20th Highlights: Memories

Main Street Station decorated for the 20th Anniversary

I try to keep my articles very impersonal, I tend not to use ‘I’ and not talk about my personal opinions. (If you want to read that, check out my twitter page). But for this final 20th Anniversary Highlights week, I’ve decided to break with that and talk about my memories.

I first visited Disneyland Paris for the 20th Anniversary Celebrations during the Halloween season, and was impressed by the golden banners and 20th decorations. It was a subtle type of decoration, yet noticeable. The music of the parades was perfectly chosen for a feel-good mood, the park looked beautiful. I settled down in Central Plaza that night, and watched Dreams! with my own eyes for the first time and was blown away by its beauty and technology, I’ve seen a few night-time spectaculars in my time, but this is up there with the best.

But, my personal memory comes from this article I posted on my personal blog, I’ve obviously edited it a little bit (and removed some irrelevant things from it), but I hope you find my personal memory of the 20th Anniversary enjoyable.

Creating unexpected Magical Memories

It’s rare that something happens and I feel the need to write it down right away, but tonight that happened.

During the past year I’ve made plenty of memories.  Memories that will stick with me for a life time. Most of the things I do are planned, but today I didn’t plan anything, and today perhaps I’ve made my favourite memory of all. But what constitutes as a magical moment? That depends on the person I would say. To me, a magical moment is a feeling you get. Every magical moment may feel different, but when it happens you just know. I felt it during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, I also felt it watching Disney Dreams for the first time.

This afternoon I had planned an afternoon browsing the sales at the Val d’Europe shopping centre, and that did happened. Then I thought I’d browse the sales at Disney Village.
I had dinner, then saw the time. 18:30, so I thought at that moment I would go into Disneyland park and ride Big Thunder Mountain. I arrived at the ride at 18:40 and saw a 15 minute queue sign. Perfect, enough time to ride it and get out the park and get the bus at just gone 7. The queue was not 15 minutes, they had begun the process of shutting down the ride and removing the trains. I eventually boarded at 19:02. Disney Dreams (the nighttime spectacular had already started). The train leaves the station. This is where it begins, I saw the fireworks coming from the castle in the distance as my train whirled around the mountain. Brilliant! We arrived back, there were people waiting for the front and back carriages only. ‘Mesdames and monsieurs, vous pouvez faire une deuxieme tour’.
Lesson 1:  Big Thunder Mountain is one of Disney’s most popular rides. It’s fast, family friendly and beautifully themed.
Lesson 2: You NEVER get invited to go again on a Disney ride.

So the train left the station again. This time even more fireworks, the fireworks in Disney dreams are colourful and rather beautiful, seeing these in the distance was a real treat. It is certainly an image ill never ever forget. As we arrived in the station people chanted ‘RETOUR RETOUR’. We didn’t get a third go, but the woman came over the announcement system wishing us a ‘très très Bon soirée’. I then walked down

liberty arcade serenaded by a beautiful song from the film Tangled. I arrived at the bottom of a deserted Main Street and I didn’t leave as intended. I stayed to watch the end of dreams. I was surrounded by about 15 other people all spaced out. And as I ended I just felt a strange feeling. I smiled and did that almost cry but not cry thing. It’s a beautiful show, but nothing will compare to how I saw it tonight. Thank you Disney.
How do we mark memories? I got into the pin collection craze at the London 2012 Olympic Games, before that I had a few Disneyland Paris pins, but not really a collection. Since then, I have managed to create a rather large collection of pins. They say we can attach memories to a pin, that is true. That night I bought a Big Thunder Mountain pin, what you have just read is the memory I have attached to it.

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I would be very interested in hearing your memories, is it a special 20th Anniversary event, or maybe something more personal? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet @dlptownsquare

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: Disney’s Light’Ears

Light'Ears during the Brave scene of Disney Dreams!

The Glow with the Show technology debuted in Disneyland Resort in the Summer of 2012 to widespread
amazement when the annual pass holder preview video came online, the sea of ears glowing to the World of Color show looked simply stunning. After that, less and fewer people used them and then Disneyland Paris announced they were coming to our European resort from Summer 2013 under a different name ‘Light’Ears’. Were they to be more popular in Paris?

The premise of Light’Ears is extremely simple, this Mickey Mouse eared headwear lights up to the rhythm of the Disney Dreams show, it reacts to beats, bangs and emotional moments. This is all done by infra-red sensors located inside the hat linking up to the Ear Mitters right down Main Street USA. The result is a beautiful show made even more beautiful by placing you right in the middle of it. See DLRP Magic’s video from the launch press event.

Have they taken off in Paris? Sales figures are very encouraging, thousands of pairs have been sold allowing guests to enjoy the magic throughout the summer. However, being in the park the ears seem more sparse, perhaps because of the summer crowds, they are more spread out and less noticeable.

Image: Disney

These ears bring the emotion of the show closer to the guest and bring colour right into Central Plaza and down Main Street USA in a very non intrusive way, the ears turn off and on, change colour and flash in ways that seem logical and non distracting. The big highlight of the Ears was the ‘Friends on the Other Side’ scene (which can be seen in the above video), the flashing of the warm orange colour mixed with fire worked very well.

Image: Disney

As the park exits its 20th Anniversary season, the Disney Dreams! show has given a lot of promise for the future, as have the Light’Ears. Seeing the technology in action is breathtaking and gives a desire to see the show again and again in new ways. We look forward to seeing new scenes programmed to the ears and even, perhaps, Disney Dreams of Christmas! with ear functionality.

You can read our review of Disney Light’Ears here, and our critical essay of Light’Ears here.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: 12/04/2012

Characters on Main Street USA celebrate the 20th Anniversary day of Disneyland Paris

April 12th, for Disneyland Paris fans this date has a special meaning in their hearts. The optimism in the air at launch was replicated exactly 20 years on as Disneyland Paris hosted a special day of entertainment which delighted everyone from standard guests to the biggest Disneyland Paris fans.It didn’t matter what you were interested in, Disneyland Paris had something very special for you to enjoy for one day only!

Image: Disney

There were multiple character meet opportunities in Main Street, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland celebrates, these were short shows and opportunities to see rare characters up close and personal. This was one not to be missed by character and Disney lovers.

The highlight of the day for Disney fans was the Tony Baxter Masterclass event, Tony Baxter was a key figure in the creation of Disneyland Paris, and for fans to be able to meet him, and hear stories from the creation of Disneyland Paris was a rare treat. For fans who have yet to see the talk, this video from DLRP Magic! will get you up to speed. This event was hosted by 2011-2012 Disneyland Paris ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero in the presence of all Disney Parks ambassadors from around the world.

The other big event was the Cast Member flashmob, Disneyland Paris had spent a lot of money getting the park looking beautiful for its 20th Anniversary, and into a place that its Cast Members would be proud to work, this showed at the opening of the park on 12/4/2012 as thousands of happy Cast Members descended onto Main Street USA. It set the tone for the year ahead.

Disneyland Paris has held many celebrations in the past, but perhaps the day that will stand out (in recent times) the most will be the 12th April 2012, it’s rare for fans of the resort to get up close and personal to those in charge, and those imagineers who put us where we all are today. Let’s hope that 2017 and the 25th Anniversary will provide fans with another of these rare opportunities.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams! opening sequence projected onto the castle

A series of posts of 20th Anniversary highlights could not miss the new spectacular Disney Dreams! show. Disney Dreams! has put Disneyland Paris on the international map, fans of the European resort have longed for something world-class, that would make Disney fans across the world jealous and want to come over and see our parks, with Disney Dreams! we got this, but it even exceeded the wildest expectations.

Whilst the story started long before that March night, that night was the accumulation  of many years work, Disneyland Paris fans sat on YouTube, eager in anticipation as to what would follow. It exceeded expectation, fans rejoiced and started booking trips to see the show with their own eyes. Over the year and a half it has been running the show has seen modifications, and has received many accolades including a IAPAA brass ring award. It has been an enormous spectator success with millions already having seen it and consistently scoring very high approval ratings meaning that for Disneyland Paris, the investment has been worthwhile.

Disney Dreams! is a reasonably simple show in its storyline. Peter Pan’s Shadow escapes and hits the second star to the right, unfortunately all the magic spills out and Shadow goes on a magical journey through many Disney classics and meets a range of characters, both good and evil. Can Shadow eventually put the magic back in the star?

The popular classics featured in the show include ‘Be our Guest’ from Beauty and the Beast in a foot tapping opening to our story, ‘Friend like me’ from Aladdin in a thrilling piece of show and effects. ‘Out there’ from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is an incredibly beautiful song in the French version combined with the mind-blowing projections of the Notre Dame facade on the castle. The current 2013 version then launches into a fan favourite Lion King medley which gets the crowd dancing followed by a Brave section which is almost a breather but with its funny moments. Doctor Facilier then changes the castle into a mechanical castle with breathtaking fire effects, before the villains take over a threaten to take Shadow. Before Peter and Wendy save the day and bookend the show, much like it started with ‘The second Star to the right’ and ‘You can fly!’.
As we are taken on the journey through classic Disney films featuring the enchanted soundtrack scores from the films, all children (both young and the young at heart) will find themselves smiling, singing, dancing and enjoying the special effects that make this show much more than a thrilling story, but a technological marvel for all the senses. The show features: Mapping on the castle, water projections, water fountains, fire and pyrotechnics to name but a few, these features are carefully thought out and are triggered at moments where they make sense to the plot of the show, or moments where they add emphasis to a ‘magical moment’. This is no typical firework show, this is a nightly spectacular that our resort can be proud of and will continue to evolve as time goes on (as can be seen through Disney Dreams of Christmas launching this November). The future is bright for Disney Dreams!, time will tell how the show will continue to evolve and impress audiences nightly.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: Seasons!

Mickey and Minnie snowmen on Central Plaza

If a company could own Christmas and Halloween, Disney would be the one that would want to have it. The 20th Anniversary brought a renewed focus on the two end of year seasons and the St. David’s and Patrick’s day celebrations, the magic of the 20th Anniversary increased for guests during these special times of year.

As guests walked onto Main Street USA during October 2012, they will have noticed that ghosts have invaded the street, not scary ghosts but friendly ghosts. Main Street USA had become a turn of the century ghost town, gone was the ‘in your face’ orange, in came a more classic Halloween for all the family. Our friendly ghosts had tried their hand at being a band, guides, being a mechanic and even baseball. Witches had invaded lamp posts and turned them green. Life on Main Street carried on as normal, with the slight addition of cackled laughter every so often. Main Street Station’s 20th banner was joined by silhouettes of Disney characters in their best Halloween outfits going trick or treating. Central Plaza saw our Disney pals appear in giant Pumpkin form. Frontierland wasn’t missed out either! The former ‘Halloweenland’ concept was scrapped for 2011, but the pumpkin men had still invaded the Lucky Nugget and the Fort. The restaurant offered a special meal featuring a specially designed burger and a ghostly cupcake for desert.

Entertainment wise, Mickey’s Trick or Treat returned, as did the Villains and Jack Skellington. The Walt Disney Studios saw no new decorations, but had host two nights of horror in their ‘Terrorific Night’ joined by Disneyland Park’s yearly tradition ‘Halloween Soirée’. Disneyland Paris continues to build on last years successful decorations this year by modifying a few features, as well as the exciting addition of a Halloween Cavalcade.

As Halloween ended on November 4th, the Disneyland Paris overnight workers set to work to transform the park in under one week from a spook paradise, to an enchanting winter wonderland. Gone were the spooky new ghosts, and in came Mickey shaped garlands across Main Street, the erection of the well-loved Christmas tree, the snowmen invaded Central Plaza and the joy of Christmas both filled the air, and entered the ears as Magic Everywhere! got a festive overhaul, the biggest news of the 2012 Christmas season was the addition of the Christmas Cavalcade. A classy new parade which instead of being character heavy, aired on the side of the classic image of Christmas with the Toy Soliders, Elves, Plane Toys and our favourite
characters all wrapped up warm in the best Christmas clothing. The floats are fantastic, and the music is delightful and warm. Disney’s 20th Anniversary Enchanted Christmas had the bases built for future years growth and filled Disneyland Paris fans with promise for what the season could be in just a few years. This year Christmas grows even further with a new Dreams! show and new floats in the Christmas Cavalcade featuring our new Frozen friends!

In March, Disneyland Paris usually celebrates St. Davids and St. Patricks day, this year the video mapping technology used for Disney Dreams was applied to the castle to create an even more unforgettable fireworks spectacular.   Videos:   St. Davids Day Video (DLRP Welcome) // St. Patricks Day Video (DLRP Fans)

Whilst the 20th Anniversary and these improvements may have been just a happy coincidence, there is little doubt that the future of special seasonal celebrations in Disneyland Paris are going from strength to strength and that last year was just the start of a beautiful future. Some may complain that features have been removed, but those being added last year and this year more than make up for that. We cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: Disney Magic on Parade!

Mickey in Disney Magic on Parade!

After a run of five years, it was time to stop dreaming of the magic, and to start celebrating it, which is just what the new parade Disneyland Paris presented for the 20th Anniversary was all about. The emphasis certainly was on celebration, from the dancing, the floats and even the music. Disneyland Paris has turned 20 years old, it’s time to celebrate that the only way Disney know how, with your favourite Disney friends!

On the face of it, large parts of this parade are imported directly from Disney’s Once Upon A Dream parade which ran from 2007 until 2012, two floats of the new on Parade are ‘new’ (Opening and Final ‘core’ Disney character float), the other floats have had minor touches added to them relating to the 20th Anniversary such as Hamm using Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary playing cards, small features but fantastic to see. The stars of this parade however are the fairies, watching them glide down the parade route is an absolute joy and creates an air of believability to the idea that they are flying.

Image: Disney

The new floats offer a perfect bookend of this parade, for a celebration of the twenty years of the resort, there is no better way to open than a part mockup of the turret of the castle. The castle is the icon of the entire resort and seems logical to focus the celebrations onto it. The parade reaches its finale with the redesigned ‘Dreams of Romance’ float, say hello to the ultimate party float, with Mickey and friends in their wizard costumes and Mickey Mouse the centre point of the parade up on a pedestal. The parade nicely rounds off the magic theme with a special surprise on the back of this final float. Tinkerbell waves her magic wand as she waves goodbye to all the guests who had come out to enjoy the parade.

Image: Disney

The theme song for the 20th Anniversary, and the parade song for Disney Magic on Parade! is called ‘Magic Everywhere’. It is both a song, a statement and synopsis of the park, not just the parade. Disney have proudly bragged about ‘Disney Magic’ for many years, thus the theme of the parade and the year. The catchy song, much like ‘Do you Believe?’ sneaks in yet another  Disney reference, namely ‘Neverland’s forever’. The song itself is incredibly catchy and full of joy, it’s rare to not see families smiling and dancing during it.

Disney Magic on Parade! is a perfect celebration of Disneyland Paris and Disney magic in general, the already impressive floats have been given a new lease of life and a top tapping tune bringing us many years of joy and laughter. Parades are a huge part of a day in a Disney park often providing popular, guest pleasing entertainment. Disneyland Paris’s show department usually pull out all the stops to give us world leading parades such as Disney Magic on Parade! and on this occasion, they have succeeded in bringing us a fantastic daily highlight which continues to grow with the already announced redesign of the princess float.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: Disney’s 20th Anniversary celebration train

20th Anniversary Celebration train, Mickey Mouse

Over the years, that little Casey Junior float first seen during the Wonderful World of Disney parade has gone through a few changes, one thing that has never changed is the reaction it gets from guests which is usually overwhelming joy.
The first time this train appeared as a daily character train was during the 15th Anniversary in 2007/8, characters were often picked at random adding in an air of unpredictability each day and providing reason to see the train each and every day. Since then, the train has been painted a few times. But the essence of providing characters remained the same and the character train concept has gone from strength to strength.

For the 20th anniversary, a simple question was asked: Do you believe in Magic? And therein lies one of the biggest strengths of this wonderful little parade of character meet and greets. As guests enter the park, or walk down Main Street (at the right time of day), they will hear the question and the fantastic song produced exclusively for Disneyland Paris and their 20th Anniversary. The song makes reference to ‘Disney Magic’ and the fun guests will experience at this special place. Equally for Disney fans, this song sneaks in a few incredibly obvious Disney references, and yet somehow creates a sort of charm of them that makes us smile and say ‘Ahh yes’. It’s a song that has defined the 20th anniversary, and I sincerely hope that it stays around.

Image: Disney

The train itself cannot be missed, the bright yellow sherbet dust coating stands out from everything, when gold and yellow was revealed to be a look of the 20th very few would have predicted the train looking like this. Some Disney fans didn’t like the new look, others loved it; what cannot be ignored is that it is distinctive and loved by the audience the parade targets. The real stars of the show however, are our Disney character friends dressed in their 20th Anniversary ‘Wizard’ costumes. Three times a day Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale and Clarice welcome guests and meet them, and take photos across central plaza.

Image: Disney

Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train has become one of the hit attractions of the anniversary with its bright colours, delightful music and fantastic characters. Disneyland Paris know these trains are incredibly popular, and as such it is likely to be back very soon. The question is, what kind of paint will Casey Junior be treated to when we next see him down Main Street?

‘Now that you’re here we hope you’ll be staying, where the fun never ends’.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

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20th Highlights: Meet Mickey Mouse

Meet Mickey Mouse building at dusk

Once upon a time, a theatre at the back of Fantasyland put on magical shows with Mickey, Minnie and other Disney friends. However, this eventually became unused, but Disneyland Paris had a unique solution, a meet and greet location with the most popular character. By using a large area of space, guests could be entertained and be immersed in a story during a Meet and Greet opportunity, a concept unique in Disneyland Paris. The story goes that Mickey is preparing for his next show on stage, but has made some time to meet his very special friends in his dressing room. Guests get a private one on one and photo opportunity with the most in demand character.
As guests approach the building guests see posters of the Disney gang wearing some familiar, yet unusual outfits giving an almost theatre poster aesthetic to the exterior of the building, as we enter we walk towards the main queueing area to find a stage with a screen showing a 45 minute loop of classic Mickey Mouse shorts in both French and English. As guests move closer and closer to the meeting location, they turn towards a backstage passageway where the walls are adorned with gorgeous posters for the classic shorts guests have just watched. As they enter the dressing room, many Disney references are cleverly hidden for Disney fans to spot.

Image: Disney

The main experience is short and sweet, yet incredibly enjoyable. Guests have very cleverly been ‘tricked’ into thinking this is a one on one experience. Meeting Disney’s most popular character suddenly got so much easier, and yet much more personal. Gone are the scrums of people huddling around Mickey, and enters a relaxed experience allowing for special family memories to be created.

Image: Disney

Meet Mickey Mouse is just one addition during this 20th Anniversary celebration period which we feel has drastically changed an experience in the park for the better. Whilst the queue may be long at times, guests are entertained throughout thanks to the short cartoons, Disney fans will find contentment in the spotting of references to Disney history. On top of that, the experience feels private and as such, Mickey spends a good amount of time with all his friends making many guests days unforgettable.
This attraction has made great use of available space, and should be discovered by all Disneyland Paris fans.

Our 20th Anniversary highlights week runs from 23rd September until the 30th September 2013 and celebrates the best moments of the anniversary year, from special events to new attractions. Check back everyday for a new article. 

20th Anniversary Highlights Article Directory