News Items

Star Wars Makes Its Way Into the Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion queue at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Copyright Disney

Haunted Mansion queue at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.  Copyright:  Disney

With the impending release later this year of  Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Disney and Star Wars fans alike are anticipating some additional permanent integration of the Star Wars characters and story lines into the existing Disney parks.

One of the persistent rumors  has been the introduction of Star Wars characters into various existing park attractions, even classic ones, similar to the way Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow was woven into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

While there has been wild speculation, we have finally received our first confirmation.  It was quietly released, late last week,  that in the run-up to the movie premiere, producers of the film seek to alleviate any concerns fans might have about a not so popular character from Episodes 1 through 3 and the Clone Wars appearing in Episode 7, despite the passage of time.

This fall, in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, a new tombstone will be added to the cemetery in the queue line for the Haunted Mansion. The tombstone will simply read:

Here below lies Jar Jar Binks
The worst character ever, me so thinks!

This story originally appeared in Episode 4 of  the satirical Disney News podcast, “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network (http://www.EarsNews.net).

New Films for EPCOT’s Third “Soarin'” Theater

This article originally appeared in the  June 14th episode of the satirical Disney news podcast, “Guest Room on the Ears News Network”. (Listen to podcast)

Disney publicity photo of people on the Soarin' ride

“Soarin'”

Construction of the third theater for “Soarin” at EPCOT in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is still under way.  While that much is evident, other portions of the project are still unknown.

However, rumors have abounded for years about new videos coming to replace the Soaring Over California film. These new films will showcase different cities and sections of the country.

Films were apparently selected by states or cities submitting bids to represent their city or region. Three of the films that have been all but confirmed are “Soaring over Atlanta”, “Soaring over Chicago” and the hotly anticipated “Soaring over Secaucus”.

A fourth film, meant to represent the midwest, came down to a battle between two states, Iowa and Kansas. We are hearing however that Kansas has won the bid  because Disney felt a movie showcasing the best Iowa has to offer would be too…corny.

Disney, NOAA, and The Weather Channel Bring New Weather Exhibit to Innoventions West!

storm clouds gatheringThis article originally appeared in the  June 14th episode of the satirical Disney news podcast, “Guest Room on the Ears News Network”. (Listen to podcast)

Recently, Disney announced plans in cooperation with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the The Weather Channel, to create an exhibit inside Innoventions, the technology display area in the Future World section of EPCOT in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The exhibit would be dedicated to the technology employed in the science of Meteorology, or the study of the atmosphere.

Guests will walk through an interactive display area where they can see up close and personal the instruments and systems used to gather atmospheric data.  Following that, they will see a movie entitled “The Forecast!” that illustrates how that data is translated into the weather predictions and forecasts they are used to seeing every day.

Dual theaters to feature the movie are being constructed. one on the left side of the exhibit space and one on the right.  However, its expected that the left hand theater will be the primary theater as “The Forecast” will only be right….once in a while.

“Tangled” Overlay to Tower of Terror

This article originally appeared in the  June 14th episode of the satirical Disney news podcast, “Guest Room on the Ears News Network”. (Listen to podcast)

Hollywood Tower Hotel in Disney's California Adventure.

Hollywood Tower Hotel in Disney’s California Adventure. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

On June 3rd, the Disney Channel announced a new animated series for kids, teens and families, based on the acclaimed feature film Tangled.  The news that got the Disney community really excited is that  Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi are reprising their roles as Rapunzel and Eugene (also known as Flynn Rider).

Even though it won’t make its debut until 2017, Disney already has some grand marketing plans in store.  For instance, Disney plans to release a new frying pan line called “I gotta Get Me One of These”. Each frying pan has a different shape, density, and weight. Personally I think they really hit it on the head with this one.

Plans are also in the works to do an overlay of a current attraction. In late 2016, both Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, will welcome the new Tangled Tower of Terror. The overlay will replace Twilight Zone scenes with memorable scenes from the movie. The ride will culminate with guests witnessing the climactic scene as Flynn Rider cuts Rapunzel’s hair with the chard of a broken mirror. And as Pascal pulls the hair to trip Gothel, guests will drop through the window just like she does.

Also, Disney Visa has gotten on board with it as well and will soon be offering a private meet and greet with Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Pascal, and Maximus at their private cardmember location in Innoventions West in EPCOT. It is not open to the general public but if you are a Disney Visa Card older than you will be IN LIKE FLYNN.

Peter Pan’s Flight to Add a Rough Start

Rendering of Peter Pan teaching Darling children how to fly.

Artist rendering of changes to the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction at Disneyland (Artists Rendering/Walt Disney Imagineering)

This article originally appeared in the June 14th episode of the satirical Disney news podcast, “Guest Room on the Ears News Network”. (Listen to podcast)

Peter Pan’s Flight at the Magic Kingdom in Disneyland is undergoing a refurbishment.  The ride which was an opening day attraction for Disneyland is a dark ride that takes guests through the story line of Peter Pan.  This renovation is supposed to include a revamped nursery scene and new special effects.

But rumor also has it that there have been some slight adjustments to the ride vehicles themselves allowing a little deviance from the normal track. This is to allow the ride to recreate some of the feel of the Darling kids first attempt to fly, when they ultimately tumbled due to Peter Pan forgetting one key ingredient, Pixie Dust.  The ride vehicles will simulate the effects in a series of quick short starts. First the car will start to the left and then back to the other side and repeat.

Those subject to motion sickness need not worry however, as this scene is brief and the ride will return to is normal smooth motion immediately following the second start to the right.

Disney Being Sued for New “Disneyland Forever” Fireworks Show

Photo of the Disneyland Forever Fireworks Show as seen on Main Street in Disneyland.

Disneyland Forever Fireworks Show. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

This article originally appeared in the  June 14th episode of the satirical Disney news podcast, “Guest Room on the Ears News Network”. (Listen to podcast)

“Disneyland Forever” is the latest incarnation of the fireworks show at Disneyland.  It combines a lot of unique fireworks, orchestrated props, fire effects and enhanced projection mapping to bring about an experience celebrating Disneyland.  Numerous animations and scenes are projected on to selected building throughout the Disneyland park to provide an immersive experience.
The scenes are often representative of the movie or characters being featured at that point of the show.

For instance, during a sequence celebrating the Lion King, sillouttes and ultimately full graphics of animals are seen running down the buildings.  You will see sillouettes for Bert and the chimney sweeps dancing a “step in time” during the Mary Poppins sequence.  And at one point, the buildings themselves seem to animate.  Its reported to be very impressive.

However, it is not without controversy.  Toward the end of the presentation Jiminy Cricket says about Disneyland, “Just think, all of this is yours forever”.

That is now being put to the test as Mark Bellamy, an attorney from Ennis, TX, is in the process of filing a class action suit against Disney because he claims that the statement made, even in the course of an entertainment production, is a binding claim between Disney and the viewers of the entertainment. As such, Mr. Bellamy is insiting that legal and  interminable certifcates of ownership of Disneyland be granted to all parties who witness the event. These certificates would, by virtue of declaring a person an owner, grant that person free and limitless admission to the Disneyland Park, as well as a choice of assets to control based on a first come first served basis.  Mr. Bellamy, for his part,  has ironically enough requested control of the Jiminy Cricket character.

Now Disney has called the suit “meritless” and “disconnected from reality”. However, they also released a statement from Jiminy Cricket saying about Mr. Bellamy “..he doesn’t need me. What does a lawyer want with a conscience anyway?”

Disney Castles Reach New Heights in Shanghai, Causes Internal Jealousy

The following news item appeared as an item on Episode 2 of “Guest Room” on the Ears News Network, the satirical site that is your source for Disney News you won’t believe and you probably shouldn’t.

Picture of Enchanted Storybook Castle

Disney rendering of Enchanted Storybook Castle in Shanghai Disneyland Resort, China.

There are other big things happening with the Disney parks and we do mean big!  Over in Shanghai, China, Disney, along with the Shanghai Shendi Group is busy building the Shanghai Disneyland Park which is scheduled to open some time next year.

But on tuesday, May 19th,  a “topping off” ceremony was held as construction workers placed a golden finial, that looked like a Chinese peony flower, on top of the tallest of the eight towers that will make up the Enchanted Storybook Castle. The ceremony, which was attended by Disney’s chairman Bob Iger and Chief Operating Officer Tom Skaggs, officially made the Enchanted Storybook Castle the tallest of the now six Disney castles worldwide (or is it seven because of Beast’s castle in new Fantasyland….Oh wait…I guess he is a dude so that doesn’t count).

Of course the impressive size of the new castle is sparking some jealousy and good-natured ribbing at the other parks. Jeffrey Anders,  cast member at the Magic Kingdom in the Disneyland Resort said, “It’s a matter of quality vs. quantity. Yes, our castle might be tiny compared to the one in Shanghai, but flip theirs over and you’ll probably find a sticker saying ‘Made in China’!’
One thing is for sure, the Enchanted Storybook Castle, at least within the Disney corporate environment, has given new meaning to the phrase “Being Shang..Highed”