Tuesday, 16th March 2010

Behind-the-scenes New Gen video, concepts, fun facts

Here’s the video:

And now let’s take a closer look. It begins with Disney Showtime Spectacular, the new Central Plaza show which thankfully appears to be defying its generic name by possessing some interesting ideas.

Of course, this is possibly the first time at Disneyland Paris we’ve seen characters from the likes of Toy Story or The Incredibles taking part in a stage show, and the classic Disney characters are going to welcome them in style. As you can see from the concepts captured below, Mickey and Minnie (and possibly the other VIPs) will have a costume to match each scene of the show, transforming — somehow — from chef outfits for Ratatouille to green army gear for Toy Story, bright Hawaiian colours for Lilo & Stitch and black superhero masks for The Incredibles:

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Insider Poppy the Monkey on magicforum has revealed that the soundtrack of the show is around 70% new to Disneyland Paris, though the entire It’s Party Time score from Mickey’s Magical Party has been thrown out. The It opens with a new song, “We’re the best of friends”, and ends with the catchy “Goin’ down the Bayou” from The Princess and the Frog.

The show is “non-stop, very fast, very fun” and contrary to earlier plans and press releases, won’t just be “an end to the day” with a single performance, but happening 3 or 4 times each day. And some good news for those who disliked the Mickey’s Magical Party event — this time, the large cast of dancers back up the characters, rather than almost stealing the show themselves.

The characters appear in groups, with Sully joined not only by Mike Wazowski (who hasn’t been seen live in Paris for years) for the Monsters Inc segment, but a monster-disguised Boo, who has never made it over here before. Stitch, meanwhile, will be joined by his much less well-known partner: Angel (experiment 624).

Public previews/dress rehearsals are due to begin from next Tuesday, 23rd March, if all goes to plan. These aren’t “official” performances and so cannot be fully confirmed, but if you’re visiting the park in the two weeks leading up to the New Gen launch, you may well get an exclusive preview.

Next up, the new Ratatouille car for Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. After the reveal a couple of weeks ago, the video gives a better look at the some of its features:

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Here are the official fun facts about the car:

• Adding Ratatouille to the parade involves an additional 1 minute and 40 seconds of music. The Ratatouille car will be accompanied by a medley from Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne.

• The car includes props, costumes, chef hats and even aprons for the driver-dancers!

• It travelled for 19 days by boat to reach the port of Le Havre, before it was shipped by freight container to Marne la Vallée.

• The car was originally a 1950 Studebaker and it has been fully customised at Disneyland Paris to include special effects and animated kitchen props from the world of Remy and Emile.

• It is powered by electric battery and can drive for 90 minutes on a single charge!

• Take a close look at the tyres as the parade rolls by, as they are not real… they are specially-constructed rubber-covered foam rings, which will never get a puncture!

• The car boasts the film’s famous Ratatouille on its bonnet and a moving pile of pots and pans that gives the impression they are all going to come crashing down!

Though these fun facts for the press wouldn’t have you know it, the car is of course the old Star Wars automobile from the original Florida parade.

The moving pots and pans will be built on top of the circular metal mechanism you can see being tested in the video. The new angles on the concept art reveal the hood (bonnet) of the car will be decorated like a check table cloth with the plate, of course, holding a large helping of ratatouille.

Bringing Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen to Disneyland Park doesn’t just mean shipping over the same costumes as the couple wear in their American park appearances, oh no. Since they’re taking “pride of place” in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, that means a special crystal, gold-laced gown and suit to match those given to the other royal couples back when the parade launched in 2007:

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Official fun facts of Tiana’s dress:

• It takes more than 80 hours to make one dress .

• 20 m of crystal fabric are used.

• 80 m of golden thread are woven through the dress, involving more than 100 hours of embroidery work.

• More than 200 m of iridescent thread shimmer in the 20 m of brocade used.

• For that extra sparkle, there are 80 glistening rhinestones on each dress.

• More than 100 beads and rhinestones adorn Tiana’s magical tiara.

And finally, the video offers a better look at WALL-E, forming part of the Disney All Stars Express:

New Generation Festival making of

He won’t be “animatronic” of course, the cost would be enough to buy 10 new Disney All Star Express trains and rival the RER, but judging by his pose could give a wave of his faux-robotic arm as the train rolls along, in that classic Disney parade style.

Video, concepts, images © Disney.

Friday, 26th February 2010

Remy’s ‘Ratatouille roadster’ for Stars ‘n’ Cars revealed

The twelfth car in the Stars ‘n’ Cars fleet will arrive in Walt Disney Studios Park from 2nd April. Featuring Remy and Emile from Pixar’s 2007 film Ratatouille, the design of this all-new motor vehicle is available to see for the first time in a video on the newly-launched website!

We get to see the car being drawn up in 3D computer design:

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

And then in the first stages of construction:

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

This isn’t a brand new vehicle, though — as expected, it bears more than a slight resemblance to one of the cars of Florida’s original Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade which didn’t make it into the Parisian studios park. Even with its rear jet engines removed, the car is recognisable as the old Star Wars car, with its unique front radiator grill.

Gone is the cream and maroon colour scheme, too, in favour of a bright red. After the cars of Mulan and Monsters, Inc. this is the parade’s third red car, a little lacking in variety — but perhaps they wanted to give a nod to something like the classic French Citroen 2CV?

The decoration of the car is very different to that seen in the preliminary advertising visual; far more outlandish and overstated. Piled up behind the two rats will be a giant stack of pots and pans, kitchen knives, a spatula, a funnel and a ladle. Not forgetting the all-important bottle of wine.

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

The video shows the pieces of this tower being constructed in workshops, and tested out for size on the car itself. The bonnet of the vehicle appears to show the fruits of all that hard work and pile of washing up behind — a finished table setting with plate and giant rat-sized glass.

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Here’s the full 3D model, note that the entire thing is scattered with those beautiful vintage posters for “Le Ratatouille” and “Gusteau’s”, created by Pixar to advertise the film and in some cases currently used in the park already at Restaurant des Stars. The sign for “Le Ratatouille”, the restaurant owned by Linguini at the end of the film, acts as a flag atop the cavalcade:

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

But a new car in the line-up isn’t the only kick Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars is getting in its second year. Show director Emmanuel Lenormand also mentions in the video a new and very Parisian can-can-style routine starring Rémy and Emile that will presumably be incorporated into the musical production number that takes place on the Place des Stars Stage when all the motor cars park up.

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Since that small show currently focuses mostly on characters such as Aladdin and Snow White, it’d be good to also see some of the characters left out — notably ‘New Gen’ heavyweights Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. — joining in this year, if that doesn’t produce too much overlap with Disney Showtime Spectacular over on Central Plaza.

Meanwhile, let’s hope this is just an appetiser for Remy, and that the main course is yet to come…

• Watch HD videos of the original Stars ‘n’ Cars parade and show here.

Images © Disney, Disney/Pixar.

Sunday, 27th December 2009

Striking workers cheer as Disney parades cancelled

Unfortunately not. As DLP.info reported on Wednesday, 23rd December, members of the cfdt, CFTC and UNSA unions began striking at 7.00am — on one of the busiest days of the year for the resort — citing the lack of dialogue from the resort following their opposition to the apparent “zero Euro” wage increase for 2010 and other issues.

So what did they do, simply refuse to show up for work? Take their placards and flags round to the management offices, of the people who actually make these decisions? Of course not. They didn’t even, in the grand Disneyland Paris tradition, set up camp on the neutral resort hub, amongst the nuisance street sellers.

Strikes at Disneyland Paris
Picture: DLP.info

In a shocking day of the resort’s history, the striking Cast Members went straight inside the parks — complete with giant banners, flags and signs. It gets worse: Come 2.15pm, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars didn’t go out as announced. Instead, guests who had paid their entrance fee and waited patiently for the show were treated to a storming of the stage by the union members. At 5pm over in Disneyland Park, the parade route didn’t see Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade pleasantly passing by but a noisy mob of striking workers, blocking the parade route.

Reports state that not a single member of the Entertainment, Parades and Characters (EPC) department took part in the strike, but the casts were kept from performing for guests by the workers blocking the route. Managers no doubt also wanted to avoid any kind of stand-off, where the floats might enter the park but be stopped halfway.

But the awful thing is, now that the videos have started appearing on YouTube and other sites, it’s not even the bizarre sight of these striking workers inside the parks that’s most shocking. It’s how plainly heartless and repulsive they are with it. Skip to 3 minutes 20 seconds into this video found by Daniel on magicforum:

Yes, you heard right. When the announcement comes that Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars has had to be cancelled because they’ve taken over Place des Stars (an announcement perhaps never heard before with our hardy, good Cast Members), they cheer.

And all sympathy is lost.

Perhaps these people are forgetting a few things. First, there may well be just as “poorly paid” visitors in the audience, who are now having their expensive trips ruined. Second, Disneyland Paris is still in a very precarious state. Despicable though that proposal of a “zero Euro” pay rise really is, storming the parade routes will only serve to give an even more unprofessional image of the resort to thousands of guests — whether they saw it first-hand, heard about it from a friend or saw it on YouTube. In turn, people will continue to think “Disneyland Paris isn’t ‘proper’ Disney”, that it’s not worth a visit, that it isn’t worth returning. The resort will lose more money and they’ll be even less likely to get a better wage.

Nevertheless, the CFDT union has reported that talks have now reopened with the resort, so we shouldn’t be seeing such a display again. This situation will, one must hope, be particularly embarrassing for relatively new CEO Philippe Gas, not least because his history with Disney is based entirely in human resources — his former job title being Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

What’s the other thing the striking workers didn’t show much regard for? Oh yeah, their colleagues. Those friendly, smiling, helpful — and equally hard-worked — Cast Members who continued on, having to pick up the pieces of disappointed guests, complaint forms and return tickets.

Thankfully, the Entertainment cast of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade did their own bit of storming the park: All the dancers and characters stayed in costume and, once the scene had calmed, arrived on Town Square and Central Plaza at 5.30pm to give guests the best chance they could of a meet ‘n’ greet with that true, professional Disney Magic.

Picture: DLP.info; Video: chrissouille08.

Sunday, 13th September 2009

More New Generation Festival event images

You’ve seen the logo and the main key visual, now for the events of the New Generation Festival themselves. Friday saw a whole series of initial images appear on the resort’s publicity visuals website.

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.

New Generation Festival

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.

For comparison, remember the artwork that greeted the parade’s launch in 2007?

It’s Party Time… with Mickey and some new Friends!

As confirmed just a month ago, the general concept of this year’s Central Plaza show will continue into 2010. Rather than the classic Mickey’s Magical Party characters of Timon, Baloo, Peter Pan, Donald Duck and co., however, it looks like we might be seeing those four satellite stages hosting Sully, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rémy, Emile, Stitch and even Princess Tiana again…

New Generation Festival

…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’?

The visual above re-uses a strange image of Mickey Mouse originally created for the Mickey’s Magical Party version of the show, where the stage was viewed from above. Re-used here, the poor Mouse simply seems to have an (even more) abnormally-large head.

‘Enhanced’ Monsters, Inc. meet ‘n’ greet

Now here’s an interesting one. As listed originally, the small Monsters, Inc. “Scream Scene” location near the entrance to Toon Studio is, for some reason, being touted amongst the main New Generation Festival events…

New Generation Festival

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.

New Generation Festival

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…

Your thoughts and comments are welcome!

— — —

Images © Disney.

Wednesday, 12th August 2009

Disney’s New Generation Festival: 2010 details leaked

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.
  • It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends reworked
    We confirmed this just yesterday — this year’s Central Plaza show will be pretty much staying, though is to be reworked to a single-performance finale to the day, and — just a guess — given some more modern characters to join Mickey.
  • 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.

The New Generation begins here… your thoughts?

Details broken by mclarkson, magicforum.

Tuesday, 17th March 2009

More Stars ‘n’ Cars preview videos

Last Monday, 9th March and Tuesday, 10th March 2009 saw the cast of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars roll out into Walt Disney Studios Park for their very first public performances, one year on from the announcement that the predecessor, Disney Cinema Parade, would wrap for good.

One year without a parade seems to have done this embellished version of the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade the world of good. “It looks amazing!”, “I want to be there”, “Oh wow!!”, “Wonderful”, read the comments on our first article. Best of all, “It’s great to see Paris take this show and really add some magic to it.” Looks like they pulled it off.

Now, here are two of the best additional videos of the previews; the first showing the cars arriving around Place des Stars, the second presenting the entire “production number” show, where (almost) each of the stars gets their moment in the spotlight.

Enjoy, thank jjasonz54 for uploading them to YouTube, and we’ll see you after for a few extra thoughts…

First question on most peoples’ lips has been “With a show this big and this good, why hasn’t it been featured in any of the TV advertisements?”. The simple answer could be that they just wanted to focus more on the “simpler” events like It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, which are very easy to put across in an advert.

The more interesting reasoning, on the other hand, is one that rips open the major flaw in this otherwise very well-executed concept: If this is going to be performed just once a day, before park closing, with the entire cavalcade gathering around Place des Stars Stage, there’d be some very disappointed guests if this were advertised too much.

Sure, the first half of the parade route does give a pretty big space for lots of guests to get a look at the cars passing, but people won’t be happy if they can’t get anywhere near this surprisingly lengthy 10-minute show at Place des Stars because the viewing area is so small.

If you’ve been following the arrival of this parade-event in Paris, you’ll know that the original concept for many months was to have the cars entering the park at three or four set locations, several times a day, perform their own little musical number and then give time for meet ‘n’ greets.

Combining all that into this single, evening event has arguably given a much better end product — with the downside of only allowing for a much smaller audience.

Videos as credited; Lead photo: Chti Greg.

Tuesday, 10th March 2009

First Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars pictures, video!

Usually it’s the press, shareholders or Cast Members who get first-look at the latest new events and attractions at Disneyland Resort Paris. Earlier tonight, just as daylight was fading over Marne-la-Vallée, that tradition was delightfully broken and normal, regular guests were the first to see a complete presentation of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars.

As reported several times previously, you might recognise most of the vehicles — but this certainly isn’t the linear parade you’ll remember from Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. The event now combines a cavalcade, a surprisingly lengthy dance medley on Place des Stars Stage and a meet ‘n’ greet with guests all in one.

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars
Showtime sign on Place des Stars Stage

Different also is the showtime of this new event — not 1pm as with the old Disney Cinema Parade, nor earlier in the day like Good Morning Walt Disney Studios. Instead, it’ll be happening half an hour before park closing each day, as a grand finale of the stars arriving for their “premiere” after “wrapping production” on the film shoots of the day.

So, for the parade doors in Toon Studio to open and reveal the first of the Stars ‘n’ Cars driving out onto the parade route earlier tonight, fans had to wait right until 6.30pm. We’ve collected some of the best of the first photos, taken by Grégory Grienche, Aléxandre Rosa and Clément Poizot. See the links at the bottom of this article for more of these lucky fans’ first photos…

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

And now, the very first video clip!

This video shows the stars returning back to Toon Studio across Disney Bros. Plaza, with the original “Roll out the red carpet” theme from Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade now combined with a park closing announcement:

Tonight, 10th March 2009, at 6.30pm, the Stars ‘n’ Cars will do it all over again in a second and final preview performance, so check back soon for even more photos and videos!

These two avant-premieres are designed to test both audience reaction and the handing of the event by park operations, to tweak or improve the performance if necessary before its actual premiere on 4th April 2009.

Photos: 1, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27 by Grégory Grienche (more 1 | more 2); 2, 3, 4, 14 by CharactersPhotos Blog (more); 5, 6, 9, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 by Aléxandre Rosa (more); Video: pitiguigui, YouTube.

Monday, 9th March 2009

Stars, cars, music, costumes and previews

Whilst the invited travel partner guests enjoyed the plentiful previews of Mickey’s Magical Party inside the convention centre of Disney’s Hotel New York, another surprise preview was waiting outside — two of the actual cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars!

Parked in the entrance bay first was Donald Duck’s classic green car, the former Muppets vehicle now transformed into the parade’s opening number, complete with a giant “Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars” clapperboard, an old-fashioned film camera and lots of new props stashed messily all over the body…

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Donald and Daisy Duck will break convention to open the cavalcade, the second vehicle previewed was that of some characters we’ve not seen much of at all since the 2001 finish of their Videopolis show… Mulan, and Mushu…

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Unlike the reworked vehicle for the ducks, this one comes pretty much complete from Florida — though at least here in the entrance bay of Hotel New York is missing a few important details: the large Chinese umbrella/parasol canopy and its adjoining hanging lanterns (as seen here)…

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

The previews didn’t end with these two cars (there will be 11 in the final line-up), however. Inside the convention hall, the presentations included a “fashion show” of past creations by the resort’s costuming department… with the grand finale being the reveal of Mickey and Donald’s brand new costumes for their Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars appearance!

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Unlike in Florida, where he wore a black tuxedo dinner jacket, Mickey will wear a brighter white and gold jacket in Paris, whilst Donald has assumed responsibilities as the director of the piece, and is dressed accordingly in 1930s style.

Meanwhile, here online we’ve had a few revelations for ourselves. First, member Bechamel on Disney Central Plaza forum posted a confirmed final list of the stars taking part which confirms that Gaston, Cruella and the Evil Queen from Snow White will be the characters chosen to represent the Disney Villains, that Sulley will appear alone on the Monsters, Inc. car, without Mike, and that Snow White will only be joined by the most popular of the seven dwarfs, Dopey, for the event.

Rather than Woody and Buzz on the Toy Story car, in Paris we’ll see Woody and Jessie. And, since Mickey and Minnie will occupy the final car alone and Donald and Daisy now have their own, Goofy will join the cavalcade as an extra along the way.

Also now confirmed is the actual performance routine of this “cavalcade event”. In her interview with Jérémie Noyer, creative direct Kat de Blois stated:

“Originally, it was a classical Disney parade with dancers and cars. We started from the cars of that concept and then we thought about the way we could produce that kind of show in France. Knowing it’s about cars, meaning vehicles that are closer to the ground than classical parade floats, we felt concerned about their visibility. That’s why we made it a “cavalcade”, a motorcade, and not a parade; a big arrival of stars, the Hollywood way!

“The cars come along and gather at Place des Stars in Production Courtyard. The Characters step out, jump onto the stage for a production number and then go to join the guests for a meet and greet moment. You’ll see Mickey with his megaphone directing the shooting, with no need for words or language to understand the message. So, we imported elements from the States, but we created our own concept, very visual, very musical, to fit our very international audiences.”

So indeed, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars won’t be a parade… it’ll be a cavalcade, then a production number on-stage, then a meet ‘n’ greet!

The directors in Paris have combined the three most popular Disney entertainment styles into a single event. Come the event’s premiere, we’ll therefore see all the vehicles enter the park from a single (currently unconfirmed) location — not from two as previously proposed — and drive across to the Place des Stars Stage. The cars will park up around the stage, the characters climb down and present a short musical dance number on the stage, before dispersing to meet and greet their fans.

Whilst the original parade in Florida sought to bring the feeling of a Hollywood premiere cavalcade to life, in Paris they’re also going for the gala opening ceremony and the red carpet autograph signings. And already, the Place des Stars Stage has been given a brand new backdrop for the occasion:

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Finally, head over to Vasile Sirli’s MySpace page to hear a little excerpt from some of the parade’s music, which brings together not only several classic themes from most the films featured but many old tracks from the resort’s music archive and musical theatre songs such as “Dames” from 42nd Street.

And when can we get our first glimpse at all this happening? Now! Tonight!

Two preview nights are happening today, Monday, 9th March 2009, and tomorrow, Tuesday, 10th March 2009, with the full show being presented for the first time — and for regular park guests, no less — from 6.30pm, half an hour before park closing. This late performance time might not be an irregularity, either — park sources suggest the final event will always happen just before park closing each night, as a finale to guests’ day.

So if you’re nearby, try to get to the park. Guests in attendance will also be able to fill out feedback forms about these first performances, in that classic Hollywood way!

Pictures: PhotosMagiques.com

Thursday, 19th February 2009

Mickey’s Magical Party website goes live: full tour!

It’s a Disneyland Resort Paris tradition to accompany their newest attractions and events with a flashy, flash-based “mini site” separate from their main website, from the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park right through countless seasons and carnivals to the 15th Anniversary. In fact, they’re really the only Disney Resort which spends such money and effort on these kind of sites.

For Mickey’s Magical Party, we’ve got yet another to explore. Officially launched on Monday, you could arrive at the landing page to find only a few languages available — and not the ones you might expect, either. Denmark, Switzerland and Austria were the first countries officially launched, but with a bit of guesswork you can easily find the actual English-language site for the UK at www.mickeymagicalyear.com/uk/uk.

Currently, the landing page now also features Ireland and Italy, as well as the general “Other Countries” international option.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Though mickeymagicalparty.com redirects here, they apparently weren’t interested in mickeysmagicalparty.com when these domain names were registered last year. In fact, on the UK version of the new website there seems to be a little confusion about the celebration’s name — getting us off to a bad start, the title in your browser will instead read “Mickey’s Magical Year“.

Let’s begin our full commentary and tour here…

Mickey's Magical Party website

Pick your language and a pink balloon flies into view from the bottom of the screen, carrying an envelope. These carrier balloons are also being used extensively in the marketing campaigns for the US parks this year, although the balloons, for some reason, have a completely different design.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Gradually, more balloons float up into view on the screen. Immediately you’ll notice something different about this website compared to those of the past — it fills the entire screen, and resizes itself accordingly.

Mickey's Magical Party website

All the resort’s previous flash mini-sites have been a static size within the middle of a regular page, whereas this new style offers a more involving experience. The introduction continues with the tagline “Celebrate the greatest part of the year” and the Disneyland Resort Paris logo — which curiously has a little miniature balloon graphic floating above it… see it? That probably shouldn’t be there.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The introduction ends with five much larger balloons floating into the sky decorated with images of the five key new events of the celebration. You’ll notice throughout that the website doesn’t use the “daytime”, blue skies style we’ve seen in earlier marketing images or even on the Central Plaza fences. The entire design style appears to have suddenly been changed to a purple twilight sky with foil rather than rubber balloons.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The homepage features an animated backdrop of locations from around the resort, with simply the celebration logo inviting you to “enter”. The style here is obviously meant to be busy and informal, with some of the graphics cut out of photos and others properly drawn. The animated characters of Stitch, Minnie and Mickey seem to clash with the neater style of Tinkerbell and Dumbo floating in the sky — especially the thick-outlined, puppet-like Mickey. In previous websites, we’ve come to expect live-action characters to be superimposed into the flash animation.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Click “enter” and you’re actually taken across to the “Toonificator”, but we’ll head there later. Instead, we’ve clicked “Calender” (yes, rather than the correct spelling of “Calendar”) to find not so much a list of dates but five simple, floating balloons displaying the five new events.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Click an event and you’re given a very (very!) brief description lifted straight from that slightly baffling marketing text, along with the event’s poster artwork.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The next option along displays the three key special offers they’re running to launch Mickey’s Magical Party — the seemingly eternal Kids Under 7 Stay, Play & Travel FREE, a continuation of the 15% discount on tickets booked in advance, and another extension of that huge package discount that has been running since late last year. With both the economic problems of the moment and the awful GBP/Euro exchange rate, British guests are now being enticed with a huge 40% off their package booking, with the offer now extended to arrival dates right up to September!

Mickey's Magical Party website

And now, we reach the main section of the website — Disney’s Toonificator. This seems to be inspired both by the cartoon-style images offered by instant messaging providers such as Yahoo and Windows Live and, probably more so, by a feature on The Simpsons Movie website which swept the internet a couple of years ago, allowing users to create themselves as a Simpson character.

Mickey's Magical Party website

For this Disney version, you’ve got a seemingly endless range of hairstyles, face types and colours to Toonify yourself with, along with several special Disney costumes and accessories. Such a range, in fact, that you can create some rather bizarre Toons indeed (see above). You can also upload a photo and have it “Toonify” yourself automatically.

Mickey's Magical Party website

We settled for something a little more ordinary, and we’re now in the “virtual” Mickey’s Magical Party, a globe-type horizon filled with more cut-out landmarks and locations, which you explore by using the left and right arrow keys.

Mickey's Magical Party website

You’ll immediately notice that it’s not only the Mickey’s Magical Party events featured here — you’ll wander across landscapes representing both parks, with most of the resort’s recent attractions featured, such as Crush’s Coaster.

Mickey's Magical Party website

It’s good to see Disneyland Resort Paris realising many people might not yet have experienced these brand new attractions for themselves, with pop-up boxes providing brief descriptions and photos.

Mickey's Magical Party website

For the actual Magical Party events, however, you’ll find something a little more — a special game for each one. Here, we’ve arrived at Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Luckily for us, all the games are incredibly simple and easy to complete. For Playhouse Disney, you need to simply remember a very short series of colours. This, perhaps, confirms the far younger age group Disneyland Resort Paris appears to be marketing itself towards lately…

Mickey's Magical Party website

We pass by a bizarre landscape of Toon Studio lampposts, Stitch Live! and… giant mushrooms?

Mickey's Magical Party website

Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, some large fireworks and a strange machine decorated with shapes.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars finally rolls around.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Here you’re shown a lineup of five of the cars and have to click on the one which is illuminated for it to beep its horn, as simple as that.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, CinéMagique, and the Studio Tram Tour billboard entrance we’ve not seen for over 18 months.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Discoveryland is represented fairly well, with airships and plently of ironwork…

Mickey's Magical Party website

…Only disturbed by the Dance Time going on at its centre. This game actually gives a very accurate preview of the real event, with visitors having to use arrow keys to step their feet on the segments of the coloured floor mat in sync with the counter at the bottom of the screen.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Disneyland Park seems a little barren from here, though Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade does make a welcome appearance.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Several of the background graphics also animate when you click on them. Here, Mickey Mouse pops out of a giant cuckoo clock as fireworks explore behind. Because, that makes you want to visit the resort, right?

Mickey's Magical Party website

Minnie’s Party Train steams into view…

Mickey's Magical Party website

…with an interesting party game which seems to invite you to connect up a webcam and then move around to guide the train into position. Or, you can just use your mouse to trace the figure-of-eight path.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Finally, we arrive in front of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant where It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends is happening. Take a close look at the Castle — see anything different?

Mickey's Magical Party website

For the new Central Plaza show, you’ve simply got to stop balloons floating into the air.

And there we have it, a little journey across the resort’s newest attractions with a few ultra-simlistic “party games” thrown in. The audience here is obviously intended to be very young, whilst the overall design style leaves a little to be desired — especially since just last year we were wowing over that spectacular and spectacularly well-built Tower of Terror website.

The Toonifyer game has obviously been given the majority of the effort put into this website, but the result is made slightly pointless since your created character only serves to walk left and right through the virtual world. You can enter an email address and save the character, but there seems to be no option to save an image of the character to use as a forum or instant messenger icon/avatar, for example.

Ultimately, this website also includes little to no real information about the new events of Mickey’s Magical Party — some of which, especially those at Walt Disney Studios Park, are actually probably well worth visiting for.

In fact, upon arriving at the website, visitors will surely be confused as to the overal purpose or theme of the event, since it jumps straight to the point of the Toonifyer game and the events, without a real introduction. A 15th Anniversary speaks for itself, but what’s the point of this celebration? What’s the reason for visiting? We fear guests won’t find the answers here…

• Take a look for yourself here and leave your own comments below!

Thursday, 5th February 2009

Mickey’s Magical Party preview video… with music!

The special video sees Mickey Mouse rushing from corner to corner all over the resort, meeting up with other characters who are shown to be preparing their entertainments for the upcoming Magical Party.

Several of the scenes were obviously filmed at the same time as some of the still photo shoots we’ve been seeing this past week, but — along with giving a first look at the Stars ‘n’ Cars vehicles as they’ll appear in Paris — there is one huge, enormous spoiler in here… the music!

We posted the lyrics just yesterday and only introduced the concept of this new song — “It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time” — just last week, but already, here it is! Well, almost… as you might guess from the synthesised opening, this is actually a special remix of the song. Far more “dance” flavoured than the true number, and in fact likely to be the version heard during It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.

Here’s the video:

And a series of stills:

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey rises bright and early to begin another day of hard work…

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Another close-up of the Minnie’s Party Train concepts — note that the third carriage will be different again from both the first and second.

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey arrives in the Stars ‘n’ Cars garage to surprise Goofy

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mushu steals the show in Mulan’s car

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Characters polish up their cars

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey peers through a curtain to see Playhouse Disney — via greenscreen!

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
In the Radio Disney studios, Stitch prepares his beats to some wild camera work

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
The characters rehearse their moves for “It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends” backstage — with the show’s additional stars from The Jungle Book and The Lion King

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey emerges from the baloons…

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
That’s Mickey’s Magical Party!

As for the “It’s Party Time!” song, hearing a slightly wacky dance remix before the real thing maybe isn’t the best way to be introduced to the new theme music of the year, but what do you think so far? Is this another Disneyland Resort Paris song destined to stay with you almost every hour of the day?

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