Saturday, August 30, 2014

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-29-2014 - Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, Marvel Movie Update and Disney Drones

The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend is in full force with over 35,000 runners taking part in three races in and around the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. I've already claimed my medals in Friday's 5K and Saturday's 10K (personal best, thank you very much). It's been a great weekend and I've had the pleasure of talking to a number of participants and event organizers including actor Sean Astin, former Disney Imagineer Terri Hardin Jackson and runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway. I'll be sharing these interviews in an upcoming episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge, but in the meantime, Anthony and I had a few other things to talk about in the latest edition of Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • As usual, rumors abound in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What are Chris Evans' long-term plans with the Captain America franchise? Who might live and who might die in Avengers: Age of Ultron? What does Guardians of the Galaxy's box office domination mean for its inevitable sequels?
  • We're happy to see Star Wars: Episode VII is back in production now that Harrison Ford has recovered from his broken leg, but we're also intrigued by a short animated film Disney will release with Big Hero 6 in November. Feast is the tale of a man, a woman, a romance, food and a terrier named Winston. We already like the look of the short, which is similar to the CGI/hand-drawn hybrid animation style of Disney's Oscar-winning Paperman. We also think the dog's pretty cute.
Winston is the cute little terrier at the heart of Disney's Feast.
  • Disney has filed patents on aerial drones that could one day be used to help present entertainment at Disney theme parks. Sound strange? Yeah, maybe. But the whole idea could be made irrelevant if the FAA continues to oppose the use of drone technology by private industry.
  • Will Star Wars characters ever appear in Disney Infinity? Is Han Solo a scruffy-looking nerf herder? Their inevitable addition to the popular platformer is looking to happen sometime in 2015 because, you know, well, Episode VII. In the meantime, Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 are the newest characters that will be joining Disney Infinity sometime this fall.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Warming Up for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

Disney California Adventure, Thursday 5:00 a.m.
It takes a lot to get me out of bed at 3:30 a.m.

Going for a jog with former Olympian Jeff Galloway and hanging out with actor and running enthusiast Sean Astin at Disney California Adventure are pretty good motivators.

Both gentlemen were on hand for a pre-dawn welcome event today at DCA to kick off the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Fitness and nutrition experts from runDisney and Runner's World magazine were also around offering training tips for all the weekend warriors. An easy jog around Paradise Pier and a ride on Soarin' followed in an upbeat and fun-filled morning before park opening.

The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend consists of three primary races: a 5K, 10K and half marathon, plus kids races and the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel. Runners can pick up their registration packets at the Expo beginning at noon today. For more information, visit

I'll be running the 5K tomorrow and the 10K on Saturday. If you'd like to track my progress in the 10K, you can text my bib number (30834) to 345678. Stalking by text, it's pretty cool.

I'll also be putting together a special edition of The Mouse Castle Lounge which will be out on Monday. I'll recap the weekend and talk to my running guests Sean Astin, Jeff Galloway and former Imagineer Terri Hardin Jackson.

A few photos from this morning:

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Welcome Event
Training experts from runDisney and Runner's World offer advice to the crowd.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Welcome Event
Attendees practice some stretches.

A very fit Mickey Mouse with runDisney Brand Manager Tammy Jacobson.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-26-2014 - The Emmys' Robin Williams Tribute, Villains at Walt Disney World and Happy Anniversary 'Mary Poppins'!

Seth Meyers, 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards
Seth Meyers hosted the
2014 Primetime Emmy Awards.
This year's Emmy Awards show was a generally entertaining, if unsurprising, TV spectacle (Breaking Bad...check. Modern Family...check). If there was one reason to tune in Monday night, however, it was to catch Billy Crystal's poignant tribute to his close friend Robin Williams, who died on August 11. In the latest Inside The Mouse Castle, Anthony and I discuss one of the most moving In Memorium segments of this, or any other awards show, in recent memory.

Also in this episode:
  • Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is adding an extra touch of villainy to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween-Party this year. The Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle is a new event, hosted by the evil stepmother herself, Lady Tremaine, that features music, desserts and special viewings of Mickey’s “Boo-too-You” Halloween Parade and the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular. It sounds like fun, but is it really worth the $99 price tag to get in?
Lady Tremaine
Lady Tremaine hosts the Villains' Sinister Soiree at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Happy 50th Birthday to the practically perfect Mary Poppins, which opened at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on August 27, 1964. 
  • Community star Donald Glover will finally get a crack at playing a role he's long coveted, Spider-Man. Previously passed over for current film Spidey Andrew Garfield, Glover will voice the web-slinger in Disney XD’s animated series, Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.
  • We're really excited about a new book written by longtime Disney animator Andreas Deja. The Nine Old Men: Lessons, Techniques, and Inspiration from Disney's Greatest Animators will be released in February 2015 and you can pre-order your copy on Amazon right now.
  • Starting tomorrow, I will be in the Happiest Place on Earth to take part in the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. I'll be running in the 5K race on Friday and the 10K on Saturday (nope, not doing the half yet). Want to track my progress in the 10K on your smartphone? Text my bib number (30834) to 345678. Interested in other stalkerish behavior this weekend?: Visit

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-22-2014 - Battle of 'The Jungle Books,' 'The Good Dinosaur' Do-Over and Tim and Anthony's Ice Bucket Challenge

Disney and Warner Bros. are releasing live-action-plus-CG/motion-capture versions of The Jungle Book in 2015 (Disney) and 2016 (Warner Bros.). Over the last few weeks a casting battle has ensued with both studios announcing A-listers joining their productions. For those of you keeping score at home:

The Jungle Book - Baloo, Mowgli and Bagheera
Disney's original animated The Jungle Book (1967)

Disney's 'The Jungle Book'
Mowgli - Neel Sethi
Baloo - Bill Murray
Bagheera - Ben Kingsley
Shere Khan - Idris Elba
Kaa - Scarlett Johansson
King Louie - Christopher Walken
Rakcha - Lupito Nyong'o
Akela - Giancarlo Esposito

Warner Bros.' 'Jungle Book: Origins'
Mowgli - Rohan Chand
Baloo - Andy Serkis
Bagheera - Christian Bale
Shere Khan - Benedict Cumberbatch
Kaa - Cate Blanchett
Nisha - Naomie Harris
Vihaan - Eddie Marsan
Brother Wolf - Jack Raynor
Tabaqui - Tom Hollander
Akela - Peter Mullan

In this edition of Inside the Mouse Castle, Anthony and I discuss the casting choices and which Jungle Book production we're favoring. Here's what else we're talking about:
  • Pixar is completely revamping The Good Dinosaur. This tale of dinosaurs co-existing with humans was originally slated for release this year, but now won't be out until November 2015. Is this a case of quality control, or is it a film in trouble?
  • Brian Patrick Wade will join the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this year as the villain Absorbing Man. This quicker picker-upper joins an impressive roster of guest stars that include Adrianne Palicki, Kyle MacLachlan and Lucy Lawless.
  • Get out your handkerchiefs. Monday night's Primetime Emmy Awards will include a special tribute to the late Robin Williams. His longtime friend Billy Crystal, who has been mostly silent--at least publicly--about Williams' death, will lead the tribute.
Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty
A screening of Disney's Sleeping Beauty? Well, well.
  • Tickets are still available for a special D23 screening of Sleeping Beauty at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank that coincides with the release of the animated classic on Blu-ray. Noted producer and filmmaker (and previous guest in The Mouse Castle Lounge) Don Hahn will be on hand to talk about the evolution of the princess's tale from the 1959 film to this year's Maleficent. The screening is open to D23 Gold and Silver members only. For details, visit
  • No one has yet challenged Anthony and I, so we decided to challenge each other. We're talking the Ice Bucket Challenge. We'll be dousing ourselves this weekend all in the name of raising money and awareness for ALS research. Watch for our videos posting very soon.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The 2013 Disneyland 5K

Running right down the middle of
Main Street, U.S.A.
Even though it was only a year ago, this qualifies as a Throwback Thursday, right?

The photo at left is me chugging down Main Street, U.S.A. before dawn at last year's Disneyland 5K. A week from tomorrow I'll be doing it again. 

Plus, I'm adding the Disneyland 10K on Saturday.

I draw the line at the half marathon, though. Oh, hell no. Not yet.

My attitude towards running has changed a bit since I laced up my Skechers for my first RunDisney event. I take running a little more seriously these days and I've actually done something that resembles training over the last seven weeks. I'm going to run events on consecutive days for the first time ever on Labor Day weekend and I've set a personal goal for the 10K. I intend to finish it in under one hour.

And yes, I'm still having fun.

I won't just be running next week. I'll also be covering the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend for The Mouse Castle. I'll record my part of Friday's Inside the Mouse Castle with Anthony post-5K at the Disneyland Resort, and during the week I'll be talking to runners and RunDisney staff for a special edition of The Mouse Castle Lounge

And how about you? Are you taking part in the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend? Have you participated in other RunDisney events? How many tutus do you own? Please share your comments below. Hope to see you at the races Labor Day weekend!

2013 Disneyland 5K and 10K Finish Line
The finish line for last year's Disneyland 5K and 10K.
For more info about the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, visit

Club Penguin Hosting a 'Frozen' Party

Well, this makes sense.

Club Penguin is going Frozen.

Disney's kid-friendly online community full of snowbound games and adventures is hosting a Frozen Party today through September 3. Members will be able to dress up their penguin personas as characters from the film like Olaf, Sven, Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. They can also completely transform into the good/evil snowman of their choice, Olaf or Marshmallow, after locating a requisite amount of magical snowflakes that Elsa has hidden around Club Penguin Island. Oh, and if you want to build a snowman puffle (the resident pets of Club Penguin) you can do that as well.

Build and decorate your own Ice Palace igloo. Elsa's working on her own which should be completed in about a week. I suspect there will be "Let it Go" music of some kind when it's done.

To find out more about Club Penguin, visit

"Frozen's" Elsa, Club Penguin style

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

'Disney Infinity' to Offer Alternative 2.0 Starter Pack

Disney Infinity 2.0 Toy Box Starter Pack

Sensing that maybe not all Disney Infinity fans are clamoring for the upcoming Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes starter pack, Disney Interactive announced yesterday that a more Disney-centric starter pack nicknamed Disney Originals will be released on November 4, nearly a month and a half after Marvel Super Heroes makes its debut. So, if you love traditional Disney but aren't a fan of Marvel, you're going to have to wait a while for your shot at Infinity 2.0.

Disney Originals will come with a Stitch and Merida figurine, two power discs, a 2.0 base and a video game disc for your console system. The main difference between Disney Originals and Marvel Super Heroes is the absence of a game piece specific to the Disney Originals set, hence it's a "Toy Box Starter Pack."

Disney Originals will list for $59.99, compared to $74.99 for the Marvel set. You can catch a glimpse of both 2.0 sets below:


Inside The Mouse Castle 08-19-2014 - 'Ant-Man,' 'Star Wars' and Disney's Hollywood Studios

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang in "Ant-Man"
Paul Rudd as a slightly beat up Scott Lang in Ant-Man.
Principal shooting began this week in San Francisco.
First, I want to dispel the rumor that Anthony now wishes to be known as Ant-Man. Those closest to him already know he prefers to be called the Scarlet Witch.

That said, we have a lot of Marvel news in the latest Inside The Mouse Castle as Ant-Man (the movie) begins principal shooting this week in San Francisco. We also have casting updates on the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and confirmed release dates for some upcoming Marvel films.

Also in this episode:
  • got the Interwebs in a tizzy over the rumor that Disney will release the original theatrical cut of Star Wars (before George Lucas started tinkering with it) to Blu-ray. We're skeptical and we'll tell you why.
  • The American Idol Experience is closing at Disney's Hollywood Studios next week, nearly five months earlier than originally announced. Does Walt Disney World have plans for the soon-to-be empty theater? We think so and we'll share our wild speculations with you.
  • Need a dose of cute? There's a new baby gorilla at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The as-yet-unnamed critter was born on August 7 and is the son of mother Azizi and father Gino. 
  • Last weekend's Toy Box Summit at Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City got us super excited about Disney Infinity 2.0 coming out in September. Okay, it's got me excited. Anthony still hasn't gotten on board with it. In other video game news, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is now available for pre-order and will be out on October 21 for Xbox One and Xbox 360 Kinect. We're very intrigued about this musical collaboration between Disney Interactive and Harmonix, the creator of Rock Band.
I'll leave you with this one final thought:

Phineas and Ferb meet Shaun of the Dead



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Monday, August 18, 2014

Marvel's 'Ant-Man' Begins Production in San Francisco

Ant-Man poster
Ant-Man, the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, began shooting in San Francisco today. The film stars Paul Rudd as the title hero, a con-man named Scott Lang who dons a super suit that allows him to shrink in size but increase in strength. With the help of his mentor and creator of the suit, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Ant-Man takes on a series of threats and becomes involved in a heist that could save the world.

The film will also star Evangeline Lilly as Hank Pym's daughter Hope Van Dyne and Corey Stall as Ant-Man's nemesis Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket. Ant-Man is being directed by Peyton Reed.

Other cast members include Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, Abby Ryder Fortson, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Wood Harris, John Slattery, Gregg Turkington and T.I.

Ant-Man will also shoot on-location in Atlanta, where the production is based. The film is scheduled for release in the U.S. on July 17, 2015.

Other Marvel films scheduled for upcoming release are Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6, 2016 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on July 28, 2017.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Watch Disney Infinity's Toy Box Summit Live!

This weekend, Disney Infinity and Avalanche Software are hosting an invitation-only gathering of top Toy Box designers from around the world. Though most of us cannot be there in person, you can get a sneak peek of the goings on below starting at 8:00 a.m. PT today. It will be an excellent opportunity to see what the great designers are doing and to also get a preview of what Disney Infinity 2.0 has to offer.

Click to enlarge.

Watch live video from Disney on

Friday, August 15, 2014

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-15-2014 - Layoffs at DisneyToon Studios and Radio Disney, More Robin Williams and Sing Along with 'Frozen'

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams daughter, Zelda Williams, already devastated by her father's death, had to contend with two disgusting Internet trolls on Twitter. As a result, she's taking a (we hope temporary) break from social media. In today's edition of Inside the Mouse Castle, Tim and Anthony talk more about the reaction to Robin Williams' death and point out some of the more heartwarming tributes, especially on Broadway, the late actor and comedian received this week.

Also, in this episode:
  • Radio Disney is shutting down all but one of its AM radio stations to focus on online distribution. Two hundred employees will lose their job as a result of the closure. Meanwhile, DisneyToon Studios is letting go 16 of its 20 full-time employees following the poor performance of Planes: Fire & Rescue at the box office.
Planes: Fire & Rescue
  • On November 18th, Disney will release a new DVD: Frozen: Sing-Along Edition. It's an updated version for people who haven't figured out how to turn on closed-captioning on their existing Frozen DVD/Blu-ray.
  • Disney Infinity and Avalanche Software are hosting a private Toy Box Summit this weekend for the top at-home creators of Toy Box worlds for the Disney Infinity video game. We pick on these gamers a little for their excess devotion to the game, but when you look at the work they're doing and the imagination and skill involved, we may owe them an apology.

  • Disney and Amazon are in a dispute over the pre-order pricing of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and other Disney titles on Blu-ray. As a result, you cannot currently pre-order Cap on Amazon. You can, however, buy it on streaming video. Go figure.
  • Star Wars: Force for Change held a fund-raising campaign on the crowdsource charity site Omaze to benefit UNICEF Innovation Labs. The campaign raised over $4.2 million from contributors all over the world. Aside from helping out a worthwhile cause, contributors were also entered in a drawing to appear in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. D.C. Barns from Denver, Colorado was the lucky winner.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-12-2014 - Remembering Robin Williams

Robin Williams on the cover of
Disney Magazine, Winter 1997-98
We still haven't gotten over the shock of Robin Williams' tragic suicide at his California home on Monday. Perhaps we never will. The Mouse Castle sends its deepest sympathies to Robin Williams' family, friends and all those affected by his death. His fans were many and we count ourselves among them. He is irreplaceable will be greatly missed.

In the latest episode of Inside the Mouse Castle, Anthony and I devote the entire show to looking back at Williams' stellar career. We celebrate his incredible and unique talent, his rapid-fire wit as a stand-up comedian, and his surprising depth as a serious (and Oscar-winning) actor.

We'll talk about Williams' great films like Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, Vietnam and The Fisher King. We'll even touch on a few clunkers like Toys and Death to Smoochy--I'm sorry, Anthony. It's just not a good film.

And, of course, we'll journey to Agrabah and remember Williams' sublime voice work as the Genie in Aladdin. We've never had a friend like him before or since.

It's a very special episode devoted to an entertainment genius the likes of which we may never see again. Enjoy.

Genie (and friends) in Aladdin

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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Mouse Castle Lounge 08-10-2014 - Marceline Historian Kaye Malins

Kaye Malins (far right) at the 2011 D23 Expo
with her staff from the Walt Disney Hometown Museum
Walt Disney once said of his boyhood home in Missouri, "More things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since--or are likely to in the future."

Marceline historian Kaye Malins is making sure those important memories are preserved. Kaye is director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, a treasure trove of over 3,000 photos and assorted memorabilia that tell Walt's story both as a child and as an adult returning to his beloved Marceline. Most of the items were donated by the family of Ruth Disney Beecher, Walt's younger sister and a friend of Kaye's before Ruth passed away in 1995.

The Museum is just one of the many sights to see in this small farm community just a two-hour drive from Kansas City. There is also Walt's Barn, located on the same property young Walt and his family lived on from 1906-1911. The barn is a recreation of the original structure that stood there in Walt's time and identical to the one he built at his Carolwood Estate in Holmby Hills in the 1950s. The barn is open to the public and visitors are encouraged to leave messages to and about Walt on its interior walls (bring a Sharpie). Nearby is the Dreaming Tree, a long-suffering (it's been struck by lightning multiple times over the years) cottonwood tree that Walt himself would daydream under as a child. Appropriately, Kaye and her family live in the home on the property, but it's their private residence and no tours are available.

Kaye is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge and she has many fascinating stories to tell about Walt Disney and about Marceline's history. Visitors to that other museum, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, can meet Kaye in person on August 23rd, as she co-presents a screening of the historical documentary Marceline by filmmakers Andy and Sara Neitzert.


The Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, MO.

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Memories of Marceline
Marceline Photo Gallery

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Inside the Mouse Castle 08-08-2014 - The Haunted Mansion at 45, Star Wars at Disneyland and the D23 Expo

Saturday marks the 45th birthday of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Come out to socialize with Tim and Anthony as they share a little Mansion history and talk about what makes the home of 999 happy haunts such an incredible attraction all these years later.

Also, in this episode:
  • CEO Bob Iger got the interwebs buzzing this week with his comment that Disney's plan to "grow Stars Wars' presence significantly" in the parks. We'll look at what it means and what it doesn't and why everyone just needs to settle down.
  • Tickets to the 2015 D23 Expo, Disney's ultimate fan event, go on sale on August 14th at 10 a.m. PT. We take a look back at past Expos and try to justify why spending $2,000 for a Sorcerer Package ticket might actually be a pretty good deal.
  • Disney is opening the video vault and releasing Tarzan, Hercules and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad on Blu-ray for the first time. A newer home video release is Disneynature's Bears and Tim offers his review of the Alaska nature doc. It's a beautiful film, but does is really benefit from being narrated by Wreck-It Ralph?

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion marks its 45th year.


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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

D23 Expo Tickets On Sale August 14th

D23, the official Disney fan club, announced today that tickets for the biennial D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center will go on sale August 14th at 10:00 a.m. PT, a full year ahead of the event. Once again, discount pricing will be available for buying early, with the best prices reserved for D23 members.

Gold and Silver level members with deep pockets can throw down $2,000 (an increase of $500 from 2013) to buy a Sorcerer Package which includes:
  • Three-day admission ticket and commemorative Sorcerer credential
  • Reserved seating at all presentations in the main hall, Stage 23, and Stage 28
  • Limited-edition D23 American Tourister boarding bag
  • Pre-Expo tour of the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit
  • Special tour of the Walt Disney Imagineering Pavilion
  • Exclusive shopping time in the D23 Expo Dream Store, Disney Store, and Mickey’s of Glendale
  • Tour of the D23 Expo show floor the day before the Expo is open to the public
  • Welcome Reception on Thursday evening
  • Exclusive entrance to the Expo each morning
  • A voucher for an appointment with an on-site massage therapist
  • Exclusive D23 Expo gift pack including gifts from D23 and the rest of The Walt Disney Company
  • Saturday morning Meet and Greet Coffee with a special Disney guest
  • “Fond Farewell” reception on final day of Expo
  • Plus, access to the Sorcerer Member Lounge and other benefits
Despite the price, it will probably only take a few minutes for these limited-availability Sorcerer tix to sell-out. If you're so inclined, have your credit card and D23 membership card ready immediately when tickets go on sale. Because, seriously, you cannot put a price on being first in line for all the arena and stage presentations.

Bert and Mary's merry-go-round horses from Mary Poppins were part of
the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at 2013's D23 Expo.
The D23 Expo showcases all things Disney (and Pixar and Lucasfilm and Marvel) in movies, television, theme parks, consumer products, online media and video games. Given 2015 is Disneyland's 60th birthday and will mark the return of Star Wars to movie theaters, I'd say this Expo has plenty going for it. An exclusive preview of Episode VII with J.J. Abrams and cast is pretty much a guarantee. I think the line for that presentation has already formed.

Animator Glen Keane was honored as a Disney Legend in 2013.
The Expo will also feature the return of favorites like the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit, the Disney Legends Awards and, of course, appearances by a host of celebrities. Special guests at previous D23 Expos include Johnny Depp, Jodi Benson, Robert Downey Jr., Angelina Jolie, Tom Hiddleston, Alan Menken, Richard Sherman, Billy Crystal and John Goodman.

For more Expo information and how to order tickets, visit

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-05-2014 - 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' 'Alice in Wonderland 2' and Walt Disney Meets 'Drunk History'

Guardians of the Galaxy opened to huge box office numbers over the weekend, racking up $94.3 million dollars and setting a U.S. record for an August film release. Tim and Anthony talk about the film's success, where it ranks in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the movie's uber nerd director James Gunn.

Also, in this episode:
  • Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass has began principal photography in England with most of the cast from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman) intact. This is not thrilling news given Tim and Anthony's dislike of Burton's film. Still it's encouraging that James Bobin (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted) will direct and will almost certainly give the sequel a lighter touch than its predecessor.
Mia Wasikowska as Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
  • Bill Murray will voice Baloo in Disney's reboot of The Jungle Book, slated for release on October 9, 2015. No word on if he'll croon The Bare Necessities as a cheesy lounge singer.

  • Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee is penning a script for Disney based on Madeleine L'Engle's famed children's book A Wrinkle in Time. It was one of Lee's favorite stories growing up.

  • The Muppets are back in a series of short comedic vignettes, Disney Drive-On with The Muppets. In episodes available only on, Kermit the Frog assigns Pepe the King Prawn to mentor Walter on the ins and outs Disney Studio activity. On the way, they encounter celebrities like Martin Landau and Jennifer Tilly. Yeah, we think it's cute too.

  • Gravity Falls is back (finally) for a second season on Disney Channel and Disney XD. Tim waxes poetic about the animated denizens of the strange Oregon town and pines for the voice of Mabel Pines, Kristen Schaal.
  • A seven-minute preview of Star Wars: Rebels is online now. Time to tear to shreds the animated series Anthony calls "Aladdin in Space."

  • Walt Disney was known to enjoy a drink of scotch or two during his life. How this plays into Walt being portrayed in an episode of Comedy Central's Drunk History remains to be seen. You can catch the episode which stars Jack Black, John Lithgow, Nick Kroll, Tony Hale, and Lindsay Sloane tonight (8/5) on Comedy Central.


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Mouse Castle Lounge 08-03-2014 - Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess

Bobby Burgess at a 2010
Mouseketeer reunion.
Bobby Burgess has spent nearly 60 years in show business and worked for two of the great showmen of the 20th century, Walt Disney and Lawrence Welk. He was one of the original Mouseketeers, joining the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955 when he was only 14. He was part of a television phenomenon that made household names out of himself and his cast mates, talented and energetic kids-next-door with names like Sharon, Darlene, Cubby, Karen, Tommy, Lonnie and Annette--especially Annette.

Bobby would be among the handful of Moueketeers to appear on all four seasons of the first series, but at age 18 he was far from done as an entertainer. In 1961, he became a regular on The Lawrence Welk Show and remained part of that musical variety show family for the next 21 years on both network television and in syndication. Bobby's specialty was tap and ballroom dancing and he choreographed countless routines for himself and his partners on the show. Even today, more than 20 years after Welk's death, Burgess still performs with many of the players from the show, usually to sold out houses.

Bobby dances with fellow Mouseketeer
Sharon Baird at Disneyland's grand opening.
In this edition of The Mouse Castle Lounge, I talk with Bobby about his entertainment career and his new book Ears & Bubbles: Dancing My Way from The Mickey Mouse Club to The Lawrence Welk Show. Bobby shares with me his memories of Walt Disney, Annette Funicello, Lawrence Welk and how being a Mouseketeer once helped him get out of a speeding ticket.

It's a delightful conversation with a charming and talented entertainer. Enjoy!


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55 Years Later . . . Mouseketeers, Roll Call, Count Off Now!