Saturday, January 11, 2014

Avatar Land Groundbreaking Ceremony

A ceremonial groundbreaking happened earlier this week at Disney's Animal Kingdom with Tom Staggs, Joe Rhode, Avatar Land Imagineers, and even the little help of a Na'vi! So, the construction begins now and "the area, which is being designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in partnership with “AVATAR” creator James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, will be unlike anything ever experienced at a Disney park. Guests will experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with banshees and explore a rich natural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night".

Below, a video of the event. It's fun but there is not a lot more to learn in it about the Avatar Land. That said, it proves that, this time, the Avatar Land is on its way for real which is not necessarily a good news for those of you who are not really happy of this DAK addition. Personally, i think that if it's done well - and i'm sure it will be - it should be okay to have an Avatar Land at Animal Kingdom.  

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

New Pictures of Universal Studios Orlando Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Universal Studios Orlando released new pictures of the new hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. If, just like me, you're a fan of the 1950's - 1960's design you should like it. Personally i think it should be a great "value" family hotel and with 900 suite rooms and 900 value level rooms, two massive pools, a lush tropical themed lazy river - the first in a Universal Studios Resort and even a bowling, it should help Universal to attract and "keep" guests at Universal Orlando...

Pictures: copyright Universal Studios

Friday, January 10, 2014

" Red Friday " Promo !!!

It's the "Red Friday" today in Asia, and just like the "Black friday" in the U.S it's a day during which great promos are available ( the Asian Apple Stores on line also has great prices for those interested ). Disney and more join the celebration and today and all week-end any Disney and more reader living in Asia can enjoy a special promo price on the great Disneyland Paris book at 70€ + FREE shipping!

All you have to do to place your over is to send me an email at: and send your Paypal payment also at: . No Paypal account? No problem, you can pay with your credit card or by bank transfer, just send me an email and i'll tell you how to do.

Marvel Experience Project : First Rendering Released !

Today, Hero Ventures released a first-look rendering of the anticipated design of The Marvel Experience domed complex set to tour the U.S in 2014. The $30M project will include the first-ever traveling motion-based ride, interactive games, 3D animated short films, digital projects , virtual simulators and of course merchandise shops. Looks not bad... Sure, it won't be as good as a Marvel land created by WDI but i'm curious to see more of it when it will open. Here is the full press release:

"Canvassing a two-acre footprint of more than 80,000 square feet, this state-of-the-art, custom built multi-Dome complex will represent the first time a venue of this type, size and scope will be utilized for a mobile tour. From the outside, The Marvel Experience resembles a temporary S.H.I.E.L.D. installation or “Mobile Command Center,” with the facility’s apex towering more than six stories high. Inside, a maze of connected Domes will lead guests through an array of interactive games and original animated short films including the first-ever traveling motion-based ride, where guests become immersed in this original adventure only found in The Marvel Experience. This unique, themed entertainment experience is scheduled to visit select US and Canadian markets for weeks at a time in each city and is designed to engage audiences through compelling family entertainment with a production value consistent with the iconic nature of the Marvel Super Heroes.

The touring experience was designed in concert with a team of industry renowned all-stars and award winners including one of the motion picture industry’s most noted concept artists, Aaron Sims, who art directed the illustration. Sims, who will also be offering up his unparalleled vision for the Tour’s character and environment animation is no stranger to the Marvel Universe. He has brought Marvel characters to life through his work on numerous feature films including Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk, Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man, and Fox’s X-Men: First Class. Sims is one of the Industry’s most prolific special effects artists having worked with Steven Spielberg on A.I. and War of the Worlds, Michael Bay’s Transformers and many other visually spectacular films.

“The Marvel Experience and our innovative Dome environment is the future of themed entertainment. Aaron and our entire team have done a masterful job in setting the table for us with their magnificent designs and creativity for this dynamic experience,” said Rick Licht, Hero Ventures’ CEO. Executive Producer Michael Cohl added, “This Marvel experience employs new technology and new concepts that we think will make this one of the most exciting shows ever produced. It will be a truly unique experience.”

“The Domes are central to the singular story line that pulses through The Marvel Experience and are enhanced by state-of-the-art design applications and graphic elements,” said Doug Schaer, COO of Hero Ventures. “The interior will feature an exaggerated comic-style utilizing projected high-tech imagery, amazing fabricated set pieces and virtual simulations to advance the story. Our guests will be interacting directly with multiple Marvel Super Heroes, as well as members of S.H.I.E.L.D., as they take their place in the Marvel Universe”. “We are excited to collaborate with Hero Ventures to bring our millions of Marvel fans an exciting new way to interact with and experience their favorite characters, in a never-before- seen environment,” said Marvel’s Sean Haran, Vice President of Business Development. “Hero Ventures brings a refreshing and magical approach to showcase our characters in a way that is sure to be a thrilling and unforgettable experience in a uniquely iconic venue.”"

Picture and text: copyright 
Hero Ventures - 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fantastic Artwork of Walt Disney World Rides and Transportation Cars, Trains, and Boats !

Chris Buchholz is a fan of Disney and more and he did recently a project that i'm sure you gonna like. He drew most all of the cars, trains, and boats of Walt Disney World attractions and transportation and created a great artwork with all of them.

Chris thinks that some vehicles might be missing - if you see one missing thanks to let us know in the comments - so a new version will come soon. Personally i think he did a fantastic work, very neat, and i told him he should do a poster print of it when it will be completed. What do you think, would you be interested by order a poster when it will be released? If you are, send me an email at: and i will forward it to Chris!

Artwork: copyright Chris Buchholz

First Look at New Pixar Short "Party Central"

"Party Central" is a new Pixar short set in the Monsters University world. Previously supposed to be released attached to The Good Dinosaur it will come finally with the Muppets Most Wanted Movie - released on March 21 - as The Good Dinosaur release was pushed till 2015.

Party Central Director Kelsey Mann, was a story supervisor on Monsters University and spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the new short:

"When you first meet the Oozma Kappas, they go to their fraternity house and the first thing they say is, ‘Welcome to party central! We haven’t thrown a party yet, but when we do we’ll be ready. I kept telling
Dan Scanlon [Monsters University Director], ‘I really want to see their party. We have to do it in the credits or something.’ Then when the idea of doing a short came up, we were like, ‘That could be the party!’" 

Picture: copyright Disney - Pixar

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

News From Around The World !

Today, an update with news from all around the world - the world of Disney Parks, of course.
Let's start by Disneyland Paris and the new mini-season which will start April 3 and last until July 4. Called "Spring festival" it will look like the previous "Flowers Festival" which happened back in 1997. A new "mini-season", so, for DLP and it"s not a bad idea, even a good one, which is expected to be enhanced each year like they do on the Halloween and Christmas seasons. And flowers in the park are always welcome!

Back in 1997 here is how looked Main Street Station...

...and here is a concept of how it could look this year ( from DLPWelcome )

Remember when i told you a few months ago that DLP had scheduled to rebuild entirely in real stone the Indiana Jones Temple du Peril? Well, it was hard to believe but works started January 6 and the attraction will be closed until May 28. And yes, a big part of it will be rebuilt in real stone and the looping section will be changed for a brand new one.

In my previous DLP update you saw pictures shot by Max Fan, D&M contributor and DLPWelcome webmaster of the new LEGO Store still in works and expected to open this month at the Disney Village. I'm sorry to report that the store grand opening which should have happened January 14 to 19 has been postponed for "unexpected circumstances". No big of a deal, we can wait for this one.

Apparently the acclaimed Tarzan show at Chapparal Stage that many hoped it will be back this summer... won't be back finally in 2014. But in July the awaited Ratatouille ride will at last open, so...

Let's move to the U.S and you better don't miss Mice Age latest update which is full of insider news from the start to the end of the article. According to Mice Age the Star Wars Land at WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios is more than "on hold", may be cancelled. But not for Disneyland Anaheim where will start the remodel of Tomorrowland buildings, the section from Central Plaza to the Astro Orbiters. Mice Age reveal much more about all this so jump to the full Mice Age article HERE.
And by the way, it seems that the real size Millennium Falcon with a walk-through visit is still in the plans. It might look a bit like this old Tim Delaney rendering except that the Falcon will be located up in the air on the platform where the Astro Orbiter stands now.

As we know Disneyland announced that the Subs will close for refurbishment for four months but Mice Age doubt that it will reopen this year, specially if WDI finally got the green light for the Star Wars Land. Another ride will close next month for four months, but this one will reopen and it is Soarin' at DCA. Mice Age explains in details the technical enhancements with a new digital projection system, and more, so the ride could be ready for its new Soarin' over the world version scheduled to open in 2015 or 2016. The only thing that is not confirmed yet is if the new version will include several different movies that will be projected randomly, like they do in Star Tours 2. On these two rides, much more to read too on Mice Age HERE.

The good news according to Mice Age is that the enhancements of old Disneyland dark rides might finally get the green light to be ready for Disneyland 60th Anniversary next year. Alice in Wonderland, Mr Toad's Wild Ride and Peter Pan's Flight are on the list and i'm particularly interested by the enhancements on the Peter Pan ride as they will include new projection effects not only on almost all the scenes but also rear projection effect on the faces of the ride main characters. More details about this in a future article if the ride finally get the green light for the new version, and in the meantime more details about Disneyland 60th Anniversary HERE.

At Tokyo Disneyland Captain EO will close down "forever" June 30 to make way for a Stitch Encounter attraction, the same one that exist already at DLP WDS and HKDL and which use the same technology than "Turtle Talk with Crush". Kids will love it.

A last news - a "merchandise" news - which will please those of you fans of Vinylmation figures as DLP will put on sale January 10 some cool Indiana Jones Vinylmation figures. And more to come all along January!

Talking about merchandise the long promo on my Disneyland Paris book is now over but all January you still can order the book and enjoy a free shipping. The full price is now 75 euros including free shipping worldwide which help to save 15€ / $20 , so it's still time to order your own copy at the best price on the market and to don't miss the great Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality" book which will tell you all about the creation of Disneyland Paris with 320 pages including 500 pictures of the park and 250 WDI renderings!

You can order the book by sending me an email at: or send directly your Paypal payment of the 75 euros either by the Paypal button below or directly from your Paypal account at the same email address.

Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality - Include shipping

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Pictorial Tribute to Walt !

Let's give today a great tribute to Walt with a selection of pictures at different time of his life, all in excellent quality and definition, and for the most never posted before on Disney and more. The first picture above of Walt standing with the Disneyland Monorail is, i think, my favorite picture of Walt. Below, Walt in his office, probably in the 1930's.

In Paris, probably early 1950's.

The next picture shows Walt with Davy Crockett played by Fess Parker.

Below, Walt with the model of Don Diego de la Vega hacienda as well as renderings, probably during the filming of the Zorro TV series.

Walt, in front of his collection of Oscars and Awards. How can a human being get so many awards!

In front of Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle with the King of Morroco.

At Disneyland, talking with someone on Town Square.

Walking on the track on the now extinct Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland attraction.

With Ward Kimball and plenty of locomotives in the 1950's.

At Disneyland with his grand son, in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Walt at WED Enterprises with Imagineer Harriet Burns.

With Imagineer Rolly Crump at the 1964 New York World Fair. Edited: In fact it seems that the picture was shot at WED before bringing the tower that you can see behind Walt and Rolly to the New York Expo. You can see the California hills behind them. Thanks to the reader who notified me!

A black and white and larger frame version of the famous picture with Walt presenting the future location of Walt Disney World.

One of the last picture of Walt, introducing to the American audience the concept of Epcot 'the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow".

Pictures: copyright Disney

Monday, January 6, 2014

Short Frozen and Saving Mr Banks Review

I finally watched this week-end both Frozen and Saving Mr Banks, and i enjoyed both a lot. Let's talk about Frozen first: the animation is of course superb, not to mention the stunning snow and ice effects, and it's undeniably a new Disney Princess tale classic which deserves the huge success it has at the box office. Good script, may be a bit too many songs, but that was fine. My only problem, but that's only me, was that i'm probably too old now to really be moved by a princess tale but i'm sure it's not the case of most of the Disney fans.

Saving Mr Banks was at the height of my expectations and, first, it's a delight of actors as everyone is excellent with a special mention to Emma Thompson playing P.L Travers. Tom Hanks is also excellent and definitely not disappointing in the way he plays Walt Disney, you'll love him! The story is not totally accurate with what really happened but i presume they couldn't did it another way. My only concern is about the flash back sequences, in the Australian childhood of P.L Travers. The children, mother and father - play by Colin Farell ( excellent too ) are fine and these sequences are important for the story but there is quite a lot of flash back - almost each five minutes - and the problem is that i found the director less inspired on these. It's perfectly directed, don't get me wrong, but i found that there is something that doesn't work perfectly in these sequences, may be they are not enough "interesting" on a "mise en scène" point of view.

Anyway, Saving Mr Banks is a delightful movie and even if the sequence at Disneyland is a bit short i strongly recommend you to see it when you can, or when it'll be released in your country if not released yet.

New Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride Imagineering Video !

Walt Disney Imagineering released on the Disney Parks Blog a new behind the scenes video that will show you a more about the awaited Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction. And this time Imagineers Ben VanBeusekon and Mary Mac Eachin explain the train cars theming and aging process. As usual the cars are part of the story of the attraction, but in this case as they are supposed to be mine cars the theming had to be more accurate than ever.

You'll find the video below but we're gonna "stop the time" a bit with these screen captures of interesting shots, starting by a series of renderings of the train cars.

The video will also show you the train cars being painted and aged at different steps by WDI Imagineers...

Also include again some shots of the virtual ride which was presented before like the scene with the dwarfs inside the mine that WDW guests will discover later this year when the ride will open...

...but this is to better introduce the next shot showing for the first time the REAL decor of the inside of the mine!

There is more shots in the video of the real train running at night so go ahead, have a look at this great WDI video!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney