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Disneyland Paris previews new "Jedi Academy" show, debuts clever reimagining of stateside Disney Parks' "Frozen" sing-along

Disneyland Paris previews new "Jedi Academy" show, debuts clever reimagining of stateside Disney Parks' "Frozen" sing-along

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For the past few years now,  Disneyland Paris hasn't been so lively. At least when it comes to live stage shows.

You see, of the three sit-down theatres that this Disney theme park originally opened with back in April of 1992, one -- the Fantasy Festival stage, to be specific -- was transformed into a "Meet Mickey" location three years back that's very similar in concept & layout to the one found at WDW's Magic Kingdom. As for Disneyland Paris' other two locations, Discoveryland's Videopolis and Frontierland's Chaparral Theatres have been standing empty for a number of years now.

And now, suddenly, after many rumors (not to mention of lot of blood, sweat & tears on the part of  DLP's management team as well as this Park's creative crew), these two locations have gone back to hosting some great, sure-to-be-crowd-pleasing shows.


Interior of the newly "Frozen" themed Chaparral Theatre. Photo by Andrea Monti

Videopolis -- for example -- will soon become the home of a new DLP version of the "Jedi Training Academy" show. That's something which has been absent from this theme park and which is sure to bring fans of the Force out in force this coming Summer.

This past weekend, I was treated to a preview of DLP's "Jedi Training Academy" show. I was lucky enough to be among the press & invitees who got to see an excerpt of this upcoming live stage show (which will begin performances at the Videopolis Theatre starting in July) which was staged in Star Tours' very intimate post-show area.

This Star Wars-themed show is very similar in concept & execution to the Anaheim version of "Jedi Training Academy." Young Jedi Padawans are selected from the audience and are then trained by a Jedi Master in the ways of the Force until Darth Vader & his stormtroopers storm the stage. Darth then break out his Lightsaber and threatens to do battle with these young Star Wars fans.


Darth Vader takes on a young Padawan at the Disneyland 
Park version of the Jedi Academy. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
 

"Jedi Academy" is sure to be a hit with Disneyland Paris visitors. This show isn't too language intensive.  More to the point, it's very visual and well rooted into European guests' knowledge of fantasy. And opening "Jedi Training Academy" this Summer is a very smart move. Especially considering that "Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens" opens in theaters worldwide this holiday season. Which is sure to help this new DLP live show stay popular / keep running in 2016 and beyond.

Meanwhile over at the Chaparral Theatre, the focus is now on Disney "Frozen." Guests who visit this part of the Park will be able to experience a new sing-along show which features many of the musical numbers from this Academy Award-winning film. Not to mention a full-scale "Frozen" village complete with Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and several cleverly themed photo locations.

Now before I go any further, I guess I should make clear here that I am no fan of sing-along shows. And I went into this past weekend's press event thinking that there was just no way to make a theme park sing-along show fun. Much less be the sort of the show that DLP Guests could possibly enjoy watching over & over again.


The cast of Disneyland Paris' "Frozen" sing-along show. Photo by Andrea Monti

I mean, you have to remember that Disneyland Paris is a place where many languages are spoken from its Guests. Which meant that this theme park's creatives were really challenged when it came to coming up with a way to have a Disney "Frozen" stage show play to / entertain an audience like this.

But Disneyland Paris' creative team rose to that challenge. They came up with a "Frozen" sing-along that -- even this show contains three different languages (i.e., English, French & Spanish. Which solves a lot of the general language problems that DLP stage shows have) -- still moves smoothly and is immensely entertaining.

Now where this gets interesting is that -- while the "Frozen" sing-alongs that are presented at Disney's Anaheim & Orlando theme parks make use of historians, so that you as an audience member can then listen to a retelling of the tale of Queen Elsa & Princess Anna -- Show Director Katy Harris decided to take an entirely different approach to DLP's "Frozen" show. The way Harris reconfigured DLP's sing-along is that -- as soon as you sit down in Frontierland's Chaparral Theatre  -- you're then invited to be part of the Arendelle Choir.


Disneyland Paris Show director Katy Harris.
Photo by Andrea Monti 

To explain: As Disneyland Paris' "Frozen" show is getting underway, Anna is preparing a winter festival. She has hired a choir to perform at this festival. But the choir can't make to Arendelle due to a fierce storm which is now blocking their way. Which is why Anna decides to recruit the audience in the Chaparral Theatre to become the replacement choir for Arendelle's winter festival.

This approach, together with some stunning tricks and visuals that Katy & her crew have cooked up, winds up turning this sing-a-long into the best "Frozen" show currently being presented at any Disney theme park. I mean, it's hard to explain why exactly being recruited at the last minute to take part in a choral event would be fun (Not to mention being the sort of experience that you'll like to do over & over again). But you have to understand that Harris and her team have really made it a lot of fun to hang out with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf.

Over the course of this 35 minute-long show, you get Anna as your very energetic and enthusiastic choir director, Olaf bouncing around onstage like some goofy child while Kristoff provides some touch-in-cheek commentary on the proceedings. And for Queen Elsa, she just commands the stage with her charisma. And wait 'til you see the finale of this sing-a-long show where (not to give anything away, but) there's this amazing effect which involves the Snow Queen's dress and it begins snowing inside of the Chaparral Theatre. It's a genuine show-stopping moment.


Queen Elsa wows the crowd at the Chapparal Theatre. Photo by Andrea Monti

And the best part is -- once this very entertaining sing-a-long wraps up and you exit Frontierland's Chapparal Theatre -- you then get to explore this Arendelle-themed area. Which is complete with "Frozen" -themed photo locations as well as a full-sized Wander Oaken's Trading Post. Which is loaded with all sorts of fun gifts that will remind you of the time that you got to sing-along with Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff.

So if you're looking for a fun way to beat the heat this Summer, why not head to Disneyland Paris? Where you can either master the Force at the "Jedi Academy" or let yourself go at this theme park's clever new "Frozen" -themed sing-along show.

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