Friday, July 3, 2015

Will Disney Announce at D23 Expo a Ten Year $3 Billion Overhaul for Disney's Hollywood Studios ?

Will Disney announce next month at the upcoming D23 Expo a ten year $3 Billion overhaul of  WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios? According to Billy Donnelly's article on his This Is Infamous website, the answer is yes. Billy even calls this huge $3 billion overhaul “the biggest theme park expansion Disney has ever set out to do” adding that full information on what is in the plans for the new Disney’s Hollywood Studios will likely be announced at D23 Expo this August during the Parks and Resorts awaited presentation.

Billy also say that this $3 billion massive overhaul of the DHS has been approved by Disney’s board "complete with rebranding to better reflect the shift away from how movies are made to more how they live and breathe inside of us. Along with that money, we’ll be seeing the park dominated by STAR WARS, Pixar and Indiana Jones as a great deal of the park’s older attractions are put out to pasture and about six new ones are ushered in".

So, in addition to the attractions that their closure has already been announced ( Magic of Disney Animation, American Idol ) more will be shut down like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular or Muppet Vision 3D to make room for the new ones coming all along these ten years plan. I'm a bit surprised about Muppet Vision 3D so take this with a pinch of salt as he may be wrong on this one. In the attractions which are "sure to stay" we have of course The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania - which should double its track soon - and the Great Movie Ride which received a renovation recently thanks to Turner Classic Movies sponsorship. 

However, the most important is what is coming starting by the awaited Star Wars land "that should inject some new energy into the park, with two new STAR WARS attractions tapped to be in the works, including a Dagobah centerpiece for where Echo Lake and Gertie the Dinosaur currently reside. Details on what those attractions will be have managed to escape me for now, but, with STAR TOURS and the Jedi Training Academy, which I hear will be relocating indoors to an existing building, already in place, you’re looking at four STAR WARS attractions on the ground inside the park, not to mention the possibilities for dining and shopping experiences that would mimic what you’d encounter in that galaxy far, far away."

The good news, if Billy is right, is about Indiana Jones as, even if the Indy Epic Stunt spectacle will close, "Indiana Jones will not be staying away from Hollywood Adventure for too long… as an updated version of the Indiana Jones Adventure that can be found in Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be breaking ground in Florida finally."

The third new "land" will be a Pixar one with an expansion of the current Pixar land which will include three new attractions being added without counting the expansion of Toy Story Mania currently in the works. Billy sources told him that in fact "construction may already be underway, hidden from public view where the Studio Backlot Tour used to exist. That would make the time from announcement to completion feel much shorter, a strategy Universal has successfully employed in recent years for their theme parks."

All of this should be revealed at D23 this August in greater detail so we won't have to wait too long to know if he's right or not. My guess is that it's "probably right". Billy even have a "one more thing" saying that all this "doesn’t even include the new nighttime show being lined up for EPCOT to replace Illuminations or the new attraction that will be kicking Journey Into Imagination to the curb.

So, if all goes well, plenty of good news coming soon and you can read Billy full article HERE.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WDI Behind the Scenes Video of Disneyland Peter Pan's Flight New Special Effects, and more

Walt Disney Imagineering has released a great behind the scenes video, with Imagineer Larry Nicolai, WDI creative director, explaining the new special effects added to Disneyland's Peter Pan's Flight. Let's have a look first at the video and i'll tell you more right after it. I also add two different videos of the full ride in its new version, for those of you who haven't seen them yet.

First, the new WDI video.

Next, two HD videos of the full ride with the new effects, filmed by SoCal Attractions 360 and Mouse Info.

Now, although the new effects makes a great upgrade for Peter Pan's Flight - and most probably will be added at Disneyland Paris during the scheduled closure of the attraction at DLP Fantasyland next year - some effects originally envisioned have been cancelled in the new version of the ride. Also, the nursery scene in the queue like they did at WDW is apparently not part of the new DL version, may be they didn't had enough room to do it.

Let's start by what has been cancelled and that's a good news. WDI Imagineers had thought to introduce the rear head projection effect for most - if not all - the main characters faces - the same effect which has been used for the dwarfs faces in WDW Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride - and, wisely, they've probably thought that it will not be satisfying on PPF characters. When the effect was introduced in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train there was a big debate and half of the fans liked it when the other half hated it. Personaly, i think that  it works quite okay on the dwarfs. But i also think that it has been a good idea to don't do this rear projection effect of PPF characters faces. They surely would have been able to do it technically and i don't know the reason why WDI Imagineers changed their mind, but it may have been also because of the light that this projection effect introduces on the characters faces, and this degree of light was may have been too much light for the other ride elements and their dark ride lighting.

Let's see now what others effects have been envisioned and cancelled. In the London Town scene some projection effect on the windows showing interior action was considered and this might be in place in the new version but it's hard to see on the ride videos. The scenic with Peter Pan, Wendy and the boys on Big Ben is part of the new version. In the Neverland scene the projection and special effects for the waterfalls, sea, and erupting volcano have been introduced but a proposal of adding an air blast effect to Hook's ship cannon and a scrim to show the cannon ball apparently was cancelled - NDR: if you've ride the new version and if i'm wrong, please let me know. In the Skull Rock scene with Tiger Lily the waves crashing on the rocks projection effect is done and in the Pirate ship scene the rear head projection effect on Wendy, Peter and Hook, as well as Michael, John, Smee and the pirate faces has been cancelled, which, again, is a good decision. In the final scene "Mermaid Lagoon" the waterfalls projection effect is there but they've initially thought to remove the Pirate ship and replace it by a scenic projection of the ship flying, and apparently the idea didn't made it in this new version.

So, as you can see, most of the effects that were in the original plan are part of the new version. The main big effect cancelled is for what they call "expressive faces" for the ride characters faces but as i've said it's probably much better to don't have done it.

Videos: copyright Disney, SoCal Attractions 360, Mouse Info

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Selfie Stick Ban and the "Envelope of Protection" Principle

As you may have read if you follow me on the D&M Facebook page, Disney has decided to ban selfie sticks in all Disney theme parks around the world - and apparently also tripods, at least at Disneyland Paris. Big debate started on forums with as many people happy of the decision than others thinking it should be banned on rides only. All medias talked about it and on someone named "EnglishMobster" claiming to be a Disneyland cast-member said that this decision is the only real way Disney could be sure that guests won’t get their arms forcibly separated, as due to their length, selfie sicks can be out of a ride "envelope of protection". Here is what he said:

"We have a thing called the “Envelope of Protection.” Basically, all attractions made since 1965 are designed in such a way that the human body cannot reach out and touch anything — here’s a vehicle they use to test this (that’s from Walt Disney World in Florida, but California uses the same concepts). This means that when a rollercoaster is going 45 MPH, you can have your hands out and you won’t get hit (it’s not a good idea to test that, however — we do tell you to keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times). 
A selfie stick is effectively an extra three feet that you can dangle out in any direction. The attractions weren't designed for that, and your selfie stick can hit part of the attraction. When you're going 45 MPH, that can seriously damage the attraction and your phone/camera. The selfie stick will likely fly out of your hands and in a worst-case scenario can either hit someone else on the ride (injuring them) or land on the track and derail the sled behind you. One of our largest rollercoasters derailed because someone's backpack fell out once, and we don't want to risk a selfie stick causing the same issues.
We originally tried banning them on rides where they could affect some show element or impact part of the ride -- any ride with animatronics that could be poked, and any ride moving relatively fast through areas your selfie stick could hit. People still kept bringing them on the rides and kept dangling them out of the ride vehicles -- and again, if your selfie stick hit something, it could endanger the safety of yourself and those around you. If we saw it come out, we had to stop the ride and ask you to put it away. Some rides can't restart very easily and can take a couple hours before they reopen -- which, of course, is an inconvenience to other guests.

If you have a look at the video below - put on line by Kevin Yee - you'll see what this Disneyland cast-memeber mean about the "envelope of protection", and here it was used during the tests of the seven Dwarfs Mine Train vehicles before opening. It’s basically a big spindly disc which surrounds the vehicle and simulates the furthest possible reach that a human on ride could reach with his arms out of the train. If this "envelope of protection" can make it through the ride, guests can make it through the ride, too… as long as they don't have selfie sticks going further than the "envelope of protection".

Envelopes of protection” have sometime a different look like this one below.

EnglishMobster also added: "We do try to preserve the magic for most guests, but we don't press it enough to warrant an all-out ban on something. Our "Four Keys" to Disney are Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency (in that order), and Courtesy comes before Show -- we want to be nice and allow you to take your selfie stick photos, even if they show backstage areas. However, Safety comes before Courtesy -- and this was a safety hazard. Lesser steps weren't having an effect, so we moved to an all-out ban.
It was totally because of safety issues on the rides, and it was totally because guests weren't listening to us Attractions cast members. If people had listened to us and not taken out their selfie sticks on rides, they would still be allowed in the park -- but people don't listen (or don't care) and think that their awesome selfie is worth potentially endangering others."

A good news though, a he says: "You can still wear your GoPros and stuff -- we've been told that mounting your camera on your head is considered a "hat" and mounting a camera on your wrist or hand is considered a "glove," so they're allowed." But... "you can't bring in any kind of grip or pole that could potentially break our Envelope of Protection, and you still shouldn't hang your arms out the side of the ride vehicle."

Well, i think it couldn't be more clear, and this should answer to questions that some of you probably had about this selfie stick ban, though it don't really explain why they've also banned them outside of the rides.

Video: copyright Kevin Yee

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Why "The Edison" Will Become Instantly Disney Springs Favorite Place for WDW Guests

WDS released last week the rendering of The Edison, which will be one of the major additions to Disney Springs, the new shopping and dining entertainment area at DownTown Disney. Those of you who already know the original Edison at Los Angeles know how awesome the deco is but, as probably most of you don't know it, here are some pictures of The Edison in L.A, and according to the press release the one being built at WDW Disney Springs should have more or less the same kind of decor. 

WDW press release describe The Edison as "a lavish “Industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination "that will feature exceptional classic American food, artisanal craft cocktails and unparalleled live entertainment". Similar to its sister location on the west coast, The Edison at Disney Springs will be dedicated to a resurgence of old-world style, sophistication and romance. Themed to a 1920s-period electric company, the space will recall an exuberant era of invention and imagination. With 35-foot ceilings and a range of themed areas to explore, The Edison will feature nightly entertainment including contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more."

The original Edison is a steampunk themed nightclub located inside the Higgins Building basement in Los Angeles, California, which opened in 2007. The Higgins Building basement was Los Angeles' first ever power plant, built by Thomas Higgins. After spending several years derelict and underwater, it was rescued by entrepreneurs Andrew Meieran and Marc Smith, who made a post-industrial steampunk venue for Los Angeles nightclubbers, now highly popular. As a picture worth a thousand words, let's have a look at them now!

I think you better understand now why you must await the opening of The Edison as, with its dim lighting, steampunk - Industrial Gothic decor and even a bit of Tower of Terror atmosphere it should become instantly one of Disney Springs favorite place for WDW guests! In the meantime discover the great website of the original The Edison HERE.

All pictures: copyright The Edison

Jurassic World : Building the Apatosaurus Audio-Animatronic

You, fans of Audio-Animatronics are gonna like this video showing the making of Jurassic World Apatosaurus Dinosaur! Legacy Effects is the company who did the "dying" Apatosaurus for Jurassic World production and they did this fantastic 7 min long video showing step by step how they rallied this fantastic Apatosaurus Audio-Animatronic. Don't miss it, and also check on the D&M Facebook page HERE for more awesomeness!

Video: copyright Legacy Effecst

Friday, June 19, 2015

Shanghai Disney Resort Unveils More Details About the Two SDL Themed Hotels

Shanghai Disney Resort unveiled more details about the two themed hotels as well as a new rendering showing the Toy Story Hotel lobby. Here is the full press release:

Disney Magic Extends from Shanghai Disneyland to Two Imaginatively Designed Hotels

June 10, 2015, Shanghai – Two hotels with imaginative Disney themes will invite guests to extend their visit to Shanghai Disneyland, creating a multi-day experience and providing even more fun and enchantment for friends and family who are discovering Shanghai Disney Resort. The highly anticipated resort is scheduled to open in spring, 2016, with the first Disney park in mainland China, a Disneytown shopping, dining and entertainment district, plus the two hotels.

The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel, conveniently located next to Shanghai Disneyland, keep the Disney magic alive from day into night. With themed designs rich in Disney storytelling and warm, welcoming service, the two hotels offer 420 and 800 guestrooms, respectively, with a range of entertainment, dining, shopping and other recreation options, providing “only at Disney” experiences with Chinese culture in mind.
As the signature hotel of Shanghai Disney Resort, Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is an elegant Art Nouveau-inspired hotel with a touch of Disney magic and imagination. Graphics, decorations, walls and window coverings, and even the furniture are accented with an overlay of Disney wonder. Offering a more playful experience, Toy Story Hotel transports guests into a toy-filled world inspired by the Disney-Pixar series of Toy Story animated films. Whichever hotel they choose, guests will be immersed in Disney stories and create lasting memories with beloved family and friends.

Disney storytelling begins the moment a guest arrives at the hotels. Seasonal gifts and magical moments are elaborately prepared to give guests a warm welcome. Whether they are passing the vivid bronze statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the porte cochere of Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, or crossing the Woody and Buzz Lightyear Courtyards of Toy Story Hotel, guests will enjoy their Disney journey at the expansive properties. At the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, they also will find Disney characters from such Disney animated classics as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and The Lion King.

Delicious, Disney-themed items are on the menu at both Shanghai Disney Resort hotels. At Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, guests may dine with Disney Characters at the buffet-style Lumiere’s Kitchen, or enjoy a fine dining experience with breathtaking views of Shanghai Disney Resort at the Aurora Restaurant. At Sunnyside Café in the Toy Story Hotel, guests will enjoy tasty meals and also discover Chinese-style kites, featuring Toy Story characters, flying above them. The kites are inspired by traditional kite craftsmanship from Weifang in Shandong Province, the famous kite city in China.

Disney storytelling continues at various themed hotel facilities, such as Mickey Mouse Playhouse, Hakuna Matata Oasis and King Triton Pool. Guests are totally steeped in the world of Disney with character-themed room keys, bath amenities, post cards, pens and more. The hotel gift shops offer an array of selected Disney merchandise, which guests can treasure as part of the unforgettable memories of their visit.

In line with the world-class standards of all Disney hotels, the Shanghai Disney Resort hotels also show great consideration for every guest with premier hospitality, cordial services and meticulous attention to detail. Benefitting from the proximity to Shanghai Disneyland and the Wishing Star Lake, both hotels offer special logistical services to assist guests, including merchandise package pickup, luggage service, the Disney Resort Shuttle and Disney Resort Ferry.

Merchandise package pickup: Merchandise purchased in the theme park can be delivered right to a guest’s hotel, at no extra charge.
Luggage service: Guests may drop off luggage at the main entrance of the theme park or at the hotels, to be held for their arrival.
Disney Resort Shuttle: Complimentary shuttle service is available between Toy Story Hotel and Shanghai Disneyland.
Disney Resort Ferry: Complimentary water taxi service is available between Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Shanghai Disneyland.

After enjoying some time at Shanghai Disney Resort, or while resting in between meals, parents may bring their children to the Family Activity Centers, located at each hotel and filled with educationally inspired activities, crafts, games and story readings, all within a unique Disney and Disney•Pixar experience. With hospitality that only Disney can provide, guests will be entertained throughout their stay.

Both hotels blend the unique joy of Disney with Chinese cultural heritage to satisfy the needs of Chinese guests. One of the special Chinese features at Shanghai Disneyland Hotel will be a fountain with a large, unique centerpiece — a glass peony blossom with classic Disney fairies. The peony is a traditional flower of China, and this piece, produced in Shanghai, will be one of the largest sculpted, solid glass flowers in all of China. Special touches also include amenities that cater to Asian customs, such as slippers and high-quality tea bags.

Beyond any imagination, Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel welcome people from all over the world to experience the best of Disney in China, all day and all night. A stay at the themed hotels creates an integrated, exciting and holistic tour of Shanghai Disney Resort. Fun moments continue to surprise and delight throughout the guest visit.

Pictures: copyright Disney - Shendi

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

All Six Star Wars Movies Simultaneously in One Video Creates an Unbelievable Psychedelic Experience.

Boy, this is pure GENIUS. YouTuber maurcs is a Star Wars fan, and had the idea to put all six films of the Star Wars saga on top of each other — sounds, image, everything!  Chances are that most of you will see the result as an unintelligible, cacophonous mess and i admit there is no way anyone can follow the six stories all together, so don't even try, if you want to avoid that your brain explode. But that's not the problem because what maurcs did is to create the most insane psychedelic experience i've ever seen in a movie since, well, may be the famous "journey through the stars" at the end of 2001 A Space Odyssey. Which, to be honest had more meaning as it was an important part of 2001 storyline. 

As a Youtuber said in its comment, watching these six Star Wars films all together is "for people who like to think they are on LSD while not actually taking LSD". It's exactly that. If your mind had the ability to be in six different places and be conscious of what was happening in the six places at the same time, it probably won't be different, except you'll be in trouble as your brain couldn't support this too much datas. But those who tried LSD during the good ol' days will tell you what it is to have the feeling that your consciousness is exploding. 

The other thing amazing here is how this idea to put the six Star Wars films one upon each other created something interesting, esthetically speaking. Kind of psychedelic pop art or so... 

Considering the weight of the file maurcs uploaded it on Youtube only in 360p but i'm sure that screened in Full HD on a giant screen it would be an awesome experience. That said, i don't know what maurcs had smoked when he did this, but it sure was some good one! And, to quote another Youtube comment, "Anyone who can watch through this entire thing must be high...". So, have a nice trip as this is the ultimate Star Wars experience for the mind!

Picture and video : copyright LucasFilm