Monday, 30 November 2009

Slàinte mhòr agad!*

For those of you who don't know, this Princess actually resides in Scotland. I am Scottish through and through! And the most famous Scottish Disney character and myself would like to wish all the readers at DF'82 a very happy St Andrew's Day!

For those of you who don't know, today - November 30th - is the national day of our patron saint of Scotland, Saint Andrew. While it is not a national holiday, it is still a very good excuse to have a knees up and a few wee drams (that's a wee whiskey for you all!).

*Great Health To You!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

This Is Not Your Normal Wild West

When Disneyland Paris was born, there were many challenges that faced the Imagineers who were in charge. They had to figure out what the guests would want to see, and where they would want to travel when they entered the park.
The environment Disney was entering by building Euro Disney was very different to that of Florida or California. This meant that decisions had to be taken as to how the Lands of the Park would be conceived. Frontierland was a relatively easy decision, as described by Imagineer Tony Baxter in the Art of Walt Disney.

"Rethinking the Old West, for example, Walt has visualised it as an idyllic, pastoral Mississippi River landscape, where two boys - Tom and Huck - could run away to an island... But Europeans are looking for something completely different. They take serenity and pastoral beauty for granted. When they think of the Old West, they think of the wild West. An exciting energetic place. We realised that our EuroDisney Frontierland would have to reflect that."
The Art of Walt Disney, Christopher Finch, p441

This reflects why there is no Tom and Huck island in Paris's Frontierland, and why one of the main thrill rides of the Park is situated in this land. It also explains the differences in the Haunted Mansion, or Phantom Manor, as we have discussed previously on this blog. As Tony Baxter continues:

"A sinister, Western land-baron style...and we changed the ride itself so that instead of ending in a Gothic graveyard it ends in a California ghost town, with coyotes baying at the moon and ghost riders in the sky"
The Art of Walt Disney, p443

Saturday, 28 November 2009

What Do You Celebrate?

Today's Celebrate interview is with another great friend of mine. She is a newly made friend and without this blog I would never have met her. Leigh Canzoneri currently lives within driving distance of Disneyland and adores all things Disney. She is has a passionate adoration and deep respect for Disney - but let's learn a little bit more about her, and what she celebrates.

How did you become a Disney fan?
I became a Disney fan because when I went to the parks the first time I felt the freedom and acceptance of me being allowed and encouraged to "just be" who I am. No expectations, no demands, no pretenses.

What is your favourite Disney Theme Park?
THUS FAR, from where I've been.... EPCOT. its between Epcot and [Disney]Land really... But none of the other parks compare to such a potentially challenging question. Because the characters are random and rare [at Epcot]. The rides are fun, thrilling, and in variety, the world show case never gets dull walking and eating, the fireworks are in a great setting.... the countries to visit in the show case are ALWAYS fun, the shopping has uniqueness to it, in MY opinion anyway

Which is your favourite attraction - past or present - and why?
Peter Pan
Who doesn't want to feel like they can fly... The story never gets old, the characters never get old: a flying pirate ship you get the feel of both worlds fantasy and adventure. The setting is beautiful both before and after they fly to Neverland. The mermaids I can do without but whatever... they keep pan happy! It's got everything... pirates, fun, flight, fantasy, thrill, story, Indians, a crocodile.

Is there one show or parade, which you feels best embodies the spirit of Disney?
It's the parade at magic kingdom - Share a Dream Come True Parade. It has EVERYBODY and EVERY STORY it feels like. It doesn't ask for participation it doesn't have modern music, its a story within itself, telling you the story of why you came to the parks. From the old to the new. Many of the parades adjust to the new and then get rid of the classic. This one doesn't it feels (whether or not it does) like it ADDS the new, the modern, not "replaces" it and it still has the foundation of STORY.

What is your Disney "guilty pleasure"?
Windows- I like taking pics of windows, looking at what they have IN the window, Whose name is ON the window. The worst thing however is that it is in fact the TOUGHEST thing to take pics of: GLARE, SUN, SHADOW, so I mostly just look.

How do you bring your love of Disney into your daily life?
I surround myself in the story telling atmosphere by purchasing much un-needed merchandise. I take pics and use them as wallpaper and screen savers on my computer.
I look within my home and think of what I need, as often as I can in the functional sense, and then I purchase, but with D in mind. So.. If I need a toaster... Disney toaster, if I need a pencil holder... Disney pencil holder. If I can't find Disney or its too costly than I get it in a colorful form that will enhance whatever Disney is already near by. Like a Car's themed office, colors are based off of what colors are used in "cars"; a nemo bathroom; a Remy kitchen, so I would say I bring the functional magic home.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Pirates In Port

When meandering around the Disney Parks it's important to look up and around you. Although it is equally important to look beneath your feet too!

In the newly refurbished Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop in Adventureland, Magic Kingdom. there is something neatly hidden in plain sight.
This replica of the Skull and Crossbones used in the promotional posters for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Perhaps there is a dangerous reason as to why this entrance is for Cast Members Only...

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Enter The World

I have spoken about the plaque at Parc Disneyland, Paris before as I adore these little touches that help to set the scene before we go 'On Stage' at the Park. This is the plaque for those of you who would like a reminder:
What I specifically like about this, is that the plaque is in French and English. Although we all appreciate - and maybe take advantage - of the English throughout the park, it is important to remember that we are in a country where French is their national language. It is France after all!

But looking at this plaque I thought it would be interesting to do a slight comparison between the original plaque in Disneyland, California, and Magic Kingdom in Florida.

The major difference is that the Magic Kingdom (at the bottom) is a direct ode to the original quote from Disneyland. Both have the same words, while the Paris plaque has a little bit of a difference with entering the worlds of 'history, discovery and ageless fantasy'. This reflects the fact that Paris has a very old-style Frontierland area and their Main Street U.S.A. includes a great deal of history. Of course, Paris has Discoveryland rather than Tomorrowland, which explains 'discovery'. And 'ageless fantasy' highlights that Fantasyland is more classic than its counterparts in Florida and California.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Is It A Flying Carpet?

Sometimes a Point Photo can be found in the most interesting of places.
Like this example, a Point Photo found from the Flying Carpets Over Agrabah attraction in Toon Studio, Walt Disney Studios. From this 'Point' you can get some pictures of your fellow carpet flyers!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Quiet Spots Amongst The 'Biz'

I love to find the more quiet spots within the Disney Parks, where one can take a moment to have a seat, watch the world go by, or - especially in the Florida parks - avoid the heat!

But over in Disneyland Paris, one of my favourite 'quiet' spots is actually not in the Park, but in a very busy area. As I have explained before, to enter Parc Disneyland, you have to enter under the Disneyland Hotel. This creates a lot of traffic passing through the back pathways of the hotel, and around the hotel area (even though the hotel is actually one of the quietest feeling hotels when you are inside!).
Anyway, this gazebo is situated just to the side of some of the pathways leading to the entrance to the Parc. It is just sheltered enough to feel like you are in a different world. And it is a great place to sit, relax, and people watch. Which, with all the nationalities that visit Disneyland Paris, can be very interesting and sometimes amusing!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Monday Memories: Starting the Journey to a Dream

Today's Monday Memory is one very specific to me and my dream to work in Walt Disney World. The first item I am going to share with you all is the 'decision card' that I received after I had had my interview with the recruitment consultants for the Walt Disney Company.

For those of you unsure of the process, when I applied in July 2003, there was a round of interviews in November in Glasgow, Scotland (where I live). I previously had a telephone interview, which I passed, then there was an information session and a private interview. At the Interview Day we handed in a card, which would be returned to us with either 'Under Consideration' or 'We Are Sorry'. This was the card I received in the post:
And a short while later, the week before Christmas 2003, I found out I had been accepted and would start my role as a Cast Member in September 2004!

And this next piece of memorabilia is what I received when I started working as a Cast Member.

We wore this throughout our week or-so of training, attached to the bottom of our nametag, to help show that we were new Cast Members! And I will treasure this forever. This meant I was making my dream come true.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

What Do You Celebrate?

The second interview in the DF'82 Celebrate series is someone that is not from the Disney Blog or Podcast genre. He is actually one of my best friends, and someone I met when I worked at Walt Disney World in the UK Pavilion. I have also never met someone who is so passionate about so many different areas of the Walt Disney Company - and so well informed!

He is my lovely and beautiful friend, Disney David. He currently teaches English in Japan, and so is lucky enough to call Tokyo Disneyland his 'home' Land! I also thought that it would be interesting to hear someone other than a Blog Author or Podcast Hosts' opinions on their love of Disney. So, let's have a look what David has to say!

How did you become a Disney fan?
Watching Disney movies on television at Christmas. Then seeing Disney On Ice in Manchester. My first trip to Walt Disney World in 1987 ignited my love of Disney into something uncontrollable.

What is your favourite Disney Theme Park?
My favourite Disney Theme Parks is Disneyland Park in Anaheim as it is the original and has that indescribable happy feeling whenever you are there. My other favorite parks are Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Tokyo DisneySea.

Which is your favourite attraction - past or present - and why?
My favourite attraction is Splash Mountain in any of its incarnations. My favourite extinct attraction is Journey Into Imagination.

Is there one show or parade, which you feels best embodies the spirit of Disney?
Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams (Disneyland)
Jubilation! (Tokyo Disneyland)
Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade - Dreamlights (Tokyo Disneyland)
Main Street Electrical Parade (Disneyland)

What is your Disney "guilty pleasure"?
Show, Parade and Attraction music.

How do you bring your love of Disney into your daily life?
I use Disney terminology at work and bring Disney into my lesson whenever I can.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Details of Radiator Springs

For those of you who are enjoying our look at some of the details of the Disney/Pixar attractions in the Toon Studio area of Walt Disney Studios, let's have a look at another fantastic ride. The Cars' Quater Roues Rallye has a great queue area, with references to the Cars film.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Shopping in the Wild Frontier

As we found out two days ago, even the shops at Parc Disneyland , Paris have theming spread throughout them. In just one of the many ways Imagineers never want us to forget that we are in a world of fantasy.

One of the shops in Frontierland, Disneyland Paris, is Tobias Norton and Sons Frontier Traders. A fun leather goods shop, themed like the merchants of the Wild, Wild West.
Of course, the theming of the shop doesn't just stop at its goods and facade, but the name also. Tobias Norton is a character from the 1955 Disney film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. Known as Major Tobias Norton, the character was portrayed by William Bakewell in both the film, and the television series prior.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Fancy A Bite?

Even though there are plenty of places to find something to quench your thirst or halt your hunger on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland Paris, perhaps you are in need of something more. Perhaps you need the Creme de la Creme?

Well, have a look at this window on Main Street.
It reads:
Creme de la Creme
Cooking College
Specializing in the Art of Fine
French Cuisine

Howard Gevertz
Dave Vermeulen

Both of these Instructors were involved in the food and beverage side of Disneyland Paris, or EuroDisney as it was at the time.

Howeard Gevertz was involved in the conception, planning, production and opening of all the restaurants, food and beverage locations and snack-carts in EuroDisney, as he was the Director of Food and Beverage at the time.

Unfortunately, I cannot find much information about Dave Vermeulen and his time at Disneyland Paris, but he currently resides in Hong Kong Disneyland as Vice President of Resort Operations. He did start his career, however, scooping ice-cream in the original Disneyland.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Proprietor: Walter E. Disney

In Parc Disneyland, on Main Street U.S.A, there is the Main Street Emporium. Similar to the Emporiums in other Disney Parks throughout the world, it is a one-stop-shop for all of your Disneyland Paris memorabilia and souvenirs.

The Emporium in Paris, however, has some fantastic detailing throughout, if you can managed to spot it amongst the throngs of people shopping!

This advertisement behind one of the cash desks, however, is my favourite. Perhaps it is the throwback to Walt or the old-fashioned styling, but it is a great hidden treasure of Main Street U.S.A.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Look After The Reef!

The queue area for Crush's Coaster is full of detail and references to the film, Finding Nemo. The Imagineers understood that the line would be slow moving due to the small load capacity, and made sure to give as much theming as possible to the line.

So, shall we take our time in the queue and have a look at all the fun references around us?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Looking Around Crush's Coaster

One of the newest areas of the Walt Disney Studios in Paris is the area including a couple of attractions based on films of Disney/Pixar. The area, part of Toon Studio, is one that we have focused a few times on this blog. Possibly because I think it has been very well done and highlights what the possible future of the Studios could become!Anyway, I thought that after this small break here at DF'82, it would be nice to have a look at a great new attraction: Crush's Coaster.
This attraction was opened in June 2007, and has since become one of the favourites of the Walt Disney Studios Park. There is no fastpass for Crush's Coaster, so the queues can last upwards of 60 minutes. A DF'82 tip would be to aim to get to this ride first thing in the morning (they open the main park 10-15 minutes before official park opening, and also start the queue for the main rides at this time), or aim to wait about 30-45 minutes last thing at night.
The coaster is fun for the whole family, although the seats can be a little bit of a squash. The attraction has the guest sitting on a turtle shell, going through a rollercoaster frame and spinning at the same time! It is described as a "turbulent" rollercoaster ride in the park, and it definitely is. It is advised for children aged 7 years and older, as a couple of parts can give you a real fright.

The ride lasts about 2 minutes and each turtle shell holds 4 riders. There are only 12 turtle shells in total, which is possibly why the wait time can be as long as it is. The coaster is almost entirely indoors (or undersea!) but there is one small area where you can wait and see the turtle shells swimming by.

Join us tomorrow when we will have a look at some of the detailing of the queue area of this fun attraction!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Hello lovely DF'82 readers!

You may have noticed that things are not yet quite regular here - I returned from a lovely trip to Walt Disney World at the weekend, but things have been busy in the Royal Household. This has meant I haven't had the chance to get back into this blog.

But do not fret! Things will return to normal as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your patience - and if you want to be sure you don't miss the next blog post, please add to your RSS reader - or become a fan over at facebook.

And don't forget, if you are planning a trip to Disneyland Paris and have any questions, please email me!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Helping Make Your Trips More Magical pt2

Following on from yesterday's tip, here's the rest of the question:

I would love any tips/tricks you can pass along since we will only have one day at DLRP and would love to see as much as possible. Do you know if we can utilize the get into the parks early if we stay at the Dream Castle? Also, should we make dining reservations? Restaurants you recommend, we would like one character meal? And, does the fastpass system work the same as at WDW? Do the castmembers frown on using the fastpass after the return time window?

The Royal Family haven't done any character dining at Disneyland Paris, because there isn't as many options as Walt Disney World, for example. There is Cafe Mickey in Downtown Disney which looks like a fantastic restaurant, and I know many people who have dined there and enjoyed it: I would probably recommend this one - although the only downside is there is a lot of windows, and a lot of passers-by stop and stare and try to get the characters' attentions

Depending on your price range, there is a Cinderella dining experience in Fantasyland which I would love to do! The Auberge de Cendrillion has a lovely location, and equally nice-looking menu. This guide will help you with your choice, I feel.

We also dined once at Walt's Restaurant on Main Street USA and it was a fantastic restaurant. I think with two teenage daugters you would enjoy it as well - each room is themed differently and the food was delicious too. The service was also lovely and a little more upmarket. We also love to eat at the Silver Spur Steakhouse in Frontierland - especially if you get a later reservation, you can see Frontierland empty and quiet at night!

Time In The Parks
Utilise the fastpass service if you are only there one day! Rides like Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain will get very busy, as well as Big Thunder Mountain and Peter Pan's Flight. If I remember correctly, none of the Fantasyland attractions have fastpass (Peter Pan doesn't), it is the 'big rides' - Big Thunder, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Indiana Jones (which is a rollercoaster), Rock N Rollercoaster (although the FP is hardly ever working), Tower of Terror.

If you venture into the Studios, Crush's rollercoaster does NOT have a Fastpass and it is VERY busy during the day! Waiting about 30 minutes is good and I would advise that - it's a great ride! The Tower of Terror is similar to California, but in French.

My one, main tip, would be to explore the parks (if it is busy and the attractions are busy) and to definitely do Pirates of the Caribbean - it is different to every other one. And the Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion) and Big Thunder Mountain. All VERY different. To be honest, I haven't used the fastpass system very much, as I have been lucky to go at the quiet times. But the cast members are very good - the majority speak English (although I would advise to learn a couple of French phrases, as they are much nicer if you at least say 'hello' and 'how are you' in French. Some frown upon going up and speaking in English right away!) and I think they are relatively flexible with the fastpass (especially if you have a Cast Member who is, um, less than thrilled to be there!). But if you are going in May, unless it is a weekend, it should be an enjoyable and relatively quiet experience.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Helping Make Your Trip More Magical pt1

We have another question from an avid reader with regards to a future visit to Disneyland Paris! Let's have a look at the question:

We will be going on the DCL Mediterranean Cruise in May and we will be stopping in to Paris for a few nights. We plan on staying near Disneyland and taking the train in to see the sights in Paris for one day and then staying at Disneyland Paris for one day. We will be flying from Nice to Paris in the evening, what is the easiest way to get to Disneyland Paris from CDG airport? Also, we have an early flight out when we leave (like 6am) so we thought we would stay at a hotel closer to the airport on the last night--how late do the trains run from Disneyland Paris to CDG?

Do you have recommendations on hotels around Disneyland Paris? Right now, we are looking at staying at Dream Castle. We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 teenage girls.

This is only the first part of our questions for this reader - so let's have a look at the tips so far:

Getting to Disneyland Paris
In the last tip section I discussed the shuttle bus, so let's look at the train. The train station is very conveniently located near the entrance to the Disneyland Park. It is also right next to the bus station, so if you are staying at any of the Disney hotels or the neighbour hotels, you can get a shuttle bus with your luggage (for free). The train takes about 10 minutes, so it's possibly one of the best options on getting from the airport too! Ar present, the last train departing to Disneyland Paris (Marne-la-Vallee) is approx 21:55 and the last from Disneyland Paris is 22:19 (this is a great article regarding buying tickets and getting the train from CDG

Getting In To Paris
It's extremely easy to get to Paris from the Disneyland Resort - just get your tickets at the train station (either from a machine, or a kiosk if you want one of the 'all day travel' tickets), It takes about 40 minutes to get to Paris, and trains leave every 15 minutes. The last train from Gare du Lyon is 0:39 to Disney, but I wouldn't suggest to be on the train that late at night!

Hotels In And Around Disney
I love staying at the hotels in Disney because you can get your park tickets with the hotel package and that means you can visit the parks from the moment you check in, until the day you leave the parks! On recent trips we have stayed at the Sequoia Lodge, which is in a great location (about a 10-15 minute walk to the parks), but the Newport Bay is a great one too (both are the cheaper of the 'close' hotels). There's the Santa Fe hotel, which is a cheaper one, like Pop Century, but I feel if you are accustomed to Disney World Value Resorts, you will notice this one as being a lot cheaper 'feeling' (due to European hotels).

I haven't stayed in any of the 'neighbour' hotels, but the Dream Castle looks like a great choice! As I mentioned earlier, there is a free shuttle bus to take you to the parks and it drops off at the bus station, which is right next to the train station. This would make it much easier for arrival, and for your time in Paris! I am not sure if you can get into the parks early when staying at the Dream Castle. I tried to do my research, and nowhere tells you if non-Disney hotels allow early morning entry in the parks. I am going to say no, but maybe check with the hotel in this case. The Disney hotels have characters in them also - they have a times guide in each resort telling you the early mornings for hotel guests and when characters will be around too.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the tips!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Lighting Up Around The Resorts

If you remember I previously took us on a tour of the different lamps and lights used throughout the Disney Parks in Disneyland Paris.
Well, the lights throughout the resort area are just as interesting. Although the light fixtures look quite regular, they hold a deeper secret.

Do you see it? The link to the past of Disneyland Paris - detailing Euro Disney and 1992, the year that the Resort was born. I am just glad that these little details are still around!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Jules Verne in Discoveryland

Coming back into the Discoveryland area of Disneyland Paris, there is a beautiful tribute to Jules Verne that is hidden in plain sight just off the entrance to Discoveryland.

This little section is often overlooked by Guests, eager to get to Space Mountain or Autopia. But this is another one of the ways Imagineers show who inspired them in the creation of Discoveryland.

The quote reads as:
Tout ce qui est dans la limite du possible doit être et sear accompli
Jules Verne
(All That's Within the Limits of the Possible Must and Will Be Accomplished)
This quote comes from one of Jules Verne's novels, The Steam House, which was published in 1880.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Welcome...To Radiator Springs

Over the recent years Walt Disney Studios has rapidly tried to expand and upgrade its attractions and theming. An often overlooked park, it is turning from a half-day park into a must-see park. Which is great for Disney geeks like ourselves!

One of the most exciting areas for expansion is Toon Studio - added in the last few years has been Crush's Coaster (which we will look at another time) and the small Radiator Springs area, featuring Car's Quatre Roues Rallye - which we discussed previously.
The area is ready for more expansion, but at the moment, let's have a look at what Radiator Springs has for us!
Just looking at these pictures makes me excited for the future Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure!