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…







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

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.

Saturday, 30th January 2010

More Princess Tiana – plus a talk with her creator

For many of us, in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, this is the week. In just a few short days, we get to see a brand new, traditionally-animated Disney musical on the big screen. At one time, that would have been unthinkable. It’s almost too much to bear.

And, for those lucky enough to follow that up with a trip to Disneyland Paris from April onwards, they’ll also get to see the film’s modern-thinking heroine in person. To tease us for that event, another new photo has been released of the star peering from the Castle balcony, just as she does in the film…

Princess Tiana

This follows the first photo, featuring Prince Naveen, released a couple of weeks ago.

To get yourself even more hyped up for the film, what better way than hopping over to DLRP, where our interviews host Jérémie Noyer has taken a diversion from Disneyland Paris to the Walt Disney Animation Studios in California, to talk with Mark Henn, supervising animator of Princess Tiana herself!

In this fascinating insight — which, don’t worry, is spoiler-free — Mark talks about the challenge of animating Disney’s first princess to progress on-screen from a little girl to a grown up adult… not to mention a small green frog. He also discusses the very modern personality flaws of both Tiana and Naveen, how Lady and Tramp served as inspiration for the film’s “look” and what role he’s already preparing to take for Disney’s next traditionally-animated feature, Winnie the Pooh.

This is the perfect lead-in for the film — Enjoy! ›

Image © Disney.

Friday, 29th January 2010

And for Monsters, the screaming’s over before it began

This is not official confirmation, of course, but from a very trusted source on the comments of our previous article, the Monsters, Inc. Scream Academy event, which is already being advertised as part of the New Generation Festival, has been cut before it even began.

Similar information has appeared as a rumour on French forum Disney Central Plaza in recent days. But, according to the new source, the performers were told only last week that they would be moved to other shows, and the auditions for the live host/MC were cancelled just days before they were due to take place. The event as it was planned is now assumed to be cancelled.

And for Monsters, the screaming's over before it began

And so the only certain live outdoor entertainment at Walt Disney Studios Park this year will be Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, with the addition of that new Ratatouille car from 2nd April.

But what was this planned event? The latest excerpt from a press release read:

Everyone gets permission to be as loud as they want, and screams of delight are filling the air several times daily at “Monsters Inc. Scream Academy” at Walt Disney Studios Park. “Top scare” Sulley from Monsters, Inc. looks for new recruits with his friend named Patty. Guests of all ages get in the action as they test the monster boogie, monster roar and monster scare – with as many laughs as screams. All are invited to participate in this family-friendly, high energy character interaction. Try your hand at being a Monster!

With guests being invited to “test their screams” to become new Monsters, Inc. recruits, it sounded a lot like the character interaction of Merlin’s Sword in the Stone Ceremony crossed with a little of It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, held together by a live host called Patti. We expressed concern just a couple of weeks ago that this corner of Toon Studio surely isn’t big enough for a proper live event.

And for Monsters, the screaming's over before it began

If Monsters Inc. Scream Academy really is cut from the New Generation Festival programme, will it not look a bit embarrassing for Disneyland Paris, who have already advertised it in brochures, images and texts for the new theme year? Perhaps not. After all, the only texts released to the wider public are much vaguer than that above, advertising more the chance to meet Sulley and use the Scream Monitors which have been in place at the photo location since 2006.

In fact, it’ll only be a little embarrassing when dealing with eagle-eyed, frequent visitors to the resort. To much of the less fanatical public, that Monsters, Inc. corner could well be brand new this year. So rather than brushing this advertising under the carpet if the entertainment event is binned for good, they could, in theory, continue pushing this Sulley meet ‘n’ greet spot as a new addition.

But it wouldn’t be like Disneyland Paris to simply wipe something down and then pretend it’s brand new, would it?

Images: Disney; DLRP Today.

Thursday, 28th January 2010

High School Musical – the Party’s over

For the past three years, since 16th June 2007 to be precise, the streets of the Studios have come alive to the music of Disney’s hit TV movie musicals.

After that first year of High School Musical On Tour, the original show returned in 2008 alongside a new show — High School Musical 2: School’s Out!, more heavily promoted as part of ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!‘. Last year, the third show, High School Musical Party!, combined both of those together with new musical numbers from the theatrically-released High School Musical 3.

High School Musical - the Party's over

With that third film becoming but a distant memory and the proposed High School Musical 4: East Meets West (West Side Story rip-off by any chance?) not due until later this year, it seems there’s a lull in the “phenomenon”. Still looking to save money and focus on the New Generation of characters, Disneyland Paris has not renewed the show. No doubt that whole High School Musical overlay of Backlot Express restaurant is seeming like an even better idea now…

Naturally, this is a blow not just for High School Musical fans but for the cast themselves, many having stuck with the show over all three seasons to become recognisable faces at the park. In fact, they’ve launched a Facebook group titled “Save the Wildcats!” to state their cause.

Though ironically in this same week, Disneyland Paris chose to send out a Wildcats-themed email promotion to UK visitors:

High School Musical - the Party's over

Maybe you’re one of those people which didn’t like the ‘HSM’ shows and their overbearing soundtracks trundling through the park — so is this good news for you? Probably not, because there’s no replacement. Given the whole economic crisis shambles we perhaps can’t complain too much, but it is just another area of the Studios’ live entertainment crossed off the programme.

In the time since the first High School Musical show, a lot has changed. Check out our article from back then, proclaiming a “blockbuster” Summer for the park. Besides the opening of Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, there was Lilo & Stitch Catch the Wave Party on Place des Stars Stage, Disney Cinema Parade on the parade route and — the real star — CinéFolies in Disney Studio 1. Those, of course, became known as “Shooting Live” when they were moved to Place des Stars for Summer 2008, only to be cancelled — rather than moved back to a street-based location — when they didn’t prove quite so successful.

Though Disneyland Park has also lost some big, popular and high quality shows in The Tarzan Encounter and The Legend of The Lion King without replacement, it has at least kept a good array of smaller entertainments — such as Mary Poppins, Sleeping Beauty — not to mention Mickey’s Winter Wonderland and the still-wondrous contender for Best Daytime Parade Ever, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.

High School Musical - the Party's over

In 2010, the only new live entertainment over at the second gate appears to be Monsters Inc. Scream Academy, which from the very vague details we’re guessing will be something small along the lines of Merlin’s Sword in the Stone Ceremony. Except, instead of pulling a sword from a stone, we’ll be invited to scream as loud as we can and, of course, dance. Screaming kids? We’ll see you there!

From the time these shows began, it’s disappointing how visibly the “party” has come to a crashing halt. Economic crisis or not, the Studios hasn’t seen the faintest touch of “plussing” for some time — revenue-driven additions like the Production Courtyard kiosk add little to the experience and even Toy Story Playland will be an entirely self-contained addition, not improving the existing park.

Where once Hollywood Boulevard was rising from behind the construction fences, promising a rebuilt, properly-themed Studios, and little details like the Monsters, Inc. photo location itself began to appear, it now seems the park is deemed “good enough”. And with High School Musical no longer partying in the streets, whatever your opinion, the park just lost one thing to distract visitors from the fact that it still really, definitely isn’t.

Images © Disney, DLRP Today.

Friday, 22nd January 2010

Moving walkways to the future – NGF promos arrive

In the great Disney tradition, the overhead boards, posters and billboards all along the route of the moving walkways from the resort’s parking lot to Disney Village are now promoting the next grand theme year at the resort.

New Generation Festival advertisements

New Generation Festival advertisements

These advertisements replace those for Mickey’s Magical Party, which had been in place for almost a full year and were becoming worn-out.

Above the moving walkways, which are unique to Disneyland Paris, the signage originally pointed directions to the two parks and Disney Village. However, since these are all obviously “straight ahead”, in 2007 the boards began to be used for advertising these new and upcoming attractions.

Photos: Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.

Saturday, 16th January 2010

Monsters meet Dixieland – a New Generation roundup

First, an easy one — a new promotional image. Get used to these characters, they’re leading the band this year:

Disney New Generation Festival

It’s quite a brave move for Disneyland Paris to effectively put Mickey in the shadows for a year (at least in terms of advertising), since they’re often so over-reliant on the mouse, but it has to be applauded. The only additions to the line-up here are Mr and Mrs Incredible, who aren’t being used for any other ‘NGF’ promotions but will hopefully be much more visible in the park than recently.

Negatives? No ‘Up’ characters — which means no Dug, who’d be a sure-fire hit. Stitch could really have been given a year off… And let’s not get into the issues of the Castle being that tall from 7 Km away. Or teaching kids to hitch-hike. Moving on…!

The Spring/Summer 2010 brochures featuring the year have been landing on doormats across the UK last week, and most have been very pleasantly surprised to discover a nice foil cover on both the front and back, the first time Disneyland Paris have stretched to such extravagance:

Disney New Generation Festival

It might not show you anything about the resort and parks are actually like (read our thoughts here), but it really does look top notch design-wise. With the internet providing all the information and pictures you could need; if all these brochures now serve to be are shiny things to attract the attention of the public… they’ve got a hit.

Another print appearance of the New Generation Festival (or rather L’Année de la Nouvelle Génération) has come with the latest issue of Annual Passholder magazine Envie de +

Disney New Generation Festival

Disney New Generation Festival

The magazine again features some of the main characters of the year:

Disney New Generation Festival

And looks over the main events (nothing particularly new revealed here):

Disney New Generation Festival

Before having a quick chat with DLP Entertainment’s familiar artistic director Kat de Blois:

Disney New Generation Festival

The interview reads:

How much time have you spent working on this event?

We started the New Generation project in March 2009. So that represents more than a year of work. But for us — and hopefully our guests — it’s a great pleasure.

According to what we’ve heard, this project will be a world-exclusive?

Ah yes, Made In France! You know here, we have a real freedom to do some really unique things. Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, for example, doesn’t exist anywhere else but here. And to celebrate the arrival of this new generation, we’re inviting our new Princess Tiana to join in with the other familiar royalty.

Exclusively for Disneyland Paris, we have revisited the grand cavalcade of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, originally from Florida, and added the Ratatouille car and its cancan music, which promises a deliciously comic moment.

What are you most proud of on this project?

Probably Disney Showtime Spectacular. Once a day, this show will reunite Mickey and the new generation characters on a 360-degree stage. The audience can therefore move round the way around it. There will be plenty of surprises, which I can’t reveal to you yet…

If you had to summarise the New Generation Festival in three words, what would they be?

“Family, Fun and Friends.” Sharing — with everyone around you and all their differences — is truly at the centre of this brand new experience, which will please the youngest just as much as the oldest.

A final scoop for our readers?

We are already working on your must-anticipated surprises for our 20th Anniversary. But that stays between us, of course… (Smiles)

Steady on! You’ve still got 2011 to figure out yet…

Aaaand finally — those new Monsters and Dixieland details we led with.

Though the texts here and seen previously have all been the usual, wonderfully vague Disney PR puff, there are more detailed press releases still being prepared and held back until just before the festival launches. One such press release posted by Disney and More gives some long-awaited details about two of the new character events being pushed for 2010.

First: Princess Tiana. Though it’s widely publicised that she’ll be joining the crowd on the Dreams of Romance float (with her Prince Naveen), many are asking if she’ll be featured anywhere else, available for meet and greet, autographs… Your answer:

The highlight of each day in Disneyland Park is a grand welcome to Princess Tiana, the newest star to join the Disney Princess family from Walt Disney Pictures’ latest animated movie, The Princess and the Frog. Each day, Princess Tiana and her Prince Naveen will meet ‘n’ greet guests and pose for photographs at Town Square Gazebo, with lively music by the Dixieland Band inspired by the music from the film.

Perfect! It’s not quite Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee but a bit of live music is never a bad thing — especially when it’s apparently scheduled in for “every day”. The band will presumably be made up of familiar faces from the resort’s orchestras, usually playing medleys of Disney songs and often quite rarely seen outside of high season.

Disney New Generation Festival

Second: Monsters Inc. Scream Academy, that now being the official name of this photolocation/meet and greet/character event… well, what actually is it? As we’ve discussed several times before, the Monsters Inc photo location in Walt Disney Studios Park has been there since 2006. What’s suddenly so new that requires it have equal billing with Toy Story Playland?

Everyone gets permission to be as loud as they want, and screams of delight are filling the air several times daily at “Monsters Inc. Scream Academy” at Walt Disney Studios Park. “Top scarer” Sulley from Monsters, Inc. looks for new recruits with his friend named Patty. Guests of all ages get in the action as they test the monster boogie, monster roar and monster scare – with as many laughs as screams. All are invited to participate in this family-friendly, high energy character interaction. Try your hand at being a Monster!

If not a “show”, this at least seems to be shaping up as some kind of new character interaction or event, likely comparable to the Sword in the Stone Ceremony in Fantasyland.

Will Patty be a monster or a human? And will they be joined by any other Monsters — since several others from the film do feature at other Disney parks, notably in DCA’s Pixar Play Parade — or in fact little girl Boo, who has been rumoured on our own comments?

Will the static Mike Wazowski figure stay there throughout the event or be removed? And how will guests actually see anything, since the corner is surely far too small for a proper event, visible only from one side and surrounded by planters? Ahh, an answer just opens up many more questions.

Basing an event around screaming doesn’t seem like the best idea, but you never know — it might be good fun. With High School Musical not due for a return, CinéFolies (the Hollywood street acts) still criminally cancelled and Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars not quite up to scratch on either its parade or show aspects (again, hard to see unless you arrive very early), the Studios will be needing all the live entertainment help it can get this year.

Images © Disney.

Sunday, 10th January 2010

Watch the flashy New Generation Festival video trailer

Just published online, the video comes in a similar style to the extended trailers for past theme year events. Where the 15th Anniversary had very restrained, stylish black and white scenes where guests would describe the resort in different European languages, Mickey’s Magical Party had a very cheaply-produced Powerpoint feel.

By comparison, the New Generation Festival trailer seems to aim its sights at being as contemporary as possible: eye-catching video effects, dot-matrix designs and a hip guitar backing track; all joining together a mixture of new and recycled footage.

Watch the English version right here:

Both an English and French version have been published on new preview pages at the official website, though it is still expected that Disneyland Paris will launch its usual (and equally Flash-y) minisites sometime in the run up to the launch on 2nd April 2010. The domain was been purchased by the company last year in preparation.

• Enjoy the trailer? Share it with your friends on YouTube!

Thursday, 7th January 2010

Princess Tiana’s first Disneyland Paris photo shoot

Like the transformation from frog to prince, no more will we have to refer to that terrible photoshopping of her character model onto the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade float, as the press department have published this new — real — photo just a few minutes ago:

Princess Tiana's first Disneyland Paris photo shoot

And they both look stunning, don’t you think?

Despite the film already showing at cinemas/theaters in several European countries, and due to have finished its release schedule here by mid February, it looks increasingly likely that we really will have to wait right up until 2nd April 2010 — the launch date of the New Generation Festival — for this much-anticipated Disney couple from New Orleans to begin official duties at Disneyland Paris, which will include starring on the Dreams of Romance parade float.

Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee, a live song and dance show on the Mark Twain riverboat, has been incredibly popular at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World Florida, but was cut from early proposals for the New Generation Festival line up likely due to costs and logistics of such a complicated performance. As the show comes to the end of its initial run in Florida, some reports have suggested the costumes could be headed for Paris, but rumours also point to the contrary — that they’d stay put for the show to continue in Florida — and Disneyland Paris appear to have no plans for the show as yet.

Photo © Disney.

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