Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mickey's PhilharMagic Opens at Disneyland Paris Discoveryland in a Low-Cost Version

Hello everyone, here is D&M report of Mickey's PhilharMagic which opened at Disneyland Paris Discoveryland Theatre as a new attraction, with pictures thanks to Max, D&M contributor and DLP Welcome webmaster. The attraction, announced as a new one by Daniel Delcourt of Disneyland Paris, had a soft opening for Annual Passholders this last weekend and opened to all visitors yesterday Monday October 1st. Actually, more than the "full" attraction beloved in the U.S or at HKDL and TDL it’s just a new movie. After Captain EO, Honey, I Shrunk The Audience, Ant-Man, Star Wars Path of the Jedi, Pixar short Film Festival… it is now the turn of Mickey’s Philharmagic to be presented inside Discoveryland Theater.

Among the many elements which were hints that a simple change of film would only take place, we had: Hint 1 – The location of the attraction: this attraction has always been built in Fantasyland whether it was at Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland or WDW Magic Kingdom. The opening in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris is a total nonsense in regards to the story and theme of the land. So DLP guests will go from an attraction like Space Mountain or Star Tours, to Donald meeting the Little Mermaid. There’s a problem, obviously, but the reason why DLP open it here is because they don't have a theatre at Fantasyland. DLP has plans to build one since years - if i remember well in the area between Fantasyland and Discoveryland - but unfortunately Disney never gave them the funds to DLP to build it, so...

Below, the entrance of Mickey's PhilharMagic at Disneyland Paris - with the X-Wing fighter of Star Tours in the background...

...and Mickey's PhilharMagic theatre at Hong Kong Disneyland Fantasyland:

Hint 2 – The Lack of building permit: Indeed, if the theater had to be adapted for the attraction, a building permit that could be seen by anyone at Chessy town hall would have been required to modify some elements inside the theatre, such as emergency exits that would have been blocked by a larger screen. I remind you that the attraction normally have a hemispherical screen of at least 120 ° to immerse the viewers. This screen put the visitors right into the action instead of a simple projection on a flat screen. But to have it at DLP, it would have mean that a new screen had to cover the first entrance/exit doors on the left and right sides of the theatre and also partly on the first row of the seats. So basically, the theatre needed be transformed a bit for this attraction.

On the blueprint below the screen (in blue) in Mickey’s Philharmagic at WDW Magic Kingdom.

Hint 3 – Lack of marketing from the park: If some are surprised to see no advertising on social medias, TV commercials or even Ads in the Parisian Metro, that is not surprising. DLP knowing that it is only a new film, could not launch a marketing campaign on a "new attraction" that is not really "totally" one. Instead, the park kept the usual small communication about the Halloween season, because Halloween or even the coming Christmas season have much more impact.

Hint 4 – Unchanged exterior : Again, it’s the same pattern, the only thing visible is the presence of printed banners. Minimal expense, zero integration.

To the unchanged exteriors, we can add the pre-show and the theatre itself which also have no changes. No investment have been done to immerse the visitor into the show storyline. There is still some in-theatre effects during the film, mainly wind and water spray as well as the floor moving a bit but let's not talk about the lack of the Donald Audio-Animatronic normally appearing in the back of the theatre at the end of the film.

Disneyland Paris : Pre-show room and theatre.

Tokyo Disneyland pre-show room and theatre. See the difference?

So, globally speaking it is a feeling of disappointment that Disney parks fans will probably have when they'll see an attraction that does not deserve this, a kind of low cost Mickey’s PhilharMagic, in comparison to all the others versions in Disney theme parks. This is a new try from DLP in the hope to bring visitors to this part of the park but to see an attraction so well designed for its Asian versions being presented in France that way gives the feeling that « Mickey's PhilharMagic » is sacrificed because Disneyland Paris needed to broaden its offer for the arrival of the winter with an investment as little as possible. Another chance missed by Disneyland Paris, and it's a pity as children and even adults usually love this attraction, normally a solid "D" ticket. They still will like it, but it could have been so much better.

On the video below, you'll see that, because they couldn't enlarge the screen, the film itself is reduced. In the real version the movie starts with a kind of 4:3 format of the image and then goes up to a large "Cinemascope" 2:85 format, if not wider.  Here, the beginning has been reduced - so you better sit in the front rows as from the back of the theatre it will look small - and then the image format gets bigger but stay in the limits of the regular screen of Discoveryland theatre. Basically they needed to put a 2:85 format in a 16:9 screen... Also, in the full version of the attraction there is curtains on the left and right which, after the opening sequence, move to unveil the giant screen. Here there is IN the movie an image of  curtains which move visually to give the illusion of real curtains when the format is changing! Want one more for the road? Normally there is a decor element which goes up and disappear in the theatre ceiling - the one in yellow/orange color on the above picture - and in the DLP version it has purely and simply disappeared as they couldn't make the effect. By the way, this decor element moving up is also the reason why they never open Mickey's PhilharMagic at DLP WDS Toon Studios where it could have found its place naturally, inside the Animagique theatre. Years ago, DLP Imagineers have thought to put it there but the problem was that the Animagique theatre is not really a theatre, it's not one with four vertical walls and a ceiling so there was no way to have the decor element disappearing in the ceiling as there is no real ceiling...

Pictures: copyright DLP Welcome, Disney Central Plaza


Unknown said...

i visited magic kingdom some years ago and was really suprised by this movie. mainly because of the stretching screen and the donald duck animatronic. When i heared they were going play this movie in paris i was really excited about it. Unfortunately it has been stripped down. The last major addition to dlp was Space Mountain??, which is a real shame for a park with so much potential. refurbishments are being presented as park additions. its time for some real additions like indy, splash mountain or an additional darkride. dlp deserves it :)

Anonymous said...

Not really surprised here. I wasn't even expecting much from it.