Inside the Magic brings you the latest top stories, announcements, special events in the words of Disney and theme parks. Read through our featured and most recent articles, reviews, and news items below.
Walt Disney Animation Studios announced today âMoana,â a CG-animated comedy-adventure about a teenager on a mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest.
Hitting theaters in late 2016, the film is being directed by the filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdinâ).
âJohn and I have partnered on so many filmsâfrom âThe Little Mermaidâ to âAladdinâ to âThe Princess and the Frog,ââ said Clements. âCreating âMoanaâ is one of the great thrills of our career. Itâs a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.”
In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.
âMoana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,â Musker said. âShe’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.â
The Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando is the spot for many popular characters like SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Beginning this weekend, hotel guests can also hang out with the Power Rangers.
Nickelodeon Suites Resort is hosting two exciting Power Rangers Super Megaforce weekends Oct 17-19 and Oct 24-26. Yesterday we were invited to meet the cast from the current Power Rangers TV show to hear all about their experience shooting the show in New Zealand.
Check out a Q&A with the stars at the hotel:
This first weekend-long celebration features appearances by the actors from the Power Rangers Super Megaforce TV series. The second themed weekend, which will take place on October 24-26, will be jam-packed with Power Rangers Super Megaforce fun with all six Rangers costumed characters, including the brand new Silver Ranger.
These Super Megaforce weekends of adventure and excitement will feature a variety of activities for guests including:
Autograph and photo opportunities with the live-action cast of the television series. (October 17-19 only)
Photo opportunities with the Power Rangers costumed characters. (October 24-26)
A super-charged Power Rangers lunch, featuring âTrain Like a Rangerâ sessions with all six Power Rangers Super Megaforce characters.
Power Rangers-themed activities and crafts.
A sneak peek screening of an episode of Power Rangers Super Megaforce.
One of the greatest concentrations of tributes and inside jokes in a single attraction at Walt Disney World can be found at Star Tours. The queue areas are simply packed with secret symbols.
Among the most interesting tributes, and one of the least known ones, is one that occurs almost right away when you step into the queue. Just around the first bend, look to the wall on the right to find two plates (the photo here digitally adds a portion missing from the top, in the box on the right side).
The top plate spells out R2 and C3PO in backward order, as well as JK 0966, a somewhat surprising tribute to James Kirk, the main character of Star Trek, which debuted in 09/1966. The Trek reference is accompanied by a second one on the other plate, in the form of NCC1701 (numbers also in alternating order), the vehicle identification number for the U.S.S. Enterprise. To round out the Star Trek / Star Wars mishmash here, the bounty hunter IG88 also gets a nod.
On the big digital sign, watch for 1138 to defy logic and appear as a flight number twice (once for Coruscant, once for Chandrila). It pays tribute to THX1138, George Lucas’s first movie.
Other signs in the area honor Imagineer Tony (William) Baxter and the Los Angeles area code, 213 (the sign says, with altered order, “213 baby”).
The Starspeeder is flight 1401, a common number in the parks since this is the street address of Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA.
The ship’s registry plate, near the bottom, uses the Star Wars Aurebesh language to spell out WDI, for Walt Disney Imagineering, prominently in the orange zone.
Coming around the bend to the next room, visitors see a remnant of the original Star Tours in the form of the robotic pilot Rex. Technically the new Star Tours is a prequel, so having the pilot here requires a fancy explanation. A sticker marks him as defective, so the idea is that he’s an experimental pilot not yet ready for deployment (the joke being that when he is deployed later in the original Star Tours, he still has problems!)
One sign on the wall here by the robots references the stormtrooper from the original Star Wars that “left his post” guarding the Millenium Falcon, TK421.
Another nearby sign lists Star Wars Dates and the two-digit year each movie (plus the Clone Wars TV show) opened.
Across the walkway is G2-9T, the talkative robot who avoids work. This droid was duplicated from the original Anaheim one (the California Star Tours opened first, in 1987), and in that case, the droid was actually an animatronic goose ripped out of the musical show America Sings, so it had its native webbed feet and tail still. When Star Tours was created anew in WDW, the designs were copied exactly.
In the original Star Tours queue, G2-9T was listening to 107.9 on the radio, K-DROID. This invented station is given a call out in the he refreshed queue.
The opening date for Star Tours in Anaheim (Jan 9, 1987) is listed on a nearby sign as well.
G2-9T is supposed to be scanning luggage, and the insides are visible, to visitors. Almost every suitcase contains an inside joke of some kind, from Mouse Ears to the Haunted Mansion’s Madam Leota.
Among the many tributes: V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from the Black Hole movie (1979).
One image shows snowflakes and a microscope, an homage to Adventure Thru Inner Space, an Omnimover attraction at Disneyland that was replaced by the world’s FIRST installation of Star Tours in 1987.
At the bend, look in the lighted window for JarJar frozen in carbonite, as well as R2-MK, a droid with mouse ears well known to visitors of Star Wars Weekends.
The G2 droid at the top is voiced by Patrick Warburton, the host of Soarin’, and he actually mocks his flight attendant character a few times by using similar words and intonations (listen in particular for “comPARTments”).
The base of this droid’s work area is labeled with a stylized 71 to honor WDW’s opening year.
On the ride itself, watch for an Aurebesh version of “Tomorrowland” on an electronic billboard in the Coruscant sequence (the end of which also features Hidden Mickeys along the back wall of the hangar).
The Death Star sequence includes the Mighty Microscope from Disneyland’s Adventure Thru Inner Space, seen on the left side of the tunnel as we exit the space station.
The same sequence ends with cameos by several insiders, including WDI special effects editor Marianne McLeanÂ (seen in the Mon Mothma outfit in the center–actually the original costume from the movies) and Imagineering’s show producer Steve Spiegel, grinning widely in an X-Wing flight suit over to one side. There are some extras in the scene as well, but many of the others work for Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).
Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd / Disney Enterprises
About Kevin Yee
If you like D-Tales, you’ll love Kevin Yee’s bookÂ Walt Disney World Hidden HistoryÂ (second edition, 2014).Â ThisÂ softcoverÂ book tracks Disney âhidden historyâ â remnants of former attractions and tributes to Imagineers as well as other Disney officials â hiding in plain sight in the parks.Â There are over 300 entries in the book!
Whether tribute or remnant, each item discussed starts with something visible in todayâs parks; the idea is that this is something you could visit and see with your own eyes, and then appreciate the historical thinking behind it. In case you aren’t local, you’ll appreciate that there’s a photo ofÂ everyÂ item discussed so youâll know what to look for.
TheÂ softcoverÂ book has a digital counterpart with the Kindle version, which costs $6.99. (You can also read a Kindle book onÂ PCÂ orÂ MacÂ even without a Kindle device â the software itself is free.)
With Seekers of the Weird and Figment wrapped up, Disney and Marvel have turned their attention to another theme park attraction for the next Disney Kingdoms comic book series.
Today only at the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, posters have popped up at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, offering a first look at what appears to be artwork from a new comic.
Update: A day after the new comic was teased, it has been officially announced that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is indeed the next installment in the Disney Kingdoms series. A first look at the cover has been revealed:
It’ll be another 5 issue series, like its two predecessors, edited by Bill Rosemann, written by Dennis Hopeless, and drawn by artist Tigh Walker.
The series will be set in a “Gold Rush town where daring men and women were in a daily battle between man and mountain,” launching in spring 2015.
“When hinges creek in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls…”
Welcome to to the new Haunted Mansion gift shop, Memento Mori, at the Magic Kingdom.
When Disney announced that the Yankee Trader shop in Liberty Square was going to get a Haunted Mansion makeover I don’t think there was a single Disney fan that wasn’t excited. We all waited with bated breath for the new store to open and Disney did not disappoint. The new shop is beautifully detailed and is filled with Disney Haunted Mansion Authentic merchandise, which was created especially for Disney Parks and most of it all being brand new.
Right now the store is so popular you have to wait in line to get in. But fear not, the line moves quickly and this system makes for a much nicer shopping experience whilst inside.
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Based in Orlando, Florida, Inside the Magic was launched in 2005 by Ricky Brigante. The Inside the Magic podcast has since become the longest-running Disney podcast in the world, with a new show having been released every week since its inception.
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