‘Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi Film in the Works

Stephen Daldry is Star Wars’ newest hope.

The Oscar-nominated director behind Billy Elliot and The Hours is in early talks to direct a Star Wars stand-alone movie centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Sources say talks are at the earliest of stages and that the project has no script. If a deal makes, Daldry would oversee the development and writing with Lucasfilm brass.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi stand-alone is one of several projects being developed by Lucasfilm and Disney that fall outside the trilogies telling the saga of the Skywalker family. A Han Solo movie is now in the final stages of shooting under new director Ron Howard, and Lucasfilm is also considering movies centering on Yoda and bounty hunter Boba Fett, among other characters.

In the original Star Wars trilogy, Kenobi is a desert-dwelling and war-weary hermit who later proves to be a wise and powerful warrior, brandishing a lightsaber. He is briefly a mentor to a young Luke before being cut down by Darth Vader, his former pupil. Alec Guinness’ portrayal of Kenobi garnered him an Oscar nomination.

The character played a central role in the George Lucas-directed prequels, which recount the origin of Vader and his betrayal of Kenobi and the Jedis. McGregor, who played the younger Kenobi in the prequels, has said he would be open to playing the character again. Sources stress, however, that since there is no script, no actor is attached.

Daldry hails from the theater world and made his feature debut with Billy Elliot, which netted him his first directing Oscar nomination. He followed that up with searing dramas The Hours and The Reader, which also netted him directing nominations.

He most recently directed episodes of Netflix’s period drama The Crown, which garnered him an Emmy nomination.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Offer Fantasmic Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience

Beginning September 8th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will offer a new Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience.

It will all start at the Fantasmic! theater where guests will pick up their snacks inspired by the show. Menu items will feature a variety of sweet and salty treats for adults or children such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, cheese and crackers and make-your-own “worms and dirt” pudding.

Each guest also receives a light-up cup with a specialty drink (alcoholic optional for Guests 21 and older), along with a bottle of water.

After everyone  picks up their food and beverage, they’ll be directed to a VIP reserved seating area for Fantasmic!

The Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience costs $39 per adult  and $19 per child (ages 3 to 9).

Reservations can be made now online.

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search 2018 to Begin September 6

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search 2018 is here! It’s time to announce that Search will open at noon ET on September 6, 2017 and run through noon ET on September 13, 2017!

If your friends and colleagues always seek you out for heartfelt advice on planning a Disney vacation, then we encourage you to apply! Maybe you have put together more amazing Disney vacations that you can count, and you’ve helped others do the same, then we want to hear from you!

Applicants will be selected based on their personal experience with various Disney destinations, and their ability to communicate their Disney knowledge to prospective Guests in easy-to understand and friendly ways. Sound like you? If so, then set your reminder for September 6th!

Heading into its 11th year, the Disney Parks Moms Panel is a trusted source offering tailored parent-to-parent vacation advice in a convenient question-and-answer format. Because the panel offers tips on four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese – we look forward to welcoming more bilingual panelists this year.

To find out more, visit www.momspanelsearch.com. Spread the word and good luck!

Walt Disney World Ending Express Transportation Service

Walt Disney World will be discontinuing it’s Express Transportation service later this month, with the final day of service set for August 23rd.

The final day to purchase the Express Transportation option will be August 16th, with the multi-day version remaining usable through the final day of service of August 23rd.

Introduced in December 2016, the Express Transportation cost $15 per person for a single day, and picked guests up directly inside the parks, then by making use of backstage areas, reached the destination faster than using the regular bus service.

Multi-day variants were later added, along with Annual Passholder offerings.

It appears that the service was not being used by enough guests, with the majority continuing to make use of the standard park transfer options.

Netflix Discussing Keeping Disney’s Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Films

Netflix Inc is in “active discussions” with Walt Disney Co about keeping Marvel and “Star Wars” films after 2019, when new Disney and Pixar movies will stop appearing on the streaming service, a senior executive said late on Thursday.

Disney announced on Tuesday that it was pulling new Disney and Pixar films from Netflix, starting with new releases in 2019. It will start putting the movies on a new Disney-branded online service that year.

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger told analysts the company had not yet decided where it would distribute superhero films from Marvel Studios and movies from “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, which the company owns, at that time.

Netflix is still in discussions with Disney about retaining rights to stream Marvel and Lucasfilm releases after 2019, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters.

A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iger said on Tuesday that the Marvel and Lucasfilm movies could go to Netflix or another streaming service after 2019, or Disney might retain the rights for itself.

Sarandos said he expected Disney’s service to be “complementary” to Netflix, which carries other family-friendly programing such as animated movies from “Despicable Me” creator Illumination Entertainment and “Shrek” producer Dreamworks Animation.

Disney’s plan to stream its content directly to consumers is “a natural evolution” for traditional media companies that Netflix expected, Sarandos said in an interview at an event to celebrate Emmy nominations for his company’s drama, “The Crown.”

“That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content, he added.

Disney’s break from Netflix applies only to its film deal in the United States, where the streaming service runs new Disney movies shortly after they leave theaters.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge & Toy Story Land Models to Preview at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the park is truly in the middle of an exciting transformation.

The One Man’s Dream attraction is currently being reimagined into Walt Disney Presents, which like its predecessor, will continue showcasing historic items from Walt Disney’s history, such as sketches, photos and storyboards. But wait – Walt Disney Presents will also act as a preview center where guests explore what’s next for the park. Starting in mid-September, you’ll be able to view concept art, ride vehicle maquettes and a never-before-seen model for Toy Story Land. A portion of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge model also will be on display, as well as concept art for the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction.

The attraction will also continue to host greetings with characters like Star-Lord and baby Groot, plus special sneak previews of upcoming Disney films.

‘Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!’ Holiday Dessert Party is Returning

The “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Holiday Dessert Party is returning this year to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the Holiday Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show.

In the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, guests can enjoy multiple food stations, featuring holiday-inspired sweet and savory delights like warm cheese fondue with pretzel bread and flatbread, warm pumpkin pie and spiced-bread pudding with hand-dipped vanilla ice cream. The Liquid Nitro Station fires-up the party with chocolate mousse and choice of toppings, including salted caramel sauce.

Beer, wine and specialty cocktails are available for guests over 21. Specialty non-alcoholic beverages are also available, and of course, the hot cocoa is a crowd-pleaser.

While a special VIP character comes to meet and mingle with dessert party-goers, guests won’t believe their eyes when they check out the festive lights wearing a pair of 3D HoloSpex® glasses they receive. The glasses turn bright lights into holiday holographic illusions such as gingerbread men and candy canes.

November 9 – December 15, the cost is $79 per adult, $45 for children 3-9, and includes tax and gratuity. December 17 – 31, the cost is $89 adult, $49 child (tax and gratuity included.)

Reservations are now open, and can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE, or visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining.

Mobile Order Makes it’s Way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mobile Order is now available at Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon, with Backlot Express .

The rollout at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will soon expand at the park with ABC Commissary on August 14, and PizzeRizzo on August 15 2017.

Mobile Order allows guests to pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app, bypassing the queue to order at the restaurant. Using the app, you can select menu items, customize an order and pre-pay for a meal.

Arriving at the restaurant, guests will tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. When ready, guests will be alerted through the app to pick up the meal at a designated window. Only credit card payments will initially be accepted via Mobile Order, Disney Dining Plan guests and those wishing to use a discount will have to use the regular line.

Mobile Order is available at Liberty Inn, Electric Umbrella, Columbia Harbour House, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café, Pinocchio Village Haus, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Tomorrowland Terrace, Flame Tree Barbecue, Pizzafari, Restaurantosaurus, Satu’li Canteen and D-Luxe Burger.

Disney to Pull its Movies from Netflix and Start its Own Streaming Services

Disney wants to own a bigger piece of the streaming pie.

The company announced during its latest earnings report on Tuesday it intends to remove its movies from Netflix.

Instead, Disney plans to launch a branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019 starting in the U.S. and expanding globally.

CEO Bob Iger told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin Disney had a “good relationship” with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform. Movies to be removed include Disney as well as Pixar’s titles, according to Iger. Netflix said Disney movies will be available through the end of 2018 on its platform. Marvel TV shows will remain.

The new platform will be the home for all Disney movies going forward, starting with the 2019 theatrical slate which includes “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and the upcoming live-action “The Lion King.” It will also be making a “significant investment” in exclusive movies and television series for the new platform.

The company will also launch its own ESPN video streaming service in early 2018. The platform, which will feature about 10,000 sporting events each year, will have content from the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports and tennis’ Grand Slam events.

To power the services, Disney is buying a majority ownership of BAM Tech for $1.58 billion. Disney bought a 33 percent stake in the company, which was spun off from digital media company MLB Advanced Media, in August 2016.

“This represents a big strategic shift for the company,” Iger said to CNBC. “We felt that having control of a platform we’ve been very impressed with after buying 33 percent of it a year ago would give us control of our destiny.”

From CNBC

Walt Disney World Offers Special Character Experiences and Photo Opportunities During Disney PhotoPass Day

August 19 marks World Photo Day, and we’re excited to celebrate the occasion with the return of Disney PhotoPass Day at Walt Disney World Resort! During this event, Disney PhotoPass Servicewill offer a number of exclusive photo opportunities that will let you take home even more picture-perfect memories of your visit.

You can also celebrate Disney Princesses during Disney PhotoPass Day! In honor of Disney’s “Dream Big, Princess” campaign, you’ll find photo opportunities focused on some of your favorite Disney Princesses.

Check out all of the special opportunities that are planned in each of the four theme parks and Disney Springs on August 19:

Entertainment and photo opportunities are subject to change. Some locations could be affected by inclement weather.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Character Experiences:

  • Meeko joins Pocahontas at Character Landing on Discovery Island
  • Timon joins Rafiki at Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Princess Atta joins Flik at Discovery Island near Creature Comforts

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop before the park entrance (daylight hours only)
  • Jungle Book Magic Shot near Yak & Yeti Restaurant
  • Visit the PhotoPass photographer in DinoLand U.S.A. from 9-10 p.m. to have magical Mickey light effects added to your photo (example below)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Character Experiences:

  • The Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Maleficent, and Cruella de Vil will meet with guests at Sunset Showcase. This opportunity will be available from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop outside the Theater of the Stars (daylight hours only)
  • Poison Apple Magic Shot on Sunset Boulevard
  • Fisheye lens in the Chinese Theatre Courtyard area

Epcot
Character Experiences:

  • Genie will join Princess Jasmine in the Morocco Pavilion
  • Mushu will join Mulan in the China Pavilion

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop near Epcot Character Spot (daylight hours only)
  • Baymax Animated Magic Shot with the PhotoPass photographer located near Mouse Gear and the Fountain of Nations
  • Fisheye lens near the fountain close to the entrance to Spaceship Earth

Magic Kingdom Park
Character Experiences:

  • Dopey joins Snow White at Town Square Courtyard
  • Captain Hook joins Peter Pan in Fantasyland

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop in Fantasyland (daylight hours only)
  • Cinderella’s Coach in Fantasyland
  • “Tangled” light painting photo opportunity near Ariel’s Grotto (available after dark)
  • Mickey Mouse Magic Shot on the bridge near Fairytale Garden
  • Main Street Vehicle near the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (available in the morning and early afternoon)

Disney Springs
Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop next to the Marketplace Stage
  • Fairy Wings Magic Shot from the PhotoPass photographer roaming around the Marketplace near Tren-D (available from 1-10:30 p.m.)
  • You can also visit the Disney PhotoPass Studio at Disney Springs to enjoy special $99.95 plus shipping pricing on a Personalized Storybook now through August 20!