Posts Tagged ‘Imagineering’

Just in via Dateline Disney. According to Al Lutz’s latest column on MiceAge, we can all feel safe about continuing to promulgate the rumor that Star Tours will finally receive a long overdue overhaul…

While Disneyland seems relatively quiet by comparison, there are a few surprises proposed for the original park in the next few years. The most promising is the new Star Tours 2.0 makeover that has just recently received its funding green-light from Burbank and is now slated for an arrival in Tomorrowland in the spring of 2011. While that attraction was originally supposed to arrive in spring, 2010, we’d detailed for you in a previous update how a wussy executive team out in Orlando got cold feet at spending as much money on their version as Anaheim had planned to spend on their installation.

Now, I have no way of proving it, but I distinctly remember pushing the idea of astar-tours-poster-web major refurb for Star Tours several years ago. It had a lot to do with the fact that amongst all of the refurb rumors flying around at the time, overhauling Star Tours seemed to make the most sense.

Why? Simple, in the world of business and project management and cost-analysis, a remake of Star Tours seemed the most feasible. You see, nothing is more appealing to a penny-pinching corporate suit (including myself) than the idea of going after “low-hanging fruit.” I know it’s a term that’s so overused these days, but it’s true. While I had no real insight as to the actual capital outlays required to revamp an attraction of this type, just the fact that the attraction relied on newer technologies like computer generated video and “virtual” environments to achieve it’s entertainment value made it a no-brainer in terms of cost in my mind. In other words, think of Star Tours as a very cool, specialized type of flight simulator. There’s a reason airlines and aircraft manufacturers rely on flight simulators… it’s easier to render all types of scenarios in a virtual environment. If it’s computer-based, it’s flexible and easy (read: cheaper) to modify (relatively speaking). I would assume that the same thing holds true for the engineering behind  Star Tours.

Little did I know at the time however, that there were other things in play besides cost considerations delaying the anticipated overhaul of this attraction. Things like legal challenges and strained relationships with stake-holders, and of course executives on both coasts jockeying for position. With that in mind, it really is amazing that anything gets done at the park.

At any rate, I really hope this rumor holds true. I’d love to see an update to this excellent attraction.


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America Sings InfoHappy 4th of July everybody! Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve added a new track to the Audioland section of the blog. I think you’ll really enjoy this month’s selection. BTW, If you’re crazy enough to be thinking about heading to Disneyland this holiday weekend, I really hope you have a great time amid the craziness and that you take a moment to reflect on this special day.


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A Sound Investment.

Yes, I’m a little late as usual. The Audioland section has been updated with a new track for the month of June.  I’m still trying to find some time to begin work on the database of all of my Disneyland audio tracks, but I’m obviously fighting a losing battle at the moment. At any rate, check out this month’s Audioland track. I guarantee you won’t be dissapointed. Click here or on the ‘Audioland’ tab above.

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bluebayouAre you a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean? Do you often use your backyard for entertaining friends and family? Has your husband, wife or significant other already accepted the fact that you are an incurable Disneyland nut? If so, the following home improvement  project might just be for you!…

DIY Project:  Blue Bayou Lagoon

Step 1:  Purchase and install a set of Magical Firefly Lights in your backyard/outdoor entertaining area.  Make sure to review the installation notes on how to set up your new lights for maximum effect.

Step 2:  Download the following audio file by clicking here (right-click “Save As”).  Load this audio file onto your Mp3 player or home audio system. You will use it in Step 3 below.

Step 3:  If you haven’t already,  set up your audio system so that you can play music outdoors. Don’t forget, the better the system the better the sound and the better the effect. A set of wireless outdoor speakers also works really well in these applications.

Step 4: Now play the audio track you downloaded in Step 2. (make sure to  continuously “loop” the playback of the audio track) and activate your newly installed Magical Firefly Lights.

Voila! Your very own Blue Bayou Lagoon. (Note: Scurvy pirates and hungry tourists not included)

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Sound Check.

(Update 3/15) Looks like we had some audio streaming problems earlier. The problem was a bad line of code that has been identified and now banished from the GCT domain. Glitch fixed. Thanx for letting me know.

Although I’m still hard at work, just wanted to let you know that the Audioland section of the Grand Circle Tour is now open to visitors. Consider this a soft opening while I continue to brainstorm more features for this space. Audioland is a place for Disneyland audiophiles like myself who needed a forum to discuss, listen and even trade Disneyland audio tracks. You can access Audioland by clicking here or on the “Audioland” tab above. Happy listening.

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MasterGracey has recently posted  a video showing the new exterior lighting effect for It’s A Small World. According to various reports, whenever a DLRR train moves past the attraction, the exterior lighting is designed to change color in response to the movement. Looks pretty cool. (Hat tip: Andy Castro @ MiceAge)

[Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpUmawAbLC4%5D

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Sounding Off.

The latest Disneyland Resort (audio) podcast features host Michael Geoghegan covering one of the most important (yet often underrated) design elements that can make or break any attraction … the sound.   The most podcast1interesting part of the show in my opinion, is Michael’s discussion with Senior Show Producer Joe Harrington regarding the art of sound design, Disney Imagineering style. And all from the bowels of the Hollywood Tower Hotel no less! The best quote from the show goes something like this…

“I believe that sound plays half the role in the storytelling process. Walt understood that…” – Joe Harrington

As an avid collector of Disneyland audio, I couldn’t agree more.  As a Disneyland purist,  it’s also reassuring  to hear that there’s still people in charge of the park  invoking the legacy of  Walt Disney and displaying genuine respect  for the true pioneer that he was. So, the next time you’re at the park, take a moment to think about all of the work that goes into creating a sound enviroment that is designed to put guests into that special frame of mind. And when you’re away from the park, think about all of the good memories these sounds bring back when you do hear them.

I’m really glad to see Disney doing the right thing by using their popular podcast mediums as more than just mere  marketing and promotional channels. Podcasts featuring behind-the-scenes and historical accounts of the park are my favorite. If you agree, please be sure to let the shows producers know that we’d like to see/hear more.

Celebrate the Sounds of the Disneyland Resort (podcast)

iTunes and MP3 download versions of the podcast are located here.

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