Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Disneyland Paris - Part 2

Today I'm continuing to share some of Huck Caton's June 2016 photos of Disneyland Paris; all of today's images are from that park's version of Storybook Land ("Les Pays de Contes de Fées"). 

Right out in the middle of the canal are two small, unusual islands; one features Mount Olympus, while the other has a small temple, perhaps to Dionysys (or Bacchus), inspired by a scene from "Fantasia". I like the idea of recreating that beautiful artwork as a miniature tableau, but frankly this just looks odd.

Here's one views of Mt. Olympus from the "Pastoral Symphony" segment of "Fantasia" (the mountain was pictured transitioning from day to sunset to night).

Peter and the Wolf! I always loved that cartoon segment from the 1946 film, "Make Mine Music", though nowadays I would prefer it without the Sterling Holloway narration. But it is what it is.

There's "Pierre" and the "Loup"; the decision to include the characters from some of these scenes seems a little odd; one of the charms of the original Storybook Land in Anaheim is that guests would use their imagination. You know, that thing that Disney loves to mention! Maybe Peter and his grandfather were inside the charming cottage sitting by the fire. But no, there are teensy characters, right in front of us. It's not the end of the world, admittedly.

As a kid I found the "Night On Bald Mountain" sequence from "Fantasia" to be one of the most amazing things, so it's very cool that they included the crooked little German Expressionist village, with the huge winged demon, "Chernabog" recoiling from the sound of church bells.

A number of years ago I learned about F.W. Murnau's 1926 film, "Faust", obviously a direct inspiration for the Fantasia scene. That's Mephisto "sewing the seeds of plague".

Now our boats approach the imposing entrance to Aladdin's "Cave of Wonders". If you stand up and touch the carved uvula, you will get 20 years of good luck. I just noticed that the colossal stone tiger is wearing a golden earring.

This ride has some impressive rock work; I suppose the rocky cliffs help to separate scenes from one another, plus they just look cool.

The final image for today is this diorama from "The Sword In The Stone". There it is, under that archway, with fiber-optic sparkles to let us know that something magical is about to happen! Even the miniature Excalibur would be impossible to pull from the stone unless one is worthy, even though it looks like it could be used as a toothpick.

THANKS to Huck Caton for sharing his personal photos! There are many more to come.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Right out in the middle of the canal are two small, unusual islands ... I like the idea of recreating that beautiful artwork as a miniature tableau, but frankly this just looks odd.
Major, "it" looks odd because those aren't islands, those are giant stuffed pumpkins.

That Peter & The Wolf snow scene is cute! Since those particular trees aren't bonsai's, that scene means less upkeep for the "gardeners," I suppose.

The coloring of the boats reminds me of a kindergarten craft project we did - where we put our little hands in plaster of Paris and then painted the hardened plaster, using that same teal (turquois? aqua?) and peach colors. If you weren't in my kindergarten class, I guess those boats wouldn't remind you of my class project.

Fun trip, thanks Huck and Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

What's with all the coins inside the cave with the "Sword in the Stone"? I didn't notice them in any of the other scenes. I wonder if there is something specific about that setting, which makes people throw their coins in that spot?

I don't remember those islands with Mount Olympus and the temple. I wonder if I've just forgotten them, or if they could have been added since my visit. Is there a little figurine to the left of the temple? A young centaur, perhaps?

By the way, the castle in the background of that first pic, is the Beast's castle.....from that movie with the girl in the yellow dress, who likes to read.

I'm enjoying all of the DLP pics! Thank you, Huck and Major!

Chuck said...

Never rode this but have been told by friends that the Chernabog figure is animated, opening and closing his wings.

In the Cave of Wonders image you can see evidence of some of the challenges they have with maintaining this Park in the Parisian climate that they don't have in California. Note the faint green coloration on the rockwork showing mold or moss or some sort of other carbon-based life form that thrives in a damp, cooler climate. You can also see some small holes around the snout that could be pieces of the surface that have broken off due to repeated freezing and thawing (although it also might be a subtle way to suggest a tiger's whiskers; Mike Cozart will probably know if that`s intentional).

TM!, I have no recollection of a castle in Pollyanna.

stu29573 said...

I think the boats looks very very plastic, which, having seen the new WDW castle colors, seems to be the goal of all Disney color treatments now. "We'll sell more toys if we can link all of our attractions to plastic! Kids love plastic!" Blech.

Andrew said...

The scene with Chernabog reminds me of the Pinocchio village at the original Disneyland. The large peak to the left could be the Matterhorn if it were snow-covered, and the same goes for the little mountains right behind the buildings. Thanks for the pictures, Huck.


Reg Lou and Sue ‘s comment about the two islands on Mount Olympus - they looked so odd and I recall seeing images of them one time that impressed me. I looked on live for earlier images and it appears those “pumpkin” colors are wrong and at one time the rock work was painted with various light grays. The vegetation is also not being trimmed properly. It is possible that the “pumpkin” color could be a primer ..... but noticing all the other condition problems I doubt it. You can see the little figure of Bahccas playing his pipes of pan to the left of the columned folly.

The plastic boats seemed odd to me as well and it appears there was once a greater color palate for each boat and they didn’t appear as plastic looking.

At one time Disneyland was considering similar automated - forward seating boats but without the turntable loading. But more recent plans removes Storybook Canal entirely.

In some early final master plans a Storybook Canal was planed for inclusion at Tokyo Disneyland. It would have been located between Fantasyland’s Haunted Mansion and next to WESTERNLAND.

zach said...

Thanks, Huck and Major, since this is as close as I will probably ever get to DL Paris.


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, it really does look “pumpkinesque”! I agree, the figures of Peter and the Wolf are cute, I just don’t know if I am for the idea of showing them in a setting like Storybook Land. And YES, the colors on the boats… MY EYES. It’s astonishing how terrible they look. Doesn’t anybody at the Disney Company have any sort of color sense anymore?

TokyoMagic!, I hadn’t really paid any attention to the “coins” in the “Sword In The Stone” scene; a few of them really do look like coins, the rest looks like - I don’t know - leaves? Pebbles? Whiskas cat food? And that little figure next to the temple is an Ewok.

Chuck, the Chernabog figure moves his wings and also says 11 different phrases (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried). “Bonjour!”. “Ever have one of those days?”. “There’s a snake in my boot!”. And so on. I don’t mind some of the mossiness, though I admit that it doesn’t look like we’re in the middle of a searing desert. Jeez, if those really are pieces of rockwork that have fallen off… somebody buy some spackle! (I just wanted to say “spackle”). “Pollyanna”, good one! (A movie I still have never seen, is it on Disney+? So far several of the classic movies I’ve wanted to watch are not).

stu29573, I (for one) wish that everything in our world looked like it was manufactured by Playskool! Plastic cars in purples, reds, yellows, and blues. Plastic houses (no, not that one), even plastic food.

Andrew, both scenes have ancient European villages, but Pinocchio’s is much less “German Expressionist”. I feel like even that little village should be more devoid of color, but maybe that would look ugly to most people.

Mike Cozart, maybe I’ll do some research after I’m done responding to comments, but that monochrome pink/orange is so strange. Like a Cronenbergian body horror nightmare. I agree with you, it might have started out as a primer, and then they decided “Good enough” (only in French). The canal boats are another example of somebody thinking, “People like color, let’s make the boats MORE colorful!”. I wonder what John Hench would have to say about them. The thought of Disneyland removing the Storybook Land Canal Boats (and, presumably, Casey Jr.) hurts my heart.

zach, as my dad would have said, “Thee and me!”.

Omnispace said...

Here I was just going to say how impressed I was by the entrance to Aladdin's Cave - looks very old and crumbling. If that's a maintenance issue I'd say look out! I know they had big issues with the temple structures on the Indiana Jones coaster falling apart and had to rebuild them (as per Disney & More, which was one of my favorite websites, RIP).

Adding the figures to the scenes makes me think of the dressed Emporium windows. It's not necessarily bad, but different. Maybe for some, the exclusion of the characters in the original Storybook Land Canal Boats was puzzling, just like when they didn't see Alice in the Alice in Wonderland dark ride. Thus adding the characters makes the scenes more complete.

I think it would be a travesty to remove the Storybook Land area at Disneyland. Not everything has to be new and shiny.

Anonymous said...

Hearing plans to remove Storybook Land makes my heart hurt. It's clear that whatever Disney has become, they have lost their way.

I can't bring myself to make any more comments.

Thanks Huck and Major.


Melissa said...

Chernabog Village is the pick of the litter. Excalibur takes second place. The other scenes, though photographed beautifully by Huck, just don’t do that much for me. As others have pointed out, the color palettes involve a lot of weird choices and they don’t give you the same feeling that you could shrink down and disappear into them, that you get in Anaheim.

I think the “coins” in the Excalibur scene are just round, flat pebbles.

Major, Pollyanna is on Disney+! I’ve watched it twice in the last few months. It’s been a favorite of mine since I saw it at the drive-in as a wee little monster. I do miss those days of regular theatrical re-releases before home video became ubiquitous. Don’t get me wrong; great to watch the classics without having to leave the house. But it was also pretty awesome to pile into the car in our jammies and go see them on the big screen.

Sunday Night said...

Pollyanna is an excellent Disney film. Hayley Mills is charming and the film features many wonderful character actors of the time. A nice mix of drama and humor. Don't miss it!

Major Pepperidge said...

Omnispace, I was wondering if any of those missing chunks fell on a passing boat. Free souvenir! The lump on the head I mean, not the piece of cement. I didn’t know that the Indiana Jones coaster had experienced problems as well. The Emporium windows seem different to me, they are supposed to be a full recreation of a beloved scene. But what do I know! I hate trying to imagine what they would replace Storybook/Casey Jr. with - probably not something that would stand the test of time (60+ years).

JG, I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail, but as I’ve said before, by now nothing would really surprise me (it would affect me, but not surprise me).

Melissa, I’m always hoping for more “scary” elements in Disneyland! Chernabog was always one of the most exciting parts of Fantasia. I feel like the colors used these days, while certainly bold, are not applied with a real knowledge of how to use bright hues. It can be done of course (look at Mary Blair’s work), but it takes more than just a willingness to use “out of the tube” colors. I’ve seen the new castle colors described as “bold”. That is no lie. They are also “bad”. Thanks for the news on “Pollyanna”, I see that is indeed there. I’d previously looked for “Summer Magic” and “So Dear To My Heart”, both are not on Disney+. However, I may have to watch “That Darn Cat” first, I loved that movie when I was a kid.

Sunday Night, I will definitely check it out! I subscribed for a year, so I have plenty of time to watch a lot of the old classics. By the way, I watched “The Brave Little Tailor” on Disney+, it’s one of my favorite Mickey short subjects, but I think they just used a VHS rip of the film, you can actually see video lines. Arg.

Chuck said...

Major, we watched That Darn Cat recently, and it holds up. I think you'll enjoy it.

A lot of their initial content was material previously released to the home market, which explains why they only have limited offerings from The Mickey Mouse Club and why a lot of what they have out there is no better than DVD quality. I have noy watched Brave Little Tailor yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if they used a videotape master if that's all they had available for a quick transfer. Amazon Prime Video did the same thing during the early COVID days with public domain episodes of Bonanza and Annie Oakley.

They are gradually adding content. I looked for The Moonspinners early on and it wasn't available, but it's there now. I just hope it's better than a digitized VHS copy.

Melissa said...

Still no Three Lives of Thomasina.