Saturday, 20th October 2007

Video: Final HSM On Tour, rides & interview with Corbin Bleu at Walt Disney Studios

You can find Part 1 of the series here and Part 2 here.

Video – Corbin Bleu visits Walt Disney Studios Park

The main video begins with Corbin riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and feeting the first few fans to recognise him, before strolling across the park (pointing to Tower of Terror) toward Crush’s Coaster, which he rides several times. Next, the video features his entire pre-parade and the star watching Disney Cinema Parade itself. The video ends with clips from 2007’s final High School Musical On Tour performance and Corbin signing more autographs from fans gathered during the show.

Video – Corbin Bleu interview at Walt Disney Studios Park

Against a backdrop of the High School Musical On Tour stage, Corbin speaks about visiting Paris, the differences between Disneyland Paris and California, the cast of the show, the 15th Anniversary and more.

The young star has certainly been trained in the art of making good soundbites, hasn’t he?

Both videos © Disney.

Thursday, 18th October 2007

Blockbuster thrills tested by Corbin Bleu

Part 2 of our Corbin Bleu visit coverage; You can see Part 1 here, with Corbin starring in the final performance of High School Musical On Tour.

The thrills began at 10am sharp, with Corbin entering Walt Disney Studios Park via the backstage gate in Backlot to be confronted right away with a favourite from his visits to Walt Disney World — Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith.

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A theme runs throughout the entire collection of press photos from Corbin’s visit — yes, all the in-park shots are exclusively from Walt Disney Studios Park.

In the past, VIP guests have invariably posed in the usual spot beside Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, and certainly always within Disneyland Park. However, Disneyland Resort Paris has apparently just remembered it has a second gate, and is only too happy to flaunt the newly-improved experience within.

After the non-celebrities who attended the Toon Studio launch and the original ‘VIPs’ of the 15th Anniversary launch (Andie MacDowell, anyone?), Corbin’s visit was quite a major event for the resort.

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His debut album has been somewhat less succesful in the US than expected, but, adored by mostly female fans of a younger age (and no doubt their mothers), the premiere showings of his three “Disney Channel Original Movies” were seen by a total of 33.4 million viewers in their native country. The recent UK premiere of High School Musical 2 drew an impressive 1.3 million viewers on its own, one of the highest audiences in recent years for a digital subscription channel.

Be it from a love of the parks or simply to keep the mouse that made him famous happy, it’s nothing but refreshing to see a VIP guest who has no problem lending his smile to so many moments of great publicity for the Studios…

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…or, in some cases, something nearer to a scream.

Next, Corbin headed across the park to Toon Studio and one attraction he certainly won’t have seen in the States: Crush’s Coaster. With his father David Reivers, most well-known, strangely, for his role in Corbin’s own Disney Channel hit “Jump In!”, Corbin made himself one of the first true celebrities to take on the resort’s newest roller coaster.

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In interviews taken later, the star apparently had nothing but praise for the latest thrill, enjoying its spinning movement and comparing in detail the different experiences given from riding the initial part of the attraction forwards or backwards.

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Speaking of Disneyland Park, he said the Castle was “beaaautiful!” and enjoyed how the original attractions were “the same, but also brand new”, comparing the story of Phantom Manor with its Haunted Mansion cousin. A good soundbite for the 15th Anniversary Celebration saw Corbin suggest how young the resort was and how much there will still be to come, “considering, in California, we just celebrated our 50th.”

Either this guy had a press release fed to him, or he really knows his Disney parks. Regardless, the resort now has a valuable collection of publicity from one of Disney’s biggest modern-day stars…

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And he even said a quick “thank you” to Mickey Mouse himself.

All photos © Disney.

Sunday, 1st July 2007

Disney Wish Lounge opens for easier dreams

The ‘Disney Wish Lounge’ concept was first introduced at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom earlier this year, inaugurated on 26th January 2007 during the resort’s annual “What’s New, What’s Next” press conference event and located between the park’s Baby Care Centre and Casey’s Corner.

At Disneyland Resort Paris, the concept remains much the same, with the Disney Wish Lounge of Marne-la-Vallée positioned between Discovery Arcade and Plaza Gardens Restaurant, next to the park’s Baby Care Centre and First Aid services. Whilst the journey back to your hotel in Paris is nowhere near the epic journey that can be found at Walt Disney World, the lounge will be a convenient, warmly welcomed place to rest and relax for thousands of children on the Disney Wish Program, a symbol of the resort’s dedication to their most special of dreamers.

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Arnaud Gayet / Karl L. Holz / Wendy Courquet cuts the ribbon

Like its Orlando counterpart, the lounge’s interior decoration is based on Disney’s Aladdin, including a real magic lamp! Comfortable seating, a large television, refreshments and Guest Services Cast Members are all on hand for visiting guests throughout the day.

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15th Anniversary band plays as ribbons fly / Official inauguration photo

Euro Disney Associés SCA has published several press releases about the lounge and their charity commitments:

Disneyland Resort Paris confirms its commitment to the ‘Disney Wish Program’ with the inauguration of the new ‘Disney Wish Lounge’

Marne-la-Vallée, June 16, 2007 … Accompanied by many guests, Karl L. Holz, Chairman and C.E.O. of Euro Disney S.A.S. inaugurated today the ‘Disney Wish Lounge’. Located in the heart of Disneyland Resort Paris, the ‘Disney Wish Lounge’ is open to children participating in the ‘Disney Wish Program’ and their families, so that they can rest and relax without having to go back to their hotel.

Disney Supports 15 Charitable Organisations in Europe with Surprise Donation of €600,000

Marne-la-Vallée, June 23, 2007 … The Walt Disney Company surprised 15 European charities yesterday with donations totalling €600,000. The gift was presented to charitable organisations that have participated in the Disney Wish Programme from its outset, and make dreams come true for children with life-threatening diseases.

As part of Disneyland Resort Paris’ 15th anniversary celebration, representatives of the 15 organisations will meet with 15 young adults who were granted wishes when they were children.

The 15 associations honoured are:
France: Petits Princes, Rêves, Make-A-Wish France, L’Envol
UK: Make-A-Wish UK, Round Table Children’s Wish Foundation, Christian Lewis Trust
Ireland: Make-A-Wish Ireland
Belgium: Make-A-Wish Belgium Flanders, Make-A-Wish Belgium South
Spain: Ilusiones
Italy: Make-A-Wish Italy
Germany: Herzenswunsche, Kindertraüme
Netherlands: Make-A-Wish Holland

The Disney Wish Programme

Created in 1992, the Wish Programme continues Walt Disney’s tradition of supporting children’s programmes. Every year, Disneyland Resort Paris’ Community Relations department collaborates with 60 charitable organisations to grant wishes to children with life-threatening conditions between the ages of 3 and 18. Since its launch, the programme has made more than 7,000 dreams come true at Disneyland Resort Paris.

Unparalleled storytelling, colourful Disney Characters, unforgettable parades and shows … the world of Disney is built around dreams, which make it their favourite place for many children. One third of children participating in wish programmes have the same dream: to visit Disneyland.

When wishes are granted, children and their families are given star treatment at the park: an all-inclusive stay at a Disney Hotel, free park tickets, VIP access to all attractions, gifts, priviledged meetings with Disney Characters. Children and their families leave with a treasure trove of shared memories of joy and hope.

Inauguration photos by Photos Magiques, with one © Disney.

Saturday, 23rd June 2007

Crush’s Coaster – The Official Ride Video

This special official footage has been prepared by the resort for posting on their Disneyland15.com Official Anniversary Blog. An article featuring the video was originally posted last week, though disappeared soon after following technical problems with the video. The video has now “resurfaced” and gives a (you guessed it) turtally unique view of the very first thrill ride based on any Pixar movie, anywhere – Crush’s Coaster. This will also be the footage we’ll see for years to come, whenever the attraction is featured in motion…

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The footage is presented fairly “raw” – simply the resort’s new official footage of the new Walt Disney Studios Park attraction with some sound clips from the Toon Studio press kit over the top. The music is therefore rights-free, created for any press use on television, and not the music heard at the attraction itself – which is based on the film’s original score.

For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to take a dive on Crush’s Coaster yet, the video gives an excellent view of how the Walt Disney Imagineering-developed digital projection technology blends seamlessly with the coral reef and rocks surrounding the two identical projections – Nemo and Squirt appear completely believable, floating in the water-less undersea dark ride. The dazzling jellyfish are also shown, however the video footage available so far fails to feature either the Angler Fish or any of Bruce’s submarine attack.

As you will have noticed, the footage of the ‘EAC’ roller coaster segment is not taken directly from the ride itself, but created using one of the real ride vehicles against greenscreen – with some humorous faces from the actors on-board as they attempt to act out the ride. This version of the footage made available to the public doesn’t show the spinning effect, nor the true intensity of the ride, but allows us to see a very professional piece of promotional footage that will no-doubt be well-used long into the future with added voice-overs, etc in places such as the resort’s Disney Hotels information tv channel.

For fans, there’s no doubt it brings back fond memories of the 1995 Space Mountain footage, where the Disneyland Park roller coaster’s trains were shown flying through a virtual space, rather than the true ride.

Video footage © Disney.

Thursday, 21st June 2007

Toon Studio Press Event: Animated Publicity

The set of photos released for the opening of Toon Studio is fairly small compared to the set featuring VIPs and celebrities against backdrops within the land, but the quality and amount of locations featured is far better than the frankly quite disappointing publicty photos of the 15th Anniversary launch.

Overall, the resort’s audio-visual teams have captured rather well the quirky style and impressive new attractions of the area… but what do you think?

Here is the full set of publicity photos, be sure to click on them to see the photos full-size!

General Toon Studio

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A new angle on the Sorcerer Mickey marquee captures the Peter Pan characters behind,
an incredibly colourful view of the Toon Town gate area with its twisted lamposts.

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‘Now in Producion’ sign next to Crush’s Coaster

Cars Quatre Roues Rallye

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Welcome to Radiator Springs sign, the famous Cars logo, framed by trees.

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The lovely blues and yellows (with a hint of red) of the Quatre Roues Rallye entrance,
the interior themeing, focusing on the amazing detail of Lizzie’s curios display.

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A sunny angle on Luigi’s Casa Della Tires (notice the fabric canopy was finally added,
just in time), and a low-down view of the canyon area.

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Views in the canyon. Notice the Sorcerer Mickey marquee included in the background,
along with – in the first photo – the Disney Cinema Parade passing by. This looks
like a favourite angle already to capture Cars from, with the iconic Studio 1 looming behind.

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One of the excellent on-ride captures from the special camera seen being installed
on the front of this vehicle here.

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Two brand new publicity shots only just added to the collection today.

Some official video footage of Cars has also been released, via the Disneyland15.com blog:

Crush’s Coaster

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The rusted and sea-sprayed entrance sign, a busy crowd shot showing the Crush area, but
not very many guests who look impressed.

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Two views of the turtle shells departing the big blue of Studio 5 – which one wins?

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The very first official photos from inside the attraction, we’ll probably see these used frequently,
as they show very well the colourful underwater sets and good lighting.

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An “in-production” shot of Crush undergoing final work from above the track, a final shot
positioning Crush against a big blue backdrop of Studio 5.

So, what do you think? A good selection of photographs and footage to advertise Toon Studio, or could they have done better? Whilst this set of official publicity shots has only just been released, we’ll likely be seeing them for years to come, especially as Walt Disney Studios Park continues to grow in visitors…

All photos © Disney.

Thursday, 21st June 2007

Toon Studio Press Event: Under the spell of darkness

Whilst the extended opening hours of the park to 7pm have given guests more time at the Studios, they still don’t go far enough to allow regular visitors to see the park at what almost everyone agrees is its very best – fully illuminated at night. From the flashing neons of CinéMagique‘s grand entrance to the flames of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster‘s entrance and the searchlights of Disney Studio 1, Walt Disney Studios is more than a match for anything at Disneyland Park once darkness falls.

And the new Toon Studio developments? They look just as good…

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Toon Studio entrance / Sorcerer Mickey statue

A hidden detail we’ve never spotted before suddenly comes to life on the wand of Mickey Mouse – the star-shaped tip glows and shimmerings in a blue fibre optic effect. The “marquee” itself is also very subtely and lovingly illuminated, with lights positioned inside the several circular bases shining upwards.

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Sorcerer Mickey marquee / Crush’s Coaster entrance

Notice the purple lighting effects in Animagique in the background, and the rainbow colours of the Flying Carpets Over Agrabah backdrop, appearing to glow from behind when illuminated. The marquee of Crush’s Coaster is illuminated similar to Sorcerer Mickey, with low lighting on the signage itself and a single spotlight on his character figure. Through the lush beach planting behind, notice the well-chosen hanging lamps and even spotlights positioned throughout the sandy planters, illuminating the greenery.

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Colours of the Toon Town gate / Toon Studio from Flying Carpets lookout

Over at the Toon Town gate, the lighting department of Toon Studio have done an equally fantastic job, illuminating all of the multi-coloured buildings and even several parts of the Toon Town hills. Notice that the “Toon Town” lettering is fully illuminated for a very professional effect, and entire forced perspective design of this “street” seems much more convincing. The icing on the Toons’ cake would have been a few lights inside the security booth…

From the newly-reopened viewing platform by Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, the land’s countless lighting touches can be seen glowing in the distance. There aren’t actually any blazing spotlights here at all – just subtle lighting such as the many customised neons of Cars Quatre Roues Rallye – it’s green tower and red glowing logo standing out in particular.

When or if the Studios ever welcomes enough visitors and extra attractions to warrant a late-night opening, the Imagineers have prepared Toon Studio – and the entire park – with more than enough beautiful sights to keep them there until the gates close.

» You can see an excellent video giving a walk around the nighttime illuminated Toon Studio over at our partner site magicblog, along with several extra photographs. Click here.

All photos by Photos Magiques.

Thursday, 21st June 2007

Toon Studio Press Event: Ratatouille characters preview

It’s a rare and special event in the world of Disney parks, when a brand new pair of characters joins the meet ‘n’ greet schedule for the release of a new Walt Disney animated feature. The last time we saw such an event was way back in late 2005 with the release of Disney’s own Chicken Little. All cogs in the great synergy and marketing machine of The Walt Disney Company, for sure, but nobody is going to turn down the chance to meet a new Disney star, especially a Pixar creation – even when they’re rats!

First, meet Rémy. He’s the star of Ratatouille, the budding chef who isn’t content with eating garbage like his sewer system family. He has dreams and aspirations… and, after being caught by a untalented kitchen hand Linguini, cooking up a soup which goes on to be served to a delighted food critic, he must share his knowledge to create the greatest chef in all of Paris – without anyone even knowing of his work.

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Rémy / Emile in their Pixar CG designs

The second character to be taken from CGI to reality is Emile, Rémy’s best friend and familiar from the film’s teaser trailers as the tubby brown rat who doesn’t particularly care what he eats, so long as it fills him up. No doubt when the film is released (initial US release due 29th June), we’ll find out even more about these two new furry faces.

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Rémy & Emile debut at the inauguration ceremony / Fun and games at the Toon Town gate

Since opening in 2002, all of the new Disney characters have immediately arrived in Walt Disney Studios Park, from Monsters Inc and Treasure Planet to Narnia and Chicken Little. Rémy and Emile were given their first step into the spotlight during the inauguration ceremony earlier during the press event, before arriving on-stage at the Toon Town gate later, and fighting between themselves for the waiting cameras.

The plaza around the Toon Town gate of course features two dedicated photo locations for character meets, but guests attending the press event who’d already visited the park would have been surprised to see two brand new backdrops installed just for this event. Mickey’s Toon Town House, on the right of the gate, was replaced by a Toon Studio production stage setting, whilst especially for the arrival of Rémy and Emile, The Incredibles’ rather plain logo backdrop was replaced with a stunning view over Pixar’s glowing CGI recreation of Paris.

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Emile poses in front of Pixar’s grand Paris backdrop / Up-close with Rémy, in perfect rat pose

The following day, however, guests would need to jump on the RER for 40 minutes to experience a view like this. Both backdrops had been reverted to their original designs, with no sight of Rémy or Emile making appearances, despite the heavy Ratatouille advertising introduced around the park. If you like the look of this rodent pair, however, don’t be too worried – the film isn’t due out in France for over a month, so it’s likely Rémy and Emile will be fully introduced at the next meet ‘n’ greet schedule shake-up in a couple of weeks.

The quick change of the photo location backdrops is also exciting to see for regular guests, showing that these two locations will now become frequently updated as each new Disney film hits cinemas. Perhaps, if Walt Disney Studios ever joins its neighbour in full seasonal events, we’ll see even more special backdrops created in the future.

Disney-Pixar’s Ratatouille is due for release on 1st August 2007 in France, the Netherlands and Belgium, 2nd August 2007 in Austria and 3rd August 2007 in Spain. Then, later in the year, 3rd October 2007 in Germany, 5th October 2007 in the UK and 19th October 2007 in Italy. This creates quite a spread of dates across the key markets of Disneyland Resort Paris – one which is mirrored almost in reverse by Disney’s recent CG hit ‘Meet the Robinsons’.

Already released in March to the UK and most European markets, the film won’t reach the Netherlands until 10th October 2007 and France and Belgium until as late as 17th October 2007. Three characters from this film – Lewis, Wilbur and Bowler Hat Guy are due to begin appearances at Walt Disney Studios Park in the Autumn, following a preview during the press conference of 1st April 2007. Luckily, this will then tie into the DVD release in the earlier markets.

All photos by Photos Magiques; Ratatouille character visuals © Disney-Pixar.

Thursday, 21st June 2007

Toon Studio Press Event: Evening entertainment, ‘famous’ faces

Ok, ok, in France they’re probably well-known, but this happens with every single press event at Disneyland Resort Paris. A new show premieres, a new season begins, a new attraction opens… and we’re treated to a huge gallery of publicity photos featuring countless vague ‘celebrities’ from across l’hexagone. Whether we know who they are or not, though, the photos from the Toon Studio Press Event of 16th June are actually some of the better VIP shots of recent years, especially compared to the dark and unexciting red carpet photoshoot of the 15th Anniversary launch.

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‘Unknown’ VIP guests enter Toon Studio

With a great backdrop of the temporary entrance gate, the Sorcerer Mickey marquee, a newly repainted Animagique and many smiling Cast Members, the stars entered Toon Studio via the long red carpet, which first led across a closer podium before that underneath the gate, giving a good depth to the shots. And although ‘unknown’ outside of France, the guests all appear to be well into the Disney spirit.

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More ‘unknown’ VIP guests enter Toon Studio

There are many more photos than those featured here, but all in the same style with the same backdrops and locations. Several photos made available to the press feature some VIP guests you might actually recognise the names of…

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Zinedine Zidane at Crush / with wife at Cars Race Rally

Surely everyone in Europe knows Zinedine Zidane, the famous footballer, now retired?

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Stade Français Rugby Team / Ricky Martin

You might even remember singer Ricky Martin… Or be familiar with the Stade Français rugby team, seen here lined up outside Crush’s Coaster with a trophy shield (hopefully this won’t become a popular accessory for DLRP visitors). These photos in particular, as you might notice, aren’t from the Press Event night at all – they were taken over the three weeks leading up to the event itself, and now bundled together with all the others for the launch.

In the end, we all know who the real stars are. Walt Disney is always quoted as saying they’re the “greatest asset we have” and to just “get them out there!”, and that’s exactly what they did during the entire evening of events at Toon Studio. Afterall, seeing a footballer or talent show star at Disneyland won’t make guests want to visit as much as the chance to meet one of these real, timeless famous faces will…

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Mary Poppins / real-life Mike Wazowski

The entertainment department catered for all tastes on the evening, from the not-strictly-Toon Mary Poppins (with Bert and ok-this-one’s-a-toon Penguin waiter) to a full-size, walking, real-life Mike Wazowski! Not since the release of Monsters Inc. around the opening of the park in 2002 has Mike been seen wandering the studio lots, but he made a special return for this event. Notice also that his life-size figure usually found at the Monsters Inc Scream Scene location was removed in preparation.

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From movie director to chef – Mickey Mouse can do it all!

Catering for all tastes, did we say? Well, if you didn’t like the Director Mickey of the inauguration ceremony, you could wait around a little and see him re-appear later as Chef Mickey! Director Mickey is also a very rare sight at the Studios. Despite being seen on many publicity photos for the park around 2002, Mickey usually decides to wear his more casual and brightly coloured movie star gear for photoshoots. Chef Mickey, on the other hand, is a recent introduction to character meet ‘n’ greets at Café Mickey in Disney Village.

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Chef Minnie / Chef Chip n Dale

Each of the Fab 5 received special chefs outfits for their appearances at the character dining restaurant, and with the launch of Ratatouille tying into the Toon Studio event, this was their way of welcoming the gourmet rats to the character family.

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Buzz Lightyear / Jafar

Aladdin, Jasmine and Jafar provided atmosphere around the new Flying Carpets oasis area, which now has its colourful lanterns illuminated each day after months of darkness. Events themed to the attractions on offer were particularly well thought-out at this event. With such a mix of themes and styles in one small area, it must have produced one hell of a brainstorm ideas session for the planning teams…

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The Radiator Springs Band

For Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, guests could enjoy the music of an authentic American country rock band, performing a variety of road hits and songs from the film itself as ‘The Radiator Springs Band’ in front of Willy’s Butte and Flo’s V8 Café. Notice also the attention to detail around the stage, including several extra props relating to the film and Route 66.

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Australian characters / Clownfish carpet

Crush’s Coaster was equally well served with themed entertainment and ideas. The EPC (entertainment department) created a couple of brand new “Australian” characters for the event, an outback explorer complete with cork hat and a beach surfer dude, complete with sunglasses and flip-flops. What’s that they’re standing on? It’s a Clownfish Carpet of course, a unique Nemo-themed spin on the classic red carpet, leading into the attraction!

The themed ideas continued on to the food, whilst the VIPs were treated to a special meal inside Studio 1’s Liki Tiki area, Animagique became a covered seating and buffet area for a more fun and informal double food option. For Cars, an authentic Texas barbeque along Route 66. For Crush’s Coaster… you’ve guessed it, a seafood barbecue. Didn’t they hear fish are friends, not food?

Photos both by Photos Magiques and © Disney.

Wednesday, 20th June 2007

Toon Studio Press Event: Inauguration Ceremony

As with all attraction openings, there are two press events. The smaller, low-key public opening ceremony (already featured here) and the far grander, more show-y official inauguration ceremony reserved for press and invited guests. The last ceremony we saw like this at Walt Disney Studios, though, was…. well, 2002 perhaps?

The tendancy of the past five years to push Walt Disney Studios aside in favour of Disneyland Park has well and truly ended. There’s a lot of proud people within those Studio gates these days…

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Guests enter via the open studio gates, a very rare sight!

Entering the second gate through its unique grand arch, guests were welcomed by the Ciné Classics band, as seen on regular occasions inside Disney Studio 1 and more recently even as a pre-show for CinéMagique. Notice that the 15th Anniversary banners from Disneyland Park’s entrance have now made their way to the Studios, as it finally joins the celebrations.

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Ciné Classics band entertain on Front Lot before High School Musical begins.

Following this musical welcome, a special performance of High School Musical On Tour was presented just outside the entrance of Disney Studio 1 (more on this here), as this new summer show was a key additional feature in all of the resort’s communication and press material for the event, along with Ratatouille.

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Red carpet leads through Disney Studio 1.

The red carpet began in Disney Studio 1, leading right up toward the exit doors and to the entrance of Toon Studio, where Disney fans amongst the invited guests were met with an exciting photo opportunity…

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5 Years on, Director Mickey finally gets behind a camera.

To the side of the temporary Toon Studio gate installed several days ago, Mickey Mouse sat high on a crane camera with a live director, and even moved from side to side as he “filmed” the action of the grand opening event for his new animation studio. The image of Mickey atop this camera crane might be familiar to anyone who followed the Studios’ grand opening, since a similar photo from Disney-MGM Studios Florida was frequently used as one of those deceptive preview shots – it only took five years for the real moment to arrive!

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Ciné Folies stars help to prepare the set.

If you take a look at the video featured later in this article, you’ll probably notice something a little different about Mickey’s voice. No, not that he’s speaking French (the first time in a while – all the 15th events unveiled in April feature an All-American Mickey), but that his voice was apparently performed live! Since he called the make-up artist, special effects crew to the stage and joined the ceremony at various other points from his elevated spot, letting Mickey pre-record his track and sync this with live events might have been a bit risky.

With Mickey behind the camera, we need someone else to step in and fill the role of glamorous host – who better than Minnie Mouse? She donned her glamorous white dress from the 2002 grand opening and waited on-stage for her cue as directors, technicians and make-up crew bustled around the “set”. You might recognise the actors in question from the daily Ciné Folies shows in Disney Studio 1 – some have been with the park for almost its entire five years, so it’s nice to see these talented performers rewarded with a cameo here.

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Pixar stars and a huge gathering of Cast Members pour out of the land.

As it is for these “performers” too! Usually Cast Members are relegated to regular operations during a grand opening event – keeping guests to one side, making sure the attraction is ready to open – but here the entire cast of Toon Studio was invited to join the precedings and clap their clapperboards for applause. The arrival of the several hundred Cast and countless famous Disney characters to the “Dreams” Peter Pan theme music was perhaps a little reminiscent of the Disneyland 50th Anniversary launch, starting out with only a few stars on stage before a huge crowd poured out of the land’s attractions.

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It’s Disney legends on one side…

You might notice something funny about the way those characters lined up either side of the red carpet… classic Disney stars on one side and new Pixar pals on the other, like a great face-off between the two animation teams! This was also the very first appearance of the Ratatouille main characters Rémy (grey) and Emile (brown) in Paris, arriving just days after their premiere at the US parks.

Notice also the stars on the temporary gate, with ‘Toon Studio’ written inside, which are very similar to the first ‘Toon Studios’ logo we saw way back in September 2005 at the special Videopolis fan event.

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…Pixar pals on the other!

Press photographers were situated on the tiered viewing platform for the ceremony, whilst the invited guests filled Disney Bros. Plaza and could watch the action on the large video screen installed the day earlier. With the smaller spaces of Walt Disney Studios and the Hollywood Boulevard construction taking up much of this area, they still managed to devise a layout that would ensure a picture-perfect view of the action. After all, these events are entirely for the cameras – not least when they’re at a film Studio!

The ceremonies are about to begin…

Tuesday, 19th June 2007

High School Musical On Tour arrives at the Studios

Originally confirmed by WDSFans.com back in January, the new streetmosphere show does indeed replace Starring Cruella De Vil and feature a unique travelling stage, replicating almost entirely the ‘High School Musical Pep Rally’ shows of Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, as expected. Following a rehearsal day on Friday and five regular performances throughout the day on Saturday, the cast returned for a special inaugral launch presentation that evening, kicking off the Toon Studio Press Event as invited guests stepped onto Front Lot.

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The show uses an almost identical format to the successful US versions, featuring a cast of athletic basketball players and cheerleaders joined by five regular students in various different clothing styles. Whilst the cheerleaders provide dance and the Wildcats a unique variety of “sports choreography” with their basketballs, the students provide additional live vocals to a pre-recorded backing track. Rather than a ‘Pep Rally’ of support for the Wildcats team, however, the story in the Paris ‘On Tour’ version of the show is that the students of East High have travelled to France for a summer vacation of special musical performances.

Guest interaction is a key part of the performance, allowing guests to join the basketball games and dance routines. Surprisingly, for the normally quite reserved DLRP audience, the interaction has proved a success and flows far less awkwardly than most other shows (such as Starring Cruella De Vil) – Disneyland Resort Paris clearly made a good choice with the popular High School Musical franchise.

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Whilst the press were given a unique preview of the show on Front Lot (the first time a streetmosphere show has ever been performed here), the regular shows begin in Backlot – bringing regular streetmosphere back to this production zone for the first time since Rythmo Technico departed for Place des Stars in 2003. But, as the show comes to a conclusion with streamers (an item DLRP appear to have bought a lifetime’s supply of this year), guests will be surprised that the production then heads right towards them, travelling down Rue Georges Méliès past Armageddon for a second 11-minute performance in front of Tower of Terror, the previous performance space of Cruella.

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This unique 22-minute mix of two 11-minute shows is a first for Disneyland Resort Paris, but already it’s clear through guest reaction that the show can support a double performance – many guests follow the production and watch for an “encore” showing, whilst others can hope to get a better view of the action for its second performance. The “join” between the two shows is seamless, with the cast marching along the road to a continuing soundtrack of High School Musical themes.

Whether you’re a High School Musical fan or not, their “summer vacation” in Paris looks set to be a shining success. With Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye only just opened and returning favourites Lilo & Stitch Catch the Wave Party and Good Morning Walt Disney Studios adding even more to see, the Studios looks set to have a record Summer season.

» You can see a full gallery of ‘High School Musical On Tour’ photos here.

All photos by Photos Magiques.

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