On the 31st December 2017, Disneyland Paris held its first ever New Year’s Eve special ticket event. The evening promised entertainment in the form of a mega parade made up of floats from seasonal and previous parades; a firework display at midnight; a dance party and a range of meet and greets to delight all Disney fans. The Halloween soirée has become something of a sought-after ticket in the fan community and after 2017’s New Year’s Eve party it is clear that this will become a regular fixture in a fan’s diary.
An incredible parade
The main fixture of the evening was the parade that kick-started the evening at 20:30. This parade lasted over one hour and included over 40 parade units and more than 100 dancers. The soundtrack brought back many delightful memories for Disneyland Paris fans as the music featured: Everyday’s a Celebration; Magic Everywhere; Just like we dreamed it; All around the world and Dancin’ A Catchy Rhythm. Hearing those sounds once again in the park made for an emotional experience full of nostalgia – a truly perfect way to end the year in which Disneyland Paris hit the milestone of 25 years old.
The parade being made up of floats from previous parades (although most notably from Disney Magic On Parade) allowed a new dimension to the festivities, it may only have been 9 months but it was wonderful to see these colourful and fun floats once again. It was also rather special, in this 25th anniversary year, to see the Halloween floats (which have only been used on the 31st October this year). The number of characters (both rare and normal) was wonderful to see and brought delight to the faces of both young and old.
A parade of this magnitude added to the occasion and really did feel like something truly special; we can only hope that future New Year’s parades keep up this level of amazement.
Character Meet and Greets
Central to any hard ticket event is having a wide range of meet and greets. The New Year’s Eve party made sure that there was some to be had featuring both rare characters and meet and greets in unusual spaces. The highlight was, of course, being able to meet Louis the alligator (for one night only). Queues for this meet and greet very quickly increased into some of the longest of the night, but Louis himself was excellent fun and worth the wait.
Other meets included Chewbacca; Jake the pirate; Genie; Tiana and Naveen; Donald and Daisy (in special New Year’s gold outfits) as well as some of the regular meets such as Darth Vader. All of these looked busy, but fun. One thing that was striking in it being missing was no meet and greet with Mickey Mouse anywhere in the park. Of course, we can meet Mickey daily, but a Disney party without Mickey doesn’t quite feel right.
New Year’s Fireworks
As midnight struck and Disneyland Paris entered 2018, a spectacular fireworks display was held over Sleeping Beauty Castle set to the music that we have come to know and love from The Grand Celebration (April 12th 2017). The fireworks were reminiscent of night-time spectaculars of old at Disneyland Paris and provided a joyous and festive start to the new year. This was a firework show never to forget!
Goofy’s Dance Party
Throughout the entire evening a dance party was held in Discoveryland hosted by DJ Goofy. On the menu were top songs from across the decades providing something for absolutely everybody. The party area itself was quite small and could have been a little bit bigger especially after midnight as it became increasingly popular. A champagne station was provided to help guests celebrate. The song choices were overall very good and were singable and danceable classics. This party was really rocking after midnight and so an extra hour would have been perfect!
Disneyland Paris laid on a number of Champagne stations throughout the evening that offered a glass of champagne for €10, a non-alcoholic children’s cocktail was also on sale in a souvenir glass for €10. The bars were cash-only and glasses were being prepared constantly meaning the queue was fluid and fast. The champagne itself was of a good quality and in plentiful supply throughout the evening.
Around special events such as New Year’s (and Halloween), the atmosphere in the park can be electric. For New Year’s Eve 2017/18, the atmosphere was one of excitement. The parade really set the tone for the special night and from then on in it just built and built leading up to the midnight hour. Whilst after midnight the park emptied (dramatically quickly), the atmosphere remained at places such as Central Plaza where Cast Members lead a Disney dance, or in Discoveryland for the dance party. The music loop being a mix of upbeat Disney songs really did help, however in places it was quite quiet, at a party a louder soundtrack is more welcome!
Room for improvement
Whilst the party was a strong success for Disneyland Paris, it is always useful to evaluate and see what could be done better. Nothing is perfect and there are ways to improve just about everything. The comments here are small, but would be helpful for future years:
Champagne Stations: These should be included on the park map given with the wristbands. It was often a case of guessing where to find Champagne in the busy crowds towards midnight on Central Plaza. The good news is that these stations were dotted around everywhere, we just need to know where they are.
Walkways: If you were walking around Central Plaza prior to midnight, you’ll know that walking around was extremely difficult. A small walkway on the side of Main Street would have been ideal.
Closing time: 1am seemed very close to midnight. The atmosphere around the park only grew after midnight. It would have been perfect if we were given an extra hour to celebrate to music, close the rides if you must, but an extra hour of celebration would have been very welcome.
A wonderful evening that has become a yearly ‘must-do’
New Year’s Eve was a truly wonderful night that has entered the Disneyland Paris yearly calendar very strongly. In fact I’m already planning to be there later in the year for this special party and friends who I spent the night with all said the same. The atmosphere was electric and the entertainment was top class. Let’s hope for the same next year.
Christmas 2017 at Disneyland Paris truly is bigger and better than ever. That much seemed obvious even before the season began as the list of features was rather long; not only is there a lot of new things to do but they are mostly of a sublime quality. Christmas 2017 is probably the most complete seasonal offering that has ever been provided by Disneyland Paris.
Mickey’s Christmas Big Band
Mickey’s Christmas Big Band is the unexpected star of the season. It’s become almost traditional for Disneyland Paris to offer a Christmas jazz music show and in previous years this has been filled by the Jingle Bell Boys show. This year however, this slot has been filled by a new offering, Mickey’s Christmas Big Band; this show is a complete experience featuring musicians, the Disney characters, live singers and a wonderful choreography.
Once again, Disneyland Paris is proving that when it comes to live entertainment that the resort is brimming with talent. The concept has been taken from Tokyo Disney Sea’s Big Band Beat, but the addition of wonderful costuming opportunities and an immense tap choreography is all Paris. Mickey’s Christmas Big Band is a show that the resort can truly be proud of and we can only hope that the run away success provides an incentive for this type of show to become year-round.
Disney’s Christmas Parade
The festive favourite returns for 2017 but with a new soundtrack that really does increase the energy of a parade that was already packed full of joy. Christmas is Here is a truly wonderful song that is a worthy successor to Chante c’est noël and one that will hopefully live in the parks for years to come.
The parade is almost identical to previous years, and this is no bad thing. It is a truly wonderful parade that oozes with festive cheer; make sure to watch the parade from Main Street USA and see the snow fall as the characters and dancers come past.
A Merry Stitchmas!
This year the Royal Castle stage welcomes A Merry Stitchmas, a fun show featuring Stitch and the Disney characters. The show is highly musical with all your favourite Christmas songs. Stitch brings a touch of humour and some Hawaiian Christmas magic (who would have thought you’d be listening to Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride is a Christmas show?).
All in all this show is deservedly popular and features a fun soundtrack and some fantastic costumes.
Mickey’s Magical Christmas Lights
This is the only show that is really unchanged at all from previous years, but the magic of seeing Mickey, Minnie and Santa turning on the big Christmas Tree on Main Street USA is unrivalled.This is probably one of the most magical moments that Disneyland Paris provides in a single year. It’s main downfall this year is that it is pitched against the superior Goofy’s Incredible Christmas show in the Walt Disney Studios park.
The Enchanted Advent Calendar
The Enchanted Advent Calendar is a daily show that takes place at 10am by the castle. Essentially the idea is that each morning a child is picked to open the advent calendar door and receive whatever gift is behind it. This is great if your child is the one that has been selected to receive the gift, the rest of the audience watches on and may purchase that gift (and is given a prominent position in the Emporium).
This concept needs to be worked on, but it is cute for the family involved and the gifts have been items that would be wanted by guests.
Sing me a Merry Christmas
This is the blip on the wonderful Christmas season. The Sing me a Merry Christmas show revolves around hosts (and characters) singing through a Christmas playlist on an iPod. The singing is often quite poor and the song selection is not the greatest – it seems rather baffling that they picked a performer with a very strong French accent to sing this show in English. It makes for a rather cringeworthy show.
That’s not to say that there are not good moments in the show, the Feliz Navidad section is really good fun especially when the performers take the effort to really involve the audience.
Goofy’s Incredible Christmas
This is the star of the 2017 festive season at Disneyland Paris. Goofy’s Incredible Christmas is a 20 minute journey into the magical world of Santa’s workshop as Christmas is prepared for the boys and girls of the world. What follows is an emotional foray into Christmas filled with magic, Disney characters, wonderful Christmas songs and spectacular surprises.
The show puts the Walt Disney Studios park on the map and is possibly one of the best evening spectaculars we’ve ever had in Disneyland Paris (Dreams! still comes out on top, of course). It’s difficult to describe the feelings produced as the park lights up with its Christmas lights but it also a feeling of pride as the resort is finally taking our second gate seriously.
Character Meet and Greets
Santa Goofy is the star of the 2017 Christmas meet and greet at Disneyland Paris; meeting daily in the Front Lot area of the Walt Disney Studios Park, this is a fun meet for all the family. Christmas Mickey and Minnie are meeting (individually) in the Art of Animation but queues do form early so ensure that you arrive early to meet your favourite character.
Over in Disneyland Park guests can meet Marie, Scrooge McDuck, Thumper, Miss Bunny and Sandy Claws.
The decorations are largely unchanged for this year, however there are a few notable differences. The 25th anniversary means that Christmas has taken on a beautiful blue shade. This looks slightly strange during the day, but it comes alive at night as the colours pop and really do look in keeping with the rest of Main Street. The Central Plaza decorations have also been moved into Town Square.
The garlands make their return to Main Street as does the large Christmas tree; the sounds of Christmas fill the air with the festive musical loop on Main Street. There is truly nothing like walking into a festive Disneyland Park.
A wonderful Disney Christmas of magic
Christmas 2017 is hands down one of the most magical Christmas seasons that we have seen at Disneyland Paris. The entertainment offerings are truly special and the whole look and feel of the season blends seamlessly into the 25th anniversary. This is a wonderful place to build from and Disneyland Paris has cemented itself as the Disney resort to visit during the Christmas season.
Much has been made of the ‘new’ development of Disneyland Paris taking advantage of film releases in the parks. Many hailed the arrival of Moana in Disney’s Art of Animation as the first step and a step that Disneyland Paris needed to take. But is it really that new? The short answer is no, Disneyland Paris actually has a rather rich history of the promotion of new studio releases within its parks. This article focuses on a few of the bigger tie-ins, but there are a good number of examples that could be used.
Hunchback of Notre Dame
The most prominent example of film tie-ins is the Hunchback of Notre Dame (1997) which was used in order to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Disneyland Paris. For this celebration the castle was given an overhaul as part of the ‘Festival of Fools’ in order to look like a jester, this castle decoration was striking and whilst it was on brand, it was perhaps less tasteful than decorations that have been used for other celebrations (such as the 15th anniversary).
This promotional season also featured a parade that also took on the ‘Festival of Fools’ idea which included perhaps one of the most bizarre set of parade costumes in resort history as performers became dancing Parisian buildings. nevertheless, this 5th anniversary celebration of all things Hunchback was certainly effective; the promotion for the new film was difficult to avoid.
Toy Story was celebrated very much like Hunchback with a short special parade. One of the curiosities of this parade was seeing Woody ride a real horse up Main Street USA. This type of parade was a perfect way to introduce guests to the Toy Story characters and allow fans of the franchise to see all the Toy Story characters in one spot. This was a complete parade and is really something that could make an extremely successful return.
Chicken Little was promoted in the Walt Disney Studios park in 2005 as the film was released. The characters of Chicken Little and Abby Mallard was included on the Disney Cinema Parade. Chicken Little himself was available as a Meet and Greet and a giant billboard poster was placed on the front of Studio 1. More on this can be found by my good friend Steve on Dedicated to DLP who wrote a great piece on Chicken Little in Disneyland Paris.
Prior to Frozen being released in cinemas in December 2013, Disneyland Paris introduced a Frozen float to the then-parade Disney Magic on Parade. This float involved re-imagining the princess float to remove The Little Mermaid and add in Frozen with characters including Anna, Elsa and Olaf.
Disney Dreams! of Christmas was also introduced in November 2013 which featured Let it Go and a storyline which was very much driven around Josh Gad’s character of Olaf. This show was developed in subsequent years to include more Frozen.
Moana was welcomed to Disneyland Paris during a special pre-parade during the Christmas 2016 press event which was followed by a daily meet and greet in the Art of Disney Animation building. This meet and greet lasted until March 2017 and returned during the summer months. It is widely anticipated that Moana will make her return to Disneyland Paris during the Pirates and Princess Festival in the spring of 2018.
Coco officially entered Disneyland Paris during the 2017 Christmas season with special decorations at the Fuente del Oro restaurant. Miguel is present in puppet form.
Promoting films is not a new thing
Disneyland Paris do have a rich history of promoting new Disney releases, this article has proven that. But what is new, and undoubtedly so, is the intensity of promotion. The synergy between Disney’s European resort and the Walt Disney Company marketing machine is really beginning to be felt as each film is arrives. This intensity is to be applauded and continued! Well done Disneyland Paris!
Disney Stars on Parade is the new daily encounter with the Disney characters in Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris. This new parade is full of bounce, fun and excitement and marks a real change in parade style for Disneyland Paris. Out are the old floats that have been present in Paris for ten years and in are new and dynamic floats and a soundtrack that is so fun it’ll have you bopping away and fill you with absolute joy. These eight new floats have a unique soundtrack and a unique look.
Discover the Magic
The initial float of the parade is striking. It sets the tone that this parade is very different from anything that we have seen before and is impressive. A giant book comes down the street and on either side Mickey and Minnie wearing the now famous ‘steampunk’ costume. These costumes are wonderfully detailed and look like something that has come straight out Discoveryland.
Mickey and Minne are followed by Goofy who is floating up and down on a jetpack who is followed by a giant telescope with Chip and Dale.
Each character on the float, much like the entire parade, are located up high up allowing everybody to get a fantastic view of the parade no matter how far back they are in the crowds, a fantastic initiative and should cut down in the last minute kids on shoulders or pushing through to the front.
This particular float is absolutely stunning and really does set the tone for a parade that is totally unique in any Disney park – a parade based in Steampunk designs of our favourite films. The problem? Whilst this float does exactly that, it falls apart quite quickly before re-picking it up for the dragon. Whilst this is not a problem – the parade is still fantastic – it does take away from a global theme which this parade does not have.
This Toy Story inspired float has one of the most impressive kinetic effects. Whilst the characters are very much front and centre in any parade, this parade has skilfully allowed performers to bring the wow factor as well. The star of this float is the giant wheel with performers rotating around to an incredible height. In many parades, this moment would be the highlight, however in this parade it is relegated to the place of a ‘cool moment’.
The characters themselves are the usual Toy Story affair, Buzz, Woody and Jessie can be found in, or around, the float which is colourful and fun in design.
If a float was given a land as an identity, this float encapsulates Adventureland. The dancers dressed in fantastic outfits which are spellbinding and the choice of characters are very much a Disneyland Paris classic. The issue here is not so much character choice but the lack of Baloo. Baloo is present as a static element of the float and not as a character. When we think back to Disney Magic on Parade, Baloo brought a lot of fun to that segment and is a real miss on this parade.
The Lion King/Jungle Book split is a tried and tested formula at Disneyland Paris and falls rather flat in this parade. Where Disney Stars on Parade is dynamic and fun, this float is static and lifeless. The float itself is not overly striking and does not really incite any form of excitement. The fantastic choreography and music really does carry this segment through that feels like it is only there because of the popularity of the franchises.
The biggest issue with this float though is the costume for the character of Mowgli who looks more like Fred Flintstone than the intended Jungle Book. This is an easy issue to fix however and I am confident that a solution will be worked on.
This is one of the breathtaking floats of the parade. From seeing the Lost Boys dancing in front of the float the imposing swinging pirate ship with Peter Pan. This float is a delight for the eyes, Captain Hook sits on top of Skull Rock and has a chair that can move from side to side meaning that the entire audience can get that perfect view of him, this is followed by Peter Pan hoisted extremely high on a pirate ship swinging backwards and forwards.
Discover Imagination takes on a dreamlike look with the giant moon and skull rock and is a true standout of this parade.
Discover a new world
Perhaps the least impressive of the Disney Stars on Parade units in the Discover a New World section and the only reason for this view is that it feels rather static. Essentially, the float is a giant Crush that does nothing except speak a few lines. Whilst the Crush does look very good, the parade is extremely kinetic and this float simply isn’t.
On the other hand, however, the dancers that go with this float are in some of the most beautiful costumes designed for a parade. They scream ocean and do look stunning.
The centrepiece of this parade is undoubtedly this particular unit. Maleficent returns to Disneyland Paris in this wonderful steampunk look. The float, the performers and the music are spot on in this fantastic float that does quite literally steal the show.
Whilst the fire effect is on and off (and you have to be quite lucky to see the fire perfectly), the float itself is imposing and magnificent, this is a work of art and its pleasing to hear the crowds gasp as they see her for the first time. The fire effect adds a whole new level to this, the bright yellow flames are incredible and deserve every single clap of admiration they receive from guests. Moments like this make holidays and force people to come back and tell their friends.
It’s rare that one float missing will significantly weaken the parade, but if this float were to be removed the parade feels much less impressive and would leave you feel disappointed. This is a testament to the design teams who have worked on this piece both in Paris and in the US.
After the villain, the heroines. The princess carriages from Disney Magic on Parade return for Disney Stars on Parade providing both continuity and similarity. There is not much to be said about this particular section of the parade as it is so similar to the previous offering at Disneyland Paris. There is a strong rumour that the princesses will be getting their own float in the next year or so and it is very much-needed.
Nevertheless, this is still a wonderful part of the parade and the new music and choreography do make for a pleasant moment and it simply would be impossible to have a Disney parade without the princesses, the two just go together perfectly.
The grand finale of the parade is Frozen themed. This float is simply magical, it feels both like it has come straight out of the film and toy-like. This is the first time that both Kristoff and Olaf have been on parade at Disneyland Paris making this a significant attraction in itself. This float is simply fun. Kristoff leads it out, Olaf sits atop of Sven and the royal sisters are on a castle balcony. As Frozen simply gets more and more popular, it was about time that the film received a dedicated float and this one is perfect.
As the grand finale, the float also sends snow falling in the air and covers guests as they wait for it to pass by or follow the end of the parade. This effect really does add a lot in atmosphere and gives Disney Stars on Parade a magical send off.
Any new parade needs a new score, and Disney Stars on Parade is no exception. Whereas Magic on Parade had one song playing in a loop throughout the entire parade, this new offering has a full score that accompanies each float making it more story-like in nature.
The main score Lost in the Magic is spectacular, bouncy and fun (and now available on CD within the resort) and as the parade progresses each float has a unique sound with echoings of Lost in the Magic throughout to create a truly linear score. It can only be hoped that one day Disneyland Paris allow us to buy the entire score just like they did for the Once Upon a Dream parade which had the same musical feature.
This parade is energetic and has music to match, this song will be a Disneyland Paris classic.
Disney Stars on Parade is a new and fun experience to be added into the park, with the emphasis on the fun. Parades are always highlights of days and trips and this parade will be no exception, it is possibly one of the best parades produced by Disneyland Paris and leaves the entire crowd smiling, an accolade which is truly special.
Is this Parade perfect? No. Is this Parade very strong? Almost certainly yes. Is it one of the best parades we’ve had at Disneyland Paris? I would say so. Disney Stars on Parade is a huge improvement on Disney Magic on Parade, it’s toe-tapping, smile inducing fun. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Mission very much accomplished and bravo Disneyland Paris for trying (and succeeding) at something very different.
It was clear that the 25th anniversary day would be one of surprises from the offset. The level of secrecy that surrounded the day was unprecedented for Disneyland Paris where leaks seem to be common. The reality of the day itself was even grander than expected; the day was full of magic and saw even more sparkle pumped into the resort. This was a day created for Disneyland Paris fans and, thanks to the live streams provided by the resort, the whole world was invited!
In the lead up to the event, all the talk surrounding the day was started by the time needed to be at the resort gates. 6am seemed to be the agreed time by all and so early nights were had and alarm clocks were set. April 12th was going to be a day like no other.
An electric atmosphere
A large part to the enjoyment of any big event is the atmosphere, and for the Grand Celebration it was electric. From the moment you arrived at the resort and queued for security, there was a feeling of excitement and anticipation the likes of which is rare to experience at Disneyland Paris.
Moving through to the turnstiles, guests sang Happy Birthday to Disneyland Paris in multiple languages with guests doing their best to join in with languages they didn’t understand. It was magical. And then once in the park this only continued with guests looking on excitedly at all the things before their eyes – characters and events that perhaps they never thought possible at Disneyland Paris. It truly felt like we were a part of a once in a lifetime celebration and that everybody there knew it.
[dt_quote font_size=”h4″ background=”fancy”]”It truly felt like we were a part of a once in a lifetime celebration and that everybody there knew it.”[/dt_quote]
The Grand Celebration
The main event was a show that took place at 9am exactly on Main Street USA. Nobody knew quite what to expect except ‘big’. There was a feeling in the air that whatever we were about to witness would be something sensational. The reality was even better, this was a show that Disneyland Paris (and Disney fans in general) could only have dreamed of. There were so many characters and performers that it was impossible to know where to look. Each time you felt like you’d seen it all, something else would come along to shock and dazzle you. Each time you blinked a new character would appear and occasionally very obscure characters at that.
The show was exceptional and gave each land it’s ‘time to sparkle’, after the VIP’s (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale, Clarice, Goofy, Max, Duffy and Shellie-May) introduction it was time to move onto Main Street, then Frontierland, Adventureland, Discoveryland and Fantasyland. Each symbolised by a set of characters that would be at home in these lands and each accompanied by some of the most incredible costumes that Disney has ever created for their dancers.
[dt_quote font_size=”h4″ background=”fancy”]”This show was an absolute triumph for Disneyland Paris, it proves to the world that our entertainment teams are the best that Disney has to offer and once again made Paris the envy of the Disney world.”[/dt_quote]
The grand finale of the show-based section was ingenious. The delight from fans as they heard segments of past shows mixed together to form a ‘Disneyland Paris megamix’ was infectious. This, combined with the sheer number of ultra-rare characters to the resort made this one of the most exciting few minutes of live entertainment ever produced in the resort.
The extra surprise of 1,000 cast members performing a flash mob down Main Street USA was a pure delight and added to the emotion and pride that fans take in the resort. This show was an absolute triumph for Disneyland Paris, it proves to the world that our entertainment teams are the best that Disney has to offer and once again made Paris the envy of the Disney world.
The next big landmark anniversary for the Disney parks community is the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World resort, the gauntlet has well and truly been thrown down. Disney have never before produced a show of this calibre and it is truly pleasing to see Paris be the recipient of this honour.
The Grand Celebration Cavalcades
For those who didn’t manage to see everything during the one-hour spectacular, two Grand Celebration cavalcades were laid on during the day for guests to enjoy the sight of these rare characters and beautiful costumes one more time. These cavalcades were bursting with fun and excitement and each second felt special and exciting.
The cavalcade really helped add some extra magic to the day as we were once again allowed to stand in awe of what we were in the middle of living. The energy coming from these special shows was infectious as confetti was flying all over the park as Everyday’s a Celebration blasted out of the speakers. Such was the emotion after the cavalcades that many people didn’t move wanting to secure their spot for the second showing which was an hour and a half later.
[dt_quote font_size=”h4″ background=”fancy”]”Such was the emotion after the cavalcades that many people didn’t move wanting to secure their spot for the second showing which was an hour and a half later.”[/dt_quote]
The kiss goodnight
Perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the day (which was full of emotion and celebration) was the kiss goodnight. This perfect ending saw the Everyday’s a Celebration song slowed down and the entire VIP gang back together on Main Street station to say goodnight to guests in their exclusive one day only outfits. Whilst there was not much to the show, it was a perfect farewell and closing of the day. It managed to stir some sadness deep down that such a special day was over and remains one of my favourite memories of the day.
An unforgettably magic day
When the history of Disneyland Paris is written, it is littered with amazing special events that are often billed as being once in a lifetime. It is to Disneyland Paris’s credit that they are able to pull over such magical big events; but the 12th April 2017 felt like a new chapter beginning. As lavish as an opening ceremony, this was a rebirth of Disneyland Paris and, as Catherine Powell mentioned in her moving speech, together we will help write the resort’s future. As new chapters begins, old ones must end, but this day didn’t end a chapter, it provided a nostalgia for what we have been so fortunate to enjoy at Disneyland Paris whilst also offering a small glimpse of what is to come.
The Grand Celebration was a day that made me immensely proud to be a fan, I was honoured to be in attendance and I know many at home were thrilled that Disneyland Paris live streamed the events so that many more fans could there virtually as well. It is a day that will live on in Disneyland Paris history as an extraordinarily special day and a day for Disneyland Paris fans to be immensely proud of.
[dt_quote font_size=”h4″ background=”fancy”]”It is a day that will live on in Disneyland Paris history as an extraordinarily special day and a day for Disneyland Paris fans to be immensely proud of.”[/dt_quote]
1998 was a special year in Disneyland Paris history. For starters the resort would spend the year celebrating Disney classics through special shows such as Tinkerbell’s Fantasy in the Sky but most notably with the launch of a brand new parade: The Wonderful World of Disney Parade.
A parade rich in Disney heritage
From the moment Steamboat Willie came into view, guests were immersed in Disney history. Mickey and Minnie were on this iconic boat float in classic costumes. It set the scene for the parade to follow: a parade that would be modern and cool, but also with an important look back to the past. Indeed, this is what makes this particular parade unique, it was pure to history. It was not overly stylised, each float was true to property and highlighted why we love each film.
Who can forget some of the larger than life floats on the parade featuring such iconic moments such as Geppetto playing with a Pinocchio on strings. Or miniature pirate ships driving down Main Street before Captain Hook arrived being eaten by Tick Tock.
Even almost 20 years later, it is very difficult to criticise any of the floats that this parade featured in this parade. Each was beautifully designed to be larger than life and celebratory and ripped straight from the scenes in their respective films. Seeing Aladdin and Jasmine flying on a magic carpet right down the middle of Main Street was just like magic – the type of magic that excites children of all ages.
In short, the floats in this parade were cool.
The train arrives
The sight of Casey Jr. rolling down the middle of Main Street USA was an impressive one. Casey Jr. is an iconic Disney character in one of the first Disney animated feature films. Little did we know, however, that Casey Jr. from this parade would be here to stay for a very long time. After its stint as Casey Jr. in The Wonderful World of Disney parade, Casey Jr. would move on to be the Character express train for a few years from the 15th anniversary to the 20th anniversary. After the 20th he would move on to be used for the Swing into Spring season and in 2016 for the New Year’s Eve parade in the Walt Disney Studios park.
Hey there, Hi there, ho there, it’s a Disney kind of day
Who can discuss this parade without mentioning its soundtrack? Perhaps the most iconic individual song in Disneyland Paris history and certainly the one song that absolutely stands out from amongst all others in terms of quality and emotion.
Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm) is the song that for so many symbolises Disneyland Paris. The lyrics are pure joy, the beat is indeed catchy and was the sound of Disneyland Paris for many years. This song is potentially another reason why many fans of Disneyland Paris have such fond memories of the parade.
What is the best parade in Disneyland Paris history? Perhaps this is an unfair question to ask, perhaps it is a parade that many will debate but the answer will be incredibly subjective.
Personally, The Wonderful World of Disney Parade was the first I saw at Disneyland Paris and so it holds a special place in my heart. Throughout my first visit in 1999, we would watch the parade daily and then listen to the music in the car on the way home. I still listen to the music now and it still gives me as much joy.
That is the measure of a good parade, how much joy they give the person watching. And in that measure, perhaps every parade is the best in Disneyland Paris history.
Since November 2013, the Frozen sisters have enjoyed their time on Disney Magic on Parade daily. The section of the parade consists of half a float decorated in a Frozen landscape with a small Olaf waving to his fans. This float replaced The Little Mermaid section of the parade.
During the Christmas season Disney Dreams! becomes Disney Dreams! of Christmas which has a very heavy Frozen plotline. Olaf hosts the show which features multiple numbers from the film’s soundtrack. The show is widely regarded as a lesser version of the main Disney Dreams! show, but still delights guests and sets a wonderful Christmas tone to end a magical park day.
Merchandise. Lots of it. Frozen is the hit film of the moment, guests love it and it still makes a fortune in merchandise sales. It only makes sense that Disneyland Paris follows up on this. The merchandise is mostly targeted at the child audience and there is very little in the way of adult merchandise.
So what about Frozen Summer Fun?
In 2015 Disneyland Paris debuted a new season based on the film. Frozen Summer Fun could really be described more as a ‘mini-season’ than a full-scale season in the same vein as Spring, Halloween or Christmas but manages to pack in various fun elements that makes it a joy to take part in.
Frozen Sing-along, which also takes place as part of Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, is a fun show that takes place in both English and French. It’s not a show on the same scale as Mickey and the Magician and so it would be unfair to judge it using the same criteria. What it does is done very well and provides a really fun 30 minutes with the film’s characters and songs.
There are also opportunities to see the characters in a carriage ride and in Disney Dreams! with the inclusion of the hit song Let it go!
So is this too much Frozen?
Put simply. No.
Frozen is the franchise that makes Disney a stack of cash for the moment. Will it always be this way? Probably, the success seems to have sustained so far and will only increase with the sequel in a few years time. It is realistic to say that Frozen will remain popular for years to come.
Frozen Summer Fun will not be back next year, but what can Disneyland Paris do to create a real presence for Anna and Elsa?
Boosting the Frozen presence
Anna and Elsa need to be characters that guests can meet. Disneyland Paris tried this during the 2014 Christmas season and it simply didn’t work – or rather it did but Disneyland Paris refuse to admit to this as the princesses gained such long queues they were deemed to be too popular.
So how do we control this? Anna and Elsa need to be placed inside the Auberge de Cendrillon and you would have a guaranteed sell out for each and every sitting. Ideally, a Frozen ride would be a fantastic addition, but I would also very much like to see a musical much like the one that has recently debuted in Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.
When does it get too much?
This is the million dollar question. A question that has no answer. When Toy Story is considered, we seem rather ambivalent towards it. Recently, a new Toy Story puppet show debuted in The Lucky Nugget Saloon and we didn’t say ‘Woah, too much now’ despite the fact it has 4 rides, a land, a restaurant (technically, even though it is pretty much closed down), numerous meet and greets, a large merchandise line and parade inclusion.
There’s no such thing as too much as long as the execution is right, the characters are good and it’s not too much in your face. So let’s look forward to more Frozen in the parks. And as soon as possible – please?