Photo by Denise Preskitt
This mechanical version of Pixar’s icon (which is rumored to
have cost $3 million to build & then program) made its DHS debut this past
Tuesday afternoon. Denise Preskitt of MouseSteps was on hand when this over-sized version of
Luxo Jr. first hopped into view and was able to capture these shots of WDI’s
first public tests of this new automated rig.
Photo by Denise
If you’d like to see video of both of this new Living
Character’s routines (The schtick that Luxo Jr. performs at night is decidedly
different than the one this over-sized desk lamp does during the day), you
should head on over to JeffLangeDVD. Which currently has footage up of the
Imagineers putting this figure through its paces.
And as you watch Luxo
Jr. go through his nearly three-minute-long routine, it’s hard not to be
impressed by how smoothly this new robotic figure moves. I mean, I’ve seen
seasoned dancers on Broadway who don’t move as well as this supersized version
of Luxo Jr. does.
And speaking of Broadway … For months now, musical theater
fans have been wondering when Disney Theatrical’s latest production – “The
Little Mermaid” – will begin touring. More importantly, where Ariel & her
friends will be stopping as they make their way across the U.S.
All Rights Reserved
Well, thanks to some domain names that The Walt Disney
Company registered on June 21st, we now have an inkling of where the
Little Mermaid may be heading once
Disney Theatrical officially launches …
And these cities include …
Now please keep in mind that just because The Walt Disney Company registers a
domain name doesn’t mean that it actually intends on using it. But – that said
– given that the Mouse went to the trouble & expense of registering a
particular domain name does suggest that it does in fact have future plans for
Which makes you wonder what Mickey plans on doing with ..
... and ...
Copyright Disney. All Rights
But – then again – there are those domain names that you
hope The Walt Disney Company will take advantage of. Like this bunch that Mickey’s
attorneys registered back on June 11th:
… which strongly suggest that WDI may have another
theme park in the works.
UPDATE: While I was in Las Vegas earlier this month, I spoke with a Disney Store rep who talked about how The Walt Disney Company was getting ready to relaunch this retail chain. How their long term goal was to return the Disney Stores to what they were back in their glory days (i.e. late 1980s / early 1990s). Back when the Stores (More importantly, the Cast Members who worked for the Disney Stores) were basically ambassadors for the entire brand.
Well, based on the e-mails & phone calls that I've been receiving today, part of the relaunch of the Disney Stores may involve changing the name of this retail chain to (you guessed it) Disney Imagination Park. Mind you, this next generation series of Disney Stores (which -- again, based on what I've told today -- will do their proof-of-concept work overseas before then coming stateside) will be unlike any retail establishment you've ever seen before.
To quote one unnamed Mouse House manager:
"If the very best of Disney Parks & Resorts, Disney Online, the Studios and the original version of the Disney Stores could all be blended together, that's what a Disney Imagination Park will be like. It's going to be nothing like the Company has ever done before. This place is going to redefine destination retail."
So you can forget all about a new Disney theme park and then start thinking about the next generation / relaunch of the Disney Stores.
You see? This is why I love about digging through the domain names
that The Walt Disney Company registers. You learn so much about what lies just beyond the horizon. Like the sequels that Disney Studios is seriously considering putting into production:
Not to mention the surprises. Those films you never, ever
thought that you’d see Walt Disney Pictures put into development.Like ...
Which – I know – seems like kind of an odd choice. But let’s
remember that – even as you read this – the Studio is shooting a “Sorcerer’s
Apprentice” movie. And if Nicholas Cage can play the live-action version of
Yensid, is it really such a stretch to think that some actress can strap on a
horned headdress and play Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis?
I mean, Glenn Close did a pretty decent job with the live-action
version of Cruella De Vil. So which modern day actress would you like to see
step into the spotlight …
Photo by Denise
(No. Not THAT spotlight) and play the live-action
version of Maleficent?
Are you sure this Maleficent Movie is even live action?
Could Imagination Park be a new name Disney is considering for DCA after its rebirth? Or perhaps its a 2nd gate to HKDL One of those small regional parks in SE Asia thats been rumored? Or maybe, just maybe it will be a 3rd gate at the strawberry field. Time will tell.
Excellent article, Jim! Lots of goodies there. I loved the Luxo demo - brilliant idea, brilliantly executed. And a Maleficent movie, hm? Well, it's no secret that Maleficent - especially in her dragon form - is one of Disney's most popular villains. I could see a movie built around her - but I'd rather NOT see her in live action, and ESPECIALLY in her dragon form. That beautiful 2D animation of her in the Sleeping Beauty film is just too gorgeous, too memorable, to ever be successfully duplicated in CGI.
One thing I'm wondering is - why hasn't Disney pondered doing a Kingdom Hearts movie? I for one have no doubt it would be a success if done well. I'm a bit out of the demographic for the game, but I've played it and love it. Even have a few copies of the manga. (And Maleficent plays a big role in both). And I'm not enthusiastic about it because I'm a Disney fan. I love the idea behind the series, and the new usage of classic characters in anime form. Anyway, Jim, please let us know if Disney IS pondering the idea. I think it'd rock.
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In all likelihood Imagination Park could be some type of online game/website and not a physical theme park.
Jim - perhaps that Imagination Park is for that area that I sent you an email on last week (the story that I heard from a couple of Disney employees on a new "old" project that work started up on again).
Imagination Park is the name of the next version of the Disney Store. They have been showing off the map of the new store to all the cast of the Disney Store and I think the first one opens up in the next 12 months. ( I can't remember which month they told us).