Disney Creates New Virtual Worlds Unit

North Hollywood-based Disney Online said Tuesday that it has created a new team focused on building, operating, and publishing online games, virtual worlds, and online social communities. The new Disney unit, which is part of Walt Disney Internet Group, will be called Disney Online Studios. The new studio will be headed by Steve Parkis. According to Disney, the new online studios group will include Disney Online's Virtual Reality Studio, which runs Toontown Online and Pirates of the Caribbean Online. The virtual worlds unit will also run a new virtual world based on Disney Fairies, and a new world based on Disney's film "Cars." However, Disney said that virtual world Club Penguin will continue to report directly to Walt Disney Internet Group President Steve Wadsworth.