Thursday, 5th April 2012

[VIDEO] 20th & Disney Dreams! Q&A with Steve Davison, Kat de Blois, Katy Harris

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

This has been one epic upload, but here we go: the full, unedited 48-minute presentation and panel discussion with Creative Director Kat de Blois, Show Director Katy Harris and VP Parades & Spectaculars Steve Davison himself. Seated in Plaza Gardens Restaurant at 12.30pm on Saturday, we were just inches away from the creators of the 20th Anniversary entertainments as they first explained and presented their creations before moving on to an open and informal Q&A discussion with the intimate audience of around 20 invited Disneyland Paris blog and fansite authors.

Kat de Blois began by presenting Disney Magic on Parade! in French (the only small part missing from the video), followed by Katy Harris introducing Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train in English, then Steve Davison talking about Disney Dreams! — which made up the bulk of the 40 minutes of questions which followed, revealing numerous insights into the new spectacular.

While I had the camera rolling the entire time, Kristof from Photos Magiques put a couple of questions direct to the panel. Including, at 42 minutes in, the million dollar question that is: “When did you decide to get rid of Central Plaza stage, and was it a tough decision?” The reaction, and the justification, is fascinating viewing, as is the entire presentation. We’ll revisit it more soon and go through all of the details revealed about the creation of Disney Dreams! in particular. But for now, we thank Kat, Steve and Katy for taking time out on such a busy day to meet a small number of their fans, and for allowing us to film and document the occasion so that everyone at home can be there, too.

Note: The sound quality has been improved as much as possible in editing, but due to the intimate setting it obviously won’t be perfect. Nevertheless, this is a unique all too rare chance to meet the people behind the “dreams”. And to think, as Steve reveals, it all began by spotting a Peter Pan motif in the design of Disneyland Hotel… Proving that Dreams can come from anywhere, but you never quite know where they’ll take you.

Thursday, 5th April 2012

[VIDEO] 20th & Disney Dreams! Q&A with Steve Davison, Kat de Blois, Katy Harris

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

This has been one epic upload, but here we go: the full, unedited 48-minute presentation and panel discussion with Creative Director Kat de Blois, Show Director Katy Harris and VP Parades & Spectaculars Steve Davison himself. Seated in Plaza Gardens Restaurant at 12.30pm on Saturday, we were just inches away from the creators of the 20th Anniversary entertainments as they first explained and presented their creations before moving on to an open and informal Q&A discussion with the intimate audience of around 20 invited Disneyland Paris blog and fansite authors.

Kat de Blois began by presenting Disney Magic on Parade! in French (the only small part missing from the video), followed by Katy Harris introducing Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train in English, then Steve Davison talking about Disney Dreams! — which made up the bulk of the 40 minutes of questions which followed, revealing numerous insights into the new spectacular.

While I had the camera rolling the entire time, Kristof from Photos Magiques put a couple of questions direct to the panel. Including, at 42 minutes in, the million dollar question that is: “When did you decide to get rid of Central Plaza stage, and was it a tough decision?” The reaction, and the justification, is fascinating viewing, as is the entire presentation. We’ll revisit it more soon and go through all of the details revealed about the creation of Disney Dreams! in particular. But for now, we thank Kat, Steve and Katy for taking time out on such a busy day to meet a small number of their fans, and for allowing us to film and document the occasion so that everyone at home can be there, too.

Note: The sound quality has been improved as much as possible in editing, but due to the intimate setting it obviously won’t be perfect. Nevertheless, this is a unique all too rare chance to meet the people behind the “dreams”. And to think, as Steve reveals, it all began by spotting a Peter Pan motif in the design of Disneyland Hotel… Proving that Dreams can come from anywhere, but you never quite know where they’ll take you.

Saturday, 24th March 2012

First look: Disney Dreams! revealed in first official photo of new nighttime spectacular

'Disney Dreams!' official promo photo

This is our very first, official look at the completed Disney Dreams! — projections, multi-coloured lasers, illuminated fountains — wow! Just a handful of the effects on show and only one of its many “Dreams” pictured — turning Sleeping Beauty Castle into a collection of rocket fireworks for the Aladdin “Friend Like Me” sequence, but a thrilling first “official” glimpse at what’s ahead, right?

Exactly one week from now, the show will premiere to the world’s press at 10.30pm, Saturday 31st March. Creative director Steve Davison is certainly feeling the anticipation, posting on Thursday: “Great rehearsal tonight of the show with a lot of bells and whistles. It is really starting to come together. So much fun!!! Almost time to unveil this magical show!”

We can also now confirm that on the official opening day of the show, 1st April 2012, it will be presented twice in one evening: at 9.30pm and 10.30pm. Yes, if late park hours all year and a nightly nighttime spectacular weren’t surprising enough for Disneyland Paris, they’re now running double performances. There are rumours this could continue for the whole 20th Anniversary year, but no further showtimes have been announced as yet.

If you can’t make it to the resort so soon, stay with us as we’ll be there to capture the whole thing, reporting back with photos, videos and more from the first week of April onwards to give you the whole story on the 20th Anniversary launch. Be the first to see our 1080p HD videos of the show, and other 20th Anniversary events, by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

PHOTO VIA Le Figaro

Thursday, 22nd March 2012

2012 or ’92? New Central Plaza in sunshine resets the clock on timeless view

Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty Castle (C) Nicolas71

Since Monday, guests have been able to walk right across Central Plaza for the first time since 2006. But these photos, taken Tuesday by Nicholas71 on Disney Central Plaza, almost seem to reset the clock even further. Be it the wide, open plaza, the fresh green grass, the newly-restored Sleeping Beauty Castle or the recent tree clearance over on the Fantasyland side of this famous view, it almost looks like we’re stepping into the park for the very first time again. Truly a vast improvement on the closed gates and obstructive stage guests have had to navigate around for too many years.

On Central Plaza itself, benches have returned to the middle of the plaza for the first time in almost six years, making it once again the perfect place for meeting and people watching. Meanwhile, two lampposts on the castle side are now curiously absent, their bases covered by green boxes.

They’re not the only things missing from this view: tree clearance over by the Fantasyland Gate (far-right of the photo) has uncovered the walled kingdom in the distance, while at least two cuboid trees have been completely removed from the right-hand side of the castle. Both changes could either be in preparation for Disney Dreams!, or just part of the habitual “resetting the clock” which Disney does; replanting or removing trees which have grown too big for the fixed scale of the park.

Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty Castle (C) Nicolas71

Looking back towards Main Street, U.S.A., the new “Parks Landscaping Department” show control building for Disney Dreams! blends seamlessly into the town. The old show control kiosk, on the left of the plaza, remains in place for now. As for the plaza, the improvement speaks for itself.

PHOTOS Nicholas71 (Disney Central Plaza)

Wednesday, 21st March 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ Second Star to the Right spotted shining brightly for first time

 'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) @Tobiasfl

There have been several reported sightings, but now the all-important Second Star the Right for Disney Dreams! has finally been caught on camera. Late last night, @Tobiasfl observed the ethereal glow from across the fields in Val d’Europe, shining with a spectacular brightness from the top window of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Two Instagram photos below show it first piercing the nighttime sky alone, then joined by the full force of the new nighttime spectacular’s illuminated fountains.

'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) @Tobiasfl'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) @Tobiasfl

While sightings of tests for fireworks, projections, water effects and other elements have been coming thick and fast over recent weeks, the centrepiece star has been notable by its absence. Plans unveiled by Steve Davison at the presentation he gave to the shareholders’ Annual General Meeting revealed it to be not simply a bright light, hidden behind the window, but a three-dimensional star that would actually manoeuvre outwards. According to this plan, the iconic window was due to be replaced with a new variation capable of opening in the centre to allow the star to emerge.

'Disney Dreams!' Second Star to the Right (C) ChroniqueDisney.frSleeping Beauty Castle window (C) Disneyland Paris - Fans Facebook

The window has indeed seen several changes over recent weeks, requiring the temporary removal of its golden ornament, with the latest incarnation above. Previously a real stained-glass window with a protective layer on top, it now appears far flatter but more colourful. A faux stained glass effect, like the windows in the Princess Pavilion, no doubt — but is there an opening there for the star to reveal itself? The mysteries surrounding this mythical object of the nighttime sky continue…

With the star now shining at least, that completes the entire range of effects for Disney Dreams!, all installed and ready for showtime. Posting his most recent project update to Facebook on Saturday, creative director Steve Davison wrote: “Well, I’m almost done with another 6 day, work all night, programming week. The show is coming along great. All the systems are online (the fire system came on tonight) and what we’re seeing on the Castle is very, very exciting! We’re now in the final home stretch! Can’t wait for you all to see the final product.”

PHOTOS 1-2 @Tobiasfl (Twitter), PHOTO 3 Chronique Disney, PHOTO 4 DLP – Fans (Facebook)

Tuesday, 13th March 2012

Second Star’s multi-coloured ‘Disney Dreams!’ galaxy revealed as projection tests continue

Is it just by chance that a number of Disneyland Paris fans appear to have booked into Disneyland Hotel this month, or has the flagship hotel at the gates of Disneyland Park suddenly seen a last-minute flurry of reservations, as fans stake out its park-view balconies with a hope of being the first to catch a glimpse of Disney Dreams! preparations? After the first look at the spectacular fountains over the weekend, the latest previews come from a Facebook page titled Disney WorldGlobe, which posted a short video taken from the hotel showing projection tests taking place on Sleeping Beauty Castle.

While the majority of this video simply shows a golden Mickey Mouse silhouette shape with pixie dust trailing around it, something remarkable does happen at about four seconds in, as the castle suddenly cycles through a number of different projection effects. The first and most stunning is captured in the screenshot above: what a appears to be a gorgeous, multi-coloured series of galaxies swirling across the castle, which has light emanating out from its top window, where the Second Star to the Right will ultimately appear, glittering, in physical form.

A few other fun effects appearing to involve that all-important star can also be glimpsed in the few seconds during which the projections switch over. Below left, it appears to cast a blue glow across the castle from above, highlighting its rooftops and casting other walls into shadow. Below right, an ethereal blue and green strobe radiates outwards from the top window.


Another, perhaps quite startling, effect appears to show the main window and archway of the castle engulfed by flames, above left. While a final effect, above right, creates a feeling of something rather more “Maleficent”, as the castle takes on the blue body, pink mouth and snarling yellow nostrils of a certain ferocious, animated dragon… perhaps?

Meanwhile, the multi-coloured prism theme of Disney Dreams! will be extended even to its laser effects, which are truly state-of-the-art, according to the latest update from Steve Davison himself:

“Lasers! Lasers! Everywhere. I love full color lasers! Now Paris Disneyland has the most current, brightest show lasers in the world! They are the newest generation. Look at all tha[t] color! Simply amazing. Plus, we have the world’s best programmer who also worked on WOC [World of Color]!”

So all eyes on April, to see “what the World of Color team did next…”

VIDEO STILLS Disney WorldGlobe

Sunday, 11th March 2012

First look: ‘Disney Dreams!’ fountains shoot into the sky, viewed from Disneyland Hotel

'Disney Dreams!' fountain tests seen from Disneyland Hotel [(C) Jérémy, DCP]

Disney Dreams! will have stunning projections, pyrotechnics, fire, a brand new orchestral score — the lot. But there’s no mistaking the most anticipated element of this 20th Anniversary spectacular: the fountains. And so the grand prize goes to Jérémy on Disney Central Plaza forum who, at 24 minutes past midnight, made Disneyland Paris history by posting the first clear photo of those 40-or-so main fountains shooting into the sky around Sleeping Beauty Castle. Taken from Disneyland Hotel, overlooking the park during nighttime testing, it’s the very first preview of what a Steve Davison fountain array looks like surrounding a Disney castle. Something you won’t see anywhere else in the world.

The height of the water erupting from those nondescript jets is incredible, easily as high as the main window at the top of the castle — and these aren’t even the most powerful jets. Twelve further nozzles, six on either side of the moat, will use a compressed air technique to intermittently blast water a good few metres more into the sky, apparently higher than the castle itself. And then we have to add the two enormous water screens on top, to complete the scene’s liquid special effects. The proximity to the castle is unusual and certainly dramatic, raising all kinds of questions — for example, what will happen to performances during high winds?

Lit here simply with a purple glow from below, the fountain array at this moment thankfully gives few spoilers for the actual show. It is simply an awe-inspiring glimpse of what’s to come.

PHOTO Jérémy (Disney Central Plaza)

Friday, 9th March 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ goes bang in the night for final after-hours pyrotechnic tests

Sleeping Beauty would have had anything but “sweet dreams” last night, as the final after-hours tests for Disney Dreams! firework effects lit up the night sky around the castle. Three dates have apparently been set aside for these pyrotechnic trials, according to the Radio Disney Club website: 8th, 12th and 15th March. Sure enough, guests and Cast Members began reporting that access around Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant was closed off around 6pm yesterday, and after Disneyland Park closed at 8pm the first reports and reactions began appearing.

Above, a photo by Frontierland Cast Member fandlrp on Disney Central Plaza shows an array of colourful fireworks shooting up behind the castle. Sharing impressions from the privileged viewpoint of Disneyland Hotel, Jeremy describes the music as sublime and says the show keeps its promises and anyone worried about the pyrotechnics (their size and number) should be reassured. Meanwhile NeMo saw the tests from Main Street itself and reveals that the pyrotechnics play a part in almost every scene, with many effects apparently brand new to Disneyland Paris.

It’s also rumoured that test launches will be incorporated into the planned displays for St David’s Welsh Festival this Saturday, 10th and St Patrick’s Day on 17th March. Individual elements continue to be tested and perfected almost every night, but full “dress rehearsals” of the entire show are apparently scheduled for the 21st and 23rd March, ahead of the Cast Member premiere on 29th March, private press premiere on 31st March and official public premiere on 1st April.

Various tests have been ongoing for Disney Dreams! long before the recent arrival of director Steve Davison in Paris. In January, @Tobiasfl shared the two live Instagram photos above on Twitter, the first showing a particularly dazzling quartet (or possibly quintet) of coloured shells in blue, green, pink, red and yellow. Though these clearly exploded high in the sky, the majority of pyrotechnic effects in the show are expected to ignite from ground level.

Unlike a pure firework show, where the sky is filled constantly and the explosions make up the entire scene, this 20th Anniversary spectacular will use pyrotechnics as just one of many elements. Like the water or fire, they’ll play a “role” in the scene, acting out a part in the show, representing particular moments in the story rather than telling the whole tale. Speaking of those other elements, Steve Davison posted another teaser on his Facebook fan page the night before last:

“We had all the fountains on tonight in front of the Castle. They are stunning. I am so excited for Disneyland Paris. They will be the first to have a permanent fountain array in their moat. It is so colorful and magical it really is a beautiful enhancement to the Castle.”

Steve is even kind enough to respond directly to fans who write on the page. To a question about exclusive merchandise for the show, he replied “I hope so, there are some really fun things they could play off!” and promised to ask the director of merchandise at a planned meeting next week. The most surprising status update, though, came after DLRP Today summarised Steve’s updates on Tuesday and challenged you to boost the page above 1,000 fans (it now stands at 1,209):

Thanks DLRP Today! You took my fan page over 1000! Merci Beaucoup!!!! And your 20th show DREAMS is coming along magically. The Castle projections are stunning! Can’t wait for you to see it!

Wow, actual Steve Davison posting a message to us! So that’s what a dream come true feels like. Great work, everyone!

VIA Radio Disney Club, Disney Central Plaza, @Tobiasfl (Twitter)

Tuesday, 6th March 2012

Steve Davison arrives in Paris for overnight ‘Disney Dreams!’ testing and programming

If there’s one Facebook page you really need to “Like” as anticipation grows for the 20th Anniversary and Disney Dreams! (besides our own of course), then it’s the Steve Davison Fan Page. Because this isn’t just any page dedicated to the Disneyland entertainment master and producer of Disneyland Paris’ new nighttime spectacular, no. It’s Steve himself who provides the updates, which in the past have included rare glimpses into the production of World of Color as well as Tokyo DisneySea‘s stunningly re-imagined version of the classic Fantasmic!. Over recent months and weeks, Steve has begun dropping tantalising morsels of information about this, his very first original project for Disneyland Paris, culminating in an attention-grabbing status update just over a week ago which simply began “DISNEY DREAMS! DISNEY DREAMS! DISNEY DREAMS!.

This was Steve announcing his final departure to Disneyland Paris, where he’ll presumably be based for the whole month to prepare every element of the new park finale for its grand premiere. “Here I come. Off to program the show for Paris Disneyland. All the pieces look amazing thus far! Now it’s the task of painting them all together into one beautiful, exciting and moving spectacular!”

Since arriving in Marne-la-Vallée, Steve has shared three further updates; first revealing that the Disney Dreams! fountains rose out of the moat for the very first time exactly a week ago, on February 28th: “Just saw a bunch of water rising up from out of the moat! Now that’s a good thing! Fun stuff!” And on 1st March, that the unpredictable Marne-la-Vallée fog was causing problems for the team: “It is one “foggy” programming night here is Paris. Not getting a lot done. We can’t see a thing. I feel like Santa at the end of Rodolph! Except I don’t have a reindeer with a bright red nose to cut through the fog. But the 10K searchlights come close!”

The testing and programming is taking place after park hours and running right through the night, apparently as late at 6am. Steve himself followed up his first update from Paris with the confirmation: “And yes it’s really 3:30am here!” Even a programmer of Dreams deserves a night off, though, as Steve posted Saturday: “We have a night off tonight. It’s crazy working nights.” But that doesn’t mean the team were apart for too long, as he later revealed a trip out to the nearby town of Melun, south-east of Paris: “Oh no. We’re in Melun having Fondue with Team Dreams!”

Currently hovering around 987 likes, let’s see if his new quotient of Disneyland Paris fans from DLRP Today.com can boost numbers on the Steve Davison Fan Page above 1000, shall we?

Sunday, 4th March 2012

Early 20th sparkle for Sleeping Beauty Castle as Peter Andre films new commercial

We all know 1992 as the year that saw Disneyland Paris open its gates, but what other tentative beginnings is that fateful year famous for? Why, the launch of British-born pop singer Peter Andre‘s career, when he released his first single in Australia, of course! Whether this was the smart thinking behind asking him to present what appears to be a new commercial for the 20th Anniversary, or the fact that he has more recently appeared in a string of ITV reality shows, remains to be seen, but Sleeping Beauty Castle was ready to put on an extra sparkle for his arrival yesterday.

The news spread on Twitter with Andre himself tweeting “Back at work today, filming my first ever TV commercial for Disneyland :)) it’s cold cold cold in Paris” in the early afternoon. After darkness fell, he posted the two photos featured here, showing him appearing with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Sulley in front of an illuminated castle, holding a 20th Anniversary-branded microphone. The anniversary logo was also projected onto the façade of the castle as spotlights criss-crossed the sky, creating quite a spectacle from Main Street, U.S.A. for regular guests.

Below, two Instagram photos shared by @pka13 of the filming and the castle, which was lit by the colour-changing embedded LED lights first installed for the Princess Aurora’s Christmas Wish show last year.

Since we’ve already seen numerous versions of the main TV advertising campaign for the anniversary, Peter Andre’s “commercial” filming will presumably be for a special one-off broadcast closer to the 1st April launch date itself, perhaps as part of a promotional segment within a TV show or as a one-of commercial spot. Meanwhile, Pat Sharp is still waiting for his call-back…

VIA @MrPeterAndre, @pka13 (Twitter)

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