By Courtney Potter
Concept Model for Tokyo DisneySea’s New Themed Port Unveiled
Fantastical news from our friends at Tokyo Disneyland Resort: They’ve just unveiled a truly amazing concept model for Fantasy Springs, the new themed port opening at Tokyo DisneySea Park in 2023. This will be the eighth themed port in Tokyo DisneySea, and the largest ever since its opening!
Fantasy Springs will include a Disney luxury/deluxe hotel and three separate areas, each dedicated to a different Walt Disney Animation Studios film: Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan. Attractions, restaurants, and immersive spaces will lead guests into the colorful world of each story. Take a look at the Tangled area in the video above… and check out the Frozen and Peter Pan areas (respectively) in the videos below.
The concept model in the videos is one-fiftieth of the actual size of the port; during the development process, Walt Disney Imagineering uses concept art, drawings, and models to plan out the arrangement and size of buildings and area development.
Stay tuned for more Fantasy Springs news as it becomes available!
Disney’s LAUNCHPAD Features Fresh Generation of Storytellers
Just this week, our pals at Disney+ released the official trailer and key art for Disney’s LAUNCHPAD, a collection of live-action short films from a new generation of dynamic storytellers. Beginning May 28, six talented filmmakers will share their perspectives and creative visions with audiences around the world; take a gander at some snippets from their stories in the new trailer, above.
The goal of Disney’s LAUNCHPAD is to diversify the types of stories that are being told—and to give access to those who have historically not had it. The filmmakers whose shorts comprise the first season are all from underrepresented backgrounds; inspired by life’s journey, their films are based on the inaugural season theme “Discover.” Each director was selected from more than 1,100 U.S. applicants, and began the program in early 2020—and they were assigned an executive mentor from various divisions of The Walt Disney Company, including Disney+, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. The program included script development, mentoring, and classes—most conducted virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic… with principal photography taking place once productions were physically able to resume, followed by postproduction and additional classes.
Sound like something you might want to take part in? Submissions for the second season of Disney’s LAUNCHPAD—based around the theme of “Connection”—will be accepted beginning Monday, May 10, with the brand-new addition of a writers’ track. Visit LAUNCHPAD.Disney.com for more info!
5 Fantastic Things to Watch This Weekend
Well, here we are—about mid-way through April and ready for a nice relaxing weekend o’ viewing from around the worlds of Disney. Are you an entrepreneur at heart? Do make sure to check out a brand-new episode of Shark Tank on ABC. Or are you more of a nature lover? Disney+ is premiering National Geographic’s Earth Moods this weekend. And there’s plenty more where that came from…
The Wakandans Are Back in New The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Featurette
Now this is cool… Disney+ just released a brand-new featurette for Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, showcasing Ayo and the Dora Milaje’s return to the MCU. Yes, those fan faves are back—and in the above clip, Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), director Kari Skogland, Florence Kasumba (Ayo), and Wyatt Russell (John Walker) share their thoughts on seeing these Wakandan warriors in action. The penultimate episode of the six-part series begins streaming exclusively on Disney+ tonight: Friday, April 16.
Directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman as head writer, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier also stars Daniel Brühl, Emily VanCamp, Erin Kellyman, Adepero Oduye, Amy Aquino, and Danny Ramirez.
Honoring Earth Day with Disney Channels
Ready to be inspired? There’s a plethora of incredible Earth Day content coming soon from across Disney Channels’ platforms—brand-new short-form videos; environmentally themed episodes of Disney Junior favorites including Mira, Royal Detective and T.O.T.S.; and a full day of programming on Earth Day (April 22) from Disney Channel, including encore presentations of themed eps from Raven’s Home, Sydney to the Max, and more. We’ve got a look of all the Earth Day fun to come right here at D23.com.
Cast Revealed for 93rd Oscars®
In keeping with the approach for this year’s ceremony—“[an] awards-show-as-a-movie,” explain show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh—the ensemble cast scheduled to present at the 93rd Oscars® was just revealed, and it’s a veritable who’s who of Hollywood. Starring, in alphabetical order, are Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Bong Joon Ho, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger, and Zendaya. “There’s so much wattage here,” the producers continue, “sunglasses may be required.” Additional talent joining the 93rd Oscars will be announced at later date.
The ceremony will be televised live from Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood—as well as from international locations, via satellite—on Sunday, April 25, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, only on ABC. Don’t miss it!
Grim-Grinning News From Disneyland Park’s Haunted Mansion
Earlier this week, the good folks at the Disneyland Resort (via the Disney Parks Blog) revealed some ghoulishly great news regarding the iconic Haunted Mansion attraction inside Disneyland Park. Step toward the dead center of the room—err, we mean, click here—to read up on what to expect the next time you find yourself amidst those 999 happy haunts.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Extremely Adorable Baby Mandrill
We couldn’t let this week’s News Briefs go by without highlighting some ridiculously cute baby animals, courtesy Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Just as Earth Month kicked off—on Saturday, April 10—a little girl mandrill was born to first-time mom Hazel and dad Linus. Cast members have named the infant Ivy to fit in with the rest of her colorful family: Olive, Scarlett, Snow, and Hazel.
Mom and newborn are healthy and bonding… and if you’re visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom anytime soon, keep your eyes peeled—because both have already been spotted by guests on Kilimanjaro Safaris! You might see the shy baby clinging to Hazel’s stomach, a natural bonding behavior. But this will change soon as the baby begins to walk within weeks of being born, spending most of the time exploring her surroundings underneath mom. The baby joins the troop of seven other mandrills, now including four generations, that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home.
See Ivy the lil’ mandrill in action in the clip above—and prepare to involuntarily exclaim “Awwww!” at your laptop or mobile device screen. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)
ICYMI: National Geographic Earth Day Eve Coming Soon
There are so many ways to celebrate Earth Day this year, and here’s one you should definitely add to your calendar: Nat Geo’s Earth Day Eve 2021, a virtual concert celebration hosted by travel expert Jessica Nabongo and airing exclusively on National Geographic’s website and YouTube channel, will feature sure-to-be-memorable performances from Angélique Kidjo, José González, Willie Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma, Ziggy Marley, and many more. D23 has a full rundown on what you can expect.