WDI

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Construction Update from Disney World

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Construction on the last attraction remaining to be completed for the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom has taken some exciting leaps since we last checked in. Although they weren’t testing on the day I was there, as you can see above, a complete train has been added to the tracks of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. That’s an exciting bit of progress, but the attraction still is set to open sometime in 2014 with no official date yet announced.

Here’s more video from around the mountain and through the peek windows. Sadly the windows are getting progressively dirtier, but you can still make out most of the detail. I’m most excited about how the buildings that will house the entrance and exit queue are coming along. Notice the steel construction, gotta be hurricane proof in Orlando.

Thanks for watching. I’ve added a few photos below the jump if you can’t watch the video:

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New Avatar-land concept art and video from James Cameron and Joe Rohde

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Early Saturday morning here in Orlando, but mid-day Japan time at the first D23 expo in that country, Disney revealed big news with the first concept art for the new AVATAR land coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017. Today they’ve released the video James Cameron and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde filmed for the D23 announcement.

It highlights the creative work underway on the AVATAR-inspired land coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The promise the new AVATAR-inspired land will be a transformational experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Sounds pretty good to me, what do you think?

Make sure you watch through. At the 3:00 mark there’s a preview of the ‘Soarin’ over Pandora’ attraction in pre-viz mode and then some wow moment bio-luminescence technology.

A few interesting frame caps from the video are below with my comments:

Read More »New Avatar-land concept art and video from James Cameron and Joe Rohde

Bring to Walt Disney World: The Hyperloop

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This week crazy-like-a-fox billionaire businessman Elon Musk introduced his latest revolutionary concept, the Hyperloop, and then gave it away to the masses as an open source project. Musk’s previous successes include Paypal (without which much online transactions wouldn’t happen), Tesla (an electric car company that’s profitable for a change), SpaceX (a private company that is helping NASA get payloads into space with an eventual goal of Mars(!)), and SolarCity (affordable solar panels for home and business; It remains to be seen if this will fall into the success category, but it seems likely with a net positive in the profit column last quarter).

Hollywood director Jon Favreau has said he modeled his version of Tony Stark, aka Marvel’s Iron Man, at least in part after Musk. But I think Tony Stark is the wrong model. Musk reminds me more of late period Walt Disney, when Walt had his eye on the future, not just of entertainment and the Disney Company, but of the planet as a whole and improving the lives of those who live on it. His gained steam with Monorails (mass transit), moved onto PeopleMovers (person rapid transit (PRT)), and dabbled in energy efficiency and recycling. Then Walt united all his theories and took on the mother of all urban planning projects – EPCOT, the experimental prototype community of tomorrow. With EPCOT, Walt wanted to build a working community where he could partner with industrial explorers with a similar vision for the future.

That is essentially the same vision as Elon Musk; which is why I think there is a natural partnership between Musk, his companies, and The Walt Disney Company. To get started, create the partnership for the purposes of building a working prototype of the Hyperloop at Walt Disney World. Musk, or his team, would be involved enough to oversee things, but most of the R&D would be left to Walt Disney Imagineering. The resulting prototype would be a great first step to making a full scale Hyperloop a feasible project to get past local and state governments.

Disney’s Imagineers already have much of the expertise needed to build such a system. They have experience with air-bearings (from the Flying Saucers ride in 60s to the revisited version at DCA), mass transit systems (Monorail, PeopleMover, etc.) and for years they used a garbage disposal system at the Magic Kingdom that magically whisked away trash right from the curb side down an air pressure driven pipe. They also have good contacts in the coaster and mass transit construction industries, so finding suppliers would not be difficult. Read More »Bring to Walt Disney World: The Hyperloop

Early look at Walt Disney Imagineering Documentary from Leslie Iwerks

Leslie Iwerks, who comes from a family with rare Disney lineage (her Grandfather Ub co-created Mickey Mouse with Walt) has set her documentarian eye on Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm to great acclaim. Her next target is Walt Disney Imagineering, a division that Ub joined… Read More »Early look at Walt Disney Imagineering Documentary from Leslie Iwerks

Designing Sound and Music for Test Track

Our fine furry friends at Imagineering are back to drop some knowledge on how they pulled together the various elements that make up the sound and music for Test Track TRON edition. Disney may not be able to get those RFID cars to actually sync… Read More »Designing Sound and Music for Test Track

Sneak Peek Inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Princess Fairytale Hall

Although most of New Fantasyland had debuted, there are still two major elements yet to open. The Princess Fairytale Hall and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are still under construction. But today Imagineering had released the following video with a backstage peak at the progress.… Read More »Sneak Peek Inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Princess Fairytale Hall