Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Little Spark--007: License to Thrill

Be sure to check back soon for a Spark of Inspiration update on this wonderful piece of concept art!

Prepare to get shaken, but not stirred (see what I did there?), in 007: License To Thrill, an all new action packed ride that puts you in the seat of a stunt driver for the newest James Bond movie, coming soon to The Walt Disney Studios Park!

FYI: The name is not original (as you can probably see above). It actually comes from an old Paramount Parks attraction that was released to correspond with the opening of Tomorrow Never Dies (great movie by the way). From what I understand, the attraction was a bummer, but the name was great, so I decided to borrow it unless I can come up with something better...

007: License To Thrill will replace three attractions in the current park (an article I should probably post soon haha), Soundstage 1, The Improve Theatre, and the Sound Attraction in what is currently The Attraction Studios, leaving the I Love Lucy Tribute Show and Studio P&G the last remnants of what was The Attraction Studios. With the opening of the James Bond ride comes a new name for the area, The Action Studios. Eventually those two attractions will be replaced as well, with what though I’m not quite sure yet…but that’s a story for a different day.

Using Test Track technology, the ride will put guests in the seat of James Bond, where they'll dodge explosions, speed through oil slicks, and crash through walls. In order to make it appear you're actually chasing someone, the vehicles will be timed so that they are "chasing" the vehicle in front of it. In other words, if there are 10 vehicles, then vehicle 1 will "chase" vehicle 10, vehicle 2 will "chase" vehicle 1, vehicle 3 will "chase" vehicle 2, and so on. This timing will be done by having the cars load as if they're a Peoplemover attraction (the vehicles never stop). If for some reason the vehicle did need to stop, for a handicap person, etc, there'd be a pit stop over to the side where that person would be able to load, and the attraction wouldn't be stopped.

Walking up to the ride, you’ll find pretty much what you see in the above concept art, the only difference being a soundstage behind the fa├žade (much like Star Tours in DHS).

-The Queue-

Once inside of the soundstage, guests will find themselves on set of the latest Bond picture, standing inside the lobby of MI6 headquarters. On overhead monitors throughout the queue, a director preps guests for their big role as double-O agents working alongside Bond in his big blockbuster picture. Throughout the queue, guests will see agents and other MI6 employees going about their business, some CM’s, and some AA’s. After winding through the Lobby and hallways, guests will finally find themselves in the Briefing Room. Entering the room guests will find that giant screen seen in the picture below (from Quantum of Solace) and a M animatronic (played by Judi Dench) standing in front of it.

-The Preshow-The director will come on screen, explaining that this is everyone’s first shot and making sure everybody’s ready. From the right side of the room you’ll hear, “QUIET ON THE SET…AND ACTION!”, and suddenly the room will go dark, with a spot light shining on M, who will begin to debrief your mission: to stop a group of terrorists with bio-weapons from reaching their destination, London Heathrow Airport. Suddenly a James Bond animatronic (played by Daniel Craig) will enter the room through a door on the right. M will say something along the lines of, “You’re late 007”, to which he will respond, “Sorry, I was just getting to know Ms. Money Penny a little better”, or something along those lines, though I’d want it to be more humorous (haha yeah, I know, I’m reeeeally bad at writing scripts lol). She’ll explain how we’re going to be working along side Bond, and will then tell us to move along to the Q-Branch Labs.

-The Load Area-Entering the Q-Branch, a large, bright, warehouse looking-room, guests will find a Q animatronic (featuring the late Desmond Llewelyn) on a platform above the empty Aston Martins that drive into the room (the cars will have 2 rows of seats, sitting 3 across). He explains the special features of the cars, how they’re controlled from MI6 via GPS Sattellite, bulletproof, and include a grenade launcher inside of the headlights. Of course, once guests are buckled up, Q will, as always, beg of the agents to, “...Please return the car in one piece this time (sighs)…”

-The Ride-

Zooming out of the Q-Branch Labs and onto the streets of London, Bond comes over the radio, explaining that the car guests’re tracking is right in front of them, and how he’s a street away so as not to give up our cover and make it appear obvious that the car is being followed. Weaving around corners and zooming through alleys and back streets, still keeping their distance, the car you’re following suddenly zooms into the old abandoned (enter sponsor’s name here) warehouse. Speeding after them into the warehouse, the car is nowhere to be found, but whispering can be heard from over some crates and boxes. Suddenly, henchmen pop out from behind the boxes, firing away at your car (which can be felt/heard through holes in the car shooting air just as in GMR on the walls during the gangster scene). “We’ve been caught! Quick, get out of there!”, Bond shouts as guests crash through a warehouse wall and back onto the London streets. From there, the chase is on, and the real fun begins. Guests follow the car out of London and into the British country-side, dodging past pedestrian cars, hitting other bad guy vehicles and flipping their car over, slipping through oil slicks, etc, until guests reach the final straightaway with the car they’ve been playing tag with right in front of them, but about to go into a tunnel. Bond comes over the radio, “Now’s our chance! Q, use the grenade launcher, quick, we won’t get a shot like this again, they're speeding into the tunnel!” “Alright, alright 007, we’re locking onto the target…now! Aaaaaaaaand, FIRE!” All of a sudden, the car in front of guests appears to go up in flames! Of course, it doesn’t really, as the car in front is holding the load of guests in front of us. In order to create the illusion, two separate unload areas will be created, and when the car is “blown up”, guests will have really zoomed into the unload area, where a steel door has slammed shut behind them just as quickly as they zoomed in. Most of the effect will be created with smoke, though Flames will be included. When your car is “blown up”, you will have zoomed into the unload area over. Does that make sense? Haha I suppose it is kind of confusing. Once inside the tunnel, everythings pitch black, then the director yells, "AND CUT!" and suddenly, the lights turn on, and you're back in the soundstage. The director, along with Daniel Craig, tells you what a great job you've done, thanks you for your hard work, and to be sure and enjoy the rest of your day at The Walt Disney Studios Themepark.

Well, there you have it! Any comments, critiscims, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully you get a pretty good sense of what I'd want this attraction to be like.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Spark of Inspiration-- The Muppet Studios

Rendering for Disney-MGM Studios' Muppet Studios

Let me start off by saying, I have absolutly no idea if what I'm about to tell you is true. It's an assumption (one that makes complete and total sense to me, a self-educated history nut of Walt Disney World) so if there's someone out there in Internet-land reading this right now, who knows that I'm completely and totally false, please let me know, #1 because I'm totally interested in what it is, and #2 because I want to make sure I give my readers accurate info. All of that said, I'm pretty sure the above concept art is a rendering for what would have been built back in the Streets of America section of Disney's Hollywood Studios had Jim Henson not passed away. I've never seen this image anywhere on the web before, and I'm really excited to be the first (that I know of) to bring this amazing piece of work to you! Starting from the right side of the picture, you'll see something that looks almost identical to the current "Muppet Vision 3-D" building (with a few tweaks and changes made). Moving to the center of the image, way, way, way in the back, is what I would assume to be the entrance to the most exciting attraction never built, "The Great Muppet Movie Ride", which would have been a parody of DHS' "The Great Movie Ride", with Muppet characters renacting scenes from classic films such as Peter Pan and Frankenstein. Finally, on the far left is a building with a Sweedish Chef ballon flying above with a sign ontop that reads, "The Sweedish Chef's Video Cooking School Restaurant". I think its safe to say this one's probably a restaurant, but how cool would it have been if this was an attraction along the lines of "Turtle Talk", with the Sweedish Chef teaching guests how to make cookies or something along those lines. Obviously this is a smidge on the unrealistic side, as one can imagine that the costs of providing even a portion of guests with the supplies to make cookies every single day continuously would be quite high. Even so, I think it's very safe to say that this area would've been hillarious and filled with fun and whimsical adventures for everyone. Perhaps with the release of Disney's first theatrical Muppet film, The Muppets, we'll see a resurgance in Muppet popularity and this area may come to pass in the future.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Little Spark-- The Muppet Studios Tour

Muppet Studios Logo

Nearly 2 years ago now, I was in an Imagineering contest over at the WDWmagic forums, in which players would be given tasks to create attractions to improve Walt Disney World. There was one idea in particular that I was extremely proud of, and so, seeing as how this is my strongest idea to date, I think it's perfect to have this attraction be the first fully developed and detailed project posted on this blog. For the contest, we were to create a brand new Dark Ride for Disney's Hollywood Studios, and immediately I knew I wanted my ride to be Muppet-themed. The Great Muppet Movie Ride was off limits (this had to be a 100% original idea) but that was ok, because I actually had been developing a new Muppet attraction called The Muppet's Take New York, a whimsical and crazy tour through the streets of NYC, Muppet-Style (think DCA's SuperStar Limo + Muppet characters). Although that attraction probably would've fit perfectly into the "Streets of America" section of DHS, after developing the ride further I somehow wound up with The Muppet Studios Tours. What follows is my description of the ride from WDWmagic:

Backstory: The Muppet Studios is now open to all guests wishing to catch a glimpse of how the Muppet's create their movie magic through the Muppet Studios Tour!

List of Show Scenes:

1. Introductions/Studio Gate

2. Muppet Studios Lounge

3. Sweedish Chef's Kitchen

4. The Great Gonzo and Bean Bunny

5. Muppet Sound Studio

6. Muppet FX Labs

7. Miss Piggy's Trailer

8. Finale/Rainbow Connection

Scene Descriptions

Introductions/Studio Gate-

Once you've boarded your tram, you begin your journey to the studio gate with the old familar, "Hi-Ho! Kermit the Frog here..." as Kermit (on a video screen), explains that he will be your tourguide. He also goes on to talk about a grand finale that the 'ole gang has been preparing for the grand opening of the tours. Nearing the gate, you'll notice the rats are selling discounted tickets to their own version of the studio tour (a gag that will continue throughout the attraction), along with merchandise that they've "borrowed" from the stars. Nearing the gate, Bobo the Bear stops your vehicle, being the noble and good studio guard he is. He and Kermit would have a humours spat until finally Kermit convinces Bobo to let you through.

Muppet Studios Lounge-

Kermit would begin appologizing for the inconvience caused by Bobo back at the gate as you'd enter your first stop on the tour, the Cast Lounge/Commisary. As Kermit would go about his dialouge talking about the lounge, Fozzy Bear would stop him, as he just HAS to try out his new material on the passing tour group. Of course, no Fozzy joke is complete without Statler and Waldorf heckling in the background. Saddly, before Fozzy has the opportunity to finish his jokes, he is interupted by a loud, "BANG!" coming form the direction of the kitchen, which leads us to our next scene...

Sweedish Chef's Kitchen-

As you enter the kitchen, it appears that the Chef is having quite some difficulty trying to cook a chicken...of course the problems come from the fact that the chicken is still alive. First trying to knock the chicken over the head with a sledge hammer, then grabbing a shotgun, Kermit is finally able to get the tram out just before the Sweedish Chef pulls out a cannon!

The Great Gonzo & Bean Bunny-

Quickly getting out of the kitchen, the trams enter a street near a soundstage labeled, "Stunt Arena", as Kermit again appologizes for all of the inconviences and begins to talk about the next stop on the tour. Up ahead, Bean Bunny can be seen strolling down the street, carrying buckets of paint and brushes and rollers, when suddenly, "KABLOOM!!!!", the Great Gonzo (on a weird Gonzo-Bike) comes crashing through the roof of the stunt arena, flies through the air and then, "THUD!", land right on top of Bean Bunny, sending the paint and rollers everywhere (as soon as Gonzo lands on Bean, smoke fills the air, allowing for the animatronics to switch out between the clean versions and the painty-messy versions). As Kermit began to ask Gonzo what on earth he was doing, Rizzo and Pepe would come running out of the stunt arena talking about how amazing that was, asking if Gonzo was alright, and totally neglecting Bean Bunny. Comedic dialouge between the characters would ensue, and then the tour would move on.

The Muppet Sound Studios-

The next stop on the tour is the Muppet Sound Studios, where you'll come accross Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem in the sound booth recording their next hit, with Scooter as their producer. After listening to a little bit of the song, Animal would begin to be distracted by the tour vehicles, getting excited by the guests, escaping, and chasing the tour vehicles into the next scene.

The Muppet FX Labs-

The place to find Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker. Good news is, you're just in time to chatch a glimpse of their latest and greatest invention, the FX Genor8tor. This device creates any kind of effect you need for the film being made in a matter of minutes. Against Kermit's better judgement, Dr. Honeydew insists on giving the audience a test run, and asks Beaker to push the lever onto the "Rainbow" icon. Suddenly, a Rainbow appears from the machine right over guest's heads. Dr Honeydew would then say something along the lines of, "That's right the FX Genor8tor can create litterally anything, whether it be peaceful, such as the rainbow you just saw, or explosive, such as...", just then Crazy Harry would pop up from out of nowhere and shout, "DID YOU SAY EXPLOSIVE?!?!?!". He'd then explode his TNT, causing Beaker to fly across the room and knocking the lever to "Tornado". With a gust of wind, machines and scientific items would begin flying around the room in a giant tornado, as Honeydew and Kermit urge guests to remain calm. Suddenly one of the items would crash into the tram, causing it to go haywire and immediately exit the FX Labs.

Miss Piggy's Trailer-

Crashing through a wall of the FX Labs, (with your vehicles jerking around quite a bit and moving a little faster), you make your way down a studio street with several Muppets dodging out of the way of the vehicles. Your vehicle then comes to a complete and sudden stop, after it's crashed into Ms. Piggy's trailer of course. Piggy infuriated (and in curlers in a robe), has been getting ready for the big finale, and threatens that if Kermit doesn't get the guests out of her trailer soon she'll be having frog legs for dinner with a side of melon...within seconds of the threat, Kermit and Dr Honeydew announce they've been able to get the trams up and running again.

Finale/Rainbow Connection-

Backing out of Piggy's trailer, Kermit tells everyone that it's almost time for the grand finale. You then enter a soundstage with all the lights completely shut off. Suddenly, one single spotlight shines on a Kermit AA, strummin on the banjo and sitting on a log (with a swamp facade behind him). He starts, "Why are there so many songs about rainbows..." The lights in the room then slowly begin to fade up as the entire Muppet cast joins him in the finale song from "The Muppet Movie" (in front of the "Magic Store" facade). Kermit then thanks you for taking the tour and then wishes everyone a Magical day at The Walt Disney Studios Themepark.

Monday, March 14, 2011

God Bless Japan

I should've done this over the weekend, but we all know how life is...though I suppose that's not much of an excuse. I wanted to be sure to ask all of you out there in Internet-Land to take some time over the next couple of weeks and just pray for all of our Japanese friends. Pray for all of those who have been touched by the devastating impact of the horrible earthquakes and tsunamis. Pray that they may they find peace and be strength in this time of hardship and struggle, and that they may be comforted and they will remember that God is with them.
To close this post, there's an old Japanese proverb, "Kishi Kaisei", which litterally means to "Wake from death and Return to life." I have no doubt that the Japanese will come back stronger and better than ever. God Bless Japan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Attraction Update--Danny Elfman to compose Mystic Manor Score!

That's right folks, the man behind Jack Skellington, Danny Elfman, will be providing an all new score for HKDL's Haunted Mansion equivalent, Mystic Manor! To Disney fans, Elfman is best known for his role as Jack Skellington's singing voice in, The Nightmare Before Christmas. He's also the composer of many memorable Hollywood film scores including Batman, The Simpson's theme, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mission Impossible, Men In Black, and more recently (in Disney history) Alice and Wonderland.
This is so exciting! I mean, as a Disney fan I've been looking foward to this attraction since it was announced, and now with Elfman attached to the project, my enthusiasm for it just became that much greater! I cannot wait to hear what he comes up with. Based on his past work, Elfman is a perfect fit with this attraction, and should be able to do a fantastic job combining the quirkiness and humor of the monkey with the creepiness and scary moments that the attraction is sure to offer. I sure do hope this soundtrack's released to the public!! For video and tons of pictures on the announcment, visit .

Hat Tip to
Disney And More

Attraction Update--WDS Ratatouille Dark Ride Confirmed

image courtesy of Insights and Sounds

Although I do believe that The Walt Disney Studios Paris is a very, very beautiful themepark (at least based on pictures I've seen, mostly from Photos Magiques), it's no secret that it's also probably the weakest park Disney's ever built, especially after the disaster that is the Toy Story Playland. But, just as the pheonix rises from the ashes, soon, the new Ratatoullie attraction (an all new extremely complex and immersive dark ride) will rise behind Toy Story Playland. It's extremely exciting and I can't wait to find out more on what will probably be one of the greatest attractions WDI has built in a long time. Finally, WDS will have an attraction worthy of the Disneyland Park.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Spark of Inspiration--Star Wars Tomorrowland, The Ultimate Potter Swater

image courtesy of Tim Delaney

Seeing as how this blog is designed to not only feature theme park ideas but to also inspire new ones, I thought it might be cool if we took a little bit of time to view some concept art in order to help Spark some Inspiration (see what I did there?). Today's concept art comes from the great Imagineer, Tim J. Delaney, for what I assume was a very, very bluesky concept for Disneyland Paris. It features Tomorrowland with a Star Wars theme, and is really, really awesome. In the very front we see the Millinium Falcon, which I assume would be a walkthrough similar to the Nautilus walkthrough in DLP's Discoveryland. Behind that, we see what I would guess is the equivilant of Space Mountain, but with a Death Star exterior (can you even imagaine how awesome that would be?), and way, way, way in the background is a spiner attraction with the vehicles probably being X-Wings (again, totally sweet). Finally, closer to the front we see what appears to be a building from Tatooine, probably the Mos Eisley Cantina restaurant.
Can you even begin to imagine how amazing this land would've been? I mean, it's concept art that features attractions like these tha bum me out the most, concept art that only gives you the tiniest hint of flavor of what that land could've been (though I don't mean to complain, because Discoveryland in DLP really is spectacular in every single way). When I see art like this though, it makes me PRAY that a good idea never truly dies at WDI...Disney needs to build this, if for no other reason than to have the ultimate Potter Swatter.

It's Here! It's Here! It's Finally HERE!!

At last! The moment I've been waiting for! Over at, the great RandySavage was kind enough to take this rough sketch (a map drawn completely in pencil and without a ruler I might add)...

And turn it into this wonderful masterpiece...

Image Courtesy of RandySavage

I'm so proud. But don't be getting spoiled now, because odds are the vast majority of the time you're not going to be looking at maps as clean and precise as the one RandySavage fixed up for me, though I can promise to add some of my rough sketches like the one above. Also, I have plans to improve The Walt Disney Studios Themepark, including a Star Wars land, a Rupunzel sub-land, and an all new Auto-Stunt ride! Hopefully I'll get around to posting that stuff soon, but in the mean time be sure to check out some of RandySavage's other posts, and remember to check his site,, at least once a week for new and exciting theme park layouts as magnificant as the one above!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Magic of Disney Animation

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful an animated picture done right can be. No studio has perfected this art form in the way that the fine folks in the Hat Building have, and although the last decade has seen its string of dissapointments, I don't think it's fair to write Disney off just yet, especially after their last two films, The Princess and the Frog (which may very well be one of my favorite films of all time) and Tangled, and I have no doubt that the new Winnie the Pooh movie is going to be absolutly wonderful. It seems to me the studio may finally be getting its act back together, probably thanks to good ol' Uncle Lasseter). Me being the nerd I am, I recently searched for a Disney Animation montage along the lines of the finale of "The Great Movie Ride", and much to my delight, I found this one (click on the link). It's an AMAZING recreation of the montage used in the short film, Back to Neverland, which could be found in the "Magic of Disney Animation" tour when the the Disney-MGM Studios opened (it must have taken forever to recreate it the way glennwhelan did). Although I never got to see the original animation tour or Back to Neverland, after watching this montage I sure wish I could've had the opportunity. I still have goosebumbs from watching it. In fact, I think I may watch it again before I head to bed.

Update 3/8/11: While rewatching the montage (it's official, I have no life whatsoever) I decided to click on a link labeled "Walt Disney Studios Paris-Art Of Disney Animation", and was very excited to find a recreation of an updated version of the montage above! It's so exciting! (Okay, so maybe I'm over reacting a little, but hey, I figure it's my blog and I'll react how I darn well wanna react so there!). This one has a few clips in French, and includes films up to The Princess And The Frog. There's also ALOT of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (another of my absolute favorites) which I found interesting as I assumed it was one of the less popular films...perhaps the movie was better recieved in Europe due to it's French setting? Also interesting is the lack of CGI films. No Dinosaur, Chicken Little, Meet The Robinsons, or Bolt, which makes me wonder, is Disney trying to forget the last deccade? That seems rather silly as all of those films are at least mildly entertaining. Either way, it's still a fantastic montage...anywho, the updated montage can be found here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Doctor That Truly Understood Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Today I've decided to take some time
to put together a little rhyme
that honors a man as creative as Ol' Uncle Walt.
A man whose intelligence, wit, and humor had not one single fault.
As kids we became hooked on all of his books, filled with nooks and crannies (and gabanashooks!).
He took us down roads leading this way and that,
and captured the hearts of generations with a cat (in a hat).
And so I think it's important, as this day comes to a close,
to make sure everybody out there in Internet-land knows,
that one-hundred and four years ago today,
one of America's greats came our way.
He inspired so many children across the world in every nation,

to learn to read and to write, and to always use your imagination.

Happy 104th Birthday Dr Suess!