Friday, August 21, 2015

D23 Expo : More About HKDL Iron Man Experience, Opening in 2016

In this last article about D23 Expo we'll have  a closer look to the awaited HKDL Iron Man Experience attraction opening next year at HKDL Tomorrowland. As always, we have to thanks Andy Castro for his great pictures that he took all along the Expo!

If you've missed D&M others D23 reports with Andy's pictures here are the direct link. Don't miss them, these were the most extensive reports you'll find on the web!

D23 Expo Parks and Resorts Pavilion : Part One : Shanghaî Disneyland 

D23 Expo Parks and Resorts Pavilion : Part Two : Pandora – The World of AVATAR

WDW Animal Kingdom Avatar Land Pandora "Travel" Posters 

Star Wars Lands Officially Announced for WDW DHS and Disneyland - High-Res Artwork !

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces New Lands, Entertainment and Experiences

What a Day at D23 : Star Wars Land, Shanghaî Disneyland, Parks and Resorts Projects, and more

Star Wars Land : What We Know and What We Don't... and When It Should Open

As you can see D&M reports on D23 were mostly about new attractions and Imagineering but more happened at D23 and you can find others pictorial reports of Andy Castro on Mice Age HERE including his latest one about the great Disney Archives exhibit about Disneyland HERE. And you can always follow Andy's pictures on Dateline Disneyland HERE.

Let's come back to HKDL Iron Man Experience now and the attraction will start by a Stark Expo which will be a showcase of Tony Stark / Iron Man inventions...

HKDL guests will be introduced to the history of Stark Industries...

...and his latest technologies.

By the way, you may remember this rendering released two years ago, showing the entrance of the Iron Man Experience area at HKDL Tomorrowland...

Now, they've shown it again during the presentation but it's not totally the same one, i let you find the differences...

Then the presentation by a WDI Imagineer introduced the design of the simulator shuttle in which guests will feel like being inside an Iron Man suit.

Then came more details about the ride itself showing first the Hong Kong Stark tower...

...with a close shot on the top of it.

As expected something will go wrong and riders will experience an attack by the dark forces of Hydra, and fight along with Iron Man Hydra robots...

...and we'll discover  some never seen before faces of Hydra...

A few seconds of the ride movie was shown at D23 and here it is, filmed by Inside the Magic.

Now, here is something interesting that you may have noticed in the pictures or ride footage above: it's raining! And so what, you ask? Well, as we know the ride will be a simulator ride using the same technology than Star Tours but with the latest simulators available, so hopefully better. But creating a simple simulator ride has always seem to me not enough, even with a 3D movie. Now, seeing the rain in these pictures or footage makes me think that HKDL Imagineers may introduce an additional effect inside the simulator, and it's something they know well to do as they did it in Tokyo Disney Sea's Storm Rider ride. Yes, i'm talking about having rain inside the simulator. This is not at all 100% sure as it is just my guess and i may be wrong. At TDS the "alibi" to have rain inside the simulator was that it has been hit by a rocket but here it could be different and it wouldn't be too difficult to introduce  in the script a good reason to justify rain inside the simulator. Again, it's just my feeling. A simple simulator ride with no others effects than 3D might look a bit disappointing so i'm sure they've thought to add others effects. But the choice of effects inside a simulator cabin is limited so that's why when i saw the rain i thought about having rain inside the cabin. We'll see if i'm right or not next year!

Let's end with the video of the full Iron Man presentation at D23, also filmed by Inside the Magic.

Pictures: copyright Andy Castro, Disney

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dismaland "Theme Park" Open in England, and The Mouse is not Going to Like it !

The people of the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare thought it was the filming of a Hollywood blockbuster. The veil was lifted Thursday on Dismaland, a Disneyland parody art exhibit and the latest creation of street artist Banksy, a "family theme park unsuitable for small children" as described by the mysterious artist. Here, Cinderella is the victim of a crash of his pumpkin carriage, under the flashes of paparazzi.

There, guests will find a workshop to learn how to open billboards bus stops, and replace them with your own protest posters.

This Dismaland - a play on words with Disneyland, "dismal" meaning grim - was initiated by Banksy who exposes ten new works. But it also houses the creations in the  similar style of 58 contemporary artists, including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer. The park will be open for five weeks only, until September 27, with entrance price tickets at 3 GBP, available on the website of Dismaland.

At Dismaland just like at Disneyland, guests will enjoy some live shows... but artists won't be really the same. The festivities will extend on stage, with five concert dates announced, in addition to evening set to music by DJs every Saturday night. Run the jewel, the duo of American rappers will occur on September 5. On September 25, Massive Attack, famous group from Bristol, which has launched the trip-hop in the 1990s, will share the stage with the Pussy Riots, the Russian feminist punk band that their troubles with Vladimir Putin erected as  protest icons.

Also, a small note at the bottom of the Dismaland website home page states that although the park is open to "the family", "the state of the place, the intensive use of strobes and imaging works are not suitable for young children. " The only things "strictly prohibited" are "spray paint, markers, knives and... Disneyland lawyers."

In its today's article the Guardian tell us more with photos of the "dismal" amusement park:

"Banksy's Dismaland - the artist’s biggest project yet - is an art show on 2.5-acre seafront site in Weston-super-Mare features Cinderella crash scene, post-riot model village and cardboard airport security. He describes it as a “family theme park unsuitable for small children” – and with the Grim Reaper whooping it up on the dodgems and Cinderella horribly mangled in a pumpkin carriage crash, it is easy to see why. Banksy’s new show, Dismaland, which opened on Thursday on the Weston-super-Mare seafront, is sometimes hilarious, sometimes eye-opening and occasionally breathtakingly shocking."

The project had been shrouded in secrecy ( D&M: it's easy to understand why! )  and local residents and curious tourists were led to believe that the installations being built in a disused former lido called Tropicana were part of a film set for a Hollywood crime thriller called Grey Fox.

The name is a play on Disneyland, but Banksy insisted the show was not a swipe at Mickey and co. “I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site,” he said. “It’s a showcase for the best artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down.”

Works by 58 handpicked artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer have been installed across the 2.5-acre site. Julie Burchill has rewritten Punch & Judy to give it a Jimmy Savile spin. Jimmy Cauty, once part of the KLF, is displaying his version of a fun model village complete with 3,000 riot police in the aftermath of major civil unrest.

In one tent would-be anarchists can find out how to unlock the Adshel posters seen at bus stops. For £5 people can buy the tools to break into them, replacing the official posters with any propaganda they please. Is it legal? “It’s not illegal,” said the vendor.

Across the way is a “pocket money loans” shop offering money to children at an interest rate of 5,000%. In front of its counter is a small trampet so children can bounce up to read the outrageous small print drawn up by artist Darren Cullen.

Cullen said he had met so many people taking out payday loans who were well aware of how ridiculous the payback was. “As the welfare state is retreating the market is filling the gap in a really predatory way. People are being saddled with insane amount of debt for years.”

Like other artists involved, he has never met Banksy, but he was delighted to be part of the show.

“This place is brilliant. I only knew the minimum amount before I got here,” he said, “but it is so cool. It is just amazing having this much sarcasm in one place.”

Other highlights include the Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit where visitors can warm themselves around a daily burning of the local lord’s books; a model boat pond with dead bodies and overly crowded boats full of asylum seekers; and a puppet revue show constructed from the contents of Hackney skips.

In the moat around the castle is an armour-plated riot control vehicle built to serve in Northern Ireland which is now a children’s slide.

Banksy himself has created 10 new works, including the Cinderella crash in a large castle. Visitors walk in to discover the pumpkin carriage crashed, Cinderella and horses dead, and paparazzi madly taking photos. As people leave they will get their own souvenir photograph in front of the carnage.

The artist has paid for everything himself but a spokeswoman was unable to say if he was recouping his costs or making a profit. The show will run until 27 September, for 36 days, with 4,000 tickets a day at £3 each all available to buy online at That amounts to just over £400,000, so it is difficult to see a great profit given the obvious expenses.

Weston-super-Mare itself will undoubtedly benefit. The lido, which opened in 1937 and once boasted the highest diving boards in Europe, has been closed since 2000.

Only four people at the local council knew about the project, one of those its Tory leader, Nigel Ashton. “There was no need for people to know,” he said, although clearly someone had to say yes. “I gave it a lot of deep thought ... for about two and a half seconds. For a second I thought, ‘who is behind the wind up?’ because you don’t get that lucky. But how do you say no?”

The artist, who maintains his anonymity, called it “a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism. This is an art show for the 99% who’d rather be at Alton Towers.”

There is much to laugh at – the “I am an imbecile” helium balloons, the back-of-your-head caricature artist – but a big chunk of it is deadly serious and overtly political.

Visitors will be welcomed by depressed staff in pink hi-vis jackets, all recruited when they answered a local paper ad for film extras. Even to get in requires going through a cardboard version of airport security, guards insisting that all squid be left behind.

Word of the project’s true nature emerged this week and newspapers were initially asked not to report details so as not to “spoil the surprise”. When a Guardian reporter visited on Tuesday, security guards shooed him away.

The first official confirmation of the project was made to the Weston Mercury on Thursday when it reported details of a “locals only” day on Friday. Banksy told the Mercury: “I hope everyone from Weston will take the opportunity to once more stand in a puddle of murky water eating cold chips to the sound of crying children.”

The first journalists were allowed in on Thursday morning. Ironically, given Banksy’s mania for anonymity, photo ID was insisted upon.

Demand for tickets is expected to be wildly high. A Banksy show at Bristol city museum in 2009 attracted more than 300,000 visitors over 12 weeks and was estimated to have generated £10m for the local economy."

Organisers say the show will offer an escape from mindless escapism. What does it all mean? “I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is – theme parks should have bigger themes,” said Banksy.

CNN has posted the video below about "Dismaland" described as a 'sinister twist on Disneyland' and art-show featuring more than 50 artists."

And here is a longer one filmed by Channel 4.

Text and pictures: copyright The Guardian

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Disney Parks Attraction Posters Deluxe Calendar 2016 Edition

The popular Disney Parks Attraction poster deluxe calendar is returning to select merchandise locations and is a great way to get attraction posters in large size at a reasonable price! The oversized calendar for 2016 will include posters from Disney Theme Parks around the world including Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Each poster is suitable for display in a standard 12-inch by 18-inch frame ( 30 X 45 cm ), with perforations above and below each poster for easy removal after its calendar month. The posters were printed on acid-free and lignin-free paper and the calendar will include rare attractions posters like the one of the WEDWay PeopleMover, Mickey Mouse Musical Revue and the festive Jingle Cruise in Adventureland.

This calendar (item number is 400009684599) will be found in select merchandise locations at Disney Parks, and will have a retail of $21.95. The calendar may be offered on the Disney Parks online store at a future date.

Pictures and text: copyright Disney

Monday, August 17, 2015

Star Wars Land : What We Know and What We Don't... and When It Should Open

Undoubtedly D23 Expo major announcement was the Star Wars Land announcement for Disneyland and WDW Disney Hollywood Studios. Plenty of stunning renderings were unveiled and let's have a closer look at all this to check what we know and what we don't know.

What we know: This Star Wars land will be built both at Disneyland and WDW DHS and so far both will have the same design the one  you can see on the renderings. Although these huge pillars covered by vegetation should make a good transition at Disneyland in the back of Frontierland we can regret that the two lands don't have a different design. Two different planets environment would have been the best, and would have invited Star Wars fans to visit both of them. Yes, BUT this would be at a cost of two different research and development and, don't dream, the Mouse is not gonna pay this price. It's a mistake as there are so many different planets in Star wars mythology that could serve as inspiration but the WDC is a corporation, not a Star Wars fan club, so don't even think about it.

Star Wars land will be "Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life." I've said in my previous Star Wars land post my thoughts about building an unknown planet instead of a known one so i'm not going to repeat myself here and you can read them in my article HERE. That said, 14 acres of land is pretty big indeed - in comparison Cars Land is "only" 12 acres big - and hopefully it will give all the to WDI Imagineers all the space they need to build amazing rides and a great Star Wars environment.

These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World "will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance". Okay, here is the synergy side - remember as i told you that everything at Disney is about "synergy", synergy is the pillars on which is built almost everything and in this case i'm not 100% sure that they're right. In two words, Disney prefer to build a Star Wars land based on the new trilogy rather than to the old ones. So far it's a reasonable bet and if the synergy works well it could be a big success. Yes, BUT what will happen if the new trilogy is not as memorable as the old ones? Sure, kids will be too young to see the difference but there is a reason why Star Wars has reached this level of mythology since 35 years, and it's not only because of the stories, its characters or visual effects. From the start there was a kind of "shakespearian tragedy" in the background, and whether it was voluntary or not from Georges Lucas "somewhere" in the story there was some meaning coming from the dawn of time and with which spectators could find a resonance in themselves. Will it be the case with the new trilogy? The fact that the script was written by Lawrence Kasdan and J.J Abrams could help, specially considering that Kasdan is from an old generation which know well the importance of meaning. But what if the new movie as spectacular as it will be don't create the same process of identification, in two words, what will happen if we don't give a damn about the new characters or the new planets, etc...? Sure, J.J Abrams is smart and talented and i don't doubt that he has thought about all this, but what i'm saying is that there is still a risk to have based a Star Wars land on the new trilogy when there would have been no risk with the old trilogies - except with the young kids, i admit.

Thanks God, this Star Wars land will include reminiscences of the old movies including the ability to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission and a live music cafe with a design inspired by Tatooine famous "Cantina". One of the two "signature" attractions will also be "an epic Star Wars adventure that put guests in the middle of a climactic battle" but this one is the ride which most probably will be the "climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance", so linked to the new trilogy.

What we don't know: Of course no explicit details about the rides and the technology that will be used was given, and you won't have them before a looong time as Disney and WDI will try to keep the secret as long as possible. That's okay, Universal is doing the same and it's always better to avoid spoilers. So when they say that guests will have "the ability to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon" it can mean so many different things that i'm not going to spend even one minute to think how they will do it.

You've also probably note that they didn't reveal explicitly WHERE exactly at DL and DHS they will build these SW lands. And there is some reasons for that. May be they're not yet 100% sure ( although i think they are by now ) but what we can be sure of is that the birth of these Star Wars lands will be at the cost of something that's going to die. At Disneyland you better cross your fingers if you want them to preserve Toon Town, and i will not bet that it will be the case. At DHS it's a bit different but in both cases you've noted that no words about Star Tours were said. As at DHS the Star Wars land is rumored to be build close to Star Tours it shouldn't be a major problem but what about the Star Tours at Disneyland Tomorrowland, will they keep it there at the other end of the park or dismantle it and rebuild it in the new Star Wars land behind Frontierland? The announcement of a new land is a good news but the destruction of another land is not necessarily a good one for fans and they know it, that's probably why no details were given last Saturday, to don't spoil the party...

And of course there is the big point that we don't know, which is WHEN these StarWars land will open? They didn't announce any date at D23 and they didn't even say when they expect to break the ground. An insider info is saying they're planning to start the works in 2017 and considering the scope of the project they surely will need at least two years if not three to build everything which would give an opening date for 2019 or 2020.  Now, today's O.C Register article tell us more about the reason why it'll take that long and why you better don’t expect the Millennium Falcon to arrive at Disneyland any time soon. According to OCR "theme park experts said Disney will need to fix crowding and parking issues before opening the long-rumored land and getting Han Solo and his clan in place. It’s going to take a while, at least three to five years” said Adam Bezark, creative director of The Bezark Co. and involved in helping create the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction at Shanghai Disneyland. Disney experts say a land of this magnitude will further escalate the crowding issues at the theme park that at times shuts its gates when hitting a self-imposed capacity estimated at 65,000 guests."

In two words they need to build new Disneyland car parks first, probably on the new lands that Disney recently acquired, and they will also need to replace warehouses and other structures located currently backstage which will be removed to get the needed space to build Star Wars land. For all these reasons we can't expect an opening before 4 to 5 years and by that time the three movies of the new trilogy would have been released and we will know if they will be as memorable as the old ones. And if Disney bet to based a Star Wars land on the new trilogy was a good idea - or not.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Sunday, August 16, 2015

D23 Expo Parks and Resorts Pavilion : Part Two : Pandora – The World of AVATAR - NEW Article With Andy Castro Pictures !

Editing: This is a brand NEW article with dozens of pictures shot by Andy Castro at D23. When i did the previous version as i couldn't find pictures from Andy i thought that he didn't shot the Pandora model. But today Andy posted his latest set of pictures in which was these fantastic pictures of the model! So, i've totally edited this article and it's a brand new one that you must not miss if you've read the previous one!

Make sure to follow Andy on his Dateline Disneyland site!

The other area inside the Parks and Resorts pavilion at D23 Expo is about "Pandora – The World of AVATAR" - as this is now the official name of the land - where was displayed the model of the land. Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

Pandora – The World of AVATAR is a key part of the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and will feature awe-inspiring floating mountains, a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants as well as an amazing new attraction called A"VATAR Flight of Passage". This e-ticket attraction will allow guests to experience what it’s like to fly with banshees.

Let's have a close look at the Pandora model. By the way, Imagineer Joe Rhode - picture below - confirmed during the presentation that the boat ride is still part of the land. What is not 100% clear to me if it will be totally indoor or outdoor, or half an half.

And now, Andy's great series of pictures of the model. Please note that the model was presented with a day light and night time versions to show to D23 guests the electroluminescent lighting effects. Click on each picture for a better look in big size.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek shared the update on Pandora – The World of AVATAR at the D23 EXPO 2015 with Imagineer Joe Rohde who said one of the things that has made work on this project so special has been the collaboration with the Oscar-winning team behind the film – James Cameron, Jon Landau and the rest of the Lightstorm team:  “We’ve been working side-by-side with Jim and Jon to make sure that what we do is true to the story, characters and vision for the beautiful, mythical, epic land of Pandora,” Joe said. “We’re creating a transformational experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.” 

New visuals were also displayed!

Alpha Centauri Expeditions ( ACE ) will be the travel tours company supposed to help you totravel to Pandora. In the video below filmed by The DIS you'll see a short video explaining you in details what is Alpha Centauri Expeditions, as well as close shots on the model and in glorious 4K definition!

He was joined then during the D23 presentation by Imagineers working on these projects as well as legendary filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau who shared new details about Pandora – The World of AVATAR including the names of the land and E-ticket attraction – AVATAR Flight of Passage.

Don't miss in the next article below or HERE the great Pandora "travel" posters!

On Disney and more i've covered essentially the D23 Expo announcements about Parks or Imagineering but there was more so make sure to follow Andy Castro others updates on D23 Expo either on his Dateline Disneyland page HERE or on Mice Age HERE.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Videos: copyright The DIS