Thursday, 3rd April 2014

Main Street Station becomes blank canvas for ‘Swing into Spring’ overlay

Swing into Spring on Main Street Station © DisneylandBerry

Welcome to turn of the 20th Century America! At least, that’s what Main Street Station was designed to say. In practice, it has suffered an innumerable series of seasonal overlays over the years that often do little to embellish its period style. The latest, for Swing into Spring, was completed this week ahead of the new season’s launch on 5th April.

Production quality looks surprisingly good for a fledgling season — the main “Swing into Spring” marquee is big but thankfully well-designed, compared to previous efforts. The way the typeface springs out of the oversized daisy is quite classy, the character illustrations are a welcome “Disney” touch, the flowers (albeit fake) give a feeling of life. From a distance it looks like a fantastic, bright, fresh welcome into Disneyland Park for Spring. Great job!

It’s just a shame it’s all over Main Street Station. After the 20th Anniversary overlay, Halloween, Christmas, and many more in the years before, you almost need to remind yourself what this landmark is supposed to look like. So here we go:

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

Now where do you begin? Let’s start with the windows. The four stained glass windows of the original station are beautiful and should simply never, ever be covered over. Definitely not with flat yellow backgrounds for 2D cut-out Disney characters.

Then there are the 20th Anniversary leftovers. The two plasticy gold garlands along the top of the façade, the three golden arches above the walkways and the four circular castle motifs are all still in place two years later. The thinking could be they’re yellow (ish) and vaguely fit the colour scheme, the reality is that they cheapen a building which, along with the stunning Disneyland Hotel, was designed to instantly tell guests they’re not in any old tacky theme park.

Also part of that overlay was the black “Disneyland Paris” sign. It seemed fitting for the 20th Anniversary, but isn’t it about time the old “Main Street Station”, with its higher quality embossed gold letters and warm red background returned?

After all that, the flowers and even the logo are rather inoffensive. Indeed, imagine how good the station could have looked if it was simply “plussed” with a colourful floral overlay, not just treated like a blank canvas — as if there’s nothing of quality there to actually work with and the only option was for the designer to cover it with their own, bright yellow, canvas.

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

It’s been easy to shrug off the Halloween and Christmas overlays in the past because, besides the fact they’re well-established holidays, they’re only there for one and two months respectively, giving us nine more months to see the park entrance as it should be seen.

Swing into Spring will last for a record three months. If it returns with the same decorations next year (spending on these seems to suggest it will), that means only six months to see the station untouched: January to March and July to September. That’s provided they ever take the 20th Anniversary elements down. The situation is similar to the oversized Tinkerbell of the 15th Anniversary castle overlay, which outstayed its welcome (and spoilt the forced perspective of the castle) for several years after the anniversary ended.

At least, these days, it’s not the castle. That’s what we need to remember.

• Discover more Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station photos on the Guidebook

LEAD PHOTO @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

Tuesday, 18th January 2011

Tinkerbell finally flies from Sleeping Beauty Castle ready for upcoming refurbishment

Time stands still in Never Land, and for a good few years the same applied to our dear Château. But as a major refurbishment project approaches, the oversized golden Tinkerbell, which has sat atop the castle’s highest tower since the launch of the 15th Anniversary in April 2007, has finally flown away for good! Originally part of a collection of golden characters, holding between them 15 flickering LED candles, Tinkerbell was kept on after the two anniversary years as part of the unpopular Mickey’s Magical Party overlay. Even as we rejoiced that the castle returned to some normality last year, she hung on; the park still utilising her confetti effect for various shows and events.

As DisneyGazette says, “a page is turned”, and though the original 15th Anniversary makeover was really quite beautiful, hopefully a little more care will be taken in future to ensure Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant looks at her best — as the Imagineers designed her — with any temporary overlays not left to linger for up to four years.

It was actually before the 15th Anniversary that many fans began to hope for a refurbishment of the castle. Though the opportunity of that landmark (and each successive festival) passed, it’s now confirmed that this will be the year for a reawakening. Dates were provisionally set for works from October 2010 to July this year, but that has now been pushed back to a March 2011 start with an end sometime in September. No word yet on just how disruptive this refurbishment will be for views of the icon — a scaffolding rig (with a themed overlay) will be likely at some point, but whether it would cover just a potion of the castle at once or the whole thing is unknown.

From afar the castle certainly looks clean and pretty enough, but up close turrets can be seen dirty, roofs discoloured, paint peeling… and many fans wish for a return to its original paintwork, which had an earthier, more historic look, with more shading and a more organic pink colour.

VIA DisneyGazette.fr, futurelight (DCP)

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]

Thursday, 4th October 2007

15th Anniversary EXTENDED… “en grande!”

The confirmation comes not from Disneyland Resort Paris themselves but a third-party travel company, Thomas Cook. Their latest UK brochure, released just last week, continues to put the 15th Anniversary logos and promotions at the heart of its pages, despite the edition serving trip planning as far in advance as December 2008.

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Brochures such as these primarily use images, logos and texts provided by Disneyland Resort Paris themselves, and so the official texts and taglines of the extended 15th Anniversary are also revealed already. With a double page dedicated to the events, the introduction reads:

15th Anniversary… Celebration Continues

Party on… the anniversary celebrations continue… Big time!

Disneyland Resort Paris is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the biggest party ever and you’re invited! It’s a celebration work celebrating even longer so they have extended it for 2008!

For French promotions the tagline is expected to use the words “En Grande!”, whilst English promotions have to settle for the rather less “grand” wording of — “The 15th Anniversary Celebration continues… big time!” The words “big time!” are to be featured throughout the texts and promotions.

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The second page features a large visual for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with the tagline “Drop In If You Dare” included above the Tower. As previously reported, confirmation of the ‘Stitch Live‘ name is given with a brief description of the experience, whilst High School Musical On Tour is now given a prominent placement at the request of Disneyland Resort Paris, following its exceptional guest satisfaction and feedback in the parks.

Elsewhere in the new brochure, official images show Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Disney Characters’ Express and Toon Studio in their final, realised forms for the first time.

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Also of note is the small amount of information given for Summer 2008 — with a photo of the spectacular 15th Anniversary launch fireworks, the text reads simply “…and for our grand finale, fireworks that’ll make a great day even more magical. It’s a summer worth celebrating… big time!”. With no mention of the ‘Wishes‘ name or even photography of the show, a return for 2008 looks very unlikely. In addition to this probable change of ‘feux d’artifice’, the Summer season is slated to run longer than it has for many years, dates confirmed as 5th July to 31st August!

The official brochure for the next Spring/Summer season is due to be released as usual in around December of this year, whilst additional advertisements and promos will announce the extention online and through media such as Disney DVDs.

An official closing date of the 15th Anniversary is now no longer confirmed — it could well be that the resort will be fast approaching its 17th year when the final pieces of the 15th are removed! It looks like Disneyland Resort Paris really hit the… “big time!” with this idea.

Brochure images © Thomas Cook/Disney; Scanned by DLRP Today.

Thursday, 13th September 2007

Bougillumination Enchantée and Dreams of Christmas

The new press release answers a lot of questions and confirms the Christmas overlays of Candleabration and Once Upon a Dream, but before we begin — take a look at this brand new visual:

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Should this be next to the word “extravagance” in the dictionary?

Any questions about whether the chandeliers would return or whether they will replace the 15th Anniversary banners can be cast aside… Two spectacular, popular Main Street and Castle overlays will join together for the first time — glowing, icy chandeliers and sparkling Lumière banners, flickering character candles and glittering ice palace lights, presented together for two months only.

Quite a jawdropping spectacle in itself, don’t you think?

– – – – – – Press Release, Translated – – – – – –

Christmas more spectacular than ever
for the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort Paris

Christmas at Disneyland is a time for all the family —
this year, kids under 7 can stay and play for FREE.

MARNE LA VALLÉE, France 11 Septembre 2007 … The Christmas celebrations begin 10th November at Disneyland Resort Paris. Amongst the high points of the season, the new ‘Dreams of Christmas’ float for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, the musical show Mickey’s Winter Wonderland and the unforgettable illumination of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in her 15th Anniversary makeover.

Until 6th January 2006, the most enchanting season of the entire year will be even more magical. And to make the celebration sparkle, hotel stays and access to the Disney Parks is completely free for children under 7 years of age!

Disneyland Park

More than one million lights will transform Disneyland Park into a Christmas wonderland. Snow will fall on a Main Street lined with grand chandeliers dedicated to the Disney Princesses and happy snowmen. A majestic Christmas Tree and Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant glow in thousands of lights, specially decorated for the 15th Anniversary.

Father Christmas and his reindeer take their place on the ‘Dreams of Christmas’ float in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade every afternoon. This sparkling parade was created especially for the 15th Anniversary to bring to life the most beautiful Disney Classics, helped along by a grand collection of Disney characters wearing their most beautiful party clothes.

Even more surprises await vistors with Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, a colourful ice-skating spectacle presented several times a day with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and their friends in a wondrous Winter landscape. The fantasy presents the charms and delights of the coldest season through memorable music. Naturally, Chip and Dale make a surprise appearance!

At the heart of Fantasyland from the 17th November, guests can explore the winding streets of Belle’s Christmas Village. The heroine and her beast themselves can be encountered at the entrance of this picturesque seasonal market. Over at the Fantasy Festival Stage, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too enchants guests of all ages in a special Christmas-themed show from 15th December to 6th January.

The Disney characters are at the celebration and waiting for guests at the foot of the Castle. In the elegant Christmas Tree Forest of Town Square, Goofy Claus is ready and waiting for photos. And, as every day since the start of the 15th Anniversary celebrations, Disney Characters’ Express circles Main Street, U.S.A. several times a day, redecorated with a special Christmas theme!

Every evening, Mickey and his friends join together for the joyous finale of Bougillumination Enchantée (Enchanted Candleabration, Christmas Candleabration) in dance and song, before Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant — its fifteen candles lit by Mickey Mouse himself! Enchanting Disney princesses dance under the moonlight whilst, behind them, the Castle is transformed into a spectacular, crystal ice palace of lights. The crowning moment comes as a shower of glittering, golden pixie dust rains from the magic wand of Tinkerbell atop the highest spire, which illuminates, one by one, the giant chandeliers and banners lining Main Street all the way to the towering Christmas Tree itself, on Town Square.

Finally, the nighttime fantasy of Disney’s Fantillusion* reunites the heros of Disneyland in an extravagant parade making use of the most sophisticated sound and light effects, to close the day in a glittering shower of lights and unforgettable music.

*From 10th to 30th November 2007 — Disney’s Fantillusion will be presented only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. From 1st December 2007 to 6th January 2008, Disney’s Fantillusion performances are daily, weather permitting.

Walt Disney Studios Park

Christmas with the sparkle of Hollywood.

Visitors can again step in front of the camera and play their part in the hilarious live Christmas Ciné Folies shows of Disney Studio 1, transformed with an irresistible festive atmosphere.

Across the Resort

Disneyland Resort Paris sparkles with Christmas decorations all over. Each Disney Hotel is given an extra festive touch with Christmas trees, illuminations and specially-organised activities for the Christmas season.

Finally, Disney Village celebrates Christmas from 21st December 2007 to 6th January 2008, including the famous Marché de Noël and a meet ‘n’ greet location for Father Christmas and his snowmen friends.

– – – – – – End Release – – – – – –

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Let’s recap all that news:

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade will indeed see Father Christmas on his own ‘Dreams of Christmas’ float (likely the old sleigh float from previous years). Candleabration’s Christmas overlay will be known beautifully in French as ‘Bougillumination Enchantée’ — we’ll have to wait for the English name, but something similar to Enchanted Candleabration or Christmas Candleabration is likely. The Christmas Tree will return again to Town Square, following its success there last year.

Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and Belle’s Christmas Village return. Disney’s Fantillusion is to run only 3 days a week during November. Walt Disney Studios Park will again have only Christmas Ciné Folies to celebrate the season. Disney Characters’ Express will continue to run and even get a special Christmas overlay.

Perhaps most interesting — Father Christmas’ usual meet ‘n’ greet location of Town Square is now confirmed to be taken over by Goofy in his Santa Claus costume previously seen only at Walt Disney Studios Park. Now, where could Santa have gone? A temporary inhabitant of the future Woody’s Roundup Village in Frontierland, perhaps?

The 15th Anniversary with the added enchantment of Christmas is beginning to sound a lot like something rather special. Alors, chantec’est presque Noël !

Friday, 13th April 2007

Castle Makeover up-close and across the park

Like all of the 15th Anniversary events, we’ve followed this overlay of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant right from the first hint to the final result. First discovered on a marketing visual in July 2006, the makeover quickly became a real, confirmed plan for the anniversary. In October 2006, we learnt that Pinocchio would take the former place of Winnie the Pooh, whilst January 2007 brought news that the character statues would infact be golden/bronze rather than full colour. In February, we discovered Buzz Lightyear would hold the fifteenth candle.

The makeover officially began on 12th March 2007, exactly one month before the official date of the resort’s birthday, with the entire project completed just nine days later on 21st March 2007. And now, we’re proud to present our very own look at the completed makeover. Already praised amongst fan groups for its “subtle and stylish” overlay, the decorations are far from the ‘Festival of Fools’ design of the 5th Anniversary or the birthday cake covering of the 1st Anniversary…

Character Castle Makeover: Up-Close

Entering the park on 1st April 2007 with blue skies overhead, we take a walk around Central Plaza to look closer at the Castle and its’ new golden jewellery, glistening in the sun. Looking closer at the statues reveals their whimsical and quaint designs – the “models” of the characters are not always perfect, but this almost seems to be intentional. Rather than plastic-perfect scale models, the statues – described as “delicate” by Disney themselves – have been designed to compliment the very stylised and ornate design of the Castle itself.

Another unique feature of the statues, beyond their fully wired-up electric candles, are the spots of paint dotted across their design – whites and pupils for eyes, recognisable colours for clothes tinted into the golden statues gives a soft and varied look to the many characters.

Of course, an up-close look at the Castle also reveals a few unpleasant surprises across its tired and dirty turrets. Some were quickly cleaned as the statues were added, but many won’t look as fresh as 1992 until a full refurbishment – currently scheduled for 2008, when the party comes to a close. A full zoom also reveals other secrets, such as a parade control camera next to Goofy, or wires and technical equipment across the highest turret.

The new characters seem to have encouraged the birds formerly residing in the highest spire to move on – leaving Tinkerbell to rule the roost and spray a burst of golden confetti at rare intervals. The “Peter Pan” fairy is also loaded with fibre optic and LED effects, producing a dazzling white “sparkle” from her wand and glowing blue wings, once illuminated by Candleabration.

Character Castle Makeover: From Across the Park

The new decorations don’t just give a new surprise on Main Street and Central Plaza – as the icon of the entire Disneyland Park, Sleeping Beauty Castle has many faces and countless photo opportunities, now with a unique 15th Anniversary touch.

Be it through the flowers of Central Plaza, the glass of the Bureau Passeport Annuel

The rooftops of Fantasyland, or the blossom of “it’s a small world”… Le Château is new again.

And as the sun sets, the unmissable form of Disney’s European fairytale creation takes on a brand new silhouette, dotted with delicate hints to Disney’s most famous faces from across the years…

As daylight faded on 1st April 2007 (and following days), however, the candles were all blown out shortly after the evening’s daylight performance of Candleabration. It remains to be seen whether this is a trend for the entire year, or if those fifteen characters will soon be practiced enough to keep their fifteen candles alight long into the night…

For photos of the Character Castle Makeover illuminated at night, see our previous article here.

Sunday, 8th April 2007

(Video) 15th Launch Night: Candleabration Fireworks

Throughout the day, and especially in the hours before the spectacular launch night event, fans filled the park, put up with being pushed aside to accommodate the press, and soaking up the magic, the buzz and the atmosphere of the night. It wasn’t hard to a spot a fan on the 31st – either by their endless filming and photographing or proud display of circa-1992 Euro Disney clothing and accessories, the celebration truly began with the fans.

Over six months of following the preparations online or in the parks, and of course 15 magical years themselves, had all been leading to this moment. In just a few minutes, the celebration would officially begin, and with it one of the biggest and most important years in the resort’s history.

With Daniel Powter’s well-received performance of two songs finished, he quickly ran of stage to allow a team of crew members to remove the sleek white piano and audio equipment, ready for Candleabration. Along Main Street, the air was filled with the opening synth notes of “Just Like We Dreamed It” for around 10 minutes, with a strange, faint murouring of deep-toned speech on top, only adding to the sense of anticipation.

Finally, with the stage set, lights across the park suddenly dimmed and the fibre-optic “15” plaque glowed and sparkled, the christmas lights on the Castle joining in with their own strobe flashes and sparkles. Trumpets blasted out, heralding the start of Candleabration, before the music faded into the popular Peter Pan “Dreams” theme and the crowds gasped in delight.

As the entrance of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant was illuminated from inside and smoke poured out, returning an image from the 1992 Grand Opening, the team of flag artists and dancers ran up onto the stage and began their routine, cutting through the air with their blue 15th Anniversary flags to the beats of the music.

The music reached its climax, and suddenly a surprise diversion from the usual Candleabration routine began. Arriving on stage first was not Mickey, but instead Lumière – a very special host just for this evening, and a character not seen in-person at Disneyland Resort Paris perhaps since the end of Videopolis’ Beauty and the Beast stage show. Lumière began “Bonsoir Paris! Et Bienvenue!” before joining the shimmering blue-and-white dancers – now with their white top hats for a majestic dance routine set to swirling strings and powerful trumpets, a moment usually enjoyed by Mickey in the regular show.

Behind them, the Castle turrets sparkled and projection patterns sweeped across its towers, before the music reached a dramatic climax and Lumière raised his candles into the sky with the dancers and their hats.

Passing the reigns over to the one that started it all, Lumière announced in French “Ladies and gentlement, please give a warm welcome to our incomparable host, acommpanied by some children full of dreams!,” and welcomed Mickey Mouse onto the stage – “Bonsoir monsieur!”. Mickey replied “Bonsoir Lumière!” before turning to the crowd – “Good evening everybody! Hey, say folks, do you believe in dreams? You do?! Awww, that’s swell!”

As a line of around fifteen children filed onto the stage, in front of the dance team, Mickey continued “You see, I’ve invited some very special friends to be here tonight! And, they’re going to share their dreams with us!”. In the background, the faint opening notes of the score for the resort’s 15th Anniversary teaser trailer played throughout. With the children ready, dressed in their blue outfits and yellow scarfs from the pre-parade earlier, Mickey turned to them – “Hiya kids! Tonight, I’ve got a very special – magical – gift for every one of you!”.

Pointing to the stars the children were holding, he announced “These magical stars have the power to make your dreams come true! So just lift your star, as high as you can, up towards the sky! Now, close your eyes, and make a wish!”. Sleeping Beauty Castle turned a dreamy shade of blue, dotted with stars, as the familiar voice of the Blue Fairy from the park’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular filled the air and translated for Mickey in French. The children then held their glowing, multicoloured stars, as high as they could, and proclaimed “By the power of this magic star, make our dreams come true”.

“Remember children, never stop believing in your dreams, for they are the real magic in the world” the Blue Fairy concluded. “So, listen to your heart, and watch…” “Alors, ecoutez votre coeur, et regardez..!”

Lights faded, the children turned and music swelled to its full rhythm, as Mickey clasped his hand and threw the dreams of the children across the face of Le Château. One by one, fantastical, colourful digital projections of children encountering Disney characters across the resort filled the towers, turrets and spires of the Castle as the rhythm of the music provided a perfect time for the audience to look back on the past fifteen years – and gasp in wonder.

When the dreams faded away, the echoing choir and chords of the “dreams” theme music faded in, joined by a moving projection of a huge red carpet across the Castle, bouncing from side to side and wrapping itself around the turrets. Mickey rejoined his usual Candleabration speech, announcing “You know folks, today is a very special day! 15 Years of dreams and magic, and – fifteen candles! So keep your eyes open, ’cause this is going to be one of the most magical moments ever!”

Music climbed to another deafening climax, the spires shimmered and sparkled with hundreds of lights and Mickey reached out with both hands, stretching out to the audience before turning and pointing his magic toward the Character Castle Makeover.

Then, one by one, timed exactly to the beats of the Peter Pan “dreams” music, each of the fifteen candles burst to life with a flickering, orange glow and an extra “ping” in the music. The audience watching from Main Street shouted the numbers – “eleven!” “twelve!” – and then, the “bougillumination” was complete. Lights flickered across the spires and sweeped up Tinkerbell’s trail of pixie dust, culminating in a burst of gold confetti from her wand, perfectly illuminated and met with a perfect “ooooh!” from the crowd below.

But the party was only just beginning. Minnie stepped on stage and proclaimed “Oh Mickey, c’est magnifique!”, followed by Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Chip n Dale – “And now, it’s time to celebrate our fifteen magical years!”, Mickey announced, as the characters prepared their instruments and “Just Like We Dreamed It” began… with a spectacular burst of fireworks.

To the full, extended version of the theme music, the characters danced and played their instruments whilst a huge, colourful, choreographed fireworks display filled the sky behind them.

Each burst of music, each note, was met in synchronisation with a score of fireworks in every shape, size and colour. From sparkling “wishes” rockets for the “Magically…” chorus end, to giant, pounding, bursts to the drum beats of the third chorus, the display began with simple red rockets and progressed to giant, airbourne, golden bursts like nothing seen at the resort for years.

Whilst budgets and local area laws usually restrict displays, for this night – and this night only – Disneyland Resort Paris threw everything it had at the performance – and into the sky. Even when the display ended with Mickey and Minnie wishing the park “Joyeux Anniversaire!” and a final shimmer of fireworks burning out, the party wasn’t over. “Just Like We Dreamed It” kick-started again for a special encore, as close to 50 huge golden shells exploded above the Castle, filling the sky, as smaller bursts of gold shot upwards below.

The characters danced off stage as the music came to a final climax, Mickey and Minnie dancing a celebratory waltz, before another – final – series of fireworks shot into the sky. If the 15th Anniversary is their big chance to finally turn around the background finances of the resort, they’re not taking any chances. Live music, castle illuminations, character shows, decorations, and extraordinary fireworks – Disneyland Resort Paris has a second childhood, and it knows how to party.

And now… the video!

With the ceremony complete, the press departed for their exclusive Red Carpet party, the 15th Anniversary finally here and now, this simply left fans and guests to enjoy the magic of a fifteen-year-old Main Street USA in Paris shimmering with magic more than ever before…

…Before guests finally said goodnight and an early “Joyeux Anniversaire!” to Disneyland Park, overwhelmed and spirits on high that The Year to Live Your Dream had already come true.

Photos by Photos Magiques and DLRP Today, some © Disney.

Wednesday, 4th April 2007

J-1 brings frenzied final touches

The anniversary now begins right as you enter the resort. After a limited number were added the day before, Friday 30th March 2007 finally saw the end of the circa-2002 dark blue Disneyland Resort Paris banners, featuring the Castle and Earffel Tower, now replaced by the familiar 15th Anniversary Lumiere designs. The base of the three new flagpoles, previously just concrete footers and earth, has now been filled with a bright array of yellow and orange flowers, guiding people toward the information sign and bringing some much needed colour to the hub.


New banners and flowers on the hub / Press viewing platform

Not all the last-minute changes were positive for the park, though. To accommodate the press photographers during the following day’s pre-parade ceremony and debut of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, a tiered viewing platform was installed in front of Town Square’s gazebo, covered in white tarp and also featuring an undercover area for the resort’s own cameras (lucky, considering the weather). Notice also the sea of yellow ponchos – now also featuring the 15th Anniversary logo!


New banners and flowers on the hub / Press viewing platform

More strange additions could be found in Frontierland, ready for the nighttime event following the 31st March fireworks. Whilst unnoticed by most normal guests rushing to Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor, the restaurants, boutiques and Thunder Mesa themeing were all covered end-to-end in anniversary flags featuring yellow lanterns. And the guests rushing to Big Thunder? They might have been disappointed – the attraction remained closed for several hours, perhaps also due to press event preparations.


Flags and lanterns cover everything in sight at Frontierland

Amongst all the new additions for the 15th Anniversary Press Event, there were also a few final changes to the already-familiar events and decorations. After losing his bouquet of flowers for several days, the Character Castle Makeover statue of Mickey now instead picked up his magic wand…


Original Mickey with flowers (Photo by Joel) / Mickey now with magic wand

Whilst Disney Characters’ Express began its rehearsal performances. Steaming up Main Street through the rain, its characters then ran off to their four Lumiere locations around Central Plaza, without their candles seen in the previous weekend’s trade preview but instead with their new 15th Anniversary medals…


Characters receive their 15th medals / Disneyland Hotel roof cleaning, afternoon

Of course, there were also the expected clean-ups and repainting around the park. Best of all, the cleaning of Disneyland Hotel’s roof – from almost-black to its warm original shade of red.

With the Plaza Gardens Restaurant refurbishment completed a few days earlier, repainting continued (weather permitting) of the railings between its entrance doors and Central Plaza. The drained centrepiece fountain, still being returned to its former glory, was filled with temporary plants over the weekend to make sure not a single hint of the magic was broken for the press visitors.


Central Plaza railings repaint / Plaza Gardens fountain given temporary plants

The park was quiet for the most of the day, Walt Disney Studios Park even more so, definitely giving the impression of a “calm before the storm” (almost literally). And as the light faded, guests slowly left the park at 6pm, leaving it to get a long night of rest before its big, premature birthday bash the next day… Though, no doubt, its workers continued on long into the night.


A good night’s sleep before the big day tomorrow…

Wednesday, 21st March 2007

Character Castle Makeover – complete!

At our last update on the Character Castle Makeover, eight characters had already scaled the spires and turrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle: Donald, Daisy, Jiminy Crickett, Goofy, Pluto, Chip n Dale, Pinocchio & Figaro and Dumbo & Timothy. Just one day later (14th March 2007), Buzz Lightyear and Lumière joined the cast on their central turret locations.

On 15th March 2007, Cheshire Cat appeared on the hillside rocks next to the Castle and Tinkerbell herself appeared atop the highest turret, her wings and spiralling pixie dust trail laced with LED lights ready for Candleabration. Next up, on 17th March 2007, the tricky trio of Hewey, Dewey and Lewey, Donald’s newphews, who took up their spot on a smaller turret, as explained last time.

Finally, only one week after the first characters arrived, the Seven Dwarfs and Mickey & Minnie took up their spots on the castle. The Dwarfs of Snow White have already raised eyebrows due to their unusual design, with Dopey lying in the middle and three of the characters cut in half to appear to be resting on the balcony – though, from the viewing distance of a guest without a DLRP fan’s high-zoom camera, the curious design isn’t noticable.

Completing the entire makeover, the giant centrepiece “15” emblem appeared on the morning of 20th March 2007, tying all of the characters together. More LED lights also appear here, dotted around the rim and across the blue background of the golden numbers. After capturing these latest photos, Joel goes on to photograph The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade passing by – photos that, in just a few days time – will be quite unique and very precious as the parade bids its final farewell to the park, never to be seen again before this 15th Anniversary overlay. You can see these here.

You might have also spotted that Mickey & Minnie appear different to designs seen earlier, since they appear to be based more on retro designs from the Disney Studios – noticable due to their huge pupils and Minnie’s old-fashioned dress. Looking at the entire makeover, it’s the retro, classic and almost “hand-made” style of these decorations which make them special. No glossy Walt Disney World golden characters or plastic cakes, but instead delicate and slightly whimsical designs perfectly befitting the whimsical and delicate style of Le Château herself.

All photos from Joel’s Photo Hunt. You can see more here.

Wednesday, 14th March 2007

Castle characters scale the first spires!

For several weeks, preparations have been underway to welcome the fifteen new golden creations to the spires of Le Château, including the much-noticed early removal of one of its spires (see photo). The first characters arrived on Monday – Donald, Daisy and Jiminy Crickett, followed by five more yesterday – Goofy, Pluto, Chip n Dale, Pinocchio & Figaro and Dumbo & Timothy. The statues are small and understated yet perfectly detailed, each one holding an intricate candle and standing on a jeweled, “15”-encrusted crown.

Whilst a January article in newspaper Le Parisien revealed the statues would be gold rather than full-colour, the characters are infact all tinted with particular colours each, such as pink for Daisy’s dress or blue for Donald’s sailor hat. Their eyes, noses and mouths (see Chip n Dale in particular) have also been picked out in full-colour paint, creating a unique decoration and a more “awake” cast of characters.

The “scuffle” comes from exactly those you’d expect it. We found out last October that Winnie the Pooh had been replaced by Pinocchio & Figaro, and just late last month that Buzz Lightyear had joined the makeover, but now it seems Chip n Dale have beaten Hewey, Dewey & Lewey to a more prominent spot the Castle’s lower-right spire, when compared to the original visuals.

The change was, however, included in the latest concept art we saw last month, with Hewey, Dewey & Lewey now resting precariously on the spire to the right of the main balcony.


The work is taking place overnight, using the same means (a huge crane) as the installation of the Christmas Enchanted Fairytale lights – most of which have, infact, also made an early return to the park. These thousands of small LED lights, wrapped on cages which sit atop the spires, likely provide the electrical supply for the fifteen new candle illuminations themselves.

The candles, to be lit during Candleabration, appear to be opaque glass bulbs sprayed lightly with gold paint, though we’ve no indication yet what kind of lighting effect they will give. It is unlikely the Enchanted Fairytale lights will be used during the ceremony (until Christmas), though it has been suggested the “pixiedust” effect (created by the larger, white lights dotted across the turrets) will be used during Candleabration.

The spiraling trail of pixie dust around the top of the Castle is already in place for Tinker Bell, who is due to join the Seven Dwarfs, Buzz Lightyear, Lumière, Hewey, Dewey & Lewey, Cheshire Cat, Mickey & Minnie and the giant “15” window to complete the makeover shortly.

Thanks to Mateo for all photos above, posted on Disney Central Plaza forum.

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