See anything unusual in the skies over Disneyland Paris last weekend? Not a flying elephant or a projectile to the moon, but the Patrouille de France — the French air force display team — who performed a spectacular fly-by of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant for the very first time, filling the sky over Main Street, U.S.A. with the blue, white and red of the Tricolore. The stunning sight was all part of a charitable event known as “Journées Soif de Vivre”, literally “Thirst for life days”, which saw 160 children with serious or rare illnesses invited to Disneyland Paris for three days of unforgettable experiences and surprises. From balloon rides to Mickey Mouse meet ‘n’ greets, a special performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and an exclusive preview screening of Cars 2, the children had three days of pure escapism. You can find out more about the event on the resort’s corporate website (PDF) or see a quick video of the flyover here.
It’s almost a month since Earl of Sandwich grabbed a slice of the fast food action in Disney Village, bringing an ample selection of freshly-prepared hot sandwiches to the banks of Lake Disney. The restaurant, the chain’s first in mainland Europe, was officially inaugurated back on Wednesday, 15th June with Euro Disney CEO Philippe Gas, Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl (second from right) and the 11th Earl of Sandwich himself, John Montagu (third from right). A predictably oversized ribbon and scissors were brought out for the occasion.
So far the restaurant already appears to be earning a loyal following of European fans, with many positive remarks for service, taste and the design of the new building. One negative, though is for the price of drinks: with a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola at €3.50 they’ve managed to make the €2.60 normally charged by Disney seem like a steal (although a 400ml cup is available for €2.50). For a family, it soon makes a reasonably-priced sandwich into a rather expensive fast food meal.
Press events are both loved and loathed by Disneyland Paris fans, particularly those frequent French visitors who might have the chance to visit almost every weekend.
On the one hand, it’s a break from the norm — the chance to see special photo set-ups and even catch sight of some VIPs. On the other, it means disruption throughout the parks, areas closed off and prime parade and show viewing points cordoned off from paying guests, while badge holders are often given free reign to skip queues on the most popular attractions. Maybe they’re a necessary evil.
Surprisingly, performances of the stunt show itself weren’t interrupted by the press event, although numerous preparations for the spectacular nighttime launch ahead were visible inside the arena — such as this large lighting rig running along the roof span:
Projectors, cameras and other equipment were not-so-inconspicuously hidden under black sheets in various areas of the stadium seating:
Back outside, Backlot had welcomed a fun retro trailer to serve as an outside broadcast unit for “LFM”:
Celebrities and VIPs from various nations could be spotted all over the parks throughout the day, with film crews, reporters and cameras trailing them to the various picture-perfect locations like the Toon Town backdrop:
Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear made a quick move from meeting the guests in Toon Studio (left) to meeting the VIPs and film crews in the temporary Backlot photo studio (right):
The fully-refurbished Monsters Inc. location in Toon Studio had a special lighting set-up for the celebrity shots taken here with Sully:
And then, the roping-off began:
A huge area around the Place des Stars Stage was cordoned off for press only, leaving regular, paying guests struggling to see the single performance of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, the park’s only outdoor entertainment spectacle:
At least, it was well-patronised come show time:
The president of Disneyland Paris, Euro Disney CEO, Philippe Gas was also in attendance to see Rémy and Emile join the production:
Despite his no doubt hectic schedule, he even took time to make a surprise appearance at a unique meeting of Disneyland Paris fans which was organised for the day — you can read a report here.
With the show over, the Ratatouille car left Place des Stars last…
And then veered left to turn into the cordoned-off Hollywood Boulevard…
Pulling up alongside the Toy Story car to provide a backdrop for more photos and VIP interviews:
Classic photo spots, such as the castle hill, were also in use:
But finally, back at the studios, the doors closed for the general public:
As Disney Studio 1 become a self-contained press holding area, regular guests had to leave the park via the backstage gates between Production Courtyard and Front Lot — views of off-limits areas hidden by a row of temporary planters:
But first, a nice compilation from behind-the-scenes at yesterday’s press events, as a Disneyland Paris video camera follows the press around the new shows and events to give a feeling of these busy press days in the parks:
Now that’s got you warmed up, onto the main show!
Titled “The New Gen Show”, the opening ceremony and dedication of the New Generation Festival has all the usual ingredients of these one-off Disney grand opening spectaculars — a ridiculously large cast, jazzy projections and an “interesting” mélange of music.
On the one hand we have Buzz Lightyear reliving his French disco days, on the other Nemo coaxing Dory (right?) into the arena in something out of an arty theatrical show. All wrapped up with music from… Pixar Play Parade at Disney’s California Adventure.
Yes, it’s an eclectic, enormous and show-stopping opening ceremony for the year ahead. Might they have actually outdone all past efforts? Perhaps — in numbers and scale — even the opening of the resort itself!
It’s a shame, of course, that these kind of lavish events are reserved only for “VIPs” who probably couldn’t give a hoot about seeing a show like this. We have to wonder how much of the footage and how many of the images shot this weekend will really make an impact, or be featured in the media. It’s a tradition now that Disneyland Paris puts on one show for the visitors and one superficial blow-out to look good for the cameras. It’s something for the archives, for them to pull out and say “remember 2010?”.
Although given that they used the stunt arena this year, which has 3000 seats, this would have been a good chance to say, give away a few extra tickets in a prize draw to Annual Passport Dream holders… if only to see the show, to spread word of mouth, and not to enjoy the free food.
British girl pop group The Saturdays were also at the resort today.
• Disney Showtime Spectacular premieres (2:50am)
We mentioned that today’s weather hadn’t been too kind to the first performance of Disney Showtime Spectacular. It’s the Disneyland Paris press event curse — blow all your money on a big show, invite thousands of questionably important people… and then that thick Marne-la-Vallée cloud rolls over.
Here are photos from the press performance earlier today:
Luckily it remained dry, if not providing the best weather for this new show to shine.
• The New Gen Show – first official photos! (3:02am)
And here we go, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Details have been sketchy about what to expect from tonight’s events, but with the stage set as the Moteurs… Action! stunt arena over at Walt Disney Studios Park — and not Central Plaza as the past two launches (15th and MMP), it promised something quite different and certainly very grand, given the arena floorspace…
And of course, they didn’t disappoint. An enormous cast, a laser and projections show and the Disney All Stars Express park-hopping to join the cars of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars:
The full wide shot at show-level:
Stars jump for joy as resort icons are projected onto the Mediterranean sets of Moteurs Action:
Artsy arrivals by illuminated balloons? Why not:
A full-on smooch between Tiana and Naveen? Ooo err:
And that final wide angle from the top of the Stunt Arena seating again:
At least, with 3000 stadium seats, the VIPs wouldn’t have had to crane their necks for once.
• The Saturdays, New Generation Props & Suitcases (29/03 16:07pm)
Tiana meets British pop group The Saturdays — or is it the other way around? — in this picture captured by Photos Magiques on yes, Saturday:
They also stumbled upon some clever oversized toy props in the hotel lobbies where press event invitees were staying, such as this ViewMaster toy:
And the suitcases of New Generation characters who were also checking in:
See more of these, plus loads more news from the past week, at their full update here.
Press events at Disneyland Paris are usually frequented only by those famous exclusively in France, so it was a surprise to see actual real American Shannen Doherty make an appearance at the Christmas launch events on Saturday.
Judging by the amount of photos released featuring the actress, of Beverley Hills 90210 and more recently just 90210 fame, Mickey and Minnie were pleased to see someone they just about recognised, too…
But it wasn’t all about the Charmed actress. Also in attendance were Virginie Ledoyen, Sliimy, Marie Gillain, Bob Sinclar, Hafsia Herzi, Frédérique Bel, Christophe Barratier, Laurence Ferrari, Claire Barsacq, Bruce Toussaint, Alessandra Sublet, Sandrine Quétier, Nikos Aliagas, Frederic Taddei, Fanny Valette and the Chef Thierry Marx.
You know, her…
And that guy…
And for the Brits reading: Former glamour model Melinda Messenger, who currently presents the frighteningly bad Live from Studio Five.
We’ll probably never find out what happened during the actual nighttime press party, such is the astonishing lack of publicity these schmooze-fests traditionally generate. However, from these pictures we can at least garner that there was a large mannequin Father Christmas locked inside a giant snowglobe.
However, costumes and characters from the park’s two parades were used in the following three pictures, which are very pretty indeed:
Note the clever covering-up of the Mickey’s Magical Party decoration on the Castle. We’re not the only ones who’ve tried to do that this year, then.
Back to the celebrities, French DJ and house music producer David Guetta has been featured amongst the Christmas photos, but apparently actually visited earlier in the week, seen here riding Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast with his wife, Cathy:
Anyway, from celebs to zelebs, we all know who the real stars are…
Popcorn, the cookie and the toffee/caramel apple. Three of the kings of outdoor vending in Disneyland Paris, a resort with, in fact, very little variety in its snacks and treats from street kiosks.
The flavoured popcorn of Tokyo Disney Resort has yet to hit the parks over here, whilst the famous churros of Disneyland Resort have yet to oust the tasteless, pre-packaged “trio of doughnuts” from its unwelcome place on so many menu boards.
Is all that about to change? For a couple of months at least, yes. Famous French chef Thierry Marx has agreed to reinvent three of the parks’ staples using modern cooking techniques and some of his “molecular” tricks — a style of cooking where the science behind the process is as important as everything else. Perhaps he’s the French equivalent of Heston Blumenthal in the UK, only tackling popcorn and cookies rather than animal parts.
A press release and a series of photographs have been released today.
Thierry Marx réinvente l’art des friandises « street food » à Disneyland Paris
Le célèbre Chef a imaginé une nouvelle façon de savourer le pop corn, la pomme d’amour et le cookie pour un Noël gourmand et innovant à Disneyland Paris
Après le succès de la Pâtisserie Ephémère en l’honneur des bûches « haute couture » de Chantal Thomass, ORA ITO et Vanessa Bruno réalisées par Sébastien Gaudard, Disneyland Paris régale à nouveau les papilles avec une toute nouvelle expérience préparée par Thierry Marx, Chef emblématique de la cuisine moléculaire.
A l’occasion des fêtes de Noël, Thierry Marx présente trois créations inédites dans l’art de la gourmandise et de l’innovation. Le pop corn, la pomme d’amour et le cookie : trois plaisirs sucrés transformés grâce à une nouvelle interprétation qui promet de réveiller tous nos sens. A savourer uniquement dans les allées de Disneyland Paris.
From the classics:
To the reinvention:
Les “recettes magiques” d’un Noël tendance et gourmand dans les Parcs Disney
La pomme d’amour : « Souvent trop dure, j’ai voulu redonner à la pomme d’amour une certaine douceur en créant une pulpe de pomme verte, enrobée d’un sucre léger beaucoup plus diététique ».
Le pop corn : « Avec cette nouvelle interprétation, le pop corn est caramélisé en différentes cuissons avant d’être floqué d’une savoureuse couche de chocolat ».
Le cookie : « Ce dessert très enfantin préparé par les mamans, j’ai souhaité le transformer d’un biscuit dur en un biscuit moelleux grâce à de la crème de cookie ».
Passionné de « street food », le Chef étoilé réputé pour ses jeux de texture et de température a tout naturellement souhaité présenter ses trois créations sur un bâton, à l’instar de sucettes à croquer.
Thierry’s new Toffee Apple, Pomme d’Amour, tries to address the usual too-hard-to-bite snack by mashing and pulping the apple and then coating it in a lighter sugar, making it a little healthier.
The new Popcorn treats are caramelised using various techniques and then coated in a tasty layer of chocolate, resulting in an extra-large clump of chewy, chocolately goodness.
Finally, the humble Cookie has been reinvented with a softer, chewier bite than a regular biscuit thanks to extra cream and rich dough, all dipped in cookie crumbs.
As you can see, the three special snacks exclusive to Disneyland Paris are presented on sticks as special tasters and will be available alongside the regular versions, as a seasonal special, during the Christmas events at Disneyland Park from 8th November 2009 to 5th January 2010. No specific locations have been stated.
And the price? An online article published just in advance of the press release states… €7. Seven Euros! For one stick? For two or three? It’s not clear.
Looking at these photos, we’d better have a diet plan and a lottery ticket ready for New Year…
For some time it would be second nature for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in France to ignore the huge, we’d say wonderful, slice of the Disney empire right on their doorstep, instead premiereing all the latest Disney releases in Paris itself. Since The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, however, we’ve seen a pleasant change of direction — the stars are coming back to Disneyland.
Yesterday evening, it was the turn of Disney’s latest CGI feature. Bolt, an acting dog who plays the lead character in a hit spy TV series, thinks the “action” is all entirely real. In setting out to continue fighting crime after the director calls “cut”, he loses his owner and goes on a wild pan-American trip home with the help of an unwilling cat, , and one of his biggest fans — the scene-stealing Rhino the hamster.
As with most Disney animations, the characters have a whole new cast of voices in France — no John Travolta, Miley Cyrus or — ehm — Mark Walton (the story artist who ended up playing Rhino) heard here. In Lightning/Flash McQueen fashion, the film itself even has a different, though very similar title — Bolt becomes ‘Volt, Star Malgre Lui’.
However, there is still much for those of us not from France to get excited about — both directors of the film, Bryon Howard and Chris Williams, are at Disneyland Resort Paris this weekend to celebrate the premiere, along with modern Disney/Pixar icon John Lasseter himself.
The official photos are out already, let’s take a look:
John Lasseter with the new character Bolt — yes, his tag has kept the English name
Left: Mittens the cat joins John Lasseter and Bolt Right: Richard Anconina, the French voice of Bolt (France’s John Travolta..?)
Left: Gilles Lellouche, French voice of Rhino the hamster, joins Richard Anconica Right: Omar Sy and Fred Testot, who both play pigeons in the French-language version of the film, with Fred also playing the older cat who appears and — in an interesting change from the original film — Omar playing Mittens the cat, who in the original is voiced by Curb Your Enthusiasm comedian Susie Essman
Left: The directors, Bryon Howard and Chris William Right: The full cast and crew in attendance, from left to right: directors Bryon Howard and Chris William, voice artists Omar Sy, Fred Testot and Richard Anconica, executive producer John Lasseter, story artist and original voice of Rhino Mark Walton, voice artist Gilles Lellouche and producer Clark Spencer
Original Walt Disney Animation Studios crew behind the film: directors Bryon Howard and Chris William, executive producer John Lasseter, story artist and original voice of Rhino Mark Walton and producer Clark Spencer
Bolt, Disney’s 48th animated feature, opens in Germany 22nd January, France on 4th February, United Kingdom on 6th February and Netherlands and Belgium on 11th February. Be sure to catch it in spectacular Disney Digital 3D if you can!
With no Disneyland down under, the famous Australian film director and his family chose the Paris resort for a day of Disney magic, joining Mickey Mouse for a special photo shoot beside Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, with a thick layer of snow all around.
His latest picture stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in an epic romance set against the plight of North Australia in World World II. Despite mixed reviews, it has already opened at number one in the box office charts in France, Germany and Spain and number 3 in the UK, and setting a new opening weekend record in Australia.
Now, can anyone tell us the earlier connection between Luhrmann and Disneyland Resort Paris?
The wide resort esplanade in Paris is usually a place of guests rushing hurriedly from hotel-to-park or park-to-park, eager to begin their Disney experience. Last Friday at around 7.00pm, however, they were in for a shock — the gateway to Narnia had sprung open right there, bringing the stars of the film and their medieval extras on a long route all the way from Disneyland Hotel to Disney Village…
In the first car, William Moseley (Peter) and Georgie Henley (Lucy).
Following, Anna Popplewell (Susan) and Skandar Keynes (Edmund) made their way through the gardens, past the train station, to the newly-green (is “Narnia-like” pushing it?) Disney Village.
A large crowd was gathered well in advance of the arrival of the lead actors, thanks to plentiful publicity by the resort and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures — not to mention the many camera crews setting up outside the cinema doors. Each car, in fresh Narnia-like colours, was decorated with themed flags bearing the film’s logo.
The biggest star of the film arrives — Prince Caspian himself, Ben Barnes, joined by director Andrew Adamson.
Prince Caspian will likely be Adamson’s final time directing a Narnia film. For the third, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due in 2010, British director Michael Apted has already been signed on. Adamson will remain as a producer.
Many fans like those hoping for an autograph and photo here, will be glad to hear that all the principle cast have already been signed onto the third film.
For William Moseley, that means another long line of adoring (and mostly female) fans.
But now, he has competition — Ben Barnes has been thrust head-first into the big time as lead character Prince Caspian, with Disney trumpeting its choice to begin promotion of the film with a single one-sheet poster featuring just this star. / Andrew Adamson asks if the throne (behind) is intended for him
Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Ben Barnes, Anna Popplewell
The young cast with producer Mark Johnson (left) and Vincent Grass (right), who plays Doctor Cornelius
The entire company pose for the bank of photographers and journalists in front of the entrance doors to Gaumont Cinemas in Disney Village, surrounded by actors from the earlier medieval ceremony.
Numerous French celebrities and personalities, such as Emilie Dequenne, Geraldine Pailhas, Jovanka Sopalovic, Clovis Cornillac, Antoine de Maximy, David Halliday, Richard Dacoury, Laura Flessel and Julie Gayet also attended the premiere, posing for photographs and interviews on the throne positioned in front of the giant ‘Prince Caspian’ backdrop.
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