Tuesday, 27th January 2009

New year, new Disneyland Resort Paris logo?

Both the name and logo changes of Disneyland Resort Paris are well-documented, but there’s been something going on these past couple of years which has begun to make all that fuss about switching from “Euro Disney” to “Disneyland Paris” very simple indeed.

History in logos…

With the 2002 opening of the second Disney park in Paris, we were introduced to Disneyland Resort Paris and the “arc and stars” of a brand new logo which is still frequently used to this day:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

However, to celebrate the resort’s 15th anniversary in 2007, you’ll remember a special new logo was introduced — and went on to become very widely-used. It dropped the arc in favour of a dramatic “15”, and simplified — though probably shrunk a little too much — the “Resort Paris” element:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

Now, as popular as this logo apparently was, both with fans and the resort’s advertising teams, it obviously posed a problem for advertising in UK. Unlike the other countries where Disneyland Resort Paris holds offices, the UK promotes both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in Paris entirely equally. Since 2002, the “Paris” of the resort’s logos just wasn’t clear enough.

So, last year in 2008, we got a solution:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

Not technically a resort logo — it has only really been used in UK advertising, and never at the resort itself — it was hardly perfect. The “Resort” only just managing to cling on and certainly, a strong example of why The Walt Disney Company should probably refrain from using its cherished typeface for anything other than the key words themselves — the “P” of “Paris” appearing more like the classic “D” being waved around on a stick.

New 2009 logo

Which brings us neatly up to 2009. Another year, another logo? Yes indeed!

However, this time, they took the chance to fix things once and for all — well, eventually. The first simplified logo for the Mickey’s Magical Party year stayed close to its “Disneyland15” predecessor, but now a new, updated version appears to have finally clicked “bold” on the “Resort Paris” and no doubt put a smile on the UK office’s faces:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo
First version / Second version

Even better, perhaps, there’s a version of the logo without the “Mickey’s Magical Party” title but still very nicely framed by the new balloon emblem:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

But, come 2010, will the balloon (or even the logo!) remain? Quite possibly…

A generic version of the logo removes the balloon and brings the text almost right back to the resort’s classic navy blue colour used for the 1995 “Disneyland Paris” logo:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

Without the balloon, it’s admittedly not quite as special, but what do you think? Is the new logo an improvement? And should it — or will it, even — stay beyond 2009?

All logos © Disney.

Monday, 26th January 2009

Magical party visuals & brochure covers

Remember back in July 2006? One of the first articles published on a little site called DLRP Today revealed the hotly-anticipated visuals and brochure covers for the 15th Anniversary Celebration. Now, at the start of a brand new year, let’s do it all over again!

Key Visual

The visual we’ll be seeing most of all throughout Mickey’s Magical Party is that below, showing Mickey reaching out to you with an invitation as Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip ‘n’ Dale and Stitch dance beside him…

Mickey's Magical Party visual

“Is that really Stitch?”, you ask? Well, it’s meant to be. The characters in these first two visuals are designed to be half-way between the real in-park characters — which often don’t actually look too good in the glare of a key visual — and the kind of 2D illustrations we saw through most of the 15th Anniversary graphics — which might not be considered “real” enough.

With a blue sky overhead, the red text of the celebration’s logo contrasts nicely, as do the carefully-selected palette of coloured balloons. Even Main Street’s lampposts have turned a yellowy-gold for the occasion, but don’t expect that to happen for real.

Second Visual

Mickey's Magical Party visual

The second visual is really just a variation on the first, with a more dramatic, firework-filled sky and balloons surrounding the entire visual. You’ll spot this one being used more for posters and other advertisements.

The invite inside the envelope will usually read “You’re Invited…”, but in all these visuals the envelope is left blank, to be filled in in whichever language is required.

Brochure Covers

That’s also true of this next set of visuals, not published online anywhere before, which will be used as travel operator brochure covers throughout the celebration.

The style is more than a little reminiscent of the original 15th Anniversary brochure covers, replacing candles with balloons and introducing some rather rare characters, not usually chosen for these kinds of visuals. There are so many different variations, in fact, that it’ll be interesting to see just how many different brochure covers can be collected through the year.

If you can’t wait to collect them, here’s the exclusive full set:

Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual
Mickey & Tinker Bell / Mickey & Minnie / Mickey & Pluto

Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual
Mickey & Goofy / Mickey & Donald / Mickey & Chip ‘n’ Dale

Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual
Lilo & Stitch / Seven Dwarfs / Mickey & White Rabbit

Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual
Mickey & Genie / Timon & Rafiki / Pinocchio

Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual Mickey's Magical Party visual
Mickey & Dumbo / Baloo, King Louie & Mickey / Mr Smee & Captain Hook

Mickey's Magical Party visual
Robin Hood & Prince John

Lilo & Stitch… The Jungle Book… Genie… Robin Hood..?! The guest list for this party is pretty impressive indeed. But still note — not a single Pixar character in sight!

All visuals © Disney.

Monday, 26th January 2009

Introducing… Mickey’s Magical Party from April 2009!

Partly a commemoration of the mouse himself hitting 80 years old, partly another excuse to decorate the park and introduce some brand new entertainment, Mickey’s Magical Party will be a brand new year-long event taking over both parks and introducing new decorations, new shows, a new parade-event and a whole new attraction.

The theme is bright — balloons, characters and colour — and fully intended to feel as fresh and new as possible after the two, more nostalgic, years celebrating the 15th Anniversary.

The Logo

So let’s begin, with the logo:

Mickey's Magical Party logo

The balloon theme will never be far away this year, at least in the resort’s advertising, with the colour of red seeming to be a obvious replacement for the copious amounts of blue we’ve seen during the 15th.

A second logo has also been produced, featuring Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto bursting out from a circular Castle background:

Mickey's Magical Party logo

The logos themselves are quite deceptive, however — the “Candy Script” font chosen is inspired by South America — brush-like and quite classical — unlike the proposed events themselves…

The Events

Surprisingly, it’s Walt Disney Studios Park that will once again steal the show, enjoying the launch of both a new attraction and a new parade/event (which you’ll know by now) — whilst, over the esplanade, Disneyland Park has to make up its own party games:

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
The renamed and reworked Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade from Florida finally opens in Paris as part of the event. As we’ve reported previously, it likely won’t run as a parade but as a series of drive-in meet ‘n’ greets and photo shoots. (More news…)

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!
Currently being fitted out right next to Stitch Live! in the Walt Disney Television Studios building and classed as a full new attraction, this will be a live puppet show for the younger audience, featuring Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and My Friends Tigger & Pooh. (More news…)

It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends
Here we come to the key event of the party, a daytime show on a rebuilt Central Plaza Stage that aims to get the entire audience dancing along with characters from The Jungle Book and Aladdin in particular. (More news…)

Minnie’s Party Train
You might recognise this one, just a little. It’s the Disney Characters’ Express in a new polka-dot guise, still travelling between Main Street and Central Plaza with its trainload of Disney characters. (More news…)

It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland
Jules Verne won’t know what hit him — Stitch is due to roll into Discoveryland atop a moving podium of DJ decks, “pumping out tunes” and encouraging everyone to dance along using special coloured dance mats. (More news…)

Look out for much more in-depth news and features about all these events — and the party itself — on DLRP Today every day from now until the official launch.

The Launch Date

Speaking of which — when does Mickey’s Magical Party really launch? The UK brochure states Friday, 3rd April 2009, whilst other official publications state the Saturday — 4th April. Those are the official launch dates, then there’s the actual launch, the press preview, when these events really begin rolling into the parks — which seems to be set on Saturday, 28th March 2009.

Watch this space…

Thursday, 14th August 2008

Pillars appear – for Playhouse Disney entrance?

The two pillars appeared at the weekend behind the first set of fences, connected onto the English queue of Stitch Live!, in the space between the Walt Disney Television Studios roof and a tree to the left of the building. One tree from this spot has already been removed.

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Writing on the pillars confirms they’re moulded concrete. Whilst some initial reports suggested they could be connected to form an arch, their height and size matches quite neatly with the supports for the existing queue canopy.

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This canopy, which actually curves slightly outward from the building in line with the circular Place des Stars, could actually be being extended using the pillars to provide an entrance to Playhouse Disney.

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White dots are the pillars — could the canopy be extended similar to the red space?

Placing the entrance to Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage here, further out from the building, would also help to “fill in” this corner of the courtyard that now looks unlikely to receive the long-proposed addition of Soarin’ any time soon.

The only barrier for Handy Manny still to overcome — how do guests queueing on the left to see Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and friends bypass those guests exiting from Stitch Live on the right? Stay tuned…

— Consult our previous articles for more diagrams showing the placement of this new show, due to officially open in March/April 2009.

[Pictures: Mousy.be]

Saturday, 5th July 2008

Planning permission for Playhouse Disney

Quietly announced by Operations, talked about by Cast Members and introduced to the sales teams, the opening of a new Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage show alongside Stitch Live! inside the Walt Disney Television Studios building has so far not been allowed as anything more than a strong rumour amongst fans.

Will a Marne-la-Vallée authorities construction notification change that?

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The sign is now posted along the road at the backstage of Walt Disney Studios Park, near the town of Val d’Europe, and reads:

“DISNEYLAND RESORT PARIS
Modification to studios 2, 3 and 4 of “Walt Disney International” building for use by the “Playhouse Disney” attraction”

Yes, curiously three studios will be affected by the Playhouse Disney attraction. Since Stitch Live! already uses one room, that leaves the former space of Disney Channel CyberSpace post-show arcade, a huge, long studio and a smaller room toward the back which may not be classed as a “studio”.

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The important thing to note here is that the area occupied by Disney Channel CyberSpace was actually built as two separate studios before being joined together for use by park guests as the channel began to disown the building. However, the listing of three studios must at least mean that the long, thin studio well within the building will be involved — almost certainly as the show theatre itself, being the ideal shape and size.

Our plan of the building has been updated to reflect the new information:

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The show-based attraction, which uses puppets along with a live host, is still officially pencilled in for March 2009, after the 15th Anniversary has ended. Nothing is yet known about languages or the design of the exterior entrance, where construction activity has now increased to include a small digger.

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Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage will be the park’s fifth new attraction in just under two years.

[Photos: WDSfans.com]

Tuesday, 1st July 2008

Studio 1: The Billboard is GONE!

We’ve moaned, we’ve groaned, we’ve complained. We even wrote a sarcastic birthday message when it turned one year old and a hugely popular (count: over 3,000 hits) Wish List article pleading for it to be removed.

Now, the advertisement billboard that has plagued Disney Studio 1 for almost three — count them, THREE — years is finally in the process of being removed as you read this.

The proof came out of the blue, from Disney Central Plaza forum member mouetto last night:

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The cameraphone image, taken close to 11pm last night, shows that the giant poster advertising Pixar’s 2006 release Cars had already, finally been removed for good. The poster was a giant matte PVC-type construction, wrapped around a tower of temporary scaffolding behind.

This morning, the sight is even more beautiful — helped by the bright blue skies over Marne-la-Vallée today. Grandmath continues the coverage with these two photos:

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There, isn’t that better? Like the wand being removed from Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, this Disney park landmark can now be seen in a whole new light. Actually, it can now simply be seen.

From the photos above, the billboard also appears to have had minimal damage to the building itself. Though much of it still requires extensive refurbishment and repainting — particularly on the park-side facing Hollywood Boulevard, where the sun hits it spot-on, from a distance the area covered by the billboard does not appear as dirty or as dark (compared to the rest of the façade) as was expected.

Is this the end of the story? Unfortunately, as much as DLRP Today hates to be the bearer of bad news, probably not. The strong rumours of a 15th Anniversary follow-up year based around Mickey Mouse continue — key amongst them, decorations which include a brand new proposal for this space. IE: Another tacky billboard.

We can, however, reveal that only one of three main proposals calls for an obstruction as overpowering as the previous Cars billboard. Two others would slot neatly into the building’s glass area, more alike the Ratatouille, Enchanted and Prince Caspian posters that have been featured on the other end of the soundstage.

For more about the history of the billboard and why protecting the image of Disney Studio 1 matters more than you might think, click here.

Friday, 13th June 2008

Stars & Motor Cars now waiting in Paris’ “Green Room”

It was only on 2nd April this year that DLRP Today broke the news that a Disney official had finally confirmed Florida’s retired Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade was due to make the long journey across the Atlantic to Walt Disney Studios Park here in Paris. But, just a few weeks later, the cars had already arrived in the backstage parade warehouse at Disneyland Resort Paris, as shown in these pictures below, from an unknown source.

All parts of these pictures except the cars have been blurred out.

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So, what can we see? Did all of the cars make it safely across the pond? Ever since the parade was even rumoured to be coming to Paris, nay-sayers have discussed at length the improbability of Disneyland Resort Paris featuring a parade with such “far-out” characters as Playhouse Disney, Power Rangers, Star Wars and The Muppets.

The first picture, above, shows the following cars, left-to-right front-to-back: Toy Story, Snow White, Disney Villains, Playhouse Disney, Aladdin, The Muppets (hot air balloon removed for transportation), The Little Mermaid.

The second picture, below, shows the following additional cars, left-to-right: Mary Poppins, Lilo & Stitch, Monsters Inc, Mulan.

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As you may have already noticed, the futuristic cream-coloured Star Wars car is notably absent, as is the outlandish lightning-themed Power Rangers car. Neither were truthfully expected to appear in Paris, considering both the different audience and character licensing contracts here. The only other missing car is the Fab 4’s old-timer, used as the parade’s finale, which is still expected to show up.

The Muppets and Playhouse Disney are surprisingly present… but will they make it to the parade? Rumours have now shifted to which cars could be stripped down and rebuilt for different characters before the parade premieres. Our sources suggest the strongest contenders at the moment are, surprise surprise: The Muppets and Playhouse Disney — but also the Disney Villains car.

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Missing: Star Wars

Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade introduced a float dedicated to the Villains last year, so a double-up does seem unlikely. Will the Stars & Motor Cars Parade be a saintly event from start to finish, then? You must be joking! That same ‘Dreams of Power’ float is missing one of Paris’ favourite villains that, from what we’re hearing, sounds like a very likely new star for the parade: a vicious female with a taste for… fur.

Another character apparently popular with the parade directors to be featured in the Paris edition is Captain Jack Sparrow, which would make this his first ever Disney parade appearance.

Look between the cars, however, and things get even more interesting. As recently announced by insider “zanderstarz” on magicforum, new characters, dance units and “skill units” will fill out the entire parade. When it finally premieres in Paris, expect to see new features such as stilts and sky runners alongside additional characters like The Incredibles, Ratatouille and perhaps the retired Finding Nemo pedal-along from Disney Cinema Parade.

Our sources add that alongside many new costumes and props, older items from the likes of Disney Cinema Parade and the Kids Carnivals could be recycled.

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It’s all in the show: Original Florida units, can Paris do better?

Finally… how will it be performed? This question appeared out of nowhere after several insiders suggested the parade could even be split into three or four “character events”, rolling out into the park several times a day like a more frequent edition of the classic Good Morning Walt Disney Studios concept. This leads into the suggestion from our source that the name could even be changed to ‘Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars Event’, and would fit in with several other concepts being discussed for 2009’s Mickey Mouse-themed year of celebrations.

And, whilst the rumours that Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage could premiere as early as Christmas now appear to have spread also to the Stars & Motor Cars, which wait patiently in the “green room” backstage, other insiders indicate rehearsals will only start in December, with the premiere scheduled for late March 2009.

Phew. Maybe we should have expected all this. When there are big American stars (not to mention their motor cars) involved, nothing is ever simple…

— PhotosMagiques.com has photos of the original parade and all its cars and stars here.

Friday, 13th June 2008

Playhouse Disney construction has begun!

This live show attraction, to be housed inside the Walt Disney Television Studios building right next door to the popular new Stitch Live! interactive CGI show, was first rumoured back in November 2007. Since then, the show has been confirmed internally to resort Cast Members and will be pushed heavily as one of the key additions for 2009, alongside Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade.

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The actual location of the show within Walt Disney Television Studios, the former home of the unpopular Television Production Tour, was originally quite uncertain. With its flatmate Stitch Live! now open for business, however, and the former Disney Channel CyberSpace post-show room of the original tour still closed, it is now confirmed that this vast space will house the show.

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Diagram showing inside of Walt Disney Television Studios.
Current construction areas are shown in blue.

Indeed, reports from several people “in-the-know” suggest work inside is already well advanced with casting and rehearsals scheduled soon.

In fact, those returning construction fences signal the start of this new construction project on the exterior of the building — the attraction’s new entrance. Nothing is yet known about the design or placement of the entrance, how it will link into the Stitch Live! turnstiles right next door or even how the queue line will cross the exit path of that same show.

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Looking at the current placement of the blue fences, it appears that the entrance will be similar in size to Stitch Live!, but separate from the building and angled slightly more toward The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror across the courtyard.

Additional fences next to the old Mickey Mouse Trailer, which has been sitting unused for almost a year now, appear to have removed an old Production Courtyard lamppost here. The placement is interesting if we were to still consider Soarin’ to be built in the space behind, squashing four attractions into just a small corner of one courtyard.

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The show itself is believed to be near-identical to those at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disney’s California Adventure, featuring Playhouse Disney favourites Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, My Friends Tigger and Pooh and Little Einsteins. At these two locations, the entire audience sits on a soft floor and watches the action on a raised stage, the characters mostly brought to life through puppetry from below.

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When can expect it to open? Well, there is currently some speculation that both the new show and parade might debut as early as Christmas this year, rather than being held off until the real launch of the 2009 celebration in April 2009. With the parade cars sitting backstage and this show’s preparations relatively minimal, it could be possible — but how likely?

Opening early would follow the plan used for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which opened last year on 22nd December 2007 with full advertising not starting until April this year. For a major E-Ticket attraction such as this, it allowed for a long period of build-up and for word of mouth to spread.

For a small children’s show and a new parade, brought over from another resort? It could just lead to a massive anti-climax come 2009. For fans, at least. Watch this space.

[Photos: WDSfans.com; Walt Disney World]

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