Gallery 1 Beginnings: Walt Disney’s Early Years (1901-1923)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

wdfmuseum_0000The Walt Disney Family Museum will be opening in October as mentioned in one of the previous blog entries. To long to wait? No worries. The museum is sharing some great pictures in online previews first. Together with the preview they’ll share some information on what the expect in each gallery and we are happy to share the information (provided by the museum) and some selected photos  in a “Gallery to Gallery” series. So here is the first part with information on the exhibit’s first gallery, the items that will be displayed and the specific period in Walt Disney’s life depicted in the first gallery:

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ESPN Zone Denver CLOSED

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

In a surprising move that came over-night for customers as well as the staff members the ESPN Zone Denver was closed effective June 29, 2009. The ESPN Zone is part of Disney Regional Entertainment and combines a sports bar and restaurant with an ESPN merchandise store as well as an arcade style area featuring in particular games that require physical action as well (more on the official website of the chain).

According to reports by the Denver Post and 9NEWS guests and staff of the ESPN Zone that had opened in December 2001 were greated by a darkened place and closed doors on which the following note had been plastered:

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Area (Background) Music at Disneyland Resort Paris

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Instrumental music playing through (more or less) hidden speakers placed all over the Disney theme parks and even the areas outside the theme parks accessible to guests in the Disney resorts is one of the key elements in setting the atmosphere and making sure guests are totally immersed in the world of Disney. Frequently guests do not even notice the music except unconsciously as it is (mostly) cleverly selected for the different areas to fit the theme of each area. However, once it is noticed guests frequently fall in love with the music selections and enquire with cast members in the area or (in the Disneyland Park) City Hall whether the music is available for sale in the park. Unfortunately the answer is mostly no – even so in particular at the Disneyland Resort Paris CD releases such as “Frontierland en musique” and “Disneyland Resort Paris en musique” at least include a few selected background / area music tracks.

The problem with the majority of the background / area music however is, that it is not recorded specifically for Disney but is so called “needle drop” material, meaning tracks taken directly from other (in most cases: commercially available) record releases. So one would hope, that the resorts are maybe able, to provide a list which tracks are playing in which area (in other words: in which music loop) and from which sources they are. However, the information cast members have at their disposal is very limited in msot cases. This certainly does apply to the Disneyland Resort Paris. Therefore, one of the frequent questions asked on the web is: “Which music is playing in the background loop at ____? Anyone knowing where I can get it?” Luckily there is an answer as far as where to get the information…

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Lost in Translation meets Disneyland Paris

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Remember the Sofia Coppola movie “Lost in Translation”? The one where a beautifull Scarlet Johanson meets Bill Murray in Tokyo? Well, then you might also remember the scene in a Karaoke bar, where Japanese men are  singing Punk Jap songs jumping around while Bill Morray looks on with a face that clearly states “what am I doing here”? Kind of the same happened to me today!

You see I am touring my Asian partners / offices and am currently in Singapore, ready to head to Hong Kong tommorrow night – guess where I am going to stay – before traveling on to Osaka (with side tour to USJ) and finally Tokyo (with 3 nights in TDR). Anyway, back to the story. My Singapore partner took me for a drink (“tea please”) after work – hic choice: a Karaoke bar … full of Asian guys singing Karaoke songs in Mali, Chinese etc. But where is the Disney connection you are now wondering? Read on after the break for that!

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Side Glance 09-03-12…

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Side Glance 2009 03 12

At Harringtons (Mainstreet U.S.A., Disneyland Resort Paris)

Tram Tour rerouting at WDS

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Many rumors have been floating around regarding the addition of up to three flat rides (including a small “parachute tower”) from an Italuan manufactueer beeing added to the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Resort Paris. Most frequently it is rumored that the attractions will be added next to the current Toon Studios area, even so rumors are divided whetwr as an extension or a new mini-land (depending on the rumor either themed to Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles or Disney/Pixar”s Toy Story series).
Due to the release of themes brochures we now know the addition will not come (as originally rumored) in 2009 – but there is new “evidence” that it or another addition may arrive in 2010.
As had been discussed on fan boards (such as http://forum.mousekingdom.com) the current tram tour route might cause problems to the rumored addition of the flat rides or any other addition to the studios line-up in the area next to the Toon Studios behind the Art of Animation. But recently construction fences went up behind that limiting section of the tram tour road … and now a construction notice was errected outside the studios, next to the entrance of the perimeter road behind the Rock’n’Roller Coaster announcing the project of “rerouting” at least parts of the tram tour!

The VEA shuttle experience

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Arriving by plane to Disneyland Resort Paris via the airport Charles de Gaule (CDG), Roissy, means guests have to choose whether to take a 10 minute ride on the TGV train to the resort or a 40-45 minute ride on the resort’s official shuttle bus operated by VEA. Timewise the comparison is easy, especially on the way back to the airport. Costwise the comparison depends on the time of the day a guest arrives as pricing for the TGV depending on rush hour varies between approximately 15 and 23 Euro, while the shuttle bus has the regular price of 17 Euro. Convenience can be a factor too, with the bus dropping guests off directly at each Disney hotel (but not Disney’s David Crockett Ranch), but the TGV arrives at the resort’s train station (Marne la Valle Chessy) which is about 50 meter from the entrance to the parks and the Disney Village, right next to the resort’s bus station, from where free shuttles operRe to all Disney hotels (again with the exception of the ranch). Sounds like a dead race…
Me personally? I am usually taking the shuttle on the trip to the resort and the TGV on the way back to the airport so to be able to stay in the parks as long as possible on the last day. Larger groups and families might also want to consider a ore-booked shuttle service offered by various companies (and also regularly advertised in the google-ads on this blog.

Why this post now? Well, I just took the shuttle into the resort fir my New Year’s trip. T this ocassion I could also witness that the tests from earlier this summer at CDG mudt havebeen successful, since VEA continues to operate the improved pick-up system at the airport. Instead of having the shuttle stop at various pick-up points at the various terminals and then having to radio in an extra bus once the first one was full, now a shuttle runs continuously to pick up the guests at the terminals and transport them to a central stop (between terminals 2E and 2F), where the shuttle to the resort is the boarded. This allows for more convenient loading of luggage and boarding due to the location and to gave extra buses already waiting. A great improvement which speeds up the process and makes it more convenient for guests!

Disney and the Eurovision Song Contest (updated)

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Everyone ready? In just two minutes the finale of the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest will commence in Belgrad, Serbia. Hundreds of millions of viewers all over Europe and even on tv-sets in Australia and New Zeeland plus countless fans all around the globe watching live online at eurovision.tv will see and hear songs competing for 25 countries (down from an original 43 after two semi finales).

Why am I posting this on a Disney blog? Hey, I just want to point you to some great entertainment! Well, actually there is a Disney connection this year: Germany is represented by the girl band No Angels singing “Disappear” – please no cheap jokes now ;-)

Anyway, the girl band casted on the tv show “popstars” had an extended chart success in Germany and several European countries in the 90s and early years of this century before disbanding and then reuniting a year ago (albeit now missing one of the original members). So where is that Disney connection I promised? Keep reading after the break…

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Disney Cruise and DLRP?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Last year’s visit of the Disney Cruise Line to the Mediterranean wasn’t much of an event for the European markets. Sure DLRP did do a small event in Spain but due to the selection of invited press the event pretty much turned into a non-event. What could have been the big entry of the Disney Cruise Line into Europe’s booming cruise market (especially Germans are more and more turning to this type of vacations) and could also have opened a new market for DLRP of guests combining a Disney cruise with a visit to DLRP just didn’t do anything.

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The Dawn Treader meets Wall-E

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

We are still waiting for the May 16 opening of the second installment of the “Narnia”-series, titled “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” (or even longer for some of us here in Eruope, where at least in Germany the movie won’t open till July!) … but the powers at Disney and Walden (the partner of Disney for this franchise) already proof all the gloom sayers on the internet wrong by announcing, that Disney and Walden are NOT abandoning the franchise!!

While some popular sites already declared the series dead or nearly dead unless the second movie did outstanding business the partners used the Comic Con in New York to announce that filming for the third movie in the series will commence as early as October of this year!

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Disney Television Animation: who gets picked up?

Friday, April 18th, 2008

It is that time of the year again – no, not awards, even so I had one of those posted about for Brad Bird. I am talking about the time the stations decide which shows will be allowed to return for another season. According to the TAG Blog decisions for two of Disney’s animated shows have just been made:

“The Replacements” (on the Disney Channel in the US, on Toon Disney in Germany) will not get a third season but will end after 52 episodes. In the meainte “Phineas and Ferb” got picked up again and an order for 26 and 13 episodes seems to have been placed. “Phineas and Ferb” in the recent months managed to garner fans on the Disney Channel in various age groups and is currently also introduced to the European market. E.g. guests visiting the all new “Stitch Live!” attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Paris at Disneyland Resort Paris are introduced to the show during the pre-show.

Does Disney have the worst site for DLP?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

DLP WebsiteOK, I may have an unnecessary bee in my bonnet about this but, from doing a lot of online research into DLP recently, I can honestly say no-one has a worse, more confusing or – what is even more surprising – out of date website about the resort than Disney themselves.

There are various fan sites for the big Paris resort, and several are highly sophisticated these days, with masses of user-friendly info, even if they don’t have the high-gloss look and the clever interactive features.

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Side Glance 07-06-07…

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Side Glance 07-06-07

Captive Audience & Pricing

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

All of us have already endured the special treatment as “captive audience”, meaning part of an audience / guest group which – for what ever reason – is bound to consume certain products or services in a set boundary or environment. Say on a trade fair, on the concourse of an airport behind the security check, … and we all have learned (the hard way) that pricing of e.g. food items in these areas clearly reflect that the customers are part of a “captive audience” and thus willing to pay a premium or unable to avoid paying a premium if they want to get a drink, snack, meal etc. No big news here. Obviously the same applies to theme or amusement parks, especially if we are talking about parks that are part of resorts such as Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Resort Paris, where (with very few exceptions such as the ESSO gas station or the shops in the train station) even the sales locations outside the gates are sort of seperated from the regular market.

In the mind of the general public in the meantime a hard rule as developed basically saying: “theme park guests” = “captive audience” = higher prices for e.g. snacks. Combine that with the general perception of Disneyland Resort Paris in Europe as “expensive” and you have numerous potential guests who turn down a visit to DLRP based on not real pricing but assumed or expected pricing. But is DLRP really charging a premium wherever possible??

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The Cinemagique we didn’t get…

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Cinemagique is one of the top attractions in the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Resort Paris. The journey through the history of movies from the early days all the way to todays blockbusters like Monsters, Inc. enchants guests and regularly manages to get even applause. But us with most great attractions and movies before guests get treated to the finalized project the creative team considers many different concepts, ideas and approaches. Information about these early concepts is rather hard to get by – especially for theme park attractions such as Cinemagique which just don’t get released on official DVDs with comprehensive bonus material. But now and then fans are lucky – as right now in the case of Cinemagique.

Thanks need to go to the blog Cartoon Brew who got YouTube-user CyberShire to reveal the story behind his 6 chapters of “Famous Balloon Movies”… (more…)