In its original life as Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade, the Studios’ current parade event certainly wasn’t free from chopping and changing its guest list, with additions such as Monsters Inc., Lilo & Stitch and, er, the Power Rangers during its time in Florida.
We couldn’t have more worthy first additions to the parade, for this Parisian park, than Rémy and Emile. The concept art and making of videos looked promising — and now, just look at the finished car!
With a table setting of hot ratatouille and a fizzing glass on its hood, Rémy and Emile’s brand new car comes decorated with the vintage Parisian posters created by Pixar to promote the film. Behind the pair — dressed in chef’s hats — lies the aftermath of their cooking: a huge pile of pots, pans and kitchen utensils that wobbles, sways and hisses with smoke as the car drives along.
Here’s the official video footage from our new Stars ‘n’ Cars addition:
But first, a nice compilation from behind-the-scenes at yesterday’s press events, as a Disneyland Paris video camera follows the press around the new shows and events to give a feeling of these busy press days in the parks:
Now that’s got you warmed up, onto the main show!
Titled “The New Gen Show”, the opening ceremony and dedication of the New Generation Festival has all the usual ingredients of these one-off Disney grand opening spectaculars — a ridiculously large cast, jazzy projections and an “interesting” mélange of music.
On the one hand we have Buzz Lightyear reliving his French disco days, on the other Nemo coaxing Dory (right?) into the arena in something out of an arty theatrical show. All wrapped up with music from… Pixar Play Parade at Disney’s California Adventure.
Yes, it’s an eclectic, enormous and show-stopping opening ceremony for the year ahead. Might they have actually outdone all past efforts? Perhaps — in numbers and scale — even the opening of the resort itself!
It’s a shame, of course, that these kind of lavish events are reserved only for “VIPs” who probably couldn’t give a hoot about seeing a show like this. We have to wonder how much of the footage and how many of the images shot this weekend will really make an impact, or be featured in the media. It’s a tradition now that Disneyland Paris puts on one show for the visitors and one superficial blow-out to look good for the cameras. It’s something for the archives, for them to pull out and say “remember 2010?”.
Although given that they used the stunt arena this year, which has 3000 seats, this would have been a good chance to say, give away a few extra tickets in a prize draw to Annual Passport Dream holders… if only to see the show, to spread word of mouth, and not to enjoy the free food.
British girl pop group The Saturdays were also at the resort today.
• Disney Showtime Spectacular premieres (2:50am)
We mentioned that today’s weather hadn’t been too kind to the first performance of Disney Showtime Spectacular. It’s the Disneyland Paris press event curse — blow all your money on a big show, invite thousands of questionably important people… and then that thick Marne-la-Vallée cloud rolls over.
Here are photos from the press performance earlier today:
Luckily it remained dry, if not providing the best weather for this new show to shine.
• The New Gen Show – first official photos! (3:02am)
And here we go, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Details have been sketchy about what to expect from tonight’s events, but with the stage set as the Moteurs… Action! stunt arena over at Walt Disney Studios Park — and not Central Plaza as the past two launches (15th and MMP), it promised something quite different and certainly very grand, given the arena floorspace…
And of course, they didn’t disappoint. An enormous cast, a laser and projections show and the Disney All Stars Express park-hopping to join the cars of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars:
The full wide shot at show-level:
Stars jump for joy as resort icons are projected onto the Mediterranean sets of Moteurs Action:
Artsy arrivals by illuminated balloons? Why not:
A full-on smooch between Tiana and Naveen? Ooo err:
And that final wide angle from the top of the Stunt Arena seating again:
At least, with 3000 stadium seats, the VIPs wouldn’t have had to crane their necks for once.
• The Saturdays, New Generation Props & Suitcases (29/03 16:07pm)
Tiana meets British pop group The Saturdays — or is it the other way around? — in this picture captured by Photos Magiques on yes, Saturday:
They also stumbled upon some clever oversized toy props in the hotel lobbies where press event invitees were staying, such as this ViewMaster toy:
And the suitcases of New Generation characters who were also checking in:
See more of these, plus loads more news from the past week, at their full update here.
Yes, we may finally have a show worthy of this overwhelming stage. If we must see the whole hub of the park enveloped in an inescapable live show throughout the day (and it appears we must), then this is really the way to do it. Countless characters, great new and specially-rerecorded music, clever costume changes and oh yes, quite probably some real “wow” moments that justify the hyperbolic title.
A few criticisms could still be put forward — It’s a fairly young-leaning show and might still not have the broad appeal such a focal point of the park should have (though compared to Party Time‘s nursery school focus, it’s positively geriatric). Mickey’s costume changes are fun, but his yo-yoing up and down that stage lift can be a bit disruptive to the flow of the show. And unfortunately Minnie still appears to be the only “VIP” to speak English, making the opening scenes a little off-putting (and hey, imagine if you’re Spanish, German…) — but then, we’re suddenly treated to a whole load of brand new character voices, convincing sound-alikes for Woody (Tom Hanks) and Mike (Billy Crystal) and possibly even the “real” Tiana, Anika Noni Rose… or another very good impersonator.
This is a show that could well make other Disney resorts — even the hallowed hub stage of Tokyo Disneyland — a little jealous. Finally, this true “new generation” of Pixar characters that have been so left out of park entertainments in Paris for a decade or more are given centre stage, in a production that brings back memories of the old musical revues of “Disney Classics: The Music and the Magic” (Videopolis) and the original “C’est Magique” (Fantasy Festival Stage).
Want more? Here are the new official publicity photos released today:
And look out for a few more in our coverage of today’s big press launch, with unfortunately less appealing weather — yes, the curse of the Disneyland Paris press event strikes again!
Now: The clever choreography of the Lilo & Stitch scene, complete with palm trees and circling birds, or the transformation of Naveen from frog to prince, and the superb subsequent New Orleans musical number? Maybe something else… What’s your favourite Disney Showtime Spectacular moment so far?
Though the advertising would suggest you won’t see a moment of the New Gen attractions until 2nd April, as with recent years that’s not quite the case. In fact, from Princess Tiana to Remy, the Showtime Spectacular to this here All Stars Express, the events have been performing in the parks for up to a week now, ready for the press launch today, and will almost seem like old news come next weekend.
Just a couple of weeks after Minnie’s Party Train departed the parade route, the Disney All Stars Express suddenly steamed in, transformed (almost) from top to bottom with the multi-coloured design seen in its concept art and carrying characters such as Remy, Emile and Mr Incredible, previously reserved exclusively for appearances at Walt Disney Studios Park.
Those nasty spots have finally cleared up to give the old Casey Jr. a clean complexion of white, red, yellow and green, though several elements of the old Mickey’s Magical Party design remain — such as the Mickey emblems on the top of each carriage.
A collection of flags on the first carriage feature designs and logos from the featured Pixar films, and the “All Stars Express” banner across the front of the train even uses the animation studio’s logo typeface, Charlemagne Bold, with its recognisable not-quite-Serif “X”.
And then, of course, there’s WALL-E!
The most anticipated aspect of the redecorated character train since his reveal last month, this marks the first time the character has ever appeared in any Disney parade or event. He’s hardly all-singing, all-dancing: he remains static and silent throughout, but the production quality is top-notch.
Despite all this Pixar celebration, Disneyland Paris is still keen to emphasise the “Disney” in this New Generation (which is why they insist the event be titled “Disney new generation festival” in all official texts). And so, the final two carriages aren’t all that new at all — the second even keeps its old Minnie Mouse theme! Here you’ll often find more classic characters, such as Pinocchio or Chip and Dale, with the likes of The Incredibles and Ratatouille kept on the first, fully-redecorated carriage.
To see it in motion, check out these first clips to appear on YouTube:
As you might notice, another aspect of Disney All Stars Express (there’s that “Disney” again) that’s only half-new is the soundtrack. Fans of the now-infamous “Tous en Train” will be glad to hear that the song is still used, albeit in a remixed form, now fading into versions of “It’s a Small World” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to continue the friendship theme we’re seeing.
The first trial performances already began today, ready for the press launch event of this weekend, so let’s jump right in with a selection of photos…
It’s a familiar opening as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale arrive on stage to what must be a new recording of “Best of Friends” from The Fox and the Hound. Note immediately the smaller number of dancers (here waving flags) this year — nothing to criticise, in fact, as the focus is instead placed entirely on the characters, with apparently no live hosts desperately trying to work the audience.
Above, Mickey is seen in his “generic” opening look of a yellow top and red trousers. Jump ahead, and as if by magic — when Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear appear — he transforms into his toy soldier-styled green coat with binoculars. All the other characters and dancers join in with different props or costume additions for each number, here dancing to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”.
When Lilo & Stitch — and a brand new character for Disneyland Paris, from the pair’s TV series, Angel — arrive to catch a wave, the dancers wear Lei flowers and the Disney characters wear Hawaiian shirts for “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” and “Aloha, E Komo Mai” from the TV series.
Palm trees are suggested by the clever use of green leaf umbrellas, held above a surf board centrepiece which looks remarkably similar to that in the very popular old Lilo & Stitch Catch the Wave Party in Walt Disney Studios Park.
To the sound of Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino’s “The Glory Days” score, Mr and Mrs Incredible arrive and the characters don matching Incredibles superhero outfits — including face masks for Chip and Dale.
From one Brad Bird movie to another, Rémy and Emile also make their first appearance here in Disneyland Park for a scene set to the music of “Le Festin” and Offenbach’s Can-Can whilst the dancers, now in chef uniform, carry oversized kitchen utensils and vegetables, presumably throwing them into the giant pot to cook up a special ratatouille dish…
The show brings Mike Wazowski back to Disneyland Paris after a break of almost 7 years in public appearances, and adds a brand new face from Monsters Inc — if you can just make it out beneath that disguise — Boo! The little human girl looks familiar from her appearances overseas in events such as Pixar Play Parade and Block Party Bash.
After Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen join the show with “Gonna Take You There” and “When We’re Human”, the set of New Generation characters is complete. Now, for one big finale — old and new together — a drum kit appears for Mickey to play along to “Best of Friends” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”.
Making the best use of all the existing tricks hidden within the 2009-built Central Plaza Stage, the show ends with a blast of pyrotechnics, as the colourful cast of around 30 (6 dancers, 26 characters) freeze for the finale…
Now that looks like a little more than just bouncing with Tigger or scratching Baloo’s back, doesn’t it?
Six different sets of costumes, a varied and popular cast and no pandering to toddlers with childish preschool games… This is what we call Entertainment. It’s already being compared to the lavish hub shows presented (and lusted over for years by fans of other resorts) at Tokyo Disneyland.
Disney Showtime Spectacular will now see two weeks of previews up until its launch and “official” first performances on 2nd April 2010. During this time, performances may be cancelled without warning — showtimes do not currently appear on the park programme.
Another year, another set of sky blue banners? Spot on. For the fourth year running, we’re welcomed onto the resort hub — and again and again through Fantasia Gardens and Front Lot — by banners featuring the year’s theme logo and the word “Welcome” in a variety of languages:
The almost identical in design Mickey’s Magical Party banners have been switched out for these new canvas banners on every lamppost in sight, alternating between the French and English logos.
Are these just unoriginal, or is blue just a nice, neutral colour that works for both parks?
Either way, there’s one plus for this year’s batch of near-identical banners — they’re slightly less identical. In Front Lot, there are several designs featuring just the New Generation characters, such as Mike Wazowski, Buzz Lightyear and that ten-year-old alien who won’t ever take a break, Stitch.
Different designs or not, it’s quite an overwhelming invasion…
What is this festival called again?!
Back at Front Lot, we’re seeing the Walt Disney Studios Store entrance being “toyed” with again, as the first temporary marquee in over a year has appeared to tempt more people inside the boutique. It’s the first New Generation Festival store decoration so far, coming just days after the old Magical Party marquee disappeared from The Emporium.
Though the Little Green Men and Stitch are flat 2D designs, Slinky Dog is partially in 3D, his springy body wrapping around the entrance. Inside, you can of course pick up your very own Slinky toy.
Inside the park, the Monsters Inc. Scream Scene near the entrance of Toon Studio has been closed for several weeks to allow preparations for its starring role in the year ahead. The ‘Scream Monitors’ signage has been taken away and returned for refurbishment, and the fun yellow floor markings have been completely repainted.
In fact, though the corner is being included in the “new” features for the year, it has been in place for so long (since 2006) that the “Child Detection Agency – Scream Scene” paint had completely worn away.
As we reported at the end of January, the ‘Monsters Inc. Scream Academy’ listed in brochures and press releases was originally meant to be a brand new show that was cancelled just days before auditions. We’ve since leant that the show, which would have featured a live host inviting guests to dance and scream with the Monsters, was actually set to happen not in this tight corner but on a separate travelling stage, similar to the High School Musical shows.
Though the ‘Monsters Inc. Scream Academy’ hasn’t been removed from advertising, we now have to assume that’s the new name for the photo location, the preview videos have been made incredibly vague and all mentions are very careful never to mention the word “new”…
At least with Sully (the only live Monsters character we’ve seen at Disneyland Paris since 2002), expected to be rejoined by Mike and — for the first time — Boo (dressed up in her Monster disguise) for the Disney Showtime Spectacular over at Disneyland Park, these extra characters could hop over in between to provide something “new” here after all.
Ireland’s local Disney resort has made it an annual tradition to celebrate this annual tradition every 17th March, beginning a few years ago alongside the St David’s Day events.
Almost as much of a tradition, the “programme” notice board becomes ever more impossible to read…
We can, however, decipher that the Lee-Byrne Academy Dancers have returned to the park for another year, now one of the few entertainment spectacles you can enjoy on Royal Castle Stage:
This event is also unique in its inclusion of Disney characters — namely Chip and Dale — who rarely join visiting groups, for example during the Disney Magic Music Days events at Fantasy Festival Stage.
The Pride of Murray Pipe Band were this year given free reign of Main Street, U.S.A., parading the length of the street with traditional Celtic bagpipes and drums.
At 8.30pm, they even helped to close the day with a final, nighttime performance on Central Plaza, leading right into the St Patrick’s Day fireworks at 9pm.
Elsewhere, the Main Street Fire Truck rolled out again with shamrocks replacing its earlier Welsh daffodils and leeks for the pre-parade and Mickey and Minnie donned their green and yellow outfits to meet guests at Town Square and Casey’s Corner.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
What’s been occuring at Disneyland Paris this weekend? The St David’s Welsh Festival, a now-annual event spread over three days, this year from 5th to 7th March, to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of Wales (which is actually held on 1st March) — and no doubt tempt a few proud compatriots over to Disneyland Paris in the process.
As the schedule reveals, this is a rare chance to see Merlin calling up guests to pull Fantasyland’s sword from its stone, a location now used more frequently for the Sleeping Beauty “happening”.
It’s also the only time in any Disney park in the world you can see Mickey and Minnie dressed in traditional Welsh costume, be it at their special meet ‘n’ greets or riding the Main Street fire truck as a special pre-parade. Where the upcoming St Patrick’s Day has shamrocks all over, St David’s is all daffodils and leeks…
What was that about spoiling pictures? Oh yes, the decorations. Though (if you can believe it) not as bad as they could have been, this was certainly a year to point your camera… elsewhere. Try a new angle rather than that generic castle shot.
But, for one last bang before the year is locked away in the pages of Euro Souvenirland, our Mickey Moused medieval castle celebrated St David’s with the traditional fireworks display…
How do you say “what a relief”, “good riddance” in Welsh?
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