News Items

Star Wars Coding Tutorial Available

Screen shot of Star Wars tutorial on Code.org.

Screen shot of Star Wars tutorial on Code.org.

Last month, Code.org, a non-profit website that offers online tutorials to teach computer programming, or “coding” to students, recently launched Star Wars themed coding tutorials.

One of the tutorials, geared to ages 6-10, allows students to create Star Wars games. They do so by dragging around blocks of actions, like “Move Up” or “Move Down”.

The tutorial geared to ages 11 on up also allows students to create Star Wars programs by dragging around blocks of code in the common programming language called Javascript.

Though given this is Star Wars…maybe they should call it “Jawa Script”! Or maybe “Jabba Script”, or “JarJar Script”.

This article originally appeared on Episode 14 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

Disney Takes Steps to Avoid Star Wars Spoilers

Concept art of new Star Tours sequence.

Concept art of new Star Tours sequence. ©Disney

The Star Tours attractions in both Tomorrowland at Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida are currently running a new sequence “inspired” by the upcoming new Star Wars, the Force Awakens film.  While Star Tours generally runs a random sequence with over 50 possibilities, for the next few months the new sequence will be the only one run, ensuring as many fans as possible can see it.  However, the film, which has prided itself on secrecy won’t open until December 18th, which has led some to wonder if the new sequence contains spoilers….and if so…will those be leaked to hungry Star Wars fans world wide.

Disney spokesperson, Ann Akinsky Walker, has confirmed to ENN that the sequence does include several things which would be considered “spoilers”. However, she added that precautions are being taken to mitigate the danger of those details being leaked.  Guests will be required to check their cell phones and cameras as they enter the attraction.  This is to prevent them from recording…or even Periscoping the scene. But, those electronics will be returned when the guests leave the attraction….which is expected to be at 12:01am on December 18th.

Those with questions about this policy should see Quester Relations…..uh…I mean Guest Relations.  

This article originally appeared on Episode 14 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

Tower of Terror Star Wars “Season of the Force” Overlay?

©Disney

©Disney

‘Tis the Season….of the Force that is . On November 16th, Disneyland officially opened its “Season of the Force” event. Several elements make up this new event.

The first is Star Wars Launch Bay which gives guests a chance to visit Star Wars characters, check out special exhibits and get some behind the scenes looks at the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie.

The second is Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, the newest incarnation of the former “Jedi Training Academy”. This version adds new characters including ones from the Star Wars Rebels animated series.

The third is “Hyperspace Mountain”, a Star Wars themed overlay to the popular coaster attraction “Space Mountain”.

The fourth is a new addition to Star Tours which we will discuss in more detail a just minute.

The “Season of the Force” will launch officially on December 1st at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and will contain many of the same features with an addition of a new Star Wars fireworks presentation entitled “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular”.

Despite a myriad of rumors within the Disney Blogosphere, there will be no Star Wars overlay to the Tower Of Terror. Even though Disney Imagineers Alderan away with the idea, they could not settle on a good concept. They first tried “Tower of the Force”...choked that one! And then they tried “Cloud City Air Shaft of Terror” but it too didn’t work……… so they went…. hands off.

This article originally appeared on Episode 14 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

Haunted Mansion Cast Member Confronts Immortality

Haunted Mansion ©Disney

Haunted Mansion ©Disney

Barney Steger, a Disneyland haunted mansion Butler, recently had a humorous encounter with a guest.  While ushering guests into the stretching room he instructed them all to “drag their wretched bodies to the dead center of the room”. While most of the guest complied, Barney noticed a teenage girl defiantly standing by one of the hidden doors to the room.  Barney positioned himself next to her, stared her fiercely in the eyes and In his menacing tone repeated the command. “Drag your wretched  body to the dead center of the room!”

The girl didn’t even flinch, held Barney’s gaze, and confidently replied back “Sorry, but no. I am not one of your foolish mortals! I am immortal and plan to live forever.”

Unfazed by her response, Barney simply asked her “And what if you find out you’re not immortal?”

The girl, clearly stunned by the thought and quickly flushing in extreme embarrassment stammered out “oh! I would just die!”

This article originally appeared on Episode 13 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

Jingle Jungle Cruise has a New Ending

Jingle Jungle Cruise.  ©Disney

Jingle Jungle Cruise. ©Disney

The holiday overlay to the Jungle Cruise,  making it the Jingle Jungle Cruise has already taken place and guests are experiencing what has become yet another popular annual event. The holiday overlay appears in the Magic Kingdoms at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts.

Guests will notice holiday decorations, placed by the Skippers all throughout the rivers.  The Skippers have even changed up their narrations to include some  seasonal banter as well.

But the piece de resistance is found near the end of the ride as an appearance is made by Trader Santa who comes bearing gifts: two mistletoes for one of yours.

Come to think of it…that’s a lot cheaper price than he usually charges.

This article originally appeared on Episode 13 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

New Twenty Eight & Main Features the Hottest New Accessory

Twenty Eight and Main Logo ©Disney

Twenty Eight and Main Logo ©Disney

A new store recently opened at the Disney Springs Marketplace in the Walt Disney World Resort featuring “fine quality goods for the discerning gentleman”.

Known as Twenty Eight & Main, the store features Disney apparel and accessories targeted to men. This include things ranging from polos and t-shirts, uh…I mean…athletic and casual wear, to scarves, hats, ties, and even briefcases.

But the signature piece to the Twenty Eight and Main collection is the highly coveted, Mickey-shaped MAN BUN.

This article originally appeared on Episode 13 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

Disney Testing New Holiday Party at the Magic Kingdom

Wishes Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. ©Disney

Wishes Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. ©Disney

On November 8th, the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of 2015 was held, a mere week after the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of 2015. The popular hard ticketed event surrounds guests in the magic of the holidays with sweet treats, performances of the Christmas parade, and snow on Main Street.

But despite its popularity, some fans have complained over the years that they feel a little left out as religious or cultural backgrounds prevent them from attending a “Christmas” event. Disney has apparently been listening and is testing a new party this season, one that allows guests to celebrate the one fall holiday universally accepted by all.

On November 27th, and for one day only, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World will be closed for a special hard ticketed event: Mickey’s Very Very Wild and Crazy Black Friday Fiesta.

Festivities will include a veritable obstacle course of kiosks down Main Street, ridiculously low priced deals on Disney merchandise and a parade featuring crowds of shoppers dancing and acting out the popular seasonal hit, Dan Fogelberg’s “Auld Lang Syne”.

Food will be an important part of the party as well. A temporary food court will be erected in the Hub area featuring Black Friday favorites, like hot dogs and a can of soda, bad coffee, Chick-Fil-A, slices of Sbarro pizza. and variations on turkey leftovers.

But the real gem of the event will be character meet and greets exclusive to the party. Rare characters making an appearance include Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet from the “Make Mine Music” Disney short anthology, Dodger and Sykes from “Oliver and Company” , Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Globgold from Duck Tales, and a very special first time ever appearance by “Store Manager” Mickey.

Now, if you are lucky enough to score tickets to this event you want to be there when the gate opens at 6 AM because in the true spirit of the holiday the meet and greets, the food and the special discounts will all be gone by 6:05.

This article originally appeared on Episode 13 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

Innoventions East Now in Color

Colortopia at Innoventions East in EPCOT. ©Disney

Colortopia at Innoventions East in EPCOT. ©Disney

On Episode 6 of Guest Room on the Ears News Network, we told you about a new sponsored exhibit that was coming to the Innoventions East area of the Future World section of EPCOT in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The exhibit, known as “Colortopia” and sponsored by Glidden paints, made its official debut on November 13th.  The interactive exhibit is divided into three zones.

“The Power of Color Theater”  entertains guests with a short film talking about the psychology behind color.

“The Color Lab” features both an interactive game called Color Mix ‘n Match which will let guests actually invent their very own color and  an interactive display called “Spinning Spectrums” designed to teach guests about persistence of vision.

The third area is called “Color Our World” which will feature a “magic paintbrush” that will allow guests to paint scenes using the colors they choose.  A special Colortopia app will let them take that creation home.  There is even an interactive website to go along with the exhibit as well.

Now early reactions to the exhibit have been mixed with some guests finding the whole spread delightfully entertaining with shades of old school EPCOT blended in.
Others however say it pales in comparison to previous exhibits and at its base seems a poor primer into color with a presentation that seems canned. Which just goes to show that creating a consistent branded educational experience isn’t always black and white and that it can be difficult to find success when operating in this spectrum.

This article originally appeared on Episode 13 of the Disney news satire podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network.

“Mickey’s Not So Scary…” Cast Member in Hot Water!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. ©Disney

Walt Disney World Cast Member Adrian Raab from Clermont, FL, unexpectedly found himself in a lot of trouble following an incident during his shift at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party on October 22nd.  

Adrian was passing out candy to guests.  Now being a stickler for quality, if Adrian spotted a piece of candy that was oddly shaped, or not quite tightly wrapped, he would remove it from the candy barrel and put it into a well worn out reusable sack he kept on the ground near him.

The guests that night had an incredible collective sweet tooth, and soon Adrian’s barrel was beginning to run out of candy.  Much to his relief, he soon spotted his supervisor coming toward him with a fresh supply.  

Upon arrival, his supervisor asked him where his “non-show worthy candy” was.  Adrian gestured behind him and said “It’s in the old bag”, an unfortunate choice words. Because unbeknownst to Adrian, but clearly seen by his Supervisor, the sack of misfit sweets, had just been emptied by a grandmother with a clear case of the munchies.  

Candlelight Processional will have a Hawaiian Connection

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT. ©Disney

With the passing of Halloween, the Disney Parks have, or will shortly make their miraculously transformation into Christmas Wonderlands.  On Episode 10, we told you how one of the great Holiday traditions, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is making its last appearance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year, leading to a lot of last minute trips to “The World” to see it one more time.

Happily, the future does not seem in doubt for another fan favorite Holiday tradition, EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional. The event, held in the American Gardens Theatre, which is part of the American Pavillion area in EPCOT’s World Showcase, features a celebrity narrator telling the story of Christmas while accompanied by a huge choir and orchestra.  

This year’s event will run from November 27th through December 30th and will feature a dozen different celebrity narrators. Veteran narrators include  Gary Sinise, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Joe Morton, Ana Gasteyer, Edward James Olmos, Blair Underwood and Amy Grant. New this year are talk show host Meredith Vieira, actress America Ferrera who starred in the TV show Ugly Betty, and actress Chandra Wilson who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey in Grey’s Anatomy. Rounding out the list is actor Daniel Dae Kim, formerly from the show Lost. Currently he  can be seen on Hawaii Five-0 where he plays Detective Lt. Chin Ho Ho…Ho…Kelly.   

Sorry I just had to do it.  You see, there is  a little “Claus” in my contract.