What a horrible week it’s been in Orlando. And what a thing to see, how people pull together, bringing their service dogs across the country, writing notes to a grieving Abuela on a JetBlue flight, landmarks around the world lit up with the colors of the rainbow, and people everywhere saying “I stand with Orlando.” The worst of situations can bring out the best in humanity. It’s just a shame that it only makes the news then. But if you look around, you will find that in large and small ways, there are people doing kind and decent things every day. It’s just that the horrible people with the weapons meant solely for killing humans – and many of them at once – make a lot more noise than the gentle hum of humanity being…humane.

I remember when I was prepping for my first visit in 1986 (I went in January 1987) a child was attacked by a gator in broad daylight at Fort Wilderness. Since then, there hasn’t been one until this week. Here’s a brief on it, as well as a video of an alligator near Splash Mountain (yes really), which was later captured by Gatorland staff. In 1994 and 1995, Jim, Alice and I would head to Bay Lake and splash in the clear water at the lake’s edge.  She’d toddle a few feet ahead, then run back to me, or run between the two of us. Gators are so fast. And when you’re from Nebraska, they’re not exactly your first thought. Or your second. Or your tenth. They are not anywhere in the literature of WDW, and whether or not they should be is debatable. The reason why there seems to be more of them lately is debatable. Who should or shouldn’t have done what is debatable. POLITELY debatable, in the Comments section below.  😉

Also, I want to hug you all, so I’ll give you some Fab News, which is pretty much the same thing as a hug from yours truly.

Mark Hamill is Our Favorite Old Jedi Uncle

Actually he’s not remotely old, unless you’re a teenager. Then, anyone over 30 is ancient. But I digress. I think this is pretty self-explanatory:

Ck8YAD7WEAA2pG8 Jessica

Jessica’s a single mom … sorry, Mum – of two adorable little boys who occasionally rocks a Justin Bieber wig to cosplay Luke Skywalker, with the blessing of the man himself. Just when you think you can’t love him any more. And did you HEAR him during the SONY Arkham VR demo? Creep creep creepy! Best joker of all time, and I WILL fight you over it. 

Fab News is supported by my Patreon Patrons and DVCResaleMarket.com

Entertainment Earth/Bif Bam Pow Groot SDCC Exclusive

This is ridiculously adorable. I’m still waiting for the dancin’ to music one, like those flowers in the 80s. 


Get ready to dance the night away with the adorable Groot 4-Inch Wooden Push Puppet – Convention Exclusive from Bif Bang Pow!.

Measuring a little more than 4-inches tall, this potted Groot wooden push puppet features hand-painting along with some decal elements. Designed similarly to vintage-styled push puppets, you can move the push puppet in various directions depending on how you push the hidden button on the bottom of the pot – providing hours of wobbly fun. And well, because it’s only right… this charming collectible celebrating the extraterrestrial, sentient tree-like creature is crafted out of solid wood, of course!

With a limited production run of only 2400 pieces, the lively and lovable Groot will be movin’ and groovin’ into the heart of your collection for the first time at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. Plus as an Entertainment Earth Convention Exclusive, each limited edition Groot wooden push puppet is individually numbered with a holographic sticker. Ages 14 and up.

The first opportunity fans will have to grab this individually numbered and limited edition exclusive will be at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2016 in the Entertainment Earth booth (#2343)!

(*NOTE: This item will first be sold during San Diego Comic-Con 2016 at the Entertainment Earth Booth #2343. If supplies remain after the show, pre-orders will be filled and shipped in August 2016.)


The Fosters Star with Disney’s Winning Float at L.A. Pride

With his girlfriend and manny, who, along with a Freeform publicist, accompanied him on the float.
With his girlfriend and manny, who, along with a Freeform publicist, accompanied him on the float.
The Castle-themed float took honors for Best Float. See MiceChat RoundUp for some photos in action
Hayden plays Jude on The Fosters, an addicting drama on Freeform. About two years ago, a viral campaign started based on his character #blueforJude – painting your nails blue (usually Royal iirc) to show support for gay teens being bullied/harassed.
Occasionally, I venture into my other fandoms. I'm proud that Ghostbusters supports L.A. Pride.
Occasionally, I venture into my other fandoms. I’m proud that Ghostbusters supports L.A. Pride.

Sneak a Peek at Piper

Just ahead of its release in front of Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory”,  (which is getting great reviews, Variety says: “They’ve done something better: devised a way to take an already perfect character and deepen her in an exquisite way.”) we get a little peek at Piper:

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Hollywood’s legendary El Capitan Theatre presents a special engagement of Disney•Pixar’sFINDING DORY June 17 – August 7, 2016, presented in Dolby Vision 2D with Dolby Atmos®. Before the movie, The Bubble Guy will form bubbles beyond the imagination in a breathtaking bubble extravaganza live on stage!

On June 16, El Capitan guests are invited to be among the first to see the all–new adventure at a special opening-night screening at 7 p.m., featuring a costume contest, raffle prizes and more.  At 10:15 p.m., the El Capitan presents DORY AFTER DARK with screenings of FINDING NEMO, FINDING DORY, and selected Disney•Pixar Short Subjects; PARTYSAURUS REX  and PIPER.  Guests will also receive DORY AFTER DARK t-shirts, reusable bag, and Speak Like a Whale button.

“There is no better place than The El Capitan Theatre to dive back into the underwater world of FINDING DORY,” said James Wood, operations and stage productions for the El Capitan Theatre.  “Not only will we present the movie in Dolby Vision 2D with Dolby Atmos® audio technology, El Capitan guests will have the opportunity to experience an interactive and educational exhibit from the Aquarium of the Pacific, so guests can further explore all the fascinating creatures that live in the ocean.”

El Capitan guests will also have the opportunity to Double the Fun through this partnership with Aquarium of the Pacific. For $35 per ticket (with a minimum purchase of 10 tickets), guests will receive a ticket to Disney•Pixar’s FINDING DORY at the El Capitan Theatre, which includes the Live Stage Show and interactive Aquarium Display, FINDING DORY Limited Edition Pin,  ticket to the Aquarium of the Pacific (good for any date/time) and an Aquarium of the Pacific Patch.  Must be purchased in advance over the phone.

Daily showtimes are 10 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7:45 p.m., with an 11 p.m. show on Friday and Saturday during the engagement of the film. Tickets are on sale now, 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.

The El Capitan Theatre will also host a very special Tiny Tot Tuesday every Tuesday at  10 a.m. during the run of FINDING DORY.  During these special screenings, parents and small children may enjoy the movie in a tot-friendly way—with lights dimmed rather than out and reduced sound levels.

Disney•Pixar’s FINDING DORY welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.

DO I KNOW YOU? -- In Disney?Pixar's "Finding Dory," everyone's favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), encounters an array of new?and old?acquaintances, including a cantankerous octopus named Hank (voice of Ed O'Neill). Directed by Andrew Stanton (?Finding Nemo,? ?WALLE?) and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer WALL-E), Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
DO I KNOW YOU? — In Disney?Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), encounters an array of new?and old?acquaintances, including a cantankerous octopus named Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill). Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E”) and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL-E”), Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
FINDING DORY. Pictured (L-R): Destiny and Dory. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
FINDING DORY. Pictured (L-R): Destiny and Dory. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Directed by Andrew Stanton (FINDING NEMO WALL•E), co-directed by Angus MacLane (TOY STORY OF TERROR!), and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer WALL•E), FINDING DORY swims into theaters June 17, 2016.

(Pictured) DORY. ©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
(Pictured) DORY. ©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The El Capitan Theatre will present Disney•Pixar’s FINDING DORY in Dolby Atmos®. Dolby Atmos® transports you into the movie with breathtaking, multidimensional sound that fills the theatre and flows all around you.


“Restored to showcase its original lavish architecture, the El Capitan Theatre’s history dates back to Hollywood’s inception as the center of the entertainment world,” said Ed Collins, General Manager of the El Capitan Theatre.

In the early 1920s, real estate developer Charles Toberman envisioned Hollywood as a thriving theatre district, playing a role in developing over 30 buildings, including the Roosevelt Hotel and the Hollywood Masonic Temple (now the El Capitan Entertainment Centre, home to ABC’s late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!), and along with Sid Grauman, building the Egyptian, the Chinese, and the El Capitan theatres.

Local architect, Stiles O. Clements, of Los Angeles based Morgan, Walls & Clements, designed the elaborate cast-concrete Spanish Colonial style exterior. G. Albert Lansburgh, a San Francisco architect known for his design of over 50 West Coast theatres and luxury cinema houses, designed the lavish East Indian inspired interior.  The El Capitan Theatre, the largest legitimate theatre in Hollywood, debuted on May 3, 1926.  Theatre producer, Henry Duffy, produced over 120 live plays here including NO, NO, NANETTE, ANYTHING GOES, and AH, WILDNERNESS; stars like Clark Gable, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford Joan Fontaine, Henry Fonda, and Will Rogers graced the El Capitan stage.

In 1941, the El Capitan Theatre was converted from a playhouse to a movie theatre with the premiere of Orson Welles’ first feature film, CITIZEN KANE.   The theatre then closed for a renovation, reopening in March 1942 as the Hollywood Paramount, a new, streamlined “art moderne” first run movie house.

Collins goes on to explain, “In 1989, the Walt Disney Company joined forces with Pacific Theatres and launched a two year, museum quality restoration of the historic theatre, led by renowned theatre designer Joseph J. Musil.  Musil with the supervision of the National Park Service’s Department of the Interior, and guidance from conservator Martin Weil and architect Ed Fields, achieved the goal recreating the original 1926 look and feel of the El Capitan Theatre.”

Collins said, “Declared a Historic Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles, the El Capitan Theatre reopened its doors on June 19, 1991 for the world premiere of Walt Disney Pictures’ THE ROCKETEER, the first of many Walt Disney Pictures feature films to premiere here.”   For the past twenty-five years, the El Capitan Theatre has been an exclusive first run theatre for Walt Disney Pictures and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology (currently one of the few theatres in the world capable of Dolby Vision™ 3D and Dolby Atmos®), hosting live stage shows, world premieres, and other special events.”

For information on behind-the-scenes theatre tour packages, call 1-800-DISNEY6, visit the theatre box office or www.elcapitantickets.com

MidKnight is Here!

One of my favorite Disney/Star Wars/Marvel artists, Tom Hodges, launched a successful crowdfunding campaign for his fantastic comic book, “MidKnight”, and the funding for the second ish is underway!



The cover on the left was a blank variant. In the photo directly above, you can see Tom Hodges starting the quick sketch you see finished in this photo. Next to it is the standard cover, my reading copy. It’s very, very good. Love the art, and the characters are sharp, witty and memorable. A couple of them are fond callbacks to some of Tom’s friends and favorites, and getting into the books as a character is, in fact, one of the funding rewards! Look in the photo below for all of the deets.


New Official Trailer for LEGO Freemaker Adventures

Introducing new heroes and villains to the LEGO Star Wars universe, the animated television series “LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures” will premiere MONDAY, JUNE 20 (10:00 a.m. EDT), on Disney XD. Set between the events of “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” the action comedy series follows the Freemakers, a family of sibling scavengers who operate a salvage and repair shop in space. The series will also feature familiar characters and locations from the filmed Star Wars saga.


Disney Announces $3 Million (RMB 20 Million) Donation to Create Play Spaces in Children’s Hospitals Across China

To celebrate the grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, The Walt Disney Company today announced a $3.1 million USD (RMB 20 million) donation to fund Disney-themed play spaces and therapeutic play activities at children’s hospitals across China.

Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger announced the gift at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. Over the course of the five-year program, the donation will provide more than 50 hospitals in China with play rooms and therapeutic play activities. Disney will also donate Shanghai Disneyland theme park tickets to support children and their families as they undergo and recover from treatment.

“In honor of the grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, we are creating a bit of Disney magic where it is needed most. With our gift of 20 million RMB and tickets to our new theme park, we hope to bring happiness and laughter to children and families in hospitals across the country by creating opportunities to play and spend quality time together,” Iger said.

The donation will be administered by the Shanghai Charity Foundation for children’s hospitals in and around Shanghai, and by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation for hospitals in the rest of China. The play curriculum and training will be designed and implemented by Right To Play, a non-profit organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children to overcome adversity.

“Over the past few years, the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center has built several children’s play spaces with support from The Walt Disney Company,” said Jiang Zhongyi, Director of Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. “This new fund not only showcases Disney’s social responsibility and support for children, but also helps promote innovative new therapeutic play concepts that are helping transform children’s healthcare.”

Disney’s support of children’s hospitals dates back to the 1930s when Walt Disney would visit with children, often accompanied by Disney characters and animators. Today that support includes millions of dollars in annual grants and donations that provide play spaces, theme park tickets, first-run movies, care packages, in-kind support, and hospital visits from beloved Disney characters.

Disney has already supported several children’s hospitals in Shanghai through the development of play spaces, play therapy training, and character visits. Disney VoluntEARS have made more than 150 hospital visits and benefited more than 12,000 children and their families.

Uma, Evie…Evie, Uma

— Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson and Mitchell Hope Set to Reprise Starring Roles; China Anne McClain Joins the Cast as Ursula’s Daughter Uma — — Kenny Ortega Leads Acclaimed Creative Team Returning for Sequel — Captain Hook and Gaston’s Kids to Join

The imaginative story about the teenage sons and daughters of Disney’s most infamous villains will continue in “Descendants 2,” a Disney Channel Original Movie set to begin production this summer for a 2017 premiere, it was announced today by Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide.

Marsh said, “Just when you thought ‘Happily Ever After’ had come to the land of Auradon, ‘Descendants 2’ turns the page to reveal a whole new level of mystery and surprise.”

It is the highly anticipated sequel to “Descendants,” the No. 1 cable television movie of 2015 and the fifth highest-rated original movie ever on U.S. cable TV in Total Viewers.  It is also the No. 1 Disney Channel Original Movie ever among kids in France, Netherlands, Belgium (south), Portugal, South Africa and Spain. In Italy, it is the No. 1 Disney Channel Original Movie ever among girls.

Emmy Award-winning director Kenny Ortega (“Descendants,” “High School Musical” movies, 2016’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) will return as director, executive producer and choreographer.

Consumer interest remains strong in new “Descendants” stories as Disney Publishing’s sequel book, “Return to the Isle of the Lost” written by Melissa de la Cruz, entered the New York Times Best Sellers List (Middle Grade Hardcover) at No. 2 last week, its first week of release. The first book, “The Isle of the Lost,” was No. 1 for 14 weeks and this week, reentered for its 37th week on the best sellers list.

Dove Cameron (“Liv and Maddie”), Cameron Boyce (“Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything,” “Jessie”), Booboo Stewart (“X-Men Days of Future Past”), Sofia Carson (“Adventures in Babysitting”) and Mitchell Hope will reprise their starring roles as Mal, Carlos, Jay, Evie and King Ben, respectively. China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”) will join the cast as Uma, the daughter of Ursula from “The Little Mermaid.”  Casting will be announced soon for additional new characters including the progeny of villains Captain Hook and Gaston.

Lauded writers Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon (“The Starter Wife,” “Runaway Bride”), who won a 2016 Writers Guild Award for “Descendants,” wrote “Descendants 2” and will also executive-produce with Wendy Japhet (“Descendants,” “An Education”, “The Italian Job”). “Descendants” costume designer Kara Saun (“Project Runway”) and production designer Mark Hofeling (“Teen Beach Movie,” “High School Musical”) are also signed on for the sequel. Tony Testa (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “This Is It”) will join the creative team as choreographer with Ortega, and Shawn Williamson (“Adventures in Babysitting”) will join as producer.

There’s a sequel coming.

Star Wars Celebration Europe Art Show Prints Revealed

The panel of LucasFilm judges have decided, and these are the winners who will be featured at the Celebration! I recognize a few beloved artists, including Karen Hallion,

Art by Karen Hallion.
Art by Karen Hallion. I Patreon her and she emails me coloring pages that are too nice to color.

and have been introduced to a few new ones that I just love, too, like Brian Miller:

Artwork by Brian Miller for Star Wars Celebration Europe
Artwork by Brian Miller for Star Wars Celebration Europe. I want this.

…and this one by Jeff Carlisle:

Illustration by Jeff Carlisle. Only 250? You're killing me!
Illustration by Jeff Carlisle. I think I see Darth Daver in there!

Speaking of Darth Daver, if you love Star Wars, check out his column right here on MiceChat. It’s out of this galaxy! I look forward to it every week.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Demo Now Available

While you are reading this, I’m actually in my last day at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an industry gaming convention. Wellllll, kind of. It’s the only industry convention I’ve ever attended where there were children and cosplayers, both of which only started appearing in the last couple of years, while more and more of the actual gaming seems to be moving out of the convention center and into outlying areas, such as EA PLAY, which I experienced Tuesday, and SONY Playstation’s sports tent, directly in front of the convention center, which has a limited amount of sports games, a bar and a large SONY Playstation store open to the public.

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They totally want John Boyega to play him in the movie.
They totally want John Boyega to play him in the movie.
I couldn't show images of any actual gameplay, sorry.
I couldn’t show images of any actual gameplay, sorry.
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Hey, LEGO Baby.

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IGN has the full trailer, and I got to experience the game in action, in one and two-player.

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I wanted to take it home so badly.
I wanted to take it home so badly.

I’ll have more next Fab News, including a chat with Warren Spector, a look at an adorable griffin, another look at Cuphead, Kingdom Hearts: II.8 HD Something Something Prologue (it’s fun!) and other cool stuff.

Until next Tuesday...
Until next Tuesday…

Thank you!

Thanks to my Patreon Patrons and to DVCResaleMarket.com.


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Shelly Valladolid, aka Fab, has been writing about Disney and theme parks for about two decades. She has written for various fan and pop culture sites, Disney Magazine and OCRegister.com and participated in several books, including Passporter's Disneyland and Southern California and Disney World Dreams. She was co-founder and president of the Orlando, Florida chapter of the NFFC (now Disneyana Fan Club). She taught a class on theme park history at a Southern California University. She is creator and co-owner of Jim Hill Media, one of the creators of MousePlanet and was a consultant on MSNBC, The Motley Fool and others about Disney and various media matters. She was a Heel wrestling manager on TV and a voice artist on the radio in Honolulu, HI, where she grew up. She has a blog and a podcast with her daughter, Mission:Breakout Obsessive Alice Hill: . She and her husband, MiceChat columnist Noe Valladolid, live in Southern California with Alice.