Monday, 12th October 2009

Let’s play New Generation spot the difference!

Yes, an odd thing about some of these advertising visuals being posted recently is that they’re sometimes still tinkered-with and altered even after they’ve apparently been finalised and published for travel trade use.

However, this one stands out.

New Generation Festival New Generation Festival
Original / Final Version

Beyond a few finished-up parachutes, someone, somewhere, was obviously worried that Mickey Mouse wasn’t there. “Will Mickey still be in the parks next year?!”, came the imagined cries. “Oh, I hope they don’t get rid of the Mouse!”

How do you solve a problem like Mickey? Pull out a stock image and slap it on there.

Phew, crisis over.

Images © Disney.

Saturday, 10th October 2009

First Tree Lighting Ceremony teaser released!

Announced as part of the Disney’s Fairytale Christmas press release, the Tree Lighting Ceremony will not only move back to Town Square but become an event in its own right once again, after several years spent as merely a background to the Castle’s illumination at Central Plaza.

It looks like we’re not the only ones eagerly anticipating the return either, as the resort’s publicity department have just released this rather lovely new image to advertise the “new” event:

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Featuring a young girl with Mickey Mouse, the tree itself is shown glowing in blue as trails of pixie dust surround it, the buildings of Main Street enclosing the cosy scene.

The use of blue might be interesting, since the old tree — which has been spotted backstage and is assumed to be returning — has no lights of the sort. So could the old tree be given a new lighting overlay? After all, with the event now based solely around it, it has to compete with the extravagance of the several hundred-thousand lights over on Sleeping Beauty Castle, which will still be illuminated — separately — as part of the final “Party Time” show of the day.

This slightly too modern, slightly cold blue LED-type display is already used for the 2005 Princess Chandeliers which line Main Street during the season. It would be a shame to see the warm and colourful old tree fall to this apparently fashionable colour for Christmas lights, even if it does need to be given a more impressive light-up programme.

Gushing with confidence, the press release states: “Every evening, guests are invited to a stunning brand-new show around the majestic Christmas Tree in Town Square. Enchanted illumination orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person promises to dazzle young and old alike with loads of magical Christmas surprises.”

Like any wonderfully clichéd Christmas movie, we’ll just have to wait for those days to fall from the calendar…

Image © Disney.

Friday, 9th October 2009

La Nouvelle Génération goes internationale

Each year and with every new event, Disneyland Paris has to translate and localise every inch of its publicity and marketing like no other theme park on earth. Last year, we saw everything from La Fête Magique de Mickey to El Año de Mickey.

Ready to go on a European tour for 2010?

French: L’Année de la Nouvelle Génération

New Generation Festival New Generation Festival

New Generation Festival

There’s no true translation for the way they’ve used “Festival” in the English name, the closest being “Fête”. Since that was already used last year, they’ve opted for — translated literally — “The Year of the New Generation”.

Due to the order of words needing to be flipped around, the blocks for “L’Année” are forced to appear at the top of the logo, whilst the entire name has had to be squeezed incredibly tightly to fit above the main Disneyland Paris logo in the third incarnation.

German: New Stars Festival

New Generation Festival New Generation Festival

New Generation Festival

No, Disneyland Paris hasn’t lost its German dictionary. The name here will be the same as the English, save for the less-understood “Generation” being switched out for “Stars”, commonly used to describe celebrities in Germany. “Festival” is in the German language, too, and most will understand the English spelling of “New”.

Unconfirmed, but it’s quite likely this version of the name will also serve the Benelux countries.

Spanish: El Festival de la Nueva Generación

New Generation Festival New Generation Festival

New Generation Festival

The particularities of the language force another inversion of the word order, placing “El Festival” on top of “Neuva” for the Spanish edition.

Italian: Festival della Nuova Generazione

New Generation Festival New Generation Festival

New Generation Festival

…With the same happening for Italian.

On the whole, the name translates well into each language. However, wouldn’t you agree it’s immediately clear that the English logo was designed first, with little thought of how it might be reconfigured for each international market? The choice of fonts, size of type, colours and layout — none of these versions look as balanced as the original.

Compared to the smartly laid-out English version — with the giant “New” underlined by a wider “Generation” and underlined by the blocks — many of these international versions look shoe-horned into place and, with the “de la” and “della” having to be added, rather clumsy.

The Toy Story-style blocks simply don’t look right hovering at the top of the logo, it’s clear it wasn’t designed that way originally. That the key visual of a parachuting Buzz Lightyear was released first in English and has yet to be localised seems to confirm the theory.

Still, if you’re reading this English blog well enough, you probably won’t have to see too much of these. The only one we’ll be seeing frequently might be the French “L’Année de la Nouvelle Génération” on any banners or decorations that might appear, similar to how “Mickey’s Magical Party” currently alternates with the French version around the parks.

Logos © Disney.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2009

Official text confirms more New Generation details

In the last 2010 update, we learnt the final name for next year’s Disney Characters Party Train Express rehash — Disney All Stars Express. This time, we find out the final names of the reworked Central Plaza show and the four year-old Monsters Inc. corner, plus a few other exclusive snippets.

New Generation Festival

This “official text” will be what you’ll see in holiday brochures and other publications in a few months. Here we go with the first section:

Disney new generation festival

A new generation of Disney stars and stories are landing for one year only at Disneyland® Paris from April 2010.

Join the festival-fun at the all-new generation shows and parades – where new Princess Tiana jazzes up the Once Upon a Dream Parade, and gourmet chef Remy* drives you wild with excitement in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. Or choo-choo-choose which star to meet first on the Disney all stars express and at Monsters Inc. Scream Academy* –shriek n’ greet like no other!

And, starting from Summer, shrink to the size of a toy in Toy Story Playland* for the BIGGEST new family attractions: Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog(1) Zig Zag Spin and RC Racer(2).

Finally, gather in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle for a true Disney showstopper finale – an all-singing, all-dancing, all-together perfect end to the perfect day.

The Disney new generation festival might only last a year but your all-new memories will last a lifetime.

*Inspired by Disney•Pixar films Ratatouille, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story
(1) Slinky®Dog is a registered trademark of Poof-Slinky, Inc. All rights reserved.
(2) Hot Wheels® is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. Hot Wheels® Trademark and Track Used With Permission © 2009 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

So there we go, all the events officially confirmed. You can notice already the huge amount of legal baggage that has come with the real-life toy themes of Toy Story Playland, with the owner of each element having to be credited on every single piece of promotional material.

Note also that the new Central Plaza show is now definitely set to be a single finale to the day, rather than the current schedule of four shows throughout the afternoon.

New Generation Festival

The second page continues with more on those events being provided by the resort’s Entertainment department:

Shows & Parades

Welcome Princess Tiana to the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
Princess Tiana from Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Princess and the Frog” brings a little jazz, snazz and pizzazz in the Once Upon a Dream Parade. She is joining the Disney Princesses in their Dreams of Romance. Hop along with your little ones to twist and twirl to the romantic music from each of their worlds and give a warm welcome to this new Princess.

Ratatouille(1) starring in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
Drive your little ones wild with excitement as Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars presents the all-new Ratatouille roadster. It’s a party on wheels that goes into a spin when Remy pulls up alongside you! Get a taste of his cooking capers and the other crazy cars and characters. It’s the perfect recipe for a fun-filled motorcade.

Disney all star express
Get on track with the festivities on the Disney all stars express. This is your ticket to choo-choo-se which of your favourite Disney new generation Characters you want to meet n’ greet first. Will it be Buzz(3) ? A rendez-vous with Remy(3) ? Shootin’ the breeze with Woody(3) ? All aboard! It’s Minnie and her all stars express!

Disney showtime spectacular
It’s Showtime! It’s time to shine. It’s time to gather in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle on Central Plaza stage for an explosion of music from maestro Mickey. Together with an all-new A-list of guest stars it promises to be an all-singing, all-dancing all-new showstopper finale!

Monsters Inc.(2) Scream Academy
All screams are welcome at Disneyland® Paris. Thrill-filled shrieks, surprised yelps and screams of delight! At Monsters Inc. Scream Academy we welcome screams to break the decibel meter! Join in the tonsil-tingling fun as you shriek n’ greet Sulley and scream as loud as monster-possible – it’s ear-popping fun for all the family.

(1)Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Ratatouille
(2)Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
(3)Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s movies Toy Story, Ratatouille

Confirmed here are the names of the new Central Plaza show — Disney showtime spectacular — and the Monsters Inc. corner in Toon Studio — Monsters Inc. Scream Academy.

But wait, didn’t the newly-named Monsters Inc. Scream Academy, with its light-up “scream monitor” canisters, already open way back in April 2006? Obviously the wording is clever here — there’s no statement that this is a “new” attraction (because it certainly isn’t), but the inclusion alongside other new events certainly gives that impression.

Will it offer anything more than the scream canisters and Sulley meet ‘n’ greet it’s been hosting for almost four years? Possibly a little something new, at least: A comment by “zanderstarz” on our first article about the festival states it has been confirmed internally that little girl Boo will also make appearances — a character never seen in Paris before.

And now, this could prove to be nothing, but did somebody forget to hold down the Shift key, or press Caps Lock? There’s a huge “FINAL VERSION” stamp across the top of this PDF, but right throughout the entire text the festival is referred to not as “New Generation Festival”, in that boring, grammatically-correct style, but as “Disney new generation festival“. The renamed character train is not “Disney All Stars Express” but “Disney all stars express“, and the bravely-titled Showtime Spectacular is, in fact, typed up as “Disney showtime spectacular“.

It’s not like whoever typed this “final version” doesn’t understand capital letters — they’re used perfectly on every other name. And add this to the mystery — the category for the 2010 events on the official trade website changed on Monday from “New Generation Festival” to the entirely lower case “new generation festival“, something which would surely have to be done manually.

We’re still waiting for confirmation if these lower-case names are for real. Who knows, maybe they’ll release a “txt spk” version in SMS shorthand, to truly capture the new generation!

New Generation Festival

And finally, the part of the celebration we care about the most:

Toy Story Playland

Opening Summer 2010 at Disneyland® Paris

Toy Story Playland has the BIGGEST new family attractions. They’re GIANT – when you’re shrunk to the size of a toy! Join the toys for playtime in Andy’s backyard where everyone can explore this oversized world with its three larger-than-life rides – Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin and RC Racer. Andy’s away and the toys are ready to play!

Toy Story Playland is inspired by Disney•Pixar film Toy Story

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop
Attention! Your mission – join Andy’s troops for a high flying adventure – Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. When Sarge yells “Go! Go! Go!” , hold on tight as you fall from way up high in a simulated parachute drop. Over and out!!

Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin
Everyone’s tongues and tails are wagging about the all-new “zigzag-a-coaster” Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin. Family pups of all sizes will howl with laughter as they join Slinky in a rollicking spin to catch his own tail. It’s barking mad fun in Toy Story Playland.

Slinky®Dog is a registered trademark of Poof-Slinky, Inc. All rights reserved.

RC Racer
Andy’s speediest toy car is sure to get you and your family’s adrenaline pumping. RC Racer is the most thrilling new ride in Toy Story Playland. Race along a 25 metre-high half-pipe coaster, as RC zooms you around at full speed…it’s a real gas.

Hot Wheels® is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. Hot Wheels® Trademark and Track Used With Permission © 2009 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Along with plenty of spin about these being the “BIGGEST” new family attractions, we do actually get a long-awaited confirmation of just how big: The RC Racer halfpipe will be 25 metres tall! That’s less than half the size of Tower of Terror and just a touch taller than Disney Studio 1 or the Sorcerer’s Hat.

We also get a date — Summer 2010, which confirms again that all those “new” entertainment events are actually going to be much-needed for the first few months (events begin in April), when this celebration’s centrepiece will still be a building site.

Sunday, 13th September 2009

More New Generation Festival event images

You’ve seen the logo and the main key visual, now for the events of the New Generation Festival themselves. Friday saw a whole series of initial images appear on the resort’s publicity visuals website.

Note the wording there — “initial images”. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but a couple of the images you’re about to see are surely — surely — just stand-ins for some final, polished visuals yet to come. In short, they look like the kind of hastily chopped-together visuals we might have found on internal presentations or proposals for the 2010 theme year, not true “advertising visuals” that have been released for use in brochures, in print… in public

The Princess and the Frog in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen will only be hitting European cinema screens in January and February 2010, but come the April launch of New Generation Festival they’ll both find a new home on the ‘Dreams of Romance: Finale’ unit of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.

New Generation Festival

Quite where they’ll be slotted in on this huge articulated float — which already boasts Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora — isn’t exactly answered by the visual above, which shows an assortment of Disney Princess stock images cowering behind a truly gigantic version of the Princess and the Frog couple.

For comparison, remember the artwork that greeted the parade’s launch in 2007?

It’s Party Time… with Mickey and some new Friends!

As confirmed just a month ago, the general concept of this year’s Central Plaza show will continue into 2010. Rather than the classic Mickey’s Magical Party characters of Timon, Baloo, Peter Pan, Donald Duck and co., however, it looks like we might be seeing those four satellite stages hosting Sully, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rémy, Emile, Stitch and even Princess Tiana again…

New Generation Festival

…Which all throws up a few questions about what route the re-imagined show will take. The current format is based very much around the music, and interactivity. Whilst Tigger certainly lends himself to bouncing and Baloo to a sing-along of Jungle Book tunes, we’ve never seen that kind of event from these characters above before.

“Note” the musical notes falling from the sky on parachutes, continuing that theme. And, though you can’t see it, we can add the interesting note that this image is labelled “KEY VISUAL SHOWTIME SPECTACULAR”, which certainly hints at a name-change for the annoyingly-titled It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends come April 2010. ‘Mickey’s Showtime Spectacular’? ‘New Generation Showtime Spectacular’?

The visual above re-uses a strange image of Mickey Mouse originally created for the Mickey’s Magical Party version of the show, where the stage was viewed from above. Re-used here, the poor Mouse simply seems to have an (even more) abnormally-large head.

‘Enhanced’ Monsters, Inc. meet ‘n’ greet

Now here’s an interesting one. As listed originally, the small Monsters, Inc. “Scream Scene” location near the entrance to Toon Studio is, for some reason, being touted amongst the main New Generation Festival events…

New Generation Festival

There’s certainly nothing new in the visual here that might suggest an “enhancement”, so why is this 2006 addition suddenly becoming an event? A more regular appearance of Sully? The replacement of the Mike figure with a real-life character? Some kind of mini-show or Sword in the Stone-style scream canister event…?

Ratatouille in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars

Wave goodbye to all hope of Florida’s old Star Wars car joining our Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. This vehicle will be remodelled for Rémy and Emile from April 2010, adding a 12th car to the parade/show event.

New Generation Festival

Given that the Star Wars car is very different to that above, don’t take this as a real concept.

So there you go, the four main events Disneyland Paris Entertainment are cooking up for the New Generation Festival. After their five large-scale launches for 2009, it should be a breeze. There’s also the strong chance that Disney Characters’ Express / Minnie’s Party Train will be remodelled yet again into a New Generation Express, but thankfully it’s looking like such a rehash won’t be quite so widely advertised.

Three more visuals are also floating around for Toy Story Playland and two of its attractions, but we’ve a lot of catching up to do on that subject before getting to those. Stay tuned…

Your thoughts and comments are welcome!

— — —

Images © Disney.

Friday, 11th September 2009

New Generation Festival logo, key visual revealed!

Here we go, the official logo of the New Generation Festival…!

New Generation Festival

As you can see, the design takes on a modern and very “Toy Story”-inspired design, with big, ,3D yellow letters for “New”, a slimy green “Generation” and a “Festival” built out of… building blocks, just like the word “Playland” will be at the Toy Story Playland entrance.

Naturally, the logo comes in a couple of additional variations.

First, we’ve the new resort logo for 2010:

New Generation Festival

As with Mickey’s Magical Party, the name of the event is slotted in across the top. Unlike 2009’s logo, however, there’s no balloon or extra graphics on the end.

Note also that both here and above the classic ‘Disneyland Paris’ logo is back to its good old navy blue self. No shoehorned “Resort”, no having “Paris” in a separate colour, nothing. To long-time fans, it’ll feel like an old friend has returned.

The third and final logo is the largest:

New Generation Festival

Here we see the first, main logo above — but with a scattering of the characters who’ll “star” in next year’s events. Lightning McQueen, Princess Tiana, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse, Sully, Rémy, Nemo and Stitch. The idea is to contrast between the very classic characters of the current year (Donald, Goofy, Peter Pan), making 2010 seem as fresh as possible.

Phew. Are you all New Generation-ed out? Sorry, but there’s yet more…

Finally, here’s the key visual for the New Generation Festival. As promised in the earlier reveal, balloons are out. In 2010, it’s all about — erm… parachutes!

New Generation Festival

Buzz Lightyear leads the image as Lightning McQueen, Rémy, a Toy Solider, Slinky Dog, Princess Tiana, Nemo, Sully, RC, Woody and Stitch glide towards Sleeping Beauty Castle behind.

This “key visual” is the main piece of advertising imagery we’ll be seeing throughout the entire promotion of the event. You might remember those for Mickey’s Magical Party, and this here is our brand new one. Get used to it, we’ll be seeing it a lot.

Thoughts? Opinions? Ahh, we’ll leave that to you for now!

— — —

• If you missed our original exposé on the events of the New Generation Festival, including the new Toy Story Playland and new parade characters, click here!

Images © Disney.

Saturday, 15th August 2009

Refreshing new views on the magic kingdom

Popping up out of nowhere, and only so far on the German press website, these few images are a rare delight worth sharing. Apparently someone, somewhere, realised that there’s a luscious, extraordinary Disney park behind whatever theme year is currently being peddled.

Looking through the latest official brochure (PDF), you could be forgiven for thinking the park was yet to open its gates with the airbrushed, photoshopped and hazy imagery filling page after page. Between the huge, fake images of the Mickey’s Magical Party events being previewed, guests are given little to no real glimpse at the parks themselves.

Well, flying cowboys! Is this really Disneyland Paris?

Of course, there is reason for this — since the start of the 15th Anniversary, the resort has been on a new drive to promote limited-timed offers and calls to action.

People were found to wait until their children were older before visiting, whilst Disneyland wanted their custom now. But how are these potential guests to know that this place really is so beautiful, so much better than any other theme park on the continent, and worth the high prices listed on later pages?

Images like these might help…


Several of the photos focus on Frontierland, with an eerie mist rolling around Phantom Manor and the Molly Brown standing proudly in the dock.


Even classic E-Tickets, like Phantom Manor itself, rarely seem to be given much attention these days. The opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was criminally glossed-over in favour of the extended 15th, the consensus simply being that this €180-million attraction wouldn’t be enough for the bookings to roll in — people would conclude that, unlike the anniversary events, “it’ll still be there in a few years” and postpone their trip.


As recently as 2001 and 2002, however, each land would be given its own lavish, themed page in the brochures, filled with photos of the environments, attractions and entertainment. After all, it’s these legendary attractions and the landscape of the park — the things designed and built by the Imagineers — that we visit time and time again for… isn’t it?


Say, the Disneyland Railroad majestically skirting its way around the greenery of the berm…


Or the spires, towers, walls, windows, tapestries and pure beauty of the Castle…


No wonder some people think we’re mad to be in love with Disneyland at our age, considering the “kids’ crèche” style of recent advertising, completely shunning any images like this gorgeous new view past the Walt’s restaurant sign…


Or this stunning, elevated view right down Main Street, U.S.A...


You can click any of these new official images above for a large 1600px version. We’ll probably never see them make the brochures or advertising, so go on — stick them on your desktop and show people what Disneyland Paris is really like.

Pictures © Disney.

Wednesday, 12th August 2009

Disney’s New Generation Festival: 2010 details leaked

The project has been in planning and kept top secret for months. But now, as the deadlines for advertising visuals and creatives for the next round of brochures nears, the entire list of new events has been leaked online.

Working title: Disney’s New Generation Festival, this next theme year will put the newest animated characters firmly in the spotlight. That means, though Toy Story Playland will certainly be the key new attraction of the year, we aren’t looking ahead a whole of solely Toy Story themes. No, instead we’ll be seeing Disney’s upcoming The Princess and the Frog plus a whole lot of Pixar — they are, after all, the closest to “Disney” the past decade has offered.

Avert your eyes now — the most spoiler-filled post of 2009 awaits! Here, are the events of 2010:

  • Toy Story Playland
    You know this one already: Three brand new attractions set within a highly-themed giant garden to extend Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park. However, with groundwork barely begun, there’s no way this new Walt Disney Imagineering area can open before at least June next year — meaning a surrounding festival of events to begin in April 2010 is necessary…
  • Princess Tiana joins Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
    The newest Disney Princess hasn’t even hit the big screen in The Princess and the Frog yet and already she’s being prepared to join the Disneyland Park parade. Not on a new float, unfortunately, but just stepping up onto the final Dreams of Romance: Finale float with Prince Naveen, giving this unit an overwhelming cast of five Princes and Princesses.
  • ‘Enhanced’ Monsters, Inc. meet ‘n’ greet
    A little patch of Monsters, Inc. has been in the Studios since 2006, but for some reason it’s now being included in next year’s new events. The leaked details here say it’ll be “enhanced”, but there isn’t any further information yet.
  • Ratatouille joins Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
    The Studios’ new evening finale will definitely continue into 2010, with the advertised novelty being a brand new car themed to Ratatouille, featuring Rémy and Emile. We can reveal it’ll be the old Star Wars car to undergo this transformation.
  • Minnie’s Party Train becomes a New Generation Express
    Yes, the old Casey Jr. float will be given its fourth colour scheme and feature mostly — if not entirely — Pixar characters next year.
  • It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends reworked
    We confirmed this just yesterday — this year’s Central Plaza show will be pretty much staying, though is to be reworked to a single-performance finale to the day, and — just a guess — given some more modern characters to join Mickey.
  • NO Castle decorations whatsoever!
    That’s an event in itself, right?!

And finally… in 2007 we had the red carpet, in 2008 the wrapping paper and in 2009 the very successful balloons motif. Next year, it’s all-change again on the advertising ideas front — and the new theme? Taken straight from the most imposing attraction of Toy Story Playland, we’ll be seeing… parachutes! No, seriously.

The New Generation begins here… your thoughts?

Details broken by mclarkson, magicforum.

Thursday, 6th August 2009

Starbucks Coffee added to official photo library

With its huge, framed windows and earthy, warehouse feel, the mermaid-topped coffeehouse has become a beacon for what could be a “new” Disney Village.


Sure, with the long-delayed planters and trees finally spread throughout the entertainment centre since Spring 2008, it’s been looking very, very different for over a year already.

But this is the first actual step in putting some of that feeling into the buildings themselves, the first major addition to the Village since those trees set it on a new path last year. It might have taken a slightly controversial icon of globalisation to achieve it, but the result is incredibly good for the place.


It was all designed jointly by Starbucks and the former Disney Construction Company (DCC, who were behind Val d’Europe), which is now part of DLP-I — the Paris branch of Imagineering, in charge of smaller projects, and especially non-park work (thanks Kristof, magicforum). Between the many Disney-owned and several tired-looking venues in the Village, a Starbucks as swanky as this really gives the street the feel of a “happening” place.

Even better, it’s genuinely eco-friendly, too. Starbucks gushed about the new store on their blog back in June, and included two previously unseen pieces of concept art:

Starbucks at Disney Village Paris

Have you heard the buzz about the new Starbucks store in France?  On June 20th, we opened a new store in the Disney Village Paris that is truly in a class of its own. It is the first international store to be built using our new design concept that connects our stores to our coffee heritage.  This store is also the 50th Starbucks store in France and marks the 5th anniversary of this important market.

So, what’s so special about this new store?  Inspired by artists’ studio environments and modern design in Europe in the 1930’s, this store is not only beautiful but also includes local materials and green design to enhance the customer experience.  This new store design is part of our effort to have all of our new company-operated stores worldwide certified by the end of 2010 under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. This is a key component contributing to the Starbucks ™ Shared Planet ™ goals in environmental stewardship.

The LEED ® Green Building Rating System evaluates a building on various criteria including energy performance, indoor environmental quality, community connectivity and regional materials.  Accordingly, the innovative design of this store includes the following features:

  • Adjustable, low-energy lighting system
  • Mixed-mode HVAC system (mechanical and natural ventilation) saves energy  and makes use of existing building tower feature
  • Large, operable windows provide natural ventilation, ample daylight and fresh indoor air quality
  • Water efficient fixtures in restrooms and bar areas
  • Low emitting materials reduce off-gassing and allow the aroma of our coffee to be the star
  • Salvaged and recycled construction materials & furniture (including reuse of local French wine barrels and authentic champagne riddling racks)
  • Recycling available for customers and store partners
  • Measurement and verification plan to monitor energy and water savings over the life of the store

Image Image

The new location was officially opened on 20th June 2009 by Euro Disney CEO Philippe Gas and Starbucks Coffee CEO himself, Howard Schultz:


You can find a whole fact sheet about the store here, which reveals, for example, that certain wood is from used barrels reclaimed from the French wine industry, the exterior wooden cladding is made with reclaimed Champagne racks from France, the countertop uses a material containing recycled mobile phone parts, and so on.

Image Image

Compare the design of the new Starbucks Coffee to the corner of The Steakhouse just to its left, and the remnants of rethink after rethink are all too clear. The minimalist Frank Gehry architecture of 1992 meets the new colours of 2005, meets the balloons of 2006, meets the red horseshoe border of 2007, and so on.

Hopefully this modern and clear vision set out by the Starbucks won’t just be applied to any other new buildings but to the older buildings, too. That said, it’s not necessarily the design style of Starbucks’ exterior that most of us would like to see transplanted to the other locations like The Steakhouse, Hurricanes and World of Toys


Since the post-1992 additions of Planet Hollywood and King Ludwig’s Castle, for example, there couldn’t (and probably shouldn’t?) be a consistent, shopping mall-type design through this street.

But at the same time, should every location be as loud as this Starbucks or King Ludwig’s? No, smaller stores like Hollywood Pictures should probably have a more standard exterior, with only the larger, more special locations “jutting out” with more outlandish architecture, like the style used at California’s Downtown Disney. The only problem is that those forgotten stores currently have near-enough cardboard cut-outs for their signage, cheaper than those you see in your local town. So, you can guess what it all boils down to in the end — money. Something which Starbucks could pour a lot of into their project.


However, if or when this long, long looong-awaited World of Disney mega-store finally opens in front of the Gaumont Cinema, the Village’s existing Disney Store will likely be redundant. It might even clear out the need for the Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys stores further up, since the former is very similar to those in the Studios and the latter rather dated.

In that respect, you could argue it’s barely worth spending too much money on those old locations — just enough to keep them ticking over until they’re consigned to Yester-Disney Village. But, with the World of Disney forever on hold, that might not be any time soon.


Realistically, Starbucks only adds to the jumble of Disney Village — but it does it with such style and thought that it’s really something to celebrate for the place. Here, at least, the original 1992 vision has finally been successfully updated for the 21st Century.

Perhaps if the entire area were being built today it’d all be like this — a real mixture of materials and textures, trees and planters from the start — the first environmentally-aware entertainment centre? As it happens, we’ve only the mermaid to cling onto… for now.

Pictures © Disney/Starbucks.

Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Minnie’s Party Train makes first (blushing?) appearance

Two years ago, when this old Dumbo parade float, originally created for The Wonderful World of Disney Parade in 1998, was converted into Disney Characters’ Express for the 15th Anniversary, it was perhaps the hit of the season. In one event, it brought frequent life to Main Street, U.S.A. and fulfilled many guests’ wishes for more — and more easily accessible — character meet ‘n’ greets.

Here’s how it looked on one of its first arrivals, back on 2nd April 2007…

Disney Characters' Express Disney Characters' Express

And yesterday, Saturday 21st March, guests were given their very first look at the newly-redecorated engine and carriages, as a certain mouse climbed on-board Minnie’s Party Train for a special trial run, captured in these photos by julien59 on Disney Central Plaza forum

Minnie's Party Train

On the whole, any blue of the old Disney Characters’ Express has simply been replaced with red polka dots for this new overlay, though there are a few exceptions — the roofs inside the carriages for example, previously white, are now red polka dots, too.

Minnie's Party Train

The concept art and latest marketing visual were ultimately fairly accurate, with the concept art’s colourful streamers at least making it to final design here, even if they didn’t for the lampposts of Main Street. The blue flags atop the old train are replaced by those famous Minnie Mouse bows.

Minnie's Party Train

However, the Mickey Mouse shapes on the top of each carriage don’t carry the logo of either the celebration or the new Party Train as proposed, given (arguably nicer) polka dot backgrounds instead.

Minnie's Party Train

And of course, as the introduction described, the redecorated train certainly looks a little more blushing than its predecessor. Though all previous concepts and images showed the face remaining white with the eyes given red rather than blue outlines, the final design has kept the blue outlines — with the red instead applied to the entire face!

Fans of the previous event need not be too worried by Minnie’s commandeering, however, since the ridiculously-popular soundtrack song Tous en Train has remained — now with frequent interruptions from the new hostess.

Suddenly, the more regal, minimal Disney Characters’ Express seems very dour indeed compared to this colourful new design. Though we do hope his nasty illness clears up, before the grand premiere on 4th April…

Photos, videos source as credited.

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