Tuesday, 28th February 2012

Mystery of the ‘Disney Dreams!’ water screen towers, rising from the castle moat

Now you see them, now you… still see them. But soon you won’t. Besides the 50 or so fountains now installed in the moat of Sleeping Beauty Castle for Disney Dreams!, two enormous other water effects have recently made their mark on this fairytale landscape. In the middle of the moat on either side of the bridge, a towering steel construction rises above the heads of passing guests. Camouflaged, for now, into the grey cliffside and stone walls of the castle from a distance, their size is nevertheless impressive. Their use is no mystery at all: these are the two vital water screens to be used throughout the show.

Water will be pumped at high pressure up the large pipe at the rear of the tower, before hitting the curved, semi-circular head of the tower at enough velocity to erupt upwards in a fine, fan-shaped spray, creating a perfect projection screen. Before this happens, however, the pipe will be elevated even further into the air at the start of each show using compressed air and a pneumatic lift inside its main support beam, lifting it to perhaps almost double the height seen here.

Projectors positioned behind each tower, now being squeezed into the rockwork and stone wall of the castle, will project images to accompany those mapped across the castle, expanding and completing the scene. The show will notably open with Peter Pan projected on one screen and Wendy on the other, as the Second Star to the Right shines from the castle’s top window above.

Since the photos here by ThemeParkZone.es were taken on 16th February, the towers have been fully connected up ready for testing and the moat refilled to around half its depth, so their excellent photo update is a great last chance to see all the Disney Dreams! equipment before it was hidden by water.


So, the only mystery here now is how these giant steel towers will be hidden. It was expected before work began that they might rise and sink completely into the water, but the towers are clearly permanently installed at this height. Since they haven’t been painted before installation, it will now be a case of cladding or wrapping them in a themed finish to match the environment. RadioDisneyClub.fr has reported that a company fittingly called Neverland Themepark Decorations could be working on the final design; their website states them to be specialists in themed concrete creations…

VIA ThemeParkZone.es

Monday, 27th February 2012

20th Anniversary TV spots launch with Disney characters projected across Europe

Disneyland Paris has launched its TV advertising for the 20th Anniversary in the UK, beginning with 10-second teaser adverts that show an animated Peter Pan projected across London’s Big Ben. It’s all part of the campaign that sees various Disney characters miraculously appear on buildings and European landmarks, hinting at the effects to be experienced with Disney Dreams! from 1st April. These “tactical” spots, designed to create awareness and intrigue with their short running time, will later turn into full-blown 40-second TV spots nearer the launch date itself.

Meanwhile, following the earlier Spanish commercial, a new 30-second English trailer has appeared using different scenes and angles, as well as a much nicer endboard featuring the castle. Ending with “click here”, it appears to be intended for online video-on-demand players. Buzz Lightyear opens the advert, appearing on a modern skyscraper, while scenes in the park show Lightning McQueen flying through the sky and a computer-enhanced Soundsational Parade travelling down Anaheim’s Main Street. Well, Disneyland Paris adverts have never been ones for accuracy.





Watch the new English TV spot below… Read More…

Monday, 27th February 2012

First 20th Anniversary Extended Hours revealed: 9.30, 10.30, 11pm bedtimes ahead in April!

April is a busy month for Disneyland Paris, but it’s also outside of the main summer high season. For years that has meant, no matter how busy the parks, you’d see no fireworks and certainly stay no later than 10pm — 8 or 9pm on weekdays. The Extended Hours announced for the 20th Anniversary — primarily to make sure Disney Dreams! can be performed under darkness — promised to change that and revolutionise the annual calendar of the resort. Well, here we go.

Park opening hours for the first half of April 2012 have now been published (check them here), giving us our first look at exactly what “Extended Hours” mean. The first two weekends of April now see Disneyland Park open until 10.30pm, giving up to an hour and a half more time than the same period last year (check our archived hours here). On the weekend of the 14th and 15th, that extends further to the magical 11pm; the first 11pm closing time in April for almost two decades. Meanwhile weekdays see a solid 9.30pm closing time, again an increase of up to an hour and a half on last year.

It’s important to note that these Extended Hours are really just regular park opening hours… extended. Merely a way to promote the longer hours required to see darkness fall over Sleeping Beauty Castle — and all those Disney Dreams! effects come to life. The unconnected Extra Magic Hours, which are available in the morning, continue for Disney Hotel guests and Annual Passport Dream holders.

These new hours not only add a great deal more value to park tickets (and particularly resort hotel stays), they herald the moment where Disneyland Paris is ready to grow up, to start acting like a real Disney park. Previously weighted far too heavily towards the two summer months of July and August, the resort’s old calendar saw pretty much the entire rest of the year besides Christmas relegated to “off season”. If you wanted the “full Disney experience” of later hours, darkness falling over Main Street and nighttime entertainment, you had to wait until summer — and stump up the prices to match. Now, that full Disney experience will be available every day and every night of the year.

• Flashback: See the very first Euro Disneyland opening times from 1992 here!

Friday, 24th February 2012

New ‘Disney Dreams!’ promo photos, press release promise “explosion of lights and colours”

The buzz for Disney Dreams! has finally hit the Disneyland Paris press website, with both a complete press release for the new nighttime show and several publicity photos from recent after-hours tests. Showing simply a multi-coloured test projection on Sleeping Beauty Castle and a burst of pyrotechnics radiating outwards from behind the château, they’re hardly the most revealing sneak peeks, but at least confirm the surprisingly important presence of fireworks in the show. Disneyland Paris has long had problems with the noise and cost of fireworks, limiting them to just two summer months and special events. Since we all really thought the fountains, projections and other effects would be there to make up for a move away from pyrotechnics, avoiding those perceived problems, it’s exciting to see that they will truly be an important element of the new, nightly and year-round spectacular.

A third image was also released alongside these two, and has been published elsewhere online. However, a quick look at the flowery projections on the castle — and more tellingly the photo’s EXIF data — reveals it was taken at 23:05 on 13th July 2011, in other words during The Enchanted Fireworks, so probably doesn’t offer a glimpse at Disney Dreams! at all.

What does come packed with information about this 20th Anniversary spectacular, though, is a new press release dedicated to the show. Detailing the music, the story and all the “elements” it’s a revealing read — but only in French. Lucky then we’ve translated it all into English!

Complete translated press release follows… Read More…

Wednesday, 22nd February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ show control building plays pretend as “Parks Landscaping Department”

“Story is king” goes the mantra. And so, satisfied that the new control booth for Disney Dreams! fits stunningly well within its Central Plaza parkland environment in this update from last week, our next thought turned to how, story-wise, its prominent position within the gardens could be explained away. “With its wooden trellis arch and location right in the middle of Main Street’s Central Plaza park, perhaps we could imagine it’s the gardener’s lodge — rather than a high-tech show control booth soon to be sending fountains, fireworks and lasers soaring,” we mused. Well — let us imagine no longer, that’s exactly what the Imagineers had in mind!

This week, new props have suddenly arrived all around the building: a wooden wheelbarrow out the front, a watering can under the porch, tools and shovels hung up at the side. Several wooden planting boxes and barrels now also sit beside the booth, ready to be filled with flowers or shrubs. Just to fully confirm the backstory, a plaque next to the entrance reads plainly “Parks Landscaping Department”. Given the amount of work needed to be done around the plaza to prepare for the 20th Anniversary spectacular, the “landscaping” part, at least, isn’t far wrong.


As @CreativeAlan suggests, tweeting a reply to these photos by @InsideDLParis, perhaps a name such as “Flower Street Gardeners” would have been more imaginative and less obvious in terms of story than the slightly overstated “Parks Landscaping Department”. But the fact that there’s a story at all, for a simple show control building, can only be congratulated.

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Tuesday, 21st February 2012

Main Street Station façade to be embossed in gold for 20th Anniversary – first colour tests

“Will the person who lost a roll of 20 dollar bills in a green rubber band please come to the ticket office. Good news: we found your green rubber band,” goes the announcement. And now we know, after 20 years, what the porters at Main Street Station have been saving all those dollar bills for. For the 20th Anniversary, the entire front façade of the station, the beautiful stone edifice which greets every guest as they first step inside Disneyland Park, will turn… gold!

Matching well the fresh gold bunting going up elsewhere, the first tests for this bold makeover, captured by @InsideDLParis, are already underway. One pillar on the far right of the station was first painted in an alarming shade of yellow undercoat before revealing, just 24 hours later, its stately golden finish.

After numerous season and festival overlays, some more successful than others (most not very successful at all), you might think you’d seen it all on Main Street Station. But this would be by far the most dramatic overlay so far: completely changing the colour of the station for at least a whole year.

Surprisingly, it could also be one of the most appealing to date. Given its lavish architecture, “embossing” just this front-facing wall of the station in gold feels like a suitably extravagant way for it to celebrate. Where so many makeovers past have sought to cover up the station’s stunning ironwork, windows and organ, a gold shimmer could bring out its details like never before.

But what do you think — a bold feat of flamboyance, or a gold leaf too far?

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Monday, 20th February 2012

Main Street, U.S.A. celebrates early as golden bunting begins to adorn the town

Like gold? Like bunting? Then this 20th Anniversary year Main Street, U.S.A. will be your kinda’ town! Despite the countdown clock still standing at more than a month before festivities begin, the town has already begun to receive its commemorative overlay. From tentative beginnings on the awning of Casey’s Corner, semi-circular gold and white bunting has begun to line the entire town. Coming in a large and small size depending on the location, these shimmering fans of fabric can already be spotted hanging from The Emporium, Walt’s – An American Restaurant, Lilly’s Boutique, Disney & Co., Boardwalk Candy Palace, Cable Car Bake Shop and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour.

This follows months of complete restorations to buildings including Walt’s and Gibson Girl, plus numerous ongoing clean-ups and repaints right across the street.


Bunting is the traditional way for the other Main Streets around the world to celebrate the seasons and events of the park, fitting naturally within the turn-of-the-century streetscape. While this particular style of flashy gold might require a small leap of period theme, it’s certainly favourable to the oversized banners of the 15th Anniversary — or pretty much any overlay to have come before it. Along with the culling of the Pumpkin Men from Halloween and unsympathetic decorations from Sleeping Beauty Castle, it continues a reaffirmed desire to respect the park’s original landscapes and stories when decorating for seasonal occasions; refreshing the environments more subtly — and effectively.

These decorations form part of the Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! event. Marketed as a “unique celebration of magic, lights and colours with even more twinkles and memorable glowings-on than ever before,” it sounds like this spot of bunting might just be the first of the street’s surprises…

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Saturday, 18th February 2012

Sing along to “Magic Everywhere!” – Disneyland Paris’ new 20th Anniversary parade anthem

That awkward moment when… your shareholders’ Annual General Meeting is interrupted by a gang of 14 Disney characters and 10 dancers, jumping along to the latest high-energy parade number. Well, it has almost become an annual tradition! And so it was the shareholders, attending Friday’s meeting at the Disney’s Newport Bay Club Convention Centre, who got the very first listen to “Magic Everywhere!” — the new theme song for Disney Magic on Parade! and the 20th Anniversary as a whole.

Beginning “Yeah yeah yeah, celebrate the magic!”, the song, produced by Disneyland Paris music impresario Vasile Sirli, combines all the essential elements of a perfect Disney parade anthem. Rhyming couplets, references to storybooks, twinkly “pixie dust” sounds, it’s all there. The song also makes specific reference to “celebrating 20 years of joy and laughter”. Luckily for those unable to attend the meeting, the first play was captured on video (embedded below). What are your first impressions?

Accompanying the song, the small show also gave the audience a first look at the new “sorcerer”-themed costumes for Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale, Goofy and Pluto, as well as the new Blue Fairy who will help open the refreshed parade.

Video featuring “Magic Everywhere!” and full lyrics follow… Read More…

Friday, 17th February 2012

Disneyland Paris launches official 20th Anniversary website, no Flash required

If you follow @DLRPToday on Twitter, you might have got an early look when the site briefly went live on Wednesday, but now it’s here to stay: Disneyland Paris has launched its official 20th Anniversary web pages! This new mini-site, designed as a separate section of the main website, is notably more compact than previous efforts, but that has only to be applauded: if Disneyland Paris are going to put effort and money into their online activity, it needs to be put into the inadequate main website itself. There are no useless mini-games, no disjointed attempts at “social” interaction, just the main 20th Anniversary events laid out in simple and appealing pages. Check them out here.

Pages for Disney Dreams!, Disney Magic on Parade! and Meet Mickey Mouse feature video clips spliced from the full-length promo video already available on YouTube, while Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train and the 20th Anniversary Extended Hours are also featured. The final page, “Videos & Live Posts”, simply features a YouTube video and a Facebook plugin. Simple and effective.

Surprisingly, after several years moving away from the increasingly unpopular format (last year’s Magical Moments Festival mini-site appeared to make a point of being entirely non-Flash based), these new pages still arrive fairly heavy in Flash animations, at least for desktop users. But switch to an iPad or iPhone, which notably snub the processor-hogging medium, and there’s a second surprise: the pages still work! Yes, a static version of the main menu has also been produced, for web browsers without Flash to fall back to. Even the videos have been encoded in iOS-friendly formats.


The extent of the Disneyland Paris website on an Apple iOS device; sales totalling 250 million+

All of which makes it even more absurd that, if you jump back to the main Disneyland Paris homepage — or indeed, any page on the rest of the website — you’ll be simply provided with a “Flash Plugin Required” message, and no back-up page at all. No links are even provided for the resort’s separate ticket or package booking systems, which don’t require Flash, potentially losing “armchair” visitors who would like to browse the site or book without firing up their PC.

• Look out for DLRP Magic!‘s own complete guide to the 20th Anniversary, launching soon!

Friday, 17th February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ story scenes revealed: From the Second Star to a shadow on the loose

We know that Disney Dreams! means fountains, fire, projections, lasers and much more, but what story will all these elements be telling? This morning’s Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual General Meeting naturally put Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary and its new nighttime show in the spotlight, revealing some key plot points along the way. Fans tweeting live from the event shared details of the five key “acts” making up the show as they were announced, all appearing to relate back to the storyline of Peter Pan and his shadow. While the show will combine many of the best elements of other Disney nighttime spectaculars (and then some), it could be this narrative, threading the entire thing together, that sets it apart.

An opening act titled The Magic of the Second Star will surely be the grand moment when the “second star to the right” of Peter Pan fame ignites at the top of Sleeping Beauty Castle, causing pixie dust to pour out across the castle’s façade and open up the Disney Dreams.


Pixie dust pours out from the yet-to-shine Second Star

We actually got a glimpse of this in the earlier promo video, where projection tests (pictured above) showed pixie dust apparently pouring out from the tallest tower and engulfing the castle. In the final show, that top window will be glowing with the bright light of the “second star” itself: the effect was installed behind its stained glass star just a few weeks ago. What exactly this “effect” consists of is currently unknown — spotlights, ultra-bright LEDs? — but it has become a key theme of all the 20th Anniversary imagery. Showing a desire to make sure the castle is part of the show, rather than just a flat projection surface, the idea is clever: since the castle has always had a star on its uppermost window, why not make that the “second star to the right” for this show? When it does come to life, it’ll be like it has been hiding there all along, for the past 20 years, just waiting to be ignited…

Scene 2, The Shadow at Play, hints at the importance of Peter Pan’s shadow to the plot. Could he be engaged in a George (CinéMagique) or Donald Duck (Philharmagic)-style trail across Disney classics to retrieve his missing darker side? Perhaps pursued by Captain Hook along the way? Scene 3, Free to Dream, and scene 4, Shadow Battle, hint at what could be lighter and darker elements of the show. The “battle” in particular would be a good call for those fire effects. However, films including Ratatouille, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Jungle Book have all been confirmed to be part of the show, showing a wide spread of stories and characters beyond the usual princesses and villains.

Finally, the finale: Dreams Can Take Us Anywhere. And yet, even with these titles and everything we know so far, we still don’t know quite where they’ll take us. Let the anticipation continue…

VIA @DisneyGazetteFr (Twitter)

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