Friday, February 26, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 02-26-2016 - We Preview the 88th Annual Academy Awards

By Tim Callaway

Tim and Christi spend Oscar Week at Trader Sam's
This week, Team Mouse Castle didn't make our usual trek to the red carpet in Hollywood to preview the Academy Awards. We found a pretty suitable substitute venue though, Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. Give a listen to Christi Andersen and me for our annual vague and highly suspect predictions on who will win at Sunday's Oscars.

Joining us will be Carolyn with an award-worthy edition of Adventure Thru Liquid Space. What are you wearing? Who cares? What you're drinking on Oscar night is what really matters.

Here are the major categories we'll be taking a stab at on today's show. We apologize in advance for how you score on your Oscar pool.

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Animated Feature
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Best Animated Short Film
Bear Story
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Chris Rock hosts the Oscars on ABC Sunday, February 28 at 4:00 p.m. PT. 



Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 02-21-2016 - Filmmaker Pamela Tom Talks About Disney Legend Tyrus Wong

Tyrus Wong
Tyrus Wong is a Disney Legend. Though his time at the Disney Studios was brief—only three years from 1938-1941—his contributions there were profound. It was Tyrus’ artistic vision that gave Disney’s Bambi it’s lush impressionistic forest backgrounds, a look that still influences and inspires artists and animators nearly 75 years after the film’s release.

Tyrus’ work on Bambi represents only a small portion of his life’s prolific artistic output. Tyrus was part of the “Orientalist” art movement popular in the U.S. in the 1930s. After leaving Disney, Tyrus would spend over 25 years at Warner Bros. as a production illustrator and concept artists on such films as The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rebel Without a Cause, Harper and The Wild Bunch. He designed menus for restaurants and greeting cards for Hallmark. Today, at 105 years old, he still creates art, most notably ornate kites that he flies once a month on the beach at Santa Monica.

Bambi concept art by Tyrus Wong.
Two and a half years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Tyrus Wong for an episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge. We were at the opening of an art exhibition at The Walt Disney Family Museum--Water to Paper, Paint to Sky—that celebrated Tyrus’ life’s work. Our interview remains one of my all-time favorites as I was charmed by the man’s modesty, good humor and immense talent. It was also at this exhibition where I first met filmmaker Pamela Tom, who was in the middle of shooting a documentary about Tyrus. Today, that film is complete and Pamela is my guest.

Pamela Tom
Her film, appropriately titled Tyrus, is a moving and inspiring story of a man who overcame the hardships of poverty and racism to succeed as both a popular and fine artist. Completing this film has been a labor of love for Pamela as she met Tyrus Wong and conducted her first interview with him over 15 years ago.

Pamela is an award winning producer and director who has been involved with numerous film projects on PBS including WW2: Behind Closed Doors, Wired Science and the short film Two Lies. She is a respected educator who has taught at UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount and UCLA Extension.

Tyrus will open CAAMFest in San Francisco on March 10, 2016. Save $15 on tickets to the opening night screening and gala. Use discount code CAAMTYRUS.

For more information about Tyrus, visit


By Tim Callaway

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 02-17-2016 - 'Star Wars: Episode VIII,' 'Guardians, Vol. 2' and 'Frozen' on Broadway

By Tim Callaway

Principal shooting has begun on both Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII and James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. Naturally, that sparks Anthony and I to devise a mashup crossover film combining the two franchises. And, oh what the heck, lets toss Jurassic Park (World) into the mix too. 

I guess it was a slow news week. Of course, that never deters us on in Inside The Mouse Castle. What we can't report on we just make up. Here's what else we have on tap in today's show:
  • Bob Iger officially confirmed what the rest of us pretty much already knew. There will be a standalone Han Solo film joining the Star Wars universe. No other details were mentioned except for a release date sometime in May 2018.
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
  • Disney and Lucasfilm are in trouble with the Health and Safety Executive, Britain's answer to OSHA. Foodles Productions, A Disney subsidiary that oversaw production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was cited for safety violations related to the on-set accident at Pinewood Studios that injured Harrison Ford. Ford's leg was broken in June 2014 when it was struck by a hydraulic door aboard the Millennium Falcon.
  • It's official! Kurt Russell has joined the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. Is he playing Peter Quill/Star-Lord's long-lost dad? We can only hope. Director James Gunn shared this Wednesday on his Facebook page:

Official photography on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has started, and I couldn't be more stoked.My favorite movie as...
Posted by James Gunn on Wednesday, February 17, 2016
  • The Food & Wine Festival is coming to Disney California Adventure on weekends from April 1 to May 1. We're already making travel plans.
  • Coinciding with that, the Mad T Party is disappearing down the rabbit hole at DCA on March 30. No word yet on what will replace the nighttime dance party. Freeze the Night again? Something Star Wars-ish? We'll see.
  • We're starting to like what we're seeing in the new trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass.

  • A lot of it has to do with P!nk's kick-ass cover of "White Rabbit."

  • It was inevitable. Frozen is headed to Broadway. A stage musical based on Disney's runaway animated hit will debut in New York in spring 2018. Pre-Broadway performances can be seen in Denver in August 2017.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 02-13-2016 - The Cast of 'Gravity Falls'

By Tim Callaway

(l. to r.) Soos, Wendy, Mabel and Dipper face
Weirdmageddon in the Gravity Falls finale.
After 3 ½ years, two full seasons and 40 episodes, Disney XD’s Gravity Falls is about to air its final show—and I’m a little bummed by this. Gravity Falls is my favorite thing on Disney television right now, ranking right up there with Phineas and Ferb, another great Disney animated series that came to an end.

The summer adventures of Dipper and Mabel Pines at their great uncle Stan’s Mystery Shack in the Oregon backwoods has been consistently funny, irreverent, exciting and even a little sweet. There have been mysteries solved, monsters defeated and life lessons learned in a show that is as entertaining for kids as it is for adults.

The show’s final episode, “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls,” will air on Disney XD Monday, February 15 at 7:00 p.m. In it, we'll find out the fate of the Gravity Falls townsfolk at the hands of Bill Cipher, the one-eyed, triangle-shaped being from another dimension hell-bent on ruling—and possibly destroying—the entire known universe. It’s going to be fun, really.

This week, I attended a press event in Burbank with some of the cast and creative people of Gravity Falls. On hand was the show’s creator and voice of Grunkle Stan, as well as the lovable handyman Soos, Alex Hirsch. Joining him were the actors who voice Dipper and Mabel Pines, Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal. And finally, we heard from the composer of Gravity Falls' catchy, mysterious and whimsical music, Brad Breeck.

Drew Taylor with the Disney Insider moderated the panel discussion, which was followed by questions from the press (including me). Alex, Jason, Kristen and Brad shared their favorite moments from the show, how the Gravity Falls characters developed and grew, and why it made sense to end the series when they did.

(l. to r.) Drew Taylor, Alex Hirsch, Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal.
Adventure Thru Liquid Space

In a move inspired by Garry Apgar, my guest in the Lounge last week, I challenged our resident mixologist Carolyn to devise a cocktail worthy of Mickey Mouse's arch-nemesis Black Pete. I'm happy to report she came through with flying colors (or maybe she was just Plane Crazy).

Black Pete

1 1/2 oz. Scotch
1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
1/2 oz. Ramazzotti Amaro
1 1/2 oz. Coca Cola

In a shaker, combine the Scotch, Cherry Heering, and Ramazzotti, fill with ice, and shake to chill. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Top with Coke. Garnish.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 02-09-2016 - 'Inside Out' Rules the Annie Awards and 'Weird Al' Yankovic Joins Disney XD

By Tim Callaway

Pixar's Inside Out dominated the Annie Awards over the weekend, winning 10 awards out of the 11 categories it was nominated in. The journey into the mind of an 11-year old was named Best Animated Feature and Pete Docter was named Best Director. Inside Out also took trophies home for writing, storyboarding, editing, character design, character animation, music and production design. And finally, Phyllis Smith received a much-deserved Annie for providing the voice of Sadness. It was a busy night for Team Disney as their animated TV series Disney's Mickey Mouse received three Annies (storyboarding, editing and music). The Good Dinosaur, Wander Over Yonder, Gravity Falls and Avengers: Age of Ultron all received one Annie each.

Anthony and I recap the Annies and keep things animated with these other entertaining items in this week's Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • Happy Birthday, Disney California Adventure! Disneyland's sister park turned 15 years old on Monday.

  • Fresh off his Super Bowl 50 win over the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning visited Disneyland on Monday and--as tradition dictates--was honored with a victory parade down Main Street, U.S.A.
Peyton Manning is feted at Disneyland.
  • On Super Bowl Sunday, Disney debuted new trailers for The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War. One we were pretty excited for. The other not so much. You'll never guess which is which. Or maybe you have already.

  • The Mouse Castle sends our condolences to the family and friends of Daniel Gerson. The screenwriter passed away in Los Angeles Saturday at the age of 49. Gerson co-wrote the scripts for Monsters, Inc. and Big Hero 6, among others. Rest in peace.
Milo Murphy
  • This has us majorly excited: "Weird Al" Yankovic will lend his voice and musical talents to a new animated series on Disney XD from the creators of Phineas and Ferb. Milo Murphy's Law will follow the adventures of Milo, the fictional great-great-great-great grandson of the Murphy's Law namesake. Yankovic will play Milo with a voice cast that includes Christian Slater, Vanessa Williams, Sarah Chalke, Jemaine Clement and Mackenzie Phillips. The show premieres this fall.
  • Want your house to smell like Disneyland? Anthology Candles has created a line of scented candles that borrow from your favorite park aromas like Dole Whips, churros, the Main Street Bakery and even the Haunted Mansion. That's all well and good, but call us when you've perfected Pirates of the Caribbean Grotto.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 02-06-2016 - 'Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit' with Garry Apgar

By Tim Callaway

It’s my pleasure to welcome back Garry Apgar to The Mouse Castle Lounge. In 2014, Garry compiled the book A Mickey Mouse Reader, an impressive collection of essays and articles spanning more than 80 years that bore witness to the immense popularity of Mickey Mouse and the impact Walt Disney’s creation had on popular culture. Garry revisits the eternal mouse once again in his latest book, Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit. It’s a worthy companion to A Mickey Mouse Reader and an educated and thoughtful study--in words and pictures--not only of Mickey’s life within the Walt Disney Studios, but also his ever-evolving presence as a uniquely American cultural icon.

After my conversation with Garry, stick around for a new segment in the Lounge with our friend Carolyn. She knows a lot about cocktails and is going to start sharing her wisdom with us on a regular basis. Mickey Mouse and booze, what could be better? They're all in today's episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 02-03-2016 - Disneyland Paris Arrest and 'Disneyland 60' with Harrison Ford and Elton John

By Tim Callaway

A man was arrested at Hotel New York at Disneyland Paris last week after bringing two semi-automatic pistols and a knife into the resort. No attack was carried out in the incident. The man was quickly processed by French authorities, appeared before a judge, and on Tuesday was sentenced to six months of house arrest at his mother's home just outside the French capital. 

As alarming as it was to hear about someone bringing weapons to a Disney resort, it was also concerning about how the story was covered in the media. News outlets were quick to point out that, included with the weaponry--which was found in the man's luggage as it passed through a metal detector--there was also a "guide to the Koran." The Daily Mail even went so far as to mention it in their story headline.

Question: Would the press have said anything if the man was packing a Bible?

Multiple terrorist attacks in Paris last year have understandably made the French people jittery about the threat of religious extremism in their country. But, was it right for the media to fan the flames of Islamophobia, especially after the police investigation found no evidence the man intended to commit a terrorist act? The man claimed he was carrying the weapons for self-defense (and if that was true, the guy is pretty dim to think he could get through hotel security).

In this week's Inside The Mouse Castle, Anthony and I share our thoughts about the Disneyland Paris incident and the state of security at other Disney parks. Don't worry. We also talk about the usual silly stuff too.

Elton John performs for Disneyland 60 on ABC.
  • Harrison Ford and Elton John join the list of celebrities appearing on the Wonderful World of Disney special Disneyland 60. The show will celebrate 60 years of the Happiest Place on Earth and will air on ABC on February 21 at 8:00 p.m. Ford is expected to reveal details about Disneyland's Star Wars Land expansion, while John will perform songs from The Lion King and his upcoming album in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD in April. You can pre-order J.J. Abrams' blockbuster now on

  • Also out now: the Walt Disney Signature Collection release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray. You should get it. 
  • A family is suing Walt Disney World for negligence in the death of the family's great-grandmother, who they claim was traumatized by witnessing her great-grandson receive a minor, non-threatening snakebite at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's complicated.