Friday, June 8, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: John Lasseter Will Quit Disney at the End of the Year

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co animation head and co-founder of Pixar John Lasseter, regarded as a modern day Walt Disney because of his creativity and commercial success, will leave at the end of the year, the company said on Friday.

Friday’s decision, announced in a Disney statement, followed a six month leave of absence by Lasseter after what he called “missteps,” including unwanted hugs that made employees uncomfortable.

“Following his sabbatical, John Lasseter will assume a consulting role at The Walt Disney Company until December 31, 2018, at which time he will be leaving the company,” Disney said.

Disney did not announce a replacement but Chief Executive Bob Iger noted in the statement that Lasseter had assembled “a team of great storytellers and innovators with the vision and talent to set the standard in animation for generations to come.”

Lasseter, 61, said in the statement that “the last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities.”

“While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges,” he added.

More in the Variety article HERE.

Disney's America, The Disney Theme Park That Never Was

We had a look two days ago at the "Glacier Bay" land "that never was", and today i invite you to discover a Disney theme park that, unfortunately, was never built, the famous Disney's America project. Announced in 1993, it was supposed to occupy 1200 acres of a 3000 acre property in Prince William County, Virginia.

Bob Weis - who was at the head of the creative development for the park - defined it as "an ideal complement to visiting Washington's museums, monuments and national treasures" was supposed to be a park " that will be a venue for people of all ages, especially the young, to debate and discuss the future of our nation and to learn more about its past by living it". A place where guests "will be able to have rides, shows and interactive experiences that are both about the history of America, about America today and also give you a sense of America in the future. And he added: "In some ways the park is a timeline, we start in the mid-1860s and go backward or forward in time".

Yes, but what kind of rides and shows guests would have enjoy at Disney's America? Well, once they entered the park, guests would have found themselves in a detailed Civil War era village, the hub of "Disney's America.

From that point, guests could discover either "Native America" and explore the life of America's first inhabitants - including an accurate Native American village reflecting the tribes that were known in this part of the country. And also enjoy interactive experiences, exhibits and arts and crafts, as well as an exciting white water river raft ride that would have gone all around the area, based on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Guests, then, would discover Presidents' Square, a celebration of the birth of democracy and those who fought to preserve it. The "Hall of presidents" of Walt Disney World would have moved to Disney's America.

A Civil War Fort would have plunge guests into a more turbulent time of American history, and adjacent to it, a big battlefield, where Civil War re-enactments and water battles between the Monitor and the Merrimac would have once again be fought.

Moving in the 20th century, a replica of Ellis Island building where many immigrants came through, guests would have live the "immigrant experience" through music, ethnic foods and a great live show presentation.

Enterprise, a factory town, would have highlights American ingenuity and guests could have ride a major roller coaster attraction called the "Industrial Revolution" , traveling through a 19th century landscape with heavy industry and blast furnaces. And, on either side of the coaster, exhibits of famous American technology that have defined the american industry in the past, as new developments that will define industries in the future.

On Victory Field guests would have experience what America's soldiers faced in the defense of freedom during the world wars. It would have look like an airport area with a series of hangars containing attractions based on America's military fight using virtual reality technology. The airport would have serve also as an exhibit area of planes from different periods, as well as a place for major flying exhibitions.

Another area, the State Fair, was going to show how - even during the big Depression of the '30s - Americans knew how to entertain themselves. With folk art exhibits and a live show on baseball, guests could have enjoy, too, classic wooden thrill rides in memory of Coney Island.

Finally, in Family Farm, WDI imagineers would have recreate an authentic farm where guests could have the opportunity to see different types of farm industries related to food production in addition to some hands-on experiences like milking cows and learning what homemade ice cream tastes like.

Mind you, all was not lost in this Disney's America project, as some of the concepts were finally used in Disney's California Adventure. Jim Hill wrote an article about it, and you can read it HERE.

After the big battle between Disney, and almost everybody who lived in Virginia - okay, i'm exagerating a bit - the project was cancelled. However, in 1995 Disney envisioned to build it - guess where? - at Knott's Berry farm that the Knotts family, tired to run their theme park, wanted to sale. Jim Hill, again, wrote another great article describing all what happened, and you can read it HERE

All photos: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

All my thanks to Jim Hill for some of the infos included in this article.

Many many thanks to Michael of the excellent Progress City web site.

Those of you who want to find more infos on the Disney's America battle can find good links HERE

All pictures: copyright Disney

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

HKDL Glacier Bay, The Land That Never Was

Years ago, a land named Glacier Bay was announced and supposed to be part of the first expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland, and then the land was mysteriously cancelled to be replaced by HKDL Toy Story land. In a previous D&M article that you can read HERE i talked about why at that time Glacier Bay was cancelled. The same thing, by the way, happened to the great HKDL Pirates land concept which was designed by Imagineers Tom Morris and Tim Delaney before being cancelled for different reasons, but that will be for another story.

But  what kind of attractions HKDL guests would have enjoyed at Glacier Bay? Well, it's Favilli Studio who "developed the story, planning and designs for this phase-two expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland" for WDI and according to their website HERE Glacier Bay would have been "an arctic outpost filled with an array of cold weather activities. Guests can jet-ski through an iceberg-filled glacial lake, grab a sled and slide down an massive snow hill and ride an icy roller-coaster deep into the interior massive ice cavern of Glacier Peak—a research base for studying glacial formations and life forms where they are treated to a variety of interactive games and show experiences."

But there is more surprises about Glacier Bay as a visual found recently and showing a map for Tokyo Disney Sea - which include all the different lands of the park excepting Arabian Coast - though the lands are placed differently than they currently are at TDS - shows a land which also never was at TDS, named ...Glacier Bay!

Well, that's interesting... and it is for two reasons: first it seems that the idea of a land named "Glacier Bay" is older than we thought - though the tDS one most probably would not have had the Ravioli Studio design who was done years after, but also because it might explain the announcement of a Frozen land for Tokyo Disney Sea, some years ago - a project now apparently cancelled. Here is why: i don't know if you were as surprised as i was when TDR did the announcement but when they did it i thought "a Frozen land at DisneySea?!?", thinking that it didn't really fit with the general theme of the park, even if we consider Arendelle as a port. So, how could they have thought about putting a Frozen land at TDS? Well, if they did envisioned a Glacier Bay for DisneySea in the park early design, that may give the explanation. After all, if a Glacier Bay was envisioned then the idea of a TDS land with snow and ice but based on the Frozen story was not that misplaced...

I'm not sure that we'll know the truth anytime soon but that's one more damn' interesting mystery for this Glacier Bay project...

Pictures: copyright Disney, Favilli Studio

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Universal Release First Trailer For Peter Jackson's "Mad Max Steampunk" Movie "Mortal Engines"

Universal Pictures has released the first trailer for Peter Jackson's kind of "Mad Max Steampunk" new movie co-written adaptation of Phillip Reeves' post-apocalyptic, steampunk novel "Mortal Engines", and it looks pretty incredible!

The story happen in a future that follows the “Sixty Minutes War,” which ravaged the Earth, causing cataclysmic events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Nicholas Quirke attached engines, gears, and wheels to the city of London making it mobile and able to consume other cities. The technology spread and the world now exist in a state of “municipal Darwinism.”

Here’s the synopsis released by Universal: “Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan)—who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London—finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.

Mortal Engines is the startling, new epic adventure directed by Oscar-winning visual-effects artist Christian Rivers (King Kong). Joining Rivers are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies three-time Academy Award-winning filmmakers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who have penned the screenplay. The Universal and MRC adaptation is from the award-winning book series by Philip Reeve, published in 2001 by Scholastic.

The film is produced by Zane Weiner (The Hobbit trilogy), Amanda Walker (The Hobbit trilogy) and Deborah Forte (Goosebumps), andWalsh and Jackson. Ken Kamins (The Hobbit trilogy) joins Boyens as executive producer. Universal will distribute the film worldwide.”

Pictures and video: copyright Universal

Monday, June 4, 2018

New Poster and Trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 !

A new poster and trailer have been released for the awaited Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, to be released on November 21, and here they are. And yes, it includes the sequence in which Vaneloppe meets all the Disney princesses!

Here is the new trailer!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald Announces That Vincent Price Original Narration Returns to Phantom Manor!

BIG news announced yesterday by Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald during the Imagineering panel at DLP Disney FanDaze, as Tom announced that, after 25 years, the original Phantom Manor narration by the great Vincent Price will be back when the ride will reopen this fall! 

If you've never seen Vincent Price recording his Phantom Manor narration, here is this unmissable video, first put on line by David Goebel of the excellent Ravenswood Manor website.

Don't go away as there is more, as Tom Fitzgerald also announced that, in addition to a complete renovation of the attraction, changes will allow Phantom Manor guests to know at last "who" is the Phantom! On the next video below, released recently, Tom Fitzgerald tells you more about Phantom Manor renovation.

Videos: copyright Disney, Attractions Magazine, WDI