A staple of the park since the very beginning, Adventureland’s African Tam Tam music group just made some new friends — an orangutan, a bear, sometimes even a meerkat. This is Adventureland Rhythms of the Jungle, the new “moment” during the Disney Magical Moments Festival bringing life to a quiet corner of the land between Restaurant Hakuna Matata and Adventureland Bazaar. Read More…
The fourth repurposing of Disneyland Park’s resident character express train in five years has officially premiered in its new guise: Disney Dance Express. This isn’t a straightforward redecoration or just another chance to meet and greet Disney characters, either — it’s a whole new show happening three times per day at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. and featuring a mix of modernised Disney tunes with well-known pop songs. A cast of 14 dancers is led by a live host, with Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale joining in to coax the notoriously composed European audience to dance in the street. And one thing’s for sure: fluorescent is definitely in for 2011.
Photos and two videos of the show here! Read More…
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…
If you follow the official Disney Parks Blog you might have already enjoyed the superb “Tilt-Shift” videos of Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World, which turned those grand Disney parks into something resembling a toy train set or stop-motion animated film. Well, great news Disneyland Paris fans — they’ve taken a trip across the Atlantic! A brand new Disneyland Paris tilt-shift video premiered just hours ago today, in honour of the ninth birthday of Walt Disney Studios Park. Take a look above — it’s a seriously beautiful piece of work.
As the Disney Parks Blog explains, “Tilt-shift videos like these use different photo angles, focus settings and color saturation adjustments to make the subject of a photo appear miniature.” And most awe-inspiring, “It took more than seven months and 4,000 photographs to produce this 2:38-minute clip.” The variety of attractions, events and locations captured is truly impressive, far greater than the two earlier single-park videos, successfully making everything from Disney’s Fantillusion to Moteurs… Action! look like a small-scale model magically coming to life. We even get to see the up-scaled Toy Story Playland attractions downscaled again to the size of a toy!
C’est officiel: The Tarzan Encounter returns to The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland on 11th June and runs (daily, presumably) right through the Summer until 4th September 2011. It’s an odd turn of events that Disneyland Paris is championing so keenly its return to a show which originally premiered more than a decade ago, but that’s exactly what operating company Euro Disney SCA did at its Annual General Meeting last Friday, 4th March, announcing the dates for its new season as one of the biggest draws for 2011 in a dramatic video presentation, drawing woops of praise from the audience.
It was previously suspected that the show could just make it for a May start date, based on the audition calls, but the final June date still gives the show a good three-month run in the farthest corner of Frontierland — a vast improvement over 2010’s complete void of entertainment at the park’s theatres.
That’s it — it’s the end of an era, for now at least. All the benches of Le Théâtre du Château, the open air theatre at the heart of Disneyland Park, have now been completely removed as expected, save for those few back rows said to be retained as general seating. Member tarf on Disney Central Plaza captured the first photo of the bare amphitheatre above and in fact, it’s not an entirely negative change. Having row after row of empty, disused seating here throughout the day (save for a little excitement around parades) did always look rather depressing after all. Had the park been more sure of the theatre’s criminal disuse, it probably should have happened years ago, just to put it out of its misery.
The next step is anyone’s guess. Repaving? Redevelopment? Are the stone benches being kept somewhere in case the stage ever has some Sleeping Beauty-like reawakening? Do drop us a note if you happen to know more…
It already has permanent shows based at Walt Disney World Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort — now, could Cirque du Soleil, the world-famous avant-garde circus, be looking to Paris? Founder of the company Guy Laliberté has suggested for the first time that a show based at Disneyland Paris could be a real possibility. When interviewed by Christian Sylt for a piece in The Independent, we can reveal that on the subject Laliberté commented: “We are having discussions with Disneyland Paris. It could be good but we have to be careful because this is an environment where it doesn’t have the same kind of traffic as in Orlando.”
According to brief details given, any Cirque du Soleil show at the Paris resort would most likely be seasonal, with performances only during one of the busier periods for the resort, similar to the Wintuk show held from November to January in New York’s Madison Square Garden — which just finished its final run last month. The location at Disneyland Paris would possibly be the site of the existing Crescend’O “dome” in Disney Village, though probably not the existing tent, which was built for the smaller aquatic circus show in 1999 and has since been used mainly for business events. Both the La Nouba show in Florida and Zed show in Tokyo are in permanent residence at custom-built theatres.
Our third “theme year” in a row doesn’t actually have any definable theme like the current New Generation, but Disney Magical Moments Festival beginning 6th April will bring to the parks a new trend of character “happenings”, as they’re awkwardly translated. According to Character Central Blog, even Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade won’t be free from a little Magical Moments “plussing”, with six new costumes including a swarm of bees behind the Winnie the Pooh unit and a new interactive show stop which will invite children to step up and don small costumes to dance with the characters (or for Toy Story, run around with stick horses resembling Bullseye) — a similar idea to that which greeted the launch of The Wonderful World of Disney Parade in 1998.
Replacing the rather good Disney Showtime Spectacular on Central Plaza Stage will be another creation of the random Disney show name generator, Mickey’s Magical Celebration, this year said to feature a more classic range of characters such as Merlin, the Fairy Godmother, the Three Good Fairies and Mickey in two different costumes (surely including that Sorcerer outfit, rarely seen in Paris), with just one performance daily each evening. Interestingly the Genie will apparently appear as a real “face” character, something only seen before at the Disney California Adventure stage musical. More conventional will be the fourth (yes, really) reworking of the park’s Casey Jr. parade train, to this year be known as Disney Dance Express and exclusively feature the VIP team of Mickey, Minnie and friends. Rather than stopping for meet ‘n’ greets, however, the train is this year said to be stopping for a live show in the middle of Main Street akin to Magic Kingdom’s “Move It! Shake It!! Celebrate It!!! Street Party” — with fewer exclamation marks but still a live human host, dancers and possibly imported music.
On the subject of those “happenings”, Character Central has no word on the Peter Pan event but does report that a Jungle Book event will feature the park’s long-running African Tam Tams group alongside King Louie and Baloo. This is apparently in addition to new static figurines of these characters, similar to those of WALL-E and EVE which arrived in Discoveryland late last year. A new, live meet ‘n’ greet for Aladdin is also said to arrive near the back of Adventureland Bazaar, while Rapunzel and Flynn from Disney’s Tangled could be given a more permanent home near The Old Mill.
Those oddly-matched “Two Worlds” of Tarzan and Frontierland‘s Old West will be colliding again. That’s right, The Tarzan Encounter will be making a surprise comeback from June this year! The confirmation comes via an audition announcement on the Disneyland Paris Casting website. Featuring dance and acrobatics set to the music of the film, it originally ran over Summer seasons at The Chaparral Theater from April 2000 to September 2008.
The show was previously cancelled in February 2009 during a period of major decline in live entertainment at Disneyland Park which also saw The Legend of the Lion King come to a close at Videopolis Theatre just a month before. A fortnight after the cancellation, rumour suddenly surfaced that the show would, in fact, return for at least July and August, but it wasn’t to be. Frontierland’s theatre venue, the largest in the park, ultimately paid host to a brand new show, Goofy’s Summer Camp, which failed to win many fans and failed to return in 2010, leaving the theatre empty over the Summer for the first time in its history.
Looking for gymnasts and aerial acrobats as well as lead actors for Tarzan and Jane themselves, the casting call notes a contract from early May, although the actual premiere date is later due to time needed for rehearsals and the show will run from 11th June to 4th September.
Bringing The Tarzan Encounter back to the stage after two years will be a popular move for visitors lamenting the park’s often empty theatres. However, having to revert back to an 11 year old show like this may just be further evidence of the way the once highly-regarded stage show offering at Disneyland Paris has faded. Energy and budgets in recent years have shifted to the Central Plaza “spectaculars”, which guests are forced to watch over each others’ shoulders, standing up and outside in all weather.
In fact, it may be that the new Mickey’s Magical Celebration show from this April is currently scheduled to be a single, evening-only daily performance which has prompted this return for 2011.
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:
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