Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
This is companion piece to the "Sticks & Stones" post from a few days ago.
There's been a great deal of talk lately, and a good amount of e-mails asking me about DCA. In particular, the name. Like, will it stay? What will it be if they change it? And a few others.
Four and a half years from now is a long way off, friends...
A lot can happen, a lot can change.
But as far as the name...
Will DCA be DCA in 2012?
The answer is no, both in name and appearance. You've already seen some of the artwork. Some of it quite good, others that are just preliminary and concept type stuff, but the gates you walk through and the experience you have four and half years from now will be like visiting two different parks with different souls. Presuming that DCA ever really had a soul, which is what many complain about. The lack of that magic that's embalmed in Disneyland and the total lack of it in most of California Adventure is one of the most commonly heard complaints of the Disney faithful.
And as to the name. No, it won't be called "Disney's California Adventure" when the park celebrates it's 10th anniversary in about three and a half years. It's more than likely that that will be when the changeover occurs.
What will it be called? That I can't say, because I really don't know. They haven't decided yet as to what to call it. There are almost a dozen names that they are flirting with and none has been decided on for the new name yet. About half, actually a little under half still have the California name as part of it. Several others focus on the "Disney" aspect of the park... "adventure" is working its way in a couple, but they won't make a decision for a while. It's really going to be a while before the decision is made. Look how long they took to decide on "Disney's Hollywood Studios" and you can see it's not an imminent action. After-all, there's a park that needs to be rebuilt right now.
Now I personally have felt it would be better to move away from the California name, but WDI and others still want to work with that theming and as I mentioned several have the state in the title. I won't list them all, actually I've only heard of a few of them, not all, but there is one that sticks out. One that a good percentage of the Imagineers like. Remember the rumors about "Disney's California Adventure" becoming "Walt Disney's California Adventure" a while ago? Well, that's not it... from what I've been told. But it's close. The one several in Glendale want to fight for is "Walt Disney's California". This is the clear favorite of all the names that still contain the Golden State in its title. How can it be Walt's Cali, you say? Well, from what I hear... it's reflective of how the Old Maestro perceived the state and how his vision created all that Disney is today and how much of the park's creations are California based(yes, even Pixar which is now part of Disney). That's used as an explanation of characters not having to do with the state, but Disney in general.
Will this one win out?
Who knows. Like I said in the beginning of this post... four and a half years is a long, long time. Anything could happen. But one things for sure. Disney's second park is about to get a second wind. And this time it's going to have a much better chance of winning the hearts and minds of the guests who enter its gates.
On this day, Fifty-Three years ago, the ABC Television Network premieres a new television show by famed movie producer Walt Disney. It's a cue for the young network. Disney's new show is called "Disneyland" after the new theme park he is building down in the sleepy orange groves of a small southern California town named Anaheim.
The first episode draws almost 31 million people. During the episode, Disney tells the audience of his plans to build the park and opens up his studio for America to see. No one knows it yet, but today we would call such shows infomercials. But this is an incredibly entertaining one...
Friday, October 26, 2007
The Mouse finally made official what we mentioned in a previous BSA, about the Castle being draped in snow for the Christmas season with a press release this weekend.
"New enchantment arrives in Disneyland as the holiday season finds “Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle” covered in freshly fallen snow. With its exciting new look, the Castle will serve as a shimmering centerpiece for a daytime holiday celebration, and as a snow-capped stage for the new music, lighting and special effects that will precede the legendary “Believe ... in Holiday Magic” nighttime fireworks spectacular."
And no, that pic above is not what the castle will look like...
The artwork for the castle is very beautiful and should become an instant classic that turns into an annual tradition. It's one of those things you look at and go: "why didn't we think of that before?"... this Holiday Season the Castle and the Park will get a whole lot cooler.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Walt Disney Company released the artwork for the new logo of "Disney's Hollywood Studios" Park in Florida today. Notice that it says "Studios" not "Studio". Personally, I think it's rather understated and filled with a styling that is reminiscent of Hollywood's past... so I guess you could say I like it. It will go well with the upcoming changes to the park. 2008 will be a transitional year and 2009... well, hopefully those Imagineers get their projects approved soon. 2009 could be a kicker of a year.
The new logo is a good start...
Although it had been open almost a month, on this day Thirty-Six years ago...
Roy Disney formally dedicates Walt Disney World in memory of his brother who passed away less than five years earlier.
The Resort only has one theme park... the Magic Kingdom. The vision of EPCOT that Walt had is still on Imagineer's minds but the direction it should take is no longer clear since his passing. Planning is still moving forward to carry out his dream in some form.
Today, we honor that dream...
In Pasadena, Nineteen years ago... in the quiet part of a hospital room, legendary animator Eric Larson, one of Disney's "Nine Old Men" passes from this world and joins Walt in the next.
Eric Larson was an animation director on such Disney classics as Fantasia, Dumbo and I'm not lying here, Pinocchio. After Walt's passing, he was the one that made sure they found and trained all new talent. From those ranks trained under his tutelage were Brad Bird, Glen Keane, John Lasseter and many others. His last work for the Mouse was "The Great Mouse Detective", which is the dawn of the Second Golden Age of Disney Animation.
How fitting that his last work would be what would start the rebirth of the famed animation studio...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
You know the questions we get when kids become impatient about where they're going...
We all know after hearing the rumors for the past few years that many Disney Geeks/Fans will be asking a similar question:
"When will it be done?"
Well, I guess it's time to show you a preliminary guide to the divisions of work to be done in "Phase One". Now, some of these could change depending on construction delays, weather and other factors but you can pretty much use this as a guide to the coming construction and which projects will go before others.
I call these phases "Time Bombs"...
Weapons of creativity to fend off the mediocrity of a generic theme park. These things have already had their timer set. Once they go off they're going to explode these areas and the results will be a decimation of the bland and boring with the plastering of rich, lavish theming all through the park.
These Time Bombs are set to go off at different places at different times and the results will be nothing short of being visually stunning. Four and a half years from now you'll walk through DCA(don't get used to that acronym) and not realize it's the same park... sure some areas will be familiar, but overall you'll have never been to this park before.
Shall we get started on our bombing run? Good...
Time Bomb 1
Paradise Pier and the surrounding area has been under construction since 2005 so it's had a bit of a head start. The Pier with its richly themed heavy D ticket will be through with construction in July. Actually, it'll be done mainly by April, but there will be tests and previews all the way through July which is when it is tentatively scheduled to open. The surrounding midway with its rethemed games will be open as well. Basically everything between the Carousel and Maliboomer will be finished by next summer. All the additions in the pier will be installed early next year so as to not interrupt the view of that new section. The retheming of the Sun Wheel is currently scheduled to be completed around this time as well. Once redressed, Mickey's Fun Wheel should make its debut by the end of 2008 unless the current plans change.
Time Bomb 2
The transformation of Sunshine Plaza to Walt Disney Plaza is supposed to get started in fall of next year. Once the temporary entrance is done expect bulldozers to start rolling and construction to be completed on this visually extravagant set-back to the late 20's/early 30's by late 2009 or early 2010. The construction will probably be done in two phases with the front section being done first and then the courtyard with its trolley, restaurants and shops going up after that part is done.
Time Bomb 3
The retheming of this section of Paradise Pier and the absorption of Route 66 will start in late 2009 and continue through late 2010 or early 2011 to be finished around the time of the tenth anniversary. The shops and beer garden will layer the area in a bygone era... while "Goofy's Sky School" will stick out, but be a much more immersive and lavishly themed coaster that doesn't resemble the Mulholland Madness kiddie coaster of today. The Maliboomer should be removed around this time and the work on the Orange Stinger and the surrounding area will begin as well.
Time Bomb 4
The Little Mermaid attraction and area will start to arise when the Golden Dreams building is removed in early 2009 and the construction of an elaborate show building is constructed. Work on the expanded viewing area should start in late 2008 so that the area will be available for use in late 2009 when "Disney's World of Color" is tentatively scheduled to make its bow.
Time Bomb 5
The areas atop where Ariel's Grotto and the surrounding stores should start to see work begin on them in early 2009. The plan is to have construction done by the time DWOC debuts and the lower levels are supposed to get enclosed so as to not get any paying diners wet. This area should be done by late 2009 should no delays come up.
Time Bomb 6
The final and largest part of the expansion gets underway in late 2009 when planning for "Cars Land" turns into overdrive. By early 2010 the area will be a hive of activity. The construction walls and signs will point to the great new addition that takes up 20 percent of the park and will change the skyline and theming once done. The area around "Bugs Land" that people see when walking by that exposes the outside of the resort(hotels, power-lines) will disappear by the time this expansion opens up in 2012.
By the time DCA has its tenth anniversary the entire park will be remade and look brand spanking new... the only thing that won't be open by the tenth will be "Cars Land", but it will be ever-so present... with the construction of those giant mesas looming overhead Disney Geeks/Fans will be running about the new park, most likely with the new name all giddy. Peering over their shoulder at the final jewel, the final present of "Phase One" to be opened in the summer of 2012.
If by that fall the clicks are starting to edge up to the 9 million mark...
Iger will give the official nod to "Phase Two" and you can expect some form of announcement at the end of that year or the beginning of 2013 talking about even more goodies. John Lasseter and Bob Weis have a few surprises up their sleeves that are expected and at least one that will give the faithful a reason to have faith.
A LOT of faith...
On this day Sixty Six years ago Walt Disney's 4th animated feature film, "Dumbo" premiered in America. The classic film, distributed by RKO will go on to be nominated for "Best Score" and "Best Song", winning Best Score.
The world will never look at pachyderm ears the same again...
Monday, October 22, 2007
While the box office of "Ratatouille" fell short of what Pixar's last film "Cars" made, the film has more than made it up overseas... The film was around the $280 million area last week and is just opening in several territories like Italy. Before it's all over the Brad Bird film will easily cross the $500 million mark... that's half a billion dollars, my fellow Disney Geeks/Fans. Remy happens to be a huge hit in Europe right now, despite all the negativity from various people around the Net. And even though the Little Chef hasn't stirred up as much green here in the states, racking up over $200 million in domestic sales is far from a disappointment. This Rat's a star... don't believe the haters.
Uncle John, or as I'm starting to call him "The Old Mousetro" has a great deal of credibility with Iger and crew and this will only help when it comes to new films(animated and live-action btw) and new attractions around the Disney World. Starting November, the dawn of the Third Golden Age could begin and from what I'm hearing from a few animators... next fall's "Bolt" will add bite to Lasseter's stature within Burbank and Glendale.
Did you see the obituary in the paper?
No? Well that's because it wasn't in the paper... at least not in the obituary section. It was on the front page. The announcement of the Extreme Expansion/Makeover of DCA(or likely to be called something else) was it. All you had to do was read between the lines.
The McPark died on Wednesday.
The concept of the McPark has been around since Eisner's creative endeavors with Euro-Disney. The resulting crash and burn to the creative souls at WDI meant that everything their Fearless Leader approved from then on would be as cheap and small as the Mouse could get away with so as to not upset the bottom line and therefore, the stockholders. Again, nothing wrong with making a buck... even lots of them, but you can't expect to sell a person a Big Mac and tell them it's Prime Rib.
That's what the Mouse has done for over a decade. Ever since Paris 1992 we've been through a series of McParks. Theme Parks built with a cookie-cutter process of selling dreams instead of creating them from scratch. That process is over... the burial will be held in Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort on 2012... everyone is invited to attend.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I don't know if any of you have seen it, but here is the poster for "Prince Caspian: The Chronicles of Narnia"...
The poster looks pretty cool without really telling much of the story. I bet there are a lot of tweens that will have dreamy eyes for this poster.
Well, it appears that the Mouse has snatched Scott Trowbridge from Universal Studios. For those of you that don't know, Trowbridge was Vice President of Universal's Creative Studios and was most famous for being the Senior Show Producer for the "Spider-Man" ride, considered by many that have ridden it. He's been working on "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" which is scheduled to open in 2009. His loss to Universal will certainly be missed...
Over at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Scott will take on the title "Vice President for Creative Research and Development" report to WDI Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn and will oversee creative research-and-development projects. Hmmm... what could those be? Could the Old Mousetro himself, John Lasseter have something to do with this? Iger have some plans up his sleeves? I guess we'll have to wait and see...
Interesting time indeed.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I was thinking back on all the names that Disney's California Adventure has been called over the last six years. We're talking bad ones here, not good ones of course...
I thought I'd list a few of them cause more than likely, in five years most will have been forgotten... left in the trash heap of theme park history:
Disney's Berry Farm
Disney's California Misadventure
DisneyKnott(as in: we can go to Disneyland or Disneynot)
Disney's Parking Lot
Knotts Magic Kingdom
Mickey's Magic Mountain
Six Flaggs Anaheim
And the lists goes on and on...
Then there is the rivalry between the two parks. Both are Disney employees, but there are some, particularly at Disneyland that look down the noses of their brethren across the Esplanade. Almost as if they had designed it and were to blame. The two most common remarks made are calling it "The Spare Park and "The Other Park"...
Five years from now, sticks and stones may brake my bones, but words and names...
They'll be washed away like tears in rain.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
While this won't be a normal Blue Sky Alert, I wanted to address several of the attractions that were released yesterday and give Blue Sky's perspective. I know a lot of people on the internet have given their two cents and if you don't want to hear mine then feel free to close the window on your browser...
Now as for what was released Wednesday I have to ask everyone...
Doesn't the future look bright for DCA in particular and Resort in general?
Not everyone will be happy with everything in the plan, but not everything is in the plan. Get it? Not every item, theme and attraction that will go into Phase One of this plan was announced. Several were deliberately left out because they either were still too early in the planning stage or were put off to give more dramatic effect when they are introduced early next year to continually remind Anaheim voters that Disney cares for them and their community. And least we forget that this is Phase One... Phase Two is not scheduled to kick off until 2013 and last another five years. Can you try to fathom what DCA will look like in a decade if this is what it will look like in five years. This ugly duckling is going to grow into a beautiful princess real fast.
So what can we take from yesterday's announcement? Well, the press didn't get everything right. For one thing, the plan for the first five years will not cost 1.1 billion dollars. That's the price of the plan over a decade... more could come later but that is what's been alloted for now and for now is all we should be concerned about. About 700 million of the 1.1 billion plan is what you saw yesterday.
But there is no penny-pinching in this plan. I'll give you an example... remember when Matt Ouimet, the former head of the DL Resort wanted to spruce up the entrance and came up with new frontage that was going to cost 30 million? Well this new entrance will cost two and a half times that! And that's not all, the area will be filled with lavishly mode rides like we and other sites have mentioned. All of which will be topped off by the culmination of the Carsland in 2012. This ride has a ticket cost along the lines of what Indiana Jones had in the mid 90's... and it will be BIG and it will be LAVISH. Trust me, John Lasseter has been paying a great deal of attention to this project which will open around the same time as a sequel to a movie that could have a significant tie in... I wonder what that one could be?
Seen the new area around Paradise Pier for viewing "Disney's World of Color"? Remember how New Orleans Square has been hosting premieres and events there over the last few years? Well get ready for the other side of the park to start mimicking its sister in a few years. It's not too far off to say that Suits and Creatives alike are pondering having the premieres of several Disney branded films there in the coming years. How would you like to attend the premiere of "Toy Story 3" or "National Treasure 3" there?
And speaking of adventure...
Although it wasn't directly announced, it was addressed that the park could see a name change by the time the tenth anniversary comes around. Several at WDI are wanting to get away from the California chains that have hampered the ability to propose certain projects. Everything from "Walt Disney's California Adventure" to "Disney Adventures Park in California" have been tossed about. There is nothing concrete right now and if they do decide to change the name it will come closer to the tenth so don't expect to hear anything about name changes for a year or two at the earliest.
I'll try and have another Blue Sky Alert about Anaheim up by the beginning of November if everything goes well. It will start to focus more on Disneyland since that will be what we'll be looking forward to now that Phase One has been announced. Most of what I talk about DCA from now on will be the blue sky concepts that are still being proposed for the Second Phase of the project that haven't been nailed down yet.
And speaking of nailed down... once DCA is no longer the monkey on the back of the Mouse, which by my calculations is around 2012 or 13, then we'll start to see some of the blue sky concepts for a Third Gate start to gel and solidify. That means if all goes well, we could see an announcement of that mythical third park by 2014 or 15. Speculative, but very probable based on what my Bothans are saying.
Now for DCA or whatever they wind up calling it to stop being a drag what has to happen?
Numbers. Clicks. That's what I mean.
People in the park my dear Disney Geeks... and what kind of numbers are we talking about? Well the park is currently pulling less than 7 million a year. This is a modest number and if Disney could get it up to 8 million they'd be very happy. Would this in and of itself cause them to go forward with the Second Phase? No, it wouldn't. For the second part of this grand scheme to move forward the numbers would have to approach 9 million a year. Not an improbable number given the new attractions and entertainment planned for the Second Gate. If these kinds of numbers start to be seen in DCA Iger has already given his blessing to the next 400 million expansion. But based on some of the ambitious designs Bob Weis and his team have discussed with Uncle John that may not be enough. If those numbers hold up, Iger may be willing to add a little more to the pot and make the Second Phase closer to 600-700 million. This is just about as much as the First Phase. Imagine the possibilities! This truly could be a Disney Adventure park in a decade.
Now realize that this is all just talk about DCA... nothing has been mentioned concerning Disneyland, more DVC units, Disneyland Hotel Makeover, other hotel announcements and the expansion of Downtown Disney over the next five years. All that stuff will begin to be revealed early next year. Whew... it's good to be a Disney Geek/Fan right now, eh?
Stay tuned for more Blue Sky Alerts. Yes, even ones that don't involve Anaheim.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I know from all the e-mails I've been getting you're wondering where the latest BlueSkyAlert for Anaheim is. Well as most of you know about Disney's announcement...
I was given a head's up as to what was coming a few weeks ago. I decided then and there that I wasn't going to release an Alert right around the same time. This doesn't mean I won't be continuing Alerts about Anaheim... but the ones in the future will more than likely focus more on the second part of the expansion; the part that will begin after the tenth anniversary, around 2012 or so. While these plans are still in the embryonic phase I feel that it's about time we started to focus on them.
Phase One is pretty much set in stone... soon to be in concrete. That doesn't mean that the Mouse will reveal all of them now. Only part of the plan will be revealed. The rest will come in an announcement earlier next year that focuses on the completion of this phase. Also around the beginning of the year will see more surprises about what's in store for the Resort in general. This has a lot to do with SOAR and Disney wants to keep spreading the good news about more and more plans the company has for Anaheim. This is all in an effort to show the community that there is much ahead over the next decade. Iger and the Board think that it's better to release it piece by piece so that the projects planned for the Resort appear more important if spread out over an extended time instead of all at once.
So expect a steady stream of Disney announcements over the next year or so concerning Anaheim. Expect more BlueSkyAlerts to follow as well...
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Seeing as how we had a guide to the terms used here at Blue Sky Disney, I thought I would take this time to coin a few metaphors for the Mouse that everyone loves. Everyone knows what we call John Lasseter's headquarters in Glendale, where he leads his troops against the dark forces of beings known as Suits... the Glendale Kingdom, right? Well, I figured since that's only a part of the world we call Disney I'd lay out the territory and people in the "Disney Kingdom"... sort of give everyone their title in this little fairy tale...
Once Upon A Time... there was a Kingdom.
Now you can't have a kingdom without a king...
King - Bob Iger, he that came to the throne after the former ruler, King Eisner, lost his crown after his subjects lost confidence in his leadership. King Iger is new to the thrown, but has so far shown a remarkable ability to govern wisely, and good.
Beneath him, a lineage of royalty...
Prince - John Lasseter, the true bearer of the phrase: "One day my Prince will come...". Prince Lasseter was banished from the kingdom many years ago by corrupt leaders that wanted to keep power to themselves and didn't like anyone rocking the boat. Prince Lasseter rocked the boat too much and was banished to the north for many, many years. He only returned to the Kingdom after many years up north building his own, new land... the Principality of Pixar.
Prince - Dick Cook, the Prince responsible for the stories of the Kingdom. Prince Cook is a much beloved figure known for his friendships throughout the land. Prince Cook is currently training a youngling named Oren for a bright future within the Disney Kingdom.
Prince - Jay Rasulo, the Prince with power over all the kingdoms. Installed by the King Eisner several years ago as one of the final mistakes of the last monarch. Prince Rasulo, like Prince John of England is not the most popular leader in his land and given his policies not very understanding of his subjects. Prince Rasulo has several underlings that he controls, but his main rival is the favored Prince Lasseter, closest to King Iger.
Prince - Ed Catmull, a close confident, friend and ally of Prince Lasseter. Prince Catmull is a military genius and master planner who works with Prince Lasseter to defeat the enemies of creativity and hold back the forces of Mediocrity, the evil dragon.
Princess - Anne Sweeney, a formidable Princess that rules over some mystical place called "Disney Media Networks". Talented and beautiful, the Princess handle much of the media and entertainment in the Kingdom.
Lord - Ed Grier, the ruler of Disneyland, the original Kingdom of the Mouse... although he's the Lord, Grier is a mysterious leader that is rarely seen around his lands. Perhaps he's a figurehead ruler? Could there be a power behind his thrown?
Lord - Michael Mendenhall, a faltering Lord that was one of Prince Rasulo's underlings. Prince Rasulo had intended on installing Lord Mendenhall in charge of the wizards in the deep dungeons of WDI... sadly for him, thankfully for us the Prince Lasseter made an appearance to save the day. It is widely believed that Lord Mendenhall was secretly a servant of the dragon, Mediocrity.
Lady - Meg Crofton, the ruler of Walt Disney World, the most well known of the Mouse's Kingdoms... ruled by the enigmatic leader Lady Crofton. Not much is known about her, much is needed to be known before a final decision can be made, but she is one of "The Anointed" a group that Prince Rasulo has surrounded himself with. Several Subjects believe that, like Lord Grier, she is a figurehead for Prince Jay's scheme.
Duke - Don Hahn, Don Hahn, a beloved member of the Knights that has gone off on a quest for the Holy Grail of Sanity... may he return soon.
The protectors of the Kingdom, the nobel Warriors...
Knight - Andreas Deja, a brave and noble knight, fond of the old ways and not a follower of the new age religion in the Kingdom known as CGI. Sir Deja is a defender of the virtues that founded the kingdom by the first King, our fallen leader, King Walt the 1st.
Knight - Glen Keane, a famous and revered knight that has long been known for his championship of the Kingdom... of late he is a follower of CGI, perhaps later he will return to the Old Order.
Knight - Ron Clements & John Musker, a pair of knights that helped save the Kingdom from demise years ago... heroes to us all. It is rumored that they will grace our presence again soon...
Knight - Brad Bird, a knight from another kingdom that has recently joined the Disney Kingdom. Sir Bird is a valiant knight capable of besting the... uhm... best of them. He is known to have slain several demons, the most famous of which is the evil demon Bland and his companion, the demon Boring.
Knight - Andrew Stanton, a knight of the most special breed. Sir Stanton is perhaps one of the most eloquent and politically astute members of the knighthood. He is currently on a mission constructing an offensive device, called Wall-E to help defend the Kingdom.
Knight - Pete Docter, a great friend of Sir Stanton, Doctor is said to be the brethren of Stanton and followed Prince Lasseter in "The Order of the Lamp". Sir Doctor is currently on a mission seeking an old man in the wilds of the forest... no one knows much about this quest, but if he is on it, it must be of great importance.
Deep in the bowels of the Castles of the Kingdom reside the WDI... feared and magical magicians that create wonders to help the Disney Kingdom thriving...
Wizard - Tony Baxter, a most famous Wizard that is responsible for the magical defense of the Disneyland part of the Kingdom.
Wizard - Joe Rohde, a rugged and crusty old Wizard that resides in the jungles of the Kingdom in a place called F...L...O...R...I...D...A...
Wizard - Tom Fitzgerald, a Wizard that relied too much on illusions instead of real magic. His style clashed with that of Prince Lasseter and he has been sent on a quest in the land near Wizard Rohde resides... his quest is to find the magic again, so that he may return...
Wizard - Bob Weis, a Wizard that lost hope in the Kingdom and fled to the jungles to establish a nation in Orlando, whatever that is. Recently returned at the request of Prince Lasseter, Wizard Weiss has the great task of turning the ugly land of DCA into a beautiful oasis capable of rivaling the lands of Disney and EPCOT. May Walt the 1st spirit be with him...
Wizard - Marty Sklar, a grizzled and wize old wizard that now resides as a mentor to the rest... his following love him for embodying the sprirt of Walt the 1st, whom Wizard Sklar actually served.
And last, but most certainly not least...
Pope - Steve Jobs, the man with Iger's ear. Now he may not be King, but when Jobs speaks... the King's ear perks up. To not do so would not be wise. Owning more than any other person does have it's perks. Running one of the most successful companies that you rescued from the brink of failure also has an allure... kind of like the Pope having the blessing of god and being the Vicar of Christ.
There are certainly many others in this Kingdom, but these are the primary players... who will live to slay the dragons and battle the forces of evil? Some will pass, many will go on and the all will be remembered...
The Walt Disney Company, which was called Walt Disney Productions until the mid-80's and began life as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio is 84 years old today...
It doesn't look a day over forty, does it? And it's never had plastic surgery... now that's saying something for Hollywood!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Our good buddy Merrick over at Aint It Cool News has a lot of juicey details on the live-action STAR WARS series we talked about a couple of posts ago. It sounds rather interesting... read the article and get all geeked-up for it. Now all you have to do is wait a couple years to see it...
Empire Magazine has published an article where they name the "Top 20 Pixar Characters of All Time"... while everything is subjective, it's a nice fluff piece. Go take a looksie and see if you agree with them.
Hat Tip: Animated-News
On this day eleven years ago, The Main Street Electrical Parade has its final performance at Disneyland in Anaheim. The parade is to never be run again...
Until the trouble with attendace at DCA causes planners to bring the floats out of mothballs shortly after the troubled park opens. The show continues to be shown to this day at the Second Gate with no end in sight.
It appears George Lucas will leave his little fortress in Northern California this week to come down to Los Angeles and interview several writers about a little project he's producing. He's going to be finding the scribes he wants to come up to Skywalker Ranch in November for a little Pow-Wow regarding his live-action STAR WARS series.
Entertainment Weekly is reporting the plan is to have them write the initial 13 episodes and then take them out to the networks. So why are we reporting this? Well, there are several networks looking at making a deal with Lucas but the two primary ones are Fox and ABC... you know, the one ran by the Mouse? The ones that are working on several LucasFilm properties right now for their theme parks? I wonder what Fox is planning on offering in their theme parks? Whaa? They don't have... Really? Oh, that's right! I forgot about that...
Sunday, October 14, 2007
If you want to see something quite amazing, then go to the Animation building at DCA right now. There's a Zoetrope from the Pixar display at the MoMA there that will simply make your jaw drop.
What's a Zoetrope, you say?
Well, it's a machine that creates the illusion of movement or action with the use of inanimate objects or pictures. Now if that sounds rather boring... it's not. Take a look. And if you are in the area... take the time to go and see it. It truly is a site to see.
Here is a YouTube video of it if you'd like to have a looksie.
And here is a higher resolution QuickTime video of it.
Hat Tip: Cartoon Brew
Friday, October 12, 2007
Last night the Walt Disney Company celebrated the honoring of several new Disney Legends...
Animators Floyd Norman, Art Babbitt and Dick Huemer.
Along with them many others were also honored...
Composer Randy Newman, Imagineer Carl Bongirno, actress Marge Champion, make-up artist Bob Schiffer, Disneyologist Dave Smith, ABC's Tom Murphy and Roone Arledge as well as Lucille Martin, Walt Disney's personal assistant who handled his dealings in those final days.
I'm personally glad to see Floyd Norman be honored as a Legend. He's an immensely talented artist and downright likable fellow.
All these people deserve the honor and we here at Blue Sky Disney congratulate everyone of them...
We've talked about Disney animation from over the generations. From the First Golden Age which began with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to the Second Golden Age which began with "The Little Mermaid", although if you follow Blue Sky Disney regularly know that I think it started with "The Great Mouse Detective", low box office or not.
Well, ever since the Walt Disney Company bough Pixar Animation Studios, people and by that I mean mostly we Disney Geeks have been asking...
When will the Third Golden Age begin?
Some people believe that it began with the purchase of Pixar and the ascending of John Lasseter to Lord of creativity over all Disney animation and Imagineering...
Many believe that next year when Walt Disney Animation Studios opens up "Bolt", the first animated film to have the full influence of Uncle John, that that will be the beginning...
Others feel that when hand drawn animation makes a return with"The Princess and the Frog" premiere in 2009 that will mark the beginning of the Third Golden Age...
I believe that the beginning of the Third Golden Age could come much sooner...
And it may not even be all animated. Walt Disney Pictures "Enchanted" is a live-action film with only 15 minutes of animation. But the story is pure Disney and it more than "The Princess and the Frog" marks the return of 2D animation. Now, sadly the animation is not by WDAS... James Baxter Animation, headed ironically by James Baxter is doing the animation. Now James used to work for Disney so that counts for something. You may remember he animated a character known as Belle from a little known film called "Beauty and the Beast" or another animated femme fatal named Jessica Rabbit? If that's not enough then let your fears subside with the knowledge that the animated sequences were overseen by Disney Legend Andreas Deja himself to make sure it was up to Disney quality.
The success of this film will hopefully shove a dagger into the back of the statement that "2D is Dead"... from what I've heard and seen it looks rather promising. The problem with animation at the Mouse has ironically never been animation.
It's been story.
When you rule by committee and have a large bureaucracy overseeing a story it will come off confusing, complicated and sometime dull. Welcome to the world of Disney animation of the last few years. Not that there haven't been a few gems, but the Suits attempts to stake out ground in the Creatives camp so as to lay claim to a films success was the real reason these films were box office disappointments. Not that people were enamored with Pixar and it's lovely computer animation. Pixar dazzled with amazing visuals, but what people kept coming back for was there attention to story.
It appears that "Enchanted" may have captured that long lost art of... story. And if it becomes a blockbuster then we can all know where the Third Golden Age began.
What an enchanting thought...
Thursday, October 11, 2007
And now it's time for another look down memory lane to the projects the Mouse had planned on making into films but got too scared to actually go through with it. This being October and Halloween coming up, I guess this will be an appropriate start...
Bell, Book and Candle
A comedy written by Andrew Stengel that Miramax was going to make for the Mouse about a witch that enchants her neighbor because she despises his fiancée. Sounds like she's jealous of her broom, doesn't it? It's based on the classic 1958 film and was rewritten a few years ago by Leslie Megahev.
A romantic comedy from writer Aline Brosh McKenna and producer Debra Martin Chase described as a sophisticated interracial romantic comedy along the lines of "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?" Now, we know there haven't been enough of these films. Where is Ashton when you need him? The story was based on a pitch by Chase for Walt Disney Pictures.
An action film that focused on the world of surfing and gangs by writer Tristan Patterson. Jon Shestack was to produce the film for Walt Disney Pictures. Originally sold as a pitch and then the script was written and forgotten about...
Originally conceived as an animated project for Walt Disney Pictures about a leopard in ancient Egypt who becomes a freedom fighter. The screenplay was by Tom Firestone and Martin Meunier. Interestingly the writers were discovered from a posting they did on a website.
Tim Allen Project (Untitled)
A wealthy man who comes across an unusual character who ends up having a positive influence on his life and character. Actor Kevin Pollack brought the idea to Tim Allen and they developed it together. Pollack wrote the script. Allen's company, Boxing Cat Prods. has a first-look deal at the studio and was to produce for Walt Disney Pictures... then nothing. I guess "The Santa Clause 3" and "Wild Hogs" got in the way? Either way, someone got a nice treat since they paid in the mid-six figures for the story.
ate of the Blade
The story of an adopted teenage Asian American girl grows up in a white middle-class San Fernando Valley family, is the sole surviving descendant of a Samurai clan of Japan and discovers an ancient demon is stalking her. I don't know if anyone has ever read Frank Miller's Ronin, but this has shades of that story which is set in a futuristic Los Angeles. The Mouse paid in the mid-six figures for this action-comedy by writer Analisa LaBianco, based on a comic book by Pat Lee and Chris Sarracini for Walt Disney Pictures.
The Fool's Errand
Another animated film for Walt Disney Pictures by David Steinberg about a court jester who goes on a mythical journey to return peace to his kingdom. The pitch was sold to the Mouse and then it magically vanished...
Stern-Weiss Project (Untitled)
This script by J. David Stern and David Weiss was a live-action tale of the deconstruction of the world of fairies and sprites. Producer Robert Simonds was to produce. Years has gone by and not a Faerie to be seen...
This comedy by Lisa Mohan and Alex Stayden was bought for Touchstone Pictures in the upper six figures. The story is about a marketing exec whose life is turned around when he is the victim of downsizing. When his wife files for a divorce, he has to sell his house and go to work as a temp. At the first day of an assignment he meets a female ad exec who thinks that he's a client before realizing that he's her new secretary, and they fall in love. This project was bought originally in 1999 and has been jestating in development hell for almost a decade. Just another day in Hollywood.
Well, that's it for this time. Many of these projects will never see the light of day and from the sound of some of them... I'm kind of glad about that. I wonder where the brilliant executive that bought these is now working. Employed at McDonald's or taking tickets at Knott's Berry Farm?
Until next time...
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I neglected to mention for all of those Disney Geeks that would be interested, Disney is celebrating the 70th anniversary of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" on November 16th at an event being held at DCA. There will be a number of fan faves on a panel talking about the classic film followed by a screening of the movie and trinkets galore.
The panelist include Don Hahn, who will moderate the panel that includes Glen Keane, Roy Disney, Leonard Maltin, Lella Smith, Marge Champion and Uncle John himself!
Tickets come in two types of packages:
The Poisoned Apple Package - $150, which includes entry into DCA(on 11/16/07 after 2 PM for event only), Snow White's Soiree (Hors d'oeuvres, Dessert and Signature Drink), a Premiere Viewing of the new "The Fairest One of All" Exhibit, the panel Discussion with Pixar Grand Poobah and everyone's favorite Uncle, John Lasseter and all the other big-wigs I mentioned that will be moderated by Disney Animator and Producer, Don Hahn, reserved seating for the special screening at DCA of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and commemorative trinkets.
The Magic Mirror Package - $25, which will include entry into DCA (on 11/16/07 after 5 PM for event only), a special screening in DCA of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and commerative trinkets.
Now for the words everyone was wondering...
Parking NOT included.
Could be a lot of fun, but ya have to fork over the major dough to see Uncle John and all the legends that'll be there. Hmmm... maybe I'll see you there? I'll be the one in the back with a blue over coat surrounded by guys dressed in shirts that say "Bothan" on them.
Like I'd be that obvious...
Fifty years ago today Walt DIsney put another series on ABC...
The legendary character was brought to life by Guy Williams in the late Fifties by the Old Maestro in a very successful television show that lasted from 1957-1959. ABC had planned on airing another season but Walt and the Network argued over money and he decided to pull the plug.
This series is something I hope gets released in a "Walt Disney Treasures" edition someday as I was hooked on both it and "Lone Ranger" reruns that we would watch daily at a friends house after school. Anyone happen to know Leonard Maltin's cell phone by any chance?
Even after half a century, Zorro still leaves his mark...
I thought it would be nice to talk about the primary icons of the parks. We've talked about the artwork for the Disneyland Hotels, now lets talk about the most noticeable symbols of Disney theme parks...
Let's start with the Original...
Sleeping Beauty Castle-Disneyland Park: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim.
Walt opened up Disneyland in 1955. He was in production of a new movie to be called "Sleeping Beauty" and he decided to do a little cross promotion and make the icon of Fantasyland, the key feature from this film. Sleeping Beauty Castle as it's called... no apostrophe and no "s" eventually became the symbol not just of that land but the entire park and the company as well. When most people think of Disney they either imagine Mickey Mouse or Sleeping Beauty Castle. Although it's changes slightly in the past fifty years it's still an amazingly timeless piece of architecture.
Cinderella Castle-Magic Kingdom Park: Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando.
When the decision was made to go ahead with Disney World after the death of Walt, it was believed that the resort shouldn't just be a copy of Disneyland. It should take advantage of the land that was available and not make worry about the limitations that the California Park had had. It was decided that instead of having a small castle like the Sleeping Beauty one, a much larger, grander one would designed. This time the focus would be on another Castle from another Disney film... and the naming it after another Disney Princess, of course.
Cinderella Castle-Tokyo Disneyland Park: Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo.
When Walt Disney Productions gave away the store and let the Oriental Land Company have an exclusive license to the Disney name and characters in Japan it was during a time when the company was not in a very good financial position. It believed that the money coming in would be an easy source of revenue without having the expense of building a park themselves. The OLC took a look at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and wanted to have a castle closer to the more grand Magic Kingdom version. Although it looks like the Florida version from far away, when you get closer there are small differences that make the Tokyo version slightly more elaborate in design and quality. This began a long tradition of OLC spending lavishly on the Disney brand. Disney wouldn't try to top them until Michael Eisner made a deal to build a resort in Europe...
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant-Disneyland Paris Park: Disneyland Paris Resort, Paris.
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant or just a looooong, fancy way to say Sleeping Beauty Castle in French... When Michael Eisner was yet to be burned by Euro-Disney he was in an extravagant mood... this was his "surprise me" period. Before the fall. Anyone that reads this blog regularly knows that this is my favorite Disney castle. It evokes the world of a fairy tale set in Europe while maintaining a very Disneyfied view of the way one should enter Fantasyland. Imagineer Tom Morris came up with a wonderful design for the castle. Tony Baxter and his crew came up with a design for the park and castle in particular that made it stand on it's own versus Anaheim, Orlando and Tokyo had. Of note is the stunning displays of handcraft in the gallery, the stained glass windows created by Paul Chapman are simply enchanting.
Sleeping Beauty Castle-Hong Kong Disneyland Park: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong.
When the Walt Disney Company decided to place a park in China it chose not to come up with a new design for a castle but to do the opposite of Tokyo. Where the Japanese Resort played on the Magic Kingdom's castle, Hong Kong's would be a homage to the original in Anaheim. With only slight differences it is an exact copy of the design here in California... the biggest difference isn't one of the small design changes. It's the view. It's as if someone took the original castle and placed it in front of a series of picturesque mountains. The Hong Kong castle, like the park itself is layered in typical Disney details... the difference between the castle and the park is that the castle was built in the right size. The park unfortunately was not.
King Triton Castle-Tokyo DisneySEA Park: Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo.
Why am I including this one? Well, because it IS a castle. A Disney castle... and a very unique one at that. The detail it has is wonderful. It's been argued that the Imagineers should have made this the center of the park instead of Mount Prometheus. While I love Prometheus, I think it would have been a great centerpiece. Walking around the castle, particularly at night makes you feel transported into the classic film.
All of these castles reflect the differences and cultures of the areas they exists in. I happen to like that each one is different, even if it's only slightly... it gives a Disney Geek a reason to visit each. I don't want the park to become nothing more than cookie-cutter representations of each other. It's like five sisters that each have their own qualities to excentuate. What fun would it be if all five were exactly alike? Here that Jay Rasulo?
Let's hope that the recent departure of some of Jay's underlings only quickens his own departure. Otherwise the next castle we see will be a carbon copy of what we already have now instead of say... Beast Castle from "Beauty and the Beast" or "Snow White" or even Prince Eric's castle from "The Little Mermaid". Let's hope in a year or so Matt or someone like him that understands this takes over.
Until then, keep dreaming of those castles...
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
On this day four years ago, EPCOT welcomed its newest attraction: Mission: SPACE. The ceremony is overseen by Michael Eisner, Hewlett Packard chief Suit Carly Fiorina and the head of NASA, Sean O'Keefe. A collection of legendary American Astronauts were in attendance.
The ride which cost north of $200 million when research, design and construction are totaled is one of the Mouse's most expensive projects...
The ride simulates astronaut training for the first human mission to Mars aboard an X-2 Deep Space Shuttle in 2036(The year 2036 can be figured out from plaques in the attraction's queue celebrating 75 years of human space flight, including two fictional milestones in the future.) Riders become "trainees" at the International Space Training Center where they are arranged into crews of four before boarding. Actor Gary Sinise does the introduction.
After several cases of people complaining about the intensity of the ride the Mouse decides to have two versions of it... the original ride and one slightly less intense.
Mission: SPACE is one of the last big budget attractions ordered by Eisner... work is proceeding ahead on the last large project he approved: Forbidden Mountain(which will become Expedition Everest).
I've always loved the concept paintings that Imagineers do. Sometimes they actually look better than the attractions/rides/hotels they try to give a peek at. There is concept artwork for even parks like Disneyland Paris, which is in actuality very lovely that looks better than the real thing. There are paintings for DCA that actually make what was to be built look more exciting than what was constructed.
I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the paintings for the signature hotels at the resorts.
The Disneyland Hotels.
The irony of this is that Disney hasn't released the artwork for the makeover that is to come for the original Disneyland Hotel. So the work we have for it reflects the towers as they were back in the early 70's... sadly, it still looks very close to this. I think one of the great things about buildings in the Resorts have a "timeless" appeal. What you might call a borrowed sense of permanence. As if they had been around for decades, sometimes centuries. The original hotel, having not been designed by WDI doesn't have that timeless quality. It simply looks stuck in the 70's making it appear dated and out of place.
The Grand Floridian-Orlando
Although WDW doesn't have an official Disneyland Hotel, the GF acts as the primary hotel for the Resort and in essence is a Disneyland Hotel... it one were to call it by another name it would be the "Walt Disney World Hotel". Now this hotel is one of the design decisions that Michael Eisner got right. It evokes the Victorian Era and the coastal retreats of a bygone day. Even though it's supposed to be set on the East Coast, the hotel is really modeled upon a hotel out here on the West Coast. The Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego was the primary influence of Imagineers when they drew up plans for this lovely icon of Walt Disney World. DCA's new Toy Story Midway Mania will look similar to this as well, although the color scheme will be slightly different.
When Tony Baxter and crew pitched to Eisner the idea of putting a hotel facade in front of Disneyland Paris the cost was too prohibitive for such a sterile structure. When the idea of putting an actual hotel in front of it became the goal of Imagineers the result was a charming, Victorian hotel with French references that played on a fairy tale-like atmosphere which creates a charming entrance to the European Magic Kingdom. The idea of putting a park at an entrance or right into the parks will play roles in all future models for every future Disney Resort.
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
When the Walt Disney Company decided to build it's first theme park in China it built a Disneyland Hotel that had influences from the Grand Floridian, but it also took liberties with influences from other resorts on it's property... particularly the Boardwalk. The HKDH is very detailed, but slightly more understated than it's sister in Orlando and its extravagant cousin in France.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
The newest Disneyland Hotel to go up will be in mid-2008 in Tokyo. Tokyo Disneyland has been around since 1983, but until 2000 it only had partner hotels... no official hotels until the Oriental Land Company decided to turn the Park into a Resort. When the Tokyo Disney Resort opened in 2001 it boasted two hotels, the DisneySEA Hotel Mira Costa and the Ambassador Hotel. Two very lovely hotels that offer a first class experience at first class prices... but still no Disneyland Hotel. Last year, ground was broken for the premiere hotel to bare the Disneyland name. When it opens next year guest will be able to walk out the doors and be right in front of the park... just like in Paris. Part of the Resorts parking lot in front of the theme park was used for the hotel. Again, like all the previous Disneyland Hotels(all except the original in Anaheim which in a few years will have an entirely different look from all other Disneyland Hotels) it will be defined by the Victorian Era that so signifies Disney and the magic that surrounds it.
The "Mictorian" theming will occupy every Disneyland Hotel except the Californian one. When the construction gets underway early next year we should see the release of the artwork for the DLH's new look and then we can add its beautiful paintings to this collection.
Disney just released a book about Disney Mountains. Wouldn't it be nice if they devoted a book to all the designs and artwork associated with the hotels? Or more specifically... the Disneyland Hotels?
Monday, October 8, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I guess most of you noticed Jay's announcement that the Mouse is purchasing 21 acres of oceanfront property on Hawaii's island of Oahu. This is part of their new stand-alone model to put Disney properties into areas that don't have Disney Parks & Resorts and yet have a large growth factor for Disney branded entertainment/merchandise... plus it's a whole lot cheaper investment than the building of a large, expensive theme park and resort with all the hotels, retail and rides.
That being said, it doesn't mean they'll be cheap representation's of Paul Pressler's view of what Disney should look like. While I am not a big fan of Jay and feel that his "global' approach doesn't work and is bad for the company, this is something I don't mind as long as it doesn't cannibalize the the theme parks or take away from the unique experience they provide. In essence, this is just making Disney a more global player in as a hotel operator. Until now, they've just had hotels inside their properties, but they've managed hotels since opening the Magic Kingdom in 1971. This will just extend the reach of the Disney experience. One of Eisner's mistakes that even he admits is not building a hotel property in New York City in the mid-90's as the Walt Disney Company had planned. To do so now would cost an enormous amount of money. Not that it's not a possibility, but it's nowhere near happening in the Big Apple right now...
But noticed I said "global"?
Let's just say that come late 2008 there are going to be a lot of new options for DVC owners. There are several areas that have been scouted by Disney across the nation and several of them could be announced by mid to late next year. As well as that, many of you that read the latest Blue Sky Alert will note that their are plans for DVC units in France sometime later in the decade. Other European countries are prime candidates for hotels and DVC units as well, particularly Spain, which was where the Mouse's European Disneyland was originally going to go. A couple other cities are likely to be chosen by late next year so we can hopefully expect announcements by Jay or his successor(that's something I hope!) within the next 12 to 18 months. Asia is another prime candidate for this strategy although I don't feel this will include Tokyo as it would be considered encroaching on OLC's territory... a definite no-no...
But come the end of this decade your choices for vacations around America and then the world will have another choice besides Marriott, Hilton and Holiday Inn... you won't have to get into a theme park to stay at a Disney Hotel. Unless of course, you go to the Resorts just to stay at the hotels.
The term Disney Hotels is about to get much broader... and that's a good thing, don't ya think?
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Lots of exciting things are happening to Europe's Disneyland...
The fifteenth anniversary of the Resort is going great for Disney and its millions of visitors. In fact, the Disneyland Paris Resort finally seems to be moving out of the shadow of financial troubles... Even in bad times the Resort has always been European's favorite vacation destination and the numbers have always showed it. Despite Michael Eisner's desire to build more hotels than he can fill the resort has always had great turnout for the parks... but most would usually go home at the end of the day since DLP was so close to Paris or other(read: cheaper) hotels. While Disneyland in Anaheim seems to have the highest occupancy rates, the hotels in France are starting to fill enough beds to make the accountants a little less worried. Possibly happy, even.
Before we begin, remember that we're in the early stages of these proposals and what is being proposed will not nesarrily be what the resort winds up with. All these plans have to be assembled into cohesive packages that will get presented to Iger and the Board either late this year or sometime in the first half of 2008. With that out of the way...
The blue sky plans that WDI is putting together involve proposals for several additional venues to the Disney Village near the end of the decade. Walt Disney Creative Entertainment is hard at work on numerous proposals involving the resort and parks that should be ready for Iger to mull over early next year. There seems to be an emphasis on making the Disney Village and the surrounding area as much of an entertainment magnet at the actual parks themselves.
While no new hotels are planned there are several proposals, all in early stages of course, for Disneyland Paris to get its own DVC units. There are even proposals planned for DVC units in other parts of Europe, but that's a different story for another day(stay tuned for posts on that!). Don't expect to see any of these until the end of this decade at the earliest... although one Bothan expects the openings to correspond to the 20th anniversary if plans go well and the European economy doesn't tank.
With things looking brighter for EuroDisney, the company that runs the resort, you would think plans would go forward concerning a third gate, right? Wrong. There have been various proposals that the Mouse has entertained putting in it's parks, but Paris isn't one of them. This doesn't mean that DLPR will never get a third gate... it just means that the Resort will have to mature over the next decade before we can expect any proposals to make it from the Glendale Kingdom to a presentation room for Iger to see. Should the Resort keep growing and the dept be paid down you can expect blue sky plans to heat up in the early part of the next decade. So realistically you can expect any new gate to not show up any earlier than DLPR's 25th. More realistically it would be between that and the 30th.
Now, about those parks...
First, as always... let me state my bias. I love the look of Disneyland Paris. Disneyland Paris is lovely... truly lovely. The detail is incredible and all the little extras that the Imagineers are a wonderful find for any Disney Geek that knows where to find them. It also is home to my favorite Disney castle. Now that we have that statement out of the way... All the "plussed" areas have really helped put the shine back on areas like Main Street that were starting to look a little worn. As we said before, the proposals for DLP are not as grand as the ones Uncle John, Iger and the others have planned for DCA, but truthfully they're not really needed as much. The theming of DLP is light years ahead of DCA. The plans for the Park are to add layers and elaborate on what is already there. The problem with DCA has always been the opposite.
There is a proposal for an "E" Ticket that involves a classic Disney character that could make it into the Park by the end of the decade. Adventureland and Tomorrowland's proposals will involve major attractions that will likely turn into a "D" Ticket. The plans right now involve several characters from Pixar's stable. This ride is still in the early stages and is not ready for presentation so the plans will not likely start to gel until next year sometime.
There are plans for adding "C" Tickets sprinkled throughout the area. By this time next year these will have narrowed to a possible two "C" Tickets from the lists so far. At least one will make to the final stages by the end of the decade, possibly both if the guest keep passing through the turnstiles. Any plans wouldn't be announced until after the 15th anniversary is over. So we can look forward to an construction of these projects to happen sometime in late 2008/early 2009.
The Pirate craze could still make the final cut as there are plans to propose a Pirate theming to be extended through Adventureland if the plans for a fourth Pirate film come to fruition. That film would not likely happen before 2010 or more likely 2011(there comes that year again).
Should the spike in attendance continue, we can look forward to a wonderful period of growth in the Gallic Kingdom of Disney. These plans would wind down after several projects were done sometime around 2012-13... ironically, just in time for it's 20th anniversary. Coincidence? One never knows... but if we don't have some form of depression happen in Western Europe the planned phases that could happen over the next five years could make DLP even lovelier.
Now, speaking of lovely... let's talk about the Park that's not.
Now, speaking of lovely... let's talk about the Park that's not.
The park has seen a sizable increase in attendance for the 15th and this is a very, very good thing. Let's just say the Suits are happy and the Imagineers are eager to show what they can do to make this quarter-day park, a full day park. They're not in the approval phase yet, but several blue sky projects are underway. Come 2012/13 the front of the resort will not be as bland as what we see now... a "Plussed", more period styling could be overlaid to the existing entrance giving it a borrowed sense of the Hollywood that never was. The expansion of the Park will also give the area a center that it definitely doesn't have right now.
A version of the Great Movie Ride could be playing in the new expansion area by then, but it's not certain if the iconic front entrance will look like Grumman's Chinese Theater or another stylized form of Tinsel Town magic. There are plans for at least two new "E" Tickets to be put in WDSP by the tenth anniversary if all goes well... you can bet that one of the proposals for an "E" Ticket ride involves a certain Parisian Rat as well. He's a big hit in the Gallic nation right now and the Mouse is keen on exploiting the Rat. The other attraction has not been decided on but the ride will definitely be a Disney property as opposed to another of the Lamp's creations. Expect the rides to be lavished in much more layered theming than the attractions that premiered when the Park opened. Sprinkled around these areas would be a collection of "C" and "D" Tickets... at least one "D" and likely two "C" tickets could make the cut. There is plent of room for expansion at WDSP and not all of it will be done by 2012/13, but by then guests will be walking through the gates of a park they should have gotten a decade earlier.
Also, WDCE is working on two shows that will most likely show up by the end of the decade, giving the Studio a great deal of live entertainment for guest to enjoy. Giving guest a reason to stay in the Park and spend more of those hard earned Euros is a top goal of Iger and his European team. They realize that WDSP, like HKDL was built way too small and hope to not make the same mistakes of the last regime. Another example of the refreshing difference a couple years and a new management team can make when examining the Mouse.
That's it for this update. Stay tuned for future Blue Sky Alerts later in the month. The Bothans are excited about what is happening but nervous because of the NDA's everyone is forced to sign. Imagineers are in a very upbeat mood right now... and they want Disney Geeks to know about it. They just don't want to get fired in the process... stay patient, calm and expect better... not the worst, my friends. This is a new era we're in.
Till next time...