The Mouse Castle Lounge Podcast: Disney News and Interviews, Cocktails and Conversations
Disney news and interviews, cocktails and conversation. Join host Tim Callaway as he talks with Disney artists, Imagineers, animators, authors and even a few Disney Legends about Disney movies, music, books, television, theme parks and history. From Mickey Mouse to Moana, Disneyland to Walt Disney World, Pinocchio to Pixar, it's always good times and great conversations.
MCL 07-10-2015 - Ron Diamond and the Animation Show of Shows

Ron Diamond is passionate about animation. He’s executive producer of Acme Filmworks, a commercial animation studio that utilizes the talents of gifted filmmakers and animators from both the U.S. and abroad. Ron’s pet project, though, is the Animation Show of Shows. For over 16 years, Ron and his show have had one purpose: to bring the best animated short films from around the world to the attention of major animation studios like Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks. It’s an opportunity for independent filmmakers, with otherwise limited reach, to have their work seen by respected and influential artists and industry leaders. The Animation Show of Shows has largely been a private enterprise over the years, limited to animation professionals and mostly unseen or heard of by the general public. That’s about to change.


Earlier this month, Ron completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $100,000 to fund the Animation Show of Shows and help it reach an even larger audience. The Animation Show of Shows is now a registered non-profit organization with the long-term goal of being seen by audiences around the world while still honoring its mission to showcase the best work of animators everywhere. Ron Diamond is Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge07-10-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 4:07pm PST

MCL 06-25-2015 - Doug Lipp Talks About Disney University and Disney Legend Van France
The Summer 1967 issue of "Disney News" magazine contained an article entitled, “University of Disneyland: An Institution of Smiles.” The story told of the park’s in-house training of more than 5,000 cast members each year, cast members who were taught to “welcome each guest with a smile that’s sincere” and ensure every new employee became a “people specialist” before he or she actually set foot on the job. This progressive, people-centric approach to training was the brainchild of Van Arsdale France, who joined Disney in March 1955, just months before Disneyland’s grand opening. With the support and encouragement of Walt Disney, Van France created the University of Disneyland, which would soon become the gold standard of employee training programs. Over the decades, the program would evolve into what is now called Disney University and to this day it takes its cues from the principles and standards France developed 60 years ago.

Doug Lipp was hired by Disney in the late 1970s and would later work with and be mentored by Van France. Fluent in Japanese, Doug was part of the start-up team at Tokyo Disneyland in preparation of the resort’s grand opening in 1983. Since leaving Disney, Doug has gone on to become a renowned speaker and training consultant with Fortune 100 companies. He’s written eight books, including his most recent, “Disney U.: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees.” He has a lot of stories to tell about Walt Disney, about Van France and about the guest experience at Disney Parks worldwide. Doug Lipp is Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge06-25-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:58am PST

MCL 06-07-2015 - Former Disney Animation Story Man Steve Hulett, Part Two
Two weeks ago in the Lounge, Tim began a two-part conversation with Steve Hulett. In the 1970s and 80s, Steve was a story man at Disney Animation, following in the footsteps of his father, longtime Disney artist Ralph Hulett.  In part one, Steve shared how he started his career at Disney—working for writer Larry Clemmons—and ten years later, how his Disney career ended. Today, in part two, Steve tells more behind-the-scenes stories about some of the Nine Old Men including Woolie Reithermann, Ward Kimball, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas. 

Steve talks candidly about the departure of Don Bluth and a group of other Disney animators to form their own studio in 1979, the challenge of working for animator and future Disney Legend Ken Anderson, the arrival of Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg in the mid 1980s, and finally, the notorious internal memo that incited the wrath of Disney Feature Animation president Peter Schneider. Steve Hulett is Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

You can read more about Steve Hulett's Disney exploits in his book "Mouse in Transition: An Insider's Look at Disney Feature Animation," available from and Theme Park Press.
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge06-07-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:50am PST

MCL 05-28-2015 - 24 Hours of Disneyland in 40 Minutes

Relive Disneyland's 24-hour party with Team Mouse Castle. Throughout the resort's 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration kickoff on Memorial Day weekend, Tim and his friends recorded as much of the craziness as they could, sharing their thoughts and experiences. Hear them take on the Hatbox Ghost, Harold the Abominable Snowman, parades, fireworks and crowds, crowds, crowds. What did they think of "Disneyland Forever" and "Paint the Night"? Did they get trapped in Disney California Adventure? It's an incredible day and night of good friends and insane Disney fun in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge05-28-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:38am PST

MCL 05-25-2015 - Former Disney Animation Story Man Steve Hulett, Part One


For ten years in the 1970s and 80s, Steve Hulett was a story man at Disney Animation, following in the footsteps of his father, longtime Disney artist Ralph Hulett. Steve was with the company during the most unique of times, the period after Walt Disney’s death--when his company was struggling to find its identity--until it came back in a big way under the leadership of Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells. It was a time when the old guard of Disney animation, the Nine Old Men, were making way for the new blood of Disney Animation, people like Glen Keane, Don Bluth, John Lasseter and Tim Burton. 

In his book, "Mouse in Transition," Steve Hulett tells candid tales about his years at Disney where he worked on such films as "The Fox and the Hound," "The Black Cauldron" and "The Great Mouse Detective." In addition to recalling the creative work, Steve shares plenty of stories about the office politics and ego clashes that went on behind the scenes. In part one of Tim's conversation with him today, Steve touches on a few of those stories, as well as a memorable encounter with Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney.
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge05-25-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 5:42pm PST

MCL 05-15-2015 - Saving Walt's Garage with Bob Bowman

In 1923, Walt Disney's first California animation studio had the humblest of beginnings in a small garage owned by Walt's Uncle Robert. Decades later, efforts to save the garage from demolition were undertaken by a determined former Disney employee, Arthur Adler. He wrote a book about the experience, "Walt Disney's Garage of Dreams." Sadly, Arthur passed away last year at the age of 82, just prior to the book being published, but not before he befriended another former employee of Disney, Bob Bowman. Bob spent 25 years as a merchandising executive and wrote the Foreward for Arthur's book. He also contributed a chapter recounting his own experiences with the Walt Disney Company. In "The Mouse Castle Lounge," Tim Callaway talks with Bob about his career and about the persistent efforts of one man, Arthur Adler, to save a seminal piece of Disney history.

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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge05-15-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 5:36pm PST

MCL 05-07-2015 - Haunted Mansion Expert Jeff Baham

After a 45-year hiatus, the legendary Hatbox Ghost is returning to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion this weekend. Talking about the new arrival is Tim's guest, Haunted Mansion expert Jeff Baham. Jeff runs the popular Mansion fansite and is author of the book "The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion." Kindly step all the way in please, and make room for everyone. There's no turning back now.
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge05-07-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 5:01pm PST

MCL 04-30-2015 - Disney Artist Dave Avanzino

Disney artist Dave Avanzino is Tim's guest today in "The Mouse Castle Lounge." Dave's dimensional art and fanciful letter designs sold in the Disney parks have made him very popular with fans. Dave talks about his work, who and what inspires him and what we might expect from him during Disneyland’s upcoming 60th anniversary celebration.
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge04-30-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 5:19pm PST

MCL 04-20-2015 - 'Star Wars' Celebration 2015 Recap

What happens when a group of "Star Wars" nerds swap stories over cocktails about Star Wars Celebration? This episode of "The Mouse Castle Lounge." Join us as we relive the memorable moments from last weekend's fan event at the Anaheim Convention Center: the new Episode VII trailer, J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Carrie Fisher, "Star Wars Rebels," "The Clone Wars," cosplay, parties and booze, oh my!
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Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge04-20-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 11:31am PST

MCL 04-17-2015 - 'Star Wars' Celebration, Day One

The Mouse Castle Lounge invades Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center. This four-day event devoted to a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away has all manner of celebrity guests, presentations, costumes, vendors and exhibits. The biggest news from day one on Thursday was the appearance of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy. They premiered the film's news teaser trailer which delighted fans worldwide. In the Lounge, host Tim Callaway joins with his good friend Scott Linder in a recap of yesterday's activities and what there is to look forward to this weekend. It's not a trap. It's Star Wars Celebration in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
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Direct download: MouseCastleLounge041715.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:12pm PST