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Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 Embraces its Unique Mid-Century Modern Aesthetic

Today Disney•Pixar’s highly anticipated Incredibles 2 makes its super debut in U.S. theaters. Picking up mere minutes after the memorable events of 2004’s The Incredibles, the new film not only reintroduces audiences to the Parr family (dad Bob, aka Mr. Incredible; mom Helen, otherwise known as Elastigirl; and super kids Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack), but also reestablishes the unparalleled mid-century modern world of the original film.

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“I was inspired by spy series and spy movies,” explains director Brad Bird. “James Bond, Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Our Man Flint, as well as a prime-time adventure cartoon called Jonny Quest. There were a bunch of them… that had that cool, elegant flavor that we wanted to capture.” That flavor extends from the cars to the gadgets, from the clothing to the characters themselves, and everything in between—all with a present-day bent and a steadfast eye to the future.

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Nowhere is this continued “mid-century with a twist” quality more evident than in the architecture and interior design of Incredibles 2. Garnering inspiration from a research trip to the mid-century haven of Palm Springs, California, production designer Ralph Eggleston and his team set about designing with clean lines and simplicity. “We had this really fun idea of ‘mid-century mundane,’” explains Eggleston. “It’s not the coolest buildings, but the stuff in between the coolest buildings. So we used a lot of [that] in the design of the city of Municiberg.” Inspiration came from all manner of avenues; “It’s actually easy to find great-looking mid-century architecture,” Eggleston admits. “It’s harder to find stuff that is less identifiable—little elements here and there, like ‘breeze blocks’ [concrete cinder blocks] and repeated patterns. [Finding those] is a lot of fun.” The team’s overall approach was also informed by a host of mid-century luminaries and their creations, including the work of architectural photographer Ezra Stoller; patterns designed by Alexander Girard; furniture from the artists at Knoll, Inc.; sculptures by Harry Bertoia; and the designs of modernist architect Mies van der Rohe.

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There’s a specific building in Incredibles 2 that exemplifies the aesthetic Eggleston and team worked so hard to create: the Parr family’s new home. Considering their last abode was destroyed at the end of the 2004 film, the Parrs would need a new place to hang their hats… or, more specifically, their super suits. Early on, Pixar artists delivered a lovely 2,300-square-foot house to director/writer Bird—but once the story called for a larger, state-of-the-art home (one that two of the film’s new characters, telecommunications mogul Winston Deavor and his genius sister Evelyn, would be providing to the family), the sky was literally the limit. “It’s a cantilevered house built on a precipice outside of the city,” says Eggleston. “Inspired by a rocket, with influence from a lot of different architects, we wanted a heavily caricatured look.” However, it wasn’t just the house itself—with its multiple entrances; bedrooms galore; an amazing kitchen; and a living room complete with hidden water features—that continues the mid-century through-line, it’s also the distinctive, finer details scattered throughout its expansive 38,000 square feet of virtual space. Case in point: the home’s terrazzo floors. Says shading art director Bryn Imagire, “I really love terrazzo floors. Because it’s such a big element—in any kind of aggregate material, in mid-century [design], they’d use rocks embedded in grout or marble or stone—terrazzo was a really expensive material back then, and today it would also probably cost lots of money to do it right. And so we felt that, because the house is so fabulous, we’re going to put terrazzo everywhere.” Natural materials and muted colors also make appearances, as do plentiful houseplants—“the Eastern idea of ‘bringing the outside in,’” Imagire says.

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All told, “[In animation], it’s all built from scratch,” Eggleston explains. “We aren’t trying to capture [an era], but people’s memory of the era… Brad’s writing of characters and his storytelling skills are such that it allowed us to really caricature the world. It’s not about reality. It’s about believability.”

Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 is in U.S. theaters today.

Disney Musicals in Schools Helps Build Theatrical Education Programs in Public Schools

Los Angeles’s Center Theatre Group recently hosted a one-night-only performance, months in the making, that brought the lively audience inside the prestigious Ahmanson Theatre to its feet. The headliners for this exclusive event have yet to win Tony® Awards… or even graduate elementary school. Rather, the evening of musical theater starred 300 local grade school students who had just finished their first year participating in the Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS), a free program developed by Disney Theatrical Group to bring theatrical programs to under-resourced public elementary schools in cities all around the U.S.

For years, Disney Theatrical Productions has licensed “junior” versions of beloved titles such as Aladdin and The Lion King to school groups and professional theaters. But in many parts of the country, schools simply don’t have the resources to stage a musical or provide theatrical education to their students, so in 2010, Disney Theatrical Group decided to do something about that. “Here we were in New York City, in the heart of Times Square, and schools in our own backyard in Brooklyn, in Queens, in the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan just weren’t producing these shows,” says Lisa Mitchell, education director for Disney Theatrical Group.

The Disney Musicals in Schools program was launched with the goal of developing sustainable musical theater programs in schools where there previously were none. Participating schools receive the performance rights to one of Disney’s half-hour musicals for kids, along with the corresponding show kit materials. But what really sets DMIS apart, Mitchell explains, is the support that the schools and their educators receive when they become involved with the program. “We send in a pair of what we call ‘teaching artists’ who are professional musical theater artists and also professional educators,” Mitchell says. The teaching artists work with the students but, more importantly, they’re mentoring the school educators and teachers. “So over the course of the six-month process, the teachers learn how to become music directors, directors, choreographers, producers, stage managers and designers, so that when we’re not there in the future they’ve got the training necessary to sustain this kind of work in the school for year after year after year.”

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The program has been an unequivocal success. Just eight years in, DMIS has expanded to 18 cities—including the first international program, which launched in London this year—and some 30,000 kids have now performed in their first school musical through the program. The program culminates in each city with an annual Student Share Celebration that brings together all of the participating schools at storied venues such as Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre and Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. During the event, hundreds of children take the stage for a spectacular night of song, dance and, of course, Disney magic—beginning with a song written expressly for the Disney Musicals in Schools program by the legendary composer Alan Menken, “It Starts with a Dream,” performed together by all of the young actors.

As Mitchell has watched DMIS grow, she has marveled at how each city and theatre company is able to make the program their own. The Las Vegas DMIS program, done in partnership with Smith Center for the Performing Arts, features a number of teaching artists who perform with Cirque du Soleil, giving that city’s choreography an almost acrobatic-like quality; while in Nashville, shows created alongside the Tennessee Performing Arts Center feature musical talent that reflects the world-class music education program offered in the city’s public school system. “One of the things that surprises me most is how you can have two dozen versions of The Lion King take place on school stages around the country, and every single one of them—despite having the same script and the same score and the same plot—is completely unique to that school and that community,” Mitchell says.

As the video below demonstrates, the young DMIS participants learn performance techniques through the program that they’ll be able to draw upon as their schools’ theater education programs continue to grow. But Mitchell emphasizes, “More important than the stage skills they’re learning are the life skills: collaboration, empathy, creativity and communication.”

Educator Gabby Mendoza, who participated in Centre Theatre Group’s inaugural year with DMIS alongside her students at Humphreys Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, stresses that the program has had a transformative effect on students. “The students have discovered so much about the arts and themselves. It’s been a true journey, finding confidence week after week,” she says, and she notes that the teachers have reaped immeasurable benefits from the program, as well. “We’ve all been able to learn from each other, lean on each other, and discover strengths and passions in ourselves as educators. When we put our vision together, [we’ve seen] the powerful impact that the arts can have.”

Largest Ever Tokyo DisneySea Expansion Brings New Themed Port in 2022

Oriental Land Co., Ltd. announced that an agreement has been reached with The Walt Disney Company on plans for developing a new themed port at Tokyo DisneySea®, which will also include a new Disney hotel. With this agreement and upon the completion of the Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland® expansions, the licenses for the Disney theme parks and other key licenses between The Walt Disney Company and Oriental Land, which currently run until 2046, will be extended to 2076.

The expansion at Tokyo DisneySea will create an eighth themed port that is inspired by a magical spring leading to a world of Disney fantasy. The themed port will be comprised of three distinct areas recreating the worlds of the Disney films Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan, as well as a deluxe hotel with a one-of-a-kind luxury wing that will be the most luxurious accommodations ever at Tokyo Disney Resort®. Also, four new attractions will be developed just for this expansion. Operations are projected to begin in fiscal year 2022*. Oriental Land will invest about 250 billion yen in this project, the largest additional investment to date for existing facilities.

Together with the large-scale enhancement of Tokyo Disneyland, scheduled to start operations in 2020, this new project marks a major step in the evolution of Tokyo Disney Resort into a one-of-a-kind themed resort where Guests will enjoy even more magical experiences.

In the 35 years since the Grand Opening of Tokyo Disneyland, Japan has undergone rapid growth and Oriental Land has consistently offered new experiences that can be shared by Guests of all ages that they can only have at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Overview of “Tokyo DisneySea Large-Scale Expansion Project”

– Site to be developed: the Guest parking area adjacent to Tokyo Disneyland and TokyoDisneySea, which will be relocated so that the Tokyo DisneySea property can expand into that space

– Number of facilities: four attractions, three food facilities, one shop, one hotel

– Development area: about 140,000 m2 (about 100,000 m2 for the theme park and hotel)

– Completion of project: in fiscal year 2022 (tentative)

– Investment amount: about 250 billion yen (tentative)

Overview of new themed port

Themed to magical springs that lead to a world of Disney fantasy, the new port will consist of three areas inspired by Disney films that are beloved by Guests of all ages—Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan. By entering the new themed port and exploring its numerous springs, Guests will discover Anna and Elsa’s kingdom of Arendelle; the forest and tower where Rapunzel lives; and Never Land and—the home of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys. Guests will be able to experience these wonderful, fantastical worlds as no one has before.

The four attractions and the Disney hotel have been newly developed expressly for this project. This new themed port is certain to enhance the appeal of Tokyo DisneySea, the only Disney Park themed to the myths and legends of the sea.

 Overview of the three areas

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– Area themed to the Disney film Frozen

This area is set in Arendelle after the events in the film when Queen Elsa has embraced her magical power to control snow and ice. She has since opened the castle gates so that Guests can freely visit the Kingdom. Located here will be a heartwarming attraction that tells the story of Elsa and her beloved sister, Anna. Guests will board boats and experience the sisters’ heartfelt journey while enjoying iconic songs from the film and encountering surprising thrills. Also located in this area will be a restaurant set inside Arendelle Castle at the foot of beautiful, snow-capped mountains.

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– Area themed to the Disney film Tangled

Guests visiting this area will discover Rapunzel’s tower rising above in a charming forest. The area will include an attraction that follows Rapunzel to the lantern festival and a restaurant inspired by the hideout of the humorous band of thugs who appeared in the film. In the attraction, Guests will board gondolas for a romantic boat tour of Rapunzel’s “best day ever” as she journeys with Flynn to the lantern festival. Countless flickering lanterns illuminate the attraction’s climactic scene while Rapunzel and Flynn sing an iconic song from the film, building to an unforgettable finale.

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– Area themed to the Disney film Peter Pan

Home to two attractions and a restaurant, the Never Land area will feature landmarks that make that fantastical world so memorable, including verdant mountains, Captain Hook’s pirate ship and Skull Rock. One attraction will fly Guests over the jungles of Never Land into a battle with Captain Hook and his crew of pirates. Guests will join Peter Pan in an adventure to rescue Wendy’s younger brother, John, who has been kidnapped by Captain Hook and his pirates. Guests board boats and follow the Lost Boys down a river. When Tinker Bell sprinkles the boats with pixie dust, Guests find themselves flying through Never Land on an unprecedented adventure that features iconic music and dynamic 3D imagery of the characters from the film.

A second attraction immerses Guests in the oversized world of Pixie Hollow where Tinker Bell and her fairy friends live and work. The restaurant is inspired by the Lost Boys and their hideout, affording lovely views of Never Land that Guests can enjoy while they dine.

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Overview of the Disney hotel

Themed to Disney fantasy, the new Disney hotel will be located inside the Park. The hotel will rise above and around the magical springs that serve as the core of the new themed port’s story. Park-facing rooms will provide beautiful views of the port’s majestic landscape, affording Guests a magical experience that can only be had at this hotel. The Disney hotel will offer 475 deluxe-type and luxury-type guest rooms, with the latter providing the finest accommodations in Tokyo Disney Resort. A merchandise shop that helps share the story of the magical springs will be found on the hotel’s first floor, facing the Park.

Shanghai Disney Resort Celebrates Splashing Summer with Cool New Entertainment, Seasonal Offerings and More

This summer, Shanghai Disney Resort is celebrating its second anniversary and welcoming guests to enjoy endless summer excitement with new seasonal sensations rolling out across the resort. Starting on June 16, Shanghai Disney Resort will create a brand-new summer atmosphere for guests to enjoy all the cool new summer entertainment, food and beverage offerings, shop for trendy merchandise with exclusive new looks and styles, and discover a host of activities in Disneytown.

Summer entertainment to offer fresh surprises and memorable experiences for guests
Cool Zones will be ready throughout Shanghai Disneyland where guests can escape the heat of summer and be energized in the fun and refreshing misty areas.

Part of the brand-new Disney • Pixar Toy Story Land will be transformed into a water-blast-world with Farmer Al’s Splash Around designed to delight and cool off guests. At several points throughout the day, a number of Andy’s favorite toys will host an interactive water play performance designed to fully immerse guests in the colorful new world of toys.

The extremely popular “Summer Blast” will return to the stage at the Enchanted Storybook Castle, with a number of performances held every day. The exciting show features energetic performers, classic Disney characters, and a fun dose of water, and several new showery surprises.

Duffy’s Splashing Pre-Parade is also set to delight guests as they gather to witness Mickey’s Storybook Express this summer. The pre-parade procession, led by Duffy and ShellieMay, will give guests a welcome bout of cool spritzes as they, along with a host of dancers with hand-held soakers, traverse the parade route cooling guests off. This year StellaLou and Gelatoni, Duffy’s friends, will also join the parade on a brand-new float. Lucky guest families have the chance to get in on the watery fun along the parade route aboard the two grand marshal cars that are part of this summer celebration.

Seasonal menus deliver a refreshing summertime experience all their own
This summer, guests will find many cool drink offerings throughout the resort, including the StellaLou Fantasy Dreamer served up in a StellaLou souvenir cup, Mickey honey pomelo slushes in Mickey souvenir cups, Toy Story Souvenir Sips and more, like Donald’s Special Cooler, set to roll out later this month. New kiosks desserts, like the Stitch spiral sundae and the mango frozen yogurt sundae, or the Mickey marshmallow brownie and Olaf strawberry fruit tart at Remy’s Patisserie, will really hit the spot for any guest with a bit of a sweet tooth.

The Toy Box Café is also serving up new dishes like braised seafood rice and roasted pork ribs and wheat grass with potato chips, while Mickey & Pals Market Café, Pinocchio Village Kitchen and Wandering Moon Restaurant feature fresh additions, like tomato beef brisket rice, soup noodle with prawns and salt duck leg with pork noodle soup. Royal Banquet Hall’s new seasonal menus include gourmet appetizers and entrees—with a special lobster menu, plus sweet finishes like the StellaLou frozen ice cake. Hotel guests can also enjoy new a-la-carte additions at Aurora, and summer holiday beverages at Lumiere’s Kitchen.

Brand-new products to help guests stay cool and stylish this summer
Shanghai Disney Resort will offer more than 50 new, exclusive seasonal merchandise products and limited editions pin. The tropical, beach-inspired collections feature Mickey and friends with summery seaside images. Guests can find the exclusive new apparels with Disney Character Images, stylish accessories such as new blue summer Mickey sunglasses and the popular Millennial Pink Minnie sequin headband. This summer also sees an all-new Duffy and friends summer merchandise line, which includes Duffy and ShellieMay plush, a ShellieMay headband, foldable shopping bags, ShellieMay and StellaLou tees and more.

Other hot new items to help guests soak up all the fun of summer include an exclusive Shanghai Disney Resort family beach towel, misty fans, stylish straw and bucket-style sun hats and plus the popular pink Minnie UV-proof umbrella.

More summer entertainment and experiences in Disneytown from sunset to evening
Disneytown is another perfect place for families and friends to have fun together where a variety of summer-inspired activities will be hosted.

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a football camp will be held every weekend from June 23 to July 15 where guests can come and have a training. Once the World Cup comes to an end, the area will be transformed to allow guests to work out and practice Body Combat and Yoga in the cool evening air between July 21 and September 2. During the same period, on Friday and Saturday, a lawn movie night will be held to showcase some of your favorite Disney movies out on an open-air screen.

Sneak Peek of NEW Merchandise for Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land officially opens June 30 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Last month Disney gave us a sneak peek at some of the merchandise that will be offered in the new land, and today they  revealed additional collectibles and unique gifts which will be available for guests to commemorate their visit.   Product designers cast merchandise to extend the story of Toy Story Land, explained Brad Schoeneberg, director, Merchandise Strategy and New Park Experiences Development.

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“Merchandise that is true to the story ties everything together,” he said. “Each piece was designed so parents and kids could take their memories home and relive the fun of Toy Story Land long after their Disney vacation.”

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“Toy Story” characters beloved by young and old have starring roles in the playful merchandise guests will be able to purchase from two retail stands found in the 11-acre land.

Park-goers can make a fashion statement with unique headbands, or stylish apparel splashed with “Toy Story” characters such as Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie. The “I Played There” commemorative T-shirts tell the world the wearer was among the first guests to experience Toy Story Land.

Guests can wear Slinky Dog, the inspiration for the Slinky Dog Dash family coaster, with a new light-up toy. His stretching slinky rings are perfect for nighttime fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Space alien-themed light-up tumblers, a coffee cup, a kids’ backpacks, and a retail MagicBand all will celebrate the new land.

Passholders destined for a day of play will find an exclusive pin, tote bag and seasonal ornament created especially for them.

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A treasure trove of pins and accessories is sure to delight pin traders of all ages. Attraction logo pins or a mystery pin set with pins resembling toy blocks emblazoned with character silhouettes are the must-have items for any pin collection.

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Fans can find the full line of merchandise toward the end of June in select shops at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including Beverly Sunset on Sunset Boulevard, In Character, and Mickey’s of Hollywood.