Thursday, 5th February 2009

Mickey’s Magical Party preview video… with music!

The special video sees Mickey Mouse rushing from corner to corner all over the resort, meeting up with other characters who are shown to be preparing their entertainments for the upcoming Magical Party.

Several of the scenes were obviously filmed at the same time as some of the still photo shoots we’ve been seeing this past week, but — along with giving a first look at the Stars ‘n’ Cars vehicles as they’ll appear in Paris — there is one huge, enormous spoiler in here… the music!

We posted the lyrics just yesterday and only introduced the concept of this new song — “It’s Mickey’s Magical Party Time” — just last week, but already, here it is! Well, almost… as you might guess from the synthesised opening, this is actually a special remix of the song. Far more “dance” flavoured than the true number, and in fact likely to be the version heard during It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland.

Here’s the video:

And a series of stills:

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey rises bright and early to begin another day of hard work…

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Another close-up of the Minnie’s Party Train concepts — note that the third carriage will be different again from both the first and second.

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey arrives in the Stars ‘n’ Cars garage to surprise Goofy

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mushu steals the show in Mulan’s car

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Characters polish up their cars

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey peers through a curtain to see Playhouse Disney — via greenscreen!

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
In the Radio Disney studios, Stitch prepares his beats to some wild camera work

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
The characters rehearse their moves for “It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends” backstage — with the show’s additional stars from The Jungle Book and The Lion King

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
Mickey emerges from the baloons…

Mickey's Magical Party preview video
That’s Mickey’s Magical Party!

As for the “It’s Party Time!” song, hearing a slightly wacky dance remix before the real thing maybe isn’t the best way to be introduced to the new theme music of the year, but what do you think so far? Is this another Disneyland Resort Paris song destined to stay with you almost every hour of the day?

Thursday, 5th February 2009

First look as Stars prepare their Cars

Released just hours ago and available to watch in full here, the new video preview of the Mickey’s Magical Party celebrations sees the mouse rushing around the resort checking up on the preparations for his year-long party.

Amongst the special photoshoot set-ups, there are several surprising backstage glimpses, including one into the parade storage building which currently houses the vehicles of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars

Stars 'n' Cars

We’ve seen inside here before, in fact, when some sneaky photos of the cars were published online just after they’d arrived in Paris. Now,eight months later, we can them in their final Parisian state… although, as confirmed in an earlier update, very little actually changed at all in the end.

Stars 'n' Cars

One car is “new”, however, and that’s Donald Duck’s. Now dark green all over with similar movie reel motifs to Mickey’s black and grey old-timer, the Duck polishes off his takeover of The Muppets’ old car neatly. On the bonnet, an old fashioned movie camera points toward the driver!

Stars 'n' Cars

Also note Mushu appearing alongside Mulan’s car — a character who has certainly been hard to spot in recent years, especially since the end of the Videopolis show.

Stars 'n' Cars

Only three of the cars are featured in the video, you can see the full final lineup here.

It has also been confirmed recently that the performance of this event will now involve two separate, small cavalcades entering the park from Toon Studio and Backlot, travelling along the parade route to apparently meet and park-up around Place des Stars.

A kind of doubled-up version of the old Good Morning Walt Disney Studios — with far better cars — if you like.

Tuesday, 27th January 2009

Stars ‘n’ cars ‘n’ logos ‘n’ unseen images…

Though the 15th Anniversary was certainly well-stocked with general advertising visuals, a couple of good logos and a preview image for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, it never saw anything like this. Indeed, that huge new Disneyland Park parade itself has still never been granted its own official logo.

Benefiting from what seems to be much-improved preparation — at least in the marketing stakes — for the upcoming Mickey’s Magical Party year-long celebration, its’ new Walt Disney Studios Park rival has been far luckier.

For a start, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars has its very own logo —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

And rather nice it is too, don’t you think? Similar — but not too similar — to the logo of Pixar’s ‘Cars’, which would have been easy to lazily duplicate.

Features of the new party are still in there, however, with a balloon replacing the apostrophe in “Disney’s” and the head of Mickey Mouse himself in the middle of the chrome-and-red emblem.

Even more impressive for this new parade/event, though perhaps pushing it on the “realism” front a little too much, is the brand new key visual —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

The poster-style image depicts the cars of Mickey & Friends, Snow White, Aladdin, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story driving along a palm-lined boulevard, a beautiful pink-purple sky and fireworks above them. Even Tinker Bell flies overhead, with the Earffel Tower in the background.

We all know the park’s Hollywood Boulevard is rather beautiful, but it’s lucky these visuals are only for imaginative illustration purposes.  And that becomes even more true when you look at these exclusive landscape versions we’ve got to share —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

The panorama above was the first to be released, using the same background as the portrait key visual above but adding The Little Mermaid, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Mary Poppins (twice!) and the now-cancelled Cruella De Vil car.

The second, and apparently final, version of the landscape advertising image loses the duplicate Poppins and instead brings to the front the planned Chip ‘n’ Dale overlay of the red toon car that, as you may have read yesterday, also looks to have been cancelled —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Again, not quite an accurate depiction of the new event.

But, zooming into the visual, fans can at least take a sneaky closer look at that planned Cruella De Vil car which apparently won’t make it off the drawing board. Behind the demon fashionista we see a whole car-load of dalmatian puppies and suitcases —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

Rumours were mixed about whether this would be an overlay of the Disney Villains car coming from Florida or if it could actually be the car you see in the visual itself — the actual 102 Dalmatians car that sits inside the entrance to Studio Tram Tour.

The animation-themed overlay of the long-running toon car, on the other hand, features Chip ‘n’ Dale sitting with paint brushes, pencils, an easel and rolls of paper —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

With the news that these planned overlays have been cancelled, these concepts are likely as much as we’ll discover of the Stars ‘n’ Cars that are now Cut ‘n’ Cancelled…

— Find a new preview guide all about Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars here.

Logos & visuals © Disney.

Tuesday, 27th January 2009

Curtain opens on Playhouse poster & logos

Unlike the similar attractions already operating at Disney’s California Adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! at Walt Disney Studios Park has the benefit of opening after the major rebranding of the Disney Channel’s networks.

The current Mickey Mouse silhouette logos that sit in the bottom-left corner of TV screens were introduced in 2002, too late for both of the original Florida and California attractions which, despite being updated to introduce brand new characters and scenes last year, have retained the old squiggly-lined logo outside.

Last year’s update did bring in the new logo in several places, however, including as a projection on stage before the show begins. For Disneyland Resort Paris then, it’s simply a matter of “copy and paste” — et voilà — here’s the logo for the Studios’ newest attraction:

Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! logo

Having said that, “Live on Stage!” won’t mean an awful lot to the resort’s potential guests who don’t speak English. And so, a special, simplified version has been created to cover all other languages, reading “Playhouse Disney – Live!”:

Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! logo

What’s more, the Paris edition has also been granted its own special poster artwork to advertise the new attraction.

The key visual features the characters of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins and Handy Manny peeking out from behind a classic red curtain, with a spotlight trained on the show’s logo…

Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! poster

Though none of the official texts, artworks or promotions would have you believe it, the characters of My Friends Tigger & Pooh do also appear in the show.

As a touch to match the theme of Mickey’s Magical Party, several balloons have also been added. And Mickey’s candle? This simply confirms that Paris will indeed recieve a near-identical version of the show to the States, with the Clubhouse characters using their scene to organise a special birthday party for… Minnie!

— Find a new preview guide all about Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! here.

Logos & artwork © Disney.

Monday, 26th January 2009

Final lineup of Stars ‘n’ Cars confirmed

Is this a scaling-back, a budget cut? Not entirely.

Two of the “cars” proposed to play a part in the event were old vehicles from the resort’s past parades and events — the black Cinema Parade van (which itself used to be a Wonderful World of Disney Parade warm-up) and Mickey’s small red car.

The latter was going to be customised with paint brushes and other animation-related props. But both, now, have been cut from the line-up. Instead of trying to bolster the event with these cheaper additions, the parade managers are sticking to the originals from Florida — in some cases, rather more tightly than they’d planned.

We shared rumours last year that The Muppets‘ hot air balloon car was planned to become a kind of galleon-on-wheels of Jack Sparrow. Not any more — the car will instead host the ever-popular Donald and Daisy Duck.

The same goes for Cruella‘s planned takeover of the Disney Villains car from Florida. Though her Hollywood Boulevard appearances in a spotted Cadillac might still be going down a storm, the decision has been made for this to remain a more general “villains” car, rather than be given a black-and-white make-over for the diva, with movie cans and props in the back.

Finally, and less lucky, the former Playhouse Disney car not only won’t be transformed into a Finding Nemo vehicle as proposed — it won’t appear at all. The transformation would have been a difficult one anyway, particularly when it comes to these stars stepping out of their cars to greet guests…

And so, the final line-up is as follows —

Disney's Stars 'n' Cars

• Toy Story
• Mary Poppins
• Mulan
• Monsters, Inc.
• Lilo & Stitch
• Aladdin
• The Little Mermaid
• Snow White
• Mickey & Minnie
• Donald & Daisy
• Disney Villains

The Star Wars car will also not appear in any form.

And what of the plan to roll out these cars in three groups across the park, at the same time, rather than run them as a linear cavalcade along the parade route? As far as we know, this plan hasn’t changed, though all brochures and official texts are keen not to include the “parade” word — or even the words “meet ‘n’ greet”.

The red carpet is ready to be rolled out, either way…

With thanks to

Monday, 26th January 2009

Introducing… Mickey’s Magical Party from April 2009!

Partly a commemoration of the mouse himself hitting 80 years old, partly another excuse to decorate the park and introduce some brand new entertainment, Mickey’s Magical Party will be a brand new year-long event taking over both parks and introducing new decorations, new shows, a new parade-event and a whole new attraction.

The theme is bright — balloons, characters and colour — and fully intended to feel as fresh and new as possible after the two, more nostalgic, years celebrating the 15th Anniversary.

The Logo

So let’s begin, with the logo:

Mickey's Magical Party logo

The balloon theme will never be far away this year, at least in the resort’s advertising, with the colour of red seeming to be a obvious replacement for the copious amounts of blue we’ve seen during the 15th.

A second logo has also been produced, featuring Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto bursting out from a circular Castle background:

Mickey's Magical Party logo

The logos themselves are quite deceptive, however — the “Candy Script” font chosen is inspired by South America — brush-like and quite classical — unlike the proposed events themselves…

The Events

Surprisingly, it’s Walt Disney Studios Park that will once again steal the show, enjoying the launch of both a new attraction and a new parade/event (which you’ll know by now) — whilst, over the esplanade, Disneyland Park has to make up its own party games:

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars
The renamed and reworked Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade from Florida finally opens in Paris as part of the event. As we’ve reported previously, it likely won’t run as a parade but as a series of drive-in meet ‘n’ greets and photo shoots. (More news…)

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!
Currently being fitted out right next to Stitch Live! in the Walt Disney Television Studios building and classed as a full new attraction, this will be a live puppet show for the younger audience, featuring Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and My Friends Tigger & Pooh. (More news…)

It’s Party Time… with Mickey and Friends
Here we come to the key event of the party, a daytime show on a rebuilt Central Plaza Stage that aims to get the entire audience dancing along with characters from The Jungle Book and Aladdin in particular. (More news…)

Minnie’s Party Train
You might recognise this one, just a little. It’s the Disney Characters’ Express in a new polka-dot guise, still travelling between Main Street and Central Plaza with its trainload of Disney characters. (More news…)

It’s Dance Time… in Discoveryland
Jules Verne won’t know what hit him — Stitch is due to roll into Discoveryland atop a moving podium of DJ decks, “pumping out tunes” and encouraging everyone to dance along using special coloured dance mats. (More news…)

Look out for much more in-depth news and features about all these events — and the party itself — on DLRP Today every day from now until the official launch.

The Launch Date

Speaking of which — when does Mickey’s Magical Party really launch? The UK brochure states Friday, 3rd April 2009, whilst other official publications state the Saturday — 4th April. Those are the official launch dates, then there’s the actual launch, the press preview, when these events really begin rolling into the parks — which seems to be set on Saturday, 28th March 2009.

Watch this space…

Thursday, 15th January 2009

More than 85,000 pictures to make the magic in 3D

How many pictures do you take on a trip to Disneyland Resort Paris? A few hundred? A couple of thousand? Well, your collection may have just been trumped.

In anticipation of the official launch of the complete 3D recreation of Disneyland Resort Paris on Google Earth, the resort has released some surprising facts and figures behind its creation. More than 85,000 pictures were taken over 20 days to create a complete virtual representation of the resort.

Disneyland Resort Paris Google Earth 3D

Impressive? Sure. But know also that no less than 2,221 of those were for Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant alone! From the pictures, the creators picked out 20,651 different textures to map onto a total of 1,587 three-dimensional models of the resort.

And it won’t just cover the main attractions — you’ll be able to explore all of Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, featuring more than 50 attractions, plus the 7 Disney Hotels and Disney Village!

Here’s the official text:

For the first time ever, you can Google Disneyland® Paris… in 3D!

Live on Google Earth as of 28 March 2009

“Imagineer” a visit to Disneyland® Resort Paris on Google Earth!

Imagine a Disneyland where dreams come true. A place where you can fly like Peter Pan over Sleeping Beauty Castle, zoom down to Main Street, U.S.A.®, or board Captain Hook’s Pirate ship.

From the imagination of Disney and Google comes a 3D experience like no other. Disneyland® Resort Paris. From the sky. From the ground. From anywhere you want. It’s as big as imagination itself. All at the click of a mouse!

Every inch of Disneyland® Resort Paris

Disneyland Paris in 3D is enorMouse: 2 Disney Parks with more than 50 attractions, 7 Disney Hotels and Disney Village. Now you can explore every inch of the resort in superb Disney details! And you’ll be one of the first to get a sneak peek of Mickey’s Magical Party, starting 4 April 2009.

With the publication of the latest issue of annual passport magazine Envie de+, which we featured in our first article on this new venture, a web address on the official Disneyland Resort Paris website was given for more information. Though it has been reported and written on most fansites and forums that the link is not yet functional, it appears we’ve actually been typing the URL provided a little too perfectly.

The magazine quotes, which brings up a page error.

However, the actual address, as confirmed in the footer of the official text we’ve got hold of, should be /googleearth3D, with a capital ‘D’ in 3D. You can therefore already view the page in French here or English here.

Disneyland Resort Paris Google Earth 3D

The page currently provides a countdown to the official launch date, 28th March 2009.

Update (22:14 GMT):

Since we posted this article, the page URLs on the official website were magically updated! That means we’re back to ‘3D’ with a lower-case ‘d’ and therefore the French page can be found here, with the English page here.

Tuesday, 13th January 2009

Did Walt Disney Studios win the New Year fireworks?

It was a night of firsts, that’s for sure. For the first time ever, Walt Disney Studios Park stayed open for regular guests beyond 9pm. For the first time ever, it let guests see in the New Year within its gates. And, for the first time ever, it hosted fireworks for those same, regular guests.

But, in the process, did it surprise us all and come out on top, with the most dazzling, sky-filling show of the two? Let’s compare…

New Year’s Eve 2008/09 – Walt Disney Studios Park

Video by Kayshaman.

New Year’s Eve 2008/09 – Disneyland Park (Part 1)
New Year’s Eve 2008/09 – Disneyland Park (Part 2)

Videos by Daviddu59.

For a start, there’s one obvious downside to the Studios’ celebrations — the lack of an icon or “weenie” at the foot of the fireworks. When the New Year’s Eve celebrations were confirmed, many expected The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror to be the focal point, or Hollywood Boulevard.

However, as the clock edged toward midnight, guests were instead asked to make their way to Backlot and Place des Stars, along the “Rue Georges Méliès” of the park, with the fireworks themselves launched from the convenient base of Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular.

This downside could also have been the park’s advantage, though — not only does the lack of a large icon make the fireworks seem bigger and more impressive in the sky, but the location may have allowed the resort a little more freedom with the bigger shells and rockets, should restrictions still be imposed on New Year’s Eve.

What’s your verdict?

Sunday, 28th December 2008

2008 Annual Report: In profit, Over 15 million guests

In 2002, Euro Disney S.C.A. learnt the hard way not to spread itself too thinly too soon. After the costly opening of Walt Disney Studios Park, it was hit by a general downturn in tourism which led to its 2001 profit of €30.5m plunging to a loss of €33.1m the next year. In 2008, after two very positive years and great leaps in attendance and occupancy, the resort has proudly posted its first net profit since the opening of that second gate.

The key points of the 2008 Annual Report were as follows:

Net profit of €2m, third consecutive year of growth
• EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) increased 21% to €249m
• Park attendance up 0.8m to 15.3m
• Hotel room occupancy up 1.6ppt to 90.9%

The net profit of €1.7m cements a growth trend which saw losses shrink from €88.6m in 2006 to €41.6m in 2007, showing steady growth for three years running. Some reports suggest that the operating group would have achieved a far greater profit still, but wisely chose to move €30m directly into paying off its long-standing debt of over €2bn rather than take this as (subsequently tax-deducted) profit.

In the Theme Parks segment, revenues were up 8.7% to €715.8m, primarily reflecting the increased attendance and a 3% increase in average spending per guest, to €46.3. The increase in Theme Parks attendance was driven by higher guest visitation from the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.

Park attendance of 15.3 million guests is by far the highest in the resort’s history, the previous record being 14.5 million last year, for the first time marking an entry in the kind of attendance levels hoped for during the original construction of the resort and again during the construction of Walt Disney Studios Park. This comes in the same year that the resort celebrated welcoming its 200,000,000th (two hundred millionth) park guest.

Hotels & Disney Village saw its segment revenues rise 6.7% to €515.6m, reflecting the increase in room occupancy and a 7% increase in average guest spending per room to €211.4m. The increase in occupancy represented an extra 37,000 room nights compared to Fiscal Year 2007, driven mostly by more visitors from the United Kingdom and Spain.

Commenting on the results, new CEO Philippe Gas said:

“We reached an important milestone in 2008 by achieving profitability. Our revenues, theme parks attendance and hotel occupancy contributed to our performance which is noteworthy given the economic environment.

The popularity of Disneyland Resort Paris, Europe’s number one tourist destination, continued to grow as guests discovered our new attractions including the iconic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Cars Race Rally, Crush’s Coaster, the interactive experience Stitch Live! and the High School Musical shows inspired by the popular Disney franchise.

We are convinced that our development strategy, together with the commitment of our cast members and the strength of the Disney brand, position us well for long-term growth.”

The report also contained an update of upcoming events:

“In line with our ongoing development strategy, in the Walt Disney Studios Park, Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!, will provide the opportunity for our younger guests to join friends from the Disney Channel in an immersive entertainment experience, for the launch of the summer season. The park will also debut Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, a new Hollywood-style show starring characters from Toy Story, Snow White, Monsters Inc., Mulan, The Little Mermaid, and more.”

— You can download the full Annual Report here (PDF).

Friday, 19th December 2008

More preparations for busiest weekend of year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and, for several years now, the busiest for Disneyland Resort Paris. As the success of the resort’s Christmas season has gone from strength to strength, it has truly replaced the Summer season as the key high season for the two Disney Parks.

However, all this festive cheer has a downside. Because, though Christmas Season runs for effectively the same length as Christmas, the core holiday period when families can visit is mostly condensed into just two weeks either side of Christmas Day itself. This weekend, between the 20th and 22nd December, is therefore the most hectic of all, not least in a record-breaking term where the resort is attracting over 15 million guests per year.

So, what are the preparations? On Tuesday, we spread word that the resort was taking the unprecedented step of advising visitors without hotel packages or dated tickets against visiting. However, as was pointed out, the warning was only posted on the ticket pages of the French official website — and furthermore, vanished a few hours after our article was published.

The warning was true enough, and the placement only on the French website was actually entirely intentional — trying to dissuade French visitors with cheap offer tickets from visiting at the busiest time of the year. Everyone is, of course, welcome to visit the resort this weekend, but you may well have to contend with some horribly busy parks.


Annual Passport holders were also given the warning, via an email sent out to the entire mailing list, suggesting visits would be better saved for another day.

Now, the Events Calendar pages of the official website have a different, additional warning in place:

Conseil Malin pour venir à Disneyland Resort Paris

Si vous désirez vous rendre à Disneyland Resort Paris avec votre véhicule, nous vous conseillons de planifier votre arrivée avant 9h30 ou après 11h30 afin d’éviter les ralentissements.

Nous vous conseillons également d’utiliser les transports en commun en empruntant le RER A, terminus « Marne la Vallée Chessy » ou les lignes de bus.

This is again an announcement we’ve never known from Disneyland Resort Paris — if you’re going to be arriving by car at the resort, you’re recommended to try to plan your arrival either before 9:30am or after 11:30am, to avoid tailbacks on the A4 autoroute and access roads. Or, an even better option — use the public transport options such as the RER A line or local bus services.

This warning comes after the huge traffic levels seen around the resort on recent weekends.


Finally, once all these guests are at Disneyland Resort Paris, they’re now being given a special Christmas treat to help cope with the huge visitor levels: extended opening hours at Walt Disney Studios Park!

Originally scheduled to open only from 10:00am to 7:00pm, the longest regular hours the park usually sees, an exception has been made to keep the gates of the Studios open right up until 9:00pm on Saturday and Sunday, likely to prevent Disneyland Park seeing an evening overflow of too many extra guests.

— You can find the updated opening hours on the relaunched DLRP Magic! Calendar.

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