Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009 !

That's it, tonight we will leave forever 2008 and enter in 2009! Although the world's economy situation is not specially optimistic, i wish to all of you a wonderful year, full of joy, laughs and lot of new Disney attractions!

Let's begin the year with some fireworks and a beautiful artwork by Dan Goozee and see you very soon for new Disney and more articles!

Once again, all my best wishes to all of you!

Artwork: copyright Disney

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Editor's Note: Let's end the year with all about Disneyland Paris shows and attraction program for 2009 !

All about Disneyland Paris New " Mickey's Magical Party " 2009 Season !

The last four articles were talking about the "Disneyland Paris that never was", and i will end this year with a new article telling you all about DLP's future, i.e what has been now officially announced for 2009!

Here is a quite accurate translation of the french press release - Note: my french readers will find the original french version below.

Soooo, from April 4, 2009 until March 2010 Disneyland Resort Paris will celebrate "Mickey's Magical Party". For this new year Mickey Mouse invite the guests to live magical moments with a new season full of new parades, shows and attraction.

A new show "Place à la fête... avec Mickey et ses Amis" ( "On with the show...with Mickey and his friends" ) located on Central Plaza's new stage with the Lion King, Jungle Book and Aladdin characters

"Place à la Danse... à Discoveryland" ( "Let's Discoveryland" ) with Stitch as the DJ. His mission : warm up the heat of Disneyland with an intergalactic dance stage.

Minnie will become the charming hostess dof a small train going up Main Street, U.S.A...

At the Walt Disney Studios: New show/parade: Disney's Stars 'n' Cars, a Hollywood extravaganza with the characters of Toy Story, Snow White, Monsters Inc, Mulan, Little Mermaid... and the Disney Villains. Personal note: Most of the themed cars are coming from the previous cars parade at the Disney-Mgm studios.

Always at the WDS: a new attraction: Playhouse Disney - Live ! ( Young ) Children will prepare for Minnie, along with Disney Channel heroes, the best birthday party ever organised.

From april 4, 2009, new dreams become reality at Disneyland Resort Paris with Mickey's Magical Party !

Above and below, the two new 2009 visuals released by the park. My opinion about this 2009 program is that it will be - as expected - a year of new shows although with a new "B" Ticket attraction at the WDS. After two years full of new major attractions and parades, it's pretty logical that the park slow down this year. New attractions will be back in 2010 with at least three small rides in a kind of "Toy Story land" at the WDS. I don't see any major E-Ticket before the 20th Anniversary in 2012 which doesn't mean we won't have new small but sympathetic rides before that date.

And now, here is the french version of the DLP press release.

2009 : une année exceptionnelle placée sous le signe de La Fête Magique de Mickey

A partir du 4 avril 2009 et jusqu'en mars 2010, Disneyland Resort Paris célèbre La Fête Magique de Mickey. Pour cette nouvelle année, Mickey Mouse se met sur son 31 et convie les visiteurs à vivre de grands moments de détente et d'évasion avec une saison remplie de nouveautés.

Nouveau spectacle : Les héros du Roi Lion, du Livre de la Jungle ou encore d'Aladdin prennent possession des lieux pour préparer une grande surprise... Place à la fête... avec Mickey et ses Amis sur la nouvelle scène de Central Plaza !

Place à la Danse... à Discoveryland avec DJ Stitch aux platines. Sa mission : faire monter l'ambiance du Parc Disneyland avec une piste de danse intergalactique.

Minnie devient l'hôtesse de chic et de charme d'un petit train qui va mener la danse dans Main Street, U.S.A.

Nouveau show au Parc Walt Disney Studios : Disney's Stars 'n' Cars, une cavalcade Hollywoodienne customisée par les héros de Toy Story, Blanche Neige, Monstres & Cie, Mulan, La Petite Sirène... sans oublier les Méchants Disney.

Nouvelle attraction : Avec Playhouse Disney - Live ! les enfants vont préparer pour Minnie, en compagnie des héros de Disney Channel, la plus belle fête d'anniversaire jamais organisée.

Dès le 4 avril 2009, de nouveaux rêves deviennent réalité à Disneyland Resort Paris avec La Fête Magique de Mickey !

Pictures and text: copyright Disneyland Resort Paris

Monday, December 29, 2008

Editor's Note: Today, i re-post the final part of the "Disneyland Paris that never was" article with great WDI artwork and models. Enjoy it!

The Disneyland Paris that never was - Part four

Here is the awaited fourth part of this “Disneyland Paris that never was“ article, in tribute to this wonderful park. And this one should make happy the voters of my Disney and more poll - the one you can find at the bottom of each page - who like the never realised projects. If you didn't vote yet, it's still time to do it!

So,let’s go outside the park today, to have a look to what was formerly known as the “festival disney “ ( now “disney village” ) . On our way, let’s stop a minute. Some miceage reader once asked me if there were a big fountain project for DLP - i mean : a big one like the one in epcot, for instance. Well, it’s true that there is not big fountain in DLP , unfortunately, but the imagineers did think about having one as you can see below.

The entrance of the WDS are up front, the magic kingdom is on the left and the disney village on the right. The concept with the sorcerer’s hat was okay, but i must say the dimensions were by far too big. But a medium size fountain concept will be welcome.

This rendering show the entrance of the disney village the metallic tower were done, but not the guitar or the hat theming.

More regrets, however , for this incredible restaurant concept....

And the hotels, you say? Oh yes, i’ve promised you last time some incredible hotels-that-never-were-concept, right? Here they are. First you have to know that some of the most reknown architect in the world were asked to propose different hotel concepts, around a central theme for all the hotels who was: America.
Some weeks later , they all came back with different proposals : For austrian architect Hans Hollein, Amercica meant “war” , so he proposed an hotel with the shape of an aircraft carrier as you can see below.

Jean Nouvel, a great french architect proposed an all-transparent hotel.

Architect Ron Koolhass concept was pretty modern, too.

Robert Venturi did propose too, another original concept , a tribute to “Fantasia”.

But my favorite is the Bernard Tschumi proposal with this unique concept with an inside marina. All of these projects were not developped, and, frankly, if the central theme was “America” , the hotels that were finally built were obviously a better choice.

All photos and artwork: copyright Disney

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Editor's Note: Today, i re-post the part three of the "Disneyland Paris that never was" article with great WDI artwork. Enjoy it!

The Disneyland Paris that never was - Part Three

Here is the third part of this “Disneyland Paris that never was“ article, in tribute to this wonderful park. And this one should make happy the 21% of the 1761 voters of my Disney and more poll - the one you can find at the bottom of each page - who said they like articles about "theme park and attraction artwork". If you didn't vote yet, it's still time to do it!

So, let’s have a look today to the early projects for Discoveryland, and as you will see , big changes - i should say “choices” - were done. But first, let’s say that DLP’s Discoveryland is beautiful. Could had it been better with some of the previous concepts, like “Discovery mountain”? I am not that sure. As we will see below, i think that the Nautilus, for instance , is better outdoor than indoor, and that the size of Space Mountain is perfect.

When the Imagineers decided to built Discoveryland in Paris, a land tribute to visionaries like Jules Verne or Leonardo da Vinci, they wanted a whole different concept than the usual tomorrowland,and , above, here is an early concept for Discoveryland’s entrance.

On these other pictures one you can see a whole view of the land , including what was then Discovery mountain.

Let’s talk about this Discovery mountain project: it’s difficult to imagine something more huge than this project. Not only , the building wasgoing to be 100 meters in diameter - instead of the 61 meters of the actual space mountain - but you will have found inside : a large version of the Nautilus, , an underwater restaurant themed on the “Nautilus” theme, an atttraction named “Horizons” , a café, the Disneyland railroad station, and the roller-coaster it self, of course! And not to mention aerial tubes that linked to “cine magique” - now closed - and videopolis.

Many different designs were produced for the exterior of this huuge building.

But the closer to the final version would have been this one.

One of the reasons of this all-in-one- building attraction concept was to keep the guests
as dry as possible . Because of the global warming it’s now less raining than it was before, but 18 years ago, when the imagineers worked on the concept, the rainy season in Paris could have been pretty long. So, the guests with this concept could have stay undercover. And, talking about water, one of the other great idea was that Discovery Mountain's entire interior was supposed to be lit from lights that were under water , which would have give this incredible atmosphere.

Once inside, the guests would have the choice between go in line to ride the roller coaster ...

......or go all the way around the lagoon to enter the Nautilus. At that point , guests with reservation would have been able to dine in the fantastic “Nemo grand salon” restaurant , and through the Nautilus windows , one would have seen the ruins of Atlantis! idea that dates back to Tony Baxter’s Discovery bay concept in the 70’s.

Mind you, this huge volcano you can see here with the track going out of it, was probably the first free-fall concept imagined by the imagineers , another tribute to Jules Verne and his “Journey to the center of the earth story . At one time , the guests were supposed to been blow up all to the top of the building ( just like in Verne’s story where they escape the center of the earth through a volcano chimney ) and had a brief look to the outside of the park before they fall down. We know the rest of the story: this “journey...” was not built, another one - and better - exist now at tokyo disney sea , and tower of terror was finally the first free fall attraction really built by WDI.

Of course the cost of this Discovery mountain project became so huge, that some cuts became inevitable. We finally have this victorian version of space monutain ( always with the huge cannon) , and the nautilus is now outside - without the Nemo restaurant, this is probably what i miss the most.....Here is a final rendering of what was finally built.

Talking about Jules Verne, a scene where he was supposed to appear in the walk-through of the “mission one” has been cancelled, too. And those of you who remember Epcot’s wonderful “Horizons” attraction will notice a similarity with this scene of Verne inside a giant bullet.

Sometime , it’s even some attraction poster that disappeared : this gorgeous one done for the first version of space mountain is now replaced by the new “mission two” poster, not as good as this one.

And sometime, it’s a concept of attraction poster who don’t go the end , like this sketch for the “les mystères du nautilus” attraction poster.

At the entrance of star tours, now stands a big X-Wing fighter, but concept to put the huge AT walker , like the one at Disney-Mgm studios were done.

Here is some concept-art showing some Autopia futuristic billboards , some of them were done...

...But unfortunately not this huge UFO landing in the middle of the attraction.

Talking about Ufo and flying saucers, did you know that they though - at least a little while - to re-birth again the now long-extinct flying saucers attraction from Disneyland? Hmmm, i wonder if these small saucers would have work better than it did in the 60’s.

In the next part of this article, i will show you amazing concepts for some Disneyland Paris hotels that were never done, so don't miss it!

Most of the renderings that you saw here are coming from my book “Disneyland Paris, from sketch to reality” who tell you all about the creation of the park, thanks to 750 pictures of the park including 250 renderings, and a great text by Didier Ghez.
You can order it at very reasonable price to Didier Ghez who still have copies of the english edition - just send him an email at: to get more details.

All artwork: copyright Disney

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Disneyland Paris that never was - Part two

Here is the awaited part two of this Disneyland Paris that never was article.

Adventureland’s Indiana Jones temple du péril was built in 1994 , shortly after the opening , and , although it’s a very popular ride with perfect theming , the following renderings, as well as the one above, will show you that it could have been even better. This is probably a good example of management’s cut for budget reasons - or may be , a question of construction timing, as ,in 1994 , the park needed to add new attractions urgently.
Anyway, the two first pictures and the one above will show you some never done additional decors, with the train entering a giant asian statue head.

These scenes with a loop around a giant gorilla statue or going through this stone eagle would have been great, too...

And what about this audio-animatronic tiger - coming right out of the “jungle cruise” ? it would have been great! May be they will add it one day, it’s not a so expensive addition...

...As well as those baby tigers audio-animatronics in the queue outside decor.

Close to the Indiana Jones coaster , stands the former “explorer’s club restaurant
( now “colonel Hathi “ ) . In this John Horny rendering , if you look closely, you’ll see Jacques-yves Cousteau and Ernest Hemingway in the front , and in the background, but hard to see, Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee, all famous explorers indeed!. Note the parrott over the bar tender, actually there is really audio-animatronic parrots in the restaurant, and there is a good reason for that, as the place is a reminiscence of the old Tiki room restaurant concept , as it was supposed to be in the 50’s , before it was decided that the Tiki room will be a show only. 35 years later the John Hench concept partly live, here, at DLP.

The DLP Pirates of carribean version is known to be a great one , and here is a map of the ride

Let’s have a look at Fantasyland, beginning by the castle. On this concept-art by Frank Armitage , here is the castle how it is right now.

But who knows that the great Herb Ryman had also designed a different and smaller one ( note on the right the presence , here, too, of the main street elevated tramway concept. )

And here is probably the most revolutionary castle concept with this futuristic castle imagined by imagineer Tim Delaney...may be too futuristic for some, but what a great idea.

In Fantasyland, this early rendering of Alice’s curious labyrinth shows a different one than the actual one , and , inside the castle of the king of heart, children coming down with the slide from the tower ( now closed, unfortunately ) would have come out through the mouth of the queen of heart .

Of course, everyone have heard of these two never done attraction concepts - the little mermaid dark ride and the beauty and the beast show - they were even announced during the tv special for the opening of the park! The one that we all miss is the Little mermaid ride ,as guests would have board inside shell designed vehicle , hanging from the top, like in Peter Pan’s ride. Actually, you can find a special feature in the Little mermaid collector’s edition dvd , describing the whole ride concept for those of you who want to know more about it. The attraction was supposed to be built in front of the pizzeria della notte , near it’s a small world.
But may be all is not lost, as it seems that there is some talks to build a Little mermaid attraction at Disneyland, Anaheim...let just hope they will choose this wonderful concept...

The Beauty and the beast musical would have been built behind Cinderella restaurant , and would have involved Audio animatronics and special effects, but i’m afraid that we will never see this one . That’s the sad theme park reality: some concept will come to life, other will stay forever in our dreams. Well, it looks like real life, doesn’t it?

Don’t miss the part three where i will take you to the Discoveryland that never was, as well as stunning concept for the hotels of the park, and you wil not believe your eyes.
Most of the renderings that you saw here are coming from my book “Disneyland Paris, from sketch to reality” who tell you all about the creation of the park, thanks to 750 pictures of the park including 250 renderings, and a great text by Didier Ghez.
You can order easily the book to me or through Amazon, see on the right column how to do it.

All artwork and photos: copyright Disney

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Disneyland Paris that never was - Part one

Hello all. Here is the first part of a four part articles about the "Disneyland Paris that never was".
As you know, when WDI imagineers begin to think about a new park or attraction, the phase one is call “blue sky” , everything in this phase one can be imagined, as there is still no limit that the future budget will put inevitably. Then , from the blue sky , comes the comeback to earth , and choices must be done . Mind you, it’s not that the imagineers love to do some “cut” in their wonderful concepts, as they are always pleased to enhance any project, or put more theming details when it’s possible . The best example is tokyo disney sea, although, even in this one some choices had to be done , i.e wth the “Voyages of Sindbad attraction as the first concept looked more like pirates of caribbean with man-size real audio-animatronic than the actual one with its oriental “small world puppet” theming.
To come back to DLP, and although the budget for the park, back in 1990 , was high, the imagineers had to make choices. Most of the time, they’ve kept the best. Sometime, as we will see, the project they had in mind was really too expensive...others were not really that expensive, but the park’s management obviously decided to do some “cut”.
It’s always the same thing when we look at renderings of “never done “ projects: we want this one to be built immediately! .........and we forget that what we already have is great! So, most of these coming projects will never exist, although, as they say at WDI “a good idea never die”. Let’s just dream about them, leave your mind enter the art-work and imagine that it’s real.

To begin by the beginning, the first picture show you a model of the park, and, that’s how it looks before the imagineers decided to add Autopia, with the disneyland paris hotel at the entrance.

Now, this first rendering show you a pretty different entrance, with two small lake where the fantasia gardens are now, and a big one at the bottom with a wharf and a boat where now stands a big boulevard.

the next one is a “winter” version of the previous one, where imagineers have imagined the small lake frozen , and where people can do ice-skating on them ( Actually, this is possible in front of the New York hotel , so all is not lost )

This town square rendering shows main street entrance with coconut trees....probably somebody forgot to tell the artist that paris weather was not exactly the same than the one in florida...!

Here we come to the really interesting one. It’s not very known, but we were at two fingers to get a really different main street than the actually, regular one. Instead to have a “turn of the century” theming, imagineers had designed a main street set up at the 20’s-30’s , ruled by gangsters, jazz, cinema, with a totally different design.

The imaginers envisioned an elevated tramway going all along main street and inside the arcades. This would have been great, and it’s the kind of idea that we would love to see it real.

However, it’s also the perfect example that “good ideas never die” as this elevated tramway was finally the other side of the world, in the new york area of tokyo disney sea !

Always in that 30’s theming , a luxurious and art-deco restaurant , a kind of private“club 33” located behind the Main Street Transportation Co. building, would have give you the feeling you’re dining on a train.

And a tribute to cinema would have been done with a circle-vision theater inside a classic 1920’s cinema located on main street.

Inside discovery arcade, here is an early walk-through concept that would have been dedicated to automats - early mechanical figures, full of real antiques. This one could still be done one day with the will of the park’s management, as it should not cost millions of dollars - although antiques are not that cheap...

Some time, it’s a shop concept that disappeared, like this early concept rendering for a Main Street confectionery

In frontierland, most of the original concepts were realized, but sometime , small changes makes big difference. Take this early model of Phantom manor, for instance. Next to the manor you can see a barn where now instead stands a totally different queue building.

But what i miss the most is the great voice of Vincent Price who was recorded - as Phantom Manor ghost host. For a little while , at the opening of the park , visitors were welcomed by Price’s voice, until it was realised that this only english version was not understand by the french audience.....But the ghost laughs that you can hear during the ride are still Vincent Price laughs! A little story about the recording session: when it was recorded , Vincent Price was already at the end of his life , and really tired, physically speaking. So, the agreement was that Price could come for the recording , but just for one hour. Everything was ready, and Price arrived at the recording studio. He look really tired and everybody hoped that he could do it right....then he begin to read the text, and , all of a sudden , it was magical. A few takes were done, and that was it! Probably one of the last thing that Vincent Price did with all his genius. However, all is not lost , as this recording was released on the Haunted mansion anniversary cd , that you can still find easily.

In the next article, we will talk about the Adventureland and Fantasyland that never was, so stay tuned on Disney and more!

Most of the renderings that you saw here are coming from my book “Disneyland Paris, from sketch to reality” who tell you all about the creation of the park, thanks to 750 pictures of the park including 250 renderings, and a great text by Didier Ghez.
You can order easily the book to me or through Amazon, see on the right column how to do it.

All artwork and photos: copyright Disney