Thursday, July 25, 2013

WDI Announces Avatar and Star Wars Lands Teasers at D23 Expo, and much more...

Those of you who decided to don't go this year at the D23 Expo because of the cancellation of the Disney Parks and Resorts presentation as well as no news about future attractions might want to change their mind as WDI revealed what will be the D23 Expo Parks and Resorts Pavilion and i must say that it looks like a really really smart idea. 

As you know WDI is celebrating 60 years of Imagineering and to celebrate The Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Pavilion at the event will give visitors a rare chance to explore the world of WDI and see how the innovation happens.WDI Imagineer David Fisher announced on Disney Insider : “People always want to come to Imagineering, and we constantly get requests for tours. So we thought instead of bringing everybody to our campus in Glendale, what if we bring Imagineering to people so they can visit it? We have created a huge replica of the Imagineering façade right there in the Anaheim Convention Center, and inside is a world of Imagineering. It’s focused on what we do and who does it, so you’ll see some of our tools and actually get to meet Imagineers. We’ll have Imagineers from many departments and disciplines – many Imagineers have volunteered to come out and meet the fans and show off what they do. We don’t usually get to strut our stuff because, as we like to say, there’s only one name on the door here and that’s Disney. So the chance to show off what we do is as thrilling for us as it is for fans to meet us!”

What a great idea, to build a WDI office replica - below a picture of WDI facade entrance at 1401 Flower Street in Glendale which probably will be replicate. I'm curious to see how far they will go in the WDI office replica. Apart the lobby - which shouldn't be too difficult to replicate, the offices inside shouldn't be difficult too. Now, what you have to know is that any visitor who enter WDI "real" building at Glendale receive a badge on which is written "Honorary Imagineer". Really cool, and all the time you stay at WDI you have it on you, and of course you give it back at the end of the visit. Now, I wonder if they will give to D23 visitors of the Parks and Resorts pavilion a replica of this "Honorary Imagineer" badge. That would be a cool idea!

Always from DIsney Insider: "Dave Fisher says the pavilion has been designed to give visitors a real look at how Imagineers work and even a peek at hush-hush works in progress. “We have a technology called DISH, which stands for Digital Immersive Showroom, and we’ll show how it’s helped us design several attractions — visitors will be able to virtually ride two attractions, the same way we do when we’re testing them. We’re also going to be doing sneak peeks at upcoming projects – including Disney Springs, the reimagining of Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort. There will be teasers for new attractions based on Avatar and Star Wars that we’re working on now for the Disney Parks. We’ll have a play test for a project called Adventure Trading Company, and there will be an outlet of Mickey’s of Glendale, the Imagineering Cast Member store, because like all great attractions we end with a gift shop! There will be some exclusive merchandise there for Expo visitors to take home.

Yes, you've read it well, WDI will present "teasers" for the attractions of the upcoming Avatar Land and Star Wars Land. i'm not sure that you can expect dozens of renderings or attractions models but any infos about these two projects will be very welcome. The Collectible Items from Mickey's of Glendale will be highly appreciated too!

But there is more! : There will be even more than this to see, as the pavilion will showcase Imagineering history and some outstanding recent accomplishments. “We set the bar very high four years ago at the first D23 Expo, and we feel we have to meet or exceed it every time out,” laughs Dave. “This year we are actually going to have a meet and greet with Captain America at our space; he’s part of Marvel’s Avengers Academy on the reimagined Disney Magic. We are also going to be showing off iconic pieces from the Imagineering art library, including a piece by Peter Ellenshaw that is rarely seen under blacklight, the way he painted it to be viewed. And we’ll have some old models on display – things we rediscovered in the Imagineering warehouse. Some of them were mislabeled, so even we didn’t know what we had! So they hadn’t been seen in a long time, and they’ll be on display. Those include a Western River Expedition attraction intended for Magic Kingdom Park, and an early model for a space pavilion at Epcot that was worked on by Ray Bradbury.”

Above, Peter Ellenshaw painting his famous Disneyland painting. Here it is the "day" version, but Ellenshaw also did a "night" version that must be seen under backlight and this is this very rare night version that will be presented for the first time at D23 Expo.

"As amazing as these displays are to look at, WDI’s greatest treasures aren’t artifacts – they’re people. And some amazing ones will be there to celebrate. Panel discussions with Imagineers past and present will take place all weekend, and all day Sunday will be dedicated to marking the 60th Anniversary. “Some Disney Legends, including Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr, will be on hand to talk about working with Walt Disney himself,” Dave tells us. “It’s great to have these guys around because they can share perspectives and stories that will never be forgotten. People work here a long time, so the links between generations are pretty strong. I’m a Marty Sklar guy myself –Marty spent a lot of time writing for Walt, and I spent a lot of time working with him in the ‘90s.”

Showing off what WDI does is fun, but Dave hopes that visitors will find it inspiring as well. “I would like people to find out just what it takes for Imagineering to do what it does. People think of us as the dreamers, but I think just as important is the fact that we are doers. It’s not just coming up with ideas, but making them come true. Meeting the Imagineers can give people a sense of what it takes to educate, entertain, and inspire visitors to the Disney Parks around the world.”

“When Walt formed the company and designed and built Disneyland, a lot of it was done by the seat of their pants because no one had done anything like it. We’ve learned from the Imagineers who’ve come before and all the accumulated knowledge leads to bigger and better projects. I’ve been with Imagineering for more than 26 years and we do some things differently than when my career began, but ultimately we’re still here to educate, inspire, and entertain; to create magic for the people who come to the Parks,” Dave concludes. And that gives WDI a lot to celebrate – and a lot to work toward for the next 60 years and beyond."

O-Kay, i think it's pretty clear now that any Disney fan who will be in South Cal August 9 -11 must not miss the Disney Parks and Resorts pavilion, and i can't wait for the opening!

Pictures: copyright Disney - Google Earth

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