Four years later, and their “Main Street: Orange County” decorations weren’t even meant to appear, until a last-minute decision just days before the festival began.
Never before have seasonal decorations caused such a stir as when the Pumpkinmen made their debut in 2003. They formed the central part of a revamped Halloween festival, which also saw the introduction of the Disney Villain Parade and the launch of a new theme song, It’s Halloween-Lo-Ween.
Only during Halloween could an Imagineering creation like Main Street USA, such a key part of Disneyland’s history, be plastered with orange paint splashes and overrun by plastic Pumpkinmen figures “frozen in time” by a Witch crashing into the Gazebo. Whilst the fans revolted, the public seemed to embrace the new characters, making the most of the new photo oppertunities and enjoying the live streetmosphere, which – horror of horrors – included Pumpkinmen painting over Main Street’s shop windows with real orange paint!
Included in the nearly one hundred Pumpkin touches around the land, we’ve got Pumpkinmen sat on false, paint-splattered benches, Pumpkinmen hanging from buildings in giant paint pots and odd Pumpkin signposts – all of which surely receiving thousands of “What the?!” remarks from guests every day. The most noticable change for 2006 is likely the addition of Stitch the Main Street Station sign, which has been rather ruthlessly cut into to show a black silhouette of Stitch. A nice effect here, though, is that smoke slowly floats out of the sign, as if Stitch has only just jumped through it.
Originally, the “frozen” Pumpkinmen figures were also designed to help blend the old Lights of Winter into the festival. Installed early to save time and money, the towering, snow flake-styled light arches were given several small orange stickers and a few Pumpkinmen to help hide the fact they were installed a month early.
Even in 2006, signs of Christmas have made their way into Halloween again, with half of the Enchanted Fairytale Illumination chandeliers installed at the Central Plaza end of Main Street: Orange County.
The illustrations here were drawn by Jérome Picoche for the 2003/04 seasons, showing the original vision for the Pumpkinmen invasion and the crash landing of Gruzella. In 2005, Gruzella was redesigned as the leader of the Pink Witches, who also now frequent Main Street at various times of the day to cause trouble with their fight against the Pumpkinmen.
Below, you can see just a small selection of the concept sketches created when Disneyland Resort Paris Creative Entertainment introduced the Pumpkinmen. The team, led by entertainment head Kat de Blois, designed each scene from scratch to suit various locations all around Main Street. Love them or loath them, it can’t be said that Pumpkinmen invasion wasn’t crafted with a lot of attention to detail.
When Main Street moves to Orange County, it might do it in a surprisingly un-mouse-house style, but it certainly does it with all the extravagance and detail we know and love as Disney, don’t you think?
You can see more photos of this Halloween on Main Street at Photos Magiques.