It was one of the most spectacular events in the 16-year history of the resort, but the official video of the event we just shared features only 4 minutes of highlights from the inauguration show of Marne-la-Vallée’s tallest landmark. The real thing lasted an entire 14-minutes from the chiming clock to the ghostly, wandering souls making their way toward the audience.
Would you like to attend the exclusive gala? Thanks to a source in the park, we’re going back to October 31st, 1939, with an exclusive full video of the entire inauguration show, including front-row shots of the Hollywood cars and zombified victims.
Turn down the lights, yank up the volume, click fullscreen and let Hollywood come to life…
You can also download this video as a WMV file here.
Did you notice, the American broadcaster reporting on the gala evening even announces its callsign as K-WDS? Now remember — don’t stop watching when the fog rolls in, there’s still one final scene waiting to grab you by surprise.
However, the park was distinctly quieter than the same day in 2007, which fell on a Saturday, when record crowds filled the pathways to bursting point and packed into Le Théâtre du Château to see the Irish dancing, musical groups and Disney characters dressed in Celtic greens. On a Monday in low season, the day was a quieter yet still unique occasion to experience at Disneyland.
Once again, it was Le Théâtre du Château which hosted the dance troupes, bands and face painting events throughout the day, swapping its recent St. David’s Day makeover for a return of the green and yellow Irish decorations.
The dance troupes and entertainers themselves were also familiar — many, such as The Lee-Byrne Academy Dancers returning to the resort for the third time. They entertained park guests four times throughout the day with traditional dance, joined halfway through the show by Chip ‘n’ Dale in similar costume.
In the morning and later into the evening, the Gatwick Caledonian Pipe Band provided live music on the stage (see first picture).
All of the performers from both the dance troupe and pipe band, as well as a marching band from Northern Ireland, also took part in the special St Patrick’s Day pre-parade, dancing, drumming and piping their way along the parade route, followed by the stars of the show: Mickey and Minnie in bright green “leprechaun” costumes, riding on the redecorated Main Street fire truck
The pair could be met by guests at their usual locations on Town Square and at Casey’s Corner throughout the morning.
To round out the day of celebrations, which also included Celtic music in Disney Village and into the night at Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, the St Patrick’s Day Fireworks exploded into the sky above Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. The fireworks were largely the same in formation as 2007, with the music remaining identical to the previous two years.
The confirmation comes not from Disneyland Resort Paris themselves but a third-party travel company, Thomas Cook. Their latest UK brochure, released just last week, continues to put the 15th Anniversary logos and promotions at the heart of its pages, despite the edition serving trip planning as far in advance as December 2008.
Brochures such as these primarily use images, logos and texts provided by Disneyland Resort Paris themselves, and so the official texts and taglines of the extended 15th Anniversary are also revealed already. With a double page dedicated to the events, the introduction reads:
15th Anniversary… Celebration Continues
Party on… the anniversary celebrations continue… Big time!
Disneyland Resort Paris is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the biggest party ever and you’re invited! It’s a celebration work celebrating even longer so they have extended it for 2008!
For French promotions the tagline is expected to use the words “En Grande!”, whilst English promotions have to settle for the rather less “grand” wording of — “The 15th Anniversary Celebration continues… big time!” The words “big time!” are to be featured throughout the texts and promotions.
Also of note is the small amount of information given for Summer 2008 — with a photo of the spectacular 15th Anniversary launch fireworks, the text reads simply “…and for our grand finale, fireworks that’ll make a great day even more magical. It’s a summer worth celebrating… big time!”. With no mention of the ‘Wishes‘ name or even photography of the show, a return for 2008 looks very unlikely. In addition to this probable change of ‘feux d’artifice’, the Summer season is slated to run longer than it has for many years, dates confirmed as 5th July to 31st August!
The official brochure for the next Spring/Summer season is due to be released as usual in around December of this year, whilst additional advertisements and promos will announce the extention online and through media such as Disney DVDs.
An official closing date of the 15th Anniversary is now no longer confirmed — it could well be that the resort will be fast approaching its 17th year when the final pieces of the 15th are removed! It looks like Disneyland Resort Paris really hit the… “big time!” with this idea.
Any guests visiting the park for the first time since the 2006 celebrations might have had to check they were in the right place. No more Wonderful World Of Disney Parade, refurbished buildings all over, decorations across Main Street and the Castle, two new attractions over at Walt Disney Studios Park – this was the park’s major chance to show off its 15th birthday to a more local audience.
It’s 23.15, the show begins, and the good luck of 2007 is still most certainly on the side of Disneyland Resort Paris. The fireworks went off with their trademark “bang”, familiar patriotic French music and a special 15th Anniversary sparkle from the thousands of LEDs across the castle’s turrets and candles…
Some members on magicforum remarked that the day actually seemed a little less busy than in recent years, so here’s hoping the fully-functioning fireworks and the impressive events of the 15th will this year incite guests to return again, rather than enjoy the free events in Paris city centre instead.
Throughout the Summer, guests can continue to enjoy an unparalleled hour of nighttime entertainment, starting with Disney’s Fantillusion (now apparently operating a shorter performance cycle and in the opposite direction, leading to guests only being able to see two stops at most) and ending with Candleabration followed immediately by an unchanged Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.
Throughout the day, and especially in the hours before the spectacular launch night event, fans filled the park, put up with being pushed aside to accommodate the press, and soaking up the magic, the buzz and the atmosphere of the night. It wasn’t hard to a spot a fan on the 31st – either by their endless filming and photographing or proud display of circa-1992 Euro Disney clothing and accessories, the celebration truly began with the fans.
Over six months of following the preparations online or in the parks, and of course 15 magical years themselves, had all been leading to this moment. In just a few minutes, the celebration would officially begin, and with it one of the biggest and most important years in the resort’s history.
With Daniel Powter’s well-received performance of two songs finished, he quickly ran of stage to allow a team of crew members to remove the sleek white piano and audio equipment, ready for Candleabration. Along Main Street, the air was filled with the opening synth notes of “Just Like We Dreamed It” for around 10 minutes, with a strange, faint murouring of deep-toned speech on top, only adding to the sense of anticipation.
Finally, with the stage set, lights across the park suddenly dimmed and the fibre-optic “15” plaque glowed and sparkled, the christmas lights on the Castle joining in with their own strobe flashes and sparkles. Trumpets blasted out, heralding the start of Candleabration, before the music faded into the popular Peter Pan “Dreams” theme and the crowds gasped in delight.
As the entrance of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant was illuminated from inside and smoke poured out, returning an image from the 1992 Grand Opening, the team of flag artists and dancers ran up onto the stage and began their routine, cutting through the air with their blue 15th Anniversary flags to the beats of the music.
The music reached its climax, and suddenly a surprise diversion from the usual Candleabration routine began. Arriving on stage first was not Mickey, but instead Lumière – a very special host just for this evening, and a character not seen in-person at Disneyland Resort Paris perhaps since the end of Videopolis’ Beauty and the Beast stage show. Lumière began “Bonsoir Paris! Et Bienvenue!” before joining the shimmering blue-and-white dancers – now with their white top hats for a majestic dance routine set to swirling strings and powerful trumpets, a moment usually enjoyed by Mickey in the regular show.
Behind them, the Castle turrets sparkled and projection patterns sweeped across its towers, before the music reached a dramatic climax and Lumière raised his candles into the sky with the dancers and their hats.
Passing the reigns over to the one that started it all, Lumière announced in French “Ladies and gentlement, please give a warm welcome to our incomparable host, acommpanied by some children full of dreams!,” and welcomed Mickey Mouse onto the stage – “Bonsoir monsieur!”. Mickey replied “Bonsoir Lumière!” before turning to the crowd – “Good evening everybody! Hey, say folks, do you believe in dreams? You do?! Awww, that’s swell!”
As a line of around fifteen children filed onto the stage, in front of the dance team, Mickey continued “You see, I’ve invited some very special friends to be here tonight! And, they’re going to share their dreams with us!”. In the background, the faint opening notes of the score for the resort’s 15th Anniversary teaser trailer played throughout. With the children ready, dressed in their blue outfits and yellow scarfs from the pre-parade earlier, Mickey turned to them – “Hiya kids! Tonight, I’ve got a very special – magical – gift for every one of you!”.
Pointing to the stars the children were holding, he announced “These magical stars have the power to make your dreams come true! So just lift your star, as high as you can, up towards the sky! Now, close your eyes, and make a wish!”. Sleeping Beauty Castle turned a dreamy shade of blue, dotted with stars, as the familiar voice of the Blue Fairy from the park’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular filled the air and translated for Mickey in French. The children then held their glowing, multicoloured stars, as high as they could, and proclaimed “By the power of this magic star, make our dreams come true”.
“Remember children, never stop believing in your dreams, for they are the real magic in the world” the Blue Fairy concluded. “So, listen to your heart, and watch…” “Alors, ecoutez votre coeur, et regardez..!”
Lights faded, the children turned and music swelled to its full rhythm, as Mickey clasped his hand and threw the dreams of the children across the face of Le Château. One by one, fantastical, colourful digital projections of children encountering Disney characters across the resort filled the towers, turrets and spires of the Castle as the rhythm of the music provided a perfect time for the audience to look back on the past fifteen years – and gasp in wonder.
When the dreams faded away, the echoing choir and chords of the “dreams” theme music faded in, joined by a moving projection of a huge red carpet across the Castle, bouncing from side to side and wrapping itself around the turrets. Mickey rejoined his usual Candleabration speech, announcing “You know folks, today is a very special day! 15 Years of dreams and magic, and – fifteen candles! So keep your eyes open, ’cause this is going to be one of the most magical moments ever!”
Music climbed to another deafening climax, the spires shimmered and sparkled with hundreds of lights and Mickey reached out with both hands, stretching out to the audience before turning and pointing his magic toward the Character Castle Makeover.
Then, one by one, timed exactly to the beats of the Peter Pan “dreams” music, each of the fifteen candles burst to life with a flickering, orange glow and an extra “ping” in the music. The audience watching from Main Street shouted the numbers – “eleven!” “twelve!” – and then, the “bougillumination” was complete. Lights flickered across the spires and sweeped up Tinkerbell’s trail of pixie dust, culminating in a burst of gold confetti from her wand, perfectly illuminated and met with a perfect “ooooh!” from the crowd below.
But the party was only just beginning. Minnie stepped on stage and proclaimed “Oh Mickey, c’est magnifique!”, followed by Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Chip n Dale – “And now, it’s time to celebrate our fifteen magical years!”, Mickey announced, as the characters prepared their instruments and “Just Like We Dreamed It” began… with a spectacular burst of fireworks.
To the full, extended version of the theme music, the characters danced and played their instruments whilst a huge, colourful, choreographed fireworks display filled the sky behind them.
Each burst of music, each note, was met in synchronisation with a score of fireworks in every shape, size and colour. From sparkling “wishes” rockets for the “Magically…” chorus end, to giant, pounding, bursts to the drum beats of the third chorus, the display began with simple red rockets and progressed to giant, airbourne, golden bursts like nothing seen at the resort for years.
Whilst budgets and local area laws usually restrict displays, for this night – and this night only – Disneyland Resort Paris threw everything it had at the performance – and into the sky. Even when the display ended with Mickey and Minnie wishing the park “Joyeux Anniversaire!” and a final shimmer of fireworks burning out, the party wasn’t over. “Just Like We Dreamed It” kick-started again for a special encore, as close to 50 huge golden shells exploded above the Castle, filling the sky, as smaller bursts of gold shot upwards below.
The characters danced off stage as the music came to a final climax, Mickey and Minnie dancing a celebratory waltz, before another – final – series of fireworks shot into the sky. If the 15th Anniversary is their big chance to finally turn around the background finances of the resort, they’re not taking any chances. Live music, castle illuminations, character shows, decorations, and extraordinary fireworks – Disneyland Resort Paris has a second childhood, and it knows how to party.
And now… the video!
With the ceremony complete, the press departed for their exclusive Red Carpet party, the 15th Anniversary finally here and now, this simply left fans and guests to enjoy the magic of a fifteen-year-old Main Street USA in Paris shimmering with magic more than ever before…
…Before guests finally said goodnight and an early “Joyeux Anniversaire!” to Disneyland Park, overwhelmed and spirits on high that The Year to Live Your Dream had already come true.
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