Disney+ Casting Update and New Disney Parks Fun—Plus More in News Briefs

By Courtney Potter

Gina Rodriguez joins Diary of a Female President in a recurring role, and a new cavalcade of fun comes to Disneyland park for a very limited time… Read more, along with other news from around Disney, in this week’s news briefs!

Casting Announced for Disney+ Series Diary of a Female President

With the debut of Disney+ just over the horizon, there’s sure to be a wave of announcements about all the incredible shows premiering soon on the streaming platform. Case in point: today’s update regarding Diary of a Female President! With production having started this week in Los Angeles, Disney+ announced that executive producer Gina Rodriguez (Golden Globe®-winning star of Jane the Virgin) will also guest star on the series in a recurring role.

Told from the narration of her diary, Diary of a Female President follows Elena (Tess Romero), a Cuban-American 12-year-old girl, as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school and begins her journey to become the future president of the United States. Rodriguez will play adult Elena, currently on the campaign trail.

But that’s not all… Rodriguez is also directing the first episode of the series, which was developed through her production company, I Can and I Will Productions. Look for more news about Diary of a Female President, as well as other Disney+ shows, in the coming months—leading up to the service’s debut in November!

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

D23 and Walt Disney Archives
July 20, 2019
The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour – Presented by D23
August 23-25, 2019
D23 Expo 2019
January 17, 2020
Get VIP Tickets to Disney’s Frozen The Hit Broadway Musical
August 16, 20, 23, 27, 30; September 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29; October 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, 2019
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom park
August 29, 2019
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opening at and Walt Disney World Resort
August 29—November 23, 2019, 2019
November 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24; December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 2019
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom park
2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
September 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, 2019; October 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31, 2019
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party at Disney California Adventure park
2019 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
November 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 2019; December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 2019
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom park
November 29—December 30, 2019, 2019
2019 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

July 19, 2019
The Lion King opens in U.S. theaters
October 18, 2019
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens in U.S. theaters
November 22, 2019
Frozen 2 opens in U.S. theaters
December 20, 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in U.S. theaters
July 16, 2019
The Lion King: Can You Feel The Love Tonight with Robin Roberts airs on ABC (8 p.m. EDT/PDT)
August 2, 2019
Descendants 3 premieres on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW (8 p.m. EDT/PDT).


Mickey and Friends Band-Tastic Cavalcade Kicks Off July 18 at Disneyland Park

Summertime is always an amazing time to visit Disneyland Resort (or, honestly, any of the Disney Parks around the world). For instance, there’s a very special, very limited-time event coming to Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park—and it kicks off on Thursday, July 18. Mickey and Friends Band-Tastic Cavalcade will find Mickey Mouse and all his pals joining forces with the incredible Disneyland Band for a delightful twice-daily processional; the route includes special “show moment” stops, where guests will be able to dance and clap along with all manner of Disney favorites.

And just who might you see during this festive, tune-filled frolic? Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, of course… and they’ll be joined by Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, and a host of fabulous (and sometimes rarely seen) Disney characters—like Terk from Tarzan and Marie from The Aristocats. You never know who might appear!

So if you’re heading to Disneyland in the next few weeks, do make sure to check out the Mickey and Friends Band-Tastic Cavalcade—appearing only through August 1, when it makes way for the return of the legendary Main Street Electrical Parade.

Opening Dates for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Revealed

Did you feel that shift in the Force? That was our friends at Disney Parks making a huge announcement: the opening dates for the much-anticipated Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts! Read all about it right here at D23.com.

The Lion King

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter Curates “The Lion King: The Gift” Album

In advance of the huge worldwide debut of The Lion King, the Jon Favreau-helmed retelling of the animated hit, Disney has announced a brand-new album produced and curated by the voice of Nala herself, superstar Beyoncé Knowles-Carter…

The Lion King: The Gift” is set to be released on Friday, July 19—the same day The Lion King roars to life at a movie theater near you—and it’ll feature global artists creating music steeped in the incredible sounds of Africa. “Spirit,” the single from the album (as well as the soundtrack for The Lion King), is now available; you can hear a preview, or find it on your favorite streaming service by clicking here.

First Look at Disney’s Mulan

Just last weekend, fans around the world were able to feast their collective eyes on a brand-new teaser trailer for Disney’s Mulan, set to bring honor to us all next year. If you haven’t yet seen the clip, or you’re needing a second (or fifth) viewing, check it out above!

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan (Yifei Liu)—the eldest daughter of an honored warrior—steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner strength and embrace her true potential. It’s an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation… and a proud father. The incredible international cast also features Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; Gong Li as Xianniang; and Jet Li as the Emperor. Directed by Niki Caro, with a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek (based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan”), Mulan is set for release in March 2020.

Amazing New Look at Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

It’s not long now ’til we reacquaint ourselves with Maleficent, that iconic anti-hero as portrayed by Angelina Jolie, in the sequel to Disney’s hit 2014 action adventure of the same name. And this week, we were lucky enough to get an all-new look at Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Watch the breathtaking new trailer for yourself, above!

Picking up several years after the first film—in which we learned of the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning)—Maleficent: Mistress of Evil explores the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon-to-be queen as they form new alliances and face new adversaries… all in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within. Also starring Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, and directed by Joachim Rønning (from a story by Linda Woolverton and a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will debut in theaters October 18.

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort: Now Open!

We’ve got a distinct feeling this is truly gonna be a Disney summer to remember, what with the recent opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland park; its upcoming opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort; the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade; and D23 Expo 2019 in a few weeks (so exciting!), just to name a few! And here’s something else to add to that memorable list: the grand opening of a brand-new tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

The opening of the Gran Destino Tower completes Coronado Springs’ amazing multiyear re-imagining, which also includes new restaurants, a new way to experience your arrival to the resort, and so much more. The new tower, themed after the iconic international art scene of the 1920s and ’30s, boasts 545 guest rooms (including 50 suites and club-level service), a two-story lobby, brand-new meeting rooms, new loungers, and a rooftop restaurant with breathtaking views of Lago Dorado (“Golden Lake”) and the surrounding area.

Take a gander at the recent Gran Destino Tower opening celebration in the new video from our friends at Disney Parks, above. We can’t wait to check it out in person!

ICYMI: 7 Disney Things You Need to Try in July

Honestly, there is a veritable smorgasbord of ridiculously cool things happening around the world of Disney in the next few weeks. In a recent D23.com article, we took a look at a few things you absolutely, positively must try during the month of July. Read all about ’em right here!