Saturday, July 31, 2010

Editor's Note: Please note that due to high-res pictures in the Toy Story Playland Preview article below, D&M front page might be a bit long to load. Thanks for your patience!

New Cars Toon : Monster Truck Mater !

I don't know if you like them but personally i love the Cars Toon animated series. I'm a big fan of Cars and awaits the new movie to be released next year - as well as Cars Land in DCA, of course. Last night a new Cars Toon short called "Monster Truck Mater" was released on the U.S Disney Channel. Mater is supposed to be a super-star wrestler called "The Tormenter" and his team partner is "Frightening McMean"!

As usual, it's very funny and you can watch below the full short animated.

Also, jump on the Upcoming Pixar web site to read a great interview of Cars Toons Co-Director Rob Gibbs.

If you enjoy Disney and more, thanks for your support!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WDS Toy Story Playland Preview

Disneyland Paris had the good idea to organize for webmasters fans sites a special preview last monday of Toy Story Playland at the Walt Disney Studios. We couldn't shoot pictures during the visit inside the land so you still have to wait two more weeks for a full pictorial report, but i succeed to find on DLP forums pics posted by forum members to illustrate this article, not to mention videos filmed from outside the land.

Soooo, how is this new Toy Story Playland? Honestly, it's good, and it's even better than i expected, really. WDI Imagineers did, i think, a great job and those of you who were disappointed by TSP renderings or model pictures - specially the one for HKDL displayed during the D23 Expo - should have a good surprise when this new land will finally open on August 17th. By the way, it's also a good news for HKDL fans which will have their own Toy Story Land next year. My message to them is this one: don't worry, you will like it!

Why is it good? First, because it's bigger than we thought. And not only the land itself, but also the ride structures. Whether it's "Parachute Drop" or "RC Racer" DLP fans will be amazed by the size of these brilliantly themed carnival rides. Two, it brings a lot of vegetation in a park which desperately need some. Three, the theming of the whole land is very intelligently done and definitely give to WDS guests the feeling that they are reduced at the size of a toy.

The visit of the land was done by Imagineer Dominique Hammond but, first, Dominique shows us the giant TSP model which is currently backstage. Here is some pictures of it which were NOT shot during monday's presentation (as well as the other model pictures you will see below). As always the quality of WDI models is very impressive and i always have a lot of respect for the people doing these models as i know it's exactly the kind of thing i would not be able to achieve myself!

Then, we've been with Dominique Hammond - in two separate groups - inside the land itself and as i've told you previously a giant Buzz Lightyear stands at the entrance of the land. This four meter high Buzz will talk to the guests - but no Audio Animatronic face here. Buzz transparent dome will light up as well as the laser beam on his right arm, and a lot of different phrases were recorded so don't expect Buzz to say twice the same thing! In the storyline, Toy Story Playland is supposed to be Andy's backyard, where he put his toys, and Buzz will welcome WDS guests to enter it...while Andy is not there. That's why you'll find giant shoeprints in the ground - these are Andy "shoeprints".

Also at the entrance and all along the land guests will see these wooden structure like the one below - inspired by the famous Tinker Toys - as well as multi colored festive lights which should give an interesting lighting at night during the winter months when night falls at 5PM.

The first attraction on the left is Parachute Drop. The 80 feet high tower is really impressive and green toy soldiers are everywhere: inside the cockpit of the plane at the entrance of the ride - on which is painted the attraction name - near a giant talkie walkie, up inside an observation tower, and of course inside the army "Emery Camp" - a tribute to Emeryville where are located Pixar Animation Studios. Also at the left of the entrance a nice photo-location with a huge sky backdrop and a parachute.

There is six parachutes, in each one six WDS guests will be able to sit, which means 36 guests for each ride and in fact WDI have pushed the limits - technically speaking - as this kind of carnival ride usually takes "only" 18 guests. So, 36 guests at the same time for this kind of ride is a premiere.

Here is two high-res videos that i've filmed last monday from outside the land, on two different angles. These are high-def videos so definitely watch them in full screen mode. And all the sounds that you'll hear are from the attraction with the toy soldier yelling "Go, go, go!" as well as the sound of a plane passing by.

The next attraction, this time on the right, is Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin. Imagineers used big Lincoln Logs to theme the entrance of the attraction and a giant Slinky Dog toy box on which all paintings are nothing less than hand made paintings, beautifully done. Here too, everything looks bigger than expected and it's also at that point that the road which goes all along TSP have a gentle slope. Which means that the third and last ride - RC Racer - is on a slightly lower level than the two first one. This gives an interesting perspective when you look back and, again, reinforce the feeling that everything looks big - and you, small! Also close to this ride, a giant rubber ball, originally seen in Pixar's first short animated movie "Luxo Jr".

All this lead us to the last ride "RC Racer" which also have the tallest structure - and i mean really tall! RC Racer is a 80 feet tall half-pipe coaster with only one vehicle - a greatly themed RC Racer - in which 20 guests will load. The car will go up and down thanks to a magnetic field and, frankly, i'm sure that it will be very impressive when the car will reach the top of the track!

The queue line has been calculated for a 90-120 minutes queue - DLP Imagineers surely have learned from Crush's Coaster long queue line which is usually so long that it goes outside of the attraction. The floor of it is designed like a Skalextric race track and guests will also find in the decor a Dinoco gas station and inside the load/unload building elements like the one you find inside a model box.

There is no doubt that RC Racer is Toy Story Playland "thrill" attraction and we can expect long line on this one. Above and below, some pics of the track shot from the Tram Tour Station, and also one where you'll see the vehicle in test mode - thanks to Vrogui from Disney Gazette forum. Note that the top elements of RC Racer track themed like a Hot Wheel track will be added as soon as the tests will be over, probably next week.

The RC Racer area is also the place with a lot of vegetation as Imagineers used huge trees which are part of a hundred years old forest. Also, Toy Story Playland is surrounded by giant bamboos and as i've said, all this vegetation is very welcome. Outside RC Racer, and near the second exit, a giant Rex awaits WDS guests. Rex is supposed to have half-size of a real TRex and he is also talking and for sure will be a favorite photo-location. Guests will then exit TSP walking through a blue monkey barrel - in fact the monkeys are hanged outside the barrel. The top of the barrel is located nearby and inside guests will find a merchandise shop as well as cool drinks .

I've kept for the end these great aerial pics shot last week by Jolly Roger - a DLP fan who have his own plane!..

...and two videos shot from the Tram Tour where you'll see a bit of TSP through the bamboos as well as the RC Racer vehicle in test mode. The first one is in high-def.

One more thing (as Steve will say): we've also seen the "Paris street" located on the right of TSP. It's perfectly themed like a Parisian street with lampost, benches, cobblestones in the ground, etc...and there is definitely no doubt at all now that the Ratatouille dark ride is coming soon to the WDS. Not only the face of Chef Gusteau is engraved on the arch located at the other end of the blue monkey barrel but Remy's face is also everywhere on the benchs, etc... Dominique Hammond kindly refused to confirmed or even talk about the Ratatouille ride but the 20+ webmasters who were there last monday knew exactly what to think of all these not-hidden-at-all Ratatouille signs. See you in two years for this one.

So, i think this Toy Story Playland is very good news for the Walt Disney Studios and i'm pretty sure it will be instantly popular. My only concern is about the lenght of each ride. I think we can expect at least 45 minutes wait for each ride and the length of the new attractions will be one minute and a half for Parachute Drop and Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin and one minute only for the RC Racer thrill attraction. I know that you will think it's too short but, honestly, there was no other way for the Imagineers to have longer rides.

See you in two weeks with lot of pics of the land and in the meantime don't forget to check my special offer below on the great Disneyland Paris book!

If you liked this article, thanks for your support!

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

Pictures: copyright Alain Littaye - Disney and more, Vrogui, Jolly Roger, Disney.

Videos: copyright Alain Littaye, lowiic9

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

Editor's Important Note: I was at the park last week and i was wondering if they still had copies of the english edition of my Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book and at my big surprise they don't have any more copies of the english edition! I asked them to have a look in their computer and DLP's computer keep saying that it's out of stock. This mean that i'm the last person with DLP's book english edition available and i don't have a lot of them, may be 10 copies, not more... As the publisher don't plan to re-print the book it means it's really the last copies and it's a bad news, but those of you who don't have yet this great book still can order it to me, have a look to the special offer below.

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 and Shipping: 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, July 28, 2010

Great Disneyland 55th Collectibles by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily

The great Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily who did fantastic collectibles items for Disneyland 50th anniversary created new collectibles for DL 55th anniversary!

If you remember all the great collectibles items that Kevin and Jody created for Disney five years ago you should be - just like me - enthusiastic to learn that they're back with these new 55th Anniversary collectibles just as good as the one they did for the 50th. Some are already available now, others will be released this fall. Here is a selection of these new items with the description coming from The Art of Disney Parks website.

First one, picture above is a great sculpture of the Rocket to the Moon sculpture:

Rocket to the Moon

Artists: Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily

Medium: Resin and Metal

Edition Size: 500

Retail: $165

Dimensions: 22" tall x 10" deep x 6-1/2" wide

Release Date: July 20, 2010

This replica (one of five nostalgic attraction vehicles in honor of Disneyland parks 55th Anniversary) will be signed by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily. Released Tuesday, July 20, 2010.

Early Concept Jungle Cruise Boat

Artists: Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily

Medium: Resin and Metal on Wood Base

Edition Size: 500

Retail: $225

Dimensions: 12-3/4" long x 5-1/2" tall x 4-1/2" wide

Release Date: Fall 2010

Legendary Disney designer Harper Goff is best known for creating the world's most fantastic submarine, the Nautilus for Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. But his creative touch can be seen all around Disneyland, as well - most notably along Main Street, U.S.A., and in the jungles of Adventureland. The little canopied launches that cruise the world's exotic waterways were first conceptualized by Harper in 1954. His early sketches show vessels more rugged and "travelled" than the shiny bright boats that appeared at Disneyland® on opening day.

Based on Harper Goff's original concept, Kevin and Jody's scale replica of the Amazon Belle looks as though it may have crossed the Mekong, borne the rains of the Irrawaddy, and survived the rapids of Kilimanjaro a million times before. It's absolutely the perfect thing to display in your study next to your shrunken head collection.

This item, celebrating Disneyland® parks 55th Anniversary, will be released in the fall.

Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland

Artists: Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily

Medium: Metal and Resin on Wood Base

Edition Size: 500

Retail: $TBD

Dimensions: 14-3/4" long x 7" tall x 4" wide

Release Date: Late Fall 2010

Disneyland "Runabout" ("Walt's Car") Replica

Artists: Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily

Medium: Metal and Resin on Wood Base

Edition Size: 500

Retail: $225

Dimensions: 6-1/2" tall x 7-1/2" long x 5" wide

Release Date: Fall 2010

Walt Disney loved to show visitors around Disneyland®. Imagineer Bob Gurr designed four little electric "Runabouts" especially for Walt to use when touring the Park with family, friends and celebrities. Bob recalls, "Walt was always smiling happily when he was at the tiller of "his car."

This replica (one of five nostalgic attraction vehicles in honor of Disneyland® parks 55th Anniversary) will be released in the fall.

Kevin and Jody also designed great collectible figurine like this one of a...

Adventureland Skipper

Artists: Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily

Medium: Resin

Edition Size: 500

Retail: $85

Dimensions: 10-1/2" tall x 5" wide

Release Date: Fall 2010

The brave (and wisecracking) skippers of the world-famous Disneyland® Jungle Cruise have undergone many costume changes over the decades. Early jungle fashions included split-sleeve "Sumatran Boatsman" shirts, highwater trousers and...sandals!

They did two other great figurines related to Main Street and Tomorrowland, jump on the Art of Disney site to discover them!

All pictures: copyright Disney

Monday, July 26, 2010

Asia: The Theme Parks battle is about to begin !

I went back from vacation last friday, and as usual i had a choice of magazines when i entered in the plane. So, i choose the last issue of TIME magazine and also another one called ASIA News. And the big surprise was on the front cover not only with Mickey and Schrek, but also the title: "The Battle of Theme Parks"!

Incredible, i thought. I'm going back home and theme parks news are "falling from the sky" before i even asked for them! In this long and interesting special report ASIA News reporters details the theme park battle which is about to begin in Asia. Well, as a matter of fact it already began with the new Universal Studios Singapore but in the next years South Korea should have three new theme parks from Paramount, Universal and MGM, China is awaiting Shanghaî Disneyland, India will have a Bollywood theme park, etc....

So, below, you'll find the full ASIA News report, starting with the first article called "Mickey vs Schrek". Just click on each page to get them on bigger scale, the reading will be more comfortable.

The next article in this interesting special report is about Hong Kong Disneyland. HKDL financial results are not fantastic yet but it's a bit logical as the first of HKDL new attractions will open only in 2011 with Toy Story Land.

Next article is avout Universal Singapore and a interesting list of all the upcoming theme parks in Asia and South East Asia. Strangely, they forgot Shanghaî Disneyland but perhaps it is because the final opening date is not officially announced yet.

One thing is sure: in the next five years theme parks development in Asia is going to be huge. And it'll be very interesting to see who will win the battle which is about to begin!

All pages: copyright Asia News

New Haunted Mansion Movie ComicCon Poster

You've probably heard that a new Haunted Mansion movie directed by horror film maker Guillermo Del Toro was announced at San Diego's ComicCon two days ago. I'm pretty sure that Del Toro is a certainly a good choice, and the same day Disney Studios unveiled the poster below which was a limited edition. 999 prints were printed for 999 San Diego's ComicCon lucky fans.

Brandon Ragnar Johnson is the artist who designed this poster and as you can see he has put the Hatbox Ghost front and center in this work. It's interesting to note that Guillermo Del Toro confirmed that the new Haunted Mansion movie will focus on the Hatbox Ghost character.

All we have to do now is to wait for the movie but in the meantime here is for all of you who couldn't attend the ComicCon event this collector's poster. Just double click on the picture below to get it in high-res.

Picture: copyright Disney