Thursday, February 16, 2017

New Concept-Art for Star Tours : The Adventures Continue Opening March 26 at DLP Discoveryland !

Full DLP press release and new concept-art for Star Tours : The Adventures Continue opening March 26 at DLP Discoveryland!

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
A new exciting experience for the 25th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris Opening at Disneyland Paris® on 26 March 2017

To celebrate its 25th Anniversary, Disneyland Paris® is offering a new and completely redesigned version of the Star Tours attraction. Introducing Star Tours: The Adventures Continue*.

Twenty five years ago, Disneyland® Park opened on the edge of Paris, offering millions of Europeans the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary experiences. Since it first appeared in Discoveryland®, Star Tours has established itself as a flagship attraction. Its mission: to take guests on a spectacular voyage to the heart of the Star WarsTM films.

26 March 2017: Star Tours: The Adventures Continue* has a number of surprises in store, with a
new experience, new destinations, a new pilot, new characters, new technologies and more. The attraction returns with an all-new, action-packed intergalactic voyage, all in 3D. Epic.

New journeys in 3D to better explore the galaxy far, far away...

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue* announces the arrival of a multitude of new scenes from the Star WarsTM saga. With more than 70 different mission combinations, it invites guests to enjoy an experience that is unique every flight. They never know where the Force might take them.

Each of the multiple destinations offers its own surprises, with journeys through the worlds of Jakku, Naboo, Hoth, Tatooine, the Death Star and much more...
Guests travel through the galaxy with a new pilot, C-3PO himself!  And along the way they meet heroes never encountered until now. And watch out for Darth Vader... each scenario, journey and unexpected development is random to ensure guests can enjoy an original experience every time.

Full immersion and an action-packed flight

With state-of-the-art technology, flight simulators, digital 3D, Audio-Animatronics characters, special effects in the cockpit and epic music, guests are fully immersed in the universe of the Star WarsTM films. Episodes I to VII inclusive.

They get ready to join the Rebellion aboard a Starspeeder 1000. The ship is meant to be piloted by droid AC-38, but in the end it is C-3PO behind the controls at take-off. From this point, there are more surprises to come... And while these surprises can help guests meet up with Princess Leia, Yoda, Boba Fett to name a few, one thing is certain: each flight will become a very memorable experience!

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue* brings together more Star WarsTM heroes, villains, planets, battles, ships, and even more droids than ever before! The surprises just keep coming! Come to Discoveryland at Disneyland® Park on 26 March 2017... and may the Force be with You!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Disney California Adventure Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! will open on May 27!

It's official: Disney California Adventure Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! will open on May 27! More about this and what they call the "Summer of Heroes" below:

This new adventure blasts you straight into the “Guardians of the Galaxy” story for the first time ever, alongside characters from the blockbuster films and comics. As you help Rocket bust his pals out of the Collector’s Fortress, you will experience randomized ride experiences complete with all-new visual and audio effects and music inspired by the popular film soundtracks. You never know which adventure you will get!

There will be even more ways to step into Super Hero stories with Summer of Heroes, May 27 through September 10. Answer the call for this limited-time celebration as you join the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy for all-new epic experiences.

Summer of Heroes will launch these new, year-round experiences:

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off! – Don’t be surprised if you run into the Guardians of the Galaxy on their way to the Milano, with Star-Lord firing up his old-school boom box to get the party started. Gamora may prefer to stand back and observe, but everyone else is bound to get in the groove and show off their moves during this awesome rock ‘n’ roll bash.

Super Hero Encounters – For the first time, citizens of Earth will come face-to-face with Groot, one of the Guardians of the Galaxy! You can also step up to meet the First Avenger, Captain America, along with everyone’s favorite web slinger, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

And for a limited time, step up to the challenge with new adventures during Summer of Heroes:

Avengers Training Initiative – Black Widow and Hawkeye assemble young recruits for a series of tests to see if they have what it takes to join the ranks of the Avengers.

Heroic Encounter: Black Widow – Black Widow will arrive on the scene several times throughout the day in an armored Avengers vehicle for her heroic encounter with park guests.

Grab a Piece (or Bite) of the Action – All that heroism making you hungry? Want a token as proof of your adventures when you get home? Special themed merchandise and food will be available throughout Hollywood Land.

The summer brings even more to get excited about over at Disneyland park as classic favorites return with the reopening of the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions, with the “Fantasmic!” nighttime spectacular returning later in the summer. We’ll have opening dates to share soon for these attractions. And don’t miss your chance to see the classic Main Street Electrical Parade during its limited-time run at Disneyland park through June 18.

Disney California Adventure Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! and Summer of Heroes, is beginning May 27!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

D&M Exclusive : The Mansion which Inspired HKDL Imagineers for Hong Kong Disneyland Mystic Manor

I'm a huge fan of HKDL Mystic Point and Mystic Manor, the ride became a classic from day one and i couldn’t say enough good things about it! Back in 2012 i did an article on Disney and more following an info provided to me by late Imagineer Pat Burke. Pat told me he had sent to Mystic Manor Imagineers team pictures of the old Glendale Sanitarium, thinking it could help as inspiration for Mystic Manor and that's what the article was about. You can read it HERE if you haven't read it yet and, below, a picture of the Glendale Sanitarium.

Now, last month, Christopher DiMattei who is architect sent me an email about this article, saying that i was wrong, that in fact the inspiration came from "acclaimed American architect, George F. Barber (1854-1915) concepts”, someone he’s a big specialist about, and Christopher was kind enough to add some pictures to show how Mystic Manor look similar to Barber Concepts. Here is what Christopher is saying about this:

"Acclaimed American architect, George F. Barber (1854-1915) was, what is now called, a “pattern book” or “mail-order” architect, in that, he published many of his designs in books and other publications, in an effort to market his services, and promote his “brand” of architecture.  Prospective builders of homes would often purchase his books or other publications, so that they could learn more about the construction process, and so that they could see what was available for home designs.  Once the book was in hand, the prospective home builders would usually engage in writing to Barber (via snail mail, of course), and begin the process of customizing a favorite design they may have selected from the Barber pattern book they purchased.  When the design process was complete George Barber would mail to his client, a set of construction drawings and specifications that the client could provide to a local carpenter or house builder, so that the home could be built, wherever the client happened to live.  This sort of thing happened thousands of times throughout the 1890’s and into the early 1900’s.  If fact, it happened so many times, that George Barber is perhaps America’s most prolific architect, having produced an estimated 20,000 sets of mail-order plans, throughout his roughly 25 year career (roughly 1888-1913).  I have been researching and documenting the vast portfolio of Barber’s architecture for many years now, and I have amassed quite a lot of data on the subject, and I have recorded over 2,000 examples of homes attributed to him.  This is how I came to recognize Mystic Manor as a stylized copy of one of George Barber’s published designs."

"So, with that, let me show you what I am talking about.  Check out the first picture ( picture above ).  As you can see, there is way more than a general similarity, between the two images.  The sketch on the right was George Barber’s front elevation that he published in his 1891 pattern book entitled “The Cottage Souvenir No. 2”.  In that publication, this design appeared as “Design No. 53”.  Many examples of this design were built by clients of George Barber.  My research has documented 22 examples of this particular design, built throughout the USA, some of which you can see in the second attached file ( picture below )."

Christopher added: "Now I’m not sure what WDI Imagineer Pat Burke told you, or where he got his information from, but the Glendale Sanitarium is not even close to looking like “inspiration” for Mystic Manor, when the George Barber design I have showed you today, is nearly an exact copy of the design used to build Mystic Manor in Hong Kong.  But I would be very curious to hear what he has to offer in reply, should you forward this info on to him.  Perhaps you can share that with me when you get a response?"

Unfortunately Pat Burke passed away two years ago, something that Christopher did not knew, so it was not possible to check with Pat. And it's at that point that i had the idea to ask directly WDI Imagineer Joe Lanzisero who was the show producer on Mystic Manor, as if there is someone who should know the truth, it is Joe!

Joe Lanzisero kindly answered to me, saying:

Hi Alain, Thanks for your inquiry.  Neither Pat Burke or Architect DiMattei are correct. We based the general shapes and forms of Mystic Manor off of the Carson Mansion in Old Town Eureka California. Carson Mansion was the work of San Francisco architects Sam and Joseph Cather Newsom. I also used the Carson Manor as inspiration for Goofy's house at Toontown in Anaheim and Tokyo. Thanks for coming to the source for the accurate answer."

And how look this Carson Mansion, you ask? Well, here are some pictures of it.

The next picture below is showing the inside of Carson Mansion.

Actually, the Carson Mansion has so many fans that one of them recreated it in CGI and here is the map he did of the inside of the mansion. I'm not sure that HKDL Imagineers really followed the same blueprint for the inside of Mystic Manor but i post the picture below anyway.

Now, according to Joe Lanzisero, and there is no reason to doubt Joe as, again, he was at the head of the Mystic Manor project, it's this Carson Mansion which served as inspiration and it does look indeed very close to Mystic Manor. Of course, the Imagineers didn't copied the Carson Mansion exactly 100% as it is, adding different elements here and there, not to mention the Russian looking bulbs at the top of some towers, which are pure Imagineering.

On the other hand i have to say that the Barber concepts sent to me by Christopher DiMattei look also incredibly similar to Mystic Manor. So where is the truth? Did HKDL Imagineers took their inspiration a bit from both Carson Mansion and George Barber concepts? Apparently the architectural style was popular early last century so it's may be not surprising that both Carson Mansion and George Barber concepts have reminiscences one from each other. Anyway, Mystic Manor is a true wonder which deserves to be discovered by any Disney fan so don't miss it during your next trip to Hong Kong Disneyland!

Pictures: copyright Disney and more, DR

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jazz Singer Al Jarreau Dies at 76

The great Al Jarreau died unfortunately yesterday at 76, and i have a true personnal story about him:
Back in 1985 i owned a 1959 Mercedes 190 SL convertible ( similar to the one below ) which was still affordable at that time ( i think i paid it around $7000 and now it worth ten times this price ) and one day, while driving in Paris, i run out of battery while i was on a slope. So. I went down the car and tried to push it up the slope but the 190 SL was really heavy...

Then, i saw a car crossing me on the left with two men inside the back of the car, and one of them did a sign to the driver, asking him to stop. The two men went out of the car and one of them was Al Jarreau who was singing at Paris famous Olympia that week. I was a big fan of him at that time - and this was the time he was a big star at the top of his career! Al Jarreau asked me "can we help you?" To what i of course answered "with pleasure".

But as we know when a car run out of battery, one must be at the steering wheel to make sure to accelerate when the car will start again, if not it stops and you're back to square one. So, i said this to Al Jarreau and the other men who, of course, understood. And here i am inside the car with Al Jarreau and his friend pushing this heavy Mercedes 190SL and me, saying: "okay, Go!". Al Jarreau and the other men started pushing the car and after 50 meters the engine started again!
But here was the dilemma: i wanted of course to thank him but couldn't do it without stopping the car which i couldn't do because the engine will stop, etc... Al knew that, so i turned my head back to them and shouted "THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!" They wave their hands to me in "Goddbye", and i went ahead back to my home...

That was quite an encounter, wasn't it? :-)

Here is a great video to pay tribute to Al Jarreau and in this one Al is singing one of his most famous hits "Mornin' ". And the video also includes animation!