Tuesday, October 19, 2010
DLP fans are now awaiting the future Ratatouille dark ride and when it will open the expansion of the Toon Studio land will be completed. But what's next for the WDS after Ratatouille? Well, it's time to talk again about another long awaited attraction: Soarin' over the World. As Soarin' over the World is not only awaited at the WDS but also at DCA and Epcot this article which reveal details about the new movie should also interest DCA and WDW fans.
Since Walt Disney Studios opening DLP Imagineers kept the room to build Soarin' in the future. The attraction is clearly indicated on some DLPI map project, all things which doesn't mean necessarily that they will build the attraction. It just mean that if they decide to build Soarin' they have the room available to do it. Actually, the space available is located between Cinemagique and the former Disney Channel buildings where are now Playhouse Disney and Stitch Live! attractions. And if you want to have an idea of the dimensions of the space available for Soarin' have a look at the picture below shot from the WDS parking lot. Click on it to enlarge the picture.
So, they do have the room to build Soarin' but when will they build it? In a former article one year ago i explained why we shouldn't expect to "soar over the world" before 2011. Well, actually it won't be before 2013 - and this is for DCA or Epcot Soarin' versions. For the Walt Disney Studios, considering that the Ratatouille dark ride may open only early 2013 there is of course no chances at all to have a Soarin' opening the same year.
However, what i can tell you is that Production Courtyard - the "land" where Soarin' would be build if they decide to do so - is the next part of the park which should have a big "placemaking". It's also the area where DLP Imagineers have the biggest space available to build a new attraction. They have of course plenty of land to expand the park in front and beyond the Tram tour station but if they want to stay inside the current limits of the park the available area reserved for Soarin' is definitely the biggest one.
And how should it look when Soarin' will be finally built, you ask? Well, if you're standing right now between Cinemagique and Stitch Live!, it looks like this:
But when DLPI Imagineers will finally build Soarin' over the World it might very well look like this:
Please note that the picture above is NOT a WDI picture, it's a Photoshop montage - not perfect, i agree - that i personally did using the infos from what i've been told and Disney's California Adventure's Soarin' facade and sign, which means that it might very well not look like this at the end...although it will be probably quite close and you can expect a facade as high as the one i did on the picture.
However, the park would be inspired to don't wait too long to build Soarin' at the WDS. Ten years ago WDI was almost alone to have the technology but now others ride manufacturers already propose some kind of "Soarin'" attraction using more or less the same technology at a much cheaper price and it's almost a miracle if no other french park didn't built yet an attraction of the same kind.
Recently the Futuroscope - a french theme park competitor - revealed that they're working on a kind of Soarin' attraction. However, in this case, what they are planning is to transform th "Tapis Magique" theatre, a unique IMAX technology with one giant screen in the front and another big one under the feet of the spectators - see picture below. Apparently what they would like to do is to remove all the seats and have the guests hanged over the two screens to give the illusion of flight. For reasons that i can't reveal now the Futuroscope is just at the beginning of the project and it's not even sure they will succeed to do it, but at least they are thinking to create a kind of Soarin'. Let's hope they won't do it as in this case it might change DLP execs plans for the WDS...
But what about the "Soarin'over the World" movie itself, you ask? Well, the last two years WDI imagineers were scouting locations around the world, and once the locations are choosen they need government's authorizations to film from an helicopter. Part of the shooting itself - for instance in France - was scheduled for last summer but it may have changed. Now, may be it don't looks like, but this "Soaring over the World movie" is going to be a real challenge for WDI imagineers. Why? Well, as in this new "Soarin'" movie we will soar "over and around the world" it means different filming in different locations, and here comes the question of the best season. Very probably the best time for filming should be in spring or early summer to avoid landscapes with no leaves on the trees of winter or summer monsoon rains in other locations. Not to mention that for other countries, it will be another season than spring which may be the right one for filming.
Before i go further, a little warning as there will be some spoilers ahead.
Now, the big question is : over which location will we "soar" in this new movie? Well, WDI imagineers have chosen some countries and if they don't change their plans, prepare yourself to soar over England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and for the U.S.A: the Grand Canyon and New York.
Although there is no South America country in the list above it doesn't mean it's not part of Imagineers plans. They have the choice: Brasil and Rio de Janeiro's bay or Iguaçu Falls, The Amazonia forest, The old Inca Machu-Pichu fortress in Peru, all these would be spectacular locations to soar above...
However, the other part of the Imagineers challenge will be probably to avoid filming a too "obvious" Travelogue. It's not going to be easy, as each country have its own iconic place/city/monument and it's a little bit everyone's dream to fly above them.
Now, what is coming next is pure personal thoughts, as i don't know exactly which place in each country Imagineers are planning to film. I mean: i really don't know. So what you will read below is pure personal speculation, although the locations choice below could very well be the one that will be filmed! Also, please note that the pictures below are NOT Disney pictures, but a photomontage that i did with aerial views and the "Soarin'" vehicle from the "Soarin' over California" marketing picture. I tried to choose aerial views which will give you the soaring "vertigo" feeling as close as it should be in the final movie - please click on each picture to see them in big size to get the "effect".
Now, think about the India sequence, who wouldn't love to soar above the beautiful and romantic Taj Mahal?...
...or, for Italy, over the gorgeous Venise, the City of the Doges? Soaring over the Grand Canal would be great!
For England, will we soar over the legendary Tower Bridge? I can almost see the camera plunging between the two towers of the bridge...
For China, can we escape to soar above The Forbidden City?
And for the USA how great it would be to fly above the Grand Canyon...
...or New York?
Everyone would love to fly over these historical landmarks, so let's hope that WDI Imagineers will fulfill our dreams. They shouldn't think if a location is too obvious or not, it's not the problem, really!
Then, because we will travel around the world, i'm ready to bet that imagineers will play with the time of the day. And, because each location have a best time to be filmed, WDI Imagineers will be right to do so. Why not, for instance, begin the "flight" by the Giza Pyramids at dawn? I know very well the place as i've been there many times in my life, and the best hour with magical light on Giza Pyramids is definitely at dawn. Also, Egypt civilisation is the oldest one of all the countries listed above. To choose Egypt for the opening sequence and a dazzling view of the Pyramids at dawn would make perfect sense.
As for the evening sequence, soaring over London by night - the old Victorian city, the town of Peter Pan and the Darling family - would be wonderful. And if they need a Magic Kingdom for the "fireworks" final sequence, there is Disneyland Paris, just a few miles down in the south!
Even better: the best would be to have a different ending for each park where the attraction will play in the future. Take Hong Kong Disneyland for instance. Hong Kong at night is dazzling, and they could "cut" to a scene with fireworks over HKDL castle. Same for Epcot, or TDL or the future Shanghaî Disneyland. Different ending for each park will not only be logical, but also great for fans who will discover a not-totally-identical version when they will visit foreign Disney parks...
But in each country there is also plenty of natural wonders like, for instance, the Grand Canyon. And WDI imagineers may prefer to film them instead of cities or historical landmark like the Forbidden City in Beijing. Or may be they will do a mix of both to help the audience to identify instantly the "country".
Once the filming will be done WDI Imagineers still have to do the editing, add the music score and fix everything right which always takes some months... One last wish and i'm sure that most of you who've ride the first "Soarin'" will agree with me: please try to do a longer movie - which should be the case anyway as a roundtrip around the world in less than 5 minutes would be reaaally short - 7-8 minutes would be fine, it's never too long when you soar above all these wonders even if we must keep in mind the attraction hour capacity. Also: pleaaaase keep - or adapt - the original and fantastic Jerry Goldsmith original music score, no need to have a new one, really!
To come back to the WDS, it will be interesting to see if they will use only the new Soarin' over the World movie or also the first one, Soarin' over California. After all, as the attraction have two theaters guests could have the choice between the two movies... Personally i think they will use only Soarin' over the World at the opening and might keep Soarin over California for a re-boost of the attraction some years later.
Whether Soarin' will come at the WDS in the future or not - personally i think it will and that WDS guests will love it - let's all be patient and wait with confidence. Soarin over the World should arrive in 2013 at DCA and Epcot and hopefully later at the WDS. The sooner will be the better as i'm sure that Soarin' over the World will be an awesome experience!
Pictures: copyright Disney or Disney and more