Hey there, hi there, ho there! Here’s some Disney news to get you through the weekend:

Young Dreamers Can Get Creative for Tomorrowland

If you’re between the ages of 8 and 17 and a creative genius (or just someone with a good idea), check this out: Disney Create Tomorrowland – XPRIZE Challenge. Just tell the nice folks over there about the future – give them one idea, how it works, what it does. You can submit your idea as a video, image or story, so if you’re not a CAD expert, don’t worry! Get your entry in before May 17th and you could win $3,000 to spend on movie tickets and popcorn. Or college tuition. Or action figures, your choice.

You do have to register through a parent or legal guardian. There will be six winners in different categories, each of whom will win the $3,000 PLUS a 3-D printer (!), an IMAX experience and more. You can also view entries on the site.

Half-Billion Dollar Baby

Disney wasn’t playing around when they decided to make a live-action Cinderella, and worldwide audiences have been eating it up:

Disney’s Cinderella has crossed the $500M threshold at the global box office. Since its impressive $67.8M domestic debut March 13, Cinderella has taken in nearly $195M and is the third highest grossing film of the year. Its international gross to date is more than $308M.

Cinderella most recently opened at #1 in its final international market, Japan, on April 25 with the biggest opening day and weekend of the year for a Western release, and it remained the #1 Western release in its second weekend. The film enjoyed a phenomenal performance in China with $71.1M, where it opened with $25M for the biggest March debut of all time. Other top markets include the U.K. ($29.2M), Japan, ($21.6M), Italy and Australia ($16.5M each), Brazil ($15.5M), and Mexico ($15.4M).

I doubt Disney’s fairy tale films are going away any time soon.

This is Gonna Be Bananas

To the shock and surprise of theme park aficionados everywhere, Universal Orlando announced Skull Island: Reign of Kong would be coming to the park. Okay, maybe not a big surprise, but most definitely good news. Ever since Kong closed over there, and especially since we Hollywood folks got our fantastic 3D Kong segment in the Tram Tour, East Coasters have been clamoring for More Monkey…and they’re getting it, bigger and better: it’s a free-standing ride with jeep vehicles traversing Skull Island, to see a side of the great ape that no one’s seen before, according to nice fella Mike West, who had a 25-year career with WDI before moving to Universal Creative. (He also voiced G2-4T on Star Tours 1.0.)

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Win 2 Tickets To Preview Knott’s New Iron Reef

Voyage to the Iron Reef is a spectacular new 4-D interactive ride at Knott’s Berry Farm which will surface on May 15. We are excited to announce a special opportunity for you to experience Voyage to the Iron Reef during a special Fan Preview Event on May 14th. The event will provide exclusive ride time on Voyage to the Iron Reef, followed by a special presentation featuring the Knott’s Berry Farm and Triotech Creative Teams. Parking and admission are complimentary for this event.

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We have 2 pair of tickets to give away for this fantastic opportunity. All you need to do is leave a comment below and let us know why you are excited about the new attraction. Two winners will be chosen at random and awarded 2 tickets each. If more tickets become available, we will select from the entries below, so start commenting folks!

A (Sea) World of Tastes

SeaWorld San Diego is throwing the SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival weekends in May, with foods from around the world and special entertainment. Executive Chef Axel Dirolf (Who took great care of me when I had food allergy issues) will be pairing the offerings with artisan wines and craft beers. Here’s a partial list they sent:

  • Artisanal Artichoke Chicken Mozzarella Sausage at California Farm Flavors
  • Seared Diver Caught Sea Scallop at California Ocean Flavors
  • Sustainable Tuna Poke at California Gastro Pub
  • Warm Brie & Duck Confit at the French Bistro
  • Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse at French Café
  • “Ya Mon” Jerk Chicken at Caribbean Flavors
  • Loukoumades Beignets at Mediterranean Flavors
  • Sea Salt Flavored Grilled Churrasco at South American Flavors
  • Singapore Shrimp Dumpling Skewer at Asian Street Food
  • Oaxaca Spicy Chocolate at Nuevo Baja Flavors

You can also “Chat with the Chef” and learn a thing or two from Axel, “Meet the Brewery”, which is not a carousel animatronic show about beer like Tokyo Disneyland’s “Meet the World”, but rather Local brewers from Stone Brewing Co., Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, Green Flash, Alpine Beer Company, Coronado Brewing Co., Hess Brewing, Port Brewing, The Lost Abbey, New Belgium Brewing, Modern Times Beer and Groundswell Brewery, who will all be appearing at different times to talk about their process and give home brewers some good tips. At the California Sound Stage not too far from the park entrance, local bands will play, while on the French Sound Stage you’ll be able to hear some quieter cafe tunes.

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Legends, Legends Everywhere

The Center for Early Childhood Creativity and Innovation at the Walt Disney Birthplace Event – May 29th

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It looks like this summer is going to be full of opportunities to rub elbows with Disney legends, most of these for charity, including BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD with Paige O’Hara (Belle, Beauty and the Beast), Disney Legends Bob Gurr and Floyd Norman, Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis, The Princess and the Frog), and his pals, benefiting The Center for Early Childhood Creativity and Innovation at The Walt Disney Birthplace,  a 501(c)(3) non-profit, on May 29th. UPDATE: EVENT NOW SOLD OUT!!!

 

Disneyland Alumni Club Event

The Disneyland Alumni Club, also 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (which means you can write some or all of the cost off on taxes, usually) is throwing a shindig to celebrate Disneyland’s 60th, “60 Magical Years of Disneyland”, that will benefit Boys and Girls’ Clubs of Fullerton that is chock-full of Disney fan favorites. The hosts are Bill Rogers and Camille Dixon, the voices of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, and the guests are a fantastic treat: Imagineer extraordinaire Tony Baxter, voice of Goofy (and Pluto) Bill Farmer, Coke Corner pianist emeritus Rod Miller, Jim Adams (Pecos Bill in the Golden Horseshoe Revue), The Hollywood Clarinet Quartet, some other surprise musical guests and a certain MOUSE will be in attendance. However, I find the best stories come from the alumni sitting at your table. You’ll learn a lot, and it’s a ton of fun. The Alumni Club was started by Wally Boag (star of The Golden Horseshoe Revue) and Van Arsdale France (The wonderful book Window on Main Street: 35 Years of Creating Happiness at Disneyland Park , Disney University Director Emeritus). Tickets are available at disneyalumni.org. One caveat: you have to be a member to attend, but anyone who loves Disneyland can become a member for $25. It’s worth it, and it’s for a great cause.

 

Bob Gurr Roast, June 13th

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MiceChat columnist, Imagineer and author Bob Gurr is getting roasted by Ape Pen Publishing June 13th at the Holiday Inn on Walnut Street in Anaheim. Carlene Thie will host, and the MC will be John Eaden (Laughing Stock and Company). On hand to do the actual roasting will be Marty SklarGarner Holt, Christopher Crump, and Eric Johnston. Admission includes heavy appetizers but not dinner, no host bar, photo booth, rare photos of Bob’s career, raffles and a silent auction. There will also be a 1950s dress contest, and Bob requests that you come in your fifties best. Regular tickets are $63 and VIP tickets at honored guest Bob Gurr’s table are $395 and include signed merchandise, a canvas art print, t-shirt and 2 raffle tickets. If you want to support Bob, get your tickets here.

 YES TIMES INFINITY!!!

Star Wars IS coming to Disney Infinity 3.0., as I hoped for, joining the Emos from Inside/Out, Sam Flynn and Quorra, Mulan, Olaf, Mickey and Minnie.

I am very excited about this!

Disney Tails Puts on the Dog (Cat stuff is coming in the near future)

Disney Merch Communications Kahuna Steven Miller, who is awesome, just blogged about a new line of Disney stuff for pets, which means I’ll never have to learn to crochet unless I really, really want to.

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As you can see here and on his blog, it’s all dog stuff for now. Get that tail wagging  – things are coming for other pets real soon!

Shine On, You Crazy DiamondCastle-60

at 5:05AM on 5/5/15 Steve Davison and his cast and crew were rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing the new Diamond Anniversary spectaculars at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It’s a grind, but I think we’re all going to appreciate the hard work and sacrifice these folks are making when we see all the cool new stuff that they’re doing. Just want to send a word of encouragement and appreciation out to all of them. We’re all looking forward to seeing the new magic for ourselves later this month!

What futuristic thing would you like to see, at Disney or elsewhere? I’ve been reading Samland and getting misty over EPCOT, myself. It can still be done! You just need a zillion dollars and a community willing to give up their independence!

Have a great end of the week everyone!