Saturday, April 2, 2011

Disneyland Paris Disney Magical Moments Grand Opening Show - Now updated with new pictures !

Yesterday at Disneyland Paris was the launch of Disney Magical Moments new season and i will comeback about it with pictures and videos tomorrow monday. The guests invited to this special event also had the pleasure to see a fantastic show in the evening and below is the full video of it.

I consider it as the best show since the Tower of Terror grand opening show four years ago. The music was good - specially the "So this is Love" sequence, the dancers were good too, and the fireworks, video projections and laser effects were perfect. As a matter of fact it would make a perfect show for DLP 20th Anniversary!

However, please note that this show will unfortunately not happen during Disney Magical Moments season as it was a show only for DLP April 2 special event. Still, it's was a great show and i hope you will enjoy it. Play it full screen and see you tomorrow for much more!

Video: copyright Disney and more

Pictures: copyright Disney

Friday, April 1, 2011

Breaking News : Shanghaî Disneyland Special Event on April 8th ?

Apparently, an important announcement about Shanghaî Disneyland will happen on April 8th! This time, my friends, it seems to be the right one, the big final official announcement we're all waiting for! More details below from the very serious New York Times:

Disney Said to Have Cleared Hurdle for Shanghai Park

It appears that the Walt Disney Company has cleared the final hurdle in its decades-long bid to build a theme park on the Chinese mainland.

Invitations were sent late Friday to reporters for “a special event” to be held at a hotel in Shanghai on April 8. The invitation, sent jointly by Disney and a development company called the Shanghai Shendi Group, does not say more than that. A Disney spokeswoman declined to give more information.

A consultant working on the project said the company and Chinese officials would formally announce the beginning of construction on Shanghai Disneyland, which is expected to cost $3.7 billion to build and expected to open by 2016.
Disney wants to make Shanghai Disneyland into a megaresort on a par with Walt Disney World in Florida. But the initial phase will be more modest: a “Magic Kingdom-style” park with a castle surrounded by themed areas, like Tomorrow Land, two hotels, a shopping district and a lake.

The park will include replicas of well-known Disney rides, including Space Mountain and It’s a Small World, along with and new attractions based on Chinese history.
“It will be the Disney that people know but with a very strong Chinese cultural presence,” “said the consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid conflict with Disney."

Text: copyright Brook Barnes

Important warning to my D&M friends ( and to the rest of the world )

You will find below a POTC 4 Featurette but what is coming now is definitely a NON Disney topic. Don't go away right now as what i will talk about is really serious - and it's also NOT an April fools!

You know me as a Disney specialist and for sure i am one but there is other subjects that i know also extremely well. For instance i'm a big David Lean movies specialist and even filmed documentaries on some of Lean's most famous movies like Lawrence of Arabia or Bridge on the River Kwai. As a matter of fact i'm probably the last person on Earth who knows the exact - and beautiful - locations where these two legendary movies were filmed!

But that's not the point today as this week-end something potentially extremely explosive is going to happen. You see, among all my specialties there is one that i know really well and it's all about Astrology. For most of the people who have never study it astrology is generally a bad joke, and i can't blame them to think that as what is published each week in the magazines Horoscope section IS indeed a bad joke. 98% of them is just bullshit, there is no other way to describe it.

The problem is that astrology has nothing to see with all this and it's an extremely complex science/art (call it whatever you want) which really works - god knows why and how, but it works. And it's someone who have more than 30 years of observation / experiment behind him who is telling you this. The usual big mistake that almost anyone does about astrology is to think that it's going to tell you WHAT will happen. But that's not how it works. Most of the time astrology is telling us WHY things happen at the time they happen but not WHAT is going to happen. It would be too simple, right? In fact it all depends on the planets position in an astral theme and there is as many different astral themes as there is human beings on this planet, so you'll understand the complexity.

That said, sometime there is what is called a "conjunction" of planets which creates such a potentially explosive situation that it can affect really a lot of people. For instance since the last three months we have a conjunction between Uranus and what is called the "Black Moon" and this is what has created the revolutions in the Middle East. Don't get me wrong, the reason why it happened is mainly because the people were living under autocratic regimes but the reason WHY it happened NOW - and not 2 years before or after - is because of this Uranus - Black Moon conjunction.

Uranus is in essence the revolution (whether it's people revolution or a technological revolution, anything which breaks the rules) and the Black Moon (which also has to see with our part of animality) is, her, in the "all or nothing at all" logic. When both are allied it creates what we can see in arab countries, i.e people who no only stands for a revolution (in this case asking for democracy or a change of regime) but also who are ready to fight to the end, if necessary (and generally it is necessary).

Another example which will lead us to what i want to tell you: the same Uranus who was since six years in the sign of Pisces entered the sign of Aries last month. By doing so he is now doing what is called a "quadrature" with Pluto which is at the beginning of the Capricorn (because both are at a 90 degrees angle). Uranus, as i said, creates the revolutions but is also the master of the unpredictable (and generally, most of the time, it brings unpredictable bad news!). Pluto, in the mythology is the lord of the underworld, the keeper of hidden treasures and powers and, as his name indicates, Pluto is also in relation with nuclear power. When you have a quadrature between Uranus and Pluto it's a very explosive situation. Now, Uranus entered the sign of Aries on March 11, will stay in the sign many years, and the least we can say is that he did a spectacular entrance as on March 11 we had: a major 9.0 earthquake, a devastating tsunami AND the beginning of a major nuclear catastrophe. The sign of Aries is ruled by Mars, which is the "master" of the sign and, as we know the lord of war. One week after Uranus entered in Aries and the dramatic events in Japan, Europe and the U.S entered in war with Lybia. Okay, it's a half-war, but it's a war anyway.

And now, here comes the important warning. Additionally to the entrance of Uranus in Aries we have, also in the same sign, Jupiter - quite a protective planet normally when it doesn't have bad aspects with others planets, which unfortunately is the case here as Jupiter is also in a quadrature with Pluto in Capricorn. We have also the Black Moon which entered in Aries at the end of March. BUT, in addition to this (which is already explosive) Mars, master of the sign, will enter this saturday in Aries AND the Moon will also be in Aries for 2-3 days starting saturday evening. As we are early April this means that the Sun is naturally in Aries.

In two words we're going to have the next four days a conjunction Sun - Moon - Mars - Uranus - Black Moon - Jupiter all together in Aries. All of them will be in quadrature with Pluto in Capricorn and also opposite with Saturn, now in Libra, during all next week. But the "epicenter" (if i can say) of the conjunction, the most dangerous time will be between this saturday and next tuesday. You have to understand that such a conjunction is extremely rare and i warn all of you who are born in the first week of Capricorn (last ten days of December), or at the beginning of Libra (last ten days of September) or the beginning of Cancer (last ten days of June) to be extremely cautious in the next days and week because of the quadrature/opposite aspects these planets will do with these astrological signs.

As usual it's impossible to say from where the knock will come but beware of any agressive situation (and you might also be the one who can be agressive) or violent conflicts or any kind of accident (Mars is often responsible of car accidents but also with anything related with fire) and also be careful with electricity (because of Uranus which has to see with problems with electricity). No need to say that the warning is even more important for those of you who are born in Aries (last ten days of March) and SPECIALLY those of you born between the 20 and the 24 of March.

To be perfectly clear it's what we call "the perfect storm" and if you want to know if this conjunction of planets can have an effect on the rest of the world, yes it does. There is everything in place for anything explosive and destructive in this world whether it's riots and carnage or in the true meaning of the terms. And i really pray that our Japanese friends will not have a second service of another major catastrophe. Keep an eye also on Fukhushima nuclear plant as the quadrature Uranus-Pluto is unfortunately here to stay and not only for one month but for many years - which means that explosive revolutions (in all meaning of the terms) are here to stay for quite a while...

Some of you who have read this topic until this last paragraph might think that i'm totally insane, but believe me i'm not. And i wouldn't have take the hour it took to me to write all this if there was nothing really serious, would I? Whether you believe me or not, just give me the "benefit of the doubt" for the next days or weeks. Who knows, it might save your life.

Pirates of the Caribbean " On Stranger Tides " Featurette

Walt Disney Studios France released this POTC 4 featurette. Called "the inspirtion of the POTC saga" it begins by few images of Walt and the POTC attraction. But you will also see shots of the making-of of "On Stranger Tides"!

And a last good news aboujavascript:void(0)t Penelope Cruz as since yesterday she has her own "star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, right in front of the El Capitan Theatre!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New " Winnie the Pooh " Review

Winnie the Pooh will be released July 15th in the U.S but in France the movie will be in theatres...April 13th! It's the first time that i see a Disney animated movie released in France three months before the U.S and i'm certainly not going to complain about that! A press screening happened on March 23 but there was an embargo on all reviews until today April 1st. It's now April 1st in Paris, so i can post my review and it's not an April Fools!

So, did i liked Winnie the Pooh? Well, yes and no. First, i have to say that the animation is extremely good. It's great to see the different characters alive again, drawn the same way as they were in 1968. Whether it is Winnie, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Tigger, Christopher or all the others there is no difference with the original animation. Disney animators did a great job and also used the principle of a children book with characters walking through the pages, just like in the original movie. And i don't want to spoil anything but you'll see how the "letters" of the book are playing an important part in the story.

But - as there is a "but" - the story itself, in my opinion, is not as good as it was in the first animated film. In the original movie there was three different chapters, each one with a different story. It's not the case here. Warning: Spoilers from now! The beginning is a bit weak and looks too much as it was in the first movie - with Winnie desperately looking for a Honey pot - but after a few minutes the real story begins. Christopher has disappeared and a message deciphered by Owl seems to indicate that he is the prisonner of a kind of monster. Winnie and his friends are decided to capture the monster and to set free Christopher...but everything is not gonna work as they've imagined.

Basically the whole movie is the story of a misunderstanding. Disney animators are playing with the (voluntary) absurdity of the situation and sometime it works and it's fun, sometime you think that it would have been better with more "madness", if they had pushed the "absurdity" of the situation to the end. But we must not forget that Winnie the Pooh is a movie for very young children which probably mean some limits in the storyline for a perfect understanding by 3-4 years old kids.

Talking about the story, the other problem is the length - not of the movie which is quite short as it last 62 minutes only but of the story itself. As i've said, in the original movie you had three different stories of approximately 20 - 25 minutes each, and in my opinion it worked better. Here, it's not that the story is bad, it's just that the story is not strong enough to last one hour or 55 minutes if we except the beginning of the movie.

So, is Winnie the Pooh as good as the first and beloved original film? In terms of animation, definitely yes. In terms of storyline, the original movie was i think better. And from what i've heard from the others journalists who were at the press screening i'm not the only one to have this opinion. However, if you're a Winnie the Pooh fan don't miss this new animated as you'll find back a big part of the charm of the original film. Also, when you will watch it in theatres, definitely stay until the end of the credits as there is a not-to-be missed scene at the very end! In the meantime, have a look below to a clip that Disney just released!

And here is a different clip, with Eeyore, this time from the french version.

We also had the good surprise to see the short animated "Ballad of Nessie" which will play in theatres in front of Winnie the Pooh.

The Ballad of Nessie is a great short in the grand Disney tradition of short animated films - it looks like a Disney short who could have been done 40 or 50 years ago. Here, not only the animation is perfect - excellent animators like Andreas Deja worked on it - but the story is very good. There is a genius idea in the storyline and don't worry, i'm not going to spoil it. The Ballad of Nessie has a lot of charm and although it's not totally fair to compare it with Winnie the Pooh as they don't have the same length, "Nessie" is probably more "perfect". Personally i enjoyed more "Nessie" than "Winnie" but it's only my opinion and you will tell me what you think of both when they will be released in theatres.

Finally, a little gift for you and specially for those of you who have children with this children "activity kit" which should be given in theatres to young kids. But if you wish, you can download it right now here:

Pictures and videos: copyright Disney

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New " Brave " concept-art reveals Princess Merida !

Pixar released a new concept-art and this one reveals for the first time the face of Merida, the Scottish princess and brave archer, hero of the animated movie!

Picture: copyright Diney-Pixar

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pirates of Caribbean 4 : The Fantastic " Mermaids " Poster !

Disney just released a fantastic new Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides" poster. This one is all about the Mermaids who are playing, as we know, an important role in the story. The poster looks fantastic and here it is in high-res!

Picture: copyright Disney-Bruckeimer

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Disneyland Paris Update : Part Two : Getting ready for DLP 20th Anniversary

Here is the part two of the DLP update. If you didn't read the part one you'll find it HERE. Also, please note that all what you will read in this article are NOT rumors, but the real thing.

The meeting organized by DLP for the webmasters last friday was to keep us informed about all the refurbishments of parks and hotels which will be done this year to make sure everything will be as beautiful as possible for DLP's 20th Anniversary. We had a great presentation by Imagineer Peggie Fariss, who began to work at Disney in 1965 and is now at the head of DLP Imagineering. Here is a picture of Peggie in the lobby of the Walt's restaurant, close to the Walt Disney bust. And a little bit of trivia about Peggie's scarf as it is a WDI limited edition designed by Julie Svendsen and Hani El Masri for John Hench 55th Anniversary at the Disney Company.

The presentation happened in Walt's Fantasyland room on the first floor of the restaurant and Peggie began her presentation with news about Sleeping Beauty castle, currently repainted once again. This time, though, DLP Imagineers changed a bit the colors and some of the towers will be more blue with also more gold on the top, closer to the original colors. Painters teams are working day and night on the castle and works are expected until the end of August.

The castle won't be the only one to be refreshed as Big Thunder Mountain, the Orbitron and Colonel Hathi Pizza Outpost will also be partly or totally repainted. On Main Street where most of the buildings were refreshed in the previous years the Walt's and the Gibson Girl facades will be the next one to be repaint, with little differences from the original colors.

Inside the Disney & Co shop many changes will happen too. DLP will use some characters visuals that WDW WDI team sent to them and in exchange DLP sent the Disney & Co band organ (picture below) to Florida. If you go at WDW in the future you'll be able to see it in the Story Book Circus area located in the new Fantasyland.

Here is a video filmed inside Disney & Co by DLRPStuff in which you will see this band organ.

Talking about Main street i was happily surprised last Friday morning to see that most of the Main Street vehicles were working. If we except the double-decker bus all the vehicles were there.

DLP fans noticed recently that the benches in front of the Sleeping Beauty theatre were removed. Some of them located near the trees will stay but most of them won't come back to have a bigger room for people watching the parade. Good news: the rumor saying that the Sleeping Beauty castle would be destroyed are not true, there is no plans to remove the stage which might be useful for future shows or special events. The other reason why the benches were removed is because they are currently re-paving all the area and up to the parade entrance doors near It's a Small World. The cobblestones are coming from the best manufacturer in Europe, located in Germany, and they will have different colors. We had a look behind the fences and here are the pictures.

In Fantasyland we had the luck to see the works on the new Princess Pavilion where young children will be able to meet their favorite princess. Located in what was previously the post-show of It's a Small World it's going to be done with a Disney quality touch and although they didn't communicate on the price it seems that the cost of it will not be cheap. DLP guests will enter the pavilion through a corridor leading to the main room in which will be placed stained glass windows, each of them showing one different castle related to each princess. And between each stained glass window an iconic item - for each princess - will be display inside specially designed alcoves. For instance, for Cinderella it will be her famous crystal shoe, etc... Even better, each of these iconic items will include fiber-optics effects!

At the end of this queue decor a wooden door will open and children will have the choice to meet two princess - or one only if there is too many people. Each princess will stand in front of a day or night background and of course parents will be able to take pictures of their children with their own camera. Or to ask DLP photographer to take the picture. In this case, the picture will be sent directly by WIFI to a place outside where guests will be able to buy the picture if they wish.

We were not allowed to take pictures of the works but we had the opportunity to see visuals and renderings and, frankly, i think this new Princess Pavilion, although smaller than the one which will open in 2012 at WDW Magic Kingdom in the previous Snow White building, will look really nice. As for the opening date, even if this Princess Pavillion is announced as being part of DLP new season starting next month, no date was given, probably because they don't know yet when the works will be finished. But, considering what we saw and all what remain to be done, i think that it won't open before next summer.

In Adventureland, guests will find soon a brand new Captain Hook's Pirate Ship. And when i mean new i mean a real new one as they won't repair or repaint the current one which is in real bad condition. Instead a brand new one is coming which will have the same design but with some differences in the colors - a bit more black on the sides of the ship, and also more gold color. What they're trying to do with these new painting is to have a pirate ship which might fit both for a Peter Pan or for a Jack Sparrow theme. Works are expected between April and September of this year.

At the entrance of Discoveryland, the fountains are now in full refurbishment. Hopefully the smoke effect will be back but not the original fire effect. The Orbitron, just like they did recently at Disneyland, Anaheim, will be dismantled to be repaint. A moving part of the Orbitron - which was not moving anymore since many years - will move again once the ride will re-open. It's the kind of detail that guests don't necessarily notice when it's not working but which makes a big difference when it does.

Lot of renovations, as you can see, inside DLP Magic Kingdom but also at the very entrance. Not the entrance of the park but the entrance of the parking lot which will have a new design, more gold colors and paintings of Disney characters.

At the Walt Disney Studios new pergolas will be build on each side of the entrance, as well as a new pavement in front of the ticketing. The Rock and Roller Coaster will have a new lighting and a new smog machine inside the ride, all this with a new technology more efficient and ecological.

In Toy Story Playland the RC Racer car which was previously a photo location located near the ride will be replaced by a new photo location. The RC Racer car was removed because they had some accidents with children climbing on the car and unfortunately the car won't come back - you can see it now during the Tram Tour ride. Instead, the new photo location will look like a box - more precisely like a toy blister with a glass in the front so the people who will be inside could give the illusion that they are "inside" a real blister. Of course the box will be themed and will have a background design with RC Racer.

Here is how the RC Racer photo location looked before, with the characters...

And here is how it looked recently, before the new "blister" decor, coming soon.

Always at TSP a new and nice food cart will appear near the entrance of Slinky Dog and at Parachute Drop a pre-show video created by Pixar will play during the queue. Pixar created a short animated video to explain to the guests waiting in line what they have to do when they will seat in the "parachute". The video is designed like a 1980's video game with visible pixels and the design of the screen box will look like 1980's old Gameboy. We saw the movie, and it looks quite good.

Most of the hotels of the resort will also get a renovation beginning by the Sequoia Lodge. Works have began already on the small lodges and they're now renovating the room of the 1st and 2nd floors of the main building. It's really a brand new decoration with new colors and Bambi artwork on the walls, new flat screen TVs as well as inroom internet access. In 2011, 556 rooms of the Sequoia Lodge will be renovated and 445 roome in 2012. Then they will do the Santa Fe, then the Newport Bay, then the Cheyenne Hotel or the Disneyland Hotel and the New York Hotel will be the last one to go through a renovation.

At the Santa Fe hotel they intend to extend the "Cars" theming which already began in some of the rooms and at the entrance with the big Cars painting instead of Clint Eastwood. The dry vegetation theming of the Santa Fe could fit perfectly for a "Cars" theme but don't expect the hotel to look in the future like Radiator Springs. However, apparently they would like to introduce some of the Cars characters in the outside areas, the main obstacle being the security problem. If they can succeed to introduce the Cars characters without having guests accidents like they had with the RC Racer car at TSP then Lightning McQueen, Mater and others might appear at the Santa Fe hotel.

The Davy Crockett Ranch is also in renovation and the 595 bungalows will all be replaced by brand new one, this time not in wood but in a composite material which should be more resistant along the years than the original bungalows. New decorations inside as you will see on the pictures below, including framed Frontierland renderings! Outside the table and chairs originally put directly on the ground are now on an elevated terrace and it's unquestionably better like this.

That's the end of the part two of the DLP update, in part three - coming soon - we will talk about the 20th Anniversary!

May be it doesn't look like but posting daily articles on Disney and more is always a lot of work. If you enjoyed this DLP update, why not doing a little Paypal donation? You'll find the Paypal donation button below. Thanks!

Pictures: copyright Disney and more

Sequoia Lodge pictures: copyright Disney

Pixar " Brave " story-line and new concept-arts

Disney-Pixar released today the first concept-arts of "Brave" the new - and intriguing - Pixar animated movie to be released summer 2012 (August 1st, 2012 in France).

Here is a first synopsis from IMDB: Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, "Brave" features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

Mark Andrews, the director of Brave, says:" Brave is a big adventure with plenty of action, humor and feelings. For this fairy-tale we couldn't dreamed of a better decor than the wild and dark landscapes of Scottish Highlands. Think: magic, mystery and danger at the heart of a fascinating and mythical land. This movie will look like nothing we've seen before from Pixar!"

More about the story-line from the Disney release: "Kelly Macdonald will be the voice of Merida, an aspiring archer, and daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Voice of Emma Thompson). Totally decided to follow her own way in life, Merida defy a sacred millenium tradition at the eyes of three lords: the impressing Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), Lord Macintosh, highly desagreable (voice of Craig Ferguson) and irascible Lord Dingwall (voix de Robbie Coltrane).

But Merida will involuntarily unleash chaos in the kingdom and when she will ask for help to an old eccentric woman known for her wisdom, Merida will see an unfortunate wish being realized… The danger will force Merida to find the true meaning of the word "bravery" if she wants to prevent the terrible curse which is now coming..."

Well, all this looks intriguing, doesn't it? For sure something totally new from Pixar and, as a rumor says that we might see a first trailer in front of Cars 2, we should know more about "Brave" in three months from now.

Pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar