Saturday, September 8, 2012

Disney on Ice

If some irreverent humor don't stop you to have a big laugh, then you should find the cartoon below hilarious! Of course, the cartoon refers to the famous urban legend saying that Walt Disney was cryogenized after his death and we all know that it's not true.

Picture: copyright Bizarro Comics

Friday, September 7, 2012

Disney Parks launch a new website dedicated to WDW New Fantasyland

Disney Parks launched a new website dedicated to WDW New Fantasyland. Nicely done as you can see on the screen captures above and below, even if so far there is not a lot of things to see. When you click on the map looking like an old parchment different parts of the original rendering appear with a few words to describe what is what.

Obviously th site will have more additions soon so you might want to keep its url in your bookmarks:!

And guess what, Disney Parks even did a trailer to introduce this New Fantasyland web site!

Screen captures and video: copyright Disney

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Poster Art of the Disney Parks Book To Be Released in FOUR Days - Pre-Order Your Copy Now and Save $16 !

That's it, Disney fans, one of the most awaited book of the year will be released next week on September 11 and you only have FOUR more days to order it on Amazon at its pre-order price of $23.94 and save $16!

"Poster Art of the Disney Parks", from authors Daniel Handke and Vanessa Hunt with an introduction by Tony Baxter is for sure a book that you don't want to miss as the 144 pages will tell - and show - you all about the beloved attraction posters.

As you can see on the pictures below showing inside pages of the book the 144 pages book will not only include the known version of each posters but also the others (and unknown) designs proposals. Actually, according to Vanessa Hunt they even found during their research for the book "a box containing several poster concepts that had never been published until now". “We made an extra effort to ensure the posters in the book were printed as color accurate as possible” continued Vanessa. “The most challenge part was identifying artists. While many unidentified posters artists were later identified during our interviews, there are some that remain credited to ‘Unknown Artist”. The book also have an introduction by legendary WDI Imagineer Tony Baxter.

The book, released on Sept 11 is still available in its pre-order price on - actually the Amazon price - $23.94 or 19€ - is surely cheaper than it will be at Disney Parks and, good news, you can even order it while you are on Disney and more, all you have to do is to go to my Disney and more Amazon Store HERE. Go ahead, and order this great book HERE!

Note: When you order the book on the D&M Amazon page, in fact you'll order it directly through Amazon and the book will be sent directly to you by Amazon, not by me, as you'll see on the screen capture below of the D&M Amazon page where you'll find also more details about the book.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Disney Research amazing technology will improve WDI Audio-Animatronics, might be used in Avatar Land, and more

You may have read last July that the wizards of Disney Research have developed a technology with which they'll be able to "clone" human faces for more realistic Audio Animatronics. It's a truly amazing technology and you can expect in the future Audio Animatronics stunningly realistic. The Disney Research "Physical Face Cloning" patent application could tell you more about how they do it but i have even better for you as Disney Research released some days ago an amazing video showing the whole process from the scanning of the original face and head to the final result with the new silicone face on a AA head.

As written in the video description text Disney Research "propose a complete process for designing, simulating, and fabricating synthetic skin for an animatronics character that mimics the face of a given subject and its expressions. The process starts with measuring the elastic properties of a material used to manufacture synthetic soft tissue. Given these measurements we use physics-based simulation to predict the behavior of a face when it is driven by the underlying robotic actuation. Next, we capture 3D facial expressions for a given target subject. As the key component of our process, we present a novel optimization scheme that determines the shape of the synthetic skin as well as the actuation parameters that provide the best match to the target expressions. We demonstrate this computational skin design by physically cloning a real human face onto an animatronics figure". Although it seems that some improvements remain to be done, specially on the lips movements, the result as you will see is pretty incredible so, enough said, launch the video!

It's not over yet as they ALSO have developed a technology for facial-hair reconstruction! : "Although facial hair plays an important role in individual expression, facial-hair reconstruction is not addressed by current face-capture systems. Our research addresses this limitation with an algorithm that treats hair and skin surface capture together in a coupled fashion so that a high-quality representation of hair fibers as well as the underlying skin surface can be reconstructed. We propose a passive, camera-based system that is robust against arbitrary motion since all data is acquired within the time period of a single exposure. Our reconstruction algorithm detects and traces hairs in the captured images and reconstructs them in 3D using a multi-view stereo approach. Our coupled skin-reconstruction algorithm uses information about the detected hairs to deliver a skin surface that lies underneath all hairs irrespective of occlusions. In dense regions like eyebrows, we employ a hair-synthesis method to create hair fibers that plausibly match the image data. We demonstrate our scanning system on a number of individuals and show that it can successfully reconstruct a variety of facial-hair styles together with the underlying skin surface".

Here is this next video and don't go away as there is more amazement coming from Disney Research!

This next invention is not related to Audio-Animatronics improvement but i won't be surprised if we'll find this technology in the future Avatar land. It is called "Botanicus Interacticus" and as Disney Research Lab explain: "Botanicus Interacticus is a technology for designing highly expressive interactive plants, both living and artificial. The technology is driven by the rapid fusion of our computing and living spaces. Botanicus Interacticus an interaction platform that takes interaction from computing devices and places it anywhere in the physical environment. In particular we are targeting living plants.

Botanicus Interacticus has a number of unique properties. This instrumentation of plants is simple, non-invasive, and does not damage the plants. It requires only a single wire placed anywhere in the soil. The interaction with plants goes beyond simple touch and allows rich gestural interaction. Examples include: sliding fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp location, tracking proximity, and estimating the amount of touch contact between user and a plant.

Botanicus Interacticus also deconstructs the electrical properties of plants and replicates them using electrical components. This allows the design of a broad variety of biologically inspired artificial plants that behave nearly the same as their biological counterparts. The same sensing technology is used with both living and artificial plants. A broad range of applications are possible with Botanicus Interacticus technology: designing interactive responsive environments and new forms of living interaction devices as well as developing organic ambient and pervasive interfaces".

It doesn't sound perfectly clear for you? Have a look at the video below and then i have more to say about this Botanicus Interacticus.

Pretty incredible, isn't it? Now, just imagine what they could do with this technology in an Avatar land. I'm not sure that there is plants making sound or music in the first Avatar but i wouldn't be surprised if James Cameron being aware of this new tech as he probably is by now would create some new species in the upcoming sequels so WDI Imagineers could introduce them in the future land. Note that the same touch technology could be used on fake plants. Remember the big flower in Avatar who instantly disappear in the ground when you "caress" them? See what i mean?

Well, all this might work well...if the "Pandora" Avatar Land at Animal Kingdom is finally built. Unfortunately, as revealed by IGN yesterday not only the fourth Avatar sequel might be cancelled but IGN also said that "due to creative differences between Cameron and Disney’s Imagineers development team, it seems as though we’ll be waiting even longer on that project as well". All the question now of course is to know if the project is going to be shut down or not... All this reminds me what a good friend told me three months ago, i.e that James Cameron ego might not be easy to deal with for WDI Imagineers. Although i don't doubt that Cameron has a strong ego, i think that the problem might be coming from it's "all or nothing at all" side which can easily drive crazy WDI imagineers. In movies you now have almost no limits when you want to create a new world, but of course it's not the case in theme parks engineering where there is still a lot of limits even if, as we saw above, they are constantly pushed back. But may be recreating Pandora as perfectly as Cameron would like it to be is simply impossible...

Anyway, we'll see what happen for the Avatar land but i think we should watch closely the future inventions of Disney Research, as i have the feeling that the best is yet to come!

Video: copyright Disney - Disney Research

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!

Choose quantity and enjoy an additional discount !

It's Tokyo Disney Sea 11th Anniversary !

It was Tokyo Disney Sea 11th Anniversary yesterday - the park opened on September 4, 2001 - and since then all the new attractions added to the park were "over the top" with an amazing quality created by WDI Imagineers at their best.

For many, Tokyo Disney Sea is considered as the best themed park in the world, and it certainly is. I did previously dozens of article about TDS, whether it was about the WDI TDS original artwork, TDS attraction posters, night and day pictures of this beautiful park, or even pics of TDS from above, but today, to celebrate this 11th anniversary this new article - thanks to great pictures from D&M contributor Daniel Rous - is all about something that i've never show you before: the TDS signs and attractions marquees, as well as others TDS posters, which are all beautifully designed like everything in this park.

There we go, and we start by signs of the Mediterranean entrance, Cape Cod and the American Waterfront, from where is also coming the poster on the top.

Next, signs from Mysterious Island and Mermaid Lagoon.

Let's have a look to Arabian Coast and Lost River Delta signs.

We will end with Port Discovery this great Aquatopia attraction poster.

It's also the right time to remind you my great Tokyo Disney Sea Wallpapers app for iPhone and iPad, which is a fantastic tribute to TDS. The application includes 117 gorgeous high-definition wallpaper pictures AND will be updated with new gorgeous HD pictures in a very near future ( note that the update will be free for those who will have previously downloaded the app ). There is pictures of each "land" of the park and each picture will look fantastic on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The TDS Wallpapers HD app cost a ridiculous $1.99 or 1.59€ on the iTunes Store, so don't miss it! Click HERE for direct access to the TDS Wallpapers HD iTunes page or READ my article first HERE.

All pictures: copyright Daniel Rous

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Editor's Note: Special offer on the DLP book during all September: Order a copy of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book this month of September and save $45 including Free Shipping! Don't miss this special offer, youll find all infos to order an ENGLISH edition HERE and for the FRENCH edition it's HERE!

Have a little walk through HKDL Mystic Point Path

Disney fans are awaiting the opening of the great Mystic Manor attraction scheduled for an opening at Hong Kong Disneyland Spring 2013 but in the meantime i invite you to have a little walkthrough in the path going through Mystic Point from Grizzly Trail to Toy Story Land.

The path was created to avoid two dead ends and although HKDL guests are walking between two walls of fences you see a bit in the background the works on the future new land. On this video filmed by Hong Kong Main Street Gazette you'll go from Grizzly Trail to Toy Story Land and come back. While i was watching it i was thinking that Mystic point and Toy Story Land are a bit too close together as it is such two different "worlds" but i'm afraid it's too late to change this.

Also filmed by Hong Kong Main Street Gazette the summer Mickey's Waterworks Parade in its 2012 edition and as you will see "you may get wet!"

See you soon for more news of HKDL, and in the meantime, don't miss the great HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!

Videos: copyright Hong Kong Main Street Gazette

Disney - ABC " Studios at the Ranch " will transform Walt Disney's Golden Oak Ranch into a state-of-the-art soundstage and production complex

This is one of the major project of the Walt Disney Company, and a new site was unveiled recently to present this "Studios at the Ranch" project including great artwork. For those of you who might have never heard about the Golden Oak Ranch the place is a movie ranch that serves as an interior and exterior filming location. The Golden Oak Ranch is off of Placerita Canyon Road in Canyon Country, California, less than an hour north of Los Angeles. The place has an interesting history as it was named in honor of Francisco Lopez, the man credited with discovering gold in California, years before the discovery that precipitated the California Gold Rush. More important, it's Walt Disney himself who bought the 315-acre (1.27 km2) ranch in 1959 for $300,000 with subsequent purchases of adjacent land that grew the area of the ranch to 827 acres (3.35 km2).

According to the Disney at the Ranch website "Walt Disney Productions first leased the Golden Oak
Ranch for filming in the late 1950's for The Adventures of Spin and Marty segments of The Mickey
Mouse Club. Because of the rich variety of settings, Walt Disney Productions purchased the first
portions of the property in 1959 and, over the years, acquired additional land bringing the total
property size to just under 900 acres. Some of the Disney productions that have shot at The Ranch include:

Old Yeller
Toby Tyler
The Shaggy Dog
Follow Me Boys
And more recently
The Santa Clause
Pearl Harbor
Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Golden Oak Ranch also has been seen in countless shows including:

Beverly Hills 90210
Red Dragon
Murder She Wrote
Diagnosis Murder
Independence Day
The X-Files

And Contemporary productions include:

My Name is Earl
Boston Legal
Sons of Anarchy
Ghost Whisperer
American Idol
And many more...

In two words, production shooting happened at the ranch since Walt Disney bought it. But now, the WDC is going to transform a small portion of Golden Oak Ranch into a soundstage and production complex, and this is a real event as new Studios aren't built each day in California... With these new "Disney - ABC Studios at The Ranch" it will now be possible to combine the advantages of a large movie ranch for outdoor filming with the control and efficiencies of sound stages, all in one location. This synergy will provide countless options for the entertainment industry and reduce the need for actors, crews and equipment to travel throughout the Los Angeles region every time scenery changes from indoor to outdoor sets. The Studios will be used primarily for ABC and Disney productions however, facilities could be rented out to other production companies as they would become available. The site where the Studios will be built was carefully selected to preserve the natural settings of Golden Oak Ranch by locating soundstages on 58 acres in the westernmost portion of the 890-acre Ranch.

Here are some screen shots from the website presentation, explaining where will be what. However, note that Disney - ABC Studios at The Ranch will include:

6 Pairs of Soundstages
Production Offices
Talent Bungalows
Commissary and other Amenities
Administration Offices
Production Shops
Production Storage (Sets, Props, Drapery, Costumes and more)
Support Facilities

But the site provides also great renderings showing how these Disney ABC Studios at the Ranch will look when they will be built. Below, the entrance.

Next, Placeria Creek and a view of the canyon.

Next, the workplace" site where will be built the studios with a picture showing how looks the site right now...

And how it will look once the studios will be built.

Last but not least the "Plaza" view as it is now...

And how it will look once it will be built.

As you've seen, although these "Disney ABC Studios at the Ranch" are not a theme park we are talking here about a major project of the WDC which is supposed to generate 2854 full and part-time jobs and $533 million in annual economic activity throughout Los Angeles County. Also, note that as a working studio, Disney - ABC Studios at The Ranch will not be open to the public for safety and liability reasons. That said, it is such a big project that it will be interesting to follow the future news about it!

Pictures: copyright Disney