Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PBS "American Experience" to Feature Walt Disney Fall 2015

Photo Credit Conde Nast Archives

 Set your DVD players!At the semi-annual Television Critics Association conference today, PBS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE announced that “Walt Disney,” a new four-hour, two-night film that explores the life and legacy of one of America’s most enduring and influential storytellers, will premiere in fall 2015. 

Directed and produced by Sarah Colt (“Henry Ford,” “RFK”) and written by Mark Zwonitzer (“JFK,” “Triangle Fire”), the film features rare archival footage from the Disney vaults, scenes from some of his greatest films, and includes interviews with animators and artists who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Imagineers who helped design Disneyland.

“For many Americans — and for me — the twinkle and swish of the Sunday night Disney logo was pure magic. It was an invitation to a special event,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Officer and General Manager, General Audience Programming for PBS. “For my kids, introducing them to animated Disney movies from Beauty and the Beast to The Lion King brought us great joy and taught them life lessons. Now viewers of all ages can learn about the life and legacy of the man behind the magic and his continuing impact on our lives and culture.”

“Walt Disney is an entrepreneurial and cultural icon,” said AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer Mark Samels. “No single figure shaped American culture in the 20th century more than he.”

In 1966, the year Walt Disney died, 240 million people saw a Disney movie, 100 million tuned in weekly to a Disney television program, 80 million bought Disney merchandise, and close to seven million visited Disneyland. Nearly fifty years later, his reach remains enormous. Few creative figures before or since have held such a long-lasting place in American life and popular culture.

Be sure to check your local television listings to see when American Experience  “Walt Disney,” premieres in your city.

It's Time to "Get Up and Go" With the Cast of Disney's "Newsies"

Photo Credit Disney Theatrical Group

Last April, one of my family’s favorite parts of the Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration was experiencing the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Program first hand. From the Disney TRYit Campaign to the Disney Magic of Healthy Living, Disney continues to be a leader in encouraging parents to inspire their own families to lead healthier lifestyles.  Through their engaging content, useful tools and unique experiences, the  Disney Magic of Healthy Living Program helps families by making nutritious eating and physical activity more appealing and more fun.  And now Disney has really taken the next step in introducing the latest component in making their movement program as easy as 5, 6, 7, 8. 

Photo Credit Disney "Newsies"

Now you too can “Get Up and Go,” a new initiative to promote a healthier lifestyle in kids through dance.  Disney Theatrical Productions’ new wellness and fitness program “Get Up and Go” promotes fun ways that kids can lead healthier lifestyles through dance, inspired by the Disney’s Broadway shows and award winning choreography. The program launched in December 2013 and is currently offered to schools participating in Disney Musicals in Schools, Disney Theatrical Group's outreach initiative that builds sustainable theatre programs in New York City schools.

Check out this video that features Newsies Tony Award®-winning choreographer, Christopher Gattelli, who will leads aspiring dancers, or just people that want to have fun through dance, through a step-by-step tutorial in learning choreography from the thrilling production number, “Seize the Day,” that kids can do together in their schools and at home with family and friends.

This exciting new program will expand nationally with the onset of the recently announced Newsies National Tour in the fall of 2014. Programs in select cities will be announced at a later date. The program will expand to include sessions from The Lion King and Aladdin in 2015.  In the meantime, check out this high stepping fun when it hit the streets of New York on "Good Morning America".

“Get Up and Go” is in support of Disney Magic of Healthy Living which partners with parents and inspires kids and families to lead healthier lifestyles. This initiative  pairs the fun of Disney’s stories and characters with a well-balanced portfolio of foods and healthier lifestyle choices. Disney’s nutrition guidelines, which were first introduced in 2006, were developed with the help of experts and align to federal standards. For more information, please visit: www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/mohl

 It may be geared toward children, but this mom of a houseful of dancers is not going to pass up an opportunity to learn those impressive Newsies moves.  What are you waiting for?  If you can move you can dance! Throw on your dance shoes, grab some newspaper and along with the complete dance tutorial Be sure catch Newsies at the Nederlander Theatre before it closes on August 24 or when the Newsies seize the day in a city near you.  In the meantime, be sure to “Get Up and Go”.

Today In Disneyland History........

Rocket Ship to the Moon Opens

July 22, 1955

With the 60th Diamond Celebration of Disneyland quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of things from Disneyland's past.  Today we're heading back to the original 1955 Tomorrowland. Many years before spaceflight in the real world was a reality, it was a daily occurrence in DisneylandRocket to the Moon launched park guests to the moon beginning on July 22, 1955, which really made Tomorrowland a land of the future! With screens above and below the theatre, acting almost as windows, guests blasted off in a simulated ride to the moon, watching their journey from its departure from Disneyland on the lower screen right up to the moon on the upper screen. An iconic rocket, the Moonliner, stood outside, towering over the attraction building. In 1966, the opening of an all new Tomorrowland also brought a newly updated version of the attraction, now called Flight to the Moon. By 1975, after astronauts actually set foot on the moon, the updated attraction sent guests to explore the red planet in Mission to Mars. The last Mars flight departed in November, 1992. Today, the location is home to Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port, along with a scaled down replica of the original Moonliner. Although the technology of Flight to the Moon and Mission to Mars eventually became outdated, at the time, guests thought they were simply out of this world!  If you could update Tomorrowland, what would your vision include?  Leave a comment below and tell us what you would create.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big Hero 6 To Save San Fransokyo- Who Are These Mysterious Super Heroes?

When a criminal plot starts spreading through the city of San Fransokyo, who will save the city from certain mayhem and destruction? Luckily for the good people of San Fransokyo, robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada is ready to be called into action and along with his closest companion- a robot by the name of Baymax, (who he happened to turn into a high-tech hero), as well as an unlikely band of high-tech heroes are poised and ready to race to the rescue in order to solve a mystery unfolding in the streets. 
Welcome to “Big Hero 6”, Walt Disney Animation Studios 54th theatrical animated movie scheduled to save the residents of San Fransokyo when it is released later this year on November 7.

Walt Disney Animation Studios officially announced the voice cast behind the new action-packed comedy-adventure, Big Hero 6, including Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Damon Wayans Jr., T.J. Miller, Alan Tudyk, Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez and Daniel Henney, with Ryan Potter as Hiro Hamada and Scott Adsit as Baymax. Directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt), and produced by Roy Conli (Tangled), Big Hero 6 hits theaters in 3D on November 7, 2014.

“We’re so impressed with what these performers have been able to bring to their characters,” said Hall. “The story really calls for each performer to give a wide range of emotions—from light-hearted to some seriously heavy moments—and this cast has been incredible.”

With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Big Hero 6  is an action-packed comedy-adventure .

The voice cast of this high energy ensemble and official character descriptions follow, including photos of Hiro, Baymax, and their heroic friends:

Hiro Hamada- Voiced by Ryan Potter (“Supah Ninjas,” “Senior Project”), robotics prodigy HIRO HAMADA has the mind of a genius—and the heart of a 14-year-old: his state-of-the-art battle-bots dominate the underground bot fights held in the dark corners of San Fransokyo. Fortunately, big brother Tadashi redirects Hiro’s brilliance, inspiring him to put his brain to the test in a quest to gain admission to the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. When a tragic event changes everything, Hiro turns to a robot named Baymax, and they form an unbreakable bond—and two-sixths of a band of high-tech heroes on a very important mission.

Baymax - Scott Adsit (“30 Rock,” “St. Vincent”) provides the voice of the world’s most compassionate robot. BAYMAX cares. That’s what he was designed to do. The plus-sized inflatable robot’s job title is technically Healthcare Companion: With a simple scan, Baymax can detect vital stats, and given a patient’s level of pain, can treat nearly any ailment. Conceived and built by Tadashi Hamada, Baymax just might revolutionize the healthcare industry. But to the inventor’s kid brother Hiro, the nurturing, guileless bot turns out to be more than what he was built for—he’s a hero, and quite possibly Hiro’s closest friend. And after some deft reprogramming that includes a rocket fist, super strength and rocket thrusters that allow him to fly, Baymax becomes one of the Big Hero 6.

Fred- Voiced by T.J. Miller (HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2”), fanboy FRED comes off like a laid-back dude with no direction. But this sign-twirling, monster-loving, comic-book aficionado is sure to go places—when he’s good and ready. For example, Fred doesn’t hesitate to join Big Hero 6, and he has a lot of ideas for his super-hero skillset, too. His ferocious, fire-breathing alter ego comes complete with claws, integrated communications and a super bounce.  But his sign-spinning may still come in handy.

Go Go Tomago - JAMIE CHUNG (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” “Once Upon A Time,” “The Hangover Part II & Part III”) steps up as the voice of the aptly named GO GO TOMAGO, who knows what it takes to be fast. She’s tough, athletic and loyal to the bone, but not much of a conversationalist. Popping bubble gum and delivering well-placed sarcasm are totally her speed. The daredevil adrenaline junkie is at her best on wheels, and when Go Go joins forces with Big Hero 6, she rolls like never before, using maglev discs as wheels, shields and throwing weapons.

Wasabi -  Always funny Damon Wayans Jr. (“Let’s Be Cops,” “Happy Endings”) provides the voice of WASABI, who’s committed to precision. He’s super smart and just a touch neurotic, but the big and burly neatnik can’t help but join the cause when Hiro needs him most. As part of Big Hero 6, Wasabi amplifies his martial arts skills with jaw-dropping plasma blade weaponry. Sharp doesn’t even begin to describe this guy.

Honey Lemon – Proving that you should never underestimate the powers of a woman, Genesis Rodriguez (“Tusk” and “Run All Night”) was called on to help bring Honey Lemon to life. It’s elemental when it comes to chemistry whiz HONEY LEMON. Don’t let her glasses and funky fashion fool you: Honey may be as sweet as her namesake, but she has a fire in her belly and a can-do attitude that make her pretty much unstoppable. Her knowledge of alchemy proves powerful, too, when the effusive brainiac becomes part of the Big Hero 6 and creates clever concoctions that when thrown, can get her team out of nearly any jam.

Rounding out the cast are the Super Hero vocal talents of:

Daniel Henney (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) was called on to give voice to TADASHI HAMADA. Tadashi is a good guy. He just is. He actually developed, built and programmed a state-of-the-art nursebot—a Healthcare Companion named Baymax that will likely help millions worldwide. But it’s his role as big brother that makes Tadashi truly special.  Every kid needs a guy like Tadashi looking out for him, and Hiro knows just how lucky he is to have him in his life.
Maya Rudolph(TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” “Maya Rudolph Variety Show,” Bridesmaids”) provides the voice of AUNT CASS, who’s the overworked but always-supportive guardian of brothers Hiro and Tadashi.  The owner of a popular San Fransokyo bakery and coffee shop, Aunt Cass is proud, ebullient and thinks the world of her two genius nephews.  She’s always good for a laugh and ready with a hug, tirelessly there for support and a great home-cooked meal.
Voiced by James Cromwell (“Murder in the First,” “L.A. Confidential”), PROFESSOR ROBERT CALLAGHAN heads up the robotics program at the prestigious San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and is Tadashi’s professor and mentor. When Hiro visits the university for the first time, he is star-struck by the world-renowned roboticist—while Callaghan immediately sees the potential in the 14-year-old prodigy, encouraging him to put his brain to better use.
Alan Tudyk  who voices pioneer entrepreneur and tech guru ALISTAIR KREI (“Tell,” “Welcome to Me,” “42”). San Fransokyo Institute of Technology’s most illustrious alum and owner of the biggest technology company in the world, Krei Tech, is always on the hunt for the next big thing. Krei attends the showcase at San Fransokyo Tech and is overwhelmingly impressed by Hiro’s ingenuity.
Beware of people that don’t say a word- Yokai is the silent masked man behind the terrible tragedy that strikes San Fransokyo, turning Hiro’s world upside down. As a result, Hiro transforms a group of nerds into a team of high-tech crime fighters—Big Hero 6—with one mission: Track down Yokai and bring him to justice.
Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, Big Hero 6 is directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt), and produced by Roy Conli (Tangled).

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Visit the Website: http://www.disney.com/BigHero6 

BIG HERO 6 opens in theaters everywhere on November 7th!