Sunday, 7th January 2007

The Nighttime Christmas Parade – with special guests

Whilst the large lighting rigs along the parade route illumated the procession, several extra lights were added to the classic floats to light up the characters and their decor. Previously, a nighttime version of The Christmas Parade such as this could only be seen on New Year’s Eve, when entertainment times were shifted to compensate for the park’s late 1am closure.

Photos captured 30th December 2006.

The Christmas Parade enjoyed its final performance of the 2006/07 season earlier today, and it remains to be seen whether it will return again in November. With Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade scheduled to run the entire year, either a hushed Christmas makeover will take place, The Christmas Parade will return, or there will be no main Christmas parade.

Whatever happens, enjoy the nighttime Christmas Parade, truly at its best, with two special guests…


The Nighttime Christmas Parade
Uploaded by dlrp-magic

Friday, 5th January 2007

Spilling the scenery, station and shells of Crush

The presentation and quick inputs from Imagineers during the brief segment simply introduce the characters and describe the ride. Far more interesting, as always with these wonderful little Filmparade shows, are the visuals – here, we’re treated to our very first glimpses at scale models of the boarding area, dark ride scenes and roller coaster, amongst copious construction shots. Later, we even get to see – for the first time – one of those already infamous Turtle Shell ride vehicles…!

After an introduction to the project and some quick shots of construction, the featurette gets right into the good stuff – a bright, colourful, detailed scale model of those mysterious dark ride scenes! The first image features one of the digital projections of Nemo, also featured in Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

The scenes resemble those of a classic dark ride, with the actual area between track and wall being remarkable small – depth in the scenes is instead created through design and lighting. The colours and detail clearly show the scenes as more similar to those of Disneyland’s new Submarine Voyage – with the water drained out, of course!

We’ve heard tales and legends of the Sydney harbour fishing pier-themed boarding area, and now here’s the proof. Looking a little like the theme of Pirates of the Caribbean mixed with the industrial design of Rock n Roller Coaster, the area already looks colourful, detailed and very impressive.

The first image shows the turn after the station, leading to the first lift hill, with the operating booth in the blue building in the middle. The second shows the platform itself, with steps leading down from the queue line bridge, turnstiles and… seagulls, on the roof of the operating booth. These will be almost identical to those outside the Epcot attraction.

In the next shot, the camera gives a guest’s perspective on the area as you exit the ride, showing the incredible theme and detail – and this is only a maquette! Lots of signs and details can already be seen, with lighting, props and – can you believe it? – animatronics all serving to create a truly themed scene.

Next, the camera pulls away from the front of the showbuilding to give an overview of the ride, useful for those still new to the project.

The next three shots show the scale model of the spinning roller coaster section itself. Whilst the design is basically a standard Maurer-Sohne layout, this gives a first look at the way lighting and scenery will be integrated into the ride. Besides the enclosed lift hill, one section of the track in particular is enclosed by a ring of lighting effects similar to the red vortex of Space Mountain: Mission 2.

After a few final camera shots attempting to show what an on-ride view will be like, here comes the big surprise – the Turtle Shell ride vehicle! Though not mounted on the track, the vehicle has been invaded by a few Imagineers, as they check out what it’ll be like for guests once they’re on-board the ride and inside the coaster.

The vehicle itself certainly appears to be one of the final fleet, clearly following the standard Maurer-Sohne design yet with all the turtle shell trimmings as expected. Maurer’s vehicles have been themed well in the past, but once again Disney appear to have taken it to a new level of customisation.

The segment was recorded and uploaded by www.dlrpmagic.eu (not associated with us!) and should still be available for download over there if you’d like to see the pictures in motion.

Friday, 5th January 2007

Hooray for Hollywood, already?

This surprising news came first from member HTH2004 on Disney Central Plaza forum, who reports that the Production Courtyard placemaking project will begin on Tuesday 9th January 2007 (yes, next week!) with the addition of extra construction fences either side of the future boulevard and around the Studio Tram Tour station.

Between Disney Bros. Plaza (outside Disney Studio 1) and Studio Tram Tour, the small boulevard currently features little more than some plants, asphalt and food kiosks. The new plans, due to be completed as early as May 2007, just before Toon Studio opens, will see several new sets and facades lining the area and replacing the La Terrasse seating area, providing a true Hollywood entrance for the Tower of Terror. Then, in around October 2007, a second section between Place des Stars (Stage & TV Tour) and Armageddon: Special Effects will be worked on, we can presume providing some of the Tower’s infamous overgrown gardens.

WDSFans.com provides an aerial guide to the work below, whilst the second photo shows the Hollywood Boulevard of Disney’s California Adventure park, of which the Parisian version is said to be a smaller cousin.

Also on the French-speaking Disney Central Plaza forum, Grandmath reports the new boulevard and La Terrasse area will feature 23 trees, of which 5 will have been relocated from elsewhere in the park. The giant palm trees, such as those in front of The Hollywood Tower Hotel itself, however, are reportedly going to be false, both to ensure they survive the climate and to keep the forced-perspective of the building in check.

When the park is ready to expand further beyond the Tram Tour, the boulevard is expected to be extended into a full street. Until then, what will fill the end of the boulevard has not been confirmed. Details suggest work will be done to the area in front of Studio Tram Tour, suggesting a new backdrop similar to that at California Adventure could happen – perhaps with the Tram Tour entrance taking the place of California’s Hyperion Theatre. But as always, for now, nothing is confirmed.

What does appear to be confirmed, however, is that all these dates are absolutely true. Raptor1982 of WDSFans.com reports live from the Studios today that the trees along the path have all been dug out, ready to be removed. This not only confirms the placemaking work to be starting very soon, much sooner than expected, but suggests it will be fairly substantial in its impact on the area. Now let’s just hope they don’t give up half way like Toon Studio, eh?

DCA Hollywood Pictures Backlot photo by Joel.

Thursday, 4th January 2007

Katy Harris: Once Upon a Dream director

Katy Harris began her career at Disneyland Resort Paris in 1993, performing in the Beauty and the Beast show at Videopolis Theatre. After then performing in every production at the park, she became an assistant show director and produced various spectacles for small events and business conferences.

In 2001, she became a full show director, and has a good list of credits to her name. Choreographer with Craig Revel Horwood (as seen on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing) on The Legend Of The Lion King, she then conceived and directed the Kids Carnival as well as adapting Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too for the Fantasy Festival Stage. Tasked with conceiving a new Disneyland Park parade for the 15th Anniversary, she eventually presented the parade to Jay Rasulo (head of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts) in America and got the greenlight for the project in January 2006.

Series: Backstage at the park (3/5)

A choreographer for the new parade

To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, the park’s teams at Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) are assembling themselves ready. This is the next in our series on those who, in the shadows, are preparing the festivities, due to begin 1st April.

You would imagine it like the light-footed style of a dancer, but Katy Harris, choreographer and director at Disney, arrives burdened with stress and pressure. Because this 38-year old English woman, previously director of the Kids Carnival, has accepted a hefty task: to conceive and direct the first strictly French parade, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, which will be performed each day at the park. She brings together seven dreams: imagination, laughter, friendship, fantasy, power, adventure and romance, played out by the characters of Disney.

“I had lots of pieces of paper with all the most important characters, the films – a true puzzle!” remembers Katy. “Once the choices had been made, we very quickly got the green light from the Americans. Lucky, since one year is very short to create the costumes, lights, music, etc.”

Thirteen Years at Disney

Today, the workshops, mainly situated at Montreuil (Seine-Saint Denis), are putting the finishing touches to the floats. The music has been recorded. The rehearsals are about to begin. “The team comprises 105 performers. For each role, we need four people, to allow for days off. That means creating enough costumes and in every size.” It’s for the this reason mainly, that the physical criterias were established. The princess flowers, who wear dresses covered in yellow and green petals, measure around about the same height. “If not, we could never do it, and it’s also important for harmony with the choreography.”

Educated as a dancer at British theatre schools, Katy Harris has resided at Disney for over 13 years. “In a parade just as much as a musical theatre show, the direction is just as important as the choreography, since the presentation to the spectator is very short, never more than 2 minutes, and the scene continues to move. To create emotion, it’s a lot of hard work.”

Tomorrow’s column will feature Roland Kleve, head of future attraction construction.

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today

Article scan thanks to Julien-Fantillusion, Disney Central Plaza forum.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2007

Castle characters go Gold for the 15th

The large image next to the article confirms the design, with Daniel Delcourt stood next to the giant head of the Goofy statue itself, fully painted in metallic gold. When the decorations were first unveiled in July, and confirmed with later artworks released in July and October, they were shown as fifteen full-colour statues sitting on top of the castle’s turrets. It appears that either these artworks were produced full-colour for better marketing, or a drastic design change has taken place. Behind Delcourt in the article’s photo below, a new version of the following artwork can be seen, with fifteen shimmering, gold, statues filling the spires of the castle…

The article also confirms that the decorations will be added between the 18th and 30th of March, with Europe’s largest cherry-picked crane arriving to complete the job. This also means a full renovation of the castle is unlikely, with current rumours suggesting a refurbishment after the anniversary, in 2008, is now more likely. However, whilst gold statues could be considered more for a 50th than a 15th, the co-ordination with the castle’s large amount of existing gold elements should make these decorations even more tasteful – there’s certainly not a birthday cake or jester hat in sight!

Series: Backstage at the park (2/5)

Awakening Sleeping Beauty Castle

To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, the park’s teams at Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) are assembling themselves ready. This is the next in our series on those who, in the shadows, are preparing the festivities, due to begin 1st April.

A series of pink files pile up on top of the desk. The 15th anniversary of Disneyland Paris in figures and forecasts. Aged 44, Daniel Delcourt, responsible for the shows and parades division of Disneyland Paris, directs the teams who are imagineering the festivities. His greatest mission: to redecorate the famous Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.

The spires of each turret will soon be lifted, to allow fifteen statues representing famous members of the Disney family to take their place. Perched on golden crowns, they will each be given a candle which will be lit each evening. Tinkerbell, godmother of the anniversary, will circle around the summet of the castle. In mid-March, the “only cherry picker in Europe” capable of lifting fifteen people up to 45 metres into the air will allow the statues to be positioned on the spires. The operation, at night, will take place incredibly fast: between the celebrations of St Patrick’s Day and the final days of March. “One thing will never change – the opening date. For us, it’s a worry but also a stimulation”, assures Daniel Delcourt as he presents the calendar.

“A straight-forward course”

Behind his desk, a newspaper cutting, framed, attracts the eye: “Disney: Stikers play hide and seek with Mickey.” “During the social movements here in September, no-one in my department followed the action. I’m very proud. You should work to move forwards, regardless of pay.” And it’s without doubt the work which explains that, for eleven years, Daniel Delcourt has taken the role of extinguishing the brooding fires of Disney. Every 18 months on average, he makes the big move between two positions. “I had a traditional start,” admits the Belgian with a smile, with education from hotelier school. “I started my time here as a restaurant manager.” To this date, he can claim to have been head of Disney Hotels. Close to 5,700 rooms, countless employees… “Like most, I arrived in this land not expecting to stay any longer than a few years. But when they find someone who can do well, they really give them a chance,” he explains. Disney nevertheless has one condition: continue to lead the 15th Anniversary to 1st April 2007. “And there’s no question of releasing those documents – they will never be seen!”

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today

Article scanned by gldsun for Disney Central Plaza forum.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2007

New Year’s Eve 2006/07

Despite attendance counts slightly lower than previous years, mostly due to the weather, some exaggerated wait times could still be seen across the park. Whilst Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast stuck on 80 minutes all day, on the other side of Discoveryland it seemed to be time for Star Tours to enjoy a newfound popularity, as the entire first section of the outside queue filled with eager guests.

Restaurants appeared to cope with the attendance well, with extra Cast Members positioned at most to inform guests before they queued if seats are available and to then seat guests with food, ensuring every table was full.

At 9.30pm, the DJ Party on Central Plaza kicked off with lively disco and pop music, as the lights of the castle and Main Street illuminations “danced” to the beat of the songs. The rain began to pour even heavier at 10pm, but subsided as midnight drew near, leaving just the strong winds to fight with the upcoming fireworks.

Around 25 minutes before midnight, a single firework was launched from the right of the castle, testing the effect of the strong winds. Unfortunately, with wind speeds still too high, the decision was made to cut all ground-based fireworks on the right of the castle from the show, since their shells were blown far too quickly towards Discoveryland. Credit to those involved, however, for still being able to present such a large show in such poor weather conditions.

The music used for the show was carried over from 2005 – “New World” by Toby Mac from “Music Inspired by The Chonicles of Narnia” album. Though a strange choice for such an event (the classical style of the previous Treasure Planet show seemed infinitely more fitting), the countdown beforehand, choreographed to the Illuminations, was perfectly timed and the crowds cheered and applauded after the show before continuing to dance their way into the New Year of 2007.

Watch an exclusive video of the event:

Video will return soon.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2007

Steve Sidwell to orchestrate the Dream

Now we have a name, what’s the next step? Google it, of course! In an instant we have www.stevesidwell.com, which not only reveals his good portfolio of past credits but adds an extra bit of information about the parade, that it is the “Disneyland Paris Parade for 2007-2010” – confirming the parade will run beyond the anniversary year… though perhaps not for as long as previous productions.

And back to the generously-sized article in Le Parisien, what details can be pulled from the text? The music will be performed by the 100-strong Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, and will be a “little bit jazzy” in its style. Estelle Champeau, longtime Cast Member at the resort’s recording studio, is even quoted in the article as saying the music team enjoyed Steve’s work for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, and overall it seems the same flambouyant, modernised style will be applied to the classic Disney anthems for the upcoming parade…

Disneyland Paris: 15 Years in 2007!
Anniversary. To celebrate the opening of the park fifteen years ago, Disney is putting the final touches to festivities that will span the whole of 2007 at Marne-la-Vallée. Including: the creation of a new parade, three brand new attractions and the arrival of TGV Est. This week, our column goes in discovery of those behind Disney. First, musician Steve Sidwell.

Series: Backstage at the park (1/5)

Disneyland Paris prepares its 15th Anniversary

The countdown begins. In three months, the 1st April 2007, a rain of stars will fall on Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) as Disneyland Paris celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. To commemorate the event, the teams at Disney are concocting wonderful surprises: Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, a new decoration of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, two brand new attractions, namely Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, and finally, late 2007 or early 2008, the long-awaited opening of the iconic Tower of Terror…

Being previewed this week, through profiles of those who have created the new additions, our column reveals the details and specifics of the year-long celebration which will capture the attention of the largest number of visitors ever seen from across Europe. Today, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade takes the spotlight. For the first time, the musical parade has been designed entirely by teams in France itself. Each afternoon, at around 4pm, eight extravagant floats will make their way along the grand avenues of Disneyland towards Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. Six have already been built, and will soon arrive at the workshops of Disney to be equipped with motors and decor. Then it remains for dancers and characters to learn the choreography, set to the music specially arranged by Steve Sidwell.

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today

The Musician to make the parade’s music

At 45 years old, Steve Sidwell can boast of having worked with Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, Sting and Elton John, or even of having contributed to the soundtrack of the film “Moulin Rouge”. For its fifteenth anniversary, Disneyland Paris undoubtedly wanted a “size” to the music, whilst still giving a touch of youth to the parade. The mission of this Englishman: to compose the music of the various intruments for each section which will accompany the floats as they pass, carrying the “heros” of the enchanted world of Disney.

“A slightly jazzy style”

“The daytime parade is the highpoint of a day at the park, and its musical accompanyment is essential,” assures the father of a family, who has left London for several days to visit the recording studio of Disneyland Paris. “I love this magical place, and more than anything the level of excellent with which it is associated,” he continues. “I’ve had the chance to experience it before, working on the sequal to 101 Dalmatians and on Finding Nemo.”

Steve Sidwell presents a commerical smile without hesitation at the press photo sessions. He claims to like “everything” about Disney, regularly taking his two 10 and 11-year old children to the parks in France and the US, and admits to having a soft spot for Tigger, the gentle tiger from Winnie the Pooh. With his most classical education at the Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music, added to an upbringing of pop and jazz, he is a sure talent and a perfect student for Disney, who didn’t hesistate long before settling on him. “We are fans of his style – jazzy, classical and brilliantly modern at the same time, all that made Moulin Rouge such a success” explains Estelle (Champeau), who works in the recording studio.

Evidently, the “legendary” melodies of “Peter Pan”, “Mary Poppins” and “Cinderella” played as the floats pass will still be in place. But they will not be engraved in stone, it will be Steve Sidwell’s job to give them his personal touch, his tempo. Over eight days, baton in hand, he will perform as chief orchestrator during the recording of the new composition by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London – a big band, some soloists, and not forgetting… an accordion player. Because Steve Sidwell, with his very British style, hasn’t forgotten that the anniversary will take place in Paris

Article: Marie Linton, Translation: DLRP Today

Article scans by wency77 on Disney Cental Plaza forum.

Tuesday, 2nd January 2007

Opening dates and extra greenery

The first conifer next to Willy’s Butte rock formation confirms the realistic Mid-West North American desert theme of the movie-based attraction, and marks a drastic departure from the tropical palms shared by Crush’s Coaster and Flying Carpets. A second tree in front of Crush’s Coaster is waiting to be planted, though it has to be asked how these full-size trees will affect the miniturised scale and forced perspective of Willy’s Butte.

The bright, blue rockwork of Crush, recently uncovered from its scaffolding wrapping, still invites the attention of guests from as far away as Walt Disney Television Studios. As you near the rockwork (or zoom in with a camera), however, the true detail really appears, with authentic coral formations and shapes hidden throughout the faux frontage.

From aboard Flying Carpets, the huge amount of palms surrounding the queue and exit paths has begun to restrict views much more. Through the leafy greenery, however, you can spot progress on the paths around the area and a new protective covering over the soil of the planters. The path around the front of the rockwork will actually be separated from the rockwork itself, meaning guests will not be able to lean or climb on the scenery – or see the track of the spinning rollercoaster just several centimetres lower.

At Cars Race Rally, window frames in the entrance building have appeared. A full colour layout plan of the upcoming attraction was recently added to the DLRP Magic preview.

And finally, a perfect New Year gift – confirmation of the opening and soft opening dates of the two new attractions (and therefore the area as a whole). Revealed first by Walt Disney Studios tribute website WDSFans.com, previews of Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally will take place from 31st May to 8th June 2007. It is not yet clear whether these are full Soft Openings for all guests or restricted previews only for Annual Passholders and Shareholders. Soft openings are a Disney Park tradition, fully opening new attractions to all guests for testing and feedback. Whilst guests visiting during these dates should be lucky enough to experience the new attractions, testing is still ongoing and the rides can be closed for tweaking and maintenance at any time.

And the Grand Opening itself? Latest schedules say Sunday 10th June 2007, leaving the 9th June free for press and VIP previews.

Tuesday, 2nd January 2007

Agrabah’s new oasis finally unveiled

The area in front of Flying Carpets was earmarked for a series of desert planters at the opening of the park, but due to budget restraints it took until 29th July 2006 and the start of the epic Toon Studio place-making project for the extra greenery to become a reality. Now, exactly five months on, the first fully-finished fruits of the project are open for all to see, enveloping the carpets in a tropical, palm tree oasis and creating a new example of the classic Disney “weenie” effect seen with Disneyland’s original Astro Orbitors, Tokyo’s Space Mountain or Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain.

Walt and his Imagineers always referred to these landmark icons as “weenies” since guests are drawn to them as a person is drawn to a weenie (sausage) on a stick. With these tree new “islands” of palm trees, brown railings and luxurious arabian lamps, the effect is that guests still see the Flying Carpets – but not quite enough. And so, they’re drawn to this corner of the land for a closer look.

The sandy-coloured flooring has also been expanded, joining the regular black asphalt with a curved “spill-over” divide. Some sections have yet to be finished to the regular Disney standard, since plans for the place-making project (now postponed for several weeks) call for the entire land’s flooring to be re-laid.

The arabian lamps feature coloured glass in three colours – green, red and blue, and are clearly inspired by similar lamps at the Floridian version of the attraction or at Disneyland Park’s Adventureland Bazaar. More lights have also been installed in the soil of the planters themselves, facing vertically upwards to illuminate the palm trees when night falls.

The planters leave a large space free near the entrance and exit of the attraction, a busy section of the land, but generally help to (unfortunately) exaggerate the work still needed for the rest of the land, particularly the sparse area in front of Animagique.

After discovering the oasis for the first time, it feels hard to remember what the area was like before. That is, until a single glance at photos from as recently as April 2006 makes it clear the striking effect three simple, lightly themed planters can have. Building sets just for a camera is all about simplicity, and, with a perfect budget to do “simple” (the entire place-making project is rumoured to cost just a few million Euros, small change in Disney Park terms), the Imagineers have made it an art.

Tuesday, 2nd January 2007

Pin Trading January 2007 releases

The new pin, rumoured to be the first in a series of at least 10, was released this morning in the boutiques of the resort, and features Stitch and Lumiere counting 100 days to the 15th Anniversary. The J-100 spins around to reveal the “15” logo. Further pins will apparently count down to the anniversary every ten days: J-90, J-80, J-70, etc, though these have not been listed in the month’s official Pin Releases below.

First photo of the pin comes courtesy of Evelyne3012 at Disney Central Plaza forum:

And now, January 2007’s pin releases…

Tuesday 2nd January 2007

15th Anniversary – 100 Days Countdown pins
Ref: 209401007047
Price: 10,90 €

Saturday 6th January 2007

Stitch WDS Invasion #4
Ref: 209401007056
Limited Edition: x900
Price: 10,50 €

Saturday 13th January 2007

Mickey Head Blue Strass
Ref: 209401007061
Price: 8,90 €

Mickey Head White Strass
Ref: 209401007071
Price: 8,90 €

Mickey Head Pink Strass
Ref: 209401007072
Price: 8,90 €

Mickey Icon Blue & Black
Ref: 209401007003
Price: 8,90 €

Mickey Icon Pink & Black
Ref: 209401007004
Price: 8,90 €

Saturday 20th January 2007

Winnie & Eeyore
Ref: 209401007059
Price: 6,00 €

Tigger & Winnie
Ref: 209401007058
Price: 6,00 €

Mickey & Pluto
Ref: 209401007057
Price: 6,00 €

Cars 4-Pin Set
Ref: 209401007093
Price: 18,00 €

Belle Heart
Ref: 209401007066
Price: 6,00 €

Snow White Heart
Ref: 209401007064
Price: 6,00 €

Sleeping Beauty Heart
Ref: 209401007065
Price: 6,00 €

Cinderella Heart
Ref: 209401007067
Price: 6,00 €

Mystery Pack 3
Ref: 209401007084
Price: 12,50 €

Mystery Pack 4
Ref: 209401007085
Price: 12,50 €

Saturday 27th January 2007

Stitch Pink Valentine US
Ref: 209401007040
Price: 6,00 €

Stitch Heart Boxer
Ref: 209401007041
Price: 6,00 €

Minnie Mania
Ref: 209401007044
Price: 6,00 €

Don’t forget the next Pin Trading Night on Friday January 19th 2007 in Disney’s Sequoia Lodge (from 6.00pm) FREE ENTRANCE

The next Pin Trading Event will take place at Disney’s Hotel New York on Saturday 17th February 2007. Reservations will be open from Wednesday 10th January 2007.

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