Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Subtler balloons continue to re-market the Party

That shiny new image used to launch the resort’s print advertising campaign for this year’s events was just the first of many, DLRP Today can now reveal.

Floating in a calm blue sky was a silver balloon “reflecting” an image of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, the new signature Central Plaza show. It was certainly a different approach to the saturated, really quite garish marketing images we’d seen earlier.

Now, there are three more images in the same style — is Mickey’s Magical Party being magically re-marketed before it even begins?

Mickey's Magical Party advertising

The first image, above, is the original image used in the magazine advertisements, featuring “VIPs” Donald Duck and Goofy alongside Mickey Mouse on the stage, rather than the secondary Timon and Aladdin of the earlier visual.

Below, Minnie’s Party Train gets another Photoshop re-imagining, this time adding more polka dots and plenty more characters to its carriages.

Mickey's Magical Party advertising

Though, as yesterday’s early preview in the park confirmed, the actual final design of the train is still rather different indeed.

Finally, Stitch gets another fairly nondescript visual to advertise It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, continuing to show it more alike a modern, rock concert atmosphere than the actual scfi-kitsch of the real show.

Mickey's Magical Party advertising

It’s interesting that these visuals are available from Disneyland Resort Paris alongside the earlier poster-style images — they haven’t been replaced, but they certainly look rather less appealing than these new designs above.

Just a shame, perhaps, that these weren’t available sooner, when the original brochures for this year went to press, rather than two weeks before the event begins…

Images © Disney.

Saturday, 21st March 2009

Banners everywhere, lampposts toned-down!

Of all the elements of Mickey’s Magical Party to cause more than a little concern on fan communities such as our own magicforum, there’s no doubt that the loud and colourful refit of the Main Street, U.S.A. seasonal lampposts, spotted in preparation backstage, was one of the worst offenders.

Well, it comes with great delight to see that the “Quelle horreur!” most fans were preparing can now be replaced by a more positive “Quelle surprise!”. Pourquoi? Because the overlay of multi-coloured “streamers”, Mickey Mouse shapes and blue Mickey’s Magical Party logos that had been in planning for over six months has been cancelled!

On Wednesday evening, member Mouetto of Disney Central Plaza forum spotted the first four lampposts in place, looking very familiar indeed.

Mickey's Magical Party decorations

In fact, the only thing to have changed is the banners themselves — now replaced by light blue designs showing the image of Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Pluto peeking out of a Mickey Mouse-shape, surrounded by “Welcome!” written in different languages.

The new resort logo is featured below (no park-personalisation here), and the designs alternate between the French and English logos for the yearLa Fête Magique de Mickey on one side, Mickey’s Magical Party the other.

So, why the sudden and rather large change in direction? Did they read the fans’ reaction? Did they realise themselves the design wasn’t exactly in-keeping with the turn-of-the-century street? Perhaps, but there’s also the fact that this design will be far, far cheaper…

Today, Saturday 21st March, the entire street of seasonal lampposts is complete:

Mickey's Magical Party decorations

And so, the Walt Disney World-style colourful streamers which were meant to wrap themselves physically around the lampposts have been restrained to sit as a graphic on the banner and Main Street looks little different — banner design aside — to how it has for the past two years.

It should be noted these new banners don’t feature any LED lights embedded in them, though anyone who’s visited the resort since late last year can tell you that this magical effect had actually long been defunct (since many were broken and not repaired) and replaced by simply shining light on the banners instead.

Mickey's Magical Party decorations

Judging by Mouetto‘s latest photos, above, there also appear to be only 24 lampposts — 12 on each side — rather than the full set of 26. Could this be a realisation that the final pair, nearest Central Plaza, served only to block views of fireworks?

Twenty-four banners not enough for you? Well, you’re in luck. Take a stroll out through Fantasia Gardens and the resort hub and you’ll find them swamped with smaller versions of the decorations, replacing all the old 15th Anniversary banners. They’ve even made their way to the Disney Hotels.

Mickey's Magical Party decorations Mickey's Magical Party decorations

We all expected Mickey’s Magical Party to repeat the successful elements of the 15th, but perhaps not quite so closely. One area where Mickey won’t be attempting to implant party decorations appears to be the Disneyland Park entrance itself, which has just been returned to normal after two years of some very sympathetic “15” plaques replacing its castle design.

Mickey's Magical Party decorations

Sometimes, having a little restraint can be good for Disneyland.

Photos: Mouetto, Disney Central Plaza forum.

Saturday, 21st March 2009

Le Château returns… but not for long

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.

To see Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as the Imagineers intended it…

Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant
11th March 2009

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.

Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant
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…

Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant
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.

Wednesday, 18th March 2009

World-famous Ladurée creates the Mickey macaron

Of a greedy disposition? Still keeping up with your New Year diet? Best skip this one.

The world-renowned, Parisian luxury cakes and pastries brand Ladurée is, surprisingly, a fan of that Mouse out in Marne-la-Vallée. For this Paris institution and tourist must-taste, famed for its “double-decker macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day”, has teamed up with –yes– Disneyland Resort Paris.

The very Parisian “Chef pâtissiers” are helping to launch the very American resort’s new year-long event, Mickey’s Magical Party, by creating… the Mickey macaron.

Ladurée Mickey Macaron

Now, “what’s a macaron?”, you ask…? Ladurée’s creation sees two outer shells — crispy on the outside, soft and chewy like a cookie on the inside — sandwich a thick, rich layer of ganache filling. They come in over 20 varieties — with a new one added each season — and in all the colours of the rainbow.

Disneyland Resort Paris has captured the entire process for us to feast over…

Ladurée Mickey Macaron Ladurée Mickey Macaron

First, a stencil for the base needs to be created. Then, the “pâtissiers” fill it with three circles of thick, raspberry macaron mixture.

Ladurée Mickey Macaron Ladurée Mickey Macaron

Next, the creamy raspberry-flavoured ganache (imagine the inside of a chocolate truffle) is smothered all over the bright red base, with three separate, circular macaron shells added to finish this special creation — one rich chocolate, one vanilla and the largest raspberry.

Ladurée Mickey Macaron Ladurée Mickey Macaron

The creators at Ladurée appear to be rather proud of their special creation — 17 years on, has Disneyland Resort Paris finally become “acceptible” in the mean, disparaging streets of Paris?

If the intoxicating sweetness of the Mickey macaron itself wasn’t enough, it comes wrapped in possibly the sweetest gift box ever seen, featuring a child-like Mickey Mouse in black and white above the Ladurée logo.

Ladurée Mickey Macaron

And to taste their final creation, the Mouse himself even travelled into the city to the luxurious flagship pâtisserie of Ladurée…

Ladurée Mickey Macaron

How can you get a taste of the Mickey macaron? It’ll be on sale in that cute gift box at Disneyland Resort Paris, in Walt’s – An American Restaurant in Main Street, USA and California Grill at Disneyland Hotel for two months from 4th April 2009, costing 12 euros.

Then, for a limited time from 4th to 10th May 2009 (perhaps they’re not that keen on promoting the Mouse after all), it’ll be on sale in the spectacular Ladurée boutique on the Champs-Elysées itself, setting you back a slightly inflated 14 euros.

Now, get a cloth and wipe that drool from your keyboard, will you?

Pictures © Disney/Ladurée.

Tuesday, 17th March 2009

Final call for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show natives

Whilst various aspects of the build-up to Mickey’s Magical Party have been met with a little concern from longtime Disneyland Resort Paris fans — there’s a PR-friendly way of saying it — none have been met with that classic Disney fan anger more than the plan to introduce Mickey Mouse and friends to the usually very historically-accurate Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

The bad news for those fans? The final performance (at least for this year) of the original show was at 21:30 earlier tonight, Tuesday 17th March 2009. And, after two days’ break, this Friday 20th March 2009 will see the very first “soft opening” performance of the new Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show… with Mickey and Friends, as it will now be titled.

The marketing visuals we posted previously have been given their final treatment:

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show ...with Mickey and Friends!

So what exactly has changed? A full press release was recently published in French, which we’ve translated below:

MARNE-LA-VALLÉE, France — It’s a grand premiere! From 4th April 2009, Mickey and his friends, Minnie, Goofy and Chip ‘n’ Dale invite guests to join them at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

They allow the audience to relive the conquest of the American West and to meet Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley and the cowboys of the Wild West.

Right from the moment they arrive, guests will be welcomed by Mickey and invited to step into a souvenir photo to capture a memory of this evening filled with adventures and unforgettable encounters.

Before entering the arena, the audience can enjoy a festive ambiance in the company of Sheriff Goofy and a live musical act.

It’s showtime!

Just as Walt Disney presented his film to the public, Auguste Durand-Ruel, the master of ceremonies of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, presents the show alongside Mickey, Minnie and their friends Goofy and Chip ‘n’ Dale.

All throughout the dinner show, Mickey and his friends will take part and join the audience in their epic adventure across the wild American West.

Wearing their cowboy hats and encouraged by Mickey and his friends, parents and children will support the colour of their “ranch” in several games and events held in the area.

The unique participation of Mickey and friends in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show will transport the audience into a grand celebration of the West!

The exact concept of the characters’ introduction still seems open to a little interpretation, but should the idea actually be that Mickey and the gang are visiting and taking part in the show with the audience, as spectators rather than stars, the transition may not be as painful as thought.

However, from a behind-the-scenes blog of the show, we can learn that “The Cattle Trail scene has become a full-blown Disney Character Ho-Down Musical” and that the characters “dance, sing, wave, and “speak” via recorded bites in various scenes.”

With word that the Disney Hotels have been offering tickets to the show discounted by 50% upon check-in in recent months, though, it may be that Buffalo Bill fans can’t be too picky about the invited guests. Nevertheless, the Native Americans in the cast still planned to sing a traditional native song to commemorate the end of the show as we know it.

Image © Disney.

Tuesday, 17th March 2009

Playhouse soft opening schedule published

Heading to Disneyland Resort Paris with Playhouse Disney fans over the next three weeks? You could be in luck. Member (and Cast Member) guimik at Disney Central Plaza forum has posted the full “soft opening” show schedule, as published internally at the resort.

It goes as follows:

Saturday 21st, Sunday 22nd, Monday 23rd March 2009

French: 11:30, 13:00
English: 12:15
Spanish: 13:45

Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th March 2009

French: 11:15, 12:45
English: 12:00, 14:30
Spanish: 13:30, 15:15

Thursday 26th March 2009

French: 11:30, 13:00, 15:30
English: 12:15, 13:45, 17:00
Spanish: 14:45, 16:15

Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th March;
Wednesday 1st, Thursday 2nd April 2009

French: 10:30, 12:00, 13:30
English: 11:15
Spanish: 12:45

Friday, 3rd April 2009

French: 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:15, 16:45
English: 11:15, 14:30, 17:30
Spanish: 12:45, 16:00

So, Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! certainly won’t be the five-performances-a-day attraction expected. If the final soft opening date, 3rd April, just a day before the official opening, is the most likely to show the final schedule, this means we’ll be seeing 10 shows per day on peak dates. Five of those French, three English and two Spanish.

The same source, guimik, also confirms another very interesting detail — the capacity of the new theatre/show room is 480 guests. Next door, the benches of the Stitch Live! theatre welcome 200 guests per performance.

So, even given that guests at Playhouse Disney will sit on the floor close to the puppets’ stage and mostly be quite small-bodied, this new show room in the former Disney Channel CyberSpace post-show area will be quite a bit bigger.

Note: “Soft Opening”, by the way, is a Disney term given to advance previews of a new attraction, when it opens to the public ahead of the advertised date in order to train the Cast Members, test satisfaction and simply make sure everything is ready for the big day. It should be noted that these dates and showtimes can therefore be subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Tuesday, 17th March 2009

More Stars ‘n’ Cars preview videos

Last Monday, 9th March and Tuesday, 10th March 2009 saw the cast of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars roll out into Walt Disney Studios Park for their very first public performances, one year on from the announcement that the predecessor, Disney Cinema Parade, would wrap for good.

One year without a parade seems to have done this embellished version of the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade the world of good. “It looks amazing!”, “I want to be there”, “Oh wow!!”, “Wonderful”, read the comments on our first article. Best of all, “It’s great to see Paris take this show and really add some magic to it.” Looks like they pulled it off.

Now, here are two of the best additional videos of the previews; the first showing the cars arriving around Place des Stars, the second presenting the entire “production number” show, where (almost) each of the stars gets their moment in the spotlight.

Enjoy, thank jjasonz54 for uploading them to YouTube, and we’ll see you after for a few extra thoughts…

First question on most peoples’ lips has been “With a show this big and this good, why hasn’t it been featured in any of the TV advertisements?”. The simple answer could be that they just wanted to focus more on the “simpler” events like It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, which are very easy to put across in an advert.

The more interesting reasoning, on the other hand, is one that rips open the major flaw in this otherwise very well-executed concept: If this is going to be performed just once a day, before park closing, with the entire cavalcade gathering around Place des Stars Stage, there’d be some very disappointed guests if this were advertised too much.

Sure, the first half of the parade route does give a pretty big space for lots of guests to get a look at the cars passing, but people won’t be happy if they can’t get anywhere near this surprisingly lengthy 10-minute show at Place des Stars because the viewing area is so small.

If you’ve been following the arrival of this parade-event in Paris, you’ll know that the original concept for many months was to have the cars entering the park at three or four set locations, several times a day, perform their own little musical number and then give time for meet ‘n’ greets.

Combining all that into this single, evening event has arguably given a much better end product — with the downside of only allowing for a much smaller audience.

Videos as credited; Lead photo: Chti Greg.

Tuesday, 10th March 2009

First Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars pictures, video!

Usually it’s the press, shareholders or Cast Members who get first-look at the latest new events and attractions at Disneyland Resort Paris. Earlier tonight, just as daylight was fading over Marne-la-Vallée, that tradition was delightfully broken and normal, regular guests were the first to see a complete presentation of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars.

As reported several times previously, you might recognise most of the vehicles — but this certainly isn’t the linear parade you’ll remember from Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. The event now combines a cavalcade, a surprisingly lengthy dance medley on Place des Stars Stage and a meet ‘n’ greet with guests all in one.

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars
Showtime sign on Place des Stars Stage

Different also is the showtime of this new event — not 1pm as with the old Disney Cinema Parade, nor earlier in the day like Good Morning Walt Disney Studios. Instead, it’ll be happening half an hour before park closing each day, as a grand finale of the stars arriving for their “premiere” after “wrapping production” on the film shoots of the day.

So, for the parade doors in Toon Studio to open and reveal the first of the Stars ‘n’ Cars driving out onto the parade route earlier tonight, fans had to wait right until 6.30pm. We’ve collected some of the best of the first photos, taken by Grégory Grienche, Aléxandre Rosa and Clément Poizot. See the links at the bottom of this article for more of these lucky fans’ first photos…

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

And now, the very first video clip!

This video shows the stars returning back to Toon Studio across Disney Bros. Plaza, with the original “Roll out the red carpet” theme from Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade now combined with a park closing announcement:

Tonight, 10th March 2009, at 6.30pm, the Stars ‘n’ Cars will do it all over again in a second and final preview performance, so check back soon for even more photos and videos!

These two avant-premieres are designed to test both audience reaction and the handing of the event by park operations, to tweak or improve the performance if necessary before its actual premiere on 4th April 2009.

Photos: 1, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27 by Grégory Grienche (more 1 | more 2); 2, 3, 4, 14 by CharactersPhotos Blog (more); 5, 6, 9, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 by Aléxandre Rosa (more); Video: pitiguigui, YouTube.

Monday, 9th March 2009

High School Musical: The Party to mix best of all 3

After the success of High School Musical On Tour and High School Musical 2: School’s Out! at Walt Disney Studios Park over the past two years, would it be correct to assume 2009 will see the excessively-titled High School Musical 3: Senior Year – Right Here! Right Now! lifted direct from the US parks? Actually, no.

High School Musical shows High School Musical shows
High School Musical On Tour (2007-08) / High School Musical 2: School’s Out! (2008)

From 4th April 2009, the Studios will present a new High School Musical street show — but, it’ll be a medley of all three, titled simply High School Musical: The Party, to tie in with the overall Mickey’s Magical Party celebrations.

Whilst it was expected there’d be two songs chosen from each film to make up a total of six scenes, the final tally has seen High School Musical 2 triumph with three songs, whilst High School Musical has two and the theatrically-released High School Musical 3 just one.

Here’s the final set list:

“Get’cha Head in The Game” (from High School Musical)
“We’re All In This Together” (from High School Musical)
“What Time Is It” (from High School Musical 2)
“Work This Out” (from High School Musical 2)
“You are the Music in Me” (from High School Musical 2)
“I Want It All” (from High School Musical 3)

The set list means we’ll keep the basketball skills of Get’cha Head in the Game, the infamous clock/wave choreography of What Time Is It and the sign language of You are the Music in Me.

Reports state there’ll be four performances a day, with the same rolling stage stopping to perform the full show twice each time in the usual places — though there’s no news of another redecoration or any new costumes for the cast yet.

High School Musical: The Party will run from 4th April to 27th September 2009.

— — —

Full French press release for “High School Musical : la Fête !” follows:

Les héros de toute une génération sont de retour avec un spectacle inédit.

A partir du 4 avril 2009, les héros de High School Musical font leur grand retour à Disneyland Resort Paris. Sur les traces des chanteurs et danseurs de la comédie musicale devenue un véritable phénomène culturel, les élèves d’East High reprennent la route du Parc Walt Disney Studios avec un spectacle plus énergique que jamais.

Ils ont fait vibrer la nouvelle génération avec leurs deux premiers téléfilms sur Disney Channel (High School Musical et High School Musical 2) avant de voir leurs dernières aventures portées sur grand écran (High School Musical 3: Senior Year) et affirmer leur succès interplanétaire. Les camarades de Troy et Gabriella reviennent à Disneyland Resort Paris pour faire la Fête !

La troupe du nouveau spectacle High School Musical : la Fête ! reprend en chœur les plus grands numéros et les tubes qui ont fait triompher les trois films des Studios Disney :

“Get’cha Head in The Game” (from High School Musical)
“We’re All In This Together” (from High School Musical)
“What Time Is It” (from High School Musical 2)
“Work This Out” (from High School Musical 2)
“You are the Music in me” (from High School Musical 2)
“I Want It All” (from High School Musical 3)

Alors que la fièvre « Wild Cats » n’en finit plus de se répandre à travers le monde, les élèves d’East High profitent de La Fête Magique de Mickey pour inviter petits et grands à se déhancher autour de leur grande scène mobile sonorisée.

Ballons de baskets et pompons de chearleaders sont au rendez-vous de cette nouvelle célébration qui va enflamme, plusieurs fois par jour, le Parc Walt Disney Studios et les fans du phénomène « HSM ».

Du 4 avril au 27 septembre 2009, High School Musical : la Fête ! va faire danser et chanter les visiteurs du Parc Walt Disney Studios et pourquoi pas marquer quelques paniers à l’occasion de La Fête Magique de Mickey ?

Pictures © Disney

Monday, 9th March 2009

Central Plaza Stage rolls out the red carpet

And there we were, thinking the end of the 15th Anniversary on Saturday would be the last we’d see of any red carpets for a while… wrong! The new Central Plaza Stage has now been given its final top: a water-proof, slip-proof red carpet with Mickey Mouse shapes and outlines in golden yellow.

Central Plaza Stage works

The stage, at least, won’t be anywhere near as brash and modern as some of the Mickey’s Magical Party advertising. Its sides — pre-formed plastic/fibreglass-type panels — are remarkably faithful to the original Imagineering designs nearby, continuing to present little medieval inlets and holes in a similar style to the lower brickwork of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and particularly Le Théâtre du Château nearby.

Central Plaza Stage works

Above, a larger opening can be seen — likely the place where characters will disappear under the the stage only to reappear via the vertical lift in the centre of the main stage later in the show.

Central Plaza Stage works

And, if they’d rather use the stairs, they’re in luck — contrary to earlier views we’ve seen, a full side-on view as above reveals these are far wider and lower than expected, making the climb up or down from the new stage far easier than the tricky old steps.

The work for the arrival of It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends doesn’t stop here, however. As reported previously, the pathways to the South either side of Central Plaza are being widened to allow more guests through whilst the plaza itself is filled with guests watching the show.

Central Plaza Stage works Central Plaza Stage works

Particularly between Main Street, USA and Frontierland, the entire area is now surrounded by construction walls and tarpaulins, with not a single chance of a view inside.

• See Mickey’s LED-illuminated new costume for the show here!
• See a full video preview of a segment from the show here!

Pictures: PhotosMagiques.com

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