It’s almost a month since Earl of Sandwich grabbed a slice of the fast food action in Disney Village, bringing an ample selection of freshly-prepared hot sandwiches to the banks of Lake Disney. The restaurant, the chain’s first in mainland Europe, was officially inaugurated back on Wednesday, 15th June with Euro Disney CEO Philippe Gas, Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl (second from right) and the 11th Earl of Sandwich himself, John Montagu (third from right). A predictably oversized ribbon and scissors were brought out for the occasion.
So far the restaurant already appears to be earning a loyal following of European fans, with many positive remarks for service, taste and the design of the new building. One negative, though is for the price of drinks: with a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola at €3.50 they’ve managed to make the €2.60 normally charged by Disney seem like a steal (although a 400ml cup is available for €2.50). For a family, it soon makes a reasonably-priced sandwich into a rather expensive fast food meal.
Today’s the day — another year, another new festival begins at Disneyland Paris. And this year, it’s the Disney Magical Moments Festival, bringing a big (yet at the same time, rather modest) selection of new character “moments” and entertainments to the parks. Needless to say, there was nothing modest about the anticipated media launch event, which took place over last weekend and included the usual blow-out grand opening show and fireworks to round things off. Over 1,000 media types (plus for the first time ever, and at long last you could say, fan websites like DLRP Today and Photos Magiques) were officially invited along to see Mickey kick things off. Read More…
It’s official: the Molly Brown riverboat will return to the Rivers of the Far West as planned this Friday, with a special re-dedication ceremony even planned to mark the occasion. Having been practically rebuilt during an extensive year-long restoration, the unique side-wheel riverboat will be re-dedicated by Disneyland Paris ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero at 11am this Friday, 25th March. The public event will take place at Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing in Frontierland, so be sure to drop by if you’re visiting the resort and witness a little piece of Disneyland Paris history.
As noted in the comments following our article last week, the riverboat has actually lost her “Queen of River” title during the restoration, with the side wheels now displaying the slightly more generic nomenclature: “Western River Line”. It remains to be seen what other smaller changes may have taken place. DLRP Today will be reporting back from the rebuilt vessel’s maiden cruise and might even tweet a few live updates on Friday — so follow us on Twitter, if you’re not already!
This new car is a full-size, drivable replica of Lightning McQueen, the “rookie race car” in the 2006 Pixar film which conveniently sees its sequel, Cars 2, released this Summer. Similar cars have been featured at Disney California Adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios parks since the original film’s release, whilst Walt Disney Studios Park has had a static model at Cars Quatre Roues Rallye since 2007. The role awaiting Lightning (known in France as “Flash” McQueen) in the Backlot stunt show so far isn’t clear. It’s likely he won’t replace the main “hero” car and will instead make more of a cameo appearance — but does that mean he will replace the show’s existing cameo, 1960s motor star Herbie?
Press events are both loved and loathed by Disneyland Paris fans, particularly those frequent French visitors who might have the chance to visit almost every weekend.
On the one hand, it’s a break from the norm — the chance to see special photo set-ups and even catch sight of some VIPs. On the other, it means disruption throughout the parks, areas closed off and prime parade and show viewing points cordoned off from paying guests, while badge holders are often given free reign to skip queues on the most popular attractions. Maybe they’re a necessary evil.
Surprisingly, performances of the stunt show itself weren’t interrupted by the press event, although numerous preparations for the spectacular nighttime launch ahead were visible inside the arena — such as this large lighting rig running along the roof span:
Projectors, cameras and other equipment were not-so-inconspicuously hidden under black sheets in various areas of the stadium seating:
Back outside, Backlot had welcomed a fun retro trailer to serve as an outside broadcast unit for “LFM”:
Celebrities and VIPs from various nations could be spotted all over the parks throughout the day, with film crews, reporters and cameras trailing them to the various picture-perfect locations like the Toon Town backdrop:
Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear made a quick move from meeting the guests in Toon Studio (left) to meeting the VIPs and film crews in the temporary Backlot photo studio (right):
The fully-refurbished Monsters Inc. location in Toon Studio had a special lighting set-up for the celebrity shots taken here with Sully:
And then, the roping-off began:
A huge area around the Place des Stars Stage was cordoned off for press only, leaving regular, paying guests struggling to see the single performance of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, the park’s only outdoor entertainment spectacle:
At least, it was well-patronised come show time:
The president of Disneyland Paris, Euro Disney CEO, Philippe Gas was also in attendance to see Rémy and Emile join the production:
Despite his no doubt hectic schedule, he even took time to make a surprise appearance at a unique meeting of Disneyland Paris fans which was organised for the day — you can read a report here.
With the show over, the Ratatouille car left Place des Stars last…
And then veered left to turn into the cordoned-off Hollywood Boulevard…
Pulling up alongside the Toy Story car to provide a backdrop for more photos and VIP interviews:
Classic photo spots, such as the castle hill, were also in use:
But finally, back at the studios, the doors closed for the general public:
As Disney Studio 1 become a self-contained press holding area, regular guests had to leave the park via the backstage gates between Production Courtyard and Front Lot — views of off-limits areas hidden by a row of temporary planters:
But first, a nice compilation from behind-the-scenes at yesterday’s press events, as a Disneyland Paris video camera follows the press around the new shows and events to give a feeling of these busy press days in the parks:
Now that’s got you warmed up, onto the main show!
Titled “The New Gen Show”, the opening ceremony and dedication of the New Generation Festival has all the usual ingredients of these one-off Disney grand opening spectaculars — a ridiculously large cast, jazzy projections and an “interesting” mélange of music.
On the one hand we have Buzz Lightyear reliving his French disco days, on the other Nemo coaxing Dory (right?) into the arena in something out of an arty theatrical show. All wrapped up with music from… Pixar Play Parade at Disney’s California Adventure.
Yes, it’s an eclectic, enormous and show-stopping opening ceremony for the year ahead. Might they have actually outdone all past efforts? Perhaps — in numbers and scale — even the opening of the resort itself!
It’s a shame, of course, that these kind of lavish events are reserved only for “VIPs” who probably couldn’t give a hoot about seeing a show like this. We have to wonder how much of the footage and how many of the images shot this weekend will really make an impact, or be featured in the media. It’s a tradition now that Disneyland Paris puts on one show for the visitors and one superficial blow-out to look good for the cameras. It’s something for the archives, for them to pull out and say “remember 2010?”.
Although given that they used the stunt arena this year, which has 3000 seats, this would have been a good chance to say, give away a few extra tickets in a prize draw to Annual Passport Dream holders… if only to see the show, to spread word of mouth, and not to enjoy the free food.
British girl pop group The Saturdays were also at the resort today.
• Disney Showtime Spectacular premieres (2:50am)
We mentioned that today’s weather hadn’t been too kind to the first performance of Disney Showtime Spectacular. It’s the Disneyland Paris press event curse — blow all your money on a big show, invite thousands of questionably important people… and then that thick Marne-la-Vallée cloud rolls over.
Here are photos from the press performance earlier today:
Luckily it remained dry, if not providing the best weather for this new show to shine.
• The New Gen Show – first official photos! (3:02am)
And here we go, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Details have been sketchy about what to expect from tonight’s events, but with the stage set as the Moteurs… Action! stunt arena over at Walt Disney Studios Park — and not Central Plaza as the past two launches (15th and MMP), it promised something quite different and certainly very grand, given the arena floorspace…
And of course, they didn’t disappoint. An enormous cast, a laser and projections show and the Disney All Stars Express park-hopping to join the cars of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars:
The full wide shot at show-level:
Stars jump for joy as resort icons are projected onto the Mediterranean sets of Moteurs Action:
Artsy arrivals by illuminated balloons? Why not:
A full-on smooch between Tiana and Naveen? Ooo err:
And that final wide angle from the top of the Stunt Arena seating again:
At least, with 3000 stadium seats, the VIPs wouldn’t have had to crane their necks for once.
• The Saturdays, New Generation Props & Suitcases (29/03 16:07pm)
Tiana meets British pop group The Saturdays — or is it the other way around? — in this picture captured by Photos Magiques on yes, Saturday:
They also stumbled upon some clever oversized toy props in the hotel lobbies where press event invitees were staying, such as this ViewMaster toy:
And the suitcases of New Generation characters who were also checking in:
See more of these, plus loads more news from the past week, at their full update here.
It was a surprise outing for the couple, more used to the calm beet fields of Marne-la-Vallée, as they stepped out into the bright lights of the city to inaugurate the Christmas celebrations on the Place de la Concorde, at the heart of Paris.
For the first time in years, they appeared as guests of honour at the foot of the Champs Elysées, as children from the French Red Cross helped them launch the illumination of the giant Ferris Wheel at 17:30 and cut the ribbon for the international Christmas markets to officially open.
They also helped reveal a stunning ice sculpture of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as part of the Ice Magic exhibit.
Every city has a giant wheel and a Christmas market these days, but how many are just a short RER train ride away for a famous Mouse and his girlfriend?
Update 27.11.2009 — More Pictures & Video
Disneyland Paris have released more photos of the event, showing the truly stunning ice sculptures of the Eiffel Tower and Sleeping Beauty Castle:
Press events at Disneyland Paris are usually frequented only by those famous exclusively in France, so it was a surprise to see actual real American Shannen Doherty make an appearance at the Christmas launch events on Saturday.
Judging by the amount of photos released featuring the actress, of Beverley Hills 90210 and more recently just 90210 fame, Mickey and Minnie were pleased to see someone they just about recognised, too…
But it wasn’t all about the Charmed actress. Also in attendance were Virginie Ledoyen, Sliimy, Marie Gillain, Bob Sinclar, Hafsia Herzi, Frédérique Bel, Christophe Barratier, Laurence Ferrari, Claire Barsacq, Bruce Toussaint, Alessandra Sublet, Sandrine Quétier, Nikos Aliagas, Frederic Taddei, Fanny Valette and the Chef Thierry Marx.
You know, her…
And that guy…
And for the Brits reading: Former glamour model Melinda Messenger, who currently presents the frighteningly bad Live from Studio Five.
We’ll probably never find out what happened during the actual nighttime press party, such is the astonishing lack of publicity these schmooze-fests traditionally generate. However, from these pictures we can at least garner that there was a large mannequin Father Christmas locked inside a giant snowglobe.
However, costumes and characters from the park’s two parades were used in the following three pictures, which are very pretty indeed:
Note the clever covering-up of the Mickey’s Magical Party decoration on the Castle. We’re not the only ones who’ve tried to do that this year, then.
Back to the celebrities, French DJ and house music producer David Guetta has been featured amongst the Christmas photos, but apparently actually visited earlier in the week, seen here riding Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast with his wife, Cathy:
Anyway, from celebs to zelebs, we all know who the real stars are…
Unless you’re about to visit the resort and pick up some of these for real (for €7 at any of the parks’ Christmas market villages), you’ll have to make do with some photos.
And, since you’ll likely just be drooling and/or ordering a larger pair of jeans whilst feasting your eyes on these, we’ll let the pictures — and Thierry Marx — do the talking…
His presentation on Main Street explained the concept and the manufacturing process to the press, but where did it all begin? With a little inspiration — from the tried and true sweet traditions already at Disneyland Park…
Then, it was into the kitchen!
What attracted you to this new project?
Thierry Marx: “Those childhood memories, that have resurfaced in me, with much pleasure and wonder. For me, arriving at Disneyland Paris, it’s held completely in its own space and time. It’s a break from the daily grind, a real journey for the senses, without any interruption. Anything is possible, everyone can descend into their thoughts and dreams, something very precious.”
Is Disneyland a different world for you?
Thierry Marx: “On the contrary, this experience matched my philosophy. Like Disney, I do not like seeing conflict between tradition and innovation. The establishment can continue to do things. The pleasure of my work lies in the possibility of being at the forefront of innovation, while preserving the French culinary heritage.”
What most inspired you in the world of Disneyland Paris?
Thierry Marx: “The magic, the indulgent pleasure of just enjoying being together in a different world. I’ve always remembered the opening day of Disneyland Paris well. It represents for me the perfect place to recharge your inner childhood batteries. All the worlds intersect… Space Mountain in Discoveryland makes me dream of what I read in the stories of Jules Verne but Disneyland is also fairy tales, Mickey and your earliest childhood.”
How is this experience a reflection of your gastronomic practice?
Thierry Marx: “I want to make the dream. Everyone can share a real culinary experience with this outdoor vending “street food”, even if it is not obvious today. There is a real chance to share in dreams from the kitchen and instigate interaction between people. Best of all: it’s an international principle, there’s no language barrier.”
Towards the end, Mickey Mouse showed up in his full chefs’ gear, taking all the glory with the final dipping and dusting-off of the finished foods.
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