Thursday, 5th February 2009

First look as Stars prepare their Cars

Released just hours ago and available to watch in full here, the new video preview of the Mickey’s Magical Party celebrations sees the mouse rushing around the resort checking up on the preparations for his year-long party.

Amongst the special photoshoot set-ups, there are several surprising backstage glimpses, including one into the parade storage building which currently houses the vehicles of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars

Stars 'n' Cars

We’ve seen inside here before, in fact, when some sneaky photos of the cars were published online just after they’d arrived in Paris. Now,eight months later, we can them in their final Parisian state… although, as confirmed in an earlier update, very little actually changed at all in the end.

Stars 'n' Cars

One car is “new”, however, and that’s Donald Duck’s. Now dark green all over with similar movie reel motifs to Mickey’s black and grey old-timer, the Duck polishes off his takeover of The Muppets’ old car neatly. On the bonnet, an old fashioned movie camera points toward the driver!

Stars 'n' Cars

Also note Mushu appearing alongside Mulan’s car — a character who has certainly been hard to spot in recent years, especially since the end of the Videopolis show.

Stars 'n' Cars

Only three of the cars are featured in the video, you can see the full final lineup here.

It has also been confirmed recently that the performance of this event will now involve two separate, small cavalcades entering the park from Toon Studio and Backlot, travelling along the parade route to apparently meet and park-up around Place des Stars.

A kind of doubled-up version of the old Good Morning Walt Disney Studios — with far better cars — if you like.

Tuesday, 27th January 2009

Stars ‘n’ cars ‘n’ logos ‘n’ unseen images…

Though the 15th Anniversary was certainly well-stocked with general advertising visuals, a couple of good logos and a preview image for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, it never saw anything like this. Indeed, that huge new Disneyland Park parade itself has still never been granted its own official logo.

Benefiting from what seems to be much-improved preparation — at least in the marketing stakes — for the upcoming Mickey’s Magical Party year-long celebration, its’ new Walt Disney Studios Park rival has been far luckier.

For a start, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars has its very own logo —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

And rather nice it is too, don’t you think? Similar — but not too similar — to the logo of Pixar’s ‘Cars’, which would have been easy to lazily duplicate.

Features of the new party are still in there, however, with a balloon replacing the apostrophe in “Disney’s” and the head of Mickey Mouse himself in the middle of the chrome-and-red emblem.

Even more impressive for this new parade/event, though perhaps pushing it on the “realism” front a little too much, is the brand new key visual —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

The poster-style image depicts the cars of Mickey & Friends, Snow White, Aladdin, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story driving along a palm-lined boulevard, a beautiful pink-purple sky and fireworks above them. Even Tinker Bell flies overhead, with the Earffel Tower in the background.

We all know the park’s Hollywood Boulevard is rather beautiful, but it’s lucky these visuals are only for imaginative illustration purposes.  And that becomes even more true when you look at these exclusive landscape versions we’ve got to share —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

The panorama above was the first to be released, using the same background as the portrait key visual above but adding The Little Mermaid, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Mary Poppins (twice!) and the now-cancelled Cruella De Vil car.

The second, and apparently final, version of the landscape advertising image loses the duplicate Poppins and instead brings to the front the planned Chip ‘n’ Dale overlay of the red toon car that, as you may have read yesterday, also looks to have been cancelled —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Again, not quite an accurate depiction of the new event.

But, zooming into the visual, fans can at least take a sneaky closer look at that planned Cruella De Vil car which apparently won’t make it off the drawing board. Behind the demon fashionista we see a whole car-load of dalmatian puppies and suitcases —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Rumours were mixed about whether this would be an overlay of the Disney Villains car coming from Florida or if it could actually be the car you see in the visual itself — the actual 102 Dalmatians car that sits inside the entrance to Studio Tram Tour.

The animation-themed overlay of the long-running toon car, on the other hand, features Chip ‘n’ Dale sitting with paint brushes, pencils, an easel and rolls of paper —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

With the news that these planned overlays have been cancelled, these concepts are likely as much as we’ll discover of the Stars ‘n’ Cars that are now Cut ‘n’ Cancelled…

— Find a new preview guide all about Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars here.

Logos & visuals © Disney.

Monday, 26th January 2009

Final lineup of Stars ‘n’ Cars confirmed

Is this a scaling-back, a budget cut? Not entirely.

Two of the “cars” proposed to play a part in the event were old vehicles from the resort’s past parades and events — the black Cinema Parade van (which itself used to be a Wonderful World of Disney Parade warm-up) and Mickey’s small red car.

The latter was going to be customised with paint brushes and other animation-related props. But both, now, have been cut from the line-up. Instead of trying to bolster the event with these cheaper additions, the parade managers are sticking to the originals from Florida — in some cases, rather more tightly than they’d planned.

We shared rumours last year that The Muppets‘ hot air balloon car was planned to become a kind of galleon-on-wheels of Jack Sparrow. Not any more — the car will instead host the ever-popular Donald and Daisy Duck.

The same goes for Cruella‘s planned takeover of the Disney Villains car from Florida. Though her Hollywood Boulevard appearances in a spotted Cadillac might still be going down a storm, the decision has been made for this to remain a more general “villains” car, rather than be given a black-and-white make-over for the diva, with movie cans and props in the back.

Finally, and less lucky, the former Playhouse Disney car not only won’t be transformed into a Finding Nemo vehicle as proposed — it won’t appear at all. The transformation would have been a difficult one anyway, particularly when it comes to these stars stepping out of their cars to greet guests…

And so, the final line-up is as follows —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

• Toy Story
• Mary Poppins
• Mulan
• Monsters, Inc.
• Lilo & Stitch
• Aladdin
• The Little Mermaid
• Snow White
• Mickey & Minnie
• Donald & Daisy
• Disney Villains

The Star Wars car will also not appear in any form.

And what of the plan to roll out these cars in three groups across the park, at the same time, rather than run them as a linear cavalcade along the parade route? As far as we know, this plan hasn’t changed, though all brochures and official texts are keen not to include the “parade” word — or even the words “meet ‘n’ greet”.

The red carpet is ready to be rolled out, either way…

With thanks to WDSfans.com.

Monday, 26th January 2009

Introducing… Mickey’s Magical Party from April 2009!

Partly a commemoration of the mouse himself hitting 80 years old, partly another excuse to decorate the park and introduce some brand new entertainment, Mickey’s Magical Party will be a brand new year-long event taking over both parks and introducing new decorations, new shows, a new parade-event and a whole new attraction.

The theme is bright — balloons, characters and colour — and fully intended to feel as fresh and new as possible after the two, more nostalgic, years celebrating the 15th Anniversary.

The Logo

So let’s begin, with the logo:

Mickey's Magical Party logo

The balloon theme will never be far away this year, at least in the resort’s advertising, with the colour of red seeming to be a obvious replacement for the copious amounts of blue we’ve seen during the 15th.

A second logo has also been produced, featuring Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto bursting out from a circular Castle background:

Mickey's Magical Party logo

The logos themselves are quite deceptive, however — the “Candy Script” font chosen is inspired by South America — brush-like and quite classical — unlike the proposed events themselves…

The Events

Surprisingly, it’s Walt Disney Studios Park that will once again steal the show, enjoying the launch of both a new attraction and a new parade/event (which you’ll know by now) — whilst, over the esplanade, Disneyland Park has to make up its own party games:

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
The renamed and reworked Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade from Florida finally opens in Paris as part of the event. As we’ve reported previously, it likely won’t run as a parade but as a series of drive-in meet ‘n’ greets and photo shoots. (More news…)

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!
Currently being fitted out right next to Stitch Live! in the Walt Disney Television Studios building and classed as a full new attraction, this will be a live puppet show for the younger audience, featuring Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and My Friends Tigger & Pooh. (More news…)

It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends
Here we come to the key event of the party, a daytime show on a rebuilt Central Plaza Stage that aims to get the entire audience dancing along with characters from The Jungle Book and Aladdin in particular. (More news…)

Minnie’s Party Train
You might recognise this one, just a little. It’s the Disney Characters’ Express in a new polka-dot guise, still travelling between Main Street and Central Plaza with its trainload of Disney characters. (More news…)

It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland
Jules Verne won’t know what hit him — Stitch is due to roll into Discoveryland atop a moving podium of DJ decks, “pumping out tunes” and encouraging everyone to dance along using special coloured dance mats. (More news…)

Look out for much more in-depth news and features about all these events — and the party itself — on DLRP Today every day from now until the official launch.

The Launch Date

Speaking of which — when does Mickey’s Magical Party really launch? The UK brochure states Friday, 3rd April 2009, whilst other official publications state the Saturday — 4th April. Those are the official launch dates, then there’s the actual launch, the press preview, when these events really begin rolling into the parks — which seems to be set on Saturday, 28th March 2009.

Watch this space…

Saturday, 16th August 2008

Motor Cars Parade becomes Stars ‘n’ Cars Event

The thing is — the anticipation surrounding this parade, that, after years of rumours, was finally retired from Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida earlier this year and brought to Paris, is not just anticipation to see it in Paris. It’s an anticipation to see what Paris do with it.

Famously slow on the eyes despite its pleasing cavalcade of themed motor cars and a wide variety of stars, the news of the parade’s move to Paris was met with some hesitation from fans who’d seen it right from the word go.

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“Green Army Man in Surgery Shock”

Considering Disneyland Park right next door now has a parade — Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade — with so many characters, dancers, static props and moving puppets that it literally bombards your senses as it passes, would something as mellow as a Hollywood-style cavalcade of film stars in cars be enough for the second gate, just metres away?

And here, apparently, is the answer: no, not quite.

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The Studios’ wish comes true — a real Disney Princess on its parade route!

So, what will the Entertainment department of Disneyland Resort Paris do with those highly-themed motor cars, now sitting backstage since April this year? For an answer to that, you have to look to what inspired this parade’s move to Paris in the first place — the original version of a popular Walt Disney Studios Park character event — Good Morning Walt Disney Studios.

Because, though this cavalcade of regular classic cars carrying Disney stars was hardly a dazzling show-stopper as it passed by you on the parade route, it was always one of the most memorable events of the day. As the cars hit Production Courtyard, they took a turn and parked up, letting the stars step out of the cars for a 20-minute meeting with their fans.

In that same vein, let us not announce Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade for 2009, but instead: Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars Event.

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Two Genies at once in Toon Studio! Nescafé would call that Genie Genies.

No longer a parade, now an event! And those earlier rumours from several months ago were entirely true — it WILL be split into three distinct, different events, happening throughout the day, in three set locations of Walt Disney Studios Park. Imagine it like three unique Good Morning Walt Disney Studios-es happening at the same time, in different lands, several times each day.

Let’s also confirm the full list of cars that have arrived safely in Paris from Florida: Mickey and Minnie, Aladdin, Lilo & Stitch, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Villains, The Muppets, Toy Story, Playhouse Disney, Monsters Inc and Star Wars.

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Star Wars gives Walt Disney Studios Park the fffo…fforc..franchise!

Star Wars in Paris? Yes! Though rumours suggest that Luke and Princess Leia will infact be replaced by Darth Vader, with C3PO running alongside (though latest reports say he has yet to arrive…).

The Muppets in Paris? No! We can reveal that the plan is to turn this green and wooden car into a kind of automobile-ship for none other than Captain Jack Sparrow! This would be the Pirates of the Caribbean stars’ first ever daily Disney parade appearance — albeit as part of an “event”, not a “parade”, we must remember…

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Muppets no more — welcome Jack Sparrow to the Studios!

In addition, a rumour we left out of our previous article might now have a little more truth, considering the new resident we’re spotting on Hollywood Boulevard each day. One of the cars in the parade will feature Cruella De Vil — which one? Most likely Florida’s original Villains car transformed, though some rumours did suggest the car from outside Studio Tram Tour could be brought into working order… She will get her way and arrive as part of the ‘Event’, either way.

So, the only cars not to appear in Paris are the Power Rangers and Grand Marshall (a car for guests to appear on) units. But will we see ALL the cars that have arrived out in the park next year? Maybe not… we’ll have to wait and see.

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Watch out Hades — Cruella is coming…

Added to the mix and redecorated, if early plans go ahead, would be the old Cinema Parade Van, now running as part of this year’s cut-down Good Morning Walt Disney Studios, and the Toon Car, currently running in the pre-parade of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. Only four cars for each of the three spots were marked out in the original plans.

The three spots envisaged for the Stars ‘n’ Cars to arrive and stop for the meet ‘n’ greets are: Backlot (outside Moteurs… Action!), Hollywood Boulevard (where Cruella currently stops in her regular Cadillac) and Toon Studio (the area between Animagique and Cars).

Now, 760 words and plenty of revelations later — how’s that new name settling in? Don’t worry, we’ve still got many more months to get used to it before April 2009…

[Pictures: reidmix and Wyscan, Flickr]

Friday, 13th June 2008

Stars & Motor Cars now waiting in Paris’ “Green Room”

It was only on 2nd April this year that DLRP Today broke the news that a Disney official had finally confirmed Florida’s retired Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade was due to make the long journey across the Atlantic to Walt Disney Studios Park here in Paris. But, just a few weeks later, the cars had already arrived in the backstage parade warehouse at Disneyland Resort Paris, as shown in these pictures below, from an unknown source.

All parts of these pictures except the cars have been blurred out.

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So, what can we see? Did all of the cars make it safely across the pond? Ever since the parade was even rumoured to be coming to Paris, nay-sayers have discussed at length the improbability of Disneyland Resort Paris featuring a parade with such “far-out” characters as Playhouse Disney, Power Rangers, Star Wars and The Muppets.

The first picture, above, shows the following cars, left-to-right front-to-back: Toy Story, Snow White, Disney Villains, Playhouse Disney, Aladdin, The Muppets (hot air balloon removed for transportation), The Little Mermaid.

The second picture, below, shows the following additional cars, left-to-right: Mary Poppins, Lilo & Stitch, Monsters Inc, Mulan.

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As you may have already noticed, the futuristic cream-coloured Star Wars car is notably absent, as is the outlandish lightning-themed Power Rangers car. Neither were truthfully expected to appear in Paris, considering both the different audience and character licensing contracts here. The only other missing car is the Fab 4’s old-timer, used as the parade’s finale, which is still expected to show up.

The Muppets and Playhouse Disney are surprisingly present… but will they make it to the parade? Rumours have now shifted to which cars could be stripped down and rebuilt for different characters before the parade premieres. Our sources suggest the strongest contenders at the moment are, surprise surprise: The Muppets and Playhouse Disney — but also the Disney Villains car.

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Missing: Star Wars

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade introduced a float dedicated to the Villains last year, so a double-up does seem unlikely. Will the Stars & Motor Cars Parade be a saintly event from start to finish, then? You must be joking! That same ‘Dreams of Power’ float is missing one of Paris’ favourite villains that, from what we’re hearing, sounds like a very likely new star for the parade: a vicious female with a taste for… fur.

Another character apparently popular with the parade directors to be featured in the Paris edition is Captain Jack Sparrow, which would make this his first ever Disney parade appearance.

Look between the cars, however, and things get even more interesting. As recently announced by insider “zanderstarz” on magicforum, new characters, dance units and “skill units” will fill out the entire parade. When it finally premieres in Paris, expect to see new features such as stilts and sky runners alongside additional characters like The Incredibles, Ratatouille and perhaps the retired Finding Nemo pedal-along from Disney Cinema Parade.

Our sources add that alongside many new costumes and props, older items from the likes of Disney Cinema Parade and the Kids Carnivals could be recycled.

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It’s all in the show: Original Florida units, can Paris do better?

Finally… how will it be performed? This question appeared out of nowhere after several insiders suggested the parade could even be split into three or four “character events”, rolling out into the park several times a day like a more frequent edition of the classic Good Morning Walt Disney Studios concept. This leads into the suggestion from our source that the name could even be changed to ‘Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars Event’, and would fit in with several other concepts being discussed for 2009’s Mickey Mouse-themed year of celebrations.

And, whilst the rumours that Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage could premiere as early as Christmas now appear to have spread also to the Stars & Motor Cars, which wait patiently in the “green room” backstage, other insiders indicate rehearsals will only start in December, with the premiere scheduled for late March 2009.

Phew. Maybe we should have expected all this. When there are big American stars (not to mention their motor cars) involved, nothing is ever simple…

— PhotosMagiques.com has photos of the original parade and all its cars and stars here.

Wednesday, 2nd April 2008

Stars & Motor Cars finally CONFIRMED

Exactly one year ago this week, DLRP Today rounded up all the rumours surrounding the move of Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade from Disney-MGM Studios in Florida to our very own Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. But in fact, those rumours stretched all the way back to January 2006.

Today, with the Florida park now going by the name of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Walt Disney World fan podcast WDW Today has scored an exciting exclusive not just for their own fans, but for Disneyland Resort Paris too.

In an interview with Walt Disney World’s producer for special events and projects, Thomas Tryon — the man charged with bringing Block Party Bash over from California, we can finally hear the first ever official confirmation to the public that Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade is heading to Paris.

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You can listen to the podcast below (or download the mp3 here). The interview fills the entire broadcast and Thomas’ confirmation and information about Walt Disney Studios Park’s future parade comes around 8 minutes in:

On how they chose California’s Block Party Bash as the parade to be moved:

“It’s a part of a new strategy that we’ve been looking at for Disney parks in general, to allow us, when we have such a great product, to say — let’s extend the life of that particular show or product by moving it to another location and getting more use out of it. So this is a part of an overall strategy, really focusing on parades, to say — how can we transfer those assets and use them in multiple places, since we know they’re successful creatively, we know they’re successful with the guests — let’s get as much out of that as we can, so that more guests get to experience it than those that might just see it in one park in California.

“So that was also a part of the process of decision-making — what kind of strategy do we use to move parades, what are the parks that get connected together, and how is that designed to function? In this case, Disney’s California Adventure was most comparable to the Studio here in Florida, and in the same way Walt Disney Studios in Paris is also comparable.

“So those three parks are working together now. We moved the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade to Paris, and it will be a new parade for them next season …”

Interesting to note beyond this confirmation is the past tense used in Thomas Tryon’s wording here, suggesting the parade has already been moved to Paris — or is at least well on its way.

The confirmation ends months — or years even — of speculation about the Studios’ second parade, because now, it’s no longer speculation — Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade will premiere next season, Spring 2009.

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Keep listening, though. Do you hear what this important Walt Disney World show producer has to say further in? Still about Walt Disney Studios Park, but looking even further ahead than 2009…

“I started working on Pixar Play [Parade], which ultimately ended up working better for California. When we started the discussion, the new parade was going to open here [in Florida] and then move, but because of the changes that were proposed for Disney’s California Adventure they decided it was the right time to put a new parade there and in turn move Block Party here. So we went through a couple different versions of how that could ultimately happen.

“And now Pixar Play [Parade] the intent is that it would be able to move to Paris after it has finished its run in California.”

There we have it — in one quick interview with a Walt Disney World official, it seems the next two new parades for Walt Disney Studios Park have been confirmed.

Next year we will definitely be welcoming Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade, and then, at some point further into the future (at least two or three years, we would imagine), California’s brand new Pixar Play Parade is hoping to head across the Atlantic to Paris as its replacement.

Now, let’s just hope no-one has their eyes on Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade…!

[Podcast from WDWToday.comclick here to subscribe or listen.]

Sunday, 9th March 2008

Disney Cinema Parade to wrap …for good

The rumours began circulating late in 2007 that the movie production-themed parade might not be seen by guests beyond the early months of 2008, and now it’s final. Disney Cinema Parade will officially “wrap” production on Monday, 31st March 2008. But do “find your seats” early, if you want to experience the event, since a wrap on the Sunday could also become a possibility at short notice.

And this is an event that might well be worth experiencing. Not only is it the final chance to see the Studios’ first parade in “action”, according to trusted sources within the entertainment department, it will be a wrap party to remember with extra dancers and characters making the most of all its costumes and floats, giving the parade a proper send-off into “the can”.

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The trash-can?

Not yet, and certainly not for a few of the floats, at least. Tipped to be saved for future use are Tinkerbell’s Camera, Mary Poppins’ Movie Can and the final Cinema float itself. The black van (carrying the “latest characters”) which has preceded the parade for several years will also be kept for other events, itself a relic from the days of the original Wonderful World of Disney Parade in 1998.

Launched on 1st June 2002, Disney Cinema Parade was designed by Dragone, a Belgian design studio known for their work on the world-famous Cirque du Soleil. Whilst colourful, fun and populated with many Disney characters, its floats and running order have recently become somewhat tired — especially since the premiere of the vastly superior Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade last year, which also clashes by having most of the Cinema Parade characters featured in both parades.

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So, from 1st April 2008, the park will officially be parade-free for the second time in its life, including the brief months after its opening. Now, that’s not a great thing to shout about, but when you factor in the two different High School Musical shows this year, a new show for Place des Stars Stage and several smaller entertainments — look out for the return of the “Toon Train” photo trailer-sets — 2008 should have more than enough to keep the movie magic rolling.

In the long term, as we’ve known for some time, Disney’s Stars and Motor Cars Parade will be rolling across the Atlantic to the park from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, where it has just closed to make way for California’s Block Party Bash to move in, completing the sudden East-wards moving of parades. The Stars and Motor Cars parade was originally pencilled in for a debut this Spring, to follow-up the 15th Anniversary.

Since the anniversary and all its entertainment have been extended, and the Studios’ two new attractions for 2008 are more than enough to get guests excited — the parade will now enjoy its official Paris premiere around this time next year, 2009.

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But for now — take your places for one final journey through the movie-making process, courtesy of Disney Cinema Parade. From the first idea to the final script, the hectic movie set to the cinema premiere. When the curtains close and the lights flicker back to life, all we’ll have are the memories…

— A full guide to the parade, its floats, music and history can be found here.

Sunday, 4th November 2007

Playhouse Disney – Live at the Studios?

Not content with Crush’s Coaster, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, High School Musical On Tour, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live, officials and Imagineers at Walt Disney Studios Park are said to already be lining up their next new attraction.

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!, the puppet and character show from Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, is now strongly rumoured to set up home in another of the empty television stages within Walt Disney Television Studios — the same building where, come March 2008, we’ll be able to see Stitch Live, forming a double act of live, interactive shows.

The trustworthy source La Rouquine on Disney Central Plaza forum claims the show is now a confirmed future plan for the Studios, likely to launch for the 2009 season.

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In both Florida and California, the show is presented in a soundstage-style building with guests young and old sitting on the floor, a series of “hanging” sets interchanging automatically on stage to present the worlds of Bear in the Big Blue House, JoJo’s Circus and Book of Pooh, amongst others. A live presenter carries the show, which features both puppetry and regular stand-up characters, encouraging young children to dance and clap along to their favourite television stars.

The show seems a perfect match for the park’s real Disney Channel studios, which originally hosted the actual Playhouse Disney continuity set for some time, on the stage where Stitch Live is now under preparation. With guests seated on the floor, costs would be minimal and the attraction would finally answer the calls of many parents visiting the resort whose children want to meet these stars. Disney has been putting a great deal of effort into its ‘Playhouse’ brand in recent years, including using it to introduce young children to Mickey Mouse for the first time with “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”.

Where could this rumoured Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage attraction go? Well, the television building is far larger than many might realise. Since its inauguration in late 2001, Disney Channel France have gradually used less and less of the television production facilities built exclusively for them, handing them over instead to park operations and using the building instead as their main office headquarters and the channel’s “playout” centre.

Take a look at our exclusive map…

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Beyond the stage most likely to be used for Stitch Live, a third stage of the same enormous size, perhaps larger, lies towards the back of the building. Its elongated shape would suit the live show format well, and with some realignment of doors the stage could certainly link directly through to use Disney Channel CyberSpace as its post-show, as has also been rumoured. Earlier rumours suggested new automatic doors will lead from the Stitch Live auditorium into the post-show area.

La Rouquine claims the show’s entrance would be located right next to that of Stitch Live. Noting the backstage corridors between the soundstages shown above and breaking into some pure speculation, it would be perfectly possible for Stitch to use the area marked “Pre-Show Area” for its pre-show, whilst Playhouse Disney guests could be ushered through the former “Channel Playout” backstage viewing area towards the third stage.

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Now of course, we can’t forget those rumours — which are still surprisingly quiet — of the Stars and Motor Cars Parade coming to the park from Florida, either. Whilst many suggested that the vehicles in this parade hosting Playhouse Disney characters would be cut immediately, the addition of an attraction dedicated to the channel’s characters would say otherwise — and add more credibility to rumours of the parade itself one day arriving.

Speaking of Florida, their plans to rename Disney MGM Studios to Disney’s Hollywood Studios include an update of their own Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! attraction in February 2008. The current round of characters will be replaced with even fresher faces from shows such as “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, “Little Einsteins” and “Handy Manny”. When — or should we still say, “if” — the show arrives at Walt Disney Studios Park, it will be this newer version of the show.

Friday, 10th August 2007

Disney’s Hollywood Studios and what it means to Paris

The agreement with MGM began back in 1986 as Michael Eisner’s new management sought after more “adult” properties for the park Disney hoped would beat Universal Studios’ Florida outpost.

On 1st May 1989, Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park opened its gates in Orlando, Florida, the third theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. Since then, fans have long used the ‘MGM’ tag to refer to the park, but not for much longer…

The troubles began way back in the 1990s, as MGM became unhappy with Disney’s use of the name and Disney became unhappy with MGM’s use of the name for casinos, hotels and a small theme park in Las Vegas. The news of a name change has been expected for years… but did fans expect this? Not a hint of ‘Pixar’ in sight, a possible sign that the park will return to its purely Hollywood roots…

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Disney-MGM Studios name to be put to rest January 2008

The press release from late yesterday:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Aug. 9, 2007) — In the Walt Disney World theme park famous for all things Hollywood, it’s curtain up on the launch of new attractions, new looks, new breakthrough experiences…

…and a brand-new name.

Disney-MGM Studios will be renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios, effective January 2008, announced Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort.

“The new name reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today’s Hollywood has to offer — in music, television, movies and theater,” she said.

Framed by the park’s supporting cast of classic Hollywood architecture are shows and attractions straight from contemporary Hollywood, such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show” and many more. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also the place to meet favorite character stars of today including Lightning McQueen and Mater from Disney-Pixar’s “Cars,” Power Rangers and Little Einsteins.

With exciting coming attractions and experiences, the best and brightest of Hollywood is about to emerge for park guests, Crofton said.

“As Disney continues to grow and invest in our family entertainment business, we constantly explore new ways to deliver high-quality, immersive experiences for our guests,” she added. “As a park all about entertainment, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will deliver like never before. Now we can say that Hollywood is literally our middle name.”

Initial reaction from a Paris perspective: relief.

The ‘Disney-Pixar Studios’ name was always the favourite (or rather the “most likely”) amongst most followers, but there was always the off-chance that Disney-MGM could become something along the lines of ‘Walt Disney Studios Florida’, casting our much-loved little park in Paris into the shadows, in the eyes of the public nothing more than an offshoot from the older brother.

Luckily, that hasn’t happened. The park in Florida stays true to its “Hollywood that never was” roots and the fast-growing park in Paris can stand on its own two feet, still the only park with Walt Disney’s name on it… whether its critics like that or not.

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Still the one and only Walt Disney Studios Park

The release goes on to confirm several new attractions for the park — ‘Toy Story Mania!’, ‘Block Party Bash’, a new ‘Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!’, ‘Disney’s High School Musical 2: School’s Out!’ show and ‘Handy Manny’ meet ‘n’ greets. Obviously having exclamation marks at the end of names will be a new criteria for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Ever confident and superlative of their offerings, Walt Disney World announce this line-up as “one of the most ambitious attractions rollouts in the 18-year history of the park.”

‘Toy Story Mania!’ has been anticipated for a long time to be the attraction to launch the new park name, but not confirmed until right now is the second new offering — Block Party Bash. The high-energy parade from Disney’s California Aventure park coming to Florida means that the old 2002 Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade finally jumps ship…

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Disney Stars and Motor Cars freed up for Paris?

…and if you remember the rumours on magicforum or our article from March, you’ll know where rumour says it will wash up. Yes, our very own Walt Disney Studios Park. The news today that its five-year run at Disney-MGM Studios will come to an end in Spring 2008 fits perfectly with the rumours that it could premiere in Paris ready for the first summer of Hollywood Boulevard and a slightly extended 15th Anniversary Celebration.

Is that really likely to happen? Visit Disneyland Resort Paris tomorrow and watch the current parade, Disney Cinema Parade. A little later, hop over to Disneyland Park and catch the new Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade — the difference is quite shocking, don’t you think? For all its charm and interesting avant-garde designs, Disney Cinema Parade is, after over five years of daily “lights, camera, action!”, tired and ready for replacement — especially next to the dazzling show on offer next door.

A brand new parade on the scale and budget of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade is out of the question, so the park would be a fool not to pick up the Stars and Motor Cars to celebrate its very own new Hollywood, don’t you think?

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“Walt Disney Studios: More than just Hollywood”

So, as it works out, Disney’s Hollywood Studios could mean very good things for Paris’ Walt Disney Studios Park. A new parade, it’s own identity. Good things at least… so far.

Yes, the shadow being cast over this “good news” for Walt Disney Studios Park is that several online news sources continue to push Crush’s Coaster as a possible new attraction for the new ‘Pixar Place’ area of the park, next to ‘Toy Story Mania!’.

Kevin Yee mentions it as a rumour in every ‘Rumour Rundown’ article on MiceAge.com and today Jim Hill even spoke of Pixar Place as the area that will “play host to the studio theme park’s ‘Toy Story Mania’ attraction as well as the soon-to-be-announced stateside version of ‘Crush’s Coaster‘.”

Crush’s Coaster, “soon-to-be-announced” for Disney-MGM Studios? The bright blue showbuilding and its wacky blue rockwork don’t seem like an instant match for the more serious Florida studio, not to mention this would give Walt Disney World its third consecutive Nemo-based attraction at a third different park (after The Musical at Animal Kingdom and The Seas at Epcot).

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Haven’t folks in Orlando had enough ‘Nemo’ yet?

It’s no secret that Crush’s Coaster was built on a fairly tight budget for Paris, so a second version in Florida could end up teasing unlucky fans in Paris with enhanced effects. Even if the attraction arrived in Florida in identical form, it would mean Walt Disney Studios Park losing a unique attraction, one which has finally helped to edge it onto the Disney map in a very positive way.

Hopefully rumour of Crush’s Coaster in Florida will go the same way as the ‘Disney-Pixar Studios’ name… to a Hollywood that truly “never was”.

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