Friday, November 14, 2008

Star Trek Experience Tribute - Original Artwork



Last week in my article about the upcoming new Star Trek movie, I've mentioned the now extinct Star Trek Experience attraction. As i found back the beautiful original artwork, here is a special artwork article for this week-end. double-click on each image to enjoy the high-res scans of each artwork.

The Las Vegas Star Trek Experience attraction was a themed attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton based on the Star Trek fictional universe that opened in January 1998 and closed in September 2008. When it opened the main attraction was a simulator ride called The Klingon Encounter. The pavilion underwent one major renovation in 2004 which added the Borg Invasion 4-D attraction, which used state-of-the-art amusement technology where guests experienced an encounter with the Borg. The artwork below released for the press before the opening in 1998 focus only on the first version of Star Trek Experience.

Here is a beautiful rendering showing the entrance of the Star Trex Experience.



After purchasing a ticket, which allowed the guest to board the attractions an unlimited amount of times that day, one walked through a museum that included numerous items from Star Trek history - top of the rendering below. It also featured several video display devices and a timeline of Star Trek events. Later, there were displays for each of the major alien races, which included the Borg, Klingons, and Ferengi. The last section of the museum was a hallway that served as the attraction queues. The left side was for the Borg Invasion 4-D, and the right side was for Klingon Encounter. Because the Borg ride held about twice as many people, that line moved more quickly (each show lasted about 18 minutes). The Klingon Encounter held 27 people while the Borg Invasion 4-D held 48 people. Each show was constructed so that those "in the back" for the first part of the show would, in turn, likely end up in the front for the second half of either show.

After the attraction guests could enjoyed the merchandise shop and especially the Quark's Bar that you can see at the bottom of the rendering below.



The Klingon encounter attraction: Initially, the visitors entered first a small room with a depiction of "outer space". A small television in the upper right corner of the room displayed scenes from several Star Trek movies.

The group then entered a smaller, dimly lit waiting area of a traditional simulator ride. Visitors lined up in rows in front of doors, as hosts direct their attention to the screens above for a safety demo for the shuttlecraft simulator ride. A few moments into the film, the televisions flickered, malfunctioned, and the lights went out. A variety of loud noises accompanied by hundreds of small light flashes that visually simulate the "transporter effect," along with the transporter sound effect and a rush of cold air (which, according to backstage tour guides, was an unintentional but appreciated effect caused by a false room being raised into the ceiling). When the lights returned, the walls and floor and ceiling have apparently disappeared and you were on a transporter pad (a room much larger than you were previously standing, without the doors you were ready to walk through!). You are now aboard the USS Enterprise-D, transporter room as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

On the transporter pad, a uniformed Starfleet officer asked for the leaders of the group and directed them away for instruction. It was explained that the visitors were beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise to "what you would call the future" and the group is then led to the bridge.

The group stood on the rear between the science stations and the tactical station. There were various busy crewmembers on the bridge, and they contact Commander Riker, who promptly appears on the main viewscreen. Riker explained that Captain Picard disappeared the moment the group beamed aboard the Enterprise and thus one member of the group must be Picard's ancestor. A nefarious rogue Klingon Commander named Korath used a hidden time-rift to abduct Picard's ancestor and erase him from the timeline. Starfleet intelligence, having learned of the plan, dispatched the Enterprise to intercept the Klingon's transporter beam and rescue the entire group. Riker directs the group to board a shuttlecraft to go escape the temporal rift, and return all guests to their original time.

While the group was in the turbolift, the Klingons attack the Enterprise and the turbolift enters a free fall. There are several jolts on the turbolift during the attack. Finally, the group arrives in the Grand Corridor and at the shuttle bay deck.
Below, a rendering of the Grand Corridor.



The group boarded the shuttlecraft. The shuttle ride began with a battle between the Enterprise and a few Klingon vessels. Then, the shuttle went into warp and was then instructed to find and destroy a cloaking generator on the planet's surface. There were several dogfights and visual effects during this time.



The shuttle then returned through the temporal rift to present-day Las Vegas (although filmed almost 10 years ago, things as the Sands Hotel tower, a sign promoting Siegfried & Roy, might lead one to believe the shuttle returned prior to their abduction). Unfortunately a Klingon ship followed, however Enterprise saved the shuttle at the last minute. The 'real' shuttle landed at the Las Vegas Hilton right next to the "motion simulators" shuttles the visitors were originally waiting to enter when they were "beamed off" at the start of the story. Before the crew of the Enterprise leaves, Captain Picard thanks the crew for "restoring his existence." He says, "While only one of you is my ancestor, each of you hold that same opportunity for the future. Guard it well."

Typically a custodian led the group to an elevator and then out to the Deep Space Nine Promenade and Quark's Bar.

Another great idea of Star Trek Experience was the theming of the casino - we're in Las Vegas, let's not forget it...it was originally themed as if it was an outer space casino and through the window bays one could see movie of outer space supposed to give the feeling that the casino was a kind of space station. Unfortunately after some years they canceled these rear-projections effect and when i visited the attraction five years ago it was not there any more.



I remember that I loved this Star Trek Experience, the teleportation room, the Enterprise bridge, the grand corridor, all this was wonderfully done, and i'll miss it forever!

For more informations about the Borg Encounter attraction that was added in 2004, please read the Wikipedia page from where most of the description text of this article is coming from.

Artwork: copyright Paramount Parks

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Editor's Note: Disney and more now enter in its Christmas season, and you will have soon a full report on the Christmas decor at Disneyland Paris. But today, it's also the inauguration of the Disney and more Amazon Store where you will find an incredible selection of the best Disney books, Dvds, music, and more for your Christmas shopping!

NEW ! The Disney and more Amazon Store is now open !



Since i've began my Disney and more blog, i received each week emails from readers asking me if i could do a list of the "best Disney books" available, the kind of beautiful books that any Disney fan would love to read and keep in his private library.

So, i'm happy today to give the requested answer with the opening of the Disney and more Amazon Store. The store have four categories: Disney books, Disney dvd, disney music, and as Christmas is in five weeks from now, i added a toys category.

First, and to make things perfectly clear, when you will buy any of the products listed in the Disney and more Amazon Store, you will NOT order them to me but directly to Amazon.com, just like you do when you go by yourself on the Amazon web site. Everything, all transactions is going through Amazon.com with exactly the same quality of service - it's Amazon who will send your order - and secure payment system.

For each category, you will find the best possible selection of each product. Please note that, as i was publisher, author of the Disneyland Paris book, and absolute lover of beautiful books, the selection i did is, if i can say, "guaranteed" for the quality or the interest of the books listed. In the books category more than 100 books are listed, all the great books about Imagineering and Animation are there, in one simple place and it will save you a lot of research time. I've also selected guide books - specially the "Imagineering field guide" series and some Walt's biographies as i know some of you could be interested by them. I've also added four or five children books, some of them are really well done.

In two words, if you like coming on my blog because of its high quality pictures or artwork, you will love the books i have selected for you, as they're all esthetically gorgeous, and, considering their quality, at very reasonable price.



In the Disney Dvd category you will find the latest Dvd release - like the highly awaited WALL-E Dvd, but also all the Walt Disney Treasures Dvds available - including all those about Disneyland!



The Disney music category has a large selection of memorable Disney CD's including some of Disney broadway musicals - Mary Poppins, The Little mermaid, The lion king, etc...- as well as music from Disneyland.



Also, as i've said above, Christmas is in five weeks, everybody will begin soon Christmas shopping, and some of you may be pleased to find toys at reasonable price. That's why i've included a WALL-E section among the toys available on Amazon.com



Finally, and as i like to be totally honest with my faithful readers, i have to explain you something. Disney and more is a totally free site, and I love to do each day new articles. I like to find great documents, and to do pictorial articles as perfect and beautiful as possible. I know that it may look easy to do, but each big article take between three to four hours - no kidding. But, although it's really daily work it's not at all a problem as i really enjoy doing it - and most of all i really enjoy doing articles that i know YOU will enjoy.

I've never done this blog for money but for pleasure. However in one year and a half, believe it or not, even with the Google and Amazon ads on the right column, i didn't made one cents with Disney and more. Same for the Paypal donation button up there, not one reader ever donate even 2 dollars by Paypal! Now, please none of you must feel guilty, that's not the goal. We are all the same - and i include me - we're all get used to free sites everywhere on internet, and, even if we forget sometime the work which is behind, this free access on all the "memory of the world" is great, absolutely great.

This is also why i've never asked you to "click on the ads" or even more subtly "thank you for your support". Although these coded words are perfectly understood by each of us, i'm always reluctant to do it. And that's why i've created the Disney and more Amazon.com Store. When you will place an order for any product on the store, Amazon Associates will refund a small percentage to Disney and more. For you, it's exactly like when you order directly on Amazon - in fact, as i've said before, you order DIRECTLY to Amazon when you use the D&M store, except that at the same time, you help Disney and more. It don't cost you more, and if you love the blog, it's a nice way to say it.

Thanks by advance to all of you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Say Hello to BURN-E



Remember that little robot who was outside of the Axiom ship in WALL-E - repairing something - and who get locked out of the ship when WALL-E enter?



Well, in the soon to be released WALL-E Dvd, a 7.35 minutes short animated about him - his name is BURN-E - will show you how this little robot try to install a replacement lamp on the starliner and find a way back inside the Axiom.



The short is directed by animator Angus MacLane and the story begin when BURN-E is locked out of the Axiom.

Almost 8 minutes of a new Pixar short animated is always a good news to begin the day, and here is some high-res pictures of it released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.





All pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar Animation

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Editor's Note: Today, Disney and more had its 500 000 visitor! Half a million people came on Disney and more since i opened this blog one year and a half ago. And more than one million pages have been read already! Not too bad for a blog that i don't even really advertize. I want to thank all of you who are coming each day for your Disney and more "daily shoot" of artwork and high-res pictures, but also a special thanks to all the other sites and blogs who did put D&M in their web links, and others like Disney Report, The Disney Blog and Blue Sky Disney for their great support!

Let's celebrate this with a big artwork article that will show you how WDI artists renderings are accurate. After all, Disney and more is a daily tribute to all Imagineering talents!

The amazing accuracy of Walt Disney Imagineering Artwork



What always amazed me with Walt Disney Imagineering renderings is how accurate they are. I mean: when you look at the real thing, once it is built, it looks exactly like it was on the artwork, sometime released many years before.

That's what i like: WDI artwork never cheat. What you see is what you'll have once it will be built. It's not only remarkable but also WDI renderings are without a doubt the most accurate i've seen. Other theme parks - like Universal - also release artwork months before the opening of an attraction, but they're not as accurate.

May be there is a good reason why WDI artworks have this degree of accuracy: they're also done to show Disney executives how a project will look in real, and, as a budget - translate: lot of money - will be unfreeze for this particular project, the artwork better be accurate...

So, today we will have a look to some brilliant example of this "artwork accuracy" with both renderings and picture of the real thing. First example is with the Blizzard Beach artwork above - and a photo of the park shoot at its opening.



Same thing with the artwork of Tike's Peak, the kids "iceberg" zone...




Next example will be the Disney Institute - here is the artwork...



And here is a picture of the Institute in real.



Disney's Wide World of Sorts is another good example...




It's even more spectacular with the hotels. Here is the Boardwalk Hotel artwork...



And here are three pictures on different angles of the area shown on the rendering.





Same perfection in accuracy with the Wildeness Lodge DVC: the artwork...



And two pictures of the real thing.




Next one is the Coronado Springs Resort with its Spanish style...




...that we find in the final result.





The artwork of Downtown Disney's Cirque du Soleil is also a perfect example.




I will end with some artwork of Celebration campus and school...




And a picture of the campus entrance.



Hope you enjoyed this little demonstration of WDI artists talent!

All Artwork and pictures: copyright Disney

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hidden Secrets of Disneyland Paris



I discovered recently a new web site called: Hidden DLRP at www.hiddendlrp.com. It's a very interesting site where you can learn about the details hidden by imagineers all around the resort.

I know i'm supposed to know everything about DLP since i did the "From sketch to reality" book with my friend Didier Ghez, but frankly, Hidden DLRP learned me things i didn't knew.

For instance, do you know there is golden snails on the top of some towers of Sleeping Beauty Castle?



Or have you noticed in the bushes near the entrance of the Snow White attraction the axe of the hunter ( or is it a woodsman? ) - who, in the movie is sent to kill Snow White - ?



The site have five different sections: "Disneyland Park", "Walt Disney Studios", "DLP Hotels", "Disney Village" and "Hidden Mickey", and in each of them you will learn about DLRP secrets details that you probably were not aware of.

And for those of you who love to find hidden Mickeys, the "Hidden Mickey" section will be perfect.



I know quite a lot of them, but Hidden DLRP succeed to show me some i never saw like this one in the treasure's scene of Pirates of Caribbean.



You see, this new Hidden DLRP web site will show you dozens of Imagineering details, and God knows that's what we like in Disney theme parks! So, have a look at Hidden DLRP and put it in your bookmarks!

All pictures: copyright Hidden DLRP

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fireworks over the Parking Lot



As you know, I usually do pictorial articles, but today I will tell you a little story. Fifteen years ago, I was journalist for french magazines, and I was invited to a Disney press event at Walt Disney World. I think that story take place during WDW 25th Anniversary event, but I'm not sure... Anyway, during this WDW press trip I met a WDI Imagineer, and, at the end of the conversation - probably answering my question about what he was working on at that time - he told me that he was in a team working on a new kind of fireworks. And, if I could be on the Disney Mgm parking lot that night, around midnight, they will do some top secret fireworks test, so I could have a look at it.

For sure, i said yes - or something like "you bet i'll be there!" and hours later, there i was, arriving near the Disney Mgm parking lot, totally empty as the park closed two hours before.

As I didn't saw anybody - i expected to meet again the Imagineer - I went to the security office who asked me what I was doing there. I explained them the whole story, they told me they were not aware about it, but probably because they saw in my eyes I was telling the truth, one of the security officer - I remember it was a woman - proposed to drive me to the parking lot in her car.

So, there we are, finally on the parking lot, and, if we except the car I was in, only two other cars were there, waiting for the launch of this top-secret fireworks test. The fireworks began, with some big "bangs" louder than usual, and some minutes later it was over. The other cars moved out of the parking lot, and then the one I was in.

I remember I was a bit dubvious about this top secret fireworks, if not disappointed...Some days later, I had more explanation about it. In fact, Disney - at that time - was doing some researchs with the Los Alamos Atomic center. If the words "Los Alamos" are familiar to you, it's probably because it's there that the first Atomic bombs were created, more than 60 years ago! No need to say that the engineers of Los Alamos are guys who knows what the word "powder" means...

And why Disney and the Los Alamos Atomic Center were they doing these fireworks researchs? For two reasons - although there may be others that I'm not aware of: The first one was to have a louder "bang" when a rocket explodes, and the second one was to have the most "silent" possible "bang". Why that? Because of cities. I mean, cities who are all around theme parks like it is the case in Anaheim or Disneyland Paris. The "bang" noise can be a problem for inhabitants all around, trying to sleep peacefully - it's one of the reasons why there is no fireworks every night at Disneyland Paris except during Christmas and summer holiday season ( the other reason is the cost ). But at WDW, this is not a problem, and louder and more spectacular "bangs" could be welcome.

So, you see, all these researchs with the Los Alamos Atomic Center had some sense...

The story doesn't end here. If I'm not wrong, they did try these "silent" fireworks at DLP, until they realised that it was may be a bit too silent for the guests as the rockets "bangs" are also part of the excitement. So, as all Disney fireworks have music which is played with it, for a while they thought about including "bangs" sound with the music diffused in the loud speakers all around Main Street and Central Plaza, so the guests will hear the "bangs" but not the villages all around the park.

I suppose they realised that all this "bang" story was close to become ridiculous, and now the fireworks bangs that guests can hear at DLP are real one, coming from the exploding rockets.

There is still one mystery: who were the people in the two other cars on the Disney Mgm parking lot that night? I had the answer the next day, and guess who it was? Michael Eisner himself - at that time Disney CEO - who, along with Imagineers from the research team came to have a look at this top secret fireworks!

That's the end of part one of this fireworks story. Here is part two: Now, if i tell you that in a not-so-distant future may be each WDW guest could have his own fireworks over his car at WDW parking lots ( or DLP, or DLR ) , will you believe me? Okay, to be honest, may be it will be more a kind of "virtual" fireworks than real one... How could this happen? thanks to an idea of a designer from Yanko Design. The goal? to help people find their car on a parking lot, thanks to a "holographic fireworks" projected over your car! No kidding.

Here is what Yanko Design Mac Funamizu designer say about it:

Fireworks Help Find Your Car

Every time I get out of a car I yell to my friends the exact floor, side, and column it’s located on. Two hours later we’re all wandering around trying to find it. Constantly clicking the remote keyless entry doesn’t help unless you’re within audible distance. I need something bigger, something I can’t miss. How about fireworks?



The Fireworks Locator system by futurist with a sense of humor Mac Funamizu uses holographic projection technology to set off a display of lights and color you can’t miss.

A remote activates an emitter installed on the top of your vehicle. That’s pretty much it. Feasibility aside, I could totally see Honda using this idea in one of their future ads. Imagine hundreds of Hondas creating an unforgettable light show.






Although i'm not sure the technology is fully available now, i like the poetic idea of a holographic fireworks over my car at a WDW parking lot! If one day it becomes real, they better have fireworks with different coulours for each car, because, if all fireworks looks the same, it won't resolve the problem! Anyway, may be it's only a designer's dream, but let's hope it can become real in the future...

FInally, as we talk about fireworks, less expensive and available now for all IPhone owners, the IFireworks App from the ITunes App Store allows you to create your own virtual fireworks over WDW Cinderella Castle - and for $0.99 - a very reasonable price!



Photos: copyright Yanko Design-Mac Funamizu and IFireworks

So, what do you think about this holographic fireworks idea to help you find your car? Would you like to have this amazing technology - if it's someday available - on your car?