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June 1, 2017

Cars 3 Early Press Day: On Writing and Racing

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"Cars 3" is rapidly approaching the finish line for release this June 16th. To learn more about it, AllEars.Net was invited up north for an early look. (I detailed the first half of the presentations here.)

[Non-attributed photos and video are courtesy of Disney.]

So the second day of the press sessions began bright and early in the morning at the Sonoma Raceway.

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To give us insight into Lightning McQueen's world of racing, we were taken in "hot laps" around the track, three cars at a time. Things I learned from this: 1) Toyota Camrys can go a lot faster than you'd think. 2) There are sheep and stuff out there around the Sonoma Raceway track. 3) Those cars come a LOT closer to each other while jockeying for position than you might strictly consider comfortable. Like really close. Like I could have stretched my arm out and high-fived the people in the car passing us.

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At any rate, it was a lot of fun! And I didn't die!

The next "Cars 3" presentation was "The Story of Our Story," with writers Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, and Mike Rich, and Story Supervisor Scott Morse talking about the screenwriting process.

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--When we last saw McQueen, he was on top of the world, living a great life...which is good for him, and bad for a story. Their immediate problem was to ensure that McQueen had a problem.
--"Cars 3" is actually the third act of the Cars story. When McQueen was young, he was brash and fast and had limited respect for the sport of racing. Now, he faces many of the same concerns as aging athletes--feelings of obsolescence and ending.
--Some athletes make the mistake of trying to stay young. The great ones adapt and learn to use the wisdom they've accumulated to find a place for themselves.

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--Jackson Storm is the inverse of McQueen, with all the speed and swagger McQueen had when he was young. He represents the same thing McQueen represented to the older cars when he came along--the up-and-comer who can take their standing away from them.
--Cruz Ramirez was initially just a techie superfan, but failed to push McQueen to where he needed to be emotionally in that incarnation.

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--Ultimately Ramirez evolved into a personal trainer that treats McQueen as an old guy...which is exactly what he does not want.

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--The conversation that takes place between the two generations: McQueen refuses to face the truth that he is old, so he fails to accept it/move on, and Ramirez has accepted a bad "truth" about herself that she doesn't have what it takes to be a racer. As the movie progresses, the two heal each other.
--Cruz ultimately became an avatar of sorts for the lack of confidence/"imposter syndrome" that sometimes afflicts professional women both at Pixar and beyond.

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--"Cars 3" is more spiritually related to "Cars" than "Cars 2," which was more Mater's movie.
--Homage was paid to the late Paul Newman by using pieces of his old recordings for Doc Hudson in this film.

Our final panel was with Creative Director Jay Ward and Former Crew Chief for Hendrick Motorsports Ray Evernham on the "History of Racing."

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--NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
--After the war, the illegal production of moonshine became popular in the economically-depressed South.
--To distribute their product, Moonshiners would employ Bootleggers--fast drivers with souped-up cars that could speed their booze from the stills of the North Carolina woods to big cities like Charlotte and Atlanta.
--Rivalries eventually evolved to the point where drivers would compete in dirt fields to see who was fastest.
--As people began to come and watch the races, Bill France Sr. organized and promoted them into a money-making affair.
--The initial cars raced tended to be 1938-44 pre-war Fords. Bootleggers wanted cars that didn't stand out, and these cars were plain black with back seats that could be removed to run 100 gallons of product.
--Some of the legends of NASCAR are honored in "Cars 3" by having characters inspired by them, and in some cases getting to do the voices themselves.

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From left: River Scott (voice of Isiah Whitlock Jr.), Junior “Midnight” Moon (voice of Robert Glenn “Junior” Johnson), Smokey (voice of Chris Cooper), Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (voice of Margo Martindale), and Lightning himself (voice of Owen Wilson).

After the panels we were treated to a brief walk around the racetrack in which we got to see a real-life Mack the Truck...

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...And were taught how to change tires "pit-stop" style. Since I don't even know how to change a tire "normal" style, this was pretty interesting although given that the race car tires weigh about eighty pounds, I don't think I'll be volunteering for pit crew duty anytime soon.

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But I got to use an air gun on the bolts! And didn't die!

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Guido and Luigi look on in horror at my tire changing skilz.

"Cars 3" opens in theaters June 16, 2017.

May 28, 2017

Preview of Summer of Heroes at Disney California Adventure

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Jeanine, Jason, and Laura continue with their coverage of the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! opening at Disney California Adventure with this preview of the Summer of Heroes.

The Summer of Heroes promotion includes limited time food and beverage, merchandise, and entertainment opportunities featuring Marvel Super Heroes. It runs until September 10.

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Avengers Training Initiative gives youngsters a chance to interact with Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Avengers special agents. Along the lines of the Jedi Training Academy, but with an Avengers theme. Training sessions take place several times a day on the Hollywood Backlot stage. Signups are available on a first come-first serve basis - on the day we were there the kiosk was outside Stage 17. If your child wishes to participate, we recommend making sign-up your first order of the day.

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Kids are separated into several groups where they have to work as a team. The also learn a sequence of defensive, evasive, and even offensive moves, which they later demonstrate against a HYDRA villain. (The Captain America shields they used had some entertaining Frisbee-like qualities when flung at the villain.)

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Jeanine: So when I saw the sneak peek presentation on it a little while ago (seen here) I thought this looked like a pretty interesting show. I would have been impressed if it actually did show kids some basic self-defense moves, which doesn't seem like a bad thing for anyone to know nowadays. My other thought on walking up to the show a little late, was that Iron Man sounds a lot like Tom Hanks doing Woody for some reason.

Black Widow Encounter - She patrols the Hollywood Backlot in her black armored vehicle, and interacts with guests. The more traditional meet-and-greet opportunity with Spider-Man and Captain America is also still available.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off! - As you'll see in the video below, we experienced a version of this during the Grand Opening event, though this may not be quite what guests will experience. The Disneyland web site lists it as an activity for kids and tweens. The Dance Off concludes with a visit by Groot, who "sticks" around for a meet and greet afterward.

Hero Action Center - What Super Hero are you most like? Is it Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Black Widow? Or perhaps Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, or Spider-Man? At the Hero Action Center in the Hollywood Backlot you can take an interactive quiz that asks a series of questions to determine what Super Hero is most like you. The quiz is administered via a touch screen tablet. Afterward you'll receive a comic book and a sticker representing your Super Hero. There's a photo backdrop with a Photo Pass photographer, also.

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Jeanine: Considering I usually get "You are Ursula" on all these tests, this was pretty vindicating.

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Food for Super Heroes (or mere mortals)

There are a number of new food and beverages choices, in multiple locations around Hollywood Land.

Award Weiners - Three words: Funnel Cake Fries. Laura is really looking forward to these. They are available separately or included in the Angry Little Pudding Cup (below), a chocolate pudding, chocolate cookie, and whipped cream parfait.

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Schmoozies - Schmoozies will now be open in the morning, serving doughnuts in addition to smoothies and hot beverages . Doughnuts are available while they last. The Hulk-themed doughnut, filled with blackberry and black currant, will be available every day. As you might expect, it's huge. The other three will rotate. The Captain America doughnut is an apple pie doughnut, the "Spider Bite" is cinnamon spiced (think Red Hot candies), and the Groot doughnut is maple and bacon.

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Cosmic Canteen - This is located on the far end of the Hollywood Backlot next to the Monsters, Inc. attraction. It will have a variety of "Cosmic Cocktails" and non-alcoholic "Breakout Beverages". Groot-shaped bread will be available - it's sourdough bread with cheese or jalapeno cheese. The eyes are black olives. The bread will also be available at Fairfax Market.

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Studio Catering Co. - the food truck in the backlot. A number of different items here! The Super Hero sub includes peppered salami, capocollo, mortadela and provolone, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, and pepperoncini.

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Multiverse Parfait with chocolate cake, white and dark chocolate mousse and cherry jelly, topped with chocolate ganache.

Falafel pitas: Chickpea fritters served with two different accompaniments - spinach, cucumber/mint slaw and yogurt sauce or pickled red cabbage, yellow peppers and charamoula sauce. Laura worked with a Disney chef to make some fritters:

Knowhere Eats will be a food kiosk (re-purposed from the Food and Wine Festival). It opens June 6, and in the meantime these items will be available at the Cosmic Canteen and Studio Catering Co. All of the food items are available with a vegetarian version.

The Most Dangerous Tacos in the Galaxy - Barbacoa beef tacos on green tortillas.

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Obviously Nachos - Blue corn tortilla chips with mojo-marinated chicken, red pepper cheese sauce and chipotle crema. Laura tried these and thought they were very good - not too spicy at all.

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Space Outpost Tacos - chicken street tacos with chopped cilantro and onions.

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Several alcoholic beverages are also available.

Summer of Heroes Merchandise - most is available only in Disney California Adventure, much of it exclusive to the Collector's Warehouse at the exit of the Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction. Lots of cute Baby Groot items. We got an overview:

While it's not a part of the Summer of Heroes, another new attraction also opened at Disney California Adventure: Disney Junior Dance Party!. This show for pre-school kids includes some of their favorite Disney Junior characters, like Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, and characters from The Lion Guard and Mickey and Minnie Mouse from Mickey and the Roadster Racers. There's special effects like bubbles, snow, and confetti, and the kids are encouraged to get up and dance to the music.

Jeanine: I'm not sure I ever actually saw the show that preceded this one, but the dance party seemed high energy and fast-paced enough to keep most of the children's attention engaged. I would only make the additional observation that anyone going should probably expect exposure to the sights, sounds, and olfactory stimuli characteristic of a youthful audience.

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Jeanine: So between "Mission: BREAKOUT!" and "Summer of Heroes," there's a lot coming to Hollywood Land this season. Frankly, I'm just glad the three of us were able to cover it all and get out without any mishaps.

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...Oops.





May 27, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! Grand Opening

Jeanine, Jason, and Laura all attended the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! opening at Disney California Adventure, so the blogs on the event are going to be collaborative efforts.

Jeanine and Laura have already presented a lot of background information on the attraction in two earlier blogs:
Sneak Peek at "Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!" and "Summer of Heroes"
First Look at Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

This time we had more time to wander around the entire queue. The exterior queue is known as the "Gardens of the Galaxy". It is also part of the Collection, and features unusual plants and audio recordings.

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Laura had the opportunity to do a recorded ride-through of Mission: BREAKOUT! She says: "I really enjoyed the attraction. There are six versions, with six different songs, though I've only experienced the one. I thought the visuals - which were filmed with the actors from the movie specifically for the attraction - worked well, though I wish they could have been a little longer. While the ride seems to have more intense motion than before, it is broken up by several stops - so that we can see those scenes. While I'm still not really convinced that this attraction fits into Hollywood Land, it was a lot of fun."

Laura also says:
"After the ride, be sure to listen to some of the comments you'll hear while you're still in the ride vehicle."

"Also, as you're in the exit hallway headed towards the Collector's Warehouse (gift shop), listen to the music and to some of the dialog and sounds you hear. I had the area to myself - once the ride is open I hope you'll still be able to hear it over the voices of everyone exiting the attraction."

Jeanine: "Having more time to walk around the entry this time, I noticed a similar effect in the main collection room--some of the exhibits move or talk, although they don't necessarily do it often and they don't do the same things all the time. The Ultron Sentry occasionally sings 'I've Got No Strings,' as in 'Age of Ultron,' but when I waited around for him to do it again, he said a different line."

Later in the day Laura spoke with Estefania Harbuck, Creative Producer for the attraction:

That night we all attended the Grand Opening of the Tivan Collection.

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Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was there, along with Director/Writer James Gunn.

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Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

Several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast were in attendance, including Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Benicio Del Toro (Taneleer Tivan),Michael Rooker (Yondu), and Pom Klementieff (Mantis).

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The opening concluded with fireworks and lights on the Fortress.

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Video of Opening Ceremony:

Afterwards, guests wanting to tour the Tivan Collection were treated to a Groot greet out in front of the citadel.

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We'll have more on the events taking place during the Summer of Heroes promotion in our next blog.

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(Jeanine: "Try not to call him a Trash Panda.")



May 25, 2017

Sneak Peek at "Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!" and "Summer of Heroes"

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Opening May 27 at Disney California Adventure is the newly rethemed attraction "Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!."

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Taking the place of the lightning-scarred "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" in the back of Hollywood Land, GotGMB is set in the massive citadel of Taneleer Tivan, The Collector, from the Marvel comics and the MCU films "Thor: The Dark World, " and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

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Surrounding the building is a collection of totems and fauna designed to pay tribute to The Collector and his artifacts referred to as "Gardens of the Galaxy."

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AllEars.Net was invited to take an early look at the attraction, guided by Imagineer and lead Creative Executive Joe Rohde.

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Once inside what used to be the hotel lobby, guests are met by a large assortment of glass cases containing any number of unique items in Tivan's collection.

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At the far end of the room is a screen where guests touring the collection are met by a video introduction from their host, revealing some of his newer, more reluctant acquisitions.

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After making their way out of the collection room into Tivan's private office (previously the library,) guests touring the facility are met with another taped message from The Collector that is abruptly interrupted by Rocket Raccoon, a Guardian of the Galaxy (the smart one.) He has a plan to free his friends that requires your participation, some peril, and a lot of explosions.

Moving through the power room, sharp eyes (it's pretty dark) may notice a number of items in the Collection that appear somewhat familiar.

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Entering the Gantry Lift, part of The Collector's staff will seat you and have you raise your hands for scanning (coincidentally checking for seatbelts at the same time) and then your tour/breakout commences.

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As far as the actual ride is concerned, there are six different drop profiles, each with their own different soundtrack. Intermittent pauses take place where the doors open to reveal clips of the Guardians escaping their boxes, dealing with all the other occupants that have also been let free, and making their getaway. Like Star Tours, these segments can randomize separately, so you may see the same ones in conjunction with different drop profiles or completely different ones. The original cast was present for all the video which was directed by "Guardians" writer/director James Gunn.

Mechanically, as you might expect, the ride isn't intrinsically different from ToT. I did feel that the drops were generally more prolonged/intense, with more time spent hovering in free-fall off the seat than previously. I've seen complaints about the in-ride sequences being just video screens, but unless we're saying the ToT ghosts were real, I don't think that's much of a change. On the whole, I think that whereas ToT depended more on suspense and atmosphere to yield a frightening/thrilling experience, GotGMB uses loud and dynamic action, humor, and mixtape music to give riders more of a shock/surprise.

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After disembarking the lift, "backstage" corridors lead you, as usual, back to a conveniently located gift store where you can buy all the merchandise a Guardian would want.

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At the end of the ride, Joe Rohde returned for a brief Q&A, along with Dave Bushore, VP, Franchise Creative & Marketing at Marvel Studios and Brian Crosby, Creative Director of Marvel Themed Entertainment. Some things they addressed to varying degrees: Why Guardians? How does The Collector's Citadel fit in with Hollywood Land? What was the reaction of the cast to being a part of a ride?

Having broken out the Guardians, we were then taken backstage where we were given an advance look at some of the different facets of the "Summer of Heroes" event coming to DCA.

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Executive Chef John State shared with us some of the many new culinary creations that will be available around Hollywood Land to keep heroes well-fueled for crime fighting.

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The three things I was able to taste were the Promising Future Falafel, the Most Dangerous Tacos in the Galaxy, and the Multiverse Parfait. My favorite was probably the parfait which was a little on the sweet side but which incorporated an impressive number of different flavored layers. The tacos were too spicy for my palate, but I am a complete spice wimp so your mileage will probably vary.

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Finally, Dan Fields, Executive Creative Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, gave a presentation (accompanied by some special guests) on a few of the various superheroes that might be encountered this summer.

Whether joining Star-Lord and Gamora for "Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!" or getting drilled by Black Widow and Hawkeye in "Avengers Training Initiative," guests will find no shortage of chances to Hero Up.

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Clearly, a lot of activity going on in Hollywood Land this summer--one thing to note is the increasing emphasis on live character interaction for seasonal events which one could speculate is preparing people for more of the same to come in "Star Wars Land." Whether or not the encroachment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on DCA signals the beginning of a more wide-spread change in theme remains to be seen, but amidst all this uncertainty, there is a constant...

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...He is Groot.

May 24, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Press Junket

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This week, Walt Disney Studios releases its fifth entry into the evergreen "Pirates of the Caribbean" series with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."

While in town for the premiere, some of the film's cast and creatives were made available for mini-press conferences on the process of telling Dead Men's Tales.

[Non-attributed photos and video courtesy of Disney.]

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Geoffrey Rush “Barbossa”

On the evolution of Barbossa: "...Of course, in the first film I got shot, you know, and I went well, it was fun. That was nice. Gore Verbinski phoned me up and said 'we're going to shift parts two and three to Asia--we're not going to just repeat the same sausage factory idea' and Jerry Bruckheimer is a very bold and creative producer on that level, and he said 'we're going to bring you back.' I said 'what, from the dead?' He said 'yeah, with voodoo!' I said 'not movie magic.' You can't just kinda go 'we want him back because he's popular.'

"But there was a purpose in that, in that I had to get all of the global pirate lords together to break Tia Dalma's curse in her association with Davy Jones and so forth. So I became the politician, and I liked that. And I think Barbossa's vanity liked the power base. I was going to get the G-20 of global pirates. And then I got to work for the King in the next film, and in this one, I'm kind of a corporate CEO--a rather vulgarly wealthy pirate. His taste is appalling. If he'd only spent some of the money on dental hygiene or his skin, you know...I always thought I'm in a commercial film, I should try to get an SK-II moisturizer ad, but no one's offered."

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Joachim Ronning / Director, Espen Sandberg / Director

On making this part of the "Pirates" franchise their own: "Well, we really studied the other movies, and especially number one...we really wanted to have a very strong emotional core. Every character had a journey--like in the first one, you have this young couple that traveled through the movie and you have all the other strong characters surrounding them...

"But Jack doesn't really have a character arc, you know, he doesn't learn a thing. So we still wanted to explore him too, so that's why we created the backstory, and that's something that we brought to it because we were curious about that: How did Jack become Jack Sparrow? And also we tied in Salazar's story in that, so we made sure it became a personal vengeance. And of course, Barbossa, we wanted to give him a really strong journey as well because he's such a great character and we want to do him justice.

"The third was interesting also, with the family theme of the film, of the franchise. We tell this story of what's really the treasure for a pirate."

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Jerry Bruckheimer / Producer

On continuing with the Pirates franchise: "Listen, I've made a lot of movies and I've certainly been very successful--I don't have to work anymore--but when I stand back in the audience and watch people really enjoy what we created...that's my thrill. We can take 'em for two hours and make 'em forget about whatever was bothering them and have a very positive experience--that's great! Because that's what I remember as a kid...I remember going to the theater and feeling great when I walked out. I forgot about everything that was going on in my life: The homework I didn't do or the test I failed or whatever it is, and I felt great. I just want to give that back to audiences, that's all."

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Javier Bardem “Captain Salazar”

On becoming Salazar:
"It was three hours makeup...drives you nuts. The first thing they do is to give you a coffee. Very nice. It's five o'clock in the morning, it's cold, it's Australia, you know you have a fourteen hour day in front of you, and then they give you coffee...and the second thing they do is to put glue all over your face. Actual glue! With a brush! Like you have a dog [lick sounds] on your face. Then they put this chicken breast on you, because there are chicken breasts...then they say 'don't talk, eat, or drink for the next three hours.' Then you start to get crazy. Then when they say 'ACTION,' you have the rage of the character."

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Kaya Scodelario “Carina Smyth”

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Brenton Thwaites “Henry”

Scodelario on Strong Female Characters: "There's a reason why that question never gets asked to guys, because their characters are always fleshed out and interesting and they're assumed that they're going to be strong and independent and all these things but yet there still has to have this conversation over a strong independent female role. And it's such a shame, but I think it's great that we're speaking really honestly about it now and I'm happy to fight a fight for that. It's an honor to play a woman that is so layered and so interesting, because I don't know a single female that isn't. I don't know any woman that's just simple, that you can define in one word or one sentence, so why should that be what we see in a movie? There's so many stories to be told, there's so many layers to peel back, and she's great and I'm really grateful to Disney for making sure that is a part of this franchise, and still holding strong with it."

On the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction:
Thwaites: "I've been on the one in Shanghai a week ago, and the one in LA a couple days ago."
Scodelario: "A COUPLE DAYS AGO?"
Thwaites: "...Yeah? I took my family--I did the family thing."
Scodelario: "I've never been to Disneyland!"
Thwaites: "The one in LA is great for story, you know, because you're there and you see the old dolls drinking beer and it's kind of fun and soft and a great ride...I had my little kid with me and she was loving it. But the one in Shanghai is a spectacle. It feels like a fifty-foot screen, you know, 180 degrees in curvature...you feel like you're at the bottom of the ocean. It's 3-D so water's spinning at you and there's air and people yelling and...yeah, it's crazy."

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"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" opens in US theaters May 26, 2017.

May 18, 2017

2017 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Expo

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Tinker Bell Expo

Though I didn't run any of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend races this year, I visited the Expo. I wrote in my previous blog about my experiences working at the Expo that day as a paid employee. After my shift was over, I spent some time walking around the Expo.

I was surprised that the entrance to the packet pick-up area wasn't decorated at all. In the past the rug at the entrance has had the race logo, and portraits of the pixies have been on the walls. It was very plain this year.

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The packet pick-up area downstairs wasn't very busy at 4:00 in the afternoon. There were about 27,500 scheduled to participate in all of the weekend's events: Never Land 5K, Tinker Bell 10K, Kids Races, and Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Not all of the races sold out and bibs were still available for the 10K, half marathon, and Pixie Dust Challenge.

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There were still quite a few Dooney & Bourke bags available.

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The main entrance to the Expo upstairs was decorated with banners.

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Tinker Bell Expo

There were large maps of the race courses posted just inside.

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The Expo had most of the usual vendors - the New Balance Disney shoes, Clif Bars, Fit2Run, RawThreads, Sparkle Skirts, etc. Springa was one that I did not recall seeing before - they had lots of shiny, sparkly headwear.

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The runDisney booth had samples of all of the race medals. The medals for this year's Virtual Running Shorts series feature Pluto, and I thought they were cute.

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There were also samples of the medals that would be distributed for the Tinker Bell Weekend events. All of the medals had new designs this year.

Tinker Bell 5K medal

Tinker Bell Kids Races medal

Tinker Bell 10K medal

Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal

Tinker Bell Pixie Dust Challenge medal

I was surprised that there was no line to get into the Official Merchandise area. And as far as I could tell, all of the merchandise was still available, including some of the items that sell out quickly like the Tervis bottles, the weekend runDisney shoe ornament, and the wine glasses.

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And there were lots and lots of shirts. Of all different styles and colors - some of them very bright.

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There were also a few styles of pants.

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I liked many of the designs on the "I Did It" shirts this year.

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Plenty of the mini-medal pins for all of the races - those were always some of my favorites.

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Magnets, lots of magnets!

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A number of hairbands and headbands.

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I'd never seen Disney sell a medal rack before.

Tinker Bell medal rack

Since I wasn't running any races this year I didn't feel the need to buy anything. Once I'd finished in the merchandise area I was done with my pass through the Expo. Nothing really stood out to me as being especially new or different this year.





May 17, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 5/12/17

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us this subset of photos from his trip to the Disneyland Resort on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Laura will cover the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo so I am going to focus on what has changed since my last visit three weeks ago. Starting off with a video clip overview of the Star Wars construction from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

In the three weeks since my last visit the attraction show building steel has expanded more and a second crane is onsite starting the second show building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Here is the second crane on the left (north) side of the other.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Steel rising up for the second atrtraction building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017


Here you can see some of the concrete work for the second attraction building foundation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The planters throughout Downtown Disney have been replanted for spring.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The directory for Downtown Disney has been updated.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Tour Gardens is being renovated so the tour assembly point is now the west Esplanade information booth.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

First stop Disneyland. A look through the fence at the end of the Big Thunder Trail. The walkway looks to be be just about done.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A new structure on the roof of Pirates. A second control room for Fantasmic has been added.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Looking up river a barge is at the cofferdam as they work to remove it.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The Tom Sawyer Island raft sign is gone. Looks like they just cut it down.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The view as you enter Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The river is full of water again.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A look through the fence by the Hungry Bear at the new train bridge and the entrance tunnel to Star Wars from Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

In New Orleans Square, the tracks are clear and the station is returning to normal as the railroad reopening preparations are underway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Indiana Jones is closed for renovation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Snow White Grotto has reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A video clip of Snow White Grotto

The Matterhorn has returned from its annual renovation. It now features FastPass.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

FastPass distribution is across the walkway in the corner where the 60th photo op was. Walls are up so guessing a permanent set is on the way. For now just carts.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Work in one of the planters at the Tomorrowland Terrace. The tree and all plants are gone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Light and dark side churros in Tomorrowland now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The Buzz Lightyear sign is functional again with wait time, time and return time.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Over at Disney California Adventure, the Pixar Play Parade returned on Friday. The parade has returned to traveling from Paradise Pier to Hollywood Land.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The Incredibles

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jack Jack

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Buzz Lightyear

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Cars 3 banners along the parade route.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Unlike past films which had more elaborate signs the Cars 3 one is just a banner.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

It appears there will be no major changes to the Guardians FastPass distribution area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The walls are down and the exterior work appears to be wrapped up for the attraction. Two weeks until Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! opens.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Just some small barriers around the entrance and left side of the attraction.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The sign on the corner is covered up still.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

At Disney's Grand Californian Hotel one pool and spa have reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Guardians lit up for the evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A couple video clips of the area.

Disneyland Drive looked like a parking lot when I was leaving with traffic at a near standstill as far as you could see.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, https://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







May 15, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Race Support Employee

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Earlier this year many long-time runDisney runners and race volunteers were very surprised when runDisney announced that they would not be using volunteers at the upcoming Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend. Instead race support would be provided by employees of two temporary employment agencies. Employees would be compensated at a rate of $13/hour - higher than the California minimum wage of $10.50/hour.

Tinker Bell Race Support

There's been no explanation for the change, though there's lots of speculation. I personally do not believe it was a cost-cutting measure. It's quite an involved process to hire that many people, and given my experience it does not seem that it was a cheaper option for runDisney.

I'd never volunteered for a race before, but I was curious about how this new process would work. (I should mention that we'd decided not to run any of the Tinker Bell races this year and instead had a family vacation scheduled to start that weekend.) I had Thursday free so I contacted the two agencies - Apple One and Volt - to see if I could work that day. Apple One didn't really respond to my inquiry - I received an empty email in response. The coordinator at Volt got right back to me with information and answered a few of my questions. She told me which shifts were available - at that point it was Expo shifts on Thursday and Friday, and early morning race support shifts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I could work every day if I wanted to (but only one shift per day). I told her that I was only available to work on Thursday, and she was OK with that.

So then we started the process. And it was a process. I think it's much more complex than the volunteer system. To begin with I filled out an on-line application form. It was a generic form for prospective Volt employees, and nowhere did it say that I was applying to work Race Support, so I was a little worried. In addition to listing previous jobs, etc., I had to provide a point of contact for a previous job reference - though that person was never contacted.

One twist: runDisney required that the two agencies run a seven-year criminal background check on all those who were hired. So that was the next on-line form that I had to complete.

Within a few days I received another set of "paperwork" in my email. These included some forms that had to be printed and signed to complete my "onboarding". The agency was in Irvine, and I was in San Diego, so they arranged for me to visit their San Diego office to complete the paperwork. The main thing they needed to verify was my "right to work" in the United States, which required that someone verify my documentation (passport, in my case) and attest that it was valid. I could have had a friend or neighbor do that (but NOT a family member) and return everything to Irvine via FedEx. But the reality was that there were so many documents, and I wasn't sure what I really needed to sign or not, that it was much more straightforward to just go to the local office to do it.

Less than 10 days out I had to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement that Disney provided. That one I printed out, took a photo of the signature page and emailed it back.

On the Tuesday before I was scheduled to work, I received information on parking and check-in. They provided a parking pass to park for free in the Mickey and Friends garage. I was checking in at the Disneyland Hotel in an area next to Packet Pickup. I also received information on the dress code and lunches and breaks. I was advised to bring as little as possible since there was no place to store belongings.

Whew. As I said - it was a process. And since it's a job, I think it's quite a bit more invasive than it was in the past for volunteers - between the job application and the background check I had to provide a lot of personal information. I can understand that going through all of that would not be attractive to a lot of people - and it took a fair bit of my time to do it all.

It seemed like the company representative did a good job passing information along (I think she got it to us as fast as Disney got it to her). She verified and re-verified what shift I was working - but I think that getting people to show up for something like this can be a problem. She certainly kept offering me more shifts if I wanted them! As of Wednesday they were still trying to find people to work Sunday's half marathon. They apparently also drew upon people who had previously signed up with their agency - the woman I was working next to knew nothing about runDisney, but said Volt had contacted her and said they had some work if she wanted it. She was working four days - including two early morning race shifts.

So...as of Wednesday night I had my parking pass and instructions on where to meet and when.

Thursday morning I arrived at the parking garage about 7:20 - I was supposed to check in by 8:00. I was pleased to see that there were signs directing to the Disneyland Hotel, although once I reached the hotel itself there were no signs telling me where to go - fortunately from previous experience I knew where I was going.

Tinker Bell Race Support

Along the way there were some race weekend signs.

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The Family Reunion area was still being put together.

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The Finish line was in place, and workers were assembling the bleachers.

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Once I checked in I got my Race Support shirt - this was to be worn as our top layer.

Tinker Bell Race Support

Who knew that Race Support had sponsors?

Tinker Bell Race Support

Then at the next table I received my assignment for the day. Everyone from Volt was being assigned to Runner Shirts and everyone from Apple One was going to Packet Pickup. I would've preferred to work Packet Pickup, but oh well.

The Expo wasn't scheduled to start until 10:00 (though we heard it would open at 9:30), so we still had a lot of time where we were just sitting around. Fortunately there were enough tables and chairs for everyone. Other than ice water dispensers and cups there were no refreshments of any kind. One of the men sitting at my table had volunteered at a number of runDisney events in the past, and said that they used to provide food and beverages to the volunteers - but that's gone by the wayside.

The workers were generally older - there were a number of retired people, though there were some younger people who looked like they were in their early 20s.

About 9:00 a couple of runDisney people came to give us a pep talk about how important we were to the process, etc., etc., and then escort us to our work areas, where we would receive whatever training we needed.

My group went upstairs to the main Expo floor and the shirt distribution area. Most of us would be giving out shirts, but they needed a few people to work the Shirt Exchange and others to be the "runners" who brought out additional shirts and bags from the back as they were needed.

The process was quite simple - each runner's bib had a tear-off strip indicating the size of shirt they were to receive. Each of us had only one size shirt available at our station - I had 5K shirts, size Adult Small. So I had to verify that the bib was a 5K bib, and the shirt size was "AS". Then tear off the strip and put it in a plastic bag that was taped to the counter. Under the counter was the stack of clear plastic runDisney bags, which already contained a Clif bar and a packet of safety pins, and each runner received one of those in addition to the shirt.

Tinker Bell Race Support

Here's a photo of one of the shirts I was distributing. I thought they were really cute, and I was surprised that a number of runners didn't like the color or the design. Most thought that it was really cute, though. You can't please everyone. At least it wasn't gray. :-)

Tinker Bell Never Land 5K shirt

The runDisney guy in charge of the shirt area had very definite ideas on how he wanted it to work. Understandable, since obviously he has lots of experience at this. Whatever size was at our station was what we gave out - we were not to reach over or move to fetch a different size. If the bib said they were to receive a small, but they wanted a medium, we gave them a small and directed them to Shirt Exchange. We were always to face the guests. We were to refer anyone with questions beyond "where do I get my shirt?" to one of the black-shirted runDisney employees, or direct them to the information booth in the lobby. No cell phones. We were to smile and thank the guests, but not chat too much with them. We were not supposed to lean on the counters. (Since we were standing the entire time, that was a little bit difficult.) We were always supposed to have a full contingent of workers at the counters, even when things were slow. So that meant if anyone needed a break, our leads had to bring someone up to fill the space. I guess there were some extra "floaters" who did that.

Here's what my area looked like. That space between the bins held two of us - not much room to move around. The woman to my right had two sizes of Youth 5K shirts.

Tinker Bell Race Support

We didn't really see the first people come to shirt pickup until after 10:00. In the meantime we could see what the Expo floor looked like with no one in it.

Tinker Bell Race Support

It all was in spurts. Sometimes I had people waiting, but most of the time I just stood there.

I got my first 10-minute break after about an hour, and wandered around the show floor briefly before I went back. There were two leads from Volt who made sure that everyone got their breaks and lunches.

Tinker Bell Race Support

We only got 30 minutes for lunch, which was really very little time to try to go someplace, get food, and eat. Since I was told not to bring a bag, I didn't bring lunch (I had been warned that lunch would not be provided and that I would only have 30 minutes). About all I had time for was to grab some yogurt at Tangaroa Terrace... I didn't have time to go through the security line and into Downtown Disney.

The afternoon was like the morning - brief periods when it was busy, but mostly a lot of standing around. A little excitement when one of the guys restocking shirts dumped the wrong size shirt in one of my bins - but I caught it before I gave any of them out. I was quite ready for my 10-minute break, which I largely spent sitting down backstage. I'm fairly used to standing for long periods of time, but not having any room to move around made me more tired.

At about 3:30 they brought up the people who would be working the afternoon/evening shift. We were responsible for training them - not that there was much to that. Though I think we got all of about five minutes before they told us to move out. Our group was escorted back downstairs. I clocked out with the Volt representative and my day was done.

I mentioned that my group seemed to be an older crowd. The afternoon shift appeared to be quite a bit younger on average.

In my area I didn't see any problems with having paid employees versus volunteers. I heard that there were issues in packet pick-up - some people said that no one checked their IDs! And we had one woman come to shirt pickup who had been given an extra bib that wasn't hers. Fortunately she realized that and gave it to a runDisney person. She was pretty frazzled and said that packet pick-up had not been a good experience for her. I'm curious to hear what the on-course experience is like for runners with the paid support versus the volunteers.

Working the Expo was an interesting experience for me. Not exactly challenging, but I enjoyed my interactions with the runners. I only saw one person I knew (Hi, Gail!), but I saw a number of people I recognized from previous Disney races. I'd do it again, though I'd like to try Packet Pick-up the next time. For one thing you get to sit down for that!





May 10, 2017

REVIEW: The Disney Afternoon Collection

by Guest Blogger Sally Jacka

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Like most children of the late '80s/early '90s, the Disney Afternoon was a huge part of my childhood. I’d race home from school every day to watch my favorite cartoons in a convenient block of television featuring songs that I can still sing to this day. I was pretty obsessed! Despite that, I still managed to clock an embarrassingly short amount of time to die while previewing this game at WonderCon. (I got an awesome slap bracelet out of that experience, so there was an upside.)

[Screenshots and video provided by Capcom.]

Regardless, I’m up for the task and it’s time to step right up and come on in, here’s where the fun begins… see what I did there? Let’s just get to the review.

The Disney Afternoon Collection is here to tap into all the nostalgia we’re harboring for the simpler times of childhood. This “brand new” offering features 6 classic games in a sleek collected format.

The games are in 1080p HD which I’m not sure really matters when everything is in 8-bit. This could also just be one of those things I don’t understand because I’m an old lady and don’t care if my media is in high definition or not. My husband, who I made play these games when I got angry because I kept dying and who is very much about resolutions, also says that this isn’t a huge deal. You are also able to customize your screen some with game-specific frames, different aspect ratios, and filters that mimic old television screens, in case you feel like taking the nostalgia of playing these games to the next level.

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The biggest addition to The Disney Afternoon Collection is the “Rewind” feature. This button is a godsend! At WonderCon, the Capcom rep at the booth told me they added it because people don’t remember how hard these games actually are. There is literally no way I would have gotten through more than three minutes of these games without it. Though it feels a little like cheating, it’s a great option for those of us who want to re-experience these games without the insane frustration of having to start all the way at the beginning of a level after death. That still happens, but it’s a little less frustrating when you get the hang of rewind and learn you can cheat death! The only drawback to this feature is in the Chip ‘n Dale two-player mode, where only Player 1 can rewind. It’s a minor inconvenience, but both players being able to rewind would probably also be annoying.

There are two other game-play options that have been added to all six games in the collection. The Boss Rush mode allows you to fight all the bosses in your game of choice in rapid succession. This is a fun new feature, for me at least, because I’m usually so bad at these games that I can’t get to the boss battle.

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The other mode is Time Attack, where you attempt to beat the game as fast as possible. We looked into this feature on the original DuckTales game and the fastest time as of this writing was 7 minutes and 30 seconds. This is completely insane! The best part of this feature is that you can watch other players' run-throughs to see how they did it. It’s interesting to be able to see how someone else runs/glitches their way through the game and I’m sure for someone trying to improve their time it’s also a good learning tool. Again, as I die a lot and “rewind” is not available in Time Attack, this is not a mode for me, but it is fun to watch.

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This collection also comes with some great extra features, including the isolated soundtracks for each game. You also get to take a peek at the Disney Afternoon Museum. This is basically a gallery of box art, advertisements and source material vs final concept art for the featured games. We spent a lot of time browsing through the vintage images and reminiscing about the gaming days of old. It’s a neat addition, especially for Disney fans who want to see more than just the old restored games.

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Assorted thoughts:

--The Moon Theme is so insane to me. It is the catchiest song -- arguably moreso than the main DuckTale theme. There is also such an insane, almost cult-like following for the music, especially in my experience, with 30-something males. Honestly, we played that level the longest and the song has been stuck in my head ALL DAY!

--I wanna name a punk band "Beagle Boys on the Moon."

--I’m not a big fan of bees in real life, but the bees in the jungle level of DuckTales are the worst! THE WORST!

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--Both Chip and Dale games are decidedly easier with two players. However, the fact that you can incapacitate the other player is annoying and would have gotten this game banned in my childhood home.

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--TaleSpin was probably the hardest of the games for me and involved a lot of death and rewinding before I finally gave up. Also, the physics of Baloo just hanging upside-down and not moving left lots of questions. It does at least give you the option to turn your ship around and shoot behind you which is not common for most side-scrollers. This game also actually allows you to use game currency to upgrade your items.

--Darkwing Duck was the game I was most looking forward to and it was worth it alone just to see Darkwing on an 8-bit Ratcatcher. It’s also the only game to recreate the source material’s theme song and opening credits in 8-bit, which is adorable.

--The one boss battle I played in Darkwing was against Quackerjack & Mr. Banana Brain. I am very confused by the latter dropping banana peels on you. I never assumed he was sentient and thought he was just the product of an insane clown duck’s dementia. That might be one of the weirder sentences I’ve ever written.

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--I know there are limited pixels and color palettes but so much of the coloring of so many of the characters (I’m looking at you, Dewey and Louie) in each game was wrong. This bugged me, but I’m a nerd so this probably doesn’t bother other “normal” people

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So, after playing through some of all six games, I can say that this collection is an excellent addition to your Disney game library. There’s a feeling of nostalgia whether you played the games when you were younger or just love all things Disney Afternoon. For those who are better at video games than I hope to be, it’s a ton of fun to get to revisit these classics from the past. And for those who have kids of their own, it’s a great intro to the world of The Disney Afternoon. The addition of features like “rewind” make it much easier for us non-gamers to enjoy the games without the frustration of losing quickly. The added bonuses of different game-play modes and bonus material make it an even better value for gamers and fans. I mean, to me, it’s honestly all just worth it to listen to those 8-bit theme songs on repeat!

"The Disney Afternoon Collection" is currently available in North America and Europe for $19.99 as a digital download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

DISCLAIMER: A copy of "The Disney Afternoon Collection" was provided to me for the purposes of review without restrictions on expressed thoughts or opinions.

May 3, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Press Conference

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"All you do is yell at each other. You're not friends."
"No. We're family."
--Nebula and Drax, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2"

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May 5th, Star-Lord and his ragtag band of miscreants are once again tapped to save the galaxy in Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

As part of the premier events for the movie, the cast and creatives involved gathered at a press conference to talk about the making of the film. In attendance was Chris Pratt “Peter Quill/Star-Lord," Kurt Russell "Ego," Elizabeth Debicki "Ayesha," Michael Rooker ‘Yondu,” James Gunn/Director, Zoe Saldana “Gamora,” Sylvester Stallone “member of Nova Corps,” Karen Gillan "Nebula," Dave Bautista “Drax the Destroyer,” Pom Klementieff "Mantis," Sean Gunn “Kraglin,“ and Kevin Feige/Producer.

[Photos and video courtesy of Disney.]

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Chris Pratt on working with Kurt Russell: "You know, there’s this thing that happens...you promised yourself you’re not gonna do the thing where you geek out, but...it’s a little inauthentic if you don’t, because if you just go in there and you be like, oh what is it, Kurt? Hey, nice to meet you. Chris. And if I don’t acknowledge...how much I love him and what a fan I am, if you don’t get that out of the way, then it feels a little inauthentic. So I think I did that immediately, and...it doesn’t really take that long to tell someone that you really love them, you really respect their work, and for them to go, yeah thanks. And then, that’s it. At that point, you move forward and there’s this really cool thing that is probably the one thing I never would’ve imagined looking for when I first moved to Hollywood, but like the greatest, the greatest part of it, the biggest secret, is you become somebody’s friend and somebody’s peer rather than a fan. And that’s really nice, and I think Kurt and I have become friends. We connected on a lot of things outside of just the movie. And you know, I have his cell phone number and I’ll give it to each and every one of you--"
Kurt Russell: "Yeah. 310..."

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Zoe Saldana on her favorite part of the filmmaking process: "I think that what I loved the most and it may sound selfish but definitely the relationship between Gamora and Nebula. I just, I’m one of three sisters. I have been itching and yearning to see more of a female presence in action films because I love action films. I’m not that deep...I love watching The Equalizer and I’ll watch that 50 times over any kind of dramatic piece. And so to have a film with three female characters that are adding such unique qualities to the film...they are very relevant and their relationships are explored deeply. I was appreciative and super excited and in a way anxious because I know that Gamora is a much more reserved character, so we couldn’t make it a soap opera like I would have wanted to. I wanted to be crying with nose goo and everything and James is like, “You’re like the Clint Eastwood of the movie,” and I was like, “Who’s that? What’s that?” But anyway, that was my favorite. And my least favorite was obviously the makeup process, so."

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Sean Gunn on playing the dual role of Kraglin and motion reference actor for Rocket: "I played two roles in the movie… you know… when you act there’s both the input and the output. The input is the work you put into it and what you do on set and then the output is what you see onscreen, so for me the input is very similar for both characters, but the output is, is totally different because it takes a whole team of people to make Rocket. So, you know, I’m just a member of that team. But yeah, it’s interesting in this movie because Rocket and Kraglin have a few scenes that they’re in together, so…juggling the two things was a very strange and challenging experience for me. But I love it."

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James Gunn on sequels: "...So many sequels are not good. The primary reason in studying them seemed to be that so many of them just kind of do the same thing the first movie did with different template, and so they say, oh people liked the dance-off in the first movie, so what’s our version of the dance-off? People liked “we are Groot” in the first movie, what’s our version of “we are Groot”? And instead of doing that, we really tried to let these characters grow and change. We want to watch them become new people and different people in every film that we come up with. And I think allowing them to be themselves and do their thing, I know that sounds strange because I’m writing what they say, but sometimes I’m just letting it happen inside my own imagination and letting the characters go where they want to go. I think the thing that I didn’t want to mess up was just trying to be a rehash of the first movie."

Gunn on belonging: "I never feel like I belong. I feel like Rocket, you know. So I think that...for me it’s a very personal film. I have always felt like I didn’t belong. And fortunately I have some people around me who maybe helped me feel like I’m not completely alone in the world, and just as importantly, I think I grew up with some art, some movies, you know, by people...everybody from David Cronenberg to Steven Spielberg, movies where an outcast didn’t feel so alone or music by Alice Cooper, The Clash, for outcasts. Or maybe I was this little kid in Manchester, Missouri who felt like he was completely alienated from all his peers, and by listening and, you know, hearing music and watching movies, I felt a little bit less alone, and I hope that that’s what the Guardians does for people. It’s a movie about outcasts for outcasts. And there’s people all over the world that it touches, and that’s the most rewarding thing by far about making these movies."

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Kurt Russell on becoming young: "Dennis Liddiard’s been my makeup man for 28 movies, and before we went in there...we assumed that it was gonna be all CGI. And he said to James and the cinematographer, hey, I can young this guy down. I got some tricks in my bag. Would that be helpful? And they said, yeah, as much as you can. That would be great. And I was speaking to the gal last night who does the CGI. She said, what did you think of what we did? And I said, I thought it was great. But I understand you didn’t do a whole lot. She said, no we didn’t...we touched it up here and there. He did a fantastic job. He does have a lot of tricks, not just makeup. Cosmetics I should say. But there’s a lot that goes into that actually. It’s not just what you think. Without giving away things, because I hate giving away tricks, you have to create an impression, not an image. And there’s stuff that goes into that. And you want them to look certain places and not look other places...then when you’ve got the help of modern day abilities with technology, I think it’s a much more natural look..."

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Sylvester Stallone on becoming part of the Guardians Universe: "...Early on in my career I just always became fascinated with mythology and Joseph Campbell and you know, Man of a Thousand Faces and so on and so forth. So when I started doing Rambo, whatever...there was an evolution that takes place and each generation has to define itself and find its own heroes and find its own mythology and this is the new...generation, and maybe even the next generation’s mythology...When Kevin invited me on board I said, 'This is interesting because I haven’t gone here"...I mean, I’m kind of earthbound, I’m terrestrial. You know what I mean? This is something that takes place in a whole other sphere where James and the Marvel people have created their own world, their own reality. So I said, yeah, let me visit. Let me drop in here and see what’s up, where the future’s going, you know, and it was great. And it got me out of the house from my three daughters, which is really…Thank you. That’s why I gave you my salary back. My pleasure, my pleasure."

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Kevin Feige on whether Stakar is assembling the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the 1969 comics at the end: "Yeah, they’re definitely the original Guardians. That was the fun of it, and when James had the idea to do more with the Yondu character who was also an original Guardians, the notion that he had a team once like Peter does now...it’d be fun to see them. And he’s (Ving Rhames) definitely Charlie 27. Where we see them in the future, time will tell."

Feige on Stan Lee's cameo: "Stan Lee clearly exists, you know, above and apart from the reality of all the films. So the notion that he could be sitting there on a cosmic pit stop during the jump gate sequence in Guardians was something very fun and James had that idea and we shot that, shot that cameo and loved it so much...you see it a couple of times in the movie and it wasn’t in for a long time and we put it back in towards the end of the process where he references that time he was a Federal Express agent and we thought it would be fun to put that and keep that in there because that really says, so wait a minute, he’s this same character who’s popped up in all these films."

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Dave Bautista on what is "family:": "It just doesn’t have to be one definition to family. I think just the people you love in your lives, like these people up here are...we’re a family, you know. I think that’s what it is and I think that’s the message of our film, that you know, even though families may be dysfunctional, it’s still at the end of the day, do you love this person? Do you care for this person? Would you do anything for this person? And if that answer is yes, then they are your family.."

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" opens May 5, 2017.

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