Friday, January 13, 2012

Star Tours 2 coming to Hong Kong Disneyland Tomorrowland !

Although it's not totally official yet, i have a great news for all Hong Kong Disneyland fans: Star Tours 2 is coming to HKDL Tomorrowland! You can expect it probably the year after Mystic Manor opening, i.e in 2014 or 2015 the latest, and certainly before Shanghaî Disneyland opening. Although it's not official yet there has been recently some leaks and The in its report last week said that "The park reportedly plans to build an artificial lake and another amusement facility with a theme similar to Star Wars".

Personally i knew it since a while from my personal source and i think that Star Tours 2 will be a major addition to HKDL Tomorrowland. With the opening of four major attractions/land between now and 2015 Hong Kong Disneyland will be ready to face Shanghaî Disneyland opening. By the way, there is also a kind of logic in all this: If you follow the expansion plan of Hong Kong Disneyland, Autopia was opened in Tomorrowland in 2006, Animation Academy opened in Main Street in 2007, It's a Small World and Toy Story Land were the expansion for Fantasyland in 2008 and 2011, and Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Manor will be the expansion for Adventureland in 2012 and 2013. If you trace HKDL move, you'll understand that their next expansion plan should be back to Tomorrowland, and that's exactly what it's gonna be.

Now, where exactly will they put ST2 in Tomorrowland? Jump to my Star Tours 2 site to discover the exact location where Star Tours 2 will be build at HKDL Tomorrowland, and more details!

Picture: copyright Disney - Lucas Film

Don't miss the HKDL Wallpapers application for iPhone and iPad with gorgeous pictures of the park, you'll find it on the iTunes Appstore! See article here
Direct iTunes link HERE!

WDS Ratatouille Dark Ride Construction Will Begin Anytime Soon !

Okay, this time this is it, we can say that the construction of the awaited Ratatouille dark ride at DLP Walt Disney Studios will begin anytime soon! Not only as it was announced this week DLP now have an additional 150M € credit line from the WDC which is more or less the price of the ride and land - but, before they begin to build it, the french law request to display on site a construction announcement. That's what happened this week and generally when this is done construction begin anytime soon. You have a picture of it above, posted on the Disney Central Plaza forum by the always excellent Mouetto.

We also have new infos about the ride which is supposed to be called "Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity"! Note that this is the project title and that the final attraction title might change as it was the case on Toon Studio's Crush's Coaster previously called "Crush's Turtle Twister". Anyway, the project title bring some infos about the ride and it means that a big part of the ride should happen inside Gusteau's kitchen.

Some infos i had a few years ago - so the final script might have changed - were saying that guests will have the feeling to be reduced at the size of a rat and i agree that this could be fun. As far as i remember, after a start in Gusteau's kitchen guests will be "trapped" and throw in the sewers - which, if it's still in the storyline, could give a great visual scene and a reference to the sewers sequence at the opening of the movie. Then we will go out and all the goal would be to comeback to Gusteau's kitchen... Again, considering that these infos are two years old the script might have changed but it seems that's how it was envisioned originally.

Technically speaking we know that the ride will use a trackless vehicle system, that there will be 3D projections effects and it's also indicated on the construction permit that the ride will use 36 vehicles with 6 people inside each vehicle, including one vehicle for wheel chairs. Each vehicle is separated (not attached with others), have wheels, and energy is provided by electric batteries. The trackless technology should be close to the one used in Pooh's Honey Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland and the whole thing, technically speaking, might be close to how is done the famous Spiderman ride at IOA or the new Transformers ride at USS which also use a trackless vehicle and 3D projection effects.

You'll note that the picture on the top provides also interesting infos about the Ratatouille land. First, we can note that it's not written explicitly "Ratatouille attraction" but "Creation of attraction Toon Studio D", which is the code name of it, simply because it is located in the Toon Studio land. Then, we can see that the buildings construction is supposed to be almost 18 meters high which is as high as a six floor building in Paris! You can see above a rendering showing the Paris themed area, and i remind you that a restaurant will also open in the land, which is more than logical considering the Ratatouille original story.

We also see on the top picture the size of the land, in square meters, and i think that the "250796 sam" is referring to the total area of Toon Studio. The others 5719 sqm might refer to the Ratatouille land area, which makes an area of 57m x 100m, more or less. Logistically speaking the area is located close to the new Toy Story Playland and behind the Costuming building and as this is a kind of cul de sac let's hope that it won't create any guest flow problem - not sure, though, specially if the attraction is as popular as expected...

This next picture is a montage done by DCP Forum with the current WDS map, and although it shows precisely the location of the Ratatouille land we might not expect an Eiffel Tower small replica as it is shown on it.

The ride and Ratatouille area are supposed to need two years to be build, so don't expect an opening before fall 2013 at the earliest. But at least we know that the project is now a "go" and all we have to do is to wait, something that DLP fans are used to do (!).

In the meantime, i remind you to don't forget to pre-order a collector's copy of the Disneyland Paris book, on its way for reprinting. The book is absolutely gorgeous, Just go HERE to learn more about the book and how to place your order.

Attraction Pictures: copyright Disney, with all my thanks to Disney Central Plaza

Disney California Adventure: Say Goodbye to ElecTRONica and Hello to Mad T Party !

After the very popular ElecTRONica, Disney California Adventure will bring to the guests a new nighttime celebration with the Mad T Party starting summer 2012. According to the Disney Parks Blog "This psychedelic soiree will be filled with surprises and new takes on some familiar characters from the world of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Join us for a party like no other as you fall into the rabbit hole and land in a wild and whimsical world where up is down, this is that and nothing is what it seems. A live band, unique entertainment, fun-filled games and plenty of dancing all await guests seeking an escape into a bright and vivid alternate reality.

Throughout the Mad T Party, we will “tip our hats” to the world of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” with wild and fabulous imagery and imagination. Familiar faces will be re-imagined in fresh, new ways, all combining to immerse guests in a captivating world that’s filled with exclusive signature foods, beverages and merchandise offerings".

The TRON End Of Line Club will also be replaced with the House of Cards lounge, as you can see on the artwork below.

That sounds good, doesn't it? The DCA Mad T Party are coming next summer 2012 and for sure i will let you know when it will begin!

Picture: copyright Disney

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Disney launch new Cars Land site - High-Res WDI Artwork

Cars Land will open this summer at Disney's California Adventure and Disney launched a new Cars Land site yesterday. You won't learn or see anything more than what you already know but, even if we already know them, the site provide some Cars Land artwork in big size and in better quality than ever, so click on each pic below to see them in big size!

Among them, the Cars Land map and bird eye view of the land...

A great night view of Radiators Springs main street...

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree....

Luigi's Flying Tires

Radiators Springs Racer...

There is also a short video with interesting shots on the Cars Land model...

All this looks great and i think you should put in your bookmarks this new Cars Land site as more pictures will probably appear on it in a near future!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

John Carter International Poster Released !

An international poster for John Carter was released today and it is the one that you can see above. In addition, Disney also released recently other posters - the ones below - and they're all in wallpaper size, so click on each to get them in high-res!

You know that we love the renderings here at Disney and more, so here is some concept-arts done for this awaited movie.

Finally, Disney released last month a new trailer that i didn't posted on D&M and you can watch it below. Personally i have a very good feeling with this John Carter, released early March world wide. Partly because it is former Pixar animator Andrew Stanton - Wall-E director - who did it. I am confident he will find the right emotion for the film and that his creation of Mars will be memorable. Let's hope i'm right!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney

Looking for a job at Shanghaî Disneyland ?

If you're in China or anywhere else and are interested to have a job at Shanghaî Disneyland, be ready for next year as Shanghaî Daily revealed today that: "Shanghaî Disneyland, scheduled to open in 2015, will kick off a global recruitment campaign next year.

Park officials will put little emphasis on applicants' educational background, instead focusing on their abilities and qualities, said Shanghai Shendi Group Co Ltd, which represents the city government's stake in the project. Thus, officials said, college graduates can apply for jobs as waiters and waitresses while people holding lower diplomas will have the opportunity to become administrative staff for the park.

Hu Jingjun, director of Shendi, said the park will need thousands of employees. Mark Hall, a British human resources expert, forecast that about 40 percent of Disneyland's employees will be maintenance or low-skilled workers, such as security guards and cleaners, half will be employed in services, and 10 percent will take high-level management posts.

The theme park will be located in Chuansha of the Pudong New Area, where most of the population has a relatively low educational background. But the recruitment information will be promoted to Chuansha residents, and the Pudong government will hold training classes for applicants to improve their competitive chances".

You got the message?

Text: copyright Shanghaî Daily

Was EuroDisney Cursed from the Start ?

In Europe, when you sign an important agreement, you generally come with some gift to celebrate. It's probably the same anywhere in the world but i wouldn't be surprised if in Asia they were also making sure that the event happens a "good" day, or they will ask monks to come to ask the protection of gods, etc...

But, anyway, in Occident we just bring gifts. And so did Michael Eisner to french official - who became later french president - Jacques Chirac, on March 24 1987 when Disney signed the final contract for what will become EuroDisney, then Disneyland Paris. And what did Eisner give to Chirac, you ask? He gives him an original cel from Snow White. Wow, that's a pretty cool gift, you think. Well, uh, yes and no. Have a closer look at the above picture and you'll see that this cel shows the witch giving to Snow White the POISONED APPLE!!

Although it's one of Snow White most famous sequence, you'll probably admit that Eisner could have found a better symbolism at a time he was signing a major contract to bring to France a Disney Magic Kingdom... A bit like if it was going to be a poisoned gift... And, although for the french state DLP has always been a good operation in terms of revenues that the state is getting from VAT, other taxes, and of course tourism, almost since the start DLP had these financial problems that we all know.

So, i'm asking the question: was Disneyland Paris cursed from the start thanks to Eisner more "Goofy" than ever? Of course not - well, probably not - but if one day you're signing this kind of major contract, you better choose as a gift something with a more appropriate symbolism!

Picture: copyright Reuters

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Editor's Note : What a day, big news coming from both sides of the planet! Disneyland Paris has now the money to build the awaited Ratatouille dark ride at the WDS - see below - and Hong Kong Disneyland is planning to build four more hotels - see article after the one about DLP or click HERE.

Disneyland Paris obtains a 150M € revolving credit facility from WDC - Ratatouille Dark Ride now on its way at WDS

The sky is brighter over Disneyland Paris today, and especially over the Walt Disney Studios. I've told you recently that we'll have early January an announcement about DLP future, and here it is, as DLP officially announced today that "Euro Disney obtains a 150M € additional standby revolving credit facility from The Walt Disney Company in connection with an approval from its lenders to increase its investments." Here is the official release:

"(Marne-la-Vallée, January 10, 2012) Euro Disney S.C.A. (the "Company"), parent company of Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., operator of Disneyland® Paris (together the "Group"), announces that, on January 6, 2012, it has obtained an additional standby revolving credit facility (the "Additional Facility") of € 150 million from The Walt Disney Company. This Additional Facility expires on September 30, 2018 and was advanced in connection with the approval from its lenders to increase the Group’s investments by up to € 250 million. These investments correspond to the annual recurring investment budget for fiscal year 2012 and a multi-year expansion of the Walt Disney Studios® Park, which includes a new attraction. The Additional Facility is separate from the € 100 million existing standby revolving credit facility (the "Existing Facility"), which expires on September 30, 2014 and is still undrawn. The other terms and conditions of the Additional Facility are substantially the same as the Existing Facility.

Although no assurances can be given, the Group believes it has sufficient funds to finance these and other necessary investments and repay its borrowings consistent with the scheduled maturities, based on its existing cash position, liquidity from the Existing Facility and the benefit of certain conditional deferrals permitted under the Group’s existing debt agreements."

What does this mean, in clear? In clear, it means that DLP now have the money to build the Ratatouille dark ride as well as the mini land around the ride. It also means that the banks probably refused to deliver the cash without a kind of guarantee from the WDC. Now that the park have it works should begin anytime soon as they need two years to build the ride and land. You probably won't be surprised to learn that 150M € is more or less the cost of the Ratatouille ride, so basically what is happening is that the WDC provides to DLP the needed amount to build the ride which will go back for a big part in the pocket of Disney as DLP is of course buying the new attractions to WDI, i.e Disney. Are not they smart at Burbank?

That said, even after paying for the Ratatouille ride the park will still have a credit facility of 100M €, that they had before today's announcement and that they can "use" until 2014. For sure you can build other rides with 100M € and we will know soon what the park expect to do with it. Although their priority is to expand the WDS chafes are that they will use a small part of this money to enhance some DLP ride - hello Jack Sparrow AAs in POTC - or a new placemaking in another part of the WDS, and why not another ride. In the meantime, today is a happy day for DLP fans as this time, this is it, a major E-Ticket ride is on its way!

Picture: copyright Disney

Don't forget to pre-order a collector's copy of the Disneyland Paris book, on its way for reprinting.Just go HERE to learn how.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hong Kong Disneyland Planning to Build Four More Hotels !

Hong Kong Disneyland said Tuesday its net loss narrowed in its sixth year of operations due in part to a 13% increase in visitors to the theme park and i will tell you more about this below but there is much more interesting news from HKDL today as HKDL has asked the Hong Kong government for four more hotels.

Hong Kong Disneyland proposal will include building one large hotel and three smaller vacation-style hotels which will be connected by a tram and the park, which saw a record 5.9 million visitors last year - also aims to build an artificial lake. If the new plans looks too big for the HK government which owns 57 percent of the park, HKDL is apparently willing to compromise, saying that all four hotels do not have to be built at the same time.

Disneyland managing director Andrew Kam Min-ho had earlier said the park wanted to build one large and one small hotel. A government source said Disneyland submitted different proposals including the feasibility of expanding within the existing area and we know they have room for this as you can see on the aerial shot below. But a HK source noted that HKDL wants to expand its rides first before building the hotels which means that the new hotels won't open before 2014 probably, if everything goes fine.

Hong Kong Disneyland also officially revealed its 2011 performance results this afternoon and as i've said the attendance during the period was up 13% to 5.9 million from 5.2 million. Separately, the theme park said it welcomed more than 31 million visitors from its opening in September 2005 to the end of December 2011. HKDL said it had a net loss of HK$237 million (US$30.5 million) for the 12 months ended Oct. 1 last year, improving from a net loss of HK$718 million in the previous fiscal year.

As we know new attractions are being added to Hong Kong Disneyland, Grizzly Gulch will open next summer and Mystic Point next year and there is no doubt that the new lands will attract many more guests.

Finally, another news that may interest you, always about Disney in China: Disney English, the teaching arm at Orlando is in search of foreign trainers to teach English to children ages two through 12. Disney has been advertising the jobs in the New York Times and online. Of course, Disney’s push coincides with its plan to open Shanghai Disneyland. Foreign trainers hired for the China program will be given a contract of between 12 and 15 months. Trainers are given a monthly salary and a monthly housing allowance. Disney provides trainers with three weeks temporary housing until they can find apartments.

Finally, the great HDR picture at the top of this article is coming from my HKDL Wallpapers application and if you don't have it yet, don't miss it, you'll find it on the iTunes Appstore! See article here
Direct iTunes link HERE!

Steven Spielberg "Master Class" LIVE on Disney and more today at 6.45 pm Paris Time (9.45 am L.A Time)

Steven Spielberg is at Paris Cinématheque today for his last movie "War Horse", which is released by Disney Buena Vista. Now, Steven won't do the classic promo of his movie but will give a rare "master class" which will be broadcast live today at 6.45 pm, Paris time. If you're in New York that should make 12.45 pm in N.Y and 9.45 AM in L.A. If you're in London that will make 5.45pm and if you're in Asia, that should make 1.45 am Hong Kong time.

Steven will of course speak in english, and as the master class happen from Paris Cinematheque i suppose there will be a french translation, so whether you speak english or french it should be fine. As Spielberg master class are pretty rare i've embedded below the link for the Live broadcast so you'll be able to watch it "live"! Right now there is nothing which appear which is normal as it is not yet the time of Steven master class. Join us later today for this special event, and i hope that everything, technically speaking, will work fine (!).

Edited: Steven Spielberg's Live master class is now over. The video of it is now available and i've embedded it below for those who've missed this event.

Picture: copyright

Sunday, January 8, 2012

ThemeParkGPS, the first iPhone App that will guide you by GPS inside WDW Magic Kingdom !

Here is a great idea, specially for WDW guests coming for the first time at the Magic Kingdom... or for those of you who definitely don't have the sense of orientation. ThemeParkGPS is, simply, the first ever GPS iPhone App that actually helps you to navigate throughout the Magic Kingdom effortlessly and enjoyably. All you have to do is to follow the icon "Guide Guy" as he shows and tells you how to get from where you are in the Magic Kingdom to anywhere you want to go in the Park.

You know how works GPS for cars? This app works the same way, and the voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS directions is only one of the many features that are offer in this ThemeParkGPS App. Here is a description of the others features, coming from the App description.

FAMILY & FRIEND TRACKER: Want to keep track of the kids while letting them explore the Park by themselves? With ThemeParkGPS you will have peace of mind, always knowing where the kids are in the Park while still giving them their independence. Note that each person you are tracking needs this App downloaded to their iPhone.

IN-APP MESSAGING: Want to meet your friends for lunch in the Magic Kingdom? Need to remind them of your next FASTPASS time? Use this convenient App feature to send and receive messages...especially time-sensitive messages!

REAL-TIME MAP VIEW: Johnny needs to go to the! You are out of cash and you need to find the closest ATM. No worries! GUIDE GUY will locate you on the GPS Map, pinpointing everything that is around you, and lead you to your destination quickly and directly.

FUN FOODFINDER: Craving something special to eat? Want to find a restaurant in the Magic Kingdom that serves Chicken Tenders, Pizza, Carrot Cake or Baked Ziti, for example? With this unique feature, you can search for a place to eat based on any combination of 5 categories!

GPS VEHICLE LOCATOR: Ok, you've had a long, tiring day. Both you and the kids are getting cranky. Its dark and all you want to do is get the kids back to the hotel...and fast! Suddenly you find yourself wandering aimlessly in the parking lot looking for your vehicle. No worries. Follow our dependable GUIDE GUY and he will lead you directly to your vehicle!

In addition ThemeParkGPS gives you much more: You also get the latest information on Magic Kingdom's Attractions, Dining, Shopping, Special Events and Entertainment.

Sounds like a good app for someone who don't know well the park, isn't it? And the good news is that this GPS app cost $0.99 only on the iTunes Appstore! If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, go ahead, you can download the App HERE.

AND, talking about iPhone Apps, i remind you the two great Tokyo Disney Sea and Hong Kong Disneyland Apps which include hundred of gorgeous pictures of the parks and that you can download HERE and HERE.