Saturday, August 15, 2009

Muppets filming at Disneyland for 2010 promotional campaign

As you know the Muppets were all around Disneyland this week for Disneyland's next promotional campaign filming. They still will be in the park in the next days, but as Al Lutz on Mice Age told us "there's been much more of it taking place overnight inside popular attractions with many elaborate setups. What has been seen out in the park during the day is just the tip of the iceberg for the new Disneyland campaign coming in 2010".

This first video is a short sequence filmed in front of the castle.

On this next video, the Muppets filming takes place on the Columbia and the Mark Twain.

Now, of course, the big question is: why Disney is using the Muppets for the future Disneyland campaign? Hopefully we may have the answer soon, and when it'll be on line i'll let you know.

Picture: copyright Jim Henson - Disney

Youtube videos thanks to disneyguy115 and scarletlark

Gorgeous Harry Potter Blu-Ray Prestige Edition now available for Pre-order

If you're a Harry Potter fan AND owner of a Blu-Ray disc Player, then this upcoming Harry Potter Blue-Ray Prestige Edition to be released November 25th is for you!

As you can see on the pictures, this "Prestige Edition" is a beautiful resin reproduction of Hogwarts Castle and include Blu-Ray discs of Harry Potter movies 1 to 6 with room to put the no 7 part 1 and 2 discs when available in the future.

I am not a huge Harry Potter fan but i have to admit that this Prestige Edition with Hogwarts Castle model looks fantastic. Dimensions of the item as announced by Amazon are 50 x 40 x 40 cm, but, looking at the picture, i think it'll be probably closer to 40 x 30 x 30 cm. Weight: 6kgs (12 pounds).

However, there is just a little problem: this Prestige Edition is available only (for now) on the french Amazon web site. And price is 185 euros - 265 U.S $! And this does not include shipping and custom taxes if you live in the U.S.
Also, the Blu-Ray dvds will be "zone 2" dvds, which mean that if you live in Europe your Blu-Ray Player will be able to play the discs, but not necessarily if you have a U.S Blu-Ray player. Anyway, if some of you are interested to pre-order it, just go on HERE

Pictures: copyright

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tom Scherman Tribute Part 2 : Tokyo Disney Sea Artwork

Hello, everyone. Tokyo Disney Sea is largely considered as the most beautiful theme park in the world, and today i will explain to you how you can own a piece of its history. More precisely: of Tokyo Disney Sea Mysterious Island origin. I've presented to you in previous articles the great Nautilus specialist Tom Scherman, and today's article is all about his rare Discovery Bay drawings. As we will see, the design of Tokyo Disney Sea Mysterious Island found its origin in these drawings.

First, we have to thank Rowland Scherman, his brother who own some of Tom's original drawings and provided his artwork for this article. Here is what Rowland told me on why Tom was so interested in the Tokyo DisneySea project:

"Ten years before Tokyo, Tom and Harper Goff had an idea for a TV show and a Theme Park/Ride called Discovery Bay. It was Nemo's home base and there were to be lessons of travel, nature and physics involved.

Harper died before they could collaborate on the project, but Tom kept at it and drew different versions of it over and over again. He also made, at his own expense, a pilot film preview of the idea. It is a cult classic--but no one at Disney ever got to see it.

The drawings Tom made were on napkins--his favorite medium--not only because he could do them while dining at a restaurant, but also he liked the shading effects he could produce on the napkin's absorbent surface. The sketches simply took form in Tom's head. He could visualize the project from any angle, and then simply create it on a napkin!

That Tokyo's Mysterious Island looks like Tom's ten year old drawings is a source of speculation as to which came first. Alas, now that Tom is no longer with us, that answer will probably remain a mystery."

Well, recently i had more explanations about it, as i received an email from somebody who very kindly gave me more informations about the collaboration between Tom Scherman and Harper Goff. As you will see, it seems that imagineer Tony Baxter was also involved in the project:
"Yes, Harper worked on it, but, the project was primarily Tony Baxter and Tom Scherman. In fact, most of the design work that TDS show-producer Steve Kirk and his team used in the final placement of MYSTERIOUS ISLAND was directly inspired and/or lifted from the work that Tom and Tony did on the Port Disney project (Long Beach, CA) for the 'Mysterious Island' installation there. Tom passed on far too early to work upon the DisneySea version of Mysterious Island, and, Tony was not a member of the design team that was assigned to Tokyo DisneySea. But, the work that created that installation rests fully upon the previous foundations laid by Tony Baxter and back to the mid-1970's"

So, quite a while ago, Tom did what he always did to jog his memory: he began to draw Vulcania Island, with what he remembered about the 1954 movie and the WDI imagineer's ideas for the TDS park.

Here are some of those black and white very rare drawings, beginning with this one of the overall view of the volcano and the Nautilus floating in its lagoon.

Here's another one, a closer view of the Nautilus, including one of TDS boats.

This other one shows the fantastic machines built by Captain Nemo as seen around the Vulcania lagoon.

Tom's drawings also depicted the decor in the Journey to the Center of the Earth ride, like this setpiece that everybody walking around the lagoon would see.

Not to mention this concept for the boarding area, as seen after riders took the elevator to arrive in the center of the earth...

As we can see on the pictures below, Mysterious Island is not that far in concept from Tom's work.

Now, the good news is that his brother Rowland own the rights of these drawings and is currently producing a set of limited edition lithographs. It is a very limited edition, between 100 and 150 numbered sets, large-sized, all with a certificate of authenticity.

If you're a Nautilus fan - and who isn't? - this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to own some of Tom Scherman's artwork and a bit of Tokyo Disney Sea history. If you want to know more, feel free to send Rowland Scherman an email at:

If you have trouble to contact him by email - sometime my own messages were blocked as spam - please email me at: and i will forward your request to him.

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Artwork: copyright Tom Scherman

Photos: copyright Oriental Land co

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A TRIBUTE TO TOM SCHERMAN - Part One - The making of Disneyland Paris Nautilus

This article is a tribute to Tom Scherman's work and a fantastic insight in the making of DLP’s unique Nautilus attraction. As you will see, we all have to thanks Tom as without him probably the almost-real-size Nautilus that guests can visit at Disneyland Paris would have never been built.

Let’s begin by the beginning. When Tom was 19 and saw at theatres “20000 leagues under the sea” he literally found in love with Harper Goff brilliantly designed Nautilus. So much that at the same age he built his first model of the submarine, and above is a rare picture of Tom shot by his brother Rowland Scherman.

Later, he will even re-designed his own home in a Nautilus way!

But If somebody would have told him when he was 19 that more than 35 years later he would have help to build a real one in a Disney park - and in France Jules Verne's country! - and even better, that this Nautilus couldn’t have been built without him - i doubt that he would have believed it !

So, in the early 1990’s when WDI imagineers decided to build at Disneyland Paris a real-size Nautilus they had a big problem: Harper Goff, the original designer of the submarine was going to die in 1993. Fortunately, Tom Scherman who as we know dedicated his life to the Nautilus knew everything about the secrets of the making of the legendary submarine. Thanks to his passion Tom became friend with Harper Goff and he knew so much the submarine that he was able to draw almost any part of it. So, with the help of Tom, the imagineers were able to built an almost real size Nautilus, and the works begin.

Tom provided to Tim Delaney, show producer of DLP’s Discoveryland hundreds of drawings , help WDI imagineers on the models and of course during the construction of the attraction. He also built for DLP two other models, one that visitors were able to see in the pre-show of the “Visionarium” attraction - now extinct - and another smaller one which is still in the “Discoveryland” room on the first floor of the “Walt’s” restaurant in Main street.

So, let’s have a look first of how Tom’s work begin , with some of his drawings, incredibly detailed.
Here is Tom’s shetch for the “treasure room”

One for the passage way to Nemo’s cabin

He did many different sketches for the famous diving room

For some of its elements like the load ring or the diving well

And even more details like the ring support or a vertical pipe

And not to mention the diving suit rack

By the way, Tom also did the diving suits that anyone can now see inside the diving chamber!
Of course he provided drawings for Nemo’s grand salon

For the grand window and other Nautilus windows

Some details for the salon viewport iris control

And of course for Nemo’s pipe organ

When you leave Nemo’s grand salon, you’ll find on your left a window with seaweed behind it, here is Tom’s sketch for it

Here are two sketches for the passage way between the grand salon and the pump room - the pump room is located at the end of the walk through

And here is one sketch for the pump room door itself

He knew so much the Nautilus in details that he was able to provide incredible detailed sketches on some elements like these below

Discoveryland show-producer Imagineer Tim Delaney also did some great artwork, showing the outside of the Nautilus.

As you've seen above Tom has built detailed models, and then it was time to build the real thing. All of the Nautilus was not recreated, and WDI imagineers decided to re-create one “floor” only, with the most famous rooms.

Believe it or not, but all the inside decors of the Nautilus were built in California inside a WDI facility, then every piece were put in huge boxes and sent by boat to Paris through the Panama canal! So, i suppose we can say that for once a Nautilus will have go through the Panama canal!

And how do you build real-size Nautilus decors? Well, thanks to these pictures that Tom sent to me April 1st 1994, we will have a close look on the making of the attraction. All the pictures were shot by Tom (except, of course when he his on the picture).

So, it began by a kind of metal “skeleton”...

Here is the one for the grand salon window (on the right is the diving room)

And a little bit later...

Here is Tom in what will be Nemo’s cabin.

A picture of the staircase in the map room

And two of the almost finished map room.

Two pictures of the diving room.

Tom is here during the making of the grand salon. Also below as a picture of a part of it, finished.

The next picture shows the pump room.

....And Tom in the middle of it.

Everything seems to be on its way for the shipping through the Atlantic Ocean.

So, how is the final result? It’s a wonder, and if you've never came to DLP, here is some pictures of how it looks. The Nemo’s room...

....the map room

....the diving room

....the unbelievably gorgeous Grand Salon where guests experience an attack from a giant squid!

Nemo’s pipe organ - Captain Nemo’s bust appears regularly in the mirror!

.......and the machine room, the last room of the walk through

When you go out of the submarine, you have a fantastic view on Discoveryland.

Tim Delaney and his crew are here standing on the top of it before the Nautilus lagoon was filled with water.

And when the attraction was ready, DLP marketing department did these publicity shots with a "Captain Nemo".

And Tom? Well, for a man who has designed the inside of his home like the Nautilus and devoted a big part of his life to the submarine, re-creating a real Nautilus was undoubtedly an achievement. Months after the attraction's opening, Tom unfortunately passed away - i suppose that he is now chatting with Harper Goff - but before he left this planet one of his dream became reality - finally, 35 years after his first screening of 20000 Leagues under the sea, he was standing on a real Nautilus. And one that he helped to built, and we all thank him forever.

All artwork and photos : copyright Disney Enterprises