TRIP REPORT: Disney FanDaze & Festival of Pirates and Princesses at Disneyland Paris
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As I mentioned, I have been away for the week at Disneyland Paris for the last day of the Festival of
Pirates & Princesses as well as for the big event Disney FanDaze!
I had been dying to see the Festival of Pirates and Princesses since they first started it in March. I am personally not a fan of pirates. I just don't get the fascination, especially given their murderous historical past. Although, I get we're dealing with the more Disneyfied comical Captain Hook variety of pirates dressed in pastels. But, I LOVE the Princesses. I love them. And, the dresses did not disappoint. They were so colorful and vibrant.
And I finally got to see the Moana dress with my own eyes. Its my favorite of the bunch! She even stopped and gave me a hug!
What I thought was cool was that the pirates and princesses came from two different directions going to Central Plaza. At different times, they came from either Fantasyland or Town Square with show stops either at the Castle Stage or on Main Street. The two factions then came into Central Plaza for a battle where guests to the park pick a side (and we all know what side I was on). The two team captains were Betty Rose on the princess side and Jimmy Ocean on the pirate side. Central Plaza was divided down the middle as guests barked either "Yo Ho!" or "Heigh Ho!" at each other to support their team. Very high energy and fun!
Now on to Disney FanDaze! The night before the Inaugural Party, I was able to attend the Disney FanDaze Gala Dinner featuring several of the creative executives who worked on Disney FanDaze. Disneyland Paris President Catherine Powell greeted every guest and took time to take pictures with everybody. She was so gracious and lovely. She is what you would hope all Disney Parks Presidents would be like and I am very excited to see her head the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Western Region which means she will head not only Disneyland Paris, but Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. I told her that we have Walt Disney magic at Disneyland, but we could use some Catherine Powell magic as well.
During the dinner, Senior Show Director Emmanuel Lenormand presented his team. I was excited to see Mirena Rada, the costume designer who designed costumes for Paint the Night and Mickey’s SoundSational Parade at Disneyland as well as the Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure. I got a chance to compliment her on some of my favorite outfits.
But, to me, the hit was Scott Erickson, who composed the music for FanDaze (along with many shows throughout Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris), who talked about his thought process composing the new song for “Dance Your DuckTales Parade.”
After the dinner, we had an opportunity to meet and get autographs from the creative executives. It was so much fun!
The next night was the BIG event - the Inaugural Party for Disney FanDaze. Its important to recognize that this is the Inaugural Party which implies that there are more events to come. And, if this event was any indication of the strength of this brand, then fans should be in for more great events.
The meet-and-greets reminded me of Long Long Friends Weekends, but on steroids! Lots of steroids! We are talking rare characters, many of whom have not been out to meet in years. There were characters from Disney Afternoon, Inside Out, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bolt, Monsters, Inc., Three Caballeros, The Emperor’s New Groove, Big Hero 6, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet (among many others!). And they had great backdrops throughout the park.
The event had more than 50 characters for fans to see. It was so difficult to come up with a game plan because there was so much to do from character meet-and-greets to some spectacular shows and a couple of parades. I had to just focus on the characters that I had not met yet, including my number one dream to meet Sadness from Inside Out. If you know me, you know my love of Sadness and that she is one of my spirit characters yet I have never had the chance to meet her.
I also met Bolt and Mittens, Jim Hawkins from Treasure Planet, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow who were in their new refreshed looks, Clara Cluck, Yaya from Three Caballeros and Goofy and Max from Goof Troop.
The only two characters there that I didn't meet before were Linguini from Ratatouille and Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch. I actually had a chance to meet Pleakley, but, I had to skip it because I thought I lost my phone. #Aaaarrrrrggghhhh
“Oh my, Ortensia” was my dream show because I love Oswald The Lucky Rabbit so much and it featured the debut of his gal pal Ortensia to Disney Parks! It was a cute show held on Hollywood Boulevard in the park and I died seeing her for the first time. She is SO freakin' adorable! I will be so sad if she doesn't come to Disney California Adventure. Frankly, the show would be perfect on Buena Vista Street!
The other show was “Max Live!” which was absolutely fantastic. If you are a fan of Goof Troop, then you would die seeing Max Goof perform as Powerline! When they announced that such a diverse slate of characters would be part of the show from Judy Hopps from Zootopia to Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove, I couldn't imagine how they were going to pull it off. But, they wove them all together in a clever storyline.
“Dance Your Ducktales Parade” was really more of a street party with its high energy show stops. It was a tribute to the original DuckTales show as the evening had several tributes to Disney Afternoon of the 1990s. It was a fun parade featuring Donald, Uncle Scrooge, Launchpad and Huey, Dewey and Louie dancing their duck tails off. Even the performers had adorable duck tails! I just wish the ducks rotated a little more so we could see them all from where you were standing.
The evening ended with the Farewell Party which featured all the characters that appeared throughout the evening. So, if you didn’t get a chance to meet them, you could see them. And, if you were lucky enough, get them to stop for a photo!
And guess who stopped for me! Linguini and Pleakley! It was a great way to end the evening!
Overall, this was a great event. I wish it were a little longer and more character meet sets, but I would definitely include this as one of the best Disney has ever held. It might even be my favorite! I can't wait to see what they do next!
The next day, we attended a brunch at the California Grill at the Disneyland Hotel where Mickey and friends (aka the VIPs) would be meeting guests in their Disney FanDaze outfits. I didn't get a chance to really see them during the Inaugural Party aside from their appearance in the Farewell Parade, so it was great to see them up close. They really look great in their Disney FanDaze colors. My personal favorites were Pluto and Daisy Duck.
And, that was it for my little adventure! When can we do this again? Woah oh oh oh!