Saturday, June 14, 2014

Amazing DLP Fans Unofficial Video Ad for WDS Ratatouille Ride !

Johan Souply is a Disneyland Paris fan who, with the collaboration of Stéphane Krawcyk and Tom Berry as well as dozens of extras did the fantastic unofficial Ratatouille Ad video that you will see below. The video is so amazingly well done that it's hard to think it was done by DLP fans - specially considering they didn't had access to shots from the ride itself - as they've succeeded to do something as professional as it would have been if it was done by DLP communication team. I don't say this very often, and i even think that it's the first time i say it! Watch first the video and there is more to say about it after.

If you've already watched the video you've seen how good it is. Not only it is almost 100% perfect technically speaking but there is not one stock shot in it. Every scene was filmed on location at the Walt Disney Studios, and Johan and his team added more filming with green screen, added then in the shots filmed at the WDS. Not to mention a digital recreation of the new land as well as the WDS and DLP for the final scenes! And what's even better is that all this is done with emotion, the right music on each scene, etc... as the making-of video below will show you.

One of Johan's dream is apparently to work at DLP and i have to say that if they don't hire him after seeing this video there is something which is going wrong somewhere... Anyway, Johan and his team are really talented and i predict to them a bright future!

Monday afternoon DLP should release the first official Ad for Ratatouille so stay tuned on D&M as i'll embed it here as soon as available!

Videos: copyright Johan Souply

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan Has Unique Features !

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open officially on July 15 at Universal Studios Japan but USJ started his communication campaign and invited dozens of young Japanese to discover the new land. Below, the translation of a Asahi Shibun article written by Akihiro Nishiyama and Saki Mizorog, in which you'll learn that USJ WWOHP has some exclusive features and is not a simple copycat of the WWOHP at Islands of Adventure!

OSAKA--Universal Studios Japan expects its new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction to bring in 2 million more visitors to the amusement park annually after it opens July 15.

USJ Co. said its newest addition will be spread across 4 hectares and include themed rides and other amenities taken from the best-selling Harry Potter book series created by British author J.K. Rowling and movies produced by Warner Bros.

The park will be the second in the world to showcase a Harry Potter attraction after the Universal Orland Resort in Florida.

The main feature is a flyover above Hogwarts Castle and the village where Harry spent his childhood. Intricate details such as snow on rooftops and lights in windows are also being made possible due to new cutting-edge imaging technology, officials said.

The new addition cost the company 45 billion yen ($442 million), more than half of its annual sales.


The Japanese version of Harry Potter’s world also includes unique features not found at its Orlando counterpart.

Black Lake, the lake that sits below Hogwarts, has been added, as have real owls.

Visitors can also take photos inside a recreation of the train that Harry Potter first boarded to take him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even a restroom designed to look like the one used by Harry and his fellow classmates has been included.

To avoid long wait times, visitors will be issued numbered tickets with specific entry times. Customers who do not want to wait can purchase an express pass.


USJ and the travel agency JTB Corp. started offering accommodation plans, which include express passes.

“Some plans during the summer vacation period have almost sold out,” said a public relations official at JTB.

Hotel Keihan Chain Co., which operates two hotels in front of USJ, said its rooms on and around the opening day of July 15 have been almost fully booked.

West Japan Railway Co. is also set to sell from June 15 a Shinkansen bullet train package that includes a round-trip ticket and park entry.

USJ estimates the new addition featuring Harry Potter will increase the ratio of visitors from outside the Kansai region from 40 percent to 60 percent, annually.

The park's main competitor is Tokyo Disney Resort, which attracted 31.3 million visitors in fiscal 2013. USJ saw 10.5 million visitors during the same period.

That was the first time the number of visitors exceeded 10 million since fiscal 2001, its first year of operation.

USJ has been attempting to increase visitor numbers by introducing rides and shows based on Hollywood movies and Japanese comics.

“Their strategies have fallen short and have failed to fully appeal to consumers,” said Yuji Yamaguchi, a professor of business management at J.F. Overlin University. “But from now on USJ can hail itself as Harry Potter’s amusement park.”

USJ is now scouting possible sites for another park to follow the Harry Potter park.

Tsuyoshi Morioka, an executive officer at USJ, said: “Our potential partners are closely following how the new Harry Potter attraction and business goes. If it achieves great success from the start, we will be able to move to the next step this autumn.”

Pictures: copyright Universal Studios Japan

Text: copyright THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Friday, June 13, 2014

Breaking : Lion King Theatrical Show to Open at Shanghaî Disneyland - and at Mexico City, too !

The Lion King theatrical show is coming to Shanghaî Disneyland and will play at the Walt Disney Theatre located in the shopping / dining / entertainment area close to Shanghaî Disneyland park, and supposedly called "Disney town"! In addition, the Lion King show will also come to Mexico City, as announced today officially by Disney Theatrical Productions

More about all this from the official SDL press release:

Highest-Grossing Broadway Show in History to be Presented in Mandarin; Casting Begins this Summer 

June 13, 2014, Shanghai – Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Theatrical Productions announced today that Disney's landmark musical event, THE LION KING, is coming to the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, a new, world-class, 1,200-seat Broadway-style theater, to be located at Shanghai Disney Resort's retail, dining and entertainment area, currently under construction adjacent to Shanghai Disneyland park. This will be the world's first production of THE LION KING performed in Mandarin of Julie Taymor's production, exactly as seen on Broadway and in productions around the world. Casting for the show is scheduled to begin this summer in China with a focus on recruiting and developing local talent.

"We are thrilled to bring Disney's THE LION KING to Shanghai Disney Resort," said Mike Crawford, general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort. "Working with our partners at Disney Theatrical Productions to have the world's most successful and popular stage musical in Mandarin for the first time, here at our 'must-visit' entertainment district, will provide a great centerpiece for the area and an amazing opportunity for our resort Guests. The production of THE LION KING in Mandarin demonstrates our strong commitment to supporting the growth of China's cultural industries, and is an excellent example of how the resort is tailoring the best of Disney with local talent to create world-class entertainment specifically for the people of China."

"It is especially exciting for us to premiere THE LION KING at this brand new theatre at Shanghai Disney Resort, marking our first collaboration with our partners at Disney Parks and Resorts," said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer, Disney Theatrical Productions. "This uniquely Chinese production will be our most ambitious yet, featuring the very best of local talent, who will perform the show for the first time in Mandarin as they bring Julie Taymor's singular theatrical vision to life."
Casting of this entirely new Mandarin production will begin this summer in China and will continue through early 2015. Shanghai Disney Resort has engaged United Asia Live Entertainment to support the casting efforts.

In its 17th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant, and is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history, as well as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, more than 70 million people around the world have seen the 22 global productions of THE LION KING, which have cumulatively run a staggering 104 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into eight different languages, productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan, and in London's West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Sydney, Australia. At the time of its opening, the Mandarin production marks the 10th concurrent worldwide production of THE LION KING, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show's history. To date, THE LION KING has played 19 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Shanghai Disney Resort's retail, dining and entertainment area is a key feature of the resort. The area will initially be comprised of a 46,000 square meter pedestrian-access area and will be located next to Shanghai Disneyland, the Resort's Magic Kingdom-style theme park. The area will offer guests unique opportunities to enjoy great Chinese and international dining, shopping and world-class entertainment.

Here is a map - from Luke and the Temple of Fun - of SDL entertainment area, the theater is located on the top...

...and here is the latest satellite view of the same area from Google Earth ( click to enlarge ).


THE LION KING's Spanish-language premiere in Mexico City will be produced by OCESA and will be the largest theatrical production ever to be mounted in Mexico. OCESA also produced successful productions of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and most recently, The Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of MARY POPPINS in 2012. The production will be performed in Spanish and will begin performances in May of 2015 at the Telcel Theatre in Mexico City.

In 2008, OCESA also presented The North American, English-language tour of THE LION KING in Mexico City. The four week hit engagement sold over 165,000 tickets at the Auditorio Nacional.

Just like almost anyone i liked a lot the Lion King theatrical show and, although it's a little bit an easy / no risk choice it will be for sure a high quality addition to Shanghaî Disney Resort that should help to bring guests at SDR. 

Pictures: copyright Disney

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Behind the Scenes at Disneyland Monorail Roundhouse

The Disney Parks Blog has posted a great video showing for the first time the behind the scenes of Disneyland Monorail in the roundhouse. As you can imagine, the monorails don't stay out at night and all goes inside a facility where dozens of technicians take care that everything is working fine. Only two monorails are out at a time and the third one stays inside as a back up if something wrong happen to one of the two others.

Peter Gonzalez, electrician for the Disneyland monorails tell you more about it in the video below.

As usual i did for you HD screen captures of the best shots!

Some great additional shots of the monorail running outside...

Let's end with two others Disney Parks video. In the first one Disneyland monorail pilot Mike Gibson shares his five tips for piloting the Disneyland monorail...

And the second one is showing the point of view that guests have when they have the luck to sit in the monorail nose cone with the pilot. The music of the video is terrible so you might want to cut the sound.

Pictures and videos: copyright Disney

New Universal Orlando Diagon Alley Video With Harry Potter Cast !

Universal Orlando released a new video showing more of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express during a visit of the "Weasley family" - James and Oliver Phelps and Bonnie Wright with Universal Creative Thierry Coup!

I did HD screen captures for you and as you've seen in the video it starts with a trip from Hogsmeade station to London. You can see the inside of the wagons as well as the screen on which guests will see the film during their trip between the two stations. The TV monitors are a little bit too much stick to the window for me but let's wait to see how it works in real...

Entrance of Diagon Alley. Looks great to me, as well as the shops and themed elements...

They went then inside Gringotts Bank and we can see the Goblins Audio-Animatronics. The video don't show anything of the ride itself so we won't know if the actors did it or not, but you won't have too long to wait to see more about the ride as the press event will happen in ten days from now...

That's all for today, more about Diagon Alley anytime soon!

Pictures and video: copyright Universal Orlando

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DLP Update : Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril Re-Open After Five Months of Renovation !

All-right, here we go for a new DLP update, and this one is all about the freshly renovated Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril who reopened a few days ago. Apparently, and contrary to what DLP have said they didn't rebuilt the temple but only clean it from top to bottom, as well as all the theming elements in the queue decor.

Anyway, let's have a closer look at all this, always thanks to great pictures from Max Fan, D&M contributor and DLPWelcome webmaster. According to Max, the first thing one can see arriving at the temple is how the temple rocks are bright, without any dust or vegetation on them although always keeping the "old stone" look. Someone who do the ride for the first time might not be surprised but for all of us the difference will be spectacular.

Let's have a look at the queue decor, right after the skulls and bamboos of the entrance.

The first thing to note in the queue decor is how it is more clear and luminous than before. A big part of the bamboos located around the covered queue, between the tents, have been cut and the result is a space less stultifying and with more light for explorers guests.

The explorers decor is unchanged but they had a very welcome refurbishment and to say the truth everything looks brand new with all elements being cleaned and even sometime reorganized like on this new themed unit ( two first pictures below ) which was before near the explorers tent ( 3rd image below ). This reorganization allows a better theming of the queue decor, and so a better immersion as wished by the Imagineers. Those of you who know well the attraction will notice that the truck in the queue decor has disappeared, it should be temporary and be back when its restoration will be finished.

WDI Imagineer Pat Burke was among the ones who worked on the great theming of the temple and queue decor. He shares with Disney and more his memories of working on the Temple of Peril:

"The Temple had very little budget for show, sets, and props with it's tight management, as on all phase 2 projects after EDL opened.  Tony Baxter and Art Director Chris Teitz, asked me to stay on after opening the new fort expansion at Thunder Mesa, and bring my magic to the Temple.  With a lot of my key Irish staff from EDL opening, we were able to go through all the warehouse leftovers and piles of left over materials of wood and mine car track I had stored away for expansion.  I cranked out daily sketches to the crew to build from and we put together a themed show.  I came up with a lot of the show rigging and themed safety nets found on the Temple attraction as well.  I had 4 rope weavers I kept busy weaving by hand all the cargo nets you see.  I called them my Spider Men. There were also a lot of visual intrusions to hide each day.  

ESSO was the Temple sponsor so Tony Baxter asked me to do some research and come up with a way to tie ESSO into the show. With my knowledge of petroleum products I researched ESSO's beginnings around the Temples period.  I found products and period graphics which even ESSO did not know about.  I developed a whole line of crates, barrels, fuel cans and other products the vehicles in the show might use.  They were great but ESSO or Disney decided not to spend the extra money to do the show elements.

Working on the theming of DLP Indiana Jones temple was actually a good test for me, as when I would return home I would be creating queue line show from the opening and up to the load unload area for the new Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland. Having done 3 Jungle Cruises before, it was good to remind people I could do Adventureland as well as Frontierland."

More pictures of the refurbished queue decor...

As for refurbs on the track itself, the loop track is now brand new as you can see on this picture below posted on Twitter by Disneyland Paris with this text: "We have restored the whole show quality to brand new condition, and completely changed the ride control and the loop".

At the exit of the ride you'll see others decor elements, also refurbished...

New theming elements appeared on the front of the ride, who can be seen by visitors as well by temple explorers...

The Indiana Jones merchandise shop at the exit / entrance is closed for now which is not really smart considering that during week-ends the ride has a 60 minutes wait, and lot of guests.

As you've seen this five months refurbishment is at the end not insignificant and the attraction has been totally cleaned and renovated - and not rebuilt as it was announced. On the ride itself the loop has been changed and the whole theming elements refurbished. All lightings have been changed with to the new LED technology, confirming once again the park commitment to take care of environment.

That's all for today's DLP update, see you soon for a new one and in the meantime i remind you that, to celebrate Disneyland Paris 22nd Anniversary, i'm doing a special offer price on the great Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality" book - for both ENGLISH or FRENCH editions!  Thanks to this special offer you will save $50 on the normal price, so if you don't own the book yet i'm sure you don't want to miss it! Paypal and credit card payments are accepted, so make sure you to place your order now! 

You can use the Paypal button below for the english edition, and for orders of the french edition or for credit card payment please send me an email at:

Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality - Include shipping

Don't know yet the Disneyland Paris book? Have a look at the video below or on the book website HERE.

Pictures: copyright Max Fan - DLP Welcome