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 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The world's most popular doll comes to life in "The Magical World of Barbie," a whirlwind, 30-minute musical tour of four continents at Walt Disney World Epcot Center beginning Nov. 20, 1993.
 Barbie and her friends take off on an around-the-globe journey at American Gardens Theater in World Showcase, with life-size settings inspired by doll-size playsets that transform before the audience's eyes. The adventure whizzes them to the Outback of Australia, the ballet in Russia, the jungles of Africa and a high-fashion runway in France.
 Then it's home again aboard a yacht to end a trip that's taken them by seaplane, all-terrain vehicle, submarine, Cinderella coach, helicopter, riverboat and hot-air balloon.
 The show opens with agile performers on skateboards, in-line skates and trampolines setting the stage for the 25-minute "mini-Broadway musical."
 "All of the set pieces magically unfold like a Barbie playset," said show director Fran Soeder. Ice chests pop open to reveal palm trees, a boat becomes a hot-air balloon, and special effects in the newly renovated outdoor theater enhance the make-believe trip to the far corners of the world.
 "'The Magical World of Barbie' is a new world that we're creating for Epcot Center World Showcase," said show producer Doug May. "This new world will be a fast-paced musical extravaganza with all the glamour, excitement and enthusiasm that one would expect."
 Elizabeth Simmons, 23, of Bandon-By-The-Sea, Ore., was selected from hundreds of Barbie-hopefuls to portray the all-American icon. Although currently the reigning Miss Oregon 1993, Simmons was ecstatic to be chosen to represent such a wholesome character.
 "Something rang true in my heart when I was asked to portray Barbie," said Simmons. "After all, acting out my dreams and fantasies through Barbie when I was younger prepared me to realize my goals as I've gotten older."
 Barbie heads a cast of 18, but it's mostly a one-woman show, with Barbie always on stage. Featuring music and dance, the humorous show entertains not only Barbie fans, but audiences of all types and ages.
 "There is an upbeat message as Barbie saves the day with friendship and strong leadership," said Soeder. "In her world, everything is possible."
 Music plays an important role, with five numbers ranging from Prokofiev and the Andrew Sisters to '60s beach music.
 The show will be performed five times a day, five days a week. Barbie and her friends also will greet Epcot Center guests and sign autographs from a hot pink limousine staged at different locations throughout World Showcase seven times a day, five days a week. The 40-foot limo comes outfitted with fancy Sony technology to help the chauffeur maneuver the two-and-one-half-car-length vehicle, and a canopied DJ booth at the rear for remote broadcasts.
 "The international appeal of Barbie makes her a perfect match with the countries represented in Epcot Center World Showcase," said Jean McKenzie, vice president of marketing for Mattel. "Barbie currently is sold in more than 100 countries around the world, and, in fact, two dolls are sold every second somewhere on the planet."
 More than 700 million Barbie dolls and family members have been sold since the doll's debut in 1959 -- enough to circle the Earth more than three-and-one-half times.
 In Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Barbie is marketed with the look, fashions, and accessories that mirror the tastes of children worldwide. Barbie proudly serves as an ambassador of goodwill to almost every country in the world.
 Mattel will promote the show on 10 million Barbie boxes, and through national television advertising and features in Barbie Magazine. Disney will fund a television and print campaign in addition to featuring "The Magical World of Barbie" in its magazines, park and hotel brochures and through its on-site television channel.
 -0- 11/16/93
 /CONTACT: Lisa McKendall, 310-524-4592/

CO: Mattel; Walt Disney World Epcot Center ST: Florida IN: LEI ENT SU:

JB-EH -- LA030 -- 5130 11/16/93 13:21 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 16, 1993

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