Captain Jack’s Surprise and Descendants 2’s New Trailer—Plus More in News Briefs

By Courtney Potter

Johnny Depp surprises boatloads of Disneyland guests, and Epcot’s popular festival expands to 75 days… Read more, along with other news from around Disney, in this week’s news briefs!

Surprise! That Really Was Johnny Depp Inside Disneyland’s Pirates Attraction!

Can you imagine? Rounding the corner on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland Park and spying the Disney Legend-ary Johnny Depp—in full Captain Jack Sparrow regalia—as he interacts with each boatful of excited park guests? Well, that exact scenario played out for some very lucky visitors just a few short days ago… and we have video proof! Check out the fantastically fun clip, above.

It was a perfect way to celebrate the attraction’s recent 50th anniversary—as well as a “swashbucklingly” good reminder that Johnny’s latest big screen outing as good ol’ Cap’n Jack, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, sails into a theater near you on May 26. We’re getting our tri-cornered hat dry-cleaned for the occasion!


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

D23 and Walt Disney Archives
May 12, 2017
Lunch with a Disney Legend: Marty Sklar in Florida
May 13, 2017
D23’s Magical Screening Series: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl On the Lot
May 13, 2017
D23’s Magical Screening Series: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in Florida
May 19, 2017
D23’s Behind-the-Scenes Experience: An Afternoon Adventure to Pandora with Joe Rohde in Florida
May 20, 2017
D23 Invites Members to be Among the First to Explore Pandora—The World of Avatar
June 3, 2017
D23’s Behind-the-Scenes Experience: A Return to Walt’s Birthplace in Florida
July 14-16, 2017
D23 Expo 2017
October 1, 2017
D23’s Fanniversary Celebrates 35 Years of Epcot
October 1, 2017
A Progressive Dinner Celebrating 35 Years of Epcot
October 3, 2017
D23’s Sip and Stroll
March 1–May 29, 2017
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
May 27, 2017
Pandora—The World of Avatar opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
May 27, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy–Mission: BREAKOUT! opening at Disney California Adventure
August 31-November 13, 2017
Epcot Food & Wine Festival
Star Wars-Themed Lands Opening at Disneyland and Walt Disney World

May 5, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters
May 26, 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens in theaters
June 16, 2017
Cars 3 opens in theaters
November 3, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok opens in theaters
November 22, 2017
Coco opens in theaters
December 15, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters
July 21, 2017
Disney’s Descendants 2 debuts on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, Lifetime and ABC (8 p.m. ET)

Na'vi Shaman

Meet Pandora – The World of Avatar’s Na’vi Shaman of Songs

When Pandora – The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27, guests will be warmly welcomed by the Na’vi Shaman of Songs (a character with a strong connection to Pandora’s alluring music) on the new Na’vi River Journey attraction. Disney Parks Blog offered up a sneak peek at the amazingly complex Audio-Animatronics® figure last week; see her for yourself here.

Disney’s Descendants 2 Debuts Brand-New Trailer

Viewers of the recent Radio Disney Music Awards were not only rewarded with dynamite performances by the likes of Fitz & the Tantrums and Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho, as well as a totally cool Britney Spears medley (celebrating her well-deserved Icon Award) that featured a surprise appearance by her sister Jamie Lynn, but they also had the chance to see the very first trailer for Disney’s Descendants 2! In case you missed it (hey, it happens to the best of us), check it out above.

The sequel to the über-popular 2015 Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants 2 follows Mal (Dove Cameron), Evie (Sofia Carson), Carlos (Cameron Boyce), Jay (Booboo Stewart), and Ben (Mitchell Hope) as they try to keep the newest Villain Kid—Ursula’s daughter Uma (China Anne McClain)—from bringing down the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon for good. Look for its huge five-network debut this July!

Kelly and Ryan

The Co-Host Search is Over: Ryan Seacrest Joins Live!

She’s the longtime co-host of Disney|ABC’s hit syndicated talk show, and he’s a veteran broadcaster with success in both radio and TV. It’s a match made in heaven! This past Monday morning, after a year-long search, Daytime Emmy® winner Kelly Ripa welcomed a brand-new—and permanent—co-host to Live with Kelly… Ryan Seacrest! Now called Live with Kelly and Ryan, the show will continue to welcome all manner of celebrity guests for an hour of mid-morning hilarity live from New York City.

Speaking of which… while he has indeed moved to NYC to co-host with Kelly, that doesn’t mean formerly Los Angeles-based Ryan won’t lend his dulcet tones to nationwide radio. In fact, he’ll continue hosting (and executive-producing) On Air with Ryan Seacrest from a brand-new iHeartRadio studio inside New York’s ABC7, where Live is taped each day. And that’s not all: Ryan will also continue to host E!’s Live from the Red Carpet award shows, as well as ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

Congrats, Ryan!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Behind-the-Scenes Fun from Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Can you hear that? The premiere of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is so close, the delicious drumbeat of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” is growing louder and louder… Looking for something to tide you over ‘til you head to your local cineplex for megatons of Guardians merriment on May 5? Take a look at D23’s rad rundown of enjoyable behind-the-scenes tidbits.

Epcot International Food and Wine festival

75 Days of Delicious: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Goes Big for ‘17

It’s one of the most popular food festivals in all of America, and it’s held under the watchful gaze of Spaceship Earth… it’s the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and for 2017, it’s stretching to a whopping 75 days! From August 31 through November 13, a record number of Marketplaces (35 in all) will tickle the taste buds of thousands of guests.

As in previous years, the Food & Wine Festival will feature celebrity chefs; hands-on culinary workshops and demos; the Party for the Senses (a very yummy, very entertaining way to end your day at the festival); and some of your favorite music artists at the popular “Eat to the Beat” concert series. Families will once again enjoy a Ratatouille-inspired scavenger hunt, as well as culinary demonstrations and dishes geared towards kids’ tastes. Plus, you can hang out with D23 at Sip and Stroll, a foodie phenomenon featuring D23-exclusive culinary and beverage demonstrations, a dessert reception during IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, and more! Find out more and secure your spot here.

So start readying those appetites, and look for more info on the 22nd Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival as it becomes available in the coming months…

May the Force Be with Your Mobile Device—Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

Good news, Star Wars fans: A new casual puzzle game has just entered our universe, and it’s now available for download on the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore. Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is “match-3” adventure that invites players to tap into the holographic memory banks of favorite droid pal BB-8 for a truly epic Star Wars adventure. The journey features familiar scenes as well as previously untold moments, all via compelling gameplay and interactive puzzle boards; players can journey across Jakku and Takodana, and even take on the First Order alongside familiar faces including Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron.

Featuring more than 100 levels (wow!), Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is a free download (with in-app purchases) that is sure to add to this week’s big Star Wars Day/“May the Fourth” fun! Solve the puzzle, you will…

A Historic Sailing for the Disney Wonder

Talk about an extraordinary voyage! Just last week, the Disney Wonder became the very first passenger vessel to transit (that’s fancy boat talk for “passed through”) the Panama Canal’s new set of locks. The crossing was part of a 14-night voyage where guests were transported from Port Canaveral, Florida, to San Diego, California.
It’s the kind of thing that needs to be seen to be believed, so check out the cool video about the historic moment from our friends at Disney Cruise Line, above.