If you have ever stayed in one of the Disneyland Paris hotels you most likely have a lasting impression of one of the more rarely mentioned benefits of staying in a Disney hotel room: Disney’s very own Hotel Room TV Show. This distinctive show runs 24/7 on its own dedicated channel on the In-Room TV and showcases the attractions, restaurants and entertainment of Disneyland Paris, in general just things that you really shouldn’t miss to make the most out of your stay.
In 1995, just like today, there has been such a Hotel Room TV Show. Unlike the show of today, in which they just highlight in ‘Top 10 List’ style with brief, flashy video clips the “Top 10 things to know before you go”, the show from 1995 takes a beautiful and much more jovial stroll through all of Disneyland Park, Festival Disney (as Disney Village was still called back then) and the Disney Hotels.
The Disneyland Paris Treasure blog is proud to bring you this exact, very rare and almost 20 year old Hotel Room TV Show video – a real treasure of Disneyland Paris history – in astonishing high quality, just as if you were there right now, back in 1995, laying on your comfy Disneyland Hotel room bed and turning on the TV!
So, let’s start by watching this beautiful video. Take your time, I’ll wait here.
Isn’t it brilliant? I love it very much and just can’t get enough of watching all those long-lost attractions being showcased back when they were still brand new. Also I am really happy about how the quality turned out, as this video was stored for almost 20 years on a “Video Hi8” video tape and to be able to present it to you in the best possible quality and also to preserve it for the future I sought out help from a specialized video digitization service and that’s why the quality turned out to be so amazing!
Of course, what makes this video especially interesting is the fact that it was produced at a perfect time, right after all the new ‘early-years’ attractions had been added (Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril, Space Mountain – De la Terre à la Lune, Le Passage Enchanté d’Aladdin, even Les Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin!) but none had yet been taken away, so it features all of the long gone attractions, entertainment, restaurants etc.
Now let’s have a closer look at the video itself. It begins with a young boy lying on his bed, reading a rather large book, which – as we shall soon find out – is in fact a very special, magical storybook. “Welcome to Disneyland Paris, it’s our new name because so many things about us are new: new attractions, new entertainment, and above all, new prices!” the narration starts right away. This video was produced at a time when the Euro Disney Resort had just undergone a major restructuring and the rebranding to Disneyland Paris was just one of many changes in an desperate attempt to turn the boat around.
The pages of the book suddenly turn to live and the video begins to showcase the amazing beauty of a still brand new Disneyland Park brilliantly, something which is sorely missed by many fans in most of Disneyland Paris’ more recent publications, be it videos or brochures or whatnot. For some reason they nowadays seem to think it is better to use character stock images and photo-shopped drawings instead of showing actual images of the real thing.
Now how about we take a quick look at the most noteworthy, long-lost things that are featured in this video? Most of them would very well deserve their own dedicated Disneyland Paris Treasure blog article (and some might very well receive one, some day), so I will just depict them briefly here:
Main Street Quartet & Casey’s Corner Ragtime Piano Player
When I visited the park for the first time in 1992 there truly was Streetmosphere happening at every corner! In the video you’ll see the Main Street Quartet which were singing traditional barbershop-quartet songs, as well as the Casey’s Corner Ragtime Piano Player, who, dressed in baseball gear, played old American ragtime medleys and sing-alongs.
The Lucky Nugget Saloon – “The Lucky Nugget Revue”
Presented for you by The Lucky Nugget Saloon’s owner Diamond Lil this 30 minute show blended together a whole host of talent with comedy, melodrama and vaudeville on the bill, French cancan included of course!
This recreation of an ancient marketplace acted as a shopping and eating place. You could wander down winding alleys, underneath balconies on either side and past private courtyards with splashing fountains. In 1999, most of the building was turned into the restaurant Agrabah Café, with the exception of the shops Les Trésors de Schéhérazade and La Girafe Curieuse.
Les Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin
Les Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin (which is French for The Old Mill’s Swirls) was a ferris wheel ride in Fantasyland at Disneyland Paris. It was added in 1993 to The Old Mill, a counter service restaurant which was already part of the park’s 1992 opening and which is based on the 1937 Disney short The Old Mill.
L’Astroport Services Interstellaires
L’Astroport Services Interstellaires was located inside the exit to the Star Tours attraction in Discoveryland and was an interactive video games arcade with several interactive games, which worked based on touch sensitive screens and voice recognition. Guests were welcomed by the audio-animatronic robot ROX-N, who introduced each of the games in turn.
Le Visionarium was a Circle-Vision 360° film presented by the robot Timekeeper, who sent his assistant 9-Eye, a little robot with nine lenses as eyes, on an exciting time-space voyage where she would escape from gigantic dinosaurs, listen to the young Mozart before the King of France and even encounter Jules Verne at the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris.
Space Mountain – De la Terre à la Lune
Space Mountain – De la Terre à la Lune opened in 1995 and was one of those great examples of Disney storytelling and imagineering. The attraction’s exterior was designed using a Verne era retro-futuristic influence, in keeping with the rest of Discoveryland. It featured an excellent soundtrack by composer Steve Bramson. Sadly in 2005 the ride was refurbished and renamed Space Mountain: Mission 2 and since then features no longer any of the original storyline nor the amazing soundtrack.
“La Belle et la Bête” Stage Show
La Belle et la Bête was a Broadway-style musical show that played from 1992 through late 1996 at Discoveryland’s Videopolis theatre, based on the animated film Beauty and the Beast.
‘C’est Magique’ Stage Show & ‘La Parade Disney’
‘C’est Magique’ was a Disney-style musical revue which took place five times daily on the Fantasy Festival Stage in Fantasyland. ‘La Parade Disney’ was Disneyland Paris’ opening day Daytime Parade and was a procession of scenes from well-known Disney motion pictures, led by the Fantasyland Fanfares and featuring Sleeping Beauty’s Prince battling with the Dragon.
The video also gives us a glimpse of the decorations and entertainment of Disneyland Paris’ Christmas Season of the early years. The arches seen in the pictures above were called Lights of Winter and revealed their beauty only at nighttimes.
The segment about Festival Disney is especially interesting as it features a lot of long-gone restaurants like Key West Seafood or Los Angeles Bar & Grill and long-gone shops like Streets of America Shop as well as Festival Disney’s spectacular grid of lights canopy.
The Disney Hotels
Nearing the end of the video it then showcases all of the Disney hotels quite nicely. Take note of the original colour scheme of Hotel New York and the beautifully lit Rockefeller Plaza at night.
Maison du Tourisme, Post Office & Travel Agency
Interesting to see might also be the Maison du Tourisme, a tourist bureau which was located where the Disney Gallery is today, as well as a Post Office right at Festival Disney or the American Express Travel Agency which was located at the Disneyland Hotel.
When ‘Virtual Reality’ was the next big thing
The video briefly highlights the Festival Disney video game arcade and also reveals to us that Virtual Reality must be the next big thing in video gaming!
Aerial shot & the Storybook
The video tour of Disneyland Paris then comes to an end with a beautiful aerial shot of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and the narrator prompting us “But now, go ahead, get out there!“.
As the video tour comes to an end the boy closes this magical storybook and it is revealed to us that the book he was reading was the ‘Disneyland Paris Storybook’ and that it very closely resembles the beautiful La Belle au Bois Dormant storybook, which is on display inside our Castle, at the foot of the stairs leading to La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant, and which itself of course is a homage to the legendary storybook shown in the opening scene of Disney’s beloved 1959 animated feature Sleeping Beauty .
Before we close, I would like to add some more technical information as to how this amazing video was recorded in such great quality almost 20 years ago, because, as you can imagine, back in 1995 not many people would have had the equipment to record a video in such good quality, at least not with them in their Disney hotel room. Maybe someone could have captured it by putting his video camera in front of the TV, but of course you couldn’t compare the result of such a filming of the TV image with the great quality of this source recording, which was achieved by connecting a not very common high quality recording device – a ‘Sony GV-300 Video Walkman’ – directly to the cable which was delivering the video signal to the hotel room’s TV set and then recording the full show, incl. stereo audio, on a ‘Video Hi8’ tape, which was the best consumer-level video recording format back in 1995, quality wise (far superior to simple VHS).
Some of the more technically interested readers might also be wondering why I chose to upload this video as 720p HD to YouTube, when surely this can’t have been available as HD quality in 1995. The answer is simple: the next best thing to ‘720p’ (960 x 720 px, at a 4:3 aspect ratio) on YouTube would have been ‘480p’, which would allow a resolution of 640 x 480 px (at a 4:3 aspect ratio). This video has a resolution of 720 x 576 px, so choosing ‘480p’ would have meant to loose almost 20% of precious vertical image information. Just switch this video to ‘480p’ in YouTube and you will see the loss of image information right away.
Last but not least I would like to ask your opinion on how this almost 20 year old counterpart compares to the current hotel room TV show ‘Top 10 things to know before you go‘. What do you think? Which one do you prefer? Please leave a comment below!
– La Belle au Bois Dormant storybook: Claire and Ed Sutton , Flickr
– Sleeping Beauty opening scene & room TV video, video stills: Copyright Disney
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