All that snow was a wonderful thing for desktop wallpapers, but what does it do to our delicate Disney theme parks? Could the fact that the bridge leading over to Sleeping Beauty Castle has suddenly just been prepared for refurbishment be linked to the icy conditions?
The scaffolding grew from around 5th January onwards and the bridge is now completely closed, as shown in these pictures from our new photo reporter, dlrpteam:
It’s interesting to note that this refurbishment has not been announced in advance via the resort’s usual internal refurbishments calendar, which provides a much more detailed overlay of maintenance works than that provided by Disneyland Paris to visitors.
Despite that, the walls at the front of the bridge have now been covered by a very nicely-designed series of Sleeping Beauty graphics, which must suggest at least some forward planning:
Back then, rumour was rife that the work could be due to freeze-rot in the concrete of the structure — a process where water fills existing cracks, freezes and expands, gradually making the cracks bigger. If this process was left untreated, causing considerable damage, it could get to a point where the bridge needed much more than simple repair work.
Whilst this theory is again only speculation, the sudden renovation project — with those enormous walls — does look to be on rather an imposing scale indeed. Its absence from the internal refurbishment schedules also means no end date can currently be confirmed.
When our landscapes are given a white blanket like this, the whole world suddenly feels like a theme park. Paths don’t end where they normally do, the roads extend right up to the hedgerows, the fields and hills seem boundary-less.
If it seems unnatural having this much snowfall in our normal towns and villages, take a look at Disneyland Paris. The resort’s press department have been smart enough to brave the sub-zero temperatures to capture some beautiful views of the park with its current layer of strange white icing — from the “tropical” islands of Adventureland to the peaks of the Wild West!
As well as clicking the images to open up the normal, larger versions, we’re also sharing full size 1600px versions perfect for your desktop — just click the “Wallpaper” link below each.
A magical landscape lighting up the night, ready to brave it again tomorrow…
No Disney resort feels the full effects of the four seasons quite like Disneyland Paris. When you’re next gritting your driveway, imagine clearing and preparing every stretch of the two theme parks for guests each morning. If you’ve had trouble starting your car to get into work, imagine “firing up” the Disneyland Railroad engines on a bitterly cold morning and keeping them steaming around the park ’til sundown. Not to mention making sure the runaway trains of Big Thunder Mountain never get held up, and that Dumbo can can keep on flying.
In weather like this, the whole designed environment, the whole operation, is that bit more exceptional. And as you can see, exceptionally beautiful at the same time.
Just published online, the video comes in a similar style to the extended trailers for past theme year events. Where the 15th Anniversary had very restrained, stylish black and white scenes where guests would describe the resort in different European languages, Mickey’s Magical Party had a very cheaply-produced Powerpoint feel.
By comparison, the New Generation Festival trailer seems to aim its sights at being as contemporary as possible: eye-catching video effects, dot-matrix designs and a hip guitar backing track; all joining together a mixture of new and recycled footage.
Watch the English version right here:
Both an English and French version have been published on new preview pages at the official website, though it is still expected that Disneyland Paris will launch its usual (and equally Flash-y) minisites sometime in the run up to the launch on 2nd April 2010. The domain www.newgenerationfestival.com was been purchased by the company last year in preparation.
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Despite the film already showing at cinemas/theaters in several European countries, and due to have finished its release schedule here by mid February, it looks increasingly likely that we really will have to wait right up until 2nd April 2010 — the launch date of the New Generation Festival — for this much-anticipated Disney couple from New Orleans to begin official duties at Disneyland Paris, which will include starring on the Dreams of Romance parade float.
Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee, a live song and dance show on the Mark Twain riverboat, has been incredibly popular at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World Florida, but was cut from early proposals for the New Generation Festival line up likely due to costs and logistics of such a complicated performance. As the show comes to the end of its initial run in Florida, some reports have suggested the costumes could be headed for Paris, but rumours also point to the contrary — that they’d stay put for the show to continue in Florida — and Disneyland Paris appear to have no plans for the show as yet.
Regaining interest since the death of its lead earlier this year, the short film will return to its original home in Disneyland, California, for a “limited engagement” from February 2010.
Since this rumour first appeared, and especially since these plans were confirmed, fans of the other international resorts have obviously been questioning whether ‘EO’ could also, even temporarily, replace ‘HISTA’ in their home park.
Now, Disneyland Paris have given their answer. As confirmed by the press department in Le Journal and reported by Photos Magiques on Twitter, Captain EO will not be returning to Marne-la-Vallée.
Original CinéMagique: Captain EO entrance.
The 3-D special effects attraction originally played in Paris from opening day on 12th April 1992 up to 17th August 1998, when it closed to become Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (HISTA). On this date, Disneyland Paris was the last park in the world you could see the film — it having closed elsewhere over a year earlier and at Epcot over 4 years earlier.
Starring Michael Jackson in a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced by George Lucas and featuring music by James Horder, it was one of the flagships of Michael Eisner’s arrival at the company when it premiered in the US parks in 1986. In Paris, the attraction was actually named CinéMagique, a variation on the “Magic Eye Theater” of California, making the resort perhaps the only one to have had two completely different yet identically-named attractions in its history.
With Honey, I Shrunk the Audience hardly doing a roaring trade over the back of Discoveryland, opening such limited hours as 11am to 6pm during the Summer high season, it remains to be seen what all-new replacement will eventually come about for the tired 3-D film. Rumours on MiceAge.com have suggested the limited-time showing of ‘EO’ in California could be followed by the arrival of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a living character show (think Stitch Live!) from Florida’s Magic Kingdom. Could this be rolled out to ourselves and Tokyo? That’d still leave the problem of Epcot’s theatre.
In any case, Paris will likely have to wait for the other resorts to make their move in replacing HISTA first. It doesn’t appear to be much of a priority and, with the Californians now buying time with a nostalgia trip, this firm “non, merci” to EO‘s return means Wayne Szalinski will likely be winning Inventor of the Year a good few more times yet — even if there’s hardly any Audience left to shrink.
Unfortunately not. As DLP.info reported on Wednesday, 23rd December, members of the cfdt, CFTC and UNSA unions began striking at 7.00am — on one of the busiest days of the year for the resort — citing the lack of dialogue from the resort following their opposition to the apparent “zero Euro” wage increase for 2010 and other issues.
So what did they do, simply refuse to show up for work? Take their placards and flags round to the management offices, of the people who actually make these decisions? Of course not. They didn’t even, in the grand Disneyland Paris tradition, set up camp on the neutral resort hub, amongst the nuisance street sellers.
In a shocking day of the resort’s history, the striking Cast Members went straight inside the parks — complete with giant banners, flags and signs. It gets worse: Come 2.15pm, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars didn’t go out as announced. Instead, guests who had paid their entrance fee and waited patiently for the show were treated to a storming of the stage by the union members. At 5pm over in Disneyland Park, the parade route didn’t see Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade pleasantly passing by but a noisy mob of striking workers, blocking the parade route.
Reports state that not a single member of the Entertainment, Parades and Characters (EPC) department took part in the strike, but the casts were kept from performing for guests by the workers blocking the route. Managers no doubt also wanted to avoid any kind of stand-off, where the floats might enter the park but be stopped halfway.
But the awful thing is, now that the videos have started appearing on YouTube and other sites, it’s not even the bizarre sight of these striking workers inside the parks that’s most shocking. It’s how plainly heartless and repulsive they are with it. Skip to 3 minutes 20 seconds into this video found by Daniel on magicforum:
Yes, you heard right. When the announcement comes that Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars has had to be cancelled because they’ve taken over Place des Stars (an announcement perhaps never heard before with our hardy, good Cast Members), they cheer.
And all sympathy is lost.
Perhaps these people are forgetting a few things. First, there may well be just as “poorly paid” visitors in the audience, who are now having their expensive trips ruined. Second, Disneyland Paris is still in a very precarious state. Despicable though that proposal of a “zero Euro” pay rise really is, storming the parade routes will only serve to give an even more unprofessional image of the resort to thousands of guests — whether they saw it first-hand, heard about it from a friend or saw it on YouTube. In turn, people will continue to think “Disneyland Paris isn’t ‘proper’ Disney”, that it’s not worth a visit, that it isn’t worth returning. The resort will lose more money and they’ll be even less likely to get a better wage.
Nevertheless, the CFDT union has reported that talks have now reopened with the resort, so we shouldn’t be seeing such a display again. This situation will, one must hope, be particularly embarrassing for relatively new CEO Philippe Gas, not least because his history with Disney is based entirely in human resources — his former job title being Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
What’s the other thing the striking workers didn’t show much regard for? Oh yeah, their colleagues. Those friendly, smiling, helpful — and equally hard-worked — Cast Members who continued on, having to pick up the pieces of disappointed guests, complaint forms and return tickets.
Thankfully, the Entertainment cast of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade did their own bit of storming the park: All the dancers and characters stayed in costume and, once the scene had calmed, arrived on Town Square and Central Plaza at 5.30pm to give guests the best chance they could of a meet ‘n’ greet with that true, professional Disney Magic.
Just across the hub from that lifeless market and lacking tree, Disneyland Paris got something oh-so right. For the first time since 2003, possibly earlier, classic boat ride “it’s a small world” was completely redecorated to celebrate holidays around the world.
The fact that we can’t quite place exactly the year when this overlay stopped happening is a bit embarrassing. Perhaps as fans we should have missed it a bit more loudly, or perhaps in 2002/2003 we were worried about other things (like the serious financial difficulties, lack of future attractions for the Studios).
Nevertheless, it’s back — and wow, is it back. If the stupendous colours, music and movement of “it’s a small world” weren’t enough to leave you on a dizzy high for days normally, now the whole, dazzling show is just simply alive…
The reason for this success is simple: respect. All the cultural celebrations, the festive music and hundreds of new costumes have been integrated with absolute perfection into the existing show. It’s a complete labour of love toward the Imagineers’ original creation. Where decorations like the Mickey’s Magical Party emblem on Sleeping Beauty Castle treat the park like a dead canvas, this overlay is something that brings it to life.
From the Candlelight Processional to the Star Wars Weekends and many more, one of the first things to notice about the American resorts for a Disneyland Paris fan is the sheer number of annual events which happen like clockwork each and every year. At the young age of 17, and probably no thanks to the countless changes (management and otherwise) it has seen over that short time, Disneyland Paris just hasn’t built up as many of these traditions.
Hopefully, the return of “it’s a small world” Celebration every November can now be one of them.
— And the good news is, if you’ve yet to book, had your trip interrupted thanks to Eurostar or otherwise, because this Celebration recognises everything from Sinterklaas to Chinese New Year, the overlay stays in place right up to 15th February 2010.
Taking advantage of the refurbishment penned in for the “grand circle tour” from 16th to 26th November, the resort’s maintenance team finally got the chance to correct a bit of history still in place at Frontierland Depot.
Spotted by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza, the water tower at the station was fully refurbished — its “Euro Disneyland Railroad” lettering repainted in the process as simply “Disneyland Railroad”.
Well, it only took 15 years!
But in fact, many fans will no doubt feel a hint of sadness to see the old “Euro” lost forever. These little details from the past — like the “EDLRR” letters at Main Street Station or the “DM” (Discovery Mountain) letters still hidden around what became Space Mountain — add to the history of the park, provide fun little secrets for us all to discover as the magic becomes an obsession.
The trains themselves lost their original “Euro Disneyland Railroad” paint details in early 2002, when the railroad’s entire rolling stock was gradually repainted.
Spot the ‘Euro’ — it had almost faded away on its own in recent years
For any nostalgics, though — don’t worry. We can never say for sure, but it’d seem like this is the last “Euro” we’ll see the place lose — financial terms not included. The details all over Main Street Station in particular would be extortionately expensive to replace.
And, for the refurbishment of a Disneyland Railroad icon, one Euro is a pretty good deal.
From this weekend, the 8-minute show has been extended slightly with a new scene adding yet another character — the event is already a very unique chance to see Snow White, her Prince and all seven Dwarfs together at once in Paris.
Now, the fun is interrupted by the Evil Queen in her Old Hag disguise, who skulks on-stage to tempt Snow White with a gleaming red apple. And — oh, she never learns — the white-as-snow damsel takes a bite and falls onto a new white plinth, handily positioned nearby.
The “Happily Ever After” then becomes a more emotive finale than before, as the Prince is able to wake his future Princess from her deathly sleep and lead her in a jovial waltz to the finish.
As 2010 and the opening of Toy Story Playland draws nearer, we’ve no doubt all begun to wonder what will become of the other Toy Story outlets across the hub. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Woody’s Roundup and the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade float will all stay for a good while yet, but what about that forgotten corner… that quick tie-in from back in 1997, when Disneyland Paris jumped (rather slowly) on the Toy Story bandwagon? Will it finally be put out into the yard sale?
Far from it. The Pizza Burger could be about to stage a comeback. According to Fab’, a Cast Member posting on Disney Central Plaza, the dated Pizza Planet restaurant in Disneyland Park may well soon be offering a new menu concept with one interesting resort-wide exclusive: unlimited drinks.
Stating that they had taken part in a study about changes to the counter service location, the member suggests that the menu price would be elevated to around €15, with starter, main, dessert and that unlimited drink all included.
At the same time, it seems the tired décor could be in line for changes, too. But no removal of Woody and Buzz — no return to the Discoveryland of visionaries and science fiction. No, the theme will apparently “still be based on Toy Story“. So a higher price, a quick fix-up here and there, and has a perfect cash-in for next year’s New Generation Festival and the release of Toy Story 3 been found?
Wondering why this place, very faintly based on the far more wondrous Pizza Planet of the original Toy Story film, is housed within a badly-concealed tent just beyond the berm? It was originally an exhibition space as part of the Space Festival in 1995 and 1996, tied into the Space Mountain opening, but was craftily repurposed the following year to fill a need for more counter service provision. All a far cry from the lavish Vulcania restaurant which was originally meant to sit at the other end of the land, opposite were Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is now.
No dates have been set since this is still to be taken as a pure rumour, but it does come just after Toy Story characters apparently began to make appearances at the restaurant once again. It’s just unfortunate that, even if they make it less of a hole, it’ll soon be on completely the wrong side of the resort to where it needs to be…
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