Friday, February 28, 2020

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Countdown : New “Wonders of Deep” Poster Released !

We're less than a week from the anticipated opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! And to celebrate it, Disney Parks has released a new poster in the countdown series with special art inspired by the “Wonders of the Deep” short.

The new “Wonders of the Deep” poster features Mickey and friends – as well as a surprise visitor from the depths of the ocean! In the video short, a submarine voyage turns wild when Mickey and friends have to rescue Professor Von Drake from a giant sea creature.

Next week, WDW DHS guests will be able to experience Mickey’s wild cartoon universe like never before at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction. During each adventure, you’ll enter the NEW Mickey Mouse cartoon short “Perfect Picnic” for an one-of-a-kind adventure where anything can happen. Why? Because there, mouse rules apply!

And before experiencing Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you’ll see posters of these existing award-winning shorts that might have previously premiered at the Chinese Theatre – all created specifically for the attraction by Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Television Animation.

In the meantime you can watch below the Mickey Mouse cartoon “Wonders of the Deep”!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Thursday, February 27, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo and DisneySea to Close From Tomorrow Saturday March 1st Through March 15 Over Coronavirus Outbreak in Japan

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will close from tomorrow Saturday March 1st through March 15 over coronavirus outbreak in Japan. This makes four Disney theme parks - though the ones of TDR are not owned by Disney - who are now closed in Asia. All of them will reopen some day, hopefully soon, but no dates were announced, even the March 15 date for the two TDR parks might be changed in one month, if necessary.

More from the Tokyo Times article HERE:

The operator of Tokyo’s two Disney resorts, Disneyland and DisneySea, said Friday the parks would be closed for around two weeks on fears over the outbreak of the new coronavirus. The Ikspiari shopping mall of Tokyo Disney Resort will also be closed.

“Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have decided to proceed with an extraordinary closure from Saturday February 29, 2020, through Sunday March 15” after the government urged measures to limit the spread of the virus, the operator said in a statement.

The Oriental Land Co. said it currently hoped to resume operations from March 16.

“Currently, we plan to reopen on March 16. But we’ll decide when to open by looking at the situation and developments. We’ll also consult (official) agencies concerned,” a spokesman said.

More than 30 million visitors flood into the two parks per year, and they are among the most popular destinations for tourists coming to Tokyo.

The move comes as the government steps up measures to tackle the outbreak of the virus, which has been linked to at least four deaths in the country and nearly 200 infections.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Steven Spielberg Won’t Direct ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ James Mangold in Talks to Direct

According to en exclusive report from Variety, Steven Spielberg will not direct ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ and director James Mangold is in talks to direct the long awaited sequel. That's not good news, really, and in addition it seems that the movie won't get into production in two months as Harrison Ford said it in an interview two weeks ago, but at a later date.

From Variety: After a long development process, Steven Spielberg is handing the directing reins on “Indiana Jones 5” to another filmmaker for the first time in the franchise’s 39-year history, Variety has learned.

Sources say, while a deal hasn’t closed, “Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold is in talks to take the job. Mangold has been put in this situation before when he took over the “Wolverine” franchise; 2017’s “Logan” was a blockbuster, grossing $619 million globally, and earning Mangold an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay.

Spielberg will remain as a hands-on producer on “Indy 5.” According to a source close to the filmmaker, the decision to leave the director’s chair was entirely Spielberg’s, in a desire to pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story.

Harrison Ford, meanwhile, is still on the project. The actor recently made headlines speaking about the future of the franchise while promoting his latest film, “The Call of the Wild.” He told “CBS Sunday Morning” this month that he was “going to start doing ‘Indiana Jones’ in about two months,” and then days later told HeyUGuys that the project is still facing “scheduling issues and a few script things” and that “we’re determined to get it right before we get it made.”

When Disney first announced the new “Indiana Jones” film in 2016, with Spielberg directing and Ford starring, the studio originally slated the film to open on July 19, 2019. Then it was pushed a year to July 10, 2020, and then delayed again to July 9, 2021, when Jonathan Kasdan (son of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” scribe Lawrence Kasdan) was brought on to take a pass on the script after original screenwriter David Koepp left the project.

With a new director coming on board, the possibility that “Indy 5” will be pushed once more from its 2021 release date seems likely. Spokespeople for Spielberg and Disney declined to comment.

Read the full Variety article HERE.

BREAKING : Construction of Quarantine Centers on Hong Kong Disneyland 2nd Park Land Started On February 18th

Remember that Disney gave recently his agreement to Hong Kong Government to build a quarantine centre on the unused land kept for HKDL second theme park?  Well, apparently Hong Kong Government directly hired China Harbor Engineering as contractor to build the quarantine centre at Penny's bay on the site adjacent to Disneyland parking lot. Construction of the Penny's Bay quarantine center began on February 17th with the goal to complete the first batch of 100 quarantine facilities in May 2020.

Below, Google translation of an article in Chinese, so far to be a perfect translation:
"The news was announced last week on HK mainland website and the board was asked for details, reasons and the cost of the direct appointment. It was replied two days later, saying the project was commissioned by the civil engineering development department in accordance with government purchasing procedures. The Engineering co. Ltd, is responsible for land formation and infrastructure construction at the quarantine centre, but they failed to respond about the cost of the project, the reasons why it directly hired the company and why no invitation for tenders were done.

Public opinion criticizes the government for having commissioned contractors to build quarantine camps without calling for tenders. Government officials have revealed that the government will use the lottery fund to allocate 190 million yuan for the construction of a quarantine center at Penny's Bay, on the land planned for the construction of a second park in Hong Kong Disneyland and the engineering project was approved by the members of the public works group. The company "China Harbor Engineering" is responsible for the construction."

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

BREAKING NEWS : MAY 26th will be the LAST DAY OF SPACESHIP EARTH before it enters a long renovation

BREAKING NEWS ( again! ) : MAY 26th will be the LAST DAY OF SPACESHIP EARTH before it enters a long renovation:

The Reimagining of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT Begins May 26:
From The Disney Parks Blog, by Zach Riddley, Walt Disney World Site Portfolio Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Spaceship Earth is more than just the physical icon of EPCOT – it’s a symbol of how the park continues to evolve. The attraction is a crucial piece of the historic transformation already underway at EPCOT, and our team here at Walt Disney Imagineering is excited to start implementing our new vision for Spaceship Earth beginning May 26.

This means Spaceship Earth in its current form will close for a time starting that day, and the ideas we are working on inside that geosphere will be well worth the wait. As we shared at last year’s D23 Expo, the next iteration of Spaceship Earth will focus on the story of humanity, following our long journey from prehistoric humans to today brought to life with magic and depth that only Disney can deliver. Many of the moments you know and love will be updated in amazing ways, blended with brand-new scenes to tell a story about our human experience.

Today we’re excited to share a few additional details of what you can expect when this icon returns. You’ll visit Egypt, which is part of the current version of the attraction, but it will be an Egypt like you’ve never seen before, transformed through the power of light.

Throughout the attraction, you’ll hear new narration and see how light plays a central role in our shared human journey, coming to life in dynamic ways in a celebration of the magic that’s possible when we all come together.

Walt Disney once said EPCOT “would always be in a state of becoming,” and Spaceship Earth has lived up to that vision for generations. This will be the attraction’s fourth – and most ambitious – update since the park’s grand opening on Oct. 1, 1982.

Picture: copyright Disney

BREAKING NEWS!!! Bob Iger to step down as Disney CEO, effective immediately, will be replaced by Bob Chapek as Disney CEO. Iger will remain as chairman through 2021.

BREAKING NEWS!!! Bob Iger to step down as Disney CEO, effective immediately, will be replaced by Bob Chapek as Disney CEO. Iger will remain as chairman through 2021.

Disney CEO Bob Iger will be replaced by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman Bob Chapek as CEO effective immediately. Iger will stay on as executive chairman through the end of 2021.

Chapek assumed leadership of the new job in March 2018. Chapek was one of the leading candidates to replace Iger, who announced his retirement in 2018. Chapek beat out other top candidates, like direct-to-consumer head Kevin Mayer for the role. 

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in a press release. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Below the official WDC Statement and a CNBC interview of Bob Iger and Bob Chapek, discussing Iger's decision to focus on creative decisions and give over the operation of the day-to-day business to Chapek.

Hint: The great thing with Iger is that he can't hide what he thinks, so when Bob Chapek is talking, look instead at Bob Iger listening to Chapek, it tells a lot.


Bob Chapek Named Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company

Robert A. Iger Assumes Role of Executive Chairman through 2021

Mr. Iger Will Direct the Company’s Creative Endeavors

Mr. Chapek Brings 27 Years of Successful Leadership Experience across Disney’s Parks, Consumer Products and Studio Businesses

BURBANK, Calif., February 25, 2020—The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors announced today that Bob Chapek has been named Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, effective immediately. Mr. Chapek most recently served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Robert A. Iger assumes the role of Executive Chairman and will direct the Company’s creative endeavors, while leading the Board and providing the full benefit of his experience, leadership and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful transition through the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Mr. Iger said. “I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Mr. Iger added: “Bob will be the seventh CEO in Disney’s nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the Company into its next century. Throughout his career, Bob has led with integrity and conviction, always respecting Disney’s rich legacy while at the same time taking smart, innovative risks for the future. His success over the past 27 years reflects his visionary leadership and the strong business growth and stellar results he has consistently achieved in his roles at Parks, Consumer Products and the Studio. Under Bob’s leadership as CEO, our portfolio of great businesses and our amazing and talented people will continue to serve the Company and its shareholders well for years to come.”

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world, and to lead our exceptionally talented and dedicated cast members and employees,” Mr. Chapek said. “Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team. I share his commitment to creative excellence, technological innovation and international expansion, and I will continue to embrace these same strategic pillars going forward. Everything we have achieved thus far serves as a solid foundation for further creative storytelling, bold innovation and thoughtful risk-taking.”

Susan Arnold, independent Lead Director of the Disney Board, said, “The Board has been actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years, and after consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected Bob Chapek as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Mr. Chapek has shown outstanding leadership and a proven ability to deliver strong results across a wide array of businesses, and his tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the Company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the perfect choice as the next CEO.

“Mr. Chapek will also benefit from the guidance of one of the world’s most esteemed and successful business leaders, Bob Iger,” Ms. Arnold continued. “Over the past 15-plus years as CEO, Mr. Iger has transformed The Walt Disney Company, building on the Company’s history of great storytelling with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Twenty-First Century Fox and increasing the Company’s market capitalization fivefold. Disney has reached unparalleled financial and creative heights thanks to Mr. Iger’s strong leadership and clear strategic vision. We believe Mr. Chapek’s leadership and commitment to this strategy will ensure that the Company continues to create significant value for our shareholders in the years ahead.”

In Mr. Chapek’s new role as CEO, he will directly oversee all of the Company’s business segments and corporate functions. Mr. Chapek will report to the Executive Chairman, Mr. Iger, and the Board of Directors. He will be appointed to the Board at a later date. A new head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will be named at a future time.

Mr. Chapek served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since the segment’s creation in 2018, and prior to that was Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015.

As Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Mr. Chapek oversaw the Company’s largest business segment, with operations around the globe and more than 170,000 employees worldwide. The segment includes Disney’s iconic travel and leisure businesses, encompassing six resort destinations in the United States, Europe and Asia, a top-rated cruise line, a popular vacation ownership program, and an award-winning guided family adventure business. Disney’s global consumer products operations include the world’s leading licensing business across toys, apparel, home goods, digital games and apps, the world’s largest children’s print publisher, Disney store locations around the world, and the shopDisney e-commerce platform.

During his tenure at the Parks segment, Mr. Chapek oversaw the opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort; the addition of numerous guest offerings across Disney’s six resort destinations in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including the creation of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and the addition of Marvel-inspired attractions around the globe; and the expansion of Disney Cruise Line with the announced construction of three new ships.

From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Chapek was President of the former Disney Consumer Products segment, where he drove the technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations. Prior to that, he served as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios and was responsible for overseeing the Studios’ overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms including theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media. He also served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful “vault strategy” for the Company’s iconic films and transformed the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.

Before joining Disney in 1993, Mr. Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz Company and in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.

Mr. Chapek earned a B.S. in Microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Investor Conference Call:

Disney will conduct an investor conference call at approximately 4:30 p.m. EST / 1:30 p.m. PST today, Tuesday, February 25, 2020. To listen to the live webcast, please visit The webcast presentation will be archived.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway Review : "WDI Imagineers Were on Hardcore Drugs When They Designed This Ride!"

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway has now cast-member previews at WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios and D&M has a review from one who was able to experience the ride. His review is below and there is a big warning! as there will be spoilers, so if you don't want to know, jump to D&M next post!

First thing he said is "The ride is very bright with tons of VIBRANT colors, the imagineers were on hardcore drugs when they were designing this ride!" and the next one was "It also reminded me Rise of the Resistance with many many similar tricks for scenes". Of course he's not talking about the scenes themselves as both rides have two completely different theming but mostly on a technical angle as you'll read below.

First: "You enter into the pre-show mini theater ( picture above ), the movie screen shows the cartoon and then bam! at the end of the short the screen blows open and you walk through the screen to enter the rest of the queue. You enter into the cartoon world!"
As we've read this in others reviews earlier this week i asked him about how the effect is done: "The screen tears open and the wall moves up in the theater room creating a door space to walk through. This also reminded me of the effect in Rise of the Resistance when you break out of the interrogation cell when a door is done in the wall using projection effect. Next is the loading area and it's very neat watching the train pull in. Also I love how comfortable the vehicles are."

Then, "One of the next scenes is the part where the vehicle enters a room with a dome screen and you fall down a waterfall. This scene feel just like the one with the escape pod at the end of Rise of the Resistance, same exact feeling! Yet, without the fall effect here."

A scene he thinks that was poorly done was the tornado scene: "Maybe all the black lights were turned off when I went to experience it? It’s a black room with a lit up white tornado as the cars go by, with fans. Was not impressed and was more hoping for a Mystic Manor type experience. The tornado scene just looked cheap to me compared to the rest of the ride where it was so vibrant."
Remember that it's a cast-member preview, which is usually also used by Imagineers as test time to check that everything works fine and have feedback from the CMs, so may be the day he went, not everything had been working properly.

Then we talked about the Daisy dance class scene "...which has an Audio-Animatronic of Daisy orchestrating you dancing as the cars stare at Daisy. This is exact layout of the Kylo Ren Audio-Animatronic moving your vehicle around during his last appearance at the end of the Rise of the Resistance ride."

"The ride transitions into scenes at a very fast pace. For example the scene where you're in a dome with the feeling falling down a waterfall and then the vehicle turns around into a city. Then you are in Daisy's dance class. During this scene it bugged me that you can see the whole scene behind you as you are dancing with Daisy. I wish the room was closed."

"Also, one thing that I have to get used to was how the Mickey and Minnie AA have this exact ball shaped head. Very strange looking. I loved the finale scene with Pluto and the picnic happening. The story transitions are kind of all over the place and you have trouble following along because there is so much going on in each scene. You will need to ride this attraction multiple times to catch all the hidden details. I did see the 1901 street and 1928 where a street sign say YENSID way, and there are many references all around and hidden Mickey's."

"My favorite scene is the carnival scene seeing Donald Duck in a carnival booth eating ice cream." I asked him if Donald was a Audio-Animatronic: "Donald is a projection not a AA. There is a Pluto AA at the end with Mickey and Minnie. Daisy is an Audio-Animatronic. There’s a city character Animatronic in the scene before the Daisy dance scene. It’s hard for me to remember, but there is way more projection characters than actual AA. Goofy driving the train is a projection with a projector in the front seat of the ride vehicle train."

"The ride is well done, don’t get me wrong. I think I need to go on again to catch all the details. A friend just got off and he said he felt like he went on an acid trip! I don’t think, though, that it’s better than the Great Movie Ride, but the technology is extremely impressive, and I enjoyed that it’s an ORIGINAL ride idea and not really an IP driven agenda. Again, the ride is very  well done but the Great Movie Ride is not replaceable. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway belongs in Toon Town and will be a great addition at Disneyland's Toon Town in 2022 ( artwork below ). It’s going to take some time for me to think if it belongs in the Chinese theatre..."

Pictures: copyright Disney

Monday, February 24, 2020

Great Portrait of Walt Disney in Auction on eBay

I'm selling a great portrait of Walt Disney - the painting size is 32" high x 24" large( 80 x 60 cm ). It's a one-of-a-kind and it is an original painting, NOT a print! It's a unique hyper-realistic portrait of Walt, only one of it exist and it was done by an old master portraitist with secrets in the painting technique which are now lost forever, unfortunately...

I've put it in auction on eBay and you can place your bids at the link HERE, but anyone interested by the painting before it's gone can send me a message through Facebook. The auction houses estimate is $1500 - 2000 but the "buy it now" option on eBay is $1000.

 Considering the big size of the portrait ( 32" x 24" / 80 x 60cm high ) the portrait will be sent rolled ( without the frame on the picture below ). International shipping is available and it will be sent insured for the amount paid.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Photos, Videos : Tokyo Disneyland New Fantasyland Beast Castle Update

Tokyo Disneyland new Fantasyland area with Beast Castle and Belle Village will open on April 15 and Japan Youtuber DvideoZ has posted some great videos with very close shots of the castle and its incredibly themed decor.

You have the two videos below and i did some screenshots of the most interesting theming details, allowing to see how much detailed Beast Castle is with dozens of gargoyles all around, check it out!

Close to Beast Castle is Belle's Village, with shops and restaurants, here are some of the facades.

On this first video of DvideoZ you'll see close shots of Beast Castle from 4.30 min.

And on this next video of DvideoZ you'll see shots of Belle Village from 8.20 min. Make sure to follow his channel HERE!

Pictures and videos: copyright DvideoZ