When Disney Parks and Resorts are mentioned, the first things to mind might be the rides, attractions, characters to meet and greet, and so on. But sometimes guests might just want to be able to shop till they drop, or at least until they get hungry and get some eats.
This then is where the shopping/dining/entertainment complexes of the Disney parks come in. With a varied selection of retail outlets and restaurants to choose from – plus attractions like cinemas and concert venues – they make for a similarly fun alternative to their neighboring theme parks. Here’s a list of them worldwide.
Disney Springs (opened 1975 under original name; present name in 2015) at Walt Disney World
Disney Village (opened 1992 under original name; present name in 1996) at Disneyland Paris
Ikspiari (opened 2000) at Tokyo Disney Resort
Downtown Disney (opened 2001) at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim
Disneytown (2016) at Shanghai Disney Resort
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort was supposed to get its own distinct shopping/dining/entertainment complex as well; but its development, much less construction and opening, has not been realized ever since HKDR first started operation in 2005.
In Marvel Comics, Tony Stark aka Iron Man can be considered one of the “pillar” characters tying together the various superhero stories (and later their separate comic book titles) into one shared universe. After all, he was the first leader of the comic-book Avengers team, before Captain America was found.
He’s much the same deal with the MCU, despite Cap being part of the movie-verse Avengers from the start. Let’s trace the way Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) interacted with the larger MCU outside his three Iron Man movies, whether as supporting characters or extra cameos (even commercial appearances).
The Incredible Hulk (2008) – post-credits cameo talking to Gen. Ross about recruiting for a team
Marvel One-Shots: “The Consultant” (2011) – taking place between the events of Iron Man 2 (2010) and The Incredible Hulk; cameo as archived footage from the latter film’s post-credits, expanding on the event
Avengers (2012) – was there at the gathering of heroes for SHIELD’s Avengers Initiative, naturally
Captain America: Civil War (2016) – supported the Sokovia Accords (superhero registration) against Cap; recruited Peter Parker/Spider-Man to his side and feels guilty about the “child soldier” implications
Iron Man Experience (2017) – attraction at Tomorrowland in Hong Kong Disneyland
Spider-Man: Homecoming “NBA Finals commercial” (2017) – cross-promoting both the film and the 2017 NBA Finals; really funny gag pulled by Tony on Peter during his “Finals Party” that he didn’t attend himself
Spider-Man: Homecoming(2017) – the main movie event itself, with Stark trying his darndest to be a mentor figure to Peter so as not to let him make the same mistakes as Tony
If you want to include references, Stark was mentioned by name (or noted on) in Thor (2011), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Ant-Man (2015) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017), as well as the Spider-Man: Homecoming cross-promotion with Audi; he’s everywhere.
The Disney animated film-to-live-action adaptation machine continues to chug along, planning for more potential blockbusters in the coming years with famous flesh-and-blood performers in the formerly animated roles. One of the Disney Canon movies being prepped for full production is an adaptation of 1998’s Mulan, with casting underway even now.
In addition to Chinese actress Liu Yifei in the title role, Disney has decided to take on some heavy star power – Hong Kong-wise – for their Mulan film project by casting actor Donnie Yen. This development also hints at some expansion of the original animation’s plot that the producers have planned.
For Donnie Yen’s part, he will be portraying a new character in the narrative, a military officer named Commander Tung. He’s supposed to be an older mentor figure to Mulan, though whether this is during her time in the army, or before the call to arms, hasn’t yet been determined.
Yen first exploded into international super-stardom when he portrayed Wing Chun master Ip Man in the titular film series. His most recent roles in western cinema include 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and xXx: Return of Xander Cage the following year. He is currently filming Ip Man 4.
Disney’s live-action Mulan adaptation also has prominent names behind the scenes, being executively produced by Hong Kong’s Bill Kong (Chrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero) and directed by Nick Caro (The Zookeeper’s Wife). This would be Yen’s second Disney casting following Lucasfilms’ Rogue One, and will premiere on March 2020.
Between April and May is the great milestone for Marvel Studios, the in-house filmmaking arm of Marvel Entertainment which conceived the mammoth Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man hit cinemas on May 2, 2008 following an earlier Sydney premiere on April 14. Fast-forward to 2018, and the MCU, one decade old.
Now, they’ve already made some videos to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the MCU, but thus far it’s been about the studio that makes the films and its stars. This time around, a new special video from Marvel Entertainment flips the perspective around, celebrating the MCU’s greatest strength: the fandom.
The one-minute video features scenes from across the 18 installments of the MCU thus far then shifts to scenes of fan crowds at theater showings, cons (SDCC Hall H!), autograph signings, you name it. The sheer enthusiasm and fanaticism of Marvel followers at these events is evident and simply overwhelming.
Meanwhile, various actors and actresses who have starred in the MCU films, led by Robert “Tony Stark/Iron man” Downey Jr. himself, step up to the mike to thank the fans that have flocked to their films and event appearances, making the franchise the successful juggernaut that it has grown into.
All this leads into the reminder that the latest chapter of the MCU, Avengers: Infinity War, is due out two weeks from now on April 27. Note that it’s been hyped as an ending for the storyline of the franchise as laid in three “phases”, so it’s definitely a must-watch.
One, not so long ago, nobody could fathom that a crossover of Disney’s various animated characters and settings could be blended together with the franchises of Japanese game developer Square (now Square-Enix) in a serious crossover title. Any reservations faded in 2002 with the release of the first Kingdom Hearts.
The concept of traversing through various worlds based on Disney and Square works in a videogame was a major hit, enough to spawn a sprawling franchise of its own. Let’s start from the very beginning and list down the places visited by the player in the original Kingdom Hearts title.
Four locations are original creations of Square; the other ten are based on works of Disney.
Destiny Islands – home of original main characters Sora, Riku and Kairi; destroyed at the beginning of the game and swallowed into the End of the World; restored (partly) at the end of the first game
Traverse Town – the game’s “hub location”, made of fragments of destroyed worlds; from here, Sora and his companions travel to the other worlds
Hollow Bastion – a massive castle that is all that remains of the Radiant Garden world; former home of Ansem the Wise and used as a base by Maleficent for a time
End of the World – realm created by the destruction wrought by the Heartless, where the Destiny Islands were sent to; final boss area of the first game
100 Acre Wood – setting of Winnie the Pooh
Agrabah – setting of Aladdin
Atlantica – setting of The Little Mermaid
Deep Jungle – setting of Tarzan
Disney Castle – original world based on Walt Disney’s animated shorts; home of King Mickey, Queen Minnie, Donald and Goofy, among numerous other classic Disney characters; traversable in the beta but not in the finished game, only seen in cut-scenes
Halloween Town – setting of The Nightmare Before Christmas
We all know the story now: creative differences, directorial changes, long reshoots, and so on have been the bane in the production of Solo: A Star Wars Story. It had gotten so bad that there have only been a handful of teasers and trailers for it, unlike most other blockbusters.
Its final director Ron Howard had promised one last theatrical-sized trailer for Solo before it arrives in cinemas next month, and Lucasfilm has delivered. It’s easily the longest preview of the second installment of the Star Wars Story spinoffs yet, and really delves into the “world” of the upcoming movie.
The trailer begins with an evening shot of a planet where Imperial Star Destroyers are being built, likely Han Solo’s home-world of Corellia. Voiceover of Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra hints that Han (Alden Ehrenreich) has some secret plans while joining the caper he is currently on, something Han merely demurs.
New scenes are interspersed with old ones already shown. Hints that Han first meets and befriends Chewbacca in Solo are once again dropped, even as the two join with a major con operation led by Tobias (Woody Harrelson) who gives Han his signature blaster and recruits Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).
Solo was pitched as a uniquely different tone to the larger Star Wars universe, in that it would feel like a “space western”. But more scenes shown here also reinforce the notion that it will also be a sci-fi heist movie. A slew of new characters are also introduced here.
Actresses Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are introduced in the final film trailer as their newly-seen characters Val, an associate of Tobias’, and droid L3-37, respectively. More shots of the “Kessel” Millennium Falcon are in evidence, plus a reminder to casual Star Wars fans that Chewbacca is 100+ years old.
For those who were brought down by the grim and fatalistic tone of the first Star Wars Story, Rogue One, then Solo looks to be a more light-hearted yet still action-pack alternative. The film premieres in cinemas on May 25.
The Ducktales videogame from Capcom in 1989 is often held to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) videogame adaptation of a Disney property in the history of electronic entertainment. What could be more exciting than controlling Scrooge McDuck as he travels around the world to hunt for treasure and collect various gems to add into his money bin?
Here then is a list of the various areas that Scrooge explores during the course of the Ducktales videogame on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Also included are two additional areas from the title’s 2013 HD remake Ducktales Remastered, made available on on all contemporary major platforms of the time including mobile.
Transylvania – domain of Magica de Spell; also doubled as the final boss area of the original NES game with Dracula Duck
King Solomon’s Mines – domain of the King of the Terra Firmians (expanded as the pathway to the Terra Firmian underworld in Remastered)
The Moon – visited by the aliens of planet Kronk; arguably home to the most memorable background music of the game in both versions
The Money Bin – first mandatory area in Remastered; serves as tutorial level
Mount Vesuvius – new final boss area in Remastered; Dracula Duck is fought here, with an extended post-battle race segment
The original game had a sequel with new areas for Scrooge to go through, though it was never remade. Ducktales 2 (NES and Gameboy) however was included in The Disney Afternoon Collection compilation of Capcom’s Disney game titles, released in 2017.
Bermuda Triangle – like with the original game, this area was recycled as a final boss area with Scrooge’s rival Flintheart Glomgold…or is it?
Whether you loved it or not, remember how big High School Musical was years ago? From its simple beginning as a Disney Channel Original Movie, it grew into a massive franchise with sequels, a (real) stage musical version, concert and “On Ice” tours, videogames, comics and even a reality show.
And then there was the High School Musical book series launched by Disney Press that ran from 2006 to 2009. These ranged from junior novelizations of the three films and “Tales from East High”, relating original stories of the HSM characters, all written by a stable of assorted authors.
That should do for background; let’s get to the list!
Novels (all written by N.B. Grace)
High School Musical (June 1, 2006)
High School Musical 2 (August 14, 2007)
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (September 23, 2008)
Stories from East High
Their canonicity is questionable as they’re not officially connected to the novelizations. They do however reference events from the novels/films as well as other SOEH books.
Battle of The Bands (January 16, 2007) by N.B. Grace
Wildcat Spirit (March 20, 2007) by Catherine Hapka
Poetry in Motion (May 22, 2007) by Alice Alfonsi
Crunch Time (July 31, 2007) by N.B. Grace
Broadway Dreams (September 25, 2007) by N.B. Grace
Heart to Heart (November 27, 2007) by Helen Perelman
Friends 4Ever? (February 26, 2008) by Catherine Hapka
Get Your Vote On! (April 22, 2008) by Alice Alfonsi
Ringin’ It In (August 26, 2008) by N.B. Grace
Turn Up the Heat (October 28, 2008) by Helen Perelman
In The Spotlight (December 23, 2008) by Catharine Hapka
Bonjour, Wildcats! (February 24, 2009) by N.B. Grace
Game On (April 28, 2009) by Sarah Nathan
Lights, Camera, Action (July 21, 2009) by N.B. Grace
Super Special Series (double-sized books set in the Stories from East High canon, written by Helen Perelman)
The official Disney fan club, D23, has only gotten bigger and more diverse ever since the company acquired some major franchises like Marvel and Star Wars. Nowhere perhaps is the prominence of these two brands shown better than in the fan club’s official quarterly magazine, Disney twenty-three; specifically its covers.
For the summer 2018 issue of Disney twenty-three, the House of Mouse is going to court collectors by publishing no less than five variant covers for the mag. One of the featured images is from the third film in the MCU to come out this year: Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Their particular variant cover is sure to be a treat for MCU fans, especially those who loved the first Ant-Man movie from 2015 starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, who in the sequel will become the Wasp. Disney twenty-three’s Ant-Man variant cover has a high-quality image of their new costumes.
That last point can be quite important, considering one of the quibbles for Ant-Man and the Wasp is the perceived drabness of Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp costume, seen only in production photos and the first trailer. As the cover reveals, it’s actually a lot more colorful and tricked out in detailing.
Film director Peyton Reed is keen on having this movie establish Lilly’s character of Hope Van Dyne as a true superhero in becoming the Wasp, and an equal to Rudd’s Scott Lang/Ant-Man character. “Her power set is fantastic,” he notes. “She and Scott both shrink, but there the flying, and the fighting style of The Wasp is different from Ant-Man’s.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp will arrive in cinemas on July 6, about two months following the premiere of the just as anticipated Marvel ensemble blockbuster – and climactic installment – Avengers: Infinity War, which will be released in turn on April 27.
Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears is considered as one of the earliest animated TV series produced by Disney in the 80s. Its success proved to Walt Disney TV Animation that their serialized approach worked, leading to them producing The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and pairing the two.
Gummi Bears ran 6 seasons (1985-1991), starting from NBC to ABC and having its last season as part of the Disney Afternoon syndicated block’s first-year lineup. Let’s remember this series with a list of the titular Gummi Bears, who gained super-bouncy-powers from “Gummi-berry Juice”, and their human friends of Dunwyn.
Gummi Bears of Gummi Glen – secret guardians of the world who watch over the humans until the time when man and Gummi Bear can co-exist again, signalling the time when their Great Gummi ancestors would return
Zummi – leader of the Gummi Glen bears, keeper of Gummi Wisdom in the Great Book of Gummi
Gruffi – practical-minded master Gummi artisan and tinkerer
Grammi – maternal figure of the bears of Gummi Glen and keeper of the Gummi-berry juice recipe
Tummi – the fattest Gummi and eldest of the group’s bear cubs, a gentle giant and multi-talented
Sunni – preteen Gummi who is the friendliest and most open to interacting with humans
Cubbi – youngest Gummi cub and bravest; wants to become a knight; friend to the Dunwyn boy Cavin
Gusto – distant Gummi Glen cousin with an artistic bent; joins in season 2
Chummi – last surviving Gummi Bear of the Gummerset group, stops at Gummi Glen in season 2 before departing to find the Great Gummis by airship
Kingdom of Dunwyn – a small medieval kingdom at war with Drekmore, ruled by the traitorous Dunwyn knight Duke Igthorn who commands an army of Ogres and allied with the witch Lady Bane; Igthorn and Bane are personal enemies of Gummi Glen as well while some of Dunwyn’s children, who believe that Gummi Bears are real and not fairy tales, become allies of the magical bears
Cavin – squire and pageboy to Sir Tuxford, knight of Dunwyn; his heirloom medallion from his grandfather is the Gummi medallion needed to open the Great Book of Gummi; meets the Gummi Bears in the first episode and becomes their first human ally, Cubbi is his best friend
Princess Calla – daughter and heir to King Gregor of Dunwyn, the second human ally of the Gummies after meeting them through Cavin, who has a crush on her; she in turn becomes best friends with Sunni