Although this is the first time I’ve been in Paris for this event, I have been around for various Star Wars bits and pieces, both here and in Walt Disney World going all the way back to the Star Wars weekends they used to run in Florida. Now so much in the way of Star Wars entertainment has become a staple of the American parks all year round that it feels strange to consider them a part of a ‘festival’ elsewhere. But even then, there’s a lot of this that has been in Paris for years as standard entertainment, too so the only real addition to make it an event is the evening fireworks.
The March of the First Order hasn’t really changed, nor has A Galaxy Far, Far, Away beyond updates for newer movies as they come along and they are identical to the originals in the Florida park. The newer addition of the Imperial March with Vader was very good. It felt like a fresh alternative to the First Order March and there was more to it; with the Imperial Officer who hammed it up wonderfully with his distaste for Rebels. The way his smugness is brought down a peg or two when Force choked by Vader was also a highlight!
The evening show has a lot of similarities to the Galactic Celebration in WDW, though using the projections on the Tower of Terror rather than the Chinese Theater. The difference here was essentially combining the fireworks, lasers and projections with the cast of character used in Galaxy Far, Far Away, which gave the show something a little extra that’s missing in the Hollywood Studios version. I had very little to do later in the evening so staked out my spot about 45 minutes beforehand. It was raining and cold but I persevered and was glad of it when discovering the characters were being used as it meant I had a better chance of getting photos without heads in the way!
It’s difficult to get a good view of the projections in that the Hollywood Tower Hotel is nestled in such a way that there’s no way to see the whole thing. All you really want to do is avoid being behind someone tall, so staking out any place to stand that’s by the ropes is all you can really do. I think I did pretty well and tried to maximise how much of the Hotel I could see as I wasn’t sure how they’d do the projections, though the canvas coverings over parts of the structure do give away areas they concentrate the projections on!
It was a pretty miserable evening for me as it was raining and cold and I stood for 45 minutes parked in place. Of course, it seems to not matter if you stake your place – some small child will always be pushed or push themselves in beside you or try to get in front of you (other pet peeve!) and it seems to be more common in France than in other Disney parks. I do tend to make myself quite big to avoid it as much as possible but on that night I was huddling to shelter myself and my camera as much as possible from the cold rain!
I really enjoyed the show. I honestly think it’s better than the Hollywood Studios version. The problem at DHS is also something that’s good about it – there’s so much going on around you. Yes, it can be immersive but you can also easily miss things. Here, you are mainly looking in front of yourself – at he stage and at the Tower of Terror. And the other plus as I mentioned before is that they bring the cast out. Actually, being in darkness for it really helps make the lightsabers pop in photos, too!
I can’t however tell you to make a special trip out to Paris to attend for this particular event. It’s a good add on/extra for those already going, especially at this time of year when they take down rides for refurbs and you need something to do, but so much of it is actually just regular Star Wars attractions that unless you are a hardened Star Wars fan there’s no real need.
The Galactic Celebration is pretty spectacular though. Even in the rain!