Toy Story Playdays snacks revealed by Disneyland Paris

Toy Story Playdays snacks

The Toy Story Playdays run from 18th – 28th June 2019 in Disneyland Paris and to celebrate a special range of snacks have been created for the event. These snacks will be on sale throughout the Walt Disney Studios Park and feature highlights such as a Jessie cookie sandwich filled with Nutella and a candy apple featuring the famous Luxo Ball.

Woody Biscuit – €4.29

Woody biscuit filled with a chocolate and Hazelnut spread

Woody is a sandwich biscuit filled with a chocolate/hazelnut spread (it’s not Nutella, but it totally is).

Jessie Biscuit – €4.29

Jessie biscuit filled with a chocolate and Hazelnut spread

The Jessie biscuit is the exact same as the Woody one – except it’s Jessie, of course!

Bo Peep Shortbread – €4.29

Bo Peep shortbread

Get your JPEG food-suitable printers ready because this shortbread is basically that. But it’s Bo Peep, the star of Toy Story 4!

Candy Apples (Hamm and Luxo Ball) – €5.99

Hamm Candy Apple
Luxo Ball Candy Apple

The stars of the Toy Story Playdays snacks, these two Candy Apples both look fantastic, and the Luxo Ball one is a genuine delight for all Pixar fans.

Forky Shortbread – €4.29

Forky Shortbread

Let’s face it, you want this because it’s Forky and Forky is awesome! Other than that, yeah it’s another shortbread with a sticker put on top.


The Toy Story Playdays snacks are not particularly inspiring – but then again, what did we expect for a festival that is just over a week long? They look fun and they cover every major character in the film, and that’s all we could really hope for.

Rhythms of the Pridelands to be streamed in Studio Theater this summer

In the strangest news we’re ever likely to hear from Disneyland Paris, the much-anticipated Rhythm of the Pridelands show which is part of the Lion King and Jungle Festival, will be streamed daily into Studio Theater in the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Whilst the show will, undoubtedly, feature extensive queues throughout the season, it really is hard to see this move as anything other than a cheap way to fill a theatre that is otherwise sitting empty after the Marvel Season of Super Heroes and Toy Story Playdays and opens the floodgates to more lazy entertainment decisions by Disneyland Paris who had recently significantly upped their entertainment offering.

The stream will be pre-recorded (presumably during the upcoming press event) and will be the same each day – this is not a live stream.

Whether or not there is an audience for this type of entertainment waits to be seen, but I would be advising anyone who does, unfortunately, miss out on a place seeing the show – enjoy the rest of the parks (and the Jungle Book Jive!) and enjoy the show on YouTube, somebody will undoubtedly have uploaded it by the end of day 1.


The Lion King and Jungle Festival starts Sunday 30th June and runs until Sunday 22nd September 2019.

Rafiki stands against a yellow background in the Rhythm of the Pridelands official show poster

Exciting times ahead for the Walt Disney Studios Park

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Star Wars Land

Upon its opening in 2002, it’s fair to say that the Walt Disney Studios Park has left something to be desired. The park was the victim of a lack of real investment, patchwork theme and an overall vision that seemed lost and confused. Since then Disneyland Paris have put a lot of effort into fixing this problem, and to their credit much of it has worked, including the recent expansion of La Place de Rémy in 2014. However, many of the issues remained and have been difficult to fix without a significant investment on the level of Disney’s California Adventure.

Tuesday 27th February 2018 was the day that the fortunes of this half-day Park were radically transformed. Bob Iger (Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company) announced with Emmanuel Macron (President of the French Republic) an investment of €2 billion in the Marne-la-Vallée resort which is to be used to overhaul the Walt Disney Studios Park and to effectively double its size. The plan focuses on extension, theme and the incorporation of 3 much-loved IPs into the park including Marvel, Star Wars and Frozen as well as an expansion to Toy Story Playland (2010).

Robert Iger and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace
©PHILIPPE SERVENT / PRESIDENCE DE LA REPUBLIQUE

It’s time to dig into this in deliciously geeky detail and look at what the future holds for fans of Disneyland Paris.

Front Lot

Front Lot was always an area of the park that seemed to work, the glamour and excitement of Hollywood beckoned guests and truly does offer a lot of promise. Studio 1 was always the odd part of this set up; in the new concept art Studio 1 remains but is radically transformed and looks more fitting to the 1930s aesthetic that fits the look and feel of Front Lot.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Front Lot

I’m glad the soul of Front Lot is getting a boost rather than a subtraction. Obviously we cannot see inside Studio 1, but we can only hope that an overhaul is planned here to coincide with this new classy look of Front Lot. Exiting Studio 1 will now reveal an exceptional vista that will be difficult to beat in any Disney Park.

Toon Studio

Not much changes here, the classic Art of Animation building remains, as does Animagique Theater, Crush’s Coaster, Cars: Quatre Roues Rallaye, and Flying Carpets over Agrabah. Further round, Toy Story Playland and La Place de Rémy remain. This area was always one of the strengths of the park, so seeing little change here comes as very little surprise. It does look that the general criticism of the Walt Disney Studios Park has been ameliorated somewhat with increased greenery.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Toon Studio

The big news here is an increase in size of Toy Story Playland with what looks to be a new attraction (much like the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction coming to Walt Disney World this year). Whilst the expansion of Toy Story Playland doesn’t seem overly necessary, the new attraction is very similar to the Cars attraction and is nevertheless welcome.

Production Courtyard

Again, there’s not a huge amount of change here. Studio Theatre remains pretty much untouched and the biggest surprise was that The Hollywood Tower Hotel looks set to remain welcoming guests. The only question mark hangs over the old Disney Channel building which does look a little different but no detail was provided as to what will become of it. It seems likely that it will become part of the MARVEL area of the park.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Production Courtyard

MARVEL

Backlot will be unrecognisable following this redevelopment. In its place a MARVEL area which looks to feature at least 4 big attractions (including the recently announced Iron Man takeover of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster). Departing are Armageddon: Les effets spéciaux and Moteurs Action… Stunt Show Spectacular, a move that fans are unlikely to bemoan.

The Stunt Show stands are still clearly visible in this concept art, which would make sense if we are to get a new stunt show based on the Avengers. The same applies for Armageddon, the building looks to be staying but with new hosts. Next to Armageddon is a new building and a Quinjet, which look as if they close off the path behind the Tower of Terror; unfortunately this will likely see us lose a piece of Disney history in Café des Cascadeurs.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Marvel Land

On the left hand side of this land stood the two restaurants: Restaurant des Stars and Disney’s Blockbuster Cafe. These look to have been removed in exchange for a more flashy building exterior, the building is pretty sizeable and so could welcome something of a reasonable size.

The look and feel of the area is very modern yet sleek and so could easily pass off as futuristic and whilst we know the Marvel look is coming we have very little idea as to what these buildings will contain. The incorporation of MARVEL into a previously unsightly area of the park is an ideal fix and does improve dramatically the biggest issue facing Walt Disney Studios Park. A comprehensive MARVEL themed zone in Paris as well as the new hotel will be a significant draw for fans of MARVEL and could very well see Paris as THE place to be for MARVEL fans.

STAR WARS

Remember looking on jealously when Star Wars Land got announced for Walt Disney World and Disneyland? Remember that jealousy bring upped when it became Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Batuu? Then seeing it in Star Tours in Paris? Now, we will shortly be able to boast our own Star Wars land!

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Star Wars Land

On the concept art the land looks to be smaller than its American counterparts, but this could easily just be the artist impression and not wanting to show us everything. The architecture of the land does look very similar with its canyons and yellow domes, we can also spot a black X-Wing sitting there. Again, we have no indication as to what to expect from this land in the way of attractions, the US Star Wars areas will contain multiple attractions, shops and restaurants and it is difficult to see Paris deviating from this model.

Interactive experiences were mentioned by Bob Iger as he announced this expansion and so we can only hope that Star Wars will take full advantage of this. It’s thrilling to see this land being incorporated into Disneyland Paris and it will undoubtedly be incredibly popular upon opening. Star Wars is a huge franchise and its representation at Disneyland Paris has always been strong, but this is next level which Paris needed to match when faced with its American cousins. It looks like the challenge has been raised and met and this will become an integral part of the expansion upon completion.

FROZEN

Potentially the biggest Disney animated film ever finally gets a land in the Walt Disney Studios Park, this decision simply makes sense. The Frozen theme fits perfectly with the idea of creating an immersive landscape featuring potentially shops, restaurants and a big attraction. Imagine being able to eat dinner in the company of Anna and Elsa in Arendelle, this could be the potential big money spinner.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Star Wars Land

On a level of this concept art, we can see both the castle of Arendelle, a little village and Else’s Ice Castle which will be directly opposite the park entrance, something that will provide a stunning vista upon leaving Studio 1. The land looks much like the proposed Hong Kong Frozen land which, when we dive into Hong Kong concept art, gives us a clue as to what will be featured here. Frozen has a ton of characters that each provide a deep layer of the Arendelle universe to explore and in addition, by the time this area of the park opens we will have a Frozen sequel that will be able to be built into this area.

Frozen is a natural choice and rounds off the new lands in perfect style, the visual of the ice castle emerging will provide a stunning backdrop to the Walt Disney Studios Park and means that there truly is something in this expansion for everyone.

Lakes and Landscaping

But new lands are not where this expansion and investment ends, a large criticism of WDS was the lack of landscaping. These criticisms have been completely brushed away with the increase in size with more room afforded to greenery but most importantly (and impressively) a lake will be built as a hub for the park. The lake will become a wonderful and beautiful part of the park which will likely see shows performed on it and the route around the lake seems as if it will be given a parade.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Star Wars LandThe lake looks to be absolutely stunning, and is an interesting enough shape. Walking around it is likely to be an absolute pleasure. It looks as if a lot of effort has gone into making the park LOOK good and feel like a pleasant place to be, obviously this is just a concept and things can and will change but as a statement of intent it is impressive.

Walt Disney Studios Redevelopment - Star Wars Land

OVERALL THOUGHTS

We have been crying out for years for something like this (in fact, anything that would make the Parisian second gate better), and now it is here it feels a little overwhelming. I will admit that I’m still sitting grinning with delight over this expansion and will continue to do so for years to come. Many will have feared that an expansion would see only Marvel or Star Wars properties coming to the park, but not the case as Disneyland Paris really is catering for all fans.

Walt Disney Studios Park - Redevelopment concept art

Equally important is that from what we so far know, this investment will be predominately for the Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Park will not be touched by this large investment of intellectual property. There is something pure about this, Disneyland Park has a lot of soul and whilst it would be fantastic to see investment head there, the Studios needs it and is the ideal place to incorporate all these IPs in a way that feels cohesive and sensible. The park will look and feel fantastic and that is a win for everybody.

The rollout of these changes will be from 2020 – 2025 and undoubtedly there will be a gradual influx of news as we go. Disneyland Paris is transitioning from a future of ‘what is happening next, there is nothing on the horizon’ to being genuinely one of the most exciting Disney developments ever.

It’s going to be a fun ride, and I can’t wait to share all the information and opinions (and listen to your views) as we go along.


ED92 Podcast Promo - WDS ExpansionTo discuss this large re-development of the Walt Disney Studios park, I was invited onto the ED92 podcast to join ED92‘s Ben, CuriousAxel and Michael McNeela. The podcast is avaliable now to download on all good podcasting networks including the Apple Podcasts app

Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 review

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.

Mickey's Christmas Big Band at Disneyland ParisOnce 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.

Disney's Christmas Parade at Disneyland ParisThe 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?).

Merry Stitchmas at Disneyland ParisAll 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).

Enchanted Advent Calendar at Disneyland ParisThis 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.

Sing me a Merry Christmas at Disneyland ParisThat’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.

Goofy's Incredible Christmas at Disneyland ParisThe 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.

Decorations

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.

Christmas Main Street USA at Disneyland ParisThe 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.

15 years of Walt Disney Studios – A happy future to come?

Front Lot in Summer

On March 16th 2017, the Walt Disney Studios Park will turn 15 years old. The park opened in 2002 with much fanfare and hype after having being planned even before the opening of Disneyland Park. The reality, however, was a barebones park with very little in the way of attractions and a very basic opening roster. Today we may associate the park with the overpowering images of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, but its easy to forget that this attraction did not actually exist in 2002. In fact, when exiting Studio 1 you were immediately faced with Studio Tram Tour and very little else. But is the park actually any good?

Front Lot in Summer

The Walt Disney Studios Park is not bad

The overarching consensus online is that the Walt Disney Studios park is not a good experience. And whilst yes the park is littered with problems (and more than any Disney park ever should have), it is not a terrible way to spend part of your day. Is it as good at Disneyland Park? No, not even close but considerable work has gone into the park over the past 15 years in an attempt to fix the mistakes of the past. The first big expansion came in 2007 when Toon Studios opened featuring Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye as well as a small photo location. A year later in 2008 the Tower of Terror was officially inaugurated and with it a Hollywood style street area around it. 2010 saw Toy Story Playland and 2014 was the year that Ratatouille and La Place de Rémy arrived.

La Place de Rémy

There are quality attractions in the park, there are also some very fun shows and now a fantastic place to have a meal. For pure thrill seekers, Walt Disney Studios is probably even the preferred park. When it comes to theme, there is work to be done. Front Lot is such a positive and inspirational opening to a park, it is a genuinely pleasant place to visit. The issues come after that. The park is very much designed with minimal greenery making it reasonably easy to maintain but gives a less than ideal aesthetic value.

Nobody should discount the experience that Walt Disney Studios offers, should it not be there it is likely that it would be missed.

So what’s wrong?

The park was opened with a vision of going behind the scenes in a working film studio; the problem there was that film studios aren’t designed to be attractive places. That’s fine for a film studio, less fine for an amusement park. Disneyland Paris have done their absolute best to fix this by creating new experiences in themed mini-lands.

Backlot - Walt Disney Studios Park

This has lead to a new issue. The park is now littered with good experiences but has moved further and further away from the working studio theme  and has become a patchwork of theme. The good news, however, is that this is very fixable.

The next 15 years…

The future is bright for this second gate in Paris. The patchwork of theme could work if executed correctly. It will take a lot of creative direction from Walt Disney Imagineering, a lot of investment and some new experiences. The future of the Walt Disney Studios park should be important to every Disneyland Paris fan. A failing second gate will negatively affect the resort and bring the experience globally down. Disneyland Paris have never allowed Walt Disney Studios to get that bad, in fact they actively try to fix the errors of the past.

Hollywood Tower Hotel - Walt Disney Studios, Paris

The next 15 years of the park will see further investment and potentially a big increase in investment to bring the park up to the Disney standard. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride, but that can only be a good thing!