Disney rolls out their fun and not-so-scary Mickey’s Halloween Party

Spooky projections played on Main Street, U.S.A. and Disney‘s most famous villains came out at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.

Disneyland kicked off its not-so-scary Halloween celebration on Friday, the first of a 17-night special ticketed affair that runs on select nights through Oct. 31.

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But instead of gore and bloody decorations or costumed monsters roaming in the shadows looking for a scare like other theme parks, Disneyland offers a family friendly environment.

As part of the party, visitors are allowed to dress in costumes of their own making or more.

Angelina Rubio of Mesa, Arizona, came dressed as the character of Mary Sanderson, a witch played by Kathy Najimy, in the movie “Hocus Pocus.” One of the features of the character was her hairdo, which looked like an upside down beehive.

“My hairdo took forty minutes to create,” said Rubio. “It took a foam cone, a lot of teasing and a lot of spray glue.”

Over in Frontierland, a thick fog covered the Rivers of America. Wisecracking Scarecrows poked fun at costumed guests, while some of Disney’s more macabre music played over the PA.

Click here to watch a video of the costumed fun.

Along the waterfront, near the Haunted Mansion Holiday, many people dressed up to visit the quirky attraction, based on the movie “A Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Logan Holmgren and Patty Waterworth of Mission Viejo dressed as Jack Skellington and Sally from the movie, with her sporting orange hair and him with stitches painted across his face.

“We’ve loved the movie since it first came out,” Holmgren said.

Since this was a Disney experience, there were plenty of villains on hand with Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty,” Hades from “Hercules” and Jafar in “Aladdin” making many appearances.

There were also monsters appearing in the park, but they were Sully and Mike Wazowski from the “Monsters Inc.” franchise. They were in Tomorrowland where they hosted a Monsters U dance party on the Tomorrowland Terrace stage.

The signature attraction is the 10 to 12 minute fireworks show called: Halloween Screams – A Villainous Surprise in the Skies. It features orange and other different colors, along with some spooky apparitions projected on the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A. and Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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One of the unique features of the party is a chance for children and adults to pick up treats at Trick or Treat stations throughout the park, Disney handed out special Trick or Treat bags to each guest entering the park, giving them a chance to load up on the sweets in a safe environment.

Mickey’s Halloween Party can cost upwards of $84 on select nights. The first one in 2005 was priced at $18. Most of the scheduled events for this year are sold out.

Elsa, Han Solo, Minions Will Roam the Streets This Halloween(See the Top Halloween Costumes of 2015)

See the Top Halloween Costumes of 2015

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This Halloween you’ll see a lot of Minions, Han Solos and Elsa running around, according to the National Retail Federation.

The NRF’s 2015 Halloween Consumer Top Costumes Survey lists the top costumes for kids, adults and pets. Most fan-favorites reference pop culture, and few are classically-spooky costumes. Halloween spending reaches into the billions, hitting $7.4 billion last year, according to the NRF. It is the 8th largest spending holiday, ranked behind Super Bowl and Father’s Day but ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day.

For children, the top three costumes this year are princess, Batman and other action figures and superheros. Princess has been the top costume for 11 years, the NRF said, with an estimateed 3.2 million kids picking the costume this year. In the No. 5 spot are costumes from Disney’s “Frozen,” including Elsa, Olaf and Anna. More than 1.8 million tots will go as Star Wars characters (looks like anticipation for “Star Wars: Episode IV — The Force Awakens” is heating up) and 1 million will select a little yellow Minion costume as they celebrate Halloween.
Top pet costumes are pumpkin, hot dog, Batman character, devil and bumble bee, according to the NRF survey. For adults, the top costume is witch, with 4.3 million adults donning the costume for the 11th year running. Star Wars costumes moved from No. 12 last year to No. 5 five this year. With debates and election ads running, 774,000 adults are choosing a politically-inspired costumes.

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“It’s easier than ever for consumers to find creative Halloween costumes given the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram and the immediate access to societal news,” said Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow in a press release from the National Retail Federation.
Spirit Halloween also came up with a list of trending costumes for this year, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles;,”powerful women” such as Wonder Women and Supergirl, Caitlyn Jenner, Day of the Dead-inspired looks, pop culture references from “The Walking Dead” and “Orange is the New Black,” Star Wars characters, and characters from games such as Mortal Kombat and Assassin’s Creed.

‘Minions’ Has Officially Surpassed ‘Toy Story 3’ at the Global Box Office

As of yesterday, Minions has broken yet another box-office record (or two), and Illumination Entertainment has the Middle Kingdom to thank for that.

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As reported by Deadline and Entertainment Weekly, Minions has done what most have either expected or feared (even both) and surpassed Toy Story 3 as the second highest-grossing animated film of all time.

The film bowed in China yesterday to an estimated $20.1 million (125 million in yuan), marking the biggest opening day for an animated film in that country (a title previously held by DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2). The estimated gains are also higher than that of Despicable Me 2, another Illumination film in the overall Despicable Me franchise (and one that came that close to being in the billion-dollar club itself).

It also helped that, even while this film and the rest of the US blockbuster offerings had to wait out China’s blackout period (where blockbuster films made and produced only in China are given a special spotlight), Illumination was still putting its marketing skills to work. The above picture is from one of those country-specific marketing stunts, where Kevin, Stuart, and Bob visited the Great Wall (they also pulled this stunt for Despicable Me 2).

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Minions will only be in Chinese theaters for an allotted 30-day time slot, where it will face off against Sony’s Pixels, Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, and Marvel/Disney’s Ant Man.

So now that the shock factor behind this news is out of the way (if it isn’t already), let’s talk about what might happen next. Specifically, could Minions possibly go above and beyond our rocked expectations and unseat Frozen as THE highest-grossing animated film of all time? I’m not going to say yes, but I will say that there is a possibility. The fact that it’s September and Minions is still breaking records at an unprecedented pace is reason enough to suspect that this film might be able to punch another hole in box-office history and end on the biggest upset of all before it’s out of theaters entirely.

Minions is currently in theaters. See Morgan’s review of the film here. Listen to the Animation Addicts’ review and discussion of the film here. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Rotoscopers Roundtable, where our writers and editors (me included) react to the film’s soaring box-office run.

10 things not to miss during the “Halloween Time” celebration at Disneyland

Disneyland has a lot to offer during their Halloween Time event that runs from Sept 11 to Nov 1st. Take a glance at our list of not to miss things from this years celebration so you will be prepared for all the fun to come.

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1. Visit Haunted Mansion Holiday

New Orleans Square has become a thrilling Disneyland Halloween tradition, with Jack Skellington from the Walt Disney Pictures classic “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” moving into the Mansion to spark a collision between Halloween and Christmas. As in past years, some eerie new touches have been added to the Haunted Mansion Holiday experience. The Hatbox Ghost, who recently rejoined the Mansion’s happy haunts, is staying to celebrate Halloween and Christmas cartoon with Jack Skellington and his friends.

2. Spot the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house

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Inside the Mansion, the 15th annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house resembles a leaning and careening “house of cards” this year. A corps of zombie gingerbread men in orange-frosting safety vests stands beneath the towering confection to supervise construction while a team of “helicopter bats” hover above the teetering tower. The “helicopter bats” are lowering spiders that will add the final gingerbread cards to the tower from their sticky, suspended webs.

3. Take a ride on Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

Another Halloween favorite is Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, a Halloween-themed reimagining of the popular thrill ride in Tomorrowland. Guests on board the speeding Space Mountain vehicles are thrust into a ghostly galaxy where they are bombarded with eerie screams, sound effects and music. Spine-chilling spirits pop out of the darkness, appearing to reach out and menace space travelers.

4. Party “Day of the Dead” style

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In Frontierland, guests will enjoy the observation of the traditional Mexican “Dia de los Muertos” celebration with a skeleton display near Rancho del Zocalo restaurant. Free sugar skull face painting is also available.

5. Attend the extra ticketed event “Mickey’s Halloween Party

The popular separate-ticket, after-hours Mickey’s Halloween Party returns this year, expanding to 17 nights beginning Friday, Sept. 25, with an array of special entertainment. For the first time, the “Paint the Night” parade, which made its debut in May for the Diamond Celebration, will be presented during this special event. In addition, the “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular and the “Monsters U Dance Party” at Tomorrowland Terrace are exclusive to Mickey’s Halloween Party.

6. Enjoy a special Halloween treat

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If you are looking for something scary to snack for the Halloween season Disneyland offers plenty of different options. The French Market Restaurant will offer a Haunted Mansion Cake, pumpkin cheesecake and twists will be on hand and, of course, plenty of scary caramel apples.

7. Quench your thirst with a villainous drink

Every villain fan needs to have a special cocktail just their own. The Evil Queen made sure to supply her fans with this Poison Apple-Tini featuring a special glow ice cube.

8. Say hello to Jack Skellington and Sally

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Meet the host and hostess of Haunted Mansion Holiday outside of the Mansion itself. If you look close by at the popcorn carts you may spot Zero himself too.

9. Wonder at the splendid Halloween decor

Tons of places around the park is decked out for the season but you will see the most pumpkins on Main Street. How many pumpkins can you spot?

10. Visit the Big Thunder Ranch that comes alive as the Halloween Roundup

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This most likely will be the last season Big Thunder Ranch will be decorated for Halloween so make sure to make a visit to check out all the decor and special scarecrow pumpkins.

New Winnie-the-Pooh story: In which Pooh and Piglet save the bees

Beekeepers have joined forces with Winnie-the-Pooh to encourage children to bake with local honey, visit nearby apiaries and throw seed-bombs

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Winnie-the Pooh might be a ‘bear of very little brain’ but even he has become troubled to learn that his beloved treat of honey is under threat by the continuing decline of Britain’s bees.
New figures from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) showed the colonies declined by 14.5 per cent last winter, 50 per cent more than the previous year, despite efforts to tackle to the problem by banning pesticides.
Now the BBKA has teamed up with Pooh illustrator Mark Burgess, who coloured E H Shepherd’s original black-and-white drawings, to produce a brand new story – Winnie-the-Pooh and the Missing Bees – as well as a guide to saving the honeybees.
In the new story, Pooh and Piglet decide to visit the honeybees after noticing a honey shortage in The Hundred Acre Wood.
Speaking to Piglet, Pooh says: “I have been very careful with it, Piglet, as there hasn’t been much honey lately. But you can only be careful for so long before you run out altogether.”
Beekeepers are also h oping to engage children by encouraging them to bake with local honey, become beekeepers, visit nearby apiaries and throw seed-bombs to help the spread of wildflowers.
New illustrations show AA Milne’s characters Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Pooh making a vegetable patch in the Yorkshire Dales, building a bee box in the shadow of the Angel of the North in Gateshead, and planting a flowering tree in the shadow of Warwick Castle.

The friends are also pictured dropping bee-balls in Birmingham, painting in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire and visiting a honey show in Glastonbury.
Nicole Pearson, Associate Publisher from Egmont Publishing which publishes the Pooh books said: “Winnie-the-Pooh is famed for his love of honey, so who better to encourage families to get out and about and take part in fun activities that can help support our honey bees.
“We’re very excited to be working with the BBKA to support such a worthwhile cause.”

A survey by the BBKA found that 58 per cent of people wanted to help stop the decline of bees but do not know how to go about it.
“While many people are aware of the plight of the honey bee, there are many that don’t know what they can do to help,” said David Aston, President of the British Beekeepers Association.
“We hope that by supporting our ‘Friends of the Honey Bee’ initiative with the brand new guide inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh, families across the country can get involved, making a practical contribution and supporting bee health research.”

The BBKA annual study surveyed 900 British beekeepers selected at random, to establish the impact that last winter has had on honey bee colonies

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Some regions have been more greatly affected by bee decline than others. The west has seen drops of 18 per cent, the North East 15.5 per cent and the East of England 14.7 per cent,
While the exact cause is unknown, scientists have speculated that pesticides, pathogens, mites, poor weather and changing beekeeping practices have all contributed to the decline.
Last month scientists in California suggested that a tiny parasite could be behind the rapid colony collapse while researchers at Keele and Sussex Universities claimed aluminium poisoning could be leaving bees with a kind of animal Alzheimer’s disease.
A survey of school children carried out by the BBKA found that most youngsters are aware of the threat to the environment from the decline of bees but do not know what steps to help. environment. However less than a quarter (22 per cent) of children are aware of any steps they could take in order to help.

10 Surprise Celebrity Voices To Listen For In The LEGO Movie

Sometimes I need to be reminded that I pay way too much attention to the movies coming out in theaters. As we left a recent family screening of Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s amazing The LEGO Movie (which finally opens in theaters everywhere), I joked to my wife about the voices of a couple of superheroes in the film, and the meta nod it made to Lord and Miller’s Jump Street reboot. As it turns out, she didn’t recognize either of the voices, so the joke kind of flew right over her head.

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Part of the fun of an animated movie – particularly one stuffed to the gills with major characters – is trying to place the celebrity voice who’s supporting a cartoon character on screen. Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to LEGO Movie marketing knows that Chris Pratt of Parks and Rec voices Emmet, the main LEGO man in the movie. Will Arnett’s obviously the gravel-voiced Batman, and Will Ferrell voices Lord Business. But which other pop-culture staples can be heard throughout The LEGO Movie?

If you don’t want to be spoiled on a few of the surprises waiting for you in LEGO, bookmark this feature and come back after you’ve enjoyed the film. However, if you want to impress your family by pointing out these bits of vocal trivia, dig right in!

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There’s a point late in The LEGO Movie when the schizophrenic Good Cop/Bad Cop stats singing “Danny Boy,” which should be a dead giveaway that this ruthless enforcer for Lord Business is played by Ireland’s own, Liam Neeson. Because his LEGO role demands that he fluctuate between sweetness and evil as he wrestles with his inner demons, Neeson’s allowed to channel his inner Oskar Schindler, as well as his Ra’s al Ghul. Just don’t show either of those films to your children as a LEGO Movie follow up. Not until they are much older.

‘Frozen 2′ rumors: Queen Elsa dies?

Queen Elsa‘s journey and struggles were the biggest reasons why “Frozen” was the biggest animated film in 2013, but fans are now in a frenzy after several outlets reported that some speculations surfaced about the Ice Queen’s death in the sequel.

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While many media outlets have suggested that the Queen will most likely find her love interest and her sexual orientation may be explored in part 2 of her and her sister’s story, some reports suggest that the coming of a new villain, who has the extreme abilities to quench ice, will probably end Elsa‘s powers and reign.

On the other hand, some outlets, such as The Revoluzionne and The Telegraph, suggest that Elsa is too important for the overall look of Frozen, and in case she dies in the sequel, she will most probably not die “for good,” but will instead make a comeback and be stronger than she was.

Meanwhile, Christian Today reports that the widely favored Olaf will find his own love, too, and this time around, may find his happiness.

Kristen Bell will be back as Anna and Idina Menzel as Elsa, while Eva Bella was recently confirmed to also be back as the young Elsa. Bella’s return raised speculations earlier that the origins of Elsa‘s powers may be revealed in the sequel.

One of the movie’s hits that won the production multiple awards is “Let It Go,” and with the sequel on the way, many fans are asking if they will yet again hear a song just as powerful as Elsa‘s solo or if there will be a twist in the list of songs to come out with the second installment.

Rumor has it that the musical team is working on a duet for the Arendelle sisters that will blow the minds of fans again just as Menzel’s rendition of Let It Go did.

To be directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, the release date for “Frozen 2” has yet to be revealed.

 

Summer movie winners and losers: ‘Minions’ ruled, ‘Terminator’ drooled in 2015 season

Another summer film season, another chance for blockbusters to soar and flops to emerge. Here are the winners and losers of summer 2015.

WINNERS

Minions. These little guys are now a bona fide phenomenon. Their adorability factor is off the charts, and because of this, the third film in the “Despicable Me” universe opened to bigger box office than the previous two.

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Rebecca Ferguson. She looks great in formal dress or bikini. She kicks butt with the best of them. This unknown Swedish actress really made her mark in “Mission: Impossible, Rogue Nation.” A star is born.

Dinosaurs. It really didn’t matter that “Jurassic World” was basically the same old same old. (Rampaging dinosaurs! Terrified civilians!) It scored the biggest opening weekend — $208 million — in film history, and crossed the $1 billion mark globally faster than any film ever. You can’t argue with those numbers.

George Miller. The 70-year-old Aussie director made one of the best reviewed films of the summer. “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which earned a 98 percent positive rating on rottentomatoes.com, grossed more than $150 million in the United States and nearly $400 million globally. Now there’s talk of a sequel. And the seemingly ageless Miller will be at the helm. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t directed a live-action feature in nearly 20 years.

Charlize Theron. Add her Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road” to the list of iconic kick-butt female heroines that includes Ripley and Lara Croft. And therein might lie an Oscar nomination.

Joel Edgerton. He wrote, directed and co-starred in “The Gift,” which earned rave reviews and has earned six times its (admittedly small) production budget, making it one of the most profitable films of the season. This Aussie hybrid has a real future behind the camera.

Seventysomethings. Ian McKellen in “Mr. Holmes,” Blythe Danner and Sam Elliot in “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” Lily Tomlin in “Grandma” — all showing the young’uns that charisma and stardom have no age limit.

Rappers. Straight Outta Compton” played to huge business. No real surprise here, since what was once considered a marginal art form is now most certainly part of the mainstream.

 LOSERS

“The Terminator” franchise. The filmgoing audience’s basic response to “Terminator: Genisys” was “Please. Don’t come back.”

Tomorrowland. Even George Clooney and director Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) couldn’t save this futuristic film from laying a huge egg. A confusing screenplay and excessive running time (130 minutes) didn’t help.

Adam Sandler. “Pixels” opened to O.K. business but struggled to cover its production costs. Last year’s “Blended” barely broke even, “The Cobbler” went straight to video and “Men, Women and Children” grossed less than $1 million. Hard times have hit this previously unstoppable box-office monster.

Vacation. Maybe it’s time for the franchise to take a permanent holiday.

David Foster Wallace. Who’s that, you say? He’s the suicidal author of the 1,000-page novel “Infinite Jest” profiled in “The End of the Tour.” Despite a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating and rave reviews for star Jason Segel, the film was seen by almost no one. It seems authors of notoriously difficult doorstop novels are not multiplex-friendly.

Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm.Guess they weren’t so darn fantastic after all.

Meryl Streep. That awful title -”Ricki and the Flash” — and La Meryl in some sort of early Joan Jett hairdo just didn’t go over with audiences.

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Disney Developing Live-Action ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Movie

Disney is developing a live-action movie version of its animated “Winnie the Pooh” property, hiring “Listen Up Philip” writer-director Alex Ross Perry to write the adaptation.

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The focus will be on an adult version of the book’s Christopher Robin. Perry was hired after pitching a take on the story to the studio.

The Winnie the Pooh bear character was created by A.A. Milne for a collection of stories in the books “Winnie-the-Pooh” (1926) and “The House at Pooh Corner” (1928). Disney licensed the rights to the character in 1961, leading to TV shows and four feature films: “The Tigger Movie,” “Piglet’s Big Movie,” “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” and “Winnie the Pooh.”

Variety reported last year that Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment acquired rights to the book “Finding Winnie.” Written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, that book tells the story of the bear that inspired the Pooh character.

Disney has seen a string of office successes in rebooting its animated library with live-action versions including “Alice in Wonderland,” “Maleficent” and “Cinderella.” It has similar plans for an upcoming “Jungle Book” and a live-action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast.”

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Walt Disney World Offers a New Halloween Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World is taking reservations for yet another dessert party — this time at Mickey‘s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

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The Happy Hallo Wishes Dessert Premium Package costs $69 for adults ($39 for children, ages 3-9) and includes reserved seating for Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” HalloweenParade in Town Square as well as for the HalloWishes fireworks show, at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

The package includes a dessert buffet at the Terrace, including cupcakes, brownies, fruits and cheeses, as well as the ever-popular worms-and-dirt. Drinks include sparkling cider, hot chocolate, coffee and tea, and the takeaway gift is candy-filled skull mug. The event replaces the $99 Villains’ Sinister Soiree event offered at Cinderella’s Royal Table during last year’s Magic Kingdom Halloween Costume party.

Of course, there are other options for a reserved seat to see the Halloween fireworks.