Saturday, February 6, 2010

Universal Studios Singapore is racing against time for a Chinese New Year opening

Here is a new update on Universal Studios Singapore and its opening date. Before i go further, here is a special request: If you are a Disney and more reader living in Singapore, owner of a good digital camera, and intend to be at Universal Singapore on opening day please contact me by email at: as i am looking for a photographer to shoot pictures of the park's opening. Any help from my Singaporian readers will be appreciated!

In my last article i told you that the park said they were waiting for the Singapore Government authorization to open the park? Well, they've finally got a government authorization this week, but it's for the Casino opening!

So, Resorts World Sentosa which include Universal Studios Singapore has been awarded its casino licence and for sure that's the authorization they were waiting for. I strongly doubt they were waiting for a government authorization to open the park but they were indeed waiting for the casino license as it will be the real money maker of the resort. With the Chinese new year coming on February 14th and big Chinese gamblers expected for this celebration it was urgent to get this casino license, and now they have it.

The grand arch at the park's entrance and ticket booths (below) are ready to welcome the guests...but the park is not open yet!

So, nothing should stop now the theme park opening, you ask? Well, normally yes, but truth is that Universal Singapore is fighting against time to have all attractions ready for a Chinese new year opening. Universal Creatives are working from 7a.m to 10p.m to test all the rides and last week they put the final touches on the Jurassic Park Ride. Right now it's not sure the park will open for the Chinese New Year as not enough Rides are fully operational.

I know that strong rumors keep saying that USS will open this week - and even I told you they were looking for a soft opening on February 11 - but if they do so, chances are there will still be 4 or 5 Rides that won't be open. Not only there is always the last minute details but there are many layers of testing for each attraction and some of the rides haven't gone through all of them. In two words four or five rides are not totally safe yet. May be they will be this week, may be not. Some of the rides are really complex and let's hope that Universal won't decide to open the park anyway including these not-totally-tested rides simply because they don't want to miss the Chinese new year event.

However, the good thing is that Universal is generally very strict on these security issues and that's the right thing to do.

In the meantime final touches are done, including last minute technical problems like the one that happened last week on the famous Universal Studios Globe at the entrance of the park.

However, visitors can have access to other areas of Resorts World Sentosa like the Festive Walk and its fountain, here shoot at sunset.

More update about Universal Studios Singapore opening coming soon, but don't miss my next article later this week where we will talk about the NEXT Universal Studios theme park in Asia and how it might not be the one that everybody is expecting for in South Korea...

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

All pictures: copyright Mark Lim

Friday, February 5, 2010

D&M Innoventions : Walt Disney " PolaDroids" Pictures

We all remember the fantastic Polaroid pictures and their unique colours. The digital era arrived and changed everything and soon even if you still own a Polaroid camera, it will not be possible anymore to realize Polaroid pictures. Simply because the Polaroid Co will stop this year the fabrication of the legendary Polaroid photographic paper...

And then arrived PolaDroid, a magical and FREE little software. Created by Paul, obviously a big fan of the old Polaroid era, PolaDroid allow you to give to ANY of your digital pictures "Polaroid" colours in a few seconds. Suddenly, the picture you took last year will look like a 1960's picture, bringing you back in time, with colours that no camera is doing anymore. To give you an idea of how it looks here is some famous pictures of Walt that i've put through the PolaDroid application.

Above, Walt in Main Street surrounded by Disneyland guests in the 1960's. Below, Walt presenting the Man in Space TV series.

Next picture is of course Walt standing in the Tiki Room.

A famous - and great - picture of Walt aboard the Disneyland Railroad.

Walt and the famous tiger who appeared during Walt's TV shows.

Probably the most famous picture of Walt walking under Sleeping Beauty Castle before Disneyland's opening day in 1955. The original picture is in black and white but the PolaDroid app can also transform your B&W pictures.

Walt holding the Jungle Cruise boat model.

Walt and his brother Roy.

Before Disneyland's opening, Walt with the Jungle Cruise AAs.

Walt and Indian price minister Nehru in late 1950's on the Jungle Cruise boat.

Walt and disney Legendary Imagineer John Hench at WED Enterprises.

Another famous picture of Walt Disney.

Walt and the famous Mouseketeers during the recording of a TV show .

Walt in one of his last TV appearance announcing the WDW and Epcot project.

As you've seen this PolaDroid application can create amazing effects, now here is how it works, and it's extremely simple: First go on the PolaDroid web site HERE and download the application which works both for Mac and PC. The PolaDroid software is free, but if you wish to do a donation to his creator it will be highly appreciated. Once you've installed the application, you launch it, and a little Polaroid camera will appear on your screen. Now, all you have to do is to choose any of your digital picture, and drag and drop it on the Polaroid camera. That's all you have to do, can't be more easy, isnt'it?

Ten seconds later a little picture will come out of the camera, and just like the real Polaroid pictures, it'll take the photo 2 to 3 minutes to appear! Actually, you'll see it appearing little by little, just like with the real Polaroids. Once it's done, the picture in big size and jpeg file is waiting for you in the "Images" folder of your computer. Very easy, very fun, very magical. So, go ahead, try this amazing PolaDroid application, and enjoy it!

You can also read a previous article i did one year ago about the PolaDroid app using pictures of the parks HERE.

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

Pictures: copyright Disney, National Geographic

Disney Legend Walt Peregoy Exhibition is now open at the Chocolate Bar, Encino, California

Just wanted to remind you that the Walt Peregoy exhibition at the Chocolate Bar is open since last monday. Here is an exclusive picture of Disney Legend Walt Peregoy standing in front some of his paintings at the exhibit.

The exhibition last until February 27 and it's a rare chance to see great paintings from a Disney Legend. So, if you live in California don't miss it!

You can read my previous article with many pictures HERE. The The Chocolate Bar is located 17312-A Ventura Blvd, Encino, California.

Picture: copyright Julie Svendsen

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Walt Disney Studios : The Hollywood Boulevard Illusion

Since mid 2009 Disneyland Resort Paris is on Google Earth in 3D, and so are the Walt Disney Studios. It's pretty well done and thanks to it i'm able to show you today what i call the WDS Hollywood Boulevard illusion.

Guests enter the Hollywood Boulevard at the exit of the Studio 1 and anybody who has been to the WDS since 2007 know what i'm going to show you. So, this article is more of interest for those of you who have never been at DLP's second gate.

So, when you exit the big WDS Studio 1, just in front of you is the Walt and Mickey statue and, behind, the Hollywood boulevard with its art-deco buildings. And at the end of it, the big Hollywood sign with, behind, the Tram Tour station. If you stop from this point, at the Studio 1 exit, looking towards the Hollywood Boulevard, it looks like it is a 150 meters long street. As we are going to see it is not at all that long.

WDI Imagineers used in fact both the technique of forced perspective and the famous optical illusion of trompe l'oeil paintings. The first buildings are real, in 3 dimensions. But the buildings at the end of the street are not, they're totally flat and attached to a metallic structure behind. When you walk closer to them these buildings at the end on the right and left begin to look smaller. And not as long as they were looking when you saw them from the Studio 1 exit...

And of course, as soon as you're moving behind them you discover the trick and the metallic structure holding them.

The trick is an old theatre technique and WDI Imagineers used it previously for the same kind of illusion specially for the New York Street of Disney's Hollywood Studios and also at Disney's California Adventure. But because it is perfectly well done it always works well, even if you see it from above.

But when you're in the park in the small street in front of the Tower of Terror you can see that the last buildings don't look real...

To come back to the question of the length of this Hollywood Boulevard, which, i remind you, looked like a 150 meters street when you saw it from the Studios 1 exit, the picture below will show you that it's in fact probably not more than 35 meters long from the beginning of the "boulevard" to the Hollywood sign!

While we are flying over the Walt Disney Studios thanks to Google Earth, here is a last interesting picture. The big land with no building and plenty of grass in the foreground is exactly where is currently built Toy Story Playland opening next summer. The Tram Tour station is very close to it, and they will probably move it in the future when the Hollywood Boulevard will be expand, but for now the station is staying here.

As you can see this Google Earth 3D of the park is very detailed and it's a great way to have a look at the park while you're at home. And at least the sky will be always sunny and perfectly blue!

Make sure to read below my special offer for the awesome Disneyland Paris book if you don't own it yet. Not only you will order the best book ever done on a Disney theme park, but your purchase is also a great way to bring your support to Disney and more!

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

All pictures: copyright Google Earth, and Disney for the 3D buildings.

Looking for a great Disney book ? Then, the Disneyland Paris book is the perfect gift for any Disney fan !

If you're looking for a great gift to offer to anyone you love - including you! - my "Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality" book with its 320 pages and 750 pictures - including 250 renderings from Walt Disney Imagineering - would be a GREAT gift for any Disney fan!

I still have copies of the book, and, as i am one of the two authors of the book, each copy will be sign specially for you or anyone you wish. Of course, don't forget to tell me the name to whom you wish i dedicate the book.

An important note before i go further: If you're not in a rush to get the book, choose the flat shipping option (also indicated below) which usually takes between 3 to 6 weeks delivery (depending if you're living in Europe or in the U.S) and is also much less expensive.

And now, here is a description of the book and everything you need to know 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!


Price for one copy of the english updated edition is 87 Euros

About the shipping:

IF YOU'RE IN A HURRY TO GET THE BOOK: Air-mail shipping (3 weeks delivery) is 25 Euros.

IF YOU'RE NOT IN A HURRY TO GET THE BOOK: Flat shipping (5-6 weeks delivery) is 15 euros.

If you have a Paypal account you can proceed to the payment by paypal - paypal payment including your choice of shipping 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.

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

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


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!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nighttime Spectacular “Fantasmic!” will premiere in 2011 at Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary

The good Disney news of the day is coming from Japan as Tokyo Disney Sea has announced that nighttime entertainment spectacular “Fantasmic!” will premiere in April 2011 to kickoff the yearlong celebration of the Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary, which is September 4 2011. The nighttime show “BraviSEAmo!” currently being presented, will end on November 13, 2010 in preparation for the new show.

Taking place at night in Mediterranean Harbor, the show which represents an investment of approximately 3 billion yen for the Oriental Land Co will feature Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice who creates a breathtaking world of wonder and imagination. The show features fantastic scenes from many familiar Disney films such as Aladdin, Cinderella and Finding Nemo, as well as a thrilling sequence of Mickey fighting a gigantic dragon.

Filled with special effects using water and fire on the waters of Mediterranean Harbor, this dramatic 20 minutes show promises a night of unforgettable fantasy and excitement for all. Performances of “Fantasmic!” will continue to be presented after the Tokyo DisneySea 10th Anniversary celebration ends.

I remind you that Mickey's Philarmagic will also premiere in 2011, but at Tokyo Disneyland, as well as the Cinderella walk-through inside Cinderella’s Castle which will tell the story through dioramas and paintings a bit like the Sleeping Beauty walk-through at Disneyland.

Well, we'll probably never have "Fantasmic!" at DLP Walt Disney Studios but at least the Japaneses will have it! One thing is sure: if you're planning a trip to Tokyo, 2011 will be a good year to visit the Tokyo Disneyland Resort!

Picture: copyright Disney - Oriental Land Co

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - New website, First TV Ad, and more

As it is the major theme park opening for 2010 we've talked a lot about Universal Studios Singapore recently but this year will see another Universal major opening with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. Today Universal opened a new interactive Wizarding World of Harry Potter website and when you'll have finish this article i strongly suggest you to have a look at it HERE.

And next Sunday is Superbowl day! On this occasion Universal will reveal the first TV Ad for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opening this spring. Good news for everyone not living in the U.S who will not be able to watch the Superbowl as you will find this exclusive TV Ad right below!

Let's have a look back to what we know thanks to high-res pictures. Recent pictures of the land released on many websites reveal the stunning Hogwarts Castle decor...

...and any Harry Potter fan probably can't wait to walk through the gates of this magical place. Inside the castle guests will make their way through familiar passageways and corridor and visit inconic locations like Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement and more! Located in Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey will be a thrilling new state-of-the-art attraction that uses entirely new technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced. Get ready to soar above the castle grounds as you'll join Harry Potter and his friends, coming face to face with an array of magical creatures!

At the entrance of Hogsmeade village covered by snow, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station...

Guests will find The Three Broomsticks restaurant and adjacent Hog's Head pub. They will serve traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice.

Across from the Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery

They will also have access to the magical Ollivander's Wand Shop, perfectly recreated.

Inside the shop will be an incredible interactive experience where the wand chooses the wizard!

Have a look to this short video which will tell you a bit more about what you can expect when you'll visit the magic shop.

This other video explore in details what guests will find at Hogsmeade village.

Before exiting back into Hogsmeade, "Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods" will be full of Ministry of Magic and magical creatures merchandise, Omnioculars, and even remote control Golden Snitches...

The big E-Ticket ride "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" will use the Kuka robot arm technology and is still quite secret but i remind you that we already know about the Flight of the Hippogriff, a family coaster simulating a Hippogriff training flight over the grounds of Hogwarts castle, near Hagrid's Hut.

Another expected coaster will be Dragon Challenge, a dueling coaster with many elements from the Triwizard Tournament. Here is a picture showing the entrance...

...and a close shot on another rendering reveal more about Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff area.

Let's end with this update with a two parts video report from Central florida on Demand shoot last year.

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

All pictures: ©2009 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved

Video: copyright Central Florida on demand