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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...

The 2017 D23 Expo was absolutely massive, and while I live-tweeted the festivities direct from the show floor, I'm still trying to collect my thoughts on everything that I've seen and heard, even now that I've been back in Illinois for a full day. At the live-action film presentation, Alan Horn, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios, introduced Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production to give an overview of what moviegoers can expect to see across Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm over the next few years. For a few projects, development is still fairly early on, but ALADDIN was confirmed to be directed by Guy Ritchie, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie, with original music by Alan Menken with Pasek & Paul (La La Land) handling lyrics. MULAN will be helmed by Niki Caro (McFarland, USA, Whale Rider), and JUNGLE CRUISE marks the latest Disneyland ride to get a big screen nod, with Dwayne Johnson set to star. Those announcements simply scratch the surface, as the lineup is huge, and I've got all the details below...

At the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Disney Animation took to the stage in Hall D23 (introduced by Alan Horn, pictured above) to give audiences some new insight into what's coming down the pipeline from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar and DisneyToon Studios. I was in attendance for the presentation (I was tweeting live from the floor) and got a first-hand look at some incredible things that were shown for the very first time - some of which can be shared with you now, while others you'll have to wait to see. What's certain is that there's a stellar lineup ahead, including some much-requested new chapters of fan-favorite franchises, along with some completely unexpected new films. Here's the details...

As the 2017 edition of the D23 Expo draws to a close, closing the book on another installment of "The Ultimate Disney Fan Event," the news is really just getting started. I'm still here in Anaheim, getting ready to head back to Chicago on the red eye - and much of what I've seen has yet to be revealed. I did get a rare look backstage in the growing "Hall D23," and alongside all the technical magic, much of the talent involved with the next few years of entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm was on-hand to drop the curtain on a few surprises. So what did all of these actors and filmmakers do while hanging out in the pipe-and-drape "green rooms?" They had fun, and made some videos - many of which are now on Instagram. From Jon Favreau representing THE LION KING, to the voices of the Disney Princesses, the cast of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, MARY POPPINS and a host of AVENGERS and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, take a look at some of what happened backstage...

#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.

This summer, the INDIANA JONES series is coming back to theaters for a special run at Marcus Theatres from August 6-30, 2017. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will screen each screen for one-week each on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday - with tickets just five bucks! This is the perfect way to introduce a new generation to the adventures of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) prior to the next chapter in the series, currently set for release in 2020 via Disney/Lucasfilm.

#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!

At the Chicago Toy & Game Fair the past few years, there's been an organization present that makes incredibly detailed cardboard structures. In essence, they're simply cardboard box forts, but with the type of ingenuity employed by whoever's running Arby's social networks (seriously, they might have "the meats," but they also have "the papercraft"). One might wonder what surprises lurk inside these cardboard villages, and with that in mind DAVE MADE A MAZE might provide a possible answer. The film from Gravitas Ventures hits theaters and On-Demand on August 18, and today we have a trailer that you're going to want to see. Check this out...

L. Frank Baum's iconic Oz books have spawned stories that have been reimagined across several generations, and this summer the legend grows once more with the debut of the Amazon Original Kids Series Lost in Oz. A modern-day fable that expands upon the Emmy Award-winning Amazon Original special, Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure, this new series will debut on Prime Video in the U.S. & UK on August 4, and Amazon and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to give you a first-look at the series' official trailer!

Netflix #StreamTeamThe Rock Father™ is a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam & the Beat Bugs Dream Team

When the Netflix Original Series BEAT BUGS made its debut in 2016, families were quickly immersed in a vibrant new world inspired by the timeless music of THE BEATLES.  Following the adventures of five best friends -- Jay, Kumi, Crick, Buzz and Walter -- who band together to discover life's most important lessons in an overgrown suburban backyard -- Beat Bugs encourages lessons of friendship and problem-solving while introducing a new generation to some of the greatest songs of all-time. Mixing classic and contemporary, here The Beatles' music is performed by an all-star line-up of artists including Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Pink, Robbie Williams, Sia, Rod Stewart, Regina Spektor, James Corden, and late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. With two seasons already streaming in full on Netflix, the Beat Bugs adventures are just getting started...

It's a pretty big week for Star Wars, and something tells me that there's still some more news yet to come. As folks continue to discuss the forthcoming Han Solo movie and its production set to continue under filmmaker Ron Howard, some attention is turning to the upcoming Star Wars Forces of Destiny, which will debut in animated form next week. Additionally, Star Wars Rebels' third season will be hitting Blu-ray this fall, and there's a new episode of The Star Wars Show that covers everything that I've just mentioned here... and then some. Ready to watch some videos? Here we go...

As we cross the mid-point in the year, it's roughly 180 days until Christmas. Indeed, the holiday season is a big deal here at Rock Father HQ, and over the years that spirit has made its way into the virtual pages of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine via my annual Holiday Wish Guide™, and my ongoing seasonal lists of new release holiday music and movies. With that comes one of 2017's first Christmas movies, and this one is a bit unexpected since it's from the BAD MOMS... a known favorite among readers and friends of the site. This November, get ready for A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS! See the "Red Band" (Restricted) trailer below! Believe me, it's naughty - so don't watch with the kids in the room. You have been warned, but there's a cleaner version here.

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