Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Soarin' Over the World - The Ride

After a week soaring over Disney theme parks around the world let's talk about the real thing, i.e the long awaited "Soarin' Over the World" movie. Disneyland Paris fans are now waiting the future Ratatouille dark ride but what's next for the Walt Disney Studios after the Ratatouille ride? Well, Soarin' over the World is not only awaited at the WDS but also at DCA and Epcot - and probably at SDL as i've let you know this week in a previous article - so this article which reveal details about the new upcoming movie should also interest DCA and WDW fans.

Since Walt Disney Studios opening DLP Imagineers kept the room to build Soarin' in the future. The attraction is clearly indicated on some DLPI map project, all things which doesn't mean necessarily that they will build the attraction. It just mean that if they decide to build Soarin' they have the room available to do it. Actually, the space available is located between Cinemagique and the former Disney Channel buildings where are now Playhouse Disney and Stitch Live! attractions. And if you want to have an idea of the dimensions of the space available for Soarin' have a look at the picture below shot from the WDS parking lot. Click on it to enlarge the picture.

So, they DO have the room to build Soarin' but when will they build it? Well, considering that the Ratatouille dark ride will open only early 2014 there is of course no chances at all to have a Soarin' opening the same year.

However, what i can tell you is that Production Courtyard - the "land" where Soarin' would be build if they decide to do so - should be the next part of the park to have a big "placemaking". It's also the area where DLP Imagineers have the biggest space available to build a new attraction. They have of course plenty of land to expand the park in front and beyond the Tram tour station but if they want to stay inside the current limits of the park the available area reserved for Soarin' is definitely the biggest one.

And how should it look when Soarin' will be finally built, you ask? Well, if you're standing right now between Cinemagique and Stitch Live!, it looks like this:

But when DLPI Imagineers will finally build Soarin' over the World it might very well look like this:

Please note that the picture above is NOT a WDI picture, it's a Photoshop montage - not perfect, i agree - that i personally did using the infos from what i've been told and Disney's California Adventure's Soarin' facade and sign, which means that it might very well not look like this at the end...although it will be probably quite close and you can expect a facade as high as the one i did on the picture.

However, the park would be inspired to don't wait too long to build Soarin' at the WDS. Ten years ago WDI was almost alone to have the technology but now others ride manufacturers already propose some kind of "Soarin'" attraction using more or less the same technology at a much cheaper price and it's almost a miracle if no other french park didn't built yet an attraction of the same kind.

But what about the "Soarin'over the World" movie itself, you ask? Well, the last two years WDI imagineers were scouting locations around the world, and once the locations are choosen they need government's authorizations to film from an helicopter. Part of the shooting itself - for instance in France - was scheduled for last summer but it may have changed. Now, may be it don't looks like, but this "Soaring over the World movie" is going to be a real challenge for WDI imagineers. Why? Well, as in this new "Soarin'" movie we will soar "over and around the world" it means different filming in different locations, and here comes the question of the best season. Very probably the best time for filming should be in spring or early summer to avoid landscapes with no leaves on the trees of winter or summer monsoon rains in other locations. Not to mention that for other countries, it will be another season than spring which may be the right one for filming.

Before i go further, a little warning as there will be some spoilers ahead.

Now, the big question is : over which location will we "soar" in this new movie? Well, WDI imagineers have chosen some countries and if they don't change their plans, prepare yourself to soar over England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and for the U.S.A: the Grand Canyon and New York.

Although there is no South America country in the list above it doesn't mean it's not part of Imagineers plans. They have the choice: Brasil and Rio de Janeiro's bay or Iguaçu Falls, The Amazonia forest, The old Inca Machu-Pichu fortress in Peru, all these would be spectacular locations to soar above...

However, the other part of the Imagineers challenge will be probably to avoid filming a too "obvious" Travelogue. It's not going to be easy, as each country have its own iconic place/city/monument and it's a little bit everyone's dream to fly above them.

Now, what is coming next is just my personal thoughts, as i don't know exactly which place in each country Imagineers are planning to film. I mean: i really don't know. So what you will read below is pure personal speculation, although the locations choice below could very well be the one that will be in the final film! Also, please note that the pictures below are NOT Disney pictures, but a photomontage that i did with aerial views and the "Soarin'" vehicle from the "Soarin' over California" marketing picture. I tried to choose aerial views which will give you the soaring "vertigo" feeling as close as it should be in the final movie - please click on each picture to see them in big size to get the "effect".

Now, think about the India sequence, who wouldn't love to soar above the beautiful and romantic Taj Mahal?...

...or, for Italy, over the gorgeous Venise, the City of the Doges? Soaring over the Grand Canal would be great!

For England, will we soar over the legendary Tower Bridge? I can almost see the camera plunging between the two towers of the bridge...

For China, can we escape to soar above The Forbidden City?

And for the USA how great it would be to fly above the Grand Canyon...

...or New York?

Everyone would love to fly over these historical landmarks, so let's hope that WDI Imagineers will fulfill our dreams. They shouldn't think if a location is too obvious or not, it's not the problem, really!

Then, because we will travel around the world, i'm ready to bet that imagineers will play with the time of the day. And, because each location have a best time to be filmed, WDI Imagineers will be right to do so. Why not, for instance, begin the "flight" by the Giza Pyramids at dawn? I know very well the place as i've been there many times in my life, and the best hour with magical light on Giza Pyramids is definitely at dawn. Also, Egypt civilisation is the oldest one of all the countries listed above. To choose Egypt for the opening sequence and a dazzling view of the Pyramids at dawn would make perfect sense.

As for the evening sequence, soaring over London by night - the old Victorian city, the town of Peter Pan and the Darling family - would be wonderful. And if they need a Magic Kingdom for the "fireworks" final sequence, there is Disneyland Paris, just a few miles down in the south!

Even better: the best would be to have a different ending for each park where the attraction will play in the future. Take Hong Kong Disneyland for instance. Hong Kong at night is dazzling, and they could "cut" to a scene with fireworks over HKDL castle. Same for Epcot, or TDL or the future Shanghaî Disneyland. Different ending for each park will not only be logical, but also great for fans who will discover a not-totally-identical version when they will visit foreign Disney parks...

But in each country there is also plenty of natural wonders like, for instance, the Grand Canyon. And WDI imagineers may prefer to film them instead of cities or historical landmark like the Forbidden City in Beijing. Or may be they will do a mix of both to help the audience to identify instantly the "country".

Once the filming will be done WDI Imagineers still have to do the editing, add the music score and fix everything right which always takes some months... One last wish and i'm sure that most of you who've ride the first "Soarin'" will agree with me: please try to do a longer movie - which should be the case anyway as a roundtrip around the world in less than 5 minutes would be reaaally short - 7-8 minutes would be fine, it's never too long when you soar above all these wonders even if we must keep in mind the attraction hour capacity. Also: pleaaaase keep - or adapt - the original and fantastic Jerry Goldsmith original music score, no need to have a new one, really!

To come back to the WDS, it will be interesting to see if they will use only the new Soarin' over the World movie or also the first one, Soarin' over California. After all, as the attraction have two theaters guests could have the choice between the two movies... Personally i think they will use only Soarin' over the World at the opening and might keep Soarin over California for a re-boost of the attraction some years later.

Whether Soarin' will come at the WDS in the future or not - i hope it will as WDS guests will love it - let's all be patient and wait with confidence. Soarin over the World should arrive first at DCA and Epcot and hopefully later at the WDS. The sooner will be the better as i'm sure that Soarin' over the World will be an awesome experience!

Pictures: copyright Disney or Disney and more

Soarin' Over... Disneyland Paris

Our next "Soarin' destination is over Disneyland Paris and today, thanks to "Jolly Roger", you will see Disneyland Paris as you have never seen it before, and, as usual, click on each picture to see it in larger scale.

Just like you and me Jolly Roger is a big DLP fan but he is also something that we are not: he is a plane pilot. Small planes. And when the weather and winds are right for a safe flight Jolly Roger takes a plane and his camera and, flying over the resort, he is shooting great aerial pictures of Disneyland Paris "from above". Everyone ready for a flight? Then, fasten seat belts and lift off!

On the first picture below Jolly Roger in his plane is approaching the resort. On the top: DLP Magic Kingdom.

Below, the Disneyland Hotel at the entrance of the park. Don't forget to click on each picture to see them in larger scale.

On this next picture, an aerial shot of Town Square.

Let's fly over Frontierland with a great view of Big Thunder and the Rivers of the Far-West.

Same shooting angle, but at Autumn, with Phantom Manor and Town Square in the background.

Jolly Roger's new shot of Cottonwood Creek Ranch in the back of Frontierland with the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue and Critter Corral. Amazing how the trees and other vegetation have filled in so handsomely around the architectural elements and truly created Cottonwood Creek.

A winter shot of "Thunder Mesa".

Another shot of Frontierland with the Walt Disney Studios on the top. You'll note how close WDS Toon Studio is from Frontierland, something you can't guess when you're in the parks.

Let's fly now over Adventureland! This first picture shows the entrance of the land, Adventureland Bazaar and Swiss Robinson Tree.

This next one is showing the African part, Swiss Robinson Tree and Adventure Isle with Captain Hook ship and Skull Rock.

Two pictures shot from different angles of the Indiana Jones temple.

Let's move to Fantasyland with this first picture showing Alice's Curious Labyrinth and the Mad Hatter tea cups.

On this next one, Story Book Land and Casey Jr train.

Dumbo, Mad Hatter tea cups and le Caroussel de Lancelot, all together on the same shot.

A last aerial shot of Fantasyland with Discoveryland in the back.

A closer shot of Discoveryland with Space Mountain.

Another one, with Autopia and the Orbitron.

On this next you'll have a better view of the Nautilus. Videopolis theatre building is in the foreground.

This last Discoveryland picture shows Star Tours and Captain EO entrance.

It's time to fly over the Walt Disney Studios and this first shot shows the WDS from the back and of course the first park on the left.

Another picture showing both parks, in the foreground: the train tracks nearby.

A closer and panoramic shot of the WDS.

Another view on another angle with WDS entrance on the left and Toon Studio on the right.

A close shot of Crush's coaster building.

A great - and new - shot of the WDS with Toy Story Playland and Toon studio on the top, the Stunt show and Reign of Fire decor in the foreground, and of course Tower of Terror, here view from the back.

In the background of this last aerial shot of the WDS, Lake Disney, the Disney Village and the park hotels.

A great aerial shot of the hotels located around lake Disney. The New York hotel is in the front, the Newport Bay Club in the back and the Sequoia Lodge on the left.

This last Jolly Roger shot shows the Disney Village area and the Walt Disney Studios entrance in the back.

I think we can all thanks Jolly Roger for these fantastic pictures of Disneyland Resort Paris "from above". So, if you enjoyed the flight, don't hesitate to tell him in the comments!

If you love aerial shots i remind you that you will find in my Disneyland Paris book plenty of gorgeous aerial pictures of the park shot by world known aerial pictures master Yann Arthus-Bertrand. And, good news, as until August 30 i do a special summer offer on the book which not only include a 20% discount on the regular price but, also, each one who will place an order will receive a special gift - and it's a great one! Below, you can see a video showing the whole book and to know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE , or send me an email at: , or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below, right under the video!

All pictures: copyright Jolly Roger whom i thanks a lot!

Soarin' Over... Tokyo Disney Sea

There we go with my next Soarin' around the world article and today we will soar over the magnificent Tokyo Disney Sea! But before we start the flight i want to let you know that James Hilger who did this beautiful iBook for iPad - that i've reviewed recently in my article HERE - has now released it as a PDF eBook "viewable on Mac, Pc and most eBook readers and tablets", so everyone who don't own an iPhone or iPad can know order and enjoy this great digital book. To order, all you have to do is to go HERE.

So, let's fly over Tokyo Disney Sea, and as you will see sometime you don't need to be aboard a plane or to risk your life in a jungle trek to get great pictures of a Disney park from above. All you need is to remember that something called Google Earth exist and there you go!

The top picture shows the whole TDS park, and the one below the entrance with the Mediterranean part and Mysterious Island. While we soar above TDS we will also have a look to the land available for future expansion. Definitely click on EACH picture to see them in larger scale!

Next, a closer shot over Mysterious Island. As you will see, and here it's logical as it is almost an "island", there is not really any room available in Mysterious Island. However i remember asking at TDS opening WDI Imagineer Steve Kirk who was TDS Main Show Producer why there was no walk-through inside the Nautilus like we have at DLP. And, if i remind it well, Steve answered me that they've kept the room to eventually do it in the future. Which means that there is some room available somewhere inside Mysterious Island either to create the inside Nautilus decor or eventually something else. Although i'm a big fan of Harper Goff Nautilus i wouldn't bet that they will add at TDS a Nautilus walk-through like the one at DLP as it seems that for the japanese the Nautilus didn't reached the mythical dimension that it did in occidental countries.

Let's fly now over Arabian Coast (top) and Mermaid Lagoon (bottom) where there is not a lot of room available too, specially considering that the Google Earth picture was shot before the Jasmine flying carpets ride was installed at the right of the entrance of the Sindbad ride.

It's not the same in Lost river Delta as there is a big land available on the right of the Indiana Jones ride, near the sea. I'm wondering what they will put here in the future... On the left of the Indy ride you can see the Raging Spirits roller coaster.

The two next pictures show Port Discovery which is literally blocked between Mysterious Island and the sea itself with the outside road in between. No need to say that there is not really any room available for future expansion.

Close to Port discovery is Cape Cod and although it's a small land without any attraction and not a lot of room available they might have enough room for something small...if there is any ride idea that can fit with the land theme.

We'll end this Soarin' over Tokyo Disney Sea with these two shots over American Waterfront. On the left of Tower of Terror and on the right of the parking lot you can see some room available but it's where is now the new Toy Story Mania which opened recently. However on the first parking lot - the one colour grey, not the one colour black - they still have some room. Yes, the backstage road run in between but i'm sure that if they need the land in the future to build something there they will "move" the road.

Hope you'll enjoy the flight, see you tomorrow for another destination! In the meantime don't forget James Hilger TDS book and also my great TDS Wallpaper application available on the iTunes Store. Click HERE for direct access to the TDS Wallpapers HD iTunes page or READ my article first HERE.

Pictures: copyright Google Earth