Frozen’s Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel to Perform Together During ABC Holiday Special

It’s a holiday miracle! For the first time on television, Frozen’s Elsa and Anna — aka Tony Award winner Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell — will reunite for ABC’s holiday special, The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration.

The duo will sing “When We’re Together,” a song from the Disney featurette Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. Menzel and Bell will be accompanied by a 30-piece choir during their performance from the steps of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Resort in California.

“This performance will combine two of my very favorite things: the holidays and singing alongside my Frozen sister, Idina Menzel,” Bell said in a statement. “I’m excited to sing a song with Idina that I feel has the potential to become a new holiday classic.”

Menzel also shared her excitement for the upcoming reunion and performance: “I think I can speak for her when I say we are both so proud of this story we get to tell and these sisters we get to portray,” she said.

Other performers involved in the holiday special include Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block) who will take on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” alongside Lea Michele and Disney Channel stars Sofia Carson (Descendants 2) and Olivia Rodrigo (Bizaardvark). The cast of the new Club Mickey Mouse will kick off the holiday program with a performance from the resort’s Main Street.

Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs), Ciara, Darius Rucker, Fifth Harmony, Fitz and the Tantrums, Hanson, In Real Life, Jason Derulo, 98 Degrees, and Broadway’s Telly Leung and Arielle Jacobs of Aladdin will also perform during the two-hour televised event.

Catch Menzel and Bell’s performance during The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration Thursday, Nov. 30 starting at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Also during 25 Days of Christmas, Menzel will perform the classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” as part of Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration, which will air on Christmas Day at 10 a.m. ET on ABC.

From Entertainment Weekly

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Mark Hamill Surprises Star Wars Fans at Disneyland

Mark Hamill gave Star Wars fans the thrill of a lifetime.

In celebration of the upcoming movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15), Hamill visited Disneyland Tuesday to surprise some unsuspecting guests. The actor’s destination: Star Tours in Tomorrowland. “The Captain did mention something about a special passenger,” a Disneyland cast member began. “Oh, and the Force is strong with this one. So, let me go and…”

Enter Hamill, who simply walked in and said, “Hello, everyone!”

As fans cheered and pulled out their iPhones to capture the moment, Hamill mimed an applause meter. “Now, wait a minute!” he said. “There’s no Star Wars fans here, are there?”

Hamill didn’t come dressed in Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Robes, similar to when Johnny Depp dressed up as Jack Sparrow to surprise fans on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in April. And unlike the cast of Descendants 2, he didn’t attempt to go incognito inside the park, either.

Instead, Hamill came as he was—and that was more than enough. “I am so happy to be here at Disneyland with you today,” he said. “The first time I came here, I was a little kid, and I used to daydream about someday working at Disney—so, thank you for making my dream come true.”

Here’s a link to the video.

Hamill took a selfie with the group before joining them for the ride.

From ENews

Disneyland Shuts Down Two Cooling Towers After Legionnaires’ Disease Sickens Park Visitors

Disneyland has shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers after Orange County health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaires’ disease in people who had visited the Anaheim theme park, authorities said.

The 12 cases of the bacteria-caused illness were discovered about three weeks ago among people who had spent time in Anaheim and included nine people who had visited Disneyland Park in September before developing the illness, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. Their ages ranged from 52 to 94.

The remaining three were Orange County residents who did not visit the park but lived or traveled in Anaheim.

Ten were hospitalized and one person “with additional health issues” died, according to health officials. That person did not visit Disneyland.

Walt Disney World Announces Dates for 2018 Flower and Garden Festival

Walt Disney World has announced that the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival will take place over 90 days, from February 28 through May 28.

Epcot will be celebrating 25 years of the event in 2018.  Some highlights of next year’s event include:

  • Disney Character Topiaries
  • 15 Outdoor Kitchens serving creative, flavor-rich cuisine that highlights spring garden offerings
  • Garden Rocks music series – with its classic rock ‘n’ roll stars from the ‘60s, ‘70s ‘80s and ‘90s. Garden Rocks Dining packages will be available for certain Epcot restaurants – pairing a meal with reserved seating for your favorite concert
  • Garden Tours – Including Gardens of the World Tour (spring edition); the English Tea Garden Tour; and Royal Tea Garden Tour (extra fee required)
  • New interactive kids play areas
  • Egg-Stravaganza scavenger hunt

Rian Johnson to Create New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy

The Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday that Rian Johnson will craft a new trilogy for the “Star Wars” universe, greatly expanding the director’s command over the ever-expanding space saga created by George Lucas.

The announcement, made by Disney chief Bob Iger on a call with investment analysts, constituted the most ambitious new foray into the “Star Wars” galaxy, moving well beyond the original nine-film framework imagined by Lucas. Disney also announced a live-action “Star Wars” series that will debut on its streaming service which is set to launch in 2019.

The new films will be separate from the Skywalker saga. “Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored,” Disney said in a statement.

That Johnson will preside over a new “Star Wars” trilogy altogether confirms his status as the franchise’s new chief guardian. It’s a considerable amount of trust to be placed in the 43-year-old director of 2012′s “Looper,” even before audiences see his first “Star Wars” installment. J.J. Abrams, who kick-started the dormant franchise with “The Force Awakens,” is set to return for the untitled Episode IX — the third film in the current trilogy.

“He’s a creative force, and watching him craft ‘The Last Jedi’ from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career,” Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy said of Johnson. “Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

Johnson will write and direct the first film in the trilogy, working with his producing partner Ram Bergman.

“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on ‘The Last Jedi,’ ” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “‘Star Wars’ is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”

Iger also revealed that Disney is also planning series for its streaming service based on the 2011 Pixar film “Monsters Inc.” and the Disney Channel movie franchise “High School Musical.” Iger said he expects the service to be priced “substantially below” Netflix’s $10-a-month subscription price.

From CNBC

Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Closing for Most of January 2018 for Another Refurbishment

Disney has scheduled Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom for another refurbishment early next year.

The refurbishment is scheduled to begin on January 8 and last through February 1, with a reopening to guests on February 2nd next year.

Currently Splash Mountain is nearing the end of a major refurbishment, which began on August 28th and lasting through November 16th.

The January refurbishment has been rumored for some time. The closure seems to have been confirmed because Disney has now begun cancelling FP+ selections during that time frame.

Pirates of the Caribbean in Walt Disney World Closing in February for New Auction Scene Installation

Pirates of the Caribbean will be closing this coming February for a three week refurbishment that is expected to see the introduction of the new auction scene.

The refurbishment is scheduled to begin February 26th and last through March 18th and  reopening to guests on March 19th.

Disney has previously announced that the iconic auction scene will see the redhead play a new role, joining the pirate ranks and overseeing the pirate auction of the townspeople’s valuables.

A similar scene opened at Disneyland Paris this past summer, and the change will come to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort in 2018.

Pirates of the Caribbean last saw a major change with the introduction of characters and elements from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise back in 2006.

Walt Disney World Posts Entertainment Line-Up and Schedules for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

The first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take place tomorrow November 9th at the Magic Kingdom, and Disney has posted all the entertainment schedules and treat locations to help your planning.

There is a new twist this year, with the park closing to day guests at 6pm.

Entertainment

  • A Frozen Holiday Wish – 6:15 PM, 8:15 pm
  • Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration on the castle stage – 7:40 PM, 9:25 pm, 10:30 PM, 11:55 pm
  • Club Tinsel dance party at Cosmic Ray’s – 7 PM to Midnight
  • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas on The Rockettower Plaza Stage – 7:45 PM, 8:35 PM, 9:25 PM, 10:45 PM, 11:35 PM
  • VoicePlay on the Rockettower Plaza Stage – 8:10 PM, 9 PM, 10:20 PM, 11:10 PM
  • Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade beginning in Frontierland – 8:30 PM and 11 PM
  • Holiday Wishes – 10 PM
  • The Reindeer Wranglers (Frontierland) – 7:15 PM, 8:05 PM, 9:30 PM, 10:30 PM, 11:45 PM

Holiday Treat Locations

Complimentary treats are available until midnight at:

  • Sno-cone and snowman soft pretzel at Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland
  • Eggnog and Ginger Molasses Cookie at Ticket Office in Liberty Square
  • Silky Smooth Dove chocolate and sparkling apple cider at Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland
  • Nesquik chocolate milk and peppermint crunch cookie at Pete’s Silly Sideshow Storybook Circus in Fantasyland
  • Hot chocolate, apple cider and a variety of cookies at Pinocchio’s Village Haus
  • Santa Claus cookie and Sno-cone at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland
  • Hot chocolate and Snickerdoodle cookie at Cosmic Ray’s Cafe.

Characters Meet and Greets

Main Street U.S.A.

  • Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse

Adventureland

  • Aladdin, Jasmine, genie and Abu, Captain Jack Sparrow, Moana, Peter Pan

Fronteriland

  • Country Bears

Liberty Square

  • Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws

Fantasyland

  • Ariel and Prince Eric, rapunzel and Flynn, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Belle, Pooh and Friends, Seven Dwarfs,Snow White and Prince, Aurora and Prince Phillip, Elena of Avalor, Minnie Mouse, Scrooge McDuck, Donald and Daisy, Santa Goofy, Mary Poppins and Bert, Tiana and Naveen.

Tomorrowland

  • Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps

Attractions Operating During Party

Main Street U.S.A.

  • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
  • Town Square Theater

Adventureland

  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Jingle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

Frontierland

  • Splash Mountain (from November 17)
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Country Bear Jamboree

Liberty Square

  • Haunted Mansion

Fantasyland

  • it’s a small world
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  • Princess Fairytale Hall
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Dumbo
  • Barnstormer

Tomorrowland

  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Space Mountain
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Monsters Inc. laugh Floor (to 10pm)

Speciality Foods

  • Main Street Bakery serves a Holiday Mickey cinnamon roll, yule log, peppermint cupcake
  • Sleepy Hollow serves a Sandy Claws dessert, red velvet Mickey waffles

Restaurants Operating Party

Main Street U.S.A.

  • Main Street Bakery
  • Plaza Ice Cream
  • Casey’s Corner
  • The Crystal Palace (to 8pm)

Adventureland

  • Aloha Isle

Frontierland

  • Pecos Bill
  • Westward Ho

Liberty Square

  • Columbia Harbor House (to 8pm)
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Liberty Square Market (to 9pm)

Fantasyland

  • Storybook Treats
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Gaston’s Tavern (to 10pm)

Tomorrowland

  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight cafe (to 11pm)
  • The Lunching Pad

21st Century Fox Holding Talks to Sell Most of the Company to Disney According to Sources


21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Walt Disney Co., leaving behind a media company tightly focused on news and sports, according to people familiar with the situation.

The talks have taken place over the last few weeks and there is no certainty they will lead to a deal. The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited.

For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance and there is not a path to gain that scale in entertainment through acquisition. The company is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current marketplace.

The media landscape has changed considerably in recent years with giants such as Facebook, Google (Alphabet), Amazon and Netflix changing the way people consume media and dominating the digital distribution of digital video content. Being able to compete in that changing landscape, many people believe, requires scale that a Disney has, but 21st Century Fox does not.

For Disney, the opportunity to take control of another movie studio and significant TV production assets as it readies a direct-to-consumer entertainment streaming offering is attractive as is Fox’s significant exposure to international markets, such as the U.K., Germany and Italy — both through its networks and 39 percent ownership of Sky. Disney recently announced it will pull all of its movies from the Netflix platform and will establish two direct-to-consumer offerings: one for sports and one including its key franchises such as “Star Wars” and Marvel.

Disney would not purchase all of Fox, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

From CNBC

Disney Says Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Runner Collapsed and Died

A runner at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Sunday at Lake Buena Vista collapsed close to the finish line and later died, said Jacquee Wahler, a spokesperson for Walt Disney World.

“We offer our sincerest sympathies to the family and loved ones of the runner during this difficult time,” Wahler said.

Disney officials did not disclose the runner’s name, age or details of the death.

The 13.1-mile race is in its eighth year and drew about 15,000 registrations. It started 5:30 a.m. at the Magic Kingdom parking lot and ended at Epcot.

From The Orlando Sentinel