Saturday, June 2, 2012

WDW Art of Animation Resort Artwork

The awaited Art of Animation Resort opened on May 31 and to be honest, even if i really hate the buildings of all these "value" hotels - i'm not talking about the theming, just about the building - i have to admit that the Imagineers did a pretty good job to transcend the original and rather cheap architecture of the buildings.

As usual WDI did some artwork, you probably saw them already but, hey, it can't hurt to see all of them together again. Above and below the theming inspired by Little Mermaid, Nemo, Lion King and Cars.

Artwork: copyright Disney

Hong Kong Disneyland Launches Grizzly Gulch Web Site !

All the articles of this week were about Hong Kong two main parks, and we're going to end this week always talking about Hong Kong as Hong Kong Disneyland launched today the Grizzly Gulch Web Site! Actally, more than a special website it's more a new section of the Hong Kong Disneyland official site and although it's a short presentation of Grizzly Gulch there is some cool animation effects of geysers, sparkling gold nuggets and the train launch in a dynamite blast!

On the next page, though, we can learn some interesting facts, i.e the final titles of the main ride and others Grizzly Gulch areas. The Grizzly Gulch coaster is now called "Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars" and the geysers area is called "Geyser Gulch". Also, some "live" performances will happen at the "Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show", you'll be able to have your picture as a prospector finding the "biggest gold nugget ever found in Big Grizzly mountain" at "Wild West Photo Fun" and you will meet and greet Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale and some bears at "Friends of the Wild West". Enlarge the pictures above and below to read the full official text.
The "Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars" coaster seems to be a clever mix of Big Thunder Mountain - for the western mine theming - with a bit of expedition Everest - for the train going backward - as well as Rock and Roller coaster - for the horizontal high-speed launch, used here during the ride and not at the start - and even a bit of DCA for the bear mountain sculpture, all this with a brand new and HKDL exclusive story-line.

The third page of this new Grizzly Gulch section is all about prices but for sure it will interest those of you planning to discover Grizzly Gulch this summer. I remind you that the opening date should be July 13, if not it will be probably on July 20.

Screen Captures: copyright Disney, Hong Kong Disneyland

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Direct iTunes link HERE!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Will Hong Kong Ocean Park "Polar Adventure" be a serious competitor for HKDL ? [ Part Two ] : Answer: NO

In yesterday's article i was asking the question "Will Hong Kong Ocean Park "Polar Adventure" be a serious competitor for HKDL Grizzly Trail ?". Well, although the artwork from the Bezark company looked nice i'm sorry to say that, finally, the answer to the question is: NO. Definitely NO!

Many of my readers - whom i thanks a lot - sent me links to pictures showing the works on this "Polar Adventure" and you'll judge by yourself with the pics below but personally i strongly doubt that the final reality will be anything close to the renderings you saw yesterday. And it's certainly not going to be close to Disney standards. It's not the fault of the Bezark company, it's just that Ocean World is more an amusement park than a real theme park. Also, apparently there is not anymore the “bobsled” coaster that you saw on the Bezark artwork but only a Mack Powered Coaster called the "Arctic Blast" coaster as revealed by Screamscape today.

So, definitely, Hong Kong Disneyland don't have any reason to worry, this Polar Adventure - if it's even still its name - won't take the spotlight away from HKDL Grizzly Trail. However this "Polar Adventure" already hurt HKDL on another project as you have to keep in mind that Disney Imagineers "Glacier Bay" project for HKDL was sacrificed because of this rather looking cheap Polar Adventure. What a shame. But i suppose that it was all about Hong Kong politics, and generally there is nothing we can do when it reach this level.

Okay, here are the pics of the real thing!

Two additional new pics kindly sent to me by Brian, a D&M reader!

Pictures: copyright Ocean Park, Brian Lockhart

If you haven't downloaded yet on iTunes my great TDS Wallpapers application for iPhone or iPad with hundred of HD stunning pictures of the park, it's still time to do it! Click HERE for direct access to the TDS Wallpapers HD iTunes page or READ my article first HERE.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Will Hong Kong Ocean Park "Polar Adventure" be a serious competitor for HKDL Grizzly Trail ?

After yesterday's announcement by Honk Kong Ocean Park that Polar Adventure opening date would be July 13th, the same date envisioned by HKDL for Grizzly Mountain grand opening, i thought it might be interesting to see if this Polar Adventure might be a serious competitor or not for HKDL. Good news, i succeed to find great artwork of it as well as more details on this Ocean Park new addition.

As you may know Ocean Park is the oldest theme park in Hong Kong - actually it is celebrating this year its 35th anniversary and it is currently undergoing a $750 million renovation. With $750 million you can do a lot of great things if it's well done and apparently this Polar Adventure looks to have a strong theming. I found the artwork above and below on the site of the Bezark Company "which has been involved from the outset, helping the park to determine its mission and stories. In addition to developing over a dozen attraction, show and exhibit concepts, they also delivered "a spectacular new concept for the park’s most dramatic eco-themed area".

So, Polar Adventure "will take Ocean Park visitors to the frozen worlds of the ice caps and in addition to live encounters with penguins, polar bears and walruses, visitors will also be able to have a snowball fight, take a thrilling “bobsled” run and explore a research submarine".

As you can see on the renderings above and below - click on them to have a look in larger size - the theming looks pretty good, my only concern is about how "cold" will be the area. I'm sure it will be fun for Hong Kong inhabitants to discover ice and snow when outside normal temperatures are over 30 degrees (celsius) but personally i don't really like to enter a zero degree area just when i'm sweating thanks to tropical heat. Not to mention that it's also the best way to catch a serious cold and be sick when you get back home!

But there is something else interesting, and it's about the Bezark company who, as i told you, is involved in the design of this Polar Adventure. On their web site a pdf page brings more infos about that and you can learn more about Adam J. Bezark who is "an award-winning writer and director who combines a wide variety of
media and technologies to produce startling new entertainment". His clients include Cirque du Soleil, DreamWorks SKG, LEGOLAND Development, MGM Studios, Mirage Resorts, Paramount Parks, Universal Studios and..... Walt Disney Imagineering.

"From 1990–1995, Adam J. Bezark was Senior Show Designer at Landmark Entertainment Group. There he wrote, designed and/or directed over sixty projects, including several “mega-attractions” for Universal Studios. These include the JAWS ride at Universal Studios Florida, Jurassic Park: The Ride, and the award-winning Terminator 2: 3-D virtual adventure. He is named as an inventor on two patents for creative technologies developed for these attractions". You'll find below a rare rendering from Landmark for T23D which is coming from this pdf presentation.

But what exactly did he did for Walt Disney Imagineering, you ask? Well, according to the Project List page Adam J. Bezark worked on "concept development" between 1988 and 1996 and was "Creative Consultant and worked with Disney’s theme park design group to develop concepts for new areas and attractions, including Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland’s New Tomorrowland. He also participated in brainstorming sessions and wrote concepts, treatments and presentation documents".

But even more interesting is what he did next, in 1994–1995, as Adam J. Bezark worked on Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and more precisely the “Spider-Man” ride on which he was show designer/writer and co-created the original concept, storyline and storyboards for this acclaimed ride which won a 2000 THEA Award Honoree. And if we include the others famous Universal rides on which he also participated you'll understand that Adam J. Bezark is obviously someone who knows where the quality is and why this Polar Adventure on which he is creative director/storyteller might finally be a competitor for HKDL new land. At the end of the day it will mean that Hong Kong guests will have the choice to refresh themselves from hot summer heat between the frozen worlds of Polar Adventure and the fresh geysers of Grizzly Mountain with, in addition and in both cases, a roller coaster.

So, as i said in the title, will Ocean Park Polar Adventure be a serious competitor for HKDL Grizzly Trail, even if it is two different themings with two different story lines ? Well, i cant speak for others guests, but to be perfectly honest, yes, this Polar Adventure concept has excited my curiosity and on my next trip to Hong Kong, after a day to discover Grizzly Trail i will probably go to Ocean Park to have a closer look at Polar Adventure. And chances are that others HKDL or foreigners guests will do the same. Which, finally, is probably exactly what Ocean Park is hoping and the reason why they've spent so much money on this new addition.

Pictures: copyright Ocean Park, Bezark Company, Landmark

If you haven't downloaded yet on iTunes my great TDS Wallpapers application for iPhone or iPad with hundred of HD stunning pictures of the park, it's still time to do it! Click HERE for direct access to the TDS Wallpapers HD iTunes page or READ my article first HERE.

Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Trail Making-Of Pictures, and more

More news about Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Trail with a series of interesting making-of pictures and a first video from HKDL! You have the video below but before something new about the July 13 opening date as since last monday something happened that may change the game! Hong Kong Ocean Park, HKDL biggest theme park competitor, has announced today that they will open their new area called Polar Adventure on.... July 13, that is to say the same date that HKDL wishes to do the Grizzly Trail grand opening! In two words: it's war between Hong Kong two theme parks and HKDL might eventually change the opening date as the July 13 opening was not announced yet.

Also, it will be interesting to learn more about this Ocean Park "Polar Adventure". Why? Because, if you remember well HKDL had a similar project called Glacier Bay a theme that Hong Kong Government turned down - didn't accepted for HKDL in 2009 when they were choosing the themes for HKDL new lands! As i had written in my July 2009 article about this Glacier Bay project when we learned it was cancelled and replaced by Toy Story Land: "So, what happened to "Glacier Bay"? What would have been its theming and attractions? From what one of my HK correspondent have heard about it, "Glacier Bay theme had something like a scientists base... You would have take a train to go the laboratory, which goes from the outdoor area to an indoor air-controlled area to simulate the north pole. There will even be real snow flake in some scenes when the train pass by. The "U-shape" TSP half-pipe coaster was still there, but with a theming as skiing... The base of the mountain was very huge and it would have been the very first indoor land that Disney has ever built in a Disney theme park. It seems that one of the other reasons why the HK government banned this theme is that Ocean Park - Hong Kong first theme park - will use a similar theme with a roller coaster..."

More news about all this soon - and specially if HKDL changes Grizzly trail opening date because of Ocean Park Polar Adventure opening, but in the meantime, here is the HKDL video, and below the making-of pictures.

First, two interesting renderings with one showing Grizzly Gulch town and the other the Grizzly Trail map - click on it to see it in larger size - that probably will be soon inside HKDL guide maps.

And now, some pics of the Imagineers at work on the new land during the last weeks.

Another series of pictures which were shot by different HK medias during the site visit event, not long time ago.

Grizzly Trail will also have geysers and Imagineers did something pretty smart to make sure that the water at the bottom of the geyser will look like real one. as you will see on the pics below they've painted the rock with different colors so when the water will be inside the holes it will look like it does in old geological geysers sites.

Don't miss the new HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Trail Grand Opening Scheduled for July 13 ! Article now Updated with Grizzly Peak Storyline

It's not officially announced yet, but as usual you'll learn it first on Disney and more: Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Trail Grand Opening will happen on July 13. It was previously scheduled for July 20 but apparently HKDL want to open the land as soon as possible, and July 13 is now the Grizzly Trail grand opening date. Can we expect some soft-opening before that date? Mmmh, may be, but probably not before the end of June or the first days of July.

For HKDL fans - and all Disney fans - it's a good news as not only Grizzly Trail will add a brand new land at HKDL - a kind of Frontierland, which was missing until now at HKDL, but also a different one and with a new and unique coater attraction. Can't wait to discover the town of Grizzly Gulch!

So, how will it look? Well, these last months, you've seen plenty of pictures and videos of the works at Grizzly Trail but i thought that it might be the right time to have a look again at the artwork which was unveiled at the D23 Expo in 2009 as WDI renderings are generally very accurate with the final result. So, you'll find below my 2009 previous article with great pictures shot at that time by Andy Castro whom i thanks again!

One more thing: who will be at HKDL for Grizzly Trail Grand Opening on July 13?

Grizzly Trail will be one of the three new lands of HKDL and with the Grizzly Peak attraction and the Grizzly Gulch town it will be an interesting new version of a "Frontierland" theming. Before i go further i want to warn you that there will be major spoilers all along the article. If you don't want to know anything about the storyline, this is definitely not the right article! Also, click on each pictures to see them in big size and explore details.

Here we go for the artwork, and i've also included pictures of the Grizzly Trail model. I've succeeded to have the story line of the Grizzly Peak ride and now the artworks below should be in the right order of the different ride scenes.

This first artwork show the Grizzly Peak entrance. note that the whole area seems to have pine trees all around. When you will enter the entrance of the Grizzly Peak ride, you'll enter the mine company office and the next room will convince you that the mine company is still in operation.

Once you get aboard the mine vehicles, you will first turn underground to explore the mine. Then you're supposed to climb up the Grizzly Mountain through tunnel 8 ( the number means "wealth" in Cantonese ) ...but a bear use the track switch lever to scratch his back, switching the track to lead the mine cars to go to tunnel 4 ( which means "dead" in Cantonese )!

...The tunnel 4 is actually a home of bear family and it seems that you are not welcomed. Before you get attacked, you escape!

More sketches were done for that scene, here they are.

Here is a small maquette of that scene.

Also interesting is the scene small model. Apparently, when the train will turn left in the tunnel 4 it will go down at high speed.

Here is the model of one of the mine vehicles.

Back to the story line: Your journey continue by climbing the Grizzly Mountain. In the pic below you see a steam machine which is pulling the mine cars up to the hill.

...But the wire broken before you reach the peak, so all the mine cars fall backward...

...until you enter a new mine tunnel, which is just ready to explode! Note all the dynamite and "powder" sign at the entrance, it will be important for what will come next...

In this tunnel are a Mother bear and her baby bear trying to steal the fish from the mine workers...and the baby press the TNT detonator accidentally.

The mine cars will then be literally catapulted out of another tunnel thanks to the supposed dynamite blast.

As we will see below there will be lot of little geysers in the Grizzly Trail area, and the cars will go through a geyser area.

Your mine car back to the station, you will see the mother bear and the baby enjoying their dinner. They successfully stole all the fish in the mine. And that's it.

More sketches for the funny "accidental dynamite" sequence. Talking about bears, theese one will be obviously audio-animatronics and i'm curious to know if WDI Imagineers will use the AA skeletons from the former Disneyland Country Bear Jamboree bears...

This next rendering include different elements of the bears scenes all in one artwork.

Next picture shows the Grizzly Peak model with the mine cars going up the first lift.

And this one show - i think - the part of the ride with the two tunnels and dynamite blast.

But there will be more in Grizzly Trail than the Grizzly Peak ride as the small town of Grizzly Gulch will be build. Actually you'll see details of each building and their own stories in the mine town, not only about the Grizzly Mountain mine company itself, but also about the rest of the town. All this will have a Frontierland theming, and for the first time in all Frontierland's history, this one will be full of fun water splash...

...most of them interactive... well as a little geyser area.

Let's end this last HKDL artwork article with more pictures of the model.

For those of you who love WDI artwork i remind you that the Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality book" which will tell you all about the creation of DLP include 250 WDI Artwork (!) and 500 pictures of the park on 320 pages. Have a look at the video below which will show you the whole book!

The book is still available either in its english or french edition and you can still enjoy a 20% discount special offer and the book is now available with an immediate shipping! Reviews from all those who have already received the book are "over the top" so, place your order now for a gorgeous collector's edition copy while the special offer on this wonderful book is still available! To know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below.

All artwork: copyright Disney - Disney Enterprises.