It’s the dawn of a new day. Construction walls have finally come down in Central Plaza, revealing the finished repaving project across the hub of the park following the much-celebrated removal of the overbearing stage which had resided here since 2009. After seven weeks of work through freezing conditions into the milder days of early spring, the completed Central Plaza is now a vast expanse of smoothly-finished concrete pavement — no obstacles, no obstructions, just a perfect view of Sleeping Beauty Castle and of course, the impending Disney Dreams! nighttime spectacular.
In fact it was Steve Davison, the director of Disney Dreams!, who grabbed these very first photos of the plaza without construction walls at 6am this morning. Though we don’t entirely envy Team Dreams with their nocturnal work shifts, seeing dawn break over a wide, open Central Plaza is one well-deserved reward. Steve shared the first photo above with the comment: “WOW! What a wonderful view! No Wall! No Stage. Just a beautiful view of the Castle. Enjoy!” He followed this up with further praise for our castle and a clearer critique of the poorly-integrated stage: “It’s so much better without the stage. It blocked this amazing piece of architecture. WOW! What a castle!”
That certainly suggests we’re not the only ones happy to see that back of the enormous stage, which presented three consecutive shows of varying popularity. Beginning with It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends in 2009, it then saw the far superior Disney Showtime Spectacular in 2010, before whimpering to a close with Mickey’s Magical Celebration last year. Even before those shows, the plaza was taken up by a smaller stage for the 15th Anniversary Candleabration show in 2007 and 2008, and for the castle lighting show of the previous Christmas, meaning the plaza hasn’t been open for guests since as long ago as 2006.
Deciding not the reinstate the small circular flower bed in the middle of the hub was probably a wise idea for crowd control during Disney Dreams!, but does such an entirely bare Central Plaza make an ideal heart for the park? Couldn’t they have done something more interesting with the floor, or is it best to just let the castle take all the presence here? Whatever your opinion, you’ll no doubt at least agree with Steve Davison that the view opened up is “Simply beautiful!”. We have a lot to thank Team Dreams for. Longer park hours, a real, nightly nighttime spectacular, and now a Central Plaza back to how it should be. No stage, just a beautiful view of the castle.
And now let’s take a closer look. It begins with Disney Showtime Spectacular, the new Central Plaza show which thankfully appears to be defying its generic name by possessing some interesting ideas.
Of course, this is possibly the first time at Disneyland Paris we’ve seen characters from the likes of Toy Story or The Incredibles taking part in a stage show, and the classic Disney characters are going to welcome them in style. As you can see from the concepts captured below, Mickey and Minnie (and possibly the other VIPs) will have a costume to match each scene of the show, transforming — somehow — from chef outfits for Ratatouille to green army gear for Toy Story, bright Hawaiian colours for Lilo & Stitch and black superhero masks for The Incredibles:
Insider Poppy the Monkey on magicforum has revealed that the soundtrack of the show is around 70% new to Disneyland Paris, though the entire It’s Party Time score from Mickey’s Magical Party has been thrown out. The It opens with a new song, “We’re the best of friends”, and ends with the catchy “Goin’ down the Bayou” from The Princess and the Frog.
The show is “non-stop, very fast, very fun” and contrary to earlier plans and press releases, won’t just be “an end to the day” with a single performance, but happening 3 or 4 times each day. And some good news for those who disliked the Mickey’s Magical Party event — this time, the large cast of dancers back up the characters, rather than almost stealing the show themselves.
The characters appear in groups, with Sully joined not only by Mike Wazowski (who hasn’t been seen live in Paris for years) for the Monsters Inc segment, but a monster-disguised Boo, who has never made it over here before. Stitch, meanwhile, will be joined by his much less well-known partner: Angel (experiment 624).
Public previews/dress rehearsals are due to begin from next Tuesday, 23rd March, if all goes to plan. These aren’t “official” performances and so cannot be fully confirmed, but if you’re visiting the park in the two weeks leading up to the New Gen launch, you may well get an exclusive preview.
Next up, the new Ratatouille car for Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. After the reveal a couple of weeks ago, the video gives a better look at the some of its features:
Here are the official fun facts about the car:
• Adding Ratatouille to the parade involves an additional 1 minute and 40 seconds of music. The Ratatouille car will be accompanied by a medley from Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne.
• The car includes props, costumes, chef hats and even aprons for the driver-dancers!
• It travelled for 19 days by boat to reach the port of Le Havre, before it was shipped by freight container to Marne la Vallée.
• The car was originally a 1950 Studebaker and it has been fully customised at Disneyland Paris to include special effects and animated kitchen props from the world of Remy and Emile.
• It is powered by electric battery and can drive for 90 minutes on a single charge!
• Take a close look at the tyres as the parade rolls by, as they are not real… they are specially-constructed rubber-covered foam rings, which will never get a puncture!
• The car boasts the film’s famous Ratatouille on its bonnet and a moving pile of pots and pans that gives the impression they are all going to come crashing down!
Though these fun facts for the press wouldn’t have you know it, the car is of course the old Star Wars automobile from the original Florida parade.
The moving pots and pans will be built on top of the circular metal mechanism you can see being tested in the video. The new angles on the concept art reveal the hood (bonnet) of the car will be decorated like a check table cloth with the plate, of course, holding a large helping of ratatouille.
Bringing Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen to Disneyland Park doesn’t just mean shipping over the same costumes as the couple wear in their American park appearances, oh no. Since they’re taking “pride of place” in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, that means a special crystal, gold-laced gown and suit to match those given to the other royal couples back when the parade launched in 2007:
Official fun facts of Tiana’s dress:
• It takes more than 80 hours to make one dress .
• 20 m of crystal fabric are used.
• 80 m of golden thread are woven through the dress, involving more than 100 hours of embroidery work.
• More than 200 m of iridescent thread shimmer in the 20 m of brocade used.
• For that extra sparkle, there are 80 glistening rhinestones on each dress.
• More than 100 beads and rhinestones adorn Tiana’s magical tiara.
He won’t be “animatronic” of course, the cost would be enough to buy 10 new Disney All Star Express trains and rival the RER, but judging by his pose could give a wave of his faux-robotic arm as the train rolls along, in that classic Disney parade style.
What’s been occuring at Disneyland Paris this weekend? The St David’s Welsh Festival, a now-annual event spread over three days, this year from 5th to 7th March, to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of Wales (which is actually held on 1st March) — and no doubt tempt a few proud compatriots over to Disneyland Paris in the process.
As the schedule reveals, this is a rare chance to see Merlin calling up guests to pull Fantasyland’s sword from its stone, a location now used more frequently for the Sleeping Beauty “happening”.
It’s also the only time in any Disney park in the world you can see Mickey and Minnie dressed in traditional Welsh costume, be it at their special meet ‘n’ greets or riding the Main Street fire truck as a special pre-parade. Where the upcoming St Patrick’s Day has shamrocks all over, St David’s is all daffodils and leeks…
What was that about spoiling pictures? Oh yes, the decorations. Though (if you can believe it) not as bad as they could have been, this was certainly a year to point your camera… elsewhere. Try a new angle rather than that generic castle shot.
But, for one last bang before the year is locked away in the pages of Euro Souvenirland, our Mickey Moused medieval castle celebrated St David’s with the traditional fireworks display…
How do you say “what a relief”, “good riddance” in Welsh?
For the first time since 2002, the Christmas Tree is given its very own illumination ceremony. As reportedpreviously it’s a similar format to the classic shows, as Mickey Mouse lights up the giant tree with the help of a young child from the audience.
Forming the stage, a parade float you’ll certainly recognise — it’s the same one which served the event back in the early years of this decade, and has since returned every Halloween and Christmas in a variety of temporary seasonal guises.
It’s not an entirely nostalgic show, though. The music isn’t the wonderful old soundtrack but the newer illumination music previously (and in fact, still) used for the shows on Central Plaza. And as its director Christophe Leclercq explains, the story behind the show is also different.
When the parade float pulls into Town Square and stops in front of the tree, the much larger group of characters dance to a medley of songs before the show’s live host, in French and English, explains that the tree can only be illuminated by opening the magic book in front of them — which itself can only be opened by the hands of a child.
With the chosen child on the podium, the book opens in a sparkling glitter-ball effect, throwing beads of light all around Town Square as the tree gradually lights up.
With the final blast of the music, the Princess Chandeliers lining Main Street illuminate all at once, leading guests towards the yet-to-be-lit Castle at the end.
That event has now been slotted into the final performance of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, which, taking place in full darkness, has been tweaked with new, warmer costumes for the dancers and a series of new projections and lighting effects on and around the Castle.
Notice the musical notes for Baloo, and the yellow animal patterns for Timon.
After Peter Pan’s final game and before the last “Mickey Dance”, the Castle is quickly illuminated to the same “Lumina” music of recent years — practically the same music just heard earlier during the Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Then, before you’ve chance to gasp in wonder or soak up the atmosphere, — boom! — it’s back to the party. And “La Mickey Danse” continues on…
But never mind, Sleeping Beauty Castle lit for Christmas is still a sight to behold — once that damn dance remix of “Mickey’s Magical Party Time” has faded out, at least.
The Princesses are nowhere to be seen, remembering that even the past two years they were featured heavily in the Enchanted Candleabration illuminations show. Perhaps this provoked the pushing of Snow White’s new “happening” as a Christmas season event, because if they’re still going for a “Fairytale Christmas” (and judging by all the press releases, they are), keeping the disco Party Time finale so intact makes it all feel slightly off the mark.
UPDATE 10/11/2009 — Disneyland Paris released a few extra photos yesterday after this article was published. Taken during Saturday’s press events (note the empty park and hundreds of press badges), they feature the view up toward the Castle as snow blows across the rooftops of Main Street:
The same view in the opposite direction, towards the Christmas Tree:
And a wonderful view over the whole of Town Square, showing the set-up of the returning Tree Lighting Ceremony, with the float/stage parked in front of the tree for the ceremony.
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.
Just like that, the nights are dark and the leaves are falling. And since the Saturday just gone, 4th October, Disneyland Paris is back in the Halloween spirit for — with great coincidence — its 13th season.
So what’s new? For the past two years the festival had to coincide with the eternal 15th Anniversary celebrations. This year, it has to battle Mickey’s Magical Party for airtime. In this great big roundup of all things Halloween, we’ve quotes from DLRP Magic!.com‘s interview with festival director Emmanuel Lenormand and some fresh videos pulled from YouTube along the way.
This is Halloween – let’s hope we’ve no need to scream.
Jack Skellington & Sally move to Cottonwood Creek
The Nightmare Before Christmas pair were so popular during their inaugural season in 2008 that they’ve had to be given a wider area than Phantom Manor‘s Boot Hill. This year, they’re over by Cowboy Cookout Barbeque instead…
Halloween Opening Parade
…but do again appear in the rather dull-titled “Halloween Opening Parade”. The pre-parade to Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade this year features lots of Pumpkin Men (or Pumpkinfolk), a horse and cart carrying the couple and the old Carollers/Snow White/Seasonal float carrying Cruella, Gaston, Stitch and other “Villains”, all set to the music of Florida’s HalloWishes fireworks “This Is Halloween”/”Grim Grinning Ghosts” remix.
Here’s the pre-parade moving past (40 seconds in):
It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends… and the Disney Villains
…and a Ridiculously Long Name. This is only one performance mind — the first three shows of “It’s Party Time…” each day run as normal, with only the final show (currently at 7pm) being given a light Halloween touch.
Emmanuel Lenormand wasn’t being modest when he described it as “only a camera” in his recent backstage interview. Just as the show is wrapping up, thunder claps and the usual Halloween sound effects herald the arrival of Maleficent via the stage lift usually reserved only for Mickey.
(jump 5 minutes 35 seconds in)
Apparently the witch is there because she’s upset not to be invited to Mickey’s Magical Party (clearly she hasn’t had to stand through “It’s Dance Time…” like the rest of us). The purpose of her arrival will be lost on a vast majority of guests, however, since she speaks only French. Yes, it’s Goofy’s Summer Camp all over again. Not all that long ago, Entertainment would have ensured a mixture of languages and then possibly a repetition of what’s happening from each language.
But huh, who cares. Soon enough, rather than doing something, er, “villainy” as you might expect, the now collection of baddies suddenly begin to take part in yet another rendition of the so-called “Mickey Dance”. You can’t deny it’s funny to see the Old Hag from Snow White bopping away to the rock-pop theme song, but for the past few years the festival was been built around a centrepiece show here on Central Plaza. Now that focal point is just a silly dance.
A touch which feels more special, though, is the addition of pyrotechnics to the stage as Mickey disappears towards the end (which can be seen at 10 minutes 15 seconds in the video above). They produce a whole lot of smoke but make for a great finale. Apparently they were meant to be there for every show, since April.
It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland
Though not marked on the Programme as being part of Halloween, Emmanuel Lenormand does comment: “There will also be a similar cameo at the end of It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.”. Naturally, we’re all expecting Gaston and Cruella De Vil going wild to the show’s quintessentially Disney number “Shake Your Booty”, and nothing less.
If you’ve seen the real “cameo”, do comment below.
Minnie’s Halloween Party Train
Now on version number 2,561 of this meet ‘n’ greet train, the park has redecorated the carriages with thorny vines and pumpkins, adding Halloween sound effects over the already saturated soundtrack. The bigger change, though, is that the train now only makes it as far as Town Square, doing a loop around the Gazebo before stopping for the characters to step down.
There’s a bit of a blunder with the introduction, however, as the train is announced as the old “Disney Characters Express”, yet later, Minnie’s ear-piercing voice of 2009 continues to play, so guess away at how that mix-up happened. D’oh! And to think Minnie’s Party Train so nearly got away with guests thinking it was a “brand new” event!
Disney Witches Dancing Spells Party
The difficult name might not exactly inspire, but from Emmanuel’s words this new show on the temporary Trick or Treat Stage near Cowboy Cookout Barbeque sounds like it might be the hit of the season. The stage has been redressed, given a proper set — even special effects. Maleficent and the Old Hag from Snow White battle it out with the help of placed audience members.
“In this show, Maleficent and the Old Hag from Snow White arrive in a cemetery during the night to have fun with their cauldrons and spells to invent new potions. Four children/dancers passing by are going to be choreographically transformed according to the Hag’s and Maleficent’s potion ingredients.
“For that show, Jérôme Picoche came up with some superb scenes, with the transformation of the tombs into cauldrons, with effects everywhere, and a cool ambiance!”
Unfortunately nothing appears to have made its way online yet, so we’ll keep you posted.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties
This year, the extra-ticketed events take place on 9th, 16th, 23rd and 27th October and have thankfully been extended beyond Fantasyland to also include Frontierland and Pirates of the Caribbean. Last year, everyone was kept inside Fantasyland for the duration.
Emmanuel elaborates: “It was such a success last year that we decided to fully open Central Plaza and Frontierland for the occasion. There will be a brand new show in front of the Castle with Disney Characters, in which each good character with confront his or her evil counterpart! And again, there will be lots of candy and sweets handed out.”
“There will also be a Disco Party in Frontierland. The whole place will be filled with dance and fun everywhere! With all of our dancers and Disney Characters, it’s going to be terrific!”
Disney’s Halloween Party (31st October 2009)
And on the big night itself… there’ll be not a bang in the sky. The big talking point for 2009 is what amounts to the cancellation of the usual Halloween Soirée fireworks show. Over the years, they’ve been good and they’ve been underwhelming, changing almost every year. But this year, there’ll be nothing at all after midnight.
Instead, Emmanuel has been helping to prepare a brand new “Light and Sound Show”. Getting that sinking feeling? Don’t judge too soon — as Emmanuel revealed, “we’re going to revisit the elements that made last year’s show such a success — projections, dancers, etc — but enhanced a million times! You’ll have up to 60 artists, projections, pyrotechnic effects and the Castle transformed into a stage itself!”
Last year’s finale show, in case you didn’t catch it online or in the park, was one of the most impressive to date, using the old Central Plaza stage for dancers and a very rare appearance by Sorcerer Mickey — who even did his special pyrotechnic trick usually reserved for Fantasmic! in the States.
Beyond possible noise or cost issues, there’s one good reason to scrap fireworks in the unwelcome early closures it brings to the whole back half of the park. “The idea is to have Mickey confronting the forces of evil with lots and lots of surprises: black light effects and lots of projections.”
“In fact, we’ve got a new projection system which is really effective, so you’ll be able to see giant characters and news ways to animate the walls and the windows of the Castle. It’ll look really different.” All things considered, maybe this kind of imaginative, one-off show is actually better than the same old low-level squibs we’d see otherwise.
Oh, Halloween at Disneyland Paris. It’s love/hate. You’ll mostly see the same old things around the park this year — that means Main Street trashed by orange paint and Frontierland turned to Halloweenland with a hodgepodge of items from across the years. At worst, these creations still unfortunately treat Disneyland like a lifeless canvas, rather than actually complementing its themes and bringing extra life to the lands.
However — the poorly-judged (or quite simply poor) Pink Witches are entirely gone, as are most of their most awful remnants (the astonishingly bad “Travel Agency” desk, for example). Jack and Sally have begun to be represented in several places, most notably on the former “Pink Witches Academy” arch, and several other assorted new pieces have popped up that are really rather pleasing. Some of the older items, like the crypt arch, have been repainted in nicer new designs, finally incorporating purple into the colour scheme.
It seems like they finally know the direction to take Halloween in, but the issue yet again is money. For such a key season, now one of, if not the most important season for markets like the UK, Halloween in Paris is sorely under-funded when it comes to decorations. Everything is rehashed over and again. Hopefully sometime next decade they’ll finally be given the cash to invest in proper, comprehensive overlays in the more sensitive style of those seen in California.
Note the wording there — “initial images”. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but a couple of the images you’re about to see are surely — surely — just stand-ins for some final, polished visuals yet to come. In short, they look like the kind of hastily chopped-together visuals we might have found on internal presentations or proposals for the 2010 theme year, not true “advertising visuals” that have been released for use in brochures, in print… in public…
The Princess and the Frog in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen will only be hitting European cinema screens in January and February 2010, but come the April launch of New Generation Festival they’ll both find a new home on the ‘Dreams of Romance: Finale’ unit of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.
Quite where they’ll be slotted in on this huge articulated float — which already boasts Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora — isn’t exactly answered by the visual above, which shows an assortment of Disney Princess stock images cowering behind a truly gigantic version of the Princess and the Frog couple.
…Which all throws up a few questions about what route the re-imagined show will take. The current format is based very much around the music, and interactivity. Whilst Tigger certainly lends himself to bouncing and Baloo to a sing-along of Jungle Book tunes, we’ve never seen that kind of event from these characters above before.
“Note” the musical notes falling from the sky on parachutes, continuing that theme. And, though you can’t see it, we can add the interesting note that this image is labelled “KEY VISUAL SHOWTIME SPECTACULAR”, which certainly hints at a name-change for the annoyingly-titled “It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends“ come April 2010. ‘Mickey’s Showtime Spectacular’? ‘New Generation Showtime Spectacular’?
There’s certainly nothing new in the visual here that might suggest an “enhancement”, so why is this 2006 addition suddenly becoming an event? A more regular appearance of Sully? The replacement of the Mike figure with a real-life character? Some kind of mini-show or Sword in the Stone-style scream canister event…?
Ratatouille in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
Wave goodbye to all hope of Florida’s old Star Wars car joining our Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. This vehicle will be remodelled for Rémy and Emile from April 2010, adding a 12th car to the parade/show event.
Given that the Star Wars car is very different to that above, don’t take this as a real concept.
So there you go, the four main events Disneyland Paris Entertainment are cooking up for the New Generation Festival. After their five large-scale launches for 2009, it should be a breeze. There’s also the strong chance that Disney Characters’ Express / Minnie’s Party Train will be remodelled yet again into a New Generation Express, but thankfully it’s looking like such a rehash won’t be quite so widely advertised.
Three more visuals are also floating around for Toy Story Playland and two of its attractions, but we’ve a lot of catching up to do on that subject before getting to those. Stay tuned…
Rounding out the collection are a few oddities. We’ve got a track by The Hill Billy Trio (‘How Many Biscuits Can You Eat’) and another by The African Tam-Tam. Considering these two were both previously available on Frontierland en Musique and Disneyland Resort Paris en Musique releases respectively, are they there to provide a pause from the very modern, pop-tempo Magical Party tracks, or do they smell like filler? Let’s leave that to you…
Finally, a more surprising deviation is the full, 13-minute soundtrack of the Once Upon a Time Sleeping Beauty “happening” from Fantasyland’s Castle Courtyard. Again, this has little relation to the theme year celebrated by the album, but the music plays well on CD, almost sounding better than it does through the speakers in that area of the park. Very unusually for a Disneyland Paris CD, the full introduction spiel is included. (Unusual and rather annoying, since we’ve yet to ever see anything this complete for far more worthy events like Fantillusion, don’t you think?)
Can’t get to the park just yet? Wondering how all these new tracks sound? Ahh, let DLRP Today.com bring the Storybook Store listening post to you! Here’s an exclusive collection of excerpts from the CD…
The full tracklisting is as follows:
1. Mickey’s Magical Party Time – Instrumental (04:08) *
2. Following the Leader (01:50) *
3. The Bare Necessities (01:53) *
4. Tigger Medley (01:32) *
5. Hakuna Matata (01:44)
6. Peter Pan Medley (01:50) *
7. Mickey – Finale (01:00) *
8. La Fête Magique de Mickey (03:46) (French version by Georges Costa) *
9. Mickey’s Magical Party Time (01:45) (Main Street, U.S.A. version) *
10. Mickey’s Magical Party Time (06:10) (Remix)
11. He’s a Pirate (05:38) (Remix) *
12. The Hill Billy Trio – How Many Biscuits (03:33) *
13. The African Tam Tam (05:00) *
14. Il était une fois, la Belle au Bois Dormant (12:50) *
Total time: (53:48)
Tracks marked with an asterisk (*) are included in the preview above.
With a running time of just over 50 minutes and over 20 of those taken up by the final filler tracks, it’s still notable what this CD celebration of the year’s events fails to include — besides the Mickey’s Magical Party Time song itself, which you’ll have to buy on the separate CD single.
Still we’ve no ‘Tous en Train’ theme song from Minnie’s Party Train and Disney Characters’ Express, nor any music from the new attractions over at Walt Disney Studios Park. Playhouse Disney is excusable since the rights are held elsewhere, but a ‘Roll out the Red Carpet’ mix from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars could have been a good inclusion, perhaps the ‘Showbiz Suite’ version previously released for the parade at Walt Disney World.
Goofy’s Summer Camp has also provided another remix of the main theme song played before the show begins in a laid-back country style, which may well have been cut too late to make the master.
But, who cares? Have you listened to those preview clips above yet, or seen the ‘Party Time’ show in the park itself? The score of this show, particularly the opening and finale, is a sensational piece of work from Vasile Sirli. Incorporating musical styles and instruments from across Europe to give the classic Disney themes a fresh and vibrant new feel, not to mention a glorious, rich orchestral version of the theme song, it’s one of the best Disney entertainment scores of the decade. And now, we can own it.
The CD is priced at €15.00, and now available for sure at The Storybook Store and The Emporium, though may well have found its way to more locations. Grab it quick, though — we’re nearly half way through the year already and in its first days on sale (particularly over the final weekend of August), the small displays at these stores were being emptied each day.
The project has been in planning and kept top secret for months. But now, as the deadlines for advertising visuals and creatives for the next round of brochures nears, the entire list of new events has been leaked online.
Working title: Disney’s New Generation Festival, this next theme year will put the newest animated characters firmly in the spotlight. That means, though Toy Story Playland will certainly be the key new attraction of the year, we aren’t looking ahead a whole of solely Toy Story themes. No, instead we’ll be seeing Disney’s upcoming The Princess and the Frog plus a whole lot of Pixar — they are, after all, the closest to “Disney” the past decade has offered.
Avert your eyes now — the most spoiler-filled post of 2009 awaits! Here, are the events of 2010:
Toy Story Playland
You know this one already: Three brand new attractions set within a highly-themed giant garden to extend Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park. However, with groundwork barely begun, there’s no way this new Walt Disney Imagineering area can open before at least June next year — meaning a surrounding festival of events to begin in April 2010 is necessary…
Princess Tiana joins Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
The newest Disney Princess hasn’t even hit the big screen in The Princess and the Frog yet and already she’s being prepared to join the Disneyland Park parade. Not on a new float, unfortunately, but just stepping up onto the final Dreams of Romance: Finale float with Prince Naveen, giving this unit an overwhelming cast of five Princes and Princesses.
‘Enhanced’ Monsters, Inc. meet ‘n’ greet
A little patch of Monsters, Inc. has been in the Studios since 2006, but for some reason it’s now being included in next year’s new events. The leaked details here say it’ll be “enhanced”, but there isn’t any further information yet.
Ratatouille joins Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
The Studios’ new evening finale will definitely continue into 2010, with the advertised novelty being a brand new car themed to Ratatouille, featuring Rémy and Emile. We can reveal it’ll be the old Star Wars car to undergo this transformation.
Minnie’s Party Train becomes a New Generation Express
Yes, the old Casey Jr. float will be given its fourth colour scheme and feature mostly — if not entirely — Pixar characters next year.
NO Castle decorations whatsoever!
That’s an event in itself, right?!
And finally… in 2007 we had the red carpet, in 2008 the wrapping paper and in 2009 the very successful balloons motif. Next year, it’s all-change again on the advertising ideas front — and the new theme? Taken straight from the most imposing attraction of Toy Story Playland, we’ll be seeing… parachutes! No, seriously.
Of course, we could guess from the start that the vast new Central Plaza Stage wouldn’t be ripped out come the previously scheduled end date of 7th March 2009, but we may not have guessed the follow-up show would be… exactly the same. In name, at least.
The casting call above (PDF) was posted on the Entertainment section of the resort’s dedicated Casting site, requesting dancers for the show with full time contracts beginning end of October 2009. The surprise, however, is the end date: end of August 2010!
And, it’s absolutely correct. Current work-in-progress plans do have next year’s Central Plaza Stage show bearing the same name, but the content is still to be finalised. The crucial detail, in fact, is that current plans have the show only as a single performance — a finale to the day — in the 2010 season, rather than the four afternoon performances seen this year.
It makes sense — the several performances of “It’s Party Time” have brought nowhere near the anticipation or audience retention of Candleabrationin previous years. The daytime timeslot means guests are often just passing by to another land, heading to Main Street for lunch. Many miss the start or end of the show, or don’t bother staying to see the middle. Unlike true theatre shows, which visitors must choose to watch, queue for, and take a seat for, there doesn’t appear to be much affinity to this seemingly continuous daytime event on the hub.
However, if It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends is to move to the end of the day, as a big finale to whatever next year’s “theme year” may be, will games like the Tigger bounce and Baloo scratch really be adequate? Perhaps it will be the same show only in name and staging after all — the “Mickey and Friends” tag is certainly open enough for a new middle section to be easily slotted in where the party games currently sit.
Don’t stop practising your “Mickey Dance” just yet, then. Plus, with Minnie’s Party Train set to return in yet another new guise and Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars surely not going anywhere soon, the party may be ending March 2009 but its legacy — such as it is — will certainly live on.
Picture: Photos Magiques; Casting call spot thanks to DLP.info.
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