There has been a lot of negative news about Disney lately but anyone who thinks the light is dimming in Walt’s apartment above the fire station in Disneyland is sadly mistaken. The Parks & Experiences division is moving steamboat ahead, as is the Disney Wish, which will set sail in just a few months. In fact, I just saw a YouTube video in which the new ship introduces counterpoint melodies out of the funnel horn, and the ability to play We Don’t Talk About Bruno.
I had the chance to see the new Doctor Strange movie onboard the Disney Fantasy opening day and it was amazing, my second Disney movie premier aboard a Disney cruise ship. Globally, the opening weekend box office was $450m, showing that demand for Marvel and theatrical releases has not softened. And later this month, the much anticipated Disney+ Obi Wan Kenobi series premiers.
I’m still catching up on life after being offline and at sea for a week, and have not had a chance to look at earnings yet, but I hope to do so soon. In the meantime, I’ve collected a few stories to keep you up to date on what’s going on around the world of Disney!
Who will also be working on a (very) lengthy cruise report after he finishes peeling from being broiled in Tortola…
A recently unclassified FCC filing reveals a little more about Disney’s upcoming MagicBand+, the next generation of the MagicBand coming soon to Walt Disney World.
As part of the FCC approval paperwork, several images of the device can be seen, including one shot that shows the charging cradle. The USB connected charger is a small dock with charging pins that the MagicBand+ will snap into. This is the first MagicBand that has a rechargeable battery.
Disney is committed to conserving our earth’s resources, and part of that commitment is to send zero waste to landfills by 2030. Want to reduce your impact on the environment and minimize waste in your home? It’s simple … take action by composting your food scraps!
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. It’s a natural process where organic matter decomposes and is recycled into a nutrient-rich soil product often used for gardening, farming, landscaping and more. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30% of what we throw away in the United States, and this material could be composted and given a second life instead. Composting these materials keeps them out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas*.
In just a few months, we get to welcome our first guests aboard the beautiful Disney Wish, the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. I cannot wait for families to experience everything from “Frozen” and Marvel-themed dining and Broadway-style shows to the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, imaginative kids’ clubs and enchanting adults-only escapes. I know they are going to have the best time creating magical memories with their loved ones … and I am thrilled to share a preview of some of those tangible memories that you can take home with you.
ABC’s Good Morning America took its first backstage look at the Disney Wish back in March:
One of the most exciting milestones for our team of animal care experts, and personally one of my favorite moments, is introducing an animal to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Four-month-old Logan’s debut on the savanna this week was extra special, as it was the first time rhino siblings Ranger, Mylo and Logan were out together, and guests were able to see this adorable trio in action.
Epcot is undergoing a massive transformation, and the introduction of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the latest innovention to come to the park, opening Memorial Day weekend. Featuring an interview with Josh Demaro, Here’s a special D23 Inside Disney video showing off not only what’s new and coming at Epcot but in the other Disney World theme parks as well, from new attractions to new snacks to the vault collection of WDW 50th merch, MagicBand + and the return of live entertainment, energized by fresh inclusion and diversity.
Estelle Harris, known for voicing Mrs. Potato Head in three installments of Pixar’s Toy Story franchise (2, 3 and 4) and a number of additional shorts, and who also appeared in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Phil of the Future, Kim Possible, The Proud Family, House of Mouse, Aladdin and more, died Saturday evening of natural causes in Palm Desert, California, just weeks before her 94th birthday.
After an uproar over a performance by a cheer group at the park this week, Walt Disney World issued a statement today addressing racist stereotypes about native Americans in the drill team’s routine. Video shows the The Port Neches-Groves “Indianettes” High School drill team repeating the words, “scalp ‘em Indians, scalp ‘em,” among other things.
Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler said in the statement, “The live performance in our park did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place. It was not consistent with the audition tape the school provided and we have immediately put measures in place so this is not repeated.”
There are few figures in popular culture that carry as much raw emotional power as Mickey Mouse.
As a character, Mickey Mouse has engendered love and laughter from countless viewers for more than 90 years in popular culture. As a corporate symbol, Mickey Mouse has elicited more complicated emotions. Both are grappled with in “Mickey: The Story of a Mouse,” a new documentary that will debut at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on Saturday and will be headed to Disney+ later this year.
“More Than Robots” is the kind of documentary that may change a kid’s life. Seriously. Sweet and fascinating and fun and very easy to watch, it’s a portrait of four teams participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition, where teams from schools around the world build robots to solve a specific course/problem. But while some folks may have a stodgy view of robotics and electronics, FIRST sets out to make the art and science of building 'bots as thrilling as possible — it’s a team sport, with mascots, music, and bonafide competition. FIRST borrows the language of professional sports and Hollywood to make science seem as immediately vital to kids as other pastimes.
Director Gillian Jacobs (yes, of “Community” fame) has a soft but focused touch, gently pulling you into the stories of each kid and each team as they work on their robots and discover a community of likeminded folks excited about the possibilities of science and engineering. It’s enough to make a jaded adult like me want to pick up a robotics kit, and I can easily imagine a kid scrolling around Disney+, watching it, and finding a calling.
In 2018, Disney celebrated Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday with a cavalcade of cross promotions. There was a 16,000-foot art exhibition in New York, a primetime TV special on ABC led by Kristen Bell and Dwayne Johnson, and a number of high profile collaborations with brands like Coach, Vans, and Marc Jacobs. Mickey’s entire career was celebrated company-wide for a full year, honoring his debut in “Steamboat Willie” in 1928 through his iconic appearance as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in Walt Disney’s masterpiece Fantasia and more recent accomplishments like the Oscar-nominated short “Get a Horse” and the wildly popular Paul Rudish TV series.
Noticeably absent from the synergistic festivities, however, was the unearthing of the 1995’s “Runaway Brain,” which fans of Disney Animation have longed to see again. Despite being nominated for an Oscar in 1996, playing out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival that May, and being, at the time, the first true Mickey Mouse theatrical short to play for theatrical audiences in more than 40 years has been all but erased from existence. The short is not locked in the Disney Vault, it’s seemingly buried underneath it in a lead-lined box.
Watch the short and tell me what you think - should it remain burried?
There’s actually more to this short than meets the eye. Check out this great analaysis of what you might have missed:
When we kicked off The World’s Most Magical Celebration here at Walt Disney World Resort, I shared that our Disney VoluntEARS would be bringing all the love, joy and EARidescent excitement of the 50th Anniversary to you, our Central Florida family, through the 50 for 50 Disney VoluntEARS Challenge.
So far, hundreds of VoluntEARS have participated in the challenge – whether donating their time at one of our six recently granted nonprofits, inspiring future storytellers at Otronicon, raising funds to help find permanent homes for animals in need at “Paws in the Park,” or signing up for one of the dozens of Disney VoluntEARS events available each month.
The excitement is building for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games taking place June 5-12 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Yesterday, Walt Disney World Resort announced that thousands of athletes, families, and fans in attendance for the games will be treated to legendary entertainment- sprinkled with a little magic- with an exciting Opening Ceremony produced by Disney Live Entertainment.
Disney has a long-standing relationship with Special Olympics, which has included additional sponsorship and in-kind support for the USA Games, as well as staging multiple state and local events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. As the presenting sponsor of the Volunteer Program for the 2022 Special Olympic USA Games, Disney will also support the families and fans cheering on the athletes this summer with cast members and community volunteers.
Who notes if Disney were struggling you wouldn’t know it by the pace of new product it is putting out, in the parks & resorts, in the theaters, on television and streaming…
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