But, surprisingly, it wasn’t Mickey who began the show, but Sébastien — a live speaking host. In fact, Mickey Mouse didn’t appear until around 10 minutes into this 15-minute performance, which the MC described as “an exact take out of the show”…
The video begins with a quick interview with the show’s director, Christophe Leclercq, during which the host announces a quite startling fact about It’s Party Time…with Mickey and Friends: a cast of 40 people on-stage! And absolutely correct that is — as Poppy the Monkey on magicforum confirms, there will be about 30 dancers alone, many brought to the resort from Disneyland in California, with the remaining cast members being the Disney characters on each of the five areas of the new stage.
Compared to the meagre casts of Candleabration, which dwindled from a large cast of flag bearers and dancers to just the seven VIP characters and eventually just Mickey and Minnie, this represents a show on an unprecedented scale for the resort in recent years — performing five times a day, too.
Also confirmed by Poppy the Monkey is more of the show’s running order. There will indeed be a live speaking host, and the dancers (in orange and white) will open the show, joined by the Disney Characters who will appear together via the new under-stage lift. Mickey Mouse, wearing that “luminous” new costume, will appear even later in the show, via the same lift.
As for the show itself, the preview above shows most of the final characters who will appear: Mickey, Pluto, Baloo, Timon, Tigger, Donald and Peter Pan. Wendy and Goofy will complete the final line-up. The actual premise seems a little hard to pin down, and the heavy emphasis on guest interaction and learning dance moves seems to overlap somewhat with It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.
One of the most promising aspects of the preview above is the addition of various international, European dance styles — such as Spanish salsa and Irish dance — whilst the modern, jazz-orientated instrumental soundtrack appears to be brand new just for this show.
The Legend of the Lion Kingended after almost five years on 4th January 2009, with unconfirmed word of a return in high season only. But now, despite the huge Lion King stage set still filling the theatre, a new event has been confirmed for the space inside Videopolis as part of this year’s celebrations.
Unlike the other Mickey’s Magical Party events, however, this one won’t be focused strictly on bright, modern themes and might even not be too scared to mention Mickey’s 80-year age. Confirmed in our interview with creative director Kat de Blois, we’ll soon see the entertainment/dining venue become home to Cinéma Mickey, an all-too-rare chance to watch the classic cartoons that began Mickey’s career.
Kat announced in the interview:
“That said, Mickey will be not only present on the stage in front of the Castle, but also at Videopolis in Discoveryland.
“The theater will be transformed into a big cinema, Cinéma Mickey. Be it in the stalls, or eating upstairs, you’ll be able to watch a bunch of Mickey cartoons that made him the star we know, introduced by himself. A new way to celebrate with him, this time as a cartoon character.”
Videopolis interior with current Legend of the Lion King set-up
Mickey Mouse cartoons at Videopolis? It’s true, after all, that Discoveryland presents the future according to the past — and so, this “new” event will take heavy inspiration from something we’ve been enjoying at the venue for as long as we can remember…
Classic cartoons from the Disney archives have always been played on the big screens above the restaurant space to provide entertainment in-between theatre shows, and now it seems they’ll be becoming the main attraction. Kat de Blois’ announcement that Videopolis Theatre will be “transformed into a big cinema” must surely suggest some major changes to the stage area itself, especially with the added confirmation that we’ll now be able to enjoy the cartoons “in the stalls”, without food, too.
But will this be closer to a real stage show or a simple cinema? Kat states that “Mickey will be not only present on the stage in front of the Castle, but also at Videopolis in Discoveryland” and that the cartoons will be “introduced by [Mickey] himself”. It’s up to our own interpretation for now whether this means Mickey will appear on-stage to introduce the cartoons, or simply via a pre-recorded video clip or narration.
• Read the full Mickey’s Magical Party interview with Kat de Blois here!
Advertisements for Mickey’s Magical Party are generating a lot of interest in the resort right now, no doubt helped along by that 40% discount offer.
Just a few seconds ago, for example, an email dropped into the inbox of thousands of Disneyland Resort Paris fans and visitors in the UK:
The email shouts “With Mickey’s Magical Party, we’re bursting with New experiences, New shows and a New attraction!”, linking across to the official celebration website — which itself was updated just a few days ago to include some extra videos and photos.
But what about their paid-for advertising campaign? The UK office have sent us a little update on what to expect: “Throughout February and March, we’ll not only be on key TV channels but also in popular magazines, posters in your local supermarkets and online.”
So, open up a popular magazine this month and you might just be treated to be a double-page advertisement for the celebration and the resort, using a shiny new visual of colourful balloons floating through the sky.
Photo: Kris, magicforum.
This new print ad doesn’t specifically mention any of the new events, choosing to lead just with the bright new key visual. The biggest balloon in which cleverly reflects a depiction of the main It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends show on Central Plaza, with Timon, Baloo and Aladdin in the background and crowds of eager guests reflected in its ears.
Here’s the full image exclusively on DLRP Today, without the print campaign text:
You’ll probably agree the general colours and style of this beautiful new key visual are also far subtler and nearer to the classic “Disneyland Paris” image we remember — those bright and colourful balloons are still present, but don’t overpower the image.
Despite his disadvantages, Mickey Mouse stormed to victory when a guest challenged him to a breakdance battle in Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Resort Paris recently. Don’t believe us? The evidence is online for all to see!
Take a look:
Amazing skills for an 80-year old mouse in smart dress, right?
Now, it goes without saying this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day at Disneyland Park. In fact, it’s probably the first time Mickey Mouse has ever danced like this in his long life — but it’s all for a good cause. The video isn’t shot by chance by an amateur, and the battle wasn’t started by accident.
This bizarre display you’ve just seen is actually a viral video produced by (or for) Disneyland Resort Paris themselves, a video created with the intention of it causing a stir on websites like YouTube and ultimately providing the resort with inadvertent advertising and word of mouth without people feeling like they’re watching a marketing creation.
It seems like this final week in February has become an annual time to see the latest marketing campaigns and TV commercials of Disneyland Resort Paris being premiered. Exactly one year ago today, we saw The Celebration Continues… Big Time! unwrapped on our TV screens, whilst two years ago, the ever-beautiful advertisements for the 15th Anniversary itself unravelled.
This year, the TV spot is… floating onto our screens, naturally filled with hundreds upon hundreds of colourful balloons to advertise Mickey’s Magical Party.
The lively spot begins with a stunning shot of balloons flying above the clouds, mountains in the background, with a strong yellow tint. As the second shot appears, of balloons flying around the side of a bushy, clearly sun-drenched hill toward a noticeably distant city from most of North West Europe, it looks like those balloons have reached further than any of us could have predicted…
Indeed, to film this new commercial, production was taken all the way to… South Africa! According to admin Kristof on magicforum, even the It’s Dance Time DJ podium and a replica of one corner of the new Central Plaza stage were taken, along with all the characters and costumes you see, to then only be filmed in front of green-screen with the real Disneyland Resort Paris backdrops inserted later!
This practice isn’t uncommon though, as member experiment627adds, “a lot of commercials are being shot in South Africa, for there are landscapes that resemble Europe quite a bit and you pretty much got sun and blue skies most of the year.”
As the balloons reach the city streets, one bumps right into a young boy running home from school.
He grabs hold of it, pulls the invitation from its string…
And opens up the envelope to reveal a Mickey shape and the Mickey’s Magical Party logo.
Miraculously, he’s then transported immediately to Disneyland Resort Paris!
The voiceover of the TV spot is different again to previous years, with a clearer and more placid voice beginning “This year, it’s Mickey’s Magical Party, and Disneyland is expecting an extraordinary hero… you!”.
“…The new attraction, Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!,” continues the announcer, with shots of the Playhouse Disney puppets…
…the young boy laughing along, and a full depication of the stage (though likely not the real thing), as if set up for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse scene…
The advert reaches its conclusion as another balloon sweeps across the screen to reveal a lively Mickey Mouse running across the new Central Plaza stage — another green-screen creation.
The voiceover adds “…and Mickey and friends’ exciting new show, and many more surprises”.
Here we see Mickey and Goofy dancing on a recreation of the stage, with brightly-dressed dancers behind, mostly in white and red colours, with the men wearing orange shirts.
Notice also that the Castle has been touched-up with its recently-revealed overlay of new decorations. Here, though, the “Mickey & Friends” plaque covering the main window appears to match its oval shape, rather than the uncomfortable circle seen in the concept.
Mickey shows us some moves, then we suddenly cut to the generic Disney Parks endboard…
As with the commercials of the previous two years, it seems Disneyland Resort Paris are required to use this generic branding to end their TV advertisements, featuring a bizarre mélange of all the Disney castles but now with added ballons.
The endboard is clear and the colours do work well with the red of Mickey’s Magical Party, but the overall effect is probably slightly jarring to the viewer, being so different to the footage just seen — and featuring a Castle that, as anyone knows, doesn’t exist anywhere — especially not Disneyland Resort Paris.
Please, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, can’t we have the real Castle for each resort?
It’s a lively, colourful, sunny and very well-produced TV spot, though, and it’s certainly brilliant to see real Disneyland Resort Paris locations used for once, if only via green-screen. You’ll probably notice two large elements of the party are entirely absent, however. Well, one major element and one not-so-major: Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars and Minnie’s Party Train.
To skip the Party Train is obviously no surprise, but many fans would agree they’d have expected to see something of the Studios’ large new parade event in the TV spot. Looks like the resort’s old fear, of mentioning the existance of Walt Disney Studios Park in a TV commercial, lives on…!
The TV spot is playing now in the UK, international versions will appear from next month.
What’s more surprising — that, for once, a Disneyland Resort Paris television commercial features the actual locations and landmarks of the Parisian park, not Florida or California’s, or that, to achieve such a visual, the production crew apparently headed all the way to South Africa, taking those kitsch costumes and Stitch’s brand new DJ podium with them?
Still, with a spot of green-screen special effects, you’d never know, and the sun is almost guaranteed… unlike Paris. And so, here it is — the large, colourful, apparently jet-powered podium which will roll into Discoveryland for the new show It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, Stitch standing atop scratching up the dance tracks on a set of mixing decks.
The podium is like a small parade float in its construction, expected not to remain in Discoveryland all day long but to only roll into the land specifically for each show time, similar to the High School Musical shows at Walt Disney Studios Park.
You’ll notice those circular shapes with different coloured quarters all over it, too — as mentioned in several previous articles, guests will be invited to step onto the circular dance mats shown above and follow the colour-coded dance steps. Quite how these will be announced to a multi-lingual audience remains to be seen, but the bright primary colours certainly won’t be easily missed amongst the bronze and turquoise tones of Discoveryland.
So, has the new advert revealed the location of the show, too? Almost certainly not — well, not unless the Entertainment department are planning to bring complete chaos to the land by blocking a main thoroughfare and the entrance to Space Mountain: Mission 2. It’s likely this location was simply chosen because it looks so good on camera.
Will it go over by Star Tours as rumoured then? Don’t be too sure of that either — the fences were taken down just this weekend to reveal…
…a relayed floor. Brighter, no longer full of holes — yes. But no clues whatsoever that this is where the show will be presented. Keep watching this space (and preparing your dance moves), Stitch fans…
Is this an advance preview of what we can expect when ‘It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland‘ premieres on 4th April 2009? This week, several fans spotted a film shoot taking place just outside Videopolis in the land, looking very likely to be a TV spot or trailer for Mickey’s Magical Party.
Featuring Stitch, two children and a group of dancers, the filming last Tuesday, 17th February saw the group dancing to the cameras as a crowd of regular park guests watched, caught on camera by DisneyGazette:
Stitch wore an orange baseball cap, whilst the dancers appeared in some wonderfully kitsch new pink and blue costumes we’ve not yet seen before — the final costumes for ‘It’s Dance Time’, perhaps? Well, space-age chic is certainly more fitting for the location than the hip-hop street style we might have expected…
That this filming in Paris will become the final TV advertisement can’t be guaranteed yet, however — the two commercials for the 15th Anniversary and The Celebration Continues were both filmed in the USA and produced by the same team as Walt Disney World’s TV spots. Filming did take place in Paris just over a year ago, but only became the rather poor “Happy Day” trailer we saw on a few Disney DVDs.
Even more interesting, though, is the review of events on the Mousekingdom Blog, which actually does link in well with this being a TV spot for the new celebration — and its theme of invitations arriving by balloon.
Photo: Mousekingdom Blog
“In a first scene one can see the children, a young girl and boy, attached with ropes on a metal pole,” Mousekingdom writes. “Two crew members would lift the pole up, leaving the two children hoovering above the street. Once the word “action” came from the director the crew moves forward putting the children down, back on their feet.”
So, can we expect that, rather than the animated red carpet knocking on children’s doors to invite them to Disneyland, the children will this year be flying directly into the park using those colourful balloons we’ve seen everywhere, landing perfectly at each of the new events?
Visitors now have the choice between going to the special celebration website or through to the actual disneylandparis.com. Choose to stay on the website, and the homepage opens up to reveal an updated design featuring the main Mickey’s Magical Party visual — itself updated slightly…
As we’ve noticed elsewhere, the resort’s marketing seems to have back-tracked on the original balloons seen in all the visuals to go with darker, shinier foil balloons rather than the lighter pastel colours of the originals.
But wait a minute — we’ve got two celebrations at once! Though 2009’s Mickey’s Magical Party might fill the main image space of the homepage, the resort logo at the top is still in its (rather hard to read) “Disneyland15” incarnation. Two years and still the 15th Anniversary clings on — we’ll have to wait and see if it’s finally gone before 7th March, the official end date…
Amongst the resort’s marketing of the five key events of Mickey’s Magical Party, one aspect that comes packaged along with this kind of year-long celebration has been all but overlooked: the decorations.
Luckily, magicforumexclusively revealed the full concept image earlier today!
Over the past months we’ve heard every angle that the Entertainment department could approach this with — from keeping the entire 15th Anniversary overlay (minus the “15”), to covering the towers and turrets with multicoloured streamers like those on the new Main Street, U.S.A. lampposts. Now, finally, the decision has been made — and here it is…
Click image to enlarge
Give Sleeping Beauty Castle a quick glance from afar this year and you might not even notice any difference. Though the characters and their fifteen candles are almost all gone — only Tinkerbell, her sparkling wand and special confetti spray remain — in their place, subtle rings and hoops made up of golden “streamers” form the iconic three circles of Mickey Mouse on top of each turret.
In the middle, where the “15” emblem has stood for two years, a new centrepiece forms another Mickey Mouse shape out of two golden ears and a sparkling blue circle from which Donald, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto peer out. This design appears to be the same as already seen on the lampposts and in the larger versions of the Magical Party logo.
Compared against the current 15th Anniversary overlay, it’s certainly not the revolution some fans may have feared (and was actually originally proposed) but a far more respectful evolution of the same “hand-crafted” style the designers sought to achieve back in 2007.
Current 15th Anniversary overlay
However, while the oval “15” emblem was very sympathetic to the Imagineering creation behind it, the design and placement of the circular Mickey & Friends centrepiece placed in front of the oval/elliptical main window of the Castle for this new design has already been met with negativity from fans just in the brief time this concept has been online.
…As, in fact, has the whole idea of a Castle overlay for Mickey’s Magical Party itself. The feeling is summed up well by Kristof on magicforum, who concludes “Castle decorations should only be used in my opinion for truly remarkable occasions, like (and perhaps only) for the park’s anniversary.”
What’s your opinion of the new Mickey’s Magical Party overlay?
It’s a Disneyland Resort Paris tradition to accompany their newest attractions and events with a flashy, flash-based “mini site” separate from their main website, from the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park right through countless seasons and carnivals to the 15th Anniversary. In fact, they’re really the only Disney Resort which spends such money and effort on these kind of sites.
For Mickey’s Magical Party, we’ve got yet another to explore. Officially launched on Monday, you could arrive at the landing page to find only a few languages available — and not the ones you might expect, either. Denmark, Switzerland and Austria were the first countries officially launched, but with a bit of guesswork you can easily find the actual English-language site for the UK at www.mickeymagicalyear.com/uk/uk.
Currently, the landing page now also features Ireland and Italy, as well as the general “Other Countries” international option.
Though mickeymagicalparty.com redirects here, they apparently weren’t interested in mickeysmagicalparty.com when these domain names were registered last year. In fact, on the UK version of the new website there seems to be a little confusion about the celebration’s name — getting us off to a bad start, the title in your browser will instead read “Mickey’s Magical Year“.
Let’s begin our full commentary and tour here…
Pick your language and a pink balloon flies into view from the bottom of the screen, carrying an envelope. These carrier balloons are also being used extensively in the marketing campaigns for the US parks this year, although the balloons, for some reason, have a completely different design.
Gradually, more balloons float up into view on the screen. Immediately you’ll notice something different about this website compared to those of the past — it fills the entire screen, and resizes itself accordingly.
All the resort’s previous flash mini-sites have been a static size within the middle of a regular page, whereas this new style offers a more involving experience. The introduction continues with the tagline “Celebrate the greatest part of the year” and the Disneyland Resort Paris logo — which curiously has a little miniature balloon graphic floating above it… see it? That probably shouldn’t be there.
The introduction ends with five much larger balloons floating into the sky decorated with images of the five key new events of the celebration. You’ll notice throughout that the website doesn’t use the “daytime”, blue skies style we’ve seen in earlier marketing images or even on the Central Plaza fences. The entire design style appears to have suddenly been changed to a purple twilight sky with foil rather than rubber balloons.
The homepage features an animated backdrop of locations from around the resort, with simply the celebration logo inviting you to “enter”. The style here is obviously meant to be busy and informal, with some of the graphics cut out of photos and others properly drawn. The animated characters of Stitch, Minnie and Mickey seem to clash with the neater style of Tinkerbell and Dumbo floating in the sky — especially the thick-outlined, puppet-like Mickey. In previous websites, we’ve come to expect live-action characters to be superimposed into the flash animation.
Click “enter” and you’re actually taken across to the “Toonificator”, but we’ll head there later. Instead, we’ve clicked “Calender” (yes, rather than the correct spelling of “Calendar”) to find not so much a list of dates but five simple, floating balloons displaying the five new events.
Click an event and you’re given a very (very!) brief description lifted straight from that slightly baffling marketing text, along with the event’s poster artwork.
The next option along displays the three key special offers they’re running to launch Mickey’s Magical Party — the seemingly eternal Kids Under 7 Stay, Play & Travel FREE, a continuation of the 15% discount on tickets booked in advance, and another extension of that huge package discount that has been running since late last year. With both the economic problems of the moment and the awful GBP/Euro exchange rate, British guests are now being enticed with a huge 40% off their package booking, with the offer now extended to arrival dates right up to September!
And now, we reach the main section of the website — Disney’s Toonificator. This seems to be inspired both by the cartoon-style images offered by instant messaging providers such as Yahoo and Windows Live and, probably more so, by a feature on The Simpsons Movie website which swept the internet a couple of years ago, allowing users to create themselves as a Simpson character.
For this Disney version, you’ve got a seemingly endless range of hairstyles, face types and colours to Toonify yourself with, along with several special Disney costumes and accessories. Such a range, in fact, that you can create some rather bizarre Toons indeed (see above). You can also upload a photo and have it “Toonify” yourself automatically.
We settled for something a little more ordinary, and we’re now in the “virtual” Mickey’s Magical Party, a globe-type horizon filled with more cut-out landmarks and locations, which you explore by using the left and right arrow keys.
You’ll immediately notice that it’s not only the Mickey’s Magical Party events featured here — you’ll wander across landscapes representing both parks, with most of the resort’s recent attractions featured, such as Crush’s Coaster.
It’s good to see Disneyland Resort Paris realising many people might not yet have experienced these brand new attractions for themselves, with pop-up boxes providing brief descriptions and photos.
For the actual Magical Party events, however, you’ll find something a little more — a special game for each one. Here, we’ve arrived at Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!.
Luckily for us, all the games are incredibly simple and easy to complete. For Playhouse Disney, you need to simply remember a very short series of colours. This, perhaps, confirms the far younger age group Disneyland Resort Paris appears to be marketing itself towards lately…
Discoveryland is represented fairly well, with airships and plently of ironwork…
…Only disturbed by the Dance Time going on at its centre. This game actually gives a very accurate preview of the real event, with visitors having to use arrow keys to step their feet on the segments of the coloured floor mat in sync with the counter at the bottom of the screen.
Several of the background graphics also animate when you click on them. Here, Mickey Mouse pops out of a giant cuckoo clock as fireworks explore behind. Because, that makes you want to visit the resort, right?
…with an interesting party game which seems to invite you to connect up a webcam and then move around to guide the train into position. Or, you can just use your mouse to trace the figure-of-eight path.
For the new Central Plaza show, you’ve simply got to stop balloons floating into the air.
And there we have it, a little journey across the resort’s newest attractions with a few ultra-simlistic “party games” thrown in. The audience here is obviously intended to be very young, whilst the overall design style leaves a little to be desired — especially since just last year we were wowing over that spectacular and spectacularly well-built Tower of Terror website.
The Toonifyer game has obviously been given the majority of the effort put into this website, but the result is made slightly pointless since your created character only serves to walk left and right through the virtual world. You can enter an email address and save the character, but there seems to be no option to save an image of the character to use as a forum or instant messenger icon/avatar, for example.
Ultimately, this website also includes little to no real information about the new events of Mickey’s Magical Party — some of which, especially those at Walt Disney Studios Park, are actually probably well worth visiting for.
In fact, upon arriving at the website, visitors will surely be confused as to the overal purpose or theme of the event, since it jumps straight to the point of the Toonifyer game and the events, without a real introduction. A 15th Anniversary speaks for itself, but what’s the point of this celebration? What’s the reason for visiting? We fear guests won’t find the answers here…
• Take a look for yourself here and leave your own comments below!
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