Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 11-01-2016 - A Farewell Toast

The Mouse Castle Lounge has been absent for a few months. Tim explains where he's been and what lies ahead.

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By Tim Callaway

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 07-20-2016 - 'Alice' Visual Effects Artist Tefft Smith

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Comic-Con International kicks off Thursday in San Diego and I will be there along with Team Mouse Castle and about 150,000 of our closest nerdy friends as we pack the San Diego Convention Center. It will be my first visit ever to Comic-Con, and I'm super excited to finally be a part of all the craziness. I’m also super excited about my guest today, a gentleman who will co-host a presentation at Comic-Con at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. He’s one of the previsualization supervisors with Halon Entertainment, Tefft Smith. Tefft will be joining visual effects editor Ed Marsh to present “Feed Your Head: The VFX of Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

Tefft Smith
Halon Entertainment is a visual effects studio in Southern California that specializes in motion picture previsualization—and what that is, I’m going to let Tefft explain. Halon has done effects work on an impressive list of films including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, Tomorrowland, and Birdman. Their most recent collaboration with Disney, Alice Through the Looking Glass was a visually stunning return to Wonderland, directed by James Bobin and starring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter. To tell us all about that experience, as well as his best advice on how to survive Comic-Con is Tefft Smith, my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


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By Tim Callaway

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Watch Tim and Cheer for the MCL on Tonight's Podcast Awards!

The People's Choice Podcast Awards will stream live tonight at 5:00 p.m. PT. The Mouse Castle Lounge is honored to be nominated for Best Society-Culture Podcast. Please tune in right here to see if we take home the trophy. Also, I'm happy to say I'll be presenting awards in two categories (Entertainment and Games & Hobbies) with emcee Jason Bryant (Mat Talk Online). I hope you can join us.

Society - Culture
CoasterRadio.com [url] [rss]
Disney Parks Podcast [url] [rss]
Life of Caesar [url] [rss]
Mousetalgia [url] [rss]
Mysterious Matters [url] [rss]
The Budget-Minded Traveler [url] [rss]
The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights [url] [rss]
The Mouse Castle Lounge [url] [rss]
The Phileas Club [url] [rss]
Those Conspiracy Guys [url] [rss]

For a complete list of all nominees, please visit www.podcastawards.com.

By Tim Callaway

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 06-21-2016 - Remembering Annette Funicello with Glen Holt and Dave Mason

Annette Funicello's sweater and mouse ears on display
at Van Eaton Galleries.
A few weeks ago, we previewed the Collecting Disney auction with Mike Van Eaton from Van Eaton Galleries. This past weekend, over 700 items of Disney history and memorabilia went under the hammer at this successful auction event. Two of those items were a sweater and a pair of mouse ears that belonged to Disney Legend Annette Funicello. Proceeds from the sale of those items went to benefit the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.

Annette founded the Research Fund in 1993 to research the cause, treatment and cure of Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological diseases. In 1987, Annette had been diagnosed with MS, a chronic and often debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system. Annette had the most severe type of MS, which eventually left her unable to walk or to speak. In 2013, Annette passed away at the age of 70 from the complications of MS.

Mouseketeer Annette.
Her legacy, however, will always be that of an actress, singer and eternal Mouseketeer. At the age of 12, Annette was the last child cast for Walt Disney’s original Mickey Mouse Club TV series in 1955. Fueled by her talent, good looks and girl-next-door charm, Annette’s popularity quickly skyrocketed, and soon she was receiving more than 6,000 fan letters per month—an astounding figure in a pre-Internet age. She appeared in numerous other Disney TV and movie projects, including Zorro, The Shaggy Dog and Babes in Toyland.

In the mid-1960s, her Disney contract behind her, she appeared in a series of popular “Beach” movies with singer Frankie Avalon. In 1965, Annette married talent agent and casting director Jack Gilardi, gradually distancing herself from show business to raise a family. The couple divorced in 1981. In 1986, Annette married her long-time friend, rancher and horse-trainer Glen Holt, who I’m happy to say is with us today in the Lounge. Glen was married to Annette until her death and helped care for her throughout her illness. Theirs is a story of great love, friendship and courage in the face of adversity. Also joining us today is Dave Mason, the director of development with the Annette Funicello Research Fund. Prior to the Van Eaton Galleries Disney auction, the three of us talked about how Annette’s personal items are benefitting the Research Fund, but most importantly, we talked about Annette herself: her life, legacy and place as one of Disney’s most iconic stars. We’re remembering Annette Funicello today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

Glen Holt and Annette Funicello, c. 1988.
By the way, if you’re keeping score, Annette's red turtleneck sweater sold at auction for $7,000; her personal pair of mouse ears, $14,000.


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By Tim Callaway

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 06-02-2016 - Collecting Disney with Mike Van Eaton

1933 Mickey Mouse watch.
It’s always a pleasure when Mike Van Eaton from Van Eaton Galleries drops by the Lounge, because that means he’s got some really cool Disney stuff up for auction. Today is no different. Now through June 17, you can visit Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California and see their Collecting Disney collection, over 700 items dating back to the earliest days of Mickey Mouse in the late 1920s. The collection includes over 40 years-worth of Walt Disney Studio-related merchandise and collectibles. The items are priced for all budgets and tastes, so you can bid $50 on a vintage Sword in the Stone book all the way up to $60,000 for a complete set of studio office furniture. And there are plenty of other surprises in the collection, I guarantee. Of course, if you can’t make it to Sherman Oaks, you can still see the entire collection online at www.vegalleries.com. The entire collection goes up for auction on June 18.

Please welcome Mike Van Eaton, my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

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The Mouse Castle Lounge has been nominated for a People’s Choice Podcast Award. And we are super excited about it, but we really need your support. People’s Choice means podcasting fans choose who wins, so you can show your support of The Mouse Castle Lounge by going to www.podcastawards.com and casting your vote for us the Society-Culture category. You can vote once per day every day now through June 12 and we would really appreciate it if you did. Thank you so much for being part of Team Mouse Castle.

By Tim Callaway

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 05-26-2016 - Theme Park Historian Robert McLaughlin

Long before Walt Disney World opened--and later closed--an elaborately themed entertainment district, there was a Pleasure Island. Before Six Flags operated a hillside full of thrill rides in Southern California, there was a Magic Mountain. These theme parks were nothing like their contemporary namesakes and their lifespans were frustratingly short. But, along with their often-forgotten sister park, Freedomland in New York, they hold a special place in theme park history and provide a direct line connecting the game-changer that was Disneyland with Universal, Six Flags, Disney and other popular theme parks of today.

In March, historian Todd Pierce was my guest in the Lounge and he told us about C.V. Wood, the colorful entrepreneur who was instrumental in the design and development of Disneyland. My guest today, Robert McLaughlin, picks up where Todd left off. Because, after departing Disney, it was C.V. Wood and his company that designed the Disneyland-wannabe parks of Magic Mountain in Colorado, Pleasure Island near Boston and Freedomland in New York. They were ideas that looked great on paper, but fell short dramatically when it came to financing and attendance. They were pretty good for what they were, but they were no Disneyland.

Robert McLaughlin
Bob has written books about all three of these theme parks and his latest, Magic Mountain, was just released by Arcadia Publishing. Please welcome Bob McLaughlin, my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


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Thank You!

Last month, I asked for your help in earning The Mouse Castle Lounge a People’s Choice Podcast Award nomination and you came through with flying colors. This past weekend we found out that we made the final Podcast Award nomination ballot in the Society and Culture category. We’re going to ask for your help one more time, though. The final voting process relies on your continued support of The Mouse Castle Lounge, so beginning on May 29  and running through June 12, please go to www.podcastawards.com and cast your vote for The Mouse Castle Lounge. You’re allowed to vote once per day every day during the voting period, so if you can find a minute or two in your busy schedule and cast your vote for us fifteen times over fifteen days (it's pretty easy, actually), we would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for being a part of Team Mouse Castle.

By Tim Callaway

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 04-17-2016 - How to Be a Disney Historian with Jim Korkis

So you want to be a Disney historian? A lot of peple aspire to the title, even though it doesn't pay well--if at all--and pretty much no one is going to hire you to fill the job vacancy of "Disney Historian."

Still, it's a noble field with many esteemed names, a number of whom it's been my pleasure to welcome to The Mouse Castle Lounge: Jim Fanning, Sam Gennawey, Didier Ghez, J.B. Kaufman, Jeff Kurtti, Todd Pierce and Paula Sigman Lowery. And those are just the people who have contributed to Jim Korkis' new book, How to Be a Disney Historian. It's a collection of tips, tricks and anecdotes about the world of Disney history research. It's an incredibly useful and informative book even if Disney history isn't your thing, because there's plenty of advice about writing and research in general, regardless of your particular topic of interest.

Jim Korkis is a great friend of The Mouse Castle Lounge and it's always a pleasure to have him as my guest. The lengthy list of Disney history books Jim has written includes The Book of Mouse, Secret Stories of Walt Disney World, and four volumes of his Vault of Walt series.

Today, Jim shares with us his best advice on how to become a Disney historian and what separates the contenders from the pretenders. Together, he and I tell our own real life stories about how to make an interview go horribly wrong. Please welcome Jim Korkis, my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

How to Be a Disney Historian is published by Theme Park Press.


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A Special Request

Do you love hearing conversations with Disney historians like Jim Korkis, J.B. Kaufman and Jim Fanning; filmmakers like Pamela Tom, Sarah Colt and Don Hahn; and artists like Dave Avanzino? Then please nominate The Mouse Castle Lounge for the 11th Annual People's Choice Podcast Awards.

Nominations are open through April 30, 2016. Please go to www.podcastwards.com and nominate The Mouse Castle Lounge in two categories: SOCIETY-CULTURE and PEOPLE'S CHOICE. The more nominations and support we get from our fans, the greater the odds of us making the final nomination ballot.

Please share this with your friends and fellow Disney enthusiasts. Thank you so much for being a part of Team Mouse Castle.

By Tim Callaway


Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 04-09-2016 - Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival

For the first time in way too long, the Food and Wine Festival has returned to Disney California Adventure. It’s going on this month every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, ending on May 1st. It’s a celebration of the tastes of California and an opportunity to sample an assortment of beverages and tasty treats you can’t otherwise find at DCA. You can eat and drink your way from Carthay Circle to Paradise Pier at 8 different Festival Marketplaces, plus there are a number of beverage seminars and culinary demonstrations happening throughout the event.

In Hollywood Land, they’ve set up a celebrity kitchen. For $99 per person you can enjoy presentations by famous chefs like Andrew Sutton, Guy Fieri, Keegan Gerhard, G. Gavin and Graham Eliot--and no, not all those presentations are sold out yet. You can find out more by visiting https://disneyland.disney.go.com/events-tours/disney-california-adventure/food-and-wine-festival.

Last weekend, Team Mouse Castle dropped by the Food and Wine Festival and, oh yes, we sampled as many culinary offerings as we could. Saturday night, we all got together at Napa Rose inside the Grand Californian Hotel and shared our thoughts about Food and Wine, how it compares to similar past events at DCA and especially how much of a value it is for guests. Team Mouse Castle overindulges in food and wine—what could possibly go wrong?


By Tim Callaway

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge Happy Hour - Facebook Live 04-07-2016

So, apparently I'm in the minority when it comes to choosing #TeamIronMan over #TeamCap. I can't even catch a break choosing #TeamBlackWidow.

How do I know this? Because a bunch of you let me have it in the first Mouse Castle Lounge Happy Hour on Facebook Live.

It was supposed to be just a friendly get together on National Beer Day, but no.

All I can say is I better get my red carpet invite for Tuesday night's Captain America: Civil War premiere. It'll be at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood with the stars arriving about 5:30 p.m.

But, I digress.

Because, you see, we talked about a lot of other stuff during Happy Hour. Well, I talked. The rest of you typed. It worked out.

Here's what else we discussed. It was a lot of fun:
Please take a look and don't forget to like The Mouse Castle on Facebook. You don't ever want to miss happy hour. 


The Mouse Castle Lounge Happy (Half) Hour
Posted by The Mouse Castle - Disney Podcasts on Thursday, April 7, 2016

By Tim Callaway

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

'Finding Dory' Reveals New Characters and Cast

Finding Dory just keeps swimming into theaters this summer and today we met a lot of the characters the absent-minded blue tang will encounter on her journey to find her family. There will be some familiar faces and plenty of new ones when Pixar's latest opens on June 17. Personally, I am loving the voice cast.

Images and character descriptions courtesy Walt Disney Studios Publicity:

Ellen DeGeneres returns to the sea as Dory, the bright blue tang with a sunny personality. She suffers from short-term memory loss, which normally doesn’t upset her upbeat attitude—until she realizes she’s forgotten something big: her family. Dory’s found a new family in Marlin and Nemo, but she’s haunted by the belief that someone out there is looking for her. She may have trouble recalling exactly what—or who—she’s searching for, but she won’t give up until she uncovers her past and discovers something else along the way: self-acceptance.

Albert Brooks dives in again to help bring Marlin to life. He may have traveled across the ocean once, but that doesn’t mean Marlin wants to do it again. So he doesn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to accompany Dory on a mission to the California coast to track down her family. Marlin, of course, knows how it feels to lose family, and it was Dory who helped him find Nemo not so long ago. The clownfish may not be funny, but he’s loyal—he realizes he has no choice but to pack up his nervous energy and skepticism and embark on yet another adventure, this time to help his friend.

Hayden Rolence was called on to voice Nemo. One year after his big overseas adventure,Nemo is back to being a normal kid: going to school and living on the coral reef with his dad and their blue tang neighbor, Dory. His harrowing adventure abroad doesn’t seem to have sapped his spirit. In fact, when Dory remembers pieces of her past and longs to take off on an ambitious ocean trek to find her family, Nemo is the first to offer his help. He may be a young clownfish with a lucky fin, but Nemo wholeheartedly believes in Dory. After all, he understands what it’s like to be different.

Ed O’Neill lends his iconic voice to Hank, whois an octopus. Actually, he’s a “septopus”: he lost a tentacle—along with his sense of humor—somewhere along the way. But Hank is just as competent as his eight-armed peers. An accomplished escape artist with camouflaging capabilities to boot, Hank is the first to greet Dory when she finds herself in the Marine Life Institute. But make no mistake: he’s not looking for a friend. Hank is after one thing—a ticket on a transport truck to a cozy Cleveland facility where he’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful life of solitude.

Kaitlin Olson provides the voice of a whale shark named Destiny, who is a clumsy swimmer with a big heart. Destiny has a big everything, actually—whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea. Destiny resides in the Marine Life Institute, where one day an oddly familiar blue tang named Dory falls into her pool. Destiny is admittedly embarrassed by her obvious lack of grace, a product of poor eyesight, but Dory thinks she swims beautifully. And Dory is delighted to learn that her supersized friend speaks whale, too.

Ty Burrell was tapped to give voice to Bailey, the Marine Life Institute’s resident beluga whale, who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz. The good news—or bad news, depending on who you ask—is that doctors at the MLI can’t seem to find anything wrong with him. Bailey’s flair for the dramatic never ceases to push his neighbor’s buttons: whale shark Destiny can’t seem to get through to him, no matter how hard she tries. Maybe he’ll listen to new friend Dory, who seems to be full of crazy ideas.

Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy were recruited to voice Dory’s parents. Jenny and Charlie would do anything for their only child. They celebrate and protect Dory, striving to arm her with the skills she’ll need to navigate the world with a faulty memory. Jenny may appear cheerful and a little flighty—but she’s a protective mother and a smart role model. Charlie likes to joke around, but nothing is more important to him than teaching his memory-challenged daughter how to survive.

Idris Elba and Dominic West team up as the voices of Fluke and Rudder, a pair of lazy sea lions who were rehabilitated at the Marine Life Institute. Marlin and Nemo find them snoozing on a warm—and highly coveted—rock just outside the center. These sea lions really enjoy their down time and would rather not be bothered mid nap—but their bark is far worse than their bite.

Bob Peterson is back as the memorable voice of Mr. Ray, the tune-loving teacher from the reef, who takes Nemo’s education—and that of his fellow undersea students—very seriously. Nobody enjoys Mr. Ray’s class more than Dory, who serves as his cheerful, albeit unnecessary, teacher’s assistant during their illuminating field trips.

Torbin Bullock voices Becky, an offbeat, kooky loon who takes a liking to Marlin. Although she inspires little confidence—especially from a certain, skeptical clownfish—Becky might be smarter than she looks.

Andrew Stanton and Bennett Dammann lend their voices to the ocean’s coolest turtles Crush and his son Squirt. They’re always happy to lend a flipper to a fish in need. Cruising the ocean for more than a hundred years definitely has its advantages.

Bill Hader and Kate McKinnon make a cameo appearance as a fish couple that Dory briefly encounters along the way.

And, did I mention there are otters? THERE ARE OTTERS! They are so cute. Look at their sweet wittle faces.

By Tim Callaway

Johnny Depp and James Bobin Answer Fan Questions About 'Alice Through the Looking Glass'

Go ask Alice. I think she'll know.

Or ask Johnny Depp and James Bobin instead.

In case you missed it, the star and director of Alice Through The Looking Glass did a Q&A yesterday on Facebook. Answering questions submitted by fans prior to the live stream, Depp talks about working with co-star Mia Wasikowska (Alice), staying in character on and off set, and improvising with Sacha Baron Cohen (Time). Bobin discusses how working on Alice's heavy CG material compares with working with Muppets and what it's like to collaborate with Depp and the movie's producer Tim Burton.

Posted by Disney Alice on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

There's also a new trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass. Apparently, Alice suffers from "female hysteria." Poor girl.

Alice Through the Looking Glass opens in U.S. theaters on May 27.

By Tim Callaway

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Honda to Sponsor Disneyland Autopia

The Autopia, currently being refurbished.
When the Autopia reopens at Disneyland on April 30, it will have a new sponsor.

Honda announced Tuesday that it will take over sponsorship of the classic Tomorrowland attraction. The Autopia will be updated with a new look and storyline and all the vehicles will be "Honda powered." No word on whether that means the cars will be electric like they are at the Autopia in Hong Kong Disneyland, which is also sponsored by Honda.

In a statement, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. president and CEO Takuji Yamada said, "Autopia has brought joy to generations of families and has created lasting memories for millions of Disneyland guests, Honda is proud to sponsor this iconic attraction and continue our alliance with Disneyland Resort."

This will be the latest of several Disneyland sponsorships by the automotive company dating back to 2005. Honda has previously sponsored fireworks shows, Grad Nites and an ASIMO exhibit at Innoventions.

The Autopia has been closed for refurbishment at Disneyland since January.

By Tim Callaway