Saturday, August 25, 2012

Star Wars : Detours , A New Animated Comedy Series

Honor Hunter of Blue Sky Disney did a post about it two days ago, and i couldn't resisted to had a look to this new Star Wars animated comedy series called "Star Wars : Detours". What the hell is this, you ask? Well, according to the official description "Star Wars Detours is an animated comedy that explores what daily life is like in a galaxy far, far away. There are no Empires striking back or attacking clones here. Instead, Star Wars Detours focuses on the universe's regular folks and their everyday problems... which, to be fair, do frequently involve famous bounty hunters, crazed Ewoks, and even a Dark Lord of the Sith. Welcome to Star Wars: Detours: the other side of the stars, between the wars".

This animated series is not aired yet on any TV channel so what you'll see below are just previews but i have to say that i like it. I mean, i like the look of it. If the jokes are good enough to be really funny all along each episodes then it might become a cult show. However, i think that Honor is right when he wrote "It's clearly aimed at a younger audience than "The Clone Wars," but it does seem to have humor that will fly over kids heads". Good point, and we'll see how successful it will be.

It also may be surprising to have a show like this produced by Georges Lucas considering that it's having fun of his own creatures. But, first, i think that Lucas is smart enough to enjoy something good even if it's having fun of his creatures, and, two, i suspect that Georges also realized the merchandise potential if the show become successful ( or even if it doesn't ). Expect anytime soon a new style of Han Solo, Obi Wan, Princess Leia and all the others characters, this time in cartoonesque mini-figurines!

In the meantime, jump to my D&M MAX section and have a look to a selection of already released clips. And don't watch only the trailer, as the clips are better!

Picture: copyright Lucas Film

Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Neil Armstrong, first man on the Moon and one of the most legendary hero of all time died today, following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures after a heart surgery earlier this month. For those, just like me, who watched live his first steps on the Moon, Armstrong will be forever a legendary figure. I have been always amazed how good NASA's choice has been by choosing Armstrong to be "the one". He definitely had the needed skills to be Apollo 11 mission commander, but the first man to ever walk on the moon needed also something else: innocence, and Armstrong had a genuine innocence which was just perfect.

Neil Armstrong gave very few interviews since 1969, but here is two of them, one for the BBC in 1970, and the second, recorded in 2009.

Disneyland fans will also remember when Neil armstrong himself came in 2005 ago for the Grand re-opening of the "new" Space Mountain during Disneyland 50th Celebration!

Here is the video of the Space Mountain ceremony where you'll see Neil Armstrong speech.

Picture: copyright Disney
Editor's Note: From Pixar we probably know everything, from the long animated features to any short ones. Still, there is two cute short animated commercials that Pixar did for Apple ten years ago when was released the iMac G4 that i've found back for you and posted on my Innoventions tech blog HERE. Have a look!

Friday, August 24, 2012

In the Minds of Walt Disney and Salvador Dali

A little bit of mind reading for this week-end! On the picture above, shot a long time ago, you can see Walt Disney and Salvador Dali at a time they were working on the Destino project. Walt is showing Dali his beloved Lilly Belle locomotive, and the photo was more than probably shot in Walt's garden in California. The picture is interesting because of Dali. Look at him closer, and even enlarge the picture to "feel" him perfectly. Obviously, Walt presents to Salvador Dali one of his passion - in this case, the trains - and you can feel that Dali is listening to him kindly and politely, just like you'll do if you listen to someone talking about a passion that you don't particularly share.

But there is something else which is happening. If you look at Walt, he looks like someone who is addicted to something that he knows is a bit infantile but can't "kick out the habit". And you can feel that Dali have the vision of it. But because Dali was always interested in any kind of madness, even "soft" one like Walt's passion for trains, and because Walt and him were sharing a structure with a lot of "fire", he don't say anything, he just have a little tender smile.

Native americans of late 18th century were reluctant to be photographed because they thought that a picture was stealing the soul of a person, and they were bloody right!

Picture: copyright Disney

Breaking News: Walt Disney Company Considers Buyout Disneyland Paris

If this is confirmed it might be the big news that all DLP fans are waiting for: According to TIME magazine the Walt Disney Company is considering a possible buyout of Disneyland Paris. Currently the WDC owns "only" 40% of Euro Disney, and among "the remaining shares 10% is owned by Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, and the rest is held by individual and institutional investors". Sources close to the WDC told TIME that "serious discussions have been taking place internally about buying out the stock it doesn’t currently own".

Always according to TIME "Acquiring the entire French company would be the first step in a comprehensive turnaround strategy that would enable Disney to benefit far more substantially from the popular success of the park". "Disney said in a statement that “we’re encouraged by the resort’s continued financial resilience and remain deeply committed to the future growth and long-term success of this invaluable asset to the Walt Disney Co.” ...but didn’t made any official comment on the buyout possibility "which TIME’s sources say have been under discussion for some time. Based on Euro Disney’s stock price, which has long been depressed, the market value of the 23.4 million shares of the French company that Disney doesn’t own is about $120 million. However, Disney would certainly have to pay a premium over the market price".

TIME note that "It’s not certain that Disney will decide to make a bid for the company, but the timing for such a move is favorable, since Disneyland Paris is currently on track to pay down about 500 million euros in debt over the next six years, or about one quarter of the remainder. This would put it on a more sustainable path to profitability. Thanks to management’s tight financial controls and higher spending per visitor, the resort is now finally making an operating profit and its cash flow is healthier".

And what does all this means for DLP fans? Well, it means that "a buyout would be followed by increased investment in the resort aimed at paying down the debt more quickly and increasing the number of attractions".

I've been saying since a long time that DLP needed a "Marshall plan" and may be it's finally coming now, although in a different way than i had expected. If the WDC really do this buyout it might resolve not only DLP debt problem but also, as they will be totally in charge of DLP parks just like they are at Disneyland Anaheim or WDW, that they will try to resolve DLP problem for once and for all and the example of California Adventure just prove recently that when they want to do it, they can do it, so you can expect new attractions for sure.

Let's cross our fingers that the news will be confirmed, but considering that it's coming from TIME, a reliable magazine, and that "there is never smoke without fire" this one might be the one you were all waiting for.

Text excerpts coming from TIME full article HERE

Breaking News: Shanghaî Disneyland Opening Might Be Delayed To 2016 , and more...

Those of you who can't wait 2015 to visit Shanghaî Disneyland might have to wait a bit more as the last news i have about SDL are saying that apparently Disney is thinking to delay SDL opening to 2016. Don't know when in 2016, so it could be spring, summer or fall 2016.

All the question, of course, is why? From what i've been told it seems that they've realized they may need more time to build the whole thing - park and resorts. Which brings another "why?" which i don't have the answer! Apparently until now they were not late in the works, so there may be different answers to this. However - and this is my own speculation - i wonder if it doesn't have something to see with the land itself. We know that since last year dozens of workers have "prepared" the land of the SDL site but what might be important to remember is what was there before the works began.

And, as you can see on pictures by Stefan Zwanzger - the Theme Park Guy - on his site - and on the picture above - shot before the works began, what was there were rice fields. And so what, you ask? Well, in case you don't know, rice fields are bathing in water, lot of water. Sure, the whole site had been landfilled since then, but may be the ground is not dry enough yet. Not to mention that the water table, under, may be quite high, too.

It's very important that the land will be really dry before they begin to build on it and it's something that WDI Imagineers are really taking care of. Why? Because - and it's not known - problems happened at Tokyo Disneyland some years after TDL opening, precisely because the land was not enough dry. Some buildings began to had some cracks, etc... as the ground had moved because it was not really really totally dry when they've built on it. When they've built Hong Kong Disneyland, which like TDL is built on a land which was the sea before, the Imagineers didn't forgot the TDL problem and waited enough time to have a perfect dry ground. Sure, the SDL choosen site was not the sea previously but all the water of the previous rice fields may be didn't helped. Again, this is my own speculation, so it might be another reason that we may never know.

Edited: The hurricane season is not only "open" in Americas but also in China Seas as Shanghaî is facing right now a typhoon - as you can read HERE - and the season just began. Typhoons generally bring heavy rains and possible flood which certainly will not help to make SDL land more dry!

Talking about Shanghaî Disneyland, Luke from Luke and the temple of fun website did something amazing. Remember last week the SDL hotels plans that were officially released? Well, for the second hotel, the one supposed to have a Toy Story theme we had this plan:

And then, two days later, Attractions Magazine found some new 3D renderings showing the different floors...

That was even better but Luke decided to recreate a real full 3D model that you can see below, based on the layout of the two original plans and his own interpretation. Of course, as he says "the accuracy of the model is not guaranteed" and chances are that it will not look like this. The reason why he chooses the blue, red and yellow colors is because these are the colors used in the Toy Story logo. As you can see below, like this it looks a bit like a big LEGO and considering that it should be a Toy Story themed hotel may be, finally, it will really look more or less like this at the end! there is many more pictures of Luke 3D model on his site, on every angle so jump to Luke and the temple of fun to see more!

Pictures: copyright Disney, Theme Park Guy, Luke and the temple of fun

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Universal Studios Singapore : Madagascar, A Crate Adventure Full Ride HD Video

I've got a great video for you today of a big Universal Studios ride which exist ONLY at Universal Studios Singapore! Madagascar, A Crate Adventure was among the E-Ticket rides of Universal Studios Singapore supposed to open on USS opening day, and then some technical problems delayed its opening for more than a year. From what i've been told originally the ride was supposed to have some lift and falls but for various reasons it didn't worked well and the system was provoking floods, so they had to totally re-design the whole attraction.

On this new version of the flume ride there is no lifts or falls and it's true that we're missing it. That said the ride is unique to USS and although some don't like it or think it's lame i can't say that i don't like it at all. Apparently the ride storyline follows the story of the original Madagascar movie and the ride itself use a mix of audio-animatronics and projections effects. It's a curious ride, it's difficult to say that it's extremely good but it's not bad either. Something is missing to make it a truly magical ride even if you can feel that Universal Creative people did their best.

Anyway, here is a great full ride front seat and full HD video and all you have to do to watch it is to jump on my new Disney and more MAX section HERE.

Picture: copyright Disney and more

Disneyland Paris 20 Years of Dreams Book Review

Here is my review of the Disneyland Paris, 20 years of Dreams book which was released by the park itself to celebrate the 20th anniversary. To make things perfectly clear from the start this is a totally different book than my Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book. In fact "20 Years of Dreams" starts where my DLP book was ending, i.e it's not a book about the creation of the park and it's not a book about Imagineering, it's a book in which you'll see everything that happened at Disneyalnd Paris during its first 20 years.

Disneyland and Walt Disney World have done in the past this kind of book celebrating the previous years and generally this kind of book is done in a "corporate" way which is not good news. But here it's not the case as - here is the good news - the book was done by DLP fans , in this case Jérémie Noyer and Mathias Dugoujon who are the two book authors, FOR the fans, and to be honest, they did a pretty good job.

The book has 192 pages and include hundred of pictures of virtually everything that happened at DLP since 1992. From the park's special events and attraction openings, to the Walt Disney Studios opening you'll find pictures of everything. And this includes too a foreword by Tom Staggs and DLP CEO Philippe Gas and even a bit about DLP future projects not in terms of attractions but mostly about the Villages Nature project which should open in 2016.

There is some renderings in the book too and even some which were not include in my book, but not that much. Not because there is no more artworks available but mainly because WDI didn't gave them the authorization to reproduce artworks of "DLP that never was" concepts. That said, you'll find some nice artworks, beginning by this great one showing an early concept for DLP Walt Disney Studios, in the book reproduced on a double page.

The book has a size more or less similar to the famous Walt Disney Imagineering book and 192 pages with french and english text both on the same pages. Contrary to my DLP book they didn't did two separate editions, probably mainly for costs and stock reasons and sometime you can feel there is a bit too much text on some pages but so far this must not stop you to order the book. The layouts of the book, considering the number of pictures have probably not been easy to do but in general they did a good job and here are some inside pages as examples.

Now, the book is sold at DLP parks and ONLY at DLP parks, so the question is: how can you order it? Here is the answer: if you're planning to go at DLP anytime soon the best is to buy it once you'll be there. Here are the shops where you can find it: World of Disney, The Disney Gallery, The Disney Animation Gallery, Walt Disney Studios Store, Emporium, Storybook Store, Harrington’s, La Boutique du Château and Galerie Mickey.

Now, if you don't plan to come at DLP and want to order the book from where you live here is how to do it: you can order the book through DLP Mail order service either by calling them at 33 164744486 or 33 164744848 or by email at: Don't forget to specify them where you live.

The book cost 49.99 EUROS ( 64 U.S $ ) and here are the shipping costs: for a shipping in France: 8 euros, to the U.K and probably others european countries: 10 euros. For the U.S.A: 31 euros ( 39 U.S $ ).

The most important thing to remember to don't be disappointed is, as i've said, that it's not a book about Imagineering. If you're looking for a book which brings you great memories of what happened at DLP the last 20 years then 20 years of Dreams is definitely the right book and any DLP fan will love it.

And for anything about DLP creation and Imagineering then the right book is my Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book on which you'll find more infos and can order HERE.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Return of the Rocketeer ?

I'm a big fan - and i'm not alone - of the 1991 Rocketeer movie, which was directed by Joe Johnston. The movie was not totally perfect but i loved the retro look of the movie, the Rocketeer costume and, let's say it, Jennifer Connelly who was not at that time as good actress as she is now but who was physically gorgeous. Anyone who've seen the movie will know what i'm talking about.

Now, the good news is that the Rocketeer who in the meantime became a cult movie might return in a near future as apparently a reboot is in the works and Disney is currently seeking writers for the project. Nothing is totally sure yet as they have to find a real good story but whatever the storyline will be a good idea would be to ask Joe Johnston again to be the director. If you've seen Captain America you know how good he can be to recreate the old 1930-40's era, which would be perfect for a new Rocketeer movie!

Picture: copyright Disney

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Imagineering Video Unveiled WDW New Fantasyland Maurice's Cottage

Walt Disney Imagineering released a new video showing Maurice’s Cottage at WDW New Fantasyland. The video shows the whimsical garden and cottage theming which includes inventions created by Belle’s father, Maurice as well as others items participating to the theming.

But the reason why you have to watch this video till the end is to see the magic mirror which magically becomes a portal into Beast’s Castle. There is a real good trick here and after watching the video several times i still can't totally guess how they do it. Sure the pixie dust, lights and projection effects are obvious but the mirror is getting bigger little by little until it apparently becomes a door - the portal to Beast's Castle - and it's really well done. Have a look!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

" Princess Academy ", a great animated short ...that never was

Three years ago Olivier Ciappa and David Kawena, two talented artist had created for Disney a short animation project called Princess Academy, a fun tribute to all Disney princesses. As Olivier Ciappa is saying "We wanted to create a very artistic, classy but also very funny hand drawn short. Eight times Academy Award winning composer, Alan Menken was very excited about the project and agreed to work on it the moment we would have green light from the studio.

After months working on it, with hundreds and hundreds of storyboards and concept art, the Disney Animation hand drawn studios closed its doors. So there was no point for us to even show that project. I believe this image shows very well the mixture of artistic, high standard and humor of the project. Hope you will like it".

For sure we do like the artwork, Olivier and David! It looks like a great idea for an animated short and it's indeed very unfortunate that it didn't worked. John Lasseter is probably already aware of the project but if anyone at Pixar is reading this article thanks to forward to him this article!

Artwork: copyright Olivier Ciappa and David Kawena

Shanghaî Disneyland hotels were in fact already revealed on the 2011 D23 Expo SDL model !

Guess what?, the two Shanghaî Disneyland hotels which the plans were released three days ago - see yesterday's post HERE or next article below - were in fact already revealed on the Shanghaî Disneyland model displayed at the 2011 D23 Expo! And if you look well at the model pictures the shape of the hotels on the model is exactly the same than the one you've seen yesterday on the official plans!

You can see them on Andy Castro's picture above but you can have an even closer look on the picture below. The Hotel 1 is supposed to be a 5 Stars, seven floors, 41,955 square meters, victorian colonial hotel and the Hotel 2 is supposed to be a 3 or 4 stars, 7 floors, 44,901 square meters, Toy Story themed hotel. For more infos about these hotels see yesterday's article HERE.

While we talk about Shanghaî, more news about the Shanghaî DreamWorks project announced earlier this month: "It will be different in its essence from the Disney project. While Disney continues to emphasize its theme park-style attractions, Oriental DreamWorks wants to recreate an entertainment district, similar to London’s West End or New York’s Broadway.

The area will stretch over six city blocks and boost various entertainment venues. It will have the world's largest IMAX music venues as well as a "Kung Fu Panda"-themed pagoda. It will also integrate a real U$350 million animation studio called “Oriental DreamWorks”, as well as restaurants, shops and hotels. Some of the best world architects will be part of the construction project".

So, good news, it seems that the DreamWorks project definitely will not be a real theme park but more and won't try to compete with Shanghaî Disneyland.

Top picture by Andy Castro

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shanghaî Disneyland Hotels Plans Released

The plans of Shanghaî Disneyland two first hotels have been released officially. No renderings here, just plans but still plenty of interesting infos. I remind you that one of the hotels is rumored to be a 5 stars hotel with a design close to the one of the Grand Floridian ( or the one of the Disneyland Paris or Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel ) and that the other hotel is supposed to be a 3 or 4 stars hotel with a Toy Story theme.

Now, here are the plan of the two hotels that were uploaded on the Shanghai International Resort website - click on each to enlarge the pictures. According to the chinese Luke and the Temple of Fun website - who kindly sent to me the pictures and did the chinese text translation - the first hotel - plan below - will be located near the lake and is supposed to have seven floors, a Ballroom, a big car park in the back and playgrounds in the front which probably will include a pool. For me this is the one which is supposed to have a victorian colonial style. And if you check its location on the picture above - Hotel 1 - you'll see that although the hotel will be on the other side of the lake, opposite to SDL magic kingdom, it'll be right in front of the SDL castle which will be perfect to watch the evening fireworks.

The next one apparently looks smaller and according to Luke's translation "the center of the hotel will be the highest and the others parts will feature a "staircase" design". This one should be probably the Toy Story themed hotel and if you look again at the picture at the top showing its location - Hotel 2 - you'll see that this second hotel is close to the west side of the park, in fact almost right in front where Toy Story Land is supposed to be as we've seen on the SDL blueprint leaked recently and posted on Screamscape HERE or also on Luke's site HERE. For this reason i'm almost sure that this second hotel will be the one with the Toy Story theme.

Shanghaî Disneyland is supposed to have four hotels and we can see on the top map the location for a third one near the lake and in the back of SDL Adventureland, but they might build only two at the start and then the two others.

Pictures: copyright Disney - Shanghaî Disney Resort

Many thanks to Luke and the Temple of Fun website

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Introducing Disney and more " MAX "

Yes, we know, "size doesn't matter" ( although... ) but when we talk about pictures and especially videos bigger is generally better. And that's why today i introduce "Disney and more MAX" where you'll be able to watch videos directly in big size, which should be more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone!

New videos will come very soon but the other reason why i introduce D&M MAX today is to celebrate my Toy Story Playland video which, believe it or not, has been watched by more than 2.133.500 people on youtube since i've posted it exactly two years ago!

So, jump on this link HERE to check all this and once you're done click back to come back on D&M home page to read the others new articles!