Hello Dear Readers! Today our topics cover everything from Sci-Fi to an anniversary so let’s get started, here’s what we’ll be discussing:

Sci-Fi (Academy, Paul, Tron, Mars) • Screenwriting Competition • DL Resort Merch News • Project Sock • St. Patrick’s Day & Downtown Disney • Santa Ana Zoo Celebrates  • Two Years Already?

Under the heading of Sci-Fi, we’ve got several different items to look at. First up, will be of special interest to Disney pin collectors. On June 24th the Disneyland Resort will host the Sci-Fi Academy Trading Event at the Disneyland Hotel:

Mickey Mouse has always loved adventure stories, and science fiction offers some of the best adventure stories around. In his youth, Mickey avidly read the tales of creatures from the center of the planet, and voyages into outer space. His wish was to join in on these exploits. His wish came true when Mickey's good friend Professor Ludwig Von Drake created a device that made it possible for Mickey to be transported into his favorite Sci-Fi tales. The Reality Alterer with Language Functions (R.A.L.F.) allows the user to move into the alternate realities of their favorite Sci-Fi adventures and understand any alien language.

What that loosely translates to is, this is basically a sci-fi-themed pin-trading/collecting event (with some merchandise also available). Think TRON, Stitch, etc., event registration includes; first opportunity to purchase event-themed merchandise via the random selection process, Purchase with Purchase pin promotion, pin trading, an event t-shirt, artist signings with Chris Chapman & Mike Sullivan (subject to change, of course), and a silent auction. Event registration costs $70 and is available now at this link (where you will also find PDFs of the event itinerary and merchandise catalogue).

Carrying on with the Sci-Fi theme, TRON fans — get ready for a soundtrack remix:

(Remix, Left - Soundtrack, Right)

In April, Walt Disney Records will release TRON: Legacy RECONFIGURED, featuring remixes of selections from the original motion picture soundtrack. The 15-track album is an eclectic mix of acclaimed DJs, remixers and producers from all points of the globe with their own take on select tracks from the original film score, composed by Daft Punk. Highlights Moby with "The Son of Flynn"; "The Grid" by electronic music duo The Crystal Method; and "End of Line" by Boys Noize. About the remix, the album’s producer, Mitchell Leib had this to say, "This is the most natural and respectful extension of our TRON soundtrack legacy and one which embraces the electronica club roots of its artistic invention.  Now the entire world can dance to the sounds of THE GRID."

TRON: Legacy RECONFIGURED will be available wherever music is sold on April 5, 2011. For more information visit this link.

Is Disney's latest film release, Mars Needs Moms, on your to-do list this weekend? If you choose to screen it at the Disney flagship El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood you'll also get to see a special exhibit:

To celebrate the film’s setting, the El Capitan Theatre will also host a special NASA and JPL Space Exploration Exhibit where guests can learn more about NASA’s exploration of Mars before and after every showing of the movie. The display from NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology features authentic models of the Phoenix Lander, Curiosity Rover, Mars Odyssey Orbiter, and more.

"Mars Needs Moms" in Disney Digital 3D runs March 11 thru April 21, 2011. The El Capitan Theatre will also have a special “Tiny Tot Tuesday” on March 15, at 10am only. During this special screening parents and small children can enjoy the movie in a “Tiny Tot” friendly way – complete with lights dimmed rather than out and reduced sound levels.

Tickets are on sale online at www.elcapitantickets.com, or by calling 1-800-DISNEY6.

Our last Sci-Fi item today is a premiere. You won’t be able to see the film (unless you’re on the guest list) but if you want to join in on the crazy fun and try to get a look at the stars, head on down to Hollywood on March 14th for the premiere of Simon Pegg’s new comedy, Paul:

Universal Pictures presents the American premiere of Paul at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA) on Monday, March 14, 2011 AT 7:30 PM. The stars walk the red carpet at 6:30 PM, scheduled to attend are: Paul writers/cast members Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; director Greg Mottola; cast members Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, Joe Lo Truglio, John Carroll Lynch, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, Jesse Plemons, Jeffrey Tambor and Seth Rogen. 

The rest of us will be able to see Paul when the film opens in theaters on Friday, March 18, 2011. For more information visit: http://www.whatispaul.com/

While we’re talking movies — any budding screenwriters out there? You may want to pay attention to this next item. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now accepting entries for the 2011 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition — as many as five $30,000 fellowships will be awarded through the program in November:

The Nicholl Fellowships competition is open to any individual who has not earned more than $5,000 from the sale or option of a screenplay or teleplay, or received a fellowship or prize of more than $5,000 that includes a "first look" clause, an option or any other quid pro quo involving the writer's work.  To enter, writers must submit a completed application online, upload one PDF copy of their original screenplay in English and pay the entry fee before 11:59 p.m. PT on May 2, 2011. The competition’s regular entry fee is $45; an early-bird entry fee of $30 is available for those who enter prior to 11:59 PM PT on April 1, 2011.

For all the details (plus online applications), visit this link.

Now let’s talk about the Disneyland Resort a little bit. Sculptor, Hiko Maeda, will be on hand this month to sign the latest Precious Moments pieces:

On March 26th special guest Hiko Maeda will join us as we release of the newest Disney Theme Park exclusive sculpture and ornament, both titled, It’s Always A Day in The Park With You. Dressed in favorite Minnie Mouse inspired dress and ear hat, and holding Mickey Mouse shaped balloons, these two pieces are the perfect addition to any Disney themed Precious Moments collection. Signing dates and times on March 26th are 11 AM to 2 PM at Off the Page in Disney California Adventure and from 4 PM to 7 PM World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney. The sculpture retails for $49.95 and the ornament will be $24.95.

For more information visit this link.

Have you been to LittleMissMatched in Downtown Disney? The store sells cute, colorful, and mismatched socks (among other things). Now you can take a shot at designing those mismatched socks:

Project Sock™ is back and better than ever! With even more prizes at stake, Project Sock™: Season 3 is destined to be bigger, bolder and highlight the best talent from all around! The nationwide design contest presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for fans to reveal their "socktastic" artistic abilities by designing a 3-pack of non-matching socks to become part of the 2011 LittleMissMatched™ holiday collection. All ages and levels of experience are encouraged to enter - the only requirement is creativity! This year, Project Sock will award six designers with the chance of a lifetime. Not only will the winning socks be sold to the public as part of the 2011 LittleMissMatched™ holiday collection but cash prizes, socks, and of course, fame, will be up for grabs.

If you think you've got what it takes to be the next Project Sock winner get busy designing those socks! For information on how to enter the contest, visit this link

Before we leave Downtown Disney let’s talk about Saint Patrick’s Day — there’s lots going on — you might want to plan on donning that green Mickey Mouse t-shirt to join in on all the fun:

Grab your shillelagh and come to the Downtown Disney District for a St. Patrick’s' Day celebration on March 17, 2011.

• From 5 to 8 PM, kids ages 3 to 12 can join a scavenger hunt following clues in a search of "lucky" clovers.
• Kaman's Art Shoppe will have special face painting for kids and adults.
• Build-A-Bear Workshop will be featuring a "Four Leaf Clover Bear"
• The LEGO Imagination Center will be constructing 4-Leaf Clovers
• Irish folk band, Shillelagh, will give a free performance from 6 to 10 PM at the Main Stage

For more information and a list of all the Downtown Disney Saint Patrick’s Day activities visit this link.

Not far from Disneyland (a few miles south, just off the 5 freeway), the Santa Ana Zoo will be celebrating its 59th birthday this weekend:

In the early 1900's, J.E. Prentice moved to Santa Ana as a horse and mule trader and later began citrus ranching. In 1949, he donated 12 acres of his ranch to Santa Ana for a park. With this donation, he stipulated that the city must keep at least 50 monkeys at all times. J. E. Prentice treated his monkeys like family, and could often be seen riding around town with them in his car.

Thanks to J. E. Prentice's gift, the Zoo will be 59 years old later this month. Come celebrate the Zoo birthday on March 12 and 13 from 11am-2pm with amazing animals, crafts games music and other Zoo fun! There will be a spectacular modular train display by Del Oro Pacific Railroad Club, birthday themed crafts, animal presentations, birthday treats, live entertainment by Kids Are Music, DJ Steve McGuigan, and so much more! It’s going to be the wildest birthday bash of the year.

The Santa Ana Zoo is located at 1801 E. Chestnut Ave in Santa Ana. For more information visit this link.

Well, that’ll just about do it for this week, but before I sign off there’s one more pressing matter to discuss — Today is D23’s second anniversary.

It’s hard to believe two years of Disney goodness has zipped by already and luckily, there’s so much more D23 fun headed our way. I’m really looking forward to August and the second D23 Expo, how about you? For all the latest D23 news visit: http://d23.disney.go.com/ Happy anniversary D23!

Okay, now we’re done. See you next week!

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I’ll leave you and say goodbye until next week when we meet again to discuss more...

If you'd like to submit something to be considered for the column, please send it to both Sue and Al at the following email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected] with the words "Pressing Matters" in the subject line. Due to our already extensive email loads we won't be able to acknowledge each submission, but those under consideration may get a note from us asking for more details. Representatives from the items chosen are invited to answer questions from readers at the forum linked at the end of each column.

FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Sue Kruse and Al Lutz did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in this article. They pay for their own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

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2011 Sue Kruse