Thursday, September 8, 2011

Last News from Disneyland Paris and HKDL - Now Updated with new Toy Story Land Official Visuals and Video !

A short update today with the latest news about DLP and HKDL. Let's begin with Disneyland Paris. DLP management has hold its breath all last week as the french government wanted to increase the VAT on all theme parks and amusement parks from 5.5% to 19.6%. They finally cancelled this very bad idea and replaced it with a 2% tax on all hotel rooms from and above 200 euros. This concerns not only DLP hotels but all hotels in France, of course.

An increase of the VAT would have been literally devastating for the park as it would have mean that the ticket price would have jump to more than 80 euros and of course it would have had an effect on the parks activity with probably less visitors, etc... Thanks God this was cancelled by the french government as the other theme parks were infuriated by a VAT increase and specially the Futuroscope theme park. Jean Pierre Raffarin, former french prime minister and who is at the head of the Vienne department where the Futuroscope is went really angry with Sarkozy who finally decided to cancel this VAT increase. Who would have said that Disneyland Paris future would have been saved indirectly by one of its main competitor in France - the Futuroscope?

A 2% tax on hotel rooms will have a totally different effect. 2% on a 200 euros room makes an increase of 4 euros only and someone who can afford to pay 200 euros on a room can of course pay 204 euros, so this new 2% hotel tax shouldn't have a bad effect for the park.

Talking about DLP future i am sorry to say that there is no news at all about the two awaited attractions "Ratatouille" and "Star Tours 2". I don't think that there is any major problem or cancellation on the Ratatouille dark ride but if the park don't start soon the works on the Ratatouille ride and area they will have a real timing problem for a 2013 opening. Even if works were beginning right now the ride probably wouldn't be ready before summer 2013. I remind you that DLP 20th anniversary is next year - so in 2012 and not 2013 - and so a Ratatouille opening in 2013 was schedule to give a new impulsion after the 20th Anniversary year. This might work well as long as the Ratatouille ride would indeed open in spring or summer 2013, and for this they really have to start the works as soon as possible...

No news too on Star Tours 2, and this is not good news. It doesn't mean that they won't bring ST2 at DLP Discoveryland but it probably means that DLP fans will have to wait at least until 2014 to get it. Though, if the park finally choose to install ST2 and have it ready for the 20th anniversary, they still have the time to do it, but here, too, works should start right now and the least we can say is that no signs are going in this direction.

Let's move to Hong Kong Disneyland, now. Toy Story Playland is scheduled to open next November at HKDL and the park is recruiting 1,000 new cast members for its biggest expansion since it opened in 2005. Park managing director Andrew Kam Min-ho said "In addition to increasing our physical footprint by 23 percent, the new projects will increase overall park attractions, entertainment facilities and shows to more than 100". HKDL also expect that daily visitor arrivals will rise from 38,000 to 40,000 with the opening of Toy Story Playland. Above and below, two pictures showing the entrance of Toy Story Land with the giant Woody instead than the giant Buzz at the WDS.

HKDL just released these new Toy Story Land visuals, the main one is at the top and below the three visuals for the three attractions.

And here is the video of the press conference in which you'll some shots of Toy Story Land. The language is in chinese but the images are in international language!

Also, the HKDL Haunted Halloween will begin September 22 as you may have read in my previous article HERE and the park released three CGI animated videos. The first one below introduces the Main Street Haunted Hotel...

The next one is all about the new Thaddeus Oswald traveling circus...

And this last on shows a bit of everything but also have some still images with the text in chinese which will be hard to understand for non-chinese

Pictures and Videos: copyright Disney

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hong Kong Disneyland brings Toy Story Land experience on 16-city Asian roadshows !

Hong Kong Disneyland will begin soon an incredible Toy Story Land Promotional campaign which will bring to 16 major Asian cities a TSP roadshow, ahead of the November 2011 grand opening of Toy Story Land, the first of three exclusive new themed lands due to open at HKDL.

Here is the full press release/article and it's also interesting tonote that the TSP grand opening in november is also undirectly confirmed!

"Began in Mumbai on 31st August and followed by 5th September in Delhi today, the roadshow provides a sneak peek of this magical destination taking shape in a lushly landscaped corner of the Park. The only one of its kind in Asia, Toy Story Land is based on characters and experiences of Disney・Pixar’s global blockbuster Toy Story movie. In this highly immersive themed playground, Guests will shrink to the size of a toy, allowing them to play and experience adventures in the oversized world of Andy’s backyard.

“With an attraction this unique we wanted a fresh and compelling way to showcase the magic of Toy Story Land and new business opportunities available to our valued trade partners. We believe our first-of-its-kind ‘edutainment’ format in a trade event will make learning about Toy Story Land interactive and fun, which is what this exciting new land is all about,” said Aliana Ho, Vice President, Sales and Distribution Marketing.

Dwarfed by giant blades of grass and oversized toys, Guests can race along the half-pipe coaster on RC Racer[2], join the high flying adventure with the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop or howl with laugher on the rollicking Slinky Dog Spin Demonstrating Disney’s creative flair, the ‘edutainment’ event provides an engaging briefing of the story behind the movie, the main characters, the key attractions including three larger-than-life rides, products and promotional opportunities available in taking Toy Story Land to their customers. Trade partners team up in a fun challenge and compete for the grand prizes. Beloved Toy Story Land characters may also make a presence in some of the cities.

Trade launch events will be held in 16 cities across Asia, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei, Seoul, Busan, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

Aimed at kids of all ages, Toy Story Land’s November premier coincides with the peak year-end school holidays and festive season. Guests availing of the Resort’s new and enhanced value 2-Day Ticket will enjoy greater flexibility and more time to fully experience the magic of Toy Story Land and the Park’s annual winter wonderland.

“The strong support of our valued trade partners in making Hong Kong Disneyland Resort the leading destination in Asia have given us a 5th anniversary to remember this year. We thank our partners for their support and we look forward to working more closely with them in the coming years when we unveil two other exclusive themed lands,” said Mrs Ho."

Pictures: copyright Disney and more

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Mater Cars Toon " Air Mater "

About the Mater character it seems that there is no other choice than "i love him" or "i hate him", but personally i love Mater. I think that - as John Lasseter once said - that Pixar has found its "Goofy", and i also like the "innocence" or the "naive" side of the character. Anyway, if just like me you like Mater, you'll be happy to know that a new Cars Toon called "Air Mater" will be included in the Cars 2 Blu-Ray edition - to be released November 1st - as well as the Toy Story Toon “Hawaiian Vacation” and other features like a John Lasseter Commentary or "The Nuts and Bolts of Cars Land" which should interest theme park fans.

Good news, Pixar has released the first 30 seconds of this "Air Mater" showing Mater arriving in an airport and you can watch this below!

Picture and video: copyright Disney-Pixar

Cowboys and Aliens Review

I finally saw Cowboys and Aliens last night. Not that i had high expectations about it but the theme always looked interesting to me and i was curious to see if this mix of two different themes was going to work or not. In fact, i enter the theatre with a not-so-good mental image of the film, thinking it was not going to be good, so i was surprised to see that it was better than i thought.

The three main actors are Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. I'm not a big fan of Daniel Craig. I always though that he's good in action scenes but not in emotional scenes, and i still think it. In Cowboys and Aliens he's a kind of mix of Charles Bronson and Steve Mc Queen. Except that Mc queen had much more charisma and, to say the truth, was better than him. Anyway, i have to say that in this role Daniel Craig is not bad, but more "Bronson" than "Mc Queen".

Thanks God, there is Harrison Ford who, as it is often the case, is saving the movie with a role in which you don't expect him as he is playing a bad guy. Well, not a totally bad guy, let's say he's more like a tough guy who can be also bad if needed... Olivia Wilde have this almost extra-terrestrial beauty which, as you'll see if you go watch the movie, is perfect for her role. The story itself is not that bad as well as the SFX but, still, it will be hard to consider the movie as an "A" movie.

However there is one big mistake during at least a good half of the movie, which i really really hated. And it's obviously a choice from the director or the cinematographer. Most of the shots of Cowboys and Aliens are filmed using a telephoto lens, and yes, even the close shots. Master directors Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah did also filmed westerns using that kind of lens, but unfortunately Jon Favreau is not Leone or Peckinpah. With them it was not only a style choice, something interesting was "happening" in the frame when they did it, and it's not the case here. It wouldn't be a major problem if this lens choice didn't had an impact on the whole esthetic of the movie but unfortunately it has a negative impact on it, which means that the movie don't really have an esthetic appealing and i won't be surprised if this half-disappointment in the reviews was coming from that. When you look at an old John Ford movie, the story is great, the actors are wonderful and the movie, esthetically speaking, is gorgeous. Now, here, you don't have that. The story is okay, the actors are okay or very good in the case of Harrison but the movie is not esthetically pleasant and all this makes at the end a not-so-memorable movie although you can have a good time watching it. I have to add that i'm not a big fan too of the photography itself, but that's only my own taste...

Considering that you've probably already read plenty of not-so-good reviews of Cowboys and Aliens if you still want to see it, just go, and just like me you probably will think that it was "not as bad as you thought". But of course, this doesn't make of Cowboys and Aliens a real good movie.

Picture: copyright Universal - Dream Works

Tokyo Disney Sea 10th Anniversary Celebration Videos

Tokyo Disney Sea had its 10th Anniversary celebration yesterday and here is the video of it. Lot of TDS fans were there of course, but Disney Parks and Resorts CEO Tom Staggs was also there to celebrate this memorable anniversary!

Another short video showing TDS cast-members and TDS CEO and even Tom Staggs saluting the guests entering the park.

And of course there was a celebration on Mediterranean harbor lagoon, with plenty of Disney characters!

Don't miss yesterday's article below with plenty of great HD videos of TDS best rides as well as TDS making-of!

Videos: copyright yoshiimagination

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