Wednesday, 16th March 2011

Disneyland Paris gets the Tilt-Shift treatment: Amazing “model” video of the parks and rides!

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!

VIA Disney Parks Blog

Wednesday, 16th March 2011

Happy Birthday Walt Disney Studios: Disney’s tenth park turns nine

Nine years ago today, Disney’s tenth theme park worldwide opened its gates. For such a milestone, the original Walt Disney Studios Park of 16th March 2002 was perhaps not the best representative of the Disneyland ideals. Be it through desperate lack of budget or not, the park drastically missed the mark of what a European audience — or any audience — wants from a theme park. Forget the beautiful landscapes of Tokyo DisneySea, opened a year earlier; here there were almost no outdoor themed areas to speak of at all, just 25 hectares of freshly poured tarmac asphalt and 10 attractions housed in uninspiring “soundstages” of concrete. The bid to pay tribute to European filmmakers was noble but possibly misguided — Florida’s raining Singin’ in the Rain umbrella scene was changed to the barely known Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, for example — and the glitzy warmth of Hollywood was oddly missing. The park suffered from a complete lack of escapism, when what people really wanted was a whole park with the colour and spirit found inside, say, Disney Studio 1.

Because that’s the thing — the park has always had some great attractions. Nine years on, CinéMagique remains beautifully subtle and wonderfully entertaining, one of the best movie-based attractions ever. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith might not be pretty on the outside but the ride inside arguably beats its kitsch Florida cousin, whilst after 9,000 performances it’s easy to take for granted just how impressive the stunts of Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular really are.

Having dug itself a hole by ploughing too much (or, you could say, not enough) money into an unpopular park, it took Euro Disney SCA far longer than it should have done to begin expanding the second gate. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror should really have opened in 2005 (or earlier), rather than begun construction that year, whilst the Toon Studio expansion of Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye should have been there from the start, not five years after opening. No-one should have ever green-lit the Television Production Tour, now occupied instead by Stitch Live! since 2008 and Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! since 2009.

The modest Hollywood Boulevard turned out to be a great surprise and even Toy Story Playland, maligned by some corners of the fan community, is a marked step above any other themed areas in the park. To get the Ratatouille dark ride built in the years ahead would be an amazing feat: the first new dark ride at Disneyland Paris (ignoring Buzz) in all its 20 years and possibly the first real implementation of Audio Animatronics in the whole Studios park. But let’s just hope it doesn’t end there, that we see the park continue like its last four years rather than the first five. May the park continue to improve and expand, to revisit Theater District and fix the original areas, to add places to eat and places to buy things, and maybe, one day, rename Production Courtyard. We can but dream… Here’s to the future!

Friday, 5th February 2010

Mysterious ‘Ratatouille Ride Element’ uncovered

STOP PRESS! The mystery has been solved — click here.

When was the last time you got excited about a steel cage sitting in a warehouse? Well that’s exactly what we’re all doing, folks. Found on this vague website about drywall construction based in Burbank, California, the image sits inconspicuously in the sidebar, labelled “Disney Radius Dome Construction” and then… “Ratatouille Ride Element”.

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

Follow a few links around that website, and you can stumble upon a photo of drywall construction for a “Disney Sound Booth”. Both short-lived blogs were last updated in December 2009, though it’s impossible to tell exactly when the photo was posted.

But what is it? A cage? A giant colander?

Maybe we shouldn’t think about it sitting there on the ground. Imagine it higher up, and suddenly…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…it seems…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…very…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…very…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…familiar…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…indeed.

Those domes on Tower of Terror arrived pretty much complete at the resort and were only lifted into place a year before it opened. If they were already preparing this “element” as early as November or December 2009, that’s some head-start they’ve got. Not to mention a little presumptuous since, as far as we know, the ride hasn’t been fully green-lit just yet.

But could Rémy really be bringing another dome to the Walt Disney Studios collection, as part of his Parisian attraction façade? Well, there are plenty to inspire in the city itself…

Tip of the (chef’s) hat to fcoyote on Disney Central Plaza, RnRCj on magicforum
Images: Davidmackeydrywall.com, DLRP Today.com

Friday, 4th December 2009

Hollywood Tower guided tour made “officiel”

…But only in French. Since the first promotion of the tour has been spotted via the Annual Passholder site, it is, like all elements of the resort’s Passeport Annuel service, available only “en Français”.

More forgivably, as confirmed by Andichatz in the comments on our first article, the tour itself will also only be presented in French, as the script and guide are not yet prepared for other languages. Hopefully it will be lapped up quick enough that it continues on, with other languages made available.

Hollywood Tower guided tour made 'officielle'

The new page on the official website communicates mostly the same information reported previously — tours every Saturday from the 18th December with groups of no more than 10 people. The meeting point is not the Tower of Terror itself but Studio Services in Front Lot, and a start time is also confirmed: 9.10am.

One plus for Annual Passholders: You can enjoy the tour for just €9.60, rather than €12.

However, whilst it’s advertised on the site as “Les coulisses de la Tour de la Terreur”, there’s no mention that this will actually offer a true backstage tour of the tower, going behind the layers of Disney theming — instead, it aims to add to the magic on stage.

With word that the first tour is already booked-up, here’s hoping for a translation soon.

Wednesday, 25th November 2009

Doors open for new Twilight Zone tower tour

On 19th December 2009, the VIP and Guided Tours service launches a first in the world of Disney Parks — a guided tour dedicated solely to one attraction: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Doors open for new Twilight Zone tower tour

The trial, announced by Grandmath on Disney Central Plaza, will see groups of no more than 10 explore the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel for 1 hour as a guide, well versed in the secrets and legends, explains and highlights the fascinating hidden details, in-jokes and Twilight Zone nods.

Taking place on Saturday mornings before park opening, the tours will give a unique angle on the unique attraction, allowing guests to experience exclusive, privatised access to the lobby and library rooms, before concluding their tour of “La Tour” with a drop into the fifth dimension aboard the service elevator itself.

Expect to pay €12 (discounts possible for Annual Passholders), with the tours subject to demand and availability. To begin with, they’re only running on a trial basis. Guest satisfaction will be assessed to see if the Twilight Zone Tour can become a full-time offering.

Information is available at City Hall, Studio Services or by calling +33 (0) 1 64 74 21 26. The VIP/Guided Tours service may also be able to help with enquiries via email: dlp.relations.vip@disney.com

Guided Tours of the two parks will continue, available for €15 at Disneyland Park and €10 at Walt Disney Studios Park, which does feature The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror but in much lesser detail. They’re free for under 12s and available in several languages depending on availability on the day.

Monday, 2nd November 2009

EMH + WDS = Confirmed!

We reported last week that, for three weekends in late November and early December, both parks would be opening at 9am rather than 10am, as has been custom since the introduction of those two Extra Magic Hours (EMH) at Disneyland Park.

Better than that, there were hints of those extra hours making their way to Walt Disney Studios Park for the first time. Hints that are now… confirmed! From the official Disneyland Paris website:

NEW
Walt Disney Studios will be exceptionnally opened from 8am to 9am for Extra Magic Hours on November 28th and 29th, and on December 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th, 2009.

So, if you’re visiting on those six dates (and qualify for EMH), you’ll get to enjoy a world-premiere: one hour of exclusive ride time in the Studios, from 8am to 9am, before other guests.

EMH + WDS = Confirmed!
Coming soon to a Studios near us?

The attractions to be opened for the trial haven’t been publicly announced anywhere, but it appears generally agreed upon that they’ll be the most prominent ride-based favourites: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, Flying Carpets Over Agrabah and of course, Crush’s Coaster.

Riding the EAC may no longer take an hour or more of queueing, but it remains to be seen what effect this has on regular, non-EMH-qualifying guests. Since it became the norm to run straight to Crush as soon as the park opens, how will these regular visitors feel if they arrive only to find the Crush’s Coaster queue already populated by more privileged ride fans?

Finally, park hours for the rest of December have now been published. Though they’re not as generous as these three weekends, we do see the opening time at Disneyland Park giving way slightly to regular guests — now set at 9.30am, rather than 10am, making EMH a still-respectable hour and half window. This is the first time in almost 10 years we’ve seen park hours go into half-hours, and the flexibility is very welcome indeed.

• Check the December 2009 park hours
• Find out more about Extra Magic Hours

Tuesday, 27th January 2009

New year, new Disneyland Resort Paris logo?

Both the name and logo changes of Disneyland Resort Paris are well-documented, but there’s been something going on these past couple of years which has begun to make all that fuss about switching from “Euro Disney” to “Disneyland Paris” very simple indeed.

History in logos…

With the 2002 opening of the second Disney park in Paris, we were introduced to Disneyland Resort Paris and the “arc and stars” of a brand new logo which is still frequently used to this day:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

However, to celebrate the resort’s 15th anniversary in 2007, you’ll remember a special new logo was introduced — and went on to become very widely-used. It dropped the arc in favour of a dramatic “15”, and simplified — though probably shrunk a little too much — the “Resort Paris” element:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

Now, as popular as this logo apparently was, both with fans and the resort’s advertising teams, it obviously posed a problem for advertising in UK. Unlike the other countries where Disneyland Resort Paris holds offices, the UK promotes both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in Paris entirely equally. Since 2002, the “Paris” of the resort’s logos just wasn’t clear enough.

So, last year in 2008, we got a solution:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

Not technically a resort logo — it has only really been used in UK advertising, and never at the resort itself — it was hardly perfect. The “Resort” only just managing to cling on and certainly, a strong example of why The Walt Disney Company should probably refrain from using its cherished typeface for anything other than the key words themselves — the “P” of “Paris” appearing more like the classic “D” being waved around on a stick.

New 2009 logo

Which brings us neatly up to 2009. Another year, another logo? Yes indeed!

However, this time, they took the chance to fix things once and for all — well, eventually. The first simplified logo for the Mickey’s Magical Party year stayed close to its “Disneyland15” predecessor, but now a new, updated version appears to have finally clicked “bold” on the “Resort Paris” and no doubt put a smile on the UK office’s faces:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo
First version / Second version

Even better, perhaps, there’s a version of the logo without the “Mickey’s Magical Party” title but still very nicely framed by the new balloon emblem:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

But, come 2010, will the balloon (or even the logo!) remain? Quite possibly…

A generic version of the logo removes the balloon and brings the text almost right back to the resort’s classic navy blue colour used for the 1995 “Disneyland Paris” logo:

Disneyland Resort Paris logo

Without the balloon, it’s admittedly not quite as special, but what do you think? Is the new logo an improvement? And should it — or will it, even — stay beyond 2009?

All logos © Disney.

Thursday, 7th August 2008

Towers still exchanged on 2009 Calendar

The brand new souvenir calendar for 2009 is now available in the shops and boutiques of Disneyland Resort Paris! Every year, regular as clockwork, we get another one to add to our collection. From 2002, they featured the Earful Tower and Walt Disney Studios Park for the first time. Then, in 2008 — all change! The water tower landmark of the Studios replaced by its towering Hollywood Tower Hotel neighbour.

In 2009, the change remains in place, albeit with a more colourful new illustration:

Image

After all, you’re more likely to buy something with that fabulously-themed, thrilling, star attraction on it, than something with a simple water tower, right? Earful fans, have no fear, he’s still around as the “true” park icon, on tickets, maps, logos and so on, but there’s no arguing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror‘s immediate status as an icon of Disneyland Resort Paris.

Inside, things remain almost equally unchanged. Many of the pictures are exactly the same as 2008, whilst some have simply switched around (compare July and August with your 2008 calendar, for example).

Image

Some of the more generic photos on the 2008 edition are replaced by new images for things like Stitch Live! and Toon Studio, whilst Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is now represented by a visual from the Florida attraction (notice the stuck-down guns) rather than the old image of Buzz actually outside the Paris attraction.

It’s available now for €6.90, at least rather more economical to collect than pins, eh?

[Pictures: PhotosMagiques.com]

Tuesday, 29th July 2008

Goofy new bellhop joins the ranks at Tower

If you’ve had a chance to look through the merchandise at Tower Hotel Gifts yet, you’ll know that Disney characters dressed up in the recognisable maroon uniforms of the Hollywood Tower Hotel bellhops are more than just slightly popular. But so far, we’ve never been able to meet… a life-size one.

Step up to the elevator doors, Goofy! Disney’s infamous disaster zone is undoubtedly the perfect fit for the accident-prone hotel, now arriving every day this Summer next to the dried-up fountain for photos and autographs with his fans — in the full Tower of Terror costume.

Image
“Aw gawwsh, which way is the hotel again?!”

Image Image

Pins, plushes, T-shirts and more have all been dedicated to Disney characters dressed as bellhops over the years at the other two Hollywood Tower Hotels in California and Florida. Never before though, has one worn the costume for real. Another “petit exclu” for Walt Disney Studios Park!

Image Image

Though times are not published in advance, you should be able to find Bellhop Goofy to the left of the attraction entrance every afternoon at the Studios, with appearances often right up until the park closing time of 7pm.

[Pictures: DLRP Today.com]

Tuesday, 29th April 2008

Tower of Terror: Spectacular inauguration (full video)

It was one of the most spectacular events in the 16-year history of the resort, but the official video of the event we just shared features only 4 minutes of highlights from the inauguration show of Marne-la-Vallée’s tallest landmark. The real thing lasted an entire 14-minutes from the chiming clock to the ghostly, wandering souls making their way toward the audience.

Would you like to attend the exclusive gala? Thanks to a source in the park, we’re going back to October 31st, 1939, with an exclusive full video of the entire inauguration show, including front-row shots of the Hollywood cars and zombified victims.

Turn down the lights, yank up the volume, click fullscreen and let Hollywood come to life…

You can also download this video as a WMV file here.

Did you notice, the American broadcaster reporting on the gala evening even announces its callsign as K-WDS? Now remember — don’t stop watching when the fog rolls in, there’s still one final scene waiting to grab you by surprise.

You have just entered into The Twilight Zone.

» Click here to see the full event in picures

» Click here to see official video highlights

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