Friday, 24th February 2012

New ‘Disney Dreams!’ promo photos, press release promise “explosion of lights and colours”

The buzz for Disney Dreams! has finally hit the Disneyland Paris press website, with both a complete press release for the new nighttime show and several publicity photos from recent after-hours tests. Showing simply a multi-coloured test projection on Sleeping Beauty Castle and a burst of pyrotechnics radiating outwards from behind the château, they’re hardly the most revealing sneak peeks, but at least confirm the surprisingly important presence of fireworks in the show. Disneyland Paris has long had problems with the noise and cost of fireworks, limiting them to just two summer months and special events. Since we all really thought the fountains, projections and other effects would be there to make up for a move away from pyrotechnics, avoiding those perceived problems, it’s exciting to see that they will truly be an important element of the new, nightly and year-round spectacular.

A third image was also released alongside these two, and has been published elsewhere online. However, a quick look at the flowery projections on the castle — and more tellingly the photo’s EXIF data — reveals it was taken at 23:05 on 13th July 2011, in other words during The Enchanted Fireworks, so probably doesn’t offer a glimpse at Disney Dreams! at all.

What does come packed with information about this 20th Anniversary spectacular, though, is a new press release dedicated to the show. Detailing the music, the story and all the “elements” it’s a revealing read — but only in French. Lucky then we’ve translated it all into English!

Complete translated press release follows… Read More…

Wednesday, 22nd February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ show control building plays pretend as “Parks Landscaping Department”

“Story is king” goes the mantra. And so, satisfied that the new control booth for Disney Dreams! fits stunningly well within its Central Plaza parkland environment in this update from last week, our next thought turned to how, story-wise, its prominent position within the gardens could be explained away. “With its wooden trellis arch and location right in the middle of Main Street’s Central Plaza park, perhaps we could imagine it’s the gardener’s lodge — rather than a high-tech show control booth soon to be sending fountains, fireworks and lasers soaring,” we mused. Well — let us imagine no longer, that’s exactly what the Imagineers had in mind!

This week, new props have suddenly arrived all around the building: a wooden wheelbarrow out the front, a watering can under the porch, tools and shovels hung up at the side. Several wooden planting boxes and barrels now also sit beside the booth, ready to be filled with flowers or shrubs. Just to fully confirm the backstory, a plaque next to the entrance reads plainly “Parks Landscaping Department”. Given the amount of work needed to be done around the plaza to prepare for the 20th Anniversary spectacular, the “landscaping” part, at least, isn’t far wrong.


As @CreativeAlan suggests, tweeting a reply to these photos by @InsideDLParis, perhaps a name such as “Flower Street Gardeners” would have been more imaginative and less obvious in terms of story than the slightly overstated “Parks Landscaping Department”. But the fact that there’s a story at all, for a simple show control building, can only be congratulated.

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 17th February 2012

Disneyland Paris launches official 20th Anniversary website, no Flash required

If you follow @DLRPToday on Twitter, you might have got an early look when the site briefly went live on Wednesday, but now it’s here to stay: Disneyland Paris has launched its official 20th Anniversary web pages! This new mini-site, designed as a separate section of the main website, is notably more compact than previous efforts, but that has only to be applauded: if Disneyland Paris are going to put effort and money into their online activity, it needs to be put into the inadequate main website itself. There are no useless mini-games, no disjointed attempts at “social” interaction, just the main 20th Anniversary events laid out in simple and appealing pages. Check them out here.

Pages for Disney Dreams!, Disney Magic on Parade! and Meet Mickey Mouse feature video clips spliced from the full-length promo video already available on YouTube, while Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train and the 20th Anniversary Extended Hours are also featured. The final page, “Videos & Live Posts”, simply features a YouTube video and a Facebook plugin. Simple and effective.

Surprisingly, after several years moving away from the increasingly unpopular format (last year’s Magical Moments Festival mini-site appeared to make a point of being entirely non-Flash based), these new pages still arrive fairly heavy in Flash animations, at least for desktop users. But switch to an iPad or iPhone, which notably snub the processor-hogging medium, and there’s a second surprise: the pages still work! Yes, a static version of the main menu has also been produced, for web browsers without Flash to fall back to. Even the videos have been encoded in iOS-friendly formats.


The extent of the Disneyland Paris website on an Apple iOS device; sales totalling 250 million+

All of which makes it even more absurd that, if you jump back to the main Disneyland Paris homepage — or indeed, any page on the rest of the website — you’ll be simply provided with a “Flash Plugin Required” message, and no back-up page at all. No links are even provided for the resort’s separate ticket or package booking systems, which don’t require Flash, potentially losing “armchair” visitors who would like to browse the site or book without firing up their PC.

• Look out for DLRP Magic!‘s own complete guide to the 20th Anniversary, launching soon!

Friday, 17th February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ story scenes revealed: From the Second Star to a shadow on the loose

We know that Disney Dreams! means fountains, fire, projections, lasers and much more, but what story will all these elements be telling? This morning’s Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual General Meeting naturally put Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary and its new nighttime show in the spotlight, revealing some key plot points along the way. Fans tweeting live from the event shared details of the five key “acts” making up the show as they were announced, all appearing to relate back to the storyline of Peter Pan and his shadow. While the show will combine many of the best elements of other Disney nighttime spectaculars (and then some), it could be this narrative, threading the entire thing together, that sets it apart.

An opening act titled The Magic of the Second Star will surely be the grand moment when the “second star to the right” of Peter Pan fame ignites at the top of Sleeping Beauty Castle, causing pixie dust to pour out across the castle’s façade and open up the Disney Dreams.


Pixie dust pours out from the yet-to-shine Second Star

We actually got a glimpse of this in the earlier promo video, where projection tests (pictured above) showed pixie dust apparently pouring out from the tallest tower and engulfing the castle. In the final show, that top window will be glowing with the bright light of the “second star” itself: the effect was installed behind its stained glass star just a few weeks ago. What exactly this “effect” consists of is currently unknown — spotlights, ultra-bright LEDs? — but it has become a key theme of all the 20th Anniversary imagery. Showing a desire to make sure the castle is part of the show, rather than just a flat projection surface, the idea is clever: since the castle has always had a star on its uppermost window, why not make that the “second star to the right” for this show? When it does come to life, it’ll be like it has been hiding there all along, for the past 20 years, just waiting to be ignited…

Scene 2, The Shadow at Play, hints at the importance of Peter Pan’s shadow to the plot. Could he be engaged in a George (CinéMagique) or Donald Duck (Philharmagic)-style trail across Disney classics to retrieve his missing darker side? Perhaps pursued by Captain Hook along the way? Scene 3, Free to Dream, and scene 4, Shadow Battle, hint at what could be lighter and darker elements of the show. The “battle” in particular would be a good call for those fire effects. However, films including Ratatouille, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Jungle Book have all been confirmed to be part of the show, showing a wide spread of stories and characters beyond the usual princesses and villains.

Finally, the finale: Dreams Can Take Us Anywhere. And yet, even with these titles and everything we know so far, we still don’t know quite where they’ll take us. Let the anticipation continue…

VIA @DisneyGazetteFr (Twitter)

Thursday, 16th February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ fountains fill castle moat as installation project fights winter freeze

The Disney Dreams! are well on their way, and the most anticipated element of this all-new nighttime spectacular surely has to be: the fountains. A show made of jumping water in the castle moat once seemed a thing of fantasy but, as these latest photos from DisneyGazette.fr confirm, it’s fast becoming a reality. Technical equipment low litters the entire moat of Sleeping Beauty Castle, dotting its length with mysterious brown boxes and running a ring of water jets around its perimeter.

Even as rainwater has frozen solid on the drained bed, work hurries ahead to install the piece of this 20th Anniversary spectacular. So what exactly are we looking at? As expected, it’s a more modest array of wet effects than the enormous (and almost entirely water-based) World of Color, and the fountains installed so far can roughly be grouped into three types of kit…

First up: those long, rectangular boxes, with a bronze spout poking out one end, will be the show’s main fountains. Creating a vertical wall of water running across the width of Central Plaza, extending all the way from the entrance to La Tanière du Dragon to the wishing well and Le Théâtre du Château, they will likely be illuminated from below using a ring of colour-changing LED lights fixed around the spout. There’s a chance some of these 40-or-so fountains will have different capabilities, perhaps the ability to move, as their set-up seems to slightly differ in one or two places.

Meanwhile the moat, usually a protective ring around its neighbouring fortress itself, has been encircled by curious and very long rods of smaller spouts. Connected via a single pipe and tube, there are three of these installations with two on the left side of the drawbridge (either side of the Dragon’s bridge) and one larger array on the right (seen in the first photo above).

Likely to be much lower powered, these spouts will probably be used to add “bulk” to the base of the water display, either as jets of water or more likely a mist effect. Rather than a line of solitary fountains shooting up from the castle moat, this should create a more magical haze of water coming to life in the moat, which can itself be illuminated to add dramatic effect.

Finally, two huge brown boxes at the far ends, either side of the display, are easiest to decipher. These high-powered jets come in two sets of six fountains, their workings specially enclosed as one complete unit. Apparently capable of shooting at least as high as the castle itself (!) we’re guessing thanks to compressed air, another technique brought in from World of Color, they are arranged as five fountains around a central, tallest jet. These incredible fountains were highlight in pink on the show scene model, below, revealed in the recent promo video.

Again, rather than having the castle stand solitary, these tall jets matching its height will help to “bulk out” the spectacle, making it a far more impressive and immersive experience.

A major point of difference with World of Color is that all these fountains have been fixed directly to the concrete bed of the moat. In California, the vast expanse of fountains is laid out across two platforms capable of being lifted out of the water for maintenance, rather than having to drain the entire Paradise Bay lagoon. In Paris, luckily, draining a smaller, shallower fairytale moat is much less daunting task.

If only the same could be said for the challenge now: correctly wiring up and testing each of these new fountains, in time for April 1st!

MORE PHOTOS DisneyGazette.fr

Monday, 13th February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ makes magic already with new Central Plaza show control booth

We’re dedicating this week on DLRP Today to Disney Dreams!, the main event of the 20th Anniversary that is set to transform the end of your day in the parks from 1st April 2012. But this hotly-anticipated new nighttime spectacular, from master of the artform Steve Davison, has already created a surprise or two in Disneyland Park. Following several months of mysterious ground works, leading a trail across Central Plaza, trees were completely cleared from a wooded area on the Frontierland side of Main Street, U.S.A. in mid September last year. By December, all was revealed: or was it?

On Wednesday 7th, a sharp, square building suddenly appeared on the plot, in a not-too-fetching shade of green to match the construction walls around it. “Quelle horreur!” we wailed — but only for 24 hours. In a spark of pre-fabricated Imagineering magic, the building — a grand new show control centre for Disney Dreams! — had taken on a whole new look the very next day. Just compare the two photos below by @InsideDLParis:

Now wood-panelled in green with crisp burgundy details, it certainly stands out but looks perfectly at home here on the fringes of Main Street. Capturing all the classic motifs of the street’s turn-of-the-20th-Century architecture, it has the elaborately-framed windows, porch awning and a curved copper roof, complete with spiky ironwork and bulbous flairs cut into its carpentry.


Though perfectly functional — check out that bank of seven huge windows on the front, giving an unparalleled view over the Disney Dreams! “arena” — this beauty has more than enough details to make it a decorative addition to the plaza, too. The circular window nestled in the roof is a delicate finishing touch, and the cabin could look even better in the warmer months ahead if softened up with flowers or more greenery. It’s certainly a huge upgrade in the former show control booth for Central Plaza Stage (pictured below), which has been blocking the pavement for several years. Removing this uninspired obstruction will free up even more space to watch the new show.

But how does it fit into the “story”? With its wooden trellis arch and location right in the middle of Main Street’s Central Plaza park, perhaps we could imagine it’s the gardener’s lodge — rather than a high-tech show control booth soon to be sending fountains, fireworks and lasers soaring.

It has already had the chance to test some elements of Disney Dreams!, at least. The still below, from last month’s promo video, shows a technician lining up the numerous projectors which will map HD video onto the towers and turrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle using the state-of-the-art “Hippotizer” system.

Come April 1st, the tension inside will surely belie the gentile appearance, as it will all rest on this unsuspecting little park lodge to launch Disney Dreams! off without hitch…

MORE PHOTOS Disney Dreams! Control Booth (Photos Magiques)

Saturday, 11th February 2012

“Retro-Vintage” one of three promising buzzwords for 20th Anniversary merchandise

The ’90s are back, baby! What once was cast aside as garish colour and simplistic design could be set for a renaissance, if reports of Disneyland Paris’ merchandise ranges for the 20th Anniversary prove accurate. Alongside buzzwords “Celebration” and “Signature”, we’ll see a range titled “Retro-Vintage”, reports Cast Member @ulyssecuvelier on Twitter. Though some niche “Euro Disney” throwback pins were released for the 15th Anniversary, this could be the first time Disneyland Paris has truly explored its own past as a “vintage” idea to be resold anew.

However, with modern 2012 trends now looking back particularly favourably on this early 1990s era, what was garish or simplistic is now gradually being seen again as bold or refined instead. We’re all familiar with throwbacks to the 1950s design style of the original Disneyland, epitomised in websites such as Yesterland, with its colourful flags and block lettering. Even Walt Disney World mines its own past with much focus on Spaceship Earth and its original globe logo (examples below).

But what does “retro-vintage” mean to the relatively youthful resort in Paris? Well — take a look back at the first collage above! We’ve collected together just a few fine examples from our own Euro Souvenirland website, showing off the striking design style which saw Disneyland bombastically launch itself into Europe. A world away from the dazzling, multifaceted, but ultimately somewhat hollow, heavily photoshopped brand of 2012, the simple graphical designs of 1992 look ripe for revisiting.

Incredibly evocative of their time, any of these examples would work wonderfully re-applied to bags, T-shirts, keyrings and beyond. Just look at those paper bags and napkins — the illustrations on those are far more attractive than anything you’ll find even on the merchandise itself today!

It remains to be seen whether Disneyland Paris would want to reuse the Euro Disney logo specifically (unlikely), but it wouldn’t be hard to work the current logo back into this style… that’s if the merchandisers have the same idea of “retro-vintage” as us. We await 1st April 2012 to find out, if 12th April 1992 will come around again…

Also reported to be making up the range of birthday merchandise is a special Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary wine by Domaine Bertrand. A revisit of an idea from the 15th Anniversary, it will be available in a commemorative bottle as red, white or rosé.

• In the meantime, explore more “retro-vintage” memorabilia at Euro Souvenirland.com!

VIA @ulyssecuvelier (Twitter)

Friday, 10th February 2012

Disneyland Paris launches first 20th Anniversary TV spot in Spain, with animated Disney “sueños”

That’s “Disney Dreams!” to you and me. Spain got a first look at the new 20th Anniversary commercials this week, with a 30-second TV spot featuring Mickey Mouse guiding a family from the streets around the Eiffel Tower to Disneyland Paris. Where, with Sleeping Beauty Castle illuminated and characters flying through the skies, they’re duly treated to an “eyeful” of the park’s new nighttime spectacular.

With much artistic licence, we see Captain Hook duelling with Peter Pan around the castle’s spire, then Crush and a group of Finding Nemo sea turtles “swimming” across the sky. The new “Second Star to the Right” effect, shining brightly from the top window of the castle, is featured throughout. Like most adverts in recent years, the park scenes appear to have been shot on a Main Street looking suspiciously like that of California or Hong Kong. But here, the lights of the buildings appear to glow that bit brighter — perhaps a clue to the enigmatic Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates event advertised in brochures?




If your español is patchy, or you’d just like to see this on your own television screen, we can confirm that the resort’s 20th Anniversary TV campaign will begin in the UK around 24th February and continue right through to 24th June. Initially, this will be in the form of 10-second “tactical” adverts, designed to create word of mouth. With Mickey seen in this advert near the Eiffel Tower, there’s some suggestion the Disney characters could be pictured at landmarks across Europe, “gathering up” guests for the impending anniversary, to give the continent-spanning campaign a true sense of its own scale.

Video of the first 30-second commercial follows below… Read More…

Friday, 13th January 2012

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary preview video reveals “Disney Dreams!” – and more surprises

“We’re gonna bring the Second Star to the Right and ignite it above the castle…” It’s not a sentence you hear every day but, in this exciting new preview video for the 20th Anniversary released by Disneyland Paris today, Steve Davison casually drops it in amongst a plethora of other surprises. Walt Disney Imagineering’s Creative Director of Entertainment, famed for his work on Fantasmic! and World of Color, joins a number of backstage artists to tease us on the new additions for the anniversary. Show director Katy Harris tells us about the new Mickey Mouse meet ‘n’ greet, while Emmanuel Lenormand shows off detailed concept art for Disney Magic on Parade! and its new costumes.

But it’s the section on Disney Dreams! which is the most surprising — even breathtaking. Real previews are shown of the new castle projection effects, which have been in testing for some time, along with confirmation that the show will feature not just projections, not just fountains, but lasers, pyrotechnics, fire, an original musical score, and perhaps most importantly: a story! When the Second Star to the Right ignites above the castle, the “Disney Dreams” pour out and come to life in “new ways”.

Watch the exciting new preview video below!

Senior technical director Chuck Davis reveals the Imagineers at Creative Entertainment have mapped the whole castle with “pixel accurate video” so it can “do all kinds of great tricks”, while Dave Bossert confirms that water screens will be installed in front of the castle, creaing a huge new canvas for the show to take place on. Particularly interesting to note: Dave is the director of Special Projects at Walt Disney Feature Animation, showing the breadth of Disney talent being combined for this new show.

It’s a rare but incredibly welcome step for Disneyland Paris to let the talent behind its magic tell the stories of new projects like these for once. Similar videos are consistently produced for other resorts, notably California, and always serve to provide both a more exciting teaser for what’s next and a more inspiring insight into the work required to achieve it.

“So that at the end of your day, you can walk away and go: wow, that was cool!”

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Sunday, 1st January 2012

Several Magical Moments to end early January, others “extended” into 20th Anniversary

It’s 2012 (Happy New Year!) and time for a fresh start. For Disneyland Paris, that appears to mean several key elements of the current Disney Magical Moments Festival, marketed to run until 4th March 2012, will be cleared out early. Rumours long suggested the main Mickey’s Magical Celebration show on Central Plaza would face an early finish, due to the much detested Central Plaza Stage finally being ripped out, opening up the hub of the park ready for Dreams.

Now, here’s the confirmation: no performances from 9th January onwards! In truth, the show has had a lukewarm reception ever since last April. Notably lacking the grander spectacle of the previous Disney Showtime Spectacular, it wasn’t quite the kind of production to justify such a monolithic stage to take over the heart of the park. Initially it seemed the four large satellite “arms” of the stage might be lopped off, but now the whole stage is said to be for the chop. For stage shows, this means any future open-air productions will (quite rightly) be on the Théâtre du Château where they belong. For new nighttime spectacular Dreams, the rumour mill is still pumping: Will the removal of the stage open up the area purely for more standing room again, or could the hub become part of the show? One particularly fun (if purely fabricated) rumour is for a “magic” dancing fountain to take the place of the former flower bed. To be honest, even being able to walk across and use the plaza as a “hub”, rather than an impermeable roundabout, seems an exciting prospect at this point.

Surprisingly, this show isn’t the only “Magical Moment” preparing for early retirement. It will be joined on 9th January by Disney Dance Express, the garishly-coloured dance show which reused the old Dumbo Casey Jr. parade float. Could this, the float’s fifth iteration since its launch as part of The Wonderful World of Disney Parade, be its last? Meanwhile, the Green Army Men Meet & Play event over in Toy Story Playland will also end on the same date and, as reported earlier, the first float will be removed from Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade for its “Magic on Parade!” makeover.

Making it all the way to the 4th March end date, but not continuing beyond that date, will be the “interactive” show stops of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, the temporary Tangled meet ‘n’ greet location for Rapunzel and, surprisingly, the small Following the Leader with Peter Pan show in Adventureland. That event was perhaps the most appreciated of all the new “moments” in 2011. For Rapunzel, we must presume she will simply join the other princesses in the new Princess Pavilion.

Finally, continuing into the 20th Anniversary are the many photo locations which popped up around the parks: Wall•E and Eve in Discoveryland, Alice in Wonderland near the Labyrinth, Aladdin near Adventureland Bazaar, Ratatouille near Restaurant des Stars and Monsters, Inc. in Toon Studio (which, added in 2006, was never “new” for 2011 to begin with, but never mind). Lighting McQueen will remain in his Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular cameo and the new Adventureland Rhythms of the Jungle location next to Restaurant Hakuna Matata will remain the home of the popular Tam Tam.

PHOTOS VIA Photos Magiques

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