The Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary celebrations are coming to an end on September 9th. In this post I will look back at what this almost 18 month long event has brought to the resort.
The Experience Enhancement Program, codenamed Project Sparkle, was an ambitious plan to majorly refurbish 10 attractions and generally improve the condition of the resort due to years of neglect. This would be financed by The Walt Disney Company at a cost of around €1 billion, remarkable because they did not yet fully own the resort. This may have been an early sign that they were interested in full ownership. Since 2014 rides, shops and restaurants have been going down for refurbishment on and off. The 10 major refurbs were:
Space Mountain: Misson 2
Space Mountain received new LED lighting inside the ride, new ride vehicles and a single rider entrance. It re-opened in 2017 with a Star Wars overlay, Hyperspace Mountain.
After lying empty since 2009, Jedi Training Academy gave Videopolis Theatre a new lease of life. Some scenery from The Legend of the Lion King was retained to create a new planet for Padawans to battle Darth Vader.
it’s a small world
It’s A Small World received all new costumes, dolls, a remastered score and a fresh painting of the facade.
Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
New plants, updated effects and waterfalls were brought to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
Big Thunder Mountain
Big Thunder Mountain received an explosive end scene using projection mapping and smoke, as seen at Disneyland in Anaheim. The smoke effect has been removed from the final lift hill scene but will return soon as we learned at the InsidEars event earlier this year.
Peter Pan’s Flight
A new lighting package and an updated colour palette was in store for Peter Pan’s Flight.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Jack Sparrow and his whole crew joined Pirates of the Caribbean along with refurbished animatronics. Disneyland Paris was the first to debut the revamped redhead auction scene last year.
Animagique closed to make way for the spectacular new show Mickey and the Magician. But the memory still lives on as the show is performed in the newly named Animagique Theatre. Check out our video of Mickey and the Magician here.
Star Tours was upgraded to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue six years after it opened in California and Florida.
Studio Tram Tour
Studio Tram Tour was to receive new trams, 3 new show scenes and extra props from Studio Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios after it closed. Unfortunately the refurbishment was cancelled.
New Entertainment Offerings in Disneyland Paris
As usual festivities began a few weeks before the actual anniversary of the resort. Two new stage shows, a new parade and a new nighttime spectacular were all created for the 25th Anniversary. This came as a much needed addition as Disneyland Paris had previously lacked much entertainment for several years.
Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris
This show on the Royal Castle Stage celebrates Disneyland Park with new original songs and favourite Disney characters representing each land. My favourite thing about the show was interacting with the characters as they made their way to the stage before and after each performance.
Princess Starlit Waltz
Also performed on the Royal Castle Stage, this show featured almost every Disney Princess accompanied by their respective prince. It was best to catch the last performance of the show each day. As it was getting dark the beautifully lit Sleeping Beauty Castle behind the stage would make for the perfect setting.
Disney Stars On Parade
The last completely new parade in Disneyland Paris was in 2007 so an update was in desperate need. (Although 2012 saw one new float, one refurbished float and a new soundtrack under the new name Disney Magic on Parade, but it was mostly the same) The obvious highlight was the steampunk style fire breathing dragon, Maleficent. There are only minor differences between this version and the one used in Festival of Fantasy at Magic Kingdom. The parade has experienced problems over its course including the Lion King unit being removed from the parade for over a month.
After the 20th Anniversary nighttime show, Disney Dreams!, something big was expected. However this was not the case. Perhaps it was doomed from the start due to another fireworks show having the same name. Or maybe it had too much to live up to from its predecessor. Illuminations lacked an overall story and was instead just a compilation of scenes from movies. Many scenes were transferred from Shanghai Disneyland’s Ignite The Dream. Transitions from one scene to the next were also not very well thought through. For example after the live action Beauty and the Beast segment, balloons rise up across the castle to reveal… Han Solo and Chewbacca. Although the show is not terrible, it was seen as a step backwards from Dreams! It will be sticking around after the 25th Anniversary is over along with Disney Stars on Parade until at least September 2019 as we reported last in July. Check out our video of Disney Dreams here or Disney Illuminations here.
The 25th Anniversary will be concluded with an Annual Passholder exclusive party on Friday September 7th (yeah 7). Seeing the train station and flower beds around Central Plaza free from the silver and blue decor will bring back a familiar feeling when I next return. Overall the 25th Anniversary has been fantastic for Disneyland Paris bringing much need tender loving care to the resort. Hopefully this maintenance schedule will be continued into the long term future. Check out our Walk In The Park video series from Disneyland Paris here.