Monday, 25th July 2011

May the Force be with you: Star Wars characters make official return to Discoveryland

Try not to feel too much like the child who gets an action figure of Jar Jar Binks instead of Han Solo for Christmas here — Star Wars has made an official return to Discoveryland! Yes, Disneyland Park just welcomed the official return of Star Wars characters Darth Vader and Chewbacca, who are now even listed on the daily park Programme times guide (PDF) appearing near Star Tours. Last year, the pair were spotted on the odd occasion near the 1987 classic but their presence was never given a definite time or location. For fans of the saga, the pair’s return will be especially appreciated, coming just in time for the Blu-Ray re-release of the films, and it really helps to give the parks’ character offering that much more variety and widespread appeal than the usual animated stars.

We’d have preferred the updated, multi-destination, 3-D Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, that just opened in May and June at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland respectively (just FYI, Euro Disney SCA), but maybe this at least gives us “A New Hope” that Disneyland Paris still knows the George Lucas universe is a hot property to have within its gates.

See Chewie and Darth most days (currently at 11:30, 12:30, 13:30 and 15:45) this Summer!

PHOTOS VIA Photos Magiques

Saturday, 23rd July 2011

The Tarzan Encounter is bringing Two Worlds together again at The Chaparral Theater

This time, it wasn’t cancelled! Long-running favourite The Tarzan Encounter leapt back into The Chaparral Theater exactly as promised from 11th June. Despite the two-year hiatus, during which an entirely different Summer show was presented at the venue (the poorly-received Goofy’s Summer Camp), the show has returned looking entirely familiar. Thankfully, this includes the blackout curtains around the sides of the open-air theatre, allowing for much more impressive lighting of the more dramatic scenes, as seen in the photo from Bert Snyers’ excellent Flickr set, above.

It isn’t known if the show will return for another unexpected encore season in 2012, so make sure to enjoy the acrobatics, dance and multilingual Phil Collins music all over again while you can. Let’s show Disneyland Paris how much we prefer a good show in a proper theatre! Currently showing at 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 16:15 and 17:15, Tarzan and friends will be Trashin’ the Camp until 4th September.

MORE PHOTOS Snyers Bert (Flickr)

Friday, 22nd July 2011

John Lasseter meets the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors – “I’m only here for the Castle!”

Yeah sure, John. During his European publicity tour for Cars 2, which included hosting a special showing of the film for fans in Paris, John Lasseter also dropped into Disneyland Park on Wednesday. Stopping for this photo at around 2pm with the 2011-12 Disneyland Paris Ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero, Pixar’s creative chief had the pleasure of seeing Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant nearing the end of its lengthy restoration, complete with newly-returned golden spires.

We also completely missed, in yesterday’s excitement, that this would have been John Lasseter’s first ever visit to Toy Story Playland, a land he had much creative input in. Better to see it here, and when the leaves are on the trees, than as a sore thumb at Hong Kong Disneyland

VIA Ambassadeur Disneyland Paris (Facebook)

Friday, 1st July 2011

Spectacular castle flyover by the Patrouille de France marks three-day children’s charity event

Patrouille de France Sleeping Beauty Castle flyover

See anything unusual in the skies over Disneyland Paris last weekend? Not a flying elephant or a projectile to the moon, but the Patrouille de France — the French air force display team — who performed a spectacular fly-by of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant for the very first time, filling the sky over Main Street, U.S.A. with the blue, white and red of the Tricolore. The stunning sight was all part of a charitable event known as “Journées Soif de Vivre”, literally “Thirst for life days”, which saw 160 children with serious or rare illnesses invited to Disneyland Paris for three days of unforgettable experiences and surprises. From balloon rides to Mickey Mouse meet ‘n’ greets, a special performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and an exclusive preview screening of Cars 2, the children had three days of pure escapism. You can find out more about the event on the resort’s corporate website (PDF) or see a quick video of the flyover here.

Update: The Disneyland Paris Ambassadors have posted a whole album of photos to Facebook!

VIA Disneyland Paris (Facebook)

Wednesday, 15th June 2011

Disneyland Paris landmarks and characters go on show at Sand Sculpture Festival

Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011

Forget faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust. It took 20,000 tons of sand, eight weeks and a team of skilled artists from around the world to move the most famous landmarks and characters of Disneyland Paris to the Belgian coast for one long summer. From Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Space Mountain, all the favourites have been recreated out of nothing more than sand and water. A world-first tie-in to promote the Magical Moments Festival, they’re now on show taking over the whole Sand Sculpture Festival in Blankenberge until 12th September.

Some of the most impressive sculptures are housed inside a giant temporary marquee, such as City Hall, Walt’s restaurant and Main Street Motors; all stunningly detailed recreations that you can walk right up to. The jail scene from Pirates of Caribbean is recreated with a wonderful likeness for the key-carrying canine — and even an early appearance from Jack Sparrow!

Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011 Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011

Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011

Beyond the resort landmarks, there are numerous lifelike character sculptures from Snow White to Tangled and almost every film in-between, with a special section for Pixar characters. A short “making of” film on the festival’s website gives a look at the work that went into the project. Our friends at Photos Magiques donated more than 400 Disneyland Paris pictures to help the sculptors refine their works. Head over to their Facebook page to see the full gallery of the finished exhibition from Friday’s special launch event… and don’t make any sudden movements!

VIA Photos Magiques (Facebook)

Friday, 27th May 2011

Sand sculpture festival to present a replica “Disneysand” Paris on the Belgian coast

Disneyland Paris at Blankenberge sand sculpture festival

Disneyland is moving to Belgium! Well, almost. It was officially announced today that the 2011 Blankenberge International Sand Sculpture Festival will, for the very first time, feature unique recreations of Disney characters and Disneyland Paris landmarks made — you guessed it — out of sand! According to the festival’s website, visitors to the West Flanders seaside resort between 10th June and 12th September this year will get to see “a selection of well-known attractions and unforgettable moments” sculpted out of 3,000 square metres of sand. The result of many months of planning by the Benelux office of The Walt Disney Company, the Magical Moments Festival tie-in promises to be unmissable for those familiar with Disneyland Paris and great promotion for those who aren’t. Will you be able to visit Blankenberge to check out this limited-time Disneysand Paris exhibition?

VIA Blankenberge sand sculpture, Disney_ParisEN (Twitter)

Monday, 2nd May 2011

Stars ‘n’ Cars to lose its “petite surprise” stage number as parade stops refreshed

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

They say no ideas at Disney ever go to waste and for Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, the daily parade-come-show at Walt Disney Studios Park, that means a refreshed format reported to begin this summer will be a lot like a look at “what could have been”. Matthew Burggraeve (aka @InsideDLParis) tweeted on Friday that the parade would lose its “petite surprise” stage number and instead become a “parade with a meet ‘n’ greet showstop”. Before its Parisian debut in April 2009, the parade was due to become exactly that, before that idea was overtaken by one to pile all those individual show stops into one “mega show stop” on the arguably inadequate Place des Stars stage in Production Courtyard. This has often led to guests needing to arrive over half an hour (and perhaps up to one hour) in advance to find a spot on the front row for this performance, with the vast majority of guests behind them getting a poor view of the action in the cramped and untiered viewing space. If the event becomes a more standard parade, the amount of visitors able to feel part of the action will almost double as the route up through Backlot is brought back to life, for the first time since 2009’s High School Musical Party! show departed.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade will reportedly see even more tweaks after the “interactive” show stops introduced for the Magical Moments Festival don’t appear to have been received too well. Changes apparently due early this month include “more dancing, less interaction and new music”, which might upset those hoping to hear the return of the “Just Like We Dreamed It” theme song written specifically for the parade in its show stops. In this case, you could have said way back in March: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 22nd April 2011

“Prolonged refurbishments” official reason for Princesses & Pirates Party cancellation

Mickey's Princesses & Pirates Party

So Disneyland Paris did sell enough tickets to justify these four after-hours parties? That’s what their official statement sent to ticketholders suggests, with the official reason actually being that the “prolonged refurbishments” throughout the park wouldn’t have allowed the parties to go ahead to the standard of quality Disney originally wanted. With Sleeping Beauty Castle half-covered in scrims, areas closed for repaving and of course the icon of the park’s pirating land, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, also soon set to undergo a complete rebuild, that’s probably true — they couldn’t have picked a worse time in the history of Fantasyland and Adventureland to promote a Princesses and Pirates event. Whilst some refurbishment dates have slipped, the final schedules were surely known some time ago now.

An official statement (translated from French) reads:

Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party due to take place on 1st, 10th, 17th and 24th June in Fantasyland and Adventureland have been cancelled due to prolonged refurbishments underway in some parts of Disneyland. We are aware of your disappointment regarding the cancellation of these events, however this decision was taken because the current conditions would not permit the event to meet the Disney standard of quality. Disneyland Paris apologise for the inconvenience and thank visitors for their loyalty.

Visitors who have reserved tickets for the evenings can get a refund by contacting our reservation center at 01 60 30 30 30 or their tour operator.

For those who are still visiting the resort on the scheduled dates, in addition to a full refund of the ticket price, we invite you to join us in the space of Hurricane’s Disney Village between 5pm and 8pm on the day of the event originally planned, to spend a moment with our Disney Princesses and Pirates with a refreshing drink.* (*Details to be confirmed upon refunding of ticket)

See that? Along with a refund, ticketholders will get the chance of a drink and meeting with “Disney Princesses and Pirates” at… Hurricane’s Discotheque in Disney Village! The venue closed since March last year and still awaiting replacement. So, if you bought a ticket for Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party, you’ve actually just won a free ticket for what might be an exclusive last step inside that classic discotheque above Rainforest Cafe! (And sorry, no — tickets are no longer available to purchase…)

VIA Grandmath (Disney Central Plaza)

Thursday, 21st April 2011

Park ticket prices rise for Summer season, big increases on longer stays

Magical Moments Festival entrance

If you’re looking to visit Disneyland Paris this summer on a regular park ticket and on a limited budget, you might be forced to keep those Magical Moments briefer than you’d like. The start of the new season on 6th April saw the prices of Park Tickets updated and another inevitable rise, although this year seems to have hit longer stay tickets particularly hard. So much so that it’s official: a regular 5 Days 2 Parks ticket now costs more than a Dream annual pass! That’s the top tier Passeport Annuel, offering 365 days access and big discounts on dining and shopping.

With many of us taking price of those fairly reasonably-priced annual passports, we should probably keep quiet — but it’s still worthwhile to note the prices Disneyland Paris is charging for the vast majority of visitors. The biggest rise comes on the 4 Days 2 Parks ticket, which has increased by £13 for Brits or a huge €16 at the gate compared to the previous prices. For British visitors, the increase comes on top of a continually poor exchange rate, pushing the longest 5 Day ticket to a whopping £177, equivalent to €200.87 or €1 more than that €199 Dream pass.

Of course, there are several official special offers for tickets which run practically year-round — a cheaper 1 Day 2 Parks ticket and “one day free” offers for 3 and 4 day tickets — but the resort seems to be pushing its prices across the board in the hope of increased revenues as it pushes to break even. Already this year we’ve seen far less generous offers for hotel bookings, with last year’s almost frivolous 40% Off matched with only a 20% package discount this year — upped to 25% only as the deadline neared. The resort almost seemed to be selling itself cheap — having high prices but cutting them almost in half, which can look tacky to the consumer — but is it now selling itself too high? Read More…

Monday, 11th April 2011

Magical Moments Launch: Interactive show stops added to Once Upon a Dream Parade

Disney's Once Upon a Dream Parade

Now in its fifth year with roughly 1,470 performances behind it, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade has just been given probably its biggest daily update so far. Whilst 2010 saw Tiana push Belle from the prime spot on the Dreams of Romance: Finale float, 2011 sees children (and in some cases, red-faced adults) pulled into the parade route to take part in new “interactive” show stops. Even if you’re more of a Disney parade spectator, there are still some new costumes and added extras to appreciate… Read More…

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