Thursday, September 13, 2012
It's Hong Kong Disneyland 7th Anniversary ! Part Two: Exclusive Interview with Imagineers Tom Morris and Tim Delaney about HKDL Creation
Here is the part two of the exclusive interview of Tom MORRIS, Executive Creative Show Producer for HKDL. The interview was done in 2005 before HKDL opening. Tom Morris, senior show producer at Walt Disney Imagineering was previously the show producer for Disneyland paris Fantasyland. He was also the show producer for the gorgeous Sleeping Beauty Castle at DLP. And this time he will tell us more about the Hong Kong Disneyland’s Fantasyland.
You can read the first part of this article in which Tom talks about HKDL Main Street and Adventureland HERE.
ALAIN LITTAYE: There is a lot of Fantasyland’s favorite attractions which don’t exist at Hong kong Disneyland. Is it because Asian people are not aware about the old animated features ?
TOM MORRIS: It was partly that. We wanted to introduce a dark ride with the character which we thought will be the most popular out here, which is winnie the pooh. Winnie is really close in popularity with mickey mouse. Everyone knows winnie the pooh out here. So we wanted to test the dark ride notion first with that attraction. And we reserved space for future dark rides once we know what it is what the local audience wants...
A.L: The attraction of winnie the pooh is it identical to the one in united states, or the one in tokyo?
T.M: It’s similar to the one at walt disney world. it’s a pretty close approximation of the one of the magic kingdom in orlando.
A.L: There is something really unique in HKD Fantasyland, which is the “fantasy gardens”. My question is: why this choice,, and is it also a kind of tribute to the tivoli gardens in europe which were inspirationnal for walt disney for disneyland in anaheim?
T.M: Some of it might be tribute to tivoli gardens, but that’s really next door to the story book theater , as his architecture was inspired not only by tivoli gardens, but all of the big musical pavillions in music palaces that you would find in the european pleasure gardens, like tivoli gardens, or others in european cities. So story book theater really is a “hommage” to that. Fantasy gardens may be is a little bit tivoli gardens, too, but it’s really kind of a classic “english “ garden with different “folies” pavillion where guests will encounter the popular characters in a pleasant and relaxing environment
A.L: Talking about the story book theater, there is a show inside, the “golden mickeys”...
T.M: Yes, a very good show. It’s a musical revue, a retrospective in some respects of some of the great musical numbers, of some most famous disney animated features, like beauty and the beast, little mermaid, mulan, etc....
A.L: Does it looks like the “Encore” show at tokyo disney sea in the broadway theater?
T.M: Well, it has some similarities to that, but it’s most closely to the show of the disney cruise ship. It’s really based on that, but we made some adaptations...
A.L: What about the shops in fantasyland ?
T.M: We have some really good shops, the “merlin’s “ shop is very whimsical, it’s quite different than the one in paris, it’s more literally themed to the film “the sword in the stone” , may be a little more colourful, more playful than the one who is inside the castle at DLP... The one here have a lot of merlin’s inventions inside, some interesting special effects and lighting things inside...
T.M: I would say the most dramatically different space in fantasyland, from an interior stand point, is the “Banquet hall”. It’s a huge restaurant, i think it’s the biggest restaurant we’ve ever done in a fantasyland, and it is a kind of idea of “king stephen’s banquet hall”, but bigger, and a little more grand...Of course we couldn’t put king stephen’s banquet hall inside the disneyland castle, so we wanted that space for people really kind of feel that they’ve gone to a royal banquet or a royal feast...so, we’ve got tall ceilings, gothic architecture, and tapestries recreated from the “sleeping beauty”, glass windows, royal paintings, and sculptures. It really is a beautiful space and spectacular restaurant...
We also have a new bit of architecture, with “mickey’s philarmagic”, which takes place in what we wanted to make very clearly look like the village concert hall. So, in fact, the building is called the “fantasyland concert hall” , and it’s another kind of iconic piece of architecture for the land...
A.L: It’s a small world, one of Fantasyland’s famous attraction is not there, as pirates of carribean, haunted mansion or other e-ticket...Will they be added in the future?
T.M: There is a lot of area set aside reserved both outside and inside the boundaries for additional favorite attractions, but we have not decided which one yet. We reserved spots, “places at the table” for many of those classic attractions, plus new ones...but i don’t think we’ll know until after we open which direction we’re gonna go for the next first big attraction...now, we’ve already decided on smaller attractions that will open up in 2006 and 2007, the only one who’s been announced so far is the “autopia” , the first “all-electric” autopia (Note: the interview was done at the opening of the park before Autopia opening) . In addition to the autopia there will be three or four smaller attractions in the next two years, that will bring to the park a variety of different guest needs, such as inter-activity and high-tech technology, and that sort of thing...But we have not decided yet which of the bigger attraction we are going to do for 2008, 2009 or 2010. But certainly some of the favorite one ( NDR: like it's a small world ) are the one who are the most discussed...
We will now talk about HKDL Tomorrowland with another exclusive interview with Tim Delaney, the show producer of Tomorrowland. Tim was previously the show producer of Discoveryland, at Disneyland Paris, and, too, for California Adventure Paradise Pier as well as for Epcots Living Seas. Note that this interview was done when HKDL opened, before the opening of Autopia and Stitch encounter.
Alain Littaye: Tim, as we know, you were the show producer of Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris. The theme, there, was that Discoveryland was supposed to be the land of visionaries, and here, in Hong Kong, the theme is probably different. So,what is the story line of Hong Kong’sTomorrowland ?
Tim Delaney: Well, we wanted to create here something totally different, our biggest challenge was how to create something that is not only tomorrow, but also something that is timeless. So, we took the theme in this particular case of a “spaceport”. All of our attractions relate to space travels: we have Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, the Orbitron - this last one with a totally different style.
( below, a previous sketch for a Tomorrowland concept, finally not chosen )
T.D : So we took the idea of a space port ,we have different style of architecture...it’s a kind of space encampment , a space port where you go when you journey to other planets. We have two very large restaurants, the big restaurant call “starliner diner” have a rocket ship in the front and it’s a place where you go before you go in outer space : there is big posters of space travels inside, we have rockets, etc...this is a place where you go to have lunch and food before you go up to your journey into space mountain and buzz light year...It’s also one of the largest restaurant we ever built in a Tomorrowland with an incredible design
T.D: Throughout the land we’re using these motifs of these planets and an alien landscape to make you feel that you are in another world...You have to see the styling of the buildings to see how it looks like. It’s not mean to look like in the fifties, like disneyland was in 1955, it has much more of an organic field to it.....we are also using a lot of colours in the land, and the reason for that is that most of the time Hong Kong have grey skies and humid, so we want these colours to bring a kind of more of a familiar quality to our tomorrowland...Secondly, about landscaping, we have a lot of landscaping in covered areas, so we create a sense of the future and tomorrow with more human kind of space...
A.L: I’m pretty sure the design with all these planets is probably beautiful at night...
T.D: It’s magnificent, spectacular at night !
A.L: The Orbitron have a totally different look than the one built in Paris or Anaheim , and you have flying saucers instead of rocket jets ...
T.D: That’s right, we wanted to create an Orbitron in the center of the land that has more a kind of space-beacon look to it ...there is a very large 8 meter diameter globe at the bottom , it has a starfield with fiber optics in it and the flying saucers fly around, and we still have a kind of planet kynetics that are flying up above, and these flying saucers flying among all about ...it is a very visual thing , a very powerful looking thing...and the colours are all different here, we’ve kind of take a whole different colour scheme here because we wanted to make the colours much brighter , much cooler colours because it is so warming here most of the time.
T.D:...By the way , the 8 meter diameter globe also rotate and due to the painting technique, the whole land reflects in it, and, with the fiber optics, it’s a map of the universe that’s what it is, in fact. The kind of painting used for the globe is call Chromaship, it’s a special painting and what happens is that when the globe rotate the colour goes from a warm blue to a purple blue...
A.L: Talking about flying saucers, it reminds me the Eddie Sotto project for Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. It was supposed to be called”Sci-fi City” , and one of the attraction was supposed to be small flying saucers flying around a huge flying saucer.
So, are the flying saucers in your Orbitron a reminiscence of this previous project?
T.D: No, not really...i just start it all over again from scratch.
A.L: Anyway, it is a good idea to have change the usual rockets for these new flying saucers. About Space Mountain, does this new version have a particular storyline?
T.D: Our Space Mountain continue the overall theme that is your amazing adventure in outer space. We have new effects, new images, the ride system is smooth and fast, and, as you know they’ve re-done space mountain in paris, they re-done the one at disneyland, too. And every time we do this we have new effects, new projectors, new imaging devises,etc...and, here in hong kong , we have the latest one, and they’re brilliant. We don’t really have an overall strong story, but we do have a very strong theme and it’s a really great effects show. And the reaction of the guests here is fantastic.
In fact, talking about effects, there is one effect that you have in paris, and that we have, here: it’s the explosion of a super-nova. But in a completely different format.
A.L: What about Buzz Lightyear? I supposed it’s the same ride that we can find in Anaheim or WDW?
T.D: It’s very similar to the one in Disneyland. But we have a totally different entrance for the attraction: we have a 12 foot monumental, kind of “heroic” Buzz Lightyear standing up in the front, and it’s a great photo location, and the ride is as great as in the u.s, of course. It’s amazing how people love this ride, really. And i heard they’re gonna add some internet competition...so people on internet can compete with people on the ride..
but .i don’t know how it’s gonna work, i just know they’re talking about doing that...
A.L: Do you have a kind of big theater like we have in Paris with “videopolis”?
T.D: We have two large theater in the park, one in adventureland, and one in fantasyland, but not in tomorrowland this time!
A.L: Are you going to add more attractions in the “phase two” of the park?
T.D: We are currently designing and actually we are under construction for one more major attraction and two more minor attractions that will open in july of next year. We’ll have a totally unique and different Autopia than the one you have in Paris. We’ll have electric cars, with lighting effects on the cars, and a different kind of unique on-board audio-system, and the landscape that you’re gonna go through is much more of an alien landscape , another planet kind of landscape...it will really be a fun drive...and actually we’ll also have one of the roadways who comes into the land , because most of the Autopia will be beyond the railroad, so part of the road will come into the land on an elevated highway and returns back down to the location of the attraction, so it really showcases the ride to the people in the land. And people will be able to walk underneath this elevated roadway that you see the cars are going by.
A.L: Do you think you will add later an attraction themed on the Pixar movie “The Incredibles”?
T.D: Right now we’re not doing anything on the “Incredibles” theme for Hong Kong Disneyland.
Before we leave, i’d like to tell you that the whole resort here is impressive, the location is great, the hotels are beautiful, the “disney promenade” from the hotels to the park is charming, and these hills in the background , behind the castle...i think it really is the best location we ever had for a magic kingdom!
This is the end of this long interview article but those of you who like WDI renderings will be happy to know that you can find 250 gorgeous WDI artwork in the great Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book which has until September 30 a great special offer!
Don't miss the special offer on the DLP book! : Order a copy of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book this month of September and save $45 including Free Shipping! You'll find all infos to order an ENGLISH edition HERE and for the FRENCH edition it's HERE. Watch below the video showing the whole book!
Pictures and artwork: copyright Disney - Hong Kong Disneyland