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

Monday, March 28, 2016

'The Jungle Book': Bill Murray Thinks Kipling is 'Quite a Guy'

Neel Sethi is Mowgli in The Jungle Book.
If Bill Murray says you're quite a guy, you're quite a guy.

We're talking about you, Rudyard Kipling.

Murray, who provides the voice of Baloo in director Jon Favreau's upcoming live-action reboot of The Jungle Book, shares his admiration for the author of the original story in a new featurette from Disney.  The video looks at the legacy of The Jungle Book, including the 1967 animated film, shining a spotlight on Favreau as well as Murray's castmates Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), Idris Elba (Shere Khan) and Lupita Nyong'o (Raksha),

Disney also released two new clips from the film:

The Jungle Book opens in the U.S. on April 15th. 

By Tim Callaway

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

'Inside The Mouse Castle' Goes on Hiatus

It's time for a break.

After 20 months and 97 episodes, Inside The Mouse Castle is going away. For how long, we're not sure.

Make no mistake, Anthony and I love doing the show and we love all of you who have taken the time to listen to our offbeat and (sometimes) intoxicated musings.

But, in the crowded and competitive world of podcasting--especially Disney podcasting--it's a daily challenge to stand out from the crowd and grow your audience.

Over time, we've discovered that doing a (more or less) weekly Disney news and commentary show might not be the way to go. While our listeners are loyal (thank you), we're not seeing the audience growth we would like. If we were a TV show, you'd call it bad ratings.

So, with that in mind, Anthony and I are taking a step back to assess and retool ITMC. What we'll come up with and when we'll come up with it, we're not sure yet, but you'll definitely read about it right here in The Mouse Castle.

In the meantime, what would you like to hear in a Disney podcast? More park stuff? Movie news? Disney history? Please, be our guides and share your comments with us below.

By the way, for fans of The Mouse Castle Lounge, nothing is changing. We'll still have the same great guest interviews we've always had. Stay tuned...

Thank you all for being a part of Team Mouse Castle!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 03-22-2016 - 'Three Years in Wonderland' with Disney Historian Todd Pierce

There’s been a lot written about the birth of Disneyland and how Walt’s eponymous theme park emerged from the Anaheim orange groves in the 1950s. We’ve all heard the myth-making official version: Walt visualizing his dream from a Griffith Park bench, the struggles to finance Disneyland, the struggles to build it, and especially the chaotic, near-disastrous opening day. But, have we ever really gotten the complete story? Disney historian Todd James Pierce sets out to do that in his fascinating new book, Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C.V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park.

Todd’s book digs deep to chronicle the evolution of Disneyland from its humble early concept as a family park adjoining the Walt Disney Studios to its ultimate success as a one-of-a-kind themed destination. Along the way, we meet the people who made Disneyland a reality: Walt and Roy Disney certainly, but also an often overlooked character, C. V. Wood, or “Woody” as he was known to his friends. Woody was Disneyland’s first general manager and a key player in the park’s development. He was a shrewd and energetic entrepreneur, but also a charlatan of questionable ethics. His approach to business would help guarantee Disneyland’s success, but would also ensure Wood’s personal downfall with the Disney brothers a mere six months after grand opening.

Todd Pierce
Todd spent nine years researching his book, with much of the content culled from more than 150 interviews. He’s an English professor and co-director of the creative writing program at Cal Poly University. A long-time Disney fan, Todd is a contributor to the Disney History Institute website as well as the Walt’s People book series. He’s published a number of fiction and non-fiction works that have nothing to do with Disney and you can find out more about them at his website,

Please welcome Todd Pierce, my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

By Tim Callaway


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 03-16-2016 - Walt Disney Family Museum Director of Collections Michael Labrie

By Tim Callaway

Tyrus Wong's "Chinese Jesus."
A few weeks ago, it was my pleasure to have filmmaker Pamela Tom in the Lounge to talk about her documentary Tyrus, the story of Chinese-American artist and Disney Legend Tyrus Wong. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to finally see Tyrus on the big screen. The film opened CAAMFest, an annual film festival in the San Francisco Bay Area that supports and celebrates Asian art and culture.

It was a delightful evening, with the screening held at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre. It was followed by a gala at the Asian Art Museum. On display at the event was an 80-year old watercolor masterpiece by Tyrus Wong called "Chinese Jesus." It depicts an ethereal Christ-like figure floating in a partially clouded sky. For decades, the painting was thought to have been lost, only to be rediscovered a few years ago stashed away in a San Francisco church. The painting came full circle on March 9, when, during a ceremony designating the day as “Tyrus Wong Day” in San Francisco, Tyrus Wong, at 105-years old, signed the painting.

Last Friday, since I was in the neighborhood, I dropped by the Walt Disney Family Museum and spent time with Michael Labrie, the museum’s director of collections. In 2013, Michael curated Water to Paper, Paint to Sky an exhibition of Tyrus Wong’s work. In our conversation, Michael and I talked about Tyrus, as well as a contemporary of Tyrus’s at Disney, Mel Shaw. Mel is the subject of a current retrospective at the Museum, Mel Shaw: An Animator on Horseback.

Tyrus Wong
After talking with Michael, imagine my surprise to run into none other than Tyrus Wong at the Museum. He was the guest of honor at a member event later that evening, but he had arrived early to take in the Mel Shaw exhibition. We only chatted briefly, but as always, Tyrus was charming, good humored and an absolute pleasure to talk with.

CAAMFest runs through March 20, so if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area this week, I highly recommend seeing one of the many fascinating films screening during the festival. In fact, the Walt Disney Family Museum, in celebration of Tyrus Wong, is showing Bambi this Saturday and Sunday. Plus, you can catch an encore showing of Tyrus at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland also on Sunday. For times and ticket information, visit

Michael Labrie is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

Michael Labrie and Tyrus Wong at the Walt Disney Family Museum in 2013.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 03-08-2016 - Marvel at Disney California Adventure, 'Star Wars' on Blu-Ray and 'High School Musical 4'

By Tim Callaway

Zootopia's Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps.
Disney's Zootopia opened last weekend with record-breaking box office numbers for a March release. Naturally, Anthony and I didn't bother to see it. No worries, we'll both rectify that this week. A 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes certainly got our attention. 

Disneyland's announced April 2 closure of Super Hero HQ caught us all by surprise. What will be next for the Star Wars Launch Bay's attic? A preview center for Star Wars Land maybe? And what will happen when Captain America and Spider-Man are sent packing to DCA? Will the Mad T Party be replaced by a Mad A (for Avengers) Party? It's time to get some rumors started.

Here's what else we've got Inside The Mouse Castle this week:
  • Keep those calendars marked. The Jungle Book begins sneak peek screenings at DCA and Disney's Hollywood Studios on March 18. Frozen--Live at the Hyperion opens at DCA May 27 and Rivers of Light, the new nighttime water show at Disney's Animal Kingdom, debuts April 22.

  • It was no coincidence the Walt Disney Company had its annual shareholders meeting in Chicago last week. It was a fitting reminder that the Windy City was where Walt was born. To mark the occasion, Bob Iger announced that the Company would donate $250,000 towards the restoration of the Walt Disney Birthplace.
Disney Cruise Line will add two new ships in 2021 and 2023.
  • Disney Cruise Line will launch two new cruise ships in 2021 and 2023, bringing their fleet total to six. The as-yet-unnamed ships will have 1,250 staterooms each and will be larger than DCL's current biggest ships, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on Digital HD on April 1 and Blu-ray on April 5. Want a little variety with your trip to a galaxy far, far away? Retailers Target, Walmart, Best Buy and the Disney Store are all offering unique packaging and/or bonus materials.
  • Big Hero 6 is moving to the small screen. An animated series based on the hit film will debut on Disney XD in 2017.
  • A live-action movie version of The Nutcracker Suite? Disney is working on it and Lasse Hallstrom (The Hundred-Foot Journey, Chocolat) is slated to direct.
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 03-05-2016 - Walt Disney Family Foundation Film Archivist Scott Zone

Film Archivist Scott Zone.
I first learned about Scott Zone from a recent article in the Orange County Register detailing his 20-year association with the Walt Disney Family Foundation and the Disney family. Through Scott’s work as a film archivist, he has restored and preserved 18 hours of home movies shot during Walt Disney’s lifetime--footage that can be seen at the Walt Disney Family Museum and in various documentaries including the recent American Experience film Walt Disney. That in itself is an interesting topic of conversation. But, when I finally sat down to talk with Scott, I quickly learned that his Disney connection is just a small part of a successful career in the motion picture industry, a career that Scott began as a special effects cameraman on The Empire Strikes Back and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Scott also has close ties to the Golden Age of Hollywood. His Aunt, Beryl Wallace, was the headline performer at the Earl Carroll Theatre, a renowned supper club on Sunset Boulevard in the 1930s and 40s. It was a Hollywood landmark with a 20-foot high neon portrait of Beryl proclaiming, “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.”

Hollywood's Off Vine Restaurant celebrates the career of entertainer Beryl Wallace.
Scott and I met at the Off Vine Restaurant, not far from where the Earl Carroll Theatre used to be. This converted craftsman-style home also has a connection to Beryl Wallace and Earl Carroll, but I’ll let Scott explain that story.

It’s Walt Disney, Star Wars and Old Hollywood with my guest Scott Zone in The Mouse Castle Lounge.


Scott's film restoration work is on display in this clip from American Experience: Walt Disney.

To learn more about Scott Zone Media, visit

By Tim Callaway

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Inside The Mouse Castle 03-02-2016 - Disney's Seasonal Ticket Pricing, Jack Lindquist and the IASW Movie

By Tim Callaway

There's nothing like a ticket price increase to get the Disney fan base stirred up. Make it "seasonal pricing" (or "tiered pricing" or "surge pricing"), however, and you'd better getting ready for major outrage. The price of single-day and multi-day tickets went up (for the most part) at all the Disney parks over the weekend, with single-day tickets now priced based on expected attendance. In a nutshell, you'll pay more to visit your favorite park on a busy day (say, summer or Christmastime) than you will during a quieter day (like an October weekday). What does it all mean and should you really be upset about it? Anthony and I sort it all out for you in this week's Inside The Mouse Castle.

Here's what else we've got going on:
  • At the Academy Awards Sunday, Pixar's Inside Out was the unsurprising, but highly deserving winner of the Best Animated Feature Oscar. In their acceptance speech, director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera had inspiring words about the importance of "making stuff" in the face of adversity.
Me and Disney Legend Jack Lindquist, January 2011.
  • Rest in peace, Jack Lindquist, who passed away Sunday at the age of 88. Jack was a marketing genius who became Disneyland's first president and, later, a Disney Legend. His memoir, In Service to the Mouse, should be required reading for every Disney fan. Our condolences to Jack's friends and family. He will be greatly missed.
  • Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters will officially open at Disney California Adventure on March 7. Annual Passholders can get an exclusive preview of the ride on March 4. This looks like a very fun ride--and hopefully a more reliable replacement for Luigi's Flying Tires.

  • Guests attending the Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure in April can take part in special Beverage Seminars at Sonoma Terrace. Fifteen dollars will get you admission and three samples of select beers, wine or spirits. To purchase tickets, visit
  • Marvel superheroes and villains will take each other on in Marvel Battlegrounds, the new four-player play set for Disney Infinity 3.0. A modern-look Captain America comes with the set and new character figures Ant-Man, Vision and Black Panther will also be available. Purchase the set online or in stores on March 15.

  • Today's parting question: Does the thought of an It's a Small World movie make you cringe as much as us? Thought so.


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