Tag - disney

D23 Expo Unveils Highly Anticipated Panels and Presentations

BURBANK, Calif., April 26, 2017 D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has announced the lineup of the most highly anticipated presentations at D23 Expo 2017, July 14–16. The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, will kick off the Expo on Friday morning, July 14. Later that same day, The Walt Disney Studios will give fans a sneak peek at all the latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. On Saturday morning, The Walt Disney Studios will preview the coming slate of live-action films from Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Then, on Saturday afternoon, fans will get a preview of what’s in store at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts during a presentation hosted by Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek. Sunday afternoon, Disney Legend Alan Menken will take fans on a musical journey during an all-new concert.

These Expo favorites will take place in “Hall D23,” the 6,800-seat venue located in Hall D of the Anaheim Convention Center. The schedule of Hall D23 Events and Presentations are as follows (all events subject to change):

The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, July 14. The ceremony, hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, will once again honor those visionaries and artists who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy. This year’s recipients are: Carrie Fisher, Clyde “Gerry” Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Wayne Jackson, Stan Lee, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, and Oprah Winfrey.

The Walt Disney Studios will present a behind-the-scenes look at its blockbuster collection of upcoming films in two jam-packed Hall D23 sessions. At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, fans will discover what’s on the drawing board for the acclaimed filmmakers at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. On Saturday at 10:30 a.m., Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm showcase the Studios’ exciting slate of live-action films. As always, attendees will be treated to exclusive footage, special guest appearances, and more!

On Saturday, July 15, at 3 p.m., step into the worlds of magic of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts with Chairman Bob Chapek to find out what’s new and what’s next for resorts around the globe.

To round out the weekend, Disney Legend Alan Menken will perform his exciting new one-man show, A Whole New World of Alan Menken. The eight-time Oscar®-winner introduced new generations to musicals through such box office hits as Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted, and Tangled, as well as the Broadway shows Little Shop of Horrors,Sister Act, Newsies, and A Bronx Tale, as well as the ABC television series Galavant. Menken will perform his own music and share entertaining anecdotes about his unrivaled career during the show, which will be performed Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for a one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admissionand $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23expo.com.

Alan Menken Announces One Man Show at D23 Expo

BURBANK, Calif. (April 20, 2017) – Disney aficionados, film buffs, and musical theater fans can expect a show like no other when eight-time Oscar®-winner Alan Menken performs his own music and shares entertaining anecdotes about his unrivaled career at D23 Expo 2017. His songs and music have enchanted audiences around the world, and now they will thrill D23 Expo guests with two performances of his exciting new one-man show, A Whole New World of Alan Menken, on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in Hall D23 of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Menken has won more Academy Awards® than any other living individual. He has received 11 Grammy® Awards, seven Golden Globes, a Tony Award,® and19 Academy Award® nominations. He has been credited with introducing a whole new generation to musicals through such box office hits as Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted, and Tangled, as well as the Broadway shows Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act, Newsies, A Bronx Tale, and the ABC television series Galavant.

The one-man show is written and performed by Menken and directed by Richard Kraft, the creative director of the highly acclaimed Disney’s The Little Mermaid in Concert at The Hollywood Bowl starring Sara Bareilles and Rebel Wilson, as well as the upcoming La La Land in Concert: A Live-To-Film Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl.

A Whole New World of Alan Menken is produced by Laura Engel and Richard Kraft and Alison Ahart Williams and Tim Fox, whose credits include The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert at the Hollywood BowlDisney’s The Little Mermaid in Concert at The Hollywood BowlLive from Lincoln Center: Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton, which recently won two Emmy® awards for its PBS broadcast, and the upcoming La La Land in Concert: A Live-To-Film Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl.

Alan Menken’s music and lyrics have been an integral part of the fabric of our lives since his first works were produced nearly 40 years ago. Song and score credits for film musicals include The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast (animated and live-action versions), Newsies, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range, Enchanted, and Tangled. His stage musicals include Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Carol, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and A Bronx Tale. His television credits include writing songs for the ABC series Galavant, and his chart-topping songs include “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” “Colors of the Wind,” and “Go the Distance.” Menken’s notable achievements include induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Billboard’s No. 1 single (“A Whole New World”) and No. 1 album (Pocahontas). In 2001, he received the distinction of being named a Disney Legend.

Experiences are subject to change. Additional details are available at D23expo.com.

Ticketsfor D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Membersof D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23expo.com.

Nine New Disney Legends to be Honored at the 2017 D23 Expo

BURBANK, Calif. (April 7, 2017) – Oprah Winfrey, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Julie Taymor, and other remarkable contributors to the Disney legacy will be honored as official Disney Legends during D23 Expo 2017. Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the Disney Legends Award ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 14, in Hall D23 of the Anaheim Convention Center.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Disney Legends Awards. The first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), who was honored in 1987.

“The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor our company can bestow on an individual, reserved for those few who have truly made an indelible mark on the history of The Walt Disney Company,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger. “It’s a celebration of talent, a recognition of achievement, and an expression of gratitude to the men and women whose work has significantly contributed to Disney’s enduring reputation for creative excellence.”

The awards ceremony is just one of the dozens of spectacular events that Disney fans can enjoy during the three-day D23 Expo.

The 2017 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

  • CARRIE FISHER became an overnight sensation in 1977 with her iconic performance as Princess Leia in Star Wars. But throughout her career, Carrie took on many roles—as an actress, author, playwright, screenwriter, and outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. For Disney, Carrie appeared in Scream 3 (2000) and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) for Dimension Films, and, in 2015, she returned to the role that made her famous, starring as General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She reprised the role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be released in December.
  • CLYDE “GERRY” GERONIMI joined the Disney Studio in 1931. His first assignments as an animator were for several memorable Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphony, and Pluto cartoons, and he eventually contributed to more than 50 of the Studio’s shorts. Gerry made the leap to sequence director with 1943’s Victory Through Air Power, and he subsequently contributed to The Three Caballeros, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. He also directed segments for television’s Mickey Mouse Club and contributed to episodes of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. The apex of his Disney career came when he served as supervising director for the 1959 masterpiece Sleeping Beauty.
  • MANUEL GONZALES was one of 33 artists selected from thousands of applicants to join Disney in 1936. In 1938, he took over penciling duties on the Sunday Mickey Mouse comic strip from Disney Legend Floyd Gottfredson. He brought Mickey Mouse to newspapers nationwide for nearly 40 years. At its peak, his Mickey-starring comic strip appeared in 120 newspapers around the world with a collective circulation of more than 20 million readers each week. Manuel was presented a “Mousecar” award by Walt Disney in 1966.
  • MARK HAMILL began his career in 1970, appearing in numerous television series guest-roles and several TV movies, including a recurring role on ABC’s General Hospital and starring in MTM’s acclaimed The Texas Wheelers. He achieved worldwide attention as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, which included The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He returned as Luke in The Force Awakensand will appear in the upcoming The Last Jedi. His stage career includes Broadway shows and the first national tour of Amadeus directed by Sir Peter Hall. A prolific voice-over actor, he has performed in countless animated television shows, feature films, documentaries, and video games. He appears on Disney’s Miles from Tomorrowland and Milo Murphy’s Law, and has also provided the voice of The Joker in the Batmananimated series, a role that recently earned him a BAFTA Award.
  • WAYNE JACKSON began his career as a Walt Disney Imagineer in October 1965, and in the decades that followed he would put his technical skills and know-how to great use in the development and installation of Disney attractions around the world. Originally trained in aircraft tooling, he began as a technician and machinist assigned to rebuild the shows from the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair that were slated for installation at Disneyland. Instrumental in the early development of Audio-Animatronics® technology, Wayne would go on to help bring Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion to Disneyland. He went on to work on the construction and installation of attractions and show systems at Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Disneyland Paris.
  • STAN LEE got a job as an office assistant at a comic publisher in 1939 called Timely Comics—forerunner of the powerhouse we all know as Marvel. Stan made his debut with a Captain America story in 1941, and by the next year, at the age of just 18, he was promoted to editor. In 1961, Stan teamed up with Jack “King” Kirby to create the Fantastic Four and ushered in a spectacular new age of comics. Stan co-created an enormous roster of Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, Daredevil, and Falcon. He became Marvel’s editorial director and publisher in 1972, and eventually was named chairman emeritus. His well-known cameos in Marvel films began with 1989’s telefilm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and since the release of X-Men in 2000 he has appeared in nearly every Marvel film project. Outside the super-hero realm, he has even popped up as a wedding guest in Disney’s The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
  • GARRY MARSHALL began his career in Los Angeles writing for a number of hit shows, including The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show. But his big break came in 1970, when he produced The Odd Couple for ABC, the first of many big hits he created for the network. Beginning with Happy Days in 1974, he developed a shared universe of spinoffs including Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi. His other ABC sitcoms during these years included Angie, The New Odd Couple, and Blansky’s Beauties. Garry was also a successful movie director, with 18 films to his credit. At Disney, he made stars of two young actresses: Julia Roberts, in Pretty Woman, and Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. He directed Bette Midler in Beaches, as well as in The Lottery, a short film that for years was a fixture of the Backstage Tour at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. Garry was known for his acting, as well, and he appeared in Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain, Chicken Little, and as the Devil in Hocus Pocus.
  • JULIE TAYMOR is a Tony®-, Emmy®-, and Grammy®-winning and Oscar®-nominated filmmaker who has changed the face of Broadway with her innovative direction. Her adaptation of The Lion King debuted in 1997, becoming the most successful stage musical of all time; 24 global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people. The show has played in more than 100 cities in 19 countries. It received 11 Tony Award nominations, earning Julie Best Director, Costume Designer, and Best Musical for the show. Her production of The Magic Flute is currently in repertory at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Her films include A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Titus, The Tempest, the Golden Globe-nominated Across the Universe, and the Oscar-winning Frida. Taymor is a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and an inductee into the Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement. She is currently directing M. Butterfly on Broadway, opening Fall 2017.
  • OPRAH WINFREY is a renowned award-winning producer, actress, talk show host, and philanthropist. For 25 years she was the host of the award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran for 25 seasons on hundreds of stations domestically and in more than 100 countries around the world. Oprah is also an Academy Award®-nominated actress for her role in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 hit The Color Purple. In 1998, she starred in Beloved for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, a film that she also produced. Oprah also produced and starred in ABC’s 1989 limited series The Women of Brewster Place, and would go on to produce many films for ABC, including Tuesdays with Morrie, Before Women Had Wings, and Their Eyes Were Watching God under the “Oprah Winfrey Presents” banner. She performed as Eudora in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in 2009 and will co-star as Mrs. Which in Disney’s 2018 film A Wrinkle in Time.

Honorees receive a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients will also participate in a handprint ceremony at the end of the event, and their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank headquarters.

Admission to the ceremony will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is included in the price of a ticket to D23 Expo 2017.

Including this year’s honorees, a total of 276 Disney Legends have been named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Julie Andrews, Beatrice Arthur, Howard Ashman, Regis Philbin, Annette Funicello, Peter Jennings, Johnny Depp, Estelle Getty, George Lucas, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Rue McClanahan, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Sir Tim Rice, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Betty White, and Robin Williams. Beginning with the inaugural D23 Expo in 2009, thousands of Disney fans have been able to enjoy the Legends Awards ceremony live.

Ticketsfor D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Membersof D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23Expo.com.

Disney Pixar Announce Nationwide Tour for CARS 3

BURBANK, Calif. (March 21, 2017) — Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” is hitting the road this month with Road to the Races, a nationwide tour inviting fans of #95 to gear up for the upcoming big-screen release. Life-size, character look-alikes of five-time Piston-Cup champion Lightning McQueen, tech-savvy trainer Cruz Ramirez and the sleek next-gen racer Jackson Storm will be rolling into 27 cities coast to coast to celebrate the new movie, which opens June 16, 2017.

“We are going to kick off the tour at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World on Thursday, March 23,” said Lylle Breier, senior vice president, worldwide marketing partnerships and special events for the Walt Disney Studios. “There will be fun activities for the whole family—plus a sneak peek of the movie.”

The roster of cities includes Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles, among others—the full list is available at CARS3tour.com. The “Road to the Races” nationwide tour wraps up in California with a visit to NASCAR at Sonoma at the Sonoma Raceway June 24-25, 2017, and the life-size character cars will also roll onto the red carpet for the “Cars 3” world premiere on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

A host of sponsors have signed on to support the tour, which includes a variety of activities.

  • Alamo Rent A CarSM is hosting a street art booth and will bring “Cars 3” to life with a giant coloring mural featuring Lightning McQueen and friends, along with a color pencil pack souvenir.  Owned and operated by Enterprise Holdings, Alamo Rent A Car offers low rental rates and a hassle-free customer experience at the most popular travel destinations around the world.
  • Coppertone® is creating a racer pit crew that encourages visitors to take part in a tire-changing activity and photo-sharing opportunity. A leader in the sun care industry, Coppertone is made by Bayer HealthCare, LLC.
  • Crest® and Oral-B® celebrate the Road to the Races tour, providing fans with an opportunity to create a digital postcard with Lightning McQueen and get “Cars”-themed oral care products. Crest and Oral-B are the first step to enjoying a lifetime of healthy smiles.
  • Dole®, the leader in fresh, quality produce, invites visitors to fuel up and recharge their batteries, sample high-octane fruit and vegetable smoothies, collect “Cars 3”-inspired recipes and discover how Dole and Disney are working together to make healthy living fun and easy for families. To see more of Dole’s exciting promotions around summer family fun, visit www.dole.com/Cars3.
  • Mattel presents an interactive play area, which sends Lightning McQueen and other racers down the gravity drop and launches them into action in new play sets that feature locations from the movie. Also on display will be a collection of die cast racers from past and present. Mattel is the leading global childhood development and play company.

Fans will be able to catch a sneak peek of the movie in the Cinetransformer Mobile Movie Theater. Visitors will also be able to take photos with the life-size character cars.

In addition, the sports national youth program NASCAR Acceleration Nation will display the science behind NASCAR racing, and elements from the NASCAR Hall of Fame will allow attendees to get up close and personal with the history of NASCAR.

Mack Trucks, Inc. will transport the life-size character cars on the coast-to-coast tour.

Schedules are subject to change without notice, and attractions may be unavailable for unscheduled reasons.

D23 Expo Japan 2018 Announced

MINATO-KU, Tokyo, March 21, 2017 – The Walt Disney Company (Japan) announced today that it will stage D23 Expo Japan 2018, a special event for Disney fans created by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, over three days from February 10 to February 12, 2018, at Tokyo Disney Resort in Maihama.

D23 Expo is held every two years in the U.S. for Disney’s most passionate fans. The first D23 Expo in Japan was held in 2013 and is unique to Japan while remaining true to the original vision of “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event.” D23 Expo Japan 2015 was themed to “The Power of Story.” Guests were treated to spellbinding stories from each of the four Disney brands—Disney, Disney•Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel. Fans enjoyed experiences, merchandise, collectibles, and endless surprises created exclusively for the event.

D23 Expo Japan 2018 will once again feature special exhibits and opportunities for the delight and enjoyment of guests. Further details will be posted at http://disney.jp/D23 as they become available this summer.

“We heard from a lot of fans about how delighted they were with the D23 Expo Japan 2013 and 2015.D23 Expo Japan 2018 promises to be even more spectacular,” said Paul Candland, President, Walt Disney Asia and President, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. “2018 marks The Walt Disney Company’s 95th anniversary and the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse’s screen debut. In Japan, it marks Tokyo Disney Resort’s 35th, Disney Channel’s 15th, and the Disney★JCB Card’s 10th. We’re very excited about being able to present this great event once again, and we know our guests will have an incredible experience during the three days we have planned for them.”

About Walt Disney Japan
The Walt Disney Company marked its formal move into the Japanese market by establishing a local subsidiary in 1959. In April 2000, several Japanese affiliates were integrated to form a new company, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd., to oversee all Disney interests in Japan. Walt Disney Japan runs a diversified business building on synergies created by the following segments—Studio Motion Pictures, Television, Consumer Products & Interactive, Media Distribution, Disney Store Japan and Parks & Resorts.

About D23: The Official Disney Fan Club
The name D23 pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official fan club in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the magical world of Disney through its quarterly magazine Disney twenty-three, information-packed website D23.com, member-exclusive discounts, and special events like the D23 Expo held in Anaheim, California.

About D23 Expo in the U.S.
D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event has been held in the U.S. four times to date, drawing Disney fans from around the world to Anaheim, California. D23 Expo 2017 will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center the weekend of July 14–16. Highlights include what’s new and what’s on the horizon from theme parks, television, music, gaming, and films, including Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel; the Disney Legends Ceremony to honor the talented men and women who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy; an all-new exhibit curated by the Walt Disney Archives; the D23 Expo Emporium, where Disney fans can buy, sell, and trade Disney collectibles, memorabilia, merchandise, and more; and D23 Expo’s costume contest.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Refurbishment Details

ANAHEIM, Calif. – An exciting, hotel-wide refurbishment is bringing new magic to the luxurious Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort, with completely redesigned guest rooms plus a refreshed lobby, pool areas and the concierge-level Craftsman Club. The most extensive refurbishment since the hotel’s 2001 opening will elevate the premium guest experience and bring a contemporary approach to the Arts & Crafts design style.

The renovations will roll out in phases, with expected completion by the end of 2017. Guests will begin to enjoy the first phase of refreshed guest rooms starting this spring.

Recently named a AAA Four Diamond hotel by the Automobile Club of Southern California for the sixteenth year in a row, the 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa captures the romantic spirit of California’s Arts & Crafts movement in the early 20th century.

“Our renovation adds more luxury to this iconic Southern California hotel, while staying committed to its signature Arts & Crafts design,” said Dan Coleman, General Manager of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. “We want our guests to feel they are staying in a Disney hotel that’s distinctly situated in beautiful California. The revitalized design helps convey this feeling and allows us to continue exceeding guest expectations.”

Redesigned Guest Rooms
Every single element in the redesigned guest rooms will be new, creating a fresh sense of luxury – from floor and walls to furnishings, bedding and linens, as well as upgraded bathrooms. Upon entry, guests will notice beautiful hardwood flooring transitioning into soft, bright-toned carpeting. Linens and pillows are restyled in a bright, white palette and upgraded bathrooms include new fixtures. The room decor is a contemporary take on the Arts & Crafts style featuring all-new furniture made of natural oak, specially designed for each room, as well as California-inspired artwork created by artists and Disney Imagineers, including beautiful headboard walls with wood inlay designs featuring Chip ‘n Dale climbing orange trees! Guests with sharp eyes will catch other uniquely Disney details throughout these newly enhanced rooms.

Other Enhancements

  • Pools: The pools and surrounding areas have been redesigned with new hardscapes that reinforce the Arts and Crafts feeling of this premier Disney resort. A variety of natural stones were chosen to create a warm and welcoming environment at each pool.
  • Lobby: The already spectacular six-story Grand Hall lobby will continue to impress guests with new, stylish furnishings to complement the existing Arts and Crafts décor.
  • The Craftsman Club: The new design for The Craftsman Club, the hotel’s concierge-level lounge, will draw inspiration from the architectural and furniture designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a visionary of the Glasgow Style of the Arts and Crafts movement. New hardwood flooring, custom-designed rugs, finely-crafted artisanal furniture and specially-commissioned art will add to the sophisticated, upscale tone of the Club.

Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa is the first Disney resort hotel in the world to be located inside a theme park, providing guests with an exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure Park. Guests staying at Disneyland Resort hotels also enjoy Extra Magic Hour, which provides early entry to select Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractions.

For updates and progress reports on Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa refurbishment, visit www.disneyparksblog.com.

Han Solo Star Wars Story Begins Production

February 21, 2017 – The adventure-filled past of the iconic scoundrel and everyone’s favorite Wookiee is going before cameras this month when principal photography on the untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story officially began February 20th at Pinewood Studios, London.

The movie will explore the duo’s adventures before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, including their early encounters with that other card-playing rogue from a galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are directors co-piloting the movie, with a cast that includes Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.

“Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous,” Lord and Miller said. “We can’t think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”

Written by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, it will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, Simon Emanuel and co-produced by Kiri Hart, Susan Towner and Will Allegra. Lawrence Kasdan and Jason McGatlin will executive produce.

Crewing the ship will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Academy Award nominee for his work on “Arrival,” Bradford Young (Director of Photography), Chris Dickens (Editor), Dominic Tuohy (SFX Supervisor), Rob Bredow (VFX Supervisor) and Brad Allan (Action Designer).

They will be joining returning Star Wars veteran crew members Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Neil Lamont (Production Designer), Dave Crossman and Glyn Dillon (Co-Costume Designers), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Lisa Tomblin (Hair), Amanda Knight (Make-Up) and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).

The untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story is slated for release on May 25, 2018.

Punch it.

Star Wars Force Friday II Announced for Sept 1

Glendale, Calif. (February 16, 2017) – Disney and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars Force Friday II, a global fan event celebrating the launch of new products inspired by the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Toys, collectibles, books, apparel and more will go on sale beginning at 12:01 a.m. on September 1, 2017, with stores around the world opening for a weekend-long celebration of all things Star Wars.

“The first Star Wars Force Friday event was truly unique, uniting fans across five continents in an unprecedented global live unboxing event ahead of thousands of midnight openings at retail,” says Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for ‘The Last Jedi’. Plans for this year’s world-wide event are top secret but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.”

Star Wars fans around the globe embraced Force Friday in 2015, with hundreds of thousands turning up to stores at midnight to be the first to get their hands on merchandise from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Toys from the new line were revealed via a global live-stream unboxing event that unfolded over 18 hours, 15 different cities and 12 countries, attracting millions of views on YouTube. Fans took to social media to share their experiences with nearly 3 billion Twitter impressions about the events, using #ForceFriday.

Jill Wilfert, Vice President of global licensing and entertainment from The LEGO Group comments, “It was so much fun to be a part of Star Wars Force Friday, and we can’t wait for fans to join this year’s celebration as we reveal new ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ products during Force Friday II – a global event that will connect fans and families, and allow them to build, create and share their experiences with others.”

Details of how fans can participate will be revealed closer to the event but the world-wide launch will tap new technology and Star Wars mythology to create a unique experience for fans. Just like 2015, products for “The Last Jedi” will be kept under wraps until Force Friday II to preserve surprises for fans. As well as introducing new characters from the movie in toy form, the line will build on the success of products like Sphero’s BB-8, introducing more innovative technology to bring the characters and stories from the film to life in unique ways.

“Toys play a unique role in the Star Wars universe, and we’re proud to have been part of that incredible legacy for the past forty years. The new line for ‘The Last Jedi’ is our most innovative yet, and we’re excited to unveil it on Force Friday II,” said Samantha Lomow, Senior Vice President at Hasbro.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the highest grossing movie of all time domestically and that success was mirrored at retail. NPD[1] reported that Star Wars was the number one toy property in the U.S. for 2016 and 2015, and that during the week of Force Friday, $1 for every $11 spent on toys was on a Star Wars item. Additionally, the popularity of the movie propelled Star Wars onto the top ten toy list for both boys and girls for the first time ever in 2015[2].

Also being revealed today is a first look at packaging for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” products which feature leading heroes: Poe Dameron, Rey and Finn. The trio will be featured on Star Wars packaging beginning September 1, 2017.

Fans can stay tuned to StarWars.com for more details on Force Friday II events, and can follow the conversation on social using #ForceFridayII.

MilitAnts Review

I’ve been playing side-scrolling shooters since the first side-scrolling shooters came out in arcades and then on the first home game consoles.  If I didn’t own it my cousins did and, if by some freak of financial windfall, the three of us didn’t then the local video store knew not to expect their copy back for a while.  Of course, Contra held a place more nearer and dearer to our hearts than some family members but friends and family who challenged us and felt the frustration of getting their butts kicked by kids time and time again understood the excitement and fun of the video gauntlet thrown down each time.  Fast forward 29 years… OMG HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG!!! *deep gasping breaths* sorry just give me a moment… let’s just say fast forward a lot and here we are still playing the side-scrollers with the same love as yesteryear this time with a flair that Disney would probably appreciate.

Game On:

The Disney-like part and the aspect that makes the game different from other side-scrollers is in the name MilitAnts.  You play a sole soldier of the ant army who must defend the approach into the colony by a huge swarm of bugs lead by deadly and really, really hard bosses, all on a 2.5D.

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First off to describe the horde you face.  You fight over 30 different kinds of enemies including an army of different termites and an air force of wasps, all willing to put their differences aside to come try to kill you and your kind off.  Talk about making someone angry.  Boss battles are frustratingly hard, luckily the save/restart point is right before so you don’t have to travel far but dying happens aplenty.

One of the best things about being a soldier ant: you may use 2 legs to stand but that leaves 4 legs for weapons.  At first this means next to nothing because it starts you off with the same two weapons (pistols) in your upper hands and the same type of weapons in the two lower arms which are blades.  Not sure why you have to have 2 blades instead a choice to have one gun and one blade, maybe one of the hands are underdeveloped and can’t hold more than a Swiss Army pocket knife.

So you start with two energy pistols that wear down fast and you want to buy some better gear.  To do this you beat down they enemies with combos so that they drop pieces of crystals which you then turn into crystals and buy stuff with.  You REALLY want to have some upgrades in place by the time you hit the second boss or you will find your time filled with cursing in more languages that your realized you knew (for me it was Chinese I think thanks to Firefly).  Adding to the challenge of getting that weapon upgrade is 2.5D.  In case you haven’t experience it it is when the game is given depth and there is a level deep.  So besides side scrolling and shooting those in front and behind you you also need to shoot them beside you.  The only way it ever works really well is with very few enemies back there which MilitAnt doesn’t do or with an amazing target system which begins the problems with the game.

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The game is a port, it doesn’t really hide the fact and the interesting thing is playing on the keyboard and mouse then PC with a game controller there were certain things better in each.  Using keyboard and mouse seems a little bit better at targeting though maybe a little bit slower going between targets.  When it comes to jumping however the controller wins hands down and holds its better in pretty much everything else.  That might be why in the PC online manual for it has controller directions only.  Personally I kinda wished they had just stayed with controller controls and not done the .5 part of the 2.5D.  It made a game I enjoyed whenever there was no creature back there frustrating when it would pop up and I would have to try to target it.

One thing I have to note is that the game is very beautiful, which a lot of players don’t care about but I think adds to the Disney way about it even more.

Last Thought:

I was really excited for MilitAnt which might also explain a bit of my frustration with it.  It is a decent side-scroller with the 2.5D gameplay and a bit of the Disney flair.  I think I might go take a break from gaming and watch one of the insect flix until I get angry at one of the bad guys and replay a boss or two.

[easyreview title=”MilitAnt Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”3″ ] [button target=”_blank” style=”” class=”btn_blue” link=”http://gamingshogun.com/gamingshogun-rating-system/”]Learn About Our Rating System[/button]

D23 Expo 2017 Ticket Sale Date

BURBANK, Calif. – July 6, 2016 – On Thursday, July 14, at 10 a.m. PT, D23: The Official Disney Fan Clubwill begin selling tickets for the next D23 Expo, which will take place July 14–16, 2017, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The largest Disney fan event in the world, D23 Expo celebrates all the wonderful worlds of Disney entertainment, uniting all parts of The Walt Disney Company under one roof, including The Walt Disney Studios (including Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm); Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media; and Media Networks (including ABC, Disney Channel, and Radio Disney). D23 Expo 2017 marks the fifth biennial event held in Anaheim.

Once again the Expo will celebrate the past, present, and future of Disney with live events, celebrity appearances, panels, presentations, sneak peeks, and immersive experiences. D23 Expo 2017 marks the return of fan favorites, including the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, honoring the talented men and women who have made indelible contributions to the Disney legacy; an exhibit from the Walt Disney Archives, which spotlights costumes, props, and set pieces from Disney’s rich history; and the Mousequerade costume contest.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 will be available at a discounted price for a limited time. From July 14–December 31, 2016, tickets are $67 for a one-day adult admission and $46 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $57 for a one-day adult admission and $41 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $296 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for members and general admission, visit D23Expo.com.

To celebrate the launch of ticket sales, D23 will be streaming select presentations from D23 Expo 2015 at D23Expo.com from Wednesday, July 13, through Sunday, July 17. Presentations include “Once Upon a Time: An Evening with Snow White & the Evil Queen” (featuring Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parilla), “A Goofy Movie 20th Anniversary Celebration!” (including stars Bill Farmer, Jason Marsden, and Jim Cummings), “Disneyland: Fond Memories of the Past” (with Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline), and “In Conversation with the Filmmakers and the Emotions Behind Inside Out” (featuring Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera, and a special appearance by Sadness herself, Phyllis Smith).

D23 Expo 2017 will showcase all of the latest stars in the Disney universe. In 2015, celebrity appearances included Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Evans, Lupita Nyong’o, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Dwayne Johnson. The event also featured performances by Ne-Yo, Sabrina Carpenter, the cast of Teen Beach 2, and stars of Disney’s shows on Broadway. Additionally, Disney executives and creative talent came together to deliver special presentations, announcements, and experiences to Disney fans throughout the three-day extravaganza.

A limited number of VIP Sorcerer Packages for D23 Expo 2017 will be available. The Sorcerer Package includes:

  • Three-day admission ticket and commemorative Sorcerer credential
  • Reserved seating at presentations in Hall D23, Stage 23, and Stage 28
  • Limited-edition D23 American Tourister boarding bag
  • Pre-Expo tour of select exhibits including Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
  • Exclusive shopping time in the D23 Expo Dream Store, Disney Store, and Mickey’s of Glendale
  • Tour of the D23 Expo show floor the day before the Expo is open to the public
  • Welcome Reception on Thursday evening
  • Exclusive entrance to the Expo each morning
  • A voucher for an appointment with an on-site massage therapist
  • Exclusive D23 Expo gift pack including gifts from D23 and the rest of The Walt Disney Company
  • Meet and Greet with a special Disney guest
  • “Fond Farewell” reception on final day of Expo
  • Plus, access to the Sorcerer Member Lounge and other benefits

Sorcerer Package tickets are available exclusively to both D23 Gold and Gold Family Members at $2,250 per ticket. Members have the option to purchase up to two Sorcerer tickets. Additional details and benefits are highlighted at D23Expo.com.

D23 Gold and Charter Members will be entitled to special benefits throughout the weekend. Look for announcements about these opportunities in the coming months.

For the latest news and updates about D23 Expo 2017, visit D23Expo.com.