Friday, January 29, 2010

D&M Exclusive Report : Universal Studios Singapore Panoramic Pictures Part Two!

Here is the awaited part two of the Universal Studios Singapore exclusive report - Part One is HERE if you've missed it. But before, more infos on the opening date. In the part one of this report i told you that USS first day of operations to the public will be February 3rd with media event on February 1st & 2nd. Other sites are saying these dates are wrong and that Universal Singapore is still waiting from Singapore government the authorization to open the park.

As a matter of fact we were both right, i.e that one week ago the February 3 date was USS goal for a soft-opening date. Right now the park is done but the rides are still in process of being tested and that just takes a certain amount of time. Apparently USS realised that if the Feb 3 date was kept for a soft-opening some of the rides - at least four of them - couldn't be ready for that date as they're still under test mode.

So, the very latest news i have about this soft opening date is that it's probably going to be pushed back to February 11...but in fact that "soft opening date" changes almost hourly! Right now at Universal Singapore they throw all manpowers and whatever is needed for to get the park and full shows definitely open before February 14, the start of Chinese New Year, Asia's biggest event of the year.

But there is also a hidden reason for that: at Resorts World Sentosa guests won't find only hotels, shopping area and a great theme park, they will also find a Casino! The Casino is of course outside the park and they really spent a lot of money on it - even more on the "Monaco" model - to make it as great as possible as Asian people, and specially Chineses, are biiiiig gamblers.

Michael Graves - yes, the architect of the Swan and Dolphin hotels at WDW and of the New York Hotel at DLP - designed the whole complex - beautiful materials by the way - but the Casino will be the real Money Maker. So, as you may have guess, they REALLY want to get the Casino open for Chinese New Year which is, as i told you, the biggest holiday of the Year in Asia. Let's just hope they won't get too greedy and let people get in the casino before the Park itself will be open.

However, a good news for everyone who worked on the park as last week Tom Williams, head of NBC Universal, came to visit the park, was impressed by the quality of the work and gave a big Thumbs Up. One thing is sure: whatever happen the park will be open anytime soon, whether it's the 3rd or the 14th is not that important as anyone can wait 10 more days, right?

So, let's have a look at these new panoramic pictures showing of course different areas than the one you've seen in the first part. As usual click on each panoramic pictures to see them in big size and explore the park in details. The first picture at the top is of course the park's entrance with the Universal Studios famous revolving globe. Same for the picture below with the tickets booths.

The next picture was shot exiting Hollywood Boulevard. On the center right the Mel's Drive-In restaurant. On the extreme right a bit of the Superstar Candies Store selling...yes, that's right, candies! On the left of the picture the entrance of the Madagascar zone with its giant tree.

This next panoramic show the entrance of Far Far Away, the Shrek land, with the huge castle. The picture was shot from the entrance of the Lost World "Jurassic Park" land.

And talking about Jurassic Park, this last panoramic picture show the entrance of the Lost World land.

Edited: Don't miss the new great exclusive report on Universal Singapore with 45 panoramic pictures where you will see the whole park! It's HERE.

I add this new Youtube video showing the dramatic entrance of...the casino i've just mentioned!

That's all for today, more pictures of Universal Studios Singapore coming soon!

All pictures: copyright Disney and more

Disney Legend Walt Peregoy Exhibition Premiering February 1st at Encino, California

Disney and more Californian readers will be happy to learn that an exhibition of Walt Peregoy paintings will begin at The Chocolate Bar, 17312-A Ventura Blvd, Encino on February 1st and the artist's reception will be Saturday, February 6, in the evening. This exhibit will highlight Walt Peregoy’s more than 70 years of personal works and showcase his unique style and color technique. Walt Peregoy has been acclaimed for his avant-garde style. and in 2008 his dedication, creativity and outstanding contributions to animation for the Walt Disney Company earned him the honor of being named a Disney Legend!

Born in Los Angeles in 1925, Walt Peregoy spent his early childhood on a small island in San Francisco Bay. He was nine years old when he began his formal art training, attending Saturday classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley. When he was 12 years old, Peregoy's family returned to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in Chouinard Art Institute's life drawing classes. At age 17, he dropped out of high school and went to work for Disney as an in-betweener. I

n 1942, he joined the Coast Guard, and served for three years. After World War II, he continued his art education, studying at the University de Belles Artes, San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, and with Fernand Leger in Paris.

In 1951, with a young family in tow, Peregoy returned to the United States, and resumed his career with The Walt Disney Studios. Initially, he served as a designer and animator on Peter Pan (1952) and Lady and the Tramp (1955).

Above: Walt Peregoy at the Disney Studios in the 1950's.

Although skilled with these more conventional projects, Peregoy's personal style began to surface. "I always asked myself, how come their idea of realism is completely contradictory to a duck or a mouse or a baboon talking? That's not realism. It's freedom… so, why does a flower have to be put next to an airbrushed rock?"

Above: Walt Peregoy with other Disney Animators in the 1950's. Walt Peregoy is the second from the right, with the white shirt.

Peregoy's unique style meshed well with that of his contemporary, stylist Eyvind Earle, and their work on the Academy Award®-nominated short Paul Bunyan (1958) was a departure for Disney. "My style was unusual for Walt Disney, but he tolerated me," Peregoy says. Although, since he was "tolerated" for 14 years, the artist sheepishly admits, "I had to be doing something right."

Above: Walt Peregoy color keys for Disney's 101 Dalmatians.

Peregoy was lead background painter on Sleeping Beauty (1959) before embarking on his most ambitious, intelligent, and personal effort. "To this day, Walt Peregoy's color styling in 101 Dalmatians (1961) remains a fine example of how color can be used creatively in animation while serving more than a merely decorative function," says modern animation authority Amid Amidi.

Above: a rare picture shoot during the 101 Dalmatiand production. Walt Peregoy is second from the left.

Peregoy continued at Disney on the features The Sword in the Stone (1963), Mary Poppins (1964), and The Jungle Book (1967), after which he spent several years with Hanna-Barbera. He returned to Disney in 1977, contributing his unique view to the design of Epcot, where his work included architectural facades, sculptures, and murals for The Land and Journey Into Imagination pavilions.

Above: "Railroad Non-Objective", one of Walt Peregoy's paintings.

Today, Peregoy works mostly in oil pastels, and his work has been shown at the National Gallery, the Library of Congress, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. The same muses that drove his innovative work at Disney are still speaking. "I listen for what should be there," Peregoy reflects. "If you really love to express yourself visually, it's a shame if you don't do it. If you keep ignoring the muse, it disappears."

Above: "A Car I Never Had", another one of Walt Peregoy's paintings that will be display at the exhibit.

The Walt Peregoy's exhibition at the Chocolate Bar in Encino will last until February 27 and it's a rare chance to see great personal work from a Disney Legend, so don't miss it!

Edited: The Walt Peregoy exhibit at the Chocolate Bar is now installed and opening officially tomorrow Feb 1st. Here is an exclusive picture of Walt shot yesterday!

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

Pictures: copyright Disney and Walt Peregoy

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What about a 3D visit of IOA Wizarding World of Harry Potter ?

Let's end the day with a bit of magic (more magical than the new Apple IPad, see my article below!). USA Today released today a map of the awaited Harry Potter land at Islands of Adventure. The good idea is that the map is in fact a support for augmented reality, i.e that once you have print it, just put it in front of your webcam and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will appear magically in 3D on your computer screen!

And the good news, specially for my non U.S residents readers is that you don't need to buy USA Today as the map that you need is just in front of you, at the top of this article! Just click on the picture to get it in big size, then print it. Once it's done, go to and follow the instructions. Very simple.

When the map will appear in 3D on your screen you can turn it to have a look at all the different sides of the land. However, note that Dragon’s Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff rides are only represented by icons on the map. But you can even make the waving banners wave faster simply by blowing into your computer microphone! Have fun!

Picture: copyright Universal Studios

No more " Future in the Present " : The new Apple IPad and why i'm furious about it !

After months of hype and expectations Steve Jobs finally introduced yesterday the Apple IPad. Before i go further i have to say that i'm a huge Apple fan something that all faithful Disney and more reader probably know as i've told you this before. Of course i was expecting this new tablet but i think it's fair to say that my expectations were reasonable.

Now, is this new IPad simply a big IPhone? On a certain point of view, yes it is. Will you be able to do with it all you can do with a Mac Book or even a Net Book? Definitely not. Is it a problem? Well, yes and no. No, because it's a new device which don't intend to replace the laptops. And yes, because on the IPad some features are missing and as we will see it's unforgivable.

Let's talk about the good things first: great screen, undeniably, although book reading will be probably more tiring for your eyes than the eInk technology of the Amazon Kindle. Also, definitely great and elegant multi-touch interface which, just like on the Iphone, works like magic. And the IWork multi touch version looks great too (although you'll have to buy it separately for a reasonable price). Watching movies, sharing photos and playing games will be much better on the IPad, there is no doubt about that. Surfing on internet or reading/writing emails on a big screen will be highly appreciated. And the keynote feature will be fantastic for any designer/photographer/graphist, do their presentation to a client. The biggest surprise came at the end of Steve's keynote when he revealed the price: starting at $499 (wi-fi connection only) the IPad should be a success and probably a danger for the Net Books sales. Although...

And this leads me to the second part, i.e the features desperately missing. First, no USB port or no SD card reader include - you have to buy for $29 the adapter package to be able to upload your pictures/movies. $29 is not dramatic but where was the problem to include this directly in the IPad? Frankly...!?!

Also, just like on the IPhone, there's no possibility to run multiple third party apps at once, outside of the Apple apps that can work in the background, such as iPod which mean that you'll be able to type an email AND listen your music at the same time, which honestly is the least we can expect of this kind of device.

Then comes the first big mistake: although you'll have access to internet and go on any site you wish, all this on a big screen, don't expect to watch videos - like the one i can post on Disney and more or any other site - as the IPad OS don't support Flash!!! So, what's the point to have a fast internet access on a mobile device with a big screen if you can't access ALL internet? Since when internet is only about text and pictures? I don't know the reason behind this missing Flash (officially it's because the use of Flash is "eating" too much battery) but frankly, it's stupid. However, you still can go on Youtube and watch almost any Youtube videos, even high-definition videos.

And here come the missing feature which drive me crazy: there is no webcam on the IPad! And this is really an unforgivable mistake. Why? Here is why: when the first IPhone appeared, back in 2007, with his new multi touch interface, suddenly it was "the future in the present". A kind of Star Trek device which would have been teleported to the 21st century. Of course, now we don't have this feeling anymore but back three years ago this "future in the present" effect was one of the big reasons of the huge IPhone hype.

Do we have this feeling with the IPad? No we don't. And what enrages me is that it could have been the case. Think: you're sit on a bench in a park, or in a remote place 10000 miles from your home and you want to call AND see your girl/boy friend or anyone you wish. Then, instead to take out of your bag a laptop that you need to unfold, etc... what you have is something that looks, virtually, like a piece of glass. And thanks to it - and Skype! - your girl/boy friend would magically appear even if you're up in the mountain or lost in the jungle as long as there is a 3G connection. Wouldn't it be great? Do you remember the sequence in Stanley kubrick's "2001, a Space Odyssey" when the scientist on a space station use a videophone to call on Earth his little daughter for her birthday? In the movie they were in 2001 and we are in 2010! Okay, i'm kidding, but frankly what the hell was the problem to put a web cam on the top of the IPad? It would have changed everything.

If Steve has to learn a lesson in all this, it's this one: ALWAYS BRING THE FUTURE IN THE PRESENT, that the key of the success. And Steve better don't tell me that Apple don't have new innovations! Just go to the excellent PatentlyApple web site , a great site tracking all Apple new patents, and read the three parts article called The Tablet Prophecies HERE, HERE and HERE where you'll discover all the great inventions that Apple researchers created for a tablet device. Sure they'll come in the future, and sure, Apple keep some bullets for the IPad V2, but honestly i'm sick to have to wait for the next version, specially when what i am asking for - Flash support and a webcam - is so simple, so elementary...

Edited: More about all this with a good analysis on the missing features on HERE

Let's end by something less negative with pictures of accessories that Apple developed specially for the IPad. First, this dock and wireless keyboard (virtual multitouch keyboard is of course include in the IPad) which can be helpful. Apparently the regular wireless keyboard of the IMacs will work with the IPad.

And the next one is a neoprene case which will not only protect the IPad but also reverses into a triangle to convert the tablet into either a freestanding TV orientation, or lays down to become a full screen mini-laptop. Not bad at all.

Let's end with some fun. As here at Disney and more we have the sense of humor, here is three videos of Apple products that you will never see in the future! Very funny.

This third video was released in 2007 and believe it or not, but it's all about the IPad! Well, a different kind of IPad! (I must tell you first that in America the word IPad also mean a woman personal hygiene product...)

All pictures: copyright Apple Inc

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

D&M Exclusive Report : Universal Studios Singapore Panoramic Pictures !

I have a great pictorial report for you today on Universal Studios Singapore with panoramic pictures shoot recently. The park is supposed to open next week and since my article last sunday i was confirmed again that USS first day of operations to the public is February 3rd. Also, on February 1st & 2nd will be the media event. So, very probably you can expect many more pictures - and videos too! - next week and Disney and more intend to do a full coverage on Universal Studios Singapore opening. So come back regularly to see the new pics i will have for you.

EDITED: The Universal Studios Singapore Panoramic Pictures Part Two is on line HERE and another great post with the original artwork designed for the park is HERE!

Let's go for today's pictures. Above, a picture of the "Far Far away" Shrek castle. The first panoramic picture below show the New York area of the park, not so far from the Hollywood section located at the entrance.

Important note: Definitely click on each panoramic pictures to see them in big size and explore them in details.

This next panoramic show the other side of the New York Street. As usual with Universal you'll note the quality of the sets.

The next shot is also showing the New York area, looking towards the Hollywood area.

On the panoramic below the Ancient Egypt land is across the lagoon on the left, Sci-Fi City with the Battlestar Galactica dueling coaster in the center and the New York area on the right. I still think that Sci Fi City and the temples of Ancient egypt are too close but the park is pretty "compact" due to the land that was available for its construction.

The next picture is a great panoramic of the Battlestar Galactica dueling coaster, shot from inside Sci Fi City.

On the picture below the New York area is on the left (with a bit of the dueling coaster), the Hollywood area in the center and the Enchanted Airways coaster of the Shrek land on the right.

This next picture is a mega-panoramic showing almost every land around the lake except Jurassic Park and Waterworld areas. From the left: Ancient Egypt, Sci Fi City, New York area, Hollywood area, the Madagascar ship and tree and Shrek land with the Far Far Away castle.

This next one is in fact a "vertical panoramic" and show a huge set of the New York area. As you can see the whole street - just like the Hollywood street at the entrance of the park - is under a huge canopy to protect the guests during the monsoon season and its heavy rains.

The last two pictures are not panoramic. The first one show Universal workers putting the final touch to a decor of the Hollywood area...

...and this next one show some - also unfinished - outside decor of Friar Food Court, a restaurant located in the Shrek land.

EDITED: The Universal Studios Singapore Panoramic Pictures Part Two is on line HERE and another great post with the original artwork designed for the park is HERE!

Don't miss the new great exclusive report on Universal Singapore with 45 panoramic pictures where you will see the whole park! It's HERE.

And all my thanks goes to the very kind Disney and more reader who have sent to me these great pictures!

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

All pictures: copyright Disney and more

Introducing the new Disney and more Globe widget

Editor's Note: Don't miss the rare Beastly Kingdom artwork article below. You will also notice that i've introduced a new widget created by Revolver Maps on the top of the right column: the D&M Globe! Disney and more readers are all around the world and the location of each new visit on the site appear on the globe. Only the last 60 visits or so appear and then disappear for the next new visits.
It brings a kinetic element to D&M and it's fun to see where on Earth are the other readers. An important note: Of course, the map do NOT disclose your adress or your name, so your privacy is fully preserved. You are able to zoom on the map or see it in full screen mode if you wish. And if you put your mouse on the globe with a hold click you can stop the rotation of the globe and turn it any side you want. Have fun!

Also, James Cameron's Avatar" has beat today the record set by “Titanic” and become the biggest grossing movie EVER with a $1.85 billion worldwide box-office. And all this in six weeks only! It's far to be over and we can expect Avatar box office to grow still further during the coming weeks of the awards season where Avatar has become a major player.
BREAKING NEWS: A great news for all Tim Burton fans as it was announced today that Tim will head Cannes jury for this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes fest prexy Gilles Jacob said, "He's a magician of visual delights who turns the screen into a faery wonder. We hope his sweet madness and gothic humor will pervade the Croisette, bringing Christmas to all. Christmas and Halloween."

"After spending my early life watching triple features and 48-hour horror movie marathons, I'm finally ready for this," said Burton.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rare Beastly Kingdom Dragon Tower Attraction Artwork

I have a great find for you today, and you're not going to believe how i've found it. Last week i was surfing on ebay, having a look at a seller named "Sell and Ship". As they have sometime collectible items coming from Disney cast members or Walt Disney Imagineering, i regularly have a look on their page just to check if there is something really interesting...

And what do i see? A pin described as "Animal Kingdom Dragon Pin". I'm not at all a pin fan but it was supposed to be an "Imagineering limited edition", so i clicked on the item to have a closer look on the page and read the description:

- Walt Disney Imagineering Exclusive
- Limited Edition of only 300
- One pin in a series of artwork from WDI.
- Approx 2.25" across and 1 5/8" tall.
- The artwork is primarly red and black.
-It is framed by a red and black metal frame.

But the most interesting was:

- Inside artwork depicting the original concept that was supposed to features animals that never were, but later the concept was abandoned.
- When the Discovery River boats ran, passengers passed by a fire breathing dragon's cave.

And i thought: "A rendering showing the Beastly Kingdom dragon? Let's have a closer look to this". So, i took the pin image, opened the file through Photoshop and increase its size to have a better look.

And you know what? This rendering is NOT showing the scene with the Discovery River boat and the dragon's cave, it's showing a scene of the Beastly Kingdom Dragon Tower never built roller coaster attraction!! In fact, it is the very first rendering i've seen showing the inside of the castle, with the dragon breathing fire and the roller coaster train nearby - if you look closely, you can see the harness on each seat. As you can see on the full size picture below it don't look at all like a cave but more like the inside of a castle, not to mention the roller coaster train, so i think there is little doubt that we have here a rendering showing a rare scene of Dragon Tower.

I remind you that Beastly Kingdom was a land devoted to creatures of legend and mythology. Beastly Kingdom was to have featured mythical animals such as unicorns, dragons, and sea monsters. The land would have feature realms of both good and evil creatures.

The evil side would have been dominated by Dragon Tower, a ruined castle home to a greedy fire-breathing dragon who horded a fabulous treasure in the tower chamber. The castle - artwork below - would also be inhabited by bats who planned to rob the dragon of his riches. They would enlist the guests' help in their scheme and whisk them off on a thrilling roller coaster ride through the castle ruins. The climax of the ride would be an encounter with the evil dragon himself, resulting in a nearly-barbecued train of you can see on today's artwork.

You'll note that the picture with the dragon is not perfectly clear as the ebay picture was a shot of the whole pin - as you can see above - including the glass over the rendering and its reflection on the artwork. I've tried to improve the document with Photoshop, but it's still not perfect which is no big drama as we can see quite clearly most of the rendering.

Hope that all Animal Kingdom fans will be pleased by this find and if you're interested by exclusive Imagineering items "Sell and Ship" have quite a lot of them on sale right now on ebay!

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

Picture: copyright Disney

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Universal Studios Singapore set for an opening February 3rd ?

Universal Studios Singapore will be the only major theme park to open this year and here is the latest news about it. My last info about the opening date say that the park should open "most likely" before Chinese New Year which is on February 14th.

BUT another source working on the park says that the park may be in soft opening next Thursday. January 28th could be the "family day" i.e the day when employees who built the park can bring their family as well as special guests. The grand opening date is yet not official but the same source says that Universal Studios Singapore official opening is scheduled for February 3rd.

Before i go further, here is a special and urgent request: If you are a Disney and more reader living in Singapore, and owner of a good digital camera, please contact me by email at: as i am looking for a photographer to shoot pictures of the park's opening. Any help from my Singaporian readers will be appreciated!

So, nothing is better than a good video and the next two from Channel News Asia will show you the park - still under construction and with attractions in test mode - but that's better than nothing.

No Universal Studios without the giant turning globe at the entrance of the park and there is one too at Universal Singapore - already turning as you will see on this next short video.

Universal Singapore will also have the Jurassic Park ride but this time it won't be a flume ride but a raft ride! Want a proof? Have a look at the video below showing the raft itself during a test.

And a last good news to end the article: Once the park in Singapore will be open, works will begin soon on the next Universal Studios park. And where will it be, you ask? In South Korea, and here is the rendering.

Universal Studios Korea will be build in Hwaseong Green City and is scheduled for a 2013 opening. The park will include 9 different themed lands, including one focused on both Korean and International movie industry, thrill rides, a water park, shopping malls including a premium outlet mall, hotels, condos, a city walk, golf links and a convention center. And i remind you that in 2011 the spectacular Transformers ride using the same technology than the Spiderman ride at IOA will open at Singapore.

One last question: will the opening of these two new Universal Studios in Asia hurt Hong Kong Disneyland? Considering that one of them is opening now, probably. Frankly, HKDL didn't need that. Although works on HKDL expansion already began, the park will not have new attractions before next year. And at two hours flight (more or less) from Hong Kong a brand new park with rides based on Hollywood most successful movies will be open. So, yes, Universal Singapore opening will most likely have an effect on HKDL. It's not that i wish it, it's just pure logic.

Pictures: copyright Universal Studios

Many thanks to the different people for the You Tube videos