Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meet Peter Sohn, Director of Pixar's " Partly Cloudy "

Peter Sohn - above and below - is the director of Pixar's Partly Cloudy, this wonderful short movie released wih Up!. He's here at Pixar Animation Studios during the making of Partly Cloudy.

Animator at Pixar Animation Studios, he worked on Finding Nemo as story artist. On the Incredibles he was animator, story artist and did additional voices. On Ratatouille he was also animator and the voice of Emile. Before his Pixar career he worked on the Iron Giant and Osmosis Jones. And in UP! Russell, the Asian-American character, looks somewhat similar to Peter Sohn, who has a Korean surname.

Pixar also released these two Partly Cloudy preliminary sketches of the storks flying and of Gus and Peck.

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disneyland Paris Summer Update, All about DLP 20th Anniversary E-Ticket, and more !

It's the top of the high season for Disneyland Paris, and as usual in summer the park is more beautiful than ever. Those of you who like Disney's vegetation theming would be in heaven. There are flowers everywhere whether it's at the entrance and in front of the Disneyland Hotel...

Or in Main street and in Fantasyland...

One of the most amazing "vegetation theming" success at DLP is obviously in Adventureland. Frankly, when the park opened 17 years ago i would not have bet that a lush "tropical" vegetation was possible in Adventureland. The park is located in an place where it's reaaaaly cold in the winter but the genius of WDI vegetation specialists succeed over all expectations. Bamboos and other tropical trees are now so high that in some areas it's a real jungle!

Let's go back to Main Street where guests are now welcome again by the Main Street marching band. Quite a while since the last time i saw them, i think they're only here during summer season.

On Central Plaza the Mickey's Magical Party show is now entertaining the guests in the afternoon and it seems that DLP visitors really enjoy the show.

However, something less cool is also happening now at DLP. And considering that we are not in winter but at the top of summer season it was hard for me to believe that such a thing was possible.

Until last year, and just like in any other Disney theme parks, the attractions were open until the park's closing time. But this year a lot of attractions are closing before park's closing time, and considering that it was a week-end day in july AND that the park was closing at 11pm it was unbelievable to see that a LOT of attractions were closing at 6 or 7pm, i.e four or five hours BEFORE closing time!!! Let me tell you which one - the time indicated below is the closing time for each of them:

The Nautilus : 5.30 pm ( FIVE hours and 30 minutes before park's closing time! )

Honey i schrunk the audience ( and this one is not a "B" ticket! ) : 6 pm !

Frontierland's Riverboat: 6pm (it normally closes at sunset, but right now the sunset in Paris is not at 6pm but 9.30pm!)

River Rogue Keelboats: 7pm

Story Book Land: 7pm

Casey Junior: 7pm

Alice's Labyrinth: 7pm

Snow White: 6pm

Pinnochio's attraction which is next door close at 10pm but is NOT open before 3pm!!

Autopia: 9pm

Star Tours: 10pm

Swiss Robinson Tree: 10pm

And ALL Adventureland AND all Fantasyland are closed at 10pm, the "alibi" being that the areas must be clear for the 11pm fireworks.

Which means what? It means that from 7pm there is only Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor with also the Keel Boats open in Frontierland, POTC, Indiana Jones and the Swiss Robinson tree in Adventureland, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Dumbo, the Tea Cups and It's a Small World in Fantasyland, Space mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours and Autopia in Discoveryland. A total of 15 attractions. Which may seem okay as all the major rides are still open, but we must remember that we are in July, a week-end day, right at the top of the high season! Also, as the Walt Disney Studios are closing at 7pm it's not possible to move in the second gate for the rest of the evening.

And, believe it or not, from 10pm there is only 5 attractions open in the whole park! Incredible.

Of course it is deliberately done to save money but if we look closely, most of the attractions which are closing early do it at 7pm, i.e almost at "dinner time". And if visitors want to see - and wait - for the night parade and fireworks but already did all the big E-Tickets what can they do? That's right: just go to have dinner and spend money!

This would happen in january or february where park's attendance is low i will understand, but a week-end of July, it's a shame, really. Let's hope that enough visitors will complain at City Hall so this will not happen next year...

The only good news in all this is that all the money the park will save will hopefully be use in the next big attraction...which leads me to the second part of this update.

DLP 20th Anniversary E-Ticket Attraction

Forget about Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure or the Little Mermaid, the next Disneyland Paris big E-Ticket will be the Ratatouille attraction! This awaited E-Ticket which will be build at the Walt Disney Studios has been approved by the park's management and it's now confirmed - not officially, of course - that Ratatouille will be DLRP 20th anniversary E-Ticket.

For a cost estimate between $120 M and $150M this is a unique attraction which will exist only at DLRP, and that's good news. Located where stands now the costuming building or more probably right behind it, WDS guests will have access to the new facility thanks to two roads, one from the Toon Studio and the other one going through a small tunnel at the west exit of Toy Story Playland.

Of course expect on the outside some Paris decor, but also inside the building as the queue line decor will put the guests on the rooftops of Paris with breathtaking height feeling, thanks to forced perspective. I don't know why, but i'm ready to bet that Gusteau's restaurant sign will be include in the rooftop skyline - or on the outside facade...

Guests will then board in what will be probably LPS controlled vehicles - the same technology used at the TDL Winnie the Pooh attraction - and will be "reduced" at the size of Remy. No Mighty Telescope here, but a ceiling probably as high as the one inside Pirates of Caribbean as WDI imagineers will build giant decor to give us the feeling that we are as small as a rat.

The ride will begin inside Gusteau's restaurant kitchen where we will be chased by some of the cooks and especially Skinner, the chef. I don't want to tell you too much about the storyline to don't spoil you the ride, but what i can tell you is that the ride itself will not follow the chronological order of the movie scenes, although WDS visitors will be pleased to find some of the key scenes from the movie.

Of course we can expect Audio-Animatronics figures during the ride. As guests are supposed to have the size of a rat, any rat Audio-Animatronic will not be a problem (in terms of dimensions), but what about human figures which in all logic should be gigantic to respect the proportions. Well, WDI imagineers found an intelligent answer to this problem and sometime we will see - just like Remy in the movie - only the legs of a cook...

Or sometime only a giant face like the one of Skinner.

Considering that the LPS technology will allow the vehicles to don't follow a track and to have more freedom for the vehicle's movements including 360 degrees rotation i think it's fair to say that we can expect a real major E-Ticket, the great dark ride which was missing at the WDS.

Now, it's time to remember that 2012 will be indeed the WDS 10th anniversary but also the 20th anniversary of the Disneyland Park. The WDS will have a major attraction with Ratatouille, but what can we expect in the first park? Certainly not another big E-Ticket like the Little Mermaid as the park can't afford two $150 M attractions. Of course they can create new shows or parades but it's hard to imagine a Magic Kingdom 20th anniversary with no attraction at all. Nothing of course is announced yet so what will follow is pure personal prospective, but may be Star Tours 2 could be a good candidate for Disneyland Park 20th anniversary attraction. The cost will be probably affordable - not cheap, but certainly under $100 M - and in 2012 the new Star Wars live TV series will be aired on TV channels all over Europe which could be perfect on a marketing point of view. So, for now, i will put my bets on this one and we will see what the future will bring!

O-Kay, that should do it for today!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Pictures: copyright Disney-Pixar or Disney and more

Laaaast call for the Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book , signed edition !

As a lot of my D&M readers asked me if my "Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality" book is still available, here is everything you need to know if you want to order one of the last signed copy of this beautiful book. Please note that NO re-printing of the book is scheduled, and these last available copies may be the REAL last one!

Even at the park where i was two weeks ago, it was impossible to find a copy of the english edition. When i asked at the Storybook store if they had the english edition, i was told that they were out of stock.

So, if you don't have it yet and don't want to miss this 320 pages and 750 pictures book - including 250 renderings from Walt Disney Imagineering, i'm afraid to say that it's may be now or never...

As i am one of the two authors of the book, I will personnaly sign EACH copy with a special dedication to you or anyone you wish if your purchase of the book is for a gift.


Price for one copy of the english updated edition is 87 Euros + 15 Euros for shipping.

If you have a Paypal account you can proceed to the payment by paypal - paypal payment must be sent to the email adress:

Important: Note that the price is in Euros, not in U.S $, so you have to choose the "euro" currency when you do the paypal payment.


Price for one copy of the english updated edition is 87 Euros + 15 Euros for shipping.

If you have a Paypal account you can proceed to the payment by paypal - paypal payment must be sent to the email adress:

Important: Note that the price is in Euros, not in U.S $, so you have to choose the "euro" currency when you do the paypal payment.

Please confirm me your purchase of the book and payment with an email at:

And, of course, thanks to confirm me your order and payment AND the shipping adress by email at the email adress:

If you don't have a Paypal account, a bank wire transfert is possible, just let me know.

As i am the one who designed the book, i'm not really at the good place to send compliments about it, but if you are a reader who already own the book, please leave a comment at the end of the article to let other readers know what you think about it.
Previous comments can be read at the bottom of this page where the article below was previously posted.

So, here is a little description of the book, now - See below some pictures of the book pages - click on each of them to see the photo-montage pictures in big size.

The book is a gorgeous "coffee table book" with 320 pages and 750 pictures - of which 500 are park and attractions photos and 250 are Walt Disney Imagineering renderings!

The size is 9 x 12 inches, all pages are in color and it's hardbound with a glossy dust jacket. The text (by Disney historian Didier Ghez), was written after more than 75 interviews he conducted with all the Imagineers who created the park. He goes into just about everything you wanted to know about this unique place that many describe as the best "Magic Kingdom" ever created by WDI.

It took five years to create the book, but it was worth all the time we spent on it, and the book looks just as good as we had hoped for at the beginning - in fact Imagineer Bruce Gordon told us that it was "probably the best book ever done on a Disney theme park". Coming from Bruce who did with David Mumford the great "Disneyland, The Nickel Tour" book, it was more than a compliment.

The first chapter about Main Street has 52 pages and introduces the reader to the "legend" of Main Street, USA. You'll learn all about the Disneyland Paris Railroad, the unique "Discovery" and "Liberty" Arcades; find out about the architecture, the restaurants (like "Walt's," a tribute to Walt Disney, but also inspired by Club 33 in Anaheim) and the shops; with dozens of photos, renderings, models, and reproduced for the first time here, all the "cities of the future" posters located in "Discovery Arcade."

The second chapter on Frontierland discusses the park's western side with extensive sections about its major attractions, "Big Thunder Mountain" and "Phantom Manor." In fact the book has the longest sections ever put together in a book on all the major attractions. The Pirates of Caribbean section in the Adventureland chapter is 26 pages, Phantom Manor has 16 pages devoted to it, as does Space Mountain, it's a small world, etc. The photo material was so great that we kept adding more pages to the book, which was supposed to have only 240 pages when we started... we ended up with 320 upon completion!

The Frontierland chapter also covers the Mark Twain, the River Rogue Keelboats, Fort Comstock, all the restaurants, the shops and Cottonwood Creek Ranch.and featuring stunning photos of Disneyland Paris from the air by Yann Arthus Bertrand, author of The Earth from Above that make spectacular "double-pages," and allow the reader to discover the park from a whole different angle.

The Adventureland chapter is even more interesting, as many elements of the land exist only in Paris - such as the Bazaar and Aladdin to Africa and the ex-"Explorer's Club." Plus there's a long section about "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril," "Adventure Isle" and "The Swiss Robinson Treehouse" and, of course, "Pirates of Caribbean" the land's major attraction and featuring its amazing Audio-Animatronics! All in all there are 56 full pages about Adventureland, and as in the previous chapters, there are dozens of photos, lots of concept art, and many shots of Imagineers at work. There's even a great bonus here, with the Marc Davis artwork for "Pirates" also included.

56 full pages are also dedicated to Fantasyland. There's an extensive look at Sleeping Beauty Castle, sections on all the dark rides (Snow White, Peter Pan and Pinocchio), as well as a look at "Alice's Curious Labyrinth," the "Mad Hatter's Tea Cups," "Storybookland," and "Casey Jr." There are even 14 pages about "it's a small world" with stunning photos of nearly all the scenes in it. Here the reader can discover a new attraction that exists only at Disneyland Paris, with a great view from above of Alice's Labyrinth.

Discoveryland also gets 52 pages of special treatment, with sections on the Visionarium, the Nautilus, Star Tours, Space Mountain, and everything you wanted to know about the other attractions in this land – Autopia and Orbitron. In fact the Nautilus chapter takes you on a visit with photos of every room of this detailed walk-through and two double page photo spreads, one which makes you feel you're inside Captain Nemo's grand salon, and the other showing you a unique view of Discoveyland featuring the Nautilus and Space Mountain in a kind of "CinemaScope" view.

When the book was released in early 2002, the Walt Disney Studios didn't exist, so you won't see them in the book. But there's still one last chapter about the hotels of the park, and Disney Village too, with the great Buffalo Bill Wild West show that entertains hundreds each evening.

And because every day in a Magic Kingdom should end with a parade and fireworks, we have the Main Street Electrical Parade that close the book, with an Herb Ryman gorgeous painting!

Photos: copyright Disney

The Disney's California Adventure that never was !

Today, i found in my Disney "archives" a press kit that was sent to me in 1996 by the Disneyland press office. It's a presentation of the "future" Disneyland Resort and what was going to be, some years later, Disney's California Adventure.

Everything is there, the Entrance, the Animation building, Soarin', the Grizzly raft ride, the Grand Californian hotel, etc...but if we have a close look to the renderings, nothing look like what we know. It's a Disney's California Adventure that never was!

Let's have a look first at the rendering on the cover of this six-pages brochure. It is supposed to be the entrance of the park. The monorail is still passing through, but no Golden Gate, etc...And this giant golden spire was supposed to be the icon of the park, just like Sleeping Beauty castle can be for Disneyland.

Now, if this giant spire looks familiar to you, dear readers, it's normal. You just saw it four days ago in my Westcot article - see the Westcot rendering below - and this spire was probably one of the rare reminiscence of the Westcot project in this early DCA concept-art.

But all is not lost in this "entrance" rendering. If we have a look at this picture of the model of DCA future new entrance, we can see that, here too, there is some reminiscence of this first DCA entrance concept-art. But the giant spire has disappeared forever.

The next page of the brochure was introducing the new Disneyland Resort, and i suggest you to double-click on the image to read the text.

As we are going to see, the next page is very interesting, too...

The Art of animation building looks totally different than the one we know...

And it's the same for the Soarin building, very different, too.

Even more interesting are these two renderings. Not only the Grizzly rafts don't look like the one show here, but we are still waiting for an "abc" attraction!

The master plan on the next page may look familiar...

But if you have a close look to the DCA section, you will notice that big changes were done in the final version, beginning by the water canals...

Next page is interesting, too. The buildings on the rendering with the monorail were never built, and even the Grand Californian hotel had a different architecture.

The last page who show the redesign of Walnut Street and Katella Blvd is may be the most accurate with the final result, though...

We know the rest of the story, and how DCA finally had a totally different look, but i thought it was interesting to share with you this first vision of the park. We are now all waiting for the third "vision", and hopefully, this time, it will be the right one!

Artwork and brochure: copyright Disney

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Toy Story - Toy Story 2 3D Trailer !

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will be released in 3D on October 2 in U.S theatres- and only for two weeks!

Pixar did a special trailer for this new TS/TS2 release and U.S audiences of G-Force will enjoy it in 3D. But as you will see below the 2D doesn't stop it to be fun and fully enjoyable.

Picture and trailer: copyright Disney-Pixar

An Incredible Treasure: Disneyland 1954-55 construction videos !

When i saw The Disney Blog's article on monday, i knew i had to let you know about this great find. I wanted to wait two days before i did my article, but as Blue Sky Disney and Disney Report and probably other web sites are now talking about these incredible Disneyland videos, so here i go!

To be perfectly clear, i'm talking about these amazing Disneyland construction videos released on Youtube in five parts of almost ten minutes each. Frankly, it's an amazing treasure, and as all treasures its find happened with a bit of luck with the discovery of a reel box with "Disneyland movie" written on it. Inside, all - or almost - the 1954-55 building of Disneyland, thanks to cameras that were placed up on towers at different places of the park. Using time-lapse and traditional eye-in-the-sky photography, this is a dazzling piece of history, presenting how the fearless construction crews had Disneyland up and running in just under a year.

It's totally fascinating, really. A pure miracle, as you would have never expect to see one day what you will see now. A Disneyland fan dream-come-true! What is the most surprising for me is that these Youtube videos were uploaded 8 months ago and nobody noticed them before! Anyway, better too late than never, especially when it's a treasure like this with commentary by Tony Baxter and Ed Hobleman and Walter Magnuson.

So, get a drink and some good tapas, sit well and enjoy the movie, you won't believe your eyes. And don't close them, if you want to see Walt himself riding his bicycle all around the future Tomorrowland!

Edited: In fact, some of you told me that all this wonderful footage is part of the special features of the Disney Trasures DVD: Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic.
So, it is not as rare as i thought (!) but it's great anyway!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Pictures and videos: copyright Disney

Many thanks to theeditor84 for this unbelievable treasure!
Editor's Note: Don't miss Al Lutz new update on Mice Age! It's all about Disneyland, the new Fantasmic dragon and how Captain EO may finally come back in the park for Halloween season!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ultimate Toy Story toys to be released this fall

A little topic about merchandise today, as launched the "Toy Story Collection". What, you say, after all these years of Toy Story toys they release AGAIN some Buzz Lightyear or Woody action figures? Yes they do, but these are not any action figure, they are the "Ultimate" interactive Toy Story toys, the one that any Toy Story fan was waiting for since the first release of the movies!

Let me tell you more about three of them. First, of course, Buzz Lightyear. Released in September and soon available for pre-order, this 12" "highly detailed, definitive collectors deluxe edition Buzz Lightyear figure is the most accurate replica yet produced and includes lots of fantastic features! He's fully articulated, lights up, has sound effects, speaks using the original voice and can even respond by talking and moving his head when you talk with him".

More details? Here they are. This 12" Buzz includes:

- In Talk Back Mode, Buzz talks back and moves his head when you speak to him
- 65 sayings in original voice
- Press buttons to hear ''Buzz Toy'' phrases and Space Ranger phrases
- Open helmet or communication panel to hear related phrases and sound effects
- Press button for flying mode and pop-out wings with light-up tips
- Level sensor knows when Buzz is in a horizontal flying position or standing and responds with specific phrases
- Poseable fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, waist, ankles, knees and legs
- ''Laser'' button activates forearm light and sound effects
- Buzz knows when you're shouting and responds!
- Film accurate paint details, using original Disney/Pixar digital data files
- Glow-in-the-dark green trim

Price for this ultimate Buzz Lightyear produce by Thinkway Toys is $65

The new Woody - also $65 - is 15" high and is also pretty cool. Here are its features:

- Pull string to hear 50 sayings!
- He knows if you're shouting or talking quietly to him and responds accordingly to the tone of your voice
- Soft rag doll body
- Film accurate paint details, using original Disney/Pixar digital data files
- Includes stand to display Woody
- 15'' H
- Sized to ride the Andy's Toys Collection: RC Car, sold separately

Also release is the REX 13" action figure with features including motorized arms and head. Just like Buzz and Woody and when you'll talk to him he will respond with movement and speech in the original voice from the movie. Also $65 and available for pre-order.

I've kept the best one for the end, and this one is the real "ultimate" toy Story toy! This ultimate Buzz Lightyear will be a 16" tall robotic figure and will also be available this Fall for $130-$150. With 100 different phrases and interactive games, he will have different motions via a 15 command controller. Just like the other toys Buzz will answer you when you will talk to him. Have a look to the Gizmodo video below.

Buzz Lightyear Robot Toy from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

Looks pretty cool isn't it? Not as cool as the big Buzz Lightyear AA in the Buzz attraction pre-show, but almost!

With the upcoming release of Toy Story 1,2 and 3 movies - not to mention the Toy Story Playland attractions at the WDS and HKDL - it's not difficult to understand why they release this "Toy Story collection" right now. But for Toy Story hardcore fans these new "ultimate toys" - who never looked so close to Andy's original toys - could be a real good news.

All pictures: copyright Disney