1. The big news in the Disney community this week has been Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, Ltd. Much of the discussion has focused on the part of the announcement about Disney agreeing to make three more Star Wars films, the first to be released in 2015 with follow-ups in 2017 and 2019. As a fan of the Star Wars franchise, I LOVE this arrangement. George Lucas will be working on the film as a creative consultant, and long-time collaborator Kathleen Kennedy will be an Executive Producer, but it’s clear that Disney Studios will be in charge. This should give us the best of both worlds – Lucas’ vision for his franchise, coupled with Disney’s ability to attract top-notch screenwriters (who can actually script dialogue), directors, and on-screen talent. On the Disney Parks front, this acquisition lends credence to earlier rumors about additional Star Wars features at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I fully expect that we’ll see a Cantina Restaurant and Bar (and I’m crossing my fingers for an animatronic band). The real question is whether we’ll get a full “Luscafilms Ranch,” as a counterpoint to Pixar Place on the other side of the park. What elements would you want to see in a Lucasfilms Ranch land at Hollywood Studios?
2. So far, we’ve raised $550 selling two items in our Give Kids the World Charity Auction. The current item up for bid is the now-returned-to-the-Vault Beauty & the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas DVD+Blu-Ray. Current high bid is $30 from Scott Henney – you’ve got until 10 p.m. Central Time on Sunday to top his bid!
3. All of our best thoughts and prayers go out to several DISDads and their families who are still displaced from their homes, dealing with loss of power and damage to their homes and neighborhoods post-Sandy. Keep your heads up guys, and please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help!
4. The Lucasfilm announcement seems like it may have stolen some of the thunder from Wreck-It Ralph’s opening weekend, and that’s unfortunate. Wreck-It Ralph is getting outstanding reviews – it’s pulling at 84% Fresh rating from critics at RottenTomatoes.com and DISDad Ian Shephard offered this early review: “WOW!! Wreck It Ralph has it all! A great uplifting story, heroes, heroines, and a ton of candy! We, who never pay to see movies anymore, would happily pay to see it again. Take your kids, friends, loved ones, and random people off the street. It isn’t just for gamers, but has some funny parts for everyone. YOU’RE GONNA LOVE IT! lol… “Oh, reee-oh. Oh, REEEE, oh!” When are you planning on going to see it?
5. In non-Disney news, Universal Studios has announced that Transformers: The Ride, a 3D simulation ride described by many as based on the same ride technology as its Spider-Man attraction, will finally be making its way to its Universal Orlando theme park. The ride debuted in Universal’s Singapore theme park back in 2011 and opened in May at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Orlando ride is essentially a clone of its predecessors, though the show building will be unique. Construction actually began about 5 months ago, and Universal says the ride will be ready to open for the Summer 2013 travel season. Inside the Magic has a nice collection of photos and videos both of the Hollywood version of the ride and of the Orlando announcement.