Goofy’s Incredible Christmas Review

This year Disneyland Paris treated guests to it’s first proper Christmas show in the Walt Disney Studios. Goofy’s Incredible Christmas is in the production courtyard and has tower of terror as a projection backdrop – much like  ‘Season of the Force’. I wanted to take a good look at the show, walk you through what’s on offer, and give you some thoughts on the final outcome. Especially since this is a brand new offering and, hopefully, something Disneyland Paris will continue with in following years. This pattern of tower projection plus stage is a new thing but it seems to work well.

The show

The show opens with snow covering, and snow, being projected onto tower of terror. We’ve seen a similar projection mapping technology used in Season of the force but this seems slightly more advanced to me and looks pretty good. There’s a stage at the front of the tower, again alla season of the force, covered in snow.

There’s then a set of red fireworks and the title of the show appear on the stage screen. Not a bad opening! A Christmas village appears on the tower and on the screen there’s an indoor scene with a fireplace. Stars make their way up the tower, meet on the right, and sparkle back down. This star is the collective wishes of children from all around the world.

Goofy walks onto the stage, in front of the screen, and starts to speak. He is writing a letter to Santa asking to give his friends the best Christmas ever. Goofy is ‘tugged’ into the fireplace by Santa and we see him falling down tower of terror then floating on the sheet of paper he’s carrying. While it floats in the air he sings ‘a whole new world’ briefly  which made me smile. I love the way that the stage, screens, character and tower are interacting. It feels very coherent.

Goofy dodges on the paper away from a Christmas train projected on the tower. While the train makes it’s way through various locations on the tower we see sections from different Disney films projected onto the screen. Including some lesser known works! I don’t quite get why some of the clips where chosen and the song playing is ‘have yourself a merry little Christmas’ but instrumental. The train flies above the towns and reaches the top of the tower. The train then disappears and a toy factory appears above the trees to more fireworks.

As the train ‘lands’ on top of the tower – a great bit of projection – goofy and elves arrive on stage. The elves are excited about all the letters but Santa says they need to get to work. Santa asks goofy for help and the cast launch into ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’. It’s a cute little routine and I love the inclusion of a familiar song. Presents cover the tower as fireworks shoot from the top.

The toy factory set  is replaced with an icy stage and snow backdrop projected onto the tower. Goofy declares that now they have presents they need a Christmas tree. One appears on his left and Goofy complains that it’s a little small. He waters it and the tree starts to grow – I really liked this moment. I thought it was sweet. It ‘grows’ onto the tower and the train flies in front of it and appears on the stage screen.

The elf’s return to stage and interact with bouncing toys that jump from the train. We see the train speed off and the tree fills the stage screen. Eventually it fills the tower and the stage screen goes dark. On the tower we see the train driving up the tinsel towards the top of the tree. It goes out of control and the presents fall from the train down the tree to the base of the tower.

Presents appear on the stage screen, a trumpet goes, and mickey emerges from one of the presents to stand on stage. He does a super-cute dance routine to trumpets and, I think, he’s meant to be one of the toys because he’s also got the most adorable marching uniform. After a performance goofy bursts out the same present dressed as a gingerbread man. After that Minnie emerges in a beautiful ballerina costume surrounded by beautiful dancers to swan lake. She dances with Mickey for a while and then goofy comes back – in the same costume! It’s a really cute moment.

Minnie launches into a version of toy-land with a cute dance to go along with it. Goofy returns as a toy soldier and, I have to say, I adore the costume changes. I just love the costumes in general. During the dance goofy ‘falls’ into the present and knocks it over causing the pile of presents on the tower to fall and everyone on stage to panic. The tree disappears from the tower as well in a twinkle of stars.

Candles cover the tower and stage and one of the performers sings a beautiful, slow paced song. Quite a tonal jump. Santa appears on stage and greets the audience with seasons greetings. Goofy, Micky & Minnie return to the stage. Santa thanks goofy for his help and gives him a present. Goofy opens the present and the tower starts to sparkle – the Christmas lights are his gift from Santa. The tower is illuminated like a typical set of Christmas lights – it’s almost gaudy but also quite lovely while the stage screen is filled with illuminated Christmas lights. A Gingerbread man cake which looks, pretty amazing, is projected onto the tower and then an upbeat song kicks in with a dance routine and a set of fireworks. I actually really like this song! During the song the characters wish the audience a merry Christmas and say good-bye.

Thoughts

I know it’s hard to judge these things from not being there. And when watching the show I was conscious that my environment is not exactly what the show’s designed for. But I really loved it. I think the projections looked amazing and crisp. They map perfectly to the tower which makes a great canvas. I also enjoyed the interactions between the various elements helping it to feel very coherent. This coherence is something that must be quite hard to do but really pays off.

I really liked some of the character costuming as well – I think the level of attention and detailing was utterly charming. Especially Mickey and Goofy’s outfits which looked fantastic.

What let it down though, I think, is some of the music. The music choices where a bit disappointing for me and felt quite generic. While I loved the final song it felt a bit lackluster for me a lot of the time. The music choices lacked a certain amount of magic. I get why they chose some it but still.

I was confused by the story sometimes but I was thrown sometimes by the combination of french and English language which isn’t usually a problem at Disneyland Paris. But the show has a lovely, seasonal and heartwarming message. A few minor complaints but this is head and shoulders above last years show. I had no issue with the starlight princess waltz last year but it’s not a patch on this. I’m sure it’s even better when your on the ground at DLP.

 

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