With still almost two weeks to go before the 2008 Halloween festival officially begins, the preparations at Disneyland Park are already progressing fast. The first photos are here, missing one vital colour: pink.,
That’d be because, as we reported along with the ‘Disney’s Spooktacular Halloween’ 2008 press release, the Pink Witches characters which invaded the past three festivals have been entirely removed from all marketing, decorations and live appearances. They’ll be replaced by a greater presence from the park’s now-recognisable Pumpkin Men, showing off several new incarnations and costumes.
Since 2005, the Pink Witches were introduced as Halloween “rivals” to the orange paint-spreading Pumpkin Men, with guests asked to “choose your side” in a battle for Halloween victory. Though the live characters themselves received a good reception, the uninspiring decorations around Cowboy Cookout Barbeque in Frontierland did not. Adding to the festival’s perceived problems was the additional introduction of Stitch, now removed entirely since he was given his own attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park.
In 2008, then, what can we expect? Remnants of the old Pink Witches decorations certainly live on. The first picture from these very first photos of the 2008 decorations, by our partners Photos Magiques, sums up the changes perfectly — an old Queen of the Pink Witches statue given a Pumpkin head and paint pots over its broomsticks.
Colours throughout the decorations have been quite noticeably muted to more rustic and conventional orange, earthy tones. Frontierland now appears to host the majority of the old Pumpkin Men characters which previously populated the streets, rooftops and balconies of Main Street U.S.A., making the transformation of the land feel immediately more impressive, whatever your feelings on these now-six-year old mannequins.
The so-called ‘Téléfreak’ device, which once linked the mainland with Big Thunder Mountain via a complicated overhead cableway (to transfer orange paint, so said the legends), is now all but gone after two years as a cable-less tower. Frontierland fans will be pleased to now see no orange steel tower, just the slightly more fitting oversized paint pot.
Heading toward the ‘Pink Witches Academy’ area from recent years, where unpopular moulded plastic figures showed witches of various nationalities cooking up their local specialties, we’re pleased to find that these decorations have yet to materialise. The old entrance archway to the area has reappeared, but with a new orange and brown colour scheme and green vines running across its length, far more agreeable in its setting.
The ‘Trick or Treat Stage’ has now entirely lost its garish blue and pink colours in favour of, again, a more muted brown overlay to its coffins, boxes and supports. This will allow the two main shows — Goofy and the Magic Cauldron and Minnie and the Bat Boys stand out much more themselves, rather than the stage.
Finally, over in Cottonwood Creek Ranch, we find the only area not to have seen much change when compared to recent seasons past. Traditionally the area where Pumpkin Men grow on the vines of a giant pumpkin plant, the plant, scarecrows and plethora of real pumpkins have returned to provide a familiar corner of Halloween magic.
In terms of really, truly “new” decorations, however, we’re currently still waiting…
Disney’s Halloween Festival officially begins on 4th October 2008 and runs until 6th November. The full DLRP Magic! guide to the season will be launched very soon, but before then you can check out the 2007 guide here.