Thursday, 31st July 2008

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties arrive!

We’ve known the frights of Disney’s Halloween Party for over 10 years now. The special “hard-ticket” event begin in 1997 and has continued to bring a more adult, eerie and frightening evening of entertainment to Disneyland Park every year since on 31st October — occasionally with additional dates.

Now, as Disney’s Halloween Festival enters its second decade of events in Paris, the entertainment directors are planning their biggest shake-up of the after-hours parties yet. You might have already heard the rumours earlier this year, but if not, we’ll announce it for you — Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties are coming to Paris!

This will be a brand new, extra ticketed event for Disneyland Park playing across three Fridays (10th, 17th and 24th) and one Tuesday (28th) in October 2008. Though the name comes directly from our friends over at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida’s Magic Kingdom park, the event in Paris will be entirely different and, at least for its first year, quite a bit more intimate. There will be no Boo-to-You Parade or Hallowishes fireworks, the name is, in fact, the only similarity.

Official advertisement visual.

Central to the occasion will be Fantasyland, made over with special decorations and illuminations, welcoming you not only to almost all its attractions but exclusive new shows, entertainments and character meets throughout the land.

Here’s the full press release:

NEW: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

This year, Disneyland Resort Paris will host 4 brand new parties at Disneyland® Park during the month of October 2008 for younger guests who like to dress up and want to celebrate Halloween with Disney Characters.

The Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties welcome families for an evening in Fantasyland® dressed up as Halloween for the occasion. Fantasyland will have a special décor giving an unusual atmosphere with exclusive night time shows, and roguish Disney Characters and Jack Sparrow, new music, and Streetmosphere and many other surprises.

Guests will sing, dance and laugh with Merlin and the four surprising witches: Minnie, Lilo, Daisy and Clarice in the castle courtyard and will enjoy the final Halloween happening at the end of the evening.

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio’s Fantastic Journey, Le Carrousel de Lancelot, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, ‘it’s a small world’, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Pirates of the Carribean will be open.

The Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties will run from 8.00pm to 11.00pm. (Dates: October, 10 … 17 … 24 … 28, 2008) and the Parties ticket holders can benefit of entering the Park as early as

**Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties tickets will be available at 25€ for adult and children (free for children under 3 years old). Attendance is limited for these events in order to ensure premium experience, we recommend to buy tickets in advance on or to call + 33 1 60 30 60 53

The idea is to tap into some of those brand new younger guests now visiting Disneyland Resort Paris in greater numbers thanks to the long-running “Kids Under 7 Stay & Play FREE” promotion of the 15th Anniversary years. The target age will therefore be 4 to 7 year olds, with these Fantasyland attractions and friendlier characters chosen to suit. The party also therefore ends a little earlier than that of the 31st October, at 11pm, and stays within Fantasyland for the duration.

However, with the promise of special entertainments created just for these four parties, not to mention new costumes for many of the characters and the chance to enjoy Fantasyland and Pirates of the Caribbean at night — likely under the glow of special illuminations — it should be a welcome new addition to the Disneyland Resort Paris calendar for even the oldest fans.

Tickets are available to book now via your local Disneyland Resort Paris hotline.

[Images © Disney]

Wednesday, 30th July 2008

Horrors new and old for Halloween 2008

Here it is, the press release in full. We’ll be introducing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Parties in a separate article, and be sure to read below for a full re-cap of the news and much more information…

Disney’s Halloween Festival at Disneyland Resort Paris

The logo — for just one more year…

Marne la Vallée, July, 2008, from October 4, 2008 to November 2, 2008, guests are invited to discover the unmissable colourful Halloween season in Disneyland® Park that will be full of surprises.

During the month long celebration, Disneyland Park will offer a range of new Halloween entertainment to make the whole family scream with laughter. The spirit of Halloween is up for grabs for the delight of all, Pumpkin Men and Ladies will lead the fest which takes place on Main Street, U.S.A., Central Plaza and Frontierland®, transformed in Halloweenland for the occasion. And for the first time Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties in Fantasyland and not forgetting the now famous Halloween Party on October 31st.

Halloween invades Main Street, U.S.A.®

Guests, entering Disneyland Park, will discover a ‘˜spook … tacular’ Main Street, U.S.A., covered with blotches of orange paint left behind by the Pumpkin Men and Ladies.

The Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime presented by Minnie dressed in Halloween fashion line and surrounded by Pumpkin Men and Ladies will take place several times daily on Central Plaza, followed by a giant ‘Meet’N’Greet’ with Disney Villains.

The Halloween Disney Characters’ Express will several times daily go back and forth on Main Street, U.S.A. with beloved Disney Characters on.

The Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade which features famous moments from the most beloved Disney stories ever, will be preceded by a special Halloween pre parade featuring the Disney Villains, Pumpkin Citizens and for the first time, Tim Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas characters Jack Skellington and his friend Sally.

New advertising graphics.

Halloweenland: the heart of this scary, good humoured celebration

Once through the gateway of Fort Comstock a walk along Halloweenland’s pathway will offer guests loads of surprises.

There will be regular shows on the Trick or Treat stage:

‘¢ Minnie & the Bat Boys will appear with live music and a host of singing classic Disney Villain songs.
‘¢ Goofy and the Magic Pot, an exhilarating and energetic show where children can learn to make pumpkin soup and dance alongside Goofy himself!

At the Phantom Manor boot hill cemetery, guests may meet Jack the skeleton and his friend Sally, from Nightmare before Christmas.

Children will enjoy the traditional Halloween Piñata for the chance to grab some sweet treats several times daily.

Disney’s Halloween Party in Disneyland® Park*

New image to advertise the Halloween Party.

On the night of Halloween, Disneyland Resort Paris lets all the friendly ghosts in for a special Halloween Party from 8.30pm to 1.00am in Disneyland Park. Night owls in their most spectrrrraaaaacular costumes can enjoy family friendly and ghostly nights filled with fun and laughter.

As always guests will be able to experience a wide variety of Halloween entertainment:

‘¢ The Disney®’s Fantillusion Parade, where the world of darkness meets the enchanted world in a fantastic twilight spectacular
‘¢ A Special Fireworks display with the fangtangulous backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle
‘¢ Spooktackular Stage Shows on the Trick or Treat Stage (Halloweenland) and The Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
‘¢ A Spooky DJ Party on Main Street, U.S.A

*Disney’s Halloween Party ticket will be available at 29€ .On October 31, 2008 attendance is limited in order to ensure premium experience, we recommend to buy tickets in advance on or to call +33 1 60 30 60 53. The Party ticket holders can benefit of entering the Park as early as The Party can be modified, or cancelled without prior notice, notably for inclement weather.

This is Halloween, this is Halloween! Let’s begin with the most interesting announcement of it all — real, live meet ‘n’ greet versions of Jack Skellington and Sally will be arriving on Boot Hill next to Phantom Manor for the duration of the festival! These characters have never before been featured in Paris, and only officially debuted for the first time at Hong Kong Disneyland last year.

The ongoing, if not elevating, popularity of Tim Burton’s stop-motion classic can be seen at the resort even today by the amount of merchandise both being sold, bought and worn around the parks.

Phantom Manor will not be getting an overlay in the style of the ‘Haunted Mansion Holiday’ from California and Tokyo, but the Nightmare Before Christmas theme will certainly become a strong part of the Halloween Festival, as the couple pop up again in the pre-parade of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. The new daytime parade will again not be made-over for the festival as the park’s old parade was, as the entertainment directors stick to a short cavalcade to precede the event and keep the popular parade intact.

One element of the 15th Anniversary that WILL be given a makeover this year, however, is Disney Characters’ Express, now to be known as the Halloween Disney Characters’ Express with special decorations and rather more villainous characters on-board.

Stitch leaves, new villains arrive, Minnie gets a new outfit.

Last year’s popular new Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime event on the Central Plaza Stage will also be expanded with a couple of new villains — Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas and Shan-Yu from Mulan.

Besides this, the festival looks remarkably similar to last year. Minnie and the Bat Boys and Goofy and the Magic Cauldron return to the Trick or Treat Stage next to Cowboy Cookout Barbeque, as does the long-running Halloween Pinata. Even Disney’s Halloween Party on 31st October sounds like it might, for once, remain quite similar to the previous year.

As for decorations, on reading the press release you’d be forgiven even those will be the same — Main Street again overrun by orange “Pumpkin Men” and Frontierland turned into Halloweenland. But here’s the big news: This year, those Pumpkin Men will arriving on their own. The Pink Witches, including their live character forms and all decorations (such as those unpopular cauldrons near Fuente del Oro Restaurante) are GONE.

Goodbye, good riddance…

In addition, Stitch’s very short-lived invasion of the event is now well and truly over, as the resort seeks to refine his presence to the new Stitch Live! attraction over at Walt Disney Studios Park. In place of these two, for 2008 we will instead be welcoming the Pumpkin Men in much greater numbers — and, as you read above, Pumpkin Ladies too.

Reports suggest that brand new decorations will be created, in a much more “Disney” style. Both Mickey and Minnie will also apparently wear brand new costumes, in rich deep purple, orange and green colours. Finally, everything will again be focused on Disneyland Park — no expansion whatsoever of the festival into Walt Disney Studios Park is planned.

The directors are taking the entire concept back to a more focused, classical approach — and continuing to develop the “Disney” presence in the festival at the same time.

[Pictures & Images: © Disney, by DLRP and Photos Magiques]

— Disney’s Halloween Festival kicks off on 4th October and continues until 2nd November 2008. Keep your devilish stare and scrawny face pointed right here on DLRP for more news…

Tuesday, 9th October 2007

Woody’s Roundup right here, today!

In what must be the quickest blue-sky-rumour to open-for-guests attraction turnaround in Disney history, the redevelopment of Frontierland’s old Critter Corral lost its green construction walls and opened for guests this past weekend on 6th October, less than three months from when the walls first arrived.

In that time, we’ve seen two new, wooden buildings constructed to enclose the central square, a sharply-pitched roof joining the two and a third construction creating a raised platform in the middle of the area. On a minimal available budget and in practically no time at all, it seems Disneyland Park is already ready to present a brand new Frontierland attraction, the first since 1996…


Woody’s Roundup! And isn’t that just the most rootinest, tootinest attraction logo around?

Recreating the logo seen in the film Toy Story 2, for the 1950s children’s television series which Woody discovers he was once the star of, the new signage sits on a support of a horseshoe standing in two cowboy boots — very much the style old-fashioned Wild West humour, as seen elsewhere in Thunder Mesa on posters and notices and other imagery. Woody cowboy hats rest either side, telling us this is where the “rootinest tootinest cowboy around” comes to relax. The letters of “Woody’s” are made in 3D as if styled from rope.


Yes, here it is, the Pixar cowboy-themed area predicted and promised by magicforum and DLRP Today for several months (or with this construction timescale — weeks), the first areas of Woody’s Roundup are already open!

With the Father Christmas Village the only use for the redeveloped area confirmed by the resort so far, it’s a surprise to see this attraction logo installed so soon and the area already fulfilling its new purpose, albeit with an impressive Halloween theme.

The roofs of the new buildings (now a Halloween workshop to replace that usually in Central Plaza’s Giant Pumpkin) are decorated with small pumpkins at their peaks and corners, whilst the area beyond the roundup, around the small grassy slope at the rear of the Roundup, has been filled with all kinds of Halloween props…

Image Image

Amongst Pumpkin Men in various poses and some props from last year’s FantaStitch Stage decoration, there seems to be a resurgence in the number of traditional and/or real pumpkins in this year’s Halloween decorations, in addition to the oversized false ones.

However, after so many years of Disney’s Halloween Festival, it’s hard for us to keep track of what’s actually new in these lavish overlays. Some things, on the other hand, are simply confusing on their own…


Back over at the Roundup village, the Halloween workshops are presented alongside the main attraction of the redeveloped area… the meet ‘n’ greets.


New signage displays the times Woody and Jessie, the two main members of the Roundup Gang, will arrive from their Frontier adventures to meet the fans in their real-life home.

The signage again uses the Pixar-designed logo, which thankfully stands very well amongst the rest of Frontierland — a rather sacred ground for the average Disneyland Resort Paris fan. The wooden pole is wrapped with rope for an extra touch of theme.

The idea of the area is very much like Toon Town — or Toon Studio, for that matter — with a Western theme. Whilst we won’t get a true idea of what the Roundup will offer until next year when its Halloween and Christmas uses have passed, guests can already step up onto the new raised platform in the middle of the area to meet the characters against a backdrop of the cowboy village.

Image Image

Unfortunately for his many fans, the third member of the Roundup Gang — Bullseye — is not currently scheduled to make appearances.

Whilst you’re in the area, you can’t fail to notice the brand new area loop which has been introduced, the first new loop at Disneyland Park for quite some time. Featuring the classic song “Woody’s Roundup” itself along with many others from The Riders in the Sky‘s album Woody’s Roundup – A Rootin’ Tootin’ Collection of Woody’s Favourite Songs which was released with the film back in 1999.

The buildings all have classic Frontierland-style lanterns hanging from their roofs, as seen across the land, plus a mixture of wooden-tiled and metal roofs. The two new buildings come fitted with windows to keep out Paris’ unfriendly climate. More horseshoes across the wooden (or in some cases, such as roof supports — faux wooden) supports to continue the theme of the entrance signage.

Image Image

However, as these latest pictures by Photos Magiques show, the Roundup still has much space left to be used and more final details and developments to be completed. The covered animal stables and enclosures remain empty and the Woodcarver’s Workshop remains closed.

The changeover to the much-advertised Father Christmas Village should no doubt bring more completion to the overall area, likely then giving it a feel similar to the stage set of the Mickey’s Winter Wonderland show across the path. It is not confirmed whether the Woody’s Roundup characters and signage will be removed during this event, but it’s certainly possible Woody could be heading into the sunset — temporarily — just one month after he arrived.

All photos by Photos Magiques; You can see even more from Halloween here »

Tuesday, 11th September 2007

Halloween festival launches to the power of 15

When Stitch joined the Halloween festivities in 2006, it marked a turn towards a more “Disney” and “childish” theme for the festival, with fewer of Disneyland Park‘s unique Pumpkin Men and more classic Disney characters dressed up for trick or treating. This was joined with a shift back to the older Mickey Mouse pumpkin logo for the event rather than the darker, and less “Disney”, 2005 version.

This year, as Halloween goes “to the power of 15”, the logo is very familiar. The Disneyland15 logo has simply been given three simple silhouettes of bats, and for Christmas season the same simple idea will follow. Certainly, one thing the old season logos always missed were the words “Disneyland” and “Paris”


You might have already noticed the logo on the new online advertising banners which officially launched today for Disneyland Resort Paris’ affiliate network…

Halloween banner

Or, failing that, a visit to the official Disneyland Resort Paris website in the past few days will not have allowed you to miss the strong Halloween promotions now going on. In addition to links in the “What’s New?” section and on the sidebar, the actual main logo of the website has been completely altered to take on a Halloween theme. All this, to lead visitors to the brand new Halloween mini-site, now launched at the annual address.

Let’s take a look…

The website is open to an unusual mixture of countries, including Switzerland and Ireland now with
their own sections — Ireland in particular has seen a small surge to the magic recently.

Choosing your country sends Stitch flying towards the Castle, before you find
yourself in a haunted house with Stitch at the door — “trick or treat?”

Opening the front door to the masked creature (is this a good message for children?) sends him
spinning monstrously into the room, before leading you to the Halloween events at Disneyland…

A welcome screen introduces the Halloween events effectively.

The main screen is set in Frontierland, with Stitch climbing into a mine cart. With Main Street filled
with Lumiere’s 15th events, will the Far West become the true Halloween homeland again?

“Create your own scary face” lets you do just that, with a nice silhouette of Big Thunder in the
background. The build of the website is very similar in style to the main 15th Anniversary website, an
equally, if not even more, professional.

The “Halloween Festival” tab leads to general information and photos for the season. Nothing
particularly new is mentioned other than that featured in the recent press release.

The 31st October Halloween Party (which requires an extra ticket) gets a much more prominent section this year, equal in size to the main festival information and with much to tempt a visit.
Particularly — absolutely no mention of a “Ghost Ship Cavalcade.”

Main Street is used at the backdrop of the Halloween party. The website also features wallpapers
and a screensaver, information about Kids Under 7 Free and an online game to become the
“Halloween Champion”, though apparently no mention of the actual prize.

Whilst most of the photos used throughout the website are taken from previous Halloween events (largely the 2006 season), a couple of new photos have been produced already this year, seeming to give an impression of the Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime

Image Image

However, the true event is expected to take place in daytime, finally bringing the Central Plaza stage to life without having to wait for darkness to fall. The villains are expected to make way completely for Candleabration (and Disney Characters’ Express, it would appear) to continue as normal throughout the festival.

Overall, a very promising launch campaign for this years Halloween festivities, don’t you think?

Whilst the emphasis on the 15th Anniversary might have left the traditional Halloween events by the wayside, they seem to be planning an event stronger than any year before — that’s the power of 15.

Tuesday, 31st July 2007

‘Spooktacular’ Halloween for the 15th Anniversary

From the first days of the 15th Anniversary, fans have been asking what will happen during the annual Halloween and Christmas events. Recent weeks have presented rumours such as a new daytime show on the Candleabration stage and even the return of Disney Villain Parade! Trick or treat?


The English press release reads as follows:


From 6th October to 4th November 2007, a spooktacular Halloween season comes to Disneyland Resort Paris, offering laughs and mischief for all the family

With the help of Classic Disney Villains, Frontierland in the Disneyland Park transforms into Halloweenland. Cruella de Vil and Captain Hook will take over the park, creating a spooky setting for Halloween mischief and mayhem. There will be tricks and treats galore with the spooky season’s special guests, the high energy Pumpkin Men and Pink Witches, who are sure to entertain kids of all ages at the daily Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime.

There are regular daily shows on the Halloween stage in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Goofy and the Magic Pot is an exhilarating, energetic show where children can learn to make pumpkin soup and dance alongside Goofy himself! Minnie and the Bat Boys will also be appearing on stage daily, with live music and a host of other Disney characters singing classic Disney Villain’s songs.

Kids can join in the fun as favourite Disney monster Stitch, from the ‘˜Lilo and Stitch’ Disney animation film, wreaks havoc across the park and takes over the 15th Anniversary ‘˜Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade‘.

Disneyland Resort Paris also becomes even more interactive during Halloween season. Guests will have the chance to meet dozens of Disney characters, witches, stilt walkers and other street artists. Children aged between 3 and 11 can enjoy free face painting and ‘˜hair-raising’ antics with Disney’s crazy coiffeurs. Several times a day the Mexican game of Piñata, in Halloweenland, is a test of strength and luck as kids try to break into the colourful paper mâché objects, stuffed with all kinds of sweets, biscuits and candy.

So to recap, the new Disney Villains show on the Candleabration stage will be called Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime, whilst the FantaStitch Stage in Halloweenland (Frontierland) will welcome back Goofy and the Magic Pot from last year along with the Bat Boys – this year led by Minnie rather than Donald. And as for the parade – it appears a minor Disney Villain Parade-style takeover may happen to the fresh-faced Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, likely the pre-parade mentioned in the past.


However, the French press release goes on to give even more information and confirm that a Halloween pre-parade, led by Stitch, will precede Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade – “A cortege 100% Halloween led by Stitch”, “Guests won’t believe their eyes! Surprises guaranteed!”.

The Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime appears to be a spectacle of rivalry between the Pumpkinmen and Pink Witches, hosted by the Disney Villains, to determine which camp of Halloween mischief should be declared winner of the season. Guests will clap, dance and tap their feet to the music and songs, before laughing (for the Pumpkinmen) or screeching (for the Pink Witches) to determine the winner.


The decorations and atmosphere of Halloweenland will return as normal to Frontierland. And the “Orange County” makeover of Main Street USA? Those Pumpkinmen won’t give way for anything, not even the 15th Anniversary! They’ll be back, and apparently giving the 15th Anniversary decorations their own personal, orange, touch…

This Halloween seems like a big success – we’re having nightmares already!

Friday, 1st June 2007

Once Upon a Dream for Christmas and Halloween

The special collector’s issue of the quarterly magazine features a double-page spread of an exclusive interview with Francois Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment for Disneyland Resort Paris.


Whilst the questions are largely geared towards introducing shareholders to the unique entertainment Francois and his team have developed for the Anniversary year, the second-to-last question is one that has been on fans’ lips for countless months already…


“During the year of festivities, how many Parades will we have during the Halloween and Christmas seasons?”

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade will be presented throughout the year of the 15th Anniversary festivities. The Disney Villains will surely try to disrupt it at Halloween. Christmas will follow in naturally at the end of the parade to add still more magic.

The answer provides confirmation for the very first time that not only will Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade continue right through Halloween and Christmas, but there will be NO major dedicated parade for Halloween or Christmas, in the style of Disney Villain Parade or The Christmas Parade of recent years. This has been rumoured for some time, since the floats of these parades — redecorated from The Wonderful World of Disney Parade — have now mostly been taken out of service, and will never return.

Therefore, this Halloween we can expect a “Once Upon a Dream” with a touch of mischeif (likely a pre-parade segment in the style of last year’s Stitch Cavalcade), and this Christmas will bring an extra Christmas dream to the parade — will it be Santa Claus’ sleigh at the end of the parade, or something new?

All we have for now are dreams…

Wednesday, 8th November 2006

Disney’s Halloween Party Night 2006

The evening began at 8.30pm, with guests asked to enter via Walt Disney Studios’ gate before filing around to Disneyland Park, avoiding the guests still leaving from the park. Once through the gates, the Pink Witches pounced immediately, chanting their spells and shouting their words of witchcraft to the passing guests on Town Square, holding signs proclaiming “Pink Witches – Choose your side!”

In addition to the park’s main attractions being open for guests, the usual series of special entertainment kicked off in Halloweenland (Frontierland) at the FantaStitch Stage. The Halloween Festival show “Goofy and the Magic Pot” was joined by musical performances from “Hot Couture”, the female lead singer of which gave a rousing performance trademarked by more jiggling dance moves than ever seen before inside Disneyland.

Exploring deeper into the beautifully lit park, Adventureland was the place to meet and greet characters of every kind. Whilst Jafar, Ratcliffe, Shan-Yu and more gathered by Restaurant Hakuna Matata, a massive band of Pirates (including Jack Sparrow himself) was on the rampage opposite Captain Hook’s Galley, taunting guests and jumping over and around the beach scenery. If these characters were a little too menacing, a hop over onto Adventure Isle found classic characters such as Peter Pan, Wendy and Mr. Smee, whilst the Galley featured a pirate playing bagpipes and outside Pirates of Caribbean itself a live Pirate band performed throughout the evening.

At select times during the evening, a firey cavalcade made its way through Adventureland’s Bazaar and across the Adventure Isle bridge to Pirates’ Beach, where a haunting ceremony of flames and chanting took place, culminating in a giant blast of fire into the air above the water. Despite their best attempts, Adventureland appeared intact the following morning. Back in Frontierland, more villains such as Gaston and Cruella De Vil were waiting with the Pink Witches, and all manner of strange and mysterious fantasy creatures roamed the park.

At 11.30pm, The Ghost Ship Cavalcade made its way onto the parade route at Town Square. Presented entirely by an outside performance group, the show featured Adventureland’s fire artists and pirates joined by performers in flowing white costumes (surprisingly none of which caught fire). At the end of the cavalcade, the Ghost Ship itself arrived, with acrobats hanging from the masts. The music was unique to the performance, which featured three long stops just on Main Street itself, and was perhaps reminiscent of artistic circus performances such as Cirque du Soleil. Overall, however, the crowds appeared hugely unimpressed with what most agreed was a slow and misplaced performance.

You can see the Photos Magiques video of The Ghost Ship Cavalcade here.

Similarly disappointing, perhaps, were the fireworks. 2005 saw the creation of an impressive “Sound & Light Spectacular” featuring video projections depicting the story of the Pumpkinmen and Pink Witches. This year, the theme of pirates was used to create The Black Pearl Fireworks, a simple and fairly unoriginal performance of fireworks to music from both Pirates of the Caribbean films. An exciting finale for fans of the film, but otherwise an unimpressive end to a Halloween Party that, in terms of its unique live entertainment at least, never really entertained.

You can see the Photos Magiques video of The Black Pearl Fireworks here, and more photos from throughout the evening here.

Thursday, 26th October 2006

When Main Street moves to Orange County

Four years later, and their “Main Street: Orange County” decorations weren’t even meant to appear, until a last-minute decision just days before the festival began.

Never before have seasonal decorations caused such a stir as when the Pumpkinmen made their debut in 2003. They formed the central part of a revamped Halloween festival, which also saw the introduction of the Disney Villain Parade and the launch of a new theme song, It’s Halloween-Lo-Ween.

Only during Halloween could an Imagineering creation like Main Street USA, such a key part of Disneyland’s history, be plastered with orange paint splashes and overrun by plastic Pumpkinmen figures “frozen in time” by a Witch crashing into the Gazebo. Whilst the fans revolted, the public seemed to embrace the new characters, making the most of the new photo oppertunities and enjoying the live streetmosphere, which – horror of horrors – included Pumpkinmen painting over Main Street’s shop windows with real orange paint!

Included in the nearly one hundred Pumpkin touches around the land, we’ve got Pumpkinmen sat on false, paint-splattered benches, Pumpkinmen hanging from buildings in giant paint pots and odd Pumpkin signposts – all of which surely receiving thousands of “What the?!” remarks from guests every day. The most noticable change for 2006 is likely the addition of Stitch the Main Street Station sign, which has been rather ruthlessly cut into to show a black silhouette of Stitch. A nice effect here, though, is that smoke slowly floats out of the sign, as if Stitch has only just jumped through it.

Originally, the “frozen” Pumpkinmen figures were also designed to help blend the old Lights of Winter into the festival. Installed early to save time and money, the towering, snow flake-styled light arches were given several small orange stickers and a few Pumpkinmen to help hide the fact they were installed a month early.

Even in 2006, signs of Christmas have made their way into Halloween again, with half of the Enchanted Fairytale Illumination chandeliers installed at the Central Plaza end of Main Street: Orange County.

The illustrations here were drawn by Jérome Picoche for the 2003/04 seasons, showing the original vision for the Pumpkinmen invasion and the crash landing of Gruzella. In 2005, Gruzella was redesigned as the leader of the Pink Witches, who also now frequent Main Street at various times of the day to cause trouble with their fight against the Pumpkinmen.

Below, you can see just a small selection of the concept sketches created when Disneyland Resort Paris Creative Entertainment introduced the Pumpkinmen. The team, led by entertainment head Kat de Blois, designed each scene from scratch to suit various locations all around Main Street. Love them or loath them, it can’t be said that Pumpkinmen invasion wasn’t crafted with a lot of attention to detail.

When Main Street moves to Orange County, it might do it in a surprisingly un-mouse-house style, but it certainly does it with all the extravagance and detail we know and love as Disney, don’t you think?

You can see more photos of this Halloween on Main Street at Photos Magiques.

Tuesday, 10th October 2006

Ghoulish figures start to wake!

The changes begin even before the parade itself, as the Pink Witches (added to the festival last year as a rival to the Orange Pumpkinmen) step onto the parade route at Town Square and make their way to Fantasyland, leaving a trail of mischief behind them. This new “pre-parade” uses the wacky “Boo To You” soundtrack from Walt Disney World’s Halloween celebrations, and shows a return to a more “complete” parade experience for the resort’s entertainment teams.

Once the parade begins, with the Pink Witches lined up at the opening gate, the changes continue throughout. The huge inflatable orange ball, which rolled along thanks to a walking parade performer inside, has obviously succumbed to the claws of Stitch. The Pumpkinmen’s orange paint well float from 2005 (also used as the Snow White float in Disney Princess Parade) is now a general orange paint float for the “fab 7”, with Mickey and Minnie no longer using their rustic horse-drawn wagon to begin the parade. Along with this, the scarecrow dance section has also been lost. The updated orange paint float features Stitch wearing a pumpkin mask in a paint pot at the centre, whilst the Pumpkinmen themselves are relegated to a dance section at the start of the parade.

The final change is the addition of some unlikely new faces to the parade’s character lineup. Not wicked Disney witches or gruesome bad guys, but instead a collection of some of Disney’s most innocent classic characters. With characters such as Peter Pan and Pinocchio, it seems clear the parade is now attempting to cater for more guests than simply those supporting the Villain’s devilish ways.

You can now find a full guide to this year’s parade at DLRP Magic!, or a full photo gallery direct from the magic at Photos Magiques.

Update 17:28 GMT: Photos Magiques have now uploaded a full video of this year’s Disney Villain Parade to YouTube, which can be found in 3 parts:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Friday, 22nd September 2006

It’s Halloween-lo-ween already?

With over 2 weeks to go until the season begins (and over 6 weeks until Halloween itself), two of the most major Halloween props have already arrived. First, the Giant Pumpkin on Central Plaza was completed just a few days ago. The huge temporary structure is home to the festival’s face painting workshops and has been a key icon of the season since 2003.

Over in Frontierland (or should that be “Halloweenland” already?), there’s an unexpected return for a controversial landmark – the huge paint mining tower. Despite being strongly rumoured not to return due to the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment and supposed dislike from the new management, the towering metal structure is already in place, though not complete. Introduced in 2004, the “Téléfreak” (a pun on the french work for chairlift/cableway, téléphérique) is a large prop consisting of a moving cableway between the steel tower and the “Pumpkin Paint Mine” of Big Thunder Mountain. A large paint pot also connects to the tower with a pipe, to supposedly collect the orange paint being mined.

Many suggest it is unlikely the full system will return, since the large scale refurbishment at Big Thunder would make the cableway hard to install. It therefore seems likely that simply the mining tower and giant paint pot will return for 2006.

Thanks to Poppy the Monkey at magicforum for the 2006 installation photo.

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