Saturday, October 12, 2013

Avatar Land Artwork Revealed !



Oh-ho, there is some biiiig news for this Saturday morning as Disney released the renderings of the upcoming and awaited Avatar land!!!

It seems that WDI has decided to play a max the Avatar "vegetation" card - extraterrestrial vegetation in this case - and considering that we are at Animal Kingdom it's probably the best to do indeed. Not a lot of details on the rides but as rumored there is a boat ride which should be particularly magical at night and a "flying" ride  where guests will "fly" with the Banshees!

Below, Tom Staggs announcement and after each rendering, in ital, my own feeling about them. Also, click on each artwork to see them in high-res!


"From the moment AVATAR was released, people were captivated by the mythical world of Pandora. When we announced that we’d be working with James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment to bring this world to life in our parks, we felt certain that this partnership and combination of talent and imagination would produce an experience unlike any other ever created.

Our combined team has taken huge steps forward in “imagineering” Pandora as a real place for our guests to see, hear and touch. At the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan, we shared an early glimpse of the plans for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and I wanted to share some of these breathtaking images and a short preview of what’s to come with all of you."



As i said above WDI is playing the extraterrestrial vegetation "card" and it will be interesting to see how they will do to create vegetation from another planet, it might be less simple than it looks. You'll note that the spectacular "floating mountains" will also be there, of course here probably not totally "floating" for gravity reasons, except if they do some like themed balloons.



"As these concept renderings show in epic scale, in the world of AVATAR guests will encounter awe-inspiring floating mountains and wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants that are alive with light and sound. Guests will also discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a Banshee".



Above is the expected boat ride which should be particularly spectacular indeed at night with all the bioluminescent plants. Considering that Animal Kingdom is the most "contemplative" of all DIsney Parks - almost as much a "vegetation kingdom" than an "animal" one - i think it's pretty smart from WDI Imagineers to play this vegetation card. Chances are that there will be some thrill moments during the ride, not revealed yet. Also, you'll notice that there is no rooftop on the boat which may look surprising as it is raining quite often in Florida. No rooftop could mean that the ride might be stopped when it will rain. Of course there might be one at the end, but not shown here on the artwork for artistic reasons. 



And here is the expected flying simulator ride. Most probably a "Soarin' " kind of ride but all the question is to know how will look the simulator itself. Sure, they can do easily one which will look like the one of Soarin' - and it'll be probably the best for ride capacity - but i have the feeling that James Cameron would prefer a more designed one. Of course the best would be if guests would be seating upon recreated Banshees which could even have some Audio-Animatronics parts for the neck, head and wings, but considering their size it might be difficult  to put enough guests on them to have an adequate attraction capacity. 



Above, James Cameron with Tom Staggs and WDI Imagineer Joe Rhode in front of an Avatar model.

But there is a "one more thing" as Tom Staggs also announced new nighttime entertainment for Animal Kingdom! :

"And the new AVATAR-inspired land won’t be the only change coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As part of the largest expansion in the history of the park, we’ll be adding all-new entertainment experiences, including a new nighttime spectacular where live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all combine to bring a show to Discovery River that will delight our guests and truly cap off their day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park will introduce more nighttime entertainment as well, including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured above) and a new nighttime version of the Kilimanjaro Safaris".




You'll note on the above rendering the glowing effect on the  Tree of Life which might be a way to introduce the Avatar bioluminescent vegetation effects which for sure will amaze AK guests when the Avatar land will finally open in 2017.



Artworks and picture: copyright Disney


Monday, May 28, 2012

Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Trail Artwork and Model



It's not officially announced yet, but as usual you'll learn it first on Disney and more: Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Trail Grand Opening will happen on July 13. It was previously scheduled for July 20 but apparently HKDL want to open the land as soon as possible, and July 13 is now the Grizzly Trail grand opening date. Can we expect some soft-opening before that date? Mmmh, may be, but probably not before the end of June or the first days of July.

For HKDL fans - and all Disney fans - it's a good news as not only Grizzly Trail will add a brand new land at HKDL - a kind of Frontierland, which was missing until now at HKDL, but also a different one and with a new and unique coater attraction. Can't wait to discover the town of Grizzly Gulch!

So, how will it look? Well, these last months, you've seen plenty of pictures and videos of the works at Grizzly Trail but i thought that it might be the right time to have a look again at the artwork which was unveiled at the D23 Expo in 2009 as WDI renderings are generally very accurate with the final result. So, you'll find below my 2009 previous article with great pictures shot at that time by Andy Castro whom i thanks again!

One more thing: who will be at HKDL for Grizzly Trail Grand Opening on July 13?



Grizzly Trail will be one of the three new lands of HKDL and with the Grizzly Peak attraction and the Grizzly Gulch town it will be an interesting new version of a "Frontierland" theming. Before i go further i want to warn you that there will be major spoilers all along the article. If you don't want to know anything about the storyline, this is definitely not the right article! Also, click on each pictures to see them in big size and explore details.

Here we go for the artwork, and i've also included pictures of the Grizzly Trail model. I've succeeded to have the story line of the Grizzly Peak ride and now the artworks below should be in the right order of the different ride scenes.

This first artwork show the Grizzly Peak entrance. note that the whole area seems to have pine trees all around. When you will enter the entrance of the Grizzly Peak ride, you'll enter the mine company office and the next room will convince you that the mine company is still in operation.



Once you get aboard the mine vehicles, you will first turn underground to explore the mine. Then you're supposed to climb up the Grizzly Mountain through tunnel 8 ( the number means "wealth" in Cantonese ) ...but a bear use the track switch lever to scratch his back, switching the track to lead the mine cars to go to tunnel 4 ( which means "dead" in Cantonese )!



...The tunnel 4 is actually a home of bear family and it seems that you are not welcomed. Before you get attacked, you escape!



More sketches were done for that scene, here they are.









Here is a small maquette of that scene.



Also interesting is the scene small model. Apparently, when the train will turn left in the tunnel 4 it will go down at high speed.



Here is the model of one of the mine vehicles.



Back to the story line: Your journey continue by climbing the Grizzly Mountain. In the pic below you see a steam machine which is pulling the mine cars up to the hill.



...But the wire broken before you reach the peak, so all the mine cars fall backward...



...until you enter a new mine tunnel, which is just ready to explode! Note all the dynamite and "powder" sign at the entrance, it will be important for what will come next...



In this tunnel are a Mother bear and her baby bear trying to steal the fish from the mine workers...and the baby press the TNT detonator accidentally.



The mine cars will then be literally catapulted out of another tunnel thanks to the supposed dynamite blast.



As we will see below there will be lot of little geysers in the Grizzly Trail area, and the cars will go through a geyser area.



Your mine car back to the station, you will see the mother bear and the baby enjoying their dinner. They successfully stole all the fish in the mine. And that's it!



More sketches for the funny "accidental dynamite" sequence. Talking about bears, theese one will be obviously audio-animatronics and i'm curious to know if WDI Imagineers will use the AA skeletons from the former Disneyland Country Bear Jamboree bears...





This next rendering include different elements of the bears scenes all in one artwork.



Next picture shows the Grizzly Peak model with the mine cars going up the first lift.



And this one show - i think - the part of the ride with the two tunnels and dynamite blast.



But there will be more in Grizzly Trail than the Grizzly Peak ride as the small town of Grizzly Gulch will be build. Actually you'll see details of each building and their own stories in the mine town, not only about the Grizzly Mountain mine company itself, but also about the rest of the town. All this will have a Frontierland theming, and for the first time in all Frontierland's history, this one will be full of fun water splash...



...most of them interactive...



...as well as a little geyser area.



Let's end this last HKDL artwork article with more pictures of the model.










For those of you who love WDI artwork i remind you that the Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality book" which will tell you all about the creation of DLP include 250 WDI Artwork (!) and 500 pictures of the park on 320 pages. Have a look at the video below which will show you the whole book!

The book is still available either in its english or french edition and you can still enjoy a 20% discount special offer and the book is now available with an immediate shipping! Reviews from all those who have already received the book are "over the top" so, place your order now for a gorgeous collector's edition copy while the special offer on this wonderful book is still available! To know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below.










All artwork: copyright Disney - Disney Enterprises.

Hong Kong Disneyland Mystic Point Artwork



If you are a Disney and more fan reader you know how much i love artwork. in fact you can find on Disney and more and on Disney and more Artwork what is probably the biggest collection of Theme Park artwork - mostly Disney theme parks - on the web.

So, when i saw last friday all these beautiful Hong Kong Disneyland artwork that were display at the D23 Expo, and as photographers were allowed in the Disney Parks and Resorts pavilion, i asked Andy Castro if he could go back and shoot again pictures of the renderings in the best possible photo quality.

Andy did a great job, i enhanced them a bit to have them even more perfect, and here they are. We will begin by Mystic Point and Mystic Manor, a brand new ride - which looks very promising. I've also included new pictures of the models and my own comments on the renderings.

Soooo, Mystic Point will be one of the three new lands of HKDL and when Mystic Manor will open it will be probably an "instant classic" attraction. Before i go further i want to warn you that there will be major spoilers all along the article. If you don't want to know anything about the storyline, this is definitely not the right article! Also, click on each pictures to see them in big and explore details.

In the story line that WDI Imagineers imagined, the Manor owner is an explorer called Lord Henry Mystic, a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. If you remember well, Harrison Hightower III, the owner of the Hightower building at Tokyo Disney Sea - i.e the Tower of Terror - was also part of the same society. At HKDL action is supposed to be in 1908 and Lord Mystic is still alive and exploring the world. He is inviting us to this remote outpost in the Jungle. Mystic has a friendly companion, a monkey called Albert.



In the first scene above Henry Mystic will appear and warn us that a new artifact - a box - that he just bring back from one of his expeditions is supposedly enchanted and must be open very carefully.

We will then enter the loading room and board in the attraction vehicles which, let's remember it, are not omnimovers like in the Haunted Mansion and will be able to move in any directions or even spin.



Albert the monkey is intrigued by the box and will try to open it. And when he does, just like the box of "Pandora", the forces inside the box will be unleashed. A mysterious smoke will get out of it and will start to take over the different rooms. All the artifacts that guests will see in all the rooms will suddenly and magically come to life.



Inside the next room - the Music room - music instruments will start to come to life. I won't be surprised if we find in this room some Haunted Mansion effects - remember the piano who play by itself in the doors corridor?



The Greco-Roman Mediterranean room will be the next one, and statues or paintings will suddenly be alive. Here too, Imagineers can use improved Haunted Mansion effects, and we should probably have audio-animatronics for the "live" statues.



In the next room, the "Nordic Chamber" , expect a cold temperature when the Vikings will come alive!



Scene seven, "The Armory", should be more frightening with suits of armors coming alive - hi again to another Haunted Mansion effect - arms trying to chop towards us and even canons will blast at us, allowing the Imagineers to take advantage of the spin motion of the ride vehicle that will spin away like if we've been hit for real. When i look at the blast effect in the rendering it reminds me the "ring of smoke" effect used in the Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull attraction at Tokyo Disney Sea, and i won't be surprised if they use the same effect for the canon blast.



Egyptian Mummy lovers should be delight with the next room - the Egyptian room - where we can expect mummies coming alive and interesting special effects on the Egyptians bas-reliefs.



The next scene is called "The Tribal Room" and there is two renderings for it. The first one below is not only a dramatic scene with the "lava" statue but is also interesting on other points. If you look at the left of the artwork you will see a Tiki room tribute with not only Tikis masks but also a Tiki drummer , exactly the same one that we can see in the Disneyland beloved attraction. If you look at the right part of the artwork you'll see other tribal masks who obviously are throwing darts. i bet you that Imagineers will use the same effect used in Indiana Jones Adventure when you go through the "dart" room, just before the scene with the huge rolling ball.



The second rendering seems to confirm what i've just said - but Albert the monkey have more difficulties to escape the darts and arrows...



In scene 10 - the Chinese room - a monkey king statue which stands in its center will come alive and create a turbulent vortex, like a tornado. Four vehicles will join together and, due to the tornado wind effect, will begin to spin in an amazing choreography. At this point Albert the monkey understand that if he doesn't stop all this hell he will be in trouble forever...



In the final scene Albert will try desperately to close the enchanted box. Of course, at the last second he will succeed and bring everything back down to normal. Right after that, Lord Henry Mystic will pop up and say "Hi everybody, i hope you enjoyed your trip, i'm sure there was no problem with any of the artifacts and that everything is fine. Please come back and visit again when you're in the neighborhood!".



Looks like an instant classic attraction, doesn't it? Personally, i can't wait for its opening which unfortunately seems to be schedule for 2013.



Let's have a look at other Mystic Manor artwork and model pictures beginning by the ride vehicle design researchs.









































Let's end with two more pictures with the "big" model of Mystic Manor.





The story line of the attraction as described above is coming from an Imagineer video interview that you can see on Youtube HERE. The technical aspects are my own speculations.

For those of you who love WDI artwork i remind you that the Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality book" which will tell you all about the creation of DLP include 250 WDI Artwork (!) and 500 pictures of the park on 320 pages. Have a look at the video below which will show you the whole book!

The book is still available either in its english or french edition and you can still enjoy a 20% discount special offer and the book is now available with an immediate shipping! Reviews from all those who have already received the book are "over the top" so, place your order now for a gorgeous collector's edition copy while the special offer on this wonderful book is still available! To know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below.










All artwork: copyright Disney - Disney Enterprises.