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July 25, 2017

Review: Disney's Descendants 2 captures record number of viewers

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Disney Channel’s eagerly anticipated sequel to its popular new franchise “Descendants” debuted on multiple networks on Friday, and according to the viewership numbers and audience feedback, it was another big hit.

About 13 million viewers tuned in Friday night on six networks, which is almost double the number who watched the original during it’s first screening, according to Variety.com, which cited Nielsen numbers. But the original only aired on Disney Channel in 2015. That viewership number increased to 12.2 million when the number of views during the first week was measured.

“[Descendants 2] also broke social media records for Disney Channel, with 174.1 million video views, 90.8 million impressions, and 14.6 million engagements, making it the biggest social campaign in the network’s history,” Variety.com reported.

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I watched “Descendants 2 “ live with my 12-year-old daughter, and my tween has been replaying it ever since. Like many other viewers, she just cannot get enough of the Villain Kids: Dove Cameron (Mal -- daughter of Maleficent), Cameron Boyce (Carlos -- son of Cruella de Vil), Sofia Carson (Evie -- daughter of the Evil Queen), and Booboo Stewart (Jay -- son of Jafar). And it’s easy to see why – the beautiful costumes, the catchy music and choreography, and the relatable characters draw in younger viewers.

It’s no secret that the movie is largely about Mal’s desire to return to the Isle of the Lost so she can be carefree when she is feeling the pressure of being King Ben’s girlfriend. She sneaks back to the island and is forced to confront new lead Villain Kid Uma, the daughter of Ursula (played by China Anne McClain), and sidekicks Harry, son of Captain Hook (Thomas Doherty), and Gil, son of Gaston (Dylan Playfair). Her reformed friends in Auradon must come to her rescue, which is how they all end up on the Isle.

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Along the way, audiences get caught up in the musical, which is directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega of “High School Musical” fame. His influence is clear in the sweeping production numbers and even the dance moves themselves. In one catchy song, “Chillin’ Like a Villain,” some of the movements are reminiscent of those in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” And that is not such a stretch, considering Ortega was working with Jackson on his last tour before he died. The opening number, “Ways to be Wicked,” strives to be inclusive, showing a girl in a wheelchair choreographed into the dance number.

In “Descendants 2,” the iconic outfits of the four main characters have been revamped with more accessories and pops of color, but they still are clearly recognizable as those of the Villain Kids. Plus, there are many more costume and hairstyle changes in this movie. Little fashionista Dizzy, daughter of Cinderella’s evil stepsister Drizella and granddaughter of wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine (Anna Cathcart), is a welcome addition to the cast.

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Disney fans are sure to enjoy all the references to Disney stories. Early in the movie, we see that Mal has a lizard in a cage with a sign that reads, “Don’t feed my mother.” In the original “Descendants,” Maleficent was turned into a lizard instead of a dragon to match the size of love in her heart. Later, Gil, son of Gaston, reminds King Ben, son of Belle and Beast, that they know each other. He describes his dad as “Quick, slick and his neck is incredibly thick” just like the song in the movie, “Beauty and the Beast.” And even Jane, Fairy Godmother’s daughter and the love interest of Carlos, refers to canon when she says that she chose pumpkin pie instead of the carrot cake.

Overall, “Descendants 2” has stepped it up a notch and clearly is once again appealing to the tween set. Parents like myself may even find themselves humming along to the songs and certainly will appreciate the classic theme of being true to yourself.





July 20, 2017

Spoiler-free details about Descendants 2 premiere tomorrow

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It’s finally here! Well, just about. In a little over a day, Disney “Descendants” fans will be able to find out what’s next in the lives of the children of infamous Disney villains when the sequel premieres. July 21 has been a highly anticipated date for many Disney Channel fans, including one at my own house. And now we have learned about a few surprises for fans, too.

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“Descendants 2” will air simultaneously at 8 p.m. ET Friday on Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC, Freeform and Lifetime. And ABC announced this week that fans should stick around afterward for “Descendants 2: ABC After-Party,” which will air immediately following the sequel at 10:30 p.m. The principal cast -- Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart and China Anne McClain – plus Director Kenny Ortega will take viewers on a visual and verbal tour of their experiences making the movie.

Expect to get a look behind the scenes on set and see some outtakes that didn’t make the final cut of the film. Plus, if you missed last week’s Disney Parks Blog livestream of the cast serving as grand marshals in Disneyland’s parade down Main Street U.S.A., you can see that, as well as the actors meeting fans at the red carpet premiere of their movie.

With the cast doing press for the movie’s release, we’re learning some details about the “Descendants 2” storyline, too. No spoilers here; just a few intriguing details! Dove Cameron, who plays Maleficent’s daughter Mal, revealed earlier this week that the movie will start with time jump of six months. Some of the characters are still struggling to fit in, though.

“My character Mal is actually having the hardest time adjusting, considering that she is the most villainous of them all,” the actress explained on “Live! With Kelly & Ryan,” according to peopleschoice.com. “It’s really not meshing with her so she’s trying on this whole princess cape persona to try to sort of fit in and be accepted by these people that she hopes to find a home with but she’s finding that it’s against her nature.”

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On the other hand, Sofia Carson told J-14.com that her character Evie has really grown up and is very happy being a fashion designer in the second film. She even has her own clothing line, Evie 4 Hearts. In real life, girls can find outfits inspired by Evie in the D-Signed collection sold at Kohl’s.

Brenna D’Amico -- who plays Jane, the daughter of Fairy Godmother -- revealed a few more details about “Descendants 2” to Variety.com. “There’s a lot more action — the sets are bigger, the music numbers are insane, everybody’s amazing, and the little love stories they’ve plopped in there,” she said.

The “Descendants 2” soundtrack also will be available tomorrow (July 21), and the DVD will be for sale Aug. 15. Bonus features will include:

** Cast Secrets - Personal secrets are revealed by cast members Dove Cameron (Mal), Cameron Boyce (Carlos), Sofia Carson (Evie), Booboo Stewart (Jay) and China Anne McClain (Uma) during the filming of the movie.

** Bloopers - The cast cracks up on set during some crazy takes.

** Deleted Song and More – Includes an extended song, a deleted song and two alternate endings.

** Descendants: Wicked World - A collection of all the animated shorts from season 1.

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Disney describes “Descendants 2” this way: “The Villain Kids are back in a high-stakes adventure that's badder than ever! When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal (Dove Cameron), she flees Auradon only to have Evie (Sofia Carson) and the rest of the gang sneak onto the Isle to retrieve her. But there's a new, self-proclaimed queen of evil in town: Mal's archenemy Uma (China Anne McClain), daughter of Ursula. Together with her pirate crew including Captain Hook's son Harry and Gaston's son Gil Uma unleashes havoc on Auradon! With swashbuckling action, amazing song & dance numbers and must-see bonus features, Descendants 2 rocks all-new ways to be.. W-I-C-K-E-D!”





June 13, 2017

Where to find and interact with Disney's Descendants 2 cast at 2017 D23 Expo

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Disney Channel viewers are keenly aware that “Descendants 2” is set to premiere in just a little over a month on July 21, and fans who want to get close to the stars of the franchise about the wayward children of Disney’s villains should make plans to attend the D23 Expo.

The official Disney fan club, D23, is hosting its 2017 Expo at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center from July 14 through 16, and the “Descendants 2” principal cast will be there. Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart and Kenny Ortega are scheduled to take the stage on Friday, July 14. The quartet will reprise their roles as Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen) and Jay (son of Jafar), respectively, and Ortega returns as the director, executive producer and choreographer.

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Since its debut, the original “Descendants” ranks as cable television’s fifth highest-rated movie of all-time. It only falls behind “High School Musical 2” as the most-watched movie on Disney Channel. As such, the sequel has been eagerly anticipated and Disney is premiering “Descendants 2” on five networks simultaneously – Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC, Freeform and Lifetime.

Although it has not yet been officially confirmed, it’s also likely that the “Descendants 2” cast will take part in meet-and-greets with D23 Expo visitors. They did so at the last convention in 2015, and my daughter was thrilled to meet them. Stewart was not there but the other three actors couldn’t have been nicer, posing for selfies and photos. She will forever remember Boyce telling her that they were “freckle twins.”

Based on her experience, I would advise those who are interested in meeting such popular performers to be prepared for hours-long waits. We found that with most meet-and-greets at the expo, guests had to first stand in line to get wristbands. Then, those who secured wristbands had to wait in a separate line to actually meet the stars. And although that might not sound appealing to adults, to my then-11-year-old daughter, it was totally worth it.

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In addition, the “Descendants 2” cast is likely to take part in a show on Radio Disney, which airs live from the convention. When my family and I attended in 2015, the Radio Disney booth was set up so that convention-goers could gather to watch or see the action as they passed by. Be sure to check the official 2017 D23 Expo schedule when it is released to confirm opportunities to interact with the “Descendants 2” cast.

We also saw the newest “Descendants” merchandise at the Disney Consumer Products booth, so I wouldn’t be surprised if attendees at the 2017 Expo had the same opportunity.

Tickets to D23 Expo 2017 are still available. Three-day tickets can be purchased for $238 for adults and $174 for children ages 3 to 9. Single-day tickets are sold out for Saturday but are available for Friday and Sunday and can be purchased for $81 for adults and $59 for children ages 3 to 9. D23: The Official Disney Fan Club members can purchase tickets at a discount. Visit d23expo.com for details.

Disney Channel is describing “Descendants 2” this way: “When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal, she returns to her rotten roots on the Isle of the Lost where her archenemy Uma, the daughter of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, has taken her spot as self-proclaimed queen of the run-down town. Uma, still resentful over not being selected by Ben to go to Auradon Prep with the other Villain Kids, stirs her pirate gang including Captain Hook's son Harry and Gaston's son Gil, to break the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon, and unleash all the villains imprisoned on the Isle once and for all.”

Kristin Chenoweth returns as Maleficent, too. Plus, newcomers Thomas Doherty (Harry, the son of Peter Pan's Captain Hook), China Anne McClain (Uma, daughter of The Little Mermaid's Ursula) and Dylan Playfair (son of Beauty and The Beast’s Gaston) join the cast.


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April 25, 2017

Disney Channel's Descendants 2 update: soundtrack preview and new sweepstakes

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We’re inching closer to the summer release of Disney Channel’s highly anticipated “Descendants 2,” and with that, some exciting information about our favorite wayward children of Disney’s popular villains. First, the release date has been announced -- July 21. Second, the movie will be available on five networks simultaneously – Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC, Freeform and Lifetime.

The soundtrack, which also will be available July 21, can be pre-ordered now, and fans who do this will immediately be able to download four of the singles. They are: “Ways to be Wicked,” “Better Togather,” “Evil” and “Rather Be.” The last three comes from “Descendants: Wicked World,” which are animated shorts that air on Disney Channel.


The rest of the album track list includes:
“What’s My Name”
“Chillin’ Like a Villain”
“Space Between”
“It’s Goin Down”
“You and Me”
“Kiss the Girl”
“Pour Unfortunate Souls”

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Fans also can get into that wicked spirit by entering the Disney Descendants 2 and You Sweepstakes. The grand prize is a trip to Los Angeles for one lucky winner and three guests. They will be transformed into the Descendants 2 characters of their choice and meet actors Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce. The three-day/two-night trip will be showcased on Disney Channel. Fifty first-prize winners will each receive $100 Best Western Travel Cards redeemable at any Best Western branded hotel.

You must be between the ages of 6 and 18 at the time of entry and a legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia to enter. Contestants can enter at Disney.com/you for free, through the Disney Channel app or text the word “YOU” to 347639. Standard text message and data charges may apply. One entry per day is allowed, regardless of method. The sweepstakes ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on Sept. 3, 2017. Click here for Official Rules.

Disney Channel is describing Descendants 2 this way: “When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal, she returns to her rotten roots on the Isle of the Lost where her archenemy Uma, the daughter of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, has taken her spot as self-proclaimed queen of the run-down town. Uma, still resentful over not being selected by Ben to go to Auradon Prep with the other Villain Kids, stirs her pirate gang including Captain Hook's son Harry and Gaston's son Gil, to break the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon, and unleash all the villains imprisoned on the Isle once and for all.”

Booboo Stewart, Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce will reprise their roles as Jay (son of Jafar), Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen) and Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil), respectively. Kristin Chenoweth returns as Maleficent, too. Plus, newcomers Thomas Doherty (Harry, the son of Peter Pan's Captain Hook), China Anne McClain (Uma, daughter of The Little Mermaid's Ursula) and Dylan Playfair (son of Beauty and The Beast’s Gaston) join the cast.

Kenny Ortega returns as the director, executive producer and choreographer of the sequel, which is as much of an early indicator of success as you can get. After all, Ortega is the force behind Disney Channel’s biggest franchise, “High School Musical.” Since its debut, “Descendants” ranks as cable television’s fifth highest-rated movie of all-time. It only falls behind “High School Musical 2” as the most-watched movie on Disney Channel.


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January 21, 2017

What are the Villain Kids up to in Disney Channel's Descendants 2?

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With the release of Descendants 2 on the horizon – this summer! – it’s time to check in with Disney Channel for an update on the much-anticipated sequel.

In the fall, we found out about three evil additions to the group of Disney villains’ offspring:

** Harry, the son of Peter Pan's Captain Hook, will be played by Thomas Doherty.

** Uma, daughter of The Little Mermaid's Ursula, will be played by veteran Disney Channel actor China Anne McClain.

** Gil, son of Beauty and The Beast’s Gaston, will be played by Dylan Playfair.

Now, Disney Channel is telling us more about how they fit into the sequel’s storyline: “When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal, she returns to her rotten roots on the Isle of the Lost where her archenemy Uma, the daughter of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, has taken her spot as self-proclaimed queen of the run-down town. Uma, still resentful over not being selected by Ben to go to Auradon Prep with the other Villain Kids, stirs her pirate gang including Captain Hook's son Harry and Gaston's son Gil, to break the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon, and unleash all the villains imprisoned on the Isle once and for all.”

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Plus, we’re getting our first look at the Descendants 2 movie poster and a teaser trailer.

OhMy.Disney.com describes the trailer this way: “The teaser starts with Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay, who are all looking cooler than ever. We then get a quick look at Mal surrounded by flames, Evie throwing papers in the air, and the rest of the cast busting out some seriously cool dance moves. Most adorable moment: Carlos hugging a dog. Most wicked moment: the brief glimpse of Uma, Ursula’s daughter, at the very end of the teaser trailer. Her evil laughter, combined with her flawless hair and outfit absolutely gave us chills! We can’t wait to see more of Uma.”

In the original Descendants, the story explored the premise that the Disney villains (and some heroes) had children. The group was granted permission by the benevolent teenage son of King Adam and Queen Belle to leave the remote Isle of the Lost where they had been banished and attend prep school with the Disney heroes' kids. This, of course, led to a battle of good versus evil set amidst the backdrop of typical teenage angst.

Booboo Stewart, Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce will reprise their roles as Jay (son of Jafar), Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen) and Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil), respectively. Kristin Chenoweth returns as Maleficent, too.

Kenny Ortega returns as the director, executive producer and choreographer of the sequel, which is as much of an early indicator of success as you can get. After all, Ortega is the force behind Disney Channel’s biggest franchise, “High School Musical.” Since its debut, “Descendants” ranks as cable television’s fifth highest-rated movie of all-time. It only falls behind “High School Musical 2” as the most-watched movie on Disney Channel.



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August 25, 2016

Disney Channel's 'Descendants 2' news: brand-new characters, third prequel novel & Halloween costumes

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As filming of Disney Channel’s “Descendants 2” gets underway this month, three new characters and the actors who will play them have been revealed.

The latest additions are offspring of additional Disney villains:

** Harry, the son of Peter Pan's Captain Hook, will be played by Thomas Doherty.

** Uma, daughter of The Little Mermaid's Ursula, will be played by veteran Disney Channel actor China Anne McClain.

** Gil, son of Beauty and The Beast’s Gaston, will be played by Dylan Playfair.

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Fans of the record-setting, made-for-television original movie, “Descendants,” will be happy to know that all their favorite main characters are returning to the sequel. Booboo Stewart, Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce will reprise their roles as Jay (son of Jafar), Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen) and Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil), respectively. Kristin Chenoweth returns as Maleficent, too.

“Descendants” explores the premise that the Disney villains (and some heroes) had children. The group is granted permission by the benevolent teenage son of King Adam and Queen Belle to leave the remote Isle of the Lost where they had been banished and attend prep school with the Disney heroes' kids. This, of course, leads to a battle of good versus evil set amidst the backdrop of typical teenage angst.

The movie would appear to have a happy ending -- after a large-scale musical production number – but Mal, with a wink, talks directly to the camera, promising the tale is not over. So, we assume that is where “Descendants 2” will pick up.

Kenny Ortega returns as the director, executive producer and choreographer of the sequel, which is as much of an early indicator of success as you can get. After all, Ortega is the force behind Disney Channel’s biggest franchise, “High School Musical.” Since its debut, “Descendants” ranks as cable television’s fifth highest-rated movie of all-time. It only falls behind “High School Musical 2” as the most-watched movie on Disney Channel. Those are some impressive statistics!

“Descendants 2” is scheduled for a summer 2017 release. In the meantime, fans of the Disney characters can immerse themselves in their world through other avenues. Two prequel novels – “The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel” and “Return to the Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel” – have topped best-seller lists. And Disney Publishing Worldwide just announced a third novel by Melissa de la Cruz with an expected release date in May 2017.

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More immediately, kids can get their “Descendants” fix with Halloween costumes, which seem to be quite popular again this year. I spotted these Mal and Evie costumes at Walt Disney World last weekend. They come in children’s sizes extra-small (4) to extra-large (11-12) and can be purchased on property or through the Shop Disney Parks app for about $55 plus tax apiece. The Disney Store, which has mall locations and an online site, has its own collection of “Descendants” costumes.

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My tween daughter's favorite moment of the 2015 D23 Expo: Meeting the 'Descendants' cast! Will they return for the 2017 D23 Expo?



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October 24, 2015

Disney Channel to air sequel to 'Descendants' in spring 2017

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Fans of Disney Channel’s popular made-for-television movie, “Descendants,” can look forward to a sequel, the network has announced. Although a release date was not been provided, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “Descendants 2” (working title) will air in the spring of 2017.

“Descendants” explores the premise that the Disney villains (and some heroes) had children. The main characters – Jay (Booboo Stewart), Evie (Sofia Carson), Carlos (Cameron Bryce) and Mal (Dove Cameron) – are the offspring of Jafar, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Maleficent, respectively. The group is granted permission by the benevolent teenage son of King Adam and Queen Belle to leave the remote Isle of the Lost where they had been banished and attend prep school with the Disney heroes' kids. This, of course, leads to a battle of good versus evil set amidst the backdrop of typical teenage angst.

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The original movie’s screenwriters, Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, will pen the sequel and also serve as executive producers on the new project. Principal actors – including the four teens and Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent – are expected to return, the newspaper reports.

Since its debut, “Descendants” ranks as cable television’s fifth highest-rated movie of all-time. It only falls behind “High School Musical 2” as the most-watched movie on Disney Channel. And it’s no coincidence that both Disney Channel shows were directed by Kenny Orega.

Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a press release, “By almost every measure – domestically and globally – ‘Descendants’ has already become one of the biggest entertainment properties of the year, and we’re eager to delve deeper into the unfolding mythology of Auradon and Isle of the Lost. This kind of compelling, innovative storytelling, alongside our animated ‘Descendants: Wicked World’ shorts and unique transmedia campaign, continues to lay the groundwork for multiple franchise opportunities across virtually every line of business at The Walt Disney Company.”

Clearly, the fact that “Descendants” is profitable on multiple Disney platforms was integral to the approval of the sequel. Marsh told The Wall Street Journal, “What we were looking for is a metric much stronger and longer-term than the number of viewers.”

Consumers can purchase related books, the soundtrack, clothing, Halloween costumes, dolls and other toys with the ‘Descendants’ characters. And more is on the way. In May 2016, author Melissa de la Cruz will release another book in the series, “Return to the Isle of the Lost.” (She wrote a prequel novel for the movie.) Fans also can watch animated shorts based on the “Descendants” characters on TV and online.



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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Descendants category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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