Monday, 7th May 2012

‘Making the Magic’ TV show reveals backstage preparations for Dreams, Magic on Parade

Neatly timed to coincide with the celebrations of 12th April 2012, Channel 5 in the UK broadcast a special behind-the-scenes “documentary” on Sunday, 15th April giving a unique look at the preparations for the 20th Anniversary. Titled Making the Magic: Disneyland Paris – 20th Anniversary, it will be available to watch on the online Demand 5 player until March 2013, but only within the UK.

Not wanting to let such a great promotional piece for the resort go unseen for everyone else, we managed to record the whole show from a DVR box. Quality isn’t perfect (no need for 720p), but hopefully it’s good enough to enjoy. (And yes, Walt Disney built his first park in 1955, not 1957!)

The show naturally focuses mainly on Disney Dreams!, with exclusive input from Steve Davison, Katy Harris and technical director Chuck Davis, but Disney Magic on Parade! is also featured with Kat de Blois and two British parade Cast Members preparing for the parade’s changeover. We get to see “Team Dreams” making last minute preparations on the same day Steve, Katy and Kat took time out to attend a Q&A session with fan sites, making us even more grateful for that opportunity. Added drama comes as Steve drops into the Dreams control room to announce: “There’s a big blue square which appears in the middle of Jungle Book, which I’ve never seen..!”

Knowing the promotional tie-up between Channel 5 and Disneyland Paris before the launch of the 20th Anniversary, this show is clearly more of a glossy promotional piece than a true “documentary” — but it’s also 22 minutes of the best British TV promotion seen for the resort in years. No CGI, no greenscreen, just letting the magic — and the people behind the magic — speak for themselves.

Meanwhile, across the Channel, French viewers recently got to enjoy the far less glossy but rather more revealing “Disneyland et ses Secrets” feature-length documentary on France 3, which can also be found in full on YouTube.

Wednesday, 11th April 2012

[VIDEO] Disney Dreams! Opening Night

Disney Dreams! World Premiere

If you’ve already enjoyed our video of the Disney Dreams! World Premiere, filmed from the middle of Central Plaza, then prepare for a whole new angle on the dreams. The next evening, for the show’s 1st April Opening Night and first two public performances, we waited with the eager crowds for almost an hour before the show began to grab a spot right on the front row.

Standing here, at the foot of the bridge to Sleeping Beauty Castle, the projections are clearer than ever, the pyrotechnics thrillingly close and the fountains towering overhead! And with the gasps and cheers of the larger crowd, our second complete 1080p HD video of the show gives you a whole different atmosphere with the 20th Anniversary nighttime spectacular, too. The view isn’t necessarily “better” than elsewhere, just different. That’s the beauty of this show: you get a great view from anywhere in front of the castle, and there’s space for around 15,000 people. It’s huge.

So sit back as we invite you there, to the Opening Night of Disney Dreams!.

Friday, 6th April 2012

[VIDEO] 20th Anniversary Dedication Ceremony & Disney Dreams! Pre-Show

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

When Disneyland Park re-opened its gates at 9.40pm on 31st March, a magical glow had already fallen upon the land. Stepping into Main Street, U.S.A., the twinkling new Main Street Station greeted invited guests — as did some extra-special invitees: the giant, illuminated World of Color pre-show puppets, brought over especially for the occasion! This video takes you to “A Night in Disneyland” for the 20th Anniversary Dedication Ceremony as if you were there.

Everything is included: from walking into Town Square, to the ceremony itself with Philippe Gas, footballer Zinedine Zidane and Mickey Mouse (at 10:00), to the epic, emotional walk up Main Street, U.S.A. prior to the Disney Dreams! World Premiere (at 16:00), when Cast Members from every land and every attraction lined the street to wave and cheer guests along with cries of “Joyeux Anniversaire!” as golden confetti in the shape of the number ’20’ rained from above. Truly an exceptional and unforgettable ending and beginning to these chapters in Disneyland Paris history.

Friday, 6th April 2012

[VIDEO] 20th Anniversary Dedication Ceremony & Disney Dreams! Pre-Show

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

When Disneyland Park re-opened its gates at 9.40pm on 31st March, a magical glow had already fallen upon the land. Stepping into Main Street, U.S.A., the twinkling new Main Street Station greeted invited guests — as did some extra-special invitees: the giant, illuminated World of Color pre-show puppets, brought over especially for the occasion! This video takes you to “A Night in Disneyland” for the 20th Anniversary Dedication Ceremony as if you were there.

Everything is included: from walking into Town Square, to the ceremony itself with Philippe Gas, footballer Zinedine Zidane and Mickey Mouse (at 10:00), to the epic, emotional walk up Main Street, U.S.A. prior to the Disney Dreams! World Premiere (at 16:00), when Cast Members from every land and every attraction lined the street to wave and cheer guests along with cries of “Joyeux Anniversaire!” as golden confetti in the shape of the number ’20’ rained from above. Truly an exceptional and unforgettable ending and beginning to these chapters in Disneyland Paris history.

Friday, 6th April 2012

[VIDEO] Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train Premiere with Mickey Mouse

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

It might be one of the less-anticipated 20th Anniversary events but, with a passenger list now comprising all the “VIP” characters, Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train will no doubt be just as big a hit with guests as ever. Surprisingly, the characters on-board, who ride up to Central Plaza before stepping down to be mobbed (or in official terms, for “meet ‘n’ greets”) now even include the hallowed Mickey Mouse himself!

However, for this special “premiere” performance at 5.45pm on 31st March, the multi-coloured train didn’t stop as it rounded Central Plaza and Mickey Mouse wasn’t on-board: he was stealing the show in his new sorcerer costume atop the temporary press platform, dancing to new theme song “Do You Believe” and guiding the train around the plaza with a wave of his hands.

Thursday, 5th April 2012

[VIDEO] 20th & Disney Dreams! Q&A with Steve Davison, Kat de Blois, Katy Harris

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

This has been one epic upload, but here we go: the full, unedited 48-minute presentation and panel discussion with Creative Director Kat de Blois, Show Director Katy Harris and VP Parades & Spectaculars Steve Davison himself. Seated in Plaza Gardens Restaurant at 12.30pm on Saturday, we were just inches away from the creators of the 20th Anniversary entertainments as they first explained and presented their creations before moving on to an open and informal Q&A discussion with the intimate audience of around 20 invited Disneyland Paris blog and fansite authors.

Kat de Blois began by presenting Disney Magic on Parade! in French (the only small part missing from the video), followed by Katy Harris introducing Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train in English, then Steve Davison talking about Disney Dreams! — which made up the bulk of the 40 minutes of questions which followed, revealing numerous insights into the new spectacular.

While I had the camera rolling the entire time, Kristof from Photos Magiques put a couple of questions direct to the panel. Including, at 42 minutes in, the million dollar question that is: “When did you decide to get rid of Central Plaza stage, and was it a tough decision?” The reaction, and the justification, is fascinating viewing, as is the entire presentation. We’ll revisit it more soon and go through all of the details revealed about the creation of Disney Dreams! in particular. But for now, we thank Kat, Steve and Katy for taking time out on such a busy day to meet a small number of their fans, and for allowing us to film and document the occasion so that everyone at home can be there, too.

Note: The sound quality has been improved as much as possible in editing, but due to the intimate setting it obviously won’t be perfect. Nevertheless, this is a unique all too rare chance to meet the people behind the “dreams”. And to think, as Steve reveals, it all began by spotting a Peter Pan motif in the design of Disneyland Hotel… Proving that Dreams can come from anywhere, but you never quite know where they’ll take you.

Thursday, 5th April 2012

[VIDEO] 20th & Disney Dreams! Q&A with Steve Davison, Kat de Blois, Katy Harris

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

This has been one epic upload, but here we go: the full, unedited 48-minute presentation and panel discussion with Creative Director Kat de Blois, Show Director Katy Harris and VP Parades & Spectaculars Steve Davison himself. Seated in Plaza Gardens Restaurant at 12.30pm on Saturday, we were just inches away from the creators of the 20th Anniversary entertainments as they first explained and presented their creations before moving on to an open and informal Q&A discussion with the intimate audience of around 20 invited Disneyland Paris blog and fansite authors.

Kat de Blois began by presenting Disney Magic on Parade! in French (the only small part missing from the video), followed by Katy Harris introducing Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train in English, then Steve Davison talking about Disney Dreams! — which made up the bulk of the 40 minutes of questions which followed, revealing numerous insights into the new spectacular.

While I had the camera rolling the entire time, Kristof from Photos Magiques put a couple of questions direct to the panel. Including, at 42 minutes in, the million dollar question that is: “When did you decide to get rid of Central Plaza stage, and was it a tough decision?” The reaction, and the justification, is fascinating viewing, as is the entire presentation. We’ll revisit it more soon and go through all of the details revealed about the creation of Disney Dreams! in particular. But for now, we thank Kat, Steve and Katy for taking time out on such a busy day to meet a small number of their fans, and for allowing us to film and document the occasion so that everyone at home can be there, too.

Note: The sound quality has been improved as much as possible in editing, but due to the intimate setting it obviously won’t be perfect. Nevertheless, this is a unique all too rare chance to meet the people behind the “dreams”. And to think, as Steve reveals, it all began by spotting a Peter Pan motif in the design of Disneyland Hotel… Proving that Dreams can come from anywhere, but you never quite know where they’ll take you.

Tuesday, 27th March 2012

Final Central Plaza alterations completed ahead of Disney Dreams! premiere

Central Plaza alterations (C) @InsideDLParis

It’s going to be easy to forget soon with the premiere of Disney Dreams! but, until this year, Disneyland Paris has never had a true nighttime spectacular. Fireworks from the original Fantasia in the Sky to the later Enchanted Fireworks have always been a feature, but Disneyland Park has never seen a nightly, year-round evening show to finish the day. It’s a big step-change for the daily operation of the park and even the landscape is reflecting that.

On the left side of Central Plaza, the new control centre building arrived with a big change the previously wooded landscape near Frontierland, opening up more vistas. Now, on the other side of the plaza, a final adjustment has seen the pathway widened near Plaza Gardens Restaurant, creating more space for guests to hop around the crowds on the hub, or leave the park swiftly after the show.

Central Plaza alterations (C) @InsideDLParisCentral Plaza alterations (C) @InsideDLParis

This follows similar adjustments to pathways on both sides of the hub in 2009, when the route through to Frontierland was widened and a new set of stairs were added to ease guest flow around Plaza Gardens. At the time, these were largely to offset the problems caused by dropping a whopping great stage in the middle of the park, but this year they’ll come into their own as smart preparations for Central Plaza’s new role as viewing space for a real nighttime spectacular.

One final change which may not be so popular, however, is the conversion of several gas lamps along this pathway to electric. Though this kind of “progress” in Main Street, U.S.A. is never welcomed, the installation of electric light bulbs is probably a necessary change to ensure the path is well-lit before and after the show, allowing the rush of guests to arrive and leave safely. Besides, the side street nearest this spot, leading to Discoveryland, just happens to be fittingly titled “Edison Avenue”…

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis

Thursday, 22nd March 2012

2012 or ’92? New Central Plaza in sunshine resets the clock on timeless view

Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty Castle (C) Nicolas71

Since Monday, guests have been able to walk right across Central Plaza for the first time since 2006. But these photos, taken Tuesday by Nicholas71 on Disney Central Plaza, almost seem to reset the clock even further. Be it the wide, open plaza, the fresh green grass, the newly-restored Sleeping Beauty Castle or the recent tree clearance over on the Fantasyland side of this famous view, it almost looks like we’re stepping into the park for the very first time again. Truly a vast improvement on the closed gates and obstructive stage guests have had to navigate around for too many years.

On Central Plaza itself, benches have returned to the middle of the plaza for the first time in almost six years, making it once again the perfect place for meeting and people watching. Meanwhile, two lampposts on the castle side are now curiously absent, their bases covered by green boxes.

They’re not the only things missing from this view: tree clearance over by the Fantasyland Gate (far-right of the photo) has uncovered the walled kingdom in the distance, while at least two cuboid trees have been completely removed from the right-hand side of the castle. Both changes could either be in preparation for Disney Dreams!, or just part of the habitual “resetting the clock” which Disney does; replanting or removing trees which have grown too big for the fixed scale of the park.

Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty Castle (C) Nicolas71

Looking back towards Main Street, U.S.A., the new “Parks Landscaping Department” show control building for Disney Dreams! blends seamlessly into the town. The old show control kiosk, on the left of the plaza, remains in place for now. As for the plaza, the improvement speaks for itself.

PHOTOS Nicholas71 (Disney Central Plaza)

Monday, 19th March 2012

Steve Davison shares first photos of completed, wall-free, stage-free Central Plaza!

It’s the dawn of a new day. Construction walls have finally come down in Central Plaza, revealing the finished repaving project across the hub of the park following the much-celebrated removal of the overbearing stage which had resided here since 2009. After seven weeks of work through freezing conditions into the milder days of early spring, the completed Central Plaza is now a vast expanse of smoothly-finished concrete pavement — no obstacles, no obstructions, just a perfect view of Sleeping Beauty Castle and of course, the impending Disney Dreams! nighttime spectacular.

In fact it was Steve Davison, the director of Disney Dreams!, who grabbed these very first photos of the plaza without construction walls at 6am this morning. Though we don’t entirely envy Team Dreams with their nocturnal work shifts, seeing dawn break over a wide, open Central Plaza is one well-deserved reward. Steve shared the first photo above with the comment: “WOW! What a wonderful view! No Wall! No Stage. Just a beautiful view of the Castle. Enjoy!” He followed this up with further praise for our castle and a clearer critique of the poorly-integrated stage: “It’s so much better without the stage. It blocked this amazing piece of architecture. WOW! What a castle!”

That certainly suggests we’re not the only ones happy to see that back of the enormous stage, which presented three consecutive shows of varying popularity. Beginning with It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends in 2009, it then saw the far superior Disney Showtime Spectacular in 2010, before whimpering to a close with Mickey’s Magical Celebration last year. Even before those shows, the plaza was taken up by a smaller stage for the 15th Anniversary Candleabration show in 2007 and 2008, and for the castle lighting show of the previous Christmas, meaning the plaza hasn’t been open for guests since as long ago as 2006.

Deciding not the reinstate the small circular flower bed in the middle of the hub was probably a wise idea for crowd control during Disney Dreams!, but does such an entirely bare Central Plaza make an ideal heart for the park? Couldn’t they have done something more interesting with the floor, or is it best to just let the castle take all the presence here? Whatever your opinion, you’ll no doubt at least agree with Steve Davison that the view opened up is “Simply beautiful!”. We have a lot to thank Team Dreams for. Longer park hours, a real, nightly nighttime spectacular, and now a Central Plaza back to how it should be. No stage, just a beautiful view of the castle.

VIA Steve Davison Fan Page (Facebook)

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