Yeah sure, John. During his European publicity tour for Cars 2, which included hosting a special showing of the film for fans in Paris, John Lasseter also dropped into Disneyland Park on Wednesday. Stopping for this photo at around 2pm with the 2011-12 Disneyland Paris Ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero, Pixar’s creative chief had the pleasure of seeing Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant nearing the end of its lengthy restoration, complete with newly-returned golden spires.
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!
Unfortunately not. As DLP.info reported on Wednesday, 23rd December, members of the cfdt, CFTC and UNSA unions began striking at 7.00am — on one of the busiest days of the year for the resort — citing the lack of dialogue from the resort following their opposition to the apparent “zero Euro” wage increase for 2010 and other issues.
So what did they do, simply refuse to show up for work? Take their placards and flags round to the management offices, of the people who actually make these decisions? Of course not. They didn’t even, in the grand Disneyland Paris tradition, set up camp on the neutral resort hub, amongst the nuisance street sellers.
In a shocking day of the resort’s history, the striking Cast Members went straight inside the parks — complete with giant banners, flags and signs. It gets worse: Come 2.15pm, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars didn’t go out as announced. Instead, guests who had paid their entrance fee and waited patiently for the show were treated to a storming of the stage by the union members. At 5pm over in Disneyland Park, the parade route didn’t see Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade pleasantly passing by but a noisy mob of striking workers, blocking the parade route.
Reports state that not a single member of the Entertainment, Parades and Characters (EPC) department took part in the strike, but the casts were kept from performing for guests by the workers blocking the route. Managers no doubt also wanted to avoid any kind of stand-off, where the floats might enter the park but be stopped halfway.
But the awful thing is, now that the videos have started appearing on YouTube and other sites, it’s not even the bizarre sight of these striking workers inside the parks that’s most shocking. It’s how plainly heartless and repulsive they are with it. Skip to 3 minutes 20 seconds into this video found by Daniel on magicforum:
Yes, you heard right. When the announcement comes that Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars has had to be cancelled because they’ve taken over Place des Stars (an announcement perhaps never heard before with our hardy, good Cast Members), they cheer.
And all sympathy is lost.
Perhaps these people are forgetting a few things. First, there may well be just as “poorly paid” visitors in the audience, who are now having their expensive trips ruined. Second, Disneyland Paris is still in a very precarious state. Despicable though that proposal of a “zero Euro” pay rise really is, storming the parade routes will only serve to give an even more unprofessional image of the resort to thousands of guests — whether they saw it first-hand, heard about it from a friend or saw it on YouTube. In turn, people will continue to think “Disneyland Paris isn’t ‘proper’ Disney”, that it’s not worth a visit, that it isn’t worth returning. The resort will lose more money and they’ll be even less likely to get a better wage.
Nevertheless, the CFDT union has reported that talks have now reopened with the resort, so we shouldn’t be seeing such a display again. This situation will, one must hope, be particularly embarrassing for relatively new CEO Philippe Gas, not least because his history with Disney is based entirely in human resources — his former job title being Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
What’s the other thing the striking workers didn’t show much regard for? Oh yeah, their colleagues. Those friendly, smiling, helpful — and equally hard-worked — Cast Members who continued on, having to pick up the pieces of disappointed guests, complaint forms and return tickets.
Thankfully, the Entertainment cast of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade did their own bit of storming the park: All the dancers and characters stayed in costume and, once the scene had calmed, arrived on Town Square and Central Plaza at 5.30pm to give guests the best chance they could of a meet ‘n’ greet with that true, professional Disney Magic.
Talk about returning to the real world. The main guest parking saw an interesting turn of events the evening of last Wedneday, 12th August 2009, when a car caught fire and turned into a quite spectacular blaze.
Though we certainly wouldn’t recommend standing close to and filming a car as it burns, the captured event does give us a (thankfully) rare glimpse at the resort’s fire service, who swooped in and swiftly extinguished the blaze like magic…
Short circuit is the most common guess, but still, we can’t rule out guests getting bored of the same stunts at Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular for the last seven years and trying to stage their own show in the parking lot… or can we?
First they said it would be gone by the Summer, then demolished over the Winter… now, it looks set to stand firm until at least 2010. After an ambiguous early Christmas press release, casting calls on French website www.paris-casting.com have finally confirmed that Mickey’s Winter Wonderlandwill be back for this year’s festive season!
Yes, whilst we’re enjoying the Summer sunshine, the Entertainment department in Paris is already well advanced with their plans for this year’s Halloween and now just beginning on Christmas. The show will begin casting from 22nd August to find performers for its run from 7th November 2009 right through, as usual, to early March 2010.
Here’s the casting announcement, for the male and female hosts of the show:
Jusqu’au 22 août audition comédienne/comédien pour
le spectacle “Mickey et la Magie de l’Hiver”
par Disneyland® Paris
Dans le cadre du spectacle “Mickey et la Magie de l’Hiver”, Disneyland® Paris organise de nouvelles auditions.
Afin de tenir les rôles de Maîtres de Cérémonie, nous recherchons des comédiens/comédiennes sachant impérativement patiner sur glace :
– ayant de bonnes bases de danse.
– bilingues anglais/français.
Contrats CDD (statut intermittent) à temps partiel.
Pour la période de : début octobre 2009 à début mars 2010. Cachet de 127 Euros brut/jour pour les répétitions.
Cachet de 159 Euros brut/jour pour les spectacles.
Rumours have persisted for over a year that the theatre at the back of Frontierland would meet the bulldozers sooner or later, likely hinting at a redevelopment of the area for something like… ooh, Splash Mountain, of course. All this, strangely, despite the fact that plans exist showing that it could sit perfectly well alongside a new version of that popular water ride, with only the Frontierland Depot railroad station moving further up the line.
Focus has been shifting constantly between possible candidates for a “20th Anniversary” attraction, and though Splash Mountain has been heavily rumoured (as it has been generally for over a decade), it’s still certainly at the upper end of the cost scale. With word coming that a different proposal has apparently been greenlit for 2012, should the Chaparral really be too worried just yet?
As for Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, the show will return just as it has for the past 11 years. The only rumours here, via magicforum, are speculating a replacement of the real ice rink in the stage with a synthetic plastic substitute. Perhaps a more eco-friendly Winter Wonderland this year, then.
Arriving on the new homepage, you’re confronted not by a flash animation filling the screen but primarily by just three large, simple boxes — Support, Operations & Maintenance and Entertainment — which, curiously, change position between the French and English versions.
The first few sections introduce the resort as a whole, including several new videos — both flashy B-roll footage of the resort and useful interviews with actual Cast, such as here 2009 Resort Ambassador Prisca interviewing Vice President of Human Resources Daniel Dreux, or here a look at the lives of the Big Thunder Mountain cast.
Once you get into the key sections for the employment categories, such as Entertainment, they’re each colour-coded and nicely customised, with even more videos, blogs and news updates specific to each department. Here, for example, you see the latest auditions for character look-a-likes and other roles.
Operations & Maintenance offers another look behind Big Thunder Mountain in its key video, but check out the second page, too, for a smart commercial showing Cast Members remembering the “first time” they did things ranging from booking someone’s trip or preparing Buffalo Bill’s horse!
Surprisingly, it’s the Support pages you might want to check out though.
Because, there’s something in the first video — namely when we’re watching one of the Architecture & Urban Planning cast members — that we’re not entirely sure they wanted us all to see so clearly. Or maybe they did…
That’d be the current future development plan of the entire resort, as it currently stands. Now, you may well have seen one of these plans before, but this is their current plan, and it seems to reveal a few new specific details…
Note, for example, the 5th and 6th hotel at Val de France, the huge space reserved for a dedicated Convention Centre, the masses of land awaiting new Disney Hotels either side of the main parking lot access road and the brand new patch next to Val d’Europe also ready for hotels (in the very, very far future).
Happily, there’s (slightly realigned) space still ready and waiting for a 3rd park, but the most interesting and probably most relevant aspect here is Walt Disney Studios Park — now extended into a huge rectangle, more than double its current size, extending off to the West. As you’d enter this fully built-out park, it’d actually therefore be more of a stretched diamond shape. It’s finally a specific expansion footprint, not the general shaded area we’ve seen in the past.
But, leaving those dreams of the future behind… the new casting website. Clean, easy to navigate, flash animations only where they’re necessary and full of information in a design that makes you want to click another link.
We’re left wondering… why can’t the resort’s actual website be more like this?
The news of Karl Holz’ departure from the Paris resort has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time, and now it is confirmed. The popular Chairman and CEO, who successfully implemented several major new attractions, new advertising, refurbishments across the resort and the spectacular 15th Anniversary celebration will be leaving Disneyland Resort Paris on 1st September.
His successor, Philippe Gas, has a strong background in Human Resources for Disney Parks and a 17-year history with the mouse, more than half of which was spent in Paris.
Here is the press release in full:
EURO DISNEY S.C.A.
PHILIPPE GAS TO ASSUME TOP DUTIES AT EURO DISNEY
Marne-la-Vallée, April 11, 2008 … Euro Disney S.C.A. today announced the nomination of Philippe Gas to the position of Président of Euro Disney S.A.S., the management company of Euro Disney S.C.A. and Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., the operator of Disneyland® Resort Paris. Philippe will take over the responsibilities of Karl Holz who has been appointed President, New Vacation Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
James A. Rasulo, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: ‘ Philippe’s 17 years of Disney experience, more than half of which was spent at Disneyland Resort Paris, along with his expertise in human resources ideally prepares him to lead Euro Disney’s team of 12,300 cast members. Together with the strong international management team, Philippe is committed to the Company’s long-term strategy and to its continued growth as Europe’s number 1 tourist destination’.
Philippe’s appointment will be effective on September 1, 2008. He will transition into this new role over the summer, working closely with Karl to ensure continued commitment to the Company’s long term strategic priorities : driving results towards profitability ; providing a high-quality guest experience ; and developing our cast members.
Philippe Gas, 44 and a 17-year Disney veteran, has extensive experience with both Euro Disney and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide. After having completed his master of law from the University of Paris Assas, he joined the Disney organization in 1991 as Finance Controller and was a member of the opening team at Disneyland Resort Paris. Over the next six years, he held a variety of positions at the Resort. In 1997, he was promoted to Director, Corporate Compensation and moved to The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California. In 2000, he served as Regional Vice President, Human Resources, The Walt Disney Company Asia-Pacific, overseeing the HR strategy in 13 countries in Asia … first based in Tokyo and then in Hong Kong.
In 2004, he returned to Disneyland Resort Paris as Senior Vice President, Human Resources, where he was responsible for all HR Operations for its more than 12,300 cast members. In 2005 he was appointed Senior Vice President, International Human Resources, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and in 2006, he was promoted to his current position as Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide. In this role, he is responsible for the Human Resources strategy and services for nearly 100,000 Cast Members.
Philippe said : ‘ I am pleased to return to Disneyland Resort Paris, where I started my Disney career to build on the solid foundation which Karl and the leadership team have achieved. I look forward to working with the cast to continue delivering high-quality Disney experience for all of our guests’.
Karl Holz joined the group in 2004 as Chief Operating Officer, following roles as Senior Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World and subsequently president of the entire Disney Cruise Line. Although unnoticed at the time, his move to operations at Disneyland Resort Paris was clearly a strategic one on the group’s behalf, with Holz swiftly moving to chairman duties as soon as brief former CEO André Lacroix had finalised the group’s financial restructuring.
His move to new opportunities within The Walt Disney Company makes clear the very positive current position of Disneyland Resort Paris — with record visitor numbers last year and increasing profits, it seems Holz is now better placed as president of an area still needing help — New Vacation Operations, which we understand to include their ‘Adventures by Disney’ travel programme.
Moving back to Disneyland Resort Paris and assuming top duties at Euro Disney SAS, Philippe Gas brings with him an undeniably strong background in Human Resources and experience with Disney Cast Members. After seeing out the 15th Anniversary, Philippe faces the heavy challenge of producing a successful follow-up and retaining the record figures brought in by those recent investments.
Sent out across Europe last week were some snazzy blue invitations for exclusive Annual Passport Dream previews at the new Walt Disney Studios Park attraction, allowing some of the resort’s biggest fans a chance to join in and interact with an animated Stitch with little queue on the weekends before he officially goes live.
Featuring Stitch ripping aside some of the resort’s new trademark wrapping paper, decorated with Hawaiian flowers, the invitations announce “You are invited for a chaotic (Chaos-Stitch) live encounter”, with the attraction’s logo and more details on the reverse. This is the third time in the space of one year such an invitation has been sent out.
The scheduled times are:
Saturday 8th March — 13:45 to 18:45
Sunday 9th March — 13:45 to 18:45
Saturday 15th March — 13:45 to 18:45 Sunday 16th March — 13:45 to 18:45
Holders of the ‘Dream’ Passeport Annuel need only show up at the attraction with their pass to gain entry. One friend is allowed to join you, provided they’ve got a valid ticket to enter the park.
So, what can you expect from ‘Stitch Live’? Let’s a take a look at the some of the first reviews already appearing online from Cast Members who have attended the first unofficial previews — “unofficial” because their full previews are not due to begin until next week. These are taken mostly from Disney Central Plaza forum, translated from French.
Fabricologie takes us through the new attraction:
“Little has changed with the decoration compared with previous visits to the Disney Channel studios. Past the double-back queue, you find yourself in the first waiting area behind the walls of blue glass bricks. Then, the doors open and you enter the pre-show room. After a short speech from your host, you see a promotional video for Disney Channel (Hannah Montana, High School Musical 2, Kim Possible). Around 10 minutes of waiting like that before entering the studio itself.
“Children are invited to sit themselves on the floor at the front, along a carpet with a pattern of ocean waves, whilst the adults sit on metal benches in a circular arc. Stitch appears on the screen, and children watch it as if watching a DVD until the moment when he picks on someone sitting in the room and begins to interact with them — it’s very funny! Everyone can take. The sense of direction in the actor is essential in this attraction.
“It is a little too short to allow everyone to take part, of course, but there is the screen to watch. I spoke to Stitch myself and can see that it’s great fun.”
Kinoo highlights that these specific previews are designed to help the show “settle in” and improve, as he says:
“Obviously, you shouldn’t expect the same kind of effect as [the opening of] Tower of Terror. Stitch is good enough for me, to be honest I expected worse. The 3D of Stitch is in “cell shading” which remains faithful to the original 2D character. The show changes a lot depending on the actor who is “working with Stitch”, English definitely being better for the moment.
“The general story of the show is rather basic and interactivity with Stitch could be improved and extended, but in it’s current state I think children will just go crazy for it. I can’t wait to see the reaction of their parents.”
“I was also there with the first of the first and, well, it’s great. The English version I saw was very easy to understand! The games of light are fun and besides — for the premiere, it was quickly explained that an Imagineer who worked on the attraction was present and looking forward to seeing our reactions. Well… mission complete! Despite some childish jokes, it remained very engaging. In short, everyone was happy!
“Except… the pre-show, which spoke about everything on Disney Channel was a little grating/dull. OK, so we’re in their studio, but it could have been done a bit differently. Finally, the animation lacked a little fluidity from time to time. They noted the concern at the end and said it will hopefully be improved.”
“The initial reactions are excellent for the French shows. For the English, which attracts the English-speaking as well as Dutch, Spanish, etc. it is more difficult because not everyone will entirely understand Stitch when he speaks. That was the risk…
“Personally, I really like the show. I think I prefer Turtle Talk with Crush, but of course I will wait and see in the long run (however, I would not wait more than 20 minutes for it). The animation is really beautiful and the voice very well done, but there are some long periods without interaction where it becomes a little like a DVD and risks becoming boring in the future. But, I’ll wait and see — with plenty of guests, and when the actors are comfortable in their roles, it should become far more engaging!
“It’s nevertheless a wonderful technical achievement which finally makes it possible for children to interact in a realistic way — not with a giant plush toy, but the real character from the animated film.
Less than 11 months after the closing of ‘Television Production Tour at Walt Disney Television Studios’, Stitch Live will “go live” in late March and be officially launched alongside The Twilight Zone Tower in early April 2008, marking the start of the resort’s “15th Anniversary Continues” year. The opening schedule was made available to cast members last Wednesday and shared by member Devil on Disney Central Plaza forum.
‘Stitch Encounter’ at Hong Kong Disneyland
So, for the cast members presenting the show and providing the voice and movements of Stitch…
From mid-January to March 2008 (6 weeks) — training and rehearsals for performers.
In March 2008 (or end February) — 2 days of training for regular operational cast members
Then, where it gets very exciting for us…
SOFT OPENING (2 weeks) — 8th to 21st March 2008
OFFICIAL OPENING — 22nd March 2008
Opened, on-air and entertaining guests, the attraction will be officially inaugurated with the press and VIPs during the launch events of Tower of Terror, currently scheduled for the weekend of 4th to 6th April 2008. Of course, all these dates are only as currently scheduled and may be subject to change between now and March. End disclaimer.
‘Stitch Encounter’ at Hong Kong Disneyland
If a bunch of opening schedule dates “live” from Paris aren’t exciting enough, take a look at this link originally posted by moderator Scrooge of Disney Magic Interactive forum, providing an extended look inside the Hong Kong version of the attraction and the magic of this truly unique show.
In just over 4 months’ time, Stitch’s exclusive debut of “living character” in Europe will no doubt be a sensation with audiences.
Beginning 22nd October, the Tower opened its doors to the very first Hollywood Tower Hotel “guests” in Paris — the cast members of Disneyland Resort Paris. This marks the start of Disney’s regular 60-day attraction testing period, leading right up to the 22nd December public opening, and the start of what will no doubt be an influx of comments, reviews and descriptions of the ride experience in Paris.
Photos or videos are strictly forbidden, but two insightful reviews have already been posted on our partner website magicforum. The biggest news so far is that of the attraction’s languages, finally putting an end to years of discussion and speculation about how the Imagineers — and the resort — might choose to present the hotel’s engrossing story to an international audience.
No separate queues, no one-language-per-library — Tower of Terror’s two library pre-show rooms feature videos dubbed into French with old-fashioned English subtitles. On the ride itself, Rod Serling’s famous lines are spoken entirely in French. Oui, cette tour est vraiment français! However, the option for an English narration will, apparently, be included for bellhops operating the elevators, allowing them the choice of which version to play for each elevator departing for The Twilight Zone.
The Imagineers have therefore found a suitable “voice double” for the original French dubbing of Rod Serling when The Twilight Zone series was broadcast in France. It took years for Mark Silverman to be named as the English voice of Rod Serling, so there’s no telling how long until the French artist is unmasked!
First review, by Poppy the Monkey…
I did Tower of Terror 7 times yesterday during the cast member previews. It is the best ride I’ve ever been on at DLRP, not done the american versions, but the theming, drop, and ride in general is incredible.
The library is in French with English subtitles, and the elevator itself is also all in French.
Great too that there was no queue all day, it was amazing.
All the ride itself is finished, just the shop and gardens and outside queue needs to be completed.
I’m still on a high!!
Second review, by experiment627…
Now, about two weeks ago, I had the wonderful chance to test ride “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” at the Walt Disney Studios – and I wanted to share a few thoughts that I have about this attraction… (Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free.)
The work inside was about 99,5% done, while they still added the finishing touches to the entrance area of the “Hollywood Tower Hotel”.
The attention to detail of the whole experience is amazing: the hotel lobby looks beautifully (but then again, they still hadn’t added the dust to the props), the artifacts inside of the two libraries are amazing pieces and there’s enough eye-candy in these rooms alone. Same goes for the boiler-room, which has kind of a hellish-quality to it due to being two stories high. (Also, the detail in here is amazing…) The effects inside of the elevator shafts were all running and pretty impressive. And then: the view! Just breathtaking… One can see pretty much all of the Studios as well as everything at Disneyland from Big Thunder Mountain to Space Mountain.
I’d call the drop-program “Disney-thrilling”, as in: true thrill-seekers might be a bit disappointed, but just as thrilling as, lets say, “Rock’n’Rollercoaster”. But then again, it’s not about the thrill but about the whole experience…
And in this case… well, let’s put it this way: the “Tower of Terror” managed to transport me into another world. To a Hollywood that never was. To a place, that just existed in my imagination… It’s the very first attraction at the Walt Disney Studios to do so. And in my book, it reminds me of the very best Disney-storytelling (and story-setting) like DLP’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Phantom Manor”.
All in all – even if one should prefer the versions of the ride in California, Florida or Japan -, I view “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” as the best, most “Disney”-ride ever since the opening of Disneyland Parks 15 years ago…
I hope I wet your appetite.
Also revealed — or so we believed — during the Cast Member previews were the costumes for our Parisian Tower of Terror bellhops, identical to those of the cinema ushers at CinéMagique.
Luckily, several sources have since confirmed that the famous deep-red bellhop costumes with ‘HTH’ embroidery are in production for the attraction but simply not ready to be worn at this time.
Now, back to learning French for our journey into la Quatrième Dimension…
Some items copyright Disney. This website is independent of and not supported, endorsed by or connected to Disneyland® Paris, The Walt Disney Company, Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., Disney Enterprises, Inc. or their subsidiaries and affiliates.