Saturday, 24th February 2007

Candles, characters, decorations… and letters?

Candlabration / Bougillumination

In true Disney fashion, every element of this vast celebration gets its own piece of concept art. First, Candlabration – the evening ceremony show which will see Mickey and friends light up the fifteen candles on the castle in a twilight show similar to the hugely popular Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony of Disney’s Christmas Season. The concept art confirms that the Christmas stage will stay, but shows it with a beautiful, golden overlay and “15” emblems in place of the current “Once upon a time” motif.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale are all present, wearing pastel and royal blue outfits which might be more than a little familiar to anyone who follows the US resorts. These “Year of a Million Dreams” costumes are due to be carried over to Paris for both this show and for general meet ‘n’ greets.

In Walt Disney World’s “Dream Along With Mickey” show (video here), the characters even have “articulated” talking heads, a concept which was premiered back in 2004 with Timon in our very own The Legend Of The Lion King. Since the costumes are the same and the show is featured in a similar location, we have to ask – will our Fab 7 be talking for the 15th?

Even if they don’t, it certainly looks like they’ll be providing us with some music. Take a look at what they’re all holding – each character has their own musical instrument!

Finally, the candles themselves also present a question – just how bright will they be? Both here and in the new TV spot they’re shown as bright, shining beacons of light, rather than the small flickering flames we might have expected.

Lumière Banners

With the park located in Paris and much of the focus being on those candles, it seems almost too good to be true that Disney have the perfect showman and mascot for the celebrations – Lumière! And if his golden statue right at the centre of the Castle wasn’t enough of an ego boost, he’s soon to appear on brand new banners lining Main Street.

Recent visitors to the park will likely have wondered why the Enchanted Fairytale Illuminations “Chandeliers” are still in place – and here’s your answer! Come 1st April, though, they’ll be barely recognisable. The chandelier crown itself will be completely removed and replaced with a golden cap and horizontal frame for the banner, whilst other gold elements will be painted onto other sections of the giant, ornate lampposts.


Whilst it hasn’t been confirmed if the poles themselves will still be able to illuminate, it has been mentioned that the banners will be lit in some way by modern LED lights. Two of the banners were on display at the shareholders meeting, and perhaps give a typically “Disney” solution – LED lights fitted inside the banners themselves, lighting up the bright white dots peppered across the design? We’ll have to wait and see…

D-i-s-n-e-y-l-a-n-d Letters

And finally… something no-one could have expected. After the Pumpkinmen and Pink Witches, the entertainment teams of Disneyland Resort Paris have been off designing their own park characters again. This time, you’ll be able to meet one of the ten letters spelling out “Disneyland”. No, honestly!

It doesn’t seem to be confirmed yet whether these will be statues, walk-around characters or maybe even giant puppets (like those at WDW’s Finding Nemo The Musical), but an early name being given to them is “Alpha Bet You Are”.

There hasn’t even been confirmation if all ten will appear at once, so perhaps we’ll have to hunt them down, throughout the park? It could be massive for autograph book sales, with ten separate single-letter autographs to collect… Or am I the one getting carried away now?

Concept art © Disney, captured by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum.
Additional photos by Joel.

Thursday, 22nd February 2007

Just Like You Dreamed It?

“Come a little closer… Turn another page… In the story of what’s waiting for you…”

The typically “Disney” lyrics couldn’t be more appropriate. Singing of their dreams coming true “as far as the eye can see” and “as good as good can be”, the two lead vocalists of the new song, “Just Like We Dreamed It”, could be speaking the words of any fan or guest at this truly incredible time in the life of Disneyland Resort Paris.

Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting were treated to a remarkable preview performance of the song lasting just over five minutes, as Disney characters and glittering Disney princesses made their way to the stage in their dazzling costumes created exclusively for the new parade. Member Scrooge on Disney Magic Interactive forum captured the moment on camera (below), with Entertainment Vice President François Leroux (seen just days ago on the backstage preview video of official anniversary website Disneyland15.com) presenting an on-stage preview of the music and costumes of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.

All of the costumes are brand new and unique to Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. The characters wear shimmering, silky costumes in vibrant rainbow colours, joined together with a beautiful theme of white and gold throughout. Up front is the Mouse himself, wearing a stunning purple, white and gold suit with a big top hat, whilst the other side of François is Minnie in a bright pink dress and golden shoes. Behind them, Chip and Dale wear green hats and bow ties with white detailing, whilst Goofy wears a snazzy orange tailor suit as seen in the parade’s key visual. As always, Donald is just left out of the fun – to the far left of the photo – though his bright sailor blue costume can clearly be seen.

And, whilst we’ve already seen two of the beautiful Princess dresses to be worn exclusively in the parade, their appearance at the event allowed a sneaky glimpse at the others – including Cinderella, who can also be seen in the photo. Her pastel blue dress continues the theme of golden leaves and flowers seen in the earlier dresses.

The new song itself will be used both as the opening to the parade and as the “parade stop” music, when the parade comes to a halt to allow the characters to interact with their audience. The version used for this presentation also features a short prologue medley of classic Disney music, suggesting, perhaps, that this could be the version which opens the parade, since a voiceover introduction could easily be overlayed. Some have likened it to the music of Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams already, which also features a slower beginning before the main pop song “Welcome” begins – and, just like our new parade, the music then shifts into classical Disney music, before the song returns for the parade stops.

For anyone desperately dreaming of hearing it for themselves, you’ll be glad to know the presentation was recorded and uploaded in mp3 by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum. And, since many people are having trouble with the temporary fileshare site, we’re going to host it here for a brief time:

Temporary download no longer available!
Want to hear the music? Get to Disneyland Park from 31st March 2007!

Make sure you’re absolutely sure you want to hear it before you download, this is obviously quite a large spoiler for the upcoming parade! If you decide to wait, then you can always just look at the Lyrics instead, which have just been added to our Disneyland Resort Paris CD Archive already.

And if you can still resist that temptation, then you know where you have to be – Disneyland Park, Paris, from 31st March 2007!

Characters photo by Kyoto; Audio recording by Mouetto, Music © Disney.

This is the 200th news article on DLRP Today! Thank you to all those who continue to visit each day, the project has been more successful than I could have ever dreamed! And with the anniversary now just over a month away, there’s still plenty more magic still to come.

Tuesday, 20th February 2007

Backstage Imagination and Wonderland

If you’d like to see the video in motion, simply click onto www.disneyland15.com and follow the link from “15th Anniversary” on the drop-down menu. Many of these shots are shown for less than a second, though, so unless you’re living in slow motion it might take a few viewings to take it all in!

The video is hosted by four very influential backstage Cast Members of Disneyland Resort Paris, each seen spinning around in one of Disneyland Park’s lands whilst they describe the events and the power of dreams. Kat de Blois, Creative and Artistic Director, begins the commentary, followed by Roland Kleve, Director of Operations Integration (most importantly the introduction of the new attractions). Next is François Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment, before WDI-Paris chief and head of Show Quality Standard Peter McGrath joins to describe the new attractions.

In just a few seconds, we’re treated to quick shots and close-ups of two elements from Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade – the moon from the first float, “Imagination”, and a giant Alice in Wonderland stuck inside a house, just part of float two, “Dream of Fun & Laughter”. The very first shot quickly shows a concept model for the first float, before the camera pans upwards to show the fully realised moon from the original design.

Whilst the moon appears to already be on its final base (a giant, open storybook), the house from Alice in Wonderland (with her legs sticking out) will form just half of the final float, with a second section starring Pinocchio (and several bungee artists similar to the Pinnochio float in California’s Parade of Dreams) to be slotted in behind on the final base.

Before now, we’ve only seen small silhouttes of the parade line-up and full concepts for just two of the floats, so to finally see such large elements becoming a reality certainly helps make this “Once Upon a Dream” seem far more real.

Monday, 29th January 2007

Turtles, Cars and two fabulous dresses

We begin with Imagineer Beth Clapperton, who poses next to one the turtle shell ride vehicles from Crush’s Coaster in Toon Studio, holding plans to the entire track layout. The turtle shell follows all the usual standards of a Maurer Söhne Xtended SC-2000 car, with four seats back-to-back in rows of two. However, the car has also been extensively customised by the Disney Imagineers, extending the front and sides to perfectly resemble a turtle shell, with an incredible level of detail compared to other Disney ride vehicles.

The photo appears to have been taken on the break-run of the attraction’s “coaster” section, likely sometime in mid-2006 since the building does not appear to be fully enclosed. It also seems restraints and seat backs had yet to be fitted to the first vehicle at this point.

Next up, we move across to Cars Race Rally and into the backstage workshops of Walt Disney Imagineering, where a life-size Luigi is being crafted by hand for the upcoming attraction. Also sporting an exceptional level of detail, Luigi is due to appear at the Casa Della Tires photo location near the attraction’s entrance (see the map here), similar to the Mike Wazowski and CDA figures at the Monsters Inc Scream Scene location.

As you can see from the photo, it luckily seems that the resort have been given the rights to use the badge of this 1959 Fiat 500 on the real-life reproduction itself. Guido, Luigi’s forklift sidekick, is also expected to appear at the finished attraction, marking the first time these characters have been created in life-size 3D form.

Finally, the series of photos take us into the colourful Costuming Workshop at the ImagiNations building, backstage at Walt Disney Studios, for a glimpse at two stunning new dresses created exclusively for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. The dresses featured are Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, and the “one that started it all”, Snow White.

Along with rich, glistening fabrics and remarkable attention to detail, the dresses have been peppered with beautiful gold-laced leaves, petals and flowers (roses for Belle), allowing them to match perfectly with the garden-themed “Dreams of Romance” finale float where they will be featured. This is the first time such a high level of customisation has been used to allow the dresses to match their floats.

Sumptuous dresses, detailed props and “turtally” unique ride vehicles, all oozing Disney quality… as if the 15th Anniversary wasn’t an exciting enough prospect already!

All photos © Disney, courtesy of WDSfans.com and PhotosMagiques.com!

Friday, 26th January 2007

High School Musical to bop into the Studios

The introduction of a High School Musical streetmosphere show has been rumoured for several weeks, and now confirmation has been given. The show will run from 16th June to 26th August 2007, adding yet another new addition to the hefty lineup of events for the 15th Anniversary year.

It will likely be based on the “High School Musical Pep Rally” shows from Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, the latter of which just moved to Disney-MGM Studios itself after a brief spell at the Magic Kingdom. The shows feature most of the songs from the hit TV movie weaved into a storyline which sees the performers rallying support for the stars of the movie with all the cheerleading and basketball stereotypes of an American High School. If the show is to be performed at the same location as Starring Cruella De Vil, it will be featured directly opposite the Disney Channel studios themselves.

Rumours suggest that the three trailer sets of Starring Cruella De Vil could even be reused for the new show, with the decors replaced. Many will be sad not to see the previous show return, which built up a surprising fan base over its two Summer seasons thanks mainly to the exceptional performances of Cruella herself. You can still find a full guide to old show here, or a video by Photos Magiques here.

As for High School Musical, LaughingPlace.com has a photo guide to the Disney’s California Adventure version, which could give us some idea of what to expect from this all-American high school show.

News from WDSfans.com; Lead photo by LaughingPlace.com

Sunday, 7th January 2007

The Nighttime Christmas Parade – with special guests

Whilst the large lighting rigs along the parade route illumated the procession, several extra lights were added to the classic floats to light up the characters and their decor. Previously, a nighttime version of The Christmas Parade such as this could only be seen on New Year’s Eve, when entertainment times were shifted to compensate for the park’s late 1am closure.

Photos captured 30th December 2006.

The Christmas Parade enjoyed its final performance of the 2006/07 season earlier today, and it remains to be seen whether it will return again in November. With Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade scheduled to run the entire year, either a hushed Christmas makeover will take place, The Christmas Parade will return, or there will be no main Christmas parade.

Whatever happens, enjoy the nighttime Christmas Parade, truly at its best, with two special guests…


The Nighttime Christmas Parade
Uploaded by dlrp-magic

Thursday, 4th January 2007

Katy Harris: Once Upon a Dream director

Katy Harris began her career at Disneyland Resort Paris in 1993, performing in the Beauty and the Beast show at Videopolis Theatre. After then performing in every production at the park, she became an assistant show director and produced various spectacles for small events and business conferences.

In 2001, she became a full show director, and has a good list of credits to her name. Choreographer with Craig Revel Horwood (as seen on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing) on The Legend Of The Lion King, she then conceived and directed the Kids Carnival as well as adapting Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too for the Fantasy Festival Stage. Tasked with conceiving a new Disneyland Park parade for the 15th Anniversary, she eventually presented the parade to Jay Rasulo (head of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts) in America and got the greenlight for the project in January 2006.

Series: Backstage at the park (3/5)

A choreographer for the new parade

To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, the park’s teams at Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) are assembling themselves ready. This is the next in our series on those who, in the shadows, are preparing the festivities, due to begin 1st April.

You would imagine it like the light-footed style of a dancer, but Katy Harris, choreographer and director at Disney, arrives burdened with stress and pressure. Because this 38-year old English woman, previously director of the Kids Carnival, has accepted a hefty task: to conceive and direct the first strictly French parade, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, which will be performed each day at the park. She brings together seven dreams: imagination, laughter, friendship, fantasy, power, adventure and romance, played out by the characters of Disney.

“I had lots of pieces of paper with all the most important characters, the films – a true puzzle!” remembers Katy. “Once the choices had been made, we very quickly got the green light from the Americans. Lucky, since one year is very short to create the costumes, lights, music, etc.”

Thirteen Years at Disney

Today, the workshops, mainly situated at Montreuil (Seine-Saint Denis), are putting the finishing touches to the floats. The music has been recorded. The rehearsals are about to begin. “The team comprises 105 performers. For each role, we need four people, to allow for days off. That means creating enough costumes and in every size.” It’s for the this reason mainly, that the physical criterias were established. The princess flowers, who wear dresses covered in yellow and green petals, measure around about the same height. “If not, we could never do it, and it’s also important for harmony with the choreography.”

Educated as a dancer at British theatre schools, Katy Harris has resided at Disney for over 13 years. “In a parade just as much as a musical theatre show, the direction is just as important as the choreography, since the presentation to the spectator is very short, never more than 2 minutes, and the scene continues to move. To create emotion, it’s a lot of hard work.”

Tomorrow’s column will feature Roland Kleve, head of future attraction construction.

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today

Article scan thanks to Julien-Fantillusion, Disney Central Plaza forum.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2007

New Year’s Eve 2006/07

Despite attendance counts slightly lower than previous years, mostly due to the weather, some exaggerated wait times could still be seen across the park. Whilst Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast stuck on 80 minutes all day, on the other side of Discoveryland it seemed to be time for Star Tours to enjoy a newfound popularity, as the entire first section of the outside queue filled with eager guests.

Restaurants appeared to cope with the attendance well, with extra Cast Members positioned at most to inform guests before they queued if seats are available and to then seat guests with food, ensuring every table was full.

At 9.30pm, the DJ Party on Central Plaza kicked off with lively disco and pop music, as the lights of the castle and Main Street illuminations “danced” to the beat of the songs. The rain began to pour even heavier at 10pm, but subsided as midnight drew near, leaving just the strong winds to fight with the upcoming fireworks.

Around 25 minutes before midnight, a single firework was launched from the right of the castle, testing the effect of the strong winds. Unfortunately, with wind speeds still too high, the decision was made to cut all ground-based fireworks on the right of the castle from the show, since their shells were blown far too quickly towards Discoveryland. Credit to those involved, however, for still being able to present such a large show in such poor weather conditions.

The music used for the show was carried over from 2005 – “New World” by Toby Mac from “Music Inspired by The Chonicles of Narnia” album. Though a strange choice for such an event (the classical style of the previous Treasure Planet show seemed infinitely more fitting), the countdown beforehand, choreographed to the Illuminations, was perfectly timed and the crowds cheered and applauded after the show before continuing to dance their way into the New Year of 2007.

Watch an exclusive video of the event:

Video will return soon.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2007

Steve Sidwell to orchestrate the Dream

Now we have a name, what’s the next step? Google it, of course! In an instant we have www.stevesidwell.com, which not only reveals his good portfolio of past credits but adds an extra bit of information about the parade, that it is the “Disneyland Paris Parade for 2007-2010” – confirming the parade will run beyond the anniversary year… though perhaps not for as long as previous productions.

And back to the generously-sized article in Le Parisien, what details can be pulled from the text? The music will be performed by the 100-strong Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, and will be a “little bit jazzy” in its style. Estelle Champeau, longtime Cast Member at the resort’s recording studio, is even quoted in the article as saying the music team enjoyed Steve’s work for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, and overall it seems the same flambouyant, modernised style will be applied to the classic Disney anthems for the upcoming parade…

Disneyland Paris: 15 Years in 2007!
Anniversary. To celebrate the opening of the park fifteen years ago, Disney is putting the final touches to festivities that will span the whole of 2007 at Marne-la-Vallée. Including: the creation of a new parade, three brand new attractions and the arrival of TGV Est. This week, our column goes in discovery of those behind Disney. First, musician Steve Sidwell.

Series: Backstage at the park (1/5)

Disneyland Paris prepares its 15th Anniversary

The countdown begins. In three months, the 1st April 2007, a rain of stars will fall on Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) as Disneyland Paris celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. To commemorate the event, the teams at Disney are concocting wonderful surprises: Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, a new decoration of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, two brand new attractions, namely Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, and finally, late 2007 or early 2008, the long-awaited opening of the iconic Tower of Terror…

Being previewed this week, through profiles of those who have created the new additions, our column reveals the details and specifics of the year-long celebration which will capture the attention of the largest number of visitors ever seen from across Europe. Today, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade takes the spotlight. For the first time, the musical parade has been designed entirely by teams in France itself. Each afternoon, at around 4pm, eight extravagant floats will make their way along the grand avenues of Disneyland towards Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. Six have already been built, and will soon arrive at the workshops of Disney to be equipped with motors and decor. Then it remains for dancers and characters to learn the choreography, set to the music specially arranged by Steve Sidwell.

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today

The Musician to make the parade’s music

At 45 years old, Steve Sidwell can boast of having worked with Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, Sting and Elton John, or even of having contributed to the soundtrack of the film “Moulin Rouge”. For its fifteenth anniversary, Disneyland Paris undoubtedly wanted a “size” to the music, whilst still giving a touch of youth to the parade. The mission of this Englishman: to compose the music of the various intruments for each section which will accompany the floats as they pass, carrying the “heros” of the enchanted world of Disney.

“A slightly jazzy style”

“The daytime parade is the highpoint of a day at the park, and its musical accompanyment is essential,” assures the father of a family, who has left London for several days to visit the recording studio of Disneyland Paris. “I love this magical place, and more than anything the level of excellent with which it is associated,” he continues. “I’ve had the chance to experience it before, working on the sequal to 101 Dalmatians and on Finding Nemo.”

Steve Sidwell presents a commerical smile without hesitation at the press photo sessions. He claims to like “everything” about Disney, regularly taking his two 10 and 11-year old children to the parks in France and the US, and admits to having a soft spot for Tigger, the gentle tiger from Winnie the Pooh. With his most classical education at the Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music, added to an upbringing of pop and jazz, he is a sure talent and a perfect student for Disney, who didn’t hesistate long before settling on him. “We are fans of his style – jazzy, classical and brilliantly modern at the same time, all that made Moulin Rouge such a success” explains Estelle (Champeau), who works in the recording studio.

Evidently, the “legendary” melodies of “Peter Pan”, “Mary Poppins” and “Cinderella” played as the floats pass will still be in place. But they will not be engraved in stone, it will be Steve Sidwell’s job to give them his personal touch, his tempo. Over eight days, baton in hand, he will perform as chief orchestrator during the recording of the new composition by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London – a big band, some soloists, and not forgetting… an accordion player. Because Steve Sidwell, with his very British style, hasn’t forgotten that the anniversary will take place in Paris

Article: Marie Linton, Translation: DLRP Today

Article scans by wency77 on Disney Cental Plaza forum.

Thursday, 28th December 2006

Merlin l’Enchanteur breaks the spell

Beginning on 23rd December, as the park switched to its high-season operating schedule, the new show remains entirely faithful to the 1992-2001 original, presented in the Castle Courtyard around the mythical Sword in the Stone itself.

Merlin the wizard arrives in the courtyard and tells the tale of the sword, before one-by-one children from the gathered audience step up to try their power pulling the sword from its stone. After several failed attempts, Merlin will finally inevitably find the right child, who will pull the sword (at least part of the way) from its resting place and take the crown. The child then gets to wear the royal robe and their coronation is duly celebrated. As the show comes to an end, the lucky child will receive a certificate proclaiming their victorious triumph.

Fans and guests appear more than pleased that the streetmosphere show has finally made a return to the park, with the performance of Merlin himself noted as particularly good by members of Disney Central Plaza forum. Returning such a sorely missed show to the park is certainly the crowning acheivement of a year of refurbishments, additions and renewed magic across the resort.

The show is currently being performed every day (except 24th-27th Dec) at 11h00, 12h00, 13h00, 15h30 and 16h30. According to reports it is only scheduled to run until the end of 2006, though its return surely gives hope for a fullscale Merlin revival during the 15th Anniversary next year.

All photos by Characters_dlrp. You can see more here.

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