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Travel

Disney World princess left 'shaking and crying' after guest allegedly groped her during photo-op

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A Walt Disney World guest was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly groping a princess character while taking a photo, a police report confirms.

Brian Sherman, 51, was visiting the park with his wife around 12:10 p.m. on Saturday when the pair went to take photos with Disney World characters at the grotto area of the Magic Kingdom.

The guest was charged with battery after the incident was reported to law enforcement.
(iStock)

During the photo, Sherman and his wife sat on either side of the Disney World employee, who was dressed as a Disney princess. Before the photo, Sherman repeatedly told the woman the princess she was portraying “is my favorite.” The type of Disney princess she was costumed as was not shared.

According to a police report shared with Fox News, Sherman “placed his right arm around” her shoulder, making her “immediately uncomfortable.” As her co-worker was tending to the line, Sherman allegedly lowered his arm until he was cupping the woman’s bra.

Other cast members told Sherman to pose in a different way so he would not be touching the woman. However, before moving, the man placed his hand under the woman’s costume and cupped her breast with his right forefinger and thumb “with only the thin skin-tight fabric” between, police said.

The Disney PhotoPass photographer took the pictures, which the employees used to identify the man to law enforcement.

The man was accused of groping a Disney Princess during a photo-op (not pictured) in the grotto area of the park’s Magic Kingdom. 
(Photo by Gerardo Mora/WireImage via Getty)

Once Sherman left, the woman “began shaking and crying” and the grotto area was closed immediately, according to the report.

The Disney princess reported the incident, which she said lasted about four seconds, and police officers were called to the scene. Sherman was arrested and charged with battery.

According to reports, the woman plans to press charges and would testify in court.

In a statement to Fox News, a representative for Disney World said police handled the incident as soon as it was brought to their attention.

“Orange County Sheriff’s Office was on site and immediately stepped in, and this is now a law enforcement matter.  Everyone should feel safe at work, and we encourage Cast Members to come forward in any uncomfortable situation.”

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Fashion

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast promotes domestic abuse and Aladdin damage the self-esteem of those with darker skin, experts claim

DISNEY Princesses have had a lot of bad press recently.

First actress Keira Knightly revealed she has banned her three-year-old daughter Edie from watching Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, saying they don’t portray strong women.

Then Kristen Bell, who voiced Princess Anna in modern Disney classic Frozen, laid into them saying she tells her little girls that Snow White shouldn’t have been kissed without consent.

The actress claimed she tells Lincoln, five, and Delta, three: "Don’t you think that it's weird that the Prince kisses her without permission?"

So are Disney princess films really such a terrible influence on our kids?

Here Dr Victoria Cann, a lecturer in Humanities at the University of East Anglia, and Dr Laura Coffey-Glover, a lecturer in Linguistics with a special interest in gender and sexuality at Nottingham Trent University, give their views…

Snow White (1937) – Promotes jealousy and female rivalry

What's the plot?  In the first of the Disney princess movies, Snow White goes to sleep after eating a poisoned apple given to her by her wicked step-mother disguised as an old hag. She falls into a coma until a prince finds her in the forest and kisses her. She wakes up and they get married.

Dr Can said: "This is less about Snow White and more about the jealousy of an older woman towards a younger one.

"It sets up the idea of female rivalry and sends the idea that an older single woman can never be happy."

She also points out that while Snow White falls for the handsome Prince at first sight, the Seven Dwarves never get look in because they aren't tall, dark and handsome.

Dr Cann says: "The dwarves have jobs and personalities. But because they’re not tall and conventionally attractive, they never get considered as her potential love interests."

Snow White also sends negative messages about women’s roles, says Dr Cann.

"Her only useful role is seen as cooking and cleaning for the Dwarves."

For Dr Laura Coffey-Glover, Snow White is the first of many princesses who set up unrealistic expectations for little girls.

"They are portrayed as helpless characters who wait passively to be swept off their feet," she says.

"These are very powerful messages that teach young girls that their value in life lies in their attractiveness, rather than their achievements."

Beauty and the Beast (1991) – Promotes domestic violence

What’s the plot? A prince who has been turned into a bad-tempered beast keeps Belle in his castle in return for letting her father go free. They fall in love and her devotion turns him back into a Prince.

For Dr Cann, this is the Disney film with the most worrying message of all.

"This is the most dangerous because the Beast always feels on the verge of violence," she says.

"What it shows is a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome, where the captive falls in love with their captor to ensure their survival.

"It also gives the unnerving idea that if a woman perseveres long enough, she can change an angry partner.

"At the end, the beast then turns into this blonde-haired white man for another happy ever after, giving the idea that now he’s good looking, he can’t possibly be angry or threatening."

Aladdin (1992) – Racist

What's the plot? Princess Jasmine is being forced to marry by her wealthy father. He tells her she needs a well-off husband to protect her. She resists and instead falls in love at first sight with street urchin Aladdin, who she ends up marrying instead.

"Princess Jasmine is feistier as a princess," says Dr Cann.

"But she is still portrayed as a possession of wealthy, powerful men.

"Dress-wise, she is basically in a bikini top to show off her very slight stomach which seem to be an attempt by white film-makers to make the dress of Middle Eastern women look more exotic and sexual."

There is also the fact that "good" characters, like Aladdin, are portrayed as pale-skinned, while "bad characters", like the villain Jafar, are darker skinned.

Dr Cann says skin tone "is a really important concept for how good and bad come to be represented in films.

"It’s the same in another Disney film, The Lion King, where the Scar, the evil lion, is a darker colour than the good lions, like Mufasa.

"This can be especially damaging to the self-esteem of people with darker skin tones."


Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Promotes anorexia

What’s the plot? Another princess is sent to sleep with a spell – once more from an older, bitter female character taking revenge for not being invited to her Christening. The evil fairy then puts on a curse on the child saying she will die by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel before her 16th birthday. Her finger does get pricked, she falls into a deep sleep and it also takes the kiss of a Prince, stunned by her beauty,  to wake her.

"Aurora can only be woken up by the true love’s kiss of a prince, which sets up the idea that once you find the person you are supposed to be with, everyone lives happily ever," says Dr Cann.

"It creates unrealistic expectations of relationships."

Dr Cann also points out Sleeping Beauty barely has any dialogue. Instead she’s an object to be looked at.

"Sleeping Beauty is also a case of glorified thinness – it’s impossible to have a waist that small," Dr Cann observes.

"Studies have shown that when little girls are shown ideals that they have no chance of living up to, it can be damaging for how they feel about their worth."

Like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty is also kissed while she is asleep (and looking dead), sending the message that women are passive objects to be lusted after.

"There’s definitely a question of consent in these films," says Dr Cann.

"They normalise men’s sense of entitlement over women’s bodies."

The Little Mermaid (1989) – Gives up everything for a man

What's the plot?  After falling in love at first sight with Prince Eric, mermaid Ariel makes a deal with sea-witch Ursula to give up her voice in return for swapping her tail for human legs.

According to Dr Cann: "The premise of the film is that it’s OK to abandon your family, drastically change your body and give away your voice to get your man.

"Ursula, the sea witch, is another case of an evil woman being portrayed as older or less conventionally attractive.

"The message is that you can’t be a single woman without being jealous or unhappy."

The fact that Ariel gives up her voice to get her man sends a message that marriage is more important.

Dr Coffey-Glover says: "The lead female characters don’t do much else in the films apart from seek out enchanted love – other life goals are very much secondary."

Cinderella (1950) – Promotes gold diggers

What’s the plot? Cinderella is forced to be servant to her cruel stepmother and her jealous, less pretty daughters. So she can go to the ball, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother transforms her into a princess for the evening. In her finery, she enchants the Prince but in her rush to get home before midnight, she leaves her glass slipper. When the Prince finds out she is the only woman in the kingdom who fits it, they get married.

"The message here is that if you’re beautiful enough, a rich man might fall for you and take you to live in luxury," says Dr Cann.

"The film also encourages the idea that how you look and dress is what’s most important about you. Before she has fine clothes, Cinderella is invisible."

The film also makes out all stepmothers to be evil and scary.

Dr Cann says: "At a time when fewer children live in traditional nuclear families, the idea that all stepmothers are jealous gold-diggers – and that only biological mothers can be kind – also gives off damaging messages to children."

Frozen (2013) – Girl Power

What’s the plot? Anna and Elsa are princesses who have to be separated because of Elsa’s magical ice powers. When Elsa freezes her sister’s heart by accident, she is told it can only be thawed by true love. When her own tears fall on Anna’s body, she wakes up.

While it’s not perfect, Frozen is an improvement on what’s gone before, says Dr Cann and Dr Coffey-Glover.

Dr Cann says: "This is a film where there are two female lead roles. It shows that love can take different forms and a woman does not need to be saved by a man."

Although the characters still have stereotypical white faces and tiny figures, Dr Cann says this is a Disney movie that gives off more positive messages.

"When children are younger, these sort of Disney films send more positive message to children, so it might be better to show these first," she says.

Overall, Dr Cann advises: “There’s no need to ban kids from seeing Disney movies, but maybe wait until they are little older to show them the older films. Then use them as a way to raise some questions about what they see there.

"The Disney films can be a great way to teach media literacy."

Dr Coffey-Glover agrees: "I'm not saying that we should necessarily boycott Disney films, just that it's important we encourage our children to consume them with a critical eye."

In the same debate, Fabulous Daily editor and Disney superfan Joely Chilcott shared her view on the films.

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TV & Movies

The Real Reason Disney Will Spend $200 Million On Just 1 Disney+ Marvel Show

Saying that Marvel movies aren’t cheap is like saying that water is wet. The catering budget on Avengers: Endgame was probably more than the budgets for entire independent movies. The entire cost for Endgame was between $300 and $400 million. 

Granted, that movie was in profit by week two or three. But how do you account for profits when you’re making TV shows where ticket sales aren’t a factor? Marvel Studios is going to the small screen with several shows for Disney+.

But can even Marvel make a profit when just one of their shows costs $200 million? And it’s Hawkeye, of all things?

The MCU has many expensive shows coming up

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. WandaVision. Loki. What If? Hawkeye. Just one of these shows would represent a major investment for any company, and Disney/Marvel has five of them coming between 2020 and 2021 to Disney+

And that’s not even all of them. Marvel has announced at least three other shows are in the works: She Hulk, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel. There’s no doubt the company can afford it, given the billions the company has made, but is this sustainable? 

Disney certainly seems to think it’s possible, because the company is betting the farm on Disney+. CEO Bob Iger calls it the single most important venture the entire company has embarked on in some time. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company has invested $2.6 billion solely for the technology to make Disney+ reach millions of homes.

The streaming service is a large part of the reason Disney purchased its competitor 20th Century Fox. We’re already starting to see the fruits of that, since the 1947 Fox holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, will be on Disney Plus. 

‘Hawkeye’ costs that much?

Still, many an eyelid batted when reports came out that Hawkeye by itself was going to cost $200 million. An effects-heavy show like WandaVision might justify the lofty price tag, but Hawkeye, with its emphasis on physical action, doesn’t seem to. 

As Collider put it, “Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Hawkeye (cost as)  much as $25 million per episode, totaling $500 million, though how you spend $200 million on Hawkeye alone is anyone’s guess.”

Here’s where things get technical. As much as Disney aims to become a new streaming leader, they’re very much following the Netflix playbook in that Disney pays its talent more money upfront to get them on board so that they can then take advantage of lucrative backend deals.

A 25-year-old show like Seinfeld still rakes in the bucks because of the deals they make to keep airing in perpetuity. A certain company just spent $500 million to acquire Seinfeld, and that company is Netflix. 

Disney+ won’t stay cheap forever

Many people expressed surprise at Disney’s $6.99  price point. And considering the treasure trove of movies the company has going back more than 80 years, that’s a great deal no matter how you crunch your numbers. 

Surely that price can’t stick that way for long, which is why a number of people have signed long-term contracts to lock in that low price for a few years. While Netflix remains the streaming leader, a great hue and cry always erupts when their prices go up, even though $12.99 for all they offer isn’t a bad deal either. 

The same thing is bound to happen when Disney goes from $6.99 to, say, $10.99 a month. 

We may soon be entering a wonderland of streaming content with Disney+ by itself, but even though Disney is starting as a large fish, a lot more fish are going to be joining the pond, including HBO Max and Universal’s Peacock.

And even more are surely on the way. Somebody has to pay for all that programming. And it won’t all be the providers. 

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Kids

Finally! ‘Bluey’ on Disney is a show kids can watch on repeat without driving parents crazy

"Bluey" follows a family of blue heeler dogs with Australian accents and it's the best kids show I've seen in a long time. (Photo: Ludo Studios Pty Ltd 2018)

I’ve been gently trying to steer my preschooler away from “Sofia the First” and “PJ Masks” for a while now.

It’s not that the shows are bad—though “PJ Masks” adherence to plot formula basically means if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. It’s that I’ve seen them so many times, I just can’t take it anymore.

So, a few weeks ago when my daughter clicked on an image of a happy blue dog to launch “Bluey” within the DisneyNow app, I mentally crossed my fingers and hoped we’d found something good.

From the cute theme song to the feel-good ending, it was delightful. Charming. Genuinely funny. Modern and authentic.

We’ve since watched all the episodes Disney Junior has of the Ludo Studios/Australian Broadcasting Corporation/BBC Studios show. And, they’re all good, as I’ve raved to my friends with young kids who were looking for relief from shows like “Bubble Guppies” and “Paw Patrol” (again, not bad, just no more). And my karma must be doing OK because Disney is launching new episodes starting Oct. 21.

If you’re skeptical about a foursome of blue heelers with Australian accents can reflect a modern American family, let me explain.

‘Bluey’ is just. so. good.

I’ll start with “Markets,” the first episode my daughter and I watched.

Bluey, a 6-year-old puppy, proudly tells her dad, Bandit, the tooth fairy gave her $5. Dad spits out his cereal and asks, “Five bucks?!” He looks at mom, Chilli, who assures him that’s the amount the fairy left all Bluey’s friends.

“Well, that tooth fairy is doing well for herself, isn’t she?” he asks, winking at mom and Bluey, who’s in the background doing the flossing dance with excitement.

The dog family, which includes Bluey’s little sister Bingo, goes to the market.

Bluey and her friend go from booth to booth, trying to decide what to spend her $5 on. They find a “pony lady” who’s charging $5 to ride miniature ponies. Bluey hands over her money, then learns she only has enough for one rider and it would cost $10 for both girls to ride.

“I only want to go if Indy can come,” she says, deciding to get her money back and continue looking for a treat.

Bluey and her friend Indy learn about how money works during an episode of "Bluey." (Photo: Ludo Studios Pty Ltd 2018)

Next up, is the German sausage booth. But Indy tells Bluey her mom won’t let her eat sausage because it has “additives,” stumbling over the pronunciation. At a dessert booth, Indy asks the vendor if the doughnuts have “wheat, sugar, gluten or dairy?”

“That’s all they’ve got in them,” he responds.

Feeling her money burning a hole in her pocket, Bluey caves to pressure and buys a toffee apple after the vendor says there’s only one left. She immediately regrets her decision, especially since her friend can’t share the treat. Bluey asks her dad to have her $5 back.

“That’s not really how it works, kiddo,” he explains. “Once you’ve spent money, it’s, well, gone.”  

Bluey is bummed, so her friend comforts her: “Don’t worry, Bluey. My mom always says to me, ‘What goes around, comes around.’”

“What does that mean?” Bluey asks.

“I dunno,” Indy says.

Cue music and a montage plays to illustrate Bluey’s $5, which the tooth fairy marked with a sticker, move from the toffee apple vendor to the German sausage booth and eventually to Indy’s mom’s sugar-, dairy-, gluten-free dessert booth. Bluey and Indy are shocked to see the money come full circle.

So there—in a short, seven-minute episode—my daughter and I both laughed and learned about friendship, special diets, personal finance and the economy. From a family of dogs.

Bluey’s family is brilliant 

The other thing I love about “Bluey” is the family dynamic.

Dad parents. He’s sarcastic, sympathetic and silly (watch the “Takeaway” episode). Mom works. She’s fun and the voice of reason. She saves an otherwise disastrous day during “The Pool.” Bingo and Bluey love each other but have to navigate sisterhood by learning how to include each other (watch “Butterflies”) and compromise (watch “Grannies”).

Sprinkle in endearing details like the way the kids giggle and the nonsense questions they ask, I don’t hesitate to say yes when my daughter asks, “Can I watch another one, mom?” because I want more, too.  

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TV & Movies

Disney is Spending a Ton of Money on Disney+, Including an Almost $1 Billion Original Content Budget

Disney is about to launch Disney+, it’s high-profile streaming service loaded with tons of movies from their past as well as several original titles. It’s all part of the House of Mouse’s plan to finally embrace the world of streaming while also taking on Netflix. Is the gamble going to pay off? All signs point to yes. There’s enough nostalgia built-in for Disney titles of the past, and interest in new original Star Wars and Marvel shows to draw a crowd. But a new profile details that putting all of this together ended up costing Disney and arm and a leg.

The Hollywood Reporter has a huge profile on Disney’s plans for Disney+, their streaming service. The piece includes an interview with Disney Chairman Bob Iger in which Iger dishes on all the work – and money – that’s gone into getting this thing together. To get Disney+ off the ground, Iger has “invested $2.6 billion to acquire the necessary technology, shuffled his executive ranks to create a new direct-to-consumer division, forgone $150 million in annual income by ending the studio’s output deal with Netflix and even spent $71.3 billion for the 21st Century Fox assets to beef up Disney’s production capabilities and content library.”

“The first thing I did was make sure that the library was going to be ready for our launch,” Senior VP of Content Agnes Chu tells THR. “It was everything from going into our vault and physically looking at things that had not yet been restored to [paging through] binders of pieces of paper with legal deals.” Chu also met with people like Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to discuss potential Star Wars TV shows for the platform. Then there was the decision to take some movies Disney had slated and move them from a theatrical release to a streaming debut. That doesn’t mean Disney is going to forgo theatrical releases, though.

“There are films that work really well in theaters and require the big screen,” Chu says, adding that  “Disney doesn’t plan on changing any windows to bring them sooner to Disney+, which means there will be around a seven-month wait for titles like the upcoming Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to hit the service (Toy Story 4 should become available in early 2020).”

So how much is all of this going to ultimately cost? A lot. Disney is “projecting a 2020 original content budget short of $1 billion.” Where’s all that money going? Well, The Mandalorian reportedly costs $15 million per episode, while The Falcon and the Winter SoldierWandaVision and Hawkeye could run as much as $25 million per episode. Disney can obviously afford costs like this since they own everything. But Disney is going to need Disney+ to be a rousing success to make all of this worth it.

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Categories
Travel

There’s a ‘Disney jail’ for misbehaving theme park guests with Blake Lively among those who have been ‘locked up’ – The Sun

DISNEYLAND guests who misbehave or break the rules could find themselves thrown in the 'Disney jail'.

Celebrities have also been locked up, including Blake Lively and Robert Downey Jr.

Guests have shared the ways they found themselves sent to the Disney jail in the theme park.

One person tweeted: "I got caught sneaking my sister in then they tried to take me to Disney jail and I ran away… so then they mailed me a letter banning me for a year."

Another person added: "My friend was put in Disney jail because he got out of the boat on Pirates of the Caribbean.

"We had no idea what had happened to him, came to find out he was in their secret holding tank."

Even celebrities have been locked up in the Disney prison.

Blake Lively revealed she was sent to Disney jail for trying to sneak in with her brother when she was six-years-old.

She ended up being banned for a year after they were caught sharing re-entry stamps on their hands.

Robert Downey Jr also shared his story of going to Disney jail after smoking weed in the park.

Sonic Youth singer Kim Gordon was jailed for the same reason in the 1970s.

She told The Guardian that she was "taken underground" and held in prison overnight.

While many people call it a jail, Disney fans can be reassured that it is not as bad as it sounds.

Instead, guests have said it is a room with park security who work out whether to remove you from the park.

A video from 2015 shows a group of people sitting in a waiting area as staff stand by the doors.

The exact location of the jail is unknown.

However, cast members have spilled the beans on what it is like, from being a "room over the candy shop on main street" to being "underground, in a room with bars on the windows."

However, a Disney spokesperson told Buzzfeed that the stories surrounding the jail are a "wives' tale".

Disneyland has a number of strict rules for visitors to the park.

You could find yourself in jail for a number of reasons such as smoking or being drunk.

Other bans include dressing up as Disney characters as an adult, or scattering a loved one's ashes.

A Disney superfan has been banned for life after attacking a man at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Another man was arrested after "getting high on LSD and falling into Captain Hook lake".

Sun Online Travel has contacted Disney for comment.

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Categories
Travel

Disney World guest with autism suing park over disability policy; trial set for next year

Disney World: What you may not know

Did you know that Disney World has only closed four times or that the iconic theme park is actually not located in the City of Orlando? Take a look at some fun facts that you may not have known about the renowned Disney resort.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Disney World visitor with autism is heading to court in February to challenge Disney Parks over their policy for guests with special needs.

The suit was originally filed in 2014, after the park changed its policy allowing such guests to skip the lines at rides and attractions. In its place, Disney began providing Disability Access Service (DAS) cards, which could be used by special-needs guests to obtain a “return time” for a popular ride — much like a FastPass — at which point the guests and those accompanying them would be allowed to enter without waiting.

Disney reportedly changed the original policy after learning of people recruiting special-needs guests in order to help themselves skip the lines as well, per WFLA. A fact sheet for the DAS cards, provided by the Disney Parks Blog, appears to confirm this as the reason for the change.

Now, after five years, a U.S. district judge has scheduled a February court date for a non-jury trial, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The suit was originally filed in 2014, after the parks changed their policy allowing such guests to skip the lines at rides and attractions. In its place, Disney began providing Disability Access Service (DAS) cards, which could be used by special-needs guests to obtain a “return time” for a popular ride — much like a FastPass — at which point the guests and those accompanying them would be allowed to enter without waiting.
(iStock)

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Supporters of the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of a plaintiff identified only as “A.L.”, argue that Disney World’s current policy, which allows special-needs visitors to return to a ride at a later time, may be hard for some visitors to physically achieve. They also claim it may be a difficult concept for other visitors to comprehend.

“The disabled plaintiff is mentally and physically incapable of traveling across the park to the site of an attraction only to be told to come back later,” said attorney Anthony Dogali, per court documents obtained by WFLA. “This experience will induce meltdowns in the large majority of persons with cognitive impairments.”

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The case will go to trial on Feb. 18 in Orlando. Dogali said he does not expect to settle with Disney before that time, according to the Sentinel.

Disney changed its former policy after learning of people recruiting special-needs guests in order to help themselves skip the lines. “The new program is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney," the park said at the time of the policy change. "It will also help control abuse that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.”
(iStock)

When reached for a comment, a representative for Disney Parks said the company has "an unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests. We fully comply with all ADA requirements and believe that the legal claims are without merit.”

A fact sheet concerning the DAS cards, shared by the Disney Parks Blog at the time of the policy change, had also explained the reason for the switch.

“Disney Parks is modifying the current Guest Assistance Card program, which provides access to attractions for guests with disabilities, so it can continue to serve the guests who truly need it,” the parks wrote. “The new program is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. It will also help control abuse that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.”

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Previously, the Walt Disney Company had filed a petition to stop trials for 30 lawsuits filed on behalf of parkgoers with severe autism from going to court. The plaintiffs claimed that the iconic theme parks’ system of “appointment times” for those with disabilities failed to sufficiently accommodate their needs, often leading to upsetting “meltdowns,” though Disney claims that factors responsible for triggering such “meltdowns” were beyond their control.

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Kids

'Frozen' Mania! A Bunch of New 'Frozen 2' Toys Just Dropped on Amazon, Including Singing Dolls and a Five-Foot Tall Castle

The highly anticipated Frozen 2 drops in theaters next month, and now there are a bunch of new toys inspired by the upcoming film from Hasbro, LEGO, and more to keep you busy while you wait.  

Featuring all your favorites from the icy kingdom, the massive toy drop includes six new LEGO sets, Elsa and Anna dolls (including ones that sing!), Funko Pops, an impressive, five-foot tall Arendelle Castle, and more. The best part? Tons of them are available on Amazon, which means you can get your Christmas shopping done extra early by shopping them now — they’ll arrive at your door in just two days if you’re a Prime member.

While all the new drops are certainly gift-worthy for any Frozen lover, the Ultimate Arendelle Castle is definitely the most grand. Crowned as one of the ‘most wanted’ toys this holiday season by toy review company Toys, Tots, Pets, and More, the $200 castle features four floors, seven rooms, 14 accessories, and even an elevator to help dolls (sold seperately) get around.

Buy It! Ultimate Arendelle Castle, $199.99; amazon.com

And if you’re shopping on a budget, don’t fret — all of the other toys are actually under $100, with a majority retailing under $30. LEGO also released its own Arendelle Castle, and while it’s not five feet tall, it’s the largest Frozen 2 LEGO set you can get. 

Buy It! LEGO Arendelle Castle Village, $79.99; amazon.com

When it comes to the doll selection, there are quite a few to choose from, but standouts include the adorable Elsa and Anna adventure dolls, including two singing Elsa ones ($34.99; amazon.com), whose dresses light up, and play an original song from Frozen 2 (“Into the Unknown”) and the classic “Let It Go” respectively. Plus, these special dolls come with extra long hair and a mechanical braiding tool that’s able to braid Elsa and Anna’s hair into “fast and fashionable trends.” And if you’re hoping to see other Frozen favorites in doll form, you can also snag a complete Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven doll set. 

Buy It! Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Sings “Let It Go,” $34.99; amazon.com, Frozen Disney Anna Toddler Toll, $19.99; amazon.com

Plus, Disney has been gearing up for the holiday season for the past two months — from releasing advent calendars to re-stocking this super popular Disney princess costume trunk, there are tons of magical options to gift this holiday season.

Below, shop more of our favorite Frozen 2 toy releases, and browse through the entire selection on Amazon here.

Buy It! Funko Pop! Disney: Frozen 2, Elsa in Nightdown with Ice Diamond, Amazon Exclusive, $11.99; amazon.com, Funko Pop! Disney: Frozen 2, Sven, $9.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Disney Frozen Elsa Fashion Doll with Braiding Tool, $24.99; amazon.com, Disney Frozen Anna Fashion Doll with Braiding Tool, $24.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Disney Frozen 2 Elsa Musical Doll, $34.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Disney Frozen Talk and Glow Olaf and Elsa Dolls, $49.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Adventure Small Doll Collection, $24.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Frozen 2 Sledding Adventures Doll Set, $79.99; amazon.com

Buy It! LEGO Elsa’s Jewelry Box Creation, $39.99; amazon.com

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Kids

This $35 Trunk Filled with Disney Princess Costumes Is Finally Back in Stock After Selling Out on Amazon

If your little one is obsessed with Disney princesses, listen up: An exclusive Disney trunk filled with Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, and Aurora outfits is back in stock on Amazon.

The $35 trunk has been sold out for a few weeks, but it’s finally ready to be added to your cart again. Perfect for any Disney fan, the 21-piece trunk features two-piece outfits (a top and skirt) based on the classic princesses, plus tons of accessories like jewelry, headbands, stickers, and tiaras. Recommended for ages three and up, the dresses fit sizes 4 to 6X, and are packaged in a keepsake trunk that can be used to store the outfits or other items. Over 1,200 shoppers have had a positive experience with the Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk, saying they were happy with it, and that it made for very cute photos.

“[It’s] a trunk full (well, a large sturdy cardboard container that looks like a trunk, which will serve to store the costumes between uses) of colorful outfits for little princesses and dancers and other dashing ladies (includes some beads, earrings, and other accessories). This was a huge hit with my three great-nieces aged 3 to 8. The clothes are loose fitting so they work for a range of sizes. Everybody found several things that suited them,” one shopper wrote.

Buy It! Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk Deluxe, $34.98; amazon.com

Tons of shoppers mention the trunk is a huge hit during the holidays, and that kids love every piece inside.

Another reviewer wrote, “It’s spectacular! She loved each piece so much she couldn’t decide on one to wear so she put them all on at once. That’s literally what happened. Then she pulled up each layer saying ‘I Belle, now I Cinnnerella, now I Sooo White.’ Spelling for emphasis on how she said it. (She’s 3.)”

RELATED: Disney Just Launched Two New Advent Calendars on Amazon After Its Last One Sold Out

Customers say the quality of the dresses aren’t “Disney store type costumes,” but are perfect for daily use, the price, and the smiles it brings to their kids faces. “This little dress up kit has kept [my] 4 year old happy for weeks now! She loves all of the different combinations. The materials aren’t of the highest quality, but I have zero complaints, as they are just worn for fun anyways.”

We’re not sure just how long the Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk will stay in stock this time, but with Halloween and the holidays just around the corner, it’d be smart to shop it ASAP! And just in case it does sell out, Amazon has tons of other Disney princess costumes available (including quite a few Frozen-inspired dresses), that you can check out below.

Buy It! JerrisApparel New Cinderella Dress Princess Costume Butterfly Girl, $15.99–$25.99; amazon.com

Buy It! JerrisApparel Snow Party Elsa Dress, $10.99–$22.99; amazon.com

Buy It! ReliBeauty Little Girls Layered Princess Belle Costume Dress Up, $11.99–$22.99; amazon.com

Buy It! ReliBeauty Girls Princess Dress up Aurora Costume, $14.99–$27.99; amazon.com

Buy It! JerrisApparel Snow Party Princess Anna, $10.99–$22.99; amazon.com

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Travel

Man claims Disney World trip will be ruined by girlfriend's newborn niece – and Reddit users agree

Disney World guest’s angry rant about ‘childless’ millennials flooding the park goes viral

The anonymous mom says people without children should be banned from the parks.

One frustrated Reddit user recently asked others whether they thought he was in the wrong for telling his girlfriend’s sister that she and her newborn baby were not invited to come on a highly anticipated group trip to Walt Disney World that had long been planned as a strictly “child free” vacation.

In late August, Redditor DisneyBoundGaston voiced his woes on the internet discussion site, wondering if he was a jerk “for saying a baby cannot come on vacation” in a post that has since gone viral with over 2,500 upvotes and more than 550 comments, Disney fan site Inside the Magic reports.

“For the past two years, a group of friends and I have been planning a weeklong trip to Orlando to visit Disneyworld and Universal Studios in three weeks. The first rule we made when we started to plan this trip is that it would be childfree,” the anxious author began, noting that he also planned to propose to his partner on the trip.

One frustrated Reddit user recently asked others whether or not they thought he was in the wrong for telling his girlfriend’s sister that she and her newborn baby were not invited to come on a highly anticipated group trip to Walt Disney World – during which the man intended to propose to his partner – as the event had long been planned as a strictly “child free” trip.
(iStock)

DISNEYLAND TOONTOWN BRAWL DEFENDANTS FAIL TO APPEAR IN COURT: REPORT

“For personal reasons, one of my buddies had to drop out of the trip last minute. Since everything has been paid for, he said that if I could find someone to take his place he wouldn’t expect to be reimbursed in any way, except for sweets from Honeydukes and mouse ears,” he continued.

DisneyBoundGaston detailed that though he did find someone to fill the vacant spot, his unnamed girlfriend and “hopefully soon to be fiancée” intervened and announced that she wanted her sister to come along for the adventure.

DisneyBoundGaston explained that he wasn’t too thrilled with the option, as the woman had just had a baby who would only be about six weeks old by the time of the trip.

His unfazed girlfriend, meanwhile, said that it would be fine if the infant came along and that the larger group could “make it work” with a newborn in tow.

The Redditor said that his girlfriend’s sister, now offended, blasted him for the unsoliticed parenting advice and argued that it was “creepy that a bunch of adults wanted to go to Disney without children.” 
(iStock)

In a larger sense, the Redditor described his girlfriend as “a huge pushover when it comes to her sister” and claimed that she “has never said no to her before.”

Taking matters into his own hands, DisneyBoundGaston called his girlfriend’s sister on the phone to “politely” explain that “the trip was adults only and her newborn was not allowed” – though the new mom didn’t seem to get it.

“She wouldn’t listen and started rambling about her daughter getting pictures with Mickey and Elsa (she also named her daughter Elsa by the way) and how much fun she’ll have,” the writer moaned. “I interrupted her and said that the trip was adults only and her newborn was not allowed. I then pointed out that a lot of the places we’ll be going to after the parks are adults only and no one would want to stay behind with her and the baby. Plus I don’t think an unvaccinated newborn should be taken to Disney.”

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The Redditor said that his girlfriend’s sister, now offended, blasted him for the unsolicited parenting advice and argued that it was “creepy that a bunch of adults wanted to go to Disney without children.”

Continuing to fight, DisneyBoundGaston added that he thinks she cussed him out before he hung up.

“For the past two years, a group of friends and I have been planning a weeklong trip to Orlando to visit Disneyworld and Universal Studios in three weeks. The first rule we made when we started to plan this trip is that it would be childfree,” the anxious author wrote on Reddit.
(iStock)

“My girlfriend thinks I was mean to her sister and said I should apologize for not giving her a chance to come on the trip,” the author concluded the now-viral post, and asked the Reddit community for insight.

To the author’s likely delight, many commenters agreed that he was not in the wrong for not wanting the baby to come along.

“It sounds like this woman isn't used to not getting her way. Also someone who wants to bring a weeks old baby to Disney is a total moron,” one supporter said.

“It isn't creepy, sister is just hurt that she's being excluded for needing to bring her child,” another agreed.

“I just went to Universal [Studious] for my 21st birthday, only adults. Not weird at all those places are fun for all ages, and the kid will just slow you down,” one chimed in. “And really I don’t think taking a baby that young to those places is even a good idea at all, and would ruin the fun.”

“I live in Orlando (not recommended) and the amount of 20-somethings that live here and are obsessed with Disney is insane, and none of them have kids,” another joked.

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As evidenced by the comments, hardly any Redditors thought the man was in the wrong for not wanting the baby to come on the long-awaited trip. At best, one user suggested the adults look into the theme park’s “rider switch” option, which allows guests to take turns waiting with the young children unable to ride the ride without losing their place in line.

As evidenced by the comments, hardly any Redditors thought the man was in the wrong for not wanting the baby to come along the long-awaited trip.
(iStock)

“Honestly this is one thing that would probably not be an issue with bringing the baby- many theme parks have a ‘rider switch’ option for rides so adults with small children don’t have to miss out on all the fun,” they said.

On a rockier note, some Reddit users suggested that it was perhaps DisneyBoundGaston’s girlfriend that was the problem – and that he may be wise to delay popping the question.

“Hate to say it but your girlfriend is [the jerk] here,” one claimed. “She put you in a bad position, didn't help you get out of it, and is now blaming you for cleaning up after her mistake. There isn't even enough blame left over to throw some at the sister – it's your girlfriend who showed no consideration for you in this ordeal.”

“Most women I know would not have thrown their boyfriend under the bus in order to impress their sister,” another declared. “Your girlfriend should have managed her sister’s expectations and never put you in the position of being confronted by her. Your girlfriend and her sister should be apologizing to YOU!”

“I would let this whole trip play out before proposing. This trip is going to give you a peek into what marriage would be like with your girlfriend,” one mused.

“It does seem to be shaping up that [the author] might have a fiancée problem instead of just a sister-in-law problem…” another warned.

It remains unclear just how DisneyBoundGaston’s big trip will play out.

In similar headlines, one furious Disney World guest’s angry rant about “childless” millennials visiting the theme park went viral back in July.

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Kids

Disney Just Launched Two New Advent Calendars on Amazon After Its Last One Sold Out

If you didn’t get the chance to grab Disney’s popular Storybook Advent Calendar filled with 24 books (it’s currently sold out!) last month, you’re in luck, because the magical brand just dropped two new advent calendars on Amazon.

The advent calendars, themed around Disney Junior and Mickey Mouse, come with 24 surprises for every day of December leading up to Christmas Day. Recommended for ages three and up, each window will either reveal a mini figurine, customizable holiday accessory, sticker, or a decorative gift box. 

Buy It! Disney Mickey Mouse Advent Calendar, $33.13; amazon.com

The calendars feature character favorites like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, and pups from Disney Junior show Puppy Dog Pals.

Buy It! Disney Dr. Advent Calendar, $29.99; amazon.com 

RELATED: LEGO’s New Harry Potter and Star Wars Advent Calendars Are Finally Here With Over 200 Pieces Each

December may seem far away now, but it’s actually only three months away (yes, three!), which means the holidays will sneak up on you before you know it. Disney’s Storybook Collection sold out pretty quickly after its release, so you’ll want to add these advent calendars to your cart ASAP.

And while we’re hoping for some more festive Disney drops soon, the brand has tons of magical books that are sure to make the whole fam feel holly-jolly — shop them below!

Buy It! Disney’s Countdown to Christmas: A Story A Day, $9.89; amazon.com

Buy It! Disney 5-Minute Christmas Stories, $9.99; amazon.com

Buy It! Disney Christmas Storybook Collection, $13.23; amazon.com

Buy It! Disney Baby My First Christmas, $7.32; amazon.com

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Health

Woman says stranger at Disney World called wheelchair 'a hoax' when she stood up

Kristen Waldbieser was on a trip to Disneyworld to visit the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area this weekend.

She took her wheelchair because walking for long distances is difficult.

The author has a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which means her heart rate increases abnormally when she sits or stands up.

Kristen is an ambulatory wheelchair user, meaning she can walk or stand but sometimes needs a wheelchair to help with longer distances or on days when she is feeling really unwell.

She grew up in Orlando, Florida and loves going to the park so she knew that her wheelchair would help her enjoy the day.

When she arrived at the park, she posed for a picture in her wheelchair with her book Princess Audrey Saves the Prince, which tells the story of a princess with disabilities.

A few minutes later, she stood up and took another picture.

She says while she was standing, she heard someone say: ‘Oh, the wheelchair is a hoax!’

Although the person told her they were kidding, the comment hurt Kristen.

In a Facebook post, she said: ‘the words stung with me. No, I don’t need my wheelchair every day. But my wheelchair helps me get places that I otherwise probably couldn’t go.

‘But just because I don’t need it every day, doesn’t mean it’s not real and it’s not needed. It is not a hoax.

‘And even jokingly, it’s not ok to say that to someone. Not all disabilities or chronic illness looks the same.

‘And it’s time to break that stigma that those with chronic illnesses are faking it, which, unfortunately, is heard by so many far too often.

‘Long story short, you never know someone else’s story, so please be kind with your words.’

The post received over 25,000 shares, 35,000 likes and over 3,000 comments.

Tim said: ‘This is such an important message. In general, if we could focus our efforts on judging less and being more kind things would be so much more pleasant.’

Kaitlin added: ‘100% understand this feeling! I used to be so self-conscious on days when I needed to use my wheelchair because of the judgement.

‘I shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed all day or have to explain my disease to everyone! Thank you for sharing.’

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Lifestyle

12 Reasons Taking a Disney Cruise Is More Magical Than Going to the Parks

12 Reasons Taking a Disney Cruise Is More Magical Than Going to the Parks

Walt Disney World is known as the most magical place on earth, but I’m here to tell you that while, yes, it’s pretty great, there’s actually somewhere better. What kind of place could that even be, you ask? A Disney cruise.

Visiting Disney World or Disneyland is always a great time, but with all that fun comes lots of walking, waiting, and the hassle of trying to keep the family together in massive (and usually overheated) crowds. But all of those problems magically disappear when you step on board a Disney cruise ship.

A Disney cruise not only takes away a lot of the hassles of traveling (you don’t need to plan as much!), but it adds on extra magic with amazing entertainment, a plethora of activities, pretty views, and, oh yeah, around-the-world destinations. Here are 12 reasons why a Disney cruise is the best Disney vacation of them all.

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TV & Movies

Disney Announces Next Movie That Won't Be a Remake

Walt Disney Studios has been on a roll this year, releasing live-action remake after live-action remake. Classic animated Disney feature films like Aladdin, The Lion King, and Lady & the Tramp have all been brought to life in a very new and exciting way. At Saturday’s D23 panel in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced that the studio would be returning to its roots with an all-new fantasy action-adventure film called Raya and the Last Dragon.

Raya and the Last Dragon will be the 59th film produced by the studio. Here’s what we know about Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon so far.

What is ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ about?

In Disney’s upcoming animated feature film, a young warrior named Raya, voiced by Cassie Steele, is seeking out the world’s last dragon, a water creature named Sisu, to save the fictional world of Kumandra from a terrifying dark force. The film’s producer, Osnat Shurer describes the world of Raya and the Last Dragon as “a reimagined earth inhabited by an ancient civilization that venerated the mythical dragons for their power and their wisdom.” The film was inspired by the culture of Southeastern Asia. Kumandra is comprised of five separate clans who form the Land of the Dragon together. Now that the dragons are gone, Kumandra is under attack by a “dark, sinister force” that only a dragon can defeat.

“Raya is ready to meet a magical water being who breathes fog through her nose, flies by riding the raindrops, and has a gem that channels this amazing huge power,” Steele said from the D23 Expo stage, “When Raya first meets [her], she’s in human form and needs Raya’s help to reclaim her power to become her true dragon self.”

The film revolves around themes of community, family, and honor. A sneak peek from Raya and the Last Dragon was shown at the D23 panel. The footage showed Raya exploring a rainy jungle and discovering an ancient temple. Accompanied by her flute-playing younger brother, Raya enters the temple and passes through a hall of dragon carvings. At the climax of the preview, the two come face to face with Sisu, the world’s last dragon, played by rapper Awkwafina.

What else is next for Disney?

Aside from Raya and the Last Dragon, Walt Disney Animation Studios has a very exciting lineup of original animated feature films coming up. The release of Raya and the Last Dragon will follow after two Pixar films, Onward and Soul.

Onward is the story of two teenage elf brothers who go on a journey seeking out the remaining magic in the world to help them spend one last day with their late father, who had passed when the siblings were very young. The film stars Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Octavia Spencer, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The film will hit theaters on March 6, 2020.

Soul tells the story of a middle school teacher named Joe Garner who has always longed to be a jazz musician. When his soul is accidentally separated from his body, Joe must help out other lost souls in order to return to his world. The film stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, and Daveed Diggs. It will be released in theaters on June 19, 2020.

Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon will swoop into theaters on Nov. 25, 2020.

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Travel

TSA Bans Disney Star Wars ‘Thermal Detonator’ Coke Products On All Flights

If you’re a Star Wars fan and recently visited the new Galaxy’s Edge theme park in one of the Disney Parks, buying a replica ‘thermal detonator’ means a problem trying to fly home.

Essentially, fans of the hugely-popular Star Wars brand that love to collect Star Wars collectibles will have to find a way, other than flying, to get their new unique bottles of ‘the real thing’ as souvenirs from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios home and into their collection.

The Transportation Security Administration has banned the “thermal detonator” Coca-Cola bottles from checked and carry-on luggage on U.S. flights. This is because there is a concern that someone might mistake the replicas for real explosives.

TSA confirmed the ruling for all U.S. flights when TSA spokesperson Jim Gregory said,  “Replica items are not allowed on aircraft.” He added, “:The Galaxy’s Edge Coke bottles could cause confusion for TSA screeners at airport security checkpoints.

While most people would understand these are not actually explosives but Star Wars items, the Coca-Cola bottles sold in Galaxy’s Edge, might look like palm-sized thermal detonator grenades to the untrained non-Star Wars fanboy eyes. With with logos rendered in the Aurebesh language used throughout the galaxy far, far away, that probably adds to the issue.

What This Means

Sorry Star Wars fans. If you want these very cool collectible items, you’re going to need to either drive home, find a way to ship them or wait it out until TSA changes their ruling on such items.

There is no word on whether or not Disney has any plans to stop selling the collectibles as a result of the TSA decision.

If there’s good news here, it’s that TSA permits the hand-built lightsabers and astromech droids sold in Galaxy’s Edge in carry-on and checked bags, Popsugar reported.

Next: The Cast Of The Office Has Finally Been Immortalized In Funko Pop! Form

Tags:star wars

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Kids

Disney World is getting a ‘Moana’ attraction and there’s no telling how far we’ll go to get there

A new Moana attraction will feature a "living water" experience for fans. (Photo: Disney Parks)

Grab your coconuts! “Moana” fans will be able explore her tropical village inside the magical world of Walt Disney World.

The “Moana” attraction called “Journey of Water” will be opening at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. as part of the park’s massive revamping. 

Guests who visit the “Moana” attraction will interact with “living water” in a nature setting. The rendering of the attraction shows spires of water fountains shooting, hopping and spraying among lush vegetation.

It’s about time. The hit movie “Moana” opened in 2016 and though we don’t know when the attraction will be opening, we can only hope it will be soon — by Disney opening ride and attraction standards, anyway. 

Walt Disney Parks chairman Bob Chapek called Epcot’s park transformation the largest in the company’s history. Disney officials made the announcement during the annual D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. at the same time they revealed the name of a “Star Wars”-themed hotel being planned for the Florida resort. The hotel will be called “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.”

Other Epcot attractions in the works include a “Mary Poppins” attraction opening in summer 2020, a revamped Spaceship Earth with new and updated scenes in winter 2020 and a “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride that features Disney’s first reverse launch that is expected to open this winter. 

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TV & Movies

Disney+ Cancels ‘Book of Enchantment’ Series About Villains

Disney+

Disney+ has already canceled a series before the streaming service has even debuted.
Disney+ has pulled the plug on “Book of Enchantment,” the high-profile series focused on popular villains like the Beast, Ursula, the Wicked Queen, and the witch from Snow White.Deadline reports the decision was “largely creative, related to show’s tone and direction” and that scripts were going in a “darker direction” than Disney wanted.
The project was an adaptation of a popular book series by Serena Valentino. Michael Seitzman (“Quantico,” “Code Black”) wrote the pilot script and was to have served as showrunner.
While “Book of Enchantment” did not receive a formal greenlight, it’s been in the works for over a year and a writers’ room had been operating for 13 weeks. Producers had scouted locations, staff had been hired, and a May 2020 start date had been on the table.
This isn’t the first instance of a Disney+ project getting reconsidered. The “High Fidelity” series reboot starring Zoe Kravitz was moved to Hulu as it became more adult-oriented in tone and content.

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TV & Movies

Sony Needs Spider-Man, But How Many Moviegoers Want Spidey Without the Marvel Touch?

In an era where multi-billion-dollar franchise installments are studios’ standard for moneymaking, Sony Pictures needs Spider-Man. The studio wrote the modern super hero movie playbook with the 2002 film starring Tobey Maguire, which boasted an adjusted worldwide gross in excess of $1 billion.

It wasn’t long until Disney took over as leader of the superhero world, after purchasing Marvel for $4.24 billion a decade ago. “Avengers: Endgame,” may have brought in $2.8 billion worldwide, but Sony still has the rights to one of Marvel’s most well-known characters — Spider-Man.

Sony teamed up with Disney’s Marvel in recent years to make Spider-Man movies. But now, the studios have seemingly parted ways, with Sony planning to continue making Spider-Man movies without Disney’s involvement. Sony obviously feels confident that it has found its footing with its own franchise and doesn’t need to be splitting profits with a rival. That might be true to some extent, but how many moviegoers will turn out to see Spidey sling through another adventure if he can’t swing through the now-familiar Marvel world that dominates the global box office? The numbers tell a complex story.

There’s just one studio other than Disney in this year’s top-five highest-grossing movies — Sony, whose “Spider-Man: Far from Home” grossed $1.11 billion worldwide, making it the studio’s biggest movie ever. But that project would be nothing without Disney’s Marvel accomplishments, considering that the studio loaned out MCU super-producer Kevin Feige to Sony, starting with “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Sony isn’t exactly some uncontested No. 2 to Disney, which owns 40% of the box office after the Fox merger. Sony’s second-biggest hit this year was “Men in Black International,” which only brought in a measly $253 million worldwide. That’s not nothing, but Sony would have to make four Men in Blacks to get to a $1 billion; meanwhile, Disney saw five films cross $1 billion worldwide just this summer.

The solution clearly isn’t expanding the Men In Black universe. (Though Sony was at one time planning an ill-fated franchise crossover between “21 Jump Street” and “Men In Black.”) Spider-Man is helping keep the lights on at Sony and executives know Peter Parker is a clear winner. The question is whether they can continue that success without Disney’s help.

Spider-Man is a Marvel character. The reason he belongs to Sony, not Disney, involves bankruptcies, mergers, and historic deals dating back to the 1980s.

But the two studios recently teamed up. On the last two Spider-Man movies, Disney took a smaller percentage of profits from each (roughly 5% of first dollar gross), in exchange for Sony allowing Marvel to use the character in “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Endgame,” bringing one of Marvel’s most famous and beloved characters into the MCU.

According to Deadline, Disney recently offered a 50/50 co-financing arrangement — which wasn’t even met with a counter from Sony. The result? Disney loses Spidey from the MCU and Sony loses Marvel chief Kevin Feige, who will no longer be involved in Spider-Man movies as lead creative producer.

Sony in a statement said it was “disappointed” that it can no longer count Feige as a collaborator, but history shows that Spider-Man still could thrive without the official Marvel touch. For instance, the 2018 strikingly animated installment “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” It grossed $375.5 million worldwide, modest but still better than “Men in Black International.” It was met with universal acclaim and an Oscar win for best animated feature — one of only six non-Disney or Pixar films to do so in the last 20 years.

Feige’s credit is absent from another of Sony’s efforts to build out its parallel Marvel universe: the 2018 Spider-Man villain spinoff “Venom.” It received abysmal reviews and didn’t win any Oscars, but helped Sony’s bottom line when it grossed $855 million at the global box office.

Sony’s hoping to do even better with “Venom 2,” which will see Tom Hardy reprising the title role, motion-capture master Andy Serkis directing, and legendary cinematographer Robert Richardson as DP. Another Spider-Man villain, Morbius, is getting a film starring Jared Leto that’s in post-production, while spinoffs featuring Kraven the Hunter and Silver Sable and Black Cat are also in the works.

While the Sony-Disney split might piss off diehard Marvel fanboys (like “Endgame” star Jeremy Renner, who took to Instagram to beg Sony to bring Spidey home to Marvel), it remains to be seen whether casual fans will be able to tell the difference with good marketing of quality films.

Hey @sonypictures we want Spider-Man back to @therealstanlee and @marvel please, thank you #congrats #spidermanrocks #? #please

A post shared by Jeremy Renner (@renner4real) on

If you ask the heir of longtime Marvel leader Stan Lee, his daughter Joan Celia (JC) Lee, she told TMZ her late father’s characters “deserve multiple points of view.” And she’s not the biggest Disney fan.

“When my father died, no one from Marvel or Disney reached out to me,” she said. “From day one, they have commoditized my father’s work and never shown him or his legacy any respect or decency. In the end, no one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney’s executives.”

Spider-Man may be the biggest icon in Marvel’s history, but Disney has plenty of ways to work around his absence. The current three-year-old phase of Marvel movies have grossed over $11 billion worldwide, when when you subtract the Sony’s successful Spider-Man titles. And more are on the way: Marvel announced 11 new projects at this year’s Comic-Con, including “Black Widow” starring Scarlett Johansson due out next year and several Disney+ animated and live-action series, expanding the already seemingly infinite world of crossover potential.

As for Sony, Spider-Man remains the cash cow that, if executed correctly, could benefit from the superhero craze induced by Disney’s MCU — even if he’s no longer a part of it.

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Food & Drink

Disney Is Serving Up Scary Good Halloween Treats

Get out of here, August, and please fly by, September, because Halloween is, hands down, the most wonderful time of the year. The horror flick marathons, the punny and legitimately nightmare-inducing costumes, the Reese’s Pumpkins: We want it all, and we want it all now. But when it comes to indulging on frighteningly sweet treats, the best place isn’t in your living room the day after Halloween when you’ve ransacked the aisles of Target or Walgreens for deeply discounted Halloween candy (although, we look forward to that, too). No, it’s Disneyland and Disney World, and the parks seemingly spared no expense on its scary-good — and too-cute — Halloween treats this year.

Starting with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which kicked off Aug. 16 at Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, Disney Parks Blog published the foodie guide for the special event. Here, you’ll want to bee-line directly to Main Street Bakery where you’ll find a Hocus Pocus-themed cupcake called the Amuck Cupcake, a sinfully sweet candy cupcake with peanut butter chips, chocolate candy bits and toffee filled with caramel sauce, iced with chocolate buttercream and topped with a cake cauldron and a Sanderson sisters chocolate decoration. The bakery also sells a Halloween cinnamon roll in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head and topped with orange icing and a chocolate spider web.

More of a Jack Skellington and Nightmare Before Christmas fan? Head toward the carts near Cinderella Castle for Jack and Sally push cake pops. The Sally cake pop is a gluten-free vanilla cake pop with buttercream, strawberry crispy pearls and an edible, white chocolate Sally plopped atop. The Jack cake pop, on the other hand, is a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream, white chocolate, dark chocolate crispy pearls and dark chocolate curls — topped off with a white chocolate Jack. Magic Kingdom also has Jack and Hello Kitty cake pops floating around the park.

The Magic Kingdom list of spooky treats continues — from the Headless Horseman Cheesecake and the Chocolate Mickey Waffle Sundae, both available at Sleepy Hollow, to Constance’s for Better or for Worse Wedding Cake and the Maleficent Cone, a black waffle cone filled with lime soft serve and topped with chocolate horns.


And sound the alarm: There’s even a Pumpkin Spice milkshake.

This gluten-free milkshake comes topped with candy pumpkins and a Mickey Mouse marshmallow straw, and we’re already booking our next dental cleaning to get ahead of our impending cavities.

Take a look at the full list of Halloween sweets at Disney Parks Blog — and why not book your flight out to Florida while you’re at it, too?

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Travel

Disney World has launched cheaper ‘Mid-Day Magic tickets’ that are perfect if you’re a late-riser – The Sun

DISNEY World are offering guests discounted park entry tickets – but you can't enter before midday.

The theme park has announced their new 'Mid-Day Magic' tickets with savings up to $29 (£24) per person for people who don't mind missing out on their morning.

The tickets can be used for any of the four theme parks at Disney World.

Guests must be 10 years or over, and can only visit one park per day.

The announcement on the Disney blog explained: "Mid-Day Magic tickets are valid for admission after 12pm and were designed with your flexibility in mind, with timing that helps meet your needs."

It added: "Like, say, a couple more hours of shut-eye, or maybe a leisurely brunch."

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TV & Movies

Disney Sets New Record: Five Movies in a Single Year Cross $1 Billion Worldwide

All hail our Disney overlords! The House of Mouse, which owns pretty much everything at this point, has set a new record: five movies crossing $1 billion in a single year. Disney fans everywhere will likely celebrate this news, even as the rest of the film industry crumbles around us. Rejoice! Disney has even more money to finance even more live-action remakes! The achievement was unlocked as Toy Story 4 crossed the $1 billion threshold at the global box office.

It’s Disney’s world, we’re all just living in it. The mega-company has had a great 2019 – and the year isn’t even over yet. After Toy Story 4 recently crossed over $1 billion worldwide, Disney became the first studio to have five movies gross over $1 billion in a single year. Those five films are:

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Captain Marvel
  • Aladdin
  • The Lion King
  • Toy Story 4

The only outlier here is Tim Burton’s Dumbo, which failed to reach such lofty heights. Sorry, Dumbo. On top of this, Disney still has Frozen 2, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and of course, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker headed to theaters this year. At least one, if not all, of those films, is sure to hit the $1 billion mark, which I’m sure will make Walt Disney’s frozen head smile.

What can be learned from all of this? It’s simple: Disney is very good at what they do. They have built up their brand to the point where they are literally too big to fail. Part of that is because they have the market cornered on big releases (a monopoly, if you will). While other studios fight to find an audience, Disney’s audience is built-in, be it through nostalgia, or fandom, or both.

Disney also succeeds because they’re not interested in taking too many risks. They know what formula works for them, and they’re happy to return to it again and again. Case in point: a report recently surfaced that revealed Disney execs were nervous about Jojo RabbitTaika Waititi‘s dark comedy about a boy who has an imaginary friend that just happens to be Hitler. Per that report, while screening the film, a Disney executive grew worried Jojo Rabbit “would alienate Disney fans.”

The studio also killed a slew of in-development titles from 20th Century Fox because they felt their Fox films weren’t doing well enough at the box office. “One of the biggest issues was the Fox studio performance which was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition,” said Bob Iger.

I want to be clear: I have no problem with Disney movies. Many of them are good! It’s just a bit disheartening to see them hold all the cards while every other studio goes bust.

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Kids

Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ bundle has parents losing their minds

Back view of a relaxed family watching TV on sofa in the living room. (Photo: Getty Images)

As if parents weren’t already freaking out about Disney’s new streaming service, now they are throwing in sports and The Handmaid’s Tale, too.

Disney announced Tuesday it would bundle its three streaming services — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — for $12.99 per month.

Hulu now costs $5.99 and ESPN+ costs $4.99. When Disney+ starts later this year, it’s to cost $6.99. So the cost savings of the bundle is about $5 per month (Starbucks coffee anyone?).

The company seems to be really going after Netflix, whose standard plan costs, you guessed it, $12.99 per month.

Disney is making the package available Nov. 12, the same day its new streaming service launches.

 (Photo: Walt Disney)

So, why will parents throw all their money at the Disney+ bundle?

While we do our best to manage screen time, sometimes the only 30 minutes we have to do the dishes is while the kids are watching an episode of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Those kids’ shows will be covered by Disney+.

Then, when they finally fall asleep…it’s binge-watching time! Enter Hulu and ESPN+ content. 

Here are more reasons parents are losing their minds over the new streaming service and bundle.

Lots of your kids’ favorite shows and movies are here

By the end of the first year, Disney+ promised to house more than 8,000 Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic movies and TV shows.

Some popular titles on the list so far include “Frozen,” “Moana,” “The Incredibles,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Toy Story” and “Wall-E.”

And yes, it also includes “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Hot dog! (Netflix will continue to stream some recent tiles as late as mid-2020). 

This image provided by Disney shows a teenage Elsa the Snow Queen, voiced by Idina Menzel, in a scene from the animated feature "Frozen." Although the animated film opened late in 2013, the story of Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven easily outpaced other vote-getters like ìSherlockî star Benedict Cumberbatch, TV guru Shonda Rimes, musicians Beyonce and Pharrell Williams for entertainer of the year. "Frozen" has earned Disney more than $1.27 billion at the box office worldwide, becoming the most successful animated movie of all time. Its signature song ìLet It Goî won an Oscar and a national touring live version on ice has been a huge draw. (AP Photo/Disney) ORG XMIT: NYET999 (Photo: Disney via AP)

Recent Disney releases will be there

Disney’s newest live-action films “Dumbo,””Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and more will stream exclusively on Disney+, after their theatrical and pay-TV runs. The list will eventually include the much-anticipated “Frozen 2” and “Toy Story 4.”

And let’s not forget “Captain Marvel,””Avengers Endgame,” and “Star Wars: Episode IX” for the older kids.

New stuff for kids to watch

It probably won’t be long before your kids to get hooked on something new, and parents will be hiding their kids’ devices. Some are:

  • “Forky Asks a Question” and “Lamp Life,” animated spinoffs based on characters in “Toy Story 4.”
  • “Monsters at Work,” a series inspired by “Monsters, Inc.” with returning cast members Billy Crystal as Mike and John Goodman as Sullivan.
  • “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” 10 episodes following a group of high-school students through life and friendship.
  • Hulu original “The Bravest Knight” is a new animated series following Nia on her path to knighthood.

Disney+ will have nothing rated R

The Disney+ streaming service is family-friendly, so no R-rated programming is planned. Kids’ profiles will provide parental controls to help keep children away from more mature content.

This is huge in a time of the Momo Challenge and other concerns about the safety of kids on the internet.

Everything can be downloaded

All content on Disney+ will be available for download. So that means you can download “Frozen” for your kids to watch 100 times on that eight-hour road trip, with no internet connection needed. (Just a lot of storage space.)

Hulu and ESPN+ offer post-bedtime binges

Hulu originals include “Veronica Mars,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Castle Rock” and more. Plus there’s old favorites like “Seinfeld” and “Cheers.”

As for ESPN+, the service now offers live games from MLB, MLS, NHL and more. It also shows UFC fights, tennis, and “college sports like football, basketball, and lacrosse,” the website says.

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TV & Movies

15 Awesome Disney Animation Secrets You Probably Never Knew

BuzzFeed recently went to a Disney animation panel at San Diego Comic-Con and learned some amazing facts about some of our favorite childhood movies.

The “Animators Celebrate Disney Anniversaries” featured animators Floyd Norman (Sleeping Beauty), Jane Baer (Sleeping Beauty), Kathy Zielinski (The Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Nik Ranieri (The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog, Hercules), and Dave Bossert (The Lion King, The Little Mermaid).

Here’s everything we learned:

1.Because Sleeping Beauty was a completely hand-drawn film, it took approximately 600 artists and six years to finish it.

2.For Jane Baer, one of the most difficult and time-consuming animations she worked on was Aurora’s eyes because they were so “itty bitty.”

3.The animators who worked on Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty were known at Disney as “The Fairy Unit.”

4.Sleeping Beauty took so much time and cost so much money that apparently Roy Disney told Walt “no more” extravagant feature films. So the next movie, 101 Dalmatians, was made “on the cheap” for half the money and in half the time.

5.According to Floyd Norman, animator Milt Kahl (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and countless more) loved Mad Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone so much that he would laugh at his own animations when he watched it on screen.

6.Meanwhile, Nik Ranieri had a really hard time drawing Ariel from The Little Mermaid because of the placement of her eyes on her face, so he eventually got moved to a character he was more suited for: Ursula.

“Because of the way Ursula is designed, there’s a lot more connective points — it’s sort of symmetrical — you can figure out where the eyes go based on where the cheeks are.”

7.Kathy Zielinski studied many octopuses and tentacles so that she could learn how to animate Ursula. (She loved animating Ursula because there aren’t many characters that are a combination of animal and human.)

8.For Kathy, the scene of Vanessa transforming back into Ursula was partly inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing.


10.Kathy is known to have a leaning towards animating evil characters, which is why she was assigned to Ursula and then Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

11.The hair sniffing scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame almost got the movie a PG-13 rating, so they shortened the scene down so that they could keep it at PG.

12.During the pregnancy of her first child, Kathy’s water broke while she was animating a scene in Aladdin…but she kept working because she didn’t want to go to the hospital.

“Everybody was nervous, like, ‘Kathy, shouldn’t you be going to the hospital?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I gotta finish my scene.’ So I finished my last scene of Aladdin, and then went to the hospital.”

13.The Lion King was around the fifth or sixth Disney film that started to integrate CGI into hand-drawn films. For example, the wildebeest stampede in the movie was actually a lot of CG work.

14.Floyd views his early days as an apprentice at Disney as an “animation boot camp” that trained him so well that he could make it at any studio in town.

15.And finally, animators at Disney used to say, “We never finish a movie, we only release it.”


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TV & Movies

Russi Taylor, Voice of Minnie Mouse and ‘Simpsons” Martin Prince, Dead at 75

Russi Taylor, who voiced both Minnie Mouse for over 30 years and the beloved The Simpsons character Martin Prince, has died at the age of 75.

The voice actress died at her home in Glendale, California Friday, the Walt Disney Company confirmed (via Variety). No cause of death was provided.

“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor. For more than 30 years, Minnie and Russi worked together to entertain millions around the world—a partnership that made Minnie a global icon and Russi a Disney Legend beloved by fans everywhere,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement.

“We’re so grateful for Russi’s talent as well as the tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did. It was a privilege to have known her and an honor to have worked with her, and we take comfort in the knowledge that her work will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come. Russi will be sorely missed and our hearts go out to her family and friends, along with our deepest condolences.”

Related

Taylor’s nearly five-decade career in voice acting began in 1980 when she was cast as the Strawberry Shortcake in that animated series. Taylor also voiced characters on cartoons like Heathcliff, The Smurfs, Pac-Man and My Little Pony before she was cast as Disney’s official Minnie Mouse in the late 1980s.

Her tenure as that beloved character began with 1988’s TV movie Totally Minnie and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and continued until her death; Taylor recently voiced Minnie Mouse on both Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Mickey and the Roadster Racers. While at Disney, Taylor also voiced Huey, Dewey and Louie during the original DuckTales series.

In addition to her Disney work, Taylor’s voice appeared in nearly 200 episodes of The Simpsons, where she most notably provided the voice for that animated series’ teacher’s pet Martin Prince, as well as the character Uter and the twins Sherri and Terri.

“Farewell to the wonderful Russi Taylor, who brought such joy to many of our favorite characters like Martin Prince, Üter and so many more on the Simpsons & Disney & the animated world,” Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein tweeted.

Simpsons showrunner Al Jean also paid tribute to Taylor on social media:

 

Taylor was married to fellow voice actor Wayne Allwine, who voiced Mickey Mouse, from 1991 until his death in 2009.


 

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Lifestyle

Cameron Boyce's Family Reunites With Descendants Co-Stars

Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

Today’s Hollywood Walk of Fame induction was extra special for the Disney community.

As Kenny Ortega received his star Wednesday afternoon, the Descendants and High School Musical director was able to receive support from Cameron Boyce‘s family.

The actor’s dad Victor and sister Maya were in attendance for the special moment that included several Disney stars.

And during Kenny’s speech, the director couldn’t help but recall the talented actor that starred in several of his films.

“Cameron Boyce was so excited for me…His all too brief appearance in this life, though, inspired me beyond words and many of us here and generations of kids and families all over this world,” Kenny shared in video captured by Variety. “His extraordinary talent and loving heart will be remembered through his foundation. The foundation is called The Cameron Boyce Foundation and has been set up by his family to remember Cameron by continuing his pursuit to make positive change in the world.”

Kenny added, “Cameron said we can’t take it with us so it’s about what you leave and with this I promise Cameron that I will carry this goodness with me in all the days of my life.”

Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty Images

Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey and Kathy Najimy were able to speak during the ceremony. In addition, Disney stars Dove Cameron, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope and Monique Coleman were on hand to support Kenny.

On July 7, news broke that Cameron had passed away in his sleep due to a seizure, which was a result of an ongoing condition for which he was being treated. He was just 20 years old.

“The pain we have endured and are continuing to endure is indescribable, but we are making every effort to move forward and ensure that Cameron’s legacy and all that he stood for is honored,” his parents shared in a previous statement to E! News. “He was and is, so cherished and we will hold him in our hearts forever. He is our shooting star.”

Before his Walk of Fame ceremony, Kenny also paid tribute to his close friend and co-star in a letter to People.

“He was a young person with not only an electric gift as a performer but a big heart. We had plans to continue forward as creative partners, to find that next project. Now it’s not a movie — it’s supporting his family and the foundation,” Kenny shared with the publication. “That’s how we give importance to who he was.”

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TV & Movies

Disney's live-action Lion King: Get to know young Simba and Nala

Ever since Disney announced the voice cast for the live-action remake of The Lion King, fans haven’t stopped roaring with excitement over Donald Glover and Beyoncé taking on the roles of Simba and Nala.

And of course, both performers absolutely kill it as the iconic characters (did you expect anything less?!). But after watching The Lion King in theaters, you’ll actually find yourself wondering who played the lions when they were cubs. Because young Simba and Nala absolutely steal the show for the first half of the movie.

Meet JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph, the young actors bringing Simba and Nala to life before Glover and Beyoncé take over. As soon as they start talking, you’ll fall in love with them. Their energy and personality shine through, making any fears that live-action lions won’t have the same humanity as animated ones completely disappear. But it’s when McCrary and Joseph’s version of “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” begins that you’ll truly appreciate how perfect these two are in the roles.

So who are these actors? You’ve actually seen/heard both of them before.

12-year-old McCrary most recently appeared in Issa Rae’s Little as Isaac, one of the confident but outcast kids that Marsai Martin’s character befriends at school. Before that, he wowed the audience at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards last year onstage with Glover (performing as Childish Gambino) singing “Terrified,” the song on which he’s featured.

Watch the two future Simbas duet together in a riff sure to give you chills (starting at the 3:00 mark):

McCrary got his acting career started on the Disney Channel series K.C. Undercover and starred on OWN’s The Paynes. Check out a clip of him on the series below.

He also played a young Michael Jackson on the BET series American Soul along with appearances on I’m Dying Up Here and Teachers. But it’s his singing career that helped catapult McCrary into instant fame, as he’s the youngest artist ever to sign with Disney Music Group’s Hollywood Records, releasing his debut EP Shine.

Check out his first single, “Inviting All of You,” below:

As for Joseph, she’s best known for terrifying horror fans with her starring role in Jordan Peele’s Us, playing Zora/Umbrae. It was a full-circle moment for the actor, as she had once performed her Us onscreen mom Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar acceptance speech for a school play audition.

But if horror isn’t your thing, you’ve definitely see Joseph before in another onscreen musical as she played Little Inez in 2016’s Hairspray Live! She was also an original cast member in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock musical. Check out a recording of her big ballad below:

But playing young Nala in The Lion King actually brings Joseph back to her first major acting role when she played Nala on Broadway at only 9 years old. Talk about the circle of life.

The Lion King is now playing in theaters.

Related content:

  • Disney’s The Lion King roars again in EW’s exclusive photos
  • The Lion King first reactions praise a ‘breathtaking,’ ‘beautiful’ ‘visual masterpiece’

The Lion King (2019)


type
  • Movie
Genre
  • Adventure,
  • Drama,
  • Musical
release date
  • 07/19/19
director
  • Jon Favreau
Performers
  • Donald Glover,
  • Beyoncé,
  • Seth Rogen,
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor
Complete Coverage
  • The Lion King (2019)

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Lifestyle

‘The Lion King’ Leaping to $185 Million North American Debut

Disney’s “The Lion King” is heading for a dominant $185 million opening weekend in North America, early estimates showed Friday.

Should that number hold, “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and give the sagging domestic box office a badly needed boost. “The Lion King” would replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American launch of all time.

The film appears to be outperforming pre-sale forecasts, which had been in the $150 million to $180 million range in a record 4,725 domestic locations. The tentpole took in $23 million in Thursday night previews — the biggest preview number since Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” set the record on April 25 with $60 million and went on to gross an astounding $357 million on its opening weekend.

“The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau, is a photo-realistic remake of Disney’s classic 1994 animated hit. The story is centered on a young lion named Simba assuming his role as the king of the Pride Lands animal kingdom after his father, Mufasa, is murdered. Reviewers have been split over “The Lion King” with a 56% Rotten Tomatoes rating, but the mixed notices appear to be having little impact among moviegoers.

“The Lion King” boasts an A-list voice cast, including Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa. James Earl Jones is reprising his role as Mufasa from the animated movie. Elton John reworked his musical compositions from the original film with Beyoncé assisting. Beyonce also created and performed a new song for the film, “Spirit,” which was released on July 9.

“The Lion King” is arriving at multiplexes with 2019 domestic box office having plunged a discouraging 9.1% to $6.26 billion as of July 19, according to Comscore. The summer has also declined by 5.9% to $2.78 billion.

The movie debuted in China a week ago and has pulled in $76 million so far. It’s already topped $130 million internationally and is opening in most markets this weekend.

Sony’s third weekend of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” should finish second in the $21 million range to give the superhero saga around $320 million domestically. “Spider-Man: Far from Home” has also pulled in around $560 million internationally.

Disney-Pixar’s fifth frame of “Toy Story 4” will finish in third in the $13 million range, giving the animated comedy nearly $375 million by the end of the weekend. The second weekend of Paramount’s “Crawl” and the third frame of Universal’s “Yesterday” will be battling for fourth place at around $5 million each.

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TV & Movies

‘The Lion King’ Feels The Love Tonight: Preview Shows Ringing Up $22M-$25M – Early B.O. Read

EXCLUSIVE: We’re hearing from non-Disney sources that Jon Favreau’s The Lion King reboot is doing some smashing business tonight with an estimated $22M-$25M off showtimes that largely started at 6PM (there were 5pm select fan screenings). Again with these estimates, sometimes they can fall outside the range we’re hearing from sources, but overall, it’s a great start.

While that’s not a July Thursday night preview record —Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s midnight shows of $43.5M looks to still hold this record– Lion King‘s Thursday night cash stash is on the low-end above Captain Marvel‘s $20.2M (which repped 33% of its opening day Friday for a $153.4M opening) and on the high-end just under Black Panther‘s $25.2M (33% of Friday, for a $202M 3-day opening).

Bringing tonight within comparisons of Disney live-action adaptations of its classic toons, Lion King is already burying Beauty and the Beast‘s $16.3M Thursday night preview which yielded 26% of its opening day for a $174.7M opening. Heading into the weekend tracking estimates were between $180M-$192M. If Lion King clicks past Deathly Hallows 2‘s $169.1M, then it’s the best domestic opening ever for July. One rival studio marketing executive marveled today, “This film has had a 98 total awareness on tracking for a long time — that’s unheard of!” First choice for The Lion King is leaning heavier toward females than males.

Further evidence that Simba is bound to have a royal weekend: Fandango reports that the Favreau film is the second best pre-seller of 2019 behind Avengers: Endgame. Bad reviews with that Rotten Tomatoes of 56%? Well, Lion King is just all Hakuna Matata about all that when it comes to RT impacting its B.O. prospects.

Tomorrow, Lion King opens in 4,725 theaters becoming the widest domestic theatrical release of all-time, unseating Avengers: Endgame‘s first weekend footprint of 4,662. Abroad Lion King has already roared past $100M, a bulk of that from China. We’ll have more updates for you in the morning.

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Technology

Disney uses apps, ‘MagicBands’ to spy on guests: report

The “Happiest Place on Earth” is also one of the most surveilled — with Disney honchos using the park’s wearable “MagicBands” and smartphone apps to reportedly spy on guests and collect data on not just their buying habits, but also what rides their kids like and who their favorite characters are.

The “unfettered access” to customer data has led to a major boom in operating profit, according to Bloomberg, which reports an 18 percent jump last year to $4.5 billion.

Disney has been able to use the info it collects on park guests to study how they operate and find logistic solutions not just in Disneyland, but Disney World as well, Bloomberg says.

The move — when done by tech companies such as Facebook — has been blasted by many in the past. But Disney hasn’t gotten the same treatment.

As a result, it’s reportedly investing more money into its theme parks than it did when acquiring Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm combined.

The company recently rolled out a new virtual reservation system at Disneyland, which has led to reduced wait times and less overcrowding.

According to Bloomberg, it’s MagicBand system brought down transaction times by 30 percent — while also boosting park capacity.

The wearable tech keeps track of guests’ spending habits, what they are riding in the park, where they are eating and what characters they’re stopping to see. It can also serve as a hotel key and electronic meal plan voucher, should the person be staying at a Disney resort.

Company experts analyze the park smartphone apps, as well, to keep tabs on people’s “fast-pass” selections and what they’re buying online, Bloomberg reports.

The data mining is ultimately carried out to “keep the parks running with extreme efficiency,” according to the outlet — and to find out which television and film properties are the most popular.

“It wasn’t always this way,” writes Bloomberg’s Austin Carr. “Just a decade ago, Disney relied on paper tickets and old-school turnstiles, and, for the most part, didn’t know that much more about resort customers than those who came to the park’s opening 64 years ago this week. Finally recognizing the growth of social media and mobile phones late last decade, the company embarked on a $1-billion digital transformation of Disney World with the MagicBand, a gizmo that can hold your place in line, make payments and unlock a hotel room door.”

Back in 2013, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger butted heads with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — who recently introduced legislation to protect online “personal information” — over whether the MagicBand system would be unethical.

Markey, then a congressman, reportedly argued that it would be used to keep tabs on children’s whereabouts and their personal interests. Iger said the program was “entirely opt-in” and that location data was only collected in aggregate. He blasted Markey’s claims as “ludicrous and utterly ill-informed.”

“Disney’s record and commitment to children’s safety and security and the protection of their privacy is exemplary,” Iger told the lawmaker in a letter. “People around the world trust Disney and its products. We are offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion…that we would in any way haphazardly or recklessly introduce a program that manipulates children, or wantonly puts their safety at risk.”

Describing the system itself, Iger said: “MyMagic+ is a completely optional program that was designed with privacy controls from the outset. Disney does not use personal information to market to children under age 13, does not personalize or target advertisements to an individual child, and never shares children’s personal information with any third party for their marketing purposes. Additionally, parents have full control over their child’s participation in MyMagic+. We have transparent privacy practices, guests can control and limit the amount of information they provide to us — and how their information is used.”

Tech experts believe other big name companies would like to mimic the Disney data mining system, but have been unable to do so — partially because they don’t have amusement parks or a giant talking mouse catering to kids.

“It’s designed to anticipate your desires,” wrote Cliff Kuang in a 2015 article for Wired. “Which makes it exactly the type of thing Apple, Facebook, and Google are trying to build. Except Disney World isn’t just an app or a phone — it’s both, wrapped in an idealized vision of life that’s as safely self-contained as a snow globe.”

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TV & Movies

Emma Stone’s new Disney film Cruella in crisis after she breaks shoulder at Spice Girls gig – The Sun

MOVIE star Emma Stone broke her shoulder falling at a Spice Girl’s concert — landing her new film in trouble.

Emma, who won an Oscar for her role in La La Land with Ryan Gosling, plunged from a pal’s shoulders at Wembley.


Doctors told her to rest for up to two months and advised to wear a sling.

But the US actress had been due to start shooting Cruella, a Disney prequel to 101 Dalmatians, at a series of London locations.

Emma, 30, posed with Baby Spice Emma Bunton before the gig and did not realise the extent of her injury until days later.

A source said: “Emma relocated to the UK for the summer to throw her all into this movie — it was a great opportunity to be a classic villain.




“But she’s a massive Spice Girls fan and got carried away at their concert and fell off a pal’s shoulders while she was partying.

“She thought it was just bruised initially, but has now discovered it‘s actually broken.

“She’s gutted about such a serious injury. She needs to be in top physical condition for the role, which is active and involves running around after dogs.”


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Before the accident, Emma said: “I’m a very big fan of the Spice Girls.

"I was obsessed with them growing up. They taught me about girl power.”

Cruella, set in the 1980s, also stars Dame Emma Thompson, 60.

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