Monday, November 30, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 11-30-2015 - 'The Good Dinosaur,' 'Captain America: Civil War' and Big Trouble in Disney's China

By Tim Callaway

The Good Dinosaur.
Pixar's The Good Dinosaur opened in theaters over the weekend and, depending on who you talked to, was a big success or a bigger disappointment. It had strong box office numbers for a Thanksgiving weekend release, but ranked far down the list among the first weekends of every other Pixar film. I saw it on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has its flaws--most notably an alarming lack of originality--but it's beautiful to look at and has a huge amount of heart and emotion. Thumbs up. Go see it. 

That said, The Good Dinosaur probably won't be regarded as one of Pixar's more memorable films. Toy Story, Wall-E and Up it ain't With that in mind, Anthony and I offer our two cents on the least memorable Pixar movies of all time in this week's edition of Inside The Mouse Castle.

We also tackle a few other items:
  • Bromance, betrayal and one badass superhero three-way. Ladies and gentlemen, the first trailer for Captain America; Civil War.

  • Oh yeah, here's a trailer for Disney Infinity's Star Wars: The Force Awakens play set. I want it.

  • China is cracking down on a hotel chain in the country that has been blatantly using the Disney name without permission. Apparently, plunking down $4 billion to build a resort in Shanghai buys you a considerable amount of trademark protection.
  • You can now buy Haunted Mansion Funko Pop! characters based on the Hitchhiking Ghosts and the Hatbox Ghost, but only at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I want them.


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. 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 11-08-2015 - Disney Auctions with Catherine Williamson and Mike Van Eaton

By Tim Callaway

This PeopleMover vehicle is
being auctioned by
Van Eaton Galleries.
If you’re a collector of rare and unique Disney memorabilia or even if you just want to see some pretty amazing stuff, November is the perfect month for you. There are two auctions scheduled for later this month that you really need to check out. On November 21, Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California, is auctioning off a massive assortment of Disneyland items, some dating back to the park’s opening in 1955. This is the second time this year that Van Eaton Galleries has had a Disneyland auction of this magnitude. Looking for a Space Mountain ride vehicle? They’ve got one. A Skyway bucket? Yep. How about a PeopleMover car? I might fight you for that one.

This auction isn’t just big-ticket items either. There are plenty of more affordable things like Disneyland brochures, menus, ticket media, park guides and maps to satisfy any collector’s curiosity. All told, there are over 800 items in the collection.

Walt Disney's WWI-era scrapbook from the
Treasures from the Dream Factory auction.
Also this month on November 23, the auction house Bonhams is partnering with Turner Classic Movies to present Treasures from the Dream Factory. It’s a collection of nearly 400 items of movie memorabilia, with some pretty amazing pieces like Judy Garland’s dress from The Wizard of Oz, a replica Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane and an authentic golden ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. For Disney fans, though, the prize of this collection is an assortment of original signed photos of Walt Disney taken in Europe during his Red Cross service at the end of World War I. Included among these items is a scrapbook of signed cartoons drawn by Walt around the same time. It’s believed that never before have this many items with this much historical significance in Walt’s early life ever been sold at auction. Not surprisingly, they come with a heavy price tag too. The photos are priced as high as $60,000 each and the scrapbook between $250,000 and $300,000. It will surprise no one if these items end up selling significantly higher.

Joining me in the Lounge today, from Bonhams, is Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia. Following her we’ll hear from Mike Van Eaton with Van Eaton Galleries. It’s all about history, auctions and vintage Disney collectibles today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 11-03-2015 - Harrison Ford and 'The Force Awakens,' 'Zootopia,' and Scarlett Johansson on the Tower of Terror

By Tim Callaway

Harrison Ford told Jimmy Kimmel last week that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is "really, really good." He praised his young costars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac and added, "J.J. (Abrams)  has made an incredible movie. You will not be disappointed at all. I promise you,"

On this week's ITMC, Anthony and I failed to mention that Ford was also wearing a hot dog costume at the time of the interview (it was Kimmel's Halloween show). I'm not sure why this is relevant, but it must have something to do with why we haven't seen Luke Skywalker in the movie poster or trailer. But, I digress.

Harrison Ford likes The Force Awakens. That's all that matters.

And on a side note, we're pretty sure the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War will screen in theaters prior to Star Wars. Like you needed another reason to hit the cinema on December 18.

Here's what else we're Forcing you to listen to today Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • Asian actress Pom Klementieff is rumored to have joined the cast of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. At the time we recorded the show, we weren't sure what her role would be. Now we believe she'll play Mantis, who's kind of a badass telepathic martial artist in Marvel canon. If true, Mantis will be quite the match-up next to Gamora and her messed-up sister Nebula.
Idris Elba will voice Chief Bogo in Zootopia.
  • Disney announced the principal voice cast for Zootopia. We already knew about Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin as the leads Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps. Now we know that Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Bonnie Hunt, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk and Tommy Chong are also lending their talents to the Byron Howard/Rich Moore-directed film. And yet, despite that deep roster, we're still not excited about Zootopia, which opens on March 4, 2016.
  • We're also not too excited about Alice Through the Looking Glass, the follow-up to Tim Burton's bloated, joyless--but immensely profitable--Alice in Wonderland. Brief video teases for the upcoming film, which opens next Memorial Day weekend, have been popping up online. Meh. The one glimmer of hope that might make us care about the film is that it's being directed by James Bobin of The Muppets and Flight of the Conchords fame.
  • Is Hocus Pocus 2 finally going to be a thing? Maybe. Maybe not. Producer David Kirschner has hinted that the long-rumored sequel to the 1993 comedy could eventually land on the Disney Channel. No word if Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy would be back as the Sanderson sisters, but all three have teased in the past that they'd be interested.
The Good Dinosaur in Disney Infinity.
  • Disney Infinity is giving fans of Pixar's The Good Dinosaur a peek at some of the film's characters three week's before the movie opens. The caveboy Spot made his debut this week as a playable character in the video game. His dinosaur buddy Arlo and their three T-rex cohorts are also available as ride-able Power Disc characters. 
  • It's a good month to be a Disney collector with deep pockets. Auction house Bonhams and Van Eaton Galleries are both conducting auctions of rare (and yes, pretty expensive) Disney memorabilia. Don't worry, there's stuff you might be able to afford too. I'll have more about these two exciting events in this Friday's episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge.
  • So, on Halloween, this happened at the Hollywood Bowl:

  • If you're Scarlett Johansson, you can visit Walt Disney World and ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror with your husband just like any normal person. You can also have your souvenir photo conveniently deleted much to the chagrin of your surprised ride buddies. Good thing there are persistent resort guests and TMZ to bring the pic to the light of day. It's actually a really cute photo