Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Sailing Through The Finale

Today is the last of my It's A Small World - Disneyland Paris posts. And we enter the final two rooms of the attraction - the Americas and the White Room. Those of you have kept up-to-date with the proposed (and possible) changes to the original Disneyland attraction will know that there is a chance that an Americas room could be added. The Disneyland Paris IASW differs from the current California and Florida rides by including an Americas room.

We first travel through South America: Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, etc. Showing the customs and the clothing of the respective areas.

And then enter a room dedicated to North America - Canada and the United States of America. Showing the Rockies, the Wild West, New York and Hollywood. It really is a fantastic room, and these photos don't do it justice!
Leaving the Americas, we enter the final room - the beautiful White Room, a tradition of It's A Small World and a room bringing together all the nationalities in a vision of peacefulness. After travelling through the various nations singing the famous ride theme tune, the final room has the tune sung in French, German and English. This differs from the other attractions in the world, which sing the final tune in their local language.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The Wonders of A Small World

Continuing on from yesterday's post, here are some more pictures from the beautiful It's A Small World in Disneyland Paris. Enjoy!

This is my favourite part of any IASW anywhere - the hoola dancing girls! I love these girls, and I love to spot them every time I go in a new IASW attraction. I always like to see if one isn't working (as usually in WDW there is one that is slow or stopped - although that doesn't happen as often since they did the refurb!) and I *have* to copy them as we go past in the boat, much to the annoyance of my fellow sailors.

These pictures show some of the different bridges, including the entrance between Asian sections. The detail is amazing, and the colours are so beautiful. And yes, there's that pink colour again, George & Ryan!

Please join me again tomorrow, when I will be taking you through the last section of the attraction - the Americas and the beautiful White Room.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Entering A Small World

And so, we now enter It's A Small World, Paris-style, being introduced first to a ice skating and winter theme (above). I've got some pictures to share with you, so you can experience it a little better! We enter to a room similar to the other IASW attractions - a more European feel. We pass by England, Republic of Ireland (and that is a leprechaun we almost see!) and - my personal favourite - Scotland!

We also see France - represented by those famous Can-Can Dancers - and Germany represented by the famous Sausage Dogs (that's their official title, right?).I have some more pictures for you all over the next few days - enjoy!

A Happy Wee Princess!

Today I received a very special delivery in my Royal Mailbox - the following book:
Okay, so most people would be like: "So? It's an old Berlitz travel guide! Why are you excited about that?" Why? Why?! Well, it's a pocket guide...for EuroDisney! Yes, not Disneyland Paris, not Parc Disneyland and the Studios - but for EuroDisney Resort! As you may, or may not, know, there are very little books out there for Disneyland Paris - apart from travel guides (and even then there aren't that many!). And I've been looking for as many books to do with the 'old' Disneyland Paris - but there aren't even many of those...

So I managed to get this old tour book for EuroDisney from (pretty cheap too!) and I'm happy to have something, depicting the 'old' Disneyland Paris. Here's a couple of images from the book:

Now, if I can just get one of my Royal Servants to read the book to me...

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Introducing...It's A Small World

Welcome to the first in a couple of posts looking at It's A Small World attraction in Parc Disneyland, Paris. With all the controversies surrounding the update of the attraction over in Disneyland, California, I thought it appropriate to focus on this attraction next in my tour of Disneyland Paris.
If you're reading this, you're probably familiar with the attraction - whether you have ridden it in one of the parks around the world, or just know the theme song! IASW is situated in Fantasyland in Paris, and the ride starts outdoors, like it's Californian counterpart. As you can see from the picture above, just as you enter the turrets of Fantasyland you catch a glimpse of IASW... Then, below you can see the outer facade of the ride, showing the unique styling of Mary Blair, and with the extremely relevant Tour Eiffel front and centre! In fact, the facade focuses more on the symbols of countries - unlike the Disneyland version, which has the 'symbols' behind the outer shapes.

Of course, the attraction has the popular clock tower, similar to those IASW's throughout the world!

And even though this picture is a little blurry, hopefully you can see the beauty of the ride at night, too. And I'll finish here, just before we enter the IASW of Disneyland Paris.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

It Is A Small World After All!

As most of you probably know, there are lots of opinions flying around with regards to the proposed update to It's A Small World in over in Disneyland, California - the oldest of all the IASW. While I have my opinions on the subject, I will leave it to other blogs to discuss the different sides of the arguments.

But, with all the discussions that are going on, I thought back to all my trips on IASW in Disneyland Paris. So, guess what? I'm going to share with you some pictures from the attraction on this side of the pond (but over the sea from me).

So, please join me over the next couple of days when I try and take you around the It's a Small World attraction in Parc Disneyland as best I can (the photos may not be amazing, but hopefully it will help you appreciate the attraction). I guess it is pretty relevant at the moment, as the Disneyland Paris version has the USA section in the ride, which is proposed for Disneyland California.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures and please don't forget to post any comments or even just say hi! I definitely appreciate it.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Hungry in Main Street?

So, trying to decide what to do in today's post, I thought we could wander back over to Main Street, in Parc Disneyland, Paris, and have a look at somewhere to eat when you're feeling peckish.
The beautiful Plaza Gardens Restaurant sits at the top of Main Street USA, in a gorgeous location, and looking out towards the hub and le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. At first glance, the style is similar to that of Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom, Florida, but you can tell it is much more ornate. Clearly styled on Victorian buildings, it is a much more solid structure than that in Florida, but I imagine that would be due to the weather that Paris has.
Unfortunately, I wasn't lucky enough to dine here - there are only so many days in a trip and only so many dinners you can eat - but the theming of the restaurant is counter-service (all you can eat) amongst Victorian surroundings. While not the cheapest of eateries, the atmosphere in which you will be dining is luxurious, with high-backed chairs, silverware and table cloths. Certainly more high-scale than regular counter-service places in the Park.
Something that sounds fantastic, and I wish I had experienced, is the Disney character tea-time that you can experience. Occurring each late afternoon, you can enjoy lots of cakes, pastries, tea (of course!), all with some of your Disney friends. you think I could head over to the park for the weekend?

More Annie Leibovitz Photos

Just a quick post during the day, at work, to point you all over to the BBC News Entertainment section, where you can find the link to this picture - another of the Annie Leibovitz 'Year of a Million Dreams' photograph. I'm sure there are more - but this is the only one I can find as of now. It portrays Julianne Moore as Ariel, and I must say that I really like this one - doesn't the blue just calm you down? And Julianne looks like a great Ariel!

In addition, I must point out that I forgot the relation between my post yesterday's title and the fantastic Make-A-Wish Foundation. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to point out the fantastic work this charity does both in the UK and over the pond in the USA. Please visit and, if you can, donate. Additionally, I think this would be a good chance to point out the Disney World Trivia Dream Team Project (although I imagine most of you know about this already), which also focuses on raising funds for helping send children to Walt Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Make a Wish

Today's post will be more of a picture post - I'm quite busy tonight - but I wanted to at least have something for you all. Before I do go on, I'd like to thank George at Imaginerding for using my pictures in relation with his recent post 'Spot', featuring the World Famous Kodak Picture Spots! Make sure you check out his site, if you haven't already.

Well, after looking so much at le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, I thought I would finish off our picture tour but looking at a lovely angle of the Castle. This is taken from the right-hand side (when facing the Castle) - I think this picture brings a nice, unique shape of le Château.

Of course, every Princess needs her wishing well - I know I have one! - and just because Sleeping Beauty is in Paris, well, that's no exception!

I advise anyone visiting Disneyland Paris to make sure they drop by this part of le Château - it's so peaceful and my opinion, it's unmissable.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

(Looking Through The) Stained Glass Windows

Returning to my post from a few days ago, I wanted to show you round the remainder of La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant. I'm sorry I can't write very much tonight, but I've just returned from my Gaelic class - yes, I do things outside of the Disney's rare though!
I love this above tapestry, showing the three Fairies. I think it's beautiful and I love the colour and detail of it.
The above stained glass window shows Prince Phillip battling his way to the Princess Aurora, while the following tapestry shows the dragon fight between Maleficent (as a dragon) and Prince Phillip. A nice little fact relating to this tapestry: when Imagineer Tony Baxter saw this piece, he enquired about having a second one reproduced for himself - but the cost changed his mind. However, at a celebration for the completion of the park, then EuroDisney, he received a second version of the above tapestry as a gift from his team! Isn't that a nice little story?

This final window is another of my favourites, showing Sleeping Beauty being awoken by a kiss from her Prince...doesn't it make you all feel warm and fuzzy inside? I know it does to me...well, I am a Princess, after all!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Happy Birthday AK!

I thought I would stray off from my current Disneyland Paris posts, to wish Animal Kingdom a very happy 10th Birthday!

10 years ago on this very day, April 22nd, Animal Kingdom became the 4th gate of Walt Disney World. Opening up on Earth Day was not a coincidence for this park, as it's main theme was that of animal conservation (I almost typed 'conversation', which would be a fantastic idea for a theme park!). The original slogan for Animal Kingdom was "Nahtazu", which sounded similar to 'Not a zoo', emphasised the difference between this park and many other animal based parks.

I remember visiting Animal Kingdom in one of the first years it opened - I think it was 1998 in the summer - and it wasn't a favourite with my family. Mainly due to the lack of shelter, places to sit, and viable attractions. We used to visit in June/July, with my Gran, so you can imagine how much we didn't enjoy the park in it's early days. Now, so many years on, it's one of my favourite parks to walk around. It really has grown into itself, with so many new experiences and situations around every corner. The addition of Expedition Everest has definitely been a draw, and the whole theming of that area makes it one of my Must Sees in every trip.
So, Animal Kingdom, here's to another 10 - Hongera! (That's Happy Birthday in Swahili)

Monday, 21 April 2008

Further Exploration inside La Galerie

As promised, here's another look around La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant. I apologise that the photos aren't perhaps as clear as they could be - but hopefully you can still get a feel for what it's like to be inside le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Parc Disneyland, Paris.
Following on from the first stained glass window we saw yesterday (showing the gifts given to the Princess Aurora), this next window shows the next part of the story, showing all the spinning wheels in the land being burnt. There is a fireplace in the middle, with another two beautiful stained glass windows surrounding it at either side. And if you look carefully in the fire you can see a spinning wheel being toasted to ash...
Following on from this, you can see a couple of tapestries, first depicting the fairies Flora, Merryweather & Fauna looking after the Princess in the woods. The next one then shows the evil Maleficient showing Aurora to the spinning wheel...
And this next beautiful tapestry shows Sleeping Beauty herself, in a deep sleep after having pricked her finger on the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel itself moves, adding to the authenticity of the area. Hopefully you're all enjoying these pictures, as I do have more to come!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Looking Inside le Château

I promised you that we would explore one of my favourite areas of Parc Disneyland, at the Disneyland Resort Paris. Well, today we're going to start! Inside le Château, on the second floor, is La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant (The Gallery of Sleeping Beauty). A beautiful area which portrays the story of Sleeping Beauty using stained glass windows, tapestries and sculptures.

Each window or tapestry also has a small 'book' illustrating the scene that is being depicted, in French. The windows were crafted in England and overseen by Peter Chapman, who had previously worked on the restoration of windows in Notre Dame de Paris. While the tapestries were created in an area famous for their tapestries, Aubusson in Central France.

This gallery is very thematic, and with a lovely atmosphere it's a brilliant area to walk around. Climbing the spiral staircase to the gallery really helps to set the scene of being in a fairy tale world - a Fantasyland. It can get quite busy, however, so a good idea is to visit it first thing in the morning or towards the end of the day. Of course, it's best to go when there is a lot of sunlight outside, to really appreciate the stained glass windows. Once you have followed the story round, you exit onto a balcony, leading around the back edge of the Castle and to the edge of Fantasyland.
The picture above shows the main stained glass window, showing the start of Sleeping Beauty and the gifts being presented to baby Aurora. The picture below shows one of the final sculptures, Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip. Sorry that it's not the best quality - I was still learning the 'night' function on the camera.
I've got some more pictures to share, so pop back to see those tomorrow!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

The Different Sides of Le Château

Continuing on from our last post on Thursday (sorry for no posting yesterday!), I wanted to show you a little bit more about the beautiful Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant from Disneyland Park in Paris.
As you probably know, for the 50th celebration of Disneyland, their Sleeping Beauty Castle had a little bit of a makeover; and for the Happiest Celebration on Earth (at the same time) Cinderella Castle in Florida had some sparkle too. So, for Disneyland Resort Paris' 15th Anniversary, they decided to update le Château too:
For le Château's makeover, there features 15 candles upon the Castle, each representing a year that the park has been opened. Each candle is held by, or represented with, a different Disney character. Can you spot them all? I'll tell you what characters are holding candles in tomorrow's post. Of course, le Château is just as beautiful at night.
Throughout the Christmas and Holiday season, the Castle changes into a magnificent Winter Wonderland. The whole Park gets into the spirit, but the centre-piece is truly the Castle. The hub also has a stage, where every night Mickey and the gang help to light up le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as if covered by snow.

Hopefully you enjoyed some of these pictures, showing you Parc Disneyland's Castle. Don't forget to come back here tomorrow, when I'll take you around the inside of le Château - one of my favourite secret corners of the park.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Introducing le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant

In yesterday's blog I said I wanted to introduce you all to one of the secret corners in the Castle - well, I'm going to leave you hanging on for a little bit! I know, I'm such a tease. But I wanted to introduce you to the beautiful Disneyland Paris Castle first, so that you can get the setting. Also, the book I'm reading at the moment (Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real) contains some interesting information about the creation of this Castle. Yet another must read for all Disney fans!

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, or Sleeping Beauty's Castle, is the focal point for Parc Disneyland. Situated at the entrance to Fantasyland, like other Castles in other Magic Kingdoms, the Castle features a climbing green hill to the left of it, with a small area of water in front, similar to a half-a-moat.
When constructing the le Château, Imagineers found that they were faced with one massive challenge. With Europe being so full of Castles, how could they make this so special for the visiting public? They originally looked at several different images for the hub of Parc Disneyland, including a large art-noveau styled tower, similar to the styles and images from Jules Verne and H.G.Wells. Settling on the castle idea, the Imagineers found their inspiration from the abbey Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, Northern France (picture from Wikipedia). This building had a much more fantastical styling to the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, from which the original Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland was stylised. You can definitely see the influence of this Castle to the one we have now in Paris. Another nice note, the square trees that surround the bottom of the Castle were inspired by Walt Disney's 1959 Sleeping Beauty film. Yet again, a salute to the detail and imagination of the Imagineers.

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant is 148 feet tall, whilst the tallest of the towers measured 55 feet at construction (and weighed 15 tonnes!). Similar to the other Disney Castles, the Imagineers used forced perspective to embellish le Château's height and distance from Main Street USA. If you've read any of my other postings here at my blog, you'll know that Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant is possibly my favourite Disney Castle, architecturally. It is one of the most awe-inspiring sites in the whole of Disneyland Resort Paris, and you can tell how much time and care has been taken over the design and construction. It is a brilliant area to walk around, and just looking up at the fantastic Castle gives me goosebumps.
Join us for the next post, in which we will have a brief look at some of the changes to le Château during the holidays and at night.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Main Street Wallpapers

I don't have much time, or energy, to do a proper post today - apologies - so I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Main Street pictures. A lovely picture of City Hall from Town Square - edited in wallpaper format for you. I thought this would be a nice way to round off my Main Street USA series. Just click on the links below to open up the image, then right click and 'save as' or 'set as background'.

My next block of posts are going to look at La Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant - Sleeping Beauty's Castle - and one of the best secret corners of them all. Including more windows for you window fans! Meanwhile, enjoy the wallpapers. And please leave me a comment if there is anything you would like to see on this blog - I have lots of items from Disneyland Paris Parc and the Studios I still want to share, so all suggestions welcome!


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Cinderella's Fountain

Taking a look at some more secret and hidden corners of Parc Disneyland, I'd like to show you this beautiful part of the park. It's not really a secret, and it's definitely not hidden, but I think it is gorgeous. Whilst it's not unique, the beautiful Cinderella Wishing Fountain lies in the shadow of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, in Fantasyland, next to le Auberge du Cendrillion, which we discussed in an earlier post.
Depicting Cinderella in her 'rags', the fountain shows her sitting with her friends the animals, in a delicate pose. My mum and I were lucky enough to pass this fountain during a quiet time - and the area just felt so peaceful and content. Because we were there during the winter there was no water in the fountain, but it was still kept in excellent condition.

Underneath the fountain is this beautiful plaque. Roughly translated, it reads:

"Cinderella's Fountain
'A dream is a wish your heart makes'
This fountain shows Cinderella and her friends, inspired by the story of Perrault and the classic by Walt Disney"

Monday, 14 April 2008

Spotlight On...Walt's Restaurant

Finishing up my look at Main Street USA I wanted to shine the Spotlight briefly on Walt's Restaurant.
Situated on the left-hand side and in the middle, Walt's - An American Restaurant can be entered from Main Street, although the restaurant is all upstairs (above Lilly's Boutique). I'd heard about this restaurant from a podcast, Inside the Magic, and after hearing it I thought it sounded like somewhere my whole family would enjoy. I'm a very fussy eater and food in France scares me a little - but this restaurant is described as one for American and Italian Cuisine, so I thought that I would definitely get something I would eat!

When you arrive at Walt's, you check-in with the hostess and are allowed to wander around the waiting area while you wait for your table to be ready. There are so many gorgeous and interesting knick-knacks in the lobby area, as well as some highly sought-after comfy chairs, that the time passed by very quickly. I took a couple of pictures while we were waiting - not too many, as the lobby area was quite busy. One shows a nice display of Disney family photos and the other shows the stairs up to the restaurant level. There was also a lift that you could take to the second floor, which put me in mind of the elevator installed in Club 33 in Disneyland.
Once your table is ready, you are called to enter the restaurant area upstairs, usually two parties at a time. Upstairs, there are several different seating rooms for you to be placed in: Discoveryland (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea theme), Frontierland (Library theme), Fantasyland (Gothic-styled area) and Adventureland (Arabic theme). We were placed in the Discoveryland section, which is actually one of the first sections to walk-through. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling too well during the meal and so I didn't take any pictures of the interior, which I am very annoyed about! My dad took a couple of pictures of us at dinner - one of which you can see a fantastic modelling of the Nautilus which was hanging on the wall (excuse the top of my mum's head in the picture), and the others show some of the pictures and sketches that adorn the wall. We were lucky in our placing, as the windows overlooked Main Street and we were eating right about the same time as the parade passed by! Great entertainment!

As for the food, we all thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a lovely burger - it's one of my favourite 'dining out' options, whilst my parents both had a steak - and we all had a nice glass of wine each(after all, this is France!). Of course, I should mention that the menu itself is something to behold. It is more like a photo album than a menu, with pages of photos of Walt and stages in his life (his hometown, his family, etc). I really wish I had taken some pictures...I think I will have to go back there and update this post in the near future. Anyone fancy joining me?

Overall, my family and I had a lovely time dining at this restaurant. In my opinion it was the location that really helped set the mood and the atmosphere for the dinner, and the Imagineering behind the restaurant. The amount of detailing that has gone into this place is amazing. Whilst this wasn't the best meal I ate in the park (the Silver Spur Steakhouse was amazing - especially for all you carnivores) and it can be quite expensive considering other places to eat, I would definitely recommend this restaurant. It's a beautifully themed place to dine, in a fantastic location and with an exquisite atmosphere.