Saturday, April 17, 2010

Will this new Apple patent revolutionize guests experience at Disney Theme Parks ?

As everyone knows Apple Inc is one of the most secret company in the world. Steve Jobs protects all Apple inventions and want them to be known only when it's the right time and to be honest i think he's right. BUT as i am also a huge Apple fan i'm also happy to learn what Apple's future is made of. And for this, the great Patently Apple web site is just perfect. Like any company Apple must protect their new inventions and the best way to do this is to register a patent at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. Each day Patently Apple is tracking new Apple patents and for sure it's the best way to learn before anyone what will be Apple's next amazing product. Recently Apple registered a patent for a new application, and this one could revolutionize your future visit at a Disney theme parks!

This new Apple's application is called "Concert Ticket +". As patently Apple explains it "The system that is laid out in this extraordinarily detailed patent, points to a new iTunes based web service for tickets... Apple definitely envisions a way to revolutionize the entire current concert ticket process so as to eliminate paper while enhancing the concert or event experience. But the patent goes far beyond concerts as well - so as to cover sporting events, and... theme park admissions and rides"! Considering that Steve Jobs is not only Disney's biggest stockholder but also a member of the WDC board you begin to understand why it's interesting to have a closer look to this new patent...

First, to help you to understand how it works let me give you more details about the part of the patent about concerts as the theme park part of the patent works on the same technique. You will see below the explicit patent picture, and here is Patently Apple explanation (the numbers in the text refers to the picture below):
"Apple's patent FIG. 8A shown below illustrates an iPhone obtaining and storing electronic tickets. The electronic tickets may be any data identified as electronic tickets and may include, for example, encrypted or unencrypted XML files which may be associated with a particular device or user account. An iPhone may obtain electronic tickets from an NFC enabled ticket (#106), by scanning a paper ticket (#108), by receiving an electronic ticket via e-mail (#110) or via the Internet, or by purchasing an electronic ticket from the kiosk or unmanned kiosks presented earlier.

In Apple's patent FIG. 8B we're able to see a variety of benefits that may be associated with the electronic tickets stored on the iPhone. After receiving electronic tickets using one of the manners depicted in FIG. 8A, additional benefits may be obtained by communicating information associated with the electronic tickets to a web service.

To provide a brief example illustrating the electronic ticketing system of FIGS. 8A-B below, a user may purchase an NFC-enabled ticket (#106) for a concert. The user may tap the NFC-enabled ticket to an iPhone running a ticket management application which may cause the iPhone to receive ticket information from the NFC-enabled ticket. The iPhone may next authenticate the ticket with a web service such as iTunes. Thereafter, the user may use their iPhone to gain entry to the concert through the ticket turnstile noted below (#94) - and obtain additional benefits as outlined below.

I-tickets may provide additional benefits, such as digital content which may include a live recording of the event, exclusive interviews with artists associated with the event, or studio recordings by artists associated with the event. The electronic tickets may offer other benefits, such as discounts on merchandise related to the event, discounts or prepaid refreshments for the event, discounts or prepaid merchandise like a T-Shirt for the event, and other related content, such as a digital map (#120) to the event or of the venue including your seating positioning relative to the stage".

Now, let's see the part of this patent about theme parks, which is from patent points 464 through to 478. You have the patent text below but as it is typical patent language i suggest you read it slowly if you want to understand something!

In two words this new application will allow you to order and store in your mobile device (IPhone or others) the entrance ticket to Disney parks but not only. Instead to make the queue to buy the ticket you will present your IPhone at the entrance and they will scan the image and barcode and that's it! This will be great for normal guests but of course if you're an Annualpass holder you don't really care about that. As you will see what's next is more interesting as "the electronic theme park ticket - that you will have stored on your IPhone or other mobile phone may also include such benefits as special ride tickets or prepaid or discount refreshments". Also, "other benefits which may be associated with the electronic theme park ticket may include photos of the user on certain rides, as well as certain entertainment which may become available while the user waits in line.

"In-line entertainment may include, for example, complimentary or for-purchase digital content such as music, videos, or games". "A map to or of the theme park may also be associated with the electronic theme park ticket. Prepaid or discount parking or transportation may also be associated as a benefit with the electronic theme park ticket".

Also "the supplemental ticket data associated with an electronic ticket may include the GPS coordinates delineating where the event may take place. With such information, the electronic device, upon receiving the electronic theme park ticket, may also automatically instate an "out of office" reply to all incoming email or phone calls, indicating that the user is currently unavailable while the user remains within certain GPS coordinates delineating the bounds of the theme park. Additionally, as some theme parks may be affiliated with movie studios, the electronic theme park ticket may include a benefit such as special movie releases. Such special movie releases may become available, for example, when a user enters the theme park using the electronic theme park ticket".

With this App guests will be able "to obtain photos associated with recent theme park rides. As the user passes a ride exit, the unmanned kiosk or the exhibit station may be nearby. The unmanned kiosk and the exhibit station may enable the user to exploit a variety of benefits associated with the electronic theme park ticket". Thanks to the data supplied by the ticket to credit an account for an online media service, such as an iTunes.RTM. account, associated with the ticketholder with the images at a later time, the user may retrieve the images from the online media service from his electronic device. The electronic device may display a screen when, as discussed above, the electronic device interacts with the unmanned kiosk or the exhibit station located near the ride exit. Text may indicate the name of the ride. A button, labeled "See Photos," may enable the user to view photos from the ride. Another button, labeled "Suggested Rides," may recommend similar rides and provide maps to the rides".

"It should further be appreciated that the screen may be additionally or alternatively displayed while the electronic device is operating in a tour mode and the GPS coordinates denoting the end of the ride are detected by the location-sensing circuitry. The electronic device may compare the location data observed by the location-sensing circuitry and various locations denoting ride exits, noted as GPS coordinates in the supplemental ticket data. A hyperlink to a website or other server from the supplemental ticket data may provide up-to-date photo data from the ride".

"A number of benefits that may be associated with the electronic theme park ticket may ...become available to the user. While still at home, the user may prepay for parking and for enough refreshments for the whole family. The user and family may drive to the theme park aided by a map to the park. Upon arrival, because the user has prepaid for parking, the handheld device may display an electronic coupon indicating the user has prepaid for parking when the user arrives. Alternatively, the prepaid parking may be redeemed by tapping the NFC-enabled conference ticket to a kiosk or unmanned kiosk, which may verify that parking has been prepaid by contacting the web service".

"The user and family may gain entry to the theme park using the handheld device using the techniques described above. Once inside the park, the user and family may avoid certain ride lines with special ride tickets and, while waiting in line throughout the day, may take advantage of special in-line entertainment such as a trivia game against others waiting in line. After riding certain rides, the user may purchase photos of his family's recent ride experiences by tapping the handheld device to an unmanned kiosk stationed at the exit. Meanwhile, though the user may not have set an "out-of-office" reply before going to the theme park, the handheld device may automatically set an "out-of-office" reply when the user entered the park, based on user preferences. Finally, when the day winds down and the family is ready to go, certain special movie releases may be offered for purchase on the handheld device on the way out. As the user and family drive home, one of the recently-purchased special movie releases may play in the car".

If you own a IPhone or another mobile device that you can connect to a ITunes account all what you've read above should be possible. Instead to buy a ticket at the entrance booth or stop to pay for the parking you wil show your mobile device and the electronic or parking lot and that's it! And not to mention all what was described above and the goodies you may receive on your mobile device while waiting in line... Now that you've read the above description of the patent you probably understood how this new Apple patent might revolutionize your future Disney parks visits.

Do we all say "thank you" to Steve?

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

Pictures and part of the text coming from Apple patent: copyright Apple Inc
Important Note to all Disney and more readers: We now enter in the last ten days of D&M, after what i will unfortunately stop posting new daily articles on Disney and more at the end of this month - if you haven't read my message yet please read it HERE. So, if you don't own a copy of the Disneyland Paris book and wish to order one it's now or never! If you like Disney and more, you will LOVE the book full of high-res pictures and LOT of WDI artwork! Please read the article below to know how to order the book.

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

If you're looking for a great 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: If you're not in a rush to get the book, choose the flat shipping option (also indicated below) which usually takes between 3 to 6 weeks delivery (depending if you're living in Europe or in the U.S) and 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 and Shipping: 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

First Look at Disney Cruise Line's " Villains Tonight! "

The new Disney Cruise Line's musical spectacular "Villains Tonight!" is now playing aboard the Disney Magic, so let's have a first look at it thanks to this Disney Cruise Line video.

And if you are interested to know more about its making-of, there is also a DCL video for that!

Picture and videos: copyright Disney

Friday, April 16, 2010

Editor's Note: I post today the part two of the Dinosaurs attraction article in which i explain how we would create each scene. I've also added - i should have done in in the first post - the other ride ending which works only with the Time Travel Company version. It's a fun one with a kind of "Twilight Zone" twist. Don't miss it, you'll find it at the end of this post.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

" Back to the Dinosaurs " Attraction - Part Two

Here is the part two article about the Dinosaurs attraction concept that Jeff Burke and I designed seven years ago. This time i will explain the technical aspects of the ride, "how we would do it". If you have not read the first part of this article you must do it before reading this one. You'll find part one HERE.

Above is the Chronos Time travel building of the first opening version. There is not a lot to say about it as it shows the facade of the building. I've never been satisfied with this artwork as the painter didn't do a good interpretation of what i had in mind but, in two words, what i can say is that the idea was to don't spend all the money on the building architecture but to keep it for what is inside, the ride itself.

The queue decor and its spiral style came from a Las Vegas trip that we did Jeff Burke and I. We wanted to have a look to the teleportation effect at Star Trek Experience and before you enter the teleportation area the STE queue had this spiral walkway. Jeff, and i agree with him, thought that it could be the right thing for the queue inside Chronos Time Travel. The ceiling had a night sky effect with fiber optics.

The Time Shuttle is a bit more complicated, but not that much. The Audio-animatronic robot must be sophisticated - the same kind of quality than the Timekeeper of the Visionarium attraction (From Time to Time in the U.S) and the movie and effects on the ceiling is a retro projection effect. If i remember it well i think the shuttle is supposed to have a simulation system so it could shake a bit.

The Mayan decor of the second opening version is of course inspired by Yucatan pyramids. If you don't have an image in mind of the Yucatan site, think to the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, with additional Dino heads sculptures. Here, the pyramid also hide the big facility for the ride itself which would be located backstage, like they did for the Haunted Mansion show facility at Disneyland which is on the other side of the railroad track.

The pre-pre show was inside a archeological tent with fake Mayan antiques and there is nothing special to say on its making-of. Disney did this kind of theming pretty well in the queue decor of the different Indiana Jones attractions, like at DLP Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril.

Same for the decor inside the temple. Think to what WDI Imagineers did on the queue decor of Indiana Jones Adventure but this time with a Mayan theming and you'll have a good idea of how it will look.

The pre-show scene inside the secret chamber is a more difficult one. As you can see on the painting, we have the four statues who slowly glow from the inside - this is a lighting effect, not difficult to achieve, same for the laser beams. The vortex on the ceiling is a retro-projection effect. When guests enter the "chamber" the ceiling looks like stone but on a certain point of view it's like in the Haunted Mansion stretching room. When the room is stretching the ceiling looks normal, made from wood, but when light comes down you can see the hangman "behind", because the ceiling is in fact a painting on scrim, a material on which you can also do retro projection effect.

The hard part is of course the teleportation effect. At Star Trek Experience the teleportation room was smaller than our secret chamber and the effect was a simple but very well done theatrical effect as the four walls goes up and disappear in the ceiling of the Enterprise room located behind. The most important, including in our show, is the 15 seconds of flash lights which "blind" the guests just enough time so they don't see the walls disappearance. In our case it's more complicated and we can't do it like they did in Vegas. We have these giant statues, the projection effect on the ceiling, etc...and to have all this decor lift up and disappearing inside the ceiling is not possible.

So the best is may be to have the wall in the back of the room - the one behind the guests - going up and the area where the guests are standing would be a platform which will move backwards to arrive in the jungle decor located on the other side of the wall. All this of course during the 15 seconds of darkness with flash and sound effects to blind the guests during that time. Also - and it's not on the rendering - there would be a 30 inches high wall all around the platform as guests must not be able to go out of that area when the platform will move. Another solution may be to have the platform with the guests going down in a room under. And, as guests may feel the vibration of the platform movement during the transition the idea is to already have the platform shaking a little bit when everything begins to go awry, before total darkness. As guests would feel the ground shaking before the moving effect they eventually will not notice that the platform is moving when it will be the case. You got the picture?

This is basically a jungle decor, nothing technically difficult to achieve, and of course some jungle decor elements must be "stick" to the other side of the wall - the one going up in the secret room - to avoid the guests to see it when light comes back. Nothing difficult here although it must be very well done.

We are now in the first ride scene. As i've said before the attraction needs a huge facility, around 8000 square meters. The attraction also needs a lot of decor and fake vegetation but that's not the problem (except what it costs, of course!).Jeff estimates that we need a depth of 20 meters - 70 feet - in that scene to give the illusion of depth that you can see on the rendering. False perspective, the first volcano in 3D and a huge cyclorama for the sky, with projection effects for the volcano smoke and real water with eventually smog effect for the swamp. And fireflies effect just like they do it in the POTC Blue Bayou sequence. We also wanted to have a scent effect to add another sense. So in this scene guests would smell a swamp scent and the scent of course will change all along the ride depending of each scene.

For the Apatosaurus audio-animatronics dinos it was the easy part as Kokoro - a Japanese company - is already doing them. Not all dinosaurs from them are good for what we're looking for and that's why we saw also others animatronics companies but the Apatosaurus AA they are doing are fine, although they probably would request re-programming.

The main problem with Audio-animatronics is not only the mechanical part which is of course very important as elements must be reliable, but also the programming. You need a very good programmer and there is not a lot on the market. WDI have of course the best one, but for the project we could have one of the best, former Imagineer no longer working at WDI but who did some of the best Audio-animatronics programming at Imagineering, called Dave Feiten. Dave is a genious programmer and although he's doing now something totally different he was very interested by the project and would be happy to be back programming AAs.

And about the time buggy vehicles, they were supposed to have a motion platform and were able to move without guide track, the kind of vehicles used in the Spiderman ride vehicles not the kind used in the Snow White dark ride. And of course with on-board audio system.

This next scene, as you can see, is really a big one. We designed it to be a "wow" scene and you have many AA dinos in it. The one drinking in the swamps already exist (always from Kokoro, i think) so these are not the problem. It's a bit different with the two huge Brachiosaurus. The first one on the left is the easiest to do. He's big, i agree but he is not really walking and basically eating leaves from the tree. What is difficult to achieve with this kind of animals is when they have to bend and raise the neck - like the first dino you see in the Jurassic Park ride. Generally the long neck is made of multiple mechanical segments and there is a risk that one of them goes wrong. But here the Brachiosaurus neck don't have to bend a lot, so we don't have this difficulty.

Then you have the Cryptoclidus coming out of the swamp to attack the other Brachiosaurus. For the Cryptoclidus we have a mix of bubble effects to give the illusion that "some creature" is moving inside the swamp and then it goes out. An underwater mechanical arm will move in the swamp on 10 meters or so and then project him out. But only the head, jaws and the fins would move, just enough to give the illusion.

The other Brachiosaurus was really an engineering challenge for the animatronics manufacturers we met. First, there is the fact that his feet are in the water which don't makes things easier. So we decided that he could be on the shore at few inches from the lagoon. Then, what i wanted is to have the Brachiosaurus raising his front legs AND at the same time raising his neck to the upper point and then open his mouth to shout. It's indeed difficult to achieve - and it's probably the reason why we've never see this in any other dinos attraction - but that's also the beauty of the scene. The main problem is that you need a huge counter-weight, hidden of course, when the dino will raise his front legs. And specially when he will put back his legs on the ground. To raise the legs is difficult but the most sensitive part is to put them back, and to do it slowly to avoid an important shock when they will touch down. Because he would have to do this 1800 times a day it is a big engineering challenge. To lift up the neck is nothing in comparison, specially because the starting point of the lift of the neck was not too low.

Because we all know that problems can happen with Audio-animatronics, to have two different show movements on this one was also interesting. If it happens that the legs lift is not working, the neck and mouth effect still could be working and "save" that part of the show. Inversely, if the neck stops working and the legs still can go up, the show will "work", at least until the maintenance guys arrive.

Also, Jeff thought - and he's right - that a "sunset" lighting on that scene would be better than the full mid-day light you see on the artwork. Another good idea from Jeff was to add many smaller creatures so guests would have even more things to look at - a bit like in the Pirates of Caribbean auction scene where you have the pirates and the auctioneer but also chickens in cage, etc, which makes the scene more "rich".

I'm not a big fan of that scene but because it's supposed to be a "family ride" and that youngers always like dinos babies we decided to keep it. Nothing difficult here, i think that the whole AA scene is even already available from the Japanese company.

Same for this one, Kokoro is manufacturing these scenes above and below and i think their result is quite good. All the rest is fake vegetation, background painting, etc...and pine scents.

The scene with the Stegosaur looks easy to do and it is certainly not a very difficult one, but there is some difficulties too. The tree which is falling down when the Stegosaur tail hit it is not difficult to do. First, it never breaks down totally and a part of it of course remains attached to the trunk and go back in place when the vehicle is gone. For the Stegosaur tail movement it's a bit different. You can do easily this movement with a AA, but all the beauty comes from the speed - and it must look "natural"! That is less simple, but not impossible.

Here is a scene more complicated to achieve. As i've said in the scene description, "one of the velociraptor would "jump" on the guests vehicle from a 10 foot high rock on the left side of the track. Then to avoid it, the vehicle while still moving will spin at 90 degrees looking towards the right side of the track and the high grasses from where the other velociraptor would "jump" on the vehicle. So it is one velociraptor after another who "attack" the guests, and not both together".

Okay, now, how do we do that? At the start of the scene the guests see only the head and neck of a velociraptor hidden in high grasses. That's the easy part, just a Audio-animatronic head. Then they hear "sound of footsteps and the movement of the grass". Easy, too, thanks to sound effects and small mechanical stuff which moves the grass to give the illusion it is moved by the raptor. And then comes the raptor attack. The most difficult is the one who jumps from the rock. Of course he don't really jump, he is tied to a mechanical arm hidden behind the rock which project him in direction of the guests. Its tail, arms, head and jaws are all animated parts which will move at the same time to scare the guests. Same technique for the one "jumping" out of the high grasses.

This scene in the forest with the Therizinausaurus and its huge razor-sharp claws is not an easy one. The storm and rain effect is the simple part. As the light of the scene would be darker than on the rendering we would use a background projection effect for the rain, just like in the skull at the helm scene in Pirates of Caribbean. Wind machines and lighting effects, too, and eventually a bit of "real" raindrops to have the guests wet a little bit.

The Therizinausaurus Audio-animatronic is more difficult. We wanted it to walk towards the vehicle and then stop and do this movement with his claws. The trick was to have it on a platform hidden by the grasses and it's the platform which will move. But if one day we build the ride i'm afraid we will have to cancel the "walking" movement as we need to have it in a very stable position for the arm movement. This was imagined before Expedition Everest existed and when we see the problems they have with the Yeti - who do the same kind of move with his arm - it makes me think that this scene of our ride might not be the easiest to achieve.

Another big scene, all with night lighting. The dinos are the easy part, even the T-Rex. Kokoro is doing a pretty impressive T-Rex and we can achieve the movements easily. The night sky is of course done with fiber optics and the volcano lava effects is a light system behind the lava "columns" which gives the illusion that lava is going down. We also have smoke effects on the volcano slopes and ashes scent - like the one you smell when your vehicle pass by the fall of Roman Empire scene in Spaceship Earth. And the growing meteor is a projection effect.

Then we arrive to the cave scene. Note that the artist painted a cave much much bigger than what it would be in real, so don't pay attention to that. The first part of the scene is the meteor - well, a part of it - entering the cave. To achieve this effect we have, first, a mechanical part "pushing" back and forth the rock itself made in fiber glass with glowing light inside - plus smoke effects as the meteor is supposed to be extremely hot. The problem here is not to have it coming inside the cave but to pull it out back in place once the vehicle is gone, for the next vehicle. It's technically possible but the problem is to have it working 1800 times a day without technical problems and it's not that simple. It's this kind of scene that generally needs regular help from the maintenance team.

On the right, the cavern is full of lava and the illusion of lava would be done using this famous "slime" that kids love. Usually Slime has a green color but you can have it done in another color and here we need a red/orange color to fit the lava color. Light system under it as well as compress air to make it bubbles, and you have a cavern - not of "bubbling death" like in Indiana Jones adventure - but bubbling lava!

The second part of the cave scene is the earthquake part. In the back we have moving rocks - exactly the same effect than in the last lift of Big Thunder Mountain - and on the front we have rising rocks thanks to a mechanical system under them. As it is an earthquake scene, Jeff and I wanted to have the vehicles shaking like the ground was moving. We could achieve this with abrupt side to side shifting of the vehicle's motion base platform.

This last scene was probably the easiest of all. Basically we have here sculpted dinos skeletons with a little bit more "flesh" on them than the one you see on the rendering as they died just some minutes ago. The "rising spirits" is exactly the same projection effect that is done with the flying ghosts in the final graveyard scene at DL or WDW Haunted Mansions. In two words, it's a projection effect on a huge, stretched scrim.

So, i agree it's a very expensive ride - at WDI it would be close to $200 Million - but there is nothing really impossible to achieve in this ride although some elements requires really good engineering, especially the Brachiosaur sequence. Indeed we needs a huge building and lot of decor, fake vegetation - always expensive - and Audio-animatronics, but for the most of it the required techniques already exist.

We also designed an alternate ending for the ride. This one goes only with the first opening version, the one with the time travel company. I didn't put it in the first post as i wanted a ride description which fits with both opening versions, but i finally add it today. To avoid you to look back at the first post, you'll find the text below.

It's a fun ending with a final "twist" - a kind of "Twilight Zone" ending (the TV series, not the attraction) and to understand this final scene, you must keep in mind the warning that the time shuttle robot said to the guests in the pre-show, i.e "to keep arms and hands inside the Time Buggy throughout the ride to avoid "touching" anything as this could have an effect on the chain of the evolution". Here is the text of this final scene:

"At long last it is time for the travelers to return. As the Time Buggy sets its course, passing over the skeleton of a dinosaur, the Jurassic Time Travel company engages the temporal vortex that will bring the travelers back to their present time. (voice offcamera: “Immediate return to the future! Prepare to enter the time vortex!”)
The spiral effect of the vortex creates a captivating optical illusion for the travelers: the circular movement of the vortex and the way their brains interpret this movement gives them the impression that they are moving to one side and leads them to frantically grip their seats. A cloud of fiber optics and a thick “temporal” fog complete their transportation through time, and returns them at last to the futuristic base and bright lights…

As visitors approach the unload area, on the overhead plasma screens, the robot host appears one last time: “Ladies and gentlemen, time travelers, it seems we have a small problem… One of you just couldn’t resist breaking the rules of the trip to the past!” An image supposed to have been filmed only minutes before appears onscreen.
It shows a person about 20 years old, seated in the rear of the vehicle, who rises up suddenly and grabs one of the eggs that had been stolen by the oviraptor. The film continues to show the person hiding the stolen egg inside his/her jacket, hoping not to have been seen. Onscreen the robot host continues: “Thanks to this crafty little person, the entire evolutionary process has been modified! Heaven knows what surprises await you at your return, provided the human race even still exists!”

At this point, a welcome hostess appears on the monitor wearing a hat with the Jurassic Time Travel company initials on it. In the Time Buggy, visitors let out a sigh of relief; human beings still exist! Then the hostess says: “Time travelers, welcome to your present time. We hope your trip back in time was a pleasant one and we ask you to please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete stop.” And with a salutary gesture, the hostess removes her hat, revealing a third eye in the center of her forehead. The evolution of humans has been altered after all by the careless young man!

At the unload area, visitors smile, believing the third eye to have been a clever special effect. But as they head to the shop located at the exit of the attraction, imagine their surprise when they see all the shopkeepers, in person, with a third eye in the middle of their foreheads! They are seized with a doubt: what if all of this had REALLY happened?" (end of the ride)

Hope you enjoyed the ride and these technical explanations!

Copyright: "BACK TO THE DINOSAURS" is a theme park attraction concept by Alain Littaye and Jeff Burke. The scenario and the illustrations, including the ideas contained in this article are copyright Alain Littaye and Jeff Burke 2003. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without prior written approval.

All uses of this text, illustrations and the ideas contained in this article for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited without prior written approval.
Editor's Note: As promised i will explain tomorrow the "making-of" of the dinosaurs attraction project, but for now today's big news is the comeback next July of Captain EO at Disneyland Paris!

Captain Eo will be back at Disneyland Paris next July !

That's it, after Disneyland, Anaheim, Captain Eo will be back at Disneyland Paris next July. Although it's not officially announced yet It's a pretty good move from the park as this will be a major news for all DLP and Michael Jackson's fans in Europe - and God knows there is here a lot of Michael's fans. Also, it will bring a "new" attraction in the park when the summer season will begin, and considering that Toy Story Playland won't open before mid-August Captain Eo's return will surely help to bring more guests in the park.

It's hard to say that Captain EO's return fits very well with the "Year of the New Generation" 2010 theme, but it surely will make happy a new generation of DLP fans who were too young 11 years ago and never saw the 3D movie.

Honey I Schrunk the Audience will close late april, so if you're a fan of this 4D movie you have only two weeks to enjoy it one last time. We don't know yet how long Captain EO will stay at Discoveryland and what will be next, so don't ask me!

Picture: copyright Disney/Lucas Film

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

" Back to the Dinosaurs " Attraction Concept

I'm revealing today the Dinosaurs attraction concept that i've designed seven years ago with Jeff Burke, who was the Frontierland show-producer at Disneyland Paris. This was not developed to be a WDI project so don't expect to see it one day in a Disney theme park. For many reasons, beginning by the cost of the project the attraction is not yet built but who knows what the future is made of, so anything can happen!

Before i introduce you to the concept itself i'd like to explain you why i choose this dinosaurs theme. Please don't rush to see the artwork - and we have beautiful renderings done by four different artists - because you will not understand the concept if you don't read the text too.

So, as it happens sometime in life the birth of this concept came from a frustration, and in this case the frustration was to have never found the dinosaurs attraction i was hoping for. It's not that i don't like Animal Kingdom's Dinosaurs ride - although it would have been much better if Eisner hasn't done some cuts in it - and on a "thrill" point of view the ride is real fun, but, hey, we're supposed to be here to see dinosaurs, and it's a bit too dark for that. The Jurassic Park ride at Universal is another problem: this time it's not dark, there is plenty of Dinosaurs, but still, something doesn't "work", may be it's because of the motion of the flume ride which is really slow...

Anyway, what i always expected from a dinosaur ride is to send me back in time 60 millions years ago, and to see Dinosaurs on a big scale. In two words to have the illusion i'm really back to the Jurassic or Cretaceous era. This means huge decor, real size dinos, etc... but as you will see there is nothing impossible to achieve, it's only a matter of money - as usual - and of course you need a huge facility, in our case around 8000 square meters which, i admit, is really a big "box".

The other thing that Jeff and I tried to do was to create a "classic", i.e a ride that guests will be always happy to ride and ride again, forever. To do this it's important to understand what makes a good attraction. If someone was asking me the question i will answer that a good attraction is a ride where guests will experience different kind of emotions and not only one. Let's take the example of Pirates of Caribbean, the "classic of all classics": There is not a lot of thrill moments in POTC, only two falls, but the story telling, the AA animation, the lighting, the decor and the humor of each scenes makes a ride which is as successful now as it was more than 40 years ago.

The POTC ride at Disneyland begin peacefully with the blue bayou scene which is almost contemplative, then the boat enter the caves scenes, more scary and with the two falls, and then you gently arrive to the fort and all the scenes in the town. From that point it's the humor of each scene along with the magic of the AA technology and the great sets and lighting which creates the magic. I also add an important point: Pirates are so much part of our childhood collective subconscious that the theme find an unconscious resonance in each of us.

All this is important because generally executives always claim that guests want only thrill rides with lot of "sensations", and i think it's a lie. Guests for sure DO like thrill rides but the lie is in the "only". If they were true, POTC , It's a Small World, or the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland or Spaceship Earth at Epcot will be empty all year long and we know it's not the case. What i think is important is that guests experience in an attraction different kind of emotions which have a meaning with what life really is, and if the ride find a resonance in the collective subconscious, it's even better. If you succeed to create a ride where guests experience this, then you got it, you have a "classic" attraction.

The attraction project that Jeff and I designed in 2003 was called "Back to the Dinosaurs". It was a project title and this one could change but at least it says clearly what the ride will be: guests will be back to the Dinosaurs era. As you will see below two different beginning were envisioned: in the first version guests would enter inside a pavilion with a design like the one you could find at Epcot and a time travel company send them back to the Jurassic era. There was a pre-show scene before that and during the ride itself "time tunnels" were there from a scene to another one to keep historically correct the transition from a kind of dinos species to another one, as all were not living at the same era. I was also happy to found a new species of dino never used before for the "villain" part. Generally the T-Rex is the "bad guy" - and he also appears in our ride - but this one, a Therizinausaurus who really existed, was not bad at all with his giant claws.

Then i began to thought that the Time Travel company idea was a bit too easy and also has been used in other dinosaurs ride. So i found a new way more complicated and more "hard to swallow" to send guests back in time. I will explain it in details below but
let's have a look first at the first opening version. With each rendering you have the script which depicts precisely what guests would experience in each scene. If you want to feel exactly what the ride would be - and also understand what's happening - you must read the script!

There we go for the ride decription, click on each artwork to see it in big size, and don't miss Friday the part two of this article as i will explain for each scene how Jeff and I would have done it, technically speaking.

Opening first version :

A building with a futuristic look. The whiteness of the façade lights up the space and provides a contrasting background for the colorful logo of Chronos Time Travel, Inc.

Alongside the route that guests take to enter the building are stylized posters that offer visitors trips back in time from Roman Antiquity to Ancient Egypt and up to 150 million years in the past, to a time before man’s existence, when dinosaurs ruled the earth: "Discover the wonders of the Egyptian pharaohs!" "Experience the fall of the Roman Empire!" "Encounter the 60-foot-long Brachiosaurs!" "Come face to face with T.Rex in a fight to the death!" "See the giant meteor from outer space that will kill them all!"

Opening first version queue decor:

Showcased in window displays along the route leading up to the load area, visitors glimpse dinosaur fossils brought in from excavation sites.

On plasma screens, a hostess explains why the Chronos Time Travel expedition has settled at this particular location: a large deposit of dinosaur fossils was found just several hundred yards from here. By stationing themselves at this spot, Chronos Time Travel can promise time travelers that they will find themselves in a valley inhabited by many different species 100 million years ago. A paleontologist working at the dig site appears on screen to announce his latest find: a rare Therizinausaurus skeleton. Only one other such specimen was found in Mongolia in 1948.
Holding up what appears to be the creature’s arm, the paleontologist explains that this animal had claws that measured more than 23 inches long and must have been a formidable predator to its prey…

The hostess reappears on screen to announce that a time link has been established with the Jurassic period and that the time travel shuttle for this destination is expected to depart in about 5 minutes.

Opening first version Pre-show:

The moment of departure for the guests has arrived. They board the shuttle and a state-of-the-art automated figure welcomes them. “Welcome, welcome time travellers! Please take your seats. Our shuttle will be traveling back in time and space in just a few moments…” and while pushing buttons and working at the control panel in front of it, the automated figure continues: “Just a few more seconds, while I repair a few glitches from our last flight and…voila, we’re ready! Is everyone here? Good!

First of all, here are the precise instructions that the Jurassic Time Travel company asks you to follow to the letter:
You are going on a trip today that will take you back in time 150 million years to the Jurassic era. But don’t worry time travellers…it will not take us that long to get there! The shuttle onto which you have just embarked is known as Time Shuttle Five. Yes, regrettably, our first four models never returned. They didn’t survive the transit through the great meteor shower at the end of the cretaceous period 60 million years ago! Well, we’ll certainly try to do better this time!”
“Oh yes, and here is the most important information…when we arrive safe and sound at our dock…or should I say at our jungle…my goodness, you wouldn’t believe the plant life that existed back then…now, where was I? Oh yes! As soon as we arrive, you will be instructed to disembark our lovely shuttle so you can enjoy the wonders of the Jurassic period! The Time Travel company has developed a unique mode of transportation for you, known as the Time Buggy, inside of which you will be asked to take a seat. With the aid of “temporal rings,” you will travel, at the speed of light, through different time periods of the past. But here is the most important thing to remember: We ask you to please keep your hands and arms inside the Time Buggy throughout your trip. Yes, I know, some of you probably feel as though you’ve heard this all before somewhere else, but you see, in this case, there could be considerable repercussions… tragic… catastrophic even!
If one of you should happen to interfere with even the smallest animal or microscopic living species from this long-ago time…well, you see, the whole chain…the incredible chain of the evolution of terrestrial life would be disturbed, modified… wiped out even! From the very first amphibians up to the most recent mammals, this process of evolution is precisely what led to the appearance of humans!”

Speaking to a young man seated in front of him/her: “Do you see what I’m getting at young man? Just try to catch the smallest insect with a few swipes of your hand and…pfft…the evolutionary chain will be irreversibly broken! And you may never be able to return to the present. ‘But how so,’ you say? Well, my fine young man, because man may no longer exist in the present day! This modification of the evolutionary process could render mankind’s appearance in the future inalterably impossible!
And no human species, my friend, means you would no longer exist. No chance of a return to our peaceful place in time! Well, I think the lesson has been understood, so enough talking! All aboard for a great leap into the past!”

At this point, the lights slowly dim in the cabin and we see the automated host pushing buttons and levers at the console. The roof of the cabin, which seemed opaque up to this point, reveals itself to be a sort of “window on time” on which we see numbers rolling rapidly in reverse, and a parade of images from times past: from the Middle Ages back to ancient Egypt, then from the first appearance of man back to the first terrestrial mammals.
At last we arrive at the turning point in the history of humanity: the time when a great meteor shower battered our planet and put an end to the era of the dinosaurs! The robot resumes speaking: “Good heavens! We’re going to have to pass through that cursed meteor shower yet again!” Just then, the travelers look up to see a huge meteor headed straight for the shuttle.
It hits and shakes the entire cabin! The electrical system short-circuits, the walls to the left and the front are hit, an alarm sounds in the cabin and a red light bathes the control panel. Despite all of this, the shuttle continues its journey back in time!
The robot: “Mayday! Mayday! We’ve been hit! Heavens, we’ll never make it! We still have 60 million years to go back! We’ll never make it!!” A grating noise mixes in with the sirens, and the knocked about shuttle finally arrives in the Jurassic period and comes to a crashing stop.

Then all the lights go out, and the cabin is plunged into darkness. The robot host’s face lights up, as if illuminated by a flashlight, and he announces: “Well, as amazing as it seems ladies and gentlemen, I believe we’ve arrived! Unfortunately, I’m afraid Time Shuttle 5 has just joined its predecessors in that great time shuttle cemetery in the sky. It seems our return trip has been compromised, but don’t panic! The Time Travel company prepares for everything and has a new invention at its disposal:
the Time Vortex! It’s a teleportation system that we have just developed that will allow us to transport you back to your time in less time than it has taken me to tell you about it!… Please proceed to your right, where one of our agents, transported during a previous mission, awaits to lead you to the Time Buggy… And thank you for having traveled with us!”

And while people are exiting the shuttle, they hear the robot host grumble: “Oh heavens, what will become of me stuck here! With all this humidity, my circuits won’t function for long! I knew I never should have accepted this job… What ever possessed me to want to travel through time! When I think about RX10, who is warm and comfortably cleaning house back in 2012!…”

End of opening first version.

Before you discover the second version of the opening, some important notes. As you will see this other opening is more complex as we've mixed the Mayan civilisation with a dinosaurs theme. On a certain point of view it's "Indiana Jones meets Countdown to Extinction"! But the concept stands on historical facts.

If you ask someone what was responsible of the dinosaurs extinction chances are that he answers "a huge meteor hit the Earth and provoked a kind of "nuclear winter" or "volcanos blasts all over the world". These are the two explanations that scientists aggreed to be responsible of the end of the dinosaurs and most of us already know about this. Now, let's take the first reason, the "meteor", where did it fall? It's a bit less known but the meteor impact was in the gulf of Mexico, not far from the Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayas will live 60 millions years later.

So i took these two facts and imagined that Mayas, 60 millions years later, discovered the meteor impact site and leftovers rocks from the meteor, a mineral with amazing powers. I add the fact - also true - that Mayas had a great knowledge in astronomy and the whole thing gives you the second opening that you will read below. I KNOW that some of you will find the script of this second opening a bit hard to swallow, and it is, but that's why we had a pre-pre show where guests were "stopped" inside an archeological tent where this important introduction to the story was explain to them. It's important as guests can believe to any story from the moment you provide to them the explanations that will help them to understand what is going to happen and why it will happen.

Opening second version:

An Archeological site lost in a Central American Jungle. Visitors find their way through the lush vegetation and discover the ruins of an extinct civilization.

Near a lagoon stands a Mayan pyramid recently discovered by a team of archeologists. On the top of the monumental staircase and on the stone porch, which marks the entrance, visitors stare in wonder at strange sculptures of prehistoric animals and continue their walk through the archeological base camp.

Scene two: Queue decor and pre-pre show:

Moving more deeply inside the base camp set in the heart of the jungle, visitors are stopped under an archeological tent by the team’s assistant. On the table and ground the beauty of recently discovered Mayan antiques dazzle the visitors. A map of the inside of the pyramid can also be seen, as well as video monitors.

On the screens appears now the archeological mission's chief, live from the inside of the pyramid : « Welcome everyone. One year ago, when our team discovered this pyramid, lost for six hundred years in the jungle, we didn’t expect the amazing discovery which awaited us... Some of you might have noticed these strange sculpted dinosaurs heads on the front porch. Well, time has come, dear visitors, to reveal why this Mayan site is so extraordinary.
Sixty millions years ago a huge meteor hit the Earth at this location, precisely where you’re standing now, in a place known since as the Yucatan peninsula. The explosion was so huge that it started earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, creating a kind of "nuclear winter" responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Texts engraved inside the pyramid reveal that sixty million years later, Mayan scientists discovered the meteor crash site, and on this location the pyramid was erected.
Deep down the meteor crater they discovered a strange and unknown mineral, leftovers of the meteor, coming from a far away galaxy! What this extra-terrestrial mineral could do appears to be fantastic: Mayan astronomers discovered that the mineral, as translucent as crystal, could create, on specific astronomical conjunctions, some kind of "gravitational fields." Once activated, these could alter space time, and teleport through time anyone who stands at the center of these field of forces…

Scenes engraved inside the pyramid revealed to our team other frightening signs. They depict a hunt scene showing Mayans warriors facing an unknown dinosaur species. Our recent excavation confirmed this monstrous dinosaur was real: his gigantic claws were able to pull any opponent to pieces…

The heart of the temple seems to hide a secret chamber which we hardly understand the meaning of.... As you enter the temple, we ask you to be extremely cautious! Good luck to all and may the ancient Mayan god Quetzalcoatl protect you!

Scene three: Temple queue decor:

When visitors enter the first room of the temple, lit with torches, they are stunned by the sight of a huge Mayan bas-relief. Engraved and painted on hundred-years-old stones, the scene shows ancient Mayans fighting a threatening dinosaur with huge claws. Upon them a twirling sun adds to the scene a dramatic tension.

Obviously the scene shows an event that happened a hundred years ago… Could it be that some dinosaurs species succeeded in escaping extinction 60 millions years ago ? Or did the Mayas found a way to go back in time?

Scene 4: Temple pre-show:

The visitors are now invited to step inside the secret chamber of the pyramid. One of the archeologist warns them : « Strange phenomenons happened this morning. A solar eclipse is planned later this afternoon and we hope it won’t have any effects on the strange powers hidden in this room. Please stand at the center of the room and remain calm under any circumstances »

As soon as the hundred-years-old stone door is closed a eerie light invades the room. The huge Mayan statues placed at each corner of the room begin to luminate from the inside. These statues were in fact made from the 60 million years old meteor mineral and their brown color slowly turns to a translucent green.

The giant skull head engraved on the secret chamber wall also begins to light and the whole atmosphere of the room is now threatening. The ceiling – which previously appeared to be made of ancient stones – seems to disappear and a huge vortex is now appearing over the visitors' heads. A frightening sound fill the room and the climax is reached when laser beams comes out of the statues and skull head eyes. Almost instantly the room seems to disappear in flashes of light followed for a few seconds by total darkness!

Scene 5: Temple Pre-show exit:

When the « light » comes back, the scene which appears to the visitors eyes is stunning. Not only has the secret chamber disappeared, but the whole temple has vanished! Instead, the visitors are surrounded by lush vegetation, and far away terrifying animals scream. The archeologist, who realizes they have been teleported through time, invites them to walk along a jungle path.

End of opening second version.

From that point whether guests would have experience the first or second opening versions the ride is the same. With one exception, the "time tunnels" would be used only with the first opening version as they are supposed to have been placed by the guys of the Time Travel company. I choose to let this part in the text below so just remember that the ride description below was written to match with the first opening version. As you'll see the ride beginning is more quiet and "contemplative" and then it becomes more and more thrilling but remains is a "family ride" for all ages.

Scene One:

The travelers are now at the boarding area and seated in the Time Buggy. Inside the vehicle, the audio system allows for a choice of languages that provide narration throughout the journey. The boarding area, located right in the middle of a Jurassic jungle, is a sort of futuristic oasis. So striking is the surrounding vegetation that it looks as though it has been teleported from the future. Forest noises and a distant roaring can be heard everywhere, and the air seems permeated by a marshy odor characteristic of the Jurassic period.

At the first bend in this invasive jungle, visitors find themselves face to face with a stupefying sight: in the middle of a forest of bald cypress—the roots submerged in the swamp water—stands a Mamenchisaurus, measuring more than 36 feet long, and a disproportionate neck that blends easily into this landscape of another world.
Further on, an Apatosaurus mother and her baby head for the swampy water to quench their thirst, while an Apatosaurus father uses his neck to clear a path through the branches. Curiosity brings him closer to investigate these new visitors who have entered his territory.

Fireflies move about in the shadows of the jungle. A chain of volcanoes, risen from the beginning of time, appear in the distance. Smoke and rumbling emanate from one of the volcanoes, suggesting an imminent and menacing eruption…

Scene Two:

Then the vehicle turns into the jungle and ventures right into the middle of the swamp, where the travelers find an amazing sight: two enormous Brachiosaurus, with their feet resting in the swamp, stand before their astounded eyes. On the right, one of the two creatures—its forefeet pushing against a tree trunk—stretches its neck to reach the topmost branches and feed on the leaves of the bald cypress.

While at the edge of the water, three Muttaburrasaurus satisfy their thirst, and a Baryonyx has caught a fish, which it holds firmly between its teeth. On the left, oddly enough, bubbles can be seen bursting at the surface of the swamp, indicating that some water-dwelling creatures are moving about in there.
To the complete surprise of the travelers, a Cryptoclidus - one of the Plesiosaurs that occupied large bodies of water - emerges from the water all at once. As was the habit of this monster of the deep, it uses speed and surprise to attack its prey, which is none other than the second Brachiosaur!

Taken by surprise, the Brachiosaur rears up on its hindfeet in an attempt to evade the attack, stretches its neck straight toward the sky, and lets out a frightening roar of terror. The startled Cryptoclidus recoils and returns to its abyss, while the Brachiosaur falls back into the water, setting off a huge splash… that soaks the travelers!

Note: The artist painted the above rendering in two parts. Here, i've "stick" them together and that's why you have a slightly color difference between the left and right parts of the artwork. Definitely click on the picture to see it in big size.

Scene Three:

The Time Buggy continues on its way and passes through one of the temporal rings that propels the vehicle forward in time to the cretaceous era. (off-camera voice: “High speed time evolution...Time Buggy transferring to the cretaceous era!”) The travelers find themselves directly in front of a mother Maiasaura watching over her nest of eggs.

Inside the nest, the babies are beginning to hatch, while in the vicinity some young Maiasaura—offspring of an earlier brood) move about in the landscape of gymnosperm and cycadophytes that was typical of that long-ago time.
On the right, resting comfortably on a rock, an Oviraptor jealously guards some eggs that it stole from another nest.

Scene Four:

Another temporal ring now brings the travelers to the Upper Cretaceous period, several million years into the future. (offstage voice: “Time Buggy transferred 10 million years into the future! Watch out for predators!”)

The pine forest that stands at the front of a large mountain range and the pine scent filling the air do not alleviate the menacing feel of the surroundings. To the left, three Deinonychus have begun devouring their prey: a Tenontausaurus which, despite its wounds, is still alive.

...And to the right, some terrified Gallimimus are surrounded by two Velociraptors on the verge of sweeping down on them…

Scene Five:

Turning to the right, the vehicle takes the travelers deeper into the forest.

Just then a 20 feet Stegosaur, with its familiar razor-sharp bony carapace. Angered by this intrusion, the Stegosaur makes a strong swipe of its tail, which strikes a tree and causes it to sag in the direction of the Time Buggy. The travelers hold back a cry of alarm upon seeing this tree that seems it will fall on them at any moment.
The only thing keeping them from being crushed are the branches of another pinetree, which have stopped the first tree in its fall and the swerve of their vehicle to avoid it…

Scene Six:

Just when the sky grows dark and lightening strikes to announce the onset of a storm, the Time Buggy continues on its way towards a route bordered by high grasses. The sound of footsteps hints at the presence of creatures hiding in the vegetation.

Suddenly, the grass parts to reveal the head of a velociraptor licking its chops, allowing a glimpse of the impressive teeth of this predator. As the vehicle proceeds on its route, the velociraptor disappears back into the high grass, but the sound of footsteps and the movement of the grass leave little doubt as to what is taking place:
the chase is on and the travelers are the game! Just as the noise of footsteps increases, we hear more footsteps coming from the right!

And all of a sudden, the inevitable happens: literally jumping over the high grass, coming from the right and left at the same time, two velociraptors sweep down on the terrified travelers…

Note: In fact, i did changes from this first description of the scene and the rendering above don't show precisely what would happen in that scene. One of the velociraptor would "jump" on the guests vehicle from a 10 foot high rock on the left side of the track. Then to avoid it, the vehicle while still moving will spin at 90 degrees looking towards the right side of the track and the high grasses from where the other velociraptor would "jump" on the vehicle. So it is one velociraptor after another who "attack" the guests, and not both together.

Scene Seven:

Turning abruptly into the forest, the Time buggy brings visitors face to face with yet another formidable predator: the THERIZINAUSAURUS mentioned by the paleontologist during the pre-show, with its huge razor-sharp claws. The storm has just broken and the creature’s silhouette - seen in relief against a curtain of rain and the lightening-striped sky - presents a frightening image at the end of the path.

The Time buggy moves inexorably towards the Therizinausaurus and a confrontation seems inevitable.Opposite them, the creature appears to be walking in their direction. The creature extends its right arm, and when the Time buggy comes close, makes an angry motion with it in the direction of the visitors. Having just barely escaped the formidable claws, the visitors owe their survival to the appearance of another time ring that pulls them several million years into the future. (Voice off: "Red alert! Therizinausaurus attack! Immediate time transfer to the Upper Cretaceous period!")

Scene Eight:

And now they find themselves face to face with the most frightening predator that ever existed on earth: the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex!

It is nighttime and the monster is preparing to make a snack of a family of Triceratops. In a one-sided battle, the mother tries to protect her children, who cry in terror at her side. In the distance, a volcano has just erupted and the lava flowing down its sides further increases the drama of the scene. The starry sky is partially hidden by clouds from the eruption, which are blocking out more and more of the sky…

Perched on a rocky ridge to the right, two Pterodactyls study this tragic situation, just waiting for the right opportunity to take advantage of any leftovers from the feast. Just then, the travelers in their Time Buggy witness the approach, from far off in the sky, of an enormous meteor that is getting progressively larger and is headed in the direction of the earth. It is none other than THE meteor that will later enter into history as the cause of the cataclysm responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs!

Suddenly, the T. Rex notices the presence of the travelers. Its enormous head turns towards them, its red eyes light up, and its body leans forward in the direction of the vehicle. And as it opens wide its mouth to reveal its sharp teeth, one of the most horrific roars that human ear ever heard fills the air…

Note: I've also imagined another version for that scene. Instead of Triceratops the T-Rex was threatening Mayan chiefs! In this case it was explained to the guests in the pre-pre show that bodies of Mayan chiefs were never found on the archeological site and nobody knows what happened to them. Then the guests would see the painting inside the temple showing them fighting dinosaurs and finally find back the Mayan chiefs in this volcano scene, understanding that they were trapped in time and could never come back. Jeff Burke thought that this was "a bit too much" and i think he's right! But i still like the insanity of the idea! Here is the artwork showing this crazy scene.

Scene Nine:

Note: The artist who painted the above rendering did a cave much much bigger than what it would be in real, so don't pay attention to that.

Then, the Time Buggy turns into a rocky crevice that leads to a cave, which has already been invaded by smoke and lava. Suddenly, coming from outside, travelers hear a horrible whistle followed by a frightening shock: the meteor has just collided with Earth and the impact is unprecedented!

On their left, the travelers are terrified to see an entire portion of the rockface heading straight towards them: a piece of the meteor that, having just struck the exterior of the rockface, is burying itself in the direction of the vehicle!
Under impact the rockface takes on a fire-red tint transmitted by the million-degree temperatures of the meteorite. It continues to advance and stops mere inches from the vehicle… which holds its course as well as can be expected… and now must try to escape from the massive earthquake caused by the impact of this celestial body from the ends of the universe!

Scene Ten:

Rocks start to shake to the right and the left; lava erupts; sprays of volcanic steam shoot out; from the bowels of the earth rocky peaks rise straight up!

The Time Buggy zigzags continually in an effort to avoid rockslides. The end seems near for our travelers! They owe their survival to a piece of rock that, having fallen victim to the earthquake, falls away and opens an escape route to the outside!

Scene Eleven:

The scene now before their eyes constitutes one of the most incredible sights ever scene by a human being: stretching out to the horizon, a wounded and desolate earth covered in sand, on which lie the carcasses and skeletons of dinosaurs.

A strange fluorescent light and a light fog lend this nighttime scene an unreal aspect. No more roars; the only noise is the sound of the wind blowing along this desolate place. The dinosaurs have disappeared from the face of the earth!

And all of a sudden, from all the skeletons of these former giants that once roamed our planet, the spirits of these large beasts rise up into the sky and to infinite space. Their spirits undertake a final voyage, perhaps to take a new form on some far-off planet…

With one final roar, the spirits of the dinosaurs leave the Earth forever!

End Scene:

At long last it is time for the travelers to return. As the Time Buggy sets its course, passing over the skeleton of a dinosaur, the Jurassic Time Travel company engages the temporal vortex that will bring the travelers back to their present time. (voice offcamera: “Immediate return to the future! Prepare to enter the time vortex!”)
The spiral effect of the vortex creates a captivating optical illusion for the travelers: the circular movement of the vortex and the way their brains interpret this movement gives them the impression that they are moving to one side and leads them to frantically grip their seats. A cloud of fiber optics and a thick “temporal” fog complete their transportation through time, and returns them at last to the futuristic base and bright lights…

As visitors approach the unload area, on the overhead plasma screens, the robot host appears one last time: “Ladies and gentlemen, time travelers, it seems we have a small problem… One of you just couldn’t resist breaking the rules of the trip to the past!” An image supposed to have been filmed only minutes before appears onscreen.
It shows a person about 20 years old, seated in the rear of the vehicle, who rises up suddenly and grabs one of the eggs that had been stolen by the oviraptor. The film continues to show the person hiding the stolen egg inside his/her jacket, hoping not to have been seen. Onscreen the robot host continues: “Thanks to this crafty little person, the entire evolutionary process has been modified! Heaven knows what surprises await you at your return, provided the human race even still exists!”

At this point, a welcome hostess appears on the monitor wearing a hat with the Jurassic Time Travel company initials on it. In the Time Buggy, visitors let out a sigh of relief; human beings still exist! Then the hostess says: “Time travelers, welcome to your present time. We hope your trip back in time was a pleasant one and we ask you to please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete stop.” And with a salutary gesture, the hostess removes her hat, revealing a third eye in the center of her forehead. The evolution of humans has been altered after all by the careless young man!

At the unload area, visitors smile, believing the third eye to have been a clever special effect. But as they head to the shop located at the exit of the attraction, imagine their surprise when they see all the shopkeepers, in person, with a third eye in the middle of their foreheads! They are seized with a doubt: what if all of this had REALLY happened?

End of the ride.

As you've seen the beginning of the ride put the guests in a contemplative mood and it's becoming more and more thrilling up to the climax scene in the cave. Looking back to the project seven years later i wouldn't change a lot of it. Personally i prefer the second opening version, and if i had to delete something i will probably delete the scene three of the ride part, and i also find the scene with the Stegosaur a little weak. But i think that all other scenes and the order of them still works pretty well. People to whom this project was shown also liked a lot the last and eerie scene with the spirits - or souls - of the dinosaurs leaving the Earth, and i'm happy with that as i always thought that animals do have souls - anyone who ever had a cat could confirms you that. This last scene is also the "calm that follows the storm" and it suddenly put the guests in a total different kind of emotion after the thrilling scenes inside the cave.

If you look back you'll see that the "different kind of emotions" principle is at work here. From a scary pre-show to a contemplative ride start to the amazement of the second scene, to scary scenes and a eerie and poetic ending guests would experience "physically" different kind of emotions and i think it should make the ride more memorable.

In the next article that you can read HERE i talk about the technical part of the ride as i suppose some of you would be happy to know how we could achieve some of the effects.

Just let me know in the comments which opening you prefer and of course if you like the ride concept, or not! Thanks a lot for your attention.

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

Copyright: "BACK TO THE DINOSAURS" is a theme park attraction concept by Alain Littaye and Jeff Burke. The scenario and the illustrations, including the ideas contained in this article are copyright Alain Littaye and Jeff Burke 2003. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without prior written approval.

All uses of this text, illustrations and the ideas contained in this article for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited without prior written approval.