Chances are you’ve had your baggage, err — examined — when entering either park at Disneyland Paris. A quick look inside, a hesitant squeeze from underneath and a blank nod to let you through.
…As if they couldn’t tell already from the Donald Duck baseball cap, Walt Disney Studios jacket and array of cameras that the only ones who need be worried about you are the other people running straight to the Big Thunder Mountain Fastpass line…
Next time, though, things might go a bit differently. Spotted at the gates of Disneyland Park on the final Wednesday of August (still catching up a bit on news here), was a full airport-style X-ray machine and metal detector, housed in a special green tent next to the regular bag checks.
Guests entering the gate with suitcases (say, heading to the Guest Storage or to Disneyland Hotel) were asked to move across and join the extra line, as were a random selection of other guests waiting in the queues to enter. The check was treated just as another line, and in fact appeared to be gone (or out of use) just a few days later.
These security measures appear to be a new addition to the park gate, though they have been spotted at the park entrance by the side of Disneyland Hotel in the past. The machinery here was hidden well behind the tent and no doubt made things much easier for people with large luggage, worried about having to open up and display their worldly possessions to everyone else in line.
Over at Walt Disney Studios Park, the security check remained a quick look inside your bag. And of course, once inside, you can hop between both parks. Probably for good reason, it all remains more about deterrents than an exhaustive process.
Unlike the old design, which wasted a lot of space on its cover and reverse, each park is given its own little “notice board” to boldly display the times of the main featured events, park opening hours and any attraction closures.
Then, when you open it up, the times for your current park are shown straight away, with the times of the other park upside down, making the divide between the two much clearer (who knows, maybe guests were looking for Minnie’s Party Train in the Studios?).
The sensible change here is that now the events being pushed are on the front cover, this clever grid can fill the whole page — and crucially, include all the events. The previous design didn’t feature the times for say Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars in the main grid if it was also in the “featured” column, making the whole idea of having this hour-by-hour grid quite pointless. Problem solved.
Also pleasing is the new typeface used throughout — rounder and more legible in small print. The only downside to the whole re-think is that the resort still provides a PDF download of the Programme as an answer to providing entertainment times on its website, rather than having a fancy calendar like Hong Kong or California.
So, anyone who doesn’t want to print and doesn’t know of the “rotate” function in Adobe Reader… will be getting a bit of a twist in their neck.
And since the resort is receiving a whole new themed land with three new attractions, is there need to pad out the “nouveautés” by renaming and re-advertising the same event again?
The answer: Yes.
Here’s the brand new publicity visual released today:
Disney All Stars Express (2010)
As you can see, it re-uses the template of the original Disney Characters’ Express image above, but shows the train in its 2009 Minnie’s Party Train guise — recoloured slightly to appear pinker.
On board, the real-life characters are replaced by another collection of generic stock images, showing the “new generation” who’ll lead the event. Well — Stitch, Toy Story and Ratatouille. Despite the year aiming to celebrate the “Ne w Generation”, these stars are already becoming a little repetitive — and there’s no sign of the newest characters, from Bolt and UP, anywhere.
The new name? As given away in the headline, it’s: Disney All Stars Express. Which certainly allows any classic characters to keep their place come April 2010.
If all this repetition’s getting a little dull, take a look at this final new visual:
Showing a plethora of characters parachuting into the park (with Sully for some reason peering up from a trapdoor instead), it’s a pleasant surprise after the earlier images. Nemo’s chances once he reaches the ground surely don’t look good, but the image overall… does.
Rather than just re-using an existing image, chopping it to pieces and hastily copying and pasting some Disney stock characters in, it appears to also have some actual design work in there, with the parachutes given proper perspective and depth as they fade away into the painterly sky.
Yet still, there’s an apathy for the park it’s meant to be selling: why else would you paste fake Mickey Mouse stickers over the beautiful windows of Sleeping Beauty Castle? Sigh…
Note the wording there — “initial images”. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but a couple of the images you’re about to see are surely — surely — just stand-ins for some final, polished visuals yet to come. In short, they look like the kind of hastily chopped-together visuals we might have found on internal presentations or proposals for the 2010 theme year, not true “advertising visuals” that have been released for use in brochures, in print… in public…
The Princess and the Frog in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen will only be hitting European cinema screens in January and February 2010, but come the April launch of New Generation Festival they’ll both find a new home on the ‘Dreams of Romance: Finale’ unit of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.
Quite where they’ll be slotted in on this huge articulated float — which already boasts Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora — isn’t exactly answered by the visual above, which shows an assortment of Disney Princess stock images cowering behind a truly gigantic version of the Princess and the Frog couple.
…Which all throws up a few questions about what route the re-imagined show will take. The current format is based very much around the music, and interactivity. Whilst Tigger certainly lends himself to bouncing and Baloo to a sing-along of Jungle Book tunes, we’ve never seen that kind of event from these characters above before.
“Note” the musical notes falling from the sky on parachutes, continuing that theme. And, though you can’t see it, we can add the interesting note that this image is labelled “KEY VISUAL SHOWTIME SPECTACULAR”, which certainly hints at a name-change for the annoyingly-titled “It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends“ come April 2010. ‘Mickey’s Showtime Spectacular’? ‘New Generation Showtime Spectacular’?
There’s certainly nothing new in the visual here that might suggest an “enhancement”, so why is this 2006 addition suddenly becoming an event? A more regular appearance of Sully? The replacement of the Mike figure with a real-life character? Some kind of mini-show or Sword in the Stone-style scream canister event…?
Ratatouille in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
Wave goodbye to all hope of Florida’s old Star Wars car joining our Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. This vehicle will be remodelled for Rémy and Emile from April 2010, adding a 12th car to the parade/show event.
Given that the Star Wars car is very different to that above, don’t take this as a real concept.
So there you go, the four main events Disneyland Paris Entertainment are cooking up for the New Generation Festival. After their five large-scale launches for 2009, it should be a breeze. There’s also the strong chance that Disney Characters’ Express / Minnie’s Party Train will be remodelled yet again into a New Generation Express, but thankfully it’s looking like such a rehash won’t be quite so widely advertised.
Three more visuals are also floating around for Toy Story Playland and two of its attractions, but we’ve a lot of catching up to do on that subject before getting to those. Stay tuned…
Here we go, the official logo of the New Generation Festival…!
As you can see, the design takes on a modern and very “Toy Story”-inspired design, with big, ,3D yellow letters for “New”, a slimy green “Generation” and a “Festival” built out of… building blocks, just like the word “Playland” will be at the Toy Story Playland entrance.
Naturally, the logo comes in a couple of additional variations.
First, we’ve the new resort logo for 2010:
As with Mickey’s Magical Party, the name of the event is slotted in across the top. Unlike 2009’s logo, however, there’s no balloon or extra graphics on the end.
Note also that both here and above the classic ‘Disneyland Paris’ logo is back to its good old navy blue self. No shoehorned “Resort”, no having “Paris” in a separate colour, nothing. To long-time fans, it’ll feel like an old friend has returned.
The third and final logo is the largest:
Here we see the first, main logo above — but with a scattering of the characters who’ll “star” in next year’s events. Lightning McQueen, Princess Tiana, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse, Sully, Rémy, Nemo and Stitch. The idea is to contrast between the very classic characters of the current year (Donald, Goofy, Peter Pan), making 2010 seem as fresh as possible.
Phew. Are you all New Generation-ed out? Sorry, but there’s yet more…
Finally, here’s the key visual for the New Generation Festival. As promised in the earlier reveal, balloons are out. In 2010, it’s all about — erm… parachutes!
Buzz Lightyear leads the image as Lightning McQueen, Rémy, a Toy Solider, Slinky Dog, Princess Tiana, Nemo, Sully, RC, Woody and Stitch glide towards Sleeping Beauty Castle behind.
This “key visual” is the main piece of advertising imagery we’ll be seeing throughout the entire promotion of the event. You might remember those for Mickey’s Magical Party, and this here is our brand new one. Get used to it, we’ll be seeing it a lot.
Thoughts? Opinions? Ahh, we’ll leave that to you for now!
For the first time in years, Disneyland Park didn’t make its Summer season a clean sweep of 11pm closures right through from July to August. For the week of 24th – 30th August 2009, guests would hear the park closing announcements at 10pm, instead.
The real turn of events were hardly dissimilar to every other week of the season, however, as anyone who has following the resort’s hugely unpopular “limited attraction hours” programme this Summer will know. Several of the smaller attractions still opened late and closed early, at the same hours. And, rather than performing at 22:25, Disney’s Fantillusion rolled out just 25 minutes earlier, bang on the advertised closing time of 10pm, with The Enchanted Fireworks following soon after at around 22:35.
But perhaps sensing that these slightly earlier showtimes would give visitors less time to browse the park’s boutiques beforehand, a popular old trick was pulled out again — late night store openings.
As advertised at each and every entrance turnstile, and at many of the shops in question, the stores of Main Street, U.S.A. along with Constellations and Thunder Mesa Mercantile Building, near the entrances of Discoveryland and Frontierland respectively, kept their doors open until gone 11pm. Such a tactic has been used many times before, such as during busy Halloween and Christmas periods when the park’s high attendance contrasts with shorter hours.
Even better, if you’d happened to do a little shopping earlier in the evening, a brand new ploy would be handed right to you — a voucher for 15% off your next purchase totalling €30 euros or more that same night, after 9.30pm. The ticket was printed automatically along with all receipts.
This is the very first time that Disneyland Paris have offered such merchandise discounts to the general public, coming after tests earlier this year saw the resort’s new tills (now identical at every single payment location) printing out vouchers for free hot drinks at various counter service locations.
Last Chance Café has long been on the list of Disneyland Parks see-sawing open/closed restaurants, sometimes open for weeks, sometimes completely shuttered. Considering its incredibly prominent location right opposite Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing and en route to Phantom Manor, it has long been a wasted dining opportunity.
Well yeeha! It took 17 years, but we’re in luck! The location is now finally getting a proper outdoor terrance, a full wooden extension in the Western style, with its signage being moved outwards to the edge of the new construction.
The fences were put in place a couple of weeks ago, with the work expected to just be a general refurbishment. But as you can see, it has become much more than that…
For a better view, let’s climb aboard the Mark Twain…
The “restaurant” itself is really nothing more than a small indoor counter service queue area, so, despite its excellent placing right on the beaten track, Last Chance Café has frequently offered guests no chance at all for a drink or snack. Aside from the small hot dog stand nearby, they’d have to jump on their horse and ride off all the way to Main Street or Fuente del Oro Restaurante for a meal.
With this large new structure in place we can hopefully expect the location, sandwiched between the table service Silver Spur Steakhouse and the buffet service Lucky Nugget Saloon, to be giving us much more chance for a bite to eat, on the dusty road to Boot Hill.
Popping up out of nowhere, and only so far on the German press website, these few images are a rare delight worth sharing. Apparently someone, somewhere, realised that there’s a luscious, extraordinary Disney park behind whatever theme year is currently being peddled.
Looking through the latest official brochure (PDF), you could be forgiven for thinking the park was yet to open its gates with the airbrushed, photoshopped and hazy imagery filling page after page. Between the huge, fake images of the Mickey’s Magical Party events being previewed, guests are given little to no real glimpse at the parks themselves.
Well, flying cowboys! Is this really Disneyland Paris?
Of course, there is reason for this — since the start of the 15th Anniversary, the resort has been on a new drive to promote limited-timed offers and calls to action.
People were found to wait until their children were older before visiting, whilst Disneyland wanted their custom now. But how are these potential guests to know that this place really is so beautiful, so much better than any other theme park on the continent, and worth the high prices listed on later pages?
Images like these might help…
Several of the photos focus on Frontierland, with an eerie mist rolling around Phantom Manor and the Molly Brown standing proudly in the dock.
Even classic E-Tickets, like Phantom Manor itself, rarely seem to be given much attention these days. The opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was criminally glossed-over in favour of the extended 15th, the consensus simply being that this €180-million attraction wouldn’t be enough for the bookings to roll in — people would conclude that, unlike the anniversary events, “it’ll still be there in a few years” and postpone their trip.
As recently as 2001 and 2002, however, each land would be given its own lavish, themed page in the brochures, filled with photos of the environments, attractions and entertainment. After all, it’s these legendary attractions and the landscape of the park — the things designed and built by the Imagineers — that we visit time and time again for… isn’t it?
Say, the Disneyland Railroad majestically skirting its way around the greenery of the berm…
Or the spires, towers, walls, windows, tapestries and pure beauty of the Castle…
No wonder some people think we’re mad to be in love with Disneyland at our age, considering the “kids’ crèche” style of recent advertising, completely shunning any images like this gorgeous new view past the Walt’s restaurant sign…
You can click any of these new official images above for a large 1600px version. We’ll probably never see them make the brochures or advertising, so go on — stick them on your desktop and show people what Disneyland Paris is really like.
The project has been in planning and kept top secret for months. But now, as the deadlines for advertising visuals and creatives for the next round of brochures nears, the entire list of new events has been leaked online.
Working title: Disney’s New Generation Festival, this next theme year will put the newest animated characters firmly in the spotlight. That means, though Toy Story Playland will certainly be the key new attraction of the year, we aren’t looking ahead a whole of solely Toy Story themes. No, instead we’ll be seeing Disney’s upcoming The Princess and the Frog plus a whole lot of Pixar — they are, after all, the closest to “Disney” the past decade has offered.
Avert your eyes now — the most spoiler-filled post of 2009 awaits! Here, are the events of 2010:
Toy Story Playland
You know this one already: Three brand new attractions set within a highly-themed giant garden to extend Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park. However, with groundwork barely begun, there’s no way this new Walt Disney Imagineering area can open before at least June next year — meaning a surrounding festival of events to begin in April 2010 is necessary…
Princess Tiana joins Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
The newest Disney Princess hasn’t even hit the big screen in The Princess and the Frog yet and already she’s being prepared to join the Disneyland Park parade. Not on a new float, unfortunately, but just stepping up onto the final Dreams of Romance: Finale float with Prince Naveen, giving this unit an overwhelming cast of five Princes and Princesses.
‘Enhanced’ Monsters, Inc. meet ‘n’ greet
A little patch of Monsters, Inc. has been in the Studios since 2006, but for some reason it’s now being included in next year’s new events. The leaked details here say it’ll be “enhanced”, but there isn’t any further information yet.
Ratatouille joins Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
The Studios’ new evening finale will definitely continue into 2010, with the advertised novelty being a brand new car themed to Ratatouille, featuring Rémy and Emile. We can reveal it’ll be the old Star Wars car to undergo this transformation.
Minnie’s Party Train becomes a New Generation Express
Yes, the old Casey Jr. float will be given its fourth colour scheme and feature mostly — if not entirely — Pixar characters next year.
NO Castle decorations whatsoever!
That’s an event in itself, right?!
And finally… in 2007 we had the red carpet, in 2008 the wrapping paper and in 2009 the very successful balloons motif. Next year, it’s all-change again on the advertising ideas front — and the new theme? Taken straight from the most imposing attraction of Toy Story Playland, we’ll be seeing… parachutes! No, seriously.
Of course, we could guess from the start that the vast new Central Plaza Stage wouldn’t be ripped out come the previously scheduled end date of 7th March 2009, but we may not have guessed the follow-up show would be… exactly the same. In name, at least.
The casting call above (PDF) was posted on the Entertainment section of the resort’s dedicated Casting site, requesting dancers for the show with full time contracts beginning end of October 2009. The surprise, however, is the end date: end of August 2010!
And, it’s absolutely correct. Current work-in-progress plans do have next year’s Central Plaza Stage show bearing the same name, but the content is still to be finalised. The crucial detail, in fact, is that current plans have the show only as a single performance — a finale to the day — in the 2010 season, rather than the four afternoon performances seen this year.
It makes sense — the several performances of “It’s Party Time” have brought nowhere near the anticipation or audience retention of Candleabrationin previous years. The daytime timeslot means guests are often just passing by to another land, heading to Main Street for lunch. Many miss the start or end of the show, or don’t bother staying to see the middle. Unlike true theatre shows, which visitors must choose to watch, queue for, and take a seat for, there doesn’t appear to be much affinity to this seemingly continuous daytime event on the hub.
However, if It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends is to move to the end of the day, as a big finale to whatever next year’s “theme year” may be, will games like the Tigger bounce and Baloo scratch really be adequate? Perhaps it will be the same show only in name and staging after all — the “Mickey and Friends” tag is certainly open enough for a new middle section to be easily slotted in where the party games currently sit.
Don’t stop practising your “Mickey Dance” just yet, then. Plus, with Minnie’s Party Train set to return in yet another new guise and Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars surely not going anywhere soon, the party may be ending March 2009 but its legacy — such as it is — will certainly live on.
Picture: Photos Magiques; Casting call spot thanks to DLP.info.
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