So the latest news from Disneyland Paris is that the attraction ‘Mickey’s Philharmagic’, which is currently in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom of Disney World Resort, is coming to the Disneyland Park. Where is this to be placed?…. In Discoveryland.
First things first what is this ride? Mickey’s Philharmagic is a great 3D show ride. When I visit Disney World Resort I always make sure that I visit this attraction. Mainly because its in a nice air conditioned theatre (vital during the hot Florida sunshine) and partly because you rarely have to wait long in the queue. Also being a HUGE Donald Duck fan means this ride is perfect for me. Although its called ‘Mickey’s Philharmagic’ the main character in this ride is actually Donald Duck!
I know what you are thinking. Finally Mickey has a presence in Discoveryland. Which Mickey will we get? Spaceman Mickey? Inventor Mickey? Star Wars Mickey? Well actually this is Musician Mickey. Unfortunately, the placing of this attraction is one of convenience and is not designed to fit into the theming of the land. Disneyland Paris has an expensive 4D theatre which it needs to start filling on a regular basis. Can the Main Mouse be the answer to their prayers?
The premise of the ride is that Mickey is assembling his magical orchestra (with the help of Donald) when he gets called away to investigate something going on. Cue Donald getting himself into yet more trouble when he tries his hand with the magic wand, this all leads to a great musical adventure through several disney movies. Long term visitors to Disneyland Paris will remember ‘Animagique’ which had a similar storyline, that Disney Duck really does know how to cause himself trouble and clearly does not learn from his mistakes!
Anyone who has seen Mickey’s Philharmagic will know about the very end (I won’t spoil this for those new to the ride). I love this part of the attraction and I really hope they replicate this part in Disneyland Paris but this may involve an expensive remodelling of the theatre. If the investment is made to completely replicate the version in Walt Disney World then this will be a sign that Disney sees this as a long term attraction. However, given the time scales involved I fear this is another quick fix to make use of the expensive Discoveryland Theatre.
So while I am excited at being able to experience this ride in Disneyland Paris I find it hard to justify its placement in Discoveryland. The previous residents, Captain Eo and Honey I Shrunk the Kids both had links to science and space. Many fans of Disneyland get upset when theming is broken and this ride does not scream exploration or discovery to me.
The Pizza Planet restaurant was a bad idea here that was rarely used. It is interesting that Disney announced its closure at the same event that released details of Philharmagic opening . Often you walk around this part of Discoveryland and wonder what is the theming or the point to this area. Behind you stands the glorious Jules Verne structure of space mountain and in front of you is a seventies colour scheme building with steel girders, nothing like the rather cool facade of the attraction in Fantasyland in Disney World, Florida.
So this announcement by Disneyland Paris has gone down well with the masses and I certainly will enjoy going to visit when it opens in October 2018. With millions earmarked to develop Walt Disney Studio will Disneyland Park be destined to quick fixes for the foreseeable future?