Saturday, July 14, 2012

HKDL Grizzly Gulch Grand opening, First Pictures of Mystic Manor, and more

Editor's Note: Lot of news about HKDL and SDL this week-end so make sure to scroll down to read the others articles!

Grizzly Gulch is now officially open and Hong Kong Disneyland has released a new promo video showing not only the grand opening, but also the making-of of the TV commercial and, more interesting, the first pictures of the inside of Mystic Manor!

Let's begin by Grizzly Gulch grand opening and as you will see in the video a scale was put on stage, with a supposed gold nugget on one side. Then, WDI Imagineers, HKDL CEO and Tom Staggs put one by one a weight on the other side until they reached the perfect weight and at that time a small fireworks happened and Grizzly Gulch was officially open!

The video also shows for the first time some of the decors of the highly awaited Mystic Manor ride, opening Spring 2013. You'll see on the screen captures below mural elements, props, armors, mosaics, and more. As Imagineer Mitch Gill says in the video "The guests will travel on ( in the manor ) and see wonderful artifacts from around the world. There is magic and mystery of wondering Lord Henry's collection"

The good thing is that it seems that the inside will look like a real manor... I think that Mystic Manor will really be at the height of our expectations, and i can't wait for its opening! Also, some months ago there was a rumor that the trackless LPS vehicle system - more or less similar to the one used in the TDL Winnie the Pooh ride - have been cancelled but i had the confirmation that it's not the case, which is good news.

Now, as i'm sure you're dying to see this new video, so here it is!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Theme Park Guy Exclusive Reports on Shanghaî Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland

My good friend Stefan Zwanzger - aka The Theme Park Guy - is back with new exclusive pictures of Hong Kong Disneyland as well as the area around Shanghaî Disneyland construction site. I've said it before but what i like with Stefan is that nothing is stopping him when he wants to get a never-seen-before shot. Last year he went through the jungle of the hills above HKDL to get fantastic shots of the park seen from up on the hills and, according to him, the trek was just like hell, in a real deep jungle.

And this year, guess what he's done? That's right, as you can see on the shots below he went again through the jungle filled with spiders and snakes just to get brand new shots from above, and all this wearing his unique, famous - and copyrighted! - "roller coaster hat"!

But there is a reward and once he was up there he was able to shot unique pictures like the one at the top or this one below on which you can see on the same pic the three new lands AND Hong Kong city, on the other side of the bay!

On his trip, Stefan also went back to Shanghaî to have a look if there was anything new near Shanghaî Disneyland construction site. As the construction of the park itself is just beginning of course there is not a lot of things to see yet, and may be Stefan will need like all of us to wait for SDL opening to have pictures as the park construction site is far away and won't be visible even when SDL castle will rise. But, around the site, interesting things are happening as the road infra structures have totally changed. As you will see below the roads are brand new and look now like the big avenues we can find at DLP or WDW, except that for now there is no cars. But in 2015 it should be totally different as, as they say, "if you build it, they will come!".

So, jump to Stefan site to see his full report about Shanghaî HERE And the great pictures of HKDL as seen from up on the hills HERE! And i remind you, too, his great Theme Park Guy construction board which brings news of all theme parks projects around the world!

Pictures: copyright Theme Park Guy.

Shanghaî Disneyland will have Unique Rides and Attractions, says Tom Staggs

Here is some interesting news about Shanghaî Disneyland! According to China Daily latest article:
"When the Shanghai Disney Resort opens in 2015, all the attractions will look amiable and adorable.
But the process that helped create them was the product of creative opinions, challenges and discussions involving many different voices and backgrounds, including leading Chinese artists and designers.

More than 500 designers, or what Disney calls "imagineers", have worked for years to create the design concept for the first Disney resort on the Chinese mainland, in the hope of making the 3.9-square-kilometer resort 100 percent Disney, but with distinctive Chinese flavors.

For these Disney imagineers, who have already designed five Disney resorts, ensuring their designs are genuinely Disney is not as much of a challenge as ensuring Chinese elements and consumer tastes are appropriately considered and incorporated.

To achieve that goal, the designers launched numerous focus groups and undertook countless field research trips to hear from audiences, and witness and experience Chinese culture firsthand. They also welcomed into their design group top Chinese creative talent to ensure Chinese participation in the project from the very beginning.

During a lunch at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the Shanghai Disney Resort's creative head, Bob Weis, and three LA-based Chinese imagineers shared with China Daily some of the exciting stories about their work on the Shanghai project.

According to Weis, many of the designers involved with the Shanghai resort have visited China multiple times to experience Chinese culture, and have incorporated elements into their work and discussed improvements with colleagues. Every design in the Shanghai Disney Resort is subject to critical review and debate. "We encourage the exchange of ideas so we can select the best concepts while recognizing there are no stupid ideas," he said.

One of the most debated designs has been of the main castle, the centerpiece of every Disney resort. To ensure a perfect castle for the Shanghai theme park, the team pinned many drafts on a giant wall to solicit opinions from visitors and partners. Lead castle designer Doris Woodward, a senior director and producer who traces her family background to Shanghai, said Shanghai's castle will be the biggest among Disney's castles worldwide. Instead of being home to any single princess, the castle in Shanghai will be home to all of Disney's princesses, including Snow White and Pocahontas.

Beijing-born and raised Yu Xuan, one of the LA-based imagineers, is in charge of organizing creative design focus groups and the immersive trips across China. "We get ideas of what Chinese audiences want through questionnaires and face-to-face interviews with thousands of people in many cities. One key thing we have found is that they all want to take away from their Shanghai Disney Resort experience a collective memory that can be shared among family members throughout their entire lives," she said.

Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said some of the designs in the Shanghai park have been pinned down but some are still up for modification. Designs will be constantly improved and refined during the development phase and visitors will be "surprised" when they enter the park at the end of 2015, he said. He added that the Shanghai park will also feature plenty of rides and attractions, many of which are newly designed and cannot be found at other Disney theme parks.

Text: copyright China Daily

Download the great Tokyo Disney Sea Wallpapers app!
Click HERE for a direct access to the TDS Wallpapers HD iTunes page
or READ my article first HERE.

Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Gulch TV Commercial

Hong Kong Disneyland just released the Grizzly Gulch TV commercial and you will find it below. What's interesting is not only that it looks like a short movie but also that they obviously choose to show the Big Grizzly Mountain ride in a humorous way. I'm saying this because in the changes on Mystic Manor - HKDL next big attraction opening spring 2013 - the ride two main characters have been "toonified", probably to don't look too realistic, and this are changes apparently trying to don't make the future ride too "scary".

And i'm just wondering if this is a request of HK Administration...might be. I think it's probably better to expect from Mystic Manor more an eerie atmosphere than a scary one, which is fine for me. In the meantime, have a look at this Grizzly Gulch commercial!

Picture and video: copyright Disney - Thanks to Michael20183 !

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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

OZ, The Great and Powerful - First Trailer !

DIsney just released the first trailer of OZ, The Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi, and to be released iMarch 8, 2013. The movie is a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz™ but into a better man as well.

After watching the trailer, i instantly thought: "oh-oh this one seems to be a good one!" and i have a very good feeling on this movie. Not only because it is the great Sam Raimi who is behind the camera, but simply because i think they probably finally succeeded to create a new OZ movie which finds back the magic of the first one, and i thought it was impossible, or at least i was very doubtful. James Franco and Michelle Williams along with others actors will be fine if not excellent and now i can't wait to see the movie!

That said, i also can't wait to see how successful OZ, the Great and Powerful will be. Why? Because, of how the movie will be successful or not probably depends the OZ land project designed by WDI Imagineer Tony Baxter which is envisioned for the back of Disneyland's Frontierland. It's part of the big projects for Disneyland, along with the Tomorrowland expansion revealed by Al Lutz recently. As far as i know this OZ land has not received the green light yet but apparently Tony Baxter was seen recently walking in the park with Bob Iger, and if you want my feeling they were not meeting in Disneyland to discuss the quality of Disneyland popcorn!

So, let's wait and see for this OZ land, and in the meantime have a look at the trailer below, as well at an interview of James Franco. Afterwhat you're very welcome to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

WDW New Fantasyland Construction Video

Here is a great video showing WDW New Fantasyland construction, and including shots of Belle Village, the exterior of the Little Mermaid ride. You'll also see the first tests on the Little Mermaid waterfalls, and more !

WDW Magic Kingdom New Fantasyland is, after DCA Cars Land and Buena Vista Street the next big WDI project in the U.S to open. The double Dumbo ride and the Story Book Circusare already open and the rest should open later this year, except the seven dwarves mine ride. On this next video filmed by DisneyByTheNumbers you'll see the new Casey Jr Splash'n Soak Station as well as the double Dumbo ride and the new interactive - read "playground" - queue.

Videos: copyright, disneybythenumbers

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tokyo Disney Sea Toy Story Mania - New Videos !

The new Toy Ville Trolley Park area including Toy Story Mania is now open at Tokyo Disney Sea and plenty of videos have been uploaded on Youtube. Here is a selection of interesting ones and this first video filmed by JSAKE70 is great as it shows Toy Ville Trolley Park at night with its beautiful lighting.

This next video by JiJi will show you the queue decor and the ride itself as well as the unique little games located out of the ride.

This other video by bigsnowdome will show you in details the queue decor of Toy Story Mania.

Another one filmed by DonadonaSea2012 showing a long traveling in the queue decor and also Mr Potato Head outside.

Here is another one by mikko20101109 showing the whole new area, thanks to an almost "flying" camera!

And, because we can't live without these unique japanese TV reports here is one about TDS toy story Mania!

Videos: copyright JSAKE70, JiJi, bigsnowdome, DonadonaSea2012, mikko20101109, torasanduck

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's Next for Hong Kong Disneyland ? All About Mystic Manor, Opening Spring 2013 !

After Grizzly Gulch, what's next for Hong Kong Disneyland? Mystic Point and the highly awaited Mystic Manor attraction will be the next to open at HKDL in 2013. How will it be? What is the storyline of the Mystic Manor ride? In this great article posted previously you will find all the answers with WDI original artwork, and the good news is that the ride will be almost identical as it was unveiled at D23 Expo three years ago.

That said, you may have heard some months ago rumors of major changes in the Mystic Manor ride, including that the trackless vehicle system was cancelled, but apparently it still will be part of the ride. If we except the "toonified" style for Henry and Albert, the ride two main characters, some of the figures have also changed their appearance, such as the Lava God in the Tribal Room which apparently had some changes to don't look too "human". But as i've said the ride system is still there and is now in place and all the works could be finished next fall. The opening date of the ride is still scheduled for spring 2013.

Soooo, Mystic Point will be the last of the three new lands to open at HKDL and when Mystic Manor will open it will be probably an "instant classic" attraction. Before i go further i want to warn you that there will be major spoilers all along the article. If you don't want to know anything about the storyline, this is definitely not the right article! Also, click on each pictures to see them in big and explore details.

In the story line that WDI Imagineers imagined, the Manor owner is an explorer called Lord Henry Mystic, a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. If you remember well, Harrison Hightower III, the owner of the Hightower building at Tokyo Disney Sea - i.e the Tower of Terror - was also part of the same society. At HKDL action is supposed to be in 1908 and Lord Mystic is still alive and exploring the world. He is inviting us to this remote outpost in the Jungle. Mystic has a friendly companion, a monkey called Albert.

In the first scene above Henry Mystic will appear and warn us that a new artifact - a box - that he just bring back from one of his expeditions is supposedly enchanted and must be open very carefully.

We will then enter the loading room and board in the attraction vehicles which, let's remember it, are not omnimovers like in the Haunted Mansion and will be able to move in any directions or even spin.

Albert the monkey is intrigued by the box and will try to open it. And when he does, just like the box of "Pandora", the forces inside the box will be unleashed. A mysterious smoke will get out of it and will start to take over the different rooms. All the artifacts that guests will see in all the rooms will suddenly and magically come to life.

Inside the next room - the Music room - music instruments will start to come to life. I won't be surprised if we find in this room some Haunted Mansion effects - remember the piano who play by itself in the doors corridor?

The Greco-Roman Mediterranean room will be the next one, and statues or paintings will suddenly be alive. Here too, Imagineers can use improved Haunted Mansion effects, and we should probably have audio-animatronics for the "live" statues.

In the next room, the "Nordic Chamber" , expect a cold temperature when the Vikings will come alive!

Scene seven, "The Armory", should be more frightening with suits of armors coming alive - hi again to another Haunted Mansion effect - arms trying to chop towards us and even canons will blast at us, allowing the Imagineers to take advantage of the spin motion of the ride vehicle that will spin away like if we've been hit for real. When i look at the blast effect in the rendering it reminds me the "ring of smoke" effect used in the Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull attraction at Tokyo Disney Sea, and i won't be surprised if they use the same effect for the canon blast.

Egyptian Mummy lovers should be delight with the next room - the Egyptian room - where we can expect mummies coming alive and interesting special effects on the Egyptians bas-reliefs.

The next scene is called "The Tribal Room" and there is two renderings for it. The first one below is not only a dramatic scene with the "lava" statue but is also interesting on other points. If you look at the left of the artwork you will see a Tiki room tribute with not only Tikis masks but also a Tiki drummer , exactly the same one that we can see in the Disneyland beloved attraction. If you look at the right part of the artwork you'll see other tribal masks who obviously are throwing darts. i bet you that Imagineers will use the same effect used in Indiana Jones Adventure when you go through the "dart" room, just before the scene with the huge rolling ball.

The second rendering seems to confirm what i've just said - but Albert the monkey have more difficulties to escape the darts and arrows...

In scene 10 - the Chinese room - a monkey king statue which stands in its center will come alive and create a turbulent vortex, like a tornado. Four vehicles will join together and, due to the tornado wind effect, will begin to spin in an amazing choreography. At this point Albert the monkey understand that if he doesn't stop all this hell he will be in trouble forever...

In the final scene Albert will try desperately to close the enchanted box. Of course, at the last second he will succeed and bring everything back down to normal. Right after that, Lord Henry Mystic will pop up and say "Hi everybody, i hope you enjoyed your trip, i'm sure there was no problem with any of the artifacts and that everything is fine. Please come back and visit again when you're in the neighborhood!".

Looks like an instant classic attraction, doesn't it? Personally, i can't wait for its opening which unfortunately seems to be schedule for 2013.

Let's have a look at other Mystic Manor artwork and model pictures beginning by the ride vehicle design researchs.

Let's end with two more pictures with the "big" model of Mystic Manor.

The story line of the attraction as described above is coming from an Imagineer video interview that you can see on Youtube HERE. The technical aspects are my own speculations.

For those of you who love WDI artwork i remind you that the Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality book" which will tell you all about the creation of DLP include 250 WDI Artwork (!) and 500 pictures of the park on 320 pages. Have a look at the video below which will show you the whole book!

The book is still available either in its english or french edition and you can still enjoy a 20% discount special offer and the book is now available with an immediate shipping! Reviews from all those who have already received the book are "over the top" so, place your order now for a gorgeous collector's edition copy while the special offer on this wonderful book is still available! To know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below.

Pictures: copyright Andy Castro

All artwork: copyright Disney - Disney Enterprises.