Tuesday, 31st July 2012

World of Disney rises in new time-lapse “making of” video featuring store’s creators

Francis Guerrier, World of Disney project manager

World of Disney is now already a familiar, unique icon for Disneyland Paris. But what went into designing and building this new landmark boutique? Via the Disneyland Paris Generations website, an official video allows some of the creators to speak for themselves, as well as giving us a glimpse at the always fun time-lapse video Disney sets up for most of its major projects.

As it happened, after over 10 years of planning and waiting, this new store rose from the concrete roof of the TGV platforms in just over 18 months. Here it rises in about six seconds.

Video follows… Read More…

Monday, 30th July 2012

Ratatouille dark ride foundations plotted out with help from Rémy & Emile

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]

Since the first crane rose over the Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity (working title) construction site in April, a second crane has joined the effort to realise this much-anticipated dark ride and restaurant in time for 2014. With the second crane shorter, wider and less colourful than its cousin, it seems only fitting we call the pair, who now tower over both parks from several viewpoints: Rémy and Emile!

Their work so far has remained steadfastly at ground level, preparing the foundations for the vast future showbuilding. Piledriving, which steadies the ground and provides a solid foundation for the actual concrete base to rest on, has now been complete for several weeks. The latest work allows us to see the footprint of the new building at its clearest yet; each portion of the building marked out with solid concrete edges ready for the concrete base to be poured in sections.

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]

Already in the first photo above, taken a couple of weeks ago by DLRP Today.com reader Maarten, you can see how the outline of  the new building(s) will match the side of the Cast Member building opposite, creating a “Parisian” square around the future centrepiece fountain. This existing ImagiNations building, currently crudely themed as “Studio 4”, is expected to be dressed in new Parisian façades along its length, as well as possibly hosting the toilets or shop for the area.

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]
Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]

Our last update included a video walkthrough of the construction site and pre-existing Ratatouille-themed road, which it turns out we caught just in time: days later, it was closed completely to guests. Wooden boards have been laid over the street cobbles and temporary fences and gates moved outwards to give construction crews more room inside the site itself.

This means Toy Story Playland is currently a dead-end for guests, the Barrel of Monkeys tunnel leading to nothing but an unthemed gate with no hint or tease whatsoever at what’s next.

Catch up on all our earlier Ratatouille dark ride reports so far here!

PHOTOS Maarten for DLRP Today.com

Monday, 30th July 2012

Ratatouille dark ride foundations plotted out with help from Rémy & Emile

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]

Since the first crane rose over the Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity (working title) construction site in April, a second crane has joined the effort to realise this much-anticipated dark ride and restaurant in time for 2014. With the second crane shorter, wider and less colourful than its cousin, it seems only fitting we call the pair, who now tower over both parks from several viewpoints: Rémy and Emile!

Their work so far has remained steadfastly at ground level, preparing the foundations for the vast future showbuilding. Piledriving, which steadies the ground and provides a solid foundation for the actual concrete base to rest on, has now been complete for several weeks. The latest work allows us to see the footprint of the new building at its clearest yet; each portion of the building marked out with solid concrete edges ready for the concrete base to be poured in sections.

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]

Already in the first photo above, taken a couple of weeks ago by DLRP Today.com reader Maarten, you can see how the outline of  the new building(s) will match the side of the Cast Member building opposite, creating a “Parisian” square around the future centrepiece fountain. This existing ImagiNations building, currently crudely themed as “Studio 4”, is expected to be dressed in new Parisian façades along its length, as well as possibly hosting the toilets or shop for the area.

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]
Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity dark ride construction [(C) Maarten]

Our last update included a video walkthrough of the construction site and pre-existing Ratatouille-themed road, which it turns out we caught just in time: days later, it was closed completely to guests. Wooden boards have been laid over the street cobbles and temporary fences and gates moved outwards to give construction crews more room inside the site itself.

This means Toy Story Playland is currently a dead-end for guests, the Barrel of Monkeys tunnel leading to nothing but an unthemed gate with no hint or tease whatsoever at what’s next.

Catch up on all our earlier Ratatouille dark ride reports so far here!

PHOTOS Maarten for DLRP Today.com

Sunday, 29th July 2012

Extended Hours Continue: First Park Opening Times for September 2012

Extended Hours continue with first park opening times for September 2012

Summer, its late nights and long hours have always come to an all-too abrupt end at Disneyland Paris. As soon as the first weekend of September would roll around, the late 11pm openings would immediately switch back to a 7pm or even 6pm closing time as the high season crowds dispersed. Read More…

Monday, 23rd July 2012

Phantom, Pan, Tea Cups, Tram Amongst First September 2012 Closures

Closures & Refurbishments

Planning a post-Summer Time trip to Disneyland Paris? The first Closures & Refurbishments list for September 2012 has just been released, listing all the seasonal and maintenance closures currently planned for the month. Read More…

Monday, 23rd July 2012

World of Disney officially inaugurated with grand opening ceremony — pictures, video

World of Disney has now completed its first full week of regular opening. The new Disneyland Paris flagship store, at the entrance to Disney Village, was inaugurated on 12th July 2012 with a special ceremony hosted by resort ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero.

Just as the colourful globe and Imagineering-designed architecture of the building itself has finally brought a true “Disney” touch to the resort hub, the ceremony saw the rare sight of Mickey, Minnie and Disney pomp in view of the RER and TGV station.

A modest but dedicated crowd of VIPs and visitors awaited the opening ceremony at 3pm, as the ambassadors, joined by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, introduced Joe Schott, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Pierre Monzani, Préfet of the local Seine-et-Marne area. The pair of officials, Joe Schott in less fluent but admirable French, then officially inaugurated the new store by cutting the ribbon as Régis and Osvaldo declared “World of Disney is now officially open!”.



As confetti rained down, the heavens opened in perfect Marne-la-Vallée timing, coating the “World of Disney” marquee, statues and globe in a spray of golden dust. DLRP Today.com reader Maarten was there to capture the events — more photos from inside the store will follow.

World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Maarten]

Disneyland Paris also released a selection of official photos from both inside and outside the new location, showing off its sumptuous interior and beautiful nighttime illumination. The red marble-effect “World of Disney” signage truly does create a real, unique beauty of a marquee. Quintessentially American but European influenced, as all the best things at Disneyland Paris are.

World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Disney]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Disney]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Disney]World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Disney]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Disney]
World of Disney Grand Opening [(C) Disney]

Video of the inauguration by sebichou92i (YouTube) follows… Read More…

Wednesday, 11th July 2012

World of Disney soft-opens for Cast Members, Shareholders, Passholders — and the public!

World of Disney at Disneyland Paris [(C) Alex, Disney Central Plaza]

Construction of World of Disney at the entrance to Disney Village really powered through its final months, with Disneyland Paris’ merchandising teams having the new flagship store stocked and ready to open its doors right on schedule for the first time last week. First came the Cast Members, always given the privilege of first previews, on Thursday 5th July, followed by two planned previews for both Shareholders Club members and Annual Passport Dream holders on Friday 6th.

Then, from this Saturday 7th, conveniently the start of the busy summer season when the esplanade in front of the store will be at its busiest with guests walking to and from the parks, the store opened its doors to everyone. This remains a “soft opening” period ahead of the official inauguration this Thursday, 12th July 2012, meaning the store could be closed at any time, but so far it is following its soon-to-be-regular 9am to 1am opening hours.

Inspired by the great department stores of Paris and beyond, World of Disney stocks a full range of Disneyland Paris merchandise. Clockwise from the main entrance, you can discover 20th Anniversary, collectibles, pins, candy, media, Paris, “Oh Mickey!”, adult clothing, kids clothing, costumes, plushes, toys and Disney by Britto ranges. The central domed area, where Mickey, Minnie and Pluto wave from a hot air balloon having enjoyed an evening in Paris, is dedicated to homewares and accessories.

Designed to present a “best of” from the resort’s other boutiques, World of Disney nevertheless still has some of its own exclusive products, indicated by special signs on each display. These include the limited edition T-shirts and lithographs, reproducing the beautiful murals which adorn the shop itself.

World of Disney at Disneyland Paris grand opening cast
World of Disney Grand Opening Cast Members

The entire store is both far better organised and easier to browse than its generically-titled Disney Store predecessor, having wide, clear aisles and a central concourse which loops right around the store connecting the three entrances. In the middle of the store, under the hot air balloon, is not another sales display but a comfy four-sided seat. Unlike other areas of the resort’s merchandising, where shop display rails fall, desperately, out into the pathway in a horribly tacky way, this is a store which draws you in and encourages you to linger. Pinging cash registers will surely follow.

And then there’s the design: Art Deco, 1920s/30s/40s inspired, nods to True-Life Adventures and even rare globe-trotting animations such as Saludos Amigos (find Pedro the plane!). The ten “21st Century Art Deco” murals designed exclusively for the space by Mike Kungl are a true asset to the store and the resort. Cast Members wear special period costumes, not generic off-the-hanger shirts, the entire interior and sales displays custom designed just for this space.

Outside, the public realm thankfully shrugs off, even completely ignores, the inhuman concrete warehouse architecture of Disney Village for something decidedly more “real” and town-like. High quality paving, steps, handrails and planters surround the exterior with its fun bas-relief panels featuring Disney characters restyled in Art Deco. Like the pleasing Earl of Sandwich, bookending the other end of Disney Village, this is hopefully the vision for further future development.

World of Disney at Disneyland Paris [(C) Alex, Disney Central Plaza]
Photos: Alex, Disney Central Plaza

True, the striking, slowly turning landmark glass dome with its recycled castle Tinker Bell looks somewhat less delicately ornate than may have been desired after the addition of its colourful globe motif, which in strong sunlight gives the effect of flat stuck-on transfers rather than a real opaque stained-glass effect; but see it at nighttime, when illuminated from within, for best effect.

Even the slightly odd-looking, off-model Mickey and Minnie statues, borrowed from the former World of Disney store in New York City, can be forgiven when you cast your eyes on the simply gorgeous “World of Disney” marquee signage itself, styled with a luxurious blue and red marble-effect. Earlier concepts showed the “o” of “World” styled as a Mickey Mouse shape; thankfully, this was styled back to a much classier plain “o”, avoiding the “Mickey fatigue” which can plague projects like this.

Though significantly more “petite” than its American cousins, this World of Disney makes up for its comparably quaint size with its bespoke design. There’s no other store like it, at Disneyland Paris or beyond; the Imagineers have successfully created a store that’s a destination all of its own and gives the previously colourless resort hub area a much-needed feel of “place”.

World of Disney will be officially inaugurated tomorrow, Thursday 12th July 2012, with a special ceremony at 3pm (for 3.30pm) in the presence of Philippe Gas, CEO

Preview photo round-up and interior videos follow… Read More…

Tuesday, 10th July 2012

Bastille Day 14th July fireworks confirmed as added extra after ‘Disney Dreams!’

"Out There" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Disney Dreams! at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris has confirmed that a special Bastille Day fireworks will take place this Saturday, 14th July, beginning just five minutes after the end of the regularly scheduled performance of its new Disney Dreams! nighttime spectacular at Disneyland Park.

The French National Day, more commonly known simply as le quatorze juillet in France, falls on a Saturday this 20th Anniversary year, meaning the resort can no doubt expect bumper crowds for the occasion. Unlike previous years, where the regular fireworks event such as The Enchanted Fireworks has taken a one-night break with a special show in its place, this separate fireworks show will provide two nighttime spectaculars in one night, not to mention the seasonal return of Disney’s Fantillusion.

If the 22-minute Disney Dreams! remains scheduled at its regular time of 11pm, required due to the late sunset at this time of year, that means the special Bastille Day fireworks won’t begin until almost 11.30pm. It remains to be seen if the one-off show will be as grand as previous years or a cut-down pyrotechnic “encore” in light of the preceding spectacular. Could the newly-installed fountains, water screens and projectors around the castle be utilised? No word yet.

Though the related World of Color show in California has been given special scenes for holidays and film releases, the show’s creator Steve Davison was clear to state during our Q&A event earlier this year that Disney usually prefers to leave such shows for at least a year before adding new segments, to allow everyone to see the original show. Today’s tweet from Disneyland Paris seems to state the 14th July fireworks are a separate event and not a modification or even encore to the show.

Nevertheless ‘Disney Dreams!’ itself is already very patriotic towards France, with its Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (pictured above) and Ratatouille scenes coming in quick succession all with French lyrics, settings and characters. This Saturday night at Disneyland Paris looks set to be more “patriotique” than ever!

VIA @Disney_ParisEN (Twitter)

Tuesday, 10th July 2012

World of Disney pre-opening preview: flagship store previewed in concepts, facts, video

World of Disney at Disneyland Paris

Go to Disney Village today and you can already shop inside World of Disney, but the new flagship store isn’t officially open until this Thursday, 12th July, so there’s just time to take a more detailed look at its design, construction and final fitting out. Disneyland Paris hosted a preview of the store and its merchandising last month, teasing fans with the first views of its beautiful Art Deco interior, sales displays and product ranges. The full 26-slide presentation is feature here and continues below.

But first, the construction. At 1,500 m² of retail space the new store is some way short of its cousins in Florida and California (at 5,000 m² and 3,700 m² respectively) but still more than double the 700 m² floorspace of the former Disney Store nearby. A further 1,000 m² backstage and on the first floor is reserved for offices and stockrooms.

Adding a unique challenge to its construction, it actually sits right on top of the concrete box housing the high speed rail lines and platforms of Marne-la-Vallée Chessy TGV station, which was built before the opening of the resort. A large ventilation shaft for the platforms had to be incorporated into its design, visible during earlier construction but now unnoticeable within the floorspace.

World of Disney at Disneyland ParisWorld of Disney at Disneyland Paris

But that’s not the half of it: out went any idea of traditional building foundations and instead the entire store sits on a steel frame, able to expand and contract slightly as the temperature of the concrete box below changes.

All 8,000 tons of the finished store are spread evenly across its surface. This “floating foundation” also required the entire store to be built raised slightly above the rest of the surrounding area, requiring steps and ramps to meet its entrances. More a bonus than a problem, this also helps to give the store a more prestigious feel and keeps its entrances more accessible at times when crowds arriving or departing the parks reach crush level.

Of the ten pillars which encircle the domed centre of the store, only five are structural with the other five for decoration — yet they’re not purely decorative. Hidden grids allow them to become part of a complex heating and cooling system which has been designed right into the bones of the building for maximum efficiency. As a further enviromentally-friendly measure, 6 m² of solar panels have been hidden on the roof to heat water for backstage operations and break rooms, while LED lighting is utilised throughout the store to minimise energy use.

World of Disney at Disneyland ParisWorld of Disney at Disneyland Paris
World of Disney at Disneyland Paris

Departing for new destinations after an evening in Paris are Mickey, Minnie and Pluto, riding a hot air balloon within the starry-sky dome at the heart of the store. Below them, a cloud-shaped seat invites guests to sit and admire the spectacular space.

Ten spectacular Art Deco panoramas line the perimeter, designed exclusively for the space by American painter of Disney Fine Art and graphic designer Mike Kungl. Termed “21st Century Art Deco” by Kungl, the moderne-style artworks at World of Disney see groups of Disney characters traversing the four corners of the Disney world. A selection of large limited edition lithographs are available to purchase from the opening of the store, costing €99 framed or €69 unframed.

World of Disney at Disneyland ParisWorld of Disney at Disneyland Paris
World of Disney at Disneyland Paris

Kungl, who has previously created similar pieces of Disney Fine Art, was also responsible for the eight bas-relief artworks which have been visible around the store’s exterior for several months. These were originally sculpted to a finer scale before being scanned and cast in “reconstituted” stone which, with its warmer tone, actually makes up the bulk of the exterior cladding, rather than the solid granite used nearer ground level.

The signature globe roof dome, meanwhile, actually spins on its axis throughout the day. Turning at a rate of 2 km/h, it takes roughly 1 minute for a full revolution, during which time you’ll see stars marking out the location of the other Disney resorts — even including Shanghai, due to open December 2015.

World of Disney at Disneyland Paris

World of Disney at Disneyland Paris
World of Disney at Disneyland Paris

But this is a shop first and foremost, and within the sliding entrance doors you’ll find no less than fifteen well-defined product areas, with 32 cash registers waiting to complete your purchase — 27 permanent, plus 5 more standalone and mobile stations. During the grand opening, you’ve the chance to pick up products not just exclusive to World of Disney but actually branded for the shops inauguration: a pin and two T-shirts mark the occasion.

More slides, floorplan of the store and video follows… Read More…

Monday, 9th July 2012

Pin Trading July 2012 releases

Pin Trading July 2012 releases

This month’s Pin Trading releases include Disney-Pixar’s Brave, Bastille Day and the inauguration of World of Disney. Already in the resort’s boutiques are two new character “bag” pins for Minnie and Angel, two more wagons for the 20th Anniversary train series featuring Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale and the “14 Juillet” Bastille Day pin, released early no doubt to capitalise on advance sales before the date itself. A limited edition from the upcoming Phantom Manor Pin Event has also been sold in limited numbers at select stores.

Coming this Thursday 12th, the special World of Disney inauguration pin featuring the new flagship store’s iconic globe and that darling of Pin Trading, Tinker Bell. The pin was already made available to Shareholders and Annual Passholders at the store’s Friday preview event, who were given a single ticket at the entrance in order to purchase the pin. Clearly lessons have been learnt from the 12th April 2012 pin debacle.

On Saturday 14th, Pixar fans can pick up a series of pins for Brave, due for release in Europe soon, with the choice of a booster set of four pins, a single Merida logo pin or a very limited 400-edition pin. Saturday 21st sees new pins for the 20th Anniversary pin board game on sale, before the month in Pin Trading comes to end with two new Cinderella and Snow White pins on Saturday 28th July.

Do you plan to pick up any of this months releases? Let us know!

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