Instead, as reported around 7th January when the Adventureland dark ride closed, the refurbishment amounted to little more than a technical upgrade, with seemingly minor changes visible to guests on board — backstage, the works may well have been more complex.
This included, first and foremost, a new process for loading and despatching the boats themselves. As reported by Mouetto, admin of Disney Central Plaza forum, Cast Members no longer give a hand signal to the elevated control box but have their own control panel at ground level to despatch the boats themselves. The Cast Member up above is now hidden behind a screen, with only the closed-circuit screens monitoring the inside of the ride for company.
Within the scenes themselves, improved lighting has been the most remarked-upon aspect since the ride reopened on 16th March so far, with scenes apparently appearing more colourful and better-lit. Animatronics, such as the duelling pirates, were reported to appear perhaps slightly more fluid and sound effects tightened, all as you would expect after any standard refurbishment. Nothing major, then — and in fact, there’s disappointment that minor effects remain untouched or unreliable (such as the chain which is meant to “pull” you up the lift hill not moving).
While most of us probably agree that Disneyland Paris can do without the now increasingly passé Jack Sparrow tie-in (unless that 5th film renews interest), it would be wonderful to see genuine special effects upgrades and gentle “plussing” of classic attractions — include Phantom Manor in that, too. Just a single new special effect or a fun new trick to make us go “oh, that’s new!”
Don’t go rocking the boat but do, please, keep moving forward…
Watch a glimpse of the newly-refurbished ride in the video by Mouetto below…Read More…
Here’s the full press release, released to coincide with today’s Shareholders annual general meeting:
Marne-la-Vallée, 28 February 2013. During the group’s annual shareholder meeting on 28 February, Euro Disney Chairman Philippe Gas announced plans for the continued development of Disneyland Paris, with the addition of a new attraction based on the hit Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille.
‘Our new family-focused Ratatouille attraction, which is scheduled to open in 2014, symbolises all of the creativity, innovation and emotion that guests associate with a Disneyland Paris experience,’ Gas said.
Set to open in Walt Disney Studios Park, the attraction is part of the group’s long-term commitment to investing in high-quality guest experiences. That strategy has been fundamental to strengthening the appeal of the multi-day destination, which achieved record-breaking attendance of 16 million visits in 2012.
This unique attraction will take guests into the world of the Oscar-winning Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille which tells the tale of Remy – a talented young rat who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology will come together in this romantic, larger-than-life, Parisian experience.
‘By developing this new Ratatouille attraction, we continue to ensure our guests can experience their favourite Disney stories in memorable ways that only Disney can provide,’ Gas said. ‘The theme, which is very français, is a tribute to our capital and the unforgettable characters that make Ratatouille the ideal choice for an attraction that fits perfectly at Disneyland Paris.’
These magical Mickey ears will change colour in time with the show, making ‘Disney Dreams!’ an even more spectacular experience for the whole family.
From today’s annual general meeting, the operating group’s strategy for the resort is now more firmly fixed on expanding Walt Disney Studios Park into a viable partner for Disneyland Park, though no detail was apparently given beyond this already-under construction development.
The press release naturally fails to give many details away about the new attraction — there’s plenty of time ahead for that. Hopefully this is just the start of a well-organised promotional campaign to maximise this €150 million investment. Disneyland Paris has been notoriously poor at “hyping” its new attraction openings, compared to other theme parks and the American Disney resorts — notably California — which build interest with updates and teasers well in advance of the opening date.
Never trust a pirate, eh. For months it has seemed a sure-fire certainty: Jack Sparrow audio animatronics to finally join Pirates of the Caribbean for 20th Anniversary! But now it looks like the big Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment planned for early next year has been curtailed and the addition of Jack Sparrow animatronics cancelled — at least for 2012. According to several sources on the French Disney Central Plaza forum, including La Rouquine, the originally planned closure of 3 months early next year to account for the changes has now been cut back to just 2 weeks. Moderator Dash adds that he learnt last week the new additions were cancelled again due to budgetary reasons.
The movie overlay, which was given to the US versions as long ago as 2006, was never publicly announced by Disneyland Paris, only confirmed internally, so we should note that for us the resort is not technically “cancelling” anything. It was first strongly rumoured for the Paris version of the attraction during the 15th Anniversary, before again appearing to be on the cards for the New Generation Festival in 2010, and then again for the current Magical Moments Festival to tie in with the fourth film, “On Stranger Tides”. This year’s 20th Anniversary plans were the closest the make-over — which could include up to three Jack Sparrow audio-animatronics, Barbossa as captain of the marauding ship, a Davy Jones mist-screen projection and other technical upgrades — ever got to reality.
While Pirates purists might raise a bottle of rum to the news that the Disneyland Paris version of the attraction will remain (for at least a little while longer) in its own world, untouched by the movies’ characters, consider what you’re drinking up to, me ‘hearties. Is the cancellation of a three-month spruce-up for this 20-year old masterpiece really a good thing? Couldn’t it stand to benefit from new technology, from improved lighting, effects and music? A robotic Johnny Depp might be a price to pay for that, but it’s probably the only (marketable) way such an upgrade would happen right now.
However, continuing the annual almost-but-not-quite game, DynastyGo reports the refurbishment is not cancelled but simply postponed, to the next financial year. But what do you think — has Disneyland Paris already missed its “opportune moment” to capitalise on the success of Captain Jack?
Drink up me hearties: Captain Jack Sparrow is coming to Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Paris in 2012! The European version of the attraction will finally end a 5-year stint as the only edition not to reference to the blockbuster movies, adding the exact same Audio Animatronics and special effects which “plussed” the Anaheim and Orlando rides in 2006 and Tokyo’s version in 2007. That includes three animatronic figures of Jack Sparrow himself, looking remarkably like the Johnny Depp character — one amongst the mayor/auctioneer scene, one hiding in a barrel and one drinking up in the final treasure caverns. In addition, the captain of the ship in the “attack” scene at the bottom of the first drop will likely be replaced by Barbossa, and the Imagineers will hopefully find somewhere to position the mist screen projection of Blackbeard, which was just announced to replace the original Davy Jones projection at Anaheim and Orlando yesterday. In the three broadly similar versions of the attraction already updated this comes at the start of the ride as a forewarning, but with the Paris edition having a different story layout its exact position is currently unclear.
The update has been confirmed internally for a while now, though so far hasn’t been officially announced and isn’t likely to be for a few months at least. But there we have it, our first known 20th Anniversary addition! Funnily enough four years ago we were talking about this exact update for the 15th Anniversary, but that’s Disneyland Paris. It seems like every year since then the rumour has resurfaced again, as those behind the magic tried to push it through the budgeteers, whilst money was spent instead on theme year after theme year. Most recently it looked like a dead cert for this year, what with the much-anticipated fourth film due out this very month (and enjoying a huge world premiere event at Disneyland in California today). As Captain Jack would have said several times over by now, “If you were waiting for the opportune moment …that was it.” But next year will do just fine, providing a solid Imagineering addition in what’s otherwise looking like a very Entertainment-based anniversary.
So, enjoy “On Stranger Tides” in stereoscopic digital 3D and then set course for Paris this time next year, to see Sparrow come alive in three real dimensions. And he only took 6 years to cross the Atlantic!
Fancy staying up late in Disneyland Park? Normally you’d have to visit in October for a special after-hours party at either of the Halloween theme events, but that’s set to change this June. For 2011, a brand new party will mix two themes in one night: Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party. Both Adventureland and Fantasyland will reopen to ticket holders at 8pm with eight attractions, a huge selection of characters and a variety of special entertainments to keep you entertained right up to 11pm. Four parties are scheduled, for Monday 1st and Fridays 10th, 17th and 24th June. Tickets cost €25 or £22 and are available to buy now online, from your local booking hotline or at the parks. You can find the full programme of events and all the information over on DLRP Magic.com, here.
Although certainly the inspiration, this event shouldn’t be confused with Mickey’s Pirate and Princess Party at Walt Disney World, which kept the whole of Magic Kingdom open and concluded with an exclusive fireworks show. Disneyland Paris previously looked at bringing this event over in 2009, when it was tentatively scheduled for February. Launching in the balmier evenings of June seems like a much more enticing proposition for budding rogues or royalty.
The big news of course is that Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, our beautiful castle, has finally lost itsMickey’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.
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.
Above that, the roof has some light patches, like its paintwork has been scuffed or scratched by something.
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:
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…
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?
Here again, the removal unfortunately shows up some less-than-perfect paintwork behind.
And the removals continue, back into Town Square! Let’s compare this photo, from last Summer:
With this view from earlier this week:
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.
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!
The first extra-ticket night of 2009 took place last Friday, 9th October, with three more Not-So-Scary parties still to come on the 16th, 23rd and 27th. The nights give guests special access to Disneyland Park from 8pm to 11pm for exclusive entertainment, character meet ‘n’ greets and far more attractions than in 2008.
Last year confined to Fantasyland, the party has spread in 2009 to include Frontierland, as far as Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor, plus Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza also now play a role, whilst the tally of attractions open in Fantasyland now stands at seven — including Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world”.
If reports from the first party are anything to go by, the queues — particularly outside of Fantasyland — are definitely on the light side. Kaleo on Disney Central Plaza forum, for example, notes a wait of just 5 minutes posted at Big Thunder for the entire party, although these events do grow in attendance as we get closer to Halloween itself.
So far as attractions, it’s looking good for your €25 entrance. But what of the special entertainment? Our thanks to DCP member fandlrpstyle for sharing the full programme online:
Last year’s Merlin and the Witch Academy show returns at the Castle Courtyard for three performances at 20:30, 21:30 and 22:30, whilst Fantasy Festival Stage hosts regular performances of its Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too show, just the same as the daytime version.
The real highlight of the entire event, however, happens out on Central Plaza, where the new stage has been put to fantastic use for the huge new show “Le Spectacle Pas-Si-Trouille d’Halloween” — Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Show, as announced by show director Emmanuel Lenormand. Here’s a full video by Vidimouse:
This lengthy 20-minute spectacle has a pleasingly large (for Paris) cast of dancers and characters, as Mickey arrives in his purple Halloween suit to enjoy a “Not-so-scary” night amongst his Disney friends.
From Snow White to Belle, to a surprising (but very welcome and fitting) focus on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the first half of the show sees a medley of relatively peaceful song and dance numbers. But, you’ve guessed what’s coming — Maleficent. Bursting up through the stage, just like her appearance in It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends during the day, she speaks live — and in English!! — to tell Mickey that Halloween should be scary. And then, we see the show again — from the Villains’ point of view, with the relevant villain theme songs and characters for each of the films just presented.
Happening twice each night during the events, at 9pm and 10pm, the show makes great use of a number of investments made around the area in recent years — the high-powered spotlights either side of the Castle, the new stage lifts and the on-stage pyrotechnic effects installed just this month. Though the numbers involved might restrict such a wish, this is probably the kind of thing we should have had every night during Halloween, rather than the small “cameo” within the regular Central Plaza show.
Closing the Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties is a cavalcade, just like last year. Except this time, it’s not the Disney Characters’ Express travelling down the Disneyland Park parade route but… Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars! Here’s another full video with thanks to Vidimouse:
Aside from the music, taken from Walt Disney World’s Disney Villains Mix and Mingle event, and a few extra characters, there’s little done to put a Halloween stamp on the regular Walt Disney Studios Park parade. It’s a unique chance to see the cars filing down Main Street, but probably not “special” enough for a special party night.
However, being given a few more free packets of Haribo — now the official “treats” of Halloween in Disneyland Paris, and handed out after each event during the party — when the cavalcade stops on Town Square, probably sweetens (sorry) the deal, right? Well, it helps.
For only their second year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties have really grown up.
The newly themed and named location, situated at a heavily congested spot of the park between Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight, features an endless array of pirate props, Disney details and subtle Coca-Cola references. Everything from barrels of the famous soft drink to pirates’ tankards hung on the walls and a giant sail in the colours of red and white.
What sets this location apart? It was already there, and already doing fantastic business. Passing through this crowded pathway from the Fantasyland/Adventureland border to Pirates of the Caribbean, the queue for the hot dog and refreshments kiosk frequently tailed off toward the attraction itself.
So, whilst the Cool Station, L’Arbre Enchanté and Main Street Delivery Truck all tap into a brand new (and now already very successful) market, this one has already been raking in the gold for Coca Cola’s drinks for many years as a simple, unthemed food kiosk. Which, after only a quick glance at the amazing detail here, makes the transformation even more impressive.
The location now also has its own name for the first time – ‘Le Comptoir du Capitaine‘, translating roughly as “The Captain’s Trading Post/Bar”.
Not only does the location feature hidden Mickeys and countless Coca-Cola bottles, but you might even spot a few details from the movie trilogy in there – such as E.I.C. (East India Trading Company) branding on several bottles, edging the nearby attraction ever closer to its big-screen counterparts. The only detail surprisingly missing from the location is the classic line “Drink up me hearties, yo ho!”, which has never had a more perfect time for its use…
A simple food kiosk themed to this quality would be hard to spot at the US Disney parks or even Tokyo – the same standard of immersive themeing and storytelling which made the original 1992 park so congratulated now appears to be spreading and seeping further and further into the general fabric of the lands. With the resort’s management on a keen mission to continually drive up guest satisfaction and that quality Disney “edge” you won’t find anywhere else in Europe, it looks like they unlocked a real treasure chest with Coca Cola’s more active investment recently.
The only place still lacking this new themeing touch (other than Frontierland, which is already quite well served for food), would be Walt Disney Studios Park. With La Terrasse retaining its place as a refreshments courtyard once the Hollywood Boulevard project is complete, could Coca-Cola’s money next spill over into a new food retail location that isn’t a Studio Catering Co. van?
2006 saw the introduction of new effects and animatronics at the two US versions of the attraction – the original, at Disneyland in California, and the much-criticised duplicate at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Planned to perfectly coincide with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on 7th July, this week’s announcement from Tokyo Disneyland appears to come right behind the debut of the trailer for the third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Yahoo! Movies Japan reports:
Jack Sparrow Comes to Tokyo Disneyland Pirates of Caribbean Attraction on July 20, 2007
Oriental Land Co., Ltd. announced on March 23, 2007 that the characters from the Disney movie “Pirates of Caribbean” would appear at the renewed “Pirates of Caribbean” attraction of Tokyo Disneyland on July 20. Due to refurbishment, the attraction will be closed May 7 through July 19. Upon reopening, Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones (from the 2nd movie “Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”) and Captain Barbossa (who revived surprisingly at the end of the movie), will also appear in the attraction.
This therefore leaves the fourth version of the attraction, at Disneyland Resort Paris, as the only one without any influence from the unstoppable film franchise – unless you count the merchandise haven of Le Coffre du Capitaine, of course. Whilst the American resorts milk the newfound Pirates popularity for all its worth, including after-hours “Pirates and Princess Parties” at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris has, beyond merchandise, only gone so far as to introduce a Jack Sparrow walkaround character in front of the attraction (seen above). Though incredibly popular upon appearance, Captain Jack makes unusually understated appearances with none of the “Pirate Tutorial” streetmosphere games of the US resorts.
So where does this leave Paris? Disney fans from overseas have long been fascinated by this version of the attraction – introducing a revised layout, new exterior and extra animatronics, it is considered by many to be “the best”. Now, as the only one without the still-controversial addition of Sparrow and co, it has another unique selling point. But for how long?
It seems strange that, whilst Imagineers at Disneyland in Anaheim, California are desperately struggling to shoehorn a pirate theme onto its Mid-West Tom Sawyer Island, the already-existing Adventure Isle at Disneyland Park in Paris remains untouched. Here lies a series of islands already complete with rope bridges, caves and hidden treasure… yet without a hint of the hugely popular and marketable films in sight. One of the cave networks has been named Davy Jones’ Locker since 1992, and let’s not forget La Cabane des Robinson – which, whilst an astonishing structure, has always been somewhat held back by its not-so-popular tie-in to the 1960 movie and original Swiss novel.
Rumours some time ago suggested a full makeover could be on the cards here, turning the treehouse into Jack Sparrow’s quirky hideout, with more hints to the films hidden in the caves and passageways of the islands. Last Summer, very strong rumours spread that the new animatronic characters could make their way to the Paris attraction for the 15th Anniversary. But, for some time now, all has been silent. Once the resort goes looking for something to fill the gap after the 15th though, this now seems like an almost inevitable choice.
So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle until Judgment Day and trumpets sound?
“Baptist the Pirate!” reports on Disney Central Plaza forum that the artwork surrounding the attraction’s on-ride photo has now been updated with a new design featuring a few not-so-subtle nods to the second movie. These include the mighty Kraken, the key to the Dead Man’s Chest, a hint of Cannibal Island and a pirate captain bearing a strong (but not completely accurate) resemblance to Jack Sparrow himself.
The previous photo artwork (featured below) was far less colourful, using mainly shades of blue on an image of a rough sea. This artwork was introduced in April 2004, when the attraction’s on-ride camera was moved to the second main flume, between the Burning Village and Dead Man’s Caves. When first introduced in early 2002, the camera was located in one of the eye sockets of the skull in the rockface of the first Dead Man’s Caves scene, producing some fairly un-animated photos of guests gently sailing by.
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