Saturday, July 4, 2015

First Rendering of Shanghaî Disneyland Tomorrowland

Mark Taft from Insights and Sounds has posted in his latest article the first rendering i've seen of Shanghaî Disneyland Tomorrowland. I'm pretty sure that it is a SDL rendering because, although it don't unveil a lot, all the elements are there.
The structure in the foreground, on the right, is the Tron Light Cycles "cover" dome under which the motorbike coaster will run before entering the show building. On the right, you have what WDI Imagineers call the "Superblock" building with inside the Buzz lightyear ride and the Stitch Encounter attraction, as well as restaurants on the ground floor. And the white ball in the background is where will be the Jet Packs ride. The structure in the foreground on the left should be the Tomorrowland theater. Not a lot of rides in this land at opening day but for sure more should be added later.

We'll see if it looks like this when the park will open, but in the meantime jump to Mark full article right HERE.

Picture: copyright Disney - Shendi

Friday, July 3, 2015

Will Disney Announce at D23 Expo a Ten Year $3 Billion Overhaul for Disney's Hollywood Studios ?

Will Disney announce next month at the upcoming D23 Expo a ten year $3 Billion overhaul of  WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios? According to Billy Donnelly's article on his This Is Infamous website, the answer is yes. Billy even calls this huge $3 billion overhaul “the biggest theme park expansion Disney has ever set out to do” adding that full information on what is in the plans for the new Disney’s Hollywood Studios will likely be announced at D23 Expo this August during the Parks and Resorts awaited presentation.

Billy also say that this $3 billion massive overhaul of the DHS has been approved by Disney’s board "complete with rebranding to better reflect the shift away from how movies are made to more how they live and breathe inside of us. Along with that money, we’ll be seeing the park dominated by STAR WARS, Pixar and Indiana Jones as a great deal of the park’s older attractions are put out to pasture and about six new ones are ushered in".

So, in addition to the attractions that their closure has already been announced ( Magic of Disney Animation, American Idol ) more will be shut down like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular or Muppet Vision 3D to make room for the new ones coming all along these ten years plan. I'm a bit surprised about Muppet Vision 3D so take this with a pinch of salt as he may be wrong on this one. In the attractions which are "sure to stay" we have of course The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania - which should double its track soon - and the Great Movie Ride which received a renovation recently thanks to Turner Classic Movies sponsorship. 

However, the most important is what is coming starting by the awaited Star Wars land "that should inject some new energy into the park, with two new STAR WARS attractions tapped to be in the works, including a Dagobah centerpiece for where Echo Lake and Gertie the Dinosaur currently reside. Details on what those attractions will be have managed to escape me for now, but, with STAR TOURS and the Jedi Training Academy, which I hear will be relocating indoors to an existing building, already in place, you’re looking at four STAR WARS attractions on the ground inside the park, not to mention the possibilities for dining and shopping experiences that would mimic what you’d encounter in that galaxy far, far away."

The good news, if Billy is right, is about Indiana Jones as, even if the Indy Epic Stunt spectacle will close, "Indiana Jones will not be staying away from Hollywood Adventure for too long… as an updated version of the Indiana Jones Adventure that can be found in Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be breaking ground in Florida finally."

The third new "land" will be a Pixar one with an expansion of the current Pixar land which will include three new attractions being added without counting the expansion of Toy Story Mania currently in the works. Billy sources told him that in fact "construction may already be underway, hidden from public view where the Studio Backlot Tour used to exist. That would make the time from announcement to completion feel much shorter, a strategy Universal has successfully employed in recent years for their theme parks."

All of this should be revealed at D23 this August in greater detail so we won't have to wait too long to know if he's right or not. My guess is that it's "probably right". Billy even have a "one more thing" saying that all this "doesn’t even include the new nighttime show being lined up for EPCOT to replace Illuminations or the new attraction that will be kicking Journey Into Imagination to the curb.

So, if all goes well, plenty of good news coming soon and you can read Billy full article HERE.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WDI Behind the Scenes Video of Disneyland Peter Pan's Flight New Special Effects, and more

Walt Disney Imagineering has released a great behind the scenes video, with Imagineer Larry Nicolai, WDI creative director, explaining the new special effects added to Disneyland's Peter Pan's Flight. Let's have a look first at the video and i'll tell you more right after it. I also add two different videos of the full ride in its new version, for those of you who haven't seen them yet.

First, the new WDI video.

Next, two HD videos of the full ride with the new effects, filmed by SoCal Attractions 360 and Mouse Info.

Now, although the new effects makes a great upgrade for Peter Pan's Flight - and most probably will be added at Disneyland Paris during the scheduled closure of the attraction at DLP Fantasyland next year - some effects originally envisioned have been cancelled in the new version of the ride. Also, the nursery scene in the queue like they did at WDW is apparently not part of the new DL version, may be they didn't had enough room to do it.

Let's start by what has been cancelled and that's a good news. WDI Imagineers had thought to introduce the rear head projection effect for most - if not all - the main characters faces - the same effect which has been used for the dwarfs faces in WDW Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride - and, wisely, they've probably thought that it will not be satisfying on PPF characters. When the effect was introduced in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train there was a big debate and half of the fans liked it when the other half hated it. Personaly, i think that  it works quite okay on the dwarfs. But i also think that it has been a good idea to don't do this rear projection effect of PPF characters faces. They surely would have been able to do it technically and i don't know the reason why WDI Imagineers changed their mind, but it may have been also because of the light that this projection effect introduces on the characters faces, and this degree of light was may have been too much light for the other ride elements and their dark ride lighting.

Let's see now what others effects have been envisioned and cancelled. In the London Town scene some projection effect on the windows showing interior action was considered and this might be in place in the new version but it's hard to see on the ride videos. The scenic with Peter Pan, Wendy and the boys on Big Ben is part of the new version. In the Neverland scene the projection and special effects for the waterfalls, sea, and erupting volcano have been introduced but a proposal of adding an air blast effect to Hook's ship cannon and a scrim to show the cannon ball apparently was cancelled - NDR: if you've ride the new version and if i'm wrong, please let me know. In the Skull Rock scene with Tiger Lily the waves crashing on the rocks projection effect is done and in the Pirate ship scene the rear head projection effect on Wendy, Peter and Hook, as well as Michael, John, Smee and the pirate faces has been cancelled, which, again, is a good decision. In the final scene "Mermaid Lagoon" the waterfalls projection effect is there but they've initially thought to remove the Pirate ship and replace it by a scenic projection of the ship flying, and apparently the idea didn't made it in this new version.

So, as you can see, most of the effects that were in the original plan are part of the new version. The main big effect cancelled is for what they call "expressive faces" for the ride characters faces but as i've said it's probably much better to don't have done it.

Videos: copyright Disney, SoCal Attractions 360, Mouse Info

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Selfie Stick Ban and the "Envelope of Protection" Principle

As you may have read if you follow me on the D&M Facebook page, Disney has decided to ban selfie sticks in all Disney theme parks around the world - and apparently also tripods, at least at Disneyland Paris. Big debate started on forums with as many people happy of the decision than others thinking it should be banned on rides only. All medias talked about it and on someone named "EnglishMobster" claiming to be a Disneyland cast-member said that this decision is the only real way Disney could be sure that guests won’t get their arms forcibly separated, as due to their length, selfie sicks can be out of a ride "envelope of protection". Here is what he said:

"We have a thing called the “Envelope of Protection.” Basically, all attractions made since 1965 are designed in such a way that the human body cannot reach out and touch anything — here’s a vehicle they use to test this (that’s from Walt Disney World in Florida, but California uses the same concepts). This means that when a rollercoaster is going 45 MPH, you can have your hands out and you won’t get hit (it’s not a good idea to test that, however — we do tell you to keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times). 
A selfie stick is effectively an extra three feet that you can dangle out in any direction. The attractions weren't designed for that, and your selfie stick can hit part of the attraction. When you're going 45 MPH, that can seriously damage the attraction and your phone/camera. The selfie stick will likely fly out of your hands and in a worst-case scenario can either hit someone else on the ride (injuring them) or land on the track and derail the sled behind you. One of our largest rollercoasters derailed because someone's backpack fell out once, and we don't want to risk a selfie stick causing the same issues.
We originally tried banning them on rides where they could affect some show element or impact part of the ride -- any ride with animatronics that could be poked, and any ride moving relatively fast through areas your selfie stick could hit. People still kept bringing them on the rides and kept dangling them out of the ride vehicles -- and again, if your selfie stick hit something, it could endanger the safety of yourself and those around you. If we saw it come out, we had to stop the ride and ask you to put it away. Some rides can't restart very easily and can take a couple hours before they reopen -- which, of course, is an inconvenience to other guests.

If you have a look at the video below - put on line by Kevin Yee - you'll see what this Disneyland cast-memeber mean about the "envelope of protection", and here it was used during the tests of the seven Dwarfs Mine Train vehicles before opening. It’s basically a big spindly disc which surrounds the vehicle and simulates the furthest possible reach that a human on ride could reach with his arms out of the train. If this "envelope of protection" can make it through the ride, guests can make it through the ride, too… as long as they don't have selfie sticks going further than the "envelope of protection".

Envelopes of protection” have sometime a different look like this one below.

EnglishMobster also added: "We do try to preserve the magic for most guests, but we don't press it enough to warrant an all-out ban on something. Our "Four Keys" to Disney are Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency (in that order), and Courtesy comes before Show -- we want to be nice and allow you to take your selfie stick photos, even if they show backstage areas. However, Safety comes before Courtesy -- and this was a safety hazard. Lesser steps weren't having an effect, so we moved to an all-out ban.
It was totally because of safety issues on the rides, and it was totally because guests weren't listening to us Attractions cast members. If people had listened to us and not taken out their selfie sticks on rides, they would still be allowed in the park -- but people don't listen (or don't care) and think that their awesome selfie is worth potentially endangering others."

A good news though, a he says: "You can still wear your GoPros and stuff -- we've been told that mounting your camera on your head is considered a "hat" and mounting a camera on your wrist or hand is considered a "glove," so they're allowed." But... "you can't bring in any kind of grip or pole that could potentially break our Envelope of Protection, and you still shouldn't hang your arms out the side of the ride vehicle."

Well, i think it couldn't be more clear, and this should answer to questions that some of you probably had about this selfie stick ban, though it don't really explain why they've also banned them outside of the rides.

Video: copyright Kevin Yee