Sunday, August 2, 2015

Christmas in July: Disney's "A Christmas Carol" Train Tour at Portland, Oregon

I originally posted this on my old website as a FEATURE on July 23, 2009. I have updated it with some new information.

(NOTE: This website is NOT affiliated with Disney's "A Christmas Carol" Train Tour)

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In order to promote their 2009 film adaption of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Disney created a touring train that would travel the country with promotional materials, in conjunction with a short preview of the film. The film is computer-animated performance capture film, similar to 2004's The Polar Express but far more sophisticated, and will be released in 3-D.  The film stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts that visit him and also features Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins and Robin Wright Penn, most of whom play multiple roles. The film's debut was scheduled for November 6, 2009 with a world premiere in London.

The train's tour schedule was as follows:

Date Location Venue
May 22-25, 2009 Los Angeles, California Los Angeles Union Station
May 29-31, 2009 Grand Canyon, Arizona Williams Depot
June 2, 2009 Santa Fe, New Mexico Santa Fe Depot
June 5-7, 2009 Albuquerque, New Mexico Albuquerque Amtrak Station
June 12-14, 2009 Denver, Colorado Denver Union Station
June 16, 2009 Salt Lake City, Utah Ogden Union Station
June 19-21, 2009 Sacramento, California California State Railroad Museum
June 26-28, 2009 San Francisco, California Port of Redwood City
July 1, 2009 Portland, Oregon Portland Union Station
July 3-5, 2009 Seattle, Washington King Street Station
July 7, 2009 Spokane, Washington Spokane Amtrak Station
July 10-11, 2009 Whitefish, Montana Whitefish Amtrak Station
July 15, 2009 Fargo, North Dakota North Dakota State University
July 17-19, 2009 St. Paul, Minnesota Amtrak Midway Station
July 24-26, 2009 Chicago, Illinois Chicago Union Station
August 4, 2009 Memphis, Tennessee Memphis Central Station
August 7-9, 2009 New Orleans, Louisiana Riverview Amtrak Station
August 11, 2009 Houston, Texas Houston Amtrak Station
August 14-16, 2009 San Antonio, Texas San Antonio Amtrak Station
August 18-19, 2009 Dallas, Texas Dallas Union Station
August 21-23, 2009 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Oklahoma City Santa Fe Depot
August 25, 2009 Kansas City, Missouri Kansas City Union Station
August 28-30, 2009 Omaha, Nebraska Durham Museum
September 4-6, 2009 Detroit, Michigan Henry Ford Museum Greenfield Village
September 9, 2009 Indianapolis, Indiana Downtown Bargersville
September 11-13, 2009 Louisville, Kentucky Louisville Union Station
September 18-19, 2009 Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland Browns Lot
September 22, 2009 Albany, New York Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station
September 25-27, 2009 Boston, Massachusetts South Station
September 30, 2009 Baltimore, Maryland B&O Railroad Museum
October 2-4, 2009 Washington, D.C. Union Station
October 6, 2009 Atlanta, Georgia Southeastern Railway Museum
October 9-11, 2009 Spencer, North Carolina North Carolina Transportation Museum
October 13, 2009 Savannah, Georgia Savannah Amtrak Station
October 16-18, 2009 Miami, Florida Gold Coast Railroad Museum
October 20, 2009 Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Amtrak Station
October 24-25, 2009 Charleston, South Carolina Ansonborough Field
October 27, 2009 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 30th Street Station
October 30-November 1, 2009 New York City, New York Grand Central Terminal

IMG_7668 Christmas Carol Train Banner at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train Tour Banner

I toured the train during its stop at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009. This large advertisement for the train was next to the ticket counter in Union Station. There were also tables with Amtrak merchandise for sale.

IMG_7604 Dickens Carolers at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
The Dickens Carolers

The Dickens Carolers, dressed in Victorian-era winter clothes, entertained visitors as they waited in line. This was a warm, sunny day, so the costumes must have been uncomfortable.

IMG_7610 Christmas Carol Train Car MRLX #801102 at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train at Portland Union Station

Here are some closeups of the train cars and locomotives taken from near the front of the line.

IMG_7611 Amtrak P42DC #71 at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train at Portland Union Station

The locomotives and cars are wrapped with graphics printed by Hewlett-Packard Scitex printers.

IMG_7612 Amtrak P42DC #157 at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train at Portland Union Station

IMG_7615 Interior of the First Car of the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Inside Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

Here is the interior of the first car in the train. This car featured costumes worn in production, portraits of the actors as their characters and display cases with Dickens artifacts, including handwritten pages, from the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

IMG_7617 Character Head Models in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Character Head Models on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

Further along on the tour were other impressive items used in the making of the movie. These clay design models were made to assist the computer artists in the creation of the digital version of the characters.

IMG_7616 Model of Big Ben in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Big Ben on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

This large and impressive model of Big Ben under construction was used in the production of the film, presumably as a starting point for the computer artists.

IMG_7618 Big Ben Model in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Big Ben on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

IMG_7619 Big Ben Model in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Big Ben on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

IMG_7620 Model of Horsedrawn Hearse in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of a hearse on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

Models of a horse-drawn hearse, the home of Scrooge's nephew Fred and the Scrooge & Marley office were displayed as well.

IMG_7621 Models of Fred's House and Scrooge's Office in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Fred’s house on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

IMG_7622 Model of Scrooge's Office in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Scrooge’s Office on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

IMG_7623 Interior of Scrooge's Office in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Scrooge’s Office on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

IMG_7624 Interior of Scrooge's Office in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Model of Scrooge’s Office on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

IMG_7625 Mockup of Studio in the Christmas Carol Train at Union Station in Portland, Oregon on July 1, 2009
Studio Mockup on Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train

This mockup (which involves mirrors to make the space seem larger than it actually is) illustrates the studio where the actors' performances were filmed.

The tour then led to an area where visitors could have their photo manipulated into one of the characters in a technique similar to that used to create the movie. This technology worked ok, though it was based entirely on eye and nose location. A way to select the bottom of the chin as well would have made it work better. There also could have been a warning to remove eyeglasses for the photo, as the system didn't handle them well.

Alter touring the train, visitors were treated to a preview of the movie, presented in 3D. The preview consisted of some footage from cast & crew interviews and a little behind-the-scenes footage, two completed scenes from the movie (the scene where Fred invites Scrooge to Christmas dinner, and the scene where Marley's ghost appears to Scrooge) and the movie trailer. The film appears to be quite faithful to the original Dickens story, and the performance capture technology is greatly improved over that of 2004's The Polar Express.

 

In the next post, I will go over the consist of the train and the history of the cars.

Continue to Disney's "A Christmas Carol" Train Consist

1 comment:

  1. What a great and honest read, thank you for sharing and using real language! I’m just starting out blogging and I’m currently updating my site as I get a better feel for it.
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