Press events at Disneyland Paris are usually frequented only by those famous exclusively in France, so it was a surprise to see actual real American Shannen Doherty make an appearance at the Christmas launch events on Saturday.
Judging by the amount of photos released featuring the actress, of Beverley Hills 90210 and more recently just 90210 fame, Mickey and Minnie were pleased to see someone they just about recognised, too…
But it wasn’t all about the Charmed actress. Also in attendance were Virginie Ledoyen, Sliimy, Marie Gillain, Bob Sinclar, Hafsia Herzi, Frédérique Bel, Christophe Barratier, Laurence Ferrari, Claire Barsacq, Bruce Toussaint, Alessandra Sublet, Sandrine Quétier, Nikos Aliagas, Frederic Taddei, Fanny Valette and the Chef Thierry Marx.
You know, her…
And that guy…
And for the Brits reading: Former glamour model Melinda Messenger, who currently presents the frighteningly bad Live from Studio Five.
We’ll probably never find out what happened during the actual nighttime press party, such is the astonishing lack of publicity these schmooze-fests traditionally generate. However, from these pictures we can at least garner that there was a large mannequin Father Christmas locked inside a giant snowglobe.
However, costumes and characters from the park’s two parades were used in the following three pictures, which are very pretty indeed:
Note the clever covering-up of the Mickey’s Magical Party decoration on the Castle. We’re not the only ones who’ve tried to do that this year, then.
Back to the celebrities, French DJ and house music producer David Guetta has been featured amongst the Christmas photos, but apparently actually visited earlier in the week, seen here riding Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast with his wife, Cathy:
Anyway, from celebs to zelebs, we all know who the real stars are…
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.
The first is a real surprise. RC in the spotlight? A minimal character really only in the first Toy Story, who can’t even talk? Well, it’s a refreshing change from the usual Mickey, and he does have that still as-yet-unannounced attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park coming up next year. (Come on Euro Disney SCA, the game is up!)
Next up, another star from Toy Story Playland — Slinky Dog. Underneath him, Buzz peers out of a trapdoor in Main Street (you know, that trapdoor on Main Street), held up by Toy Soldiers, alongside four Little Green Men.
In the background of this one, spot Emile from Ratatouille, Jessie with a suitably cow-themed parachute and, er, Nemo. In some of the images he’s been shown floating down in a kind of water bubble… not this time. You also have to wonder about the fate of racing car Lightning McQueen as he smashes to earth, but maybe we’re over-thinking the concept.
Sulley and Buzz Lightyer feature most heavily in the next option for those travel companies. This one we’ve already seen:
Oh, well look at that! Lightning McQueen made it down safely!
Here we also spot a couple of new poses — yes, the folks at Pixar were nice enough to send over several different stock images of their characters — so we see Woody holding his cowboy hat as he parachutes and Buzz folding his arms. All in a day’s work for a toy who can fly!
One nice feature of the parachutes concept, at least, is that most of them are becoming “themed” to their respective character. So we see Emile with a cheese-patterned parachute, Woody with one to match his shirt, etc. In case you still don’t “get it”, it seems like the “Big Idea!” on the giant boardroom paper pad for 2010 is to show these “new” characters “parachuting” into the parks to visualise their arrival and new-ness. Got it?
Plus, in these images, compared to the main New Generation Festival image (which will probably be the official Summer 2010 brochure cover) the characters floating down in the background have even actually been scaled and faded properly, so the image — however much still constructed like a series of stuck-on fridge magnets — does have a bit of depth.
Finishing up, we’ve got Rémy and Emile from Ratatouille.
There you go. Expect to see those on a travel company brochure near you in just a few months. Now, if you were sitting in the offices of one of those companies, which would you choose? Strangely, the RC version looks the most appealing from here.
It’s worth repeating the slight moan from the article featuring the first of these images last month: what’s the need to mess with Sleeping Beauty Castle? Does sticking little Mickey silhouettes over its ornate stained-glass windows really achieve anything? If certain people had their way, would it not be a fantastical medieval palace but a monument to Mickey Mouse, with Mickey shapes on every spire and a hideous character decoration stuck on it’s fron… oh, wait.
And here’s one extra criticism not from DLRP Today. Member MagicStar on magicforum was keen-eyed enough to notice the odd situation to the left of the Castle, where one of the famous square trees has been… squashed! Clearly, that pesky castle wall the Imagineers designed was getting in the way of the character clip-art, so it had to be shrunk down… taking the tree with it! Even more oddly, there’s a spot of branch — or something — still there on the right, sticking up into the air. Good to see important images like these are checked thoroughly.
Even better — no, surely worse — something else has now cropped up on the left of these images, which isn’t there on the original one. Take a look just to the bottom-left of Tiana’s dress in the final image. Looks like the castle hill — almost — got the chop, but a dirty trail of Photoshop remnants was left behind.
Popping up out of nowhere, and only so far on the German press website, these few images are a rare delight worth sharing. Apparently someone, somewhere, realised that there’s a luscious, extraordinary Disney park behind whatever theme year is currently being peddled.
Looking through the latest official brochure (PDF), you could be forgiven for thinking the park was yet to open its gates with the airbrushed, photoshopped and hazy imagery filling page after page. Between the huge, fake images of the Mickey’s Magical Party events being previewed, guests are given little to no real glimpse at the parks themselves.
Well, flying cowboys! Is this really Disneyland Paris?
Of course, there is reason for this — since the start of the 15th Anniversary, the resort has been on a new drive to promote limited-timed offers and calls to action.
People were found to wait until their children were older before visiting, whilst Disneyland wanted their custom now. But how are these potential guests to know that this place really is so beautiful, so much better than any other theme park on the continent, and worth the high prices listed on later pages?
Images like these might help…
Several of the photos focus on Frontierland, with an eerie mist rolling around Phantom Manor and the Molly Brown standing proudly in the dock.
Even classic E-Tickets, like Phantom Manor itself, rarely seem to be given much attention these days. The opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was criminally glossed-over in favour of the extended 15th, the consensus simply being that this €180-million attraction wouldn’t be enough for the bookings to roll in — people would conclude that, unlike the anniversary events, “it’ll still be there in a few years” and postpone their trip.
As recently as 2001 and 2002, however, each land would be given its own lavish, themed page in the brochures, filled with photos of the environments, attractions and entertainment. After all, it’s these legendary attractions and the landscape of the park — the things designed and built by the Imagineers — that we visit time and time again for… isn’t it?
Say, the Disneyland Railroad majestically skirting its way around the greenery of the berm…
Or the spires, towers, walls, windows, tapestries and pure beauty of the Castle…
No wonder some people think we’re mad to be in love with Disneyland at our age, considering the “kids’ crèche” style of recent advertising, completely shunning any images like this gorgeous new view past the Walt’s restaurant sign…
You can click any of these new official images above for a large 1600px version. We’ll probably never see them make the brochures or advertising, so go on — stick them on your desktop and show people what Disneyland Paris is really like.
Without the “15” plaque covering the main window, without the greying statues of Donald Duck, Buzz Lightyear and more, without a giant Tinkerbell dwarfing its highest tower… for just over a week, fans and guests have had a small window of opportunity not seen for over two years — and not about to be seen again for another year.
Well, almost. With most of the statues replaced by the original spires, coated in gold leaf, and some remaining, it was clear just how badly the 15th Anniversary decorations had lost their shine during their extended two-year stay.
14th March 2009
The entire lot were eventually removed late last week, though Tinkerbell — and her golden trail which wrapped around the top of the Castle — had already disappeared sometime before. Looking closer, it was clear that the supports for these elements were retained.
Dashing many fans’ brief hopes for a “regular” Castle and, just as the concept image for the Mickey’s Magical Party castle decorations promised, the crane reappeared over Sleeping Beauty Castle last night to re-install a cleaned-up and repainted Tink…
21st March 2009
The golden trail has also returned, circling up the tallest tower, and Tink’s wand has been connected back into the small pipe which fed confetti up to burst out during Candleabration. It’s unknown if this effect will be reused for any element of Mickey’s Magical Party.
According to the concept, we should also be seeing the spire tops replaced again by similar-looking golden ornaments in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head, along with a new oval-shaped golden ring around the main window with Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Pluto peering out. Only time will tell if the original, gleaming spires were returned for good, or simply as temporary place-holders…
Photos 1-2: BOLT, Photo 3: djbass, Photo 4: julien59, Disney Central Plaza forum.
Amongst the resort’s marketing of the five key events of Mickey’s Magical Party, one aspect that comes packaged along with this kind of year-long celebration has been all but overlooked: the decorations.
Luckily, magicforumexclusively revealed the full concept image earlier today!
Over the past months we’ve heard every angle that the Entertainment department could approach this with — from keeping the entire 15th Anniversary overlay (minus the “15”), to covering the towers and turrets with multicoloured streamers like those on the new Main Street, U.S.A. lampposts. Now, finally, the decision has been made — and here it is…
Click image to enlarge
Give Sleeping Beauty Castle a quick glance from afar this year and you might not even notice any difference. Though the characters and their fifteen candles are almost all gone — only Tinkerbell, her sparkling wand and special confetti spray remain — in their place, subtle rings and hoops made up of golden “streamers” form the iconic three circles of Mickey Mouse on top of each turret.
In the middle, where the “15” emblem has stood for two years, a new centrepiece forms another Mickey Mouse shape out of two golden ears and a sparkling blue circle from which Donald, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto peer out. This design appears to be the same as already seen on the lampposts and in the larger versions of the Magical Party logo.
Compared against the current 15th Anniversary overlay, it’s certainly not the revolution some fans may have feared (and was actually originally proposed) but a far more respectful evolution of the same “hand-crafted” style the designers sought to achieve back in 2007.
Current 15th Anniversary overlay
However, while the oval “15” emblem was very sympathetic to the Imagineering creation behind it, the design and placement of the circular Mickey & Friends centrepiece placed in front of the oval/elliptical main window of the Castle for this new design has already been met with negativity from fans just in the brief time this concept has been online.
…As, in fact, has the whole idea of a Castle overlay for Mickey’s Magical Party itself. The feeling is summed up well by Kristof on magicforum, who concludes “Castle decorations should only be used in my opinion for truly remarkable occasions, like (and perhaps only) for the park’s anniversary.”
What’s your opinion of the new Mickey’s Magical Party overlay?
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:
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!
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.
Imagine the surprise, though, when the latest interview with backstage star Christophe Leclercq is sent over — all about directing Disneyland Park’s newest — and as yet, totally unseen — firework spectacular, The Enchanted Fireworks! From the music to the projections, to those all-important first and final blasts of fireworks, the interview gives a tantalising preview of what is to premiere next weekend.
You can read the interview in full here, but, since this also fits neatly into our News category, we’re also providing a full, concise run-through of everything it divulges right here:
‘¢ Love! Love will be the overriding theme of The Enchanted Fireworks. Surprisingly, we won’t be seeing simple movie projections of Giselle, Robert or Prince Edward on Sleeping Beauty Castle. Instead, since Enchanted tells how fairytale love can exist in the real world, the fireworks and projections will depict the stages of Love, set to the music of the film.
The Story & The Projections
‘¢ The fireworks will tell the stages of Love through 6 clear acts, each dealing with an aspect of romance. There will be projections, somewhat like Wishes, but using two TP6 projectors rather than four, since images won’t be overlayed on top of each other.
‘¢ Beauty. From the Overture comes an explosion of white flowers and projections of lace, like Calais lace — fine and delicate. The flowers evolve upwards from the base of the Castle and then all the towers are covered with lace. This section lasts 45 seconds.
‘¢ Seduction. Feathers caress the towers and turrets of the Castle. This section lasts 35 seconds.
‘¢ Charm. The idea of wooing someone leads to a dinner theme — the candles of the 15th Anniversary decorations glow as extra, spinning candles are projected onto the Castle. This section lasts 1 minute.
‘¢ Passion. Suddenly, your heart explodes! A rainbow and a fan of yellow colours opens outwards across the Castle, symmetrical and powerful, combined with the opening-out of giant spotlights behind the Castle.
‘¢ Love. Intertwined hearts, in colours from pink to yellow, going from the top to bottom of the Castle.
‘¢ Happy Ending. The dizzy feeling love gives leads to a spirally galaxy and starfield, before the “bouquet finale” is launched with fireworks exploding in the sky and sparkling outwards like cauliflowers.
‘¢ The show ends with all these words, which describe the show just seen, caressing the Castle from side-to-side.
Fireworks & Effects
‘¢ The lights mentioned will be like those used for the Disney’s Halloween Soirée Fireworks last year, bright spotlights shining up into the sky that can both move and change colour. Following their success at that event, some were bought for permanent use by the park, and will be positioned on the roofs of Fantasyland.
‘¢ A new, world-famous company has been chosen to put Christophe’s ideas for the fireworks into reality, led by artistic director David Proteau. The company not only puts the firework ideas into a workable design, but manufactures the shells and rockets itself.
‘¢ A “fan of fire” going from left-to-right and back at “incredible speed” across the Castle’s horizon will launch the show. The finale will be what is known as a “cauliflower effect”, which first explodes in the sky and is then followed by the actual detonation sound — the “boom!”.
‘¢ As rumoured earlier, the largest part of the soundtrack will be the ‘Enchanted Suite’ as found on the Enchanted soundtrack album. In addition, Christophe mentions that a more pop-style cue from the ‘Girls Go Shopping’ track will be used as a small finale.
‘¢ Here’s something guests will go nuts for, a real surprise addition: Mickey… and Minnie… standing on the Castle balcony. Yes, you read that correctly! The daily Candleabration ceremony leads directly into The Enchanted Fireworks with the happy couple standing on the first balcony at the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, either side of the giant ’15’ medallion, to announce the start of the fireworks.
In fact, work has already taken place to prepare their spot. As seen above in the photo by Scrooge on French fan forum Disney Magic Interactive, the two smaller Mickey and Minnie statues have been removed and replaced with a small golden support for the medallion.
Finally, the show had its first test performance on 24th June with another just two days later on 26th, allowing for any minor alterations to be made in between. The Enchanted Fireworks officially premieres this Saturday, 5th July 2008!
Oh Mickey, ce sera magnifique!
— You can find the entire archive of 10 Media Magic Interviews here.
Dramatic, colourful lighting, projections on Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and many strange Narnian-esque creatures roamed the courtyard to provide an extra after-party of entertainment for the assembled guests and celebrities from across Europe.
Such a party in this area of the park is quite unusual and certainly hasn’t been seen for many years. With plans for Paris versions of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to be held in Fantasyland this October, this could even give an idea of the special mood lighting of those upcoming events.
Effects included smoke from inside the castle and lights up inside La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant, changing colour to illuminate the stained-glass windows in spectacularl fashion throughout the show.
Fire artists and mythological stilt-walkers take over the courtyard, lit in rays of rich red light.
The film’s logo is projected on the gallery balcony behind, with the stained-glass windows illuminated in red as the creatures and stunt performers roamed around, interacting with guests.
Dramatic lighting changes from fiery reds and pinks…
…to cool blues and greens, with the stained-glass behind joining in.
Guests stepped through a wall of smoke inside the Castle to enter this live version of a Narnia-like world.
Whilst Fantasyland appears to have been seized as the perfect place to host Narnian events for the launch of Prince Caspian, the royal figure himself had already made plans to make his daily appearance elsewhere…
We’re having a day of follow-ups on DLRP Today, and the Castle Bridge refurbishment is high up there on your list of concerns. Long ago in March, we had the ultimate horror — construction fences around Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant!
As anyone about to depart for the magic was thrown into a brief panic, it soon transpired that the bridge required repairs and retouching of its concrete shell sooner rather than later. The harsh Parisian climate and its frosts do make the upkeep of fairytale architecture less than a ‘once upon a dream’.
Luckily, but the time April rolled around and the resort — mostly Walt Disney Studios Park, in fact — was invaded by press and VIPs, the bridge was finished and shining a brilliant clean white…
So clean, actually, that the Castle above now seems a little dull.
It’ll be an unlucky time when refurbishment does finally begin on Le Château herself, but never too soon. A full restoration was expected before even the 15th Anniversary, but amounted to nothing more than a slight clean-up. After the 15th, we then expected. Well, with the 15th Anniversary now continuing for another whole year, will it ever get done?
Before next year’s celebration, perhaps. One can always dream in Fantasyland…
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