Walt Disney Family Museum Announces New Program – ‘Becoming Real: A Muppeteer’s Journey with Dave Goelz’

Meet veteran Muppeteer Dave Goelz who has been bringing life to puppets—including The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, and many more—for more than forty years. Explore the process of creating a puppet character, feeding life and personality into it until it becomes real, to both the creator and the audience. Goelz shares his challenges, successes, and experience in creating life-like, lovable puppets, from concept to construction to performance.


Sat, Aug 13 | 1pm


$18 members | $20 non-members | $12 student & youth members | $15 student & youth non-members




Dave Goelz has been a principal puppeteer with The Muppets for forty-one years. His characters include The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, and Waldorf from The Muppet Show; Boober Fraggle, Traveling Matt, and Philo the Rodentia from Fraggle Rock; Sir Didymus from Labyrinth; Digit from The Jim Henson Hour; Rugby and Ditz from Jim Henson’s Secret Life of Toys; Stinky the Skunk from Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake; Randy the Stupid Pig and Gary Cahuenga the Vent Dummy from Muppets Tonight! and Chip IT guy from ABC’s The Muppets.”

Goelz first started working for Henson Associates in 1973 as a puppet designer and builder and periodically had the opportunity to perform. The first highly-successful characters that he built were Animal, Zoot, and Floyd Pepper. Despite the fact that he had no formal training for puppeteering, he went on to perform characters on The Muppet Show. He eventually stopped building puppets and worked exclusively as a performer.

Walt’s Circle donors, Supporter and Friend level members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Wednesday, July 20 at 10am by calling 415.345.6829 or emailing membership@wdfmuseum.org. All other members may purchase tickets beginning Thursday, July 21 at 10am, online or at the ticket desk. Tickets will be on sale to the public beginning Friday, July 22 at 10am online.

Chase Returns To The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival With Exclusive Cardmember Lounge

Chase today announced that as part of its multi-year agreement with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, U.S., it continues as the presenting sponsor of the Epcot  International Food & Wine Festival. Running for a record 62 days from September 14 through November 14, 2016, Guests attending the Festival will be able to discover delicious global cuisines, wines and beers, as well as enjoy tastings from celebrity chefs and music from legendary artists.

Chase debit and credit cardmembers, including Disney Visa Cardmembers, will receive exclusive access to the Chase Lounge1 at the Festival. The Lounge, located on the third floor of the American Adventure Pavilion within Epcot World Showcase, will offer cardmembers an inviting place to relax, enjoy complimentary, non-alcoholic refreshments, and access charging stations, among other amenities. It will open daily during the Festival from 11 a.m. until Park close.

At this years Festival, Guests can expect to:

  • Taste their way around the world at more than 30 global marketplaces
  • Enjoy nightly live entertainment from popular artists at the ?Eat to the Beat concert series
  • Learn from the pros during beverage seminars and culinary demonstrations
  • Experience much more!

Disney Visa Credit Cardmembers also have the opportunity on July 19 and July 20 to book reservations for special events offered at this years Festival before sales open to the general public on July 21. Call 407-939-1870 to book reservations with your Disney Visa Credit Card.

?We are thrilled to continue as the presenting sponsor of this years Festival and provide all Chase cardmembers an exclusive retreat at the Chase Lounge, said B.J. Mahoney, general manager, Chase Card Services. Not only will Chase cardmembers taste their way around the world, but they will be able to relax, recharge and refuel at the Lounge.

The sponsorship of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival extends Chases relationship with Disney as the issuer of the Disney Premier Visa Credit Card, Disney Rewards Visa Credit Card and Disney Visa Debit Card. Disney Visa Credit Cardmembers earn Disney Dream Reward Dollars on all card purchases. In addition, all Disney Visa Cardmembers have access to amazing perks 365 days-a-year, including a Disney Character Meet ‘n Greet at a private Cardmember location at Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort and special savings at Disneys U.S. Theme Parks, Disney Store and DisneyStore.com. Cardmembers can also choose from various Disney card designs.

For more information about the Festival, visit www.chase.com/epcotfoodandwine.

Disney Introduces ‘Tales of the Haunted Mansion’ Book Series

There are few attractions at Disneyland or Walt Disney World that are quite as beloved as the Haunted Mansion. For over 45 years, the mansion has been a sort of home away from home for lovers of all things gothic and spooky. Mansion inhabitants like Madame Leota, the three hitchhiking spooks and, most recently, the Hatbox Ghost have all become Disney icons. Now, Disney Publishing Worldwide is expanding the world of the mansion beyond just the theme parks by introducing a new series of young adult novels titled Tales of the Haunted Mansion.

The first book in the new Tales of the Haunted Mansion series, The Fearsome Foursome, was “written” by mansion librarian Amicus Arcane, described as “an all-new character whom Walt Disney Imagineering allowed Disney Publishing to create.” In reality, the novel was written by award-winning TV and animation writer John Esposito (R. L. Stine’s The Haunting HourTeen Titans), with art by Kelley Jones (Batman, Swamp Thing, Sandman). The book is designed to look and feel like it came straight out of the Haunted Mansion itself.

Tales From the Haunted Mansion

Based on the attractions from the Disney Parks, each new book tells the story of one of the Haunted Mansion’s 999 ghosts. With eerie illustrations throughout and a beautiful three-piece cloth cover, the books are designed to look like they came straight from the library in the Haunted Mansion. Tales from the Haunted Mansion is a fun, spooky ride, just like the attraction from the Disney Parks. And if readers are familiar with the ride, they’ll see elements of it throughout the entire story, from items straight of the Mansion (are those pictures stretching?) to lyrics from the narration that is heard in each Doom Buggy. In this bone-chilling book, you will hear the terrifying tales of the Fearsome Foursome–four kids who look to out-scare each other. But just wait until they hear my spooky stories.

The story follows four middle schoolers—the Fearsome Foursome—who constantly try to out-scare each other with tales of terror. One night, after their clubhouse is destroyed, they are all invited to a spooky old mansion to tell their tales, where they are introduced to a mysterious librarian named Amicus Arcane. Amicus asks to join their competition because he has the scariest stories of them all. You see, Amicus’ stories are about each of them. The stories—which have elements of classic horror like Poe and Lovecraft—get creepier and creepier (but never too scary) as the book goes on. And as Amicus tells the kids their own scary stories, our four protagonists eventually realize where they are—they are a part of the 999 ‘happy haunts’ that inhabit the Haunted Mansion.

Indiana Jones Funko Pop! Figure Coming to Disney Parks on July 22nd

A Funko Pop! vinyl figure inspired by Indiana Jones is coming to select merchandise locations at Disney Parks on July 22nd. This Funko Pop! figure is part of a collection of figures created especially for Disney Theme Park Merchandise. Other figures in this collection include four Haunted Mansion-themed Funko Pop! released in November 2015.

Indy Funko Pop

The packaging for this figure includes a nod to the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction in Adventureland at Disneyland park (don’t look into the eyes of Mara!). For this article, I visited the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to grab a few photos of Indiana Jones in action.

This Indiana Jones figure is different than one being released at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2016. The Comic-Con figure (#199) was inspired by “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” whereas the Disney Parks figure (#200) was inspired by “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Indy Funko Pop Attraction

The Disney Parks Exclusive figure will have a retail of $19.99, and it will be released at the following Disney Parks merchandise locations:

Disneyland Resort

  • Disneyland park – Adventureland Bazaar
  • Downtown Disney District – D-Street

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost
  • Disney Springs Marketplace – Disney’s Pin Traders

Guests may also have this figure shipped directly to home using the Shop Disney Parks mobile app. To download the app, please visit DisneyWorld.com/Shop.

Disney Picks Alden Ehrenreich to Play Young Han Solo

One of the most coveted acting roles in the galaxy has finally been cast.

Disney said Sunday that Alden Ehrenreich, the break-out star of Coen Brothers movie “Hail Caesar!”, will be taking on the mantle of “Star Wars” rogue Han Solo in a new film about the character’s early life. The selection was announced at the Future Filmmaker panel at the Star Wars Celebration Europe that featured director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: Episode VIII) and surprise guests Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and John Boyega.

WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 01:  Actor Alden Ehrenreich arrives at the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Hail, Caesar!' at Regency Village Theatre on February 1, 2016 in Westwood, California.  (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Alongside the central Star Wars movies, Disney plans a number of spin-offs, set to focus on popular characters such as Solo and taciturn bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Other actors reportedly considered for the role included Jack Reynor from “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “Macbeth,” “Fury” star Logan Lerman, “Brooklyn” actor Emory Cohen, and “Everybody Wants Some” actor Blake Jenner.

Disney Emoji Blitz Now Available for iOS and Android

The magic of Disney combines with the modern expression of emojis in Disney Emoji Blitz, a game for mobile devices where players can collect and play with hundreds of Disney and Pixar emojis.

The game features over 400 emojis of Disney and Pixar characters, settings, and famous items, including FrozenToy StoryCinderellaThe Lion King and The Muppets. Disney park items will also be available, such as the famous churros. Watch the trailer above to see the game in action and the various emojis offered to players.

Once players progress in the game by blasting away rows of emojis using Elsa’s ice powers or Sulley’s scare tactics, the emojis download to the “Disney Emoji Blitz keyboard” that users can add to their phone’s keyboards.

Emoji Blitz Emoji Blitz 2 Emoji Blitz 3

After downloading the game, fans can also flock to Downtown Disney on Sunday July 18th from 2-8 p.m. PT in Anaheim, California for “World Emoji Day.” The party will include emoji-themed games, prizes and photo-ops from stores like World of Disney, and entertainment by Radio Disney.

Disney Emoji Blitz is now available to download for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

PizzeRizzo Announced to be Opening This Fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Pizza lovers, rejoice! PizzeRizzo will open this fall in Muppets Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in the former Toy Story Pizza Planet location.

Rizzo The Rat owns and operates the pizzeria, where guests can grab a pizza pie and a cold drink. Enjoy a casual Italian-American dining experience in a whole new way, through the eyes of the lovable, wisecracking Muppet.

Walt Disney Imagineering hid hints of Rizzo, his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years throughout the two-story quick-service location. In addition to the expansive indoor and outdoor seating area, guests will be able to dine in a “cheesy” banquet room, or take five in a special booth designated just for Rizzo’s celebrity friends.

Fantasyland-Themed Disney Tsum Tsum Coming to Disney Parks on July 22nd

Disney has announced that Fantasyland-themed Disney Tsum Tsum are coming to select merchandise locations at Disney Parks on July 22nd.

These three-inch stackable plush were inspired by characters and attractions found in Fantasyland. You may recall getting a sneak preview of these new plush a few months ago when I shared details about the Haunted Mansion-inspired Tsum Tsum. I recently visited New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort to take a photo of these seven new plush.

Fantasyland Tsum Tsum 2

Guests will find two Tsum Tsum inspired by the “it’s a small world” attraction. Additional Tsum Tsum include Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse; Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland park; a tea cup from the Mad Tea Party attraction; and a carousel horse.

Fantasyland Tsum Tsum 3

These 3-inch plush feature the Orange Bird from Magic Kingdom Park and a skipper from the world famous Jungle Cruise. They will be part of an Adventureland collection arriving in fall 2016.

Meanwhile, look for the Fantasyland-themed Tsum Tsum at the following merchandise locations starting July 22:

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai‘i – Kalepa’s Store

Disneyland Resort

  • Downtown Disney District – World of Disney
  • Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure park – Tee, Hats & Tattoos
  • Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland park – Gag Factory

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Disney Springs Marketplace – Once Upon a Toy and World of Disney
  • Disney’s EarPort at Orlando International Airport
  • Magic Kingdom Park – Curtain Call Collectibles
  • Epcot – ImageWorks
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Beverly Sunset
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures

The Disney Parks online store will also carry these Tsum Tsum starting July 26.

Finally, this Fantasyland collection is currently available via the Shop Disney Parks mobile app.

Happy Stacking!

Playing Pokemon Go at the Disney Parks

“Pokemon Go” is the craze taking the international community by storm. Between 20-somethings reliving their childhood, kids collecting the cute monsters, and older adults trying to figure out what this “poking game” is, it seems everyone with a mobile device is joining in on the fun. As more and more people experiment with the app, it is becoming apparent that Disney property offers some of the best places to play.

Here’s a quick primer for those who can’t tell a Pikachu from a Pac-Man. And if you’re already a seasoned Pokemon trainer, here are some reasons to bring your device – and a few spare battery packs – on your next Disney vacation.

“Pokemon Go” is a free game app available for iOS or Android smartphones. Players sign up and can immediately begin searching for Pokemon characters, (the name is a blend of the words “pocket monsters”), in the real world using the app.

The app provides players with a bare-bones graphic representation of the real world around you, depicting buildings, streets and parks as colored areas around your on-screen avatar. You can spin the map for a 360-degree view, which will often show you the location of the nearest Pokestops and Gyms. Both are important, and you need to visit them in person to advance very far in the game.

Disneyland as it appears in the “Pokemon Go” app. Photo by Katie Metzger.

The app will also show you if there are any Pokemon characters in the vicinity, and indicates how far away they are. Once you get close enough to a Pokemon, either by walking to where it is or by luring it to you, you will see its icon on your screen. Tap on the character’s icon to open the capture screen.

At this point, the app turns on your device’s camera and superimposes an image of the Pokemon onto the screen, making it appear as if the monster is right in front of you. Players are armed with a stock of Pokeballs, which you toss at the Pokemon to catch it. There are over 100 Pokemon to catch and catalog.

“Pokemon Go” uses the phone’s camera to make it appear that Pidgeotto is flying down Main Street, U.S.A. Photo by Katie Metzger.

Players earn experience points with each capture, and advance a level in the game at certain thresholds. Once a player achieves level 5, they can begin to train their capture Pokemon to battle against other players.

This is very simplified explanation of the game, but the premise isn’t all that complicated. You use the app to track and capture virtual Pokemon characters in your real-world surroundings. Some players are content just to “catch them all,” and some like to get into the more advanced elements of training and battles. But casual players and serious gamers alike will find several advantages to playing “Pokemon Go” at the Disney theme parks and resorts.

Doduo was spotted near Spaceship Earth at Epcot. Photo by Katie Metzger.

Pokestops a-plenty

Players visit Pokestops to collect items for the game, including the Pokeballs used to catch the monsters. The game developers used real-world landmarks to build the Pokestops, and says they’re located near “public art, unique architecture, or public gathering places.” The game has caused sparked headlines around the world because of the unusual, unsavory and uncouth places players have discovered Pokestops, including cemeteries, adult-oriented businesses and at the 9/11 Memorial Pool at Ground Zero.

The locations of Pokestops in Epcot’s Future World are indicated with small blue cubes, while gyms are depicted by large icons and an image of the Pokemon that controls it. Photo by Katie Metzger.

Depending on your real-world location, Pokestops may be few and far between. Fortunately for gamers, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are crammed with Pokestops. From Main Street to Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom to Disney Springs, you can scarcely go a few yards without finding a new Pokestop at every place of interest. Rides, signage, restaurants, shops, and even Audio Animatronics are all fair game. Within a few hours at the park, you may need to purchase an in-game “bag upgrade” for all the items you will collect.

But be warned: some Pokestops are located in backstage areas where park visitors are not allowed. We’ve heard complaints from cast members about players trying to enter restricted areas to capture a Pokemon or access a Pokestop.

There are dozens of Pokestops located inside Disney attractions, like this one inside Pirate of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Katie Metzger.

This phenomenon is certainly not limited to Disney theme parks, and some park operators have taken to social media to warn players to follow the rules. Philadelphia’s Kennywood Park used Twitter to post a stern warning to players, but has also shared photos of monsters caught in the park.


LEGOLAND Florida posted “Rules for a safe Pokemon Go quest” via their official blog.

  • Even a Pokemon Master must stay within guest areas. Please don’t climb any fences or follow any Pokemon into employee-only areas.
  • No catch is worth sacrificing your safety. All play must pause throughout the duration of your ride until you exit the ride.
  • Be sure not to bump into one of our more than 28,000 LEGO models – that could hurt!
  • With more than 100 Pokemon to catch, be sure to stay hydrated.
  • If you find a Pokemon at the Fun Town Pizza Pasta Buffet, let the nearest Model Citizen know, we prefer pepperoni over Poke Balls.
  • If hours of play have unleashed the power of your phone, recharge in the Imagination Zone.
  • If your wild encounter leads you to Wyldstyle, keep in mind she may need to stop for a selfie with another guest before you can make your catch.

We contacted the Disneyland Resort to see if the company planned to issue similar guidelines, but did not receive a response before publication. So far the company has been silent on the topic, but we wonder if Disney plans to request that game developers remove these backstage locations from the game.

Pokestops usually include the name and a picture of the location, often accompanied with a short description, and we suspect Disney isn’t thrilled with having some of that information made public. There are also some designations that Disney may take exception to, including one Pokestop which is named “Foxy Brown” after an animatrionic figure inside Spaceship Earth.

One Pokestop is located inside Spaceship Earth at Epcot, anchored to an animatronic figure. Photo by Katie Metzger.

Gyms galore

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is a gym in the “Pokemon Go” game. Photo by Katie Metzger.

Although never as abundant as Pokestops, the Disney theme parks have many Gyms in a relatively small area. These are great places both to increase your team’s prowess and train your Pokemon. Both Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle are gyms, as are notable attractions like the Haunted Mansion (both coasts); Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom); Tower of Terror (both coasts) and Spaceship Earth (Epcot).

Be warned, these theme park gyms are very competitive, and you should not attempt to claim them without a properly trained team of powerful Pokemon.

Various Pokemon

The Disney parks have many different geographical features, including abundant water features, desert landscapes and even artificial graveyards, which increases the type of Pokemon that can be caught. The theme parks also seem to be popular place for people to use lure modules, which attract Pokemon to the trainers around a specific Pokestop for a half hour. (Hint – if a Pokestop on the map appears to be raining confetti, that’s a great place to hang out and wait for Pokemon to come to you.)

When you see a Pokestop that appears to be raining confetti, head on over and take advantage of the lures set by other players to draw Pokemon to that location. Photo by Katie Metzger.

At Disneyland, I caught Ponyta, Growlithe, Kabuto, Charmander, Exeggcute, Rattata, Paras, Abra, Staryu, Pidgey, Pidgeotto, and Geodude.

At Disney California Adventure, I caught Rhyhorn, Poliwag, Ekans, Arbok, Drowzee, Sandshrew, Doduo, and Krabby.

I was only able to play in Epcot for about thirty minutes, but in that time alone I caught Nidoran, Magikarp, Pidgey, Zubat, Weedle, Venonat, Doduo, Bellsprout, and Nidorino.

Kabuto was captured near a water feature near “it’s a small world” at Disneyland. Photo by Katie Metzger.

Consider it a new attraction

It’s a sure bet that there are more people playing “Pokemon Go” than Disney’s own Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game on any given day. The game is a great way to pass the time while waiting in theme park lines, especially during summer vacation season.

Like the much missed Legends of Frontierland in Disneyland a few summers ago, “Pokemon Go” is an excellent and fun time eater. It keeps you moving and having fun no matter how crowded the parks are.

No ticket required

While it’s true that the majority of Pokestops and gyms are inside the theme parks, there is lots of Pokemon action available outside the gates. Downtown Disney (California) and Disney Springs (Florida) have plenty of Pokestops, and even water features to draw some of the rare monsters. Plus, you’ll likely find a large gathering of players at night and on weekends, which usually means someone will be setting lures that you can take advantage of.

The people

Many players admit they are coming to the Disney theme parks for the sole purpose of playing the game. The game had only been released for a few days when I spotted several people dressed as Ash Ketchum (the main human character of the Pokemon universe), gripping their smart phones and wandering Disneyland in search of monsters.

Between fighting at Gyms and searching for an elusive Pokemon, you are bound to run into other guests and Cast Members playing “Pokemon Go” at the same time. Even though gym competition is stiff, everyone is happy to share tips, recommend locations for finding certain Pokemon, and help out new players.

Just please, keep your eyes on where you’re walking so you don’t literally run into another player – or a Main Street vehicle. It’s all fun and games until someone falls into Paradise Bay.

From Mouseplanet

‘Club Villain’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Halloween 2016

Up for celebrating Halloween at a Disney Park this year? You don’t want to miss out on what “Club Villain” has in store this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

On Friday and Saturday nights from September 2-October 29 (and also on October 31), Sunset Showcase will host “Club Villain,” a special ticketed event filled with fabulous performances, delicious food, bewitching cocktails and enchanting encounters with some legendary Disney villains.

The mysterious Dr. Facilier will serve as host, welcoming his guests and “friends from the other side” into his parlor of mystical mishaps, with musical numbers and a wicked mix from his house DJ. Also stopping by to socialize will be several divas of evil: Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen. Guests can also enjoy complimentary drinks from the Potions Bar, savor culinary delights from New Orleans and beyond, mingle with the villains and dance the night away.

Two “Club Villain” experiences will be held each Friday and Saturday night, with starting times at 5:15 and 8:30 p.m. Guests can learn more or make reservations here or call 407-WDW-DINE/407-939-3463.