Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Every Disney Park Fan Should Watch "How The West Was Won"

How The West Was Won, released in 1962, was the greatest Cinerama movie ever done, and also one of the greatest western movie ever filmed. It's definitely THE western that each Disney theme park fan should watch, if you've not watched it yet.

Why? Because i don't know any western movie that is so close to the Frontierland spirit than this one. from the Rocky Mountains trappers to the Mississipi riverboats, from Indians attack to a stunning buffalos sequence, from river pirates to a thrilling attack aboard a train, everything that you have in your collective subconscious about the old West is there.

Not only the movie was filmed in Cinerama - meaning that each scene was filmed with three cameras giving a thrilling 180° view - but it was also filmed by three different directors - John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall - and played by an all stars cast from John Wayne to Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark, George Peppard, James Stewart, Karl Malden, Debbie Reynolds, Agnes Moorehead, etc...all the great actors of Hollywood golden era were there.

Watching How the West was won is just feeling "at home", in Frontierland, during the 164 min of the movie. It's one of the favorite movie of many WDI Imagineers, and there is a good reason for that. It tells the story of the old West and although it's a bit an "idealized" vision of it - like it can be in Frontierland - it's also quite faithful to the real History.

Now, Cinerama theaters almost have all disappeared - one of the last where you could see the movie was in Dayton, Ohio, but i think it's now closed. May be there is one left in Los Angeles. But the good news is that the Blu-Ray version released some years ago include a special disc showing the movie in what they call "smile box" format, giving you the same vision that spectators in 1962 could see the film at Cinerama theaters. You still can find it at Amazon HERE for $19.99, and believe me, you'll love it!

But there is also another reason why Disney parks fans should see How The West Was Won, and specially Disneyland Paris fans. Don't miss my DLP update on Monday, and i will tell you why!

Above and below, some HD screen shots - in "smile box" format - of some of the magnificent sequences of the movie.

Pictures: copyright MGM - Cinerama

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watch This Magical Cirque du Soleil Drones Ballet To Undersrtand Why The WDI Drones Patent May Be More Important Than You Think

If you've read my update posted on August 24, one month ago, then you're probably aware of this new patent filed by WDI showing an amazing use of a fleet of drones, whether it would be in a show above the castle or as puppet masters during a parade - if you didn't read the article jump HERE first.

Although the idea looked impressive some had some doubts that it could become real, mainly because the patent described an outdoor use of the drones and unpredictable wind could create real problems due to the light weight of quadcopter drones.

But today, i've found these two videos released by the Cirque du Soleil - actually it was done by the C-Lab, the creative laboratory of the Cirque du Soleil. Although what they did here with drones is very different than the use intended by WDI, you must watch these videos to understand how it's possible to create something truly magical with a ballet of drones. It has the typical "spirit" of the Cirque du Soleil, and i think they did something truly great.

The first video below shows the short movie itself called "SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters" and watch it until the end credits...

And the other not-to-be-missed video is this one called "SPARKED: Behind the Technology" in which they speak about the different tests they did using these drones. I'm sure you'll envision what WDI could do with the same technology, including show effects not necessarily described in the WDI patent.

Picture and video: copyright Cirque du Soleil

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Big Hero 6 Second Trailer !

Disney released  the awaited second trailer for Big Hero 6 and i have to admit that it looks pretty cool. If the movie is not too hysterical, it might be a good one. Have a look and also click on the wallpaper picture above to get it in high-res!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Tokyo Disney Sea "King Triton Concert" Will Start April 24, 2015 at Mermaid Lagoon - Plus: Hong Kong Disneyland Disney Paint the Night Video Ad !

News from Asia today starting by Tokyo Disney Sea were the new musical show at Mermaid Lagoon will be called "King Triton Concert" - picture above. It will start Friday April 24, 2015 musical " in the Mermaid Lagoon Theatre and will focus on King Triton, Ariel, Sébastian and others characters! Here is theTDL press release:

New Show at Tokyo DisneySea - King Triton’s Concert Opens April 24, 2015 

Oriental Land Co., Ltd. announced that the attraction, Mermaid Lagoon Theater at Tokyo DisneySea® Park, will be revamped and a new musical show titled “King Triton’s Concert” will open there on April 24, 2015. This new production at Mermaid Lagoon Theater will be themed to Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Guests can enjoy a brand new show full of dynamic performances, with music and songs from the world under the sea.

In the new show, “King Triton’s Concert,” King Triton hosts a musical concert with Ariel, Flounder, Sebastian and other familiar characters from the Disney film creating a mesmerizing world under the sea with music, songs and dynamic performance, just as in the movie. Ariel will “swim” above the audience to the beautiful music and will even “swim” down and approach Guests in this lively and sensational musical show.

For this show, Mermaid Lagoon Theater will be renovated with upgraded stage and lighting technology, as well as new display screens to be installed around the audience seating area.

Some news also from Hong Kong Disneyland with this cool Ad released by HKDL for the new Disney Paint the Night parade starting officially Oct 1!

Picture and video: copyright Disney - Oriental Land

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BIG HERO 6 Promo Clip called "Emergency Preparedness"

Here is a new BIG HERO 6 Promo Clip called "Emergency Preparedness" !

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Haunted Mansion Stretching Room Portraits With Disney Princess

Here is something cool that Haunted Mansion and Disney princess fans should like: Artist Laura Knighton a.k.a. That Disney Lover has created this great set to Disney princess art inspired by the stretch portraits of the Haunted Mansion stretching room. It's called the "Phantom Manor Stretch Portrait Series" and like the original paintings, everything looks happy and peaceful on the top, but the lower you go the more threatening the image becomes.

Artwork: copyright Laura Knighton

Largest "Polar Theme Park" in the World to Open Near Shanghaî Disneyland

It won't be part of Shanghaî Disney Resort but Shanghaî announced they will build the largest "polar theme park" in the world - a kind of Sea World apparently -  in Pudong, so not far from SDL location.

From The Shanghaiist:

Authorities have announced plans to open a polar theme park in Shanghai's Pudong New Area. The park will be the largest of its kind, housing more than 500 species of polar animals and over 20,000 different types of fish, Shanghai Daily reports.

Shanghai Polar Ocean World is to be built in Lingang New City and will be spread over 300,000 square meters. In addition, there will be a theme park, occupying a further 145,000 square meters.
Construction is set to begin before the end of the year when they will start building the 13 pavilions, four performance areas, four cinemas, and numerous other facilities that are due to make up the park.

Visitors to the park will be able to see killer whales performing tricks in a large water pool and will also be able to visit the polar animal and ocean wild zones to see various wildlife, including polar bears, emperor penguins, dolphins and beluga whales. The additional pavilions will contain sharks, penguins and coral.

There is currently no set date for which the park is to be completed by. Thankfully we'll soon have the new Shanghai Disneyland, due for completion in 2015, to hold us over until then (along with thousands of other tourists).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chevrolet - General Motors Sign Partnership With Shanghaî Disneyland !

Official announcement of a partnership between Shanghaî Disneyland and Chevrolet / General Motors announced by Wang Yongqing, Shanghai General Motors President and... Philippe Gas, previously Disneyland Paris CEO and now Shanghai Disney Resort General Manager! It was not announced yet what will be this "stand-alone" attraction featuring Chevrolet:

Shanghai General Motors and Shanghai Disney Resort Sign Long-term Strategic Alliance AgreementChevrolet to be the official vehicle of Shanghai Disney Resort

Shanghai General Motors and Shanghai Disney Resort recently signed an agreement and announced that Shanghai General Motors is Shanghai Disney Resort’s long-term strategic alliance participant. As the resort’s official vehicle, the Chevrolet brand will have presence in Shanghai Disneyland and will provide an unparalleled brand experience to the resort guests. The signing of the agreement marks another significant milestone in the resort’s pre-opening development.

As part of the agreement, Chevrolet will have an integrated brand presence in association with a large-scale iconic attraction at Shanghai Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom-styled theme park in Shanghai Disney Resort. In addition, Shanghai Disney Resort and Shanghai General Motors will collaborate on the creation of a stand-alone attraction featuring Chevrolet within the theme park for resort guests to enjoy.

“Shanghai General Motors is committed to leveraging our global resources to provide the highest quality products and services to the China market and Chinese consumers,” said Wang Yongqing, president of Shanghai General Motors. “Chevrolet is committed to becoming the automobile brand of choice among young people and young families with products that deliver a spirit of possibilities and optimism bringing happiness to families. This makes Chevrolet a perfect fit with Disney and this relationship exemplifies our shared passion for world-class service and exceptional consumer experiences.”

“Disney and General Motors have a long-standing relationship with a number of alliances around the world, and this strategic alliance in Shanghai demonstrates our shared commitment to this important market,” said Philippe Gas, general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort. “Shanghai Disney Resort is dedicated to providing world-class family entertainment experiences to the people of China, and we are excited to work with Shanghai GM to together create memorable guest experiences.”

No title for the ride as you've read was unveiled by Chevrolet so may be it could be the TRON coaster... or may be a new SDL ride we don't know yet anything about!

Movie Timeline Chart of Every Disney Classic Movie

Here's a really cool chronology chart that breaks down the time period of every Disney movie. It was done by Aish from the Disney's New Groove website - a cool website that i didn't knew and that i suggest you have a look at HERE - who gave the following explanation:

"Disney movies in order of historical setting. (Excludes most of the package films. Some films, eg The Lion King, are impossible to pin down exactly and some, like Aladdin and Treasure Planet, are anachronistic, so these are estimations. A few have been split into 2 if there is more than one time period in the movie, and sequels have been put together.)"

Monday, September 22, 2014

DLP Update : Very Bad News From Disneyland Paris Rivers of the Far West !

Here is a new Disneyland Paris update and, folks, i'm sorry to say that this one is bringing you bad news from the park, and more precisely from Frontierland Rivers of the Far West attraction. Let me tell and show you what it's all about.

Recently the Molly Brown went again in refurbishment and the other riverboat - the Mark Twain was removed from the hangar where it was staying. We now can discover the appalling state in which the riverboat currently is and you won't believe how bad is the condition in which the Mark Twain currently is. In fact in such bad condition that if Disneyland Paris don't start a complete renovation anytime soon it might be too late to save it. As they say a picture is better than thousand words, so have a look at the pics below and i warn you that it's really depressing to see this magnificent riverboat in such terrible condition.  

But that's not all because at the other end of the Rivers of the Far West another major problem awaits visitors when the Molly brown - when it is sailing - arrive at the geysers. As we know, the geysers don't work since many years - which in itself is extremely regrettable - but now the state of the outside of them is appalling. Not only the original paint of the geysers has almost disappeared everywhere but now it's the concrete part beneath the paint which is attacked and it is hard to believe that a Disney park could leave a major element of an attraction in such terrible state (something that would NEVER happen in American parks and even less at Tokyo Disneyland ). 

If you don't remember how the geysers looked at opening day, here is a picture showing how they looked and how they SHOULD look now if DLP was doing the necessary refurbishment they haven't done since years.

Finally, just a few meters from the geysers, the stone arch that guests can see before arriving to Big Thunder Mountain Island when they are sailing on the river boats is also in terrible condition and didn't had any refurbishment since a looong time, including when Big Thunder Mountain was in renovation. As you'll see the arch is unbelievably dirty.

Here is how the arch looked at opening day to show you the difference.

Since months, if not years, the park is supposed to renovate the geysers and have them working again, and same for the Mark Twain, but nothing is coming and if nothing is done anytime soon - translate: if DLP don't decide to finally put the necessary budget to do it - there is a real risk that one day they'll finally announce that both were in too bad condition to be renovated and just had to be destroyed. And believe me, they can do it. This reminds me when 12 years ago i saw backstage an old plane - i think it was a DC3 , the legendary plane from the 1930's - which was supposed to be used for the Indiana Jones temple theming when they built it and the plane was finally not used. They left it in open air backstage for years and years and one day as i was not seeing the plane anymore i asked what happened. And the answer i had was: "well, it stayed outside during ten years and then the plane was in such bad condition that it was thrown away! ". I couldn't believe it...

The other reason why it's urgent that DLP do something is because, if the geysers disappear, there won't be a lot to see anymore when DLP guests will sail on the Rivers of the Far-West. Even with the geysers there is much less elements to look at than at DL, WDW or TDL Frontierlands where you have all along the river Indian camps, many AA animals, the famous burning house, etc... By the way, you may not be aware about it but the WDI Imagineers who created Frontierland had actually designed a real - and spectacular - "show" for the geysers, and i mean a real show, much better than what we saw when the geysers were working. And Wilderness Island - the island that is on the left when the boats are heading to the geysers - was supposed to welcome an Indian camp as well as river animals ( such as beavers, etc ...) all audio-animatronics, of course. To save money on the initial budget at park opening this was postponed to a later date, but nothing prevents to finally do an update of Wilderness Island, which would provide to the attraction many additional visual elements sorely lacking , especially when compared to its counterpart in the U.S and Japan Disney parks. 

Also, to tell you how the "Rivers of the Far West" have become the shadow of what they were when the park opened in 1992 i remind you that at park opening day the Indians Canoes, the River Rogue Keelboats and BOTH riverboats - Mark Twain and the Molly Brown - were sailing on the Rivers of the Far West bringing life and "kinetic" elements to Frontierland. A few years later, the Indian Canoes were removed, then it was the turn of the River Rogue Keelboats and then the Molly Brown went under renovation and once restored the Mark Twain was withdrawn from circulation. Right now there is NO boat at all sailing on the Rivers of the Far West...

In the current situation, there is two options for the park: the first is to continue to leave things as they are and to let the Mark Twain and the geysers to rot, and the second is to finally put the necessary budget to bring back to the Rivers of the Far West their original splendor. 

Tom Wolber, as you've seen in my previous update, is now the new DLP CEO and although we can't blame him for the situation - he just arrived last week - i think we need to catch his attention on how serious the problem is before it is too late. So i hope that the DLP team looking at the articles posted on the net will forward to him this one and that we will have good news from Tom anytime soon, which i will let you know.

Pictures: copyright Disney and more, Altitude, Disney

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Last Goodbye To Disney Hollywood Studios Backlot Tour

As i told you yesterday in my previous post the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will close on September 27th, 2014. I thought that it will be a good idea to have a last look to the full studio tour and the video below will show you the Backlot Tour just like if you were yourself in the tram!

Picture: copyright Alan Shaw