Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opens Today!

Wishing you could be in line in Walt Disney World right now?  Me too!  My trip isn't booked until October, so until then, I'm going to hold off on video watching and blog reading - and with the hundreds of articles and spoilers out there, it's been tough!  However, there have been many articles for the mine train on Disney's Official Parks Blog leading up to the big day.  Check them out today in celebration!

Snow White's Scary Adventures will become part of Magic Kingdom park history May 31
First Track Laid
Sneak Peek in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Track Completed
Mine Train Milestone
Mine Cart Drop Test
Imagineers add a piece of Snow White's Scary Adventure to the Seven Dwarf Mine Train
Behind The Scenes Designing Painting Seven Dwarf Mine Train Cars
All In The Details: Sculpting a Seven Dwarfs Mine in New Fantasyland
All in the Details: Imagineers Add Film Inspired Details
All in the Details: Imagineers create the dwarfs cottage at the seven dwarfs mine train
Seven dwarfs mine train live chat to feature new Walt Disney imagineering video
Live chat: talk seven dwarfs mine train today
Walt Disney imagineering shares first ride through video of seven dwarfs mine train in Magic Kingdom park
All in the details: the view from the top of seven dwarfs mine train at magic Kingdom park
All in the details: mining props inside seven dwarfs mine train at magic kingdom park
First look seven dwarfs mine train logo unveiled
All in the details: the big drop at the seven dwarfs mine train at the Magic Kingdom Park
All in the details: the changing terrain of seven dwarfs mine train at Magic Kingdom Park
All in the details: the seven dwarfs mine train cottage close up at Magic Kingdom Park
All in the details: jewel sorting more inside the seven dwarfs mine train queue
All in details: check out a cgi ride through of seven dwarfs mine train at Magic Kingdom Park
All in the details: Dopey drops by the seven dwarfs mine train
First look: feast your eyes on seven dwarfs mine train characters
All in the details: a unique perspective of Belle's village at Magic Kingdom Park
All in the details: glittering gems light up seven dwarfs mine train queue
All in the details: construction walls come down at seven dwarfs mine train
Imagineers bring new audio animatronics to life at seven dwarfs mine train
Full ride through take a trip aboard seven dwarfs mine train in new Fantasyland
Exploring the interactive queue at seven dwarfs mine train in new Fantasyland
Watch the seven dwarfs mine train dedication live from Magic Kingdom Park
Live video of seven dwarfs mine train dedication from Magic Kingdom Park
Seven dwarfs mine train opens May 28 at Walt Disney World Resort
Magical gifs from seven dwarfs mine train at new Fantasyland/
Time lapse video seven dwarfs mine train rises from new Fantasyland
Seven reasons you'll love seven mine train at Magic Kingdom Park
Heigh Ho Heigh Ho on a mine train ride we go
Celebrate Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction in new Fantasyland with a special poster

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Lithograph

A couple weeks ago I talked about my day at D23 day at Mickey's of Glendale.  This week I'd like to share some close up pictures of the lithograph.  Enjoy!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train D23 Lithograph signed by imagineers

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train D23 Lithograph signed by imagineers

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train D23 Lithograph signed by imagineers

Sunday, May 11, 2014

D23 Day at Mickey's of Glendale Featuring Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Presentation Review

Yesterday, I headed out to Glendale to check out D23 day at the WDI campus.  I've never attended a Mickey's of Glendale event before and I really enjoyed my day there.  Please note: pictures were not allowed at any point during the event - sorry.
I arrived right about 8am (due to some unexpected freeway traffic - a given around southern California) and found a parking spot out on the street.  When you walked up to the gate there was a cast member handing out wrist bands, an informational flyer, and a ticket to the presentation.

Front of the Flyer

Back of the Flyer

You were not allowed to take any photographs while at this event.  In fact the cast member told me I would not be able to take any bags into the presentation.  No shopping bags from Mickey's of Glendale and no purses.  So I missed the first presentation while putting the purse back in the car.  The grounds of the campus are just as nice as everyone always talks about.  Because of the unexpected trip to the car, I had some time to take it in.
Detail of Map - you can see the fountains and covered seating area

There area we could be in was the courtyard between the 1401 Flower building and the Mickey's of Glendale store.  The area has lots of tables, benches, and shade.  There are a few fountains with a covered seating area.  The Starbucks adjacent to the cafeteria was open and you could buy a snack while waiting for the next presentation.  And if you are ever at one of these shopping days, make sure you use the restroom.  There is a case right next to it filled with Disney Imagaineering awards.  (Note, it might just be a temporary location as there was lots of construction in the building that weekend).

The ticket for the presentation

When it was time to line up for the presentation, the line wrapped around part of the huge foam model of the seven dwarfs mine train.  It was pretty neat to peak inside and see some of the track plans.  We were brought into the building (I believe it was the actual 1401 Flower street building) and ushered down the John Hench graffiti art wall.  There were all kinds of drawings by different artists, and I spotted Snow White in a few of them (Dopey too).  We were brought into the presentation room and sat down.  The walls had big posters some of the newly completed Disney World projects and upcoming changes (like Disney springs).

The presentation featured six imagineers and one animation cast member.
Dave Bossert: Producer, Creative Director and Head of Special Projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios
Chris Beatty: Executive Create Director on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Jon Georges: Executive Producer on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Dave Minichiello: Executive Field Art Director on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Cliff Welch: Production Designer on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Derek Howard: Ride Concept Designer on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Rebecca Bishop: Executive Concept landscape Architect on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

They started the presentation by welcoming us and telling us how excited they were to have us in the building as it was the first time Disney has ever allowed a group like this into the building.  They also explained all the construction.  They were getting ready for next weekend's family and friends open house and were completing the Monorail tunnel that will feature a whole bunch of LCD screens to show off latest projects.  We had actually passed by the pallets of TVs on the way in.

The panel began by showing us some of the concept art that was initially done and discussed how the final product really hadn't moved too far away from those initial drawings.  They knew early on that they didn't want this attraction to be a "book report" and just retell the Snow White story like the Scary Adventures of Snow White did.

From there they discussed the mine vehicle itself.  Dave Minichiello talked about something he had been working on and how it fit perfectly into this project: the swinging ride vehicle.  They showed us footage of them riding in a swinging plywood box that was attached to the back of a flat bed truck that drove around the parking lot.  We also got to see a variety of foam mock ups and concept drawings for the vehicle.  The final mine cart was built in Europe and they showed us the different paint stages which was pretty impressive.

They also discussed how they had hired some polka dancers to come in to film.  The team knew they had to have Snow White make an appearance and decided it would be at the cottage, after the dwarfs have arrived home.  One of the imagineers built a temporary cottage set out of cardboard and paper and filmed the dancers dancing around inside to get an idea of what it would be like to see the action from all the different mine cart's viewpoints.  They pointed out that they built this in the very room we were sitting in.

The also discussed the plants on the exterior of the mountain.  At some point, going up the mountain, the plants change into artificial plants.  The reasoning was that they wanted to keep the story consistent, they wanted the mountain to always have the same look, just a kiss of spring, so that could only be achieved with artificial plants.  Rebecca Bishop wasn't sure with the idea (being landscaping) at first, but she talked of a trip to China to the plant that made the artificial products.  She went to look at grasses, because apparently, grasses that look realistic didn't exist.  She talked about how the colors mixed to create new hues.  She tried a bunch of shades, and many didn' work.  But her favorite was the pink.  It made it look like just a touch of spring.  Bishop also mentioned that you never know what to expect with the design, sometimes they want trees and sometimes they don't (they being the design leads) so she was excited to work on a project with lots of trees.  Chris Beattly also talked about putting moss on rocks to create the illusion that they had been there a long time, and then having to explain to the cleaning crew that they should not clean the moss off.

Next they showed us some construction photographs.  They mentioned that the ride structure was the brown steel and the building structure was the gray steel.  The two must be separate or the whole building would shake as the coaster runs.  The crews were all working at the same time, people outside and inside.  It took quite a bit of careful planning!  We also got to see photos the black light image mock ups that WDI built here in Glendale and then sent out to Florida to sit in the construction so artists could model the area around the characters.  Beatty talked about getting nervous because every time he visited he worried because there was always a cement truck where the cottage was to be.  However, the cottage is there now (and built in only about 5 months).  Cliff Welch's wife built an exact replica of the cottage window, the one Snow White peaks in during the film.  All hand done the original way.

The last thing they talked about are the next generation audio-animatonric: the dwarfs.  I think it was Jon Georges that pointed out that with he 50th anniversary of Tiki room, theses dwarfs are something Walt would have been proud of.  The imagineers talked about how they can be a kind of jaded group, but when other imagineers, who weren't on the project, saw these figures, they were blown away.  And I can see why! They are amazing.  One guest asked how they did it, and the answer was magic (they want to keep the cards close at this point Dave Bossert said).  Beatty said that the Doc figure right before one of the climb is the most complex (I'm not sure if he meant of the ride, or overall).  I am so excited to see these in person soon! 

After the presentation was done I did some shopping.  I had been given a blue wrist band with numbers on it.  They called the numbers in groups to go in to avoid really long check out lines.  They had passed my number while I was in the presentation, so I got to go right in.  I bought pins, so my wrist band was collected.  If you wanted to wait until everyone had a chance to shop once, people without wrist bands could go in again at the end of the day.  There was only one Seven Dwarfs Mine Train product I didn't get and that was the Tshirt with the shilotte of all seven dwarfs.

The hat available as a S/M or L/XL
Back of the hat

The pins are Imagineer exclusive limited edition 300

Three of the four T-shirts available - the sleeve says grand Opening 2014

The jumbo pin Imagineering exclusive limited edition 300

After shopping, I joined the line for the lithograph and autographs.  At 11:30ish they did announce that people who did not want to get it signed could turn in the yellow wrist band and get their lithograph.  I did wait in line to have mine signed.
The lithograph signed by all the Imagineers (Dave Bossert was not at the signing) Look for an upcoming post with more details of the lithograph.

Overall, it was a fantastically fun day and I'm so glad I had a chance to visit the WDI campus and hear from the imagineers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Miners Wanted Challenge

Looking for a way to pass the time before the big opening day of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?  Never fear, Disney is providing!  Over on Facebook, Disney World has announced a Miners Wanted Challenge.  According to Disney Park Blog, each dwarf will sponsor another Disney character to join them on the mining team and compete in different challenges and win gems based on facebook-ers votes.    Which dwarf will sponsor which characters?  Mickey Mouse, Elsa, Figment, and Maleficent are said to be coming.  The graphic features Minnie, Tink, Bambi, and Beast, so hard to tell if that is actually a clue.  I'm betting Dopey is going for figment (he seems the creative type to want a dragon).  Happy for Mickey (positive energy unite!) or maybe Doc (both leaders of the clubs).  Grumpy seems like the natural fit for Maleficent.  Elsa is throwing me for a loop, maybe Bashful, the whole ice castle of isolation thing may look appealing to him when he's stuck living with seven other dudes all the time.  We will start to find out today as the first characters are announced.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Seven Dwarfs Mne Train D23 Preview at Imagineering!

While Disney, somehow, neglected to add me to the invite list for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train press media event last week, D23 is offering an exlcusive preview at the Imagineering campus this upcoming weekend!

From D23:
Walt Disney Imagineering is opening up its doors to D23 Members for one very special day of shopping and pin trading, plus a presentation, panel, and autograph signing with the Imagineers who created Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!
For pin traders, limited-edition, Imagineering-exclusive products commemorating the opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction will be available while supplies last.
D23 Members will also get to go behind the scenes of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with a presentation and discussion led by the Imagineers who moved this attraction from a dream to reality. In addition, Imagineers will be on hand to sign an original, limited-edition lithograph commemorating the opening (available to all attendees for free while supplies last).

I'm fortunate enough to be close by this event, so I will be there.  Look for upcoming post on my experience, or follow on twitter.

May the 4th be with you!