Tuesday, 16th December 2008

Warning: Sunday 21st December will be FULL

It’s not the kind of message you expect to read on the Disneyland website, but for this Sunday, 21st December 2008, the official line really is: don’t visit today.

The urgent notice has only been posted on the ticket pages of the French official website. It reads:

• Attention: Le 21 Décembre nos parcs vont subir une très forte affluence.
• Nos billets ne sont plus disponibles à cette date.
• Il est fortement recommandé aux personnes non munies d’un billet ou munies d’un billet non daté de décaler leur visite sur notre site à une autre date.

Roughly translated, this warning announces that, on 21st December, the Disney Parks will have very high attendance levels. Tickets can no longer be purchased for this date, and it is strongly recommended that people without a ticket or without a dated entrance ticket for this day reschedule their visit for another day.

If you’re staying at a Disney Hotel or you’ve booked a package including tickets at one of the partner hotels, your tickets will be dated and you will be guaranteed access — but do prepare for a very, very busy Disneyland Park, with waiting times in excess of 2 hours at most major attractions.

Image: Yao, Disney Central Plaza forum

This announcement comes just a week after Disneyland Park officially reached its capicity and the gates had to be closed. On Saturday, 6th December 2008, guests arriving late would have been faced with the sudden appearance of a “PARC DISNEYLAND – COMPLET/FULL” sign on the resort hub, with only the choice to visit Walt Disney Studios Park for the day instead.

Visitors on this day described long queues on the resort’s access roads and A4 motorway, with guests being allowed to park for free in a bid to ease the congestion. Disneyland Park’s official capacity is believed to be around 85,000 guests.

Image: Nicholas-c, magicforum

Though parks reaching capacity can be quite common at other Disney resorts, particularly Disneyland Resort in California, where the original Disneyland park regularly has to close its gates on exceptionally busy dates, this is a very new thing for Disneyland Resort Paris. Clearly, with now more than 16 million visitors wanting to experience the parks each year, their popularity is becoming too much to handle.

Whilst these kind of attendance levels are obviously incredibly bad for visitors on the day, they do highlight the need for further expansion and make it ever more likely. Notably at Walt Disney Studios Park, which still does not apparently present enough of a draw to sufficiently take pressure off its older cousin.

Wednesday, 3rd December 2008

Place des… Marchés de Noël

Though traditionally put aside whilst its neighbour celebrates seasonal events in lavish and brilliant style, the newfound importance of Walt Disney Studios Park since the opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was arguably ignored in the planning of this year’s Christmas season. And so, the increasing visitor numbers at the second gate found nothing more than a small ‘Merry Christmas Walt Disney Studios’ morning welcome and ‘Toons en Scène pour les Fêtes’ meet ‘n’ greet events to make the season special in the Studios.

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These entertainments are down even on last year, when the popular Ciné Folies cast delighted with their regular Christmas movie-making farces inside Disney Studio 1. Since the re-invented version of this show on the outdoor Place des Stars Stage‘Shooting Live’ — was duly cancelled at the end of September, there is no sign of a return. Last year’s late December return of the musical ‘Goofy presents Swing Along Santas’ on the same stage also does not appear to be scheduled for 2008.

So… what to fill that gap with? Rumours surfaced recently that a small Christmas market could appear on the space between CinéMagique and Stitch Live!, and they were almost right — the market has, in fact, appeared within the park, on Place des Stars itself. Quite literally filling a wide gap in the park, alongside the currently disused parade route.

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The pine wood huts are decorated with white roofs and green garlands, with a neat patch of snow-dusted fir trees between the two rows. They join the new Studios Christmas tree which appeared late in last year’s season, adorned with movie-making props and accessories for decorations.

Though they appear to be stalls used in the Disney Village market of years gone by, they sell primarily Disney merchandise, such as Christmas gifts and Princess toys, alongside hot drinks and snacks. There is no link made to the cinema/studio setting.

It was revealed in our recent exclusive Media Magic interview with entertainment director Christophe Leclercq that Walt Disney Studios Park will host its own New Year’s Eve celebrations for the first time, using “identical” fireworks and music to the show at Disneyland Park.

[Images © J°o°eL and Disneytheque.com]

Monday, 1st December 2008

Accident nothing more than staircase fall?

New confirmations and reports from Disney Central Plaza forum, which has several Cast Members amongst its members, state that the accident occurred when Crush’s Coaster was being routinely evacuated, not during a normal ride cycle.

Furthermore, the fall involved an evacuation staircase and not a fall from a ride vehicle itself. The man did not fall seven metres, and did not fall from this staircase but on it, as he was being evacuated. He was able to drive home that same evening, Saturday, 28th November.

Clearly, a certain party here has severely exaggerated the accident which occurred on Saturday. And, though having a guest fall on a staircase is still to be regretted, it has no reason to be covered by the media in such a sensationalist fashion. No doubt the actual explanation of true events above will not be featured so far up the news agenda — or on it, at all.

One confusing factor, however, is that many the reports featured a quote “from a Disneyland spokesperson” who was contacted by the AFP news agency, stating the man was safe and well and due to return home. Either the spokesperson was not aware of the far more disastrous chain of events the media were reporting, or, if they were aware, for some reason did not attempt to completely invalidate them.

Nevertheless, it was announced that Crush’s Coaster would reopen Sunday morning as usual, but in fact visitors have reported that it opened even earlier — for a privatisation of the Studios that same evening.

[Sources: Disney Central Plaza members]

Sunday, 30th November 2008

Reports of “serious” accident at Studios attraction

News first began to spread on French news bulletins and websites from 9pm last night, Saturday, 29th November, that a young man, in his 20s, had been “seriously injured” during the day at Disneyland Resort Paris.

Though details are not yet entirely precise, it is generally reported that the man was riding an attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park when he suddenly began to believe, for an unknown reason, that his harness (restraint) was coming lose. In his panic, he apparently struggled free and fell seven metres to the ground. It is now believed the attraction was Crush’s Coaster, the indoor spinning roller coaster which opened in Toon Studio in 2007.

The attraction was immediately stopped and evacuated following the incident, with the resort’s own emergency services treating the man on the scene before he was taken to the nearby Lagny (Seine-et-Marne) hospital.

Reports have clashed in describing his condition, ranging from the casualty having “a serious injury” (Figaro) to being in a “serious state” (Libération), to merely announcing it as a “serious accident” (SFR). A Disneyland Resort Paris spokesperson contacted by the AFP, however, has stated that he is “not in danger” and is “expected to recover his car in order to return home”.

Forum members on Disney Central Plaza forum have reported seeing the attraction listed as “temporarily closed” on the park’s Tips Board yesterday afternoon. We currently have no confirmation that the attraction has reopened this morning, Sunday, 30th November.

Stay with DLRP Today for more as this story develops.

Saturday, 16th August 2008

Motor Cars Parade becomes Stars ‘n’ Cars Event

The thing is — the anticipation surrounding this parade, that, after years of rumours, was finally retired from Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida earlier this year and brought to Paris, is not just anticipation to see it in Paris. It’s an anticipation to see what Paris do with it.

Famously slow on the eyes despite its pleasing cavalcade of themed motor cars and a wide variety of stars, the news of the parade’s move to Paris was met with some hesitation from fans who’d seen it right from the word go.

“Green Army Man in Surgery Shock”

Considering Disneyland Park right next door now has a parade — Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade — with so many characters, dancers, static props and moving puppets that it literally bombards your senses as it passes, would something as mellow as a Hollywood-style cavalcade of film stars in cars be enough for the second gate, just metres away?

And here, apparently, is the answer: no, not quite.

The Studios’ wish comes true — a real Disney Princess on its parade route!

So, what will the Entertainment department of Disneyland Resort Paris do with those highly-themed motor cars, now sitting backstage since April this year? For an answer to that, you have to look to what inspired this parade’s move to Paris in the first place — the original version of a popular Walt Disney Studios Park character event — Good Morning Walt Disney Studios.

Because, though this cavalcade of regular classic cars carrying Disney stars was hardly a dazzling show-stopper as it passed by you on the parade route, it was always one of the most memorable events of the day. As the cars hit Production Courtyard, they took a turn and parked up, letting the stars step out of the cars for a 20-minute meeting with their fans.

In that same vein, let us not announce Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade for 2009, but instead: Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars Event.

Two Genies at once in Toon Studio! Nescafé would call that Genie Genies.

No longer a parade, now an event! And those earlier rumours from several months ago were entirely true — it WILL be split into three distinct, different events, happening throughout the day, in three set locations of Walt Disney Studios Park. Imagine it like three unique Good Morning Walt Disney Studios-es happening at the same time, in different lands, several times each day.

Let’s also confirm the full list of cars that have arrived safely in Paris from Florida: Mickey and Minnie, Aladdin, Lilo & Stitch, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Villains, The Muppets, Toy Story, Playhouse Disney, Monsters Inc and Star Wars.

Star Wars gives Walt Disney Studios Park the fffo…fforc..franchise!

Star Wars in Paris? Yes! Though rumours suggest that Luke and Princess Leia will infact be replaced by Darth Vader, with C3PO running alongside (though latest reports say he has yet to arrive…).

The Muppets in Paris? No! We can reveal that the plan is to turn this green and wooden car into a kind of automobile-ship for none other than Captain Jack Sparrow! This would be the Pirates of the Caribbean stars’ first ever daily Disney parade appearance — albeit as part of an “event”, not a “parade”, we must remember…

Muppets no more — welcome Jack Sparrow to the Studios!

In addition, a rumour we left out of our previous article might now have a little more truth, considering the new resident we’re spotting on Hollywood Boulevard each day. One of the cars in the parade will feature Cruella De Vil — which one? Most likely Florida’s original Villains car transformed, though some rumours did suggest the car from outside Studio Tram Tour could be brought into working order… She will get her way and arrive as part of the ‘Event’, either way.

So, the only cars not to appear in Paris are the Power Rangers and Grand Marshall (a car for guests to appear on) units. But will we see ALL the cars that have arrived out in the park next year? Maybe not… we’ll have to wait and see.

Watch out Hades — Cruella is coming…

Added to the mix and redecorated, if early plans go ahead, would be the old Cinema Parade Van, now running as part of this year’s cut-down Good Morning Walt Disney Studios, and the Toon Car, currently running in the pre-parade of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. Only four cars for each of the three spots were marked out in the original plans.

The three spots envisaged for the Stars ‘n’ Cars to arrive and stop for the meet ‘n’ greets are: Backlot (outside Moteurs… Action!), Hollywood Boulevard (where Cruella currently stops in her regular Cadillac) and Toon Studio (the area between Animagique and Cars).

Now, 760 words and plenty of revelations later — how’s that new name settling in? Don’t worry, we’ve still got many more months to get used to it before April 2009…

[Pictures: reidmix and Wyscan, Flickr]

Thursday, 14th August 2008

Pillars appear – for Playhouse Disney entrance?

The two pillars appeared at the weekend behind the first set of fences, connected onto the English queue of Stitch Live!, in the space between the Walt Disney Television Studios roof and a tree to the left of the building. One tree from this spot has already been removed.


Writing on the pillars confirms they’re moulded concrete. Whilst some initial reports suggested they could be connected to form an arch, their height and size matches quite neatly with the supports for the existing queue canopy.


This canopy, which actually curves slightly outward from the building in line with the circular Place des Stars, could actually be being extended using the pillars to provide an entrance to Playhouse Disney.

White dots are the pillars — could the canopy be extended similar to the red space?

Placing the entrance to Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage here, further out from the building, would also help to “fill in” this corner of the courtyard that now looks unlikely to receive the long-proposed addition of Soarin’ any time soon.

The only barrier for Handy Manny still to overcome — how do guests queueing on the left to see Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and friends bypass those guests exiting from Stitch Live on the right? Stay tuned…

— Consult our previous articles for more diagrams showing the placement of this new show, due to officially open in March/April 2009.

[Pictures: Mousy.be]

Wednesday, 13th August 2008

Nescafé’s new Café Cafés pours its first cup

We’ve been used to slightly more interesting cups of coffee in the parks for some time now, since The Coffee Grinder in Main Street, U.S.A. and others began offering a squirt of cream on top of your cup. Rather a long way from the creations of a regular city coffee shop, sure, but the new Café Cafés looks to be taking it another step closer…

Top of the menu for this new semi-covered eatery in the corner of Production Courtyard is the option to “Personnalisez votre café en 3 étapes” — or, as the English translation less eloquently says, “Do your own coffee in 3 steps”.


What does that mean? First, (1) you choose your coffee — such as Latte, Cappuccino and others — then, (2) your recipe — add flavoured syrups — finally, (3) your topping — chocolate powder, cinnamon, etc.

After the “themed” smoothies and faux cocktails of Hollywood & Lime at La Terrasse Perrier, the Studios are again trying something new for the parks.


The location also sells sweets such as the standard brownies and cookies, which you can enjoy on seating inside (either side of the counter) or outside. The tables are identical to those at La Terrasse and the new Café Mickey extension, only with new designs on top, whilst the chairs actually appear to be recycled from the original La Terrasse.

Overall, the installation appears to be a great success in turning a dead area of the park and an underused portion of Rendez-Vous des Stars into a busy miniature coffee shop.

[Pictures: Mousy.be’s latest photo trip report]

Wednesday, 13th August 2008

Une autre ‘Aventure Magique’ – updated souvenir book and DVD released!

First, the new souvenir DVD, once again entitled “Une Aventure Magique” sports a new cover made up of a photoshop between Mickey and Minnie in their Tower of Terror grand opening costumes, the Tower of Terror itself and Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.


Rather a give-away as to the contents, though, is the strap running along the bottom, announcing bonus exclusives for The Hollywood Tower Hotel, Stitch Live! and Toon Studio. Which would lead a cynical Disney fan to assume that their much-prized new, updated DVD is merely the same main film (featuring a boy who loses his camera, only to be taken on a “magical adventure” to find it) with a few extra video clips added.

Nevertheless, it sells for €19.90 and we’ll probably all buy it anyway, right?

Secondly, the new souvenir book is again mostly similar to the previous edition, with a similar updated cover and a few extra pages inside to cover the new attractions.


As with previous editions, there are two copies available — French/Spanish/Italian and English/Dutch/German. It sells for a reasonable €7.90.

[Pictures: vrogui, DisneyGazette.fr forum]

Tuesday, 12th August 2008

Live music talent finally given its own times guide

Say a big thank you to Nicolas Gobin, the subject of our latest “behind-the-magic” Media Magic Interview. Because, not only has the resort’s Atmosphere Talent Manager brought live music back to the parks in a big way, he’s taken a future item off our Wish List by finally giving them their own proper showtimes guide!

Available now at Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park and the Disney Hotels, this brand new flyer presents the latest performance times for the resort’s live music talent.

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Download the original PDF version of the new flyer here (3.5Mb).

The design is colourful, clear and also surprisingly “extravagant” for the resort, using new graphics of musical intruments, new photos and even a proper logo in French and English for each act. Considering we’ve hardly even seen an official logo for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, this is a job very, very well done.

Now, we can finally be right on-time to enjoy the five musical acts of the two Disney parks!

Click here to read the Media Magic Interview with Nicolas Gobin in full, about his history at Disneyland Resort Paris and how he came to introduce and manage the musical acts you see above »

[Flyer © Disney]

Tuesday, 12th August 2008

Progress slow at new Playhouse Disney

As it happens — and as you’ll no doubt see in the pictures below — not a lot.

But let’s begin with the latest slab of news from the Production Courtyard construction site that suggests something might be happening. Guigui on the French forum Disney Central Plaza has reported that the first new supports are in the process of going up behind the blue fences, news which is backed up — though unfortunately not yet in photos — by another member.

Mr.Freddy says it seems as if the supports could form some kind of arch, and that — somewhat bizarrely — this, the only visible sign of new construction, is quite far from the actual entrance to the attraction — which will be the former ‘Disney Channel CyberSpace’ post-show area, the production stage next to Stitch Live!‘s theatre.


The photos below from just a few weeks ago show the general state of progress under and around the two sets of blue construction fences.

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One set is connected directly to the English-language queue area for Stitch Live!, and has attracted strong suggestions that this work could in fact be to extend the queue here, rather than add an entrance for Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage. You can see in the following pictures that the decorative metallic plates around the concrete canopy have been removed, as if it is about to be extended.

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Below, the view under the second set of fences at this revealed nothing more than weeds and remnants from the Studios’ past — un-themed CCTV cameras, anyone?

Since Playhouse Disney: Live on Stage is not due to officially open until the start of a new celebration in April 2009, the slow progress doesn’t need to be a worry. And as always, we can only imagine what has happened inside the building, by now…

[Pictures: DLRP Today.com, 16/07/08]

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