StarWars

Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration – Meet the Producer and Stage Manager

Both grandiose and totally immersive, Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration – which returned on January 11 at Walt Disney Studios Park, benefits from a unique stage at the foot of the Tower of Terror and impressive technical effects. We learned more about this original production from the producer of the show, Marie-Charlotte Bientz and the stage manager, Michael Mulato.

Marie-Charlotte, Michael, how did you come to work on the show?

Marie Charlotte: I joined the company 12 years ago now. I had studied show production at university and Disneyland Paris was my work-study company during my Masters. I was fortunate to be hired as a production assistant thereafter and have grown from there to my current position. ​Disney Dreams! was the first show I worked on when I joined the production trade. This is where I met Michael. And following this experience, I was asked to participate in the development of the production infrastructure for Production Courtyard, as well as in ​Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration which uses video production like ​Disney Dreams!

Michael: As for me, I arrived at Disneyland Paris fifteen years ago in attractions, then the parades department where I accompanied Disney characters and guided floats. Two years later, I became assistant stage manager. Between 2007 and 2017, I participated in most of the destination’s shows. Then I became stage manager for productions such as ​Bienvenue à la Belle Saison (2014), ​La Garden Party de Dingo (2016) and Disney Dreams! I became a general stage manager almost three years ago for seasons like Christmas, Halloween and the first Pirates & Princesses Festival, and I’ve been stage manager of the Production Courtyard stage at the foot of the Tower of Terror for over a year now. I take care of all the shows that take place there like ​#Surprise Mickey​, ​Legends of the Force​ and ​Marvel Season of Super Heroes​.

Michael, what is your job on this particular show?

Michael: I am the operational manager of everything that happens. Once the show is in operation, that is to say after the production phase piloted by Marie-Charlotte, I direct all the trades working on it, with the help of my team of stage managers, to coordinate the whole show.

Can you tell us more about this very special stage?

Marie Charlotte: We created it to present shows for seasons and special events at Walt Disney Studios Park, so it has to be very flexible. LED screens are a very important technical element as they allow shows to be played day and night. We only had one main screen to start, but now we have three to really immerse our guests and we added two new scenes with their own screen, courtyard and garden as we say in show business. All of them can play simultaneously, both in panning and individually, which we do a lot in ​Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration.

How do you use “mapping” and sound to immerse guests in the show?

Marie Charlotte: The Tower of Terror is the tallest building at Disneyland Paris, with a mapping surface for projection that is quite unique. Technology has come a long way in the four years since Disney Dreams! started and this show has benefitted from those advances.

Michael: We have 17 video projectors, including 16 in “quadrial”, that is to say that we have four video projectors projecting the same image on a given area which allows more power and light for an even more spectacular rendering. With a large, flat surface, we can project several important scenes at the same time on several areas of the Tower. That final projector is used to dress the rest of Production Courtyard to immerse visitors even more in our story. Visitors do not just face the show, they are truly immersed in the adventure. This goes beyond projection to sound too.

Marie Charlotte: What’s also unique about this stage is the 360-degree sound, not only from the front but from a system of diffusion in 7.1 distributed all around the space that allows us to create particularly immersive effects. For example, when a ship is projected on the Tower of Terror, you have the sound of its engine all over the place like it is passing just above you.

The show combines many different means of expression. How is it all synchronized?

Michael: Everything is coordinated by a “time code” – a kind of very precise stopwatch – and all of the effects whether video, lasers or pyrotechnics are programmed from this count.

Marie Charlotte: And this time code is guided by music. Audio is the conductor of all of our shows. Natalia Beliaeva, the director of the show, stages characters and images from movement and from music. And music flows from video, lasers, light and pyrotechnics. We were particularly attentive to the way of combining all these elements around the music. It is all the more important that the score of John Williams is very, very rich. The magic of this show is to carry the audience in a movement, to give them the impression, while being static, of flying towards this distant galaxy.

How did you work with the show directors?

Marie Charlotte: Our goal in production is to make the dreams of our directors come true and to give them the skills to go even further than they imagined. In ​Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration​, this manifests itself particularly in terms of interactions with droids. The director’s wish to have some of the familiar droids influence the stage design. We were able to expand his vision to welcome C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 for a droid sequence even more important than it was at the start.

How has the show changed since 2017?

Marie Charlotte: The creation of this unique stage has certainly brought the show to a new level, and the scenic deployment has made this even more immersive. We have more space, more possibilities for characters to interact with guests, more screens to broadcast more images. And then, each new episode brings its share of novelties. And this year, we’ve integrated a tribute to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to close the saga in our own way.

How are reactions of the audience a source of inspiration for you?

Marie Charlotte: It is extremely important to us how our guests and fans react to the show. When we are lucky enough to have a season like this, which comes back from one year to the next, we listen to those audiences to improve ourselves and to fulfill the dreams of fans.

Michael: We spend weeks or even months in meetings and especially in rehearsals to see and review the show every night. But on the premiere day, it’s not the show I’m watching anymore, but the audience. This is a very strong moment that we look forward to.

What is your favorite moment from this Galactic Celebration?

Marie Charlotte: I’d say the arrival of Darth Vader. He comes out of the shadows and we just see his saber lighting up in the dark before he reveals himself to us. Iconically, it’s very strong. The whole character is there, reinforced by his images on The Tower of Terror. I also think of Darth Maul and his incredible acrobatics. He is alone on stage; his speech is very short and yet it is a very strong moment of the show.

Michael: For me, it’s the opening with the credits from Star Wars. I remember the first time I saw this show. I was still working on ​Disney Dreams!,​ but I was lucky enough to see it before everyone else. I had no idea what was going to happen. I was chatting with a colleague when all of a sudden the first chords rang out and I got chills. In an instant, I realized that something special was going to happen. I also love the finale, with all the characters on stage and the lyrics “May The Force be with you … always!” It’s a moment that transports me!

This show is the work of an entire team. Can you tell us about the human aspect?

Michael: We are about 40 people daily for video, lights, special effects, sound, control room. We have a very close-knit team here. Whether production or management, we are happy to meet every year for this production.

Marie Charlotte: If we talk about the overall show implementation, we easily go up to about 200 people. Each of us has a special attachment to Star Wars characters and stories. For my part, it was my dad who made me discover this universe. He was in the United States when the very first film was released in 1977, and he passed on his passion to me when I was a little girl. We all have a story with Star Wars. It’s an additional bond that unites us.

space_mountain_conf_title

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
reopeningJuly15

Disneyland Paris Officially Welcomes Back Guests Today

Phased reopening includes controlled capacity, enhanced health and safety protocols and a new online reservation system for advanced ticketing 

On July 15, Disneyland Paris welcomed guests back, marking the occasion this morning in a special reopening ceremony. The phased reopening of Disneyland Paris begins with Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park, Disney Village and Disney’s Newport Bay Club Hotel, including enhanced health and safety measures in line with guidance from the French government and health authorities.

Les visiteurs de retour à Disneyland Paris
Les visiteurs de retour à Disneyland Paris

The special re-opening moment was hosted by Natacha Rafalski, President of Disneyland Paris, on Main Street, U.S.A. with Sleeping Beauty Castle as a backdrop alongside Disney characters in the company of cast members, including “Magic Keepers” who cared for the resort during the closure.

“This much-anticipated day is the result of an incredible team effort, from our cast members who are at the heart of the magic of our resort, to our public partners who have continued to provide us with invaluable support,” said Natacha Rafalski. “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter at Disneyland Paris, where giving our guests the opportunity to share happy moments with family and friends has never been more meaningful.”

The reopening of Disneyland Paris is also a chance to continue the resort’s ongoing commitment to support its local communities. On Aug. 4, Disney VoluntEARS will welcome 300 children from the Île-de-France region and their families to experience a day at Disneyland Park. This is in addition to the more than €1.5 million worth of donations in food and medical-related supplies to the local community and the planting of thousands of flowers to recognize and honor local hospital staff and help beautify the community over the past few months.

Health and Safety Measures

Disneyland Paris remains committed to the well-being of guests and cast members, and as such has reimagined the resort experience, implementing updated health and safety policies in line with French government and health authorities recommendations, along with the resort’s team of health experts.

This approach brings together numerous measures to help promote health and safety, including limited and managed attendance, reduced capacity to support physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures across the resort including high-touch areas, new policies, practices and training for cast members to help carry out health and safety measures, and requiring face coverings for guests ages 11 and older, cast members and contractors. More information is available at www.disneylandparis.com

Guest Experience

At reopening, guests will find some experiences have been adjusted and others will be temporarily unavailable or return at a later date, but the timeless magic and unique storytelling will remain. Thrill seekers can ride iconic attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain, Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, while families can glide over Neverland in Peter Pan’s Flight, zoom alongside Lightning McQueen in Cars Quatre Roues Rallye and learn to fly at Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

C'est reparti pour un tour à bord de Dumbo The Flying Elephant
C’est reparti pour un tour à bord de Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Characters will be in the parks in new ways to entertain and delight guests, while one-of-a-kind dining and unique shopping experiences will return throughout the resort. The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands and Jungle Book Jive – two top-rated entertainment spectaculars – will also return later this summer. Guests can also look forward to exciting upcoming experiences at Disneyland Paris such as the new Cars Route 66 Road Trip and Disney Junior Dream Factory, the entirely reimagined Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel and the return of exclusive events planned for 2021 like Disneyland Paris Pride, Electroland and Disneyland Paris Run Weekend, not to mention the much-anticipated Avengers Campus coming in the future.

Point Selfie avec Kristoff et Sven
Point Selfie avec Kristoff et Sven

Guests wishing to visit Disneyland Paris who have non-dated tickets or Annual Passes will need to register on a new online reservation system to receive a reservation for park entry prior to their arrival. Guests who already have a dated ticket or a package that includes park entry do not need to register and reserve a date. More information on park reservations is available at www.disneylandparis.com.

Mickey est de retour au Parc Disneyland
Mickey est de retour au Parc Disneyland
pluto with dog cover

Focus on assistance dogs at Disneyland Paris

This August 26, 2020, we celebrate the International Day of Man’s Best Friend. We are of course talking about dogs! Our companions for more than 27,000 years, dogs are soft, doe-eyed and easy to fall for. Outside of the family setting, we can meet our furry friends (and we’re not talking about Pluto or Goofy) … at Disneyland Paris!

Mission: Support

Guide dogs or assistance dogs are always welcome at our destination. These essential partners help to bring more autonomy, safety and comfort to their owner’s movements, without forgetting their daily social role.

At Disneyland Paris, we regularly host the Association des Chiens Guides d’Aveugles d’Île-de-France and the ANM ‘Chiens Guides (national association of guide dog masters), which, thanks to its valuable advice, allows our company to study the best accessibility solutions.

Service dogs are welcome in our theme parks, hotels and even at certain attractions! We provide free animal care at Disneyland Paris and their stay at our hotels includes a welcome kit including two bowls and a cleaning mat.

A service dog also accompanies one of our Cast Members. His name is Lazer, and he joined our company at the same time as Laetitia in 2016. This inseparable duo has worked at Guest Relations ever since.

Although their faces makes us melt, refrain from touching them, calling them or feeding them. Only their owner can give you permission to pet assistance dogs!

Pluto poses with a new guide dog friend during the 40th anniversary of the Association Chiens dAveugles d´Ile de France (2016)

IIAB header

Imagineering in a Box

What is Imagineering in a Box?
Imagineering in a Box is a free, online program available through Khan Academy and is part of Disney’s commitment to helping today’s youth create the future they imagine by providing them with inspiration and opportunity through transformative programming. Modules compile expertise of Disney Imagineers from hundreds of career disciplines
around the world to share with users of all ages.
As part of the 32 educational videos, the program leverages Disney’s expertise in science, technology, engineering, arts and math to help close the opportunity gap and set up youth for success, and allows users to create themed experiences.


What are the modules about?
The first module focuses on how Imagineers create themed lands to bring stories to life. Users are encouraged to brainstorm and design their own themed land and refine it throughout this lesson.
The art and engineering of attraction design is the second module for this series. Users design a concept for their own attraction and put their idea to the test in a ride simulator exercise.
The third lesson covers how Imagineers bring dimensional characters to life.
Users will design their own character prototype and practice animating it.


What is Walt Disney Imagineering?
Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is the creative and engineering force that imagines, designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions and cruise ships worldwide, along with overseeing merchandise product development and Disney’s games and publishing businesses.
Imagineering’s unique strength comes from its diverse global team of creative and technical professionals who build on Disney’s legacy of storytelling to pioneer new forms of entertainment. As an innovation-driven business, Disney Imagineers imagine and develop immersive experiences that connect with people all over the world. Disney is
committed to helping today’s youth create the future they imagine by providing them with inspiration and opportunity through transformative programming.


What is Khan Academy?
Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy’s mastery learning system and content platform includes thousands of exercises, videos, and articles that cover a range of K-12 subjects and is always free for teachers, students, parents, and learners.
More than 18 million learners use Khan Academy every month. Khan Academy relies upon donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals around the world. For more information, please visit khanacademy.org

Click here to get started!

Journée du Patrimoine 2020

Disneyland Paris celebrates its heritage and craftsmanship

Every year, on European Heritage Days – or Journées du Patrimoine – musems and monuments open their doors so that visitors can discover great treasures in France and in Europe. This weekend in Paris and Île-de-France, many museums, monuments, castles and other cultural places open their doors for free so that you can enjoy entertainment, guided tours and exhibitions. For the third year in a row, Disneyland Paris will participate in the event, celebrating its craftsmanship and artistic heritage virtually during a weekend-long celebration.

Disneyland Paris boasts 28 years of expertise in the field of entertainment. The creativity and meticulous work of “lmagineers” – who design Disney resorts – never cease to take our guests on a journey into completely immersive experiences.

With parades, musical shows and entertainment of all kinds, Disneyland Paris also serves as a rich and diverse stage that is reimagined over the seasons, mobilizing hundreds of artists with diverse specialties. From the rooftops of the Fuente del Oro restaurant during the Zorro show in the summer of 1993, to the stages of Central Plaza, the destination is a true open-air theater! Since the opening of Disneyland Park in 1992, more than 80 parades and cavalcades have taken place.

This year, everyone can discover online:

  • A video guided tour dedicated to the cultural heritage and artistic inspirations of our theme parks, highlighting the architecture, history and local craftsmanship of Europe’s leading tourist destination through three focuses: Sleeping Beauty Castle and Discoveryland at Disneyland Park, and Place de Rémy at Walt Disney Studios Park.
  • A video report on the costumes of Audio-Animatronics in our theme parks.
  • A virtual exhibit offering a retrospective of fabulous stage costumes, parade floats and unpublished photographs, led by a director at the resort who will answer audience questions asked through stories on Disneyland Paris’ Instagram.

Disneyland Paris’ Heritage: Behind-the-Scenes of the Attractions

Did you know that sailors from Pirates of the Caribbean, spirits from Phantom Manor and all the stars at Disneyland Paris attractions are meticulously taken care of every day backstage? Our Audio-Animatronics and still figures require careful treatment, maintaining the magic every day for more than 28 years.

Every morning, a team of dressmakers go for a round of inspection to make sure everything is in perfect shape and take care of every costume adjustment or update that is required. They work hand-in-hand with teams from Figure Finishing and Walt Disney Imagineering to preserve the heritage of Europe’s number one tourist destination.

Which phantom requires costume adjustments? What are the new techniques to use? Are the Seven Dwarfs’ beards always impeccable? Which pirate needs a new black light painting? Find out all answers and more with this new exclusive video.

There are more than 500,000 different pieces just for operational costumes across the Resort !
More than 31,000 items have been created for entertainement since 1992 
On the occasion of the Festival of Pirates and Princesses, 45,000 meters of fishing line were needed to create the costumes of the Princesses’ camp.
The show Mickey and the Magician received an award for best theatrical production (IAAPA) in 2016 and Trophy “Coup de coeur” for its adaptation in French sign language (Association Tourisme & Handicaps) in 2018.
les topiaires

Green Behind-The-Scene

The hidden treasures of Disneyland Paris: from topiaries to exotic plants, including beehives, flowers and trees…


in this first episode, we set off to discover topiaries with Diagana Mohamadou, landscape gardener at Disneyland Paris. 🌱🍃

in this third episode, we set off to discover the world of flowers with Manon Hazebroucq, project leader at Disneyland Paris. 🌹🌸

in this fifth and final episode, we set off to discover the exotic plants of Adventureland with gardener Didier Fleurquin at Disneyland Paris. 🌴🌺

in this second episode, we discover our beehives with Thibaut Vandomme, wildlife caretaker at Disneyland Paris. 🐝

in this fourth episode, we set off to discover the secrets of trees with arborist Martial Riot and landscape gardener Charles Beaumont at Disneyland Paris. 🌳🍃

Nicolas

Interview with Nicolas Cueff, Cosmetology Designer

Makeup designs are instrumental when creating the magic of shows and parades at Disneyland Paris. Cosmetology designer Nicolas Cueff tells us about his job and work on Disney’s Halloween Festival.

How did you become a cosmetology designer at Disneyland Paris?

I always dreamed about working in the entertainment industry. Originally, I trained as a hairdresser and makeup artist, and then I decided to specialize as a hairstylist. At the end of my studies, one of my teachers who used to work at Disneyland Paris suggested that I apply, and I got my first contract three weeks later! It was for the 2004 Halloween season. It was very impressive, because it’s a particularly intense season for makeup artists. We had to do hair and makeup for so many performers. Some makeup designs require the use of prosthetics and very specific skills. Fortunately, I was able to rely on my team. I learned a lot during this time. I spent more than 10 years in the Cosmetology department, and I did hair and makeup for most shows and parades featured in the parks. Then, 3 years ago, our leadership team decided it would be interesting to start a department with designers specialized in hair and makeup just like costumes and sets, and that idea gave rise to the Creative Cosmetology department where I now work as a makeup, hair and wig designer. It was just two of us when we first opened the department, and now we’re a team of three. The first project I worked on as part of this new role was the Festival of Pirates and Princesses, followed by The Lion King and Jungle Festival which required a lot of makeup work.

Can you describe your job?

First, you have to create what the makeup is going to look like. Once it’s approved, you come up with a technical sheet that includes the different products to be used for each design and where they should be applied on the face to help support the work of our makeup artists in the field. We facilitate trainings so they can practice and have a full grasp of each design. This also helps us understand how long the makeup process takes. Some performers can do their own makeup. We have to train them too. After the show is officially launched, we provide support to the team of makeup artists. Makeup is not an exact science. Two different people can work on the same design and never get the same result. We just have to make sure that the original design is fully there, throughout the entire process. Finally, another part of our job is to constantly assess and order makeup products and wigs necessary for our seasons and shows.

How do you create an original makeup design?

It always starts with a piece of paper and pencils. I always carry colored pencils with me, and I usually need to put my ideas on paper first, whether it be the color palette or what it’s going to look like. Soon after, I practice on a human model as working on shapes and volumes inspires me so much. Finally, for technical sheets, I work with computer graphics designers to be as accurate and detailed as possible.

I tend to get inspired by Disney animated movies. Show directors also tell me what they want: colors, materials to create sets and more. All of this gives you an idea of what the show is going to be like. And then, I meet up with costume designers to decide the way in which makeup can become an integral part of the performers’ outfits.

How would you describe Disney’s Halloween Festival?

There are several themes. On one side, Fall, with brown, orange or pumpkin tones, and on the other side, fright, with dark colors. Ursula and her eels also make surprise appearances, which give the impression that we are in the ocean.

What are the most iconic creations in this year’s Festival?

There will be so many different surprises this season. Get ready and keep your eyes wide open! You might just see a puzzling float or animation at any given time.

To me, one of the most iconic creations I came up with a few years ago is the character we fondly call “Raven Girl.” It’s a very mysterious role, even more so as she hides in a tree. She is dressed in cold colors, like her lace hat, so we went with black and khaki green.

As the hat covers the top part of her face, the show director asked me to create an original makeup design for the lower part. I got inspired both by the float and costume and imagined roots creeping up on her chin and jaw.

This mix recalls The Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical, which you also worked on. How did this previous experience help you with Disney’s Halloween Festival?

The Forest of Enchantment was a great creative project which helped me develop numerous skills I still use to this day. It was the very first time I had so many makeup designs to create, on so many different themes like fauna and flora. This experience helped me create the makeup design for “Raven Girl,” as both elements can be found in this character whose body is a tree and head is a raven standing on top of this tree. Hence the idea to have the lower part of the face covered with roots while the top part, with the beak and hat, represents the animal.

You mentioned Ursula’s sidekicks who will accompany her during her surprise appearances. How did you create their makeup designs?

We looked at the colors featured in their costumes, which remind of the ocean, and we imagined a makeup with different shades of blue while playing with shadows and lights. We also took a little bit of green from Flotsam and Jetsam. Show directors often have very specific ideas about the backstory of each character. For the dancers standing next to the two eels, we really wanted guests to forget that they are human beings. This made us want to create a makeup effect that distorts the face, with asymmetrical eyes. They really feel like creatures from another world. It’s just great to have so much freedom!

What is a “Disney makeup”?

It’s really a type of makeup meant for the stage! It needs to be over-the-top! It has to be very colorful and intense as it needs to be seen from afar and fully reflect the personality of the character. It also has to be an integral part of the show and create wonder for the guests. It’s the opposite of TV shows or certain movies where makeup has to remain discreet. At Disneyland Paris, we use makeup as an art form and we are proud of it!

Disney’s Halloween Festival is also a time when our guests can come with dramatic makeup looks. What are the new trends this year?

As everyone needs to wear a mask, I would recommend focusing on the eyes! It’s always nice to have a smokey eye effect for Halloween. Black eyeliner is always very effective!

What piece of advice would you give to those who dream to do what you do?

It’s a very technical job which you have to learn both in school and in the field. It requires a great deal of patience because it takes quite some time. Each face is different and a method which works great on one person will not necessarily work on another person. In addition, fashion is ever-changing so you have to be willing to adapt constantly. And, you have to love people. You can’t “just” do makeup. When you do someone’s hair and makeup, there needs to be a bond. You have to be a good listener and provide guidance while staying in your place. The makeup artists who’ve had the most successful careers are obviously great technicians, but they are also people who have outstanding interpersonal skills. That’s also what I love about my job!