It’s Monday 30th September 2013 and today the last of the 20th Anniversary decorations will be taken down in Disneyland Paris, most notably the big sign on the Main Street, U.S.A. train station. It’s a celebration that has lasted 18 months, thanks to the 20th Anniversary Extended season which kicked off in April of this year, and we’ve seen many new things added to the resort in that time. I say our, because I asked the people on the Dedicated to DLP Facebook page for their favourite memories too. This is a group effort.
The biggest part of the build up to the 20th Anniversary was the new night time spectacular known as Disney Dreams! We’d had night time shows in Disneyland Paris before and fireworks too. But this promised to be like nothing else; a combination of fireworks, music, fire and the brand new fountains and video mapping. There were teases of testing photos and videos but it was on March 31st that I witnessed the Disneyland Paris online community come together like never before.
It was on that night that Disneyland Paris broadcast over the internet the worldwide web exclusive showing of Disney Dreams! Due to go live at 9.30pm GMT it actually started 20 minutes later at 9.50pm GMT, and by that time fans across the globe had been whipped up into a frenzy of excitement and intrigue, myself included. It all went quiet for 25 minutes as we sat back in amazement, and watched the very same video that you can see below:
To say the reaction was positive would be an under-statement, as you can see from this article where I documented what fans said immediately after it had finished.
OMG OMG OMG! No words to explain it, only tears, happy tears! #dlpdreams Can't believe what I see, it's beyond everything! 😀
— Yolanda (@yolidbsc) March 31, 2012
I was blown away. On watching the video that night, I said it is 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. It changed earlier this year to include The Lion King and Brave scenes, at the expense of Jungle Book and Mary Poppins. I actually think it’s even better, and I eagerly await the next incarnation which will be Disney Dreams! of Christmas.
Favourite Memories of the 20th Anniversary – comments from Facebook
Geoff Dodds It’s difficult to decide between dreams and the 12th April. Dreams! is a fantastic, world leading show.
Lauren Vile Valo Moore Disney Dreams!
Rob Glew Disney Dreams! absolutely blew me away.
Thomas Manly It may have been just last month that I saw it in my own eyes but sitting in front of castle on the curb waiting to see the spectacular Disney dreams. What was brilliant is that everyone in the hub sat down to watch it. It was very special and such an awesome, magical show.
Kristine Nielsen Disney Dreams!
John Eddings Disney Dreams! was fantastic
Victoria Dollin Disney Dreams is amazing!! I’ve seen it twice & I had tears in my eyes both times! And the look on my childrens faces were priceless & i’ll never forget them!!
Jackie Blyth I had already seen the Disney Dreams! on the web site so I Knew it was going to be good but I was surprised because it was even better the atmosphere was great went to see it every night and saw different bits all the time we stood in different places each time but wherever we were we got a good view and the fireworks where outstanding can’t wait to go in May 2014 hope I won’t be disappointed as it was so good last time
Victoria Carter Has to be Disney Dreams! loved it
Jeremy Plumley Disney Dreams! of course!
Marilyn Ralston Dreams! was defo a favourite of ours
Jonathan Lewis-Jones Has to be Dreams!
Jonathan Broomfield Disney Dreams!
Jeannette Wilkening Disney Dreams! Just amazing. I had tears in my eyes, every Time I see the show
Duckburg Weekly Definitely Dreams!, we cried every time
Karen Avengers I’d have to say Disney Dreams! – you really do have to see it to experience how amazing it is. You Tube doesn’t do it credit at all, although it is nice to watch
Sara Cook Dreams!, both versions
Mike van den Nieuwenhof Disney Dreams!
Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Launch – April 12th 2012
Much like the Disney Dreams! experience, those of us who couldn’t be there gathered online as the 20th Anniversary was laucnehd in Disneyland Paris on April 12th 2012. There was lots of footage coming out of Disneyland Park, including a live TV special hosted by Jean-Pierre Foucault, also the host of Qui Veut Gagner des Millions?, the French version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Kicking off the 20th Anniversary celebrations was this most brilliant Flash Mob performed by Disneyland Cast Members:
We’ve all seen Flash Mobs before, but as a fan of Disneyland Paris that one was the most spectacular. After all, it has the newly refurbished Main Street, U.S.A. and the stunning Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as a backdrop. This was the fun side, but the fascinating, educational and truly poignant happened over in the Videopolis theatre where Tony Baxter thrilled the attendees with his Masterclass: From Concept to Reality talk. Tony was a big part of the development of Disneyland Paris and has just recently been honoured as a Disney Legend. If you’ve not seen it before, then do yourself a favour and watch the video below:
The whole day was amazing, with themed character mini shows in each land and even the ambassadors from all the other Disney Parks coming over to celebrate. Reaching 20 years is a big landmark, and Disneyland Paris put on a day of celebration and entertainment that more than lived up to that.
Favourite Memories of the 20th Anniversary – comments from Facebook
Giona Giangiacomo Prevete The flash mob on 12th of April
Thomas Peeters 12 April 2012… Definitely!
Geoff Dodds The 12th April was a Disney fans dream, characters, Tony Baxter. Two great moments.
Kristof Thijs After the flash mob walking on Main Street with hundreds of Cast Members cheering. And the master class with Tony Baxter.
Michel van Marrewijk I wasn’t there that day but the 12th of April seemed to be such an incredible day and the park looked unbelievable pretty! also loved the flash mob!
Jolien Van Houtven My trip in April 2012 has been one that will stay in my mind for a long time. My birthday is one day before the park’s “birthday” and that already was amazing, but those fun celebration shows, the speech by Philip Gas and the flash mob, and of course the Masterclass of Tony Baxter were mind blowing for me! To hear his stories was so inspiring for me since I’m studying to become an architect.
These are the two biggest happenings during the 20th Anniversary and are what almost everyone mentioned as their favourite moments, but there were some other great memories from the 20th Anniversary too…
Disney Magic on Parade
When I first heard the new parade song I wasn’t keen – it’s always hard imagining a new song taking over from the one you have heard and grown to love so much. However, it didn’t take me long to embrace it, and by the time I’d seen it a few times in Disneyland Paris after my first 20th Anniversary trip in May 2012, it had actually surpassed it’s predecessor Just Like We Dreamed It, for me at least.
The reimagineered floats looked great and I especially liked the wizard outfits that all the characters were wearing. Best of all was the last float which saw Mickey Mouse high a top a magical rock, often with smoke around him. My little boy Lucas was captivated by Disney Magic on Parade, and would beam with happiness when a character waved to him.
20 Years of Dreams Book
We’d had the standard guidebooks before, but never before had Disneyland Paris produced a book that detailed the history of the resort, and what better time to do that than to mark its 20th Anniversary? 20 Years of Dreams is a book that, ever since I bought it in May 2012, I have grabbed with excitement from my shelf and flicked through regularly. Not only is it beautifully presented but the information and photos contained inside tell the story of this unique resort.
I’ve read things I’d never heard and looked in awe at photos I’ve never seen. Not only are their photos of all the attractions and events, but also images of tickets and paraphernalia that had been produced over the years. It’s the Disneyland Paris book I’d always wanted, and when it arrived it gave me everything and more. If you don’t own this book already then you are missing out – make it a priority to get a copy, and it’ll soon become the prized piece on your bookshelf too.
Meet Mickey Mouse
Up until our last trip in May of this year when Lucas discovered his love of meeting characters, it had never been a big priority for me. So when Meet Mickey Mouse was behind schedule and not open during our May 2012 trip I was not particularly bothered. When I returned in November of last year I had the opportunity have a good look inside the queuing area, which has been made to look like an old style theatre. There’s no denying that the interior is beautiful, and having classic cartoons playing in that queuing area does make the time go a quicker, but what of the actual character experience?
Just before you meet the main mouse himself, you go into a little area that has props from Mickey’s magic show, as is the theme for his show that is running in the theatre. You see, the whole idea is that you are meeting Mickey Mouse backstage, in his dressing room. The props themselves not only look great but there are a whole bunch of hidden treasures among them. I don’t want to give anything away, but you can get a few hints from the interview I conducted with its creators Laurent Cayuela and Lydie Richard.
When meeting Mickey it never felt rushed, and you are given plenty of time to have photos taken with both your own camera and by the official PhotoPass photographer. The Cast Members make you feel very special and do everything they can to make sure you get the perfect picture with Mickey, who interacts and makes the whole experience very magical. It’s something I would recommend to everyone, even if you thought you weren’t one for characters too. The theming alone is worth it.
Best of the Rest
You may not like the colours or the music, but you cannot deny the popularity of the Celebration Train. It wasn’t until I saw how happy it made my son Lucas that I got it, and saw what an important part it plays in the entertainment at Disneyland Paris. On the other end of the spectrum Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates saw the most famous road in Disneyland Paris sparkle like it hasn’t since opening day in 1992, as it got the love and attention it so truly deserves. Then there’s the Extended Hours which saw Disneyland Park open till late every single day, not just during the peak times. That meant more time in the parks, and truly dark skies for the end of day Disney Dreams! show.
Dedicated to DLP and the 20th Anniversary
Just 3 days ago on September 27th Dedicated to DLP turned 3, which meant that the 20th Anniversary was the first big celebration that I covered for this website. In that time I’ve seen the online Disneyland Paris community grow every year, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course the website and podcast, I’ve met many fantastic people, a lot who I now consider friends. Every time something has happened during the 20th anniversary of Disneyland Paris I’ve been excited to write about and share it with all of you.
I’ve been to Disneyland Paris 3 times during the 20th Anniversary celebrations and each trip has been magical. Whether it be a trip with the family or a solo trip going behind the scenes, I consider myself very luck to have had these experiences and memories. The 20th Anniversary to me, has seen Disneyland Paris grow in every area, and excel in ways I couldn’t have imagined. With all the recent announcements I have no doubt Disneyland Paris has many more celebrations to come.
The 20th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris felt very special, more so than any other celebration before it. There truly was magic everywhere.
It should be noted that although the Celebration Train will not run after today, Disney Dreams!, Disney Magic on Parade and Meet Mickey Mouse will continue to run daily.