Tuesday, 21st February 2012

Main Street Station façade to be embossed in gold for 20th Anniversary – first colour tests

“Will the person who lost a roll of 20 dollar bills in a green rubber band please come to the ticket office. Good news: we found your green rubber band,” goes the announcement. And now we know, after 20 years, what the porters at Main Street Station have been saving all those dollar bills for. For the 20th Anniversary, the entire front façade of the station, the beautiful stone edifice which greets every guest as they first step inside Disneyland Park, will turn… gold!

Matching well the fresh gold bunting going up elsewhere, the first tests for this bold makeover, captured by @InsideDLParis, are already underway. One pillar on the far right of the station was first painted in an alarming shade of yellow undercoat before revealing, just 24 hours later, its stately golden finish.

After numerous season and festival overlays, some more successful than others (most not very successful at all), you might think you’d seen it all on Main Street Station. But this would be by far the most dramatic overlay so far: completely changing the colour of the station for at least a whole year.

Surprisingly, it could also be one of the most appealing to date. Given its lavish architecture, “embossing” just this front-facing wall of the station in gold feels like a suitably extravagant way for it to celebrate. Where so many makeovers past have sought to cover up the station’s stunning ironwork, windows and organ, a gold shimmer could bring out its details like never before.

But what do you think — a bold feat of flamboyance, or a gold leaf too far?

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Monday, 20th February 2012

Main Street, U.S.A. celebrates early as golden bunting begins to adorn the town

Like gold? Like bunting? Then this 20th Anniversary year Main Street, U.S.A. will be your kinda’ town! Despite the countdown clock still standing at more than a month before festivities begin, the town has already begun to receive its commemorative overlay. From tentative beginnings on the awning of Casey’s Corner, semi-circular gold and white bunting has begun to line the entire town. Coming in a large and small size depending on the location, these shimmering fans of fabric can already be spotted hanging from The Emporium, Walt’s – An American Restaurant, Lilly’s Boutique, Disney & Co., Boardwalk Candy Palace, Cable Car Bake Shop and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour.

This follows months of complete restorations to buildings including Walt’s and Gibson Girl, plus numerous ongoing clean-ups and repaints right across the street.


Bunting is the traditional way for the other Main Streets around the world to celebrate the seasons and events of the park, fitting naturally within the turn-of-the-century streetscape. While this particular style of flashy gold might require a small leap of period theme, it’s certainly favourable to the oversized banners of the 15th Anniversary — or pretty much any overlay to have come before it. Along with the culling of the Pumpkin Men from Halloween and unsympathetic decorations from Sleeping Beauty Castle, it continues a reaffirmed desire to respect the park’s original landscapes and stories when decorating for seasonal occasions; refreshing the environments more subtly — and effectively.

These decorations form part of the Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! event. Marketed as a “unique celebration of magic, lights and colours with even more twinkles and memorable glowings-on than ever before,” it sounds like this spot of bunting might just be the first of the street’s surprises…

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 17th February 2012

Disneyland Paris launches official 20th Anniversary website, no Flash required

If you follow @DLRPToday on Twitter, you might have got an early look when the site briefly went live on Wednesday, but now it’s here to stay: Disneyland Paris has launched its official 20th Anniversary web pages! This new mini-site, designed as a separate section of the main website, is notably more compact than previous efforts, but that has only to be applauded: if Disneyland Paris are going to put effort and money into their online activity, it needs to be put into the inadequate main website itself. There are no useless mini-games, no disjointed attempts at “social” interaction, just the main 20th Anniversary events laid out in simple and appealing pages. Check them out here.

Pages for Disney Dreams!, Disney Magic on Parade! and Meet Mickey Mouse feature video clips spliced from the full-length promo video already available on YouTube, while Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train and the 20th Anniversary Extended Hours are also featured. The final page, “Videos & Live Posts”, simply features a YouTube video and a Facebook plugin. Simple and effective.

Surprisingly, after several years moving away from the increasingly unpopular format (last year’s Magical Moments Festival mini-site appeared to make a point of being entirely non-Flash based), these new pages still arrive fairly heavy in Flash animations, at least for desktop users. But switch to an iPad or iPhone, which notably snub the processor-hogging medium, and there’s a second surprise: the pages still work! Yes, a static version of the main menu has also been produced, for web browsers without Flash to fall back to. Even the videos have been encoded in iOS-friendly formats.


The extent of the Disneyland Paris website on an Apple iOS device; sales totalling 250 million+

All of which makes it even more absurd that, if you jump back to the main Disneyland Paris homepage — or indeed, any page on the rest of the website — you’ll be simply provided with a “Flash Plugin Required” message, and no back-up page at all. No links are even provided for the resort’s separate ticket or package booking systems, which don’t require Flash, potentially losing “armchair” visitors who would like to browse the site or book without firing up their PC.

• Look out for DLRP Magic!‘s own complete guide to the 20th Anniversary, launching soon!

Friday, 10th February 2012

Disneyland Paris launches first 20th Anniversary TV spot in Spain, with animated Disney “sueños”

That’s “Disney Dreams!” to you and me. Spain got a first look at the new 20th Anniversary commercials this week, with a 30-second TV spot featuring Mickey Mouse guiding a family from the streets around the Eiffel Tower to Disneyland Paris. Where, with Sleeping Beauty Castle illuminated and characters flying through the skies, they’re duly treated to an “eyeful” of the park’s new nighttime spectacular.

With much artistic licence, we see Captain Hook duelling with Peter Pan around the castle’s spire, then Crush and a group of Finding Nemo sea turtles “swimming” across the sky. The new “Second Star to the Right” effect, shining brightly from the top window of the castle, is featured throughout. Like most adverts in recent years, the park scenes appear to have been shot on a Main Street looking suspiciously like that of California or Hong Kong. But here, the lights of the buildings appear to glow that bit brighter — perhaps a clue to the enigmatic Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates event advertised in brochures?




If your español is patchy, or you’d just like to see this on your own television screen, we can confirm that the resort’s 20th Anniversary TV campaign will begin in the UK around 24th February and continue right through to 24th June. Initially, this will be in the form of 10-second “tactical” adverts, designed to create word of mouth. With Mickey seen in this advert near the Eiffel Tower, there’s some suggestion the Disney characters could be pictured at landmarks across Europe, “gathering up” guests for the impending anniversary, to give the continent-spanning campaign a true sense of its own scale.

Video of the first 30-second commercial follows below… Read More…

Thursday, 2nd February 2012

Central Plaza swaps unpopular stage for temporary tents as remodel hits sub-zero weather

If you’re reading this in Europe, no doubt you’ve felt a very seasonal but very sharp chill in the air this past week as winter has belatedly made its mark. Disney Parks, magical as they are, aren’t exempt from wild fluctuations of temperature either, which can lead to such surprising measures as this: covering the whole of Central Plaza in a series of temporary tents to make sure its remodel meets the deadline. With the over-dominating stage now consigned to history, the plaza has been left open and levelled for the first time since 2006. Disneyland Paris now faces the daunting prospect of ensuring it is completely rebuilt ready for the premiere of Disney Dreams! in less than two months.

The encampment grew from a single, open-sided tent on Tuesday to three tents on Wednesday (below right) and eventually five, fully-enclosed tents today (bottom). Surprisingly, the whole area had been completely flattened, with all existing concrete dug up and railings taken down.


But is this a simple case of repaving? Conspiracy theories abound: forums and Twitter have been buzzing with the belief that Disney must be hiding something inside these structures. Rumours from last year of a new fountain on Central Plaza, that could function normally during the day but burst into multi-coloured life as part of the new nighttime show, were immediately resurrected. However, plans for the programming of the “fountain package” featured in the 20th Anniversary preview video didn’t appear to show any such addition; the middle of the plaza was left entirely empty.

Temperatures in Marne-la-Vallée for the next week are forecast for highs of 0°C and crippling lows of -8°C tonight, so the tents themselves are surely just sensible precautions to ensure the work is completed on time. As for the remodel itself, one thing we’d particularly like to see would be the lampposts around the middle of the plaza replaced with lower, shoulder-height lamps just like those in the specially-built World of Color viewing area in California, for example. For 20 years, guests have had their views of castle shows and fireworks impeded by those poorly-placed bulbs.

With the inner circle of lampposts — and much of the plaza — now hidden inside these mysterious tents, how will the heart of the park look when they come down…?

PHOTOS VIA @InsideDLParis

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)

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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