Sunday, 28th March 2010

New Generation Festival Press Launch – In Pictures

Stick with this page as we bring you live(-ish) rolling updates from the New Generation Festival press launch earlier this evening, sharing all the photos as they’re published.

• Adrian Brody, real famous person! (2:26am)

Among the usual glut of French “celebrities” who largely mean nothing to us, could be found Adrian Brody — actual Oscar-winning Hollywood actor, from The Pianist and Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Got to love the embarassing photo set-ups Disneyland Paris provide for their VIPs.

• French Celebrities (2:38am)

Although, as you can see, many of them are only too happy to oblige:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Audrey Marnay and Liya Kebede

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Fabian Galthie

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Bruno Solo

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch
Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia

The photo from the Monsters Inc. photo location there confirms the recent work was just a simple refurbishment, and the Mike Wazowski figure is still in place — not yet to be ousted by his real, walking equivalent now appearing in Disney Showtime Spectacular over at Disneyland Park.

British girl pop group The Saturdays were also at the resort today.

• Disney Showtime Spectacular premieres (2:50am)

We mentioned that today’s weather hadn’t been too kind to the first performance of Disney Showtime Spectacular. It’s the Disneyland Paris press event curse — blow all your money on a big show, invite thousands of questionably important people… and then that thick Marne-la-Vallée cloud rolls over.

Here are photos from the press performance earlier today:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Luckily it remained dry, if not providing the best weather for this new show to shine.

• The New Gen Show – first official photos! (3:02am)

And here we go, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Details have been sketchy about what to expect from tonight’s events, but with the stage set as the Moteurs… Action! stunt arena over at Walt Disney Studios Park — and not Central Plaza as the past two launches (15th and MMP), it promised something quite different and certainly very grand, given the arena floorspace…

And of course, they didn’t disappoint. An enormous cast, a laser and projections show and the Disney All Stars Express park-hopping to join the cars of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

The full wide shot at show-level:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Stars jump for joy as resort icons are projected onto the Mediterranean sets of Moteurs Action:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Artsy arrivals by illuminated balloons? Why not:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

A full-on smooch between Tiana and Naveen? Ooo err:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

And that final wide angle from the top of the Stunt Arena seating again:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

At least, with 3000 stadium seats, the VIPs wouldn’t have had to crane their necks for once.

• The Saturdays, New Generation Props & Suitcases (29/03 16:07pm)

Tiana meets British pop group The Saturdays — or is it the other way around? — in this picture captured by Photos Magiques on yes, Saturday:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

They also stumbled upon some clever oversized toy props in the hotel lobbies where press event invitees were staying, such as this ViewMaster toy:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

And the suitcases of New Generation characters who were also checking in:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

See more of these, plus loads more news from the past week, at their full update here.

• Princess Tiana meets Princess Tiana! (29/03 18:38pm)

Sandrine Van Handenhoven, Belgian pop star and voice of Tiana in the Flemish version of The Princess and the Frog (De Prinses en de Kikker) met the princess herself this weekend:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

• More Opening Ceremony Show photos (30/03 18:45pm)

More pictures of the spectacular opening ceremony show have been published by Disneyland Paris:

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

Disney New Generation Festival Press Launch

— — Check back for more updates soon!

Photos © Disney.

Saturday, 27th March 2010

Showtime Spectacular in even more photos… and HD video!

Lay those memories of polyester costumes and embarrassing toddlers’ games to rest. If you liked the first photos of Disney Showtime Spectacular from our friends at Photos Magiques (and it looks like most of us did), what do you say to the whole show — in high definition?

Part 1:

Part 2:

Yes, we may finally have a show worthy of this overwhelming stage. If we must see the whole hub of the park enveloped in an inescapable live show throughout the day (and it appears we must), then this is really the way to do it. Countless characters, great new and specially-rerecorded music, clever costume changes and oh yes, quite probably some real “wow” moments that justify the hyperbolic title.

A few criticisms could still be put forward — It’s a fairly young-leaning show and might still not have the broad appeal such a focal point of the park should have (though compared to Party Time‘s nursery school focus, it’s positively geriatric). Mickey’s costume changes are fun, but his yo-yoing up and down that stage lift can be a bit disruptive to the flow of the show. And unfortunately Minnie still appears to be the only “VIP” to speak English, making the opening scenes a little off-putting (and hey, imagine if you’re Spanish, German…) — but then, we’re suddenly treated to a whole load of brand new character voices, convincing sound-alikes for Woody (Tom Hanks) and Mike (Billy Crystal) and possibly even the “real” Tiana, Anika Noni Rose… or another very good impersonator.

This is a show that could well make other Disney resorts — even the hallowed hub stage of Tokyo Disneyland — a little jealous. Finally, this true “new generation” of Pixar characters that have been so left out of park entertainments in Paris for a decade or more are given centre stage, in a production that brings back memories of the old musical revues of “Disney Classics: The Music and the Magic” (Videopolis) and the original “C’est Magique” (Fantasy Festival Stage).

Want more? Here are the new official publicity photos released today:

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Disney Showtime Spectacular

And look out for a few more in our coverage of today’s big press launch, with unfortunately less appealing weather — yes, the curse of the Disneyland Paris press event strikes again!

Now: The clever choreography of the Lilo & Stitch scene, complete with palm trees and circling birds, or the transformation of Naveen from frog to prince, and the superb subsequent New Orleans musical number? Maybe something else… What’s your favourite Disney Showtime Spectacular moment so far?

Videos by Photos Magiques, Photos © Disney

Saturday, 27th March 2010

Disney All Stars Express rolls onto the parade route

Though the advertising would suggest you won’t see a moment of the New Gen attractions until 2nd April, as with recent years that’s not quite the case. In fact, from Princess Tiana to Remy, the Showtime Spectacular to this here All Stars Express, the events have been performing in the parks for up to a week now, ready for the press launch today, and will almost seem like old news come next weekend.

Just a couple of weeks after Minnie’s Party Train departed the parade route, the Disney All Stars Express suddenly steamed in, transformed (almost) from top to bottom with the multi-coloured design seen in its concept art and carrying characters such as Remy, Emile and Mr Incredible, previously reserved exclusively for appearances at Walt Disney Studios Park.

Disney All Stars Express

Those nasty spots have finally cleared up to give the old Casey Jr. a clean complexion of white, red, yellow and green, though several elements of the old Mickey’s Magical Party design remain — such as the Mickey emblems on the top of each carriage.

Disney All Stars Express

A collection of flags on the first carriage feature designs and logos from the featured Pixar films, and the “All Stars Express” banner across the front of the train even uses the animation studio’s logo typeface, Charlemagne Bold, with its recognisable not-quite-Serif “X”.

Disney All Stars Express

And then, of course, there’s WALL-E!

Disney All Stars Express

The most anticipated aspect of the redecorated character train since his reveal last month, this marks the first time the character has ever appeared in any Disney parade or event. He’s hardly all-singing, all-dancing: he remains static and silent throughout, but the production quality is top-notch.

Disney All Stars Express

Despite all this Pixar celebration, Disneyland Paris is still keen to emphasise the “Disney” in this New Generation (which is why they insist the event be titled “Disney new generation festival” in all official texts). And so, the final two carriages aren’t all that new at all — the second even keeps its old Minnie Mouse theme! Here you’ll often find more classic characters, such as Pinocchio or Chip and Dale, with the likes of The Incredibles and Ratatouille kept on the first, fully-redecorated carriage.

Disney All Stars Express

To see it in motion, check out these first clips to appear on YouTube:

As you might notice, another aspect of Disney All Stars Express (there’s that “Disney” again) that’s only half-new is the soundtrack. Fans of the now-infamous “Tous en Train” will be glad to hear that the song is still used, albeit in a remixed form, now fading into versions of “It’s a Small World” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to continue the friendship theme we’re seeing.

Again, changed just enough that it can all be called “new” without really any massive change — though certainly preferable to the incessant Minnie Mouse clips played at full volume over the top last year.

Even more photos now, direct from Disneyland Paris, all the new official press shots:

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express

Disney All Stars Express Disney All Stars Express

Finally, for those with a patchy memory, a look back across the character train eras:

Disney All Stars Express

So there we go. And we’ll see you all here again same time, next year, right? Who knows how many more times we’re going to be re-sold this event as something brand new!

Photos by Photos Magiques.com (more), Videos by cafemickey1, gochaton

Friday, 26th March 2010

Wallets at the ready, the New Gen merch has arrived

It’s certainly a merchandiser’s dream come true — free reign of the most popular Pixar characters and plenty of toy tie-ins for Toy Story Playland (even there’s still debate as to whether the land itself will have a single retail location).

Whilst the 15th Anniversary and Mickey’s Magical Party souvenirs largely featured the same design splashed over everything, the New Generation Festival already has a much more varied and modern selection of items. From simple logo T-shirts:

New Generation Festival merchandise

To fun character mugs and bowls:

New Generation Festival merchandise

It’s the huge expanded range of Toy Story items which take pride of place this year, however — especially with Toy Story 3 arriving in July. We’ve got cute plush toys of Bullseye, Rex and other Pixar characters:

New Generation Festival merchandise

New Generation Festival merchandise

Alongside the expected action figures and plastic toys:

New Generation Festival merchandise

New Generation Festival merchandise

Of course, you can pick up an RC remote control car after a ride on RC Racer, or a real (and much more conveniently-sized) Slinky toy after a ride on Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin.

Bored of the usual Sorcerer Mickey hats? Try out a funny triangular Buzz Lightyear hat for size:

New Generation Festival merchandise

Or any one of the endless spin-off toys and souvenirs:

New Generation Festival merchandise

And, to tie in perfectly with the parachute-themed ad campaign, there are these special Disneyland Paris-branded “Parachute Sky Diver” figures of Buzz and Woody:

New Generation Festival merchandise

Several other new merchandise lines have been added recently, including this range of “attractions” souvenirs featuring images and logos of Indy, Space, Tower and Pirates against a red graphic backdrop of other attraction logos such as Phantom Manor, Stitch Live and Studio Tram Tour:

New Generation Festival merchandise

New Generation Festival merchandise

The “I Heart Mickey” range of merchandise has also been expanded, with fancy new cups:

New Generation Festival merchandise

And some new mugs which state more elaborately, “I Am Madly In Love With MK.”:

New Generation Festival merchandise

Indeed, you’re never short of ideas for your next coffee mug at Disneyland Paris:

New Generation Festival merchandise

But be careful — too much caffeine (and shopping) can send you Plane Crazy…

New Generation Festival merchandise

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Tuesday, 23rd March 2010

First look at Disney Showtime Spectacular on Central Plaza!

This brand new centrepiece of the New Generation Festival quite possibly has the most costume changes of any show ever performed at Disneyland Paris.

Unfortunately under-elaborated by the resort’s vague press releases, given a bland name and believed for a long time to just be a “rehashing” of last year’s quite unloved It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends, the more we’ve seen of Disney Showtime Spectacular concepts and rehearsals lately, the more interesting it actually began to sound.

The first trial performances already began today, ready for the press launch event of this weekend, so let’s jump right in with a selection of photos…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

It’s a familiar opening as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale arrive on stage to what must be a new recording of “Best of Friends” from The Fox and the Hound. Note immediately the smaller number of dancers (here waving flags) this year — nothing to criticise, in fact, as the focus is instead placed entirely on the characters, with apparently no live hosts desperately trying to work the audience.

Above, Mickey is seen in his “generic” opening look of a yellow top and red trousers. Jump ahead, and as if by magic — when Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear appear — he transforms into his toy soldier-styled green coat with binoculars. All the other characters and dancers join in with different props or costume additions for each number, here dancing to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”.

Disney Showtime Spectacular Disney Showtime Spectacular

When Lilo & Stitch — and a brand new character for Disneyland Paris, from the pair’s TV series, Angel — arrive to catch a wave, the dancers wear Lei flowers and the Disney characters wear Hawaiian shirts for “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” and “Aloha, E Komo Mai” from the TV series.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Palm trees are suggested by the clever use of green leaf umbrellas, held above a surf board centrepiece which looks remarkably similar to that in the very popular old Lilo & Stitch Catch the Wave Party in Walt Disney Studios Park.

To the sound of Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino’s “The Glory Days” score, Mr and Mrs Incredible arrive and the characters don matching Incredibles superhero outfits — including face masks for Chip and Dale.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

From one Brad Bird movie to another, Rémy and Emile also make their first appearance here in Disneyland Park for a scene set to the music of “Le Festin” and Offenbach’s Can-Can whilst the dancers, now in chef uniform, carry oversized kitchen utensils and vegetables, presumably throwing them into the giant pot to cook up a special ratatouille dish…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

The show brings Mike Wazowski back to Disneyland Paris after a break of almost 7 years in public appearances, and adds a brand new face from Monsters Inc — if you can just make it out beneath that disguise — Boo! The little human girl looks familiar from her appearances overseas in events such as Pixar Play Parade and Block Party Bash.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

After Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen join the show with “Gonna Take You There” and “When We’re Human”, the set of New Generation characters is complete. Now, for one big finale — old and new together — a drum kit appears for Mickey to play along to “Best of Friends” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”.

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Mickey and the dancers wear their final costume, a smart waistcoat, bow tie and hat combo. It’s all about the accessories this year! Notice the ribbons of colour on the dancers’ waistcoats match the designs of those lampposts decorations we’ll hopefully see along Main Street soon…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Making the best use of all the existing tricks hidden within the 2009-built Central Plaza Stage, the show ends with a blast of pyrotechnics, as the colourful cast of around 30 (6 dancers, 26 characters) freeze for the finale…

Disney Showtime Spectacular

Now that looks like a little more than just bouncing with Tigger or scratching Baloo’s back, doesn’t it?

Six different sets of costumes, a varied and popular cast and no pandering to toddlers with childish preschool games… This is what we call Entertainment. It’s already being compared to the lavish hub shows presented (and lusted over for years by fans of other resorts) at Tokyo Disneyland.

See the full album of 34 photos at Photos Magiques…

Disney Showtime Spectacular will now see two weeks of previews up until its launch and “official” first performances on 2nd April 2010. During this time, performances may be cancelled without warning — showtimes do not currently appear on the park programme.

Photos by Photos Magiques.

Monday, 22nd March 2010

Banners & marquees lead New Generation preparation

Another year, another set of sky blue banners? Spot on. For the fourth year running, we’re welcomed onto the resort hub — and again and again through Fantasia Gardens and Front Lot — by banners featuring the year’s theme logo and the word “Welcome” in a variety of languages:

New Generation Festival preparation

The almost identical in design Mickey’s Magical Party banners have been switched out for these new canvas banners on every lamppost in sight, alternating between the French and English logos.

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Are these just unoriginal, or is blue just a nice, neutral colour that works for both parks?

Either way, there’s one plus for this year’s batch of near-identical banners — they’re slightly less identical. In Front Lot, there are several designs featuring just the New Generation characters, such as Mike Wazowski, Buzz Lightyear and that ten-year-old alien who won’t ever take a break, Stitch.

New Generation Festival preparation New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Different designs or not, it’s quite an overwhelming invasion…

New Generation Festival preparation

What is this festival called again?!

Back at Front Lot, we’re seeing the Walt Disney Studios Store entrance being “toyed” with again, as the first temporary marquee in over a year has appeared to tempt more people inside the boutique. It’s the first New Generation Festival store decoration so far, coming just days after the old Magical Party marquee disappeared from The Emporium.

New Generation Festival preparation

Though the Little Green Men and Stitch are flat 2D designs, Slinky Dog is partially in 3D, his springy body wrapping around the entrance. Inside, you can of course pick up your very own Slinky toy.

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Inside the park, the Monsters Inc. Scream Scene near the entrance of Toon Studio has been closed for several weeks to allow preparations for its starring role in the year ahead. The ‘Scream Monitors’ signage has been taken away and returned for refurbishment, and the fun yellow floor markings have been completely repainted.

New Generation Festival preparation

In fact, though the corner is being included in the “new” features for the year, it has been in place for so long (since 2006) that the “Child Detection Agency – Scream Scene” paint had completely worn away.

New Generation Festival preparation

As we reported at the end of January, the ‘Monsters Inc. Scream Academy’ listed in brochures and press releases was originally meant to be a brand new show that was cancelled just days before auditions. We’ve since leant that the show, which would have featured a live host inviting guests to dance and scream with the Monsters, was actually set to happen not in this tight corner but on a separate travelling stage, similar to the High School Musical shows.

Though the ‘Monsters Inc. Scream Academy’ hasn’t been removed from advertising, we now have to assume that’s the new name for the photo location, the preview videos have been made incredibly vague and all mentions are very careful never to mention the word “new”…

New Generation Festival preparation

At least with Sully (the only live Monsters character we’ve seen at Disneyland Paris since 2002), expected to be rejoined by Mike and — for the first time — Boo (dressed up in her Monster disguise) for the Disney Showtime Spectacular over at Disneyland Park, these extra characters could hop over in between to provide something “new” here after all.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Saturday, 20th March 2010

Refurb roundup: Ears gone, banners gone, trees gone?!

Was it all just a bad dream?

The big news of course is that Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, our beautiful castle, has finally lost its Mickey’s Magical Party overlay. Once again we can enjoy its golden spires and centrepiece window with not a single set of Mickey ears on its magnificent medieval façade.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

It’s not a complete return to glory, however — look closer and the iconic building is close to worn-out. Its stone features covered in spots of dirt, roof tiles uneven and out of place and two large holes now visible either side of the main window, where the Magical Party centrepiece was fixed in place.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Above that, the roof has some light patches, like its paintwork has been scuffed or scratched by something.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

The balcony to the left still has too few plants draped over it, and let’s not even check elsewhere. Stand on the rear balcony of La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant next time you visit and take a look upwards — this castle needs attention soon. We’ve been saying “before the 15th…”, “before MMP…”, “before the New Generation Festival…” every year now. So… before the 20th Anniversary?

There is also one omission from this decorations cull — Tinkerbell, and her spiralling trail which circles the tallest tower. Originally part of the 15th Anniversary overlay, she held on for Mickey’s Magical Party, continuing to provide confetti blasts from her wand for certain events. Now the lone remnant of these celebrations, she towers over the huge structure like a dainty fairy really ought not to, the confetti pipe looking like some poorly-integrated plumbing for Sleeping Beauty’s new ensuite bathroom.

With the Mickey ears now consigned to history for more than a week, the chances of the same installation crew coming back to pick up this one decoration is beginning to seem unlikely. We’ve heard that even departments within Disneyland Paris don’t know what’s going on with her. Can’t someone step in and scrap the fairy once and for all?

Any Tink supporters should perhaps remember that she’s already present and correct — and much more pleasantly sized — atop the Disneyland Hotel:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

But for now, back to the positives — and another big one is Main Street also returning (almost) to normal. The refurbishments of the Disney Clothiers, Ltd. and Town Square Photography façades continue, but now there’s something — or several things — missing from the view…

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

No giant lampposts! Without those towering white columns and their enormous, identical banners, Main Street has been opened up. The buildings aren’t hidden away but clear to see and yes, correctly sized. Welcome back to the turn of the 20th Century!

It’d be interesting, in fact, to see if footfall in the various shops might increase with the removal of the banners, which were overpowering enough to just funnel guests straight down the street as quickly as possible, without looking left or right, all building façades hidden until you were stood right up in front of them. Now, that visual interest in every millimetre of the street is visible again, ready to pull guests to one side… and get them to open their wallets.

Another disappearing act has been pulled by the illuminated Mickey’s Magical Party decoration which sat above the side doorway of The Emporium. Before that, we had Lumière bursting out of the building for the 15th Anniversary… so how long until Buzz Lightyear or Slinky Dog shows up for the New Generation?

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Here again, the removal unfortunately shows up some less-than-perfect paintwork behind.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

And the removals continue, back into Town Square! Let’s compare this photo, from last Summer:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

With this view from earlier this week:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Besides the elevation, weather and other seasonal changes, can you spot the difference? Yes, the trees on Town Square have magically shrunk! Previously reaching well above the rooftops of The Emporium and Town Square Photography (even from that elevated viewpoint on the railroad station), they now suddenly stand only just as high.

This is about as “Disneyland” an idea as you can get — when the trees get too big for the forced perspective of the buildings around them, replace them! The old maturing trees were removed last week (replanted elsewhere in the resort), leaving Town Square with an odd few days of just temporary grass coverings, to be gradually replaced with these younger, smaller trees.

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

If you’ve followed Disneyland Paris news for many years, you might remember the same happening to all the trees along Main Street itself in the first half of the last decade, when they were again replaced with smaller trees more in line with their quaint (and we have to remember, at the turn of the 20th Century — recently built) surroundings.

At the same time, the first flowers of Spring have arrived!

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Elsewhere, Pirates of the Caribbean has been closed for the past two weeks for a scheduled refurbishment:

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Disneyland Paris refurbishments

As always, this also required a closure of the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, but we’re happy to report both attraction and restaurant reopened earlier today.

Finally, ignoring that Castle bridge scaffolding (which should also have come to a close earlier today – check back for updates), we end on a beautiful sight indeed…

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments

Here’s hoping we see the castle back in the “refurb roundup” before too long.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Tuesday, 16th March 2010

Behind-the-scenes New Gen video, concepts, fun facts

Here’s the video:

And now let’s take a closer look. It begins with Disney Showtime Spectacular, the new Central Plaza show which thankfully appears to be defying its generic name by possessing some interesting ideas.

Of course, this is possibly the first time at Disneyland Paris we’ve seen characters from the likes of Toy Story or The Incredibles taking part in a stage show, and the classic Disney characters are going to welcome them in style. As you can see from the concepts captured below, Mickey and Minnie (and possibly the other VIPs) will have a costume to match each scene of the show, transforming — somehow — from chef outfits for Ratatouille to green army gear for Toy Story, bright Hawaiian colours for Lilo & Stitch and black superhero masks for The Incredibles:

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Insider Poppy the Monkey on magicforum has revealed that the soundtrack of the show is around 70% new to Disneyland Paris, though the entire It’s Party Time score from Mickey’s Magical Party has been thrown out. The It opens with a new song, “We’re the best of friends”, and ends with the catchy “Goin’ down the Bayou” from The Princess and the Frog.

The show is “non-stop, very fast, very fun” and contrary to earlier plans and press releases, won’t just be “an end to the day” with a single performance, but happening 3 or 4 times each day. And some good news for those who disliked the Mickey’s Magical Party event — this time, the large cast of dancers back up the characters, rather than almost stealing the show themselves.

The characters appear in groups, with Sully joined not only by Mike Wazowski (who hasn’t been seen live in Paris for years) for the Monsters Inc segment, but a monster-disguised Boo, who has never made it over here before. Stitch, meanwhile, will be joined by his much less well-known partner: Angel (experiment 624).

Public previews/dress rehearsals are due to begin from next Tuesday, 23rd March, if all goes to plan. These aren’t “official” performances and so cannot be fully confirmed, but if you’re visiting the park in the two weeks leading up to the New Gen launch, you may well get an exclusive preview.

Next up, the new Ratatouille car for Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. After the reveal a couple of weeks ago, the video gives a better look at the some of its features:

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Here are the official fun facts about the car:

• Adding Ratatouille to the parade involves an additional 1 minute and 40 seconds of music. The Ratatouille car will be accompanied by a medley from Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne.

• The car includes props, costumes, chef hats and even aprons for the driver-dancers!

• It travelled for 19 days by boat to reach the port of Le Havre, before it was shipped by freight container to Marne la Vallée.

• The car was originally a 1950 Studebaker and it has been fully customised at Disneyland Paris to include special effects and animated kitchen props from the world of Remy and Emile.

• It is powered by electric battery and can drive for 90 minutes on a single charge!

• Take a close look at the tyres as the parade rolls by, as they are not real… they are specially-constructed rubber-covered foam rings, which will never get a puncture!

• The car boasts the film’s famous Ratatouille on its bonnet and a moving pile of pots and pans that gives the impression they are all going to come crashing down!

Though these fun facts for the press wouldn’t have you know it, the car is of course the old Star Wars automobile from the original Florida parade.

The moving pots and pans will be built on top of the circular metal mechanism you can see being tested in the video. The new angles on the concept art reveal the hood (bonnet) of the car will be decorated like a check table cloth with the plate, of course, holding a large helping of ratatouille.

Bringing Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen to Disneyland Park doesn’t just mean shipping over the same costumes as the couple wear in their American park appearances, oh no. Since they’re taking “pride of place” in Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, that means a special crystal, gold-laced gown and suit to match those given to the other royal couples back when the parade launched in 2007:

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

New Generation Festival making of

Official fun facts of Tiana’s dress:

• It takes more than 80 hours to make one dress .

• 20 m of crystal fabric are used.

• 80 m of golden thread are woven through the dress, involving more than 100 hours of embroidery work.

• More than 200 m of iridescent thread shimmer in the 20 m of brocade used.

• For that extra sparkle, there are 80 glistening rhinestones on each dress.

• More than 100 beads and rhinestones adorn Tiana’s magical tiara.

And finally, the video offers a better look at WALL-E, forming part of the Disney All Stars Express:

New Generation Festival making of

He won’t be “animatronic” of course, the cost would be enough to buy 10 new Disney All Star Express trains and rival the RER, but judging by his pose could give a wave of his faux-robotic arm as the train rolls along, in that classic Disney parade style.

Video, concepts, images © Disney.

Thursday, 11th March 2010

New Generation in tasteful park decorations shocker

And the real shocker is, they’re not for the lampposts you might be thinking of.

Yes, unbelievably, these stills from a backstage video looking at the New Generation Festival, beginning 2nd April, show small character placards attached to the regular, human-sized Main Street gas lanterns.

New Generation Festival decorations

Both classic and ‘New Generation’ characters are shown within an ornate frame, integrated into the lamppost with a colourful ribbon, in yellow, green, pink and purple, leading down to a gold ring.

New Generation Festival decorations

This style of decoration, actually integrating things into the original park rather than throwing them on top, is often used at the American and Japanese Disney resorts. Disneyland in California and Florida’s Magic Kingdom in particular have recently had several different styles of gas lantern decorations for their continuous Dreams/Celebrate campaigns.

The only bad thing, perhaps, is that the concept images laid out on the table here also show a rather large New Generation Festival covering on Main Street Station. Well, old habits die hard.

For the past 3 years, we’ve never seen Main Street without those oversized white lampposts which held giant 15th Anniversary banners. Originally designed as LED-lit “chandeliers” for the Christmas season, they were modified for the birthday events in 2007 and have stuck on ever since.

New Generation Festival decorations

Since Main Street is designed using forced perspective tricks, where successive storeys of buildings are sized smaller, these oversized banner poles look completely out of place with the quaint world around them, reaching as high as the street’s (fake) third story with the banners bigger than doorways.

After all 26 towering poles were given identical Mickey’s Magical Party banners in March last year, there was suddenly an overnight cull as all but 8 were removed, opening up Main Street. If the rather more subtle decorations in these screenshots make it to the final cut, the giant white lampposts should be gone for good, if they aren’t already…

There’s been no time wasted in removing the decorations from Sleeping Beauty Castle this week as Mickey’s Magical Party came to an end. Twitter and magicforum user ElenaSearle posted two pictures a lot of people have waited months (or perhaps, with the 15th decorations, years) to see. The first, posted yesterday, shows the main ‘MMP’ emblem removed:

New Generation Festival decorations

Whilst the second shows the remainder of the twisted Mickey-shaped spires removed and replaced with the gold leaf originals:

New Generation Festival decorations

If there’s one good thing to come of this, it’s that we’re reminded all over again just how beautiful this castle really is. Now all that remains is for oversized Tinkerbell fly, fly away, as well…

Video stills © Disney. Photos by ElenaSearle. With thanks to magicforum, Photos Magiques.

Monday, 8th March 2010

First Toy Soldiers parachutes touch down in the Playland

Now attached to the cables installed just last week, the frames of three “parachutes” can be seen over the construction walls, yet to receive their final parachute-themed canopy and finishing touches:

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction Toy Story Playland construction

Each parachute is currently attached to one arm of the tower by four cables, with the first three all sitting on the front side of the tower, facing the existing Toon Studio.

If the final design matches similar rides like Jumpin’ Jellyfish at Disney’s California Adventure, a further winch cable (or cables) should be added to actually pull the seats into the air, with these four cables serving only to keep them properly aligned and steady.

As mentioned previously, the parachutes have six seats — compared to just two on the jellyfish in California — allowing the ride to achieve a higher capacity of 36 riders with just one tower.

Toy Story Playland construction

The arrival of the first parachutes and the positioning of those cables appears to have also confirmed one important aspect of this towering ride that has changed relentlessly between almost every single concept we’ve seen: the direction in which guests will be facing.

And the good news is, it looks like we won’t be facing straight outwards (or inwards) like on the off-the-shelf versions of this ride (and as even shown in the final concept), but seated at a right angle (90 degrees) to the arm of the tower above (like on the model/maquette), meaning you’ll be facing other guests — and less likely to focus on what will surely be less than magical views of the Art of Disney Animation air conditioning system and empty expansion land beyond Studio Tram Tour.

Toy Story Playland construction

Meanwhile, the fences which squashed the path behind Art of Disney Animation last week, giving very little space to navigate this route between the back of Toon Studio and the (premature) end of Hollywood Boulevard, have now… closed the area off completely!

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction

The area between Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye is now a dead-end, as work continues…

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

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