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June 7, 2016

Tick-Tock Tea Time with "Alice Through The Looking Glass" and the El Capitan Theatre

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On selected days throughout the run of "Alice Through The Looking Glass" at the El Capitan Theatre, a special tea service was offered in conjunction at the Chado Tea Room in the Hollywood and Highland complex.

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"Tick-Tock Tea Time" took place about two hours prior to the start of selected showtimes, and provided guests with a pleasant selection of scones, sandwiches, and desserts, along with all the tea you could drink.

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The service began with a choice of five teas, some of which were Alice-themed, and some of which were Chado's most popular blends. The servers were diligent in pointing out which ones were caffeinated and non-caffeinated in case parents had a preference in what their children ingested. Each person received their own pot of tea, along with a glass of iced tea.

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The first tier of treats for each person was a scone accompanied with strawberries and cream, and assorted jam flavors.

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Next up were finger sandwiches: An open-faced salmon, cucumber with cream cheese, chicken with cranberry-lingonberry sauce, and tea-marinated egg salad.

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The dessert course consisted of cookies, strawberries, and a chocolate mousse cup.

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For Gosh's Sake, don't throw your crusts under the bed!

As a parting gift, each person also received a nice "Alice Through The Looking Glass" mug, presumably in which to drink their own tea at home.

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The food was very nice and the whole experience fairly soothing, despite the fact that every other table was generally celebrating a birthday. Although the menu sounded a trifle twee initially, it actually was a pretty hardy meal and after sucking down a pot of tea each we were all relatively full.

Afterwards, guests marched down the same stairs the Academy Award attendees walk to get to the Dolby Theater and crossed the street to the El Capitan Theatre to watch "Alice Through The Looking Glass." [Reviewed by Kristen Ford here.]

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As part of the tea package, VIP tickets were provided that included drinks and a commemorative popcorn bucket.

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Rob Richards started off the show as usual, with a snazzy performance on the theater's Wurlitzer Organ.

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After previews, the audience was treated to a new psychedelic light and projection show featuring some of the film's prevalent images.

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After the movie, guests could then appreciate a display of concept art, hero props and costumes on display around the El Capitan.

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On the whole, the tea/movie package was a very pleasant way to extend the movie-going experience at the El Capitan, and a great way to celebrate a special occasion. For similar future events I would note that the room was pretty small--so if you were interested in booking it, you probably wouldn't want to wait, because the chance of it selling out is high. Also, the tea room validates parking for two hours, but the theater validates for four hours, so it's best to wait until getting across the street to take care of that. (Despite that, the chances are the tea and the movie will take longer than four hours, so be prepared to add on another $2-6 onto the usual $2 parking toll.)

Unfortunately, the Tick-Tock Tea has finished its last session--however, the Chado Tea Room offers very similar tea services on a routine basis, more information about which can be found on their web page here. "Alice Through The Looking Glass" continues at the El Capitan Theatre through June 12, 2016.

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Daily showtimes are 10 a.m., 1:10 p.m., 4:20 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., with a 10:40 p.m. on opening weekend (Friday through Sunday) and each Friday and Saturday during the engagement of the film. Tickets are on sale now through June 12, available at the El Capitan Theatre (6838 Hollywood Blvd.), online at www.elcapitantickets.com or by calling 1-800-DISNEY6. Special group rates for parties of 20 or more are available by calling 1-818-845-3110. Showtimes and dates are subject to change.

June 13, 2016

"Finding Dory" Filmmakers and Cast Press Conference

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Debuting on June 17th, is Disney-Pixar's latest film, "Finding Dory." A continuation to the Academy Award-winning "Finding Nemo," it follows Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss, on her search for the parents she had lost and forgotten.

[All non-attributed photos and video courtesy of Disney.]

Recently, the talent from either side of the vocal recording booths met at a press conference to talk about their experiences making the long-awaited sequel. First up was Director Andrew Stanton and Producer Lindsey Collins.

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Some points of note from the video above:

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Andrew Stanton on why he wanted to make this movie thirteen years after the original: "The real truth is, I wasn't expecting to ever go back. Four years with fish is a long time to work on a movie...The brain's an interesting thing. So suddenly I was watching the movie again because I hadn't watched it in years, and 2011 we had to see the 3D version, and I walked out very worried about Dory. And I couldn't stop thinking about how she needed closure."

Stanton on the themes of the movie
: "Well, I always knew that the film was going to be about her accepting herself...The premise I ultimately came with is that you're not at peace until you can truly accept who you are. And I think she was always going to be unsettled until she experienced what it was like to succeed on her own completely. And I don't think she ever really had. She had learned how to survive in the wild by being the best co-pilot ever, and so that meant she was always dependent on somebody else to be successful. I knew that the only way she was going to feel completely fulfilled is if she, like a little kid, 'did it all by myself.' And so that was really a grand design to just do that simple thing for her."

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Lindsey Collins: "We also felt as though she needed to grant herself the same grace that she feels she grants everybody else. She kind of apologizes for herself...and she never expects anybody to apologize for themselves and in fact, is kind of more open with them than anybody. I think that's why people love Dory, and why the 'just keep swimming' kind of resonates so clearly, because it's such a genuine...'it's ok! Just persevere! You're gonna do it!'...And so the fact that she, as a character, was not giving herself the same grace...it was like, how do we get her to that place, and who grants that to her, and then [Stanton] was like 'the only person who can grant that to her is herself.'"

Stanton on setting "Finding Dory" at an aquarium: "Once we started to look back at the unintentional bread crumb trail of Dory, she knows how to read English, she knows how to speak whale, and she's got this odd eclectic knowledge of stuff. And so I said 'I think she has to be around Humanity. I think she has had to have just seen the most bizarre stuff." In an early pass, there was a moment where she was at the glass revisiting her exhibit and everything she ever said had an association with the wall, like Keyser Söze at the end of 'The Usual Suspects.' It was like 'sea monkey has my money,' like 'natural blue,' ...and it was funny in the moment, but it was so reliant that you were like an expert on the first movie that we just didn't use it."

--Stanton's favorite character: Hank
--Collins' favorite character: Bailey and Destiny
--Stanton voices the Loud-Mouthed Clam in addition to Crush.
--Stanton didn't want to put Crush in the film initially, for fear it would look like a vanity move, but he needed a fast way to get everyone across the ocean.
--The kelp forest environment was one that Stanton had wanted to put into the first film and finally got to use for this one. It lent Dory's search a fairy tale quality.
--The addition of Sigourney Weaver to the movie was initially an internal joke that they didn't think would make it into the final cut, but proved to be too funny to exclude.
--Stanton felt the long interval of time from the last film helped because he is now a better writer and might not have been able to break the story any earlier.

Next up was the bulk of the major voice cast of "Finding Dory:" Ellen DeGeneres (voice of “Dory”), Ed O’Neill (voice of “Hank”), Ty Burrell (voice of “Bailey”), Kaitlin Olson (voice of “Destiny”), Albert Brooks (voice of “Marlin”), Eugene Levy (voice of “Charlie”), and Hayden Rolence (voice of “Nemo.”)

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The cast on whether they are a planner, like Marlin, or choose to "go with the flow" like Dory:

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Albert Brooks: "I've never had a flow. So I don't know. I'm not a 'go with the flow' person. I would be a planner."

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Hayden Rolence: "I guess I'm sort of a planner too."
Brooks: "Good. Thank you."

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Eugene Levy: "I like to think of myself as a go with the flow person...but I'm not. So I think I would put myself in the planner category."

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Kaitlin Olson: "I'm definitely a planner, and since I've had kids, I turned into an anxiety-ridden control freak planner. So the past two years of my life have been very much me consciously trying very hard to go with the flow and let it happen and I got this...I got all these mantras I'll share with you guys...yeah, I'm trying very hard to be more of a 'go with the flow' person."

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Ty Burrell: "I don't think I'm a planner or a go with the flow person. Which makes me a worried person without a plan. That is not what you want."

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Ed O’Neill: "I don't plan. I don't really go with the flow either. Mostly confused. I just sort of put one foot in front of the other--sort of like 'keep swimming,' right? I just sort of...you know, I'm up in the morning, and here I am. And then...I move around..."
DeGeneres: "Very, very, very deep man."
Burrell: "I have that coffee mug, actually."
Brooks: "And then what happens? What happens around 3:00?"
DeGeneres: "I'm glad you didn't go moment by moment of your day."
O'Neill: "I stopped. I knew where that was going."
DeGeneres: "Yeah, I know. I knew where that was going, too. I'm pretty much a planner."
Brooks: "By the way, I think there may not be such a thing as a flow. I think if you don't plan, you're flowed right out the door."

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Ellen DeGeneres on what she would say if she could go back in time and talk to herself at the age of six.: "I think, as Albert was saying, as you get older you get wiser and you start looking at life in a completely different way. You can tell a six-year-old whatever, but a six-year-old is going to go 'uh-uh,' so you can try...but I would tell that six-year-old that life is a very interesting journey. And that it is filled with surprises, and sometimes they're good surprises and sometimes they're bad surprises. And, they're all good. Because even the bad ones get you ready for something else and they build another part of you that you wouldn't have inside of you. And I think we're made up of all kinds of different things, and if we were just made up of joy and love and all good things, and nothing bad happened to us, we'd just be a little less layered. So I would tell that six-year-old to just take everything in and just embrace the bad with the good and...just keep swimming."

After the two panels, we were also treated to a short presentation by Director Alan Barillaro and Producer Marc Sondheimer on the development and creation of the terminally cute short "Piper" which will accompany "Finding Dory" in theaters.

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An enormous amount of work went into making all the birds and aquatic animals as realistic as possible, while still investing them with the appeal and personality of an animated character.

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"Piper" and "Finding Nemo" will open in theaters June 17, 2016.


June 16, 2016

Disneyland Resort - Jammin' on the Backlot & Polynesian Nights - 6/10/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 10, 2016.

This posting will focus on two of the summer evening entertainment options. For a look at other happenings on Friday visit the full picture set on my site.

Jammin' on the Backlot has taken over for the Mad T Party this summer. It kicked off at 6pm and runs until park closing.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The benches are turned to watch the DJ and dance party. Not much happening on the dance floor right now. Just a couple kids out there. This was around 6:15pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The DJ for the evening on stage. She was playing a mix of music including current tracks and some Disney ones on occasion.

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A couple of set pieces on the stage.

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A few more families join the dancing.

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The DJ was working to try and engage the guests.

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The decorations are minimal for this event compared to previous events like the Mad T Party and ElecTRONica.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The food truck is open. Here is the menu.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Picnic tables to sit at in the former House of Cards stage area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

A closer look at the tables

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The former House of Cards Bar is un-named with covered menus, but it was open in the evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Here is the menu. Guessing this will change after Grad Nite season concludes.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The face painting area has returned, this was open throughout the day too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The Backlot Stage does not appear to be in use for the party.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

This was around 6:40pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

In Downtown Disney this summer each night has a musical theme. Fridays are Polynesian nights..

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Tupua has returned again and the show is nearly identical to previous years. You travel the South Pacific through music and dance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Hawaii

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Samoa

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

I returned to California Adventure and took another walk through the Backlot. This was just before 8pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

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A few more guests around the dance floor vs a earlier.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

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.








June 19, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 6/17/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 17, 2016.

An overview of the Star Wars site from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

Now a pan across the site from left to right.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The large mound of dirt is shrinking as trucks haul it away.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The Skyway building is now gone this week. Almost all the demolition work is done and major clearing. They have now started to build.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Soarin' Around the World premiered today here (as well as in Epcot; Shanghai opened yesterday). Only change outside I noticed is the "Around the World" replaced "California".

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

FastPass logo has been updated. Not surprisingly they were almost gone for the day at 1:35pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Since the wait was posted at 75 minutes and looked slightly shorter I decided to get in line at 1:38pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

FastPass distribution ended around 1:50pm and they closed it up while I stood in line waiting. They made an announcement of technical difficulties and they would be down to one theater. Which doubled the wait time.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Almost to the front door at 2:36pm, an hour in. They were letting less than 10 standby guests into each cycle. So we were moving very slowly. The FastPass return line stretched out toward the entrance of Smokejumpers Grill (it turned the corner and I could not see the end).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Finally made it inside the door at 2:58pm I saw no changes to the interior queue. Background music seemed the same loop too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Watching the pre-flight video at 3:33pm. Instead of clouds and cities the new one has a map that features the locations.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The safety video is the same, just no over California in it. I was seated and ready for my flight at 3:38pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

On my way up the exit at 3:45pm. So it was 127 minutes from when I entered the queue till I exited the building.

My first impressions - The clarity of the new film is impressive and the scenic locations are amazing. Though I felt they went to the computer graphics well too many times. The locations themselves are visually stunning and in almost all cases did not need the "enhancements". Sometimes they seemed to dominate and distract from the amazing sights. I also found the transitions between scenes to be annoying - the abrupt motion and sound versus a peaceful transition bothered me. I would have liked to have seen them show a little more restraint and pick/choose where to use the effects more.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The Silly Symphony Swings are back in operation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Frozen Live at the Hyperion is up to four shows daily now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Next stop Disneyland. Surprised there was nothing going on for Finding Dory. First stop for me was the Big Thunder Trail. A second fence with mesh has gone up blocking the nice clear view we had of the Star Wars construction.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

There was a small crack left with no fence, so here are a couple quick pics. The forms look to be up near the old Big Thunder Trail, wonder if it is for a retaining wall or structure that will be the visual barrier for the new walkway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The hole in the fence here is still available (this week at least).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The 2016 All-American College Band started their summer in the park on Thursday. Here is Ron at the nightly Flag Retreat.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The All-American College Band performing a Disneyland Attraction Medley during their 6:15pm The Castle Set



The band moves to Main Street to perform music from the Incredibles

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

As they move toward Town Square they play Gonna Take You There from Princess and the Frog.



They stop again near the Emporium and perform Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

After their performance I headed for Tomorrowland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Autopia was down for some reason.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Time for the 7:15pm All-American College Band set at the Train Station in Town Square. The set opens with "Bubbles was a Cheerleader."



Meet the 2016 All-American College Band.



The set features a Jungle Book medley this year.



The band plays a pre-parade starting at 8:15pm near Small World with their Disney Movie Medley.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

They then move to the hub and perform Uptown Funk.



The band stops on Main Street and performs Let it Go.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The last stop for pre-parade is Town Square and they performed a Star Wars Medley.



Since I was in Town Square I found a spot for Paint the Night

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

I closed out my evening with Disneyland Forever

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

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.







June 20, 2016

"LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures" Premiering This Week

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"Focus your abilities. Master the Force, and you can lead us to the crystals!"
"That was a lot of words, and my mind wandered in the middle."

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"LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures" debuts this week on Disney XD as the latest addition to the panoply of stories in the Star Wars universe.

This new Disney XD series takes place between "The Empire Strikes Back" and
"Return of the Jedi," It follows the adventures of the Freemaker family: Sister Kordi Freemaker, older brother Zander Freemaker, younger brother Rowan Freemaker, and their droid RO-GR a.k.a. Roger.

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The three siblings together make up the entirety of Freemaker Salvage and Repair--a relatively unsuccessful scavenger business that involves them collecting debris from various space battles and vehicle crashes and reformulating the LEGO bricks into spaceships they can sell. Kordi is the brains and saleswoman of the enterprise, while Zander is the gearhead that designs and constructs their ships. Rowan, as the youngest, is usually relegated to RO-GR's relatively ineffectual guardianship...which does not tend to mitigate his propensity for causing disaster.

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Their lives tend to revolve around making their business pay enough to keep from getting evicted from their workspace until Rowan is discovered to have a Force Sensitivity that draws him to pieces of the legendary Kyber Saber. This, the first light saber ever made, holds enormous power and becomes a source of some interest to Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice.

Recently, Executive Producers Bill Motz and Bob Roth and the voice cast of "Freemaker," Eugene Byrd (“Zander Freemaker”), Vanessa Lengies (“Kordi Freemaker”), Nicholas Cantu (“Rowan Freemaker”), and Matthew Wood (“Roger”) met at a press conference to answer questions about the new series:

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Some points of note from the discussion:
--That two of the characters were named "Kordi" and "Zander" was not intended as a nod to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
--The show aims to be more intense than you'd expect from the LEGO franchise, but still retain the fun and humor.
--They have no intention to tell the story of the Freemaker's parents.
--There will be a crossover with Luke, Leia, Dengar, and others.
--The color for the Freemakers is "nougat," a pre-existing LEGO color, indicating their undefined, mixed ethnicity.
--The storyline is "canon" in the sense that it is in continuity, enacted by a child playing with LEGO.
--Your media correspondents are willing to risk burning to death in a building to get you information on LEGO Star Wars.

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"LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures" airs June 20th, 10:00 am EDT on Disney XD. A new episode will be released each day of this week at that time until June 23rd.

June 23, 2016

Recap: E3 2016

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So back we went again for a look at this year's E3--the preeminent trade show for electronic entertainment. Here is where most of the major game companies make their big announcements and trailer releases for the year.

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The big shockers for me actually came some months ago, when Disney first announced they were pulling out of E3, and then a few weeks beforehand abruptly revealed they were closing down Disney Infinity and shuttering Avalanche, their internal console game studio. While they will still be licensing their various franchises to other game developers, they are apparently ceasing to self-publish their own console games.

Another big blow to E3 was the revelation that EA, the company currently responsible for making the bulk of the Star Wars games, was also going to sit E3 out this time around.

In an interesting spin, EA instead held their own version of E3 off-site and open to everyone, not just the Industry and Media traditionally allowed into E3. All guests to EA Play were treated to swag bags, refreshments, and the opportunity to demo four of EA's upcoming games: Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, FIFA 17, and Madden NFL 17.

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While it was a nice facility, outside of the demo areas it had kind of a vacant, stark vibe. There was a separate floor for VIPs which was probably more populated.

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I had kind of hoped they would have some/any information on the new Star Wars projects or the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda, but there really wasn't much outside of merchandise beyond the demos for the four games.

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(I did wind up demoing Battlefield and Titanfall, which was pretty humiliating as I am possible the world's worst at FPS. My experience was very much like this tweet:)

In any case, however, it was certainly easier to demo the games with specific appointment times here, rather than wait hours on the show floor as is sometimes required.

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With two of the traditionally largest and splashiest booths missing, this year's E3 was quite a bit more sedate than in years past. While there were still quite a few photo-ops and demos available, it seemed a lot quieter with a lot more room to move around.

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The big piece of technology that was present and promoted at what seemed almost every booth this time around was VR--either in the conventional form of games, or as a facet of what looks like an upcoming trend in theme parks rides.

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I rode one ride demo that was basically a roller coaster motion simulator with a VR headset--it was nice if you're not a gonzo roller coaster fanatic as I am not, but I think people looking for the same kind of thrill as the live version will be a little disappointed.

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While I don't think the VR I saw was really good enough to simulate real-life situations, where it does shine was at putting you into a completely unworldly environment. The ability to look in all directions and see a seamless 3-D environment you can travel in and interact with is astonishing. I don't know that I'm ready to plunk down the money for a system just yet (the PlayStation VR headset will launch in October of this year for a MSR of $399,) this definitely seems to be the direction the industry is headed.

Out on the main show floor, there were the usual elaborate booths set up to simulate various game environments, whether they were a street in New Orleans, complete with fortune tellers and jazz funeral processions...

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...A post-apocalyptic fallout shelter...

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...Wherever "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is supposed to be...

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(This booth was so popular, there were actually two lines to get one--one that took forever that enabled you to actually play the demo, and one slightly shorter just to walk in and look around.)

...Or the ubiquitous zombies.

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Over at the LEGO booth, they were demoing the upcoming "LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens" game.

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As far as Marvel games, Sony announced a new "Spider-Man PS4" game, in partnership with Insomniac Games.

Probably the closest Disney tie exhibited however, was over at the Square Enix booth which was heavily promoting the upcoming compilation "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue."

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A crossover RPG featuring both Final Fantasy and Disney characters, the long and convoluted series has recently been repackaged into "Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix" and "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix" for the PlayStation 3. "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8" and the even-further-off "Kingdom Hearts III" which was announced at last year's D23 Expo will both be for the PlayStation 4.

While I don't have any experience with the game currently, I can tell you that if "Kingdom Hearts III" does, as they said last year, base its plot around Baymax, I am all in.

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So looking back, I would say that this E3 felt the smallest of all the ones I've attended. There does seem to be a movement away from this "professionals only" show towards companies wanting to open it up to fans and players as well, which may indicate a change in the way games will be marketed and distributed in the future. E3 did give a nod to this by holding "E3 Live" which was an off-site event that was supposed to be a mini-E3 anyone could attend. Unfortunately, as I walked through it, I found it was mostly a small collection of vendors with very few game-playing opportunities available. If E3 does want to hold these kind of inclusive events, they're going to have to try to emulate the actual E3 environment a little better in order to avoid disappointing people's expectations.

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Another thing that would help the experience is figuring out some way to manage the lines for the demos better. PlayStation at least had an app where you could make reservations to try out various games or watch trailers, but other popular companies had brutal lines. I tried briefly to line up for the new "South Park" demo, but bailed quickly after I was told the wait was thought to be around three hours.

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In all, despite the low numbers of booths and long lines, it was another fun E3 filled with announcements and teasers for an abundance of good-looking games. Now if only I was a little better at combat...

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June 27, 2016

"The BFG" Press Junket With Filmmakers and Cast

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Entering into theaters July 1 is Stephen Spielberg's newest film, "The BFG." A retelling of the Roald Dahl book, it follows the adventures of a precocious young orphan named Sophie whose curiosity results in the acquaintance of the Big Friendly Giant, and a potentially one-way trip to Giant Country. Although they initially regard each other with some suspicion, the two lonely souls eventually become fast friends and work to bring about a happy ending for themselves and children everywhere.

[All non-attributed photos and video courtesy of Disney.]

At a recent press junket, some of the film's distinguished talent--old and new--gathered to talk about the experience of bringing "The BFG" to life.

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Penelope Wilton (“The Queen”) on playing a child's version of Queen Elizabeth: "I think you have to start from trying to catch the person...if you don’t have a real person, then it wouldn’t be fun. If I made a fantasy queen in a fantasy, that would...cancel each other out. So it has to be based on reality so you do a double take all the time: “Did she say that? Did she say that?” And then it makes it interesting, and that’s what Roald Dahl does. That’s why he uses the queen, ‘cause in a little girl’s mind the person who is on all the stamps and all the money in England is the person who will be able to...if they have a problem, she will fix it. And so in a 9 year old’s mind, that is what she does."

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Mark Rylance (“The BFG”) on the movie's appeal: "I hadn't thought of it before, but I like the fact that here's a man in a very difficult family, isn't he? It's his brothers who are doing this--they've got very degraded, they weren't always like this, and he's kind of given up on it. And he goes around behind to blow dreams, like we might give money to peaceful charities or something to compensate...But the young girl comes in and she's so marvelous, in that she says 'no, we can do better, we can change this. It doesn't have to be like this.' I was very impressed with that because increasingly I think well, maybe it all is just a jungle, just a dog-eat-dog jungle and there's nothing you can do, but the younger generation always comes through with either foolishness or hope that things can change, and in this case she actually does succeed and change the situation.

"At least, until they do a sequel."

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Ruby Barnhill (“Sophie”) on what she learned from working with Stephen Spielberg: "I think I've just learned from Stephen that...it's ok to make mistakes. I was at Parent's Evening, and my art teacher said 'every time you make a mistake in lessons, you start panicking, and you need to stop doing that because everybody makes mistakes and it's absolutely fine." And I learned from Stephen that making mistakes is ok and to just...everybody does it and you learn from them and it's fine. And so that was one thing that I really worked on."

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Steven Spielberg (Director) on why he was drawn to make this film: "Because I...what really appealed to me was the fact that...the protagonist was a girl, not a boy. And it was a very strong girl. And the protagonist was going to, you know--the protagonist was going to allow us at a certain point, to believe that--four feet tall can completely outrank 25 feet of giant. And I got very excited that this was going to be a little girl’s story, and her courage, and her values, was going to, in a way, turn the cowardly lion into the brave hero at the end...which is what she turns BFG into. And I saw all kinds of Wizard of Oz comparisons when I was first reading the book, and I said, “Oh, here’s a real chance to do a story about Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion - just the two of them.”

Spielberg on Walt Disney: "I was really influenced as a kid, growing up, by Walt Disney. Walt Disney did two things for me: For one thing, he scared me more than anybody else ever scared me, then he rescued me from the fear that he instilled in me five minutes after he terrified me. And he did that like a sine wave pattern again and again and again until there was complete memorable redemption at the end. The other thing Walt Disney did, was he extolled the virtues of strong women characters. He did that throughout his entire career, through his animated films.”

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"The BFG" will open in theaters July 1, 2016.

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About June 2016

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in June 2016. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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