Saturday, June 2, 2018

Disneyland Paris Disney Fandaze Inaugural Party Event is NOW

Disneyland Paris Disney Fandaze Inaugural Party event is currently happening at DLP Walt Disney Studios and Robert Stallard, faithful D&M reader is there and send us pictures and videos. Jump to D&M Facebook page to follow the event "LIVE" HERE.

Rare Disneyland Swiss Robinson Tree, Main Street U.S.A Artworks

Here above is a very rare 1955 artwork for Disneyland Swiss Robinson Tree that i’ve found in a 2016 auction catalog of Profiles in History. In the auction description they said it was done "most certainly the work of Wolfgang Reitherman, one of the “Nine Old Men of Disney”, who was responsible for designing the Treehouse for the movie and the Disneyland attraction. The designs for the movie were also used to create the “Swiss Family Treehouse” attraction. Accomplished in graphite, pen and ink and gouache on artist board measuring 20 x 30 in" but i've checked with some friends Imagineers and they say that "the artwork looks more like one from Bruce Bushman than Reitherman, who did not work on the park or live action films". It's such a gorgeous descriptive and atmospheric piece anyway.

In the same catalog was also another artwork of an early concept done in 1953 by Dale Hennessy for Disneyland Main Street USA. The facade of the Newspaper office is the one on which Walt placed his father's name on... with a first concept for a Haunted Mansion too ( at the end of the street on the right )

...and the artwork also include the very first concept for a Haunted Mansion ( at the end of the street on the right ), rumored to have inspired DLP Phantom Manor exterior look. Click on all these renderings to see them in big size.

Pictures: copyright WED Enterprises

Thursday, May 31, 2018

More About the Indiana Jones Ride Rumor For Disney's Animal Kingdom AND Disneyland Paris

Orlando Weekly has posted last week an article about the "Latest Disney rumors having Indiana Jones dealing with dinosaurs at Animal Kingdom". It's true that there is insisting rumors of an Indiana Jones ride replacing Animal Kingdom Dinosaur attraction but what is new is that they might think to keep the Dinosaurs with this new Indy ride. Orlando Weekly found the info in a post in the rumor timeline HERE reporting that the Indiana Jones ride at DAK "would be a new story and not a direct clone of Indiana Jones Adventure. The new story could potentially include dinosaurs."

Of course most of you reading this will probably think: "C'mon!, an Indiana Jones ride with Dinosaurs?!?" and i have to admit that it is a bit hard to swallow indeed. Until faithful D&M reader Mark Wong posted a comment on the D&M Facebook page that, in fact, a novel titled "Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs" - no kidding - was released in 1996, and was the tenth Indy novel in the series of original stories published by Bantam Books, written by author Max McCoy.

So, let's have a closer look at what the story of this Indy novel was talking about thanks to the Publisher's Summary posted on the Indiana Jones Wiki page HERE:

"Fresh from a ride on a Nazi submarine, Indiana Jones is persuaded by a beautiful missionary to search for her missing father in Mongolia. Professor Angus Starbuck has discovered a dinosaur bone in the Gobi Desert. But unlike other discoveries, this bone isn't ancient! As Indy crosses from China through a treacherous mountain pass to Outer Mongolia, he runs afoul of the region's fiercest warlords. Meanwhile, the world's last innocent people, dwelling in a Stone Age paradise, are poised on the brink of destruction. Suddenly Indiana Jones is dueling wild dogs and bloodthirsty killers in a desperate effort to save the most historic discovery of the twentieth century: the last living Triceratops!"

Now, I am not saying that the new ride will be inspired by this novel as it certainly will not be the case and DAK Imagineers don't need a novel anyway to create an attraction. But the interesting fact is that a novel mixing Indiana Jones with Dinosaurs already exist - and since 22 years! So, even if it's certainly not a proof - not even a hint - that they'll do at Animal Kingdom an Indy ride mixed with Dinosaurs, we know that the idea itself of Indiana-Jones-meets-Dinosaurs is not an impossible thought. That said, if they do it like this at DAK i'm curious to see how they'll do to justify it, but that's another problem...

What is also interesting is the second part of the rumor which was saying that "Dinorama would be replaced by a coaster, possibly a version of the Excavator that was a concept for the area over a decade ago." Now, that makes the whole thing interesting but if you've never seen before artworks of this Excavator coaster attraction, done by former Imagineer Tom Thordarson, here they are.

As you can see the coaster was supposed to run through a Dinosaur boneyard BUT with one "living" Dinosaur at the center of it - an Audio-Animatronic one, of course.

Mmmh, that starts to make a lot of Dinos coincidence in that Indiana Jones rumor, and may be there is some truth behind it, so i can't wait for an announcement - or a denial - to learn the final truth. It's also interesting to remember, as i told you recently in my article HERE, that DAK Expedition Everest should closed early next year for a long renovation, meaning that Animal Kingdom won't have a lot of coaster attractions for several months, if we except Dinorama Primeval Whirl which is more a wild mouse spinning coaster. So, a new "real" coaster would be welcome at that time at DAK but, except if they delay Expedition Everest renovation they won't have the time to build the Excavator ride before the closure.

Always on the Indy rumor page we learn that "TheVisionarySoul is reporting that the DINOSAUR to Indiana Jones Adventure conversion is likely to result in DINOSAUR closing in 2019. He also reported that the budget is expected to be shared WITH Disneyland Paris." Of course, this relaunch the long time rumor of an Indiana Jones adventure ride coming to DLP Adventureland, where, by the way, they always kept the land to build it between the Temple du Peril and Pirates of Caribbean, as you can see in the late 1990's WDI blueprint below.

So, as i know that you're waiting for me to confirm or not that an Indy ride is coming to DLP, let's put it like this: First, we know that a new Indiana Jones movie will be released in 2 or 3 years, and we also know that Disney like nothing more than to create "synergy" between a movie release and new rides. Disney also like to save money and creating a new Indy ride and sharing the budget by having it coming in two parks is indeed a way to save money. These two reasons only could make perfectly sense and make the rumor of an Indy ride coming to DLP valid - and there is more reasons, starting by the fact that DLP Adventureland didn't had any new attraction since 1993 and Disneyland Paris Adventureland truly needs a new attraction ( like Frontierland, by the way ).

Last but not least, the latest entry in the Rumor Timeline page was on May 24 and users MansionButler84 and marni1971 who are reporting that the latest information they have regarding Dinoland USA was updates to the land itself with DINOSAUR remaining unchanged, and if you ask Dinosaur cast-members they'll probably tell you that it is a fan-made rumor which, i agree, is perfectly possible.

An Indiana Jones ride would be indeed possible at Disney's Hollywood Studios ...where they have room to create an Indy mini land and ride, but this only if they remove the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which takes a huge room at DHS. Personally i think that having an Indy land at DHS would make more sense as it is a park about movies, but this also mean to build a brand new show building with the ride system, at a huge cost that Disney would avoid if they were just transforming the Dinosaur ride at DAK, and that's probably the best point in favor to the Indy ride at Animal Kingdom rumor. Will Disney resist to the temptation? If these rumors of a new Indy ride are true, whether it's for DAK, DHS or DLP, we'll know it probably next year as we can expect an announcement most probably at the 2019 D23 Expo, if not announced before.

Pictures: copyright Disney, Lucasfilm, Bantam Books

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Islands of Adventure : Latest Pictures and Videos of Harry Potter Roller Coaster Construction Site

D&M has the latest pictures and videos of the construction site of the new Harry Potter roller coaster at Islands of Adventure - shot this week from Hogsmeade train station and as you'll see there is still plenty of work to do before it will open next year at IOA. I remind you that the coaster is rumored to be a motocoaster with guests boarding Hagrid's motorbike and its sidecar and going through the Forbidden Forest.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom Avatar Land 1st Anniversary : Secrets of the Pandora That Never Was

Two days ago, on May 27, Disney's Animal Kingdom Pandora: The World of Avatar celebrated its first anniversary. The land was a huge success since opening day and for good reasons as Flight of Passage or Navi River Journey are memorable rides, not to mention how Joe Rhode and his team of WDI Imagineers recreated the extraterrestrial planet Pandora with an amazing theming.

We'll have a look today at the "Pandora that never was" as, you may not know it, but some planned elements or special effects were cancelled for budget or time limit reasons, and i'll share with you today a couple of hidden facts that you may have never heard about.

Let's start by something which both exist and don't at the same time. See the trees on the picture above? These are interactive trees but most of the guests just walk and don't notice the interactivity. There are four sensors within this area of Pandora where you place your hand in the wooden area and it triggers sounds as well as lights at night time. Originally they were supposed to add more sensors around the land, but they never made it to the final time frame. You can see some of the sensors and the holes inside the trees in the pictures below.

The interactive trees were a direct response to the interactive parts with magic wands at Harry Potter Wizarding World. It was the beginning of creating an interactive land experience and only four of these trees were created. Why didn't they created the others trees, was it a budget problem? From what i've been told, they were over budget for sure and some of the plants went from interactive to just literally a plug in to a power source. They also couldn’t afford the pulse effect where you would walk around and a pulse would run through the land. Pulse effect? What would have it been exactly? For example, you would touch the tree and the entire area would ripple with light. Or, as you walk around, the floor below would glow. That got cancelled and replaced with paint for the "bioluminescent lighting" night effect.

However there is still interactivity elements in Pandora. For instance, the giant pink tree below on this picture shot by Blog Mickey is called the "Flaska Reclinata" and if you simply touch the pink area, it makes a noise... sometime it does it even if you don’t touch it.

The biggest cut which apparently has been done was Navi River Journey’s extended queue. I was told that Navi River Journey was supposed to have a more extensive queue and now the queue gets really backed up outside in a Pandora path because they didn’t build enough queue space, most probably for budget reasons.

Among the things planned and cancelled that you've never heard about, there was a puppet show. Imagineers loved the puppet show in Universal Diagon Alley, and for Pandora they had planned a puppet show which would have talked about the animals of Pandora. So, they built a walkway for the performers to run up and down the pathway while a narrator would talk about the animals. Basically, near the restrooms of Pandora there are bushes, and behind the bushes there is a cement walkway where the performers would have run up and down the walkway. From a guest point of view it would have look like an animal was running in the distance. They did some testing but the illusion didn’t work, so it was canceled at the last minute.

The picture below show a Leucomelas Viperwolf which would have been one of the puppets and the performers would use sticks to run them back and forth. As i've said, it was only in testing phase and unfortunately it never went live. The Viperwolf puppet was a prototype and is gone, probably sitting backstage in a warehouse. All Pandora cast-members thought the show was coming and it may come in the future, who knows?

Talking about animals, did you noticed the Stingbats. You can see them walking up the pathway in the Avatar Flight of Passage queue, on your left before entering the caves. Hidden the back of the floating these apparently sleeping animals are called Stingbats. They are small aerial predators with a developed navigational system and four eyes and they're Banshee’s favorite food.

Something now that DID exist and was unfortunately cancelled: when Pandora opened there was a team called "the immersion team" with cast members who would walk the land the entire day and shared about the plants and animals around Pandora. They would also walk around with an ACE translator - picture below - that they sell in the gift shop to teach the Navi language. This lasted 2 months and then they canceled this team. WDI Imagineers took the inspiration from Harry Potter Wizarding World where team members teach guests how to use their magic wands. It was really cool to see cast members teaching about each of the plants and what they do in Pandora...

As there is no more "immersion team", here is some description of the Pandora plants with pictures for each of them:

The first name for the plant above and below was the “Grinch tree”. they could not copyright that name so it turned into the “Goblin Thistle”, This tree has twisted tree trunks with blue bioluminescent tips.

The “vein pods” below are on Pandora to help detoxify the atmosphere. Each vein pod act like sponges to maintain stability in the environment. The vein pod is inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens.

“Flaska Reclinata” is a plant that is entirely above ground and the roots purifies toxins in the atmosphere. The flaska germinates by shooting out the top and you can spot baby flaska reclinatas along the old camp Minnie river at the entrance of Pandora.

“Spiny whip” - picture below - collects rain water in pandora and different species in pandora utilize this plant as a source for water.

Next is “Dapophet”:  this plant is utilized by the local Navi to treat cuts and burns with its healing powers. The Navi also use this for portable hydration.

“Panopyra” capture water and minerals from dew and fog. The resulting liquid is used by the Na’vi as a healing drink.

“Puffball tree” scattered around Pandora and this plant can grow as much as 15 meters. The Navi will harvest the puffball tree and use it to feed their animals on Pandora.

The blue things on the picture below are “Bladder Polyps”. No special information on them except that they can be seen all over Pandora.

One more for the road with the plant below which is called the “Episoth”. This plant holds spiny fruit and they explode off the plant when ripe.

A little bit of Pandora trivia now with this staircase above the restrooms which, from what i've been told, came from Disney's Hollywood Studios Streets of America where they had the Osborne light show.

In the background of the picture below you can see the staircase from Hollywood Studios Streets of America.

More trivia: the Pandora groundbreaking picture had Tom Staggs, Meg Crofren, and Bruce Vaughn ( first picture below ). Since the three are no longer working at Disney, they photoshopped them out of the picture ( second below ) that is on display inside Satuli Canteen. No kidding.

One more thing about Pandora, and that's not about the past but the present and it's not a good news. Apparently a manager placed a disco ball (!) inside of the quick service stand Pongu Pongu and decided to not get this approved by Imagineering and go ahead. A D&M reader sent me pictures and just shared how much bad show this is and how disappointing and desperate it looks. The disco ball was not approved by Imagineering and is definitely “bad show”.

This is a permanent disco ball, not just to celebrate Pandora 1st Anniversary, and i was told it’s to “help revenue”...  Basically they think that, by putting a disco ball, it will bring more revenue and attract the typical guest to buy items... Note: the picture belowe is just a reference for the one they've put inside Pongu Pongu, it's not an item sold in the shop.

Well, that's all for today and if some of you are disappointed by the cancelled elements, you shouldn't be. There is always a moment where blue sky projects meet reality and almost any attraction faced some cuts, it's inevitable and it's what is called the reality. It didn't stopped Pandora : the World of Avatar to be a stunning creation that each Animal Kingdom guest enjoy daily thanks to its fantastic rides and the team of Pandora cast-members that you can see on the picture below on opening day!

You can read more about Pandora hidden details in the article HERE.

Let's end with three great 4K videos filmed by recently by Max, D&M contributor and showing Pandora by day or at night as well as the full Navi River Journey ride.

Pictures: copyright D&M, Disney, Blog Mickey, Orlando Park Stop

Monday, May 28, 2018

ALL Pictures and Concept-Arts Shown at Disney's Hollywood Studios 2018 Galactic Nights Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Imagineers Panel !

Last night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios happened the awaited Galactic Nights Galaxy’s Edge panel, with Scott Trowbridge, Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, Eric Baker, Creative Director at WDI, Margaret Kerrison, Managing Story Editor at WDI and Jon Georges, Executive Producer at WDI. WDI Imagineers revealed the name of the village that guests will visit when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in 2019, and it will be called Black Spire Outpost. Here is more details about the Black Spire Outpost:

"The largest settlement on the planet Batuu, Black Spire Outpost is an infamous stop for traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space. Off the beaten path, this outpost has become a haven for the galaxy’s most colorful — and notorious — characters. Widely known for the petrified remains of its once towering ancient trees, the spires now stand guard across the river valleys and plains and have long captured the imagination of travelers to this planet. To the first settlers, these petrified spires became more than just landmarks, they became the heart of the outpost itself."

Plenty of pictures and great renderings were shown during the panel so let's have a look first at the artworks, shall we?

Let's continue with pictures of Galaxy's Edge construction site at WDW Disney Hollywood Studios.

The Imagineers also went in England at Pinewood Studios during the filming of the next Star Wars movie to shoot some footage that will be used in Galaxy's Edge.

Imagineers then talked about the highly awaited E-Ticket attraction in which guests will be in the middle of a battle with the First Order...

...and that guests will come face to face with two full size AT-Ts.

The three next picture of the AT-Ts are not renderings but pictures shot inside the attraction itself.

A new "Resistance Troop Transport" ship was also unveiled. Guests will be able to go in it and take a journey on". Below, the rendering of it, model and the real thing.

It was also announced that Nien Nunb the famous Star Wars character will play a role in Galaxy’s Edge.

All kind of creatures which will be found in Galaxy's Edge were revealed including the beloved  Tooka Loth-Cat who made its first appearance in the Clone Wars series and recently in Star Wars Rebels. Imagineers confirmed they are working on bringing it to life as a walking, breathing, real creature.

Last announcement - and artworks - was about the Star Wars land trading cars. Last year the first ones were announced - first picture below - and yesterday three new ones - also below - were revealed, allowing fans to know what kind of adventures await them at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge.


And now, listen to the full Galactic Nights Galaxy's Edge Imagineers panel and learn more infos thanks to this great video from BigFatPanda!

All pictures: copyright Disney - Lucasfilm