''Hear Ye... Hear Ye... !''
The Chanticleer ~ Disneyland Paris' Newest Adventure
The Chanticleer ~ Disneyland Paris' Newest Adventure
Disneyland Paris' Fantasyland is arguably one of the visually most impressive lands with a satisfying line-up re-telling classic Disney fairy tales such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Alice in Wonderland. As a fan of Walt Disney Imagineering I've often thought of upcoming additions to the parks when visiting and with Disneyland Paris being closest to home, I've grown passionate of imagining the resort's future. The addition of The Chanticleer was based on expanding Fantasyland with a story related to France. Moreover, this attraction would be the French response to Disney's popular attraction, Splash Mountain, adding yet another e-ticket to the park and adds a new level of thrill to Fantasyland (where at the moment, Casey Jr - Le Petit Train du Cirque offers the most thrill in this area of the park). Though yes, people might argue that Europe's often cold weather conditions do not allow for Disneyland Paris to add a water-based attraction, there are various solutions to that problem. In one scenario the attraction would feature a summer and winter version, with expanding outdoor scenes during warm seasons but remaining indoors during cold seasons. Another option would simply be to temporarily shut the attraction down on cold days, but this is a strategy often used by other big theme park companies throughout Europe. The attraction itself is based on a pre-WWI French play called ''Chantecler'' by Edmond Rostand, which was also the basis of a never released Disney animated feature film. The film was in development at the Disney studio from the 40s up until the mid 60s, but never saw completion. In this alternate universe, however, The Chanticleer has finally made it to the screens and serves as the influence for Disneyland Paris' newest addition (though ideally, I'd say that somewhere in its first 15 years would have been better, if it hadn't been for the financial issues). This attraction would be placed behind the Fantasyland Train Station, through a tunnel themed to an underground burrow, transitioning into a critter-inhabited French countryside.
Guests enter the queue in front of the main drop viewing area. The queue winds past the French farm on which the story of The Chanticleer takes place and into the main first room where animals and farm tools with cogs and gears are scattered around. Various farm animals can be heard talking about The Chanticleer, and even their shadows or physical appearances can be seen by Guests as they pass through the queue, which winds around the barn structure until it reaches the loading area. Passengers ride aboard six-to-seven-seater logs with six single-file seats. The log departs the loading area and ascends two conveyor-type lifts before floating gently through scenery designed to evoke the feeling of a river in the French countryside, with its winding hills. The homes of the farm animals and aged farm equipment are incorporated into the landscape, along with an instrumental version of The Chanticleer Song emanating from hidden speakers along the waterway. Before the logs enter the indoor portion, we pass by Reynard’s fox den where we see Reynard and his family grumpily lurking at the barn. His wife sings ‘You No Good Reynard’, in which she berates her husband for never having given her and the kids a chance at a finer lifestyle despite promising to do so many times. After a short drop, Guests enter the indoor portion of the attraction, where various AA-barn animals such as chickens, pigs, goats and turkeys sing the attraction and movie’s first musical number, ‘’The Chanticleer’s Song’’, during which they sing of how much they adore their leader, the rooster as they wake up in the morning. After rounding a corner, riders see the vicious fox Reynard and his ruthless band of Night Creatures planning their evil scheme, expressing menacing grins every few seconds.
‘’Look, mes amis… dinner is served early today. We need to get rid of that rooster…’’
Our vain rooster whose leadership the other barnyard animals had accepted because they believed his crowing was what brought the sun up each morning, is seen outside his Rooster coop, bragging to a few chickens how wonderfully he has brought up the sun this morning. The chickens all look mesmerized at the rooster. The beautiful Pheasant, new to the farm, struggles to get the attention of the rooster. In the next scene, our logs progress past Reynard and his goons, pretending to be members of a travelling circus performing for the animals on the farm, causing them to loose faith in Chanticleer and want Reynard to lead them instead. Reynard can be seen talking to Pheasant and offering her a makeover so that she can get the Rooster’s attention… in order to succeed his evil plans. Riders progress past Pheasant’s home where she transforms from a simpler look to a colorful feather extravaganza. She sings her song ‘’Over the Moon’’, in which she expresses her desire to be noticed by the Rooster but also about the fear to become someone she actually isn’t. A drop leads them into The Moon’s Shadow Hideout, where Reynard and their henchman are celebrating the progress they’re making. Bats, moles, vultures, owls are all bursting out in wild laughter and can be heard around every corner. We then see the Rooster, watching from a small hole in the Hideout’s wall, he looks shocked.
‘’Sacre Bleu! The farm is in danger, I need to stop them! I have to tell the others or we will be doomed and eaten as fresh coq-au-vin…’’
Reynard the Fox catches up on the Rooster and traps him in a bird cage. The mood turns ominous as the farm animals sing about how they feel lost without a leader. At the base of the final lift hill, Reynard’s friend the Vulture bears ominous warnings for the riders. The logs begin the final ascent and shortly before the attraction’s climatic drop, Chanticleer is seen alongside the hill, about to be eaten by Reynard, but Pheasant shows up and outsmarts the Gang of Night Creatures by tricking them, giving them enough time to escape. Riders are sent down the final drop into the French vineyards, mimicking their escape. An on-ride photo is taken as the log begins to fall, and it can be purchased after disembarking the ride. From the top of the hill, riders looking toward the splashdown point will notice a full pond of water ahead of them. The log then dives under the water into an underground runout. An indoor segment follows the drop, after which the logs make a final entrance into a section of the mountain where we first see Chanticleer dueling with Senor Poco Loco, a Spanish fighting rooster and one of Reynard’s henchman who was to take over Chanticleer’s place as a leader on the farm. In the background, the sun can be seen rising in the background, without his crowing! At this moment, he realizes the error in his vanity and finds the strength to beat the rooster and chase away the baddies for a happy ending. A full cast of AA-figures of the farm animals sing ‘The Chanticleer Song Reprise’ in which they celebrate the return of their leader, who has now become a righteous Rooster, acting with a pure heart. As the logs pass through the scene, a series of glass windows can be seen near the ceiling, behind which is a tunnel used by the Disneyland Railroad track. The Rooster himself can be seen at his coop, together with Pheasant who sings ‘Yesterday is Over’ to console one another. The respective fates of Reynard and his gang are also showcased. Senor Poco Loco sees little chicks flying as he lies knocked out under a tree and the others are seen running away over the French hills. Before the return to the loading area, riders are given a preview of their picture that was taken on the final drop via an old-fashioned projector screen controlled by Rovin the Raven, a journalist character sharing and spreading the news across the farm. He calls the riders’ attention to the screen as he remarks on their expressions. After disembarking from the log, riders enter the attraction’s gift shop, Le Soleil Levant, where they preview their on-ride photograph before exiting back out into Fantasyland