Posts Tagged ‘Theme’

The world of Ratatouille

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Ratatouille2014

It has been a long wait but it is finally time; the opening of the highly anticipated new attraction at the Studios. Ratatouille is set to open in the summer of 2014. Get ready for this new experience where guests will travel inside the world of the most famous French cook, Remy. Expect more news once we come closer to the opening date of this new experience in Paris.

Below the official Press release from Disneyland Resort Paris

The world of Ratatouille comes to Disneyland Paris in 2014

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Happy New Year

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

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To all our Disney friends from around the world, we wish you all the best for 2014. May all your Disney wishes come true! We wish everybody a happy new year and hope to share a lot of Disney magic in the coming year. See you in the parks or somewhere on the World Wide Web where we can all enjoy the magic of Disney together.

Happy New Year!

New Look for the Disney Hotels: The Present

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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Yesterday we talked about the projects from the past, today we look at what we can expect to see done at the moment or very near future. As said yesterday, Santa Fee is almost done so at the moment this could also be seen as the hotel that fits into this day’s topic, the present. DNPB2But it won’t be long before it is done and we will get to see another hotel covered in scaffoldings very, very soon. Planned for fall is the Disney’s Newport Bay Club. Everything will get done and by the time they are finished this hotel will look and feel as a whole new place. The work will be divided into three separate projects. First we will see the closure of the East wing, after that the centre will be looked after and it all ends in the West wing and the pool area.

DNPB3The whole outside part of the building will be taken down. All panels you see now will be removed and replaced. Everything will be double layered to give the hotel the best possible insulation. Like this costs can be saved when regulating the hotels heating depending on the weather conditions in this sometimes cold part of Europe. While this might not be that visual to guests, other changes will. Colour scheme will be close to the one we know from the hotel, but there will be some more blue added into the facade’s look, taking away a little of that grey feeling it has now.

DNPB4The rooms look amazing. A couple of mock up room have been installed and they give a clear view of what to expect. The colour are still related to the maritime atmosphere, but have again been notched up a little. White and blue are still there but some warmer colours are thrown into the mix. Especially inside the executive room where more browns are added to the mix. For example the beds in the regular room will remain white while the upscale rooms will have the brown frames. On top of the walls, borders with Disney themes will be added. You’ll see Captain Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto in some artwork being their silly selves.

The hotel will also get another and new breakfast place to take care of the big traffic that needs to go through during the busy morning and just like Sequoia Lodge a special upscale club will be added for those that want some extra quality and quiet time.

DNPB5The project is a massive undertaking and will take a while to finish and might put some strain on the bookings as we are talking about a closure of 524 rooms in the first phase, just over 150 rooms in the second phase and 419 rooms in the last phase. These are big numbers that need to be placed in other locations during the refurbishment. So if this hotel is high on your list and you will visit the resort during fall you better book now. (But be aware that works are going on).

Make sure to visit us again tomorrow to look at the rest of the hotels in part three, the Future.

Pictures courtesy of Filip Van Tyghem

In Front of Animagique

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

JuneAnimagique At the Studios it is a little less hectic when it comes to refurbishment compared to the work that is being done at the Disneyland Park. The only visible fence is located just in front of Animagique.

At the entrance, in front of the building,  a little square is fenced in. The entrance can be entered from either side of the green fence as the Animagique show is running as scheduled.

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 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.

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.

Meet Imagineer Tony Baxter

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

You can start the countdown, the official 20th birthday celebration of Disneyland Paris is getting near and the park will be filled with new magic and special events. Fans of Disneyland Paris and Imagineering in general will have a special treat on April 12th. No other then Tony Baxter will be at Disneyland Paris to share his  memories from the early days of the resort. The special event will take place inside the Videopolis in Discoveryland. He will talk about his involvement in Disneyland Paris and there will be time for some Q&A too. The event starts at 10:45 and ends about 1 hour later.

Tony Baxter started his career in Disneyland Anaheim at the age of 17. he started on Main Street U.S.A. Scooping ice cream but was hired at WED Enterprises (Walt Disney Imagineering) a some years later where he would first be involved in smaller project before starting to work on the big once. Big Thunder Mountain was his first major project and the rest is history! He worked on a re-design of Disneyland’s “Fantasyland”, the original “Journey Into Imagination”, the beloved “Splash Mountain”, the new “Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage” at Disneyland and many more. Tony took a big part in creating the Disneyland Paris we know and love today. This event is your chance to hear his stories of this magical place.

Disneyland Paris fans will be able to hear from Tony Baxter himself how the Disneyland Park was formed, created and build. Their might be some interesting facts or secrets or even stories about some early ideas that didn’t make it into the final design of the resort. Whatever the presentation will be about, it will be incredibly interesting for sure.

If interested it is advices to show up early to the Videopolis as places are limited and expected to fill up fast.

Disney Wants to Know…

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

…about you fans and therefore added an online Disneyland Paris survey to hear from you. The will ask all sort of questions, some of them that fans will be eager to talk about. They’ll ask about the merchandise they sell and what you think about it. How you feel about special events and they even ask you what you would like Disney to add for there big fan community or what would bring you back to the park even sooner as you originally planned (I picked new attraction on that, it worked every time so far). This is a great chance to tell them how you feel about Disneyland Resort Paris and your love for the mouse. Be critical! They ask you to be, but remember that this is a survey to bring us fans even closer to the mouse so do keep it nice and clean. Disney wants to listen to you, the fans, and they are proofing this with this fun and informative survey.

The survey will be online and active as from 24th November to 12th December. However it looks like they started a little early as the link already works. The survey is open to everybody as from the age of 16 and is heavily targeted to “real” Disney fans. Yes they want to hear from you Disney fanatics. Have a good read while you go through the survey as you might find some hints of things to come. If they survey is a success we might even see more interaction with fans and might see some special fan events coming our way.

You will also be able to answer one very important question! What Disney fan sites do you visit. We are right there among a fast collection of Disney dedicated fans with their site. So we would not only like you to take the Disneyland Paris Survey but we would be honored if you tick our box as sites you visit. Thank you! And now, enjoy the Disneyland Paris survey. (in English or French)

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