This “Paiements sans Contact” initiative was first announced back in July and began right on schedule on 3rd October.
How does it work? Unfortunately, it won’t work at all for most of us yet. Although most of us have seen the waterslide advert for Barclaycard’s system, the technology now at Disneyland Paris is currently only open to users who have a (French) bank account with CIC or Crédit Mutuel (who just recently actually became a new official partner of the resort), and have already signed up to a trial of those banks’ early contactless payment schemes.
If you’re lucky enough to qualify for all of that, your new credit card contains a special chip that can be read without contact when lightly touched or flashed across one of the new devices, first caught on camera by Scrooge at Disney Magic Interactive in Walt Disney Studios Store:
This allows users to pay for their Disney shopping — or even better, food — in a second. No fumbling with Euro cent coins, no waiting behind someone as they try every combination of four digits possible. Contactless cards allow instant payments up to a certain, safe amount. Just imagine the effect that could have within a few years on those ugly counter service queues.
You’ll find the trial machines now at the following locations:
• Casey’s Corner (Disneyland Park)
• Café Hyperion (Disneyland Park)
• Chalet de la Marionette (Disneyland Park)
• Disney Blockbuster Café (Walt Disney Studios Park)
• Club House Grill (Golf Disneyland)
• Walt Disney Studios Store (Walt Disney Studios Park)
• Goofy’s Pro Shop (Golf Disneyland)
Not that such an innovation needs a carrot to quash any possible stick, but Disneyland Paris are also offering trial users of the scheme an incredibly generous 25% discount at boutiques and 20% discount at restaurants!
The first is a real surprise. RC in the spotlight? A minimal character really only in the first Toy Story, who can’t even talk? Well, it’s a refreshing change from the usual Mickey, and he does have that still as-yet-unannounced attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park coming up next year. (Come on Euro Disney SCA, the game is up!)
Next up, another star from Toy Story Playland — Slinky Dog. Underneath him, Buzz peers out of a trapdoor in Main Street (you know, that trapdoor on Main Street), held up by Toy Soldiers, alongside four Little Green Men.
In the background of this one, spot Emile from Ratatouille, Jessie with a suitably cow-themed parachute and, er, Nemo. In some of the images he’s been shown floating down in a kind of water bubble… not this time. You also have to wonder about the fate of racing car Lightning McQueen as he smashes to earth, but maybe we’re over-thinking the concept.
Sulley and Buzz Lightyer feature most heavily in the next option for those travel companies. This one we’ve already seen:
Oh, well look at that! Lightning McQueen made it down safely!
Here we also spot a couple of new poses — yes, the folks at Pixar were nice enough to send over several different stock images of their characters — so we see Woody holding his cowboy hat as he parachutes and Buzz folding his arms. All in a day’s work for a toy who can fly!
One nice feature of the parachutes concept, at least, is that most of them are becoming “themed” to their respective character. So we see Emile with a cheese-patterned parachute, Woody with one to match his shirt, etc. In case you still don’t “get it”, it seems like the “Big Idea!” on the giant boardroom paper pad for 2010 is to show these “new” characters “parachuting” into the parks to visualise their arrival and new-ness. Got it?
Plus, in these images, compared to the main New Generation Festival image (which will probably be the official Summer 2010 brochure cover) the characters floating down in the background have even actually been scaled and faded properly, so the image — however much still constructed like a series of stuck-on fridge magnets — does have a bit of depth.
Finishing up, we’ve got Rémy and Emile from Ratatouille.
There you go. Expect to see those on a travel company brochure near you in just a few months. Now, if you were sitting in the offices of one of those companies, which would you choose? Strangely, the RC version looks the most appealing from here.
It’s worth repeating the slight moan from the article featuring the first of these images last month: what’s the need to mess with Sleeping Beauty Castle? Does sticking little Mickey silhouettes over its ornate stained-glass windows really achieve anything? If certain people had their way, would it not be a fantastical medieval palace but a monument to Mickey Mouse, with Mickey shapes on every spire and a hideous character decoration stuck on it’s fron… oh, wait.
And here’s one extra criticism not from DLRP Today. Member MagicStar on magicforum was keen-eyed enough to notice the odd situation to the left of the Castle, where one of the famous square trees has been… squashed! Clearly, that pesky castle wall the Imagineers designed was getting in the way of the character clip-art, so it had to be shrunk down… taking the tree with it! Even more oddly, there’s a spot of branch — or something — still there on the right, sticking up into the air. Good to see important images like these are checked thoroughly.
Even better — no, surely worse — something else has now cropped up on the left of these images, which isn’t there on the original one. Take a look just to the bottom-left of Tiana’s dress in the final image. Looks like the castle hill — almost — got the chop, but a dirty trail of Photoshop remnants was left behind.
Popcorn, the cookie and the toffee/caramel apple. Three of the kings of outdoor vending in Disneyland Paris, a resort with, in fact, very little variety in its snacks and treats from street kiosks.
The flavoured popcorn of Tokyo Disney Resort has yet to hit the parks over here, whilst the famous churros of Disneyland Resort have yet to oust the tasteless, pre-packaged “trio of doughnuts” from its unwelcome place on so many menu boards.
Is all that about to change? For a couple of months at least, yes. Famous French chef Thierry Marx has agreed to reinvent three of the parks’ staples using modern cooking techniques and some of his “molecular” tricks — a style of cooking where the science behind the process is as important as everything else. Perhaps he’s the French equivalent of Heston Blumenthal in the UK, only tackling popcorn and cookies rather than animal parts.
A press release and a series of photographs have been released today.
Thierry Marx réinvente l’art des friandises « street food » à Disneyland Paris
Le célèbre Chef a imaginé une nouvelle façon de savourer le pop corn, la pomme d’amour et le cookie pour un Noël gourmand et innovant à Disneyland Paris
Après le succès de la Pâtisserie Ephémère en l’honneur des bûches « haute couture » de Chantal Thomass, ORA ITO et Vanessa Bruno réalisées par Sébastien Gaudard, Disneyland Paris régale à nouveau les papilles avec une toute nouvelle expérience préparée par Thierry Marx, Chef emblématique de la cuisine moléculaire.
A l’occasion des fêtes de Noël, Thierry Marx présente trois créations inédites dans l’art de la gourmandise et de l’innovation. Le pop corn, la pomme d’amour et le cookie : trois plaisirs sucrés transformés grâce à une nouvelle interprétation qui promet de réveiller tous nos sens. A savourer uniquement dans les allées de Disneyland Paris.
From the classics:
To the reinvention:
Les “recettes magiques” d’un Noël tendance et gourmand dans les Parcs Disney
La pomme d’amour : « Souvent trop dure, j’ai voulu redonner à la pomme d’amour une certaine douceur en créant une pulpe de pomme verte, enrobée d’un sucre léger beaucoup plus diététique ».
Le pop corn : « Avec cette nouvelle interprétation, le pop corn est caramélisé en différentes cuissons avant d’être floqué d’une savoureuse couche de chocolat ».
Le cookie : « Ce dessert très enfantin préparé par les mamans, j’ai souhaité le transformer d’un biscuit dur en un biscuit moelleux grâce à de la crème de cookie ».
Passionné de « street food », le Chef étoilé réputé pour ses jeux de texture et de température a tout naturellement souhaité présenter ses trois créations sur un bâton, à l’instar de sucettes à croquer.
Thierry’s new Toffee Apple, Pomme d’Amour, tries to address the usual too-hard-to-bite snack by mashing and pulping the apple and then coating it in a lighter sugar, making it a little healthier.
The new Popcorn treats are caramelised using various techniques and then coated in a tasty layer of chocolate, resulting in an extra-large clump of chewy, chocolately goodness.
Finally, the humble Cookie has been reinvented with a softer, chewier bite than a regular biscuit thanks to extra cream and rich dough, all dipped in cookie crumbs.
As you can see, the three special snacks exclusive to Disneyland Paris are presented on sticks as special tasters and will be available alongside the regular versions, as a seasonal special, during the Christmas events at Disneyland Park from 8th November 2009 to 5th January 2010. No specific locations have been stated.
And the price? An online article published just in advance of the press release states… €7. Seven Euros! For one stick? For two or three? It’s not clear.
Looking at these photos, we’d better have a diet plan and a lottery ticket ready for New Year…
The first extra-ticket night of 2009 took place last Friday, 9th October, with three more Not-So-Scary parties still to come on the 16th, 23rd and 27th. The nights give guests special access to Disneyland Park from 8pm to 11pm for exclusive entertainment, character meet ‘n’ greets and far more attractions than in 2008.
Last year confined to Fantasyland, the party has spread in 2009 to include Frontierland, as far as Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor, plus Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza also now play a role, whilst the tally of attractions open in Fantasyland now stands at seven — including Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world”.
If reports from the first party are anything to go by, the queues — particularly outside of Fantasyland — are definitely on the light side. Kaleo on Disney Central Plaza forum, for example, notes a wait of just 5 minutes posted at Big Thunder for the entire party, although these events do grow in attendance as we get closer to Halloween itself.
So far as attractions, it’s looking good for your €25 entrance. But what of the special entertainment? Our thanks to DCP member fandlrpstyle for sharing the full programme online:
Last year’s Merlin and the Witch Academy show returns at the Castle Courtyard for three performances at 20:30, 21:30 and 22:30, whilst Fantasy Festival Stage hosts regular performances of its Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too show, just the same as the daytime version.
The real highlight of the entire event, however, happens out on Central Plaza, where the new stage has been put to fantastic use for the huge new show “Le Spectacle Pas-Si-Trouille d’Halloween” — Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Show, as announced by show director Emmanuel Lenormand. Here’s a full video by Vidimouse:
This lengthy 20-minute spectacle has a pleasingly large (for Paris) cast of dancers and characters, as Mickey arrives in his purple Halloween suit to enjoy a “Not-so-scary” night amongst his Disney friends.
From Snow White to Belle, to a surprising (but very welcome and fitting) focus on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the first half of the show sees a medley of relatively peaceful song and dance numbers. But, you’ve guessed what’s coming — Maleficent. Bursting up through the stage, just like her appearance in It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends during the day, she speaks live — and in English!! — to tell Mickey that Halloween should be scary. And then, we see the show again — from the Villains’ point of view, with the relevant villain theme songs and characters for each of the films just presented.
Happening twice each night during the events, at 9pm and 10pm, the show makes great use of a number of investments made around the area in recent years — the high-powered spotlights either side of the Castle, the new stage lifts and the on-stage pyrotechnic effects installed just this month. Though the numbers involved might restrict such a wish, this is probably the kind of thing we should have had every night during Halloween, rather than the small “cameo” within the regular Central Plaza show.
Closing the Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties is a cavalcade, just like last year. Except this time, it’s not the Disney Characters’ Express travelling down the Disneyland Park parade route but… Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars! Here’s another full video with thanks to Vidimouse:
Aside from the music, taken from Walt Disney World’s Disney Villains Mix and Mingle event, and a few extra characters, there’s little done to put a Halloween stamp on the regular Walt Disney Studios Park parade. It’s a unique chance to see the cars filing down Main Street, but probably not “special” enough for a special party night.
However, being given a few more free packets of Haribo — now the official “treats” of Halloween in Disneyland Paris, and handed out after each event during the party — when the cavalcade stops on Town Square, probably sweetens (sorry) the deal, right? Well, it helps.
For only their second year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties have really grown up.
If you’ve tried the print-at-home E-Tickets from www.disneylandparis.com already, you’ll know how convenient they are. Sure, you’re left with a boring, printed sheet of A4 paper — hardly something to keep as a souvenir — but they mean you can grab tickets almost instantly, days or even minutes before heading to the parks, skipping that queue at the gate.
But until now, there’s always been a critical downside — how do you collect Fastpass tickets? The short-term answer from Disneyland Paris has before now been to hand out blank or “dummy” collection tickets to E-Ticket holders at the gate, causing some long, slow-moving queues on busy days as the system is explained. The same size as regular park entrance tickets, these simply let you collect Fastpasses from the regular machines.
Fastpass machines at Big Thunder Mountain have been given brand new ticket readers. The reader on the right is for magnetic strips, allowing you to collect a Fastpass by vertically swiping your regular park entrance ticket or Annual Passport. This is different to the old style machines, which required guests to insert their entire ticket and wait for it to be ejected back, taking a considerably longer amount of time.
Brand new, however, is the reader just to the left. As the simple illustration suggests, it’s an optical barcode reader specifically for print-at-home E-Tickets!
Why is that so great? Aside from the natural behaviour of a Disneyland Paris fan being to jump with excitement at any minor change — because it might finally return some fairness to the system. Those white dummy tickets, if you’ve never encountered them, basically grant Fastpass-printing privileges for life. They’re like something those bad guys from Pinocchio might taunt you with as you skip innocently down Main Street. Once you’ve got one, it’s hard not to use it unfairly.
Here’s the thing: They still operate with the same delay for your next ticket, but aren’t dated whatsoever. So, if you were given one back in May, you can use it on your next visit alongside your new ticket. And again, and again. Some frequent and local visitors have built up such a collection that they rely on a pocketful of dummy tickets to collect up Fastpass tickets for everything, all at once, snubbing any queue over 20 minutes.
And if you thought those long-standing rumours from every Disney resort of Fastpass becoming a solely paid-for system were only that, you’re… almost wrong. Type “Disneyland Paris Fastpass” into eBay (well, don’t) and you’re confronted by a dizzying list of these tickets, priced anywhere up to, say, £40 (€43).
They’ve spawned a kind of “black market” that has reaped substantial profits for those hoarding the tickets, at the expense of regular visitors, which the resort appears to have turned a blind eye to. Hardly fair for those who play by the rules with tickets or queue up properly.
So yes, this Fastpass development should be very positive in the long run — the blank dummy tickets will begin to dry up, at least. But the thing is — and we hate to blow the lid on another Fastpass trick — according to members at Disney Central Plaza, old entrance tickets still work.
Yes, if you didn’t know, you can often just insert (or now, swipe) your ticket from your last trip and collect an extra Fastpass, just like that. This isn’t just the case in Paris though, but a flaw of the system at other resorts too, so let’s overlook it for now and instead finish on a spot of praise for the end of dummy tickets and the start of a beautiful new relationship between E-Tickets and Fastpass. It’s about time.
Announced as part of the Disney’s Fairytale Christmas press release, the Tree Lighting Ceremony will not only move back to Town Square but become an event in its own right once again, after several years spent as merely a background to the Castle’s illumination at Central Plaza.
It looks like we’re not the only ones eagerly anticipating the return either, as the resort’s publicity department have just released this rather lovely new image to advertise the “new” event:
Featuring a young girl with Mickey Mouse, the tree itself is shown glowing in blue as trails of pixie dust surround it, the buildings of Main Street enclosing the cosy scene.
The use of blue might be interesting, since the old tree — which has been spotted backstage and is assumed to be returning — has no lights of the sort. So could the old tree be given a new lighting overlay? After all, with the event now based solely around it, it has to compete with the extravagance of the several hundred-thousand lights over on Sleeping Beauty Castle, which will still be illuminated — separately — as part of the final “Party Time” show of the day.
This slightly too modern, slightly cold blue LED-type display is already used for the 2005 Princess Chandeliers which line Main Street during the season. It would be a shame to see the warm and colourful old tree fall to this apparently fashionable colour for Christmas lights, even if it does need to be given a more impressive light-up programme.
Gushing with confidence, the press release states: “Every evening, guests are invited to a stunning brand-new show around the majestic Christmas Tree in Town Square. Enchanted illumination orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person promises to dazzle young and old alike with loads of magical Christmas surprises.”
Like any wonderfully clichéd Christmas movie, we’ll just have to wait for those days to fall from the calendar…
In fact, it’s looking like a truly nostalgic return to the events of Christmases past, as not only will a brand new Tree Lighting Ceremony be created for Town Square, but the seasonal “Celebration” overlay will finally return to “it’s a small world” after several years’ absence.
The Christmas Tree and the LEDs of the Crystal Castle will now be lit during separate events — the Castle being illuminated as part of a special finale to the last performance of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends each day, similar to the current Halloween final show. And on Town Square, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will “orchestrate” an “enchanted illumination”.
Here’s the full press release for 2009:
The emotion and the magic of a Fairytale Christmas at Disneyland Paris
– From 8 November 2009 to 6 January 2010 –
Marne-la-Vallée, France – Beginning on 8 November 2009, the magic of Christmas will enchant Disneyland Paris. Winter will cast a snowy spell on each of the two Disney Parks, offering a brand-new, surprise-filled programme full of unforgettable memories for families and friends.
A CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH DISNEY MAGIC
The magical atmosphere of a Fairytale Christmas
When the spirit of Christmas comes to Disneyland Paris, the Sleeping Beauty Castle becomes a sparkling Crystal Palace, Mickey Mouse and his Friends don their best winter costumes and guests eagerly wait to greet Beauty and the Beast in Belle’s Christmas Village… Snowflakes fall by the thousands over Main Street U.S.A.® and blanket the majestic Christmas tree that towers over Town Square. Décor straight out of the most beautiful Fairy Tales plunges guests into a unique atmosphere. Enchantment reigns during this wondrous Disney Christmas, allowing children to drop their wish lists into Santa Claus’ mailbox, located in the heart of the Disneyland Park.
New: Winter magic promises an abundance of lovely surprises, including an unforgettable encounter with Snow White and her Prince Charming at Castle Stage and the Tree Lighting Ceremony orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Town Square.
SANTA CLAUS RETURNS TO DISNEYLAND PARIS
Meet Santa Claus in his village at the Disneyland Park
The Christmas Holiday season is just around the corner. Santa Claus and his elves are busier than ever preparing to distribute thousands of presents. Santa has chosen to set up his workshop in the heart of the Disneyland Park to share all the magic of Christmas with children and to be closer to guests of all ages. With his fluffy white beard, his famous red suit and his bag overflowing with presents, no one can miss Santa Claus this year.
“Santa Claus’ Post Office” in the Disneyland Park
The dream continues all the way to a very special mailbox… Santa Claus’ Christmas mailbox. For this enchanted winter season, he has also set up “Santa Claus’ Post Office” to allow children to “mail” their letters and share their greatest wishes.
Children will also be delighted to receive a letter back from Santa when they return home several weeks following their visit. Wishes really do come true thanks to a Christmas signed by Disney Magic.
Location: Critter Corral – Woody’s Roundup Village – Frontierland –Disneyland Park
Disney’s Once Upon a Christmas Dream Parade
Aboard his bright and colourful sleigh, Santa Claus will be the guest of honour at the Disney’s Once Upon a Christmas Dream Parade! He will close this spectacular parade inviting everyone to dream alongside the Disney Characters.
Escorted by his Wooden Soldiers and Elves, in time to special Christmas music, Santa will spread all the magic of winter and Fairy Tales.
ENCHANTING ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DISNEY PRINCESSES
New: Meet Snow White and Prince Charming
This Christmas is the right time for guests to discover and rediscover Walt Disney’s first masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The magic of this delightful tale will come to life on the Castle Stage for an unforgettable encounter with Snow White and her Prince Charming.
And for the perfect last touch on this Disney Christmas, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated feature in Cinema history will be released on high-definition Blue-ray.
Belle’s Christmas Village
During this bright Christmas season, Disneyland Paris guests can enjoy the charm of Belle’s Christmas Village. Between picturesque taverns and traditional chalet stands blanketed in snow, Fantasyland will open its doors to the wonderful world of Disney classics for the Holiday Season. Whisked away by the magic of this tale in an enchanted world, guests can meet Beauty or the Beast while strolling down the streets of this authentic medieval village.
THE ENCHANTMENT OF DISNEY CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT
New: Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Square
Every evening, guests are invited to a stunning brand-new show around the majestic Christmas Tree in Town Square. Enchanted illumination orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person promises to dazzle young and old alike with loads of magical Christmas surprises.
Sleeping Beauty Castle Lighting SpectacularEach evening the Sleeping Beauty Castle undergoes transformation during an incredible illumination display. Over 400,000 lights transform the Castle into a genuine Crystal Palace before guests’ very eyes.
Disney’s Fantillusion Parade will be at its brightest for this Fairytale Christmas. Every evening, from 8 November 2009 to 6 January 2010, when night falls over Main Street, U.S.A., the dazzling night parade shimmers with the help of thousands of lights. The most beautiful Fairytales include Ariel, Aladdin and Jasmine, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, but also Mickey, Minnie Mouse and their friends who parade by, unveiling a lovely story with its happy ending before guests.
MICKEY AND HIS FRIENDS CELEBRATE AN ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS
It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends
To celebrate Mickey’s Magical Party, the Disney Heroes take the new Central Plaza stage by storm and perform their show in 360°. It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends! Guests learn the “Mickey Dance”, an easy-to-learn choreography perfect for spreading the party spirit across the globe.
And every day, for the Christmas Holiday season, the Disney Characters put on an exclusive finale signed by the magic of Christmas. Following the day’s last show, the Sleeping Beauty Castle is transformed into a sumptuous Crystal Palace to offer an exceptional shimmering display.
Mickey’s Winter Wonderland
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and Chip ‘n’ Dale share the joy of winter sports during this show on ice designed to please the whole family. Through slapstick falls and snowball fights, Mickey’s Winter Wonderland celebrates the spirit and the enchantment of the winter season several times a day.
Location: Chaparral Theater – Frontierland
Meet Goofy Santa
For the Holiday season, Goofy just couldn’t resist putting his Santa suit back on! Perched atop his sleigh, he greets children of all ages in the Disneyland Park for a souvenir photo in Town Square.
Happy New Year!
On 31 December, the Disneyland Park welcomes guests until 1:00 a.m. for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party. As the clock strikes midnight, a dazzling fireworks display emblazes the sky over the Sleeping Beauty Castle to bring in a bright and shiny new year.
Mickey’s Christmas Dinner
A unique gift to enjoy as a family for all Christmas Holiday buffs wishing to experience a privileged Disney moment.
This fantastic dinner will thrill the palates of both young and old alike. Beloved Disney Characters are impatient to join them in a lively dance party in the Disneyland Park.
Mickey’s Christmas Dinner can be savoured exclusively on 5, 12, and 19 December from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and includes private access to the Pavilion and privileged Meet’n’Greets with lovable Disney Characters. The delicious Christmas buffet sets the stage for a fun, dynamic and interactive celebration.
Missing above but featured in the French press release is “it’s a small world” Celebration, the resort’s one and only seasonal attraction overlay. It disappeared a few years ago, but they’ve seen sense and the nations of Small World will once again be celebrating New Year’s Eve in their own way from 21st November, with the attraction closed the two weeks beforehand for preparations and a general refurbishment.
“it’s a small world” Celebration
L’attraction “it’s a small world” célèbre elle-aussi les fêtes de fin d’année avec des costumes, musiques et décors dédiés. La plus joyeuse traversée en bateau de Disneyland Paris rend hommage aux traditions de tous les pays qu’elle représente, de la Scandinavie à l’Amérique du Sud, de l’Afrique à la Chine… Si les différentes nations ont leurs propres manières de fêter le nouvel an, “it’s a small world” Celebration honore l’esprit des fêtes adorées par les enfants du monde entier !
A partir du 21 novembre 2009.
Also new this year is the Snow White event on the Castle Stage we reported in August, confirmed above, whilst everything from Santa Claus’ Village and Post Office to Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Belle’s Christmas Village to the special Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade finale all return. The season continues to grow in every respect.
However, it’s the return of the Tree Lighting Ceremony which will no doubt be the highlight of the season this year. Not that there was anything technically wrong with the Central Plaza-based illuminations shows we’ve seen since 2003, but they never managed to get that tear of emotion in your eye, as anyone who saw the old ceremony will tell you.
Now based back around the tree at Town Square, hopefully the new 2009 ceremony will recapture some of that cosy, old-fashioned magic the previous events shunned for Princesses.
Just like that, the nights are dark and the leaves are falling. And since the Saturday just gone, 4th October, Disneyland Paris is back in the Halloween spirit for — with great coincidence — its 13th season.
So what’s new? For the past two years the festival had to coincide with the eternal 15th Anniversary celebrations. This year, it has to battle Mickey’s Magical Party for airtime. In this great big roundup of all things Halloween, we’ve quotes from DLRP Magic!.com‘s interview with festival director Emmanuel Lenormand and some fresh videos pulled from YouTube along the way.
This is Halloween – let’s hope we’ve no need to scream.
Jack Skellington & Sally move to Cottonwood Creek
The Nightmare Before Christmas pair were so popular during their inaugural season in 2008 that they’ve had to be given a wider area than Phantom Manor‘s Boot Hill. This year, they’re over by Cowboy Cookout Barbeque instead…
Halloween Opening Parade
…but do again appear in the rather dull-titled “Halloween Opening Parade”. The pre-parade to Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade this year features lots of Pumpkin Men (or Pumpkinfolk), a horse and cart carrying the couple and the old Carollers/Snow White/Seasonal float carrying Cruella, Gaston, Stitch and other “Villains”, all set to the music of Florida’s HalloWishes fireworks “This Is Halloween”/”Grim Grinning Ghosts” remix.
Here’s the pre-parade moving past (40 seconds in):
It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends… and the Disney Villains
…and a Ridiculously Long Name. This is only one performance mind — the first three shows of “It’s Party Time…” each day run as normal, with only the final show (currently at 7pm) being given a light Halloween touch.
Emmanuel Lenormand wasn’t being modest when he described it as “only a camera” in his recent backstage interview. Just as the show is wrapping up, thunder claps and the usual Halloween sound effects herald the arrival of Maleficent via the stage lift usually reserved only for Mickey.
(jump 5 minutes 35 seconds in)
Apparently the witch is there because she’s upset not to be invited to Mickey’s Magical Party (clearly she hasn’t had to stand through “It’s Dance Time…” like the rest of us). The purpose of her arrival will be lost on a vast majority of guests, however, since she speaks only French. Yes, it’s Goofy’s Summer Camp all over again. Not all that long ago, Entertainment would have ensured a mixture of languages and then possibly a repetition of what’s happening from each language.
But huh, who cares. Soon enough, rather than doing something, er, “villainy” as you might expect, the now collection of baddies suddenly begin to take part in yet another rendition of the so-called “Mickey Dance”. You can’t deny it’s funny to see the Old Hag from Snow White bopping away to the rock-pop theme song, but for the past few years the festival was been built around a centrepiece show here on Central Plaza. Now that focal point is just a silly dance.
A touch which feels more special, though, is the addition of pyrotechnics to the stage as Mickey disappears towards the end (which can be seen at 10 minutes 15 seconds in the video above). They produce a whole lot of smoke but make for a great finale. Apparently they were meant to be there for every show, since April.
It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland
Though not marked on the Programme as being part of Halloween, Emmanuel Lenormand does comment: “There will also be a similar cameo at the end of It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.”. Naturally, we’re all expecting Gaston and Cruella De Vil going wild to the show’s quintessentially Disney number “Shake Your Booty”, and nothing less.
If you’ve seen the real “cameo”, do comment below.
Minnie’s Halloween Party Train
Now on version number 2,561 of this meet ‘n’ greet train, the park has redecorated the carriages with thorny vines and pumpkins, adding Halloween sound effects over the already saturated soundtrack. The bigger change, though, is that the train now only makes it as far as Town Square, doing a loop around the Gazebo before stopping for the characters to step down.
There’s a bit of a blunder with the introduction, however, as the train is announced as the old “Disney Characters Express”, yet later, Minnie’s ear-piercing voice of 2009 continues to play, so guess away at how that mix-up happened. D’oh! And to think Minnie’s Party Train so nearly got away with guests thinking it was a “brand new” event!
Disney Witches Dancing Spells Party
The difficult name might not exactly inspire, but from Emmanuel’s words this new show on the temporary Trick or Treat Stage near Cowboy Cookout Barbeque sounds like it might be the hit of the season. The stage has been redressed, given a proper set — even special effects. Maleficent and the Old Hag from Snow White battle it out with the help of placed audience members.
“In this show, Maleficent and the Old Hag from Snow White arrive in a cemetery during the night to have fun with their cauldrons and spells to invent new potions. Four children/dancers passing by are going to be choreographically transformed according to the Hag’s and Maleficent’s potion ingredients.
“For that show, Jérôme Picoche came up with some superb scenes, with the transformation of the tombs into cauldrons, with effects everywhere, and a cool ambiance!”
Unfortunately nothing appears to have made its way online yet, so we’ll keep you posted.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties
This year, the extra-ticketed events take place on 9th, 16th, 23rd and 27th October and have thankfully been extended beyond Fantasyland to also include Frontierland and Pirates of the Caribbean. Last year, everyone was kept inside Fantasyland for the duration.
Emmanuel elaborates: “It was such a success last year that we decided to fully open Central Plaza and Frontierland for the occasion. There will be a brand new show in front of the Castle with Disney Characters, in which each good character with confront his or her evil counterpart! And again, there will be lots of candy and sweets handed out.”
“There will also be a Disco Party in Frontierland. The whole place will be filled with dance and fun everywhere! With all of our dancers and Disney Characters, it’s going to be terrific!”
Disney’s Halloween Party (31st October 2009)
And on the big night itself… there’ll be not a bang in the sky. The big talking point for 2009 is what amounts to the cancellation of the usual Halloween Soirée fireworks show. Over the years, they’ve been good and they’ve been underwhelming, changing almost every year. But this year, there’ll be nothing at all after midnight.
Instead, Emmanuel has been helping to prepare a brand new “Light and Sound Show”. Getting that sinking feeling? Don’t judge too soon — as Emmanuel revealed, “we’re going to revisit the elements that made last year’s show such a success — projections, dancers, etc — but enhanced a million times! You’ll have up to 60 artists, projections, pyrotechnic effects and the Castle transformed into a stage itself!”
Last year’s finale show, in case you didn’t catch it online or in the park, was one of the most impressive to date, using the old Central Plaza stage for dancers and a very rare appearance by Sorcerer Mickey — who even did his special pyrotechnic trick usually reserved for Fantasmic! in the States.
Beyond possible noise or cost issues, there’s one good reason to scrap fireworks in the unwelcome early closures it brings to the whole back half of the park. “The idea is to have Mickey confronting the forces of evil with lots and lots of surprises: black light effects and lots of projections.”
“In fact, we’ve got a new projection system which is really effective, so you’ll be able to see giant characters and news ways to animate the walls and the windows of the Castle. It’ll look really different.” All things considered, maybe this kind of imaginative, one-off show is actually better than the same old low-level squibs we’d see otherwise.
Oh, Halloween at Disneyland Paris. It’s love/hate. You’ll mostly see the same old things around the park this year — that means Main Street trashed by orange paint and Frontierland turned to Halloweenland with a hodgepodge of items from across the years. At worst, these creations still unfortunately treat Disneyland like a lifeless canvas, rather than actually complementing its themes and bringing extra life to the lands.
However — the poorly-judged (or quite simply poor) Pink Witches are entirely gone, as are most of their most awful remnants (the astonishingly bad “Travel Agency” desk, for example). Jack and Sally have begun to be represented in several places, most notably on the former “Pink Witches Academy” arch, and several other assorted new pieces have popped up that are really rather pleasing. Some of the older items, like the crypt arch, have been repainted in nicer new designs, finally incorporating purple into the colour scheme.
It seems like they finally know the direction to take Halloween in, but the issue yet again is money. For such a key season, now one of, if not the most important season for markets like the UK, Halloween in Paris is sorely under-funded when it comes to decorations. Everything is rehashed over and again. Hopefully sometime next decade they’ll finally be given the cash to invest in proper, comprehensive overlays in the more sensitive style of those seen in California.
The new format spreads itself much more freely over three pages, with one side for each park.
Rather than having both times grids together in the middle, they’re now positioned horizontally on each park’s page, surrounded by additional images and graphics. On the front, the “featured” events remain from the previous design, giving extra prominence to the key events of the day.
For the Disneyland Park programme, the entire side has been given a very smart Halloween dressing, far better than we’ve become used to in recent years. The Halloween events themselves are picked out with an orange background, courtesy of the new full-colour printing method.
Will it be all-change again once Halloween is over? Hopefully not — the Programme could look fantastic with a full-colour Christmas overlay, although whether such “extravagance” would continue into the quieter Winter months is debatable. This format is surely somewhat more expensive than the previous, greyscale on lower grade paper, but does help make the Halloween Festival seem that little bit more special.
In the last 2010 update, we learnt the final name for next year’s Disney Characters Party Train Express rehash — Disney All Stars Express. This time, we find out the final names of the reworked Central Plaza show and the four year-old Monsters Inc. corner, plus a few other exclusive snippets.
This “official text” will be what you’ll see in holiday brochures and other publications in a few months. Here we go with the first section:
Disney new generation festival
A new generation of Disney stars and stories are landing for one year only at Disneyland® Paris from April 2010.
Join the festival-fun at the all-new generation shows and parades – where new Princess Tiana jazzes up the Once Upon a Dream Parade, and gourmet chef Remy* drives you wild with excitement in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. Or choo-choo-choose which star to meet first on the Disney all stars express and at Monsters Inc. Scream Academy* –shriek n’ greet like no other!
And, starting from Summer, shrink to the size of a toy in Toy Story Playland* for the BIGGEST new family attractions: Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog(1) Zig Zag Spin and RC Racer(2).
Finally, gather in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle for a true Disney showstopper finale – an all-singing, all-dancing, all-together perfect end to the perfect day.
The Disney new generation festival might only last a year but your all-new memories will last a lifetime.
So there we go, all the events officially confirmed. You can notice already the huge amount of legal baggage that has come with the real-life toy themes of Toy Story Playland, with the owner of each element having to be credited on every single piece of promotional material.
Note also that the new Central Plaza show is now definitely set to be a single finale to the day, rather than the current schedule of four shows throughout the afternoon.
The second page continues with more on those events being provided by the resort’s Entertainment department:
Shows & Parades
Welcome Princess Tiana to the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
Princess Tiana from Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Princess and the Frog” brings a little jazz, snazz and pizzazz in the Once Upon a Dream Parade. She is joining the Disney Princesses in their Dreams of Romance. Hop along with your little ones to twist and twirl to the romantic music from each of their worlds and give a warm welcome to this new Princess.
Ratatouille(1) starring in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
Drive your little ones wild with excitement as Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars presents the all-new Ratatouille roadster. It’s a party on wheels that goes into a spin when Remy pulls up alongside you! Get a taste of his cooking capers and the other crazy cars and characters. It’s the perfect recipe for a fun-filled motorcade.
Disney all star express
Get on track with the festivities on the Disney all stars express. This is your ticket to choo-choo-se which of your favourite Disney new generation Characters you want to meet n’ greet first. Will it be Buzz(3) ? A rendez-vous with Remy(3) ? Shootin’ the breeze with Woody(3) ? All aboard! It’s Minnie and her all stars express!
Disney showtime spectacular
It’s Showtime! It’s time to shine. It’s time to gather in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle on Central Plaza stage for an explosion of music from maestro Mickey. Together with an all-new A-list of guest stars it promises to be an all-singing, all-dancing all-new showstopper finale!
Monsters Inc.(2) Scream Academy
All screams are welcome at Disneyland® Paris. Thrill-filled shrieks, surprised yelps and screams of delight! At Monsters Inc. Scream Academy we welcome screams to break the decibel meter! Join in the tonsil-tingling fun as you shriek n’ greet Sulley and scream as loud as monster-possible – it’s ear-popping fun for all the family.
(1)Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Ratatouille
(2)Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
(3)Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s movies Toy Story, Ratatouille
Confirmed here are the names of the new Central Plaza show — Disney showtime spectacular — and the Monsters Inc. corner in Toon Studio — Monsters Inc. Scream Academy.
But wait, didn’t the newly-named Monsters Inc. Scream Academy, with its light-up “scream monitor” canisters, already open way back in April 2006? Obviously the wording is clever here — there’s no statement that this is a “new” attraction (because it certainly isn’t), but the inclusion alongside other new events certainly gives that impression.
Will it offer anything more than the scream canisters and Sulley meet ‘n’ greet it’s been hosting for almost four years? Possibly a little something new, at least: A comment by “zanderstarz” on our first article about the festival states it has been confirmed internally that little girl Boo will also make appearances — a character never seen in Paris before.
And now, this could prove to be nothing, but did somebody forget to hold down the Shift key, or press Caps Lock? There’s a huge “FINAL VERSION” stamp across the top of this PDF, but right throughout the entire text the festival is referred to not as “New Generation Festival”, in that boring, grammatically-correct style, but as “Disney new generation festival“. The renamed character train is not “Disney All Stars Express” but “Disney all stars express“, and the bravely-titled Showtime Spectacular is, in fact, typed up as “Disney showtime spectacular“.
It’s not like whoever typed this “final version” doesn’t understand capital letters — they’re used perfectly on every other name. And add this to the mystery — the category for the 2010 events on the official trade website changed on Monday from “New Generation Festival” to the entirely lower case “new generation festival“, something which would surely have to be done manually.
We’re still waiting for confirmation if these lower-case names are for real. Who knows, maybe they’ll release a “txt spk” version in SMS shorthand, to truly capture the new generation!
And finally, the part of the celebration we care about the most:
Toy Story Playland
Opening Summer 2010 at Disneyland® Paris
Toy Story Playland has the BIGGEST new family attractions. They’re GIANT – when you’re shrunk to the size of a toy! Join the toys for playtime in Andy’s backyard where everyone can explore this oversized world with its three larger-than-life rides – Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin and RC Racer. Andy’s away and the toys are ready to play!
Toy Story Playland is inspired by Disney•Pixar film Toy Story
Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop
Attention! Your mission – join Andy’s troops for a high flying adventure – Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. When Sarge yells “Go! Go! Go!” , hold on tight as you fall from way up high in a simulated parachute drop. Over and out!!
Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin
Everyone’s tongues and tails are wagging about the all-new “zigzag-a-coaster” Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin. Family pups of all sizes will howl with laughter as they join Slinky in a rollicking spin to catch his own tail. It’s barking mad fun in Toy Story Playland.
Slinky®Dog is a registered trademark of Poof-Slinky, Inc. All rights reserved.
Andy’s speediest toy car is sure to get you and your family’s adrenaline pumping. RC Racer is the most thrilling new ride in Toy Story Playland. Race along a 25 metre-high half-pipe coaster, as RC zooms you around at full speed…it’s a real gas.
Along with plenty of spin about these being the “BIGGEST” new family attractions, we do actually get a long-awaited confirmation of just how big: The RC Racer halfpipe will be 25 metres tall! That’s less than half the size of Tower of Terror and just a touch taller than Disney Studio 1 or the Sorcerer’s Hat.
We also get a date — Summer 2010, which confirms again that all those “new” entertainment events are actually going to be much-needed for the first few months (events begin in April), when this celebration’s centrepiece will still be a building site.
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