Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The future Disneyland Shanghai will be very Chinese

BEIJING- More than 500 designers, or what Disney calls “imaginers”, have worked for years to create the design concept for the first Disney resort on the Chinese mainland, in the hope of making the 3.9-square-kilometer resort 100 percent Disney, but with distinctive Chinese flavours.

For these Disney imaginers, who have already designed five Disney resorts, ensuring their designs are genuinely Disney is not as much of a challenge as ensuring Chinese elements and consumer tastes are appropriately considered and incorporated.

To achieve that goal, the designers launched numerous focus groups and undertook countless field research trips to hear from audiences, and witness and experience Chinese culture firsthand. They also welcomed into their design group top Chinese creative talent to ensure Chinese participation in the project from the very beginning.

During a lunch at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the Shanghai Disney Resort’s creative head, Bob Weis, and three LA-based Chinese imaginers shared with China Daily some of the exciting stories about their work on the Shanghai project.

According to Weis, many of the designers involved with the Shanghai resort have visited China multiple times to experience Chinese culture, and have incorporated elements into their work and discussed improvements with colleagues. Every design in the Shanghai Disney Resort is subject to critical review and debate. “We encourage the exchange of ideas so we can select the best concepts while recognizing there are no stupid ideas,” he said.

One of the most debated designs has been of the main castle, the centre piece of every Disney resort. To ensure a perfect castle for the Shanghai theme park, the team pinned many drafts on a giant wall to solicit opinions from visitors and partners.

Lead castle designer Doris Woodward, a senior director and producer who traces her family background to Shanghai, said Shanghai’s castle will be the biggest among Disney’s castles worldwide. Instead of being home to any single princess, the castle in Shanghai will be home to all of Disney’s princesses, including Snow White and Pocahontas.


Beijing-born and raised Yu Xuan, one of the LA-based imaginers, is in charge of organizing creative design focus groups and the immersive trips across China. “We get ideas of what Chinese audiences want through questionnaires and face-to-face interviews with thousands of people in many cities. One key thing we have found is that they all want to take away from their Shanghai Disney Resort experience a collective memory that can be shared among family members throughout their entire lives,” she said.

Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said some of the designs in the Shanghai park have been pinned down but some are still up for modification. Designs will be constantly improved and refined during the development phase and visitors will be “surprised” when they enter the park at the end of 2015, he said. He added that the Shanghai Park will also feature plenty of rides and attractions, many of which are newly designed and cannot be found at other Disney theme parks.

When it opens in 2015, the Shanghai resort will have a theme park, two theme hotels, various dining and entertainment venues, recreational facilities, a lake and transportation hubs.  Total investment is expected to reach CNY 24.5 billion (US$ 3.84 billion) for the theme park and CNY 4.5 billion for the hotels and the retail, dining and entertainment facilities.

(Source: China Daily)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More than 6 1/2-hour wait for Tokyo Disney Sea's new attraction

Toy Story Mania! officially opened at Tokyo Disney Sea on July 9. The attraction was highly anticipated, with excellent advance reviews, so a huge crowd was fully expected. But who would have imagined that the wait time for the ride at 10:30 a.m. on opening day would be a staggering 400 minutes? That’s a 6 hour, 40-minute wait.
On the ride, you get to feel like you’re actually in the world of “Toy Story” while playing different kinds of virtual games, so it’s definitely a fun-filled, interactive experience, and we all knew that Disney fans and “Toy Story” fans alike were looking forward enormously for the attraction to open.

And finally on July 9, the day anxiously awaited by all the fans, Toy Story Mania! opened to an incredible number of people desperately eager to try the ride. Pictures of the crowd and excitement were quickly posted over the Internet and have been the subject of much attention.

Here’s what Internet users are saying in response to the unbelievable crowd that gathered for the grand opening:
“400 minute wait for Toy Story Mania! You’ve got to be kidding!!!”
“400 minutes??? Are they fighting battles to get in or what??”
“You could finish watching all 3 Toy Story movies in 400 minutes!”
“Man, the Sun will actually have set by the time you finish waiting!”
“400 minutes waiting in this hot Summer weather? That’s one mean endurance test!”
“I waited 4 hours for the Spiderman ride, but 400 minutes? Your whole day would be over!”
“It’s should be called “Toh-ee”(“Far-away” in Japanese) Story instead of Toy Story!”

Apparently, the long wait time has astounded not just Disney fans but the Internet public as well. It does make you curious about the ride, doesn’t it? There are probably many people out there who want to go check it out, but just how long will this craze last? You can check the wait time on Tokyo Disney Resort’s Japanese website if you’re interested, but it looks like this information is available only in Japanese. (As of Wednesday, the wait time seems to be about 140 minutes.) If you have the chance to visit Tokyo Disney Sea, we hope you’re able to enjoy Toy Story Mania! without too long a wait.

Original Article by: Daiichiro Tashiro (Japanese)
Source: :twipple/mikko_20100518 (Japanese), twitpic/@aloha_mickey (Japanese)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily - Disney Artists

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Disneyland Hong Kong Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars POV

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Disneyland Hong Kong Grizzly Gulch to debut on July 14, with seven major experiences offering a runaway Wild West adventure

(July 3, 2012 – Hong Kong) The largest themed land of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort’s expansion plan, the world-exclusive Grizzly Gulch, will officially open on July 14, 2012, bringing Guests an unexpected runaway adventure and seven must-visit Wild West experiences.
Along with the innovative multidirectional terrain-style coaster, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, Guests should also explore the entire themed land. They will have a blast with the water play of Geyser Gulch, be welcomed by song and dance at the Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show, find great photo opportunities at The Old Jail, Assay Office and Lucky Nugget, enjoy hearty fare at the Lucky Nugget Saloon, discover delightful merchandise at Bear Necessities and be able to take photos with our Disney friends in their new Wild West outfits.
 “The Resort greatly values the market of young adults,” said Wendy Chu, Director, Marketing, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. “As such, we've made an effort to specifically target this demographic with creative interactive campaigns city-wide, both online and offline.
“The Resort has developed a limited-edition Grizzly Gulch Runaway Adventure board game, which has been praised by popular radio DJs who’ve played it. We’ve partnered with MegaBox to bring a giant version to the mall, providing photo opportunities and an immersive experience for participants. Also, to introduce the new themed land, we launched three funny videos featuring travel guru Tony Hung and internet celebrity Ming Jai, with an online game and prizes, to a fantastic response – we're seeing the videos being shared widely. Additionally, we'll be introducing 3D Illustration photo spots at an MTR station, where Guests can also scan QR codes to watch videos on their smartphones to learn more about the major experiences of Grizzly Gulch.”

Innovative and diverse marketing program extended overseas
“The Resort has taken a multidirectional approach to promote Grizzly Gulch to over 5,000 trade representatives in 20 cities worldwide,” said Larry Leung, Director, Travel Trade Sales, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. “For the first time ever, we’re hosting online seminars to share information on Grizzly Gulch with our trade partners. These webinars are expected to reach a wider travel trade audience, including travel agency front-line staff, enabling them to access the latest product information and experience this unique themed land at the convenience of their fingertips.” 
These webinars complement various trade launch events hosted in major cities, including Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taiwan and Indonesia, at which travel trade partners were offered a sneak preview of Grizzly Gulch and encouraged to develop a diverse range of themed travel packages featuring this exciting new themed land.  
“One example is our partnership with Ctrip.com to invite 500 Mainland Chinese Guests to be among the first to experience this unparalleled runaway adventure before its premiere,” said Leung.
Various Guests to preview the seven major experiences of Grizzly Gulch
With Cast Members all ready for Grizzly Gulch’s debut, the Resort will be hosting preview days to offer a first look to members of the local and international media, travel industry representatives, artists, celebrities, Magic Access Members, strategic partners, members of community groups, Cast Members and their families and others. These preview days will help spread positive word-of-mouth for the unique Wild West experience of Grizzly Gulch.
Guests should be sure not to miss the unique Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, featuring mine cars that will each take 24 Guests at a time on an unexpected runaway adventure. This multidirectional terrain-style coaster has three main highlights: the first is that the mine cars race both forward and backward, suddenly launching forward, making sharp turns and racing backwards for approximately one third of the entire journey; the second is that the mine cars traverse the entire themed land, through the mine shafts of Big Grizzly Mountain and around the township, including Geyser Gulch; the third is that the mine car tracks crisscross all across Grizzly Gulch's landscape.
Guests should also visit the six other must-see experiences: Geyser Gulch, where Guests of all ages are sure to have a blast with the geysers and sudden eruptions of the colorful Lucky Springs Geyser; Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show, which will charm Guests with street performances featuring singing and dancing; Disney friends dressed in their new outfits as well as Disney’s grizzly bears Koda and Kenai; a myriad of photo opportunities including The Old Jail and the Assay Office with the Lucky Nugget, which will bring fortune to visitors who rub its shiny gold exterior; Bear Necessities, full of Grizzly Gulch-themed gifts; and the Lucky Nugget Saloon, where unique, hearty fare awaits hungry Guests.
Come on up to Big Grizzly Mountain on July 14, 2012!