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 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.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 04-22-2015 - 'Star Wars' Celebration, Obi-Wan Kenobi in 'Beauty and the Beast' and More Disney Lawsuits

By Tim Callaway

Men at work.
A week later, Anthony and I are still talking about last weekend's Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. And if you haven't heard enough about it on our previous Mouse Castle Lounge shows, we'll give you another taste today as Anthony shares his thoughts on the event. We also touch on the teaser for the Star Wars offshoot Rogue One, how you can get your own BB-8 ball droid, and the effect The Force Awakens trailer had on the stock market. 

And since we know you all don't live by Star Wars alone, we offer you these tasty tidbits in the latest edition of Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • We will never get tired of saying how excited we are about the cast of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. Ewan McGregor (Lumiere) and Stanley Tucci (Cadenza, a new character that's a piano) are the latest actors to sign on. 2017 can't get here fast enough.
Concept of the Millennium Falcon play area aboard the Disney Dream.
  • The Disney Dream will make kid-friendly enhancements during its October dry dock. Our favorite is a Star Wars-themed Millennium Falcon play area. <sigh> Why does it just have to be for kids?
  • News of what we can expect in Disney Infinity 3.0 has leaked out. It looks like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Mulan, Olaf, Sam Flynn, Quorra and the cast of emotions from Inside Out will be part of the next iteration of the popular game. No official word yet on when they'll be released.
Coming to Disney Infinity 3.0?
  • Disney is fighting a lawsuit filed by filmmaker Kelly Wilson over similarities between her short film The Snowman and Disney's first teaser trailer for Frozen. Wilson is claiming copyright infringement. Her film was screened at the 2011 San Francisco International Film Festival, an event that was also attended by Disney/Pixar employees. The Frozen teaser was not released until 2013. A judge has twice denied Disney's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit. What do you think? Take a look at both films:
You can view The Snowman HERE. We think Disney may want to settle this one out of court.
  • In a more entertaining lawsuit, a West Virginia woman is suing Disney for implanting her with a chip. You just can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 04-20-2015 - Star Wars Celebration 2015 Recap

By Tim Callaway

What happens when a group of Star Wars nerds get together over drinks to swap stories about Star Wars Celebration? In this case, we turn it into the latest episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge. We spent Sunday afternoon at Uva Bar in Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort talking about our favorite panels, events, celebrity guests, cosplayers and, yes, drinks.

How did Star Wars Celebration compare to other cons like the D23 Expo, Comic-Con and the Emerald City Comicon? Was it worth the money? Did it deliver content you could get elsewhere? What were the unique elements that made Star Wars Celebration stand out? The Force Awakens Trailer? The Star Wars Rebels season two trailer? Carrie Fisher? Most importantly, would you do it again? Or would you do not? This is the podcast you’re looking for and we've got a good feeling about it. It’s Star Wars Celebration in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

Carolyn, Tim and Susie from Team Mouse Castle at
Uva Bar in Downtown Disney.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 04-17-2015 - Star Wars Celebration, Day One

By Tim Callaway

Star Wars fans from around the world are at the Anaheim Convention Center for Star Wars Celebration, a 4-day extravaganza of presentations, exhibits, costumes and celebrity guests that are all about that time long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Team Mouse Castle is here all weekend, checking out as much as we can, talking to fans, attending presentations, totally getting our geek on. And in a year that will see the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December, all I can say is you can feel an awful lot of excitement among the tens of thousands of fans here at Star Wars Celebration.

Thursday, day one, was a huge day at Star Wars Celebration. The event kicked off with the highly anticipated appearance of Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy. And they did not disappoint. You might have heard something about it. There was this--I don't know--movie trailer, I guess, that premiered. 

That was the biggest highlight of the day in a day full of highlights. There were a lot of fans and a lot of fun. Thursday night, my buddy Scott Linder and I got together over a few cocktails at the Anabella Hotel to recap day one and to look ahead to what else is in store this weekend. It's not a trap. It's Star Wars Celebration in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 04-14-2015 - 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Premiere, 'Star Wars' Celebration and Selfie Sticks

By Tim Callaway

Avengers: Age of Ultron Premiere
Avengers assemble!
The Avengers assembled at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood Monday night for the world premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Go on the red carpet to hear from the film's stars Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evens, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader and director Joss Whedon with a cameo (of course) by Stan Lee.

Tim and Anthony don their super suits and discuss the high expectations attached to the newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how Age of Ultron could make as much as $2 billion worldwide, placing it in the rarefied air of Avatar and Titanic. They also talk about a few other things in this super long, super entertaining episode of Inside The Mouse Castle
  • 'Star Wars' Celebration, the massive gathering of Lucasfilm uberfans, gets underway this week at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy will hold court at the first panel of the event Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Fans can line up to see the presentation beginning at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night. Wednesday night?!? (NOTE: after we finished recording this episode, 'Star Wars' Celebration announced that the Abrams/Kennedy panel--along with 30-plus hours of content--will be streamed live online at
Star Wars Celebration
  • It's official! The legendary Hatbox Ghost is finally returning to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion in May. We anticipate he'll (dis)appear in the area behind the "window" that mysteriously showed up recently in the attic across from the Bride. 
  • In other Mansion news, Guillermo del Toro's new Haunted Mansion film is moving forward and will star Ryan Gosling.
  • Steven Spielberg will direct his first Disney film, The BFG, co-produced by Disney, Dreamworks and Walden Media, is based on a story by Roald Dahl and is scheduled for release in July 2016.
  • Ian McKellen will play Cogsworth in Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast. With a cast that already includes Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad and Audra McDonald, can expectations for this film get any higher?
  • Disney is developing a new live-action retelling of Pinocchio, which naturally makes us nostalgic for the 2000 made-for-TV movie Geppetto starring Drew Carey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
  • Brad Bird is working on a script for The Incredibles 2. It's about time.
  • Theme park guests can get a sneak peek at Bird's newest film, Tomorrowland, starting this Friday at Disneyland and Saturday at Epcot.
  • The Matterhorn and Peter Pan are both getting upgrades for Disneyland's 60th. Down for refurb now, the attractions will reopen sometime in May.
  • A fatal crash at the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World took the life of racing instructor Gary Terry over the weekend. Our condolences to his family and friends.
  • Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination, a new exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum, opens on July 10th. It will explore the longtime friendship and artistic collaboration between Walt and the surrealist painter Salvador Dali.
The Boathouse at Walt Disney World
The Boathouse
  • The upscale restaurant The Boathouse opened at Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) at Walt Disney World this week. Who wants to share a $115 steak with us?
  • Selfie sticks have been outlawed at Walt Disney World. Or not. Or maybe just on attractions. Who knows? Actually, we do.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 04-06-2015 - 'Mulan,' 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'Star Wars' Weekends

By Tim Callaway

Big spring break crowds at Disneyland
Big spring break crowds at Disneyland.
Yes, Disneyland is busy this time of year.

Anthony survived massive spring break crowds at Disneyland last week and reports back to us in this edition of Inside The Mouse Castle. How crowded is too crowded at the Happiest Place on Earth and when, if ever, does it stop being fun? Do day guests have a higher tolerance for crowds than annual pass holders? Today, we answer these questions and share our take on these other fascinating topics:
  • Mulan and Winnie the Pooh join Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and Dumbo as the latest animated titles being turned into live action films at Disney. Is the studio finally getting carried away with this trend? Probably not as long as they keep making big bucks at the box office like their predecessors Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and Cinderella.
  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has joined the cast of Moana. He'll voice the demigod Maui, who helps the intrepid title character on a search for a fabled Pacific island.
Johnny Depp with Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Johnny Depp with Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
  • In Australia, production has shut down on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales while star Johnny Depp recovers from hand surgery in the U.S. Depp injured himself in an off-set incident unrelated to his fifth turn as Captain Jack Sparrow. Shooting is expected to resume on April 15th. The film is still scheduled for a July 2017 release.
  • Star Wars Weekends return to Disney's Hollywood Studios beginning May 15th. Celebrity appearances during the event now include Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Frank Oz (Yoda) and Warwick Davis (Wicket). For a complete list of guests, visit
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Polynesian Villas & Bungalows.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows had their grand opening at Walt Disney World. The latest Disney Vacation Club properties feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living and dining areas and a plunge pool. They can each accommodate up to eight guests. Oh, and they're very expensive.
  • Are the Muppets returning to TV? Sure looks like it as ABC has ordered a pilot for a proposed Muppets 2015 series project.
  • A federal judge threw out a complaint filed by employees of Pixar, Dreamworks Animation and Sony Pictures Animation accusing the studios of systemic collusion and wage fixing. the case was tossed because a four-year statute of limitations had run out. The employees may refile their complaint within 30 days if they can demonstrate the wage fixing practices continued after September 8, 2010.
Tangled: The Musical.
  • The Disney Magic is getting a new musical stage show for their seafaring guests...and it's not Frozen! Tangled: The Musical will begin performances on Bahamian cruises beginning November 11th.