Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pirates of Caribbean " On Stranger Tides " - Filming in Hawaii - Part Two

As the filming of Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides" is going on in Hawaii, new videos were uploaded on Youtube this week. I'll try to give you fresh news of the POTC filming each sunday, as long as new pictures or videos will be available!

So, new videos of the shooting on the Queen Anne's Revenge in Kaneohe Bay, Heeia Harbor - and above a new picture of the ship.

Remember last week the video showing a battle rehearsal on the ship? Well, days later they've shoot the real scene, and here is a video showing this. You'll note the smoke effects in the background.

Anybody knows that it's a hard life to be a super-star but Johnny Depp always had a great respect for his fans, specially considering they generally wait a long time to see their idol. On the first video below Johnny, on his way to the set, salutes his Hawaian fans. And on the second one Johnny takes plenty of time to cheers with everyone, probably back at night from a long shooting day - or may be he was going to a night sequence shoooting...

See you soon for more news of Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides"!

Pictures: copyright Disney - Jerry Bruckheimer

Videos: Many thanks to all the different people who've filmed and posted the videos on Youtube!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Universal Studios Japan : Is the new " Space Fantasy " roller-coaster a super Space Mountain ?

I can't believe i've never heard - until today - about this new Universal Studios Japan attraction! Anyway, better too late than never as we say, so all my thanks to Matthew who sent me today a kind email about it. "Space Fantasy" as the ride is called apparently looks a lot like Space Mountain - guests are sent across the universe - but there is some technical improvements and also a typical Japanese story line.

First, Space Fantasy is not a simple roller-coaster as it is a "spinning" roller coaster! Designed if i'm right by MACK each part of the train - in which guests sit back to back - is spinning during the ride, but not during all the ride.

Described by Universal Studios as "a new ride to experience the Universe" guests are "departing from the Earth with the mission to save the Sun", nothing less! According to the press release aboard the "solar shuttles" "You will have a close-up view of the stars and exploring through the asteroids, and experiencing the changing speed which varies along with the story. At the climax of the ride, you will encounter and go into the Sun!" So, it's a space themed roller coaster and just like at DL Space Moutain the ride is full of galaxy projection effects or even huge meteorites like at DLP.

Screamscape who was the first to talk about it some months ago had a better description of the ride: “Once the guests departs from Earth, they will see the big beautiful planet Earth in all its glory, and once slowly moving further away from Earth into deep space, passes by Nebulas, and a Milky way like Star field that looks like a Water Fall, called, the Star Fall. Once they pass thru the Star Fall, they will go around the ring of Saturn, and through the shooting star showers, and other small planets, until nearing the Mercury, pass by Mercury, the guests close in to the SUN.”

There is also some characters that guests discover during the queue-pre-show of the ride - including a talking communications satellite named “G-Bot”, and a Solar Princess born in a supernova called Kosumia: “Kosumia knowing that the sun is losing energy, was holding a crisis. To save the sun, (she) realize that he (the sun) needed the human energy we have, that puts toward the sun appeal to guests.” So, on a certain point of view it's a Space Mountain with a Japanese story-line, but that's not the problem.

The other technical innovation - which is also great - happen during the ride (and also during the queue) and is interactive. Designed by GestureTek this revolutionary 3D camera tracking and multi-touch systems takes visitors into the future of entertainment as "the ride is equipped with 3D cameras and projection systems. This lets visitors control the content on the screens around them by simple hand gestures, enabling them to collect “Stardust Clouds” from the LED displays in a 98-foot, in-ride tunnel"!

More about this amazing in-ride innovation from GestureTek press release: "Using 3D cameras that scan the surrounding environment and detect movement, GestureTek created an innovative and exciting way for guests to interact in free space with dynamic multi-media imagery in the pre-ride area. On the actual ride, GestureTek's touch-free multi-touch interface adds a collaborative element to the rider experience, so that guests can interact together with on-screen elements while working towards a common goal."

In the Pre-ride area "Space Entities Engage with Passers-By, Reacting to Users' Movements and Gestures. Visitors line up next to 85 feet of motion-driven 'Harmony Walls' designed to provide a unique and engaging interactive experience. Using an array of 22 integrated 3D depth cameras, 13 projection systems, a custom-designed tracker and 16 rack-mounted quad-core computers, GestureTek created an intelligent, vision-equipped environment where the heads of up to 66 guests and 132 hands can be tracked. The system's tracking capabilities track an entire audience and their specific gestures, providing visitors with the ultimate interactive experience."

"GestureTek managed the creation of fun custom content featuring animated intergalactic ‘sun fairies’ that tumble, fly, lead visitors and scatter in reaction to visitors' movements and gestures. "Our 3D tracking system can be configured to respond to a broad range of one-handed or two-handed gestures, including swipes, circular motions, pokes, waves and more," said Francis MacDougall, GestureTek's Chief Technology Offer. "The Space Fantasy attraction primarily utilizes intuitive pointing gestures, to guarantee easy and immediate user interaction, with no learning curve."

During the ride: "Riders Collect ‘Star Dust’ To Save the Sun". As part of the ride, GestureTek's multi-touch software and custom-designed camera array powers an interactive experience where, for the first time ever, riders can control content on the screens around them, simply by gesturing with their arms. The premise of the Space Fantasy ride is the impending death of the sun. As guests travel by cart up a 98 foot in-ride climbing tunnel lined with Barco LED display tiles, they can collect energy from the ‘Stardust Clouds’, that will be used to re-energize the sun."

"The tunnel ride is the first ‘in-ride’ device-free interaction that we have seen," said MacDougall. "GestureTek is one of a very few organizations possessing the in-depth knowledge of cameras, infrared and multi-touch required to isolate multiple hand movements while ride cars are in motion."

With this new spinning-interactive-roller coaster it seems that Universal have a new big E-Ticket ride. With the new Harry Potter ride at Orlando it is the second major ride opened by Universal in three months. And both of them are innovative and spectacular... Not so far ago innovative attractions were always coming from Imagineering but apparently Universal is now leading. I'm pretty sure that Disney Imagineers have some great and innovative projects for the future, but if not, it's really time to wake up at WDI!

Okay, let's have a look at the real thing with the four videos below. The two first videos are from Universal and the two last one are private on-ride videos but all are interesting. On the second one you'll see at the beginning the "Space Fantasy Plaza" with, part of the decor, many little planets all around. HKDL fans will instantly understand where Universal has "stolen" the idea - as these little planets are an important part of Tim Delaney's HKDL Tomorrowland design!

Anyway, have a look at the videos and enjoy the ride!

Pictures and videos: copyright Universal Studios Japan

If you enjoy Disney and more, thanks for your support!

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Disneyland Paris Update : Frontierland New Indian Teepees - Edited 8/5

Recently, the Indian Teepees located at the entrance of Frontierland, near Fort Comstock, were changed and replaced by new one with Indian paintings as you will see on the high-res "wallpaper" pictures below. Although it surely will look native-american to most of DLP guests it seems that the result is not historically perfect, not to mention that the paintings colors looks a bit too much freshly painted...

When WDI Imagineers built the original teepees, back early 90's, most of the resource material they used for reference was from a Lakota tribe. That was when even the interiors of the teepees were being propped out in anticipation of guests looking inside which is not possible any more.

According to Imagineers who built the original teepees to whom i show these pictures: "Originally we had the interior liners - which are now missing from the redone teepee - which would close that bottom gap as it was the case in original teepees to keep varmits out and the heat of the fire in. They should reinstall them on the new teepees so you can't be looking under the teepees. The lodge poles showing are correct at the base if you have the liners.

Each door on the teepees should have the symbol of the Indian Warrior who live within. It should match the shield on the nearby poles. Back in 1990's we used Buffalo Head, Running Bear, Flaming Sun, Black Widow, etc.. It also should be different from the other story telling depicted on the teepee. The top flaps of the center teepee - where the smoke is coming out - should be darkened a sooty gray black where the smoke exit. There are a few symbols on the new tents which I don't recognize as from an Indian tribe...

The color pallet looks pretty good but the freshly painted colors are too intense, like they came from a paint can rather than from a natural source like crushed berries or leaves or the deep rich oxide powders from the earth... But I suppose that we should be grateful that the Park cared enough to redo the teepees at all. I just wish they had taken a look at the color documentation books that our Frontierland team put so much time and effort into as their guide for inspiration..."

Above, original artwork for Frontierland entrance. Below, a picture of the original teepees shot in 1992.

And now, lot of pictures of the new teepees. You'll note how the trees have amazingly grew up in 18 years...

See you next week for a new DLP update and in the meantime don't forget to check my special offer below on the great Disneyland Paris book!

All pictures: copyright Alain Littaye - Disney and more

If you enjoy Disney and more, thanks for your support!

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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

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

Editor's Important Note: I was at the park last week and i was wondering if they still had copies of the english edition of my Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book and at my big surprise they don't have any more copies of the english edition! I asked them to have a look in their computer and DLP's computer keep saying that it's out of stock. This mean that i'm the last person with DLP's book english edition available and i don't have a lot of them, may be 10 copies, not more... As the publisher don't plan to re-print the book it means it's really the last copies and it's a bad news, but those of you who don't have yet this great book still can order it to me, have a look to the special offer below.

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

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pirates of Caribbean " On Stranger Tides " - First Pictures ...and Videos !

The shooting of Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides" began in Hawai and thanks to the dozens of paparrazis and POTC fans which are out there we can share the first pictures and great videos, including new videos showing the shooting of some scenes!

Here is the synopsis released by Disney: "Jack Sparrow crosses paths with a woman (Penélope Cruz) from his past, but he's not sure if it's love or if she wants to follow him so she can find the lost Fountain of Youth. Things seem clearer when she forces him aboard The Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Here, Jack finds himself on a brand new journey and unsure as to who he should fear more, the woman from his past of the cutthroat pirate".

Jack Sparrow also did a special announcement at San Diego's ComicCon and if you've missed it, here it is!

So, let's begin with pictures showing the shooting of a scene with Geoffrey Rush, you won't see Jack on these but don't worry, you'll see him below. Click on the pics to see them in larger scale.

And here is the video showing the filming of that scene!

Now, as you've read in the synopsis Blackbeard's ship is called The Queen Anne's Revenge. May be you're interested to see how it looks like, right?

During the filming of a night scene - with fog!

Here is two videos of Queen Anne's Revenge ship in Kane'ohe Bay.

This third video shows the rehearsal of a battle on the ship, soon to be filmed!

And now, the pictures you're waiting for, showing the crew!

On the next slide-show video more pictures of Johnny and Penélope dancing and drinking (rum, i hope!) on the ship!

And here is the video of the night shooting of the scene, one day later!

Let's end with a pure hysterical moment with Johnny "Jack Sparrow" Depp acclaimed by his fans while he's arriving at He'eia Pier on his way to the set!

If you enjoy Disney and more, thanks for your support!

Pictures and videos: copyright their own photographers. ComicCon video: copyright Disney/Bruckheimer