Thursday, January 31, 2013

'G.I. Joe' Director in Talks to Helm Disney's 'Matched'

The movie will reteam Jon Chu with his producers from "Step Up 2: The Streets" and "Step Up 3D."

The director is in negotiations to direct Matched, Disney’s adaptation of Ally Condie’s futuristic YA novel. Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot are producing via their Offspring Entertainment shingle.

Set in a future society where people are told what to read, what to watch, what to believe and who to love, the story centers on a young woman who rejects an arranged romance and chooses her own path.

Michelle and Kieran Mulroney (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) wrote the script.

Chu previously worked with Shankman and Gibgot when he directed Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D and is known for his musical and dance leanings. That background is expected to come into play with Retaliation, with spots for the movie showcasing a nimbly choreographed sequence featuring ninjas fighting while swinging off a cliff.

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Here’s a Look at the New California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort

Just to whet your appetite, here are renderings of the new California Grill dining room and onstage kitchen, set to open in late summer.

Designed by the Puccini Group in San Francisco, the spacious restaurant atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort will feature a wall of wines at the entrance and, of course, spectacular views from every table.

The grill closes February 1, but Chef Brian Piasecki will continue creating new dishes for the menu. We’ll share more as the renovation moves along.

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Walt Disney 1st Quarter Earnings - Get a Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, February 5, 2013. Walt Disney is an entertainment company with operations in: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, and consumer products.

Walt Disney Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is for profit of 77 cents per share, a decline of 3.8% from the company’s actual earnings for the year-ago quarter. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 88 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from 78 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 11.1% versus last year to $3.41.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company saw net income of 68 cents per share versus a mean estimate of profit of 68 cents per share. This comes after two consecutive quarters of exceeding expectations.

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A Look Back: In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, profit rose 14.4% to $1.24 billion (69 cents a share) from $1.09 billion (59 cents a share) the year earlier, meeting analystexpectations. Revenue rose 3.4% to $10.78 billion from $10.43 billion.

Balance Sheet Analysis: The company’s current ratio of assets to liabilities came in at 1.07 last quarter. The current ratio is an indication of a firm’s liquidity and ability to meet creditor demands and generally, for every dollar the company owes in the short term, it has that figure available in assets that can be converted to cash in the short term. The company regressed in this liquidity measure from 1.33 in the third quarter of the last fiscal year to the last quarter driven in part by an increase in liabilities. Current liabilities increased 15.3% to $12.81 billion while assets decreased 7.1% to $13.71 billion.

Key Stats:

After experiencing income increases the last three quarters, the company is hoping to keep the good news coming with this earnings announcement. Net income rose 21.3% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year and 24.1% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year before increasing again in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

On the top line, the company is looking to build on four-straight revenue increases heading into this earnings announcement. Revenue rose 0.6% in the first quarter of the last fiscal year, 6.1% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year and 3.9% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year before increasing again in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year of the last fiscal year.

Analyst Ratings: There are 16 out of 25 analysts surveyed (64%) rating Walt Disney a buy.


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Disney Cruise Line Takes "Top Three In World's Best Ships" !

When Condé Nast comes out with a readers' poll, cruise travelers worldwide take notice. To be mentioned near the top of their list is a sought-after award worth bragging about. In the February edition of Condé Nast Traveler, Disney Cruise Line found plenty to be proud of as three of their four ships ranked in the top three places in the large cruise ship category.

Beating out Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Equinox to round out the top five, classic Disney Cruise ships Disney Magic and Disney Wonder took the first and second spots, respectively, followed by 2011's Disney Dream in third place.

                           Something for everyone, MORE than any other ship fleet out there!

"With four ships in our fleet, more families than ever before can set sail on a Disney Cruise Line vacation filled with imaginative fun for the kids and exciting family time for all," said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line in a SILive report.

 "We're thrilled that the experiences our cast and crew members deliver at sea continue to be recognized as outstanding by our guests."

For Your Disney Vacation and/or Cruise contact Kristen Hoetzel for Your Best Price at:   

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Disney, Google Chrome Unveil ‘Oz’-Themed Next-Gen Web Experience

Disney today unveiled their “Find Your Way To Oz” Google tie-in, a plugin-free, in-browser web experience linking the next advance in Google Chrome technology with the world of Oz: The Great And Powerful.

Similar “Google Chrome Experiments” were built in collaboration with musicians like Arcade Fire and OK Go.

The first-of-its-kind web development & film endeavor utilizes WebGL to create an interactive 3D environment without having to use additional plugins like Flash or Quicktime, allowing users to navigate scenes from Sam Raimi‘s Oz.

Within the Oz web experience users can capture photos and video via webcam and see them instantly integrated into the experience using emerging WebRTC technology, and compose, save, and send audio files from within the browser using a Web Audio API — accessible tools Google execs hope the web development community will adopt in their own projects.

Disney, meanwhile, will be happy to get their James Franco-Rachel Weisz-Michelle Williams fantasy adaptation in front of male eyeballs and splashed across Google Chrome leading up to the movie’s March 8 debut.

The Google Chrome Oz Experiment debuts to the public on February 5 and contains a new sizzle clip from the film hidden within its interactive features.


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Romantic Things to do at Disneyland and Walt Disney World during Valentines Week!


The week long event celebrates the love of friends and family, and invites couples to rekindle the flame. Here is the lineup:

Romantic Setting: Guests will feel the romance at every turn, as heart-shaped signage and sweetheart-themed décor adorn Disneyland Park, making it an ideal place to celebrate Valentine’s week.

Blushing Castle: At dusk, hues of red and pink will bathe Sleeping Beauty Castle, with projections of flowers and hearts.

Floral Heart: A giant floral heart makes a sweet setting for a Valentine photo, in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland.

Valentine Wishes: Flowers, garlands and decorative doves will create a second ideal location around Snow White Wishing Well near Sleeping Beauty Castle. At night, magical lighting adds a romantic touch to the wishing well and Snow White Grotto.

Disneyland Sweethearts: Also near Town Square, guests will find a photo location with resident Disneyland sweethearts – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck.

Dinners for Two: Romantic dinners for two with prix fixe menus will be offered at select restaurants during the most romantic week of the year.  Specially-created menus at Blue Bayou and Café Orleans in Disneyland, Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park, Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel or Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel make    ideal choices for a romantic evening. To book call 714-781-DINE (714-781-3463).

Cupcake Lovers: Chefs have prepared a specially themed Valentine’s dessert: a chocolate cupcake with raspberry mousse filling and dark chocolate mousse frosting. It will be available at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café in Disneyland, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café and Pacific Wharf Café in Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland Hotel Coffee House.

Valentine’s-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plush, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations will be available at select merchandise locations.

Ears for your Sweetheart: The classic Disneyland ear hat gets a total glitz makeover just in time for the most romantic time of the year. It will dazzle your Valentine and become the most sophisticated pair of ears in your collection.

Royal Romance:  Guests will enjoy a rare opportunity to get photos of Disney Princes as they escort their Princesses along The Royal Walk in Fantasyland. In New Orleans Square, guests will find another pair of sweethearts, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

In Search of True Love: Guests may also encounter the Wandering Wallflowers, in search of “true love.”

Walt Disney World:

The weeklong event celebrates the love of friends and family, and invites couples to rekindle the flame. Here is the lineup:

Romantic Setting: Guests will feel the romance at every turn, as banners proclaiming True Love, heart-shaped signage and sweetheart-themed décor adorn the Magic Kingdom.

Blushing Castle: At dusk, hues of pink, red, lavender and blue bathe Cinderella Castle with themed lighting synced to a musical melodies adding to the ambiance.

Dinners for Two: Candlelit dinners for two with prix fixe menus at select restaurants  during the most romantic week of the year.  Specially-created menus at Artist Point (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort);  The Wave…of American Flavors (Disney’s Contemporary Resort); Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney’s Hollywood Studios); Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort) make an ideal setting for a romantic evening. To book visit or call 407/WDW-DINE.

Valentine’s-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plushes, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations available at select merchandise locations.

Royal Gathering:  The rare opportunity to get a photo with Disney Princes as they escort their Princesses to enchanting character greeting locations.

In Town Square Theater you may find Mickey and Minnie, Aurora with Phillip or Rapunzel and Flynn. Mary Poppins joins Bert in Fantasyland, while Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana meet guests in the Enchanted Glade in Liberty Square.

Romantic Photo Locations in Magic Kingdom with your Sweetie:

Carriage Awaits: New Fantasyland invites lovers to create memories alongside Cinderella’s Glass Coach situated by the new Castle wall for True Love Week.

Wishes Come True: Hearts and flowers enhance Cinderella’s Wishing Well creating the perfect backdrop for a cherished moment.

Rose Walk:  The Rose Garden in Central Plaza is all decked out with enchanting decor.

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D23 First Look: Disney twenty-three Spring 2013 Issue

In this issue, check out a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful, the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and never-before-seen concept art from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen.

The Spring issue of Disney twenty-three, the flagship magazine of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, hits stands February 12, loaded with articles to delight both Disney fans and the general public. The cover story, “A Great and Powerful Odyssey,” gives readers an exclusive tour of the land at the end of the road of yellow bricks in Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful, releasing in theaters this March. The article features interviews with stars Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff. In addition, there’s a sneak peek of 2014′s Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, which offers a new take on the legendary Sleeping Beauty story.

The Emerald City theme continues with a second story illuminating the many connections between Disney and Oz, including Walt Disney’s early attempts to bring Oz to the big screen. The story includes rarely seen images from the Walt Disney Archives and a fond look back at Disney’s 1985 release Return to Oz.

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we sit down with Imagineer Joe Rohde as he reflects on the evolution of Disney’s wildest and most spiritual park.
“Frozen in Time” includes concept art from the upcoming film Frozen, due in theaters this November. Walt Disney Animation Studios brings an ice-covered world to life as Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) seeks to reverse a curse put on her kingdom by a cold-hearted snow queen (voiced by Idina Menzel), who also happens to be her sister.

Disney twenty-three also offers the latest on exciting new projects from the world of Disney and a look at some celebrated classics.
The Spring 2013 issue:
Celebrates the 30th anniversary of Disney Channel, from the original show Good Morning Mickey through the High School Musical trilogy;
Reveals secrets and hidden delights to look for when exploring New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom;
Catches up with Bob Baker, a legendary Los Angeles puppeteer whose exquisite artistry is threaded throughout Disney history;
Presents the story of master glass craftsmen, the Arribas brothers, who now have art in 14 (and counting) different Disney park locations around the globe.
In conjunction with the release of the Spring issue of Disney twenty-three on February 12, will feature original and exclusive stories that complement the content of D23′s glossy magazine. Only available on
An exclusive Q&A with Brian Henson about Return to Oz;
An off-road tour of Kilimanjaro Safaris in celebration of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary;
An in-depth look at Disney Channel’s schedule, stars, and shows and an exclusive look back at the first day of programming as the Channel turns 30.

Disney twenty-three is delivered directly to all D23 Gold Members, along with a special gift. The gifts for this issue are reproductions of vintage Disney Valentine’s Day cards, which will be attached exclusively to Member issues. This special gift will be received by Members just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Beginning February 12, Disney twenty-three magazine will be available at retail locations across the country for $15.95, and can also be purchased online at and throughout the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bringing Disney Stories to Life at Disney Parks — A Look at Sleeping Beauty Castle

One of the unique things I love about Disney is that every time we release a new film, we're able to bring those characters to life in multiple ways. A character may begin on an animator's desk at The Walt Disney Studios, but throughout its life it will likely touch many of our businesses — from becoming the theme of a Disney park experience to being part of a new line of merchandise. Often times, this happens even before the film is released.

An early example of this process was the building of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Sleeping Beauty, which celebrates its 54th anniversary today, was in development while Walt Disney was building his dream of Disneyland. To help promote the film, Walt decided to name his castle after Sleeping Beauty — using the centerpiece of Disneyland as a tool to immerse guests in the now beloved classic.

And here's a fun fact for you: Many people wondered why Sleeping Beauty Castle was only 77 feet tall. Walt explained that unlike some of the intimidating castles built by European monarchs, he wanted his castle to feel friendly and welcoming. Although the castle is similar to the Neushwanstein castle in Bavaria, Germany, it is actually modeled after a number of medieval European castles.

Sleeping Beauty Castle — known as Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant — is also the name of the castle that opened with Disneyland Paris (then EuroDisney) on April 12, 1992.

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Disney Reveals Muppet Movie Sequel's Name and Synopsis

After making their way to Hollywood in their big screen comeback, the Muppets are going global.

                                           "The Muppets Again"

Which follows the 2011 Jason Segel-powered film that grossed $158 million worldwide. Neither Segel or co-star Amy Adams is starring in the second film, but the new movie returns director James Bobbin and Oscar-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie, and has plenty of new star power. Along with many celebrity cameos, the film will feature Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell in major roles (secondary, of course, to Kermit and friends).

The film, according to the synopsis, "takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London.

"Mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine -- the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit -- and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais. The film stars Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty prison guard, and Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon."

The second film of the rebooted franchise will take the beloved puppets around the world, with Ty Burrell, Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais along for the ride.

The film is due out on March 21, 2014.

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Waltz in the Park NEW Hand-Painted - Cell - Pin

Newest limited edition 1,000 piece "Waltz in the Park", release on March 16 at Studios Animation Gallery and features a delicately and precisely hand-painted Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse dressed in the iconic costumes of Belle and the Beast as they prepare for their royal entrance into Beast’s Castle.

Waltz in the Park will be available in the following formats, including framing options and retails:
Unframed Cel – $150
Black Frame and Cel – $240
Black Frame with Pin and Cel – $270
Black Frame with Pin, Postcard and Cel – $280
Gold Frame and Cel – $310

A pin  accompanies a couple of these formats.

Special appearance and signing March 16 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Studios Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Can't join us? Contact Walt Disney Event Services at 407-827-7600, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Keep in mind, all orders must be placed no later than Friday, March 15, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. EST.
For more information, visit

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Kathleen Kennedy Talks about How She Got J.J. Abrams To Direct ‘Star Wars Episode VII

Kathleen Kennedy Talks about How She Got J.J. Abrams To Direct ‘Star Wars Episode VII
Kennedy already had called Beth Swofford, Abrams’ CAA agent, and been told Abrams was too deeply engaged in the next Star Trek movie and other obligations at Paramount — not to mention innumerable television projects — to consider the job. Nonetheless, Abrams agreed to meet with Kennedy on Dec. 14 at his Bad Robot offices in Santa Monica. Famously plain-spoken, she summarizes her pitch like this: “Please do Star Wars.” And she had cards to play. Not only was Oscar winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) writing the script, but Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote 1980′s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983′s Return of the Jedi, was on board to consult. Abrams “was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already,” says Kennedy.

Abrams tells “I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is.” Some — but not all — of his reservations were dispelled. “The thing about any pre-existing franchise — I’d sort of done that,” he says. “But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing.”

Kennedy, Abrams and the writers met secretly for about three hours Dec. 19, and “J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door,” she recalls. But still, she says, Abrams had “very genuine concerns” about his obligations elsewhere and the impact on his wife and three kids, given the likelihood that the film would not be shot in Los Angeles. And then there was the unique nature of the franchise. “If there was any pause on J.J.’s part, it was the same pause everybody has — including myself — stepping into this,” she says. “Which is, it’s daunting.”

Indeed, the six Star Wars films have grossed more than $4.3 billion at the worldwide box office and spawned an empire that includes TV spinoffs like The Clone Wars, books, theme park rides and, of course, merchandise sales. Disney has said Lucasfilm generated about $215 million in licensing revenue in 2012 without having released a Star Wars-related movie in five years. Managed correctly, Star Wars by far is the most valuable franchise in Hollywood, making Kennedy — its new steward — one of the most powerful figures in entertainment.

So Kennedy had to do what she does so well: put one of the industry’s most prominent directors at ease. And she’s known Abrams since he was 14, when Spielberg had read an article about him winning a Super 8 moviemaking contest and hired the future director to restore his own childhood Super 8 videos. “We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful Star Wars is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter,” she says. Finally, after a day of furious negotiation, the deal closed the afternoon of Jan. 25. To the bitter end, Abrams was telling associates that he still wasn’t fully committed to directing the project. But Kennedy is confident that he will be in the chair when the cameras roll. She is less clear that the first film in the new trilogy will be ready by 2015. “Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we’ll see what happens,” says Kennedy. “The timetable we care about is getting the story.”

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Viacom Tie Up With Walt Disney in India

Disney (DIS -0.5%) forms a partnership with a joint venture backed by Viacom and India's Network18 Group to develop content and distribute TV channels. The company's India unit will hold a 26% stake in the entity which should greatly enhance Disney's visibility in India.

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LoveFilm signs deal with Disney to add Marvel animated TV shows to its UK instant streaming catalog

Expanding its available TV show content in the UK, LoveFilm today announced it has signed a deal with Disney UK and Ireland to bring X-Men, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and other animated TV series from the comic book giant to its instant streaming catalog.

Following the deal, Amazon-owned LoveFilm will add episodes featuring Marvel characters from the past 50 years, providing another reason for UK consumers to sign up for the online streaming and DVD rental service.

Jim Buckle, Managing Director at LoveFilm, said:

                  We already have a fantastic range of animated TV content on offer for our customers and it is great to see it expand with Marvel animation as a result of this new deal with Disney. It is an exciting development as many of our members will have grown up watching Marvel classics and can now catch up whenever they choose. The collection will also appeal to new fans.

Netflix already offers its customers a number of animated Marvel shows, although this is set to expand after Walt Disney Studios and Netflix entered into a multi-year agreement. The deal allowed Netflix to become the only US subscription service with licensing to show first-run live-action and animated films from the studio.

The deal is significant as it gives Netflix the ability to show those titles as soon as they’re available for anyone to watch in the first pay window, not just those with video on demand.

Earlier this month, LoveFilm announced it had partnered with ITV and BBC Worldwide, as well as Channel 4, to give its members instant access to TV titles from the UK’s largest broadcasters.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All About Shopping at Disney Parks Answered Here!

Look for the “Authentic Original” Logo
While shopping at Disney Parks, I’ve heard some guests say they can “find a particular item back
at home.” Disney Theme Park Merchandise may partner with Disney Stores or Disney Consumer Products on occasion to offer similar items, yet there are thousands of unique souvenirs found only at Disney Parks including apparel, collectibles, seasonal goods, consumables and much more. We use the “Authentic Original” logo to identify those Disney Parks only items (look for the logo either on packaging or on an item physically). Items with this logo won’t be found at local Disney Stores, or at other locations that carry Disney merchandise beyond Disney Parks (one small exception is the Disney Parks online store).

Can I Buy It Online?
I’m frequently asked on the Disney Parks Blog if a particular item is sold online. The answer to that
question depends on the item. The Disney Parks online store is a boutique shop within and offers select items from Disney Parks (many things with the “Authentic Original” logo). The small assortment is ever changing as there is a limit to the amount of items we offer at any given moment.

Disney Parks Shoppes on Facebook
If you are a fan of the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort pages on Facebook, you may have recently seen the new Disney Parks Shoppes. This Facebook shop contains some greatest hits from Disney Parks (fulfillment is done by We periodically offer “Facebook First” items and special deals to fans of these Facebook pages.

Disney Parks and Resorts Merchandise Guest Services
If you are away from Disney Parks but interested in merchandise, you can contact the Merchandise
Guest Services team. These cast members can help you obtain select items at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i.

There are two options available to contact them: 
by telephone at 877-560-6477 or
by email at
Please note that applicable sales tax plus shipping and handling fees will apply; and availability of select items may change.

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Disney Shutters 'Epic Mickey' Studio Junction Point

US role-playing and computer game designer, Warren Spector poses on October 27, 2010 in Paris during the Paris Games week to be held until October 31. Spector notably designed the upcoming Disney Epic Mickey game with 2D cinemas. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

While the ambitious Disney Infinity looks poised for global success, the house of mouse continues its move away from console-specific game development today with the closure of Junction Point.

Of the closure, Disney had this to say via an email statement: “It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization, which include the closure of Junction Point Studios. These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities. We’re extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2.”

This ongoing effort began when John Pleasants and James Pitaro took over at Disney Interactive. In early 2011, they told the LA Times “we must continuously evaluate our structure and organization and its needs in order to make Disney’s digital content and businesses even more robust and successful.”

In 2011, Disney Interactive also shut down Black Rock Studio, the team responsible for the thrilling racers Split/Second and Pure, both of which performed exponentially better on Metacritic with an average of 85%. While they were critically acclaimed, they failed to meet sales expectations.

Earlier in 2011, they shuttered Propaganda, the team responsible for the Tron Evolution tie-in game.

I thought Disney Epic Mickey was a delightful, if slightly flawed game. However, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two earned a disappointing 59% on aggregate site Metacritic, which to many publishers is a proverbial nail in the coffin. In the series’ leap to HD consoles, Junction Point still couldn’t perfect the awkward camera angles, and the game was criticized for not packing in enough innovation — something critics know Warren Spector is capable of.

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Disney Retitles Mysterious George Clooney-Brad Bird Film 'Tomorrowland'

Brad Bird
The film, co-written by Damon Lindelof and director Brad Bird, initially was titled "1952" and is due for a 2014 release.

Walt Disney Pictures announced Monday that the live-action sci-fi film known as 1952 has been retitled Tomorrowland, offering a potential hint at its subject matter. The film now shares a name with the section of Disneyland, which was part of the theme park's launch in 1955.

George Clooney will star in the film, which was co-written by Bird and Damon Lindelof (Prometheus, Lost).

The film is slated for a Dec. 19, 2014, release.

Disney has long worked to create more films out of its iconic rides; Pirates of the Carribean, now heading to its fifth installment, has become a multi-billion dollar franchise, while Guillermo del Toro is working on a second version of the Haunted Mansion film, the first of which came out in 2003. In 2011, Disney moved forward with development on a film called The Hill, which is to be based on the Fantasyland mountain ride the Matterhorn, which opened in 1959.


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Super Bowl 2013 & DISNEY Are Planning Oz, The Lone Ranger and Iron Man 3

Viewers will see new trailers for "Oz," "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and "Fast and Furious 6" during Sunday's matchup.

Fox and Sony have no plans to air commercials during the game, even with The Wolverine on tap for the former and White House Down coming this summer for the latter. Warner Bros. also is opting out of the action, despite readying The Great Gatsby for a May release

Universal will unveil its first trailer for The Fast and The Furious 6 on Sunday. The film reunites director Justin Lin with franchise stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and Dwayne Johnson following the success of 2011's Fast Five.

Paramount will preview Brad Pitt's World War Z during the pre-show telecast, while a 30-second trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness will play during the second quarter of the game.

Disney has three films to promote this weekend, mixing pregame and game coverage of its highly anticipated Oz, The Lone Ranger and Iron Man 3.

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Disney and Young Storytellers Foundation Help Inspire Students' Creativity

The word creativity has become synonymous with Disney. From our award-winning films to new experiences in our theme parks and resorts, creativity is a skill we value and in which we invest. One focus of our philanthropy is nurturing creative thinking skills in kids through imagination, play and storytelling.

Last week, I got a chance to chat with Bill Thompson, executive director of Young Storytellers Foundation (YSF) to hear more about the nonprofit and how Disney’s investment is helping students tell their stories in interesting and exciting ways.

How does the YSF inspire creativity?
YSF provides mentors who help underserved kids write screenplays that are brought to life through performances by older students and professional actors, including Disney talent. Mentors work at the students’ pace – a story could be three pages, it could be ten pages – to make sure key story elements are there while students create the actual characters and their worlds. Our goal is to help students, from elementary school to high school, develop an affinity for the arts. Our other programs include film production, a speaker series and storytelling workshops.

How does Disney help support your mission?
When I think about families and storytelling, the first brand that comes to mind is Disney, and I can’t help but think about how well Disney’s values align with ours. One of our recent programs took place at Walt Disney Elementary School with help from a Disney grant. In addition to the funding, all of the mentors were Disney employees. It makes an incredible impact to a 10-year-old when someone from Disney takes time to help them tell their story – the same way they might sit down to work on a new film. Disney Channel talent even joined our student actors to perform the screenplays.

Why is it important to inspire young people to think creatively?
Creative thinking is becoming increasingly important in the job market – it’s the future. The tradition of oral storytelling is also part of who we are – a core fiber. Our slogan is, “Every Child Has a Story Worth Telling.” Disney’s support sends a message that every child truly does have a story worth telling.

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