Monday, November 23, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 11-23-2015 - 'Star Wars,' 'Gravity Falls' and 'Captain EO'

By Tim Callaway

The Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland's
Season of the Force.
After an unexpected week away from the show, Anthony and I are back with our take on Season of the Force at Disneyland. Is the Star Wars overlay of Tomorrowland worth your attention? Spoiler Alert: Hyperspace Mountain is about as good as you could hope for. And because we're easily distracted, we also talk about Adele, Pirates of the Caribbean overlays, Strange MagicMouse Castle charities and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. We're pretty much all over the place. Again.

We do manage to stay on topic, sort of, for this stuff:

  • J.J. Abrams made it official: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is done. Completed. Finito. No more tinkering. Nada. Can we see it now?
  • The Force Awakens has blown past $50 million in advance ticket sales before its December 18 release. This begs the question, will we ever again be as excited about a new Star Wars movie as we are right now?
  • One person who doesn't seem to be as thrilled about Episode VII as the rest of us is...surprise!...George Lucas. He's made some curious comments recently about the latest installment of the film franchise he started. Butt-hurt, table for one.
  • Want to go to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in L.A. or London? It could happen. Just pry open your wallet and be generous about it.
Gravity Falls.
  • We are sad to learn that Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls, is pulling the plug on the animated series when its second season comes to a close. We are seriously going to miss Dipper, Mabel, Grunkle Stan and all the other denizens of the Mystery Shack.
  • To make up for the loss of revenue from the Fantasmic! dining packages at Disneyland when the show goes on hiatus in January, the park will begin offering dining packages for the Paint the Night parade. More details coming soon.
Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
  • In an effort to make Disney's Animal Kingdom more than a half-day park, a new Rivers of Light nighttime show will debut at the park next spring. It will incorporate many of the lighting, water and projection effects we've come to know and (mostly) love in Fantasmic! and World of Color to create a distinctly mystical, nature-themed show.
  • Captain EO will end its run at Epcot on December 6. And while no official announcement has been made at Disneyland, we think it's unlikely to return there as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 11-17-2015 - On the Red Carpet with the Cast of 'The Lion Guard'

By Tim Callaway

Kion is working on his roar.
Disney is returning to the Pride Lands for a new Disney Channel animated series based on The Lion King called The Lion Guard. The series itself will get underway in January, but you can get your first look at the next generation of Lion King characters when The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar debuts on Disney Channel on November 22 at 7:00 p.m. It’s a one-hour movie that introduces us to Kion, the second-born son of Simba and Nala—if you’ve ever seen the direct-to-video Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, you might recall Kion already has an older sister, Kiara.

Meet the Lion Guard  (l. to r.): Dusan Brown, Max Charles, Joshua Rush, Atticus Shaffer and Diamond White.
Kion is tasked with forming the Lion Guard, a group of young animals responsible for protecting the Pride Lands. And while the Lion Guard has traditionally been an all-lion team, Kion opts to include a variety of animals with their own special strengths. So you have Bunga, a brave honey badger; Ono, an intellectual egret; Fuli, a confident and very fast Cheetah; and Beshte, a good-humored and well-connected hippo.

(l. to r.): Beshte, Ono, Fuli and Bunga.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar is voiced by a mostly youthful cast, but there are some returning veterans. Just as he did in the original Lion King, Ernie Sabella will voice Simba’s loyal warthog friend Pumbaa and James Earl Jones will be heard once again as Simba’s wise father Mufasa. Simba is voiced by The Grinder’s Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union provides the voice of Nala.

On Saturday, I got to hang out at the Walt Disney Studios for the premiere of The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and chatted with members of the cast, including Max Charles, Joshua Rush, Dusan Brown, Atticus Shaffer, Ernie Sabella, Eden Riegel, Sarah Hyland, Madison Pettis, Jonny Rees and Khary Payton. They are all my guests today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


(l. to r.): Madison Pettis (Zuri), Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa), Jonny Rees (Mzingo) and Sarah Hyland (Tifu).

Friday, November 13, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 11-11-2015 - Disneyland Holiday Decorations, Season of the Force and the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

By Tim Callaway

So, after wrapping up this week's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle, I thought I'd wait until I got to Anaheim to write up my show notes. You know, just take it easy, soak in all the Disneyland ambiance, get ready for runDisney's Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon this weekend and OH MY GOD, DID YOU SEE THE PICTURES FROM SEASON OF THE FORCE?!?!?!

All photos by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney.

The interactive showcase of all things Star Wars includes the Launch Bay, which takes up an entire floor of the former Innoventions building. Guests will find a treasure trove of film prop replicas, costumes, ship models, droids, artwork and "other notable items." There will also be character meet-and-greets representing both the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force. 

Next door, Space Mountain is getting a Star Wars overlay, transforming it into Hyperspace Mountain where you'll find yourself thrust into the midst of an X-Wing Starfighter battle.

In Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, inside the Tomorrowland Theater, you can catch an assemblage of clips from Star Wars movies past and present. Yes, that means you'll get a glimpse of The Force Awakens.

Meanwhile, Star Tours is getting a new destination from The Force Awakens. Here's a little taste:

Finally, the Tomorrowland Terrace and the Pizza Port will feature some new Star Wars-inspired menu items, and beginning December 8, the Jedi Training Academy will get an update, Trials of the Temple, a "reimagined battle experience (that) takes younglings to the secret site of an ancient Jedi temple, where they discover if they have the makings of a true Jedi."

Most everything in Season of the Force is set to open on Monday, November 16, but we're kind of hoping for a soft opening this weekend. Please, Disneyland? Pretty please?

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah, Anthony and I did a show this week. It's all about Star Wars (of course), Anthony's recent visit to Disneyland, #ForceForDaniel, the new trailers for Finding Dory and Alice Through the Looking Glass, Robin Williams, the Muppets and the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. Whatever.