Saturday, 28th February 2009

Breakdance battle of Mickey Mouse, aged 80

Despite his disadvantages, Mickey Mouse stormed to victory when a guest challenged him to a breakdance battle in Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Resort Paris recently. Don’t believe us? The evidence is online for all to see!

Take a look:

Amazing skills for an 80-year old mouse in smart dress, right?

Now, it goes without saying this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day at Disneyland Park. In fact, it’s probably the first time Mickey Mouse has ever danced like this in his long life — but it’s all for a good cause. The video isn’t shot by chance by an amateur, and the battle wasn’t started by accident.

This bizarre display you’ve just seen is actually a viral video produced by (or for) Disneyland Resort Paris themselves, a video created with the intention of it causing a stir on websites like YouTube and ultimately providing the resort with inadvertent advertising and word of mouth without people feeling like they’re watching a marketing creation.

So far, it seems to be a big success — the video has already had over 20,000 hits in just two days! As a concept it is also far stronger than the resort’s previous attempt at viral marketing, which saw a dog elongated by stepping into The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, since it links in well with the strong theme of dance throughout the Mickey’s Magical Party events.

Just don’t expect to see the Mouse giving this kind of display on your next visit…

Thursday, 26th February 2009

Château-styled plaza stage given Mickey’s stamp

Those key visuals released several months ago for It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends were certainly a little loose with the truth, but, as the new Central Plaza continues to take shape, the final result might just look better than the artwork. More in-keeping with its surroundings, at least. Let’s see…

Posted by thunder1000, the latest construction photos from Disneyland Park show the bare metal of the stage beginning to receive its final overlay. On top, a non-slip carpet in shades of yellow and grey — with a Mickey Mouse shape on each satellite stage!

Central Plaza Stage

And, wrapping itself around the satellite nearest Discoveryland, the first pieces of the stage’s walls and sides. Not golden as the marketing visuals depict, but in shades of grey stone matching that little landmark just nearby — Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, of course. The walls are even being given little inlets and openings to match the Castle’s style and break up the sides of the stage.

Central Plaza Stage

Right the way around the stage and its satellites, a white edging — again inspired by Sleeping Beauty Castle — is a finishing touch to hold in the carpeted top, whilst four sets of stairs wind their way up to the top. From these photos at least, the stairs don’t look much wider than the tricky steps up to the old stage…

Central Plaza Stage

With the stage now well on its way to completion, another major difference can be spotted — one which has been confirmed earlier, but can now be seen for real: the four satellite stages don’t extend diagonally into the grass planters of Central Plaza, but vertically and horizontally — onto the flat concrete sections which used to provide access to the hub.

Central Plaza Stage

This means the final stage will have the footprint shown above, with all of the inlets into the plaza hub taken over by the satellite stages and two sets of stairs up to the stage from either side. There won’t be any stairs at the front. In the centre, that special surprise we mentioned previously.

It remains to be seen just how close guests will be able to get to the stage — whether children will truly be “partying” alongside the characters, standing around each of the satellite stages, or if we’ll be kept at a slight distance, with the entire central area cordoned off.

Photos: Thunder1000, Disney Central Plaza; Plan: Google Earth/DLRP Today.

Wednesday, 25th February 2009

Mickey’s Magical Party TV spot premieres!

It seems like this final week in February has become an annual time to see the latest marketing campaigns and TV commercials of Disneyland Resort Paris being premiered. Exactly one year ago today, we saw The Celebration Continues… Big Time! unwrapped on our TV screens, whilst two years ago, the ever-beautiful advertisements for the 15th Anniversary itself unravelled.

This year, the TV spot is… floating onto our screens, naturally filled with hundreds upon hundreds of colourful balloons to advertise Mickey’s Magical Party.

The lively spot begins with a stunning shot of balloons flying above the clouds, mountains in the background, with a strong yellow tint. As the second shot appears, of balloons flying around the side of a bushy, clearly sun-drenched hill toward a noticeably distant city from most of North West Europe, it looks like those balloons have reached further than any of us could have predicted…

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

Indeed, to film this new commercial, production was taken all the way to… South Africa! According to admin Kristof on magicforum, even the It’s Dance Time DJ podium and a replica of one corner of the new Central Plaza stage were taken, along with all the characters and costumes you see, to then only be filmed in front of green-screen with the real Disneyland Resort Paris backdrops inserted later!

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

This practice isn’t uncommon though, as member experiment627 adds, “a lot of commercials are being shot in South Africa, for there are landscapes that resemble Europe quite a bit and you pretty much got sun and blue skies most of the year.”

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

As the balloons reach the city streets, one bumps right into a young boy running home from school.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

He grabs hold of it, pulls the invitation from its string…

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

And opens up the envelope to reveal a Mickey shape and the Mickey’s Magical Party logo.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

Miraculously, he’s then transported immediately to Disneyland Resort Paris!

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

The voiceover of the TV spot is different again to previous years, with a clearer and more placid voice beginning “This year, it’s Mickey’s Magical Party, and Disneyland is expecting an extraordinary hero… you!”.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

“Discover DJ Stitch’s first fantastic show,” he continues, as shots of the new Dance Time podium and its blue and pink-dressed cast in front of Space Mountain play, with several other guests dancing on the multi-coloured dance mats.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

“…The new attraction, Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!,” continues the announcer, with shots of the Playhouse Disney puppets…

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

…the young boy laughing along, and a full depication of the stage (though likely not the real thing), as if set up for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse scene…

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

The advert reaches its conclusion as another balloon sweeps across the screen to reveal a lively Mickey Mouse running across the new Central Plaza stage — another green-screen creation.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

The voiceover adds “…and Mickey and friends’ exciting new show, and many more surprises”.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

Here we see Mickey and Goofy dancing on a recreation of the stage, with brightly-dressed dancers behind, mostly in white and red colours, with the men wearing orange shirts.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

Notice also that the Castle has been touched-up with its recently-revealed overlay of new decorations. Here, though, the “Mickey & Friends” plaque covering the main window appears to match its oval shape, rather than the uncomfortable circle seen in the concept.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

Mickey shows us some moves, then we suddenly cut to the generic Disney Parks endboard…

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

As with the commercials of the previous two years, it seems Disneyland Resort Paris are required to use this generic branding to end their TV advertisements, featuring a bizarre mélange of all the Disney castles but now with added ballons.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

The endboard is clear and the colours do work well with the red of Mickey’s Magical Party, but the overall effect is probably slightly jarring to the viewer, being so different to the footage just seen — and featuring a Castle that, as anyone knows, doesn’t exist anywhere — especially not Disneyland Resort Paris.

Mickey's Magical Party TV advert commercial

Please, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, can’t we have the real Castle for each resort?

Click here to watch the full advert.

It’s a lively, colourful, sunny and very well-produced TV spot, though, and it’s certainly brilliant to see real Disneyland Resort Paris locations used for once, if only via green-screen. You’ll probably notice two large elements of the party are entirely absent, however. Well, one major element and one not-so-major: Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars and Minnie’s Party Train.

To skip the Party Train is obviously no surprise, but many fans would agree they’d have expected to see something of the Studios’ large new parade event in the TV spot. Looks like the resort’s old fear, of mentioning the existance of Walt Disney Studios Park in a TV commercial, lives on…!

The TV spot is playing now in the UK, international versions will appear from next month.

Screencaps © Disney.

Thursday, 19th February 2009

Mickey’s Magical Party website goes live: full tour!

It’s a Disneyland Resort Paris tradition to accompany their newest attractions and events with a flashy, flash-based “mini site” separate from their main website, from the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park right through countless seasons and carnivals to the 15th Anniversary. In fact, they’re really the only Disney Resort which spends such money and effort on these kind of sites.

For Mickey’s Magical Party, we’ve got yet another to explore. Officially launched on Monday, you could arrive at the landing page to find only a few languages available — and not the ones you might expect, either. Denmark, Switzerland and Austria were the first countries officially launched, but with a bit of guesswork you can easily find the actual English-language site for the UK at www.mickeymagicalyear.com/uk/uk.

Currently, the landing page now also features Ireland and Italy, as well as the general “Other Countries” international option.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Though mickeymagicalparty.com redirects here, they apparently weren’t interested in mickeysmagicalparty.com when these domain names were registered last year. In fact, on the UK version of the new website there seems to be a little confusion about the celebration’s name — getting us off to a bad start, the title in your browser will instead read “Mickey’s Magical Year“.

Let’s begin our full commentary and tour here…

Mickey's Magical Party website

Pick your language and a pink balloon flies into view from the bottom of the screen, carrying an envelope. These carrier balloons are also being used extensively in the marketing campaigns for the US parks this year, although the balloons, for some reason, have a completely different design.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Gradually, more balloons float up into view on the screen. Immediately you’ll notice something different about this website compared to those of the past — it fills the entire screen, and resizes itself accordingly.

Mickey's Magical Party website

All the resort’s previous flash mini-sites have been a static size within the middle of a regular page, whereas this new style offers a more involving experience. The introduction continues with the tagline “Celebrate the greatest part of the year” and the Disneyland Resort Paris logo — which curiously has a little miniature balloon graphic floating above it… see it? That probably shouldn’t be there.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The introduction ends with five much larger balloons floating into the sky decorated with images of the five key new events of the celebration. You’ll notice throughout that the website doesn’t use the “daytime”, blue skies style we’ve seen in earlier marketing images or even on the Central Plaza fences. The entire design style appears to have suddenly been changed to a purple twilight sky with foil rather than rubber balloons.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The homepage features an animated backdrop of locations from around the resort, with simply the celebration logo inviting you to “enter”. The style here is obviously meant to be busy and informal, with some of the graphics cut out of photos and others properly drawn. The animated characters of Stitch, Minnie and Mickey seem to clash with the neater style of Tinkerbell and Dumbo floating in the sky — especially the thick-outlined, puppet-like Mickey. In previous websites, we’ve come to expect live-action characters to be superimposed into the flash animation.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Click “enter” and you’re actually taken across to the “Toonificator”, but we’ll head there later. Instead, we’ve clicked “Calender” (yes, rather than the correct spelling of “Calendar”) to find not so much a list of dates but five simple, floating balloons displaying the five new events.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Click an event and you’re given a very (very!) brief description lifted straight from that slightly baffling marketing text, along with the event’s poster artwork.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The next option along displays the three key special offers they’re running to launch Mickey’s Magical Party — the seemingly eternal Kids Under 7 Stay, Play & Travel FREE, a continuation of the 15% discount on tickets booked in advance, and another extension of that huge package discount that has been running since late last year. With both the economic problems of the moment and the awful GBP/Euro exchange rate, British guests are now being enticed with a huge 40% off their package booking, with the offer now extended to arrival dates right up to September!

Mickey's Magical Party website

And now, we reach the main section of the website — Disney’s Toonificator. This seems to be inspired both by the cartoon-style images offered by instant messaging providers such as Yahoo and Windows Live and, probably more so, by a feature on The Simpsons Movie website which swept the internet a couple of years ago, allowing users to create themselves as a Simpson character.

Mickey's Magical Party website

For this Disney version, you’ve got a seemingly endless range of hairstyles, face types and colours to Toonify yourself with, along with several special Disney costumes and accessories. Such a range, in fact, that you can create some rather bizarre Toons indeed (see above). You can also upload a photo and have it “Toonify” yourself automatically.

Mickey's Magical Party website

We settled for something a little more ordinary, and we’re now in the “virtual” Mickey’s Magical Party, a globe-type horizon filled with more cut-out landmarks and locations, which you explore by using the left and right arrow keys.

Mickey's Magical Party website

You’ll immediately notice that it’s not only the Mickey’s Magical Party events featured here — you’ll wander across landscapes representing both parks, with most of the resort’s recent attractions featured, such as Crush’s Coaster.

Mickey's Magical Party website

It’s good to see Disneyland Resort Paris realising many people might not yet have experienced these brand new attractions for themselves, with pop-up boxes providing brief descriptions and photos.

Mickey's Magical Party website

For the actual Magical Party events, however, you’ll find something a little more — a special game for each one. Here, we’ve arrived at Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Luckily for us, all the games are incredibly simple and easy to complete. For Playhouse Disney, you need to simply remember a very short series of colours. This, perhaps, confirms the far younger age group Disneyland Resort Paris appears to be marketing itself towards lately…

Mickey's Magical Party website

We pass by a bizarre landscape of Toon Studio lampposts, Stitch Live! and… giant mushrooms?

Mickey's Magical Party website

Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, some large fireworks and a strange machine decorated with shapes.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars finally rolls around.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Here you’re shown a lineup of five of the cars and have to click on the one which is illuminated for it to beep its horn, as simple as that.

Mickey's Magical Party website

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, CinéMagique, and the Studio Tram Tour billboard entrance we’ve not seen for over 18 months.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Discoveryland is represented fairly well, with airships and plently of ironwork…

Mickey's Magical Party website

…Only disturbed by the Dance Time going on at its centre. This game actually gives a very accurate preview of the real event, with visitors having to use arrow keys to step their feet on the segments of the coloured floor mat in sync with the counter at the bottom of the screen.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Disneyland Park seems a little barren from here, though Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade does make a welcome appearance.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Several of the background graphics also animate when you click on them. Here, Mickey Mouse pops out of a giant cuckoo clock as fireworks explore behind. Because, that makes you want to visit the resort, right?

Mickey's Magical Party website

Minnie’s Party Train steams into view…

Mickey's Magical Party website

…with an interesting party game which seems to invite you to connect up a webcam and then move around to guide the train into position. Or, you can just use your mouse to trace the figure-of-eight path.

Mickey's Magical Party website

Finally, we arrive in front of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant where It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends is happening. Take a close look at the Castle — see anything different?

Mickey's Magical Party website

For the new Central Plaza show, you’ve simply got to stop balloons floating into the air.

And there we have it, a little journey across the resort’s newest attractions with a few ultra-simlistic “party games” thrown in. The audience here is obviously intended to be very young, whilst the overall design style leaves a little to be desired — especially since just last year we were wowing over that spectacular and spectacularly well-built Tower of Terror website.

The Toonifyer game has obviously been given the majority of the effort put into this website, but the result is made slightly pointless since your created character only serves to walk left and right through the virtual world. You can enter an email address and save the character, but there seems to be no option to save an image of the character to use as a forum or instant messenger icon/avatar, for example.

Ultimately, this website also includes little to no real information about the new events of Mickey’s Magical Party — some of which, especially those at Walt Disney Studios Park, are actually probably well worth visiting for.

In fact, upon arriving at the website, visitors will surely be confused as to the overal purpose or theme of the event, since it jumps straight to the point of the Toonifyer game and the events, without a real introduction. A 15th Anniversary speaks for itself, but what’s the point of this celebration? What’s the reason for visiting? We fear guests won’t find the answers here…

• Take a look for yourself here and leave your own comments below!

Tuesday, 17th February 2009

Widening the Party escape routes

Has someone at Disneyland Resort Paris been reading the several less-than-optimistic murmurings about the upcoming Mickey’s Magical Party online? It looks like they’re bolstering the escape routes in anticipation…

No no, of course not. This past weekend, more construction walls arrived around Central Plaza to close off two secondary paths which lead to Frontierland and Discoveryland avoiding the main hub. You might have used them to leave quickly on a Summer evening, or to rush to your first attraction in the morning — you can spot them on our Main Street, U.S.A. map, and they’re one of the unique features of Paris’ hub.

Central Plaza path widening
View by Casey’s Corner

Not so much accepting that downbeat fans will want to skip the Party then, more accepting (again) that Central Plaza was never built to handle these large, popular shows at its core.

For Candleabration, such a huge gathering of guests blocking all routes into the park is usually fine, since there’s only one show a day and it happens just before everyone leaves.

Central Plaza path widening
View by Frontierland entrance

But think about the new show — It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends. Up to five performances a day, all the popular characters — perhaps even (if we’re lucky), the main core of the Plaza (its raised curb/sidewalk area) being closed completely to guests, allowing everyone an even view.

There’s going to be an awful lot of people crowding the foot of Main Street, U.S.A., meaning those who’ve already seen the show, or don’t want to see it, will have to all squeeze down these extra routes.

Central Plaza path widening
View by Plaza Gardens/Tips Board

The only thing known about this work is that it will “widen” the paths. Concerns about the lack of space for popular shows here was only raised as recently as this Christmas, when, for safety reasons, the park’s record attendance meant that none of the scheduled performances of Enchanted Candleabration were advertised on the park programme, in case such a large volume of people appeared that all walkways were blocked.

Photos by Scrooge, Disney Magic Interactive forum.

Thursday, 5th February 2009

Mickey’s Magical Party preview video… with music!

The special video sees Mickey Mouse rushing from corner to corner all over the resort, meeting up with other characters who are shown to be preparing their entertainments for the upcoming Magical Party.

Several of the scenes were obviously filmed at the same time as some of the still photo shoots we’ve been seeing this past week, but — along with giving a first look at the Stars ‘n’ Cars vehicles as they’ll appear in Paris — there is one huge, enormous spoiler in here… the music!

We posted the lyrics just yesterday and only introduced the concept of this new song — “It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time” — just last week, but already, here it is! Well, almost… as you might guess from the synthesised opening, this is actually a special remix of the song. Far more “dance” flavoured than the true number, and in fact likely to be the version heard during It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.

Here’s the video:

And a series of stills:

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey rises bright and early to begin another day of hard work…

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Another close-up of the Minnie’s Party Train concepts — note that the third carriage will be different again from both the first and second.

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey arrives in the Stars ‘n’ Cars garage to surprise Goofy

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mushu steals the show in Mulan’s car

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Characters polish up their cars

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey peers through a curtain to see Playhouse Disney — via greenscreen!

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
In the Radio Disney studios, Stitch prepares his beats to some wild camera work

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
The characters rehearse their moves for “It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends” backstage — with the show’s additional stars from The Jungle Book and The Lion King

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey emerges from the baloons…

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
That’s Mickey’s Magical Party!

As for the “It’s Party Time!” song, hearing a slightly wacky dance remix before the real thing maybe isn’t the best way to be introduced to the new theme music of the year, but what do you think so far? Is this another Disneyland Resort Paris song destined to stay with you almost every hour of the day?

Wednesday, 4th February 2009

Lyrics of new “Party Time” theme song revealed

The song, of course, is for Mickey’s Magical Party and will therefore unsurprisingly be titled “It’s Party Time!”, with the actual chorus proclaiming “It’s Mickey’s Magical Time!”.

Beginning with a lone chorus singing out “It’s Mickey’s Magical Time… Everybody’s ready it’s time to play”, the song builds through a quick jazzy brass intro before launching into the first verse with drums, heavy guitars and some very pacey vocals from both a male and female lead. The brass element returns several times, but the overall feel is very much a progression of the modern pop/rock touched upon with Just Like We Dreamed It“.

Unusually, the full lyrics are already out!

It’s Party Time

It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
Everybody’s ready it’s time plaaayyyyy……

(Its time to party, come have a party, ohh yea, you know its party time)

Verse 1:
Welcome everybody, let the fun being
(Oh oh it’s party time)

A Disney celebration with all of our friends!
(You know its party time)

Young, Brand New – we’re so glad that you’re here!
(Oh oh it’s party time)

It’s a magical invitation to the party of the year
(You know its party time)

With Disney magic excitement grows, Grab a balloon – come on lets go……

Chorus:
It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
Everybody’s ready it’s time to play…

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, yea yea
The party of the year, and it’s happening here!

It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
We’ll let the music out load – dancing with the crowd!

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, hey hey!

(Its party time, its party time, if you wanna party, you know its party time!)

Verse 2:
Kiddies, right we’re coming, it’s getting a little wild!
(Oh oh it’s party time)

Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and every child.
(You know its party time)

Lint, then needles with ribbons and bows!
(Oh oh it’s party time)

Lets decorate to celebrate with everyone we know
(You know its party time)

With Disney magic excitement grows….
Everybody Grab a balloon – come on lets go……!!!

Chorus:
It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
Everybody’s ready it’s time to play…

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, yea yea
The party of the year, and it’s happening here!

It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
We’ll let the music out loud – dancing with the crowd!

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, hey hey!

Verse 3:
We’re dancing in the street to a party-time beat –
lets shoot for the stars that’s what you will do…

We’re dancing in the street to party-time beat – everybody let loose!

People from all around the world – have come from far and near!

Everybody clap, everybody cheer – the party of the year and it’s happening here!!

Chorus:
It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
Everybody’s ready it’s time to play…

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, yea yea
The party of the year, and it’s happening here!

It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time,
We’ll let the music out loud – dancing with the crowd!

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, hey hey!
We’ll let the music out loud – dancing with the crowd!

Mickey’s Magical Party Time, yea yea
The party of the year, and it’s happening here!

At Mickey’s Magical Party Time, hey hey!
Everybody’s let loose

(Party time, oh yea, its Mickey’s magical party, yea, party time, yea yea)

ITS PARTY TIME!!

Though very much a generic “event” tune, the lyrics do make reference to several of the key Mickey’s Magical Party emblems, such as “Grab a balloon — come on let’s go…”. The full details of where and when during the celebration it’ll actually appear has yet to be confirmed, but we can certainly count on it being used for It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends and It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, if not Minnie’s Party Train too.

As mentioned previously, the song is produced by Scott Erickson, who worked on a variety of direct-to-video releases such as Mickey-Donald-Goofy in The Three Musketeers, Bambi II and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch.

Finally — yes, the song will be catchy. Very catchy. In fact, from April 4th, be very prepared to have nothing but “It’s Mickey’s magical party time” ringing through your head, until May at the earliest…

With many thanks to Poppy the Monkey for the lyrics.

Monday, 2nd February 2009

New Central Plaza stage shoots up …literally?

With Candleabration‘s last show on its now seemingly quite dull, circular stage still fresh in the mind, the pace of construction for a brand new stage on the same spot is certainly surprising.

Even more surprising, though, is that guests are no longer greeted by a wall of green construction fences at the end of Main Street, but a pleasant, colourful teaser for Mickey’s Magical Party filling the entire perimeter of the construction area…

Central Plaza Stage construction

The walls, decorated with a new mural of the Disney VIPs in CGI style dancing amongst balloons, have messages popping out of envelopes which read rather placidly: “A big party is being prepared. All my friends will be ready to celebrate Mickey’s Magical Party …rendez-vous on 4th April 2009! -Mickey”.

Central Plaza Stage construction Central Plaza Stage construction

And so, to the construction itself — the choice spot of viewing being the Castle drawbridge. The steel frame for the main body of the stage has already progressed well and already appears far larger than its predecessor, filling a greater area of the Central Plaza hub.

Central Plaza Stage construction

White tarpaulins currently cover the areas where the four “satellite” stages will connect onto the body, which also already features a noticeable feature from the concept illustrations and visuals we’ve seen so far — a circular, raised section at its middle.

What? That doesn’t excite you? Well, if you can bear to be let in on quite a large spoiler for the show to come, some posts from our friends on magicforum reveal a surprising secret about that circular black device in the centre…

As admin Kristof writes, “Mickey will magically appear and disappear through the use of a lift amid a cloud of streamers and confetti.”

Now, there’s a party trick to look forward to!

It has also been confirmed that the new show will be performed five times daily.

Photos from the latest Photos Magiques trip report, here!

Wednesday, 28th January 2009

Candleabration’s final balcony swan song

Careful how you read that — it really will be a sad day when the 15th officially comes to a close and Candleabration is no more, but wow — this show has been through quite a few changes, hasn’t it?

Now, you could argue that’s not surprising when a show runs for almost two entire years in the most prominent spot in the park, but with the candle illumination ceremony now notching up its seventh tweaked instalment (can you list them all?), that’s unheard-of for the park.

This time, however, there’s a very good reason indeed. Simply put, the stage is gone:

Central Plaza Stage works

Yes, to prepare for the new Mickey’s Magical Party show, ‘It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends’, the entire hub of Central Plaza has been barricaded by green construction fences and, behind those, the old stage already completely removed. You can read more here.

So what about Candleabration? This should be its’ big finale, its’ sparkling Disneyland swan song! Don’t worry, the show directors have certainly pulled quite a special trick out the bag for these next few months… the balcony of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant!

Final Candleabration Final Candleabration
Final Candleabration Final Candleabration
Final Candleabration Final Candleabration
Images from gochaton‘s YouTube video, below.

In a true “first”, both Mickey and Minnie now present the show direct from the front balcony of the Castle every night. In addition, the show has been tinkered with — quite literally — to add an extra “wow” to its finale: As the candles finish lighting, Mickey calls out to Tinker Bell, who then transforms the Château into its frosty Ice Palace overlay, something only ever seen during the park’s Christmas Season before now.

Then, as the 15th Anniversary theme “Just Like We Dreamed It” plays out, a whole mob of various Disney Characters burst out from the Castle’s gate and run down to meet and dance with the gathered crowds.

The entertainment directors’ plans to try to get Mickey and Minnie onto the balcony was first revealed here on DLRP Today in our exclusive interview with Christophe Leclercq about The Enchanted Fireworks last Summer. Though the couple couldn’t make it for Summer, obviously the people “behind the magic” have tried and tried again to make it happen: You might notice a small safety rail now appears along the balcony, each night.

Something which may surprise is the sense of scale the two characters give to the park’s icon when they’re stood right on it. With the golden 15th statues appearing like miniature toys atop its spires, seeing these real, human-sized characters up there makes clear just how big and grand Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant truly is.

Enjoy the full show, in video (begins around 1 minute 50 seconds in):

Two years and over 650 performances on, seeing Mickey and Minnie atop the Castle itself makes for a must-see farewell to this 15th Anniversary classic indeed.

— Video with thanks to gochaton on YouTube.

Wednesday, 28th January 2009

It’s party time… on a brand new stage!

The main show of the celebration is titled It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, or, in French, ‘Place à la Fête avec Mickey et ses Amis’. Though performed on Central Plaza, with Le Château as a backdrop, this won’t be a simple reworking of Candleabration

Though, as the new key visual below shows, ‘It’s Party Time’ will naturally be led by Mickey Mouse, the official press release for the event (so far released only in French) confirms that he has been joined by Goofy to help prepare a special party celebration.

It's Party Time... with Mickey and Friends

That celebration will, unlike Candleabration, take place several times each day and almost certainly mostly during daylight hours. No reliance on an illumination ceremony at 7pm in the early Summer this year.

Along with Mickey’s friends, the characters of The Lion King, Aladdin and The Jungle Book will be the stars of the show, bringing an exotic flair — and naturally, their famous soundtracks — to the stage.

We won’t just be hearing “Hakuna Matata” or “Bare Necessities” though — the new press release also confirms that a brand new song has been created for Mickey’s Magical Party. Entitled “Mickey’s Magical Party Time!” and produced by Scott Erickson, who worked on a variety of direct-to-video releases such as Mickey-Donald-Goofy in The Three Musketeers, Bambi II and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, those who’ve managed a preview describe it as a very modern, pop sound and in a similar vein to the Disney Characters’ Express theme or Hannah Montana.

The show itself will play heavily on guest interaction, with visitors encouraged to dance and sing along. Not a lot more is known about the event than that, but, as the visual above clearly shows — and the press releases are keen to advertise — it will all be happening on a brand new Central Plaza Stage.

In fact, no time has been wasted at all in removing the old tall, golden and circular 15th Anniversary stage from its position, despite Candleabration still running until 7th March:

Old Central Plaza Stage removed
Photo: Alex, Disney Central Plaza forum.

The old stage was a heightened and redecorated version of the one first introduced for Christmas 2003 (when it featured a pile of books and a writing quill), simply circular in shape and therefore quite distant if you weren’t stood within one of the four entrances to the plaza.

The new stage, as you can see in the key visual, will actually extend outwards with four special “satellite” stages, bringing to the action closer to a greater number of guests and hopefully reducing the — how can we describe it — “front-centric” performance style of Candleabration that made it pointless to stand anywhere other than directly in front of the stage.

Leading down from the stage, you’ll see another new feature — though one that has already been up for much debate: the stairs. This addition would help to add a new depth to the shows presented here, as well as making the giant stage less of a “wall” as you walk down Main Street. The debate has been whether  or not these will appear in the final build, and the outlook isn’t good.

The placement of the satellite stages might also suggest Central Plaza will entirely lose all its trees. If these “arms” extend right into the four small grass-covered hills, rather than onto the existing paved area, the trees would have to go, wouldn’t they?

Any fans despising this extended take-over of Central Plaza — an area that is meant to be open and relaxing, the parkland of nearby, bustling Main Street — then thank your Blue Fairy that the department’s full rumoured plans for the park hub didn’t come to life, cancelled due to worries about underground drainage and utilities.

Markings on Central Plaza
Markings for a new show/parade viewing platform?
Photo: Disneytheque.com.

These plans would — if the rumours are to be believed — have involved brand new seating areas taking over the grass berm to the left of the Castle, next to the Adventureland entrance, to allow people a better view of the parades and shows in this area…

Rather like the kids in Toy Story who bring bedsheets and a lunchbox to the party, perhaps?

— Find a new preview guide all about It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends here.

Key visual © Disney.

Subscribe to the Magic!

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Offers and Deals

Tags & Archives

Twitter Updates

Ad: shopDisney Black Friday Deals Now Live!