Sunday, 24th February 2008

Drop in, if you dare – online!

Visitors can access the official website of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror through several different addresses, such as,, or, which all redirect through to the site’s actual location —

The website opens with an aged, 1939 newspaper front page as the language select screen. Versions are already available for France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, quite an array compared to past website launches. Named the “Tribune of Terror”, the newspaper’s clever strapline reads “However scary the story, we never let it drop”.


Choose your country and the text on the newspaper immediately changes to the relevant language, with a headline reading “5 People mysteriously vanish from the Hollywood Tower”. Either side, you can see more analysis such as “A new theory on the mystery” along with a story about the premiere of The Wizard of Oz, also in 1939.

The newspaper then morphs into a modern-day 2008 edition, with “The Hollywood Tower Hotel re-opens for business” as its headline. In the masthead, spot an advertisement for “Hotel management school” and a picture of the first Tower of Terror, at Walt Disney World, with the words “Introduction to free fall”. Other headlines on the front page continue their coverage — “Relatives of those who vanished are reunited”, “Retrospective: exhibition of furniture and objects”, “Interview with Burt Umble [spot the pun?], the new owner”.


The animation doesn’t give you too long to read these headlines, however. The page zooms into the lead image — a bleak view of the hotel through twisted gates, taking you through the overgrown gardens and through the entrance doors as lightning cracks overhead. Inside the Lobby, the camera rests on the homepage of the entire site, with the first appearance by our friendly bellhop:


The website is introduced by the bellhop, with various items around the lobby now leading to different floors. Leave the page to run, however, and you’ll see several more clever special effects. Lightning hitting the mirror, the chalkboard turning into a view from the dropping elevator cars, or maybe a ghostly bellhop…

Image Image Image

He’s not the only translucent habitant within the website. A little later, you’ll see a happy couple remarkably similar to that in the attraction’s actual pre-show video, shot more than 14 years ago. The elevator doors in the distance glow green as shrieks and screams echo through the halls from a falling elevator. Finally, the child movie star and her mother — also from the pre-show video — appear to check-in. The girl even still has hold of her doll!

Image Image Image

Let’s hop into the elevator and ride to our first location. As you travel, scenes blur past the screen. Look closely and you might even spot a few false teeth lost in the Twilight Zone!


The second floor is home to the Library (since the website doesn’t follow the “real” layout of the hotel exactly), where a very polished preview video clip appears on screen via the old-fashioned television.


Click ‘Switch Off’, and you see the full library, lit by elegant Tiffany lamps, with the bellhop picking a book up from the floor.


Despite this area being described as “Discover the Tower of Terror”, there isn’t a great deal of information given, or much of an introduction of what actually happens during the ride. Instead, you’re offered just a few pages from the bellhop’s book to build your own thoughts about the Tower. It even features two pieces of real Walt Disney Imagineering concept art, which we’ve featured in the past.


Up on the third floor, a scene from the attraction’s boiler room is used to promote some Jaw-dropping offers.


The offers pop up with a background of the Tower and Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. The font/typeface used throughout the website is particularly well tied with the theme.


The fourth floor is home to the Terror Movie Theatre, one of the website’s most important features. Here, you’ll see MTV presenter Ricky Haywood-Williams in the UK version and famous M6 presenter Virginie Efira for the French version. Following the presenter’s introduction, a movie reel is projected on the screen continuing their explanation of this unique competition, allowing the public to dream up their own commercial for the attraction. (Look out for more on this soon!)


The bellhop won’t take us any higher at the moment, so we take a sudden drop into the Basement, where the second key feature of the website is located. In a boarding hall similar to that in the real attraction, a door opens to invite us to step aboard and experience what’s known as “The Tower of Terror Effect”. What’s that? It’s different for everyone, apparently. It’s whatever happens to you when you take that gravity-defying plunge and momentarily slip into the Twilight Zone.


For the website at least, though, it’s just a fun picture manipulation game, introduced with a special logo across the elevator doors…


When the doors open onto the darkness of the elevator shaft, you’re invited to upload a photo of yourself… or at least someone you’re familiar with. Let’s choose this one…


Position the photo and pick your chosen manipulation effect. Enter a headline and some text, and your friend will soon receive, via email, a customised Tribune of Terror with your frightening “Tower of Terror Efffect” photograph splashed across the front page…


Using the latest Flash technology, not to mention a great deal of care and attention toward the attraction’s theme and story, the website builds once more on the successes of past mini-sites such as Space Mountain: Mountain 2 and the 15th Anniversary, put together by the same external firm.

With their ideas such as video characters interacting with environments now perfected, here is the most impressive website for a Disney attraction anywhere in the world.

But, as you’ll no doubt notice, the online Tower of Terror world is far from complete yet. A noticeboard in the lobby advertises a Guided Tour with such future thrills as a Games Room, Makeover Room and Presidential Suite. Originally advertised for 25th February, the launch date has now changed to 3rd March 2008. With equally beautiful, brand new “sets” and locations built especially for the website, these new areas will add a whole new dimension to The Hollywood Tower Hotel, it’s history and legend.

Tuesday, 13th November 2007

New brochure, no Tower

Yes, “more of the same” quite literally, in fact. Posted on the brochure ordering system of the UK Disneyland Resort Paris website, this latest brochure cover is for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2008 edition, the third holiday guide for the 15th Anniversary following the original Spring/Summer 2007 edition and second Autumn/Winter 2007/08 publication.

The cover uses what is expected to be the “key visual” of the extended 15th Anniversary The Party Continues season — more specifically, one of the original anniversary visuals we first revealed ourselves back in July 2006, now simply re-dressed with Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse and a fluttering red ribbon or carpet.


And that’s it — “The party continues”. So, are Stitch Live and that little Tower they’ve been building for the past two and half years no longer opening during this season?

Casually perusing brochures in their local travel agent, the average customer has no idea whatsoever that this Spring/Summer 2008 season will, in fact, mark the official launch of — you guessed it — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Which, as we must echo once again, is without doubt the biggest single addition to the resort for over 10 years, since Space Mountain: De La Terre a  la Lune, infact.

Now would be a good time to dig up a little treasure from the past, then, courtesy of DLRP Magic!’s ‘Classic Brochures’ page. Long-time fans will remember the 1995 launch campaign of Space Mountain well, and the holiday brochure released in July of that year certainly didn’t disappoint — a dark and moody portrait of a rocket train being fired toward the moon, the mountain only vaguely visible as an ominous blue glow.


The holiday brochure isn’t the entirity of the campaign, of course, but it’s a good indication of where the resort’s marketing priorities will lie. The 2007 brochure covers made no mention of Crush’s Coaster or Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, two additions which would later be incredibly well-received by the public, and — would you believe it — practically no country other than France saw any promotion whatsoever for these two fairly major additions to Walt Disney Studios Park.

So, whilst The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will be given advertising at some point (in fact, it already is in some French locations), don’t immediately expect it to be the focus of next year’s campaigns. The best idea, it seems, is to stick with what works — regardless of any €160m attractions you might be opening.

What do you think? Should they be saying “The Party Continues” or “Drop In… if you Dare!” for 2008?

— Our UK guests can order the brochure here; Everyone else, look out for our usual preview soon!

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.

‘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.

‘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, 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…


“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.


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…


…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.


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.


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


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


…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…


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


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.


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 — the actual bellhops have much darker outfits with plentiful ‘HTH’ branding.


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


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’.


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.


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.


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.

Image Image

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.


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.

Subscribe to the Magic!

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Offers and Deals

Tags & Archives

Twitter Updates

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary Offers and Deals