Saturday, June 20, 2009
Quite a while since we talked about HKDL, isn't it? Well, everybody is still waiting for a phase two agreement between the WDC and HK government. If they succeed HKDL will have at last a Frontierland with a mine train ride as well as other big E-Tickets.
However, we may have to wait a bit more as one my HK D&M readers told me recently that unfortunately "...the negotiation stops. the government said the agreement is needed to report in the legislative council meeting. There is one meeting left for this year before the summer holiday, and we don't see they put HKDL into the agenda. So we have to wait until September."
Considering they will need at least two years from the moment they have the final agreement to open new rides, let's hope for HKDL that the news we're all waiting for will happen as soon as possible...
In the meantime the park is desperately trying to create some season events - Halloween, Christmas, etc... - and the last idea of the entertainment division is the "Stitch’s Summer Dance Bash".
If you thought it was unthinkable to play beach volley in the middle of Main Street, one of the picture below will surprise you! Let's know more about this summer event with the official press release below and of course great HD pictures.
Let the show begin - Stitch is ready to party with you! Summer begins with Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as everyone is invited to an all-new dance bash!
(Hong Kong, June 11, 2009) Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is already getting into the Summer mood as it debuts today the largest beach party in town. From now until August 31, the Park is the ultimate summer playground for Guests of all ages. Stitch will have everyone dancing on Main Street USA with all his Disney friends as they welcome all to his crazy Summer Dance Bash, the perfect antidote to day-to-day stress.
Sporting his rock’n’roll Elvis hairstyle, Stitch will be performing his signature ‘626’ dance in Stitch’s Summer Dance Bash with a mission to get everyone into a “hang loose” mood for the Summer season. It is also the first-show-of-its-kind that highly engage Guests’ participation, inviting them to play volleyball, do the beach towel pull or dance together. Seven new photo scenes are also placed throughout the Park as he is set to bring out the silly fun side of all our Guests.
“Stitch has a unique fun-loving and yet mischievous personality that speaks to both young adults and families,” said Andrew Kam Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland. “He is definitely our best ambassador for this Summer, reminding everyone, regardless of your age, deserves a time out from the frenetic pace of Hong Kong. Our resort provides the perfect opportunity for a Summer getaway.”
“By rolling out the all-new Summer-themed activities one month earlier than last year, we hope to also attract more Guests from South East Asian markets such as Singapore, India and Indonesia as their Summer vacations begin in June,” Kam added.
Three times a day, Guests will party on Main Street U.S.A. as Stitch invites them all to be the stars of the all-new Stitch’s Summer Dance Bash. Helping him out are some very special Disney friends including Genie and Mr. Incredible, who have never been seen before at the Park in Hong Kong, as well as Goofy and Ariel in their new Summer looks. The show is decked with vibrant color, featuring five mini-floats with unique designs and a group of energized dancers who are all set to rock the entire street!
Search the Park to find seven new Stitch’s Get Silly Photo scenes as Stitch invites Guests to ride the waves, do their best hula moves and create their best Alien face for funny photo poses. And everyone can head back to Main Street U.S.A. again for a cool down after exploring the park with the help of Mickey and his Waterworks Parade. Back at Hong Kong Disneyland this summer, this parade is super cool fun!
At Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, the experience is always an immersive one and Stitch’s party continues at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel who will be hosting Stitch Summer barbeques in the company of some special Disney friends. Throughout the Park, there will be over 70 new Stitch merchandise on sale as well as some tasty summer treats such as coconut ice cream and Stitch’s own signature drinks.
All pictures: copyright Disney-Hong Kong Disneyland
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The highly-awaited Fantasmic dragon may be broken, but that will not stop you to have it on your computer, roaring, breathing fire, and in 3D!
Disneyland new Nightastic marketing campaign is using incredible "augmented reality" 3D effect, and you're going to like it! Here is what you have to do to enjoy this amazing effect: First go on the Disneyland website HERE
When you arrive on this page below click on the bottom right on "Fantasmic 3D", or, if it doesn't work go HERE.
Then, when the page below appear, choose "Full interactive experience" and click on "Print your marker and full instructions". A PDF will download, and the page to be print is the one of the left with the Nightastic image. It's the same image you have on the top of this D&M article, so if you have a problem with the PDF you can print the one on the top. Now,once this is done, click on "Launch". You'll have to download and install a small program (it works for both Mac and PC) but go ahead, do it, it will take 5 minutes only, it's safe and you need it for the great 3D effect. Just close your internet browser before, and start it again when the program is installed. Everything is clearly written in the PDF instructions page.
Once all of this is done click on "Launch" again, and when your face appear in the webcam, take the page you've printed - the one with the Nightastic image - and put it in front of the webcam... and be amaze by what will happen!
Just to give you a preview of what awaits you, i did a little video with the help of my young cousin, holding the page while i'm filming. Here it is below.
Now, once you hold the page in front of the webcam, there is more special effects you can do. Just push and hold some letters on the keyboard and you will make the dragon roar, breathing fire, call TInkerbell, launch fireworks over Disneyland castle or a video, etc...
And now, here is the video, which is better than thousand words.
It looks magical, doesn't it? Basically, this is what is called "augmented reality" effect. In two words, an element which doesn't exist in real is added to reality. When you show the flat Nightastic image print to your webcam, thanks to the software you've installed previously, the webcam detect it and add automatically the 3D elements you've seen in the video.
Now, go ahead, do it yourself, you will enjoy it a LOT!
Screen Capture Pictures: copyright Disney
Video by Alain Littaye - Disney and more
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
What you'll see today are rare documents from Phantom Manor ...although anyone who do the ride pass each time at two feet from them! These letters are part of the theming, anyone can see them but nobody can read them because of the moving doom buggy!
Here is the whole story: When we prepared the Disneyland Paris, from Sketch to reality book back in 2000, we needed photos of Phantom Manor scenes. Disneyland paris photo library had thousands of photos, but not of every scene. So, as i am also a professionnal photographer, after the park was closed and with a DLP escort, i spent some nights shooting pictures not only inside Phantom manor, but also in Pirates of Caribbean, It's a small world, Peter Pan's Flight, etc..
And for Phantom manor i had the pleasure to walk around inside the manor, taking pictures of all the needed scenes. At one point i arrived near the "Bride in front of the mirror" scene. Right in front of it, on the other side of the doom buggy track, there is some furniture, and upon it, those letters. Simply by curiosity i shoot a picture of them....and forget all about it, until recently when i found back the slides.
And what is written on them is amazing! It took time for me to decipher the writing as the photo is not perfectly sharp, but you'll find the text below.
First these letters are written in FRENCH! I must remind you, that, although the park is in France, Phantom Manor is located in Frontierland which is supposed to be the old AMERICAN west, and so the letters should be written in english! Does this mean that we have here the first theming mistake in Frontierland? On a certain point, yes, but this does't matter really, what is interesting is why these letters are written in french, and most of all, what is the text talking about?
Here is what is written, first in french, and then in english with a translartion i did for you of two only letters where the whole text is visible. Hope that my translation is not too bad...
First letter, supposedly written by the son of Phantom Manor's owner, Mr Ravenswood:
Je suis lasse de notre conflit.
Ce constat me mène à me rabaisser sans pudeur devant vous tellement il est difficile, je l’avoue, de vivre sans ( sous ) votre grande richesse.
Père, je vous prie d’accepter mes excuses les plus hypocrites que j’ai jamais pu faire.
Votre cher fils.
I am tired of our conflict.
This report leads me to decrease me immodestly in front of you, as it is so difficult to live under your great wealth.
Father, please accept the most hypocritical apologies i ever did.
Your dear son.
Second letter, supposedly written by Melanie Ravenswood lover - the one who will be - in Phantom Manor's mythology - killed by Mr Ravenswood:
Il est temps maintenant d’annoncer à votre père votre amour pour moi. Je ne supporte plus de voir votre beauté...(déchiffrage du texte impossible)...qui lorgnent sans cesse sur votre douce et volumineuse poitrine. Il est donc temps de vous offrir à moi.
Je baise...(déchiffrage du texte impossible)
It is now time to announce to your father your love for me. I can't stand any more to watch your beauty...(impossible to decipher the text)..who peer endlessly at your sweet and voluminous chest. It is now time to offer you to me.
I kiss...(impossible to decipher the end of the text)
Now, what do we have here? A letter - even a "hot" letter - from Melanie's lover who will be killed soon after this writing ( obviously it was not a good idea to suggest to Melanie to announce her love for him to her father, Mr Ravenswood ! ), and, two a letter written by Mr Ravenswood's son - so, Melanie's brother - with a "perfume" of coming suicide...
There is just one little problem: in Phantom Manor's story line, Mr Ravenswood don't have any "son", and Melanie don't have any brother!! Was it a real mistake or a private joke done by WDI props people?
So, what happen? Why are these letters written in french and not in english, and have a text who take some "liberty" with the attraction's story line?
Well, i asked a friend imagineer involved in the creation of Frontierland about this. After he thanks me for "sharing this interesting and seemingly provocative discovery from (my) archives" (!) he gave me the answer to this riddle...
During the final days of dressing the sets, not only for the Manor but overall Frontierland, the lead team of WDI Glendale prop people were assisted by French set and props dressing associates. This accounts for some of the "love letters" being written en français.
As to the questionable content, "your dear son", etc.., It seems that i figured it out perfectly. Because it was so far from the guests vision, it would only be discovered upon closer scrutiny - like me with my camera. So, it was the perfect kind of private, inside joke that someone working on the project could do. Some WDI designers always include hidden "Mickeys" in their work, but here we have a jokester who takes this practice to a completely different and cleverly humorous level. Hidden in plain sight!
So, next time you will ride Phantom Manor, instead to look at the bride and the mirror, have a look on the other side of the track. Because your doom buggy will be moving, you'll still won't be able to read those letters, but you won't mind, as now you are in the secret of what is written on them...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
How Marc Davis legendary " Western River Expedition " attraction was almost built at Disneyland Paris
If you're a true Disney theme park fan, you've certainly heard before about this Marc Davis legendary attraction project "Western River Expedition". What you don't know is how this attraction was almost built in early 1990's at Disneyland Paris Frontierland. I will explain to you in details why and how, but first, for those of you who don't know Marc's original project, here is a short description of it, and if you want to know more about this concept, you will find a full information HERE and also in the excellent Jim Hill ten parts article HERE.
The Western River Adventure attraction was a Marc Davis project originally designed for Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom. Marc designed the attraction and characters in the form of drawings and models over a five-year period. Although the attraction had a significant cost, Disney executives such as Dick Irvine and Roy Disney both liked the idea when presented with Davis' concepts.
Originally, this flume ride attraction was located both inside, outside, and around an architectural feature in Frontierland known as Thunder Mesa mountain. Guests would have enter a cave marked "Western River Shipping & Navigation Co" which led to a canyon in perpetual "twilight" lighting. After boarding in a boat - similar to the boats of Pirates of Caribbean although with a different theming, of course - the boat would have glided softly in the canyon where was located the different scenes. The ride's narrator, Hoot Gibson (an audio-animatronic owl) would have explained first the ride's safety instructions.
Western River Expedition was an Audio-Animatronic delight with dozens of new AA figures, and certainly as many as in Pirates of Caribbean. Just like in POTC Marc Davis designed scenes where humour was always present. Potential scenes included:
A stage coach robbery
Banditos where even their horses had bandanas across their faces!
An Indian (Native American) rain dance that causes it to rain
Other gag scenes with desert animals, cactus, buffaloes, bear...
A western town called Dry Gulch with scenes showing a cowboy on horseback on the roof of the town's saloon - and 10 characters, including a bartender ( who is trying to shoot the cowboy and his mount off the roof ), saloon girls, and other cowboys hooting and hollering, and more...
...And a waterfall-drop finale.
If built, it would have been one of the most complex and expensive Disney attractions of its time, housed in one of the largest show buildings (a large warehouse that stores the interior of the attraction) ever created by the WDI. Its projected expense is one reason it was never built. The attraction, would have also shared the show building with a "runaway" mine train themed roller coaster. Other features of the pavilion-style WRE would have included hiking trails atop the mesa, a Pueblo Indian village, and a pack mule attraction.
The Western River Expedition was supposed to be Walt Disney World's answer to Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean. When plans were being made for the Magic Kingdom, Imagineers had no plans to replicate "Pirates" for the Magic Kingdom. It was believed by many Imagineers at the time that Florida residents were too accustomed to pirates, as pirates are a part Florida's local legend and lore. Disney management thought that cowboys and Indians would be more surprising and exciting to Florida residents.
However, when the Magic Kingdom opened, the most common complaint from guests were "Where are the Pirates?" Disney hastily built a second Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom, thus scrapping plans for the Western River Expedition because much of the budget planned to build the Western River Expedition was used in building Pirates of the Caribbean for the Magic Kingdom. Years later, there was the possibility that the Western River Expedition would be built, however various problems plagued the attractions development, and instead, over the course of many years, two complex attractions- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain - each both using elements and inspiration from the Western River Expedition, now occupy the land originally placed aside for the Western River Expedition.
Western River Expedition is something of a legend among Disney Imagineers, especially to those who admire the work of Disney legend Marc Davis and parts of the ride was slipped into other attractions like Epcot's World of Motion.
Let's come back now to Disneyland Paris. Soon after the park opening in 1992, new attractions to increase the park capacity were needed, and as quick as possible. Each land show producer and their team were asked to propose new projects, and here is where the Western River Expedition attraction project makes its comeback.
For Jeff Burke, show producer of DLP's Frontierland, the unique landscape theming of the land was perfect to introduce WRE. You see, at DLP, Frontierland don't have all this greenery you can find in the U.S parks with a Tom Sawyer island at the center of the river. In Paris, we have instead Big Thunder Mountain island in the middle of the Rivers of the far west, and a vegetation coming more from the desert - cactus, etc...than from the banks of the Mississipi river. In two words, Paris Frontierland has a more "dry" vegetation. And when you'll know that Marc Davis WRE had a kind of red "canyon" exterior theming, you will understand why DLP's Frontierland would have been ( and still is ) the perfect Frontierland to build Marc's attraction.
So, back in 1993, the imagineers bring out again Marc's artwork and WRE models and thought that the best place to build the attraction in Frontierland would have been in the land available behind the train station - exactly where rumors since the last 10 years keep saying that the park-is-going-to-build-here-Splash Mountain-anytime-soon. Although it's true that a Splash Mountain attraction was also envisioned by the imagineers at this same location, the first one who almost did it was definitely Western River Expedition.
The location would have been perfect, and the imagineers really thought that this time , that was it: Marc Davis legenday project was finally going to be build!
So, what happenned? Well, what happened is that somebody called Michael Eisner - remember this man who was the CEO of the Walt Disney Company before he became anchorman of his own show on a cable network? - Michael Eisner, so, came and had a look to all the different projects. And once again, the "cost" curse of Western River Expedition burried the project... Eisner asked for the cost of it - and it's true that WRE is really an expensive attraction, let's say probably not less than 150 M $ - and that was really too much for Michael.
Goodbye Western River Expedition, and welcome......nothing, as in Frontierland no attractions were built back in 1993 at the exception of the Fort scenes. Instead, Indiana Jones and the temple of peril, Casey Jr, Story Book Land, Les Mystères du Nautilus and Space Mountain were built, all successful attractions, i must add.
Do we have a chance to see a Western River Expedition in the future at DLP's Frontierland? Mmmmh, although the land is still available, i would not bet too much on it. It's a pity, because every guest will love it, but, hey, if you are an Arab Prince who have 150 M $ and don't know what to do with them, please call DLP executives and tell them you're ready to fund a WRE project. Marc Davis - from where he is now, will bless you till the end of your life!
Artwork: copyright Disney Enterprises
Thanks to Wikipedia for the description text.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Believe it or not, but i finally found back the High-Definition tape of Mickey's Magical Party Grand Opening i was searching since 2 months and a half! I was invited for the Grand Opening at DLP's big event in March, and filmed everything in High-Definition with my Sony HD camera, and when i went back home i could not find the tape!!
After i looked everywhere i began to thought that i really lost it, and, miraculously it reappeared some days ago! I've uploaded it on Youtube, and now you'll be able to see the whole show! What is particularly interesting is that the Mickey's Magical Party show was during the evening. It's a unique occasion to see it at night as at DLP the show happen during daytime at the end of the afternoon.
Also, the laser effects and the firework were only for this magical evening - as well as the big Mickey head screen with projection effects located on the left of the castle. Finally, i shoot everything from the press photographers location, the best location to take picture or movie.
Due to its length, the "It's party time with Mickey and friends" show video is divided in four parts - the firework is of course on the last one. As usual, you can see it in bigger size directly on Youtube - a double-click on each video will send you on the Youtube page. Also, if all the videos don't appear, just reload the page.
After these four "parts" you'll find another video also filmed that evening. If you ever wondered what a disco party on DLP Central Plaza right in front of the castle could look like, there you'll have an idea. And with a DJ dressed in a Stitch costume! Actually, this "disco party" happened before the show itself. Anyway, enjoy all the videos, you'll feel just like if you have been there on this memorable evening!
And now, the video of the disco party before the show.
Let me know in the comments what you think of that special evening and the show!
All videos: copyright Alain Littaye - Disney and more
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Believe it or not, but today is Disneyland's Matterhorn 50th birthday! No kidding. And i think that this Disneyland beloved attraction deserves a tribute with some historical pictures!
Walt Disney conceived the idea for the attraction when visiting Switzerland during filming of his film, Third Man on the Mountain. He was impressed by the beauty of the real Matterhorn, and had the thought of a bobsled ride. Here is a picture of Walt at WEd with the Matterhorn model.
Originally intended as a decorative overlay for the central pylon of the Disneyland Skyway, the concept for the Matterhorn later evolved into a full-blown, separate attraction. The attraction opened on June 14, 1959, as one of three new major attractions for Tomorrowland that year. Built by coaster builder Arrow Development and WED Imagineering, it was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world. It consisted of a wood and steel infrastructure surrounded by manmade rock. Trees could be seen on its sides; by making the trees at higher altitudes smaller, the Imagineers used forced perspective to augment the mountain's height. Waterfalls cascaded down its sides and frequently sprayed riders. Inside was a large, open space through which the bobsleds traveled. Unlike the real Matterhorn, this peak had numerous holes in its shell through which the riders sometimes exited and re-entered. The space within was not elaborately themed, with the infrastructure being only minimally disguised as rock.
The Matterhorn was part of the famous 1959 inauguration and here is Walt Disney and Vice-president Richard Nixon and his family during this inauguration...
...where guests could enjoyed a Swiss ballet during the Matterhorn's grand opening!
LIFE photographer Ralph Crane was there when the Matterhorn opened and shoot from the top these great pictures. Note: the first picture below was reversed - you could see it when you looked at the Alice in Wonderland ride who was on the right side instead to be on the left. The picture is now turned the right way!
Here is a great video of Walt, Lilian Disney and the Shah of Iran with his wife Farah, all together in a Matterhorn bobsled!
In 1978, the imagineers worked on a refurbishment of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn was coming down to be reinforced with steel, as it was a wood framed structure since the beginning. The new Bobsleds were being added along with new track, and better brakes too for the splash down. It was also decided to put some show in the interior mostly for the Skyway buckets that passed through the Matterhorn more slowly. The Bobsleds of course at speed could see the new icy interiors and crystals as well as what is now a very famous Disneyland figure: the abominable snowman.
Steve Kirk who will be later the show producer in chief for Tokyo Disney Sea worked on the design of it - i should say them as there is three "abominable snowmen" in the ride. The design of these Snow Men was based on Steve's artwork - the one above - which was a composite of several different contemporary depictions and his own warped imagination.
Sculptor Blaine Gibson will then sculpt the snowman mask, and the imagineers team with Legend and Matterhorn creator Fred Joerger added the interior with the new Ice Crystals. Some of the abominable snowmen AA are in fact old Jungle Cruise audio-animatronic gorillas with a new suit, now living a second life in the role of the Matterhorn's abominable snowmen!
Since then, Disneyland's Matterhorn is always one of DL guests favorite ride, and i'm ready to bet that the Matterhorn will still be there in 50 years from now, to celebrate its 100th anniversary! In the meantime, let's end with a great night picture of the Matterhorn Lagoon showing DL submarines, the monorail, and, of course, the Matterhorn.
Pictures: copyright Disney and Time-Life
Steve Kirk's artwork and abominable snowman pictures: copyright Disney.
Part of the text: copyright Wikipedia
Editor's Note: Hello, all. As i saw UP! two days ago, you'll find my review of the movie below right after the Fantasmic videos. Also, before i left i told you that D&M should have a new design on my return, and it will be the case, hopefully soon, in one or two weeks, as we have a little delay on that.
Publié par Alain Littaye à l'adresse 4:57 AM
Disneyland released this short promotional video for the return of Fantasmic. The new dragon is unfortunately broken and it will take weeks to fix it, but you'll be able to see the new 37-foot-long eels Flotsam and Jetsam! You will see these new Fantasmic characters - eel puppets mounted on the top of a high-performance Jet Ski - even better on the other Youtube video from gunitballa87. Right after the videos, you'll find the official press release.
‘Fantasmic!’ Returns to Disneyland This Summer With Awesome New Creatures and Brighter Images
ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 12, 2009) – More powerful projection technology and some awe-inspiring new creatures – including 37-foot-long eels Flotsam and Jetsam – make “Fantasmic!” an exciting part of Summer Nightastic! at Disneyland. The long-running nighttime special-effects spectacular, presented on the Rivers of America in New Orleans Square and Frontierland, jumps off the screen like never before with stunning video and lighting effects that bring brilliant life to Mickey Mouse’s encounters with classic characters and menacing Disney villains.
What: The show combines animation on giant mist screens with lifelike Disney characters and performers. New to the show are Flotsam and Jetsam, the eel pets of Ursula the Sea Witch from “The Little Mermaid.” Another surprise in the cast of creatures is Captain Hook’s crocodile nemesis, now 12 feet tall, 21 feet long and - thanks to new “high-tech” animation – more lifelike than ever with snapping jaws that threaten Peter Pan’s hapless rival. Making its debut later this summer will be a fully animated, three-dimensional dragon who breathes fire across the Rivers of America. The 40-foot-tall dragon will dazzle guests like never before as the creature steps out of the shadows that concealed it in past “Fantasmic!” performances.
WHEN: Nightly, beginning Friday, June 12, and continuing through Aug. 23, with weekend shows through Sept. 7, at Disneyland. For details, visit www.disneyland.com/summer.
BIGGER, SHARPER IMAGES: All-new digital projectors have replaced the 70mm film projectors, revitalizing the images from classic Disney animated films that appear in “Fantasmic!” The result is a larger image with improved clarity and more vivid colors than even before.
* Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula’s eels from “The Little Mermaid,” are each eight feet tall and 37 feet long.
* Central to the magic of “Fantasmic!” are the three mist screens, each 50 feet wide by 35 feet tall, upon which the films are projected.
* Approximately 9,000 guests can view “Fantasmic!” at each performance. The audience is approximately 70 feet from the main stage on Tom Sawyer Island.
* Each night, more than 100 cast and crew members bring “Fantasmic!” to life, in the
* Additional water effects include 21 fountains and six “whale tails” in the scene when Monstro the whale charges across the Rivers of America.
* At the beginning of the show, two light towers appear on either side of the main stage. During the day, these towers rest 26 feet underground. They rise to a height of 40 feet in less than a minute.
* The audio surrounding the “Fantasmic!” spectators is created by four speakers on Tom Sawyer Island and three on the mainland.
* Kaa, the conniving snake from “The Jungle Book” who slithers across the “Fantasmic!” stage, is 100 feet long.
* The “crew” of Captain Hook’s ship (the Sailing Ship Columbia by day) is composed of professional stunt performers who execute all the spectacular duels and falls.
* As part of the “Fantasmic!” story, the wicked Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” will rise to a height of 35 feet in 17 seconds, before transforming into a new dragon.
* The new dragon is a fully animated three-dimensional design that replicates the movements of the dragon in “Sleeping Beauty.” The dragon is 40 feet tall by 28 feet wide and weighs approximately 10,000 pounds.
* The dragon lights the Rivers of America on fire for 25 seconds.
Photo and video: copyright Disney
Many thanks to gunitballa87 for his great Youtube video!