Another big week for Fantasyland’s new Princess Pavilion has come to an end with the detail we’ve been waiting for: a name. The marketeers may have spoken of the nauseating “Disney Princesses: A Royal Invitation” as part of the Magical Moments Festival but luckily the Imagineers (and good sense) prevailed, with the final name being exactly the short and sharp bit of classic Disney park alliteration we’ve known the project by all along: Princess Pavilion! The main piece of the new attraction marquee was installed late this afternoon — just like the concept art, a gently bevelled oval with customary swirly font, surrounded by metallic gold detailing and topped with a whimsical crown motif. Two extra pieces of the ornate frame are still to be added either side of the oval nameplate.
Though some very pretty new lights have been installed between the doors, the sign appears to be backlit from within. This is similar to the signage at Fantasy Festival Stage and the land’s Disneyland Railroad Station, especially with the identical shapes, but seemingly at odds with the rest of Fantasyland, where most signage is lit by external spotlights for a greater degree of “olde-worlde” charm. Might this new marquee, intended to look like an enlarged brooch, be just a little too “blingy”?
Workers have made more progress with the addition of five golden flags atop the newly-finished blue rooftops. Perhaps this flourish will help the rather castle-like new pavilion to blend more with the “it’s a small world” area it impinges on, which features similar golden details on all its lampposts and right along its façade of famous landmarks. As noted by reader DGR in a previous comment, the roof tiles are somewhat irregularly-placed to perhaps fit with this being near the “rural” area of the land.
Finally, it’s not just the entrance seeing work: with no mountains to divide them, a new railing has been installed (or rather abruptly bolted into the ground) to separate the meet ‘n’ greet’s way out from that of “it’s a small world”; these two attractions now firmly close neighbours.
Concept art released? Forgive the error — more like rooted out, scavenged. We tweeted the official @DisneylandParis just after exterior construction began on the Princess Pavilion to say how good it would be to see the concept art for this new meet ‘n’ greet attraction released, to actually promote a nice addition to the park. After all, it’s hardly a strong time for tangible new attractions at the resort. So where does this new concept art come from? The Chessy town planning office, via the royalty of the online fan community Disney Central Plaza, of course! So much for slick corporate marketing.
But here it is: a real look at exactly what to expect from the Princesses’ new rural abode. Being a planning document, the first concept above is intended more to show how the development fits into the existing Fantasyland landscape. The whimsically-curved roof, pink walls and tower are all exactly as we’re seeing them go up in reality, while the two existing archways of the former “it’s a small world” exit pathways are shown with heavy wooden doors like those elsewhere in the land. A warm yellow glow beckons us inside and the golden signage atop the roof reads, simply and sharply, “Princess Pavilion”.
Above, the new interior layout of the space, as we tried to explain in a previous update. Now with a proper visual aid, you can see how the former ramp around the perimeter of the building (in green) now acts as a curved queue line, up towards the two Princess meeting places (in red) in the raised and enclosed centre of the building. The exit then leads via the red arrows, with a photo sales point on your right. Notice that the archway on the right, which used to be a quick exit route from “it’s a small world” bypassing the post-show area, will become dead space.
It’s the detail, though, that begins to set this apart from what you might expect of a simple meet ‘n’ greet. Those eight spaces dotted around the queue line’s perimeter? Those will be ornate stone arches, each dedicated to a different princess with a stained glass-effect view of the heroine’s castle and a memento of her plight — a glass slipper for Cinderella, a red rose for Belle.
Not any old slipper or rose — these pieces, displayed under glass cloches, will be fashioned in crystal and illuminated by fibre optics. Snow White, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, Tiana and Jasmine will all have their own arch, with Mulan and Rapunzel said to be vying for the eighth (we’re backing Rapunzel).
When we walked through this passageway back in March, all we saw were breeze blocks. The final finish will give the impression of intricately carved stone columns and bricks, dressed with luxurious embroidered curtains and textiles. With a capacity of 308 people, the inside queue will even have its own specially-created background music loop.
Reaching the two meeting places, guests will have a choice of which princess to visit. Two grand balcony windows will be dressed with more embroidered curtains and decorative stonework, each featuring a backdrop based on the princess in residence. Above, we see concepts for Aurora, with a rolling green landscape looking back towards the castle (a neat touch, since we’re meant to be in the countryside here, away from the Château), and Tiana, surrounded by a nighttime bayou scene. During times of low attendance, only one princess might be in attendance and during these periods, guests will skip out the portion of the queue marked in yellow on the layout plan and go straight through to the photo locations.
You’ll be free to use your own camera for photos of course, but the official photographers in residence here will also have cameras equipped with Wi-Fi, sending your snaps immediately over to the photo desk, which you’ll likely be given paper tickets in order to check out and buy.
The official inaurugation is now rumoured to be Saturday 8th October 2011. Tiaras at the ready!
Remarkably untouched since its opening in 1992, Fantasyland at Disneyland Paris is suddenly welcoming a brand new addition to its fairytale landscape with day after day of marching progress. By Saturday, all the tiles on the delayed Princess Pavilion photo location’s new tower were already in place, just days after the tower itself rose from the ground. Not counting the miniature turrets of Storybook Land, opened 1994, this marks the first new tower in Fantasyland’s kingdom since opening!
Meanwhile, the latest photo by @InsideDLParis just three hours ago shows the wooden struts now in place on the main roof of the façade, ready for tiling to continue. Despite being located in the “rural” countryside section of the land, with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups and Old Mill, the new façade uses a more stately chateau style. Perhaps this is a new garden pavilion of Sleeping Beauty Castle?
Alright, so, as we’ve said before in previousupdates about the big Fantasyland floor replacement works ongoing for the past two months, a new bit of paving is not quite as exciting as a new dark ride or parade. But DLRP Today is not alone in its excitement for this vast stretch of new paving stones, oh no — as Peggie Fariss herself said to us, “sometimes there’s nothing better than a freshly-laid floor” in a Disney park. Couldn’t agree more! We were even taken for a quick “site tour” up to the Fantasyland Gate, where we got to exclusively step through the construction walls for a first look at the almost-finished paving project, switching dirty and crumbling poured concrete for real interlocking pavers.
Even better, we can now take a look at the finished product, too — as the whole parade route up towards “it’s a small world” re-opened right on schedule this weekend! Read More…
Fancy staying up late in Disneyland Park? Normally you’d have to visit in October for a special after-hours party at either of the Halloween theme events, but that’s set to change this June. For 2011, a brand new party will mix two themes in one night: Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party. Both Adventureland and Fantasyland will reopen to ticket holders at 8pm with eight attractions, a huge selection of characters and a variety of special entertainments to keep you entertained right up to 11pm. Four parties are scheduled, for Monday 1st and Fridays 10th, 17th and 24th June. Tickets cost €25 or £22 and are available to buy now online, from your local booking hotline or at the parks. You can find the full programme of events and all the information over on DLRP Magic.com, here.
Although certainly the inspiration, this event shouldn’t be confused with Mickey’s Pirate and Princess Party at Walt Disney World, which kept the whole of Magic Kingdom open and concluded with an exclusive fireworks show. Disneyland Paris previously looked at bringing this event over in 2009, when it was tentatively scheduled for February. Launching in the balmier evenings of June seems like a much more enticing proposition for budding rogues or royalty.
Still, we do have one surprising upgrade — the first block of repaving to be completed so far hasn’t just used the same coloured concrete as before. Oh no. Instead, the area outside the Annual Passport office has been repaved with more expensive individual paving stones, likely to fare better on this heavily-trafficked route and in Paris’ harsh winters.
It remains to be seen if the entire stretch up to “it’s a small world” will be given the same treatment, or if there might just be enough stones left over to finally finish repaving the rapidly disappearing entrance to Walt Disney Studios Park…
Could one of the main attractions advertised for this year’s Magical Moments Festival not actually see its doors open until the 20th Anniversary? Reports originating on Disney Central Plaza forum suggest that Disney Princesses: A Royal Invitation is now due to open in 2012, rather than April of this year. The “attraction” replaces the former World Chorus post-show of “it’s a small world”, which closed last August to prepare for this invasion of tiaras and dresses. A small walk-through area, originally part of France Télécom’s sponsorship, it featured national landmarks with small animations playing in their windows, depicting children around the world uniting through technology.
While it will be sad to lose that delightful Paris exclusive, the new attraction doesn’t sound all bad. As Kristof on magicforum shared, it’s designed by Walt Disney Imagineering — rather than the park’s own Entertainment department — “and the area will be open even when there are no Princesses inside, since there will be interactive elements all over the place.” In fact, the concept seems to share much similarity with an attraction announced just today for Walt Disney World’s New Fantasyland project.
To quote the press release, “In Princess Fairytale Hall, Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses, such as Tiana and Rapunzel, will greet guests in their new home, an elegant royal court.” This new addition in Florida will have a much bigger footprint, as it takes over the current Snow White’s Scary Adventures dark ride, and arrives in place of the several separate princess encounters originally announced, but is due to open in late 2012. A connection, or just coincidence?
Just across the hub from that lifeless market and lacking tree, Disneyland Paris got something oh-so right. For the first time since 2003, possibly earlier, classic boat ride “it’s a small world” was completely redecorated to celebrate holidays around the world.
The fact that we can’t quite place exactly the year when this overlay stopped happening is a bit embarrassing. Perhaps as fans we should have missed it a bit more loudly, or perhaps in 2002/2003 we were worried about other things (like the serious financial difficulties, lack of future attractions for the Studios).
Nevertheless, it’s back — and wow, is it back. If the stupendous colours, music and movement of “it’s a small world” weren’t enough to leave you on a dizzy high for days normally, now the whole, dazzling show is just simply alive…
The reason for this success is simple: respect. All the cultural celebrations, the festive music and hundreds of new costumes have been integrated with absolute perfection into the existing show. It’s a complete labour of love toward the Imagineers’ original creation. Where decorations like the Mickey’s Magical Party emblem on Sleeping Beauty Castle treat the park like a dead canvas, this overlay is something that brings it to life.
From the Candlelight Processional to the Star Wars Weekends and many more, one of the first things to notice about the American resorts for a Disneyland Paris fan is the sheer number of annual events which happen like clockwork each and every year. At the young age of 17, and probably no thanks to the countless changes (management and otherwise) it has seen over that short time, Disneyland Paris just hasn’t built up as many of these traditions.
Hopefully, the return of “it’s a small world” Celebration every November can now be one of them.
— And the good news is, if you’ve yet to book, had your trip interrupted thanks to Eurostar or otherwise, because this Celebration recognises everything from Sinterklaas to Chinese New Year, the overlay stays in place right up to 15th February 2010.
Alongside a full refurbishment of the ride, the two weeks of closure from 9th to 20th November saw 200 dolls redressed in brand new costumes, the addition of 150 special props and accessories and, for the first time ever, the addition of the special Christmas soundtrack, never before heard in Paris.
The Celebrations begin outside, where the whole attraction signage has been switched out for a new design of flags in red and green, dotted with snow flakes, sitting on golden yellow flagpoles.
Captured by Scrooge on Disney Magic Interactive, the exterior decoration also features dressing on the boat, a “Celebration” caption on the secondary entrance sign and an additional notice explaining that throughout our cruise we’ll see “the traditional celebrations which bring all the children together”.
It appears it was none other than George Kalogridis, our departing operations chief, who suggested the return, with the entire project — including repairing or entirely replacing many of the old costumes — completed in just 4 months. The results, even from the few photos seen so far, are beautiful.
“There are some absolutely splendid costumes, sequinned, satiny, with an enormous amount of feathers and fabric more radiant than ever before…” — Hélène Hanquez
Though no doubt, the most exciting revelation from Hélène is the inclusion of seasonal music in the overlay for the first time. Coming from the American parks, the Small World Christmas mix features the classic Sherman Brothers theme interspersed with festive songs such as Jingle Bells — naturally, sung in several languages. A 15-minute compilation was released on the Musical History of Disneyland CD box set, and a festive mix is reportedly being played even outside the attraction, replacing the regular area loop!
All this is quite a pleasant surprise from a resort usually timid to attempt seasonal overlays of its attractions. An interesting post from a member named “RiverRogue” on magicforum might explain some of the background to the project — which appears to be distant from the Entertainment department, who usually reign over Christmas:
Well suspected; from what I’ve gathered seasonal entertainment didn’t have much to do with this year’s “Celebration”. Its project manager comes from a business-related department and was a long-time operational cast member. When he proposed the project he was given a very tight budget and in my opinion made the most of it, not least because he’s very hands-on and did a lot of things himself.
As for the graphics and music, he enlisted a friend of his (also a former operator) in the merchandise division to do the graphic design and audio mixing. The signage was then physically produced in the resort’s Central Shops while Imagineering and the audio maintenance crew installed the new music.
Lights, projections, sequins, feathers, shimmering costumes and sparkly music… This might just be the Celebration to top all others. Bravo and all our greatest thanks to those who pushed for its return and worked so hard to complete it to this standard.
Though the oceans are wide and the mountains divide, you want to see Christmas in Disneyland Paris more than ever now, right?
In fact, it’s looking like a truly nostalgic return to the events of Christmases past, as not only will a brand new Tree Lighting Ceremony be created for Town Square, but the seasonal “Celebration” overlay will finally return to “it’s a small world” after several years’ absence.
The Christmas Tree and the LEDs of the Crystal Castle will now be lit during separate events — the Castle being illuminated as part of a special finale to the last performance of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends each day, similar to the current Halloween final show. And on Town Square, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will “orchestrate” an “enchanted illumination”.
Here’s the full press release for 2009:
The emotion and the magic of a Fairytale Christmas at Disneyland Paris
– From 8 November 2009 to 6 January 2010 –
Marne-la-Vallée, France – Beginning on 8 November 2009, the magic of Christmas will enchant Disneyland Paris. Winter will cast a snowy spell on each of the two Disney Parks, offering a brand-new, surprise-filled programme full of unforgettable memories for families and friends.
A CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH DISNEY MAGIC
The magical atmosphere of a Fairytale Christmas
When the spirit of Christmas comes to Disneyland Paris, the Sleeping Beauty Castle becomes a sparkling Crystal Palace, Mickey Mouse and his Friends don their best winter costumes and guests eagerly wait to greet Beauty and the Beast in Belle’s Christmas Village… Snowflakes fall by the thousands over Main Street U.S.A.® and blanket the majestic Christmas tree that towers over Town Square. Décor straight out of the most beautiful Fairy Tales plunges guests into a unique atmosphere. Enchantment reigns during this wondrous Disney Christmas, allowing children to drop their wish lists into Santa Claus’ mailbox, located in the heart of the Disneyland Park.
New: Winter magic promises an abundance of lovely surprises, including an unforgettable encounter with Snow White and her Prince Charming at Castle Stage and the Tree Lighting Ceremony orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Town Square.
SANTA CLAUS RETURNS TO DISNEYLAND PARIS
Meet Santa Claus in his village at the Disneyland Park
The Christmas Holiday season is just around the corner. Santa Claus and his elves are busier than ever preparing to distribute thousands of presents. Santa has chosen to set up his workshop in the heart of the Disneyland Park to share all the magic of Christmas with children and to be closer to guests of all ages. With his fluffy white beard, his famous red suit and his bag overflowing with presents, no one can miss Santa Claus this year.
“Santa Claus’ Post Office” in the Disneyland Park
The dream continues all the way to a very special mailbox… Santa Claus’ Christmas mailbox. For this enchanted winter season, he has also set up “Santa Claus’ Post Office” to allow children to “mail” their letters and share their greatest wishes.
Children will also be delighted to receive a letter back from Santa when they return home several weeks following their visit. Wishes really do come true thanks to a Christmas signed by Disney Magic.
Location: Critter Corral – Woody’s Roundup Village – Frontierland –Disneyland Park
Disney’s Once Upon a Christmas Dream Parade
Aboard his bright and colourful sleigh, Santa Claus will be the guest of honour at the Disney’s Once Upon a Christmas Dream Parade! He will close this spectacular parade inviting everyone to dream alongside the Disney Characters.
Escorted by his Wooden Soldiers and Elves, in time to special Christmas music, Santa will spread all the magic of winter and Fairy Tales.
ENCHANTING ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DISNEY PRINCESSES
New: Meet Snow White and Prince Charming
This Christmas is the right time for guests to discover and rediscover Walt Disney’s first masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The magic of this delightful tale will come to life on the Castle Stage for an unforgettable encounter with Snow White and her Prince Charming.
And for the perfect last touch on this Disney Christmas, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated feature in Cinema history will be released on high-definition Blue-ray.
Belle’s Christmas Village
During this bright Christmas season, Disneyland Paris guests can enjoy the charm of Belle’s Christmas Village. Between picturesque taverns and traditional chalet stands blanketed in snow, Fantasyland will open its doors to the wonderful world of Disney classics for the Holiday Season. Whisked away by the magic of this tale in an enchanted world, guests can meet Beauty or the Beast while strolling down the streets of this authentic medieval village.
THE ENCHANTMENT OF DISNEY CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT
New: Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Square
Every evening, guests are invited to a stunning brand-new show around the majestic Christmas Tree in Town Square. Enchanted illumination orchestrated by Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person promises to dazzle young and old alike with loads of magical Christmas surprises.
Sleeping Beauty Castle Lighting SpectacularEach evening the Sleeping Beauty Castle undergoes transformation during an incredible illumination display. Over 400,000 lights transform the Castle into a genuine Crystal Palace before guests’ very eyes.
Disney’s Fantillusion Parade will be at its brightest for this Fairytale Christmas. Every evening, from 8 November 2009 to 6 January 2010, when night falls over Main Street, U.S.A., the dazzling night parade shimmers with the help of thousands of lights. The most beautiful Fairytales include Ariel, Aladdin and Jasmine, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, but also Mickey, Minnie Mouse and their friends who parade by, unveiling a lovely story with its happy ending before guests.
MICKEY AND HIS FRIENDS CELEBRATE AN ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS
It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends
To celebrate Mickey’s Magical Party, the Disney Heroes take the new Central Plaza stage by storm and perform their show in 360°. It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends! Guests learn the “Mickey Dance”, an easy-to-learn choreography perfect for spreading the party spirit across the globe.
And every day, for the Christmas Holiday season, the Disney Characters put on an exclusive finale signed by the magic of Christmas. Following the day’s last show, the Sleeping Beauty Castle is transformed into a sumptuous Crystal Palace to offer an exceptional shimmering display.
Mickey’s Winter Wonderland
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and Chip ‘n’ Dale share the joy of winter sports during this show on ice designed to please the whole family. Through slapstick falls and snowball fights, Mickey’s Winter Wonderland celebrates the spirit and the enchantment of the winter season several times a day.
Location: Chaparral Theater – Frontierland
Meet Goofy Santa
For the Holiday season, Goofy just couldn’t resist putting his Santa suit back on! Perched atop his sleigh, he greets children of all ages in the Disneyland Park for a souvenir photo in Town Square.
Happy New Year!
On 31 December, the Disneyland Park welcomes guests until 1:00 a.m. for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party. As the clock strikes midnight, a dazzling fireworks display emblazes the sky over the Sleeping Beauty Castle to bring in a bright and shiny new year.
Mickey’s Christmas Dinner
A unique gift to enjoy as a family for all Christmas Holiday buffs wishing to experience a privileged Disney moment.
This fantastic dinner will thrill the palates of both young and old alike. Beloved Disney Characters are impatient to join them in a lively dance party in the Disneyland Park.
Mickey’s Christmas Dinner can be savoured exclusively on 5, 12, and 19 December from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and includes private access to the Pavilion and privileged Meet’n’Greets with lovable Disney Characters. The delicious Christmas buffet sets the stage for a fun, dynamic and interactive celebration.
Missing above but featured in the French press release is “it’s a small world” Celebration, the resort’s one and only seasonal attraction overlay. It disappeared a few years ago, but they’ve seen sense and the nations of Small World will once again be celebrating New Year’s Eve in their own way from 21st November, with the attraction closed the two weeks beforehand for preparations and a general refurbishment.
“it’s a small world” Celebration
L’attraction “it’s a small world” célèbre elle-aussi les fêtes de fin d’année avec des costumes, musiques et décors dédiés. La plus joyeuse traversée en bateau de Disneyland Paris rend hommage aux traditions de tous les pays qu’elle représente, de la Scandinavie à l’Amérique du Sud, de l’Afrique à la Chine… Si les différentes nations ont leurs propres manières de fêter le nouvel an, “it’s a small world” Celebration honore l’esprit des fêtes adorées par les enfants du monde entier !
A partir du 21 novembre 2009.
Also new this year is the Snow White event on the Castle Stage we reported in August, confirmed above, whilst everything from Santa Claus’ Village and Post Office to Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Belle’s Christmas Village to the special Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade finale all return. The season continues to grow in every respect.
However, it’s the return of the Tree Lighting Ceremony which will no doubt be the highlight of the season this year. Not that there was anything technically wrong with the Central Plaza-based illuminations shows we’ve seen since 2003, but they never managed to get that tear of emotion in your eye, as anyone who saw the old ceremony will tell you.
Now based back around the tree at Town Square, hopefully the new 2009 ceremony will recapture some of that cosy, old-fashioned magic the previous events shunned for Princesses.
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