Friday, May 18, 2012

Want to eat at Disneyland Paris after 8pm ? Really ?

According to Disneyland Paris fans from the DCP forum something quite unbelievable is happening at DLP. After 7pm there is so many restaurants of the park which are closed that it becomes extremely difficult (if not impossible) to eat, except if you're a hot-dog or pop-corn fan, or if you had the genius idea to make a reservation hours before at some table service restaurants, like the Walt's on Main Street.

From what i've read on the forum here is what is happening: because of the fireworks elements in the new Disney Dreams show there is a Fantasyland clearance and the Bella Notte restaurant as well as the Chalet de la marionette, l'Auberge de Cendrillon and Fantasia Gelati are closed earlier. Although these are more or less close to the castle, considering that the night show don't begin before 10pm it's hard to understand why they must be closed at 7pm, but let's say that it's okay.

But, in addition to these, and always according to forum members, others restaurants which are fully open during the day were closed - and these without any official or obvious reasons. It's the Toad Hall in Fantasyland, the Hakuna Matata and Colonel Hathi's in Adventureland, the Fuente del Oro, Lucky Nugget Saloon, Cowboy Cookout Barbecue and Silver Spur Steakhouse at Frontierland as well as the Pizza Planet and a big part of the Café Hyperion in Discoveryland. Those which were open were the Walt's, the Plaza Gardens, Market House Deli and Casey Corner on Main Street, the Blue Lagoon in Adventureland, the Last Chance Café in Frontierland and the Cafe Hyperion at Videopolis in Discoveryland. But even on this last one only a third of it was open and guests had to wait "40 minutes to finally eat a cold hamburger". Another forum member was finally able to eat at the Last Chance Cafe but complained about a 45 min wait and slow CM service and about the lack of choice as many of the meals were not available. Others who tried the Walt's and Plaza Gardens couldn't eat because they were no seats available because of reservations. And the best one is from another DCP member who complained at City Hall and got the reply "that the best was probably to get out of the park and go to eat at the Disney Village". How someone working in a park which includes SEVENTEEN restaurants can think that it's normal to say something like that literally defies my mind!?!

But here is where it becomes insane: as you now the main new "attraction" for DLP 20th anniversary is a show, and it's the excellent and not-to-be-missed Disney Dreams show. Because DLP must wait for sunset to start the show -and because sunset in Paris don't happen before 10pm during spring and summer months, even almost 11pm in June - DLP guests who came to see the new and brilliant show don't have any other choice than to wait until the show starts, at 10pm, right? Sure, some guests can leave the park and go to their hotel or at the Disney Village and come back later, but most of them are staying in the park. And what do you think they're doing, waiting for the show, after a long day of ride and queue lines? Some are still riding DLP attractions but many, just because it's the end of the day and that everyone gets tired after 6pm, either do some shopping on DLP shops...or just want to have dinner.

Normally, for any theme park in the world this is a dream situation, the guests HAVE to stay in the park to see the show that will not begin before 10pm at the earliest. Any theme park in the world would be happy with this because, as i've said, guests will spend their time spending money in merchandise or food. As DLP guests are humans and not extra terrestrials, just like everyone they become hungry around 7 - 8pm. Everyone does, but apparently the guys responsible of the restaurants management at DLP must come from another planet and never ever got hungry in their life around 8pm as almost 80% of the restaurants are closed JUST when everyone is hungry! Can you believe that, how insane it is?

Now, why is this happening? If we except the Fantasyland clearance which is understandable even if it is done a bit early, all the others are probably closed to save money. It could be understandable during the cold winter months when there is not a lot of people in the park but the summer now arrived and do we need to remind DLP execs that, hey, it's DLP 20th anniversary this year and you're doing a huge marketing campaign to make sure that guests will come to the park! By the way, it's interesting to note that on the few restaurants that remain open two of them, the Walt's and the Blue Lagoon are table service restaurants, so the most expensive ones and the Plaza Gardens is a buffet restaurant but not that cheap, too. Did i hear someone saying "Hey, if we have to keep some restaurants open, let's keep the one which makes the more money!" ? But may be there is a more cynical choice behind these closed restaurants: if guests can't eat then, as obviously they have to do something, they might go in the shops and buy some merchandise, right? And what you don't know is that DLP margins on the merchandise products are muuuuch bigger than on the food - and the food at DLP is already more expensive than anywhere else for an equivalent meal.

The result is a disaster: not only they're losing money while they try to save some, but the guests who for the most were happy of their day become frustrated and furious - have you ever seen how mad someone can be when he is hungry and can't find anything to eat? And, as the body always remember the bad situations you can be sure that next time they will come guests will remember what happened - "Honey, can you remind me please to pack some sandwiches before we go at DLP to make sure we'll have something to eat this evening?".

The last time i heard news about DLP was two weeks ago when the park announced the bad financial results for the first half of the fiscal year. Considering this, wouldn't it be a GREAT idea to give to DLP guests the opportunity to spend their bucks when they wish to do so?

EDITING 5/20: According to the DLP iPhone App here are the opening hours for DLP restaurants for today Sunday May 20:

Fuente del Oro: 16h-22h
Cowboy Cookout Barbecue: 11h-15h30
Hakuna Matata: 11h-17h
Colone Hathi's Outpost: 11h-21h
Blue Lagoon: 11h30-21h30
Agrabah Café: 11h30-20h
Toad Hall: 11h30-17h
Au Chalet de la Marionnette: 11h30-21h
Auberge de Cendrillon: 12h-20h
Bella Notte: 11h-17h
Café Hyperion: 11h-22h
Pizza Planet: 11h-16h
Casey's Corner: 11h-23h
Plaza Garden Restaurant: 11h30-22h
Walt's: 11h30-21h30
Victoria's Home Style: 11h30-21h
Market House Deli: 9h30-23h

If my count is right AND if the reality matches with what the app is saying it makes 10 restaurants open after 8pm, which makes a bit more than 50% of DLP restaurants open after 8pm including five on Main Street and only one in all the others lands at the exception of Adventureland where there is two, which is not that many for the four lands where all the attractions ( and so most of the guests ) are. Again, if this is the reality it's better than what was reported by DCP forum members and i'm even ready to apologize for this article but if it happen that you go at DLP in the next weeks thanks to let us know if you were satisfied or not. (end of editing)

Okay, something else, while we are in the "bad news from DLP" section: according to the UK Daily Mail: " Visitors to Disneyland Paris are being robbed of the chance to see their favourite cartoon characters because of on-going strike action over a sexual harassment case. Staff who dress up as characters including Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy are withdrawing from ‘Meet and Greet’ events.
They are furious that a senior colleague who was accused of harassing women had been allowed back to work because of ‘lack of evidence’. There is also widespread anger at low wages, with strikes also being organised as part of a union campaign to get pay increases.
It all means that those visiting the theme park outside the French capital, including thousands of Britons, are left disappointed. This week alone there have been cancellations of the Magic on Parade event, ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions in Cafe Mickey, the Cowboy Cookout Barbeque, and a number of other hugely popular events".

I don't know anything about this sexual harassment case so i won't judge it but knowing that Disney takes generally this kind of case very seriously, if the park "argued that there was not enough evidence to incriminate the alleged sexual harassment offender" they probably have a good reason for that. It's also possible that the unions are using this for their own agenda, so it's hard to know the truth and for now i will give the benefit of the doubt to both parts. The main problem in all this comes if Mickey, Donald and Goofy as well as eventually others characters become invisible in the park. Young children are coming to meet Mickey, Minnie and others, and frankly that's not cool for them.

Wow, after this "restaurants closed" problem we didn't need this unions vs management war... but, hey, we're in France, so it's business as usual.

Picture: Note that the top mosaic picture is a montage and that the "Closed" signs on it doesn't exist at DLP.

Awaited Disney Parks Attraction Posters Book to be Released at the end of May !

Great news for all Disney fans as the new and highly awaited “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” book - by Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt - which will celebrate the beloved attraction posters of Disney parks all around the world will be released at the end of May after four years of development!

As you can see on the picture below this 144 pages book will not only include the known version of each posters but also the others (and unknown) designs proposals. Actually, according to Vanessa Hunt they even found during their research for the book "a box containing several poster concepts that had never been published until now". “We made an extra effort to ensure the posters in the book were printed as color accurate as possible” continued Vanessa. “The most challenge part was identifying artists. While many unidentified posters artists were later identified during our interviews, there are some that remain credited to ‘Unknown Artist”. The book also have an introduction by legendary WDI Imagineer Tony Baxter.

The book will be on sale at Disney Parks in the U.S at the end of May and is currently also available for pre-order on for all of you who don't plan to go to the U.S parks later this year. Actually the Amazon price - $26.13 or 20€ - is probably even cheaper than it will be at Disney Parks and, good news, you can even order it while you are on Disney and more, just by jumping to the Disney and more Amazon page HERE. And not only you'll buy it at the best price but you will also do your "good action" of the day as Amazon will give back a small percentage of each book order through the D&M Amazon page to Disney and more. Go ahead, and order this great book HERE!

Note: When you will order the book on the D&M Amazon page, in fact you order it directly to Amazon and the book will be sent directly to you by Amazon, not by me, as you'll see on the screen capture below of the D&M Amazon page where you'll find also more details about the book.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Disneyland monorails gets a "Cars" face and voice to promote Cars Land

How smart they are at Disneyland marketing office, they always amaze me. No, really, look at their latest idea to promote Cars Land opening: now the three Disneyland monorails have a "Cars" face with mouth and eyes and even a voice that DL guests can hear inside the monorail with a new narration all along the way to and inside Disneyland and back.

Monorails Blue, Orange, and Red have now eyes and mouths, and are three new characters called Mandy, Mona and Manny. magnapurpleboy ha spotted a video on Youtube in which you'll hear the new announcements, here in english, but they also have a spanish version.

Talking about trains Disney Parks released pictures of upcoming Red Car Trolley merchandise, and with the great design of the iconic Red Car Trolley there is for sure some great merchandise products to do with this.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Video: copyright magnapurpleboy

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Walt Disney Studios Cinémagique Attraction Updated !

Here is an interesting news about one of the best attractions at DLP Walt Disney Studios! The Cinémagique attraction has been updated, which means that some films clips have been replaced by others, and the new clips are coming from more recent movies - also probably more known by young children. Here are the changes and where they happen - thanks to Nash of the DCP forum - and a warning as there is spoilers ahead :

In the Titanic sequence when the character Georges - played by Martin Short - open a series of different doors:
- Jack Sparrow saying "This bullet wasn't meant for you!" from Pirates of Caribbean : the Curse of the Black Pearl
- A scene from Pixar's The Incredibles, when they have a dispute during lunch
- Gollum shouting, from Lord of the Rings (2 or 3)

During the attack in the medieval battle scene :
- A battle shot from Narnia Chapter 1
- A battle shot from Lord of the Rings (2 or 3)

During the farewell scene, at the end :
- A kiss from Black Swan
- Another kiss from Slumdog Millionaire (not 100% sure it's coming from Slumdog)
- A kiss between Colette and Linguini from Pixar's Ratatouille
- Farewell scene from Andy to Woody at the end of Toy Story 3
- A kiss between Jake et Neytiri in Avatar
- A kiss from Lord of the Rings - Return of the King

All these movie clips are short clips but as long as they keep the emotion of this great attraction, it should be fine.

For those of you who have never seen Cinémagique, the attraction is a tribute to cinema history, and it's done in a brilliant way. Actually it's one of my favorite attraction at the WDS and one who come to visit the park must not miss it!. Here is the story line: The movie begin by a black and white 1920's sequence until somebody inside the audience is magically transport inside the movie - just like in Woody Allen's Purple rose of Cairo. Then, the man goes from one famous movie sequence to another - digitally include in the original shots, and funny and emotional things happen between him, the characters of the original sequences and a girl played by french actress Julie Delpy. That's basically how the attraction movie goes.

And, for those who have never seen it or don't plan to go soon at the WDS i've found for you on Youtube a video of the full attraction - in two parts - and it's the previous version, which includes film clips that have now been removed. You won't have some of the in-theater effects like the falling rain but there is not much of them during the attraction so it shouldn't be a problem.

Again, Cinémagique is a wonderful tribute to movies, so i hope you will like it. No need to say that you must watch the videos below in full screen mode!

I also want to let you know that The Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book which will tell you all about the creation of the park with 320 pages and 750 pictures and WDI renderings always has a special offer and is now available with immediate shipping! Place your order now for a collector's edition copy while you can get a 20% discount on this wonderful book! To know how to order and send your payment please go HERE or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below.

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Monday, May 14, 2012

Universal Studios South Korea Almost Confirmed

After one in Osaka, Japan, one in Singapore, and one eventually coming in Moscow, it seems that Universal will soon begin the works on their project of Universal Studios Korea - South Korea of course. According to the latest news a bill for government funding is going to be presented in the South Korea congress and apparently they are hopeful that it will pass.

Many different artwork was released since the announcement of the project five years ago but some elements remain the same.

On the artwork on the top and on the closer shot below we can see the entrance (top center) and that the park should have a N.Y city streets land (top center right) - you can even see a statue of liberty - a Revenge of the Mummy ride (on the left, where you can see a giant Pharaoh head), a Waterworld show (bottom left), a whole Jurassic Park land (bottom center), and a big coaster partly going over the center lagoon on which you can see 360 degrees floating projection globes. Although these are recent concept-arts, there is no doubt that the design will have some changes and improvements before the park open, an opening schedule apparently for 2016 although some are saying that Universal would be pleased to open the park before Disney open Shanghai Disneyland.

On the older artwork below, most of the elements described above are already there but with another big "dueling" coaster on the right of the Revenge of the Mummy building. Note that i wouldn't be surprised if it was not part of the final park as Universal realized in Singapore that Asian people were a bit too impressed when they see the Battlestar Galactica coaster and don't ride it that much.

About hotels, it's also interesting to notice the Venetian resort, located just outside the park as you will see on the artworks below, as well as another hotel (with a red roof) and what seems to be a City Walk dining and night entertainment area. The area on the right, behind the venetian resort, on the other side of the main road, might be a water park.

While we talk about Universal Studios some news about the Harry Potter Wizarding World coming to Universal Studios Japan. According to Screamscape HERE and quoting an article HERE "Universal Studios Japan will increase the theme park’s footprint by one fifth (to build the Potter land)" and "the new Wizarding World will feature several attractions, including a school for wizards as well as a recreation of Hogsmeade Village". If it's well done the "school for wizards" might be fun!

Artwork: copyright Universal Studios

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Manor Video Update !

The always excellent michael20183 is back with his monthly video update of the construction progress of Hong Kong Disneyland Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Manor. It won't take long now before Grizzly Gulch will be ready for opening - later this summer, and here are some shots also from him as well as screen captures. You can also see more shots from Michael here and below some pics of props on Grizzly Mountain.

Next, some screen shots showing the town of Grizzly Gulch.

The painting of the top of Mystic Manor is also apparently now finished.

And now, here is Michael's video!

And for those of you who don't remember - or simply don't know yet - what will be the Mystic Manor attraction here is a video previously shot at D23 by d23live with a WDI Imagineer providing details about the ride.

Pictures and video: copyright michael20183, d23live

Don't miss the new HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!