Saturday, September 5, 2015

2015 Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland will see Adventureland, Mystic Point and Grizzly Gulch transformed in Ghost Towns!

This year, Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland will see Adventureland, Mystic Point and Grizzly Gulch transformed in haunted Ghost Towns! More with HKDL Press release below!

Disney’s Ghost Town dares the daring to get lost Sinister spirits roam Hong Kong Disneyland in this year’s Halloween Early Bird Offer for the brave ones before September 30

(Hong Kong, September 1, 2015) Frightful fun of Disney Haunted Halloween is spanning outdoors this year, tempting the daring to lose their way in the ghostly lands of Hong Kong Disneyland where the long since dead come hauntingly alive at nightfall from 6pm to 11 pm for 14 nights, every Friday to Sunday during October 2 to 31, 2015. The Ghost Town dares even the boldest, not to lose their soul to the mesmerizing spirits at Mystic Point; get caught in the deadly battle between the deceased Cowboys and the Miners at Grizzly Gulch; or lose their way on the dark journey of the Jungle River Cruise.

The very brave should catch the Halloween Early Bird Night Ticket*of HKD349 (Original price is HK$399) for a night ticket for Disney Haunted Halloween, available on Hong Kong Disneyland Resort website from now till September 30. Guests will be able to explore the Ghost Town after 6 pm on designated dates during the Halloween period.

Don't get caught in the Mystic time-warp
Captivating spirits at Mystic Point will lure the unsuspecting into their time-warp to watch as the spirits relive one hour of their lives over and over in an unending loop of time. The Timekeeper is the link between the afterlife and the here-and-now, through his pocket watch to keep watch on all the spirits, ensuring that they all return to the portal when the time is up. Be mesmerized but do not get caught up in the quest for the green amulet that promises immortality, or get lost in the spirits quest.

Here are two videos filmed in "lost footage" mode.

Don't get between the Cowboys and the Miners
Legend has it that the Cowboys and the Miners who once populated Grizzly Gulch have returned to continue their feud. The whole township was unaware that they were poisoned and by the strange green water which emanated from the geysers and sent them all mad. At all Hallows Eve, the deceased denizens will come back to the ghostly gold-mining town to settle old scores every hour.Hear from the eccentric “Engineer” retell the story of the epic feud, through the “Ghosts Rising” Puppet show several times a night, and heed his advice: do not get lost in the middle of the relentless feud.

Beware of the forbidding cruise and on the Curse of the Emerald Trinity
In the dark hours, the Jungle River Cruise is not quite as one remembers. It will be transformed into a voyage of terror from which we hope you return! Those joining the perilous quest will have to count on the Navigator and the Skipper on board the boat to guide them through the Adventureland jungle. The quest for the voodooed emerald stones may have dire consequences. Only the Navigator can guide the explorers to safe shores, or can he?

Halloween fun with Disney friends
Guests can also put on their favorite spooky costumes and join in some trick-or-treating fun with Mickey, Minnie, Duffy, ShellieMay and other Disney friends in their Halloween outfits at Main Street, U.S.A. which is decorated for the season.

Scream for more of the wicked delicacies
Those not lost in the Ghost Town should reward themselves with more than 30 wicked Disney Halloween-themed treats, available in the park and the two themed hotels. Try “Tahitian Pumpkin Surprise Set” at Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland, or “Sticky Rice Ghost” at Mystic Point’s Explorer’s Club Restaurant, to have you howling at the moon in satisfaction.

Halloween collectibles
A range of 70 pieces of Halloween merchandise items ensure guests can find something to remember this year’s awesome experiences. Choose from three fiendish assortments – Halloween-themed Tsum Tsum Mickey Family, Nightmare before Christmas and– which include limited edition pins, plush, accessories, apparel, consumables, stationery, home décor and souvenirs.

Let the daring explore the eeriest corners of the park in the dark at this year’s Disney Haunted Halloween, where we “Dare you to get Lost in Ghost Town”!
*Halloween Early Bird Night Ticket* at HKD349, is available for sale from now till September 30, 2015 on, for one visit to Hong Kong Disneyland after 6pm on one of the following nights: October 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 2015.

Pictures and text: copyright Disney

Friday, September 4, 2015

It's Tokyo Disney Sea 14th Anniversary!

It's Tokyo Disney Sea 14th Anniversary! Yes, it's already fourteen years that the most beautifully themed theme park in the world opened its gates at Tokyo Disney Resort! To celebrate this 14th Anniversary i re-post this great selection of Tokyo Disney Sea attraction posters in high-res! Happy Birthday Tokyo Disney Sea!

I'm adding this other TDS poster for the steamer boat sailing on TDS rivers. This poster was not included in the Tokyo Disney Magazine but it looks great anyway.

All pictures: copyright Disney , Oriental Land Co

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Available Soon for $150, the Amazing BB8 Droid Toy !

Okay, this one will be undoubtedly the best-seller toy this upcoming Christmas, and i'm talking about the new BB8 droid just announced by Sphero, the company who helped to design the original BB8 for the filming of Star Wars : The Force Awakens. Though the toy will be a tenth of the size of the original one it looks like the real thing and they did a pretty good job to make it rolling like you saw it in the SW7 trailers as well as adding plenty of extras.

You'll be able to control BB8 thanks to a special App for your smartphone and can learn much more about all the functions HERE.

Here is the official description which goes with the excellent presentation video embedded below: "BB-8 - the app-enabled Droid that's as authentic as it is advanced. BB-8 has something unlike any other robot - an adaptive personality that changes as you play. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands. Set it to patrol and watch your Droid explore autonomously, make up your own adventure and guide BB-8 yourself, or create and view holographic recordings.

It’s now possible to explore the galaxy with your own trusty Astromech Droid by your side. BB-8 is more than a toy - it’s your companion."

This BB8 Droid will cost you $150 and is not available for order yet but the availability date should be announced very soon, and you can ask on the website to be alert when available. In the meantime don't miss the impressive video demo below! Also read the excellent Gizmodo review about it HERE.

Now, guess what? I just learned that there is ANOTHER BB8 Droid available, and this one is not done by Sphero but by Thinkway and sold by Disney. It won't be as sophisticated as the one above but it is 4 time bigger and it cost only £29.95! ( $45 ) No remote control here but it's powered by four AA batteries, and this BB-8’s head can turn and its body can roll and spin in any direction. It also lights up, has 20 built-in sound effects (Sphero’s version relies on the app for all of its sounds) and comes with two different play modes. One sends it rolling around the room, while the other puts it into a listening mode awaiting voice commands. Here are the details from the page of the Disney Store UK HERE on which it is on sale:

BB-8 action figure
Head turns and body rolls and spins
Lights up and plays more than 20 sound effects
Two modes: Mode 1. Push button to activate and Mode 2. Voice recognition
Inspired by ''Star Wars: The Force Awakens''
Figure measures H29, W18cm approx
Requires 4x AA batteries, included
Suitable for children aged 3 years+
Warning: not suitable under 36 months due to small parts
Created for Disney Store

Pictures and video: copyright Sphero , Lcasfilm

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Closer Look at Shanghaî Disneyland Treasure Cove Pirates of Caribbean "Battle for the Sunken Treasure"

There we go for more Shanghaî Disneyland greatness and today we'll have a closer look at the highly awaited Pirates of Caribbean "Battle for the Sunken Treasure" ride. Let's start with new artwork of Treasure Cove, the land where guests will find Pirates of Caribbean impressive fortress, and described as "the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park, a place to join the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones. As guests explore this pirate world, they will enter Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for the Sunken Treasure, an attraction that transforms a boat ride into a journey with cutting-edge innovations in robotics, animation, set design and multimedia. Guests will board a pirate ship, paddle through the scenic cove on Explorer Canoes and dine at Barbossa's Bounty"!

Yes, this is how will look POTC entrance!

New colors renderings of Treasure Cove!

As usual WDI did some CGI pre-visualization model of the land...

Now, here is a picture of the "real" model...

Construction shots of the Pirates of Caribbean fortress!

Now, you'll be pleased to know that there will be a Skull Rock in Treasure Cove! As a matter of fact, by what i can judge from the pictures below there might even be more than one...

Let's get inside the ride now. Those of you who were wondering if there would be a kind of "Blue Lagoon" restaurant at the start of the ride will be happy to hear that the answer is"yes!".

Now, about the ride itself. The official description released last month was saying: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is a spectacular indoor boat ride that will take guests on a rollicking adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow to steal the priceless treasure of Davy Jones. Seamlessly blending Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technologies, the attraction features three large media domes, projected effects, lifelike animated figures, theatrical sets and sophisticated lighting to dramatically take guests on, over and even under the sea on a nautical adventure.  With a new, highly controlled ride system, the boats can spin, travel sideways, and even move backwards to create a highly personalized experience. Guests will encounter fearless pirates, mermaids and even a kraken. Disney's patented Audio-Animatronics and recent advancements in robotic technology will bring these pirates to a new level of realistic performance." 

Most of the answers that Disney fans had about this brand new POTC version of the ride are in this description: yes, the rumor which was saying they will use projection effects was right - i still think that the Jack Sparrow indoor show at WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios was a rehearsal for the techniques that will be used here at SDL. Ye,s there will be Audio-Animatronics though probably less than in the original ride, and yes, the ride will use a new boat system and the boats will be able to spin as shown in a WDI patent found some years ago, and even will be able to go backwards! Mermaids will be part of the ride and even the giant kraken, most probably thanks to a huge projection on one of the giant domes.

But the important words in this description are in fact these ones: "theatrical sets and sophisticated lighting to dramatically take guests on, over and even under the sea on a nautical adventure". Which words, you ask? UNDER the sea. Yes, part of the ride will happen "under water level" - not real water don't worry as SDL Imagineers will use dry-for-wet lighting effects, like they did for instance in the Little Mermaid ride, but here with a more haunted feeling. Yes, you'll have to go under the sea to discover the "sunken treasure".

But SDL POTC will indeed have giant sets like this one with two full size pirate ships for a memorable naval battle in which guests will be caught in crossfire when their boat will move right in the middle...

SDL Imagineers did a CGI pre-visualization too for that scene... well as models...

But the real thing is quite impressive...

If you've missed the D23 presentation of the animatique of this sequence, here is the video of it, and i think we have here a scene staged with greatness, using real sets, chinese shadows projections on the sails to show pirates fighting up on the ships and a great lighting which should stun SDL guests.

As you've read the ride will have Audio-Animatronics - good news indeed as it is difficult to imagine a POTC ride without Audio-Animatronics even if the ride will be based on the POTC Jack Sparrow movies rather than the original storyline. And at D23 a video was showing one of the AAs, the frightening "Hammerhead" character. If you don't remember him that's how he looked in the movie..

Here is a WDI rendering for the ride scene...

...and CGI pre-visualization model.

Sculpting the character...

Programming the Audio-Animatronic...

Final sculpting and staging...

...before more dressing and further programming.

I'm sure you're dying to see how this AA works in real so here is the video of it.

There is more Treasure Cove awesomeness to come in D&M next article so make sure to don't miss it. But before you go make sure to watch the video below from where are coming these enhanced screen captures. It was shown at D23 and filmed by Mouse Steps whom we can't thanks enough to have filmed it.

Pictures: copyright Disney - Shendi