Saturday, November 28, 2009

Editor's Note: I usually post on week-ends articles about movies or merchandise and this week-end you have both of them with new Main Street collectibles and the Avatar interactive trailer!

Disney Store on line released new Main Street collectible replicas, and more...

Christmas day is in four weeks from now and i think it's the right time for a little Disney collectibles article. The Disney Store on line released recently new items and some of them were a surprise as i never thought they will ever produce this kind of small replica of the famous Main Street windows!

Frankly, it's not a bad idea but who could have imagine that they will do it? After all, it just prove that everything is possible with Disney! However, no surprise about their choices as the first one above is the Magic Kingdom window dedicated to Elias Disney, the "family patriarch" as they say in the caption of the picture which is right as Walt's name was Walt "Elias" Disney but also his father first name was Elias. Size is 9" high and price is $50. Limited edition of 250.

Also released this other Magic Kingdom window dedicated to Roy E. Disney. Same size - 9" high -and price: $50. Limited edition of 250.

Always about Main Street area this replica of the famous dedication plaque found at the Magic Kingdom reproducing the inspirational words read by Roy O. Disney on October 25, 1971. Today it rests below the Town Square flagpole on Main Street U.S.A: ''Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney... and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place... a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn - together. Dedicated this 25th day of October, 1971 - Roy O. Disney''.
The plaque itself is really in Bronze with black resin base. 5" high and wide, $45.00.

Always available, the famous ''Partners'' Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue a detailed bronze replica of the famous ''Hub'' statue. Also in Bronze, 9" high, 135.00.

Something different, now. The Disney Store guys are always trying to find a new kind of merchandise item and i must say that considering the hundreds of thousands Disney merch items that were produced during the last 60 years, it's probably not an easy task. However they succeed with this new "Princess and their wishing well" series! Frankly, the idea of the wishing well is the one that was missing!

More seriously, they did six new items on that theme with Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, the inevitable Tinker Bell (not a princess but who cares ) and of course Snow White, probably the most legitimate as there is really a wishing well in the movie. Limited Edition of 750, 9" high, $75.

As usual the design is a bit kitch but if i had to choose my favourite for the design it would be the one with Sleeping Beauty.

You will note that it's not always a "wishing well" but sometime "fountains". Unfortunately it's not "real" fountains - which would have been much better - and the reason why is probably a manufacturing cost. In fact, it's perfectly possible to do it but it's not possible to do it and have it work well with cheap pumps. From what i've heard they did a bad choice - translate: a cheap choice - recently on the Tiki Room fountain collectible and people had a lot of problems as the fountain stopped many times after a few minutes. If that is the truth, then it could explain why they didn't do real fountains on this new series but instead a "translucent resin fountain".

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

All pictures: copyright Disney

New James Cameron's Avatar interactive trailer

Correct me if i'm wrong, but i have the feeling that this new James Cameron's Avatar interactive trailer is a premiere. I mean, isn't it the first time that a trailer give you an interactive possibility with multiple choices? May be, may be not, that's not really the problem, what's interesting in all this, thanks to this "ultimate" version of the trailer, is that we can discover new shots of the movie!

How does it works? Very simple: just click HERE and on the page that will open you will be ask to install a light Adobe Air program - it's perfectly safe and takes less than five seconds - then the interactive trailer will appear and will stop at some points where you'll have the choice to watch (or not) some featurettes explaining each character or how they've designed creatures or other special effects for the movie. It's pretty well done and works very well and if you ask my opinion i think that all trailers should be like this!

Another function of this trailer will give you access to a lot of interesting links, all talking about this highly awaited movie released December 18th, and in 3D!

Pictures: copyright 20th Century Fox

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Editor's Note: It's Thanksgiving today, so i wish to all Disney and more American and Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DLP Christmas Update : It's A Small World Celebration - HD Video

It's A Small World Celebration is part of DLP Christmas season, and it's a new version of Fantasyland E-Ticket. With specially made costumes, music and decorations, It's A Small World Celebration pays tribute to the different traditions of countries around the world and IASW puppets are dressed with costumes in respect of each tradition of each country.

Note that it is not the Christmas version that one can see at Disneyland, Anaheim - where there is christmas lights on the outside of the building too. However some of the puppets do have Christmas costumes as you will see on some of the screen captures of the HD video below. The music itself is a medley of Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells and IASW famous theme.

And now, for those of you who won't be able to come to DLP during this Christmas celebration here is a HD video of the whole show. An interesting technical information: This video was filmed with the new Sony DSC-HX1 digital PHOTO camera which is not only a very good small "bridge" photo camera but is also able to take movies in HD with a definition of 1440 x 1080, so not totally full HD ( 1920 x 1080 ) but almost. If you're looking for a photo digital camera, not big, taking good pictures including the easiest way to shoot panoramic pictures ( i will show you some shots in a future article ) AND also filming videos in high-definition all this for $440 ( or 370€ ) then this new Sony camera may be a good choice for your own Christmas gift! Okay, enough talk about tech, enjoy the show!

Note: You can also watch it in bigger size directly on Youtube HERE

You may be interested to see the difference with the "full" Christmas version of Disneyland in California, so here is the video of it - in two parts - filmed by the always excellent Mint Crocodile.

Before i end this article i'd like to let those of you who unfortunately never came to DLP know that we have a cute post-show area at the exit of the attraction. It exist since opening day and i've always liked this nice post-show where children can watch small animated films in a decor that respect the style of It's A Small World.

Finally, don't forget to read the Disneyland Paris book offer below, a perfect Christmas gift and it's not too late to order it and get it for Christmas!

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

All Pictures and Video of Disneyland Paris IASW: copyright Disney and more

Disneyland IASW video: copyright Mint Crocodile whom i thanks a lot.

Looking for a great Disney gift for Christmas ? Then, the Disneyland Paris book is the perfect gift for any Disney fan !

Christmas night will be in three weeks from now, and if you're looking for a great Christmas gift to offer to anyone you love - including you! - my "Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality" book with its 320 pages and 750 pictures - including 250 renderings from Walt Disney Imagineering - would be a GREAT gift for any Disney fan!

I still have copies of the book, and, as i am one of the two authors of the book, each copy will be sign specially for you or anyone you wish. Of course, don't forget to tell me the name to whom you wish i dedicate the book.

An important note before i go further: the shipping price indicated below is for airmail shipping which normally takes 2-3 weeks and guarantee you to receive the book on time for Christmas for any order before November 31. If you're not in a rush to get it specially for Christmas or if your order happen after December 1st, choose the flat shipping (also indicated below) "flat shipping" which may take up to 6 weeks delivery but which is also much less expensive.

And now, here is a description of the book and everything you need to know to order one of the last signed copy of this beautiful book. Please note that NO re-printing of the book is scheduled, and these last available copies may be the REAL last one!


Price for one copy of the english updated edition is 87 Euros

About the shipping:

IF YOU NEED THE BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS AND IF YOUR ORDER IS BEFORE DECEMBER 1ST: Air-mail shipping (3 weeks delivery) is 25 Euros.

IF YOU'RE NOT IN A HURRY AND IF YOUR ORDER IS DONE AFTER DECEMBER 1ST: Flat shipping (5-6 weeks delivery) is 15 euros.

If you have a Paypal account you can proceed to the payment by paypal - paypal payment including your choice of shipping must be sent to the email adress:

Important: Note that the price is in Euros, not in U.S $, so you have to choose the "euro" currency when you do the paypal payment.

If you don't have a Paypal account, a bank wire transfert is possible, just let me know.

And, of course, thanks to confirm me your order and payment AND the shipping adress by email at the email adress:


As i am the one who designed the book, i'm not really at the good place to send compliments about it, but if you are a reader who already own the book, please leave a comment at the end of the article to let other readers know what you think about it.
Previous comments can be read at the bottom of this page where the article below was previously posted.

So, here is a little description of the book, now - See below some pictures of the book pages - click on each of them to see the photo-montage pictures in big size.

The book is a gorgeous "coffee table book" with 320 pages and 750 pictures - of which 500 are park and attractions photos and 250 are Walt Disney Imagineering renderings!

The size is 9 x 12 inches, all pages are in color and it's hardbound with a glossy dust jacket. The text (by Disney historian Didier Ghez), was written after more than 75 interviews he conducted with all the Imagineers who created the park. He goes into just about everything you wanted to know about this unique place that many describe as the best "Magic Kingdom" ever created by WDI.

It took five years to create the book, but it was worth all the time we spent on it, and the book looks just as good as we had hoped for at the beginning - in fact Imagineer Bruce Gordon told us that it was "probably the best book ever done on a Disney theme park". Coming from Bruce who did with David Mumford the great "Disneyland, The Nickel Tour" book, it was more than a compliment.

The first chapter about Main Street has 52 pages and introduces the reader to the "legend" of Main Street, USA. You'll learn all about the Disneyland Paris Railroad, the unique "Discovery" and "Liberty" Arcades; find out about the architecture, the restaurants (like "Walt's," a tribute to Walt Disney, but also inspired by Club 33 in Anaheim) and the shops; with dozens of photos, renderings, models, and reproduced for the first time here, all the "cities of the future" posters located in "Discovery Arcade."

The second chapter on Frontierland discusses the park's western side with extensive sections about its major attractions, "Big Thunder Mountain" and "Phantom Manor." In fact the book has the longest sections ever put together in a book on all the major attractions. The Pirates of Caribbean section in the Adventureland chapter is 26 pages, Phantom Manor has 16 pages devoted to it, as does Space Mountain, it's a small world, etc. The photo material was so great that we kept adding more pages to the book, which was supposed to have only 240 pages when we started... we ended up with 320 upon completion!

The Frontierland chapter also covers the Mark Twain, the River Rogue Keelboats, Fort Comstock, all the restaurants, the shops and Cottonwood Creek Ranch.and featuring stunning photos of Disneyland Paris from the air by Yann Arthus Bertrand, author of The Earth from Above that make spectacular "double-pages," and allow the reader to discover the park from a whole different angle.

The Adventureland chapter is even more interesting, as many elements of the land exist only in Paris - such as the Bazaar and Aladdin to Africa and the ex-"Explorer's Club." Plus there's a long section about "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril," "Adventure Isle" and "The Swiss Robinson Treehouse" and, of course, "Pirates of Caribbean" the land's major attraction and featuring its amazing Audio-Animatronics! All in all there are 56 full pages about Adventureland, and as in the previous chapters, there are dozens of photos, lots of concept art, and many shots of Imagineers at work. There's even a great bonus here, with the Marc Davis artwork for "Pirates" also included.

56 full pages are also dedicated to Fantasyland. There's an extensive look at Sleeping Beauty Castle, sections on all the dark rides (Snow White, Peter Pan and Pinocchio), as well as a look at "Alice's Curious Labyrinth," the "Mad Hatter's Tea Cups," "Storybookland," and "Casey Jr." There are even 14 pages about "it's a small world" with stunning photos of nearly all the scenes in it. Here the reader can discover a new attraction that exists only at Disneyland Paris, with a great view from above of Alice's Labyrinth.

Discoveryland also gets 52 pages of special treatment, with sections on the Visionarium, the Nautilus, Star Tours, Space Mountain, and everything you wanted to know about the other attractions in this land – Autopia and Orbitron. In fact the Nautilus chapter takes you on a visit with photos of every room of this detailed walk-through and two double page photo spreads, one which makes you feel you're inside Captain Nemo's grand salon, and the other showing you a unique view of Discoveyland featuring the Nautilus and Space Mountain in a kind of "CinemaScope" view.

When the book was released in early 2002, the Walt Disney Studios didn't exist, so you won't see them in the book. But there's still one last chapter about the hotels of the park, and Disney Village too, with the great Buffalo Bill Wild West show that entertains hundreds each evening.

And because every day in a Magic Kingdom should end with a parade and fireworks, we have the Main Street Electrical Parade that close the book, with an Herb Ryman gorgeous painting!

Pictures: copyright Disney
Editor's Note: I repost today the article about the incredible S.S Disney project. Even if you've read it last time, in May, don't go away as this is a new version with great pictures.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The " S.S Disney " , an incredible WDI project - Interview with Mark Hickson

Editor's Note: This is a new version of the S.S Disney article that i've posted six months ago in May. Thanks to Mark Hickson who found back recently old pictures of the S.S Disney model you'll be able to explore in details this fantastic project that never was...and will never be. Here we go with Mark's interview, Mark Hickson captions are in italics under each picture.

Above: Starboard view of the S.S Disney with shell on. Note the un-themed stern area with stack – we never worked up a plan for it in time for this model.

Today, you will discover an incredible Disney project. So incredible that even in my dreams i would never have thought that WDI could have designed something like this. Really fascinating, as you will see.

The project was called the “S.S Disney” and it’s Mark Hickson who managed the Imagineering development team 15 years ago. Mark started his career at WDI working on the Splash Mountain project for Disneyland, and then became part of the Tokyo Disneyland project office. Over a period of seven years Mark contributed to over 30 Disney projects that included TDL version of Splash Mountain, Toon Town, the new Spaceship Earth Show, the 3-D film "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience", EPCOT Interactive Fountain, Innoventions, etc. He also worked on other Disney projects like the Broadway Production of Beauty and the Beast, Disneyland's 35th Birthday and Tokyo Disneyland’s 5, 10 & 20 years Master Plan.

Mark who now lives in Hawaii is the Chief of Project Controls for the $5.4 Billion Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project. As a consultant to the City and County of Honolulu, his responsibilities are to provide leadership in defining and implementing a comprehensive project controls department for the light rail commuter project.

But back in 1993-1994, thanks to his shipbuilding and theme park master planning experience, Mark was asked to work on the “S.S Disney” project. The idea was to transform a super tanker - a huge ship that normally brings oil from the Middle East to other countries - into a “floating theme park”. No kidding! The idea seems unbelievable, a real floating “Disneyland”. I’m sure you’re dying to know more about it, so let’s begin Mark’s interview.

Alain Littaye: How did this incredible idea of transforming a super tanker in a floating theme park began at WDI?

Mark Hickson: Back in the early 1990’s, at a fund-raising dinner Jim Cora, Chairman of Disneyland International, was sitting next to a U.S Navy Admiral. They were joking and the Admiral said “You know, I have an extra aircraft carrier, you have to put a theme park on top of it!” He was just kidding, but the idea enchanted Jim. The next day he asked his staff if there was somebody at Disney who knew anything about ships. Larry Fink, who worked with me on Disneyland’s Splash Mountain knew about my thirteen years shipbuilding experience and told Jim about me. Later he called me about the aircraft carrier idea. I told him that it would be more feasible to build it on another kind of ship, like a cruise liner, cargo ship, or oil tanker. If I remember correctly he then met with Michael Eisner and they agreed to ask Marty Sklar at WDI to do a study feasibility on this unique idea. That’s how everything started. Since I was the only one that had extensive shipbuilding experience I was charged to be the project manager and technical director for the project. I worked with some really fantastic concept architects, show designers, script writers, concept artists and model makers and over the course of nine months we put together the floating theme park concept.

A.L: Were they enthusiastic at WDI on such an incredible idea?

M.H: Yes! You know, a lot of things we’ve done at WDI may seem a bit off the wall but I think it’s the real power of Imagineering is not being afraid to look at new ideas and to see if they are feasible.

A.L: As you say on your web site, this S.S Disney idea was to bring the Disney theme park experience to locations where they would never build a theme park. Is that right?

M.H: Yes, remember that all this was envisioned before they built Tokyo Disney Sea or Hong Kong Disneyland. The idea was to bring the Disney experience and promote the Disney brand in countries where the company would never consider building a theme park. We looked at a lot of different locations internationally, and gave a lot of thought about what kind of attractions we could put on a floating theme park that will make an experience that everybody will truly enjoy.

A.L: Do you have any idea of the destinations where the ship would have gone?

M.H: Actually, I initially came up with a world-wide listing of ports. We were looking at Europe, at South America, South East Asia, Australia, and the Mediterranean. Later we decided to focus on the West Pacific which included the port cities of Seoul, Beijing, Shanghaî, and Canton, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Manila, Djakarta, and Singapore. We also investigated ports in Australia like Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Dubai, Cape Town, and even Honolulu. We looked at various maps of the different ports to see if we could “park” a super tanker there, and if it was in an area where it was possible to get our guests to. We also had to make sure that the areas were not full of real super tankers!

The ship would have stay approximately two and a half months in each port and then travel for a week or two to the next destination. The ship would not return to the city for four or five years, so we would not over-saturate the market.

We also had a very innovative design for the entrance area. On the dock side we would create a “portable main gate” with a ticketing plaza using themed containers. They would arrive on a container ship and be assembled in port before the S.S. Disney’s arrival. Here guests could also buy souvenirs and food. When you think about it, the theme park experience would have started on the dock.

A.L: Technically, transforming a super tanker in a floating theme park would have been really feasible?

M.H: Yes, thanks to the super tanker’s architecture. The cavernous volume inside the ship gave us the opportunity to put four to five decks of attractions inside plus more attractions on the top deck.

Port side with shell removed showing the 5 major decks, 01, Main deck, 1st deck, 2nd deck, 3rd deck and Tank Top. In this view you can see the hub’s floor is at 2nd deck.

A.L: What kind of attractions would guests find on the S.S Disney?

M.H: On the top deck there was the Orbitron, Casey Jr. Train, a large Ferris Wheel, Alice in Wonderland’s spinning Tea Cups, Dumbo, and a Fantasyland Carousel under a glass dome! At the stern end of the top deck, there would be It’s a Small World. The center or “Hub” of the ship that receives our guests actually had a big glass canopy over the top of it. It was multiple decks deep, so when you entered the ship you had this beautiful giant caverness entry way. If you went to the right you would find Fantasyland themed attractions and to the left it was Tomorrowland themed attractions. We decided that Frontierland and Adventureland attractions were not needed.

Because of technical issues we decided that we not have any water rides inside the ship. For example “It’s a Small World” originally a water ride, would instead utilize a Omni-mover or bus-bar track vehicles like the ones you have on the Haunted Mansion or Pinocchio attractions.

Other attractions included an Aladdin and a Little Mermaid dark rides, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Toon Town area with Mickey house, Indiana Jones roller coaster, Star Tours, 20000 Leagues under the Sea, a 3D movie theatre, and more! The fact is the ship was so big and deep that we could actually put an iron roller coaster like Space Mountain inside down below the decks. The only difference is you would not see any mountain. Probably we would have to re-named the ride!

Ferris wheel had exterior armatures that would be stowed while sailing to the FTP’s next port. The Orbitron is seen on the bow.

The hub is shown mid-ship as a multi story glass canopy that divides the ships main themed areas, Tomorrowland/Adventureland and Fantasyland.

The Hub’s canopy removed. There were many vertical elements all around with one part reminisint of a future pipe organ, giant retro-telescope and a mini-castle.

Hub area with main deck and canopy removed. The model is showing a little wear from all the use it had being taken apart many times.

Casey Jr. Train loops around a glass enclosed Carousel ride (not shown in this model). Aft is the entrance to It’s a Small World.

Port side looking forward showing themed fast food area in center (at the crossed circle is). Note: those little red things are people to scale. Under the Orbitron, a futuristic multi-story restaurant on the 01 deck.

Main deck removed looking aft from the port side. This is the Toon Town area with Meet Mickey house, central fountain and the entrance to Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. On the left is a major fantasy themed theater with balcony. Shows propose for the theater ranged from The Muppet Show 3D to The Lion King. On the far right to the back you can see a grey disc. This is where the spinning tea cup ride was located.

Starboard side showing Toon Town area with a Treehouse and interactive areas. On the right you can see the theater. On the far left to the back where you can see a grey disc, this is where the spinning tea cup ride was located.

Port side looking forward with the main deck removed. Here you can see the 20,000 Leagues under the sea area - an interactive area and walk through exhibit - with Star Tours simulator (3 black doors on left), Captain Nemo’s laboratory with his submarine seen one deck below, and giant aquarium that divers inhabit (yellow cylinder). There is also a themed seafood dining area.

Opposite side of 20,000 Leagues area. Note access area to vertical circulation column on far side. Within this area are giant elevators and escalators bringing people up from below and down from above. These also contain emergency evacuation stairways. Note the 3 black exit doors for the simulator.

Port side looking aft with 1st deck removed. Here was the entry to Aladdin attraction. Note the carved rockwork as guests’ descend to the 3rd deck from a merchandise area. Eric’s village is the entrance area for the Little Mermaid ride. You can also see the ride maintenance area below on the Tank Top deck.

View from the port side just aft of the Eric’s village showing the theater adjacent to the hub.

Port side looking aft with 3rd deck removed shows the lower part of the Aladdin themed area with a rotating Dumbo style Magic Carpet ride for kids. Further aft you can see the Aladdin attraction.

Starboard side looking forward at the Aladdin attraction. Past that you can barely see the Little Mermaid suspended gondola ride.

Starboard side looking forward with the 2nd and portion of the 3rd deck removed showing the Indiana Jones runaway ore-car attraction (wild mouse roller coaster) on the left and the entrance queue on the right where you see the giant temple serpents. Actually, it was going to be Space Mountain or Indy coaster in this space. The model has Indy since Eisner was so hot for that ride.

M.H: Since the ship could hold about half the rides of a full Disney theme park we decided to divide the opening and closing of the park into two half days at 8 hours each. That would be 10,000 guests in the morning/early afternoon and another 10,000 guests in the late afternoon/evening.

The total number of attractions would have been around 16 to 18. We had a whole list of attractions that we would like to have, but the final choice depended of their capacity per hour, wait time, etc... We needed to make sure that there was a minimum of wait time so people could do and see everything in eight hours.

We had six restaurants. Most of them were fast food because we didn’t want people to sit and eat for an hour when they only had 8 hours to spend on the ship, but we did have one generic Disney themed table service restaurant. We also had Fantasyland and Tomorrowland themed retail shops, a Disney Store and a Disney gallery too. Most of the restaurants and retail would have been located around the entrance hub, under the glass dome. The ship was not only a box full of attractions, it was a completely integrated city with maintenance shops , a central kitchen, waste treatment plants storage areas!

Also on board was an entertainment division with singers, dancers, costuming, and the “zoo crew” - the people who dress up as Disney characters.

A.L: On the model pictures, the facade of It’s a Small World located in the back of the top deck seems to hide the view of the pilot house, also located at the back of the ship...

M.H: We had a clever idea to resolve this problem as the pilot house and the bridge wings would have been incorporated into a themed facade. The ship’s crew could see everything. Also, at the front end of the ship, in front of the Orbitron, we had a secondary pilot house specially designed for docking the ship.

It’s a Small World Omni-mover ride in from of the pilot house. Note the windmill themed bridge wings.

Port side showing the un-themed bridge wing, decks and vertical circulation columns.

A.L: About the cast members, you told me that some of them would have been hired in each location, but I suppose some of them would have been permanent “Disney” cast members?

M.H: Exactly. Let’s say that the “senior” staff would have been permanent and the “junior” staff would have been hired and trained in the location where the boat would have docked. We did some surveys at a few of the ports and found young people in would have a high interest to work for Disney. They would be hired for about three month’s that included two weeks of training before the arrival of the boat. We were looking pretty much at a 50/50 split with half of the cast members, maintenance and technical people “permanent” and the other 50% would have been local people who spoke the local language.

A.L: No parade was planned I suppose, but was a fireworks show envisioned in the evening?

M.H: Yes, but we soon realized that it was not safe to launch the firework from the ship, so we start to looking for an auxiliary ship or a barge that could be used to launch the firework in a safer location like in the middle of the harbor.

Because of safety issues we would not allowed our “permanent” cast members to travel at sea or sleep on board the super tanker so we looked at potentially buying a small used passenger ship to bring them from port to port and to give them a place to live. Otherwise all the “Disney” cast members would have to fly from city to city and reside in local hotels.

A.L: Well that means THREE ships, if my count is right!

M.H: Yes, our very own Disney navy!

A.L: So, finally, and unfortunately, the S.S Disney project was never realized. Do you know why?

M.H: Well, both Michael Eisner and Frank Wells both loved the project, but after Frank’s death, things changed. The strategic planning group at corporate didn’t want to do a floating theme park, they wanted to do a cruise ship. Eventually they convinced Michael that a cruise ship was easier to do. So this wonderful project was put “on the shelf.”

Frankly, now that Disney has a park in Hong Kong and soon another one in Shanghaî I think the time for this project has unfortunately passed. It was a wonderful concept and every Imagineer who worked on it did an excellent job.

A.L: One last question: do you think that the S.S Disney project inspired another project that was built some years later: Disney Quest?

M.H: One thing that Disney does is to use some great ideas from projects that were never done. Disney Quest was what they call a “location based entertainment” or LBE, and if my recollections is right Jan Sircus - who was the lead concept architect on the S.S Disney - next assignment was developing LBE projects. I think it is safe to say there was a synergy between the two projects.

A.L : Mark, thank you so much for this interview, this S.S Disney project was really fascinating!

I invite you to discover Mark Hickson’s web site HERE. On the site, click on "theme park", and then on "S.S Disney" to see others pictures of the model.

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

Pictures: Copyright 1994 The Walt Disney Company. Please do not upload these pictures on other websites or forums, thanks.

Interview: copyright Disney and more