the Olympics this time."

Michael Mendenhall, president of Walt Disney Studios Marketing and Synergy, said, "Michelle Kwan is the perfect person to represent our theme parks, sports, publishing, broadcasting and consumer products around the world. She has a huge worldwide appeal and is a role model for children and adults. Michelle exemplifies beauty, wholesomeness, grace and charm in addition to her athletic talent. These wonderful qualities and her outstanding sense of sportsmanship were especially evident at last month's Olympics. We know a champion isn't made by the medals, rewards and plaques but by the sense of character that Michelle truly has. She is clearly a role model for kids, young adults and parents alike.

Our consumers and guests will enjoy seeing this immensely popular young skater in person and on television at various Disney events. These will range from the opening of new facilities to charitable events, ice skating events, guest appearances on original programming and at our ESPN Zone events, and at product promotions."

Mike Mendenhall later said of her potential, "The sky's the limit. To us, she's a great role model for kids and teens. She truly has the right attitude, the right ethics, the right personality. She's contemporary. She's relevant...Here's a woman who's so well-rounded and is diverse. We never really even considered that. You just look at the type of person she is, the qualities she brings within her personality, her leadership, focus, commitment. Staying with something, staying committed to something. 'Don't let minor disappointments along the way keep you from your dreams, kids. Follow your dream.' It's about passion, and for me that's so much more."

Michelle said, "I've been a fan of Disney my whole life, so now to become part of the Disney family is incredible. I am delighted and truly honored to serve as a spokesperson for the company."

In the past, Michelle has starred in Disney and ABC television specials and has contributed to several figure skating-related books published by Disney. This new contract greatly expands on the range of services she has previously provided for Disney.

Michelle was at the Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Friday, April 5, 2002 with Timothy Goebel. They rode in a motorcade, and also both put their hands, skates, and signatures into cement. Michelle and Tim were with Mickey Mouse in a white old fashioned car. After the parade, at the center stage, she and Tim were introduced and interviewed. She was announced as a two-time Olympic medalist, four-time World champion, and six time National chamption. When asked about her future plans, she mentioned that she would still be skating but was going back to school. She and Tim both put the impressions of their skates in cement and signed it. renaem131, who was at the event, said that she overheard Disney people saying that they were going to shut down some rides so that Michelle and Tim could go on them. They visited Walt Disney World during the yearlong "100 Years of Magic" celebration. "

Michelle was on Radio Disney, doing a station promotion. Just before the commercial break, she said, "Hey everyone this is Michelle Kwan and Radio Disney is going to go skate! Stick around!" Then, after the commercial break, she said, "Hey this is Michelle Kwan and Radio Disney is back!"

Michelle was at ABC's Primetime Preview Weekend at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim on August 24, 2002. You can see Michelle's name on the list of attendees. Michelle appeared as part of her affiliation with ABC Sports, along with "Monday Night Football" announcers Al Michaels and Melissa Stark. Events included a Q&A showcase and a parade of stars. The "Sports Panel" Q&A was at 1:00 on Saturday, August 24 at the Golden State Amphitheatre. She was in about the 8th car in the "Parade of Stars," riding with Snow White, after the Drew Carey show stars and the Monday night Football crew. California Adventures broke attendance records that weekend because of the event! For more information on the Q&A, check out my post on the event from the MK Forum. A picture of Michelle the parade appeared in the September 9, 2002 of US Weekly.

Michelle recently recorded a voice over in a Hollywood recording studio for "Mulan 2," a direct-to-video release scheduled for 2004. Michelle has three lines, plus a "wail." She is the voice of a shopkeeper named Michelle. Her three lines are:

Line 506: "We just got in some excellent ginger."

Line 509: "How about some fresh ginseng?"

The third line is an "in" joke ("conceived to elicit laughs from kids because it sounds funny and guffaws from those who know skating lingo."): "We have a special today. Fresh salchow. Yum, yum."

Jamie Thomason, head of casting for Disney TV and animation, assured Michelle, "You're going to do it a million times. We do it with everybody." She's told to do her first line again... faster... slower... perky. Her second line must be repeated... whispered... louder... enticing. Finally, there are several versions editors can choose from when the scene is assembled. She does so well that, as a reward, she gets to do another line...the comically drawn-out wail of someone who nearly falls but pulls off a "Kwan-like, graceful landing." She's finished in about 35 minutes. Thomason says, "Hey, you're good at this." Michelle is relieved, asking, "Can you imagine doing 100 pages?"

Also, during a day off from the 2002 COI tour, she spent a morning in Pasadena filming scenes that will be references for animation drawings of a figure skating competition between Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck in the movie "Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas."

Among other information from a recent LA Times article is that her contract with Disney as their "global spokeswoman" is the the company's "most extensive deal with an athlete. It eclipses a five-year deal Disney made with golfer Tiger Woods a year ago, because his is for broadcast work only. Hers extends to parks, radio, theatrical, video and voice-overs." It also sheds more light on the contract, writing that "Kwan's Disney deal, estimated at $1 million a year, provides for appearances at Disney theme parks in China and Hong Kong, on Disney Channel programs and possibly ABC sitcoms, and doing voices in "Mulan" sequels."

Michelle learned from skateboarder Tony Hawk on Saturday, July 19, 2003, at the X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim. Check out a picture of Michelle and Tony, as well as 10 pictures from newscom.

Michelle attended the Mulan II DVD Launch Party on January 22, 2005. The special screening took place in the Frank G. Wells Screening Room on the The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA. The event was also a benefit for two organizations: The Center for Asian Arts & Media and Families With Children From China (which also received a $2500 charitable donation from Disney.)

Michelle's first contract with Disney contract ended in March 2005. In the March 20, 2005 issue of Parade Magazine about the contract ending, the writer says, "Speaking of the Disney contract ending, she laughed when I said: 'Well, we all get old.'"

On February 16, 2006, Disney announced that Michelle will serve as a celebrity representative and spokesperson for businesses across the entire range of The Walt Disney Company.

As part of the multiyear agreement, Michelle may participate in advertising, promotions or public service announcements involving all of Disney's businesses, make guest appearances on original programming and personal appearances at live Disney events, and take part in Disney's company-wide initiatives.

Matt Ryan, senior vice president, Brand Management, The Walt Disney Company said, "Professionally and personally, Michelle is a true champion. While her magnificent artistry on the ice has been applauded the world over, she also sets the standard for grace and dignity, which truly accounts for her universal appeal. We at Disney are honored to be associated with Michelle and know that her unique style and commitment to quality will be enjoyed and appreciated by our audiences everywhere."

On March 4, 2006, Michelle was at Disney World for "ESPN the Weekend." Disney released a picture of Michelle riding the newest Walt Disney World attraction, Expedition Everest. They also released a picture of her with Mickey Mouse.

Update! On March 3 & 4, 2007, Michelle was at MGM Studios at Walt Disney World for "ESPN the Weekend." On Saturday, March 3, she did 3 events. The first was at 2pm on the main stage (by the Sorcerer's Hat) for "Conversation with Michelle Kwan", which was a Q&A with the audience. At 3:30, she was one of 3 celebrity judges for the "Dream Job Experience" at the Sounds Dangerous theater. At 4:15, she was at the Sports Zone. On Sunday, March 4, at 2:30, she once again was one of 3 judges for the "Dream Job Experience." At 3:30pm, she did a Motorcade (same as the Q&A, but the athletes would drive to and from the stage in a car with a Disney character) on the main stage with Annika Sorenstam, Jim Palmer & Kurt Busch. I attended ESPN the Weekend on March 3.

   
Articles:

Figure Skating Icon Michelle Kwan to Represent The Walt Disney Company
Kwan Skates Into Disney

Kwan Signs Deal with Disney
People: Ice Champions

Stars Draw Fans to Disney's California Adventure(TM) For ABC Primetime Preview Weekend
An Unprecedented Talent Turnout
Even More Stars Added to Unprecedented Talent Turnout At The ABC Primetime Preview Weekend at Disney's California Adventure
Celebrity Appearance for ABC Primetime Preview Weekend' at DCA Announced
Michelle at CA adventures/ABC preview weekend
Good as Gold / Marketing Greatness extends beyond an Olympic Gold Medal
Her star still shines
Kwan resumes training, but future is up in the air

Second contract:
Figure Skating Champion Michelle Kwan to Serve as Celebrity Representative and Spokesperson for Disney
Disney still thinks Kwan is golden
Champion skater Kwan hired as Disney spokeswoman
Disney Hires Figure Skater Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan is Disney spokeswoman
Disney hires figure skater Michelle Kwan as celebrity spokeswoman
Kwan signs on with Disney
Disney's New Ice Princess
Iger's Disney Inks Michelle Kwan As Spokeswoman
Michelle Kwan Skates to a Win After All

People in the News
Kwan Gets a Mickey, as in Mouse
Michelle Kwan Named as Disney Celebrity Rep and Spokesperson
Disney-MGM Studios Hosts Second Annual 'ESPN The Weekend'
2007 ESPN the Weekend Coming to WDW March 2-4
2007 ESPN the Weekend Schedule
My report from 2007 ESPN the Weekend

   
Pictures:

Putting her hands and skates in cement at Disney World
renaem131's pictures of Michelle and Tim at Disney World, page 1 and page 2
Grace's California Adventures pictures
Corbon's California Adventures pictures
Wireimage.com California Adventures thumbnails
Getting makeup for her Disney commercial
Taking a break while filming for Disney
On the ice for Disney
Doing voice-over work for Mulan 2
Newscom thumbnails at X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Riding Expedition Everest in Disney World during ESPN the Weekend
With Mickey Mouse during ESPN the Weekend
Posing with a fan during ESPN the Weekend
My pictures from 2007 ESPN the Weekend

   
Videos from
ABC's
Primetime
Preview
Weekend in
California
Adventure:

 


Last updated March 9, 2007

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Photo Sarah Hoffman