Saturday, December 5, 2009

How Disneyland attractions inspired parks around the world - Part Three : Efteling's Carnival Festival and Fata Morgana rides

Here we go for the part three of my "How Disneyland attractions inspired parks around the world" series and this time we will have a look at two rides of one of the best theme park in the world: Efteling, located in The Netherlands.

Efteling is the largest theme park in The Netherlands, and as it opened in 1952, it is one of the oldest theme parks in the world - yes, older than Disneyland! Efteling, located in the town of Kaatsheuvel has received over 100 million visitors and in 1992 Efteling received the IAAPA Applause Award for Best Amusement Park in the World.

Originally the park catered towards children with a fairy tale theme. In over fifty years the park has evolved from a nature park with playground and a Fairy Tale Forest, into a full-size theme park along the lines of Disneyland. It is twice as large as the original Disneyland parkand nowadays Efteling appeals to both young and old with its cultural, romantic and nostalgic themes and its variety of amusement rides.

Efteling has a good relationship with the Disney theme parks. Disneyland Paris consulted Efteling during its construction and design phase, in order to adapt the American park to European culture. As a token of appreciation the Disney Company gave Efteling a small statue. Ton van de Ven, who designed many of Efteling's attractions, is also a good friend of Tony Baxter - senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering. The relationship between the two parks was emphasized when Efteling won the 2004 Thea Classic Award, the highest honor awarded by the Themed Entertainment Association: Efteling had, as it turned out, been nominated by Tony Baxter.

There is in fact a legend of sorts connecting Disney and Efteling: for years, rumors have circulated that Walt Disney got his inspiration for Disneyland (which opened in 1955), from Efteling (which opened in 1952) — and in the early 1950s Walt Disney traveled to Europe a few times, visiting tourist attractions. Reportedly, a brochure from the IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, even states that Disney "spent a great deal of time studying Pieck's work at Efteling before beginning his own parks." However, the rumor was discredited by Efteling: one of the causes of the rumor was an off-hand remark by a PR person for Efteling, who had dropped to reporters that Disney could well have visited Efteling—the reporters accordingly dropped the hypothetical from the phrase, and a legend was born. Disney probably did not visit Efteling at all, though he did visit Madurodam and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen; the latter actually did provide some inspiration for Disneyland.

In 1984 Efteling opened the Carnival Festival attraction where Carnaval Festival figures from all over the world take you on an exciting journey to explore their countries, their national dress and to find out how they make music. The guests will go on a journey to 15 different countries, get a taste of China, France, England, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, etc...the whole world is celebrating carnival-style!

The ride was designed by Joop Geesink, is original, but clearly influenced by Disney’s "it's a small world", and signified a breach with the fairy-tale style of the Efteling. Just like IASW the ride is full animatronics with 270 different dolls. In 2005 the ride was redecorated with the famous Dutch doll "Loekie de Leeuw", which also was created by Joop Geesink. Joop Geesink’s objective was to make it a hilarious ride, which is done by taking cultural aspects that have been generalized, and portraying them with funny dolls. Here below is a great video of the ride.

Just like Disneyland Efteling also have its great flume ride called Fata Morgana. Fata Morgana - which means "mirage" - is not a copy of Pirates of Caribbean as the attraction is a trip through the mysterious Forbidden City from the Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, but you can feel the influence of POTC and also Spaceship Earth.

Open in 1986, this ride has 14 boats which sail past 104 different audio-animatronics characters in an Oriental setting and the AA don't look that bad at all. The ride begins in a twilight setting, showing a jungle and the skyline of a distant Arabian city. Upon entering the city, in the poor quarter, beggars and merchants call for attention. The next scene shows a prison and torture room, followed by a palace and a harbor with ships. Passing by a harem the real rhour capacity of 1800 persons. Here is the video of the full ride!

All pictures courtesy of Het Wonderlijke WC Web, a great web site about Efteling whom i thanks a lot for his help for this article.

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

Youtube videos: copyright baziewazie and Eftelrijk

Part of the text: copyright Wikipedia

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Important Message from Walt Disney to all citizens of the world

Last week, when i prepared my tribute for Walt's birthday, i was looking for a rare video of Walt and i think this one found on Youtube couldn't coincide more perfectly with the important meeting that will begin next Monday in Copenhagen. As we all know our planet is in danger, because of global warming some islands and many species will probably disappear forever and all we can hope is that all countries who are this week at Copenhagen will took the right decisions.

But as you will see, back 53 years ago, Walt was already warning American audience that wildlife was in danger! Honorary Chair for National Wildlife Week Walt Disney was PSAs from 1956, 1957, 1961, 1964 and one unknown date. The video below shows Walt's presentation messages at the beginning of these shows. So, here is Walt asking you in this rare video to care about environment and wildlife which, by the way, confirms that he had the right vision on really everything.

Youtube video: copyright National Wildlife Week

Walt Disney's Birthday Celebration

If Walt Disney was still alive he will celebrate today his 108th birthday. So let's celebrate this very special date with rare historical pictures of Walt.

It's beginning to be difficult to find never-seen-before pictures of Walt but thanks to LIFE photographers we can still discover rare pictures of him, and here is a selection of them.

On this first picture, Walt is sitting at his desk at the Walt Disney Studios in November 1938 photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

On the picture below, Walt Disney is in Rio De Janeiro during his visit to Brazil in June 1941, photographed by Hart Preston.

Some years later, in September 1953, Walt at Walt Disney Studios, posing with Mickey, Donald and Goofy plushs, photographed by J. R. Eyerman.

Always in 1953, a picture from the report Walt Disney Story -Mr John Ott In Chicago, Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Another picture from the same report with Walt on a stagecoach.

In October 1962, folk singer Burl Ives, chatting with Walt Disney sitting on porch in Hollywood. Photographer: John Loengard.

Always on October 1962, Walt Disney on the lot of his studio. Photographer: John Loengard.

But Walt, it was also Disneyland, and here he is standing near the model of New Orleans Square.

On the two videos below Walt presents a rare Disneyland construction progress report. Don't miss the part two where you'll see rare shots of Jungle Cruise AAs filmed before the opening of the park. Also an incredible travelling to show the Jungle Cruise track where a car is filmed moving inside the Jungle Cruise river before it was filled with water!

The Walt Disney tribute will go on tomorrow Sunday and you better don't miss it as Walt will have an important message for YOU. Yes, for you, and all living people on this planet!

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

All pictures: copyright TIME-LIFE

Videos: copyright Disney
Editor's Note: Please note that i will have a great update tomorrow saturday for Walt's Anniversary, don't miss it!
Also, the road to Shanghaî Disneyland will not be made of roses for Chinese villagers and Disney as you can read in this latest article HERE. And Spirits spook plan for Shanghaî Disneyland, and it's not those of the Haunted Mansion as you can read HERE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Toy Story , The Musical" coming to Disney's California Adventure in 2011 ......and right now on Disney and more

The Disney Parks Blog announced today that “Toy Story - The Musical” will come to Disney's California adventure early 2011 and will replace the Aladdin show currently playing at the Hyperion Theater.

The 50 minutes show will more than probably be the same than the one playing on the Disney Cruise Line ships. So, to bring you more details about this great musical i repost the previous article i did some months ago when it began on the Disney Cruise Line.

And, what? You can't wait 2011 to see the show? Good news for you, i've found on Youtube the WHOLE show filmed by mousepal1980 during his trip on the Disney Cruise Line. The show looks really excellent, so of course if you want to keep the surprise to see it at DCA's hyperion Theatre in 2011, don't watch the seven-parts videos at the end of the article!

Preserving the humor and heart of the original “Toy Story” film from Pixar Animation Studios, “Toy Story-The Musical” explores the true meaning of friendship as Buzz Lightyear and Woody transform from jealous adversaries to best friends with an unbreakable bond. The show’s elaborate costumes capture the vibrant colors and playfulness of the animated characters. Guests of all ages will delight in an original collection of show tunes that retell the story in a fun and energizing way.

Following the storyline of the original Disney•Pixar film, “Toy Story-The Musical” gives guests a toy’s eye-view of life in Andy’s room. The musical opens with an introduction to Woody, a pull-string talking cowboy who has long been six-year-old Andy’s favorite toy.

But Andy’s birthday brings a new arrival – Buzz Lightyear, the coolest action figure in the universe. Woody’s jealousy gets the better of him and he schemes to get rid of his new rival, but things go dreadfully awry. Woody and Buzz find themselves outside of Andy’s room and in a hostile world. Working together and overcoming their differences, they find their way back to Andy – along the way developing an appreciation of one another and creating a friendship.

“The ‘Toy Story’ film offered us a rich story and some incredible visual elements to build upon,” noted Jim Urry, vice president of Entertainment for DCL. “The team we assembled created costumes, set designs and a whole new musical score to literally transport our guests into the middle of the whimsical world of Buzz and Woody.”

Using Randy Newman’s Oscar nominated hit song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” as a departure point, this production has a new seven-song score that brings the story to life. New York-based Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn from the band GrooveLily blended together pop, rock and folk music to create a contemporary score that truly captures the heartfelt whimsy of the animated tale.

The costumes for “Toy Story-The Musical” are some of the most complex ever developed for a Disney Cruise Line production. Costume designer Ann Closs-Farley created an extraordinary vision for what the characters would look like on stage. With a combination of articulated puppets and inflatable costumes, the “Toy Story” characters come to life – including a nearly 9-foot-tall version of Rex the dinosaur and a 4-foot-round Hamm the piggybank.

“When we first thought of bringing ‘Toy Story’ to the stage, there was a great deal of excitement about the project,” said Anne Hamburger, Disney Creative Entertainment executive vice president. “Everyone on our team could immediately see how the heart and comedy of these characters could come alive in a memorable way that is unique to musical theatre.”

And now, enough talk, on with the show! filmed on the DCL by mousepal1980 whom i thanks a lot for the embedding.

Youtube video: copyright mousepal1980

Pictures and text: copyright Disney

Disneyland Paris Christmas season pictures by Maureen Chaffurin

Maureen Chaffurin this young and talented photographer that Disney and more readers knows well for her previous photographic reports is back today with great pictures of DLP at night during this 2009 Christmas season.

Great pictures of the Castle and the Christmas parade as well as Frontierland and Fantasyland as you will see on the pictures below. On the pictures, as Maureen avoid to have too many people in the frame you may have the feeling that the park was empty, but i was there that same week-end and believe me i've never seen so many people in the park on a November week-end!

I remind you that Maureen has her own website called Shootin where you may see other great pictures of DLP shoot recently or during her previous visits. Her new pictures below are beautiful, so enjoy them!

All pictures: copyright Maureen Chaffurin and Shootin

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Universal Studios Terminator 2 3D Artwork

The artwork article of the week is, for once, not about WDI artwork but about the very popular Universal Studios Terminator 2 3D : Battle Across Time attraction.

Terminator 2 3D is a mini-sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day and reunites director James Cameron and the main cast from the movie, including Arnold Schwarzenegger as "The Terminator", Linda Hamilton as "Sarah Connor", Edward Furlong as "John Connor", and Robert Patrick as the "T-1000". The show is presented in two parts; a pre-show where a Cyberdyne Systems company hostess shows guests a brief video presentation about the company's innovations, and the main show, where live performers interact with a 3-D film.

During the main show guests are ushered from the pre-show auditorium into a large theater where they are to see a demonstration of Cyberdyne's newest creation, robotic soldiers called T-70 Terminators. Once guests are seated, they put on their "safety visors" to watch a demonstration of the Terminators in action...

However, John and Sarah arrive and disrupt the proceedings, followed by a T-1000 Terminator from the future. A second Terminator, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, rides through a time portal on a motorcycle to rescue John. He takes John back through the portal and into the future war between humans and machines...

John and the Terminator make their way across the war ravaged landscape as they head towards Skynet. Along the way, they are chased by a Hunter-Killer (which was mentioned by Kyle Reese and seen in the first Terminator film), mini-hunters, and a terminator endoskeleton. When they finally reach the Skynet core, they battle the "T-1000000", a giant liquid metal spider that is similar to a very large T-1000.

The Terminator finally sends John back to the present while he stays behind to blow up Skynet and the T-1000000. The show ends with Sarah and John alone once again. Sarah finishes the show by saying that she feels that she owes her life to the Terminator for saving John's life. During this narration, a terminator endoskeleton's face is shown on the screen, which morphs into Schwarzenegger's face before the theatre goes black and the show ends.

The show was created by Landmark in cooperation with James Cameron, and it's one of the best attraction they've designed for Universal Studios along with others like Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park and the Spiderman ride. The show who was a success from day one opened at Universal Florida and Hollywood as well as Universal Osaka.

You can watch a very good making-of of the attraction on Youtube in three parts HERE, HERE and HERE

Here is a kind of "backstage video" from the Discovery Channel

And you can also find footage of the attraction movie and pre-show on Youtube HERE

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

Artwork: copyright Universal Studios - Landmark Entertainment

Videos: copyright Universal and Discovery Channel

Thanks to Wikipedia for part of the text.
Editor's Note: Al Lutz on Miceage has a new update today with fresh news on the return of Captain Eo, Disney's California Adventure works, and more!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The new " Jungle Book " luxury edition is simply Gorgeous !

Anyone who loved Disney's great animated classic "The Jungle Book" will be in heaven with Pierre Lambert new gorgeous opus. Pierre Lambert is the author of the previous luxury books "Pinnochio", "Snow White", and "Mickey Mouse" all of them existing in english edition. This new one, published by french renown publisher Editions de la Martinière has its text in french only - that's why the title on the cover is "Le Livre de la Jungle".

Although Pierre Lambert's text is extremely interesting this only-french-version must not stop you to order the book as most of the 237 pages of the book are purely visuals. And what a great artwork! From Ken Anderson and Bill Peet first sketches to the stunning background by Albert Dempster, the book tells the full story of the creation of one of Walt Disney's most beloved classic. You'll find not less than 250 never seen before artwork coming from Walt Disney Animation Research Library and private collections: cellos, layouts, modelsheets, story-boards and preliminary studies, and many more. Let's have a look to some of them.

Here is a watercolour and china ink preliminary study from Ken Anderson showing Mowgli and Baloo...

...and a great cello upon background painting showing Mowgli walking in the Jungle (double-click on the image to see it in big).

You'll find also in the book rare story-board sketches like these below...

...or great colour sketches like this one for Baloo...

...or these colour sketch and modelsheet for King Louis...

...or Shere Kahn.

Of course, the book is full of great cellos like this one from the Bear Necessities sequence...

...or beautiful background paintings...

...or both of them together like these cellos on background painting of the King Louis temple scene (double-click on the image to see it in big).

And when i will tell you that the printing of this 13" x 13" book - which comes in a box - is absolutely stunning you'll understand that this Jungle Book luxury edition - definitely the best book ever published on the movie - would be a perfect Christmas gift to any super-fan of this animated classic. For now, the best price is 95 euros on Amazon ( $142 ) which, i agree, may look a bit expensive but believe me the book definitely worth each cent of the 142 dollars! Fantastic book, really!

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

All pictures: copyright 2009 Disney