Saturday, January 9, 2016

Final Performance of Aladdin Show at Disney California Adventure - Watch It One Last Time in 4K!

The acclaimed Aladdin show at Disney California Adventure had its final performance today and for many, including me, this musical show was the best show ever in a Disney theme park. Watch it one last time, and in 4K definition - thanks to this video filmed by Youtuber HanaaMontan

Why Winnie the Pooh Pictures Were The Most Censored In China in 2015

Believe it or,not but one of the most censored / banned picture on the web by Chinese censors is... Winnie the Pooh. And here is why. 

It all started in June 2013, when Winnie appeared with his friend Tiger in a fun montage of resemblance with Presidents Obama and Xi on a picture taken during an informal meeting in California between the two leaders, a few months after the inauguration of the Chinese president. The picture - that you can see below - was censored instantly and since the use of Winnie was a little more discreet. 

Until September 3, when the Grand Parade organized for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the surrender of Japan, celebrated with great pomp in Beijing. That day, Xi Jinping inspected his troops from the sunroof of her car. Through this show of force, the President Xi Jinping wanted to reaffirm the power of China in a period of economic weakness, and reactive anti-Japanese nationalist feelings. It was enough for Winnie to come back, this time in the form of a plastic toy. The picture posted on Weibo was shared 65,000 times in 70 minutes before being removed by censors ...and to reappear in the international medias in the beginning of this year as the most censored image in China in 2015.

Not to mention this other one with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe...

Now, i don't want to be pessimistic but Disney may have unvoluntarily a serious problem here. Winnie the Pooh is the most known Disney character in China and if it is now associates ( in the minds ) with President Xi Jinping up to the point that images of Winnie the Pooh are automatically removed by censors, then Disney may have some communication problems when SDL will open later this Spring. Specially considering there is a whole Winnie the Pooh area at SDL Fantasyland with not less than two rides, the classic Winnie dark ride and a "tea cups" ride. 

It'll be interesting to see if Winnie the Pooh will appear in the SDL parade and specially during SDL opening. I suggest that Winnie cut the ribbon on park opening day with Xi Jinping and Bob Iger! ( just kidding, Bob, just kidding... )

Pictures: copyright Disney, DR

Friday, January 8, 2016

Disney Legend, Painter and Imagineer Frank Armitage Passed Away at 91

A very sad news as legendary painter and Disney Legend Frank Armitage passed away last Monday at his home in Paso Robles, California, last Monday January 4 at the age of 91. 

Frank ArmitageAustralian-born American painter and muralist, was known for painting the backgrounds of several classic animated Disney films, designing areas of and painting murals for Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo DisneySea, and his biomedical visualization artwork

Frank was born in Melbourne, Australia. After serving for his allotted time in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II, he attended art school. He picked up a book about Mexican mural painters at the National Gallery of Victoria and became very interested in the Mexican mural painting movement. He then quit art school and sailed to Canada, where he worked in Montreal for 18 months to earn enough money to get to Mexico City by bus. Armitage won an international mural contest sponsored by David Alfaro Siqueiros, and in 1949, Armitage became Siqueiros's assistant. Armitage worked on many murals on public buildings throughout Mexico.

In 1952, Frank Armitage moved to Los Angeles, California, and began working for Walt Disney Studios. One of his first projects was animation for the 1955 Disney film Lady and the Tramp. Armitage then transitioned to painting backgrounds for other Disney films, such as Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and the Disneyland episode "Man in Space." 

Frank Armitage became an Imagineer in 1977 and began helping to design the Disney theme parks. His work of anatomical figures helped create the Wonders of Life Pavilion in Epcot. He also painted 5,500 square feet of murals for the Safari Fare Restaurant in Walt Disney World. Several of the murals in Tokyo DisneySea are also of his creation, including nine of Theodore Roosevelt at the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge in the American Waterfront, corridor panels in the Hotel MiraCosta, the Broadway Bar, and four in the Tokyo DisneySea City Hall. After his retirement, Armitage returned to Walt Disney World to create the murals of camouflaged animals in the Pizzafari restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Frank Armitage also did several gorgeous artworks for Disneyland Paris, one of the most famous being the one above showing Sleeping Beauty castle. This other one below shows the Fort and Indian camp at the entrance of Frontierland.

This next artwork below is a rare rendering of DLP Frontierland, an early atmospheric piece done while imagineers were still in concept phase at WDI. Frank took some of the elements imagineers knew they wanted - Phantom Manor, Riverboat Landing, Molly Brown, Big Thunder, the Silver Spur Steakhouse Restaurant, etc - and painted a street and a river scene of what Thunder Mesa would have looked like as an old wild west town, filled with activity. Although it is an early concept, it's amazing to see that everything that will be built at the end is already there!

Frank is also the one who painted the huge painting hanging in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel with all the people in Victorian costumes. You may not know it but the white haired / bearded gentleman in the  grey top hat sit on the bench is Frank!

Frank also made the production illustration and Academy Award-winning set designs for the 1966 sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage. He painted scenes of the interior of the human body, which were then turned into larger-than-life sets. He also created several landscape paintings for Life magazine. In 1971, he partnered with photographer Lennart Nilsson for a project on the function of the brain. 

Frank Armitage created the background art for fourteen episodes of The Dick Tracy Show and nine episodes of The Mr. Magoo Show. On October 6, 1989, Armitage was given the opportunity to paint a picture of the Dalai Lama while the latter was in a meeting with six neurologists about life after death.

Frank retired from the Disney company in 1989. He then studied Eastern medicine at the College of Oriental Medicine and traveled to China to learn acupuncture. In 2006, he donated a large portion of his medical artwork to the Biomedical Visualization Graduate Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It is kept in a permanent collection on campus in the Department of Biomedical Information Services. In early 2010, after seeing a documentary about silverback gorillas, Armitage donated several oil pencil drawings of gorillas to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Atlanta, Georgia and the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida. The designs are printed on merchandise such as coffee mugs and T-shirts and then sold to raise money for the organizations.

Frank Armitage volunteered with the Flying Doctors in rural Mexico. He lived near Paso Robles, California, with his wife, Karen Connolly Armitage, who is also a retired Imagineer. They ran an architectural design business called Armitage Images. He also creates oil paintings and murals for private homes.

Above, Frank Ermitage about 2 years ago in a exhibition space in downtown Paso Robles.

On July 18, 2009, at the Anaheim Crowne Plaza Resort in Anaheim, California, Armitage was honored as a Disney legend and given the Disney Legend Award by the National Fantasy Fan Club (NFFC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the life of Walt Disney.

Disney and more send all its condolencesto frank family, and specially to his wife Karen Connolly Armitage, a wonderful artist and WDI Imagineer.

Pictures: copyright Disney, Frank Armitage

Is Star Wars : The Force Awakens Supreme Leader Snoke in fact Darth Vader?

Is Star Wars : The Force Awakens Supreme Leader Snoke in fact Darth Vader? There was some unanswered questions at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and one of them was: who is the Supreme Leader Snoke character? One of the theory is that he was Darth Plagueis, but Andy Serkis, who plays the character, said apparently that the theory was wrong.

Now, a fascinating new fan theory is that Supreme Leader Snoke from Star Wars: The Force Awakens might actually be Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a. Darth Vader. Although this theory may look a bit hard to swallow what makes it interesting is the fact that the facial scars of Snoke almost perfectly align with the facial scars of Darth Vader that we saw when he removed his mask at the end of Return of the Jedi... Here is another picture of the both.

Also, last week was posted some concept art done for SW7 - and published in the Art os Star Wars    The Force Awakens book - featuring Anakin Skywalker's force ghost. The artist who did the artwork explained that when Anakin died, he didn’t fully go to the light side of the force and how Anakin would flow back and forth between both Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader...

So... intriguing, isn't it?

Always about The Force Awakens according to Slashfilm, the official screenplay of Star Wars: The Force Awakens reveals the name of Luke Skywalker's hideout, the one you see in the last scene of the film. The water planet where the first temple of the Jedi is said to be located, is called "Ahch-To."

So, what does it mean? The word "Ahch" means "brother" in Hebrew so it could be a reference to Luke and Leia's relationship as brother and sister, although some suggest that Luke and Rey are brother and sister, which i personally doubt. But "Ahch-To" could be a placeholder name, a play on "Act 2," as SWTFA cliffhanger ending leads directly into the second movie of the new Trilogy.

The island where was filmed that scene is Skellig Michael island, an imposing, windswept hunk of rock and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in County Kerry, 12 kilometers off the southwest coast of Ireland. 

Last but not least, here is an interesting video showing you what are the deleted scenes and rejected concept from Star Wars : The Force Awakens!

Pictures: copyright Lucasfilm

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Shanghaî Disneyland Update : Enchanted Storybook Castle, SDL Competitor to be Build 25 Miles South of SDL...

Here is a great new Shanghaî Disneyland picture to start the week! And this one is the latest picture of SDL Enchanted Storybook Castle. As you can see scaffoldings are down almost everywhere except in the center. I just hope that they'll paint the lower part left and right because i don't really like this grey color...

On a previous digital rendering and on the castle model below all towers tops were blue too, so may be it will be the case, finally. let's hope so because it really don't look nice right now - but many be it's the picture and it looks better in real...

I've found back pictures of the castle in construction shot a few month ago. As you'll see the grey color is there but the lower turrets have grey - light blue tops, so may be it's because of the low colorimetry of the last picture on the top that they look grey.

Also, i'm curious to see the final result but personally, between the dark blue, green, pink, grey, light blue, and gold colors i think they're is seriously too many different colors on this castle...

This morning Shanghai Disneyland also announced a bit more details about the entertainment program: 

"Shanghai Disneyland will feature favorite Disney characters from Snow White to Luke Skywalker, under an entertainment program announced for the upcoming park on Wednesday.

The stories of classic Disney princesses will be staged in the site's signature Enchanted Storybook Castle, said Matt Almas, the company's creative executive.

Visitors will learn to draw Marvel characters and interact with the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe in sci-fi zone Tomorrowland.

The final carriage of Mickey's Storybook Express, a train running through the park, will be dedicated to Mulan, an animated movie depicting a female war hero of ancient China. Each carriage will be based on a different Disney film.

Visitors will also join Donald Duck and Chip'n'Dale to practice traditional Chinese martial art Tai Chi."

Now let's move south of Shanghaî as Shanghaî Disneyland can expect in a few years a competitor as the first Six Flags theme park in China will be located in Haiyan in Zhejiang province, 45 miles from downtown Shanghaî - so not far at all from Shanghaî Disneyland, probably 25 miles, see the red spot on the Google Maps below. 

It will feature a number of record-breaking roller coasters, unique thrill experiences, live shows and more. Specific attractions have not yet been announced, but more information will be provided on the official site as soon as available HERE.

One of the big advantage of the park over SDL is that it will be close to the China sea - except, of course, when there will be typhoons...

As it is often the case this kind of project it will be also a big real estate operation, with marinas, etc... The ground breaking ceremony happened officially last Monday January 4 on the 30 billion yuan (USD $4.6 billion) real estate development which include this first Six Flags park in China, Six Flags Haiyan.

Look not bad on the renderings, we'll see if it looks as good once it is built!

Picture: copyright Disney - Shendi, Six Flags

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Show "Mickey and the Magician" Will Start July 2 at DLP Walt Disney Studios!

A new show is officially announced by Disneyland Paris and it's the mysterious new show that will replace Animagique at the Walt Disney Studios! All details below as well as six highlights for 2016 
at Disneyland Paris with the full press release:

A sneak preview of what's new in 2016

2016 at Disneyland® Paris is set to be jam packed with new shows and events, kicking off with Star Wars™ experiences to awaken the Force. Next up, spring comes early and there is a brand new Broadway-style show “The Forest of Enchantment: a Disney musical adventure”. Summer will see the return of the hugely popular Frozen Sing-along and the launch of a sparkling new show entitled "Mickey and the Magician". Finally, things get sporty during the back-to-school period with the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend. On your marks, get set... Go! And we're off to six big events at Disneyland Paris in 2016!

Meet heroes from the Star Wars saga
Disneyland Paris offers Guests the chance to celebrate The Force Awakens with Star Wars™ experiences for Padawans of all ages!

Hurry to enjoy the original Star Tours adventure. Enjoy one last ride aboard a StarSpeeder 3000. Soar towards the Forest Moon of Endor and witness an explosive battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The last trip is scheduled to take place on 16 March 2016(1).

Soon, in a galaxy very, very nearby... Young Padawans visiting Disneyland Paris will be able to learn from Master Yoda at the Jedi Training Academy(2). Girls and boys aged between 7 and 12 years who want to take on the dark side of the Force will be able to register for this intergalactic academy.
They will have the opportunity to become true Jedi apprentices assisted by a Jedi Master and the iconic droid, R2-D2. May the Force be with them!

Temporary closure
Limited number of seats: 16 children per show, aged from 7 to 12. On-site registration, once and for all shows. Refer to Parks Program for reservations opening hours. Until 28 February 2016 included. Reopening of the show on 12 March 2016.

New show: The Forest of Enchantment: a Disney musical adventure
A brand new show created in the spirit of Broadway musicals will be performed at Disneyland® Park from 10 February 2016. The Forest of Enchantment: a Disney musical adventure pays a heartfelt tribute to nature and the forest, with help from Disney heroes and heroines.
In turn, Pocahontas and John Smith, Baloo and King Louie (The Jungle Book), Tarzan, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, not forgetting Merida (from Brave), will appear on stage to give live performances of the legendary songs from their films.
Breath-taking scenery appears over the course of the stories, brought by the spirits of the forest, inviting the audience to discover new worlds as though they themselves were turning the pages of a pop-up book. This brand new musical show will be performed exclusively at The Chaparral Theater (Frontierland® — Disneyland Park), from 10 February to 8 May 2016.

Swing into Spring with Disney
From 5 March to 29 May 2016, Guests can relax and Swing into Spring at Disneyland® Paris! There's no need to wait for the official start of spring to enjoy its colour and joy. On the programme this season: exclusive events bursting with energy, such as Goofy’s Garden Party, scenery celebrating flower power and a multitude of experiences designed to awaken the senses. Disney Characters will also be there, in their best spring costumes, to share in magical moments and take plenty of photos with Guests.

Keep cool this summer with the return of Frozen!
Olaf will be back to celebrate his favourite season: summer! Frozen will make its big return to the stage with the famous snowman who dreams of sunshine and beaches. Thousands of Guests enjoyed Frozen Sing-along last year and the show will be back from 4 June to 18 September in Frontierland, at the Chaparral Theater, in the heart of the Kingdom of Arendelle. Enjoy this unique live experience with the heroes of the greatest Disney hit of all time. Among the highlights is an emotionally charged performance of the unforgettable song "Let it go" by Elsa.

New show: Mickey and the Magician
There will be an abundance of new shows in 2016 with the launch of a brand new production, Mickey and the Magician, at the Walt Disney Studios® Park from 2 July 2016. This show, specially created for Disneyland Paris, will star the mouse who started it all, as well as iconic Disney Characters.

A sneak peek at the story: When Mickey is given the task of cleaning up a great Magician’s atelier, his dream to become a Magician himself takes over! An all-new adventure oozing with magic, starring the Genie from Aladdin, Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, the stars of Beauty and the Beast and even Rafiki (The Lion King). An unmissable show for all the family!

The Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend
Get set for the first Disneyland® Paris running weekend, due to take place from 23 to 25 September 2016, for runners of all ages. Imagine a fairy-tale half marathon, through Disneyland Paris and villages around the Disney Parks. A fun-filled celebration with Disney Characters cheering Guests on to the finish line!
This three-day event will include several races for children, a 5-km family race and a half marathon. There will also be plenty of entertainment for the whole family including a Health and Fitness Expo, a private event on the Friday evening in the Walt Disney Studios and a big “Rice Party” on the eve of the half marathon.
The weekend will be organised with the support of runDisney, which has 20 years' experience in staging running events at US Disney theme parks. 
For more information or to register, go to or

Pictures: copyright Disney

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Hong Kong Disneyland Iron Man Experience Update

It's been a while since we talked about the awaited Hong Kong Disneyland Iron Man Experience ride, the first Marvel ride in a Disney theme park to open later this year at a date not yet announced. So, you'll find below the latest pictures found on the web showing its construction and as you can see things have gone up since the last pictures! I'm even a bit surprised to see the height of the building, specially the part near the Buzz Lightyear ride. From what we can see on the pictures  i wouldn’t bet on a date before September, but who knows?