More ‘Once Upon a Dream’ making-of

Thursday, 1st March 2007 at 15:54

Another day brings another peek into the backstage preparations for the anniversary, and another fascinating look at the wonders of Disney's Once Upon a Dream Parade! This time from a promotion spot on the German Disney Channel, the "making-of" featurette features similar images to a spot seen early last month, though now with a glimpse into the artist workshops designing the epic new spectacle. Expect concepts, maquettes and even more anticipation...,

The new parade is once again introduced by the now-familiar face of François Leroux, Vice President of Entertainment at the resort, before we get to see a couple more of the people “behind the Dream” as they proudly present their work.

Below, an artist proudly holds up the full concept art for the Dreams of Fantasy float, showing the extra pirate flag artists and “Jolly Holiday” penguins which, as with the extra performers for every float, were removed from the concept art shown at the recent Shareholders’ AGM. Beyond the large concept art, the tower of Big Ben can be spotted, part of the float’s concept model, whilst the huge drawing board features plans for the float design. Surrounding the artist’s area are stills and artwork from Peter Pan, showing the level of detail and accuracy the designers are striving for in their representations of these classic films.

When designing a parade, much moreso than when designing a theatre show, the directors must work in 3D to ensure the scene works with the perspective of the floats to their audience. A key part of the process, seen previously with The Wonderful World of Disney Parade and Disney Cinema Parade, is therefore to create scale models or maquettes of the floats. The next image above shows a sculpter at work on the maquette for Dreams of Laughter and Fun, in particular the giant Alice stuck inside a thatched cottage.

Next, a close-up on a finished maquette for Dreams of Friendship. Lead by the Toy Story characters in a familiar Andy’s Room environment, the first section of the float features many of the key characters from the first film along with Bullseye from the sequal. Unlike the other floats, the two scenes here are clearly divided, with a page of the storybook also providing a backdrop to the scene.

For the first time, Winnie the Pooh will get his own parade float – albeit shared. The scene – a tea party in the Hundred Acre Wood – is remarkably similar to the former set of his “Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too” show, during its time at Royal Castle Stage between 1998 and 2005. Pooh’s oak tree home is featured, with colourful lanterns surrounding the wooded grove.

The next image below is definitely worth a click, both for its revealing look at the design of Dreams of Power and its highlighting of the intricacy and artistry involving in crafting the floats. The designer’s drawing boared is filled with a huge diagram of the float’s exact final design, whilst the maquette itself gives us a clearer look at the villain-infested float after the promising concept art seen last weekend.

Finally, a split-second close-up is given of a full coloured maquette, showing Ursula at the back of the float. It isn’t clear yet which of these larger characters will move, or how they will be controlled. Characters such as Pumbaa, for example, could be controlled from inside the float using a puppetry system similar to that used at The Legend Of The Lion King or even California’s Parade of Dreams.

Given the similarities in the style of this parade to California’s 50th anniversary debuted parade, character puppetry could well be added to the line-up of performers giving life to the floats. The list already features stilt walkers, dancers, jugglers, flag artists, bungee acrobats… and elephants! (Taken from Katy Harris’ previous project, the Kids Carnival).

Poppy The Monkey confirmed on MagicForum last week that rehearsals have now begun, taking place at night after Disneyland Park closes its gates. These will continue most nights up until the “soft-opening” premiere on 31st March.

From rumours, to sketches, to maquettes, to construction, to rehearsals – the time and effort required to create a new daytime Disney parade is unsurpassed by anyone else. And now we’re less than 30 days away from the final step… seeing it for real !

Concepts and video stills © Disney, published by arn0 on his blog.

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