Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Is Universal Studios Planning a Star Trek Land For Universal Orlando 4th theme Park ?



We're back today at Universal Orlando for a new rumor, and this time it's about a Star Trek land that it seems Universal Creatives are thinking to include in the upcoming - but not announced yet - 4th Theme Park.

Lance Hart from Screamscape talked about Star Trek last month, but as a new show that would come eventually in the now extinct Terminator 2 3D building, and i asked my source if there was any truth in it. The reply was "Lance is correct that a live stage show is getting shuffled between the Bourne Identity or Star Trek, and a Star Trek Sci-Fi area is being highly considered to hit back WDW DHS Star Wars land. If Universal do a Star Trek Sci-Fi area, it will be very Sci-Fi city like and not too alien planet like most would think... and with an anchor attraction. And may be something very similar to the recently announced Sci-Fi "Transformers" area going to Universal Beijing"

Apparently Universal don’t want to make just a generic themed area like Tomorrowland. According to my source, "the days of random themed areas with 5 IPs around each other are gone and they are going to transition each area nicely". By the way, talking about the T2 3D building, my source added that "the Shrek attraction is safe until they come up with whatever will take over the old Terminator building".

So, apparently it seems that so far it'll be either a Bourne Identity or a Star Trek attraction that will come in the T2 3D building. OR they'll keep Star Trek as the "Tomorrowland" land for the 4th theme park, which in my opinion will be a much better idea.

The problem with the Star Trek universe is that there is ennemies but not necessarily a lot of iconic planet locations, visually speaking. I don't mean that there is no memorable planets in the Star Trek series, i mean that, except for the Trekkies, they are less known by a wide audience than the Star Wars planets. Anyway, you see  what i mean...

The real icon of the series is the Enterprise - everybody knows the ship, even non Trekkies - and each Star Trek fan is dreaming to be on board of the Enterprise. So, what they should do if Universal Creatives have the guts - and the money! - to do it is to build a giant real size Enterprise like the one that was planned for Las Vegas years ago, and unfortunately cancelled. And then to have the attractions inside it. Here is the rendering of the Las Vegas project which was designed at that time by Landmark Entertainment, the previous company of Gary Goddard.


Okay, it's huge, i agree, but, hey, it's the size of the ENTERPRISE! The other good point in the idea of building a real size Enterprise for a Star Trek land is the spaceship crew. You can make the spaceship "alive" with dozens of cast-members / actors / extras who would each play their role and will contribute to create an immersive and reliable Star Trek experience. They did it in a smaller scale at the now extinct Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas and it worked pretty well ( see video below).

Talking about Star Trek Experience, let's have a look back at it with a previous D&M article with originals artworks - painted by the great Eric Heschong who unfortunately passed away - as it might help you to visualize what i mean, how great the theming could be and why Universal should build a Star Trek land in the future 4th theme park.

Previous Disney and more article: 

I will begin by what was probably the most incredible idea for a Star Trek theme park/attraction concept with the rendering above. As you can see this incredible concept envisioned a REAL SIZE Enterprise, and we all know how huge is supposed to be the Enterprise! Inside, guests would have found themed Star Trek attractions. Please double-click on the image to see the artwork in high-resolution as it is a big WOW!

This amazing project unfortunately not realised has a story. Years ago, the Las Vegas Down Town hotels association, aware that the new Strip's hotels were getting most of the visitors, wanted to create a unique attraction to be located down town Las Vegas. Different companies created concepts, including Landmark with this amazing Star Trek concept, but, although they loved Landmark's idea their final choice went to the Fremont Street Experience.

When i saw that incredible rendering i thought that the biggest problem may have been the architecture engineering - after all the Enterprise is design for outerspace, not for Earth gravity. The front dome and the wings may have been an engineering problem, but it seems that, no, that was not the problem. An estimated cost around $200 M (at that time) was reasonable - specially considering the size, and all we can wish to this amazing project is to exist one day as it will be the "ultimate" Trekkie dream, finally existing for real.

The next rendering below shows a "night" scene of the same concept.



Now, as we know, another Star Trek attraction was finally built in Las Vegas. Unfortunately closed recently, the Star Trek Experience was incredibly successful at its opening - it was another Trekkie-wet-dream-come-true and i have many renderings of it for you today.



The Las Vegas Star Trek Experience attraction opened in January 1998 at the Las Vegas Hilton and closed in September 2008. When it opened the main attraction was a simulator ride called The Klingon Encounter. The pavilion underwent one major renovation in 2004 which added the Borg Invasion 4-D attraction, which used state-of-the-art amusement technology where guests experienced an encounter with the Borg. The artwork below released for the press before the opening in 1998 focus only on the first version of Star Trek Experience.

Above and below two beautiful renderings showing the entrance of Las Vegas Star Trek Experience.



After purchasing a ticket, which allowed the guest to board the attractions an unlimited amount of times that day, one walked through a museum that included numerous items from Star Trek history - top of the rendering below. It also featured several video display devices and a timeline of Star Trek events. Later, there were displays for each of the major alien races, which included the Borg, Klingons, and Ferengi. The last section of the museum was a hallway that served as the attraction queues. The left side was for the Borg Invasion 4-D, and the right side was for Klingon Encounter. Because the Borg ride held about twice as many people, that line moved more quickly (each show lasted about 18 minutes). The Klingon Encounter held 27 people while the Borg Invasion 4-D held 48 people. Each show was constructed so that those "in the back" for the first part of the show would, in turn, likely end up in the front for the second half of either show.

After the attraction guests could enjoyed the merchandise shop and especially the Quark's Bar that you can see on the rendering below.



The Klingon encounter attraction was the one at the opening. Initially, the visitors entered first a small room with a depiction of "outer space". A small television in the upper right corner of the room displayed scenes from several Star Trek movies.

The group then entered a smaller, dimly lit waiting area of a traditional simulator ride. Visitors lined up in rows in front of doors, as hosts direct their attention to the screens above for a safety demo for the shuttlecraft simulator ride. A few moments into the film, the televisions flickered, malfunctioned, and the lights went out. A variety of loud noises accompanied by hundreds of small light flashes that visually simulate the "transporter effect," along with the transporter sound effect and a rush of cold air (which, according to backstage tour guides, was an unintentional but appreciated effect caused by a false room being raised into the ceiling). When the lights returned, the walls and floor and ceiling have apparently disappeared and you were on a transporter pad (a room much larger than you were previously standing, without the doors you were ready to walk through!). You are now aboard the USS Enterprise-D, transporter room as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

On the transporter pad, a uniformed Starfleet officer asked for the leaders of the group and directed them away for instruction. It was explained that the visitors were beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise to "what you would call the future" and the group is then led to the bridge.

The group stood on the rear between the science stations and the tactical station. There were various busy crewmembers on the bridge, and they contact Commander Riker, who promptly appears on the main viewscreen. Riker explained that Captain Picard disappeared the moment the group beamed aboard the Enterprise and thus one member of the group must be Picard's ancestor. A nefarious rogue Klingon Commander named Korath used a hidden time-rift to abduct Picard's ancestor and erase him from the timeline. Starfleet intelligence, having learned of the plan, dispatched the Enterprise to intercept the Klingon's transporter beam and rescue the entire group. Riker directs the group to board a shuttlecraft to go escape the temporal rift, and return all guests to their original time.

While the group was in the turbolift, the Klingons attack the Enterprise and the turbolift enters a free fall. There are several jolts on the turbolift during the attack. Finally, the group arrives in the Grand Corridor and at the shuttle bay deck.
Below, a rendering of the Grand Corridor.



The group boarded the shuttlecraft. The shuttle ride began with a battle between the Enterprise and a few Klingon vessels...



Then, the shuttle went into warp and was then instructed to find and destroy a cloaking generator on the planet's surface. There were several dogfights and visual effects during this time.



The shuttle then returned through the temporal rift to present-day Las Vegas (although filmed almost 10 years ago, things as the Sands Hotel tower, a sign promoting Siegfried & Roy, might lead one to believe the shuttle returned prior to their abduction). Unfortunately a Klingon ship followed, however Enterprise saved the shuttle at the last minute. The 'real' shuttle landed at the Las Vegas Hilton right next to the "motion simulators" shuttles the visitors were originally waiting to enter when they were "beamed off" at the start of the story. Before the crew of the Enterprise leaves, Captain Picard thanks the crew for "restoring his existence." He says, "While only one of you is my ancestor, each of you hold that same opportunity for the future. Guard it well."

Typically a custodian led the group to an elevator and then out to the Deep Space Nine Promenade and Quark's Bar.

A new attraction - Borg Encounter - was added in 2004, and you'll find more details about it on the Wikipedia page from where most of the description text of this article is coming from.

Another great idea of Star Trek Experience was the theming of the casino - we're in Las Vegas, let's not forget it...It was originally themed as if it was an outer space casino and through the window bays one could see views of outer space supposed to give the feeling that the casino was a kind of space station. Unfortunately after some years they canceled these rear-projections effect and when i visited the attraction five years ago it was not there any more.



I remember that I loved this Star Trek Experience, the teleportation room, the Enterprise bridge, the grand corridor, all this was wonderfully done, and i was sad to hear its closure in September 2008...

End of previous D&M article

And now here is a video showing the full Las Vegas Star Trek Experience with both the Klingon Encounter and the Borg Invasion. After the "live action" parts,  guests of the Klingon Encounter embark for a simulator ride and the Borg Invasion was a 4D experience, but the most important here is the acting part and the theming of the decors to show the potential that a Star Trek land can have to make the experience both immersive and enjoyable for Universal guests. That said, may be Universal won't do a Star Trek land in the new park but only an attraction in the T2 3D show building and that will be all what we'll get...




One more thing: the Star Trek license may look less solid than the Star Wars one and years ago, before the new movies, we could hear that "the Star Trek license was dead", but the truth is that it's not dead at all with the new TV series Star Trek : Discovery which started last year and two new movies in preparation, including one rumored to be directed by  ...Quentin Tarantino! And most of all Star Trek is not only about battles with Klingon or Borgs but also about a positive vision of the future and hope between intergalactic races and, boy, do we need a bright vision of the future, don't we? So, go ahead Universal and build a Star Trek land, do it right with plenty of live action and extras and it will be a success from day one!

Artwork: copyright Landmark, Landmark entertainment, Star Trek is copyright Paramount Pictures and CBS

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Breaking: Disney Announces When Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Will Open at DL and WDW DHS



Breaking: Disney just announced officially that Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will open in summer 2019 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, and fall 2019 at Walt Disney World., and here is the "trailer".




Picture and video: copyright Disney

First Trailer For New Jungle Book Movie "Mowgli" Produced By Warner Bros



The first trailer for Mowgli - the new movie inspired by Rudyard Kipling Jungle Book and produced by Warner Bros, not Disney - is now online, and it looks great. You have the trailer below as well as screen shots and a new poster for the film directed by Andy Serkis, and to be released this October.

Synopsis: The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli, raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.

The actors voicing the story’s central animal characters are: Christian Bale as Bagheera,  Cate Blanchett as the snake, Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch as the fearsome tiger, Shere Khan, Naomie Harris as Nisha, the female wolf, who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs, and Andy Serkis as the bear, Baloo. On the human side, Matthew Rhys is Lockwood, Freida Pinto is Messua and theyoung actor Rohan Chand play Mowgli himself.





















Pictures and video copyright Warner

Discover The Mask of Fu Manchu With Legendary Boris Karloff



I've got something great for you as i succeeded to find a legendary 1932 movie which is hard to find, and it is the famous “Mask of Fu-Manchu” with the great Boris Karloff, and actress Myrna Loy. But what makes it great is that the decors were designed by one of the best Hollywood art director at that time, named Cedric Gibbons, as well as the expressionist photography and lighting.


After the introduction, action arrives in Fu Manchu lair and the decors are fantastically stylized, Gibbons even succeeded to give to Fu Manchu torture chambers some art-deco style - and the film was shot in 1932, so at the best moment of the style. It's Hollywood golden era, and the film inspired a lot of adventure movies which came later, starting by the Indiana Jones ones.



Boris Karloff who played famously in the original Frankenstein ( the monster ) and in the original The Mummy ( the mummy ) play here his other famous character as Dr Fu Manchu, and he is at his best as the evil dr Fu Manchu.






More infos from Wikipedia ( without spoilers ) and some original production shots before the full movie below:

The Mask of Fu Manchu is a 1932 pre-Code adventure film directed by Charles Brabin. It was written by Irene Kuhn, Edgar Allan Woolf and John Willard based on the 1932 novel of the same name by Sax Rohmer. Starring Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu, and featuring Myrna Loy as his depraved daughter, the movie revolves around Fu Manchu's quest for the golden sword and mask of Genghis Khan. Lewis Stone plays his nemesis.






 Synopsis: Sir Denis Nayland Smith (Lewis Stone) of the British Secret Service warns Egyptologist Sir Lionel Barton (Lawrence Grant) that he must beat Fu Manchu in the race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan. The power-mad Fu Manchu (Boris Karloff) intends to use the sword and mask to proclaim himself the reincarnation of the legendary conqueror and inflame the peoples of Asia and the Middle East into a war to wipe out the "white race”.


During its initial release, The Mask of Fu Manchu was criticized by the Chinese government, and the Chinese embassy in Washington launched a formal complaint against the film for its hostile depiction of the Chinese, which is perfectly understandable as you'll understand when you'll see the movie, but that was another era. Enjoy the film!

Note: If the video below don't launch jump directly HERE to watch The Mask of Fu-Manchu.





Pictures and video: copyright MGM

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Highly Awaited "Walt Disney's Disneyland" Book is NOW Available For Pre-order !


It's On July 1st that Taschen will finally release the awaited 352 pages "Walt Disney's Disneyland" hardcover book by Author Chris Nichols. Taschen is always doing beautiful books so chances are that this one will be at the height of our expectations.

The not-to-be-missed book is already available in pre-order mode on Amazon HERE and for $50 only which is a very good deal. Here is the book presentation:

"Walt Disney dreamed for decades about opening the ultimate entertainment venue, but it wasn’t until the early 1950s that his handpicked team began to bring his vision to life. Together, artists, architects, and engineers transformed a dusty tract of orange groves into one of the world’s most beloved destinations, one that every child in America begs to visit.

Today, there are Disney resorts from Paris to Shanghai, but the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California, remains one of America’s most popular attractions, drawing over 16 million visitors each year. From the day it opened on July 17, 1955, Disneyland brought history and fairy tales to life, the future into the present, and far-off cultures and even farther galaxies right before our eyes.

This bountiful visual history draws on Disney’s vast archives, private collections, and the golden age of photojournalism to provide unique access to the concept, development, launch, and enjoyment of this sun-drenched oasis of fun and fantasy. Disneyland documents Walt’s earliest inspirations and ideas; the park’s extraordinary feats of design and engineering; its grand opening; each of its immersive “lands” from Main Street, U.S.A. to Tomorrowland; and the evolution of the park in the six decades since it opened. It is a treasure trove of Disney original documentation and expertise, with award-winning writer Chris Nichols drawing on his extensive knowledge of both Disneyland and Southern California history to reveal the fascinating tale of “the happiest place on Earth.”

And to place your order directly on Amazon, HERE is the direct link. Please use this link as the price will be the same for you but, as D&M is an Amazon partner, a small percentage of the sale will go to Disney and more and it's another way to bring your support to D&M!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

DLP Update : The 20 InsideEars Event Announcements For DLP Future !


On May 18, Disneyland Paris invited webmasters for the InsideEars launch event. Not less than 20 important announcements about DLP near future were unveiled and here is the complete list of all of them with pictures shot by Max, D&M contributor and DLP Welcome webmaster. The list starts right below after the video of the the InsideEars event. Note: most of the presentations in the video are in French language only.




1: « Mickey’s PhilarMagic » will open at Discoveryland Theater in October 2018. Even if the theatre exist since the park opening day you can count this as a new attraction for DLP, and even if the 3D movie had its premiere at WDW 15 years ago it's a good news as it's a good "D" Ticket attraction.








2: Mid-2019, the two parks of Disneyland Paris will be - at last - fully covered by the Wifi network!


3: Magic Pass is coming, French version of the "Magic Band" in a card version for Disneyland Paris, and will be tested this summer for a full use starting in 2019.



4: The Disneyland Hotel will be renovated in its Victorian style but with a new theme not yet unveiled for the rooms, probably other than the current Fantasia theme. The total closure of the establishment should take place after the reopening of the Disney’s New York hotel in its future Marvel version in 2020. Below, some pictures of the Hotel New York today before its rehabilitation on the Marvel theme.








Here is how the rooms will look when the hotel will reopen with its new "Art of Marvel" theme




5: Disney Village: A total redesign of the site is planned and is at 90% validated. A presentation will be made once the project will be signed. Expect a lot of works on this one, too.







6: A new director for the fast food restauration of Disneyland Paris has arrived for a forthcoming redesign of the strategy and the offer.



7: Tests of online reservations for restaurants this summer, such as the restaurant « En Coulisse ».


8: Total rehabilitation of the facades of the Tower of Terror starting May 26. No, it's not because they intend to change the TOT with a Guardians of Galaxy theme. It's for a more serious reason and if you want to know why, scroll down to the next article or jump HERE.



9: As of July 2018, the « Rendez-vous Gourmands » - DLP equivalent to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival - will return with 6 new stands as, for example, the Antilles, Italy, Spain and Belgium. If you missed it last year have look at the video below.




10: Ratatouille will be closed from late August to early December 2018, to fully redo the ground of the attraction which collapse a bit in some areas. No kidding.



11: The « Colonel Hathi Pizza Outpost » will closed in 2019 and will be transformed. Apparently it will become a buffet restaurant but what is not know is if the great theming inside will be changed. Let's hope not. The colonial building is surrounded by little falls and apparently the water is not running anymore there, so may be they want to take care of this too.







12: NO Starbucks Cafe will be established in Main Street USA. Good news.



13: The restaurant « Pizza Planet » will be completely destroyed. A tent purchased at the COP21 will be installed in the same location to receive Premium products and special events like the one for InsideEars last Friday.



14: Mickey and Minnie are celebrating their 90th anniversary at Disneyland Park from October 1, 2018 to January 6, 2019.  Creation of five delicious giant cupcakes inspired by the 5 lands of Disneyland Paris and celebration of Mickey’s birthday in the shows where he appears.



15: « Mickey’s Halloween Celebration » returns with a new float « Mickey’s Illusion Manor » that will celebrate Phantom Manor.



16: A Photolocation with one or more characters from Phantom Manor will open this fall near the attraction after its renovation.




17: At last, the Mark Twain riverboat will be fully renovated in 2019 and back in 2020 to sail on Frontierland Rivers of the Far-West!







18: Frontierland Chaparral Theater is now destroyed. A new theatre will be built and will present the all-new Disneyland Paris production of the Lion king in 2019.





19: DLP Castle turrets with their Golden Arrows at the top will be reinstalled before July on Sleeping Beauty castle, they had been removed when one fell down because of high winds last Winter.


20: The great Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily will designed some DLP exclusive collectible products for DLP and others new merchandise both in collectibles figures and clothes will arrive in shops soon!


And that's it for last Friday announcements! Before you leave an important note as Disney and more truly needs your urgent support!!! If you follow D&M you may have seen that i start a series of eBooks with the first one released last week - article HERE - and after 11 years of resistance i finally agreed to have a bit of Google Ads on D&M - only at the end of each article and one Ad also on the right bar. But i won't get any revenue from these before two or three months and in the meantime i need to survive. So, your support is really urgent and the best way to bring your support to D&M is through a donation by directly sending the amount you wish to my Paypal.me account at: https://www.paypal.me/LITTAYE
It can be any amount whether it is 10, 20 or 50 $ or €, or any amount you wish in any currency, and each donation will be rewarded by a very cool gift - you'll love it!
Note: the Paypal.me link works also for those of you who don't have a Paypal account.


Another way to support D&M is of course to order your copy of the Disneyland Paris book - only English edition is available, no more French edition but i send a PDF of the full French text for those who don't understand English. You can discover the full 320 pages of this amazing book in my video HERE.  Price is 75€ + 22€ shipping and to order the book you have to email me at: amplittaye@gmail.com with your name and shipping address. Payment by Paypal or credit card or bank transfer are accepted.


Thanks by advance for your most needed urgent support!

Pictures: copyright DLP Welcome, Robert Stallard