Tuesday, 27th March 2012

New ‘Meet Mickey Mouse’ marquee brings Fantasyland into electric age

Meet Mickey Mouse (C) @TBardenat

The sun rose on a new age in Fantasyland‘s British quarter this morning, with the new marquee for Meet Mickey Mouse now installed atop the former Fantasy Festival Stage. Clean lettering and bright, theatrical, electric lights evoke a slightly later time period for the land than seen before. Perhaps stepping from the Edwardian era towards the 1920s, when Mickey Mouse himself came into being, it takes this ornate pavilion into an electric age where theatres and music halls became picture houses.

This set-up will be continued inside where, as we revealed in a descriptive walk-through of the new attraction, the old theatre stage will now house a projection screen, allowing guests queueing along the aisles of the theatre to enjoy classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. This sort of “modern” innovation contrasts well with the Disneyland Railroad Station behind, which already blends two periods of British history: a Tudor-style cottage with exposed beams and the Victorian station building, platforms and clock tower of the railway. Looking at the way buildings in Great Britain were so often chopped and changed for the latest trends through the ages, the eclectic mixture here seems wonderfully British.

What doesn’t seem wonderfully British? The words “Rencontre avec Mickey”, hastily stuck underneath the illuminated letters. For a start, we have to wonder if French visitors could really be so confused by “Meet Mickey Mouse” that they need a translation. But more importantly, this disrespects an unwritten rule of Disneyland Paris regarding the languages of attraction marquees.

You might have noticed that you eat at Auberge de Cendrillon, to reference the French Charles Perrault, but ride Peter Pan’s Flight, to fit the English setting and author J.M. Barrie. Similarly, the whole of the American Main Street, U.S.A. and Frontierland are named in English, while elements of Adventureland and Discoveryland use French where more appropriate.

PHOTO @TBardenat

Tuesday, 27th March 2012

New floats, changes, additions revealed during Disney Magic on Parade! soft openings

Disney Magic on Parade! (C) NewsDLRP.com

As previously announced, this is “soft opening” week for Disney Magic on Parade!, when the “new” daily parade arrives in the park for public dress rehearsals — revealing its many changes and additions. Yesterday saw the first performance of the revamped parade, and the first play of new theme song “Magic Everywhere” (which we previewed here) in the park. It certainly won’t be the last — unlike under its former guise as Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, there’s no score throughout the parade, just the song played on a loop.

But what we’ve all been clamouring to see are the new floats, starting with the reworking of the original Dreams of Imagation opening float as Making Magic. Its sun, moon and hot air balloon for Mickey and Minnie were icons of the old parade, and they’ve been completely cleared off the storybook float to make way for a pink castle and three characters: the Fairy Godmother, the Blue Fairy and Merlin.

Opening the parade are the Three Good Fairies, who appear to move magically across the parade route using some kind of hands-free segway system. It’s a clever “floating” effect which, along with the nice mix of rarer characters here, might just about make up for the disappointing opening float itself, completely lacking the presence, quality and imagination of Dreams of Imagination.

Disney Magic on Parade! (C) NewsDLRP.com

Far more successful are the gorgeous, whimsical Princess Carriages, each uniquely decorated for their corresponding royalty. Though the three carriages for Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella pass by close together, it still affords a far better chance to glimpse the princesses than the previous, rather overcrowded finale float.

Following these is the smaller, renamed Magic of Romance unit, now comprising three couples: Ariel and Prince Eric, Tiana and Prince Naveen, plus new additions Rapzunel and Flynn. For the first time since they arrived in park parades, the royalty of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast are missing.

Disney Magic on Parade! (C) NewsDLRP.comDisney Magic on Parade! (C) NewsDLRP.com

From here, the parade consists of four relatively unchanged original floats, now renamed as Magic of Laughter & Fun, Magic of Friendship, Magic of Adventure and Magic of Fantasy. Within these we see the arrival of the White Rabbit, new puppet dancers alongside Pinocchio and Gepetto, bumblebees following Winnie the Pooh, colourful birds flying either side of Adventure and purple-clad pearly kings and queens following Mary Poppins. Each float has a hidden ’20’.

The grand finale is preceded by more dancers, floating on segways, dressed in pink, purple and orange. Repainted in similarly bright shades, Magic Everywhere is the new name for the former Dreams of Romance: Finale unit, now home to Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Goofy and — yes — Duffy. Mickey Mouse, in a new variation of his classic sorcerer’s outfit, ends the parade atop the blue Fantasia-inspired hillside, dotted with anthropomorphised mops holding buckets.

Disney Magic on Parade! (C) NewsDLRP.com
Disney Magic on Parade! (C) NewsDLRP.com

Hidden in the back of the float yesterday was Tinker Bell, but today her place was apparently taken by Donald Duck. More changes could continue tomorrow and Thursday. On Friday 30th, however, the parade apparently reverts back to being Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade for a special farewell performance, including the last appearance (for now) of the spectacular Dreams of Power villain float, which will be sorely missed in the new parade.

It won’t be until Saturday, 31st March that we see Disney Magic on Parade! officially premiere at the special time of 3pm. On 1st April, the first advertised performance date, this reverts to 5pm for the rest of the 20th Anniversary year. DLRP Today will be there to cover both dates, so look out for more reports and our new HD videos next week. But for now, what are your first impressions?

MORE PHOTOS NewsDLRP.com

Friday, 23rd March 2012

Tony Baxter Imagineering Masterclass leads confirmed April 12th events programme

Tony Baxter, 1992 (C) Disney

Planning to celebrate the exact date of Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary, on 12th April 2012? You’re not the only one. We’ve now had it confirmed that Tony Baxter will be present at the park, in person, on the heralded date. Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering and the original lead creative force behind Disneyland Paris, the legendary Imagineer will answer questions and talk about the history of the park during a special “Imagineering Masterclass” at Videopolis Theatre from 10.45am to 11.45am. Places are open to all but strictly limited to the size of the venue.

Given his legendary status amongst Disneyland Paris fans, having led the overall design of the park and its five key show producers — Eddie Sotto (Main Street, U.S.A.), Jeff Burke (Frontierland), Chris Tietz (Adventureland), Tom Morris (Fantasyland) and Tim Delaney (Discoveryland), it looks set to be an unmissable hour. After the presentation, which will include a Q&A for fans to put their own questions to Tony, video screens inside Videopolis will continue to play archive footage from the resort’s history throughout the day.

Also scheduled for the grand date is a special morning event held by Philippe Gas. The company CEO himself will welcome guests to the park with a personal ceremony on Town Square at 9.30am, to be followed by a much-rumoured — and now officially announced — Cast Member “flashmob”.

The exact details of this moment of music and dance remain a secret, but Cast Members have voluntarily signed up to give their time for the occasion. Park gates will open at 9.00am to allow guests into Town Square, in advance of the ceremony, with the park itself officially opening at 10am. Extra Magic Hours on this date will be held instead at Walt Disney Studios Park — but you’re not going to trade a one-off date in history for a shorter queue at Crush’s Coaster, are you?

Character fans should look out for special one-off happenings and surprises all around the park throughout the day, including appearances from some of the more rarely seen Disney characters. All of these events and times will be listed in a special edition of the park Programme.

For collectors, besides special editions of the free Park Guide leaflets which will only be available on April 12th, there will even be dated merchandise. On sale in strictly limited quantities, a “golden key” pin and both a male and female T-shirt design, pictured above, all with the 12th April 2012 date.

Those who took a gamble and booked trips to coincide with the date, having no guarantee that it would even be commemorated, have certainly been duly rewarded. And for those who hesitated, this surprising programme of events may well be more than enough to encourage a last-minute trip. But given the very late nature of this announcement, it could now be difficult — and perhaps expensive — for those who can’t easily jump on the next RER train to experience the date for themselves at just three weeks’ notice, especially as it falls within the busy Easter holiday period.

Do you plan to be there to mark the date, and experience these events for yourself?

Friday, 23rd March 2012

Woody’s Roundup no more as Meet Mickey makes temporary Cottonwood Creek home

Mickey Mouse’s new home at Fantasy Festival Stage won’t be finished quite in time for the 20th Anniversary launch, we know that much for sure. But until the vague Spring 2012 opening date of his new magician-themed meet ‘n’ greet (or 17th May 2012 if you believe the rumours), the mouse will still find himself a temporary Meet Mickey Mouse location over in Frontierland.

Work has now started at the former Woody’s Roundup Village in the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area of the land, most recently used for the St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day celebrations, to create an intermediate version of the attraction. Although, that “work” so far mainly consists of cordoning off the entrances to the old Critter Corral area with what @InsideDLParis rightly captions these photos as “red and white caution tape that should never be used in a Disney Park”. Beautiful!

The original “Woody’s Roundup” signage and photo locations have now been entirely removed from the area (most taken away before Halloween/Christmas), to make it a more generic character spot, perhaps a rare example of Pixar characters being removed from a land.

Heavier construction work continues in Fantasyland, meanwhile, with latest visible progress from outside the theatre showing walls going up around each of the bay windows. These were previously spaces at the back of the theatre’s seating which could be opened up in warmer summer weather. Now, the window on the right will form the attraction’s entrance while that on the left will be used as the exit and part of the photo sales counter.

Meet Mickey Mouse construction (C) @InsideDLParis

More rich red gloss paint has also been applied to the façade, which has lost its Fantasy Festival Stage signage. As for the inside, we can reveal that the layout will largely stay true to its theatre origins. Guests will queue back and forth roughly along the former rows of seating, with the centrepiece being the stage itself, where a projection screen will be installed.

Following the queue line up into the theatre’s real backstage area, they will enter a vestibule area before finally encountering Magician Mickey Mouse himself, in his backstage dressing room, littered with props similar to those seen in his Florida meet ‘n’ greet. Exit will be via the left-hand side of the theatre, past the souvenir photo wall and sales area in the left bay. Numerous other details, accessories and “animated posters” will complete the attraction.

We can also confirm that “Magician” Mickey here really will employ some special magic tricks, allowing him to shorten the queue time by as much as two or three times, depending on attendance…

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 16th March 2012

Happy 10th Birthday, Walt Disney Studios Park! Ceremony sprinkles welcome glitz

Happy birthday, Walt Disney Studios Park! The second park at Disneyland Paris has celebrated its 10th anniversary today in a characteristically somewhat muted day of special events. That wasn’t going to stop the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors giving it their all, though. Following their stint as Frontiersmen for the rededication of the Molly Brown and gentlemen of the royal court for the inauguration of the Princess Pavilion, Osvaldo del Mistero and Régis Alart raided the costuming workshop once again with an eye on Hollywood glitz.

The result looks superb for such an intimate event: dancers, singers, boom mics and rolling cameras — not to mention Osvaldo, Régis and Mickey Mouse all looking like they’ve just stepped out of the Oscar-winning best picture The Artist. A special clapperboard has been decorated with “Walt Disney Studios 10 ans” — the “10” made out out of a celluloid film reel. It’s a welcome throwback to the kind of Hollywood-that-never-was glamour which the still sorely-missed CinéFolies streetsmosphere shows in this same Disney Studio 1 used to provide.

Inside, the park’s Cast Members are wearing special badges to mark the occasion. From a paltry 10 attractions at opening on 16th March 2002, the park has grown to count 17 attractions within its studio lots, six of which are entirely unique to the park. After a lacklustre opening which forced the resort into a second financial restructuring, the first seeds of change were only sown in 2007 with the Toon Studio Placemaking project and two new attractions, Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye.

Though additions such as Stitch Live! and Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! have sought to revitalise initially unpopular areas, the park has failed to see the implementation of any kind of wider improvement programme. Piecemeal, self-contained developments such as the colourful Toy Story Playland have continued to create pockets of Disney quality while other areas remain unappealing and lacking. The cold, windswept asphalt of Backlot has seen barely a single change since 2002, besides the half-hearted redecoration of Disney Blockbuster Café.

Nevertheless with its very first dark ride finally on the way in 2014, in the form of the world-exclusive and by all accounts state-of-the-art Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity! (rumoured working title), the whispers of further change continue to echo around these fictional soundstages. By the end of this decade, as it’s twentieth birthday nears, the second park might just be nearing a more complete park…

In the meantime, the park’s Cast Members gathered for a souvenir photo.

Dix ans — c’est dans la boîte!

VIA Ambassadeur Disneyland Paris, Disney Central Plaza (Facebook), @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Saturday, 10th March 2012

St David’s Welsh Festival underway with special day of music, costume and fireworks

Disney doesn’t have a Welsh dragon in its repertoire of characters, but Mushu is only too happy to get his face on the cover of today’s special programme for St David’s Welsh Festival, a three-day event happening at Disneyland Paris this weekend. Though the festival officially runs from the 9th to 11th this year, providing the perfect weekend package for visitors from Wales, the main day of events within Disneyland Park itself is today. The programme itself is similar to previous years, though with Meet Mickey Mouse seeing the end of Fantasy Festival Stage‘s days as an actual theatre, the traditional Welsh folk choir has been displaced to the somewhat less fitting Chaparral Theatre in Frontierland.

In fact, the whole Cottonwood Creek Ranch area has been overrun by green, red and white; now the base for face painting, the Waun Ddyfal Choir and meet ‘n’ greets with Mickey and Minnie in their very exclusive Welsh folk costumes, above; a real rarity for character spotters that you’ll only see here.


At 4.30pm, before the main Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, the traditional Welsh Festival pre-parade saw Mickey and Minnie travel down Main Street, U.S.A. in the bright red fire truck, decked out with Welsh flags, daffodils and leeks. In Disney Village, the avenue is filled with wooden market stalls selling all manner of Welsh crafts and merchandise. Then, as the park closes its gates at 10pm, the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle comes alive with the special firework display to mark the occasion… albeit over a week late — St David’s Day itself always falls on 1st March.

The event is somewhat of an oddity in the annual calendar of the resort; one of only three national holidays recognised by the parks, including St Patrick’s Day and the Bastille Day fireworks, yet nowhere near as globally recognised as either as those. Falling conveniently in early March, however, it no doubt helps to fill a gap in the year, drawing in coach trips and extra custom from Wales, providing something fresh before the new Disney year in Paris traditionally begins each April.

Last year, Disneyland in California held a similar series of events at its comparable Big Thunder Ranch under the Family Fun Weekends name, with some nice branding and design work that Disneyland Paris could do well to be inspired by for its own celebration days.

MORE PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 9th March 2012

“Do You Believe”, the new 20th Anniversary Celebration Train theme song – listen here!

Do you believe Disneyland Paris could have two brand new theme songs in a single 20th Anniversary year? You should — joining “Magic Everywhere” on the parade route from 1st April 2012 will be “Do You Believe”, a jazzy new chanson for Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train. After a year as the luminous Disney Dance Express, the old Character Express will return to its roots as a more conventional street cavalcade to transport the Disney characters up to Central Plaza. But alas, “Tous en Train”, the popular former soundtrack adapted from Tokyo Disneyland, which was remixed to breaking point with each consecutive re-theme of the train, is no more.

In its place, “Do You Believe” is a fresh new song by Scott Erickson, the go-to guy for Disney park entertainment songs who previously penned“Mickey’s Magical Party Time” for Disneyland Paris. Scott posted about the new music on his personal website in January, announcing: “I wrote a song with Valerie Vigoda that will be used in a character parade several times each day around the park. I’m always excited to get to work with my good friend, the music director at the park, Vasile Sirli!”

More of a self-contained song than the endlessly looped “Tous en Train”, the tune nevertheless follows all the regular conventions: overwrought “yeahs” and “oooh yeahs” over the opening, references to “it’s a small world after all” and making wishes upon stars. It’s bound to be a sensation.

Listen to the new song below and share your thoughts… Read More…

Sunday, 4th March 2012

Early 20th sparkle for Sleeping Beauty Castle as Peter Andre films new commercial

We all know 1992 as the year that saw Disneyland Paris open its gates, but what other tentative beginnings is that fateful year famous for? Why, the launch of British-born pop singer Peter Andre‘s career, when he released his first single in Australia, of course! Whether this was the smart thinking behind asking him to present what appears to be a new commercial for the 20th Anniversary, or the fact that he has more recently appeared in a string of ITV reality shows, remains to be seen, but Sleeping Beauty Castle was ready to put on an extra sparkle for his arrival yesterday.

The news spread on Twitter with Andre himself tweeting “Back at work today, filming my first ever TV commercial for Disneyland :)) it’s cold cold cold in Paris” in the early afternoon. After darkness fell, he posted the two photos featured here, showing him appearing with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Sulley in front of an illuminated castle, holding a 20th Anniversary-branded microphone. The anniversary logo was also projected onto the façade of the castle as spotlights criss-crossed the sky, creating quite a spectacle from Main Street, U.S.A. for regular guests.

Below, two Instagram photos shared by @pka13 of the filming and the castle, which was lit by the colour-changing embedded LED lights first installed for the Princess Aurora’s Christmas Wish show last year.

Since we’ve already seen numerous versions of the main TV advertising campaign for the anniversary, Peter Andre’s “commercial” filming will presumably be for a special one-off broadcast closer to the 1st April launch date itself, perhaps as part of a promotional segment within a TV show or as a one-of commercial spot. Meanwhile, Pat Sharp is still waiting for his call-back…

VIA @MrPeterAndre, @pka13 (Twitter)

Monday, 27th February 2012

20th Anniversary TV spots launch with Disney characters projected across Europe

Disneyland Paris has launched its TV advertising for the 20th Anniversary in the UK, beginning with 10-second teaser adverts that show an animated Peter Pan projected across London’s Big Ben. It’s all part of the campaign that sees various Disney characters miraculously appear on buildings and European landmarks, hinting at the effects to be experienced with Disney Dreams! from 1st April. These “tactical” spots, designed to create awareness and intrigue with their short running time, will later turn into full-blown 40-second TV spots nearer the launch date itself.

Meanwhile, following the earlier Spanish commercial, a new 30-second English trailer has appeared using different scenes and angles, as well as a much nicer endboard featuring the castle. Ending with “click here”, it appears to be intended for online video-on-demand players. Buzz Lightyear opens the advert, appearing on a modern skyscraper, while scenes in the park show Lightning McQueen flying through the sky and a computer-enhanced Soundsational Parade travelling down Anaheim’s Main Street. Well, Disneyland Paris adverts have never been ones for accuracy.





Watch the new English TV spot below… Read More…

Saturday, 18th February 2012

Sing along to “Magic Everywhere!” – Disneyland Paris’ new 20th Anniversary parade anthem

That awkward moment when… your shareholders’ Annual General Meeting is interrupted by a gang of 14 Disney characters and 10 dancers, jumping along to the latest high-energy parade number. Well, it has almost become an annual tradition! And so it was the shareholders, attending Friday’s meeting at the Disney’s Newport Bay Club Convention Centre, who got the very first listen to “Magic Everywhere!” — the new theme song for Disney Magic on Parade! and the 20th Anniversary as a whole.

Beginning “Yeah yeah yeah, celebrate the magic!”, the song, produced by Disneyland Paris music impresario Vasile Sirli, combines all the essential elements of a perfect Disney parade anthem. Rhyming couplets, references to storybooks, twinkly “pixie dust” sounds, it’s all there. The song also makes specific reference to “celebrating 20 years of joy and laughter”. Luckily for those unable to attend the meeting, the first play was captured on video (embedded below). What are your first impressions?

Accompanying the song, the small show also gave the audience a first look at the new “sorcerer”-themed costumes for Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale, Goofy and Pluto, as well as the new Blue Fairy who will help open the refreshed parade.

Video featuring “Magic Everywhere!” and full lyrics follow… Read More…

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