Operators of the PanoraMagique balloon in Disney Village have announced the attraction will get a new entrance leading directly from the main avenue of the entertainment district, publishing the image above to give an idea of their plans.
Since opening in April 2005, the Aerophile ride has had an entrance gangway and ticket booth to the left of the above photo, leading towards Disney’s Hotel New York.
Changes to security barriers around the resort in 2012 no doubt caused the operators some headaches, as Disney Village became part of the main “Parks” area. This now allows visitors to move freely between the Parks and Village without any barriers, but the use of the old “road train” waiting canopy next to Café Mickey meant the boundary to the hotels was drawn right before the balloon’s entrance, leaving it out on a periphery.
Under the new plans, the entrance will be directly ahead of guests, opposite Earl of Sandwich as they walk up through Disney Village, affording it much greater visibly and prominence, and giving the ballon more of that classic Disney “weenie” effect.
To allow the works to take place, PanoraMagique will be closed from 10th to 31st March 2014.
Congratulating its helium-filled efforts, they described “a beautiful performance for this brave fighter which will soon take a deserved rest to get replaced by a new illuminated balloon.”
And so five years on from its launch in April 2005, weather beaten and colours faded, PanoraMagiquemark I slowly, very slowly, disappeared…
…And it was a long wait for the replacement.
But then, on the crisp sunny day of 5th April, it appeared:
The next afternoon, work began to inflate the balloon from the ground up. The colours already looked brighter — and thankfully close to their original 2005 design — but what would we see as the balloon raised up from the platform on Lake Disney…?
First change — the stars are navy blue/black, instead of the original white…
Second change — white line between the two blues gone, sunburst design seems more pronounced…
Third change — balloon graphics in the main emblem changed from deep red to a light yellow…
Then, around six hours into the work, the new balloon was finally ready to be raised up, and the original passenger cabin fixed in place below.
Approaching midnight, the new lights inside the balloon are switched on, the spotlights on the platform switched off and we see another change to the balloon’s design — a rather monstrous-looking Tinkerbell, presumably enlarged (and changed from her original full-colour design to a single dark colour) to provide a good silhouette against the balloon:
If they had balloons in Tron, they’d probably look something like this.
Et voilà — PanoraMagique mark II ready to take to the lovely blue skies over Lake Disney.
Though you can see why Characters in Flight landed in Florida, it’s easy to say that PanoraMagique has the upper hand. Not only does it have a more tasteful, classic livery (ignoring the new Tinkerbell flying ant), its location right in the centre of Disneyland Paris makes it perfect for looking out and seeing Disney landmarks close by, from above — not far away on the horizon.
One thing to remember when you’re 100 metres up, visible from 22 kilometres all around: don’t look down!
Images via PanoraMagique live webcam (Aérophile/Disney).
At least, that’s what’s happening if you believed our… April fool! …
Any fans checking out the PanoraMagique website last Monday would have been given the shock of seeing the balloon crashed to the ground, losing air and surrounded by people. No worry, a quick look at the homepage revealed the Disney Village attraction to be “closed for maintenance”.
We captured stills as the original 2005 balloon breathed out its last gasp of helium…
So, where’s it gone?
At five years old, and no longer having its original, bright red and yellow colour, it appears to be time for a brand new balloon. The lifespan of these unique flying systems is more limited than your average Disney ride, since they were originally only intended as temporary observation attractions. When PanoraMagique opened in 2005, the operators signed a 7-year contract with Disneyland Paris. But, with the same company now also operating Characters in Flight at Walt Disney World, this is likely to have been extended.
So far, rumours have suggested that the new balloon on its way to Paris might have a slight innovation upon its predecessor — being lit from inside, possibly using LEDs, so that it can “glow” at night without the need for fierce spotlights from below.
However, we can reveal this isn’t the only change on the way to PanoraMagique — the whole look of the balloon is set to be refreshed with a brand new livery. These brand new, exclusive concepts below show the new, more colourful design for the helium bubble that will be setting the trend for the next five years:
Yes, you guessed it — there’s Mickey Mouse. The balloon itself looks set to become a yellow and pink colour, with a blue band, whilst oversized character faces will smile down from each side.
As the detailed concepts for the ticket booth above show, the balloon also appears to be receiving a new name, or at least a sub-title, becoming “PanoraMagique… with Mickey & Friends!” on official nomenclature to signify the change. Only limited modifications will be made to the booth itself, with images of the balloon updated and new 3-D (or “2.5-D” relief) characters added either side of the signage, similar to those recently added to Walt Disney Studios Store.
The basket itself, which doesn’t require replacement, looks to be keeping the same design.
Don’t think that this is a drive to increase patronage of PanoraMagique, though — as the second balloon in Florida shows, it has been a big success since its launch in 2005, attracting balloonists even on the cloudiest of days. Such a success, in fact, that it has become a real “icon” for the whole of Disneyland Paris, visible for miles around and from within both parks.
So, in effect, the resort wishes to capitalise on the balloon’s success — by using it to draw more guests into the quiet Lake Disney and Disney Hotels area. The hope is that, by placing giant character faces on the balloon, more families with young children will be tempted to go for a stroll around the lake area and visit other hotels, whereas now they are proven to turn back after Café Mickey.
A new resort logo, you ask? “Again?” It’s a strong possibility. The new “Disneyland 15” logo, which was featured on all press material and advertising for the 15th Anniversary launch, has begun to appear without the giant 15 and instead as a new, standalone logo, replacing the circa-2002 logo which put the “Resort” firmly in the spotlight.
Guests of non-English language don’t particularly understand the “resort” tag, yet the concept of two theme parks has infact truly caught on, meaning the word has become quite redundant as the use of simply “Disneyland Paris” increases everywhere. Whilst early visuals for this new PanoraMagique overlay used the old logo then, the final design brings in the new – and flies it high above the entire resort.
Workers scale the balloon to attach its new livery, 27th March 2007.
The banner was fitted in several pieces and matches almost perfectly with the existing design of the balloon, which opened in April 2005 and is infact operated by its creators, company Aérophile, on a seven year contract. The balloon has fast become a unique icon for the resort, not found in any other Disney park and with a Victorian style mixing well between its Parisian location and American-themed surrounding Disney Hotels.
The completed overlay.
Like all of the recent Disney Village enhancements, its original livery – and this overlay – was completed by DLP-I, Disneyland Paris Imagineering, responsible for all of the more minor projects at the resort. Decorating it with a 15th Anniversary overlay helps to spread the anniversary festivities outside of Disneyland Park, whilst also bringing new interest to the 2-year old creation.
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