National Geographic Unveils a Wildly Compelling Spring Slate at 2020 TCA Winter Press Tour

By Beth Deitchman

“What a wild and extraordinary time to be in the television business,” said National Geographic Global Television Networks President Courteney Monroe as she kicked off network’s session at the 2020 Winter TCA press tour in Pasadena.

As 2020 gets underway, National Geographic has much to celebrate. It continues to be a strong and meaningful global brand with a powerful digital and social media footprint. The 132-year-old brand boasts more than 3.4 billion views on YouTube and ranks as the No. 1 brand on Instagram (having just surpassed Taylor Swift) with more than 129 million followers. “We are also one of the five core brands on Disney+, giving us a tremendous advantage in the streaming space and the opportunity to attract a whole new audience,” Monroe noted.

National Geographic’s highly successful premium content strategy draws both audience and industry recognition. The brand and its programming has attracted the likes of A-list creative talent such as Will Smith, Ron Howard, Jeff Goldblum, Cynthia Erivo, and, most recently, Chris Hemsworth; and this past year, National Geographic received more Emmy® Awards than any other ad-supported television network—broadcast or cable.

As National Geographic continues its mission to be the world’s leading destination for premium factual storytelling, it previewed a creatively ambitious and exciting slate of content that will debut in the coming months:

  • On January 24, the documentary Rebuilding Paradise will debut at Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Ron Howard and produced by Imagine Entertainment, the documentary looks at the devastation faced by the town of Paradise, California, following cataclysmic wildfires and follows its residents as they begin to rebuild. The film will screen at additional festivals and theaters before it airs on National Geographic later in 2020.
  • National Geographic is partnering with Gal Gadot on short-form doc series #Impact, which highlights young women around the world who overcome amazing obstacles to do incredible things. Against all odds they dare to dream, stand out, speak up, and lead. The installments will release digitally first before culminating in a longform special to air on National Geographic.
  • Actor Chris Hemsworth appeared in a special video to announce that he is partnering with National Geographic and will become a “human guinea pig” for Limitless, a docuseries that will showcase how we can unlock the body’s secret superpowers in order to maximize our full potential to live healthier, smarter, and longer lives.

the world according to jeff goldblum

  • The Disney+ original docuseries The World According to Jeff Goldblum will return for a second season, taking its host and executive producer Jeff Goldblum across the country to unravel the fascinating truths behind familiar objects we all know and love. The first season explored a spectrum of topics from ice cream and sneakers to denim and RVs. In the 10-episode second season, Jeff will bring viewers on an entertaining and insightful ride around the world as he unearths a new batch of everyday objects. The second original series for Disney+ from National Geographic, Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is set to premiere on the streaming service later this year.

brain games

  • Ahead of its January 20 premiere, Brain Games, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, has been picked up for a second season. The series fuses celebrities with science in a highly entertaining way to reveal what makes our brains tick. This season on Brain Games, fans can look forward to special guests who include Tiffany Haddish, Drew Brees, Jordan Peele, Meghan Trainor, Anthony Anderson, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Jack Black, Mark Cuban, Kevin Hart, and Rebel Wilson.

bear grylls

  • Bear Grylls appeared at TCA in a special video to help announce that Running Wild with Bear Grylls has been renewed for a second season on National Geographic. In the season finale on Tuesday, January 21, at 10 p.m. ET, Grylls takes Emmy®-nominated actor Zachary Quinto on a treacherous adventure through the dense Panamanian jungle during tropical storm season.

life below zero

  • The Emmy-winning docuseries Life Below Zero, which remains one of the highest rated series on the network, has been picked up for two additional seasons, as well as an additional season of Life Below Zero: Port Protection. Additionally, an all-new eight-part spinoff series, Life Below Zero: Next Generation, is slated to premiere on National Geographic in 2021. Life Below Zero: Next Generation will follow new individuals who, in a brave move, recently left their traditional lifestyle behind to face a challenging new world off the grid in the wilds of Alaska.

gordan ramsey uncharted

  • The second season of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted will premiere on May 10 (10 p.m. ET). Produced by Studio Ramsay, the all-new episodes will feature Gordon Ramsay continuing his journey across the globe, embarking on exhilarating missions to unearth world cultures through food and adventure. This season will see Ramsay travel to Tasmania, Indonesia, Mexico, India, Guyana, Louisiana, and Texas, among other locales.
  • The documentary The Hidden Kingdoms of China will premiere Saturday, February 22, 9 p.m. ET and be narrated by Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians). The documentary showcases China’s beauty and grandeur, from the highest mountains and plateaus to the thickest jungles and bamboo forests. With unparalleled access, this epic two-hour natural history special introduces viewers to the real-life drama surrounding the snub-nosed monkey, Tibetan fox, snow leopard, and a kaleidoscope of jungle creatures, and it reveals never-before-seen behavior from the nation’s most iconic animal—the giant panda
  • Monroe also announced that National Geographic is launching the Field Ready Program to promote diversity and inclusion, providing a clear path for a new generation of people interested in working behind the camera in global television production. “Our hope is that this program will incubate the next generation of leaders who best represent our audience today,” she shared.

National Geographic also provided a deeper look into several titles and programming events that fans can look forward to in Spring 2020:

the cave

The Cave
The feature-length documentary garnered National Geographic its second Oscar® nomination last week, and The Cave can be seen in its commercial-free broadcast premiere Saturday, January 25 (9 p.m. ET). From director Feras Fayyad (Last Men in Aleppo), The Cave is set in war-torn Syria, where hope and safety lie underground inside a subterranean hospital. The documentary follows pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballour and her colleagues, Samaher and Dr. Alaa, who have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. They must contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages, and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks. This stirring portrait of courage, resilience, and female solidarity delivers an unflinching look at the Syrian war and some of its most unlikely heroes.

Dr. Amani Ballour, the incredible woman at the heart of The Cave, appeared at the TCA via satellite, shortly after being awarded the prestigious Raoul Wallenberg prize for personal courage, bravery, and commitment in saving hundreds of lives during the Syrian War. Director Fayyad, however, was unable to attend the panel due to continued struggles to obtain the necessary visas that will allow him to come to the United States. National Geographic is working with the State Department to make this happen, and the international documentary and entertainment communities are also rallying behind him. The Cave is a very personal film for Fayyad, Producer Sigrid Dyekjær detailed, noting that he made the film to honor his seven sisters, his daughter, and the unnamed women he witnessed being jailed and tortured in Syrian prisons just because of their gender.

The Cave’s filmmakers are heroes themselves, going to incredible lengths to get the footage they shot from Syria to Denmark, where it could be edited into the gripping documentary that has struck a chord with audiences. Dyekjær credits National Geographic for coming on board so early, based on only three minutes of footage, and stresses that their involvement contributed to the filmmakers’ safety. “Without that support, I don’t know how we would have done it,” Dyekjær said.

cosmos: possible worlds

Cosmos: Possible Worlds—March 9
On Monday, March 9 (8 p.m. ET), the highly anticipated third season of Cosmos premieres on National Geographic, 40 years after the title was introduced to a global audience by legendary scientist Carl Sagan. Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, is at the helm of Cosmos: Possible Worlds, which marks the visionary series’ most ambitious season yet. The newest season of Cosmos delivers its signature, fact-based storytelling, painlessly conveying complex scientific concepts to the viewer through thought-provoking adventures that celebrate the possibilities of humanity in our universe. The 13-episode season features time travel to past eras, revealing unsung scientific heroes who sacrificed everything in the pursuit of scientific revelation. It transports the viewer to a hidden place where life may have begun on Earth, to some of the lost worlds of our ancestors, and to the possible worlds of our remote descendants. Neil deGrasse Tyson serves as host and executive science editor.

“This season of Cosmos is filled with hope because it imagines the future—not the dystopian ruined future that we’ve seen so many times—but instead basing this idea on the courage of our ancestors, on the courage of the searchers that have given us the picture of the universe that we now have,” Druyan explains. “Cosmos is asking you to reach for the stars—and not pie-in-the-sky, but a science-based dream, because dreams are maps. We need to give our kids and our grandchildren a dream of the future that’s worth studying, challenging sciences and other fields in order to get us there.”

Cosmos: Possible Worlds follows 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Druyan recalled being blown away by the incredible reaction from viewers who approached Cosmos as a television event. “I started watching the Twitter feed from the East Coast and the West Coast, and so many people were tweeting, ‘I can’t believe that I’m sitting in one room with every member of my family, and we’re all glued to the same show. This has never happened before.’”

“What Cosmos has done so beautifully is synthesize multiple ways of not only the scripting but the storytelling and the storytelling married to science. Who does that?,” deGrasse Tyson marveled.

Earth Day Programming
This April 22 marks the milestone 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and National Geographic celebrates this massive cultural movement with two primetime global, emotionally evocative specials that raise awareness of our dynamic planet and its animal inhabitants and inspire stewardship for this generation and future ones to come.

nat geo WILD

Beginning at 8 p.m. ET, simulcast on National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD, Good Morning America anchor and Disney Legend Robin Roberts hosts the one-hour live broadcast event Born Wild: Earth Day Live. Immediately afterward, the two-hour documentary special Jane Goodall: The Hope will air on National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, and Nat Geo MUNDO. Both programs will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages.

For Born Wild: Earth Day Live, Robin Roberts will be stationed at home base at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, the largest marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation hospital in the world. There, she will interact with seal and sea lion pups while talking with species experts about what is being done to save these animals.

National Geographic Explorer and photographer Brian Skerry, a marine wildlife expert, and ABC News’ Matt Gutman will follow a baby humpback whale and its mama, diving alongside the pair face to face, sharing their magical world and helping viewers fall in love with their precious ecosystem.

Big cat experts, conservationists, and National Geographic Explorers Dereck and Beverly Joubert and Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang will embark on a journey to find a specific pride of lions that the Jouberts have been following for years. The charismatic lion cubs are under the daily threat of poaching, which determines the course of all conservation in Africa.

On National Geographic Explorer, renowned bear researcher and wildlife ecologist Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant and ABC News’ Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee will work with biologists to extract newborn black bear cubs carefully from their dens to gather critical measurements to help biologists ensure the animals’ health and safety leading into the spring.

And National Geographic Explorer and biologist Dr. Ian Singleton and ABC News’ Linsey Davis will meet infant orangutans as they prepare for life on their own, culminating in  their emotional release back into the wild.

jane goodall: the hope

Picking up where National Geographic Documentary Films’ 2017 award-winning Jane left off, Jane Goodall: The Hope follows Goodall throughout her never-ending travels, capturing her relentless commitment and determination to spread a message of hope. The film offers an intimate perspective on Goodall’s pivotal transformation from scientist to inspirational activist and leader in holistic conservation through the Jane Goodall Institute and the harrowing obstacles she has faced throughout her remarkable career. Featuring an extensive collection of photographs and footage that spans more than seven decades, the documentary illustrates how her passion for wildlife and unshakable drive have persevered, making her one of the most important figures in wildlife conservation and galvanizing a future generation to create lasting change.

“It’s important that Earth Day, the celebration, draws people back to National Geographic,” said Beverly Joubert. “Many people feel helpless and they have no idea how they can help, but they can join an organization that is already doing it and that’s how we’re going to be successful celebrating Earth Day.”

Heartland Docs, DVM and Critter Fixers: Country Vets

Heartland Docs, DVM and Critter Fixers: Country Vets
Premiering January 25 (10 p.m. ET), Heartland Docs, DVM follows husband-and-wife veterinarians Erin and Ben Schroeder who practice together in picturesque, rural Hartington, Nebraska, where their unbridled commitment to their community’s farmers is paramount to the preservation of our nation’s food supply. Along with their two sons, Charlie and Chase, the doctors are always on the go as their veterinary practice cares for the region’s myriad animals in need, including cows, potbellied pigs, llamas, deer, and possum. The Schroeders’ credo extends beyond saving the animals on which America depends; it’s about making each visit something to look forward to for both the animals and their caretakers, even in the toughest conditions. From winter blizzards to spring tornadoes and blistering summer heat waves, Drs. Erin and Ben Schroeder overcome the obstacles with skill and heart.

Critter Fixers: Country Vets

In Critter Fixers: Country Vets, premiering Saturday, March 7 (10 p.m. ET), Dr. Vernard Hodges and Dr. Terrence Ferguson are two lifelong friends who own and operate Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital, located 100 miles south of Atlanta. Together with their loving staff, these physicians bring real heart, soul and a lot of humor to their treatment and care of more than 20,000 patients a year across their two locations. Between emergency visits to the office and farm calls throughout rural Georgia, this special team is constantly bombarded with unique cases. From a police dog with cactus thorns around her eye to a potbellied pig with life-threatening lacerations, for the Critter Fixer team, there is no such thing as “normal.”

Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president, Development & Production, NG WILD, spoke to the incredible success National Geographic has had with series focused on veterinarians, dating back to Cesar Millan, better known as “the Dog Whisperer.” “Nat Geo Wild has built a lot of our success from shows featuring vets. Audiences really responded very positively. But every single one of our vets is different—whether it’s the community they serve or the team that they have built,” she said. “What we look for is that one common denominator: real heartfelt stories and that real emotional animal human connection that these guys all have.” All of these talented vets are heroes in their communities, she stressed.

race to the center of the earth

Race to the Center of the Earth
From the critically acclaimed, award-winning producers of The Amazing Race comes National Geographic’s first-ever global competition series, Race to the Center of the Earth. The extreme, no-elimination competition series pits four teams of three contestants against one another in a nonstop adventure across the globe. Over the course of eight episodes, this adventure competition will send teams racing through Canada, Russia, Southeast Asia, and South America, and the first to reach the buoy that marks the finish line will win $1 million.

race to the center of the earth

While filming the series took place over the course of about two and a half weeks, the planning was done over six months as producers scouted locations and tested routes multiple times to ensure that they could be accomplished by the contestants during the allotted time. “We have to know that the challenges we’re finding are doable, so we do them ourselves first,” said Kirk Durham, co-executive producer for Team Canada. The teams and the filmmakers were at the mercy of weather as they took on challenges that included climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking. None of the contestants are professional athletes, though all share a love for the outdoors and for adventure.

“The purpose of the show is to showcase the world and people going on an epic adventure,” said co-creator and executive producer Elise Doganieri. “If you were to ask any of the contestants what was the reason for going on the show, it was to see the world and travel and do the most amazing things that they had never done before. The prize at the end was important but that was secondary to the adventure.”

genius: aretha

Genius: Aretha
The Emmy-winning global anthology series Genius dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators, exploring their extraordinary achievements along with their volatile, passionate, and complex personal relationships. Genius: Aretha marks the first-ever, definitive, and only-authorized scripted limited series on the life of Aretha Franklin. National Geographic announced Friday that Genius: Aretha will premiere over four consecutive nights, beginning Memorial Day, Monday, May 25 (9 p.m. ET).

The eight-part series will explore Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. Genius: Aretha will alternate between present-day storylines and scenes from her youth, focusing on her childhood and the pivotal events that influenced her career as an adult.

A “dream team” of filmmakers and actors are bringing Genius: Aretha to the screen. Oscar® nominee Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) plays Franklin as an adult, while newcomer Shaian Jordan plays “Little Re” and Courtney B. Vance also stars as Franklin’s father, C.L. Franklin. MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks is executive producer and showrunner, and Emmy-winning director Anthony Hemingway also executive produces and helms several of the installments. Imagine has partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for this third season, which will again be executive produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

Franklin is the first woman, the first American, the first person of color, and the first mother to be profiled in the Genius series. “One of the questions when we started working on this project was, is Aretha Franklin really a genius?” recalled Parks, who stressed, “The answer, of course, is a resounding yes.” She went on to add, “Aretha not only made art that is timeless, that runs through the fabric of all of our lives and endures through time, but she did what genius also should be doing and does do—it’s inclusive and impacts the genius in each and every one of us.”

“I learned to sing and tell stories that way by listening to her,” noted Erivo, who shared (via satellite) that she approached the role by listening to Franklin’s music and noting how she communicates with her music, as well as by reading as much as she could about the Queen of Soul. “I get to be a geek over something that I really love,” she said.

Director Anthony Hemingway was committed to bringing authenticity, details, and nuance to Franklin’s story. He spoke to “the beauty of having the opportunity to showcase and highlight the genius qualities of Aretha’s life.” Noting that Erivo has been singing Franklin’s songs live on set during production, he stressed, “[Cynthia] mesmerizes everyone and captivates everyone. She is a genius unto herself.”

Your Favorite ABC Stars Share 2020 TV Secrets

By Zach Johnson

The stars of ABC’s scripted and unscripted series were out in full force when we attended the network’s Winter Television Critics Association (TCA) red carpet in Pasadena, California, earlier this month. From The Bachelor to Stumptown, we discovered what’s in store for the coming season.

american housewife cast

American Housewife (Fridays 8|7c)
Following the series finale of the award-winning comedy Modern Family April 8 at 9 p.m., American Housewife will take over its timeslot on April 15. “It’s going to be hard to do what Modern Family did,” said Daniel DiMaggio, who plays Oliver Otto, “but it’s very special to get that slot. We’re very lucky.” Echoed Diedrich Baker, who plays patriarch Greg Otto, “The fact that ABC is moving us is incredibly exciting news. It’s great for us.”

Now in its fourth season, American Housewife has plenty more laughs in store. “We’ll have to see where Taylor (Meg Donnelly) goes to college and what happens to her relationship with Trip (Peyton Meyer),” Bader said. “Oliver is growing and developing into a better person; I can’t wait to see how that’s going to come to fruition.” DiMaggio, too, said he is looking forward to seeing how his character’s “teen help line story” will play out. Donnelly, meanwhile, teased each episode will become “bigger and bigger” leading up to the last one. “I’m always excited to shoot the finale episode,” she said, “because each finale episode is bigger than the last. I’m excited to see what’ll happen.”

American Housewife will air at 9:30 p.m. starting March 18 before moving to 9 p.m. on April 15.

pete weber the bachelor

The Bachelor (Mondays 8|7c)
Peter Weber learned a lot about himself when he first appeared on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette last year—but he learned even more about himself when it was his turn to hand out the roses each week. “On Hannah’s season, I regretted not fully opening up; I kind of held back a bit,” he admitted. “Going into this, on the first night with the women I tried to encourage them as much as possible to not make the same mistakes I did—to be their raw, vulnerable selves from the beginning.” Reflecting on his journey, Weber said, “I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I’m a lot more resilient. I became a much better communicator, which is a huge thing. I’m a better man after this.”

Host Chris Harrison promised this will be “the most dramatic season” in the franchise’s history. “I know I always say that, but it is a fascinating season,” he said. “It’s a roller coaster ride right up until the end.” Why that is, he wouldn’t say. But he did reveal that it involves an “emotional, raw twist” that no one—not even the producers—saw coming. “It’s something we had to deal with at the end… and it swept the rug out from under us.”

black-ish (Tuesdays 9:30|8:30c)
Over the course of six seasons, Jeff Meacham’s Josh Oppenhol has come a long way. “My character has been lucky enough to get expanded a lot last year and this year now that Junior (Marcus Scribner) is in the office,” he said. “My character is kind of a loner, and Junior is cooler than him, but I love that we have this great symbiosis in the office.”

“I get emotional about Josh a little bit, because he’s a lonely guy who doesn’t have a lot of friends—and he needs his friends at work,” Meacham added. “He’s a sweetheart, for sure. He says dumb stuff a lot, but he means well.” In the next few black-ish episodes, Meacham revealed, “You’re going to see more of Josh and Junior working together, that’s for sure—and, obviously, you’ll get to see some more humiliation on Josh’s end.”

emergence cast

Emergence (Tuesdays 10|9c)
Not even the show’s stars know what creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters dreamt up for the season finale. “Even if you know something’s going to happen, the way in which they make things happen is so astounding,” said Alison Tolman, who plays Jo Evans. “They are great at creating memorable moments.” Owain Yeoman, who plays Benny Gallagher, added, “Michelle and Tara have this wonderful, overarching view of where the show is going. I remember they asked me, ‘How much do you want to know about your character?’ Some actors appreciate the information and others don’t. But I don’t think there’s been a single episode yet where we haven’t had an ‘OMG’ moment.”

The Good Doctor (Mondays 10|9c)
Midway through its third season, the medical drama is just getting started, said Fiona Gubelmann, who plays Dr. Morgan Reznick. “There are going to be some shocking twists and turns,” Gubelmann said. “There will be some cliffhangers, too, and some of the doctors’ careers are going to hang in the balance. My character’s definitely been on a roller coaster ride this season, and I think there are a lot more twists coming her way.”

Gubelmann is especially excited for fans to delve deeper into her character’s history in the upcoming episodes. “It’s been exciting to play Morgan and get such an incredible storyline, especially with her journey with arthritis,” she said. “Now we’re diving into more of her personal life and her back story. We get to learn so much about to her and see a whole other side. I’m nervous but I’m also very excited to see how it all plays out.”

mixed-ish's Ethan William Childress

mixed-ish (Tuesdays 9|8c)
The mixed-ish cast is a bonafide family, on- and off-screen. “We’re always playing games, always talking to each other, and always sitting by each other on lunch breaks,” said Ethan William Childress, who plays Johan Johnson. “It’s been great. I’m really hoping for a second season so I can still be with the same people because I’m loving it.”

The 10-year-old actor was careful not to spoil the rest of the freshman comedy’s upcoming episodes, but he did promise this: “It will be good. It’s going to be very funny!”

The Rookie (Sundays 10|9c)
Nearly three months will have passed since the midseason finale aired—and it has a big question to answer when it returns February 23. “We’re picking up with whether or not Lucy died,” said Richard T. Jones, who plays Wade Grey. “What do you think it will be?”

Jones was similarly ambiguous about the rest of the second season—but only because creator Alexi Hawley “keeps everything pretty tight-lipped,” he explained. “So, if you want to see the best police drama/comedy/action show, you need to watch The Rookie!”

Schooled AJ Michalka

Schooled (Wednesdays 8:30|7:30c)
The ’90s-set spinoff of The Goldbergs will see teachers Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka), Charlie “C.B.” Brown (Brett Dier), and Wilma Howell (Haneefah Wood) “grow closer as a threesome,” Michalka said. “I love when the storyline involves us all, because I find it to be really funny and charming. We have some really cute things in the coming episodes.”

Two seasons into Schooled, Michalka said Lainey is “recalibrating her passion and figuring out that being in a professional band is not necessarily the route she should take, and she’s actually finding a passion for this job at William Penn Academy.” Though she once viewed her teaching job as a detour on her way to stardom, “Now she’s like, ‘No, I love this,’” Michalka said. “She’s connecting with her students and she truly feels she’s helping them get to the next phase of their musical passions. I really love that. I think she’s becoming a really good teacher. I have a lot of respect for her.”

Wood added she’s trying to balance her character’s “hard as nails” persona at school with her “fun and silly side,” while Dier said he’s enjoying exploring C.B.’s “childlike wonder.”

Single Parents (Wednesdays 9:30|8:30c)
Is Tyler Wladis excited that his character, Graham D’Amato, finally got to meet his father (guest star Adam Brody) in season two? “Oh, yeah!” the young actor said, whooping his fists. Meanwhile, Marlow Barkley, who plays Sophie Cooper, hinted there will be “real drama” brewing between parents Angie D’Amato (Leighton Meester) and Will Cooper (Taran Killam), as well as Poppy Banks (Kimrie Lewis) and Douglas Fogerty (Brad Garrett). “There’s everything on this show,” said Wladis. “There’s comedy and drama!”

michael ealy

Stumptown (Wednesdays 10|9c)
There would be no Stumptown without Cobie Smulders, according to co-star Michael Ealy. “When people tell me they love the show, I think they really just love her, because she really is the heart and soul of this show. She’s killing it! I love Cobie, but I love her character even more, because I feel like her character is so much more interesting than she is!” Ealy said with a laugh. “I tell her all the time, and I think Cobie will admit that! Dex is not a romanticized television character. Stumptown is not like anything else on TV right now. It’s a bit of a throwback to the P.I. shows of the ’80s, but instead of some messy guy, you have Cobie playing Dex Parios, and she is absolutely phenomenal in this role.”

Ealy, who plays Miles Hoffman, hinted things are only going to get more complicated for the star-crossed lovers as the season progresses. “I wasn’t sure where things were going to go,” he said, “and where Cobie and I’s characters go will get really interesting.”

Meanwhile, Tantoo Cardinal, who plays Sue Lynn Blackbird, said she feels lucky to work with a cast that also includes Jake Johnson, Cole Sibus, Adrian Martinez, and Camryn Manheim. “There’s an appreciation and a sense of joy, really, to be able to do this work,” she said. “It’s great to go to work with people who are invested in what we’re doing and have a sense of possession about it.” To that end, Ealy hopes to be “given the opportunity to come back and paint on this canvas” for many more seasons. “If you’re blessed, you get to grow with your character. That is the beauty of television.”

Episodes can also be viewed the next day on, the ABC app, and Hulu.

Inside the Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy Crossover Event

By Zach Johnson

In November, Grey’s Anatomy went out with a bang—literally—when a car crashed through Joe’s Bar, endangering the lives of Grey Sloan doctors and interns, Station 19 firefighters, and bar patrons. The drama resumes tonight in a two-hour crossover event on ABC, beginning with Station 19 at 8|7c and concluding with Grey’s Anatomy at 9|8c.

Though the two series are loosely connected—Ben Warren (Jason George) and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) are married, for example—the crossover marks the first time many of the characters ever interact. “Station 19 has always been down the street, and now you’re finally getting to see the two worlds collide at Joe’s Bar under this horrible circumstance,” says Danielle Savre, who plays Maya Bishop on Station 19. “And it will have you on the edge of your seat, because someone may or may not die.”

station 19

Okieriete Onaodowan, who plays Dean Miller, was less ominous in his description of what transpires in the highly anticipated TV event. “Over the past couple of seasons on Station 19, I’ve popped over to Grey’s Anatomy, and they’ve popped over here, so it’s cool to have a moment where it’s all hands on deck,” he said. “You get to see the same issue handled over the course of both shows, with everyone attacking it from all angles.”

The aftermath of the car crash isn’t the only drama showrunner Krista Vernoff has in store for tonight’s crossover event. In Grey’s Anatomy, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) worries about sharing her pregnancy revelation with Link (Chris Carmack); Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy (Kim Raver) take a big step in their relationship; and Bailey grieves a recent loss. Station 19, meanwhile, will be “very different from past seasons,” promises Onaodowan. “Most of the characters are going to be challenged in ways you didn’t expect and forced to make difficult decisions.” Dean, in particular, “has a lot on his plate,” Onaodowan says. “There are a lot of things happening in his personal life that kind of shake his world, that may or may not make him question firefighting as a whole.”

station 19

Similarly, Maya has a big journey in the third season of Station 19—and it starts tonight. “What happens at the end of the episode with Maya is going to really throw people,” Savre says. “I’m nervous and excited for fans to see it, and it all happens in one scene.”

“All of the characters on our show will evolve a lot. The characters you thought you knew, you don’t know. You’re going to learn about their pasts and things that have happened to them, and it will really change your perception of them. It’s going to be a really big, character-driven season,” Savre says. “Something we latched onto that Grey’s is so good at is that one second you’re laughing, the next second you’re crying—then you’re laughing again, then you’re crying again, and then you’re throwing something at the TV! I’m doing that when I read the scripts; I can’t put them down!”

EXCLUSIVE: Preview Mandy Moore Singing a New Song by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater in Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure

By Beth Deitchman

This Sunday, January 26, has the makings of the best day ever. A special one-hour episode of Disney Channel’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure premieres at 7:05 a.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and in DisneyNOW, and it includes a brand-new song written by “EGOT” (Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar®, and Tony®) winner Disney Legend Alan Menken and Grammy Award winner Glenn Slater. We’ve got an exclusive clip of Mandy Moore, as Rapunzel, singing “The Girl Who Has Everything” in a stunning sequence that takes an artful look back at the big events in the princess’ life. Enjoy a first look and listen, below:

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Things get hairy in the episode—titled “Cassandra’s Revenge”—when Cassandra (Eden Espinosa) returns to Corona with a score to settle, just as Rapunzel is preparing to settle down and start living a normal life. The Emmy-winning series Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure also stars Zachary Levi (Shazam!) as Eugene, Jeremy Jordan (Broadway’s Newsies) as Varian, James Monroe Iglehart (Broadway’s Aladdin) as Lance, and Paul F. Tompkins (Bob’s Burgers) as Shorty.

Every Way Disney is Celebrating the Year of the Mouse in 2020

By Zach Johnson

Oh, boy! It’s the Year of the Mouse, so you can bet Mickey and friends are taking part. Traditionally celebrated within Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures, Lunar New Year honors the celestial journey of the sun and the moon as they cycle into another year. To help get you in the spirit, we’ve rounded up everything to do, eat, and see at Disney California Adventure Park, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and Shanghai Disney Resort, and some of the many other ways Disney is saluting the Year of the Mouse.

Disney California Adventure Park

From January 17 through February 9, 2020, guests visiting the park in Anaheim, California, will enjoy exciting live entertainment and musical performances. Running several times daily, “Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession” is a special parade led by Mulan that dedicates the new year’s blessings to family and friendship. Since it’s the Year of the Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse join the procession in new celebration attire, along with Goofy in his “God of Good Fortune” ensemble and Chip ‘n’ Dale in their red vests.

The 24-day celebration will also see the return of the “Hurry Home – Lunar New Year Celebration” before the World of Color spectacular. The uplifting nighttime water show at Paradise Bay tells the tale of a little lantern’s quest to reunite with family for the annual celebration of good luck and fortune—and features an appearance from Mulan!

Mickey and Minnie will don festive attire as they greet guests at Paradise Gardens. Other characters guests may encounter include Mulan, Pluto, and the Three Little Pigs.

Red and gold décor symbolizes good fortune, and guests will notice ornamental lanterns and banners wishing them a Happy Lunar New Year—in multiple languages!

Foodies will enjoy four festive marketplaces to experience delightful food and beverages inspired by Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures, including the smoked beef bulgogi short rib and the peach sojito, plus other new and returning favorites. The Sip and Savor pass is available to guests who want a taste of all the Asian marketplaces.

Longevity Noodle Co.

  • Chicken Meatballs and Lo Mein Noodles with Cabbage Salad and Apple-Ginger Sauce
  • Vegetable Egg Roll and Chilled Sesame Garlic Noodles with Cilantro-Cashew Sauce and Toasted Peanuts
  • Black Sesame Mochi Donut
  • Vietnamese Cold Brew with Coconut Milk
  • Tsingtao (bottled alcoholic beverage)

Lucky 8 Lantern

  • Shrimp Fried Rice with Garlic Bacon Edamame
  • Smoked Beef Bulgogi Shortrib on Rice Cake
  • Manadarin Orange and Green Tea Tart
  • Peach Sojito (alcoholic beverage)
  • Hitachino Nest Beer (bottled alcoholic beverage)

Prosperity Bao & Buns

  • Char Siu Pork Bao – Chinese BBQ Pork with Pickled Red Onions and Jalapeño
  • Mickey Chinese Hot Dog Bun
  • Lychee-Grapefruit Gin Spritzer (alcoholic beverage)
  • Kloud Original Gravity Lager (canned alcoholic beverage)

Red Dragon Spice Traders

  • Firecracker Three Cup Chicken Wings
  • Shrimp & Ginger Dumplings with Soy Reduction and Sriracha Mayo
  • Purple Yam Macaron with Crème Fraîche
  • Honey-Lime Green Tea
  • Honey-Lime Green Tea with Bourbon (alcoholic beverage)
  • Bottle Logic Hanamacahi (draft alcoholic beverage)

Themed food and beverage options are also available at the following locations:

Paradise Garden Grill (Mobile Order Available)

  • Korean Grilled Chicken
  • Plant-Based Orange Tempeh
  • Pork Belly Bahn Mi
  • Whole Deep-Fried Tilapia with Chili Lime Vinaigrette and Steamed Rice
  • Mango Mousse
  • Almond Milk Iced Tea
  • Orange Blossom Cocktail (alcoholic beverage)
  • Tiger Beer
  • Kloud Beer

Lucky Fortune Cookery (Mobile Order Available)

  • Bao Bun with Seasonal Fruit

Outdoor Vending Carts

  • Almond Cookies
  • Bulgogi Chicken

Lamplight Lounge

  • Pork Belly Egg Rolls – fried crispy egg rolls stuffed with tender pork belly and served with spicy mango glaze, pickled carrots, leaf lettuce, fresh cucumber, and pork rinds egg rolls stuffed with tender pork belly and served with spicy mango glaze, pickled carrots, leaf lettuce, fresh cucumber, and pork rinds

Throughout the celebration, daily performances by authentic Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese dancers and musicians will take place throughout Paradise Gardens Park.

New themed merchandise inspired by different cultures of East Asia are available to purchase. Guests will find all-new spirit jerseys, fun bobble-head figures with Chip ‘n’ Dale, a traditional red envelope set, themed Minnie Mouse ear headbands, and more!

Lucky Wishing Wall, located in Paradise Gardens, is where guests may write down wishes and tie them to the wall in hopes for a prosperous future. The educational art walls provide guests with information about the festival, including fun details such as “What Year Are You?,” as well as the unique story of Lunar New Year in each culture.

One area of the park features a complimentary dragon’s pearl coloring craft, while another features Chinese calligraphy with local artisans. Plus, new face-painting opportunities are now part of the Lunar New Year celebration, available for purchase.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

From now until February 9, 2020, everyone’s favorite mouse will be ringing in the new year throughout the park as part of the “Magical Year After Year” Chinese New Year Event.

Guests visiting Hong Kong Disneyland Resort during the first five days of the Chinese New Year (January 25–29, 2020) will receive a newly designed, Mickey Mouse-themed red packet upon entering the park (while supplies last). These limited-edition “packs of fortune” are memorable souvenirs and can be turned into fai chun banner decorations.

Enjoy the park’s festive decorations, including fai chun, beautiful lanterns, and flowers. Mickey joins his friends in their Chinese New Year outfits as they wish everyone a happy new year filled with good fortune and happiness. The Disneyland Band also brings joy by performing a series of Chinese New Year-themed songs. Guests can tour the specially created “Mickey’s Lucky Trail,” featuring nine spots in the park filled with good luck to help guests collect blessings for 2020 (during the first three days of the Lunar New Year), and they can even collect an exclusive set of stickers along the trail!

Each night, a dazzling Chinese New Year-edition of the “We Love Mickey!” projection show features Mickey dressed in his Chinese New Year outfit. Also, guests can also say “Kung Hei Fat Choi” to “God of Fortune” Goofy at The Annex and take pictures with him.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is serving up a series of delectable dishes with a festive twist. Guests can enjoy a traditional “Lo Hei” at Main Street Corner Cafe, hosted by Coca-Cola®, try the Chinese New Year-themed pastries at Main Street Bakery, and indulge in a decadent “Full House of Golden Treasures Dinner Set” at the Crystal Lotus.

Collect yourselves, collectors, because more than 50 exclusive merchandise items will be available! Check out the new Chinese New Year looks for Mickey and friends, as well as for Duffy and friends. Ring in Lunar New Year by snagging themed home décor, red packets, colorful new headbands, Year of the Mouse-edition Tsum Tsums, and more. Guests will flip their fins over Ariel’s Grotto Coral collection, and they’ll fall in love with Minnie’s REDD color fashion series—both of which are perfect for this time of year!

Shanghai, China

Mickey and Minnie were dressed to impress during their debut at Shanghai Disneyland’s annual Yu Garden Lantern Festival last week, where they welcomed the Chinese Lunar New Year—the Year of the Mouse—with tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. The January 10 opening of the festival featured a spectacular lighting ceremony along with the debut of Mickey and Minnie’s Lunar New Year outfits.

The Yu Garden Lantern Festival is a Chinese New Year tradition featuring a massive display of brightly-colored Mickey- and Minnie-themed lanterns that light up the local landmark. The custom lanterns—which were hand-made, using traditional methods, by a group of Chinese artisans over the course of month and a half—not only bring to life the fun-loving, positive, and optimistic spirit of Mickey and Minnie, but they illuminate people’s shared wishes for a family reunion during the annual Chinese holiday season.

Disney has also collaborated with local malls in China to create memorable magical experiences across eight cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Zhengzhou, Jinan, Dalian, and Shenyang. In Shanghai, the Jing’an Kerry Center has been given a fun and festive makeover, with Mickey ear-shaped gates to symbolize an auspicious new year of fortune, prosperity, longevity, and happiness.

Additionally, an enchanting array of Mickey themed products have been designed with a twist of traditional Chinese styles to bring good will for the new year. Disney store launched a special-edition Mickey plush: The red-hued Mickey holds a golden ingot, a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and features a hidden pocket designed to accommodate cards or red packets.

Disney has also collaborated with different brands to create styles distinctive to the Year of the Mouse. Italian high-fashion brand Gucci launched a new capsule collection comprised of effortlessly chic and modern menswear and womenswear. Chinese New Year customs ranging from Bainian, paying New Year visits, to eating Yuanxiao, sticky rice dumplings, and Mickey have inspired products from a host of popular Chinese brands, including Li Ning, Bosideng, and Peacebird. International skincare and cosmetic brands including SKII and Maybelline have launched limited-edition items featuring Mickey Mouse. Guojin Gold presents a set of collectible Mickey-themed coins, and Pandora’s special New Year collection offers unique stylish accessories for colorful seasonal looks.

Hong Kong

In celebration of the Year of the Mouse, Disney worked with local partners to bring fans a wide range of Mickey-themed collections filled with Lunar New Year vibes. Through February 16, 2020, multiple Hang Lung Properties malls in Hong Kong—including Fashion Walk, Grand Plaza, Hollywood Plaza, Gala Place, Amoy Plaza, Kornhill Plaza, and Peak Galleria—have transformed into a festive Mickey town, part of the “Mick” the Holidays Bright campaign.

During the campaign period, Disney will delight fans with Mickey-themed decorations, including a specially-curated Mickey-themed lion dance art installation, a brand-new collection with local classic brand Red A, and a series of Mickey-themed products, which are available at the pop-up store in Fashion Walk. At the kick-off ceremony held at Fashion Walk on January 10, Mickey and Minnie were dressed in their New Year’s costumes and made a surprise guest appearance along with actress Eliza Sam.

Robert Tam, Disney’s head of Consumer Product Commercialization, and Belle Cheng, Disney’s design manager, were joined by representatives from Hang Lung Properties and Red A, Master Keung (who made the Mickey-themed lion head), as well as Keith (a Mickey super fan) for a fireside chat to talk about the Year of the Mouse partnerships, creative, and everyone’s affinity for Mickey Mouse.

South East Asia

Across South East Asia, Disney is celebrating at several malls with their Year of the Mouse campaign featuring Mickey and Minnie installations, pop-up shops with special CNY products and memorable experiences including Mickey and Minnie meet and greets, photo booths, and more.

“Year of the Mouse” with SM, Philippines (January 23)
Disney Philippines and SM will launch the “Year of the Mouse” Chinese New Year campaign through a media event held at SM Megamall. Fans, influencers, and members of the media will enjoy meet and greet experiences with Mickey and Minnie. Mickey and Minnie will tour four SM malls from January 23–26, 2020. There will also be a social media promotion to highlight Mickey and Minnie apparel available in SM.

Disney’s Year of Mouse Special Event at Mall Kelapa Gading, Jakarta
From now until February 2, 2020, fans can enjoy Disney’s Year of the Mouse Mall Event at Mall Kelapa Gading Jakarta. Various Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse installations and fun photo booths are available for fans to experience their favorite Disney moments. Kids and families can also bring home their favorite Disney products from key partners and licenses at the retail area.

OPPO Reno2 Year of the Mouse Limited Edition, Indonesia—January 24
Disney Indonesia and Oppo will launch Oppo Reno2 Year of the Mouse Limited Edition on January 24, 2020. It will come in an exclusive packaging featuring the iconic Mickey Mouse. Reno2 Year of the Mouse Limited Edition will be available for pre-order at local e-commerce platform from January 17–23, 2020. The offline sale of the smartphone will begin on January 24, 2020. 


In Korea, The Walt Disney Company celebrates Year of the Mouse with a Mickey-themed mall activation at Lotte Mall and a Mickey-themed pop-up shop called “Mickey House” featuring Mickey products with a newly adopted retro design.

Shanghai Disney Resort

Through February 9, 2020, at Shanghai Disney Resort, guests are invited to experience a spellbinding celebration, complete with a resort-wide festive makeover, the return of beloved entertainment shows, new merchandise, and amazing Spring Festival dining!

Throughout the holiday, guests will have the opportunity to meet Disney friends around Mickey Avenue, dressed in their exciting Spring Festival costumes, and are welcome to take photos together in front of various photo backdrops inspired by the New Year. “God of Fortune” Goofy is also ready to bring extra luck and excitement on Mickey Avenue. Also, from Lunar New Year Day through the Lantern Festival, Mickey and Minnie will welcome guests in stylish new costumes designed by famed Chinese designer Guo Pei.

This year will feature a magical mix of traditional and reimagined decorations throughout the resort. Guests looking to add an extra touch of unique Disney magic to their Spring Festival greetings will be able to enjoy new themed filters on their smartphones. Users can create special Spring Festival greeting videos featuring Disney-themed overlays and virtual Mickey and Minnie elements, and also send and receive special red packets.

The Garden of the Twelve Friends will be transformed into a New Year “Wishing Garden,” where decorations will hang around the Year of the Mouse mosaic. At select meet and greet locations and in the Wishing Garden, guests can use special wishing cards to record their hopes and dreams to usher in a year of prosperity and good luck.

Each morning near Storytellers Statue in the Gardens of Imagination, guests can soak up the season’s good fortune during Mickey and Minnie’s drum ceremony—a performance specially designed to fill each day with good luck and happy wishes. In the late mornings and early afternoons, Mickey and friends will be joined in celebration by dancers in vintage-style clothing, reminiscent of the city’s golden age of jazz and swing.

As evening falls across the park, guests are invited to take in the wonders of the incredible “Spring Festival 2020 Firework Celebration: Our Families.” Following Ignite the Dream – A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light, a new vibrant fireworks show will wow guests every night throughout the Spring Festival period, with projections on the castle featuring families from classic Disney films and traditional Chinese elements.

Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is offering an exclusive Spring Festival Banquet on January 23 and 24, 2020, in the Cinderella Ballroom. Featuring a range of classic traditional dishes, the banquet recreates a traditional Spring Festival atmosphere, with plenty of fun activities, such as paper cutting, pumpkin carving, sugar painting, and dumpling making. While guests enjoy the meal, Mickey and Minnie will appear to surprise guests!

At Wandering Moon Restaurant, a savory selection of festive flavors will be available for all to enjoy, including Mickey Braised Pork Belly, Steamed Chicken with Stuffing, Steamed Fish with Tofu, and more. The Royal Banquet Hall in the Enchanted Storybook Castle is bringing back the popular family reunion tabletop feast for two or four people throughout the Spring Festival period. Designed to bring guests together during the holidays, the family reunion tabletop feast is ideal for princesses and princes of all ages.

At Remy’s Patisserie, guests are invited to celebrate the Year of the Mouse with tantalizing desserts, such as the Spring Festival Mickey Cranberry Cupcake and Spring Festival Strawberry Lemon Cake, while ice cream lovers can discover the Mickey Waffle with Purple Sweet Potato Ice cream at Il Paperino. Shanghai Disney Resort is also offering a limited Spring Festival Mickey and Minnie Afternoon Tea at Mickey & Pals Market Café, complete with brownies, various cupcakes, and Mickey-themed beverages.

Lumière’s Kitchen at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel will also be decorated in traditional Chinese elements. A buffet will be offered, including a wide range of fresh seafood, fine meats, traditional Chinese and western dishes, and various types of Spring Festival-themed desserts. Diners can also meet Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto to enrich their dining experience. Sunnyside Café at the Toy Story Hotel will offer a Spring Festival dinner feast from January 24 through January 30, creating a fun and festive party atmosphere.

The new Mickey Family 2020 Spring Festival Collection includes Mickey and Minnie plush in new outfits, new festive headbands, adult jackets in classic red and gold colors, mugs designed in the shape of traditional drums, limited-edition Mickey dancing dragon lantern figures, and limited-edition Mickey-themed pins. A limited-edition set of Mickey and Minnie plush in their unique Guo Pei-designed outfits will be available. A new Duffy and Friends merchandise collection will also celebrate the season, featuring Duffy, ShellieMay, Gelatoni, StellaLou, and CookieAnn in their traditional Spring Festival attire.

Shanghai Disney Resort will offer Spring Festival Lucky Bags filled with good fortune and fun offerings. Buyers will get an additional red packet with magical prizes, and a chance to win round-trip air tickets for two to Tokyo, courtesy of China Eastern Airlines.

Guests looking to extend the magic with an overnight stay at either the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel or Toy Story Hotel will find themselves immersed in a cheerful environment, complete with beautiful decorations, as well as workshops in lantern-making, Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting, and dragon mask coloring. In the lobby, young guests can listen to traditional stories, solve riddles, and get their faces painted.

Enjoy the special Spring Festival carnival in Disneytown, where Lion Blessing and Dragon parades, as well as a series of tents hosting craft stations, food booths, DIY workshops, and other activities await guests. On weekends, Mickey and Minnie will be performing a joyful dance alongside Disney dancers wearing fun Spring Festival outfits.

Celebrate Polka Dot Day in the Most Positively Minnie Way

By Beth Deitchman

If you’re seeing spots today, we’re positive that you’re going to want to join in the fun. Today isn’t just Polka Dot Day: It marks the launch of the newest celebration of Minnie Mouse, Positively Minnie!

Minnie is independent, confident and charming, not to mention beloved by fans around the world who look to her as the ultimate fashionista. Positively Minnie goes beyond fashion and celebrates Minnie as a modern lifestyle icon with a uniquely positive approach to life that inspires us all to make every day the best ever.

A new series of short-form videos share glimpses into Minnie’s world—a world that’s filled with joy, laughter and wonder in all the things that make Minnie, well, Positively Minnie. You can watch the first episode below—and stay tuned! Nine more episodes will be released throughout the year. Follow Minnie’s official Instagram account—@MinnieMouse—to see each enchanting installment as it debuts.

Follow Minnie’s official Instagram account—@MinnieMouse—to see each enchanting installment as it debuts.

Discover Secrets and Details on The D23 Fantastic World Map

By Jocelyn Buhlman

Our 2020 Gold Member Gift is all about discovering the Fantastic Worlds of Disney—but how will you know where to adventure first? Why, with the spectacular D23 Fantastic World Map, of course! You can have your own 24-by-36-inch map designed by Disney artist Bryan Mon as part of the 2020 Gold Member Gift when you join or renew a D23 Gold Membership.

If you can’t wait to start planning your next Disney adventure, we’ve got a special, closer look at a future-focused piece of the map, featuring some theme park favorites, out-of-this-world ships, and other familiar Disney delights and deep cuts.

Five details to find:

  1. Condormobile, Condorman
  2. Guinevere, Onward
  3. Captain Eo’s Ship, Captain Eo, Disneyland
  4. Jake’s Spaceship, The Cat from Outer Space
  5. Apu Taku, Roaring River Rapids, Shanghai Disneyland

Click on the image below to take a closer look!
D23 Fantastic Worlds map part 1

Roasted White Chocolate Budino from Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas

By D23 Team

As a special treat, our friends at Disney Editions have served up three delightful recipes for us from their cookbook, Delicious Disney: The Fresh Edition. We’ve got the final—and sweetest— recipe for you to try out, straight from author Pam Brandon’s book, currently on-sale as an exclusive souvenir only available at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

Want to serve up more Disney Parks deliciousness?
Click here for the starter recipe.
Click here for the entrée recipe.

delicious disney cover

Roasted White Chocolate Budino

Family-friendly Trattoria Al Forno brings Italian favorites to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas. Sweet budino is creamy like a custard or pudding, and the crunchy amaretto cookie is the perfect accompaniment.


1 3/4 cups white chocolate chips
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope powdered gelatin
1 cup whole milk, divided
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1/2 cup, plus 3 tablespoons almond paste
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon almond flour

Whipped cream
Maraschino cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Place white chocolate chips in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes and stir. Cook for an additional 30 to 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Color should be medium caramel. Using a rubber spatula, scrape chocolate into a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup of milk in a small bowl.
  3. Combine remaining 3/4 cup milk, heavy cream, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in the gelatin/milk mixture, whisking until fully dissolved.
  4. Pour hot cream mixture over roasted chocolate, whisking to combine.
  5. Divide evenly among 6 serving bowls. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat almond paste with electric mixer until crumbly.
  3. Beat in egg whites until mixture is smooth. Sift in powdered sugar and all-purpose flour, beating just until combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in almond flour with a wooden spoon. (Dough will be sticky.)
  5. Use water to lightly wet scoop before working the dough. Scoop rounded teaspoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake until cookies rise, crack slightly, and are golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from baking sheet with a thin metal spatula. Store in an airtight container.

Top each budino serving with an Amaretti cookie, whipped cream, and a cherry.


In 2020, the Walt Disney Archives will celebrate its 50th anniversary and, to mark this special occasion, the department is spreading some extra pixie dust by introducing several exciting new events and opportunities to view treasured Disney historical objects around the country. The Archives’ very own retrospective exhibition “Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic” will premiere at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, in March, while several other events and surprises are scheduled to occur throughout the rest of the year – be sure to stay tuned for more!

Event calendar:

Jan 17 “Tales As Old As Time: French Storytelling on the Stage and Screen” France Pavilion – EPCOT
Feb 4 FIDM 28th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design  Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Screening – El Capitan Theatre Hollywood, CA
March 4 “Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic”  – Bowers Museum Santa Ana, CA
D23 Member Preview
March 7 “Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic”  – Bowers Museum Santa Ana, CA
Exhibition Opens
March 7 “Preserving the Magic: Fifty Years Inside the Walt Disney Archives”  – Bowers Museum Santa Ana, CA
Lecture with Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives
May 13 “The Walt Disney Studios and World War II” – Walt Disney Family Museum San Fransisco, CA
Nov 20-22 “50 Years of the Walt Disney Archives” – Destination D Walt Disney World, FL

Walt Disney Archives Presents "Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic"

D23 CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES: In addition to the new exhibit coming to Destination D, D23 Members will be invited to a special Grand Opening Preview of Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Plus, on June 22, the actual anniversary of the founding of the Archives, D23 will hold a special “birthday party” at the Bowers Museum. And next year, D23 will offer two exclusive D23 Behind-the-Scenes Experiences: A Day at the Studio Lot, for an exciting look behind the incredible work that goes on every day at the Walt Disney Archives.

Fantasia at the El Capitan


Kicking off the magical milestone, the Archives and the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood are partnering for special El Cap Throwback screenings throughout the year. Before each screening, guests will be treated to an introduction by the Archives and have the chance to see an exclusive display of memorabilia from the film.


events press 2020

D23 DESTINATION D: FANTASTIC WORLDS: Returning to Walt Disney World Resort next November 20–22, Destination D will honor Disney’s many magical places, from the extraordinary to the fantastical. In addition, the Walt Disney Archives, which turns 50 next year, is creating an all-new exhibit that will include 50 iconic treasures, representing the 50 years of the Archives. And Walt Disney Imagineering’s store, Mickey’s of Glendale, will once again open a pop-up shop featuring exclusive items, just for the weekend. Additional details, including special hotel rates and ticketing information, will be announced in late spring.

Meet Disney+’s Stargirl and Hear from the Cast—Plus More in News Briefs

By Courtney Potter

Disney+ welcomes a kind and quirky new character, and Frozen on Broadway welcomes several new cast members… Read more, along with other news from around Disney, in this week’s news briefs!

We’re Wishing Upon This Stargirl First-Look Trailer and Cast Interviews…

Based on the critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling young adult novel by Jerry Spinelli, Disney+’s upcoming Stargirl follows an unassuming high schooler named Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere) as he finds himself inexplicably drawn to the free-spirited new girl at his high school (Grace VanderWaal). Known as Stargirl, her unconventional ways change how the entire school—not to mention Leo—sees themselves… and the world. Check out the brand-new trailer for the offbeat coming-of-age story, directed by Julia Hart, above.

graham verchere and grace vanderwaal

But wait, there’s more: D23 was lucky enough to visit the set of the film in New Mexico, and spoke to several members of the cast; click here to hear from Verchere, VanderWaal, and more! And make sure to fall under Stargirl’s spell beginning March 13, only on Disney+.

McKenzie Kurtz, Ciara Renee, and Ryan McCartan

Arendelle Welcomes a New Anna, Elsa, and Hans in Frozen on Broadway

As the hit Disney Theatricals musical Frozen approaches its second anniversary on Broadway, the show is ever so thrilled to announce a trio of new stars joining the company! McKenzie Kurtz will make her Broadway debut starring as Anna, and Ciara Renée (Pippin, Big Fish, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) will star as Elsa—replacing original Broadway stars Patti Murin and Caissie Levy. Additionally, Ryan McCartan (Wicked, Heathers: The Musical, Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddie) will join the cast as Hans, replacing current cast member Joe Carroll. The new stars will begin performances Tuesday, February 18, with Levy, Murin, and Carroll playing their final performance Sunday, February 16.

Frozen, the Tony®-nominated Best Musical, has joined Disney Theatrical hits The Lion King and Aladdin on the Great White Way. Heralded by The New Yorker as “thrilling” and “genuinely moving,” Frozen has emerged as the biggest hit musical of the last two Broadway seasons—breaking four house records at the legendary St. James Theatre, where it is currently celebrating its second smash year. And don’t forget—the North American tour of Frozen is playing the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California, now through February 2!

For more information, make sure to (let it) go and visit

Save the Date!
Be sure to mark these upcoming Disney events on your calendar:

D23 and Walt Disney Archives
January 17, 2020
Get VIP Tickets to Disney’s Frozen The Hit Broadway Musical
January 31, 2020
Disney’s Aladdin the Hit Broadway Musical VIP Tickets
February 8, 2020
D23 Magical Screening Series: The Three Caballeros 75th on The Walt Disney Studios Lot
February 15, 2020
D23 Magical Screening Series: The Three Caballeros 75th at Walt Disney World
February 16, 2020
D23 Magical Screening Series: The Three Caballeros 75th Near Washington, D.C.
August 9, 2020
Adventures by Disney Rhine River Cruise Presented by D23
January 17, 2020
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens at Disneyland park
January 17—February 9, 2020
Lunar New Year returns to Disney California Adventure park
January 17—February 24, 2020
Epcot International Festival of the Arts
February 28—April 21, 2020
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns to the Disneyland Resort
March 4June 1, 2020
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort
March 4, 2020
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

March 6, 2020
Onward opens in U.S. theaters
March 27, 2020
Mulan opens in U.S. theaters
May 1, 2020
Marvel Studios’ Black Widow opens in U.S. theaters
May 29, 2020
Artemis Fowl opens in U.S. theaters
February 9, 2020 (8:00 p.m. ET | 5 p.m. PT)
The Oscars® air live on ABC.
February 14, 2020 (8 p.m. EST/PST)
ZOMBIES 2 premieres on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW
February 16, 2020 (8 p.m. EST/ 7 p.m CST)
American Idol returns to ABC
January 17, 2020
Diary of a Future President premieres
February 7, 2020
Timmy Failure premieres
March 13, 2020
Stargirl premieres

Black Widow Confronts Her Past in a New “Special Look” Clip

Can you believe it? Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) begins in just a few months’ time with Marvel Studios’ Black Widow. During the College Football Playoff National Championship on ESPN this past Monday, fans got a “special look” at the upcoming film, in which two-time Oscar® nominee Scarlett Johansson reprises her title role.

In Marvel Studios’ latest action-packed spy thriller, Natasha Romanoff confronts the darker parts of her background when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must reckon with her past as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Also starring Florence Pugh as Yelena, David Harbour as Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz as Melina—and directed by Cate Shortland—Black Widow debuts in a cineplex near you May 1.

ICYMI: Every Disney Oscar® Nominee for 2020

Speaking of Johansson and her Oscar noms, awards season is upon us—and all our pals from around The Walt Disney Company’s portfolio of brands are so excited for the incredible 23 nominations in 15 categories for this year’s Academy Awards®. has a rundown of the excitement; click here to see the full list!

Eighth Annual Magic of Storytelling Campaign Celebrates Huge Milestone

Book lovers the world over, we have excellent news: The eighth annual Magic of Storytelling campaign kicked off this week, during which Disney will celebrate its whopping 75 millionth book donation to First Book—a nonprofit that provides new free and affordable books to educators and organizations serving children in need. The Magic of Storytelling campaign aims to inspire families’ imaginations; cultivate a lifelong love of reading in kids; and bring new books to underserved communities across the country.

And here’s the best part—we can all get involved! From now through March 31, families and fans can take a “shelfie” (so cute, right?) with a favorite book or in front of a bookshelf and publish it on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling; purchase any book on; or place a bid in one of First Book’s Charitybuzz auctions… and for each of these actions, Disney will donate a new book to First Book!

Open to legal U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older. No purchase is necessary to enter. To learn more, and to access the official rules and information, visit

frozen float disneyland paris

Star Wars and Frozen Seasons Now Delighting Guests at Disneyland Paris

Should you find yourselves “across the pond” in the next several months, do make sure to schedule some time at Disneyland Paris—not only for the oodles of fun you can have there on the daily, but also because there are two special experiences beginning this very weekend!

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The return of Legends of the Force – A Celebration of Star Wars reunites all of the iconic characters from a galaxy far, far away for exciting shows and encounters throughout the day and night. Through March 15, an imposing First Order March brings stormtroopers up close, while Rey, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren can be spotted interacting with guests. Even more adventure awaits at Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, featuring a new sequence from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Lightspeed to Disneyland Paris for this limited-time event, post haste.

Plus, a sparkling new float inspired by Frozen 2 made its first appearance this weekend as part of the resort’s newest show, Frozen 2: An Enchanted Journey. Now the tallest float at Disneyland Paris, it includes the silhouette of the mystical Nokk and everyone’s favorite characters from both Frozen films. But that’s not all: Guests will even hear new music from the hit sequel! In addition to the new show, Frozen: A Musical Invitation is open to guests of all ages at Walt Disney Studios Park, and new merchandise and food are on sale across the resort through May 3. C’est magnifique!