Monday, 19th November 2007

Satellites aligned for Stitch’s Live broadcast

Come March 2008, when guests step into Production Courtyard (or should we say Hollywood Studio?), the Walt Disney Television Studios home of Stitch Live will begin to tell its story, like any good Disney attraction, from the very first glance. Installed just recently atop the entrance pillar is a small golden satellite dish, pointing upwards into the sky.

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So, as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has its purple scorch marks to suggest the lightning strike, Stitch Live will suggest its live satellite link-up to outer space… in a more modest fashion. Notice also the extension of blue construction fences, previously only around the exit, to hide the entire queue area.

The satellite dish simply replaces the old decoration atop the purple/pink pillar, as compared here by our partner website WDSfans.com — a thin antenna which served more as a traditional Disneyland Resort Paris lightning rod than a piece of themed storytelling.

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Aside from changing the green Disney Channel sign to a new Stitch Live design, the addition of this satellite dish will likely be the biggest change to the exterior of the attraction before its opening.

The Imagineers working on the project (or rather the accountants) are no doubt glad that the original 2002 building already had a somewhat extra-terrestrial look about it, with a larger antenna on the corner facing Tower of Terror clearly having quite a 1950s sci-fi look.

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It remains to be seen, however, what effect the probable extension of the current Hollywood Boulevard placemaking will have on the building and its comparably vague era and setting.

As reported previously, the new interactive attraction is expected to open around 22nd March 2008.

— Photos by Photos Magiques / WDSfans.com and DLRP Today.

Monday, 5th November 2007

Stitch goes Live in March – dates announced

Less than 11 months after the closing of ‘Television Production Tour at Walt Disney Television Studios’, Stitch Live will “go live” in late March and be officially launched alongside The Twilight Zone Tower in early April 2008, marking the start of the resort’s “15th Anniversary Continues” year. The opening schedule was made available to cast members last Wednesday and shared by member Devil on Disney Central Plaza forum.

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‘Stitch Encounter’ at Hong Kong Disneyland

So, for the cast members presenting the show and providing the voice and movements of Stitch…

From mid-January to March 2008 (6 weeks) — training and rehearsals for performers.

In March 2008 (or end February) — 2 days of training for regular operational cast members

Then, where it gets very exciting for us…

SOFT OPENING (2 weeks) — 8th to 21st March 2008

OFFICIAL OPENING — 22nd March 2008

Opened, on-air and entertaining guests, the attraction will be officially inaugurated with the press and VIPs during the launch events of Tower of Terror, currently scheduled for the weekend of 4th to 6th April 2008. Of course, all these dates are only as currently scheduled and may be subject to change between now and March. End disclaimer.

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‘Stitch Encounter’ at Hong Kong Disneyland

If a bunch of opening schedule dates “live” from Paris aren’t exciting enough, take a look at this link originally posted by moderator Scrooge of Disney Magic Interactive forum, providing an extended look inside the Hong Kong version of the attraction and the magic of this truly unique show.

In just over 4 months’ time, Stitch’s exclusive debut of “living character” in Europe will no doubt be a sensation with audiences.

Sunday, 4th November 2007

Playhouse Disney – Live at the Studios?

Not content with Crush’s Coaster, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, High School Musical On Tour, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live, officials and Imagineers at Walt Disney Studios Park are said to already be lining up their next new attraction.

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!, the puppet and character show from Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, is now strongly rumoured to set up home in another of the empty television stages within Walt Disney Television Studios — the same building where, come March 2008, we’ll be able to see Stitch Live, forming a double act of live, interactive shows.

The trustworthy source La Rouquine on Disney Central Plaza forum claims the show is now a confirmed future plan for the Studios, likely to launch for the 2009 season.

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In both Florida and California, the show is presented in a soundstage-style building with guests young and old sitting on the floor, a series of “hanging” sets interchanging automatically on stage to present the worlds of Bear in the Big Blue House, JoJo’s Circus and Book of Pooh, amongst others. A live presenter carries the show, which features both puppetry and regular stand-up characters, encouraging young children to dance and clap along to their favourite television stars.

The show seems a perfect match for the park’s real Disney Channel studios, which originally hosted the actual Playhouse Disney continuity set for some time, on the stage where Stitch Live is now under preparation. With guests seated on the floor, costs would be minimal and the attraction would finally answer the calls of many parents visiting the resort whose children want to meet these stars. Disney has been putting a great deal of effort into its ‘Playhouse’ brand in recent years, including using it to introduce young children to Mickey Mouse for the first time with “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”.

Where could this rumoured Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage attraction go? Well, the television building is far larger than many might realise. Since its inauguration in late 2001, Disney Channel France have gradually used less and less of the television production facilities built exclusively for them, handing them over instead to park operations and using the building instead as their main office headquarters and the channel’s “playout” centre.

Take a look at our exclusive map…

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Beyond the stage most likely to be used for Stitch Live, a third stage of the same enormous size, perhaps larger, lies towards the back of the building. Its elongated shape would suit the live show format well, and with some realignment of doors the stage could certainly link directly through to use Disney Channel CyberSpace as its post-show, as has also been rumoured. Earlier rumours suggested new automatic doors will lead from the Stitch Live auditorium into the post-show area.

La Rouquine claims the show’s entrance would be located right next to that of Stitch Live. Noting the backstage corridors between the soundstages shown above and breaking into some pure speculation, it would be perfectly possible for Stitch to use the area marked “Pre-Show Area” for its pre-show, whilst Playhouse Disney guests could be ushered through the former “Channel Playout” backstage viewing area towards the third stage.

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Now of course, we can’t forget those rumours — which are still surprisingly quiet — of the Stars and Motor Cars Parade coming to the park from Florida, either. Whilst many suggested that the vehicles in this parade hosting Playhouse Disney characters would be cut immediately, the addition of an attraction dedicated to the channel’s characters would say otherwise — and add more credibility to rumours of the parade itself one day arriving.

Speaking of Florida, their plans to rename Disney MGM Studios to Disney’s Hollywood Studios include an update of their own Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! attraction in February 2008. The current round of characters will be replaced with even fresher faces from shows such as “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, “Little Einsteins” and “Handy Manny”. When — or should we still say, “if” — the show arrives at Walt Disney Studios Park, it will be this newer version of the show.

Sunday, 7th October 2007

Oh happy day! First official trailer for ‘The Celebration Continues’

The trailer has been published online by Parisian post-production company nightshift, labelled ‘Disney Big Time’ and running for around 2 minutes, it comprises a series of footage and graphics introducing the extended celebration and its main attractions, set largely to the gospel choir song “Oh Happy Day”.

You can watch the trailer in Flash format here, before we take a shot-by-shot look at what they’ve created…

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“The 15th anniversary celebrations… Extended by popular demand” reads the first graphics sequence, against a deep red background of ’15’ logos and the words ‘Big Time’, which is used throughout the trailer.

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The the familiar 15th Anniversary anthem music of “Flying”, we’re reminded of the launch campaign for the 15th and its events so far through footage and, later, still images cut together at split-second overlaps, building to the grand finale…

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…of the original television campaign, where a family watched the illumination of the Castle’s decorations. The music here suddenly dips, the footage seeming entirely separate to the new publicity campaign which follows.

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A round of slow clapping, illuminating more stars againt the red background each time, eventually builds to a full applause and the full, sparkling ’15’ symbol seen on Disneyland Park’s LED banners.

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As pre-recorded applause continues, the words “The party continues… big time” and “Ready for even more… Happy Days?” appear on screen.

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As the title song fades in, the screen dissolves to black…

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…And we’re introduced to a young girl, squinting in the sunlight on the Central Plaza stage, swaying her head from side to side and tightening her face as she reaches for the first notes of the song. Mickey clicks his fingers next to her…

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…Before a man appears on screen to sing the opening “Oh Happy Day!”, shaking pixie dust from his fingers.

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The same man then appears in a rather barren shot stood before The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, still shaking his fingers, with the first of three large letter effects used to introduce this “New Attraction”. The construction walls are painted over digitally with a plain yellow wall, whilst a neat effect of thunder and lightning fills the sky above The Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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The shot is soon filled with the other members of the “family” who appear from behind him, as a “bellhop” leans in to give a menacing stare to the camera. The costume used here is actually that seen in the video introductions of Disneyland15.com — the actual bellhops have much darker outfits with plentiful ‘HTH’ branding.

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The logo for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror appears on-screen with a starry black background.

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Then, still to the words of “Oh Happy Days”, we’re shown a selection of footage from the terrifying, faster-than-gravity freefall of the Tower of Terror…

Continued on Page 2.

Sunday, 7th October 2007

Stitch Live logo takes on television conventions

Bursting onto the screen with a “swoosh” amid an array of stars, the logo for Stitch Live is a surprising departure from the sail of Pirates of the Caribbean, the plaque of Phantom Manor or the storybook of Le Pays des Contes de Fées. It animates with the blue trail spiralling onto the screen, uses the modern (and widely available) Cooper Black font for the word ‘Live’ and shines with a white glow moving left-to-right across the word ‘Stitch’.

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Whilst the logo used for the ‘Stitch Encounter’ original at Hong Kong Disneyland is thoroughly “Tomorrowland” and even the logo seen on the first Paris concept art was more along the lines of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, the inspiration for this final logo is clearly taken straight from the title cards of television talk shows and light entertainment programmes.

It’s cheap, it’s slightly cheesy — it’s everything we wouldn’t want an attraction logo to be, under normal circumstances.

But this is Stitch Live, where the “living character” concept has finally found a more natural environment in the guise of a faux chat show. Pre-opening texts from Disneyland Resort Paris already show that Walt Disney Imagineering are keeping the television studio theme of the previous walk-through attraction — even expanding it, since now guests will get to take part and interview Stitch, rather than gazing from a distance into the real, tedious world of television.

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The logo comes from a trailer posted in the portfolio of post-production company nightshift, which has been comissioned to create advertisements and footage to promote the extended 15th Anniversary. The trailer also features Stitch running through Front Lot, with some brief footage from inside the Hong Kong attraction following.

Whilst the attraction was previously hardly mentioned by the resort, it has recently taken a much more prominent placement in advertising, promoted as a “New Experience” and even a “world-first”. Not quite, but “European-first” is still impressive.

Thursday, 4th October 2007

15th Anniversary EXTENDED… “en grande!”

The confirmation comes not from Disneyland Resort Paris themselves but a third-party travel company, Thomas Cook. Their latest UK brochure, released just last week, continues to put the 15th Anniversary logos and promotions at the heart of its pages, despite the edition serving trip planning as far in advance as December 2008.

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Brochures such as these primarily use images, logos and texts provided by Disneyland Resort Paris themselves, and so the official texts and taglines of the extended 15th Anniversary are also revealed already. With a double page dedicated to the events, the introduction reads:

15th Anniversary… Celebration Continues

Party on… the anniversary celebrations continue… Big time!

Disneyland Resort Paris is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the biggest party ever and you’re invited! It’s a celebration work celebrating even longer so they have extended it for 2008!

For French promotions the tagline is expected to use the words “En Grande!”, whilst English promotions have to settle for the rather less “grand” wording of — “The 15th Anniversary Celebration continues… big time!” The words “big time!” are to be featured throughout the texts and promotions.

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The second page features a large visual for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with the tagline “Drop In If You Dare” included above the Tower. As previously reported, confirmation of the ‘Stitch Live‘ name is given with a brief description of the experience, whilst High School Musical On Tour is now given a prominent placement at the request of Disneyland Resort Paris, following its exceptional guest satisfaction and feedback in the parks.

Elsewhere in the new brochure, official images show Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Disney Characters’ Express and Toon Studio in their final, realised forms for the first time.

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Also of note is the small amount of information given for Summer 2008 — with a photo of the spectacular 15th Anniversary launch fireworks, the text reads simply “…and for our grand finale, fireworks that’ll make a great day even more magical. It’s a summer worth celebrating… big time!”. With no mention of the ‘Wishes‘ name or even photography of the show, a return for 2008 looks very unlikely. In addition to this probable change of ‘feux d’artifice’, the Summer season is slated to run longer than it has for many years, dates confirmed as 5th July to 31st August!

The official brochure for the next Spring/Summer season is due to be released as usual in around December of this year, whilst additional advertisements and promos will announce the extention online and through media such as Disney DVDs.

An official closing date of the 15th Anniversary is now no longer confirmed — it could well be that the resort will be fast approaching its 17th year when the final pieces of the 15th are removed! It looks like Disneyland Resort Paris really hit the… “big time!” with this idea.

Brochure images © Thomas Cook/Disney; Scanned by DLRP Today.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007

Stitch Encounter’s chosen name goes “live”

The online poll, which ran for several weeks in the middle of June this year, asked visitors to the official Disneyland Resort Paris website to decide on a final name for Stitch Encounter, a “living character” attraction already open at Hong Kong Disneyland. The original name of Stitch Encounter was never an option, however, no doubt cast aside due to language understanding and similaries to Stitch’s Great Escape at Walt Disney World (which, confusingly for some, replaced the attraction Alien Encounter).

The three nominees in its place were, in no particular order — ‘Stitch’, ‘Stitch Live’ or ‘Stitch Interactive’.

And we can reveal the winner is…. ‘Stitch Live‘!

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Visual from Hong Kong to be used for Paris promotions.

The announcement comes from the latest Thomas Cook UK holiday brochure for Disneyland Resort Paris, covering the Spring 2008 season, with thanks to The Butlin Boy on magicforum for confirmation. The name is written here simply as “Stitch Live”, with no extra punctuation such as “Stitch: Live” or “Stitch Live!”.

The attraction replaces the TV Production Tour at Walt Disney Television Studios, using the same queue and pre-show room with the actual performance theatre and giant screen housed in the central production stage, formerly featuring an ‘Art Attack’ theme. The interactive post-show of Disney Channel-themed games is expected to return. Hinted in the official 2008 holiday brochure, it is now confirmed that the “story” of the attraction will indeed see guests enter Disney Channel Studios to interview Stitch via a live satellite link-up with outer space.

Whilst the original ‘Early 2008’ opening date was changed to ‘January 2008’ in June this year, newer park maps and marketing materials have since returned the attraction to an unspecific ‘Early 2008’.

This latest Thomas Cook brochure, which uses information provided directly by Disney, confirms an official opening date of March 2008. However, as with other “living character” attractions, a long “soft opening” period before an official inauguration takes place is likely, allowing the Cast Members and Stitch voice artists to refine their important roles.

Monday, 2nd July 2007

Official 2008 15th Anniversary Brochure Preview

If you’re in the UK, the new brochure is available right now. If not, you’ve probably got a little bit longer to wait, so here’s you’re first look at the Autumn/Winter 2007/2008 15th Anniversary Brochure. Before we look inside, why not look back at the first anniversary brochure, so you can spot the change?

And what a change this is. Once again, a new brochure brings another brand new design both inside and out for the official brochure, which has now ditched the minimal, stylish cover used for the past 3 seasons in favour of a much lounder and more attention-grabbing design…

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Front Cover

The recognisable red carpet of classic characters from the advertising campaigns throughout the year has been reworked with a new Autumnal backdrop. There’s no mistake this is a Disneyland brochure — something that was maybe a bit harder to realise with the first 15th brochure and its golden “15” centrepiece.

The general page layout remains similar to the past two brochures – a fold-out first page, price guides within the book and two double-page spreads for each park. However, the actual design has been totally renewed throughout, and is generally more professional, simple and modern yet again, going back to the clean and clear 2006 versions rather than the flashier (and slightly messier, in retrospect) Spring/Summer 2007 edition. The message throughout is that time is running out, the celebration will only last until March 2008.

How better to make that message clear than with the White Rabbit?

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First Page, Closed

Fold the page out, and you’ll find the four birthday gifts they’re proudest of – Kids Under 7 Stay & Play Free, A New Parade, More Characters and — here’s the big one — Four New Attractions. How many of us could have ever imagined to see an advertisement like that in an official Disneyland Resort Paris brochure?

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First Page, Folded Out

This is also the very first introduction of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. They’re making no attempt to hide the size and impact of the attraction, the dazzling key visual we revealed one month ago is clearly the biggest on the page. After all, this really is “it” now — the culmination of their huge investment programme, the biggest single new attraction since Space Mountain. They really can’t mess this one up. The logo used is the one we’re all familiar with, but Disneyland Resort Paris have altered it slightly from California with a darker yellow colour and some Photoshop bevel & emboss.

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Contents / Experiences

Into the brochure itself, the Contents page is now as simple and clear as can be. Only six sections are listed, on a red page bordered with gold — a theme then carried through all the introduction pages in the brochure. Opposite, a fantastic photo of the main anniversary characters around a giant “15” symbol. You might have already seen this on those “interactive” billboards in Paris, now also a great way to open the brochure.

The next double page (for the resort’s various “Experiences”) introduces the standard page design of the brochure, quite different to the first 15th Anniversary edition. Lots of “whitespace” and simple, small text bordered by colourful photos. They’re even branching into new territory here with a greater focus on adults and seniors in the photos and a large paragraph titled “Just for grown-ups”, something many fans have suggested for years. You’ll see more additions like this through the rest of the pages…

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Parks Introduction

The parks introduction page again uses the Castle and Earful Tower together, that most favourite of mistakes for fans, but certainly looks much more inviting than the previous edition.

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Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park already unveiled all of its 15th Anniversary events back in April, but they’ve stuck with the illustrations and visuals to advertise them, placing Dreams of Imagination and Dreams of Fantasy on a red carpet. Even Disney Characters’ Express has made its way into a prominent place on the page, listed alongside Candleabration to hint that — since this brochure is valid from now until March — both of these features will indeed continue right through Halloween and Christmas. The second double-page is more standard, still with Buzz Lightyear in the spotlight and all the usual classic attractions.

Walt Disney Studios Park is the real star of this brochure, finally coming across as the kind of qualified second gate that will make guests decide to stay an extra night. Apparently, there’s some new attractions opening at the park, too…

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Walt Disney Studios Park (1)

One page, four new attractions. Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally are still featuring using their same old key visuals and Stitch Encounter (or rather ‘Stitch Interactive Attraction’ for now) is hidden away in there, but the star of this production is undoubtedly The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. A full page is dedicated to its fantastic key visual and reworked logo.

Remember when no-one thought Disneyland Resort Paris would use ‘The Twilight Zone’ aspect of its storyline at all? Well, now that the first piece of advertising is shouting out at us, it looks like they couldn’t be more proud of it. As with Crush and Cars, however, that recognisable brand comes at a price — they’re now required to print “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is inspired by The Twilight Zone, a registered trademark of CBS, Inc.” (CBS being the US television network which originally aired the series) on every page featuring the attraction.

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Walt Disney Studios Park (2)

Another thing they couldn’t be more proud of is the actual theme of Tower of Terror. Whilst Space Mountain: Mission 2 was marketed for its thrill alone, they’re already hyping the unique atmosphere and theming of The Hollywood Tower Hotel. The second key visual included is therefore… a bellhop. This brand new image, never before used for the Florida or California Towers, looks set to become very familiar over the next six months. Despite this renewed interest in good theming versus basic thrills, however, there’s no mention anywhere of either Toon Studio or the Hollywood Boulevard projects, which is a shame considering the effort (and money) put into them.

This second double page excitedly lists almost all the attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park — quite an impressive list these days — and also features a glimpse at the very first (and very understated) advertising for Stitch, an image from Hong Kong. What’s more interesting is the small sentence next to its listing in the attractions guide — “Stitch Interactive Attraction — the chance to interview Stitch live”, confirming that the story of the attraction will be a live interview with Stitch in outer space, and that the television studio theme is definitely staying.

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Seasons & Events

The Seasons & Events page doesn’t have much to reveal this year, as Halloween and Christmas take a backseat for the anniversary. Next to a nice new image of Stitch to advertise Halloween, we learn only that this October will bring “special shows and events” and “special make-up and hair ‘boo’-tiques”. Christmas is equally vague, but the prominent use of a photo featuring the Enchanted Fairytale “Chandeliers” raises the question if they can be used at the same time as Lumiere’s banners, and if indeed they will return this November…

St David’s Welsh Festival and St Patrick’s Day are also confirmed to return in 2008, following huge success earlier this year.

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Disney Village

‘Fun Beyond the Parks’ brings us four double-page spreads showcasing Disney Village, dining, recreation and the Paris region, the introduction page featuring a rather nice new photo of Disney Village itself. The next page, ‘Taste the magic’, features options such as character meals, Half Board, Christmas meals and the restaurant reservations hotline. The new Disney Princes & Princesses meals at Auberge du Cendrillon are given a strong push here.

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Spa, Sports & Relaxation

Following on that trend of more adult-orientated features, a new double-page now lists leisure and recreation across the resort with some modern and fresh photos — one in particular not what guests might expect from Disney. The new ‘Celestia Spa’ at Disneyland Hotel seems to be the focus here.

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Disney Hotels Introduction / Disney Hotels pages sample

The Disney Hotels pages are another big improvement over the previous edition of the official brochure, with a nicer introduction page and massively improved pages for each hotel. The design is now far more modern and fresh, with new photos, better information and more emphasis on the features only available at Disney Hotels, such as Extra Magic Hours. Continuing their new love of good theming, the first large bullet point on the “why stay at a Disney hotel?” page is now… “Disney theming”.

Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch gets its own double-page, before the pages shift suddenly into the slightly dull pages entitled “Other Accommodation” for the partner hotels.

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2008 Resort Map & Official Partners

The 2008 Resort Map will be a bit of a disappointment to perfectionists. Even though they’d finally managed a correct illustration of the esplanade and hub area for the 15 years development plan revealed in February, the map to be used for 2008 is the same as that for 2007, with Tower of Terror simply replacing Reign of Fire.

More interesting, though, are the “official partners” now featured in the corner of this page — the regulars are joined by Ford and Unilever, Nestlé has now completely gone and right in the middle… IBM. They’re still hanging on!

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Special Offers / Price Guide pages sample

The special offers page is also new and improved, the calendar of offers shown via a red carpet wrapping across the top of the page. The usual ‘Kids Free’ offer in the early months of each year is now known by the snappy title of ‘Kids Under 12 Stay, Play & Travel for Free’.

Price guide pages use better photos and are generally simplified yet again. New features include more emphasis on the special benefits at Disney Hotels and the various offers and options available with each booking — “Add Half Board Plus for £16”, for example, similar to the new booking system of the official website.

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Eurostar / Mickey’s Holiday Dinner Show

This being the UK brochure, there’s a lot of extra space devoted to travel and transport, in particular the direct Eurostar which moves to St Pancras International from 14th November and will then enjoy journey times of less than 3 hours from the heart of London to the gates of Disneyland. There’s also photos and details on the new entertainments and privileges introduced to make the direct Eurostar a little more “Disney”, such as a jazz band at London and better activity packs for kids.

Finally, amongst the three double pages of “magical options”, one change stands out — it appears that the Christmas dinner show at Disney’s Newport Bay Club, formerly titled The Magical World of Tinker Bell, will change its name this year to ‘Mickey’s Holiday Dinner Show’. The vague description mentions “music and dance” with “Disney friends”, hinting perhaps that the only change may be the name.

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Back Cover

And there we have it, the second and final Official 15th Anniversary Brochure!

The world outside the gates of Disneyland now knows that Tower of Terror is on its way to Paris in just six months, that ‘Stitch Interactive Attraction’ will bring the new attraction total at Walt Disney Studios to four, and that — quite simply — this is one year at Disneyland nobody should miss.

All images scanned by DLRP Today, brochure © Disney.

Thursday, 21st June 2007

‘Stitch Interactive’? Your opinion counts…

We mentioned in the last update on Stitch Encounter that the original name of the Hong Kong import was beginning to be lost in the various press releases and previews given so far, reverting to a temporary “Stitch interactive attraction” tagline, with even the Walt Disney Television Studios name still conserved on the latest park maps.

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With the launch of this new online survey, though, ‘Stitch Encounter‘ appears to be out of the picture entirely, in favour of three brand new name ideas:

– Stitch Interactive
The entire basis of the attraction is the ability to interact in real-time with Stitch, so this name would certainly give first-timers an idea of the attraction’s aim.
– Stitch Live
On the other hand, with the TV-studio theme, this one could be a good way to put across the story of the live satellite link-up to outer space with one snappy four-letter word.
– Stitch
Short and simple – just the little blue alien’s name. This is what most of us will call it in conversation when it opens anyway, but is it too non-descript for an official title?

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The survey opens in a pop-up window, and first asks the visitor what country they’re from, whether they’ve visited Disneyland Resort Paris before and if they have any children, which age groups they fall into.

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Next, you’re introduced to the attraction concept:

“A totally new amazing and interactive attraction for the whole family will open at Disneyland Resort Paris. The Disney Character, Sttich, from the popular film Lilo & Stitch, will play, joke and will even have a conversation with you. This is a first-of-its-kind, real-time animated interaction.

“We have several ideas for the name of this attraction and we should like to have your opinion.”

Each of the three names appears on separate pages, and you’re asked to vote between 1 (do not like it at all) and 10 (like it very much) as to how much you’d like it to become the final name.

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Finally, you’re asked “And if you had to choose only one name for this new attraction, which do you prefer?”, with the options of the three names or, if you’re thoroughly not impressed with their choices – “none of them”.

The survey originally opened last week, before it was promptly closed a few days later with the message “This survey has already closed, thank you for your interest.” However, today the survey is once again open for votes, so if you missed it just before the weekend – you’ve still got time to have your say!

Click here to vote on the official UK website »

Click here to vote on the official French website »

(Click the blue box seen above in the sidebar, featuring Stitch)

This isn’t the first time Disneyland Resort Paris has asked for feedback on the naming of a new attraction. In March-2005, they infamously launched a survey which provided four brand new names for the project then already known as Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast. Those names were, in no particular order: Buzz Lightyear’s Cosmic Adventure, Buzz Lightyear’s Cosmic Blast, Buzz Lightyear’s Intergalactic Adventure, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Adventure.

Needless to say, the names were met with immediate disappointment from fans who much prefered the existing “Laser Blast” name. This survey luckily provided an extra comments box, allowing fans to register their thoughts with more depth and suggest once again the “Laser Blast” title. Although “Space Adventure” was apparently the chosen title, and used on the very first press release for the attraction, the name was suddenly changed just a few months later to… Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

So, your opinion really can count with this new attraction! The chance to help name a new attraction doesn’t come very often, but what do you think to those names? Let us know in the comments below which you chose, and also – if you’ve got any bright ideas – what other names you could have come up with. You never know what they’ll choose…

Screencaps from © Disney website.

Friday, 15th June 2007

Stitch Encounter for early, early 2008!

When they said ‘Early 2008’ they really did mean early 2008. Not mid or late March as we might have guessed, but – as confirmed by the latest Walt Disney Studios Park guide map – January 2008. Following this month’s double attraction opening, January 2008 looks as if it will also welcome two brand new attractions to Walt Disney Studios. Typical, isn’t it, we wait five years for new attractions and then two come in the same month, twice!

Anyone who follows other Disney resorts around the world will know the immense rehearsal schedule these “Living Character” shows go through before their official premiere, so if January 2008 is the official opening, the first guests through the turnstiles could potentially come much sooner – especially when we remember the contract for Stitch’s voice performers begins as early as October.

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We can also garner a little more information about the attraction from this latest park map update. The attraction is still listed in bold as Walt Disney Television Studios – the name of the building and its former attraction, with “Stitch interactive attraction” below. Both the April press release and recent Shareholders newsletter also named the attraction with this vague statement, suggesting the Imagineers and operations haven’t agreed on the final moniker yet.

Since ‘Walt Disney Television Studios’ is still used here, could we see the latest in Disney’s new craze of double attraction names (see Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island), with a name along the lines of ‘Stitch Encounter at Walt Disney Television Studios’? In reality, this wouldn’t be too different to the former attraction, which opened as ‘Television Production Tour at Walt Disney Television Studios’ before later being shortened.

But this is just a name – for the attraction itself, this sign of clinging on to the ‘Walt Disney Television Studios’ name suggests that the show may well be presented slightly differently to its Hong Kong Disneyland Tomorrowland original, perhaps with a more studio-based edge.

At least with this early early 2008 opening, we don’t have long to “wait and see”…

Park map scan provided by WDSFans.com.

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