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Orange Bird Photo Hunt



Entries in Behind-the-Scenes (39)


WDW Construction: Magic Kingdom

Yesterday my grandfather told me his good friend worked for Disney during the Florida construction. Of course I immediately asked if his friend took photos or filmed anything while there. No solid answer yet. We’ll see if we locate anything. For now, we'll enjoy these rare professional black and white construction photos.


Related posts:

WDW Before Opening Day 1971
EPCOT Construction from the Air
EPCOT Center Construction Photos: Future World
Magic Kingdom at Night
Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
Walt Disney and the Santa Maria Railroad



The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It [Part 2]

Let’s go deep into the famous Haunted Mansion ballroom to spy on a few ghosts. Marc Davis designed this part of the ballroom to feature various ghosts entering the party from a coffin and hearse outside the mansion. See Part 1 here.

We go behind the scenes to see some of the process. Some ghost figures in these photos have their paint, clothing, props, and/or hair stripped off. You’ll notice these figures are mounted to a carousel-like structure.

This ship captain (not found in Marc’s concept) has a famous counterpart in Pirates of the Caribbean... the auctioneer!

Legendary Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson sculpted a number of human heads for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, etc. Many of the same heads were used in multiple places. Blaine is also known for sculpting the Walt and Mickey Partners statue. Before working at W.E.D he did animation and special effects work on many of Disney’s classic animated features.

This fella can also be seen in the graveyard scene. Looks like his twin needs some serious refurbing (at least when this photo was taken). Across the river his same head can be spotted again in the blacksmith shop at Fort Langhorn, Tom Sawyer Island.

My oh my. This nice lady’s head makes another appearance in the very same room... but as a man. Old Caesar’s ghost sitting at the table has the very same headskin. She can also be seen in the line of wenches in pirates and other places.

Nearby grandmother reads a book in her rocking chair.

Look familiar?? Now we know where the Carousel of Progress Grandma ends up after she kicks the bucket.

A few of the ghost figures above got their start in this Marc Davis concept art. Although the horses were never added to this scene, a tipped coffin is clearly visible today. The butler with the guest list and the hearse driver never made scene either.

When lit correctly, the revolving ghosts don't appear to revolve in a complete circle. Only a portion of the circle gets light, leaving the rest of the circle invisible to guests looking down from their Doombuggies. This gives the illusion of a never-ending line of ghosts entering the room.


Related posts:

The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It [Part 1]
ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts
Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
I Miss Paul Frees
Little Box of Treasures


Pirate Animatronic Behind-the-Scenes 

Today we go behind-the-scenes to look at the figure-finishing process of Pirates of the Caribbean animatronic figures.

Animatronic figures are maintained on the inside by Engineers in the Engineering Services department. On the outside they are maintained by Figure Finishers, Show Artists, members of the Artist Prep department, Creative Costumers, etc. Ultimately Walt Disney Imagineering is responsible for the show standards of all AA figures. Let’s look at the process.

A pirate is sent to the shop on a trailer, truck, palette, or golf cart to be stripped down. Less prominent figures can be removed from an attraction without being immediately replaced. In theory... the more important figures are not removed unless an identical spare takes its place. You’ll notice this isn’t always the case.

Grab the new headskin that you’ve already buttered up. Buttering is a technique where you trim and add detail to the rubber using metal tips of various shapes on the end of a torch. Notice the hand filled with a spray styrofoam.

Place the headskin in a mold so it keeps its form while working on the inside.

Snaps with rubber flaps are buttered to the inside.

Each snap corresponds to the snaps on the hard under shell.

Ask this guy for the eyes.

Add rubber eyelids and plastic eyelashes to the eye mechanism.

Paint layer upon layer to match the original head shown in documentation photos. Exaggerate the skin tones and other details in order to be more visible from a distance. Consider show lighting conditions.

Add facial hair and wig. Check out the Peter Pan crocodile head in the background!

Add the hat you got from the nice ladies at Creative Costuming.

Once he's back in the show, ride through to see your handy work and tell your friends, "I did that". This process is definitely what I miss most about by past creative career. There's just something about working with these materials then seeing them come to life, animated and speaking and such.


All above photos are from Disneyland Paris. Not all job titles and department names mentioned are consistent with all properties.

Watch this great little video called "Disneyland et ses secrets HD Reportage France 3" for more behind-the-action footage:


Related posts:

Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
Little Box of Treasures
ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts
Walt Disney Studios Post Production Behind-the-Scenes
EYE CANDY: National Geographic Aug '63
Recreating the Pirates Jail Scene in Miniature