Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 05-04-2015 - 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Review, 'Star Wars' Day and Disneyland's Future Plans

By Tim Callaway

When is a $187.7 million opening weekend for a movie a disappointment? When Avengers: Age of Ultron fails to surpass the $200 million-plus opening of 2012's The Avengers. Still, for Ultron that ain't bad, especially considering it's approaching $500 million in box office outside the U.S.

Okay, those are the dollars. Is the movie any good?

Anthony and I offer up our takes on Avengers: Age of Ultron in this edition of Inside The Mouse Castle. We're both big fans of the film, which succeeds at being darker and deeper than its predecessor, but it still lacks that little something-something to place it in the rarefied air of The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Here's what else is going on in this week's episode:
  • May the Fourth, Revenge of the Fifth, Revenge of the Sixth? Whatever. We've got Star Wars news about new The Force Awakens pics in Vanity Fair. There's also an opening for a new director for one of the upcoming Star Wars standalone films. 
  • Last week, pictures of the upcoming Disney Infinity 3.0 leaked online. Since we recorded the show, it's now confirmed that Star Wars will join the DI universe this fall. The Starter Pack will come with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano figures. Play Sets for the new edition will include two Star Wars adventures set during the original trilogies with a third one based on The Force Awakens coming out later this year. There will also be an Inside Out Play Set. 
  • Our sources say that Asa Butterfield is in as the new Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's very likely the star of Hugo and Ender's Game will take on the role of the web-slinger in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.
  • Disneyland will be closing early on select days in May as it prepares for the park's Diamond Celebration kickoff on May 22nd. It will close at 7:30 p.m. on May 6-7, May 11-12 and May 19. On May 21, the park will close at 6:00 p.m. to get ready for the 24-hour party that begins at 6:00 a.m. on May 22. Yes, I will be there to endure the entire 24 hours. I hope you can join me.
  • Disney has purchased the Carousel Inn & Suites, a 131-room hotel on Harbor Boulevard across the street from the Disneyland Resort. We're pretty sure that Disney isn't interested in running a another hotel long-term, so let the speculation begin!
  • A dining test is being conducted at Walt Disney World that could speed up and customize how guests order meals at the resort. Think of it as a FastPass for dining where you can arrange in advance for counter service, table service or grab-and-go. The test is going on right now at the Backlot Express at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Stay tuned.
  • Oriental Land Company has announced expansion plans for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. A Scandinavian-themed port (think Arendelle) will be added to Tokyo DisneySea while a Fantasyland expansion a'la the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World will add new Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland areas.
  • Humphrey's Service & Supplies will be just another souvenir shop themed to the new Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure when it opens on May 15th. But dude, it's HUMPHREY'S. Pay attention.


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 04-30-2015 - Disney Artist Dave Avanzino

By Tim Callaway

Dave Avanzino
Dave Avanzino
Artist Dave Avanzino admits that he is in awe of Walt Disney and all his accomplishments. Dave also admits that he marvels at being able to make a living because Walt Disney lived. To enjoy Dave’s art is to immerse yourself in detailed multi-dimensional shadowboxes full of fanciful lettering and iconic Disney images: the Fab Five, the Haunted Mansion, the Enchanted Tiki Room, castles, train stations and princesses have all found their way into Dave’s work, sometimes mashed together in exciting and original ways.

Dave works with a variety of materials, including paper, wire, wood and metal to create his art. He continues to produce numerous limited and open-edition pieces for all manner of Disney collectors and budgets.

I spoke with Dave this week about his work, who and what inspires him and what we might expect from him during Disneyland’s upcoming 60th anniversary celebration. Dave Avanzino is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

All images courtesy of Dave Avanzino Designs.

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To see more of Dave's art or to find out about his upcoming appearances, go to www.disneyparksmerchanidise.com or follow Dave Avanzino Designs on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 04-27-2015 - 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' 'Tomorrowland' and 'Descendants'

By Tim Callaway

Avengers: Age of Ultron fist bump
Avengers: Age of Ultron opens Friday. Fist bump.
The most anticipated movie of the year (at least until that other movie opens in December) opens in U.S. theaters Friday and we couldn't be more excited. Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron is already racking up big money internationally, taking in over $200 million at the box office overseas this past weekend. 

But, that success hasn't come without a little bit of controversy. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Chris Evans (Captain America) all caused a stir on the press junket tour last week. RDJ walked out on an interview with BBC Channel 4 after being asked some awkward questions about his troubled past by interviewer Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Meanwhile Renner and Evans jokingly slut-shamed Scarlett Johansson's character Black Widow in a conversation with Digital Spy. A lot of people didn't see the humor in it, so Hawk and Cap both issued apologies.

Anthony and I try to avoid the name calling, but we're still pretty awkward in the latest episode of Inside The Mouse Castle.
  • Marvel is doing the best it can to distance its upcoming Spider-Man film from the films that came before it at Sony. The rumored working title of the new MCU project is Spider-Man: The New Avenger. We like it.
  • Does Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon want to cross lines and direct a DC superhero movie one day? Sure, why not? 
  • At CinemaCon in Las Vegas last week, Disney announced its full slate of movie releases through 2017, including everything from Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. This wasn't really news as we pretty much knew the release dates for all these films. But, how exciting to see 24 titles packaged together? Disney is going to dominate in theaters over the next three years.
George Clooney in Tomorrowland
George Clooney in Tomorrowland.
  • Who wants to meet George Clooney at the premiere of Tomorrowland at Downtown Disney? Oh please, who doesn't?
  • Trader Sam's Grog Grotto officially opened at Walt Disney World's Polynesian Village Resort this week. That means you can now officially wait two hours to get in.
  • World's collide. Past episodes of the BBC series Doctor Who starring Tenth Doctor David Tennant will be shown on Disney XD in May.
  • Disney Villains have kids who grow up to be troubled teens. Complications ensue. That's the premise of Descendants, a new Disney Channel movie coming out this summer. There's a new trailer for it. We aren't impressed.


CORRECTION: In The Mouse Castle Lounge, we incorrectly refer to the title of the Disney Channel movie as The Descendants. The title is just Descendants.

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