Wednesday, 11th November 2009

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey’s Christmas invite list

Press events at Disneyland Paris are usually frequented only by those famous exclusively in France, so it was a surprise to see actual real American Shannen Doherty make an appearance at the Christmas launch events on Saturday.

Judging by the amount of photos released featuring the actress, of Beverley Hills 90210 and more recently just 90210 fame, Mickey and Minnie were pleased to see someone they just about recognised, too…

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Shannen was even special guest at the first Tree Lighting Ceremony on Town Square.

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

But it wasn’t all about the Charmed actress. Also in attendance were Virginie Ledoyen, Sliimy, Marie Gillain, Bob Sinclar, Hafsia Herzi, Frédérique Bel, Christophe Barratier, Laurence Ferrari, Claire Barsacq, Bruce Toussaint, Alessandra Sublet, Sandrine Quétier, Nikos Aliagas, Frederic Taddei, Fanny Valette and the Chef Thierry Marx.

You know, her…

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

And him…

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

And that guy…

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

And for the Brits reading: Former glamour model Melinda Messenger, who currently presents the frighteningly bad Live from Studio Five.

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

We’ll probably never find out what happened during the actual nighttime press party, such is the astonishing lack of publicity these schmooze-fests traditionally generate. However, from these pictures we can at least garner that there was a large mannequin Father Christmas locked inside a giant snowglobe.

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

However, costumes and characters from the park’s two parades were used in the following three pictures, which are very pretty indeed:

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Note the clever covering-up of the Mickey’s Magical Party decoration on the Castle. We’re not the only ones who’ve tried to do that this year, then.

Back to the celebrities, French DJ and house music producer David Guetta has been featured amongst the Christmas photos, but apparently actually visited earlier in the week, seen here riding Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast with his wife, Cathy:

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Anyway, from celebs to zelebs, we all know who the real stars are…

Shannen Doherty tops Mickey's celebrity Christmas list

Very cute. That’s their Christmas card sorted!

Pictures © Disney.

Tuesday, 10th November 2009

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Unless you’re about to visit the resort and pick up some of these for real (for €7 at any of the parks’ Christmas market villages), you’ll have to make do with some photos.

And, since you’ll likely just be drooling and/or ordering a larger pair of jeans whilst feasting your eyes on these, we’ll let the pictures — and Thierry Marx — do the talking…

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

His presentation on Main Street explained the concept and the manufacturing process to the press, but where did it all begin? With a little inspiration — from the tried and true sweet traditions already at Disneyland Park

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Then, it was into the kitchen!

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

What attracted you to this new project?

Thierry Marx: “Those childhood memories, that have resurfaced in me, with much pleasure and wonder. For me, arriving at Disneyland Paris, it’s held completely in its own space and time. It’s a break from the daily grind, a real journey for the senses, without any interruption. Anything is possible, everyone can descend into their thoughts and dreams, something very precious.”

Is Disneyland a different world for you?

Thierry Marx: “On the contrary, this experience matched my philosophy. Like Disney, I do not like seeing conflict between tradition and innovation. The establishment can continue to do things. The pleasure of my work lies in the possibility of being at the forefront of innovation, while preserving the French culinary heritage.”

What most inspired you in the world of Disneyland Paris?

Thierry Marx: “The magic, the indulgent pleasure of just enjoying being together in a different world. I’ve always remembered the opening day of Disneyland Paris well. It represents for me the perfect place to recharge your inner childhood batteries. All the worlds intersect… Space Mountain in Discoveryland makes me dream of what I read in the stories of Jules Verne but Disneyland is also fairy tales, Mickey and your earliest childhood.”

How is this experience a reflection of your gastronomic practice?

Thierry Marx: “I want to make the dream. Everyone can share a real culinary experience with this outdoor vending “street food”, even if it is not obvious today. There is a real chance to share in dreams from the kitchen and instigate interaction between people. Best of all: it’s an international principle, there’s no language barrier.”

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Towards the end, Mickey Mouse showed up in his full chefs’ gear, taking all the glory with the final dipping and dusting-off of the finished foods.

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Thierry Marx whips up first batch of sweet treats

Job done!

Pictures © Disney.

Monday, 9th November 2009

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

For the first time since 2002, the Christmas Tree is given its very own illumination ceremony. As reported previously it’s a similar format to the classic shows, as Mickey Mouse lights up the giant tree with the help of a young child from the audience.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

Forming the stage, a parade float you’ll certainly recognise — it’s the same one which served the event back in the early years of this decade, and has since returned every Halloween and Christmas in a variety of temporary seasonal guises.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

It’s not an entirely nostalgic show, though. The music isn’t the wonderful old soundtrack but the newer illumination music previously (and in fact, still) used for the shows on Central Plaza. And as its director Christophe Leclercq explains, the story behind the show is also different.

When the parade float pulls into Town Square and stops in front of the tree, the much larger group of characters dance to a medley of songs before the show’s live host, in French and English, explains that the tree can only be illuminated by opening the magic book in front of them — which itself can only be opened by the hands of a child.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

With the chosen child on the podium, the book opens in a sparkling glitter-ball effect, throwing beads of light all around Town Square as the tree gradually lights up.

With the final blast of the music, the Princess Chandeliers lining Main Street illuminate all at once, leading guests towards the yet-to-be-lit Castle at the end.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

That event has now been slotted into the final performance of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, which, taking place in full darkness, has been tweaked with new, warmer costumes for the dancers and a series of new projections and lighting effects on and around the Castle.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

Notice the musical notes for Baloo, and the yellow animal patterns for Timon.

After Peter Pan’s final game and before the last “Mickey Dance”, the Castle is quickly illuminated to the same “Lumina” music of recent years — practically the same music just heard earlier during the Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

Then, before you’ve chance to gasp in wonder or soak up the atmosphere, — boom! — it’s back to the party. And “La Mickey Danse” continues on…

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

But never mind, Sleeping Beauty Castle lit for Christmas is still a sight to behold — once that damn dance remix of “Mickey’s Magical Party Time” has faded out, at least.

The Princesses are nowhere to be seen, remembering that even the past two years they were featured heavily in the Enchanted Candleabration illuminations show. Perhaps this provoked the pushing of Snow White’s new “happening” as a Christmas season event, because if they’re still going for a “Fairytale Christmas” (and judging by all the press releases, they are), keeping the disco Party Time finale so intact makes it all feel slightly off the mark.

UPDATE 10/11/2009 — Disneyland Paris released a few extra photos yesterday after this article was published. Taken during Saturday’s press events (note the empty park and hundreds of press badges), they feature the view up toward the Castle as snow blows across the rooftops of Main Street:

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

The same view in the opposite direction, towards the Christmas Tree:

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

And a wonderful view over the whole of Town Square, showing the set-up of the returning Tree Lighting Ceremony, with the float/stage parked in front of the tree for the ceremony.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Palace in pictures

• Read the full interview with Christophe Leclercq, director of the season, here!

Pictures © Disney.

Sunday, 8th November 2009

Snow White gives Castle Stage kiss of life

Here are the very first photos of the show we originally reported in August, showing the modestly-decorated stage populated by stage characters for the first time in, oooh, five years? It’s great to have it back…

First photos of new Snow White Castle Stage event

It’s also rare to see all seven dwarfs together in Paris, and they’ve been given wheelbarrows filled with colourful diamonds for the musical numbers on Le Théâtre du Château.

First photos of new Snow White Castle Stage event

Eventually, Snow White’s prince appears to complete the scene of “romance éternelle”.

First photos of new Snow White Castle Stage event

Lasting around 8 minutes with about 15 minutes of meet ‘n’ greet time afterwards, in an identical mould to the Mary Poppins: Step in Time and Sleeping Beauty: Once Upon a Time events, the show has a soundtrack of mostly recycled musical numbers, which member EVE on Disney Central Plaza forum has done a good job of recounting already.

First photos of new Snow White Castle Stage event

Spanning several languages, they include “Heigh Ho” in English, from the stage’s original Le Livre Magique de Mickey show, “Whistle While You Work” in French, “The Silly Song” in German (yes, German, apparently!) and an old recording of “Someday My Prince will Come”, which has already been recycled this year for Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. Also apparently included is some of the music from the Snow White float of Fantillusion‘s Happy Ending…

The show has been directed by Katy Harris, who will be the second in our special series of Christmas interviews, revealing more about the show later this week.

UPDATE 10/11/2009 — The latest park Programme confirms the show’s official English title is Snow White: Happily Ever After, with performances three times daily at 11:45, 12:45 and 13:45.

Pictures © Disney.

Sunday, 18th October 2009

Contactless payments trial now at resort locations

This “Paiements sans Contact” initiative was first announced back in July and began right on schedule on 3rd October.

How does it work? Unfortunately, it won’t work at all for most of us yet. Although most of us have seen the waterslide advert for Barclaycard’s system, the technology now at Disneyland Paris is currently only open to users who have a (French) bank account with CIC or Crédit Mutuel (who just recently actually became a new official partner of the resort), and have already signed up to a trial of those banks’ early contactless payment schemes.

If you’re lucky enough to qualify for all of that, your new credit card contains a special chip that can be read without contact when lightly touched or flashed across one of the new devices, first caught on camera by Scrooge at Disney Magic Interactive in Walt Disney Studios Store:

Contactless payments trial now at resort locations

This allows users to pay for their Disney shopping — or even better, food — in a second. No fumbling with Euro cent coins, no waiting behind someone as they try every combination of four digits possible. Contactless cards allow instant payments up to a certain, safe amount. Just imagine the effect that could have within a few years on those ugly counter service queues.

You’ll find the trial machines now at the following locations:

Casey’s Corner (Disneyland Park)
Café Hyperion (Disneyland Park)
Chalet de la Marionette (Disneyland Park)
Disney Blockbuster Café (Walt Disney Studios Park)
Club House Grill (Golf Disneyland)

Walt Disney Studios Store (Walt Disney Studios Park)
Goofy’s Pro Shop (Golf Disneyland)

Not that such an innovation needs a carrot to quash any possible stick, but Disneyland Paris are also offering trial users of the scheme an incredibly generous 25% discount at boutiques and 20% discount at restaurants!

Oh, but one more condition of the test — you need an Annual Passport, too.

Phew, we don’t see the man on the waterslide going through all this… but it’s definitely something to watch for the future. Find out all the official information (in French) right here.

Photo: Scrooge.

Wednesday, 14th October 2009

Mickey’s first Not-So-Scary night of ’09 in video

The first extra-ticket night of 2009 took place last Friday, 9th October, with three more Not-So-Scary parties still to come on the 16th, 23rd and 27th. The nights give guests special access to Disneyland Park from 8pm to 11pm for exclusive entertainment, character meet ‘n’ greets and far more attractions than in 2008.

Last year confined to Fantasyland, the party has spread in 2009 to include Frontierland, as far as Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor, plus Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza also now play a role, whilst the tally of attractions open in Fantasyland now stands at seven — including Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world”.

If reports from the first party are anything to go by, the queues — particularly outside of Fantasyland — are definitely on the light side. Kaleo on Disney Central Plaza forum, for example, notes a wait of just 5 minutes posted at Big Thunder for the entire party, although these events do grow in attendance as we get closer to Halloween itself.

So far as attractions, it’s looking good for your €25 entrance. But what of the special entertainment? Our thanks to DCP member fandlrpstyle for sharing the full programme online:

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties

Last year’s Merlin and the Witch Academy show returns at the Castle Courtyard for three performances at 20:30, 21:30 and 22:30, whilst Fantasy Festival Stage hosts regular performances of its Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too show, just the same as the daytime version.

The real highlight of the entire event, however, happens out on Central Plaza, where the new stage has been put to fantastic use for the huge new show “Le Spectacle Pas-Si-Trouille d’Halloween”Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Show, as announced by show director Emmanuel Lenormand. Here’s a full video by Vidimouse:

This lengthy 20-minute spectacle has a pleasingly large (for Paris) cast of dancers and characters, as Mickey arrives in his purple Halloween suit to enjoy a “Not-so-scary” night amongst his Disney friends.

From Snow White to Belle, to a surprising (but very welcome and fitting) focus on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the first half of the show sees a medley of relatively peaceful song and dance numbers. But, you’ve guessed what’s coming — Maleficent. Bursting up through the stage, just like her appearance in It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends during the day, she speaks live — and in English!! — to tell Mickey that Halloween should be scary. And then, we see the show again — from the Villains’ point of view, with the relevant villain theme songs and characters for each of the films just presented.

Happening twice each night during the events, at 9pm and 10pm, the show makes great use of a number of investments made around the area in recent years — the high-powered spotlights either side of the Castle, the new stage lifts and the on-stage pyrotechnic effects installed just this month. Though the numbers involved might restrict such a wish, this is probably the kind of thing we should have had every night during Halloween, rather than the small “cameo” within the regular Central Plaza show.

It at least gives us much more hope for the now-firework-free finale of the separate Disney’s Halloween Party on 31st October.

Closing the Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties is a cavalcade, just like last year. Except this time, it’s not the Disney Characters’ Express travelling down the Disneyland Park parade route but… Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars! Here’s another full video with thanks to Vidimouse:

Aside from the music, taken from Walt Disney World’s Disney Villains Mix and Mingle event, and a few extra characters, there’s little done to put a Halloween stamp on the regular Walt Disney Studios Park parade. It’s a unique chance to see the cars filing down Main Street, but probably not “special” enough for a special party night.

However, being given a few more free packets of Haribo — now the official “treats” of Halloween in Disneyland Paris, and handed out after each event during the party — when the cavalcade stops on Town Square, probably sweetens (sorry) the deal, right? Well, it helps.

For only their second year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties have really grown up.

• Buy your tickets for the Halloween Party Nights at www.disneylandparis.com!

Thursday, 8th October 2009

Nostalgic return to Christmas past ahead

In fact, it’s looking like a truly nostalgic return to the events of Christmases past, as not only will a brand new Tree Lighting Ceremony be created for Town Square, but the seasonal “Celebration” overlay will finally return to “it’s a small world” after several years’ absence.

The Christmas Tree and the LEDs of the Crystal Castle will now be lit during separate events — the Castle being illuminated as part of a special finale to the last performance of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends each day, similar to the current Halloween final show. And on Town Square, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will “orchestrate” an “enchanted illumination”.

Here’s the full press release for 2009:

The emotion and the magic of a Fairytale Christmas at Disneyland Paris

– From 8 November 2009 to 6 January 2010 –

Marne-la-Vallée, France – Beginning on 8 November 2009, the magic of Christmas will enchant Disneyland Paris. Winter will cast a snowy spell on each of the two Disney Parks, offering a brand-new, surprise-filled programme full of unforgettable memories for families and friends.

Nostalgic return to Christmas past ahead

A CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH DISNEY MAGIC

The magical atmosphere of a Fairytale Christmas

When the spirit of Christmas comes to Disneyland Paris, the Sleeping Beauty Castle becomes a sparkling Crystal Palace, Mickey Mouse and his Friends don their best winter costumes and guests eagerly wait to greet Beauty and the Beast in Belle’s Christmas Village… Snowflakes fall by the thousands over Main Street U.S.A.® and blanket the majestic Christmas tree that towers over Town Square. Décor straight out of the most beautiful Fairy Tales plunges guests into a unique atmosphere. Enchantment reigns during this wondrous Disney Christmas, allowing children to drop their wish lists into Santa Claus’ mailbox, located in the heart of the Disneyland Park.

New: Winter magic promises an abundance of lovely surprises, including an unforgettable encounter with Snow White and her Prince Charming at Castle Stage and the Tree Lighting Ceremony orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Town Square.

SANTA CLAUS RETURNS TO DISNEYLAND PARIS

Meet Santa Claus in his village at the Disneyland Park

The Christmas Holiday season is just around the corner. Santa Claus and his elves are busier than ever preparing to distribute thousands of presents. Santa has chosen to set up his workshop in the heart of the Disneyland Park to share all the magic of Christmas with children and to be closer to guests of all ages. With his fluffy white beard, his famous red suit and his bag overflowing with presents, no one can miss Santa Claus this year.

“Santa Claus’ Post Office” in the Disneyland Park

The dream continues all the way to a very special mailbox… Santa Claus’ Christmas mailbox. For this enchanted winter season, he has also set up “Santa Claus’ Post Office” to allow children to “mail” their letters and share their greatest wishes.

Children will also be delighted to receive a letter back from Santa when they return home several weeks following their visit. Wishes really do come true thanks to a Christmas signed by Disney Magic.

Location: Critter Corral – Woody’s Roundup Village – Frontierland –Disneyland Park

Disney’s Once Upon a Christmas Dream Parade

Aboard his bright and colourful sleigh, Santa Claus will be the guest of honour at the Disney’s Once Upon a Christmas Dream Parade! He will close this spectacular parade inviting everyone to dream alongside the Disney Characters.

Escorted by his Wooden Soldiers and Elves, in time to special Christmas music, Santa will spread all the magic of winter and Fairy Tales.

Nostalgic return to Christmas past ahead

ENCHANTING ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DISNEY PRINCESSES

New: Meet Snow White and Prince Charming

This Christmas is the right time for guests to discover and rediscover Walt Disney’s first masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The magic of this delightful tale will come to life on the Castle Stage for an unforgettable encounter with Snow White and her Prince Charming.

And for the perfect last touch on this Disney Christmas, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated feature in Cinema history will be released on high-definition Blue-ray.

Belle’s Christmas Village

During this bright Christmas season, Disneyland Paris guests can enjoy the charm of Belle’s Christmas Village. Between picturesque taverns and traditional chalet stands blanketed in snow, Fantasyland will open its doors to the wonderful world of Disney classics for the Holiday Season. Whisked away by the magic of this tale in an enchanted world, guests can meet Beauty or the Beast while strolling down the streets of this authentic medieval village.

THE ENCHANTMENT OF DISNEY CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT

New: Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Square

Every evening, guests are invited to a stunning brand-new show around the majestic Christmas Tree in Town Square. Enchanted illumination orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person promises to dazzle young and old alike with loads of magical Christmas surprises.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Lighting SpectacularEach evening the Sleeping Beauty Castle undergoes transformation during an incredible illumination display. Over 400,000 lights transform the Castle into a genuine Crystal Palace before guests’ very eyes.

Disney’s Fantillusion

Disney’s Fantillusion Parade will be at its brightest for this Fairytale Christmas. Every evening, from 8 November 2009 to 6 January 2010, when night falls over Main Street, U.S.A., the dazzling night parade shimmers with the help of thousands of lights. The most beautiful Fairytales include Ariel, Aladdin and Jasmine, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, but also Mickey, Minnie Mouse and their friends who parade by, unveiling a lovely story with its happy ending before guests.

MICKEY AND HIS FRIENDS CELEBRATE AN ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS

It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends

To celebrate Mickey’s Magical Party, the Disney Heroes take the new Central Plaza stage by storm and perform their show in 360°. It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends! Guests learn the “Mickey Dance”, an easy-to-learn choreography perfect for spreading the party spirit across the globe.

And every day, for the Christmas Holiday season, the Disney Characters put on an exclusive finale signed by the magic of Christmas. Following the day’s last show, the Sleeping Beauty Castle is transformed into a sumptuous Crystal Palace to offer an exceptional shimmering display.

Mickey’s Winter Wonderland

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and Chip ‘n’ Dale share the joy of winter sports during this show on ice designed to please the whole family. Through slapstick falls and snowball fights, Mickey’s Winter Wonderland celebrates the spirit and the enchantment of the winter season several times a day.

Location: Chaparral Theater – Frontierland

Meet Goofy Santa

For the Holiday season, Goofy just couldn’t resist putting his Santa suit back on! Perched atop his sleigh, he greets children of all ages in the Disneyland Park for a souvenir photo in Town Square.

Happy New Year!

On 31 December, the Disneyland Park welcomes guests until 1:00 a.m. for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party. As the clock strikes midnight, a dazzling fireworks display emblazes the sky over the Sleeping Beauty Castle to bring in a bright and shiny new year.

Mickey’s Christmas Dinner

A unique gift to enjoy as a family for all Christmas Holiday buffs wishing to experience a privileged Disney moment.

This fantastic dinner will thrill the palates of both young and old alike. Beloved Disney Characters are impatient to join them in a lively dance party in the Disneyland Park.

Mickey’s Christmas Dinner can be savoured exclusively on 5, 12, and 19 December from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and includes private access to the Pavilion and privileged Meet’n’Greets with lovable Disney Characters. The delicious Christmas buffet sets the stage for a fun, dynamic and interactive celebration.

Missing above but featured in the French press release is “it’s a small world” Celebration, the resort’s one and only seasonal attraction overlay. It disappeared a few years ago, but they’ve seen sense and the nations of Small World will once again be celebrating New Year’s Eve in their own way from 21st November, with the attraction closed the two weeks beforehand for preparations and a general refurbishment.

“it’s a small world” Celebration

L’attraction “it’s a small world” célèbre elle-aussi les fêtes de fin d’année avec des costumes, musiques et décors dédiés. La plus joyeuse traversée en bateau de Disneyland Paris rend hommage aux traditions de tous les pays qu’elle représente, de la Scandinavie à l’Amérique du Sud, de l’Afrique à la Chine… Si les différentes nations ont leurs propres manières de fêter le nouvel an, “it’s a small world” Celebration honore l’esprit des fêtes adorées par les enfants du monde entier !

A partir du 21 novembre 2009.

Also new this year is the Snow White event on the Castle Stage we reported in August, confirmed above, whilst everything from Santa Claus’ Village and Post Office to Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Belle’s Christmas Village to the special Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade finale all return. The season continues to grow in every respect.

However, it’s the return of the Tree Lighting Ceremony which will no doubt be the highlight of the season this year. Not that there was anything technically wrong with the Central Plaza-based illuminations shows we’ve seen since 2003, but they never managed to get that tear of emotion in your eye, as anyone who saw the old ceremony will tell you.

Now based back around the tree at Town Square, hopefully the new 2009 ceremony will recapture some of that cosy, old-fashioned magic the previous events shunned for Princesses.

Images © Disney.

Sunday, 9th August 2009

Heigh ho! New Snow White happening in the works?

It’s Poppy the Monkey who shares this snippet of new information on magicforum, posting the following:

“After the success of the Mary Poppins and Sleeping Beauty happening – plans are underway for a new happening to launch in November this year.

The Snow White happening, temporarily called “Snow White – I’m wishing” will feature Snow White, her prince, the 7 dwarfs and possible the Evil Queen….

Plans are being made to have this show play on the old castle stage, unused for shows since Winnie the Pooh departed a few years ago.”

Sounds great so far, don’t you think? More streetmosphere, the Castle Stage (Le Théâtre du Château) finally back in use and all seven dwarfs together at once — a very rare sight in Paris.

Image

Whilst Step in Time Mary Poppins is a real joy and continues to be hugely popular, the Once Upon a Dream Sleeping Beauty event, with no real storyline and quite patchy recycled music, was less so. It’s possibly worth noting Snow White already appears to a slightly shrill old “I’m Wishing” track in the Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars stage number.

With each new streetmosphere event — including the return of Good Morning Main Street U.S.A. last month — it’s hard not to think of the ones which are becoming long-forgotten. The Main Street Quartet, Casey’s Ragtime Piano, The Gunfighters Stunt Show over the roofs of Frontierland and the Jesters and lute-playing Troubadour of Fantasyland — not to mention all the acts (including CinéFolies) in the now criminally streetmosphere-free Walt Disney Studios Park.

Still, one step at a time. The shocking discovery that the Castle Stage is actually… a stage …is a big moment, after all these years of building unpopular new ones over Central Plaza.

We’re wishing for November already…

Saturday, 21st March 2009

Le Château returns… but not for long

Without the “15” plaque covering the main window, without the greying statues of Donald Duck, Buzz Lightyear and more, without a giant Tinkerbell dwarfing its highest tower… for just over a week, fans and guests have had a small window of opportunity not seen for over two years — and not about to be seen again for another year.

To see Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as the Imagineers intended it…

Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant
11th March 2009

Well, almost. With most of the statues replaced by the original spires, coated in gold leaf, and some remaining, it was clear just how badly the 15th Anniversary decorations had lost their shine during their extended two-year stay.

Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant
14th March 2009

The entire lot were eventually removed late last week, though Tinkerbell — and her golden trail which wrapped around the top of the Castle — had already disappeared sometime before. Looking closer, it was clear that the supports for these elements were retained.

Dashing many fans’ brief hopes for a “regular” Castle and, just as the concept image for the Mickey’s Magical Party castle decorations promised, the crane reappeared over Sleeping Beauty Castle last night to re-install a cleaned-up and repainted Tink…

Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant
21st March 2009

The golden trail has also returned, circling up the tallest tower, and Tink’s wand has been connected back into the small pipe which fed confetti up to burst out during Candleabration. It’s unknown if this effect will be reused for any element of Mickey’s Magical Party.

According to the concept, we should also be seeing the spire tops replaced again by similar-looking golden ornaments in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head, along with a new oval-shaped golden ring around the main window with Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Pluto peering out. Only time will tell if the original, gleaming spires were returned for good, or simply as temporary place-holders…

Photos 1-2: BOLT, Photo 3: djbass, Photo 4: julien59, Disney Central Plaza forum.

Thursday, 19th February 2009

New Sleeping Beauty Castle decorations revealed!

Amongst the resort’s marketing of the five key events of Mickey’s Magical Party, one aspect that comes packaged along with this kind of year-long celebration has been all but overlooked: the decorations.

We’ve already spied the lampposts backstage. Now for another overlay — the new decorations for Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant — which you might have already spotted in a grainy image in the background of the event’s website.

Luckily, magicforum exclusively revealed the full concept image earlier today!

Over the past months we’ve heard every angle that the Entertainment department could approach this with — from keeping the entire 15th Anniversary overlay (minus the “15”), to covering the towers and turrets with multicoloured streamers like those on the new Main Street, U.S.A. lampposts. Now, finally, the decision has been made — and here it is…

Mickey's Magical Party Castle decorations
Click image to enlarge

Give Sleeping Beauty Castle a quick glance from afar this year and you might not even notice any difference. Though the characters and their fifteen candles are almost all gone — only Tinkerbell, her sparkling wand and special confetti spray remain — in their place, subtle rings and hoops made up of golden “streamers” form the iconic three circles of Mickey Mouse on top of each turret.

In the middle, where the “15” emblem has stood for two years, a new centrepiece forms another Mickey Mouse shape out of two golden ears and a sparkling blue circle from which Donald, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto peer out. This design appears to be the same as already seen on the lampposts and in the larger versions of the Magical Party logo.

Compared against the current 15th Anniversary overlay, it’s certainly not the revolution some fans may have feared (and was actually originally proposed) but a far more respectful evolution of the same “hand-crafted” style the designers sought to achieve back in 2007.

15th Anniversary Castle decorations
Current 15th Anniversary overlay

However, while the oval “15” emblem was very sympathetic to the Imagineering creation behind it, the design and placement of the circular Mickey & Friends centrepiece placed in front of the oval/elliptical main window of the Castle for this new design has already been met with negativity from fans just in the brief time this concept has been online.

…As, in fact, has the whole idea of a Castle overlay for Mickey’s Magical Party itself. The feeling is summed up well by Kristof on magicforum, who concludes “Castle decorations should only be used in my opinion for truly remarkable occasions, like (and perhaps only) for the park’s anniversary.”

What’s your opinion of the new Mickey’s Magical Party overlay?

Visual © Disney, photo © DLRP Magic!.

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