Walt Disney World CM Fatally injured

18/08/2009

The Orlando Sentenial have reported that a WDW CM was fatally injured following an accident in the Hollywood Studio’s park. The accident occured during rehersal for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

Stunt performer Anislav Varbanov, 30, was fatally injured during a rehearsal for the ” Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.” He was doing a tumbling roll after 7 p.m. when he was hurt.

Disney workers dialed 911 at 7:34 p.m. to report that a cast member sustained a head injury. Varbanov was rushed to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., Orange County sheriff’s deputies said.

Varbanov’s death makes him the third CM in just seven weeks to die after suffering injuries at work. Disney have canceled Tuesday’s performances of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular because of Varbanov’s death.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.


Disneyland Paris – continued improvements or just commercial greed?

17/08/2009

I always try to avoid posting other people’s work but this piece just struck a chord with me. The following link is to another blog site called Wax On, Wax Off written by Steve.

http://dlrp.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/disneyland-paris-continued-improvements-or-just-commercial-greed/


Toy Story Mania – iPhone/iPod App Review

17/08/2009

tsm1

Title: Toy Story Mania!
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: August 14, 2009
Cost: £2.99
Pros: Fun graphics, good re-play value
Cons: Controls can be annoying

Anyone who has visited either Disney’s Californian Adventure or Hollywood Studio’s will no doubt be familiar Toy Story Mania! For those who aren’t TSM (as it’s lovingly known) is a 4D video game/attraction.

All of the mini-games are represented here hosted by their respective characters – Shooting suction-cup arrows at Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallerty, breaking plates with baseballs at the Green Army Men Shoot Camp , tossing darts at balloons in Bo Peep’s Baa-loon Pop, tossing rubber rings in Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers (no giggling please) and throwing water balloon-shaped eggs at targets in Hamm n Eggs.

ts2

There are only two main differences between the theme park attraction and the iPhone game. Firstly you choose what game you want to play and in what order you want to play them as opposed to the theme park version where you (obvioulsy) have to play the games in the order that the attraction has them. Secondly, each mini game has it’s own control system whereas at the theme park attraction all games are controlled in the same way.

Each mini game has three levels, Easy, Normal and Hard and they are all independant to each other so if you are dreadful at one of them it won’t stop you from playing the rest of the games. Each game consists of five rounds, each with a target score to reach in order to move on to the next round. One of the rounds is a bonus round which unlocks a special item you can purchase with tickets if you complete the task. If you fail to meet the target on the round, the game allows you to retry the round as many times as you need to without having to start over, except for the bonus round which moves on to the next round automatically, even if you fail. Complete the round successfully and you earn tickets, one for each 1000 points, which can then be used to redeem unlocked prizes.

ts3The graphics are really quite good and the developers have also tried to throw in some of the special physics that’s so prominent in the attraction, such as the suction-cups sticking to non-targets or the water balloon eggs rolling over the plywood waves if you aim a little low and hit the top of them instead of the ducks.

ts5 Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery

This game is pretty straight forward in play. Simply press where you want the suction-cup arrows to go, which is of course on each of the targets. The twist is that while you have an unlimited supply of arrows in most rounds, you can only fire off six before you need to reload by swiping your finger across the reload area as pictured on the left. You can reload at any time during play as well, so you don’t have to wait until you run out.

ts6Green Army Men Shoot Camp

The gameplay is a bit more interesting here. Instead of clicking directly on the plates to fire a baseball at them, you must position the cross-hair target to where you want to fire by sliding one finger around so it’s in position, then click with another finger to fire, although you can technically use the same finger in both cases (swipe to aim, press to fire). It’s a bit more challenging and it turns out it’s not one of my favorite games, but it’s not a bad thing either. Unlike the Shootin’ Gallery, there is no requirement to reload at any time.

ts7

Bo Peep’s Baa-loon Pop

Like the Shootin’ Gallery, simply click to aim and fire to pop the balloons. You also need to periodically reload, but here you give the iPhone a little shake to reload. It’s actually quite fun and probably the easiest of all the mini games, although re-loading can be very annoying!

ts8Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers

A simple flick of the finger is all that’s required to toss a rubber ring to try to capture an alien or rocket. The length of your swipe determines how high and far the ring goes. One of the coolest elements of the iPhone edition of this game is the animation of the red aliens in the back as you successfully ring them, sending them off flying towards you in a non-linear path — it’s as close to 3D as you can get.

ts9Hamm ‘m Eggs

Firing the eggs here is done in a sliding action, only it’s reversed, as if you were using a slingshot — the longer the swipe, the higher and further the eggs go. Although they move across the board, the ducks are virtual sitting ducks as the physics of the game allow you to barely hit the top of the waves and have the egg roll over and hit the target anyway, which is definitely more of a visual treat than a strategy.

Have no doubts, that those who are already fans of Toy Story Mania! in the theme parks will find a lot of benefit in the iPhone edition, just the memories it induces is worth the £2.99. If you’re not familiar with Toy Story Mania, this game may not have as much value for you, unless you’re a Toy Story fan in general. And it provides you with quick gameplay that you can use as a timekiller anyway without getting you involved in something much bigger.


Discovery Mountain – The Mountain that never was

17/08/2009

In this post I’m going to try and explore the long lost Discovery Mountain project that was initially planned for Disneyland Paris when the park was being built, this project was scrapped when the cost of the project became so expensive and cuts became inevitable. We finally got the current version of space mountain still with the huge cannon as originally planned which opened in 1995 and has been credited with rescuing the park from certain closure.

When the imagineers came to designing Disneyland Paris’ Tomorrowland they wanted a whole new concept and settled on a land tribute to visoinaries such as Jules Verne or Leonardo da Vinci. Here is a an early concept for the entrance to Disoveryland.

DM1It’s difficult to imagine the sheer scale of this project, it was originally planned to be 100 meters in diameter (the current Space Mountain is only 61 meters!) and once inside the mountain guests would have found a much larger version of the Nautilus, an underwater restuarant, an attractions (believed to be named Horizon’s however limited details exist on this) a cafe, the Discoveryland Railroad station and the actual Space Mountain rollercoater too.

The main reason behind this attraction being based in such a huge show building was the inclement weather in Paris, especially in Winter. The rainy season in Paris can last for large portions of the year and the imagineers wanted guests to be able to stay in the dry for large sections of Discoveryland. One of the best idea’s was that Discovery Mountain’s entire interior was supposed to be lit from lights that were under water, which would have given an incredible atmosphere.

DMrestIn this next picture you can make out a tube going down from the roof of the mountain next to the roller coaster track. This was designed to be the first ‘free fall’ ride that WDI had worked on. Guests were supposed to been blown up to the top of the building, just like in Verne’s story where they escape the center of the earth through a volcano chimney, and had a brief view of the park before they fall back down again. Budget cost cut this ride out of the planning and, as we all know, Tower of Terror went on to become the first ‘free fall’ ride created by WDI.

DM3Now we move on to the final part and my personal favorate part of the whole concept.

dmtubesIf you look very carefully at this picture you can clearly see tubes connceting the area around the Star Tours Shop and Videopolis with Discovery Mountain. This really would have been a cool idea and would have enabled you to travel over half of Discoveryland without leaving the warm in the winter and the cool in the summer. Infact this idea was so close to becoming a reality that if you look closely at the outside of the Videopolis building next time you are in Disneyland Paris you will see where the tubes would have conected.

Discovery Mountain also still has metions around Discoverland…if you look closely at Space Mountain next time you will see that some of the fixtures have the initials DM. This is because when Space Mountain finally became a reality in 1995 it was literally days away from being called Discovery Mountain as per the original plans, however at the last possible moment the name was changed to Space Mountain to breed familarality with the Space Mountains already in operation at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World.

Art-work: copyright Disney


Never built attractions in Disneyland Paris

13/08/2009

I have had a big interest in Disneyland paris ever since my Father worked on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup’s ride back in 1992 (I always wanted my own “Opening Crew” jacket and poncho that he wears with pride in the parks)

Recently I’ve been investigating rides and attractions that we planned for Disneyland Paris but were never built. As a lot of you will know Disneyland Paris was originally called Euro Disney and suffered massive financial problems in the early 1990’s which nearly closed the park (and which are still a noose around the resorts neck). The result of these problems is that many attractions that were planned for the park were cancelled and some more were scaled back to keep costs down.

  • Main Street – An alternative Main Street, based around the early 1920’s/30’s. Imagineers had designed a main street set up at the 20’s-30’s , ruled by gangsters, jazz, cinema, with a totally different design.
  • Main Street Elevated Tramway – A Tram that would have run along Main Street, this would have been a great idea and I’d really have loved to see this one at DLRP. As proof that the best ideas never die…the imagineers actually used this design in the New York area of Tokyo’s Disney Sea park.
  • Discovery Arcade Automats Museum – A walkthrough featuring old cars and antiques…I beleive this was replaceed with the current Statue of Liberty diorama. This could be easily implemented by DLRP without costing vast sums of money.
  • Ariels Undersea Voyage – A Little Mermaid dark-ride
  • Jungle Exploration – A jeep ride designed for the park, similar to Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Guests would travel through a jungle covered by a glass roof and drive past giraffes, ride on a rickety bridge over hippos, and into an ancient temple where guests would encounter the “I Wanna Be Like You,” scene from the Jungle Book complete with audio animatronic monkeys, Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, and King Louie, dancing to the song. The jeeps would then be sent into a tropical storm where they would be chased by a large tiger. But luckily for the guests, the jeeps would find a safe way back to civilization.
  • Tarzan Coaster – The Tarzan “coaster” was envisioned to be build near Captain Hook’s pirate ship and using in part the Swiss Robinson Tree structure
  • Beauty and the Beast – A Tiki Room style attraction.
  • Discovery Mountain – A huge complex designed for Discoveryland that eventually did make the park very much scaled down from the original plans (Space Mountian)
  • Indiana Jones Adventure – Would have been a direct copy of Indiana Jones Adventure and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Shooting Gallery – Similar to the Frontierland shooting gallery, but with a Pirate theming.

WDW Castmember dies after injury

12/08/2009

A CM in the Magic Kingdom’s “Captan Jack Sparrrow’s Pirate Tutorial” has passed away after suffering a head injury during a performance.

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Mark Priest, 47, slipped on a wet spot during a performance and was taken to the hospital on Thursday, August 6th. His vertebrae was broken and he required 55 stitches.

Priest passed away on Monday from a  blod clot following complications on Monday 11th August.

Disney officials have contacted the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Our thoughts go out to Priest’s family, friends and co-workers.


DLRP Halloween Festival web site launches

12/08/2009

halloween

The website for this years Halloween Celebration at Disneyland Paris has now been launched. Halloween runs from the 3rd October 2009 to the 1st November 2009.

The website can be found here www.magichalloween.com