Wednesday, 13th January 2010

Let it snow! Beautiful wintry pictures of Disneyland Paris

When our landscapes are given a white blanket like this, the whole world suddenly feels like a theme park. Paths don’t end where they normally do, the roads extend right up to the hedgerows, the fields and hills seem boundary-less.

If it seems unnatural having this much snowfall in our normal towns and villages, take a look at Disneyland Paris. The resort’s press department have been smart enough to brave the sub-zero temperatures to capture some beautiful views of the park with its current layer of strange white icing — from the “tropical” islands of Adventureland to the peaks of the Wild West!

As well as clicking the images to open up the normal, larger versions, we’re also sharing full size 1600px versions perfect for your desktop — just click the “Wallpaper” link below each.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

A medieval fantasy, frozen in time.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

The spindly, creeping gardens of Phantom Manor halted by snow…

Disneyland Paris in the snow

No better time to pop inside Bonaza Outfitters and wrap yourself up in some warm Western gear!

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

Not many takers for the outdoor seats today, with Cowboy Cookout Barbeque offering a roasting hot fire and live country music inside.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

Pirates of the… Arctic Circle? Adventureland is a bizarre landscape of tropical snow.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

Steaming through the winter landscape, nothing stops the Disneyland Railroad‘s grand circle tour.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

As night falls, a warm Fantasyland tea party to celebrate your Unbirthday seems very inviting indeed.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

Sun fading, there’ll be no wedding today.

Disneyland Paris in the snow

(Wallpaper version)

A magical landscape lighting up the night, ready to brave it again tomorrow…

No Disney resort feels the full effects of the four seasons quite like Disneyland Paris. When you’re next gritting your driveway, imagine clearing and preparing every stretch of the two theme parks for guests each morning. If you’ve had trouble starting your car to get into work, imagine “firing up” the Disneyland Railroad engines on a bitterly cold morning and keeping them steaming around the park ’til sundown. Not to mention making sure the runaway trains of Big Thunder Mountain never get held up, and that Dumbo can can keep on flying.

In weather like this, the whole designed environment, the whole operation, is that bit more exceptional. And as you can see, exceptionally beautiful at the same time.

Pictures © Disney.

Wednesday, 14th October 2009

Mickey’s first Not-So-Scary night of ’09 in video

The first extra-ticket night of 2009 took place last Friday, 9th October, with three more Not-So-Scary parties still to come on the 16th, 23rd and 27th. The nights give guests special access to Disneyland Park from 8pm to 11pm for exclusive entertainment, character meet ‘n’ greets and far more attractions than in 2008.

Last year confined to Fantasyland, the party has spread in 2009 to include Frontierland, as far as Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor, plus Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza also now play a role, whilst the tally of attractions open in Fantasyland now stands at seven — including Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world”.

If reports from the first party are anything to go by, the queues — particularly outside of Fantasyland — are definitely on the light side. Kaleo on Disney Central Plaza forum, for example, notes a wait of just 5 minutes posted at Big Thunder for the entire party, although these events do grow in attendance as we get closer to Halloween itself.

So far as attractions, it’s looking good for your €25 entrance. But what of the special entertainment? Our thanks to DCP member fandlrpstyle for sharing the full programme online:

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties

Last year’s Merlin and the Witch Academy show returns at the Castle Courtyard for three performances at 20:30, 21:30 and 22:30, whilst Fantasy Festival Stage hosts regular performances of its Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too show, just the same as the daytime version.

The real highlight of the entire event, however, happens out on Central Plaza, where the new stage has been put to fantastic use for the huge new show “Le Spectacle Pas-Si-Trouille d’Halloween”Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Show, as announced by show director Emmanuel Lenormand. Here’s a full video by Vidimouse:

This lengthy 20-minute spectacle has a pleasingly large (for Paris) cast of dancers and characters, as Mickey arrives in his purple Halloween suit to enjoy a “Not-so-scary” night amongst his Disney friends.

From Snow White to Belle, to a surprising (but very welcome and fitting) focus on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the first half of the show sees a medley of relatively peaceful song and dance numbers. But, you’ve guessed what’s coming — Maleficent. Bursting up through the stage, just like her appearance in It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends during the day, she speaks live — and in English!! — to tell Mickey that Halloween should be scary. And then, we see the show again — from the Villains’ point of view, with the relevant villain theme songs and characters for each of the films just presented.

Happening twice each night during the events, at 9pm and 10pm, the show makes great use of a number of investments made around the area in recent years — the high-powered spotlights either side of the Castle, the new stage lifts and the on-stage pyrotechnic effects installed just this month. Though the numbers involved might restrict such a wish, this is probably the kind of thing we should have had every night during Halloween, rather than the small “cameo” within the regular Central Plaza show.

It at least gives us much more hope for the now-firework-free finale of the separate Disney’s Halloween Party on 31st October.

Closing the Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties is a cavalcade, just like last year. Except this time, it’s not the Disney Characters’ Express travelling down the Disneyland Park parade route but… Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars! Here’s another full video with thanks to Vidimouse:

Aside from the music, taken from Walt Disney World’s Disney Villains Mix and Mingle event, and a few extra characters, there’s little done to put a Halloween stamp on the regular Walt Disney Studios Park parade. It’s a unique chance to see the cars filing down Main Street, but probably not “special” enough for a special party night.

However, being given a few more free packets of Haribo — now the official “treats” of Halloween in Disneyland Paris, and handed out after each event during the party — when the cavalcade stops on Town Square, probably sweetens (sorry) the deal, right? Well, it helps.

For only their second year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties have really grown up.

• Buy your tickets for the Halloween Party Nights at!

Monday, 9th June 2008

Le Rocher qui ne bascule plus

We’re used to hearing stories from California and Florida about over-protective health and safety issues closing down smaller Disney attractions, such as Goofy’s Bounce House, but in Paris?

Since the Marne-la-Vallée resort lies at the heart of Europe, a place largely free from the “lawsuit culture” of the United States, the parks of Disneyland Resort Paris have long been able to have darker, more atmospheric walkways and much more adventurous, interactive props like the one in question here in Adventureland.

But is that time coming to an end?

Pay a visit to this little corner of Adventureland between the two rises of land, underneath the giant suspension bridge, and you’ll find a little hidden treasure has just been de-Imagineered. The giant rock, tipping safely to and fro with adventurous guests since 1992, save for a few brief periods of static time, has now been propped up with a lump of concrete and taken firmly out of action.


The concrete support is sturdy and very permanent, suggesting Le Rocher qui Bascule is gone for good. So, what’s the reason? Health and safety gone too far? Maintenance trying to save themselves from another job?

Certainly, propping the stone up with concrete won’t stop those over-active younger visitors climbing all over the rock — the possibility of a fall is still there. Whilst Disneyland in California just introduced the fabulous themed props and interactive games of its ‘Pirate’s Lair’ — themed props and games which would increase footfall in Paris’ Adventureland massively — the park in Paris has instead just lost another reason to explore this land.


So, what next? We’ve tried to predict the alterations to several other Disneyland Resort Paris attractions, based on this kind of thinking:

Big Thunder Mountain

The idea of a “runaway” mine train is far too hazardous and the lengthy drop into darkness could cause screaming-related injuries. Therefore, all trains will now be manned by a driver who will regulate speed to no more than 10mph.

Le Pays des Contes de Fées

This pleasant boat ride through fairytale scenes is mostly harmless, but on hot, sunny days there is a chance guests could be subject to sunburn or otherwise. Therefore, a giant showbuilding will now be built around the entire Storybookland area.


The loud explosions when George enters the cinema screen could surprise guests beyond a healthy level. Instead, George will now simply step quietly behind the curtain and then appear on-screen.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Should a guest not secure all or some of their personal items, a person or persons could be injured by the item as the elevator drops. Though an incredibly unlikely event, the elevators will now descend no faster than regular hotel elevators to entirely prevent this.

Art of Disney Animation

In the ‘Animation Academy’ drawing masterclass, children are given pencils which could be potentially lethal. With immediate effect, no drawing of any kind will be allowed inside the building.

It seems strange that the option wasn’t taken to surround Le Rocher Qui Bascule with the kind of soft flooring seen in the park’s outdoor play areas. Leaving the rock in place also suggests that no plans are afoot to replace it with something more safety conscious — such as one of those already-Imagineered ‘Pirate’s Lair’ games.

If they’re not careful, the sense of Adventure could be all but gone from our Adventureland.

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