Hey fellow MiceChaters! First I want to thank you for baring with my spelling on the MiceChat Twitter Feed last night. It's hard with auto correct tweets and try and make sure everything was spelled correctly, especially since I was really trying to pay attention to all of this at the same time.
Now onto the review!
First of all Disney went all out for us, especially for such a small group. Only 150 invites were handed out which ment no more than 300 people would be at the event (though it felt like only about half that many where there maybe a few more). When we arrived they had us sign release forms because they were shooting part of it, not sure what for. We were then handed a bag of shwag which contained a nice matted photo of Arial and the newest copy of D23 Magazine. I'm not a D23 member, but I'm very excited to read it.
They had coffee and snacks for us, and didn't cheap out at all, very scrumptious! The Imageneers then started signing our Little Mermaid picture which was very cool. I wasn't able to get all of their signatures but I got a couple, defiantly plan on framing this!
We went in and they had a little introduction by one of the writers of D23 Magazine who was also the moderator. They brought the panel out which consisted of 2 animators (Mark Henn & Andreas Deja). Mark worked on all the Arial scenes while Andreas worked on Triton (though he was first assigned to Prince Eric). They talked about animating the movie and gave us a huge secret, the epic song Part Of Your World was almost cut from the film. Could you imagine TLM without that song? I couldn't!
They then started talking to the Imagineers who worked very closely with the animators to make sure everything was perfect. The lead on the project was Lisa Girolami. Prior to her becoming an Imagineer she was in the film industry (one of the questions that came up from people in the audience and fellow Micechaters was how to become an Imageneer, and they all had taken different paths). She explained how the ride came together and how they worked with the animators to make this come to life. She also told a funny story where Bob Igar came to visit the day before Christmas Eve and wanted to take a look at the progress. The one section they had almost done was Kiss The Girl. He turned to Lisa and started singing, she said it was like seeing a UFO and not having a camera! So funny!
They then moved onto Larry Nikolai who mentioned that the hardest part was trying to get Arial's hair to wave properly. He explained that the best part of the ride is the Under The Sea segment. It is 1/3 of the ride and contains 156 animatronics (if you include the starfish)! To me that is just amazing how much detail they put into it. They also went into what it was like to create the 8 foot Ursala. They used Velvet for her body, and where the movement was heavy they used rubber (mostly around the elbows and face). It was very cool to see her being put into her place (though all the videos we saw had already been posted on the Disney blog). Next was the heavy hitter Chris Crump. Super nice guy, was one of the people I got to sign my picture. His father was one of the original Imageneers and help Walt create the Tiki Room and Small World! He was in charge of Ursala and design of the ride. He explained why it took so long to create this iconic attraction. It had been in the works for a long time and a lot of designs had gone through the pipeline. It was one of the original attractions slated for the DCA makeover and survived budget cut after budget cut. It took 4 years for this ride to come together and it really shows (well at least from what they were saying and what we were able to see).
The one thing I found most interesting and can't wait to see is the 86.5 foot mural inside. It's like the one they have for Peter Pan and the rest of the Dark Rides over in Fantasyland but on a much grander scale. This is the one thing I will be anticipating more than anything else! Interesting fact, Larry painted a 1/86th scale of it in his home that took him 8 months to do. For every inch that was on his wall, they turned into a foot of theirs.
They then thanked us for coming, though we should have been really thanking them, and we left to go see WoC. But before we left I was able to nab a shot of the New Attarction poster! Go check it out! Very 1920's!
I hope you all enjoyed my review and the Live Blogging. I hope that I can do more of this for the community at some point!
Pan signing off!