Tuesday, February 25, 2020

BREAKING NEWS : MAY 26th will be the LAST DAY OF SPACESHIP EARTH before it enters a long renovation

BREAKING NEWS ( again! ) : MAY 26th will be the LAST DAY OF SPACESHIP EARTH before it enters a long renovation:

The Reimagining of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT Begins May 26:
From The Disney Parks Blog, by Zach Riddley, Walt Disney World Site Portfolio Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Spaceship Earth is more than just the physical icon of EPCOT – it’s a symbol of how the park continues to evolve. The attraction is a crucial piece of the historic transformation already underway at EPCOT, and our team here at Walt Disney Imagineering is excited to start implementing our new vision for Spaceship Earth beginning May 26.

This means Spaceship Earth in its current form will close for a time starting that day, and the ideas we are working on inside that geosphere will be well worth the wait. As we shared at last year’s D23 Expo, the next iteration of Spaceship Earth will focus on the story of humanity, following our long journey from prehistoric humans to today brought to life with magic and depth that only Disney can deliver. Many of the moments you know and love will be updated in amazing ways, blended with brand-new scenes to tell a story about our human experience.

Today we’re excited to share a few additional details of what you can expect when this icon returns. You’ll visit Egypt, which is part of the current version of the attraction, but it will be an Egypt like you’ve never seen before, transformed through the power of light.

Throughout the attraction, you’ll hear new narration and see how light plays a central role in our shared human journey, coming to life in dynamic ways in a celebration of the magic that’s possible when we all come together.

Walt Disney once said EPCOT “would always be in a state of becoming,” and Spaceship Earth has lived up to that vision for generations. This will be the attraction’s fourth – and most ambitious – update since the park’s grand opening on Oct. 1, 1982.

Picture: copyright Disney

BREAKING NEWS!!! Bob Iger to step down as Disney CEO, effective immediately, will be replaced by Bob Chapek as Disney CEO. Iger will remain as chairman through 2021.

BREAKING NEWS!!! Bob Iger to step down as Disney CEO, effective immediately, will be replaced by Bob Chapek as Disney CEO. Iger will remain as chairman through 2021.

Disney CEO Bob Iger will be replaced by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman Bob Chapek as CEO effective immediately. Iger will stay on as executive chairman through the end of 2021.

Chapek assumed leadership of the new job in March 2018. Chapek was one of the leading candidates to replace Iger, who announced his retirement in 2018. Chapek beat out other top candidates, like direct-to-consumer head Kevin Mayer for the role. 

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a press release. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”


Bob Chapek Named Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company

Robert A. Iger Assumes Role of Executive Chairman through 2021

Mr. Iger Will Direct the Company’s Creative Endeavors

Mr. Chapek Brings 27 Years of Successful Leadership Experience across Disney’s Parks, Consumer Products and Studio Businesses

BURBANK, Calif., February 25, 2020—The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors announced today that Bob Chapek has been named Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, effective immediately. Mr. Chapek most recently served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Robert A. Iger assumes the role of Executive Chairman and will direct the Company’s creative endeavors, while leading the Board and providing the full benefit of his experience, leadership and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful transition through the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Mr. Iger said. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Mr. Iger added: “Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century. Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio. Under Bob’s leadership as CEO, our portfolio of great businesses and our amazing and talented people will continue to serve the Company and its shareholders well for years to come.”

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees,” Mr. Chapek said. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”

Susan Arnold, independent Lead Director of the Disney Board, said, “The Board has been actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years, and after consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected Bob Chapek as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Mr. Chapek has shown outstanding leadership and a proven ability to deliver strong results across a wide array of businesses, and his tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the Company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the perfect choice as the next CEO.

“Mr. Chapek will also benefit from the guidance of one of the world’s most esteemed and successful business leaders, Bob Iger,” Ms. Arnold continued. “Over the past 15-plus years as CEO, Mr. Iger has transformed The Walt Disney Company, building on the Company’s history of great storytelling with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Twenty-First Century Fox and increasing the Company’s market capitalization fivefold. Disney has reached unparalleled financial and creative heights thanks to Mr. Iger’s strong leadership and clear strategic vision. We believe Mr. Chapek’s leadership and commitment to this strategy will ensure that the Company continues to create significant value for our shareholders in the years ahead.”

In Mr. Chapek’s new role as CEO, he will directly oversee all of the Company’s business segments and corporate functions. Mr. Chapek will report to the Executive Chairman, Mr. Iger, and the Board of Directors. He will be appointed to the Board at a later date. A new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will be named at a future time.

Mr. Chapek served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since the segment’s creation in 2018, and prior to that was Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015.

As Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Mr. Chapek oversaw the Company’s largest business segment, with operations around the globe and more than 170,000 employees worldwide. The segment includes Disney’s iconic travel and leisure businesses, encompassing six resort destinations in the United States, Europe and Asia, a top-rated cruise line, a popular vacation ownership program, and an award-winning guided family adventure business. Disney’s global consumer products operations include the world’s leading licensing business across toys, apparel, home goods, digital games and apps, the world’s largest children’s print publisher, Disney store locations around the world, and the shopDisney e-commerce platform.

During his tenure at the Parks segment, Mr. Chapek oversaw the opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort; the addition of numerous guest offerings across Disney’s six resort destinations in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including the creation of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and the addition of Marvel-inspired attractions around the globe; and the expansion of Disney Cruise Line with the announced construction of three new ships.

From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Chapek was President of the former Disney Consumer Products segment, where he drove the technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations. Prior to that, he served as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios and was responsible for overseeing the Studios’ overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms including theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media. He also served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful “vault strategy” for the Company’s iconic films and transformed the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.

Before joining Disney in 1993, Mr. Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz Company and in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.

Mr. Chapek earned a B.S. in Microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Investor Conference Call:

Disney will conduct an investor conference call at approximately 4:30 p.m. EST / 1:30 p.m. PST today, Tuesday, February 25, 2020. To listen to the live webcast, please visit disney.com/investors. The webcast presentation will be archived.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway Review : "WDI Imagineers Were on Hardcore Drugs When They Designed This Ride!"

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway has now cast-member previews at WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios and D&M has a review from one who was able to experience the ride. His review is below and there is a big warning! as there will be spoilers, so if you don't want to know, jump to D&M next post!

First thing he said is "The ride is very bright with tons of VIBRANT colors, the imagineers were on hardcore drugs when they were designing this ride!" and the next one was "It also reminded me Rise of the Resistance with many many similar tricks for scenes". Of course he's not talking about the scenes themselves as both rides have two completely different theming but mostly on a technical angle as you'll read below.

First: "You enter into the pre-show mini theater ( picture above ), the movie screen shows the cartoon and then bam! at the end of the short the screen blows open and you walk through the screen to enter the rest of the queue. You enter into the cartoon world!"
As we've read this in others reviews earlier this week i asked him about how the effect is done: "The screen tears open and the wall moves up in the theater room creating a door space to walk through. This also reminded me of the effect in Rise of the Resistance when you break out of the interrogation cell when a door is done in the wall using projection effect. Next is the loading area and it's very neat watching the train pull in. Also I love how comfortable the vehicles are."

Then, "One of the next scenes is the part where the vehicle enters a room with a dome screen and you fall down a waterfall. This scene feel just like the one with the escape pod at the end of Rise of the Resistance, same exact feeling! Yet, without the fall effect here."

A scene he thinks that was poorly done was the tornado scene: "Maybe all the black lights were turned off when I went to experience it? It’s a black room with a lit up white tornado as the cars go by, with fans. Was not impressed and was more hoping for a Mystic Manor type experience. The tornado scene just looked cheap to me compared to the rest of the ride where it was so vibrant."
Remember that it's a cast-member preview, which is usually also used by Imagineers as test time to check that everything works fine and have feedback from the CMs, so may be the day he went, not everything had been working properly.

Then we talked about the Daisy dance class scene "...which has an Audio-Animatronic of Daisy orchestrating you dancing as the cars stare at Daisy. This is exact layout of the Kylo Ren Audio-Animatronic moving your vehicle around during his last appearance at the end of the Rise of the Resistance ride."

"The ride transitions into scenes at a very fast pace. For example the scene where you're in a dome with the feeling falling down a waterfall and then the vehicle turns around into a city. Then you are in Daisy's dance class. During this scene it bugged me that you can see the whole scene behind you as you are dancing with Daisy. I wish the room was closed."

"Also, one thing that I have to get used to was how the Mickey and Minnie AA have this exact ball shaped head. Very strange looking. I loved the finale scene with Pluto and the picnic happening. The story transitions are kind of all over the place and you have trouble following along because there is so much going on in each scene. You will need to ride this attraction multiple times to catch all the hidden details. I did see the 1901 street and 1928 where a street sign say YENSID way, and there are many references all around and hidden Mickey's."

"My favorite scene is the carnival scene seeing Donald Duck in a carnival booth eating ice cream." I asked him if Donald was a Audio-Animatronic: "Donald is a projection not a AA. There is a Pluto AA at the end with Mickey and Minnie. Daisy is an Audio-Animatronic. There’s a city character Animatronic in the scene before the Daisy dance scene. It’s hard for me to remember, but there is way more projection characters than actual AA. Goofy driving the train is a projection with a projector in the front seat of the ride vehicle train."

"The ride is well done, don’t get me wrong. I think I need to go on again to catch all the details. A friend just got off and he said he felt like he went on an acid trip! I don’t think, though, that it’s better than the Great Movie Ride, but the technology is extremely impressive, and I enjoyed that it’s an ORIGINAL ride idea and not really an IP driven agenda. Again, the ride is very  well done but the Great Movie Ride is not replaceable. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway belongs in Toon Town and will be a great addition at Disneyland's Toon Town in 2022 ( artwork below ). It’s going to take some time for me to think if it belongs in the Chinese theatre..."

Pictures: copyright Disney

Monday, February 24, 2020

Great Portrait of Walt Disney in Auction on eBay

I'm selling a great portrait of Walt Disney - the painting size is 32" high x 24" large( 80 x 60 cm ). It's a one-of-a-kind and it is an original painting, NOT a print! It's a unique hyper-realistic portrait of Walt, only one of it exist and it was done by an old master portraitist with secrets in the painting technique which are now lost forever, unfortunately...

I've put it in auction on eBay and you can place your bids at the link HERE, but anyone interested by the painting before it's gone can send me a message through Facebook. The auction houses estimate is $1500 - 2000 but the "buy it now" option on eBay is $1000.

 Considering the big size of the portrait ( 32" x 24" / 80 x 60cm high ) the portrait will be sent rolled ( without the frame on the picture below ). International shipping is available and it will be sent insured for the amount paid.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Photos, Videos : Tokyo Disneyland New Fantasyland Beast Castle Update

Tokyo Disneyland new Fantasyland area with Beast Castle and Belle Village will open on April 15 and Japan Youtuber DvideoZ has posted some great videos with very close shots of the castle and its incredibly themed decor.

You have the two videos below and i did some screenshots of the most interesting theming details, allowing to see how much detailed Beast Castle is with dozens of gargoyles all around, check it out!

Close to Beast Castle is Belle's Village, with shops and restaurants, here are some of the facades.

On this first video of DvideoZ you'll see close shots of Beast Castle from 4.30 min.

And on this next video of DvideoZ you'll see shots of Belle Village from 8.20 min. Make sure to follow his channel HERE!

Pictures and videos: copyright DvideoZ

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Have a Behind the Scenes Look at the Stunning Visual Effects Used by ILM to Create The Mandalorian

ILMVFX has posted on Youtube a truly great behind the scenes video providing a unique look at the stunning technology used to create Disney + beloved series The Mandalorian.

"Over 50 percent of The Mandalorian Season 1 was filmed using this ground-breaking new methodology, eliminating the need for location shoots entirely. Instead, actors in The Mandalorian performed in an immersive and massive 20’ high by 270-degree semicircular LED video wall and ceiling with a 75’-diameter performance space, where the practical set pieces were combined with digital extensions on the screens.

Below, from a set of a Mandalorian scene almost empty of decors to the final result.

Digital 3D environments created by ILM played back interactively on the LED walls, edited in real-time during the shoot, which allowed for pixel-accurate tracking and perspective-correct 3D imagery rendered at high resolution via systems powered by NVIDIA GPUs. The environments were lit and rendered from the perspective of the camera to provide parallax in real-time, as if the camera were really capturing the physical environment with accurate interactive light on the actors and practical sets, giving showrunner Jon Favreau, executive producer and director Dave Filoni, visual effects supervisor Richard Bluff, and cinematographers Greig Fraser and Barry Baz Idoine, and the episodic directors the ability to make concrete creative choices for visual effects-driven work during photography and achieve real-time in-camera composites on set.

These immersive 20’ high by 270-degree semicircular LED video wall and ceiling are trulu impressive, so don't miss the video below!

Pictures and video: copyright ILMVFX

Friday, February 21, 2020

Amazing Drone Pictures of an Empty Shanghaî Disneyland as the Park is Closed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

As we know Shanghaî Disneyland is currently closed because of the coronavirus outbreak in China and considering that the outbreak is far to be over, it might take some months before the resort will reopen. But how looks Shanghaî Disneyland when there is no guests at all inside? These drone pictures posted on Twitter by DONGDONG - and beautfiful shots, by the way - will show you how it look.

The first picture above shows the full park with DisneyTown on the left, when the picture below shows the Gardens of Imagination and the Castle with a bit of Fantasyland behind it.

Next drone picture shows the Mickey Avenue at the park entrance with Treasure Cove lagoon on the bottom left and Adventure Isle on the top left.

On this last picture you have a perfect vertical view of Roaring Rapids the raft ride of Adventure Isle with no more water in it during the closure.

Pictures: copyright DONGDONG