A Summary of D23 Expo 2015

First, I am confessing that I did not attend the D23 Expo in Anaheim this year. I am a D23 member but the Expo, which is held every other year, always seems to fall at a very tough time for me to travel which is right when my kids are starting school. So we get to enjoy all the other bloggers posts from the Expo and hear all the news from our home. We wanted to bring you a quick summary of all the news that was announced and give you our thoughts.

The biggest news at the Expo is always the park news that get announced, and this year had some big stuff!

Disney Park News

Star Wars Themed Lands

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Bob Iger announced that new Star Wars themed lands would be built at both Disneyland and Disney World (14-acre lands). While this is exciting for Star Wars fans everywhere, there was no date or even time frame given as to when this will even be done. They are anticipating the new lands will be somewhere behind ToonTown at Disneyland, and in Hollywood Studios at Disney World. If your little ones aren’t Star Wars fans right now, don’t worry. By the time they actually build these lands, they will be old enough to be fans.

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Star Wars Launch Bay

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This new area will be added soon to Disneyland in Tomorrowland and in the Animation Courtyard at Hollywood Studios at Disney World. It will include interactive games for guests as well as merchandise and food. Expect to see this in the parks this year in anticipation of the new Star Wars movie coming out this December.

Soarin’ Over The World

We are pretty excited about this new addition to the parks! Soarin’ Over California will be upgraded to a new film called Soarin’ Over the World which will be in both parks in 2016. The film will have upgraded sound and picture quality since it will now be laser projection (unlike Soarin’ Over California which is 70mm format).

Toy Story Land

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Disney announced another new land coming to Hollywood Studios…sometime in the future. Toy Story Land will have a family-friendly roller coaster as well as new rides and added track to Toy Story Midway Mania. John Lassetter is part of this new project and he does an amazing job with theming (think CarsLand and Bugs Land) but he is kind of hit and miss with rides (think Luigi’s Flying Tires and Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train). We love Toy Story Midway Mania, and if the new rides live up to this caliber, it will be amazing! But rumors are they may resort to more carnival style rides, like DinoLand in Animal Kingdom, which most guests don’t like. There was no date announced on when this land would see the light of day.

Animal Kingdom Additions and Nighttime Show

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Animal Kingdom is still under construction for the new nighttime spectacular, Rivers of Life, as well as the Avatar-themed land (formerly called Pandora). The nighttime show is set to be quite an amazing show using all their tricks and thrills from Illuminations and World of Color. They also announced the new ride in Avatar-land will be “Flight of Passage” and the aim is for it to feel very real for guests. The last big change at Animal Kingdom is extending the Kilimanjaro Safaris into a perpetual dusk. Not sure how the animals feel about all the changes!

Pandora

Star Tours Addition

If you are like us and have been on Star Tours again and again to see all the different story lines, then you will be so excited that they are adding a new story line soon for the newest movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”! No word on when it will be in the parks but I would assume it will be about when the movie comes out in December.

Space Mountain Change

A temporary addition is coming to Space Mountain to promote Star Wars. Yes, more Star Wars. It will temporarily be Hyperspace Mountain and include new effects and music. This will primarily be at Disneyland.

New Frozen Ride at Epcot

Norway at Epcot is currently under construction with the closure of the ride Maelstrom that will be transformed into the new ride, Frozen Ever After. While little is still known about what this ride will be like, we did learn that the wonderful husband and wife duo that created all the music for Frozen, Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, are helping put together the soundtrack for the ride. If we are lucky, we will come out singing “Let it Go”!

Disney Movie News

Along with all the park news, there was some updates for Disney movies that are coming soon.

Gigantic

  • “Gigantic” is being made that is a retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk tale; this is a being brought to us by the same team that brought us “Tangled” and the music is being written by the “Frozen” team of Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Can’t go wrong with that, right?
  • “Jungle Book” is being remade and will be out in theaters in April 2016Moana
  • “Moana” will be a new Disney Studios digital animation movie coming November 23, 2016. It will have the first Polynesian Disney Princess.
  • “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will be the next sequel for the franchise and this movie will bring back Orlando Bloom along with Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush
    Alice
  • “Alice Through The Looking Glass” is a sequel to the quirky “Alice in Wonderland” movie starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, a role he will reprise in this sequel. It is set to be released in May of 2016
  • Pixar is releasing a series of sequels which is a little disappointing but here are some of them:
    • “Toy Story 4” – If you felt that “Toy Story 3” was a beautiful wrap up of a wonderful tale, your not alone. But for some reason, Pixar is revisiting Woody and Buzz again for another story that centers around the love story of Woody and Bo Peep. Right now it is set for June 2017.
    • “Finding Dory” – Sequel to “Finding Nemo” that centers around the character of Dory. Ellen Degeneres will reprise her role as Dory. This should be released in June of 2016.
    • “Incredibles 2” – We are actually excited about this getting a sequel as we felt the story had more to tell – Brad Bird, the original writer of the first movie is working on this project and we anticipate it will be great
    • “Cars 3” – Yes, another Cars. We kind of feel like this one has run its course, pun intended. But they are working on another Cars movie.
  • “The Good Dinosaur” is an original movie from Pixar (yes, it’s new!) and it will be released this fall (November). We are looking forward to a new story.

That is a wrap up of all the news from the D23 Expo. While a lot of exciting ideas were announced from Disney, there wasn’t really an idea of when a lot of these projects will be finished. I think there are a lot of Disney fans who would like for the construction projects to move at a faster pace. Just think that it took Walt Disney one year to build Disneyland. It took current Disney over 3 years to add an expansion on Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. So don’t get so excited about some of the building projects. It could be a long time before we see them finished.

Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration 2015

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Last week, I had the honor of attending Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. This amazing event is an invitation only conference for bloggers and social media moms, and I was so excited to be invited this year! Disney designs this conference as a family event and attendees are encouraged to bring their families along. I chose to bring my oldest daughter with me as part of a graduation gift as well as some very special mother and daughter time.

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I would like to share some of the highlights from the weekend with you. The conference was held at the beautiful Yacht Club, which is one of my favorite resorts at Disney World. We were greeted by our favorite character, Mickey Mouse!

View from our room at the Yacht Club

View from our room at the Yacht Club

The event began with a fabulous welcome reception held at Epcot that included fabulous food, music and character greets for kids. The food was so creative, and I mean that in a good way! Where else would you find cheeseburger egg rolls and smoking popcorn? My daughter and I took pictures with Rapunzel, Sorcerer Mickey and Baymax and Hiro. It was a very fun kick off for the weekend!

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The social media celebration was one full day of sessions held at the Yacht Resort Conference center. We were treated to some delicious meals and snacks, as well as some amazing speakers that inspired everyone!

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Our first speaker was George A. Kalagridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort. He shared with us upcoming expansion news including Animal Kingdom and Avatar World. He told us about DisneyGrants for 2015 (#2015DisneyGrants). And he gave sneak peeks at the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Celebration that begins May 22!!

Pinterest

We then heard from Eva Smith, Head of Marcom and Insights at Pinterest. She shared great insight on Pinterest use for our blogs and how to reach a wider audience. It is amazing to see what a large reach Pinterest has and how much it has grown over the years. Pinterest is one of my favorite places on the web!

Next, we heard from Jonas Rivera, Producer of the upcoming Pixar film Inside Out. He shared with us the process of their storytelling and development for the exciting new film that is opening in theaters June 19th. They have been working on this film for five years! My kids can’t wait to see it.

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Disney Social Media reminded us that Star Wars weekends were starting the following weekend, and we were surprised with Storm Troopers in the conference! As a Star Wars fan, it was very exciting!!

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Our next speaker was Janice Baldemino, Director Global Brand Marketing for Disney Infinity! We got the inside scoop on the upcoming release of Disney Infinity 3.0! My family loves Disney Infinity so I was so excited to learn that in the summer, they will be releasing Star Wars characters – three sets, with the new 3.0 as well as Inside Out characters! And the newest characters coming are Mickey and Minnie! They gifted all the attendees with these classic characters! Check out the new 3.0 characters coming soon!

Stand

The most inspiring moment of the day was hearing from Vivienne Harr, Chief Executive Officer at Stand. She is 11 years old. She started a campaign selling lemonade to help end child slavery around the world, and her small idea grew into a huge movement! She has started the company Stand, to unite people for causes around the world. Check out her site at stand.tc

One of the main sponsors of this amazing event is Alamo. Megan Maguire, Brand Publicity Manager, spoke to us about their new Twitter presence and their new social media team of Chief Travel Moms who blog about traveling with kids. Check them out on twitter @Alamo.

Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group and bestselling author of eight books, spoke to us about developing a newsletter and developing content for our readers. He had amazing insight for everyone!

D23

Next, we were so lucky to have Jeffry Epstein, Manager of the official Disney fan club, D23! He talked with us about the upcoming D23 Expo that will be held August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is a biyearly event and it is filled with entertainment, celebrity and talent visits, special exhibits, new Disney announcements and sneak peeks, special merchandise and a fan costume contest that is fantastic! To check out all the info, visit D23Expo.com. If you are interested in membership into the fan club, there are different price levels including a free level!

Imagicademy

Disney Imagicademy spoke to us about their new line of kids apps, which we have featured on our blog including Mickey’s Magical Math World and Mickey’s Art World. Dr. Tanya Altmann shared with us that their next amazing kids app is coming this summer and it will be Frozen: Early Science. What they showed us looks awesome and it may be one of our favorites!

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We ended our conference with a speech from retired NFL Wide Receiver Donald Driver. He was inspiring and funny, and the best end to a wonderful day. He shared parts of his life story and how he overcame the challenges in his life. But he also shared a story about experiencing harsh and cruel words through social media, and how he dealt with it. He inspired us to give purpose to the words we write. “Stars do not struggle to shine. Rivers do not struggle to flow. It’s all about the power of your passion!” -Donald Driver

After all our sessions, we got to have a special Mickey’s Beach Bash on the beach in front of the Beach and Yacht Club. Mickey and friends joined up for the fun, and we enjoyed live music and delicious Disney cuisine!

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My favorite decoration of the night was a hand crafted sandcastle made just for us!

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The next day, we were given the opportunity to see a sneak peek of the new Disney Pixar movie, Inside Out! We were shuttled to  the AMC Theater in Downtown Disney and treated to a light breakfast while we watched the movie. We also got to see the first 12 minutes of the new Disney movie Tomorrowland.

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First, Inside Out is awesome! We didn’t get to see the end because the finishing touches are still being put together, but the part we saw was fantastic! Kids will love it! It is really clever and funny. The preview for Tomorrowland was awesome too! It looks like a unique and intriguing movie. Inside Out will be in theaters June 19th and Tomorrowland opens this weekend, starting May 22nd.

There was plenty of park time for us as well, as we were able to enjoy some of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival which was beautiful. I will share some of our photos of the festival in another post. The next day was Mother’s Day, and Disney treated all the Social Media Moms to a delicious breakfast as well as some music from the a capella group Voice Play. It was an awesome show!

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My daughter and I had a great time and I had the most amazing experience learning and meeting other bloggers. The social media moms were a diverse group of bloggers and vloggers. I was truly honored to be included in their group!

Disney gave us lots of great gifts as well as treated us so special. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to be a part of the celebration. My daughter and I had a great mother and daughter trip too – something that can be rare in a family of four kids.

SandCastle2

I hope we are given the opportunity to be part of Disney’s Social Media Moms celebration again. Disney is an amazing leader in the social media world and they really know how the reach their audience. This was a wonderful weekend!

Disclaimer: Preschoolears is a personal blog and all opinions, ideas and content are my own. We did receive gifts from sponsors as well as discounts on Disney accommodations, park passes and park perks for attending this conference.

Monsters University

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Our house is buzzing with excitement about the upcoming new Pixar movie “Monsters University” which is a sequel, but really a prequel, to the movie “Monsters Inc.” Our family loves Sully and Mike Wazowski, so we can’t wait to see their new movie! It is coming to theaters this summer starting on June 21st. With all this excitement, I wanted to collect all the exciting Disney news and information for you about the upcoming film.

First, here is the newest movie trailer just released from Disney Pixar:

Disney also has an official Monsters University website with lots of goodies. They also have this really fun website that is a mock website for Monsters University, that your kids will enjoy looking at and having fun with. You can tell the folks at Pixar had lots of fun putting this one together!

The big announcement that Disney just made was that they will be celebrating the opening of this film with what they are calling “Monstrous Summer”. Three Disney parks will stay open for 24 hours on Memorial Weekend with special monster events. Magic Kingdom, Disneyland and California Adventure with stay open from 6 am on May 24th until 6 am on May 25th.

  • Magic Kingdom will have a Monsters University theme with Mike & Sully as Grand Marshalls of the parade as well as late night dance parties and characters in pajamas
  • Disneyland will have a late night “monstrous” party and a late night pajama party at Mickey’s Toontown
  • California Adventure will have Monsters University “dorms” in Hollywood Land as well as special surprises in the Pixar Play Parade

To make this big announcement, Spaceship Earth at Epcot was turned into the lovable Mike Wazowski today.
Picture 22

Disney just released some fun products for Monsters University today at the Disney Store. There are lots of fun things to choose from, but here are some of my favorites! Click on the pictures to take you to that item at the store.

preschoolears: MonstersU Shirtpreschoolears: MonstersU Tee

preschoolears: MonstersU Cheer Fear Teepreschoolears: MonstersU Tee

preschoolears: Monsters U Teepreschoolears: Mike W iPhone case

preschoolears: Sully Pillowpetpreschoolears: MonstersU Mug

Are you officially excited for “Monsters University” this summer? We can’t wait! And it should be a fun Memorial Weekend at the parks! We scare because we care!

New Disney & Pixar Movies Update

There’s lots of new Disney and Pixar movie news to share today as well as some fun sneak peeks!

DisneyNature is releasing a new film in theaters on Earth Day, 2014. It is called “Bears”. Our family has loved all the DisneyNature movies and we can’t wait to see this one. Here is a sneak peek. The last DisneyNature movie “Wings of Life” will be released on Bluray/DVD this April 16.

Sneak Peek – Disneynature BEARS on Disney Video

To follow DisneyNature on Facebook, click here.

Also big Pixar movie news is the announcement of a sequel to “Finding Nemo” called “Finding Dory”.

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Here is the official press release:

BURBANK, Calif. (April 2, 2013) – When Dory said “just keep swimming” in 2003’s Oscar®-winning film “Finding Nemo,” she could not have imagined what was in store for her (not that she could remember). Ellen DeGeneres, voice of the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish, revealed details today about Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”—an all-new big-screen adventure diving into theaters on Nov. 25, 2015.

“I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time,” said DeGeneres. “I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is—it’s got a lot more Dory.”

Director and Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton takes audiences back to the extraordinary underwater world created in the original film. “There is no Dory without Ellen,” said Stanton. “She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world—not to mention our team here at Pixar. One thing we couldn’t stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In ‘Finding Dory,’ she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way.”

According to Stanton, “Finding Dory” takes place about a year after the first film, and features returning favorites Marlin, Nemo and the Tank Gang, among others. Set in part along the California coastline, the story also welcomes a host of new characters, including a few who will prove to be a very important part of Dory’s life.

“Finding Nemo” won the 2003 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature; the film was nominated for three additional Oscars® (Best Writing, Original Screenplay; Best Music, Original Score; Best Sound Editing). It was also nominated for a Golden Globe® Award for Best Motion Picture–Comedy or Musical. In 2008, the American Film Institute named “Finding Nemo” among the top 10 greatest animated films ever made. At the time of its release, “Finding Nemo” was the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time. It’s currently the fourth highest grossing animated film worldwide. The film has more than 16 million Likes on Facebook, and Dory—with more than 24 million—is the most Liked individual character from a Disney or Disney•Pixar film.

DeGeneres’ distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world. Her syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” is in its 10th season and has earned 38 Daytime Emmy® Awards. DeGeneres has won 12 People’s Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Award for Choice Comedian for three consecutive years. Additionally, her show won two Genesis Awards and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. For her unforgettable turn as Dory, DeGeneres was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.

Very exciting to have a sequel to Nemo! To follow along and receive updates, click here to follow their facebook page.

And finally, from Disney, I have a sneak peek of the new “Planes” movie. As a bit of a spinoff to “Cars” this movie is about a plane named Dusty who dreams of being a high-flying racer. It is set to release in August of this year and in 3D.


Sneak Peek – Disney’s Planes on Disney Video
To follow Disney Planes on Facebook, click here.

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