Posts Tagged ‘Disneyland’

Behind the Green Fences

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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JuneR8-DumboWith the summer season just around the corner Disney wants to make sure their parks are top notch. So it will be no surprise when you see some fences here and there for work that needs to be done. Unfortunately, sometimes these fences are big and favorite rides might therefor not be open.

In Fantasyland Dumbo is closed and fenced of. The crew is busy working on several parts of the attraction. Both mechanical parts as well as decorative parts where being checked and taken care of by the crew. Some crew members where checking out the side of one of the ride vehicles, just where the lifting arm is attached.

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JuneR11-ChaletAlso looked after in Fantasyland is the eatery Au Chalet de la Marionnette. The small rehab is very well hidden and is almost not visible in the Fantasyland area. You will see more of the scaffolding when walking past it on the Adventureland side of the building, just behind the small stage of the Following the Leader with Peter Pan show.

 

Frontierland also lost a big ride because of a rehab. Big Thunder Mountain is closed for a big check up. Disney is pushing for an opening in June so the big summer crowds will be able to enjoy this beloved attraction. For now the crew can be spotted on the track and ride system as well as the queue areas and even other parts of the location. With all the work done on this attraction one can expect to see a very nice polished Big Thunder Mountain once it’s open again.

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JuneR6-IndianAlso closed for an overhaul is the Indian Village play area. The play area is completely fenced off and unaccessible for the moment.

Less of an impact will be the rehab at Cool Post in Adventureland. This small eatery is completely fenced in.

In Discoveryland part of the Hypérion wall was fenced of pushing the outside seating area a little more out.

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Let’s get DAPPER

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Remember those beautiful illustrations created for the Disney parks in the past? Most of them feature guests dressed in their best Sunday’s clothes – men in suits and with fedoras and ladies in elegant dresses. What a difference to the impressions that guests are treated to on any regular day in the Disney parks … so why not bring the original illustrations to life? That’s what the fans behind the DAPPER DAYS thought.

In spring 2011 they organized the first of their popular DAPPER DAY events at the original Disneyland Park, inviting fans to dress in dapper style and mingle in the parks during the regular operating hours. In the meantime the events are held twice annually in Anaheim as well as at Walt Disney World.

Now it is (once again) also time for us European fans of the Disney parks to show that we can dress in style – on September 14, 2013 this year’s DAPPER DAY fall soiree will be held at Disneyland Paris. As with the US events this is not a private party for which parts of the park will be closed off but instead the opportunity to meet with other guests and add some extra style to the park experience. As they say on their official website: “all sophisticated fashions, from vintage-inspired to contemporary chic, are encouraged“.

Further details of the event will be released on the official DAPPER DAY website later this summer – but why not start planning how to dress right away? The website certainly features a large number of photos from past events to inspire…

The Making of Dreams

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Disneyland Paris has released an amazing video about the making of their beautiful Disney Dreams nighttime spectacular. See the team behind this great show and listen to their involvement in the creation of this magical Disney fairytale. Enjoy!

A little Rehab “Here and There”

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

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It is almost impossible to keep track on all the rehabs that happen during a year. One would need to visit the park almost weekly to keep up. However, at this time Disney is working on the following areas.

RehabMarch2In Adventureland the Pirates of the Caribbean is closed for a rehab. Not only the attraction itself is closed and boarded off, but also the Blue Lagoon restaurant has closed its doors. One can’t see anything on what is going on inside the attraction or the restaurant but you can see on one of the picture that they are also working on the Blue Lagoon exterior section. Scaffolding is set up at the entrance of the restaurant, in front of the Blue Lagoon sign. Looks like they’ll give the sign a little clean up before welcoming back their guests. The Pirates is expected to re-open on March 15th.

RehabMarch3In Fantasyland we can see the next rehab going on. This time of a far smaller proportion then the one mentioned above. Just behind Dumbo, next to Peter Pan and in front of Mickey’s new meet and greet attraction a small area is fenced off. Guest can walk around it in a circle, just like the pattern that can be found on the floor next to the green fences, but the work on the little planting area is hidden behind them.

RehabMarch4The next little rehab can again be found in adventureland. One of the little shop, La Girafe Curieuse, has some work done on the exterior walls. Might be a small thing, but it shows that Disney cares about the look of all of their shop, restaurants and buildings.

The Molly Brown Docked!

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

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MB1One would expect that when working on the Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing Molly Brown, they would do so at the back of the river in the docks. Not with the Molly Brown. In Thursday she was docked at the front for all to see. While the view of this beautiful boat is always a welcome one, it is weird to see it in parts. No, no, don’t worry. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. It was only one of the side panels, covering one of the big wheels, which had been taken of.

The Next morning the big paddle wheel was covered again and the boat went around the river at least once for testing. After the test round, it docked at the front again and remained closed for the rest of the day.

Ratatouille-Construction 2012-12

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It looks gray, cold and totally uninteresting, but once the construction is ready it will turn into something magical; The rumored “Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity!” attraction at the Walt Disney Studios in Paris.

The new ride and restaurant building is starting to show its form, even if it is only a concrete facade at the moment. The cranes have been visible for a while but now that the new walls are starting to go up, more of it becomes visible for the guests by-passing the fence next to the construction site. It looks like it wont be long before the roof will be put up and work on the inside of the building can start.

Opening of the Remy’s new “Kitchen” is expected somewhere in 2014.

New Year’s Eve Program (Updated)

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Disneyland Paris is inviting all there guests to celebrate the end of the old and the beginning of the new year. To do this they have a full day of fun planned.

On the last day of the year the gates of the Disneyland park will open at 9:30AM (Updated from 10AM. Incorrect on the program) and will not close anymore for that year as the park will close the next day at 1AM. Guest can go into the new year while they celebrate inside the park. The program for the day and evening is filled with lots of cool stuff, including the extra Christmas fun.

There will be the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Mary Christmas with Belle, Jack and Sally’s Cemetry, The Jingle Bell Boys; Dreams and a lot more. However the most important celebration for the evening is beginning of the new year with the fireworks. At midnight guest will get to see one of Disney’s magical New Year Fireworks and Show. No news on what to expect for the celebration, but the “show” in the title might be an indication there might be more then just the fireworks.

The Walt Disney Studios is also open until 1AM and also has a special New Year Eve program. This includes a Video Dance Party and a Lucky Dance Party. Again, the most important celebration part of the day will include a firework display. The Studios fireworks will light up in the air on some pop re-mix Disney tunes.

To see the special New Year Program click the pictures.

Picture and program courtesy of Disney.

Disney’s Costume Rules

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Halloween is coming closer and the villains at Disneyland Paris are ready to welcome you to their special day. How can you celebrate this event even more? How about showing up in costume!

Disneyland Paris welcomes all those that wear a Halloween costume but there are specific rules that need to be followed by every guest of the park. To make sure you are not being turned back from the gates to changes guests should inform themselves on what is and what is not allowed. To help those guests Disney has put out a set of rules that you can find here.

“Complete masks or costume hiding the head or face, forbidden. Costumes or make up that could offend the sensibilities of our family audience are forbidden. Dangerous or cumbersome accessories (fake weapons, sticks,…) are forbidden. Certain accessories (hats, capes) must be removed before riding our attractions. If you wear the costume of your favorite Disney character you commit not to pose or sign autographs.”

Picture courtesy of Disney

Magic Everywhere – including your CD player

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Last Saturday the resort finally released the theme song of its 20th Anniversary celebration as single CD: “Magic Everywhere”. The song also is the theme song and the sole soundtrack of the new “Disney Magic on Parade” from Disneyland Park. The CD release had been anticipated already in time for the parade’s premiere but was obviously delayed.

The single CD contains two tracks, each runnin 4:04. The first track is the pop song version as heard during the parade, the second track is the instrumental version. In other words: the single release follows the same concept as the single releases of prior parade theme songs. No confirmed word yet, concerning other CD releases for later this year by the resort … but if you hear anything, let us know!

Tony Baxter Masterclass

Friday, April 13th, 2012

April 12th 2012 was Disneyland Paris’ 20th birthday with special events and celebrations during the day. One of these special events was meeting Tony Baxter (Senior Vice President, Creative Development, Walt Disney Imagineering) who would talk in front of an audience of devoted Disney fans about Disneyland Paris and his big participation into creating it. It will be to nobody’s surprise that the whole audience was captured for this hour long masterclass with Tony.

The masterclass was being hosted by the two Disneyland Paris Ambassadors, Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero, who both did a fantastic job. Not only did they get the questions to Tony, they also had to translate everything in French and sometimes those where very long sequences. Great job. But for those that could not be there, here is an almost full transcript of Tony Baxter’s Masterclass.

Tony started of with some explanation of the name Imagineers and how it put artists together with engineers and how this results in all the amazing things that they do and that work most of the time. After a first translation to French Tony asked “What did I say”, making the public laugh.

Before Tony took on the role of executive producer for Disneyland Paris he already worked on many other projects as Imagineer. The question to Tony was to talk a little bit about these projects. “I got to play a few years before tackling this project. First there was Big Thunder Mountain. It was designed for Walt Disney World but the first one got build in Disneyland but the best one of all is here in Paris. We all know what it does it, it goes under the river and back under the river and it is totally awesome.” Then he worked on Star Tour and after that he mentioned Indiana Jones and the Temple of the forbidden eye. Tony already said wouldn’t it be great if that would be our movie and years later they could indeed build attractions related to the franchise.

Tony mentioned how Disneyland Paris has somehow a duplicate Fantasyland compared to Disneyland abut how our Castle is spectacular. Tony went on mentioning Splash mountain, quickly saying that the best one is in Tokyo, but there are very good once in the US parks.

The next questions asked by the Ambassadors was how did he feel when they announced they where going to create Euro Disney (As it was know before changing its name to Disneyland Paris) and he would be in charge of it. “well it wasn’t like being the person being in charge as I couldn’t do this alone. I had five friends who grow up with Disneyland as children and all of knew on how to make it right. It wasn’t as being in charge of it but we get one more chance to do this. We know all the things about Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and let’s put all these things together and put it right creating the most beautiful Disneyland and it still is. That being said Disneyland is still the most charming, Walt Disney World the most spectacular, and DisneySea is amazing.”

A picture of a Disneyland Main street Picture was showing up on the screen. “I see my friends, Jeff Burke Frontierland, Tim Delaney Discoveryland, Tom Morris fantasyland, Eddie Sotto Main Street and Chris tietz for Adventureland. Chris is still working with us on Princess Fantasy Faire for Disneyland.

Next question was how did he take an American concept and adapt it to European audiences and made it relevant for them since they didn’t have the Disney park experience before. “It started with a wonderful trip to Europe. It started with a trip trough England, we went to Denmark, of course Germany and visited all the great sites tourists do. I went to visit book shops in small communities, so not in the center with the tourist, but to see what people would think about the rest of the world. Look at coffee table books to see what sells and look at what people are interested in.”

“Frontierland was easy because the French and Europeans are very interested and intrigued in the wild west. Adventureland, there where a lot of theme parks that copied the original Jungle Cruise from Disneyland. In fact, one I remember, had viking boats going past the guys that where going past the pool with the men going up. So we decided not to do that. We rethought Adventureland in more of an Arabian Nights fantasy because stories like Aladdin where very popular here in the same way the fairy tales from France where popular in America, so there was a shift.”

“Sometimes things where very exited for us. We knew pirates where going to be exited for the Europeans so we build a whole island based on Pirates of the Caribbean and strengthen the pirate ride as you see here. How did we know so many years later pirates was going to be such a huge franchise for the Disney company so it was fortunate that we made it such a big part of Adventureland.”

“The big question was of course Fantasyland and the castle.” Europe already had a lot of real castle so the Disney believed a replica of such a castle would not work in Euro Disney. “So we decided to go much more to the fairy tales and the story books and particular the art designed by Eyvind Earle”

“And finally here we are in Discoveryland. Part of the contract that we signed with the government in France was to develop an area based on celebrating European culture and when you look at space mountain , that is directly from Jules Verne’s Story from Earth to the Moon, the Orbitron out here could be Leonardo Da Vinci. These are the type of visionaries that really inspired the whole world to go into space to do the things in the future. This was a natural fit.”

(Tony was keeping Main Street for later, when talking about the hotels)

Next question was related how the Imagineers worked together to make this dream come true. “We where close friends, Tom Morris, who was in Fantasyland, came to me when he was in high school and he wanted to write a report on an Imagineer and as he went true college he became on board and we worked together on many projects and I think he was typical of what my relationship was with Jeff Burke and Tim Delaney and everyone else. I knew their specialties. Tim is a genius in doing futuristic imaginative art, Tom loved fairy tales, Chris loved adventures and if you look at Jeff Burke, he is a cowboy.”

“You always hear about Casting in the theme part, but the most important casting we do is at Imagineering and each one of these people was absolutely perfect so that made my job really easy.”

Next question from the Ambassadors was what kind of challenges or problems he encountered when creating Disneyland Paris. “It was very cold” (laughter) “Sometimes it was so cold we had to put plastic covers and put heaters inside to keep the spray from turning to snow instead of landing on the rocks. That was very challenging. Midway trough the construction we had partnered with an English firm to manage the project and it so difficult, so Disney and so not normal, as they where used to with hospitals and hotels. We had to take the management of the project back and create our own staff right in the middle of construction and I think our management group at Imagineering did an incredible job of that switch over midway in the project”

“We had the same amount of money as Tokyo did to build that park and so the challenge for each of our designers was to find a way to get more of that money out where guests could enjoy it and I think they did a fantastic job. In Tokyo you find that the street is covered, and that cost a lot. We where able to put the arcades, and if you haven’t walked trough them, they are beautiful, they where a lot less money and with the remainder we put more beautiful details in the rest of Main Street.”

Tony said that Disneyland Paris is the most beautiful park in the world so the next question was to find out why he thinks so. “It is a combination of things. The climate, which can be harsh, also allows you to grow things we cannot in California and Florida, so as you walk into the park, especially now during spring time, the landscaping is spectacular. Our hardwood forest in Frontierland is more beautiful then in California or Florida and is the youngest. It already looks fantastic. Landscaping is a big part of it.”

“The Orbitron was placed on the ground so the extra money saved was used to put all the great ornaments on it so it became a gorgeous sculpture. Those kinds of way of thinking of the park was ways to make it more spectacular. We are next to the most beautiful city in the world, so we had to live up to that.”

Tony is now in charge of Disneyland California and the question now is how it feels to go back to the one that started it all. “I grew up with Disneyland, so it is my backyard and to get to play in your backyard is the best thing a kid can ever do.”

That where the questions from the Ambassadors, but now it was time to get some facebook fans questions. They where asked by the Disney Ambassadors from all the other Disney parks around the world.

The first question was about him meeting Walt Disney in person and to tell us about the experience. “I was working in Disneyland as an ice cream vendor, scooping ice cream, and Walt would come to the park every Friday, staying at an apartment above the fire station on Mainstreet and then on Saturday he would fire up one of the cars and drive over Mainstreet. I never thought he would visit a humble ice cream vendor but the word went out that he was coming so we had to work very hard to clean the area up. Then I saw him moving towards me and I had all these ideas that I wanted to share with him. I was going to tell him all these things we could do and I wanted to be part of it and then I felt his hand on my shoulder and he said – how are things going with you here – and I said just fine”. (big laughter in the room). “missed opportunity”

“My sister got to ride small world with him, she was younger, she was twelve. She saw him going to small world and she ask if she could ride it with him and he said of course you can. She and her girlfriend, one on either (of Walt’s) side went through and at the end he asked if the wanted to go trough again and they said of course. But you would have to sing this time. They sang the song and then he gave them a picture, an autograph and tickets. She still has those today.” The Ambassadors said they where jealous and Tony answered he was too.

“I had to work at Disneyland, scooping ice cream and my sister went to the big football game on new years day and Walt Disney was the grand marshal that year of the ball game. So she went down, she is 12 years old, she went up to him and said my brother had to work at Disneyland today and couldn’t come down to the game would you sign the program for him. So I have a signed program saying; Tony I thank you for working at Disneyland and I am sorry you weren’t here to see the football game today, Walt Disney” The audience loved it.

The next facebook question was, what was the best part of creating a Disney park in Europe and how did you came up with the design of Sleepy Beauty Castle. “The best part was getting to come to Europe and I took holidays every weekend to go visit Europe. It is all so beautiful and so different. Each country has its own culture and its charm. Regarding the Castle, I already told a little bit about it, we where very concerned that it would be taken poorly so we convinced management to recreate the castle from scratch. We made it a little bit smaller then Walt Disney World but bigger then Disneyland and the most important think was the shift in making it a fairy tale setting. In all of the other Disney parks the castle is flat on the same level as Main Street and we wanted to try and create that image where the castle is up on a hill side and the prince would ride up to the castle hill sides and dragons would live underneath it. Those where the things that guided us.”

Next question was, what is the best example of detail that went into the creation of this park. “Only one? I love all the thing in the park but the Disneyland hotel was such a challenge in the park and no money to do it. We had to convince Michael Eisner to get rid of one of the hotels out in the village and give us that funding to do that hotel. Everybody at the company said people would be standing in their underwear on the balconies, they’ll be hanging their clothing out to dry, they’ll be bothered by the parades on Main Street. There where million reasons why we shouldn’t do it. But Both Frank (Wells) and Michael agreed it was a beautiful design and Eddie Sotto worked very hard to incorporate that into Main Street. We shrunk the train station so the hotel works as the icon at the end of the street as the train station does for the other parks. It was the hardest thing as it was never been done before and now of course there is one in Tokyo, we have the Grand Californian in California and it has become a Disney thing.”

“The reason we build that hotel, as we studied how people go to resorts, there is a great appreciation in the European community on the scent of arrival. In the US you get processed a lot before you get into the beauty of the parks. It is a great gift to the people who arrive at the RER and train station to see the gardens and the hotel on arrival. We felt it was important to do this.”

Next was a question about all the homages to the original park that can be found in the park. Some of them are obvious but what is the most hidden or mostly overlooked tribute to Disneyland. “You better get the people ready in the Fantasyland restaurant after this. In Pizzeria Bella Notte patio there is a broken china pattern of mosaics in there. When we put in Start Tours in California we had to demolish a portion of Mary blair’s murals. The majority is still there, but a portion was destroyed and Tom Morris picked up all the pieces and if you look at that in Belle Notte and pick out the very orange pieces, that came from the sun from that mural.”

“The other one is mine. In Disneyland we had an exit sign that was off-centered because there was a beam. In Au Chalet de la Marionnette there is a sign that is perfect, in Disneyland I added a Figaro cat pulling the sign to make it look balanced. Here the exit sign was right so they asked what I was going to do this time. So I added a Figaro cat leaning on it showing we got it right this time.”

Another question was if he had the possibility to expand a land, which one would he pick and why? “Discoveryland! If you leave today (the videopolis building) you’ll see two circles on the wall. They are tubes that would bring you to Space Mountain. All attractions would be connected with Space Mountain. It was going to be a land in there. Tubes would take you of to each of the attractions (some artwork was shown with the tubes). And that was how you where going to get to all the attractions. We weren’t able to do that, we couldn’t afford that. So I would love to come back now and spend some more effort and really complete this land. That would be great.”

The next question is about one of many fans favorite attraction. What is the mystery story of Phantom Manor as the whole fan base is torn between two possible explanations. First of all Henry Ravenswood would be the Phantom, or the second one could be the Phantom could be the result of a curse around Thunder Mountain. “You know I am going to be hung on this one” (laughter in the room) “There is probably 400 stories on this. I am going to give you my story. It is not official, it is mine. I love Charles Dickens’ story Great expectations. Miss Havisham (from the book), who is gilded as a bride, grow older and older and the rats came in, the spider webs and everything else and that was the basis that I saw in this (attraction). But I wasn’t the only voice in this. So we see the young beautiful daughter preparing for her marriage at the start. She is in the hall and all the guests are arriving. She is very wealthy, this is her fathers home who made lot’s of money from the gold rush from the mines of Big Thunder. Now she is waiting for her groom. She waits and waits and waits and gets older and older and older in the progress. When he finally comes at the end it is to late and the only place where the celebration can be is down under. So he invites us to descend down beneath the ground into the spirit world where all the residents of Thunder Messa come to celebrate this long, long overdue marriage. And of course she waves goodbye trowing us the flowers at the end. And that’s my version. (big applause). What is so special about Disney stories is that you write the stories. If we scripted the whole thing and give you a book report of a movie (attraction) that we’ve done it is not as exciting as if when you going home and tell your family and friends of what you saw and the different things that happened. It makes it very exciting to go on the attraction again. If it is the same old thing and scene, scene, scene, that’s not any fun.”

Ambassador Régis response that this is why after 20 years we are all still wondering. “And that’s why people keep going”

“And while the picture is up here (picture showing of Phantom Manor exterior building) you can see the importance of making it look readable visually. So instead of a sign telling you that is a haunted house we created a look that looked haunted because of the multiple languages here so it was really important to make it speak visually. The great actor Vincent Price by the way, here comes some trivia, Vincent Price provided the scream at the end of the elevator part. He also did the complete narration but we where warned against using it because the felt it was to  American even though it was in French but I think hearing an American accent would have actually been good and if you guys (to the fans) yell enough maybe we can bring that back. (applause) It was the last thing that Vincent Price ever did. And the other trivia thing is, the music was re-orchestrated by a young man who has gone on with fame and fortune, by the name of  John Debney who has gone on doing big motion pictures and it was a beautiful score.”

After this the Ambassadors thanked Tony and the fans did the same with a standing ovation. He was going to take some time to meet fans for pictures and autographs. Many fans wanted to meet him but a busy program forced him to stop early before every fan could meet him. He tried his best, even canceling one meeting but at the end he had to apologize and go as more cancellations where not possible. He mentioned he hated doing this and had hoped to meet everybody, but his filled agenda for today just didn’t allow the extra time. It does show how great Tony is and how much he cares to meet and speak to his many, many fans which all had a fantastic time during this incredible masterclass.

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