Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Walt Disney, the Imagineers, and the 1964 World Fair Magic Skyway project

Here are a selection of pictures of Walt at Walt Disney Imagineering workshop - at that time called "WED Enterprises". You will recognize among others Imagineers Mary Blair, John Hench, Marc Davis , Claude Coats, sculptor Blaine Gibson, all these legendary imagineers who created the attractions we all love. And, too, the model of New Orleans quare, the Matterhorn, the Pirates of Caribbean attraction, the Plaza Garden and a head sculpture of Pirates , and one of the audio-animatronics.

But today, we're also going to talk about the 1964 World Fair and the Magic Skyway attraction that WED created for it. On the first youtube video below, Walt presents the project, directly from the imagineering workshop. The second one is a clever editing of pictures of the attraction at the world's fair, with the original audio commentary of Walt himself.
And i added for the pleasure a third youtube video not about the Magic Skyway, but about the Futurama 2 attraction , always at the 1964 world fair.
Enjoy all of them!

Photos and videos: copyright Disney

Monday, May 7, 2007

POTC At World's end Singapore pirate Chow Yun Fat at Hong Kong Disneyland Pirates takeover

It's a special Hong Kong Disneyland today with two topics about it!

First, some new great photos about the Adventureland Pirates takeover that began May 4, and legendary actor Chow Yun Fat who play a Pirate lord from Singapore in the third POTC movie was there - with the orange shirt on photos 2, 3 and 4 from the top - discovering the movie props which Captain Jack Sparrow had nicely agreed to showcase at Professor Porter’s Trading Post.

It seems that pirates are really everywhere in HKD Adventureland: on the Jungle Cruise at day, fire jogglers at night , and even taking pictures of the guests!

Then, don't miss below the second part of our interview with Tom Morris, executive creative show producer for the park, this time talking about HKD Main Street.

Photos: copyright Disney

Hong Kong Disneyland Part Two with interview of Show-Producer Imagineer Tom Morris - Art-work, Photos and Video

Here is the part two of the exclusive interview ofTom MORRIS, executive creative show producer for the park. Tom , senior show producer at Walt Disney Imagineering was previously the show producer for Disneyland paris Fantasyland. He was also the show producer for the gorgeous sleeping beauty castle at DLP. And this time he tell us more about hong kong disneyland’s main street.

ALAIN LITTAYE: Main street and the castle looks like an almost perfect “copy” - in the good meaning of the word - of the one in Disneyland in Anaheim...

TOM MORRIS: I think it was just a kind of hommage to the original castle , the original main street and train station that was personnally supervised by walt disney. So we wanted something here that actually have some of the “DNA” of walt’s vision...and we thought main street would be the appropriate place to do that, a tribute to his chidhood and his nostalgia...
and also there is a little bit more of the feeling of the disneyland version...put it in a kind of cinema terms main street feels more like “the music man” and the one at walt disney world is more like “hello dolly”.
We wanted something a little more intimate, in fact the smaller scale works very much in favor of main street , i believe. There is more wood, there is a heavier use of wood molding than the facades of the disneyland version of main street...it’s less stone-based and more wood-based. And that is unique, very unique for hong kong, because you do not see wood anywhere.
The victorian colonial architecture in hong kong is all about stone buildings, and here this kind of combination of queen anne architecture you know, with all the gingerbread on it, it’s something that’s very unique...For all the people of this region , i really think it’s a completely different and new look , so we wanted to have something that was for them , i guess “exotic”.

A.L: Do the interiors of the main street buildings have the same quality of details that they have in disneyland?

T.M: Oh, yes. And may be more. Because we brought back some of our best interiors designers to work on those shops on main street, some who worked on disneyland paris . the shops have very distinct personnalities, we wanted to make sure that the shops really feel like they have their own individual business owners and entrepreuniors...so that was a very important piece of it, each shop having its own kind of color scheme or design image system associated with a different lighting , different woodwork, a different way of presenting the story . We have a beautiful jewelry store on the street, we have a bakery, a fantastic candy store, we have what’s called the corner café, of course the “emporium”,and they’re all very developped like they’re owned by different people, and that was very important . we’ve also integrated a little bit of an “emigrant” story into the street, too. So that, if you look carefully at the props and photographs, you’ll begin to discover that some of the owners are immigrative from austria, or from china, or from russia...so we wanted to have that slight overland--story telling as well...

A.L: I think you have a beautiful chinese restaurant on main street...

T.M: We do, it’s beautiful. It’s the Plaza Inn, and it borrows some architecture from disneyland’s main street on the outside. And on the inside, you step across another world. You’re in China at the turn of the century, about that time period where both america and china shared a mutual fascination and appreciation with one another. So you will see a lot of western influence and , too, chinese furnishings...it really is what we called a “east meet west” material...and we have murals that are reproduction from the pre -production artwork for “Mulan” done by the production designer of disney feature animation...They’re at the back of the restaurant, forming these beautiful landscapes and we have chinese lanterns that changed colours...it’s a very magical place, and at the end of the day it’s a very “disney” experience...you know, it’s a fusion of western and eastern experience, but then at the end of the day , it’s “disney”, because of the colours and the lighting.

A.L: About the castle, is there any walk through inside of it, like the one in disneyland?

T.M: Not yet, but we reserved space inside of it for future development , once we get an idea and understanding of what people need and want to the park...it can go to merchandise, or to an attraction, or to some sort of interactive attraction , once we get a sense after we opened of what our audience wants to see more of...but there is space available inside the castle.

Don’t miss the third part of Tom Morris interview where he will tell us more about hong kong fantasyland! Below is a youtube video by Feona 88 showing all the HKD fireworks over the castle.

Photos and Art-work: copyright Disney