Star Wars Legends Selfie Spot: Three questions for Show Director Natalia Beliaeva

Natalia, can you introduce yourself and explain your background?

Yes, of course! I am from Russia, and after my studies I travelled quite a bit as a professional dancer. When I arrived in Paris, I auditioned for Disneyland Paris and I was accepted! I was really lucky; I met a lot of wonderful people.

My career at Disneyland Paris started in 2002 as a Dancer on shows like The Tarzan Encounter. Afterwards, I became a Dance Captain and then a Choreographer.

I’ve been a Show Director at Disneyland Paris for 5 years now, and today, I’m lucky enough to work on the Star Wars Legends Selfie Spot.

What can our Guests expect at Videopolis when it reopens?

At Videopolis, guests can for the first time meet many characters from the Star Wars galaxy and take their best selfie with them!

Everything is done so that the Guests have the impression they’ll be arriving on Tatooine. The scenography allows for complete immersion thanks to the lighting adapted to the characters, depending on whether they are on the dark or the light side of the force! This is also achieved through the backdrops and set elements that create the scene, and the visual result is a true success.

We completed this project in only 3 months, and we are very proud to be able to offer this new experience. So, if you want to meet Chewbacca, Rey, Phasma, Boba Fett and many more… May the force be with you!

How did the collaboration with the Star Wars franchise teams go on this project?

Working with the Star Wars franchise teams was very rewarding, especially because I’ve already worked with them since the first Season of the Force (2017).

They work directly with the movie production company Lucasfilm Ltd., so they are the best people to help us with this project. I’ve been talking with the Star Wars franchise teams in an effort to stay true to their vision and especially to understand all of the powers of The Force!

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Disneyland Paris Celebrates Pride Month With Cast, Guests and Associations

This month, Disneyland Paris joined in a global effort to recognize, engage and raise awareness on LGBTQ+ topics as part of the resort’s ongoing efforts to foster a culture of inclusion, where everyone is welcome.

We kicked things off on June 1 with a Pride dance challenge, encouraging guests, fans and even Cast Members to submit their own attempts at recreating a choreographed video to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. The exclusive new song, called ‘Around the World’, had everyone on their feet all month long.

With the release of Rainbow Disney Collection merchandise across the resort and on shopDisney.com, guests had yet another chance to show their support in style, from spirit jerseys to backpacks to pins and more. In recognition of the collection, The Walt Disney Company is donating funds to organizations that support LGBTQ+ communities including MAG Jeunes LGBT in France, Diversity Role Models in the UK, ARELAS in Spain, diversity München e.V. in Germany and Famiglie Arcobaleno in Italy.

Pride Month was also an opportunity to introduce our Disney PRIDE BERG – short for ‘Business Employee Resource Group’ – with an incredible panel of Cast Members from all divisions and levels of the company who are working every day to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ topics by organizing and support key actions and events.

Our biggest activation of all was a virtual Pride Conference yesterday which brought together Cast Members, associations and members of the LGBTQ+ community to talk about themes of same-sex families, allyship, discrimination and gender identity. Like our International Women’s Day Conference in March, this exclusive event was a key opportunity to hear new voices and come together for a day of discussion, learning and positive momentum for the future. This year’s event featured many French associations contributing their valuable insights such as MAG Jeunes LGBT, ADFH, Association Contact, Le collectif Famille.s, Respect Zone and ACVS-49. 

To further engage with communities, Disneyland Paris invited 40 members from MAG Jeunes LGBT to experience a day of magic at the parks last week, followed by an opportunity to listen and learn along with our Cast Members during the Pride Conference.

Guests at Disneyland Park also had a fun surprise yesterday when Mickey and Minnie stepped out in colorful costumes to the theme of “Around the World,” dancing and celebrating through the park for an epic conclusion to the month.

While today is the last day of Pride Month celebrations around the world, Disneyland Paris’ commitment to diversity and inclusion continues all year round with impactful initiatives and events to engage Cast Members, guests and communities. Learn more about the company’s core actions by visiting Our Commitments page!

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Disney Junior Dream Factory: Meet the show’s co-creator, Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal

To bring a show to life, it all starts with a great story that needs to be told. Ludovic-Alexandre, co-creator of this new production, tells us how he used his pen to bring dreams to life…

How did you become a writer for musical theater?

Nothing per se pre-destined me to work in the artistic world. I was trained as an engineer, with a doctorate from the École Centrale in Paris. A meeting with my close friend and composer Julien Salvia – with whom I have been writing musicals for 15 years now – changed everything. We started working together during our studies at Centrale, and when we left school, we decided to continue. We wrote The Prince and the Pauper, then Rapunzel and the Adventurous Prince, and The Little Match Girl (with Anthony Michineau), both nominated for Molières Awards. These were followed by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Around the World in 80 Days, performed at The Mogador and also nominated for Molières Awards. We also worked on animated series and shows in England, and I adapted shows from English to French such as Sister Act, Cats and Beauty and the Beast, always at The Mogador.

How did you come to work for Disneyland Paris?

It was my childhood dream! My first contact with musicals was with the great Disney classics of the 1990s. I dreamt of joining this great family! Julien happened to be one of the performers in The Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical Adventure performed at The Chaparral Theater from 2016 to 2017. It was there that he met the show’s producer, Claire Salmon. At the time, our Tom Sawyer was playing at The Mogador, and that’s how she discovered our work. Things fell into place naturally with Claire, Aurélien Berda – who was also working on the project – and Paul Chychota, the director of Disney Junior Dream Factory. For a first experience at Disneyland Paris, it has been a dream experience! And as luck would have it, Julien was also picked as one of the performers for the show!

What is the story behind Disney Junior Dream Factory?

There is a place on Earth where dreams from all over the world are collected to transform them into magic that is then spread throughout the world: it is the Dream Factory. Our Guests will have the unique opportunity to discover this wonderful place. As the story progresses, they realize that of the six employees in the factory, three are natural dreamers – Rotor, Gasket and Stylus – and the other three have more difficulties dreaming. Axel and Spark will need Fancy Nancy and Vampirina to learn how to convey their dreams while Miss Mallet, the head of the factory, is so busy running it that she has forgotten to dream. Thanks to Timon and the whole team, she will learn to dream again, and the whole factory will start working again.

How did you go about writing the show?

We went through many phases and versions before deciding upon the final one. In our first meeting with Paul, we thought about the concept and how we would represent dreams on stage. What is a dream? How does the factory work? These are all questions we asked ourselves to determine the core of our story. We also thought about which characters would be present and about the songs from Disney Junior that would help tell our story. Then we collaborated with Matt Hoverman, one of the writers on the Fancy Nancy Clancy series. He knows Disney Junior inside and out, and he lent us his expertise on the storytelling of all these Characters. We also translated some of the songs and dialogue, while being very careful to make sure that our story was understandable beyond the words, through the Characters’ body language and movements.

How do the Disney Junior Characters fit into the story?

We invited the Characters who would be the best at helping the workers who are having trouble dreaming. For Axel, we really needed the help of Fancy Nancy Clancy. He doesn’t dare to speak up and is hardly noticed. Fancy Nancy Clancy is going to teach him to dare to be himself, to express his chic and flamboyant side, like her! As for Spark, she is passionate about music but prefers to hide in the locker room playing the guitar. With her “rock star” side, Vampirina was the perfect Character to help Spark assert herself and show her talent to the world. She’s been there, done that, and gone down that same road. As for Miss Mallet, she’s a bit stuck in her manager role. Nothing better than Timon to teach her to let go and finally discover herself.

Mickey and Minnie are also in the show.

When the Factory breaks down, our six employees are in a bit of a panic, and to help them, they will need the dream experts: Mickey and Minnie! They are the ones who will magically summon all of the Disney Junior Characters to help out.

Disney Junior Dream Factory is a show that speaks to children and adults alike. How did you find the right tone to engage the whole family?

First of all, we had to be faithful to Disney Junior, and that’s where Matt was essential because he knows all the details. It was necessary that the Guests who know and appreciate these Characters find them as they are in our show. We also accomplished this through humor, like Timon’s jokes. Rotor, Gasket and Stylus form a very funny trio because they are Characters with very distinct personalities. Rotor is the nervous one who is a bit afraid of everything, while Gasket is the natural dreamer who reassures everyone. This contrast generates funny situations.

In another realm, Miss Mallet has let herself be locked up in this bubble of daily work and has lost sight of the child inside herself. This theme will speak to another part of the audience.

This is the richness of the show that can be read on different levels. Guests can come simply to have fun and be amazed because this show is full of energy with dancing, singing, magic, humor – it doesn’t stop! You can go even further and find more wonder, messages and emotions.

Guests will be able to share a family experience, go through all kinds of emotions and connect to different key moments in the story.

Speaking of harmony, how do the songs fit into the show?

The music has an essential place, and the songs really service the story. Nothing was free and easy. There was an enormous amount of vocal work between the six performers who sing live in several voices. It’s like in our story – the harmony between our Characters is that each brings their own tone and personality to sing the same song together. The “live” aspect of the show brings an incredible amount of energy, and when you hear these six voices resonating together, it’s magical! I can’t thank enough the teams who prepared our performers. It’s beautiful to see and hear. To imagine it all on paper and to see it take shape is just phenomenal!

The script of Disney Junior Dream Factory also uses lots of accessories. How did you come up with them?

This was a really exciting aspect of creating the show. We talked about it from our very first meeting with Paul. We immediately asked ourselves how we would bring the dreams to life on stage and how this energy could be collected which had a direct impact on the sets and props. This is how we came up with the “dreamometer” which measures the dreams collected in the factory. There are all sorts of set elements, like the extraordinary transporter which allows people to teleport. And let’s not forget the slide! It was an obvious choice because it symbolizes the childhood that our natural dreamers have kept. This prop allowed for very original Character arrivals compared to what is usually done on theater stages.

French Sign Language is present in a particularly original way in the show.

Absolutely! Not only do we have a French Sign Language performer during the performances to welcome the public and help them follow the show better, but the show’s choreographer Pierre Caumon made sure that some of the dancers’ movements integrate the sign language. It’s beautiful and just perfect.

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Disney Junior Dream Factory: Meeting with Charles Saulais, Special Effects Entertainment Designer

Disney Junior Dream Factory, created exclusively for Disneyland Paris, is a show full of rhythm and fantasy where the special effects bring a unique touch of magic. Charles tells us more about this brand-new production and about his unique job.

Before we talk about Disney Junior Dream Factory, can you tell us about your career at Disneyland Paris?

I’ve always been passionate about the world of entertainment in general and special effects in particular. That’s what led me to join Disneyland Paris 19 years ago when Walt Disney Studios Park opened. I started as a Special Effects Technician on the Motors… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. Gradually, I was given more and more complex tasks, and that’s how I became Special Effects Stage Manager, Assistant Special Effects Project Manager, and finally Special Effects Entertainment Designer in 2015. I have been working in the Support Technical Device Show division since 2017, always as a Special Effects Entertainment Designer. I have worked on many productions such as The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands, Frozen, Disney Stars on Parade, Season of the Force and other seasons like Christmas and Halloween.

Can you tell us about your job?

When I was a Technician, I was taking care of the projects that were given to me. Now, as a Designer, I have moved to the creative side. I have a special relationship with the productions and with the Directors. My role is to bring the Director’s vision to life and bring wonder to our Guests. We reveal emotions.

How did you approach this new stage and new show?

Studio D has been completely redone and now uses the latest technology. It was designed to be multi-functional which allows us to do a lot of new things. It’s an exciting new playground for us.

For Disney Junior Dream Factory, I had a long discussion with Paul Chychota, the Director. The main idea was to use the audience’s senses such as sight and smell as much as possible, to offer the most immersive experience. For example, with Paul, we wanted the audience to be immersed even before the show started. So, we looked for solutions on how we could make an ambiance fragrance for the theater, and we settled on a very unique “cotton candy” scent. We smelled dozens of them before making our choice. This one has notes of sugar and almond that fit perfectly with the spirit of the place. As soon as the public gets a small whiff of it, straight away, they’re drawn into our story.

How did you go about choosing the effects for the show?

We worked hard to find special effects that were truly immersive. For instance, the smoke bubbles that we see during Vampirina’s appearance are really incredible. When they explode, you have these magnificent spiral shaped forms that correspond perfectly to the character’s universe. The bubbles will surprise you throughout the show. You’ll even see Mickey’s head lit via the transparent bubbles. It’s really magical!

Each effect is directly linked to the story, put in the show for a reason. As a designer, I worked from the script and the discussions we had with Paul. He conveyed his ideas to me and then I tried to give them shape by proposing different effects. Once he chose the effects he wanted, we began the testing phase.

How do you manage that?

For pyrotechnic effects, we use software to preview the final rendering, but for other effects, nothing beats full-scale tests. For example, for the bubbles, one of the show’s magic moments, I really looked for something that you don’t usually see. It is indeed the first time that this effect is being used in a theater at Disneyland Paris. Once I found what I wanted, I made the installation and executed the effect for Paul – he was speechless. The research process can be quite long, but with testing, you know right away if it’s the right choice.

Did the show’s Characters inspire you to make certain effects?

When Paul presented me with the script for the show, he told me that Fancy Nancy Clancy would be there. I thought that was very original because you don’t often see her at Disney Parks. So, we had to find an idea to mark her arrival. He wanted a slightly chic effect, with color like in the series. I suggested we release confetti in the form of butterflies of all colors. In one of the first episodes of the show, Fancy Nancy says she’s a butterfly expert, and I thought that when she came on stage to sing and dance, she would be thrilled to be among her winged friends.

Smoke has a special role in this show.

We use smoke effects in different ways. On the one hand, interacting with the sets, especially with the machine where the Characters pop out. Our idea was to make it alive, to make it a real character. There is a lot going on around it and the smoke allows us to animate it, to give it life.

We also worked a lot on the light marking, the way the smoke prolongs the light and gives it a particular density. It was a real team effort. The lighting designer worked with Paul to develop the lighting identity for the show, and the ambient smoke enhances all these lighting effects. When you walk into a factory, there’s movement, animation on all sides. The smoke makes all these things palpable, even more real.

A true team effort!

Yes, the team has many experts in each field – audio, machinery, lighting, special effects. We work with a technical director who supervises the entire project, from the structures to the decoration, as well as with all the technicians who set up the various machines on stage.

How do you manage to stay on top of things, to constantly deliver new ideas for the shows at Disneyland Paris?

First of all, it’s a lot of research. I watch a lot of shows. I also keep a close eye on new technologies by going to trade shows and talking to companies and specialists. It’s a small world and everyone knows each other. That being said, a good special effects technician is above all a good handyman. For example, it’s not unusual to take an existing machine and totally change it from its original use to create an original effect such as a fan that could be used not to make wind, but to suck in air.

What does the Disney Junior Dream Factory represent for your career?

For me, this theater and this show represent a true renaissance. It’s one of the first steps in the upcoming expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park. I feel a tremendous amount of pride to be able to be a part of it. It’s a privilege to be able to do the job I do at Disneyland Paris and especially in this kind of venue. It’s a dream job, in an absolutely fabulous environment, with exceptional people. Disneyland Paris is my very own Dream Factory!

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Discover one of the world’s largest collections of Marvel art with Thomas Muller, Scenographe

After several years of transformation, Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel opened its doors on June 21. Thomas Muller, Scenographer for Walt Disney Imagineering Paris Design & Show Quality, tells us more about his role in opening Disney’s first ever hotel dedicated to Marvel art.

With more than 350 works of art on display in the common areas, Guests at Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel can now experience one of the largest collections of Marvel art available to the public. “We often talk about the number of pieces, but that’s not counting the ones in the guest rooms and suites, making a total of more than 1,500 Marvel-themed decorative elements throughout the hotel,” Thomas explains.

Thomas joined the Walt Disney Imagineering Paris teams in 2018 just before the hotel’s transformation began, becoming familiar with the plans and designs drawn up by Sylvie Massara, Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering Paris Design & Show Quality. In collaboration with his fellow Imagineers in Glendale, California, Thomas was responsible for the development and installation of the hundreds of works of art that make Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel a unique experience, immersing Guests in the atmosphere of a New York City art gallery. “You have to think about it beforehand and know exactly where you are going to put this or that painting. After that, we identify the Super Hero we want to highlight and how the art will look in the environment where it’s displayed. Several artistic trends are represented: realism, comics, pop art and street art. In total, 110 artists specialists in Marvel art have contributed to the realization of the art pieces.

Among the most impressive is the gigantic backlit comic book in the lobby, the heart of the space. Designed by Spanish artist Carlos Gomez, it was conceived in black and white for traditional comic book style, and without text so all visitors can understand it regardless of their nationality.

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Also in the lobby, Guests can admire some of the most iconic Marvel Super Heroes, engraved on huge columns. “It took almost fifty hours to engrave one panel. It looks absolutely stunning in the light,” says Thomas. The hotel’s exterior is not to be outdone, as the sports field in the Hero Training Zone also features a huge work of art that can be seen in its entirety from the sky. In the Jack Kirby Legacy Gallery, Guests will discover a permanent exhibition of 21 comic book covers, which require careful study to find small hidden images. The space, named after the legendary “King of Comics,” was designed to accommodate temporary exhibitions as well.

To reinforce the feeling of being immersed in a New York City art gallery, Cast Members from the reception and concierge areas are trained on the various artistic trends represented. Guests can request guided tours at the reception desk – these ‘Art Guardians’ have plenty to share with Guests about the many works of art exhibited in the hotel.

The main challenge encountered during this transformation period was to completely reinvent the hotel from an already existing base and structure. “We had to stay true to the identity of the building while giving it a new energy and giving our Guests and Cast Members the impression that we are in a new place. I believe we were successful with this challenge!”

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DISNEY JUNIOR DREAM FACTORY: MEET YARON SPIWAK, SENIOR MUSIC PRODUCER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Music is at the heart of Disneyland Paris’ newest stage production. Yaron reveals all of the secrets behind the making of the show

Yaron, can you tell us about the musical concept behind Disney Junior Dream Factory?

Our show is in the great tradition of musical theatre. Some of our Characters, like Fancy Nancy Clancy, are relatively new to European audiences. Thus, we wanted use a musical style that would speak to the greatest number of people, without them necessarily needing to know the Disney Junior series beforehand. The music plays an essential role. It allows us to go along with the story and to touch people’s hearts directly.

What was your role in this production?

I was the Co-Producer and Creative Director for this production. As Senior Music Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering, one of my responsibilities is to collaborate with the Music Producers at Disney Parks around the world. It allows me to bring a particular, more global approach to the different shows, and to bring in new and exciting artists in order to meet the specific needs of each production.

So, it’s a very collaborative function. Can you tell us more about this aspect of your work for Disney Junior Dream Factory?

I worked in particular with Jonathan Barr, who produces music for Disneyland Paris. We’ve worked together on many, shows for the Disney Parks and in particular for Disneyland Paris. Together, we produced the music for Frozen 2: An Enchanted Journey and Frozen: A Musical Invitation. He is a fantastic partner and a great musician.

When I produce the music for Disneyland Paris shows such as The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands or Marvel: Season of Super Heroes, I also regularly collaborate with the Disneyland Paris music department team, which also includes Estelle Champeau and Guillaume Coignard. It’s always a great pleasure to collaborate with them. Each project is different, and the team always manages to make these experiences exciting and fun. This arrangement between Walt Disney Imagineering and Disneyland Paris is one of the keys to the success of our shows.

How did you approach the songs for the show?

When you launch a new show, a lot of the songs have to be rearranged so that can fit perfectly into a new production, both in terms of ambiance and staging. For example, Vampirina plays a guitar solo that doesn’t exist in the series. So, that brings up a number of questions: what will her guitar sound like? What parts of the song will she sing? We also had to come up with a special musical arrangement for a moment when Fancy Nancy Clancy dances. At first, we even considered creating an original, but we quickly realized that the songs from the various Disney Junior series were great and fit exactly with the message we wanted to convey in our show… All we had to do was adapt them, and for that we turned to Tim Heintz, who arranged the music for Jungle Jive. He had also done the arrangements for the Disney Junior Dance Party! songs at Disney’s Hollywood Studio Park in Florida. His work was much appreciated by the people at Disney Junior, so naturally, we turned to him again.

How did you manage to give this “musical theatre style to the Disney Junior songs?

For this show, we deconstructed the original arrangements and created new ones in the spirit of musical theater. I would say that these new arrangements are better suited to the stage. They were envisioned in a way so that the whole audience would feel emotionally involved… really tailor-made for our show. It’s not like a concert.  Each song is part of the story and makes sense within the whole show.

As such, Tim Heintz’s arrangements vary greatly, just like the different Characters’ worlds.

Yes, our songs call upon many different styles. Vampirina has a more rock style, while Timon is more Afro-Caribbean and for Fancy Nancy Clancy, there’s a more classical French touch, particularly with the accordion.  For some children, it is the first time they are exposed to a musical show, and it is very important that we offer them musical diversity. It is in this context that we had the idea of integrating Offenbach’s music in the Fancy Nancy Clancy number. This European touch is really part of Disneyland Paris’ musical identity. It’s both a mark of respect for our guests and a way to connect with them.  It’s something we feel very strongly about, no matter the songs, composers or arrangers. 

How did the recordings go?

It was a pretty special experience in that the sessions took place the first week of March 2020 in Los Angeles, right before lockdown. We came to the studio every day without knowing if we would be able to meet the next day. In this very particular context, music allowed us to escape. We focused on the moment – also a message in the show – and on the pleasure of doing what we love most of all, music. In these recordings, we tried to recreate the sound of a musical theater orchestra, with a cinematic touch. For several songs, we had particular instruments: the accordion for Fancy Nancy Clancy, a distortion guitar for Vampirina and marimbas for Timon and The Lion Guard.

The recording was done over several sessions, notably for health and safety reasons as we could not have all the instrumentalists together at the same time in the same room: we had small groups, sometimes only soloists, recording separately. As for the recorded vocal parts, they were done partly in the United States, and partly in France as some of the vocals are in French.

There is something really magical about the music.

At first, a score is just notes on a page. Then the musicians arrive and give them life. During the recordings, the notes literally flowed from the pages and you can feel it during the show. It is this type of passion and commitment that made the music for this show truly magical!

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DISNEY JUNIOR DREAM FACTORY, MEET LIGHTING DESIGNER TIM LUTKIN

Frequently contributing to the shows at Disneyland Paris, Tim highlights his participation in Disney Junior Dream Factory.

Tim, you have worked on many projects for Disneyland Paris: Mickey and the Magician, Marvel: Super Heroes United, Frozen: A Musical Invitation, The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands and now Disney Junior Dream Factory. What is your point of view on this impressive journey?

It’s really exciting to be able to work and create at Disneyland Paris. I’m fortunate to have a very eclectic career allowing me to combine skills from musical theatre, live concerts and plays. I love being a part of the wonderful teams that create the Disney magic. Its been a dream come true for me as at the age of fourteen I wanted to become an Imagineer.

What role does light play in this new show?

It plays a dual role. On the one hand, it contributes to this magnificent factory for dream’s appearance, having all sorts of little elements that light up and interact with the Characters and the storyline.

Then, on the other hand, it supports the show’s musical dimension. For each number, the light transforms this Factory into a true concert hall, a fairy-tale of lights making the whole space vibrate to the energetic rhythm of the music.

The light puts us in the mood even before the show starts. How did you manage this?

When the audience first enters the theatre, the feeling they get is that of discovering this magnificent space that seems to be alive. You see all sorts of details, like gears moving and smoke coming out of the machines. Since we did not put a stage curtain that would hide the set before the beginning of the show, I chose to create a deep blue universe, a sort of subdued ambiance. This creates a somewhat mysterious atmosphere. There are also tiny amber lights flying through space, creating a bit of magic. You don’t notice them right away, but when you see the show a few times, it’s the kind of little extra detail you appreciate. When the factory team arrives. The factory fills with golden light and comes to life. This is our equivalent to open our curtain.

With each Character intervention, we go from theatre to concert. How did you manage these two aspects?

I’ve been fortunate in my career to be able to work on both musical theatre and concerts. Many of the shows at Disneyland Paris play on these two aspects. On the one hand, the dialogue passages must be understandable and well-lit, and on the other hand, the atmosphere of an exciting concert must be created, so that the audience feels totally immersed. For Vampirina’s number, I use a lot of moving lights with upward movements and strobe effects. It’s like a U2 concert!

How does the light interact with the special effects?

Charles Saulais, the show’s Special Effects Designer, did a wonderful job. We use smoke and haze effects throughout the show to build up the atmosphere. During Vamperina’s rock concert we have bubbles filled with smoke floating down over the audience to create that party vibe!

The finale of the show is a festival of colors!

Throughout the show, in order to best embody the universe of each Character, we were very strict in terms of color palettes. The finale was an opportunity to mix it all up by creating a big rainbow. It symbolizes the fact that everyone’s dreams eventually come together and create magic. It’s a moment where everyone reconnects, on stage and in the audience.

How did you deal with the very original Steampunk side of the Factory?

From the beginning, when I worked with Scott Shaffer, the Senior Art Director for the project, we thought that the set should be able to change color, and to do that, I relied on numerous Steampunk style details. Each element, like the arches, is filled with small LED bulbs, and hidden behind them is more LED lighting, not to mention the back wall with all its patterns. In all, there are nearly 8000 individual LEDs integrated into the sets to bring this Factory to life!  So even if you turn off the stage lighting, the scenery still glows. All you have to do is choose a color, and it takes up the entire space.

What are the lighting challenges in Studio D?

The challenge of Studio D is its rounded shape, like an amphitheatre. We had to make sure that the audience sitting on the sides would be able to see the performers and the Characters as clearly as if they were in the centre. In a regular theatre, everyone sees the show from the same angle. At Studio D, everyone sees the show from a different angle!

How do you design the lighting program for a show like this?

I spend a lot of time talking with the designers and developing ideas and concepts, then it’s time for rehearsals with the artists and the director. Once all the lighting is in place, we move to the centre of the amphitheatre and start programming the lights. We start with basic lighting, then add more and more layers of light in conjunction with the different scenes and Characters.

How is the lighting for the show managed on a daily basis?

The fabulous lighting teams at Disneyland Paris make sure that day in and day out they recreate the lighting that we designed. The lighting program is printed on paper and recorded on our computers. The operators work from both to make sure everything is perfect for each and every show.

In addition to your work on the show, you were involved in the Studio D design.

Yes, I did. I worked with the Disneyland Paris teams to design the lighting platform and the different gantries. I also chose all the lighting equipment and developed new devices. We have more than 200 spotlights, including moving lights and wash lights for ambient lighting on large surfaces.

We have created a place that respects the environment thanks to low consumption lighting, which is very important when you think that the lights can be on for 12 to 14 hours per day. It’s also a modular space, which can also be used for events. Plus, for the first time at Disneyland Paris, we are also able to change lighting colors in the public area. This opens up even more possibilities!

What was your favorite part of the experience?

For me, the strongest moment is when the audience first walks into the theatre. I know the show inside and out and yet when the audience is there, I see it differently. I even discover things I hadn’t noticed at first.  Above all, seeing all those faces light up, there is nothing more magical!

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Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast’s “Crackles neons”:A unique technology brought to Ile-de-France just for the ride

The Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast attraction reopened its doors on June 17 after more than a year of rehabilitation, which focused in particular on the lighting and painting of the attraction’s sets and characters, as well as its exterior lighting. A very large-scale project…

At the end of the refurbishment, Walt Disney Imagineering wanted to fill guests with wonder thanks to an incredible outdoor lighting show. To do this, they turned to longtime supplier BTB GES which took on the project.

« This is not a normal electrical project” explains Luis Lourenco, Director of the BTB GES agency based in Lognes, Seine et Marne. “It involves replacing all the existing neon lights by LEDs and installing “crackles” on the five columns of the attraction’s façade.

Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality worked closely with BTB GES to integrate these neon lights – called “Crackles Tubes” – to the refurbishment project. This technique is unique to the world, created and patented by Wayne Strattman, an American specialist in lighted glass plasma technology. The teams went to the United States to present the project and establish a relationship of trust with Mr. Strattman, so that he would pass on his expertise and let the team relocate the tube manufacturing in France to a glass blower in the Paris region. It was essential to be extremely precise, especially in the dimensions and thickness of the tubes and the pressure of the gas to guarantee the best possible effect. 

Clive Moreton, Manager Systems Show and Ride at Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality explains that it is a unique technique in France and even in the world, which requires a specific technicity that is not within everyone’s grasp.

But what’s a « Crackle Tube”?

The “Crackle Tube” effect produces a bright, fast-moving lightning inside a glass tube that is packed with small pieces of fill material, either cut glass tubing or glass beads.

The gas discharge dances through the spaces between this fill material, concentrating the light into thin, bright streamers that take the form of lightning. The path of lightning changes direction at random and is touch interactive. (source: https://strattman.com/crackle-tubes/)   

Find out more in the video and see you soon at Disneyland Paris now to (re)discover this must-see attraction! 

Find out more in the video, and see you soon at Disneyland Paris to (re)discover this must-see attraction!

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RATATOUILLE : ANYONE CAN COOK… FROM PARIS TO ORLANDO!

Remy and his friends have cooked up yet another Disneylicious adventure! Starting October 1st 2021, guests of Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort will be able to enjoy a wild chase in the second kitchen of our favorite Parisian friends!

For this very special occasion, Cast Members at Walt Disney Studios Park and Epcot together with our Ambassadors united their forces to make sure Chef Rémy is ready in time. Don’t miss out on this celebration and… see you “spoon”!

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Disneyland Paris honours Yves Ben Yeta on Main Street U.S.A.

A new resident has joined the citizens of Main Street U.S.A. Following his retirement, Yves Ben Yeta, Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality, has been honored with a Main Street window as a symbol of his 30+ year Disney career and key role in the making and development of Disneyland Paris. 

Aside the adding of the Casting Agency door, dedicated to all the Cast Members across the Resort, this is the first time since opening that an Imagineer get this distinction, a true recognition of his lasting mark of passion and creativity.

Yves started as a lighting designer contributing to the construction of Disneyland Paris in 1990. Having spent his formative years working in theaters in the City of Light, Yves’ multicultural mindset and curiosity for the world led him to grow a career based out of Disneyland Paris, but also included time at Walt Disney Imagineering Glendale and at Tokyo Disney Resort. 

A fervent storyteller, Yves has always lived and worked by Walt Disney’s mantra “We must exceed Guests expectations.” An inspiring leader and a trusted partner, he has been a mentor to many Imagineers and cast members wherever he has worked.

With his impressive legacy, it was only fitting to find Yves’ name added below the ones of Show Producers Jeff Burke, Tim Delaney, Tom Morris, Eddie Sotto and Chris Tietz. Each one was a part of the original team who conceived the five lands of Disneyland Paris. Also involved in the making and opening of the Resort, Yves’ unique experience in creative direction across Disney Theme Parks deserved a special tribute in our heritage.

So, next time you visit, just look up to see the new Dental School “associate” where Yves will carry on his usual business: making you smile!