Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 01-28-2016 - Journalist and Former Disney Imagineer Mark Eades

By Tim Callaway

Mark Eades in front of where his career began at Disney,
the River Belle Terrace.
In our last show, historian Sam Gennawey and journalist Mark Eades shared their thoughts about Disneyland’s upcoming Star Wars Land expansion. We had some lively conversations and after the dust settled, Mark stuck around. He’s back today to tell us about his fascinating career, not only in his current role as multimedia reporter with the Orange County Register, but also as a 20-plus year veteran at the Walt Disney Company.

In 1972, Mark started out bussing tables at the River Belle Terrace at Disneyland before becoming a ride operator in Tomorrowland. After graduating from college, he interned at the Walt Disney Studios and eventually worked his way into WED Enterprises, later known as Walt Disney Imagineering. Mark had his hand in developing attractions for the openings of Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland, attractions that included Magic Journeys and Horizons. He worked on the Circle-Vision 360 film American Journeys for the Magic Kingdom and researched the use of motion simulators for what would become Star Tours.

Mark left Disney and a few years after that, began working at the Orange County Register. He’s now a multimedia reporter for the Register and Disneyland is his beat. Today, Mark shares with us what it was like to be inside Disney Imagineering and what you can learn by camping out on Main Street U.S.A. for an entire day. Mark Eades is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 01-26-2016 - New 'Star Wars' and 'Pirates' Release Dates and Josh Gad's Surprise

By Tim Callaway

Star Wars and Pirates get shuffled in 2017.
Disney is juggling its movie release schedule in 2017, which means you're going to have to wait an extra seven months before you get to see Star Wars: Episode VIII. Like the massively successful The Force Awakens. Episode VIII will open during the Christmas holiday season in 2017, moving from its previously announced Memorial Day weekend release. Sailing into that prime May slot will be Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth installment of Captain Jack Sparrow's epic adventures. Even with Star Wars' December shift, Disney will still have a pretty busy summer 2017 slate. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 will open on May 5 and Pixar's Cars 3 will hit the streets on June 16.

Anthony and I grab our popcorn and Red Vines and settle in for this week's edition of Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • At Disneyland, you can now get an up-close look at the Disneyland Railroad trains and the old Frontierland train depot. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren has started putting in appearances at the Star Wars Launch Bay. We're also happy to learn that the Pope House, the historic former residence next to Disneyland's backstage Circle D Corral, has been preserved and relocated beyond the berm on Disney property. Its previous location will become part of Star Wars Land.
Are we getting a teaser trailer this week for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast?
  • Josh Gad (Frozen) will host an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, celebrating Disneyland's diamond anniversary. Disneyland 60 will air on February 21 at 8:00 p.m. We're also intrigued by a "surprise" Gad promised this week via Twitter.
    We're really hoping it's a teaser trailer for Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast, set to open March 2017. Gad will play Gaston's (Luke Evans') loyal and dimwitted sidekick Lefou. Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (Beast) also star in the highly-anticipated reboot of the tale as old as time.
  • Building those virtual replicas of Disney theme parks (or Universal or Six Flags) will get easier with two new roller coaster video games coming out this year. We can't wait to get our hands on Atari's Roller Coaster Tycoon World and Frontier's Planet Coaster, which both promise levels of theming and immersion never seen before in a roller coaster sim.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 01-20-2016 - Oscar Nominations, a New Boss at Disney Imagineering and Ten Years of "High School Musical'

By Tim Callaway

Millennium Falcon at the
Star Wars Launch Bay.
I was at Disneyland last weekend for the Star Wars Half Marathon and finished the 13.1-mile course in just under two hours and eleven minutes on a sore left foot. Nick Arciniaga, the overall winner of the event, finished in about half that time. 

Sore foot. Yeah, that's my excuse.

The weekend also gave me some time to finally explore the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland, which I somehow managed to miss since it opened a couple months ago. It's a fun exhibit full of ship models, prop replicas and costumes, not to mention meet-and-greets with Chewbacca and Darth Vader. The Launch Bay has received some criticism for not being quite "WOW!" enough for Disneyland, but I think it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: engage Star Wars fans with some real live stuff they can see and interact with until Star Wars Land finally makes its debut at the park, we hope, in 2018. 

Here's what else Anthony and I have going on in this week's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • Oscar nominations were announced last week and films under the Disney umbrella fared well, although there were a few disappointments. Neither Star Wars: The Force Awakens nor Inside Out landed Best Picture nominations. Star Wars was recognized with five noms in mostly technical categories, while Inside Out landed nominations for Best Animated Feature and Original Screenplay. Sanjay's Super Team was nominated for Best Animated Short Film while Cinderella did likewise for Costume Design. The Oscars will air on February 28 on ABC.
  • Bob Weis is the new president of Walt Disney Imagineering. He's been heading up the Shanghai Disney Resort project (which we now know is opening June 16) and was creative lead for the Disney California Adventure expansion and the original Disney/MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios).
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
  • The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will end at Disney's Hollywood Studios on April 2 to make way for the upcoming Star Wars and Toy Story expansions at the park.
  • Inside The Mouse Castle sends its condolences to the family and friends of former Disney Channel star Michael Galeota and actor Brian Bedford. Galeota passed away January 10 at age 31. Bedford, a respected stage and screen actor who voiced the title role in Disney's animated Robin Hood, died at the age of 80 on January 13.
The cast of High School Musical returns for a 10-year reunion.
  • It's hard to believe, but Disney's High School Musical is ten years old. The Disney Channel celebrated with an anniversary special this week featuring the original cast.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 01-15-2016 - Disney Historian Sam Gennawey and Journalist Mark Eades

By Tim Callaway

Star Wars Land concept art.
Star Wars Land is officially under construction at Disneyland. This week, to make way for the 14-acre addition to the park’s northwest corner, several sections of the park were closed—some temporarily, some permanently. The Rivers of America will be drained and rerouted, resulting in a shorter trip around a smaller Tom Sawyer Island. That project will take at least a year, which means no Mark Twain, no Columbia, no canoes, no island rafts and no Fantasmic! during that time. The Disneyland Railroad will also take a hiatus so the track around the river can be reconfigured. Big Thunder Ranch and the Big Thunder BBQ: gone forever, their footprints expected to become the gateway to Star Wars Land.

Star Wars Land concept art.
What will we get when the dust finally settles? The largest single-themed land expansion in Disneyland history, featuring two E-ticket attractions: one that puts you in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance, another that puts you behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon. 

The changes don’t come without controversy, though. While many hail the arrival of a galaxy far, far away at the Happiest Place on Earth, others are less than enthusiastic, feeling this is a sea change that alters the very core of what makes Disneyland Disneyland--what my first guest, Disney historian Sam Gennawey, calls the park’s "historic DNA." I spoke with Sam a week ago, when guests were still clamoring for one final float around the river and one final grand circle tour. 

Star Wars Land concept art.
I also spoke with multimedia reporter Mark Eades with the Orange County Register. Mark has written extensively about Disneyland and is a former Imagineer himself. He knows his stuff. 

Sam Gennaway and Mark Eades offer two distinct viewpoints about what may be the most significant expansion in Disneyland history. They’re my guests today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 01-12-2016 - Disneyland's Rivers of America, 'Black Panther' and the Golden Globes

By Tim Callaway

Concept art of the new Rivers of America at Disneyland.

Anthony and I dropped by Disneyland last week to get our last looks at the Rivers of America, the Disneyland Railroad and Big Thunder Ranch/Trail/BBQ before they close. We report back from our visits in today's Inside The Mouse Castle and look ahead to the changes coming to the northwest corner of Walt's original park (a rerouted river and a Star Wars something or other).

We also chat about a few other items:
  • Actor John Boyega likes the look of the Star Wars VIII script, calling it "much darker" than The Force Awakens. Should we expect The First Order Strikes Back?
  • Ryan Coogler (Creed) has been tapped to direct Marvel's Black Panther. The movie will star Chadwick Boseman and Andy Serkis and is scheduled for a February 2018 release.
  • Pixar's Inside Out took the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film on Sunday night, but how will it fare with the Oscars? We'll find out Thursday at 5:30 a.m. PT when the Academy Award nominations are announced.
  • A retrospective of Disney artist Mel Shaw's work will open at the Walt Disney Family Museum on January 13 and run through September 12. It will be curated by film producer (and friend of The Mouse Castle) Don Hahn.


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Monday, January 4, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 01-04-2016 - George Lucas, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Zootopia'

By Tim Callaway

George Lucas at the world premiere of
Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Happy New Year!

Anthony and I are back from our holiday hiatus and we're really concerned about George Lucas' happiness; as in his less than enthusiastic comments about Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, oh yeah, likening the Walt Disney Company to "white slavers."

Bad form, George.

To his credit, the Jedi master did retract the "white slaver" comment, calling it "very inappropriate." He then went on to praise Disney for their 40 year-long working relationship.

Still, do you get the feeling George is just a little bitter over selling Lucasfilm to Disney despite pocketing $4 billion in the deal?

We're concerned, George. We want to help. Let's talk about it in this week's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle.

And while we're at it, let's talk about a few other things too.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens is barreling through box office record after box office record. It's at $1.5 billion worldwide and climbing steadily. Will it break Avatar's all-time record? We think so.
  • Bob Iger has confirmed what we pretty much already knew. There will be a fifth Indiana Jones movie. What? You thought they were going to keep Indy locked up like the Ark of the Covenant? We hear top men are already working on the project. Top. Men.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn saw an early cut of Captain America: Civil War and thinks it's one of the all-time best Marvel movies. Like you needed another reason to see the flick when it opens May 6.
Mabel and Dipper from Gravity Falls.
  • Gravity Falls will air its final episode on February 15. We are sad.
  • Disney park guests will be able to see previews of Zootopia at Disney California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios beginning January 21. You can also find Zootopia porn pretty much anywhere on the Internet if you just Google it. This has Anthony and I concerned...and awkwardly giggling. 


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