Disneyland Paris ‘Stars On Parade’ review

‘Stars On Parade’ is something new and has big shoes to fill. ‘Magic On Parade’ is my favorite Disney Parks parade. It’s the parade I fell in love with when I rediscovered Disneyland Paris and I have a strong emotional connection to it. So the fact that Disneyland Paris has a new parade is an odd experience for me, even if it’s about time. I thought long and hard about watching the new parade before I’ve seen it in person but after realising I won’t be in Disneyland Paris for a while I decided to watch the official parade video of ‘Stars On Parade’ which you can find below.

STARS ON PARADE

In Disney Stars on Parade, we follow Mickey and Friends on a journey of discovery to the land of imagination” explains Emmanuel Lenormand, the Show Director. “We started with the words that are most frequently used by our guests when they talk about Disneyland Paris. This helped us to create a story with eight chapters, and as many emotions. We then associated these emotions with major Disney and Pixar animated films that have proved a huge hit with the public”. Featuring many Disney Characters and artists, the new Parade incorporates stunning, unique floats with vibrant colours and movements to surprise and delight our guests. source

Disney Stars On Parade opens with Aladdin, Mary and Alice dancing a new routine that’s quite charming especially with the new song. It seems far more structured than the character segments have been in the past but it might loosen up in future performances. I always enjoy the slight unpredictability of the character bits in ‘magic on parade’ so that’s something to watch for.

 

DISCOVER THE MAGIC

Disney Stars on Parade opens with Tinker Bell, who escapes from the pages of an enormous storybook. This is followed by an amazing float featuring Mickey and Friends dressed as explorers of the future… “A future in which technology retains a magical aspect” according to Olivier Dusautoir, the Set Designer. source

The first float is a new steam punk float which is just fantastic. It’s a redo of a Hing Kong float but it’s wonderful. I love the style of it, the character costumes, and all the intricate details and moving gears. Right down to the little peddles Mickey and Minnie operate. I love that the book on the top of the float opens to reveal tinker-belle. I also enjoy the huge steam-punk telescope behind Chip and Dale because it’s so striking to look at and very unique.

DISCOVER FRIENDSHIP

The second highlight pays a dazzling tribute to children’s games. Buzz Lightyear’s rocket pulls an oversized truck in which Andy has placed all his toys in carefree disarray. The heroes of Toy Story celebrate true friendship and take us to infinity and beyond! source

After this we move onto some Jessie and Woody themed dancers in front of the new toy story float. This is designed as a stack of toys and has some nice movable elements – the spinning aliens are my own favorite bit. Moving slinky dog and the pin-wheel are very effective. I just, personally, didn’t care as much for this float as some of the others. It just feels a  bit busy and incoherent. I personally prefer the previous Toy Story float from ‘Magic On Parade’ but it’s nice to see something new.

Discover Adventure

Who better than Simba and Nala or Baloo and Mowgli to embody the spirit of adventure? A high rock overlooks the exuberant jungle flora, while the percussion and shimmering colours release the wild instincts of an exotic world where, fortunately, it takes very little to be happy. source

The new lion King float follows this, fronted by some dancers that look like they’ve stepped out the Broadway show and it’s a fantastic costume design so not a bad thing. I’ve always liked that aesthetic and the music that goes with it is so well done. The float itself is loomed over by a simba  shaped sun and a new animatronic Simba and Zazoo. The back half is a Jungle Book float that’s also pretty cool with the addition of Mogali who is new to Disneyland Paris which is always fun. This is the rethemed ‘Jungle Safari’ float from Tokyo’s ‘jubilation’ parade’ but it fits in nicely.

 

Discover Imagination

From one rock to another, this one is in the shape of a skull and serves as the throne of Captain Hook. Peter Pan is close by, at the helm of a ship suspended beneath an immense, dreamlike moon. “After all, Disneyland Paris is – quite literally – the Land of Imagination!”, Emmanuel Lenormand reminds us. source

The Peter Pan float follows this, and if I’m honest, it’s my favorite. I loved the front ;’skull rock’ design and the floating, moving, Pirate Galleon. It’s also got one of the best bits of parade music. While I really liked the Peter Pan float in ‘Magic On Parade’ I think this is absolutely a step up from that in visual appeal. This is also a former Jubilation float that’s got a new lease of life but I’ve no issue with that when it looks this good.

 

Discover A New World

A large turtle swims above a majestic float, covered with coral. The heroes of Finding Nemo and Finding Dory remind us of their philosophy: “Just keep swimming!” and leave guests starry-eyed. Sea stars, of course. source

Following this is the new Finding Nemo float. This isn’t a franchise I would have picked and while I question the need for two Pixar floats I do have to say that the execution is pretty cool. I love the front dancers nemo costumes and bubbles and the giant Crush is fun to watch. It makes sense to have a nod to one of Disneyland Paris’s big rides.

 

DISCOVER ENCHANTMENT

Water is followed by fire, in hot pursuit. Like Sleeping Beauty, the story of Disney Stars on Parade would not be complete without an epic battle starring Prince Phillip and the three fairies against an evil dragon, described by Olivier Dusautoir as “mechanical, made entirely of copper with visible mechanisms, as if it has been taken straight out of Jules Verne’s imagination”. Faced with a fire-breathing monster, will good win out? source

The steampunk dragon is my favorite bit of the entire parade. It’s fronted by some monsters and prince Philip stalking the route with his sword. The dragon itself is a duplicate from the one in from California but has been retouched and recoloured which looks amazing. I adore the themeing with the gears and stars but also how it moves. I also love the fight sequences between Philip and the Monsters and the Dragon. It breathing fire was so amazing to watch on a different video and I can’t even think how cool it is in person. If anything makes me desperate to go back to Disneyland Paris and experience this parade in person it’s the dragon.

 

Discover Romance

Fortunately in fairy tales, good… and love always triumph in the end. Contrasting beautifully with the impressive floats that precede them, RapunzelCinderella and Snow White with their respective Prince Charmings make their entrance on three graceful carriages. A romantic moment which will melt the hearts of little girls… of all ages. source

Following the dragon and Rapunzel and Flynn in a carriage, demoted from their own float which I always loved. The other princes and princesses dance behind them or are following in carts to a poppy version of ‘one day my prince will come’. This is the least underwhelming aspect of the parade. I love the Princess franchises but think they are chronically undeserved in parades. This one is no exception – it’s simply reusing elements from ‘Magic On Parade’. I understand the need to include the Princesses, I really do, but can we have something a bit more imaginative next time please?

 

Discover Wonder

The great Disney storybook will close with a flourish with the two heroines of Frozen, on the balcony of an ice castle, accompanied by a few friends who are particularly popular with guests…Like Elsa’s silvery blue cape floating in her wake, a sense of wonder fills the air and remains long after the last float of Disney Stars on Parade has passed by. source

Finally, the frozen float. I loved the design of this and it does wow. Kristoff and some dancers open the float which is basically a gigantic sven and olaf pulling a ‘sleigh’ ice castle with Anna and Elsa on it. The design is very ‘Disney traditions’ and it’s quite unique. I do wonder how well it fits with some of the previous floats but it will certainly get a reaction.

THOUGHTS

Overall? I like the new floats for the most part and  think the ones that have been rethemed from other parks have been done so excellently. The designs are intricate and detailed with some seamless transitions.  This is helped by the song shifting depending on the characters. It seems like such a simple thing but it’s so effective – especially with the underlying unifying elements. It’s got an upbeat, bouncy, element without being obnoxious. I don’t know if it’s as singable as ‘Magic On Parade’ but it works.

What I did find hard to adjust to was the characters talking in the audio. I understand why they’ve done it but it’s a change that will take some getting used to. Two floats are from previous parades, and the ‘romance’ segments are straight out of Magic on Parade, but this is something new for the park. I suppose it’s impossible to tell how well It works without actually experiencing the atmosphere in the park but I’d love to see it. Let us know what you think about the parade in the comments.

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