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 brighterthan 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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Two years ago, when this old Dumbo parade float, originally created for The Wonderful World of Disney Parade in 1998, was converted into Disney Characters’ Express for the 15th Anniversary, it was perhaps the hit of the season. In one event, it brought frequent life to Main Street, U.S.A. and fulfilled many guests’ wishes for more — and more easily accessible — character meet ‘n’ greets.
And yesterday, Saturday 21st March, guests were given their very first look at the newly-redecorated engine and carriages, as a certain mouse climbed on-board Minnie’s Party Train for a special trial run, captured in these photos by julien59 on Disney Central Plaza forum…
On the whole, any blue of the old Disney Characters’ Express has simply been replaced with red polka dots for this new overlay, though there are a few exceptions — the roofs inside the carriages for example, previously white, are now red polka dots, too.
The concept art and latest marketing visual were ultimately fairly accurate, with the concept art’s colourful streamers at least making it to final design here, even if they didn’t for the lampposts of Main Street. The blue flags atop the old train are replaced by those famous Minnie Mouse bows.
However, the Mickey Mouse shapes on the top of each carriage don’t carry the logo of either the celebration or the new Party Trainas proposed, given (arguably nicer) polka dot backgrounds instead.
And of course, as the introduction described, the redecorated train certainly looks a little more blushing than its predecessor. Though all previous concepts and images showed the face remaining white with the eyes given red rather than blue outlines, the final design has kept the blue outlines — with the red instead applied to the entire face!
Fans of the previous event need not be too worried by Minnie’s commandeering, however, since the ridiculously-popular soundtrack song Tous en Train has remained — now with frequent interruptions from the new hostess.
Suddenly, the more regal, minimal Disney Characters’ Express seems very dour indeed compared to this colourful new design. Though we do hope his nasty illness clears up, before the grand premiere on 4th April…
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.
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.
Here it is, the press release in full. We’ll be introducing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Parties in a separate article, and be sure to read below for a full re-cap of the news and much more information…
Disney’s Halloween Festival at Disneyland Resort Paris
The logo — for just one more year…
Marne la Vallée, July, 2008, from October 4, 2008 to November 2, 2008, guests are invited to discover the unmissable colourful Halloween season in Disneyland® Park that will be full of surprises.
During the month long celebration, Disneyland Park will offer a range of new Halloween entertainment to make the whole family scream with laughter. The spirit of Halloween is up for grabs for the delight of all, Pumpkin Men and Ladies will lead the fest which takes place on Main Street, U.S.A., Central Plaza and Frontierland®, transformed in Halloweenland for the occasion. And for the first time Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties in Fantasyland and not forgetting the now famous Halloween Party on October 31st.
Halloween invades Main Street, U.S.A.®
Guests, entering Disneyland Park, will discover a ‘˜spook … tacular’ Main Street, U.S.A., covered with blotches of orange paint left behind by the Pumpkin Men and Ladies.
The Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime presented by Minnie dressed in Halloween fashion line and surrounded by Pumpkin Men and Ladies will take place several times daily on Central Plaza, followed by a giant ‘Meet’N’Greet’ with Disney Villains.
The Halloween Disney Characters’ Express will several times daily go back and forth on Main Street, U.S.A. with beloved Disney Characters on.
The Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade which features famous moments from the most beloved Disney stories ever, will be preceded by a special Halloween pre parade featuring the Disney Villains, Pumpkin Citizens and for the first time, Tim Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas characters Jack Skellington and his friend Sally.
New advertising graphics.
Halloweenland: the heart of this scary, good humoured celebration
Once through the gateway of Fort Comstock a walk along Halloweenland’s pathway will offer guests loads of surprises.
There will be regular shows on the Trick or Treat stage:
‘¢ Minnie & the Bat Boys will appear with live music and a host of singing classic Disney Villain songs.
‘¢ Goofy and the Magic Pot, an exhilarating and energetic show where children can learn to make pumpkin soup and dance alongside Goofy himself!
At the Phantom Manor boot hill cemetery, guests may meet Jack the skeleton and his friend Sally, from Nightmare before Christmas.
Children will enjoy the traditional Halloween PiÃ±ata for the chance to grab some sweet treats several times daily.
Disney’s Halloween Party in Disneyland® Park*
New image to advertise the Halloween Party.
On the night of Halloween, Disneyland Resort Paris lets all the friendly ghosts in for a special Halloween Party from 8.30pm to 1.00am in Disneyland Park. Night owls in their most spectrrrraaaaacular costumes can enjoy family friendly and ghostly nights filled with fun and laughter.
As always guests will be able to experience a wide variety of Halloween entertainment:
‘¢ The Disney®’s Fantillusion Parade, where the world of darkness meets the enchanted world in a fantastic twilight spectacular
‘¢ A Special Fireworks display with the fangtangulous backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle
‘¢ Spooktackular Stage Shows on the Trick or Treat Stage (Halloweenland) and The Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
‘¢ A Spooky DJ Party on Main Street, U.S.A
*Disney’s Halloween Party ticket will be available at 29€ .On October 31, 2008 attendance is limited in order to ensure premium experience, we recommend to buy tickets in advance on www.disneylandparis.com or to call +33 1 60 30 60 53. The Party ticket holders can benefit of entering the Park as early as 5.pm. The Party can be modified, or cancelled without prior notice, notably for inclement weather.
This is Halloween, this is Halloween! Let’s begin with the most interesting announcement of it all — real, live meet ‘n’ greet versions of Jack Skellington and Sally will be arriving on Boot Hill next to Phantom Manor for the duration of the festival! These characters have never before been featured in Paris, and only officially debuted for the first time at Hong Kong Disneyland last year.
The ongoing, if not elevating, popularity of Tim Burton’s stop-motion classic can be seen at the resort even today by the amount of merchandise both being sold, bought and worn around the parks.
Phantom Manor will not be getting an overlay in the style of the ‘Haunted Mansion Holiday’ from California and Tokyo, but the Nightmare Before Christmas theme will certainly become a strong part of the Halloween Festival, as the couple pop up again in the pre-parade of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. The new daytime parade will again not be made-over for the festival as the park’s old parade was, as the entertainment directors stick to a short cavalcade to precede the event and keep the popular parade intact.
One element of the 15th Anniversary that WILL be given a makeover this year, however, is Disney Characters’ Express, now to be known as the Halloween Disney Characters’ Express with special decorations and rather more villainous characters on-board.
Stitch leaves, new villains arrive, Minnie gets a new outfit.
Last year’s popular new Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime event on the Central Plaza Stage will also be expanded with a couple of new villains — Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas and Shan-Yu from Mulan.
As for decorations, on reading the press release you’d be forgiven even those will be the same — Main Street again overrun by orange “Pumpkin Men” and Frontierland turned into Halloweenland. But here’s the big news: This year, those Pumpkin Men will arriving on their own. The Pink Witches, including their live character forms and all decorations (such as those unpopular cauldrons near Fuente del Oro Restaurante) are GONE.
Goodbye, good riddance…
In addition, Stitch’s very short-lived invasion of the event is now well and truly over, as the resort seeks to refine his presence to the new Stitch Live!attraction over at Walt Disney Studios Park. In place of these two, for 2008 we will instead be welcoming the Pumpkin Men in much greater numbers — and, as you read above, Pumpkin Ladies too.
Reports suggest that brand new decorations will be created, in a much more “Disney” style. Both Mickey and Minnie will also apparently wear brand new costumes, in rich deep purple, orange and green colours. Finally, everything will again be focused on Disneyland Park — no expansion whatsoever of the festival into Walt Disney Studios Park is planned.
The directors are taking the entire concept back to a more focused, classical approach — and continuing to develop the “Disney” presence in the festival at the same time.
Since the opening year of 1992, Disneyland Resort Paris has celebrated Christmas with bigger and better events each and every year. For the 15th Anniversary, we were promised an “exceptionnoÃ«l” season, and, with a Father Christmas Village and Enchanted Candleabration to discover amongst countless old favourites, this is truly the biggest and most spectacular Christmas season the resort has ever seen.
Click below to play the video — and chante, c’est noÃ«l!
The video is exclusive to this page and cannot be seen on our usual Dailymotion account, so please do spread around this link to share the sights of the most magical Disney Christmas on Earth!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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 NoÃ«l and a meet ‘n’ greet location for Father Christmas and his snowmen friends.
– – – – – – End Release – – – – – –
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, chante — c’est presque NoÃ«l !
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