Thursday, 10th April 2008

The Celebration Continues… The Park Maps

It was during our 15th Anniversary Launch coverage in April 2007 that we discovered the updated park maps for the long-awaited celebration. With Disneyland Park bathed in gold and both parks sporting ’15’ symbols, confetti and streamers, they were a flashy welcome to the events that lay beyond the park gates.

One year on, and ‘The Celebration Continues’ with a brand new redesign, bigger than before. The covers of both guides have taken a darker approach with their pinks and blues fading to a neat black as rays of light shine out from each park logo. Mickey’s hand pulls the wrapping paper away in the bottom corner — the ’15’ now a much smaller icon in the lower right.

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They’re an improvement not just in the beauty stakes, with the cover information now displayed much more clearly in a single bar along the top, with both a larger and clearer country flag and textual language title identifying each guide either side of the date period.

Inside, the maps are largely the same as ever. A few subtle tweaks have been made, however. In the excerpt from the Walt Disney Studios Park guide below, notice the small outline of the park and the colour fill showing the location of each land, just to make it even clearer. Of course, the new designated smoking areas are also marked — with a tiny cigarette symbol.

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The key to the symbol reads “For everyone’s comfort and convenience, special areas have been set up for those who wish to smoke. Please smoke only in these designated areas.”

Also note that the Walt Disney Studios Park map itself has again had a small design update — the addition of a large Stitch Live! attraction sign to the Walt Disney Television Studios building. And, whilst Jiminy Crickett is your guide to Disneyland Park, Stitch is now fittingly your host on the Studios’ map.

One change to both guides is a new box stating very loudly “IMPORTANT! Pick up the Programme!”. We can only assume that many guests are taking the map and failing to realise all the entertainment times are in a separate leaflet. Talking of the Programme, those have also been given a modest update to match the park guides:

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The back cover of both park guides gives us one final surprise — an updated Official Partners list, now looking bigger than it has done for many years.

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New additions are Danone and Dole, which has been featured in-park for some time but never as an official parter. Kellogg’s is now a regular feature and IBM has returned following its disappearance several years ago. The Orange (sponsors of Studio Tram Tour) logo is now featured over France Télécom (sponsors of “it’s a small world”). Since they’re the same company, we’d assume this is simply because Orange is used worldwide and not just in France.

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Finally, the Extra Magic Hours leaflets available in the lobbies of Disney Hotels have also been given a refresh, with a smart new logo and simplified information now that the hours are strictly morning-only.

Thursday, 10th April 2008

The Celebration Continues… Big Time!

A fifteenth that will last until the seventeenth? Only in Disneyland! With the celebration now continuing as we speak and our full coverage on the way, it seems a good time to recap the story behind the extended anniversary, the reasons for extending it and the advertising they’re using to promote it.

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First ‘Celebration Continues’ visuals / Second ‘Celebration Continues’ visuals

We first received confirmation that the celebrations would be continuing at the start of October 2007, with the end date extended right through to March 2009. The original draws for the 15th Anniversary would all return, of course. That means Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Candleabration and Disney Characters’ Express, along with all the decorations and the two new attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park, Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. The only ‘original’ event not to return this Spring is Alpha Bet You Are.

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Third wave ‘Celebration Continues’ visuals – the new “red carpet” poster

Fourteen and a half million guests, a record for the resort, and overwhelming response from those guests ensured the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort Paris wouldn’t be a short-lived affair. Indeed, to end the celebrations just as Walt Disney Studios Park completed its remarkable transformation would seem like an odd thing to do. And so, what was truly the ‘biggest Disney party ever’ has become even bigger in 2008.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has finally arrived after six years, Hollywood Boulevard brings rich Imagineering detail, Stitch Live! presents a whole new interactive experience and the second High School Musical show ensures Summer time is all the time. The alternative pitch for 2008, a Year of Mickey Mouse, the celebrate the maestro’s 80th birthday, wouldn’t have made it so easy to include these new attractions in the promotions.

We saw the first trailer for The Celebration Continues just days after hearing the news of the extension. Set to the song “Oh Happy Day”, it was met with a mixed response, with fans much less enthusiastic than the original 15th Anniversary teaser trailers. Luckily, the actual television advertising campaign that followed in February 2008 was every bit as good as the first, showing children running through Main Street and pulling wrapping paper from the buildings, from the Castle and from the new 2008 attractions.

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Original brochure for ‘The Celebration Continues’ – branding has evolved a little since

Tying together the entire 15th Anniversary year, through advertisements, events and more, was the ongoing theme of a “red carpet” leading to Disneyland, along with the candles that would become the stars of Candleabration and the Sleeping Beauty Castle overlay. For ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!’, the red carpet is replaced by wrapping paper, presents and more traditional birthday themes, as first seen on the Spring/Summer 2008 brochure, several pages from which are featured above.

Since then, the colour scheme is now being taken into overdrive with the classical blues, reds and golds becoming multi-coloured greens, turquoise, yellow and pink, as seen in the new Paris tourist leaflet below.

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New Paris tourist trade brochure introduces the parks equally.

Disneyland Resort Paris seems keen for The Celebration Continues… Big Time! to be seen as a separate event to the ’15th Anniversary Celebration’ that preceded it. With such important new attractions added to the offerings, you can see why. And, as our special launch weekend series begins, you’ll be able to discover every second of the magic here on DLRP Today

Thursday, 3rd April 2008

Pin Trading April 2008 releases

We say “line the coffers” because those already-expensive Limited Edition pins are now stuck at the regular price of € 10.90 each month. It’s only 40 Euro cents more, but a bit of a kick to the people who want buy these pins — who are, in general, the guests who will already have donated plenty more of their money to the resort via annual passes and so on.

Enough moans, here are the pins…

Saturday, 5th April 2008

Mickey Tower of Terror Lift Boxed
Reference number 209401007061
Price 16.90 Euros

Pin Trading Starter Kit: Stitch Tower of Terror
Reference number 209411008004
Price 19.90 Euros

Saturday, 12th April 2008

Saint Patrick’s Day 2008
Reference number 209501008050
Limited edition 600 ex
Price 10.90 Euros

Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack Framed
Reference number 209401008014
Prix : 6.00 euros. Price 6.00 Euros

Nightmare Before Christmas: Sally Framed
Reference number 209401008015
Price 6.00 Euros

Stitch Europe Invasion No. 3: Belgium
Reference number 209401008015
Limited edition: 900ex
Price 10.90 Euros

Friday, 25th April 2008

Pin Trading Night
at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe from 6.00pm onwards

Again no artwork, the official website is stuck on February 2008.

Wednesday, 2nd April 2008

Stars & Motor Cars finally CONFIRMED

Exactly one year ago this week, DLRP Today rounded up all the rumours surrounding the move of Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade from Disney-MGM Studios in Florida to our very own Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. But in fact, those rumours stretched all the way back to January 2006.

Today, with the Florida park now going by the name of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Walt Disney World fan podcast WDW Today has scored an exciting exclusive not just for their own fans, but for Disneyland Resort Paris too.

In an interview with Walt Disney World’s producer for special events and projects, Thomas Tryon — the man charged with bringing Block Party Bash over from California, we can finally hear the first ever official confirmation to the public that Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade is heading to Paris.

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You can listen to the podcast below (or download the mp3 here). The interview fills the entire broadcast and Thomas’ confirmation and information about Walt Disney Studios Park’s future parade comes around 8 minutes in:

On how they chose California’s Block Party Bash as the parade to be moved:

“It’s a part of a new strategy that we’ve been looking at for Disney parks in general, to allow us, when we have such a great product, to say — let’s extend the life of that particular show or product by moving it to another location and getting more use out of it. So this is a part of an overall strategy, really focusing on parades, to say — how can we transfer those assets and use them in multiple places, since we know they’re successful creatively, we know they’re successful with the guests — let’s get as much out of that as we can, so that more guests get to experience it than those that might just see it in one park in California.

“So that was also a part of the process of decision-making — what kind of strategy do we use to move parades, what are the parks that get connected together, and how is that designed to function? In this case, Disney’s California Adventure was most comparable to the Studio here in Florida, and in the same way Walt Disney Studios in Paris is also comparable.

“So those three parks are working together now. We moved the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade to Paris, and it will be a new parade for them next season …”

Interesting to note beyond this confirmation is the past tense used in Thomas Tryon’s wording here, suggesting the parade has already been moved to Paris — or is at least well on its way.

The confirmation ends months — or years even — of speculation about the Studios’ second parade, because now, it’s no longer speculation — Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade will premiere next season, Spring 2009.

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Keep listening, though. Do you hear what this important Walt Disney World show producer has to say further in? Still about Walt Disney Studios Park, but looking even further ahead than 2009…

“I started working on Pixar Play [Parade], which ultimately ended up working better for California. When we started the discussion, the new parade was going to open here [in Florida] and then move, but because of the changes that were proposed for Disney’s California Adventure they decided it was the right time to put a new parade there and in turn move Block Party here. So we went through a couple different versions of how that could ultimately happen.

“And now Pixar Play [Parade] the intent is that it would be able to move to Paris after it has finished its run in California.”

There we have it — in one quick interview with a Walt Disney World official, it seems the next two new parades for Walt Disney Studios Park have been confirmed.

Next year we will definitely be welcoming Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade, and then, at some point further into the future (at least two or three years, we would imagine), California’s brand new Pixar Play Parade is hoping to head across the Atlantic to Paris as its replacement.

Now, let’s just hope no-one has their eyes on Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade…!

[Podcast from WDWToday.comclick here to subscribe or listen.]

Wednesday, 2nd April 2008

Stitch broadcasts new key visual

One of the first ever posts on DLRP Today exclusively revealed the full set of key visuals for the 15th Anniversary. Today, we bring you what will likely be the last visual to be used as part of the two-year event — for Stitch Live!’.

Key visuals are used by Disneyland Resort Paris for all promotions and publications related to the specific attraction — flyers, brochures, etc. — and are also broadcast for use in media coverage. Preparing for its inauguration this weekend, Stitch Live! has revealed its own addition to the back-catalogue Disneyland Resort Paris visuals:

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In primarily blue colours and using the actual computer-generated animation screen from the show, the visual features two children connecting to Stitch with a “spark” between their fingers.

Meanwhile, the attraction is lucky enough to already have its own attraction page at the official website. Featuring photos from outside the Paris attraction and inside the Hong Kong version, the page actually reveals something we’ve been noticeably missing from this project up until now — the concept art:

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In a similar style to other recent Walt Disney Imagineering concepts, this depicts the show room with its redesigned surround for the Paris version.

Also on the official website, you can see a larger version of the attraction’s official logo and, on the main page for Production Courtyard (yes, they’re still persisting with that name for now…), you can even find a small snippet of the actual concept/design piece for the sign which sits above the entrance.

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Unlike most other “living character” experiences at other Disney resorts around the world, ‘Stitch Live!’ continues to be broadcast as an attraction in its own right. And, judging by the crowds which gathered outside this past weekend, a very popular one at that.

[Images copyright Disney]

Tuesday, 1st April 2008

Mark Twain glows in multicolour for ‘Celebration Continues’

Next weekend, 5th April 2008, will see press from across Europe descend on Disneyland Resort Paris to cover, primarily, the launch events for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live!.

However, the event will also be somewhat of a “relaunch” for Walt Disney Studios Park, and the official date when the resort shifts from its original ‘15th Anniversary Celebration‘ year to its second, ‘Celebration Continues‘, year of events.

As already seen in brochures, the television commercials and the updated official disneyland15.com website, the original gold and blue colour scheme of the first year is out — instead, bright multicolours of pink and turquoise, green and yellow are in.

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Now, for something we probably didn’t expect — those very colours are now illuminating every night across the Rivers of the Far West, thanks to a complete overhaul of the lights surrounding each of the Mark Twain riverboat’s four floors.

As shown in the exclusive photos here from a DLRP Today reader, the lower level is pink, then blue, then green, then the original yellow retained. All other lights on the boat have been left untouched.

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With these new lights coming just days before the press events, when the park will naturally be privatised for an evening event, it is currently unknown whether they are a temporary decorative measure or a change that will last the entire ‘Celebration Continues‘ year.

The replacing or colouring of the lightbulbs is similar to that of many along the ceilings of the two Main Street arcades, which last year saw a scattering of blue lightbulbs to add to the lining of 15th Anniversary banners. These lights are still in place (pictured below).

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Mark Twain itself was also a centrepiece of last year’s launch events, when characters rode it around the rivers carrying their ‘Candleabration‘ candles.

The multi-colour lighting will likely come as a blow to fans of Frontierland, already well prepared in putting up with unlikely changes to the make-up of their favourite land — such as the Halloween paint machinery and the recent arrival of Woody at Critter Corral.

Update:

Our thanks to cmflounder92 for sending in the following clearer photo of the multicolour lights:

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The Mark Twain is based on the original boat at Disneyland in California, which Walt Disney mortgaged his own home to build back in 1955.

— Your News: If you’ve got new photos or news from Disneyland Resort Paris, send them to DLRP Today at today@dlrpmagic.com and we can report the magic as it happens! Our news service can only improve with your help!

[Photos by Nemo_Dory and cmflounder92 for DLRP Today]

Monday, 31st March 2008

Fibre optics light up Village of new trees, terraces

Since the loud neon lights which protruded into the middle of the Disney Village street disappeared just a few years ago, the streamlined Frank Gehry architecture of the large Eastern building has felt more flat than ever before — save for the odd illuminated balloon or two. Today, this unusual stretch of Disney architecture is well on its way to being “humanised”.

Just over a week ago, construction walls surrounded the entire area of the former Sports Bar and New York Style Sandwiches terrace. This was previously an enclosed, slightly raised area before it met its end when much of the seating moved to the undercover area on the left.

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Last weekend, all was revealed — more new trees for the Village! There continues to be a mix of evergreen and deciduous, with the fir tree between Disney Fashion and New York Style Sandwiches joined by these — currently skeletal — new trees.

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Somewhat like Walt Disney Imagineering’s ‘placemaking’ works for Walt Disney Studios Park, the works at the Village will turn it from a vast expanse of concrete into a place where trees and planting invite you to explore slightly more hidden corners.

All well and good, but let’s not forget that the 2005 removal of the pylons in the middle of the street — which looked less than beautiful during the day — also caused one of the best things about Gehry’s original design to disappear: the starry sky. Long stretches of lights between the pylons, like a roof to Gehry’s “industrial factory” party space.

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Now, many years later, a reasonable replacement has arrived — bright, colour-changing, fibre optic lights, laced along the branches of each tree! The ends of each wire light up throughout the day and change colour continuously. They are being fastened in place to illuminate the branches and should certainly add to the effort to help Disney Village feel a little more like an extension of the parks, rather than an unwelcome distant relative.

And what of those new terraces? At Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, the mysterious work continues to go on without much word as to what exactly will become of the bar/restaurant’s exterior. It is clear that more “relief” and texture is a likely addition to the flat, un-themed building, which was last year given a border around its roofline to begin the process, but no exact details are known about the redesign.

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The terrace area, which often became nothing more than empty wooden pen during Winter months, has seen some destruction to provide a home for another new tree and planter. Some sources on the usual Disney Central Plaza forum have suggested a proper cover for the terrace could be a possibility.

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At Café Mickey, meanwhile, it looks like a covered terrace is a reality. As the photo above shows, a new curved steel framework is going up around the edge of the building, where previously an uninviting tarmac terrace was bordered by temporary potted plants.

[Photos by Photos Magiques and Disneytheque.com]

Monday, 31st March 2008

Tower’s TV, radio ad winners announced

Last month we introduced the immersive new official Disneyland Resort Paris website for the Tower of Terror, which, amongst its thirteen floors of games and previews, presented a unique competition allowing visitors to produce and upload their own amateur commercials for the new attraction.

The competition launched on 21st February with TV promotions across MTV channels in the UK leading people to the official website. Then, between 8th and 12th March, visitors had the chance to choose from the editors’ pick of the best submissions in both the television and radio category. The eventual winners would win a VIP trip to Disneyland Resort Paris to ride the attraction itself and see their advertisement remade by professionals — the eventual production then appearing on TV and radio networks as the final commercial for the all-important thrill attraction.

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Competition at Tower-of-Terror.co.uk

So, with votes counted and winners announced, who — or rather, what — will be helping to launch the resort’s € 180 million investment in the UK?

In the UK, the winning TV advert is entitled “The Long Walk“. It’s a suspenseful, dark clip remaining faithful to the attraction’s storyline and location, following the footsteps of an elegant young woman. The camera follows her heels toward the hotel, then panning upwards to show the Hollywood Tower itself as she checks in. Upon boarding the elevator, naturally it drops, and we then see a feather from the woman’s hat floating gently down the elevator shaft as the attraction logo appears. You can watch the amateur version here.

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The winning TV advert concept

For radio, the winner was “I Wouldn’t Mind a Drop…“, just beating a clip starring Mickey and Goofy. The script follows a young man entering the lift of The Hollywood Tower Hotel on a hot day, making the mistake of accepting the bellhop’s offer of a drink with “Yes, I wouldn’t mind a drop…”. The author of the clip recently posted several messages on magicforum. You can listed to the clip here.

The final, professional clips will be made available on the website from 5th April and should be seen across MTV channels and heard across The One Network local radio stations from next week.

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Virginie Efira awaits the results of the French competition

In France, famous star of the M6 television network Virginie Efira helped to launch a similar competition for the public to create a commercial, the winner to be announced this Friday, 4th April 2008.

Thursday, 27th March 2008

Rendez-Vous for a new snack stand?

The new construction walls surround a small patch of grass and pathway right outside the circular “terrace” area of the Art Deco-styled Rendez-Vous des Stars Restaurant, in the area still currently known as Production Courtyard.

Arriving only last weekend, the work is already confirmed by trusted sources (namely La Rouquine on French forum Disney Central Plaza) to be for a new food kiosk sponsored by Nestlé, possibly using their Nescafé instant coffee brand.

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Helpfully, several small holes and gaps in the fences give a better look at the actual work going on behind, as snapped by a reporter for our partner website Photos Magiques.

The foundations appear to almost touch the restaurant, forming a curve around its circular side and jutting out slightly into the street toward Backlot. Depending on the height of the development, it would seem that the ‘Rendez-Vous des Stars’ signage itself could no longer be visible.

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The foundations have a somewhat triangular base, with a sharp edge reaching out to one side of the largest square. A smaller square sits to the right of this, where previously the grass lawn continued around the restaurant.

The space between the restaurant and Walt Disney Television Studios was previously home to one of the many Studio Catering Co. vans on a paved area to the left of this development. It was moved some months ago to sit near La Terrasse Perrier on Hollywood Boulevard.

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Nothing about the naming, design or menu of the new food kiosk is currently known.

Last year, Rendez-Vous des Stars upgraded itself from a “buffeteria” service to full pay-as-you-enter buffet service, making it the highest service restaurant in the park — which features just three full dining locations.

This sudden addition to the line-up comes as the park prepares for what is hoped to be a blockbuster Summer, as guests arrive en masse for the Tower of Terror and the park’s struggling food locations face an even greater strain.

[Photos by Photos Magiques; See more in their latest update here!]

Thursday, 27th March 2008

‘Stitch Live!’ opens to Hawaiian fanfare

The attraction we first heard about as an unexpected rumour in October 2006, then followed through months of construction without so much as a crane or piece of scaffolding, finally opened to the public this Saturday just passed. This follows three weeks of public tests and rehearsals, reports and photos from which you can see in our various earlier reports.

For its opening day, the skies above Stitch Live! were suitably grey enough to encourage guests to enjoy the warm indoors of the Disney Channel studios. As is the norm for a new attraction opening, a special ceremony at 10am sharp starred the two resort ambassadors, this time with Stitch himself (the furry character version) to cut the ribbon alongside the privileged “first family”, who would be first to officially enter the finished attraction.

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The queues — and pushchairs — built throughout the day as children could, for the first time, discover something at the Studios just perfect for them outside of Toon Studio. And whilst those queues built, the clever new electronic signs kept track of every person…

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The signs don’t simply display the upcoming showtimes as expected — the first displays the exact number of minutes until the next show is due to begin (or at least until the guests are moved into the pre-show area), whilst the second displays the number of seats available.

This kind of information is already displayed on the Cast Member consoles outside other show-based attractions at the Studios such as CinéMagique and Art of Disney Animation, but is now presented to the guests for the first time, helping them to judge whether they need to join the queue just yet.

A bigger unexpected surprise on opening day was seen over in Disneyland Park (and possibly at Walt Disney Studios, though no reports confirm this) — a special Hawaiian fanfare preceding the day’s performance of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade!

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Such an initiative or celebration for a public opening was never even considered for the launch of, say, Tower of Terror or Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, so it’s good to see that, by the Studios’ fourth new attraction opening, the resort has given its guests a good show for the opening day.

The real events, however, will be saved for the important upcoming press weekend on 5th and 6th April, which will mark the official inaugurations of not only The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live! but the entire Celebration Continues… Big Time! year.

Whilst the big nighttime events and unique fireworks at Walt Disney Studios Park will not be open to the public (who have paid for their entry to the park), we have heard that those ‘regular’, paying guests who visit on the 5th April may at least sight of Stitch’s live broadcast “interfering” with video screens at several of the park’s original attractions, such as Art of Disney Animation and Moteurs… Action!, or even the Disney Hotels’ resort TV channel…!

Click here if you missed our exclusive interview with Imagineer Laurent Cayuela, all about the creation of Stitch Live! 

[Photos: Lynxmag?c for DLRP Time blog; Photos Magiques reporter]

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