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

Good morning from sunny Anaheim, California! I hit the ground here yesterday, refreshed and now ready to rock the first day of the 2017 D23 Expo and Disneyland Summer of HeroesBe sure to be following my on the socials - particularly on Twitter - for real-time updates from the show floor and panels as news breaks from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Parks and more. There's a lot to come from "The Ultimate Disney Fan Event," and I'll be here for all of it, with news and features rolling out here on the site in the days and weeks ahead (some things I just can't reveal yet). There's also plenty of toys to be seen, so stay tuned for a look at new offerings from Mattel, JAKKS Pacific, Jada Toys, Disney Store and more.

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Thursday, April 27 2017 09:04

Cars 3: A Visit to Pixar Animation Studios

Over the past few years, I've had the good fortune to have been invited to some fairly magical places that most of the general public will never have the chance to experience first-hand. Thanks to my friends at The Walt Disney Company, I've been able to go beyond the gates of several legendary facilities, including the famous lot of The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios and ABC. While I've spent a decent amount of time at all of those places in Southern California (even dropping by the Animation Research Library and the former Imagineering center), there's a couple spots further up the coast that I've always wanted to visit, and I finally crossed one of those off the list with my recent adventure inside Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. As part of the promotional ramp-up to the theatrical release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, I was able to get a look at the campus where some of the most iconic animated films of the past few decades have been created.

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Like young Sophie is plucked from a window by The BFG ahead of an adventure in Giant Country, The Rock Father is plucked from Illinois by Disney for an adventure in 'Dream Country'... Hollywood.

It's pretty safe to say I live a dual-life at this point... or at least, it certainly seems like it at times. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in flight delays, and that's just what happened Wednesday night as my 5pm flight out of LAX became a 6:30-ish departure thanks to stormy weather in Chicago. A midnight landing found our plane without a gate, and by the time we had one an hour later, there was no one there to attach the sky bridge to the plane so we could properly deboard. By the time I was off the plane and caught the train to economy lot E followed by a quick bus ride to lot G and an hour drive home, I was back at HQ after 3am. I was running again by 7, my day consisting of taking the girls to/from Summer Academy/Camp, and stopping by Meijer for some groceries before half falling asleep on the couch with the kids while checking out LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. While my norm is here in Lake County, I was back on the red carpet for the U.S. Premiere of Disney's The BFG this week... another adventure, and a big one - for a friendly giant

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Over the past few years, I've had the good fortune to count The Walt Disney Studios among the best friends of myself and the site, a relationship that has thrown open the gates to the "Magical World of Disney" to a big kid from Illinois who grew up loving Mickey Mouse and friends. With each group of new films and projects from the Disney family (Studios/Animation/ABC/Disney Channel/etc), teams of 25 writers/bloggers are welcomed to Los Angeles to get an inside look - and sometimes take part in events that go above and beyond what I would've ever expected. I'm thrilled to officially announce that this week I'm returning to Los Angeles as a guest of Disney to attend the red carpet premiere of The BFG - the new film from Director Steven Spielberg! While there, I'll have a chance to meet with much of the cast and crew, screen the film (twice - once before the premiere), and will be getting a look at the upcoming film QUEEN OF KATWE and Disney XD's FUTURE WORM in what is one of the most tightly-packed three day itineraries that I've ever taken part in. As always, YOU can follow along and interact with our crew LIVE on social media, tweeting/facebooking questions and comments. Check out all the details on #TheBFGEvent below!

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There was a time as a kid growing up, when I, like so many, had dreams of attending a "Hollywood Premiere." You saw it on television - the excitement, the stars, the glamour, the ideals that one typically thinks of as being "Hollywood." As an adult, my life and career has gone in many directions, and often in waves. I went after a serious career as a screenwriter and film director for awhile, aspirations that didn't quite work out as planned (or promised - long story) - but I did find some work as an actor and occasional crew member, and those are skills that still serve me well today as "The Rock Father," a position where sometimes it feels like I have to be everything. I still direct and edit music videos, I can't shut up write daily, I pop-up on-camera on YouTube (and sometimes television), but the closest I'd ever come to attending a Hollywood Premiere was back in 2002, when my wife and I attended the "green carpet" premiere of Pete Jones' Matt Damon/Ben Affleck-produced STOLEN SUMMER, the first movie to come out of HBO's PROJECT GREENLIGHT, when it made a huge debut at the Chicago Theatre. But my main gig now is that of a work-from-home parent, so how, in 2016, am I in Lake County, Illinois one day - then walking the red carpet at The World Premiere of Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK in Hollywood the next? Well, my life is wonderfully strange sometimes, and my I've been very fortunate to be in a position that allows for somewhat uncommon adventures. 

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Having worked on movies in my "past lives," I would've never imagined that becoming a parent and starting this website would pull me back into that world, working things in a different capacity - from a different angle - and being placed into a position where others could share in the experience virtually through all of the social networks. But that's what's happened, and one of my biggest supporters with THE ROCK FATHER Magazine has been The Walt Disney Company, regularly inviting me to cover their projects (bringing me into Los Angeles on Mickey's dime, disclosure and all) and be a part of their promotional efforts. While each adventure is different, each is equally as exciting in its own way (though attending the Global Press Event for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS may not be topped for me), and what's happening next week is no exception. I will join 24 other writers in L.A. for the #JungleBookEvent, interviewing the filmmakers and talent from the upcoming live-action reimagining of THE JUNGLE BOOK (in theaters April 15), an adventure that will be culminating in attending the red carpet premiere at the El Capitan Theatre - but that's not all...

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