Attractions,  DLP Design & History,  News

5 Things We Learned From Episode 3 of Live from the Magic

In an ongoing series of video highlights about the people making the magic at Disneyland Paris, InsidEars Live From The Magic treats us to   a behind the scenes look at the mysteries of DLP. In the latest episode, we found out how many castle turrets were moved for refurbishment and 4 other interesting things you may not have known about. 

The train depot of Disneyland Railroad
  1. Disneyland Paris Railroad has 3 trains and 4 locomotives 

If you’ve ever heard the steam whistle chime in Disneyland Park you know how iconic the Disneyland Railroad is. But it’s not just one train that goes around from station to station. Chief Maintenance Engineer Julien shows Chloe and Matthias of the DLP InsidEars team the central Railroad depot, where no than 3 trains and steam locomotives are housed. They are called the C.K. Holliday, named after the first steam engine in the original Disneyland, The W.F. Cody, the real name of Buffalo Bill, and the G. Washington, the presidential train designed by Imagineer Eddie Sotto, and the Eureka which celebrates the spirit of discovery from ancient greek scientist Archimedes to American pioneers. The locomotives all have authentic steam boilers of American, Welsh and English origins that are maintained daily for operation and thoroughly inspected and cleaned internally every 10 years. Railroad enthusiast come from far and wide to experience and learn about these historic engineering marvels, so be sure to catch a ride at one of the 4 stations next time you’re in the park.  

Disneyland Railroad’s Chief of Maintenance Julien.
  1. It takes two tech teams to Tango with Pirates.

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland Paris, and not without reason. Operational Manager Samuel explains the ride is so complex it has two dedicated teams for the visual parts alone. The first is the show Team which takes care of the animatronics, special effects and lighting. Then the Audio-Video team is in charge of the attractions’ audio and video projections. Yes, the Paris version of POTC also has projectors, but not nearly as extravagant as those in Shanghai. Nevertheless most of the fires use this technique to great effect. Meanwhile everything has had a good refresh and reconsideration during the lockdown to make the experience even more immersive and fluid. Lights on the queue area have been subtle phased from lighter to darker to give your eyes a better transition from the (mostly) bright exterior to the dark ride. LED strips have been installed under the water line at the loading area. And various characters have had their animatronics tweaked or even completely replaced to look even more realistic. There are a total of 258 speakers throughout the attraction which are all carefully programmed to be perfectly synchronised with all the special effects. Except of course when an animatronic decides to have a break. 

The Audiovisual Team checks the speakers at Pirates of the Caribbean.
  1.  15 castle turrets were taken off-site 

You may have seen that image of an emblematic circular roof with blue tiles making its way down a French Autoroute. In an exclusive look behind the tarp of the castle refurbishment, Senior Construction Manager David reveals that there were actually a total of 15 turrets lifted from their castle towers, loaded onto trucks and moved to the workshop of Les Bras Frères for extensive renovations. Le Château de la Belle au bois dormant is the most important refurbishment project currently underway. Each one of the 15,000 slate tiles were cut and painted by hand, and the crafters at Le Bras Frères are experts at renovating historic monuments, to give you a sense of the detail that goes into everything at Disneyland Paris. David explains that the unusual decision was made to cut the turrets during the lockdown period in January and have them replaced once close to completion, only needing to add the finishing touches on-site, an operation that wouldn’t normally have been possible during the park’s opening periods. In fact, all the cleaning of the castle’s exterior has been completed, and those works are now in the last-to-one phase of painting and then varnishing the stone ornaments. 

Sleeping Beauty’s castle turrets at the restoration workshop of Le Bras Frères
  1. Chloë from InsidEars is one of us.

How would you feel if you had an opportunity to climb the scaffolding around Sleeping Beauty’s castle and touch the upper reaches of the towers? That excitement was encapsulated perfectly for all of us by Chloë from the DLP InsidEars team when she was shown around the interior of the trapped refreshment site and gleefully exclaimed “ I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to this part of the castle!” It’s a great indication that even Cast Members with extensive access to the magic are also fans like you and me. And remember, she’s also been on top of Space Mountain. We’re not jealous, you’re jealous. 

Chloë from InsidEars has a moment with the castle.
  1. Translation is sometimes PG-13
We hope your kids don’t read this.