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As Walt Disney Animation Studios prepares to open Ralph Breaks the Internet in theaters around the world, one of the most anticipated moments is one that's been buzzed-about for months - "the Princess scene." Officially the "Oh My Disney" segment, I happened to have seen some of it months before the majority of the public as I was in attendance at the D23 Expo in Anaheim last year. If to "break the internet" really "is a thing," those packed into the famed Hall D23 saw it happen in person as all the living Disney Princesses gathered in one room and took to the stage following the first-ever look at the unfinished Princess scene (at the time a mix of finished animation and hand-drawn animatics filling the gaps). Auli‘i Cravalho (“Moana”), Kristen Bell (Anna in “Frozen”), Kelly MacDonald (Merida in “Brave”), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in “Tangled”), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog”), Irene Bedard (“Pocahontas”), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in “Aladdin”), Paige O’Hara (Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”) were joined by Sarah Silverman (Vanellope von Schweetz in "Wreck-It Ralph") and directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston to bask in the glory of what they'd just unleashed - the buzziest of buzz clips, but one the general public wouldn't see for months. And somehow C-3PO and R2-D2 where there, too.

Party City's Toy City concept is something I've been covering for a few months now, and now that the holiday shopping season is truly upon us, it's time to get serious about toys! With over 50 temporary Toy City pop-up store locations now open throughout the U.S., Party City today unveiled its Black Friday ad and 2018 Top Toys List! There's familiar picks (including some from The Rock Father's Holiday Wish Guide™) and some unique ones as well, from Rainbowcorns and robots to Hatchimals, dinosaur slime, Harry Potter, and everything in between. Let's take a look!

The adoption process has been a part of play going back decades. From the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of 1983 to Build-A-Bear Workshop and the recent success of Distroller's Neonate Babies, kids have been loving the experience of becoming parents to a snuggly new friend. Now, just in-time for the holiday season comes some squishy new friends from Bulls-i-Toy. Squish 'Ums Pet Boutique Adoption Kits will hit stores as a Target Exclusive (avail: 11/22/18) in the U.S. Recommended for kids ages 6 and up, these new sets feature a trio of all-new super-soft slow-rise Squish 'Ums plus an Adoption Certificate!

Friday, November 16 2018 09:27

A Look at the 2019 Toy of the Year Nominees...

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We're entering award season, and that means we've hit a time of the year in which I question a lot of choices and inject my opinion as awards and nominees are pretty subjective. Earlier this week, the Toy Association unveiled their annual list of nominees for the coveted Toy of The Year (TOTY) in a variety of categories, and while there's some great stuff in the mix - there's some that hit me like the GRAMMYS... a little off and with some that seem to be on the list just to have representation from certain brands. Prime example, Playmates Toys scored a nom for their Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deluxe Ninja Action Figure Assortment. Overall, the Rise of the TMNT line is fantastic - another huge win for Playmates, but I would've chosen the more extensive (and creative) Basic Action Figure Assortment. Why? I think the "Deluxe" figures sorta suck. They're gimmicky, oddly proportioned (to hide the mechanics of the gimmick), and above all - I see kids play with this stuff on a regular basis. But maybe I'm over-analyzing things... doing my "Tom Hanks in BIG" ("I don't get it?") routine.  It'll be a tough call to choose the winners, and you can take part by casting some votes (early and often, as we say here in Illinois) at www.toyawards.org. Now let's check out the full list...

Thursday, November 15 2018 11:24

RIP Superpicker Roy Clark (1933-2018)

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TULSA, OK: Roy Clark, the legendary 'superpicker', GRAMMY, CMA and ACM award winner, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member and co-host of the famed 'Hee Haw' television series, died today at the age of 85 due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla.

Roy Clark’s decade-defying success could be summed up in one word — sincerity. Sure, he was one of the world’s finest multi-instrumentalists, and one of the first cross-over artists to land singles on both the pop and country charts. He was the pioneer who turned Branson, Mo., into the live music capitol of the world (the Ozark town today boasts more seats than Broadway). And his talents turned Hee Haw into the longest-running syndicated show in television history.

This week, Nickelodeon served-up something new for its preschool audience, whisking kids away on some magical culinary adventures in Butterbean’s Café. The all-new CG-animated series made its debut on Monday during the Nick Jr. preschool block. Following a fairy named Butterbean and her adventures running her own neighborhood café and bakery, the series is something different - a culinary spin on a magical new world, and kids are already eating it up. While my own girls, The Rock Daughters™, are just a bit beyond the target demo, it's resonated with them, and the ratings show that they're not alone. Created by Robert Scull and Jonny Belt (Bubble Guppies), Butterbean’s Café is the biggest debut for Nick Jr. since Spin Master's PAW Patrol hit the scene back in 2013. Butterbean’s Café showcases creative cooking and features a curriculum with social-emotional lessons that highlight kindness and gratitude, and leadership skills. If your little ones haven't seen it yet, check out a preview of the 40-episode first season below...

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