Tuesday, 27th March 2012

Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train bursts onto parade route for soft openings

Have your sunglasses at the ready, folks! No, not for the glorious weather we’re enjoying in this corner of Europe, but for the first “soft opening” arrivals of Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train, which began at 11.30am today and continue all week. And there it is — in all its day-glo splendour. If you can believe it, it’s even brighter than the publicity image. The whole train has been resprayed from pistons to chimney in a complete rainbow of colours. This was not a moment of artistic restraint.

On-board, the characters wear their new 20th Anniversary costumes, inspired by Mickey’s classic Sorcerer’s Apprentice guise but coloured with more wild, day-glo shades. Chip, Dale and their female friend Clarice led the first wagon, followed by Minnie, Donald and Daisy in the middle, then Goofy and Pluto bringing up the rear. New additions to the design of the train include a ’20” on each wagon and Tinker Bell atop the chimney, guiding the train.

Disney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train (C) @InsideDLParisDisney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train (C) @InsideDLParis

The train was quickly described as “garish” on forums, and that could be perfectly accurate. But you know what — and perhaps not setting the bar high here — it might actually be the best revision of this event to date, since the original Disney Characters’ Express. While that started out with a fairly classy blue, white and gold train, it was modified here and there in subsequent years to become a real mish-mash of a design with little artistic direction nor anything that really tied it together.

At least this year the train has been stripped back and completely resprayed, giving a uniform look to the whole event. This is helped by restricting the invite list to only the “VIP” characters, wearing new costumes which actually match the colours of the train, rather than their clashing everyday gear. And, rather than continuing to remix “Tous en Train” to infinity, we’ve got a whole new song in “Do You Believe” (which you can listen to here). The whole vision is such a spectacularly jarring contrast with the quaint cobblestones of Main Street, U.S.A. that maybe it just works.

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Saturday, 21st January 2012

Disney Characters All Star Party Express to return… as 20th Anniversary Celebration Train


Time for lemonade and Cracker Jacks, Casey Junior’s back, Casey Junior’s back!” — You didn’t think he’d miss the 20th Anniversary, did you? Yes, the endlessly reincarnated train, last seen as the Disney Dance Express, will return again from April 2012!

At least this time, for the first time since his return as the Disney Characters’ Express five years ago, Disneyland Paris decided against giving him “new attraction” billing in the brochure. Too busy ramping the colour saturation up to “maximum”, perhaps.

Your thoughts?

Friday, 25th February 2011

Disney All Stars Express departs this weekend for Magical Moments ‘Dance’ makeover

Disney All Stars Express

You’ve only just over two weeks to enjoy the Disney New Generation Festival that began way back on 2nd April 2010 at Disneyland Paris, but if the one draw for you is Disney All Stars Express, better get to the park extra quick. The new park programme published today (PDF) confirms the colourful character train will be departing a little early — it’s final roll up Main Street will be this Sunday, 27th February — presumably to allow for its transformation into Disney Dance Express — the, er, “new” event due to begin on 6th April for Disney Magical Moments Festival. In all likelihood, if you’ve wanted to see this mini character meet ‘n’ greet parade you’ll have done so already. This is now the fourth time we’ve seen the extended parade float depart for a new look, from its origins as a Wonderful World of Disney Parade float to the Disney Characters’ Express, Minnie’s Party Train and this current Disney All Stars Express.

However, if rumours are to be believed, Disney Dance Express could be a slightly different event to what we’ve become accustomed. Music is rumoured to be taken from Walt Disney World’s “Move It! Shake It!! Celebrate It!!! Street Party” — not we presume yet another remix of “Tous en train” — and those meet ‘n’ greet scrums could be a thing of the past as the train turns into more of a moving show stage, with a live host. So, it’s “goodbye” but definitely “à bientôt!” again.

In the meantime, the gap left in the timetable will be filled this week by a cavalcade of characters titled “Good Morning, Disney New Generation” at 11.15am, 12.15pm and 1.15pm.

Friday, 21st January 2011

First character details for Magical Moments Festival events leak out

Our third “theme year” in a row doesn’t actually have any definable theme like the current New Generation, but Disney Magical Moments Festival beginning 6th April will bring to the parks a new trend of character “happenings”, as they’re awkwardly translated. According to Character Central Blog, even Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade won’t be free from a little Magical Moments “plussing”, with six new costumes including a swarm of bees behind the Winnie the Pooh unit and a new interactive show stop which will invite children to step up and don small costumes to dance with the characters (or for Toy Story, run around with stick horses resembling Bullseye) — a similar idea to that which greeted the launch of The Wonderful World of Disney Parade in 1998.

Replacing the rather good Disney Showtime Spectacular on Central Plaza Stage will be another creation of the random Disney show name generator, Mickey’s Magical Celebration, this year said to feature a more classic range of characters such as Merlin, the Fairy Godmother, the Three Good Fairies and Mickey in two different costumes (surely including that Sorcerer outfit, rarely seen in Paris), with just one performance daily each evening. Interestingly the Genie will apparently appear as a real “face” character, something only seen before at the Disney California Adventure stage musical. More conventional will be the fourth (yes, really) reworking of the park’s Casey Jr. parade train, to this year be known as Disney Dance Express and exclusively feature the VIP team of Mickey, Minnie and friends. Rather than stopping for meet ‘n’ greets, however, the train is this year said to be stopping for a live show in the middle of Main Street akin to Magic Kingdom’s “Move It! Shake It!! Celebrate It!!! Street Party” — with fewer exclamation marks but still a live human host, dancers and possibly imported music.

On the subject of those “happenings”, Character Central has no word on the Peter Pan event but does report that a Jungle Book event will feature the park’s long-running African Tam Tams group alongside King Louie and Baloo. This is apparently in addition to new static figurines of these characters, similar to those of WALL-E and EVE which arrived in Discoveryland late last year. A new, live meet ‘n’ greet for Aladdin is also said to arrive near the back of Adventureland Bazaar, while Rapunzel and Flynn from Disney’s Tangled could be given a more permanent home near The Old Mill.

VIA Character Central Blog

Tuesday, 30th March 2010

New Generation decoration mixes old habits, new ideas

These days it only happens at Halloween and Christmas, but there was a point in the recent past, around the time of The Lion King Carnival and similar events, when it seemed Main Street Station was never without decorations.

But, those seasonal logos have made a comeback. As spotted in a behind-the-scenes video, concepts prepared by the Entertainment department called for a return to Main Street Station decorations — although we couldn’t quite get a good look at them. Last week, they began to appear.

New Generation Festival decorations

First with a new idea, at least for seasonal decorations at Disneyland Paris: Ruffled semi-circular fabric bunting in red and yellow, a common way Main Street is decorated for Halloween in the overseas parks — where there’s no orange paint in sight — and a welcome idea for Paris.

And then, the old tradition: A large logo plaque and sculpted character models.

New Generation Festival decorations

Models that are, it’s been noted… a little off-model. The tacked-on Mickey is oversized compared to his new friends, and we’d better be careful what we say about that Woody and his eyes… there must be something in the s’mores at Cowboy Camp!

So far (perhaps there’s more to come?) there are only additional characters to the left of the main logo, with Tiana and Frog standing in front of one window and Remy in front of the other.

New Generation Festival decorations

New Generation Festival decorations

As we saw in the concept art, the Baroque style of the logo frame is continued through the new Main Street lamppost decorations, although the colour scheme seems to have become darker and less symmetrical.

The final colours of the ribbons under each frame are blue, yellow, red, green and purple, rather than the fresher pattern of purple, white, yellow, green, yellow, white and pink promised…

New Generation Festival decorations

New Generation Festival decorations

New Generation Festival decorations

Still, we can probably all agree this is how Main Street should be decorated. A big, big improvement on the mess last year; at last a reasonably subtle way to extend the year’s theme and bring the current advertising campaign into the parks.

Perhaps, then, it simply fell to Main Street Station to be this year’s sacrificial piece of Disneyland Park for the less successful decorations, now that the castle is finally off-limits. At least, better to have Woody frightening children there than from somewhere on our dear château!

Now, about Tinkerbell…

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Tuesday, 30th March 2010

New Generation Festival Press Launch – In the Parks

Press events are both loved and loathed by Disneyland Paris fans, particularly those frequent French visitors who might have the chance to visit almost every weekend.

On the one hand, it’s a break from the norm — the chance to see special photo set-ups and even catch sight of some VIPs. On the other, it means disruption throughout the parks, areas closed off and prime parade and show viewing points cordoned off from paying guests, while badge holders are often given free reign to skip queues on the most popular attractions. Maybe they’re a necessary evil.

Anyway, it’s not all glitz and glamour — take those celebrity photos with the blue New Generation Festival backdrop we posted the other night. Thought that might be some plush backstage area or a warm photo studio? No, it was the glamorous locale of the Moteurs… Action! queue area… !

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Surprisingly, performances of the stunt show itself weren’t interrupted by the press event, although numerous preparations for the spectacular nighttime launch ahead were visible inside the arena — such as this large lighting rig running along the roof span:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Projectors, cameras and other equipment were not-so-inconspicuously hidden under black sheets in various areas of the stadium seating:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Back outside, Backlot had welcomed a fun retro trailer to serve as an outside broadcast unit for “LFM”:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Celebrities and VIPs from various nations could be spotted all over the parks throughout the day, with film crews, reporters and cameras trailing them to the various picture-perfect locations like the Toon Town backdrop:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear made a quick move from meeting the guests in Toon Studio (left) to meeting the VIPs and film crews in the temporary Backlot photo studio (right):

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

The fully-refurbished Monsters Inc. location in Toon Studio had a special lighting set-up for the celebrity shots taken here with Sully:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

And then, the roping-off began:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

A huge area around the Place des Stars Stage was cordoned off for press only, leaving regular, paying guests struggling to see the single performance of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, the park’s only outdoor entertainment spectacle:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

At least, it was well-patronised come show time:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

The president of Disneyland Paris, Euro Disney CEO, Philippe Gas was also in attendance to see Rémy and Emile join the production:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Despite his no doubt hectic schedule, he even took time to make a surprise appearance at a unique meeting of Disneyland Paris fans which was organised for the day — you can read a report here.

With the show over, the Ratatouille car left Place des Stars last…

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

And then veered left to turn into the cordoned-off Hollywood Boulevard…

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Pulling up alongside the Toy Story car to provide a backdrop for more photos and VIP interviews:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

This was only the second time since the launch of “The Celebration Continues” in 2008 that events have centred so squarely on Walt Disney Studios Park, but there were still plenty of events elsewhere. Over in Disneyland Park, the Town Square gazebo was surrounded by special lighting and wrapped in vines for celebrity photos with Princess Tiana:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Whilst the familiar viewing platform for photographers and film crews was placed at the far end of Main Street, facing Central Plaza, for the inaugural performance of Disney Showtime Spectacular — with unfortunate grey skies:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

Classic photo spots, such as the castle hill, were also in use:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

But finally, back at the studios, the doors closed for the general public:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

As Disney Studio 1 become a self-contained press holding area, regular guests had to leave the park via the backstage gates between Production Courtyard and Front Lot — views of off-limits areas hidden by a row of temporary planters:

New Generation Festival Press Launch - In the Parks

And then, with guests heading home, the real show began

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Monday, 29th March 2010

All Stars Showtime Express Spectacular – official video clips

Disney All Stars Express

Easy to criticise as just another rehash of the previous character trains, but at least more visually appealing than last year’s Minnie’s Party Train. And don’t forget WALL-E — this is the first time this masterpiece of a character has been integrated into a Disney parade or park event anywhere in the world.

Earlier updates:

Disney All Stars Express rolls onto the parade route
First photos, full set of official photos and first video clips

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Already earning rave reviews from returning visitors and winning over many who weren’t too keen on last year’s hub show, Disney Showtime Spectacular makes the clever move of dressing Mickey and the gang up for each musical number, with their Incredibles superhero outfits in particular being very unique in the Disney park world and sure to be remembered.

Earlier updates:

Showtime Spectacular in even more photos… and HD video!
Full 20-minute video of the show and full set of official photos

First look at Disney Showtime Spectacular on Central Plaza!
First photos by Photos Magiques of the very first performance

You can also watch and subscribe to all the latest videos on our YouTube channel.

Videos © Disney

Sunday, 28th March 2010

New Generation Festival Press Launch – In Video

Yes, it was probably pitched something like that.

But first, a nice compilation from behind-the-scenes at yesterday’s press events, as a Disneyland Paris video camera follows the press around the new shows and events to give a feeling of these busy press days in the parks:

Now that’s got you warmed up, onto the main show!

Titled “The New Gen Show”, the opening ceremony and dedication of the New Generation Festival has all the usual ingredients of these one-off Disney grand opening spectaculars — a ridiculously large cast, jazzy projections and an “interesting” mélange of music.

On the one hand we have Buzz Lightyear reliving his French disco days, on the other Nemo coaxing Dory (right?) into the arena in something out of an arty theatrical show. All wrapped up with music from… Pixar Play Parade at Disney’s California Adventure.

Yes, it’s an eclectic, enormous and show-stopping opening ceremony for the year ahead. Might they have actually outdone all past efforts? Perhaps — in numbers and scale — even the opening of the resort itself!

It’s a shame, of course, that these kind of lavish events are reserved only for “VIPs” who probably couldn’t give a hoot about seeing a show like this. We have to wonder how much of the footage and how many of the images shot this weekend will really make an impact, or be featured in the media. It’s a tradition now that Disneyland Paris puts on one show for the visitors and one superficial blow-out to look good for the cameras. It’s something for the archives, for them to pull out and say “remember 2010?”.

Although given that they used the stunt arena this year, which has 3000 seats, this would have been a good chance to say, give away a few extra tickets in a prize draw to Annual Passport Dream holders… if only to see the show, to spread word of mouth, and not to enjoy the free food.

Videos © Disney

Sunday, 28th March 2010

New Generation Festival Press Launch – In Pictures

Stick with this page as we bring you live(-ish) rolling updates from the New Generation Festival press launch earlier this evening, sharing all the photos as they’re published.

• Adrian Brody, real famous person! (2:26am)

Among the usual glut of French “celebrities” who largely mean nothing to us, could be found Adrian Brody — actual Oscar-winning Hollywood actor, from The Pianist and Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Got to love the embarassing photo set-ups Disneyland Paris provide for their VIPs.

• French Celebrities (2:38am)

Although, as you can see, many of them are only too happy to oblige:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Audrey Marnay and Liya Kebede

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Fabian Galthie

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Bruno Solo

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia

The photo from the Monsters Inc. photo location there confirms the recent work was just a simple refurbishment, and the Mike Wazowski figure is still in place — not yet to be ousted by his real, walking equivalent now appearing in Disney Showtime Spectacular over at Disneyland Park.

British girl pop group The Saturdays were also at the resort today.

• Disney Showtime Spectacular premieres (2:50am)

We mentioned that today’s weather hadn’t been too kind to the first performance of Disney Showtime Spectacular. It’s the Disneyland Paris press event curse — blow all your money on a big show, invite thousands of questionably important people… and then that thick Marne-la-Vallée cloud rolls over.

Here are photos from the press performance earlier today:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Luckily it remained dry, if not providing the best weather for this new show to shine.

• The New Gen Show – first official photos! (3:02am)

And here we go, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Details have been sketchy about what to expect from tonight’s events, but with the stage set as the Moteurs… Action! stunt arena over at Walt Disney Studios Park — and not Central Plaza as the past two launches (15th and MMP), it promised something quite different and certainly very grand, given the arena floorspace…

And of course, they didn’t disappoint. An enormous cast, a laser and projections show and the Disney All Stars Express park-hopping to join the cars of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

The full wide shot at show-level:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Stars jump for joy as resort icons are projected onto the Mediterranean sets of Moteurs Action:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Artsy arrivals by illuminated balloons? Why not:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

A full-on smooch between Tiana and Naveen? Ooo err:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

And that final wide angle from the top of the Stunt Arena seating again:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

At least, with 3000 stadium seats, the VIPs wouldn’t have had to crane their necks for once.

• The Saturdays, New Generation Props & Suitcases (29/03 16:07pm)

Tiana meets British pop group The Saturdays — or is it the other way around? — in this picture captured by Photos Magiques on yes, Saturday:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

They also stumbled upon some clever oversized toy props in the hotel lobbies where press event invitees were staying, such as this ViewMaster toy:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

And the suitcases of New Generation characters who were also checking in:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

See more of these, plus loads more news from the past week, at their full update here.

• Princess Tiana meets Princess Tiana! (29/03 18:38pm)

Sandrine Van Handenhoven, Belgian pop star and voice of Tiana in the Flemish version of The Princess and the Frog (De Prinses en de Kikker) met the princess herself this weekend:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

• More Opening Ceremony Show photos (30/03 18:45pm)

More pictures of the spectacular opening ceremony show have been published by Disneyland Paris:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

— — Check back for more updates soon!

Photos © Disney.

Saturday, 27th March 2010

Disney All Stars Express rolls onto the parade route

Though the advertising would suggest you won’t see a moment of the New Gen attractions until 2nd April, as with recent years that’s not quite the case. In fact, from Princess Tiana to Remy, the Showtime Spectacular to this here All Stars Express, the events have been performing in the parks for up to a week now, ready for the press launch today, and will almost seem like old news come next weekend.

Just a couple of weeks after Minnie’s Party Train departed the parade route, the Disney All Stars Express suddenly steamed in, transformed (almost) from top to bottom with the multi-coloured design seen in its concept art and carrying characters such as Remy, Emile and Mr Incredible, previously reserved exclusively for appearances at Walt Disney Studios Park.

Disney All Stars Express

Those nasty spots have finally cleared up to give the old Casey Jr. a clean complexion of white, red, yellow and green, though several elements of the old Mickey’s Magical Party design remain — such as the Mickey emblems on the top of each carriage.

Disney All Stars Express

A collection of flags on the first carriage feature designs and logos from the featured Pixar films, and the “All Stars Express” banner across the front of the train even uses the animation studio’s logo typeface, Charlemagne Bold, with its recognisable not-quite-Serif “X”.

Disney All Stars Express

And then, of course, there’s WALL-E!

Disney All Stars Express

The most anticipated aspect of the redecorated character train since his reveal last month, this marks the first time the character has ever appeared in any Disney parade or event. He’s hardly all-singing, all-dancing: he remains static and silent throughout, but the production quality is top-notch.

Disney All Stars Express

Despite all this Pixar celebration, Disneyland Paris is still keen to emphasise the “Disney” in this New Generation (which is why they insist the event be titled “Disney new generation festival” in all official texts). And so, the final two carriages aren’t all that new at all — the second even keeps its old Minnie Mouse theme! Here you’ll often find more classic characters, such as Pinocchio or Chip and Dale, with the likes of The Incredibles and Ratatouille kept on the first, fully-redecorated carriage.

Disney All Stars Express

To see it in motion, check out these first clips to appear on YouTube:

As you might notice, another aspect of Disney All Stars Express (there’s that “Disney” again) that’s only half-new is the soundtrack. Fans of the now-infamous “Tous en Train” will be glad to hear that the song is still used, albeit in a remixed form, now fading into versions of “It’s a Small World” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to continue the friendship theme we’re seeing.

Again, changed just enough that it can all be called “new” without really any massive change — though certainly preferable to the incessant Minnie Mouse clips played at full volume over the top last year.

Even more photos now, direct from Disneyland Paris, all the new official press shots:

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express Disney All Stars Express

Finally, for those with a patchy memory, a look back across the character train eras:

Disney All Stars Express

So there we go. And we’ll see you all here again same time, next year, right? Who knows how many more times we’re going to be re-sold this event as something brand new!

Photos by Photos Magiques.com (more), Videos by cafemickey1, gochaton

Subscribe to the Magic!

Ad: Disneyland Paris up to 20% off all meals!

Tags & Archives

Twitter Updates

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary bookings now open!