Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HKDL Grizzly Gulch Update: Interview with Ali N. Rubinstein, Creative Director at HKDL Walt Disney Imagineering, with first official pictures !

HKDL Grizzly Gulch opening date seems to be decided now for July 14, which would mean that the Grand Opening Event will probably happen on July 13, in just a month from now. Also, HKDL has released the first official pictures of the land - that you will see above and below - and launched its Magic Access website. The site provides updated information and everything fans love-to-see features about the new Grizzly Gulch! Among the new features, Magic Access did this interview with Ali N. Rubinstein, Creative Director at HKDL Walt Disney Imagineering for Grizzly Gulch, telling how Imagineers bring an immersive western Gold Rush town to life:

MA﹕How unique is Grizzly Gulch to Hong Kong Disneyland?

Ali: Grizzly Gulch is a completely new and original land to Hong Kong Disneyland, and in fact to Disney itself. Though we have Wild West themed lands in other Castle Parks, this is a completely new and original story, for both Hong Kong and Disney.

MA﹕What is the big idea behind Grizzly Gulch?

Ali: Story-Storytelling is Disney’s foundation. We wanted to put imagination into action and create a brand new land with a brand new theme for Hong Kong Disneyland. In a nod to some of the great Disney rides like Big Thunder Mountain, and lands like Frontierland and hotels like the Wilderness lodge in Orlando, we created a story with the theme of Man versus Nature. Located in the High Sierras of California, Grizzly Gulch is a Boomtown set in the great American West, during the Gold Rush in the late 1800s.

MA﹕How do you bring an immersive experience for Guests through the creation of landscape for Grizzly Gulch?

Ali: Grizzly Gulch is inspired by the gorges and canyons of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and the gold rush towns of Northern California. The imagineered landscape is a composite of the best of the West, brought together to tell a tale about another time and place.
We used various species of plants that are available in the region and can thrive in the Hong Kong climate to represent the authentic looking trees, shrubs and grasses that make up our landscape, and the distant pine forest that surrounds Big Grizzly Mountain. For instance we use Camphor trees as stand ins for the stately old Oak trees that would normally grown in Gold Country.
To enhance the placemaking, we planted shorter trees on the mountain and taller trees on two sides of the paths, in order to create the right visual perspective, which make Big Grizzly Mountain look majestic as the story told.

MA﹕How important is rock crafting to the creation of the real setting in Grizzly Gulch?

Ali: The over 27-meter tall Big Grizzly Mountain is the icon and main feature of the land. It looms over the entire town and outlying areas of the land, so it was absolutely necessary that our rockwork carving be as realistic as possible, but with a Disney flair. So we brought in the most experienced Disney Rockwork carvers from all around the globe to help create this rockwork masterpiece.
A team of nearly 100 talented Imagineers and local and international craftsmen from around the world is formed to create the spectacular setting, including artisans from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Britain, Nepal, Malaysia and Thailand. For the rock carving alone, about 30 professional sculptors and more than 20 painters contributed their skills.

MA﹕What were the challenges you encountered in bringing Grizzly Gulch to life?

Ali: The biggest challenge was recreating a realistic Northern Californian environment in Hong Kong. The foliage, rockwork and architecture all had to be authentic to the place and time period.
We had to create the right visual effects and textures in the different landscapes, but at the same time maintain the functionality across different structures to cope with the needs on safety and durability.

In order to re-create a Wild West town, the team traveled all over California’s Gold Country to study the landscaping and architecture. We found new ways and used multiple materials to unite technology and art to replicate natural rock formations like those found in Yellowstone National Park.

MA﹕What is your favorite part at Grizzly Gulch?

Ali: It's hard to pick any one thing, as the land overall is the best part. It’s the scenery and of the majestic landscape that makes for a fully immersive environment transporting you back in time that is so fantastic.

But of course, the attraction itself is the greatest fun of all in the land. If you love thrills you are going to love riding the “Runaway Mine Cars”. This is the first time Disney has created a terrain-style coaster that races throughout an entire land. Guests will be immersed in the ride, without having to ride it. Or, they can actually board a mine car for the wildest ride in the west!

I hope guests will also enjoy all the rich storytelling, especially in the ride queue where there are many fascinating props and design details that help tell the story of the Big Grizzly Mountain Mining Company and the history of the town overall. (end of Ali Rubinstein interview)

Michael20183 just posted today his new monthly video update which i add to this article!

And for those who are interested by merchandise products, HKDL also released the two pictures below showing upcoming Grizzly Gulch merchandise.

Pictures and text: copyright Hong Kong Disneyland

Video: copyright Michael20183

Don't miss the new HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!


Adrien said...

This is an interesting interview, and now I just wanna ride this ! The thema is amazing... Unfortunately it's in Hong-Kong, and the nearest resort for my is DLP !

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

The land looks great, it's a nice Frontierland variation, very well themed.

The merchandise not that much.

By the way, when I went to HK I noticed that it didn't have much good merchandise. I bought an awesome T-shirt with the Chinese dragon forming the famous Mickey Mouse silhouette which is one of the best Disney Parks T-shirts I have, but I haven't seen anything else really worth buying there.