Destination D: Amazing Adventures Part 1

Home Blog D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures Part 1

So this is about two months late, but I was busy getting the website up and running, so I’m going to file this under better late than never.  Destination D: Amazing Adventures took place November 18-19 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Like the rest of the Destination D events that D23 has put on, it was filled with great, informative presentations. This post will cover the events of the morning of the first day of Destination D: Amazing Adventures.

Destination D MagicBand2

First up was A Conversation with Bob Chapek, where Bob was interviewed by D23’s Jeffrey Epstein.  He started off by introducing the MagicBand 2 which everyone in attendance was given.  The new MagicBand features removable puck that can be used with key-chains and lanyards.  He also spoke about the success of Shanghai Disneyland noting that it has had higher than expected average time spent in the park.

Pandora -- The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Then they got to the juicy stuff: Avatar.  Bob revealed the names and concept art of the merchandise and dining location that guests will soon be able to visit on Pandora.  Pictured above is Windtraders, a merchandise location where guests will be able to get souvenirs from Pandora and the Na’vi.  Satu’li Canteen, an old military facility, serves as a quick-service dining location. Pongu Pongu will serve local drinks.  He also thought Avatar Flight of Passage, an attraction where guests will fly on a Banshee, will be the most thrilling ride Disney has ever done.

Pandora -- The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

They then moved on to the upcoming Marvel attractions: Iron Man at Hong Kong Disneyland and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. Bob promised that Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Tower of Terror is safe from a Marvel makeover.

Star Wars was next. Nothing big was announced, but we should be getting new Star Tours scenes when Episode VIII comes out in late 2017.

Finally, Bob spoke about the future of Epcot.  Bob announced that a major transformation of the park would happen soon.  He has challenged Imagineers to push the limits, but stay true to the original inspiration.  Nothing specific was announced, but you’d have to believe any major changes would start in Future World.

Future World Sunset

We also learned a little bit more about Bob Chapek himself when he was quizzed about some of his Disney favorites:

  • Character: Tigger
  • Attraction: Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai
  • Song: Reflections from Mulan
  • Show: Frozen at Disney California Adventure
  • Snack: Churros
  • Movie: Toy Story 3
  • Disney Memory: Invictus Games
  • Dream Job: Run Castaway Cay
True Life Adventure

The next presentation was by Don Hahn, Producer of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, and Becky Cline, Director of the Disney Archives, gave a wonderful presentation on the filmmakers behind the True Life Adventure film series.  Their presentation was broken down into the “C’s” of nature documentaries

  • Companions – Half of the True Life Adventure films were made by Husband and Wife teams.  They would have to spend between one to two years out in the wilderness together, so it was good that they got along well.
  • Courage – They shared stories of filmmakers going out to film grizzlies, armed with only a camera and a slingshot.  There was also an incident where one of the filmmaker’s wives was trapped in a tree during an elephant migration overnight until it was safe o rescue her.
  • Climate – They had to endure the arctic cold to get the shots needed for films.
  • Cameras – Today’s technology used in the Disney Nature films has advanced from those early days.  Cameras can now record film at 450 frames per second to slow down the video by 18x, perfect for getting that shot of a Cheetah on the hunt.
  • Contraptions – One filmmaker designed a camera that looked more like a duck hunting gun than a camera.  Meanwhile, another rigged a contraption for being able to film underwater
  • Creepy Crawlies – Did you know if you refrigerate spiders it slows them down a little to makes them easier to work with?
  • Cuteness – Filmmakers today are very careful not to disturb the natural habits of their animal subjects or do anything to influence their behavior.  They will wear face masks to not introduce any disease to their subjects.  Additionally, they will slowly bring out camera equipment over a period of days for the animals to be comfortable with foreign objects.  They would start with a tripod, then add a camera, and finally a lens.

We were also shown the trailer for the upcoming Disney Nature film Born in China, which you can see below.

The last presentation of the morning; Albert Schweitzer, Harper Goff, Bill Evens, and “The Wonderland of Nature’s Own Design”, was given by Disney Legend Marty Sklar.  His presentation focused on the impact that both Harper Goff and Bill Evens had on Disneyland and the subsequent Disney parks.

Harper Goff met Walt Disney through their mutual love of trains.  It wasn’t long before Walt had Harper working at the Walt Disney Studios where he was responsible for the art direction on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  His first assignment at Disneyland was in Adventureland here he came up with designs for the Jungle Cruise including Schweitzer Falls.

He designed the layout of World Showcase at Epcot where his drawings were instrumental in showing executives that all of the different architectural styles of World Showcase could coexist together.  Goff also designed the Japan, Italy, United Kingdom, and Germany Pavilions.  He worked on drawings for an Iran Pavilion before plans were scrapped after the Shah was overthrown in 1979.

Italy Pavilion

While it’s not a Disney film, Harper was the Art Director for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder.

Bill Evans did all the landscaping for Disneyland and is responsible for the lush landscaping of Adventureland and the Jungle Cruise.  He also worked on the landscape planning for both The Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World, as well as the Polynesian Resort and Typhoon Lagoon.

Check back for Part Two of our Destination D: Amazing Adventures Recap which will cover the second half of Day 1, including presentations on Adventurelands around the world, the Jungle Cruise, the Polynesian Resort, and Moana.

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