Friday, 19th September 2014

Videopolis hosts live Frozen Sing-Along trial for possible Chaparral Theater show

Videopolis hosts live Frozen Sing-Along trial for possible Chaparral Theater show at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris has trialled a live Frozen sing-along event at the indoor Videopolis Theatre in Discoveryland. Taking place five times daily only this past weekend on 13th and 14th September, the 18-minute show — of sorts — saw a duo of live hosts take to the stage and encourage the audience to sing-along to popular songs from the hit movie including, of course, the inescapable smash “Let It Go”.

Using only English versions of the film’s songs, played out with film clips and classic sing-along subtitles on the large projection screen, the tests at least saw the two highly competent, energetic hosts engaging the audience in both French and English to some surprising success, given Europeans’ usual dislike of participation shows.

• Previously — Disney’s Oscar-winning, billion dollar Frozen is not just for Christmas anymore

That said, and as announced in advance, the shows featured no live characters from the film and ultimately play out rather too much like watching the sing-along version of a DVD in a music class, right down to the awkward overhead projector.

Videopolis hosts live Frozen Sing-Along trial for possible Chaparral Theater show at Disneyland Paris

For a lesson in how it should be done (or perhaps, how it will be done — see below), Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World already hosts the catchily-titled For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration as part of its surprisingly shrewd Frozen Summer Fun season.

Photos Magiques – Walt Disney World: Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

Though still not the full stage show many desire (and will likely have to visit Broadway to see), the event at least feels close to the film, rather than some unlicensed cash-in, and features the characters you’d expect.

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Walt Disney World

We don’t know where Disneyland Paris might take the concept for themselves — whether they’d decide to include the characters instead of these generic hosts or perhaps perform shows with the songs in other languages — but we do appear to know the location that such a show could end up: The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland.

As noted by @InsideDLParis, the theatre is currently behind green construction walls.

Another currently wasted performance space, the former home of The Tarzan Encounter has the benefit of being bigger and, well, slightly more rustic-y. The stage has even previously had a snowy overlay for the long-running Mickey’s Winter Wonderland that wouldn’t look entirely out of place as Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna.

What do you think — should Disneyland Paris run with this concept of a fully-fledged Frozen Sing-Along show or let it… well, you know?

Watch a complete video of the Frozen Sing-Along tests by InsideDLParis below

And for comparison, video of the Walt Disney World event

VIA InsideDLParis (YouTube), Photos Magiques

Thursday, 21st August 2014

Halloween 2014 press release teases Disneyland Paris’ most ‘Maleficent’ festival yet

Disney's Halloween Festival 2014 at Disneyland Paris - Maleficent

Disneyland Paris has officially announced its entertainment line-up for the 2014 season of Disney’s Halloween Festival, looking set to be one of the most impressive yet. Building on a full-scale reinvention of the festival over the past few years, it adds a timely Maleficent touch to the growing list of popular, and properly “Disney”, entertainments.

New additions for 2014 therefore include Maleficent’s Court, a villainous transformation of the Castle Courtyard behind Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in Fantasyland, along with The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade, a chance to meet the villains in person on Central Plaza.

Successful new features from previous years will also return, such as Mickey’s Halloween Celebration parade (with, at long last, its own unique floats) and the ghosts of Main Street, U.S.A., which were introduced in 2012 to much delight from fans who had long requested a more professional, more “Disney” seasonal overlay of the land than the unpopular former Pumpkin Men (now living on in Frontierland’s harvest overlay).

This gradual and continued annual investment in the festival has grown it into an incredibly strong asset for Disneyland Paris. Flitting between numerous ideas and concepts since its launch in the late 1990s, so many poorly considered and ill-fitting for a Disney park, the festival has nevertheless remained a popular time of year for visitors. Now, with the right vision and a good foundation of annual investment, it feels like it finally belongs — and lives up to expectation.

Here’s the Disney’s Halloween Festival 2014 press release in full:

Disneyland Paris is the place to be to meet
during Disney’s Halloween Festival 2014
the gang of Disney Villains

From 1 October to 2 November 2014, Disneyland Paris is the place to be to meet the Halloween gang of Disney Villains. Every day, Maleficent will bring together the Disney Villains in a cheerfully ominous atmosphere, promising Disneyland Paris guests encounters to die (laughing) for. The Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard will be transformed to welcome the good Disney Villains who will take mischievous pleasure in taking over Disney’s Halloween Festival.

And that’s not all! During this delightfully frightening month, ghosts and “Disney’s Funky Pumpkins*” will take possession of Main Street, U.S.A., astonishing pumpkins will take over the flowerbeds in Central Plaza and Frontierland will be transformed into an autumn garden, where sunflowers and pumpkins will take centre stage. Finally, Mickey and friends will offer guests a special Harvest festival-themed cavalcade, not far from Minnie’s Halloween Costume Corner or the incredible candy-making machine invented by greedy Goofy, all designed to ensure Disney’s Halloween Festival is a laugh a minute!

NEW: The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade

With Maleficent in the leading position, the Disney Villains will be the unmissable stars of Disney’s Halloween Festival.

The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade

Every day, the Disney Villains will be happy to have their photos taken with guests to immortalize this fearsomely funny occasion forevermore. Together with Maleficent, the Disney Villains will parade around Central Plaza to welcome

NEW: Maleficent’s Court

In the Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard, Maleficent and her accomplices will create an unmissable spectacle, which will be the place to be seen!

Maleficent’s Court

This year, Maleficent will cast a spell on the Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Disneyland Park and will invite some of the Disney Villains to join her in the Castle Courtyard. Maleficent, surrounded by her friends, the Disney Villains, will take over the place — it has now been invaded by imposing brambles, which guests will be able to pose in front of, next to the Disney Villains.

That is how huge brambles mysteriously appear in the Castle Courtyard. Shaped like the famous horns of Maleficent herself, these brambles form the outline of an imposing dragon. As night falls, the bramble will take on a more disquieting look, immersing guests in a universe of bright, unsettling colours.

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Mickey's Halloween Celebration

Mickey’s Halloween Celebration

To celebrate Halloween and to provide guests with a unique party, Mickey and friends will offer guests a cavalcade specially dedicated to the Harvest festival, and have naturally been inspired by the autumn and Harvest theme.

Several times a day, Mickey and friends will parade in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and along Main Street, U.S.A., surrounded by dancers wearing autumn colours.

This year, the lovely Daisy will open the cavalcade. The Three Little Pigs and Horace will join Mickey’s Halloween Celebration on their brand new float “Raise the Rafters!”. Surrounded by owls, black cats, spiders and bats, the Three Little Pigs, Horace and Clarabelle will dance to country music in front of their farm. A tree and an enchanted mushroom will come to life as if by magic.

As for the Disney Characters, they will be showing off their most stunning seasonal costumes. Donald will explore the wonders of autumn in a world made of straw and pumpkins, together with his inseparable nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. Meanwhile, Uncle Scrooge will bring up the rear, determined to keep determined to keep careful watch over a strange pumpkin that appears to be worth its weight in gold…

Mickey and Minnie pay homage to the Harvest season from their huge horn of plenty, filled with autumn leaves, fruits and pumpkins. Behind them, Chip and Dale, accompanied by the charming Clarice, have taken advantage of the Harvest to steal and hoard as many hazelnuts as they can lay their hands on!

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Ghosts on Main Street, U.S.A.

Ghosts invade Disneyland Park

They thought they could keep a low profile throughout Halloween month, but guests will only be able to unmask them and immortalise them in a photo!

The ghosts of the former residents of Main Street, U.S.A. will use Halloween as the perfect opportunity to make their grand appearance. Delighted to be able to make an appearance during Disney’s Halloween Festival, they will take over Main Street, U.S.A., trying to blend into the scenery. The Park’s apprentice ghost hunters will be invited to unmask them, armed with their cameras.

Hilarious encounters with Disney Characters

The Disney characters get dressed up to the nines to welcome guests in a vibrant and colourful Halloween atmosphere for those special photo opportunities with guests.

Halloween Costume Corner

Passionate about sewing and fashion, Minnie will invite guests to discover her amazing sewing workshop, specially created for Halloween. An extravagant, colourful world where everyone is encouraged to let their imagination run wild. Minnie, in her fabulous Halloween-inspired dress will no doubt jump at the opportunity to pose with her admirers.

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Goofy Bonbons

Goofy Bonbons

Halloween would not be the same without bonbons and spells. For that reason, Goofy has designed and created a truly amazing candy-making machine to dazzle those with a sweet tooth, young and old! Fans of bonbons and Goofy will not miss the opportunity to stop in front of this astonishing machine. Goofy might even join them to make sure everything is in good working order. A moment to treasure and a chance for everyone to persuade him to share his confectionery secrets!

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Jack & Sally's Cemetery

Jack and Sally’s Cemetery (from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas © Disney)

The famous couple created by Tim Burton will be at Disneyland Paris during Halloween for a mortally enchanting encounter. The set recreates the universe of the film The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Jack and Sally in person will welcome those who will be courageous enough to meet them. A reproduction inspired by the universe of Tim Burton, Jack and Sally’s Cemetery is a unique place.

NEW: Disney PhotoPass+

The perfect opportunity to capture your best moments with the Disney Villains.

Disney PhotoPass+ allows guests to collect all their souvenir photos taken on rides or with Disney Characters by Park photographers at photo locations in high definition in a virtual portfolio.

The photos are also available on a dedicated website (www.disneyphotopass.eu) and on a mobile app that enables guests to download them, share them on social networks and even purchase personalised photo products (photo albums, mugs, calendars etc.). Disney’s Halloween Festival will therefore be the ideal time to capture the best poses next to the Disney Villains.

Disney’s Halloween Party: the grand finale on 31 October!

Guaranteed screams, even for the bravest guests. The most magical Halloween night will take place at Disneyland Paris!

The now famous Disney’s Halloween Party** will be held on 31 October 2014 in Disneyland Park. A unique experience to share with family or friends from 8.30 pm to 1 am.

Disneyland Park will reopen its doors after dark and guests will see it as they have never seen it before — in a more mysterious atmosphere than ever, with unexpected animations, terrifyingly delicious surprises and a “hellish” atmosphere. The moon will bring out the ghosts, Disney Villains and other creatures for the party, who are all ready to play their tricks around the most mysterious of places. After enjoying the many attractions Disneyland Park has to offer, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the magical extravaganza of the Disney Dreams®! night-time show.

Thrilling rides

Hair-raising, high-speed sensations!

Halloween will be the perfect occasion to test guests’ vocal chords on rides that will make them tremble with fear! With The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster with Aerosmith, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Crush’s Coaster and Space Mountain: Mission 2, Disneyland Paris will be the place to be to test the limits of the most overwhelming fears.

The Disney Villains have chosen the right occasion for their largest gathering — Disney’s Halloween Festival 2014 has become autumn’s unmissable event.

In an atmosphere where laughter mingles with spells cast by Maleficent, guests will find themselves immersed in a strange, delightful world that only Disneyland Paris knows how to create. To celebrate Halloween and the Harvest season with Mickey and friends, come to Disneyland Paris from 1 October to 2 November 2014.

• Deal — Plan your Halloween visit now with up to 30% off last minute bookings
• More — Check October opening hours and more on the DLP Guide calendar

Thursday, 3rd April 2014

Main Street Station becomes blank canvas for ‘Swing into Spring’ overlay

Swing into Spring on Main Street Station © DisneylandBerry

Welcome to turn of the 20th Century America! At least, that’s what Main Street Station was designed to say. In practice, it has suffered an innumerable series of seasonal overlays over the years that often do little to embellish its period style. The latest, for Swing into Spring, was completed this week ahead of the new season’s launch on 5th April.

Production quality looks surprisingly good for a fledgling season — the main “Swing into Spring” marquee is big but thankfully well-designed, compared to previous efforts. The way the typeface springs out of the oversized daisy is quite classy, the character illustrations are a welcome “Disney” touch, the flowers (albeit fake) give a feeling of life. From a distance it looks like a fantastic, bright, fresh welcome into Disneyland Park for Spring. Great job!

It’s just a shame it’s all over Main Street Station. After the 20th Anniversary overlay, Halloween, Christmas, and many more in the years before, you almost need to remind yourself what this landmark is supposed to look like. So here we go:

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

Now where do you begin? Let’s start with the windows. The four stained glass windows of the original station are beautiful and should simply never, ever be covered over. Definitely not with flat yellow backgrounds for 2D cut-out Disney characters.

Then there are the 20th Anniversary leftovers. The two plasticy gold garlands along the top of the façade, the three golden arches above the walkways and the four circular castle motifs are all still in place two years later. The thinking could be they’re yellow (ish) and vaguely fit the colour scheme, the reality is that they cheapen a building which, along with the stunning Disneyland Hotel, was designed to instantly tell guests they’re not in any old tacky theme park.

Also part of that overlay was the black “Disneyland Paris” sign. It seemed fitting for the 20th Anniversary, but isn’t it about time the old “Main Street Station”, with its higher quality embossed gold letters and warm red background returned?

After all that, the flowers and even the logo are rather inoffensive. Indeed, imagine how good the station could have looked if it was simply “plussed” with a colourful floral overlay, not just treated like a blank canvas — as if there’s nothing of quality there to actually work with and the only option was for the designer to cover it with their own, bright yellow, canvas.

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

It’s been easy to shrug off the Halloween and Christmas overlays in the past because, besides the fact they’re well-established holidays, they’re only there for one and two months respectively, giving us nine more months to see the park entrance as it should be seen.

Swing into Spring will last for a record three months. If it returns with the same decorations next year (spending on these seems to suggest it will), that means only six months to see the station untouched: January to March and July to September. That’s provided they ever take the 20th Anniversary elements down. The situation is similar to the oversized Tinkerbell of the 15th Anniversary castle overlay, which outstayed its welcome (and spoilt the forced perspective of the castle) for several years after the anniversary ended.

At least, these days, it’s not the castle. That’s what we need to remember.

• Discover more Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station photos on the Guidebook

LEAD PHOTO @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

Wednesday, 2nd April 2014

New ‘Swing into Spring’ decorations take root on Main Street ahead of launch

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Less than three days to go before the first ‘Swing into Spring’ season begins at Disneyland Paris, the new decorations on Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza are already taking root to add a burst of fresh colour to Disneyland Park.

Just days after they were officially revealed in final concept art, the first arrivals were the colourful Central Plaza “topiary” displays of favourite Disney animals, interacting with musical notes and instruments. Each one takes the centrepiece of one of the four Central Plaza flower beds, surrounded by a fresh display of much less synthetic blooms.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry
Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Bambi, Flower and Thumper, The Aristocats Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse, and The Lion King Simba and Nala are pictured here by @DisneylandBerry, who has been sharing these updates of the growing Spring decorations each morning. Three of the 101 dalmatian puppies are in place, too, completing one of the best Central Plaza overlays in many years.

Meanwhile, down in Town Square the theme is more Mary Poppins. The 1964 film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and is of course a natural fit for a springtime “Jolly Holiday”.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerrySwing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

As the concept art depicted, the two flower beds either side of Main Street’s gazebo have become home to full-size floral topiary figures of Mary, Bert, Jane and Michael.

The Town Square Gazebo itself soon followed, being decorated with colourful garlands of synthetic flowers, musical notes and a large butterfly for its “Balade Printanière”.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Perhaps a simple floral overlay would have been enough and more in-keeping with the time period of Main Street, but at least, thank heavens, the psychedelic multi-coloured music staff of the concept art was changed to a more subdued green.

Penguin waiters are even less in-keeping with Main Street, of course, but they add some fun to the scene and are by far one of the least offensive things ever done to the poor gazebo. And they’re penguin waiters, so it’s impossible to dislike them.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Main Street, U.S.A. is home to almost all the Swing into Spring decorations, the furthest they spread into the park being only Le Théatre du Château. Here, the successful Halloween overlay of recent years has been echoed for Spring with daisies wrapped around the columns and a new green podium stage, ready for the main Disney’s Spring Promenade event which will take place both here and around Central Plaza.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry
Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerrySwing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

It’s simple and tasteful enough, and again good to see the stage finding a new lease of life after some years of dilapidation and uncertainty. Now to see how it will be used…

PHOTOS @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

Tuesday, 1st April 2014

Video: Show Director Christophe Leclercq introduces ‘Swing into Spring’ (at last)

Swing into Spring Disneyland Paris season festival concept art

You’ve less than four days to get to Disneyland Paris for the opening of ‘Swing into Spring’, the almost mythical Spring Festival which now at last has been given its official English title, dates and some welcome publicity by the resort.

Released today is a new video featuring Show Director Christophe Leclercq, introducing the season of springtime decorations and entertainment. If not revealing any new details of the much-speculated festival, Christophe confirms again some important details, such as the main event featuring no less than 90 dancers, 22 musicians and a quite startling 33 characters, taking place “in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle”.

The video includes an additional piece of concept art for the Central Plaza “topiary” displays (above) which feature characters from Bambi, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Aristocats and The Lion King interacting with musical notes and instruments.

This is also the first time (besides a lone Belgian press release) that Disneyland Paris has confirmed the season will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014.

In French, the season will be known as La Balade Printanière, or “Springtime Stroll”.

An earlier version of the video mistakenly subtitled Town Square as Times Square.

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Thursday, 20th March 2014

Disneyland Paris swings into late Spring Festival promotion – concepts, details, dates!

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival concept art - Swing into Spring

Disneyland Paris has finally swung into action, confirming months and rumour and speculation with the first promotion of its upcoming Spring Festival season at Disneyland Park. While the calendar season begins today, Disney’s season of entertainment and special decorations will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014, confirming the rumoured dates exactly.

Two new pieces of concept art lead the announcements, shared on the resort’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Above, the concept shows Town Square and its gazebo decorated with Mary Poppins-themed topiaries, flowers and decorations including Mary, Bert and the “Jolly Holiday” penguins.

Below, one of the new centrepieces for Central Plaza is shown, featuring One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Each of the four main flower beds in the heart of the park will have a different display of flowers, topiary and musical notes — a new official press release confirms the others will feature The Lion King, Bambi and The Aristocats.

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival concept art - Swing into Spring

So far, the press release has only been slipped onto the Belgian press websites, under the title “Disneyland Paris aux couleurs du Printemps” (Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring). Here’s a full translation of the key points from the French language version:

Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring

5th April to 22nd June 2014

If Disneyland Paris was a garden, it would be the largest in Europe with 35,000 trees, 250,000 shrubs and more than a million flowers planted each year. Mickey and friends have decided to celebrate this legacy of success with a special theme for more than three months, in the colours of Spring. With new happenings, new decorations and the opportunity to meet the Disney characters in new costumes.

Disneyland Paris turns into a “springtime stroll”.

The new daily “Promenade Printanière” happening promises to be the event of the day. This ultra-colourful musical event will be enlivened by more than one hundred artists including 90 dancers. Not to mention the Disney characters in new, specially-created costumes. Mickey and Minnie, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Stitch, Pinocchio, Clarabelle and many more will delight park guests accompanied by the musicians of the “Jolly Holiday Band” and “Swing into Spring Orchestra”. The new generation will also be in the spotlight, notably Rapunzel.

In decorations, small and big dreamers will be able to discover their favourite Disney heros in versions more “flowery” than ever. Beside Sleeping Beauty Castle, topiaries depicting One Hundred and One Dalmations, Simba and Nala (The Lion King), the Artistocats and even Bambi and his friends Flower and Thumper have sprung up like magic. Elsewhere, landmarks will be transformed into showcases of flowers.

“Bienvenue à la Belle Saison”, at the entrance of Disneyland Park, will immerse guests in the magic of Spring, with butterflies, flowers, topiary and music.

Finally, children can play as budding explorers with an entertaining leaflet guiding them through the nature, ecology and diversity offered by Disneyland Paris.

While the English name “Swing into Spring” has long been associated with the season and/or its daily happening, the main event is confirmed here in French as “Promenade Printanière” (Springtime Promenade), with two musical acts named “Swing into Spring Orchestra” and “Jolly Holiday Band”. It remains to be seen how the season itself will be titled in English.

With no less than a hundred “artists” including 90 dancers from the auditions earlier this year, the event, which is rumoured to take place around Central Plaza, could be quite a surprise spectacle indeed. Having two confirmed musical acts is also great move, rather than the park’s usual erratic live music schedule. This release also confirms Rapunzel will be featured, with a meet ‘n’ greet rumoured for the spot near to Casey’s Corner in Main Street, U.S.A.

Very welcome too is the renewed focus on the park’s gardens, especially as Disneyland Paris always spends money creating fabulous flower displays every year in springtime anyway.

It’s reassuring to see the event should indeed include some real flora rather than just fibreglass decorations. Indeed, while the flowers and topiaries look lovely, it wouldn’t exactly be a shame if the rather garish, unnecessary musical notes and butterfly were dropped from the Town Square gazebo concept, would it?

But still, simply for Disneyland Paris to share concept art publicly like this is a positive step itself — not just promoting the event but showing the talent and artistry going into it.

Posting on Facebook, Disneyland Paris announced:

“As of April 5th, Disneyland Paris will be officially welcoming the return of spring! This brand new season will be bursting with surprises, so come and join all your favourite Disney Characters for a music-filled celebration of blooming flowers and glorious sun-drenched days!”

However as “product” launches go, this must be one of the most last-minute in the resort’s history, giving only just over two weeks notice before the events actually begin. This could be a way to reduce expectation ahead of a bigger investment and promotional push next year, when the concept is proven, but for now has Disneyland Paris confirmed these Spring details with enough time for you to actually plan a trip, or did you wish you knew sooner?

Previous updates:

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival speculation blossoms with new logos, official text

Sunday, 9th March 2014

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival speculation blossoms with new logos, official text

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival - Swing Into Spring

It’s a glorious, sunny day in our corner of Europe today, with the feeling that Spring has truly sprung. The same could finally be the case for Disneyland Paris’ much-rumoured Spring Festival season, with new logos and creative text published this week.

The three designs, shared by Dlrp Express, take the standard Disneyland Paris logo in a fresh shade of green and apply colourful flowers, climbing plant shoots, a bright pink butterfly and musical notes floating in the air.

Both this rather over-the-top design, and a more discreet, flatter version have been released.

Disneyland Paris Spring FestivalDisneyland Paris Spring Festival

Alongside those is a new graphic to complete the set: a green petalled flower with Mickey Mouse-shaped centre, plus the same pink butterfly and musical notes.

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival

The first piece of text describing the season also appears to have been unearthed. Although we don’t have this directly from an official source, it’s unlikely even a fan could write something so typically Disney, let alone produce the logos above:

“Swing into a Disney Spring, blooming with magic at Disneyland® Paris. Color and music blossom throughout Disneyland® Park. And with the smell of flowers and fun in the air, it’s sure to be magnifiScent.”

Rumours point towards the new season beginning around 5th April and running until 22nd June 2014. Not only would this fill a gap in the schedule where Disneyland Paris has previously launched a year-long festival, it’d fit remarkably well with speculation of Ratatouille press and soft opening dates, which could perhaps start taking place around 21st June.

So, Disneyland Paris has a brand new season of entertainment and decorations beginning in less than a month — why on earth isn’t it advertising it? Besides the fact that the resort often leaves promoting things quite late, there are clues in the rumours so far.

• Read our previous article to learn more about what the new season could include: New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

If the “main event” of the season’s first year is only going to use the Casey Jr parade train, repurposed for the millionth time, and some borrowed cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, it definitely hints at something that will be more a trial concept rather than a fully-fleshed season from the outset.

Disneyland Paris has grown, improved and redefined its Christmas and particularly its Halloween seasons over several years recently, and likely wouldn’t want to create too much hype over something that is such a completely new idea. Will the theme, decorations and events work? Will guests actually buy into a “Spring” season, as a reason to revisit?

If the season’s a success, we can surely expect it to return next year, bigger and better, with a full promotional push as a third “pillar” season of the year in official brochures. It’s a perfect way for Disneyland Park to feel “fresh” each spring even when the resort doesn’t have a genuine new attraction to offer. But for this, the first year we might “Swing Into Spring” (it’s still not confirmed!), it’ll probably be more a pleasant bonus. Just like today’s weather.

VIA Dlrp Express

Monday, 3rd March 2014

Disney’s Oscar-winning, billion dollar Frozen is not just for Christmas anymore

Anna Elsa Frozen Disneyland Paris Disney Magic on Parade

Such surprise, relief and excitement when, for the first time in forever, Disneyland Paris was right on the Disney movie schedule ball in featuring Frozen so heavily during the last Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, a perfect match for the season.

A landmark spot in Disney Dreams! of Christmas and a new redecorated float with Anna and Elsa in Disney Magic on Parade! were the talk of the season, appearing even before the film’s release. It felt like the old days of the ’90s, when Disney’s latest animation releases from Aladdin to Hunchback and beyond were always featured in the park through their year of release.

Fast forward to the thawing days of March, Frozen has just achieved an incredible double: two Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song, and — no doubt even better to Disney’s eyes — passing the heralded $1bn worldwide box office total.

Frozen: Disney Dreams! of Christmas
Frozen in Disney Dreams! of Christmas

Back at Disneyland Paris meanwhile, Disney Dreams! has reverted to its regular self — with new scenes The Lion King and Brave added last year.

Anna and Elsa still appear on their Disney Magic on Parade! float, shared with similar Walt Disney Animation Studios successes Rapunzel and Flynn, but they’ve still yet to step down from that float to actually meet and greet their increasingly adoring public.

That means, for all the hundreds of thousands of guests visiting the park during Frozen‘s finest hour, their one and only chance of getting a glimpse or even a photo of these new heroines is a blink-and-you’ll miss it appearance during the parade.

And would anyone thinking about visiting even know they’re there? The parade’s page on the official website, for example, doesn’t feature any photos of them or, err, any actual text whatsoever. There’s nothing official anywhere to actually tell people they’re there.

In classic style, they’ve seized an opportunity yet completely missed it at the same time.

Frozen Disneyland Paris Disney Magic on Parade!å
Anna, Elsa & Olaf in Disney Magic on Parade!

Disneyland Paris is constantly trying to create a pressing, immediate intent for people to visit. A reason why people, who’ve often thought about visiting but hesitated — until their kids are older, until *ahem* a new attraction date is announced — would finally get up and go.

Given the astounding success of Frozen and “Let It Go”, the sheer number of people who must have seen and loved this brand new Disney tale, could this not be a good enough reason?

Doesn’t that parade appearance deserve promoting? Don’t Anna and Elsa deserve an actual meet ‘n’ greet? Wouldn’t it be a fantastic draw to bring the Christmas “Let It Go” scene (or a new scene) to the regular Disney Dreams! show, if only for this year?

When there’s an opportunity like this, don’t let it go…

PHOTOS Photos Magiques

Thursday, 20th February 2014

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Spring at Disneyland Paris

Remember the “Festival of Flowers” (Festival des Fleurs) of 1997 and 1998? Park icons covered in colourful spring flowers, topiaries of Disney characters all around, beautiful displays decorating the flower beds? It was a beautiful way to see in season of “printemps”.

Well, those will remain memories… but it’s this classic event that has apparently served as inspiration for a new season rumoured to begin at Disneyland Paris this April: the Spring Festival, or “Swing Into Spring” if you want the latest reported title.

Disneyland Paris in its usual self-aggrandising style has announced nothing, but information and speculation has been trickling out for almost two months now from various sources.

The speculated season looks set to revolve around a central street event, which will reuse three of the cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. The Monsters Inc and Snow White vehicles were removed from the Walt Disney Studios Park parade on Wednesday, 19th February, and are expected to be redecorated for the new cavalcade “happening”.

Joining them for the Disneyland Park event will be the Mary Poppins car, apparently leaving the Studios without a parade for the duration of the season — characters will simply perform a meet ‘n’ greet in the second park, instead. Update: @InsideDLParis informs that despite missing these three cars, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars is planned to continue as a parade during the season.

Mary Poppins car in Disney's Stars 'n' CarsDisney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train

Other rumours suggest the long-running Casey Jr train (Disney Characters Express, Minnie’s Party Train, Disney All Stars Express, Disney Dance Express, Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train) returning in some form with a similar colourful, floral, spring overlay.

Only the Disneyland Paris Casting website has confirmed plans for special spring events, with a casting notice (below) advertising for an impressive 102 dancers. Even taking into account days off, reducing the numbers in each actual performance, that’s a healthy figure.

Disneyland Paris Casting Spring Festival Dancers

Meanwhile, the fresh festival could also introduce some new floral decorations and street animations or meet ‘n’ greet opportunities. Concept art suggesting these was leaked by a blogger in early January and swiftly removed at the request of Disneyland Paris, stating the internal documents were not meant for public release.

More recently, a Mary Poppins “Jolly Holiday” theme has been mooted, which would be a good choice given the film’s fiftieth anniversary and renewed popularity thanks to Saving Mr Banks. This could be confirmed by the appearance of chalk paintings being tested on the pavement outside City Hall on Wednesday, photographed by @DisneylandPfans.

Spring Festival chalk painting test © DisneylandPfans

Created by an artist using just chalk, water and masking tape, it’s not known how these colourful paintings, like those mastered by Bert in the 1964 film, could be put to use as part of a season (or avoid the footsteps of idle visitors).

Dates: the “Spring Festival” is rumoured to run from 5th April to 22nd June, possibly with a “soft opening” day on 4th April, nicely filling the void in the resort’s calendar left by the “summer” opening of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. Again, no part of this speculated festival has been officially announced or confirmed by Disneyland Paris.

Gradually turning “Spring” into its own annual season makes perfect sense, and though this year looks like being more a trial of the concept (hence the lack of a big announcement too far in advance?), with continued investment it could conceivably become a third pillar season as important as Halloween and Christmas, driving repeat visitors without the need for those increasingly desperate, largely irrelevant year-long “festivals”.

Bonus: “Festival of Flowers” 1997 programme Read More…

Tuesday, 18th February 2014

Disney Parks gain queues for characters; Disney Hotels to lose them altogether?

Disneyland Paris Disney Hotels characters - Minnie Mouse © PhotosMagiques

Here’s a double Disney Character update with both good and possibly not-so-good news, depending on your view. First, the unconfirmed rumour that from November 2014 character meet ‘n’ greet locations will be removed from Disney Hotels.

This information seems to have first appeared in a tweet by @DisneyCharPhot on 10th November, then reiterated without a date by @DisneyMoi the next day, followed by a more precise date of 3rd November by @DLRPWonders just a minute later.

Rumour has it that as from early November characters will no longer visit the hotellobbies at DLP pic.twitter.com/MPDOQBE37i
— Disneycharacter Phot (@DisneyCharPhot) February 10, 2014

Starting sometime this year, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at #DisneylandParis!
— Disney-Me (@DisneyMoi) February 11, 2014

Starting November 3th 2014, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at Disneyland Paris!
— DLRP Wonders (@DLRPWonders) February 11, 2014

Obviously we must still treat this as a rumour, since Disneyland Paris has made no comment, but given the number of supporting claims and the fact that the Entertainment department is usually about as watertight as a pair of Captain Hook’s tights when it comes to revealing information, it’s quite hard to dismiss.

Note that the rumours state character dining such as the popular Inventions buffet at Disneyland Hotel would continue, and that it is only the character locations in the open lobby areas of each Disney Hotel which would not longer be used.

Why would Disneyland Paris do such a thing? Isn’t being able to meet Mickey in your hotel lobby a real benefit of staying in those hotels? First, it might not be common knowledge that Disneyland Paris is something of an anomaly with having Disney characters in its hotels. Other Disney resorts around the world are more reserved: characters only appear at their hotels, if at all, in restaurants and dining events, with the only similar exception we can find being California’s Disneyland Hotel, which advertises occasional characters in the lobby.

Goofy - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Hotel New York © PhotosMagiquesMinnie Mouse - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Sequoia Lodge © PhotosMagiques

There’s another side to the story that’s more surprising, though, as apparently it has become a genuine issue that some non-paying visitors and locals walk through the resort and around its hotels, meeting the characters without paying a cent. With that in mind, it’s probably a good decision to reserve the characters to places where only paying guests can meet them.

The story might have a silver lining, too, as Poppy the Monkey on magicforum suggests character numbers will simply be displaced from the hotels to Disneyland Park Extra Magic Hours:

“Hotel Guests are not going to lose out too much, ALL the Characters you could of met in your hotel will now be ready to welcome you exclusively in the Disneyland Park during the Extra Magic Hours.  So instead of just having 2 or 3 Characters to meet in your lobby in the morning, you will most likely be able to meet alot more throughout the park – imagine all the Characters usually hanging out at the 6 hotels (Disneyland Hotel will not be affected) will now converge on the park to prepare for the day, before all the regular Guests even arrive.”
Poppy the Monkey, magicforum

And it’s in the parks that we find our really good news.

Since the start of this year, the Entertainment department has been trialling organised queues for characters. No more pushing, shoving or mobbing: guests are simply organised into a proper line and asked to wait their turn. And it appears to be working.

Disneyland Paris queue for characters © InsideDLParis

Just this morning, @DisneylandPfans captured a queue of visitors waiting patiently to meet Goofy on Main Street, PixieDust.be reported it working well in their latest update, while InsideDLParis has shared snaps (above) of numerous working queues since this initiative began in early January.

It’s fair to say that if you skimmed any number of Disneyland Paris reviews, especially those comparing with other resorts, the disorderly character appearances would always be consistently mentioned. Could it finally be a thing of the past?

This is without doubt one of the most welcome recent developments for the parks. And such a minor change: an extra character minder here, a polite “please join the queue!” there. If only park managers could continue through the whole experience of being in the parks with the same fine tooth comb and fix a few other similar niggles for us…

PHOTOS 1 – 3 Photos Magiques, PHOTO 4 InsideDLParis

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