Saturday, July 27, 2013

What's Happening About DLP Future ?

Editor's Note: Last Thursday the D-Log website posted an article called "Future developments at Disneyland Paris in danger". The article made the effect of a thunder clap in the DLP fans community and since then i've received dozens of messages asking me "Did you read this? Is this true?...". 

Well, yes, of course, i've read the D-Log article and because it is a quite complex case i will post on Disney and more on Monday an article to explain you what's going on and where is the truth in all this. In the meantime have a read of the D-Log article HERE

King Kong is Back in "King Kong The Musical" in Melbourne, Australia !

King Kong is Back in "King Kong The Musical" which had its premiere last month down under in Melbourne, Australia, and it looks damn' spectacular! 

80 years after Merian C. Cooper's 1933 classic King Kong is back at the Regent Theatre, in Melbourne, Australia -- thanks to a six-meter high "puppet animatronic" - which weighs one ton - and the pioneering work of puppeteer Sonny Tilders who previously did the amazing dinosaurs of the "Walking with Dinosaurs" stage show.

From "When the multi-million dollar project started five years ago, Tilders originally set out to create a fully animatronic creature but ended up combining old-fashioned puppetry with modern robotics."We were considering having two versions. We were developing other technologies that we would need for animatronic limbs to move," he said.

"But to cut a long story short, we were so impressed by what the manned puppet could do that we had a change of heart and said we should do the whole show with marionette puppets. It made much more sense."

Suspended from the ceiling, Kong's limbs are manipulated on stage by 10 specially trained stage circus artists who scurry over and around the puppet, shifting his arms and legs by hand or using ropes.
Clad in black from head to toe, these shadowy figures called the "King's Men," work in tandem with three off-stage puppeteers -- the "voodoo" operators -- who control the mechanical functions inside Kong.

Around 300 meters of electrical wiring are crammed inside the puppet's steel and aluminum shell powering 16 microprocessors and 15 servo motors which move Kong's eyes, eyebrows and eyelids, nose, lips, jaw, neck and shoulders. He also makes sounds -- a vital part of making his movements appear realistic, says Tilders.

Marrying the mechanical functions of interior with the organic-looking Lycra and latex exterior is one of the big challenges of animatronics, Tilders says. "We wanted to create a puppet that was really dynamic on stage. One of the ways to solve that and not kill anyone or destroy the puppet or the stage itself was to make his extremities -- his arms and fists -- in a way that has as little steel as possible."

From the elbow down, Kong's arms are filled with air, allowing him to furiously pound the floor without causing a minor earthquake. Overlaying the air bags are a series of sculptured muscle bags made from a stretchy nylon material that expands and contracts to mimic the sinewy movements of the real thing.

"Often (big puppets) are quite simple and slow, but what we've developed is a hybrid technology enabling us to do some powerful and specific moves."

The Creature Technology Company's ambitions were aided by UK-based stage automation experts Stage Technologies who provided the four-ton track-and-trolley system suspended above the stage.
"It's a machine that allows Kong to both move around the stage and be raised up and down but also take different positions," said Stage Technologies' Group CEO Mark Ager.

"We move his torso with eight winches and that allows us to change the aspect of it. So, for instance, when he walks, his shoulders can roll from side to side. It's basically a big boys version of a wooden cross you see on smaller puppets."

The complexity of Kong surpassed anything they have previously built, leading to a few nerves as opening night approached. "Given (Kong) is the main actor it was quite a concern, but it is incredible," he said.

"There's an awful lot of engineering that goes into something that looks so effortless. He feels real. I think you have to see inferior robotic incarnations to see quite how clever (Kong) is."
Overall, it's been an extraordinary collaboration of engineering and software expertise with sculptors, artists, musicians and actors creating a unique spectacle.

The critics like it too. Many have warmed to the show itself since it opened in June and almost all have heaped lavish praise on Kong himself. It's only a matter of time before audiences worldwide get their chance to feel the towering stage presence of Kong, said Tilders."

And the good news is that the show will then go on tour around the world! : "It's definitely going overseas," he said. "The financial model can't rely on 20 million people in Australia. Obviously, we would love to go to Broadway because that's the natural home for the story."

And at the end of the show, when actors and technicians come to salute the audience, Kong comes back on stage to roar one last time!

Here is the official trailer of king Kong, the Musical!

Pictures: copyright King Kong The Musical

Part of Text: copyright

Friday, July 26, 2013

Soarin' over the world to have multiple films like Star Tours ?

Lance from Screamscape has a very interesting rumor today as he heard " that the new Soarin' version ( aka: Soarin' over the world ) coming in 2016 may borrow a little technology from the Star Tours 2 project. This would be more than the switch over from Imax film to Digital (each has it’s own merit), but a switch to digital would also allow for the possibility of using a randomizer to include different possible ride scenes to be shown during each visit... 
Now while I can’ verify that this will happen, the simple fact that there are really far too many incredible places in the world worth Soarin’ over, more than would easily fit into a quick 5-6 minute ride film, this would be a great way to add them all into the mix of possible locations. In fact… they could even incorporate some of the great scenes from Soarin’ over California into the mix, ensuring that some of the existing ride lives on into the next generation." 

Not only this would be a great idea but it will also makes perfectly sense. In fact, when i've read Lance post i thought: " how didn't i think about this before?!? " It would be absurd to "soar" above the whole world in 5 or 6 minutes, so this is really what must be done, and i hope it will happen for real!

Now, if you want to have an idea how great Soarin' over the world sequences might be, here is something that is as close as possible to how it should look. Discovery Channel released recently a series of beautiful short documentaries called "The World from above". Each episode has a different destination and the one i embedded here will take you for a HD flight above Italy and especially Venise the gorgeous city of Doges. As i wouldn't be surprised that Venise will be one of Soarin' over the world destinations this kind of "preview" should interest you. 
Very important: choose to watch it in the highest definition - 1080p - and definitely in full screen mode!

More on Screamscape HERE , and also more about Soarin' Over the World different countries / destinations in my latest update HERE. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Steve Davison Announces Brand New Christmas Show for DCA World of Color

Steve Davison, the creator of DCA World of Color, Fantasmic! and DLP Disney Dreams! announced today a new Christmas version of World of Color which will include brand new animations from films like Frozen to Disney classics like Bambi and many others. The new show will include new effects and spectacular "new ideas".

The host for the show will be Olaf, a new character from the upcoming animated movie Frozen.

Steve Davison tell you more in the WDI video below!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

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

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Musical, Directed by Sam Mendes, Debut in London

We all remember Tim Burton's movie in which Johnny Depp was playing Willy Wonka. Now "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is London's theatrical event of the summer, an anticipated £10m production which took five years in the making and directed by OO7 Skyfall acclaimed director Sam Mendès. Roald Dahl's deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical, now playing at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London!

Director Sam Mendes dreamed of staging Roald Dahl’s children’s classic, first published in 1964 ever since he was assistant director of the Chichester Festival Theatre: ‘Willy Wonka was a mythic figure for me as a kid,’ says Mendes. ‘He’s one of the great characters in western literature. He’s from a tradition of great showmen: magicians, every circus Master of Ceremonies and every onstage conjuror all the way back to Prospero. He’s part mad genius, part Salvador Dalí, part everyman, part Charlie Chaplin.’ 

But it wasn’t until 2007, when Warner Bros bought the rights for £500,000, that Sam’s seemingly impossible dream slowly began to become a reality. The story is well known: When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it's the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he's always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors and amongst the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems. 

Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Grammy® winners for Hairspray; Smash), a book by award-winning playwright and adaptorDavid Greig (The Bacchae; Tintin In Tibet), set and costume designs by Mark Thompson (Mamma Mia!; One Man, Two Guvnors) and choreography by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot The Musical; Matilda The Musical). 

A chocolate garden, an army of squirrels and the curiously peculiar Oompa-Loompas must be believed to be seen in this spectacular new musical that is choc-full of fantastical treats to dazzle your senses. Some of the special effects are so dazzling that they stay with you as you think back to this hugely entertaining night out. At one point, for example, Wonka and Charlie step into a sort of illuminated telephone kiosk that then levitates, apparently at will, above the stage and with no visible means of support. 

If you're living in the U.K or travelling to London this is for sure a not to be missed! Not totally convinced yet? Here is the trailer and all infos about the musical are available on the official web site HERE!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First "Saving Mr Banks" Poster Released

Disney released a first poster fro the awaited "Saving Mr Banks" movie, and i think they did a pretty good job on this one, don't you think? and, by the way, we also learn that Colin Farrell is also playing in the movie!

I repost too below the first trailer for those of you who may have missed it.

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Disneyland Paris Update : Ratatouille Ride Pictures, New DLP Portals, and much more...

I have a big Disneyland Paris update for you today with more than 40 pictures and the latest news about the parks, thanks to Max Fan, D&M contributor and DlrpWelcome webmaster! Right now temperatures are high in France and at DLP.  Today it was as high as 35 degrees ( celsius! ) in the parks, in two words: bloody hot! But this won't stop us to have a look at what's happening, and let's begin by what you're all waiting for, i.e the latest pictures of the works on the Ratatouille ride construction site.

So, let's walk through the Walt Disney Studios...

 the Toon Studio land and the construction site where a crane was installed to make things easier for the workers to move the metallic structures for the upcoming theming on the Imagination building.

But, most of all, it's amazing the progress which has been done on the theming of the show building and restaurant facades since two weeks ago. Double-click on each image to have a closer look to the new theming which is now appearing.

Outside the WDS and near the World of Disney Store something new is also coming and it's new doorways that will "mark" the entrance to the parks area. In the background of the picture below you can see the metallic structure now in place for the first of them.

And how will it look when it will be finished, you ask? Well, it will look like these computer renderings below, and you have here the front and the back of the portal.

As a matter of fact, once finished, the real thing should look very similar to the big arch located at the entrance of Hong Kong Disneyland, the one you can see below.

However, nearby, the previous arch at the entrance of the Disney Village has been partly removed and is now in a stand-by disassembly state which don't look that nice for visitors. Hope they will finish this as soon as possible...

Let's move to the Disneyland Park where fresh repainting and new electronics counters awaits guests at the entrance.

On the park map guests can see now an ad for the new Disney Dreams Light Ears. What it means is that the park is doing everything they can to promote these new Light Ears in the hope that guests will buy them...

Near the castle the lawns are suffering from the heat, in addition to the constant stamping from visitors desperately to find a good spot to watch the parades and the Disney Dreams! show.

Talking about the castle, apparently new adjustment have been done on the castle hill where  new steps and a railings between the castle and the hill just appeared, all this probably done for security reasons for Disney Dreams! maintenance cast-members and gardeners.

Let's move to Adventureland where the the antiskids that i talked you about in my previous update are still being installed.

And, good, news, the Cool post located in front of the Hakuna Matata restaurant is now open again with its brand new thatched roof.

A little way through Fantasyland...

And here we are at the entrance of Discoveryland.

Unfortunately the heat is also responsible of the appearance of moss in the water and the state of the fake rocks at the land entrance is getting worse, too.

Some problem happened a few weeks ago on Space Mountain and on July 6 a part of the exterior structure was removed. Apparently it hasn't been that easy and they had to literally "cut" the part of it which had the problem. ( pictures from DisneylandParisFans and InsideDLParis )

The removed section has now been restored and is back in place.

One more thing about the Disneyland Paris book as i remind you that there is now less than FIFTEEN copies of the Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book available in its english collector's edition, and if you don't own the book yet, it's really now or never! Don't miss the $45 Discount on the Disneyland Paris book! Order in one click with the Paypal button below !   
Don't miss the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book, in which you have the whole park in 320 pages with 750 photos including 250 WDI renderings. Last english collector's edition copies, french collector signed copies are also always available. And i do a special price right now on it with a $45 / 40€ discount on the normal price, so order your collector copy while there is still copies available as it's really the last english collector copies. You'll find below a one click Paypal button as well as a video showing the whole book. And you can have more infos about this gorgeous 320 pages book HERE.

Choose between french or english edition -Price include shipping

Pictures: copyright Max Fan - Dlrp Welcome