Saturday, 27th March 2010

Showtime Spectacular in even more photos… and HD video!

Lay those memories of polyester costumes and embarrassing toddlers’ games to rest. If you liked the first photos of Disney Showtime Spectacular from our friends at Photos Magiques (and it looks like most of us did), what do you say to the whole show — in high definition?

Part 1:

Part 2:

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:

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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?

Videos by Photos Magiques, Photos © Disney

Saturday, 27th March 2010

Disney All Stars Express rolls onto the parade route

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.

Disney All Stars Express

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.

Disney All Stars Express

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”.

Disney All Stars Express

And then, of course, there’s WALL-E!

Disney All Stars Express

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.

Disney All Stars Express

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.

Disney All Stars Express

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.

Again, changed just enough that it can all be called “new” without really any massive change — though certainly preferable to the incessant Minnie Mouse clips played at full volume over the top last year.

Even more photos now, direct from Disneyland Paris, all the new official press shots:

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express Disney All Stars Express

Finally, for those with a patchy memory, a look back across the character train eras:

Disney All Stars Express

So there we go. And we’ll see you all here again same time, next year, right? Who knows how many more times we’re going to be re-sold this event as something brand new!

Photos by Photos Magiques.com (more), Videos by cafemickey1, gochaton

Tuesday, 23rd March 2010

First look at Disney Showtime Spectacular on Central Plaza!

This brand new centrepiece of the New Generation Festival quite possibly has the most costume changes of any show ever performed at Disneyland Paris.

Unfortunately under-elaborated by the resort’s vague press releases, given a bland name and believed for a long time to just be a “rehashing” of last year’s quite unloved It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, the more we’ve seen of Disney Showtime Spectacular concepts and rehearsals lately, the more interesting it actually began to sound.

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…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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”.

Disney Showtime Spectacular Disney Showtime Spectacular

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.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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”.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Mickey and the dancers wear their final costume, a smart waistcoat, bow tie and hat combo. It’s all about the accessories this year! Notice the ribbons of colour on the dancers’ waistcoats match the designs of those lampposts decorations we’ll hopefully see along Main Street soon…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

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.

See the full album of 34 photos at Photos Magiques…

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.

Photos by Photos Magiques.

Monday, 22nd March 2010

Banners & marquees lead New Generation preparation

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:

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

New Generation Festival preparation New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Different designs or not, it’s quite an overwhelming invasion…

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

New Generation Festival preparation

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”…

New Generation Festival preparation

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.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Saturday, 20th March 2010

A Disneyland Paris St Patrick’s Day in pictures

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.

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

Almost as much of a tradition, the “programme” notice board becomes ever more impossible to read…

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

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:

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

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.

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

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.

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

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.

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

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.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Tuesday, 16th March 2010

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

Here’s the video:

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

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

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

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

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

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

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

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

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Here are the official fun facts about the car:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Official fun facts of Tiana’s dress:

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

• 20 m of crystal fabric are used.

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

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

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

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

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

New Generation Festival making of

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

Video, concepts, images © Disney.

Sunday, 7th March 2010

St David ends the Magical Party with a bang

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”.

St David's Day

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…

St David's Da

Between the “dathliad” (is that right?) of Wales came the eventual, anticipated end of Mickey’s Magical Party, the “theme year” which began way back on 4th April 2009 and brought us It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, Minnie’s Party Train and of course, It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, which saw its final official performances on Central Plaza under a cold grey sky this weekend:

St David's Day Mickey's Magical Party

St David's Day Mickey's Magical Party

St David's Day Mickey's Magical Party

St David's Day Mickey's Magical Party

The pyrotechnics were a late addition last year.

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.

Mickey's Magical Party

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…

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

Mickey's Magical Party

How do you say “what a relief”, “good riddance” in Welsh?

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Friday, 26th February 2010

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

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

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

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

And then in the first stages of construction:

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

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

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

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

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

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

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

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

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

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

Ratatouille car for Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

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

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

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

Images © Disney, Disney/Pixar.

Wednesday, 24th February 2010

Animagique’s brief step into the home video spotlight

Since the blacklight trickery of this unique show relies on props being moved around the stage by performers dressed all black, making them appear to “fly” in thin air, all photography of any kind has been banned right from the 2002 premiere. This was taken up a step in recent years as the Guest Flow cast members who manage the audience were given orders to run up and down the aisles with warning signs showing a crossed-out camera flash. (Shame the same can’t be done on Pirates of the Caribbean, eh?)

Given as a cute warning by the recorded voices of children, the bid to keep the theatre camera flash free and “not scary dark, just really dark” serves to ensure the show isn’t spoiled for guests and (more importantly) that the performers’ retinas stay intact, since they have to prepare their eyes to move around on the pitch-black stage. A bright, dazzling flash could cause those magical Jungle Book palm trees to wobble for the wrong reason.

So, when our photo reporter Dlrpteam sent these photos over recently, it was a surprise to say the least. Real photos from inside Animagique? Why, you’d be more likely to get a photo of Disney Studio 1 without a tower of scaffolding stuck to the front…

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

The explanation? When Animagique returned from its brief hiatus-slash-refurbishment on 30th January, the pre-show spiel had been changed to read more along the lines of the Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! warnings, which state nice and clearly that whilst flash photography is prohibited, you’re more than welcome to photograph and film the show.

Besides the great plus that the show’s many fans could finally capture it on camera, the move appeared to have other positive implications — no need for Cast Members to wave the warning signs; no need for them to patrol the audience with a torch, disturbing the show. And, with pictures or video on film, the show might be remembered and recommended by visitors a little more. Despite playing up to 5 times a day almost 365-days a year, it sometimes feels all but forgotten about.

Alas, pointless to continue with those positives. The spiel has now apparently reverted back to the original and all photography is now once again banned. The reason? Too many LCD screens floating around!

Hope you enjoyed your time out of the blacklight, Animagique!

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Wednesday, 3rd February 2010

Worlds apart? Walt Disney Studios, meet World of Color

Disney’s World of Color might be coming to Walt Disney Studios Park.

Do you need a minute to check the date? Ok, see — it’s not April 1st.

Worlds apart? Walt Disney Studios meets World of Color

The gigantic, multi-mullion dollar nighttime lagoon show is currently on course to première this year in Paradise Bay at Disney’s California Adventure (DCA), the second park at Disneyland Resort in California, as part of its much-heralded rebirth. If you don’t know the full story, this park opened just a year before Walt Disney Studios, in 2001, and suffered from the similar lack of funding and lack of Disney finesse.

But, unlike our dear Studios, Disney have long given up on a piecemeal approach to fixing the disastrous second gate and have thrown themselves (with perhaps more than a little pushing from John Lasseter and co) head first into a billion-dollar expansion and improvement programme. Check out the website here, if you’d like to be jealous.

Now back to Paris.

Though it appears DCA is getting all the luck with its $1bn investment, that doesn’t mean Walt Disney Imagineering haven’t also been planning the future of our second gate. Drawing up plans, throwing around ideas. Thinking about the future way, way ahead of Toy Story Playland and the Ratatouille dark ride; to a time where the Studio Tram Tour route would finally be thrown aside and the park allowed to expand outwards, along an extended Hollywood Boulevard.

Worlds apart? Walt Disney Studios meets World of Color

And what would be at the end of the new boulevard, according the latest proposals from a few years ago? A lake. Yes, water! In Walt Disney Studios Park! It’s a fan’s dream come true, finally a body of water in the parched concrete kingdom of the Studios.

But this wouldn’t just be any body of water. Though the talk of a lake or large area of water in the park has recently, and very quietly, turned from the dream of fans to something actually on the drawing board, no-one guessed what the Imagineers might use such an asset for.

Well, who’d have put World of Color together with Walt Disney Studios? But according to a recent blog post by Alain Littaye, that’s exactly what WDI and Euro Disney SCA are pondering for the future. At the end of this grand, extended Hollywood Boulevard, leading right up past the current service road, the body of water wouldn’t just sit there being all watery, it would become a giant nighttime spectacular — the first of its kind at Disneyland Paris.

Don’t head to the park this year — or perhaps even most of this decade — looking for something like that, though. This is a truly long-term project, major long-term. Alain says “don’t expect it before 2015”, but even that seems incredibly generous unless the proposals have since been rejigged to put the lagoon closer to the heart of the park.

Because, to get to the point where even just this lagoon, bay and stadium — yes, unlike DCA there’d be proper seating — are ready to be built, the park would have to expand right the way back, along the full length of the forest. That’s a major expansion and investment programme even before you get to the frightening cost of the lagoon itself.

Worlds apart? Walt Disney Studios meets World of Color

There’s a chance that by the time Walt Disney Studios Park is ready for this, World of Color might not seem so exciting. Plus as Alain points out, the people involved in these decisions at Disneyland Paris will also need to look in-depth at how it actually turns out. With the show still under preparation, they’ll want to know the full cost of daily performances, maintenance and of course, guest reaction, before it gets anywhere near Paris.

Although it seems like the odds are stacked against Paris for this one as we currently stand, a “nighttime spectacular” is certainly a very real aspiration for the resort. Not only would it extend guests’ visit to either park, prompting more nights in Disney Hotels, it would finally give the resort, well, exactly that — a real nighttime spectacular.

Being so constrained with firework shows due to nearby villages, a show involving comparably quiet fountains and pyrotechnic effects is the perfect solution. The parks would have a draw and a reason to open later for more of the year. And, if you’ve ever visited Versailles or Futuroscope, you’ll know that the locals are already very familiar with the format. They have expectations just waiting to be blown away.

…If they can wait 5, 10 or 15 years.

Images © Disney/Google Earth.

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