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Space Mountain: relive the genesis of the iconic attraction with Disney’s Imagineers

On June 1, 1995, Space Mountain – De la Terre à la Lune opened its doors at Disneyland Paris.

25 years later, we are excited to give you a glimpse into the creative process that led to the creation of this unique attraction, and how it evolved over the years.

Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Stars – A conversation with the Imagineers is our first virtual masterclass. Watch and listen to some Imagineers from around the world as they discuss, from home, the creative process to bring the attraction to life. You will also learn how the original Space Mountain spurred innovation into many exciting Disney attractions around the world, and hear several personal memories along the way!

If you’re a fan of Disney Parks attractions and Walt Disney Imagineering, you don’t want to miss this up-close conversation… right at home!

The panel, recorded on May 20, includes:

  • Tom Fitzgerald – Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Yves Ben Yeta – Director Creative Development, Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Ann Morrow Johnson – Executive producer/Creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Luc Mayrand –  Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering
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Background Music on Center Stage

It may go unnoticed at first and yet, it is an integral part of the Disney parks experience. Background music, played across Disneyland Paris, has the unique ability to immerse guests in a world of fantasy.

Above all, Walt Disney and his Imagineers were filmmakers. It’s fitting that they imagined Disneyland Resort just like they would a movie, with a scenario, settings, actors – Cast Members and guests – and staging. In the same spirit, it felt natural to create a soundtrack.

Imagineers were meticulous about creating a special soundtrack – traditionally referred to as BGM (Background Music) – which plays an instrumental part in theming. At the very beginning, this type of music was played live by several bands across Disneyland Resort. However, attractions aside, quite a few pre-recorded soundtracks could already be heard in the park. For instance, guests would go through Sleeping Beauty Castle and enter Fantasyland to the sound of “When You Wish Upon A Star,” a classic musical invitation to dream. At the entrance of Frontierland an old banjo tune would play, while indigenous drums and jungle sounds would foreshadow Adventureland. As it traditionally runs for a few short minutes, BGM plays in a loop, in the same spirit as “Muzak” which began playing in American stores in 1934.

In the early sixties, a few outdoor attractions and queues at Disneyland Resort were given their own background music. American composer Buddy Baker – famous for “Grim Grinning Ghosts”— created a new arrangement by adding small bell sounds to “I’m Wishing” from Snow White (1937) for the Wishing Well area at Snow White Grotto. Certain loops could also change depending on the time of day or year. Throughout the year, the organ at Swiss Family Treehouse played Baker’s famous “Swisskalpolka” from Swiss Family Robinson (1960), except during the Christmas season when it played seasonal carols. Nowadays, this still applies to Main Street U.S.A. as a special background music can be heard during end-of-year celebrations.

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As time went on, background music was played throughout the park, starting with Main Street, U.S.A., but it raised the question of theming. Just like in a movie, music is critical to ensure that stories remain consistent. Oddly enough, the very first tracks played on Main Street, U.S.A. recalled pop music from the 1960s, like “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel, prioritizing emotions over historical accuracy.

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In 1970, radio host Jack Wagner – the official voice of Disneyland Resort for many years – offered to create a soundtrack in keeping with the theming of the land. Inspired by Disney music of the time, most notably arrangements made for marching bands, he designed a loop reminiscent of the turn of the century. Disney entrusted Wagner with the creation of BGM for more than 40 areas at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort which remain references to this day and inspired Imagineers for the background music at Disneyland Paris, which in turn was used in the U.S. parks. At Disneyland Paris, background music works in the same way as music would in a film, although it is up to guests to create their own scenario throughout the park.

Just like there are several types of music in films, there are various types of BGM. Some are used to introduce a story and bring guests on a journey to a far-off place or another time period thanks to themes and sounds reflective of times past. In the movies, it is notably the case for The Princess and the Frog (2010) and Lady and the Tramp (2019) – both featuring music inspired by New Orleans Jazz reminiscent of the 1910s and 1920s. On Main Street U.S.A., “Ragtime” can be heard. This musical style enjoyed its peak popularity at the turn of the century, the time period depicted throughout the land. Musical masterpieces ranging from Scott Joplin to Arthur Pryor are played, as well as more recent musical scores from Pollyanna (1960) and Up (2009) rearranged to be consistent with the time period.

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Music has the power to transport people to different places based on the choice of instruments, like China in Mulan (1998) or Scotland in Brave (2012). This is apparent in Adventureland where ethnic music is played by African percussionists at the Hakuna Matata Restaurant or by oriental ensembles close to Adventureland Bazaar.

Other film soundtracks synchronize with the action depicted on screen. In Toy Story 2 (1999), when Buzz jumps on the floating platforms in Zurg’s lair, he does it to the tune of Also sprach Zarathustra, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. More recently, American composer Michael Giacchino referenced James Bond in The Incredibles (2004) by drawing inspiration from the classic arrangements of the famous franchise. At Walt Disney Studios Park, the BGM at Place des Frères Lumière includes dozens of film scores and music from animated films at Toon Studio. In Frontierland, the score of western classics such as The Magnificent Seven (1961) immediately takes us to the mythical Wild West.

Film scores are most often completely original, written for a specific production. At Disneyland Paris, that is the case of the soundtrack at Discoveryland – written especially by pianist and composer David Tolley.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”14093″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]There are many other things to be said about background music at Disneyland Paris. Don’t worry – we’ll tell you more about it soon enough![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Magic Keepers: Vehicles maintenance

Stefano, head of the resort’s own automobile garage, is in charge of maintaining all backstage vehicles that continue to circle around the resort for their daily duties.

Those include security, fire and rescue, and Poney Farm teams grooms among others.

A pivotal supporting role to allow the pursuit of essential activities.

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Magic Keepers: Nicolas Duport, Medical Doctor at Disneyland Paris

Dr. Nicolas Duport joined the Disneyland Paris team earlier this year, currently serving as a Medical Doctor for the resort. In his role, he is responsible for proposing preventative health measures that aim to benefit the health and wellness of the resort’s cast members. Alongside his colleague, Dr. Cyril Warmberg, they coordinate closely with health, safety and security teams to ensure safety remains the top priority at the resort.

Dr. Duport received his master’s in epidemiology and public health at the University of Nancy I, followed by his doctorate in medicine at the University of Paris VII. He also received his diploma of specialized studies in public health and social medicine in 2003. He previously worked for Santé Publique France, the French equivalent of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a scientific project manager for nearly 15 years. He also received his qualification in occupational medicine at the University of Reims earlier this year before starting his role with the Disneyland Paris team.

“There are many things unique to Disneyland Paris that I find really exciting, including a diversity of professions, a complete medical team of eight doctors working together within and to support a commercial business – which is very rare in France – and the chance to use all of my specialties in one place,” Dr. Duport said.

At Disney, safety is an important tenet and it starts with our cast members. Meet some of our team members who are helping shape, monitor and implement our enhanced health and safety measures >> Disney Parks Blog

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Disneyland Paris donates more than 1.5 million euros in food and medical supplies

During the exceptional closure of Disneyland Paris, teams working behind the scenes, assisted by Disney VoluntEARS, mobilized to help local associations and healthcare institutions, donating more than 100 tons of food, protective gear and other medical supplies with a market value of more than 1.5 million euros.

These donations are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to giving back to the community and were made possible thanks to the tremendous dedication of Cast Members working behind the scenes, as well as Disney VoluntEARS, who volunteered during their free time to help those most in need.

Many fruits and vegetables, proteins, snacks, dairy products, drinks, sweets and other delicacies were redistributed to national associations such as Secours Populaire Français, the Red Cross, Restaurants du Coeur and local social grocery stores such as Oasis à Serris, helping to bring a little comfort to those in need.

Disneyland Paris also donated protective medical equipment such as masks to the Seine-et-Marne prefecture, who redistributed the supplies according to the needs of the department’s hospitals. In addition, Hospitals and EHPADs in the Île-de-France region were able to benefit from donations of protective equipment, such as rain ponchos, distributed to healthcare professionals in collaboration with Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris – Hôpitaux de France.

Disney VoluntEARS also participated in the distribution of protective masks to the community of Serris, a town near Disneyland Paris, and helped schools upon reopening, by helping teachers in activities and offering children magical moments with fun workshops.

To ease the daily life of children hospitalized during confinement, the Disney VoluntEARS also created small educational tutorials from their homes, which were transmitted to patients via partner hospitals. These videos were accompanied by supply kits to practice the tutorials.  Additionally, several thousand toys were distributed to children in hospitals.

These actions are all part of Disneyland Paris’ social responsibility approach, in place since its opening in 1992 to support associations and neighboring local authorities working with children and families and to protect the environment.

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DISNEYLAND® PARIS REOPENS WITH LIMITED ATTENDANCE, NEW AND ENHANCED HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES

When it begins its initial phased reopening on July 15, Disneyland® Paris will once again invite guests to enjoy the unforgettable and magical moments that it is known for. In line with guidance from French government and local health authorities, Disneyland Paris parks, Disney’s Newport Bay Club hotel, and Disney Village will open with enhanced health and safety measures.

As the health and safety of our guests and Cast Members is a top priority, Disneyland Paris’ phased reopening will take a deliberate approach with limited attendance, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures aligned with guidance from French government and health authorities, and will require the wearing of face covering for guests ages eleven and older, Cast Members and third-party operators .

On July 15, the majority of Disneyland Paris’ attractions, rides, shopping, food and beverage locations will resume operations. Experiences that draw large group gatherings such as Disney Stars on Parade, the nighttime spectacular Disney Illuminations and some indoor shows will return at a later date. In order to accommodate physical distancing guidelines, Disney Character meet and greets will be temporarily unavailable. Disney Characters will be in the parks in new ways to entertain and delight guests..

The resort will continually adjust operations and health and safety measures as the situation evolves and in accordance with guidance from French authorities.

Limiting attendance with an advanced reservation system

As Disneyland® Paris welcomes guests back to the magic with a limited number of tickets available each day during the initial reopening, a new online reservation system will be made available in early July. To ensure admission, guests in possession of or buying non-dated tickets, and Annual Pass holders, will need to register on this new online reservation system to obtain a reservation for park entry prior to their arrival. Guests who already have a dated ticket do not need to register and reserve a date.  Likewise, guests with packages that include park admittance will receive admission for the duration of their stay and do not need to use the new online reservation system.

Ticket and package are now on sale on the resort’s website, Disneyland Paris call center and official travel partner channels, with a limited number of tickets available each day during the initial reopening phase. Ticket sales will not be available on site.

New physical distancing measures to protect the magic

In line with guidance from French government and health authorities, physical distancing will be implemented throughout the resort in queues, ride vehicles, shops, hotels, restaurants and other facilities, and signage will be displayed as a reminder.

In attractions, the configuration of each ride including boarding will be adapted for physical distancing between groups or families. Single Rider and FASTPASS services will be unavailable. In addition, kids’ playgrounds, traditional Character meet and greets, and makeover experiences will remain temporarily unavailable.

During the initial reopening phase, many Disney, Pixar, Star Wars Characters or Marvel Super Heroes will appear in the Parks and offer guests memorable photo opportunities. From unexpected appearances to new Selfie Spots, there’s never been a better time to see beloved characters. Close interactions, including hugs, will be temporarily suspended.

The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands top-rated show will reopen during summer 2020, and theaters will adopt a new seating configuration to promote physical distancing. Guests can check the availability of attractions and entertainment through the resort’s official website and app.

Restaurants seating capacity will be reduced, while a new Take-Away offer will allow guests to enjoy eating in the many outdoors locations available in both parks. Buffet restaurants will change to a new all-you-can-eat table service offer. Booking is highly recommended for all table service restaurants.

Disneyland® Paris boutiques will be open and reconfigured to create a larger circulation space. In addition, Cast Members will be available to encourage physical distancing. Different entry and exit paths will be used in both restaurants and boutiques, while contactless payment will be encouraged and sneeze guards installed at points of sale.

Every guest staying at a Disney Hotel or Disney Nature Resort will benefit from Extra Magic Time and can therefore enjoy access to park areas before official opening times .

In Disney Hotels, elevators will be used one family at a time and sneeze guards will be installed at front desks. Accelerated check-in procedures will be established and room service will be adapted with physical distancing measures.

Enhanced protective measures and cleaning procedures

When Disneyland Paris reopens, a layered approach to health and safety measures will be implemented throughout the resort, including required wearing of face coverings and enhanced cleaning measures.

To promote the health and safety of guests and Cast Members, guests ages eleven and older, all Cast Members and all third-party operators will be required to wear an appropriate face covering at all times except when eating.

More than 2,000 sanitizing and hand washing stations will be available throughout the resort, especially at the entrances and exit of each attraction, boutique, restaurant and theater.

Disneyland Paris will further increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting measures in addition to the standards of cleanliness already in place. Prior to reopening, the resort kitchens, sanitary facilities and attractions will undergo appropriate cleaning. Moving forward, increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be in place in high-traffic areas such as handrails, tables, handles and restrooms. Overnight procedures will clean targeted areas.

Disney Hotels are also going through a phase of deep cleaning  prior to reopening , then Disneyland Paris will implement enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures in several high-touch areas such as handles, light switches, thermostats, remotes and more. This is in addition to our standards of cleanliness already in place. Reinforced procedures include unique/new cleaning microfiber being used for each room, sanitation of amenities, use of double pillow covers and removal of items like pens, paper and throw pillows. In addition, housekeeping will not enter a guest room during a stay unless specifically requested by the guest.

 Expanded health and safety training for cast members

As Disneyland® Paris welcomes guests back to the magic, its Cast Members will play a key role in guiding and explaining new measures to guests, answering any questions and encouraging everyone to follow measures to promote the health and safety of us all.

Prior to reopening, cast members will undergo new training to ensure they are prepared to support the enhanced health and safety measures, encourage physical distancing, and manage contactless payment solutions.

Disneyland Paris asks all guests to comply with the following requirements when the resort reopens

 1/ After purchasing admission ticket(s) to Disneyland Paris, guests must make a dated reservation through the new online system  . Annual Passholders as well as guests with room only booking must also make a dated reservation for park entry in advance.

Guests who already have a dated ticket or guest who bought a hotel package with tickets included will not need to make a reservation.

All guests with special needs or situation may check disneylandparis.com or contact Disneyland Paris Central Reservation office.

2/ At arrival, guests will be asked to present both the confirmation file received after the reservation is secured AND their Park ticket to be granted access to the Parks.

3/ Guests  ages 11 and above will be required to wear an approved face covering during their entire visit, except while eating.

4/ Guests are expected to respect physical distancing and capacity measures, to read and comply with health and safety measures mentioned on signage in both digital screens and poster displays.

5/ Guests are encouraged to regularly use hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the entire visit.

We all have an important role to play in promoting health and safety. As we do our part, we also ask our guests to do theirs, by wearing face covering and respecting physical distancing and other guidelines.

It may be different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments and memories to treasure.

To help guests about these new health and safety measures and guide their journey from booking to arrival, Disneyland® Paris has developed a Disney branded health and safety programme available on digital pre-arrival communication tools such as  DisneylandParis.com.

This new programme will feature, Edna Mode, the eccentric fashion designer from The Incredibles films. She’ll provide guests with top tips to get ready for their day at the Disney® Parks.

With her characteristic sass and smarts, and with a little help from The Incredibles family members, Edna will guide guests with a step-by-step process of how to return to the Disney Parks to make their day incredible.

DID YOU KNOW?

More than 20 kilometers of ground marking stickers will help with physical distancing across the resort.

More than 50,000 liters of hand sanitizer will be distributed every month in the whole resort.

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Inside a look with the Ambassadors

Like us, you’re probably in need of some well-deserved Disney magic! Well, do we have a surprise for you…

We recently visited the Resort to meet with our Magic Keepers and made sure to take some snapshots to offer you a glimpse inside our Parks, Hotels and Disney Village while they’re temporarily closed. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them for you!

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Disneyland Paris donates 10,000 plants to Val d’Europe residents

While Disneyland Paris prepares to reopen on July 15, cast members from the Disney VoluntEARS program recently shared the magic of the destination with residents of the Val d’Europe Agglomeration nearby community by planting hundreds of flowers in the flowerbeds at Château de Coupvray park and distributing 10,000 plants to residents for personal gardening.

Originally intended for planting this spring across the resort, these flowers continued to grow during the resort’s temporary closure causing an excess for the resort.

This donation helps to reduces waste and extends the company’s solidarity with the cities of Val d’Europe – the resort’s key partners since its creation – while raising awareness among younger generations about environmental preservation and what they can do to help in their communities.

Several planting activities have been held over the past few weeks, including in Coupvray for International Environment Day on June 5, at the Serris social grocery store called l’Oasis, and in front of Jossigny hospital (Groupe Hospitalier Est Francilien – Marne-la-Vallée site) where Disney VoluntEARS planted a THANK YOU in flowers for healthcare staff on June 24.

Throughout this period of exceptional closure, Disneyland Paris has also supported neighboring healthcare institutions and associations by donating more than 100 tons of food, protective equipment and other medical supplies valued at more than 1.5 million euros.

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