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Crush’s Coaster in line for permanent Single Rider, more queue improvements

Friday, 21st February 2014 at 12:50 in Crush's Coaster, Fastpass and more...

Crush's Coaster - Walt Disney Studios Park - Disneyland Paris

Remember when Crush’s Coaster opened in 2007 and immediately couldn’t cope with demand? Well dudes, almost seven years later something permanent is finally going to be done about the capacity-starved Toon Studio coaster’s popularity.

During its four week closure from 17th March to 11th April, Crush’s Coaster will reportedly see the addition of a permanent Single Rider line, as well as an expansion of the regular queue line itself, something fans including ourselves have requested since opening.

Cast Member sources Pretty Wyatt, AnonyMouse and DynastyGo on Disney Central Plaza forum report that two options were presented to improve the standard queue line: making permanent the temporary ropes which wind their way in front of Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, and/or a genuine enlargement of the exterior queue area into what is currently “backstage”.

Thankfully, the second option has apparently been green-lit, leaving the installation of more permanent barriers around the Flying Carpets “oasis” area as an added possibility.

This is great news for visitors joining the queue and the area as a whole. The temporary ropes constantly clog up what is already a cramped portion of the land, especially now guests are also heading through to Toy Story Playland and soon to La Place de Rémy. Making the outside queue area at the side of Studio 5 bigger would be a long-overdue decision.

Crush's Coaster queue - Walt Disney Studios Park - Disneyland Paris

Single Rider is also absolutely the right choice to maximise capacity of the ride. We reported in-depth on the Crush’s Coaster Fastpass tests in 2008, quickly proven unworkable for a ride with such low capacity. Fastpass can obviously never add capacity to a finite ride, whereas Single Rider can at least maximise capacity to as close to 100% as possible, filling every empty seat in groups of odd numbers. Both Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop and RC Racer now work successful, permanent Single Rider lines, and one is planned for Ratatouille right from the start.

In fact, it’s probably Rémy we have to thank for this long-awaited improvement. With all the new guests expected to flock to Walt Disney Studios Park for the E-Ticket dark ride, some will inevitably also help to make the Crush’s Coaster queue longer. Leaving things as they are, with even longer queues spilling out into the street, would not present a good image.

Flying Carpets Over Agrabah - Walt Disney Studios Park - Disneyland Paris

In similar fashion, we’ve suddenly seen the front of Animagique get some paint work (if not enough work). And, from 14th April right through the whole of May at least, Flying Carpets Over Agrabah will be closed for a thorough top-to-bottom refurbishment that will reportedly see the aerial carousel completely dismantled and rebuilt, just as its cousin Orbitron – Machines Volantes has enjoyed at least twice in recent memory.

That’s a lot of very welcome spit and polish ahead of the land’s newest ride opening. (Let’s just pretend the un-themed pathway behind Art of Disney Animation doesn’t exist, shall we?)

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Thursday, 20th February 2014 at 14:10 in Central Plaza, Characters and more...

Spring at Disneyland Paris

Remember the “Festival of Flowers” (Festival des Fleurs) of 1997 and 1998? Park icons covered in colourful spring flowers, topiaries of Disney characters all around, beautiful displays decorating the flower beds? It was a beautiful way to see in season of “printemps”.

Well, those will remain memories… but it’s this classic event that has apparently served as inspiration for a new season rumoured to begin at Disneyland Paris this April: the Spring Festival, or “Swing Into Spring” if you want the latest reported title.

Disneyland Paris in its usual self-aggrandising style has announced nothing, but information and speculation has been trickling out for almost two months now from various sources.

The speculated season looks set to revolve around a central street event, which will reuse three of the cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. The Monsters Inc and Snow White vehicles were removed from the Walt Disney Studios Park parade on Wednesday, 19th February, and are expected to be redecorated for the new cavalcade “happening”.

Joining them for the Disneyland Park event will be the Mary Poppins car, apparently leaving the Studios without a parade for the duration of the season — characters will simply perform a meet ‘n’ greet in the second park, instead. Update: @InsideDLParis informs that despite missing these three cars, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars is planned to continue as a parade during the season.

Mary Poppins car in Disney's Stars 'n' CarsDisney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train

Other rumours suggest the long-running Casey Jr train (Disney Characters Express, Minnie’s Party Train, Disney All Stars Express, Disney Dance Express, Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train) returning in some form with a similar colourful, floral, spring overlay.

Only the Disneyland Paris Casting website has confirmed plans for special spring events, with a casting notice (below) advertising for an impressive 102 dancers. Even taking into account days off, reducing the numbers in each actual performance, that’s a healthy figure.

Disneyland Paris Casting Spring Festival Dancers

Meanwhile, the fresh festival could also introduce some new floral decorations and street animations or meet ‘n’ greet opportunities. Concept art suggesting these was leaked by a blogger in early January and swiftly removed at the request of Disneyland Paris, stating the internal documents were not meant for public release.

More recently, a Mary Poppins “Jolly Holiday” theme has been mooted, which would be a good choice given the film’s fiftieth anniversary and renewed popularity thanks to Saving Mr Banks. This could be confirmed by the appearance of chalk paintings being tested on the pavement outside City Hall on Wednesday, photographed by @DisneylandPfans.

Spring Festival chalk painting test © DisneylandPfans

Created by an artist using just chalk, water and masking tape, it’s not known how these colourful paintings, like those mastered by Bert in the 1964 film, could be put to use as part of a season (or avoid the footsteps of idle visitors).

Dates: the “Spring Festival” is rumoured to run from 5th April to 22nd June, possibly with a “soft opening” day on 4th April, nicely filling the void in the resort’s calendar left by the “summer” opening of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. Again, no part of this speculated festival has been officially announced or confirmed by Disneyland Paris.

Gradually turning “Spring” into its own annual season makes perfect sense, and though this year looks like being more a trial of the concept (hence the lack of a big announcement too far in advance?), with continued investment it could conceivably become a third pillar season as important as Halloween and Christmas, driving repeat visitors without the need for those increasingly desperate, largely irrelevant year-long “festivals”.

Bonus: “Festival of Flowers” 1997 programme CONTINUE READING…

SOURCES @DisneylandBerry, @InsideDLParis, @DisneylandPfans, DlrpExpress, Disney Central Plaza

Plans to transfer Disney Hotel characters into Extra Magic Hours confirmed

Thursday, 20th February 2014 at 12:07 in Castle Club, Characters and more...

Mickey Mouse at Disney's Hotel Cheyenne © Photos Magiques

As reported on Tuesday, Disneyland Paris does indeed plan to cancel the long-running Disney character meet ‘n’ greet locations at its Disney Hotels, in favour of having these characters appear during Extra Magic Hours instead.

Mouetto, admin of the top French forum Disney Central Plaza, has been able to confirm the rumours as a genuine “project” with Disneyland Paris, providing the following points of confirmation:

  • Disney characters will indeed disappear from the Disney Hotels in late November 2014 and will be reinstated in Disneyland Park during Extra Magic Hours, with several opportunities to meet and take photos while they prepare the opening of the park.
  • Characters will remain at the Inventions buffet restaurant in Disneyland Hotel and at Café Mickey.
  • There will be a new experience with Disney characters during breakfast at the Castle Club in Disneyland Hotel.
  • Guest satisfaction surveys have indicated the desire to meet and interact with more and more characters, but not necessarily in hotels. The presence of characters only came eighth in the main expectations of a Disney Hotel.

Currently there is no word of any changes to the character appearances at the Empire State Club of Disney’s Hotel New York and Golden Forest Club of Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, where the Disney stars appear during breakfast.

Besides the easier logistics of characters not having to travel to each hotel, the logic can make sense too. Whereas currently guests have the chance to meet just one or two characters in their hotel lobby, if all these characters are pooled together into the park it means much greater variety — and much better photo backdrops, too.

Offering them instead during Extra Magic Hours might not be favourable with late risers, but it’s a good way to ensure the extra characters remain a genuine benefit of Disney Hotel guests (and Annual Passport Dream holders). What will be missed we’re sure, though, are those fun character costumes, unique to each hotel.

VIA Mouetto (Disney Central Plaza), PHOTO Photos Magiques

Linguini face character coming to Disneyland Paris for Ratatouille ride opening?

Wednesday, 19th February 2014 at 12:08 in Cast Members, Characters and more...

Linguini, Ratatouille © Disney

Could Alfredo Linguini, Rémy’s human accomplice, be on his way to La Place de Rémy this year, too? Disneyland Paris recently posted an audition notice (below) on its official Casting website calling for actors to interpret the Ratatouille role “as part of a new project”.

Auditionees are required to have a “strong artistic presence” and “lots of energy”, as well as measuring a precise 1.73m to 1.85m tall. A good level of English is required as well as French, plus a definite ability to improvise in the role, son of the late Auguste Gusteau.

Disneyland Paris Ratatouille Linguini face character casting notice

Applications were to be received by 16th February, but the casting notice doesn’t give any other dates. Often these notices will give a rough idea of employment dates for the roles being cast. So, as well as not giving any clues as to the attraction‘s definite opening, this can’t tell us whether the role of a live Linguini could be a regular feature around the new attraction or perhaps just a one-off for the grand opening ceremonies.

Nevertheless, a Linguini “face character” would be another first for Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park in the world of Disney parks. Up until now, only Rémy and Emile have become park characters, being regular favourites of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars in particular.

Meanwhile, in other online Ratatouille: The Ride news, the first mention of the attraction recently slipped onto the official Disneyland Paris website, on the main Walt Disney Studios Park page:

Disneyland Paris website - Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

Helpfully, the small feature box states: “The exact opening date is not confirmed. Please contact us.” It also surprisingly lists the name of the attraction as its full L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy moniker, no doubt infuriating for those Disney marketeers who probably spent fifty board meetings deciding on just calling it “The Ride” for all English advertising.

• Catch up on all our Ratatouille ride news and rumours here!

Disney Parks gain queues for characters; Disney Hotels to lose them altogether?

Tuesday, 18th February 2014 at 18:54 in Cast Members, Castle Club and more...

Disneyland Paris Disney Hotels characters - Minnie Mouse © PhotosMagiques

Here’s a double Disney Character update with both good and possibly not-so-good news, depending on your view. First, the unconfirmed rumour that from November 2014 character meet ‘n’ greet locations will be removed from Disney Hotels.

This information seems to have first appeared in a tweet by @DisneyCharPhot on 10th November, then reiterated without a date by @DisneyMoi the next day, followed by a more precise date of 3rd November by @DLRPWonders just a minute later.

Rumour has it that as from early November characters will no longer visit the hotellobbies at DLP pic.twitter.com/MPDOQBE37i
— Disneycharacter Phot (@DisneyCharPhot) February 10, 2014

Starting sometime this year, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at #DisneylandParis!
— Disney-Me (@DisneyMoi) February 11, 2014

Starting November 3th 2014, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at Disneyland Paris!
— DLRP Wonders (@DLRPWonders) February 11, 2014

Obviously we must still treat this as a rumour, since Disneyland Paris has made no comment, but given the number of supporting claims and the fact that the Entertainment department is usually about as watertight as a pair of Captain Hook’s tights when it comes to revealing information, it’s quite hard to dismiss.

Note that the rumours state character dining such as the popular Inventions buffet at Disneyland Hotel would continue, and that it is only the character locations in the open lobby areas of each Disney Hotel which would not longer be used.

Why would Disneyland Paris do such a thing? Isn’t being able to meet Mickey in your hotel lobby a real benefit of staying in those hotels? First, it might not be common knowledge that Disneyland Paris is something of an anomaly with having Disney characters in its hotels. Other Disney resorts around the world are more reserved: characters only appear at their hotels, if at all, in restaurants and dining events, with the only similar exception we can find being California’s Disneyland Hotel, which advertises occasional characters in the lobby.

Goofy - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Hotel New York © PhotosMagiquesMinnie Mouse - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Sequoia Lodge © PhotosMagiques

There’s another side to the story that’s more surprising, though, as apparently it has become a genuine issue that some non-paying visitors and locals walk through the resort and around its hotels, meeting the characters without paying a cent. With that in mind, it’s probably a good decision to reserve the characters to places where only paying guests can meet them.

The story might have a silver lining, too, as Poppy the Monkey on magicforum suggests character numbers will simply be displaced from the hotels to Disneyland Park Extra Magic Hours:

“Hotel Guests are not going to lose out too much, ALL the Characters you could of met in your hotel will now be ready to welcome you exclusively in the Disneyland Park during the Extra Magic Hours.  So instead of just having 2 or 3 Characters to meet in your lobby in the morning, you will most likely be able to meet alot more throughout the park – imagine all the Characters usually hanging out at the 6 hotels (Disneyland Hotel will not be affected) will now converge on the park to prepare for the day, before all the regular Guests even arrive.”
Poppy the Monkey, magicforum

And it’s in the parks that we find our really good news.

Since the start of this year, the Entertainment department has been trialling organised queues for characters. No more pushing, shoving or mobbing: guests are simply organised into a proper line and asked to wait their turn. And it appears to be working.

Disneyland Paris queue for characters © InsideDLParis

Just this morning, @DisneylandPfans captured a queue of visitors waiting patiently to meet Goofy on Main Street, PixieDust.be reported it working well in their latest update, while InsideDLParis has shared snaps (above) of numerous working queues since this initiative began in early January.

It’s fair to say that if you skimmed any number of Disneyland Paris reviews, especially those comparing with other resorts, the disorderly character appearances would always be consistently mentioned. Could it finally be a thing of the past?

This is without doubt one of the most welcome recent developments for the parks. And such a minor change: an extra character minder here, a polite “please join the queue!” there. If only park managers could continue through the whole experience of being in the parks with the same fine tooth comb and fix a few other similar niggles for us…

PHOTOS 1 - 3 Photos Magiques, PHOTO 4 InsideDLParis

Disneyland Paris contest invites children to design their own “Imagination Castle”

Tuesday, 18th February 2014 at 12:02 in Advertising & Print, Competitions and more...

Disneyland Paris presents The Imagination Castle

Bringing Home Imagineering to the masses, Disneyland Paris has launched its latest promotional effort dubbed “The Imagination Castle”, an online competition inviting children to become the next Tom Morris and design their own Sleeping Beauty Castle.

From 6th to 24th February, children aged 3 to 8 years old can draw, paint or create their own imaginary castle and have their parent or guardian submit it to win a full board trip to Disneyland Paris and a chance to see the “Imagination Castle” itself brought to life. A mélange of all the winning entries, the castle will actually take shape somewhere in the centre of Paris — so don’t fear for crayon marks and paint smudges on our dear Château.

The contest is being run concurrently for residents of the United Kingdom, France (Le Château de l’Imagination), Spain (El Castillo de l’Imaginación), the Netherlands (Het Kasteel van de Verbeelding) and Belgium, with three winners from each competition.

Here’s the English promotional video:

It’s worth noting from the competition rules that Euro Disney S.C.A. will not be held responsible for “any damage caused to a Candidate’s computer”, so do make sure your child doesn’t paint directly onto the screen — and don’t forget the all-important dragon underneath.

VIA The Imagination Castle

PanoraMagique to get new entrance booth inside Disney Village boundary

Monday, 17th February 2014 at 18:38 in Disney Village, Lake Disney and more...

PanoraMagique new entrance gangway

Operators of the PanoraMagique balloon in Disney Village have announced the attraction will get a new entrance leading directly from the main avenue of the entertainment district, publishing the image above to give an idea of their plans.

Since opening in April 2005, the Aerophile ride has had an entrance gangway and ticket booth to the left of the above photo, leading towards Disney’s Hotel New York.

Changes to security barriers around the resort in 2012 no doubt caused the operators some headaches, as Disney Village became part of the main “Parks” area. This now allows visitors to move freely between the Parks and Village without any barriers, but the use of the old “road train” waiting canopy next to Café Mickey meant the boundary to the hotels was drawn right before the balloon’s entrance, leaving it out on a periphery.

PanoraMagique original entrance
PanoraMagique original entrance

Under the new plans, the entrance will be directly ahead of guests, opposite Earl of Sandwich as they walk up through Disney Village, affording it much greater visibly and prominence, and giving the ballon more of that classic Disney “weenie” effect.

To allow the works to take place, PanoraMagique will be closed from 10th to 31st March 2014.

VIA @PanoraMagique (Twitter)

Michael Giacchino shares more Ratatouille ride soundtrack previews, first audio

Monday, 17th February 2014 at 11:46 in Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris, La Place de Rémy and more...

Michael GIacchino Ratatouille ride soundtrack

Ratatouille composer Michael Giacchino has continued to share photos and even videos from his recording sessions for Ratatouille: The Ride at Capitol Records in Hollywood, California.

While we’ve been enjoying some of the first true sneak peeks inside the ride, the film’s original composer has been hard at work from Tuesday through to Friday to provide its soundtrack, sharing some of the results on his own Instagram account. Day one brought us a lone shot of the ride’s song book, but by day two Giacchino was sharing exciting videos from the sessions, perhaps our first audio peek at the finished score.

Other images included a look at the music notes for “Colette Shows Him the Ropes” and a photo of drummer Harvey Mason and bass player Abe Laboriel.

Michael GIacchino Ratatouille ride soundtrackMichael GIacchino Ratatouille ride soundtrack

We mustn’t forget that as well as L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, there’s a queue line, exterior street (La Place de Rémy) and the restaurant (Le Bistrot Chez Rémy) to score, which will require some rather more mellow sounds than Rémy’s dash through the ride itself.

Below, we’ve gathered together all the videos — take a listen! CONTINUE READING…

VIA m_giacchino (Instagram)

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