Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Star Tours Origins" , Amazing 3D CGI Recreation of the Original Star Tours 1 Movie !

Here is something truly amazing: To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Star Tours ride - which opened in 1987 at Disneyland Gregory Noacco and Joachim Garraud literally did a home-made CGI recreation of the original "Endor Express" movie, featured in Star Tours 1! And not only they did recreate the whole ST1 movie, but also the StarSpeeder itself, etc...

By the way, you might be interested to learn a bit of history about Star Tours creation: Tony Baxter was the leader of the Star Tours project during its early creation and Director throughout the overall project and up to the opening at Disneyland in 1987. WDI Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald came on the project later to write dialogue, and eventually took on the producing duties in partnership with Tony.

The Star Tours history actually began when Randy Bright from Imagineering saw a demo of a Rediffusion simulator in London. Tony Baxter was sent over to explore its potential and knew almost immediately that it was the right fit for a Star Wars attraction. He then came back to California and Marty Sklar and Tony arranged to meet with George Lucas at Ron and Diane Miller's Silverado Vineyard in the Napa Valley. They pitched the idea of working together with George at Disneyland. Of course, George loved the idea, and had to came back for the project many times at WDI, in Glendale. For lunch Tony would even drive George Lucas around in his car, totally worried about what could happen if he had a car accident with such an "icon" as his passenger!  

It would be nearly a year more before the changes in Disney management brought Michael Eisner (and his son Breck) over to WDI in late September 1984 to first see Tony Baxter Star Tours pitch. Father and son loved the idea but balked at it needing 3 years to complete. "Can't we get something sooner?" they said. That comment launched Captain Eo, which in fact opened a year before the much more complicated Star Tours project. This is the how Star Tours, this classic ride, was born!

So, now, discover Gregory and Joachim "Star Tours Origins", a non-official tribute to the "Ultimate Star Wars Adventure", and for the first time you can even watch it in Stereoscopic 3D !

So, jump on my Star Tours website HERE as you really must watch this "Star Tours Origins"!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Euro Disney Released First Quarter Announcement : Resort revenues are up 4% , Total revenues increased 1%

Euro Disney S.C.A. reported today the revenues for its consolidated group for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2012 which ended December 31, 2011. And, guess what? The results are good! The Resort revenues are up 4% to € 318.6 million due to higher theme parks attendance and guest spending, partly offset by lower hotel occupancy and total revenues increased 1% to € 318.9 million, as higher resort revenues were partially offset by lower real estate revenues.

More details from the official release:

Resort operating segment revenues increased 4% to € 318.6 million from € 305.6 million in the prior-year period.

Theme parks revenues increased 7% to € 180.2 million from € 168.9 million in the prior-year period, primarily due to a 5% increase in attendance and a 1% increase in average spending per guest. The increase in attendance resulted from a higher number of guests visiting from France, partly offset by fewer guests visiting from the Netherlands. The increase in average spending per guest was due to higher spending on merchandise and food and beverage.

Hotels and Disney Village® revenues increased 1% to € 128.2 million from € 126.8 million in the prior-year period due to a 2% increase in average spending per room, partly offset by a 1.1 percentage point decrease in hotel occupancy. The increase in average spending per room resulted from higher daily room rates, partly offset by lower spending on food and beverage and merchandise. The decrease in hotel occupancy resulted from 6,000 fewer room nights sold, including fewer guests visiting from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, partly offset by more French guests staying overnight.

Real estate development operating segment revenues decreased by € 9.4 million to € 0.3 million, compared to € 9.7 million in the prior-year period. This decrease is due to four transactions closed in the prior-year period while no transaction closed in the First Quarter.

During the First Quarter, costs and expenses increased compared to the prior-year period driven by labor rate inflation partially offset by lower costs associated with real estate development activity.

Commenting on the results, Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:

"The improved attendance and guest spending are encouraging, especially in light of the challenging economic environment. Total revenues were up 1% compared to the prior-year period which included several real estate transactions.

In April we look forward to launching our twentieth anniversary celebrations with brand new experiences for our guests, including the Disney Dreams®! night-time show, an innovative light and color spectacular. It will also be an opportunity to celebrate a two-decade journey with our cast members, our guests as well as our key public and private partners who have helped Disneyland Paris become Europe's number one tourist destination." (end of official release)

It's always good news to know that DLP don't have negative results and specially for the investors - and the banks! Hopefully, the 20th anniversary and the new Disney Dreams show should help to be a good year for DLP and talking about the 20th here is the first TV Ad released in Spain. For sure more will come, probably showing more of the Disney Dreams show.

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shanghaî Disneyland Update

Here is a new Shanghaî Disneyland update and i have to say that it's pretty hard to have any infos about SDL as WDI is quite well keeping the secret on this park. That said, i have some new ones that are quite interesting. The first one is not necessarily a good news as from what i've been told it seems that the first stage of SDL might be a downsized plan of what was originally envisioned. If that is true it could explain why there is so much space available in the park for "future expansion" as we saw last month in my previous article. You must remind that Disney is not alone to invest in the SDL project and that a joint-venture with the chinese was created. If it happened that the chinese didn't agreed to put the amount of money that Disney has expected this downsized plan might be real and due to insufficient capital. However, and although my source is as always a reliable one, please take this info as a not-totally-confirmed news until i'll be able to double-check it.

Let's have a look now at what rides we can expect in the park. Laughing Place has posted some weeks ago a list of the SDL expected rides which is quite accurate, but not totally as we will see.

So, in Fantasyland according to LP the rides would be:

-Storybook Castle
-Castle Boat Ride
-Tea Cups
-Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
-Peter Pan's Flight
-Winnie The Pooh ride

LP is right on most of them except that the tea cups ride would be replaced by the Winnie the Pooh Hunny Pot Spins. Talking about Pooh, the SDL Pooh dark ride will be the same than in HKDL and not unfortunately the Tokyo Disneyland version. Fantasyland seems to be the most completed land and my source also mentioned a Alice in Wonderland garden/maze and that the Carousel will be themed with a Fantasia theme, which by the way is a good idea.

Let's have a look now at Adventureland. According to LP the rides should be:

-Lost World River Rapids

Pirates Cove:
-Pirates of the Caribbean Water Ride
-Pirate Stunt Show

Laughing Place is right on all of them and i've been confirmed that there will be indeed a POTC stunt show, may be partly inspired from the one previously envisioned for DLP WDS and which was never built. The Dinosaurs "Lost World River Rapids" ride will be indeed a raft ride with AA Dinos but there will be also in Adventureland, and on another theme, a walk through attraction. It might be one called "Sunken Treasure" that i've been told about but so far the mystery of what would be precisely this "Sunken Treasure" still remains a WDI secret.

About the POTC ride i thought that WDI would put at SDL the concept which has been developed for HKDL but in fact it might not be the case. More strangely, i've been told that SDL might not have many audio-animatronics at its opening, and even in POTC there might be less AA than in other POTC versions. Apparently WDI will also use projections effects. I can agree with you that all this remains not perfectly clear but Shanghaî Disneyland is a big puzzle that will take the next three years to be completed and the parts of the puzzle are coming one by one, little by little ...

Let's move to Tomorrowland rides now. According to LP SDL Tomorrowland should have:

-TRON Indoor Rollercoaster
-Astro Orbitor / Rockets Ride

I can't confirm the Astro-Orbitor but the TRON motor bike coaster seems to be definitely a "go". A Stitch encounter is also envisioned and it should be the same one than we can find at HKDL and Paris WDS.

Apparently Tomorrowland will also have a Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster ride but from what i've heard it will be a different version than the interactive dark ride we know and it'll be changed into a ride with projections rather than animatronics or 2D animated decor. Could WDI recycle the Toy Story Mania technology in a ride dedicated to the universe of Buzz Lightyear? I'm afraid we'll have to wait a little bit to know exactly the truth!

Picture: copyright Disney

New John Carter Super Bowl Trailer

The Avengers trailer - see below - was not the only one to be released during the super bowl as Disney also released a new version of the John Carter trailer which includes a few new shots. I remind you that John Carter is released in one month only and i'm very curious to see if Andrew Stanton's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs novel will be at the height of my expectations...

By the way you probably know that the previous title of the movie was "John Carter of Mars", until it was changed in "John Carter" only. When this was done last year many thought that it was because of last year bad results of "Mars needs Moms" and that Disney wanted to avoid to have "Mars" in the title, but Andrew Stanton recently explained why John Carter Of Mars became just "John Carter":

"Here’s the real truth of it. I’d already changed it from A Princess Of Mars to John Carter Of Mars. I don’t like to get fixated on it, but I changed Princess Of Mars… because not a single boy would go.

And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars. So I said, “I don’t won’t to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth.”

All the time we were making this big character story which just so happens to be in this big, spectacular new environment. But it’s not about the spectacle, it’s about the investment. I thought, I’ve really worked hard to make all of this an origin story. It’s about a guy becoming John Carter. So I’m not misrepresenting what this movie is, it’s John Carter.

Mars is going to stick on any other film in the series. But by then, it won’t have a stigma to it."

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Avengers Trailer !

If you didn't watched the U.S Super Bowl yesterday chances are that you've missed the new Avengers trailer. Looks better than the first one, so here it is below. The movie is released early may in the U.S and other countries so we don't have too long to wait!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Helicopter Crashes on Disneyland Paris Main Street U.S.A !

Someone just sent me this video shot some days ago during a nice but cold day at Disneyland Paris. It was so cold that there were only a few people in the park, but that's not the problem. What is the problem is that apparently something unimaginable happened in Main Street U.S.A as a helicopter literally crashed in the center of Main Street! Don't worry, no one was hurt including the cameraman. I let you have a look at the video first and i'll be back after and tell you what really happened.

So, did this helicopter crash happened for real? Of course not! All this was done thanks to an amazing new iPhone app called Action Movie FX released recently by a company called Bad Robot Interactive. And when you'll know that the company was created by director J.J Abrams - yes, the one who created the Lost TV series and directed the last Star Trek movie or produced the latest Mission Impossible, you'll understand why the effects are so good. This Youtube video uploaded by MattsMacintosh tell you more about the app and show as well other special effects.

Two more examples with this car falling and crashing...

Or a Santa Claus literally blow up by a missile...

The app is extremely simple to use - it couldn't be more simple - the FX is add in less than five seconds and considering how fast the FX is done the result is pretty amazing. The app is FREE on the iTunes Appstore and include two FX and you can add four more through a very cheap in-app purchase. Kids are also having a lot of fun with this one, as you can expect.

Videos: copyright MattsMacintosh, Disney and more