Wednesday, 28th January 2009

Candleabration’s final balcony swan song

Careful how you read that — it really will be a sad day when the 15th officially comes to a close and Candleabration is no more, but wow — this show has been through quite a few changes, hasn’t it?

Now, you could argue that’s not surprising when a show runs for almost two entire years in the most prominent spot in the park, but with the candle illumination ceremony now notching up its seventh tweaked instalment (can you list them all?), that’s unheard-of for the park.

This time, however, there’s a very good reason indeed. Simply put, the stage is gone:

Central Plaza Stage works

Yes, to prepare for the new Mickey’s Magical Party show, ‘It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends’, the entire hub of Central Plaza has been barricaded by green construction fences and, behind those, the old stage already completely removed. You can read more here.

So what about Candleabration? This should be its’ big finale, its’ sparkling Disneyland swan song! Don’t worry, the show directors have certainly pulled quite a special trick out the bag for these next few months… the balcony of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant!

Final Candleabration Final Candleabration
Final Candleabration Final Candleabration
Final Candleabration Final Candleabration
Images from gochaton‘s YouTube video, below.

In a true “first”, both Mickey and Minnie now present the show direct from the front balcony of the Castle every night. In addition, the show has been tinkered with — quite literally — to add an extra “wow” to its finale: As the candles finish lighting, Mickey calls out to Tinker Bell, who then transforms the Château into its frosty Ice Palace overlay, something only ever seen during the park’s Christmas Season before now.

Then, as the 15th Anniversary theme “Just Like We Dreamed It” plays out, a whole mob of various Disney Characters burst out from the Castle’s gate and run down to meet and dance with the gathered crowds.

The entertainment directors’ plans to try to get Mickey and Minnie onto the balcony was first revealed here on DLRP Today in our exclusive interview with Christophe Leclercq about The Enchanted Fireworks last Summer. Though the couple couldn’t make it for Summer, obviously the people “behind the magic” have tried and tried again to make it happen: You might notice a small safety rail now appears along the balcony, each night.

Something which may surprise is the sense of scale the two characters give to the park’s icon when they’re stood right on it. With the golden 15th statues appearing like miniature toys atop its spires, seeing these real, human-sized characters up there makes clear just how big and grand Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant truly is.

Enjoy the full show, in video (begins around 1 minute 50 seconds in):

Two years and over 650 performances on, seeing Mickey and Minnie atop the Castle itself makes for a must-see farewell to this 15th Anniversary classic indeed.

— Video with thanks to gochaton on YouTube.

Wednesday, 28th January 2009

It’s party time… on a brand new stage!

The main show of the celebration is titled It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, or, in French, ‘Place à la Fête avec Mickey et ses Amis’. Though performed on Central Plaza, with Le Château as a backdrop, this won’t be a simple reworking of Candleabration

Though, as the new key visual below shows, ‘It’s Party Time’ will naturally be led by Mickey Mouse, the official press release for the event (so far released only in French) confirms that he has been joined by Goofy to help prepare a special party celebration.

It's Party Time... with Mickey and Friends

That celebration will, unlike Candleabration, take place several times each day and almost certainly mostly during daylight hours. No reliance on an illumination ceremony at 7pm in the early Summer this year.

Along with Mickey’s friends, the characters of The Lion King, Aladdin and The Jungle Book will be the stars of the show, bringing an exotic flair — and naturally, their famous soundtracks — to the stage.

We won’t just be hearing “Hakuna Matata” or “Bare Necessities” though — the new press release also confirms that a brand new song has been created for Mickey’s Magical Party. Entitled “Mickey’s Magical Party Time!” and produced by Scott Erickson, who worked on a variety of direct-to-video releases such as Mickey-Donald-Goofy in The Three Musketeers, Bambi II and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, those who’ve managed a preview describe it as a very modern, pop sound and in a similar vein to the Disney Characters’ Express theme or Hannah Montana.

The show itself will play heavily on guest interaction, with visitors encouraged to dance and sing along. Not a lot more is known about the event than that, but, as the visual above clearly shows — and the press releases are keen to advertise — it will all be happening on a brand new Central Plaza Stage.

In fact, no time has been wasted at all in removing the old tall, golden and circular 15th Anniversary stage from its position, despite Candleabration still running until 7th March:

Old Central Plaza Stage removed
Photo: Alex, Disney Central Plaza forum.

The old stage was a heightened and redecorated version of the one first introduced for Christmas 2003 (when it featured a pile of books and a writing quill), simply circular in shape and therefore quite distant if you weren’t stood within one of the four entrances to the plaza.

The new stage, as you can see in the key visual, will actually extend outwards with four special “satellite” stages, bringing to the action closer to a greater number of guests and hopefully reducing the — how can we describe it — “front-centric” performance style of Candleabration that made it pointless to stand anywhere other than directly in front of the stage.

Leading down from the stage, you’ll see another new feature — though one that has already been up for much debate: the stairs. This addition would help to add a new depth to the shows presented here, as well as making the giant stage less of a “wall” as you walk down Main Street. The debate has been whether  or not these will appear in the final build, and the outlook isn’t good.

The placement of the satellite stages might also suggest Central Plaza will entirely lose all its trees. If these “arms” extend right into the four small grass-covered hills, rather than onto the existing paved area, the trees would have to go, wouldn’t they?

Any fans despising this extended take-over of Central Plaza — an area that is meant to be open and relaxing, the parkland of nearby, bustling Main Street — then thank your Blue Fairy that the department’s full rumoured plans for the park hub didn’t come to life, cancelled due to worries about underground drainage and utilities.

Markings on Central Plaza
Markings for a new show/parade viewing platform?
Photo: Disneytheque.com.

These plans would — if the rumours are to be believed — have involved brand new seating areas taking over the grass berm to the left of the Castle, next to the Adventureland entrance, to allow people a better view of the parades and shows in this area…

Rather like the kids in Toy Story who bring bedsheets and a lunchbox to the party, perhaps?

— Find a new preview guide all about It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends here.

Key visual © Disney.

Thursday, 4th December 2008

Buy magical music on CD, beyond the parks

But hold on, “choo choo” fans, this isn’t the long-awaited release of the Disney Characters’ Express theme song ‘Tous En Train’. If you’re a fan of Candleabration, however, you’re in luck…

Yes, we’re pleased to announce the unexpected release of a brand new souvenir CD, ‘The Best of Disneyland Resort Paris – Songs and music celebrating 15 years of magic’, released in the UK by Walt Disney Records and EMI Gold at the end of September.

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It’s a full 24 tracks and 75 minutes of magical music from the resort, like a condensed version of the actual 2-disc 15th Anniversary Double Album available in the parks themselves. The music is old and new, from C’est Magique to Just Like We Dreamed It, with several tracks from Disneyland Park attraction soundtracks such as Phantom Manor and “it’s a small world”.

The tracklisting in full:

1. Steamboat Willie
2. Cinderella
3. La Petite Sir ne/The Little Mermaid
4. Mickey Globe Trotter
5. Mary Lou
6. Europe
7. Phantom Manor Medley
8. Yellow Rose Of Texas
9. Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)
10. Pays Du Merveilleux
11. It’s A Small World
12. Medley
13. Baroque Hoedown
14. Euro Disneyland Feel The Magic
15. Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm)
16. All Around The World
17. Just Like We Dreamed It
18. La-Di-Da Carnaval
19. Halloween-Halloween
20. Proud Lights
21. Fantasia In The Sky
22. Les Feux De La Fée Clochette
23. Wishes
24. Fantillusion

Once again, if you already own even just a few Disneyland Resort Paris CDs, you’ll have heard it all before. Except for one track, which has never been released before… ‘Proud Lights’, the brilliant drum and trumpet-filled theme from Candleabration‘s opening dance number. If you read our Wish List entry last year asking for the 15th Anniversary and other tracks to be released, you’ll know its’ sudden inclusion here is very welcome indeed.

Though the CD is released by EMI and has the mark of Walt Disney Records, which is usually missing from the resort’s own CD releases, this is clearly a product of the regular music maestros at Disneyland Resort Paris. The booklet features a similar design to recent releases, the album was mastered by Michael Obst at Le Studio, Marne-la-Vallée, and finally… the tracklisting on the case is, like the best of the resort’s releases, wrong. (Listing Just Like We Dreamed It as track 24, rather than 17).

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Priced at just £6.99 (RRP £7.99), however, this is one of the best value CDs you can find, and a perfect stocking filler in the run-up to Christmas — available both in the high street and on online stores such as Amazon.co.uk, HMV.com and Play.com. If you missed your chance to own this music in the parks, you’ll no longer have to wait until your next visit …or attempt to communicate with the infamous mail order service.

Now, finally, the magical music of Disneyland Resort Paris has made it beyond the berms.

— The CD is also available on our new Christmas Shop. We’ve made use of a little feature from Amazon to hand-pick hundreds of great Disney gifts from across their website. If you’re stuck for ideas for a Disney fan friend (or even yourself) take a look — some of the wonderful Imagineering books in particular are usually completely lost on their main store.

Monday, 17th November 2008

Sleeping Beauty fireworks launch Christmas 2008!

The launch of seasonal events at Disneyland Resort Paris usually just means a raft of (to our mostly non-French audience) unknown celebrities and a bank of photographers obscuring the publics’ view at the special shows and parades throughout the day.

True, this year’s Christmas launch yesterday inflicted both of those upon regular park guests, but they were also given a very unexpected Winter treat when it came time for the evening’s Enchanted Candleabration finale.

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If you were confused by the special park Programme for 15th November and the switching-round of Fantillusion so that the illuminations ceremony came last, here is our reason why — as the bells chimed and the Castle sparkled in its now-completed array of crystal lights, majestic music in the vein of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty began and fireworks flew up into the air!

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The special launch show on Central Plaza Stage featured performances by live singers, a group of children helping out with preceedings and an encore from Princess Aurora and Prince Philip as their fireworks exploded overhead.

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Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant itself was lit in a classic scheme of pink towers and blue spires, rather than the usual all-purple colours used during Christmas Season.

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Below, Daviddu59 was lucky enough to catch the special one-off fireworks — albeit from behind the impenetrable wall of photographers — and shares the video with us:

Even in the short length of these fireworks, the Castle is almost completely engulfed in smoke due to the cold temperatures — perhaps that’s our reason for the general lack of Winter fireworks on other busy weekends and holidays.

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And, though it’s expected the resort will put on its best show to give the press the best possible impression of the seasonal entertainments, is it honest? Do they know that Enchanted Candleabration doesn’t usually have this firework-finale, or doesn’t it matter, in the name of good publicity for our beloved resort?

— Read our exclusive interview with the creator of this year’s Christmas Season here.

[Pictures © Disney, Video by Daviddu59]

Wednesday, 6th August 2008

End of 15th Anniversary set for 7th March 2009

It began 493 days ago. The 15th Anniversary Celebration of Disneyland Resort Paris has certainly rolled on for longer than we all expected — being extended for another year as it was with ‘The Celebration Continues’ — but, as the final end date has now been announced, it’s a worrying concept.

No more Disney Characters’ Express, no more Candleabration. No more Lumière banners at every turn or ’15s’ on everything in sight. We are now really, truly in the home straight on this epic — and, we have to say, wonderful — celebration.

The date it all ends, as confirmed by the latest Autumn/Winter 2008/09 official brochure: 7th March 2009.

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What will happen in the parks that day? Nothing is announced yet. It’s the days after, those three lonely weeks before the start of a new season in April 2009, that will be the most interesting.

Disneyland Resort Paris certainly feels to have settled nicely into its 15th Anniversary overlay, and so removing every tiny mention of the celebration — from merchandise through to advertising and all those napkins, cups and decorations between — will be a big task.

What won’t be removed? Well, unsurprisingly the expensive and incredibly popular Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade is here to stay. And don’t expect the Casey Jr. train and character meet ‘n’ greets of Disney Characters’ Express to go far. The concept of a main show on Central Plaza is also ready and waiting to be used again.

But, for the 15th Anniversary Celebration as we’ve known and loved it for so long, that we watched grow from those first logos and concepts through to the incredible launch night fireworks, time is running out.

You’ve got just 7 months exactly to “live your dream”, one last time…

[Images © Disney]

Monday, 21st July 2008

Bastille Day ’08 fireworks in pictures and video

Skies were blue, flowers in bloom, attractions running well and crowds relatively light… it was a perfect day to celebrate the host country of our European Disney resort.

Bastille Day 2008 once again saw Disneyland Resort Paris pull out its regular music for a spectacular “feux d’artifice” over Le Château de Belle au Bois Dormant, but, as the show director Christophe Leclercq had promised, things were a little different this year. The resort’s new fireworks partner brought in new designs, new styles and new bursts to light up the sky.

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There were certainly hints of the regular Enchanted Fireworks in there, but also rare sights at Disneyland Resort Paris such as “shape” fireworks — giant red hearts bursting into the sky.

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Before the fireworks began, fans would smile at the fact that even Disney sometimes make a little mistake. As the crowds milled around after Fantillusion, an announcement proclaimed “You will soon have the pleasure of discovering Candleabration followed by The Enchanted Fireworks”. Several minutes later, the announcement was swiftly repeated with the correct “followed by a special 14th July fireworks” line.

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Candleabration itself would also present a little surprise. Whilst the show was still effectively cut-down considerably in line with its other performances this Summer, serving only as a lead-in to the fireworks, this night saw a second new version with an added finale of ‘Just Like We Dreamed It’ (itself abridged) as just Mickey and Minnie danced on-stage.

Candleabration (Bastille Day 2008 Edition)

Luckily, the earlier announcement mix-up did not extend to the fireworks themselves, which went ahead swiftly and without a single fault. Compared to the incredibly muddled recent attempts for New Year’s Eve (using unknown and out-of-place rock songs from the Narnia “inspired by” soundtrack, for example), Bastille Day once again proved to be the resort’s best night for a truly spectacular fireworks display…

Bastille Day Fireworks 2008

You can find more photos of the show at Photos Magiques here.

[Pictures: Photos Magiques; Video: DLRP Today.com/DLRP Magic! Video]

Monday, 21st July 2008

La Bougillumination abrégée

The trumpets begin their fanfare, Mickey Mouse arrives. Then, before you know it, the candles are illuminated and we’re getting the cutesy “oh Mickey, c’est magnifique” line from Minnie. Don’t worry, you haven’t just passed out and missed several minutes of your Disneyland Resort Paris holiday — Candleabration has now been abridged.

Since the start of the 15th Anniversary, the nightly ceremony has begun with a fanfare of trumpets, led into the dancing flags to the theme of “Flying”, then, only after the arrival of Mickey Mouse and his traditional French dance with a hat to Vasile Sirli’s “Proudlights”, would you see the castle illuminated. For a grand finale, all of Disney VIPs join the party and dance along to the theme song ‘Just Like We Dreamed It’, each playing their own instrument.

When The Enchanted Fireworks premiered a couple of weeks ago, however, the show was cut down to its shortest running time yet — just over 2 minutes, and that if we’re generous. Only Mickey and Minnie appear, illuminating the candles together and then going right ahead to personally introduce the fireworks.

However, this change didn’t bring about the expected appearance of Mickey and Minnie on the balcony of Sleeping Beauty Castle itself, as confirmed on DLRP Today.com by the show’s actual director, Christophe Leclercq, several weeks earlier. Instead, they appear on the regular Central Plaza Stage. The reason for the last-minute change is unconfirmed — perhaps it caused operational problems, perhaps the characters simply couldn’t be seen as easily, the scene didn’t work as well.

DLRP Today.com presents a brand new video of the new Candleabration, Summer 2008 Edition:

It seems unsure whether the show will return to its regular form when the fireworks come to a close at the end of August. Several entertainment Cast Members spoke about these changes as a “new version” of Candleabration, suggesting they are permanent revisions and not temporary allowances just for the fireworks. As always, watch this space…

[Pictures/Video: DLRP Today]

Sunday, 6th July 2008

First impressions of The Enchanted Fireworks!

The show begins to the opening strings of True Love’s Kiss, the announcement asking: “Are you dreaming of the beauty, the passion of one true love?” It continues “Reach out… and let yourself be… Enchanted. Reach out, and you will find a very happy end.”

Then, as the music kicks in, you hear “Once upon a time…” and spotlights shine up and down Sleeping Beauty Castle as a rainbow of fireworks fan inwards and outwards from either side. The music shifts straight into the Enchanted Suite we’ve all been expecting, and The Enchanted Fireworks have begun!

Red rockets, white flames, showers of pixie dust, sparkling stars and great, golden cauliflowers that fill the entire sky lie ahead. The slow romantic number So Close, left in the mix despite many fans’ worries about its speed, surprises with a burst of slow, swooping colours that time perfectly with the single piano notes, creating a dreamy, romantic moment… like when you meet that special someone and the whole world seems to run in slow motion.

Brilliant bursts of gold and blue follow, tinted with red rockets, fanning outwards, filling the sky with massive sparks as the “love” blossoms and explodes. As the music reaches its finale with the notes from That’s How You Know, the sky suddenly clears except for the four bright spotlights. Into the climax, single white rockets fire upwards at angles and, to end, a single burst from either side of the Castle, as tall as its highest spire.

But wait… the show hasn’t ended! One of the biggest, most spectacular finales of a regular daily fireworks show at the park suddenly begins, shooting hundreds of white bursts, brilliant sparkling fans and screaming rockets into the sky, just when you thought the Happy Ending had already been reached.

And here it is, the very first video!

Did that false ending fool you too?

Disneytheque.com also has a selection of photos from the show, which make many of the projection and lighting effects much clearer to see:

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Clearly, the new relationship with a fresh fireworks partner has brought a great deal of innovation and excitement to this show when compared with recent displays in the past, presenting a seemingly never-ending line of different firework colours and styles, many never seen at the park before. All that, coupled with simple, effective projections that completely stray away from the basic animations of Wishes (such as Aladdin on a magic carpet) criticised for being too “Microsoft Powerpoint”. The new lighting effects also add a powerful tone, yet softer than the green lasers of that previous show.

As we reported recently following our exclusive interview with the director of the fireworks Christophe Leclercq, the show is actually coupled right onto the regular Candleabration ceremony. One surprise for many at the premiere last night was just how much Candleabration had changed for the Summer season, cutting itself down to just a few minutes to illuminate the candles with no preceding flags or ‘Just Like We Dreamed It’.

In addition, and proving just how much things can change at the last minute at Disneyland Resort Paris, the promised positioning of Mickey and Minnie on the front balcony of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, as confirmed even by the director, failed to happen. The couple instead conducted Candleabration and the introduction to the fireworks from the regular Central Plaza Stage. Whether this was a temporary measure due to technical issues on the first night or the plans have been cut completely remains to be seen.

The fireworks themselves, however, truly live up to their name. The next 56 Summer nights will be just as Enchanted as we hoped.

[Photos: Disneytheque.com (more); Video: Celli0905, YouTube]

Monday, 9th June 2008

Candles joined by streamers for new finale

As Candleabration clocked up its 365th performance and continued into its second year as part of ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!’, the fifteen candles spread across Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant continued to have their flickering, orange LED lights hampered by the setting sun.

The show is usually scheduled as the final piece of entertainment of the day, often exactly at the park’s closing time, but, for much of the year, this closing time just isn’t late enough to let the fifteen birthday candles glow. And so, as Mickey Mouse points up into the sky and toward the Castle, intending to send his magical energies to light up the candles, it appears as if he is merely making wild hand and arm gestures to the “Flying” soundtrack — a slightly uninspiring finale for any guests who don’t realise the problem.

However, since at least April this year, the illumination moment has been improved significantly thanks to a long line of streamers which burst into the sky from every side of the circular Central Plaza Stage. Now, every time Mickey points across to the castle, his hand gestures are joined by a golden streamer erupting from one side of the stage.

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The streamers are rather a fitting addition considering the “presents” theme of ‘The Celebration Continues’, and a welcome addition for the many parents and children who didn’t quite grab one of the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade streamers quickly enough…

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Summer and Christmas have so far been the only times when darkness could be guaranteed for the ceremony, due to the late opening hours and early nightfall respectively. The 15th Anniversary launch night on 31st March 2007 also saw a special edition of the show presented under darkness.

Thursday, 15th November 2007

In Video: Christmas enchantment like nowhere else on Earth

Since the opening year of 1992, Disneyland Resort Paris has celebrated Christmas with bigger and better events each and every year. For the 15th Anniversary, we were promised an “exceptionnoël” season, and, with a Father Christmas Village and Enchanted Candleabration to discover amongst countless old favourites, this is truly the biggest and most spectacular Christmas season the resort has ever seen.

Click below to play the video — and chante, c’est noël!

The video is exclusive to this page and cannot be seen on our usual Dailymotion account, so please do spread around this link to share the sights of the most magical Disney Christmas on Earth!

You can find full guides, histories, photo galleries, fun facts and useful tips for Disney’s Christmas Season 2007/08 in the extensive DLRP Magic! Guidebook chapter for the season.

— Video footage and music © Disney/Euro Disney Associés S.C.A.

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