Finding Dory in Japan

May 19th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

NemoRide

Pixar is giving us a new Nemo adventure on the big screen but the Oriental Land Company is giving their guests a new Nemo attraction in the parks. OLC has just announced the new attraction for Tokyo DisneySea. The attraction will be themed to the well beloved Finding Nemo movie and the upcoming Finding Dory movie. The ride will be created with the help of the Finding Nemo movie production staff. They will be helping with the visuals of the new experience.

NemoRide2The ride will be placed in the Port Discovery section of the park. It will replace the existing StormRider simulator. The StormRider attraction is set to close in May 2016 so construction for the new Nemo ride can start with a target opening planned for Spring 2017.

The attraction will take place in a submarine. Guests taking place inside the sub will shrink to the size of the fish around them and will then be taken on an adventure by Nemo and Dory.

Pictures copyright Disney

Hatbox Ghost Behind The Scene

May 11th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

Disney Imagineers have released a video with a behind the scene look of the Hatbox Ghost they just added in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

The Return of the Muppets

May 9th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

muppetsK1After two successful Muppet movies we now finally will get a Muppets show back on TV. “It’s about time” fans would say. The last Muppets series dates from 1996 when ABC aired 10 episodes of ABC’s Muppets Tonight. A new series is long overdue.

But now the Muppet fans will get a new series. The new series is said to be a little more Adult orientated. It will be shot in a documentary format and will explore the Muppets’ relationships, romances, desires and disappointments.

At the helm of the series will be producer Bill Prady, known for the fantastic Big Bang Theory series. With such a name on the roster the Muppets must be a sure win. I know I’ll be watching!

Food and Fireworks

May 4th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

foodCGDo you love fireworks? It’s the highlight of many visits. But big crowds might force you to either come early to find that perfect viewing spot, or come late and stand somewhere in the back. If unlucky you’ll be watching the many phone or even tablet screens that go up from all the people around you that are trying the film it.

Want it a little bit more relaxed? How about combining it with a good meal and a viewing spot many visitors don’t think about. Here are 4 personal tips of great meals that can be combined with a firework display afterwards.

Let’s start at the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort Hotel. Right up there on the top floor, this amazing restaurant offers you a fantastic selection on American cuisine, seafood and sushi. Get yourself a nice plate of sushi, share one of the great flatbreads and then how about bison. Of course you can’t enjoy the fireworks without one of their amazing desserts. The chocolate pudding cake, with Nutella filling, or the Plant City Strawberry Cheesecake are only two of the great choices on this menu.

Feeling full? Time to go and see the fireworks. The music is piped into the restaurant so you can see the fireworks from the comfort of your seat. Or you can go to the observation deck outside. Whatever your choice is, it is an amazing and relaxing experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fun Fact from the Past: Temple of Doom Sound Effects?

April 30th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

DoomMine1

Who doesn’t love a good Indiana Jones movie (OK, let’s not talk about the forth one)? We all do. Did you know that many sound effects in the movies are added later. No difference with the 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie.

One of the epic scenes in this movie is the mine cart chase. The sounds from the carts you hear there have also been added afterwards. These sound effects have been taped in Disneyland. More specifically, these effects come from the attraction Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster.

How is that for a fun fact from the past?

Relaxing Inside the WDW Parks

April 29th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

TTApeoplemover

It can be overwhelming visiting the Walt Disney World parks. Busy crowds, long queues, hot weather (or big wet showers).  You can avoid it by staying at the hotel pools, but if you are at Walt Disney World you just want to hit the parks. Even if they are busy.
So what to do if you really, REALLY want to relax and still be inside the parks. It is possible!

River1How about we start in the Magic Kingdom. What is more relaxing than the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. A nice 10 minute ride around Tomorrowland and it includes some great views of the beautiful Cinderella Castle. You can ride it early in the morning, or try to board it at night during the fireworks. That gives it an extra dimension. Who knows, if you’re lucky, like I was on my last visit, it might break down on the right spot and you can see the whole firework show from the best spot. Another relaxing ride, but a little more crowded, is the Walt Disney World Railroad. Ride around the park and relax. Or if the water is more relaxing your alternative for a relaxing ride will be the Liberty Square Riverboat. Read the rest of this entry »

Buy, Sell or Hold

April 29th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

DISsymbolDisney Shares are doing well. They have been going up for years and if you’re lucky enough to have bought them back in September 2011 you would have paid around $35, making it a nice return at the $110 per share it is going for at this time. But don’t go and sell them now, even with this nice return. Analysts predict they’ll keep going up and advice to hold and to even buy more of them.

However, dividends are low at this price. Buying at $110 will give you a 1.03% dividend at this moment. Low for those that like the dividend game. Still, the dividend payout growth did shot up around 26.8% over the last five years and analysts see this going up in the future to.

So! What do you think? Buy, Sell, Hold? Or would you rather invest in tickets for your next visit to a Disney park

New Lands for Tokyo Disneyland

April 28th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

TokyoAlice280415The Oriental Land Company has released new artwork for Tokyo Disneyland’s Fantasyland project.

On the first piece of artwork an area is showing off an Alice in Wonderland theme, while a second picturesshows the entrance of the Beauty & The Beast “Be Out Guest” area. Looks like Tokyo will be getting their own version of this popular Walt Disney World restaurant.

TokyoBeOurGuestThese new lands are part of a huge redevelopment of Fantasyland and more new or different themes might find their way into the park. There is no fixed information when to expect the new Fantasyland to open, but we can expect it to open in phases as it will be a big undertaking. Opening of the first phase can be expected somewhere in 2017.

A third piece of artwork the Oriental Land Company has released is for DisneySea. A new port will be build inside this beautiful park carrying a Scandinavia theme. Part of the area will be themed after the Disney hit Frozen. The Arendelle castle is clearly recognisable on the artwork. It looks as if there is enough room for a Frozen attraction inside the mountains. Again, no info on opening dates except to expect it somewhere in 2017.

DisneySeaUpdate280415

There you have it, another reason to plan a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. As if one needs another reason!

Pictures courtesy of the Oriental Land Company

Disney… I miss you

April 28th, 2015 by Andy De Maertelaere.

Epcot15

Hello to all Disney fans around the globe. It has been a while, but as you can see on the title… I missed it. Am I back? I hope so as I do miss talking about Disney, especially the parks. With one, maybe even two, trips in to Walt Disney World the planning I thought it would be a good time to try and revive this blog. It might take a while… it will take a while, but I am sure with your help and support we could return to our former self.

Castle15So, where have I been all this time? I wish I could say at a Disney park, but most of the time that is not so. Although, during my absence from the blog, I did visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. Even so, I still miss Disney at this time. And I am sure I will not be the only one. So let’s talk Disney shall we.

See you on the blog and make sure to like us on facebook and follow us on twitter too.

Shanghai Disney Resort to get first boost

April 29th, 2014 by Dirk.

The Shanghai Disney Resort is not yet even open but Disney fans have been gushing about early artwork released by Disney through its various channels (lately in particular the official Disney fan club D23) – and it seems not only the fans are gushing about the new venture that is set to offer a whole new concept for a Magic Kingdom style park. No, the business side seems to be more convinced by the project than ever.

Having learned from the complaints that Hong Kong Disneyland drew when it opened for being “too small” the Shanghai Disney Resort and in particular its theme park already were already a significantly larger project in its first phase. And now that project just got bigger – by $800 million.

Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced during the panel “China In Transition: Still A Land Of Opportunity?” of the Milken Institute Global Conference on April 28, 2014 that TWDC (holding 43% of the project) and its local partner Shanghai Shendi Group (holding 57% of the project) will jointly invest a further $800 million into the Shanghai Disney Resort (each one investing an according part of this sum based on their shares in the project).

Robert Iger stated: “We’ve decided that we would accelerate the expansion of the park while we are building it. We’ve always expected that this park would expand and that it had huge potential but we’ve been so impressed with what we have seen […] we are announcing today that we are putting an additional $800 million into the project so we make it a $5.5 billion project on the onset. With that will come more attractions, basically more entertainment and some other services as well, food and dining being another aspect of it, other forms of entertainment. A big step and a huge vote of confidence not just in the market but obviously in this project“. Considering the stated overall planned investment in the project of now $5.5 billion the (included) addition of $800 million equals an impressive increase of 17%!

Robert Iger further detaield that currently about 8,000 construction workers are working and living on the future resort property. The full video of the panel is currently available for online streaming on the website of Milken Institute Global Conference (Robert Iger is addressed starting about 9:01 min. into the panel and then presents the Shanghai Disney Resort project, the additional investment is announced about starting about 11:19 min.).

However, fans should take note that Robert Iger did not state how this additional amount will be devided. While he spoke of an “acceleration of the expansion of the park” and “more attractions” he also carefully worded that the additional investment goes “into the project” and that it would also cover “other services” such as “food and dining“. Whether all of these are to be located inside the Disneyland Park would need to be awaited. Afterall the project is the full resort and that consists of the Disneyland park, a retail, dining and entertainment area, hotels, a lake, recreational facilities, transit hubs and parking.

Also, the statement did not state whether the additional investment will be realized in time for the expected opening of the resort in 2015 – or whether it may be for a brought forward phase 2 resp. a new phase 1.5 allowing for the addition of new offerings within a relative short time span after opening, as was realized with new small scale attractions in Fantasyland (the Old Mill ferris wheel, the Storyland Boats and Casey Jr.) and the Indiana Jones coaster in Adventureland for Disneyland Paris for example. The resort may need these additional attractions as Robert Iger also explained that – due to high speed rail connections – “330 million income qualified people will live within a 3 hour trip to this park. 330 million people that we would consider capable of affording a visit to Shanghai Disneyland. That is obvious valuable for us and is one of the reasons why we accelerate expansion“.

However, the race is now open for Disney fans to find out: which additional attractions and other offerings is Imagineering now preparing to add to the resort???

 

For all Disney historians further remarks by Robert Iger later in the panel discussion (starting at roughly 22:27 min.) should be of interest too. In it he confirmed that – besides weather issues – the air quality / pollution at Bejing was worse than in Shanghai at the time that TWDC decided to build the resort. He states “First of all it led to a decision to put the park in Shanghai certainly rather than in Bejing” – implying that at least Bejing (maybe even more locations) were originally in contention as location for the resort as well. Another interesting details concerns the run-up to the signing of the contracts: “Our negotiations to build this park was a decade long“. Starting 42:55 min. into the panel discussions the audience further learned that the chain of (according to Robert Igner) about 40 Disney English language schools now operated in China grew out of a single training facility which Robert Iger approved for Shanghai – presumably in connection with / preparation for the Shanghai Disney Resort – however, he also admits that he is not sure whether this business will reach the scale they originally expected for it.

We should expect more from TWDC on the Chinese market in the future because, as Robert Iger in his closing remarks (starting about 56:03 min.) states: “We need China to create growth for our company and I think for many other multinational companies […] There aren’t that many markets to turn to that are as obvious or as I think as exciting – as hard as it is – in terms of the potential“.

Disney heading back to the beach

April 28th, 2014 by Dirk.

Do you remember the summer of 2013? Back then The Disney Channel took millions of teens (and one may safely assume adults) on a surf ride into a beach movie by way of the “Disney Teen Beach Movie”. The story evolved around a pair of teenage surfers that magically traveled into an old-school beach movie and featured a number of beach pop songs that delivered a number one billboard soundtrack for Disney.

After the movie’s success fans expected a sequel rather sooner than later. Afterall, the final scene of the movie showed a group of characters from the movie following the pair of lovers back into the real world of today. And now, Deadline Hollywood reports that The Disney Channel has scheduled the sequel (Disney Teen Beach Movie 2) for a 2015 broadcasting premiere.

The stars of part one, Ross Lynch (whose Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” just got renewed), Maia Mitchell, Grace Phipps, Garrett Clayton and John DeLuca, will reprise their characters. Jeffrey Hornaday is, according to Deadline Hollywood, ready to get the cameras rolling in July, returning as director.

Considering the infectious beach pop features in the original Disney Teen Beach Movie, which can be expected to return for part 2 (maybe with a more modern twist depending on whether the action will take place more or less only in the real world of today instead of a 50s/60s beach movie setting), and the handling of the High School Musical movies a logic question now is: will the Disney Teen Beach Movie make it to the parks as well in 2015?

The movie with its vacation / beach setting, youthfull cast and upbeat music just lends itself to a summer show that could roll into the streets of Disney Parks such as the Walt Disney Studios Park (at Disneyland Paris), Disney California Adventure (at Disneyland Resort Anaheim), Disney Hollywood Studios (at Walt Disney World) – following the play book established for the High School Musical. For the HSM franchise the Disney parks produced “stage” shows taht were performed on moving stages that rolled along the parade route of the according park and stopped for song & dance performances – with just a bare hint of a story, mostly relying on high energy dance and song performances.

In particular the Walt Disney Studios Park would benefit from a revival of this concept for the Disney Teen Beach Movie franchise as the park is lacking live entertainment on the streets to liven up its atmosphere and to add some kinetic energy. The HSM shows performed in the WDS were hugely popular drawing not only large crowds for numerous performances daily during the summer season but even gaining their own dedicated fans. A street song & dance show based on the Disney Teen Beach Movie franchise would not only allow the Disney Channel to further advertise the two movies to its core audience but also would help the Walt Disney Studios Park to enhance the experience for guests. But then again, as we are talking about 2015 here and Disneyland Paris lately has announced its entertainment offerings only on very short notice we might have to wait a year (or even longer?) till will learn whether or not the movies will make it to that park (or any Disney park).

More music for the Disney Channel

April 28th, 2014 by Dirk.

As Deadline Hollywood reports the Disney Channel show “Austin & Ally” starring Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy got renewed for a fourth season. Thereby the Disney Channel not only renewed a show popular with the tween audience but also assured the Walt Disney Records division a further flow of pop songs marketed straight to the audience in the show.

Free advertising by The Library of Congress

December 18th, 2013 by Dirk.

The Library of Congress is helping the promotion for Walt Disney Pictures’ current release “Saving Mr. Banks”, the feature telling the story of how the Disney classic “Mary Poppins” was created – at least that is the sideffect of it revealing its annual list of 25 movies to be added to the National Film Registry, which (with this latest addition) will stand at 625 entries.

As you can obviously guess by this introduction one the 25 entries into the registry for 2013 is Disney’s “Mary Poppins”. It joins fellow Disney classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast or Toy Story (to name just a few) already in the registry. Thinking that more Disney movies deserve this special accolade? Check out the official website and learn how enter a nomination for the class of 2014!

The East Wind blows…

December 10th, 2013 by Dirk.

… Mary Poppins to a new destination instead of Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane, London, … to be exact: to the RONACHER theater in Vienna, Austria.

After London 2004, New York City 2006, Melbourne 2010, national tours in the UK and the USA as well as productions in Europe since 2008 as well as in Mexico City (2012) the musical presented by Walt Disney Theatrical and Cameron Mackintosh based on the Disney classic movie as well as the original books by P.L. Travers is going to have its premiere in a German translation in fall 2014 in Vienna.

The RONACHER is operated by “Vereinigte Bühnen Wien” (“United Stages Vienna”) which will also produce “Mary Poppins” at the theater. Walt Disney Theatrical already worked with Vereinigte Bühnen Wien in 1995 when they premiered the German language version of “Beauty and the Beast” at the RAIMUND theater in Vienna.

The rehearsals for the upcoming “Mary Poppins” production are expected to commence in summer 2014 with the premiere scheduled for “fall 2014″. Translation: if you are a musical performer and are fluent in German you could audition for the production. Currently auditions are scheduled for December in Vienna and two cities in Germany as the production’s casting director Yvonne Ritz Andersen is looking for performers for all(!) parts. You can find the casting notice online to check for details (please note: at this time there is no open audition scheduled, all performers require prior appointments).

At this time Vereinigte Bühnen Wien has not yet released any information regarding the show’s creative team and whether the production will use the script from London or the slightly reworked script developed later. However, usually Vienna does present the original productions as staged in London’s West End or on the Broadway.

The making of TOY STORY – and the meddling of Disney

December 9th, 2013 by Dirk.

Deadline Hollywood – the online source for movie business news including a great write-up each weekend of the US box-office – provided Disney and in particular PIXAR afficionados with unique reading material lifting the curtain of PIXAR history a bit. This past Sunday Deadline Hollywood released an exclusive excerpt from the book  “The CG Story: Computer Generated Animation and Special Effects” by Christopher Finch which provides a look into the world of CGI, its introduction into the magic of movie making driven by determined indivuduals such as Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and how it in this process changed the movie business.

So why should you head over to Deadline for the excerpt? Well, because Deadline chose the perfect excerpt if you are interested in the history of Disney and Pixar animated features: the story of how the original Disney Pixar hit “Toy Story” came about and how the meddling by Disney executives nearly derailed the project that not only ushered in the period of CGI dominance at the animated box office but also shaped the relationship between Disney and Pixar. But enough said – time for some quality reading…