Today, we visited Disneyland Paris for an exclusive viewing of their newest show – “TOGETHER: A Pixar Musical Adventure”.
Presented at the Studio Theatre in Walt Disney Studios Park (most recently used for character meets such as Marvel heroes pre-Avengers Campus, and occasional special presentations such as National Geographic’s “Symphony For Our World), this innovative new show will run 5 times daily beginning July 15th for general audiences. A number of early previews will be held for Infinity and Magic Plus Pass Annuel holders on July 13th and 14th, with pre-registration required via the online portal.
TOGETHER: A Pixar Musical Adventure tells the story of Charlie, a young student who dreams of performing in their school’s end-of-year gala. After losing the sheet music for their performance, guests will follow a range of characters on an adventure through varying worlds from Pixar stories – including Up, Finding Nemo, Coco, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc.
Disneyland Paris President Natacha Rafalski describes the show as “an innovative and immersive experience that brings to life the magic of Pixar's most iconic films.”
Created using the combined talent of over 100 cast members in 30 professions, TOGETHER: A Pixar Musical Adventure utilizes every asset at their disposal to bring a new experience to guests – including an entirely original soundtrack to enhance the musical storyline of the show. While the official soundtrack was recorded in Nashville by 54 musicians, the daily presentations will feature 8 live musicians per show, working on a rotation with 30 total live musicians. Guests will get to enjoy “Together We Are One”, the official original theme song for the production, alongside many other classic Pixar tunes. Musicians and composers carry the story through with their costumes, donning custom Pixar inspired outfits for each performance.
Every care was taken to create a multi-layered sensory experience, with the use of visual technologies, water effects, scents, characters, puppeteering and more – including a kaleidoscope effect created entirely by an aerial view of dancers and performers. The set itself features full sized mobile decorations standing at 6.2 meters high and 30 meters wide, 453 square meter LED screens that span from floor to ceiling, 200 spotlights and 650 square meters of stage.
Talent and characters:
Lead Choreographers Céline and Cain Kistaïs (“Le Labo”, France’s Got Talent, Jungle Book Jive) described the experience as “a very creative, immersive, innovative, inclusive and emotional show, yet highly precise and rigorous!”. Dozens of performers were assembled to help realize the show's concept, coming from both external and internal sources.
The show proves a real treat for Pixar fans and character spotters alike, featuring a variety of familiar Pixar pals including Toy Story friends Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bo Peep, Bullseye, Lotso, Green Army Men and Rex, Up’s Carl, Dug and Russell, Finding Nemo’s Martin, Nemo and Dory, Monsters Inc. pals Mike and Sulley and Coco’s Miguel.
It’s important to note that this is the first Disneyland Paris appearance for Rex after his debut earlier this year on the Disney Cruise Line.
Please Note: This Portion includes spoilers for the entire show.
We start the show in the Pixar themed room of Charlie, a young student preparing to star in their important musical end-of-year school gala by orchestrating their array of Pixar toys. Interestingly, this includes a shot of their calendar with the gala date circled – displaying as Saturday the 15th, the same day the show officially premieres to guests.
This portion is entirely a digital film displayed on the screens, but the star of this moment is the first look at the on-stage live musicians playing alongside the clip. For those that have a good eye, many Easter eggs are hidden in this scene to represent the Pixar movies and characters that didn’t make the cut for physical appearances – including an Inside Out clock, Bing Bong plush, 22 plush (Soul), Soul poster, Luxo Lamp, Tween Beat magazine and many more.
This portion also includes great interaction between the digital movie and physical composer. Unfortunately, Charlie goes to bed and forgets to close their bedroom window, causing the wind to scramble the music sheets and blow outside. The live orchestra separates on platforms, exiting the stage to make way for the transition from digital clip to physical show. Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye, Bo Peep, Green Army Men, Lotso and Rex spring to life while Charlie is asleep and begin their adventure to find the all important lost sheets. This scene includes many fun moments, such as the group cheering for Buzz as he flies triumphantly above the stage. When Lotso takes the stage, a strawberry scent wafts around the auditorium.
We first see Buzz fly to the world of Up, with an incredible physical set of the iconic house and balloons, flying around the stage via the use of drones. Later on, we also see a digital version of the house, physical set, and flat board version. This scene also utilizes great fog effects to mimic clouds. Carl, Russell and Dug find the missing sheet and have a fun moment inside the physical set, before Russell turns it into a paper airplane and Buzz re-appears to retrieve it.
It’s now Bo Peep’s turn to retrieve a missing sheet. We find one has made its way into Charlie’s closet and we move into the Monsters Inc. section (choreographed by Romain Rachline-Borgeaud). We see Mike and Sulley scramble to catch the flying sheet music, surrounded by Child Detection Agency officers. This scene is playfully decorated with the iconic doors from the film, which creates a hilarious, cartoonish chase sequence. There is also great use of fog here, with the CDA agents interacting through the crowd and “decontaminating” the entire room. Bo Peep catches the missing sheet flying through another door and returns it back to Charlie’s room.
Becoming overwhelmed with the chaos, we see Rex fall into Charlie’s fish tank. The floor to ceiling LED screens begin to bubble and transport us into the scenic undersea world of Finding Nemo, with a little spritz of water across the audience as bubbles fill the theatre. Here we see Marlin, Nemo and Dory swimming in a vibrant undersea set – utilizing performers disguised beautifully, donning flowing costumes that mimic jellyfish, anemone and other aquatic features. This sequence goes on to create an incredible kaleidoscope style illusion using only the performers in their unique costumes – not unlike the patterns created in the “Under The Sea” sequence from The Little Mermaid (1989). Floating back above water, Rex returns to Charlie’s room with the sheet music conveniently wrapped around his tail.
Jessie hears faint music coming from within a vent in Charlie’s wall. Venturing inside the darkness, we see a beautiful illusion mimicking guitar strings onto the shapes of performers. Miguel then takes the stage, singing alone under a spotlight. The entire stage then bursts into color, with a troupe of skeletons in vibrant costumes lighting up the scene. Miguel walks along huge physical set of marigold bridge as the audience is encouraged to clap along to “Un Poco Loco”. He catches a sheet, and sends it back to Jessie on the other side of the vent.
The Toy Story gang now have all the sheet music to return to Charlie, but realize each sheet has been affected by the retrospective land it flew to. They go on to explain that even though each piece is now different, it only makes it better – and the audience is encouraged to dance along to the group singing the official original theme song “Together We Are One”.
Charlie wakes up blissfully unaware of the adventures their toys have been through to return the music sheets, and continues on to perform at the school gala. We see the live orchestra on stage once again to close out the show, with the physical composer perfectly matching Charlie on screen. To finish off, we return back to the Toy Story gang celebrating their successful adventures in Charlie’s room. Strings of confetti cover the auditorium as the live musicians play to curtain drop.
TOGETHER: A Pixar Musical Adventure is truly unlike any other show presented by Disneyland Paris. The illusions created by mixing digital moving screens, physical sets and practical effects are incredibly well done. As with many stage shows at Disneyland Paris, it features a lot of spoken dialogue which is primarily in French, with certain scenes including English and Spanish. Overall it’s a lighthearted, fun adventure that will put a smile on every guest's face. The music, physical effects, jokes and characters will have audiences clapping and singing along for a long time, and definitely calls for multiple visits. It’s a must-see for guests visiting Disneyland Paris resort, and with no closing date set (and likely, not one for a long time), it should be a priority on any upcoming itineraries.