Saturday, June 1, 2013

Knott's Berry Farm Timber Mountain Log Ride Re-Open after Complete Renovation

Knott's Berry Farm Timber Mountain Log ride is, with the Calico Mine ride, Knott's most legendary ride and it has re-opened yesterday after many months of complete renovation and with new audio-animatronics from Garner Holt, the company also producing AAs for Walt Disney Imagineering.

                         Above: Knott's Berry Farm Timber Mountain Log Ride circa 1970's

With all its animatronics, and although the ride has a totally different theme, Timber Mountain Log ride is to Knott's Berry Farm what Pirates of Caribbean is to Disneyland - the ride opened just a few years after POTC, in 1969 - and was design dby Bud Hurlbut, on the picture below in 1967 with Walter Knott, showing him the ride model.

Bud Hurlbut did several renderings for the ride, and you know how much we love renderings at D&M, don't you?, so here are some of them.

Below, some pictures of the ride original scenes with animals and loggers animatronics.

John Wayne, who was a friend of Walter Knott, was there with his son Ethan when the ride had its 1969 Grand Opening and the opening was a tremendous success.

For those of you who are not familiar with the ride history here is a great first video from Knotts which will tell you more about the ride and its creator Bud Hurlbut. And you'll also see in the video legendary WDI Imagineer Tony Baxter, a great fan of Knott's and who created Disneyland's first log ride, the beloved Splash Mountain.

The ride had its first major renovation since its 1969 opening and it's to Garner Holt Productions that Knott's asked to create new Audio-Animatronics as you will see in this next video which will take you for a private tour inside Garner Holt Productions.

The rendering below shows one of the new scenes created by Garner Holt Productions.

In this next video, Bill Butler, creative director at Garner Holt Productions explain you what has been their work on the ride renovation.

Last Thursday was the big day for the new opening and on that same day Knott's celebrated too the opening of the Boardwalk Pier. Some technical problems avoided the ride to re-open on that day but you'll see both grand openings on the video below as well as some views of the Timber Mountain original model in the excellent exhibit which celebrates the ride history along with 1969 original artworks.

And the new ride itself, you ask, how is it? Well, you're will see it by yourself with this great video filmed by ThemeParkHD last friday when the ride finally opened! The log is sometime going a bit quickly but the new audio-animatronics looks great anyway!

Picture: copyright Knott's Berry Farm - Garner Holt Productions

Friday, May 31, 2013

WDS Ratatouille Ride Plans Unveiled

It had to happen, a DLP fan who went to Chessy's city hall where the Ratatouille ride plans are available to be seen by anyone who ask to ( as according to the french law ) posted them on the Disney Central Plaza forum and you can see them HERE ( it starts on the page 7 of the thread and look for posts by RicRac and click where it is written "spoiler" as the plans are hidden to avoid to be seen by those who precisely wants to avoid spoiler ) or, even more easily of DCP Facebook page HERE.

On the picture above you can see the ride entrance with the marquee. When it was done they uses the english title "Ratatouille kitchen Calamity" but from what i've been told it will be replaced by the french title instead than this english one. 

Photo: copyright Disney - Source: Mairie de Chessy 

Shanghaî Disneyland Update : SDL will use green technologies to generate power ! Plus: Park Entrance Map, and more

Last news from Shanghaî Disneyland as Shanghaî Disney Resort Management Company announced yesterday that Shanghaî Disneyland will adopt green technologies to generate some of its energy!

"SDL theme park will use natural gas as its primary energy source for electricity, heating, cooling and compressed air via distributed energy systems, thereby increasing overall energy efficiency three-fold, according to company sources.

A combined cooling and heating plant will be built and operated on site by Shanghai International Tourism and Resort Zone New Energy Company Limited, a joint-venture company owned by Huadian Fuxin Energy Corporation Limited, Shanghai Shendi (Group) Co Ltd, and Shanghai Yiliu Energy Group Co Ltd.

The plant will cost about 520 million yuan (US$84.8 million) and be connected to the city's power grid. It will be operational in time for the amusement park's grand opening, scheduled for the end of 2015.

Upon completion, the primary energy utilization rate of the project will be more than 80 percent, much higher than that of conventional energy resources, which is around 45 percent, said Huo Guangzhao, vice president of Huadian Fuxin Energy Corporation Limited.

The plant is expected to generate 170 million kilowatt-hours of on-grid energy annually, which can save about 20,000 tons of standard coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 75,000 tons, according to Huo.

"Shanghai Disney Resort has been devoted to seeking new technology and business solutions which reduce our impact on the environment, save resources, and promote sustainable technology, and to supporting all kinds of cooperation with our local partners," said Howard Brown, senior vice president overseeing development of the resort.

"The project is an excellent example of partnership, localization and Disney's long-term commitment to environment protection. We are excited to be creating a world-class destination here in Shanghai to showcase environmentally friendly and leading Chinese and international technologies," he added".

Always about SDL, Luke, from Luke and the Temple of Fun has posted last monday the interesting map above showing the connection between the bus terminal, the train station and the park entrance. Because everything written on it is in chinese, here is the translation - thanks to Luke! - for each word:

0. Equipment room
1. Bus terminal
2. Side entrance to connection area
3. Side entrance to connection area 
4. Park side entrance
5. Side entrance to connection area
6. Entertainment and dinning area 1
7. Park side entrance
8. Entertainment and dinning area 2
9. Park side entrance
10. Entertainment area
11. Park main entrance 
12. Entertainment area
13. Lake
14. Ferry station
15. Park side entrance
16. Construction line 
17. Construction line
18. Connection area (name of the whole area)
19. Vehicle entrance
20. Park service route

As you may have noticed, the map also show the entrance of the park (in blue, below) - as well as the entrance street which will be called Mickey Avenue (in orange, below) - and here is this part of the map in bigger size. Note that the part on the left will be the dining, shopping and entertainment area located outside the park although sticked to it.

This last picture is a zoom on the train station itself which, as you've seen on the first big map will be apparently located on the right, when the bus station will be on the left. Either the bus terminal or the train stations will be located quite near from the park so SDL visitors shouldn't have to walk too much to reach the park entrance!

Pictures: copyright Disney - Shendi - Many thanks to Luke and the Temple of Fun!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Final Trailer For Monsters University !

A Final Trailer for Pixar's Monsters University has been released and almost half of the shots are new, so go ahead and watch all this!

Picture and video: copyright Disney - Pixar

Tom Staggs Presents Disney's MagicBand And My Magic + at D : All Things Digital Conference

Tom Staggs was at invited at D: All Things Digital conference to present the new "MagicBand" and My Magic +. You know, all these things that you'll get once you've reserved your next vacation to U.S Disney Parks and which are supposed to make everything easier for you during the visit. The real truth is a bit more complicated than that and Jay Rasulo also said recently that My Magic + was also a way for Disney to make sure that the guests will "stay" at Disney and won't go in others parks. Simply because My Magic + will allow the guests to prepare their trip before they left their home and once they will have planned their trip at Disney Parks chances are that they won't go, for instance, at Universal...

Personally i think that it might work with some of the guests but of course in the video below Tom Staggs - in which he is explaining what My Magic + will bring to the guests - don't mention what Jay Rasulo revealed. One other good reason to watch the video is that Pixar also did specially an almost five minutes long short animated showing Edna, the posh fashion designer from The Incredibles introducing the MagicBand!

Video: copyright Wall Street Journal

"Planes" Final trailer !

So, the "real" trailer for "Planes" is finally released, and i have to say that the animation - i remind you that it's not a Pixar movie but a Disney animation one - is pretty good. As for the story, as Honor Hunter from Blue Sky Disney said it yesterday this Planes movie looks a lot like "Cars" and even include a "plane race around the world"... That said, i love planes so i'll be one of those who will go and see it as soon as it'll be released!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

A Look Back At Star Trek Attractions With Rare Artwork

The new Star Trek movie "Into Darkness" is working pretty well at the box office - with already more than $260 Million, i've already told you all the good things i think about it and how entertaining it can be. So may be it is the right time for an artwork article about the Star Trek attraction concepts developped some years ago by Landmark, and the article also include rare renderings!

I will begin by what was probably the most incredible idea for a Star Trek theme park/attraction concept with the rendering above. As you can see this incredible concept envisioned a REAL SIZE Enterprise, and we all know how huge is supposed to be the Enterprise! Inside, guests would have found themed Star Trek attractions. Please double-click on the image to see the artwork in high-resolution as it is a big WOW!

This amazing project unfortunately not realised have a story. Years ago the Las Vegas Down Town hotels association, aware that the new Strip's hotels were getting most of the visitors, wanted to create a unique attraction to be located in down town Las Vegas. Different companies created concepts, including Landmark with this amazing Star Trek concept, but, although they loved Landmark's idea their final choice went to the Fremont Street Experience.

When i saw that incredible rendering i thought that the biggest problem may have been the architecture engineering - after all the Enterprise is design for outerspace, not for Earth gravity. The front dome and the wings may have been an engineering problem, but it seems that, no, that was not the problem. An estimated cost around $200 M (at that time) was reasonable - specially considering the size, and all we can wish to this amazing project is to exist one day as it will be the "ultimate" Trekkie dream, finally existing for real.

The next rendering below shows a "night" scene of the same concept.

Now, as we know, another Star Trek attraction was finally built in Las Vegas. Unfortunately closed recently, the Star Trek Experience was incredibly successful at its opening - it was another Trekkie-wet-dream-come-true and i have many renderings of it for you today.

The Las Vegas Star Trek Experience attraction opened in January 1998 at the Las Vegas Hilton and closed in September 2008. When it opened the main attraction was a simulator ride called The Klingon Encounter. The pavilion underwent one major renovation in 2004 which added the Borg Invasion 4-D attraction, which used state-of-the-art amusement technology where guests experienced an encounter with the Borg. The artwork below released for the press before the opening in 1998 focus only on the first version of Star Trek Experience.

Above and below two beautiful renderings showing the entrance of Las Vegas Star Trek Experience.

After purchasing a ticket, which allowed the guest to board the attractions an unlimited amount of times that day, one walked through a museum that included numerous items from Star Trek history - top of the rendering below. It also featured several video display devices and a timeline of Star Trek events. Later, there were displays for each of the major alien races, which included the Borg, Klingons, and Ferengi. The last section of the museum was a hallway that served as the attraction queues. The left side was for the Borg Invasion 4-D, and the right side was for Klingon Encounter. Because the Borg ride held about twice as many people, that line moved more quickly (each show lasted about 18 minutes). The Klingon Encounter held 27 people while the Borg Invasion 4-D held 48 people. Each show was constructed so that those "in the back" for the first part of the show would, in turn, likely end up in the front for the second half of either show.

After the attraction guests could enjoyed the merchandise shop and especially the Quark's Bar that you can see on the rendering below.

The Klingon encounter attraction was the one at the opening. Initially, the visitors entered first a small room with a depiction of "outer space". A small television in the upper right corner of the room displayed scenes from several Star Trek movies.

The group then entered a smaller, dimly lit waiting area of a traditional simulator ride. Visitors lined up in rows in front of doors, as hosts direct their attention to the screens above for a safety demo for the shuttlecraft simulator ride. A few moments into the film, the televisions flickered, malfunctioned, and the lights went out. A variety of loud noises accompanied by hundreds of small light flashes that visually simulate the "transporter effect," along with the transporter sound effect and a rush of cold air (which, according to backstage tour guides, was an unintentional but appreciated effect caused by a false room being raised into the ceiling). When the lights returned, the walls and floor and ceiling have apparently disappeared and you were on a transporter pad (a room much larger than you were previously standing, without the doors you were ready to walk through!). You are now aboard the USS Enterprise-D, transporter room as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

On the transporter pad, a uniformed Starfleet officer asked for the leaders of the group and directed them away for instruction. It was explained that the visitors were beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise to "what you would call the future" and the group is then led to the bridge.

The group stood on the rear between the science stations and the tactical station. There were various busy crewmembers on the bridge, and they contact Commander Riker, who promptly appears on the main viewscreen. Riker explained that Captain Picard disappeared the moment the group beamed aboard the Enterprise and thus one member of the group must be Picard's ancestor. A nefarious rogue Klingon Commander named Korath used a hidden time-rift to abduct Picard's ancestor and erase him from the timeline. Starfleet intelligence, having learned of the plan, dispatched the Enterprise to intercept the Klingon's transporter beam and rescue the entire group. Riker directs the group to board a shuttlecraft to go escape the temporal rift, and return all guests to their original time.

While the group was in the turbolift, the Klingons attack the Enterprise and the turbolift enters a free fall. There are several jolts on the turbolift during the attack. Finally, the group arrives in the Grand Corridor and at the shuttle bay deck.
Below, a rendering of the Grand Corridor.

The group boarded the shuttlecraft. The shuttle ride began with a battle between the Enterprise and a few Klingon vessels...

Then, the shuttle went into warp and was then instructed to find and destroy a cloaking generator on the planet's surface. There were several dogfights and visual effects during this time.

The shuttle then returned through the temporal rift to present-day Las Vegas (although filmed almost 10 years ago, things as the Sands Hotel tower, a sign promoting Siegfried & Roy, might lead one to believe the shuttle returned prior to their abduction). Unfortunately a Klingon ship followed, however Enterprise saved the shuttle at the last minute. The 'real' shuttle landed at the Las Vegas Hilton right next to the "motion simulators" shuttles the visitors were originally waiting to enter when they were "beamed off" at the start of the story. Before the crew of the Enterprise leaves, Captain Picard thanks the crew for "restoring his existence." He says, "While only one of you is my ancestor, each of you hold that same opportunity for the future. Guard it well."

Typically a custodian led the group to an elevator and then out to the Deep Space Nine Promenade and Quark's Bar.

A new attraction - Borg Encounter - was added in 2004, and you'll find more details about it on the Wikipedia page from where most of the description text of this article is coming from.

Another great idea of Star Trek Experience was the theming of the casino - we're in Las Vegas, let's not forget it...It was originally themed as if it was an outer space casino and through the window bays one could see views of outer space supposed to give the feeling that the casino was a kind of space station. Unfortunately after some years they canceled these rear-projections effect and when i visited the attraction five years ago it was not there any more.

I remember that I loved this Star Trek Experience, the teleportation room, the Enterprise bridge, the grand corridor, all this was wonderfully done, and i was sad to hear its closure in September 2008...but...good news! as on February 27, 2009, CBS confirmed that Star Trek: The Experience will be moving to its new home in new Neonopolis Mall downtown Las Vegas. The original "trekkie" hope was to have it open by May 8 for the launch of the Star Trek movie, but the project is not expected to be completed until 2010.

However, the next rare rendering shows a scene concept that was not realised, and it looks as they were considering a dinner theater with the star trek theme. Gary goddard, one of the foundators of Landmark is known for his themed dinner theater projects.

We'll have a look now to other preliminary artwork, like this one of the "Starfleet Shuttle area" showing the guests entrance in a shuttle simulator...

Or this next one showing a "Starfleet Bar Area"...

And also these two, "Restaurant Study", for Star Trek Experience.

This next one is a study for a "Starfleet store area".

If we go back in time, this next rendering shows another rare concept, probably for a Paramount Park - you can see the Star Trek attraction entrance in the back.

I hope you enjoyed this star Trek attractions artwork article, and again if you've not watched it yet, go see the new movie, all critics and feedback are very good about it!

Many thanks to Tony Christopher, Gary Goddard, Eric Wong who kindly provided the high-res files you saw in this article.

Artwork: copyright Landmark, Landmark entertainment, Star Trek is copyright Paramount

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"3D Fly Over" At Last Available For Disneyland and Disney California Adventure " In Apple "Maps" App !

Two weeks after the "3D Fly Over" feature became available for Disneyland Paris on the Apple Maps App for iPhone - iPad - see my previous articles HERE and HERE - Disneyland  and Disney California Adventure receive the "3D Fly Over" treatment as Apple has updated its application with new South Cal HD satellite pictures!

It's a news that Disneyland and DCA fans who own an iDevice will probably happy to hear and the result, as you will see, is the ability to "soar" over the parks stunning that you can discover from any angle. All you have to do is to go on "Maps", and enter as keyword "Disneyland", choose the satellite view, and then the 3D view. Although this "3D Fly Over" still need to be improved and very probably will be in the future as long as you don't zoom too much in the pictures the view will be okay and the buildings will not look distorted.

Let's see how it looks with iPad screen captures, starting by the Disneyland Park, and of course click on each pictures to see them in big size. The first aerial view below shows the entrance of both parks.

An aerial view over Main Street U.S.A and the Jungle Cruise, with Tomorrowland on the bottom left.

A great bird eye view over Frontierland, The Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain.

A closer look at Big Thunder Mountain and Frontierland river from another angle.

A closer shot to New Orleans Square, Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain, as well as Tom Sawyer's Island.

These two other views also show Frontierland with Sleeping Beauty Castle and Central Plaza, and on the second shot you can see the huge parking lot outside the park on the top left.

A great view of Fantasyland, including Disneyland's Matterhorn and even Big Thunder on the top right.

A bird eye view of the park as seen from behind New Orleans Square. The building in the bottom right corner is the Indiana Jones Adventure show building.

From over Big Thunder, looking towards Tomorrowland.

A great view of Autopia, the submarine lagoon, the Matterhorn and on the top left Story Book land, Casey Jr, and It's a Small World.

A closer shot of Tomorrowland and the Matterhorn.

Let's fly over Disney California Adventure with this great bird eye view of the park!

A more vertical view over Grizzly River Run and the parks entrance.

Two other views of DCA showing Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, A Bug's Land and the Tower of Terror.

The App is also great to have a look at the Disneyland Resort Hotels and on this next view you have the three of them all together on the same shot!

We will end by a last bird eye view of DCA and this one is interesting as the big space / parking lot that you can see on the top is the location where very probably WDI will build the DL Anaheim third park when the WDC will decide it!

So, if you own an iPhone or iPad, go ahead, jump to the Apple Maps App and have a nice flight over Disneyland and DCA!

Pictures: copyright Apple Maps App