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.

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