Thursday, 8th February 2007

Forget the parade, what about the napkins?

“Who celebrates a 15th?” they may cry. But, if there were ever fears this anniversary would be a non event, these can truly be cast aside. Worries that guests won’t know what’s going on, a la the US “Year of a Million Dreams”? Not needed. Every document, every cup, every nametag, every park ticket, every park map, every lamppost… the Anniversary will seep into every single corner of the parks and resort.

To begin, the 15th Anniversary Celebration souvenirs that will cost absolutely nothing! (Well, perhaps in the case of the cup it’ll cost the price of a cup of coffee.) With two months to go until the official launch, the anniversary branding has already popped up on paper drinks cups and napkins at the resort’s restaurants, with candle-holding characters on the cups and a nice two-colour design for the napkins. Yes, you know a Disneyland obsession is bad when you get excited by these.

For Annual Passholders, aside from the 15th Anniversary-edition passes already available for newcomers, stationary and promotion has also adopted the 15th Anniversary colours, design and characters.

Whilst the first souvenirs are already available – albeit in scarce limited edition – in the form of the Anniversary Countdown series of pins. 100 days came in January, followed by 50 Days this month and due to be completed with countdowns 20, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 days before the big day itself.

And if all this wasn’t enough, how about 12,000 walking advertisements for the anniversary? Yes, the Cast Members! Their new 15th Anniversary nametags were presented with much fanfare recently, and many have already swapped their previous 50th Anniversary “Happiest Celebration On Earth” badges for the new design – from 50 years to 15 overnight!

Unfortunately, I’ve received word from a Cast Member in Paris that the badges have been recalled and will soon be replaced again. It seems the “Where dreams come true” tagline used on the nametags is already in use by another company, and so a quick redesign may apparently be required to avoid any unwanted legal action. The ongoing use of the slogan on the Disney Parks website and elsewhere may suggest an agreement has since been made between the two parties, although it should be noted that all mention of “Where dreams come true” has now been totally removed from Paris’ 15th Anniversary logos and copy. Never a dull day at DLRP, eh?

So, now we have 12,000 walking mentions of the 15th Anniversary added to those tickets, maps, decorations, souvenirs and all-important napkins on the ground. But it doesn’t end there – the Anniversary will even take flight, 100 metres into the air above the resort, to be exact! The unmissable PanoraMagique balloon at Disney Village will be joining the celebration with a special overlay adding a new design around its middle, featuring several large “15” emblems joined together by a stylish red fabric (-styled) band.

We were promised a celebration as big as the historic 5th Anniversary – but as time passes and plans build, this is looking as big as – or perhaps even bigger – than the celebration Disneyland waited 50 years for. Luckily for us, we now only have to wait 50 days!

Cup photo by DJinspace on Disney Central Plaza forum, name badge and napkin photos by Photos Magiques.

Wednesday, 10th January 2007

Stitch Encounter: confirmed

Once again, it’s La Rouquine who brings the confirmation, with additional details adding that shows will be presented alternately in both French and English (Spanish is no longer mentioned as earlier). The show will take place in the current Art Attack stage of the “tour”, with the two preceding backstage rooms presenting the background story to the extraterrestrial encounter on the existing plasma screens and through small themeing additions.

The popular Disney Channel CyberSpace post-show of interactive games and CyberSpace Mountain will remain. No opening date has been announced, but the addition is currently scheduled for early 2008 – a perfect family-orientated companion to Tower of Terror, perhaps. The attraction was reported some time ago to have been confirmed already to most Cast Members at Walt Disney Studios Park, but this resort-wide announcement finally gives a bold confirmation. This brings a fourth new attraction to the 15th Anniversary’s already impressive line up.

If you’re new to Stitch Encounter and not sure what it entails, you can find out everything here.

Wednesday, 10th January 2007

Cast Member rendez-vous of dreams

Almost all the information in this article and those to follow was reported by La Rouquine on the French Disney Central Plaza forum, giving the fan community an excellent service with not a moment wasted in reporting the exciting confirmations!

The Cast Member event first confirmed the general anniversary events, such as the character castle decorations to definitely be a bronze/gold colour. The “Bougillumination” (Candle Illumination) ceremony will take place every evening during the celebration (1st April 2007 to 31st March 2008) on a special stage in the middle of Central Plaza, featuring Mickey and the other classic characters. The ceremony show is more and more appearing to be a birthday version of The Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony, with different illuminations and minus the Disney Princesses. It will be accompanied by the song from the parade interaction stops of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, more on that later…

The previously rumoured “Character Train” cavalcade was also confirmed, to parade around Main Street USA at several times early each day using popular characters and the Dumbo Casey Jr float from The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade – reportedly to be repainted gold, silver and blue for the occasion. This event uses a similar idea to the classic Good Morning Main Street mini-parade from many years ago, or perhaps the Cavalcade de Stitch from 2006’s Halloween.

As for the rest of the current and recent parade floats, many of them 15 years old themselves, La Rouquine reports none will be kept except those of Snow White (often converted for other uses) and Cinderella. It remains to be seen, then, what will happen for the Halloween and Christmas parades this year.

Still on the subject of parades, more secrets from Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade have surfaced whilst others have been confirmed. There will be two sections to the music. The first, individual float scores, will be based on themes from the animated films presented, reorchestrated for the parade (by Steve Sidwell – see our report from last week). The second will be a new theme song, written especially for the anniversary events and used during the parade’s interaction stops.

Whilst La Rouquine reports the new song is sung in English by a couple (and reviews it favourably), we can add that its full title is “Just Like We Dreamed It”. The parade will apparently stop on average four times during its course, therefore amounting to a single parade stop for those watching. The stops will allow the Disney characters to interact with the audience.

The idea of scents used during the parade is confirmed once again, with examples being the smell of sweets from the first float (Dream of Imagination, with Mickey and friends) and the smell of flowers from the Princesses’ garden float, Dream of Romance. The specialised artists replacing the dancers have been discussed for quite some time, and now several interesting examples are given. Jugglers with (false) fire for the villains’ Dream of Power float, bungee rope acrobats for Pinocchio’s Dream of Laughter and Fun, stilt walkers with puppets also for Pinocchio and finally flag throwers for Peter Pan’s Dream of Fantasy.

Cast Members will wear the badge of the anniversary with special commemorative name tags featuring the 15th Anniversary logo and generic “Where dreams come true” slogan of Disney Parks, as seen below:


But how to get the word out outside of the resort? They’ve got that covered too – will soon be host to a dedicated website for all the anniversary events! It was announced at the rendez-vous that the design is already completed, but the website won’t be launched just yet. (Last year, the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast website launched in early February, with the attraction also opening early April.)

Member tom_swiss on the same forum adds information about other elements of the advertising campaign on display at the event, which runs several days to allow all Cast Members to visit, in particular the decoration of several RER or Métro stations. The stations will be entirely dedicated to the anniversary, with stars and a red carpet on the floor and Disney characters on the walls in a very impressive advertising campaign.

One of the key desires with the 15th Anniversary campaign is to attract more families with younger children, since research has shown this to be an underdeveloped area of custom as parents generally wait until their children are older before visiting. And so, in addition to improved advertising, the popular “Kids Free” campaign from the early months of each year will be transferred to the entire celebration, but only for children under 7. La Rouquine reports that if it the idea is successful it could be extended beyond the anniversary year.

Finally, La Rouquine adds that special entrance tickets will be produced for the anniversary year, giving the biggest design change since the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park in 2002. 1-Day/1-Park tickets will be given a purple colour, whilst Passe-Partout (Park Hopper) tickets will be gold. Each will feature one of the fifteen characters holding a candle (though not all the character graphics will be used), with a total of around 8 different ticket designs for each option – and a surefire hit for Disney collectors? This follows the introduction of special 15th Anniversary-styled Annual Passports in November 2006.

Overall, Karl Holz clearly stated his desire to concentrate all resources and use all means to continue to raise the level of the quality of service at the resort. With all that listed above, he certainly knows how to motivate the cast!

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