Saturday, February 25, 2012

HKDL Grizzly Gulch & Mystic Point Video Update

As he do each month Michael20183 is back with a new video update of the works on Hong Kong Disneyland new lands! Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Manor are taking shape and apparently they've put new trees near the railroad track when the train pass near Grizzly Gulch.

As we know Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point will open in summer 2012 and spring 2013. But because Mystic Manor is located right between Grizzly Gulch and Toy Story Land before Mystic Manor open there will be two dead ends in Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch. And HKDL operations is aware that it might be a problem for the guests which wouldn't be able to move directly from TSL to Grizzly Gulch. So, as HKDL does not want this to happen, that's why the facade of Mystic Manor is painted now to be finished when Grizzly Gulch will open next summer. A path between TSL and Grizzly Gulch going though Mystic Point will be created and HKDL guests will be able to use this path to go from these two lands to each other.

The top picture showing Grizzly mountain was also shot by Michael and there is more new pics to see on his page, right HERE.

Picture and video: copyright Michael20183

Don't miss the great HKDL Wallpapers Application for iPhone - iPad, you'll find it on the iTunes Appstore! See article here and the Direct iTunes link is HERE!

" Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish "

In his famous Stanford commencement speech Steve Jobs urged eager students to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” and this is one of Steve's most famous quote. When i saw last week the picture above of Walt on Mark Hickson excellent Disney by Mark blog it reminded me instantly Steve Jobs quote.

On this picture shot in Dec 1954 at Disney Studios in Burbank, less than one year before Disneyland opening, Walt stands with Anaheim Mayor Charles Pearson and others Orange County officials. He is showing them the Disneyland plans. Now, look - or, better, "feel" - Walt. His energy is incredible, you can literally feel the "fire" he was filled with. If you look at the others people they look lifeless in comparison of Walt who is totally passionate by his Disneyland project. This is a perfect example of Steve Jobs “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” quote. For sure Walt was hungry and foolish, and that's why he succeeded in all - or most - of his projects. That's the secret: whatever you do, you must do it with "fire", i.e with passion, because passion deliver unlimited energy!

Another good example of Walt's energy can be seen in this other picture shot September 17, 1955 on which Walt congratulates his nephew Roy and his new wife Patricia on their wedding. Again, Walt's energy and enthusiasm is incredible.

Mark has also something interesting to say about the top picture, so jump on his web site HERE.

Picture: copyright Orange County Archives / Disney - Thanks to Disney by Mark!

Tim Burton's Frankenweenie Poster Released - B&W 3D Stop Motion Movie to be released Oct 5th - Edited with new official trailer !

Disney just released the first poster for Tim Burton's Frankenweenie! This new version of Tim Burton' 1984 live action short will be a black and white 3-D stop-motion film, to be released October 5th in the U.S.

I remind you the storyline: " When young Victor's pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor's home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked "monster" wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor's neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky's still the good loyal friend he's always been.

More than 200 puppets and sets were created for Frankenweenie and the voice cast includes four actors who worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands), Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas), Martin Short (Mars Attacks!) and Martin Landau (Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow). Several of the character names — Victor, Elsa Van Helsing, Edgar “E” Gore and Mr. Burgemeister — were inspired by classic horror films.

Edited: Disney just released Frankenweenie trailer! Watch it below, it looks great!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

“The Road to Cars Land” Opens Feb 29 at DCA Blue Sky Cellar

We sure love WDI attraction posters, don't we? So when Disney released two days ago the three attraction posters designed for the Cars Land attractions i knew i had to post them, and here they are below. They were released to announce a big update coming to Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure. From February 29 “The Road to Cars Land” "will be a sneak preview of the plans for Cars Land, featuring a model of the land, maquettes of some of the new ride vehicles, and sketches and early concept art".

AND, for those who have missed it, here is the video released last week showing a behind-the-scenes look "at how some of the world’s best rockwork artisans are creating Ornament Valley – the mountain range that serves as the backdrop to Radiator Springs in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. They’ve been working on it for about two years and the process is fascinating to watch".

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

Pixar Brave "The Prize" Trailer

Pixar just released a new trailer for the upcoming "Brave" movie. As a matter of fact more than a trailer it's a long scene of the movie and as usual the animation it top quality. Check this below!

Picture and video: copyright Disney-Pixar

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Next Stop : The Twilight Zone !

I'd like to come back again on the infamous video of the DCA incident which gets so viral this week that more than 1.200.000 people already watched it on Youtube. But what is interesting is what really happened that day, and it's what i call the "Twilight Zone" effect. As a matter of fact everyone that we see or hear on the video have crossed over into the Twilight Zone without knowing it. Let me explain you a bit more about this, but first let's define what is reality and what is the "Twilight Zone".

I think you'll agree with me that the way a north american see reality is different from a papuan of New Guinea. Both don't see the world the same way, don't believe in the same values, etc... In fact what most people living in a country are doing in common is weaving unconsciously a field of reality. But this field of reality is not the same in all countries because of many factors whether it's traditions or cultural reasons or simply because they believe in different mythologies. And of course there is always the rebels/mavericks who don't want to be trapped in any system, whether they like to be free or simply because they just can't believe in what is for them a "collective illusion".

Now, let's talk about the Twilight Zone. In the original TV series, depending of the episodes, there is many different ways to enter the Twilight Zone, but in many of them there is often a psychological factor. Rod Serling, who was a genius and who knew human beings better than anyone has often used this psychological factor. A good example is the story from an original Twilight Zone episode in which a man has built in his garden an atomic shelter as he believe that an atomic war will come soon. His neighbors are kindly laughing at him until an atomic attack alert is heard. As none of them have built an atomic shelter they're all running in the garden of the one who have one and who is already inside his shelter. And, because the shelter was designed with room only for his family and don't have room for more he refuses to let the neighbors in. Of course the neighbors are now in panic mode and they're yelling at the guy and everyone is almost ready to kill each other to save their own life. Then, if i remind it well, another announcement is heard, saying that it was a false alert or just an exercise alert. But for the man with the shelter and his neighbors life will never be the same as the incident has revealed the true nature of everyone. In this case it's from the moment they all went in panic mode that they entered the Twilight Zone, a zone in which fear has revealed the worse in them.

Let's come back now to the DCA incident - and it's important to remind that it happened right at the entrance of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. If we have a look at the scene we have different characters, but basically, we have on one side the security guy, the Tower of Terror CMs and DCA guests who looks like regular Californians, sharing the same field of reality and on the other side the 53 years old guy who indeed look drunk. And not only drunk as, if you look at him - i should say feel him - he seems to be in a real bad "karma" day, may be the reason why he was drunk.

Now, if you ever got drunk before or be depressive you know that in these moments your field of reality is distorted, that you don't see things as you do usually or as others people do, simply because your mind has moved out of the "collective dream". In this case, the one who has already entered the "Twilight Zone" is the drunk guy, and because he's ready to fight against the "collective field of reality" and its rules and constraints - remember that all began when the TOT CM refused to give him an immediate access to the ride as he had a missing stamp on its Guest Assistance Card delivered to him by the Guest Relations desk for a disability - he's the one who is going to unconsciously attract in the Twilight Zone all the others people involved in that scene.

Just like in the Twilight Zone episode described above the scene will reveal aspects of personalities of each one: the young guys having a laugh without any compassion for the drunk guy on the ground, the security officer who couldn't stop himself to pepper sprayed the drunk guy one more time when it was unnecessary as the drunk guy was cooling down, the lady that we can hear off screen complaining that the guy is drunk - the one yelling histerically "we're at Disneyland" - and finally laughing at the end with a glass of beer in her hands, etc... and i don't mention the three guys jumping on the drunk guy and almost suffocating him, obviously too happy that the time to play the justice league has arrived. Thanks god, they didn't reached the point of the Twilight Zone episode where they were ready to kill each other, but the subconscious of everyone has rised to the surface, and that's how they crossed over in "the Twilight Zone".

And, if i can judge by the dozens of comments left on this video, it seems that most of the viewers have also seen this (comments were disabled on the original video but others people reposted the video and on these other links the comments are still accepted). Some comments are pretty rude but not for the drunk man, mostly for the other people in the scene and especially for the woman yelling in the background.

Disneyland Resort execs can be in "damage control mode" since last monday, i'm afraid that this time the job will be more tough for them as the truth who came out from this passage in the Twilight Zone is such powerful that it won't escape to anyone.

Disneyland Paris that never was : The first DLP Site Map

Today's document is fascinating as it is the very first site map envisioned by WDI Imagineers for Disneyland Paris. As you will see below Frontierland is the only land which almost didn't had changes between this first map and the final result. All the other lands had big differences and we're going to have a look to these in details.

On this map, which was done in the late 80's and called "Plan X", everything in purple color are attractions buildings. Entertainment and merchandise locations are in blue, covered walkways in orange and transportation systems in light yellow or so. The red lines are park and lands limits.

The Main Street USA that we can see on this map was the first 1920's version envisioned by Eddie Sotto. In this version Main Street had a big attraction - number T 900 on the map - and it was the "Hollywood Theater" or "Circlevision meets Main Street Cinema". The Disneyland Hotel had not been thought of yet that's why it's not on this map. The elevated tramway moving outside and inside what is now Main Street Discovery arcade had a station on Town Square - T 400 - and another one on Central Plaza - T 100.

Frontierland, as i've said, is quite similar with the one we know. On this map Phantom Manor - W 1100 - is already at its current location, so is Big Thunder Mountain - W 800 - and the Riverboat landing - W 1000 - or the River Rogue Keelboats - W 700 . But there is also on this map something which don't currently exist, it's the attraction building W 400, near the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue location. This was supposed to be a kind of rodeo show. Considering that this is the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area the idea was to have a kind of stunt show which could exist in this kind of place. Later, when they decided to add the Buffalo Bill Wild West show to the Disney Village, this rodeo/stunt show in the back of Frontierland was unfortunately cancelled.

Let's have a look now at Adventureland as a big surprise awaits us. Adventure Isle and the Swiss Robinson Tree - A 300 - are already there as well as Pirates of Caribbean - A 1700. But the main surprise is the attraction A 500 as it seems that WDI Imagineers had envisioned to build a Jungle Cruise attractin at DLP Adventureland. Building A 400 was probably the indoor section of the Jungle Cruise.

Among the reasons why the attraction was not built there is the official one which is that the ride has been copied in many European theme parks, beginning by Europa Park. But another and may be more important reason could be the technical difficulties to have outdoor Jungle Cruise Audio-Animatronics during winter time. If you've read my previous report on DLP "under a blanket of snow and ice" you will easily understand that it was technically impossible to have outdoor sophisticated Audio-animatronics during this season which can be really cold. Audio-animatronics Maintenance would have been a nightmare, not to mention the frozen rivers, etc... So, for these reasons and although that i like a lot Jungle Cruise, i think that WDI Imagineers did the good choice when they cancelled the attraction. However, there is not a lot of artwork available about it but at least these two John Horny renderings...

And this other one showing another scene of the cruise in a more "cartoon" style.

Fantasyland looks quite similar to the current version. Peter Pan - F 900 - and Dumbo, the Tea Cups or the Carousel are almost at their current location, and same for It's a Small World - F 300. But Snow White and Pinnochio - F 1000 and F 200 - are not together on the same side, like they are now. Also, Story Book Land or Casey Jr are not on the map although "future expansion" is indicated on their location. Note also the other "future expansion" area in front of where is now the Pizzeria Bella Notte. It's the famous "reserved" location for the Little Mermaid ride.

Discoveryland is very interesting on this map for many reasons. First Videopolis, Star Tours, or the now extinct Visionarium are not on the map. The Orbitron - D 800 - and Space Mountain - D 400 - are already there as well as the Nautilus - D 650 - but Nemo's Submarine is on the left of Space Mountain and its lagoon was located where is now Videopolis! D 200 and D 300 seems to be two others big attractions but unfortunately i couldn't find what it was supposed to be.

But one of the major surprise from this map is the itinerary of the Disneyland Paris railroad. In this version the train station was not located in the back of Discoveryland, but at the entrance of the land! Better than that, it was a major transportation hub as both Disneyland Paris railroad AND the Main Street elevated tramway were supposed to share the same station. In this kind of "ventureport" idea all transports would have be there and it was a kind of gateway to the future, at the entrance of Discoveryland. But the idea did not last very long and artworks of this amazing train station are very rare. However you can see above and below two Tim Delaney renderings showing it. On the night view above you see clearly that the train station is at the entrance of the land as the Orbitron and Space Mountain structures appears behind the train station. On the picture below you can see that the Discoveryland train station was supposed to have two floors and a great architecture to mark the entrance of the land.

I've promised you at the beginning of this article a fascinating document and for sure it was one. If we look at it with objectivity, i think it's fair to say that WDI Imagineers did the right choices. They've kept the best and improved a lot the park since this first site map. Still, i regret the 1920's version of Main Street. I think DLP have the best of all Main Streets but something more radically different would have been interesting, too.

You'll find many others concept arts of the DLP that never was in my DLP book and this is what makes "From Sketch to Reality" a great book! I also remind you that the pre-order period will end soon and with it the 20% discount that anyone have when you place a pre-order. So, go ahead and place your pre-order now for your collector's edition copy! To know how to order and send your payment please go HERE. Paypal or bank wire transfer payments are welcome.

All pictures: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Editor's Note: Al Lutz has a new update today on Mice Age, with lots of news about DCA and Disneyland, so don't miss it!

Want to know what really happened at DCA? Read my update at the bottom of the article about the drunk guy pepper sprayed in front of TOT entrance.

America at its worst

You've probably read - if not seen the video - about this drunken guy at Disney's California Adventure punching in the face twice a DCA cast member while he is repeatedly pepper-sprayed by the CM! If not, you can watch it below. All this happened Feb 20, in front of the Tower of Terror entrance. Other guests can be seen/heard shouting or laughing at the guy and eventually pinned the man to the ground, while the man was heard saying: “Let go. You’re gonna kill me.”

Everything is ugly in this four minutes scene and if you ask me what i think about it, here it is: i think that everyone is pathetic in that scene: the drunken guy of course, but also the DCA CM who pepper sprayed the guy repeatedly, the guests who are either laughing at the man or shouting "we're at Disneyland!" (when, by the way, they are at DCA!) and the guys who finally pinned the guy to the ground, almost suffocating him.

The main problem in that scene is that we don't know how it all began. Chances are that the drunk guy was a bit too drunk for the DCA CM who asked him to move and of course the guy began to get angry, etc... But i doubt he was a danger for anyone, what i think is that the CM wanted him to move away because, precisely, "hey, we're at Disneyland, and we don't want any drunk guy in the park". No one obviously tried to understand how the story started, who was responsible, etc... No, it was more just like "a drunk guy must not be at Disneyland, let's throw him out of here, and if possible let's put him in jail!". Everything in the scene is absolutely disgusting because all what happened, all the reactions were reactionary, there is not one ounce of intelligence or humanity from anyone. Sorry, but for me it's America at its worst.

Edited 22 / 2: Considering the comments below, it seems that some explanations are needed. So, no, i have of course nothing against americans. And yes, that scene could have happened in France, or in a lot of other countries in the world. And my title would have been the same, i.e "France at its worst" or "England at its worst" if it had happened in England, etc...That said, when i see people laughing at a drunk guy on the ground while he is pepper sprayed, i'm sorry, but i don't find this kind of reaction very healthy. Same when i see six guys against one, etc...

Edited 22 / 2: Thanks to Al Lutz, we know now the full story of what really happened and you can read the complete story HERE. What is interesting is how the incident started, and from the infos that Al got "The disgruntled park guest, who reeked of alcohol, was in the park alone on Saturday. He had received a Guest Assistance Card (GAC) for a disability from the Guest Relations desk, but he had received a lesser stamp on his pass that didn’t allow him immediate boarding at DCA’s fully accessible queues and attractions. When the man tried to use his GAC at Tower of Terror, the Cast Member at the gate told him that the queue was fully accessible and that he would need to enter the lengthy Standby line or get a Fastpass and return later. The message that he needed to wait in line, even with his GAC, set him off and he began using profanity and demanding to be let on the ride immediately. The Attraction Lead was summoned to the front gate to help, and the Lead had the same problem calming the man down, and it was the Lead who called for Security to respond."

So, if i understand well, the drunken guest has received a Guest Assistance Card for a disability and the TOT CM refused to allow him immediate boarding because of a lesser stamp on the card, and it's there that the perfect storm began. This is also the perfect kafkaïan situation where everything goes havoc because of bureaucraty rules. I can understand that DL/DCA rules must be the same for everyone but, knowing that the guy had a GAC for disabilty and that he was also a bit too drunk i wonder if the best in this kind of situation wouldn't have been to let him go in immediate boarding instead to finally have this ugly scene in the middle of DCA and DL execs to began their week in "damage control mode".

Finally, among the comments on Youtube ( apparently everybody hate the lady yelling in the background! ) here is probably the best one - ri remind you that the incident took place in front of the Tower of Terror entrance:

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination, Beyond it is another dimension, a dimension of that annoying bitch, a dimension of a Drunk, a dimension of Humiliation. You're moving Into a land of both Disgrace and Stupidity, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone!".

And if we have a closer look at this incident it's interesting to note that all this happened at the entrance of the TOT attraction, because the whole story looks like a Twilight Zone episode:  A poor soul with invalidity pass comes to spend a day at DCA, then gets drunk, then he is refused instant access to the ride, then gets angry, and then everyone gets crazy and fall into the "Twilight Zone". 

Seriously, the whole thing could easily be a script of a Twilight Zone episode. I'm sure some of you will see all this just as a coincidence, to what i reply: maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that it HAPPENED for real at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror entrance and not in front of the Little Mermaid ride...

Video: copyright RLIFE716

Hong Kong Disneyland Launches the "Star Guest" Program !

Hong Kong Disneyland is launching what they call the "Star Guest" program! From March 15 to May 20 as soon as a HKDL guest will collect a "Star Recognition Pack" and pin the "Star Guest Badge" on their VIP to signify their status the magic of celebration will begin and magical moments will happen to the guests when they least expect it! Note that a limited quantity of these "Star Recognition Pack" wil be available each day on a first come--first served basis while stock lasts.

HKDL guests will also be able to elevate the magic with the exclusive "Star Experiences"....which will require additional purchases. There will be five different "Star Experiences" and you can see below a screen capture of each of them coming from the new web site showing the contents of this Star Guest program.

This HKDL Star Guest program looks like a good idea to me, don't you think?

Screen captures: copyright Disney

Don't miss the great HKDL Wallpapers Application for iPhone - iPad, you'll find it on the iTunes Appstore! See article here
Direct iTunes link HERE!

New John Carter Clip

Disney has released a new clip from John Carter - previously "of Mars". This one is showing Woola, half dog-half geeko, who considers John Carter as his master since he was the first one to save his life, These animals can move incredibly fast and have a mouth with dangerous razor teeth.

That said, and although Disney marketing is tring its best to promote the film, the news are not very good as early box-office tracking estimates for the film are extremely weak. As it is said in a Daily Beast article: “The geek generation isn’t responding. It’s too weird for the family audience. Then it has the Disney brand and PG-13? I’m not sure who it’s for,” says a rival studio executive who requested anonymity for fear of burning bridges in Hollywood". And it's true that what we've seen so far from the movie reminds a bit of others well known movies including Star Wars, Avatar, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, etc, etc... So, some are afraid that John Carter could be a massive failure just like "Ishtar" was 25 years ago (Ishtar being, with Waterworld, always the reference in terms of total failure at the box office).

In two weeks we'll be able to have our own judgement on Andrew Stanton movie but i, personally, still trust Stanton's talent and still hope that the movie will be good.

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Monday, February 20, 2012

DLP Space Mountain trains will get new Vekoma harness fall 2012 !

It doesn't look like but this is a major news for all guests planning to visit Disneyland Paris: each seat of all Space Mounain trains will have soon a new harness designed by Vekoma. And this will change EVERYTHING. The ride will of course will stay the same, but at least you won't be afraid anymore to break your neck during the two and a half minutes beloved attraction. Because, let's say it frankly, DLP Space Mountain has became along the years almost dangerous to ride and you now get more hurt than pleasure.

DLP Space Mountain is indeed the fastest of all Space Mountains and the loop, corkscrew and others inversions which were fun at its 1995 opening are now not that fun anymore due to the natural wear of the track. And the seats harness are not protecting you anymore from the train vibrations. In two words: DLP Space Mountain is not anymore the pleasure that it was ten years ago.

And that's why this new Vekoma harness is a real good news. This new hydraulic harness is totally different than the previous one and the head will be free, so no more knocks of the head. Last week, Vekoma came at DLP to test it and installed this new harness at the last row of one Space Mountain train. Then, they asked DLP cast members if they would like to test it. Several CM did try it and all were literally in heaven when the train came back at the boarding station. Basically, thanks to the new harness "it's night and day" from the previous one and the ride just become exhilarating again. No pictures were allowed during this test but according to a CM who did it the harness look exactly like the one on the picture below.

But, as there is always a "but", according to the Vekoma guys who were there Space Mountain trains won't be equipped with this new harness before the end of 2012. If there is no technical or theming problems as the trains might need to be transformed a bit if the new harness is larger than the previous one. So, if you come at DLP before the end of 2012 either avoid to ride Space Mountain until the trains gets the new harness....or ride it and take an appointment to your nearest chiropractor!

One more thing, as Steve would have said: the galaxy picture above is not one of those projected during the ride but it's the new official wallpaper which will be released with the new Mac OS X " Mountain Lion " next summer. Just a little gift for my readers who have a Mac - although the wallpaper will fit also perfectly on a PC! Double click on it to get it in big size.

Pictures: copyright Disney, Apple Inc

Talking about DLP i remind you that my DLP book is currently on its way to be reprint and that it's the right time to place your pre-order for a collector's copy. The book will be reprint for sure next month, and that's one more good reason to pre-order your collector copy right now, specially considering that during the pre-order period which will end in a few weeks you also have a 20% discount on what will be the final price of the book. I repost below the video showing you each page of the book and to know how to order and send your payment please go HERE. Paypal or bank wire transfer payments are accepted.