Saturday, 13th October 2007

Corbin Bleu to visit Walt Disney Studios this Monday

In what seems like a rather dangerous publicity stunt, Disneyland Resort Paris have taken the initative to announce Corbin’s appearance in advance via their official 15th Anniversary Blog. Seeing the startling commotion from fans young and old when the High School Musical 2 stars appeared at London’s O2 Arena last month, they’d better be preparing for a record day at Walt Disney Studios Park.

Corbin won’t simply be making a single appearance for the cameras this time either, oh no. According to the blog, he was due to spend a few hours at the resort (and no doubt the Disney Channel Television Studios which are located within Walt Disney Studios) on 15th October to publicise the premiere of High School Musical 2 in France. But, that’s just not good enough for a cool guy like Corbin.

Instead, guests at the park will be able to see him stroll the park, star in the parade and even appear in 2007’s final performance of High School Musical On Tour

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The blog announces that from 10am onwards Corbin will be exploring the park and specifically enjoying the two new attractions — Cars Quatre Roues Rallye and Crush’s Coaster — which he “has promised to try out”.

Then, at 1.15pm, when the drum roll begins and the booming announcements introduce Disney Cinema Parade, you’ll be able to see Corbin as a special guest star with the entire cast of High School Musical On Tour!

Finally, the sad moment arrives with the final performance of High School Musical On Tour for 2007. Yes, that’s right — the show won’t end tomorrow on 14th October 2007 as previously announced. One, final “encore” performance will take place at 2.30pm on Monday, featuring none other than Corbin Bleu himself.

No doubt the audio/visual crews of Disneyland Resort Paris will be out in full force to capture this entirely unique day in the 15th Anniversary celebrations, and we’ll try to bring you everything they capture as soon as possible.

If you’re visiting the park on Monday, or have taken the wild decision to skip work, cancel all plans and head over to Disneyland Resort Paris just from this announcement — expect a blockbuster day.

Sunday, 7th October 2007

Oh happy day! First official trailer for ‘The Celebration Continues’

The trailer has been published online by Parisian post-production company nightshift, labelled ‘Disney Big Time’ and running for around 2 minutes, it comprises a series of footage and graphics introducing the extended celebration and its main attractions, set largely to the gospel choir song “Oh Happy Day”.

You can watch the trailer in Flash format here, before we take a shot-by-shot look at what they’ve created…

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“The 15th anniversary celebrations… Extended by popular demand” reads the first graphics sequence, against a deep red background of ’15’ logos and the words ‘Big Time’, which is used throughout the trailer.

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The the familiar 15th Anniversary anthem music of “Flying”, we’re reminded of the launch campaign for the 15th and its events so far through footage and, later, still images cut together at split-second overlaps, building to the grand finale…

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…of the original television campaign, where a family watched the illumination of the Castle’s decorations. The music here suddenly dips, the footage seeming entirely separate to the new publicity campaign which follows.

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A round of slow clapping, illuminating more stars againt the red background each time, eventually builds to a full applause and the full, sparkling ’15’ symbol seen on Disneyland Park’s LED banners.

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As pre-recorded applause continues, the words “The party continues… big time” and “Ready for even more… Happy Days?” appear on screen.

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As the title song fades in, the screen dissolves to black…

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…And we’re introduced to a young girl, squinting in the sunlight on the Central Plaza stage, swaying her head from side to side and tightening her face as she reaches for the first notes of the song. Mickey clicks his fingers next to her…

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…Before a man appears on screen to sing the opening “Oh Happy Day!”, shaking pixie dust from his fingers.

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The same man then appears in a rather barren shot stood before The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, still shaking his fingers, with the first of three large letter effects used to introduce this “New Attraction”. The construction walls are painted over digitally with a plain yellow wall, whilst a neat effect of thunder and lightning fills the sky above The Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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The shot is soon filled with the other members of the “family” who appear from behind him, as a “bellhop” leans in to give a menacing stare to the camera. The costume used here is actually that seen in the video introductions of Disneyland15.com — the actual bellhops have much darker outfits with plentiful ‘HTH’ branding.

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The logo for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror appears on-screen with a starry black background.

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Then, still to the words of “Oh Happy Days”, we’re shown a selection of footage from the terrifying, faster-than-gravity freefall of the Tower of Terror…

Continued on Page 2.

Thursday, 4th October 2007

15th Anniversary EXTENDED… “en grande!”

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.

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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.

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The second page features a large visual for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with the tagline “Drop In If You Dare” included above the Tower. As previously reported, confirmation of the ‘Stitch Live‘ name is given with a brief description of the experience, whilst High School Musical On Tour is now given a prominent placement at the request of Disneyland Resort Paris, following its exceptional guest satisfaction and feedback in the parks.

Elsewhere in the new brochure, official images show Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Disney Characters’ Express and Toon Studio in their final, realised forms for the first time.

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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.

Brochure images © Thomas Cook/Disney; Scanned by DLRP Today.

Wednesday, 5th September 2007

High School Musical On (an extended) Tour

The brilliant thing about a company like Disney with many different entities so closely tied is that, when one area has great success, this success can than be easily spread to the other areas. High School Musical has not only been a big hit for Disney Channel, merchandise (Consumer Products) and Home Entertainment — three of Disney’s theme park resorts have enjoyed capitalising on the TV movie’s vast cult following with similar success.

For Walt Disney Studios Park, already boosted by the huge impact of Toon Studio, High School Musical On Tour has been a huge hit with guests since its premiere 16th June 2007. The talented cast of dancers and singers immediately won their fans, drawing large crowds, many repeat viewings and superb guest feedback.

The show has certainly been a factor in the two parks suddenly appearing slightly more “balanced” in their offerings this Summer, the Studios now seen by more guests than before as a viable, separate park which should command more time during their visit. You’d almost be able to see the huge, smug grin across the face of Disney Studio 1, if it weren’t for that billboard in the way…

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It comes as no surprise, then, that management want this “golden age” for Walt Disney Studios Park to continue beyond the end of the Summer season, 26th August 2007. High School Musical On Tour has now been confirmed to run until 14th October 2007.

Fewer performances will be presented each day, no shows will be presented on Mondays or Tuesdays and new cast will join to replace those whose Summer contract has ended, but continuing such an immense hit until mid-Halloween should prove incredibly popular. You can find showtimes for this extended run here.

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Crucially, the show will bring life to the Production Courtyard area of the park which otherwise only currently features CinéMagique to entertain guests whilst Hollywood Boulevard and Stitch continue their development. This is the first time a seasonal show at the park has been continued outside of the main Summer season.

High School Musical On Tour will also definitely return in 2008 following its Winter break, to be pushed by Disneyland Resort Paris in brochures and advertisements as strongly as their key 15th Anniversary ceremony at Disneyland Park, Candleabration.

It seems Karl Holz is the latest recruit on the Wildcats’ team.

» You can now find a full video of High School Musical On Tour at DLRP Magic! Video.

Tuesday, 19th June 2007

High School Musical On Tour arrives at the Studios

Originally confirmed by WDSFans.com back in January, the new streetmosphere show does indeed replace Starring Cruella De Vil and feature a unique travelling stage, replicating almost entirely the ‘High School Musical Pep Rally’ shows of Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, as expected. Following a rehearsal day on Friday and five regular performances throughout the day on Saturday, the cast returned for a special inaugral launch presentation that evening, kicking off the Toon Studio Press Event as invited guests stepped onto Front Lot.

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The show uses an almost identical format to the successful US versions, featuring a cast of athletic basketball players and cheerleaders joined by five regular students in various different clothing styles. Whilst the cheerleaders provide dance and the Wildcats a unique variety of “sports choreography” with their basketballs, the students provide additional live vocals to a pre-recorded backing track. Rather than a ‘Pep Rally’ of support for the Wildcats team, however, the story in the Paris ‘On Tour’ version of the show is that the students of East High have travelled to France for a summer vacation of special musical performances.

Guest interaction is a key part of the performance, allowing guests to join the basketball games and dance routines. Surprisingly, for the normally quite reserved DLRP audience, the interaction has proved a success and flows far less awkwardly than most other shows (such as Starring Cruella De Vil) – Disneyland Resort Paris clearly made a good choice with the popular High School Musical franchise.

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Whilst the press were given a unique preview of the show on Front Lot (the first time a streetmosphere show has ever been performed here), the regular shows begin in Backlot – bringing regular streetmosphere back to this production zone for the first time since Rythmo Technico departed for Place des Stars in 2003. But, as the show comes to a conclusion with streamers (an item DLRP appear to have bought a lifetime’s supply of this year), guests will be surprised that the production then heads right towards them, travelling down Rue Georges Méliès past Armageddon for a second 11-minute performance in front of Tower of Terror, the previous performance space of Cruella.

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This unique 22-minute mix of two 11-minute shows is a first for Disneyland Resort Paris, but already it’s clear through guest reaction that the show can support a double performance – many guests follow the production and watch for an “encore” showing, whilst others can hope to get a better view of the action for its second performance. The “join” between the two shows is seamless, with the cast marching along the road to a continuing soundtrack of High School Musical themes.

Whether you’re a High School Musical fan or not, their “summer vacation” in Paris looks set to be a shining success. With Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye only just opened and returning favourites Lilo & Stitch Catch the Wave Party and Good Morning Walt Disney Studios adding even more to see, the Studios looks set to have a record Summer season.

» You can see a full gallery of ‘High School Musical On Tour’ photos here.

All photos by Photos Magiques.

Monday, 9th April 2007

Press Release & Concepts: 15th grows with new attractions

Gathered in the Hotel New York convention centre, the press were told that “the celebration doesn’t end here!” as the resort proudly announced it’s ‘Phase 2’ of the 15th Anniversary, leading from the June debut of Toon Studio right up to Stitch Encounter in early 2008.

On the proud occasion for this new, more confident Disney resort, a special press release was prepared, detailing the new attractions and providing new insight and comment from Walt Disney Imagineers working the various projects. The release is presented exclusively in full here:

Disneyland Resort Paris 15th Anniversary Celebration Grows
As Walt Disney Studios Park Adds Attractions, Entertainment

MARNE-LA-VALLÉE, France (April 1, 2007) – Disneyland Resort Paris continues the 15th Anniversary Celebration with the announcement of even more attractions debuting at Walt Disney Studios Park in the coming year, marking the largest expansion in the last five years for Europe’s No. 1 holiday destination.

“Walt Disney once said ‘Disneyland will always be building and growing and adding new things.’ And in that spirit, we continue to take his mission to heart by designing, developing and creating new experiences that will make our Resort unique, memorable and, most important of all magical,” said Karl L. Holz, chairman and chief executive officer of Euro Disney S.A.S. “We’ve come a long way, and we haven’t finished yet.”

Among projects that are part of the yearlong celebration:

Walt Disney Studios Park Expands
With Toon Studio, 3 New Attractions

Walt Disney Studios Park grows with the June debut of Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally as part of the new Toon Studio. This colorful area transforms the Park’s Animation Courtyard into a lively “studio backlot” that playfully pays tribute to the art of animation.

Crush’s Coaster is the first coaster-based attraction inspired by the Disney-Pixar film “Finding Nemo”. Guests climbs aboard a turtle shell and plunge into the thrilling world of Nemo and his turtle friend Crush, with sophisticated show lighting, sound effects and imaging technology creating a whimsical whirl through the East Australian current.

“Disney has always been known for creative storytelling, and Crush’s Coaster takes immersive storytelling to the next level,” said Tom Fitzgerald, executive vice president and senior creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Imagineers are pushing the boundaries of technology to bring the worlds and characters of ‘Finding Nemo’ to life in incredible, three-dimensional ways.”

Also premiering in June is Cars Race Rally, the first Disney Park attraction based on the Disney-Pixar film “Cars”. Guests of all ages climb aboard for a zany spinning ride on the famous Route 66, created with dimensional movie sets. At each corner of the track, famous faces from the film are waiting to cheer on drivers. As the rocky desert landscape whizzes past and the canyon walls spiral around, your car crosses the finish line.

A third attraction debuts in early 2008 on the Park’s new Hollywood Boulevard — the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, towering 183 feet. Thr thrill ride will dare guests to board a hotel freight elevator — with a faster-than-the-speed-of-gravity drop through 13 floors. Tower of Terror, already a hit at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, is one of Disney’s most popular attractions worldwide.

“Hollywood Boulevard is a great example of infusing our story into the physical space through a 1950s Hollywood neighbourhood with dimensional movie sets, color and lighting,” said Fitzgerald.

More Interactive Fun — ‘High School Musical On Tour,’
‘Meet The Robinsons,’ ‘Ratatouille’ Meet ‘n’ Greets

The hottest dance moves and the biggest hit songs from one of the Disney Channel’s most popular entainment phenomenon come to life in “High School Musical On Tour,” a new immersive show for the whole family at Walt Disney Studios Park.

Debuting on a rolling outdoor stage June 16 and performing through Aug. 26, a multi-talented team of entertainers brings the students of East High to France for summer vacation, re-creating the world of East High, a place where best friends break into elaborate musical numbers like magic. Theme Park guests may even find themselves shooting basketball or joining in as the whole street turns into a party while great songs fill the air.

Performed in several languages, it’s a showcase of sing-a-long fun that will invite all ages to be part of a new kind of live entertainment inspired by the highest-rates TV movie in Disney history.

Also this summer at Walt Disney Studios Park, guests can meet the characters from the newest animated Disney-Pixar film. Beginning June 16 in Toon Studio, meet the starts of Disney-Pixar’s upcoming animated feature “Ratatouille”: Rémy, an adorable rat who dreams of becoming a great French chef, and Emile, his roguish friend. And this fall in Toon Studio, meet 12-year-old boy genius Lewis Robinson and the mysterious boy named Wilbur Robinson who whisks him away to the future in the comedic “Meet the Robinsons.”

‘Living Characters’ Debut with Stitch Attraction

Utilizing the latest real-life computer graphics animation technology created by Walt Disney Imagineering, a new interactive Stitch Attraction opens in spring 2008 at Walt Disney Studios Park. The attraction lets guests talk, listen, joke and play with the fuzzy, lovable alien first introduced to audiences in Walt Disney Pictures’ hit comedy, “Lilo & Sttich.”

Because of the interactivity and immersion of this new experience, the guests are the ‘stars’ of the production along with Stitch himself,” said Tom Fitzgerald, executive vice president and senior creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering.

As Guests enter the theater, a Space Traffic Controller scans a galactic communications screen for “active” alien traffic. Stitch is quickly summoned to talk, joke and even flirt, engaging the audience in spontaneous conversation. The show is never the same twice — whether Stitch plays his guitar, dances around the bridge of the spaceship or takes digital photographs of audience members. And no matter where guests are seated, Stitch sees and engages them in non-stop banter.

“It’s the latest milestone in Walt Disney Imagineering’s legacy of bringing Disney characters to life,” said Fitzgerald.

All-New Live Entertainment in Disneyland Park

In Disneyland Park, Mickey Mouse and dozens of Disney characters star in the all-new Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, featuring famous dream moments from Disney stories, and for the first time ever, the floats have fragrances that fill the air, matching the themes of each float. Also for the first time, most of the floats have two themes, one on the front and one on the back.

Music is orchestrated and conducted by noted musician Steve Sidwell, who also wrote the music for films including “Moulin Rouge,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “Finding Nemo,” and was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.

There are even more opportunities to meet classic Disney characters, including the new Disney Characters’ Express, a specially-designed train that carries the stars down Main Street U.S.A. several times daily. Their musical adventure includes time to meet and greet with guests in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and at special locations added just for the celebration.

And each evening, the park will come to life during Candleabration on the forecourt stage, featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends in a lively song-and-dance finale with the backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle, artfully adorned with delicate sculptures of 15 favorite Disney Characters with shining birthday candles decorating the turrets.

—– End Release —–

The new additions weren’t just previewed with words. Press were treated not only to a special preview performance of the new ‘High School Musical On Tour‘ show, but also to a glimpse at two brand new pieces of concept art, captured and presented to the ‘outside world’ for the first time by our partner site WDSfans.com.

The first is a key concept for the new ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ project, showing our own Twilight Zone Tower of Terror surrounded by 1950s Hollywood city buildings, littered with neons, billboards and seating and towering high above the streets below.

Anyone following the project from its first preview at the January Cast Member rendez-vous event may recognise that this is actually one of two concepts designed for the area. As we heard from the Cast Member event, this ‘Bank of Hollywood’ street set development was not the chosen design – the design will instead be more “pueblo deco” and “mediterranean” as the Tower itself, as seen on the new park map.

The new Hollywood Hills tunnel entrance to Studio Tram Tour is also missing, though the concept does certainly give an exciting and atmospheric look at the theme and surprising size of the project – and of course, finally, our first real look at a dedicated concept art created just for this project.

It’s interesting to note also that Imagineers are describing this as a “1950s Hollywood Boulevard”, meaning that, at the time this fictional “film shoot” is set, The Hollywood Tower Hotel would already have been closed for over 10 years (since 1939).

Finally, another concept art – and again, the first one we’ve seen for this particular project. Showing Stitch’s invasion of the current Walt Disney Television Studios building, this concept for Stitch Encounter shows the building decorated with a new, more blue and purple, colour scheme, along with a huge entrance sign featuring the loveable alien himself. A satellite dish is featured atop the current tower, looking like something straight out of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

A new, circular information board is also featured in front of the attraction, displaying times listings for both French and English performances and matching the Art Deco design of the building itself. The Imagineers working on the new transformation must be relieved that the slight whimsy and futuristic look of the Art Deco building already lends it quite an “outer space” style.

Interestingly, the Disney Channel branding appears to have remained – both on the huge projection screen embedded into the building and atop the new times board. Also of note is that whilst the concept shows a ‘Stitch Encounter’ entrance sign similar to the original attraction in Hong Kong Disneyland, the press release simply states ‘Stitch Attraction’, suggesting the final name has yet to be decided.

With all this announced and released just one day after the launch events and premieres for the 15th Anniversary, it all adds up to a huge range of new additions – bigger, perhaps, than the 50th Anniversary of dear old Disneyland USA itself.

Karl Holz said it perfectly – “We’ve come a long way, and we haven’t finished yet.”

Concept art © Disney; Captured exclusively by WDSfans.com

Friday, 26th January 2007

High School Musical to bop into the Studios

The introduction of a High School Musical streetmosphere show has been rumoured for several weeks, and now confirmation has been given. The show will run from 16th June to 26th August 2007, adding yet another new addition to the hefty lineup of events for the 15th Anniversary year.

It will likely be based on the “High School Musical Pep Rally” shows from Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, the latter of which just moved to Disney-MGM Studios itself after a brief spell at the Magic Kingdom. The shows feature most of the songs from the hit TV movie weaved into a storyline which sees the performers rallying support for the stars of the movie with all the cheerleading and basketball stereotypes of an American High School. If the show is to be performed at the same location as Starring Cruella De Vil, it will be featured directly opposite the Disney Channel studios themselves.

Rumours suggest that the three trailer sets of Starring Cruella De Vil could even be reused for the new show, with the decors replaced. Many will be sad not to see the previous show return, which built up a surprising fan base over its two Summer seasons thanks mainly to the exceptional performances of Cruella herself. You can still find a full guide to old show here, or a video by Photos Magiques here.

As for High School Musical, LaughingPlace.com has a photo guide to the Disney’s California Adventure version, which could give us some idea of what to expect from this all-American high school show.

News from WDSfans.com; Lead photo by LaughingPlace.com

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