Wednesday, 6th August 2008

End of 15th Anniversary set for 7th March 2009

It began 493 days ago. The 15th Anniversary Celebration of Disneyland Resort Paris has certainly rolled on for longer than we all expected — being extended for another year as it was with ‘The Celebration Continues’ — but, as the final end date has now been announced, it’s a worrying concept.

No more Disney Characters’ Express, no more Candleabration. No more Lumière banners at every turn or ’15s’ on everything in sight. We are now really, truly in the home straight on this epic — and, we have to say, wonderful — celebration.

The date it all ends, as confirmed by the latest Autumn/Winter 2008/09 official brochure: 7th March 2009.

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What will happen in the parks that day? Nothing is announced yet. It’s the days after, those three lonely weeks before the start of a new season in April 2009, that will be the most interesting.

Disneyland Resort Paris certainly feels to have settled nicely into its 15th Anniversary overlay, and so removing every tiny mention of the celebration — from merchandise through to advertising and all those napkins, cups and decorations between — will be a big task.

What won’t be removed? Well, unsurprisingly the expensive and incredibly popular Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade is here to stay. And don’t expect the Casey Jr. train and character meet ‘n’ greets of Disney Characters’ Express to go far. The concept of a main show on Central Plaza is also ready and waiting to be used again.

But, for the 15th Anniversary Celebration as we’ve known and loved it for so long, that we watched grow from those first logos and concepts through to the incredible launch night fireworks, time is running out.

You’ve got just 7 months exactly to “live your dream”, one last time…

[Images © Disney]

Monday, 21st July 2008

La Bougillumination abrégée

The trumpets begin their fanfare, Mickey Mouse arrives. Then, before you know it, the candles are illuminated and we’re getting the cutesy “oh Mickey, c’est magnifique” line from Minnie. Don’t worry, you haven’t just passed out and missed several minutes of your Disneyland Resort Paris holiday — Candleabration has now been abridged.

Since the start of the 15th Anniversary, the nightly ceremony has begun with a fanfare of trumpets, led into the dancing flags to the theme of “Flying”, then, only after the arrival of Mickey Mouse and his traditional French dance with a hat to Vasile Sirli’s “Proudlights”, would you see the castle illuminated. For a grand finale, all of Disney VIPs join the party and dance along to the theme song ‘Just Like We Dreamed It’, each playing their own instrument.

When The Enchanted Fireworks premiered a couple of weeks ago, however, the show was cut down to its shortest running time yet — just over 2 minutes, and that if we’re generous. Only Mickey and Minnie appear, illuminating the candles together and then going right ahead to personally introduce the fireworks.

However, this change didn’t bring about the expected appearance of Mickey and Minnie on the balcony of Sleeping Beauty Castle itself, as confirmed on DLRP Today.com by the show’s actual director, Christophe Leclercq, several weeks earlier. Instead, they appear on the regular Central Plaza Stage. The reason for the last-minute change is unconfirmed — perhaps it caused operational problems, perhaps the characters simply couldn’t be seen as easily, the scene didn’t work as well.

DLRP Today.com presents a brand new video of the new Candleabration, Summer 2008 Edition:

It seems unsure whether the show will return to its regular form when the fireworks come to a close at the end of August. Several entertainment Cast Members spoke about these changes as a “new version” of Candleabration, suggesting they are permanent revisions and not temporary allowances just for the fireworks. As always, watch this space…

[Pictures/Video: DLRP Today]

Monday, 9th June 2008

Candles joined by streamers for new finale

As Candleabration clocked up its 365th performance and continued into its second year as part of ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!’, the fifteen candles spread across Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant continued to have their flickering, orange LED lights hampered by the setting sun.

The show is usually scheduled as the final piece of entertainment of the day, often exactly at the park’s closing time, but, for much of the year, this closing time just isn’t late enough to let the fifteen birthday candles glow. And so, as Mickey Mouse points up into the sky and toward the Castle, intending to send his magical energies to light up the candles, it appears as if he is merely making wild hand and arm gestures to the “Flying” soundtrack — a slightly uninspiring finale for any guests who don’t realise the problem.

However, since at least April this year, the illumination moment has been improved significantly thanks to a long line of streamers which burst into the sky from every side of the circular Central Plaza Stage. Now, every time Mickey points across to the castle, his hand gestures are joined by a golden streamer erupting from one side of the stage.

In Video

The streamers are rather a fitting addition considering the “presents” theme of ‘The Celebration Continues’, and a welcome addition for the many parents and children who didn’t quite grab one of the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade streamers quickly enough…

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Summer and Christmas have so far been the only times when darkness could be guaranteed for the ceremony, due to the late opening hours and early nightfall respectively. The 15th Anniversary launch night on 31st March 2007 also saw a special edition of the show presented under darkness.

Monday, 25th February 2008

The Celebration Continues… with spectacular TV ad

The original commercials for the 15th Anniversary Celebration saw a red carpet flying through neighbourhoods to bring children to Disneyland, passing by the new attractions and new parade along the way. As already seen in various promotional materials, the advertising campaign for “The Celebration Continues” year moves to wrapping paper and classic party decorations, with a brand new commercial produced especially for the event.

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Reaching the end of the red carpet, Mickey Mouse stands again with the two children, looking along a Main Street, U.S.A. wrapped entirely in colourful wrapping paper and ribbons, Sleeping Beauty Castle wrapped in pink with a bow forming a “hidden mickey” above the “15″ emblem.

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As Mickey Mouse stretches out a ribbon with a little pixie dust, children and characters run into Main Street, pulling giant ribbons and robes to unwrap all the buildings along the street.

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We cut to a view from the castle for a spectacular shot of the children “unwrapping Main Street” as fireworks shoot into the sky. Finally, the pink wrapping and ribbons fly off Sleeping Beauty Castle, revealing its 15th Anniversary overlay.

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Stepping through the Castle to a courtyard filled with characters old and new and Princesses atop a parade float, the two children set in motion the unwrapping of the most important presents of all — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, in deep purple paper against a stormy sky, and Stitch Live! in green paper, which sees growls exchanged between Stitch to the younger boy.

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We’re reminded of the ongoing Kids Under 7 Stay & Play FREE offer before the camera zooms out of a final scene to reveal the Disney VIPs and Pixar characters dancing under the illuminated “Candleabration” castle, a beautiful twilight sky glowing above them.

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The Pixar characters, such as Sulley, Mr. Incredible and Buzz Lightyear, feature heavily throughout — Paris’ very own Rémy can even be spotted hiding in the final shot.

The commercial launched on major UK television networks today, and should make its way, in translated form, to other countries very soon.

Bearing similarities in style to both the previous red carpet commercials and the current “Year of a Million Dreams” advertisements for Walt Disney World which play in the UK and US, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that they were all produced by the same people — over at Walt Disney World in Florida! This will perhaps explain the use of Florida’s Tower of Terror and a Princess parade float from across the Atlantic, rather than those in Paris.

Well, what a great little present from the creative teams of Walt Disney World! We’re getting out some DLRP Today stationary to write a thank you letter already…

Friday, 25th January 2008

Mickey and Minnie pay a visit to Hollywood

Arriving on Hollywood Boulevard in their most glamorous outfits, the pair walked arm-in-arm toward the recently reopened Hollywood Tower Hotel, ready to check in. Nothing to worry about, it’s been getting some great reviews! Mickey was ever the gentleman, carrying their suitcase as they posed for the photographers…

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Not even the hotel’s gaping hole into The Twilight Zone could dampen their smiles. Minnie’s bow even survived the faulty service elevator!

This series of photos have just been released by Disneyland Resort Paris ready for the upcoming explosion of press and publicity surrounding the new attraction, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, in a couple of months. It’s unusual and certainly fun to see the two starring characters dressed up for a new attraction in fitting costumes, even posing around the rest of the Hollywood Boulevard area with their suitcase prop…

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It almost seems like something Tokyo Disney Resort would do.

Hopefully, the fickle people of Hollywood will be kind to Minnie for wearing her favourite white dress again — after all, she did first wear it to the opening of the park itself back in 2002, so it seems fitting. Photoshop aficionados should also try to forgive the colour enhancing in the photos, taken earlier this month — the Mouse has achieved a lot in Paris, but consistent blue skies are still a “grey” area in particular.

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Dancing in front of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, they probably mirror many managers backstage at the resort right now. The happy couple might have just spotted one of the only “Hidden Mickeys” in the new area, carried across from other versions of the Hollywood Tower Hotel — the little girl in the pre-show video carries a Mickey Mouse doll into the elevator.

Expect to see these fun photos many more times throughout this year — and well into the future. The 2009 calendar, perhaps?

— Photos © Disney.

Friday, 30th November 2007

Annual Passport previews announced with only days to go

Would you book an entire trip to Disneyland Resort Paris to enjoy the big new attraction, knowing that the dates you’ve chosen are based entirely on rumour, unpublished dates? Anyone who has already booked to take advantage of the special December previews of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for Passeport Annuel Dream holders will have certainly done just that.

Because, with just 7 days (or 14 days, for the second round of previews) to go, the Annual Passport service has finally got round to that rather important task… sending out the invites. The first ones have now been received by French fans, which should leave only around one month to wait for anyone in another country. Regard, in all its splendour, the AP service’s constant belief that no-one — not a single fan — outside of Ile-de-France owns an Annual Passport Dream, and may not have to plan a visit in advance.

The invite for “La Tour de la Terreur: Un Saut dans la Quatrième Dimension”:

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Sarcasm aside, those who have already taken a chance on rumours and booked or can do so within the next 7 to 14 days will be able to enjoy some generously lengthy preview slots — the people deciding those, at least, know that the Tower of Terror is a really big deal…

Saturday 8th December — 10.00am to 6.00pm

Sunday 9th December — 10.00am to 7.00pm

Saturday 15th December — 11.00am to 3.00pm

Sunday 16th December — 12.00pm to 7.00pm

Annual Passport Dream holders need only turn up at Walt Disney Studios Park on those dates and show their pass at the attraction entrance to enjoy the ride. Each holder can invite one friend (with a valid park entrance ticket) to join them on the new attraction.

Previews for Shareholders are currently rumoured for January, with the official public opening now sure to be 22nd December 2007, following neatly the weekend after the second of these AP Dream preview weekends.

The preview times have also been added to the DLRP Magic! Calendar schedules for these days >>

— With thanks to Scrooge on Disney Magic Interactive forum for the invite scan.

Thursday, 29th November 2007

Celebration or Discovery? Tickets get new names… and prices

Since April of this year and the start of the 15th Anniversary festivities, the resort has been using two generous online special offers to help boost general ticket sales for the two parks — 15% off on the shortest ticket and extra days on the longer park hoppers. The latest official brochure now introduces new names for the two ticket offers, the first new ticket naming (for guests outside of France) since the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park.

The special offer tickets are now officially named “Discovery” and “Celebration“, making the offers easier to market and no doubt a little more attractive to guests than the offers which previously seemed a little unplanned.

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The “Discovery ticket” offer, giving 15% off a 1-Day/2-Parks hopper ticket, is now advertised as “Ideal for enjoying some of the treats of our celebration, while visiting Paris”. Meanwhile, the top-class “Celebration ticket” offer, giving a whole extra day on your ticket for 3 and 4 day tickets (therefore becoming 4 and 5 day tickets respectively), is promoted as “Ideal if you want to fully enjoy the celebration in two Disney Parks!”. You can find out more about the offers on the official website.

Following the annual report earlier this month, it’s a new financial year for the resort and so time for the ticket prices to be updated for 2008. As has become tradition, prices have generally changed by only a Euro or two, the highest increases for Child 2-Day and 3-Day hoppers.

2008 Ticket Price Changes (Adult/Child)

1-Day/1-Park — 2007 : €46 / €38 — 2008 : €47 / €39 — (+€1/+€1)

1-Day Park Hopper — 2007 : €56 / €48 — 2008 : €57 / €49 — (+€1/+€1)

2-Day Park Hopper — 2007 : €103 / €84 — 2008 : €105 / €89 — (+€2/+€5)

3-Day Park Hopper — 2007 : €128 / €105 — 2008 : €131 / €111 — (+€3/+€6)

Special offer tickets for UK advanced sale:

“Discovery” 1-Day Park Hopper — Until 4/04/08 : £33 / £29 — Then : £35 / £31 — (+£2/+£2)

“Celebration” 4-Day Park Hopper — Until 4/04/08 : £89 / £76 — Then : £93 / £79 — (+£4/+£3)

“Celebration” 5-Day Park Hopper — Until 4/04/08 : £104 / £88 — Then : £109 / £93 — (+£5/+£5)

Remarkably, and quite unbelievably, prices for the full range of Annual Passports remain the same, now several years on from their last price increase!

— Head over to the official Disneyland Resort Paris website for full ticket details and sales.

Tuesday, 27th November 2007

Extra Magic Hours abandon late nights

Amongst the decorations, the refurbishments, the new parade and the Characters’ Express, it’s easy to overlook one addition for the 15th Anniversary which has changed a visit to Disneyland Park just as much — Extra Magic Hours, the extra time allowed in the park primarily for Disney Hotel guests since 1st April 2007.


First Extra Magic Hours guide

The 2006 trials saw generous extra hours to enjoy the park under darkness after regular opening hours, whilst the first months of the 2007 season gave guests a scattering of evening dates almost equal to the number of morning dates giving two additional hours before park opening.

However, as noted by many fans in recent months, whilst the overall number of Extra Magic Hours has been increasing, the number of evening Extra Magic Hours has been steadily declining. Now, Disneyland Resort Paris has updated the texts on its website and in brochures to state not that the offer gives simply “two extra hours” but “two hours before regular park opening”. Evening Extra Magic Hours are officially no more!

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Excerpt from new Winter/Summer 2007/08 brochure

Getting out of bed two hours earlier doesn’t quite have the same magic as enjoying two extra hours in the park at night, so why the change? From the operational side of things, there’s quite simply not a single argument in favour of the evening hours.

Whilst morning hours require only a few additional cast members to check Dream passports and hotel EasyPass cards, evening hours required the coordination of a huge guest flow operation to hand out coloured wristbands each afternoon. Cleaning and maintenance crews had to extend their day and put off their work by two hours. Guests not staying at a Disney Hotel could easily stay in the park longer than allowed, whilst — although this probably wasn’t a factor — with morning hours they’d be forced to stand in line and watch as those paying extra for the hotels breezed straight into the park.

In short, it just makes much more sense to open the park earlier rather keep it open later, and the amount of Extra Magic Hours has benefited as a result — the latest dates for January, February, March and April 2008 now see Extra Magic Hours on almost every single day of the month.

— Check the latest Extra Magic Hours on the new DLRP Magic! Calendar >>

Thursday, 15th November 2007

In Video: Christmas enchantment like nowhere else on Earth

Since the opening year of 1992, Disneyland Resort Paris has celebrated Christmas with bigger and better events each and every year. For the 15th Anniversary, we were promised an “exceptionnoël” season, and, with a Father Christmas Village and Enchanted Candleabration to discover amongst countless old favourites, this is truly the biggest and most spectacular Christmas season the resort has ever seen.

Click below to play the video — and chante, c’est noël!

The video is exclusive to this page and cannot be seen on our usual Dailymotion account, so please do spread around this link to share the sights of the most magical Disney Christmas on Earth!

You can find full guides, histories, photo galleries, fun facts and useful tips for Disney’s Christmas Season 2007/08 in the extensive DLRP Magic! Guidebook chapter for the season.

— Video footage and music © Disney/Euro Disney Associés S.C.A.

Saturday, 20th October 2007

Video: Final HSM On Tour, rides & interview with Corbin Bleu at Walt Disney Studios

You can find Part 1 of the series here and Part 2 here.

Video – Corbin Bleu visits Walt Disney Studios Park

The main video begins with Corbin riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and feeting the first few fans to recognise him, before strolling across the park (pointing to Tower of Terror) toward Crush’s Coaster, which he rides several times. Next, the video features his entire pre-parade and the star watching Disney Cinema Parade itself. The video ends with clips from 2007’s final High School Musical On Tour performance and Corbin signing more autographs from fans gathered during the show.

Video – Corbin Bleu interview at Walt Disney Studios Park

Against a backdrop of the High School Musical On Tour stage, Corbin speaks about visiting Paris, the differences between Disneyland Paris and California, the cast of the show, the 15th Anniversary and more.

The young star has certainly been trained in the art of making good soundbites, hasn’t he?

Both videos © Disney.

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