Category: Top Posts

Notre nouveau Podcast : La File d’Attente !

C’est un grand jour! Et pas uniquement parce que je poste un article sur Le Parcorama moins de six mois après le précédent – et en français qui plus est.

Avec mon compère Louis de l’excellentissime chaîne YouTube Parchéologie, nous lançons aujourd’hui notre podcast La File d’Attente! Au programme: parcs d’attractions et digressions. Toutes les deux semaines, on vous propose une petite conversation posey entre passionnés sur l’univers enchanté des parcs à thèmes.

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Top 10 : Disney Park Christmas Music

It’s early November and you’re a theme park nerd so MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone !

A while ago I posted a list of my favorite Underrated Disney Park Music, featuring all the greatest lesser known soundtracks of your favorite parks. This time, as the holiday season is starting in Disney parks—I mean those that are not closed due to COVID—I’m in the mood for sharing my favorite Christmas background music from the Disney parks. These are the cheerful atmospheric audio loops you can hear in various areas, attractions, queues and boutiques during the holiday season. They will bring a little bit of Disney Magic=&0=& to your living room for the holidays.

There is a ton of Christmas background music loops in the eleven Disney parks around the world so remember this is not a comprehensive collection but a selection of our favorite tunes. Those we like to play when we’re just chilling at home.

If you like this selection, I’ve also created a YouTube playlist out of it for your convenience. Enjoy!

Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe

This boutique located in the Magic Kingdom offers a selection of holiday decoration and ornaments. The background music is reminiscent of musicals from the 50’s and 60’s. It’s equally delightful and kitsch. It’s also our most played Christmas music loop at home.

 

Main Street Christmas Music – Disneyland, Magic Kingdom

This classic music loop has the same vintage qualities and brings typical 60’s / 70’s orchestrations of US Christmas classics. Definitely the most quintessential holiday music from the Disney parks.

 

Jingle Cruise Queue 

Since a few years the famous Jungle Cruise ride is getting a yearly holiday overlay : Jingle Cruise. The audio loop from the queue is in fact the “Global Broadcasting Service : The Voice of Civilisation” radio. It features swing and boogie woogie versions of Christmas classic songs including the Andrew Sisters and in typical Jungle Cruise fashion, some pretty quirky songs too. If The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror had a holiday overlay, it would probably sound like this.

 

Buena Vista Street Christmas Music

From the same 30’s/40’s era, the holiday music from Buena Vista Street is just as exquisite, but with a big band twist.

 

EPCOT entrance holiday music

And now something completely different. These are basically symphonic orchestrations of Christmas songs. Epcot’s entrance area holiday music is so classic it’s almost generic. In fact it’s so generic they use the same audio loop here and there in the Walt Disney Studios “theme park”. But it will definitely get you in a festive mood nevertheless. Or at least, your mom.

 

Main Street U.S.A. Christmas music – Disneyland Paris

Unlike its american counterparts, the christmas loop of Main Street USA really puts the Euro in Disney. From the songs to the instruments and orchestration it really feels like Europe’s old tradition of Christmas markets. You can smell the muled wine just listening to it.

 

Echo Lake Christmas Music – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Another big favorite here. It features 50’s legendary jazz and easy listening artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Dean Martin, to Nat King Cole. It just feels like Christmas in the lobby of a mid-century modern grand hotel.

 

World of Disney Christmas Season music – Disneyland =&1=&

The large boutique located at the front of Disney Village in Paris is packed with symphonic versions of the Christmas classics you need.

 

American Waterfront Christmas music – Tokyo DisneySea

If you never had the chance to experience Christmas in New York in the early 20th century, Tokyo DisneySea’s American Waterfront holiday background music gives you some joyful ragtime orchestrations of Christmas standards.

Wilderness Lodge Christmas Loop

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Watch Our four part Florida 2020 Vlog !

Last February we finally returned to Orlando! Since our last visit, so many things have changed. A ton of new rides and lands has been added. Pandora The World of Avatar, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Volcano Bay, Star Wars : Galaxy’s Edge, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Disney Springs and more (I’m saying ‘and more’ because it would be awkward to add Toy Story Land, Fast & Furious Supercharged, Skull Island : Reign of Kong and Ride Thru New York Starring Jimmy Fallon to this incredible list of world class attractions)

My husband Mansour and I are happy to share with you our vlog of these unforgettable weeks. As non professional vloggers (yes mom, this is 2020 and vlogging is a job) you’ll see it doesn’t really follow the traditional rules of vlogging. We haven’t covered everything you can do in Orlando and and the footage we made didn’t allow us to make an edit that follows an actual timeline. Instead, every episode will be focusing on one theme, park or land. For instance an entire episode will be dedicated to Star Wars : Galaxy’s Edge !

As French is our language, the vlog is entirely in French. But if you don’t speak French, I think it’s a great opportunity for you to make fun of us as we are painfully trying to say Runaway Railway. It’s pretty entertaining.

We hope you’ll have a good time watching this four part series. One episode released every Sunday afternoon. Make sure to let us know what you think, we love to hear your feedback. Maybe we’ll do more videos of our adventures in theme parks in the future if you like it. Enjoy!

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

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Disney to invest in Disneyland Paris with billions and IP’s

After twenty five years of turmoil, it feels kind of surreal to write about it but this is finally happening. Earlier this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that The Walt Disney Company will invest two billion euro in Disneyland Paris. The new development mainly includes an important transformation of the infamous Walt Disney Studios. Three major additions have been revealed in the statement: new Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars themed areas alongside new attractions and shows. To make this announcement even bigger, Bob Iger met French president Emmanuel Macron (not related in any way to first EuroDisney ambassador and favorite gay icon of mine Sabine Marcon). But you don’t get to have brunch with a country’s president even when you invest two billion just to announce it. They probably discussed lobbying stuff like tax cuts, land and how to facilitate Disney’s buyout of EuroDisney. But for your convenience I’ll focus here on what you truly care about: attractions.

In the ill fated history of Disney’s Paris resort, the Walt Disney Studios park certainly is the darkest chapter. It has been designed with no ambition, no budget, no taste, no sense, almost no ride and technically no desire to build it. Nothing but the strict, contractual obligation to open a second theme park by 2002, as stated on the convention between Disney and the French government. Walt Disney Studios instantly became famous for being the worst Disney Park ever made thanks to its signature Basic Supermarket Parking Lot aesthetics. In my opinion, it’s not just the worst Disney park but one of the worst amusement parks ever made. But enough with the past. Those fifteen years of WDS nonsense have been painful enough. For more on the WDS fiasco, read my dedicated article.

Photo: Disney

Photo: Disney

This week’s highly anticipated announcement is the natural next step to The Walt Disney Company‘s recent buyout of the Paris resort. Now that Disney is the sole owner of Disneyland Paris, it finally has full control of what it can or cannot do. While we can’t be blind to the fact that EuroDisney minor shareholders have been pretty much robbed in the process, as a theme park nerd, I’m happy when I can visit a great, fully functional, profitable theme park. I’m even more happy when I don’t have to fly to the US or Asia and double my visit budget to do it. It’s been frustrating enough to be a European theme park nerd when the world’s greatest amusement park operator struggles so much do deliver quality investments where I live, to the point it became a joke. Yes, DLP is still Europe’s number one tourism destination but the the European theme park market leaders in terms of ambition, creativity and guest experience/service have become Europa Park and Efteling. Not Disney. *Awkward silence*

So, what’s in this announced investment plan? Two billion euro will… Wait. Let’s pause for a moment. Two. Billion. Euro. Two billion euro will be invested in Paris, *including* a transformation of the Walt Disney Studios park including new Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars inspired areas, rides and entertainment and also a new lake. These will open by phases starting in 2021 (while in an interview Bob Iger states from 2020 to 2025). The press release doesn’t go much deeper into details, but the concept art, as vague and purposely blurred as it is, maybe reveals a little bit more. Let’s now brainstorm and speculate on what hasn’t been detailed! Please note that the things presented as rumors next on this post come from reportedly insider sources from the ED92 forum.

Concept art: Disney

Concept art: Disney

Marvel Area

This might be the first phase to open to guests considering the recent announcement to revamp the stupid Rock’n’Rollercoaster into an Iron Man feat. Avengers attraction. DLP insiders also whisper that RNRC and the Moteurs Action Stunt Show are both set to close by the end of 2018. Bye Felicias. Looking at the released concept art, this new Marvel superhero land seems themed as a colorful fantasy-sci-fi futuristic land, like the overall aesthetics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as opposed to the long rumored New York style theme for this Marvel area. I’m curious and a little bit anxious to discover what it’s going to look like considering Disney’s attempts at doing Marvel theming so far. While the inside of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disneyland and Iron Man Experience in Hong Kong look fun and sleek, the outside of these rides is quite generic (Iron Man in HKDL) and over-the-top-tacky like it’s based on Power Rangers aesthetics (GOTG in Disneyland).

This new Marvel land seems to include Disney Channel/Stitch Live and Restaurant des Stars buildings, Blockbuster Cafe, the Armageddon soundstage and the stunt show seems to stay, but is rumored to be re-themed on The Avengers. While Tower of Terror appears untouched, some sources say it will keep the overall style and experience but get rid of the Twilight Zone IP, so it can fit the classic Hollywood entry land. And stop paying rights for an IP nobody realizes it’s here or even remembers. If true that’s a great news. Tower of Terror is badly located on the park’s map and theming it on Guardians of the Galaxy would make it look like the central icon of the parc, the one that defines the whole park is a Marvel IP. Phew!

Concept art: Disney

Concept art: Disney

I just hope the Marvel area will not just use its most famous franchises as attractions and newer characters like Black Panther, Dr Strange and

Guardians of the Galaxy

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A Guided Tour of Disneyland Paris with Tony Baxter

As a part of Disneyland Paris 25th anniversary celebrations, Disney organized a very special event for a handful of lucky DLP long-time lovers: a guided tour of the park with the man who supervised its design: Walt Disney Imagineering legend Tony Baxter.

He’s the person you should thank for making Disneyland Paris’ castle so elaborate and romantic, with square trees and a fire breathing dragon underneath. The one who decided to put Big Thunder Mountain on an island because why not?! The man who made the most spectacular Disney castle park ever made, with dozens of highly detailed walkthrough attractions. The list goes on and on.

I strongly suggest you watch this unique moment greatly captured by the folks from ED92 at the bottom of this page. But if you’re extremely lazy, here is is a list of five new things I learned from Tony Baxter during this unforgettable guided tour of Disneyland Paris.

Discovery Arcade

Photo: Arjay Endozo

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js1. Main Street Arcades have multiple benefits

Imagineers were told Paris would need to cover Main Street USA because of the ever changing weather, like they did in Tokyo. The downside is you can’t run motor vehicles or a full parade under a canopy. Making arcades parallels to Main Street came as a solution. Not only they are one of the most cherished locations of the park, but they were also much cheaper to build than covering Main Street entirely. The benefit of that is Imagineers could spend the rest of the initially budgeted amount to make the boutiques more beautiful and detailed than any other castle park.

 

Walts

Photo: Kris Van de Sande

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2. Walt’s restaurant decoration is more than just theming

Inside the fancy Walt’s restaurant, each room is themed upon each of the parks lands. But the art you can see framed on the walls of each room is the actual artworks that were created and used by the Imagineers during the development of Disneyland Paris. These pieces guided and inspired them to make the park as stunning as it is, so it’s a little more than just theming.

 

Star Tours Final Flight

Photo: Kris Van de Sande

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3. No, Discoveryland is not about Steampunk

Tony Baxter has an interesting way of explaining the very concept of Discoveryland. At all times in history, storytellers imagined what the future would look like, using fantasy or realistic visions. Whether it was through art, technology, books or movies,  Steven Spielberg or Georges Lucas are the Jules Vernes or H.G. Wells of our era. Their visions of the future inspired young children from different eras the exact same way. It means that if Steampunk style is an important part of Discoveryland, it’s not about that and different visions of the future will always live together in this unique land.

 

Disneyland Paris

Photo: Kris Van de Sande

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4. Movie franchises are an opportunity, not a threat 

Some fans are disappointed when something they love in the park needs to be replaced. With the ongoing trend of using intellectual properties (IP) as source material for anything new in theme parks, when something gets changed, the replacement is usually based on Frozen. Eh sorry, I mean Frozen and Star Wars and Marvel stuff. But one of the tasks of Imagineers is to keep the park up to date to stay relevant. The stories and characters we see in Disneyland through rides, boutiques and restaurants can not be stuck in the past of Pinocchio, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast. New characters and stories are needed to keep younger audiences emotionally connected too when they visit the park.

On this topic however, I encourage you to listen to The Season Pass Podcast episodes with Tony Baxter as a guest. He discusses more openly about balancing IP-based and non-IP-based content in theme parks.

 

Big Thunder Mountain

Photo: Kris Van de Sande

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5. Tony Baxter’s favorite things in Disneyland Paris are…

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Top 20 : Underrated Disney Park Music

When you think about what makes Disney parks more special than most amusement parks, you probably think about the stories and characters you know and love, amazing architecture, the tasty treats and of course the countless shows and attractions.

But there’s something else that no other theme park takes as seriously as Disney: music and sound design. So seriously in fact that some soundtracks that Disney created especially for its rides have become standalone pop culture icons over times.

You wouldn’t have landed on this blog if you weren’t a total theme park nerd, so I’m not going to make a list of the most famous Disney park soundtracks. Phantom Manor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Soarin’ , Main Street Electrical Parade… you already have all of these in your music library anyway. Besides these A-listers there are so many unknown gems in Disney’s theme park music catalogue that are worth listening too. Here is a non-exhaustive list of my favorite lesser known Disney theme park tunes, whatever it’s been composed especially for the parks or it’s a playlist of non-Disney tracks crafted for an area or queue line.

And because it’s a short list of *my* personal tastes, make sure to share *your* favorites pieces of underrated Disney park music in the comment section below. Alright, in no particular oder, here is my twenty favorite underrated gems of Disney theme park music. Enjoy!

The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror queue music loop

This compilation of 20’s and 30’s jazz music including the spooky echo! is how I got introduced to jazz, and fell in love with it forever.

Also make sure to listen to this rare gem: the creepy background music played at the exit of the elevators.

 

Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage

The heartwarming “Compass of Your Heart” tune has been written by Disney score superstar Alan Menken (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King…) during the revamp of Tokyo DisneySea’s family boat ride.

 

Horizons

Literally all of early Epcot Center music scores deserve a space on this list but no other soundtrack captures the essence of Epcot better than Horizons: the promise of a brighter future and of course eighties sitcom style theme song.

 

Promising Tomorrows – Space Mountain

In the same category, this dreamy track can be heard in the queue line of the US Space Mountains.

 

Cinémagique

The main theme of Cinémagique is a Gone with The Wnd knock-off reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood that easily brings tears by the end of the show.

 

WEDway Peoplemover

If 50’s supermarkets and 70’s TV game shows had a child it would be the music of Disneyland’s long gone Peoplemover.

 

Le Visionarium

Le Visionarium has been shut down for a decade but the dramatic score of Disneyland Paris 360° cinema theater was so good it’s still used here and there in Disney properties around the globe, which die-hard EuroDisney fans understand as a massive middle finger.

 

Buena Vista Street

Disney California Adventure entry sequence represents Los Angeles as Walt Disney discovered it when he came to Hollywood in the 1920’s. The jazzy background music loop of this gorgeous area perfectly delivers the excitment Walt certainly felt when he arrived with a suitcase and a dream.

 

Captain EO queue music loop

As 80’s as Michael Jackson + Georges Lucas + practical effects + 3D theaters + electric guitar solos can get. 👌

 

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Unfortunataly, tiki bars are a thing of the past, but Disneyland had the greatest idea when they opened one in the courtyard of the Disneyland Hotel. These awesomely kitsch exotica tunes from the 50’s and 60’s are exquisite.

 

Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland

I truly hope you’ll have the chance to visit Shanghai Disneyland one day to experience Tomorrowland at night. The electro music plays and important role here, as the EXTREMELY LOUD basses attract you like a magnet to the mesmerizing light waves displayed on the TRON canopy.

By the way if you haven’t already, make sure read my extensive review and watch my video tour of this brilliant theme park.

 

Radiator Springs Racers queue line music loop

In a slightly less contemporary style, the old country music tracks played on RSR queue line are quite lovely too.

 

Jungle Cruise queue music loop

Attention skippers! If Tower of Terror and Buena Vista Street make you in the mood for even more jazz music, make sure to listen to Jungle Cruise’s own queue line music loop, including a hilarious radio host, in pure Jungle Cruise fashion.

 

Grizzly Peak Airfield

The newly revamped area of Disney California Adventure embodies the spirit of American national parks and the great outdoors in general. If you like it, make sure to listen to the queue music loop of Soarin.

 

Tokyo Disneysea Aquasphere Plaza 〜 Day Time

Imagination and budgets seemed to have no limit during the development of Tokyo DisneySea. Even the entry plaza where you’re likely to spend at best 10 minutes of your time has two soundtracks composed and recorded especially for the theme park : day and night. Fancy AF. Here is the glorious day time version.

 

Carthay Circle Restaurant

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