Saturday, April 16, 2011

Editor's Note: I did some changes on the design of my new Star Tours site - which is now called simply "Star Tours" and no longer "Star Tours Spaceport". The white background has been replaced by a star field and now, when you jump to the site it's a bit like a jump in outer space! Have a look again, it's HERE.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tokyo Disneyland Re-opens ! Video Reports

After being closed for one month Tokyo Disneyland re-opens today at the joy of hundred of TDL fans. Disney fans lined up as early as 6:30 a.m., an hour and a half before Friday's reopening, hoping to be the first into the park.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and a host of other Disney characters surprised visitors as the gates opened at 8 a.m. A sort of Disney hysteria swept over the crowd as Mickey danced in front of visitors minutes before the official opening of the park.

"We were so excited, we were almost crying," Tokyo Disneyland visitor Mika Hasegawa said.

Many TV channels were they were to film TDL re-opening and you'll find below four reports filmed on different angles.

Hiroshi Suzuki, public relations manager for Oriental Land Co. -- the company that owns Tokyo Disneyland -- agreed. He said visitors were so elated when they saw Mickey and the other characters, he wished he could bring that kind of happiness to all people in Japan.

Other visitors to the park said they thought it was important to start getting out and spending money to get the economy running again. Erika Kanehira said she planned on visiting Tokyo Disneyland as often as she could and would also purchase merchandise to help the disaster area recover.

For every guest admitted to the park through May 14, Tokyo Disneyland will donate 300 yen (about $4) to the Japanese Red Cross. The park will also be operating under shortened business hours in order to save power.

Suzuki says the company hopes to get the park up and running on usual business hours as soon as possible. But most visitors are happy to have the park back at all.

Tomomi Takehashi said Disneyland was a place where people can come to laugh and smile -- and that may be exactly what the Japanese public needs right now.

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However as you will see on this last video one TDL major attraction remains closed today, and it's Big Thunder Mountain which apparently needs to be more checked.

Anyway, just like all of you and for all TDL fans, i'm so happy that the park is open again!

Picture: copyright CNN

Fantastic Cars 2 Triptych Poster

Pixar just released this fantastic triptych poster where you'll find all in one the four destinations of Cars 2 - Tokyo, London, Paris and Porto Corsa and most if not all Cars 2 characters. The image is here in high-res, so click on it to explore this great poster in details!

Picture: copyright: Disney-Pixar

Shanghaî Disneyland will be 50 percent larger than Hong Kong Disneyland

Latest news from Shanghaî Disneyland! We knew that the park will be bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland but how bigger exactly will it be? Well, now we know: according to a SDL executive interview in a Bloomberg article: "Shanghai's Disneyland will be almost 85 acres, about 50 percent larger than the Hong Kong park at its opening, says one executive." "We learned a lot from Hong Kong," says Bob Iger, "In Shanghai, we're within a three hour's drive of 300 million people. That's a huge opportunity, and we have to be careful about how many will come and their visitation patterns."

We also knew that there will be traditional Disney rides and others based on Chinese culture as Bob Iger revealed but it's interesting to know that the company is now adding Chinese nationals to the SDL "imagineering" team to help develop the park.

Always from the article, "Disney isn't likely to repeat the cultural faux pas it made when it opened Disneyland Resort Paris in 1992, where food sales suffered because the park initially didn't serve wine with meals. In Hong Kong, Disney has cut the number of hot dogs in its restaurants in order to serve more dim sum and noodle dishes, says a Disney executive, and there is likely to be plenty of local fare in Shanghai. "Disney is paying a lot more attention now to cultural differences," say Evercore Partners (EVR) analyst Alan Gould".

"For Disney, which will own a 43 percent stake in the 963-acre resort (three state-owned companies own the rest), Shanghai is a $1.9 billion wager on a growing Chinese middle class who the company projects will spend $200 billion annually on leisure travel by 2015. It's also a bet that Disney's characters and 55-year history of running theme parks can be adapted to a culture it may not fully understand. Disney "has too much riding on China to let either Hong Kong or Shanghai fail."

Finally, we also know which company won the Shanghai Disneyland Insurance Policy and it's the China Pacific Insurance Group which will be "in charge of all risk and third-party obligation insurance for construction work on the first phase of Shanghai Disneyland". A total of 2.31 billion yuan will be insured by Pacific Insurance Group, which you will agree, is quite a lot of money.

I'll be back soon with a new great update about Shanghaî Disneyland, don't miss it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WDW Town Square Theatre with Mickey Magician

At WDW Magic Kingdom the Town Square Theater is now open and guests can meet Mickey as a Magician. Theming is for a big part around Magic and you can read today's Kevin Yee article on Mice Age for more details.

On the picture below, Mickey readies to meet and greet guests at his new magical permanent location where for the first time guests will be able to obtain a Fastpass ticket specifying when they can return to see Mickey for hugs, photos and autographs.

Magical Touches Adorn Mickey’s New Meet-and-Greet Location. Mickey’s dressing room features more than what meets the eye. This shelf in his dressing room, for example, includes decorative items, like a Sorcerer Mickey’s hat, a Leota-brand crystal ball, strategically-placed books with subtle references to Cinderella’s Castle and a small “Tree of Life,” to conjure a trick: together, the pieces represent the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.

After their meet and greet, guests exit through Curtain Call Collectibles where some of the contraptions used in Mickey’s best magic tricks – including a dunk tank, sword basket and saw of dread – have been repurposed to showcase Mickey merchandise.

Nothing is better than a good video to have a clear view of how it looks in real and the one below filmed by the excellent Attractions Magazine will show you this in details!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Video: copyright Attractions Magazine

New Cars 2 Posters " Japan Sequence "

Pixar has released new Cars 2 visuals, and this ime it's related with the sequence in Japan. Let's begin with the posters, above and below.

Also released, pictures of Japanese Cars named Okuni, Zen Master, Nobunga and Tanaka.

In addition, but not linked to the Japan sequence, three new posters released last week-end, the first one below is related to the spy part of the story and have the style of 1960's espionage movies posters.

All pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Little Mermaid video reveals King Triton Audio-Animatronic

Walt Disney Imagineering released this new Little Mermaid video showing the recording of the ride music. Remember "Part of Your World" "Under the Sea" "Poor Unfortunate Souls" and "Kiss the Girl"? You'll hear all these classics throughout The Little Mermaid attraction when it will open at Disney California Adventure on June 3rd. The ride will last about 5 1/2 minutes and scenes will include 183 characters, including 127 in the “Under the Sea” scene alone.

On the video you'll see for a few seconds a new Audio-Animatronic, the one of King Triton which should appear at the end of the ride!

Video: copyright Disney

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Editor's Note: Last news from the Photobucket problem with this message received from them: "We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by the unexpected maintenance we have had to perform on the server your account resides on. Our technical staff is working as quickly as possible to remedy the situation and you will not lose any of your media." Good to know.

So, the D&M pictures will be back soon and in the meantime, good news: you don't have to wait for their return to read today's article as it doesn't include pictures!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shanghaî Disneyland : Why Bob Iger was not the only one to be pleased by SDL groundbreaking event

When Walt Disney bought - in secret - the massive property in Florida which is now known as Walt Disney World, he had more than one goal in mind. Not only did he want enough property to build several theme parks and hotel resorts, but he also really wanted to avoid something which had driven him crazy at Anaheim, i.e to have non-Disney hotels built close to the park, taking advantages of Disneyland's success.

Since then, each time the WDC builds a new theme park and resort they remember Walt's lesson. In Paris, for instance, DLP has enough land to not only build at least three theme parks, but also to keep any hotel competitor from building too close to the resort. In Hong Kong it's even better as there is no land too close to the resort where someone could build a non-Disney resort, as the land where HKDL is now was only ocean ten years ago.

In Shanghaî it's a bit different. Obviously the deal that Disney has with the Chinese administration includes enough land to build three theme parks and many hotel resorts, and, as you will see, Bob Iger was not the only one last friday to be pleased by Shanghaî Disneyland groundbreaking event. As a matter of fact, the beginning of Shanghaî Disneyland construction means "good news" for a lot of others people nearby.

In an interesting Shanghaî Daily article called "Pudong eyes Disney windfall" Liang Yiwen reveals all of what should happen in the Pudong area - Pudong being the district where SDL is currently being built. No one can beat the Chinese on pragmatism and Chen Zhongmao, deputy director of Pudong New Area Commission of Commerce asked: "Disneyland is expected to attract 7.3 million visitors a year. Where will the visitors stay at night and where will they go during the day?".

Well, I suppose that Disney expects them to go to the park and stay at the SDL hotels, but it's not a stupid question as SDL guests might be interested to discover other things outside the resort.

Apparently, the Pudong New Area Commission "found that many visitors to last year's World Expo stayed in Puxi due to the lack of sightseeing and commercial facilities in Pudong" and it seems that the commission learned something out of this. And so: "the government plans to remove the rice paddies around the future Disneyland site and build high-end tourist sites with a 'local flavor' to keep amusement park guests in Pudong".

No kidding? They want to try to keep SDL guests in the area? What a surprise.

And Chen Zhongmao added: "Overseas tourists will be interested in the towns with distinct local culture. Disneyland embodies Western culture and the ancient towns represent Chinese culture - a perfect match ... One of the planned attractions is Xinchang Ancient Town, a water town more than 1,000-year-old where director Ang Lee filmed scenes for the film 'Lust, Caution'. Beautifully carved wooden window frames and elaborately painted signboards are common sights along Xinchang's main street, which was first built during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Another attraction will be Hengmian Ancient Town, which remains relatively unknown among modern complexes. Both towns will be given a face-lift."

To be honest, I, who likes archeological sites, will be interested to discover authentic old Chinese cities. I've spent too much energy being angry because China is destroying most of its old areas in Beijing or in other cities, so I think I welcome the possibility to visit genuine old Chinese towns when i will come to Shanghaî Disneyland. So, one good point for them on this idea.

However, the word "money" means the same in China as in occidental countries, and: "Other facilities, such as a shopping center that will include the country's biggest outlet mall, are also listed on Pudong's new commercial development blueprint, which was released yesterday."

There we are.

Want more details? "To compete with mature commercial magnets in Puxi, Pudong now plans to add about 700,000 square meters of commercial facilities, mostly retail space, annually through 2015. A large-scale outlet mall, which will be accessible by Metro Line 2, will be built in Chuansha area by 2013."

How far will it be from Shanghaî Disneyland, you ask? "It will be about 10 kilometers from Disneyland and close to Pudong International Airport. The excellent geographic position and convenient transportation facilities will help the outlet mall attract locals and tourists" Chen Zhongmao said.

"Excellent geographic position and convenient transportation facilities"? You bet. With Shanghaî Disneyland located just six miles from this future mega outlet mall and the transportation system which will be build specially for SDL available, it's for sure "an excellent geographic position"!

And, because the Pudong New Area Commission wants to build this the right way "the government has invited US-based Chelsea Property Group, Japan-based Mitsui and Italian fashion retail giant RDM to draft a blueprint for the outlet mall". In two words, it means that on your future trip at Shanghaî Disneyland you'll be able not only to enjoy a new kind of Magic Kingdom but also to discover ancient cities and also to buy your favorite Armani underwear at Chinese prices.

I agree that said like this it's less poetic than a WDI rendering but I suppose that's what we call reality.

Part of the text: copyright Shanghaî Daily

Many thanks for the text editing to Nate Walz!

New Winnie the Pooh clips

Disney released two new clips from the new Winnie the Pooh movie and you can watch them below. It'll show you how they use the "pages and letters" of the book.

I remind you that you can read my full review on this new Disney animated in my previous article HERE.

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Editor's Note: If you want to see what CG Images can create when they're used with elegance then have a look at this spectacular TV Ad on my D&M Innoventions Blog.