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‘Behind the Attraction’ traces Disney’s theme-park tech advancements one ride at a time

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There are, for the most part, two types of Disney Parks fans. There are those who see it as a nice thing to do with your family once in a while, and there are those who take it… a little more seriously. The upcoming Behind the Attraction, hitting Disney+ on July 21st, is a show that’s aimed at turning more of those casual tourists into dedicated fans, by explaining the backstory behind famous attractions like Star Tours, the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain.

Each episode features lots of old footage, talking heads, conceptual art and snark. If you’re thinking that sounds like The Toys That Made Us, but for Disney Parks, you’d be absolutely correct. Behind the Attraction is produced and directed by Brian Volk-Weiss, the creative mind behind Netflix docuseries like TTTMU and The Movies That Made Us. He was specifically sought out by Disney+ for his style which, by his own description, is “focused more on fun” and doesn’t treat its subject like “the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.” He loves documentaries, but hates when they take silly topics too seriously.

Hippos in the river at Jungle Cruise
Disney Parks

To wit, the series is narrated by comedy veteran Paget Brewster, an actress who has been in The Venture Bros., Community and Another Period. Disney fans will probably recognize her best as the voice of Della Duck on the 2017 DuckTales reboot. She adopts a light playful tone, as far from Morgan Freeman you can get. Also on board is executive producer Dwayne Johnson, who stars in Disney’s upcoming live action Jungle Cruise film. Is there an episode about the Jungle Cruise attraction? Of course there is.

Besides that, the other four episodes available this week focus on the Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Space Mountain. (Episodes about things like the castles and transportation systems, as well as famous rides like “It’s a Small World” and Pirates of the Caribbean are being held for later in the year.) They trace the history and development of each individual attraction with clips from shows like 1955’s Disneyland and The Wonderful World of Disney, news segments, and a mix of new and old interviews. Anyone who watched the docuseries The Imagineering Story (also on Disney+) will recognize a lot of reused footage from there. Which of course begs the question, why did we need another behind-the-scenes show?

Star Tours / Galaxy's Edge
Disney Parks

The biggest difference between the two is that The Imagineering Story takes a strict chronological approach, starting with the origin story behind Walt Disney’s desire to build a theme park, progressing through the opening of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Epcot and so on. The later episodes focus less on a historical outlook and more on “look at what cool technology we built for this new thing.” Which leads to a sort of unbalanced feel to the program, as well as a greater sense that it’s one big travel brochure for the Disney Parks.

Which isn’t to say that Behind the Attraction isn’t one big advertisement. I certainly want to visit Disney Shanghai after getting a look at the development of its Storybook Castle and TRON Lightcycle Power Run. But because the new show takes a more topical approach, it’s a lot more “snackable,” with episodes that can be watched in any order according to what interests you the most. 

Each episode still follows its individual subject chronologically, like how the Hall of Presidents episode goes into the development of the original “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” show at the 1964 World’s Fair to the installation of the attraction at Disneyland, the creation of the full Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World to today’s animatronics like the ones used on Avengers Campus at California Adventure. The Imagineering Story talks about the development of the “Stuntronics” as well, but it’s Behind the Attraction that draws a straight line for the viewer from Abraham Lincoln giving a speech to Spider-Man doing somersaults in the air. You actually understand how tech created in 1964 can still shape something built in 2020.

Ghost hitchhikers in the Haunted Mansion
Disney Parks

While it's unlikely that Behind the Attraction will ever delve into the various faceplants the company has taken over the years the way YouTube shows like Yesterworld and Defunctland do, the new show is at least capable of admitting when certain things didn’t work. The Haunted Mansion had to be completely rethought for Shanghai, while Japan got a different backstory for its Tower of Terror. And the original Jungle Cruise had no dad jokes!

Of course, there are no Splash Mountain or Captain EO episodes, so we don’t know yet how the show will deal with some of the more unsavory or embarrassing bits of Disney Park history. Which is fine, since Behind the Attraction isn’t intended to be a complete history of Disney, just a quick half-hour show that will have you going “did you know?” to all your friends and family the next time you visit the Magic Kingdom.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/disney-plus-behind-the-attraction-review-130039942.html?src=rss

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Microsoft Office 2021 will be available on October 5th

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Microsoft will release Office 2021, the next consumer version of its productivity suite, on October 5th. That’s the same day the company will launch Windows 11. Much like Office 2019 before it, Office 2021 is a one-time purchase that will be available on both Windows and macOS. It’s for people who don’t want to subscribe to the company’s Microsoft 365 subscription.

Microsoft promised to share more details on Office 2021 soon, but we know from reporting by The Verge’s Tom Warren that the release will feature many of the same improvements found in Office LTSC, a variant of the software the company released today for enterprise customers who can’t access the Cloud. Among other improvements, it adds accessibility features and dark mode support. We also know from a previous announcement Microsoft plans to support the software for at least five years, and that the software will work with both 32- and 64-bit systems out of the box.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-office-2021-october-5-2021-170152304.html?src=rss

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Ford will spend $250 million to boost F-150 Lightning production

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Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning is clearly in high demand, and the company is determined to keep up. The automaker has paired news of pre-production work with a promise to invest an extra $250 million and create 450 new jobs to increase production capacity. That should help Ford build 80,000 Lightning trucks per year — little comfort when the company now has 150,000 reservations, but the move should reduce wait times.

Most of the jobs will go to workers assembling the electric F-150 at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, while others will build more batteries at the Rawsonville Components Plant and motors at the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center. The first trucks should be available in spring 2022.

The production numbers won’t compete with conventional trucks for a while. As Autoweek observed, Ford averaged sales of about 900,000 regular F-150 trucks per year before the pandemic and chip shortages came into play. While the Lightning may be more than a niche product, it’s not yet at the point where Ford would have to reconsider its conventional truck production.

There’s also a certain amount of posturing involved with the news. Ford is clearly eager to please a government promoting made-in-America EVs. However, it’s still a recognition of pent-up demand for electric pickups, both from Ford and from the industry as a whole. Not that Ford might have much choice. With Rivian already producing its first trucks, Ford risks losing sales to competitors if it doesn’t ramp up manufacturing.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/ford-ramps-up-f-150-lightning-production-165311045.html?src=rss

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Boss’ SY-200 is a powerful guitar synth that fits on a pedalboard

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Boss is certainly no stranger to the world of guitar synths. In fact, Roland and Boss have been at the forefront of guitar synths and MIDI controllers since the ’70s. After launching the absolutely epic SY-1000 in 2019, then cramming a bunch of synth sounds into an actual guitar Eurus earlier this year, Boss is going a little more traditional with the SY-200. 

The SY-200 isn’t quite as big as the 1000, which is basically a pedalboard in and of itself. But it’s definitely larger and more comprehensive than the compact Boss pedals you’re probably familiar with, like the SY-1 synth. The 200 has 171 different sounds spread across 12 different categories and can be played without the need for a special pickup. 

Each voice has three parameters that you can customize, which pales in comparison to the full on programable synth inside the SY-1000, but it’s definitely a lot more approachable and pedalboard-friendly. You’ve everything from ripping leads, to warm pads, to delicate bell tones at your disposal. (Though, the Boss demo video above is real heavy on traditional guitar shredding.) Oh, and it’s fully polyphonic, which we’ve come to expect from Boss synth pedals, but it’s still worth calling out.

There’s two foot switches for giving you some control over live variation while playing, but you can also connect an expression pedal, or control parameters and program changes via MIDI. You’ve got 128 preset slots for saving and recalling your favorite sounds. And last, but definitely not least, there are send and return jacks for blending in other effects in parallel with your synth sounds. 

The Boss SY-200 will be available for $300 in January alongside Boss’ new IR-based amp and cab simulator, the IR-200, which will retail for $400. 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/boss-sy-200-guitar-pedal-synth-superbooth-164427743.html?src=rss

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Cadillac Lyriq EV reservations open on September 18th

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Cadillac is preparing to leap into the electric vehicle market with the Lyriq, and now the automaker has revealed when you’ll be able to lock in your reservation. You’ll get your first chance to lay claim to a 2023 Lyriq this Saturday (September 18th) at 4PM ET. Cadillac will host a two-hour livestream on the YouTube masthead in the lead-up to reservations opening.

The Lyriq starts at $58,795 and has a range of over 300 miles. It has a giant, 33-inch wraparound display and it’s built on parent company GM’s Ultium battery platform. Cadillac plans to release its first EV in the first half of 2022.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/cadillac-lyriq-ev-reservation-date-163044124.html?src=rss

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