With that third film becoming but a distant memory and the proposed High School Musical 4: East Meets West (West Side Story rip-off by any chance?) not due until later this year, it seems there’s a lull in the “phenomenon”. Still looking to save money and focus on the New Generation of characters, Disneyland Paris has not renewed the show. No doubt that whole High School Musical overlay of Backlot Express restaurant is seeming like an even better idea now…
Though ironically in this same week, Disneyland Paris chose to send out a Wildcats-themed email promotion to UK visitors:
Maybe you’re one of those people which didn’t like the ‘HSM’ shows and their overbearing soundtracks trundling through the park — so is this good news for you? Probably not, because there’s no replacement. Given the whole economic crisis shambles we perhaps can’t complain too much, but it is just another area of the Studios’ live entertainment crossed off the programme.
In 2010, the only new live entertainment over at the second gate appears to be Monsters Inc. Scream Academy, which from the very vague details we’re guessing will be something small along the lines of Merlin’s Sword in the Stone Ceremony. Except, instead of pulling a sword from a stone, we’ll be invited to scream as loud as we can and, of course, dance. Screaming kids? We’ll see you there!
From the time these shows began, it’s disappointing how visibly the “party” has come to a crashing halt. Economic crisis or not, the Studios hasn’t seen the faintest touch of “plussing” for some time — revenue-driven additions like the Production Courtyard kiosk add little to the experience and even Toy Story Playland will be an entirely self-contained addition, not improving the existing park.
Where once Hollywood Boulevard was rising from behind the construction fences, promising a rebuilt, properly-themed Studios, and little details like the Monsters, Inc. photo location itself began to appear, it now seems the park is deemed “good enough”. And with High School Musical no longer partying in the streets, whatever your opinion, the park just lost one thing to distract visitors from the fact that it still really, definitely isn’t.
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.
High School Musical On Tour (2007-08) / High School Musical 2: School’s Out! (2008)
From 4th April 2009, the Studios will present a new High School Musical street show — but, it’ll be a medley of all three, titled simply High School Musical: The Party, to tie in with the overall Mickey’s Magical Party celebrations.
Whilst it was expected there’d be two songs chosen from each film to make up a total of six scenes, the final tally has seen High School Musical 2 triumph with three songs, whilst High School Musical has two and the theatrically-released High School Musical 3 just one.
Here’s the final set list:
• “Get’cha Head in The Game” (from High School Musical) • “We’re All In This Together” (from High School Musical) • “What Time Is It” (from High School Musical 2) • “Work This Out” (from High School Musical 2) • “You are the Music in Me” (from High School Musical 2) • “I Want It All” (from High School Musical 3)
The set list means we’ll keep the basketball skills of Get’cha Head in the Game, the infamous clock/wave choreography of What Time Is It and the sign language of You are the Music in Me.
Reports state there’ll be four performances a day, with the same rolling stage stopping to perform the full show twice each time in the usual places — though there’s no news of another redecoration or any new costumes for the cast yet.
High School Musical: The Party will run from 4th April to 27th September 2009.
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Full French press release for “High School Musical : la Fête !” follows:
Les héros de toute une génération sont de retour avec un spectacle inédit.
A partir du 4 avril 2009, les héros de High School Musical font leur grand retour à Disneyland Resort Paris. Sur les traces des chanteurs et danseurs de la comédie musicale devenue un véritable phénomène culturel, les élèves d’East High reprennent la route du Parc Walt Disney Studios avec un spectacle plus énergique que jamais.
Ils ont fait vibrer la nouvelle génération avec leurs deux premiers téléfilms sur Disney Channel (High School Musical et High School Musical 2) avant de voir leurs dernières aventures portées sur grand écran (High School Musical 3: Senior Year) et affirmer leur succès interplanétaire. Les camarades de Troy et Gabriella reviennent à Disneyland Resort Paris pour faire la Fête !
La troupe du nouveau spectacle High School Musical : la Fête ! reprend en chœur les plus grands numéros et les tubes qui ont fait triompher les trois films des Studios Disney :
“Get’cha Head in The Game” (from High School Musical)
“We’re All In This Together” (from High School Musical)
“What Time Is It” (from High School Musical 2)
“Work This Out” (from High School Musical 2)
“You are the Music in me” (from High School Musical 2)
“I Want It All” (from High School Musical 3)
Alors que la fièvre « Wild Cats » n’en finit plus de se répandre à travers le monde, les élèves d’East High profitent de La Fête Magique de Mickey pour inviter petits et grands à se déhancher autour de leur grande scène mobile sonorisée.
Ballons de baskets et pompons de chearleaders sont au rendez-vous de cette nouvelle célébration qui va enflamme, plusieurs fois par jour, le Parc Walt Disney Studios et les fans du phénomène « HSM ».
Du 4 avril au 27 septembre 2009, High School Musical : la Fête ! va faire danser et chanter les visiteurs du Parc Walt Disney Studios et pourquoi pas marquer quelques paniers à l’occasion de La Fête Magique de Mickey ?
Our day at Walt Disney Studios Park on Saturday, 5th April continues as clouds continue to gather above and turn ever darker. With the clock ticking to the park’s much-publicised new ‘Summer’ show, will it make it through before the rain begins?
The same “rolling” (or moving) stage of the first show, High School Musical On Tour, returns to the park following its Winter break, now redecorated to almost exactly match the stages of the two American versions of the sequel show. A banner to the right of the iconic High School Musical letters carries a large number ‘2’, the words ‘School’s Out’ across the front show that this show will take its name straight from the original versions and the colour scheme in general is altered to a less formal, more Summery look. The red stepladder pulled along by the stage in the original show is replaced by a blue trailer carrying the students’ golf club work equipment and beach accessories.
Inspired costuming: “I majored in VACATION”
Rather than rolling into Backlot and continuing into Production Courtyard with The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as its backdrop, the premiere edition was due to arrive just in front of the Place des Stars Stage, allowing more VIP press and film crews a clear view from the large cordoned-off area next to the Tower’s gardens. Regular guests would have to see the show, the only performance of the day, from the sidelines or from behind.
Sunnier Summertimes: Rehearsals leading up to the premiere
As crowds gathered all around and the first spots of rain began to fall, fans could spot a flustered Katy Harris, show director of ‘School’s Out’ as well as ‘On Tour’ and of course Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, directing and redirecting technical teams to make sure the premiere went without hitch. The cast had been rehearsing for several weeks beforehand, with several actual in-park rehearsals from the 31st March onwards.
Show director Katy Harris
During the first week of the new show, which runs only in the late afternoons, they would also be preparing for the return of the original show, featuring songs from the first Disney Channel movie, from 12th April onwards.
Tick tock, tick tock… following a medley from the first movie, the clock began to countdown…
And then, the bell! Schoooool’s out!
As the video above shows, the Summertime songs and real smiles of the cast couldn’t hold back the heavy rain that began around halfway into the show. The cast continued uninterrupted in the usual Marne-la-Vallée Disney style — it seems nothing can stop them. Keep an eye out for show director Katy Harris rushing past toward the end of the video.
Given that this was the official premiere and would be filmed and photographed by press from across Europe — as well as the resort’s own audio/visual team, almost the entire cast joined the show to give a huge team of over 20 singers and dancers in the spotlight. The usual performances do feature slightly fewer extras, but have larger casts than you might expect — thanks perhaps to the lack of a daily parade. Most of the faces amongst the Wild Cats were new, whilst some were returning from 2007.
The show follows exactly the same set list as its American cousins, with dialogue alterations to allow most of the words which weave together scenes to be repeated in both French and English. The songs are presented entirely in English, as they are in fact in the “French” versions of the films.
‘What Time Is It?’ begins the event as the students march to the show stop, with the routine including the now-infamous single line mexican wave. Cookery tools and mops provide props for ‘Work This Out’, swaying couples accompany the four key singers for ‘You Are The Music In Me’ and the basketball theme of the original show and movie is transferred to baseball with ‘I Don’t Dance’.
A clever routine with blue sheets and parasols gives ‘All For One’ a beach feeling and, returning from the first show, ‘We’re All In This Together’ rounds out the duo of High School Musical shows.
Both High School Musical 2: School’s Out! and High School Musical On Tour continue every day through the Spring and Summer right up until 30th September 2008.
Top of the bill for this major international press ceremony was to “reintroduce Walt Disney Studios Park as a full day experience”. With over two hundred million Euros of investment finally reaching fruition, there was certainly a lot resting on this particular Saturday.
Despite opening three months after The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Stitch Live! would be inaugurated first, the star of this joint ceremony to launch ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!’. For the first time, it was Disneyland Park in the shadows as Walt Disney Studios Park played host for the entire day, its Place des Stars Stage next to Stitch Live! transformed with a special backdrop and decorations.
The build-up to the grand opening of Stitch Live! included the little blue nuisance finding his satellite transmission “interfering” with various other video screens across the park.
Up until the 3pm opening, when the satellites finally aligned with the Disney Channel building, Stitch could be seen popping up on the pre-show screen of Art of Disney Animation, on the giant videoscreen of Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular or even on the often overlooked Silly Symphonies projection screen inside Disney Studio 1.
Before the show began, music from both parks filled the courtyard, a kind of ’15th Anniversary megamix’ comprising various tracks such as the Fantillusion theme, Just Like We Dreamed It, Remember the Magic, Candleabration, ‘Flying’ from Peter Pan and more — even a chance to hear some rare instrumental versions of ‘Tous en Train’ from Disney Characters’ Express and ‘The Feeling of Aloha’ from the retired Lilo & Stitch Catch a Wave Party.
Resort ambassadors Wendy Courquet and Arnaud Gayet introduced the ceremony, arriving in a similar style to the ‘Shooting Live’ streetmosphere shows which now entertain on the stage — pulling up in a golf buggy to the music of Roll out the Red Carpet from Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade.
Wendy and Arnaud introduce the ceremony
Outgoing Chairman and CEO of the resort Karl Holz was welcomed to the stage and wasted no time in emphasising the Walt Disney Studios Park location, or the fact that the two parks are “right next door”. Speaking of the original 15th Anniversary Celebration, Mr Holz announced guest reaction was “overwhelming”, quoting the record 14.5 million visitors of 2007.
“We intend to continue the success with today’s launch of our bigger and better celebration,” he continued. “During ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!’ our guests will experience twelve more magical months of bigger thrills, exciting entertainment and interactive character experiences…” At which point, Karl was cut short by loud rustling and frenzied movement from within the giant red present on stage.
The present begins to shake… and smoke
With a shrug of the shoulders, the introduction continued with a pointer to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror behind the assembled crowd, due to be inaugurated later in the day, along with the new High School Musical 2 show. A third interruption from the box causes smoke to pour out from inside. Choking on the smoke (and playing along well), Karl whispered “Are we ok?” as the ambassadors pretended all was going smoothly.
Finally, with the tension becoming too much as Karl moved on to announce the continuation of the original 15th Anniversary events at Disneyland Park, a blast of smoke and a scratch and rip of the wrapping paper saw none other than — you guessed it — Stitch burst out of the present.
Stitch bursts from the 15th birthday present
Arguing in French, the blue alien shouted “Karl has forgotten Stitch!”, to which to Euro Disney SAS CEO answered “Of course, we didn’t forget you. We were just saving the best ’till last!”.
Karl, Wendy and Arnaud attended acting school for 6 months to prepare for this moment
With an impatient space creature on stage, Karl Holz wasted no time in officially declaring Stitch Live! open, as golden streamers burst from the stage, confetti fell from behind and the four stars posed on-stage for photos from the press.
As the ceremony came to a close, announcements invited guests to “discover Stitch Live! throughout the rest of the day”, whilst minor celebrities from various European countries were invited for press pictures against the ‘Stitch Live!’ backdrop.
Guests and the press dispersed across the park for the next couple of hours, the VIPs enjoying priority access to the Tower of Terror via the Fastpass entrance and to Crush’s Coaster via the exit.
The Celebration Continues… Big Time! Launch & Stitch Live! Inauguration
Despite the important events of the day, with almost 2,000 invitees and an expected 14,000 regular visitors, attendance and queue times felt relatively normal. Though it would have been laughable just a year ago, waiting 70 (Tower of Terror) or even up to 90 minutes (Crush’s Coaster) for attractions is now often a reality at the park, however.
Everyone would reunite at 5pm sharp for the grand premiere of ‘High School Musical 2: School’s Out!’ — the only performance of the new show all day — which is where we take you next…
A fifteenth that will last until the seventeenth? Only in Disneyland! With the celebration now continuing as we speak and our full coverage on the way, it seems a good time to recap the story behind the extended anniversary, the reasons for extending it and the advertising they’re using to promote it.
First ‘Celebration Continues’ visuals / Second ‘Celebration Continues’ visuals
We first received confirmation that the celebrations would be continuing at the start of October 2007, with the end date extended right through to March 2009. The original draws for the 15th Anniversary would all return, of course. That means Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Candleabration and Disney Characters’ Express, along with all the decorations and the two new attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park, Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. The only ‘original’ event not to return this Spring is Alpha Bet You Are.
Third wave ‘Celebration Continues’ visuals – the new “red carpet” poster
Fourteen and a half million guests, a record for the resort, and overwhelming response from those guests ensured the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort Paris wouldn’t be a short-lived affair. Indeed, to end the celebrations just as Walt Disney Studios Park completed its remarkable transformation would seem like an odd thing to do. And so, what was truly the ‘biggest Disney party ever’ has become even bigger in 2008.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has finally arrived after six years, Hollywood Boulevard brings rich Imagineering detail, Stitch Live! presents a whole new interactive experience and the second High School Musical show ensures Summer time is all the time. The alternative pitch for 2008, a Year of Mickey Mouse, the celebrate the maestro’s 80th birthday, wouldn’t have made it so easy to include these new attractions in the promotions.
We saw the first trailer for The Celebration Continues just days after hearing the news of the extension. Set to the song “Oh Happy Day”, it was met with a mixed response, with fans much less enthusiastic than the original 15th Anniversary teaser trailers. Luckily, the actual television advertising campaign that followed in February 2008 was every bit as good as the first, showing children running through Main Street and pulling wrapping paper from the buildings, from the Castle and from the new 2008 attractions.
Original brochure for ‘The Celebration Continues’ – branding has evolved a little since
Tying together the entire 15th Anniversary year, through advertisements, events and more, was the ongoing theme of a “red carpet” leading to Disneyland, along with the candles that would become the stars of Candleabration and the Sleeping Beauty Castle overlay. For ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!’, the red carpet is replaced by wrapping paper, presents and more traditional birthday themes, as first seen on the Spring/Summer 2008 brochure, several pages from which are featured above.
Since then, the colour scheme is now being taken into overdrive with the classical blues, reds and golds becoming multi-coloured greens, turquoise, yellow and pink, as seen in the new Paris tourist leaflet below.
New Paris tourist trade brochure introduces the parks equally.
Disneyland Resort Paris seems keen for ‘The Celebration Continues… Big Time!‘ to be seen as a separate event to the ’15th Anniversary Celebration’ that preceded it. With such important new attractions added to the offerings, you can see why. And, as our special launch weekend series begins, you’ll be able to discover every second of the magic here on DLRP Today…
Whilst the show’s two US homes — Disney’s California Adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — were content to simply replace their original ‘High School Musical: Pep Rally’ street productions with the brand new ‘High School Musical 2: School’s Out’ last Summer, featuring mostly songs from the Disney Channel sequel, it appears Walt Disney Studios Park will be doing things a little differently.
High School Musical 2: School’s Out, the DCA and DHS version
Replacing High School Musical On Tour with a show dedicated almost entirely to songs from the second TV movie would certainly upset fans of the original film’s soundtrack. So, the current plan is for a very clever compromise — the original High School Musical On Tour will return for two performances, each with two show stops, in the morning and early afternoon of each day.
Then, in the afternoon, it’s “the start of the something new”, as High School Musical 2 rolls into town with a brand new show based on that at Disney’s California Adventure! This show features a Summer theme, a redecorated version of the rolling stage and a few of the stars arriving by golf cart, as the ‘HSM’ stars find themselves “Summer vacation” jobs. Songs featured in the US versions are ‘What Time is it?’, ‘Work this Out’, ‘You are the Music in me’, ‘I Don’t Dance’ and ‘All for One’, along with an encore of the first film’s ‘We’re all in this Together’.
Brochure promotions for the show(s)
Current promotions for “The Celebration Continues“ year so far have only stated that a “High School Musical Show” will be playing. This news confirms for the first time that not only will Paris receive the High School Musical 2 sequal, but fans of the films will actually be able to discover two different ‘HSM’ productions in the same day.
It is not currently known how or if the decoration of the stage would differ between each show, since the High School Musical 2: School’s Out shows in the US, pictured above (top), feature a twist on the original design.
Rehearsals using this planned schedule are due to begin soon, with High School Musical‘s rolling stage returning to the streets of Walt Disney Studios Park from 5th April, with just one performance (with two stops) of each show daily, until five performances per day begin from 12th April — two of the original, three of the sequal. The shows are then scheduled to run right through to 31st August 2008.
You can find Part 1 of the series here and Part 2 here.
Video – Corbin Bleu visits Walt Disney Studios Park
The main video begins with Corbin riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and feeting the first few fans to recognise him, before strolling across the park (pointing to Tower of Terror) toward Crush’s Coaster, which he rides several times. Next, the video features his entire pre-parade and the star watching Disney Cinema Parade itself. The video ends with clips from 2007’s final High School Musical On Tour performance and Corbin signing more autographs from fans gathered during the show.
Video – Corbin Bleu interview at Walt Disney Studios Park
Against a backdrop of the High School Musical On Tour stage, Corbin speaks about visiting Paris, the differences between Disneyland Paris and California, the cast of the show, the 15th Anniversary and more.
The young star has certainly been trained in the art of making good soundbites, hasn’t he?
A theme runs throughout the entire collection of press photos from Corbin’s visit — yes, all the in-park shots are exclusively from Walt Disney Studios Park.
In the past, VIP guests have invariably posed in the usual spot beside Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, and certainly always within Disneyland Park. However, Disneyland Resort Paris has apparently just remembered it has a second gate, and is only too happy to flaunt the newly-improved experience within.
His debut album has been somewhat less succesful in the US than expected, but, adored by mostly female fans of a younger age (and no doubt their mothers), the premiere showings of his three “Disney Channel Original Movies” were seen by a total of 33.4 million viewers in their native country. The recent UK premiere of High School Musical 2 drew an impressive 1.3 million viewers on its own, one of the highest audiences in recent years for a digital subscription channel.
Be it from a love of the parks or simply to keep the mouse that made him famous happy, it’s nothing but refreshing to see a VIP guest who has no problem lending his smile to so many moments of great publicity for the Studios…
…or, in some cases, something nearer to a scream.
Next, Corbin headed across the park to Toon Studio and one attraction he certainly won’t have seen in the States: Crush’s Coaster. With his father David Reivers, most well-known, strangely, for his role in Corbin’s own Disney Channel hit “Jump In!”, Corbin made himself one of the first true celebrities to take on the resort’s newest roller coaster.
In interviews taken later, the star apparently had nothing but praise for the latest thrill, enjoying its spinning movement and comparing in detail the different experiences given from riding the initial part of the attraction forwards or backwards.
Speaking of Disneyland Park, he said the Castle was “beaaautiful!” and enjoyed how the original attractions were “the same, but also brand new”, comparing the story of Phantom Manor with its Haunted Mansion cousin. A good soundbite for the 15th Anniversary Celebration saw Corbin suggest how young the resort was and how much there will still be to come, “considering, in California, we just celebrated our 50th.”
Either this guy had a press release fed to him, or he really knows his Disney parks. Regardless, the resort now has a valuable collection of publicity from one of Disney’s biggest modern-day stars…
And he even said a quick “thank you” to Mickey Mouse himself.
When DLRP Todaybroke the news Corbin would be visiting Disneyland Resort Paris back on Saturday, we knew right away the resort wouldn’t be wasting this perfect opportunity for some of their own publicity. They announced the news on their own 15th Anniversary Official Blog, and, when the day rolled around, it was clearly covered from all angles by their audio/visual crew.
Even before his day at Walt Disney Studios Park began, Corbin was allowed to enjoy the sights and attractions of Disneyland Park, with a stop at Disneyland Hotel’s luxurious Café Fantasia to sign some prizes, pose for photos, show off a Mickey Mouse watch and meet a selection of journalists…
On Monday at Walt Disney Studios, Corbin first visited the Walt Disney Television Studios within the park (home of Disney Channel France and future home of new interactive attraction Stitch Live) to give interviews with reporters from radio stations and Disney Channel’s European networks.
The star wasn’t present at the main European launch event in London last month, so this was his first chance to promote High School Musical 2 and his new album over here.
The guest reaction was mixed between slightly confused and completely starstruck — the original film wasn’t quite as big a success in France as other European countries, but the look on many kids’ faces as their hero calmly drove by was priceless. Luckily, visiting on a Monday in early October meant park attendance was lower than usual.
High School Musical fans who spotted Corbin here then had less than an hour to prepare themselves for the main event — the final 2007 performance of High School Musical On Tour, with Corbin not just making a cameo appearance but singing and dancing along with the cast…
The show ended with a dream photo opportunity for the show’s 2008 return, plus some final extra pictures for the journalists covering the event…
Corbin was then free to meet his screaming female fans gathered around the area, signing autographs against the backdrop of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, answering questions such as “where’s Zac?” and posing for photographs.
And that’s it, the first season of High School Musical On Tour has come to a close!
Throughout the later months of 2007 it has symbolised the quite remarkable change seen throughout the whole of Walt Disney Studios Park — the “Start of Something New” would sum it up nicely. With new attractions opened, new theming completed and this mega-hit show presented several times each day, a worthy partner to the original Disneyland Park finally began to appear.
Didn’t have the chance to visit this Summer? Lucky for you, the celebration continues — and so does High School Musical On Tour, returning April 2008!
Join DLRP TODAY tomorrow for EVEN MORE from Corbin’s visit to Disneyland Resort Paris!
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