Regaining interest since the death of its lead earlier this year, the short film will return to its original home in Disneyland, California, for a “limited engagement” from February 2010.
Since this rumour first appeared, and especially since these plans were confirmed, fans of the other international resorts have obviously been questioning whether ‘EO’ could also, even temporarily, replace ‘HISTA’ in their home park.
Now, Disneyland Paris have given their answer. As confirmed by the press department in Le Journal and reported by Photos Magiques on Twitter, Captain EO will not be returning to Marne-la-Vallée.
Original CinéMagique: Captain EO entrance.
The 3-D special effects attraction originally played in Paris from opening day on 12th April 1992 up to 17th August 1998, when it closed to become Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (HISTA). On this date, Disneyland Paris was the last park in the world you could see the film — it having closed elsewhere over a year earlier and at Epcot over 4 years earlier.
Starring Michael Jackson in a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced by George Lucas and featuring music by James Horder, it was one of the flagships of Michael Eisner’s arrival at the company when it premiered in the US parks in 1986. In Paris, the attraction was actually named CinéMagique, a variation on the “Magic Eye Theater” of California, making the resort perhaps the only one to have had two completely different yet identically-named attractions in its history.
With Honey, I Shrunk the Audience hardly doing a roaring trade over the back of Discoveryland, opening such limited hours as 11am to 6pm during the Summer high season, it remains to be seen what all-new replacement will eventually come about for the tired 3-D film. Rumours on MiceAge.com have suggested the limited-time showing of ‘EO’ in California could be followed by the arrival of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a living character show (think Stitch Live!) from Florida’s Magic Kingdom. Could this be rolled out to ourselves and Tokyo? That’d still leave the problem of Epcot’s theatre.
In any case, Paris will likely have to wait for the other resorts to make their move in replacing HISTA first. It doesn’t appear to be much of a priority and, with the Californians now buying time with a nostalgia trip, this firm “non, merci” to EO‘s return means Wayne Szalinski will likely be winning Inventor of the Year a good few more times yet — even if there’s hardly any Audience left to shrink.
As 2010 and the opening of Toy Story Playland draws nearer, we’ve no doubt all begun to wonder what will become of the other Toy Story outlets across the hub. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Woody’s Roundup and the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade float will all stay for a good while yet, but what about that forgotten corner… that quick tie-in from back in 1997, when Disneyland Paris jumped (rather slowly) on the Toy Story bandwagon? Will it finally be put out into the yard sale?
Far from it. The Pizza Burger could be about to stage a comeback. According to Fab’, a Cast Member posting on Disney Central Plaza, the dated Pizza Planet restaurant in Disneyland Park may well soon be offering a new menu concept with one interesting resort-wide exclusive: unlimited drinks.
Stating that they had taken part in a study about changes to the counter service location, the member suggests that the menu price would be elevated to around €15, with starter, main, dessert and that unlimited drink all included.
At the same time, it seems the tired décor could be in line for changes, too. But no removal of Woody and Buzz — no return to the Discoveryland of visionaries and science fiction. No, the theme will apparently “still be based on Toy Story“. So a higher price, a quick fix-up here and there, and has a perfect cash-in for next year’s New Generation Festival and the release of Toy Story 3 been found?
Wondering why this place, very faintly based on the far more wondrous Pizza Planet of the original Toy Story film, is housed within a badly-concealed tent just beyond the berm? It was originally an exhibition space as part of the Space Festival in 1995 and 1996, tied into the Space Mountain opening, but was craftily repurposed the following year to fill a need for more counter service provision. All a far cry from the lavish Vulcania restaurant which was originally meant to sit at the other end of the land, opposite were Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is now.
No dates have been set since this is still to be taken as a pure rumour, but it does come just after Toy Story characters apparently began to make appearances at the restaurant once again. It’s just unfortunate that, even if they make it less of a hole, it’ll soon be on completely the wrong side of the resort to where it needs to be…
Well yes, quite a lot obviously. Just shows you shouldn’t go wandering into the Adventure Isle caves just before park closing… it’s been four long months!
If you’ve been similarly deprived of Disneyland Resort Paris news, given up trying to translate what they’re saying on the French forums, sit back and enjoy a quick and concise round-up of all the big stories of recent months — here we go!
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S BLING
Was it coincidence that updates here ended just about the time that Sleeping Beauty Castle succumbed to its most horrific, misguided meddling-with to date?
The birthday cake, the jester’s hat, the Epcot wand, the MGM hat… you’ve met your match. There truly aren’t enough negative adjectives in the dictionary.
— — —
MAGICAL PARTY LAUNCHES WITH MEGA-PARTY
‘You’re invited!’ …but not to this. Press and media types were schmoozed in spectacular fashion as new theme year Mickey’s Magical Party kicked off with fireworks, projections, lights and so many characters they couldn’t even all fit on the damn stage.
Did it generate headlines, articles, media coverage? No.
— — —
ACTUAL PARTY GROWS ON FANS
Frustratingly-titled new Central Plaza show ‘It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends’ initially looked rather like a drab flop on an overbearing and unnecessary new stage, but it has grown on most fans. The score by Vasile Sirli is actually plain fantastic (especially considering the lacklustre music in the year’s other new shows) and it provides a fresh, colourful heart for the year.
Over in Discoveryland, the other show with an annoying name — ‘It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland’ — brought delights such as large, primary-coloured circles on the floor of a retro-futuristic land, and the expertly-chosen hits of Block Party Bash.
Despite the show being considered terrible on every level by most who’ve seen it, the performers put so much effort and energy into their routine they each almost deserve a window on Main Street.
Beyond the forced MMP hoopla over the other side of the esplanade, Walt Disney Studios Park gained a brand new attraction — its fifth addition since opening — in ‘Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!’. Jolly good fun it is too — wonderfully staged, very charming. The Paris version even has a “1 Up” on the two earlier versions with a big new pre-show studio.
Changing its name to ‘Restaurant des Stars’, the far too interestingly-named ‘Rendez-Vous des Stars Restaurant’ gained a new logo, some new colours and a new entrance canopy.
— — —
DUDE LOOKS LIKE A FIRE!
In a quite bizarre coincidence, just days after fans launched an online April Fool suggesting Aerosmith would be succeeded by French rocker Johnny Hallyday as musical guests at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, a fire began in the roof of the showbuilding.
Luckily the damage was minor — though it did allow for these dramatic photos (below) as the inspection crews ripped off the cladding, checked and replaced it. The attraction reopened just the next day.
— — —
SMEE GIVEN SURGERY
Captain Hook’s bumbling first mate was given a random makeover by the worldwide Disney Parks character team and, unlike most famous faces, he returned from the cosmetic surgery with a face more expressive than before. Remarkable.
Hopefully they’ll tackle some of the clearly worse-looking characters next, like the dead-eyed Woody, Jessie and Buzz…
— — —
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PARTY!
Now back for a third year, the Studios’ High School Musical show this year gained musical numbers from the third film but stopped short of going for the full ‘HSM3’ show the other resorts put on. ‘I Want it all’ is the standout number, but one that certainly won’t win over any new fans.
The ‘Smoking Areas’ inside the parks had been extended little beyond their miniature park map icons, so it’s reassuring to see that each area now has its own themed sign, tied into the location. Give it a few years and the public might actually use them.
— — —
STUDIO STORE OPENS UP
Behind construction walls last time we saw it, the Walt Disney Studios Store has now been completed, with three new doors and payment desks in front of new, large windows.
— — —
Main Street has always had the best-kept exteriors of the entire park, always popping with a fresh bit of paint here or there. A new development in recent years are the nice tarpaulin coverings given images of the building hiding behind. Even for tiny spots like this one on the end of The Storybook Store, the hidden façade is still presented on top.
— — —
PLAZA GARDENS GLEAMS
After a major refurbishment of the interior, including bringing the central fountain back to daily life, the whole Plaza Gardens Restaurant building was wrapped in themed tarps for an expensive top-to-bottom refurbishment and repaint. It didn’t stand out as being particularly bad before, there are other areas needing paint sooner, but it does look fantastic.
— — —
STUDIO 1 REFURBISHMENT CONTINUES
Over the hub, it’s surprising to see that the refurbishment of Disney Studio 1 continues, the huge centrepiece building of the park still wrapped up in scaffolding. Must be a bigger job than originally thought, right?
— — —
FLOORS OF ADVENTURE, DISCOVERY
Tripped up in Disneyland Park recently? No wonder, some of the concrete pathways are literally falling to pieces. Thankfully, the first resurfacing works seen for many years have been taking place, with areas of Adventure Isle and vast swathes of Discoveryland closed off and given new flooring, the effect — especially just in front of Space Mountain — very noticeably making the whole land look brand new.
— — —
TENNIS, MICE, MAIN STREET
Some of the resort’s press and advertising efforts have been surprisingly inventive this year, like this — turning the top of Main Street into a full-size tennis court and inviting Gaël Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka to play with Mickey Mouse.
Just a few days later, Serena Williams visited the park and was met in front of the Castle by Minnie Mouse, wearing a special tennis player costume.
— — —
Effectively the biggest change of the past few months, the news in April and subsequent official changeover in May that has seen ‘Disneyland Resort Paris’ — the resort’s name since the 2002 opening of Walt Disney Studios Park — change back to just plain ‘Disneyland Paris’.
It certainly makes sense — the extra word was always unpopular, confusing to non-English speakers and now, with every park from Alton Towers to your local fairground claiming itself as a “Resort”, it simply doesn’t have any value. “Disneyland Resort Paris” is cumbersome and never spoken, “Disneyland Paris” is short and very strong. Whilst things like the official website have changed over, don’t expect this to be an overnight transition — the new (or rather, old) logo will reappear just as and when things need replacing.
Unfortunately, this decision — made by new CEO Philippe Gas himself — came in April, just weeks after the resort had launched a whole new brand campaign for the theme year. These traditionally start in April, and everything from Cast Member name tags to park tickets and guidemaps had already been printed up with the full “Disneyland Resort Paris” name. Smart name reversal, silly timing.
There’s also a whole myriad of logo variations now available (above). Which should be used, when? The standard logo is being presented as two-colour, with the “Paris” in a gold gradient that already looks rather dated.
— — —
BURNING FIRES, FLOWING WATERS
Tasked with bringing back old and forgotten effects, a new “taskforce” within the resort’s maintenance department has been one of the most positive steps in recent months. We already appear to have seen some brilliant reawakened touches, such as the torches on Fort Comstock at the entrance to Frontierland (lit from nightfall)…
And the water channels leading to the drinking fountains beside La Cabane des Robinson.
Whilst a long way short of having the full irrigation system working again (water should be hoisted right up to the top of the tree by the water wheel, before being poured out and running through the channels back to ground level), it’s great to think someone took the time to figure this out.
Elsewhere, these moving fairground balloons inside Boardwalk Candy Palace have been back working again, for the first time in years.
— — —
CAFE DE LA BROUSSE
Mostly sitting closed, Café de la Brousse has never the less just had a large-scale refurbishment completed, bringing colour back to the “bush café” buildings. Dole is presented heavily as the host, but still no one thinks of bringing the legendary Dole Whip to Paris!
— — —
DISNEY VILLAGE NOW ‘COOL’
So. It took a Starbucks to make Disney Village “hip” again.
Yes, it meant losing the wonderful Buffalo Trading Co. and inviting a quite equally despised/appreciated corporation into a Disney-branded area, but the coffeehouse itself was built using genuinely eco-friendly ideas and looks really quite trendy inside, with a wonderfully modern exterior — industrial elements clashing beautifully with earthy materials.
— — —
ROSES PAINTED RED, FINALLY!
The on-off refurbishment of Alice’s Curious Labyrinth — with little areas regaining sparkle each month or so — has continued, the Paris-exclusive attraction even seeing… new paint! The red edgings of the entire labyrinth have finally been repainted, a year after similar edgings on the Fantasyland-Discoveryland path received paint before them, and scenes like the Caterpillar suddenly “pop” like they should again:
— — —
ROBINSONS RETURN TO LA CABANE
Also brought back to life this Summer is La Cabane des Robinson, previously the only other “blackspot” alongside the Labyrinth. For too long the treehouse has been bleak and worn. Props missing, effects broken, no colour. It was as if the Robinsons had long ago moved on from their treetop abode. Not any more — refreshed woodwork, new props and a complete clean-up really make it “pop”. Effects like the self-playing organ are still missing.
Even the water fountains were revisited and given an extra spruce-up:
— — —
WOODCARVER’S WORKSHOP RE-OPENS
Not entirely the amazing news that might suggest, but nevertheless the long-abandoned Woodcarver’s Workshop over in Cottonwood Creek Ranch, next to what is now Woody’s Roundup, has finally been brought back into service — selling drinks and souvenir photos from the character meet ‘n’ greets inside.
A long way from the actual woodcarvers who used to create personalised souvenirs here, but good to see it alive and well in some form, eh?
— — —
ENCHANTED FIREWORKS DAMPENED AGAIN
The Enchanted Fireworks have returned for their second year — dampened again in similar style to the later shows last year, when the nearby town of Chessy apparently banged on the wall and issued a loud “shhh”. Fans, and even apparently some regular guests, aren’t too impressed with the “new” show.
— — —
ATTRACTION OPEN 12:00 – 12:05
The same limited opening schedule of attractions put in place last Summer has returned again this year, with visitors taking much more notice. Some say it’s fair enough that they have to close attractions early, since most people have headed to Main Street to watch Fantillusion, whilst others leave annoyed that the park’s advertised opening time of 10am to 11pm isn’t strictly true.
Most agree that the whole situation would be better if the limited openings schedule was at least published somewhere other than only at the attraction entrances themselves — on the tips board, in the Programme leaflet, for example.
— — —
GOOGLE EARTH 3D: WORTH THE WAIT
The much-publicised and subsequently much-delayed official 3D recreation of Disneyland Paris in Google Earth finally launched in mid-May and proved to be well worth the wait, offering a truly spectacular metre-by-metre recreation of every inch of the parks and resort. Visit www.disneylandparis.com/googleearth3d and lose a few hours.
A few days later, Google Street View was also added for small stretches of each park:
— — —
BROCHURE TESTS THE LIMITS
Have you seen the brochures and advertising for Walt Disney World? How grand and high-class it all looks. For Paris, however, the brochures in particular seem to be getting ever more garish and in-your-face with each publication. The latest, current brochure for Autumn/Winter 2009/10 features some truly frightening images of blurred children flying above the parks, with so much photoshopping and saturated colour you can barely see the resort they’re trying to advertise.
The actual, printed version also comes with a bizarre claim on the cover of “First ever interactive brochure”. Beyond the cut-out on the cover (Mickey is actually on the page behind), the only evidence of this is a French (+33) mobile number you can text to get a video trailer of the new theme year. Several weeks later, nothing received here.
— — —
VAT REDUCTION? VAT CHANCE
The French government has officially lowered the VAT rate for cafés and restaurants from 19.6% to just 5.5% in order to keep the industry afloat, and, while you’ll certainly find many notifications of this within the resort, you’ll be much harder pressed to actually find reductions.
Whilst some things, especially the Half Board vouchers, have come down in price, most scenarios have just seen the prices stay the same and Disneyland Paris pocketing the difference in order to prop up the large drop in food and beverage sales this year — mostly on account of the prices being too high during a recession. Good thinking.
— — —
ICE CREAM ARRIVES ON-SET
Walt Disney Studios Park must have been the only theme park in the world without a proper ice cream location until the latest change in its food & beverages offering. The Franklin Department Store façade (similar to the exterior of Gone Hollywood at DCA, international fans) gave up its wonderful 1950s-themed period window to become a new kiosk serving actual, real Ben & Jerry’s by the scoop.
The lost window was more interesting than the one remaining, featuring a mannequin woman sitting with a 1950s travel magazine, retro television and monster/sci-fi movie poster. The Tower of Terror across the way has such a minimal build-up in Paris that small period-setting details like this really mattered — the Imagineers would have put an ice cream kiosk in there from the start otherwise.
Couldn’t such a vital theme park component as ice cream have commanded its own building somewhere? Rather than expanding, the park almost seems to be imploding, with under-sized kiosks popping up all over where real, full-size boutiques and restaurants should be. More than anything, one single serving window for this in such a prominent position is madness.
— — —
BLOCKBUSTERS IN THE BACKLOT
Over in Backlot, the big news has been the complete gutting of Backlot Express, the “props warehouse” counter service restaurant, in favour of the more brand-friendly idea of themed rooms dedicated to the Pirates of the Caribbean and High School Musical franchises. The changeover began with the arrival of a plain Ford Focus outside the restaurant, plastered with “HSM3” stickers…
The new logo has been completed on the outside…
And as for the inside? Well, real props from these two trilogies have yet to appear, with the High School Musical area causing much fan hair-tearing already with its “themeing” of bland posters, banners and mini basketballs (taken from merchandise). The “East High” theme does sit well within the building, but this isn’t anything someone with a good printer could set up themselves. Are there not even any costumes from the film lying around over in Burbank?
Beyond the “torn bedsheets” (as described by magicforum members) hanging from the ceiling, the ‘Pirates’ area has defied the odds and just presented the first real surprise of this project — the removal of the metal railings of the raised “garage” area to be replaced with pirate ship-styled wooden banisters and a full ship’s wheel.
— — —
TELEVISION STUDIOS GOES ’50s
…Or is that wishful thinking? With a long-overdue repaint of the Walt Disney Television Studios building (home to Playhouse and Stitch Live) finally beginning back in April and only just making real progress, have the maintenance teams really taken a step back and reconsidered the building, rather than just bursting ahead with the same ugly yellows the original designers chose in 2002?
Yes, it seems so! The architecture was already within the period, but the colours didn’t quite fit. Now, a deep red has replaced the turquoise on the “fins” atop the building, with the yellow turning a much more earthy, peachy shade, in whole much closer to a 1950s Hollywood look and more pleasing next to the subdued tones of the Hollywood Tower Hotel just opposite.
— — —
ANIMAGIQUE KIOSK MARK II
The bland merchandise kiosk which appeared outside Animagique in 2007 now has a partner. Filling in dead space on the right of the same TV Studios building, this little location opened just this week, using the new colour scheme and dressed up in a pleasingly similar style of fins and neons.
Photo: Sean Hamilton
In any other Disney park, such a location would be given a name or some kind of personality (think Crossroads of the World at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). It offers the usual generic collection of character merchandise.
— — —
ROCKEFELLER PLAZA REBORN
Could this be the start of a new era for the environs of Disney’s Hotel New York? The Rockefeller Plaza building, a dull games arcade for far too long, has finally reopened as a lovely café refreshments location for the Summer.
— — —
MICKEY SWINGS INTO — AND ONTO — BUFFALO BILL’S
It was the controversy of the year — nay, the decade — and now it looks like Mickey Mouse has made home. The not-so-great poster previously stuck on the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show entrance has just been replaced by a large model of Mickey Mouse abseiling down over the building.
Whilst it looks much smarter now, it has fans worried that the mouse may well be there to stay. On the subject of the show itself, the current Summer park programme leaflets are now advertising Adult tickets for the price of Child tickets. In high season? Maybe adding a mouse wasn’t the best way to sell the scale of this truly epic dinner show.
— — —
FASTPASS FOR MONEY
This one must be the second-biggest controversy of the year, then. In itself not a huge thing by any means, this could however be the first step of a huge shift in how Fastpass works. From 18th July to 4th August, guests staying at Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York and, it seems, Disney’s Newport Bay Club, can buy a special “Premium FASTPASS” for €80 per person per day.
The ticket is effectively a VIP FASTPASS, the unlimited-access ticket previously given only to guests in Club rooms and Suites, allowing you to use the FASTPASS queues for attractions as and when you want, as many times as you want to.
— — —
STUDIO 1 REFURBISHMENT CONTINUES
— — —
GOOFY’S SUMMER CAMP
Somewhere you won’t find Mickey this year is the new show at The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland. Yes, since we last updated the topic, The Tarzan Encounter was cancelled again — for good.
This new show is somewhat like the Summer cousin to the brilliant Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, only scuppered by a desperation for audience interaction, with too few scenes between. However, with a live country band as the big “plus” to replace the Winter ice rink, a great stage and some nice musical numbers, it’s winning more fans than certain other shows this year, and much more fitting for its location than Tarzan ever was.
— — —
MAIN STREET COMES ALIVE WITH MARCHING BAND
Last seen making brief appearances last Summer on the old Central Plaza Stage, the brass band has returned! Now performing a brilliant set of Disney music (even including Hans Zimmer’s Pirates score!) on Town Square, this is the kind of classic Disneyland entertainment we rarely see in Paris, so enjoy! The only problem — no one, not the makers of the park programme, nor the Cast Members inside City Hall, appear to have been given their performance schedule.
— — —
CARL’S HOUSE FLIES OVER FRANCE
The real-life version of the balloon-lifted house from Pixar’s next — and 10th — major hit, “Up”, travelled over to France recently and, amongst appearing in some truly spectacular hot air balloon festivals, paid a visit to Disneyland Paris early one morning.
— — —
Who’d have known — the Sleeping Beauty fountain inside the Castle gallery was actually meant to trickle down into the waterfall below, beside the staircase, as one, complete water system! Now, after truly years of being turned off and ignored, it’s fixed and running. The “crystal” at the bottom of the falls glows, too!
Wonderful. Utmost appreciation to whoever made this happen.
What’s more surprising — that, for once, a Disneyland Resort Paris television commercial features the actual locations and landmarks of the Parisian park, not Florida or California’s, or that, to achieve such a visual, the production crew apparently headed all the way to South Africa, taking those kitsch costumes and Stitch’s brand new DJ podium with them?
Still, with a spot of green-screen special effects, you’d never know, and the sun is almost guaranteed… unlike Paris. And so, here it is — the large, colourful, apparently jet-powered podium which will roll into Discoveryland for the new show It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, Stitch standing atop scratching up the dance tracks on a set of mixing decks.
The podium is like a small parade float in its construction, expected not to remain in Discoveryland all day long but to only roll into the land specifically for each show time, similar to the High School Musical shows at Walt Disney Studios Park.
You’ll notice those circular shapes with different coloured quarters all over it, too — as mentioned in several previous articles, guests will be invited to step onto the circular dance mats shown above and follow the colour-coded dance steps. Quite how these will be announced to a multi-lingual audience remains to be seen, but the bright primary colours certainly won’t be easily missed amongst the bronze and turquoise tones of Discoveryland.
So, has the new advert revealed the location of the show, too? Almost certainly not — well, not unless the Entertainment department are planning to bring complete chaos to the land by blocking a main thoroughfare and the entrance to Space Mountain: Mission 2. It’s likely this location was simply chosen because it looks so good on camera.
Will it go over by Star Tours as rumoured then? Don’t be too sure of that either — the fences were taken down just this weekend to reveal…
…a relayed floor. Brighter, no longer full of holes — yes. But no clues whatsoever that this is where the show will be presented. Keep watching this space (and preparing your dance moves), Stitch fans…
Is this an advance preview of what we can expect when ‘It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland‘ premieres on 4th April 2009? This week, several fans spotted a film shoot taking place just outside Videopolis in the land, looking very likely to be a TV spot or trailer for Mickey’s Magical Party.
Featuring Stitch, two children and a group of dancers, the filming last Tuesday, 17th February saw the group dancing to the cameras as a crowd of regular park guests watched, caught on camera by DisneyGazette:
Stitch wore an orange baseball cap, whilst the dancers appeared in some wonderfully kitsch new pink and blue costumes we’ve not yet seen before — the final costumes for ‘It’s Dance Time’, perhaps? Well, space-age chic is certainly more fitting for the location than the hip-hop street style we might have expected…
That this filming in Paris will become the final TV advertisement can’t be guaranteed yet, however — the two commercials for the 15th Anniversary and The Celebration Continues were both filmed in the USA and produced by the same team as Walt Disney World’s TV spots. Filming did take place in Paris just over a year ago, but only became the rather poor “Happy Day” trailer we saw on a few Disney DVDs.
Even more interesting, though, is the review of events on the Mousekingdom Blog, which actually does link in well with this being a TV spot for the new celebration — and its theme of invitations arriving by balloon.
Photo: Mousekingdom Blog
“In a first scene one can see the children, a young girl and boy, attached with ropes on a metal pole,” Mousekingdom writes. “Two crew members would lift the pole up, leaving the two children hoovering above the street. Once the word “action” came from the director the crew moves forward putting the children down, back on their feet.”
So, can we expect that, rather than the animated red carpet knocking on children’s doors to invite them to Disneyland, the children will this year be flying directly into the park using those colourful balloons we’ve seen everywhere, landing perfectly at each of the new events?
It emerged last year that The Legend of the Lion King at Videopolis Theatre could be heading into the park’s entertainment archive perhaps sooner than we expected. And so it did — for now, at least — going on what the American Disney Parks often call “hiatus” since 4th January 2009.
Just this week, however, there are suggestions from some — apparently including the African Tam Tam players, who now have the stage all to themselves this Winter — that the show will return, as a high season-only affair, possibly from as early as May onwards.
Another, arguably even more popular large-scale entertainment production hasn’t been so lucky. It has now been confirmed that The Tarzan Encounter will NOT return to The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland this year at all. The entire production has been cancelled just this week, and the show will not see its tenth season play out in 2009 as planned.
The Tarzan Encounter has remained the most popular live stage show at the resort, possibly only beaten by its snowy cousin Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, which continues to play until March, performing to a huge audience of 1,350 guests in the resort’s second-largest park show space after the Moteurs… Action! arena (capacity 3,000).
So, whilst The Legend of the Lion King has been suspended mostly due to the very limited capacity of Videopolis’ theatre seating not making budgetary sense for the entertainment department to continue running the expensive show 5 days a week for just a few hundred guests, why cancel a second show, for an entire year?
If we’re to believe the latest information from posted online, the entertainment department had a decision to make — a very last-minute one, apparently. The Mickey’s Magical Party event ‘It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland‘ was originally only due to be performed on five days each week. By cancelling The Tarzan Encounter, it can now be a full 7-days-a-week production.
A strange decision, if true, since the cost of running Tarzan versus two extra days of DJ Stitch must be slightly imbalanced — not to mention it being unlikely that that same 1,350 people who could see each Chaparral Theater show will be able to crowd around the outdoor location of the dance-along in the streets of Discoveryland…
It’s a bad announcement for many fans, then, but not necessarily for those still holding out hopes that a water-based attraction along the lines of Splash Mountain could one day arrive at the back of Frontierland as originally planned. Rumour has it this cancellation will also allow preparatory work for a new attraction where The Chapparal Theater currently stands.
Though yes, true, we’ve had such unlikely things happening as a jungle ape-man on-stage in an American Old West setting, Euro Disney SCA going ahead with a hugely expensive new attraction in Frontierland would be pushing the believability scale a little too far for now… wouldn’t it?
Certainly the most ambiguous visual of the lot, this one might take some extra explanation. It’s Dance Time will be an outdoor street show in Discoveryland — the land’s first for over a decade, perhaps? — somewhat in the same vein as the High School Musical shows over at Walt Disney Studios Park.
How exactly? Because, several times a day, DJ Stitch will roll out into the land aboard an apparently jet-powered set of mixing decks, styled to look similar to his rocket ship from Lilo & Stitch (as also seen at the end of Stitch Live!). Therefore, there won’t be a permanent stage for this event but a designated area of the land — as yet, not confirmed — that will be covered in brightly coloured dance mats.
The inspiration here is clearly the home video games such as “Dance Dance Revolution”, with the audience then invited to step up onto one of the mats and follow Stitch’s directions to dance along to the contemporary music.
In French, the show will be known as ‘Place à la Danse… à Discoveryland’:
As you’ve no doubt already guessed, this new daily entertainment event is hardly going to be a winner for those fans of the “true” Discoveryland. It seems unlikely there’ll be any reference to the great dance moves of the visionaries such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and the searing colours of the logo above will likely allow those same Discovery fans to even forgive Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast entirely for any wrongdoing.
But, pitched against the land’s often bizarre history for live entertainment, it is a better match than African animals or Californian beach festivals… isn’t it?
Whether you’re convinced or not, Mickey Mouse seems to be happy with the preparations. After taking a look at Minnie’s concept art for the new Party Train, he hopped over to the Radio Disney studios — housed in those infamous areas at the back of Videopolis which were meant to connect to Discovery Mountain — to hear Stitch’s rehearsals…
With the red mixing decks dotted with bolts and a view of Space Mountain through the Nautilus-inspired window, these scenes are almost worthy of the fans’ Discoveryland seal-of-approval… were it not for the grey skies, dirty glass and reflections!
Stitch won’t be alone for this show, though — it has been revealed that the little blue alien will bring along a special dance troupe to help get each show going and encourage the audience to take part. Auditions have been held alongside those for this year’s High School Musical show, particularly pushing for dancers with “street and hip hop” ability.
Here’s the casting notice:
The Talent Casting Department are organising auditions for the positions in the stage show: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ON TOUR!, IT’S PARTY TIME… WITH MICKEY AND FRIENDS and IT’S DANCE TIME… IN DISCOVERYLAND.
It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, good jazz technique, strong stage presence, knowledge of hip hop/street dance is a plus, girls should be 5’4 – 5’7 and boys should be 5’7 – 6’0.
Jules Verne must be spinning, grinding and bopping in his grave…!
Installed just last week at Café Hyperion in Discoveryland’s Videopolis entertainment centre, these two new “Electro-Matic” vehicles are part turn-of-the-century Main Street vehicle, part Jules Verne invention. Their simple function? Toppings bars for the fast food restaurant’s burgers.
When the “toppings bar” idea was first introduced (or re-introduced, if long-time fans are correct) to Café Hyperion, the ingredients were laid out on simple tables decorated only with fabric tablecloths. The idea was obviously a hit, but Disneyland would never settle for something as simple as a table…
The two new vehicles, custom-built to hold everything from tomato ketchup to salad, each feature their own unique design. One, with red wheel covers, holds luggage in a tall storage compartment — perhaps for a flight on the Hyperion airship above. The other, with yellow wheel guards, has a giant petrol tank of some sort atop its body — refuelling the dirigible, perhaps?
Both are decorated with authentic wood panelling, bronze fronts and golden edges, with perfect “Videopolis teal” colours to fit seamlessly into the environment. Café Hyperion logos and symbols in various forms are even emblazoned across both, along with lightning symbols between the wheels on each side.
The dashboards feature lightning balls connected together by metallic pipes, every detail a refreshing throwback to the kind of retro-futuristic props previously seen in the pre-show room of Le Visionarium.
After years of changes to land which apparently sought to make it more “relevant” and up-to-date, rather than a convincing, largely period-specific themed land, these two new restaurant props/service vehicles are a very welcome addition, but their quality is not all that surprising.
After all, recent restaurant Imagineering projects brought us the beautifully-themed L’Arbre Enchanté food kiosk, the well-placed Coolpost in Adventureland and — most closely related to this — the Coca-Cola Delivery Truck, one of the first completely new Main Street vehicles introduced anywhere in the world for years.
Did they simply surface through some kind of hole in the space-time continuum, or are the Electro-Matics signalling a new, more precise (retro-)future for Discoveryland?
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.