Saturday, June 11, 2016

Meet WDI Imagineer Scott Drake, Shanghaî Disneyland Tomorrowland Show Designer

Scott Drake, is executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering and he moved with his family to Shanghai three years ago to oversee the construction of Tomorrowland, as Scott is the show producer / designer of the land that he built with his team of Imagineers.
Fortune Magazine just posted a great article about Scott with exclusive behind the scenes pictures and interesting infos like: the track for the TRON Tomorrowland ride is 966 meters long, and the cable and wiring required to run it could circle Shanghai 37 times. “We got to do this Tomorrowland in a new way,” Drake says, “with cutting-edge tools and technologies that didn’t exist when Walt built the original.”

I suggest that you jump to the Fortune article HERE and you can have a look at some of the great pics below coming from it, you'll even see Bob Iger riding with Scott Drake the TRON Lightcycles Power Run coaster for the first time, and Bob loved it!

On this last picture below, Scott Drake is in the Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue ride with his two daughters.

Pictures : copyright Disney

Friday, June 10, 2016

Skull Island : Reign of Kong now in Soft-Opening at Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure !

The highly awaited Skull Island : Reign of Kong is now in soft-opening at Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure, and thanks to Attractions Magazine and Inside the Magic we have excellent videos of the queue decor and the ride itself. The ride looks great and include real sets, Audio-Animatronics creatures, the 3D sequence similar to the one in KONG 360 at USH but with new additional 3D sequences and the expected BIG surprise at the end! 

But what you must not miss is to watch first the video showing the queue decor as USO did one of the best queue theming i've seen since a while, which includes scary sets, projection effects, Audio-Animatronics, fire effects and the biggest quantity of skulls you've ever seen in a ride queue decor! The queue is an attraction in itself, just like the one of Indiana Jones Adventure is at DL or TDS. Note that the video filmed by attractions Magazine is a low light video, meaning that the lighting is most probably more dim in the queue than what you can see on the video. 

About the attraction length itself, we have a 6.30 min ride plus the time spent in the queue decor which last 6.40 min long in the video but of course it has been edited, so let's count 10 minutes even if people will of course spend more time than this in the queue decor. That makes more than 16 min for the full experience and i don't think we can consider this short. I, personally, gives a "E-Ticket" to this new Universal attraction and i think they did a fantastic job. Some may complain about the use again of projections in the ride, but there was no other way to create these scenes, you simply can't do it without projections. Personally it don't bother me because of the mix of real sets, AAs, and more, not to mention others effects that we can't see or feel on the videos like the trackless vehicle probably shaking or water effects that seems to happen during one of the projection sequences.

Anyway, i let you discover the whole thing and let's start with the queue decor video filmed by Attractions Magazine - don't miss it if you want to live the Skull Island : Reign of Kong full experience!

And now, if you've watched first the video above of the queue decor, here is the full ride filmed by inside the Magic.

And for those of you who have the nostalghia of the now extinct King Kong attraction at Universal Studios - or simply want to compare the two rides - here is the video of the full KongFrontation ride uploaded by Themepark Thrills!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Shanghai Disney Resort Grand Opening Celebration to be Aired on Disney Channel USA at 8.PM on June 16 !

Shanghai Disney Resort Grand Opening Celebration will be aired on Disney Channel USA, DisneyJunior and DisneyXD at 8.PM on June 16. No news yet if it will be aired also on others Disney Channel outside the U.S.  So, no need to say that we count on at least one of you living in the U.S to record the show and to post it on Youtube, and we thank you by advance for that! Full press release after the video!

BURBANK, CA -- Disney will welcome viewers from around the world to experience an authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese celebration. The spectacular one-of-a-kind grand opening celebration of Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney resort in mainland China.

Showcasing the beauty of Chinese art and tradition, and bringing magical Disney stories and characters to life for kids and families, the music-filled television special, Grand Opening Celebration of Shanghai Disney Resort, will be presented Thursday, June 16 (8:00-8:30 p.m.) simultaneously on Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD and each channel's App, and Friday, June 17 (10:00-10:30 p.m.) on Freeform, without breaks or commercials. Actress and recording artist Sofia Carson (Disney Channel's Descendants, Adventures in Babysitting) will narrate the telecast.

Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, will be joined by nearly 3000 distinguished guests, celebrities and government officials at the largest, tallest and most interactive castle at the heart of any Disney Park, The Enchanted Storybook Castle. The occasion showcases creativity, choreography, acrobatics, costumes and technology in grand scale, with dazzling lights, Disney music, pageantry, special effects and fireworks. The one and only Mickey Mouse will join in the enchanting celebration.

World-renowned pianist Lang Lang will perform a custom arrangement of the musical sensation "Let It Go" (Disney's Frozen) and China's television and movie superstar Sun Li will take center stage. Each is a Shanghai Disney Resort Honorary Ambassador.

The historic event includes the debut of an original song, "Ignite the Dreamer Within," written especially for the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland. Acclaimed composer and conductor Tan Dun, widely known for his stirring scores for the films Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, will lead the Shanghai Symphony with an original composition of the new song, celebrating the occasion's poetic message. Additional featured music includes "Once Upon a Dream," "Heigh Ho" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come."

Produced by Disney Parks in partnership with IMG, the television special will be directed by the award-winning Hamish Hamilton. The gala concert from The Enchanted Storybook Castle stage is created by Disney Parks Entertainment in collaboration with Hasbas Entertainment.

This will surely be an evening to don't miss, so make sure to be on Disney Channel June 16 at 8pm!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Disney Plans to Build a Fourth Hotel at Disneyland Resort, Opening in 2021

According to an O.C Register article, to take advantage of the city’s new policy giving tax incentives to build luxury hotels, Disneyland officials submitted plans Tuesday to add a fourth Disney-themed hotel at the resort. Disney proposes a 700-room, four-diamond hotel and a parking structure on 10 acres at 1401 Disneyland Drive, at the north end of the Downtown Disney parking lot. Construction on the hotel would start in 2018 with a slated opening in 2021.

Walt Disney Imagineering will design the hotel, which currently doesn’t have a theme, Disneyland officials said. Guests will dine in an upscale rooftop restaurant watching Disneyland’s nightly fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle. There will be two pools, a fitness facility, concierge service and a kid’s play area. The average nightly rate would be about $450. The proposed hotel would be the first built at the Disneyland Resort in nearly 20 years.

Last year, the City Council narrowly adopted a policy allowing developers building hotels to the four-diamond standards to apply to be reimbursed, for 20 years, 70 percent of the Transient Occupancy Tax collected from visitors staying at their hotel. Guests pay 15 percent of the room rate.

After the 20 years, the city would keep all of the bed tax revenue, which goes to pay off bonds that funded improvements to the resort district in 1996 and pay for general city expenses and community programs.

Mayor Tom Tait said he’s “very disappointed” with Disney for applying for the tax incentive.

“I don’t think Disney needs a subsidy,” he said. “They do quite well without one. Our city needs that tax revenue to provide basic services to our residents. ... The council already voted to not tax them for 45 years, and that’s not enough. So, they want us to write them a check every year for 20 years. I think it’s outrageous.” 

Read the full O.C Register article HERE as there is more to read about this story. Also, note that the renderings released doesn't show most probably the final design of the new hotel which still has to be themed by WDI Imagineers.

Pictures: copyright Disney, O.C Register

Shanghaî Disneyland Adventure Isle Roaring Rapids Full Ride HD Video !

At last Adventure Isle Roaring Rapids is open and we have a first video filmed by Youkuber M_Patros of the full ride which include two falls and more surprises with of course the AA Q'araq creature which seems to don't be at 100% of its capacities. The ride is always in test mode and the AA creature is not working yet as you willl see. It seems that the skin of its right front leg don't cover the metallic structure so there is may be the issue they try to resolve. All the rest of the show seems to work properly but, yes, the video shows a ride not fully operational and please keep this in mind when you watch it.

Video: copyright M_Patros

FULL HD Video of Shanghaî Disneyland Pirates Stunt Show "Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular" !

At last, we have a HD video of the FULL SDL Treasure Cove pirates stunt show "Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular", filmed by Youkuber M_Patros! Lots of swachbuckling of course but the show has also some background projections and good ideas - look what happen when a tornado arrive! Let's not forget it's the first Disney pirates stunt show - though one was envisioned for DLP some years ago, but never happened. Note that real action starts about 7min of the start of the show with the actors on stage and the arrival of Jack Sparrow. It's all in Chinese language so if you don't speak Chinese you won't understand but try to don't miss the start which introduces the characters. Screen shots below and full video under them.

Video: copyright M_Patros

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Shanghaî Disneyland Cast-Members Now Ready For SDL Grand Opening on June 16 !

Shanghaî Disneyland opening will happen in just nine days from now and the pictures below shows Shanghaî Disneyland General Manager Philippe Gas with his "army" of SDL cast-members to harangue the troops and make sure everybody is ready for SDL Grand Opening day. By the way, how do you identify a Shanghaî Disneyland cast-member? By his grand opening golden ears that they all had on the top of their head! Have a look at this selection of pictures coming from different people on Instagram.

SDL Tomorrowland TRON Lightcycles Power Run Cast-Members Opening Team!

And SDL cast-members better be ready as it's dozens of thousands of guests who will rush through the gates starting opening day. The vidoe beow filmed by Matthew Oberle will give you an idea of what i mean, and this was filmed yesterday or this morning when the park is only in its "trial days" with limited guests ...who don't look that limited...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Disneyland Paris Villages Nature Project Construction Update

I've got a great Disneyland Paris update for you today but it's probably not the one you're waiting for as it is all about Villages Nature, the huge construction site where hundreds of workers are currently building the Villages Nature project which include cottages, gardens, and the Aqualagon water park!

All pictures were shot recently, are officials, and coming from the Villages Nature website. The aerial picture at the top shows a big part of the impressive construction site. Below, the  "lake promenade and "Bulle apartments".

Next picture shows the Aqua Lagoon structure, apparently tehre is still a lot of work before this water park will be finished.

Below,  two pictures showing the cottages "Bulle" which are currently on sale, for those of you interested.

There will be also different kind of gardens at Villages Nature, each with the name of an element - "fire, air, earth..." which are currently being created, so the pics below do not show the finished gardens.

Villages Nature also include a farm where children will be able to get close with farm animals and learn more about how is life at a farm that urban citizens know ignore.

Villages Nature is located right next to DLP Davy Crockett Ranch and the map below provides more indications. If you want to learn more about the Villages Nature project, jump to the official site HERE. The site has a french and an english version, choose the flag on the upper right.

Pictures: copyright Villages Nature