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Halloween: New decorations, new shows, no pumpkinmen for a more “Disney” HalloweenTime

Tuesday, 27th September 2011 at 21:34

Halloween 2011 Preview — Something strange has come over Disneyland Paris. As we approach the launch of Disney’s Halloween Festival this Saturday, you’ll see not a hastily-crafted static Pumpkinman in sight. Instead, the decorations are new, the pumpkins have ears and Castle Stage… has come back to life. At last this season appears to be heading in the right direction. After years trailing around misguided creations such as the Pumpkinmen, Pink Witches and Stitch, Paris — the Disney resort which pioneered the Halloween season in 1997 (before trashing it all with orange paint in 2003) — has now looked to Disneyland in California for inspiration. This year, we’re seeing brand new decorations lifted directly from the Anaheim park’s popular HalloweenTime. High quality, considerately-designed and most importantly more “Disney” in their execution as well as their style, they should go a long way to giving Disneyland Paris guests the Halloween they expect from the park.

For fans, it’s a double surprise. As well as a park plussed rather than spoilt by the season, the majority of those new decorations have so far arrived at Le Théâtre du Château, which will be coming back to life to host the new Mickey’s Halloween Treat in the Street event. Vines wrap their way around the bronze columns, pumpkins top the towers and a giant Mickey-shaped pumpkin head (similar to that on Town Square in California) is the centrepiece. The mini-show will feature the full line-up of Mickey and friends in special costumes and dialogue in both French and English. After highlighting several times this year what a wasted opportunity the stage is, it’s a delight to see it fully decorated and back in use.

Plans for Main Street, U.S.A. seem a little lower spec, with just colour-coordinated flower beds, Mickey-eared pumpkins and a spot of bunting on the concept we’ve seen, but it’s still a step up from last year’s near complete lack of Halloween decoration on the street. Hopefully now that Disneyland Paris has finally found the right path for its Halloween decorations, Main Street will gradually begin to match the warm and vibrant Harvest “Pumpkin Festival” theme seen in California (below).

Meanwhile, one old decision hangs on, for a little while longer at least: Central Plaza Stage. That behemoth will at least be hosting a big new show, titled Disney’s Maleficious Halloween Party, which amongst other surprises is said to see Snow White’s Evil Queen transform into a Witch, courtesy of the stage lifts, and Dr Facilier from The Princess and the Frog return to the park.

Rumour suggests Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade won’t feature its usual Halloween pre-parade this year, although Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas will be making a return for meet ‘n’ greets, despite not being mentioned in any publicity. It remains to be seen if Halloweenland will return to Frontierland in any form. In truth, the land has felt more like a boneyard for discarded decorations rather than a proper overlay for the past few years, anyway. A cleaning out of the junk and a shot in the arm in quality is exactly what the festival needed.

• More: Disney’s Halloween Festival preview guide on DLRP Magic.com

• Next: We preview each of the three Halloween parties in detail!

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  • Why didn’t Disneyland Paris use the castle stage instead of the Central one. It would fit the background of fountains and also projection and pyrotechnics along with Fantillusion style “stage floats”. It sure will be a spectaculation for the park and not too “costy”, isn’t it?

  • Also putting the pumpkin Mickey head or Partner statue would be traditional, right?

  • I mean at the Central Plaza

  • This is great news. I’ve always thought the Pumpknmen decorations looked very French and home-made, and not at all Disney. They clearly made a big effort with the old Halloween decorations, but the overall feeling they gave was just tacky and weird.

  • It all looks brilliant! I didn’t really “get” the pumpkinmen. This looks a lot more kiddie-friendly and traditional. As for the display with flowers on Main St; does it remind anyone else of the giant Simba made from oranges & lemons from about 17 years ago???? Anyway, I love it!

  • I love the old Halloween decorations, but now there is nothing! No decoration in Main Street, nothing in Frontierland and even no Halloween parade. Overall very disappointing.. if this is the future of Halloween in Disneyland Paris, i think this will be my last Halloween here. To update decoration is ok, but to cut them… now, this is only very cheap!!

  • I think the same like Ogan Stevens.
    The last 5 Days in DLP was our first time at Halloween, and the last too. It was boring, very boring. And so few decorations. Only on the both places of Main Street and in the front of some Stores some decorations, but nothing else. Sometimes the Halloween-Sound in the Mainstreet and some charcters of halloween, that’s all.Once, but not again.


    Wir waren jetzt das erste mal dort gewesen zur Halloween-Zeit und waren sowas von enttäuscht. Kennt man die tolle Dekoration der vergangenen Jahre aus YouTube wird man mehr als enttäuscht in diesem Jahr. Bis auf ein wenig Deko auf den beiden Plätzen der MainStreet und der Castle Stage, ein paar Dekorationen vor einigen Shops, ein wenig der typischen Halloween Musik und ein paar Figuren zum Fotografieren ist nichts los. Total Öde. Es sind zwar 2 vers. Halloween-Shows, aber das wars.
    Wenn sie es nicht ändern = einmal und nie wieder. Dann lieber zu Weihnachten, es sei denn da wird auch so geknausert in Zukunft…

  • I think, everything less is more than the stupid pumpkinmen or the witches. I love those mickeyshaped pumpins. Very disneystyle. Castle Stage looks amazing after all this empty years.

  • Halloween hit its height in 2004 – masses of decorations, the villains parades, special Halloween-lo-Ween music, stage performances, and full interaction with the pumpkinmen and pumpkingals.

    Then there were the Pink Witches. Then there was Stitch mania (what the hell has Stitch got to do with Halloween ?) Then the reduction in decoration, interaction, parades etc. Leaving us with this year’s sorry excuse for a season theme.

    This week has been appalling. If you want Disney in USA style then go to a US resort. We want the European/Anglo celebration we used to have. This is sadly our last halloween visit, its just not worth it any more.

  • have just returned from halloween at orlando and it’s decorations could not compare with disneyland paris’ . They actually had some pumpkin men on main street. Have always loved paris’ decorations especially the way frontier land was decorated. It will be a shame if all that individuality goes.

  • Halloween this year was very disapointing :-(
    No “spooky atmosphere”,very few decorations.No halloween parade.In the past much more effort has been put in .I am a regular visitor staying roughly a week each time me and my family,we love Disney ,but this holiday has left us feeling we don,t want to return.Twelve holidays equals almost 3 months spent staying in Disney we always book a Disney Hotel and support the park.Were are the imagineers?Were has the fun gone ? Disneyland Paris has lost its magic for us :-(((((

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