Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 09-28-2015 - Season of the Force, Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar and the Death of Duffy

By Tim Callaway

Star Wars Launch Bay
The Season of the Force is coming to Disneyland November 16th and we have all the details in this week's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle.

As excitement builds for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December and the January groundbreaking of Star Wars Land, the Star Wars Launch Bay will open in the old Innoventions building in Tomorrowland. There will be plenty to preview of the upcoming Star Wars films and eventually, we assume, the park expansion. Also in the Launch Bay will be the obligatory Star Wars character meet-and-greets. Next door, a new Space Mountain overlay, Hyperspace Mountain, will rocket guests through an X-wing Figher battle. Star Tours will get an upgrade as well, adding new show elements based on The Force Awakens.

The Force is strong with today's show. Here's what else we have:
  • The Star Wars Land expansion at Disneyland means extended ride closures during construction. Everything on the Rivers of America including the Mark Twain, Columbia and Tom Sawyer will be shut down for more than a year beginning January 11, 2016. Likewise Fantasmic! and the Disneyland Railroad. While much of the Internet is speculating on what the new train and river configurations will be when the dust settles and Star Wars emerges, Anthony and I offer our short-term take on what no train, no Big Thunder Trail and no Fantasmic! will do to crowd control. We don't think it will be pretty.
  • Disneyland is extending its Diamond Celebration until September 2016, which means the resort will turn 61 while it's still turning 60. 
  • Websites that offer dining reservation services at Disney resorts (usually for a fee) are coming under fire by Disney. Disney Dining Buddy is the first site to suspend activity after receiving a "request" by the Mouse to stop.
Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
  • The Indiana Jones-referential Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar has opened at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs (no longer Downtown Disney). We want to go there.
  • Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn in Tron: Legacy) says a Tron 3 film may not be dead on the grid after all. Maybe.
  • Duffy the Disney Bear is bidding farewell to Epcot. This pleases us. Outside of Japan, he never was a thing.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 09-27-2015 - Author, Historian and Disney Animator Tom Sito, Part One

By Tim Callaway

Tom Sito
Tom Sito
Tom Sito has devoted his life to creating animation and preserving the animation profession’s rich history. Tom was an animator and story artist at Disney during the studio’s second golden age, contributing his talents to classic films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas. In the years that followed, Tom spent time at both DreamWorks Animation and Warner Bros. His credits at those studios include The Prince of Egypt, Antz, Shrek, Osmosis Jones and The Looney Tunes Movie.

Tom served three terms as president of the Hollywood Animation Guild and his fascination with union history, particularly the 1941 Walt Disney Studios strike, resulted in Tom’s 2006 book Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson. Tom is a former vice president of ASIFA/Hollywood, the International Animated Film Society, and in 2010 he received one of the organization’s highest honors, the June Foray Award, in recognition of his significant lifetime contribution to the animation industry.

Tom is currently professor chair of the School of Animation and Digital Arts at USC and he recently appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary, Walt Disney. Tom is a consummate storyteller and in part one of our two part conversation, he shares with us some of the highlights of his animation career. Tom Sito is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


Related: The Mouse Castle Lounge 10-03-2015 - Tom Sito, Part Two, and the CHOC Walk in the Park

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Get a 360-Degree View of Jakku from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

By Tim Callaway

Take a 360-degree tour of Jakku in this really fun Star Wars: The Force Awakens video. It's one of the first Facebook 360 videos that can now be seen on the social media site. We just like seeing all the wrecked star destroyers.

Click and drag on the video to adjust your point of view. Watching it in full-screen mode is pretty amazing.

Speed across the Jakku desert from Star Wars: The Force Awakens with this immersive 360 experience created exclusively for Facebook.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 09-21-2015 - Halloween and Christmas at Disneyland, 'Star Wars' on Netflix and a New 'Mary Poppins'

By Tim Callaway

Anthony is back from a week at Disneyland, where he checked out all the Halloween Time activities. There was fall finery everywhere and pumpkin spice-flavored everything, but, we're mostly excited by this perfect pic Anthony took of the goat on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. 

Of course, Halloween festivities are barely underway and we're already talking about Christmas. We've got a preview of all the stuff to expect--and what will be missing--from this year's holiday events at Disneyland. 

Here's what else we have slated for this episode of Inside The Mouse Castle. It's enough to make your head spin. 
  • Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, POTC 4) will direct a new Mary Poppins movie for Disney. Before you lose your minds for them daring to touch this untouchable classic, keep in mind this will not be a remake of the original. It won't exactly be a sequel either. P.L. Travers wrote eight Mary Poppins books. The new movie will likely be adapted from stories we haven't seen on the screen before. If you really want something to be excited about, Emily Blunt (Into the Woods) is the rumored front-runner for the role of the practically perfect nanny. We can't think of a better choice.
  • Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects) has confirmed he'll direct a remake of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We aren't certain if it's going to be for Disney or not, but we're intrigued nevertheless.
  • There's a new trailer for next year's live-action remake of The Jungle Book. Despite some interesting casting choices (Bill Murray as Baloo, Christopher Walken as King Louie), we're not terribly excited yet for this CG-heavy adventure.

  • Star Wars is coming to Netflix. Maybe. Kind of. Probably not where you are. Whatever.
  • Here's some travel advice for your next Walt Disney World visit: don't joke about building a meth lab in your hotel room. Kthanksbye.

Download: http://traffic.libsyn.com/insidethemousecastle/InsideTheMouseCastle09-21-2015.mp3

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 09-19-2015 - 'The Muppets' on ABC and 'The Emperor's New Groove'

By Tim Callaway

Miss Piggy and Kermit in The Muppets
Miss Piggy and Kermit in The Muppets.
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo the Great, the whole gang is back for a new show on ABC. The Muppets premieres this Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. And the thing that has me really excited about the show is it’s taking the behind-the-scenes antics that were part of the original Muppet Show and bringing them up to date. So, instead of seeing what goes on backstage while the Muppets desperately attempt to put on a theatrical review, we get to see what goes on behind the scenes as the Muppets attempt to produce a night-time TV talk show, Up Late With Miss Piggy.

The Muppets is a reality show—well, as much of a reality show as a show about the Muppets can be. It comes complete with handheld camerawork, celebrity guest stars, and intimate one-on-one conversations with the cast. In fact, we’re going to get a little taste of that in today's show. Joining me today are some of the cast of The Muppets, starting with the green guy himself, Kermit the Frog.

On Monday, September 21st, one of my favorite modern-era Disney animated films is going to be celebrating its 15th anniversary with a special screening at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The Emperor’s New Groove will be shown at 7:00 p.m. and will be introduced by an esteemed panel of artists: the film’s executive producer Don Hahn, director Mark Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer and screenwriter David Reynolds. In May of last year, Don Hahn was my guest in The Mouse Castle Lounge and among the many things we talked about was The Emperor’s New Groove. Return with me, if you will, to that show and hear what Don had to say about this extremely funny, irreverent and unlikely fan favorite.

For our friends in the Los Angeles area, tickets are still available to see The Emperor’s New Groove on the big screen (and Don Hahn and Mark Dindal and Randy Fullmer and Mark Reynolds). Just call 1-800-Disney6 or visit www.ElCapitanTickets.com. The doors open at 6:00 Monday night and the screening starts at 7:00. I highly recommend you get there early for trivia, a costume contest and a whole lot more. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 09-14-2015 - 'Walt Disney' on PBS, 'Frozen' Replaces 'Aladdin,' and What's New with 'Incredibles 2'

By Tim Callaway

Puppet Master Walt.
After technical difficulties and busy travel schedules squashed last week's show, Anthony and I are back for another go-round Inside The Mouse Castle

We start off with my review of Walt Disney, the new American Experience documentary airing this week on PBS. It's an earnest, if somewhat biased, depiction of Walt's life that plays up the darker elements of his personality and career. Fans will appreciate the rare photographs and archival footage, while Disney history buffs will question how the film presents Walt's relationship with his father, his actions during the 1941 studio strike and the assorted psychobabble spouted by some of the "experts" who try to crawl inside Walt's head.

Here's what else we have in this week's episode:
  • A live action Frozen stage show will replace the long-running Disney's Aladdin--A Musical Spectacular production in the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure...and the Internet loses its mind.
  • Meanwhile, Anthony was totally amused by this video of Kelsey Grammer falling off the Hyperion Theater stage in 2005.

  • We now know for certain that Disneyland and Walt Disney World will break ground on their Star Wars-Land expansions next year. That means the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the popular holiday light show at Disney's Hollywood Studios will blink out after this year.
  • Director Brad Bird has let it be known that work on Incredibles 2 is moving along briskly, so well that it will likely be released before the other Pixar sequel, Cars 3. That still means it probably won't be out until 2018, but any news about The Incredibles is good news.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 will be available on Apple TV after the streaming service undergoes an extensive update in October.
  • Some participants in this month's Disneyland Half-Marathon complained of incorrect corral assignments, suggesting there are proof-of-time security issues with RunDisney and TrackShack.
  • There will no longer be chanting allowed at Walt Disney World. Unofficially, of course.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 09-11-2015 - 'Walt Disney' Producer and Director Sarah Colt

By Tim Callaway

Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Nearly 50 years after his death, Walt Disney continues to fascinate us. A giant entertainment and media company that he co-founded thrives under his name, and dozens upon dozens of fansites, blogs and podcasts—including this one—exist because of what Walt created: A universe of fantasy and adventure where wishing on stars makes dreams come true and anything is possible with a little faith, trust and pixie dust. While many respect, even idolize Walt, he wasn’t without his detractors—no one who achieved as much success as he did is beyond reproach. For all his talent, creative vision and charisma, he could also be stubborn, short-tempered and distant. In other words, human.

Much has been documented of Walt’s myriad accomplishments in animation, live-action film, television and themed entertainment. That’s the easy part. More complicated is understanding what made Walt tick. What fueled his ambitions? Was his true nature that of the avuncular host TV viewers saw every week, or did he just use it to hide a deeper, darker persona? Many a historian and researcher has attempted to answer these questions with varying levels of success. Filmmaker Sarah Colt is the latest person to join the conversation. Her four-hour documentary, Walt Disney will air over two nights September 14-15 on PBS as part of the network’s American Experience series.

Filmmaker Sarah Colt
Sarah has worked in public television for nearly twenty years. She’s an Emmy Award winner whose directing and producing credits include the documentaries Henry Ford and The Polio Crusade, both for American Experience. In our conversation today, Sarah and I talk about how her Walt Disney project came to be and how she managed to make her film with the cooperation--but without the interference--of the Walt Disney Company. We also explore Walt Disney’s legacy and discuss how best to judge his 20th century persona through a 21st century filter. Sarah Colt is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


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Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 09-04-2015 - Disney Legend Bill "Sully" Sullivan, Part Two

By Tim Callaway

From Jungle Cruise Skipper to
Disney Legend
I hope you're having a great Labor Day weekend. I'm at the Disneyland Resort this weekend, not only for Force Friday--did you get any cool Star Wars Merchandise yesterday?--but also for the 10th anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon. My guest in the Lounge today has nothing to do with either of those events, but you're really going to like him. He's Disney Legend Bill "Sully" Sullivan and you're going to hear part two of my conversation with him about his nearly 40 years with Disney.

Sully started out as a ticket taker on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland in 1955 and finished his career in 1994 as vice president of the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Between those times, he got to know both Walt and Roy Disney. He worked at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley in 1960 and the New York World's Fair in 1963 and '64. Last week, Sully told us much about those adventures, and in part two of our conversation, he picks things up in October 1971 as Walt Disney World is preparing for its grand opening.

Sully also shares some of his fondest memories of both Walt and Roy, as well as the day he got the biggest surprise of his career: the letter from Michael Eisner telling him he'd been named a Disney Legend. It's part two of my conversation with Sully Sullivan in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

Sully's book, From Jungle Cruise Skipper to Disney Legend, is available from Amazon.com and ThemeParkPress.com.

Related: The Mouse Castle Lounge 08-28-2015 - Disney Legend Bill "Sully" Sullivan, Part One

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-31-2015 - Disney Infinity 3.0, Star Wars and Disneyland Half Marathons, Force Friday

By Tim Callaway

Twilight of the Republic in Disney Infinity 3.0.
The Force is strong with us Inside The Mouse Castle this week. Just about every story Anthony and I bandy about has some connection to Star Wars. This wasn't by design. It's just how the news stream happens sometimes. We like it.

I start (I'd say "we," but Anthony wants none of it) with my first impressions of Disney Infinity 3.0 and the Star Wars play set that comes with it: Twilight of the Republic. With the help of my grandkids, we gave it a good run over the weekend. They loved it. I liked the look of TOTR--and certainly the Star Wars characters are welcome--but I couldn't help but feel this was just more of the same from Disney Infinity. Quest, destroy bad guys, rinse, repeat.

Here's what else we've got on today's show. It's more fun than shooting womp rats in Beggar's Canyon:
  • How many box office records will Star Wars: The Force Awakens break after it opens on December 18th? We're pretty sure its opening weekend number are going to be through the roof. Industry analysts are predicting a $615 million opening--the biggest ever. It's certain to be bolstered by a huge presence on IMAX screens around the world.
  • To make way for Star Wars Land at Disneyland, Big Thunder Ranch will close its gates on January 11, 2016. The ranch's petting zoo will close on January 10th.
  • Disneyland has a Star Wars Half Marathon event in January. Next April, Walt Disney World will get one as well. Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side will be held April 14-17, 2016. The event will include half-marathon, 10K and 5K races. Registration at runDisney.com starts September 22nd.
The Disneyland Half-Marathon.
  • On Sunday, I'll be running my first half-marathon ever--at Disneyland, of course. The Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend starts this Thursday. Will you be there? Look for me in my usual Mouse Castle garb. My feet hurt already.
  • Ready for a global unboxing of Star Wars toys on YouTube? Yeah, we're not sure what to make of it either. But visit the Star Wars YouTube channel this Thursday for a preview of merchandise from Star Wars: The Force Awakens--much of which will start appearing in stores September 4th, dubbed "Force Friday." (Note: On ITMC, we got our dates confused. The worldwide online unboxing begins on September 3rd. The products will launch on September 4th. Click on the graphic above for the unboxing schedule).
  • Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen is reported to be in talks to join the cast of Marvel's Doctor Strange. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor already on board, this is going to be one star-studded MCU installment.
  • And finally, whose side are you on?