There’s no doubt that one of the most anticipated experiences on our recent trip to Disneyland Paris was the jewel in the 20th Anniversary crown; Dreams. Before we arrived I did worry that being shown after the park closed at 10.30pm maybe too late for our little boy to cope with, at just 4 years old. However, come 9.30pm on our first day and Lucas was more active than either my wife or I.
We took a break from all the activities on offer in the park and had some food whilst watching cartoons in Videopolis. This worked well in recharging everyone’s batteries and it was pretty quiet and cool, so a perfect place to prepare ourselves for the main event. Worth noting that the chicken salad they serve in there, and most eateries around the resort, was very nice. It tasted very fresh and was made up of carrot, lettuce, boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn and of course chicken. Accompanied by some salad dressing it was the perfect healthy option for those of who prefer not to live on burgers and chips.
At about 9.45pm we headed over to the area that used to house the Central Plaza Stage, but is now just an area for people to stand and wait for the biggest spectacle in the 20 year history of Disneyland Paris. Over at Magic Forum, DLRP Magic maestro Anthony has encouraged people to post photos of their feet in the centre of that area, in celebration of the removal of the stage. Here is mine:
It was quite a daring photo capture, as you can see how close I had to get to the guy sitting right near it. At any moment I could have been on the end of a tongue lashing from an expectant Dreams fan, angry that I’d invaded what he could have perceived as being his space. Luckily I came away unharmed, and with my treasured photo saved to my memory card.
I’d seen the video presentation of Dreams that was broadcast on the internet on March 31st, so the show wasn’t going to be a complete surprise for me. However, there is a whole world of difference between watching it on a computer screen and being there in person to see it. On watching the video back in March, I’d said it was the most beautiful and spectacular piece of entertainment I have ever witnessed, and after seeing it with my own eyes I can only reiterate that same statement.
To say I was blown away would be an understatement. As soon as the music started I felt a tingle down my spine and knew I was about to see something of the like that I’d never done so far in my life. With my little boy on my shoulders and my wife next to me taking the odd photo, I had a life defining moment, a moment that lasted a truly magical 20 minutes. The way the video mapping transforms and animates the Castle is breathtaking. The fireworks, lasers, fountains and soundtrack blend perfectly with this new technology to create a masterpiece that whisks you away to a world of make believe and wonderment.
Standing in front of the already majestic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, you can’t fail to be overcome with emotion and happiness, at what is a truly remarkable show. All the scenes are fantastic, but my particular favourites were The Princess and The Frog with Dr Facilier for the amazing visual of seeing a Steampunk Castle, The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the way the Hunchback leapt from turret to tower, and the start of The Jungle Book scene when the castle transforms into a flowing blue waterfall with Kaa slithering around and down. The whole show is a highlight really, but those bits stand out for me the most.
All the elements play their part in making it is incredible with the fireworks being what I would call soft fireworks, in that they aren’t huge eardrum bursting bangs, but scene enhancing and more gentle displays. The film projections onto water sprays at either side of the Castle are very clever and work incredibly well. The whole story with Peter Pan and his shadow is brilliantly combined with characters and scenes from the other films, and as a big fan of Peter, my little boy was over the moon to see his starring role.
The finale is an epic display of all component parts, which in true Disney tradition sees good overcome evil. As the main Dreams show ended we were treated to the sound of Cara Dillion singing Come Dream a Dream as the three of us started to excitedly talk about the stunning show we had just witnessed. Getting out of the park was a case of just moving with the crowd, en masse. Luckily everyone seemed to be in a good mood, and who wouldn’t be after watching that? To our amazement, not only did Lucas stay up to enjoy Dreams, but he walked all the way back to Hotel Santa Fe – no way were we going to to attempt to get on one of the courtesy buses.
We watched it again 2 nights later, this time from a little bit further back which actually gave us a better view of the whole show. This time we had to carry a sleeping Lucas back to the hotel, but he did manage to stay up late enough to watch it on 2 of the 4 nights we stayed in Disneyland Paris. I can’t say enough good things about Dreams, and it’s a good enough reason to book a holiday to Disneyland Paris on its own.
I had expectations, and it blew those into next year – Dreams is everything you could ever want and so much more.