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Familiar? Haven't we done this before? We have, and the cycle will continue...

ABC just announced their cast for Season 25 of DANCING WITH THE STARS, and as usual, fans are taking to twitter to air their excitement or concern by tweeting @DWTS. Thing is, on twitter that means they're reaching the original DWTS... or at least a DWTS that staked (like a vampire) the acronym before "Dancing," and that's DEATH WALKS THE STREETS. If you haven't been playing along for the past 13 or so years, the #OriginalDWTS is a genre-bending transmedia property created by someone very familiar to readers of this site... yours truly. Curious?

You might not want to hear it, but the holiday season is fast-approaching on the horizon, and families will soon be seeking the perfect gifts for the little ones in their lives. The folks at Lakeshore, a leading developer of innovative learning materials for schools and homes, has just unveiled their Gifts for Growing Minds collection - a product line that "invites kids to discover the wonder of learning through play." The new assortment features over 200 items for kids ages 0–11. Check out some highlights below!

As of this writing, we're just about three months out from Christmas, and that means that the news is starting to roll in at a furious pace when it comes to a fresh dose of holiday cheer for 2017. If you happen to be the kind of "Scrooge" that will complain about it being "too early" to talk holiday entertainment, remember that this is not something new. What we have today is the first trailer for THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, a new tale based on the true story of how author Charles Dickens (played by Dan Stevens of Disney's Beauty and the Beast) was inspired to pen one of the most famous holiday stories of all time, A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Check out the preview below, and look for the film to hit theaters on November 22.

Highlights Magazine is timeless, and many would consider HABA toys right up there with it. Starting next year, the two will come together as the iconic children's brands are coming together in HABA USA's new Highlights™ toy line, available in 2018. The aim is to provide "an affordable new line of toys blending the time-tested educational and developmental expertise of both brands." The initial collection will launch with 12 developmentally-appropriate toys for children ages 12 months and older, incorporating Highlights' popular "That's Silly" designs as well as animal and monster-themed toys. 

Hatchimals were the hottest toy for Holiday 2016, and now they're poised for another big run. As the franchise has grown well-beyond the original hatching electronic toys to include Hatchimals Colleggtibles, clothing and more, Spin Master has now revealed the next evolution of the original toys: Hatchimals Surprise. Hailing from the world of Hatchtopia, Hatchimals Surprise are are said to be "different from any Hatchimals seen before." There's a completely new hatching process, with new species to meet and what's being called "a BIG surprise" set to come on the Second Annual Hatchimals Day, Friday, October 6, 2017!

One of the biggest surprises this summer was that ahead of THE EMOJI MOVIE was an all-new HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA short. I had no idea that PUPPY was set in Dracula's world, and that's a good thing as the kids were really surprised when we screened it at the birthday party for our oldest "Rock Daughter." Now, with an animated series airing on Disney Channel and a new feature film headed for theaters next summer, news has come into Rock Father HQ that Sony Pictures Consumer Products has partnered with Jazwards to develop a Hotel Transylvania toy-line, while Simon & Schuster Children's Group, Papercutz Comics and Bendon Publishing, will create a range of books inspired by the film franchise and new television series. The goodies will begin hitting stores leading up to the release of Sony Pictures Animation's HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3, in which Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship -- the first time the characters will venture outside of the hotel. 

Tuesday, September 05 2017 08:38

Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 Races Home this Fall!

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One of our favorite movies of 2017 is finally coming home. Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 races home Digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ on Oct. 24, and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD™ and Blu-ray™ on Nov. 7.  The news came down today in an announcement timed to honor world-champion racer Lightning McQueen - #95 - on his date-sake 9/5. The film surged to the front of the pack opening weekend, with audiences racing to see the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and spirited trainer Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo) team up to beat the new generation of blazing-fast racers. Now, this summer’s high-octane hit cruises home—loaded with bonus features like the all new mini-movie starring the demolition derby legend Miss Fritter.

I originally planned on posting this on August 15. I wish I would've, but more time-sensitive things got in the way over the course of the past two weeks. Most of this has been written, sitting as an unpublished draft awaiting release to the public for the purpose of standing up for what's right. For standing up for the power and glory of all-things pumpkin spice!

You see, it's that time again. As the kids are back-to-school, your favorite (and not-so-favorite) retailers are gearing up for the holidays. In fact, it seems that there's more holidays than ever these days (every day is a "National _____ Day" of some kind), but as we look toward the end of the year, it's the "Big Two" that always loom large: Christmas and Halloween. In many cases, "Christmas in July" is more than a simple advertising promotion, and chains like Hobby Lobby are locked, stocked and ready to rock with the festive gear as early as June. As we hit August, familiar shades of orange and black start popping up with increasing frequency as Back-to-School departments are flipped in preparation for the most glorious day of the year, October 31. And, just as signs of the holidays begin to appear, it's time once again for chronic complainers to start whining about what they deem "too early" (online it's usually done with excessive CAPS and !!!), and likewise many media outlets to start running what's basically a stock article at this point about "Christmas Creep" and the like. Newsflash: none of this is new, and the true problem lies in the complainers and their ridiculous "outrage."

The time has come: STAR WARS REBELS returns to Disney XD for its fourth and final season beginning MONDAY, OCTOBER 16 (12:30 a.m., 3:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. EDT). A new trailer just made its debut at FanExpo in Toronto, and now it's available for all to view. See the new trailer and all the details on STAR WARS REBELS Season Four below!

It has begun... FORCE FRIDAY II officially kicked off at 12:01am this morning, with STAR WARS fans on the East Coast being among the first to purchase new merchandise from Rian Johnson's upcoming film, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. The Disney Store in NYC was first to welcome a line hundreds long, starting a wave that's moved coast-to-coast this morning with midnight openings and events at retailers such as Toys "R" Us, Walmart, Target, Meijer and more. This year's Force Friday is actually a weekend event running September 1-3, 2017 with events planned at many locations. Check out StarWars.com/FindTheForce for full details. 

Note: Video on this has been added to The Rock Father™ YouTube Channel!

Since the 2015 relaunch of the Star Wars franchise with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we've entered a new era of fandom in which families have regular access to perhaps the widest assortment of merchandise from a galaxy far, far away than ever before. Under Disney's leadership, Lucasfilm no longer has the lull of a "non-movie year," since there's going to be a new Star Wars film each year for the foreseeable future. For consumers, that means steady access to new toys and gear, but as recent years have shown us, there's just too much stuff out there, and it's not always what the people want. For our family, the true core of Star Wars imaginative play lies solely with Hasbro's 3.75" action figure line - the one whose lineage dates back to the original Kenner Star Wars Collection of figures, vehicles and playsets. For the current generation of kids and collectors, there's been a huge omission on the playset front, and with the Force Friday II launch of toys for Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Hasbro aims to fill that gap with the BB-8 2-in-1 Mega Playset. This impressive set* looks like a near life-sized BB-8 Astromech Droid while closed, but opens up into a First Order Star Destroyer packed with play features!

For the past few years, Mattel has been doing some very creative things with their license to make Hot Wheels vehicles that are inspired or based upon the characters, locations and machinery of a galaxy far, far away. While their Starships line makes diecast scale models of the actual ships of Star Wars, their Carships and Character Cars bend the rules quite a bit. For us, the character cars have been the big hit - so popular that I eventually added a running checklist to this very website, a page that has become increasingly popular. Now, with the Force Friday II debut of merchandise centered around Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Hot Wheels design team has cranked things up and raised the suspension for something new - Hot Wheels Star Wars All-Terrain Character Cars.

One of our most-anticipated series' of the year finally has a premiere date. Based on the children's book series Vampirina Ballerina written by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by LeUyen Pham Disney Junior's VAMPIRINA was developed for television by Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee, and will premiere SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1 (11:00 a.m. EDT), with two back-to-back episodes simulcast on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. The episodes will also be available on Disney Junior VOD, Disney Junior YouTube and in the new DisneyNOW app, which will also debut two additional episodes same day. New episodes will be presented every Monday and Friday in October on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Check out the title sequence and theme song below, along with more details on this seasonally-appropriate new series!

It was this summer that my love for THE LION KING was reignited during my visit to the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. It wasn't that I hadn't been enjoying it on occasion with my girls over the past few years - quite the contrary, especially given that Disney Junior's THE LION GUARD has been in the regular viewing mix for quite awhile. I think what I'd forgotten was how magical it was at the time of its first release - the summer after I graduated high school, and a film that was really one of those "lightning in a bottle" moments. The combination of attending a celebration of the film along with being in the room for the debut of test footage from Jon Favreau's 2019 live-action version of THE LION KING just brought goosebumps. Now, with film having been reissued as part of The Walt Disney Signature Collection as "The Circle of Life Edition" (available on Digital HD and Blu-ray Combo Pack), it's prime time for audiences to experience the film again, or to introduce it to their children for the very first time.

Lucasfilm's Star Wars Rebels is a unique thing for our family when it comes to the grand scheme of Star Wars storytelling. Despite countless spin-offs in every possible medium, Rebels stands right alongside the cinematic feature films in terms of both importance and enjoyment, and for our children I expect it will remain just as memorable for them as the Original Trilogy has been for all of us. With Season Four set to debut on Disney XD this fall, the just-released Star Wars Rebels - Complete Season Three Blu-ray set is the perfect way to re-live the latest run before the series returns for its final season.

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