Own a figure of yourself as a Jedi or TIE-fighter Pilot when D-Tech Me Figures returns to Star Wars Weekends

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The last few years Star Wars Weekends has had some great merchandise, but the biggest splash was made by D-Tech Me, which let you put your face on a Stormtrooper, X-Wing pilot, or be cast in carbon freeze like Han Solo was.

This year they’re offering you the chance to be a Jedi Knight or a TIE-Fighter Pilot. Plus they’re bringing back the old favorites. Including a female option for the stormtrooper and an Alderaan Princess figure (aka Princess Leia).

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The technique was developed by Disney Research labs and takes a single-shot 3D face scan and then sends it to a 3D printer to create the figurine. The scan takes about 10 minutes and the figure is shipped to you about 6-8 weeks after the experience.

The figures aren’t cheap, the 7-inch figure is $119.95 and a 16-inch figure costs $999.95. Neither price includes shipping or sales tax.

It is recommended that guests book their experience by calling 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324) starting March 26. Disney will only offer the experience during Star Wars Weekends 2015 (May 15 – 17, May 22-24, May 29-31, June 5-7, and June 12-14).

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Posted in Star Wars, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go inside the world of DisneyNature Monkey Kingdom with conservationist Dr. M. Sanjayan

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Dr. M. Sanjayan is a former lead scientist for Nature Conservancy and currently a VP of Conservation International. He travels the world helping conversationalists make the connections they need to save the planet.

DisneyNature invited Dr. Sanjayan to tour the world of it’s new film Monkey Kingdom as their ambassador. A portion of the first-week ticket sales will be put toward forest conservation in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.

Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes son Kip into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family retreats, and she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to uncover untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future.

Narrated by Tina Fey, directed by Mark Linfield, co-directed by Alastair Fothergill and featuring music from award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams, “Monkey Kingdom” swings into theaters April 17, 2015.

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace Preview

trader-sams-grog-grotto-sign

File under: They must really need a drink. A couple Tiki Bar die-hards have actually been spotted waiting outside the future home of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace inside the Polynesian Village Resort. Disney World just announced they’ll be waiting a bit longer as the official opening date is still not set. However, it’s expected to be sometime late-April with soft openings coming a bit sooner  (tomorrow). Apparently, they’re waiting for the themed Tiki souvenir glassware to arrive.

According to Disney,

Founded by Adventureland’s famous “head” salesman, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto has some similarities to the Anaheim original. But at Walt Disney World Resort, the magical theming reflects its new resort location. This enchanted South Seas hideaway welcomes guests to explore a menu of “magical tropical drinks and food,” and while this new version shares a few cocktails and small plates, Beverage Manager Brad Ward, Chef Lenny DeGeorge, and the Concept Development team have created new menu items just for the Walt Disney World Resort Trader Sam’s

Sounds great. I can’t wait to get inside either. I guess I’ll have to line up with everyone else. The good news is Disney did release a photo from inside the tiki bar and some shots of very delicious looking drinks and small-bites.

trader-sams-grog-grotto-interior

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Posted in Dining, Food and Drink, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How long can Disney top pigs with pigs?

evil-three-little-pigs

“You can’t top pigs with pigs,” Walt Disney reportedly answered after being asked by theater owners whether he’d make another Three Little Pigs short after the first one had won an Academy Award and had considerable box office success. Of course, the irony is that Walt eventually did go on to make several sequels to that short.

A new editorial by Peter Bart in Variety takes a slightly tongue in cheek look at the quandary Disney CEO Bob Iger is facing. Does he cash in with sequels or try the more difficult path of original productions. After spending more than $15 billion to buy the franchise factories that are Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. I think you can figure out the answer.

Why invest in live-action gambles like “John Carter” or “The Lone Ranger” when a mere $100 million can resuscitate a foolproof property like “Cinderella” — one that has been regularly recycled since George Melies’ version in 1899? How can you lose with “Frozen 2,” when its first iteration grossed $1.27 billion worldwide?

Of course, there’s Pirates of the Caribbean, which is filming again, and Star Wars, which has five movies scheduled in the next five years. Not to mention the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is really one sequel after another. Disney has shown considerable success going down that path. Iger is not shy that he wants franchises to be the bedrock upon which Disney’s financial future is built.

Up against those sequels are the remakes. After “Cinderella,” Disney has announced remakes of “Beauty & The Beast,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Dumbo.” Surely, a remake of every film in the Disney classic library can not be too far behind.

What I’m interested in are the “Brand Deposits.” That’s Iger’s term for those smaller films that help re-enforce the Disney brand. These include those feel good sports movies (“McFarland USA,” “Million Dollar Arm”), family comedies (Alexander and the no good…, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”), and ‘art’ films (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “Into The Woods”). The theory is that if Disney banks enough of these films a year, they can get away with some movies that stretch the limit a bit. It’s not a bad theory, Steve Jobs used it to great effect at Apple for many years.

Read the whole piece at Variety and then let us know if you think Disney is on the right track with its film strategy.

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Posted in Corporate, Film | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

“She’ll Be Back” Into The Woods cover from Traci Hines

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Traci Hines, whose original song Cinderella we just featured, has partnered with Disney to record a cover of the all new, never before seen deleted song, “She’ll Be Back” from Disney’s Into The Woods.

The song was originally written by Stephen Sondheim specifically for Meryl Streep who plays The Witch in the movie. Streep even recorded it, but in the interest of pacing the song was dropped from the final version of the film.

Hearing Hines sing it here is a lot of fun. There’s some vocal production going on, but it’s clear she has the chops to sing this substantial piece of musical theater. Plus, I really like that they went all out with the costumes for both versions of The Witch.

I like how Disney has been reaching out and partnering with various YouTube stars. Word is we’ll be seeing a lot more soon.

Disney’s Into The Woods is now out on Blu-Ray Combo pack in a store near you, or on Amazon (where your purchase helps support The Disney Blog)

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Posted in Film, Musicals | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment