On 1 June, Walt Disney Studios Park hosted Magical Pride, an after-hours event that appealed to our LGBTQ audience and their allies. Guests at this private celebration viewed a new parade called the Magical March of Diversity, took photos with some of their favorite Disney characters, and enjoyed several of the park’s world-famous attractions along with food and merchandise offerings themed to the evening. Guests also had the opportunity to enjoy live performances from Years & Years and French singer Corine, along with DJ sets by Boy George and Portuguese duo Sindykatz.
Magical Pride adds to the growing lineup of diverse offerings at Disneyland Paris, which includes fan-focused events such as Electroland and Disney Loves Jazz, and is also a powerful illustration of the resort’s commitment to fostering a welcoming environment for all of its guests. That dedication extends behind the scenes as well — just the day before on 31 May, Disneyland Paris hosted the Magical Pride Conferences, which welcomed several advocates to speak to resort Cast Members on topics of relevance to the LGBTQ community. Disneyland Paris also supports charitable organizations such as Le Refuge, which offers services and temporary shelter to young people facing homophobia or transphobia.
The Disneyland Paris Run Weekend 2019 will kick off soon ! Cédric Scoarnec, manager of the artistic merchandise team, shared with us the months of work required to create the rewards that will be offered to the finishers.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We’re carrying on with our discovery of Frontierland Theater’s newest production, The Lion King and Rhythms of Pride Lands, this time with arranger and bandmaster Steve Sidwell, who tells us more about the show’s music.
How did you approach The Lion King and the Rhythms of Pride Lands?
For this show, we tried to develop new ideas, which is always difficult when you are working on such a famous story. It has been successfully treated in a variety of forms, which makes things more complicated. But Disney knows how to collaborate with creators to breathe new life into its stories. And, in fact, the concepts and models of this show have inspired the music immensely.
With such a famous soundtrack, how did you find the balance between respect for this musical legacy and bringing fresh air?
It was a real challenge. It is always very difficult to change such an iconic work. Balance is hard to find. It’s been 25 years now that The Lion King has been released. It has become a timeless classic, but at the same time, we wanted to consider it with a new look. The decor of our show being based on musical instruments, it was a key element of our approach. We took some risks, but always with immense respect for the original work. In addition, our show lasts only half an hour and is played in a very particular context: our guests are in a Park and they try to do a lot of things. It was therefore necessary to offer them a particularly exciting experience. To do this, I made sure to keep a great energy throughout the show, while providing for quieter moments with the ballads, so that children and adults can enjoy the show.
How does music fit into this show?
From a general point of view, music is an art based on collaboration. In a live production, there is always the visual aspect, and in addition to technology, there is dance, staging, singing and costumes, all of which create an atmosphere. I am very inspired by all these elements. In The Lion King and Rhythms of Pride Land, music plays a vital role. When writing for a show like this, you must be aware that music accompanies a performance: singers, acrobats and dancers, with this superb aerial choreography. Everything has allowed me to create a truly unique music, whose originality has been praised by Disneyland Paris teams. This is the best compliment I could get.
From what material did you work?
We used elements of the animation classic as well as the musical, from the magnificent instrumental score of Hans Zimmer, especially for the final fight scene, to the songs of Elton John and Lebo M.
For the wildebeest stampede and the final fight, I had access to the orchestral scores of the film. This allowed me to study very precisely what had been done for the film, and I tried to recreate the same atmosphere, while adding some novelties. And for the songs, to the extent that they had to be cut in order to fit into our format, I started from scratch. It allowed me to develop a different, unique concept. I tried to make them exhilarating, modern and original, while preserving their African influences.
What type of orchestra did you use?
A traditional orchestra, except for percussion. I was fortunate to have at my disposal a large symphony orchestra, a big band and a huge rhythm section. We had djembes, tamas or “talking drums” from West Africa, kalimbas or “thumb pianos” from sub-Saharan Africa, a kora, an instrument from Mali, congas and bongos. We used as many African instruments as possible. It was impressive to see all these instruments brought together during the recording at the famous Angel Recording Studios in London. Extraordinary! I learned a lot on this occasion. Working between Paris and London, I had the opportunity to meet many experts because African drums are really a specialist business. For the fight scenes and wildebeest, we also had a big chorus typical of Hollywood that sang in Latin, and a Gospel choir that sang in Swahili. We even had a specialist of this language with us to make sure of the pronunciation. The best conditions were brought together.
How did you manage the “live” dimension of the show?
It’s something I’ve done many times. Of course, the show has a soundtrack, but I did not want the audience to be aware of it. I wanted all the musical elements to blend into each other. The recorded music has been designed in such a way that it leaves a space for live singers. We also took into account the unique audio system of our theater, which greatly influenced the way we recorded and mixed the music. In fact, everyone in the audience can enjoy perfect stereo. Wherever you sit, you will be surrounded on all sides by the music.
In this show, it’s the songs that tell the story, not the dialogues.
Many things had to be reworked to fit the format of the show. This is one of the reasons why there is no dialogue. It’s up to the music to fulfill that role. It’s a way of doing that I know well. It’s more enjoyable as the script is written with talent and precision.
You’re saying that The Lion King and Rhythms of Pride Land was an artistic and emotional experience?
That’s my motto: making music to share emotions. And on The Lion King and Rhythms of Pride Land, it was not difficult because it is such a magnificent show, both from the point of view of writing and staging. The emotions came naturally. I just had to deal with tension and relaxation. The Disneyland Paris teams are so talented; it’s a joy to work with them. They guided me very easily in the right direction. I’m only more impatient to discover the reactions of the public![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
The Disneyland Paris Run Weekend is back again from 19 to 22 September 2019, and the fourth outing is all about adventure. Less than 100 days from the start of the first race, Disneyland Paris announces the sale of new bibs and reveals the design of the new collector’s medals.
An amazing atmosphere, incredible costumes, a chance to meet Disney Characters, with races through both Disney parks for all ages and levels: welcome to the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend. Good news! After a first sale of bibs to join the race in April, new ones went on sale on Tuesday 18 June at 4pm. Grab the last bibs available to be sure you get to join the race and take home one of the incredible event medals: more information is available on run.disneylandparis.com. Some runners even set their sights on taking home all the medals.
Adventure, races for everyone and true collector’s items
The Disneyland Paris 5K kicks off the festivities on Friday 20 September, with runners roaring after Simba the Lion King! The most famous Disney animals will also be attending this family-friendly race. The following day, the Disneyland Paris 10K is dedicated to the Disney Princesses’ and their determination to follow their dreams. Runners will follow them along the route and all finishers will take home a medal featuring the courageous Rapunzel and her adorable chameleon Pascal. The Neverland-themed runDisney Kids Races at both 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday are a chance for kids to take home a magical medal featuring Peter Pan and friends.
As love is the greatest adventure of all, the Disneyland Paris – Val d’Europe Half-Marathon on Sunday 22 September showcases the beloved Disney character couples. Finishers get to take home a medal featuring the most iconic couple in animation history – Mickey and Minnie Mouse – running at Disneyland Paris.
Last but not least, runners entering the various challenges can make a spectacular addition to their collection with a flying Aladdin on the 31K Challenge medal (10K + Half-Marathon) and the magnificent Genie on the 36K Challenge medal (5K + 10K + Half-Marathon). Obviously, Sleeping Beauty Castle is still the ultimate object of desire for finishers of the Castle to Château Challenge. This medal is only awarded to runners who have completed the Disneyland Paris – Val d’Europe Half-Marathon and a runDisney Marathon or Half- Marathon at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida within the same year.
Are you ready to get yours?
Original Disneyland Paris creations
In order to produce medals of exceptional quality, the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend called on the expertise of the Conception Artistic Design team from the Merchandise department. The original designs were produced behind the scenes at the Disney parks, with close attention to detail for that essential touch of magic. This video gives you an exclusive peek at how this year’s medals were created:
From 18 June, collectors can also purchase replicas of these incredible medals in the form of limited-edition pin badges available for the runners at the runDisney e-shop and for all at the runDisney Expo during the event.
The Disneyland Paris Run Weekend takes place from 19 to 22 September 2019. Booking and information at run.disneylandparis.com
About Disneyland Paris:
Euro Disney Associés S.A.S, operating company of Disneyland Paris has 16 000 employees, 500 professions, 20 spoken languages and 121 nationalities. Disneyland Paris is the number one single-site employer in France and the largest private employer in the department of Seine-et-Marne. The Resort includes Disneyland® park, Walt Disney Studios® park, six Disney Hotels and 2 Disney Nature Resorts with a total capacity of more than 5,800 rooms, two convention centers, the entertainment center Disney Village® and a 27-hole golf course. In addition, the company manages the real estate development operating segment of a 2,230-hectare site, approximately 50% of which is yet to be developed. A 2 billion-euro, multi-year new development plan includes a transformation of the Walt Disney Studios Park, adding three new areas that are based on Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars, along with multiple new attractions and live entertainment experiences. The expansion plan is one of the most ambitious development projects at Disneyland Paris since its opening in 1992.
On International Yoga Day, Disney parks and offices around the world united for the shared focus of Cast Member well-being and appreciation. With our International Yoga Day internal events, we’re offering Cast Members a series of one-of-a-kind experiences that encourage balance and healthy living in a very special setting.
At Disneyland Paris, Cast Members enjoyed a sunrise yoga session in the Walt Disney Studios Park, waking up their inner zen. The number one touristic destination in Europe is committed to providing Cast Members meaningful and unique offerings through special experiences, like only Disney can. These collective efforts are part of Disney’s long-standing commitment to deliver meaningful and unique Cast offerings through special experiences.