Saturday, May 28, 2011

Editor's Note: FOUR new topics this week-end, with news from Disneyland, DCA, Shanghaî Disneyland and Universal Singapore! And those of you who wants more Star Tours 2 videos can jump on my Star Tours section where i have embedded three interesting new videos. Also, if you're looking for the Little Mermaid ride video, just scroll down!

Universal Studios Singapore Grand Opening Celebration !

It should have happened one year ago but it happened finally: Universal Studios Singapore had today its Grand Opening celebration! After one year with many problems all rides are now working, including the Madagascar flume ride - see a new full ride video below - and later this year the highly awaited Transformers ride.

Talking about the Transformers ride Universal announced this week that the new attraction based on the 1.6 billion dollar Transformers movie franchise will be a simulator attraction, with cars travelling for a quarter of a mile, and rising 60ft in the air. The ride will last for five minutes, and 20-30 minutes of story telling will be built into the queueing time, similar to the way it is done at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Orlando.

Another good news as it was announced today that three more brand new attractions will open in 2013 at Universal Singapore, and two of the three attractions will be unique for the park! Now as you might want to have a look at the grand opening here is the video of it filmed in HD by the Sentosa Blog.

As usual in this kind of Grand Opening celebration many celebrities were invited including Jet Li, Paula Abdul, Maggie Cheung, Fantasia Barrino and Vicki Zhao Wei Lead and the Sentosa Blog have more exclusive videos of them so jump to his site to have a look!

You can also see a photo report od USS Grand Openin on Dejiki Nicholas web site HERE.

The Sentosa Blog also filmed this new video of the Madagascar flume ride which seems to me to have a better filming than the previous one i have posted one week ago. have a look!

The Transformers ride is definitely the next interesting attraction to open this year and i'll keep you informed of its opening! In the meantime if you missed my previous grand pictorial report about the park, jump HERE!

All videos: copyright Sentosa Blog.

Shanghai Disneyland Gets Loan From Twelve Chinese Banks

Here is some news about Shanghaî Disneyland! Financial news, in fact: Twelve Chinese banks have signed a syndicated loan deal with Shendi Group, Disney Co's local partner, for the construction of the Shanghai Disneyland theme park, the Xinhua News Agency reported late on Friday.

It did not mention how big the loan was but said the lead lenders were China Development Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Bank of Communications. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China are co-leads of the loan. Other participating banks include China Exim Bank, Bank of Shanghai , CITIC Bank , Huaxia Bank and Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank.

As you know, the deal to build the $3.8 billion resort, recently approved by the Chinese central government, gives 43% of the project to Disney and 57% to a trio of state-owned businesses, collectively known as the Shanghai Shendi Group. The project's costs--and profits--are to be divided along those proportions.

Wow, that's a lot of banks. Now that they've got the money, they have to build the park and let us know more about it!

News From Reuters

Artwork: copyright Disney

Friday, May 27, 2011

Imagineering Video Previews Goofy’s Sky School at Paradise Pier

Disney Imagineering has posted a new video which preview the new Goofy’s Sky School at DCA, introduced by WDI Imagineer Larry Nikolai. The attraction is a little bit late and won't be ready for June 3 but more probably early July and it's look cool. Have a look!

Video: copyright Disney

Disneyland Mickey's Soundsational Parade Premiere - HD Video

Along with Star Tours 2 and the Little Mermaid ride, guests of the June 3rd press
event will experience the new Disneyland's Mickey's Soundsational Parade. The parade in fact already began at DL and you'll find below a "full parade" video filmed by Asianjma123

Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily the two great artists who creates unique Disneyland collectibles items also worked on the design of the parade and you can read moe about it on Kevin's blog HERE.

Video: copyright Asianjma123

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure Full Ride Video !

That's it, here is the first video of the Little Mermaid Ariel's Undersea Adventure full ride and the ride is a Wow! The HD video filmed by Asianjma123 is excellent and of course if you're planning to do the ride at DCA anytime soon it's better to don't watch the video as it is a giant spoiler.

That said, it is a really charming dark ride in the grand Disney dark rides tradition, with state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics. If you expect this - and not an attraction like Pirates of Caribbean or Haunted Mansion - then you won't be disappointed at all.

However, the only thing that seems off is the transition from the Kiss the Girl scene to the end finale. A big climax scene with the death of Ursula would have been welcome as the ride ends a bit abruptly. Let's hope that this missing climax scene will be added in the WDW version. Otherwise the whole ride looks pretty solid.

But we must congratulate Tony Baxter and all the WDI Imagineers as they did a fantastic job on this ride! Now, if the ride could come to Disneyland Paris in the future, that would be great!

Enjoy the video, and most of all watch it full screen!

Picture and Video: copyright Asianjma123 whom i thanks a lot for his perfect filming!

Hong Kong Disneyland Expansion Update Video

...And in the meantime what is happening at Hong Kong Disneyland? The video below will show you at what point are the works on the three new attractions and mini lands. I remind you that the first attraction to open will be Toy Story Land, which will be followed the next year by Grizzly Gulch and then by Mystic Point.

Picture: copyright Andy Castro

Video: copyright michael20183

Disney opens today in London biggest - and interactive - Disney Store in Europe !

Disney has unveiled its new Disney Store in Oxford Street, London, and it will be the biggest in Europe when it opens today! The 8,200 square-foot store is twice as large as the previous Oxford Street store and has taken two years to plan and construct. The centrepiece of the store is a 28 foot high castle which sits in the middle of the store and is the first thing to be seen when walking in.

But the new Disney Store is more than that at it is in fact part of the new generation of Disney Store designed by WDI Imagineers and which includes interactivity elements for guests! This is the tenth shop in Europe to be built on the new Disney Store concept, with the new design set for a worldwide roll-out.

The store uses the latest state-of-the-art fully-customisable technology including animated trees, and cartoons on the walls and music which are adjusted by an iPod Touch handheld device controlled by a member of staff. The store will begin each day with an opening ceremony in which one child will be chosen to use a giant key to open the rope barrier, with Tinker Bell appearing and spreading pixie dust on the showpiece castle.

Jonathan Storey, Disney's marketing and guest experiences director, said: "We really wanted to make this store more than just a place to buy merchandise. The castle really does signify what Disney is all about. This really is our showcase centrepiece.
"Being the Walt Disney company, we're primarily an entertainment company. While it's important to have great products we wanted to entertain out guests at the same time. We thought, 'How could we entertain children and families?' The idea was to create the best 30 minutes of a child's day."

Other interactive experiences for children include the Disney Princess Magic Mirror. By waving a wand in front of the mirror, youngsters can watch short stories appear before them from princesses Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Tiana.

At the "Disney Theatre" guests can choose from 50 clips and trailer in an electric atmosphere and let's not forget the "Imagination Explosion" where Tinker Bell magically appears and children have to help her banish the villains hiding in the store. It involves lot's of bell ringing so children will love this one. Finally, the store is scented with the brand new Disney fragrance called (you guessed it): Imagination!

It looks great doesn't it, and my hope is they will build a Disney Store like this in France very soon, although i wouldn't be surprised if we found some of these interactive elements in the huge Disney Store opening next year near the entrance of the Disney Village at Disneyland Paris.

A first video showing the castle at the entrance of the store is already available on Youtube and here it is below. You'll see on it the pixie dust and projection effects on the castle, probably the same effects that guests will see each day during the store opening ceremony.

More videos showing this new Disney Store will probably be available very soon on Youtube and you can count on me to post them as soon as available.

This next video is showing a young girl moving in the store while she experience the "magic mirror".

Picture: copyright Disney

New Disney Parks video promote DLR "Soundsational Summer"

Disney Parks released a new video to promote the "Disney Soundsational Summer". You'll find in it some footage about Star Tours 2 and the new Disneyland “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” BUT also new footage of the Little Mermaid attraction! Have a look!

Video: copyright Disney

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Editor's Note: I've got a great article for you today, thanks to an exclusive interview of Jonathan Gordon who is the ride designer of this incredible Star Wars "warring coaster" concept! You will be amazed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All about the Incredible Star Wars "Warring Coaster" Patent

Two days ago wdidreamer, a member of forum, posted the pictures above and below from a U.S. patent supposedly filed by WDI last year. The title of his thread was "After Star this what's next?" and almost instantly members of WDWMagic forum were amazed by what looks like an incredible Star Wars dueling roller coaster concept.

There was just a little problem: this patent filed last year is NOT a WDI patent! So, if this amazing concept was not designed by WDI Imagineers, who did it? A closer look at the patent reveals that it was filed by someone named Jonathan Gordon. And, yes, if you call WDI switch board they will confirm that there is no Jonathan Gordon working at Imagineering, so it's definitely not a WDI patent. I really wanted to know more about this mysterious and exciting Star Wars concept and I finally found the web site of Jonathan Gordon – – a company that "offers new and innovative amusement rides and attractions for customers that demand the latest and greatest". Their rides are based on proprietary designs that they develop in-house. They work "with the finest engineering and manufacturing firms in the amusement industry to ensure the creation of a product that is second to none".

That sounds good, so I decided to give them a call hoping to talk with Jonathan. Luck was with me, as it was Jonathan himself who answered my call. Jonathan kindly accepted an interview and provided me with precious details about his Star Wars roller coaster concept. As you can see on the pictures above and below, the concept looks like a dueling coaster but in fact it's more than that, it is a "warring coaster" which Jonathan on his web site describes like this: "The Warring Coaster concept takes an armed conflict from a film or a story and allows riders to live it. Through the use of multiple trains on multiple tracks, giant themed arenas, animatronics, interactive laser gun systems, and much, much more, the Battle of the Death Star* from Star Wars* roars to life! This is the ultimate in themed rides and roller coasters combined."

Well, it certainly looks like the "ultimate ride" and on the patent drawing above you'll see that the coaster can have up to six different tracks with six vehicles moving simultaneously. The launch would be done by linear induction or linear synchronis system and the vehicles would reach 50 miles per hour in a few seconds. And because this warring coaster is designed with a Star Wars theme, the vehicles - I mean, the fight - will be between X-Wing fighters and Tie Fighters! Each vehicle will have six seats, and each guest will be able to use a mounted laser gun to shoot at the "enemy". Each hit will be counted and will appear on the fighter’s screen, and in addition to the usual lap bar there will a grab bar which will be helpful to guests if they need to steady themselves while they are shooting.

One of the questions I asked Jonathan was about the size of the X-Wings and Tie fighters. When you look at the drawings of the X-Wing fighter above and the Tie Fighter below, the vehicles look huge and I wondered if it was possible to have such big vehicles on a coaster track. According to Jonathan it would not be a problem as long as the vehicles are light enough. If we take the X-Wing fighter, for instance, the wings would be made of fiber glass over an aluminum frame with minimal steel reinforcement, and of course the important "middle" part of the vehicle frame and structure will be in steel.

Still, when we look at the drawing with its incredible tracks and considering the large size of the vehicles I couldn't stop thinking that this indoor project will require a huge facility and Jonathan confirmed that his concept indeed requires a huge building. But the best is yet to come, as this building would be fully themed so that the epic battle between X-Wings and Tie Fighters would take place over the surface of the Death Star and inside the famous Death Star trenches - yes, the same trenches in which the final battle happened at the end of the first Star Wars movie (Episode 4) or also in Star Tours 1! You can see in the drawing above where it is written "Main Trench". You'll note also the words "Millenium Falcon" which indicates that Han Solo’s fighter should be included in the decor.

Another great idea - a genius idea I must say - is the one related to the queue. As there will be two "teams" riding at the same time, guests will be divided – they will either join the "rebels" and board an X-Wing fighter or they will join the "Empire" and board a Tie Fighter - they will be directed down two different paths and in each of them they will have access to Death Star or Rebel Fleet ship turrets - as such, the queue decor will be "inside" the Death Star or a Rebel Fleet ship. Each turret will be equipped with laser guns AND using these laser guns guests in the queue will be able to "fire" at the roller coaster vehicles as they enter the Death Star trenches! On the drawing below the numbers 406, 410 and 416 represents the locations of some of the turrets guns.

Each hit from the turret guns to the vehicles would tally additional points which would be counted in the final count. At the end of each ride, depending who is the winner (based on the number of points), either the Death Star will "explode" - with the use of lighting and pyrotechnic effects - or, if the Empire wins it will be the rebel planet base which will "explode" thanks to projection effects.

Isn't it an amazing concept? It surely is, but, as with each concept, there are also some difficulties which would need to be resolved. For example, how the guests would board each vehicle, especially the X-Wing fighter. Jonathan imagined a system where the upper wings could be moved down to make the boarding easier, as shown on the first drawing on items 516 and 526. Technically, Jonathan is pretty sure that everything he designed in this ride can be done. Of course the biggest problem would be the cost of the ride. To give you an idea, at WDI this kind of ride would cost probably around $150M, or less if it was built by someone else - not to mention the cost of the important licensing rights to Lucas Film Ltd. The huge facility would cost a lot, too. The ride hour capacity could be also a problem, especially considering the inevitable tremendous success of this Star Wars ride concept. Even with six tracks, considering that each of the six vehicles will embark six guests that makes 36 guests only for each ride, and considering that it would be probably a 3 minutes ride that makes an hour capacity of 720 guests which is indeed not enough. However, the patent notes that a proper block-section design could allow for multiple vehicles to run on each track at the same time, which would resolved this hour capacity problem.

Regardless, it is a fantastic Star Wars attraction concept, and probably just like you, I wish to see it becoming real as soon as possible. Jonathan unfortunately can't propose his concept directly to WDI as Imagineering generally doesn’t accept concepts coming from the outside but who knows, if Georges Lucas himself happens to read this article and love Jonathan's ride idea then we might ride this Star Wars roller coaster in the future!

All pictures and patent drawings: copyright GordonRides, LLC 2009 - all rights reserved

* Death Star, Star Wars are trademarks of their respective owners who do not endorse GordonRides LLC, nor are they in any way connected with GordonRides. Concepts presented in The Warring Coaster are the subject of several pending patent applications owned by Jonathan Gordon, the principal of GordonRides.

Monday, May 23, 2011

POTC 4 Box Office : $346M in five days !

The box office of Pirates of Caribbean in just phenomenal: the movie, released since only five days - three days in the U.S - has already a box office of $346M - $90M in the U.S and $256M in the rest of the world!

As i've said in my review the movie is not bad, it's just that the POTC 1 is still the best of the series. But i'm not sure it deserves to make so much money in such a short time. However, as Disney is probably "happy happy" with these numbers i think we can bet easily on a POTC 5 in two years from now. Let's just hope that the next one will be as good as the first one!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two New Star Tours 2 Full Ride Videos - Hoth / Death Star, Kashyyyk / Coruscant Sequences !

Just posted on the D&M Star Tours 2 section two new ST 2 "full ride" videos - with also some footage showing the pre-show. The first one is showing a different beginning than the other full ride video embedded two days ago in a previous article - here it's the Storm Troopers beginning instead of the Darth Vader one. The first destination" is also Hoth but the second destination is different - it's the Death Star sequence with the Boba Fett chase - and the ending is different too. We also see more shots of R2D2 as Starspeeder pilot! And the second one is showing the Kashyyyk and Coruscant sequences with another different ending!

Both are of course giant spoilers but if you want to watch them, jump HERE.

Picture: copyright Disney-Lucas Film Ltd