Avengers Campus Grand Opening Vlog at Disneyland Paris


De nouvelles attractions à Disneyland Paris, c’est en soi un véritable événement tant le phénomène est rarissime. La dernière en date, Ratatouille L’Attraction Totalement Toquée de Rémy remonte à 2014, il y a huit ans. Par conséquent j’ai été un peu pris par surprise quand Disneyland Paris a inauguré l’été dernier l’Avengers Campus, ce qui justifie totalement l’écart de six mois entre l’ouverture du nouveau land Marvel et du contenu qui en parle sur Le Parcorama.

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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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Review : Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Oh hi! You’re still here? I haven’t posted anything on this blog in two years, you’re a creep. Well thank you so much for sticking around all that time.

I had the chance to visit Orlando recently and since my last visit, there has been a ton of new additions at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, so in the coming weeks I’m going to review a bunch of world class attractions… If motivation remains high and coronavirus lockdown gives me time. To kick off this series, we’ll start with the newest addition that opened just a few weeks ago. Choo choo, here is your Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Quality Control review !

As MMRR has been open for just a couple of weeks, I should warn you that there will be major spoilers in this review. You’ve been warned.


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First, a tiny bit of context. Runaway Railway is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. It is a dark ride using trackless vehicles going through the zany universe of the new Mickey Mouse animated shorts. To the frustration of #TeamNostalgia, this new dark ride is taking over the show building of The Great Movie Ride : a mock up of Hollywood’s Chinese Theater. I personally won’t miss The Great Movie Ride. I’ve never been a fan of this old school dark ride that used to take the guests through scenes of classic Hollywood movies. It felt outdated for way too long in my opinion.

From the outside nothing has changed on the exterior of the Chinese Theater, except for the addition of a very nice animated neon sigh reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood movie theaters. Let’s enter the queue line. Certainly the most underwhelming part of the attraction. The portion of the queue line that is inside the Chinese Theater is short and looks the same as the old Great Movie Ride queue and Mickey Mouse shorts posters are displayed on a dozen of screens. That’s a bit boring but it’s nothing compared with the absolute boredom you’ll experience before, in the outside portion of the queue line, which is basically just switchbacks at the right and front of the Chinese Theater. It’s quite disappointing that there was zero budget for a little bit of theming of any sort when you see the attention Disney is putting to keep guests entertained in the queue line of all major rides and considering the immediate popularity of MMRR. Like they did not expect Runaway Railway to be a hit attraction. Huh?

Photo : Disney

Anyway, after this massive boredom here you are, in the preshow : a projection of a whole new Mickey Mouse short called Perfect Picnic. And as the film just started in this mini movie theater, an event in the animated short is causing the theater’s large screen to burst and be ripped, wide open for guests to literally walk into that gap and step inside the colorful, life-size, hand drawn world of the Mickey Mouse shorts. It’s kind of reminiscent of the famous Cinémagique effect where a performer goes through a movie screen. But this preshow effect is even more elaborate as the movie projection keeps going on while some parts of the ripped screen are torn apart and even curling. This reveal is just the first of the many wow effects that will happen in every scene of the ride.

So let’s step in Goofy’s train. It is made of five trackless vehicles. Four of them are transporting guests and the first one is the locomotive. As the train departs from the loading station, Goofy appears from a window at the back of the locomotive. If you’re in vehicle one or two, you’re in luck because it’s almost impossible to see this from vehicles three and four. The kind of issue we’ve seen previously on Mystic Manor. Then, along the path of our train appear Mickey and Minnie in their car. They are made as audio animatronics and their faces are projected from the inside, like on Frozen Ever After and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They’re the stars of the ride but the execution of Mickey and Minnie’s faces looks kind of weird and disturbing. On the other hand I can’t think of another way to translate such a fast moving 2D animation to fully tangible animatronics.

Photo : Disney

As Mickey’s car crashes into our train track switch, Goofy’s locomotive leaves the other vehicles of the train, which are now going on on their own. The four vehicles are travelling trough multiple large scale scenes made of one simple technique : a blend of physical sets and projection mapping. What strikes me the most was how the projections seamlessly blend into intricate physical sets and props. The work on lighting, color grading and projection calibration is truly mind boggling. The ride also heavily includes other techniques to feature media, including transparent LCD screens – the rendering is so sharp I don’t believe it’s pepper ghost. Whatever technique is used, the integration of media animation, large or small scale, is seamless and once again : Oh! So! Sharp!

I don’t want to break down the whole ride scene by scene (support your favorite on-ride POV youtuber instead) but here are a few more observations, other than the name of the ride is impossible to pronounce for a French speaking ass guest like me.

Photo : Disney

In every scene there is something happening everywhere around you. You’re literally wrapped by animation, 360°. That’s great for ride re-rideability because you’re going to need multiple rides to catch everything that’s going on. As a result it encourages you to look around in every corner of every room. However there is one scene (the tropical torrent) that is not themed on a back wall leading to the single vehicle alcove underwater scene – basically what’s behind the back of the vehicles on the picture above. It’s just plain black and it’s weird because from the beginning of the ride, the ride “teaches” you to look around absolutely everywhere, even in your back and all of a sudden you’re like, whoops this portion is not supposed to be looked at.

Daisy’s dance studio is the funniest scene (OMG HER LITTLE BOOTS!), and it may not show on video but the way the vehicles are booty-shaking their way out of the studio makes it impossible not to giggle. However the art direction of this scene feels disconnected to the rest of the ride. No animation, just a lot of humans facing a large mirror… until big ass flowers made of LED lights appear behind the mirror. It suddenly looks like real life again and also kind of tacky. At least the cute Daisy animatronic (AND HER LITTLE BOOTS I’M OBSESSED!!) saves it.

Photo : Dan Brace

Disneyland Paris’ Ratatouille attraction uses a similar system of trackless vehicles going through a blend of projection scenes and a few physical sets. Interestingly (or sadly if DLP is your home park) on Ratatouille the scene that’s the most effective compared to the rest of the ride is when each vehicle enters its own small, individual projection dome alcove. As opposed to Ratatouille,  Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has a similar feature and compared to the rest of the ride, it’s the most underwhelming part because suddenly it’s lacking physical sets. It’s just a movie sequence without the other half needed to create the illusion that you are in a cartoon : tangible decors. While MMRR fixes the imperfections of the Ratatouille ride, which was back in 2014 Disney’s first attempt at a large scale screen-based ride, it’s another testament on how the rat ride is deeply flawed. When Orlando locals, familiar with world class screen-based rides for 20 years, will discover Ratatouille at Epcot, it’s gonna hurt.

The grand finale is a scene that looks like a factory and in a flash transforms into the park where Mickey and Minnie were supposed to have a perfect picnic from the beginning, remember? Some previous scenes did that kind of environment shift already (tropical torrent to underwater) but never to the extent of the factory grand finale. Here the physical sets where machines, gears and hardware are projected suddenly change shape and morph to appear like trees, a carousel and other things you can find in a park. It all happens so fast and it’s truly never-seen-before as a theme park special effect, it’s the perfect way to end the ride on a surprising wow effect.

Photo : Disney

Some people describe Runaway Railway as a large scale Fantasyland dark ride. I think it’s much more than than. The elaborate preshow, the trackless vehicles, the insane sharpness and preciseness of projection mapping. And the countless wow effects. MMRR is not just action packed, it’s also packed with the most advanced tech. The amount of projectors needed to achieve this instant blockbuster attraction must be crazy. Many times it left me wondering « Wait, how did they do this? » And as an overanalysing theme park nerd who has seen it all, it’s a bold achievement.

In this era of only-major-IP-based-attractions, it’s a miracle that such an innovative dark ride is based on the new Mickey Mouse shorts. Don’t get me wrong though. I think they’re excellent and in my top 3 favorite Disney productions of the past decade but these shorts feel immensely underrated to me. For a lot of guests, Runaway Railway will be their first encounter with the Spongebob style humor and divisive ugly-funny appearance of the new Mickey Mouse shorts. While most theme park fans do not like the everything-IP trend of current Disney, choosing the Mickey Mouse shorts must be saluted.

Photo : Disney

One last thing. Last year a “Black Box” dark ride rumor was floating around and supposedly in development for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The concept : making a heavy use of projection (mapping) so theme could be easily interchangeable through times. When you think about it, with its solid projection hardware, the lighter use of physical props, and the neutral entrance and queue line, the Chinese Theater could totally be the canvas for that rumored Black Box concept, with the Mickey Mouse shorts as its first iteration. To say the least, I hope I’m wrong and it’s not going to happen.

Overall Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has been surrounded by less buzz, anticipation and marketing than Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Playland, but it’s definitely a very strong headliner attraction and the family dark ride that Disney’s Hollywood Studios needed. I understand a ride that relies so much on projection can be repulsive to some people. But believe the hype. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway masters the theme park industry’s challenge of the past twenty years : screen-based rides are no longer a dirty word.

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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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