The change is radical in some places — not only are pages finally allowed to “breathe” with a wider format, but the Disneyland Paris resort logo has finally thrown off that curvy corner enclosure it’s been stuck inside-of in so much print and advertising since as far back as 2002. Unfortunately, it retains three unnecessary balloons from the outgoing Mickey’s Magical Party design theme.
Because yes, in other areas it’s not too different — the menu options remain essentially the same, simply listed all on one line and presented using basic HTML rather than animated Flash as before, a big “no no” for accessibility these days. This replacement, though, currently looks somewhat unfinished, with the two-line options not quite fitting in the boxes and the grey text colour being noted by many people as too light.
And that old dependence on Flash-heavy pages? Still there. The entire home page, including the “book” buttons on the left (which aren’t even animated) are rendered using this animation format, including a musical intro which doesn’t remember your “mute” preference. Perhaps just temporary?
The website pages themselves are exactly the same as before, only having a new background added and the top menu replaced (which has also unfortunately taken away the option to mute some animations):
So far, so disappointing. But there’s hope for the future — thankfully, we’ve heard that new pages are being developed. Perhaps that main box on the new homepage, stating the New Generation Festival is “landing on this website from February 23rd 2010” gives a clue as to when they’ll launch? Only a week left to wait and see.
This site also crucially handles things like navigation and page URLs (addresses) so much better. When the official Disneyland Paris website relaunched in 2006, it introduced a mind-bending array of different domains and sub-domains as you navigate through the site, so that all the UK pages are on a “.co.uk” website separate to the “.fr” site. Within this, pages such as What’s New are located at “news.disneylandparis.co.uk” whilst park information is at “parks.disneylandparis.co.uk”, adding up to a completely confusing way of setting out the website to the end user.
Though this new menu on Disneyland Paris.com has retained the same sections as before, including “Choose your experience” (Experiences?), “Find your ideal offer” (Booking?) and “Prepare your visit” (Plan?), can we expect more than just just a re-dressing of the old pages, and see things be simplified yet further for the user?
The gold standard for this is the US website for Walt Disney World, which has a wonderfully boiled-down top menu of simply “Discover”, “Plan” and “Book”, not to mention something we’ve never had on the current Disneyland Paris site — a search function.
But, all criticism aside, a quick surf around the other Disney resort websites — particularly California and Tokyo, or the abysmal UK version of the Walt Disney World site — reveals we’re actually not doing too badly. Hong Kong relaunched its website last year with a lovely initial design, but within a few pages you find yourself in the same situation as the current Paris website, with the new menu at the top and an older page sitting uncomfortably below.
Hopefully Disneyland Paris won’t spend quite so long in this web design limbo…
For many of us, in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, this is the week. In just a few short days, we get to see a brand new, traditionally-animated Disney musical on the big screen. At one time, that would have been unthinkable. It’s almost too much to bear.
And, for those lucky enough to follow that up with a trip to Disneyland Paris from April onwards, they’ll also get to see the film’s modern-thinking heroine in person. To tease us for that event, another new photo has been released of the star peering from the Castle balcony, just as she does in the film…
In this fascinating insight — which, don’t worry, is spoiler-free — Mark talks about the challenge of animating Disney’s first princess to progress on-screen from a little girl to a grown up adult… not to mention a small green frog. He also discusses the very modern personality flaws of both Tiana and Naveen, how Lady and Tramp served as inspiration for the film’s “look” and what role he’s already preparing to take for Disney’s next traditionally-animated feature, Winnie the Pooh.
This is the perfect lead-in for the film — Enjoy! ›
Similar information has appeared as a rumour on French forum Disney Central Plaza in recent days. But, according to the new source, the performers were told only last week that they would be moved to other shows, and the auditions for the live host/MC were cancelled just days before they were due to take place. The event as it was planned is now assumed to be cancelled.
Everyone gets permission to be as loud as they want, and screams of delight are filling the air several times daily at “Monsters Inc. Scream Academy” at Walt Disney Studios Park. “Top scare” Sulley from Monsters, Inc. looks for new recruits with his friend named Patty. Guests of all ages get in the action as they test the monster boogie, monster roar and monster scare – with as many laughs as screams. All are invited to participate in this family-friendly, high energy character interaction. Try your hand at being a Monster!
With guests being invited to “test their screams” to become new Monsters, Inc. recruits, it sounded a lot like the character interaction of Merlin’s Sword in the Stone Ceremony crossed with a little of It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland, held together by a live host called Patti. We expressed concern just a couple of weeks ago that this corner of Toon Studio surely isn’t big enough for a proper live event.
If Monsters Inc. Scream Academy really is cut from the New Generation Festival programme, will it not look a bit embarrassing for Disneyland Paris, who have already advertised it in brochures, images and texts for the new theme year? Perhaps not. After all, the only texts released to the wider public are much vaguer than that above, advertising more the chance to meet Sulley and use the Scream Monitors which have been in place at the photo location since 2006.
In fact, it’ll only be a little embarrassing when dealing with eagle-eyed, frequent visitors to the resort. To much of the less fanatical public, that Monsters, Inc. corner could well be brand new this year. So rather than brushing this advertising under the carpet if the entertainment event is binned for good, they could, in theory, continue pushing this Sulley meet ‘n’ greet spot as a new addition.
In the great Disney tradition, the overhead boards, posters and billboards all along the route of the moving walkways from the resort’s parking lot to Disney Village are now promoting the next grand theme year at the resort.
These advertisements replace those for Mickey’s Magical Party, which had been in place for almost a full year and were becoming worn-out.
Above the moving walkways, which are unique to Disneyland Paris, the signage originally pointed directions to the two parks and Disney Village. However, since these are all obviously “straight ahead”, in 2007 the boards began to be used for advertising these new and upcoming attractions.
First, an easy one — a new promotional image. Get used to these characters, they’re leading the band this year:
It’s quite a brave move for Disneyland Paris to effectively put Mickey in the shadows for a year (at least in terms of advertising), since they’re often so over-reliant on the mouse, but it has to be applauded. The only additions to the line-up here are Mr and Mrs Incredible, who aren’t being used for any other ‘NGF’ promotions but will hopefully be much more visible in the park than recently.
Negatives? No ‘Up’ characters — which means no Dug, who’d be a sure-fire hit. Stitch could really have been given a year off… And let’s not get into the issues of the Castle being that tall from 7 Km away. Or teaching kids to hitch-hike. Moving on…!
The Spring/Summer 2010 brochures featuring the year have been landing on doormats across the UK last week, and most have been very pleasantly surprised to discover a nice foil cover on both the front and back, the first time Disneyland Paris have stretched to such extravagance:
It might not show you anything about the resort and parks are actually like (read our thoughts here), but it really does look top notch design-wise. With the internet providing all the information and pictures you could need; if all these brochures now serve to be are shiny things to attract the attention of the public… they’ve got a hit.
The magazine again features some of the main characters of the year:
And looks over the main events (nothing particularly new revealed here):
Before having a quick chat with DLP Entertainment’s familiar artistic director Kat de Blois:
The interview reads:
How much time have you spent working on this event?
We started the New Generation project in March 2009. So that represents more than a year of work. But for us — and hopefully our guests — it’s a great pleasure.
According to what we’ve heard, this project will be a world-exclusive?
Ah yes, Made In France! You know here, we have a real freedom to do some really unique things. Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, for example, doesn’t exist anywhere else but here. And to celebrate the arrival of this new generation, we’re inviting our new Princess Tiana to join in with the other familiar royalty.
Exclusively for Disneyland Paris, we have revisited the grand cavalcade of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, originally from Florida, and added the Ratatouille car and its cancan music, which promises a deliciously comic moment.
What are you most proud of on this project?
Probably Disney Showtime Spectacular. Once a day, this show will reunite Mickey and the new generation characters on a 360-degree stage. The audience can therefore move round the way around it. There will be plenty of surprises, which I can’t reveal to you yet…
If you had to summarise the New Generation Festival in three words, what would they be?
“Family, Fun and Friends.” Sharing — with everyone around you and all their differences — is truly at the centre of this brand new experience, which will please the youngest just as much as the oldest.
A final scoop for our readers?
We are already working on your must-anticipated surprises for our 20th Anniversary. But that stays between us, of course… (Smiles)
Steady on! You’ve still got 2011 to figure out yet…
Aaaand finally — those new Monsters and Dixieland details we led with.
Though the texts here and seen previously have all been the usual, wonderfully vague Disney PR puff, there are more detailed press releases still being prepared and held back until just before the festival launches. One such press release posted by Disney and More gives some long-awaited details about two of the new character events being pushed for 2010.
First: Princess Tiana. Though it’s widely publicised that she’ll be joining the crowd on the Dreams of Romance float (with her Prince Naveen), many are asking if she’ll be featured anywhere else, available for meet and greet, autographs… Your answer:
The highlight of each day in Disneyland Park is a grand welcome to Princess Tiana, the newest star to join the Disney Princess family from Walt Disney Pictures’ latest animated movie, The Princess and the Frog. Each day, Princess Tiana and her Prince Naveen will meet ‘n’ greet guests and pose for photographs at Town Square Gazebo, with lively music by the Dixieland Band inspired by the music from the film.
Perfect! It’s not quite Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee but a bit of live music is never a bad thing — especially when it’s apparently scheduled in for “every day”. The band will presumably be made up of familiar faces from the resort’s orchestras, usually playing medleys of Disney songs and often quite rarely seen outside of high season.
Everyone gets permission to be as loud as they want, and screams of delight are filling the air several times daily at “Monsters Inc. Scream Academy” at Walt Disney Studios Park. “Top scarer” Sulley from Monsters, Inc. looks for new recruits with his friend named Patty. Guests of all ages get in the action as they test the monster boogie, monster roar and monster scare – with as many laughs as screams. All are invited to participate in this family-friendly, high energy character interaction. Try your hand at being a Monster!
If not a “show”, this at least seems to be shaping up as some kind of new character interaction or event, likely comparable to the Sword in the Stone Ceremony in Fantasyland.
Will Patty be a monster or a human? And will they be joined by any other Monsters — since several others from the film do feature at other Disney parks, notably in DCA’s Pixar Play Parade — or in fact little girl Boo, who has been rumoured on our own comments?
Will the static Mike Wazowski figure stay there throughout the event or be removed? And how will guests actually see anything, since the corner is surely far too small for a proper event, visible only from one side and surrounded by planters? Ahh, an answer just opens up many more questions.
Basing an event around screaming doesn’t seem like the best idea, but you never know — it might be good fun. With High School Musical not due for a return, CinéFolies (the Hollywood street acts) still criminally cancelled and Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars not quite up to scratch on either its parade or show aspects (again, hard to see unless you arrive very early), the Studios will be needing all the live entertainment help it can get this year.
Just published online, the video comes in a similar style to the extended trailers for past theme year events. Where the 15th Anniversary had very restrained, stylish black and white scenes where guests would describe the resort in different European languages, Mickey’s Magical Party had a very cheaply-produced Powerpoint feel.
By comparison, the New Generation Festival trailer seems to aim its sights at being as contemporary as possible: eye-catching video effects, dot-matrix designs and a hip guitar backing track; all joining together a mixture of new and recycled footage.
Watch the English version right here:
Both an English and French version have been published on new preview pages at the official website, though it is still expected that Disneyland Paris will launch its usual (and equally Flash-y) minisites sometime in the run up to the launch on 2nd April 2010. The domain www.newgenerationfestival.com was been purchased by the company last year in preparation.
• Enjoy the trailer? Share it with your friends on YouTube!
If Disney needed any more reminding that their own Walt Disney Animation Studios didn’t have a great past decade, this set of 12 — count ’em! — new tickets celebrating the most popular recent characters actually feature no less than 10 stars from their friends at Pixar. Only Stitch and Princess Tiana made the cut from Disney.
Here they are, all fresh and colourful:
Naturally, the characters of Toy Story — Woody, Buzz Lightyear, the Little Green Men, the Toy Soldiers, Slinky Dog and RC — take up the majority of the designs, if even guests during the first few months of the festival won’t be able to get anywhere near their new rides.
It’s also great to see such a large number of designs, even in the age of the print-at-home E-ticket. As anyone who enjoys the memorabilia over at Euro Souvenirland can tell you, it’s all this extra bumph which makes Disneyland more special, giving you new logos, designs and styles to remember each year by.
Since the arid, samey years in the middle of the past decade, Disneyland Paris has — kicked back into action by the 15th Anniversary — gradually moved back to this more exciting, constantly-evolving stream of theme years. The name change back to “Disneyland Paris” seems to have helped further, harking back to the golden days of 1995-98 — although on these new tickets that all-important logo is painfully small.
And though a good 40% of visitors will understand L’Année de la Nouvelle Génération, the rest of us will know it by our own local name. Alternating the logo between French and English might have been a better compromise.
Despite the film already showing at cinemas/theaters in several European countries, and due to have finished its release schedule here by mid February, it looks increasingly likely that we really will have to wait right up until 2nd April 2010 — the launch date of the New Generation Festival — for this much-anticipated Disney couple from New Orleans to begin official duties at Disneyland Paris, which will include starring on the Dreams of Romance parade float.
Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee, a live song and dance show on the Mark Twain riverboat, has been incredibly popular at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World Florida, but was cut from early proposals for the New Generation Festival line up likely due to costs and logistics of such a complicated performance. As the show comes to the end of its initial run in Florida, some reports have suggested the costumes could be headed for Paris, but rumours also point to the contrary — that they’d stay put for the show to continue in Florida — and Disneyland Paris appear to have no plans for the show as yet.
As 2010 and the opening of Toy Story Playland draws nearer, we’ve no doubt all begun to wonder what will become of the other Toy Story outlets across the hub. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Woody’s Roundup and the Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade float will all stay for a good while yet, but what about that forgotten corner… that quick tie-in from back in 1997, when Disneyland Paris jumped (rather slowly) on the Toy Story bandwagon? Will it finally be put out into the yard sale?
Far from it. The Pizza Burger could be about to stage a comeback. According to Fab’, a Cast Member posting on Disney Central Plaza, the dated Pizza Planet restaurant in Disneyland Park may well soon be offering a new menu concept with one interesting resort-wide exclusive: unlimited drinks.
Stating that they had taken part in a study about changes to the counter service location, the member suggests that the menu price would be elevated to around €15, with starter, main, dessert and that unlimited drink all included.
At the same time, it seems the tired décor could be in line for changes, too. But no removal of Woody and Buzz — no return to the Discoveryland of visionaries and science fiction. No, the theme will apparently “still be based on Toy Story“. So a higher price, a quick fix-up here and there, and has a perfect cash-in for next year’s New Generation Festival and the release of Toy Story 3 been found?
Wondering why this place, very faintly based on the far more wondrous Pizza Planet of the original Toy Story film, is housed within a badly-concealed tent just beyond the berm? It was originally an exhibition space as part of the Space Festival in 1995 and 1996, tied into the Space Mountain opening, but was craftily repurposed the following year to fill a need for more counter service provision. All a far cry from the lavish Vulcania restaurant which was originally meant to sit at the other end of the land, opposite were Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is now.
No dates have been set since this is still to be taken as a pure rumour, but it does come just after Toy Story characters apparently began to make appearances at the restaurant once again. It’s just unfortunate that, even if they make it less of a hole, it’ll soon be on completely the wrong side of the resort to where it needs to be…
What is it about brochures and Disneyland Paris? No other group of Disney fans gets so excited or worked up about their resort’s promotional materials as us, but here are again, about to pour over every page of New Generation Festival detail. Or rather, the Disney new generation festival, as it now has to be written. But more on that later…
And so we see the “Programme of events” above, with the various new additions for this theme year thankfully sorted into neat categories so that prospective guests can see what’s worth bothering with (attractions) and what’s more a load of puff (stars). Indeed, we’ve still yet to find out just how the Monsters Inc. Scream Academy can be considered “new”, given that it was added in 2006.
This is also our first encounter with lower case madness. Normally, it’s the done thing to use capital letters in the name of a show or event — like Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop. But as we’ve touched upon in the past, and is now confirmed here, the ‘Disney new generation festival’ won’t be following those boring old rules, oh no! So, very much helping the grammar of our text messaging generation, we’ll be welcoming not ‘Disney Showtime Spectacular’ but ‘Disney showtime spectacular‘. Not ‘Disney All Stars Express’ but ‘Disney all stars express‘.
It wouldn’t be noticeable, but this strange stylistic choice is forced into every instance of these names. It’s probably meant to look fresh and hip, but it ends up looking like they forgot to hire a proofreader, we’re sorry to say…
Neurotic grammatical asides complete, the look of this brochure is very pleasing. You’ll see very few actual images of Disneyland Paris in here, but yes it looks very smart — a definite step up from the horribly garish second brochure for Mickey’s Magical Party we’re leaving behind.
Yes, we’re spoiled a full three real images from within Disneyland Park (including the Castle background). Surrounding those, a Cinderella picture (from Walt Disney World), a false Space Mountain: Mission 2 promo picture and the doctored Disney all stars express promo image.
You can’t be down about this lack of photography for long though, or worry too much that the brochures continue towards being just catalogues of Disney character stock images, because the next page is rather stunning…
Not only is this (mostly) a real photo — and a beautiful photo at that — no, finally the powers that be have discovered Hollywood Boulevard. The gorgeous little street has been there for two years already and now it’s being utilised and advertised for the first time. Normally, you’d see nothing of the Walt Disney Studios Park exteriors in the brochures, only the insides of attractions.
Add to that some character stock images which almost look to be tailored specifically to this page and we’ve got one of the best brochure pages for years. And it might just be the matching colour palettes, but Woody and Slinky feel quite at home next to that logo there.
Alas, with every up, there’s a down. After that terrible use of a real photo, this is the centrepiece of their Toy Story Playland launch…
It’s a shame Disneyland Paris don’t appear to want to make concept art public these days, because the ‘TSPL’ artwork is arguably a million times more endearing than this collection of visual junk, inspired by your local crèche.
The second Walt Disney Studios Park page is good enough, with the investment in this park now adding up to a very marketable, colourful set of attractions.
Park seasons appear to get a bigger showing this time, with a full double-page detailing everything from Summer Time (finally branded into a proper season) to the, er, British Festival at Disney Village, where you can see, first-hand… a British Mini! No, really!
Rearing its head again here, though: the marketeers’ disgust for poor old Sleeping Beauty Castle. Since opening day its been mirrored, warped and chopped up to fit their visions. This must be one of the most drastic yet, covering the entire front window with one of the turrets from the side.
Note here and in the image on page 13, at least, that the Castle is decoration free… or almost decoration-free. When editing the spire tops out of that photo above, Tinkerbell was left in place, along with the piping leading up the main tower. Just the choice of the marketing department, or a sign that this decoration is due to cling on?
Next, Hotels = Aliens.
The hotel pages have seen the biggest changes in this new brochure, with the usual format of a white background and one large image replaced by this, “immersive”, style…
Colours, designs and furniture from each hotel dress each page fully, attempting to give us a “feel” of the hotels more than accurate pictures. Each page features only two real images — the view of the hotel out the window and a tiny view in a picture frame — but the style is clever.
In any case, these pages are likely only a teaser — anyone really looking into spending vast sums of money on Disney Hotels surely goes online to find more photos anyway, right?
Davy Crockett Ranch is also presented well, with a view of the cabins inside and out…
Whilst the Selected and Associated Hotels seem to be given more prominence than usual, with their more discreet design touches used to create the same effect…
Maybe they should offer real parachuting lessons beyond the parks…
Although lessons may not be necessary, if even an inanimate Starbucks mug can manage it.
Yes, the coffee chain is now very much a feature of Disney Village, whilst Mickey and Friends will continue to cameo in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for at least 12 months more (and in fact, there’s no reason to see that this isn’t permanent now).
Much as the constant character clip-art is off-putting for people who’d prefer to see the majesty of Thunder Mesa and the intricate detailing of Fantasyland, at least this “new generation” really has ushered in a refreshingly different set of characters to be featured throughout the brochure.
Not only Rémy but Chef Gusteau feature on the restaurants page, whilst little-seen Princess Dot pops up on the leisure and relaxation page, yes really — a character from A Bug’s Life!
And the new resort map, complete with well-placed Google Earth 3D plug.
Hamm is a fitting choice for the Price Guide…
Whilst the “5 Steps” page attempts to simplify the booking process…
…but perhaps the colours make the text a little hard to read.
The price guide pages themselves are mostly unchanged…
And there we go.
It’s a definite step up from the last, very disappointing, off-putting brochure, but say it once, say it again — there’s still not enough “Disneyland Paris” in here. Not enough real photos, real information or real feeling for the place between all the thousands of character images.
Perhaps, with the internet, it doesn’t matter. In a few seconds you can find a great site like Photos Magiques. But picking this clip art catalogue up off the shelf, will most people actually bother to go that far?
We all know the place we visit — the amazing lands, the fantastic rides, the beautiful sights and the escapist themeing. What place are they thinking about?
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