Friday, May 6, 2011

POTC Update ! Jack Sparrow AAs coming at DLP POTC for the 20th Anniversary, Blackbeard projection effect replaces Davy Jones at DL, and more...

A big POTC update to end the week, and a great news as i can confirm that Jack Sparrow Audio-Animatronics will be installed at DLP Pirates of Caribbean for the 20th Anniversary! More about this below but before let's begin by the big news that was announced by WDI Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald today (and also revealed by Jim Hill earlier this week): "Captain Blackbeard will make his appearance on the ghostly waterfall in the grotto scenes of the park attractions beginning May 20, coinciding with the release of the new film, “Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides,” in which Ian McShane plays a starring role."

In two words, it means that this new Blackbeard projection effect will replace the Davy Jones projection effect BUT as Tom also says in his Disney Parks article; Davy Jones (will come back) later this year. Does it mean that they will regularly change the two characters on the ghostly waterfall - or will they install another "waterfall"? We'll see this later this year but for now, Disneyland fans will be happy to learn that something new is coming in the POTC ride in less than two weeks from now. More about this in Tom Fitzgerald article HERE.

Tomorrow is the day of the big POTC 4 Premiere at Disneyland and they've built a fantastic stage and a "90-foot-wide, six-story-tall motion picture screen on an island created especially for this event"... well as "a state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater – fully carpeted with stadium seating – is being built right on the Rivers of America just outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction".

For sure it's going to be a memorable evening and as soon as videos of the event will be uploaded on Youtube i will embed the best of them on Disney and more, so be sure to come back this week-end to watch this!

Talking about POTC, the movie, you may have read that screenwriter Terry Rossio has just turned in his script this past weekend to Disney for a planned fifth POTC movie. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Johnny Depp said "It boils down to story, script and filmmaker,"..but the actor isn't clamoring to jump back into the puffy shirt until a little time has passed after Pirates 4. He didn't relish the brutal schedule that saw him making Pirates 2 and Pirates 3 back-to-back in order to meet studio-mandated release dates in summer 2006 and 2007, respectively. "It's not something where I would say, 'Let's shoot it next month to get it out by Christmas 2012,'" he says. "We should hold off for a bit. They should be special, just like they are special to me."

And if you want my opinion, i think that Johnny is right. There is no good reasons to rush for a POTC 5, the most important thing is to take all the needed time to make sure it will be a good movie.

Let's come now to the other big news of this POTC update: Jack Sparrow audio-Animatronics will be installed next year at DLP Pirates of Caribbean, and this will include the Barbossa AA in the Pirate ship AND the "ghostly waterfall" projection effect, just like at DL and WDW.

I told you before that new effects were envisioned inside Phantom Manor and Big Thunder Mountain but for now - and unfortunately - these are on hold. In terms of enhancements on classic attractions, only POTC is sure for the 20th. No decision has been taken yet on Star Tours 2 for DLP - which doesn't mean that it won't happen as they still have time to change their mind.

So, where will they put the Jack Sparrow AA inside DLP POTC? According to my good sources Tom Fitzgerald apparently decided that the AAs will be placed at the same scenes that you can see them at DL or WDW. Which means that in 12 months from now Disneyland Paris fans will be able to salute Captain Jack Sparrow near the "mayor in the well" scene, hiding behind the clothes...

...and also a bit later in the ride, popping out of the barrel...

...and of course near the end of the ride for his final appearance. As the big treasure scene in DLP POTC is not the perfect place to put Jack's AA it seems that his Audio-Animatronic will be placed just in front of the treasure scene, on the left side, where you can see now the two skeletons drinking wine. They have more room to put this last scene with Jack AA there and it's quite logical.

Barbossa Audio-Animatronic will also appear on the pirate ship, except if in the meantime WDI Imagineers decide to replace him by a Blackbeard AA, which would make sense - and, by the way, why not having both of them?

But where DLP Imagineers will put the "ghostly waterfall" either with Blackbeard or Davy Jones projection effect? At Disneyland, the projection effect is inside the caves. But at DL the caves scenes are at the beginning of the ride, at DLP they are at the end. As it is better for the storyline to have it at the beginning of the ride and not at the end DLP Imagineers have decided to put the ghostly waterfall effect during the first lift, i.e right after the blue lagoon scenes, when we climb up inside the sunken fortress. Whether they will put it at the beginning, in the middle or at the top of the lift i can't tell you, but from what i know this is where the ghostly waterfall effect will appear next year inside DLP POTC.

My only regret is that Tom Fitzgerald didn't decided to put one Sparrow AA in the duelist pirates scene. That scene is unique and only exist at DLP POTC and it would have been great to see Captain Jack swashbuckling in that scene. Technically speaking it is pretty easy to do as they only have to change the head, hands and clothes, but apparently the reason why they will not do it is because these two AAs can have technical problems and when it's the case they usually put a curtain in front of them which means that in this case we will not see the Jack Sparrow AA. It's a good reason i admit, but, still, i think they should do it.

I'm sure this 20th Anniversary news will delight DLP fans - although i'm also sure some will think it's a sacrilege to the original ride - but whether you like it or not Captain Jack is coming at DLP POTC next year. AND, as Johnny Depp is living in France when he's not on a set i won't be surprised to see him at the Jack Sparrow AAs inauguration when it will happen next year, just like he did at Disneyland in 2006 on the video below!

All pictures and video: copyright Disney

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WDW Posters - Original Creations by Stefan Lawrence

Stefan Lawrence is a big fan of Disney and more and a brilliant graphic designer from Brooklyn, New York. He designs posters, logos, and just about anything else. Of course he love Disney theme parks (and a good theme in general) and in anticipation of both Destination D in Orlando and the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, he designed a series of minimalist posters for each of WDW parks.

Stefan kindly authorized me to post them on Disney and more, so here they ar and i hop you will like them as much as i did!

Stefan is also working on a poster series where he's making vintage Disneyland-style posters for modern attractions. He sent me the new one he just did for Star Tours and you can see it on my Star Tours web site HERE.

Since 2006, Stefan has been working freelance, under the name Stefan Rules!!! for such companies as Time Warner, Mother, Lexis Nexis, Drillteam and Iris, to name a few. Through the years, he has created designs for Nike, Nintendo, Smirnoff, Johnson & Johnson, Virgin and Dell, among others.

In addition to corporate and agency work, Stefan loves to design for the creative community. He’s an active member in the legendary sketch comedy group Elephant Larry, and has designed for many of the best comedians in New York. If you’re in a comedy group or a band, he’d love to hear from you and you can contact Stefan through his web site at where you'll see more stuff. Tou can also follow him on Twitter @stefanpatrik if you want updates on his posters creations, and more!

Posters: copyright Stefan Lawrence

Cars 2 celebrates the Royal Wedding !

While i was in London, Pixar - who obviously have a perfect sense of timing - released these new Cars 2 artworks related with Cars 2 London sequence. And because it was the week-end of the Royal Wedding, most of the artwork is related to London areas between Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. The first artwork below shows Buckingham Palace regal "Knighting Room".

In Cars the famous Mall - where 100.000 of people were waiting last Friday for William and Kate - is transformed in a racetrack ...

In this next artwork Mater, Lightning McQueen and Topper Deckington III are stucked in a London traffic jam.

Even Big Ben - renamed Big Bentley - and the Houses of Parliament have a special Cars 2 treatment!

Pixar also released the Queen Cars character turning table video...

Finally, here is a special Cars 2 trailer with London sequences and here it is below!

Pictures and video: copyright Pixar

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Real Fairy Tale, in a Real Kingdom

I'm back from London and let me tell you that these five days were absolutely amazing! The atmosphere in London, the old Victorian city, the heart of the British Empire, was incredibly electric, everyone was awaiting the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton and it was beyond all expectations.

If you didn't watched the Royal Wedding live on TV i strongly recommand you to jump at the Youtube Royal Channel HERE as you will not see something such incredibly perfect like this every day. Only the British can succeed such an event full of pageantry.

The whole city was prepared for the royal event whether it was near Westminster Abbey and Big Ben...

...or on Regent Street...

...and of course on the Mall, the large avenue leading to Buckingham Palace

Even the shops had their windows themed on the "wedding", like Harrods, London famous elegant store.

In front of Westminster Abbey or on the Mall, Prince William and Kate fans came and slept in their tents three days before the wedding...

In front Of Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey huge structures were built for TV channels from all around the world...

And then the big day arrived. There were so many people on the Mall that at 10am it was already impossible to access it as all the streets were blocked by the Police who asked everyone to go at Hyde Park where they could watch the wedding on giant screens. More than 100.000 people were at Hyde Park and the four panoramic pictures below will give you a better idea of how many were there. Click on each to enlarge the pictures.

Here is a short video filmed when William and Harry appeared on Buckingham Palace balcony and also when the WWII Lancaster and Spitfire planes fly over us after they fly over Buckingham Palace to celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

But what was extraordinary on that great day is this: it was a real fairy tale. Just like the one in the old Disney animated classics, but for real. A real fairy tale, in a real kingdom. The wedding of a real Prince with someone who was not coming from another royal family, but from an ordinary one and who, one day, will be Queen. Kate is for sure beautiful, but just like in Cinderella her and Wiliam also still have the innocence of the youth.

It's very rare, in the world we're living now to have the privilege to watch something like this, and i think that the reason why these hundred of thousands of people were there last friday was because everyone wanted to make sure that fairy tales still exist.

And it was a triumph.

Pictures: copyright Alain Littaye or Disney