Posts Tagged ‘Frontierland’

Jack and Sally Are Staying For Christmas

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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Both Jack and Sally love Disneyland way too much to leave it after the Halloween event is over. They want to stay in the park… and they will.

Now don’t let the Halloween artwork confuse you! When they are back for Christmas they will dress for the occasion. The costumes are ready and all they need to do is change. Disney just isn’t ready to show the new costumes yet, but we had the luck to see the drawings of them and they look spectacular.

The background will stay the same as they Halloween one but that isn’t a bad thing as this display, that will remain in Frontierland, also looks spectacular. Especially the fountain looks like fun. So if you couldn’t make it out to the park during Halloween time you will have an extra chance to get to see the Nightmare Before Christmas stars during their “other” favourite holiday; Christmas.

Picture courtesy of Filip Van Tyghem

Halloween, Halloween…

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

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Halloween2It’s only a little less than a week before Halloween season officially starts at Disneyland Paris. The ghosts and ghouls are already hard at work with decorating the park. The things already visible at the moment are the lights on Mainstreet. The glass bowls have been replaced in the spooky pumpkin orange and others in a “witch” purple. Some of the purple once even have witch hats on. All along the facades from the Mainstreet pumpkins are popping up. All of them with smiles on them, convincing the guests these are happy times.

Halloween3Minnie surely agrees on this. Maybe that is why she got this amazing new meet and greet display at the end of main street. Here she has her own place to get ready for the festivities while she takes the time to meet her fans for a picture or two. The display is beautiful and even has some extra faceless figures where children can pop there head through for another fun Halloween picture.  All of Minnie’s decorations are adapted to the festivities, but the Mickey Head mirror is especially nice.

More early decorations can already be found at the beginning of Frontierland. Sophisticated pumpkins are awaiting the guests for a special picture. Up to this moment those figure can be found at the little display just at the beginning of the land and near the Lucky Nugget Saloon. More decorations will be added before the start of the season.

Missing in Frontierland is the Jack and Sally display. This one will be added, most likely during this week ready to meet guests for a photo op. Jack will not only set up his amazing background but will also bring his fountain into the mix.

Halloween4Other photo ops that will be in the park are more of a ghostly kind. Nice ghosts so it seems as they leave some room on the bench so one can join them or on another occasion leave their ghostly kids face home so children can again pop their face into the spot for the pictures. More decorations will go up during the week, like Goofy’s candy machine. Duffy’s Halloween spot among others.

Other decorations are already spotted in Adventureland at the exit of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and even at some of the stores in the Disney Village.

Halloween5Another big event is the parade. La Célébration Halloween de Mickey Parade will float around the park. It will include Clarabelle, who is miss Halloween this year, Pluto Tout Fou poor Halloween with pumpkin men, En Route poor la Récolte with Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Jeux Halloween with Winnie the Pooh and friends and the big final with Mickey, Minnie Chip & Dale and Clarice. It will be nice to see some new floats but unfortunately they come with a price as some of these floats are being set on the former Fantillusion floats. Fantillusion is no more!

Of course Halloween would not be complete without the villains. And they will be out there behind the castle waiting for you.

Halloween officially starts on October 5th and will run up to October 31st

Pictures courtesy of Filip Van Tyghem

Disneyland Paris Promoting WDW Event

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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At the Pueblo Trading Post shop, at the far end of Frontierland, where the pin traders gather, you will find some of Disney’s nicest collectibles in the form of pins and vinylmations. A perfect place to show some other Disney items too. On the wall of the shop cast members have placed a collection of printouts from a special Walt Disney World event. Starting on Friday 13 September 2013 Disney will have a special hard ticket event where collectors will be able to find a bunch of cool Disney stuff related to the number thirteen and the Disney villains.

WDWevent1The event is the “13 Reflections of Evil Trading Event” and takes place at Epcot. There will be limited villain pins, limited Vinylmations of villains, Statues of some of the most well know villains like Cruella de Ville. Mystery pin boxes, hats, phone covers and a lot more. One very special item will be a framed uncut Disney dollar sheet of the 2013 collection. For those that collect these, remember that the Dalmatians bill was pulled from the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts because of an error on the bill. Dalmatians was spelled Dalmations. These bills are very rare and are sold on ebay around the $40 mark for just one bill. It is very interesting that Disney is now selling these bills as a sheet, even with the error. Unless this is a new print run. We will have to wait and see.

Even with Disneyland Paris promoting, or informing the fans about it, you can’t order tickets for the event in Paris. This needs to be done via the web. Non of the merchandise offered during this event will make it to Paris. The only thing Paris guests will get are a view of the merchandise on the printouts. A very nice gesture of the Cast members… making us all jealous.

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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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.

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.

Mickey Visits Frontierland

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Mickey has a new place to meet his guests in Disneyland Paris, but it isn’t ready yet.  Opening is planned for a little later in the year but Mickey doesn’t want his fans to miss out so he opened a temporary place in Frontierland. Mickey asked woody and his friends if it would be OK to set up shop in the Critter Coral – Woody’s Roundup Village. Woody, being the gentleman that he is, agreed and after some quick changes Mickey has a new meet and greet location. Only for a short while as he will move very soon into his theatre in fantasyland.

Mickey is not alone as Minnie is there too. Both will give the guests an opportunity to be in the picture with them. Minnie will be first in the first room (or should we say barn?). To get their guests will have to follow a queue on the outside around the barns. The walls have all been decorated with posters with a magic theme. Could it be that Mickey will take this with him once his theatre is open for the new greet and meet? They sure look like they belong there and there is indeed room reserved for posters with this theme.

After visiting Minnie guests have another very short wait before they can enter the second room (or should we say barn again?) where Mickey is waiting. Are you ready for your portrait with the famous mouse?

Once you’re done you can order the pictures outside the “village” and you’ll have a nice souvenir to take home. But remember to book your next trip to Disneyland Paris to meet Mickey Mouse again, but this time in his wonderful new theatre in Fantasyland.

 

Meet with Mickey Mouse backstage (updated)

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

As part of the 20th Anniversary celebration Disneyland Paris is providing Mickey Mouse with a new home! Well, it is preparing a new home for Mickey as it isn’t ready yet. Despite the work already going on since last summer the new location for a meet’n'greet with Mickey is unfortunately only set to open later in May.

For this new “Meet Mickey Mouse” experience the former Fantasy Festival Theater is completely reworked. Originally a covered out-door theater for shows featuring the fab five the theater was later enclosed and for several years used as home for the second version of “Winnie the Pooh and friends, too” show. Before its transformation into the new location for a meet’n'greet with Mickey started the theater was only for performances by guest groups as part of the Magic Music Days program.

Differing from his prior meet’n'greet location (which was outdoor) the “Meet Mickey Mouse” experience (including its queue area) is indoors – protected from the weather – and features a themed environment specifically created for it. This setting is inspired by the 1937 color short  ”Magician Mickey” in which Mickey performs in front of an audience of orphans as magician on a big stage. Fans who have visited the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Orlando, might notice that a similar setting for meet’n'greets with Mickey has been set up there as well.

At “Meet Mickey Mouse” guests are invited into the theater and to go backstage where Mickey will meet them during the breaks in his magic show in his dressing room. When entering the former Fantasy Festival Stage through the right hand doors guests are stepping into the lobby adorned with posters of some of Mickey’s biggest magic tricks. The whole waiting area is designed to be fully wheel chair accessible. It leads guests from the lobby into the actual theater auditorium, where guests will have to wait approximately 45 minutes in switchbacks if the line is at full capacity.

However, during this time guests are entertained by classic Mickey shorts on a large screen placed on the stage. However, Disneyland Paris retained a fully working stage here allowing it to have live performances in here as well. For this purpose the stage is also equipped with three curtains: one rising up, one folding sideways (Italian style) and the final one sliding sideways.

Finally at the front of the auditorium guests will step backstage to see the magic in the making … and meet Mickey. However, in a first step they meet up with the stage manager of the theater – a cast member that takes the guests’ details and sends them through one of supposedly three doors. Behind the door finally Mickey will wait for a close up, personal experience. According to a feature released by Disney’s official fan club D23 online Mickey will even talk to the guests! However, this hasn’t been confirmed by any other source and it should be noted that while a talking Mickey has been tested in meet’n'greet set-ups in the US parks it is not yet a regular feature. Therefore it can not been ruled out that D23 was maybe a bit too fast with their statement.

Even so the experience is not yet fully finished Mickey’s backstage room already looks amazing. There is so much detail the short visit a guest is granted will not be enough to take it all in. There is Mickey’s big traveling trunk with stickers of all the various (Disney) locations he visited, Mickey’s hat from Fantasia, pictures of Mickey and even a very special hidden Mickey. Want a hint how to find it? Take a look in the trunk filled with Magic gadgets. There You’ll see three magic rings interlocked with each other and forming the hidden Mickey.

For those with a keen eye for details and love for the Disney classics there are many more surprises to discover as Mickey seems to have collected magic items from various Disney classics such as the black crow’s feather used to make Dumbo fly. Just before exiting Mickey backstage room guests can spot a book with the magic number 52 on it. 52 certainly stand for the deck of cards, but it also stands for the date when (what is today called) Walt Disney Imagineering was set up.

While meeting Mickey will be the highlight for many guests the magic doesn’t end once guests leave his dressing room. Outside Mickey’s backstage dressing room, still in the backstage area guests will walk an exhibition of some terrifying tools that could be used in some really funily scary magic tricks. There is a saw of death, a big water tank used for escape tricks and even a basket with swords sticking out.

Closer to the exit of the experience, back in the regular front of the house displays will showcase the photo of each guest taken with Mickey by the official photographer backstage (as usual there is no obligation to buy the photo and the photographer is happy to take a photo of the guests and Mickey with the guest’s camera as well for free). According to some hints placed during the 20th Anniversary kick-off event there might be a special message on the boards displaying the photos – but as these have not yet been installed it wasn’t clear yet how this would look like or work.

Continuing the approach by Disneyland Paris to be as inclusive as possible toward disabled guests and disabled cast members one of the counters at which guests can buy a copy of their picture is wheelchair friendly. This means not only that it is accessible without problem by guests in wheelchairs but also that it is set up in a way to allow a cast member seated in a wheelchair to work in the location. After this “shop” area guests exit the theater again back onto the large plaza in front of the Fantasy Festival Stage through the doors on the left of the building.

As already stated it currently looks as if Mickey has three rooms to welcome his guests, however the number four was mentioned during the 20th Anniversary kick-off event as well. We will keep you updated of course and also provide you with photos at a later point. Since the experience is still under construction no photos were allowed at this time.

Guests visiting prior to the opening of the new experience will be able to meet Mickey Mouse in a dedicated setting created in Frontierland on parts of the Cottonwood Creek Ranch (cast members stationed in front of the former Fantasy Festival Stage direct guests to this temporary locationUPDATE: after the kick-off event construction fences were put back in front of the Fantasy Festival Stage and signs were posted directing guests to the temporary meet’n'greet with Mickey on Cottonwood Creek Ranch). In the meantime the former meet’n'greet area of Mickey, in front of the Boarding House on Town Square, has been taken over by Duffy, the Disney Bear, who joined Mickey late last year already.

 

Andy, member of DLP.info, attended the 20th Anniversary kick-off event as invited guest of the resort and was granted a first look into the “Meet Mickey Mouse” experience.

Big Thunder Mountain – another update

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

As covered in the past weeks Big Thunder Mountain was closed from late afternoon on October 27 till midday October 31 (when it re-opened after Disneyland Park received all required approvals and permissions to do so from the authorities) after one car derailed on what is assumed to have been the ride’s second lifthill. Now the french website Midi Libre has published the first photo taken on-site of the derailed car.

When the attraction reopened on October 31st capacity was significantly reduced with only three trains operating. However, one of the three trains runing was a train retrofitted earlier this year with enhancements to the lap-bar system in all carriages. As can be seen in the photos on board of this train all lap-bars feature a vertical bar going down from the actual lap-bar in the middle of it. Also a forward extension of the seating has been installed featuring a ”hump” right under the position in which the new vertical element of the lap bar comes down. This two element-system adds a separation between the two guests in each row, prevents sliding on the seats and makes it more difficult especially for smaller guests / children to wriggle out of the lap bar system – thus increasing further guests safety. A predecessor of this new system had been tested in selected carriages at the end of at least one train in the past year already.

The new system should have no impact on the ride’s capacity as on October 31st repeatedly parents with one young / small child were seated in one row nevertheless with the kid being placed with one leg to each side of the “hump” thus in an especially safe position.

Santa Claus Village

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

It is already a tradition that Woody’s Roundup Village on the Cottonwood Creek Ranch is transformed into a real winter wonderland aka “Santa Claus Village” for the holiday season. By Thursday the area had already been covered in snow and the snowmen had been placed on the hill at the far end of the area adding some holiday spirit visible also from aboard the Disneyland Railroad.


In the past years guests could find Santa Claus’ post office at the village as well as the workshop of his elves and the opportunity to meet Santa Claus in the second building. At the same time the two static photo sets featuring Bullseye (Woody’s horse) respectively Stinky Pete in his box (both from the Disney Pixar Toy Story movies) remained unchanged.
However, as a new surprise for this holiday season both former unchanged photo sets are undergoing a wintery transformation as well adding some extra holiday cheer for guests, in particular also adding the opportunity to take a souvenir photo in a unique setting without waiting in the line for the meet’n'greet with Santa Claus.

What will the two new photo sets look like? As of Thursday both sets were still worked upon and hidden from view by black clothes (as can be seen for the former Stinky Pete set in the photo on the right). In other words: guests will have to wait until the official start of the holiday season to learn more.

As can be seen in the photos as well the closure Woody’s Roundup Village in the recent months allowed not only for some early preparations of the interior of the buildings for the holiday season. In addition the paint crews moved in and repainted some of the buildings in a brighter red share to cheer up the area a bit more as well.

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