Saturday, November 24, 2007

Expedition Everest Behind the scenes - Photos, Artwork, and Videos

The opening of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom was a major event : Imagineering was back at his best! This huge E-ticket attraction is undoubtedly one of the best achievement from WDI imagineers. Its stunning theming made it an instant success , and here is a tribute to Joe Rhode and his team of imagineers with a great "behind the scenes" documentary.
I must add that it is one of the best making-of i ever seen on any Disney attraction.

As always at WDI, it all begin with models and artwork, let's have a look first at some renderings.

Then, it's the time to do the models...

And now, it's time for this fantastic making-of documentary! The videos below are in five parts, and watch all of them, you won't regret it!

Let's end with some beautiful shots of the whole area and a Disney video of the ride as well as a video of the grand opening of the attraction.

The first of these two last videos is a Disney promotional video showing part of the ride and the last one show Expedition Everest opening ceremony.

All photos and artwork: copyright Disney

Videos: copyright Science and Disney - Many thanks to vaultdisney for the youtube links !

Friday, November 23, 2007

Great Dick Cook interview on Box office mojo web site

The Box office mojo web site post today a great interview of Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney pictures.
Not only he talk about the upcoming movies or awaited project like the Jungle Cruise movie and eventually a future Swiss Robinson family movie too, but also about his beginning when he worked at Disneyland in the 70's.

Dick Cook used to be one of the drivers of the Disneyland monorail. In fact, he even was the driver of the monorail when it did catch fire in 1970 ! Here is below the part of the interview where he talk about it.

Box Office Mojo: Is it true that you learned the value of putting out fires while working on Disneyland's Monorail?

Dick Cook: The Monorail did catch fire back in 1970 and I happened to be driving. I had been assigned the task of driving the Monorail the day new engines has been installed. A Swedish company called Alweg—it was the Disneyland Alweg Monorail—had just installed four new turbine engines and the engineers and mechanics had been working on the Monorail, riding on it, making adjustments to the drivetrain and making sure it was OK. I was driving it [without passengers] around all day. Finally, at the end of the day, they said it checked out and was certified and ready to go. It was a very busy day at Disneyland, and we could take some loads of people. We were in the Tomorrowland station, they loaded 124 people—I know that because it happened to be the capacity for that train—and it was full. I was in the cockpit—the front section—by myself because until then they had different engineers riding with me. I went over to the rectifier, where the power comes in, and I had to shift it into neutral. When I shifted out, all these red lights lit up on the panel and I could smell smoke. The Monorail was on fire. What had happened, which I didn't know at the time, was that one of the turbines had been miswired and there was an electrical fire and it took all day for the wires to get hot enough to catch fire. I managed to stop the Monorail over the parking lot and they had to call out a hook and ladder and they brought everyone down individually—I was the last one unloaded. I was one happy guy to get off that train. At that particular moment, I kept thinking my whole career went up in flames. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the fire was put out very easily. I did have control over the microphone and we were up there for so long. I had the guests sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and I had them roll down the windows so I could hear them singing, trying to entertain them as the smoke was coming up. We did ruin those four brand-new turbine engines but that was a small price to pay."

I recommand you to read the rest of this great interview on the Box office mojo web site at:

Interview: copyright Box office mojo

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Behind the scenes

The soft opening of the Tower of Terror at Paris Walt Disney Studios will begin in two weeks from now, and i thought it was time to have a closer look "behind the scenes" of this major E-ticket attraction with great videos. It is going to be a major event for Paris second gate, and everybody - from the park management to the DLP fans - hope that the TOT will "save " the WDS, just like Space Mountain did 12 years ago for the first park. There are big chances that it will be the case, that the TOT help to bring more guests inside the park and money to built new attractions.

As we know , WDS Tower of terror is similar to the California adventure version, but it seems that the imagineers improved some of the effects. We will know more about that soon.

This first video was done for the DCA TOT , but as the WDS have the same one, it is interesting to have a look at it.

This other video was done for a Disney german tv program "Disney film parade" , and here begin the warnings for my european readers who want to avoid any spoilers, as this video will show you how WDS TOT is working, technically speaking.
Please note that this video is in german language.

The next one is more known , even by my european readers, as it is an advertising video which was used for the opening of the DCA version.

From this point, if you don't want to know anything about the ride and preserve the surprise , please do NOT watch the video below!

The "Twilight Zone" fiber optic effect at the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign at the entrance is always great to look at, and yes, it will be too at the WDS version.

This next youtube video will show you the pre-show movie - the one you will see in the hotel library.

This last video is a on-ride video at DCA, but the scenes are similar to the one we'll have in Paris. Once again, if you are planning to ride the TOT at the WDS and keep the surprise, do NOT look at this next video. The ride itself is short, and it's better to discover it with your own eyes.

Photo: copyright Walt Disney Imagineering

You tube videos: most of the material in the youtube videos is: copyright Disney

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Disneyland Paris Christmas celebration update

Disneyland Paris Christmas season began last week, and let me tell you that Paris magic kingdom is really the place to be this christmas. Those of you who are planning to visit the park in december won’t be disappointed as the spirit of christmas is present in almost each land. Plenty of new things to report, and great photos thanks to Alexandre Rosa. Many thanks to him for his wonderful pictures you’ll discover below. Please click on each picture to see them in big size.

The first thing one can see is the snowmen on the main stret station that welcome the guests and the huge christmas tree on town square, as usual.

Town square is also the perfect location to watch the christmas parade with a new opening float
the reindeer characters, rand the wooden soldiers

and of course Santa Claus huge float

I love the reindeer characters, they look so funny!

Children can meet and greet Santa Claus in the morning , also on town square.

Fake snow cover central plaza in front of the castle!

In fantasyland you will find the christmas village , beautifully themed by day, and magical at night

The old mill is not working in this season, but full of christmas gifts!

At Frontierland's chapparal stage, the ice show “Mickey and the magic of winter “ is coming back until january

But it is in the new Woody round up area that you will find some brand new theming. We talk about it last time, but the theming is now complete with , first, a place dedicated to Woody , a perfect photo location

Let’s have a closer look to all the details

Woody can be meet at the center of this new little ranch

Another house host the “Stinky Pete “ character , it almost look like the toy box. Note the visual effect of mine tunnel behind him.

But it’s also here where everybody can meet Santa Claus during all day , and the line is a looong one.

The visitors go through Santa Claus workshop, full of toys that his assistants prepare for the big december 25th shipping. No audio animatronic here, but small movements of head and arms, though.

When the night is coming, the whole park become more magical than ever

Snow is falling for the candlebration ceremony with Mickey and price and princess

The frozen castle and the night parade end this memorable day

Talking about christmas, if you want to make yourself - or to anyone you love - a great Disney gift for christmas , my book about Disneyland Paris , if you don’t own it already will be a perfect gift. 320 pages, 750 pictures and rendering, and a special dedication for you! It’s still time to order it and get it on time, so don’t miss the special offer on the link on the right column above !

Photos: Alexandre Rosa - Many thanks to Alex for his wonderful pictures !

High-res photos : copyright Disney

Other photos: copyright Alain Littaye