Friday, December 14, 2007

Double Feature this week-end on Disney and more ! First, below, a topic about Hong Kong Disneyland Christmas season, including a video of the Castle Christmas lighting. Then, right after it, a pictorial article with old and rare historical photos of Walt Disney at the studios ! Scroll down to don't miss any of them !

Hong Kong Disneyland Christmas season - Photos and video

It's Christmas everywhere, even in Hong Kong Disneyland, and here are some pictures of how it looks in this small, but beautiful Disney theme park. As usual, double-click on each picture to see them in bigger size.

Everywhere in the park guests can see christmas decorations, like here , on Main Street Opera house and train station.

Disney characters have a new christmas costume, too.

They did a Santa Claus workshop where, as say the press release, "everyone is invited to take a sneak peek of the whimsical and interactive fun at Santa’s Workshop, and see how Santa and his bustling Elves are getting ready for Christmas. Unique to Hong Kong Disneyland as a multi-sensory experience, the Christmas story is brought to life as the big man and his Elves are present to greet guests."

Dont they look all so cute on this publicity picture?

The castle, like in all other magic kingdoms got an icy treatment and, "Maestro Mickey Mouse commands this enthralling symphony that will fill the air with a whirlwind of light, color and music. Every evening Mickey Mouse will transform Sleeping Beauty Castle into thousands of sparkling diamonds that will shine and shimmer on the evening skyline."

Here is a youtube video of the "Sparkling castle christmas lights" , thanks to "eman129". The show is different than the one in DLR or WDW, so it worth the look.

There is a special "let it snow" parade in Main street...

Why "let it snow" ? Because artificial snow is falling on Main street ...although i suspect the picture below to be quite "photoshoped"

You can see youtube videos of the parade by clicking here

The park is doing publicity for the HKD christmas season in many Hong Kong places, even inside the subway, like here in "Central" where "By standing in front of the mural size floor poster, a snow covered Hong Kong Disneyland will appear to leap out in 3-D and guests will feel as if they are standing inside the Park. With virtual snow being projected onto the surrounding four pillars, while weather broadcasts and Christmas highlights from the Park play on plasma televisions, guests will be further immersed in the glittering magic of Disney’s Sparkling Christmas."
It looks fun, and i wish we had the same kind of advertising in Paris underground stations!

All photos: copyright Hong Kong Disneyland

Youtube video : copyright eman129

Walt Disney at the Studios - a pictorial article

I realised it is quite a while since i've post my last pictorial article with Walt Disney's historical photos.

So today here is one with pictures of Walt at the studios. For some of them it's a younger Walt Disney than the one we see most of the time on the 1950-60's pictures, But it's always good to re-discover a less known Walt.

Enjoy them.

On this picture, Walt is with famous composer Rachmaninov, on the left.

I always thought that the expression "Uncle Walt" was a friendly one used by Disney animators after Walt's death, but, no, he used to be called like this when he was alive!

All photos: copyright Disney

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Will we see in "Indiana Jones and the temple of the crystal skull" the decors of Tokyo Disney Sea "Indiana Jones adventure" version? UPDATED 20/12

Last august, Lucas film filed at the MPAA six different titles for the Indiana Jones 4. Every Indy site was betting on the Indiana Jones and the City of Gods" title, but in an article called "Why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could very well be the title of the Indy 4 movie" i explained why "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was very probably going to be the right one. And it was.

You'll see below a copy of the previous article, but the good question now is: did they reproduced in the movie some of the decors of Tokyo Disney Sea "Indiana Jones and the temple of the crystal skull" ? Of course they didn't filmed the movie at TDS, but what i am talking about is reproducing on movie sets some elements of the decor of the attraction. For sure, we will have the mayan pyramid, but what about the inside decors ? To be perfectly honest , i don't have the answer right now, and my bets are 50-50, but, considering that they use part of the theme of the TDS attraction - the "crystal skull, the mexican- mayan temple, etc..." i won't be surprised if they did reproduced some of them! In the meantime, here is some new official pictures recently released.

The new poster artwork above is in the perfect tradition of the Indy's posters, and here is what producer Frank Marshall said about the story line in USA today:

Now that the poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been revealed, some details from the super-secret plot also can be officially exposed.
Indiana Jones co-producer Frank Marshall is authorized to confirm some rumors and detail some of the story, about a quest for South American relics with supernatural powers.

When last we saw Indy, he was riding off into the sunset in 1989's The Last Crusade, set in 1938 near the start of World War II. The new movie, due this spring, is set at the height of the Cold War in 1957, so the character has aged in real time — 19 years.

"He's teaching and having kind of a quiet life," the producer says. Once the archaeologist is thrust back into danger, the signature Indiana Jones red line tracing across the map will take him to New Mexico, Connecticut, Mexico City and the jungles of Peru.

Despite all the gray-hair jokes (Harrison Ford is 65), Indy is still swinging from dangerous precipices and absorbing punches.

"Indy's a fallible character. He makes mistakes and gets hurt. He has a few more aches and pains now," Marshall says. "That's the other thing people like: He's a real character, not a character with superpowers."

The Nazis are no longer Indy's chief foe — he's racing for the Crystal Skull against operatives from the Soviet Union, including Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as the seductive Agent Spalko. "Indy always has a love-hate relationship with every woman he ever comes in contact with," Marshall says.

Ray Winstone, currently the star of Beowulf, co-stars as an unethical rival archaeologist. Transformers star Shia LaBeouf sports greaser hair and rides a motorcycle as the hero's sidekick.

The Last Crusade concluded without a cliffhanger, but Crystal Skull will revisit bits from other films, including Karen Allen's feisty Marion Ravenwood from 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal.

"The theory is they are shaped by higher powers or alien powers or came from another world, or an ancient Mayan civilization had the powers," Marshall says.

Indiana Jones and the temple of the crystal skull will be released May 22, so we will have more answers in five months from now.

And now, for those who missed it, here is the previous article !

A movie web site report recently that , on the latest Motion Pictures Association of America Title Registration Report, Lucasfilm, Ltd has filed for six different titles for Indiana Jones 4.

The proposed titles include:

Indiana Jones and the City of Gods
Indiana Jones and the Destroyer of Worlds
Indiana Jones and the Fourth Corner of the Earth
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Gold
Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Covenant

The web site also say that "City of Gods has been long rumored to be the working title of the production. It also seems to be the best candidate of the bunch Destroyer of Worlds, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Fourth Corner of the Earth are way to corny for me."

Corny, may be, but at least one of those six titles sounds familiar to the Disney theme park fans, as "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is close to the title of the Tokyo Disney Sea's Indiana Jones adventure attraction : The "Temple of the crystal skull".

Some may think it's a coincidence. But all this remember me one of my recent topic about the San Diego Comic Con where i show you THIS picture:

With this text above it: "Hasbro who have the license for some of the coming Indiana Jones 4 products revealed their future action figures. They did a special Indy decor for the display, with Egyptian statues and a real-size Ark of the Covenant. But what intrigued me is this model of a Mayan pyramid, also part of their decor. As we know, the previous Indy expeditions didn't lead him to old Mayan civilisation. So, is this the first proof to the rumours that the "treasure" location of the fourth movie will be in Mexico?"

Now, what is important to remember is that the outside decor of TDS Temple of the crystal skull is also a mayan pyramid as you can see on the photo below.

With of course a crystal skull inside...

The TDS attraction have a lot of similar scenes with the Disneyland "Temple of the forbidden eye" version, but with a different story line and a major change in the big scene of the ride as japanese laws forbidden to have some fire effects in the "bubbling death" sequence. So, at TDS it has been replaced by a giant threatening "twister". But all this doesn't mean, of course, that this particular scene will appear in the movie.

To come back to the movie, i have to add that we know now for sure that part of the action of Indy 4 will be located in Mexico - Spielberg is now shooting in Hawai instead of Mexico for production reasons. Let's not forget, too, Lucas gift for marketing - what can be better for the Asian market , and specially the japanese, to have a movie based on an already famous attraction ? - and god knows that the Disney parks are popular in the empire of the rising sun!

Not to mention that the "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" title is not that corny...for me it sounds more like a perfect Indiana Jones title. And not because the imagineers choose a pretty similar title for the TDS attraction - with the agreement of Georges Lucas, let's not forget it - but simply because after "Raiders of the lost ark", "Indiana Jones and the temple of doom" and "Indiana Jones and the last crusade" , "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" sounds like a perfect "Indy" title with a mix of archeological adventure and creepy feeling in it.

So, for all these reasons, and just for the fun, i will bet on "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" for the title of the highly awaited Indiana Jones 4 movie.

Your thoughts?

Photos: copyright Disney-Oriental Land co and Lucas Film ltd

Monday, December 10, 2007

EPCOT SPACESHIP EARTH NEW VERSION - Full report : Photos and Ride Videos

It's a big week for Disney fans ! This week-end , not only the WDS Tower of terror opened, but the hihly awaited new version of Epcot Spaceship Earth, too ! Good news for all: you will see below a lot of this new version, including an on-ride video.
And may be it is too much for those of you who want to preserve the surprise! So, here again the usual warning: do NOT look further as many spoilers awaits you below !

Okay, now that everybody is warned, let's have a closer look to this new version of the ride. First, Dame Judi Dench is the voice of the new audio commentary - goodbye Jeremy Irons ! - and, good news, all the favorite historical scenes are still there. And yes, with new improved audio-animatronics.

You will find a video of the full ride at the end of this article, but here is a first short youtube video of these scenes, thanks to "intercot"

Among them, the one AA which looks the most advanced - in robotic - seems to be in the old story teller in the greek scene.

Here is another short youtube video of it , always thanks to "intercot"

The new computer scene is just fantastic. Two AA there, too. Great lighting.

..and also a short video of that scene, once again thanks to "intercot"

A "Matrix" style motion screen replaces the original multi-color tunnel just before you reach the planetarium scene.
Great effect!

...And a video of it thanks to who? that's right, thanks to "intercot" !

But it's when the vehicles go down that the big "new" thing is appearing. In front of each seat there is a new screen.

On this one, each guest must answer to few questions about what he likes and his wishes for the future. Like this one:

...Or this one:

...Or this one:

After few seconds - during the wait, some historical facts are remembered to you - a special editing of a cartoon movie- depending of your answers - appear on the screen . Here is how it looks like.

If to the answer "how would you like to do sports" you've answer "with a coach" , a robot-coach will appear with you during your "training"...

I really like the 60's style of this cartoon movie, i think it fit perfectly with the architecture of Future World pavillion.
And of course the movie images are totally different if you choose other answers!

When you exit the ride, you access directly to the Project Tomorrow post-show area.

And now here is a two-part video of the new ride - once again, it's time to open the "exit door" if you want to keep all the surprise! For the one who stay here, the video is as good as possible - remember how dark it is inside - and i want to thank
"DisneyHD" who posted it on youtube for the great link.

All aboard the new Spaceship Earth and enjoy it!

Spaceship Earth Photo : copyright Disney

Youtube videos and screen capture : copyright DisneyHD and intercot. Many thanks again to them for the great links!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

WALT DISNEY STUDIOS TOWER OF TERROR OPENING - Full Photographic Report by Alexandre Rosa

Hello, all. That's it! the Tower of terror at the Walt Disney studios opened this week-end for its first guests - the annual pressholders - and , thanks to Alexandre Rosa and his great pictures, you'll see everything about it ! As always, click on each picture to see them in bigger size.

Here is the usual warning: please note that this article is full of spoilers, and if you don't want to see anything before you ride the attraction, do not go further in this article!

O-kay, let's discover now the last wonder of Walt Disney Imagineering. First, the "Hollywood boulevard is now open to everybody, with direct access to the tram tour. As there is so many details in this area, i will comeback soon on it in a future article.

The least we can say is that it makes a big change to see so much decors and theming at the WDS

The access to the TOT can be done through the former "la terrasse" building

At the left corner, here is the shop entrance - or exit depending where you come from!

A long outside corridor will be welcome to protect the guests during rainy days

A close shot on the elevator doors

We all know that this version of the TOT is similar to the one at DCA, but at the WDS guests can go all around and behind the tower, which is not the case, i think, in California.

Let's come back in the front to have a look at the wonderfully themed FastPass area. Undoubtedly the best themed FastPass in all the resort.

The imagineers did a great job on the TOT gardens, and it brings more vegetation to the WDS, which is perfect.
I love these "T" shape trees - two of them for "T"ower of "T"error.

Great statues, too, all around the garden.

The fountain with the famous "Tower of terror - The Twilight zone" fiber optics effect sign is here, of course!

It's time to enter the lobby, and the theming work here - and everywhere else , by the way - is beyond perfection. Almost all of the decor props are real antiques purchased by the imagineers. As you will see on the pictures below, the guest who enter the hotel have the immediate sensation that something happened here 70 years ago. Two words - four, actually - "Hooray for the imagineers! "

The reception desk and the key boxes, as well as the formerly damaged elevator door, and another beautiful antique

The next stop is the library room for the pre-show, also full of real antiques. Note on one picture , over the television, the red "Jack in the box" it was part of an episode of the 1960's twilight zone series.
The pre-show movie on the tv screen is similar to the one in the U.S, as the Twilight Zone tv series are perfectly known by the european audience.

The whole boiler room area - on two floors like in DCA - is as eerie as possible - fantastic lighting, and here, too, theming beyond perfection.

The next pictures are from the ride itself. So, double-warning: do not go further if you don't want to see anything of the ride itself!
The scenes are similar to the one in DCA - the mirror scene , the hallway scene with the ghosts, etc...and then, of course, the drops. It seems that the imagineers improved the lighting effect in this new version.

The view on the WDS, when the elevator doors open is great, up to the Disneyland hotel!

The exit corridor lead to the shop, but we can find some themed element inside, too

Inside the shop, different type of merchandise: some related to the Tower of terror, others about the Nightmare before christmas and even Stitch - let's not forget that a "Stich encounter" will open in march at the WDS.
The great art-deco mural is there, too, and the above first image of this article is a rare high-res of the original artwork.
It's also here where you will be able to buy the on-ride photo.

Let's end by some pictures of the Tower of terror at night. As you will see on the pictures below, from sunset to full night, the lighting is fantastic, and for sure the TOT will be now the main icon of the WDS.

"Bravo!" is a small word to thanks the imagineers for this wonderful addition to the Walt Disney Studios. The Tower of terror with its detailed theming is exactly what was missing in the park. And no doubt that it will be a tremedous success!

I want to thanks again Alexandre Rosa for all his wonderful pictures - i am sure you join me - he is a young talented photographer! And you can see many more pictures of the Tower of terror on his personnal site at:

Artwork by Christian Hope: copyright Disney

All photos: copyright Alexandre Rosa - no reproduction allowed without his authorisation.