Friday, August 5, 2011

A Disneyland in Russia ?

Although this article of The Voice of Russia is talking about a Disneyland in Russia, in no way it means a "Disneyland" from "Disney" designed by "Walt Disney Imagineering", and if it does i will believe it when i will see it. That said, it seems that russian authorities have discovered that in the world we're living a country with no decent theme park can't pretend to be a real super power, economically speaking. I know, it's absurd, but it's all about image, just like fashion.

Anyway, apparently several theme parks projects have been proposed, including one designed by Gary Goddard, and in some years may be Russia will be the new theme park Eldorado like Asia is right now. In the meantime, here is the Voice of Russia article called "Russian Disneyland to be built near Kaliningrad":

"A Russian Disneyland may appear in the Kaliningrad Region, the westernmost region of Russia. The idea of laying out a modern amusement park in the Amber Land has been supported by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

This Disneyland will be the second in Europe if it opens near Kaliningrad. So far there is only one park like this in the Old World. It opened near Paris in1992. The French Disneyland is visited by over 18mln people annually. The very first park with this name was laid out in 1955 in American California. It became the embodiment of Walt Disney’s idea of a park giving life to the world of animated cartoons and fairy-tales. At present, Tokyo and Hong Kong also have Disneylands. The largest Disneyland outside the USA is being built in Shanghai on an area of 67 hectares. It is planned to open in 2016.

Building a Disneyland in the Kaliningrad Region will be a priority project, Inna Moreva, the press-secretary of the regional administration, told The Voice of Russia.

“To develop tourism in our region we are going to use our strong points like our historical past, mild climate and proximity to Europe. We are also prepared to consider prospects of building new facilities, such as an amusement park.”

A park, which will be interesting to both children and adults, will help the region to attract more tourists. Now it is too soon to say what it will be like, Inna Moreva continues.

“We think that tourism should grow fast in the Kaliningrad Region. What can we offer tourists? We need new modern interesting facilities, one of which may be an amusement park in the style of Disneyland, or Hansaland in Germany, or Legoland in Denmark, or Port Aventura in Spain. It would be wonderful to have something like this in Kaliningrad. Such a place would attract visitors not only from the Kaliningrad Region but also from neighbouring countries.”

The groundwork of the Yekaterinburg project will possibly be used when building an amusement park in the Kaliningrad Region. The first Russian Disneyland was planned to be built in Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains several years ago. It was to cover an area of 60 hectares with amusements, hotels and restaurants. The project was expected to pay its way in 8.5 years. It was planned to receive 15,000 visitors simultaneously but because of the crisis the construction of the park in Yekaterinburg never began in 2008."

Text: copyright Voice of Russia

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Disneyland Paris announces Disney's Halloween Festival 2011

We're still in the middle of the summer but Disneyland Paris press office already sent the press release for the next Halloween festival beginning October 1sr. Halloween is always very popular at DLP, so here is the program for those of you who might be interested.
The Disney Magical Moments Festival turns wonderfully WICKED!!!
- From 1st to 31 October 2011 -
Welcome to Disney’s Halloween Festival 2011
Disneyland Paris - July 2011
As Disneyland Paris celebrates Disney Magical Moments Festival, the arrival of October will turn this magical celebration into an event to die for! It’s time for Disney’s Halloween Festival 2011 for no less than 31 wonderfully wicked days!
A ‘Halloweenmosphère’ unique to Disneyland Paris
Calling thrill-seekers of all ages: Disneyland Park is inviting guests for a marvelous month of festivities, mischief and mayhem. The Disneyland Park will turn shades of orange, while Mickey-shaped pumpkins will invade Town Square. Get ready for eerie events and hair-raising shows, tricks and treats as guests are plunged into an extravagant atmosphere unique to Disneyland Paris. Family and friends, young and old, everyone is sure to have a ghostly good time in this pure Disney Halloweenmosphere.
31 star-studded days with the Disney Villains Meet & Greet
Few can resist the fascination of a Disney Villain. Have you ever had second thoughts before biting into a juicy red apple? Does the hook of a certain pirate have you trembling in your boots? Do screams from the Queen of Hearts send shivers down your spine? Their evil spells, demonic deeds and monstrosity have affected us all. Today the Disney Villains await you every day in October at Disneyland Paris for a pure Disney Halloween you’ll never forget!
Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, Jafar and the wicked witch from Snow White take vile pleasure in posing with guests and giving them a wonderful souvenir of the year’s biggest monster mash. Disney’s Halloween Festival is the perfect opportunity to become the accomplices to their devilish doings!
New: Disney’s Maleficious Halloween Party, an all-new show hosted by the sinister Maleficent!
Disney’s ‘Mistress of All Evil’ awaits you daily for a brand new show full of delightfully deadly surprises! Still seething with jealousy for not having been invited to Princess Aurora’s christening, Maleficent plans to cast a spell of terror over Sleeping Beauty Castle. This year, she has given the job to the latest arrival to the family of Disney Villains, Dr. Facilier from the Walt Disney Pictures film The Princess and the Frog. Although Facilier proclaims himself ‘World’s greatest sorcerer,’ Maleficent has plans to show him the true tricks of the trade. The height of the show - a sinfully delicious shower of treats!
New: Mickey’s Halloween Treat in the Street! An interactive show with Mickey and friends!
Mickey and his closest friends are dressed in their Halloween best and await you for some unforgettable memories. You won’t want to miss them each day on Castle Stage as Mickey invites you to his Halloween party. Come dance with Minnie, learn to Hula Hoop with Goofy and go on a bat hunt with Donald... while Mickey plays referee for his friends as they skilfully master each event.
Interactive fun several times a day followed by a sweet ending – a shower of Halloween candy!
Disney’s Halloween Festival 2011 continues well into the night with magical parties full of Halloween fun!
Disney’s Halloween Festival Events 2011
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Want to celebrate Halloween in pure Disney style at a private party that’s fun without being scary? Then Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party* is the place to be! Four dream opportunities for family fun with Mickey and Friends in their most boo-tiful Halloween costumes. These one-of-a-kind events are perfect for children of all ages who just can’t wait to get dressed up. Disney Characters and Villains will be there to create an exclusive and interactive experience of exciting and truly unforgettable moments.
In addition to exclusive events and shows, guests will enjoy access to a number of attractions in Disneyland Park open especially for the grand occasion. Get ready for tricks and treats galore on 7, 14, 21 and 28 October 2011 from 8 to 11 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party, the big event of the Halloween season. Hurry, places are limited.
*Paid event: €25 per person, free for children under 3.
Disney’s Halloween Party: the most unforgettable night in October 
Guaranteed to be a scream. Get ready for the “deadliest” night of the year at Disneyland Paris! The now-famous Disney’s Halloween Party* will take place on 31 October 2011 in Disneyland Park. A one-of-a-kind experience to enjoy with family and friends from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
By the light of the moon, the Park will reopen its doors to a most mysterious atmosphere featuring a wide variety of events, surprises and boo-groovy music until the late-night hours:
Spooktacular street entertainment and stage shows throughout the evening
The Disney’s Fantillusion Parade led by the vicious Disney Villains, where the world of darkness meets the enchanted world in a fantastic twilight spectacular.
A special Halloween Sound and Light Show with the fantangulous backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
And oodles of other dreadfully delectable surprises!
*Paid event: €35 per person, free for children under 3.
But that’s not all, since Terrorific Night returns this year as well, with its own good helping of thrills and chills!  
Terrorific Night
Terrorific Night is back this year on 29 and 30 October 2011 from 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., for a new experience in an even more terrifying world… The most fearless guests are going to scream in terror, but receive no response… Anyone who could be of help seems to have deserted the park… Gruesome creatures, monstrous characters and other-worldly artists have decided to haunt their nights for all eternity.
*Paid event: €32 per person
All the fun and fantastical ingredients are reunited to make Disney’s Halloween Festival 2011 the most monstrously magical month of the year! Have a ghostly good time from 1st to 31 October 2011 only at Disneyland Paris!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The John Carter of Mars you (probably) won't see next year in Andrew Stanton movie

Disney released recently the first pictures and trailer from Andrew Stanton's "John Carter of Mars" movie and it looks not that bad. Many great artists illustrated John Carter of Mars since the first release of Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, for instance Frank E. Schoonover with this original 1917 book publication cover below...

But if you were born in the 1960's, John Carter of Mars probably remember you more the great paintings of heroic fantasy master painter Frank Frazetta, like these below and on the top.

Frazetta unique style is recognizable instantly, only him put this kind of incredible "sexual animality" in the characters. For a whole generation, John Carter of Mars was synonymous of the Frazetta illustrations. And that's all the point: will Andrew Stanton characters will be as "hot" as Frazetta paintings? I wouldn't bet on that but i'm curious to see how far Disney has authorised him to go in the movie. It's supposed to be a summer blockbuster movie for all ages so i doubt that we will find this sexual animality in it.

We had a glimpse of that in the trailer and, so far, as you can see on the screen capture above, we can't say that Princess Dejah Thoris costume is as "sexy" as Frank Frazetta painted her. Not bad, but they can do better!

Pictures: copyright Frank Frazetta and Disney

Shanghaî Disneyland Construction Update by Stefan Zwanzger, The Theme Park Guy

Stefan Zwanzger, aka The Theme Park Guy is back from his last trip in Asia and he's back with the latest pictures showing the works at Shanghaî Disneyland site!

Don't expect to see the Shanghaî Disneyland castle, you won't see it bafore at least 2014 but according to Stefan "There is visible progress on the Shanghai Disneyland site: the huge moat that will encircle the Disney resort is being excavated, the three or four entry gates to the construction site are now equipped with barriers and security, and the site office has employees coming and going. And in the background, it's all digging and digging".

Above, one picture of the huge moat excavation and at the top a picture of the Shanghaî Shendi Group poster at the entrance of the site. There is dozens more pictures on Stefan's site so the best i can say is to jump to The Theme Park Guy web site right now! It's right HERE.

Pictures: copyright The Theme Park Guy

4DX Theatre Review, First one in the U.S opening late August

Sometime you have the luck to be at the right time at the right place and so was I to experiment one of these new 4DX theatres. The first ones, if i'm not wrong, opened in South Korea and recently a new one opened at the magnificent Siam Paragon Cineflex theatres in Bangkok. The first one to open in the U.S will be in Los Angeles and is scheduled to open late August.

So, what are these 4DX theatres? Well, if you're not tired yet by 3D movies the 4DX theatres is the next step, full of in-theatre effects, and the goal of course is to take more bucks out of your pocket. 3D screenings are already more expensive than normal ones but at least in 4D theatres you will have plenty of special effects in addition to the 3D glasses...Basically, 4DX theatres are a mix of Star Tours simulation technology with Honey I Schrunk the Audience special effects. Said like this it sounds not that bad and even interesting, but wait for what's coming next.

The main reason why i was curious to experiment 4DX was not to "live" the effects - i did this several times in many theme parks - but to see how they succeeded to adapt this kind of technology/effects to a normal movie - i mean, a movie which has not been filmed specially thinking to the in-theatre effects. Because that's the main difference between 4DX theatres and theme parks attractions using the same technologies, here you will experience a screening of a normal movie, not "designed" for a specific ride.

In Bangkok Siam Paragon the movie who did the 4DX theatre opening was Transformers 3. There is enough action in it for the 4DX effects and that's probably the reason why they choose it. When you enter the theatre there is more or less 200 seats seats all by four together, and each four seats are based on a simulation platform. The special effects that you will experience during the screening are wind, smoke, water projection, and more.

What did I think about it? Well, when the film began i thought it was great. If you saw Transformers 3 you know that the opening sequence is on the moon, back in the 1960's. The camera is moving slowly up and down and the 4DX simulation system reproduce these movements, smoothly and gently, just like if your seat was on the same crane that was used for the camera. So, i thought that this was pretty cool and a real bonus in comparison to a normal screening. Then, wind effects arrived - depending of the movie sequence, of course - rain effect, too - don't worry, you won't be wet and there is no 10 minutes long water projection effect - and even smoke effects.

A little bit later Transformers 3 action sequences began, and so 4DX enjoyment problem too. Everything was working fine technically speaking but the only way they've found to reproduce the massive-explosive-speedy-action-scenes of Transformers 3 is to use the simulation platform to shake your seat, and sometime "in all directions". When there is an explosion scene skaking the seats is understandable - and God knows there is a lot of explosion scenes in Transformers 3 - but when it's another kind of action scene, a wild chase for instance, the simulation system find its limits and obviously they can't do anything else than shake the seats in a way that become quickly not fun at all.

I suppose that the guys behind these 4DX theatres think that modern audiences always want more sensations, but it's a pity they don't use the system in a more subtle way like they did at the beginning of the movie where everything was fine and enjoyable.

So, my advice is this one: if you live in a place where a 4DX theatre already exist or is going to open, go and try it. I'm not sure you will go back each time they will play a new movie, but it's interesting to try the system at least one time. Let's just hope that their future selections will be more subtle than Transformers 3 something which should not be very difficult to achieve!

Picture at the top: Ad for the Siam Paragon 4DX theatre.