Saturday, December 17, 2011

D&M Archives : When WDI Legendary Imagineers designed Landmark Entertainment projects

This article have some good surprises for you with never seen before artwork created not for WDI but for Landmark Entertainment projects by former Disney Imagineers like Herb Ryman, Marc Davis, Jim Michaelson and many others! And it's not everyday that we can discover new Herb Ryman or Marc Davis artwork, so click on each to see them in big size!

Let's begin by this painting above from legendary Imagineer Herb Ryman showing a “Boat Overview Exterior” of the "S.S ADMIRAL", the "largest inland steamer ever built in America". Located in St. Louis, it once toured the Mississippi daily.

Back twenty four years ago, Landmark Entertainment worked on a Six Flags theme park project called "Phineas T. Flagg's Power Plant", located at Baltimore, Maryland. It was called Phineas T. Flagg's Power Plant as the theme park location was a historic power plant, near the the waterfront. Marc Davis - who retired from Walt Disney Imagineering in 1978 - and Herb Ryman worked on the project design. The main character, Phineas T. Flagg, was a fictitious magician and Herb Ryman did his design, the one you can see below.

Marc Davis worked on different attraction projects for this Phineas T. Flagg's Power Plant. Among them a great "Home of the Future Show""...

...including the design of a great spinning robot...

...a Power House show "tribute to the all american girl"...

...and a great Toy Circus Parade also planned for the same Power Plant park.

As told you the main character of this park, Phineas T. Flagg, was a magician and the park had a "magic" show. The artist who did this next rendering is unknown but i add it as this Crystal Ball "magic" Show concept looks interesting. I only wish i could tell you more about it...

Herb Ryman worked also on other Landmark Entertainment concepts. He did this bird's eye view painting below for what was - believe it or not - a "Monopoly" theme park project!

Marc Davis too worked on another Landmark concept. This "Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" project was supposed to be build at Valencia, California, near the Six Flags park but unfortunately the project was never realised. The model below still exist and who knows, may be it will be realised one day...

The "Jumping Frog" designed by Marc Davis would have been the main "character" of the park and Disney fans will recognize in the drawings below Marc's distinctive style.

Another artist - who did beautiful renderings for DLP Main Stret U.S.A - and also worked on a Landmark project is Jim Michaelson. Jim did this artwork for the "Dixie Landings" project, "the good time of the riverboat showplace" and below you will see his exterior view and the theatre entrance concepts.

Dan Goozee another artist who did some spectacular artwork for WDI - like the first and famous Expedition Everest official rendering - did this Sands hotel "Casino Lodge interior" artwork. Hmmm, it reminds be a bit of the Wilderness Lodge lobby at WDW, but it's true that the Wilderness Lodge was itself inspired by the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone Park, Wyoming as we saw in a previous Disney and more article.

Dan worked also a long time ago on "Dream Home" a Science Fiction Fantasy simulator attraction for an Asian theme park...

Good ideas may never die at WDI, but also may inspire other projects...This last artwork by Claudio Mazzoli was done in 1981 for the Haunted Graveyard of Niagara attraction at Niagara Falls and is called "Spirits Emerge From Crystal Ball in Haunted Mansion"!

All artwork: copyright Landmark Entertainment. Many thanks to Landmark for the high-res files of the artwork you saw in this article.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Disney's "It's A Small World" iPhone - iPad App is a Charming Tribute to Disneyland Beloved Attraction

Disney released recently on the iTunes Appstore a new iPhone - iPad application called "It's a Small World", and this new app is a lovely, charming tribute to Disneyland beloved attraction.

Let's be clear from the start: this is an application designed as an interactive app for very young children. Still, all of you who love Mary Blair's attraction and who are always young at heart - and own an iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch - should enjoy the app. Why? Because they've succeed, i think, to find back the original childhood spirit of the ride. It's not perfect, but you can feel that the guys who developed the application tried their best to find back this "original spirit".

One of the great things is all the interactive part: almost wherever you "touch" elements of each image something is happening, the characters are moving, a crocodile goes out of the water, a dragon breath fire, etc... until the final where you launch your own fireworks by taps in the night sky. So, basically, the app is as much animated as the ride is!

There is 15 "chapters" in the app, and each one transport you, just like in the ride, in a different country or continent. In most of them you'll find Mary Blair famous color tones, and even reminiscences of her style. Here is screen captures of some of them, and although they don't pay totally justice to how it looks when you're experiencing the app, i'm sure you will identify which country / continent they are showing.

As i've told you the interactive part is charming... for instance in this chapter inspired by the jungle scene of the ride the page will look like this when it appears...

But if you tap on the crocodile or in the black area where you see the glowing eyes then the jungle animals appear, the hippo goes out of water, etc...

Each image is also slowly moving, almost as the same pace than the boat in the ride, giving you the feeling to discover each scene like you do when you're in the ride!

Again, it's a read along / sing along app for young children, but if you download it you'll be surprised how charming it is. The app cost $3.99 or 2.99€ on the Appstore, and knowing all the work it is to develop an app as i create applications also myself as you know, i can tell you that it's a fair price. And no need to say that if you have young children they will love it! Here is the iTunes direct link for those who are interested. There is an iPhone version of the app but of course if you own an iPad it looks even better on it. Finally, Disney also released a promotional video that you can see below.

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Disneyland Paris Update - Part Two

Here is the part two of my Disneyland Paris update. You'll find the part one is below or HERE. And thanks to D&M readers i have new infos: first, the dragon cavern which was closed last week is now reopen and apparently it's a wonder. Happy to know about this. Then, he works in front of Casey's Corner are apparently not a refurbishment but more in preparation of the upcoming 20th anniversary nighttime show "Dreams". Someone else told me that "a brand new building with a victorian style has been erected and from what I could see from above the plywood barriers it is really well done (lots of details, etc.)". This building is also here because of the upcoming show "Dreams!".

Let's move today to Adventureland where the Captain Hook ship is currently being rebuilt. It's not even a refurbishment as the former ship was in such bad condition that they had no other choice to find back the original blueprints and rebuid a brand new one, at least for a big part of it. However, as the works take quite a long time they had what i think is a very good idea to put some canvas with the shadows of Peter Pan characters, the pirates, as well as the ship shadow on it.

Near Swiss Robinson Tree we also can see fences. As i'm not currently in Paris does anyone know what is happening behind them? Simple refurbishment or something else?

Fantasyland is just next door so let's move to it and what was once the Fantasyland Festival Stage is also covered, but here for a totally different reason as they are currently transforming the place in what will be the Meet Mickey area next year. Another thing new for the 20th anniversary as i've told you previously.

Just like previous christmas seasons the christmas village located near the old mill is back this year.

Not that far is also the new Princess Pavilion. Well, as a matter of fact the Princess Pavilion doesn't even exist "officially" as the park hasn't done yet any marketing on it, mostly because they "keep" it for the 20th anniversary as a "new" attraction. I already did an update on it but on these new pictures i am surprised by the look of the doors. I thought they were painted or "aged" to look old and they look a bit old, but not that old. May be i'm wrong, but if by chance anyone knows why the doors have this look, please let me know.

Last week the waiting time was 45 minutes...

The friend who shot the pictures had a short look inside but didn't wait till the end so we have pictures only showing the beginning of the inside decor.

Let's end with just a few pictures of the christmas decor at the Walt Disney Studios, a nice sunset pic of the giant Buzz Lightyear at the entrance of Toy Story Playland, and two night pictures of the small christmas village inside Disney Village.

See you soon for a new DLP update!

Pictures: copyright Disney and more