EXCLUSIVE: Read the First Chapter of Onward: The Search for the Phoenix Gem

By the D23 Team

The adventure beginneth! Disney and Pixar’s Onward is now available on digital and Disney+, and if you’re ready to explore more of that world, dive into Onward: The Search for the Phoenix Gem, an eBook about Sadalia, an ordinary teenage elf with big dreams! Join her as she investigates the truth about the Lightfoot brothers’ epic quest. A free download (available only in the U.S.) will be available April 3 through April 11. Before your literary journey starts, enjoy an exclusive excerpt of the first chapter below:

Chapter One

It. Was. Bonkers. ABSOLUTELY BONKERS.

Those were the only words Sadalia could think of to describe what had happened that day at New Mushroomton High School.

Sadalia Brushthorn was a sophomore, and she had a full course load. She was taking Alchemy, Realm History, and lots of other stuff that didn’t really hold her interest. But then there was journalism.

Journalism was her favorite. She had a nose for news. At least, that’s what her father said. He said she had the ears for it, too. “Elves like us have a keen sense of hearing. That’ll make you the best reporter to get the inside scoop!”

Sadalia’s hearing seemed average to her, but one thing of which she was certainly certain (she liked to say that a lot—“certainly certain”) was that she would have a career as a reporter one day. Even when she had been no bigger than a gnome, she had always asked, “Who? What? Where? When? Why?” and not necessarily in that order.

In fact, she already was a reporter, and she considered herself to be a pretty darn good one, too. In addition to honing her writing skills in her journalism class, Sadalia was a reporter for the school newspaper, The Fortnightly Dragon. It was considered to be biweekly, which implied that the newspaper came out once every two weeks, but for reasons she didn’t really understand, the paper came out three times a week.

When Sadalia asked the journalism teacher, Mrs. Nightdale, why that was, she laughed and said, “Who knows? It’s a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, then placed inside a conundrum and baked in an oven at three hundred and fifty degrees for thirty-five minutes. We’re certainly hot off the presses here at The Fortnightly Dragon!”

Sadalia had no idea what any of that meant. But she wasn’t complaining. More newspaper issues meant more writing opportunities. No one in her journalism class had volunteered more often or pitched more ideas than Sadalia. She was constantly looking for a story that would be her big break, one that would prove to everyone that she had what it took to be an honest-to-goodness newspaper reporter.

But most of the stuff that happened at school fell into one of two categories: boring, or really, really boring. Sadalia didn’t want to waste her time writing stories about the latest happenings of the Friends of the Unicorn Club (boring—plus, everyone knew unicorns were the most disgusting things in the realm), or interviewing the guy who fixed the drinking fountains (really, really boring). It didn’t help that not many exciting things went on in the quiet suburbs of New Mushroomton. But someone had to cover those things, to be sure, and it was usually her.

She just wanted that one big story—the one that would change her life forever.

Then one day, she got exactly what she wanted. And her life was never the same.

JUST ANNOUNCED: The Walt Disney Studios Announces New Dates for Upcoming Films

By the D23 Team

We have exciting news to share from our friends at The Walt Disney Studios! Following the announcement in March that several titles would be delayed due to the global health crisis, The Walt Disney Studios today shared new dates for Disney’s Mulan, Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, and more. Additionally, we’ve just found out that Disney’s Artemis Fowl will now debut exclusively on Disney+. Find out more, right here on D23.com.

Grab a marker—or your device of choice—and add these brand-new dates to your closest calendar:

2020

Soul (Disney and Pixar)— June 19, 2020
Mulan (Disney)—July 24, 2020
Empty Man (20th Century Studios)—August 7, 2020
The One and Only Ivan (Disney)—August 14, 2020
The Beatles: Get Back (Disney)—September 4, 2020
The King’s Man (20th Century Studios)—September 18, 2020
Death on the Nile (20th Century Studios)—October 9, 2020
The French Dispatch (Searchlight Pictures)—October 16, 2020
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (20th Century Studios)—October 23, 2020
Black Widow (Marvel Studios)—November 6, 2020
Deep Water (20th Century Studios)—November 13, 2020
Raya and the Last Dragon (Walt Disney Animation Studios)—November 25, 2020
Free Guy (20th Century Studios)—December 11, 2020
West Side Story (20th Century Studios)—December 18, 2020
The Last Duel (20th Century Studios)—December 25, 2020 (limited)

2021

The Last Duel (20th Century Studios)—January 8, 2021 (Wide)
The Eternals (Marvel Studios)—February 12, 2021
Ron’s Gone Wrong (20th Century Studios)—February 26, 2021
Untitled Disney Live Action—March 12, 2021
Bob’s Burgers (20th Century Studios)—April 9, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—April 23, 2021
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Marvel Studios)—May 7, 2021
Cruella (Disney)—May 28, 2021
Untitled Pixar Animation—June 18, 2021
Jungle Cruise (Disney)—July 30, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—August 13, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—September 10, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—October 1, 2021
Hamilton (Disney)—October 15, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—October 22, 2021
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Marvel Studios)—November 5, 2021
Untitled Disney Live Action—November 19, 2021
Untitled Disney Animation—November 24, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—December 3, 2021
AVATAR 2 (20th Century Studios)—December 17, 2021

2022

Untitled 20th Century—January 7, 2022
Nimona (20th Century Studios)—January 14, 2022
Thor: Love and Thunder (Marvel Studios)—February 18, 2022
Untitled Pixar Animation—March 11, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—March 25, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—April 8, 2022
Black Panther 2 (Marvel Studios)—May 6, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—May 27, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—June 10, 2022
Untitled Pixar Animation—June 17, 2022
Captain Marvel 2 (Marvel Studios)—July 8, 2022
Untitled Indiana Jones (Disney)—July 29, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—August 12, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—September 16, 2022
Untitled Marvel—October 7, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—October 21, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—November 4, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—November 11, 2022
Untitled Disney Animation—November 23, 2022
Untitled Star Wars (Lucasfilm)—December 16, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—December 23, 2022

Just Announced: Disney’s Artemis Fowl to Debut Exclusively on Disney+

By the D23 Team

Disney made a magical new announcement today that is sure to enchant the future movie nights of Disney fans everywhere: the live-action feature film Artemis Fowl will debut exclusively on Disney+. The release date will be announced soon.

Based on the best-selling young adult book by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl stars newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the title role alongside Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Josh McGuire, Nikesh Patel and Adrian Scarborough, with Colin Farrell and Judi Dench.

“With audiences largely unable to attend theatres in the current environment, we are thrilled to offer the premiere of Artemis Fowl on Disney+,” said Ricky Strauss, President, Content & Marketing, Disney+. “Director Kenneth Branagh and his spectacular cast take viewers right into the vibrant fantasy world of the beloved book, which fans have been waiting to see brought to life onscreen for years. It’s great family entertainment that is the perfect addition to Disney+’s summer lineup.”

artemis fowl

In this fantastical, spellbinding adventure, 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl (Shaw), a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, embarks on a journey to find his father (Farrell), who has mysteriously disappeared. With the help of his loyal protector Butler (Anozie), Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilization—the amazingly advanced world of fairies. Deducing that his father’s disappearance is somehow connected to the secretive, reclusive fairy world, cunning Artemis concocts a dangerous plan—so dangerous that he ultimately finds himself in a perilous war of wits with the all-powerful fairies.

Kenneth Branagh, p.g.a. and Judy Hofflund, p.g.a. are producing with Angus More Gordon and Matthew Jenkins serving as executive producers. Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl wrote the screenplay.

The film had originally been scheduled for a theatrical release in the U.S. on May 29, 2020.

The “Artemis Fowl” books are currently available in the U.S. from Disney-Hyperion.

Stay tuned to D23.com for more exciting Disney+ news as it breaks.

Virtually Viewing Disneyland’s Magic Happens Parade—Plus More in News Briefs

By Courtney Potter

Enjoy a Virtual Viewing of Disneyland’s New Magic Happens Parade

There are so many ways to bring #DisneyMagicMoments right into your living room (or, y’know, whatever comfy place you prefer to occupy whilst watching things on the streaming device of your choice)… and just this past weekend, our good pals at the Disney Parks Blog revealed one more.

Disneyland park recently debuted its latest parade, the incredible Magic Happens, and now you can enjoy it—virtually! This daytime spectacular celebrates the awe-inspiring moments of magic that are at the heart of so many Disney stories. Featuring nine newly designed floats, created as pieces of moving art, the parade highlights magic from classic Walt Disney Animation Studios tales such as The Sword in the Stone, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, to more recent stories including Frozen 2, Moana, and The Princess and the Frog, as well as Disney and Pixar’s Coco. And it boasts an amazing musical score and new songs, co-composed by triple-threat talent Todrick Hall.

Check out the parade at the link above… and why not don some Mickey ears for added couch-bound pizazz? That’s our plan!

5 Fantastic Things to Watch This Weekend

Yes, we here at D23.com want to make sure you know what you absolutely, positively cannot miss watching this weekend… so do peruse our just-posted rundown, which includes the season finale of Disney+’s Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and the premiere of Disney and Pixar’s Onward on the streaming service. Find out more by clicking here.

Storytime with… Video Series Features Fave Disney Stars

Speaking of things to watch this weekend, especially if you have little ones at home (or just like being read to; no judgement here), there’s something special you should really check out: Disney’s new Storytime with… video series on YouTube. Click the link above to watch the latest installment, featuring Toy Story 4’s Tony Hale.

Featuring talented storytellers from across The Walt Disney Company, the entertaining new series showcases stars such as Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen (Mulan, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Yvette Nicole Brown (Disney+’s Lady and the Tramp), Ally Maki (Toy Story 4), and even Jeff Goldblum (Disney+’s The World According to Jeff Goldblum), all reading some of their favorite Disney tales. For the complete playlist of available Storytime with… videos, click here—and enjoy!

news briefs

Woo-oo! Everything You Need to Know about DuckTales Season 3!

The embarrassment of fun-things-to-watch-this-weekend riches just keeps on growing, what with this Saturday’s (April 4) big third season premiere of DuckTales on Disney XD! D23 was lucky enough to chat with executive producer Matt Youngberg and co-executive producer/story editor Francisco Angones about the show; read what they had to say about the adventures to come by clicking here.

news briefs

Disney Parks Donates Supplies to Hospitals and Medical Professionals

Disney has continued to focus on ways to make a difference in this unprecedented time of closed theme parks and stores, and suspended cruises… In fact, in response to requests from hospitals that are in need of additional protective garments and medical-related supplies, Disney Parks just donated a whopping 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare—a humanitarian aid organization—for distribution to hospitals in need. The idea was inspired by nurses across the country who inventively found that rain ponchos can be an excellent way to protect their clothing and prolong the use of PPE, while also freeing up gowns when needed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Charles Redding, MedShare CEO and President. “We have to find ways to pool our resources and work together to help the healthcare workers who are doing their very best to treat patients and contain COVID-19. We appreciate Disney partnering with us to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines.”

Disney Parks also recently donated more than 100,000 N95 masks to the states of New York, California and Florida, and is finding additional ways to give back. All these efforts follow the recent donation of more than 270 tons of food to local food banks from Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Additionally, Disneyland Paris donated more than 100,000 medical supplies—including masks, hygiene caps and protective shoes—to the French government for distribution to hospitals in France. We’re all in this together, right?

ICYMI: Disney Channel Shares “We’re All In This Together” Message

Speaking of those comforting words from our friends at East High, Disney Channel recently kicked off a tuneful, heartfelt campaign to offer reassurance and a sense of community. Check out the complete list of the 35+ Disney Channel stars who will present their messages of hope and togetherness—and see the first clip in the series—right here at D23.com.

Get Early Access to the April Limited-Edition Mickey Plush

NOTE: Due to the strong response to these incredible plush, D23 and Amazon are making the following adjustments to the on-sale announcement for the upcoming months.

  • D23 Members will continue to be among the first to be notified about each month’s theme and have an opportunity to order the month’s design.
  • Each month D23 will provide Members with advance notice of the date the plush will be available for purchase on Amazon.com.
  • On Monday, April 6, at 9 a.m. PST, visit this page on D23.com for the link to purchase the Floral Mickey Mouse plush.
  • Please Note: You must be signed in as a D23 Member to access the link to purchase. Click “Sign In” at the top of the page.
  • Please note extremely limited quantities of the plush will be available on Amazon.com.
  • Extended delivery time: Amazon is temporarily prioritizing the delivery of some items in order to serve their customers in need and ensure the safety of their associates. As a result, some delivery times are longer than usual.

Floral Mickey Mouse

Commemorate the Year of the Mouse with this Limited-Edition Disney Floral Mickey Mouse Plush. The fourth of 12 collectible large plush in the series, this exclusive Mickey Mouse celebrates the month of April. Mickey stands 16 inches tall and features embroidered eyes.  He is made of a soft deluxe velveteen floral-printed fabric, paying homage to the Welcome Gardens at Disneyland® Park. Mickey features a commemorative gold and satin foot patch and includes a Certificate of Authenticity. He even comes in a window box featuring special Year of the Mouse packaging; ideal for collectors. The Year of the Mouse Floral Mickey Mouse plush makes the perfect gift for Disney fans of all ages. Collect all twelve of these commemorative Mickey Mouse plushes. Ages 3+.

The public’s desire to meet Mickey Mouse in person was one of the many factors that shaped Walt Disney’s ideas for creating the Disneyland® Park. The first thing Guests see when they enter The Happiest Place on Earth is Mickey’s smiling face, made completely of flowers. Floral Mickey has been welcoming Disneyland visitors since opening day in 1955, and also graces the entrances of some of the Disney Parks around the globe.

  • Special Edition Floral Mickey Mouse Plush celebrates the month of April.
  • Includes Certificate of Authenticity.
  • Comes in a window box featuring special Year of the Mouse packaging.
  • Amazon exclusive.
  • Mickey Mouse stands 16 inches tall.
  • Made of a soft deluxe velveteen floral-printed fabric.
  • Collect all twelve.
  • Ages 3+.

Continue to watch every month for a brand-new Mickey plush design announcement! For more Disney favorites, visit amazon.com/Disney for a full assortment of products.

Modern Family’s Kids Are All Grown Up—and Now They’re Saying Goodbye

By Zach Johnson

In 2009, the groundbreaking comedy series Modern Family debuted on ABC, forever changing the landscape of television—not to mention the lives of its stars. Ahead of the hourlong series finale, airing April 8 at 9|8c, stars Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Reid Ewing, Nolan Gould, and Jeremy Maguire recall their favorite memories from making the Emmy® Award-winning sitcom and reflect on growing up alongside their characters.

modern fam farewell

“Eleven years? It just kind of feels like a number; it doesn’t mean anything until you think, ‘Oh, I was 10 years old. I was 4-foot-4. I wasn’t even allowed to ride the big rides at Disneyland!’” says Nolan Gould, who plays Luke Dunphy. “Suddenly I’m 21 years old and I’ve practically doubled in size. I’ve changed. I grow facial hair now! Things like that really remind us and give other people an idea of how much has changed in each of our lives throughout that time, and how Modern Family has been a part of it the whole time.”

modern fam farewell

At age 4, Anderson-Emmons joined the series in its third season, playing Lily Tucker-Pritchett, the daughter of Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). “All I’ve known is this show—nothing else. I can’t imagine being ‘normal,’” Anderson-Emmons says. “I’m only 12 years old, so I can’t retire like Ed O’Neill! But it’s interesting having the show end, because I don’t know my life without it.”

modern fam farewell

Similar to Anderson-Emmons, Maguire was 4 years old when he joined the Modern Family cast in season seven as Joe Pritchett, the son of Jay Pritchett (O’Neill) and Gloria Pritchett (Sofía Vergara). Although Modern Family is ending, Maguire says the cast’s familial bonds will surely continue. “I’m feeling sad and mopey, but I’m also feeling really happy about it ending because all the people on the show are going to move on to other things,” he says. “I’m really happy because I’ll be able to say, ‘Oh, look! I know him or her.’ I guess I’m kind of happy and I’m kind of sad. I’m, like… mild.”

modern fam farewell

Ewing, meanwhile, began making semi-regular appearances as Dylan Marshall in 2009. He’s since become a series regular, and his character married Haley Dunphy (Sarah Hyland), fathered twins, and became a nurse. “This has been the greatest opportunity ever,” Ewing admits. “It’s also given me a lot of purpose. Pretty much any time they brought me back, it was a total surprise. So, I’m really happy that it turned out this way.”

Modern Family became famous for attracting high-profile guest stars, from David Beckham to Nathan Lane. Anderson-Emmons and Maguire pick Rachel Bay Jones and Thomas Lennon, respectively, as two of their favorites, while Gould needs a minute to pick just one. “We had like over 100 really awesome guest stars over the years,” Gould says with a laugh. “I guess Adam Devine. I’m a big fan of his, so having him on the show as Andy was pretty incredible. I miss having him around. He was a great addition.”

The series also took the cast around the world, from Australia to Europe. One of the more recent episodes, set in Paris, is one of Maguire’s favorites. “It was really cool and so fun! All the people were really nice. I liked seeing all the beautiful sites, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame,” he shares. “I cried at Notre Dame because it was so beautiful!”

Gould’s favorite vacation episode occurred midway through season five. “I love the Australia episode… and not just because it was so fun to shoot and the cast got a free vacation,” he jokes. “I just think it’s a funny episode—a big family vacation gone wrong!”

Although the series finale was announced last year, it’s only now starting to sink in for the cast. “This whole season, I’ve been focusing on work, work, work. I’ve been in denial about the show ever ending,” Gould says. “It’s incredibly surreal to talk about it.”

modern fam farewell

“For the most part, it feels just like another day, because our show is awesome,” Gould continues. “I mean, it is work. It’s getting up at 5 a.m. and sitting in rush hour traffic and memorizing lines and hitting your mark. But it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of being with the people you love, so it’s easy to just pretend that it’s not happening. But then there are these moments that stick out—like when we wrapped the Christmas episode and we were like, ‘Whoa, this is our last holiday episode. That’s something we’re known for and we’re no longer going to be doing this.’ We’ve had these little moments, like, ‘Whoa, this is our last Christmas, our last Thanksgiving, our last Halloween…’ It won’t feel real until we film the last episode and we’ll be like, ‘Whoa, this is our last everything.’”

Before the series finale of Modern Family, tune in for the one-hour documentary special, A Modern Farewell, at 8|7c. Featuring special appearances from the cast and crew, ABC will give viewers a heartfelt look back at one of television’s most culturally defining series. Through exclusive interviews and reflections, the special will chart Modern Family’s historic evolution, from the writing and casting of the pilot to the final table read.

5 Fantastic Things to Watch This Weekend

By Savannah Salazar

Marathons, finales, and premieres! This weekend has an exciting roster of series and films from Disney+, ESPN, Freeform, and Disney XD. From magical adventures to heartwarming stories, we’ve rounded up five fantastic things for you to tune in to watch. Check it out, below!

things to watch 2-apr

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings—Friday, April 3, on Disney+
Love (and magic) is in the air. Hosted by Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker, this series explores the plans of each couple as they put together their dream weddings with the help of Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons. From the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle to Walt Disney World and resorts around the globe, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings takes viewers to magical locations throughout the worlds of Disney Parks and Resorts. You can catch up with seasons one and two on Disney+ and watch the season two finale, “Marry ME!”, on Friday!

things to watch 2-apr

Glory Road—Friday, April 3, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Every Friday, ESPN is airing feel-good sports films for the whole family and this week, timed to the traditional NCAA Final Four weekend, you can watch Glory Road. Based on a true story, the 2006 film follows the story of coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) of the small Texas Western University, who puts together history’s first all-African American starting lineup in college basketball. During a time of social and political change, this group of underdogs must overcome the odds to reach the NCAA national championship.

things to watch 2-apr

Disney and Pixar’s Onward—Friday, April 3, on Disney+
Prepare to embark on a grand and glorious quest when Onward makes its debut on Disney+! Set in a suburban fantasy world, New Mushroomton, two teenage elf brothers Ian (voice of Tom Holland) and Barley (voice of Chris Pratt) Lightfoot go on a magical adventure of a lifetime, in hopes to spend one more day with their late father. And after watching Onward, you can read about the heartwarming inspiration behind the film here.

things to watch 2-apr

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay—Friday, April 3, at 5:30 p.m. PT on Freeform
Freeform has your Friday night planned with a marathon of the entire first season of Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. Created by comic Josh Thomas—who also stars—this witty, heartfelt series explores the misadventures of twenty-something-year-old Nicholas (Thomas) and his teenage half-sisters Genevieve (Maeve Press) and Matilda (Kayla Cromer) and their woes, joys, and uncertainties after their father’s untimely death. It’s a plucky show that provides exactly what we need right now: comfort.

things to watch 2-apr

DuckTales—Saturday, April 4, at 9:30 a.m. EDT/PDT on Disney XD
Woo-oo! This weekend sees the return of our favorite Duck family with two new back-to-back episodes to kick off the third season. Join Huey (Danny Pudi), Dewey (Ben Schwartz), Louie (Bobby Moynihan), and the rest of the gang as they go on a globetrotting adventure to find the world’s greatest lost artifacts. And, according to executive producer Matt Youngberg and co-executive producer/story editor Francisco Angones, fans should prepare for hilarious hijinks, a villainous secret organization, and a flock of new characters that will make this the biggest season yet.

Woo-oo! Everything You Need to Know About DuckTales Season 3

By Savannah Salazar

If you thought a moon alien invasion was the biggest adventure for Huey, Dewey and Louie, well, think again. Along with Scrooge McDuck, Donald, their mom Della, Launchpad, Mrs. Beakley and Webby, the brand-new season of DuckTales is taking viewers on an adventure of epic proportions, as they go on a globetrotting hunt for the world’s greatest lost artifacts all while a secret, villainous organization is hot on their tails.

Ahead of the season three premiere of DuckTales on Disney XD this weekend, D23 spoke with executive producer Matt Youngberg and co-executive producer and story editor Francisco Angones to get the inside scoop on the flock of new characters, the exciting adventures and what’s next for our favorite Duck family.

ducktales season 3

On why season three is a duckblur of adventure.
According to the producers, season three is going to be one big season-long quest. For Youngberg, “Quack Pack!,” debuting on Saturday, April 4, is a perfect example of the wacky things bound to happen this season. “We’re getting characters we know and love, building on it and in turn, getting crazier and bigger and more insane,” he said. “We’ve done big things before, but those were just the stepping stones. There are so many more places to go, and I just can’t wait for the fans to see what we do with this season.”

On a brand-new original song.
When asked about a favorite moment in the recording booth, both Angones and Youngberg reminisced on a lot of good moments, unable to pick a specific one. “Every time I get to record it’s fun. It’s like going to play in a really fun sandbox,” said Youngberg. Angones added, “Matt, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you happier than when you were recording Dewey’s singing (voiced by Ben Schwartz) for ‘Double-O-Duck.’” The original song, appearing in “Double-O-Duck in You Only Crash Twice!” airing April 11, had “Matt smiling ear-to-ear and Ben Schwartz had a blast recording it,” said Angones.

On suspecting F.O.W.L. play.
Unbeknownst to the Duck family, an evil operation of characters have been lurking and conspiring since the very first episode of season one, when we had our first glimpse of the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny (aka F.O.W.L.) leader Bradford Buzzard, voiced by Mark Evan Jackson. “When we had Jackson come in to play the character—he had two lines at the time—he was so excited ‘even if it’s a small part,’ he said,” Angones recounted. “And we were like, ‘Mark, you’re the main villain of season three.”

Fast forward two seasons, and F.O.W.L. is finally coming to light, featuring a familiar gang of characters from the Disney canon: Steelbeak from Darkwing Duck, Rockerduck and Jeeves, Black Heron and the Phantom Blot, who originally appeared as Mickey Mouse’s archenemy in a 1939 comic.

On TaleSpin, the Rescue Rangers, and more. Oh my!
During San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Youngberg and Angones surprised DuckTales fans with a big announcement: that characters from Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Gosalyn Mallard from Darkwing Duck, and Daisy and Goofy were making their way to Duckburg. “We saw Scrooge’s family as the first cornerstone where everything is built off of. And now that Scrooge and the family feel really solid, we thought it would be interesting to see how they interact or inspire or collaborate or work against all these beloved characters,” Angones said.

On the season’s guest stars.
DuckTales has had an impressive roster of characters from its stellar main cast—where else can you get David Tennant, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, Bobby Moynihan, Kate Micucci and Paget Brewster all in one show?—to fantastic recurring guest stars like Lin-Manuel Miranda, and season three is no different. This season’s guest stars include Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian), Selma Blair (Hellboy), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), and Disney Legend Bill Farmer, just to name a few of the talented voice cast! “We have some amazing guest stars coming up and more who I can’t even talk about,” says Angones. “There’s one in particular who says a classic line that was just like hearing Darkwing Duck say, ‘Let’s get dangerous,’ and I was like oh my gosh, we’re very blessed.”

ducktales season 3

On getting to know the Duck family even more.
“The first word in the first episode of the season is legacy,” Angones tells D23. “The family has finally come to together as a family and is now complete. And now, the question is ‘What is everyone’s part in this family?” Sure, season three takes the Duck family on some of the largest quests yet but both Youngberg and Angones explain that the characters we’ve grown to love start to evaluate their own selves. Dewey explores what he brings to the team; Huey, whose whole personality revolves around knowing everything, suddenly learns everything is not what it seems—thanks to a global, decade-long conspiracy; and Webby explores her role in a family she’s not technically related to, but still very much considers her family.

Then, there is Donald Duck, who after taking care of the boys—Huey, Dewey and Louie—for so long has no real reason to, after Della Duck, the boys’ mom, comes back into the picture. “The kids have their mom back, they’re living with Scrooge. What does that mean for Donald’s place in his life?” Youngberg asked. To which Angones replied, “For Donald, we’re introducing Daisy Duck into the world of DuckTales for the very first time, and maybe Donald can ease up on taking care of the kids for a little bit.”

Watch an exclusive clip from the season premiere, below, and tune in for the latest adventures of Huey, Dewey, Louie and the rest of the Duck family on Saturday, April 4 (9:30 a.m. EDT/PDT) on Disney XD and in DisneyNOW.

Disneyland Goes International: The Opening Day of Tokyo Disneyland

By Matt Moryc, The Walt Disney Archives

The grand opening of Disney’s first international theme park, Tokyo Disneyland, took place on April 15, 1983—the first day of official operation. The hosts for the morning’s events were Disney Legend and then-chairman of the board of Walt Disney Productions, Card Walker; and Disney Legend and then-president of Oriental Land Company, Masatomo Takahashi. A ribbon cutting ceremony was planned to take place early that morning just in front of the entrance to the park, but due to inclement weather, the ceremony was moved underneath the glass-covered shelter of World Bazaar (the Japanese version of Main Street, U.S.A).

A piece of the ribbon cut by Card Walker and Masatomo Takahashi on the opening day of Tokyo Disneyland.

Accompanied by drum roll, Walker and Takahashi approached the stage, flanked by the Tokyo Disneyland Band; the 1983 Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland Ambassadors; and Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy—each character holding a section of the ribbon. Resembling nothing short of a symbol of goodwill between the nations of Japan and the United States, Mickey Mouse took center stage between both Walker and Takahashi as the two men simultaneously cut the ribbon. As photographers snapped away, Mickey proudly held up his piece of the ribbon for all to see.

Soon after the ceremony, thousands of Guests who had waited outside the park’s turnstiles in the pouring rain were let in to World Bazaar. Takahashi delivered a declaration to the crowd with grand conviction, exclaiming “On this day, April 15, 1983, I declare the opening of Tokyo Disneyland!” At 9 a.m., the rope was dropped, and Guests entered the “Kingdom of Family Dreams.”

This Special Episode of Disney Junior’s Fancy Nancy has a Simple Message for Fans of All Ages

By Beth Deitchman

For the imaginative, enthusiastic title character of Disney Junior’s Fancy Nancy, “less” is never more… and “more” can always be brighter, louder and livelier. But when Nancy meets her friend Lionel’s cousin Sean, she discovers that children with autism don’t necessarily see the world as she does—and she learns that their perspectives are just as unique and interesting as hers. This special 11-minute story, “Nancy’s New Friend,” premieres on Disney Channel this Thursday, April 2 (8 a.m. ET/PT), which happens to be World Autism Awareness Day, a day set aside to recognize people with autism and those who love and support them.

Inclusion is a priority at Disney Junior, and the Fancy Nancy creative team initially found inspiration close to home when they set out to introduce a neurodiverse character, drawing upon personal experiences with family members and friends. They also consulted at length with experts from the organizations Autism Speaks; RespectABILITY; and Hollywood, Health & Society; all of whom offered valuable insights every step of the way. “They really stayed with us throughout the entire process,” says co-producer/story editor Krista Tucker, who emphasizes, “We really took our time. We wanted to get it right.”

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In their commitment to getting it right, the Fancy Nancy writers kept in mind Autism Speaks’ tenet, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” With expert assistance, they identified common attributes among children with autism—such as restricted interests and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors—and allowed those traits to inspire the character of Sean. Tucker shares, “For example, one of [“Nancy’s New Friend” writer] Matt Hoverman’s friends said that her child will freak out if he has chunky peanut butter. He only likes smooth. That’s something we actually used in the script, and the autism consultants said that’s a great example of how a child might be.”

For Nancy, Sean represents the first person with autism she has met—and, in fact, she misunderstands her friend Lionel and initially believes she is going to meet his “artistic” cousin. Nancy also learns that “sensitive” can have different meanings and, through Lionel, she finds a way to connect with Sean that is comfortable for him and also exposes her to his interests and unique point of view. “Sean’s is Lionel’s favorite cousin,” Tucker explains. “He loves hanging out with Sean because Sean sees the world in ways that Lionel doesn’t, and Lionel thinks that’s really cool. Sean is just part of the family and he is who he is, and that’s great.” Lionel shares his experience and understanding in relating to Sean with Nancy—and, indirectly, with kids watching from home.

Sean is voiced by 11-year-old George Yionoulis of Raleigh, North Carolina, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. Yionoulis gained attention in 2017 through a video he and his mom created to explain for his fourth grade class what it’s like to be autistic. That video quickly went viral and now has more than 1.3 million views on YouTube. Hoverman found Yionoulis’ video while researching the episode, and Disney Junior reached out to see if he would be interested in lending his voice to Sean. “We’re just so happy he could be part of this,” Tucker says, adding, “He was a natural.”

Elaine Hall, global neurodiversity expert and founder/director of The Miracle Project for RespectABILITY believes that “Nancy’s New Friend” plays an important role spotlighting for kids and families the commonality of those who experience the world differently. “This episode sheds a most important light to understanding that not everyone is the same; understanding sensory, neurological and emotional differences; and how not to take a person’s reactions personally,” Hall says. “I truly believe that ‘Nancy’s New Friend’ can be a most positive influence and teaching tool for this young generation, which will lead towards a more inclusive and understanding world for generations.”

As World Autism Month is celebrated around the globe throughout April, Chief Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Officer Lisa Goring expresses Autism Speaks’ excitement to have partnered with Disney Junior for the special episode and its authentic portrayal of someone on the spectrum. She says, “Global understanding and acceptance of people with autism is core to our mission, so it’s important to help young audiences learn more about their peers with autism.”

Tucker and the Fancy Nancy team are thrilled to give a voice to children and families with autism and create a place on screen where they can be seen. “The other part of what we’re excited for is for kids who don’t have autism—kids who are in classrooms or on playgrounds with kids who have autism—to just have a better understanding of who these people are,” she says. “Understanding creates compassion and kindness, and people with autism can really open our minds. They see the world in different ways and that can be a huge benefit to us if we will take the time and the effort to be friends with them.”

Tune in to “Nancy’s New Friend” in this week’s episode of Fancy Nancy, premiering Thursday, April 2 (8 a.m. ET/PT) on Disney Channel and in DisneyNOW.