Greetings, Fabanistas! We’ve got some exciting news from D23 today and something to get you fired up for Civil War, plus a guest post from Jon Nadelberg, with bad photos by me!

Destination D: Amazing Adventures November 19 and 20

It’s gonna be hell trying to get into Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (but so, so worth it)

Pack up your pith helmet and best aloha shirts and practice yelling “KUNGALOOSH!”; Disney’s Adventurelands are the theme of this year’s Destination D, from Walt’s original True-Life Adventures to the theme park marvel that is shaping up to be Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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I’ll let them tell you:

Presenters and panelists include Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter; Walt Disney Imagineers Joe Rohde, Chris Merritt, Jason Grandt, and Wyatt Winter; producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast); and Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline—plus more to be announced.*

Highlights of D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures will include*:

  • New Walt Disney World Adventures: From Soarin’ Around the World to Rivers of Light—Get an insider’s glimpse into the latest experiences across Walt Disney World Resort, as Disney Imagineers provide a behind-the-scenes look at new and upcoming entertainment.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Evolving a New Species of Theme Park—Explore the origins and incredible evolution of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from early concepts to new experiences to be discovered at the park.
  • Magic Journeys: 45 Years of Walt Disney World Adventures—Celebrate the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort with a nostalgic journey through some of the Vacation Kingdom’s most unique and fondly remembered adventures!
  • A Look Back at Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures—Join Disney historians on an expedition through the landmark True-Life Adventure series, which earned the Disney Studio eight Academy Awards®!
  • The Art and Adventures of Marc Davis—Discover the adventurous artwork of artist, animator, and Disney Legend Marc Davis with Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Production Designer Chris Merritt, who is authoring a new book on the Disney Legend.

The weekend event will take place in the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Tickets go on sale April 21, 2016, and are $190 each for D23 Gold and Gold Family Members. Tickets are also available to D23 General Members for $250 per ticket. All guests will receive a special gift created exclusively for the event, and attendees are guaranteed seats at all panels and presentations. A limited number of Wilderness Explorer VIP tickets will be available, which includes early shopping, an exclusive evening experience on November 18, reserved seating for all presentations, a special gift bag, unique collectibles, and more.

Further details about the program and tickets for D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventurescan be found at D23.com/Events. Additional schedule announcements will be made in the coming months.

Pretty sweet, eh? Especially that guaranteed seats part for those of us accustomed to the D23 Expo, San Diego Comic-Con and the like. Un. Heard. Of. Might be worth the flight.

Oh, hey, this is important!

Some of the event dates for other D23 events have been updated. Before making any plans, double-check your calendar and make sure it jives with this date schedule here!

Some of the things on there are making my heart go pitter-patter. Lunch with a Disney Legend! I can never work my fingers fast enough to get into one of those! Anniversary screenings – I love The Reluctant Dragon! More chances to visit Walt’s Offices, lovingly restored by Becky Cline’s fantastic team at the Walt Disney Archives! Things for my friends all over the country to experience as D23 members! Plus,more favorites like Sip & Scream and D23 Disney Fanniversary Celebration: Beauty and the Beast. Honestly, there’s never been a better time to be a member.Join at DisneyStore.com/D23.

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Gold members and Gold Family Members will have a one-of-a-kind experience at Aulani August 22-26. Tickets go on sale April 19 and are very limited!

https://d23.com/d23-event/d23-presents-aloha-aulani/

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#TEAMCAP Makes an Appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Last night, part of Team Captain America showed up to talk about Captain America: Civil War on Jimmy Kimmel Live. If you missed it, check it out on ABC.com.

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ANTHONY MACKIE, PAUL RUDD, SEBASTIAN STAN, CHRIS EVANS, JIMMY KIMMEL ABC/Randy Holmes

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Jon, Fab and Jon’s Kid’s Movie Tour Adventure, Part One

Guest News Post by MiceChat Op-Ed Writer Jon Nadelberg

When I go on vacations or little trips, I tend to splurge.  I want to enjoy things and do things that I don’t ordinarily do, and give myself something memorable each time.  Combine this desire with a complete lack of discretion in my spending, and an unexpectedly large tax refund (now completely spent) and you have a recipe for going over the top in a big way that no rational person would ever do.  Bear that in mind when you read this review, and for god’s sake, don’t do the things I do if you plan on ever retiring with any savings left in your bank account.

Also, it was raining. ~Fab
Also, it was raining. ~Fab

I live up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and go down to Los Angeles about two or three times a year to do different things.  We almost always hit Universal Studios, because my thirteen year old youngster really enjoys that park.  I always have a good time at it, too, particularly because he is entertained, and seeing him happy makes me happy. I’m a bitter old man, but when I see the world through his eyes, I am once again young.  He is my joy in life.

Not Jon's kid. Actual movie prop.
Not actually Jon’s kid. Actual movie prop.

So we were interested in Universal, because he likes the place and for all of the Harry Potter hoopla.  The kid likes Harry Potter (less enchanted with Star Wars, and really doesn’t like super heroes at all, go figure).  When I first started planning this trip I was looking at doing this as a movie studio tour extravaganza, and originally included Sony, Paramount, and Warner Brothers tours in the mix, but that was just a bit much for one time.  Finding out that Warner’s has a Harry Potter section on its tour made the solution easy.  We made this a Harry Potter extravaganza, and went to Warner Brothers (which does the movies) and Universal (which does the theme parks).  Two fun places to visit, with one day allocated for each one.

Jon Nadelberg
Jon Nadelberg. Photo by Shelly Valladolid.

Warner Brothers has two tours.  There is the regular two-hour tour for $62, and there is a six-hour Deluxe Tour that costs $295.  Naturally, I got the Deluxe Tour, because who doesn’t need to crawl around a movie studio for six hours?  Universal has three different pricing plans with demand based pricing.  General admission runs from $90 to $115.  A front of line admission costs from $199 to $239, and the VIP Experience starts at $359 and goes up from there.  Again, naturally, I purchased the VIP Experience.  Those cost $400 bucks a person, for one day. Two closely priced offerings for the day, two very different experiences, and both amazing and wonderful. For our tours we were accompanied by Shelly Valladolid, otherwise known as Fab, whom I insisted that my son address as “Mrs. Peel.”

The view from our vehicle of a house from Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls and several other shows.
The view from our vehicle of a house from Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls and several other shows.

The Warner Brothers studio tour is just that.  A studio tour.  You go in a small group along with about twelve other people piled into a large golf cart type vehicle.  The tour is quite in depth.

A frog on a log, a long time ago, singing about a rainbow. Hard to tell, now.
A frog on a log, a long time ago, singing about a rainbow. Hard to tell, now.

It started out showing us their jungle area, facades, and exterior locations.  Our tour guide was incredibly well-informed and was able to tell us what shows each façade or set was used for.  We walked around and inside real sets.  We got to closely examine facades, which are just false fronts, and we entered practical sets that are built as regular buildings.  The explanations of how things were constructed came fast and furious.  Our tour guide provided a constant stream of information about every building on the 110-acre lot.
We didn’t just get to see exterior sets, though.  We went into working areas of the studio itself.  We were able to go into sound stages of shows in production, such as Supergirl, and it was great fun.  We also got to sit in the studio audience and see the set for “Big Bang Theory,” although they were not using the set at the time.  More fun!

This was the entrance to the Supergirl set. But what made it incredible for me (Fab) is that Auntie Mame, my all-time favorite film (Rosalind Russell, not Lucille Ball) was filmed here.
This was the entrance to the Supergirl set. But what made it incredible for me (Fab) is that Auntie Mame, my all-time favorite film (Rosalind Russell, not Lucille Ball) was filmed here.

My problem with some of the tour, though, is that I seemingly stopped paying attention to most modern media in 1956.  I haven’t heard of half of the shows being talked about, but other people on the tour were very excited to hear.  There’s a show called “Pretty Little Liars,” apparently, and it’s quite popular.  So it got a lot of talk.  I have heard of “Dexter,” but never saw an episode.  There’s a reboot of “Gilmore Girls”?  OK, I suppose.  But mention a movie from god knows how many years ago?  I perked right up!  That’s the barn from “Mr. Ed”? Great! That made it a lot of fun.  People kept saying “oh yeah!” All through the tour about things I was utterly clueless about.

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One issue about the tour and some areas is that we weren’t allowed to photograph, so they would lock our cameras away.  So no pictures of the Supergirl set, or other fun things, but rules are rules as they say, but there was a lot of other things to take pictures of.

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The Cafeteria – we didn’t eat there, we ate next door at the Commissary; but this was where the exterior of the food fight scene in Blazing Saddles was filmed.

Lunch is included, and was held at the actual studio commissary. We ate sitting next to Andy Richter, Betty DeGeneres (Ellen’s mom), Christopher Nolan, and a couple of other famous folk.  Wow!  We got to digest food along with and next to Andy Richter!  In any case, the food was quite good.  I sat next to the tour guide and started talking to him about life.  He came to LA to be a model, and now has been doing tours for several years.  He loves the work, and I understand completely.  I used to be a tour guide in San Francisco, and it was truly the best job I ever had.

He wasn't kidding!
He wasn’t kidding!

 

In addition to seeing some celebrities at lunch, we also saw Michael Kiwanuka and his band riding around the studio getting a tour.  They were on Conan that night (Conan’s show is filmed at WB, along with Ellen’s), and being shown the studio.  They were taking pictures of the sets just like we were!  How fun is that?

"It's a Hard Knock Life" AND "Santa Fe" were both sung here!
“It’s a Hard Knock Life” AND “Santa Fe” were both sung here!

Included with the tour is a book about the history of the Warner Brothers, who were four brothers who started the business.  At the end of the tour, they had a lovely museum and shop where you can get souvenirs, including some Harry Potter items you cannot find at Universal.  Included with that was a couple of fun things where you could use a green screen and act out a scene from Friends, using the Central Perk set from the show, ride a broomstick or a Batcycle or float through space as an astronaut.

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I’m actually flying through London. It looked very 80s so I didn’t cough up the 45 bucks for it.

 

Towards the end of the tour, we were shown a room where all the Batmobiles and other assorted vehicles from the movies were being stored.  They had it lit nicely for us, and it was fun to pose in front of all the props.

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It was truly a great movie studio experience. Six hours of touring, lunch, sets, production facilities, the prop house, occasional actual celebrities (I saw them chewing food!) and another hour or more of museum browsing.  And, in the museum, you get to hold an actual Academy Award!  How often do you get to do that?  It’s not that heavy, but it has some heft to it, weighing in at 8.5 pounds.  The award I held was given to the studio for the 1949 cartoon “For Scent-imental Reasons.” Now, how cool is that.  Lots of people have held it, though, and the gold is rubbing off a bit on it.  But, really, wow.

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It was an INTENSE tour of an actual movie studio.  Constantly seeing new things, learning things, and doing things that you would otherwise never get to see.  I cannot recommend this tour more highly, if you want to tour a movie studio.  While the six-hour tour is a bit costly, the shorter one is easily affordable, and you see many of the same things.  If you’re not too sure about the longer tour, take a taste with the shorter one and see if you might like to learn more about making movies.

Some photos from the Batman Exhibit

Some Photos from the Harry Potter Exhibit

Thursday: How does the Universal Studios VIP Experience Compare?

Thank You!

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