What’s been occuring at Disneyland Paris this weekend? The St David’s Welsh Festival, a now-annual event spread over three days, this year from 5th to 7th March, to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of Wales (which is actually held on 1st March) — and no doubt tempt a few proud compatriots over to Disneyland Paris in the process.
As the schedule reveals, this is a rare chance to see Merlin calling up guests to pull Fantasyland’s sword from its stone, a location now used more frequently for the Sleeping Beauty “happening”.
It’s also the only time in any Disney park in the world you can see Mickey and Minnie dressed in traditional Welsh costume, be it at their special meet ‘n’ greets or riding the Main Street fire truck as a special pre-parade. Where the upcoming St Patrick’s Day has shamrocks all over, St David’s is all daffodils and leeks…
What was that about spoiling pictures? Oh yes, the decorations. Though (if you can believe it) not as bad as they could have been, this was certainly a year to point your camera… elsewhere. Try a new angle rather than that generic castle shot.
But, for one last bang before the year is locked away in the pages of Euro Souvenirland, our Mickey Moused medieval castle celebrated St David’s with the traditional fireworks display…
How do you say “what a relief”, “good riddance” in Welsh?
Well yes, quite a lot obviously. Just shows you shouldn’t go wandering into the Adventure Isle caves just before park closing… it’s been four long months!
If you’ve been similarly deprived of Disneyland Resort Paris news, given up trying to translate what they’re saying on the French forums, sit back and enjoy a quick and concise round-up of all the big stories of recent months — here we go!
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S BLING
Was it coincidence that updates here ended just about the time that Sleeping Beauty Castle succumbed to its most horrific, misguided meddling-with to date?
The birthday cake, the jester’s hat, the Epcot wand, the MGM hat… you’ve met your match. There truly aren’t enough negative adjectives in the dictionary.
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MAGICAL PARTY LAUNCHES WITH MEGA-PARTY
‘You’re invited!’ …but not to this. Press and media types were schmoozed in spectacular fashion as new theme year Mickey’s Magical Party kicked off with fireworks, projections, lights and so many characters they couldn’t even all fit on the damn stage.
Did it generate headlines, articles, media coverage? No.
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ACTUAL PARTY GROWS ON FANS
Frustratingly-titled new Central Plaza show ‘It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends’ initially looked rather like a drab flop on an overbearing and unnecessary new stage, but it has grown on most fans. The score by Vasile Sirli is actually plain fantastic (especially considering the lacklustre music in the year’s other new shows) and it provides a fresh, colourful heart for the year.
Over in Discoveryland, the other show with an annoying name — ‘It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland’ — brought delights such as large, primary-coloured circles on the floor of a retro-futuristic land, and the expertly-chosen hits of Block Party Bash.
Despite the show being considered terrible on every level by most who’ve seen it, the performers put so much effort and energy into their routine they each almost deserve a window on Main Street.
Beyond the forced MMP hoopla over the other side of the esplanade, Walt Disney Studios Park gained a brand new attraction — its fifth addition since opening — in ‘Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!’. Jolly good fun it is too — wonderfully staged, very charming. The Paris version even has a “1 Up” on the two earlier versions with a big new pre-show studio.
Changing its name to ‘Restaurant des Stars’, the far too interestingly-named ‘Rendez-Vous des Stars Restaurant’ gained a new logo, some new colours and a new entrance canopy.
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DUDE LOOKS LIKE A FIRE!
In a quite bizarre coincidence, just days after fans launched an online April Fool suggesting Aerosmith would be succeeded by French rocker Johnny Hallyday as musical guests at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, a fire began in the roof of the showbuilding.
Luckily the damage was minor — though it did allow for these dramatic photos (below) as the inspection crews ripped off the cladding, checked and replaced it. The attraction reopened just the next day.
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SMEE GIVEN SURGERY
Captain Hook’s bumbling first mate was given a random makeover by the worldwide Disney Parks character team and, unlike most famous faces, he returned from the cosmetic surgery with a face more expressive than before. Remarkable.
Hopefully they’ll tackle some of the clearly worse-looking characters next, like the dead-eyed Woody, Jessie and Buzz…
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HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PARTY!
Now back for a third year, the Studios’ High School Musical show this year gained musical numbers from the third film but stopped short of going for the full ‘HSM3’ show the other resorts put on. ‘I Want it all’ is the standout number, but one that certainly won’t win over any new fans.
The ‘Smoking Areas’ inside the parks had been extended little beyond their miniature park map icons, so it’s reassuring to see that each area now has its own themed sign, tied into the location. Give it a few years and the public might actually use them.
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STUDIO STORE OPENS UP
Behind construction walls last time we saw it, the Walt Disney Studios Store has now been completed, with three new doors and payment desks in front of new, large windows.
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Main Street has always had the best-kept exteriors of the entire park, always popping with a fresh bit of paint here or there. A new development in recent years are the nice tarpaulin coverings given images of the building hiding behind. Even for tiny spots like this one on the end of The Storybook Store, the hidden façade is still presented on top.
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PLAZA GARDENS GLEAMS
After a major refurbishment of the interior, including bringing the central fountain back to daily life, the whole Plaza Gardens Restaurant building was wrapped in themed tarps for an expensive top-to-bottom refurbishment and repaint. It didn’t stand out as being particularly bad before, there are other areas needing paint sooner, but it does look fantastic.
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STUDIO 1 REFURBISHMENT CONTINUES
Over the hub, it’s surprising to see that the refurbishment of Disney Studio 1 continues, the huge centrepiece building of the park still wrapped up in scaffolding. Must be a bigger job than originally thought, right?
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FLOORS OF ADVENTURE, DISCOVERY
Tripped up in Disneyland Park recently? No wonder, some of the concrete pathways are literally falling to pieces. Thankfully, the first resurfacing works seen for many years have been taking place, with areas of Adventure Isle and vast swathes of Discoveryland closed off and given new flooring, the effect — especially just in front of Space Mountain — very noticeably making the whole land look brand new.
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TENNIS, MICE, MAIN STREET
Some of the resort’s press and advertising efforts have been surprisingly inventive this year, like this — turning the top of Main Street into a full-size tennis court and inviting Gaël Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka to play with Mickey Mouse.
Just a few days later, Serena Williams visited the park and was met in front of the Castle by Minnie Mouse, wearing a special tennis player costume.
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Effectively the biggest change of the past few months, the news in April and subsequent official changeover in May that has seen ‘Disneyland Resort Paris’ — the resort’s name since the 2002 opening of Walt Disney Studios Park — change back to just plain ‘Disneyland Paris’.
It certainly makes sense — the extra word was always unpopular, confusing to non-English speakers and now, with every park from Alton Towers to your local fairground claiming itself as a “Resort”, it simply doesn’t have any value. “Disneyland Resort Paris” is cumbersome and never spoken, “Disneyland Paris” is short and very strong. Whilst things like the official website have changed over, don’t expect this to be an overnight transition — the new (or rather, old) logo will reappear just as and when things need replacing.
Unfortunately, this decision — made by new CEO Philippe Gas himself — came in April, just weeks after the resort had launched a whole new brand campaign for the theme year. These traditionally start in April, and everything from Cast Member name tags to park tickets and guidemaps had already been printed up with the full “Disneyland Resort Paris” name. Smart name reversal, silly timing.
There’s also a whole myriad of logo variations now available (above). Which should be used, when? The standard logo is being presented as two-colour, with the “Paris” in a gold gradient that already looks rather dated.
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BURNING FIRES, FLOWING WATERS
Tasked with bringing back old and forgotten effects, a new “taskforce” within the resort’s maintenance department has been one of the most positive steps in recent months. We already appear to have seen some brilliant reawakened touches, such as the torches on Fort Comstock at the entrance to Frontierland (lit from nightfall)…
And the water channels leading to the drinking fountains beside La Cabane des Robinson.
Whilst a long way short of having the full irrigation system working again (water should be hoisted right up to the top of the tree by the water wheel, before being poured out and running through the channels back to ground level), it’s great to think someone took the time to figure this out.
Elsewhere, these moving fairground balloons inside Boardwalk Candy Palace have been back working again, for the first time in years.
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CAFE DE LA BROUSSE
Mostly sitting closed, Café de la Brousse has never the less just had a large-scale refurbishment completed, bringing colour back to the “bush café” buildings. Dole is presented heavily as the host, but still no one thinks of bringing the legendary Dole Whip to Paris!
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DISNEY VILLAGE NOW ‘COOL’
So. It took a Starbucks to make Disney Village “hip” again.
Yes, it meant losing the wonderful Buffalo Trading Co. and inviting a quite equally despised/appreciated corporation into a Disney-branded area, but the coffeehouse itself was built using genuinely eco-friendly ideas and looks really quite trendy inside, with a wonderfully modern exterior — industrial elements clashing beautifully with earthy materials.
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ROSES PAINTED RED, FINALLY!
The on-off refurbishment of Alice’s Curious Labyrinth — with little areas regaining sparkle each month or so — has continued, the Paris-exclusive attraction even seeing… new paint! The red edgings of the entire labyrinth have finally been repainted, a year after similar edgings on the Fantasyland-Discoveryland path received paint before them, and scenes like the Caterpillar suddenly “pop” like they should again:
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ROBINSONS RETURN TO LA CABANE
Also brought back to life this Summer is La Cabane des Robinson, previously the only other “blackspot” alongside the Labyrinth. For too long the treehouse has been bleak and worn. Props missing, effects broken, no colour. It was as if the Robinsons had long ago moved on from their treetop abode. Not any more — refreshed woodwork, new props and a complete clean-up really make it “pop”. Effects like the self-playing organ are still missing.
Even the water fountains were revisited and given an extra spruce-up:
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WOODCARVER’S WORKSHOP RE-OPENS
Not entirely the amazing news that might suggest, but nevertheless the long-abandoned Woodcarver’s Workshop over in Cottonwood Creek Ranch, next to what is now Woody’s Roundup, has finally been brought back into service — selling drinks and souvenir photos from the character meet ‘n’ greets inside.
A long way from the actual woodcarvers who used to create personalised souvenirs here, but good to see it alive and well in some form, eh?
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ENCHANTED FIREWORKS DAMPENED AGAIN
The Enchanted Fireworks have returned for their second year — dampened again in similar style to the later shows last year, when the nearby town of Chessy apparently banged on the wall and issued a loud “shhh”. Fans, and even apparently some regular guests, aren’t too impressed with the “new” show.
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ATTRACTION OPEN 12:00 – 12:05
The same limited opening schedule of attractions put in place last Summer has returned again this year, with visitors taking much more notice. Some say it’s fair enough that they have to close attractions early, since most people have headed to Main Street to watch Fantillusion, whilst others leave annoyed that the park’s advertised opening time of 10am to 11pm isn’t strictly true.
Most agree that the whole situation would be better if the limited openings schedule was at least published somewhere other than only at the attraction entrances themselves — on the tips board, in the Programme leaflet, for example.
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GOOGLE EARTH 3D: WORTH THE WAIT
The much-publicised and subsequently much-delayed official 3D recreation of Disneyland Paris in Google Earth finally launched in mid-May and proved to be well worth the wait, offering a truly spectacular metre-by-metre recreation of every inch of the parks and resort. Visit www.disneylandparis.com/googleearth3d and lose a few hours.
A few days later, Google Street View was also added for small stretches of each park:
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BROCHURE TESTS THE LIMITS
Have you seen the brochures and advertising for Walt Disney World? How grand and high-class it all looks. For Paris, however, the brochures in particular seem to be getting ever more garish and in-your-face with each publication. The latest, current brochure for Autumn/Winter 2009/10 features some truly frightening images of blurred children flying above the parks, with so much photoshopping and saturated colour you can barely see the resort they’re trying to advertise.
The actual, printed version also comes with a bizarre claim on the cover of “First ever interactive brochure”. Beyond the cut-out on the cover (Mickey is actually on the page behind), the only evidence of this is a French (+33) mobile number you can text to get a video trailer of the new theme year. Several weeks later, nothing received here.
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VAT REDUCTION? VAT CHANCE
The French government has officially lowered the VAT rate for cafés and restaurants from 19.6% to just 5.5% in order to keep the industry afloat, and, while you’ll certainly find many notifications of this within the resort, you’ll be much harder pressed to actually find reductions.
Whilst some things, especially the Half Board vouchers, have come down in price, most scenarios have just seen the prices stay the same and Disneyland Paris pocketing the difference in order to prop up the large drop in food and beverage sales this year — mostly on account of the prices being too high during a recession. Good thinking.
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ICE CREAM ARRIVES ON-SET
Walt Disney Studios Park must have been the only theme park in the world without a proper ice cream location until the latest change in its food & beverages offering. The Franklin Department Store façade (similar to the exterior of Gone Hollywood at DCA, international fans) gave up its wonderful 1950s-themed period window to become a new kiosk serving actual, real Ben & Jerry’s by the scoop.
The lost window was more interesting than the one remaining, featuring a mannequin woman sitting with a 1950s travel magazine, retro television and monster/sci-fi movie poster. The Tower of Terror across the way has such a minimal build-up in Paris that small period-setting details like this really mattered — the Imagineers would have put an ice cream kiosk in there from the start otherwise.
Couldn’t such a vital theme park component as ice cream have commanded its own building somewhere? Rather than expanding, the park almost seems to be imploding, with under-sized kiosks popping up all over where real, full-size boutiques and restaurants should be. More than anything, one single serving window for this in such a prominent position is madness.
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BLOCKBUSTERS IN THE BACKLOT
Over in Backlot, the big news has been the complete gutting of Backlot Express, the “props warehouse” counter service restaurant, in favour of the more brand-friendly idea of themed rooms dedicated to the Pirates of the Caribbean and High School Musical franchises. The changeover began with the arrival of a plain Ford Focus outside the restaurant, plastered with “HSM3” stickers…
The new logo has been completed on the outside…
And as for the inside? Well, real props from these two trilogies have yet to appear, with the High School Musical area causing much fan hair-tearing already with its “themeing” of bland posters, banners and mini basketballs (taken from merchandise). The “East High” theme does sit well within the building, but this isn’t anything someone with a good printer could set up themselves. Are there not even any costumes from the film lying around over in Burbank?
Beyond the “torn bedsheets” (as described by magicforum members) hanging from the ceiling, the ‘Pirates’ area has defied the odds and just presented the first real surprise of this project — the removal of the metal railings of the raised “garage” area to be replaced with pirate ship-styled wooden banisters and a full ship’s wheel.
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TELEVISION STUDIOS GOES ’50s
…Or is that wishful thinking? With a long-overdue repaint of the Walt Disney Television Studios building (home to Playhouse and Stitch Live) finally beginning back in April and only just making real progress, have the maintenance teams really taken a step back and reconsidered the building, rather than just bursting ahead with the same ugly yellows the original designers chose in 2002?
Yes, it seems so! The architecture was already within the period, but the colours didn’t quite fit. Now, a deep red has replaced the turquoise on the “fins” atop the building, with the yellow turning a much more earthy, peachy shade, in whole much closer to a 1950s Hollywood look and more pleasing next to the subdued tones of the Hollywood Tower Hotel just opposite.
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ANIMAGIQUE KIOSK MARK II
The bland merchandise kiosk which appeared outside Animagique in 2007 now has a partner. Filling in dead space on the right of the same TV Studios building, this little location opened just this week, using the new colour scheme and dressed up in a pleasingly similar style of fins and neons.
Photo: Sean Hamilton
In any other Disney park, such a location would be given a name or some kind of personality (think Crossroads of the World at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). It offers the usual generic collection of character merchandise.
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ROCKEFELLER PLAZA REBORN
Could this be the start of a new era for the environs of Disney’s Hotel New York? The Rockefeller Plaza building, a dull games arcade for far too long, has finally reopened as a lovely café refreshments location for the Summer.
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MICKEY SWINGS INTO — AND ONTO — BUFFALO BILL’S
It was the controversy of the year — nay, the decade — and now it looks like Mickey Mouse has made home. The not-so-great poster previously stuck on the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show entrance has just been replaced by a large model of Mickey Mouse abseiling down over the building.
Whilst it looks much smarter now, it has fans worried that the mouse may well be there to stay. On the subject of the show itself, the current Summer park programme leaflets are now advertising Adult tickets for the price of Child tickets. In high season? Maybe adding a mouse wasn’t the best way to sell the scale of this truly epic dinner show.
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FASTPASS FOR MONEY
This one must be the second-biggest controversy of the year, then. In itself not a huge thing by any means, this could however be the first step of a huge shift in how Fastpass works. From 18th July to 4th August, guests staying at Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York and, it seems, Disney’s Newport Bay Club, can buy a special “Premium FASTPASS” for €80 per person per day.
The ticket is effectively a VIP FASTPASS, the unlimited-access ticket previously given only to guests in Club rooms and Suites, allowing you to use the FASTPASS queues for attractions as and when you want, as many times as you want to.
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STUDIO 1 REFURBISHMENT CONTINUES
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GOOFY’S SUMMER CAMP
Somewhere you won’t find Mickey this year is the new show at The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland. Yes, since we last updated the topic, The Tarzan Encounter was cancelled again — for good.
This new show is somewhat like the Summer cousin to the brilliant Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, only scuppered by a desperation for audience interaction, with too few scenes between. However, with a live country band as the big “plus” to replace the Winter ice rink, a great stage and some nice musical numbers, it’s winning more fans than certain other shows this year, and much more fitting for its location than Tarzan ever was.
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MAIN STREET COMES ALIVE WITH MARCHING BAND
Last seen making brief appearances last Summer on the old Central Plaza Stage, the brass band has returned! Now performing a brilliant set of Disney music (even including Hans Zimmer’s Pirates score!) on Town Square, this is the kind of classic Disneyland entertainment we rarely see in Paris, so enjoy! The only problem — no one, not the makers of the park programme, nor the Cast Members inside City Hall, appear to have been given their performance schedule.
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CARL’S HOUSE FLIES OVER FRANCE
The real-life version of the balloon-lifted house from Pixar’s next — and 10th — major hit, “Up”, travelled over to France recently and, amongst appearing in some truly spectacular hot air balloon festivals, paid a visit to Disneyland Paris early one morning.
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Who’d have known — the Sleeping Beauty fountain inside the Castle gallery was actually meant to trickle down into the waterfall below, beside the staircase, as one, complete water system! Now, after truly years of being turned off and ignored, it’s fixed and running. The “crystal” at the bottom of the falls glows, too!
Wonderful. Utmost appreciation to whoever made this happen.
It was a night of firsts, that’s for sure. For the first time ever, Walt Disney Studios Park stayed open for regular guests beyond 9pm. For the first time ever, it let guests see in the New Year within its gates. And, for the first time ever, it hosted fireworks for those same, regular guests.
But, in the process, did it surprise us all and come out on top, with the most dazzling, sky-filling show of the two? Let’s compare…
New Year’s Eve 2008/09 – Walt Disney Studios Park
Video by Kayshaman.
New Year’s Eve 2008/09 – Disneyland Park (Part 1)
New Year’s Eve 2008/09 – Disneyland Park (Part 2)
Videos by Daviddu59.
For a start, there’s one obvious downside to the Studios’ celebrations — the lack of an icon or “weenie” at the foot of the fireworks. When the New Year’s Eve celebrations were confirmed, many expected The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror to be the focal point, or Hollywood Boulevard.
However, as the clock edged toward midnight, guests were instead asked to make their way to Backlot and Place des Stars, along the “Rue Georges Méliès” of the park, with the fireworks themselves launched from the convenient base of Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular.
This downside could also have been the park’s advantage, though — not only does the lack of a large icon make the fireworks seem bigger and more impressive in the sky, but the location may have allowed the resort a little more freedom with the bigger shells and rockets, should restrictions still be imposed on New Year’s Eve.
The launch of seasonal events at Disneyland Resort Paris usually just means a raft of (to our mostly non-French audience) unknown celebrities and a bank of photographers obscuring the publics’ view at the special shows and parades throughout the day.
True, this year’s Christmas launch yesterday inflicted both of those upon regular park guests, but they were also given a very unexpected Winter treat when it came time for the evening’s Enchanted Candleabration finale.
If you were confused by the special park Programme for 15th November and the switching-round of Fantillusion so that the illuminations ceremony came last, here is our reason why — as the bells chimed and the Castle sparkled in its now-completed array of crystal lights, majestic music in the vein of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty began and fireworks flew up into the air!
The special launch show on Central Plaza Stage featured performances by live singers, a group of children helping out with preceedings and an encore from Princess Aurora and Prince Philip as their fireworks exploded overhead.
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant itself was lit in a classic scheme of pink towers and blue spires, rather than the usual all-purple colours used during Christmas Season.
Below, Daviddu59 was lucky enough to catch the special one-off fireworks — albeit from behind the impenetrable wall of photographers — and shares the video with us:
Even in the short length of these fireworks, the Castle is almost completely engulfed in smoke due to the cold temperatures — perhaps that’s our reason for the general lack of Winter fireworks on other busy weekends and holidays.
And, though it’s expected the resort will put on its best show to give the press the best possible impression of the seasonal entertainments, is it honest? Do they know that Enchanted Candleabration doesn’t usually have this firework-finale, or doesn’t it matter, in the name of good publicity for our beloved resort?
— Read our exclusive interview with the creator of this year’s Christmas Season here.
Because, though The Enchanted Fireworks began on 5th July this year with a flurry of brand new firework styles and some truly impressive “bangs” for a daily Disneyland Resort Paris fireworks show, the residents of this small town by the Marne river have done the Disneyland equivalent of politely banging on the wall by asking the pyrotechnic directors to hone-in the spectacular finale a little.
So, after one month of the original show, we’ve got a re-write. The result: A ‘Happy Ending’ that now consists more of an “encore” of styles seen earlier in the show, rather than those (for a daily show here) huge, plentiful bangs filling the sky.
The latest available video of the show clearly shows the changes (skip to 8mins):
Compare this with our video of the original finale (skip to 6:30mins):
The change is clear enough when you’ve seen the original, but otherwise probably doesn’t detract from the overall show. Many additional fireworks of a quieter style, bursting upwards from the ground rather than “banging” in the sky, have been added by the directors to ease the vibrations on Chessy’s eardrums.
Though you’d never know it visiting Disneyland Resort Paris by literally any means of transport (unless you were a hopeless navigator), the small town of Chessy nestles almost right behind Disneyland Park with its neighbour Montévrain, down a gradient toward the river, and has been vocal since the resort’s opening on the use of loud fireworks.
For fans of the show, and the resort, it’s refreshing to know that sixteen years later Disney are obviously still trying to gently nudge the limits of what they can do — even if they are pushed back again.
[Videos: remkove, DLRP Magic! Video; Lead picture: PhotosMagiques.com]
Great choreography, great music, great colours, great projections… and a lot of loud, impressive fireworks. Is there anything at all to complain about with Disneyland Park’s new nighttime spectacular? It seems to have the perfect recipe for the end to a Disneyland day.
Going completely against the usual tide of events — particularly in this touchy subject of fireworks at the restricted Paris resort — The Enchanted Fireworks seem to be pretty much loved all over. Beyond the online fan forums, wait around in the park after the show has ended and you’ll hear comments like “…what a great finale…”, “…that was perfect…” and “…really amazing…” from just regular guests.
It’s an all-round success story for the park.
Now, take a closer look at the love story in a brand new video:
Our friends at Photos Magiques have also captured some spectacular photos from the show:
The show certainly appears much bigger than fireworks of recent years, so are you wondering how much it costs to put on? Well, we can tell you: €400,000 for the entire run. That would work out at roughly €7,143 per night over the 56 nights.
This figure comes from the French television programme ‘Combien ça coute?’ which goes around the country discovering, well, exactly that… how much stuff costs. They previously featured the entire resort a couple of years ago in a theme park special, and have just returned to the park to film a few shots of the fireworks preparations and tests. You can see the interesting video clip below:
The size of this show can also be seen by the park’s routine of closures prior to 10pm each night. Whilst previous displays called for only Fantasyland to close at 10pm, since the roofs of the restaurants and dark rides here are used to launch the shells, the new display is also requiring the closure of much of Adventureland at 10pm.
But you can’t complain — there have to be a few sacrifices in any love story.
Skies were blue, flowers in bloom, attractions running well and crowds relatively light… it was a perfect day to celebrate the host country of our European Disney resort.
Bastille Day 2008 once again saw Disneyland Resort Paris pull out its regular music for a spectacular “feux d’artifice” over Le Château de Belle au Bois Dormant, but, as the show director Christophe Leclercq had promised, things were a little different this year. The resort’s new fireworks partner brought in new designs, new styles and new bursts to light up the sky.
There were certainly hints of the regular Enchanted Fireworks in there, but also rare sights at Disneyland Resort Paris such as “shape” fireworks — giant red hearts bursting into the sky.
Before the fireworks began, fans would smile at the fact that even Disney sometimes make a little mistake. As the crowds milled around after Fantillusion, an announcement proclaimed “You will soon have the pleasure of discovering Candleabration followed by The Enchanted Fireworks”. Several minutes later, the announcement was swiftly repeated with the correct “followed by a special 14th July fireworks” line.
Candleabration itself would also present a little surprise. Whilst the show was still effectively cut-down considerably in line with its other performances this Summer, serving only as a lead-in to the fireworks, this night saw a second new version with an added finale of ‘Just Like We Dreamed It’ (itself abridged) as just Mickey and Minnie danced on-stage.
Candleabration (Bastille Day 2008 Edition)
Luckily, the earlier announcement mix-up did not extend to the fireworks themselves, which went ahead swiftly and without a single fault. Compared to the incredibly muddled recent attempts for New Year’s Eve (using unknown and out-of-place rock songs from the Narnia “inspired by” soundtrack, for example), Bastille Day once again proved to be the resort’s best night for a truly spectacular fireworks display…
Bastille Day Fireworks 2008
You can find more photos of the show at Photos Magiqueshere.
The show begins to the opening strings of True Love’s Kiss, the announcement asking: “Are you dreaming of the beauty, the passion of one true love?” It continues “Reach out… and let yourself be… Enchanted. Reach out, and you will find a very happy end.”
Then, as the music kicks in, you hear “Once upon a time…” and spotlights shine up and down Sleeping Beauty Castle as a rainbow of fireworks fan inwards and outwards from either side. The music shifts straight into the Enchanted Suite we’ve all been expecting, and The Enchanted Fireworks have begun!
Red rockets, white flames, showers of pixie dust, sparkling stars and great, golden cauliflowers that fill the entire sky lie ahead. The slow romantic number So Close, left in the mix despite many fans’ worries about its speed, surprises with a burst of slow, swooping colours that time perfectly with the single piano notes, creating a dreamy, romantic moment… like when you meet that special someone and the whole world seems to run in slow motion.
Brilliant bursts of gold and blue follow, tinted with red rockets, fanning outwards, filling the sky with massive sparks as the “love” blossoms and explodes. As the music reaches its finale with the notes from That’s How You Know, the sky suddenly clears except for the four bright spotlights. Into the climax, single white rockets fire upwards at angles and, to end, a single burst from either side of the Castle, as tall as its highest spire.
But wait… the show hasn’t ended! One of the biggest, most spectacular finales of a regular daily fireworks show at the park suddenly begins, shooting hundreds of white bursts, brilliant sparkling fans and screaming rockets into the sky, just when you thought the Happy Ending had already been reached.
And here it is, the very first video!
Did that false ending fool you too?
Disneytheque.com also has a selection of photos from the show, which make many of the projection and lighting effects much clearer to see:
Clearly, the new relationship with a fresh fireworks partner has brought a great deal of innovation and excitement to this show when compared with recent displays in the past, presenting a seemingly never-ending line of different firework colours and styles, many never seen at the park before. All that, coupled with simple, effective projections that completely stray away from the basic animations of Wishes (such as Aladdin on a magic carpet) criticised for being too “Microsoft Powerpoint”. The new lighting effects also add a powerful tone, yet softer than the green lasers of that previous show.
As we reported recently following our exclusive interview with the director of the fireworks Christophe Leclercq, the show is actually coupled right onto the regular Candleabration ceremony. One surprise for many at the premiere last night was just how much Candleabration had changed for the Summer season, cutting itself down to just a few minutes to illuminate the candles with no preceding flags or ‘Just Like We Dreamed It’.
In addition, and proving just how much things can change at the last minute at Disneyland Resort Paris, the promised positioning of Mickey and Minnie on the front balcony of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, as confirmed even by the director, failed to happen. The couple instead conducted Candleabration and the introduction to the fireworks from the regular Central Plaza Stage. Whether this was a temporary measure due to technical issues on the first night or the plans have been cut completely remains to be seen.
The fireworks themselves, however, truly live up to their name. The next 56 Summer nights will be just as Enchanted as we hoped.
Imagine the surprise, though, when the latest interview with backstage star Christophe Leclercq is sent over — all about directing Disneyland Park’s newest — and as yet, totally unseen — firework spectacular, The Enchanted Fireworks! From the music to the projections, to those all-important first and final blasts of fireworks, the interview gives a tantalising preview of what is to premiere next weekend.
You can read the interview in full here, but, since this also fits neatly into our News category, we’re also providing a full, concise run-through of everything it divulges right here:
‘¢ Love! Love will be the overriding theme of The Enchanted Fireworks. Surprisingly, we won’t be seeing simple movie projections of Giselle, Robert or Prince Edward on Sleeping Beauty Castle. Instead, since Enchanted tells how fairytale love can exist in the real world, the fireworks and projections will depict the stages of Love, set to the music of the film.
The Story & The Projections
‘¢ The fireworks will tell the stages of Love through 6 clear acts, each dealing with an aspect of romance. There will be projections, somewhat like Wishes, but using two TP6 projectors rather than four, since images won’t be overlayed on top of each other.
‘¢ Beauty. From the Overture comes an explosion of white flowers and projections of lace, like Calais lace — fine and delicate. The flowers evolve upwards from the base of the Castle and then all the towers are covered with lace. This section lasts 45 seconds.
‘¢ Seduction. Feathers caress the towers and turrets of the Castle. This section lasts 35 seconds.
‘¢ Charm. The idea of wooing someone leads to a dinner theme — the candles of the 15th Anniversary decorations glow as extra, spinning candles are projected onto the Castle. This section lasts 1 minute.
‘¢ Passion. Suddenly, your heart explodes! A rainbow and a fan of yellow colours opens outwards across the Castle, symmetrical and powerful, combined with the opening-out of giant spotlights behind the Castle.
‘¢ Love. Intertwined hearts, in colours from pink to yellow, going from the top to bottom of the Castle.
‘¢ Happy Ending. The dizzy feeling love gives leads to a spirally galaxy and starfield, before the “bouquet finale” is launched with fireworks exploding in the sky and sparkling outwards like cauliflowers.
‘¢ The show ends with all these words, which describe the show just seen, caressing the Castle from side-to-side.
Fireworks & Effects
‘¢ The lights mentioned will be like those used for the Disney’s Halloween Soirée Fireworks last year, bright spotlights shining up into the sky that can both move and change colour. Following their success at that event, some were bought for permanent use by the park, and will be positioned on the roofs of Fantasyland.
‘¢ A new, world-famous company has been chosen to put Christophe’s ideas for the fireworks into reality, led by artistic director David Proteau. The company not only puts the firework ideas into a workable design, but manufactures the shells and rockets itself.
‘¢ A “fan of fire” going from left-to-right and back at “incredible speed” across the Castle’s horizon will launch the show. The finale will be what is known as a “cauliflower effect”, which first explodes in the sky and is then followed by the actual detonation sound — the “boom!”.
‘¢ As rumoured earlier, the largest part of the soundtrack will be the ‘Enchanted Suite’ as found on the Enchanted soundtrack album. In addition, Christophe mentions that a more pop-style cue from the ‘Girls Go Shopping’ track will be used as a small finale.
‘¢ Here’s something guests will go nuts for, a real surprise addition: Mickey… and Minnie… standing on the Castle balcony. Yes, you read that correctly! The daily Candleabration ceremony leads directly into The Enchanted Fireworks with the happy couple standing on the first balcony at the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, either side of the giant ’15’ medallion, to announce the start of the fireworks.
In fact, work has already taken place to prepare their spot. As seen above in the photo by Scrooge on French fan forum Disney Magic Interactive, the two smaller Mickey and Minnie statues have been removed and replaced with a small golden support for the medallion.
Finally, the show had its first test performance on 24th June with another just two days later on 26th, allowing for any minor alterations to be made in between. The Enchanted Fireworks officially premieres this Saturday, 5th July 2008!
Oh Mickey, ce sera magnifique!
— You can find the entire archive of 10 Media Magic Interviews here.
You’ve adored the film, fallen in love with Giselle, bought the DVD and played it ’til your neighbours wish you’d be thrown into a well. But did you also read the rumours?
Wishes, the Summer fireworks show at Disneyland Park for the past three years, has had its day. The projection, laser and firework “story in the sky” will not be returning for the 2008 season. Instead, as the whispers have been suggesting for many weeks, an even more Enchanted theme is to take its place.
Finally, we have confirmation! From two sources, no less. First, an official French press release about the Summer season:
“Chaque aprés-midi, alors que les rèves d’imagination, de joie, d’amitié, etc. sont mis en scène dans la Parade des Rèves Disney, le rève d’amour s’exprime, à la nuit tombée dans le parc Disneyland, par le tout dernier spectacle pyrotechnique, Les Feux Enchantés. Cette véritable ode aux grandes histoires d’amour fera vibrer les visiteurs au rythme de la musique du film Il était une fois.”
This excerpt suggests an “ode to great love stories”, “set to the music of Enchanted“.
Secondly and more publicly, an email advertisement sent out to everyone on Disneyland Resort Paris’ UK mailing list has confirmed the show direct to guests:
That’s how we know.
The Enchanted Fireworks — or ‘Les Feux Enchantées’ — will be presented every night over Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in Disneyland Park, from 5th July to 31st August 2008.
What should we expect?
Big, explosive shells are again out of the question — the huge cost for the resort and noise pollution for local towns is too prohibitive for an event running almost an entire two months. The clever laser and projection effects of Wishes are also not confirmed to be a part of the show. Given the spectacular projection show created just for one night with the opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, however, it wouldn’t be too naive to expect those wizards to work at least a little of their magic here.
The music has long been rumoured to be the ‘Enchanted Suite’ from the official soundtrack album. The opening and finale of this track are certainly perfect for fireworks, but a long stretch in the middle — where slower songs such as ‘So Close’ are featured — would likely not lend itself very well at all.
The length of the entire track, at just 4 minutes 35 seconds, is also far shorter than the 9 minutes of Wishes. Should we assume the ‘Enchanted Suite’ will be the basis of the show, but with additions from other parts of the soundtrack?
It is expected the show will be similar and style and size to the popular Tinkerbell’s Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks (1998-2004), which featured the jolly, bouncy songs of Disney’s Peter Pan set to simple, colourful and lively fireworks. This show lasted 6 minutes 50 seconds. In contrast, the slower, story-driven Wishes, though never unpopular with guests, as some fans might suggest, did often fail to make such an instant connection to the audience.
With those brilliant Oscar-nominated songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz such as ‘That’s How You Know‘ and ‘Happy Working Song’ to build upon, The Enchanted Fireworks will likely be more of a “Tink’s” than a “Wishes”, and rather enchanting too.
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