Tuesday, 1st April 2014

Video: Show Director Christophe Leclercq introduces ‘Swing into Spring’ (at last)

Swing into Spring Disneyland Paris season festival concept art

You’ve less than four days to get to Disneyland Paris for the opening of ‘Swing into Spring’, the almost mythical Spring Festival which now at last has been given its official English title, dates and some welcome publicity by the resort.

Released today is a new video featuring Show Director Christophe Leclercq, introducing the season of springtime decorations and entertainment. If not revealing any new details of the much-speculated festival, Christophe confirms again some important details, such as the main event featuring no less than 90 dancers, 22 musicians and a quite startling 33 characters, taking place “in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle”.

The video includes an additional piece of concept art for the Central Plaza “topiary” displays (above) which feature characters from Bambi, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Aristocats and The Lion King interacting with musical notes and instruments.

This is also the first time (besides a lone Belgian press release) that Disneyland Paris has confirmed the season will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014.

In French, the season will be known as La Balade Printanière, or “Springtime Stroll”.

An earlier version of the video mistakenly subtitled Town Square as Times Square.

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Thursday, 20th March 2014

Disneyland Paris swings into late Spring Festival promotion – concepts, details, dates!

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival concept art - Swing into Spring

Disneyland Paris has finally swung into action, confirming months and rumour and speculation with the first promotion of its upcoming Spring Festival season at Disneyland Park. While the calendar season begins today, Disney’s season of entertainment and special decorations will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014, confirming the rumoured dates exactly.

Two new pieces of concept art lead the announcements, shared on the resort’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Above, the concept shows Town Square and its gazebo decorated with Mary Poppins-themed topiaries, flowers and decorations including Mary, Bert and the “Jolly Holiday” penguins.

Below, one of the new centrepieces for Central Plaza is shown, featuring One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Each of the four main flower beds in the heart of the park will have a different display of flowers, topiary and musical notes — a new official press release confirms the others will feature The Lion King, Bambi and The Aristocats.

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival concept art - Swing into Spring

So far, the press release has only been slipped onto the Belgian press websites, under the title “Disneyland Paris aux couleurs du Printemps” (Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring). Here’s a full translation of the key points from the French language version:

Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring

5th April to 22nd June 2014

If Disneyland Paris was a garden, it would be the largest in Europe with 35,000 trees, 250,000 shrubs and more than a million flowers planted each year. Mickey and friends have decided to celebrate this legacy of success with a special theme for more than three months, in the colours of Spring. With new happenings, new decorations and the opportunity to meet the Disney characters in new costumes.

Disneyland Paris turns into a “springtime stroll”.

The new daily “Promenade Printanière” happening promises to be the event of the day. This ultra-colourful musical event will be enlivened by more than one hundred artists including 90 dancers. Not to mention the Disney characters in new, specially-created costumes. Mickey and Minnie, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Stitch, Pinocchio, Clarabelle and many more will delight park guests accompanied by the musicians of the “Jolly Holiday Band” and “Swing into Spring Orchestra”. The new generation will also be in the spotlight, notably Rapunzel.

In decorations, small and big dreamers will be able to discover their favourite Disney heros in versions more “flowery” than ever. Beside Sleeping Beauty Castle, topiaries depicting One Hundred and One Dalmations, Simba and Nala (The Lion King), the Artistocats and even Bambi and his friends Flower and Thumper have sprung up like magic. Elsewhere, landmarks will be transformed into showcases of flowers.

“Bienvenue à la Belle Saison”, at the entrance of Disneyland Park, will immerse guests in the magic of Spring, with butterflies, flowers, topiary and music.

Finally, children can play as budding explorers with an entertaining leaflet guiding them through the nature, ecology and diversity offered by Disneyland Paris.

While the English name “Swing into Spring” has long been associated with the season and/or its daily happening, the main event is confirmed here in French as “Promenade Printanière” (Springtime Promenade), with two musical acts named “Swing into Spring Orchestra” and “Jolly Holiday Band”. It remains to be seen how the season itself will be titled in English.

With no less than a hundred “artists” including 90 dancers from the auditions earlier this year, the event, which is rumoured to take place around Central Plaza, could be quite a surprise spectacle indeed. Having two confirmed musical acts is also great move, rather than the park’s usual erratic live music schedule. This release also confirms Rapunzel will be featured, with a meet ‘n’ greet rumoured for the spot near to Casey’s Corner in Main Street, U.S.A.

Very welcome too is the renewed focus on the park’s gardens, especially as Disneyland Paris always spends money creating fabulous flower displays every year in springtime anyway.

It’s reassuring to see the event should indeed include some real flora rather than just fibreglass decorations. Indeed, while the flowers and topiaries look lovely, it wouldn’t exactly be a shame if the rather garish, unnecessary musical notes and butterfly were dropped from the Town Square gazebo concept, would it?

But still, simply for Disneyland Paris to share concept art publicly like this is a positive step itself — not just promoting the event but showing the talent and artistry going into it.

Posting on Facebook, Disneyland Paris announced:

“As of April 5th, Disneyland Paris will be officially welcoming the return of spring! This brand new season will be bursting with surprises, so come and join all your favourite Disney Characters for a music-filled celebration of blooming flowers and glorious sun-drenched days!”

However as “product” launches go, this must be one of the most last-minute in the resort’s history, giving only just over two weeks notice before the events actually begin. This could be a way to reduce expectation ahead of a bigger investment and promotional push next year, when the concept is proven, but for now has Disneyland Paris confirmed these Spring details with enough time for you to actually plan a trip, or did you wish you knew sooner?

Previous updates:

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival speculation blossoms with new logos, official text

Sunday, 9th March 2014

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival speculation blossoms with new logos, official text

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival - Swing Into Spring

It’s a glorious, sunny day in our corner of Europe today, with the feeling that Spring has truly sprung. The same could finally be the case for Disneyland Paris’ much-rumoured Spring Festival season, with new logos and creative text published this week.

The three designs, shared by Dlrp Express, take the standard Disneyland Paris logo in a fresh shade of green and apply colourful flowers, climbing plant shoots, a bright pink butterfly and musical notes floating in the air.

Both this rather over-the-top design, and a more discreet, flatter version have been released.

Disneyland Paris Spring FestivalDisneyland Paris Spring Festival

Alongside those is a new graphic to complete the set: a green petalled flower with Mickey Mouse-shaped centre, plus the same pink butterfly and musical notes.

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival

The first piece of text describing the season also appears to have been unearthed. Although we don’t have this directly from an official source, it’s unlikely even a fan could write something so typically Disney, let alone produce the logos above:

“Swing into a Disney Spring, blooming with magic at Disneyland® Paris. Color and music blossom throughout Disneyland® Park. And with the smell of flowers and fun in the air, it’s sure to be magnifiScent.”

Rumours point towards the new season beginning around 5th April and running until 22nd June 2014. Not only would this fill a gap in the schedule where Disneyland Paris has previously launched a year-long festival, it’d fit remarkably well with speculation of Ratatouille press and soft opening dates, which could perhaps start taking place around 21st June.

So, Disneyland Paris has a brand new season of entertainment and decorations beginning in less than a month — why on earth isn’t it advertising it? Besides the fact that the resort often leaves promoting things quite late, there are clues in the rumours so far.

• Read our previous article to learn more about what the new season could include: New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

If the “main event” of the season’s first year is only going to use the Casey Jr parade train, repurposed for the millionth time, and some borrowed cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, it definitely hints at something that will be more a trial concept rather than a fully-fleshed season from the outset.

Disneyland Paris has grown, improved and redefined its Christmas and particularly its Halloween seasons over several years recently, and likely wouldn’t want to create too much hype over something that is such a completely new idea. Will the theme, decorations and events work? Will guests actually buy into a “Spring” season, as a reason to revisit?

If the season’s a success, we can surely expect it to return next year, bigger and better, with a full promotional push as a third “pillar” season of the year in official brochures. It’s a perfect way for Disneyland Park to feel “fresh” each spring even when the resort doesn’t have a genuine new attraction to offer. But for this, the first year we might “Swing Into Spring” (it’s still not confirmed!), it’ll probably be more a pleasant bonus. Just like today’s weather.

VIA Dlrp Express

Thursday, 20th February 2014

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Spring at Disneyland Paris

Remember the “Festival of Flowers” (Festival des Fleurs) of 1997 and 1998? Park icons covered in colourful spring flowers, topiaries of Disney characters all around, beautiful displays decorating the flower beds? It was a beautiful way to see in season of “printemps”.

Well, those will remain memories… but it’s this classic event that has apparently served as inspiration for a new season rumoured to begin at Disneyland Paris this April: the Spring Festival, or “Swing Into Spring” if you want the latest reported title.

Disneyland Paris in its usual self-aggrandising style has announced nothing, but information and speculation has been trickling out for almost two months now from various sources.

The speculated season looks set to revolve around a central street event, which will reuse three of the cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. The Monsters Inc and Snow White vehicles were removed from the Walt Disney Studios Park parade on Wednesday, 19th February, and are expected to be redecorated for the new cavalcade “happening”.

Joining them for the Disneyland Park event will be the Mary Poppins car, apparently leaving the Studios without a parade for the duration of the season — characters will simply perform a meet ‘n’ greet in the second park, instead. Update: @InsideDLParis informs that despite missing these three cars, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars is planned to continue as a parade during the season.

Mary Poppins car in Disney's Stars 'n' CarsDisney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train

Other rumours suggest the long-running Casey Jr train (Disney Characters Express, Minnie’s Party Train, Disney All Stars Express, Disney Dance Express, Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train) returning in some form with a similar colourful, floral, spring overlay.

Only the Disneyland Paris Casting website has confirmed plans for special spring events, with a casting notice (below) advertising for an impressive 102 dancers. Even taking into account days off, reducing the numbers in each actual performance, that’s a healthy figure.

Disneyland Paris Casting Spring Festival Dancers

Meanwhile, the fresh festival could also introduce some new floral decorations and street animations or meet ‘n’ greet opportunities. Concept art suggesting these was leaked by a blogger in early January and swiftly removed at the request of Disneyland Paris, stating the internal documents were not meant for public release.

More recently, a Mary Poppins “Jolly Holiday” theme has been mooted, which would be a good choice given the film’s fiftieth anniversary and renewed popularity thanks to Saving Mr Banks. This could be confirmed by the appearance of chalk paintings being tested on the pavement outside City Hall on Wednesday, photographed by @DisneylandPfans.

Spring Festival chalk painting test © DisneylandPfans

Created by an artist using just chalk, water and masking tape, it’s not known how these colourful paintings, like those mastered by Bert in the 1964 film, could be put to use as part of a season (or avoid the footsteps of idle visitors).

Dates: the “Spring Festival” is rumoured to run from 5th April to 22nd June, possibly with a “soft opening” day on 4th April, nicely filling the void in the resort’s calendar left by the “summer” opening of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. Again, no part of this speculated festival has been officially announced or confirmed by Disneyland Paris.

Gradually turning “Spring” into its own annual season makes perfect sense, and though this year looks like being more a trial of the concept (hence the lack of a big announcement too far in advance?), with continued investment it could conceivably become a third pillar season as important as Halloween and Christmas, driving repeat visitors without the need for those increasingly desperate, largely irrelevant year-long “festivals”.

Bonus: “Festival of Flowers” 1997 programme Read More…

Tuesday, 18th February 2014

Disney Parks gain queues for characters; Disney Hotels to lose them altogether?

Disneyland Paris Disney Hotels characters - Minnie Mouse © PhotosMagiques

Here’s a double Disney Character update with both good and possibly not-so-good news, depending on your view. First, the unconfirmed rumour that from November 2014 character meet ‘n’ greet locations will be removed from Disney Hotels.

This information seems to have first appeared in a tweet by @DisneyCharPhot on 10th November, then reiterated without a date by @DisneyMoi the next day, followed by a more precise date of 3rd November by @DLRPWonders just a minute later.

Rumour has it that as from early November characters will no longer visit the hotellobbies at DLP pic.twitter.com/MPDOQBE37i
— Disneycharacter Phot (@DisneyCharPhot) February 10, 2014

Starting sometime this year, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at #DisneylandParis!
— Disney-Me (@DisneyMoi) February 11, 2014

Starting November 3th 2014, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at Disneyland Paris!
— DLRP Wonders (@DLRPWonders) February 11, 2014

Obviously we must still treat this as a rumour, since Disneyland Paris has made no comment, but given the number of supporting claims and the fact that the Entertainment department is usually about as watertight as a pair of Captain Hook’s tights when it comes to revealing information, it’s quite hard to dismiss.

Note that the rumours state character dining such as the popular Inventions buffet at Disneyland Hotel would continue, and that it is only the character locations in the open lobby areas of each Disney Hotel which would not longer be used.

Why would Disneyland Paris do such a thing? Isn’t being able to meet Mickey in your hotel lobby a real benefit of staying in those hotels? First, it might not be common knowledge that Disneyland Paris is something of an anomaly with having Disney characters in its hotels. Other Disney resorts around the world are more reserved: characters only appear at their hotels, if at all, in restaurants and dining events, with the only similar exception we can find being California’s Disneyland Hotel, which advertises occasional characters in the lobby.

Goofy - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Hotel New York © PhotosMagiquesMinnie Mouse - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Sequoia Lodge © PhotosMagiques

There’s another side to the story that’s more surprising, though, as apparently it has become a genuine issue that some non-paying visitors and locals walk through the resort and around its hotels, meeting the characters without paying a cent. With that in mind, it’s probably a good decision to reserve the characters to places where only paying guests can meet them.

The story might have a silver lining, too, as Poppy the Monkey on magicforum suggests character numbers will simply be displaced from the hotels to Disneyland Park Extra Magic Hours:

“Hotel Guests are not going to lose out too much, ALL the Characters you could of met in your hotel will now be ready to welcome you exclusively in the Disneyland Park during the Extra Magic Hours.  So instead of just having 2 or 3 Characters to meet in your lobby in the morning, you will most likely be able to meet alot more throughout the park – imagine all the Characters usually hanging out at the 6 hotels (Disneyland Hotel will not be affected) will now converge on the park to prepare for the day, before all the regular Guests even arrive.”
Poppy the Monkey, magicforum

And it’s in the parks that we find our really good news.

Since the start of this year, the Entertainment department has been trialling organised queues for characters. No more pushing, shoving or mobbing: guests are simply organised into a proper line and asked to wait their turn. And it appears to be working.

Disneyland Paris queue for characters © InsideDLParis

Just this morning, @DisneylandPfans captured a queue of visitors waiting patiently to meet Goofy on Main Street, PixieDust.be reported it working well in their latest update, while InsideDLParis has shared snaps (above) of numerous working queues since this initiative began in early January.

It’s fair to say that if you skimmed any number of Disneyland Paris reviews, especially those comparing with other resorts, the disorderly character appearances would always be consistently mentioned. Could it finally be a thing of the past?

This is without doubt one of the most welcome recent developments for the parks. And such a minor change: an extra character minder here, a polite “please join the queue!” there. If only park managers could continue through the whole experience of being in the parks with the same fine tooth comb and fix a few other similar niggles for us…

PHOTOS 1 – 3 Photos Magiques, PHOTO 4 InsideDLParis

Saturday, 8th February 2014

Watch the latest Disneyland Paris TV spot, featuring “that” Disney parade flyover

Disneyland Paris 2014 TV Commercial - Parade Aerial Flyover

Wait, did they finally retire the Roger Rabbit float?! The latest Disneyland Paris TV commercial to hit the internet, via a Danish travel agency, features a brief glimpse of the all-new Disney Magic on Parade aerial “flyover” footage, painstakingly shot over a whole day last summer.

This scene will at last replace the over two decades-old footage of Walt Disney World‘s 20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration Parade that Disneyland Paris has been using in countless trailers and promotional films since before the park’s 1992 opening.

Besides that well-choreographed shot, this TV spot just happens to be an all-round solid production. There’s footage of actual rides (!), real hotels (!) and of course a Disneyland Paris parade genuinely travelling down the true Parisian Main Street.

Disneyland Paris 2014 TV CommercialDisneyland Paris 2014 TV Commercial
Disneyland Paris 2014 TV CommercialDisneyland Paris 2014 TV Commercial
Disneyland Paris 2014 TV CommercialDisneyland Paris 2014 TV Commercial
Disneyland Paris 2014 TV Commercial

It uses a familiar concept of transporting people from the “real world” into a more magical Disney setting, but those clips last mere milliseconds. The recent “30 Yes Days” commercials for example, like far too many of the resort’s TV ads, dawdle endlessly on setting up a “concept”, when Disneyland Paris should probably just be using their precious airtime to show footage of the parks, like this.

We can even let the family off for apparently sneaking into the Newport Bay Club pool.

Watch the new Disneyland Paris commercial embedded below…

VIA @PlazaGardens (Twitter)

Friday, 15th March 2013

St Patrick’s Day 2013 programme: Irish music and dance takes over Disneyland Paris

St Patrick's Day at Disneyland Paris

This Sunday, Disneyland Paris celebrates St Patrick’s Day for one day only with music, dance, fireworks and special character appearances. The full programme of events was released today, confirming the annual Irish celebrations will again be hosted largely in the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area of Frontierland, a tradition begun last year and continued with the St David’s Welsh Festival just last weekend.

On 17th March 2013, guests can expect special appearances from Disney characters in costumes inspired by the Emerald Isle, along with free face painting, a pipe band, Irish musicians and dance shows from the Sarah Clark Academy with special guests Chip ‘n’ Dale. A special fireworks display ends the day as a precursor to Disney Dreams! and the fun continues into the night at Disney Village.

All the times and details are in the programme attached below… Read More…

Friday, 15th February 2013

In Pictures: Aristocats Berlioz and Toulouse star amongst rare Valentine’s character events

Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: InsideDLParis)

Yesterday was a special day for character fans, as troublesome kittens Berlioz and Toulouse from “The Aristocats” made their first ever park appearance at Disneyland Paris. The pair joined sister Marie, who has been sighted rarely at the resort before, for a special photo shoot on Town Square and a brief parade event aboard the Main Street Omnibus.

Titled “Be my Valentine!”, the day’s events also included decorations around Town Square gazebo and numerous “rare” character appearances all around the park, captured here in pictures by @InsideDLParis, @DisneylandPFans and @DisneyMoi.

Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: @DisneyMoi)
Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: @DisneylandPFans) Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: @DisneylandPFans)
Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: @DisneyMoi) Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: @DisneyMoi)
Valentine's Day at Disneyland Paris (Photo: @DisneyMoi)

Unusually, some characters were out as couples: Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, Woody and Jessie, Peter Pan and Wendy, Stitch and Angel… even Chip ‘n’ Dale vying for Clarice’s heart together. Even more unusual, there was a chance to see characters including Bernard and Bianca from “The Rescuers”, Phoebus and Esmeralda from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and, over at Walt Disney Studios Park, Chicken Little and Abbey Mallard (remember them?!).

Disneyland Paris never usually celebrates Valentine’s Day with this much effort, so it was great for them to do this for their guests, right? Well, yes, and also the certain Prince with deep pockets who was reportedly visiting… but still, we get to enjoy most of the events too, so let’s not complain. Like we all said about the fantastic 12th April 2012 events, which were again presented mostly for a visiting VIP party: this is simply how Disneyland should feel all year round, for all paying guests.

Watch a complete video of The Aristocats’ “Be my Valentine!” cavalcade… Read More…

Tuesday, 12th February 2013

The Aristocats to appear for “Be my Valentine!” day at Disneyland Paris

"Be my Valentine!" day at Disneyland Paris [Photo: Loren Javier (Flickr)]

Disneyland Paris certainly knows how to win over the hearts of its character fans. Along with the usual special meet ‘n’ greets for Valentine’s Day on 14th February, this Thursday will also see a special mini event on the parade route featuring “The Aristocats” characters. Programmed for three performances in the afternoon — at 14:35, 15:35 and 16:30 — it will be a very rare chance to see the Parisian characters in their home park.

In fact, only Marie (pictured above) is known to us to make regular appearances at Disney Parks, so will she be the lone Aristocat in the cavalcade?

According to Disneyland Paris – Fans on Facebook, the 2013 date will also give the chance to meet Disney “couples” together such as Mickey & Minnie, Donald & Daisy, Woody & Jessie, Stitch & Angel and Peter Pan & Wendy, along with rarer characters Phoebus & Esmeralda from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and Bernard & Bianca from “The Rescuers”.

"Be my Valentine!" day at Disneyland Paris

A limited edition (ex. 600) pin featuring Lady & the Tramp was already released last Saturday, 9th February 2013, for the occasion.

Update: @InsideDLParis reports on Twitter that Marie will be joined by fellow kittens Berlioz and Toulouse, making for their first ever character appearance in any Disney Park.

VIA Disneyland Paris Programme, PHOTO Loren Javier (Flickr)

Monday, 16th April 2012

[VIDEO] Disneyland Paris: From Concept to Reality with Tony Baxter

Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch Weekend

Videopolis Theatre in Discoveryland saw a packed house at 10.45am on 12th April 2012, as the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors welcomed legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter to the stage for a one hour discussion of its history, creation and progress “from concept to reality”. From broader points about the challenges his team faced in bringing a Disney park to Europe, he went on to discuss his favourite hidden details in the park, anecdotes of meeting Walt Disney, and even shares his very own version of the contested Phantom Manor storyline…

Couldn’t make it there yourself? We’re proud to present our own, exclusive video of the entire event for you now, above — including the special appearance of all the worldwide Disney Ambassadors from every resort to pose questions to Tony himself.

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