Saturday, 16th June 2007

Autumn-Winter brochure says “there’s still time!”

The new brochure appears to break from the tradition of the past three, which since Spring/Summer 2006 have featured simple, bright covers with a single image at the centre. Perhaps as a final kick to the 15th Anniversary Celebration, this new Autumn/Winter brochure for the second half of the Anniversary features a crowded cover of Disney characters surrounding a re-designed version of the Anniversary Castle visual. It’s an image that has become familiar from the resort’s impressive advertising campaign, however, so should work well as a recognisable Disneyland Paris image for prospective guests.


At the foot of the red carpet, you can read “There’s still time to join the party!”, with an inside page proclaiming “The time is now, the magic is here!”. If the original 15th Anniversary brochure was all about pouring out their long list of new features, this second brochure is all about trying to capture as many people as possible before the celebration concludes.

What can we expect inside the brochure? Along with the usual information about Halloween and Christmas, there should be fairly big push for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, likely using that key visual we presented a couple of weeks ago. If you’re outside the UK and have to wait a little longer for the next official brochure to arrive across your borders, don’t worry – as soon as it arrives at DLRP Today we’ll be giving you a good look inside at all the best bits!

» Click Here to order your Autumn/Winter brochure today! (UK)

Friday, 1st June 2007

Once Upon a Dream for Christmas and Halloween

The special collector’s issue of the quarterly magazine features a double-page spread of an exclusive interview with Francois Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment for Disneyland Resort Paris.


Whilst the questions are largely geared towards introducing shareholders to the unique entertainment Francois and his team have developed for the Anniversary year, the second-to-last question is one that has been on fans’ lips for countless months already…


“During the year of festivities, how many Parades will we have during the Halloween and Christmas seasons?”

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade will be presented throughout the year of the 15th Anniversary festivities. The Disney Villains will surely try to disrupt it at Halloween. Christmas will follow in naturally at the end of the parade to add still more magic.

The answer provides confirmation for the very first time that not only will Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade continue right through Halloween and Christmas, but there will be NO major dedicated parade for Halloween or Christmas, in the style of Disney Villain Parade or The Christmas Parade of recent years. This has been rumoured for some time, since the floats of these parades — redecorated from The Wonderful World of Disney Parade — have now mostly been taken out of service, and will never return.

Therefore, this Halloween we can expect a “Once Upon a Dream” with a touch of mischeif (likely a pre-parade segment in the style of last year’s Stitch Cavalcade), and this Christmas will bring an extra Christmas dream to the parade — will it be Santa Claus’ sleigh at the end of the parade, or something new?

All we have for now are dreams…

Friday, 1st June 2007

From Disneyland to Disneyland

Most guests rush through the resort area each day on their way to Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park, perhaps missing these clever new symbols on the central hub of the entire resort. For these guests there’s still an improvement to be spotted — the bright-white security tents have finally been changed to a much more pleasant green, as at Disneyland Resort in California, for example.

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And for anyone who takes their time and takes a look down at the ground, they’ll spot some unique floor decorations that bring the five Disney resorts closer than ever before. With all the current ‘Disney Parks’ branding going on and each resort beginning to share more styles, ideas and advertising, this is another step in the widespread plan of Bob Iger and Jay Rasulo to bring the parks and resorts closer together, to work off of eachother and help eachother out.

At select angles of the compass design embedded into the floor of the hub, you’ll now find a series of golden discs showing the logo for each of the four other Disney resorts, their opening date and the distance from Disneyland Resort Paris to these overseas parks.

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Whilst Disneyland Resort Paris is often short-changed when mentioned by the other resorts with an incorrect name or logo (usually the old Disneyland Paris logo, now 6 years gone), the people behind these new compass points have made sure to get the logos of Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland right up-to-date. You’ll see Disneyland Resort with its classic Walt Disney script, rather than the clinical 2001 version, and Walt Disney World Resort with its golden arc and stars — “stolen” from the 2002 Disneyland Resort Paris logo.

Currently, Disneyland Resort Paris is the only Disney resort in the world to acknowledge the others in this way. Will each resort get a similar centrepiece, or is this just a friendly “Bonjour!” from the folks in Paris?

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The distances from Paris to the other Disney resorts…

Disneyland Resort – Anaheim, California
9102 km

Walt Disney World Resort – Orlando, Florida

Tokyo Disney Resort – Tokyo, Japan
9698 km

Hong Kong Disneyland – Hong Kong, China
9584 km

As you can see, Disneyland Resort Paris is around halfway between the resorts of the West (California and Florida) and the East (Hong Kong and Tokyo) — the Disney magic has wrapped its way around the entire globe!

“It’s a small world afterall”, and the hub of Disneyland Resort Paris finally has a little golden touch of Disney magic.

All photos by Photos Magiques.

Friday, 1st June 2007

Disney Magic drops anchor in Barcelona

The Disney Cruise Line first began as a pilot test in 1995, with the first of Disney’s own ships — the Disney Magic — coming into service in 1998 and the second — the Disney Wonder — arriving in 1999. The operation grew rapidly throughout the late 90s and can without doubt be hailed as one of the greatest modern success stories for Disney. The good news for Disneyland Resort Paris fans? Karl Holz, CEO of Euro Disney SCA, was president of Disney Cruise Line before moving to cheif operating officer role in Paris, and can be thanked somewhat for the huge boom in popularity for Disney’s cruise intinerary.

It’s the Disney Magic that will complete the Mediterranean cruises scheduled for this Summer. Apparently the more daring of the two vessels, she spent the Summer of 2005 on the West Coast of the USA, rather than the ships’ usual Caribbean route, as a try-out during Disneyland’s 50th. Now, for Disneyland Resort Paris’ 15th, she’s gone trans-atlantic and arrived in the port of Barcelona, Spain for a Summer of 10 and 11-day cruises around the Mediterranean. With two more, far larger, ships now on order for 2011 and 2012, success for these holidays could eventually mean a more permanent spot for Disney in the Med…

This isn’t quite the same as building a Sleeping Beauty Castle or Earful Tower amongst the landscape, though. The Disney details are kept to a minimum, and a subtle yet very high quality look takes over. It’s almost like Paris’ Disneyland Hotel floating on water – elegant and stylish, but with small Disney details to make sure the fun is always there.

The Disney Magic’s version of the Mickey Mouse Clock? Try the Mickey Mouse funnel!

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The Disney Magic logo is discreet and whimsical…

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And the golden detailing of the ship’s bow features not only hidden Mickeys, but hidden Minnies (riding jet skis no less)…

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…Along with hidden Plutos and even hidden Daisys.

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The 10 and 11-night cruises include stops at: Palmero (Sicily), Naples (Italy), Olbia (Sardinia), Sivitavecchia (Italy), La Spezia (Italy), Marseilles (France), Villefranche (France). The ship also offered guests the chance to book a 14-day cruise on its Eastbound and Westbound route across the Atlantic, with calls at ,Cadiz (Spain), Gibraltar (UK), Tenerife (Canary Islands) and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

For guests arriving via shuttle bus at the port from the city of Barcelona, they’re also met with a fairly subtle Disney touch. As a temporary try-out itinerary, the biggest signs of Disney might be the uniformed Cast Members or the “Welcome Home” banners.

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“Is there a Disneyland Resort Paris connection with the ship’s arrivial in Europe?” I hear you ask. Well, yes! It was several years ago now that we first heard rumours a Disney Cruise Line ship would be sailing the Med, but no-one could ever be sure if the two Disney destinations would be able to team up the way they do in Florida. In April of this year, the Mediterranean cruises were given a prominent spotlight at the 15th Anniversary press conference, guests booking a cruise were given the option to add a stay at Disneyland Resort Paris onto the beginning or end of their time at sea, and there’s also a little surprise waiting at port…

The walkway to the ship also features a giant banner showing the Disney Magic and her new Mediterranean itinerary. But as we know from Paris, where there’s a Disney banner this year, there’s bound to be Lumière! Flying the flag for the French and for Disneyland Resort paris, he appears in the familiar design covering about a third of the entire display.

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Should these cruises in honour of Disney’s 15th Anniversary in Europe be a success, maybe –just maybe — Spain will get a full-time dose of Disney (Magic or otherwise) for the 20th, particularly if Wikipedia (and the findings of many guests trying to book on these trips) are to be believed…

“These trips have proved to be very popular; not only did most rooms sell out immediately after the reservations opened, but the side excursions that were made available also were sold out within hours. For Castaway Cay members side trips that were opened as of March 18, 2007 were almost completely sold out within 18 hours.”

With the Disney Magic returning to the West Coast of the USA in 2008, an encore could certainly be in sight here too.

More information about Disney Cruise Line can be found at the official website.

All photos by Dream_Maker (Jordi).

Saturday, 5th May 2007

Book your dream – like never before

Dating from as far back as 1999 and 2000, the old booking system was a simple yet not particularly user-friendly interface. Consisting of simple drop-down menus and selection boxes, it never gave a particularly dazzling first impression for people on their way to Disneyland. Not only that, but it stubbornly refused to work in several browsers such as Mozilla Firefox – not good for a resort which welcomes over 12 million visitors each year.

And so, finally, another piece of the circa-2000 website fades away. Visitors clicking the “Book Packages” option on the homepage of the official website are now redirected first to the resort’s new Hotels pages, where they can find the perfect hotel to suit their needs. Then all it takes is a click of “Book Now!” and they’re off to the brand new booking system…

The system appears in a similar design to the main website but removes all menus and Flash, giving a more friendly way to book your package. The first pages requires you to choose an arrival date and length of stay, with various options along the sidebar informing you of deals such as Half Board Meal Plans.

Once you’ve selected the number of people going with you to the magic, the screen clears and connects you to the resort’s booking system, with Tinkerbell floating around the screen and a message highlighting the special events for the 15th Anniversary.

System searched, the page next moves to the next step of the booking process and displays your ideal package offer along with two alternatives – a new feature for this sytem. The page displays all the features of each package in a good layout, allowing you to compare each offer or search again for a better deal. From this page you can also add options such as Half Board or change your room type with a single click – the options box opens within the same window and prices are updated automatically so you can continue to compare the packages.

The most major update with this new system, one which visitors from the UK in particular will be glad to see, is the option to finally book transport with your hotel, online. So far the system allows you to find flights with Air France (the resort’s airline partner) from a large number of airports and Eurostar from London, though at the time of writing the system was having trouble connecting to Eurostar’s booking option.

The pricing details here could be a little clearer, but the options now available give the system a major advantage over its predecessor and hopefully much more incentive for guests to book quickly and book everything together, a major plus for the resort’s all-important sales.

And if at any time during the process you need to check what you’ve selected so far, it’s just a click away. “Review my selection” brings up a useful window on the same page you’re looking at, displaying the details of your package so far without you having to reach the end of the booking process or hit “back” and check your selections. Another clever new feature is the ability to save “travel wishes”, so you can come back later to complete the booking.

Then, once you do reach the end, everything is displayed again in a modern and easy-to-read layout. Here you can even add requests to your booking, select insurance and see useful tips for your hotel and transport. The total cost is displayed clearly in bold at the top – as with most other websites and sales these days, they hope the clearer and simpler they make it, the more likely they are to get a booking.

Ready to book? Well, here we are – time to get entering all your details. With the new transport options, you’ll also need to select the ID you’ll use to pick up boarding cards and a number from the ID chosen. Finally, the price is once again displayed large and clear next to the credit card form – which comes with the resort’s partner “Visa” selected as standard, of course. A box provides a reminder that the website is SSL secured, and the entire process certainly does feel much more modern, substantial and secure than the basic former system.

The ticket purchasing system has yet to be updated, running on a separate website to the packages system, but this major step forward for the online sales of Disneyland Resort Paris is a sign that they’re still continuing to build their online presence, one of the key points Karl Holz announced when he became CEO exactly two years ago, back in May 2005.

Want to see the new system for real? Follow the link, choose your dream and select “Book Now!”. But maybe best to keep your credit card at arms length – you know how impulsive that Disney magic can make its fans.

Thanks to Jakub for the news!

Friday, 4th May 2007

Avant-première(s) for Crush and Cars

…And this time, it really is being rolled out to us. Not only will the press come in smaller numbers (700 compared to 1700 for 31st March) and one week after the opening (16th June), but the organisers of the resort’s Shareholders Club and Annual Passport Dream privileges have finally mailed invites and organised events to celebrate the 15th.

First, the Shareholders Club. Announced via email, on the official website and now through a mailed invite (below), shareholders of Euro Disney SCA have the exclusive opportunity to ride Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally as many times as they wish between 12pm and 3pm on 2nd June 2007.

Places at the event are strictly limited to a first-come first-served basis, and you must apply online no later than 25th May 2007. Your Shareholders Club card must also have been valid at 1st May 2007.

Shareholders will be able to receive up to 2 free Passe-Partout park hopper tickets for the day and up to 4 wristbands to gain access to the attractions – meaning up to 3 friends or family can join you for the rush to Crush! In addition to Salon Mickey, the mezzanine of Restaurant En Coulisse will offer a similar service of complimentary refreshments from 9:30am to 11:30am.

More details can be seen in the flyer above, and don’t forget to register now if you’d like to attend!

Not a shareholder? Well, grab your Passeport Annuel Dream and you too can join the rush – a few hours earlier than those Shareholders, infact! By simply showing up at Walt Disney Studios Park and presenting your Annual Passport Dream, you can get exclusive access to the two new attractions at the following times:

Saturday 2nd June 2007 – 9am to 12pm
Sunday 3rd June 2007 – 4pm to 7pm
Wednesday 6th June 2007 – 10am to 12pm

Dream passholders can also invite one friend (with a valid park passport) to join them in the rush. As with the Shareholders event, the attractions can be closed at any time during these final test runs, to troubleshoot or tweak at the Imagineers’ discretion.

It’s important to note that, whilst all of these events are being labelled as “Avant-Première” previews, guests will by no means be the “first” to ride the two new attractions. Like all new Disney attractions, they will be opened to the public for select periods in the fortnight before their official opening to test the systems, train the Cast Members and respond to the guest reaction. These events simply help loyal guests get an extended preview before the “rush” truly begins.

The “Soft Openings” themselves are scheduled to run most days from the end of May to the 9th June grand opening, so Shareholder, Dream passholder or regular guest – the avant-premières will continue for some time, and the “red carpet” finally available for all.

Finally, impressive proof that the Red Carpet has returned after his success in early April. Making a dazzling comeback last night on French TV network M6 (think E4 if you’re in the UK), he flew through the sky once again before diving down into the depths of the ocean and spiralling around to help launch the first piece of advertising directly aimed at Crush’s Coaster and a competition to win your own avant-première visit.

You can download the brief TV spot (around 18 seconds) here, uploaded by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum.

Thursday, 3rd May 2007

First half 2007 brings major 10% improvements

The results come as an incredibly positive step forward for the debt-laden group, showing an improvement and growth toward financial health right across the board – without any effects of the 15th Anniversary, since the results report only up until late March. Total revenues increased 9.7% from €467.4m during the same period in 2006 to €512.6m in 2007 – a positive figure indeed, but still only enough to reduce total losses for the period by €20m, due to other increased spend on marketing and operations in preparation for the anniversary year.

At Disney Village and the Disney Hotels, more good news and more growth. Over recent years hotel occupancy has fallen considerably, but this first half it has finally risen by over 5 percentage points to a satisfying 83.1%, whilst overall revenues for Hotels and Disney Village has risen by – you guessed it – over 10%.

For the fans, there’s one area looked to each and every time financial results are released – the attendance. This ‘First Half’, we’re in for a major surprise. Whilst it might have been expected attendance would slow in the build-up to the anniversary, with guests perhaps holding back trips, the results show absolutely nothing of the sort. From 5.5 million visitors in the first half of 2006, attendance at the two Disney Parks has increased a staggaring 10.9% to 6.1 million visitors from November 2006 to March 2007.

Add the huge marketing push and countless new attractions of the 15th Anniversary to this positive first half, and what can be expect for the next two quarters? If attendance continued at 10.9% above 2006 levels for the entire financial year, attendance would hit as high as 14 million visitors, the highest ever amount for Disneyland Resort Paris. More realistically, perhaps, the resort should aim for its current record – 13.1 million visitors in 2002, when Walt Disney Studios Park opened. Rememering that 2006 brought 12.8 million guests with only minimal advertising of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast though, and that 14 million suddenly doesn’t seem quite so far away…

Commenting on the results, Karl L. Holz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:

“We are encouraged by the improved results of the first half of the fiscal year and we are pleased with the positive response of our guests to the 15th anniversary celebration. We are looking forward to continuing the celebration with the opening of two new Walt Disney Studios® Park attractions inspired by our popular Disney/Pixar animated films, Finding Nemo and Cars.

“We continue to focus on improving our business performance and the overall resort experience. The continued enthusiasm and dedication displayed by our cast members is instrumental in maintaining and improving this experience.”

Update on upcoming events

On April 1, 2007, the Group launched the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Disneyland® Resort Paris which will last until March 31, 2008.
The Disneyland® Park’s Sleeping Beauty Castle has been decorated with sculptures of Disney Characters and 15 birthday candles. Each night, the candles are lit during Candleabration, a birthday show featuring favorite Disney Characters.

In the Disneyland Park, Disney Characters star in the all-new Disney’s Once Upon a Dream parade. Two new attractions are scheduled to open at the Walt Disney Studios® Park during the celebration. Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally, inspired by the Disney/Pixar’s hit animated films Finding Nemo and Cars, respectively. These attractions are designed to add to the appeal and capacity of Disneyland Resort Paris, further enhancing the core guest experience to drive both attendance and occupancy growth as well as increase guest spending.

On June 10, 2007, the new high speed train (“TGV Est Européen”) line to the East of France, Germany and Switzerland will be launched. With the opening of this line, the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station will become the largest high speed rail interchange in Europe. This line will allow more guests living east of our Resort quicker access to Disneyland Resort Paris. Once the line is running at full capacity, the French Rail Authority expects that more than six million passengers should transit through this station every year.

You can read the report in full here (PDF opens in new window).

Sunday, 29th April 2007

Crush in motion, first look at boarding area

Remember the backstage tour given to the press after their 1st April press conference for the new attractions? Well, here are the fruits – a report on TV network France3 showing not only a glimpse at the 15th Anniversary festivities but also a unique look inside the boarding area of Crush’s Coaster. The backstage tours, hosted by Imagineers from Beth Clapperton (who you might remember from that first photo of the turtle shells back in January) to Tom Fitzgerald (Executive Vice President and Senior Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering no less), have paid off with some excellent footage of the new attraction for this belated birthday report, shown just over a week ago.

In these brief shots from inside the attraction, the turtle shell vehicles are cycling through the ride on test runs, whilst the boarding area is illuminated with all manner of lighting and projections.

You might notice right away that the colours are exaggerated and the studio lighting in the ceiling above clearly visible – this is, after all, meant to be a real working film set. Smaller lights and lanterns are positioned throughout the area, which looks almost identical to the scale model we saw in January. Naturally for a Disney dark ride, the Sydney fishing pier scene is set at night, with the corrugated walls filled with reflections from the “water” and purple hues to reflect the time. However, this being an indoor soundstage, the magic of movies can (and is certainly planned to) do interesting things – like turn night to day in just a few seconds, similar to Disney Studio 1

The camera next turns to face the control booth, themed to a hut on the pier, and therefore naturally populated with a rowdy duo of seagulls. These popular birds, first seen at Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends last year, might just have the unexpected claim to the title of the very first Audio-Animatronics to be featured at Walt Disney Studios Park! Quite a claim to fame, and no doubt there’ll be a familiar fight over who gets the trophy – “Mine!” “Mine!”.

Beyond the gulls, the report takes us to an interesting angle on the ride we probably won’t see when it finally opens in just over 1 month – one of the turtle shell vehicles cresting the first lift hill and plunging outside the attraction through the blue rockwork of the façade.

Even from this angle, the supports and footers of the track – which were previously fully visible during construction – have actually been completely hidden and surrounded by the rockwork. Only the track itself pokes through, and this concealed from a normal guests’ point of view by the rockwork surround.

And now, in motion…

Reportages 15 ans France 3
Uploaded by DynGo

Many thanks to the fans of Disney Central Plaza forum for capturing these stills and uploading the video for all fans outside of France to see.

But now, with the 15th launch complete, fans aren’t the only people getting a little more than slightly excited for this new attraction. The official 15th Anniversary Blog has been treated with constant and regular updates lately, giving lots of glimpses into the creation of the anniversary events. Along with a short video interview with Imagineer Beth Clapperton, they presented two high-quality pieces of concept art showing the finalised turtle shells:

Even better than all that, they wrote a piece of text that could have been posted right here on DLRP Today – such is the total bias toward Disneyland Resort Paris…

“This was long, painstaking work that kept the Disney teams busy for months (they took their time, but in the end, you all know the story about the hare and the tortoise and who wins the race…). And winning the race is exactly what these tortoiseshells are waiting to do at this world exclusive at Disneyland! Especially for us Europeans!

“Of course, you already know about The Seas with Nemo and Friends in Florida, but this was only a show with video projections, a stroll through a giant aquarium. And there was Turtle Talk with Crush in Florida and in California (an interactive film in which the tortoise speaks directly to the children). And these are great, but the real ride is reserved just for us… And we deserve it!

It’s not everyday you see a Disney resort openly slating the attractions of its partners, but then it’s not everyday Paris completely and utterly trumps the other resorts in its offering. (See the bias there?!)

Like kids in a playground, Paris has all the newest toys this year, and the world is starting to notice. The magazine of – Tales from the Laughing Place – finally shipped its latest issue recently, featuring four pages dedicated to Toon Studio and two more recent pieces of concept art (below).

The article confirms that the musical score of the attraction will be orchestrated by Ed Kalnins under the direction of Thomas Newman (who wrote the original film’s score). This will be Ed’s third Nemo attraction soundtrack, following his work on translating the Oscar-nominated and Annie award-winning score for The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

The second concept above, originally posted by our partner, shows an updated version of the key concept featured on the Toon Studio construction walls. Along with new turtle shell vehicles and a more accurate Disney Studio 5, the entrance sign of the attraction is depicted as first envisaged. If word from the park today is any indication, though, this design actually didn’t make it from sketch to reality.

So there we go – a fun and well-themed dark ride station, a concealed coaster track, a brand new attraction score and the park’s very first animatronics, all in just a single article. No wonder DLRP are boasting about this one.

Saturday, 21st April 2007

The Toon Effect – More colour, more character

So what exactly does a second gate need? Let’s say… immersive themeing, its own character, attractions to rival those next door and enough to keep you busy for at least a day. Step into Animation Courtyard right now, and the Toon Studio project fills the entire area as if ticking these boxes piece-by-piece around the land.

The entire park is suddenly receiving a huge amount of interest from Walt Disney Imagineering, arguably more than any other Disney Park in the world. When you consider the four new attractions and two completely transformed theme areas they’re working on, it’s good to know that finally, after five years, Walt Disney Studios Park is getting more spells from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice wand than anywhere else.

Of course, much of the improvement (including the recently installed Toon Town backdrop) is still behind fences…

…But no-one can argue now that there’s a definite “buzz” about this second gate – especially not if you’re enjoying the Studios at the same time as countless construction workers…

This video features footage of the hills for the new Toon Town backdrop being lowered into place, with the briefly-presented new area music loop we mentioned in the previous Toon Studio update in the background – first a piano waltz of ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’, then an instrumental track from ‘The Rescuers’. The backdrop serves to not only place Toon Studio within its Toon Town location and cover the ImagiNations Costuming building behind, but also provide new locations for character meet ‘n’ greets along its bordering wall.

So that’s good, that’s it, the area is done. No, not by half – the old Walt Disney Studios Park might have stopped with a wall, but this Studio – for perhaps the first time – has a real trick up its sleeve…

This exciting brand new concept art was first posted by La Rouquine on Disney Central Plaza forum, and shows the expected Toon Town backdrop with its wall and studio entrance gate. A surprise addition, though, is the studio security booth. It was featured on the new map unveiled on 1st April, but with the area still under construction its presence in the final design was questionable – especially with this park’s history.

The wall, gate and archway are all distinctly more “toon” inspired than originally expected from earlier concepts, adding a huge boost of “character” to the Studios. It’s also fun to see that an idea from the very first Toon Studio concept has reappeared (and made it to reality) just in time – the “shooting schedule” board, which appears to give the times for character meets as well as details of the other productions (Crush’s Coaster, Cars, etc) currently filming.

Add it all together with details like the wavy yellow line along the middle of the street, the twisted blue toon lampposts and lots of new planting around this entrance square… and the Toon-y reality of this project is a stunning sight…

Simply a million miles from anything else at Walt Disney Studios Park, the area already exudes a fun, colourful atmosphere in these photos by Alain Littaye. Large planters hide pathways, details are everywhere and – in what could be a groundbreaking first for Imagineering – the reality actually looks more impressive than their original concepts. With Crush’s Coaster, Cars Race Rally and the new Toon Studio entrance area, this is three detail-rich areas in one relatively small space. Yet, thanks to the magic of the movies, it works.

Strangely, the “Toon Studio” lettering on the entrance arch currently faces inward, whilst on the concept – and according to logic – it should face outside of the studio, to the street where Goofy can be seen driving into the distance. An original idea here was for a food retail cart themed to “Goofy’s Catering Co.”, with the back end of the vehicle smashed into the wall. According to the latest word – and indeed to the new park map illustration, this theme is no longer planned.

Some details are still on their way, though, such as the 3D “Toon Town” lettering itself and several lights to fill the holes in the wall, like those seen on the concept above. Beyond this, the area will of course feature some brand new character locations. Mickey Mouse and The Incredibles have been shown in all recent concepts, but Ratatouille is the only confirmed taker for a spot in the new area, due to arrive in-person (or rather in-rodent-form) from 16th June 2007.

The photo above, by Scrooge on Disney Magic Interactive forum, shows the placement of the backdrop and security booth in relation to the rest of the new area, nestled in the corner next to Crush’s Coaster. The large bushes in front of this square, hiding it from guests passing by on “Route 66” outside Cars, can also be clearly spotted.

More hidden “weenies”, as they’re called in Imagineering terminology (like weenies in the distance drawing guests toward them) can be found a little closer to the current Animation Courtyard area. MagicMouse on Disney Central Plaza forum snapped the following photo over the fences a few weeks ago, giving an amazing angle on the new Studio 5. Picture Walt Disney Studios as you remember it, then take a look at this – the “Toon Effect” at its best…

The photo also shows details such as the green metal lamps attached to the dark wooden poles in the area, the blue fence surrounding the Animation Courtyard side of Cars and the light wooden supports for the future Crush’s Coaster entrance sign, which was recently revealed by in an updated piece of concept art.

The effects of the project haven’t just been felt in the new area either. Finally, some major changes to the existing Animation Courtyard have been completed, such as Animagique‘s new blue colour scheme and the new flooring pattern. Interestingly, the flooring directly in front of and surrounding Animagique has yet to be completed, despite this area being re-opened to the public. Concepts and even the new park map have shown new planters and flowers here on the unused overflow queue area, so this could indeed be a possibility for the future.

One thing that’s certain – blue is without doubt still the “in” colour for Toon design. Even the wall bordering this part of the land is ready to receive a coat, just like the extended wall leading up to Crush’s Coaster has. One notable absence of blue, though, is on the new railings surrounding the trees added way back in October. Not only has the railing taken over six months to arrive, but it features exactly the same pale green colour and style as the others around Disney Bros. Plaza – hardly giving an exciting entrance to the wonders of the “Toon Effect” that lie beyond…

And so here we are – less than one month to go until Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally are officially handed over from Walt Disney Imagineering to Euro Disney SCA for final operations tests. With the entire area expected to be complete by 9th June, this leaves exactly seven weeks for the Toons (and their Imagineers) to complete the transformation. They’ve come a long way already, but with an entrance statue to install, a Sorcerer Hat to decorate, flooring to finish and a whole new area to polish off, Mickey had better get working that magic wand…

Latest photos with thanks to Alain Littaye’s ‘Disney & More’ blog, Scrooge on Disney Magic Interactive forum, and Photos Magiques.

Friday, 20th April 2007

Pin Trading April 2007 releases

The Pin Trading month began on 2nd April with the J-10 countdown pin (featuring Cinderella), followed by J-5 (Peter Pan), J-4 (Alice), J-3 (Sleeping Beauty), J-2 (Pinocchio) and J-1 (Minnie Mouse), all counting down to the big day itself on 12th April 2007. The 12th saw the release of 400 “jumbo” pins featuring Lumière and Mickey Mouse presenting a birthday cake with the Castle in the background, whilst 400 exclusive 45€ 15th Anniversary Boxed Pin Sets featuring a jewelled Mickey, Minnie, Lumière and Tinkerbell around a sparkling ’15’ mouse ears logo.

If you missed these releases, don’t despair – more are on their way! The 28th sees the release of a promising “1992 Euro Disney” pin, along with the very first pin based on Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade for the very same day. There are standard open edition pins across the resort too, such as a jewelled ’15’ mouse ears, a reproduction of the main 15th Anniversary logo and a French Disneyland Resort Paris version of the generic “Disney Parks” branding that has even begun to appear in Paris now.

April 2007 Pin Trading releases in full:

Monday April 2nd 2007

J-10 Countdown Pin
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Saturday April 7th 2007

J-5 Countdown Pin
Reference number 209501007002
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Sunday April 8th 2007

J-4 Countdown Pin
Reference number 209501007003
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Monday April 9th 2007

J-3 Countdown Pin
Reference number 209501007003
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Tuesday April 10th 2007

J-2 Countdown Pin
Reference number 209501007004
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Wednesday April 11th 2007

J-1 Countdown Pin
Reference number 209501007005
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Thursday April 12th 2007

Jumbo Pin D Day*
Reference number 209501007021
Limited Edition 400 ex.
Price 45 Euros
(*) Attention : Due to small amount quantities of these pins, there will be no sale by mail order on this Jumbo Pin.

Saturday April 14th 2007

Mystery Pack 3
Reference number 209411007084
Price 12.50 Euros

Mystery Pack 4
Reference number 209411007085
Price 12.50 Euros

Where dreams comes true Pin
Reference number 209401007099
Price 6.00 Euros

15th Anniversary Pin boxed set
Reference number 209501007010
Limited Edition 400 ex.
Price 45 Euros

Saturday April 21st 2007

15th Anniversary Logo Pin
Reference number 209401007105
rice 6.00 Euros

Saturday April 28th 2007

15th Anniversary – 1992 EuroDisney pin
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

15th Anniversary – Dreams of Imagination pin
Limited Edition 900 ex.
Price 10.90 Euros

Snow White Frame Pin
Reference number 209411007036
Price 6.00 Euros

Aurora Frame Pin
Reference number 209411007037
Price 6.00 Euros

Beauty Frame Pin
Reference number 209411007038
Price 6.00 Euros

Cinderella Frame Pin
Reference number 209411007039
Price 6.00 Euros

15th Anniversary Logo Hat with Strass Pin
Reference number 209401007098
Price 6.00 Euros

Snow White Princesses 07 Pin
Reference number 209401007081
Price 6.00 Euros

Sleeping Beauty Princesses 07 Pin
Reference number 209401007079
Price 6.00 Euros

Attention: Due to the ammount of releases this month, there will no Pin Trading Night this month. Stitch is stopping his Walt Disney® Studios Park invasion this month and will be back in May.

The Pin Team are pleased to announce that reservations for the 15th Anniversary Pin Event on June 23rd 2007 will be available from April 6th at Central Reservation Office (00.33.825.30.60.60 (0.15 €/min)) Number of places limited.

Images with thanks to Disneyland Resort Paris Pin Team, Jayna62 and

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