Disneyland Paris’ InsidEars shared some insight into a place and team that isn’t well-known to most visitors, following a day for the cast members of P.C.C.R., located above the It’s a Small World attraction.
The P.C.C.R. (Park Central Control Room) of Disneyland Park is a bit like the central control booth of the park, where the teams control the parade audio, announcements, and some of the park lights. Walt Disney Studios Park has a similar control room, operated by the same team, located on the first floor of Disney Studio 1.
The team is made up of 10 operators, technicians, and programmers spread over the two parks, and are supervised by a stage manager. The job of this team is to operate the daily activities and program the various shows and soundtracks.
Starting the day with music
The teams usually arrive on site an hour before the opening of each park. Then they do a complete checkup of the parks’ audio systems and computer programs. Notably, they review the various automatically managed soundtracks, like the music of the different lands and the Disneyland Park announcements.
The team’s main task is then to broadcast these opening and closure announcements, as well as any other (planned or unplanned) daily announcements at the park.
The shows punctuate the rest of the day
During periods that include seasonal shows or parades at Disneyland Park, the P.C.C.R. team is in charge of broadcasting the audio and deploying the lights along the entire parade route – which consists of Fantasyland, Castle Stage, Central Plaza, Main Street U.S.A. and Town Square – as well as controlling the embedded audio systems in the parade floats.
This team also operates the Disney Stars On Parade every day, according to technology developed specifically for Disney Parks. This technology is also used at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
From the start of each day, the P.C.C.R. teams are in close contact with the other Entertainment teams and work together to ensure that shows and parades are programmed properly and run smoothly. To prepare for a seasonal offering like Halloween, it takes two weeks of sound and light adjustments on the parade route.
One interesting thing is that the parade floats also have their own audio system. Thanks to a GPS system embedded in each float, the team can follow their position live on screens, and can perfectly coordinate the distribution of music on the speakers. Each unit “advances” with its own music, while the speakers of the parade road accompany them perfectly.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…”
When closing time approaches for Disneyland Paris, the P.C.C.R. team will transfer some of the controls to the Central Plaza management team for the Disney Illuminations nighttime spectacular. Once the show ends, the time has come to say goodbye to visitors and tell them to exit Disneyland Park. The P.C.C.R. team will then leave the park background music running for about 90 minutes after closing. After that, the music is turned off for the night.
A team made up of new talents
At the P.C.C.R., the cast members come from all sorts of different backgrounds because they have to handle audio, light, video, and animations. This is called “show control”. These cast members must be able to control audio, video, and light machines via computer programming.
These new entertainment professions are developing more and more at Disneyland Paris, and for those interested in this career path, it can be quite rewarding!