Friday, May 11, 2018

Never-Seen-Before Video of Imagineer Tony Baxter Talk at Walt's Barn in 2001 !

Jordan Goodman very kindly sent me for D&M the link to a video he just uploaded on Youtube, which is a never-seen-before talk that Disney Legend and Imagineer Tony Baxter gave at Walt's Barn, in Los Angeles, in October 2001, nearly 17 years ago.

In the video Tony tells great stories about Disneyland and the attractions he created, all this in what was Walt Disney's barn - picture below and on top with Walt and his daughters!

Note that Tony sometime is a bit at counterlight but Jordan managed to resolve the problem most of the time. Thanks a lot to Jordan and enjoy Tony stories!

Video: copyright Jordan Goodman

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Official : Universal Studios Hollywood "Jurassic Park—The Ride" Will Close on September 3 and Will Reopen in a New Version in 2019 as "Jurassic World - The Ride" !

It's official: Universal Studios Hollywood announced today that Jurassic Park—The Ride” will close on September 3, 2018 and will reopen in a new version with new Audio-Animatronics Dinosaurs in 2019, with "never-before-seen dinosaurs, enhanced storytelling, lush scenic design, an entirely new color scheme and uncompromised state-of the art technology." And the Jurassic Cove restaurant and Jurassic Outfitters retail store also will close with the attraction and reopen with the new experience in 2019! Below, the full Universal Studios press release:

Universal City, CA, May 10, 2018 – The countdown to the extinction of “Jurassic Park—The Ride” begins as Universal Studios Hollywood excavates the site in preparation for the 2019 arrival of “Jurassic World Ride,” inspired by Universal Pictures’ blockbuster film franchise. 

“Jurassic Park—The Ride” will officially become extinct on September 3, 2018.

In 1996, Universal Studios Hollywood redefined theme park thrill rides with the unprecedented introduction of “Jurassic Park—The Ride,” based on three-time Academy Award®winner Steven Spielberg’s epic film. Hailed as a technological achievement of triumph and wizardry, the ride featured newly debuted principles of hydraulic physics, mechanics and space-age robotics. Working in partnership with scientists, palaeontologists and aerospace engineers, Universal Creative—the team that develops Universal theme park rides—brought to life one of the most compelling rides ever created. Life-sized and lifelike animatronic dinosaurs, some towering over five-stories high, freely roamed the earth at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Twenty-two years later—and after sending millions of guests back to the Jurassic era for menacing face-to-face encounters with such predators as Stegosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Dilophosaurus, Velociraptors and the Tyrannosaurus rex—“Jurassic Park—The Ride” will become extinct in preparation for a new, next-generation experience that’s even more immersive and technologically advanced. The new ride will pay homage to Jurassic Park and will reimagine this landmark film franchise for theme park guests. The Jurassic Cove restaurant and Jurassic Outfitters retail store also will close with the attraction and reopen with the new experience in 2019.

“The one thing that the history of evolution has taught us is that life finds a way” was famously uttered by Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcom. In the spirit of this pledge, Universal Studios Hollywood is rallying guests and fans to visit The Entertainment Capital of L.A. as it celebrates this epic ride and prepares for the arrival of the “Jurassic World Ride.” 

Plus, in honor of the blockbuster action-adventure that brought dinosaurs out of extinction a quarter century ago, Universal Studios Hollywood in partnership with Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment will host the Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, May 11; Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13. To learn more and to purchase tickets to this highly coveted event, please visit

Want more of Jurassic World? Have a look at this new featurette and new TV spot for Jurassic World 2 released next month!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

4K Videos : Ride Each Attraction of Shanghai Disneyland Toy Story Land !

Dan McNeely from ThemeparkHD is a faithful D&M contributor and was recently at Shanghaî Disneyland to film the brand new Toy Story land, just opened, and comeback with four videos showing the land itself and each of the three rides, including the new Woody's Round Up! And it's 4K videos so make sure to watch them full screen!

Videos: copyright ThemeParkHD

Epcot Space-Themed Restaurant to be Built Between Mission: Space and Test Track Attractions.

During last D23 event was announced a one-of-a-kind, space-themed restaurant currently planned for Epcot that will offer guests amazing meals and a spectacular view – from high above the Earth.

Today, the Disney Parks blog confirmed that "this restaurant will be built in a newly developed area located between the park’s Mission: SPACE and Test Track attractions. Once completed, the restaurant will invite guests to travel to space for an amazing dining experience in the stars. The new restaurant will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, led by Nick Valenti, which operates several other restaurants around Walt Disney World Resort, including Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Epcot and Morimoto Asia and Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs.

But Epcot guests don’t have to wait until the restaurant opens to enjoy a thrilling adventure in space. Last summer, the park’s Mission: SPACE attraction launched new experiences: the enhanced Orange Mission offers a truly intense experience that lets guests feel the force of an actual space launch en route to Mars; while the all-new, family-friendly Green Mission takes guests on an exciting orbit around Earth.

And this summer – starting June 9 – Star-Lord and Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy” will take guests on a musical journey through the cosmos in “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” as a part of Walt Disney World’s “Incredible Summer” offerings. Guests can catch “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot, five times a day from June 9 through August 19."

Picture: copyright Disney

Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality" Book Special Offer ENDS TODAY !!!

TODAY MAY 10 the special offer on the LAST English copies of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris book "From Sketch to Reality" is ending, so make sure to place your order NOW!

The French edition is totally out of stock but if you're French, and wish to purchase the book in its English edition i will send you a PDF file of the full French text of the French edition.

Here is all you need to know to order a copy of the "Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality" book with the special offer. First, it's a 320 pages book with 750 pictures of the park including 250 WDI artworks! It's also probably the best gift you can find for a Disney Parks fan - and it is true! Have a look below to the mosaic pictures showing a selection of pages of the book.

To place your order for the DLP book, please send me an email at: with your shipping address. The price during the special offer is 65€ ( instead of 85€ ) and shipping worldwide is 22€ ( except Belgium and Italy for which it is 29€ ).

For French readers a PDF file of the full French text of the French edition will be sent.
Lecteurs Français: Etant donné que l'édition française est épuisée, un fichier du texte complet original en Français sera envoyé aux acheteurs Français ne comprenant pas l'anglais.

Also, each order will receive two GREAT surprise gifts!

You can pay with Paypal, credit card or bank transfer. For Paypal payments please send directly the full amount  including shipping ( 87€ worldwide, except for Belgium and Italy for which it is 94€ ) at:  If you wish to pay by credit card and bank transfer, let me know in your email and i'll tell you how to do.

Also, as you know, D&M currently needs your support and if you don't own the book yet, ordering a copy is another great way to support Disney and more. If you don't wish to order the book, you can also send your donation - of the amount you wish - to the same address Paypal:   Thousand thanks to all of you who've already did it!

If you've never seen the book before, don't miss the video below showing the full 320 pages of the book!

Bob Iger Says Disney Sees Opportunities to Build Disney Parks in Other Parts of the World - Yes, But Where?

The Walt Disney Company Reports Second Quarter and Six Months Earnings for Fiscal 2018 and for Parks and Resorts revenues for the quarter increased 13% to $4.9 billion and segment operating income increased 27% to $1.0 billion.

 "Operating income growth for the quarter was due to increases at our domestic and international parks and resorts. Results included a benefit from a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday relative to our fiscal periods. The current quarter included one week of the Easter holiday, whereas the entire Easter holiday fell in the third quarter of the prior year.

 Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was primarily due to increased guest spending, attendance growth at Walt Disney World Resort and higher sponsorship revenue, partially offset by increased costs. Guest spending growth was due to increases in average ticket prices, average daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending. The increase in costs was primarily due to labor and other cost inflation, an increase in depreciation associated with new attractions and higher technology spending.

 The increase at our international parks and resorts was due to growth at Disneyland Paris and higher occupied room nights and attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. These increases were partially offset by a decrease at Shanghai Disney Resort driven by lower attendance, cost inflation and an unfavorable foreign currency impact. Higher operating income at Disneyland Paris was due to increases in guest spending and attendance, partially offset by cost inflation. Guest spending growth at Disneyland Paris was due to higher average ticket prices driven by less discounting, and increases in average daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending."

Full official WDC results release HERE. The picture below summarizes the second quarter and six-month segment operating results for fiscal 2018 and 2017 (in millions)

Now, Bob Iger also said that he sees “opportunities to expand” the company’s theme parks in China and other parts of the world.  “We think there’s opportunities to expand in China,” Iger said. “There may also be opportunities in other parts of the world. The more popular our IP is, the more in-demand it is in our parks,” Iger said during the call adding that the WDC is evaluating where else in the world it might locate a theme park, based on factors such as economic and political stability. “It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to build something anytime very soon,” Iger said. “But we’re going to look.”

O-Kay. So, where Disney could build a new theme park? Although Iger had a meeting recently with the Saudi prince, i won't bet they will build a Disney theme park in Saudi Arabia, for many reasons including Saudi Arabia medieval rules, and they won't build one in Dubai either, at least in a near future, as there is already too many parks there - the Fox theme park was cancelled last week for this reason.

So, where? I don't know which country the WDC is currently thinking about but what i can tell you is where they WERE thinking to build a Disney theme park during the last ten years, even if they changed their plans finally at that time to build a park in Shanghaî. And among the countries where they envisioned and probably are still thinking to build a Disney park were South Korea - actually Imagineers have worked quite a bit on a park in South Korea and the great WDI artist John Horny even did concept-arts for it, Rio de Janeiro - they really thought about building a park in Brazil years ago, India - because they could have visitors from the Gulf or South-East Asia, but i suspect they're waiting for a bigger middle class in India, and Singapore - they were talks about it before Shanghaî and it didn't worked because the Singapore government apparently didn't agree with the deal proposed by Disney. And Iger talked not so long ago about Beijing, too. But, sorry, nothing about Australia even if long ago there was some talks about it.

Which one will be the lucky winner? Here is the order in which i would put my bets:
1. Beijing - because China is so big, the middle class is growing and SDL is doing so well.
2. Rio de Janeiro - because there is no Disney park in South America which so far was not a problem for Disney as South Americans could come to WDW.
3. India, but not probably before at least ten years.
4. Singapore - because of the political stability there and also because Singapore is the closest place in South East Asia looking like the U.S, but they might not be a number of park visitors enough for Disney which is probably looking to have at least 10 Million visitors per year.
5. South Korea is at the end of my list because of the proximity of Disney parks in Japan and Shanghaî or Hong Kong where Koreans can visit and actually go, and of course because of the unknown outcome of the crisis with North Korea.

We'll see where will be the next park but it won't be in Europe - Disneyland Paris is at the center of it, it won't be in Russia too, and it won't be in the Middle East or Africa because of Disney factors announced above.

Last but not least, what about the deal with FOX, now that Comcast announced yesterday a higher bid? Here is a Bloomberg video in which Iger talked about it yesterday. And by the way, a good news as The Wall Street Journal is reporting that James Murdoch will not join Disney if Disney is winning the acquisition of 21st Century Fox:

Video: copyright Bloomberg

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Breaking News: Universal Studios Beijing Investment Doubled to $6.5 Billion, the Biggest Budget Ever For a Theme Park! Plus: New Artworks of Each Land of the Park!

We have BIG news and new artworks for the awaited Universal Studios Beijing theme park opening in 2021! Let's start by the major news as it was announced that "Universal Parks & Resorts and its Chinese partners are expanding plans for the 300-acre theme park in Beijing, and they are doubling their investment to $6.5 billion on heightened optimism about the booming Chinese theme-park market. The previously announced budget was $3.26 Billion, so the new $6.5 Billion investment is really the double. "

And not only it is the double but it also means that the new investment will surpass the one of Disney for Shanghai Disneyland Resort, which in 2016 cost more than $5.5 billion! Universal Studios Beijing budget will be the most ever spent on a theme park at the time of opening, according to industry experts, and “It would be the first time Disney has been outspent on a theme-park project,” said to WSJ Dennis Speigel, who heads a theme-park consulting firm in the U.S. More excerpts of the WSJ article below.

The success of Shanghaî Disneyland is the reason why they took the decision to double down on Universal Studios Beijing as Shanghai Disneyland had more than 11 million visitors in its first year. Universal now expects the Beijing park to draw 10 million visitors in its first year, up from an initial projection of 7 million.

The increased investment will go toward expanding retail and entertainment space, improving planned attractions and building new lands including one based on the Harry Potter books and films, and the park will also have attractions based on Transformers, Minions and Kung Fu Panda film franchises, which have strong followings in China. Universal has continued to expand ambitions for the Beijing park since its announcement and hiring is on schedule, one person said, adding that new plans include a CityWalk shopping, dining and entertainment district adjacent to the park as well as a Universal-branded hotel. Although design work has begun and land has been cleared, major construction hasn’t yet started but is expected to begin this year, people familiar with the matter said.

At the time of the 2014 announcement, only a preliminary agreement was in place between the partners, the first person said. The joint venture was established in 2017, after more than three years of talks, that person said, adding to delays. For the Beijing park, Universal is partnering with Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co., owned by five Chinese companies. To pay for the park, the partners took out an almost $4 billion syndicated loan to cover about 60% of the costs, said the first person, adding it was believed to be the world’s largest syndicated loan for theme-park construction. Nine Chinese banks participated in the loan, but because the duration of the loan is 25 years, no foreign banks participated.

The move comes as China’s theme-park industry is on track to surpass that of the U.S.’s in the next few years to become the world’s No. 1 market. Theme-park revenue in China topped $6 billion last year, up 27% from 2016, and is expected to hit $14 billion by 2022, according to market researcher Mintel. Full article on Wall Street Journal HERE.

Now, here are the new renderings showing the lands and these were posted on a China blog and re-posted on by Michael, and as the only artwork available so far was the bird eye view released during the 2014 announcement, these new renderings are precious to have a closer look at the main lands of Universal Studios Beijing. Apparently these are coming from a video which is hard to find, so if any of you succeed to locate the video from where they're coming from, please send me a message or the link in the comments.

The first renderings above and below shows the big hotel at the park entrance.

Let's move inside the park and, yes, Universal Studios Beijing will have a Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it looks like it'll be exactly like the one at IOA, USH or USJ, with the Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeades Village, and the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster can be seen on the right - at least it was planned at the time the artwork was done, we'll see if it will be replaced by the new coaster coming this year at Islands of Adventure. No doubt that the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey "E-Ticket" attraction will be part of the Potter land.

Next is what seems to be a Transformers land with a giant 36 feet tall Optimus Prime at the center of the land. No doubt too that the popular Transformers ride will be part of the land...

...and it seems that the Hulk coaster has also been transformed with a new theme- may be a Transformers theme, this is due most probably because Universal own the rights for the use of Marvel super-heroes only for Universal parks in Orlando or any park located in the U.S "East of the Mississippi", but not for China.

Next is a Jurassic World land and it'll be very interesting to see what version of the ride will go in it now that we know that Universal will make an announcement in the coming days about the Jurassic Park lands in the U.S, with expected upgrades of the rides.

One thing is sure: there will be roaring dinosaurs!

Probably located not too far from the Jurassic World land, like they did at Universal Studios Singapore the park will have a Waterworld stunt show, always popular even if the film was one of Hollywood biggest flops.

A Despicable Me land with the popular Minions will also be part of Universal Studios Beijing. Looks like a coaster structure on the top but i wouldn't bet on it, it could be only a decor element...

Just like Shanghaî Disneyland Universal Studios Beijing will pay tribute to China and its lovable Pandas with a Kung-Fu Panda attraction and land.

There is more and if you have a closer look at the left of the rendering below you'll see that a Volcano Bay water park seems to be envisioned for Universal Beijing. Don't put all your bets on it, though, as this is typically the kind of bird eye view rendering released at the start of a project, and Beijing weather is closer to the one of Paris than the one of Orlando, meaning that temperatures are cold or cool during at least six months...

Yep, i know, the close up image below on the Volcano Bay area is blurred, but that's the best i could have...

As said in the latest news a City Walk will be added for more shopping, dining and entertainment...

...and eventually more hotels, if this rendering below doesn't show a real estate development as for sure there will be some around the park.

I'm not sure that all the lands or attractions of Universal Studios Beijing were unveiled here as there might be more from what we could see on the original first rendering released in 2014, so stay tuned to D&M for more about this. In the meantime here are more pics found and posted by Michael on, starting by a view of the land which is cleared for more vertical works anytime soon.

And the last pictures below shows renderings of the upcoming new transit station for Universal Studios Beijing, the one that most of you will probably exit from or enter when you'll visit the park.

Pictures: copyright Universal Studios Beijing