Have your sunglasses at the ready, folks! No, not for the glorious weather we’re enjoying in this corner of Europe, but for the first “soft opening” arrivals of Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train, which began at 11.30am today and continue all week. And there it is — in all its day-glo splendour. If you can believe it, it’s even brighterthan the publicity image. The whole train has been resprayed from pistons to chimney in a complete rainbow of colours. This was not a moment of artistic restraint.
On-board, the characters wear their new 20th Anniversary costumes, inspired by Mickey’s classic Sorcerer’s Apprentice guise but coloured with more wild, day-glo shades. Chip, Dale and their female friend Clarice led the first wagon, followed by Minnie, Donald and Daisy in the middle, then Goofy and Pluto bringing up the rear. New additions to the design of the train include a ’20” on each wagon and Tinker Bell atop the chimney, guiding the train.
The train was quickly described as “garish” on forums, and that could be perfectly accurate. But you know what — and perhaps not setting the bar high here — it might actually be the best revision of this event to date, since the original Disney Characters’ Express. While that started out with a fairly classy blue, white and gold train, it was modified here and there in subsequent years to become a real mish-mash of a design with little artistic direction nor anything that really tied it together.
At least this year the train has been stripped back and completely resprayed, giving a uniform look to the whole event. This is helped by restricting the invite list to only the “VIP” characters, wearing new costumes which actually match the colours of the train, rather than their clashing everyday gear. And, rather than continuing to remix “Tous en Train” to infinity, we’ve got a whole new song in “Do You Believe” (which you can listen to here). The whole vision is such a spectacularly jarring contrast with the quaint cobblestones of Main Street, U.S.A. that maybe it just works.
“Time for lemonade and Cracker Jacks, Casey Junior’s back, Casey Junior’s back!” — You didn’t think he’d miss the 20th Anniversary, did you? Yes, the endlessly reincarnated train, last seen as the Disney Dance Express, will return again from April 2012!
At least this time, for the first time since his return as the Disney Characters’ Express five years ago, Disneyland Paris decided against giving him “new attraction” billing in the brochure. Too busy ramping the colour saturation up to “maximum”, perhaps.
However, if rumours are to be believed, Disney Dance Express could be a slightly different event to what we’ve become accustomed. Music is rumoured to be taken from Walt Disney World’s “Move It! Shake It!! Celebrate It!!! Street Party” — not we presume yet another remix of “Tous en train” — and those meet ‘n’ greet scrums could be a thing of the past as the train turns into more of a moving show stage, with a live host. So, it’s “goodbye” but definitely “à bientôt!” again.
In the meantime, the gap left in the timetable will be filled this week by a cavalcade of characters titled “Good Morning, Disney New Generation” at 11.15am, 12.15pm and 1.15pm.
What’s been occuring at Disneyland Paris this weekend? The St David’s Welsh Festival, a now-annual event spread over three days, this year from 5th to 7th March, to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of Wales (which is actually held on 1st March) — and no doubt tempt a few proud compatriots over to Disneyland Paris in the process.
As the schedule reveals, this is a rare chance to see Merlin calling up guests to pull Fantasyland’s sword from its stone, a location now used more frequently for the Sleeping Beauty “happening”.
It’s also the only time in any Disney park in the world you can see Mickey and Minnie dressed in traditional Welsh costume, be it at their special meet ‘n’ greets or riding the Main Street fire truck as a special pre-parade. Where the upcoming St Patrick’s Day has shamrocks all over, St David’s is all daffodils and leeks…
What was that about spoiling pictures? Oh yes, the decorations. Though (if you can believe it) not as bad as they could have been, this was certainly a year to point your camera… elsewhere. Try a new angle rather than that generic castle shot.
But, for one last bang before the year is locked away in the pages of Euro Souvenirland, our Mickey Moused medieval castle celebrated St David’s with the traditional fireworks display…
How do you say “what a relief”, “good riddance” in Welsh?
Just like that, the nights are dark and the leaves are falling. And since the Saturday just gone, 4th October, Disneyland Paris is back in the Halloween spirit for — with great coincidence — its 13th season.
So what’s new? For the past two years the festival had to coincide with the eternal 15th Anniversary celebrations. This year, it has to battle Mickey’s Magical Party for airtime. In this great big roundup of all things Halloween, we’ve quotes from DLRP Magic!.com‘s interview with festival director Emmanuel Lenormand and some fresh videos pulled from YouTube along the way.
This is Halloween – let’s hope we’ve no need to scream.
Jack Skellington & Sally move to Cottonwood Creek
The Nightmare Before Christmas pair were so popular during their inaugural season in 2008 that they’ve had to be given a wider area than Phantom Manor‘s Boot Hill. This year, they’re over by Cowboy Cookout Barbeque instead…
Halloween Opening Parade
…but do again appear in the rather dull-titled “Halloween Opening Parade”. The pre-parade to Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade this year features lots of Pumpkin Men (or Pumpkinfolk), a horse and cart carrying the couple and the old Carollers/Snow White/Seasonal float carrying Cruella, Gaston, Stitch and other “Villains”, all set to the music of Florida’s HalloWishes fireworks “This Is Halloween”/”Grim Grinning Ghosts” remix.
Here’s the pre-parade moving past (40 seconds in):
It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends… and the Disney Villains
…and a Ridiculously Long Name. This is only one performance mind — the first three shows of “It’s Party Time…” each day run as normal, with only the final show (currently at 7pm) being given a light Halloween touch.
Emmanuel Lenormand wasn’t being modest when he described it as “only a camera” in his recent backstage interview. Just as the show is wrapping up, thunder claps and the usual Halloween sound effects herald the arrival of Maleficent via the stage lift usually reserved only for Mickey.
(jump 5 minutes 35 seconds in)
Apparently the witch is there because she’s upset not to be invited to Mickey’s Magical Party (clearly she hasn’t had to stand through “It’s Dance Time…” like the rest of us). The purpose of her arrival will be lost on a vast majority of guests, however, since she speaks only French. Yes, it’s Goofy’s Summer Camp all over again. Not all that long ago, Entertainment would have ensured a mixture of languages and then possibly a repetition of what’s happening from each language.
But huh, who cares. Soon enough, rather than doing something, er, “villainy” as you might expect, the now collection of baddies suddenly begin to take part in yet another rendition of the so-called “Mickey Dance”. You can’t deny it’s funny to see the Old Hag from Snow White bopping away to the rock-pop theme song, but for the past few years the festival was been built around a centrepiece show here on Central Plaza. Now that focal point is just a silly dance.
A touch which feels more special, though, is the addition of pyrotechnics to the stage as Mickey disappears towards the end (which can be seen at 10 minutes 15 seconds in the video above). They produce a whole lot of smoke but make for a great finale. Apparently they were meant to be there for every show, since April.
It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland
Though not marked on the Programme as being part of Halloween, Emmanuel Lenormand does comment: “There will also be a similar cameo at the end of It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.”. Naturally, we’re all expecting Gaston and Cruella De Vil going wild to the show’s quintessentially Disney number “Shake Your Booty”, and nothing less.
If you’ve seen the real “cameo”, do comment below.
Minnie’s Halloween Party Train
Now on version number 2,561 of this meet ‘n’ greet train, the park has redecorated the carriages with thorny vines and pumpkins, adding Halloween sound effects over the already saturated soundtrack. The bigger change, though, is that the train now only makes it as far as Town Square, doing a loop around the Gazebo before stopping for the characters to step down.
There’s a bit of a blunder with the introduction, however, as the train is announced as the old “Disney Characters Express”, yet later, Minnie’s ear-piercing voice of 2009 continues to play, so guess away at how that mix-up happened. D’oh! And to think Minnie’s Party Train so nearly got away with guests thinking it was a “brand new” event!
Disney Witches Dancing Spells Party
The difficult name might not exactly inspire, but from Emmanuel’s words this new show on the temporary Trick or Treat Stage near Cowboy Cookout Barbeque sounds like it might be the hit of the season. The stage has been redressed, given a proper set — even special effects. Maleficent and the Old Hag from Snow White battle it out with the help of placed audience members.
“In this show, Maleficent and the Old Hag from Snow White arrive in a cemetery during the night to have fun with their cauldrons and spells to invent new potions. Four children/dancers passing by are going to be choreographically transformed according to the Hag’s and Maleficent’s potion ingredients.
“For that show, Jérôme Picoche came up with some superb scenes, with the transformation of the tombs into cauldrons, with effects everywhere, and a cool ambiance!”
Unfortunately nothing appears to have made its way online yet, so we’ll keep you posted.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties
This year, the extra-ticketed events take place on 9th, 16th, 23rd and 27th October and have thankfully been extended beyond Fantasyland to also include Frontierland and Pirates of the Caribbean. Last year, everyone was kept inside Fantasyland for the duration.
Emmanuel elaborates: “It was such a success last year that we decided to fully open Central Plaza and Frontierland for the occasion. There will be a brand new show in front of the Castle with Disney Characters, in which each good character with confront his or her evil counterpart! And again, there will be lots of candy and sweets handed out.”
“There will also be a Disco Party in Frontierland. The whole place will be filled with dance and fun everywhere! With all of our dancers and Disney Characters, it’s going to be terrific!”
Disney’s Halloween Party (31st October 2009)
And on the big night itself… there’ll be not a bang in the sky. The big talking point for 2009 is what amounts to the cancellation of the usual Halloween Soirée fireworks show. Over the years, they’ve been good and they’ve been underwhelming, changing almost every year. But this year, there’ll be nothing at all after midnight.
Instead, Emmanuel has been helping to prepare a brand new “Light and Sound Show”. Getting that sinking feeling? Don’t judge too soon — as Emmanuel revealed, “we’re going to revisit the elements that made last year’s show such a success — projections, dancers, etc — but enhanced a million times! You’ll have up to 60 artists, projections, pyrotechnic effects and the Castle transformed into a stage itself!”
Last year’s finale show, in case you didn’t catch it online or in the park, was one of the most impressive to date, using the old Central Plaza stage for dancers and a very rare appearance by Sorcerer Mickey — who even did his special pyrotechnic trick usually reserved for Fantasmic! in the States.
Beyond possible noise or cost issues, there’s one good reason to scrap fireworks in the unwelcome early closures it brings to the whole back half of the park. “The idea is to have Mickey confronting the forces of evil with lots and lots of surprises: black light effects and lots of projections.”
“In fact, we’ve got a new projection system which is really effective, so you’ll be able to see giant characters and news ways to animate the walls and the windows of the Castle. It’ll look really different.” All things considered, maybe this kind of imaginative, one-off show is actually better than the same old low-level squibs we’d see otherwise.
Oh, Halloween at Disneyland Paris. It’s love/hate. You’ll mostly see the same old things around the park this year — that means Main Street trashed by orange paint and Frontierland turned to Halloweenland with a hodgepodge of items from across the years. At worst, these creations still unfortunately treat Disneyland like a lifeless canvas, rather than actually complementing its themes and bringing extra life to the lands.
However — the poorly-judged (or quite simply poor) Pink Witches are entirely gone, as are most of their most awful remnants (the astonishingly bad “Travel Agency” desk, for example). Jack and Sally have begun to be represented in several places, most notably on the former “Pink Witches Academy” arch, and several other assorted new pieces have popped up that are really rather pleasing. Some of the older items, like the crypt arch, have been repainted in nicer new designs, finally incorporating purple into the colour scheme.
It seems like they finally know the direction to take Halloween in, but the issue yet again is money. For such a key season, now one of, if not the most important season for markets like the UK, Halloween in Paris is sorely under-funded when it comes to decorations. Everything is rehashed over and again. Hopefully sometime next decade they’ll finally be given the cash to invest in proper, comprehensive overlays in the more sensitive style of those seen in California.
And since the resort is receiving a whole new themed land with three new attractions, is there need to pad out the “nouveautés” by renaming and re-advertising the same event again?
The answer: Yes.
Here’s the brand new publicity visual released today:
Disney All Stars Express (2010)
As you can see, it re-uses the template of the original Disney Characters’ Express image above, but shows the train in its 2009 Minnie’s Party Train guise — recoloured slightly to appear pinker.
On board, the real-life characters are replaced by another collection of generic stock images, showing the “new generation” who’ll lead the event. Well — Stitch, Toy Story and Ratatouille. Despite the year aiming to celebrate the “Ne w Generation”, these stars are already becoming a little repetitive — and there’s no sign of the newest characters, from Bolt and UP, anywhere.
The new name? As given away in the headline, it’s: Disney All Stars Express. Which certainly allows any classic characters to keep their place come April 2010.
If all this repetition’s getting a little dull, take a look at this final new visual:
Showing a plethora of characters parachuting into the park (with Sully for some reason peering up from a trapdoor instead), it’s a pleasant surprise after the earlier images. Nemo’s chances once he reaches the ground surely don’t look good, but the image overall… does.
Rather than just re-using an existing image, chopping it to pieces and hastily copying and pasting some Disney stock characters in, it appears to also have some actual design work in there, with the parachutes given proper perspective and depth as they fade away into the painterly sky.
Yet still, there’s an apathy for the park it’s meant to be selling: why else would you paste fake Mickey Mouse stickers over the beautiful windows of Sleeping Beauty Castle? Sigh…
Note the wording there — “initial images”. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but a couple of the images you’re about to see are surely — surely — just stand-ins for some final, polished visuals yet to come. In short, they look like the kind of hastily chopped-together visuals we might have found on internal presentations or proposals for the 2010 theme year, not true “advertising visuals” that have been released for use in brochures, in print… in public…
The Princess and the Frog in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen will only be hitting European cinema screens in January and February 2010, but come the April launch of New Generation Festival they’ll both find a new home on the ‘Dreams of Romance: Finale’ unit of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.
Quite where they’ll be slotted in on this huge articulated float — which already boasts Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora — isn’t exactly answered by the visual above, which shows an assortment of Disney Princess stock images cowering behind a truly gigantic version of the Princess and the Frog couple.
…Which all throws up a few questions about what route the re-imagined show will take. The current format is based very much around the music, and interactivity. Whilst Tigger certainly lends himself to bouncing and Baloo to a sing-along of Jungle Book tunes, we’ve never seen that kind of event from these characters above before.
“Note” the musical notes falling from the sky on parachutes, continuing that theme. And, though you can’t see it, we can add the interesting note that this image is labelled “KEY VISUAL SHOWTIME SPECTACULAR”, which certainly hints at a name-change for the annoyingly-titled “It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends“ come April 2010. ‘Mickey’s Showtime Spectacular’? ‘New Generation Showtime Spectacular’?
There’s certainly nothing new in the visual here that might suggest an “enhancement”, so why is this 2006 addition suddenly becoming an event? A more regular appearance of Sully? The replacement of the Mike figure with a real-life character? Some kind of mini-show or Sword in the Stone-style scream canister event…?
Ratatouille in Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
Wave goodbye to all hope of Florida’s old Star Wars car joining our Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. This vehicle will be remodelled for Rémy and Emile from April 2010, adding a 12th car to the parade/show event.
Given that the Star Wars car is very different to that above, don’t take this as a real concept.
So there you go, the four main events Disneyland Paris Entertainment are cooking up for the New Generation Festival. After their five large-scale launches for 2009, it should be a breeze. There’s also the strong chance that Disney Characters’ Express / Minnie’s Party Train will be remodelled yet again into a New Generation Express, but thankfully it’s looking like such a rehash won’t be quite so widely advertised.
Three more visuals are also floating around for Toy Story Playland and two of its attractions, but we’ve a lot of catching up to do on that subject before getting to those. Stay tuned…
The project has been in planning and kept top secret for months. But now, as the deadlines for advertising visuals and creatives for the next round of brochures nears, the entire list of new events has been leaked online.
Working title: Disney’s New Generation Festival, this next theme year will put the newest animated characters firmly in the spotlight. That means, though Toy Story Playland will certainly be the key new attraction of the year, we aren’t looking ahead a whole of solely Toy Story themes. No, instead we’ll be seeing Disney’s upcoming The Princess and the Frog plus a whole lot of Pixar — they are, after all, the closest to “Disney” the past decade has offered.
Avert your eyes now — the most spoiler-filled post of 2009 awaits! Here, are the events of 2010:
Toy Story Playland
You know this one already: Three brand new attractions set within a highly-themed giant garden to extend Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park. However, with groundwork barely begun, there’s no way this new Walt Disney Imagineering area can open before at least June next year — meaning a surrounding festival of events to begin in April 2010 is necessary…
Princess Tiana joins Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade
The newest Disney Princess hasn’t even hit the big screen in The Princess and the Frog yet and already she’s being prepared to join the Disneyland Park parade. Not on a new float, unfortunately, but just stepping up onto the final Dreams of Romance: Finale float with Prince Naveen, giving this unit an overwhelming cast of five Princes and Princesses.
‘Enhanced’ Monsters, Inc. meet ‘n’ greet
A little patch of Monsters, Inc. has been in the Studios since 2006, but for some reason it’s now being included in next year’s new events. The leaked details here say it’ll be “enhanced”, but there isn’t any further information yet.
Ratatouille joins Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
The Studios’ new evening finale will definitely continue into 2010, with the advertised novelty being a brand new car themed to Ratatouille, featuring Rémy and Emile. We can reveal it’ll be the old Star Wars car to undergo this transformation.
Minnie’s Party Train becomes a New Generation Express
Yes, the old Casey Jr. float will be given its fourth colour scheme and feature mostly — if not entirely — Pixar characters next year.
NO Castle decorations whatsoever!
That’s an event in itself, right?!
And finally… in 2007 we had the red carpet, in 2008 the wrapping paper and in 2009 the very successful balloons motif. Next year, it’s all-change again on the advertising ideas front — and the new theme? Taken straight from the most imposing attraction of Toy Story Playland, we’ll be seeing… parachutes! No, seriously.
Halloween? Must be August! The regular location of the season’s flash mini-site — www.magichalloween.com — has been updated for the upcoming 2009 season beginning this October 3rd. Generally, the look is the same — save for one noticeable new ingredient: balloons, of course — orange ones!
New official website
And so, this annual season, which has been meandering between different themes for several years since the arrival of the Pumpkin Men in 2003 and the thankfully short-lived focus on Stitch later, finally appears to have been set on a steady course.
Things are much more family-friendly than the early years of the festival, whilst much more “Disney” than the first seasons featuring the Pumpkin Men. Overall, the events are moving closer in style to their praised Tokyo and Hong Kong cousins. Mickey and Minnie will return in their perfect purple, orange and green costumes, whilst Jack Skellington and Sally return with greater prominence since their hugely successful 2008 debut.
Jack & Sally joined the Paris season in 2008
Orange paint still features, however. Whilst this year the orange Main Street is explicitly mentioned in the press release, for the two previous years the decorations have actually been cancelled — only to return to the street at the last minute. It seems Entertainment simply didn’t have the money for a replacement.
Interesting to note, for example, that the “Mickey’s Magical Party Time!” theme song began life as a new Halloween theme song, but Entertainment — to quote composer Scott Erickson in our interview — “didn’t have the budget last year to update the parade and change the Halloween song”. What with the new characters, costumes and major new nighttime hard ticket event in Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party introduced last year, it’s easy to understand why.
Mickey’s new 2008 costume set the festival on the right track
So, we come to 2009. And, with the events of Mickey’s Magical Party continuing through the Halloween Festival, it’ll be looking slightly different again from its previous 15th Anniversary-tinted years…
Disney’s Halloween Festival… something BIG is brewing in October!
– From 3 October to 1 November 2009 –
Marne-la-Vallée, France, July 2009 – From 3 October 2009 through to 1 November 2009, Mickey’s Magical Party adds even more fun to a marvelous month of mischief and mayhem. It’s the perfect month to make family and friends scream with delight. Join Mickey as he welcomes the Disney Villains, Pumpkin Men and Pumpkin Ladies and the star of the season, Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas to celebrate Mickey’s Magical Party for a frighteningly fun Halloween surprises!
Welcome to the Disney Halloweenmosphere
A full month of thrills, spills and chills galore at Disneyland Park, as Halloween invades Frontierland and Main Street, U.S.A.® with decorations, eerie events and hair-raising shows, face painting and oodles of tricks and treats. Family and friends, young and old, everyone is sure to have a ghostly good time with…
… the stars of Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington and his friend Sally, the stars of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, are back to captivate Disney’s Halloween Festival with their bewitching world.
… mischievous Pumpkin tricksters
When Disneyland Paris goes orange, you know the Pumpkin Men and Pumpkin Ladies can’t be far away. They are just itching to splash the road and shop fronts of Main Street, U.S.A. with their bright orange paint. Masters of the most devious decoration, mischievous jokes and pranks, Pumpkin Citizens take Frontierland by storm as they transform it into Halloweenland for a howling good time! No one can escape the antics of those uncontrollable Pumpkins we just can’t help but love!
… Disney Villains and Characters
Children of all ages are going to love staring down the infamous Disney Villains and becoming accomplices to their demonic deeds. Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, Jafar and the wicked witch from Snow White take vile pleasure in posing with young guests and giving them a wonderful souvenir of the year’s biggest monster mash. Mickey and Friends have also spread the word to give guests a memorable welcome decked out in their finest Halloween costumes.
… Mickey’s Magical Party takes on the colors of Halloween
More enchanting than ever in her delightful witch costume, Minnie leads the dance in Town Square. Disney Characters take advantage of this scare-a-licious month to don their mischievous pumpkin masks as they ride Minnie’s Party Train in all its Halloween splendor.
Meanwhile, the Disney Villains have spent all day preparing to invade the stage during the final show It’s Party Time… with Mickey & Friends. Captain Hook, Gaston, Jafar, Frollo, Cruella De Vil, Maleficent the witch from Sleeping Beauty and other fiendish folk are going to perform a devilish rendition of the “Mickey Dance” on the new Central Plaza Stage. It feels so good to be bad, and they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure we never forget!
… Disney Once Upon a Dream Parade to a Halloween tune
The Disney Once Upon a Dream Parade will kick-off with a special Halloween theme, as the Pumpkin Men and Ladies join in the abominably bewitching parade, along with Jack and Sally from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and the Disney Villains, of course!
The spectrrrrraaaaaaaacular month of Halloween is also your last chance to get down to an intergalactic beat with DJ Stitch and the “It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland” show. Hurry, his space mission ends on 8 November 2009.
And for that fiendish final touch, Disney’s Halloween Festival continues with parties you won’t want to miss to enjoy Halloween to the max!
Disney’s Halloween Party: 31 October is Ghoul’s Night Out!
Guaranteed to be a scream! Get ready for the most magical night of the year at Disneyland Paris! The now-famous Disney’s Halloween Party* will take place on 31 October 2009 in Disneyland Park. A one-of-a-kind experience to enjoy with family and friends from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
By the light of the moon, Disneyland Park will reopen its doors to a most terrifying atmosphere featuring a wide variety of events, surprises and boo-groovy music until the late-night hours:
Spooktacular street entertainment and stage shows throughout the evening
The Disney’s Fantillusion Parade led by the vicious Disney Villains, where the world of darkness meets the enchanted world in a fantastic twilight spectacular.
A special Halloween Sound and Light show with the fangtangulous backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
And oodles of other dreadfully delectable surprises!
*Paid event: €32 for adults and children, free for children under 3.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Want to celebrate Halloween in pure Disney style that’s fun without being scary? Then Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party is the place to be!** Four dream opportunities for family fun with Mickey and Friends in their most boo-tiful Halloween costumes on 9, 16, 23 and 27 October 2009 from 8 to 11 p.m. with tricks and treats galore! Places are limited to this one-of-a-kind event for children of all ages who just can’t wait to get dressed up. Disney Characters and Villains will be there to create an exclusive and interactive experience of exciting and truly unforgettable moments.
In addition to exclusive events and shows, guests will enjoy access to a number of attractions in Disneyland Park open especially for the grand occasion: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio’s Fantastic Journey, Lancelot’s Carousel, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, “It’s a small world”, Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland and Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. And the fearsome Phantom Manor and the legendary Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland.
**Paid event: €25 for adults and children, free for children under 3.
All the fun and fantastical ingredients are there to make Disney’s Halloween Festival the most monstrously magical month of the year at Disneyland Paris, from 3 October to 1 November 2009.
— — —
Did you get all that? Let’s have a quick recap of what’s new…
Disney Villains invade It’s Party Time with Mickey and Friends — this is instead of the standalone Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime which used the previous stage during daytimes in 2007 and 2008.
Minnie’s Party Train also takes on a Halloween theme with decorations — no wonder poor old Casey Jr. huffs and puffs with all the extra layers on top of him these days.
Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade slated to “kick off” with a Halloween theme — suggesting it’ll be similar to last year’s pre-parade, a few special floats running separately to the main parade, rather than a full overlay — which had actually been rumoured to happen for Christmas and/or Halloween this year.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties return for a second year on 9th, 16th, 23rd and 27th October, with the big plus being that the event has broken out of its Fantasyland-only confines of the first year and now allows access to Adventureland and Frontierland. It will be interesting to see, now, how they go about properly differentiating it from the 31st October Disney’s Halloween Party, other than just being a cut-down version…
And as for the Halloween Soirée itself, this press release lists only a “light and sound show” — rather than the usual fireworks. We’ll have to wait and see…
Of course, Halloween often has other events beyond these widely-communicated ones above. There’s the temporary Trick or Treat Stage in Frontierland, for example, usually home to small shows like Goofy and the Magic Cauldron.
Good news here — we’ve heard that plans have been moving ahead for Jack Skellington and Sally to take on stronger roles than just meet ‘n’ greet characters, by taking part in their own show on this special Halloween stage next to Cowboy Cookout Barbeque.
As with all creations starring these characters, the event has even been approved by Tim Burton himself. However, with the official website listing only a “brand new, devilish show to the sound of your favourite Disney hits” starring “the witches”, has another new Halloween plan already been scuppered?
Two years ago, when this old Dumbo parade float, originally created for The Wonderful World of Disney Parade in 1998, was converted into Disney Characters’ Express for the 15th Anniversary, it was perhaps the hit of the season. In one event, it brought frequent life to Main Street, U.S.A. and fulfilled many guests’ wishes for more — and more easily accessible — character meet ‘n’ greets.
And yesterday, Saturday 21st March, guests were given their very first look at the newly-redecorated engine and carriages, as a certain mouse climbed on-board Minnie’s Party Train for a special trial run, captured in these photos by julien59 on Disney Central Plaza forum…
On the whole, any blue of the old Disney Characters’ Express has simply been replaced with red polka dots for this new overlay, though there are a few exceptions — the roofs inside the carriages for example, previously white, are now red polka dots, too.
The concept art and latest marketing visual were ultimately fairly accurate, with the concept art’s colourful streamers at least making it to final design here, even if they didn’t for the lampposts of Main Street. The blue flags atop the old train are replaced by those famous Minnie Mouse bows.
However, the Mickey Mouse shapes on the top of each carriage don’t carry the logo of either the celebration or the new Party Trainas proposed, given (arguably nicer) polka dot backgrounds instead.
And of course, as the introduction described, the redecorated train certainly looks a little more blushing than its predecessor. Though all previous concepts and images showed the face remaining white with the eyes given red rather than blue outlines, the final design has kept the blue outlines — with the red instead applied to the entire face!
Fans of the previous event need not be too worried by Minnie’s commandeering, however, since the ridiculously-popular soundtrack song Tous en Train has remained — now with frequent interruptions from the new hostess.
Suddenly, the more regal, minimal Disney Characters’ Express seems very dour indeed compared to this colourful new design. Though we do hope his nasty illness clears up, before the grand premiere on 4th April…
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