Sunday, 25th March 2012

Giant ’20’ completes Main Street Station transformation as lights twinkle to life

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay

Tinker Bell — and a very bold ’20’ — have arrived at Main Street Station to complete its 20th Anniversary look for the Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! overlay. And with Tink’s added pixie dust, the whole thing has suddenly sparkled to life. Looking good!

The three special golden arches were installed at the front of the station late last week, featuring a swirling pattern and more embedded LED lights. The original “EDLRR” arches, with a rather more convincing late 19th Century look, thankfully remain beyond, simply repainted gold. Standalone stars, also embedded with LEDs, have been delicately scattered across the façade and railings above. The paint job of the entire façade appears fresh and clean in these photos by @InsideDLParis.

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlayMain Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay

For added effect, the castle silhouette on the four golden plaques is illuminated from behind to create a glow around the icon itself. Less successful, if we can pass one criticism, are the well-integrated but rather dull golden swirls which have replaced the four “EDLRR” roundels on the railings. Were they really necessary to complete the look? An overlay should be exactly that: it should never remove nice details, not unless the replacement can match the quality.

As for the gold paintwork, the wall extending out from the two furthest pillars (pictured in the first photo at the top) appears to be missing gold paint on top, creating an odd mix. Nevertheless, with the original “test pillar” over on the far left of the station now back to its original stone colour, the golden repaint has probably not turned out as dramatic as some expected (or feared).

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay

Only needed now to complete the transformation is the sparkling glow of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust trail, which circles around the giant ’20’. Small dots can be seen all along its length, which will presumably be lit to give an effect similar to that used for the 15th Anniversary‘s Tinker Bell statue atop Sleeping Beauty Castle. Hopefully this one won’t outstay its welcome quite the same.

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Saturday, 24th March 2012

First look: Disney Dreams! revealed in first official photo of new nighttime spectacular

'Disney Dreams!' official promo photo

This is our very first, official look at the completed Disney Dreams! — projections, multi-coloured lasers, illuminated fountains — wow! Just a handful of the effects on show and only one of its many “Dreams” pictured — turning Sleeping Beauty Castle into a collection of rocket fireworks for the Aladdin “Friend Like Me” sequence, but a thrilling first “official” glimpse at what’s ahead, right?

Exactly one week from now, the show will premiere to the world’s press at 10.30pm, Saturday 31st March. Creative director Steve Davison is certainly feeling the anticipation, posting on Thursday: “Great rehearsal tonight of the show with a lot of bells and whistles. It is really starting to come together. So much fun!!! Almost time to unveil this magical show!”

We can also now confirm that on the official opening day of the show, 1st April 2012, it will be presented twice in one evening: at 9.30pm and 10.30pm. Yes, if late park hours all year and a nightly nighttime spectacular weren’t surprising enough for Disneyland Paris, they’re now running double performances. There are rumours this could continue for the whole 20th Anniversary year, but no further showtimes have been announced as yet.

If you can’t make it to the resort so soon, stay with us as we’ll be there to capture the whole thing, reporting back with photos, videos and more from the first week of April onwards to give you the whole story on the 20th Anniversary launch. Be the first to see our 1080p HD videos of the show, and other 20th Anniversary events, by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

PHOTO VIA Le Figaro

Saturday, 24th March 2012

Main Street Paris imports California’s new music loop featuring “Up”, “Hello Dolly”

Main Street, U.S.A.

Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Paris won’t just look a little different for its 20th Anniversary year, it’ll sound different too. A new background music loop is now playing during daytime, swiftly imported from Disneyland in California. Introduced at Walt’s original kingdom on 9th January this year, the new loop was noted not just for its fresh new recordings of many Main Street ragtime “classics”, but the addition of brand new music, including a suite of music from Disney-Pixar’s Up. All were newly recorded especially for the park by Dean Mora and his Orchestra.

The changeover suffered a flaky start on Wednesday, when the new music reportedly played through until 4pm followed by a long silence, returned for five minutes, then faded out for the regular afternoon loop. Disneyland Paris will thankfully retain its unique feature over the other parks of having two background music loops on Main Street, a lively “AM” loop played from opening to 4pm, and a gentler, more sentimental “PM” loop played from 4pm to park closing. This new loop replaces the former “AM” loop only, and is perhaps somewhat calmer than that frenzied mix. As well as the new suite of “Married Life” from Up by Michael Giacchino, it introduces “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, that famous “Hello Dolly!” song memorably used in Disney-Pixar’s WALL-E, to Paris’ Main Street loop.

Upon announcing the new loop for California, the Disney Parks Blog noted that this was the first time the famous street’s music had changed in 20 years — the last time being when, shortly after the opening of Disneyland Paris, new recordings made for our park were brought over to Anaheim to update their soundtrack. It seems fitting, then, that in the 20th Anniversary year, a new music loop should cross back over the Atlantic; a birthday gift from one Magic Kingdom to another.

Listen to a live recording of the loop and find a full tracklisting below… Read More…

Friday, 23rd March 2012

Tony Baxter Imagineering Masterclass leads confirmed April 12th events programme

Tony Baxter, 1992 (C) Disney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 23rd March 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Mickey Mouse construction (C) @InsideDLParis

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

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

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

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 23rd March 2012

Mark Twain Riverboat sans chimney stacks, ready and waiting for refurbishment

Mark Twain Riverboat refurbishment (C) @InsideDLParis

Ever since we stepped off the near-complete, beautifully restored Molly Brown exactly a year ago and the Mark Twain pulled up in her place to continue regular service, this grand old riverboat has sadly looked more than a little worse for wear by comparison. Need for restoration isn’t quite so drastic, though, that his chimney stacks fell off, of course — the Mark Twain is merely preparing himself to bed down inside Frontierland’s new, covered drydock which we reported last week.

The roof of that hangar-like wharf, while imposing enough next to Old Joe’s fishing pier, is certainly not high enough to accommodate the Mark Twain with his famous twin funnels intact. From here, he reversed around the Rivers of the Far West and back into the refurbishment dock. Molly Brown will resume service from this Saturday 24th March, the first to enjoy the freshly-relaid landing pier and fully repainted Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing itself.

Mark Twain’s refurbishment is due to be just as thorough — and lengthy — as Molly Brown’s epic year-long rebuild. Damage and decay to the boat, though nowhere near as bad as his sister ship endured, is clear in the photo above. Though the ship, a reproduction of the original Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland in California, has seen numerous refurbishments over its lifespan, this will be the first full-scale restoration in its 20 year life so far.

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Thursday, 22nd March 2012

Main Street Station 20th transformation continues as leaked concept reveals final plan

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay (C) DisneyGazette.fr

Main Street Station‘s new marquee, which appeared yesterday, really is the final product and will be in place for a least a year, through the whole 20th Anniversary celebrations. But it’s also only the start of the station façade’s transformation into a glittering, golden entrance to the park. Today, the changes continued at pace with the addition of golden plaques on each of the freshly-painted golden columns and static golden bunting across the top of its windows.

The bunting is fixed in place by buttons decorated with stars, and the whole lot will sparkle with LED lights thanks to those wires currently tied up at each side.

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay (C) @InsideDLParis

Featuring the original 1992 silhouette of Sleeping Beauty Castle, which was once a part of the Euro Disney logo and branding, the plaques on the columns down below are a nice throwback to the park’s history. But they have a modern twist: more embedded LED lights!

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay (C) @InsideDLParisMain Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay (C) @InsideDLParis

Less technically advanced is the method for making the trees inside Main Street, U.S.A. itself sparkle: circular hanging mirror discs, strewn across their branches. Currently looking a little cheap, they’ll hopefully work better when leaves begin to grow and they catch the glint of the springtime sun.

Back on the station, and as well as these additions there are also quite a few things missing. Besides the original red marquee, four of the “EDLRR” roundels have been taken away and, as of today, the three iron arches at the front of the concourse. It appears that simply repainting these gold won’t be enough: the arches here will be replaced by a whole new design, incorporating a swirling star pattern. The station’s final appearance after all these changes was revealed in a leaked concept art today:

Main Street Station 20th Anniversary overlay concept art

In the context of that giant “20”, the plain “Disneyland Paris” on the main marquee (rather than any reference to Main Street) perhaps makes a little more sense, simplifying the introduction. The star designs replacing the “ELDRR” symbols are disappointing, however, and the swirly arches, replacing the refined originals, give a nightmarish vision of what if Disney dropped immersive, relatable worlds like Main Street in its parks and instead covered everything with generic pixie dust patterns.

But the enormous, three-dimensional “20” makes a grand welcome and the entire vision is far and away the best transformation of Main Street Station we’ve ever seen. That’s not much of a compliment, given some of the travesties it has seen in its 20 years, so let’s say instead that, for a temporary overlay, it looks really quite delightful indeed.

PHOTO 1 DisneyGazette, PHOTOS 2-4 @InsideDLParis (Twitter), CONCEPT RadioDisneyClub

Thursday, 22nd March 2012

2012 or ’92? New Central Plaza in sunshine resets the clock on timeless view

Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty Castle (C) Nicolas71

Since Monday, guests have been able to walk right across Central Plaza for the first time since 2006. But these photos, taken Tuesday by Nicholas71 on Disney Central Plaza, almost seem to reset the clock even further. Be it the wide, open plaza, the fresh green grass, the newly-restored Sleeping Beauty Castle or the recent tree clearance over on the Fantasyland side of this famous view, it almost looks like we’re stepping into the park for the very first time again. Truly a vast improvement on the closed gates and obstructive stage guests have had to navigate around for too many years.

On Central Plaza itself, benches have returned to the middle of the plaza for the first time in almost six years, making it once again the perfect place for meeting and people watching. Meanwhile, two lampposts on the castle side are now curiously absent, their bases covered by green boxes.

They’re not the only things missing from this view: tree clearance over by the Fantasyland Gate (far-right of the photo) has uncovered the walled kingdom in the distance, while at least two cuboid trees have been completely removed from the right-hand side of the castle. Both changes could either be in preparation for Disney Dreams!, or just part of the habitual “resetting the clock” which Disney does; replanting or removing trees which have grown too big for the fixed scale of the park.

Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty Castle (C) Nicolas71

Looking back towards Main Street, U.S.A., the new “Parks Landscaping Department” show control building for Disney Dreams! blends seamlessly into the town. The old show control kiosk, on the left of the plaza, remains in place for now. As for the plaza, the improvement speaks for itself.

PHOTOS Nicholas71 (Disney Central Plaza)

Wednesday, 21st March 2012

Main Street Station’s golden 20th Anniversary overlay introduces new entrance marquee

Main Street Station celebrates (C) RadioDisneyClub

How many guests stepping inside Disneyland Park today noticed this change, then? As the ongoing Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! overlay of the eponymous street continues with daily progress, golden bunting now covering the majority of the street, here’s something to stop you in your tracks: a new sign on Main Street Station. In the place of the original, maroon sign this morning was this cream-coloured marquee. A temporary change while the regular signage is refurbished or altered, or a brand new addition? The rate things are changing, perhaps we should wait until tomorrow to see.

The new marquee’s all-over cream design takes some getting used-to compared to the more fanciful, bolder original sign. And then there’s the nomenclature: for now, just “Disneyland Paris”. Guests have already just walked under a “Disneyland Park” marquee on the other side of Disneyland Hotel, so by this point they should really be heading into Main Street, U.S.A., not reminded of the resort’s title. The regular sign had the compromise of “Main Street, U.S.A. – Disneyland Paris”, in place since 1994.

Main Street Station celebrates (C) RadioDisneyClubOriginal Main Street Station marquee

Also an oddity is the illustration of the castle which replaces the “EDLRR” symbol on the bib at the top of the sign. Pretty enough, surrounded by a burst of stars but, as you can see in the close-up provided by RadioDisneyClub here, it has been mirrored to face the wrong way round — though this certainly isn’t the first time in its life it has been altered to appear as such.

Main Street Station celebrates (C) RadioDisneyClubMain Street Station celebrates (C) RadioDisneyClub

The controversial repainting itself took a major step forward yesterday when guests arrived to find the four centre columns at the front of the station painted in alarming yellow undercoat. Today, the columns had already received a coat of gold paint on top, though the tone is much darker, closer to red or orange, than the gold used elsewhere in the street’s overlay. One whole series of five iron brackets underneath the station’s concourse have now received their golden paintwork, in a much more pleasing tone similar to the existing gold elements of the “EDLRR” symbols.

Golden bunting continues to manifest itself all around the street, including here on Main Street Station. Meanwhile a rather different — rather intriguing — form of bunting was spotted by @InsideDLParis running along the railings at the front of the station…

Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! (C) @InsideDLParisMain Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! (C) @InsideDLParis
Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! (C) @InsideDLParis

This metal cable-run, painted the same green as the railings, is expected to be used for the finishing touch of the station’s overlay: a glittering display of golden lights!

PHOTOS 1-2, 4-5 RadioDisneyClub, 6-8 @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Wednesday, 21st March 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ Second Star to the Right spotted shining brightly for first time

 'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) @Tobiasfl

There have been several reported sightings, but now the all-important Second Star the Right for Disney Dreams! has finally been caught on camera. Late last night, @Tobiasfl observed the ethereal glow from across the fields in Val d’Europe, shining with a spectacular brightness from the top window of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Two Instagram photos below show it first piercing the nighttime sky alone, then joined by the full force of the new nighttime spectacular’s illuminated fountains.

'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) @Tobiasfl'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) @Tobiasfl

While sightings of tests for fireworks, projections, water effects and other elements have been coming thick and fast over recent weeks, the centrepiece star has been notable by its absence. Plans unveiled by Steve Davison at the presentation he gave to the shareholders’ Annual General Meeting revealed it to be not simply a bright light, hidden behind the window, but a three-dimensional star that would actually manoeuvre outwards. According to this plan, the iconic window was due to be replaced with a new variation capable of opening in the centre to allow the star to emerge.

'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) ChroniqueDisney.frSleeping Beauty Castle window (C) Disneyland Paris - Fans Facebook

The window has indeed seen several changes over recent weeks, requiring the temporary removal of its golden ornament, with the latest incarnation above. Previously a real stained-glass window with a protective layer on top, it now appears far flatter but more colourful. A faux stained glass effect, like the windows in the Princess Pavilion, no doubt — but is there an opening there for the star to reveal itself? The mysteries surrounding this mythical object of the nighttime sky continue…

With the star now shining at least, that completes the entire range of effects for Disney Dreams!, all installed and ready for showtime. Posting his most recent project update to Facebook on Saturday, creative director Steve Davison wrote: “Well, I’m almost done with another 6 day, work all night, programming week. The show is coming along great. All the systems are online (the fire system came on tonight) and what we’re seeing on the Castle is very, very exciting! We’re now in the final home stretch! Can’t wait for you all to see the final product.”

PHOTOS 1-2 @Tobiasfl (Twitter), PHOTO 3 Chronique Disney, PHOTO 4 DLP – Fans (Facebook)

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