Saturday, November 6, 2010

Editor's Note: Want to see something technologically pretty cool? Then go on this link HERE where you'll find a Hong Kong picture. Place your cursor at the top of the picture. You will notice it is 6:10 PM. Move the mouse down slowly over the picture without pressing the button on the mouse - do not right or left click. When you'll move down night time will appear, the lights will come on, and at 7:40 PM, it'll be dark - all on the same picture!

A Disney MGM Studios celebration - Part One - original artwork

Remember the Epcot original artwork series of articles i did recently? Well, the same day i was at WDW photo library during the 25th anniversary press event, i also had the good idea to ask them some material about the Disney MGM Studios - which they delivered to me after approval of WDW Imagineering. Now, with the digital era we are living in i'm not sure it will still be possible to have access to the photo library, but in those days of the end of the 90's, everybody was still using slides...

So, here is the part one of this Disney MGM Studios celebration, with lot of original artwork, and probably many that you will see for the first time. The first one below is of course a park overview, without the Sunset Boulevard which will be added later.

Next one is another one showing the whole park, from a different angle, and probably an early concept...

...just like this one, showing the soundstage and support buildings.

This one show the Hollywood Boulevard...

And on this one we can see a "Pooh Hollywood corner"...was the shop really built? I'm not sure, but tell me if i'm wrong...

This next one is a bird eye view of the Indiana Jones epic stunt spectacular building.

And this rendering show the final explosion scene.

Now, here are some interesting renderings, as i think - once again, please correct me if my wrong - that they're showing never realised attractions. And the one below show a kind of "filming tour" where guests would have been able to look behind windows to the real shooting of a movie - just like in the animation tour you were able to watch Disney artists working.

Here is another one, probably from the same concept.

Does anyone know to which attraction this next one is related - it seems to be the shooting of a tv show...

As well as this one, maybe the preshow of the one above...

The caption on the slide for the one below is: "Sounds effects theatre"

This one is for the Tram Tour on the New York street.

And here are three renderings for the Catastrophe canyon scene.

Next, is a rendering for the Honey i shrunk the kids playground.

And here is a picture of the model, with two WDI imagineers...

And another photo, shot during the making of the HISTK playground.

This last rendering is also related to an attraction based on the Honey i shrunk the kids movie, and i don't remember if it was finally built or not...i think it was - or is it not? Anybody knows?

Don't miss the part two coming soon, with a tribute to the Great Movie ride and the Chinese Theater replica!

All artwork: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Editor's Note: Remember when i've told you two months ago that the SDL deal wil be announced in November, after the end of the Shanghai World Expo? Well, the Expo closed last Sunday, we're the 5th of November and that's it, folks, the Shanghai Disneyland deal is now announced officially!

Breaking news: Disney signs agreement for Shanghai Disneyland

Right now from Reuters Press Agency: - The Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) has signed an agreement with a Shanghai company for the establishment of a Disneyland theme park in the city, bringing its long-planned park in mainland China closer to fruition.

The deal was reached with Shanghai Shendi Group, which was specifically created for the development of the Disneyland project, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

Disney confirmed the Xinhua statement and said it was still awaiting final approval from China's central government regarding the incorporation of the related joint venture companies and the completion of regulatory procedures.

"For quite some time, we have been involved in discussions with the Shanghai government about building a Disney theme park. We can confirm the statement from the Shanghai government that we have taken another step forward in the approval process," a Disney spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Shanghai's Disneyland is expected to cover around 4 sq km and cost about 25 billion yuan ($3.75 billion), Xinhua said. Disney itself gave no further details.

It was not clear what the ownership structure of the park would be like, but state media reported last year that an investment company controlled by the Shanghai municipal government would own a majority stake in the park.

Disney received approval to build a Disney theme park in Shanghai a year ago, but discussions about the specifics have been ongoing and few details have been released publicly.

Disney has long sought to build in Shanghai, a wealthy city of about 20 million people that is ringed by the prosperous Yangtze River Delta, home to tens of millions more potential visitors.

It was less enthusiastic about building near Beijing, which has fewer large population centers in the immediate vicinity.

Disney's foray into the China market has been mixed so far, with its Hong Kong Disneyland park reporting a loss last year.

Copyright Reuters

Breaking News: Shanghai Disneyland project launched in Shanghai

Editor's Note: According to National Business Daily Disney is supposed to be signing the official contract with the Shanghai municipal government this Friday, i.e today.

Update: "Walt Disney Co. clinched deal with a Shanghai firm Friday, marking the launching of a much-awaited theme park project in China's largest city.

The deal was reached with Shanghai Shendi Group Co. Ltd., a company registered in August and inaugurated Friday for the development of Disney's Shanghai project.

An administrative committee was also inaugurated Friday for project management."

D&M will of course let you know as soon as more news about this highly awaited announcement will be available.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tangled Pre-Review

I saw today in a press screening Tangled and i liked it. I mean, more than i expected. I didn't had a lot of expectations but, honestly, it's good, even very good. Good story and characters - including the horse who is very funny. Top 3D animation, too. A little bit too many songs, though - some are good, others not exceptionnal - and although they were written by Alan Menken there is not as many memorable songs than, let's say, in Beauty and the Beast.

However, I think this new animated movie is going to be successful, not as much as Toy Story 3 but certainly more than Princess and the Frog - which personally i liked a lot. There is a review embargo until Nov 7 so i can't tell you more right now but all i can say is that it should be a good surprise for all of you when it will be released Nov 24 in the U.S and next month in France and all over Europe!

Picture: copyright Disney

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shanghaî Disneyland Construction begins ! First Pictures by Stefan Zwanzger

Thanks to Stefan Zwanzger - aka "the Theme Park Guy" - you will discover the very first pictures of Shanghaî Disneyland construction. Yes, that's right, works already began on the land reserved for the SDL Resort. Don't expect, though, to see on the pictures below the Shanghaî Disneyland castle rising from rice fields as we are at the very very very beginning of the works and we'll have to wait at least two or three years before something more sexy than cranes appears on the pictures.

Still, Stefan did a good job, not only in finding the right place where the park will be build but also by providing these first pictures. Here is a selection that i did from his post and you'll find many more pictures including some of village and villagers living around the SDL area on his blog HERE. And, as Stefan is travelling often in Asia you better bookmark his blog and have a look at it regularly as he will be the one who will have new Shanghaî Disneyland updates in the next years!

So, what about works on the Shanghaî Disneyland site? Well, on the top image you can see the first cranes and according to Stefan "A huge swathe of Shanghai suburbia has been flattened to make way for the future Shanghai Disneyland site and a wall just over half the height of the Berlin Wall protects the new depopulated hole that gapes in the area and separates the remaining Chinese villages from the Disney site. The on-site construction office is currently taking shape, supplied by armies of trucks that race through small village roads, blowing the winds of change through the thinning hair of old Chinese men on bicycles."

Below, a picture of the "wall" which runs all around the SDL site...

And here the Disney site with the separation wall in the back.

The SDL construction office is almost built and work is going on around it...

Below, the SDL construction office from above, on the other side of the river.

Considering the huge land on which SDL will be build some people were living on this land and according to Stefan the villages he pictured on his previous update have completely vanished. You will see on his blog pictures of demolished houses. It seems that the government offered relocation package to villagers and although i perfectly agree that it is really sad for villagers who were living here to leave their land one of them who didn't moved yet told Stefan that if they ask him to leave he'll be okay to take the relocation package.

As you know the Shanghaî World's Fair ended three days ago and i think we can expect an official announcement later this month or in December. And all we're asking for is to have the first renderings released! The Shanghaî Disneyland design is a well kept secret and just like you i'm very curious to see the final design of the project. Normally we shouldn't have to wait too long, now.

All pictures: copyright Stefan Zwanzger - The Theme Park Guy site
Editor's Note: Today, the last part of my tribute to Imagineer Eddie Sotto and this one is a NEW article with plenty of never-seen-before artwork! Don't miss it!

Eddie Sotto Tribute : It always begin by sketches...

In this last - and new - part of my tribute to Eddie Sotto we will have a look at the creation process from idea to final architecture. Generally, when Disney release a rendering it shows quite precisely what we will have once it will be built. For instance this DLP Main Street Station artwork above. And most of you might think that it almost begin like this.

But it's not. As a matter of fact it generally begin by sketches, even very simple sketches like these two Eddie Sotto's sketches below for Main Street Station.

Then come more elaborate renderings like the one above or elevation drawings which must be as precise as possible as you will see below.

Here are other final elevations drawings by Eddie showing the City Hall clock tower and the Liberty Arcade facade. Note that these are never seen before artwork - even in my DLP book!

In this case Eddie ideas and artworks had a happy ending as everything was built. But it may also happen that Imagineers worked on projects which will never materialised. A good example is this other Eddie Sotto's project described in Kevin Yee's excellent book - which i strongly recommand - "101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland":

"A canal in New Orleans Square, labeled "1764," is all that remains of a plan to unify several themes in the land. The plan called for a crypt next to the Mansion that led into an underground catacomb of treasure and dead pirates, culminating in a pirate-themed hideout on Tom Sawyer Island. The pirate theme would have focused on Jean Laffite, a real-life pirate from the early 1800s in New Orleans. Laffite’s name might be familiar to frequent Disneyland visitors from the Pirates of the Caribbean loading zone, where a sign reads "Laffite’s Landing." The date 1764 was derived by subtracting 200 years from the birth date of one Imagineer who worked on the project. Furthermore: Before its replacement with La Petite Patisserie, there was also a Laffite’s Silver Shop in New Orleans Square. Having a Jean Laffite identified as the "owner" of the Haunted Mansion would have united Pirates of the Caribbean with the Mansion and the island into one underlying theme, an unusual feat for an entire land. Though unrealized, the plan lives on in the form of this barricaded "crypt."

The Long forgotten Haunted Mansion blog did a long and brilliant article about this concept and i strongly suggest you to read it HERE. However, here is two Eddie sketches for this amazing project and the first one shows the "catacombs entrance" with tunnels and secret chambers.

This next and never seen before artwork looks fantastic and shows Eddie's vision of this "pirate-themed hideout on Tom Sawyer Island" if it has been built, which unfortunately was not the case. As we know, Tom Sawyer's Island was transformed with a Pirate theme recently but not with this "Jean Lafitte" concept.

I remind you that you will find many more Eddie Sotto's artwork in my Disneyland Paris book - a perfect Christmas gift - jump to THIS PAGE to get more infos about it.

Artwork: copyright Disney

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Special : Great 20th Century Magic Posters

It's Halloween week-end and today we are November 1st - "the day of the dead". I was looking for a topic a bit spooky and arty at the same time and i don't know about you but i always liked a lot these early 20th century magic posters.

The great magician Kellar had some of the best designed posters and at that time Egypt or Far-East were supposed to be places full of mysteries - remember King Tut curse? - and that's why you will see these themes on some of the posters below.

Also, don't miss the great David Copperfield Haunted House magic act video in the next topic!

Pictures: copyright LIFE

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Special : David Copperfield Haunted House Magic Act

What could be more perfect for a Halloween night than the best "Haunted House" magic act ever? This is one of the best magic act from David Copperfield. Everything is perfectly set, and the use of Bernard Hermann's "North by northwest" music score is a perfect choice for this new, creepy, and much improved version of the classic "chamber of spirit" magic act.

If you've seen it before, you'll be happy to see it again, and if you've never seen it, you're going to love it. The beginning of the video , because youtube don't allow more than 10 minutes clip have been cut, but nothing special happened before what you will see, David just asked people from the audience to check the rope, etc...

And don't miss the "prestige" - the finale of the tour - absolutely stunning!

Editor's Note: You're a D&M reader living in Los Angeles? What about having dinner in a great restaurant designed by an Imagineer? This Eddie Sotto's tribute will show you two different restaurants designed by Eddie and both are great!