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.
With its huge, framed windows and earthy, warehouse feel, the mermaid-topped coffeehouse has become a beacon for what could be a “new” Disney Village.
Sure, with the long-delayed planters and trees finally spread throughout the entertainment centre since Spring 2008, it’s been looking very, very different for over a year already.
But this is the first actual step in putting some of that feeling into the buildings themselves, the first major addition to the Village since those trees set it on a new path last year. It might have taken a slightly controversial icon of globalisation to achieve it, but the result is incredibly good for the place.
It was all designed jointly by Starbucks and the former Disney Construction Company (DCC, who were behind Val d’Europe), which is now part of DLP-I — the Paris branch of Imagineering, in charge of smaller projects, and especially non-park work (thanks Kristof, magicforum). Between the many Disney-owned and several tired-looking venues in the Village, a Starbucks as swanky as this really gives the street the feel of a “happening” place.
Even better, it’s genuinely eco-friendly, too. Starbucks gushed about the new store on their blog back in June, and included two previously unseen pieces of concept art:
Starbucks at Disney Village Paris
Have you heard the buzz about the new Starbucks store in France? On June 20th, we opened a new store in the Disney Village Paris that is truly in a class of its own. It is the first international store to be built using our new design concept that connects our stores to our coffee heritage. This store is also the 50th Starbucks store in France and marks the 5th anniversary of this important market.
So, what’s so special about this new store? Inspired by artists’ studio environments and modern design in Europe in the 1930’s, this store is not only beautiful but also includes local materials and green design to enhance the customer experience. This new store design is part of our effort to have all of our new company-operated stores worldwide certified by the end of 2010 under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. This is a key component contributing to the Starbucks ™ Shared Planet ™ goals in environmental stewardship.
The LEED ® Green Building Rating System evaluates a building on various criteria including energy performance, indoor environmental quality, community connectivity and regional materials. Accordingly, the innovative design of this store includes the following features:
Adjustable, low-energy lighting system
Mixed-mode HVAC system (mechanical and natural ventilation) saves energy and makes use of existing building tower feature
Large, operable windows provide natural ventilation, ample daylight and fresh indoor air quality
Water efficient fixtures in restrooms and bar areas
Low emitting materials reduce off-gassing and allow the aroma of our coffee to be the star
Salvaged and recycled construction materials & furniture (including reuse of local French wine barrels and authentic champagne riddling racks)
Recycling available for customers and store partners
Measurement and verification plan to monitor energy and water savings over the life of the store
The new location was officially opened on 20th June 2009 by Euro Disney CEO Philippe Gas and Starbucks Coffee CEO himself, Howard Schultz:
You can find a whole fact sheet about the store here, which reveals, for example, that certain wood is from used barrels reclaimed from the French wine industry, the exterior wooden cladding is made with reclaimed Champagne racks from France, the countertop uses a material containing recycled mobile phone parts, and so on.
Compare the design of the new Starbucks Coffee to the corner of The Steakhouse just to its left, and the remnants of rethink after rethink are all too clear. The minimalist Frank Gehry architecture of 1992 meets the new colours of 2005, meets the balloons of 2006, meets the red horseshoe border of 2007, and so on.
Hopefully this modern and clear vision set out by the Starbucks won’t just be applied to any other new buildings but to the older buildings, too. That said, it’s not necessarily the design style of Starbucks’ exterior that most of us would like to see transplanted to the other locations like The Steakhouse, Hurricanes and World of Toys…
Since the post-1992 additions of Planet Hollywood and King Ludwig’s Castle, for example, there couldn’t (and probably shouldn’t?) be a consistent, shopping mall-type design through this street.
But at the same time, should every location be as loud as this Starbucks or King Ludwig’s? No, smaller stores like Hollywood Pictures should probably have a more standard exterior, with only the larger, more special locations “jutting out” with more outlandish architecture, like the style used at California’s Downtown Disney. The only problem is that those forgotten stores currently have near-enough cardboard cut-outs for their signage, cheaper than those you see in your local town. So, you can guess what it all boils down to in the end — money. Something which Starbucks could pour a lot of into their project.
However, if or when this long, long looong-awaited World of Disney mega-store finally opens in front of the Gaumont Cinema, the Village’s existing Disney Store will likely be redundant. It might even clear out the need for the Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys stores further up, since the former is very similar to those in the Studios and the latter rather dated.
In that respect, you could argue it’s barely worth spending too much money on those old locations — just enough to keep them ticking over until they’re consigned to Yester-Disney Village. But, with the World of Disney forever on hold, that might not be any time soon.
Realistically, Starbucks only adds to the jumble of Disney Village — but it does it with such style and thought that it’s really something to celebrate for the place. Here, at least, the original 1992 vision has finally been successfully updated for the 21st Century.
Perhaps if the entire area were being built today it’d all be like this — a real mixture of materials and textures, trees and planters from the start — the first environmentally-aware entertainment centre? As it happens, we’ve only the mermaid to cling onto… for now.
Well yes, quite a lot obviously. Just shows you shouldn’t go wandering into the Adventure Isle caves just before park closing… it’s been four long months!
If you’ve been similarly deprived of Disneyland Resort Paris news, given up trying to translate what they’re saying on the French forums, sit back and enjoy a quick and concise round-up of all the big stories of recent months — here we go!
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S BLING
Was it coincidence that updates here ended just about the time that Sleeping Beauty Castle succumbed to its most horrific, misguided meddling-with to date?
The birthday cake, the jester’s hat, the Epcot wand, the MGM hat… you’ve met your match. There truly aren’t enough negative adjectives in the dictionary.
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MAGICAL PARTY LAUNCHES WITH MEGA-PARTY
‘You’re invited!’ …but not to this. Press and media types were schmoozed in spectacular fashion as new theme year Mickey’s Magical Party kicked off with fireworks, projections, lights and so many characters they couldn’t even all fit on the damn stage.
Did it generate headlines, articles, media coverage? No.
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ACTUAL PARTY GROWS ON FANS
Frustratingly-titled new Central Plaza show ‘It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends’ initially looked rather like a drab flop on an overbearing and unnecessary new stage, but it has grown on most fans. The score by Vasile Sirli is actually plain fantastic (especially considering the lacklustre music in the year’s other new shows) and it provides a fresh, colourful heart for the year.
Over in Discoveryland, the other show with an annoying name — ‘It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland’ — brought delights such as large, primary-coloured circles on the floor of a retro-futuristic land, and the expertly-chosen hits of Block Party Bash.
Despite the show being considered terrible on every level by most who’ve seen it, the performers put so much effort and energy into their routine they each almost deserve a window on Main Street.
Beyond the forced MMP hoopla over the other side of the esplanade, Walt Disney Studios Park gained a brand new attraction — its fifth addition since opening — in ‘Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!’. Jolly good fun it is too — wonderfully staged, very charming. The Paris version even has a “1 Up” on the two earlier versions with a big new pre-show studio.
Changing its name to ‘Restaurant des Stars’, the far too interestingly-named ‘Rendez-Vous des Stars Restaurant’ gained a new logo, some new colours and a new entrance canopy.
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DUDE LOOKS LIKE A FIRE!
In a quite bizarre coincidence, just days after fans launched an online April Fool suggesting Aerosmith would be succeeded by French rocker Johnny Hallyday as musical guests at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, a fire began in the roof of the showbuilding.
Luckily the damage was minor — though it did allow for these dramatic photos (below) as the inspection crews ripped off the cladding, checked and replaced it. The attraction reopened just the next day.
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SMEE GIVEN SURGERY
Captain Hook’s bumbling first mate was given a random makeover by the worldwide Disney Parks character team and, unlike most famous faces, he returned from the cosmetic surgery with a face more expressive than before. Remarkable.
Hopefully they’ll tackle some of the clearly worse-looking characters next, like the dead-eyed Woody, Jessie and Buzz…
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HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PARTY!
Now back for a third year, the Studios’ High School Musical show this year gained musical numbers from the third film but stopped short of going for the full ‘HSM3’ show the other resorts put on. ‘I Want it all’ is the standout number, but one that certainly won’t win over any new fans.
The ‘Smoking Areas’ inside the parks had been extended little beyond their miniature park map icons, so it’s reassuring to see that each area now has its own themed sign, tied into the location. Give it a few years and the public might actually use them.
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STUDIO STORE OPENS UP
Behind construction walls last time we saw it, the Walt Disney Studios Store has now been completed, with three new doors and payment desks in front of new, large windows.
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Main Street has always had the best-kept exteriors of the entire park, always popping with a fresh bit of paint here or there. A new development in recent years are the nice tarpaulin coverings given images of the building hiding behind. Even for tiny spots like this one on the end of The Storybook Store, the hidden façade is still presented on top.
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PLAZA GARDENS GLEAMS
After a major refurbishment of the interior, including bringing the central fountain back to daily life, the whole Plaza Gardens Restaurant building was wrapped in themed tarps for an expensive top-to-bottom refurbishment and repaint. It didn’t stand out as being particularly bad before, there are other areas needing paint sooner, but it does look fantastic.
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STUDIO 1 REFURBISHMENT CONTINUES
Over the hub, it’s surprising to see that the refurbishment of Disney Studio 1 continues, the huge centrepiece building of the park still wrapped up in scaffolding. Must be a bigger job than originally thought, right?
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FLOORS OF ADVENTURE, DISCOVERY
Tripped up in Disneyland Park recently? No wonder, some of the concrete pathways are literally falling to pieces. Thankfully, the first resurfacing works seen for many years have been taking place, with areas of Adventure Isle and vast swathes of Discoveryland closed off and given new flooring, the effect — especially just in front of Space Mountain — very noticeably making the whole land look brand new.
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TENNIS, MICE, MAIN STREET
Some of the resort’s press and advertising efforts have been surprisingly inventive this year, like this — turning the top of Main Street into a full-size tennis court and inviting Gaël Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka to play with Mickey Mouse.
Just a few days later, Serena Williams visited the park and was met in front of the Castle by Minnie Mouse, wearing a special tennis player costume.
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Effectively the biggest change of the past few months, the news in April and subsequent official changeover in May that has seen ‘Disneyland Resort Paris’ — the resort’s name since the 2002 opening of Walt Disney Studios Park — change back to just plain ‘Disneyland Paris’.
It certainly makes sense — the extra word was always unpopular, confusing to non-English speakers and now, with every park from Alton Towers to your local fairground claiming itself as a “Resort”, it simply doesn’t have any value. “Disneyland Resort Paris” is cumbersome and never spoken, “Disneyland Paris” is short and very strong. Whilst things like the official website have changed over, don’t expect this to be an overnight transition — the new (or rather, old) logo will reappear just as and when things need replacing.
Unfortunately, this decision — made by new CEO Philippe Gas himself — came in April, just weeks after the resort had launched a whole new brand campaign for the theme year. These traditionally start in April, and everything from Cast Member name tags to park tickets and guidemaps had already been printed up with the full “Disneyland Resort Paris” name. Smart name reversal, silly timing.
There’s also a whole myriad of logo variations now available (above). Which should be used, when? The standard logo is being presented as two-colour, with the “Paris” in a gold gradient that already looks rather dated.
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BURNING FIRES, FLOWING WATERS
Tasked with bringing back old and forgotten effects, a new “taskforce” within the resort’s maintenance department has been one of the most positive steps in recent months. We already appear to have seen some brilliant reawakened touches, such as the torches on Fort Comstock at the entrance to Frontierland (lit from nightfall)…
And the water channels leading to the drinking fountains beside La Cabane des Robinson.
Whilst a long way short of having the full irrigation system working again (water should be hoisted right up to the top of the tree by the water wheel, before being poured out and running through the channels back to ground level), it’s great to think someone took the time to figure this out.
Elsewhere, these moving fairground balloons inside Boardwalk Candy Palace have been back working again, for the first time in years.
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CAFE DE LA BROUSSE
Mostly sitting closed, Café de la Brousse has never the less just had a large-scale refurbishment completed, bringing colour back to the “bush café” buildings. Dole is presented heavily as the host, but still no one thinks of bringing the legendary Dole Whip to Paris!
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DISNEY VILLAGE NOW ‘COOL’
So. It took a Starbucks to make Disney Village “hip” again.
Yes, it meant losing the wonderful Buffalo Trading Co. and inviting a quite equally despised/appreciated corporation into a Disney-branded area, but the coffeehouse itself was built using genuinely eco-friendly ideas and looks really quite trendy inside, with a wonderfully modern exterior — industrial elements clashing beautifully with earthy materials.
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ROSES PAINTED RED, FINALLY!
The on-off refurbishment of Alice’s Curious Labyrinth — with little areas regaining sparkle each month or so — has continued, the Paris-exclusive attraction even seeing… new paint! The red edgings of the entire labyrinth have finally been repainted, a year after similar edgings on the Fantasyland-Discoveryland path received paint before them, and scenes like the Caterpillar suddenly “pop” like they should again:
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ROBINSONS RETURN TO LA CABANE
Also brought back to life this Summer is La Cabane des Robinson, previously the only other “blackspot” alongside the Labyrinth. For too long the treehouse has been bleak and worn. Props missing, effects broken, no colour. It was as if the Robinsons had long ago moved on from their treetop abode. Not any more — refreshed woodwork, new props and a complete clean-up really make it “pop”. Effects like the self-playing organ are still missing.
Even the water fountains were revisited and given an extra spruce-up:
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WOODCARVER’S WORKSHOP RE-OPENS
Not entirely the amazing news that might suggest, but nevertheless the long-abandoned Woodcarver’s Workshop over in Cottonwood Creek Ranch, next to what is now Woody’s Roundup, has finally been brought back into service — selling drinks and souvenir photos from the character meet ‘n’ greets inside.
A long way from the actual woodcarvers who used to create personalised souvenirs here, but good to see it alive and well in some form, eh?
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ENCHANTED FIREWORKS DAMPENED AGAIN
The Enchanted Fireworks have returned for their second year — dampened again in similar style to the later shows last year, when the nearby town of Chessy apparently banged on the wall and issued a loud “shhh”. Fans, and even apparently some regular guests, aren’t too impressed with the “new” show.
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ATTRACTION OPEN 12:00 – 12:05
The same limited opening schedule of attractions put in place last Summer has returned again this year, with visitors taking much more notice. Some say it’s fair enough that they have to close attractions early, since most people have headed to Main Street to watch Fantillusion, whilst others leave annoyed that the park’s advertised opening time of 10am to 11pm isn’t strictly true.
Most agree that the whole situation would be better if the limited openings schedule was at least published somewhere other than only at the attraction entrances themselves — on the tips board, in the Programme leaflet, for example.
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GOOGLE EARTH 3D: WORTH THE WAIT
The much-publicised and subsequently much-delayed official 3D recreation of Disneyland Paris in Google Earth finally launched in mid-May and proved to be well worth the wait, offering a truly spectacular metre-by-metre recreation of every inch of the parks and resort. Visit www.disneylandparis.com/googleearth3d and lose a few hours.
A few days later, Google Street View was also added for small stretches of each park:
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BROCHURE TESTS THE LIMITS
Have you seen the brochures and advertising for Walt Disney World? How grand and high-class it all looks. For Paris, however, the brochures in particular seem to be getting ever more garish and in-your-face with each publication. The latest, current brochure for Autumn/Winter 2009/10 features some truly frightening images of blurred children flying above the parks, with so much photoshopping and saturated colour you can barely see the resort they’re trying to advertise.
The actual, printed version also comes with a bizarre claim on the cover of “First ever interactive brochure”. Beyond the cut-out on the cover (Mickey is actually on the page behind), the only evidence of this is a French (+33) mobile number you can text to get a video trailer of the new theme year. Several weeks later, nothing received here.
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VAT REDUCTION? VAT CHANCE
The French government has officially lowered the VAT rate for cafés and restaurants from 19.6% to just 5.5% in order to keep the industry afloat, and, while you’ll certainly find many notifications of this within the resort, you’ll be much harder pressed to actually find reductions.
Whilst some things, especially the Half Board vouchers, have come down in price, most scenarios have just seen the prices stay the same and Disneyland Paris pocketing the difference in order to prop up the large drop in food and beverage sales this year — mostly on account of the prices being too high during a recession. Good thinking.
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ICE CREAM ARRIVES ON-SET
Walt Disney Studios Park must have been the only theme park in the world without a proper ice cream location until the latest change in its food & beverages offering. The Franklin Department Store façade (similar to the exterior of Gone Hollywood at DCA, international fans) gave up its wonderful 1950s-themed period window to become a new kiosk serving actual, real Ben & Jerry’s by the scoop.
The lost window was more interesting than the one remaining, featuring a mannequin woman sitting with a 1950s travel magazine, retro television and monster/sci-fi movie poster. The Tower of Terror across the way has such a minimal build-up in Paris that small period-setting details like this really mattered — the Imagineers would have put an ice cream kiosk in there from the start otherwise.
Couldn’t such a vital theme park component as ice cream have commanded its own building somewhere? Rather than expanding, the park almost seems to be imploding, with under-sized kiosks popping up all over where real, full-size boutiques and restaurants should be. More than anything, one single serving window for this in such a prominent position is madness.
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BLOCKBUSTERS IN THE BACKLOT
Over in Backlot, the big news has been the complete gutting of Backlot Express, the “props warehouse” counter service restaurant, in favour of the more brand-friendly idea of themed rooms dedicated to the Pirates of the Caribbean and High School Musical franchises. The changeover began with the arrival of a plain Ford Focus outside the restaurant, plastered with “HSM3” stickers…
The new logo has been completed on the outside…
And as for the inside? Well, real props from these two trilogies have yet to appear, with the High School Musical area causing much fan hair-tearing already with its “themeing” of bland posters, banners and mini basketballs (taken from merchandise). The “East High” theme does sit well within the building, but this isn’t anything someone with a good printer could set up themselves. Are there not even any costumes from the film lying around over in Burbank?
Beyond the “torn bedsheets” (as described by magicforum members) hanging from the ceiling, the ‘Pirates’ area has defied the odds and just presented the first real surprise of this project — the removal of the metal railings of the raised “garage” area to be replaced with pirate ship-styled wooden banisters and a full ship’s wheel.
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TELEVISION STUDIOS GOES ’50s
…Or is that wishful thinking? With a long-overdue repaint of the Walt Disney Television Studios building (home to Playhouse and Stitch Live) finally beginning back in April and only just making real progress, have the maintenance teams really taken a step back and reconsidered the building, rather than just bursting ahead with the same ugly yellows the original designers chose in 2002?
Yes, it seems so! The architecture was already within the period, but the colours didn’t quite fit. Now, a deep red has replaced the turquoise on the “fins” atop the building, with the yellow turning a much more earthy, peachy shade, in whole much closer to a 1950s Hollywood look and more pleasing next to the subdued tones of the Hollywood Tower Hotel just opposite.
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ANIMAGIQUE KIOSK MARK II
The bland merchandise kiosk which appeared outside Animagique in 2007 now has a partner. Filling in dead space on the right of the same TV Studios building, this little location opened just this week, using the new colour scheme and dressed up in a pleasingly similar style of fins and neons.
Photo: Sean Hamilton
In any other Disney park, such a location would be given a name or some kind of personality (think Crossroads of the World at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). It offers the usual generic collection of character merchandise.
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ROCKEFELLER PLAZA REBORN
Could this be the start of a new era for the environs of Disney’s Hotel New York? The Rockefeller Plaza building, a dull games arcade for far too long, has finally reopened as a lovely café refreshments location for the Summer.
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MICKEY SWINGS INTO — AND ONTO — BUFFALO BILL’S
It was the controversy of the year — nay, the decade — and now it looks like Mickey Mouse has made home. The not-so-great poster previously stuck on the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show entrance has just been replaced by a large model of Mickey Mouse abseiling down over the building.
Whilst it looks much smarter now, it has fans worried that the mouse may well be there to stay. On the subject of the show itself, the current Summer park programme leaflets are now advertising Adult tickets for the price of Child tickets. In high season? Maybe adding a mouse wasn’t the best way to sell the scale of this truly epic dinner show.
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FASTPASS FOR MONEY
This one must be the second-biggest controversy of the year, then. In itself not a huge thing by any means, this could however be the first step of a huge shift in how Fastpass works. From 18th July to 4th August, guests staying at Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York and, it seems, Disney’s Newport Bay Club, can buy a special “Premium FASTPASS” for €80 per person per day.
The ticket is effectively a VIP FASTPASS, the unlimited-access ticket previously given only to guests in Club rooms and Suites, allowing you to use the FASTPASS queues for attractions as and when you want, as many times as you want to.
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STUDIO 1 REFURBISHMENT CONTINUES
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GOOFY’S SUMMER CAMP
Somewhere you won’t find Mickey this year is the new show at The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland. Yes, since we last updated the topic, The Tarzan Encounter was cancelled again — for good.
This new show is somewhat like the Summer cousin to the brilliant Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, only scuppered by a desperation for audience interaction, with too few scenes between. However, with a live country band as the big “plus” to replace the Winter ice rink, a great stage and some nice musical numbers, it’s winning more fans than certain other shows this year, and much more fitting for its location than Tarzan ever was.
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MAIN STREET COMES ALIVE WITH MARCHING BAND
Last seen making brief appearances last Summer on the old Central Plaza Stage, the brass band has returned! Now performing a brilliant set of Disney music (even including Hans Zimmer’s Pirates score!) on Town Square, this is the kind of classic Disneyland entertainment we rarely see in Paris, so enjoy! The only problem — no one, not the makers of the park programme, nor the Cast Members inside City Hall, appear to have been given their performance schedule.
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CARL’S HOUSE FLIES OVER FRANCE
The real-life version of the balloon-lifted house from Pixar’s next — and 10th — major hit, “Up”, travelled over to France recently and, amongst appearing in some truly spectacular hot air balloon festivals, paid a visit to Disneyland Paris early one morning.
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Who’d have known — the Sleeping Beauty fountain inside the Castle gallery was actually meant to trickle down into the waterfall below, beside the staircase, as one, complete water system! Now, after truly years of being turned off and ignored, it’s fixed and running. The “crystal” at the bottom of the falls glows, too!
Wonderful. Utmost appreciation to whoever made this happen.
Disneyland Resort Paris have long looked to main French TV network TF1 for television promotion when it comes to new attractions or events, and Mickey’s Magical Party will be no different. In fact, they’re due to launch one of their most substantial tie-ins to date: a special dance contest for children aged 5-10, in the same vein as the telephone-voting talent contests which seem to have taken over almost every nation on the planet.
In France, the two biggest shows of this kind are Nouvelle Star and Star Academy, so what to call Mickey’s own version? Mickey Star, bien sûr!
Star Acamedy‘s own Nikos Aliagas will present the broadcast, which, from 6th to 18th February, is accepting video uploads of children aged 5 to 10 dancing to a song of their choice for one minute.
Then, from 19th February, a jury of professionals at Disneyland Resort Paris will pick the best of the entrants, who will be invited to the resort on 21st or 22nd February (yes, it’s all happening very fast) to join the final auditions.
And what does the young winner receive? Why, the chance to dance live on that new Central Plaza Stage alongside Mickey, to launch the entire Mickey’s Magical Party celebration to millions of viewers on TF1 on 29th March 2009!
The first short trailers for the new tie-in have appeared on TF1 this week:
Things will actually play out a little differently to the schedule mentioned earlier, with TF1 viewers seeing adverts to check out the final auditions at the website from 8th to 19th March, with the final result announced on 20th March.
Then, from 21st March, viewers will see advertisements for the big event and the final winner’s moment of magic will come in a special extended advertisement on 29th March 2009 just before the 8pm news. The entire thing, really, is merely a series of special advertisements, with most the action being broadcast instead online.
According to the official website, though, Nikos will be on the judging panel alongside not only Mickey but Stitch and Donald Duck. Listen closely — well, perhaps you won’t have to listen too close — and you’ll hear something special in the background too: the full version of the “It’s Party Time” dance remix, all 6 minutes of this controversial, noisy, europop mash-up of the actual, really very different theme song of the year.
If you’d like to listen away from the Mickey Star website — though judging by several readers’ comments we’re not sure if you’ll appreciate knowing — you can also listen on Vasile Sirli‘s very own MySpace page. The resort’s musical director also has a few more, rather more — dare we say — “listenable” tracks on there from his archive, too.
For some time it would be second nature for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in France to ignore the huge, we’d say wonderful, slice of the Disney empire right on their doorstep, instead premiereing all the latest Disney releases in Paris itself. Since The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, however, we’ve seen a pleasant change of direction — the stars are coming back to Disneyland.
Yesterday evening, it was the turn of Disney’s latest CGI feature. Bolt, an acting dog who plays the lead character in a hit spy TV series, thinks the “action” is all entirely real. In setting out to continue fighting crime after the director calls “cut”, he loses his owner and goes on a wild pan-American trip home with the help of an unwilling cat, , and one of his biggest fans — the scene-stealing Rhino the hamster.
As with most Disney animations, the characters have a whole new cast of voices in France — no John Travolta, Miley Cyrus or — ehm — Mark Walton (the story artist who ended up playing Rhino) heard here. In Lightning/Flash McQueen fashion, the film itself even has a different, though very similar title — Bolt becomes ‘Volt, Star Malgre Lui’.
However, there is still much for those of us not from France to get excited about — both directors of the film, Bryon Howard and Chris Williams, are at Disneyland Resort Paris this weekend to celebrate the premiere, along with modern Disney/Pixar icon John Lasseter himself.
The official photos are out already, let’s take a look:
John Lasseter with the new character Bolt — yes, his tag has kept the English name
Left: Mittens the cat joins John Lasseter and Bolt Right: Richard Anconina, the French voice of Bolt (France’s John Travolta..?)
Left: Gilles Lellouche, French voice of Rhino the hamster, joins Richard Anconica Right: Omar Sy and Fred Testot, who both play pigeons in the French-language version of the film, with Fred also playing the older cat who appears and — in an interesting change from the original film — Omar playing Mittens the cat, who in the original is voiced by Curb Your Enthusiasm comedian Susie Essman
Left: The directors, Bryon Howard and Chris William Right: The full cast and crew in attendance, from left to right: directors Bryon Howard and Chris William, voice artists Omar Sy, Fred Testot and Richard Anconica, executive producer John Lasseter, story artist and original voice of Rhino Mark Walton, voice artist Gilles Lellouche and producer Clark Spencer
Original Walt Disney Animation Studios crew behind the film: directors Bryon Howard and Chris William, executive producer John Lasseter, story artist and original voice of Rhino Mark Walton and producer Clark Spencer
Bolt, Disney’s 48th animated feature, opens in Germany 22nd January, France on 4th February, United Kingdom on 6th February and Netherlands and Belgium on 11th February. Be sure to catch it in spectacular Disney Digital 3D if you can!
The launch of seasonal events at Disneyland Resort Paris usually just means a raft of (to our mostly non-French audience) unknown celebrities and a bank of photographers obscuring the publics’ view at the special shows and parades throughout the day.
True, this year’s Christmas launch yesterday inflicted both of those upon regular park guests, but they were also given a very unexpected Winter treat when it came time for the evening’s Enchanted Candleabration finale.
If you were confused by the special park Programme for 15th November and the switching-round of Fantillusion so that the illuminations ceremony came last, here is our reason why — as the bells chimed and the Castle sparkled in its now-completed array of crystal lights, majestic music in the vein of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty began and fireworks flew up into the air!
The special launch show on Central Plaza Stage featured performances by live singers, a group of children helping out with preceedings and an encore from Princess Aurora and Prince Philip as their fireworks exploded overhead.
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant itself was lit in a classic scheme of pink towers and blue spires, rather than the usual all-purple colours used during Christmas Season.
Below, Daviddu59 was lucky enough to catch the special one-off fireworks — albeit from behind the impenetrable wall of photographers — and shares the video with us:
Even in the short length of these fireworks, the Castle is almost completely engulfed in smoke due to the cold temperatures — perhaps that’s our reason for the general lack of Winter fireworks on other busy weekends and holidays.
And, though it’s expected the resort will put on its best show to give the press the best possible impression of the seasonal entertainments, is it honest? Do they know that Enchanted Candleabration doesn’t usually have this firework-finale, or doesn’t it matter, in the name of good publicity for our beloved resort?
— Read our exclusive interview with the creator of this year’s Christmas Season here.
The official 15th Anniversary blog has shared this collection of clips and soundbites from the events last Friday, providing a look at the unique medieval ceremony in front of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and the arrival of the stars outside Gaumont Disney Village:
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Launch
The entire event was undoubtedly a huge success, bringing the magic of a brand new Disney film direct to Disneyland Resort Paris, raising the resort’s profile and providing a unique “I was there!” moment to guests on the day. We can only hope this is the start of more fruitful relationship with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (formerly Buena Vista Distribution), that leads to more events like this and less giant billboards…
Since the White Witch’s appearances in the first half of 2006, following the release of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Backlot has been the unlikely home of a little slice of Narnia magic — the frosty throne from her spectacular ice palace, housed within a covered black box as if a piece of the film set had been cut away and lifted here. To the side of the scene stands a figure of the Witch’s old assistant, Ginarrbrik.
We recently asked in our Question of the Week, “Which of the 2008 Disney Character would you most like to meet at Disneyland Resort Paris?”. Whilst an overwhelming majority of 79 votes to 21 voted for Pixar’s cute little waste-cleaning robot WALL-E to debut, the incredibly low likelihood of this means that, in reality, Prince Caspian has probably just won the competition.
The new Prince Caspian is certainly a rather dashing figure of royalty, and surprisingly close to the Ben Barnes original as seen in the film. Whilst using the same costume of a green armour, black cape, brown boots and gloves and green sword sheild as the character, the Paris equivalent is rather more fresh-faced than the prince recently debuted over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
As Prince Caspian signed autographs for the first time this weekend, soon the reasoning behind keeping the ice palace scene in place — rather than replacing it with, for example, something like the overgrown ruins set used in Hong Kong — became clear.
Not only has Prince Caspian debuted at Walt Disney Studios Park, the infamous — and very popular — White Witch has returned!
Her icy glare is just as startling as ever, returning the exceptional costume introduced in 2006 to the park, complete with brilliant white (fake) fur coat, crystal-blonde locks, frosted crown and an icy staff. Note also the speckles of frost running down her cheeks, and the tiny white icicles on her eyelids.
The new guy Prince Caspian is going to have some competition for those autographs this Summer.
Exact times of the character appearances are not included in the regular park Programme leaflet, likely due to the small availability of these cast members that also affected the early appearances of Jack Sparrow. Keep an eye out next time you’re in Backlot, though — you never know when the door to Narnia might open.
Dramatic, colourful lighting, projections on Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and many strange Narnian-esque creatures roamed the courtyard to provide an extra after-party of entertainment for the assembled guests and celebrities from across Europe.
Such a party in this area of the park is quite unusual and certainly hasn’t been seen for many years. With plans for Paris versions of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to be held in Fantasyland this October, this could even give an idea of the special mood lighting of those upcoming events.
Effects included smoke from inside the castle and lights up inside La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant, changing colour to illuminate the stained-glass windows in spectacularl fashion throughout the show.
Fire artists and mythological stilt-walkers take over the courtyard, lit in rays of rich red light.
The film’s logo is projected on the gallery balcony behind, with the stained-glass windows illuminated in red as the creatures and stunt performers roamed around, interacting with guests.
Dramatic lighting changes from fiery reds and pinks…
…to cool blues and greens, with the stained-glass behind joining in.
Guests stepped through a wall of smoke inside the Castle to enter this live version of a Narnia-like world.
Whilst Fantasyland appears to have been seized as the perfect place to host Narnian events for the launch of Prince Caspian, the royal figure himself had already made plans to make his daily appearance elsewhere…
The wide resort esplanade in Paris is usually a place of guests rushing hurriedly from hotel-to-park or park-to-park, eager to begin their Disney experience. Last Friday at around 7.00pm, however, they were in for a shock — the gateway to Narnia had sprung open right there, bringing the stars of the film and their medieval extras on a long route all the way from Disneyland Hotel to Disney Village…
In the first car, William Moseley (Peter) and Georgie Henley (Lucy).
Following, Anna Popplewell (Susan) and Skandar Keynes (Edmund) made their way through the gardens, past the train station, to the newly-green (is “Narnia-like” pushing it?) Disney Village.
A large crowd was gathered well in advance of the arrival of the lead actors, thanks to plentiful publicity by the resort and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures — not to mention the many camera crews setting up outside the cinema doors. Each car, in fresh Narnia-like colours, was decorated with themed flags bearing the film’s logo.
The biggest star of the film arrives — Prince Caspian himself, Ben Barnes, joined by director Andrew Adamson.
Prince Caspian will likely be Adamson’s final time directing a Narnia film. For the third, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due in 2010, British director Michael Apted has already been signed on. Adamson will remain as a producer.
Many fans like those hoping for an autograph and photo here, will be glad to hear that all the principle cast have already been signed onto the third film.
For William Moseley, that means another long line of adoring (and mostly female) fans.
But now, he has competition — Ben Barnes has been thrust head-first into the big time as lead character Prince Caspian, with Disney trumpeting its choice to begin promotion of the film with a single one-sheet poster featuring just this star. / Andrew Adamson asks if the throne (behind) is intended for him
Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Ben Barnes, Anna Popplewell
The young cast with producer Mark Johnson (left) and Vincent Grass (right), who plays Doctor Cornelius
The entire company pose for the bank of photographers and journalists in front of the entrance doors to Gaumont Cinemas in Disney Village, surrounded by actors from the earlier medieval ceremony.
Numerous French celebrities and personalities, such as Emilie Dequenne, Geraldine Pailhas, Jovanka Sopalovic, Clovis Cornillac, Antoine de Maximy, David Halliday, Richard Dacoury, Laura Flessel and Julie Gayet also attended the premiere, posing for photographs and interviews on the throne positioned in front of the giant ‘Prince Caspian’ backdrop.
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