‘Big Hero 6: The Series’ Gets Super Sneak Preview From Disney XD

big hero 6

Disney treated Big Hero 6 fans to an extended sneak preview of the continuing adventures of Hiro, Baymax, Fred, Go Go, Honey Lemon, and Wasabi from the new Disney XD animated series. And from what we can see in the following clip, sometimes something as simple as an espresso or cappuccino can require a little more than just super-heroics:

Disney XD‘s Big Hero 6: The Series features Ryan Potter (Hiro Hamada), Scott Adsit(Baymax), Genesis Rodriguez (Honey Lemon), Jamie Chung (GoGo Tomago), Maya Rudolph (Aunt Cass), Alan Tudyk (Alistair Krei) and Stan Lee (Fred’s wealthy father) returning to their original roles from the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning movie. Rounding out the cast are Brooks Wheelan as Fred (taking over from T.J. Miller) and Khary Payton as Wasabi (taking over from Damon Wayans, Jr.).

big hero 6

Here is Disney XD’s take on Big Hero 6: The Series:

“The Disney Television Animation-produced series picks up immediately following the events of the feature film and continues the adventures and friendship of 14-year-old tech genius Hiro and his compassionate, cutting-edge robot Baymax. Along with their friends Wasabi, Honey Lemon, Go Go and Fred, they form the legendary superhero team Big Hero 6 and embark on high-tech adventures as they protect their city from an array of scientifically enhanced villains. In his normal day-to-day life, Hiro faces daunting academic challenges and social trials as the new prodigy at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology.

From the studio that created “Frozen,” “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” the Academy Award-winning “Big Hero 6″ is the 54th animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The film was inspired by the Marvel comic created by Man of Action. The action-packed comedy centers on the special bond that develops between an inflatable robot and a young prodigy as they and their close friends seek to solve a mystery that threatens the city of San Fransokyo.”

big hero 6

Created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley (Kim Possible), Big Hero 6: The Serieshas already received a second season order ahead of the show’s November premiere. Big Hero 6 the film earned $222.5 million in North America, with a worldwide estimated total of $657.8 million that made it: the highest-grossing animated film of 2014; the third-highest-grossing non-Pixar animated film from Disney; and the 16th-highest-grossing animated film of all time.



Last week, Disney Parks Blog held a Galactic Meet-Up for their fans, who were treated to a meeting-of-the-minds between NASA representatives, Imagineers and superhero storytellers. It was a unique panel discussion that explored how the science of space exploration influences storytelling. Turns out that if you love Disney, you may be a budding scientist.

On the panel was retired U.S. Navy pilot and NASA astronaut Capt. Mike Foreman, NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Kimberly Ennico Smith, Marvel Entertainment’s Vice President of Development, TV and New Media, Stephen Wacker, and Walt Disney Imagineers John Mauro and Amy Jupiter. The panel spoke about their various fields and how the intersection of science and storytelling comes together to celebrate both technology and entertainment.

“As a physicist we solve problems,” said Dr. Kimberly Ennico Smith. Having worked at NASA for 17 years she related, “If you’re curious—if you ask questions—you are a scientist. Science is going to make the world a better place, and our future even brighter. In this age of technology, with technology within the Disney Parks, animation, and movies, it gets you to think beyond reality. You can use that thinking to solve problems in science and engineering.”

As the panel pointed out, pop culture and science are intimately intertwined, with one influencing the goals of the other, and vice versa. Comic books, movies, and TV shows facilitate the dreams ascending the gravity well. “In Fantastic Four number one, it’s about the Fantastic Four stealing a spaceship to go into space, and this was before NASA even existed,” said Wacker. Speaking about how the Marvel Universe was built on space storytelling, “The foundation of everything they did was built on hopefulness and wish fulfillment, all based around science.”

“When there’s extra attention to a comic book story in particular, that you know is fantastical and you know it’s beyond reality,” said Dr. Ennico Smith, “If you throw in an element of truth, reality, it makes you wonder, could that happen?” Regarding Iron Man’s creation of his own particle accelerator, Dr. Ennico Smith applauded the realism of creative thinking, “I have been impressed by the engineering thinking behind the Tony Stark character and the way they’ve infused little bits of engineering here and there.”

But pop culture can’t make scientists on its own. Influential and supportive teachers were what pushed Dr. Ennico Smith to want to become a scientist. Stephen Wacker relayed a similar story about Captain Marvel author Kelly Sue DeConnick. DeConnick, having been raised on Army bases with a father in Air Force Intelligence, was familiar with the world, “She was able to bring that experience into the book as we turned that character into more of a Chuck Yeager, a character who would go face first into danger.”

Walt Disney himself was inspired by advances in science and brought his vision into the theme park experience. Mauro reflected on Imagineers influences, saying that “from the early days of Tomorrowland, Mission Space, to EPCOT which celebrates that combination of technology and entertainment—science is used as a tool to tell our stories.”

And you can see science working hand-in-hand with Disney at Disney California Adventure’s new Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: Breakout! — the first superhero-inspired attraction at a domestic Disney park. Amy Jupiter likened the riders to test pilots, “We use science and technology every day, we use it to put these attractions together,” where the movement and physiological response to the attraction is something that the Imagineers harness to keep the riders focused on the storytelling.

Ending the panel, and speaking on the accuracy of Guardians of the Galaxy — as a man who logged 637 hours in space and flew two Space Shuttle missions — NASA astronaut Captain Foreman joked, “It was spot on.”


Disney’s Latest Innovation Is, Quite Literally, Bringing Characters to Life

Disney's Latest Innovation Is, Quite Literally, Bringing Characters to Life

For nearly a century, Disney (NYSE: DIS) has filled our minds with wonder. The media empire has mastered the use of art and technology to create lifelike characters that tell a story.

Innovation has always been a core part of Disney’s movies. Animated films in the 1920s like Steamboat Willy were the first to synchronize sound and pictures. A decade later, Snow White was the first full-length animated film to utilize multiple frames to show scenes with depth perception.

Walt Disney took things a step further in 1955 when he opened the doors of Disneyland to the public. For the first time, kids and parents could experience the magic of Disney’s characters in-person at a theme park, which made them even more real than watching on the movie screen.

Disney hired actors to play the characters’ roles. But they also deployed animatronics, which were moving and talking robots that made things even more realistic. Their Pirates of the Caribbean ride became a legend of its time, where eager park-goers travel directly into the caves of mischievous pirates.

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Image source: https://disneyland.disney.go.com

The company’s Imagineering group has always pushed the limits of technology, and Walt Disney could justifiably be considered “The Father of Robotics” in the entertainment industry. He’d be proud to have seen his company’s latest evolution of robotics, which are taking Disney’s parks to a whole new level.

“You’ve Gotta See This!”

Words won’t do justice in capturing how lifelike Disney’s latest robots look, so I’ll share a video instead. The following is actual footage of the Avatar shaman, who resides in Walt Disney World (Disney licensed the rights from Fox to use Avatar characters in its parks):

Incredible, right? Disney’s newest robots incorporate advanced actuation to give them improved dexterity and additional degrees of freedom, making them more lifelike than the awkward chunks of metal that appeared in the original Pirates ride. Several of them also are powered by artificial intelligence, giving them perception and the ability to react to facial expressions! As seen by its recent patent applications, the robots of Disney World might soon resemble those of WestWorld. But, of course, in a lovable and cheerful way.

Disney’s engineers are looking to improve the “emotional quotient” of their robots in order to improve guest satisfaction. They’re not afraid to use AI and advanced sensors as technological ways to accomplish that.

What this means

OK, great. So Disney is deploying robots across their parks that are more lifelike and intelligent than ever. Why should we care as investors?

For one, Disney has had a tough month. Both it and Universal Studios parent Comcast(NASDAQ: CMCSA) lost several guest park operating days following the devastation from Hurricane Irma. Between that and its attempts to correct falling ESPN subscribers, it’s hungry to boost revenues and operating profits in any way that it can right now.

Additionally, we already know that the animated movie stars bring in the money. When kids remember how awesome the Avatar shaman looked, they’ll inevitably want to buy T-shirts and lunchboxes from the nearby gift shop.

Putting those two points together, Disney is looking to find ways to get more out of its existing parks. The company’s newest Shanghai park opened last year and cost more than $5 billion. Disney doesn’t have a ton of capital available for big-ticket purchases at the existing locations, but lower-cost upgrades with short payback periods could be exactly the magic investors have been looking for.


Disney Names Rebecca Campbell Its New Chief for Europe, Middle East and Africa

Rebecca Campbell Disney


Disney has appointed veteran executive Rebecca Campbell president of its business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Staring in January, she will replace Diego Lerner, who has been Disney’s EMEA chief since 2009 and is returning to his native Argentina, taking an unspecified international role at the company.

Campbell, a 20-year employee at Disney, moves from domestic to international, transitioning from her role as president of the ABC’s U.S. local station group and ABC Daytime. She will be based in London and report to Disney’s international chairman, Andy Bird.

“Rebecca’s ability to manage and lead the many disparate and geographically diverse stations across the U.S. with such incredible success makes her the best choice to lead our efforts in such a complex region,” Bird said. “Given Rebecca’s leadership role in the ever-changing media and entertainment landscape, she is uniquely positioned for success. Her combination of creative experience, leadership skills and business acumen will be a tremendous asset as we continue to develop new avenues of growth.”

“I want to thank Andy for giving me this incredible opportunity to lead the talented EMEA team,” Campbell added. “Diego’s hard work during the past decade leaves us well prepared for our next wave of growth. I look forward to working with everyone in EMEA to elevate the Disney business, deepen our connection with existing consumers and engage new ones.”

Prior to overseeing the EMEA region, Lerner was Disney’s regional boss in Latin America, and Bird said his contribution to the company had been transformative.

“In addition to successfully helping us expand in key international markets, launching new businesses and developing new programming, he is a trusted advisor and tireless advocate for what makes Disney stand apart: our commitment to creating high-quality family entertainment,” he said. “While Diego will be returning home to Buenos Aires, he will remain a key part of the WDI management team.”


Disney branded non-alcoholic drinks marketed to children despite company pledge to ban them

A RANGE of Disney branded non-alcoholic drinks that resemble champagne are being marketed in the UK and Europe despite the company pledging to ban such products from sale more than one year ago.

Sparkling drinks featuring Disney’s Frozen brand, Planes, Princess Palace and Mickey Mouse were found listed for sale on UK website The Alcohol Free shop under a “children’s drinks” section. While clearly labelled as non-alcoholic, the products are described as a “delightful bottle of bubbly” that comes with a “cork that pops to add sparkle to any party.”

Similar products with Frozen and Cars branding were also spotted for sale in Croatia alongside bottles of wine and spirits.

It comes despite a Disney pledge in December 2015 the company would ban the manufacture of Disney products to look like alcohol following an outcry in the UK.

“As we set very high standards for the quality of products bearing the Disney name and characters, we have informed the manufacturer that we will no longer license Disney images to a product that is packaged to look like alcohol,” a spokesman for the company said at the time.

Non-alcoholic Frozen drinks for sale.

Non-alcoholic Frozen drinks for sale.Source:Supplied

A Frozen branded non-alcoholic champagne for sale in Croatia. Picture: news.com.au.

A Frozen branded non-alcoholic champagne for sale in Croatia. Picture: news.com.au.Source:Supplied

The non-alcoholic products were for sale alongside wines and spirits.

The non-alcoholic products were for sale alongside wines and spirits.Source:Supplied

An alcohol free Disney drink for sale in the UK.

An alcohol free Disney drink for sale in the UK.Source:Supplied

The products appears for sale online despite the company saying it would pull the brands more than one year ago.

The products appears for sale online despite the company saying it would pull the brands more than one year ago.Source:Supplied

The Alcohol Free Shop Managing Director Christine Humphreys said they’ve been selling the popular Disney products for “quite some time” with no interruptions despite the company’s statement.

She said the online-only retailer requires a credit or debit card for sale and is not the same as having products on store shelves, with purchases mainly made by parents for children’s birthdays.

“They’re not promoting alcohol, they’re promoting Disney,” she said. “We’re not selling to children. We’re an online shop…it’s perfectly harmless.”

While there is no evidence the non-alcoholic Disney drinks are available for sale in Australia, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Policy Manager, Geoff Munro, said the “wine-like” product would spark opposition because it is being sold as if it is alcohol.

“The imagery on the bottle clearly targets children and would attract children,” he said.

“The product is wine-like, it is described as champagne-like, and the shape of the bottle approximates bottled wine. It offers children a pseudo-alcoholic drink and thereby suggests to children that they should be attracted to drinking alcohol.”

Mr Munro said the “relentless promotion” of alcohol is a health hazard for children, particularly as research has consistently showed a link between exposure to advertising and children’s intention and levels of drinking.

“This is a major concern because alcohol is toxic to the developing brain and early drinking is a predictor of later alcohol dependency and health problems,” he said.

He said while alcohol advertising is banned from television before 8:30pm in Australia, the exception for sporting events should be overturned.

“It is an exemption that makes no sense given that it is widely acknowledged that children should be protected from alcohol advertising. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation certainly agrees that it’s important children are not exposed to alcohol advertising,” he said.

Disney failed to respond to requests for comment.


Star Wars: Galactic Nights event returning to Disney in December

Walt Disney World is reviving Star Wars: Galactic Nights, the one-night, after-hours event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park on Dec. 16.

It will be the second installment of Galactic Nights. The first one, held in April of this year, was a sell-out.

The event includes unique “Star Wars”-inspired offerings as well as enhanced versions of everyday attractions such as the “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show and the “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” stage show.

For those looking to the future, there will be a panel discussion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the under-construction land set to open at Hollywood Studios in 2019. That will be held in the park’s Epic Theater.

Elsewhere during the event, there will be photo opportunities with themed backdrops, character interactions, fresh merchandise for sale and selection attractions available, including Star Tours.

The event falls during Disney’s holiday celebrations and the day after the official debut of the film “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Tickets are now on sale for the Galactic Nights event at disneyworld.com/galacticnights or by calling 407-934-7639.

Admission is $129 ($124 for ages 3 to 9). Discounts are available for Walt Disney World annual passholders by booking online or calling 407-WDW-PASS. Disney Vacation Club members can get discounted admission by calling 1-800-800-9800 or by going online.


This Couple Rented Out Toy Story Mania For Their Disneyland Wedding, So We Can Stop Trying Now

The same couple who pulled off the most beautiful Tangled engagement shoot did not disappoint when it came to their Disney Fairy-Tale Wedding. Sarah and Gilbert stunned us once again with their big day held at California Adventure, complete with surprise after surprise for the guests and a whole lot of magic.

The two met at UC Berkeley when Sarah was a freshman and Gilbert was a graduating senior. They stayed friends for the next few years, bumping into each other on both campus, when Gilbert got a job at Cal, and as neighbours, when Sarah became the girl next door, but little did she know that her future husband was right under her nose. After four years of friendship, both of them finally began to “see the light” (hence, their Tangled-inspired session) and pursue a romantic relationship.

Seven years later, Gilbert proposed on the same steps of the Berkeley plaza where they realized they were better together as partners than friends. In true Disney fashion, he even popped the question with a custom “Adventure Book” because they watched Up on their first date.

Sarah and Gilbert have always shared a love for Disney, from running Disney marathons together to visiting the parks several times a year as annual pass holders. With Disneyland holding such a special place in Sarah’s heart and it being where they took their first vacation together, it only made sense that they tie the knot there as well.

“We were inspired to have a Fairy-Tale Wedding at Disneyland because we wanted to share the magic and wonder we feel when we’re at the parks with our closest friends and family,” Gilbert told POPSUGAR. “Sarah’s always been my princess, and I wanted us to have a wedding that truly makes her feel like one.”

Sarah always knew she wanted a Disneyland wedding. Though she originally wanted to have the reception inside the Animation Building at California Adventure, price increases forced a change of plans. But of course, Disney’s Fairy-Tale Weddings helped the couple create a wedding just as magical, all while meeting each of their requirements: an anti-cookie-cutter wedding and the ability to go inside the park with their guests.

“I am not a ballroom bride, so I couldn’t imagine having our guests at any of the rooms,” Sarah said. “My heart was still set on the Animation Building, but after telling DFTW that I wanted to ‘bring the outdoors inside,’ they made it happen.”

They decided on the Rose Court Garden — as an ode to Sarah’s late grandmother, Rose — and the intimate setting of the Trillium. Disney transformed the indoor space into a garden with lanterns, candles, hedges, long tables, and gold accents. In addition to classic Disneyland fare like corn dogs and churros, Sarah and Gilbert continued to throw surprises at their guests throughout the day.

“All of our guests were excited to attend our wedding at Disneyland, but they had no idea what we had up our sleeves!” Sarah said. “The entire day was so under wraps that even our bridal party didn’t know what was going to happen next! Everyone was constantly on their toes, not knowing what to expect next.”

One of the first surprises included Sarah coming down in the Cinderella Carriage, a moment when she took everyone’s breath away, including ours.

“Seeing her came with the realization that I would be spending the rest of my life with a real-life princess,” Gilbert said. “I was overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t handle myself. Nothing else in the world mattered in that moment.”

A live singer sang Disney tunes, guests were escorted to their seats via personalized Fastpasses, and each person also got glowing wristbands that their DJ controlled with the music. But it didn’t stop there. Mickey and Minnie made a guest appearance during the reception and guests were thrilled to find out that they were able to experience the last showing of World of Colour in their own reserved area. To top it all off, the couple also rented out Toy Story Mania after the park closed for just their party to enjoy!

Sarah and Gilbert ended their magical evening with a proper wand send-off and rode off on the Main Street Fire Engine. From start to finish, the newlyweds’ nuptials were Disney perfection.

After seeing their photos, you’ll consider a Disney wedding for yourself. See them ahead!



Disney’s Moana Is Connecting a Generation of Young New Zealanders to Their Maori Heritage

Image: Disney

Moana made global history by being Disney’s first feature-length film to center on a Polynesian princess, drawing inspiration from the legends of multiple South Pacific Ocean cultures. In New Zealand, though, the movie’s connecting with local audiences of Maori descent in a unique and important way.

In certain New Zealand theaters, the film is being screened in Maori, an indigenous language that is now being spoken by fewer and fewer people in the country. Free screenings of the translated version—produced by Tweedie Waititi, sister to Thor: Ragnarok director Taika—have been packed full of young people at the perfect age for becoming intimately familiar with the language. Speaking to the New York Times, Haami Piripi, former head of New Zealand’s Maori Language Commission, emphasized the importance of giving a new generation of youngsters a way to experience Maori in a popular, highly-digestible, modern way.

Said Piripi:

“Language is the expression of a culture and a race of people. To retain your language is an emblem of survival through history. If you’ve still got your language now, you have the key to your culture.”

While the news of Moana’s continued success isn’t surprising, there’s a significance to the film’s Maori screenings that’s worth unpacking. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, the number of New Zealanders who identify as Maori and can also speak Maori has dropped precipitously over the last hundred years or so.

As of 2013, the number of Maori people living in New Zealand who still spoke the language had fallen to about 124,656—a mere 2.8 percent of the island’s population. The language’s drop in prevalence is due to a number of societal and political factors tied to New Zealand’s history of racial and social stratification. In the wake of European colonization in the late 19th century, the Maori language gradually declined in usage as more colonists came to the country and English became the culturally dominant tongue.

As the Maori people became a minority population, they were increasingly pressured to assimilate into the white, English-speaking majority. Entire generations of ethnically Maori people grew up being discouraged from speaking their ancestors’ language, creating a divide that left many young Maori people with little familiarity with the language.

There have been a number of successful government initiatives designed to encourage young Maori people to speak the language in academic settings, but there’s something to be said for being able to walk into a movie theater and see the latest animated Disney blockbuster dubbed in your grandparents’ tongue. It’s that kind of broader popularity and cultural saturation that could be the key to the Maori language’s survival.


Exhibit at Disney’s Hollywood Studios previews Toy Story Land

Walt Disney World has revamped and renamed a display that looks at the company’s history and its future. The One Man’s Dream attraction is now called Walt Disney Presents at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

The bulk of the king-sized photography, models and relics remain, sometimes in new spots. It’s basically arranged chronologically, dating back the childhood of Walt Disney Himself. Notable among the new elements are models of Toy Story Land and a portion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge plus images for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

The miniaturized Toy Story Land model gives the bigger picture of it all, and it illustrates how spread out the Slinky Dog Dash, a family-style roller coaster, will be. There’s a lot to look at, with wee characters populating the area, and that reflects the you’re-shrunk-down theming coming in real life.

There are larger models presented for the coaster’s car, shaped like a springy dachshund, and for the Alien Swirling Saucers, a spinning ride.

All this is behind a clear, floor-to-ceiling partition. You can’t walk around it like you could previous models.

Across the aisle is a “portion of Space Port model” coming for Galaxy’s Edge. The scale appears larger, but it shows a lower percentage of the upcoming land than the Toy Story one does.

The Runaway Railway attraction, going into the Chinese Theater space that housed the Great Movie Ride, is featured mainly with renderings, photographs and images of creative types working on the ride. A text block says MMRR will “feature a new story and a new singable attraction theme song as well as a new experience we’re calling 2 1/2 D.” (There will be no special viewing glasses required, Disney says.)

Remaining in the attraction is a 15-minute film called “One Man’s Dream” and the meet and greet area for “Guardians of the Galaxy” characters Star-Lord and Groot. I was happy to see animatronic Abraham Lincoln and the film footage of Orlando’s own Buddy Ebsen dancing are still in place.

The exterior of the Walt Disney Presents building also got an addition: A marquee over the entrance.

In November, a sneak peek of the animated film “Coco,” will be installed in the Walt Disney Presents area. The movie, featuring the voices of Edward James Olmos, Gael Garcia Bernel, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach and Anthony Gonzalez, arrives in theaters on Nov. 22.


Disney World Offering Free Theme Park Tickets Is A Viral Facebook Sweepstakes Scam


disney-1024x576Is Walt Disney World giving away free theme park tickets to Facebook users? The answer is no. The happiest place on Earth is not giving away free theme park tickets to those who like and share posts on Facebook. Instead, Facebook users who do this are falling for a form of sweepstakes scam.

While sweepstakes scams want users to pay to receive the prize, legitimate sweepstakes will never ask for payment to participate or to receive a prize. You should never have to pay handling charges, service fees, or any other kind of charges up front to receive a win. These are signs of sweepstakes scams.

For years now a scam alleging to provide free Disney theme park tickets to Facebook users who access a proffered link then enter their e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers has been spread by posts to social networking sites.

However, there is no legit offer from Disney for free theme park tickets, according to Snopes. What happens when you click on the link? Users will be led to a web page which is not operated or sponsored by Disney that asks them to provide personal information including address and telephone number.

Additionally, Snopes noted that these scams have the unfortunate user answer survey questions regarding various products and services. Finally, the sweepstakes scam has the user agree to receive multiple sales calls via text messaging and telephone even if they are on the official “Do Not Call” list.

Such “free giveaways” are not real but rather are sweepstakes scams meant to trick the social media users into revealing their personal information and signing up for expensive services. The Better Business Bureau provides this advice on avoiding being victimized by such scams:

  • If you receive a questionable or unsolicited text message, check the URL or phone number for free on the Better Business Bureau website.
  • Most financial institutions, utility, or other business will not communicate with you via text message. If you do not recognize the website or phone number being sent to you, don’t visit or call it.
  • Don’t e-mail or text personal and financial information.
  • Review your credit card and bank statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges.


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