Saturday, September 22, 2012

EPCOT 30TH Anniversary Celebration - Spaceship Earth Original Artwork

In tribute to Epcot 30th celebration, here is a series of articles with Epcot's WDI original artwork. In this part one we will have a closer look to the original renderings for Epcot icon: Spaceship Earth. Mot of the renderings below were done by artist/illustrator Claudio Mazzoli, except the rendering on the top which was done by Herb Ryman.

We begin by this Herb Ryman painting showing the exterior of Spaceship Earth. Next are some artwork for the cro-magnon cave sequence.

Strangely, it seems that a scene with dinosaurs was considered before being cancelled.

Here is the rendering of the egyptian temple sequence.

This one is for the Phenician scene.

Three renderings , now, for the Gutenberg press scene.

Artwork for the Michelangelo - Sixtine chapel scene.

Two artwork for a scene called "the age of invention"

The model for the telephone-telegraph scene of the "age of invention"

Let's end with three artwork for the outer space "planetarium" sequence as it was envisioned at the beginning

More Epcot original artwork coming soon! In the meantime, those of you who like WDI renderings will be happy to know that you can find 250 gorgeous WDI artwork in the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book which has until September 30 a great special offer!

Don't miss the special offer on the DLP book! : Order a copy of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book this month of September and save $45 including Free Shipping! You'll find all infos to order an ENGLISH edition HERE and for the FRENCH edition it's HERE. Watch below the video showing the whole book!

Choose quantity and enjoy an additional discount !

All artwork: copyright Disney Enterprises

Friday, September 21, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour flying over Disneyland and California Landmarks during its final journey !

Editor's Note: Article now edited with today's videos of space shuttle Endeavour flying over Disneyland And California Landmarks!

If you are at Disneyland today keep an eye on the sky as the space shuttle Endeavour will fly above Disneyland Resort today just like it did three days ago over Walt Disney World! This is Endeavour's final journey before it goes to California Science Center where you'll be able to see it starting October 30! Endeavour is also supposed to fly today above the Golden Gate and the famous Hollywood sign!

Edited: Here are some great videos showing space shuttle Endeavour on its final journey to California! The first video below shows Endeavour going east over San Francisco Bay, turning south over the Golden Gate Bridge, and then going west over San Francisco.

Here is another short one showing Endeavour flying over the Golden Gate bridge...

This next one Endeavour are fantastic footage showing Endeavour flying over the Hollywwod sign and L.A Griffith observatory! Lot of people were on the hills and you can feel their excitement!

And there is Endeavour flying over Disneyland resort! 

Many people on one of DL parking lot waiting for Endeavour, as you will see!

And finally , on this video Endeavour is flying over Los Angeles Airport ( Runway 25 ).

And these two next ones are officials NASA videos - filmed from one of the air fighters flying with Endeavour - are showing Endeavour flying over Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz in San francisco bay, Los Angeles, Hollywood sign, and  up to its final landing!

And, finally, if you've missed the footage showing ENdeavour flying over Walt Disney World three days ago, here it is!

Videos: copyright NASA and many others great people who were there yesterday and filmed this historical moment. Thanks a lot to each of you!

Two new clips from Tim Burton's Frankenweenie !

Tim Burton's Frankenweenie will be released soon, and two new clips are now available! you can watch them below, the first one is called "Sparky is alive" and the second one is called "Edgar knows"...and what "he" knows is in relation with the fact that "Sparky is alive". It looks good, so go ahead, watch them!

And for those of you who are still wondering what this Frankenweenie is talking about here is "Frankenweenie Tale", a trailer done like they were doing them in the 1950's.

 Videos: copyright Disney

Herb Ryman's Disneyland Map Artwork

I've got something great for you today. We all know the first and famous Disneyland artwork done by Herb Ryman for Walt in 1954. I've found it for you in a mega-file which is no less than 1,23 meter large! Although the definition is in 72 dpi only, as it is difficult to find this legendary artwork in a size as large as this one so you should enjoy it anyway.

And, in addition to this great black and white file of Ryman's artwork here is also a rare color version of the Disneyland map, not as large as the one above but in pretty good size too.

Talking about Disneyland if you haven't read yet Al Lutz update this week, you should read it as Al reveals that for the first time since Disneyland's opening big changes are coming to Main Street U.S.A with nothing less than the addition of new streets! Go ahead and have a read on Mice Chat HERE.

Artwork: copyright Disney

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Breaking News : The Walt Disney Company Re-Finances Disneyland Paris for an Amount of $1.7 Billion !

Big news today from Disneyland Paris as DLP announced officially the refinancing of Euro Disney debt with a new financing provided by the WDC for an overall amount of 1332 Million  euros ( $1.734 B )! Yes, that's a lot of money, but don't think that all of it will go in new attractions as it's basically an operation to re-finance DLP debt. Basically it means that DLP will use most of the money to pay off the debt they had with the banks...and will owe the same amount or so to the WDC. 

What's the point of doing this, you ask? Well, as it is said in the official press release that you can read below "This refinancing will enable us to reduce our financing costs and give us greater investment and operational flexibility". Also, DLP will benefit from "a more gradual repayment schedule that will provide for 225 million euros of additional cash flow". 

So, is this good news yes or no? Of course it is, the park will save a lot of money on the debt interest that until now they were paying to the banks, and this saved money will very probably be used to the parks development. What we can be sure of is that the WDC knew that there was no way out with DLP financial set-up as it is right now. Instead to invest in the parks development and build new attractions DLP was spending its money to pay off the debt interest, etc... It had became totally insane and in fact there was no other choice than doing what is happening now. DLP still owe a lot of money but for the big part it will be to the WDC instead of many banks and this will change everything

You probably remember that recently TIME magazine announced that the WDC was planning a buyout of EuroDisney SCA. Finally it didn't really happened this way - may be the original agreement between EuroDisney SCA and the french government didn't allowed the WDC to increase their shares? - but for sure what has been announced today is another way to get the control on DLP, a kind of undirect control just like anyone would have on someone to whom he did a $1.7 B loan! Or may be it's a first step to a real buyout, the future will tell...

That said, this is good news for DLP which was in a critical financial condition, and hopefully we will know soon if this operation will also bring new attractions in the parks.

Below the official press releases in english and in french versions. Let me know in your comments what you think of all this!

Euro Disney group improves its debt profile with the €1.3 billion refinancing of the group’s debt by The Walt Disney Company

(Marne-la-Vallée, on 18 September® 2012) - Euro Disney S.C.A., parent company of Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., operator of Disneyland Paris, announces the refinancing Euro Disney group’s debt (excluding debt already extended by The Walt Disney Company) with new financing provided by The Walt Disney Company and two of its French subsidiaries, for an overall amount of 1,332 million euros.
The workers’ council has been consulted on the transaction and has rendered a favourable opinion thereon. In addition, the consent of all the creditors, necessary to implement the transaction, has been obtained.

The Supervisory Board of Euro Disney Associés S.C.A. met today and approved the transaction.
With this refinancing, the Group's average interest rate on its debt decreases meaningfully and the Group benefits from greater operational flexibility by removing the restrictive covenants under existing debt agreements, notably those related to restrictions on capital expenditures. Moreover, the extended maturity of the total debt to 2030 together with a more gradual debt repayment schedule will better position the Group to invest in long-term growth and drive value for all shareholders. The transaction is expected to close on 27 September 2012.

« This refinancing will enable us to reduce our financing costs and give us greater investment and operational flexibility. This is a key step in the development of our Resort that we pursue for the benefit for all of our stakeholders. I strongly believe this will be highly beneficial to the Company, its cast members and shareholders.», declared Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S.
Philippe Gas added: « The Walt Disney Company, with this transaction, reaffirms its continued confidence in Disneyland® Paris which has successfully become, over the past 20 years, the number one tourist destination in Europe, a growth driver of French tourism and an important ambassador of the Disney brand across Europe ».
Principal terms and impacts of the refinancing
  • -  As of September 30, 2012, the Group’s debt will amount to 1,710 million euros.
  • -  The new financing will be composed of term loans totaling 1,232 million euros and a 100 million euros standby revolving credit facility available until September 30, 2017 and fully drawn on as part of the transaction. These two components of the new financing are unsecured and will carry a 4.0% and a EURIBOR + 2.00% rate per annum, respectively.
  • -  The interest expense incurred by the Group will be reduced by a total of 45 million euros over the next 5 years.
  • -  The Group will repay 217 million euros of debt principal over the next 5 years, according to a more gradual repayment schedule that will provide for 225 million euros of additional cash flow.
  • -  For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2012, the Group will incur an additional financial charge related to the early exercise of the purchase options under the lease agreements, partially offset by a net gain on the debt extinguishment. The Group estimates the fiscal year net impact on financial charges to be an approximate 30 million euros.
  • -  This transaction does not have any impact on the royalties due to The Walt Disney Company under the license agreement.

And now the french version of the press release for D&M french readers:

Le groupe Euro Disney améliore le profil de son endettement grâce au refinancement de sa dette, à hauteur de 1,3 milliard d’euros, par The Walt Disney Company
(Marne-la-Vallée, le 18 septembre 2012) - Euro Disney S.C.A., société mère d’Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., société d’exploitation de Disneyland® Paris annonce le refinancement de la dette du groupe Euro Disney (à l’exception des financements déjà consentis par The Walt Disney Company), par des prêts octroyés par The Walt Disney Company et deux de ses filiales françaises, pour un montant global de 1 332 millions d’euros.
Le comité d’entreprise, consulté sur l’opération, a émis un avis favorable. En outre, l’accord de tous les créanciers, nécessaire à la mise en œuvre de cette opération, a été obtenu.
Le Conseil de surveillance d’Euro Disney Associés S.C.A. s’est réuni aujourd’hui et a approuvé l’opération.

Grâce à ce refinancement, le taux d’intérêt moyen de la dette du Groupe sera réduit de façon sensible et le Groupe bénéficiera d’une plus grande flexibilité opérationnelle. Ce refinancement permettra également de supprimer les contraintes financières imposées par les accords de financement actuels, notamment celles relatives aux limitations des investissements. Enfin, l’extension de la maturité de la dette jusqu’en 2030 ainsi qu’un échéancier de remboursement plus progressif permettront au Groupe d’améliorer sa capacité à investir dans le développement de son activité sur le long terme et à créer plus de valeur pour l’ensemble de ses actionnaires. L’opération devrait être finalisée le 27 septembre 2012.

« Ce refinancement nous permettra de réduire le coût de notre dette et de bénéficier d’une plus grande flexibilité en termes d’investissement et de gestion opérationnelle. Il s’agit là d’une étape essentielle dans le développement de notre destination touristique, développement que nous poursuivons dans l’intérêt de toutes les parties prenantes. Je suis convaincu des effets très positifs de cette opération pour notre entreprise, ses cast members et ses actionnaires», a déclaré Philippe Gas, Président d’Euro Disney S.A.S.
Philippe Gas a ajouté : « The Walt Disney Company, avec cette opération, donne une nouvelle preuve de sa confiance dans l’avenir de Disneyland® Paris, qui est devenu, en vingt ans, la première destination touristique européenne, un moteur du tourisme français et un puissant ambassadeur de la marque Disney en Europe ».

Principaux éléments et impacts du refinancement
  • -  Au 30 septembre 2012, la dette du Groupe s’élèvera à 1 710 millions d’euros.
  • -  Le nouveau financement comprendra deux prêts d’un montant total de 1 232 millions d’euros ainsi qu’une
    ligne de crédit réutilisable de 100 millions d’euros disponible jusqu’au 30 septembre 2017 et utilisée en totalité dans le cadre de l’opération. Ces financements, non assortis de sûretés, porteront intérêts, respectivement, aux taux annuels de 4% et de Euribor + 2%.
  • -  La charge d’intérêts encourue par le Groupe sera réduite de 45 millions d’euros sur les cinq prochaines années.
  • -  Le Groupe remboursera 217 millions d’euros de principal de la dette au cours des cinq prochaines années selon un nouvel échéancier plus graduel permettant ainsi de disposer de 225 millions d’euros de liquidités supplémentaires.
  • -  Au titre de l’exercice clos le 30 septembre 2012, le Groupe devra supporter une charge financière supplémentaire liée à l’exercice anticipé des options d’achats au titre des contrats de crédit-bail, charge financière partiellement compensée par un gain net associé à l’extinction de la dette. Le Groupe estime l’impact net sur les charges financières de l’exercice à approximativement 30 millions d’euros.
  • -  Cette opération ne modifie pas les accords relatifs aux redevances de licence dues à The Walt Disney Company. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Captain EO back this October at Disneyland Paris Discoveryland at selected dates

Good news for Michael Jackson fans as Captain EO will be back at Disneyland Paris Discoveryland at selected dates, starting October 1st. The attraction will be open every day except from Oct 3 to Oct 5, from Oct 10 to Oct 12, from Oct 17 to Oct 19 and from Oct 24 to Oct 26. Which means that it will be closed three days each week. Captain EO which was closed permanently earlier this year will also be open in November. Chances are that these four days a week only opening will last until the park has found something else to replace Captain EO, may be the Star Wars Land project that we talked about some months ago...

Anyway, this Captain EO is a good opportunity to re-post this great video interview of WDI Imagineer Rick Rothschild who was part of the team who designed the original concept. In the video Rick was of course talking about the return of the attraction at Discoveryland but also reveals that other concepts were first envisioned for a Michael Jackson attraction, back 20 years ago! And to discover or watch again Rick's interview jump on Disney and more MAX HERE!

While we talk about michael Jackson here is a short fun video posted today by Le Monde in which Spike Lee tells never heard before stories about Michael. Spike just finished a great documentary about MJ called "Bad 25" which will be released on TV in the U.S next November and in France early next year.

Picture: copyright Disney - Lucas Film

Don't miss the special offer on the DLP book! : Order a copy of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book this month of September and save $45 including Free Shipping! You'll find all infos to order an ENGLISH edition HERE and for the FRENCH edition it's HERE. Watch below the video showing the whole book!

Choose quantity and enjoy an additional discount !

Monday, September 17, 2012

Editor's Note: In addition to the new HKDL Halloween articles below - see the part two posted today - i've posted on my Innoventions Blog something quite extraordinary: the landing on Planet Mars of Mars Curiosity in Ultra HD 30fps Smooth-Motion!
You better don't miss this one, it's the first time of your life that you will see a film showing the red planet in such high-definition that it wouldn't be better if it was recreated by the wizards of Industrial Light and Magic! And all you have to do to watch it s to click HERE.

HKDL Halloween Introduces Boo-tique and Magic Mirror Effect in Merchandise Shops

I've let you know yesterday that hong Kong Disneyland Halloween season began, and you had a quick look at the Halloween merchandise. Actually the HKDL guys in charge of the merchandise introduced a cool "magic mirror" effect: when you place one of the Halloween t-shirts i front of a "magic mirror" creatures of the night suddenly appear, whether it is a vampire, a werewolf, or a Mickey Halloween family!

Don't believe it? Then have a look at the three videos below! Sure, it's a simple effect happening in HKDL shops but personally i think it's cool that they introduce special effects in the merchandise shops, and for sure no one will complain about this, right?

The Vampire effect...

The Werewolf effect...

The Mickey Family effect...

Always part of HKDL Halloween 2012: the Boo-tique - picture on top - a place where make-up artists will create on your face great Halloween make-up, as you can see on the pictures below.

HKDL Halloween is on until October 31st! See you soon for more news of HKDL, and in the meantime, don't miss the great HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!

Videos: copyright Jimmy Yim

Sunday, September 16, 2012

HKDL Halloween Season Begins !

Hong Kong Disneyland Halloween Celebration just began and will last until October 31st. I have great official pictures for you and please note that even if the press release below is saying that it starts from October 4, HKDL Halloween did in fact began on Sept 14.

The reason why they don't mention a start on Sept 14 is because, although the media day and the start day of the event was on Sept 14, all the Halloween night event days before Oct 4 are fully booked. Because of the huge success of HKDL Halloween event many corporations and big enterprises scheduled their company's private parties, or the coorporate night party with the local group are booked in advance. So HKDL announced the start day of the Halloween event on Oct 4. However, i guess that due to the haunted houses opening in the afternoon, a few hours before the private party starts, HKDL guests can go and enjoy the haunted mazes during daytime. Below the press release and in the merchandise section have a look to the interesting Frankenweenie collectible items!

At Disney’s Haunted Halloween 2012, the Vampire Coven and the Were Tribe, two emerging forces of evil, are invading Hong Kong Disneyland and stirring up an intense clash to determine who will be the ultimate leader of the darkness that permeates every corner of the Park. From October 4th to 31st (Thursday – Sunday, including October 31st), brand new and unexpected frightful fun will be awaiting Guests at Disney’s Haunted Halloween. The Park will take the struggle for power to new heights with a smartphone app and an augmented reality (AR) game, together with various co-marketing promotions. “Choose Your Dark Side” now!

Ominous surprises permeate every corner of the Park, including the chance to virtually meet and interact with the recruitment leaders of the evil forces
Brand new Halloween fun can be found throughout Hong Kong Disneyland! Get ready to enroll at “Graves Academy,” a once prestigious learning academy where Master Graves is breeding the evil of the future. Guests should join forces to support their team when the Vampires and Werewolves meet for the ultimate showdown at “Main Street, U.S.A. – Clash of Evil.” Be there to witness which team will be victorious and the supreme ruler of all dark forces.

At the Tomorrowland – Party Zone, an array of music, dance, stage performances and interactive games bring Guests exciting entertainment options, including 4 nights of performances by the hot new pan-Asian girl band BLUSH, whose members come from five different countries in Asia. In addition, performances by Diablo – End of Line, TRON City Dance Crew, the ElecTRONica Program Dancers and the spectacular Laserman Show will light up the night. On Friday and Saturday nights, popular radio DJs will also take over the stage with their own brand of party games, elevating the atmosphere to new heights. There will also be slick demonstrations of artful yo-yo tricks by the Duncan® yo-yo team. Mickey, Duffy and the whole gang, clad in their new Halloween costumes, will process around Fantasyland to their own Trick or Treat locations where they look forward to meeting and greeting Guests. Fans of the Vampire Coven and the Were Tribe can virtually interact with their recruitment leaders in a captivating virtual reality video experience—“Meet your Recruitment Leader of the dark side”—which Guests can even bring home to share with all their family and friends.

Wendy Chu, Director, Marketing, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, said, “Disney’s Haunted Halloween has been a big hit with young adults over the years. With brand new haunted experiences found in every corner of the Park, Disney’s Haunted Halloween will continue to be one of the most popular destinations for Halloween revelers in Hong Kong. This year, the story of the clash between Vampires and Werewolves invites Guests and their friends to choose their dark side and take the challenge anytime via the game app while enjoying the new Halloween offerings at the Park, which include the chance to meet the two recruitment leaders – an opportunity that will surely capture the attention of young adults of every persuasion.”

City-wide “Choose Your Dark Side Challenge” game app attracts gamers
The Park is concurrently launching a creative power challenge game app for smartphones that employs the clash of evil theme, which will allow it to expand its target audience to include young adults who love to engage in games. After the successful implementation of AR in its Halloween offerings last year, the Park is taking this AR application to another level by incorporating it into a smartphone game. Frederick Chan, Director, Marketing, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, said, “The Park is leveraging innovative AR technology to develop a creative storytelling game app for smartphones, spreading the frightful fun of Disney’s Haunted Halloween to every corner of the city, from print advertisements and co-marketing partner stores to outdoor billboards. Starting from September 20th, the “Choose Your Dark Side Challenge” mobile app will be available for users to download and play. Users can join to struggle for ultimate power between the Vampire Coven and the Were Tribe as they collect dark power with a simple flick of their touchscreens, anytime and anywhere. Using the app’s built-in GPS function, they may even collect extra points by successfully locating dark emblems scattered throughout the city, as well as inside the Park.” Players who manage to track down at least one of the most powerful evil emblems, which are located in the Park, can enjoy the ultimate “Meet your Recruitment Leader of the dark side” experience in the Park.

“The recruitment leader of the Were Tribe is played by the popular Korean model Choi Ho Jin (Jin), while the leader of the Vampire Coven will be played by a renowned female model. Stay tuned to find out who she is,” Wendy Chu added.

A series of new innovative AR T-shirts in various styles, including Jack Skellington, Vampire Coven and Were Tribe themes, will be launched in the Park this year. Embedded with AR technology, Guests will be surprised when they wear their AR T-shirts in front of one of the “Haunted Halloween Magic Mirrors” located around the Park and either vampires or werewolves start jumping out from their T-shirts! AR T-shirts featuring Mickey and friends are also available for kids, with a Disney pumpkin theme appearing in the Magic Mirrors. Guests can even view the same effect with their webcam at home to extend the experience even further. In addition, Magic Access members can enjoy an extra surprise as they transform and virtually interact with their team members in front of the Magic Mirrors. Pictures can even be downloaded from the Magic Access Member Site for free!

Popular Halloween fun returns – with enhancements
The “Glow in the Park Parade” will return due to popular demand. Led by Jack Skellington and his creepy Pumpkin Men from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the dazzling parade will once again amaze Guests. “Revenge of the Headless Horseman,” a traveling show set up in the heart of Adventureland, dares morbidly curious Guests to find out why the Headless Horseman is seeking revenge from the Barker.

Meet for a creepy photo with nocturnal mythical creatures, ghoulish souls and the Grim Reaper wandering the dark and fogged pathways of “Adventureland – Cursed Jungle.” Join in the frightful fun by indulging in a Halloween makeover or getting a spray tattoo at "Boo-tique" and celebrate Halloween in style. The fast and furious “Space Mountain - Ghost Galaxy” will have Guests screaming with excitement.

During your night of fun, do not miss out on the tempting Halloween-themed delicacies available both in Park and at the two themed hotels. A series of over 140 all-new Haunted Halloween merchandise items in various themes—including “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Mickey Family in Halloween” and the “Frankenweenie” collection from the latest Disney movie—will also be available for Guests to commemorate their experience. Various glamorous Halloween accessories are also available. This marks the first time Giordano and Disney Consumer Products teaming up to launch the “Disney Dark Collection inspired by Disney’s Haunted Halloween.” This glow-in-the-dark T-shirt series will be available in the Park by the end of September.

Guests who stay at the two themed hotels or those who purchase room and ticket packages may simply add HK$600 for a Halloween themed room makeover. And for the price of HK$4,088, Guests may enjoy a guided Halloween Dark Elite Tour, featuring a tailor-made itinerary for a maximum of 6 Guests. On top of direct entrance to all attractions and the two haunted attractions, they may also view the “Glow in the Park Parade” at a designated viewing area and enjoy an exclusive meet and greet with Disney Friends.

See you soon for more news of HKDL, and in the meantime, don't miss the great HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!

All pictures: copyright Disney - Hong Kong Disneyland