Category Archives: News

Disney Announces New Details About Changes Coming to Epcot

© Disney

Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort is a theme park overflowing with possibilities fueled by curiosity, wonder, optimism, belonging and human imagination. Through Disney magic, the park inspires guests to see the real world in more fantastic ways.

Today, Disney announced several new enhancements for Epcot, including a new play pavilion, a reimagined main entrance and an Experience Center showcasing the park’s future. These are the latest additions to a robust lineup of new projects already announced for the park.

“Epcot has always been, and always will be, an optimistic celebration of the real world that is brought to life through the magic of Disney,” said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort. “The exciting plans we have on the horizon will honor Epcot’s rich legacy of creativity and innovation while continuing to exceed the expectations of our guests for decades to come.”

The new pavilion in development will include first-of-their-kind experiences devoted to playful fun, inviting guests into an innovative, interactive city bursting with games and hands-on activities. Friends and family will interact with favorite Disney characters in an energetic metropolis unlike anything ever seen before at Epcot. The as-yet-unnamed space will come to life under the vast dome of the pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life (more recently the Festival Center) and will debut to guests in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary.

“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot,” said Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot – and another signature element of our transformation.”

© Disney

Two more exciting new projects were also revealed today:

  • Changes are coming to the Epcot main entrance, where the plaza will welcome guests with new pathways, sweeping green spaces and a newly reimagined fountain. This new design will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements. As part of this new entry experience, Leave A Legacy photos will move into a beautiful setting just outside the park’s gateway. Additional significant redevelopment will begin between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade; more details about the transformation of this area will be announced at a later date.
  • Guests will be able to visualize the exciting plans for Epcot when doors open later this year on a new Experience Center in the Odyssey Events Pavilion. They will discover engaging and interactive exhibits that showcase the relentless innovation, energy and excitement driving the future of the park all throughout this unprecedented period of transformation.

“Epcot is beloved for its focus on imagination, innovation, fun, food and family,” said Kalogridis. “It’s a timeless place where the real is made fantastic through the magic of Disney. It has a very bright future ahead and the best part is that we’ve only just begun to dream.”

These new announcements join other projects already underway as part of the Epcot evolution. Larger-than-life Super Heroes will descend upon the park with the opening of a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction. This new experience will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world and feature a brand-new ride system when it also opens in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary.

Other exciting new developments underway at Epcot include:

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction in the France pavilion, patterned after the number-one family attraction at Disneyland Paris
  • “Beauty and the Beast” sing-along in the France pavilion, showing in addition to the pavilion’s current film, Impressions de France
  • Circle-Vision 360 film for the China pavilion and updated O Canada! 360-degree show
  • Signature Dining experience inspired by the natural beauty of Japan
  • Space-themed table-service restaurant adjacent to Mission: SPACE, inviting guests to travel high above the earth for an unforgettable dining experience
  • Epcot Forever, a 2019 limited-time nighttime experience over World Showcase Lagoon set to classic Epcot tunes, followed by an all-new nighttime spectacular debuting in 2020

Freeform Casts Gigi Zumbado, Jessika Van and Davi Santos for New Series ‘Besties’ (Working Title)

Today, Freeform announced that newcomer Gigi Zumbado, Jessika Van (“Seoul Searching”) and Davi Santos (“Tell Me a Story,” “47 Meters Down: Uncaged”) have joined the previously announced cast of Jordin Sparks, Matt Shively and Brooks Brantly in the highly anticipated new comedy series “Besties” (working title).

Zumbado will play Jesi; a free-spirited 23-year-old Cuban American, raised by two adoring gay dads, who is more than thrilled to find out she has a half-sister. Van will portray Luna; Becca’s (Jordin Sparks) roommate and a brilliant med student who is number one in her class, but has no intention of being a doctor. Santos will portray Simon; the assistant to a high-powered agent, who is constantly at odds with Jesi.

Set in Los Angeles, the series will follow Becca (Jordin Sparks) and her newly discovered half-sister Jesi (Gigi Zumbado) as they’re thrown into each other’s lives by an online genetics test and have to figure out how to go from strangers to sisters. Ranada Shepard, Casey Johnson and David Windsor serve as creators and executive producers. Kenya Barris also serves as executive producer. “Besties” is produced by ABC Signature Studios.

ABC to Air ‘American Idol: A New Journey Begins’ Special on Oscar Sunday

© Disney

ABC is rolling out the red carpet, showcasing a 30-minute promotional special “American Idol: A New Journey Begins” on Oscar Sunday, FEB. 24, ahead of the highly anticipated award show. In the special, host Ryan Seacrest sits down with judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie to discuss the return of the iconic series and share a preview of this year’s crop of new talent. Additionally, the panel will answer fan questions and share behind-the-scenes secrets. The special will join the previously announced “Whiskey Cavalier” sneak preview in rounding out a star-studded Oscar Sunday.

Below is the full Oscar Sunday schedule:

SUNDAY, FEB. 24

EASTERN STANDARD TIME
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. – “Oscars Countdown: The Red Carpet LIVE!”
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. – “American Idol: A New Journey Begins”
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – “Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet”
8:00 – 11:00 p.m. – “The Oscars”
11:35 p.m. – 12:35 a.m. – “Whiskey Cavalier” – “Pilot: Sneak Peek”

PACIFIC STANDARD TIME
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – “Oscars Countdown: The Red Carpet LIVE!”
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. – “American Idol: A New Journey Begins”
3:30 – 5:00 p.m. – “Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet”
5:00 – 8:00 p.m. – “The Oscars”
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. – “Whiskey Cavalier” – “Pilot: Sneak Peek”

In addition to a behind-the-scenes look at “American Idol,” viewers at home will also be treated to a momentous musical performance featuring auditionees from the upcoming premiere episode. Set in one of the most iconic locations – the heart of Hollywood – this rooftop musical production will be shown during the live broadcast of the 91st Oscars and will include a special appearance by Ryan Seacrest.

Donald Duck’s Seaside Brunch Coming to Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

© Disney

Hangout with Donald and his pals while you feast on a delicious new brunch at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort. Starting on March 29, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you’re invited to join Donald Duck and a few of his fun pals for an unforgettable culinary adventure! This new all-you-care-to-enjoy brunch buffet will include popular breakfast dishes like Mickey-shaped waffles as well as a yummy array of lunch specials. The menu futures a little bit of everything, from soups and salads to pasta, pizza, rotating seasonal options, and more. For dessert, indulge in delectable items such as ice cream sundaes, beignets with dipping sauce, and homemade bread pudding. While you dine, Donald and company will stop by each table to make your family’s meal even more magical!

For more information and to make reservations for Donald Duck’s Seaside Brunch at Disney’s PCH Grill, visit the Disneyland Resort website or call 714-781-DINE (714-781-3463).

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Home Release Dates Announced

Disney has announced the home release dates for Mary Poppins Returns. The film will be available on Digital 4K Ultra HDTM and Movies Anywhere on March 12 and on 4K Ultra HD,  Blu-rayTM, and DVD on March 19, 2019, featuring a sing-along version and never-before-seen bonus material.

In Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.

Mary Poppins Returns is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a., with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman and the film features all new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books, and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes, Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.

Bonus Features included with Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD are:

  • Deleted Song – “The Anthropomorphic Zoo”– In this early song sequence, Mary Poppins and the children visit a very special zoo where the humans and animals trade places.
  • The Practically Perfect Making of “Mary Poppins Returns”– Join filmmakers and cast on an amazing journey to embrace the legacy of the original film while making a fresh modern sequel.
    • Introduction– Filmmakers and cast remember the first Mary Poppins movie and share the thrill of working on “Mary Poppins Returns.”
    • “(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky”– Discover how the team mined PL Travers’ books for a fresh perspective on a much-loved character. Plus, meet the Banks children!
    • “Can You Imagine That?”– Be on location for Mary’s iconic entrance from the sky, and explore the movie’s original songs, inspired by the Sherman Brothers.
    • “Nowhere to Go but Up”– Experience being on set with the legendary Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury, and celebrate the joy of choosing the right balloon!
  • Seeing Things From a Different Point of View”: The Musical Numbers of “Mary Poppins Returns”– Go behind the scenes and experience the film’s production numbers from a new angle.
    • “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”– Led by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the cast performs the film’s biggest production number, with dancing lamplighters, bicyclists and more!
    • “The Royal Doulton Music Hall” / “A Cover Is Not the Book”– Find out what it takes to create two musical extravaganzas inside an animated world, highlighted by dancing animated penguins!
    • “Turning Turtle”– Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy Turvy, played by Meryl Streep, has an unusual house that turns this musical number upside-down.
    • “Can You Imagine That?”– Dive under the bubbles with the cast and crew to see how this exuberant number was created.
  • Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns– Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. in the first film, returns after 54 years to Cherry Tree Lane as Mr. Dawes Jr.
  • Practically Perfect Bloopers– There’s nowhere to go but up with the cast and crew in this lighthearted collection of flubs, goofs and prop fails!
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Leaving Topsy’s– After their visit to Cousin Topsy, Mary, Jack and the children pause to take a look back.
    • “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”– The leeries light up the screen in this extended clip from the movie’s biggest musical production.
  • Play Movie in Sing-Along Mode– Sing along with all your favorite songs as you watch the movie.

Digital Exclusive:

  • Play Movie with Audio Commentary– Watch the film with commentary by director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.

You can watch the official trailer for Mary Poppins Returns below: