Monday, June 07, 2021

Yet More Disneyland Paris from Huck!

Today I'm sharing the last batch of photos from Disneyland Paris, as shared with us by our friend Huck Caton, who visited that park back in 2016. All of these continue to explore Alice's Curious Labyrinth, which we first looked at in April.

The maze was inhabited by a bunch of weird characters, like the Dodo in his tricorn hat, or that big-billed bird, a green parrot, and even a naked pink baby star. I couldn't tell you if all of these appeared in the 1951 animated film (except for the Dodo, he definitely does).

I'm unclear as to whether the figures were all static, or if some of them had limited motion. Maybe some even spoke to you as you passed? The blue pedestal thingy that the Dodo stands on is well worn by thousands of hands touching the rough surface.

Oops, I guess the pink baby star isn't naked, he (she?) has a "back door" with buttons. Lots of people have their cameras out, I hope they're having a good time. That looks like the carousel in the distance...?

The "Queen of Hearts Maze"? Was that a maze within a maze? Time do some research! Wikipedia says that the "Tulgey Wood" section of the maze was the first, and easiest section. The Queen of Hearts section is the second and toughest part of the labyrinth. As guests wander through it, the Queen or her card soldiers pop up from time to time, while she screams her famous "Off with their heads!" Notice that the playing cards are painting the roses red (well, pink anyway).

Yikes, the Cheshire Cat looks extra scary here! It's those pinpoint pupils. Is he on opioids? The sign warns that this part of the maze "may be difficult", I wonder if anybody got frustratingly turned around in there? Meanwhile the sign looks like it's getting a bit mossy (or is it just dirty?), the Cheshire Cat needs to do some scrubbing. 

The Queen of Hearts has mobilized her forces! 

Say, this labyrinth is all twisty and turny. Who can I sue? You can see that one of the paths leads you right up to the Queen of Hearts (to the left), where she probably yells "Off with their heads" (in French?). Google translate says that it would be "Enlevez leur tĂȘtes", but we all know how that can garble things. 

The tiny King of Hearts might be embarrassed to learn that his crown is full of dead plant material.

Here's the exit; it surprises me that by 2016, they still had signs that were largely in English, since there was criticism about such things in the early years of the park's existence. Presumably guests will see the March Hare, Door Mouse, Mad Hatter, and maybe even Alice herself, enjoying a crazy Unbirthday Party.

Thanks so much to Huck Caton for generously sharing his personal photos from Disneyland Paris!


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, those characters in the first pic were all in the film....even the pelican and lobster, seen in the second and third pics. They are from the "Caucus Race" segment:

I wonder if that dead plant material could have been used as a bird's nest, at one point.

I don't remember the maze having an "easy" section and a more "difficult" section. Now I need to go look at my photos again!

TokyoMagic! said...

I forgot to mention, at some point in the maze, you end up reaching the Queen of Hearts' castle. It's sort of like Castle Rock on Tom Sawyer Island. You can climb up to various levels of the structure. Major, you can see where Huck was standing when he took that picture of the King of Hearts, in this photo that you posted previously. The King of Hearts can also be seen, standing below the guests, on the lowest balcony:

Thank you, Huck and Major!

Chuck said...

That black bird really reminds me of Heckle & Jeckle for some reason. Haven't thought about them in years.

That sign looks like it has some mold growth. We have the same problem on the siding on the north side of our house and it looks the same. Challenges of living in a humid climate.

An English cast member at Town Hall (or maybe it's "City Hall" at DLP) explained to us that the language on primary signage and inside attractions was based on the story's country of origin. So signs on buildings in Frontierland and Main Street, U.S.A. are in English, the Swiss Family Treehouse and the the Jules Verne-based attractions in Tomorrowland are in French, and in Fantasyland, Peter Pan's Flight and Alice's Curious Labyrinth are in English while Sleeping Beauty Castle is in French.

Phantom Manor originally had an English soundtrack narrated by Vincent Price until there were too many complaints. You'd think that with today's technology they could add a button to each Doom Buggy to allow guests to select the soundtrack language, although as expensive as the Park was to build even that may have been cost-prohibitive at the time.

The cast member also explained that the French had insisted that French be the primary language for announcements and safety spiels for all attractions, and that the French version be played first before any English version. With a sly smile and a conspiratorial air he also told us that Disney had pulled a fast one on Star Tours - the pre-recorded flight announcement soundtrack in the queue played the announcements first in Bocce (a made-up language for the Star Wars universe), followed by French, then English. Not sure that's actually true, but it makes a good story and he obviously relished telling it to four co-linguists.

Thanks again, Huck!

Andrew said...

Not to be "that guy," but that's the Dumbo queue, not the Carrousel. You can see one of the elephants above the tent.

Those pie pan-like things around the Dodo are small fountains, not unlike those outside of the Imagination pavilion at Epcot. Earlier in the maze, there are colorful stone pillars that feature the "leapfrog" fountains also found outside the Imagination pavilion (seen in the right background in the video I linked).

Thanks, Huck.


That third picture with the Dodo and everyone with their cameras almost looks staged . Regarding Vincent Price as the Narrator of Phantom Manor : the early script for Paris when it was still called Haunted Mansion was written with actor James Coburn in mind . In an early demo recording the voice actor couldn’t do a James Coburn voice but he could do a Vincent Price voice . The writers thought how perfect - and re did the script revisions with a Vincent Price voice in mind ... they intended to have a voice actor sound like Vincent price but somebody suggested why don’t they see if the real Vincent Price was available!

I think James Coburn would have made a great “phantom”

That’s hilarious the starfish have “trap-doors”

Nanook said...

At least the 'blue pedestal thingy' isn't adorned with bubblegum-!

Thanks, Huck.

zach said...

Thanks, Huck and Major.

I see Alice herself off to the right in #7.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Good eyes, Zach!!

Anonymous said...

Zach, and the White Rabbit too!

This is such an interesting attraction (or maybe feature is a better word?). Was a wait in a queue required to go through the maze, it doesn't look crowded on this day.

I like the castle, but don't recall one in the film.

Major, the Cheshire Cat is definitely high on something. I bet it's mushrooms, since eating those have all kinds of effects in Wonderland.

What is the striking bluegreen glass structure in the background of photo 5? Very eyecatching.

Thanks Huck, Major, and the commenters for showing me things that I would never see otherwise!


Nanook said...

@ JG-
That petal-shaped "striking bluegreen glass structure" is the 'roof' above the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, it has obviously been quite a while since I’ve watched “Alice in Wonderland”. I have no excuse since I have Disney+! Those twigs and pine needles do sort of look like a bird’s nest, but then again, they are confined to a circular area too. I wonder if even the “difficult” part of the maze is actually pretty easy? I can’t imagine Disney risking letting guests getting lost in a maze!

TokyoMagic!, thanks for the link to that photo, I admit that I never really considered where Huck might have been standing for those higher vantage points!

Chuck, oy, Heckle and Jeckle! Generally unpleasant characters in my recollection. Then again, I can’t think of too many classic Terrytoons that i actually liked. The presence of mold (or moss?) at DLP is indicative of poor maintenance, which is kind of a bummer. Can’t they spray it with a mild bleach solution? Bleach is the answer to all of life’s problems! Thanks for the info about why the signs are in English at times - it makes sense. It IS a bummer that Vincent Price’s narration was ultimately removed, though I would be a bit miffed if I was French and couldn’t understand the narration for the Phantom Manor in a French park! Like you said, it would be neat if they could somehow give guests the option to choose. Funny about the Star Tours story; so they actually do use French first? I always loved that announcement, “Kutana kutana!”.

Andrew, so the covered tent is the queue for Dumbo? I definitely did not expect that. And it’s OK, you can be “that guy”! Thanks also for the information about those fountains.

Mike Cozart, James Coburn definitely had an awesome voice, but come on… if it’s between him and Vincent Price, I’m going with Vincent! Still… an interesting idea. I wonder if they ever had other actors in mind?

Nanook, yuck, that reminds me of that wall in Seattle - why is that a tourist destination? There’s a “gum wall” in San Luis Obispo too, it’s gross.

zach, HEY! There she is!

Lou and Sue, I’ll bet Zach has bionic eyes. No fair.

JG, from what I hear about attendance at DLP, there probably aren’t waits for most rides, except perhaps on the busiest of days. And yes (ha ha), of course the Cheshire Cat has been nibbling on mushrooms. Why didn’t I think of that?

Nanook, I could see that there were Teacups beneath that green glass roof, but saw that you’d already answered JG’s question, so you get all the glory and endorsement money.

Melissa said...

The butt flap on the baby Star is just the sort of detail one expects from Disney artists!

James Coburn’s voice would have lent a more “Western” feeling to Phantom Manor, but I’m glad Vincent got a chance to do it. I wish it could have come along a few years earlier when his voice was stronger, but it still turned out pretty damn awesome.

Chuck, the last time I rode Spaceship Earth at EPCOT with my sister, it was late at night with practically nobody there. We asked the CM if we could just stay on and re-ride, and they said sure. We ended up going through four or five times, and choosing a different language for the narration each time just out of curiosity.

I remember listening to the French version of the Cinderella book-and-record record in my high school French class, and we all giggled when the narrator said, “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.” I guess we were all expecting it to sound different or something!

Chuck said...

Major, I was not a fan of Heckle & Jeckle, either, but they were the only cartoons in that time slot on broadcast TV in our market when I was in 2nd-6th grade. We'd have it on in the background and be generally playing with something else, only tuning in for the odd, WW II-era Bugs Bunny cartoons they would occasionally show.

I heard they were considering Paul Reubens for the Phantom Manor, but then that thing with the theater happened and he was unemployable after that. You know - Star Tours.

Melissa, that's the kind of technology I'm talking about. And riding with your sister like that sounds fun. And regarding your French class experience, I always get a kick out of hearing an English phrase stuck in the middle of people speaking another language (although I'm not sure that "bibbidi bobbidi boo" can strictly speaking be considered an English phrase).

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I remember standing on the porch of Phantom Manor, waiting to go inside, and hearing a lady next to me speaking in French.....or was it German? Funny, now I can't remember what language she was speaking, but it was one of the two! Anyway, I just remember her going on and on in her language, which I did not understand, and then all of a sudden she said, "Alfred Hitchcock.... Psycho." It's funny because I almost wanted to say, "Hey, I understood that!" I assumed she was pointing out the fact that the house has more than a slight resemblance to the Bates house in Hitchcock's film.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, you make a good point about James Coburn’s voice brining a more western flavor to the narration - appropriate for that ride. Years ago, when “The Great Mouse Detective” came out, I went to see a presentation at the L.A. County Museum of Art, with some of the animators and other creators. Vincent Price was there too, and of course the audience loved him! He was still full of energy at the point, and it was tons of fun. I didn’t know you could select the language on Spaceship Earth! In fact I didn’t know they had that technology at all. I used to love to listen to a French “Storyteller Album” of Peter Pan, I especially liked the French version of “Your Mother and Mine”.

Chuck, I watched plenty of cartoons in my day, and Terrytoons were always so much the same thing, over and over. Other than Mighty Mouse, none of their characters really popped (and even Mighty Mouse was one-note). Dinky Duck? Little Roquefort? Gandy Goose? I know that in the 50s, Terrytoons started producing some more interesting, modern-style cartoons. I loved “Tom Terrific” when I was a kid! Paul Reubens for the Phantom Manner? I like Paul Reubens a lot, but thank goodness they did not go that direction with that ride.


Well , Carrol Channing was suppose to do PHANTOM MANOR , but when they asked she said “RASPBERRIES!!”

Chuck said...

I was kidding about Paul Reubens. Although he was suitably creepy in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And Batman Returns. And he scared the crap out of me as RX-24.


I too am kidding about Carrol Channing in case nobody picked up on that .

"Lou and Sue" said...

That's good to hear, Mike and Chuck. I was beginning to think the two of you were out together "downing a few-too-many cold ones."

Great photos - thank you, Huck and Major!

I love the baby starfish, btw!

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, I assume that Carrol Channing was famous for saying “Raspberries”?? I mostly just remember seeing her on various TV shows and thinking that she was odd. Likable, but odd!

Chuck, ever since they used Gilbert Gottfried in the “Under New Management” version of the Enchanted Tiki Room, I will believe anything!

Mike Cozart, I figured that you were kidding!

Lou and Sue, Mike and Chuck drink beers together on Zoom! FYI, Huck just sent me MORE photos of the Curious Labyrinth, so you’ll see those when create a post with them.

Melissa said...

I went to see a presentation at the L.A. County Museum of Art, with some of the animators and other creators. Vincent Price was there too, and of course the audience loved him!

One of my proudest “X degrees of separation” connections is that one of my old friends and castmates from my Shakespeare in the Park days went to undergrad with Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria. But having gotten to see him in person is way cooler! Possibly my favorite actor, living, dead, or undead.

Can’t wait to see those additional Curious Labyrinth pictures!