Friday, 2nd March 2012

LEDs ready to light up ‘Disney Dreams!’ fountains as water flows back into castle moat

We’re not the only ones watching every movement in the moat of Sleeping Beauty Castle. As the waterfall in the château’s hillside began thundering again and water flowed back into its basin, DisneyGazette.fr caught even the resident ducks marvelling at the completed fountain installation for Disney Dreams! — now with LED lights. Similar, if not identical, to the illumination of the World of Color fountains in California, sealed metal rings of LED lights are fixed around the spout of each fountain. Twenty-four energy efficient, high power LED beams are split into eight groups of three, with each providing either a red, blue or green colour to give the light a whole spectrum of possibilities. Sitting at the base of the fountain, this beam of coloured light will flow through the water jet to make it come alive with light and colour as it shoots into the air, almost as high as the castle itself.

A completed set of fountains, with hardware and wiring cleaned up and freshly submerged, also allows us to get a better overview of what exactly the water effects comprise. We can count a total of 38 standard fountains, with vertical spouts and LED rings sitting above the water, split between 18 on the left of the castle bridge and 20 on the right. In addition, there are 6 special, angled water jets, again with LED illumination — made up of 3 on either side of the castle. These are angled inwards to the castle bridge and will allow for “arc” effects in the water as specific moments in the show.

Finally, the high-powered jets detailed in a previous update come in at a total of 12. Believed to be boosted by compressed air to launch them higher than the castle, these comprise 6 jets on each side of the moat, housed together within a self-contained unit. This gives Disney Dreams! a grand total of 56 fountains — not including the two enormous water screen towers, which have yet to be disguised. A modest number indeed, compared to the over 1,200 fountains which World of Color solely relies on for its show, but certainly enough as only one element of a wider effects-packed spectacle.

And how did those fountains get finished up with LED lights so fast? The answer from @InsideDLParis, who caught technicians installing the rings even as the moat was filling with water, wearing waders and working even through park operating hours to get the effects ready in time for testing.

Meanwhile, the all-important control centre where they’ll be launched from each night — otherwise known as the ‘Parks Landscaping Department’ — now has two more details with the addition of lamps both under its porch awning and atop a lamppost outside. Let’s hope the inside has been fitted with special duck-monitoring equipment, to prevent any Donald Duck-style mishaps come April…

PHOTOS DisneyGazette.fr, @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 2nd March 2012

Full-length Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary trailer revealed with Big Ben cameo

From Spanish to English to French, the multilingual advertising campaign for Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary expands across Europe and all leads to this: the full-length 40-second TV spot, featuring all the scenes in one commercial. Like the New Generation Festival TV spots, new character animation has been specially produced just for these adverts. Notably, as seen above, Peter Pan appearing across the tower of Big Ben in London. That particular scene is currently running as a short 10-second teaser in the UK, with the 40-second trailer only arriving nearer the launch date itself. Meanwhile France will see this full-length advert running from this Monday, 5th March — but you can watch it in HD below.

What do you think — does the ad do a good job selling the events?

Full Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary TV spot follows… Read More…

Tuesday, 28th February 2012

Mystery of the ‘Disney Dreams!’ water screen towers, rising from the castle moat

Now you see them, now you… still see them. But soon you won’t. Besides the 50 or so fountains now installed in the moat of Sleeping Beauty Castle for Disney Dreams!, two enormous other water effects have recently made their mark on this fairytale landscape. In the middle of the moat on either side of the bridge, a towering steel construction rises above the heads of passing guests. Camouflaged, for now, into the grey cliffside and stone walls of the castle from a distance, their size is nevertheless impressive. Their use is no mystery at all: these are the two vital water screens to be used throughout the show.

Water will be pumped at high pressure up the large pipe at the rear of the tower, before hitting the curved, semi-circular head of the tower at enough velocity to erupt upwards in a fine, fan-shaped spray, creating a perfect projection screen. Before this happens, however, the pipe will be elevated even further into the air at the start of each show using compressed air and a pneumatic lift inside its main support beam, lifting it to perhaps almost double the height seen here.

Projectors positioned behind each tower, now being squeezed into the rockwork and stone wall of the castle, will project images to accompany those mapped across the castle, expanding and completing the scene. The show will notably open with Peter Pan projected on one screen and Wendy on the other, as the Second Star to the Right shines from the castle’s top window above.

Since the photos here by ThemeParkZone.es were taken on 16th February, the towers have been fully connected up ready for testing and the moat refilled to around half its depth, so their excellent photo update is a great last chance to see all the Disney Dreams! equipment before it was hidden by water.


So, the only mystery here now is how these giant steel towers will be hidden. It was expected before work began that they might rise and sink completely into the water, but the towers are clearly permanently installed at this height. Since they haven’t been painted before installation, it will now be a case of cladding or wrapping them in a themed finish to match the environment. RadioDisneyClub.fr has reported that a company fittingly called Neverland Themepark Decorations could be working on the final design; their website states them to be specialists in themed concrete creations…

VIA ThemeParkZone.es

Monday, 27th February 2012

20th Anniversary TV spots launch with Disney characters projected across Europe

Disneyland Paris has launched its TV advertising for the 20th Anniversary in the UK, beginning with 10-second teaser adverts that show an animated Peter Pan projected across London’s Big Ben. It’s all part of the campaign that sees various Disney characters miraculously appear on buildings and European landmarks, hinting at the effects to be experienced with Disney Dreams! from 1st April. These “tactical” spots, designed to create awareness and intrigue with their short running time, will later turn into full-blown 40-second TV spots nearer the launch date itself.

Meanwhile, following the earlier Spanish commercial, a new 30-second English trailer has appeared using different scenes and angles, as well as a much nicer endboard featuring the castle. Ending with “click here”, it appears to be intended for online video-on-demand players. Buzz Lightyear opens the advert, appearing on a modern skyscraper, while scenes in the park show Lightning McQueen flying through the sky and a computer-enhanced Soundsational Parade travelling down Anaheim’s Main Street. Well, Disneyland Paris adverts have never been ones for accuracy.





Watch the new English TV spot below… Read More…

Friday, 24th February 2012

New ‘Disney Dreams!’ promo photos, press release promise “explosion of lights and colours”

The buzz for Disney Dreams! has finally hit the Disneyland Paris press website, with both a complete press release for the new nighttime show and several publicity photos from recent after-hours tests. Showing simply a multi-coloured test projection on Sleeping Beauty Castle and a burst of pyrotechnics radiating outwards from behind the château, they’re hardly the most revealing sneak peeks, but at least confirm the surprisingly important presence of fireworks in the show. Disneyland Paris has long had problems with the noise and cost of fireworks, limiting them to just two summer months and special events. Since we all really thought the fountains, projections and other effects would be there to make up for a move away from pyrotechnics, avoiding those perceived problems, it’s exciting to see that they will truly be an important element of the new, nightly and year-round spectacular.

A third image was also released alongside these two, and has been published elsewhere online. However, a quick look at the flowery projections on the castle — and more tellingly the photo’s EXIF data — reveals it was taken at 23:05 on 13th July 2011, in other words during The Enchanted Fireworks, so probably doesn’t offer a glimpse at Disney Dreams! at all.

What does come packed with information about this 20th Anniversary spectacular, though, is a new press release dedicated to the show. Detailing the music, the story and all the “elements” it’s a revealing read — but only in French. Lucky then we’ve translated it all into English!

Complete translated press release follows… Read More…

Friday, 17th February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ story scenes revealed: From the Second Star to a shadow on the loose

We know that Disney Dreams! means fountains, fire, projections, lasers and much more, but what story will all these elements be telling? This morning’s Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual General Meeting naturally put Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary and its new nighttime show in the spotlight, revealing some key plot points along the way. Fans tweeting live from the event shared details of the five key “acts” making up the show as they were announced, all appearing to relate back to the storyline of Peter Pan and his shadow. While the show will combine many of the best elements of other Disney nighttime spectaculars (and then some), it could be this narrative, threading the entire thing together, that sets it apart.

An opening act titled The Magic of the Second Star will surely be the grand moment when the “second star to the right” of Peter Pan fame ignites at the top of Sleeping Beauty Castle, causing pixie dust to pour out across the castle’s façade and open up the Disney Dreams.


Pixie dust pours out from the yet-to-shine Second Star

We actually got a glimpse of this in the earlier promo video, where projection tests (pictured above) showed pixie dust apparently pouring out from the tallest tower and engulfing the castle. In the final show, that top window will be glowing with the bright light of the “second star” itself: the effect was installed behind its stained glass star just a few weeks ago. What exactly this “effect” consists of is currently unknown — spotlights, ultra-bright LEDs? — but it has become a key theme of all the 20th Anniversary imagery. Showing a desire to make sure the castle is part of the show, rather than just a flat projection surface, the idea is clever: since the castle has always had a star on its uppermost window, why not make that the “second star to the right” for this show? When it does come to life, it’ll be like it has been hiding there all along, for the past 20 years, just waiting to be ignited…

Scene 2, The Shadow at Play, hints at the importance of Peter Pan’s shadow to the plot. Could he be engaged in a George (CinéMagique) or Donald Duck (Philharmagic)-style trail across Disney classics to retrieve his missing darker side? Perhaps pursued by Captain Hook along the way? Scene 3, Free to Dream, and scene 4, Shadow Battle, hint at what could be lighter and darker elements of the show. The “battle” in particular would be a good call for those fire effects. However, films including Ratatouille, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Jungle Book have all been confirmed to be part of the show, showing a wide spread of stories and characters beyond the usual princesses and villains.

Finally, the finale: Dreams Can Take Us Anywhere. And yet, even with these titles and everything we know so far, we still don’t know quite where they’ll take us. Let the anticipation continue…

VIA @DisneyGazetteFr (Twitter)

Thursday, 16th February 2012

‘Disney Dreams!’ fountains fill castle moat as installation project fights winter freeze

The Disney Dreams! are well on their way, and the most anticipated element of this all-new nighttime spectacular surely has to be: the fountains. A show made of jumping water in the castle moat once seemed a thing of fantasy but, as these latest photos from DisneyGazette.fr confirm, it’s fast becoming a reality. Technical equipment low litters the entire moat of Sleeping Beauty Castle, dotting its length with mysterious brown boxes and running a ring of water jets around its perimeter.

Even as rainwater has frozen solid on the drained bed, work hurries ahead to install the piece of this 20th Anniversary spectacular. So what exactly are we looking at? As expected, it’s a more modest array of wet effects than the enormous (and almost entirely water-based) World of Color, and the fountains installed so far can roughly be grouped into three types of kit…

First up: those long, rectangular boxes, with a bronze spout poking out one end, will be the show’s main fountains. Creating a vertical wall of water running across the width of Central Plaza, extending all the way from the entrance to La Tanière du Dragon to the wishing well and Le Théâtre du Château, they will likely be illuminated from below using a ring of colour-changing LED lights fixed around the spout. There’s a chance some of these 40-or-so fountains will have different capabilities, perhaps the ability to move, as their set-up seems to slightly differ in one or two places.

Meanwhile the moat, usually a protective ring around its neighbouring fortress itself, has been encircled by curious and very long rods of smaller spouts. Connected via a single pipe and tube, there are three of these installations with two on the left side of the drawbridge (either side of the Dragon’s bridge) and one larger array on the right (seen in the first photo above).

Likely to be much lower powered, these spouts will probably be used to add “bulk” to the base of the water display, either as jets of water or more likely a mist effect. Rather than a line of solitary fountains shooting up from the castle moat, this should create a more magical haze of water coming to life in the moat, which can itself be illuminated to add dramatic effect.

Finally, two huge brown boxes at the far ends, either side of the display, are easiest to decipher. These high-powered jets come in two sets of six fountains, their workings specially enclosed as one complete unit. Apparently capable of shooting at least as high as the castle itself (!) we’re guessing thanks to compressed air, another technique brought in from World of Color, they are arranged as five fountains around a central, tallest jet. These incredible fountains were highlight in pink on the show scene model, below, revealed in the recent promo video.

Again, rather than having the castle stand solitary, these tall jets matching its height will help to “bulk out” the spectacle, making it a far more impressive and immersive experience.

A major point of difference with World of Color is that all these fountains have been fixed directly to the concrete bed of the moat. In California, the vast expanse of fountains is laid out across two platforms capable of being lifted out of the water for maintenance, rather than having to drain the entire Paradise Bay lagoon. In Paris, luckily, draining a smaller, shallower fairytale moat is much less daunting task.

If only the same could be said for the challenge now: correctly wiring up and testing each of these new fountains, in time for April 1st!

MORE PHOTOS DisneyGazette.fr

Friday, 13th January 2012

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary preview video reveals “Disney Dreams!” – and more surprises

“We’re gonna bring the Second Star to the Right and ignite it above the castle…” It’s not a sentence you hear every day but, in this exciting new preview video for the 20th Anniversary released by Disneyland Paris today, Steve Davison casually drops it in amongst a plethora of other surprises. Walt Disney Imagineering’s Creative Director of Entertainment, famed for his work on Fantasmic! and World of Color, joins a number of backstage artists to tease us on the new additions for the anniversary. Show director Katy Harris tells us about the new Mickey Mouse meet ‘n’ greet, while Emmanuel Lenormand shows off detailed concept art for Disney Magic on Parade! and its new costumes.

But it’s the section on Disney Dreams! which is the most surprising — even breathtaking. Real previews are shown of the new castle projection effects, which have been in testing for some time, along with confirmation that the show will feature not just projections, not just fountains, but lasers, pyrotechnics, fire, an original musical score, and perhaps most importantly: a story! When the Second Star to the Right ignites above the castle, the “Disney Dreams” pour out and come to life in “new ways”.

Watch the exciting new preview video below!

Senior technical director Chuck Davis reveals the Imagineers at Creative Entertainment have mapped the whole castle with “pixel accurate video” so it can “do all kinds of great tricks”, while Dave Bossert confirms that water screens will be installed in front of the castle, creaing a huge new canvas for the show to take place on. Particularly interesting to note: Dave is the director of Special Projects at Walt Disney Feature Animation, showing the breadth of Disney talent being combined for this new show.

It’s a rare but incredibly welcome step for Disneyland Paris to let the talent behind its magic tell the stories of new projects like these for once. Similar videos are consistently produced for other resorts, notably California, and always serve to provide both a more exciting teaser for what’s next and a more inspiring insight into the work required to achieve it.

“So that at the end of your day, you can walk away and go: wow, that was cool!”

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Monday, 2nd January 2012

La Tanière du Dragon’s beast given revitalised “snap”, renewed effects for 20th birthday

If 2011 was the year Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant regained its glory, 2012 might be the year La Tanière du Dragon regains its growl. The almost 20-year old dragon beneath Sleeping Beauty Castle, still a show-stopping exclusive of Disneyland Paris, recently awoke from a lengthy two month refurbishment in its snarliest mood since 1992. Not only has the lighting in the castle’s dungeon been renewed to cast a scene as dramatic as ever, the movements of the huge Audio-Animatronic itself have been noticeably “tightened up”. Now the dragon lifts its neck and growls with a renewed conviction; a tighter, snappier, more powerful series of movements that give a new realism to the dozing beast, which many say they haven’t seen looking this good since opening day. Our Photos Magiques friends braved the lair last week to update to capture some stunning new pictures and video.

Meanwhile, over on magicforum, DGRavenswood shares a lesser-known but apparently official version of the dragon’s backstory. This isn’t Maleficent, as so many deduce, but a dragon found in an egg by Merlin one morning and restrained here below his magic shop for safekeeping.

Video by Photos Magiques follows… Read More…

Thursday, 17th November 2011

20th Anniversary Disneyland Paris brochure now available, events line-up confirmed

Here it is: the 20th Anniversary Disneyland Paris brochure! The multicoloured edition has been spotted out in the wild at travel agents in the UK since its limited launch a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s available online for all to see. Check it out here. Of course, there are new prices, new options and yet another new design for all the pages, but it’s the 20th Anniversary events and images we want to see. The final line-up to make the brochure cut is modest but promising. Star of the show in 2012 will no doubt be Dreams – the “magical, immersive” nighttime spectacular that’s due to take over the Castle, Central Plaza and even Main Street with projections, special effects and — yes — at least a few fountains, as it plunges guests inside a journey through classic Disney dreams.

Also given top billing is Disney Magic on Parade!, actually a reworking of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade that will see the 15th Anniversary‘s showstopper (certainly the best parade ever to be seen in Paris) given new costumes, music and characters. The current Dreams of Romance Finale float will be turned into a mountain ledge for Sorcerer Mickey, with the gang expected to appear in their spangly multi-coloured outfits seen throughout the brochure, while the original opening float will become home to the fairies, wizards and sorcerers of the Disney world. Oddly, that appears to oust the Princesses from the parade almost entirely, although Rapunzel and Flynn are said to be taking over from Aladdin and Jasmine on the smaller Romance Prelude float to freshen up that aspect.

The new magician-themed permanent meet ‘n’ greet for Mickey is advertised simply as Meet Mickey Mouse, while the fourth and final 20th Anniversary event is the mysterious Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates. The brochure blurb is suitably blurry but its references to “twinkles” and “glowings-on” are spot on with our sources, suggesting a gold theme for the street and certainly a lot of lights…

As we revealed in September, longer opening hours for Disneyland Park are due to be one of the big bonuses of the year. Advertised as 20th Anniversary Extended Hours, they’re confirmed to be in operation from 1st April to 30th September 2012, although there’s no mention of just how many extra hours we can expect beyond the usual closing time. Presumably, just as many as it takes for the park to see nightfall, providing a suitable canvas for Dreams.

Whilst the 20th Anniversary doesn’t coincide with any major attraction investments, the chance to stay in the park until nightfall every day of the year represents a big gear-change for Disneyland Paris. Add to that a real, signature finale to each day with Dreams — produced by Disneyland California entertainment legend Steve Davison and the team behind World of Color, did we forget to mention? — and the culmination of a huge investment in refurbishments. Looks like an E-Ticket year here.

VIA Disneyland Paris 2012 Brochure

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