Saturday, December 20, 2008

Designing a Real " Tomorrowland "

Let me introduce to you Jacque Fresco. If you love the 1960's Tomorrowland spirit, you will love his "Future by design" work. A documentary, also called "Future by design" was directed by academy award nominee William Gazecki and you can see the trailer here on this blog and know more about the movie - or find the dvd recently released - at:

Jacque Fresco is considered by many to be a modern-day Da Vinci. Peer to Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque is a self-taught futurist who describes himself most often as a “generalist” or multi-disciplinarian -- a student of many inter-related fields. He is a prolific inventor, having spent his entire life (he is now 90 years old) conceiving of and devising inventions on various scales which entail the use of innovative technology. As a futurist, Jacque is not only a conceptualist and a theoretician, he is also an engineer and a designer.

His organization,The Venus Project (named after the town he lives in, Venus, Florida), works to provide a global vision of hope for the future of humankind in our technological age. The Venus Project reflects the culmination of Jacque's life work: the integration of the best of science and technology into a comprehensive plan for a new society based on human and environmental concern.

Enough talk, let's now have a look to the real thing with this youtube video!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Islands of Adventure Artwork and Video Tribute

When Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park opened, everybody was stunned: So, Universal was able to build a theme park with a theming as good and detailed as Disney?
Yes, and there were good reasons for that : some of the creators of the park were former Disney Imagineers, and they did a real good job on IOA.

Anyway, the park is indeed beautiful, and here is a "portfolio" of some of the art-work done for each land of the park. In another part to be on line soon , you'll see photos of the huge model of the park , as well as more art-work that were display in the same room where i was invited years ago for a Universal press event. As always, click on each picture to see them in bigger size.

And, to do things perfectly, you'll find below you tube videos of the Cat in the hat attraction, as well as those of "Poseidon's fury " attraction - that probably will be removed for their future Harry Potter's land - , Jurassic park river adventure, and the not-to-be-missed Spiderman ride.

Art-work: copyright Universal Studios

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why " Tales from the Laughing Place " magazine is a must for any Disney Theme Park Fan

“Tales from the Laughing Place Magazine isn’t so much a magazine as it is a collector’s item for anyone who loves Disney”

“…this magazine is everything a Disney fan wants”

“It’s filled with some really nice stuff a Disney Geek/Fan will just go giddy over”

“You'll find loads of interviews with the artists and Imagineers, and there are ALWAYS nuggets in there for a Disneyphile.”

Are all these quotes from Tales from the Laughing Place readers right? Not only they are, but they are under reality: Tales of a Laughing Place is simply the best - and only regular - publication dedicated to Disney. And i add: the most beautiful.

As you know, Disney and more is all about Disney, but it's also about beauty. This is why you always find the best pictures and artwork, and almost each time in high-resolution. Simply because it's the best tribute to WDI Imagineers work.

Well, if you love Disney AND beauty, you will love Tales from the Laughing Place, as the magazine layouts are gorgeous. Have a look at the pictures below of some pages, and you'll understand what i mean.

But not only Tales from the Laughing Place is a stunningly beautiful magazine, but the articles are fantastic! Remember Lee MacDonald's article last week about the awaited TDL Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek attraction? And how great was the article? Well, each Tales from the Laughing Place issue is full of those incredibly good articles. And there is a good reason for that: The Tales from the Laughing Place team have always access to interviews with WDI Imagineers and unseen renderings, pictures, etc...

Whether it's about Disney theme parks or Disney musicals or Anniversary celebration like the great issue they did about Epcot 25th anniversary, Tales from the Laughing Place is a pure delight. One of the latest issue was celebrating Animal Kingdom 10th anniversary and the next "Tales" to come will have exclusive interviews on the development of Tokyo Disneyland with rare and unseen artwork from WDI archives!

Until now, 15 issues were released and the good news are that you still can order all the previous issues, except number one which is out of stock - but you can get it on the CD Rom including the six first issues. Each issue is $10 plus shipping, but the best of course is to take the four issues subscription at $40 including shipping. The CD Rom include the six first issues and cost $29.99.

Have a look at the Tales from the Laughing Place web site where you'll learn more about this wonderful magazine and the different issues, and don't hesitate to subscribe. Believe me, it will be for yourself a GREAT gift!

Pictures: copyright Tales from the Laughing Place

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Special Alien Encounter - Stitch's Great Escape Tribute

When the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien encounter open in WDW , some years ago, it was quite an event. Not only it was part of a new re-themed Tomorrowland, but "Alien" was supposed to be a real frightening attraction , the first of its kind in a Magic Kingdom. Well, for the adult audience, it was really fun, and not-so-scary. But for the 12 years old young girls, the 3D sound ,the darkness and in-theatre effects were may be a little bit too scary!
No need to say that WDW executives didn't like at all to see these young girls exiting the attraction theatre crying...
This is probably why this brand new WDI attraction - that was supposed to be built in other Disney parks - remains the only one of its kind...Mind you, still in 1994, Tim Delaney, DLP Discoveryland show producer was still expecting to built it right at the entrance of the land where the room has been kept , on the little hill on the right, between the "Constellations" shop and Autopia.

We all know what happened next: the attraction was re-themed around the Stitch character and is supposed now to be less scary than before. On the pictures above and below, the difference between the two pictures of the same scene is interesting: on the Alien one the boys are yelling, but on the Stitch one, the boys are younger and smiling. The message is clear: no need to be afraid of this attraction any more, come on in!
Also, note the difference between the two photos of the pre-show sequence , with the small teleportation experiment. On the Stitch version, the S.I.R robot - one of the best programmed AA i ever seen - is now dressed in a more cartoonish way.
But the really interesting shot above is the sixth from the top, as this rendering show a kind of pre-show "laboratory" scene that finally was never built...
And, last but not least, you may have noticed on the Alien encounter marquee that the attraction was supposed to be a " sensory thriller from Disney AND Georges Lucas ".
What is Georges Lucas doing in all this, you ask? Well, apparently, and if i'm not wrong , it seems that the concept/idea of the attraction came from him during a meeting, and when Lucas have an idea, you better not forget that it came from him...which, i must agree is perfectly legitimate.

Here below are youtube videos of the two versions. The two first one shows the pre-show and the show of Alien encounter - Video: copyright Martin Smith

And the two last one shows the pre-show and the show of Stitch's great escape - Videos: copyright SaveTheLastRide

Photos and Art-work: copyright Disney

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas lights everywhere at Disney theme parks !

Everywhere you look in Walt Disney World, the holidays are coming to life, starting with the 200,000 lights that decorate Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom and cover it with sparkling ice from top to toe. On the video below, you'll see how the Disney Imagineers make this phenomenal transformation take shape.

Please note that you can watch all the videos below in high quality on Youtube. Double click on each of them to watch them on the Youtube site, and once on the site, click on "watch this video in high quality".

Each holiday season, the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios sparkle with five million lights. In 1995, Walt Disney World adopted the displays from Little Rock's Jennings Osborne after his neighbors grumbled. Now, Disney crews start work in March to get ready for guests in November and December as they will explain you on this next video.

Talking about Osborne family lights, Walt Disney Entertainment's Mark O'Connor, who designs the holiday display each year at Walt Disney World Resort, offers a few tips on how to make your holiday display more magical, economical and safe.

On the next video, have a look to the Christmas season at Disneyland Resort Paris, including the Enchanted Candlebration ceremony and, for the first time, the Santa Claus Post Office where guests can mail their Christmas wish-lists.

Finally, each holiday season at Disney's Beach Club Resort in Florida, a team of pastry chefs builds a giant gingerbread carousel in the hotel lobby. Every visible part is edible -- the chocolate and fondant horses, the gingerbread floor and canopy, the white chocolate figures of Mickey Mouse and his friends, sugar poinsettias -- even the accents of star anise and cinnamon stick.

All pictures and videos: copyright Disney