Wednesday, 1st October 2014

The Aristocats’ Marie makes Disneyland Paris debut in daily Halloween appearances

The Aristocats' Marie makes Disneyland Paris debut in daily Halloween appearances ©InsideDLParis

It’s true after all that Aristocats are “never found in alleyways or hanging round the garbage cans”… For the duration of Disney’s Halloween Festival, Marie the cat is making her debut for daily scheduled Disneyland Paris meet ‘n’ greets, sharing the Boarding House location on Main Street, U.S.A. with Winnie the Pooh. Read More…

Tuesday, 30th September 2014

First signs of Swing Into Spring 2015 with auditions ahead of second season

Swing Into Spring at Disneyland Paris - Printemps Spring season

Swing Into Spring will return to Disneyland Paris from 1st March to 31st May 2015, that’s confirmed already. But while we prepare for Halloween and Christmas, Disney is preparing for the second season of this successful new annual festival with a new audition notice already posted for dancers on the official Casting website. Read More…

Saturday, 27th September 2014

Frozen but Brave: Anna, Elsa and Merida to meet Disneyland Paris guests this Christmas

Christmas at Disneyland Paris featuring Disney's Frozen, Anna and Elsa

You wait for one new Disney princess meet ‘n’ greet and then two come at once. Alongside Anna and Elsa from Frozen, making their first appearance at Disneyland Paris outside of the daily parade, the upcoming Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season will also see the premiere of fiery-haired Merida from Pixar’s Brave, whom many assumed had been passed over by the Parisian resort. Read More…

Friday, 26th September 2014

See the first 10 days of Disney’s Halloween 2014 events and times in new Programme

Disney's Halloween Festival 2014 Programme Disneyland Paris

Mickey’s Halloween Celebration, Maleficent’s Court and the Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade are all on the latest official Disneyland Park Programme, published today for the first ten days of Disney’s Halloween Festival in 2014. Read More…

Saturday, 20th September 2014

First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park

First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis

Main Street, U.S.A. and Frontierland have begun their transformation by ghosts and pumpkins respectively, ahead of Disney’s Halloween Festival beginning in just ten days.

Decorations arriving in the two Disneyland Park lands look broadly similar to recent years, following the festival’s gradual reinvention from 2010 onwards.

Today’s latest photos by InsideDLParis show the ghosts introduced to Main Street in 2012 returning with modest changes. Unlike the Pumpkinmen, who from 2003 painted the street orange with complete disregard for its storyline, one of the best things about the popular ghosts is that they reference numerous Main Street locations — including the Dr Bitz Dental School on Town Square, below.

First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParisFirst ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis
First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis

Plenty of banners and “funky pumpkins” are already present, too.

Over in Frontierland, the Pumpkinmen actually had a slight reprieve, returning as “Harvest Festival” decorations alongside sunflower bunting and softer autumn colours. Their slightly menacing, jagged grins these days replaced by softer smiles, their context here is much more fitting than Main Street, even if the way some are bolted to the ground on large visible plates still seems a little “un-Disney”.

First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis
20140920_halloween_9
First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis

A minor revision in Frontierland sees the banners changed from orange and yellow to orange and black, as in Main Street.

One bigger change for 2014 is the scene on Royal Castle Stage. Previously briefly home to Mickey’s Halloween Treat in the Street show, now superseded by Mickey’s Halloween Celebration parade, the unused Le Théâtre du Château has lost its giant Mickey Mouse-shaped pumpkin, replaced by a smaller sunflower centrepiece.

First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis
First ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween 2014 now invading Disneyland Park © InsideDLParis

The green vines entwining its towers have also yet to return, so it looks likely, without any show to present, that the stage overlay will now remain more low-key.

The introduction of a more “Harvest” style of spookiness is perhaps in line with rumours that Disneyland Paris will look to extend the Halloween season in coming years, perhaps having it begin earlier in September. Helping to spread the popularity of the season into an otherwise empty month, this would also support plans to invest more in new and better annual seasons, such as Swing into Spring, in favour of tiresome year-long “non-festivals” such as 2011’s Disney Magical Moments Festival.

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Thursday, 21st August 2014

Halloween 2014 press release teases Disneyland Paris’ most ‘Maleficent’ festival yet

Disney's Halloween Festival 2014 at Disneyland Paris - Maleficent

Disneyland Paris has officially announced its entertainment line-up for the 2014 season of Disney’s Halloween Festival, looking set to be one of the most impressive yet. Building on a full-scale reinvention of the festival over the past few years, it adds a timely Maleficent touch to the growing list of popular, and properly “Disney”, entertainments.

New additions for 2014 therefore include Maleficent’s Court, a villainous transformation of the Castle Courtyard behind Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant in Fantasyland, along with The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade, a chance to meet the villains in person on Central Plaza.

Successful new features from previous years will also return, such as Mickey’s Halloween Celebration parade (with, at long last, its own unique floats) and the ghosts of Main Street, U.S.A., which were introduced in 2012 to much delight from fans who had long requested a more professional, more “Disney” seasonal overlay of the land than the unpopular former Pumpkin Men (now living on in Frontierland’s harvest overlay).

This gradual and continued annual investment in the festival has grown it into an incredibly strong asset for Disneyland Paris. Flitting between numerous ideas and concepts since its launch in the late 1990s, so many poorly considered and ill-fitting for a Disney park, the festival has nevertheless remained a popular time of year for visitors. Now, with the right vision and a good foundation of annual investment, it feels like it finally belongs — and lives up to expectation.

Here’s the Disney’s Halloween Festival 2014 press release in full:

Disneyland Paris is the place to be to meet
during Disney’s Halloween Festival 2014
the gang of Disney Villains

From 1 October to 2 November 2014, Disneyland Paris is the place to be to meet the Halloween gang of Disney Villains. Every day, Maleficent will bring together the Disney Villains in a cheerfully ominous atmosphere, promising Disneyland Paris guests encounters to die (laughing) for. The Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard will be transformed to welcome the good Disney Villains who will take mischievous pleasure in taking over Disney’s Halloween Festival.

And that’s not all! During this delightfully frightening month, ghosts and “Disney’s Funky Pumpkins*” will take possession of Main Street, U.S.A., astonishing pumpkins will take over the flowerbeds in Central Plaza and Frontierland will be transformed into an autumn garden, where sunflowers and pumpkins will take centre stage. Finally, Mickey and friends will offer guests a special Harvest festival-themed cavalcade, not far from Minnie’s Halloween Costume Corner or the incredible candy-making machine invented by greedy Goofy, all designed to ensure Disney’s Halloween Festival is a laugh a minute!

NEW: The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade

With Maleficent in the leading position, the Disney Villains will be the unmissable stars of Disney’s Halloween Festival.

The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade

Every day, the Disney Villains will be happy to have their photos taken with guests to immortalize this fearsomely funny occasion forevermore. Together with Maleficent, the Disney Villains will parade around Central Plaza to welcome

NEW: Maleficent’s Court

In the Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard, Maleficent and her accomplices will create an unmissable spectacle, which will be the place to be seen!

Maleficent’s Court

This year, Maleficent will cast a spell on the Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Disneyland Park and will invite some of the Disney Villains to join her in the Castle Courtyard. Maleficent, surrounded by her friends, the Disney Villains, will take over the place — it has now been invaded by imposing brambles, which guests will be able to pose in front of, next to the Disney Villains.

That is how huge brambles mysteriously appear in the Castle Courtyard. Shaped like the famous horns of Maleficent herself, these brambles form the outline of an imposing dragon. As night falls, the bramble will take on a more disquieting look, immersing guests in a universe of bright, unsettling colours.

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Mickey's Halloween Celebration

Mickey’s Halloween Celebration

To celebrate Halloween and to provide guests with a unique party, Mickey and friends will offer guests a cavalcade specially dedicated to the Harvest festival, and have naturally been inspired by the autumn and Harvest theme.

Several times a day, Mickey and friends will parade in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and along Main Street, U.S.A., surrounded by dancers wearing autumn colours.

This year, the lovely Daisy will open the cavalcade. The Three Little Pigs and Horace will join Mickey’s Halloween Celebration on their brand new float “Raise the Rafters!”. Surrounded by owls, black cats, spiders and bats, the Three Little Pigs, Horace and Clarabelle will dance to country music in front of their farm. A tree and an enchanted mushroom will come to life as if by magic.

As for the Disney Characters, they will be showing off their most stunning seasonal costumes. Donald will explore the wonders of autumn in a world made of straw and pumpkins, together with his inseparable nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. Meanwhile, Uncle Scrooge will bring up the rear, determined to keep determined to keep careful watch over a strange pumpkin that appears to be worth its weight in gold…

Mickey and Minnie pay homage to the Harvest season from their huge horn of plenty, filled with autumn leaves, fruits and pumpkins. Behind them, Chip and Dale, accompanied by the charming Clarice, have taken advantage of the Harvest to steal and hoard as many hazelnuts as they can lay their hands on!

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Ghosts on Main Street, U.S.A.

Ghosts invade Disneyland Park

They thought they could keep a low profile throughout Halloween month, but guests will only be able to unmask them and immortalise them in a photo!

The ghosts of the former residents of Main Street, U.S.A. will use Halloween as the perfect opportunity to make their grand appearance. Delighted to be able to make an appearance during Disney’s Halloween Festival, they will take over Main Street, U.S.A., trying to blend into the scenery. The Park’s apprentice ghost hunters will be invited to unmask them, armed with their cameras.

Hilarious encounters with Disney Characters

The Disney characters get dressed up to the nines to welcome guests in a vibrant and colourful Halloween atmosphere for those special photo opportunities with guests.

Halloween Costume Corner

Passionate about sewing and fashion, Minnie will invite guests to discover her amazing sewing workshop, specially created for Halloween. An extravagant, colourful world where everyone is encouraged to let their imagination run wild. Minnie, in her fabulous Halloween-inspired dress will no doubt jump at the opportunity to pose with her admirers.

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Goofy Bonbons

Goofy Bonbons

Halloween would not be the same without bonbons and spells. For that reason, Goofy has designed and created a truly amazing candy-making machine to dazzle those with a sweet tooth, young and old! Fans of bonbons and Goofy will not miss the opportunity to stop in front of this astonishing machine. Goofy might even join them to make sure everything is in good working order. A moment to treasure and a chance for everyone to persuade him to share his confectionery secrets!

Disney's Halloween Festival at Disneyland Paris - Jack & Sally's Cemetery

Jack and Sally’s Cemetery (from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas © Disney)

The famous couple created by Tim Burton will be at Disneyland Paris during Halloween for a mortally enchanting encounter. The set recreates the universe of the film The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Jack and Sally in person will welcome those who will be courageous enough to meet them. A reproduction inspired by the universe of Tim Burton, Jack and Sally’s Cemetery is a unique place.

NEW: Disney PhotoPass+

The perfect opportunity to capture your best moments with the Disney Villains.

Disney PhotoPass+ allows guests to collect all their souvenir photos taken on rides or with Disney Characters by Park photographers at photo locations in high definition in a virtual portfolio.

The photos are also available on a dedicated website (www.disneyphotopass.eu) and on a mobile app that enables guests to download them, share them on social networks and even purchase personalised photo products (photo albums, mugs, calendars etc.). Disney’s Halloween Festival will therefore be the ideal time to capture the best poses next to the Disney Villains.

Disney’s Halloween Party: the grand finale on 31 October!

Guaranteed screams, even for the bravest guests. The most magical Halloween night will take place at Disneyland Paris!

The now famous Disney’s Halloween Party** will be held on 31 October 2014 in Disneyland Park. A unique experience to share with family or friends from 8.30 pm to 1 am.

Disneyland Park will reopen its doors after dark and guests will see it as they have never seen it before — in a more mysterious atmosphere than ever, with unexpected animations, terrifyingly delicious surprises and a “hellish” atmosphere. The moon will bring out the ghosts, Disney Villains and other creatures for the party, who are all ready to play their tricks around the most mysterious of places. After enjoying the many attractions Disneyland Park has to offer, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the magical extravaganza of the Disney Dreams®! night-time show.

Thrilling rides

Hair-raising, high-speed sensations!

Halloween will be the perfect occasion to test guests’ vocal chords on rides that will make them tremble with fear! With The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster with Aerosmith, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Crush’s Coaster and Space Mountain: Mission 2, Disneyland Paris will be the place to be to test the limits of the most overwhelming fears.

The Disney Villains have chosen the right occasion for their largest gathering — Disney’s Halloween Festival 2014 has become autumn’s unmissable event.

In an atmosphere where laughter mingles with spells cast by Maleficent, guests will find themselves immersed in a strange, delightful world that only Disneyland Paris knows how to create. To celebrate Halloween and the Harvest season with Mickey and friends, come to Disneyland Paris from 1 October to 2 November 2014.

• Deal — Plan your Halloween visit now with up to 30% off last minute bookings
• More — Check October opening hours and more on the DLP Guide calendar

Thursday, 3rd July 2014

Ratatouille: The Adventure Grand Opening LIVE Reports – Day 3 Roundup

Ratatouille: The Adventure Grand Opening LIVE Reports - Day 3 Roundup

Sunday 22nd June was the big day for more than 50 fan bloggers, reporters and tweeters as we were invited to discover not only Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy but a special preview meal at Bistrot Chez Rémy and an hourlong presentation on the making of the ride by two of the Imagineers themselves.

Staging an event like this purely for a guest list like us was truly unprecedented by Disneyland Paris, but hopefully its success will see the formula repeated again. Besides word that #Ratatouille briefly trended on Twitter in France, it presented a fantastic opportunity for us to gather as much information and as many photos and videos to prepare our blogs and websites ahead of the official public opening date.

In a sense, for every invitee we could take along another thousand or more diehard fans with us. Keeping the fans “in the loop” like this is good for us and great for Disneyland Paris.

No less than 41 live photos were shared on our @DLPToday Twitter feed, mostly focusing on the restaurant preview with the first pictures of its décor, menus and sample dishes. If you missed them at the time or want to relive it all again, here we go! Read More…

Friday, 6th June 2014

‘New Century Notions – Flora’s Unique Boutique’ to replace Town Square Photography

New Century Notions - Flora's Unique Boutique Disneyland Paris

Have you heard the gossip on Main Street, U.S.A.? There’s a new shopkeeper in town: the classic Town Square Photography is due to be replaced soon by New Century Notions – Flora’s Unique Boutique, a store with a very Parisian, Victorian flair.

Disneyland Paris shared the very first photos (above and below, bottom) from inside the repurposed merchandise location on the corner of Town Square yesterday, revealing crisp new stained glass and a much brighter, more feminine interior.

After some months of rumour, Town Square Photography officially closed back on 18th January 2014. The store was regarded by many as the richest and most intricately designed on the whole street, overflowing with sumptuous and unusual period design touches and filled with a genuine character of its own.

Lending much of its brilliance to Imagineer Eddie Sotto, show producer of the land, the shop’s favourite feature was often the photographer’s back office, which Sotto put together himself, spending a night sitting at the desk arranging the papers and artefacts as if he were the shopkeeper.

Town Square Photography Disneyland Paris
Town Square Photography Disneyland ParisTown Square Photography Disneyland Paris

• See more Town Square Photography photos at Photos Magiques

Alas, after one hundred years, the purpose of this store finally fell into complete irrelevance.

Where once the rich wooden shelves behind the counters would be filled with Kodak films, flying off the shelves every time guests took more than 36 photos each (the thought!), the displays had more recently become home to an assortment of souvenirs and accessories as disorganised as the photographer’s desk. Paris souvenirs here, photo albums there, and everything else between — no distinction and ultimately, no character.

Kodak’s financial problems were the final nail, as the store lost its sponsor.

Named after Walt Disney’s mother, Flora Call Disney, the new store was originally rumoured as simply “Flora’s Boutique”, disappointingly similar to the lazily-named Lily’s Boutique across the street. Without doubt, New Century Notions is much more original and fun.

New Century Notions - Flora's Unique Boutique Disneyland Paris

Expected to now specialise in the resort’s range of Paris-branded souvenirs, it’s surely no coincidence that teams are working on this boutique at the same time as the truly Parisian Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris over in La Place de Rémy, announced to open in the autumn. A short blurb from the Backstage Cast Member magazine was shared by Nathan on Disney Central Plaza forum: (translated)

Flora was born in the United States to French parents who dreamed of giving their daughter the chance to live the American dream. In opening her own boutique, this refined woman has realised the dream of her parents. Fascinated by the Victorian aesthetic, she decorates the interior with mouldings and woodwork, and turns down floral themes. This is the story created by the teams of WDI Creative for the new boutique on Main Street, U.S.A. And to make the illusion perfect, they worked on all the details. The stained glass windows, designed by Stéphanie Bohnhoff then realised on American glass by a stained glass artisan, reveal talents outside the ordinary.

On first glance, the store appears to be seeing the same fate The Emporium did some years back, when the rich, “masculine”, dark woods were painted in bright creams to lighten the environment. Could Main Street’s original plan of alternating “masculine/feminine” locations along each side of the street, to keep guests’ interest engaged, be in further doubt? Or will Flora surprise us with a “New Century” spin on such gender-based themes?

According to Disneyland Paris, eleven different trades are currently working on the store.

No opening date for the new boutique has been announced besides “this summer” and no work to the exterior has been spotted besides the removal of previous signage. When it opens, let’s hope Flora’s Unique Boutique has at least a notion of what made Town Square Photography brilliant.

VIA @Disney_ParisEN (Twitter), Photos Magiques

Thursday, 3rd April 2014

Main Street Station becomes blank canvas for ‘Swing into Spring’ overlay

Swing into Spring on Main Street Station © DisneylandBerry

Welcome to turn of the 20th Century America! At least, that’s what Main Street Station was designed to say. In practice, it has suffered an innumerable series of seasonal overlays over the years that often do little to embellish its period style. The latest, for Swing into Spring, was completed this week ahead of the new season’s launch on 5th April.

Production quality looks surprisingly good for a fledgling season — the main “Swing into Spring” marquee is big but thankfully well-designed, compared to previous efforts. The way the typeface springs out of the oversized daisy is quite classy, the character illustrations are a welcome “Disney” touch, the flowers (albeit fake) give a feeling of life. From a distance it looks like a fantastic, bright, fresh welcome into Disneyland Park for Spring. Great job!

It’s just a shame it’s all over Main Street Station. After the 20th Anniversary overlay, Halloween, Christmas, and many more in the years before, you almost need to remind yourself what this landmark is supposed to look like. So here we go:

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

Now where do you begin? Let’s start with the windows. The four stained glass windows of the original station are beautiful and should simply never, ever be covered over. Definitely not with flat yellow backgrounds for 2D cut-out Disney characters.

Then there are the 20th Anniversary leftovers. The two plasticy gold garlands along the top of the façade, the three golden arches above the walkways and the four circular castle motifs are all still in place two years later. The thinking could be they’re yellow (ish) and vaguely fit the colour scheme, the reality is that they cheapen a building which, along with the stunning Disneyland Hotel, was designed to instantly tell guests they’re not in any old tacky theme park.

Also part of that overlay was the black “Disneyland Paris” sign. It seemed fitting for the 20th Anniversary, but isn’t it about time the old “Main Street Station”, with its higher quality embossed gold letters and warm red background returned?

After all that, the flowers and even the logo are rather inoffensive. Indeed, imagine how good the station could have looked if it was simply “plussed” with a colourful floral overlay, not just treated like a blank canvas — as if there’s nothing of quality there to actually work with and the only option was for the designer to cover it with their own, bright yellow, canvas.

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

It’s been easy to shrug off the Halloween and Christmas overlays in the past because, besides the fact they’re well-established holidays, they’re only there for one and two months respectively, giving us nine more months to see the park entrance as it should be seen.

Swing into Spring will last for a record three months. If it returns with the same decorations next year (spending on these seems to suggest it will), that means only six months to see the station untouched: January to March and July to September. That’s provided they ever take the 20th Anniversary elements down. The situation is similar to the oversized Tinkerbell of the 15th Anniversary castle overlay, which outstayed its welcome (and spoilt the forced perspective of the castle) for several years after the anniversary ended.

At least, these days, it’s not the castle. That’s what we need to remember.

• Discover more Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station photos on the Guidebook

LEAD PHOTO @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

Wednesday, 2nd April 2014

New ‘Swing into Spring’ decorations take root on Main Street ahead of launch

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Less than three days to go before the first ‘Swing into Spring’ season begins at Disneyland Paris, the new decorations on Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza are already taking root to add a burst of fresh colour to Disneyland Park.

Just days after they were officially revealed in final concept art, the first arrivals were the colourful Central Plaza “topiary” displays of favourite Disney animals, interacting with musical notes and instruments. Each one takes the centrepiece of one of the four Central Plaza flower beds, surrounded by a fresh display of much less synthetic blooms.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry
Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Bambi, Flower and Thumper, The Aristocats Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse, and The Lion King Simba and Nala are pictured here by @DisneylandBerry, who has been sharing these updates of the growing Spring decorations each morning. Three of the 101 dalmatian puppies are in place, too, completing one of the best Central Plaza overlays in many years.

Meanwhile, down in Town Square the theme is more Mary Poppins. The 1964 film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and is of course a natural fit for a springtime “Jolly Holiday”.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerrySwing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

As the concept art depicted, the two flower beds either side of Main Street’s gazebo have become home to full-size floral topiary figures of Mary, Bert, Jane and Michael.

The Town Square Gazebo itself soon followed, being decorated with colourful garlands of synthetic flowers, musical notes and a large butterfly for its “Balade Printanière”.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Perhaps a simple floral overlay would have been enough and more in-keeping with the time period of Main Street, but at least, thank heavens, the psychedelic multi-coloured music staff of the concept art was changed to a more subdued green.

Penguin waiters are even less in-keeping with Main Street, of course, but they add some fun to the scene and are by far one of the least offensive things ever done to the poor gazebo. And they’re penguin waiters, so it’s impossible to dislike them.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Main Street, U.S.A. is home to almost all the Swing into Spring decorations, the furthest they spread into the park being only Le Théatre du Château. Here, the successful Halloween overlay of recent years has been echoed for Spring with daisies wrapped around the columns and a new green podium stage, ready for the main Disney’s Spring Promenade event which will take place both here and around Central Plaza.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry
Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerrySwing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

It’s simple and tasteful enough, and again good to see the stage finding a new lease of life after some years of dilapidation and uncertainty. Now to see how it will be used…

PHOTOS @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

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