Saturday, March 1, 2008

Meet "Susie , the little blue coupé" , the ancestor of "Cars"

Fifty-four years before John Lasseter's "Cars" animated movie, Walt Disney productions released in 1952 a lovely 8 minutes short animated called "Susie, the little blue coupé". One of the four animators was the great Ollie Johnston, and the narrator voice was Sterling Holloway, who did Kaa's voice, years later, in the Jungle Book.

There is no link between this short animated and the story line of the Pixar movie - there is humans in "Susie" and the cars don't have really their own "life" - but, like in "Cars", all the different cars characters of "Susie" already had eyes, mouth, etc...

Whether it's Susie itself or its parking lot friends...

Or a big angry tramway...

Or even a police car...

So, (re)discover this wonderful short animated, the "ancestor" of Cars, thanks to this youtube video below, it's 8 minutes long, and you won't loose your time.

Screen capture and video: copyright Walt Disney Productions

Walt Disney , the space age, and the World Wide Telescope

The historical photos topic of this week is about "Walt Disney and the space age", i.e the end of the 50's, when everybody was dreaming about the conquest of space. Of course, everybody remember the Tomorrowland rocket, and above is a great picture of Walt with it.

As we know, the great "Man and the moon" tv series was incredibly popular. Walt did the presentation, and here are two photos, above Walt and the moon, and below, Walt in his office holding one of the space ship.

Wernher Von Braun - the man who created the Saturn 5 rocket and supervised the Apollo missions - was of a big help in the making of the series. Here he is with Walt Disney.

And here is Walt with Ward Kimball, close to another space ship of the series.

The video below is a short clip from the "Man and the moon" series.

Now, yesterday, february 29, 2008 - 50 years after Walt introduces America to the conquest of space - a major announcement was done by Microsoft: The new World Wide Telescope. A new technology that combines feeds from satellites and telescopes all over the world and the heavens, and weaves them together holistically to build a comprehensive view of our universe for each of us.
It looks like Google Sky, but it will probably be better and the site will be launch this spring.

Science educator Roy Gould and Microsoft's Curtis Wong give an astonishing sneak preview of the WWT on the video below.

Photo: copyright Disney.

Friday, February 29, 2008

New WALL-E poster introduce EVE robot character

Cinematical have released a new WALL-E poster, and this one might be the final one.
Note that for the first time the EVE robot character appear on the poster.

Click on the image to see it in high-resolution quality.

Also, UK film magazine Total Film, has a great article on WALL•E in it’s April 2008 edition. You can see it on the excellent upcoming pixar web site where scans of the pages - including new concept-arts - are available.

Picture: copyright Disney-Pixar

Thursday, February 28, 2008

EPCOT 25TH ANNIVERSARY - a special celebration - Universe of Energy Original Artwork

In tribute to Epcot 25th celebration, here is the part seven of a series of articles about the Epcot attractions original artwork.

In this one we will have a closer look to the original renderings for the Universe of Energy pavillion, this wonderful attraction which take us back 200 million years in the past, at the age of dinosaurs, and then into the future. As always, click on each picture to see them in big size.
Everybody is ready? Let's go!

The first one above show the exterior architecture of the wedge-shaped pavillion, by daylight. And here below is a picture of the WDI model.

The two next renderings shows the original pre-show. This pre-show was changed when the new version of the attraction with Ellen De Generes opened. But the original one was stunning with this "Kinetic Mosaic" created by Czech filmmaker and artist Emil Radok.

If you've never seen this unique pre-show, don't worry, i have found for you a youtube video of it, and here it is below!

Before the famous dinosaurs sequence, guests entered in a first theatre.
A very good description is done by the excellent Universe of Energy companion site:
Theater I is a "chameleon" of a space, acting as both the beginning and end points of the Universe of Energy ride. It's here where guests first board the Travelling Theater, and where their adventure begins--with a dramatic film introduction on the origins of Fossil Fuels. From here, guests are sent into the "reality" of what they've just seen, as the Travelling Theater effortlessly whisks them away into the murky and forbidding Primeval Diorama.

The Travelling Theater returns to Theater I for the finale of the show--once a spectacle of light and color, in which the Theater was completely transformed, now a low-key conclusion to Ellen's nightmare, and a poignant reminder that we are both capable of and responsible for charting our Energy future.

The rendering below showing a scene from the first version.

Then came the fantastic Primeval world scene with the dinosaurs. I think that everyone who did the attraction remember this magic moment when the vehicles starts to move , the curtains goes up and the dinosaurs appear in the dawn of time.

On the top is a close shot of the Tyrannosaur vs Stegosaur sequence, and here is a rare picture of the imagineers at work during the installation of these two giants creatures, here still under their plastic protection.

A close shot on the rendering of the volcano sequence...

And a rare picture of a WDI imagineer at work on this volcano.

At the end of the Primeval world sequence, all the vehicles come back in a theatre where guests "return to the present". After they learned the origin of fossil fuels the guests will see how "a wide array of energy sources would meet the growing energy demands of the future". Here is two renderings of the original show.

Some of you may not remember, but there was a post-show "Exxon's Energy Exchange", which was located in Communicore East.

This last rendering is a rare WDI artwork for a post-show scene, and, correct me if i'm wrong, but i think that this fantastic scene was never realised.

If you want more informations about the attraction, i strongly recommand to you the excellent Universe of Energy companion site at:

All artwork and photos: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hong Kong Disneyland High-Res wallpaper pictures - Part two

Here are some great wallpaper pictures of Hong Kong Disneyland, this time about Adventureland - and one more about Hong-Kong with the pirate ship, last year.
These pictures are here in high-resolution. A first part about HKD Tomorrowland wallpaper pictures was previously posted and you can find it in the wallpaper section on the right column. A part three of HKD wallpaper pictures will come soon!

Click on each picture to get them in bigger size. They will all look fantastic on your computer screen!

As always, i remember you as it is written on the "terms of use" page that, in the event you download any material from The Disney and more blog, the download of the material, including any files or images must be for your personal, noncommercial home use only. You may not and cannot sell, print or reproduce in any way any material downloaded from The Disney and more blog, and specifically any material copyright Disney , Walt Disney company or any other companies.

All Photos: copyright Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let's have a look at Disneyland Paris future !

As promised yesterday, today we will have a look at Disneyland Paris future.
As you know, i don't work at DLP, i don't have inside secret agents in the management building, i am not the boy friend of Karl Holz secretary, and i don't have any time machine to travel in the future!

So, how is it possible to "see" in the future of DLP? First, the park released some infos, some of them forgotten, but the most important thing is to understand how they think - i mean: how the park's direction think. The younger DLP fans who love the park for its attractions and the fact that it is another "reality" - a kind of "virtual" reality - often forget that, for the management, it's all about money.
Not necessarily in the bad meaning of the word, but they are in charge of a company, and they need to have good financial results at the end of each fiscal year. And, if possible, better than the previous year.
I know, all this seems obvious, but if you don't keep this in mind, you can't make good prospective.

For instance, who do you think is the best allied of DLP fans? WDI imagineers? They surely are, as they love to built new attractions as much as we love to enjoy them.
But what about the "FED"? Could the FED be the best allied of DLP fans? Yes, the American Federal Reserve. Sounds odd to you? I can understand. But the FED is definitely one of the best allied of any DLP fans awaiting big "E" ticket attractions.
Why? First, because the FED keep the dollar "low" - right now one dollar makes 0,67 euros - and, two, because WDI invoice to DLP is in DOLLARS!. Which means that a big E-ticket attraction like, let's say, Indiana Jones Adventure who may cost, more or less, 130 M $ will cost to the park "only" 87 M euros! At this price, it's a bargain for DLP!
Of course, the building itself and all the security systems inside will be build in France and paid in euros, but the change rate between the $ and the euro is still a really good opportunity for the park to save money and, in the same time, to be able to build new major attractions that will help to bring more people in the parks, which is what they need, more than anything.

With all this in mind, let's now have a look about what we may expect in years to come. One last thing before i begin: i may be wrong! But it's not dramatic, prospective is a game, sometime you're right, sometime you're not. And not to mention that DLPI imagineers have very probably some secret projects we've never heard about.

To have a look in the future, we have first to look back in time, at the previous stockholder meeting when the park shows to everybody a huge model of the resort, as you will see on the pictures , thanks to Mouetto of the DCP forum and Alexandre Rosa.
If you look well on the picture below, you'll see on the model some white buildings, right after the parking lot close to the WDS, and in front of the Newport Bay Hotel.
Well, these white buildings are for the next major hotel that the park WILL build, as well as a big convention center. No "theme" has been announced yet, but we can count on this new hotel for sure. Why? Because, as i showed you yesterday, the hotels are almost full all year long, and this new "business" hotel, specially dedicated to conventions is a win-win project for the park. I will give to this project a 100% chances to be realized, with an opening in 2010-2011.

Always close to the parking lot and the WDS, we can see another white structure. This one was announced one year ago as the future "World of Disney" superstore. But not only. A ESPN restaurant and a new night club were also envisioned. Will they be built? May be, but because i don't think it's DLP priority, i will give here a 60% chances, and probably not before 2010, but we can have some good surprise...

Talking about the WDS, let's first give a clear answer to those of you who always ask if the park have more land available for future expansion. And the answer is yes! There is PLENTY of land available "behind", as you can see on the picture below.

Always about the WDS, what can we expect for the next attractions. Personnally, i am still betting on "Soarin'", and in a near future - not before 2010 however as they need the time to build it, but i will give a 90% chances on it.

Although, as i've explained in a recent article, i think that Mickey's Philarmagic instead of Animagique will be a good choice, but the cost of the re-building of the Studio 3 can stop DLP executives. Let's give to this one only 50% chances.

Before they decide a major expansion of the WDS, they will try to "use" the land still available in this "phase one" for another attraction. Which one? well, this one is the big mystery, as a new and unexpected rabbit could come out from the hat of DLP Imagineering. Could be Toy story mania, or something using the same technology on another theme, or something really and totally unexpected. I'm afraid we will have to wait a bit to have more infos on this one. However, i will give a 65% chances that another new attraction - in addition to Soarin' - will open at the WDS in the next three years.

Let's have a look to DLP Magic Kingdom, now. To have a better view, double click on the picture below to see it in big size. We've not heard about the expected Star Tours 2.0 since a while, but, if this new version of the beloved attraction finally open in the U.S , i think we can count on it for DLP, as new attraction without having to build a new facility is always a good business choice for the park. So, if this Star Tours 2.0 finally exist, i will give a 80% chances that we will see it in Discoveryland.

The land who need the most a new E-ticket is definitely Adventureland. As we saw in a previous article, the land to build this major attraction exist, so the problem is not here. The main problem is the cost of the attraction AND the maintenance cost, something we must never forget, because it's for DLP's management a very important point - as the park maintenance cost is already very high.
However, because of what i've explained above and probably also of the upcoming success of the Indiana Jones 4 movie, i will give a 85% chances to IJA.
Frankly, if we except a maintenance cost a bit high, the park couldn't make a better choice than Indiana Jones Adventure. A hero that everybody knows and love, a fantastic ride, incredible theming and vehicle should have been built since a long time!
Some people also say that the marketing campaign may be difficult as a previous Indy attraction already exist, and people may not think that it will be a new one...I can accept this remark, but frankly, there is so many strong IJA visuals which can be used in a marketing campaign that i can't imagine the marketing department to don't succeed to "sell" an attraction such like this.
And i must add that IJA would make a perfect 20th anniversary attraction in 2012.

Another attraction was supposed to open some years after the park's opening, and everybody thought it was dead forever...until Tony Baxter succeed to resuscitate it at California Adventure: The Little Mermaid ride. Not only the ride is going to be even better than the one envisioned for DLP, but once a first version is built, the research and development expenses are paid and the molds for the AA figures exist.
For sure, it won't be a cheap dark ride, but, because of the "federal reserve effect" explained above, and because this part of Fantasyland miss an attraction, i think that a Little Mermaid ride at DLP could finally resuscitate.
And there is another reason for that, one that could be important in the final decision: The Little Mermaid ride is the perfect ride for young girls. And the park need desperately an attraction for girls between 4 and 10 years old. I will be a DLP executives, i won't forget that in a family of 4, there is often a young girl.
So, let's give a 70% chances to The Little Mermaid, and for the date, certainly not before 2012.

Apart all this, smaller additions could happen, like the AA of Jack Sparrow in POTC, or new electric vehicles for Autopia, not to mention other secret projects that DLPI only knows about that, hopefully, will be some good surprises. For now, the only thing really sure for 2009 is a new parade at the WDS!

Let's end with a video who is not linked with the future, but with the past. On this video you will see some interesting shots about the making of DLP, almost 20 years ago!

Photos by Mouetto from the Disney Central Plaza forum

Other photos by Alexandre Rosa

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Disneyland Paris stockholder annual meeting report

The big Disneyland Paris stockholder annual meeting happened three days ago on february 21, and of course everybody was waiting for special announcement for the future of the resort.
Well, the main info is that no infos at all were released on future new attractions, or anything else! However, if you don't leave this article right now, there is some good news ahead.

Let's have a look at some screen captures of the keynote presentation. For those of you who want to see the full présentation, you can download it HERE

On the image above, the new tag line for 2008 " la fète continue en grand! " or " the party goes on, bigger! " which has obviously a link with the coming marketing campaign about the Tower of terror, beginning early april.

The first image below is about the 2007 turnover - 12% more than in 2006, which is good. The theme parks activity increase of 14%, and the hotels of 17%.

The next one shows parks attendance raising from 12,8 millions visitors to 14,5 millions, which is very good news as it should prove to DLP executives that new attractions have good effects on parks attendance. I know, it is so obvious...

The next one is about hotel, and not only expenses per room are going up (+ 10,3%) but the occupancy rate ( if this is the right english word ) is now very high at almost 90%. Which means, in two words, that DLRP needs urgently a new hotel. Last year stockholder meeting, the management talked about a future new convention hotel and convention hall, and i think more than ever that we can count on it.

Finally, the last image show what is the percentage of visitors for each country:
from France: 44% - England: 16% - Benelux ( Belgium and Netherlands ): 13% - Spain: 11% - Germany: 3% - Italy: 3% - Rest of the world: 10% ( if you're an American or Canadian visitor, you are in the "rest of the world")

Of course, at the end of the presentation, there was the usual Q & A , but absolutely no interesting infos were released, except that a third theme park is "not for now", and i will add, not even in a near future.

With all this non-infos meeting, DLP fans were of course disappointed, but come back tomorrow, and i will tell you more about what we can probably expect for the future.

Photos: copyright Disneyland resort Paris