Legacy Content

Disney Cinema Parade at the Walt Disney Studios Paris
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by Lee MacDonald & Lindsay Cave
June 24, 2002
A look at the new parade at Walt Disney Studios Paris and Lee's review of the parade.

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Disney Cinema Parade at the Walt Disney Studios Paris

On June 1, the Walt Disney Studios Paris unveiled its new attraction, the Disney Cinema Parade. The following weekend, invited guests and members of the media were invited to see the parade for the first time.

The parade is one of the most creatively unusual and innovative ever created by the Walt Disney Company for a host of reasons. For the first time, the Company invited an outside design studio to create the parade. Over the past few years, the Company has been more willing to allow the artistic input of outside agencies to add a new spark of imagination to the concept of the Disney parade. Puppeteer Michael Curry has become a significant creator of parade product from his first Disney foray with Lion King Celebration at Disneyland, which was followed with the Tapestry of Nations parade, created exclusively for EPCOT's Millennium Celebrations and his recent contributions to Mickey's Jammin' Jungle parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom. However, in each case, Walt Disney Entertainment has been the driving force behind the conceptualisation with only minor input from outside players. For example, Reed Morgan Jones, an immensely talented Show Director at Entertainment created the simple idea that Mickey and his friends are arriving at Disney's Animal Kingdom on a field expedition with a tribute to their animal friends that became Mickey's Jammin' Jungle parade. Therefore it was the design of the parade with metal puppets from Michael Curry and the excellent score written by Jones and Dan Stamper (known to many DAK fans for his amazing transformation of Disneyland's Lion King Celebration parade into the awesome Festival of the Lion King show in Camp Minnie-Mickey), driving the parade into a more stylised direction than that traditionally ventured into by Disney.

At the Walt Disney Studios Paris, a team led by Reggie Jarrett, a career Walt Disney World cast member (22 years and counting) broke new Disney ground by giving total creative and artistic freedom to an outside design studio. However, the new parade was in safe hands as the world-famous Studio Dragone was the sole contractor. The name may not be instantly recognisable, but their creative output is renowned. Franco Dragone is the driving force behind the avant-garde creativity of Cirque du Soleil shows from O at the Bellago, Las Vegas to Walt Disney World's La Nouba. Dragone has been the sole writer and director of most Cirque du Soleil productions since the company branched out from their Montreal base. Dragone as Art Director, supervised the work of his teams in three different workshops in the Netherlands, Belgium and north of France on the various parade floats. Elsewhere, the parade costumes were made in the Belgian town of Beniche, famous as the site as one of Europe's most popular carnivals.

The press event began with a presentation in Rock 'n' Roll America, one of the bar and restaurant facilities in the Disney Village. On display, were three miniatures of the float vehicles that highlighted the great attention to detail exhibited by the work of Creations du Dragon. Franco Dragone took to the stage to explain the ideas behind this new venture into uncharted territory with Disney. The parade is themed as a giant film production, from the early elements of pre-production through to the final product, the completed movie. Each element of the production is demonstrated by a Disney movie. Reggie Jarrett explained that the story was the key to this parade, as they wanted to tell a coherent story that unfolded from the beginning and closed with an appropriate finale, rather than just being another processional display of dancers and performers.