VIDEO: Behind-the-Scenes with Haunted Mansion’s Hitchhiking Ghosts

Walt Disney Imagineering has released this new video which goes behind the scenes at the most recent additions to Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion attraction: the hitchhiking ghosts.

The video goes into quite a bit of detail and goes behind-the-scenes at the changes which include new audio animatronic figures and the attraction finale which now offers digitally projected animations featuring the beloved Gus, Ezra and Phineas which dynamically detects and interacts with the guest.

Stitch Kingdom first identified and reported on the patent behind this technology over a year ago and on March 12 of this year, nearly one month prior to the unveiling of the new additions, correctly identified that the tech was being applied to the Haunted Mansion.

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Video: Imagineering Puts Finishing Touches on Disney Dream; Hi-Res Images of Exclusive Vinylmation

Disney Dream exclusive 9" and 3" vinylmation figuresAs the newest entry into the Disney Cruise Line fleet prepares to make her on-sea debut, Walt Disney Imagineering provides us this glimpse into providing the final touches on the interior of the ship. The lengthy video gives some great imagery of nearly-finished areas including the awe-inspiring atrium and its incredible LED-lit chandelier.

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Orlando Families Wanted for New HGTV ‘Magical Backyard’ Makeover Show

JayTV, in association with HGTV, is in pre-production for a brand new series which will feature Orlando-area families who are looking to transform their backyards with potential into the next great Orlando theme park attraction (or reasonable facsimile thereof).

Casting is underway right now, so the producers are inviting interested families in the area to submit an application along with a photo of their family and a wide shot of their existing backyard to be considered as part of the show.

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Report: ‘TRON: Legacy’ and Disney Imagineering at USA Science and Engineering Festival

SHIVA Laser at 'TRON: Legacy' exhibit

This past weekend, tens of thousands of families partook in the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival held on the National Mall in Washington, DC as well as satellite events throughout the country. The two-day free festival was created in order to inspire the nation’s youth to pursue careers in maths and sciences by offering various hands-on activities. One of many participants, The Walt Disney Company presented a booth and multiple presentations in conjunction with the National Academy of Engineering featuring TRON: Legacy as well as Walt Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot.

The concept behind the booth was  ’14 Grand Challenges,’ created by the NAE, which is essentially a list of tasks that the NAE believes will need to be addressed in this and future generations. Inside the booth were a few exhibits that demonstrated some of the challenges in practice as well as items from the Disney film. On display from TRON: Legacy was the life-size demonstration model of the lightcycle as well as the SHIVA laser invented by Kevin Flynn which was actually used during the movie’s production.

Relating to the sci-fi SHIVA laser scanner (which the original TRON featured back in 1982) was an exhibit on 3D scanning which helps scientists understand objects better. By using a scanning in a physical object, the computer can generate a point cloud which then translates into a mesh model and finally a digital representation of the object, which can then be explored further in digital space, modified and even re-printed as a physical object.

The next demonstration made every one into a virtual brain surgeon, even if — especially in my case — they aren’t one. Using the the NeuroTouch VR brain surgery simulator developed by the National Research Council in Canada. The NeuroTouch takes MRI data and generates a virtual copy of the patients’ brain and allows the surgeon to visualize and even practice operating on the brain, even providing physical feedback in the virtual 3D space. The exhibit offered visitors the opportunity to remove a brain tumor while controlling any bleeding that was occurring as a result and scored the visitor’s performance. As I mentioned earlier, I’m no brain surgeon, so we’ll just leave it at that.

The final demonstration in the booth was created by Walt Disney Imagineering specifically as an offering for the festival as well as the film’s premiere and uses a new innovention called ‘light painting.’ A two-step process, the visitor first finds him/herself alone in a room with what essentially amounts to a sawhorse. Reclining on the sawhorse as if one were riding a lightcycle, the system uses stereoscopic imagery to take a 3D photo of the visitor. Following the photo, the visitor is handed a wand whose tip is tracked by the cameras placed all around. This allows the visitor to virtually paint their missing lightcycle in the virtual 3D space. Imagineer Lanny Smoot, who talked about the exhibit during his presentation which I’ll cover next, compared it to using a digital camera at home and leaving the shutter open so that the camera constantly captures every movement, but here it’s in a literal 3D space, not just the 2D space a single camera could capture.

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Patent: Disney’s Newest Performers Got Strings to Hold Them Down, Make Them Fret, Make Them Frown

Let’s face it, audio animatronic figures are just a passing fad. Sure they look and move in realistic fashions, even so much as being able to appear to walk steps or be able to twirl a lasso, but it all comes at a high cost — literally and figuratively. They’re expensive to design and create, require expensive maintenance and heavy and large platforms and have extremely limited mobility. And that’s coming from one of the leaders in robotic development at Disney Research, Lanny Smoot. Smoot, Imagineer Gary Schnuckle and Timothy Caldwell are the driving forces behind a new patent application which seeks out the next generation of reliable, consistent, automated performances and they just might have found the answer for 2010 in technology whose origins have been traced as far back as 2000 B.C. — marionettes.

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Former Imagineer Rick Rothschild Named President-Elect of Themed Entertainment Association

TEA President-Elect Rick Rothschild. Photo courtesy of Themed Entertainment AssociationOn August 19, the International Board of the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) selected 40-year attractions industry veteran Rick Rothschild, founder and chief creative officer of FAR OUT! Creative Direction and creative director at Global Immersion, as its next President. Rothschild, best known for his three decades as creative executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, will formally commence his term in November.

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Video: NASA Summit Provides Rare Insight into Imagineering; Little Mermaid 3D Model and Kim Possible Expansion?

NASA recently concluded its first Information Technology Summit in National Harbor, Maryland at which Jack Blitch, Vice President and General Manager of Walt Disney Imagineering Florida, delivered an amazing presentation to the attendees full of videos, photos and information rarely available to the eyes and ears of the public. Fortunately for those many of us who couldn’t attend the summit and attend the presentation, C-SPAN did and has made the summit available online, which we now present to you below:

During his twenty-plus years with Imagineering, Blitch served as Project Executive for the construction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and worked other projects such as Star Tours, Tower of Terror, the new Tomorrowland, Blizzard Beach and Soarin’.

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D23 Members Invited to Mickey’s of Glendale, Marty Sklar Signing at Walt Disney Imagineering August 21

Once again, D23 members and one guest are being invited to join Disney D23 at the exclusive Mickey’s of Glendale shop located at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California on August 21. This time, however, Disney D23 is bringing a guest of its own in the form of Disney Legend and former Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar, the only individual to open all eleven Disney Parks worldwide.

Marty will be on hand to sign copies of the newly released volume Walt Disney Imagineering — A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real from 10 am – 12 pm.

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Walt Disney Imagineering to Sponsor ‘Come Out & Play 2010′ Weekend in NYC

Created in 2006, ‘Come Out & Play’ is a free weekend-long street game festival inviting players from all around the world to engage in real world games and activities — often based on video games — that encourage exploration of the home city.

Walt Disney Imagineering is a partner in this year’s festival which takes place in Brooklyn, NY from June 4 – 6. WDI’s contribution to the festival comes in the form of a real world MMO titled Unwritten Storybook in which up to 50 players will compete and collaborate with each other to accomplish various tasks such as building a castle or herding unicorns. You can learn more about this particular event here.

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Disney Books, Music and Videos Being Released During Week of May 16

Here’s look at some of the Disney-related books, movies and audio CDs being released this week. Please note that this list is automatically generated and information is not guaranteed by this site.

Phineas and Ferb #7: Freeze Frame (Available Tuesday, May 18 or Pre-Order from Amazon.com)

To order or for more information, click here


Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real (Available Tuesday, May 18 or Pre-Order from Amazon.com)

To order or for more information, click here


Split / Second (Available Tuesday, May 18 or Pre-Order from Amazon.com)

To order or for more information, click here


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