Disneyland Paris Unveils its Whimsical Extravaganza Alice & the Queen of Hearts: Back to Wonderland


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Paris, France – May 28, 2024 – This weekend, as it continues to expand its entertainment offerings, Disneyland Paris launched Alice & the Queen of Hearts: Back to Wonderland, a wild new show that offers a modern take on the timeless story of the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Alice in Wonderland. A unique musical show presented in the newly unveiled theater at Walt Disney Studios Park: “Theater of the Stars,” presented by EDF. Running from May 25 and now showing until September 29, 2024, this electrifying show is sure to transport guests of all ages down the rabbit hole and immerse them into an urban version of Wonderland!

After launching TOGETHER: a Pixar Musical Adventure, Disney Electrical Sky Parade with up to 500 drones and A Million Splashes of Color over the last few months, the resort is now delighted to add this production like no other at Disneyland Paris to its lineup, strengthening its position as an entertainment leader in Europe. Additionally, with this all-new theatrical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, the place where dreams come true once again pushes the boundaries of storytelling. While the beloved animated movie ends with a croquet game between Alice and the Queen of Hearts – where there is no winner – Walt Disney Studios Park’s new show offers a different twist on the final scene by immersing guests into an outlandish tea party taking place in the heart of Wonderland in the presence of Alice and her friends. Yet, things won’t go as expected! Disappointed by the fact that she is not the only guest of honor, the Queen of Hearts decides to engage in a musical battle with them. And on his end, the Mad Hatter will try to handle this out-of-control situation in his own clumsy way.

Featuring an electrifying series of musical performances, aerial acrobatics and BMX stunts, this extravaganza is a unique opportunity to attend a hair-raising face-off between Alice and the Queen of Hearts.  And as the icing on the cake, guests will be immersed in the experience as they are invited to play a part in the outcome of the story and decide which of the two characters should be celebrated during a breathtaking grand finale!

“Both protagonists are interesting and convey ideas that are not in opposition but complementary. Alice embodies the idea that you have to believe in your dreams, believe in your imagination. That's how each of us can create our own universe and change the world. Obviously, the Queen of Hearts is much more self-centered. She's going to defend her own vision, which is that you have to believe in yourself to succeed in whatever you do. Both messages are important, and this duality is expressed through the music and artistic disciplines involved.”

A Behind-the-Scenes Look into this Topsy-Turvy Production

More than 180 performers and technical staff
worked hand-in-hand
to bring this captivating experience to life.

The show takes place on the resort’s largest stage,
which is 68 meters long, 26 meters deep
and 16 meters high (central stage).

The stage features a skate park, consisting of 9 ramps ranging
from 3.50 to 5 meters high to accommodate 10 BMX riders
embodying the Queen of Hearts' cards.

The stage area also includes 7 trampolines,
including one 14-meter trampoline on the central stage
and two “tramp-walls” 2.50 meters high.

The décor structure
is made up of 300 tons of steel.

One year of costume development.

Both protagonists are interesting and convey ideas that are not in opposition but complementary. Alice embodies the idea that you have to believe in your dreams, believe in your imagination. That’s how each of us can create our own universe and change the world. Obviously, the Queen of Hearts is much more self-centered. She’s going to defend her own vision, which is that you have to believe in yourself to succeed in whatever you do. Both messages are important, and this duality is expressed through the music and artistic disciplines involved.” – Matteo Borghi. While Alice immerses guests into a pop-inspired atmosphere that reflects her cheerful personality and desire to celebrate alongside the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts lives in a classic rock-inspired world of her own!

This can’t-miss experience comes to life several times a day in the resort’s largest open-air theater, which has a seating capacity of 2,800 spectators. This setting is the perfect playground to take the level of interaction with the audience to the next level, especially now that the stage is 10 meters closer to the bleachers.

To bring this awe-inspiring setting to life, set designer Olivier Dusautoir drew his inspiration not only from the original world of the animated movie, but also from the “pop art” movement that brings together elements from street art cultures, such as murals, making the spectacular 68-meter-long and 26-meter-deep stage look very contemporary! Extra elements like piled up containers featuring highly flashy colors have been added to give an industrial aspect to the stage. Finally, to ensure that this extraordinary playground would be even more lively and immersive, different types of equipment – including thirteen built-in screens and pyrotechnic devices – have been installed both on stage and around the seating area. The trampolines at the foot of the bleachers will add an extra touch of fun to this exciting experience!

Additionally, to While the teams on the other side of the Atlantic recorded arrangements that capture the essence of two completely different musical universes – pop versus rock – forty-six performers, including three singers, three backing vocalists, one guitarist, one keytar player and two percussionists will outdo themselves on stage to bring guests on an unforgettable musical battle of the bands. Additionally, to incorporate industrial elements into the sound environment, Disneyland Paris designed special drum sets using heating oil tanks. Once the structures of these unique instruments were brought to life, they were covered with drumheads to produce percussion sounds that are similar to tom-toms and bass drums.

In addition to its unique musical atmosphere, the show also features incredible performances! While acrobats take over “trampo-walls” that reflect the skyscraping nature of the sets, BMX riders perform stunts to the sound of music, creating striking images and choreography!

The teams also worked hand in hand with the FBG 2211 studio to create modern costumes that match perfectly with the décor, such as the playing cards that are reminiscent of the hip-hop movement or the eight flowers that have a span of 2.60 meters! Among the other incredible suppliers that took part in the costume creation journey, the Blin et Ghuilhem workshop contributed to designing the White Rabbit’s and Caterpillar’s hats. In addition to being filled with whimsical creatures, today’s Wonderland is also home to an array of modern props, such as the Queen of Hearts’ spectacular vehicle that was brought to life in collaboration with Planète Vapeur, a Nice-based company specializing in whimsical parades and street entertainment. In total, over 150 French and European companies joined forces to create this electrifying experience!

For youth without regular access to cultural experiences, discovering the enchanted and reimagined world of Alice in Wonderland aims to be a source of inspiration, while offering an unforgettable moment of escapism.

This initiative is part of Disneyland Paris’ ongoing commitment to inclusion and access to culture for all. The resort hopes to help broaden the horizons of local youth and feed their imaginations.

Interview with Matteo Borghi

Show Director at Disneyland Paris

I wanted to offer our guests a totally different experience from what we’re already familiar with at Walt Disney Studios Park. On one hand, Mickey and the Magician is a musical illusion show, and on the other, TOGETHER: a Pixar Musical Adventure uses technology to immerse spectators into fan-favorite stories from Pixar Animation Studios. I wanted to imagine something completely different, something that would once again surprise our guests. At the same time, I wanted to pay tribute to a Disney Animation classic. Alice in Wonderland was an obvious choice, as it’s one of the most universally known Disney stories. Everyone knows Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter, and their adventures are beautifully celebrated at Disneyland Park in Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups. I knew I could build on those references to have more fun with these iconic characters. 

Yes, anything is possible in Wonderland! I conceived this show in the unique setting of this extraordinary stage – 68 meters long and 26 meters deep – which until 2020 hosted the Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show Spectacular and is now being transformed for the show. It’s a magnificent playground for which I’ve imagined something big, colourful and rich – an experience that is unprecedented and astonishing. 

When it came to the graphic style and the scene itself, I put a lot of thought into it with our Set Designer, Olivier Dusautoir. We sat down and exchanged ideas on how we could represent Wonderland. It was important for us to keep the key elements of the 1951 Disney Animation film, such as the labyrinth, the little animals in the Tulgey Wood and other iconic references from the movie, while giving them a modern touch. Entering the world of this show is like waking up in Wonderland, but in 2024. 

Exactly. I worked in parallel with author Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal – who also helped create The Disney Junior Dream Factory show – on the story we wanted to tell. We started with an iconic moment from the film, the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and asked ourselves how we could follow it up. Watching the 1951 classic, we realized that the story didn’t really end. There’s the croquet game, followed by Alice’s trial, which ends abruptly when Alice wakes up. So, we came up with a new tea party for which the Mad Hatter invites all our guests, as well as two special guests: Alice and the Queen of Hearts, who come face-to-face once again. The Queen of Hearts is not happy, as she feels that she and she alone should be the guest of honor. A new face-off between Alice and the Queen follows, bringing the croquet game to a close and finally deciding which of the two will be celebrated. All this under the watchful eye of the Mad Hatter, who handles things, shall we say… his way! 

We really wanted the audience to feel immersed in this experience and involved in our story. When you discover this unique setting, you’re immediately plunged into Wonderland. To achieve this, we moved the stage closer to the bleachers than in the original configuration. 

What’s more, we wanted our guests to feel connected to the show’s characters, and at some point to be able to influence the end of the show by deciding how the story would unfold. Because that’s what Wonderland is all about: you never know what to expect! 

In our story, there are no good or bad characters. Both protagonists are interesting and convey ideas that are not in opposition but complementary. Alice embodies the idea that you have to believe in your dreams, believe in your imagination. That’s how each of us can create our own universe and change the world. Obviously, the Queen of Hearts is much more self-centered. She’s going to defend her own vision, which is that you have to believe in yourself to succeed in whatever you do. Both messages are important, and this duality is expressed through the music and artistic disciplines involved. 

I’d go so far as to say that it’s the center of everything. It was really important for me to propose music that would resonate with this vast space. New, very contemporary music that, at the same time, pays tribute to the Disney Animation film by incorporating nods to the 1951 melodies. 

For Alice, we went for a pop style, very joyful, very festive, which is also associated with the Mad Hatter. The Queen of Hearts, on the other hand, is associated with classic rock, with percussion and electric guitar. We experimented with different styles and found that this duality worked perfectly for our show. 

Exactly. For each show, we have six singers on stage. There’s Alice, of course, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter, as well as the Caterpillar, the March Hare and the White Rabbit, who sing and help tell the story. In addition, we have four musicians: two percussionists, who play instruments specially designed for our show, as well as a guitarist and a player of the keytar – a keyboard-guitar. 

As I said, it all started with the music. Once we had determined the musical world of Alice and the Queen of Hearts, I asked myself what artistic disciplines could go hand-in-hand with these styles. At the same time, I had to take into account the size of the stage, both horizontally and vertically, in order to make full use of its potential. So, I called on two different disciplines that have this unique ability to resonate with music: trampoline and BMX. We’d already used trampolines in some of our shows at Disneyland Paris, but never in a “trampo-wall” form. It enhances the height of our sets and, at the same time, echoes the energy and bouncy feel of the music. As for BMX, we often think of it as a sport, which is true, but we too often forget that this discipline can be a form of artistic expression when combined with music. In both cases, you can create striking images and choreography. 

He’ll be there! He’ll appear in the show… just like a cat that is, when he feels like it, and how he feels like it! He’s a truly unique character, full of surprises.  

It’s a world I’ve known for a long time, and one I was delighted to immerse myself in again for this show. I hadn’t seen the film in quite some time, and I discovered all sorts of facets in it that I hadn’t noticed as a child. I was fascinated by it, and I did a lot of research. I read Lewis Carroll’s novel, as well as books on the creation of the 1951 film. As I discovered how the Disney Animation artists had worked, I realized that they had done the same thing I had: brought their own vision to a timeless classic. In fact, this show is also a tribute to their work and unique creativity. 

Disneyland Paris is an incredible place, a genuine creative hub where anything is possible – immersing our guests in the heart of an animated filmor, on the contrary, reinventing classics in a totally unexpected way. 

In my opinion, Walt Disney Studios Park is the ideal place to create immersive and different experiences like Alice & The Queen of Hearts: Back to Wonderland. This can be done in a variety of ways, in a blackbox-style space or outdoors, but the aim is always the same: to transport our guests to the heart of our stories, while surprising and delighting them.

Claire: We wanted to bring this whole area back to life, as it hadn’t been home to any show for quite some time. Yet, we found it important to give it an all-new aspect. Therefore, we had to transform the entire theater in order to deliver a different experience to our guests. Our stage is ginormous – 68 meters long and 16 meters high – and we really wanted our guests to be able to admire our décor and the performances under the best possible conditions.  

Olivier: I would say halfway between the Mad Hatter’s house, where the tea party takes place, and the Queen of Hearts’ labyrinth. The central stage also displays an arch structure that is reminiscent of the rabbit hole into which Alice falls when she follows the White Rabbit.  

Olivier: This was an intricate process, as we had to incorporate many elements in a way that would make sense. The equipment has not only been installed for performances, but they also serve other purposes. Matteo wanted each element, each discipline, and each effect to be in perfect harmony with the story we tell, and my job consisted of ensuring that his vision would be fulfilled through the décor I designed. Each detail contributes to telling our story.  

Claire: We relied a lot on experts. It was a real team effort! We had to address each discipline’s requirements – whether it comes to trampoline or BMX. Once experts expressed their needs, Matteo and Olivier collaborated to make sure every detail would fit perfectly.  

Claire: We found this idea of reimagining musical instruments in the movie itself, as everyday objects were used to produce the sounds of teapots in the iconic tea party scene. We met with an artist who creates groundbreaking instruments. When we visited his studio, we found out that he used heating oil tanks. We were impressed by the sound produced. It was exactly what we needed for our show. That being said, installing a heating oil tank on stage would not make much sense to our guests. Therefore, we decided to record the sound produced and incorporate it into the soundtrack.  

Claire: Absolutely. We relied a lot on suppliers with whom we have had a longstanding relationship. Trust is key, especially when we work with unusual volumes like these. For example, the structure used for the décor is made up of 300 tons of steel! But the uncommon nature of this project also led us to make new relationships, especially when it came to designing the BMX ramps. As far as the decoration is concerned, we called upon the services of Spanish companies. Finally, to bring to life the Queen of Hearts’ vehicle, we collaborated with a supplier from Nice – Planète Vapeur – that demonstrates outstanding expertise.  

Claire: We can host up to 2,800 guests per show – the largest capacity in the resort – so this is a bit challenging! We really wanted every guest to be fully immersed in the show regardless of where they are sitting. At the same time, the theater is so big that depending on where you are sitting, you won’t see the same things as the other guests. This is a good reason to come back and discover new things each time you watch the show! The immersive experience will begin as soon as guests arrive. As they approach the impressive stage, Wonderland will then gradually come to life in front of their eyes. Many things will happen, both on stage and in the bleachers. Guests will be brought on a spectacular journey, both visually and musically! It will be a great way for them to get in the mood before the show starts.  

Olivier: There will be so many things to see everywhere. The décor features countless details, not to mention built-in screens. There will even be trampolines at the foot of the bleachers.

Claire: This is a first at Disneyland Paris! This idea raised a lot of questions, but we knew we could count on the audience. This approach is part of our commitment to delivering an immersive experience to our guests, as mentioned earlier.   

Olivier: We also wondered how we could collect the audience’s opinion. At some point, we even thought about designing an app. Instead of an app that would require guests to have and then take out their phones, we decided to engage them directly and pay close attention to the applause from our audience, which was measured by the stage management team. 

Interview with Claire Salmon and Olivier Dusautoir

Producer and Set Designer 

Interview with Guillaume Coignard

Music Producer at Disneyland Paris

This is one of the most exciting and fun parts of the production journey since everything must be imagined. We based our work on the discussions we had with our show director, Matteo Borghi, one and a half years ago. He expressed his needs, and we drew our inspiration from different musical styles. We wanted to create something out of the ordinary, especially since this location – with its awe-inspiring décor – offers a very modern take on the beloved story of Alice in Wonderland 

We managed turned our ideas into reality by collaborating with our composer/arranger Chris Sernel, who is an extremely skilled artist. When you work with such talented artists, you always need to keep an open mind and make use of good ideas when they are suggested to you.   

Three musical worlds will sometimes collide, and sometimes intertwine. First, the Mad Hatter will start the show with a catchy pop song. Then, he will be joined by other characters, including Alice, whose musical style is inspired by modern pop. She will transport us into her own little world and share her excitement and joy to be back in Wonderland after all these years. Soon after, the Queen of Hearts and her team will arrive, bringing with her an array of rockin’ and electric vibes. Disappointed by the fact that she is not the only guest of honor, she will go to a musical battle of the bands with Alice and her friends, and we will find out who the winner is at the end of the show.   

We have written five original songs, along with a reorchestrated version for each of them. Therefore, eight songs will be performed in total. It’s the first time we’ve include so many original songs in a show since I started working at Disneyland Paris! 

Between each song, the story will evolve like in a musical, with instrumental songs playing in the background. Inspired by the melodies from the original animated film, the underscores for the show were written by Tyler Koontz, an outstanding arranger who had already worked with us on other projects.  

To make this happen, we designed unique instruments using cans, which make it possible to produce all kinds of sounds. These instruments will obviously generate metal sound effects, but we also covered them with drumheads to allow them to produce percussion sounds that are similar to tom-toms and bass drums. Finally, many types of quirky accessories that are more reminiscent of the world of Alice in Wonderland will be added.  

We recorded all kinds of industrial sound effects using heating oil tanks, thanks to Siegfried Courteau, a wonderful percussion designer who was involved in this project.  

When you arrive at Nashville airport, you can see a sign reading “music city” along with guitars that are displayed. That’s definitely the place to be! There are so many studios and qualified musicians and technicians who are used to recording innovative sounds and soundtracks. Yet, for this particular project, we were looking to create a pop rock soundtrack. As such, we called upon the services of Ocean Way studios, which are based in an old, refurbished church offering breathtaking acoustics. It took us an entire week to record all of our songs. Then, we mixed them the week after.  

When composing the underscores for Alice & the Queen of Hearts: Back to Wonderland, we had to make sure that the orchestral sounds would match the narrative. The score is made up of one string section followed by two brass sections! The soundtrack will alternate between pop arrangements and orchestral arrangements, depending on the scenes. All of our arrangements allowed us to create an evolving musical theme that perfectly fits into our show’s musical fabric.  

This was one of our concerns: how could we create something new while remaining faithful to the original themes and characters? These themes have been incorporated into the soundtrack, both in subtle and noticeable ways!  

Thank you for bringing this up, since this aspect is truly important to us! Having musicians on stage has been an integral part of our shows for several years now. I joined the company in 2015 and, at the time, live singers started making a comeback into our shows. This type of performance was so successful – both with our guests and our performers themselves – that our managers wanted to continue to implement it and bring it to a whole new level. As far as I’m concerned, this concept is one close to my heart. As such, we decided to play a pre-recorded soundtrack, while giving our artists and singers the opportunity to perform some parts directly on stage. For Alice & the Queen of Hearts: Back to Wonderland, we have four musicians on stage, including one guitarist and one player of keytar – a keyboard that is held like a guitar, allowing the musician to move easily – and two percussionists. Live musicians add a touch of magic to the show, the music, and the narrative. They become real characters that play an integral part in the story.  

Music plays an essential role in this experience. Any audio mixing journey is a real challenge, but this one was even bigger given the unusual nature of the stage. We first had to carefully think about the number of speakers needed and the places where they should be installed. We also had to calculate the distance to be observed between the speakers and the audience and performers. Once everything was figured out, we had to make choices to create a captivating sound environment, assigning the various musical effects to the foreground, background, central, upper, and lower speakers. Not only did we need to make sure that the music could be heard across the entire theater, but we also needed to think of each instrument as a character that is relevant and vibrant. When you mix songs for an album, you know that you can listen to them at home without seeing images. When you mix songs for a show, you know that the sound experience must complement the performances delivered on stage!  


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