Saturday, March 28, 2009

New UP! Clip " Meet Kevin "

Pixar has released another new clip from UP! called "Meet Kevin". Kevin, of course, is the bird that Carl and Russell meet in the South America jungle.

Picture and video: copyright Disney-Pixar

Friday, March 27, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Ark : The Adaptation

I will be at Disneyland Paris today for the Mickey's Magical Party press event. Expect a review of everything for tomorrow. In the meantime, i have something fun for you, it's called "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation".

In 1981, after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark, three twelve year old friends, Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb, began filming their own shot-by-shot adaptation in the backyards of their Mississippi homes. It took them seven years to film this 100-minute recreation of "Raiders" and their "adaptation" is now a cult movie.

Back in 1981, the three young boys even did some storyboard or costume sketches for their "adaptation".

From IGN: "The results are astonishing, with these junior-Spielberg's shooting everything from the rolling boulder and the live snakes to the death-defying truck sequence.

Along the way they had to improvise - a puppy stands in for the Nazi monkey, a boat for a plane - but they didn't skimp on production values, filming on a submarine and even appearing to melt a face during the film's dramatic finale.

The Adaptation wrapped in 1989, and in recent years has developed something of a cult following, with Vanity Fair publishing an 11-page article on the subject, and Spielberg personally writing to the boys to express his admiration for their work."

The story of the production and how they did recreate all the scenes is incredible. Just an example about how these three young boys succeed to shoot the famous boulder sequence (that you will see in the video below): "The shot of Indy (Chris) running from the boulder right behind him that tracks backwards with him was achieved by Jayson constricting himself into a shopping cart and pointing the camera at Chris – and Chris pushed the shopping cart with Jayson in it, his hands on the cart out of frame!"

The did a brilliant article about it. After you've seen the video below have a look at it as the story of the making of this Raiders "adaptation" is amazing.
There is also an interview of the three "boys", now adults.

If you live in the U.K, will present the movie in the first ever UK screening at a charity premiere. It will take place at the Vue West End, Leicester Square on April 28, at 6.30 pm. You can read more about this premiere event on the IGN web site.

Below is a youtube video of the first ten minutes of this "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation" shoot in Betamax by three young boys. Enjoy!

Youtube video: copyright Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living Treasures

As we've learned it yesterday, new layoffs happened at WDW - around 450 cast-members will lose their jobs. My sympathy is going to all of them and their families. Unfortunately these layoffs won't be the last one this year. Others should follow and in all departments of the WDC, probably including Walt Disney Imagineering.

In Japan, may be you've heard about it, a "senior" is considered as a "Living Treasure". It's probably the best definition i've heard to define the experience that a human being has gained during all his life. When the WDC layoff Senior Imagineers who worked at WDI since the early 70's or even before it is experiences of inestimable value which disappear. Forever. They are people - in this case Imagineers - who have lived not only the legendary times of Imagineering but also been through the thousands of problems that reality can create - and found the solutions. They know everything: how to do this special effect for a certain amount of money, where to find these props for a land theming, why this colour will be better than another one due to the country's climate, etc, etc, EVERYTHING.

Of course, if you're working at WDI since 35 years your salary is different than the one of a "young" imagineer. And here comes the problem. The suits only see this part, how much money the company will save and not the "inestimable experience" they will lose with the layoff. There are reasons for that: the first one is of course a pragmatic one and if you asked them they'll probably say: "yeah, we know, but i've been asked to do it, we really have to find a way to save money and, hey, i'm only doing my job, okay? nothing personal, blah blah blah...". The second reason is because they don't SEE - i mean: they don't have Vision. They don't even know what the word means. Really. Believe me, there is no vision inside these guys - except of course the one of their paycheck at the end of the month and eventually the little bonus of power they can expect after they've done these layoffs. Don't even try to explain to them this notion of "living treasure", we're not talking about the same kind of "treasure".

But where it becomes pure insanity it's when you realize how destructive it is for the company to lose all these inestimable experiences. And yes, even on a financial point of view. Old imagineers know the best way to do things (anything of their specialty) but also how to do it and save money!

Ultimately, what is the main problem is the usual occidental short term vision. This is really the occidental curse - and by the way one of the main reason - along with oversized cynism - of this economy crisis. If they don't do profit THIS year, it's a tragedy! But losing all these "living treasures" and inestimable experiences that goes with them and would have been precious for the future, that's not a tragedy, that's just business.

For sure WDI costs are known to be more expensive than anywhere else - and i can perfectly understand that they want to reduce the costs, but may be not at any price...The Senior employees are the Jewels who make the company what it is. They are those who make the Guest experience something to remember at a Disney Enterprise, be it a store or a park. They are the foundations. The company should save them, before all falls down.

Do you remember the famous - and perfectly stupid - quote: "nobody is irreplaceable". Well, that's all the difference between Orient and Occident. In Japan they have this notion of "living treasure" and in Occident they think that "nobody is irreplaceable". Do you see the difference between these two worlds? What it means?

In the middle of the 70's between 3000 and 4000 imagineers were working at WDI - including the production teams. Now, how many? 800? 900? And unfortunately we can expect more layoffs... Well, i suppose all we can do is to pray there will be enough imagineers in the future to bring us unique attractions. And that in a flash of lucidity the company won't finally layoff all their "living treasures".

Hundreds of Cast-Members lose jobs at WDW

The Orlando Sentinel revealed today that hundreds of Walt Disney world cast members will lose their jobs this week.

"Disney, which is Central Florida's largest employer, with about 62,000 "cast members," refused to say Thursday how many jobs it has eliminated. But one person familiar with some details of the cuts said he was given an estimate of 450.

The cuts have predominantly targeted salaried workers, rather than the hourly employees who make up the vast majority of the resort's workforce. Employees say layoffs have occurred across Disney World's back-office functions, including entertainment, merchandise, finance, transportation, training, emergency management and theme-park operations.

Some workers who deal directly with guests have also been let go, including guest-service managers and managers in Disney Vacation Club's sales preview center."

Although "Disney announced last month that it would slash jobs across as its domestic resorts, as part of a sweeping reorganization aimed at combining functions between Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif." the timing of these new layoffs "coincide with the end of the Disney Co.'s fiscal second quarter, which concludes Saturday."

Coincidence? Certainly not. I will come back tomorrow on this subject and how destructive it can be for the company - at least much more than the suits can think, but in the meantime have a look at the full Orlando Sentinel article right HERE.

Text: copyright Orlando Sentinel
Editor's Note: Good news for the Shanghaî Disneyland project? Let's hope it's for real. Right after, a great Disneyland Paris wallpaper article, don't miss it!

Shanghai Disneyland wins China Central Government approval ?

The Chinese web site reports this morning that "Global entertainment giant Walt Disney Co has obtained approval from China's regulatory bodies to launch the long-awaited Shanghai Disney Park, the Shanghai-based Wen Hui Bao reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The sources said a press conference would be held soon in Geneva to announce the approval.

Earlier media reports said that a joint venture will be established to manage the Shanghai Disney Park, with 43% of its shares held by the U.S. company and 57% held by the Chinese side.

About RMB 24.4 billion will be invested in the first phase construction of the theme park. The park will cover an area of 10 square kilometers upon completion, 8 times larger than that of the Hong Kong Disney Park."

If it's real, it's very good news, but i suggest we wait for an official announcement before we begin to dance in the streets...

Text: copyright

Disneyland Paris High-Res wallpaper pictures - by Maureen Chaffurin

I've promised it to you last monday so here it is, a new Disneyland Paris wallpaper pictures article. The pictures were shoot by the young and talented Maureen, using a Nikon D40 camera with a 18-55 lens although she also use a 55-200 lens.

The first picture above was shoot ten days ago, and yes, it shows the new stage for the Mickey's Magical Party show on Central Plaza. I like the walls of the stage which looks like the bottom of castle walls.

The next pictures show from the top: Boardwalk Candy Palace, Discovery Arcade, Phantom Manor, River Rogue Keelboats entrance, Thunder Mesa Mercantile, Captain Hook Pirate Ship, Adventureland Bazaar entrance, Story Book Land, La Confiserie des trois fées, Star Tours pre-show robots.

Let's end with a last goodbye to the castle winter lights and 15th Anniversary decorations.

All pictures: copyright Maureen Chaffurin whom i thanks a lot!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prince of Persia video game now available for MAC

We still have to wait one more year before Prince of Persia "Sands of Time" - the next Disney-Bruckheimer big production starring Jake Gillenhaal and Ben Kingsley - will be release but the new Ubisoft video game now available in a MAC version (the game was available for PC since two months) give indications about how Prince of Persia's world should look in the movie.

Set in medieval Persia, the story of an adventurous prince who teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from unleashing a sandstorm that could destroy the world. Which is why after the prince was tricked by a dying Vizier to unleash the Sands of Time that turns out to destroy a kingdom and transforms its populace into ferocious demons. In his effort to save his own kingdom and redeem his fatal mistake, it's up to the prince and the princess to return the sands to the hourglass by using the Dagger of Time, which also gives him a limited control over the flow of time

Below, the video game trailer. Price of the game for MAC or PC is $49.99, and the MAC download is HERE.

And here is a video with comments from a player.

Picture and videos: copyright Ubisoft

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Disney Interactive Studios Announces Toy Story Mania 3D Video Game Exclusively for Nintendo Wii !

It's the news of the week, and it's really cool: Disney Interactive studios officially announces today that a Toy Story Mania video game - of course inspired from the DCA and WDW attraction - will be released this fall, exclusively for Nintendo Wii. And in 3D!

On a certain point of view, what's more logical? TSM is a more a huge video game than a real ride, so more than any other Disney attraction a video game adaptation was logical, if not inevitable.

For the first time a Disney attraction is coming to your home, almost with the same technology, although it will be always more sophisticated in the parks. The game will be released this fall, probably when the Toy Story movie will be re-release in 3D next October. Hmmm, i think that now i can't escape to buy a Nintendo Wii...

Here is the full Disney Interactive studios press release and screenshots of this awaited Wii game.


Beloved "Toy Story" Characters and Theme Park Attraction Provide Backdrop for Family-Friendly Carnival-Style Video Game

BURBANK, Calif., (March 24, 2009) Disney Interactive Studios today announced Toy Story Mania!, inspired by the Disney/Pixar animated feature "Toy Story," will be released exclusively for the Wii home video game console this fall. Toy Story Mania! showcases an array of entertaining games based on the new Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort attractions, while featuring the iconic characters and humor from the popular Disney/Pixar "Toy Story" franchise.

"The 'Toy Story' franchise is a fun, dynamic and heart-warming series containing characters and themes that connect with every age group," said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. "Toy Story Mania! combines those popular elements with the unique antics of the new theme park attraction for the ultimate in family entertainment."

In Toy Story Mania!, players experience the fast-paced, zany fun of the Toy Story Mania! theme park attraction, which is an interactive experience requiring 3D glasses and involving rapid or quick-firing shooting galleries. In addition to galleries adapted from the attraction, the game includes new and original galleries and a series of mini games, all hosted by beloved characters from the movies. The thematically-connected levels are designed for up to four players of all ages with competitive and co-operative multiplayer options. Toy Story Mania! also includes bonus 3D features, transforming the game experience with eye-popping visuals.

The Pixar-created "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" have both had successful box office and DVD sales. The Disney Digital 3D™ theatrical re-release of "Toy Story" is in the works and will open in theatres on October 2, 2009, followed by the 3D re-release of "Toy Story 2" opening on February 12, 2010, leading up to the premiere of "Toy Story 3" in 3D summer 2010. Toy Story Mania! is the first video game to place characters from these films into a carnival game setting and is expected to resonate with fans of the films and the attraction, as well as gamers who like pick-up-and-play party games

Developed by Papaya Studio, Toy Story Mania! will be available this fall exclusively for Wii.

Pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar - Screenshots thanks to

Disney Shopping release new Pinocchio Collectibles

Two weeks ago i've posted a quite harsh article about the D23 merchandise section and their now famous $849 pen. Some days later, Jim Hill posted an article called "Give the Geeks a Chance" where he says that Steven B. Clark, the head of D23 was just as Disney geek as we can be. And you know what? Jim is right.

By all what i've heard in the last two weeks, Steven B. Clark is indeed a real Disney fan. Now, my article was "exclusively" harsh about the merchandise section, and by what i've been told Steven is not at all in charge of the D23 merchandise products.
So, just in case Steven was hurt by my article, i want to send him my real apologies. As i've said, i think that D23 is a real good initiative, the D23 magazine too - although a bit expensive - and i sincerely wish him all the best for the D23 future.
I know enough the company to know how amazingly difficult it can be to DO this kind of initiative, and i hope it will be successful. Really, i mean it.

Now, as for Disney Shopping or Disney Consumers product division who were the target of my previous article, to be perfectly fair they can also design cool Disney collectibles, and the new Pinocchio items released recently - simultaneously with the release of the Blue Ray collector's edition - are a good example. Let's have a closer look at them.

First, there is of course this Limited Edition Pinocchio Marionette at $199.50

This one and only 30"" high Limited Edition Pinocchio Marionette is a numbered limited edition of 500 and "comes straight from Geppetto's workshop with his artfully crafted expression and fully-jointed arms and legs. The costume of the ''Little Woodenhead'' is intricately detailed with buttons, embroidered accents and golden trim on his lederhosen and vest, plus pleated bow tie, white collar and a soft velour hat topped with a felt feather".

There is also this hand-painted, limited edition of 1200, sculpted resin set of 3 Limited Edition Pinocchio Figurines at $99.50 with a metallic character nameplate on base of each statuette.

One of my favorite is this Limited Edition Whistling Jiminy Cricket Figurine at $79.50

This highly-detailed 8" high Jiminy Cricket maquette captures the personality and design of Jiminy Cricket. "When a motion-sensitive feature hidden in the statue's base is activated, your "Official Conscience" gives a little whistle to remind you that he'll always be at your side". There is a Metallic "Jiminy Cricket" nameplate on base and it's a limited edition of 900.

Another cool item is this 16" high Limited Edition Sculpted Pinocchio Clock at $199.50

Crafted with old world charm in the style of Walt Disney's animated classic, this Pinocchio wall clock strikes all the right notes with its intricate design and cheerful patterns. Four figural sculptures of the favorite characters adorn the timepiece. Staged before the face, Geppetto and Figaro send Pinocchio off to school with a notebook and apple for the teacher, while Jiminy Cricket floats on his umbrella high above the rooftop. Peek into the toy shop from decorative windows on each side.
It includes pendulum and pine cone-shaped counterweights and it's a numbered limited edition of 400.

More affordable is this 9" high Deluxe Pinocchio Journal at $24.50

Reproducing the Old World storybook from the film's opening sequence, this Pinocchio diary features a soft bound cover embossed with an icon of Geppetto's "Little Woodenhead".

If you're among those who like snowglobes, my favourite is this 9" high Monstro the Whale Snowglobe at $79.95 with an automatic blower function and translucent waves

There is also this 11" high World of Disney Jiminy Cricket Snowglobe at $99.95 which take you back to the days of old time radio. Jiminy is perched on a speaker crooning his greatest hit while a colorful cast of Walt Disney characters gather around to hear the broadcast. Note that it is not a functional "real" radio. Other characters include Jiminy Cricket, Snow White, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Thumper, Dopey, Alice, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

As you've seen, when Disney Shopping want to design cool collectibles, they can do it. Okay, that's the kind of collectibles they produce three or four times each year but it also would be the perfect collectibles for the D23 merchandise section. Now, if they could add a "theme park collectibles" section this would be just perfect. C'mon folks, you can do it, it's not that difficult. You did it perfectly for DL 50th Anniversary - that was only four years ago - so we're sure you can do it again.

In the meantime you can find these Pinnochio collectibles right HERE on page 3 of the "new arrivals" section.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Monday, March 23, 2009

The new UP! web site is now on line...and is great !

The new UP! web site is on line, and the different sections are great. Each of them begin with a few seconds of animation, beginning by the home page with Carl's house flying over South America mountains and Carl and Russell walking in the jungle...

The characters page introduce all the main characters on a "panoramic" view...

And then each of them - always with a few seconds of animation - have his own bio introducing the character, whether it's Carl or Russell...

Or Dug the dog and Kevin the bird...

Or the three dangerous dogs Alpha, Gamma and Beta.

In the video section you can of course watch trailers, tv-ads, clips, etc...all this in high-def. And the private screening is inside Carl Fredricksen home!

The "about the film" section is pretty cool too as the story line is written inside an "old book"...

There is many other sections:"Videos", "Downloads" , "Gallery" or "Games" where you can play to Kevin's "Chocogobble"...

...and more with a "wallpaper" section with wallpapers for each UP! character.

Have a look to this great UP! web site, it's on right HERE !

All pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Disney and more one year + poll results !

Here they are, the results of the Disney and more poll! The poll began one year and a half ago and 2019 D&M readers took the time to answer the questions and tell "what articles they prefer on Disney and more".

First, many thanks to each of you who answered to this little poll. Now, what is interesting is this number: 2019.
2019 people answering to a poll is enough to give real indications on what Disney fans are expecting not only from Disney and more, but also in general.

Sooo, let's have a closer look to these results:

21% prefer the "Theme park and attraction artwork" articles. This is not surprising, artwork articles are Disney and more specialty, and thanks to your comments i know you generally enjoy them.

13% prefer "Historical photos" articles, and there has been many of them since the last two years...i only hope i'll still be able to find new and rare pictures!

7% prefer the "Youtube attractions videos" articles. Anybody can find by himself Youtube attractions videos on Youtube, that's true, but some good one never hurt.

11% prefer the "Imagineers interviews" articles. Okay, i admit that it's quite a while since i've posted an Imagineer interview, but may be some new one will come soon...

5% prefer "fresh news of newly open attractions", and that's perfectly logical, i am even surprised there is not more people. As DLP new season is beginning next week, you can expect "news about newly open attraction" very soon!

10% prefer "high-resolution wallpaper pictures". I have good news for those of you who are part of these 10%, there will be a "wallpaper" article tomorrow!

1% only prefer "News about movies and actors", which is not surprising as you can generally find them anywhere else (this doesn't concern Disney movies)

5% prefer "Magic act videos". 5% is not that much,but i'm please to know that some of you like them as a good magic act is always.....magic! Quite a while since i've posted a new one, though...

5% prefer "News about theme park merchandise". I only wish they'll be more really great merchandise items so i could talk about them. However we can expect some real good one soon for the new Haunted Mansion Anniversary...

And 15% prefer "News about coming Theme park technologies". Why did i asked this question!?! It ended in second position - for perfectly understandable reasons - and i almost never do articles about "new technologies"! Okay, generally they are secret, and so secret that it's a bit too "hot" to reveal anything about them!

So, these are the results, and i realize that i forgot to put in the poll a question about "Disney and Pixar animated films"! But there is little doubt that you always welcome new articles about these highly awaited movies.

I will put a new poll soon, but in the meantime if you want to add your vote to this one, you're perfectly welcome. And once again, many thanks to the 2019 readers who took a minute or two to answer to it!

Remy Audio-Animatronic at Epcot's Chefs de France Restaurant

The little Remy Audio-Animatronic is now at Epcot's Chefs de France restaurant where you'll be able to meet him for the next six months. Here is two Youtube videos of this little show.

This little Remy Audio-animatroni was also at the Walt Disney Studios last year, and here is a video of Remy at the "Rendez-vous des Stars" restaurant. The show seems to be a bit different as Remy is "dancing" a bit on Edith Piaf's famous theme "La Vie en Rose".

The two first Youtube videos are from Jeff Lange who is also selling very good WDW Dvd's. You can find them HERE.

The WDS Remy's video was shoot by DlrpMagic, have also a look at their web site HERE

PIcture: Copyright Disney-Pixar

Youtube videos: copyright Jeff Lange and DlrpMagic