Friday, May 27, 2016

George McGinnis Memories "The Life of Disney Imagineer" is a Not-to-Be Missed Book for All Imagineering Fans !


I don't often recommand books - the last one was the always available Theme Park Design - see on the right column - but here is one that i strongly recommand to you! Titled "From Horizons to Space Mountain: The Life of a Disney Imagineer", it is a book of memories of George McGinnis who was the last Imagineer personally hired by Walt Disney in 1966. Right away George McGinnis found himself in design meetings with Walt and for the next three decades, George contributed to such high-profile projects as the new monorails, Epcot's Horizons, and two Space Mountains.

Working alongside Disney luminaries like Marty Sklar, Bob Gurr, and John Hench, George brought his unique background as an industrial designer to the creation of the Mark V and Mark VI monorails, and much of Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Space Mountains. His concept art, often begun on the back of napkins, influenced the final look of many theme park attractions.

George writes in detail of his Imagineering work; his interactions with Walt and many of the company's Imagineers, engineers, and artists; and his career after Disney, which included the design of trolleys for billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso's upscale California communities.

But George's heart and soul went into one of the most beloved attraction unfortunately no longer in existence: Epcot Horizons. As the manager of Disney's Industrial Design Department, responsible not just for Horizons but for other Epcot attractions, George takes readers truly behind the scenes during what many fans consider Epcot's golden age.

The book is published by Theme Park Press and you can find it on Amazon in printed edition for $19.95 or in Kindle ebook format for $6.94 only!


On the picture above, Glenn Durflinger (left), who led the team of architects producing construction drawings, and George McGinnis, Space Mountain concept designer, review the final Space Port concept model. 

 But here is more about George McGinnis from the book Introduction:

Industrial designer, George McGinnis began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering in 1966. His senior project at the Art Center College of Design, a working model of a futuristic high-speed train, attracted the attention of Walt Disney. George was invited to Imagineering by Walt, who showed him the WEDway PeopleMover system in development. Walt proceeded to introduce George to Dick Irvine, President of Imagineering, who invited George to become an Imagineer.

This Space Mountain sketch by George McGinnis was apparently a design effort when it was still believed there could be exposed track on the exterior.

George’s first assignment was to design miniature transportation models for the Progress City display for the Carousel of Progress attraction that opened at Disneyland in July 1967. He was also responsible for concept design of both the Mighty Microscope for the Disneyland attraction Adventure Through Inner Space and the Saturn-style “winged rocket with boosters” for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Rocket Jets (1967).





 George McGinnis' sketch based on a rendering of the first concept for the Space Port shows a delta-wing shuttle preparing to launch. The concept changed due to track revisions.


Upside-down astronauts work on the Interplanetary Explorer ship in the Space Port of Walt Disney World's Space Mountain. Note the Krylon-cap shaped nozzles on the ship's ion engines. Sketch by George McGinnis.

From 1967 to 1971, George designed WEDway PeopleMover trains and parking lot shuttle vehicles for Walt Disney World. In 1971, he became a show designer, involved with such major projects as Space Mountain for both Walt Disney World (1975) and Disneyland (1977). A year later, in 1978, he worked on the concept designs for the robots in Disney’s The Black Hole motion picture.

Above: An Horizons elevation sketch by George McGinnis' showing the design for placing scenes from Mesa Verde and Sea Castle back-to-back within the Horizons building.

In 1979, George became manager of Industrial Design for Epcot and later project show designer for the Horizons Pavilion. In addition, he also designed SMRT-1 and the Astuter Computer Revue for the Communicore Pavilion. From 1983 to 1987, George designed the Mark V monorail train for Disneyland, which debuted in 1987. Following that, George contributed design ideas for the Magic Kingdom attraction Delta Dreamflight/Take Flight, designed the Walt Disney World Mark VI monorail, and designed tram vehicles for the Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour.


Above: Another elevation drawing by George McGinnis. The final concept package delivered to Architecture in October 1975 included this Space Mountain Space Port elevation. Note the Control Room near the entrance and the projection room and projection surface on the right.

Between 1990 and 1995, George brought his skills as a show designer to several projects for Disney theme parks around the world: boat vehicles for Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, Indiana Jones Adventure ride vehicles for Disneyland, the Space Mountain ride vehicle concept for Disneyland Paris, river boats, safari vehicles, and a “steam” locomotive and cars for Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Since retiring from Imagineering in 1995, George has continued to work for Disney as a consultant on the Rocket Rod concept vehicle for Tomorrowland, river rafts for Animal Kingdom, and California Adventure.




In addition to his post-retirement work for Disney, George designed trolley cars for real estate developer Rick Caruso. Both trolleys are popular attractions at The Grove and the Americana, two of Caruso’s upscale residential/shopping communities in California.

Disney Legend Bob Gurr also did the Preface of the book that you can read below:

"George McGinnis. Let me tell you about George. I never met a designer that exasperated me as much as George. What I did not realize until decades later was that what set my hair on fire at the time was the very characteristic George had that made him probably Walt Disney Imagineering’s finest industrial designer of all time.

No person I ever worked with stuck to his guns over getting every last detail completely correct, staying true to the design requests given to him. He’d show me every single detail and explain why it was so important. As the manufacturing design guy for his projects, I was ready to roll forward while he was continuing to refine his designs. His main boss, Dick Irvine, would exclaim,”George, you’re glossing the goose!”


An example. The WDW 20,000 Leagues submarine was patterned after the dramatic and fantastical Jules Verne-style submarine. George was going to make sure “his” submarine would truly reflect the Verne concept. It’s just a ride vehicle to me, but not to George! He added a most elegant brass helm and fancy wheel, totally unneeded on a ride. Irvine said no, and I grabbed the parts and confiscated them to my home. I still have them today … my personal monument to George’s unyielding honor to “just do it right”.

And doing it right is what George unfailingly pursued during his entire career with Disney, his work on Rick Caruso’s trolleys and beyond. When I visit Glendale’s Americana today, I still stop to admire George’s fantastical, beautiful (and correct) trolley, another wonderful monument to his superb design integrity.

George’s autobiography will be a joy to everyone who values authentic design. He shares tales and details—all in the most thorough manner—through his revealing text and illustrations. And to those who wish to pursue Imagineering, in fact, any significant creative career, this is your guiding treasure."

Do not miss too George McGinnis articles about DL and WDW Space Mountain posted on Mouse Planet in 2005 HERE, and HERE and from where some of the sketches posted above are coming.

Pictures: copyright George McGinnis, Disney

Text: copyright Theme Park Press

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Updated : FULL HD Video of Shanghai Disneyland Ignite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light Night Show !


We have at last a great HD video of the FULL Ignite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light night show at Shanghai Disneyland! This two parts video filmed by Matthew Eberle replace the previous one posted here this morning which was not in HD.






Video: copyright Matthew Eberle

A Bright New Day for Disneyland Paris Peter Pan's Flight


Disneyland Paris Peter Pan’s Flight attraction is getting a full makeover, though the ride probably won't get the new visual effects installed last year in the DL and WDW versions.

From Disneyland Paris News: American and French painting teams worked together on this renovation project to give the adventure all its original sparkle – and then some! London and Never Land will soon shine brighter than ever! The dazzling new lights and paints are the first thing Guests will notice once they’ve boarded their flying ships. Thanks to fresh coats of paint throughout the attraction and brand-new LED black lights, the special effects are breathtaking! For this project, black light paint specialists from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida came to lend a hand to the French teams. Jim Crouch, Principal Color & Paint Specialist at Walt Disney Imagineering, supervised this collaboration during its six weeks and comes from Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.


Scene by scene, the painters invigorated the colours throughout the attraction to transport Guests more completely to Peter Pan’s world. Original projectors (some in use since 1992) were upgraded with wave-stimulating programmes. To match the like-new decor, the attraction’s props and figures were repainted and refurbished in the Central Shops workshops. The exterior of the building was freshened up, including the woodwork and paving along the waiting area. A new covered and heated shelter was also built for Cast Members.


“It has been a real pleasure to work here in Paris with this talented group. This has been a collaborative effort between Facilities and Operations Services and Walt Disney Imagineering and we’re making great things for the guests who will come to see this attraction,” shared Jim, before heading back to the United States. Flights to Never Land will resume 9 July 2016.




Pictures and video: copyright Disney

The Refurbishment of Disneyland Paris Fantasia Gardens



As you know, the impressive Fantasia Gardens esplanade at the entrance of Disneyland Paris park is currently being totally refurbished. It will be easier to access and visually more impressive than ever. This major works site should be finished by Spring 2017. More about this long renovation from the official Disneyland Paris News:

Fantasia Gardens, with its sophisticated Victorian landscape, basins and kiosks is truly designed to relax. Guests who wish to go to the Disneyland Park enjoy going through the area that is located right under the windows of the Disneyland Hotel. This majestic green area is also one of the most photographed spots at Disneyland Paris.

In order to improve the Guest experience as they approach Disneyland Park, and as part of the renovation program of the tourist destination, the decision was made two years ago to launch a far-reaching refurbishment program of landscape and hardscape of this unique entrance to a Disney Park.

René-Claude Bourgeois, construction project leader, gives a few details regarding this exceptional works site: “The tiles in Fantasia Gardens cover a total area of 14.000m2, which is the equivalent of two football fields. And that is what needs to be covered again! Aside from the ground, the curbs –a total of 2.8 km!- the coping, the planted flower beds and the rails will all be redone.”



The program is in its 15th phase as the ground covering located between the gardens is being replaced. The concrete slabs are now being replaced by pavers of better quality, easier to up-keep and with an average thickness of 12 centimeters. The pavers are mainly from the Bourgogne region, made by local manufacturers, while a company located in the Dordogne area has been called in to take care of the small stone walls.




In order to meet the standards of the multi-year accessibility program currently underway at Disneyland Paris for persons with reduced mobility, the stairs have been adapted to the current standards, including “tactile” pavement near the steps. The existing drinking fountains have also been adapted for easier use, even by persons in wheelchairs.

Aside from the green areas and its paved passages, Fantasia Gardens also host a large central basin with various fountains.The refurbishment has been the perfect opportunity to rehabilitate this central feature : consequently, new water jets and pumps are currently being installed along with a refurbishment of the adorning stone work. Lighting has also been modified with the energy-saving and high-performance LED system that will offer an improved show at night. This phase of the works, undoubtedly the most ambitious in the global project, will be concluded by the end of July.
bassins fantasia gardens

This project is another excellent example of the strong collaboration between Design & Construction and Walt Disney Imagineering teams.

The total renovation of the area should be finished in Spring 2017, unveiling once again this magnificent entry sequence to all guests.

Pictures and text: copyright Disney

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

THREE New and Better HD Video of Shanghaî Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean : Battle for the Sunken Treasure Ride ...and How They Did the Ride Special Effects!


Three new very well filmed HD videos of the FULL Pirates of the Caribbean : Battle for the Sunken Treasure ride were uploaded on Youtube, and these new videos are MUCH BETTER than the first one we saw, which was already very good. On this first new one, from Theme Park University, you'll see more clearly the decors, especially the underwater sequence! Theme Park University has also posted pics of the queue decor, and more, that you can see HERE




The next video is in two parts and was filmed by Matthew Eberle. In this other excellent footage you'll see some of the scenes even better and the video starts from the ride entrance, i.e for the first time you'll see all the queue decor, up to the boarding room!







And one more for the road with this next video filmed by Chrysalis Travel, in which some visual effects can be seen better, especially the two "ghosts" pirates in the underwater sequence and Davy Jones on his boat in the final battle.




And now, if you're still wondering how they did all the ride effects KingRCT3 did a video with the Matthew Finnemore footage to explain them to you!




Video: copyright Theme Park University, Matthew Eberle, Chrysalis Travel, KingRCT3

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New Trailer for Pixar' Finding Dory !


A new trailer has been released for Finding Dory, and it looks great! 

Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale? Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E”) and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL-E”), the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton.

“Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.





Picture and video: copyright Disney - Pixar

New 19 Minutes Drone Video Over Shanghaî Disneyland


We've got a great new SDL video showing Shanghaî Disneyland from above and also from the ground. It comes from Youtuber esperal L and as you'll see, at three weeks from SDL official opening, drones don't hide themselves anymore and fly at sunrise or sunset over the park as this Chinese video was shot during daytime with not too many people in the park but plenty in Disneytown nearby or around. It's also one of the best we've got so far, and could even have been THE best one if the editing didn't included some bad transitions shot effects. Anyway, enjoy the flight!




Bonus with these night shots of Shanghaî Disneyland showing Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, Peter Pan's Flight, Alice in Wonderland Maze...









...and TRON Lightcycles Power Run canopy - yes, its night lighting can change colors!



See you soon for a new D&M update!