Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Concept for a Disneyland Dubai !

Here is a great find about a Disneyland Dubai concept. You may have seen it on the WDWMagic forum or others websites as some articles already talked about it, that's why i had to delay this article prepared a few weeks ago.

So, someone found on the Favili Studio website  this concept which was apparently done not for Disney but for the Riva Group which has connections with Meraas, a company currently developing five parks in Dubai, called Dubai Parks, two of them already being announced - a Six Flags and a Legoland. Although it happened that Disney sometime use for secret projects a third party company i doubt that it is the case here because if this was done, even unofficially at the request for Walt Disney Imagineering, i doubt that Favili Studio would have posted these artworks.

Anyway, it's an interesting concept and although the park design looks much smaller than a Magic Kingdom this "Disneyland Dubai" have several lands and we're going to have a closer look at them. But first, here is the main artwork showing the whole park, click to enlarge the picture.

A closer look at the entrance reveal that, instead of the regular Main Street U.S.A, is envisioned a kind of medieval-Fantasyland "main street" entrance. Note the train as well as the train station at the entrance.

...A "Fantasyland style" street in which will be probably located some of the Fantasyland dark rides and shops, and even Toon Town buildings by what i can see in the background.

This entrance street would lead to the central plaza with the Disneyland Dubai Castle. The design of the castle partly reminds me Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris but with the top of the towers designed with an Arabian style.

This Disneyland Dubai Castle, will also be a 5 stars hotel and on this next artwork you'll see the entrance of the hotel, located apparently on the back of the castle.

Now, on the right of the castle we can see the layout of a Jungle Cruise ride, so i suppose that this would be the Adventureland part of the park.

And on the left side of the castle, surprise, instead than a Frontierland we can see another kind of American West land, i.e Cars Land! Radiator Springs Racer is here as well as others elements that we can find at DCA...

...and if you look near the bottom left of the picture above you can see the Pixar lamp and the Pixar ball on the roof of a building which might indicate another attraction or tribute to Pixar Animation Studios as the artwork below confirm it. You'll note the similarities of the inside design, with all the screens, with the DCA Art of Animation pre-show room.

Finally, as there is no Disneyland Park without a Tomorrowland we can see on the bottom right of the main artwork what would be Disneyland Dubai Tomorrowland, with futuristic design and monorail. And even eventually some Star Wars attractions as we can see a kind of "Star Wars Orbitron" with X-Wing and Tie fighters as well as a full size Millennium Falcon at the entrance of the land!

So, is this a real project, would it become reality? No one can tell, and honestly i don't know. May be the concept was done hoping that Disney would like it and will accept to build a Disneyland in Dubai, may be it's the real thing, but considering the hotter-than-ever situation in the Middle East i doubt that Disney will develop a park - even in Dubai - anytime soon...we'll see!

Pictures: copyright Favili Studio

Friday, July 4, 2014

Tokyo Disneyland Like You've Never Seen it Before

It's summer time and where you're living it's too damn' hot? Here is something to refresh you, and it's Tokyo Disneyland as you've never seen it before, except if you live in Japan, of course. This long walkthrough in the park under heavy snow is amazing, almost surrealistic, so don't miss it!

Video: copyright My Disney Life in Tokyo

Marvel Launch Galaxy Getaways Website to Promote Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel has launched a cool new website to promote Guardians of the Galaxy. It's called Galaxy Getaways and it's a fake galactic travel service which promote different destinations of the Guardians of the Galaxy, like a Travel Agency. Sure, its ill remind you Star Tours but the site looks great and you even have a "street view" option for each location just like with Google Maps.. on Earth. The site actually reveals some fun details about the different worlds that will be in the film.

Go ahead, discover Galaxy Getaways, but before don't miss the fun Ad for it below! And by the way, starting today July 4 and continuing until mid-August, guests at U.S Disney Parks on both coasts will be able to enjoy an exclusive sneak peek of “Guardians of the Galaxy”!

Picture and video: copyright Marvel

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Will DLP "Lava Lagoon" Water Park That-Never-Was Project Resuscitate at Universal Studios Orlando "Volcano Bay" ?

I don't know if you've read the post on Screamcape today about a Universal Studios Orlando water park project, but you should. Why, you ask? Because this rumor of a Universal Orlando water park might not be a rumor after all as Parkscope discovered that Universal filed a new trademark under the name of "Volcano Bay" and Lance think that, considering the "Volcano Bay" name is intended for use in “Amusement park and water park rides” or “entertainment in the nature of a water park ride” this might fit with "the rumor for a Universal themed waterpark build around a large fake Volcano mountain structure that would give them a reason to add fun chaotic elements of themeing to the park’s slides and attractions. Steam vents, pyro and mist projection screens full of virtual flames”.

That Volcano water park looks like a pretty cool idea, you say? Sure, but where it starts to be interesting is when you remember that Disneyland Paris had a similar "volcano" water park project called "Lava Lagoon", the famous DLP water park project that never was - and never will be, unfortunately. Instead DLP will have the Villages Nature, a much more profitable real estate operation for DLP in which a part of it will be a water park but in no way similar to Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, or.... Lava Lagoon. I've posted an article about Lava Lagoon in 2012 which i repost here, but it will be interesting if this Universal "Volcano Bay" project is confirmed as  a water park to see if there will be similarities with the DLP project. And don't come telling me that i might be the one who gave the idea to Universal by posting the article two years ago as i will remind you that Universal Creative Senior Vice-President and talented wizard Thierry Coup worked previously at DLP Imagineering, and as everyone working at DLPI he didn't need anyone to be aware of the Lava Lagoon concept.

That said, as my previous article was telling you two years ago there will be some reminiscences in the Villages Nature of the Lava Lagoon concept, so have a read first of this article and i'll be back at the end:

In a recent interview to the french news magazine L'Express, Philippe Gas DLP CEO answered to the journalist question about "a water park at DLP ?" : "For this we will have Villages Nature, a holiday destination which will include the biggest water park in Europe. It took us some years to finalize the project with Pierre & Vacances and we asked Joe Rhode, who created Animal Kingdom, to work on the project. The water park will be based on geothermal and you'll be able to bathe all year long in Icelandic geysers! The commercialization will start at the end of 2012 and the opening is scheduled for mid 2015."

That sounds good, isn't it? Now, as you may know, another famous water park project was envisioned for DLP by WDI Imagineers. It was called Lava Lagoon, was supposed to be build on a land more or less in front of the Sequoia Lodge Hotel and for years DLP fans have hoped that Lava Lagoon will be finally built. Unfortunately there won't be any Lava or Volcano rising in front of the Sequoia Lodge as it is now an extinct project. However, as we will see, some of the ideas which were included in Lava Lagoon might find a new life in the Villages Nature water park.

But, as i realized that i never did an article about this Lava Lagoon project, let's begin first by having a look at how it would have been as the concept looked great! Basically, the idea was to have a "two in one" water park, themed around a Hawaian volcano, with one part covered by a giant dome and the other one, open air which would have been open only during the spring and summer season. Originally the water park was supposed to have an access only for DLP hotel guests and Annual passport holder, and this is probably why its capacity would have been of only 1600 people for the "under dome" part with an addition of 1500 more people during the summer days when the open air part and slides would have been open. On the renderings above and below, coming for a big part from the Westcot website, you'll see clearly what would have been the open air part and the one under the giant dome.

At the center of Lava Lagoon, according to the Webcot article written by Grandmath in 2007, the giant volcano would have been called "The Big Kahuna" and all around it WDI Imagineers had planned to recreate a tropical forest, with bamboos, coconut trees, tikis dedicated to hawaian gods, and fake lava flows who would have served as slides. Apparently it would have been also possible to walk through and explore the volcano. Lots of slides, so, as well as exotic paths at the base of the volcano, with a lazy river going all a round the water park going through a bamboo, palm tree and orchids forest and even going through the "Big Kahuna".

What kind of water activities guests would have found at Lava Lagoon? Well, of course the classic wave pool called the "Great Pacific", located on the west base of the volcano and on the volcano itself guests would have climb stairs going up to the top of the Big Kahuna from where they would have found different type of slides called "Pele’s Plumett", or "Lava Loop", "The Spouting Horn", or "The Sizzling Stones"!

However Lava Lagoon guests would also have found other attractions all around the volcano, one called the Kahuku Falls, a kind of rafting slide, or another slide called "Aloha Falls". Another interesting detail: all around the Big Kahuna would have been beaches of dark "black" sand - like the one you can find near real volcanos - with other beaches of white sand in the open air part of the water park.

In this exterior part guests would have found others slides - artwork above - called "Waimea Canyon", "To a Needle", et "Waihia Falls" but also large pools with evocative names: "Hula Hula Bay", "Alakoke Pond", "Hanahuma Bay", "Koko Cove"... all linked to each others then to the others pools located in the "under dome" inside part thanks to a small river.

And where is the link in all this with the Village Nature water park, you ask? Well, what Grandmath didn't said in its 2007 Westcot article - probably because he didn't knew it - was that WDI Imagineers had also envisioned in their concepts for Lava Lagoon an area which would have been inspired by the natural hot pools that you find naturally in countries of the north of Europe, in two words a part which would have been more "geothermal", as you will see on the renderings below, and for a big part in "open air".

So, even if no "Big Kahuna" volcano or tropical forest with bamboos and orchids will be part of the Villages Nature water park, DLP fans will probably be happy to know that some of the ideas developed for this Lava Lagoon that never was will finally become reality in 2015 when the Villages Nature water park will have its opening, confirming the famous Walt Disney Imagineering quote that " At WDI, a good idea never die ".

( End of 2012 article )

Well, sure, a good idea never die at WDI but apparently it may even resuscitate at Disney's biggest competitor, thousands miles from Disneyland Paris. A water park themed around a volcano theme is a great idea, it's just a pity that DLP missed the opportunity to built it, but to be honest they didn't had the funds to do it. And they also probably have never been convinced that, considering the harsh weather in Paris at least six months a year, a water park, even themed by Disney, could be as popular and financially viable as the ones at WDW can be. And i have to admit that they had a good point, here. So, well, i suppose that we might have to go to Orlando to enjoy some "lava slides", right?

Pictures: copyright Disney - All my thanks to the Westcot web site for the pics previously posted on their site in 2007.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Garner Holt Donate a Tiki Room Audio-Animatronic Barker Bird To Walt Disney Family Museum

Mice Age did a great article today HERE about the Tiki Room Barker bird which has been recreated by Audio-Animatronics wizard Garner Holt and donated to the Walt Disney Family museum in San Francisco. Guests can move the animated bird thanks to a control joystick and it's a great addition to this fantastic museum!

I've found on youtube two videos for you and here they are!

On this next one you'll see a guest manipulating the control joystick.

Pictures: copyright Garner Holt Productions

New Shanghaî Disneyland Construction Pictures !

Stefan Zwanzger, The Theme Park Guy, is back from Shanghaî with great pictures of Shanghaî Disneyland construction site. You can see plenty of shots on his site HERE and among them these close shots of the TRON motorbike coaster building which confirm the rumor that part of the track will go out and make a loop before getting inside the show building. Whether this will happen at the start - probably because of a catapult launch - or at the end remain to be known.

By the way, Screamscape had posted one year and a half ago a layout drawing of this Tron Light Cycles Power Run, which seems to be accurate with the final reality!

Another interesting shot from Stefan is the one showing Shanghaî Disneyland budget hotel, the one which will have a Toy Story theme, still under construction but you can see the facades with the famous Toy Story's Andy room walls "clouds" theme.

Go ahead, don't miss these rare shots of SDL construction, jump to The Theme Park Guy HERE.

Pictures: copyright The Theme Park Guy

"Atlantis" Underwater theme Park To Open in Dubai !

An underwater theme park? Sounds Incredible, but believe it or not, that's what Dubai intend to open very soon, it will be called the Pearl of Dubai, and this underwater theme park will be designed by the art team behind the 2009 sci-fi "Avatar" movie and the five "Pirates of the Caribbean" films!

More from Travel Weekly:

The five-acre site, located in the shallow waters off the World Islands development, will look like a lost ancient city and will be accessible to scuba divers and snorkelers, according to Los Angeles-based Reef Worlds, an underwater tourism design company that is handling the project.

Dubai tourism officials hope to capture a segment of the $3 billion dive and snorkel market.

"When one considers Dubai and the region, scuba diving and underwater exploration are not on the top 10 list, and yet they are almost everywhere else in the world," said Dave Taylor, director of development for Reef Worlds.

"We will work with carefully selected resort partners on unique underwater habitat projects that directly support our clients' sustainability and revenue goals," he said.

The company also has plan to launch underwater theme parks in other countries, including the Philippines. No timeline has been announced for the Pearl of Dubai.

New WDS Ratatouille Ride Making-Of Video

Want more making-of videos of the WDS Ratatouille ride? Here is a brand new one released by DLP yesterday!

Also, Max POV full ride video had to me removed from Youtube and is now again available, if you've missed it, here it is again.

Ratatouille the ride - on-ride - Disneyland Paris by Disneyland-resort-paris

Video: copyright Disney, DLPWelcome

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shanghaî Disneyland Update : The Mystery of the Sacrificed Land

If you've read my previous SDL article two weeks ago with the new Shanghaî Disneyland Google Earth satellite views, you may have noticed something which looks really odd. Here is what i'm talking about. If you look well at the picture above and below you'll notice on the bottom left of the park what will be the Bus station and on its right the supposedly called "Disney Town", a nighttime dining, shopping and entertaiment area, something a bit similar to DL Downtown Disney or DLP Disney Village.

So far, nothing surprising. Except that if you start thinking you realize that Disney Town and the Bus station are located where, in a similar location, we have normally a full land in all others Disney Magic Kingdom. Whether it is in Disneyland or WDW MK where we have Adventureland...

As well at Tokyo Disneyland Adventureland...

Or Hong Kong Disneyland Adventureland...

And not to forget at Disneyland Paris where we have  Frontierland.

No need to be a genius to understand that they could have build another SDL land - or keep the space for future additions - where is currently being built this bus station and "Disney Town". By building them here the space for a future land at Shanghaî Disneyland has been obviously "sacrificed". So why did they did this, that's all the question. They could have put Disney Town and the Bus Station a bit more down near the lake but instead we will have the top of Disney Town - SDL shopping, dining and entertainment area - just a few meters from SDL "Central Plaza" ( aka: Garden of the Twelve Friends ) and SDL Tomorrowland. That's very very strange indeed, isn't it? I though first that they did this so the park could have a second exit leading directly from SDL "Garden" to the top of Disney Town, what could have been a good idea as two exits would make it easier for SDL guests to exit the park. And at the same time it would force the guests to go through Disney Town shops and restaurants and spend their Chinese Yuans there. But looking at the satellite views it's not sure there won't be an exit leading directly to this dining and shopping area, so this explanation might not work... although this other satellite picture below showing it from a reverse angle put the doubt, and there might be a direct exit to Disney Town. 

But may be it's more simple, perhaps they've envisioned at the start of SDL design to have a land there, then it was finally cancelled and they decided to put the bus station and Disney Town instead to keep the land for the future. In this case, as the decision would have been taken longtime before Disney bought Star Wars and the rights for an Avatar land, it's a choice they might regret when they will need land for future additions. After all, this area being located so near from SDL Tomorrowland it would have been the perfect place for a Star Wars land, right? 

Anyway, if anyone knows the answer, i'll be happy to know it!

Pictures: copyright Google Earth

Monday, June 30, 2014

Six New Characters Posters For Big Hero 6 !

Disney released six new characters posters for Big Hero 6, and here they are, as well as the synopsis below:

With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Big Hero 6 is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, Big Hero 6 is directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt), and produced by Roy Conli (Tangled). 

Pictures: copyright Disney

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What's Next For The Future ?

So, Ratatouille and Diagon Alley will open officially in the next two weeks, and then, what's next coming soon at Disney or Universal theme parks? Well, nothing. No new ride really great will come soon and not before a long time so Disney fans better be patient. Okay, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open this summer at Universal Studios Japan ( but not before 2016 at Universal Hollywood ) and the new Disney Paint the Night night parade will debut at HKDL this fall but in terms of new attractions you can't expect anything before the opening of Shanghaî Disneyland at the very end of 2015 and not before 2016 in the U.S when they will introduce the new Soarin' movie at DCA and Epcot.

Sure, there will be new parades and new shows here and there but for the most it will be "business as usual" with Halloween Season, Christmas Holiday season, Spring or Summer season at DLP, etc... Disney fans in SoCal will be more lucky with Disneyland 60th Anniversary and the upgrades of Peter Pan's Flight, Mr Toad Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland in which the new faces projection system used in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train audio-Animatronics will be introduced - you can expect a Queen of Heart in the Alice ride looking more angry than ever - and may be a new interactive night parade similar to the one coming at HKDL. But except if WDI Imagineers succeed to transform Epcot Maelstrom in a Frozen ride before 2016 i'm afraid we might have to wait at least 18 months to see new exciting rides. And this will be for the lucky ones who will go to Shanghaî Disneyland...

In the meantime the creatives guys of Universal Orlando who succeed to build new rides in less time than it takes me to write it should have in stock new surprises for us, starting by the rumored King Kong Skull Island at Islands of Adventure. But here too it should be a ride similar to the one that guests can currently enjoy at Universal Hollywood, so nothing really really new.

SO, in terms of timing here is what we can expect in Disney Parks:

Fall 2014: HKDL: Disney Paint the Night Parade
2015: Disneyland California: Peter Pan, Mr Toad and Alice in Wonderland Dark Rides Upgrades
2015: Tokyo Disney Sea Mermaid Lagoon Theater: New Mermaid show
End 2015: Shanghai Disneyland Park Opening
2016: DCA - Epcot: Soarin' over the World
2016: HKDL: Iron Man Experience
2017: Disney's Animal kingdom: Pandora, the Land of Avatar

To this you can add the rumor of Star Wars : The Adventure Continues for DLP Discoveryland in 2016 ( but it definitely need to be confirmed ) and another rumored small addition for HKDL Fantasyland in 2015, also to be confirmed. Basically it means that you'll have to wait until 2016 to enjoy attractions that you've never seen before, or to purchase a return flight ticket to Shanghaî to be "wowed" by rides you won't see anywhere else.

And Star Wars land, you ask? Well, as Mice Age announced months ago Star Wars land is for now in stand-by. The development cost of My Magic + was supposed to be the reason why but from what i've been told it seems that there is another reason. Apparently Disney suddenly realized that the first Star Wars trilogy, the one which founded the SW mythology was released 30 years ago, meaning that the fans are now in their 40's or 50's and Disney prefer to wait for the release of the new trilogy to see how today's new generations react. And then they will choose the rides to be include in Star Wars land. It means that you might have attractions that would be related to the upcoming trilogy instead than the old ones. Which also might mean to say goodbye to the rumored SW speeder bikes ride.

But may be there is another reason in the delay of Star Wars land - previously scheduled in the 2013 WDC 10 years plan to open in 2017 and 2018 at DL and WDW DHS - and this could be that they keep it for the long rumored third park at Anaheim. We'll see what happen but it would be a good idea if they could remember that it's not young kids who pay for the park tickets but their parents, and these are the ones of the first SW fans generations who grew up with the first trilogy. So a mix of rides inspired by both the old and new trilogies might be a good idea to satisfy everyone, if you see what i mean...

As for a Marvel land, you've got plenty of time to grow up, as in the same 2013 WDC 10 years plan it was scheduled for 2020 and so far, at the exception of HKDL Iron Man Experience it seems that no changes were done for the opening date.

That's all for today's look at the future, and tomorrow we'll talk about Shanghaî Disneyland and something that looks strange to me, so don't miss it!

Note: The picture at the top is of course coming from the beloved and now extinct Horizons attraction and is here only to illustrate this article about the "future". Meaning that no ride looking like this or a Horizons resurrection can be expected.

Picture: copyright Disney