This year Jon and I spent Halloween weekend at Disneyland Paris again.
We decided not to do the MNSSHP at DLP this time, but still go to the Soiree Halloween, which is on Halloween Night itself. The other event we decided to do was a "new" event at the Studios Park called Terrorific Night 2. As you can see from the name, it is not entirely new, it is the second one. But the first one was 2 years ago, and was a much lesser affair than this year. This year's event was an newer, improved and expanded version, basically meaning it was a new event. This was the first time Jon and I had actually done it anyway. I shall talk about those shortly... First I'll mention Halloween around the park.
As well as the Soiree and the Terrorific nights, of course DLP has normal daytime Halloween things too. This year was a bit different though. They had moved some things around, and changed some of the regular things that they normally do. Decorations virtually vanished from Main St and the Hub altogether, bar some new Mickey shaped pumpkins. The decorations over in Frontierland in return, exponentially increased!! Frontierland really did become Halloweenland this year. They also decided to put random pumpkins around Fantasyland too, for the first time. Over in Frontierland all the former Main St decorations appeared all over the land, especially in the Cottonwood Creek area near the back. As far as Characters go, Jack and Sally returned this year, as did the pumpkin people, both to Frontierland. But instead of the villains appearing at the Hub as they have done previously, they now appeared by the Phantom Manor. Villains this year were the same standard fare as previous, with one notable exception - Dr Facilier made his regular park hours meet n greet debut - the only Disney park to have him out full time. Villains we saw out were: The Witch, Maleficent, Shan Yu, Governor Ratcliffe, Frollo, Jafar, Captain Hook, Prince John, Sheriff of Nottingham and of course Dr Facilier. There may have been one or two more, but I don't recall who. I have to say seeing Dr Facilier around the park was amazing, and he was such a cool guy too. Very friendly, very interactive and very much into the role. The Snow Witch was as hilarious as ever also.
Last year some of the Fab 5 friends appeared in their Halloween best in Frontierland, but this year they moved to Fantasyland. They included: scarecrow Goofy, devil Donald, and ghost Chip n Dale. Mickey was on Main St at his usual spot, and Minnie aboard the Party Train. Scarecrow Goofy and Devil Donald also appeared throughout the day on the Party Train with Minnie, along with some pumpkin people and some PIXAR friends. Although this year the Party Train did not have it's Halloween makeover which was no big deal, but I did wonder why.
There was also a brand new post-parade. DLP normally does pre-parades for the seasonal times of year, but this year have decided to go "post" instead of "pre" for some reason. They added two brand new floats for Halloween, and they were awesome! Dr Facilier was given a really cool bayou boat. He was aboard it along with Ratcliffe, Shan Yu and Jack Sparrow. Although Jack Sparrow does meets in the park normally, he is never seen in any parade, so that was cool too. The other changes were that Cruella now had a car which was Dalmatian patterned, and the there were a lot more pumpkin people than last year, who now also had props which they danced with, and did more than just walk along behind.
They also had a new Halloween show on the Hub this year. Last year they didn't have one, but instead adapted the last main show of the day to include the villains, which was ok, but nothing special. Last year they also had some really weird show in Frontierland that was like some sort of sing off between Maleficent and The Queen. This year it was just the main Castle show, but I have to say that was far superior and more than made up for the loss of the witches show!
In Disney Village, they had some weird entertainment involving balloons... not sure what to call it but the French liked it! Apparently (or so we heard) Buffalo Bill's dinner show had a Halloween theme to it for a limited time too, and at Billy Bob's, which is a bar and restaurant / entertainment venue, they had some sort of Halloween monster magic show. They also had some roaming performers that included some pumpkin people, but not the normal ones seen in the park- they were the old style ones from a couple of years ago - and some giant stilt walking tree creatures, which although may sound weird, were actually very cool!
At the Disneyland Hotel, the Magical Moment that happens daily had a Halloween theme, with the music being Halloween music, and the characters being in Halloween outfits - which were different from in the parks too! Also the other hotels had some other entertainment, but we heard that it might have been something along the lines of the balloon animal people in Disney Village, so we didn't check those out.
This Halloween Season also saw the return of two Star Wars characters to Discoveryland. Darth Vader and Chewbacca started test runs on this trip, and have since been added to schedule for daily meets. Star Wars characters cannot normally be met in the Parks, with the exception of at Star Wars weekends at Hollywood Studios. DLP also does not have the Jedi Training Academy like the US Parks, so the Star Wars characters cannot even be seen normally. We heard from a Cast Member that they would be around until at least January.
This year Jon and I attended the Halloween Soiree again at Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort Paris.
Last year was the first time we had attended the event at the French resort, and we were very impressed with the totally different approach to Halloween that the French have.
This year was no different. As always there was not enough time to see everything and we wished we had seen more.
We had heard from our sources that there would be some changes and surprise appearances this year. Last year the finale show was new, but there had been no other special happenings. This year we were informed that the finale show would be greatly improved and there would be some new characters in the park.
So at the start of the party we waited in the Castle Courtyard for the characters, and were not disappointed!
After what seemed like an eternity waiting (we were extremely excited to see who would appear), the doors behind Auberge de Cendrillon opened and out stepped Pain, Panic and Philoctetes!
There were of course many other people there waiting, including a lot of our friends from other character fan sites.
We did manage to get our pictures with the rare characters though, and then headed to the Winnie the Pooh show.
This year is rumoured to be the last year for the Pooh show, and once Christmas season is done, Pooh will be gone forever.
Last year we had not known that the characters met after the show, but this year we were prepared. We were keen to meet Kanga as she is not out anywhere else. Again, we were not disappointed.
The show is the same version that used to play during the summer season, where the characters search for their dreams at the end of the rainbow.
We then decided to do some roaming and explore the rest of the event's offerings.
We managed to find some different entertainers and performers this year including some large robotic aliens in Discoveryland, large stilt walking devil creatures in Frontierland, and a fire and percussion band in Adventureland.
Characters out this year included: Pain, Panic, Philoctetes, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, Jack and Sally, Jack Sparrow, The Witch and many more.
FantIllusion was on again too, but we skipped over this so that we could experience other things. FantIllusion happens at other times of year anyway.
The finale show this year was even more awesome than last year. Interestingly there were a lot of changes to it compared to last year. This is surprising since the show only debuted last year, and of course only happens once a year. So to change it again seemed impractical but nonetheless cool, as it meant we got to see something different, and that they had actually made an effort.
The show involved Mickey and the villains sharing some of their most powerful dreams. Characters in the show included Dr Facilier, the Three Good Fairies, Maleficent, Merlin and even a real Ursula! The effects were amazing and the end spectacular. No words can really explain what the show was actually like, but hopefully once we have completed editing and uploading our pics from it, you will be able to get some idea as to what it was about.
Overall the night was as cool as last year, and just as traditional and strange as these things are at Disneyland Paris!
Terrorific Night 2 at Walt Disney Studios Park was a first for pretty much everybody this year, including Disney themselves. Two years ago they ran a similar event (titled Terrorific Night), but it was (apparently) not as comprehensive as this years. More attractions were open and there were more performers out and about scaring the living daylights out of people, well, at least trying.[more]
Terrorific Night 2 was originally meant to be an externally organised event, with FNAC (the French entertainment and electronics store) being the main sponsor. Tickets were originally only available through them, and the event was marketed as being a FNAC event. Somewhere along the line this changed to be “Disney with sponsors“, and Disney started selling tickets, and more sponsors became involved. But the premise of the night remained pretty much the same - to give people - more precisely, adults - a thrilling, yet terrifying experience that they cannot normally get at Disney. It was meant to be more akin to the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, but as you will find out in a short while, I don’t think this really worked out the case.
The night started at 9pm, and ran until 1am. We had left Disneyland Park at around 7pm to explore the Halloween entertainment in Disney Village. I briefly mentioned in my previous report that this year they had some neat stilt walkers and some pumpkin people chasing folk around. After we had done that we headed over to the Studios. We actually wasn’t really worried about being on time as when it comes to Disney our main focus is of course, yup you guessed it, characters! And we had it on good authority that there would be no characters at this event. When we got over to the Studios we were actually surprised at the amount of people that there were waiting. We discovered that our tickets that we had collected earlier that day from FNAC were actually like vouchers, and we had to go and exchange those for yet another ticket at the Guest Relations window. This was somewhat annoying. So we booked it online, and had a voucher. We went to FNAC to collect the ticket, but that ticket only allowed as far as the entrance at the Park, where then we had to go collect another ticket! Not entirely sure why they did it like that, but was time consuming nonetheless.
Eventually we were able to stand in the long line to get in.
As we were standing at the gates, we noticed that the soundtrack sometimes became warped and more sinister. I thought that this was a neat and subtle touch. It would have been far easier for them to just have no sugary Disney soundtrack at all, but instead they changed it. The idea of the night was something along the lines of there were demons and ghouls that had taken over the park after hours, and wasn’t a party like the other Halloween events normally are, whereby the Disney Characters invite their friends along to the fun. Instead this was something more like in a horror movie in which the haunted fairground comes to “life” at night. There had been (I think) two viral videos what I recall for the promotion of this event. I have linked one below.
So we go in the park, and made our way into Studio One, the Main Street of Walt Disney Studios.
On the guide map, Studio One had been transformed into Darkness Boulevard. As we entered there was smoke blowing around (not normal for inside the glitzy Studio One), and some undead performers wandering round trying to freak people out. My first impression was that they weren’t all that scary, but I didn’t want to get too close anyhow!
A lot of the Cast Members around the park (as in attendants, not performers) were in the spirit of the evening too, sporting some cool face make-up.
As we exited into the main area of the park, we decided to head right to see what the line for Crush’s Coaster was like. This was one of the multiple attractions that they had altered for the night and we were keen to see what they had done. Of course, even shortly after opening, the line as always with Crush was mega huge, sadly.
Heading towards Crush there were a few surprises though. We were jumped out at by a number of undead looking people, who were hiding behind the large metal poster frames along the walkway down to Toon Studio. Initially they made you jump, and some of them did their best to scare people. They tended to get more of a reaction from over excitable girls (sorry ladies, but it’s true!), but pretty much once they had jumped out at you once, they weren’t that scary.
So we decided to skip over Crush. From Crush we walked down towards the new Toy Story Playland area.
Around the entrance area for Playland, along the pathway that stretches between Toon Studio and the Tram Tour were some really cool, large stilt walking red aliens (not exactly sure what they were to be honest, see the picture below). They didn’t scare people as such, more just roamed. But if you tried to walk past them they did sometimes try to stop you, and tried to get you underneath their legs. They weren’t scary, but were fun and cool to look at.
Also around the same area there were some rotting, deformed pumpkin people. They were something similar to the pumpkin people they have in Disneyland Park for the Halloween Season, but they were their darker, more sinister cousins. As with the ones up by the entrance area, once you saw them once, they weren’t that bad.
They hadn’t actually changed anything in Playland for the event, as it hadn’t been open that long and it was still their new pride and joy. I’m sure it was open pretty much for the simple fact it eats crowds and everybody wants to see it. The lines were long at the attractions, but the Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin had been down due to technical issues, so the line was short as it had just reopened, and we rode that.
From there we headed around to the Tram Tour. We had hoped that of all the attractions that this would have a short line, and we’d be able to see some of the changes made for the night. The sign said the wait was 666, which was a neat touch, but didn’t help when trying to decide whether it was worth lining up for. The line as it happens, took forever. As far as the Tram Tour was concerned, this was probably the longest lines it had seen since opening day nearly nine years ago!
On the map and out front of the attraction, the Tour was billed as the Terrorific Tram Tour. This was meant to be one of their signature attractions for the evening. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, we were nearing the front. There was a ghoulish performer greeting guests onto the trams, and causing a number of other problems. To be honest, he spoke in a thick French accent, and even if he was speaking English at all, he was impossible to understand. A lot of the French seemed to be laughing at things he was saying, but even when I got the idea of what he was talking about, I personally found him irritating rather than entertaining.
The loading process was the slowest I had ever experienced for any attraction in the history of man, but the reason for that would become a bit clearer later, though that was not helpful at this stage.
Finally we boarded. We wanted to have a back row, but were forced into a row with two other people. They originally were sitting on the far side, but wanted to switch for some reason. I figured it was because they didn’t want to get splashed in Catastrophe Canyon during the tour.
So the tour set off, with the usual boring commentary from that French lady and the ever dull Jeremy Irons. The sound kept going on and off, and there was some smoke effects on the roadways along the tour, but for the most part it seemed fairly normal. Overall so far I was not impressed. Then the screens went altogether, and just turned a lime green colour.
We passed the Dinotopia set, went around the Canyon, and approached the Dinotopia set again. But as we got into visual range, we noticed that somehow it was different. The lighting and atmosphere was different…
Standing in the centre of the courtyard area were a number of very tall demons, and around him some more human sized ghouls or other creatures of hell. The main demon guy was red and had horns.
He started speaking and conjured some sort of dark magic. Flame torches were burning and the ghouls and demons set to work on terrorising the tram full of people! They crept up to the sides, jumped up behind, screamed and shrieked and generally were terrifying. Then one jumped up into the empty back row just behind us, and some more came around the sides. The lady who was sitting in the seat nearest the set and the demons - one of the people who we had switched seats with - was ripped from the tram and dragged by the demons to the courtyard area. Screaming for her life, kicking and twisting she was dragged into the depths of hell, through the entrance of the Dinotopia set. I was sitting there thinking to myself “oh my God, I did not sign up for this!” For a brief moment I genuinely thought that that poor woman had been carted off against her will. Then I realised it was part of the event, and I was thinking to myself that this beats anything that Universal could have done!!
The man sitting next to me, now without his companion, was making frantic phone calls on his mobile phone. We all sat rigid with fear as the tram moved on to the London disaster set.
As we approached that, everything seemed normal at first, but then the lighting changed and the dragon didn’t do it’s usual breathing fire. Suddenly from the rubble, expertly disguised emerged more undead ghouls and the like. They again started to terrorise people on the tram. As things were intensifying suddenly some masked “heroes” appeared. They fended off the ghouls and demons with blow torches. It was truly like a scene out of a post-apocalyptic movie, such as “I Am Legend“.
After they had defeated the demons, our saviours flipped up their welding masks to reveal that in fact they were not exactly in a fit state themselves! I don’t think they were meant to be undead or demons, but more scarred and deformed humans from the post-nuclear war era. They too were not too pleased to see us, and quickly saw to it that the tram left. They stood behind with their blow torches, ensuring that no other foolish tourist dare venture back into their world. They may have come to our rescue this time, but next time they would not be so helpful.
The tram made it’s way back around to the loading area, and the man next to us bolted for his life, and we were left to get off the tram in our petrified states.
If there was anything Disney has ever done right for Halloween, it was the Tram Tour. I realised after the reason it took so long to board, and that was because each tram had to go through these horrific scenes, and of course the scenes had to be reset every time.
From there we headed over to the Armageddon attraction to see what they had done with that. On the map it had been renamed “Armageddon: Crash Terror”.
The outside was all taped off with that yellow and black no entry tape that they use at crash scenes and other dangerous and hazardous sites. We were ushered into the pre-show area via the side door, and given some brief talk, albeit in French. I think the premise was that the space station had crashed and we had to go look for survivors, or investigate the site or something. So the doors opened, and it began.
Inside the entry tunnel there were false walls at intervals on either side of the corridor, meaning that you couldn’t see straight ahead, and had to make blind turns. Plus, the lights were out and there were strobe effects. Of course as you probably guessed, around the corners were performers jumping out at you. To be honest, I didn’t find this too intense. I don’t think the performers inside here had much enthusiasm. Or maybe we had just been so scared out of our minds on the tram tour, that this didn’t seem like much!!
Anyway, we walked through the whole attraction, even past the main show area that normally has all the explosions and fire, and basically it led right back outside.
We didn’t actually get to ride anything else because of the such long lines, but we heard from a friend that the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s pre-show video had been changed. Basically where the cast normally come in a give their spiel, a chainsaw wielding madman comes in and slashes them all!
I don’t know what was different about the Tower of Terror or Crush. Maybe someday I’ll find out! (Or maybe they’ll do the event again and we’ll be able to experience them).
Out front of the Tower of Terror was another of the zones where ghouls and demons, and other undead folk hung out. All along that stretch from the Tower to the Tram Tour was called White Chapel. Anyone who knows London will know that in the 19th century there was a famous string of murders that were unsolved in an area called White Chapel. The murderer left a number of signature clues, but was never caught. The victims were mainly women.
This night, the La Terrasse area became White Chapel. Filled with smoke effects and murder victims at every turn, guests were being jumped out on and lured into the fog filled alleyways of 19th century London to meet their fate.
Also hanging around the park that night were a number of other scary performers. There was some lady walking her werewolf, and probably the best one - a security guard with a psycho on day release! With a Hannibal Lecter style mask and a straight jacket, the guard was trying to keep the psycho under control on his leash, but with difficulty. As guests passed by, he would stalk, stare and carefully choose his next victim. Then just as they were in range, he would run at them, dragging the poor guard with him. The guard would try and jump him and keep him under control, but it was clearly a struggle!
There was one last listed entertainment that night, and that was a fire and instrument band called Les Ombres du Diable. Playing industrial looking percussion instruments, and using fire effects to add to the mood they played three times during the event.
Storytelling is what Disney does best, and for those paying attention, the finale to the night had one last tale to tell. As you exited through Studio One, on the floor lay a number of “victims” from the Tram Tour. I figured there must have been multiple performers as there were trams at different stages of the tour at any given time. On the floor by the restaurant lay the woman from our tram, and a man. With despair on their faces, and bloody wounds, they lay terrified and dying. Of course to anyone who hadn’t rode the tram, you would think they were just another part of the night. More performers. But for those paying attention, and had rode the tram tour, you got a small tie in with probably the most horrific thing you’d ever experienced, from earlier that night.
I really did enjoy the things we did get to do during the event. I thought the Tram Tour is one of the best things Disney has ever done for any special event. It really played well into my expectations of what the Terrorific Night should be about. Sadly I think they also failed on a number of fronts. There were way too many people allowed to buy tickets. This meant that the limited attractions that were open, which remember had all been changed in some way, had extremely long waits. Also I think that the some of the performers lost the enthusiasm later in the night for scaring people, and so they really weren’t that scary after a while.
If they decide to do another one of these, we will consider going if they have more open, or allow less people. I would have loved to seen what they did to Crush, but I wasn’t prepared to waste the whole night.
Ok, that’s all for now.