March 16, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.

Enhanced Big Thunder Mountain ride adds thrills to Disneyland favorite

Guests ride the train cars on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain ride. (Disney)
PERSPECTIVE My youngest son’s first roller coaster was Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. He had just turned four, proudly towered an inch or so over the 40-inch minimum, and jumped on with a wide smile. He loved it – as much for the excitement of the ride itself as for the realization that he had now passed an initiation of sorts, from toddler-hood to full-blown boyhood. While he may have been among its younger passengers at the time, his joyful experience was hardly unique for the beloved Frontierland ride, which after a lengthy refurbishment officially reopens St. Patrick’s Day. A cheers (with green beer) indeed! Actually it will be green tea for my son who is now 12 and whose roller coaster palette has broadened quite a bit since he first boarded the Disney train. Much to the horror of Disney […]
March 10, 2014 | 11:04 a.m.

‘Maleficent': Angelina Jolie showcases her wicked side in new poster

Maleficent (featured image)
Angelina Jolie and her amazingly wicked cheekbones dazzle in a new poster released for the upcoming film “Maleficent.” Due in theaters May 30, the Disney film stars Jolie in the title role as the villain from the 1959 animated classic “Sleeping Beauty.” The upcoming movie retells the fairy tale from the perspective of the sorceress who curses the infant princess Aurora at her christening and purports to focus on the events that led the character toward a path of evil. Maleficent stands as one of the best-remembered Disney villains, and for Jolie, donning the cape and horns of the character, a childhood favorite, marked a significant career milestone. “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite,” Jolie said at an appearance at the studio’s D23 convention in Anaheim last year. “I was terrified of her, but I […]
Jan. 26, 2014 | 9:22 p.m.

‘Maleficent': Lana Del Rey croons ‘Once Upon a Dream’ in Grammys spot

Songstress Lana Del Rey croons a haunting rendition of the classic Disney track “Once Upon a Dream” in a new TV spot for “Maleficent” that debuted during the Grammy Awards telecast Sunday. The song, taken from the 1959 animated telling of “Sleeping Beauty,” lends an eerie vibe to some new scenes from the film, which retells the fairy tale from the perspective of the sorceress Maleficent and purports to focus on the events that led the character to the path of evil. In this version, it’s revenge and a desire to protect her kingdom that prompt Maleficent to curse the infant princess. Due in theaters May 30, the film stars Jolie in the title role and sees the actress don the cape and horns of the character, a childhood favorite. “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my […]
Jan. 20, 2014 | 11:51 a.m.

Angelina Jolie conjures dark magic in new ‘Maleficent’ teaser

Angelina Jolie is the model of cool vengeance in the new teaser for “Maleficent,” the live-action retelling of Disney’s animated classic “Sleeping Beauty” from the point of view of the striking sorceress. Due in theaters May 30, the film stars Jolie in the title role and sees the actress don the cape and horns of the character, a childhood favorite. “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite,” Jolie said at an appearance at the studio’s D23 convention in Anaheim last year. “I was terrified of her, but I was also drawn to her. I wanted to know more about her. She had this elegance and grace, yet she was wonderfully, deliciously cruel.” The promotional spot for the film — which debuted over the weekend on the Disney Channel — plays up the connection to the 1959 […]
Jan. 03, 2014 | 11:21 a.m.

‘Star Wars’ comics leaving Dark Horse, returning to Marvel in 2015

"Star Wars" No. 6 (featured image)
Marvel will publish new “Star Wars” comic books beginning in 2015, the company announced Friday. The agreement between Lucasfilm and Marvel, both owned by the Walt Disney Co., kicks off the same year Disney will release a new “Star Wars” film, J. J. Abrams’ highly anticipated “Episode VII.” “The perennial brand of ‘Star Wars’ is one of the most iconic in entertainment history,” said Marvel Worldwide’s publisher and President Dan Buckley in a news release. “We are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand ‘Star Wars’ into galaxies far, far away.” The deal marks the franchise’s homecoming after more than 20 years away from Marvel, which published the first “Star Wars” comics beginning in 1977 with the official movie adaptation by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, followed by some off-kilter stories that introduced […]
Nov. 28, 2013 | 11:01 a.m.

Disneyland’s holiday tweaks twinkle with seasonal magic

A woman sports Christmas-colored Mickey Mouse ears as she awaits "A Christmas Fantasy Parade" on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
The scattered nature of Southern California’s expansive urban grid is never more noticeable than during the winter holidays. While lights festoon certain streets and artistically ambitious homeowners create over-the-top front-lawn tableaux, Los Angeles still lacks the central pedestrian thoroughfares that make Christmas so enchanting in cities like New York and Chicago, London and Paris. This means that, as with so many other things, we have to drive to Christmas. Or at least Anaheim. The new trend in open-plaza shopping may offer more local town-square seasonal activities — the Grove and the Americana have tree-lighting ceremonies and nightly “snow” fall, while Pershing Square and Nokia Plaza host skating rinks. But none of them beats the faux Main Street that started it all. At the resort the mouse built, Walt Disney’s nostalgic imagining of Americana has become more crazy festive with each […]
Nov. 24, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.

Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise gets a new jingle

Jingle Cruise
The holidays have finally wound their way into the deepest, darkest jungles … of Disneyland. So, you know, it’s not really that deep or dark. In fact, it’s one knee-slapper after another sprinkled with a bit of Christmas cheer. To help celebrate the holidays, the Happiest Place on Earth has for the first time temporarily rechristened the venerable Jungle Cruise the “Jingle Cruise.” Although not nearly as extensive as seasonal makeovers for rides such as It’s a Small World or Haunted Mansion, the popular Adventureland ride is one of a growing roster of Disneyland attractions that receive the Christmas treatment. The first Jingle Cruise vessel left the docks with a boatload of passengers and new corny holiday-themed jokes in mid-November. The ride, which has undergone minor redecorating — dangling Christmas lights and beige Santa hats for the skippers — will […]
Nov. 13, 2013 | 7:04 a.m.

‘Maleficent’ trailer: Angelina Jolie transforms into Disney sorceress

"Maleficent" (featured image)
The first teaser trailer for Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” has arrived, showcasing just how great the actress looks wearing the signature horns of the Disney sorceress. Due in theaters May 30, 2014, “Maleficent” is a live-action retelling of the 1959 animated classic “Sleeping Beauty,” but with a focus on the events that turned the character to the path of evil. The new clip mostly centers on a conversation between Maleficent and the Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), but concludes with what appears to be one of the haunting climatic moments from the animated tale — the wicked conjuror raising a forest of thorns from the ground. Earlier this summer, footage from the film, including a scene in which Maleficent cursed the baby Aurora, was revealed for the first time at Disney’s D23 convention.  “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always […]
Nov. 06, 2013 | 5:54 p.m.

Disney parks look to video games to step up live-action playtime

Agent P from "Phineas & Ferb" shows himself at Epcot's Germany pavilion as part of real-life game Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. (Disney)
In the late 2000s Walt Disney Imagineers were tasked with solving a problem that doesn’t typically crop up at Walt Disney World theme parks: How do you make the place more kid-friendly? Answer: Give it something that resembles a video game. That initial question led to what is now known as Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, a real-life game that dates to 2009 and has players traversing Epcot’s series of country-themed pavilions to trigger hidden interactions within the park environments. The Florida attraction, said designer Jonathan Ackley on Tuesday, was inspired by the narrative-driven LucasArts games of the ’80s and early- to mid-’90s. “There was the perception at the time that there wasn’t enough stuff for kids to do at Epcot,” said Ackley, a former LucasArts employee. The location-based game has a spy theme and deviates from the international flavors […]
Nov. 06, 2013 | 11:32 a.m.

Thor invades Disneyland with new Treasures of Asgard exhibit

The God of Thunder himself, Thor, was on hand to greet us as we walked through a passageway to Asgard in a new exhibit at Disneyland. (Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times)
In time for this weekend’s release of “Thor: The Dark World,” Marvel is bringing the magic of Asgard to Disneyland in a new exhibit fit for the gods. Thor: Treasures of Asgard is now open as part of the park’s Innoventions display. The exhibit features “artifacts” from Asgard, including the helmet of Loki, the swords of Heimdall and Lady Sif, the mask of a dark elf and even the book that contains the history of Yggdrisil, the world tree that unites the nine realms of Asgard. See photos of some of the artifacts in the gallery above. We assume that Thor needs his hammer Mjolnir, and other famous objects like the Casket of Ancient Winter may be too dangerous to be on display. As part of the experience, participants are told by Odin, ruler of Asgard, about the joint undertaking […]
E-mail It
Powered by ShareThis