Saturday, November 15, 2014

Don't Miss Disney Avenue Podcast with Legendary Imagineer Rolly Crump !

Disney Avenue Podcast has a new podcast, host Keith Michael Mahne and Dusty Sage of for an amazing interview with legendary Imagineer Rolly Crump!

Born Roland Fargo Crump on February 27, 1930, in Alhambra, California, Rolly took a pay cut as a “dipper” in a ceramic factory to join The Walt Disney Studios in 1952. He served as an in-between artist and, later, assistant animator, contributing to Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and others.

In 1959, he joined show design at WED Enterprises, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering. There, he became one of Walt’s key designers for some of Disneyland’s groundbreaking new attractions and shops, including the Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room, and Adventureland Bazaar.

Rolly also served as a key designer on the Disney attractions featured at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including it’s a small world, for which he designed the Tower of the Four Winds marquee. When the attraction moved to Disneyland in 1966, Rolly designed the larger-than-life animated clock at its entrance, which sends puppet children on parade with each quarter-hour gong.

After contributing to the initial design of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, and developing story and set designs for NBC’s Disney on Parade in 1970, Rolly left the Company to consult on projects including Busch Gardens in Florida and California, the ABC Wildlife Preserve in Maryland, and Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus World in Florida, among others.

He returned in 1976 to contribute to EPCOT Center, serving as project designer for The Land and the Wonders of Life pavilions. He also participated in master planning for an expansion of Disneyland until 1981, when he again departed to lead design on a proposed Cousteau Ocean Center in Norfolk, Virginia, and to launch his own firm, the Mariposa Design Group, developing an array of themed projects around the world, including an international celebration for the country of Oman.

In 1992, Rolly returned to Imagineering as executive designer, redesigning and refurbishing The Land and Innoventions at Epcot Center. Rolly “retired” from The Walt Disney Company in 1996, but continued to work on a number of creative projects. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2004 and released his autobiography, It’s Kind of a Cute Story, in 2012.

No need to say that Rolly has plenty of great stories to share so jump to hear this new Disney Avenue podcast HERE !

Mater Turn Disneyland Resort Into a Winter Wonderland !

Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Main Street, U.S.A. are decked out with holiday ornaments. And Mater from Disney's 'Cars' has turned Disneyland Resort into a Winter Wonderland in this cool Ad video!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Pirates of Caribbean in New York Central Park !

Here is a cool video done in partnership with Disney Parks to stage a pirate invasion on the Central Park Lake, in New York!

There is more with this "making-of" video which will show you how they did it and prepared everything!

Videos: copyright Disney

Friday, November 14, 2014

World's First Cirque du Soleil Theme Park Resort to be build in Riviera Maya, Mexico,

Yesterday was a milestone day for the Goddard Group, as Founder & Chairman, Gary Goddard,  announced in Riviera Maya, Mexico, an incredible project - the world's first CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Theme Park Resort. According to Gary, this unprecedented collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, the Goddard Group, and Grupo Vidanta will be unlike anything else the world has seen before.

This first-of-its-kind immersive theme park experience in Nuevo Vallarta, still in development, will apparently include "water park and nature park elements and will feature an outdoor evening show accommodating as many as 3,000 to 5,000 spectators. Each experience within the entertainment park will be animated by Cirque du Soleil artists and follow a common storyline.”
“Grupo Vidanta is offering us an amazing sandbox in which we can unleash our creativity,” said Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil. “Both our groups strive for perfection. Grupo Vidanta is passionate and cares for the environment. We set ourselves the challenge of creating something unlike anything the world has seen before.”

Below, two more renderings showing areas of this Cirque du Soleil theme park.

The next artwork below is from the great John Horny.

The Goddard Group’s Facebook said to Screamscape asking if there will be rides at the park: “While there will be rides every single one will be a new creative experience never seen at any other park. And while we can't get into too much detail at this point, we can say that the "star" attractions here are completely new experiences that don't yet exist in the world.”

According to Screamscape "if you look at the artwork above at the various themed areas and spot you'll see what appear to be a number of small rides and attractions spread throughout the beautiful scenery, including a ferris wheel, train, and what had at first looked like a white coaster on the right side, is actually just waterslides for the waterpark next to the wave pool.
Lance also think that the project might include "some pretty big ideas planned for this park that could prove to be game changers for the future of the themed entertainment industry".

For sure, we'll keep an eye on this project!

Artwork: copyright Goddard Group, Grupo Vidanta

Knott's Berry farm Announces " Voyage to the Iron Reef " a 3D High-Tech Ride Opening in 2015 !

Knott's Berry Farm announced a new attraction named "Voyage to the Iron Reef" that will submerge the guests under the Boardwalk for an adventure to save the theme park. It looks extremely promising and the ride will be built where were before the Kingdom of Dinosaurs and Knott's Berry Tales rides. Most of all, it will be a sophisticated 3D ride system, something new for Knott's, with riders being able to shoot at what will happen on the 11 screens all along 600 feet of track, including to what looks to me as a "steampunk" version of a giant squid!

According to the L.A Times "Knott's Iron Reef ride will combine 3-D images, ray guns, vehicles that roll along a track, plus atmospheric effects like fog, bubbles and wind to bring the scenes to life. Some of these effects are already featured in Universal Studios' Transformers: The Ride-3D and Disneyland's Toy Story Midway Mania.

The Knott's ride will take passengers into an underwater world where they use ray guns to try to freeze the Queen of the Kraken and her minions to stop them from pulling roller coasters and other rides down into her watery world. The ride is designed to move 800 guests per hour.

The attraction replaces an animatronic dinosaur that opened in 1987 and closed in 2004. The new ride will include 600 feet of track and 11 screens in an 18,000-square-foot building. One advantage to the ride, according to its designers, is that the scenes and monsters are digital creations that can be updated or re-created in the future. Also, by allowing riders to score points, the attraction encourages park visitors to return to improve on their score.

One more thing: who is the president and chief executive of Cedar Fair Entertainment, the parent company of Knott's? Matt Quimet... former ( and excellent ) President of Disneyland Resort. In two words, someone who know well Disney, what guests can like and how to do to increase Knott's attendance. Matt Quimet  said that "the Iron Reef ride does not signal that Knott's is changing its focus solely to high-tech attractions to compete with Disney and Universal". Instead, Matt said the park will invest in rides that appeal to a wider audience so the park can thrive for the next decade or two. "If we can do more rides where everyone in the family has fun, we will be even more successful". For sure, Matt is right and Disneyland may start to worry about a competitor which might be more competitive than before if he starts to introduce sophisticated rides!

Here is Knott's Berry Farm official announcement:


A spectacular new interactive 4-D attraction is coming to the Boardwalk at Knott's Berry Farm next year. Surfacing in spring 2015, Voyage to the Iron Reef adds high-tech fun for everyone.

Ever since construction crews finished expanding the Boardwalk pier in 2013, guests have happily enjoyed the many new attractions like Coast Rider and Surfside Gliders. But all that activity on the Boardwalk shores has reawakened a mystic lair in the depths below, filled with creatures who have risen up to wreak havoc on the classic So Cal theme park.

The Queen of the Kraken and her aquatic army have surfaced to feed on the steel of any attraction within their grasps. Their unquenchable appetite for coaster metal has turned these creatures into swimming mechanical monsters unlike anything ever before seen on the ocean floor. Only you can save Knott’s from the mysterious creatures that are emerging from the seas beneath the Boardwalk!

If you have what it takes to become a brave deep sea navigator, climb aboard the four-person submarine and embark on the four-minute gaming adventure into the Iron Reef. Equipped with your interactive freeze ray, aim for ballooning puffer fish, an iron clad octopus and hundreds of other menacing 3-D creatures to save Knott’s from a watery doom. You will be surrounded at every turn by enchanting underwater forests, disorienting ocean current tunnels, and mysterious mechanical wreckage that will be brought to life through high definition 3-D animation and other special effects.

The attraction reacts to your actions making each interactive voyage a different experience. In addition to battling the Queen of the Kraken and her hundreds-strong aquatic army, compete head-to-head with the other sailors in your submarine to see who can blast the most creatures.

Voyage to the Iron Reef is the centerpiece of an exciting 2015 at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shanghaî Disneyland Release New Artwork - Plus : New Construction Site Pictures ! Now Edited With High-Res Artwork of the Park

Shanghaî Disney Resort released new SDL artwork today, mainly showing the hotels and "Disney Town" - SDL nighttime entertainment area which will be the equivalent of Downtown Disney at DL or Disney Village at DLP - but also the new bird eye view rendering above showing the whole resort. Among the most interesting things on this new artwork of the park is the rock work for the "Roaring rapids" raft ride in Adventure Isle and it looks to me like the huge rock work structure they did - and learned how to do it - for Cars Land but with a different design, of course.

I didn't resist to blow up the artwork above to have an even closer view of the park and here it is below. The definition is not as high, but that's normal. Click on it, as well as on all others artworks below to see them in big size.

And because i'm sure you're dying to know where will be what i've put the rides and attractions names on this other version below. At 90% the locations are right, and i did a new editing of the picture so now Peter Pan's Flight and Winnie the Pooh rides should be at the right locations.

Editing: Don't miss too my new article posted this Monday, explaining you in details what will be new or not in Shanghaî Disneyland attractions and why you should be "reasonably" excited to avoid disappointment. It's right HERE.

SDL also released a press release with more details and here it is, with the artworks that i've enlarged a bit so we could see a bit more as, as usual, SDL released them in very small size.

Shanghai Disney Resort, an Integrated Resort Featuring a Theme Park and So Much More - Disney announces exciting themed hotels, shopping, dining and entertainment district and recreation facilities

November 13, 2014, Shanghai Shanghai Disney Resort will exhibit new details of the highly anticipated resort during its debut at Asia’s largest travel trade industry fair, the 2014 China International Travel Mart (CITM). Shanghai Disney Resort will share the official names and images of the resort’s two richly themed hotels, and the exciting shopping, dining and entertainment district. Additionally, a new rendering shows the scope of the resort, including the lush waterfront park to be located alongside Shanghai Disneyland, Disney’s first theme park in mainland China.

Continuing the tradition of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide, Shanghai Disney Resort will welcome guests to an immersive, magical multi-day experience at the resort’s theme park, hotels, shopping, dining and entertainment district and recreational areas. The entire resort is being designed with Chinese guests in mind, bringing the best of Disney to mainland China.

“We are very excited to share more detail of our resort during our debut appearance at the China International Travel Mart, the leading annual tourism industry event in China,” said Philippe Gas, Shanghai Disney Resort General Manager. “Shanghai Disney Resort will provide a world-class tourism destination for Chinese guests, offering the same spirit of ‘shared family entertainment’ that Walt Disney first introduced nearly 60 years ago.
All guests will be able to take part in a wide range of authentic Disney experiences across Shanghai Disneyland, at our two themed hotels, in Disneytown an exciting shopping, dining and entertainment district and at our resort’s central lake area.” 

Shanghai Disney Resort will be Disney’s sixth resort destination worldwide. The centerpiece of the resort, Shanghai Disneyland will be a Magic Kingdom-style theme park featuring classic Disney characters and stories in six theme lands. Some of the new attractions and experiences specifically designed for the people of China will include the Enchanted Storybook Castle, Treasure Cove (the first ever Pirates-themed land in a Disney park) and Garden of the Twelve Friends.

In addition to the theme park, the Resort will offer two hotels that give guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in a magical world inspired by and featuring Disney characters and stories. The signature hotel of the resort will be the 420-room Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, an elegant Art Nouveau-inspired hotel with a touch of Disney magic and imagination. The 800-room Toy Story Hotel immerses guests in a world inspired by the toys from the Disney•Pixar series of Toy Story animated films. Both hotels will offer a range of entertainment and leisure options, highlighted by Disney’s signature high-quality service standards with great attention to details.

Conveniently located near Shanghai Disneyland and the hotels is Disneytown a shopping, dining and entertainment district with the lure of a timeless village and the excitement of an international crossroads. Here guests may relax and reconnect with family and friends, but amazing new experiences are waiting around every corner. No admission fee is required to explore its charming pedestrian streets, leading to more than 46,000 square meters of distinctive dining, unique shops and a world-class theatre.

The natural beauty of Disneytown’s Lakeshore provides beautiful views, spectacular sunsets, and the highest quality of waterfront dining. Marketplace, located at the heart of Disneytown, is filled with family fun and offers specialty shops with Disney merchandise. There one will find plenty of places to relax and enjoy musicians and entertainers.

Next to the Marketplace is the bustling international ambiance of Spice Alley, which presents a variety of popular Asian cuisines in a casual, yet romantic environment. The al fresco dining spots are perfect for lunch with friends or a more formal date. And the intimate streets and festive lights encourage leisurely after dinner strolling. Taking inspiration from the Beverly Hills shopping streets, the classic Broadway Boulevard features stylish boutiques that create an upscale atmosphere. Here guests will discover an exciting array of popular labels and trendsetting products.

Broadway Plaza is home to the beautiful Walt Disney Grand Theatre, which will bring world-class entertainment to China. The spectacular Art Deco theatre will host the global premiere of the Mandarin version of THE LION KING, the highest-grossing Broadway show ever. This separately ticketed show will greatly enrich the leisure experience for guests visiting the Resort.

Near Disneytown lies the resort’s central lake area, which offers guests from Shanghai and around the world an opportunity to commune with nature, surrounded by peaceful greenery and a glittering lake. With approximately 40 hectares, the size of 56 football fields, it includes the lake, a 2.5-kilometer walking path and various beautiful gardens, which present guests with awe- inspiring natural views and beautiful sunsets. 

About Shanghai Disney Resort 

Shanghai Disney Resort is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group comprised of two owner companies (Shanghai International Theme Park Company Limited and Shanghai International Theme Park Associated Facilities Company Limited) and a management company (Shanghai International Theme Park and Resort Management Company Limited). Shanghai Shendi Group holds 57% of the shares and Disney holds the remaining 43% of shares of the owner companies. Disney has a 70% stake and Shanghai Shendi Group has a 30% stake in the joint venture management company. The management company is responsible for creating, developing and operating the resort on behalf of the owner companies. 

In addition to this new artwork, here are pictures of the construction site posted yesterday by the Chinese website The first one shows a structure which most probably will be an arch at the entrance of the resort.

This next one is a bit more hard to guess but it could show the works on the huge rock structure of Roaring Rapids...

On the two next pictures you'll see the TRON Light Cycles Power Run track, the outside part, doing a loop before going inside the show building. Others tracks can be seen outside on the bottom right, waiting to be added.

This next picture shows the construction site of the 5 starts Shanghaî Disneyland Hotel.

The picture below shows the construction of the Toy Story 3 stars hotel.

My guess is that this last picture shows in the background what will be "Market Place" an area with restaurants near the lake. You can see the top of the structure that you've seen on the rendering above, the one with a roof color green, and the SDL 5 stars hotel on the right.

Artwork: copyright DIsney - Shendi,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Sony RX100 M3 is a Triumph... And The Best Compact Camera You'll Ever Buy to Shoot Fantastic Pictures at Disney Parks !

All Disney fans share something in common: we all love to take pictures at the parks! Mobile phones can do good pictures but they still have some limits, so today i want to introduce to you the new Sony RX100 M3, released three months ago by Sony, a camera with which you will shoot your best pictures ever in the parks - as well as HD videos - and definitely the best compact camera of all time.

But first, please note that for the first time in Disney and more history there is two different versions of the same article! In this one you'll see samples pictures all shot at Disneyland Paris. But in the other version posted on my Innoventions blog HERE the sample pictures are different and will be precious to have additional samples of what this amazing RX 100 M3 is able to do. In both cases, always click on each pictures to see them in big size as i have uploaded the files almost in real size.

The first version of the RX100 released by Sony two years ago was a huge hit from day one and acclaimed by almost everyone who owns it and tech blogs, including by the one of David Pogue who, in the New York Times, did a long review explaining why he thought the RX100 was simply "the best compact camera ever made". And, boy, did i agreed with him! Like everyone who had the good idea to buy the first version i was stunned by the quality of the pictures, due to the amazing Sony 20M pixel sensor, the quality of the lens giving amazing sharpness of each image, etc... all this in a such small camera.

And recently, after Sony released last year the Mark 2 version of the RX100, they've released the third version, the RX100 M3 and this latest one beats them all and will please both enthusiasts amateurs and professional photographers... If just like me you're looking for a camera which is at the same time small, light, and can shoot pictures of an amazing quality - almost like a DSLR - then the Sony RX100 M3 is for you, as it's case - all in magnesium - is as small as a pack of cigarettes, it weights only 290G - battery include - and yes, it's a real "pocket camera"!

Not only its design is pure and beautiful but the new RX100 M3 has all the numerous great options, settings, manual controls and capabilities which existed in the M1 and M2 but it comes with much more as you will see. First, the Zeiss lens is now a 24 -70 mm ( instead than 28 - 100 on the M1 and M2 ) and although some might regret that it don't goes up to 100mm the fact that it starts at 24mm instead than 28mm is invaluable. And by the way, you can always get closer to the subject you're shooting... or use the digital zoom which is amazingly good for a digital zoom. Have a look at the picture below shot in wide angle. By the way, please click on each picture of this article to see them in big size as they've been uploaded in almost real size for each file.

As always the quality of the "pixel" is stunning, thanks to the new EXMOR R CMOS sensor so if you need to zoom in post production in the image without losing quality you'll be able to do it easily. The contrast is always perfect, and colors are vibrant without being over saturated.

Among all the numerous options / functions available on the RX100 you can of course choose to do everything manually but the "Auto" or even better the "Intelligent Auto" mode is doing a great work, really. And, in the SCN ( scenes ) options there is my favorite which is the "Hand Held Twilight" mode. This one is here normally to shoot great pics at twilight without a stand but i use it too when it's full night, or when i am inside a place where there is not too much light and the result is stunning. Basically, the camera shoot 10 pics in one second and make the best out of them. The result is almost 100% of the time a picture incredibly sharp with great colors and all this hand held without a stand. Have a look at some examples below, all shot inside the caves of Adventure Isle in which the lighting is incredibly dark! Also note that the ISO sensitivity can go up to 25600 ISO.

There is of course also several options to shoot in black and white, and the rich tone B&W or high contrast mode will give you great results with always amazing sharpness.

Also new on this Mark 3 version, the new codec video as not only the RX100 M3 shoot great pictures but it also film HD 1080p video and the new XAVC-S codec mean less compression than with the previous AVCHD and so better quality. Just remember that you can record in XAVC-S only on a SDXC card, not on a SDHC, which is no big problem as you can find SDXC memory cards easily.

But what tops it all what is new in the RX100 M3 is the amazing viewfinder that Sony engineers succeeded to include in a such tiny camera. And an electronic viewfinder with a gorgeous definition which will be very helpful if you can't see well in the 3" display screen because there is too much sun or it's too dark. The viewfinder pop-up when you need it and when you don't you just put it down so it couldn't be more simple. Because of that the flash is now in the center with the viewfinder on the left, and it's even better to have the flash in the center.

Talking about the 3" screen this one too have something new as it can move and be adjust up to 180} which will be perfect for those who're looking to shoot some selfies.

The battery last 3 hours, even if you shoot a lot, but as always it's always better to have one more battery with you, just in case. Now, you can charge the battery directly inside the camera but if you prefer - like i do - to charge it on an external charger, Sony is doing one that you can buy.

The camera do have WIFI so you can easily download the pics on your phone or iPad to see how they look on a bigger screen while you are in vacation. And if you have a HDTV with a usb connection you can connect the RX100 directly to the TV and watch pics and movies instantly, very easily.

I'd like to find something going wrong on this camera but, honestly, each version has been from the start a delight to use with such satisfactory results that i can hardly find one. Okay, here is one: if you buy this RX100 M3, think to buy too the leather case that Sony is doing. Why? Because although the camera is remarkably small it's almost a little bit too small, and the case will add 6mm more in large and give you a better grip on the camera, and of course a perfect protection.

The Sony RX100 M3 official price is $799 which might look to you a bit high, but believe me, it's the best pocket camera money can buy and you'll love it instantly, and won't regret one cent! Have  a look below at a series of pictures shot at Disneyland Paris recently! And for a complete list of its specification jump HERE to the Sony website.

As i told you at the start, i've posted on my Innoventions website HERE another version of this article, with different samples pictures not from Disneyland, but mostly shot in Paris and in Asia. These others pictures are pretty good too to judge the quality of the camera so check it out!

In conclusion, and knowing that Christmas is coming soon, this Sony RX100 M3 would be a perfect gift for the one you love or, more simply, yourself! You won't be disappointed by this amazing and powerful 20M pixels camera!

All pictures: copyright Alain Littaye : No reproductions of any kind and in any way allowed without written authorization.