Monday, 24th September 2007

Father Christmas Village officially confirmed

Disneyland Resort Paris always announces its new developments in the most understated of ways. Whether its a paragraph at the end of a financial report or a nondescript mention on a webpage, the resort certainly knows how to keep its fans on their toes.

Today, official confirmation for the ‘Father Christmas Village‘ finally comes from an online newsletter sent out to all UK guests introducing both the Halloween and Christmas seasons, together. Once the email has arrived in their inbox, subscribers can click a link to visit a special webpage on disneylandparis.co.uk providing a preview of the upcoming season under the tagline “This year, Christmas will be 15 times more MARVELLOUS!”

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One sentence, hidden toward the end of the text, reads as follows:

“…And take advantage of this exceptional day to visit the new Father Christmas Village.”

There it is, the first phase of Woody’s Roundup Village is finally official and public!

The email newsletter itself mentions guests being able to “spend some magical moments with the Disney Characters who await you in their special Christmas finery beside Father Christmas in person”, suggesting the village will mix well with the perpetually popular Mickey’s Winter Wonderland within the ranch area, providing a ‘Disney Character’ alternative to the ‘Disney Princess’ theme of Belle’s Christmas Village, returning to Fantasyland from 17th November 2007.

Woody’s Roundup Village itself will then likely take over the ranch in the new year, providing Disneyland Resort Paris with its only attraction to be “made-over” annually for seasonal events.

The newsletter also confirms the English name of Candleabration‘s festive guise – Enchanted Candleabration.

Monday, 17th September 2007

Woody’s Roundup grows with rootin’ tootin’ roofs!

Yes, Woody’s Roundup!

The rootinest, tootinest, shootinest, hootinest cowboy around is finally due to make a Frontierland appearance over 12 years since the original Toy Story film. The ‘Woody’s Roundup’ name chosen for this redevelopment coming from the 1999 film Toy Story 2 and the fictional 1950s television series which Woody discovers he originated from. The name has also been suggested to be ‘Woody’s Roundup Village’ — a partner for Pocahontas Indian Village nearby, perhaps?

The new development is expected to be used for meet ‘n’ greets with the ‘Roundup Gang’, with other activities aimed at a younger audience also likely, encouraging these visitors to spend longer in a land with little specifically for children.

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Riding through Frontierland on the Disneyland Railroad, the two new buildings are now unmissable in the grassy glade of the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area. Square pitched roofs have been added to both, including a decorative centre square raised above the main roof. Further progress has been made with what appears to be a new wooden structure joining these two buildings, a much more strongly-pitched roof bridging the gap to provide a very large new covered space.

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Now, this kind of plywood isn’t particularly inspiring or suitable for a Western ranch post-1880. Lucky then, we can spot a second major construction step already – weathered roof tiles are already laid on the roof opposite The Chaparral Theater. Upon completion, we could imagine the buildings the appear similar obviously to those retained from Critter Corral, but also to the Disneyland Railroad Frontierland Depot itself. Woody may be from an animated film, but there appears nothing “cartoonish” whatsoever about his real-life ranch home.

The Christmas press release and information released last week also confirmed Father Christmas’ usual Town Square location is now being taken by Goofy, suggesting this development will be ready for its Christmas Village function this year. Woody’s Roundup itself, for the rest of the year, will then likely follow in 2008.

All photos by Photos Magiques. You can see the full construction gallery here.

Thursday, 13th September 2007

Bougillumination Enchantée and Dreams of Christmas

The new press release answers a lot of questions and confirms the Christmas overlays of Candleabration and Once Upon a Dream, but before we begin — take a look at this brand new visual:

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Should this be next to the word “extravagance” in the dictionary?

Any questions about whether the chandeliers would return or whether they will replace the 15th Anniversary banners can be cast aside… Two spectacular, popular Main Street and Castle overlays will join together for the first time — glowing, icy chandeliers and sparkling Lumière banners, flickering character candles and glittering ice palace lights, presented together for two months only.

Quite a jawdropping spectacle in itself, don’t you think?

– – – – – – Press Release, Translated – – – – – –

Christmas more spectacular than ever
for the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort Paris

Christmas at Disneyland is a time for all the family —
this year, kids under 7 can stay and play for FREE.

MARNE LA VALLÉE, France 11 Septembre 2007 … The Christmas celebrations begin 10th November at Disneyland Resort Paris. Amongst the high points of the season, the new ‘Dreams of Christmas’ float for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, the musical show Mickey’s Winter Wonderland and the unforgettable illumination of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in her 15th Anniversary makeover.

Until 6th January 2006, the most enchanting season of the entire year will be even more magical. And to make the celebration sparkle, hotel stays and access to the Disney Parks is completely free for children under 7 years of age!

Disneyland Park

More than one million lights will transform Disneyland Park into a Christmas wonderland. Snow will fall on a Main Street lined with grand chandeliers dedicated to the Disney Princesses and happy snowmen. A majestic Christmas Tree and Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant glow in thousands of lights, specially decorated for the 15th Anniversary.

Father Christmas and his reindeer take their place on the ‘Dreams of Christmas’ float in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade every afternoon. This sparkling parade was created especially for the 15th Anniversary to bring to life the most beautiful Disney Classics, helped along by a grand collection of Disney characters wearing their most beautiful party clothes.

Even more surprises await vistors with Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, a colourful ice-skating spectacle presented several times a day with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and their friends in a wondrous Winter landscape. The fantasy presents the charms and delights of the coldest season through memorable music. Naturally, Chip and Dale make a surprise appearance!

At the heart of Fantasyland from the 17th November, guests can explore the winding streets of Belle’s Christmas Village. The heroine and her beast themselves can be encountered at the entrance of this picturesque seasonal market. Over at the Fantasy Festival Stage, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too enchants guests of all ages in a special Christmas-themed show from 15th December to 6th January.

The Disney characters are at the celebration and waiting for guests at the foot of the Castle. In the elegant Christmas Tree Forest of Town Square, Goofy Claus is ready and waiting for photos. And, as every day since the start of the 15th Anniversary celebrations, Disney Characters’ Express circles Main Street, U.S.A. several times a day, redecorated with a special Christmas theme!

Every evening, Mickey and his friends join together for the joyous finale of Bougillumination Enchantée (Enchanted Candleabration, Christmas Candleabration) in dance and song, before Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant — its fifteen candles lit by Mickey Mouse himself! Enchanting Disney princesses dance under the moonlight whilst, behind them, the Castle is transformed into a spectacular, crystal ice palace of lights. The crowning moment comes as a shower of glittering, golden pixie dust rains from the magic wand of Tinkerbell atop the highest spire, which illuminates, one by one, the giant chandeliers and banners lining Main Street all the way to the towering Christmas Tree itself, on Town Square.

Finally, the nighttime fantasy of Disney’s Fantillusion* reunites the heros of Disneyland in an extravagant parade making use of the most sophisticated sound and light effects, to close the day in a glittering shower of lights and unforgettable music.

*From 10th to 30th November 2007 — Disney’s Fantillusion will be presented only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. From 1st December 2007 to 6th January 2008, Disney’s Fantillusion performances are daily, weather permitting.

Walt Disney Studios Park

Christmas with the sparkle of Hollywood.

Visitors can again step in front of the camera and play their part in the hilarious live Christmas Ciné Folies shows of Disney Studio 1, transformed with an irresistible festive atmosphere.

Across the Resort

Disneyland Resort Paris sparkles with Christmas decorations all over. Each Disney Hotel is given an extra festive touch with Christmas trees, illuminations and specially-organised activities for the Christmas season.

Finally, Disney Village celebrates Christmas from 21st December 2007 to 6th January 2008, including the famous Marché de Noël and a meet ‘n’ greet location for Father Christmas and his snowmen friends.

– – – – – – End Release – – – – – –

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Let’s recap all that news:

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade will indeed see Father Christmas on his own ‘Dreams of Christmas’ float (likely the old sleigh float from previous years). Candleabration’s Christmas overlay will be known beautifully in French as ‘Bougillumination Enchantée’ — we’ll have to wait for the English name, but something similar to Enchanted Candleabration or Christmas Candleabration is likely. The Christmas Tree will return again to Town Square, following its success there last year.

Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and Belle’s Christmas Village return. Disney’s Fantillusion is to run only 3 days a week during November. Walt Disney Studios Park will again have only Christmas Ciné Folies to celebrate the season. Disney Characters’ Express will continue to run and even get a special Christmas overlay.

Perhaps most interesting — Father Christmas’ usual meet ‘n’ greet location of Town Square is now confirmed to be taken over by Goofy in his Santa Claus costume previously seen only at Walt Disney Studios Park. Now, where could Santa have gone? A temporary inhabitant of the future Woody’s Roundup Village in Frontierland, perhaps?

The 15th Anniversary with the added enchantment of Christmas is beginning to sound a lot like something rather special. Alors, chantec’est presque Noël !

Tuesday, 11th September 2007

Halloween festival launches to the power of 15

When Stitch joined the Halloween festivities in 2006, it marked a turn towards a more “Disney” and “childish” theme for the festival, with fewer of Disneyland Park‘s unique Pumpkin Men and more classic Disney characters dressed up for trick or treating. This was joined with a shift back to the older Mickey Mouse pumpkin logo for the event rather than the darker, and less “Disney”, 2005 version.

This year, as Halloween goes “to the power of 15”, the logo is very familiar. The Disneyland15 logo has simply been given three simple silhouettes of bats, and for Christmas season the same simple idea will follow. Certainly, one thing the old season logos always missed were the words “Disneyland” and “Paris”

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You might have already noticed the logo on the new online advertising banners which officially launched today for Disneyland Resort Paris’ affiliate network…

Halloween banner

Or, failing that, a visit to the official Disneyland Resort Paris website in the past few days will not have allowed you to miss the strong Halloween promotions now going on. In addition to links in the “What’s New?” section and on the sidebar, the actual main logo of the website has been completely altered to take on a Halloween theme. All this, to lead visitors to the brand new Halloween mini-site, now launched at the annual www.magichalloween.com address.

Let’s take a look…

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The website is open to an unusual mixture of countries, including Switzerland and Ireland now with
their own sections — Ireland in particular has seen a small surge to the magic recently.

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Choosing your country sends Stitch flying towards the Castle, before you find
yourself in a haunted house with Stitch at the door — “trick or treat?”

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Opening the front door to the masked creature (is this a good message for children?) sends him
spinning monstrously into the room, before leading you to the Halloween events at Disneyland…

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A welcome screen introduces the Halloween events effectively.

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The main screen is set in Frontierland, with Stitch climbing into a mine cart. With Main Street filled
with Lumiere’s 15th events, will the Far West become the true Halloween homeland again?

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“Create your own scary face” lets you do just that, with a nice silhouette of Big Thunder in the
background. The build of the website is very similar in style to the main 15th Anniversary website, an
equally, if not even more, professional.

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The “Halloween Festival” tab leads to general information and photos for the season. Nothing
particularly new is mentioned other than that featured in the recent press release.

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The 31st October Halloween Party (which requires an extra ticket) gets a much more prominent section this year, equal in size to the main festival information and with much to tempt a visit.
Particularly — absolutely no mention of a “Ghost Ship Cavalcade.”

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Main Street is used at the backdrop of the Halloween party. The website also features wallpapers
and a screensaver, information about Kids Under 7 Free and an online game to become the
“Halloween Champion”, though apparently no mention of the actual prize.

Whilst most of the photos used throughout the website are taken from previous Halloween events (largely the 2006 season), a couple of new photos have been produced already this year, seeming to give an impression of the Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime

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However, the true event is expected to take place in daytime, finally bringing the Central Plaza stage to life without having to wait for darkness to fall. The villains are expected to make way completely for Candleabration (and Disney Characters’ Express, it would appear) to continue as normal throughout the festival.

Overall, a very promising launch campaign for this years Halloween festivities, don’t you think?

Whilst the emphasis on the 15th Anniversary might have left the traditional Halloween events by the wayside, they seem to be planning an event stronger than any year before — that’s the power of 15.

Monday, 3rd September 2007

New buildings behind the walls of Critter Corral

Besides the irregular flow of guests into and out of The Chaparral Theater and Frontierland Depot railroad station, there’s not a lot going on in Cottonwood Creek Ranch. Why, it’s almost like a real-life, sleepy ranch settlement! But for a Disney park? Yes, they want a little more life…

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Heading into the quiet Cottonwood Creek area (24th August 2007)

The Critter Corral area, with its sheds, paddocks, enclosures and ‘Woodcarver’s Workshop’ is now surrounded on all sides by green construction walls — from the path, and from the railroad. Above the fences, however, the old signage of the workshop/retail location can be seen sitting strangely beside modern day machinery and digging equipment in the Western corner of the area, next to the railroad. Interestingly, most of the outer paddocks are still open, suggesting they won’t be changed — perhaps left simply as grassy surroundings.

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Corral fences / Woodcarver remains for now (25th August 2007)

But how do you see behind the fences? Oh, there’s always a way. Be it the mirrors of Videopolis, the rockets of Orbitron or the Flying Carpets of Toon Studio, the Imagineers’ future projects always have a hidden viewpoint or two. Next time you’re walking toward Frontierland Depot passing the fences, take a closer look for several useful holes at various heights…

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Through the fences, equipment and foundations (24th August 2007)

…and enjoy the confused looks on other guests’ faces as you hold your camera up and try to snap some photos. The view is worth it, however, showing such features as the entrance gate of the old Critter Corral still in place, with even the “We’ll be back next season” sign holding on for now.

A little to the left, and further back, the real surprise are some new concrete foundations recently laid, enclosing the centre of the former farm from the passing railroad. New foundations in Frontierland? It seemed like we’d never see the day!

UPDATE

Aaron has emailed with some photos by Jort Laban, providing a further update from this past weekend, showing that the foundations are now home to two new wooden constructions, similar in style to the buildings retained from the original Critter Corral:

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New wooden constructions near the railroad tracks

The following aerial plan shows the two new constructions and gives a complete overview of the full Critter Corral area — including its original animal paddocks and the area accessible to guests. Unless the animals make a return for the new development, these large enclosures could add a lot of extra land for guests to stroll around.

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Critter Corral development plan (Click to see in full)

As a whole, the development is similar in scale — and idea — to the Toon Studio Plaza area which opened with the new area at Walt Disney Studios Park in June this year, featuring dedicated character locations within their own themed environment. With the Woodcarver’s Workshop and other buildings available at Critter Corral, however, the possibilites here are even greater. Live music? Craft workshops? Whatever they’ve planned, the new area should be hive of activity, particularly for younger guests.

The use of this new location for Christmas (and possibly Halloween) seasons has already been confirmed. In fact, it’s said to be none other than the entertainment department themselves who are helping along the resurrection of this former Frontier-waste-land.

Photos by DLRP Today and Jort Laban (with thanks to Aaron). Aerial photo from Google Earth.

Thursday, 16th August 2007

Agrabah Café to reopen, but not for street rats

Adventureland Bazaar is a world of secrets, a mysterious, mythical place to Disneyland Resort Paris fans. If you weren’t a fan before 1998, you’ve probably never seen the covered Arabian alley of small shops and beautiful details as it was originally intended. If you weren’t even a fan before the early 2000s, no doubt the entire area is a hidden treasure in your mind…

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Agrabah Café opened in the more spectacular, Northern buildings of Adventureland Bazaar in 1999, a new buffet restaurant to increase capacity for the increase in visitors since the 5th Anniversary. No longer would guests be able to stroll along the covered alley and browse in small boutiques such as L’Echoppe d’Aladdin and La Reine des Serpents — now, the entire covered shopping district would be a unique 1001 Nights-inspired dining area.

Unfortunately, the same Jay Rasulo-led pre-Walt Disney Studios Park era which brought us the closure of the River Rogue Keelboats and downturn in upkeep eventually caused Agrabah Café to close — taking the chance of a glimpse at its beautiful setting with it. Aside from rare press events and the single-day opening each year on 31st December, the only way to see this exceptional location has been through some small glass windows in the remaining Les Trésors du Shéhérazade boutique…

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Tempted by this teaser? Luckily, this won’t be one for our Wish List. Our partners at magicblog announced earlier this week confirmation that Agrabah Café will finally reopen for good from 6th November 2007! The restaurant will be open daily from 11.30am to 4pm, another item successfully ticked off the “to do” list by Karl Holz’ management.

But wait… with an exceptional location like this, why open it for just any old street rats? Indeed, from the outset you won’t be able to stroll into Agrabah Café and grab a bite to eat — you’ll need to be one jump ahead — specifically, in possession of some Half Board Meal Plan vouchers! Yes, Agrabah Café will be the first “Half Board-only” restaurant in the entire resort, meaning that you’ll need to have bought the pre-pay vouchers in advance and therefore have also booked yourself into a Disney Hotel.

Clever, don’t you think?

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However, it’s unlikely making Agrabah CaféHalf Board-only” is intended to tempt more people onto the system. Rather, this is the surest sign yet that the Half Board Meal Plans — introduced less than a year ago in November 2006 — have proven to be a huge success. Guests save up to 15% on their meals, but for Disneyland even these discounted table or buffet service restaurant rates are a bonus when the guests might have otherwise snacked on a quick meal from Casey’s Corner, rather than eat table service every day.

This move follows the transition of Rendez-Vous des Stars Restaurant in Walt Disney Studios Park from a self-service to full buffet service, on a par with Plaza Gardens Restaurant, therefore providing better value for “Half Boarders” used to fancier service in the park next door.

As for Agrabah Café, you never know — there might well be a few moments when the remaining “street rats” among us can sneek inside, to help fill up capacity.

Tuesday, 31st July 2007

‘Spooktacular’ Halloween for the 15th Anniversary

From the first days of the 15th Anniversary, fans have been asking what will happen during the annual Halloween and Christmas events. Recent weeks have presented rumours such as a new daytime show on the Candleabration stage and even the return of Disney Villain Parade! Trick or treat?

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The English press release reads as follows:

A SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN FOR DISNEYLAND PARIS’ 15TH BIRTHDAY

From 6th October to 4th November 2007, a spooktacular Halloween season comes to Disneyland Resort Paris, offering laughs and mischief for all the family

With the help of Classic Disney Villains, Frontierland in the Disneyland Park transforms into Halloweenland. Cruella de Vil and Captain Hook will take over the park, creating a spooky setting for Halloween mischief and mayhem. There will be tricks and treats galore with the spooky season’s special guests, the high energy Pumpkin Men and Pink Witches, who are sure to entertain kids of all ages at the daily Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime.

There are regular daily shows on the Halloween stage in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Goofy and the Magic Pot is an exhilarating, energetic show where children can learn to make pumpkin soup and dance alongside Goofy himself! Minnie and the Bat Boys will also be appearing on stage daily, with live music and a host of other Disney characters singing classic Disney Villain’s songs.

Kids can join in the fun as favourite Disney monster Stitch, from the ‘˜Lilo and Stitch’ Disney animation film, wreaks havoc across the park and takes over the 15th Anniversary ‘˜Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade‘.

Disneyland Resort Paris also becomes even more interactive during Halloween season. Guests will have the chance to meet dozens of Disney characters, witches, stilt walkers and other street artists. Children aged between 3 and 11 can enjoy free face painting and ‘˜hair-raising’ antics with Disney’s crazy coiffeurs. Several times a day the Mexican game of Piñata, in Halloweenland, is a test of strength and luck as kids try to break into the colourful paper mâché objects, stuffed with all kinds of sweets, biscuits and candy.

So to recap, the new Disney Villains show on the Candleabration stage will be called Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime, whilst the FantaStitch Stage in Halloweenland (Frontierland) will welcome back Goofy and the Magic Pot from last year along with the Bat Boys – this year led by Minnie rather than Donald. And as for the parade – it appears a minor Disney Villain Parade-style takeover may happen to the fresh-faced Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, likely the pre-parade mentioned in the past.

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However, the French press release goes on to give even more information and confirm that a Halloween pre-parade, led by Stitch, will precede Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade – “A cortege 100% Halloween led by Stitch”, “Guests won’t believe their eyes! Surprises guaranteed!”.

The Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime appears to be a spectacle of rivalry between the Pumpkinmen and Pink Witches, hosted by the Disney Villains, to determine which camp of Halloween mischief should be declared winner of the season. Guests will clap, dance and tap their feet to the music and songs, before laughing (for the Pumpkinmen) or screeching (for the Pink Witches) to determine the winner.

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The decorations and atmosphere of Halloweenland will return as normal to Frontierland. And the “Orange County” makeover of Main Street USA? Those Pumpkinmen won’t give way for anything, not even the 15th Anniversary! They’ll be back, and apparently giving the 15th Anniversary decorations their own personal, orange, touch…

This Halloween seems like a big success – we’re having nightmares already!

Monday, 23rd July 2007

Keelboats finally return! Critter Corral next?

This really is a year when “any dream can come true”… Once again, guests can wind their way through the thick forests and jagged ochre rocks to Smuggler’s Cove, where either the Coyote or Raccoon keelboat will be waiting to take them for a pleasant, slow-paced tour of the Rivers of the Far West.

Controlled entirely by the Cast Member skippers, these keelboats follow a course that takes them far closer to Big Thunder Mountain and Wilderness Island, giving those on-board a unique close-up of the Western landscape and its wild animal population. As the boat rounds the farthest end of Big Thunder, you’ll even get to sail right through the giant Rainbow Arch.

Along the way, you’ll be kept in the Frontier mood with special area music on-board the boat and your “river pirate” skipper will entertain the decks by pointing out key features of the landscape, not to mention knocking out a few Jungle Cruise-style jokes! (though not quite as bad, apparently!)

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Sounds pretty fun, doesn’t it? The two keelboats – directly inspired by the 1956 Disney film ‘Davy Crockett and the River Pirates‘ – are quite a unique feature for the park themselves. We’ve not been able to see inside them for 7-8 years, so the unusual seating either on top of the boat or down almost below the water level might come as a surprise to some.

The boats are scheduled to run at least until the end of the Summer season (26th August 2007), but no word yet if they’ll continue to ply the rivers beyond that date. We can certainly hope to see them as a permanent Summer fixture each year from now on.

The West isn’t Wild enough yet!

So, after returning Molly Brown to service, giving Mark Twain another touch up, repainting almost all of the Thunder Mesa town, completing a two-month refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain, restoring the Disneyland Railroad Frontierland Depot and bringing a bright “ranch” red glow back to Cowboy Cookout Barbeque, have they reached the end of the tick-list? Not yet…

For over five years, Critter Corral has sat empty with a sign stating, “We’ll be back next season!” – only to remain empty the following year.

In their photo roundup dated 14th July 2007, the Photos Magiques team noted a few construction fences around one of the buildings at the entrance to the former children’s farm. This weekend, more strange things have happened – the entire area has been surrounded with fences, from the railroad to the old Woodcarver’s Workshop, even entirely obscuring the view of the area from the railroad line, all carrying the 15th Anniversary “we’re preparing something new” signs…

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So, preparing for the return of animals to the Cottonwood Creek Ranch farm, or preparing for an entirely different future development? With such an abundance of fences and the permanent return of live animals seeming very unlikely, the days of the old Critter Corral appear to be numbered.

But before any inevitable rumours start – no, this won’t be for a Splash Mountain!

All photos by the new-look Photos Magiques! See more in their latest updates.

Friday, 20th July 2007

Bastille Day goes with a bang, without blunder

Any guests visiting the park for the first time since the 2006 celebrations might have had to check they were in the right place. No more Wonderful World Of Disney Parade, refurbished buildings all over, decorations across Main Street and the Castle, two new attractions over at Walt Disney Studios Park – this was the park’s major chance to show off its 15th birthday to a more local audience.

After being entertained by Alpha Bet You Are, Disney Characters’ Express, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Disney’s Fantillusion and a nighttime performance of Candleabration, it was time for the fireworks to begin… No doubt, there were plenty of people biting their nails backstage at this point. In actual fact, it’s an outside company which arranges the large-scale fireworks seen at events such as Bastille Day, rather than the regular DLRP Pyrotechnics crew.

It’s 23.15, the show begins, and the good luck of 2007 is still most certainly on the side of Disneyland Resort Paris. The fireworks went off with their trademark “bang”, familiar patriotic French music and a special 15th Anniversary sparkle from the thousands of LEDs across the castle’s turrets and candles…

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Some members on magicforum remarked that the day actually seemed a little less busy than in recent years, so here’s hoping the fully-functioning fireworks and the impressive events of the 15th will this year incite guests to return again, rather than enjoy the free events in Paris city centre instead.

Video | Bastille Day Fireworks 2007

Throughout the Summer, guests can continue to enjoy an unparalleled hour of nighttime entertainment, starting with Disney’s Fantillusion (now apparently operating a shorter performance cycle and in the opposite direction, leading to guests only being able to see two stops at most) and ending with Candleabration followed immediately by an unchanged Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

Pictures © Disney and by Photos Magiques. You can see their full gallery here.
Video by Photos Magiques.

Tuesday, 17th July 2007

Keelboats: River Rogues live up to their name

Exactly one month ago, 17th June 2007, we reported a very different story indeed – the first sighting of the two keelboats circling Big Thunder Mountain! Their long-awaited return! Life returns to the rivers, Frontierland is the “fabulous” Far West once again!

Today, 17th July 2007, as the Summer season rumbles on, hope is fading for the grand return we’ve been awaiting. Cast Members at the newly-refurbished entrance, completed recently with a wait time indicator, tell guests that the River Rogue Keelboats will not be re-opening this week.

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So, what’s the problem? As always, Disney Central Plaza forum is the place for a bit of “inside info”…

Member Jollyroger gives the reason as an unscheduled set of maintenance for at least one of the boats, damaged in some form during the extensive weeks of Cast Member training. Kinoo backs this up, whilst member Piel again adds that problems have been caused as boats brush past the Western scenery, and even suggests that a couple of the keelboat pilots have left the team, causing further delays. An attraction with such low capacity and through-put will need to be firing on all cylinders at all times, with both boats constantly operational and a large Cast available.

The perseverance and effort of the people overseeing this re-opening should be admired, even if they’re becoming unlucky again. They’re certainly using a lot of time and a lot of money to get a relatively minor attraction back up and running. If this was happening in the Jay Rasulo days, they’d have probably been left to rot without question. (Oh wait, they were!)

The date for re-opening now stands at next weekend, the 21st July 2007, but even this has been mentioned with hesitation. Don’t be surprised to see this saga turn into a trilogy then, maybe with the 28th July 2007 as its ending? Or the 4th August 2007? Or, at this rate, 2008…

Photos by Photos Magiques, taken during training several weeks ago.

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