Author Archives: Rick West

BRC Imagination Arts & Henson Partner on Expo Milano Project

Mascot_Dog_3_HensonBRC Imagination Arts, an experience design agency that Turns Brands Into Destinations, has partnered with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group, to create the world’s first mobile mascot for a World Expo. The mascot will extend the message of “Growing Europe’s Future Together for a Better World” to attendees anywhere on the Expo grounds, as well as into the streets and piazzas of Milan.

“BRC Imagination Arts has created World Expo experiences for more than three decades, but until now we have been constrained by the physical confines of the expo pavilion itself,” said BRC Imagination Arts Executive Creative Director and Vice President Christian Lachel. “From our earliest conversations, the European Union wanted a deeply engaging, emotionally evocative, transmedia experience that could touch the greatest number of people possible. By partnering with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to create this traveling mascot, we transcend the Expo’s physical boundaries and make people part of the story in ways that have never been done before.”

The mascot is based on the litter of puppies from the film The Golden Ear which is part of the overall story-driven media and asset package recently completed and delivered by BRC Imagination Arts for the Expo.

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Daily Train Robberies at Roaring Camp Railroads

Daily train robberies at Roaring Camp RailroadsHide your pocketbooks and valuables because notorious outlaws from the 1880s are sure to hold up Roaring Camp’s steam trains as they reach the top of Bear Mountain.  Shootouts, skirmishes and other blazing reenactments bring the Wild West to life.  Reenactment takes place on steam train ride.

Great Train Robberies take place on the steam trains depart Roaring Camp for Bear Mountain June 21 at 11 am, 12:30, and  2 pm; September dates at 11 am, 12:30, 2 and 3:30 pm.  Beach trains leave for the boardwalk at Santa Cruz at 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. and at 12:15 p.m. from Santa Cruz to Roaring Camp.   The Chuckwagon Barbecue is available from noon to 3 p.m.  Ticket prices are $27 adults and $20 children (2-12 years) for steam trains and $29 adults and $23 children (2-12) for beach trains. Parking is $8 per car.

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Disney PhotoPass Service Viewing, Sharing and Ordering Options

Disney-PhotoPass-familyWhile Walt Disney World Resort is the second most popular place in the world to take a selfie, (after the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France) it ranks first among the best places to get everyone in the picture, too, thanks to Disney’s PhotoPass Service.

Using the latest digital equipment and Disney-engineered technology, a team of Disney PhotoPass photographers take photos of guests enjoying time together inside the four Walt Disney World theme parks, meeting Disney Characters, during Disney Character dining experiences and near numerous iconic locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

The complimentary Disney PhotoPass service gives guests a convenient way to capture treasured moments with everyone in the picture together. When taking photos with a Disney PhotoPass Photographer, guests can associate their photos to their My Disney Experience account by touching their MagicBand, Memory Maker card, Disney PhotoPass card, or park admission ticket to a device that the photographer uses.

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Rally 4 Rhinos May 15 at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

san-diego-zoo-safari-park-rhinosSan Diego Zoo Global has been working for decades to help endangered species. The five species of rhino—white, black, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan—face a bleak future as they are poached for their horns. Their horn is made of keratin, the same thing as our fingernails.

Currently, a rhino is poached every 8 hours in South Africa. All combined, there are less than 30,000 rhinos remaining worldwide and at this rate rhinos could go extinct in 15 years.

Help us raise awareness of the plight of rhinos at Rally 4 Rhinos, taking place at the Safari Park’s African Plains Overlook. Safari Park personnel and invited guests will share rhino conservation information, all while having fun. Activities include entertainment by students from San Pasqual Union Elementary School and a sky art project.

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Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opening Fall 2015 at Disney Springs

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at Disney SpringsJock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar has been announced as a new venue at The Landing at Disney Springs. Set to open in fall of 2015, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar is a direct nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones’ pilot, Jock, who whisks him out of the clutches of hostile Hovitos natives in the jungles of South America during the first sequence of the film.

Once airborne, Indiana Jones finds that there is a large snake in the plane with him, and screams to Jock, who in turn, tells the fabled hero to “show a little backbone!”

While Jock Lindsey was only featured on screen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he was a recurring character in Indiana Jones lore.

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Nola Under Vet Care Again at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED NORTHERN WHITE RHINO AT SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK RETURNS TO THE FIELDNola, a critically endangered 40-year-old female northern white rhino, who has been under close medical watch for the past 11 days in a boma at the San Diego ZoNola, a critically endangered 41-year-old northern white rhino, is undergoing medical treatment at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Keepers noticed a swelling on Nola’s right hip late last week and began monitoring the area. The swelling continued to grow over a few days, causing concern for the elderly animal.

On Saturday, in an attempt to find out if the affected area was an abscess or something else causing the swelling, the veterinary team lanced the growth. “We found the swelling was consistent with a large abscess, filled with pus,” stated Meredith Clancy, associate veterinarian, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “We were able to flush the area with sterile saline and will wait on tests results to determine what is going on with Nola.”

The rhino, a favorite of the animal care team and Safari Park guests, doesn’t appear sick outwardly so veterinarians are hoping the swelling is a walled-off abscess that isn’t affecting her systemically, or affecting her entire body. Nola has been put on a course of antibiotics as a precautionary measure. She will be carefully monitored, having the area flushed on a daily basis. Test results from fluid and tissues samples taken on Saturday should be available within a week to two weeks.

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Action Image of Vin Diesel in Fast & Furious – Supercharged

Fast Furious-Supercharged Vin Diesel ride posterUniversal Studios Hollywood continues its “Road to Fast” campaign with the debut of a Vin Diesel (Dominic “Dom” Toretto) image for its all-new thrill ride Fast & Furious—Supercharged, opening June 25 as the grand finale of the world-famous Studio Tour.

A lengthier, more detailed look at the making-of this revolutionary new attraction, featuring commentary from the cast, including Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Luke Evans and the producers, can be seen here.

“This is new territory for us… to create something as immortal and immersive as this… that all the fans of our franchise can actually live through and be a part of,” said Vin Diesel.  “It’s a testament to that loyal and dedicated fan community that has always been our #1 champion.”

“Once you go on the ride, it’s an opportunity to physically feel some of the adrenaline that we feel everyday while we’re filming,” continued Vin Diesel, adding, “Yeah, I’m excited to ride it!”

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Father’s Day at Roaring Camp Brings Trains and Barbecue

Father's Day at Roaring Camp RailroadsSalute Dad on Father’s day by treating him to a steam train ride and old-fashioned chuck wagon barbecue.  Each dad so honored receives an engineer’s cap. One lucky dad per train is selected to ride in the cab of an old-fashioned steam locomotive from Bear Mountain to Roaring Camp.

But hold on to your pocketbooks and valuables!   Notorious outlaws and desperados may rob the steam train as it approaches Bear Mountain.

Steam Trains depart for Bear Mountain at 11 a.m., 12:30, and 2:00 p.m. and Beach Trains depart to Santa Cruz at 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. and from Santa Cruz to Roaring Camp at 12:15 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Steam train tickets are $27 for adults, $20 for children. Beach Train Tickets are $29 for adults, $23 for children  (2 to 12 years) and parking is $8. A chuck wagon barbecue is served from noon to 3 p.m.

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Lenore Moreno Shatters Tinker Bell Half Marathon Record

Lenore-Moreno-runDisneyPixie power and persistence pushed Lenore Moreno to smash a race record by almost 9 minutes in the fourth annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon presented by PANDORA Jewelry at Disneyland Resort.  Looking much like a pixie herself, the five-foot, 24-year-old West Covina, Calif. resident flew by her competition, finishing in a mere 1:15:55. The former race record was 1:24:11.  She was also nearly nine minutes ahead of second-place finisher Ann Mazur of Charlottesville, VA (1:24:10). Anne-Marie Nuno of Irvine, Calif. came in third (1:24:21).

“Just being inside Disneyland, I think that’s what gave me that push and helped me to forget about how long this half marathon was and just to enjoy the moment,” Moreno said. “I couldn’t have done it anywhere else.  Passing under that castle was just magical.”

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Hatbox Ghost Comes Home to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

Marc-Davis-Hatbox-Ghost“He was a cloaked figure, with an evil, grinning face. A hatbox hung from his hand. With each beat of his bride’s heart, his head disappeared from his body, and appeared in the hatbox.” The Haunted Mansion record, narrated brilliantly by Thurl Ravenscroft, was the first exposure I ever had to the Hatbox Ghost, a sinister character created by the late Disney Legend, Marc Davis.

I was born in 1970, about half a year after The Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland. My own memories of the attraction wouldn’t begin until later visits in the late ’70s. Those fortunate enough to already be alive for the opening of the attraction may have also been fortunate enough to come face-to-face with the most elusive character in Disney attraction history – the Hatbox Ghost.

Developed by Marc Davis and Yale Gracey at WED in Glendale for the Mansion, the Hatbox Ghost was initially installed in the ride’s attic scene, within close proximity to the Bride, who used to have a loudly-beating heart. As stated in the narration of the record, with each heartbeat of his bride, the male specter’s head would vanish, reappearing below in a large hatbox hanging from his skeletal hand. There are several historical images of Disney’s master illusionist, Yale Gracey, working on the mock-up of the figure at their WED facility (now Walt Disney Imagineering) in Glendale, California.

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