Saturday, September 12, 2015

Secret Cinema Star Wars : Why Should You Watch Star Wars When You Can Live It?

"Why should you watch Star Wars when you can live it?" Good question, and the answer is coming from Secret Cinema in their new production - after last summer triumph with their "Back to the Future" - as usual located in a secret place in London. It started last July and i still don't know how it took me that long to learn about it... Secret Cinema Star Wars looks awesome and the evening include a screening of "The Empire Strikes Back" but it ends in two weeks on Sept 27, so no need to say that you need to rush and get your ticket now if you don't want to miss it!

So, what is it exactly? In two words, the world of Star Wars has been re-created for an immersive experience by Secret Cinema which has staged its biggest production to date, and here is the trailer for the event.

More description from Screen Daily: "A team of more than 400 people have recreated the fantasy world of Star Wars across 18 acres in London – twice the size of the space used to stage its hit production of Back To The Future last summer.

It reportedly took a year for founder Fabien Riggall to secure a license from Disney - owner of the Star Wars franchise - and its staging comes ahead of the much-anticipated release of new instalment The Force Awakens in December.

The ambition is bigger, the interactive elements more immersive and the sets enormous. This year’s Secret Cinema juggernaut – which will have run for 100 shows by the time its run is up on September 27 – is very different to last year’s offering.

While Secret Cinema’s Back To The Future celebrated the innocence of the 1950s, built around the brightly coloured town square of Hill Valley, its production of Star Wars is focussed on the oppression of the ‘Empire’.

This means having to hide your identity with scarves as you enter the world, eyed by suspicious stormtroopers who drag audience members away to detention cells. It means being smuggled between the various zones that make up the evening’s experience, herded by the hundred as you attempt to avoid detection.

It also means a greater sense of action and adventure as leaders of the rebellion sneak you into hidden areas to reveal closely guarded plans while shootouts take place across sets packed with details that even the most rudimentary Star Wars fan will find familiar.

The audience, which could total more than 100,000 by the end of the run, is encouraged to enter the spirit of things well ahead of the evening.

A dedicated ‘Rebel X’ website provides an identity that comes with its own costume and props. Screen was Remus Borabrex, mercenary, with a suggested costume that looked much like the garb of Star Wars hero Han Solo. A pop-up store in London has been set up where ticketholders are encouraged to buy clothes, props and even items to trade on the night.

There is also a ‘Secret Cantina’ bar in London, all designed to get ‘rebels’ in the spirit of things ahead of the main event.

While not totally necessary, it all helps build excitement. While shopping for the suggested red and black scarf at the pop-up, the woman behind the till informed us that the “intergalactic trade wars had meant the latest shipment had tragically not made it through the blockade – but there’s still purple ones”.

After being furnished with the secret location, Secret Cinema works to immerse the audience quickly upon arrival.

A few checkpoints must be crossed, each one taking the audience further from the real world and deeper into the world of Star Wars.

It is then possible to simply mill around and grab some food (“may the forks with you) with drinks served at an impressively decorated bar or find some key characters as scenes play out.

These can be hard to find in the purposefully labyrinthine set – unlike Back To The Future which played in the round – but fortune favours the brave and Screen was suddenly in the crossfire.

The second part of the evening opens up the experience further and feels suitably cinematic, although it wasn’t exactly clear where the audience should go or what they should do. Stormtroopers and villainous generals provided an answer to such confusion that encouraged the audience to move along.

After a suitably grand finale, the film kicks off and many of the audience would be forgiven for forgetting there was a screening at the end of all this.

While the pre-screening part of the evening feels shorter than last year, the action is far from over.

As the film plays out, Secret Cinema continues to deliver action and surprises that had the audience cheering throughout - although some simply chose to hang out in other parts of the location with a drink."

CNN did a great report about it, and here below is the video. Don't miss too THIS other video from Getty Images in which Secret Cinema founder Fabien Riggall tell you more about it.

Secret Cinema Star Wars will cost you £75 for the entrance ticket ( including of course the screening of Empire Strikes Back ) but the show is "considerably longer than most stage productions with a larger cast of characters and more interaction". Those of you who don't want to miss it must jump to Secret Cinema website HERE right now!

Two more posters created for the event!

And to end the article, here is a bonus: last year Secret Cinema event was based on Back to the Future which celebrated the innocence of the 1950s, and was built around the brightly coloured town square of Hill Valley, and here are two videos showing you how it looked, the second one showing the show ending from a different angle than the first video.

Pictures: copyright Paul Cochrane / Screen Daily

Friday, September 11, 2015

HKDL 10th Anniversary Celebration Starts, New "Fairy Tale Forest" Attraction Unveiled with New "Mickey and the Wondrous Book" Show and New Firework!

Today, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration with a glittering ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. In celebration of the new decade, HKDL announced magical new experiences coming to the resort and shared new details about developments that will contribute to the appeal of Hong Kong as a world-class tourist destination.

During today’s ceremony, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek announced a year-long “Happily Ever After” celebration starting in mid-November with an amazing array of new entertainment for guests to enjoy. 

Bob Chapek also shared details and revealed the title of the awaited new attraction "Fairy Tale Forest", a new Fantasyland attraction. Fairy Tale Forest will open in December, and will let HKDL guests walk through a winding, living storybook realm based on Disney fairytales. Using creative landscaping, the whimsical passages will feature miniature scenes from “Tangled,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid”. The forest will also be home for Tinker Bell where she will greet guests in Pixie Hollow.

Fairy Tale Forest is still under construction and the site surrounded by fences. Some of the scenes are already in place but so far not a lot of pics shot by HKDL fans are available, except the two below. On the first one by the way we can see in the background the structure of TSL RC Racer, but that's because the picture was shot from a high position, may be from the Dumbo ride. Let's hope there won't be too much visual intrusion when seen at the ground level.

On the second picture below you can see in the background the Tinkerbell area.

Also confirmed the new show inside HKDL Fantasyland theater - where "The Golden Mickeys" played during the last ten years - "Mickey and the Wondrous Book", a new 25 min musical which will include scenes related to the Jungle Book, “The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled,” “Brave,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Frozen.”

A new fireworks show also started and although the soundtrack is still the same one - "Disney in the Stars" - the castle mapping projections have changed and you can see the full show on the video below uploaded on Youtube by Youtuber Raymond Lo!

HKDL 10th Anniversary also has a 10th Ann song and it is "Happily Ever After" which was sang last night for the 10th Ann kick-off, here is the video filmed by michael20183/

And of course let's not forget that this 10th Anniversary year will see also the opening in 2016 of Iron Man Experience in Tomorrowland.

It will be the first Marvel ride designed by WDI and HKDL guests will fight along with Iron Man the evil Hydra and it sorbets sent on Hong Kong!

With a new attraction, a new E-Ticket ride, a new show and a new fireworks 2016 will be a great 10th Anniversary year for Hong Kong Disneyland, the perfect time to visit the park! And the future looks bright as HKSAR Government Chief Executive Cy Leung announced the opening of the new Explorers Lodge Hotel in 2017 AND the awaited HKDL Phase 2 which is planned for in a few years!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Star Wars Lands Will Break Ground at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2016

Although the Star Wars lands opening dates is not announced yet Disney's COO Tom Staggs announced today that Disney will break ground on the two "Star Wars"-lands at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2016, .

But Tom Staggs, who was speaking at the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch 2015 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills, did not say when the “Star Wars” lands would open. But with a start of the works in 2016 i would say that an opening on 2019 can be reasonably envisioned.

Speaking at D23, Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger said the “Star Wars”-themed areas will include a re-creation of the Millennium Falcon, the iconic spacecraft from the film series. Iger said guests would be able to take the controls of the ship for a “customized secret mission.”

Picture: copyright Disney

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shanghai Disneyland Adventure Isle : A Closer Look to “Tarzan: Call of the Jungle” Show

“Tarzan: Call of the Jungle” will be one of the major shows at Shanghai Disneyland. Located inside Adventure Isle the show although inspired by the storyline of Disney's animated classic, will pay tribute to Chinese circus acrobatics and probably will be part at SDL of the elements that Iger called "distinctly Chinese". Thanks to a video released at D23 and filmed by Mouse Steps we'll have a closer look with never seen before renderings as well as footage of the Chinese acrobats rehearsal. But first, here is the official description of the show:

At Adventure Isle Storyhouse Stage, “Tarzan: Call of the Jungle” will present a powerful theatrical re-telling of the classic Edgar Rice Burrough’s story about a boy who is raised by apes and finally becomes the King of the Jungle. This musical will feature the iconic score, by Phil Collins, from the animated Disney feature film Tarzan, as it fuses immersive theatricality and Chinese acrobatics with an imaginative spirit.

The rehearsals are happening currently in huge room as you'll see below. 

Here is the full video from where these screen captures are coming, to see the whole thing in movement, and i'll see you soon for more about Shanghai Disneyland!

Picture: copyright Disney - Shendi

Monday, September 7, 2015

Shanghai Will Close 153 Factories Ahead of Shanghaî Disneyland Opening Next Year to Improve Air Quality For Shanghaî Disneyland Guests

Here is an incredible news: Shanghai will close factories ahead of Shanghaî Disneyland opening next year and 153 "heavy polluters" factories will be shut down in a bid to improve air quality for visitors... and probably also to make sure they will have a clear blue sky for SDL Grand Opening Celebration.

From Shanghai Daily : "The Shanghai Economy & Informatization Commission said that 153 industrial enterprises located in the Pudong New Area have been identified as “heavy polluters”, and will be closed. The move is aimed at improving the air quality at Shanghai Disneyland and creating a better visitor experience. Instead of the factories, the Pudong New Area government said that new industries involved in the tourism, agriculture, public services sectors will be promoted near Shanghai Disney Resort. It is unclear whether the industrial plants will be offered relocation to alternative sites."

As you may have heard last week China's government did the same two weeks ago before the big army parade in Beijing to make sure they had a clear blue sky on parade day. But the factories were closed temporarily, and two days after the parade they reopened and the smog was back over Beijing.

Now, this news is double interesting, as in this case - if i understand well the news - the factories are not going to close temporarily, but permanently, and all this to have a clear blue sky and a better air quality, also permanently, over Shanghaî Disneyland, which is incredible as it tells the power that Disney can have. I don't see any other company having this power, and specially foreign companies in China. It also mean, basically and sadly, that thousands of Chinese workers will lose their job so SDL guests could breathe normally and shoot great pictures during their stay at Shanghaî Disneyland.

Officially it's the "Shanghai Economy & Informatization Commission" who takes the decision and i don't doubt that Shanghai wants to do its best for the new tourism zone in Pudong - for money reasons, of course - but i bet you that Disney probably did everything they could to have them understand that "it would be better if they could find a way to don't have permanent smog over SDL...".

Finally, may be Shanghaî Disneyland will not be the "Magic Kingdom where you can't breathe" as i said a while ago in one of my D&M article that you can read HERE.

On the top, SDL Disney Town with the clear blue sky that Disney wants to see over the park each day.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

DLP Update : A Hot Summer Day at Disneyland Paris

Here is a new Disneyland Paris update, and for once all pictures of the article are shot by me as i went to DLP last month during a hot summer day with temperatures over 30° - celsius - and i thought it would be great to show you how DLP can be with summer temperatures. As a matter of fact if you're lucky enough to come in the park with these weather it's really the best. Sure, it's a bit hot but you really feel you're almost in California, and that's really cool. Not to mention the blue sky, a gentle summer wind and even girls are hot with their hyper-short shorts!

Okay, let's start the tour with, above and below, the Disneyland Paris Hotel looking more splendid than ever with this clear blue sky.

DLP guests entering Town Square and walking towards Central Plaza...

With a day like this it's impossible to miss a good picture of Sleeping Beauty Castle...

At Frontierland, the sign at the entrance of the fort was removed and you can see they've installed some metal tubes - instead of wood. I have to say i really don't like these a lot. I hope they've themed all this by now and that the sign is back.

Two pictures shot in Frontierland from one of my favorite stand point because of the vegetation in the foreground.

Let's move to Adventureland where at that time they had finished the works on the new ground which looks really good and which is in fact less slippy than i thought.

So far, the new ground ends here, not sure it will be expanded over that point. Anyway, the two girls below are walking firmly towards...

...the Hakuna Matata restaurant.

Lot of guests on the Adventure Isle bridge...

According to our friends of ED92 Carl and Russell, the two Pixar's UP! characters have been removed from their location in DLP Adventureland. It's most probably for some refurbishment and they should be back soon.

At several places in the park, and especially in Adventureland and Frontierland guests could refresh themselves thanks to water misters.

The suspended bridge was closed for refurb and i'm not even sure it's reopen yet.

If you want to know why there are dead branches on the beach near Skull Rock, here is the reason why: it's to avoid that guests jump over the wall on the left and go and lay on the beach to sunbathe. It happened some years ago...

...and i've found back the picture of the two tourists sunbathing on the Adventureland beach that i had posted in 2008. The picture was shot in fact in June 1992 - two months after Disneyland Paris opening, and obviously these two guests were not aware of the park rules. It was hot, lot of sun , all they needed was a beach. And obviously they thought that Adventure Isle ( very ) private beach - at 10 meters from Pirates of Caribbean entrance - will be fine! That's why DLP put now dead branches on the beach to avoid this kind of situation...

Let's move to Fantasyland!

Near the Auberge de Cendrillon i've noticed a children make-up booth that i've never seen before...

I 've said it and i say it again: Disneyland Paris has the most beautiful Fantasyland of all Disney theme parks. Really. Not joking.

The Carousel too was just reopening when i was there, they did a great refurb on it.

And here is a good example of how DLP Fantasyland is the best with this perfectly located Dumbo ride, surrounded by crystal water.

It's a Small World is now closed for a long refurb. Since this picture was shot canvases have been installed all over the facade which will be repaint.

Next time you go at DLP don't forget to go up the tower of the Queen of Hearts castle as it's from that point that you'll have some of the best views over Fantasyland, as you'll see on the three pictures below.

Say hello to the Disneyland Paris railroad passing by...

'Time to move to Discoveryland - a brand new Discoveryland i should say as all of it has been repainted during the last six months - and it shows!

Inside Videopols guests are waiting for the next Jedi Academy session...

Space Mountain was just reopen, also from a long refurb, and although the ride is still the same there is something new with a new line for guests who are alone. Don't hesitate to take it! Sure, you won't go inside Space Mountain...

...but you'll discover a new point of view as this line goes up on the other side of the huge cannon...

...and you can see parts of it you couldn't see before...

...not to mention the full other side of the cannon!

And when you're up in the mezzanine you'll have one of the best views of Discoveryland with Captain Nemo's Nautilus in the foreground.

Of course don't go away when night fall to don't miss the great lighting of Space Mountain and the Nautilus... well as the lighting of the Orbitron.

We'll end with a night picture that i’ve shot from one of my favorite angles - from where guests comes out of Autopia - as it gives you the more distance from Space Mountain. 

We'll have a new DLP update soon and we'll be back at Shanghaî Disneyland tomorrow but in the meantime i remind you that there are still signed copies of the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book available with a special price at 75€ only instead of 100€ ( + 15€ shipping worldwide ). The book include 750 pictures with 500 pictures of the park and 250 WDI renderings and it's a perfect gift for you or the one you love. You'll find all details and a one click payment with Paypal HERE or below.
You can also send me an email with your order at :

Don't forget to send me an email with your shipping  address AND the name to whom you wish the book to be dedicated! 

You can use the Paypal button below for the english edition, or for the french edition. If
you don't have a Paypal account you can also pay directly with your credit card with these buttons without opening a Paypal account. If itdon't works please send me an email at:

Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality - Include shipping

Don't know yet the Disneyland Paris book? Have a look at the video below or on the book website HERE.

Pictures: copyright Disney and more