Welcome to turn of the 20th Century America! At least, that’s what Main Street Station was designed to say. In practice, it has suffered an innumerable series of seasonal overlays over the years that often do little to embellish its period style. The latest, for Swing into Spring, was completed this week ahead of the new season’s launch on 5th April.
Production quality looks surprisingly good for a fledgling season — the main “Swing into Spring” marquee is big but thankfully well-designed, compared to previous efforts. The way the typeface springs out of the oversized daisy is quite classy, the character illustrations are a welcome “Disney” touch, the flowers (albeit fake) give a feeling of life. From a distance it looks like a fantastic, bright, fresh welcome into Disneyland Park for Spring. Great job!
It’s just a shame it’s all over Main Street Station. After the 20th Anniversary overlay, Halloween, Christmas, and many more in the years before, you almost need to remind yourself what this landmark is supposed to look like. So here we go:
Now where do you begin? Let’s start with the windows. The four stained glass windows of the original station are beautiful and should simply never, ever be covered over. Definitely not with flat yellow backgrounds for 2D cut-out Disney characters.
Then there are the 20th Anniversary leftovers. The two plasticy gold garlands along the top of the façade, the three golden arches above the walkways and the four circular castle motifs are all still in place two years later. The thinking could be they’re yellow (ish) and vaguely fit the colour scheme, the reality is that they cheapen a building which, along with the stunning Disneyland Hotel, was designed to instantly tell guests they’re not in any old tacky theme park.
Also part of that overlay was the black “Disneyland Paris” sign. It seemed fitting for the 20th Anniversary, but isn’t it about time the old “Main Street Station”, with its higher quality embossed gold letters and warm red background returned?
After all that, the flowers and even the logo are rather inoffensive. Indeed, imagine how good the station could have looked if it was simply “plussed” with a colourful floral overlay, not just treated like a blank canvas — as if there’s nothing of quality there to actually work with and the only option was for the designer to cover it with their own, bright yellow, canvas.
It’s been easy to shrug off the Halloween and Christmas overlays in the past because, besides the fact they’re well-established holidays, they’re only there for one and two months respectively, giving us nine more months to see the park entrance as it should be seen.
Swing into Spring will last for a record three months. If it returns with the same decorations next year (spending on these seems to suggest it will), that means only six months to see the station untouched: January to March and July to September. That’s provided they ever take the 20th Anniversary elements down. The situation is similar to the oversized Tinkerbell of the 15th Anniversary castle overlay, which outstayed its welcome (and spoilt the forced perspective of the castle) for several years after the anniversary ended.
At least, these days, it’s not the castle. That’s what we need to remember.
Part of the surprisingly good new ongoing attractions series, which has no doubt rekindled many fans’ interest in the sport of pin collecting, the pin is then followed by a Disney Dreams! pin also featuring Alice in Wonderland — despite the characters only appearing for a split-second in the actual show’s finale.
Elsewhere on the schedule, there are more Eiffel Tower designs, the traditional Spring “Joyeuses Pâques” pin, a fun “Grape Soda” Up pin and just 800 limited “it’s a small world” 50th Anniversary pins, the proceeds of which will go to Unicef.
There are also two Pin Trading events this month — a privatised “Witches and Wizards” event at Disney’s Hotel New York on 26th April, and a public Pin Trading Day in Disneyland Park on the park’s 22nd anniversary, 12th April.
Will you be there for either event, and which pins will you add to your collection?
Less than three days to go before the first ‘Swing into Spring’ season begins at Disneyland Paris, the new decorations on Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza are already taking root to add a burst of fresh colour to Disneyland Park.
Just days after they were officially revealed in final concept art, the first arrivals were the colourful Central Plaza “topiary” displays of favourite Disney animals, interacting with musical notes and instruments. Each one takes the centrepiece of one of the four Central Plaza flower beds, surrounded by a fresh display of much less synthetic blooms.
Bambi, Flower and Thumper, The Aristocats Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse, and The Lion King Simba and Nala are pictured here by @DisneylandBerry, who has been sharing these updates of the growing Spring decorations each morning. Three of the 101 dalmatian puppies are in place, too, completing one of the best Central Plaza overlays in many years.
Meanwhile, down in Town Square the theme is more Mary Poppins. The 1964 film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and is of course a natural fit for a springtime “Jolly Holiday”.
As the concept art depicted, the two flower beds either side of Main Street’s gazebo have become home to full-size floral topiary figures of Mary, Bert, Jane and Michael.
The Town Square Gazebo itself soon followed, being decorated with colourful garlands of synthetic flowers, musical notes and a large butterfly for its “Balade Printanière”.
Perhaps a simple floral overlay would have been enough and more in-keeping with the time period of Main Street, but at least, thank heavens, the psychedelic multi-coloured music staff of the concept art was changed to a more subdued green.
Penguin waiters are even less in-keeping with Main Street, of course, but they add some fun to the scene and are by far one of the least offensive things ever done to the poor gazebo. And they’re penguin waiters, so it’s impossible to dislike them.
Main Street, U.S.A. is home to almost all the Swing into Spring decorations, the furthest they spread into the park being only Le Théatre du Château. Here, the successful Halloween overlay of recent years has been echoed for Spring with daisies wrapped around the columns and a new green podium stage, ready for the main Disney’s Spring Promenade event which will take place both here and around Central Plaza.
It’s simple and tasteful enough, and again good to see the stage finding a new lease of life after some years of dilapidation and uncertainty. Now to see how it will be used…
You’ve less than four days to get to Disneyland Paris for the opening of ‘Swing into Spring’, the almost mythical Spring Festival which now at last has been given its official English title, dates and some welcome publicity by the resort.
Released today is a new video featuring Show Director Christophe Leclercq, introducing the season of springtime decorations and entertainment. If not revealing any new details of the much-speculated festival, Christophe confirms again some important details, such as the main event featuring no less than 90 dancers, 22 musicians and a quite startling 33 characters, taking place “in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle”.
The video includes an additional piece of concept art for the Central Plaza “topiary” displays (above) which feature characters from Bambi, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Aristocats and The Lion King interacting with musical notes and instruments.
This is also the first time (besides a lone Belgian press release) that Disneyland Paris has confirmed the season will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014.
In French, the season will be known as La Balade Printanière, or “Springtime Stroll”.
An earlier version of the video mistakenly subtitled Town Square as Times Square.
La Place de Rémy has officially joined the Walt Disney Studios Park map. Pre-empting the expected guide map changeover on 3rd April, Disneyland Paris has released an early peek at the new, updated map for its second gate featuring the brand new mini-land.
Depicting the Parisian quarter to the right of Toy Story Playland in Toon Studio, the park map now shows the square, buildings, façades and all-important fountain of Ratatouille: The Adventure. The marquee logos of the ride, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, and the restaurant, Le Bistrot Chez Rémy, are both included, as is the logo-orientated style of the studio park map.
The map’s designers have chosen to end the façades immediately behind their rooftops, similar to several attractions such as Pirates of Caribbean on the Disneyland Park map, and not depict the massive showbuilding in any way. This makes the attraction the first to have a “hidden” or backstage showbuilding on the Walt Disney Studios Park map (even if in reality there’s no hiding it from within the park).
While Catastrophe Canyon and the Dinotopia set of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic have been moved to the right in order to fit the latest expansion on, the rest of the park map remains completely unchanged:
In fact, so much so that the version sent out today still features the Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! logo — the attraction has been rebranded to Disney Junior. The full map also inexplicably features Disney Village in the bottom-left corner, seen from the same viewpoint.
Besides the park, Ratatouille will also be featured on the general Disneyland Paris resort map, with a few of its façades pictured above Buzz Lightyear:
Looking back through the park’s previous maps, it is now relatively impressive to see the changes and expansions since opening day — though they have certainly been somewhat lop-sided, with Toon Studio getting much of the attention.
In 2001, perhaps the barest Disney Park map in history was released for pre-opening brochures:
This was thankfully soon updated with more of the park’s finer details (if not any of the numerous expansion rumours of the time, which would take five years to materialise):
Then, the first and still biggest change to date came in 2007, when Crush’s Coaster, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Hollywood Boulevard were all added to the map in one go:
As with 2007, the early addition of Ratatouille will give the ride some much-needed advance publicity for guests visiting in the months before its opening.
While teasers have been shared online, the expansion must be one of the first in Disneyland Paris history not to see its construction walls decorated with even a modest teaser of what is being built within. With so many missed promotional opportunities already, it’s a relief to see this one seized, if only thanks to the traditional bi-annual guide map changeover…
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “it’s a small world”, around 50 new artworks by Mary Blair are now available to purchase from The Art of Disney on Demand, at The Disney Gallery boutique in Disney Village.
Using the electronic system, you can choose and order custom Disney artwork prints in a number of sizes and with several framing choices, to then be delivered to your home.
Finally brought to Disneyland Paris by Régis Alart and his merchandising team after years of availability at the American resorts, the service crucially allows authentic prints of Disneyland Paris attraction posters and concept art to be purchased, many for the first time in the resort’s history, something that fans have long requested.
Today, Disneyland Paris has announced the catalogue now also includes a variety of artwork by Mary Blair, the acclaimed artist who in the 1950s and 60s designed and inspired the look of numerous Disney projects, from Saludos Amigos to Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, and most notably the “it’s a small world” project for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Also now available in the catalogue are more Fantasyland prints, such as the classic Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant artwork below.
Prices range from €17.99 to €230, excluding postage, depending on how extravagant your sizing and framing choices are.
The Art of Disney on Demand launched with an incredibly strong offer from the start, immediately allowing fans to purchase their favourite attraction posters from a wide range along with a number of other Disney prints.
From Disneyland Railroad to Phantom Manor, the Disneyland Paris archives were finally opened up, giving fans what they’ve always asked for and, of course, monetising the fantastic wealth of art and creativity that built the park.
It’s certainly reassuring to see the catalogue expand so soon and refreshing to see Disneyland Paris capitalising on an event such as the “it’s a small world” 50th Anniversary. Hopefully this ambition will remain, to ensure the catalogue remains fresh and continues to grow.
Watch a video below from the system’s launch in September 2013, explaining how The Art of Disney on Demand works… CONTINUE READING…
Disneyland Paris has finally swung into action, confirming months and rumour and speculation with the first promotion of its upcoming Spring Festival season at Disneyland Park. While the calendar season begins today, Disney’s season of entertainment and special decorations will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014, confirming the rumoured dates exactly.
Two new pieces of concept art lead the announcements, shared on the resort’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.
Above, the concept shows Town Square and its gazebo decorated with Mary Poppins-themed topiaries, flowers and decorations including Mary, Bert and the “Jolly Holiday” penguins.
Below, one of the new centrepieces for Central Plaza is shown, featuring One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Each of the four main flower beds in the heart of the park will have a different display of flowers, topiary and musical notes — a new official press release confirms the others will feature The Lion King, Bambi and The Aristocats.
So far, the press release has only been slipped onto the Belgian press websites, under the title “Disneyland Paris aux couleurs du Printemps” (Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring). Here’s a full translation of the key points from the French language version:
Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring
5th April to 22nd June 2014
If Disneyland Paris was a garden, it would be the largest in Europe with 35,000 trees, 250,000 shrubs and more than a million flowers planted each year. Mickey and friends have decided to celebrate this legacy of success with a special theme for more than three months, in the colours of Spring. With new happenings, new decorations and the opportunity to meet the Disney characters in new costumes.
Disneyland Paris turns into a “springtime stroll”.
The new daily “Promenade Printanière” happening promises to be the event of the day. This ultra-colourful musical event will be enlivened by more than one hundred artists including 90 dancers. Not to mention the Disney characters in new, specially-created costumes. Mickey and Minnie, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Stitch, Pinocchio, Clarabelle and many more will delight park guests accompanied by the musicians of the “Jolly Holiday Band” and “Swing into Spring Orchestra”. The new generation will also be in the spotlight, notably Rapunzel.
In decorations, small and big dreamers will be able to discover their favourite Disney heros in versions more “flowery” than ever. Beside Sleeping Beauty Castle, topiaries depicting One Hundred and One Dalmations, Simba and Nala (The Lion King), the Artistocats and even Bambi and his friends Flower and Thumper have sprung up like magic. Elsewhere, landmarks will be transformed into showcases of flowers.
“Bienvenue à la Belle Saison”, at the entrance of Disneyland Park, will immerse guests in the magic of Spring, with butterflies, flowers, topiary and music.
Finally, children can play as budding explorers with an entertaining leaflet guiding them through the nature, ecology and diversity offered by Disneyland Paris.
While the English name “Swing into Spring” has long been associated with the season and/or its daily happening, the main event is confirmed here in French as “Promenade Printanière” (Springtime Promenade), with two musical acts named “Swing into Spring Orchestra” and “Jolly Holiday Band”. It remains to be seen how the season itself will be titled in English.
With no less than a hundred “artists” including 90 dancers from the auditions earlier this year, the event, which is rumoured to take place around Central Plaza, could be quite a surprise spectacle indeed. Having two confirmed musical acts is also great move, rather than the park’s usual erratic live music schedule. This release also confirms Rapunzel will be featured, with a meet ‘n’ greet rumoured for the spot near to Casey’s Corner in Main Street, U.S.A.
Very welcome too is the renewed focus on the park’s gardens, especially as Disneyland Paris always spends money creating fabulous flower displays every year in springtime anyway.
It’s reassuring to see the event should indeed include some real flora rather than just fibreglass decorations. Indeed, while the flowers and topiaries look lovely, it wouldn’t exactly be a shame if the rather garish, unnecessary musical notes and butterfly were dropped from the Town Square gazebo concept, would it?
But still, simply for Disneyland Paris to share concept art publicly like this is a positive step itself — not just promoting the event but showing the talent and artistry going into it.
Posting on Facebook, Disneyland Paris announced:
“As of April 5th, Disneyland Paris will be officially welcoming the return of spring! This brand new season will be bursting with surprises, so come and join all your favourite Disney Characters for a music-filled celebration of blooming flowers and glorious sun-drenched days!”
However as “product” launches go, this must be one of the most last-minute in the resort’s history, giving only just over two weeks notice before the events actually begin. This could be a way to reduce expectation ahead of a bigger investment and promotional push next year, when the concept is proven, but for now has Disneyland Paris confirmed these Spring details with enough time for you to actually plan a trip, or did you wish you knew sooner?
What stuck in the throat more than Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy? For many fans, it was a four letter word: ride. The word that many, and most of all Disney themselves, tend to discourage when talking about an “attraction” was surprisingly plumped for in finding a suitably snappy English title for Ratatouille. Had Disney lost their morals?
But now, Disney have made a sudden rebrand, removing the offending word and renaming the attraction, for English marketing purposes, as Ratatouille: The Adventure. This change is confirmed by the new logo, above, and also a change to the name applied to the key visual and press release already published for the British market, swapping “Ratatouille: The Ride” for “Ratatouille The Adventure”.
Not only does this elevate the attraction somewhat, making it sound less like a fairground “ride” and perhaps more like a €150 million state-of-the-art dark ride, it also matches the start of the French “L’Aventure” title and perhaps helps to hint that there’s more than just a ride: a restaurant, a shop and a whole area development, too.
“The Adventure” will likely only be used in British (and perhaps other English language) publicity for the attraction, and at most inside the English guide maps, with the full Totalement Toquée French title definitely set to appear above the actual entrance.
This is now the latest in a series of names to be associated with the project, starting with the working titles “Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity!” and “Ratatouille: Désastre en Cuisine”, then the final official title, and then the first video trailers announcing “Ratatouille: The Ride” and “Ratatouille: L’Attraction”.
Well, there’s nothing Disneyland Paris loves more than a good name change, but what do you think of this latest one, an improvement?
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