Friday, November 18, 2011

HKDL Update : Toy Story Land Grand Opening !

Toy Story Land had its official Grand Opening in HKDL two days ago. D&M was there and i have for you exclusive pics as well as official pics and also videos.

The opening ceremony was staged at the entrance of the land in front of the 6-meter tall giant Woody and with the RC Racer structure in the background. The opening show began with the green army soldiers.

Then arrived Woody and Jessie...

...Followed by HKDL execs and WDI Imagineers to declare officially open Toy Story Land.

From right to left on the picture below: Andrew Kam, Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort; the Honorable Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Mr. Shao Qi Wei, Chairman of the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China; the Honorable John Tsang, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Bill Ernest, President and Managing Director, Asia Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Mr. Philip Yung, Commissioner for Tourism of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Joe Lanzisero, Creative Senior Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering.

Now, as you may like to see a video of this TSL opening, here is a short one from ITN News.

The always good michael20183 uploaded yesterday this good TSL walk-through video and it will help you to see precisely where-is-what.

And now, what's next for Hong Kong Disneyland after Toy Story Land, you ask? Well Grizzly Gulch is planned for next year and Mystic Point for 2013 and this new video uploaded yesterday also by michael20183 will show you at what point are the works on the two upcoming lands.

See you soon for a new HKDL update and if you didn't download yet the HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
- the direct iTunes link is HERE - it's not too late to do it!

Pictures: copyright Disney or Disney and more

Happy Birthday, Mickey !

He don't look like but Mickey Mouse, born November 18, 1928, is now 83! Through all these years his appearance changed and from the 2D animation of Steamboat Willie or Fantasia to his latest CGI 3D style, Mickey has succeed to stay younger than ever!

With Walt he was there at the opening of Disneyland, and when Walt was saying that "it all started with a mouse" we all know what mouse he was talking about...

Since Disneyland opening Mickey was there every day, in any Disney theme park in the world. The character costume also evolved through the years but the latest innovation and without a doubt a magical improvement is the "talking Mickey" that WDW guests can now experience. And the 1.2 version is better than ever and really impressive as you will see in the video below.

So, Happy Birthday, Mickey, and see you soon in the parks and, hopefully, on screen!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Star Tours 2 : The Adventures Continue Coming to Tokyo Disneyland Spring 2013

You were the first to learn about it last month when i revealed that Star Tours 2 was coming to TDL and today it's officially confirmed by Oriental Land: Star Tours 2 is definitely coming to Tokyo Disneyland and will open Spring 2013!

Jump on my Star Tours 2 website for more details about it, including TDL official press release.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pixar's " Brave " First Trailer

The first trailer of "Brave" - Pixar's next animated film - is now online and you can watch it below. I'm curious to know what you think about it. Why? Because at first sight it looks more like a WDAS movie than a Pixar movie. But a trailer being only a trailer let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

And by the way, do you know the names of the three Scottish characters below? They are Lord MacGuffin, Lord Dingwall and Lord MacIntosh!

Picture and video: copyright Disney - Pixar

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Transformers Ride Visual Effects : The Challenges of Industrial Light and Magic

On December 3rd, Universal Studios Singapore will launch the highly awaited Transformers ride and Universal promise that this motion thrill ride will showcase "the most advanced evolution of immersive theme park entertainment". Universal Studios Singapore will celebrate the Transformers world premiere at an exclusive evening event on December 2 and Michael Bay, director and executive producer of the blockbuster movies who also served as the attraction’s creative consultant, will be there to help commemorate the opening.

Now, more about the ride itself: The Transformers ride will feature 12 scenes, comprising sets blended seamlessly with hyper-realistic 3-D digital media and special effects to bring tactile realism to every moment. Guests will be unable to discern illusion from reality as they get transported onboard advanced motion-based ride vehicles into the Transformers universe, and partake in the ultimate 3D battle against the Decepticons right alongside the Autobots.

Enlisted as NEST recruits, guests are tasked to help the Autobots protect a remaining shard of the ALLSPARK – a powerful energy cube that gives life to the Transformers. As the Decepticons attack the facility in a bid to obtain the shard, guests will be introduced to a new Autobot – EVAC – created exclusively for the ride.

New to the Autobots family, EVAC is a stealth transportation Autobot stationed on Earth designed to transport personnel and classified materials at hyper speeds. For the ride, park guests will board EVAC and begin the ride of their lives, zipping through subway tunnels, down city streets and across rooftops, with the Decepticons hot on their heels. "Park guests, especially fans of Transformers, will be thrilled as they come face-to-face – and be transported – by an Autobot. This epic ride experience will allow guests the opportunity to truly “Ride The Movies".

And it's no one else than Industrial Light & Magic, the famous Lucasfilm division, which produced the ground-breaking visionary special effects and 3-D images exclusively for the ride. Artists that had worked on the Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie and understood its style also contributed to the ride. Jeff White, visual effects supervisor at ILM says:

"In many ways, creating the media for TRANSFORMERS The Ride built upon the pipeline we have developed for the film’s visual effects but for this project there were a few added twists and challenges. The screens on this project were so large and immersive they required us to render at 8k, four times the resolution that we normally render at.

The process began with a lengthy pre-visualization phase where we collaborated with Universal Creative and creative consultant to work out the main beats of the story that would take us through the ride, all with a focus on making it the best interactive guest experience possible".

"We then used a combination of photography from Chicago and completely digital environments to create the backdrops for the action and seamlessly integrated it into the practical sets. Following which was a lengthy and complicated animation process where we worked out the timing of the characters actions and how they interacted with the cameras to make sure it provided the best experience on the motion simulator. Finally, we added lighting and fx simulation for all the dust, papers, explosions and debris to make sure it felt the films.

The Singapore division of ILM did almost all of the work on the pre-show media as the guests enter the facility. They are an extension of our facility and were able to use the same assets, rendering and compositing tools we do in the US. Additionally, since they are where the ride was being installed, they were an invaluable resource to interface with the Universal Studios Singapore to get any information and data that we needed as it was being built.

There were many unique challenges in the making. For instance, instead of a flat screen we have in the ride 12 different screens in various shapes and sizes. The most complicated were the torus screens which were completely immersive and required rendering a 180-degree field of view. Also, each shot on the ride had to take the viewers angle on the screen into account so that as they approached the screen the perspective feels natural.

This required complicated camera blending from the moving ride into our virtual world and we worked very closely with the motion programmer at Universal to make sure it was a seamless blend."

The ride which open December 3 in Singapore will open next year at Universal Hollywood and i have the feeling that the ride should be as memorable as the Spiderman ride at IOA. In less than a month this should be confirmed.

Pictures and video: copyright Universal Studios Singapore or Lucasfilm Ltd.

New Toy Story Toon " Small Fry "

A new Toy Story Toon is on its way to premiere with the Muppets movie later this month. and Pixar released a 30sec clip of it. It's called "Small Fry" and the story line of this new short animated written and directed by Angus MacLane is "A jealous ‘Happy Meal-type toy at a fast-food restaurant yearns to break out of his glass display case to play just like a real toy. He kidnaps Buzz Lightyear in an attempt to take over his play-filled existence".

In a U.S.A Today interview writer/director Angus MacLane says: "It's like the Prince and the Pauper tale for toys. Except one of them happens to be 3 inches tall." The life-reversal forces the real Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen, to deal with a support group for discarded, unloved fast-food toys. "These toys' existence is about being really popular before the meal and then being totally forgotten about," MacLane says. "And sometimes they don't even get played with. "Though Buzz doesn't fit into the group, he has trouble exiting. "There's something funny about having the action hero have to deal with something very mundane like escaping from an awkward social situation," MacLane says. "To me, that's funny."

Allen and Toy Story regulars Tom Hanks (voicing Woody, who, naturally, immediately notices the switch), John Ratzenberger (Hamm) and Joan Cusack (Jessie) return for this seven-minute short and, to me, the story line sounds like one which has all the material to be pretty funny, so i'm curious to see this new short animated when it'll be released. In the meantime, here is 30 seconds of it!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney - Pixar

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hong Kong Disneyland From Above - Exclusive Pictures

Keith Lee, a faithful Disney and more reader sent to me these great aerial pics of Hong Kong Disneyland, shot just one week ago from an airplane. Not only the pics are great but you'll be able to see HKDL as you've can't see it usually, except of course if you're lucky enough to be aboard a plane flying over the park, and on a sunny day. All the pictures are big files, so don't hesitate to click on each to enlarge the pictures and explore them in details.

Here is a first picture showing the whole park. You'll notice on the right the "natural" coast. As you may know where the park is now was the sea ten years ago, they literally create the land just like they did in Tokyo. However WDI Imagineers tried to avoid some mistakes that were done at TDL and began to create the land earlier before construction began on site. This was to make sure that the land will be totally dry to avoid some problems that apparently happened at some TDL buildings many years ago because they didn't wait enough to have the land perfectly dry before they began TDL construction.

To help you to locate where-is-what here is the same picture with all what you want to know.

Here is another good pic shot by Keith Lee.

The lake on the bottom right of the next picture is HKDL "Inspiration Lake" where HKDL residents can come to rest, enjoy the landscape and have a picnic if they wish.

Another good picture shot by Keith from the airplane.

This last picture is also interesting as it shows the land where HKDL second gate will be build someday. Yes, this big green land - also man-made - that you can see on the bottom left is where HKDL second park will exist in the future.

And now, if you want to see HKDL "from the ground" the best you can do is to download the new HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch where you'll find more than 200 stunning pictures of the park!
Direct iTunes link HERE!

Al Pictures: copyright Keith Lee whom i thanks a lot!