Saturday, 23rd July 2011

Adventureland Bazaar regains its Middle Eastern warmth with much-needed repaint

2011 Refurbishments — For a land that’s meant to transport you to the dusty Middle East of One Thousand and One Nights, the entrance of Adventureland Bazaar had been looking far too wet and weathered for several years, losing its warm sandy glow and becoming discoloured as the Marne-la-Vallée weather rained down upon it. That was until eagle-eyed news-gatherers such as @InsideDLParis spotted the walls had been cleaned overnight last month — and then early in July noticed that it wasn’t just a clean-up but a full re-paint — the final results you can see via Photos Magiques, above!

Looking back, the Adventureland entrance was marked in red on the map of refurbishments due to happen this season, although it originally got overlooked amongst bigger headline projects. Nevertheless, a quick look back at a “before” photo (below, from 2009) shows you just what a transformation not one thousand and one, but a mere ten nights, can achieve…

PHOTO VIA Photos Magiques

Saturday, 7th May 2011

Jack Sparrow audio animatronics to finally join Pirates of the Caribbean for 20th Anniversary!

Drink up me hearties: Captain Jack Sparrow is coming to Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Paris in 2012! The European version of the attraction will finally end a 5-year stint as the only edition not to reference to the blockbuster movies, adding the exact same Audio Animatronics and special effects which “plussed” the Anaheim and Orlando rides in 2006 and Tokyo’s version in 2007. That includes three animatronic figures of Jack Sparrow himself, looking remarkably like the Johnny Depp character — one amongst the mayor/auctioneer scene, one hiding in a barrel and one drinking up in the final treasure caverns. In addition, the captain of the ship in the “attack” scene at the bottom of the first drop will likely be replaced by Barbossa, and the Imagineers will hopefully find somewhere to position the mist screen projection of Blackbeard, which was just announced to replace the original Davy Jones projection at Anaheim and Orlando yesterday. In the three broadly similar versions of the attraction already updated this comes at the start of the ride as a forewarning, but with the Paris edition having a different story layout its exact position is currently unclear.

The update has been confirmed internally for a while now, though so far hasn’t been officially announced and isn’t likely to be for a few months at least. But there we have it, our first known 20th Anniversary addition! Funnily enough four years ago we were talking about this exact update for the 15th Anniversary, but that’s Disneyland Paris. It seems like every year since then the rumour has resurfaced again, as those behind the magic tried to push it through the budgeteers, whilst money was spent instead on theme year after theme year. Most recently it looked like a dead cert for this year, what with the much-anticipated fourth film due out this very month (and enjoying a huge world premiere event at Disneyland in California today). As Captain Jack would have said several times over by now, “If you were waiting for the opportune moment …that was it.” But next year will do just fine, providing a solid Imagineering addition in what’s otherwise looking like a very Entertainment-based anniversary.

So, enjoy “On Stranger Tides” in stereoscopic digital 3D and then set course for Paris this time next year, to see Sparrow come alive in three real dimensions. And he only took 6 years to cross the Atlantic!

Friday, 22nd April 2011

“Prolonged refurbishments” official reason for Princesses & Pirates Party cancellation

Mickey's Princesses & Pirates Party

So Disneyland Paris did sell enough tickets to justify these four after-hours parties? That’s what their official statement sent to ticketholders suggests, with the official reason actually being that the “prolonged refurbishments” throughout the park wouldn’t have allowed the parties to go ahead to the standard of quality Disney originally wanted. With Sleeping Beauty Castle half-covered in scrims, areas closed for repaving and of course the icon of the park’s pirating land, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, also soon set to undergo a complete rebuild, that’s probably true — they couldn’t have picked a worse time in the history of Fantasyland and Adventureland to promote a Princesses and Pirates event. Whilst some refurbishment dates have slipped, the final schedules were surely known some time ago now.

An official statement (translated from French) reads:

Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party due to take place on 1st, 10th, 17th and 24th June in Fantasyland and Adventureland have been cancelled due to prolonged refurbishments underway in some parts of Disneyland. We are aware of your disappointment regarding the cancellation of these events, however this decision was taken because the current conditions would not permit the event to meet the Disney standard of quality. Disneyland Paris apologise for the inconvenience and thank visitors for their loyalty.

Visitors who have reserved tickets for the evenings can get a refund by contacting our reservation center at 01 60 30 30 30 or their tour operator.

For those who are still visiting the resort on the scheduled dates, in addition to a full refund of the ticket price, we invite you to join us in the space of Hurricane’s Disney Village between 5pm and 8pm on the day of the event originally planned, to spend a moment with our Disney Princesses and Pirates with a refreshing drink.* (*Details to be confirmed upon refunding of ticket)

See that? Along with a refund, ticketholders will get the chance of a drink and meeting with “Disney Princesses and Pirates” at… Hurricane’s Discotheque in Disney Village! The venue closed since March last year and still awaiting replacement. So, if you bought a ticket for Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party, you’ve actually just won a free ticket for what might be an exclusive last step inside that classic discotheque above Rainforest Cafe! (And sorry, no — tickets are no longer available to purchase…)

VIA Grandmath (Disney Central Plaza)

Thursday, 21st April 2011

Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party: Cancelled!

Mickey's Princesses & Pirates Party

It was confirmed today that all four Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party events, due to take place in June, have been officially cancelled. Originally scheduled for the 1st, 10th, 17th and 24th June, the new after-hours parties promised exclusive events and character encounters, with attractions open in Adventureland and Fantasyland, for €25 or £22. Anyone who has already bought tickets will be contacted directly by Disneyland Paris with an official statement.

We announced the details just last month and you can see the full list of events-that-weren’t-to-be on a guide page here. No reason for the cancellation has yet been given, although the obvious assumption would be poor ticket sales. The combination of Pirates, Princesses and exclusive after-hours rides might have seemed a winning formula, but for events costing €25 and beginning at 8pm, when most children are already tired or worn out from a day in the parks, they were perhaps pinpointed at a much too young demographic. Beyond the rides, the promised entertainment offered little for all but the most obsessive character fans, and even the attraction count was a meagre eight with Pirates of the Caribbean the biggest thrill. Similar events in the US have given access to the whole park and often a fireworks show, enticing adult visitors. Hopefully this won’t put off any future attempts for new nighttime parties at Disneyland Paris — but next time, perhaps some better audience research could be involved.

VIA Kristof (magicforum)

Thursday, 14th April 2011

Refurb Roundup Day: The Movie – Concepts and events captured on official video

As promised, here’s the official video of the Molly Brown rededication ceremony and the refurbishment presentation events of 25th March, when we were invited to see first-hand the ongoing and upcoming projects taking place across the resort in the lead-up to the 20th Anniversary next year. The Molly Brown’s full-time return to the rivers this weekend finally brought the video online, which also features a good look at some of the concepts and details we were shown during the presentation that morning. A map of Disneyland Park shows the areas to be refurbished in red, whilst photos show the original 1990s model of Sleeping Beauty Castle being re-touched with its new colours that “soar into the sky”.

Special credit to Kristof of magicforum and Photos Magiques for not only stepping up to the mic but slipping in that fun little tribute to the Molly Brown’s original “Queen of the River” title!

Disneyland Paris refurbishments
Map showing planned refurbishments in Disneyland Park for 2011 (annotated by DLRP Today)

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments
Katy Olsen applies the new colour scheme to the original castle model

Disneyland Paris refurbishments
Thomas Bardenat explains the logistics of the castle restoration

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Tuesday, 12th April 2011

19 Today – Happy Birthday Disneyland Paris!

Happy Birthday Disneyland Paris

Exactly nineteen years ago today, at 9.01am on 12th April 1992, Euro Disney Resort officially opened its gates to the public. Euro Disneyland brought a magic kingdom more beautiful than any other to a whole new continent, bringing home its tales as old as time; allowing a whole new audience to “leave today and enter worlds of history, discovery and ageless fantasy”. Festival Disney was a bold nighttime entertainment district designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, whilst a record number of five Disney resort hotels (the sixth, Sequoia Lodge, would open in May) and nearby Camp Davy Crockett would give the resort an impressive first phase… that revenues just couldn’t match.

With now less than one year to go before the 20th Anniversary, let’s not overlook how much the resort has managed to grow since that over-ambitious opening. A second park, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Toon Studio, endless shows, parades and seasons, numerous Disney Village additions, the busiest high speed rail station in France, seven more nearby partner hotels — even a whole town centre! — and so much more. Whilst we might be in a lull between new attractions, the next year will see the biggest slate of refurbishments in the resort’s history, polishing and embellishing this astonishing achievement of Walt Disney Imagineering’s own golden age. And further into this decade, we’ll see World of Disney transform the hub, the vast Villages Nature holiday complex and water park, a groundbreaking dark ride, hotel expansions, major Disney Village expansions and even, with luck and money, that second park becoming what we can call “a whole second park”.

Here’s to the ever-outstanding cast and crew, and here’s to the future!

Sunday, 10th April 2011

Magical Moments Launch: Adventureland Rhythms of the Jungle adds characters to tam-tams

Adventureland Rhythms of the Jungle

A staple of the park since the very beginning, Adventureland’s African Tam Tam music group just made some new friends — an orangutan, a bear, sometimes even a meerkat. This is Adventureland Rhythms of the Jungle, the new “moment” during the Disney Magical Moments Festival bringing life to a quiet corner of the land between Restaurant Hakuna Matata and Adventureland Bazaar. Read More…

Friday, 4th March 2011

Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party adds a new event to the Disneyland Paris calendar

Fancy staying up late in Disneyland Park? Normally you’d have to visit in October for a special after-hours party at either of the Halloween theme events, but that’s set to change this June. For 2011, a brand new party will mix two themes in one night: Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party. Both Adventureland and Fantasyland will reopen to ticket holders at 8pm with eight attractions, a huge selection of characters and a variety of special entertainments to keep you entertained right up to 11pm. Four parties are scheduled, for Monday 1st and Fridays 10th, 17th and 24th June. Tickets cost €25 or £22 and are available to buy now online, from your local booking hotline or at the parks. You can find the full programme of events and all the information over on DLRP, here.

Although certainly the inspiration, this event shouldn’t be confused with Mickey’s Pirate and Princess Party at Walt Disney World, which kept the whole of Magic Kingdom open and concluded with an exclusive fireworks show. Disneyland Paris previously looked at bringing this event over in 2009, when it was tentatively scheduled for February. Launching in the balmier evenings of June seems like a much more enticing proposition for budding rogues or royalty.

Saturday, 20th March 2010

Refurb roundup: Ears gone, banners gone, trees gone?!

Was it all just a bad dream?

The big news of course is that Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, our beautiful castle, has finally lost its Mickey’s Magical Party overlay. Once again we can enjoy its golden spires and centrepiece window with not a single set of Mickey ears on its magnificent medieval façade.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

It’s not a complete return to glory, however — look closer and the iconic building is close to worn-out. Its stone features covered in spots of dirt, roof tiles uneven and out of place and two large holes now visible either side of the main window, where the Magical Party centrepiece was fixed in place.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Above that, the roof has some light patches, like its paintwork has been scuffed or scratched by something.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

The balcony to the left still has too few plants draped over it, and let’s not even check elsewhere. Stand on the rear balcony of La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant next time you visit and take a look upwards — this castle needs attention soon. We’ve been saying “before the 15th…”, “before MMP…”, “before the New Generation Festival…” every year now. So… before the 20th Anniversary?

There is also one omission from this decorations cull — Tinkerbell, and her spiralling trail which circles the tallest tower. Originally part of the 15th Anniversary overlay, she held on for Mickey’s Magical Party, continuing to provide confetti blasts from her wand for certain events. Now the lone remnant of these celebrations, she towers over the huge structure like a dainty fairy really ought not to, the confetti pipe looking like some poorly-integrated plumbing for Sleeping Beauty’s new ensuite bathroom.

With the Mickey ears now consigned to history for more than a week, the chances of the same installation crew coming back to pick up this one decoration is beginning to seem unlikely. We’ve heard that even departments within Disneyland Paris don’t know what’s going on with her. Can’t someone step in and scrap the fairy once and for all?

Any Tink supporters should perhaps remember that she’s already present and correct — and much more pleasantly sized — atop the Disneyland Hotel:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

But for now, back to the positives — and another big one is Main Street also returning (almost) to normal. The refurbishments of the Disney Clothiers, Ltd. and Town Square Photography façades continue, but now there’s something — or several things — missing from the view…

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

No giant lampposts! Without those towering white columns and their enormous, identical banners, Main Street has been opened up. The buildings aren’t hidden away but clear to see and yes, correctly sized. Welcome back to the turn of the 20th Century!

It’d be interesting, in fact, to see if footfall in the various shops might increase with the removal of the banners, which were overpowering enough to just funnel guests straight down the street as quickly as possible, without looking left or right, all building façades hidden until you were stood right up in front of them. Now, that visual interest in every millimetre of the street is visible again, ready to pull guests to one side… and get them to open their wallets.

Another disappearing act has been pulled by the illuminated Mickey’s Magical Party decoration which sat above the side doorway of The Emporium. Before that, we had Lumière bursting out of the building for the 15th Anniversary… so how long until Buzz Lightyear or Slinky Dog shows up for the New Generation?

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Here again, the removal unfortunately shows up some less-than-perfect paintwork behind.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

And the removals continue, back into Town Square! Let’s compare this photo, from last Summer:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

With this view from earlier this week:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Besides the elevation, weather and other seasonal changes, can you spot the difference? Yes, the trees on Town Square have magically shrunk! Previously reaching well above the rooftops of The Emporium and Town Square Photography (even from that elevated viewpoint on the railroad station), they now suddenly stand only just as high.

This is about as “Disneyland” an idea as you can get — when the trees get too big for the forced perspective of the buildings around them, replace them! The old maturing trees were removed last week (replanted elsewhere in the resort), leaving Town Square with an odd few days of just temporary grass coverings, to be gradually replaced with these younger, smaller trees.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

If you’ve followed Disneyland Paris news for many years, you might remember the same happening to all the trees along Main Street itself in the first half of the last decade, when they were again replaced with smaller trees more in line with their quaint (and we have to remember, at the turn of the 20th Century — recently built) surroundings.

At the same time, the first flowers of Spring have arrived!

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Elsewhere, Pirates of the Caribbean has been closed for the past two weeks for a scheduled refurbishment:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

As always, this also required a closure of the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, but we’re happy to report both attraction and restaurant reopened earlier today.

Finally, ignoring that Castle bridge scaffolding (which should also have come to a close earlier today – check back for updates), we end on a beautiful sight indeed…

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Here’s hoping we see the castle back in the “refurb roundup” before too long.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP

Thursday, 4th March 2010

Refurb roundup: Town Square Photography shies away

As you enter Disneyland Park right now, the view along Main Street USA is a scene of change — the banners and castle decorations of Mickey’s Magical Party finally in their last days after a year of ruining photos, and there on the right, two buildings enjoying a full refurbishment.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

The first to be wrapped in scaffolding was Disney Clothiers, Ltd. back in mid-February. Since then, the white tarpaulin covering has been given a very smart dressing-up to resemble the hidden façade itself, on all three sides.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

This has become a trend for all Main Street refurbishments in recent years and is a real sign of Disney-quality operations alive and well. The covered Disney Clothiers has even had its entrance widened to full width and false windows put in either side of the scaffolding!

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Backing up a little, the big news on the street is Town Square Photography being given the exact same treatment. The famous Kodak-sponsored photography store is currently hidden behind a refurbishment covering for much of its exterior — only the blue “photographic studio” section next to Discovery Arcade on the left remains uncovered.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

This is noticeably more ramshackle in appearance than the slick refurb covering next door, but it’s likely we’ll soon be seeing a similar fake Town Square Photography façade unravelled soon enough.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

With no flowers yet in bloom, there are still plenty of changes yet to come for Main Street before the “New Generation” lands… as always, March is going to be a busy month.

Over at Peter Pan’s Flight, the work has been and gone. The ride re-opened from a regular refurbishment in the first week of February:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Changes outside don’t appear to have stretched above ground level this time, though the refurbishment did see all the queue line walls and barriers repainted in their original light green. Inside, all effects and lighting were fully freshened-up.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Over in Adventureland, a project begun last year has finally restarted — replacing the rough jungle terrain in numerous parts of the land. In recent years, the concrete paths have become almost as perilous as tackling the suspension bridge with a gang of schoolchildren, littered with holes and cracks…

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Last year large areas of Discoveryland’s floor were replaced, including around Star Tours and entire area between Space Mountain and Orbitron. Some work was done here in Adventureland, near the Frontierland border, and it appears an even larger job is now ongoing, resurfacing the area front of Restaurant Hakuna Matata and therefore closing this important thoroughfare to Adventureland Bazaar.

Hopefully the area you see above, outside the fences, along with countless other places around the resort will be given the same treatment — this needs to be a rolling project given the state of many pathways.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Since the entire path here is closed, so too is Restaurant Hakuna Matata itself (not a rare event, in truth), with signs pointing across to Au Chalet de la Marionnette in Fantasyland — although you might just be better doing a u-turn and going to Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost, unless that’s also closed…

And finally, the date many people have been waiting for: Friday, 19th March 2010. That’s the date when the Castle bridge refurbishment is scheduled to end, finally reopening the main route into the front of the Castle after a major two-month project to partly rebuild and rewire it. It’ll miss St Patrick’s Day, but still — only two weeks to go…

Now an annual tradition in this era of theme years, March is when everything changes.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP

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