Regaining interest since the death of its lead earlier this year, the short film will return to its original home in Disneyland, California, for a “limited engagement” from February 2010.
Since this rumour first appeared, and especially since these plans were confirmed, fans of the other international resorts have obviously been questioning whether ‘EO’ could also, even temporarily, replace ‘HISTA’ in their home park.
Now, Disneyland Paris have given their answer. As confirmed by the press department in Le Journal and reported by Photos Magiques on Twitter, Captain EO will not be returning to Marne-la-Vallée.
Original CinéMagique: Captain EO entrance.
The 3-D special effects attraction originally played in Paris from opening day on 12th April 1992 up to 17th August 1998, when it closed to become Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (HISTA). On this date, Disneyland Paris was the last park in the world you could see the film — it having closed elsewhere over a year earlier and at Epcot over 4 years earlier.
Starring Michael Jackson in a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced by George Lucas and featuring music by James Horder, it was one of the flagships of Michael Eisner’s arrival at the company when it premiered in the US parks in 1986. In Paris, the attraction was actually named CinéMagique, a variation on the “Magic Eye Theater” of California, making the resort perhaps the only one to have had two completely different yet identically-named attractions in its history.
With Honey, I Shrunk the Audience hardly doing a roaring trade over the back of Discoveryland, opening such limited hours as 11am to 6pm during the Summer high season, it remains to be seen what all-new replacement will eventually come about for the tired 3-D film. Rumours on MiceAge.com have suggested the limited-time showing of ‘EO’ in California could be followed by the arrival of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a living character show (think Stitch Live!) from Florida’s Magic Kingdom. Could this be rolled out to ourselves and Tokyo? That’d still leave the problem of Epcot’s theatre.
In any case, Paris will likely have to wait for the other resorts to make their move in replacing HISTA first. It doesn’t appear to be much of a priority and, with the Californians now buying time with a nostalgia trip, this firm “non, merci” to EO‘s return means Wayne Szalinski will likely be winning Inventor of the Year a good few more times yet — even if there’s hardly any Audience left to shrink.
This plan from the Chessy town hall, another great scoop from Mouetto and the Disney Central Plaza team, could be a real vision of the future. Slotted in at the back of Toon Studio, beyond Toy Story Playland and the ImagiNations costuming building, a show building… for a dark ride and restaurant.
Shown in red is the new showbuilding, whilst green shows area development / placemaking in front of the attraction.
There’s no explicit mention of Ratatouille, of course, but everything aligns. For over two years, a dark ride — possibly a trackless dark ride, a la Tokyo’s Winnie the Pooh — dedicated to Rémy and friends has been firmly placed on the horizon. From early mentions by MiceAge and slips from Disney themselves on CNBC to near constant rumours from Cast Members, the plans for Toy Story Playland — with that large extra path outside the land, next to the costuming building — seemed to seal the fact that Toon Studio still had another trick to come.
It’s important to note, though: Nothing is being announced. Nothing is confirmed. This new plan, published by DCP on 25th December, is apparently around a year old — as proved by the abandoned concept of two RC Racer halfpipes — but it’s our first look at what could be.
The huddle of a façade, with sticky-out bits and sticky-in bits, to use the technical terms, matches perfectly the Parisian street setting we’ve been expecting. Perhaps the building jutting out to the left could be the corner of Gusteau’s Restaurant (below), whilst the indented middle could resemble the back alley and restaurant kitchens, where Linguini parks his scooter.
Most interesting about this concept submitted to the Chessy planning office, however, is that the proposed building joins right up with the existing costuming building. For years fans have suggested that the building could become part of the park, rather than a barrier to future development, and this appears to suggest exactly that. The new building joins right up with the actual costuming workshop, which used to be visible from Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic.
Given that the Cast Members here have already had to put up with seven years of being gorped at by guests, it’s unlikely they’d be subjected to working with no windows — so would the new development “overflow” into this space? Another reason that thought springs to mind is size. For a dark ride — let alone a restaurant — this building is rather on the small side, with large spaces left on all sides.
In any case — don’t get too attached. There was word earlier this year that the very smart restaurant aspect of this development was unlikely to go ahead, in line with Euro Disney SCA’s plan to have everyone eating out of vans and kiosks, so the situation with the Rat’s floorplan and layout may have already changed quite a bit.
Even the fact that this attraction could be the resort’s big 20th Anniversary addition, seen as almost a certainty just a few months ago, has recently slipped. Back in July, Alain Littaye bravely announced:
“Forget about Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure or the Little Mermaid, the next Disneyland Paris big E-Ticket will be the Ratatouille attraction! This awaited E-Ticket which will be build at the Walt Disney Studios has been approved by the park’s management and it’s now confirmed – not officially, of course – that Ratatouille will be DLRP 20th anniversary E-Ticket.”
Before going on to enthuse with a description that seemed to tick every box:
“Of course expect on the outside some Paris decor, but also inside the building as the queue line decor will put the guests on the rooftops of Paris with breathtaking height feeling, thanks to forced perspective.
“Guests will then board in what will be probably LPS controlled vehicles – the same technology used at the TDL Winnie the Pooh attraction – and will be “reduced” at the size of Remy. No Mighty Telescope here, but a ceiling probably as high as the one inside Pirates of Caribbean as WDI imagineers will build giant decor to give us the feeling that we are as small as a rat.
“The ride will begin inside Gusteau’s restaurant kitchen where we will be chased by some of the cooks and especially Skinner, the chef. I don’t want to tell you too much about the storyline to don’t spoil you the ride, but what i can tell you is that the ride itself will not follow the chronological order of the movie scenes, although WDS visitors will be pleased to find some of the key scenes from the movie.
“Of course we can expect Audio-Animatronics figures during the ride. As guests are supposed to have the size of a rat, any rat Audio-Animatronic will not be a problem (in terms of dimensions), but what about human figures which in all logic should be gigantic to respect the proportions. Well, WDI imagineers found an intelligent answer to this problem and sometime we will see – just like Remy in the movie – only the legs of a cook…”
Like Rémy, as he pored over his cook book, we can but dream for now…
Unfortunately not. As DLP.info reported on Wednesday, 23rd December, members of the cfdt, CFTC and UNSA unions began striking at 7.00am — on one of the busiest days of the year for the resort — citing the lack of dialogue from the resort following their opposition to the apparent “zero Euro” wage increase for 2010 and other issues.
So what did they do, simply refuse to show up for work? Take their placards and flags round to the management offices, of the people who actually make these decisions? Of course not. They didn’t even, in the grand Disneyland Paris tradition, set up camp on the neutral resort hub, amongst the nuisance street sellers.
In a shocking day of the resort’s history, the striking Cast Members went straight inside the parks — complete with giant banners, flags and signs. It gets worse: Come 2.15pm, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars didn’t go out as announced. Instead, guests who had paid their entrance fee and waited patiently for the show were treated to a storming of the stage by the union members. At 5pm over in Disneyland Park, the parade route didn’t see Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade pleasantly passing by but a noisy mob of striking workers, blocking the parade route.
Reports state that not a single member of the Entertainment, Parades and Characters (EPC) department took part in the strike, but the casts were kept from performing for guests by the workers blocking the route. Managers no doubt also wanted to avoid any kind of stand-off, where the floats might enter the park but be stopped halfway.
But the awful thing is, now that the videos have started appearing on YouTube and other sites, it’s not even the bizarre sight of these striking workers inside the parks that’s most shocking. It’s how plainly heartless and repulsive they are with it. Skip to 3 minutes 20 seconds into this video found by Daniel on magicforum:
Yes, you heard right. When the announcement comes that Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars has had to be cancelled because they’ve taken over Place des Stars (an announcement perhaps never heard before with our hardy, good Cast Members), they cheer.
And all sympathy is lost.
Perhaps these people are forgetting a few things. First, there may well be just as “poorly paid” visitors in the audience, who are now having their expensive trips ruined. Second, Disneyland Paris is still in a very precarious state. Despicable though that proposal of a “zero Euro” pay rise really is, storming the parade routes will only serve to give an even more unprofessional image of the resort to thousands of guests — whether they saw it first-hand, heard about it from a friend or saw it on YouTube. In turn, people will continue to think “Disneyland Paris isn’t ‘proper’ Disney”, that it’s not worth a visit, that it isn’t worth returning. The resort will lose more money and they’ll be even less likely to get a better wage.
Nevertheless, the CFDT union has reported that talks have now reopened with the resort, so we shouldn’t be seeing such a display again. This situation will, one must hope, be particularly embarrassing for relatively new CEO Philippe Gas, not least because his history with Disney is based entirely in human resources — his former job title being Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
What’s the other thing the striking workers didn’t show much regard for? Oh yeah, their colleagues. Those friendly, smiling, helpful — and equally hard-worked — Cast Members who continued on, having to pick up the pieces of disappointed guests, complaint forms and return tickets.
Thankfully, the Entertainment cast of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade did their own bit of storming the park: All the dancers and characters stayed in costume and, once the scene had calmed, arrived on Town Square and Central Plaza at 5.30pm to give guests the best chance they could of a meet ‘n’ greet with that true, professional Disney Magic.
Just across the hub from that lifeless market and lacking tree, Disneyland Paris got something oh-so right. For the first time since 2003, possibly earlier, classic boat ride “it’s a small world” was completely redecorated to celebrate holidays around the world.
The fact that we can’t quite place exactly the year when this overlay stopped happening is a bit embarrassing. Perhaps as fans we should have missed it a bit more loudly, or perhaps in 2002/2003 we were worried about other things (like the serious financial difficulties, lack of future attractions for the Studios).
Nevertheless, it’s back — and wow, is it back. If the stupendous colours, music and movement of “it’s a small world” weren’t enough to leave you on a dizzy high for days normally, now the whole, dazzling show is just simply alive…
The reason for this success is simple: respect. All the cultural celebrations, the festive music and hundreds of new costumes have been integrated with absolute perfection into the existing show. It’s a complete labour of love toward the Imagineers’ original creation. Where decorations like the Mickey’s Magical Party emblem on Sleeping Beauty Castle treat the park like a dead canvas, this overlay is something that brings it to life.
From the Candlelight Processional to the Star Wars Weekends and many more, one of the first things to notice about the American resorts for a Disneyland Paris fan is the sheer number of annual events which happen like clockwork each and every year. At the young age of 17, and probably no thanks to the countless changes (management and otherwise) it has seen over that short time, Disneyland Paris just hasn’t built up as many of these traditions.
Hopefully, the return of “it’s a small world” Celebration every November can now be one of them.
— And the good news is, if you’ve yet to book, had your trip interrupted thanks to Eurostar or otherwise, because this Celebration recognises everything from Sinterklaas to Chinese New Year, the overlay stays in place right up to 15th February 2010.
In the video, Disneyland Resort’s Manager of Resort Enhancement, Dave Caranci, explains in just a few minutes how “you too” can easily have a Disney-themed Christmas tree. Well, forget posting these tips on the DisneyParks blog, how about sharing them with Disneyland Paris? Judging by what’s happened in the Studios this year, they need some serious help:
No, really, this is the tree.
It appears to be the same one as last year, only with the reasonable blue and silver decorations of film canisters and celluloid reels replaced by deathly dull stars and positively melancholy wreaths. It’s about as far from an all-singing, all-dancing, technicolor, Hollywood Christmas as you could imagine.
Fans have also pointed out that the location isn’t perfect — that it might be better sited within the Hollywood Boulevard area as more of a focal point — but see, there’s a method to their madness. Here at the corner of Production Courtyard, it anchors the all-important Christmas Market.
Dubbed “Christmas Lane” for its 2009 appearance, the encampment of old stalls, recycled from Disney Village, has also seen a Parisian “plussing” after its first, “test” appearance in the park last year. Compare and contrast:
2008 Christmas Market / 2009 Christmas Lane
Whilst the old wooden sheds were hardly going to win Miss Hollywood, there’s something to be said for how they were able to disappear into the background a little. Slapped up with lashings of white paint, it’s a confusing scene indeed. Where are we meant to be? It seems more reminiscent of your local garden centre or DIY store than a Disney theme park.
For all the work and money poured into improving the park with fantastic, top-quality additions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, this takes us right back to the starting block. Yet again a Disney park in Paris is being treated like an empty canvas, as if they’ve got nothing to work with. As numerous elements of the Christmas festivities across the way prove — most recently “it’s a small world” — it’s a whole let better when you complement the park rather than pretend it’s not there. And Walt Disney Studios does still need a lot of complementing.
Luckily, the wonderful overlay inside Disney Studio 1 has returned as usual, so all is not lost. The lights, tinsel and glorious jazzy music in there almost make up for the barren park, decorations-wise, beyond. But not quite.
So, Disneyland Paris, our most treasured place, we plead you: It’s time to stop messing around. Priority Number 1 for Christmas 2010 must absolutely be to fix the Studios’ offering. Buy a new tree. Buy some lights. Decorate the buildings. Consider alternatives to the garden shed market. But above all: Sit down and think about the potential here. The amazing theme and time period you’ve got to work with. Take us back to an overblown, primary-coloured, Santa Claus, American “department store” Christmas of the 1950s.
Make this truly “the most wonderful time of the year”, for both parks.
That patch of land jutting out between the IMAX building and its Gaumont Cinemas entrance has been waiting an awfully long time, after all. For almost a decade now, the spot has been earmarked for a large, signature store to anchor this busy corner of the resort centre, using the ‘World of Disney’ branding from the Florida, California and New York locations.
These huge department stores are rather like your ultimate, dream version of a regular Disney Store. Operated instead by the merchandise department of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, they attempt to offer the biggest selection of Disney products available, in a sumptuously-themed interior.
Whilst the New York store fits within its leased 5th Avenue location, the stores in the Downtown Disney areas of Disneyland and Walt Disney World share a somewhat similar style. Will the Paris equivalent continue the theme? Not at all…
Photo: Alexandre Rosa via Disney and More
Even the first models and concepts from years ago depicted a very different style of architecture, one that appeared to almost be trying to fit in too hard with its Planet Hollywood and Gaumont neighbours, offering them a blue globe elevated above its entrance and similarly-curved canopies above the entrances.
And then all fell silent. Until, that is, earlier this year — when member MykeY on DCP forum supplied not only fresh hope that the project could be moving ahead but a brand new concept image. This time, depicting something altogether more fantastical:
Inspired by the grand style of the greatest Parisian department stores, this World of Disney store seems to take its cues more from the Galleries Lafayette than any Floridian retail outlet. Beyond the large, open windows spanning its façade, the store sits below a giant central dome — with others above each entrance. You can never have enough domes in Paris, after all.
Mickey Mouse details are present and correct, worked into the side of the building, but with the monolithic “World of Disney” letters worked into the larger of the two entrances, which we have to assume will sit right on the corner of the site, the exterior is more Art Nouveau than Art of Disney.
The original poster added that the cost was estimated at around €14m, a substantial amount for a new store, however important. See, the location right here on the corner is practically — no, entirely — perfect. Guests leaving the park currently often skip right past the offerings of Disney Village, eager to get their sore feet into their car or hotel as quickly as possible.
Bringing a signature store right out here, addressing and opening out onto the hub itself, is about as guaranteed a way as possible to get those cash registers ringing. And, if you’ve been in the incredibly tired Disney Store just after park closing, the extra space alone will be more than welcome.
But just how much space will there be? From the looks of the imposing profile of our Galleries Disney, a second floor must be a possibility — or how about a grand atrium under that huge dome? The latest information, posted by RiverRogue on magicforum, doesn’t quite promise exactly what we’re wishing for, suggesting the upper floor (or indeed, “floors” plural) will just be for storage:
The design has slightly changed after the retirement of Wing Chao from WDI [link], but the project is still going ahead and construction ought to start relatively soon.
The retail surface will cover most of the ground floor, with upper floors used for storage. Judging from what I’ve seen and heard it’ll be the smallest of the World of Disney stores, but still rather big compared to other stores in the resort.
Nevertheless, using any space on upper floors for storage should mean more space saved for retail on the ground floor. With the comment here that construction should begin “relatively soon” and estimation from the original DCP poster that the total cost is no less than €14m, it seems when this project finally does get done, it’ll be done right.
Think about it — the generic Disney Store surely can’t outlive the opening of a World of Disney too long, and even Earl of Sandwich encroaches more than a little on the market of Disney’s own New York Style Sandwiches (formerly Carnegie’s Deli). Then there are the other boutiques — with a World of Disney selling the biggest collection of merchandise on property, will there be much need for the arguably quite bland selection of Disney Gallery, Disney Fashion, Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys? With most of that block made redundant, this could be a real chance to turn it around into something a whole lot better.
Given a look at the some of the wonderfully diverse offerings from Disney itself at the American Downtown Disney districts — from Disney Vault 28 to the new D-Street and several more — we can’t but hope this potential domino effect leads to nothing short of a full-scale revolution in the Village.
Yes, they show us the World yet we’re still thinking of more. Bring on 2010…!
Registration pages for both programmes are now open, with Annual Passholders able to enjoy the film on either 9th or 16th January 2010 and Shareholders invited to their own screening on 23rd January 2010.
The film will be screened inside CinéMagique, presumably using its digital projection technology. For Shareholders, the film begins at 8.45pm, whilst for Annual Passholders it’s an 8.30pm start. All screenings are in French only.
The Princess and the Frog, directed by the unbeatable duo of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) sees the Walt Disney Animation Studios finally return to traditional animation for the first time since the studio’s hand drawn output was virtually shut down for good in 2004, following belief that it was the medium, nothing else, too blame for falling box office.
Despite its release in the USA last week generating much positive press and word of mouth around it world, it does not open in France until 27th January 2010, and not in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal or Belgium until the start of February. Germany has been unusually lucky, able to see it since 10th December — technically a day before most US audiences.
Even so, this still leaves a gap of several months before Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen themselves are due to officially arrive at Disneyland Paris as part of the New Generation Festival, which begins on 2nd April 2010.
Over a 56-year period with The Walt Disney Company, Roy E. Disney twice played a key role in saving it from creative ruin, overseeing a new golden age of animation that included Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, pushing with all his energy the need to preserve Disney’s historic legacy whilst looking to the future, embracing new technology to revitalise Disney tradition.
Roy’s resignation from the Disney board of directors in 1984, following his unhappiness with the company’s lack of direction, triggered a series of developments which saw the arrival of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells to revitalise the company and — of course — put together the most lavish magic kingdom the world has ever seen. A shining example of Roy’s constant push to maintain Disney values. A place that would have even blown his Uncle Walt away.
For keeping tradition; For looking ahead. Thank you, Roy.
If you thought Starbucks changed the vibe of Disney Village or at least gave it a fresh kick, this new British-themed sandwich shop should do the same ten times over.
Not only will it provide a desperately-needed rival to McDonald’s, it’s in a brand new building — an actual addition to the entertainment district — and, looking at these plans and concepts published online by Mouetto at Disney Central Plaza, it’ll have a great Lake Disney view…
“A more likely area of this inlet to be filled in would have been the corner between Rainforest Cafe and the bridge, allowing an Earl of Sandwich to use both this and the area vacated by the old carousel, becoming a part of the main thoroughfare.”
And good thing, too — as the plans seen here confirm, carefully captured at Chessy’s planning department by Mouetto, this brand new, two-storey building will slot snugly into the corner between Rainforest Cafe and the Lake Disney marina, opposite Café Mickey. The footprint will include some of the area vacated by the carousel and then extend out, over the current square of water, in all providing two floors of seating and two separate terraces — one out front at ground level, and another on the first floor at the back, elevated above the water.
Design-wise, it’s a restrained affair, much more in the traditional IMAX/NEX style than the recent Starbucks Coffee eco-meets-Gehry boldness. That means circular corner sections, strong horizontals and a slight Art Deco flair.
Rather than green, though, the palette here is more of oranges, reds and yellows. The Earl of Sandwich branding, modelled on a vaguely British theme, is modestly portrayed through the red and yellow squares and their placement between the window frames, almost mimicking a traditional Plaid style. The firm’s logo is equally modest, simply their red circular envelope seal design above each door.
The top of the circular section looks to be clad in separate brown pieces, rather than being a flat finish. Overall, it looks like a very successful merging of some very diverse styles, although the pale yellow finish (almost like bathroom tiles) on the exterior wall at the back looks like a strange choice.
From what we can see, the back wall inside appears to depict a giant map, with tables and chairs continuing a red/black theme. However let’s not forget, these smaller design aspects — particularly the interior — could still change from these planning applications. The general layout and footprint will be as seen here.
Clever use of the space sees the kitchens and service area hidden under the first-floor terrace. This platform — and the whole first floor — will offer a great view over the lake and small bay behind.
Due to its location on the end of the main Disney Village street, this build offered the opportunity to hide the rather unpleasant side of Rainforest Cafe/Hurricanes Discotheque which faces the lake.
Though the plain white building won’t be completely hidden, at least it won’t be the only thing seen from the opposite shore of the lake, outside Sequoia Lodge. And, placed on the corner here, Earl of Sandwich might just draw a few more people down this end of the Village — not to mention helping to kick-start any further expansion, onwards across the bridge…
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. With the above applications from the Earl stamped and sealed, construction should start in the New Year with the hope of completion by the end of 2010. And whilst that’s happening, nearby PanoraMagique will be the place to go for construction photos. Here’s our “before” shot:
Now, save us a place on that lovely first floor terrace and we’ll study the menu…
Pictures: Disney/Earl of Sandwich (credit to Mouetto), DLRP Today.
Taking advantage of the refurbishment penned in for the “grand circle tour” from 16th to 26th November, the resort’s maintenance team finally got the chance to correct a bit of history still in place at Frontierland Depot.
Spotted by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza, the water tower at the station was fully refurbished — its “Euro Disneyland Railroad” lettering repainted in the process as simply “Disneyland Railroad”.
Well, it only took 15 years!
But in fact, many fans will no doubt feel a hint of sadness to see the old “Euro” lost forever. These little details from the past — like the “EDLRR” letters at Main Street Station or the “DM” (Discovery Mountain) letters still hidden around what became Space Mountain — add to the history of the park, provide fun little secrets for us all to discover as the magic becomes an obsession.
The trains themselves lost their original “Euro Disneyland Railroad” paint details in early 2002, when the railroad’s entire rolling stock was gradually repainted.
Spot the ‘Euro’ — it had almost faded away on its own in recent years
For any nostalgics, though — don’t worry. We can never say for sure, but it’d seem like this is the last “Euro” we’ll see the place lose — financial terms not included. The details all over Main Street Station in particular would be extortionately expensive to replace.
And, for the refurbishment of a Disneyland Railroad icon, one Euro is a pretty good deal.
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