The fall is just beginning and Disney’s Halloween Festival is fast approaching. We asked Disneyland Paris Producer Osvaldo del Mistero to tell us more about this much-anticipated seasonal event.
You probably remember Osvaldo del Mistero as the Disneyland Paris Ambassador in 2011-2012. Passionate about entertainment, he has been working as a Producer at Disneyland Paris since 2018 – a dream come true! In this role, he has been responsible for the Festival of Pirates and Princesses, Timon’s Matadance, Frozen 2: An Enchanted Journey, and the iconic Disney’s Halloween Festival.
“What I love about Halloween is that it’s a celebration. The Fall is just beginning and there are still a lot of sunny days ahead of us to have fun. The colors of this season are very warm and have such an immersive quality. As soon as you step into Disneyland Park, you can immediately notice the change. It’s a unique opportunity to rediscover the park under a different light,” said Osvaldo.
A CLASSIC AT DISNEYLAND PARIS
Particularly fond of Halloween, Osvaldo made a point to reconnect with all the ingredients that made guests fall in love with this special season year after year, starting with decorations prominently featured on Main Street, U.S.A., and in Frontierland. “As of September 26, our guests will be able to see the park as they love it during Halloween, adorned with pumpkins, floral decorations, and lights up on every building.”
As Osvaldo likes to point out, one of the unique aspects of Halloween at Disneyland Paris is the wide variety of inspirations and experiences. “Our Halloween Festival is like a patchwork. It’s obviously in reference to the Anglo-Saxon festival, but we also definitely wanted to add a Disney touch. For instance, when strolling down Main Street, U.S.A., ghosts can be seen along the street and in buildings. They represent inhabitants of times past who come back to visit the park as ghosts – iconic characters like the mayor, the ice cream man or the three Barbershop singers. In Frontierland, the theme is meant to recall Fall. The pumpkin men are our mascots this season, and Fuente del Oro Restaurante pays homage to Mexican culture and the Disney Pixar movie Coco. Depending on where you are in the park, Halloween is celebrated in a different way.”
A CHALLENGE FOR THE IMAGINATION
This Halloween season is a bit special as Disneyland Paris teams had to show creativity and flexibility to adjust to the current context. “As soon as Disneyland Paris reopened, we innovated and changed our approach to entertainment. This also applies to this festival, which was adjusted in keeping with the current health and safety situation.”
Among the highlights of Disney’s Halloween Festival are special meet and greets with Disney characters. Disneyland Paris teams used their imagination for character appearances that respect physical distancing. That is how “Selfie Spots” successfully launched after the reopening of the resort. Osvaldo and his team had fun rethinking and turning them into a Halloween experience. “As of September 26, we will welcome a large number of Disney characters, including Mickey and friends, in their most iconic Halloween outfits. Disney Villains will also be featured, notably the Queen of Hearts and the terrifying Jafar. Next to Sleeping Beauty Castle, you might run into Maleficent or Ursula. And that’s not all! Starting October 1, at Studio Theater in Walt Disney Studios Park, Disney Villains await your visit for exclusive selfie opportunities. Throughout the day, up to 8 Disney Villains will be present for the very first time. Our guests will have the opportunity to meet in the same location several Disney characters, some of which only come out for Halloween. It’s truly a unique opportunity!”
For creative people, constraints challenge the imagination, and the health and safety conditions prompted Osvaldo and his team to explore all possibilities so that the show could go on. This notably applies to Meet Mickey Mouse, which is a major Selfie Spot location this season. “The beautiful stage located in the standby line wasn’t used to its full potential, so we tried to use it differently. We’re using it as a character meet and greet with Mickey and Friends, and the set fully reflects the theme of this season. In the same way, at Studio Theater, we realized that we could create a particularly immersive Selfie Spot experience.”
Disneyland Paris teams have used all their talent to bring these stages to life, where art and technology cleverly intertwine. “At Meet Mickey Mouse, we decided to focus on a traditional version of Halloween, with orange and pumpkin tones which perfectly complement our storytelling. Costumes are also very important. They immerse guests in the spirit of Halloween.”
At Studio Theater, the atmosphere is very different as Disney Villains take to the stage. “We found great music to go along with this encounter, the lighting of the room was changed, screens and projections were added. When we thought about staging, we wanted to play with the frightening feeling conjured up by Disney Villains, while making sure that it would not be deterring either. We were looking to do something colorful and happy, even with experiences that are meant to be somewhat scary. The result is a successful mix between darkness and light, which perfectly characterizes Disney Villains.”
In 2020, Disney’s Halloween Festival will offer a new experience based on the unexpected.
“When thinking about Halloween, we tend to think about children wearing costumes and going from door to door to collect candies. There’s a very fun “hide and seek” element in this tradition, and we thought that we could develop this idea and make it entertaining for our guests. So, we imagined that the day could unfold with many surprises along the way.”
This thought certainly appealed to Disney Villains like Ursula or Maleficent who do not like to be told what to do. They decided to join the fun, on the condition that it be on their own schedule! “Our guests have to be ready for anything and everything to happen—Disney Villains may appear at any given time, anywhere. We had so much fun playing with this and creating an even more interactive experience than in previous years.” This year’s Halloween Festival promises to be quite special. “There’s such a traditional side to Christmas, with very specific traditions. Halloween is a lot more flexible. We get to work on new and fun things, which enables us to expand our creativity. It’s so great to be able to come up with new experiences. From Selfie Spots to exclusive products with our Food and Beverage partners, Disneyland Paris offers a 360-degree experience. Everything is made to immerse our guests in the spirit of Halloween. Now, we’re just waiting for you!”