Friday, December 27, 2013

"it's a small world – celebration" Attraction Poster

"it's a small world – celebration" is the holiday overlay to the popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. Unlike its cousins in California, Hong Kong and Tokyo, the overlay does not consist of adding Christmas imagery to the show scenes but rather showcasing winter holiday traditions from each place represented, mostly through highly elaborate costumes, a number of typical props and various special effects.

The seasonal overlay originally ran from 1999 through 2004 when it was discontinued… When it was picked up again for the 2009 holiday season, Tom, the new project manager, wanted to change and improve the show in a number of ways. He got me onboard for any new graphics, illustrations and audio/video production, gradually updated through 2011.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Euro Disney – "A Dream Come True"

It's been a while since I've last posted something from my vintage Euro Disney collection (Okay, so it's been a while since I've posted anything at all). To make up for it, here's a 32 page German-language brochure that was distributed as an advertising supplement in newspapers and magazines back in 1992.

It's a little worse for wear as you'll see, mostly because I couldn't stop examining the publicity shots in it as a kid. I must have spent hours looking at that aerial view on the next-to-last page alone.

I've kept everything in it, including the park sponsors' ads so you can fully enjoy this little document from a time when magazine ads had more text but fewer footnotes and when Euro Disney actually advertised their resort in Germany.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Where the Birds Sing Words…

I've posted this some time in advance on Twitter but here it is again:

A quintessential Disneyland experience and probably the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of our visit to Walt's original park.

Happy birthday, Enchanted Tiki Room!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Hillbilly Bear Trio

I'm no Marc Davis. If you don't already know his work inside-out, I urge you to go and seek out his actual artwork rather than looking at this small and quick sketch in which I tried (and probably failed) to imitate his style. With that out of the way…

The Hillbilly Trio has been playing at Frontierland since 1992; I still have some 1994 camcorder footage of one of their songs. A few of their tunes even appear on the park's album releases. When I was working in Frontierland in the mid to late 2000s the same three musicians were still regularly performing at the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue restaurant. More recently they played on board the Molly Brown for its big re-opening ceremony. In short, they're pretty much a Disneyland Paris staple.

I really enjoyed their outdoor sets with banjo, washboard percussion and upright or washtub bass. So here's a little tribute to that group; the Hillbilly Trio as Country Bears.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Duck Avenger

This week marked the 3000th issue of the Italian "Topolino" (Mickey Mouse) magazine. The Italian comics have expanded the Disney Duck universe considerably and one of their most notable additions was Donald's thief-cum-superhero identity.

Here's a little tribute to that part of the Disney family tree. Paperinik, a.k.a. The Duck Avenger, in art deco style. I grew up on Italian comics along with those by the likes of Carl Barks and Don Rosa so doing this brought me right back.

Monday, May 20, 2013

CG Star Tours

When I first went to Euro Disneyland at age 12, one attraction I wanted to ride again and again was Star Tours. I didn't even know Star Wars at the time (the franchise was pretty low-key in that period) but I loved being transported to this odd yet plausible spaceport in another galaxy.

For most of my teens I would draw Starspeeders and droids; on paper at first, then digitally. Here's a pixel-by-pixel piece from 1995, drawn in what is now MS Paint.

Later, when I would learn to use 3D programs, I would usually do something Star Tours or Star Wars-related to teach myself CG techniques.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Le Carrousel de Lancelot

Let's have a look at another Fantasyland attraction, Le Carrousel de Lancelot, or "Lancelot's Fanciful Carousel" as it's called in the safety spiel (and nowhere else, to my knowledge).

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Beetroot Bird

Why should Florida have all the fun, after all?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thank you!

So I've actually made it, a new post for each of the blog's first 10 days. Thanks to all my readers, especially those who took the time to comment on here or to share on Twitter.

I'm overjoyed that I've surpassed 2500 page views in that short amount of time, with the most popular post being the first round of attraction posters. So… I guess I had better do more of those?

I will probably slow down a little from here on out – but don't worry (or do, if you disliked my previous posts), I still have quite a bit to share on this blog.

Thanks for reading!

The Queen of the River

Let's have a brief look at the history of the Molly Brown Riverboat, a watercraft exclusive to Disneyland Paris.

During creation of the park, it was decided to recreate the Mark Twain Riverboat from Disneyland and to add a second "big boat" alongside the canoes and keelboats that would sail the Frontierland River. The choice quickly fell on a classic side-wheeler to complement the Mark Twain which has its paddle wheel mounted on the stern of the ship.

Photo by PhotosMagiques

The Imagineers, led by Frontierland show producer Jeff Burke, opted to give the ship a female name and "personality" and soon decided on the larger-than-life character of "Molly" Brown. Margaret Brown, née Tobin, was the wife of J. J. Brown who struck it rich during the gold rush – fitting in perfectly with the Frontierland story. She furthermore grew up in the same town as (and reportedly even met) Mark Twain. Many years later she would survive the Titanic tragedy and become known as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Frontierland Maps

I've spent over two years working on various Frontierland attractions in Paris, mostly on Big Thunder Mountain and the Keelboats, but also helping out on Phantom Manor and the Riverboats every now and then.

During that time I submitted a few designs for use in day-to-day operations. Here are two that I did for projects which never saw the light of day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Faux Attraction Posters, Vol. 2

Here's my first post on the subject, in case you missed it.

For my Disneyland Park posters, I took my inspiration from old Disneyland posters which in turn were in the style of travel adverts of the time. For my Walt Disney Studios poster series I decided to go to a different source, more in line with the subject matter: old movie posters.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Trip Around Frontierland

Here's a video I edited together from various DLP Frontierland footage I and my wife shot over the years; I even wrote some music to go with it. I first finished this in 2011, then added some more footage last year. I guess it'll be updated again later this year as I finally found some usable Phantom Manor video in my archives. For now, I hope that those of you who haven't seen it will enjoy this little round trip of one of my favorite theme park lands.

(When I first shared this, a few people asked me for the music. You can listen to it here.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pizzeria Bella Notte Placemat

There was a period in the 1990s when I would keep just about everything from our trips to Disneyland Paris, down to the receipts. Fortunately that time passed – I managed to throw out quite a stack of faded paper – but there are a few items of ephemera from that time that I still treasure.

That goes especially for this incredibly random and awesome placemat from Pizzeria Bella Notte in Fantasyland. I love the style of the artwork reminiscent of mid-century modern cartoons and the whimsical assortment of characters.

This placemat was used in the early 1990s and subsequently replaced by more obvious Lady and the Tramp artwork.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Euro Disney Resort Hotels – What if…

Craig Fleming, who was lead show writer for the European resort, recently shared that he originally intended for each of the hotels to have its own distinct designation rather than repeat the term "hotel" in every name.

In the end it was not to be – four hotels out of seven are now marked as such – but here, straight from an alternate universe, are my digital recreations of the 1992 logos, with Craig's original nomenclature back in place…

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Newport Bay Club Shop Windows

Due to a recent Twitter conversation I decided to make today's post about the current Newport Bay Club shop window displays, on which I worked back when I was a graphic designer in the resort's Visual Merchandise team.

The brief was to show Donald's family on a sailing trip. A colleague came up with a concept for each window display while I was in charge of creating the final graphics and artwork. I proposed a graphic style based on vintage travel posters and decided to ground the scenes in the universe created by Carl Barks for his Duck comics. You might spot Cornelius Coot and the money bin in the background, or see Uncle Scrooge's $ and McD logos in various graphics.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Casey Junior & Le Pays des Contes de Fées

Every now and then I'd like to talk about background and details of Disney park attractions or landmarks. Today I'm going to take a look at two attractions which aren't often in the spotlight… They also happen to be the first attractions I've ever worked on as a Cast Member so why not start with these?

"Casey Junior - Le Petit Train du Cirque" and "Le Pays des Contes de Fées" were added to the resort in March 1994 as part of an expansion plan intended to add a maximum of capacity to the park. Since no space had been saved for these two rides in the original plans, they were built outside the railroad tracks surrounding the park.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Okay, so this one is not really theme park-related. Just pretend Disney has a Duckburg land in one of its parks… This could be part of its decoration.

A vintage car ad for the model of Donald's trusty old 313, or as Carl Barks called it, "a 1934 Belchfire Runabout."

I grew up on Disney comics so I suppose you may expect a reference or two to those every now and then. Next up, something completely different.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Faux Attraction Posters, Vol. 1

I've always loved the attraction posters that line the entrances to Disney parks around the world. One of my proudest moments was when one of my own designs was on display under Main Street Station at Disneyland Paris.

In my free time, or in-between projects, I'll often do some free exercises to keep myself occupied. Usually I'll work toward some result related to my interests… This means I've done my share of faux retro attraction posters, among other things.

Here are some of those I made for Disneyland Paris attractions, most of which never had a poster to begin with. These were heavily inspired by the original 1950s/1960s posters from Disneyland California.

An Introduction

Hello internet! My name is David and I love travel, theme parks, retro graphics, fonts and any combination of these.

From 1992 on I got to visit Disneyland Paris with some regularity. After studying graphic design and illustration, I worked there as an attraction host for a few years, operating rides throughout Fantasyland and Frontierland. Then I became a graphic designer for the Visual Merchandise department before eventually leaving the company and starting my own activity as a freelance graphics artist, still with strong ties to Disneyland Paris.

On here I probably won't talk too much about that latter period but I might dive into my past as a Cast Member for an anecdote or two. Apart from that, I plan to have a look at some of the many details found at the parks and share some of my "fan art."

I probably won't be able to keep any sort of schedule on this blog so feel free to subscribe or to follow me on Twitter if you'd like to be notified when I post something new!