Friday, May 11, 2012

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Star Wars Weekends 2012 Posters

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Star Wars Weekends 2012 will start next friday and as usual Disney did some great promotional visuals to announce the event. Each year they released some really good -and often funny - posters and the one for these 2012 Star Wars Weekends with all scenes shot at DHS are very good too! I succeed to find for you most of the visuals in big size (except one), so have a look below!

Also released to promote these Star Wars Weekends two fun videos that you can watch below.

Pictures and videos: copyright Disney - Lucas Film

Alice Davis Window Dedication Ceremony

Disney Legend and Imagineer Alice Davis has now her own window on Main Street, U.S.A at Disneyland ! Alice Davis, wife of legendary Disney animator and imagineer Marc Davis, was a costume designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, and collaborated with Mary Blair on “it’s a small world” for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and then designed the clothing and patterns for Pirates of the Caribbean in 1965, inspired by Marc Davis drawings.

You'll find below the video of the window dedication ceremony where Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis presented the window to Alice Davis, window which is located alongside the window of Marc Davis. Mickey was there of course but what you must not miss is the funny group of pirates appearance at around 5min , then followed by the arrival of mickey and the thanks speech of Alice Davis? Watch it full screen!

Picture: copyright Disney

Video: copyright mrdaps

Cars Land TV Spot and Ramone's House of Body Art Video

Disney released on ABC the first Cars Land tv spot. it's a short one showing Mater and Lightning McQueen wondering what is this op secret location!

Also released, an interesting short clip showing the making of the decor inside Ramone’s House of Body Art. disney choose one of he best artist to do it, Chip Foose, world renowned for his designs of customized cars, paint and wheels.

I remind you that Cars Land opens June 15 at Disney California Adventure park, in a month from now!

Picture and videos: copyright Disney

Thailand and Philippines Request a Disney Theme Park !

It seems that all South-East Asia countries want a Disney theme park! Recently Thailand and Philippines officials did a request, either to their own government or directly to the WDC. There is a good reason for that as both are aware of the tourism potential of a major theme park, specially since Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Singapore opened.

Let's begin by Philippines where, according to, "Representative Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin has reportedly written a letter to Thomas Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, encouraging him to expand the international leisure park franchise on Philippine soil.

Working with the Department of Tourism, Lazatin aims to catapult the Philippines to the top spot of the best tourist destinations in the world, claiming the success of the endeavour will urge more foreign visitors. Lazatin markets the Clark Freeport Zone as the perfect site to build the world renowned theme park. He writes, “The Clark Freeport Zone may interest you and Walt Disney as the next location for your famous Disneyland theme park, as it boasts of a 4,400-hectare main zone and 27,600-hectare subzone.”

Moreover, he mentions how this project will also benefit Walt Disney, referring to Clark Freeport Zone’s tax free privilege for developers, and the already prolific tourist status in the Philippines. An estimated 4 million foreigners visit the country per year. In the letter, he wrote, "Together with our population of more than 90 million Filipinos, a Disneyland theme park in the Philippines could be a major income generating site for your company."

In another letter to DOT Chairman Ramon Jimenez, Lazatin explains, “I notified (Walt Disney) that Clark Freeport Zone also has its own world-class airport and hotels which can accommodate the influx of foreign and local tourists".

In Philippines, the news received mixed reactions, with many debating the practicality and success of the plan amidst widespread poverty in the country".

The other wish is coming from Thailand as the Association of Thai Travel Agents claims a proposal to build in Thailand a Disneyland-like theme park has been presented to Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand prime minister: "ATTA president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattaporn, told TTR Weekly that Thailand’s tourism industry needed a mega project to compete with neigbouring countries particularly as the ASEAN single market 2015 is approaching. “We have talked to Prime Minister Yingluck, last week and hope our suggestion will be taken on board by the government to create a new dimension in tourism for the country.”

However, he admitted it was just at the idea stage and far from even gaining Disneyland’s attention.
“We expect the government to look at the feasibility and financial support….if the project can give benefits for the country then the government should seek a project developer who could invest at least Bt20 billion.” When challenged on whether Thailand needs to go down the theme park road to build tourism success, he said the country has many attractions such as beaches, heritage and historical sites, but very few man-made attractions. “Thailand lacks man-made attractions that are helping Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia to expand their tourism basees.”

Disneyland has not been approached yet or shown an expression of interest in building a theme park in Thailand, but in the past it did look at the potential and decided to develop its first project in Tokyo before concentrating on parks near or in China".

If you want my opinion, i think that the WDC will not be interested to build a theme park either in Thailand or Philippines. In Philippines, it'll be for the reasons explained above - the country poverty. For Thailand, the situation is a bit different. Thais are not as rich as japanese can be but there is plenty of very rich people in the country and also a Disney theme park will be very popular. And, considering that there is 10M + tourists coming each year in Thailand from rich countries, my guess is that a Disney theme park in Thailand could be as successful at least as Universal Singapore is in Singapore. But the problem is that Bangkok is just at 2H30min flight from Hong Kong Disneyland, and i don't see the WDC opening another theme park in a country so near from Hong Kong - not to mention that Disney have plenty of other things to think right now with the construction of Shanghaî DIsneyland... Disney also don't do what Universal has done in Singapore and may be soon in Moscow. In Singapore, Universal don't own the park, they just gave a license to a Singapour company, and Disney is not doing that.

But if Thailand and Philippines want a fantastic theme park which would cost half of the Disney price they still can have it. There is plenty of former WDI Imagineers not working anymore at the company extremely talented. They have the best experience in theme park design that one can dream of and i'm sure they will be pleased to design a great theme park for these two Asian countries!

Picture: copyright Disney

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Coming to Universal Studios Japan - Opening in 2014

Just like if Disney didn't had enough problems with the competition created by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando - and in 2016 in L.A - one day after the Avengers ride announcement by Bob Iger Universal strikes back overseas and announced that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will come to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in 2014!

From the L.A Times: "Universal Studios Japan on Thursday will unveil plans to build the first international version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the blockbuster attraction that has drawn millions of fans to Universal’s Orlando resort and is coming to Los Angeles.

The Osaka destination - expected to begin construction in the next few weeks with a planned opening in late 2014 and an expected cost of about $500 million - brings Hogwarts Castle and rides including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to the boy wizard’s biggest market outside of the United States".

At Oriental Land - the company ruling Tokyo Disney Resort - they must be in "red alert mode" by now...That said, all this probably will end with everybody being happy. Universal Studios Japan of course, but also WDI as you can be sure that the smart guys of Oriental Land will understand instantly the danger. Even if Universal Studios Japan are in Osaka at hundred miles from Tokyo they are only at two and a half hours with the Shinkansen, Japan bullet train and TDL will probably plan a counter attack to be ready with major ride(s) for 2014. And all this at the end will make the happiness of TDL and japanese theme park fans! Okay, Oriental Land probably would have preferred to avoid this "counter attack" investment but i'm sure that with the help of WDI Imagineers they will find brilliant rides ideas to avoid the Potter curse.

May be that 2014 will be the perfect year to introduce some Marvel rides at Tokyo Disney Resort... Good news, since yesterday we know that WDI will have at least a major one available for TDL.

Picture: copyright Warner - Universal Studios

Tokyo Disney Sea Photo Essay by Maureen Chaffurin

Photographer Maureen Chaffurin, regular contributor to Disney and more is back from Tokyo Disney Sea and with a different look at the park considered by many as the most beautiful Disney theme park in the world! Above, the famous globe at the entrance, currently with a new photo location. Below, the TDS orchestra playing at Meditterranean harbor.

Four pictures showing American Waterfront.

A sign at Cape Cod Area.

Arriving at Port Discovery.

The Aquatopia attraction at Port Discovery.

A TDS boat entering Lost River Delta.

The new Jasmine flying carpet ride and details of Arabian Coast.

The entrance of Mermaid Lagoon.

Renaissance Fortress at sunset.

A night shot of Meditterranean Harbor Venitian canal.

American Waterfront street at night.

The great Columbia ship illuminated at night.

There is more pictures of Maureen TDS report on his web site so make the jump and go HERE.

Talking about Tokyo Disney Sea, if you haven't downloaded yet on iTunes my great TDS Wallpapers application for iPhone or iPad with hundred of HD stunning pictures of the park, it's still time to do it! Click HERE for direct access to the TDS Wallpapers HD iTunes page or READ my article first HERE.

Pictures: copyright Maureen Chaffurin -

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bob Iger Announces that an Avengers Attraction will come to Disney Theme Parks !

Whooof, that was fast. In my yesterday's article below i explained to you why an Avengers ride was "very probably" coming to Disney theme parks. Guess what? Earlier today Bob Iger announced in a conference...that, yes, an Avengers attraction will come to Disney theme parks!

I knew that it was inevitable but what i didn't knew was that it will be announced so soon. And before you ask me: no, i really didn't had any insider infos and i don't have too any private line with Bob Iger! It was just pure logic, because, you see, that's the beauty in life: there is always a logic behind everything.

Although Iger said that some Disney theme parks "are making room" for an Avengers ride, we still have to know in which one an Avengers ride will open first, but for that you'll have to wait a bit. One good news at a time, please, just be patient.

Edited: Apparently Iger mentioned that the Avengers ride will come at Disneyland and "overseas parks" which could mean at DLP Walt Disney Studios (if DLP decide to don't wait for the third park to introduce Marvel rides), may be HKDL or TDL and very probably at Shanghaî Disneyland Tomorrowland. For Disneyland, i'm placing my bets for an Avengers ride located in the Innoventions building, i.e where the Carousel of Progress was.

And if you are a Marvel fan or simply liked a lot The Avengers movie, here are more good news as Iger also announced an Avengers sequel, Iron Man 3 for 2013, Thor 2 also for 2013 and Captain America sequel for 2014. Isn't life great, Marvel fans?

In the meantime, tell us in the comments in which Disney theme parks you think this Avengers ride will come!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Considering the Tremendous Avengers Success, Will WDI Introduce an Avengers Ride in Disney Theme Parks ?

As announced on Sunday evening The Avengers has set a new opening week-end record with an amazing $200M on its first week-end! If you include the foreign box-office - $441,500,000 so far -The Avengers has already gross $641,800,000 worldwide in just EIGHT days, which is indeed remarkable. No one needs to be a medium to guess that The Avengers will reach easily $1Billion and this might happen even sooner than expected.

Bob Iger and everyone at Disney and Marvel are probably "happy happy" by now and as usual Disney will now begin to think in terms of synergy and what they can do to surf on the phenomenal Avengers success to bring more cash in. So far, it's business as usual but, as there is nothing better to bring back guests in the parks than an attraction based on a huge movie success the question of an Avengers ride in a near future looks legitimate. Will it be the case? Well, and although i have absolutely no infos at all about this one, my guess is that the answer is "yes", and here is why.

The first reason is simple: Disney acquired Marvel for a huge amount of money and in pure logic Disney will want to use the Marvel license as much as possible. Marvel merchandise products are already on sale in the parks - and also on the Disney Store online - but that won't be enough for the mouse. What Disney probably wants now is at least a major E-Ticket if not a whole land based on Marvel super-heroes. On that point we can be sure that they already think about it, at least for Disneyland Resort Paris as Philippe Gas, DLP CEO, revealed last year in an interview that the third park in Paris would be partly based on Marvel super-heroes. But considering that this third park won't probably open at DLP before 2020 if not 2025 i doubt that Disney will accept to wait all this time for the opening of a Marvel ride.

I also remind you that, for now, the only land paying tribute to Marvel super-heroes is at Universal Islands of Adventure, Disney's biggest competitor, and not only you can find there one of the best ride in the world - the Spiderman ride - but Universal didn't had to spent all the money that Disney did. In two words, Disney is the one who has spent the money to acquire Marvel but in terms of theme park rides it's still only Universal which takes profit of the Marvel universe and no need to say that this situation won't stay forever. When Disney has said that he will respect the previous contracts signed between Marvel and others companies, this probably mean that Marvel super-heroes island will stay at IOA but it won't stop Iger to ask WDI to design Marvel rides as soon as possible.

As a matter of fact there is by now probably several Marvel rides concepts ready at Imagineering and the question is probably "where do we build them" more than "when". Do we include a Marvel ride in a park or do we create a special land, or do we create a whole theme park? That's probably the questions that Disney must give an answer to. On DLP forum, one of the big rumors recently is that a new land dedicated to Marvel super-heroes would be added at the Walt Disney Studios, but considering the bad financial results announced yesterday by DLP i don't see this happening anytime soon...

To come back to an Avengers ride - and indeed there is a potential for a great ride based on The Avengers - there is a more important question: what kind of ride could WDI design? I don't see WDI designing an all Audio-Animatronics ride and for sure the same technology that Universal used on the Spiderman and Transformers rides would probably be the best one to use for an Avengers ride. But Universal did it so well that it's not gonna be easy for WDI to top the two UNI rides. Still, WDI can add improvements, for instance they could use the same technology than in the Spiderman ride, i.e a vehicle moving inside a place with a mix of real decor and 3D projections BUT with the addition of Audio-Animatronics, something missing in the Universal rides - although i think there is briefly one AA with Dr Octopus in the Spidey ride. Of course WDI could come with a brand new technology, something we've never heard about and which might be even better. And by the way, an Avengers ride using the famous Kuka robot arm - the one used in the Potter ride at IOA - could be great....if Universal didn't had the exclusivity on the Kuka arm for the next eight years, at least in the U.S.

Whatever technology WDI will use for an Avengers ride i think we can count on it also for another reason. WDI could indeed create a ride based solely on one Marvel super-hero - Iron Man, for instance. But if they want to create a ride which will be an instant hit they will need, as i've said, to top the Universal rides. And the best - and may be only - way to do it is to create an Avengers ride as there is five super-heroes in it instead of one. An Avengers ride with a stunning ride technology will be without doubt a home run, in two words exactly what Bob Iger is looking for.

Picture: copyright Disney - Marvel

The Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book which will tell you all about the creation of the park with 320 pages and 750 pictures and WDI renderings always has a special offer! Place your pre-order now for a collector's edition copy while you can get a 20% discount on this wonderful book! To know how to order and send your payment please go HERE or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below.

DLP announces very bad first half fiscal year results: net loss widens, DLP may need cost cuts

Disneyland Paris announced EuroDisney financial results for the first part of its fiscal year - the last six months - and let's say it frankly, they are extremely bad. Losses have grown 22% due to higher wages and the cost of refurbishments made ahead of its 20th anniversary this year. EuroDisney lost 120.9m euros (£97.4m; $157.4m) in the first half of its financial year compared with a net loss of 99.5m euros in the same period a year earlier and the number of visitors to the parks also fell, but those who went spent more on average, helping revenues rise 1%.

I wish the result would have been better but that's the unfortunate reality. Will these have an affect on DLP future? It might be, as DLP warned "that if it was on a course to miss these targets it would have to reduce operating costs and some investment, and sell assets or seek help from parent company The Walt Disney Company or other parties". I don't think that the construction of the WDS Ratatouille ride will be stopped but we might see others projects delayed, if not cancelled.

These bad results are definitely no good news and i wonder how long it will take to Bob Iger to understand that DLP need - since years - a kind of "Marshall Plan" to resolve the problem once and for all. Iger did it for DCA, now that DCA is finished, think about DLP! Below, the AFP news release.

PARIS — The Euro Disney theme park near Paris reported a 22-percent increase in its net loss for the first half of its financial year on Monday and warned it might have to take cost-cutting action.
Euro Disney, the biggest amusement park in Europe and celebrating its 20th anniversary, reported a net loss of 100.8 million euros ($130.6 million), an increase of 21 million euros from the loss for the first half 12 months ago.
The company reported an increase in an operating loss of 38.0 percent to 84.7 million euros, and an 8.0-percent fall in sales to 552.4 million euros.
Euro Disney has debt of nearly 1.8 billion euros and has to meet pre-set objectives each year.
The firm warned that if it was on a course to miss these targets it would have to reduce operating costs and some investment, and sell assets or seek help from parent company The Walt Disney Company or other parties.
However, the management held that currently it had enough resources for the foreseeable future, including lines of credit from TWDC.
Another factor was a possibility to delay conditionally the payment of part of management and licence fees due and interest, the company said in a statement.
Euro Disney intends to repay loans of 72.1 million euros in the second half, in line with targets laid down.
The number of people visiting its attractions and its hotels fell, in a "difficult" context for the economy, but despite the hard time the average amount spent by each visitor rose.
The accounts were also burdened by big charges for renovation and for the launch of new attractions to mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of Euro Disney on a green field site east of Paris.
In its 20-year life, Euro Disney which involves important real estate interests, has encountered various severe financial difficulties.
Deputy chief executive Mark Stead, commenting on the latest figures, told AFP: "We have withstood the (economic) crisis very well."
He expected investment marking ther 20th anniversary to boost activity in the second half of the firm's financial year from April to September.
This period is usually the stronger part of the firm's year because it coincides with the summer holiday period in the northern hemisphere.
"We are already seeing encouraging signs for the second half with an increase of hotel reservations," he said.
The average amount spent by visitors rose by 2.0 percent to 44.11 euros per day in the parks and by 4.0 percent to 207.29 euros per room in the hotels, owing mainly to an increase in prices.
The number of visitors to the parks fell by 1.5 percent to 6.9 million and the rate of occupation in the hotels by 3.6 points to 79.8 percent.

Picture: copyright Disney

Text: copyright AFP

First Look at Carthay Circle Theatre Private 1901

Disney released the first pictures of the inside of the exclusive 1901 club in Carthay Circle Theatre at Disney's California Adventure. Jut like the Club 33 at Disneyland "1901" will be a special lounge, in which only members of Club 33 will be authorized to enter. The name "1901" is the year Walt Disney was born and the club "will be a warm, intimate space with eclectic light fixtures, overstuffed leather chairs, and beautiful, rich touches. The lounge will be decorated with personal artwork and photographs of the animators from the early years of the Walt Disney Studios, including some with Walt Disney’s own signature".

Since years there was a long waiting list for people wishing to join the Club 33 but Disneland also announced that they will accept soon new members. just in case you wish to be a Club 33 member, i let you know that the Initiation fee - price of admission to the club - is $25000 with then annual dues of $10000! That said, having a look at the pictures above and below is free and i added some screen captures from an ABC news video, also embedded below. Don't go away as the second part of the article brings a good news for those who can't afford the Club 33 $10000 annual fee.

Always inside the Carthay Theatre will open on June 15 the Carthay Circle Restaurant, and this one will be a restaurant open to all park guests ! According to Disney "The new premier dining location will take guests back in time to opening night of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” a historic night for Walt Disney and his studio. Re-creating the excitement of that night, Carthay Circle Restaurant will immerse guests in the post-screening atmosphere – as if they are celebrating alongside Walt and Lillian Disney, themselves". The pictures below show the restaurant "still under construction but close to the way it will appear when it opens on June 15".

Pictures: copyright Disney Parks

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Avengers set a new opening week-end record with an amazing $200M on its first week-end !

The Avengers has set a new opening week-end record with an amazing $200M on its first week-end! If you include the foreign box-office - $441,500,000 so far -The Avengers has already gross $641,800,000 worldwide in just EIGHT days, which is indeed remarkable.

As i predicted in my review posted yesterday The Avengers will reach easily $1Billion and it might even be sooner than expected! Congrats to Joss Whedon and all the cast!