The large and much thought-out Disneyland15.com and the recent relaunch of DisneylandParis.com prove that Disneyland Resort Paris certainly know the power of online advertising, but a website is no good without a bit of publicity to get it started, and it’s here that these Flash banner advertisements come into play.
Using the now-familiar red carpet and Disney characters motif, the banners and buttons all mention the “Kids Under 7 Stay and Play Free” offer and direct internet users to the special offer page of Disneyland15.com, where the option to book a stay is clear for all to see.
An unfortunate aspect of online advertising, however, is the limitations it puts on graphic design and photography. For a company such as Disneyland, which very much relies on colourful, bold and crisp visuals to sell its magical product, the limits of Flash and GIF advertisements give an end result far less pleasing than print advertising, as seen with the blurry and bad quality character photos above. Be it a software limitation or a design flaw, we have to hope it won’t affect the number of people who click-through to discover the anniversary events.
The advertisements have now been released for all of Disneyland Resort Paris’ TradeDoubler territories, and should also be appearing (along with other specially-created online competitions and promotions) on several high-profile websites such as MSN as the campaign gets further underway.
Before that, though, there’s another treat – footage of one of the spinning turtle shells in action, swooping from one side of the giant showbuilding to the other. The footage was likely captured at the same time as the preview photo seen a few weeks ago, since it features Imagineer Beth Clapperton and the walls of the showbuilding are clearly incomplete, meaning the ride system has been in testing for far longer than most would have suspected!
After one of the turtle shells completes a gliding drop and turn, Beth can be seen testing the spinning mechanism of one of the vehicles, giving us another look at this custom design Maurer SÃ¶hne vehicle in action. Then, the true amazement can begin – the very first look at one of the hotly discussed dark ride scenes, the left turn into the lift hill, disguised with the rusty body of Bruce’s sunken submarine.
The size, colouring and detail are certainly imposing – this truly looks like the real deal, a proper piece of Disney dark ride themeing with a rustic sea style strangely reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction already appears to have a stronger theme than cousins Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, though we’ll have to wait until June to decide if it can join them as a classic and popular Disney attraction.
Right now, let us rejoice that Walt Disney Studios Park will no longer be the only Disney Park “sans” dark ride (even if it is part of a roller coaster), and imagine seeing the same scene for real in just over three months, with music, lighting, and all that extra Imagineering magic still to be added…
After some footage from the scene in the Pixar film itself which inspired the attraction, the video quickly switches to a shot of a four-angle elevation for a yellow car, which surely must be the life-size Luigi we saw a few weeks ago.
The camera then pans upwards to show a 3D sculpt of the new ride vehicles, certainly in the style of the cars from Cars, but not without their own unique charm. The tall rear spoiler in particular is a very stylised addition that will make these vehicles stand out from the others in their very realistic landscape, and certainly give the attraction a much more “Toony” style.
Next we see work on a larger scale model of one of the vehicles, which will total 12 and have infact just been installed on-site this week.
Finally, an interesting view over the Toon Studio area from above the loading area of Cars Race Rally, before the video presents several pieces of concept art, of which only the piece shown above has never been seen before. It shows a neon sign with the “V8” logo, as well as the storefronts to the right of the attraction entrance. A backdrop to the attraction is provided by one of the film’s iconic rock formations, but it remains to be seen how much of this will make it off the drawing board.
Whilst some may fear the trouble Disneyland Resort Paris might be causing itself by marketing a “simple” tea-cups-style attraction so heavily, there still seems no doubting the excellent care and attention this relatively minor addition is thankfully receiving.
If you’d like to see the video in motion, simply click onto www.disneyland15.com and follow the link from “15th Anniversary” on the drop-down menu. Many of these shots are shown for less than a second, though, so unless you’re living in slow motion it might take a few viewings to take it all in!
The video is hosted by four very influential backstage Cast Members of Disneyland Resort Paris, each seen spinning around in one of Disneyland Park’s lands whilst they describe the events and the power of dreams. Kat de Blois, Creative and Artistic Director, begins the commentary, followed by Roland Kleve, Director of Operations Integration (most importantly the introduction of the new attractions). Next is François Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment, before WDI-Paris chief and head of Show Quality Standard Peter McGrath joins to describe the new attractions.
In just a few seconds, we’re treated to quick shots and close-ups of two elements from Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade – the moon from the first float, “Imagination”, and a giant Alice in Wonderland stuck inside a house, just part of float two, “Dream of Fun & Laughter”. The very first shot quickly shows a concept model for the first float, before the camera pans upwards to show the fully realised moon from the original design.
Whilst the moon appears to already be on its final base (a giant, open storybook), the house from Alice in Wonderland (with her legs sticking out) will form just half of the final float, with a second section starring Pinocchio (and several bungee artists similar to the Pinnochio float in California’s Parade of Dreams) to be slotted in behind on the final base.
After a day of brief tests and false starts caused anticipation to build further across fan discussion forums, the website officially went live earlier this evening, at around 20h00 CET. Available for nine different countries (with a further two to follow), the website is without doubt one of the resort’s most ambitious online projects to date, and in today’s world forms a key part of the 15th Anniversary advertising campaign, scheduled to be one of (if not the) biggest in the history of Disneyland Resort Paris.
After the teaser, the Flash website opens to the music of Disney’s “Where Dreams Come True” campaign (itself music from Universal’s Peter Pan movie, believe it or not), with a scrolling view giving visitors the feeling of actually being inside the park itself during the Anniversary. This is where a concept from a previous campaign website begins to appear – the introductions and videos of real people and real characters interacting with the Flash environment.
Originally used for the Space Mountain: Mission 2 website in 2005, they have been brought back here to allow a red-suited host and his Red Carpet friend to introduce each of the main pages.
Visitors have the option of scrolling through several animated screens (seen below), or, for quicker navigation, the drop-down menu at the top links directly to the pages and games currently available.
Each of the colourful pages link into the categories of events seen the teaser videos, with the first – “More Dreams” – presenting Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. No information is currently given about the parade, but an animation of the first parade float making its way around a stylised Main Street USA does give us an idea what to expect come late March. Make sure you have a listen to the music featured on this page, too, since this is almost certainly an instrumental excerpt from the anniversary’s new “Just Like We Dreamed It” song.
The next page is for Crush’s Coaster, and so uses an undersea theme and bubbles to link to the extra pages – both of which currently unavailable.
Even More Wow
“Even More Wow” can be found with Cars Race Rally, where Lightning McQueen and Mater sit outside Walt Disney Studios Park, important since nowhere else is it mentioned that all of the new attractions are infact in the resort’s second park rather than its first.
Up next with an Alice’s Curious Labyrinth theme and an appearance from The Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony stage is “More Scoops”, which links to a clever new idea to help build excitement about the 15th Anniversary – a blog. We’ll have more on this in a separate article soon!
More Wishes Come True
The features on this Discoveryland-themed page have yet to be added, but we’re promised the chance to share photos of Disneyland holidays with families and friends, or send our own dreams and wishes in, to create a complete wishlist for all guests.
With an Adventureland Bazaar theme, this page presents games and activities such as the “Dream Invitation” competition (see below).
Dream Invitation Competition
These pages allow users to create their own invitations using graphics available on the website or by uploading their own images. These can then be sent to friends or entered into the competition to pick the best invite.
Showing Fantasyland’s Sword in the Stone (perhaps a hint the streetmosphere show will return for the celebration?) the final themed page presents the three key special offers for the year – Kids Under 7 Free, Free Days & Nights and a “Deal of the Day”.
Downloads are always a popular website feature, and it’s good to see Disneyland Resort Paris hasn’t forgotten to let visitors take a bit of the magic for themselves. The full official key visuals for the various attractions are available to download in full (without a single (C) Disney stamp or legal text), along with a well-designed screensaver and several e-cards. The most interesting wallpaper right now is shown above – a previously unseen key visual for Disneyland Park’s Extra Magic Hours, with a giant hourglass over the park!
Anniversary Programme & Preview Videos
Finally the two areas which will undoubtedly receive the most clicks. First, the full schedule of all the Anniversary events. Secondly, and best of all, a selection of official videos previewing the year. In addition to the teaser which opens the website, you can see a good quality English version of the early trailer we saw in French back in October and most exciting a new Behind-the-Scenes video featuring several important backstage Cast Members talking about their excitement for the event – with clips of Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally slotted in! Strangely, since the resort previously wanted to keep this silenced to ensure guests didn’t postpone visits, the Tower of Terror is featured in both of the latter videos. We’ll have a full report on this up next.
And there we have it – Disneyland15.com is now live for the world to see. Will it help sell the celebration to the masses? We’ll have to wait and see. With so many pages still yet to be revealed this probably won’t be the last time it appears here, and with the celebration spanning a full year and set to include features such as Tower of Terror and Stitch Encounter (which won’t be announced until this Summer), hopefully the site will be cared for and built upon for the entire 12 months ahead of us.
Look out for separate articles on DLRP Today covering the new Official Blog and interesting Behind-the-Scenes Video shortly.
The trailer follows the same format as the teaser which was released to the press back in October 2006 (and is currently featured on the resort TV channel), with preview footage of the new additions and features split into several categories. From “More Dreams” through “More Wow” to “More Hugs” and, finally, “More Affordable”, the events of the first six months of celebrations are shown in a spectacular, exciting teaser, with the red carpet interacting with the footage and the website itself…
The overall theme of the first wave of publicity will be of rolling out the red carpet, and the teaser therefore features the carpet bursting onto the screen in a cloud of confetti and stars, proclaiming “The Party is NOW!”. The final shot of the teaser doesn’t disappoint either, showing the red carpet now rolling all the way down a nighttime Main Street towards the Castle past the series of characters holding candles, where Tinkerbell guides us into the air to reveal the final logo.
Once the teaser has finished, the screen displays a link to the online booking facility, along with several links along the sleek interface at the bottom of the video, one of which links to a separate page detailing the events more fully and featuring a brand new visual showing all the Disney characters (and a strong presence from Pixar) lined up along the carpet with a huge burst of multicoloured confetti in the air.
Email Newsletter / Preview Page
Whilst this separate preview page basically runs through everything already featured in the Official 15th Anniversary Brochure, the final image should be particularly exciting for fans – this is the first still image of the forthcoming television advertising campaign, which features a girl running up the red carpet along Main Street towards Mickey Mouse himself at the end.
A launch date for the full anniversary website has yet to be announced, but with the wider campaign due to begin in the first weeks of March, the site should follow or lead nearby, therefore giving this teaser half a month to spread the word about “More Dreams”, with certainly “More WOW” than we’ve ever seen before…
Thanks to Jakub from the Czech Republic for notifying us that a brand new version of the resort’s International web pages has just been launched!
This isn’t just a few extra pages for guests outside of the resort’s six main countries. No, this is a brand new, full, complete website featuring everything from Disney Studio 1 to Paris sightseeing trips. This is biggest change to Disneyland Resort Paris’ online presence in over six years, and at first glance appears to tick all the boxes on most visitors’ wishlists.
The design could perhaps be cleaned up in a few areas (it’s true that some areas of the design are lacking slightly compared to its US cousins), but the content is infinately better than the website we’ve become used to. A new “choose your experience” option similar to the US websites, vastly improved practical information and pages for every single attraction across the resort, with countless photos, panoramas.. and… videos!
The website also introduces the concept of “myDisneyland” to the Paris resort, allowing you to save newsletters, ebrochures and website pages and organise itineraries with a few clicks. The booking system has not been updated for this new design, but a very slick new Hotel search system is already in place, making it easier to find a hotel to suit your dreams.
Is this the new website promised by Karl Holz earlier this year? We can’t be sure. But, whether or not this design will be transferred without change to the resort’s six main language sites, we’ve finally got the big website update we waited countless years to see…
The overall presentation of the website, with its Flash animations and introductions, perhaps gives us a glipse at what to expect from Stitch’s involvement in the season. The opening of the website involves Stitch climbing across Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, whilst the mini-game sees him throw paint, tomatoes and toilet rolls across some of Disneyland Park’s memorable icons (transferred spectacularly well to the Flash animation). With Stitch popping up throughout the interrupt your browsing experience with paint splashes and ripping of the screen, does this tell us to prepare for an invasion similar to that recently seen at Tokyo Disneyland?
At the Tokyo park, Stitch took over with graffiti and mess across the park whilst the Cinderella Castle was being refurbishmed, whilst a similar stunt at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom saw him throw toilet roll across the Floridian castle for the opening of the Stitch’s Great Escape attraction. Only three details of Stitch’s Parisian invasion are currently known: his general meet ‘n’ greet presence throughout the park, his “CharacteriStitch Halloween Party” (similar to the 2006 Kids Carnival events) and his float in the Disney Villain Parade (the previous Pumpkinmen and current Snow White float).
The website gives away much more detail on the pages describing the Halloween Soirée event on 31st October, with the new Pirates theme being used as much as possible to feed of the success of Dead Man’s Chest. Jack Sparrow is confirmed to appear throughout the evening, and the special Halloween Night Fireworks will feature a soundtrack taken from the films. The website also introduces something new – a nighttime mini-parade in Adventureland. “The wizards and sorcerers, trolls, pirates, acrobats, dancers and percussionists stroll along in a ghost ship atmosphere”, it describes. The site also confirms the attractions scheduled to open during the event, which are:
(8.30pm to 1am) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, Disneyland Railroad, Space Mountain: Mission 2, Orbitron, Star Tours, Honey I Shrunk the Audience;
(8.30pm to 12am) Sleeping Beauty Castle, Le Carrousel de Lancelot, Blanche Neige et les Sept Nains, Les Voyages de Pinocchio, Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world”, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups.
If you want to be a part of the Halloween frights already, click onto the “Funny Face Contest”, which lets you upload your best worst photo (does that make sense?) with the aim of inflicting terror upon countless unwitting web surfers. You can flick through Stitch’s photo album to see everyone who has enterted so far, and there’s a rather zippy search function too. If this is the future of the resort’s online presence, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
The official website features this preview page for the attraction, which is linked to right from the homepage of the old circa-2002 Walt Disney Studios Park website. The same has been done for each European country served by the website, and these pages must surely be gaining extra attention thanks to the very prominent direct link from each official ‘Cars’ movie website (see the the official UK ‘Cars’ movie website here for an example). At the bottom of every page in the Flash websites, a large banner reads “Cars: The Ride / Disneyland Resort Paris”.
The resort’s effort and success at marketing just a simple tea cups-style ride so effectively bodes well for the other riches they have at their disposal for 2007…
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