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This special feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and The Walt Disney Company

Considering the fact that California has practically become my second home, I feel increasingly bad that my wife and kids have never come with me to the west coast. That means that they've not yet been to Disneyland Park or Disney's California Adventure... which I have. Having done our first big Disney family adventure last year with a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, I'm setting sights on getting the family out west - probably around the time that Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens in 2019, but maybe sooner if we can find a way to make it all work. For those who are headed west this year, Disneyland has a fresh lineup of new activities and attractions, and I recently had a chance to experience them first-hand during the Summer of Heroes!

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I made my first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida in 1988. It was a unique experience in that I went by myself - sans parents - at age 12, the winner of a contest held by the Star Newspapers here in Chicagoland. I was a paperboy - a "newspaper carrier" - and as part of a yearly push for great customer service and increased subscriptions, the top carriers were rewarded with a trip to Disney World. I was one of them, and the experience marked my first ride in a limousine, and my first big adventure away from home (under the guidance of two chaperones). The Magic Kingdom is, indeed, a magical place, and in 2016 I returned for the first time as a parent, my wife and I taking our girls on a Florida adventure. On the west coast, I'd never been to Disneyland until December of 2015, when I attended as a guest as part of the Global Media Event for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Five hours in the park and I was hooked. I did return this week (more on that later), but at the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim, I was on the show floor, live-tweeting announcements about what the future holds for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. There's a whole lot of Marvel... a whole lot of Star Wars... a whole lot of Pixar... some new ships... new hotels... and a ton of magic to be experienced. Here's the full rundown...

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#D23ExpoThis special feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and The Walt Disney Company

This week is a unique one in that I'm gearing up for a full seven days of travel - the longest stretch that I've ever been away from home since becoming "The Rock Father." That means it's the longest I've been away from my wife and our girls, but it will be worth it since what I'm doing is part of the greater good - a mix of work and play that directly relates to having fun as a family, and spreading that goodness throughout the virtual pages of The Rock Father™ Magazine. While the entire week will be massive, the end will be epic as I wrap one gig in New York City, then head straight to Los Angeles to meet up with the Disney crew for the D23 Expo and Disneyland Summer of Heroes. One big focus for me will be the launch of Disney XD's DuckTales, but my group will also be taking part in activities and events from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC Network and more, and I'll be bringing you the latest news and features direct from the show floor of "The Ultimate Disney Fan Event" - July 13-16, 2017!

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While word is that fans at San Diego Comic-Con just got their first look at GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2, I'm told we won't be seeing that footage online just yet. Those who are eager for something from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY can check out the video below, in which Joe Rohde of Disney Imagineering details plans for Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!, a new immersive experience coming to Disney's California Adventure theme park in 2017. Aside from that, we've got a look at the new logos and cast announcements for some upcoming entries into the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, including GOTG2, BLACK PANTHER (Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira), THOR: RAGNAROK and CAPTAIN MARVEL (Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers), in addition to a behind-the-scenes featurette on Black Panther from the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR in-home release. Check it out...

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To say that my most recent visit to Los Angeles was "surreal" would border on understatement - stepping into a world that just a few years ago none would've expected, nor believed. Going back even further, the small child that still resides housed in this now 39-year-old body would never understand the weight or gravitas of the situation - STAR WARS is back, and aside from the original era of 1977-1983, there's been no better time to be a STAR WARS fan than now. The Force is strong in our family, my wife and I sharing our love of "a galaxy far, far away" with our daughters - our children finding themselves enchanted with the very stories we grew up on, but now with new tales that we can experience together... for the very first time. Sixteen years had passed between the release of RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983 and the debut of THE PHANTOM MENACE in 1999... "the dark times" bridging the gap between the end of the "Original Trilogy" and the start of the "Prequel Trilogy." Now, in 2015, another sixteen years have passed and we've arrived on the cusp of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, the start of a new Trilogy - but one that unlike its predecessors, will be punctuated by standalone "Star Wars Stories" in between. This week, a little boy that spent countless hours immersed in a world of Kenner STAR WARS action figures nearly 40 years ago would be invited by Disney to take a step into a larger world - the Global Press Event for the launch of THE FORCE AWAKENS... a film directed by another little boy (J.J. Abrams), who's now grown-up and and has taken those toys to help relaunch the Saga for new generations of families to enjoy for a long, long time to come...

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The folks at The Walt Disney Studios have been dropping some major bombs at their D23 Expo in Anaheim this weekend, and it's no surprise that many of them are coming from a galaxy far, far away. The STAR WARS news is big and plentiful, covering everything from the next couple of movies to the long-awaited announcement regarding STAR WARS expansions at the Disney Parks. Here's the rundown...

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