Sunday, 8th April 2007

(Video) 15th Launch Night: Candleabration Fireworks

Throughout the day, and especially in the hours before the spectacular launch night event, fans filled the park, put up with being pushed aside to accommodate the press, and soaking up the magic, the buzz and the atmosphere of the night. It wasn’t hard to a spot a fan on the 31st – either by their endless filming and photographing or proud display of circa-1992 Euro Disney clothing and accessories, the celebration truly began with the fans.

Over six months of following the preparations online or in the parks, and of course 15 magical years themselves, had all been leading to this moment. In just a few minutes, the celebration would officially begin, and with it one of the biggest and most important years in the resort’s history.

With Daniel Powter’s well-received performance of two songs finished, he quickly ran of stage to allow a team of crew members to remove the sleek white piano and audio equipment, ready for Candleabration. Along Main Street, the air was filled with the opening synth notes of “Just Like We Dreamed It” for around 10 minutes, with a strange, faint murouring of deep-toned speech on top, only adding to the sense of anticipation.

Finally, with the stage set, lights across the park suddenly dimmed and the fibre-optic “15” plaque glowed and sparkled, the christmas lights on the Castle joining in with their own strobe flashes and sparkles. Trumpets blasted out, heralding the start of Candleabration, before the music faded into the popular Peter Pan “Dreams” theme and the crowds gasped in delight.

As the entrance of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant was illuminated from inside and smoke poured out, returning an image from the 1992 Grand Opening, the team of flag artists and dancers ran up onto the stage and began their routine, cutting through the air with their blue 15th Anniversary flags to the beats of the music.

The music reached its climax, and suddenly a surprise diversion from the usual Candleabration routine began. Arriving on stage first was not Mickey, but instead Lumière – a very special host just for this evening, and a character not seen in-person at Disneyland Resort Paris perhaps since the end of Videopolis’ Beauty and the Beast stage show. Lumière began “Bonsoir Paris! Et Bienvenue!” before joining the shimmering blue-and-white dancers – now with their white top hats for a majestic dance routine set to swirling strings and powerful trumpets, a moment usually enjoyed by Mickey in the regular show.

Behind them, the Castle turrets sparkled and projection patterns sweeped across its towers, before the music reached a dramatic climax and Lumière raised his candles into the sky with the dancers and their hats.

Passing the reigns over to the one that started it all, Lumière announced in French “Ladies and gentlement, please give a warm welcome to our incomparable host, acommpanied by some children full of dreams!,” and welcomed Mickey Mouse onto the stage – “Bonsoir monsieur!”. Mickey replied “Bonsoir Lumière!” before turning to the crowd – “Good evening everybody! Hey, say folks, do you believe in dreams? You do?! Awww, that’s swell!”

As a line of around fifteen children filed onto the stage, in front of the dance team, Mickey continued “You see, I’ve invited some very special friends to be here tonight! And, they’re going to share their dreams with us!”. In the background, the faint opening notes of the score for the resort’s 15th Anniversary teaser trailer played throughout. With the children ready, dressed in their blue outfits and yellow scarfs from the pre-parade earlier, Mickey turned to them – “Hiya kids! Tonight, I’ve got a very special – magical – gift for every one of you!”.

Pointing to the stars the children were holding, he announced “These magical stars have the power to make your dreams come true! So just lift your star, as high as you can, up towards the sky! Now, close your eyes, and make a wish!”. Sleeping Beauty Castle turned a dreamy shade of blue, dotted with stars, as the familiar voice of the Blue Fairy from the park’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular filled the air and translated for Mickey in French. The children then held their glowing, multicoloured stars, as high as they could, and proclaimed “By the power of this magic star, make our dreams come true”.

“Remember children, never stop believing in your dreams, for they are the real magic in the world” the Blue Fairy concluded. “So, listen to your heart, and watch…” “Alors, ecoutez votre coeur, et regardez..!”

Lights faded, the children turned and music swelled to its full rhythm, as Mickey clasped his hand and threw the dreams of the children across the face of Le Château. One by one, fantastical, colourful digital projections of children encountering Disney characters across the resort filled the towers, turrets and spires of the Castle as the rhythm of the music provided a perfect time for the audience to look back on the past fifteen years – and gasp in wonder.

When the dreams faded away, the echoing choir and chords of the “dreams” theme music faded in, joined by a moving projection of a huge red carpet across the Castle, bouncing from side to side and wrapping itself around the turrets. Mickey rejoined his usual Candleabration speech, announcing “You know folks, today is a very special day! 15 Years of dreams and magic, and – fifteen candles! So keep your eyes open, ’cause this is going to be one of the most magical moments ever!”

Music climbed to another deafening climax, the spires shimmered and sparkled with hundreds of lights and Mickey reached out with both hands, stretching out to the audience before turning and pointing his magic toward the Character Castle Makeover.

Then, one by one, timed exactly to the beats of the Peter Pan “dreams” music, each of the fifteen candles burst to life with a flickering, orange glow and an extra “ping” in the music. The audience watching from Main Street shouted the numbers – “eleven!” “twelve!” – and then, the “bougillumination” was complete. Lights flickered across the spires and sweeped up Tinkerbell’s trail of pixie dust, culminating in a burst of gold confetti from her wand, perfectly illuminated and met with a perfect “ooooh!” from the crowd below.

But the party was only just beginning. Minnie stepped on stage and proclaimed “Oh Mickey, c’est magnifique!”, followed by Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Chip n Dale – “And now, it’s time to celebrate our fifteen magical years!”, Mickey announced, as the characters prepared their instruments and “Just Like We Dreamed It” began… with a spectacular burst of fireworks.

To the full, extended version of the theme music, the characters danced and played their instruments whilst a huge, colourful, choreographed fireworks display filled the sky behind them.

Each burst of music, each note, was met in synchronisation with a score of fireworks in every shape, size and colour. From sparkling “wishes” rockets for the “Magically…” chorus end, to giant, pounding, bursts to the drum beats of the third chorus, the display began with simple red rockets and progressed to giant, airbourne, golden bursts like nothing seen at the resort for years.

Whilst budgets and local area laws usually restrict displays, for this night – and this night only – Disneyland Resort Paris threw everything it had at the performance – and into the sky. Even when the display ended with Mickey and Minnie wishing the park “Joyeux Anniversaire!” and a final shimmer of fireworks burning out, the party wasn’t over. “Just Like We Dreamed It” kick-started again for a special encore, as close to 50 huge golden shells exploded above the Castle, filling the sky, as smaller bursts of gold shot upwards below.

The characters danced off stage as the music came to a final climax, Mickey and Minnie dancing a celebratory waltz, before another – final – series of fireworks shot into the sky. If the 15th Anniversary is their big chance to finally turn around the background finances of the resort, they’re not taking any chances. Live music, castle illuminations, character shows, decorations, and extraordinary fireworks – Disneyland Resort Paris has a second childhood, and it knows how to party.

And now… the video!

With the ceremony complete, the press departed for their exclusive Red Carpet party, the 15th Anniversary finally here and now, this simply left fans and guests to enjoy the magic of a fifteen-year-old Main Street USA in Paris shimmering with magic more than ever before…

…Before guests finally said goodnight and an early “Joyeux Anniversaire!” to Disneyland Park, overwhelmed and spirits on high that The Year to Live Your Dream had already come true.

Photos by Photos Magiques and DLRP Today, some © Disney.

Sunday, 8th April 2007

(Video) Once upon a dream/nightmare premiere

With the 15th Anniversary Pre-Parade and Andie MacDowell’s launch ceremony moved on, Mickey & friends departed to prepare and the press lined up on their viewing platform, the time had come. The grand premiere of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade was about to begin! The weather was far from a dream – cloudy skies and increasing rainfall – but for the cast, crew and creators of the park’s first new daytime parade in over five years, their dream was about to finally, officially begin.

Music perfectly synchronised, cast giving their best performance and floats littered with fully-working effects and details… the view of the parade travelling down Main Street USA was apparently “perfection”.

Of course, we’ll probably never see the full collection of photos from this premiere – no, cloudy skies are a definite no-no for Disney, especially when they’ve other, sunnier days in the calendar to capture the new parade. The three photos above are the only ones officially released, with the fourth part of a larger set from earlier in the week – noticable since the Dreams of Imagination float is missing key details such as its anchor and stars.

And now, we turn another page…

The music sure was perfect for the press, but at a cost. Since the individual float scores and computerised show stops add up to one of the most complicated and hard-to-align parade soundtracks the park has ever attempted, and – perhaps more importantly – the press’ location between Town Square and the body of Main Street is the bridge between two “sections” of the parade route’s usual audio system, the entire parade used just one single synchronisation. So, whilst Dreams of Imagination pulled into view of the press and they heard the opening announcement, so too did normal guests in Fantasyland, at that moment enjoying Float 7 – Dreams of Adventure.

For anyone North of Town Square, no pre-parade announcement or song was heard, the floats simply trundled into view with their respective soundtracks playing only from the on-float speakers. Then, as the entire sound system cut to join up with Town Square, a silence of around two minutes fell upon the entire cavalcade, before the pre-parade song of “Just Like We Dreamed It” took over the loop.

It wasn’t only guests who rightly appeared confused at the muddled soundtrack – the parade’s cast also had a hard time keeping up with what was going on, such as the Green Army Men (in our video below), who first appear to ask the parade control Cast Member what was happening before giving up on their choreography (timed to the usual Toy Story music from their float) and simply waving to the crowds. With the break for the pre-parade song and announcement over, the float soundtracks finally began again and the parade and its cast could continue as normal.

The video also includes footage of the two show stops around Town Square. Even though music was perfect for the show the press was seeing unfold, it once again caused problems for anyone watching beyond this point, with Dreams of Imagination serenaded by Peter Pan music and Dreams of Fantasy met with dreamy princess music. But, despite this, the parade ended on a high and was met with great response from guests – a relief considering the increasing downpour they had to endure.

Watch out in particular for the fantastic choreography of the Peter Pan show stop, with the flag artists throwing their flags into the air and across the parade route to each other, all the while with Peter and Wendy running from Hook in perfect time to “Just Like We Dreamed It”. Once again, the cast made the once upon a dream.


Blue and yellow volunteers look out for the parade, rain-rain-rain pours down-down-down on the exposed press platform as the resort’s crane camera towers overhead.


Dreams pass by without a problem, all met with great cheers from the volunteers.


Peter Pan and the pirate captain shrug their shoulders as Dreams of Fantasy comes to a halt, improvising with a pirate jig before “Just Like We Dreamed It” begins and they realise it’s a second, unscheduled show stop.


The hot-tempered Dreams of Power luckily decides not to throw a tantrum today (unlike the following day), as the Dreams continue and rain gets heavier.


Tropical rainstorm dampens the dreams.


At least the rain is good for the spring flowers!


The gate closes on the grand premiere and the blue and yellow volunteers traverse Main Street creating another memorable spectacle, in reverse.


Meanwhile, as the floats are dried off and the dancers wrung out like a wet towel, the cleaners are kept more than busy with the debris of the launch ceremony and two streamer-filled show stops on Main Street.

Saturday, 7th April 2007

(Video) Disney Characters’ Express press premiere

“Tous en train! All aboard! The Disney Characters’ Express is coming!”

As the infinitely catchy reworked music from Tokyo Disneyland’s 2001 “Party Express” and Hong Kong Disneyland’s “Rainy Day Parade” started up across Central Plaza and the guest flow Cast Members joined in with clapping and *choo choo* actions, the press looked from side to side nervously. Lined up in black with their oversized press badges (someone in the press department must still be laughing), camera tripods and glamorous female presenters along the hub of Central Plaza facing the castle, they were about to be treated to a special premiere performance of Disney Characters’ Express – that would leave the paying guests out in the cold.

The former Dumbo Casey Jr. float rounded the corner of Main Street, pistons pumping and smoke puffing, before coming to a stop right in front of the eager crowd. The characters and dancers continued dancing to the music long after it stopped, as the camera crews stepped right up to the train for some character close-ups. Whilst at this point the characters would normally climb down and run off to their four Lumière photo locations around the hub as normal Main Street music returned, here they were asked to instead continue dancing to practically no noise.

Soon enough, Miley Cyrus (who rode aboard the first carriage all the way from Town Square) was trailed by a desperate band of photographers – and her hefty American agent/minder, before jumping onto each of the following carriages and continuing to run up onto the Central Plaza stage to dance for the cameras. Meanwhile, television presenters from across Europe assembled to film quick reports to camera…

The presenter from TeleMadrid was notable since she looked to be truly enjoying herself, whilst being particularly taken with Pinocchio… and visa-versa…!

As cameras continued to roll for almost 20 minutes, guests continued to try attracting the attention of their favourite characters – many of which infact seemed far more interested with their public rather than the invited press. The dancers onboard the express also deserve credit for continuing the smile and dance for such a long period.

You can see more of the press breathlessly capturing the magic – including footage of Miley Cyrus and François Leroux – in our exclusive video:

With the extended stop over, guest flow shephered the remaining photographers back onto the hub (those who hadn’t trailed after Miley to the Central Plaza stage) and the Disney Characters’ Express returned all the way back down Main Street for a rest. Though that doesn’t mean its crew stopped performing for the public’s cameras…

Luckily, this wasn’t the last the public saw of the streetmosphere parade/meet’n’greet on the 31st – it returned almost every hour right up until the early evening, always with the proper public meet ‘n’ greets included.

Thursday, 5th April 2007

(Video) Final rehearsals for new entertainment

Video features:

1. Disney Characters’ Express rehearsals

2. Spit ‘n’ Polish for Main Street and First Press Filming

3. Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade final rehearsal clips

Wednesday, 28th March 2007

Disney Characters’ Express exclusive preview!

That’s right, the classic parade song Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm) has not returned for this new morning parade, as was expected by many beforehand. Nor has the popular All Around the World from Disney’s ImagiNations Parade. Not even Just Like We Dreamed It, the new anniversary song…

The music is… new! To Paris, at least – taken from “Disney’s Party Express” at Tokyo Disneyland, a similar parade featuring a steam train filled with characters, the music has been reworked by Vasile Sirli and the Disneyland Resort Paris team with totally new lyrics, including French and several “choo choos” throughout its fast-paced Casey Jr-style tempo. The music begins with a new announcement declaring “Attention! Attention!” “The Disney Character Express is coming!”.

But what of the parade? Casey Jr has been lucky enough to survive the chop after The Wonderful World of Disney Parade‘s demise, and now his 8 month absence from the parade route can really be understood. Sporting a slick and shiny new coat of white, gold and blue paint as seen in the recent concept art, the try-as-he-might steam engine from Dumbo has suddenly found a whole heap of new confidence…

Large 3D “15” plaques adorn each of the carriages and the engine, whilst Casey himself wears a special blue sash that appears to be blowing over his face, adding a frenzied touch of “can he see where he’s going?” to the “express” parade. The coal in his tender has been painted blue, with large silver stars dusted all over.

The most impressive change of all, though, is with the carriages. After almost nine years of knowing the old design, Casey Jr suddenly looks as good as new – better than new. It’s hard to believe they were able to reconfigure the carriages to include the ornate, swirling gold edges and fully-open design (the final wagon of the previous design, remember, was totally enclosed) seen here, especially on the budget the resort has to work with. Elements such as the old Lion Cage can still be spotted, but the final wagon is almost totally new – with its support columns decorated with a spiral white design similar to the wax of the characters’ candles…

The parade featured 13 characters: King Louie, Baloo, Captain Hook, Mr Smee, Goofy, Pinocchio, Gepetto, two mice from Cinderella, Chip n Dale, Woody and Jessie. As you might have noticed, they’ve also tied it all in nicely to the resort’s marketing campaign for the 15th, with each of the Disney characters holding their giant golden candles as seen in all the promotional art.

And now – the video!

The new morning parade will officially premiere on Saturday, steaming up Main Street four times a day for the entire 15th Anniversary celebration. All aboard!

All photos by Photos Magiques. You can see even more right here!

Tuesday, 27th March 2007

Stars & Motor Cars – a second new 15th parade?

These rumours began back in January 2006, suggesting the daytime parade of Florida’s Disney-MGM Studios could be heading to Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris for Summer 2007, exactly five years after its current parade, Disney Cinema Parade, began. Details soon changed, and as the year progressed it seemed more likely the Hollywood cavalcade could arrive in March 2008, to close the 15th Anniversary festivities in glitzy style.

Now, amidst rumours of the Florida park changing its name to Disney-Pixar Studios, Al Lutz on MiceAge.com brings what appears to be a confirmation – that the parade will be replaced in Florida, at least:

“DCA’s Block Party Bash isn’t being mothballed in the parade warehouse however. It will be boxed up and shipped out to Florida next winter where it will debut in the Disney Pixar Studios park for the spring.

“Yep, the Disney/Pixar Studios. Say it again, and then yet again, and learn to love it, because as we mentioned before, that’s the new working title for what used to be known as the Disney MGM Studios theme park. When the Florida version of Midway Mania opens in May, 2008 the plan is to debut Block Party Bash at the same time to clearly cement the Pixar presence in the rebranded theme park.”

Block Party Bash is the interactive show-parade which launched at Disney’s California Adventure park on 5th May 2005 for the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort. Similar to Paris’ 2001 Toon Circus, it stops several times along the parade route for the cast to perform dance numbers and acrobatics. It will be replaced by a new Pixar-themed parade in California in late 2007, shipped to Florida for early 2008… giving Disney Stars & Motor Cars three months to travel to Paris. Convenient, isn’t it?

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade itself is based on the classic Hollywood cavalcades of glamorous stars in extravagant motor cars, with each car themed in a colourful, over-the-top style to the characters on board. It was launched in 2001 at Walt Disney World, as part of their “100 Years of Magic” celebration. In 2004, 2005 and 2006, the concept was used for Paris’ Good Morning Walt Disney Studios, even using a mix of the same music, and it is perhaps the huge success of this morning parade which created the desire for the inspiration behind it to come to Paris. Interestingly, Good Morning Walt Disney Studios currently appears not to be returning for 2007.

There has been no indication yet how the parade could be performed in Paris – will it replace Disney Cinema Parade, or be performed as a second parade, perhaps in the morning again? With Disney Cinema Parade facing its 5th birthday in June, the park seems ready for a change, and such a Hollywood-style cavalcade could be a perfect topping to the just-completed Tower of Terror and Hollywood Boulevard. Ironically, this would mean that just as Disney-MGM loses its Hollywood-that-never-was to a Pixar invasion, Walt Disney Studios enjoys a total Hollywood extravaganza. With Stitch Encounter also in the mix, this would give a new parade and 2 new attractions for two consecutive years.

So watch this space – in exactly 12 months’ time, the red carpet looks almost certain to be rolling out again, as a spotlight shines on a totally different dream…

You can see a full gallery of photos from what could be the second new parade of the 15th Anniversary on Photos Magiques here.

Monday, 26th March 2007

Grand farewell for the Wonderful World

Performed as Disney Princess Parade since July 2006 (and for a spell in 2003 and 2004), the parade began way back on 30th March 1998 as the centrepiece of the resort’s “Year of Disney Classics”. These were the days of Tinkerbell’s Fantasy in the Sky, Disney Classics: The Music and the Magic and Pocahontas: le Spectacle, to name but a few. It was the year after the 5th Anniversary’s “Year to Be Here”, and the park desperately needed a new sensation to sustain the crowds. Luckily, they succeeded.

Drawing floats from the popular Disney Classics Parade of 1992-1998 and several mini-parades created for the release of Walt Disney films in the 90s, the parade added 5 new floats, a giant cast of dancers, interactive show stops and one final special ingredient… A Catchy Rhythm. The rest, as they say, is history. The Wonderful World of Disney Parade became a Disneyland icon, the quintessential mix of everything which makes a Disney parade so wonderful. And, although it faced many changes along the way, its spirit was never lost due to its undying popularity with the public.

And so, the final farewell performance of a real Disney classic. With no “Farewell Season” in the style of Main Street Electrical Parade, it all came down to Friday’s big goodbye to see the show off in style. For one day only, every parade Cast Member available joined the parade filling any role possible – the cast was so large and so spectacular that even the long-gone sailor dance unit returned in front of the parade’s most memorable original float, Steamboat Willie. As a tribute to the floats of the past, characters were also present from all the films of 1998’s “Disney timeline”, including Pinocchio, The Jungle Book and Hercules.

Photos by disneylandresortparis at PBase. More here.

Once the parade reached its end at Town Square, the entire special cast of over 110 performers created a jubilant and unforgettable atmosphere as they waited for the final float – none other than Steamboat Willie, before waving goodbye and allowing the doors to close on the parade for one final time. Of course, this isn’t the first time the parade has been waved goodbye – it first ended in late 1999 to make way for the millennium’s Disney’s ImagiNations Parade. Such was the popularity of the Wonderful World, however, ImagiNations could last little more than a year on the parade route. Could the same happen once again? It’d be very, very unlikely. The parade has unfortunately, truly, finally… ended.

But, as we move ahead to a new, exciting age in the history of Disneyland Resort Paris and welcome the launch of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, it’s obvious already that the parade will never truly be gone. Both for its catchy rhythm and trademark groups of energetic dancers, the Wonderful World will always be here as a wonderful memory.

To all those Cast Members who danced a catchy rhythm day after day for all these years – congratulations, and thank you. We were always guaranteed a Disney kinda’ day when we saw your smiling faces, as you passed along the way…

For more from the parade, visit our Grand Farewell guide. Discover a photo tour of the 17 floats which played a part in its life, along with the music, history and making of the Wonderful World.

Saturday, 24th March 2007

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream is HERE!

And now, the very first photos of the brand new parade! Don’t worry if you’re visiting next weekend – we won’t post any here until the official premiere! But, for your first sneak peak, check out the new gallery at Photos Magiques:

http://www.photosmagiques.com/gallery/once_upon_a_dream

Thursday, 15th March 2007

St Patrick’s Day 2007 programme

Irish music and dancing plus a special fireworks show are all on the programme for this Saturday, with the Disney VIPs dusting off their emerald green costumes from last year to once again give a special Disney touch to the precedings. Whilst 2006 saw a special stage erected at the front of Central Plaza, the events this year take place mainly around the now-Winnie the Pooh-less refurbished Royal Castle Stage.

St Patrick’s Day
17th March 2007

Irish Parade
Parade Route – 15h30
The pre-parade of the Princess Parade goes green for a very special Irish day! Mickey will be there, and Minnie too! They’ve dressed for the occasion and so have their pals, to dance along to traditional Irish music.

The Pride of Murray Pipe Band
Royal Castle Stage – 12h40, 13h40, 17h40, 18h40

The Lee-Byrne Academy Dancers with Chip n Dale
Royal Castle Stage – 12h, 13h, 17h, 18h
A group of highly-skilled Irish dancers will astound you with their intricate and co-ordinated choreography. Even Chip n Dale will dance for you!

Free Face Painting All Day
Strolling near Royal Castle Stage – 10h to 18h

Fireworks
Over Sleeping Beauty Castle – 21h55

The addition of St Patrick’s Day to the resort’s list of seasonal events was an important step in a new direction, with the park now celebrating popular European national holidays rather than creating new events such as the Kids Carnival. The endless success of New Year’s Eve and Bastille Day (14 Juillet), when guests decide to visit Disneyland to celebrate these special days, brought up the possiblity of commemorating other large events, with the hope that guests from across Europe will soon see the park as a great place to visit for these holidays.

Just two weeks ago, the St David’s Welsh Festival was promoted to Disneyland Park after a quiet Disney Village launch in 2006, this year with a special pre-parade and themed costumes for the Fab 5, similar to the Irish events of this weekend.

Both highlighting the resort’s feel as a hub of Europe and attracting thousands of extra visitors from across the continent’s varied countries, these profitable and unique new events look set to become a major part of the annual calendar.

You can see photos from last year’s events here, or a video of the fireworks here.

Thursday, 1st March 2007

More ‘Once Upon a Dream’ making-of

The new parade is once again introduced by the now-familiar face of François Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment at the resort, before we get to see a couple more of the people “behind the Dream” as they proudly present their work.

Below, an artist proudly holds up the full concept art for the Dreams of Fantasy float, showing the extra pirate flag artists and “Jolly Holiday” penguins which, as with the extra performers for every float, were removed from the concept art shown at the recent Shareholders’ AGM. Beyond the large concept art, the tower of Big Ben can be spotted, part of the float’s concept model, whilst the huge drawing board features plans for the float design. Surrounding the artist’s area are stills and artwork from Peter Pan, showing the level of detail and accuracy the designers are striving for in their representations of these classic films.

When designing a parade, much moreso than when designing a theatre show, the directors must work in 3D to ensure the scene works with the perspective of the floats to their audience. A key part of the process, seen previously with The Wonderful World of Disney Parade and Disney Cinema Parade, is therefore to create scale models or maquettes of the floats. The next image above shows a sculpter at work on the maquette for Dreams of Laughter and Fun, in particular the giant Alice stuck inside a thatched cottage.

Next, a close-up on a finished maquette for Dreams of Friendship. Lead by the Toy Story characters in a familiar Andy’s Room environment, the first section of the float features many of the key characters from the first film along with Bullseye from the sequal. Unlike the other floats, the two scenes here are clearly divided, with a page of the storybook also providing a backdrop to the scene.

For the first time, Winnie the Pooh will get his own parade float – albeit shared. The scene – a tea party in the Hundred Acre Wood – is remarkably similar to the former set of his “Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too” show, during its time at Royal Castle Stage between 1998 and 2005. Pooh’s oak tree home is featured, with colourful lanterns surrounding the wooded grove.

The next image below is definitely worth a click, both for its revealing look at the design of Dreams of Power and its highlighting of the intricacy and artistry involving in crafting the floats. The designer’s drawing boared is filled with a huge diagram of the float’s exact final design, whilst the maquette itself gives us a clearer look at the villain-infested float after the promising concept art seen last weekend.

Finally, a split-second close-up is given of a full coloured maquette, showing Ursula at the back of the float. It isn’t clear yet which of these larger characters will move, or how they will be controlled. Characters such as Pumbaa, for example, could be controlled from inside the float using a puppetry system similar to that used at The Legend Of The Lion King or even California’s Parade of Dreams.

Given the similarities in the style of this parade to California’s 50th anniversary debuted parade, character puppetry could well be added to the line-up of performers giving life to the floats. The list already features stilt walkers, dancers, jugglers, flag artists, bungee acrobats… and elephants! (Taken from Katy Harris’ previous project, the Kids Carnival).

Poppy The Monkey confirmed on MagicForum last week that rehearsals have now begun, taking place at night after Disneyland Park closes its gates. These will continue most nights up until the “soft-opening” premiere on 31st March.

From rumours, to sketches, to maquettes, to construction, to rehearsals – the time and effort required to create a new daytime Disney parade is unsurpassed by anyone else. And now we’re less than 30 days away from the final step… seeing it for real !

Concepts and video stills © Disney, published by arn0 on his blog.

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