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PanoraMagique’s Mickey & friends makeover revealed

Thursday, 1st April 2010 at 01:51

PanoraMagique balloonSpot anything strange on the PanoraMagique webcam lately? Yes, the balloon's gone! But don't worry, it didn't fly away -- the discoloured, five-year-old helium balloon has been deflated ready for a fresh, new design... with Mickey & friends.,

At least, that’s what’s happening if you believed our… April fool! …

Any fans checking out the PanoraMagique website last Monday would have been given the shock of seeing the balloon crashed to the ground, losing air and surrounded by people. No worry, a quick look at the homepage revealed the Disney Village attraction to be “closed for maintenance”.

We captured stills as the original 2005 balloon breathed out its last gasp of helium…

PanoraMagique balloon

PanoraMagique balloon

PanoraMagique balloon

So, where’s it gone?

At five years old, and no longer having its original, bright red and yellow colour, it appears to be time for a brand new balloon. The lifespan of these unique flying systems is more limited than your average Disney ride, since they were originally only intended as temporary observation attractions. When PanoraMagique opened in 2005, the operators signed a 7-year contract with Disneyland Paris. But, with the same company now also operating Characters in Flight at Walt Disney World, this is likely to have been extended.

So far, rumours have suggested that the new balloon on its way to Paris might have a slight innovation upon its predecessor — being lit from inside, possibly using LEDs, so that it can “glow” at night without the need for fierce spotlights from below.

However, we can reveal this isn’t the only change on the way to PanoraMagique — the whole look of the balloon is set to be refreshed with a brand new livery. These brand new, exclusive concepts below show the new, more colourful design for the helium bubble that will be setting the trend for the next five years:

PanoraMagique balloon

Yes, you guessed it — there’s Mickey Mouse. The balloon itself looks set to become a yellow and pink colour, with a blue band, whilst oversized character faces will smile down from each side.

As the detailed concepts for the ticket booth above show, the balloon also appears to be receiving a new name, or at least a sub-title, becoming “PanoraMagique… with Mickey & Friends!” on official nomenclature to signify the change. Only limited modifications will be made to the booth itself, with images of the balloon updated and new 3-D (or “2.5-D” relief) characters added either side of the signage, similar to those recently added to Walt Disney Studios Store.

PanoraMagique balloon

The basket itself, which doesn’t require replacement, looks to be keeping the same design.

Don’t think that this is a drive to increase patronage of PanoraMagique, though — as the second balloon in Florida shows, it has been a big success since its launch in 2005, attracting balloonists even on the cloudiest of days. Such a success, in fact, that it has become a real “icon” for the whole of Disneyland Paris, visible for miles around and from within both parks.

So, in effect, the resort wishes to capitalise on the balloon’s success — by using it to draw more guests into the quiet Lake Disney and Disney Hotels area. The hope is that, by placing giant character faces on the balloon, more families with young children will be tempted to go for a stroll around the lake area and visit other hotels, whereas now they are proven to turn back after Café Mickey.

The launch of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show… with Mickey & Friends! last April — and its subsequent success in turning around the fortunes of the flagging 17-year-old show — may well have set a precedent. As too may have the Mickey’s Magical Party decorations which, though unpopular amongst fans, apparently produced positive feedback from guests who appreciated seeing the characters on Sleeping Beauty Castle as they walked up Main Street.

Now, these familiar faces will be visible day and night, from everywhere in Disneyland Paris.

• Never been on PanoraMagique? Watch our HD video of a flight here!

Webcam photos © PanoraMagique/Aérophile, Concepts © Disney.

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  • April 1st? Do I see hints of photoshopping?

  • Wow that will be nice Hope that they will do the same for WALT DISNEY WORLD (Disney Market Place) in Downtown Disney

  • Lol great one mate :)

  • oh dear… that’s just… well, how to put this… it’s vulgar!

  • ford prefect  1st April 2010, 07:42

    And todays date is…

  • Very funny. At least this one doesn’t raise any false hopes like the cruel joke two years ago. Sad thing is, I wouldn’t be THAT surprised if something like this became reality. So please don’t start giving them any ideas

  • Didn’t you hear the news? For the 20th anniversary they want to replace the spires on the castle with huge heads of our favorite characters. They already signed the lease for one of the biggest cranes in Europe to do the operation. Alongside the new look of the towers, the rest of the castle will also finally receive that long overdue general overhaul.

    The main tower will, of course, receive a giant mickey face. The smaller ones will be replaced with the heads of Goofy, Donald and so on. Then guests can truly appreciate all the known Disney characters as they walk up Main Street.

    But the magic doesn’t end there. During the last castle bridge rehab, they reinforced the front of the bridge and created new foundations at either side. They will use this to place huge statues in front of the bridge, that you can walk right under, just like the huge Buzz in Toy Story Playland, but on an even grander scale! It’s not yet certain when we will see the first of those statues or what the first character will be unfortunately. But rumours have it they will extend the New Generations Festival with another year and a huge Mike Wazowski will be the first to adorn this spot. His long legs and small body will make a perfect fit.

    And if that won’t be enough we will finally see a fully featured Pizza Planet. It won’t be at the current location though. You know they were planning to convert it to an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant? Well, wouldn’t be easier to just convert an existing one? Right! They will convert Plaza Gardens into a real Pizza Planet. With the release of Toy Story 3 and the renewed interest in the Toy Story franchise, it will surely be a great success.

  • Yeah – ahem. April fool anyone?

  • mickeys-fan  1st April 2010, 12:47

    oh , whats happend there? but not bad idea to make a new with the heads of the disneys! ;)

  • April Fools? I hope…!?

  • Cool. It looks way better! The old one was just so…boring…

  • Is Tihs a 1 april joke?


  • i preferred the old style – it had a more jules verne feel – x

  • and the source is…?

    Why isn’t this mentioned on the official website?
    It’s stil April 1…

  • This prank has taken a lot of work. I bow tou you! Happy April Fools everyone

  • I was totally fooled by this earlier!

  • This balloon looks much better, hope this isn’t an April fool, the old balloon was really shabby and boring…come on put us out our misery is this an April fool?

  • Anthony, you’re the first person to successfully fool me today! Excellent work.

  • Looks much better than the old one. lets hope its not an April fool

  • The building is starded and it’s the same as the olg one !!

  • I hoped it was an April Fool- that looks way too tacky for me. I like the balloon the way it is thanks very much! I don’t object to it being changed one day, as long as it is tastefully done, but I would shudder if my beloved DLP began to resemble Butlins.

  • Hold on. The webcam now shows that the balloon is back! This must be an april fool! Otherwise there would still be no balloon there or the new balloon would have arrived!

  • Teigetje_NL  8th April 2010, 22:06

    No, no joke. It’s the new balloon. Look at Tink and the star pattern on the top half. I just watched it lift off and land after a while, so it looks operational again…

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