Thursday, 1st March 2007

More ‘Once Upon a Dream’ making-of

The new parade is once again introduced by the now-familiar face of François Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment at the resort, before we get to see a couple more of the people “behind the Dream” as they proudly present their work.

Below, an artist proudly holds up the full concept art for the Dreams of Fantasy float, showing the extra pirate flag artists and “Jolly Holiday” penguins which, as with the extra performers for every float, were removed from the concept art shown at the recent Shareholders’ AGM. Beyond the large concept art, the tower of Big Ben can be spotted, part of the float’s concept model, whilst the huge drawing board features plans for the float design. Surrounding the artist’s area are stills and artwork from Peter Pan, showing the level of detail and accuracy the designers are striving for in their representations of these classic films.

When designing a parade, much moreso than when designing a theatre show, the directors must work in 3D to ensure the scene works with the perspective of the floats to their audience. A key part of the process, seen previously with The Wonderful World of Disney Parade and Disney Cinema Parade, is therefore to create scale models or maquettes of the floats. The next image above shows a sculpter at work on the maquette for Dreams of Laughter and Fun, in particular the giant Alice stuck inside a thatched cottage.

Next, a close-up on a finished maquette for Dreams of Friendship. Lead by the Toy Story characters in a familiar Andy’s Room environment, the first section of the float features many of the key characters from the first film along with Bullseye from the sequal. Unlike the other floats, the two scenes here are clearly divided, with a page of the storybook also providing a backdrop to the scene.

For the first time, Winnie the Pooh will get his own parade float – albeit shared. The scene – a tea party in the Hundred Acre Wood – is remarkably similar to the former set of his “Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too” show, during its time at Royal Castle Stage between 1998 and 2005. Pooh’s oak tree home is featured, with colourful lanterns surrounding the wooded grove.

The next image below is definitely worth a click, both for its revealing look at the design of Dreams of Power and its highlighting of the intricacy and artistry involving in crafting the floats. The designer’s drawing boared is filled with a huge diagram of the float’s exact final design, whilst the maquette itself gives us a clearer look at the villain-infested float after the promising concept art seen last weekend.

Finally, a split-second close-up is given of a full coloured maquette, showing Ursula at the back of the float. It isn’t clear yet which of these larger characters will move, or how they will be controlled. Characters such as Pumbaa, for example, could be controlled from inside the float using a puppetry system similar to that used at The Legend Of The Lion King or even California’s Parade of Dreams.

Given the similarities in the style of this parade to California’s 50th anniversary debuted parade, character puppetry could well be added to the line-up of performers giving life to the floats. The list already features stilt walkers, dancers, jugglers, flag artists, bungee acrobats… and elephants! (Taken from Katy Harris’ previous project, the Kids Carnival).

Poppy The Monkey confirmed on MagicForum last week that rehearsals have now begun, taking place at night after Disneyland Park closes its gates. These will continue most nights up until the “soft-opening” premiere on 31st March.

From rumours, to sketches, to maquettes, to construction, to rehearsals – the time and effort required to create a new daytime Disney parade is unsurpassed by anyone else. And now we’re less than 30 days away from the final step… seeing it for real !

Concepts and video stills © Disney, published by arn0 on his blog.

Thursday, 1st March 2007

Disney Characters jump aboard the celebration

And so, for one year only, every character will receive a special medal to commemorate fifteen years of Disney magic in Paris. Or, for the Disney Princesses, an ornate blue and gold brooch. This covers yet another key area of the resort in vital 15th Anniversary emblems, and yet again adds to the special “VIP” celebration feeling guests are expected to receive throughout the year.

And what of the “new Character locations created for this very special year” we were first promised back in June 2006? Well, according the final concept art below, four new “Character Experience” locations will be popping up at the four corners of Central Plaza, providing a kind of character “hub” around the redecorated Central Plaza stage and Castle. It’s also possible, perhaps, that the locations will be tied into the lands they border.

As for characters in Walt Disney Studios Park, the opening of Toon Studio in June will bring new character locations here, with latest rumours suggesting Ratatouille will be one of the new locations, giving a location for Rémy and Emile to meet guests. Walk-about characters from Meet the Robinsons are also expected.

The major Disney character event, though, will take place early each day on Main Street USA, as Disney’s Character Express steams into the park following a similar route and set-up to last Halloween’s Stitch Cavalcade. Taking place four times each day with a cast of around 14 Disney characters, the cavalcade will use the retired Dumbo float from The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade (seen above in its original concept art and in the park).

The “Casey Jr”-styled float, which consists of several articulated sections, will be completely repainted and redesigned, with a bold colour scheme of blue, white and gold and additional decorations on each carriage. The final carriage, previously closed, will be redesigned to allow more characters to hop onboard.

Characters seen on the concept art include Chip n Dale, Mr Smee, Captain Hook, Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Goofy, Donald, Eeyore and Tigger. Mickey and Minnie won’t be featured, their “top VIP” status obviously restricting them to Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade only. As it makes its way up Main Street and around Central Plaza, the Character Express will stop four times to allow the characters to disembark and interact with guests… which sounds like a joy for the Guest Flow teams!

How these events will affect the usual Halloween and Christmas seasons is still uncertain, though forgetting the long-awaited new attractions and even-longer-awaited new parade, the 15th Anniversary looks to be a fantastic year for park entertainment. With extra Disney characters, a morning cavalcade and an evening castle show apparently performed every day, this is the scale of entertainment usually restricted to a one month season extended to cover an entire year.

Concept art © Disney, captured by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum.

Saturday, 24th February 2007

Once Upon a Dream Parade in concepts

Here they are – the full series of eight colour concept arts for the brand new Disneyland Park parade, officially released at the shareholders’ AGM (of course!) and captured by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum (naturellement!).

Each of the concepts is accompanied by a quick summary from our guide page, and then beneath that any additional notes, details or corrections we can spot after seeing the full-colour artworks.

Float 1: Dreams of Imagination

“Mickey and Minnie hover high in the sky in a golden hot air balloon! They’ve dropped anchor on a most dreamy location, the purple curve of a smiling moon, resting on a storybook. Donald showers the moon in sparkling glitter, as Goofy rests on the pile of storybooks and blows bubbles into the clouds!”

The same concept you first saw right here over seven months ago. How time flies, eh?

Float 2: Dreams of Laughter and Fun

“A traditional fairytale hut is featured at the centre of the float, used by Alice in Wonderland first and then Pinocchio at the rear. The Pinocchio section features “marionnette” bungee artists similar to those in ‘Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams’ at Disneyland in California, bouncing on bungee ropes from supports high above. Around this section of the float, stilt walkers will perform routines with their own puppets.”

The Alice in Wonderland scene features Tweedle Dee/Dum, the Caterpillar and a tree with painted red roses. As the theme shifts to Pinocchio, a number of clocks are featured. Pinocchio appears to be performing his “I’ve Got No Strings” routine, with Gepetto watching. Jiminy Cricket sits atop the bungee rope clock tower.

Float 3: Dreams of Friendship

“Features Toy Story and Winnie the Pooh characters, with a giant storybook in the middle separating the two themes. At the front, Woody joins his Roundup Gang to remind them “you’ve got a friend in me”, whilst at the back Pooh’s birthday party is in full swing, featuring all his best friends from the Hundred Acre Wood at a jolly tea party.”

This float was the hardest to decipher from the silhouette image, with a classic scene from the first Toy Story at the front and a Hundred Acre Wood tea party at the rear. Despite the logo of Toy Story 2 being used, the scene is more reminiscent of the first film, since Buzz has a rocket attached to his wings and the arcade machine of the Little Green Men is featured.

Float 4: Dreams of Fantasy

“This very British float first features Captain Hook’s galley splashing through the waves, before a sea of London rooftops bring Wendy peering out of her window at Peter Pan on the roof above! A whimsically-styled Big Ben towers in the centre of the rooftops, poking through the clouds, with Mary Poppins and her classic “jolly holiday” carousel behind, as a fleet of kites hovers above. A merry band of pirate flag artists will surround the ship at the front of the float.”

The crocodile from Peter Pan can be seen amongst the waves at the front of the float, whilst the Penguin waiters from Mary Poppins are featured in the Jolly Holiday scene.

Float 5: Dreams of Power

“The Disney Villains are out to take command of the parade, on a dark and menacing float filled with viciousness! As the serpent Jafar slithers along at the front, Chernabog towers over the parade route on the desolate summit of Bald Mountain. Bringing up the rear is the slimy sea monster Ursula. The float will be surrounded by menacing souls juggling (false) fire!”

Hades can be seen at the front of the float, whilst the Evil Queen from Snow White hides below Chernabog.

Float 6: Dreams of Adventure

“Serving The Lion King and The Jungle Book, a giant jungle tree towers out of the middle of the float, with Simba on Pride Rock before it and King Louie and Baloo behind. Various animals from both films can be found amongst the branches of the tree, including monkeys and giraffes. Rafiki is clinging to the tree behind Pride Rock, with Timon and Pumbaa joining in the celebrations below. It’s also likely that several of the colourful jungle animals from the Kids Carnival season will join the parade at this point.”

The Jungle Book scene chosen is King Louie’s temple, with Baloo in his coconut hula outfit and King Louie’s throne beneath the tree. Timon also wears his hula costume, and the entire tree is filled with too many animals to count – including The Jungle Book’s Vultures and Kaa the snake.

Float 7: Dreams of Romance (Part 1)

“A tropical garden oasis is the setting for Ariel and Jasmine, with beautiful flowers and an enchanted tree bringing a rainbow of colour to their romantic pursuits. The Dream of Romance section will feature the enchanted garden theme throughout, with each of the Princesses’ shimmering dresses scattered with beautiful gold leaves and several dancing flowers with yellow and green petals surrounding each float.”

The enchanted garden features Ariel at the front in some kind of sea shell grotto, whilst Jasmine swings on a tree with giant roses and Aladdin dances around her.

Float 8: Dreams of Romance (part 2)

“The grand finale to the entire parade, this giant float features a grand total of four princesses! The initial gazebo is an ornate shelter for Beauty and the Beast, whilst the whimsical fairytale bridge is occupied by Snow White and her prince. On the hill before the giant castle stands Cinderella and Prince Charming. Sleeping Beauty is possibly featured behind the castle, as a finale – afterall, the parade is named after one of her songs! The float will also be articulated (split into two free-moving, joined sections), giving an idea of its impressive size.”

Sleeping Beauty is indeed featured just behind the castle, which is a giant, glittering, crystal design. The gazebo of Beauty and her Beast is surrounded by giant red roses.

Finally seeing the full parade in colour concept art is a dream for any fan, and when it finally premieres in just over one month there’ll be even more to see, not just on the floats but all around – characters, dancers, confetti and more. We’re promised a unique parade in the history of Disney Parks, filling all five sense with wonder. Sight and sound are obvious, touch will be from the many Disney characters, more than in any other parade. Unique scents for each float were even confirmed some time ago, leaving just taste to be answered. Characters handing out sweets seems a likely option, already a popular stunt during Halloween events.

Some of the concepts here appear to be quite realistic (for example, the first and second floats), whilst others seem to merely give an artistic impression of the characters and details the floats will include (Dreams of Fantasy in particular), rather than an accurate plan.

To see these concepts made a reality will be the real moment of magic. And, when you spot the first new daytime parade at the park in almost seven years coming towards you along Main Street for the first time, it’ll be better than a dream.

Thursday, 22nd February 2007

Just Like You Dreamed It?

“Come a little closer… Turn another page… In the story of what’s waiting for you…”

The typically “Disney” lyrics couldn’t be more appropriate. Singing of their dreams coming true “as far as the eye can see” and “as good as good can be”, the two lead vocalists of the new song, “Just Like We Dreamed It”, could be speaking the words of any fan or guest at this truly incredible time in the life of Disneyland Resort Paris.

Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting were treated to a remarkable preview performance of the song lasting just over five minutes, as Disney characters and glittering Disney princesses made their way to the stage in their dazzling costumes created exclusively for the new parade. Member Scrooge on Disney Magic Interactive forum captured the moment on camera (below), with Entertainment Vice President François Leroux (seen just days ago on the backstage preview video of official anniversary website Disneyland15.com) presenting an on-stage preview of the music and costumes of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade.

All of the costumes are brand new and unique to Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. The characters wear shimmering, silky costumes in vibrant rainbow colours, joined together with a beautiful theme of white and gold throughout. Up front is the Mouse himself, wearing a stunning purple, white and gold suit with a big top hat, whilst the other side of François is Minnie in a bright pink dress and golden shoes. Behind them, Chip and Dale wear green hats and bow ties with white detailing, whilst Goofy wears a snazzy orange tailor suit as seen in the parade’s key visual. As always, Donald is just left out of the fun – to the far left of the photo – though his bright sailor blue costume can clearly be seen.

And, whilst we’ve already seen two of the beautiful Princess dresses to be worn exclusively in the parade, their appearance at the event allowed a sneaky glimpse at the others – including Cinderella, who can also be seen in the photo. Her pastel blue dress continues the theme of golden leaves and flowers seen in the earlier dresses.

The new song itself will be used both as the opening to the parade and as the “parade stop” music, when the parade comes to a halt to allow the characters to interact with their audience. The version used for this presentation also features a short prologue medley of classic Disney music, suggesting, perhaps, that this could be the version which opens the parade, since a voiceover introduction could easily be overlayed. Some have likened it to the music of Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams already, which also features a slower beginning before the main pop song “Welcome” begins – and, just like our new parade, the music then shifts into classical Disney music, before the song returns for the parade stops.

For anyone desperately dreaming of hearing it for themselves, you’ll be glad to know the presentation was recorded and uploaded in mp3 by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum. And, since many people are having trouble with the temporary fileshare site, we’re going to host it here for a brief time:

Temporary download no longer available!
Want to hear the music? Get to Disneyland Park from 31st March 2007!

Make sure you’re absolutely sure you want to hear it before you download, this is obviously quite a large spoiler for the upcoming parade! If you decide to wait, then you can always just look at the Lyrics instead, which have just been added to our Disneyland Resort Paris CD Archive already.

And if you can still resist that temptation, then you know where you have to be – Disneyland Park, Paris, from 31st March 2007!

Characters photo by Kyoto; Audio recording by Mouetto, Music © Disney.

This is the 200th news article on DLRP Today! Thank you to all those who continue to visit each day, the project has been more successful than I could have ever dreamed! And with the anniversary now just over a month away, there’s still plenty more magic still to come.

Tuesday, 20th February 2007

Backstage Imagination and Wonderland

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.

Before now, we’ve only seen small silhouttes of the parade line-up and full concepts for just two of the floats, so to finally see such large elements becoming a reality certainly helps make this “Once Upon a Dream” seem far more real.

Monday, 29th January 2007

Turtles, Cars and two fabulous dresses

We begin with Imagineer Beth Clapperton, who poses next to one the turtle shell ride vehicles from Crush’s Coaster in Toon Studio, holding plans to the entire track layout. The turtle shell follows all the usual standards of a Maurer Söhne Xtended SC-2000 car, with four seats back-to-back in rows of two. However, the car has also been extensively customised by the Disney Imagineers, extending the front and sides to perfectly resemble a turtle shell, with an incredible level of detail compared to other Disney ride vehicles.

The photo appears to have been taken on the break-run of the attraction’s “coaster” section, likely sometime in mid-2006 since the building does not appear to be fully enclosed. It also seems restraints and seat backs had yet to be fitted to the first vehicle at this point.

Next up, we move across to Cars Race Rally and into the backstage workshops of Walt Disney Imagineering, where a life-size Luigi is being crafted by hand for the upcoming attraction. Also sporting an exceptional level of detail, Luigi is due to appear at the Casa Della Tires photo location near the attraction’s entrance (see the map here), similar to the Mike Wazowski and CDA figures at the Monsters Inc Scream Scene location.

As you can see from the photo, it luckily seems that the resort have been given the rights to use the badge of this 1959 Fiat 500 on the real-life reproduction itself. Guido, Luigi’s forklift sidekick, is also expected to appear at the finished attraction, marking the first time these characters have been created in life-size 3D form.

Finally, the series of photos take us into the colourful Costuming Workshop at the ImagiNations building, backstage at Walt Disney Studios, for a glimpse at two stunning new dresses created exclusively for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. The dresses featured are Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, and the “one that started it all”, Snow White.

Along with rich, glistening fabrics and remarkable attention to detail, the dresses have been peppered with beautiful gold-laced leaves, petals and flowers (roses for Belle), allowing them to match perfectly with the garden-themed “Dreams of Romance” finale float where they will be featured. This is the first time such a high level of customisation has been used to allow the dresses to match their floats.

Sumptuous dresses, detailed props and “turtally” unique ride vehicles, all oozing Disney quality… as if the 15th Anniversary wasn’t an exciting enough prospect already!

All photos © Disney, courtesy of WDSfans.com and PhotosMagiques.com!

Sunday, 7th January 2007

The Nighttime Christmas Parade – with special guests

Whilst the large lighting rigs along the parade route illumated the procession, several extra lights were added to the classic floats to light up the characters and their decor. Previously, a nighttime version of The Christmas Parade such as this could only be seen on New Year’s Eve, when entertainment times were shifted to compensate for the park’s late 1am closure.

Photos captured 30th December 2006.

The Christmas Parade enjoyed its final performance of the 2006/07 season earlier today, and it remains to be seen whether it will return again in November. With Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade scheduled to run the entire year, either a hushed Christmas makeover will take place, The Christmas Parade will return, or there will be no main Christmas parade.

Whatever happens, enjoy the nighttime Christmas Parade, truly at its best, with two special guests…


The Nighttime Christmas Parade
Uploaded by dlrp-magic

Thursday, 4th January 2007

Katy Harris: Once Upon a Dream director

Katy Harris began her career at Disneyland Resort Paris in 1993, performing in the Beauty and the Beast show at Videopolis Theatre. After then performing in every production at the park, she became an assistant show director and produced various spectacles for small events and business conferences.

In 2001, she became a full show director, and has a good list of credits to her name. Choreographer with Craig Revel Horwood (as seen on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing) on The Legend Of The Lion King, she then conceived and directed the Kids Carnival as well as adapting Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too for the Fantasy Festival Stage. Tasked with conceiving a new Disneyland Park parade for the 15th Anniversary, she eventually presented the parade to Jay Rasulo (head of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts) in America and got the greenlight for the project in January 2006.

Series: Backstage at the park (3/5)

A choreographer for the new parade

To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, the park’s teams at Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) are assembling themselves ready. This is the next in our series on those who, in the shadows, are preparing the festivities, due to begin 1st April.

You would imagine it like the light-footed style of a dancer, but Katy Harris, choreographer and director at Disney, arrives burdened with stress and pressure. Because this 38-year old English woman, previously director of the Kids Carnival, has accepted a hefty task: to conceive and direct the first strictly French parade, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, which will be performed each day at the park. She brings together seven dreams: imagination, laughter, friendship, fantasy, power, adventure and romance, played out by the characters of Disney.

“I had lots of pieces of paper with all the most important characters, the films – a true puzzle!” remembers Katy. “Once the choices had been made, we very quickly got the green light from the Americans. Lucky, since one year is very short to create the costumes, lights, music, etc.”

Thirteen Years at Disney

Today, the workshops, mainly situated at Montreuil (Seine-Saint Denis), are putting the finishing touches to the floats. The music has been recorded. The rehearsals are about to begin. “The team comprises 105 performers. For each role, we need four people, to allow for days off. That means creating enough costumes and in every size.” It’s for the this reason mainly, that the physical criterias were established. The princess flowers, who wear dresses covered in yellow and green petals, measure around about the same height. “If not, we could never do it, and it’s also important for harmony with the choreography.”

Educated as a dancer at British theatre schools, Katy Harris has resided at Disney for over 13 years. “In a parade just as much as a musical theatre show, the direction is just as important as the choreography, since the presentation to the spectator is very short, never more than 2 minutes, and the scene continues to move. To create emotion, it’s a lot of hard work.”

Tomorrow’s column will feature Roland Kleve, head of future attraction construction.

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today

Article scan thanks to Julien-Fantillusion, Disney Central Plaza forum.

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