Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saving Mr Banks High-Res Stills !

Saving Mr Banks, one of Disney fans most awaited movie of the year will be released on December 13 in the U.S, and Disney released new high-res stills which should help you to wait for its release! Click on each pic to see them in glorious high-res!

Among the shots below, pictures of course of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thomson as P.L Travers...

...A picture from a sequence with the actors playing Richard and Robert Sherman...

...or this one filmed at Disneyland with Walt / Tom Hanks on the Carousel...

...But also others stills showing what is obviously a movie flash-back sequence with P.L Travers as a child with her father and the arrival at their home of someone who looks just like... Mary Poppins!

And, yes, the movie also include Mary Poppins  Grand Premiere at Hollywood's Chinese Theater with Dendrie Taylor playing Lilian Disney!

Want more high-res stills from Saving Mr Banks? Jump to D&M Facebook page where you'll find ten more pictures! It's right HERE.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Disneyland Paris Book eBay Auctions Ending Tomorrow !

Editor's Note: Those of you who like to buy on eBay might be interested that the auction for the Disneyland Paris book in its ENGLISH collector's edition will end tomorrow Sunday and the link is HERE.
Ceux d'entre vous qui cherchent l'édition française peuvent également la trouver sur eBay en version collector FRANCAISE SIGNEE par l'un des deux auteurs, la vente se terminant également demain soir Dimanche.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Disneyland Paris That Never Was : The First Disneyland Paris Site Map

Today's document is fascinating as it is the very first site map envisioned by WDI Imagineers for Disneyland Paris. As you will see below Frontierland is the only land which almost didn't had changes between this first map and the final result. All the other lands had big differences and we're going to have a look to these in details.

On this map, which was done in the late 80's and called "Plan X", everything in purple color are attractions buildings. Entertainment and merchandise locations are in blue, covered walkways in orange and transportation systems in light yellow or so. The red lines are park and lands limits.

The Main Street USA that we can see on this map was the first 1920's version envisioned by Eddie Sotto. In this version Main Street had a big attraction - number T 900 on the map - and it was the "Hollywood Theater" or "Circlevision meets Main Street Cinema". The Disneyland Hotel had not been thought of yet that's why it's not on this map. The elevated tramway moving outside and inside what is now Main Street Discovery arcade had a station on Town Square - T 400 - and another one on Central Plaza - T 100.

Frontierland, as i've said, is quite similar with the one we know. On this map Phantom Manor - W 1100 - is already at its current location, so is Big Thunder Mountain - W 800 - and the Riverboat landing - W 1000 - or the River Rogue Keelboats - W 700 . But there is also on this map something which don't currently exist, it's the attraction building W 400, near the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue location. This was supposed to be a kind of rodeo show. Considering that this is the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area the idea was to have a kind of stunt show which could exist in this kind of place. Later, when they decided to add the Buffalo Bill Wild West show to the Disney Village, this rodeo/stunt show in the back of Frontierland was unfortunately cancelled.

Let's have a look now at Adventureland as a big surprise awaits us. Adventure Isle and the Swiss Robinson Tree - A 300 - are already there as well as Pirates of Caribbean - A 1700. But the main surprise is the attraction A 500 as it seems that WDI Imagineers had envisioned to build a Jungle Cruise attractin at DLP Adventureland. Building A 400 was probably the indoor section of the Jungle Cruise.

Among the reasons why the attraction was not built there is the official one which is that the ride has been copied in many European theme parks, beginning by Europa Park. But another and may be more important reason could be the technical difficulties to have outdoor Jungle Cruise Audio-Animatronics during winter time. If you've read my previous report on DLP "under a blanket of snow and ice" you will easily understand that it was technically impossible to have outdoor sophisticated Audio-animatronics during this season which can be really cold. Audio-animatronics Maintenance would have been a nightmare, not to mention the frozen rivers, etc... So, for these reasons and although that i like a lot Jungle Cruise, i think that WDI Imagineers did the good choice when they cancelled the attraction. However, there is not a lot of artwork available about it but at least there is these two John Horny renderings...

And this other one showing another scene of the cruise in a more "cartoon" style.

Fantasyland looks quite similar to the current version. Peter Pan - F 900 - and Dumbo, the Tea Cups or the Carousel are almost at their current location, and same for It's a Small World - F 300. But Snow White and Pinnochio - F 1000 and F 200 - are not together on the same side, like they are now. Also, Story Book Land or Casey Jr are not on the map although "future expansion" is indicated on their location. Note also the other "future expansion" area in front of where is now the Pizzeria Bella Notte. It's the famous "reserved" location for the Little Mermaid ride.

Discoveryland is very interesting on this map for many reasons. First Videopolis, Star Tours, or the now extinct Visionarium are not on the map. The Orbitron - D 800 - and Space Mountain - D 400 - are already there as well as the Nautilus - D 650 - but Nemo's Submarine is on the left of Space Mountain and its lagoon was located where is now Videopolis! D 200 and D 300 seems to be two others big attractions but unfortunately i couldn't find what it was supposed to be.

But one of the major surprise from this map is the itinerary of the Disneyland Paris railroad. In this version the train station was not located in the back of Discoveryland, but at the entrance of the land! Better than that, it was a major transportation hub as both Disneyland Paris railroad AND the Main Street elevated tramway were supposed to share the same station. In this kind of "ventureport" idea all transports would have be there and it was a kind of gateway to the future, at the entrance of Discoveryland. But the idea did not last very long and artworks of this amazing train station are very rare. However you can see above and below two Tim Delaney renderings showing it. On the night view above you see clearly that the train station is at the entrance of the land as the Orbitron and Space Mountain structures appears behind the train station. On the picture below you can see that the Discoveryland train station was supposed to have two floors and a great architecture to mark the entrance of the land.

I've promised you at the beginning of this article a fascinating document and for sure it was one. If we look at it with objectivity, i think it's fair to say that WDI Imagineers did the right choices. They've kept the best and improved a lot the park since this first site map. Still, i regret the 1920's version of Main Street. I think DLP have the best of all Main Streets but something more radically different would have been interesting, too.

You'll find many others concept arts of the DLP that never was in my Disneyland Paris book and this is what makes "From Sketch to Reality" such a great book!  It's a perfect gift for Christmas and with the special pre-order price at 55€ for the new english regular and updated edition, that's one more good reason to pre-order your copy right now. English regular edition will ship in 2-3 weeks from now and collector copies are shipped in the next 48 hours.

You'll find below the video showing you each page of the book and to place your order in one click with Paypal use the Paypal button below, with which you can choose between the regular or collector's edition of the book.  Please send me also your shipping address by email at:   Note: if you don't have a Paypal account, payments by bank transfer are accepted, thanks to send me an email to have the bank infos.

Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality - Include shipping

All pictures: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's A Small World Animated TV Series To Be Released Soon - and IASW iPad App Available Now !

Disney Animation released a first trailer for It's a Small World, the Animated Series as, yes, an animated series inspired by Mary Blair beloved attraction and tribute to all children of the world will come on your TV anytime soon! In this new animated series, six international friends - i suppose one for each continent - embark for an unforgettable adventure travelling the globe in a hot air balloon.

Disney also released recently on the iTunes Appstore an iPhone - iPad application called "It's a Small World", which i strongly recommend to you as this new app is a lovely, charming tribute to Disneyland beloved attraction. If you have young children between 1 and 6 they will love it, really, as this is an application designed as an interactive app for very young children. Still, all of you who love Mary Blair's attraction and who are always young at heart - and own an iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch - should enjoy the app. Why? Because they've succeed to find back the original childhood spirit of the ride. And you can feel that the guys who developed the application tried their best to find back this "original spirit".

One of the great things is all the interactive part: almost wherever you "touch" elements of each image something is happening, the characters are moving, a crocodile goes out of the water, a dragon breath fire, etc... until the final where you launch your own fireworks by taps in the night sky. So, basically, the app is as much animated as the ride is!

There is 15 "chapters" in the app, and each one transport you, just like in the ride, in a different country or continent. In most of them you'll find Mary Blair famous color tones, and even reminiscences of her style. Here is screen captures of some of them, and although they don't pay totally justice to how it looks when you're experiencing the app, i'm sure you will identify which country / continent they are showing.

As i've told you the interactive part is charming... for instance in this chapter inspired by the jungle scene of the ride the page will look like this when it appears...

But if you tap on the crocodile or in the black area where you see the glowing eyes then the jungle animals appear, the hippo goes out of water, etc...

Each image is also slowly moving, almost as the same pace than the boat in the ride, giving you the feeling to discover each scene like you do when you're in the ride!

Again, it's a read along / sing along app for young children, but if you download it you'll be surprised how charming it is. The app cost $3.99 or 2.99€ on the Appstore, and knowing all the work it is to develop an app as i create also applications myself as you know, i can tell you that it's a fair price. And as i said, if you have young children they will love it! Here is the iTunes direct link to downed the App. There is an iPhone version of the app but of course if you own an iPad it will look even better on it. Finally, Disney also released a promotional video that you can see below but it don't show how charming the App is.

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

Thor : The Dark World Review... and Why You Should See it in a Theatre Equipped With Dolby Atmos

I've seen last monday Thor: The Dark World and it's by far the best Thor movie ever released and an excellent sequel too. Disney is gonna make a lot of money with this one and, by the way, at the date of today the worldwide box office is already $342M which is excellent considering the movie was released less than a week.

One of the reasons why the film is good is that it was treated like they did with The Avengers - i.e like a "big" movie , a kind of E-Ticket movie if i can say - and not like a "D"  ticket sequel as it is unfortunately sometime the case. That said, the script looks sometime a bit too close to the one of The Avengers - instead to try to retrieve the Tessaract cube, the villains try to put they hands on a weapon known as the "Aether" and you have the same intra dimensional worlds travel - whether it's Thor or the villains - between Asgard and Earth. Asgard recreation looks great, although a bit less "stylized" than in the first movie which was directed by the great shakespearian actor Kenneth Branagh. 

Thor: The Dark World is less good on the plan of "emotion", and there is two or three scenes where i wish they would have "take their time without losing it", but the script is well written and if you accept the plot like it is you should have a good time. For me i found that sometime there was a bit too much of "noise and furor" in all these battles but, after all, it's a super-hero movie so i suppose we can't ask too much, right? One last thing about the casting as i always find Chris Hemworth and Tom Hiddleston absolutely perfect in their roles - not too mention of course the great Anthony Hopkins always playing Odin, King of Asgard and father of Thor.

Now, if you decide to watch Thor: The Dark World try if possible to watch it in a theater equipped with Dolby Atmos, Dolby's new sound system, which is fantastic. Dolby Atmos was introduced two years ago - the first theatre being equipped was the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood where each year take place the Academy Awards Ceremony, and the first movie to be released in theater with Dolby Atmos was... Pixar's Brave! Since, more and more theaters around the world have theaters equipped with Dolby Atmos so you might have one near you without knowing it.

What is Dolby Atmos? Well, this new sound system supports up to 128 discrete audio tracks and up to 64 unique speaker feeds all around the theater including some on the ceiling (!) And the system gives each loudspeaker its own unique feed, thereby enabling many new front, surround, and even ceiling-mounted height channels for the precise panning of select sounds such as a helicopter or rain.

The best to understand why Dolby Atmos is a sound system revolution is that you have a look to this Dolby video which explain perfectly how it works and what are the major changes from the previously used 7.1 sound system. And to find a theater near you equipped with Dolby Atmos just go on THIS page. If you find one, try it, the sound is fantastic!

Picture: copyright Disney - Marvel

Video: copyright Dolby

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Maleficent Trailer , and New Poster !

The first trailer for Disney's Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie has been released and here it is below, as well as the new poster above, much better than the previous one, and beautiful screen shots right after the trailer!

I remind you the synopsis: "Maleficent is the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.
Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville. Maleficent is scheduled to open in movie theaters on May 30, 2014.

Here are screen captures from the trailer showing both Maleficent and Aurora.

Pictures and video: copyright DIsney

The Disneyland Paris That Never Was !

The great Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality" book include 750 pictures as well as 250 renderings from Walt Disney Imagineering but those of you who don't already own the book might not know that you'll find also in the book many artworks showing the "Disneyland Paris that never was"! I will show you today some of them, beginning by the beautiful artwork above showing a winter scene of DLP entrance as envisioned by WDI Imagineers.

The next one below is part of the concept-arts for the very first concept of Main street, and we were at two fingers to have at DLP a really different Main Street than the one which exist now. Instead to have a “turn of the century” theming, Eddie Sotto, Main Street show-producer, had designed a Main Street set up at the 1920’s-30’s, at an era which was ruled by gangsters but also the golden era of jazz and cinema, and it would have been a totally different design as you can see on the Colin Campbell artwork below.

Another artwork, this one by Eddie Sotto himself, is showing the elevated tramway concept, going all along Main Street and inside the MS arcades. The idea of the elevated tramway was finally realized at Tokyo Disney Sea in the American Waterfront area.

Always in that 1930’s theming, a luxurious art-deco restaurant - a kind of private“club 33” -located behind the Main Street Transportation Co. building was envisioned and would have give you the feeling that you’re dining on a train.

One of the most amazing concepts for DLP castle was the one looking like a futuristic castle designed by Tim Delaney.

In Adventureland the Temple du Peril had several exciting ideas, unfortunately never realized like the one below...

In Discoveryland Star Tours almost had an AT - T at the entrance instead of the X-Wing fighter...

...but one of the greatest concept ever envisioned for DLP, the one that would have stunned all DLP fans, was the first concept of Space Mountain at that time called Discovery Mountain... which you would have found not only the Space Mountain coaster but also the Nautilus submarine as well as a Journey to the Center of the Earth drop ride - the vulcano that you can see in the background of this Tim Delaney artwork.

Mind you, the DLP concepts that never were were also envisioned for the outside of the park, like this incredible restaurant concept supposed to be build in what is now the Disney Village...

...or this amazing concept for one of the hotels of the park which was designed with the shape of an aircraft carrier by austrian architect Hans Hollein.

There is dozens more of these "DLP that never was" artworks in the Disneyland Paris book, all fascinating and, with the special pre-order price for the upcoming english regular edition, that's one more good reason to pre-order your copy right now. English regular edition will ship in 2-3 weeks from now and collector copies are shipped in the next 48 hours.

You'll find below the video showing you each page of the book and to place your order in one click with Paypal use the Paypal button below, with which you can choose between the regular or collector's edition of the book.  Please send me also your shipping address by email at:   Note: if you don't have Paypal, payments by bank transfer are accepted, thanks to send me an email to have the bank infos.

Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality - Include shipping

Artwork: copyright Disney

Video: copyright Alain Littaye 2012