Tuesday, 10th October 2006

Ghoulish figures start to wake!

The changes begin even before the parade itself, as the Pink Witches (added to the festival last year as a rival to the Orange Pumpkinmen) step onto the parade route at Town Square and make their way to Fantasyland, leaving a trail of mischief behind them. This new “pre-parade” uses the wacky “Boo To You” soundtrack from Walt Disney World’s Halloween celebrations, and shows a return to a more “complete” parade experience for the resort’s entertainment teams.

Once the parade begins, with the Pink Witches lined up at the opening gate, the changes continue throughout. The huge inflatable orange ball, which rolled along thanks to a walking parade performer inside, has obviously succumbed to the claws of Stitch. The Pumpkinmen’s orange paint well float from 2005 (also used as the Snow White float in Disney Princess Parade) is now a general orange paint float for the “fab 7”, with Mickey and Minnie no longer using their rustic horse-drawn wagon to begin the parade. Along with this, the scarecrow dance section has also been lost. The updated orange paint float features Stitch wearing a pumpkin mask in a paint pot at the centre, whilst the Pumpkinmen themselves are relegated to a dance section at the start of the parade.

The final change is the addition of some unlikely new faces to the parade’s character lineup. Not wicked Disney witches or gruesome bad guys, but instead a collection of some of Disney’s most innocent classic characters. With characters such as Peter Pan and Pinocchio, it seems clear the parade is now attempting to cater for more guests than simply those supporting the Villain’s devilish ways.

You can now find a full guide to this year’s parade at DLRP Magic!, or a full photo gallery direct from the magic at Photos Magiques.

Update 17:28 GMT: Photos Magiques have now uploaded a full video of this year’s Disney Villain Parade to YouTube, which can be found in 3 parts:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Friday, 6th October 2006

New Disneyland park plan launches

It’s “radical” in Disneyland Resort Paris terms because, for the first time since the early years of the resort, it now comes in two sections – the entertainment listings being featured in a separate, grayscale “Entertainment Programme” leaflet. Following the styles of the US Disney resorts, this allows changes to be made to the programme much easier, as well as allowing the new Jiminy Cricket-branded pink park plan to be simplified and styled inside again more alike its American cousins.

On the cover, though, the identity of Disneyland Resort Paris is very clear. The “Believe in Your Dreams” font is used for the title, whilst the resort’s favoured sleek, modern typeface is used for the checklist and dates below. In the top-right corner, the language flag is still there, but now in a cut-out section using the graphics of the resort’s recent “Little Book of Big Dreams” brochures. The same cut-out is also used again inside the map, further tying this together with the resort’s external advertising and finally moving on from the previous “needmag?c era” designs. The Entertainment Programme features a very plain cover using the non-iconic Disneyland Park logo and a clock graphic usually reserved for Main Street USA designs.

It is currently unknown when or if the Walt Disney Studios park plan will follow a similar design, but trends in the past have shown that it will catch-up eventually.

The last redesign of the Disneyland Park park plan actually happened almost exactly one year ago, at the start of 2005’s Halloween Festival, again making the park guide smaller and more simplified. Earlier than this, in 2003/04, the park plan lost its conventional leaflet size to adopt a smaller, more “pocket-size” style. However, the biggest change to the park plan before tommorow’s latest introduction was back in 2002, when the “resort” concept was introduced with the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park and the plan lost its tradition of featuring a character photo on the cover in favour of simplified colour graphics and the park logo.

Below, you can see a “timeline” of park maps leading back in time to 2002, showing the changing dimensions and styles:

Friday, 29th September 2006

Extra long Christmas hours

Back in May, after a month of “Extra Magic Hours” testing in April, Disneyland Park began trialling a new opening hours system based entirely on the amount of visiting guests. For weekends and busy holidays, extra hours are added. For slow weekdays, an hour is taken off, balancing out the hours. The trend continued throughout June and July, before making its mark on Autumn and Halloween hours. Now, it seems Christmas Season – a season now considered more important than Summer for the resort – is finally getting a taste of the changes.

Park hours are now available right up to the end of the season on 7th January 2007, and, whilst 18 days between November 6th and January 7th will see Disneyland Park open beyond 8pm, it should be noted that on 33 days the park will close one hour earlier than normal at 7pm. Still, for anyone vising at weekends or during the incredibly busy Christmas holidays, an extra one to two hours of park time to enjoy the magic lights of Christmas is sure to be a pleasant surprise.

Here are the hours in full:

from November 6th to December 1st, 2006:
10.00 – 19.00 from Monday to Friday
9.00 – 20.00 on Saturday and Sunday

from December 2nd to 7th, 2006:
10.00 – 19.00 from Monday to Friday
9.00 – 20.00 on Saturday
9.00 – 21.00 on Sunday

on December 8th, 2006:
10.00 – 20.00

from December 9th to 21st, 2006:
10.00 – 19.00 from Monday to Friday
9.00 – 20.00 on Saturday
9.00 – 21.00 on Sunday

on December 22nd, 2006:
10.00 – 20.00

from December 23rd to 30th, 2006:
9.00 – 22.00 daily

on December 31st, 2006:
9.00 – 1.00

from January 1st to 6th, 2007:
9.00 – 22.00 daily

on January 7th, 2007:
9.00 – 20.00

Unsurprisingly, the closing time for Walt Disney Studios Park remains permanently stuck at 6pm.

It seems likely that, on the days Disneyland Park closes later than 8pm, Disney’s Fantillusion will be shifted to a later timeslot to make sure guests stay in the park. The Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony will likely retain its usual dusk timeslot, the perfect time to light up the park, so the only question remaining is whether, like the late opening nights in May, June, July and September, some special fireworks will add an extra fiery sparkle to those cold Winter nights…

Thursday, 28th September 2006

Once upon a dream job?

After casting sessions earlier this month at Lyon and Montpellier in France, casting moved to the UK last week and is headed for Poland next. The sessions have also given us some more clues and details about the final parade…

Poppy the Monkey posted the following information on our magicforum yesterday:

They are casting in the UK this week also for the new parade. Glasgow was on Sunday, Leeds was yesterday and they are at London today.

After talking earlier to Daniel (Parade Casting), he said they have no idea about dancers for the new parade, and most the anniversary celebrations are still in early planning, as final budgets have only recently been allocated. But they have been been told to recruit more people then normal – as next year the character presence over the whole resort will be “raised considerably”.

The floats will arrive in Paris in January, and rehersals will begin early February. Musically the parade will feature an upbeat, but classical sounding track, with character voices for each float. There will be musical variations for each float too.

And today, on TheDisneyFamily.com forum, more information was given, again from Poppy the Monkey:

I was in Leeds on Tuesday, and was able to sit in on the audition with the panel. They recruited 4 people that day (2 boys and 2 girls) with 10 on a waiting list ready to be called up.

The man who plays the Bouncy Carnival Seagul was on-hand, to trial juggling, stilt walking, flag throwing and Puppeteering. All the people trialed were complete novices, but all 14 new employees are to be trained in these skills over this winter, in preperation for the new parade.

They also found an amazing new Jasmine at the Leeds auditions, look out for her next month – she looks fantastic! The auditions move to Poland next week!

You can also see an official UK casting announcement here.

It seems that, in addition to featuring a huge range of performers (from puppeteers to stilt walkers and many more), Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade will feature a huge mix of performers from right across Western and Central Europe, bringing the continent together to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of its own Magic Kingdom.

Friday, 22nd September 2006

It’s Halloween-lo-ween already?

With over 2 weeks to go until the season begins (and over 6 weeks until Halloween itself), two of the most major Halloween props have already arrived. First, the Giant Pumpkin on Central Plaza was completed just a few days ago. The huge temporary structure is home to the festival’s face painting workshops and has been a key icon of the season since 2003.

Over in Frontierland (or should that be “Halloweenland” already?), there’s an unexpected return for a controversial landmark – the huge paint mining tower. Despite being strongly rumoured not to return due to the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment and supposed dislike from the new management, the towering metal structure is already in place, though not complete. Introduced in 2004, the “Téléfreak” (a pun on the french work for chairlift/cableway, téléphérique) is a large prop consisting of a moving cableway between the steel tower and the “Pumpkin Paint Mine” of Big Thunder Mountain. A large paint pot also connects to the tower with a pipe, to supposedly collect the orange paint being mined.

Many suggest it is unlikely the full system will return, since the large scale refurbishment at Big Thunder would make the cableway hard to install. It therefore seems likely that simply the mining tower and giant paint pot will return for 2006.

Thanks to Poppy the Monkey at magicforum for the 2006 installation photo.

Thursday, 21st September 2006

An enchanted harvest in Fantasyland

The “Enchanted Tree” itself has now sprouted up out of the ground and immediately filled the air with bright green leaves and colourful fruits of every kind. To the right of the hut, an old-fashioned wooden wheelbarrow has been carefully placed with baskets filled with the tree’s fruits, setting up an Imagineering story of a magical tree giving never-ending harvests.

The hut itself has also been given extra colours and themeing, with new painted murals showing fruits, the kiosk’s name and the sponsor of the location, The Coca-Cola Company’s Minute Maid brand.

More photos available at Photos Magiques »

Thursday, 21st September 2006

Casting (and unveiling) the dream

Disneyland Resort Paris are certainly not just looking for parade dancers for their 15th Anniversary extravaganza, set to be a veritable circus of animation and entertainment, with the advertisement calling upon bungee acrobats, jugglers, flag artists, puppeteers and stilt walkers. The two casting calls are scheduled for Lyon and Montpellier on the 21st and 23rd September 2006 respectively, with the listing informing participants they should plan for the day with casual (sports) clothing, sneakers and a possible call-back in the afternoon. As usual, the casting has a height requirement of between 142cm and 193cm.

Rumours suggest the parade will only feature around 50 dancers (around 20-30 fewer than current parades in high season), since the balance will be shifted more towards character performers for the new parade. The silhouettes of the parade floats confirm most of what has already been rumoured about the design of the floats – here’s a full run-through of everything we can see:

Float 1: Dream of Imagination
We’ve seen this one aleady… Mickey and Minnie ride high above the clouds in a sun-stylled hot air balloon. You can see the full concept artwork here.
Float 2: Dream of Fun and Laughter
A traditional fairytale hut is featured at the centre of the float, used by Alice in Wonderland first and then Pinocchio at the rear. The Pinocchio section appears to feature “marionnette” bungee artists similar to those in Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams at Disneyland California, bouncing on bungee ropes from supports high above.

Float 3: Dream of Friendship
Features Toy Story and Winnie the Pooh characters, with a giant storybook in the middle separating the two themes. The rear section appears to feature Winnie and friends, with lamps hanging on strings, whilst the front section isn’t too clear…

Float 4: Dream of Fantasy
The most obvious of all the designs, this very British float will feature a whimsically stylled Big Ben tower in the centre, with Peter Pan’s pirate ship at the front and Mary Poppins’ “jolly holiday” carousel and a fleet of kites at the rear. An interesting change of theme for Mary after the current chimneysweep theme, since the Disney Cinema Parade also currently uses the carousel theme.

Float 5: Dream of Power
The villains’ float isn’t too clear, but you can clearly see Fantasia villain Chernabog towering over it all and a serpent Jafar slithering along at the front.
Float 6: Dream of Adventure
Serving The Lion King and The Jungle Book, this one is bound to be popular. A giant tree towers out of the middle, with Simba on Pride Rock before it and Kong Louie and Baloo behind. You can see various animals from both films in the tree, including monkeys and giraffes. Rafiki is clinging to the tree behind Pride Rock and Timon and Pumbaa are likely featured below.

Float 7: Dream of Romance (Part 1)
The most difficult of all the artworks, float 7 is due to feature The Little Mermaid and Aladdin and Jasmine in an “enchanted garden” setting. Ariel seems to be featured at the rear, with Jasmine further forward.

Float 8: Dream of Romance (Part 2)
The grand finale to the entire parade, this float looks suitably huge and is due to feature not two but four princesses! The initial gazebo is likely for Beauty and the Beast, whilst the ornate fairytale bride is occupied by Snow White and her prince. On the hill before the giant castle stands Cinderella and Prince Charming. No sign of Sleeping Beauty yet, but the rumours of this float being articulated (split into two free-moving, joined sections) look to be quite possible.

Spotted something extra? Add a comment to this post!

With a double-character style similar to Walt Disney World’s Share a Dream Come True and an extravagant, classical float design similar to Disneyland’s 50th anniversary Parade of Dreams, the first all-new daytime parade in Paris for 5 years looks set to truly be a dream come true. You can find out more about the parade here.

Advertisement scanned by Sébastien Antunes for dlrp.fr.

Sunday, 3rd September 2006

Summon the Kraken!

“Baptist the Pirate!” reports on Disney Central Plaza forum that the artwork surrounding the attraction’s on-ride photo has now been updated with a new design featuring a few not-so-subtle nods to the second movie. These include the mighty Kraken, the key to the Dead Man’s Chest, a hint of Cannibal Island and a pirate captain bearing a strong (but not completely accurate) resemblance to Jack Sparrow himself.

The previous photo artwork (featured below) was far less colourful, using mainly shades of blue on an image of a rough sea. This artwork was introduced in April 2004, when the attraction’s on-ride camera was moved to the second main flume, between the Burning Village and Dead Man’s Caves. When first introduced in early 2002, the camera was located in one of the eye sockets of the skull in the rockface of the first Dead Man’s Caves scene, producing some fairly un-animated photos of guests gently sailing by.

Wednesday, 30th August 2006

The big Big Thunder project begins

The first portion of the ride to be enclosed in scaffolding was the water splash drop, with scaffolding appearing on the first day of closure and growing to a full covering five days later. Work here seems to currently be focused on the iconic “Big Thunder Mining Company” hut, whilst a large floating raft with work equipment has been moored at several locations around the island to clean and repair rockwork lower down.

The section of elevated track before the water splash has also been covered in scaffolding, as has the mountain entrance just before the third lift hill. The walkways around the loading station have become home to all manner of work equipment, paints cleaning items, the major problem for those working on this epic project of course being how to transport these efficiently across the Rivers of the Far West to the island itself. Big Thunder Mountain in Paris is, of course, the only one of Disney’s four to be located on an island completely cut-off from mainland by water.

Further progress was reported by Disneytheque.com two days ago, when most of the huge loading station was also covered in scaffolding. It’s unsure what the scale of the work going on here will be, but the tired queue of the attraction has long been a point of disappointment for many guests. One change, however, is known. DLRP Today contributor Kristof (aka Raptor1982 at Photos Magiques) reports from a reliable source at the attraction that new air gates will be installed at the attraction’s two boarding stations. These loading gates will be similar to those installed last year at Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Peter Pan’s Flight, to stop guests stepping onto the track if a train isn’t in the station.

To warn guests of the closure, the park has not only posted notices outside the park gates and on each entry turnstile under Disneyland Hotel, but on the construction walls around the attraction has also added a superbly themed closure sign, complete with pickaxes and a goldpanning dish.

Featured photos by: Disneytheque.com, Dlrp.fr, Photos Magiques.

Sunday, 27th August 2006

Another enchanted Christmas on the horizon

At the moment, the season is looking to be surprising similar to last year’s celebration, but after many years of enhancements and additions they’re definitely still not done. Firstly, what we won’t be seeing. Le Noël de Mickey is gone for good – the resort announced last Christmas that 2005/06 would be the final season of this incredibly long-running show (since 1992, believe it or not) at the Fantasy Festival Stage. Another no-show for 2006 will be Belle’s Musical Medley at Belle’s Christmas Village. The lively mimed show, performed by a special seasonal cast, was introduced with the market village itself in 2002, but is confirmed to not be returning this year. The market village itself, though, will return.

Secondly, what will be new? There’s nothing (so far) as grand as the Crystal Castle and Enchanted Fairytale Illuminations of previous years, but the gap left by Le Noël de Mickey at Fantasy Festival Stage will certainly be filled by Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too. Since the new Summer version of the show features the friends hunting for the end of the rainbow, it seems likely a totally different version will be developed for Christmas. Also in park entertainment, some changes and additions at Walt Disney Studios Park are likely. Last year the park unwrapped a Christmas version of the popular “Good Morning Walt Disney Studios” mini parade, plus a small “Goofy presents… The Swing Along Santas” musical show, both of which would be perfect for additions and development for a second season.

Finally, what will be the same? The Christmas Parade, Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Christmas CinéFolies, Belle’s Christmas Village and most of the parks’ decorations, certainly. The Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony could be changed again, but the second version developed for 2005 was very popular all round so major change seems unlikely. Fans of The Christmas Parade should perhaps make extra effort to enjoy the spectacle this year, since with Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade scheduled to run throughout 2007/08, a return for 2007 isn’t looking promising. The parks and hotels will all present another enchanted Christmas, their most magical (and now most popular) time of the year for guests.

Subscribe to the Magic!

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Offers and Deals

Tags & Archives

Twitter Updates

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Offers and Deals