The 15th Anniversary Celebration party has begun already for the resort's Cast Members, with a special rendez-vous gathering bringing the confirmation of countless elements of the festivities. The candle ceremony, character parade, new name badges, a dedicated website, more Kids Free and a preview of the new parade theme song were amongst the early gifts.,
Almost all the information in this article and those to follow was reported by La Rouquine on the French Disney Central Plaza forum, giving the fan community an excellent service with not a moment wasted in reporting the exciting confirmations!
The Cast Member event first confirmed the general anniversary events, such as the character castle decorations to definitely be a bronze/gold colour. The “Bougillumination” (Candle Illumination) ceremony will take place every evening during the celebration (1st April 2007 to 31st March 2008) on a special stage in the middle of Central Plaza, featuring Mickey and the other classic characters. The ceremony show is more and more appearing to be a birthday version of The Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony, with different illuminations and minus the Disney Princesses. It will be accompanied by the song from the parade interaction stops of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, more on that later…
The previously rumoured “Character Train” cavalcade was also confirmed, to parade around Main Street USA at several times early each day using popular characters and the Dumbo Casey Jr float from The Wonderful World Of Disney Parade – reportedly to be repainted gold, silver and blue for the occasion. This event uses a similar idea to the classic Good Morning Main Street mini-parade from many years ago, or perhaps the Cavalcade de Stitch from 2006’s Halloween.
As for the rest of the current and recent parade floats, many of them 15 years old themselves, La Rouquine reports none will be kept except those of Snow White (often converted for other uses) and Cinderella. It remains to be seen, then, what will happen for the Halloween and Christmas parades this year.
Still on the subject of parades, more secrets from Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade have surfaced whilst others have been confirmed. There will be two sections to the music. The first, individual float scores, will be based on themes from the animated films presented, reorchestrated for the parade (by Steve Sidwell – see our report from last week). The second will be a new theme song, written especially for the anniversary events and used during the parade’s interaction stops.
Whilst La Rouquine reports the new song is sung in English by a couple (and reviews it favourably), we can add that its full title is “Just Like We Dreamed It”. The parade will apparently stop on average four times during its course, therefore amounting to a single parade stop for those watching. The stops will allow the Disney characters to interact with the audience.
The idea of scents used during the parade is confirmed once again, with examples being the smell of sweets from the first float (Dream of Imagination, with Mickey and friends) and the smell of flowers from the Princesses’ garden float, Dream of Romance. The specialised artists replacing the dancers have been discussed for quite some time, and now several interesting examples are given. Jugglers with (false) fire for the villains’ Dream of Power float, bungee rope acrobats for Pinocchio’s Dream of Laughter and Fun, stilt walkers with puppets also for Pinocchio and finally flag throwers for Peter Pan’s Dream of Fantasy.
Cast Members will wear the badge of the anniversary with special commemorative name tags featuring the 15th Anniversary logo and generic “Where dreams come true” slogan of Disney Parks, as seen below:
But how to get the word out outside of the resort? They’ve got that covered too – www.disneyland15.com will soon be host to a dedicated website for all the anniversary events! It was announced at the rendez-vous that the design is already completed, but the website won’t be launched just yet. (Last year, the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast website launched in early February, with the attraction also opening early April.)
Member tom_swiss on the same forum adds information about other elements of the advertising campaign on display at the event, which runs several days to allow all Cast Members to visit, in particular the decoration of several RER or Métro stations. The stations will be entirely dedicated to the anniversary, with stars and a red carpet on the floor and Disney characters on the walls in a very impressive advertising campaign.
One of the key desires with the 15th Anniversary campaign is to attract more families with younger children, since research has shown this to be an underdeveloped area of custom as parents generally wait until their children are older before visiting. And so, in addition to improved advertising, the popular “Kids Free” campaign from the early months of each year will be transferred to the entire celebration, but only for children under 7. La Rouquine reports that if it the idea is successful it could be extended beyond the anniversary year.
Finally, La Rouquine adds that special entrance tickets will be produced for the anniversary year, giving the biggest design change since the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park in 2002. 1-Day/1-Park tickets will be given a purple colour, whilst Passe-Partout (Park Hopper) tickets will be gold. Each will feature one of the fifteen characters holding a candle (though not all the character graphics will be used), with a total of around 8 different ticket designs for each option – and a surefire hit for Disney collectors? This follows the introduction of special 15th Anniversary-styled Annual Passports in November 2006.
Overall, Karl Holz clearly stated his desire to concentrate all resources and use all means to continue to raise the level of the quality of service at the resort. With all that listed above, he certainly knows how to motivate the cast!