Saturday, 15th February 2014

Disneyland Paris condensed: fun facts and figures of the 2013 Annual Review

Euro Disney S.C.A. 2013 Annual Review

Soundbites about “challenging tourism climates” and “investing in growth strategies” aren’t all you’ll find the Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual Review. Published by the Disneyland Paris operating group each year, the splashy document is also filled with a host of fascinating and intriguing facts and figures about the resort, its parks, its Cast Members and its visitors.

You can browse the 2013 Annual Review now online. Surprisingly, this year breaks with tradition and abandons the usual overblown website dedicated to the report (last year complete with Philippe Gas video intro) and presents it just as a standard e-brochure. We’d love to know the figure for how much cash that decision wisely saved. But instead, here’s our quick pick of the key figures and fun facts of 2013 at Disneyland Paris…

  • Disneyland Paris has now been visited more than 275 million times
  • Between 2009 and 2013, around €510 million has been invested in the maintenance and development of the destination
  • There are over 14,000 Cast Members working over 500 different professions; 6,454 employees were hired in 2013
  • Inclusivity: Over 581 workers are disabled, an increase of over 50% since 2007, whilst 53 “seniors” aged over 50 were hired in 2013
  • Climbing the ladder: 80% of Managers and Senior Managers present in 2013 had been promoted internally, while the group hired 458 local residents who had experienced long-term unemployment
  • Val d’Europe now has 30,000 residents and provides 28,000 jobs
  • Hotel refurbishment programme is on-going, covering all 5,800 rooms, with all 1,100 rooms of Disney’s Newport Bay Club to be completed in 2014
  • 14.9 million visitors in 2013 (down from 16 million in 2012 and 15.6 in 2011)
  • Hotel occupancy down to 79.3% in 2013, from 84% in 2012 and 87.1% in 2011
  • Guest spending continues to grow: the average guest spends €48.14 in the parks and €235.01 per room in the Disney Hotels
  • Interest charges on the group’s debt were reduced by €20.4 million in 2013 thanks to the €1.3 billion refinancing by The Walt Disney Company in 2012
  • According to questionnaires, 63% of guests were “extremely” and “very” satisfied with their visits; 89% of guests would “definitely” and “probably” come back
  • Disney Dreams! scored a 92% guest satisfaction rating for fiscal year 2013
  • 4 million items have been sold at World of Disney since its opening in 2012
  • Staffed 24 hours a day by 200 Cast Members, the “Hercules” warehouse complex is more than 15 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool; in 2013 it was refitted with dimming, sensing, low-energy lighting by partner Osram
  • Scheduled for completion in late 2015, the fifth Val de France hotel, to be operated by B&B Hotels, will add 400 rooms to the resort
  • 90% of the land at Villages Nature will not be built on; the Center Parcs joint project will be developed in several phases over the next 20 years
  • 87 milion gallons of drinking water are expected to be saved each year once the new backstage water treatment and recycling plant becomes fully operational
  • Ratatouille: l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy will be “by far the most advanced and sophisticated thing we’ve ever done from a ride integration standpoint. It will offer guests a totally immersive experience into a Disney•Pixar adventure” — Joe Schott, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
  • “This never-before-seen family attraction will magically shrink guests to the size of the movie’s adorable star, Rémy. They will then be whisked off for a multi-sensory spin around the kitchens of Chef Gusteau”

Last, but not least, the geographical split of theme park visits, where France has broken 51% leaving all other feeder nations languishing. It’s fascinating to look back ten years to the results from the 2003 Annual Review and see how dramatically the breakdown has shifted.

Disneyland Paris geographical breakdown of visitors 2003
Disneyland Paris geographical breakdown of visitors 2013

Where once 22% of visitors were from the United Kingdom, now that percentage is a tiny 14%. Worse for Germany; its percentage share has halved from 6% to 3% in 2013. Italy and Spain meanwhile used to make up 9% together and have now increased to 11%, mainly thanks to a boom in visitors from Spain begun a few years ago, but which now appears to have ebbed away, in line with the country’s economy, to 8%.

Attendance figures in 2003 were 12.4 million, so 22% would give an estimated 2,728,000 British guests for the year. The same calculation for 14% of the 14.9 million guests in 2013 gives 2,086,000 guests crossing the channel. Far from a scientific, watertight calculation, obviously, but you could see it suggesting that roughly 654,720 fewer visitors from the UK went to Disneyland Paris in 2013 compared to ten years ago, a 24% drop.

Overall, with 49% of visitors now coming from outside France in 2013 versus 61% in 2003, you could estimate the resort’s entire non-domestic park attendance has actually fallen by over a quarter of a million guests in the past ten years, from 7.6 million in 2003 to 7.3 million in 2013. In the same period, meanwhile, you could estimate attendance from within France has grown by a huge 2.8 million guests, from 4.8 million to a strong 7.6 million visitors.

Clearly it is time Disneyland Paris took a few of its œufs out of its panier and worked on growing visitor numbers from other countries too, if only back to the levels they were ten years ago.

That’s not something even Rémy can do alone, or is it?

SOURCE Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual Review 2013, Full PDF (7.9MB download)

Wednesday, 10th April 2013

VIDEO — Watch the full ‘Designers of Dreams’ Disneyland Paris fashion show

Disneyland Paris launched its extended 20th Anniversary celebrations with a one-off catwalk fashion show to showcase brand new Disney character costumes made by some of Europe’s most prestigious fashion houses.

Titled ‘Designers of Dreams’, the one-off event took place on Saturday 23rd March for the 20th Anniversary Extended press launch. But luckily, if you’d like to see this unusual meeting of Disney characters and catwalk fashions for yourself, you can watch it here in full!

As well as exclusive outfits by fashion houses such as Lanvin, Sister by Sibling, Philip Treacy and Supertrash, the show featured a performance by Laura Van Kaam, winner of The Voice Kids Nederlands.

Watch, like and share on YouTube here!

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Friday, 5th April 2013

VIDEO — Disney Light’Ears preview with Marianne Sharpe & David Sultan

EXCLUSIVE — Marianne Sharpe and David Sultan of the Disneyland Paris merchandising team preview the new Disney Light’Ears at an informal panel discussion just for fansites. Learn about the design, development and production of the ears, how they work and what we can expect when they launch this July at Disneyland Paris.

Watch, like and share on YouTube here!

Monday, 25th March 2013

VIDEO — Disney Dreams! New 2013 Edition with The Lion King, Brave, Light’Ears

It’s here! Our complete, original 1080p HD video of the new Disney Dreams!, now updated for 2013 with new The Lion King and Brave scenes. This video also features our exclusive preview of Disney Light’Ears, set to launch at Disneyland Paris this July for €20. We filmed the video from directly in the middle of Central Plaza, and for the first time used a tripod to steady the camera — enjoy!

More news updates from the 20th Anniversary Extended launch to follow — in the meantime, please scroll back through our many live photo updates from the events on Twitter to get a great recap of all the action!

Watch, like and share on YouTube here!

Friday, 22nd March 2013

‘Designers of Dreams’ catwalk fashion show to mark extended 20th Anniversary launch

Minnie Mouse dress by Lanvin for Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris will launch its extended 20th Anniversary celebrations this weekend, with a one-off catwalk fashion show to showcase brand new Disney character costumes made by some of Europe’s most prestigious fashion houses.

Titled ‘Designers of Dreams’, the event will take place this Saturday 23rd March to mark the success of Disney Dreams! and launch its two new scenes (not to mention that soon-to-be fashion craze of the parks — well, perhaps — Disney Light’Ears). And there we were thinking Steve Davison and his team were the only “designers of Dreams”

Cinderella dress by Sister by Sibling for Disneyland Paris Cinderella dress by Sister by Sibling for Disneyland Paris

Alber Elbaz of French firm Lanvin was first to reveal his sparkling new blue dress for Minnie Mouse, while British designers Sister by Sibling have been tasked with creating a high-fashion ball gown for Cinderella. Also joining the fun will be Philip Treacy for Ireland, Luisa Beccaria for Italy, Alexander Terekhov for Russia, Michalsky for Germany, Custo Barcelona for Spain, Jean-Paul Knott for Belgium and for The Netherlands, Olcay Gulsen for Supertrash.

If the event is designed to create media “buzz”, it seems to have succeeded somewhat already with the two articles linked above on Vogue, plus The Telegraph, StyleList, Le Monde, Glamour, Fashionista, Yahoo and, err, CocoPerez.com. Oh, and DLRPToday.com

Watch a video of Minnie Mouse visiting Lanvin to pick up her dress below… Read More…

Thursday, 28th February 2013

Disneyland Paris officially announces “new Ratatouille-themed attraction” for 2014

Ratatouille dark ride

You thought it might never happen. But at last, the Ratatouille dark ride is official. After years of winks and nods to this open secret from Euro Disney S.C.A. officials, not to mention that vast concrete shell of a showbuilding at Walt Disney Studios Park, CEO Philippe Gas has today publicly confirmed that a “Ratatouille-themed attraction” will open at Disneyland Paris in 2014.

Here’s the full press release, released to coincide with today’s Shareholders annual general meeting:

Marne-la-Vallée, 28 February 2013. During the group’s annual shareholder meeting on 28 February, Euro Disney Chairman Philippe Gas announced plans for the continued development of Disneyland Paris, with the addition of a new attraction based on the hit Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille.

‘Our new family-focused Ratatouille attraction, which is scheduled to open in 2014, symbolises all of the creativity, innovation and emotion that guests associate with a Disneyland Paris experience,’ Gas said.

Set to open in Walt Disney Studios Park, the attraction is part of the group’s long-term commitment to investing in high-quality guest experiences. That strategy has been fundamental to strengthening the appeal of the multi-day destination, which achieved record-breaking attendance of 16 million visits in 2012.

This unique attraction will take guests into the world of the Oscar-winning Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille which tells the tale of Remy – a talented young rat who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology will come together in this romantic, larger-than-life, Parisian experience.

‘By developing this new Ratatouille attraction, we continue to ensure our guests can experience their favourite Disney stories in memorable ways that only Disney can provide,’ Gas said. ‘The theme, which is very français, is a tribute to our capital and the unforgettable characters that make Ratatouille the ideal choice for an attraction that fits perfectly at Disneyland Paris.’

The group also announced the extension of its 20th Anniversary celebrations until 30 September 2013. Guests now have a second chance to enjoy the festivities that include a new twist on the award-winning ‘Disney Dreams!’ spectacular. The unforgettable show will now be enriched with scenes from two much-loved Disney animated classics, The Lion King and Brave. In addition,each performance will become an interactive experience when guests wear Disney Light’Ears.

These magical Mickey ears will change colour in time with the show, making ‘Disney Dreams!’ an even more spectacular experience for the whole family.

From today’s annual general meeting, the operating group’s strategy for the resort is now more firmly fixed on expanding Walt Disney Studios Park into a viable partner for Disneyland Park, though no detail was apparently given beyond this already-under construction development.

The press release naturally fails to give many details away about the new attraction — there’s plenty of time ahead for that. Hopefully this is just the start of a well-organised promotional campaign to maximise this €150 million investment. Disneyland Paris has been notoriously poor at “hyping” its new attraction openings, compared to other theme parks and the American Disney resorts — notably California — which build interest with updates and teasers well in advance of the opening date.

Here’s to Paris, 2014…

VIA Disneyland Paris Corporate (PDF)

Thursday, 21st February 2013

First Look: The Lion King’s Simba in upcoming new Disney Dreams! scene

"The Lion King" scene in Disney Dreams! at Disneyland Paris

Just can’t wait to see how one of the new scenes coming to Disney Dreams! will look? Here’s your first sneak preview, courtesy of a new teaser trailer on the official Disneyland Paris website. For a few brief seconds, visible in the screen capture above, we see the face of Simba from “The Lion King” roaring across Sleeping Beauty Castle, surrounded by colourful projections and fountains.

With Simba’s red-leafed mane, this is unmistakably the “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” segment of the new scene, scheduled to be officially added to the show from 1st April 2013. We reported last week that this new scene is said to be a medley of the songs penned by Tim Rice and Elton John for the film, also including “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata”.

Along with a scene from Pixar’s “Brave”, it will apparently replace the current “Mary Poppins” and “The Jungle Book” scenes – so catch those “originals” while you can.

However, unlike that second new scene featuring Princess Merida, Simba’s guest role in the nighttime spectacular was reportedly already animated and programmed for the launch of the show last year, but held back in favour of Baloo and King Louie’s “I Wanna Be Like You”, so this footage could actually date from then. One confirmed change to the scene since its 2012 trials, though, will be the young singers of Dutch TV show “The Voice Kids” now providing vocals for its soundtrack, recorded just last month at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Watch the new 20th Anniversary – Extended! trailer here… Read More…

Tuesday, 12th February 2013

Disney Light’Ears: It’s “glow with the show” for Disney Dreams! first anniversary

Disney Light'Ears: Glow with the Show ears coming to Disneyland Paris

There will be more than just two new scenes to light up Disney Dreams! on its first anniversary this year: you too can “glow with the show” as the illuminated Mickey Mouse ears first introduced for World of Color at Disney California Adventure will come to Disneyland Paris, the resort has confirmed.

Named “Glow with the Show Ears” in California, they’ll be known instead by a new name in Europe: Disney Light’Ears. Once activated and placed on your head (or anywhere!) within the spectacle’s viewing area, they light up and change colour in sync with the show itself.

This is an optional, paid add-on, of course — in California the ears were priced at $25 for launch and, though no price has been publicly announced, reports from research questionnaires carried out in Paris suggest they could be looking at a €25 price point to own a pair over here. For added value, California later activated the ears for use during Fantasmic! at its own Disneyland Park, as well as controlling them to light up in certain areas such as inside the new Cars Land.

Battery powered, the hats are controlled by infra red signals from emitters placed around the audience area. For World of Color, this comprises around 40 “zones” which can each be sent a different command to illuminate and change the colour of the ears.

Unlike in Disney’s home state, Mickey ear hats have never particularly taken off at Disneyland Paris — you’re more likely to see a sorcerer’s apprentice, a Goofy or at most a Minnie Mouse bow. Could Disney Light’Ears be the spark to finally bring popularity to this classic park merchandise item in Paris? Would you pay to own a pair yourself, and do you think they’ll really add to the experience of Disney Dreams! or just be a distraction from the show itself?

Disney Light'Ears: Glow with the Show ears coming to Disneyland Paris Disney Light'Ears: Glow with the Show ears coming to Disneyland Paris

It’s fair to say at least that, for such a high-rating signature attraction, Disney Dreams! needs more supporting merchandise, so this can only be a positive step in that direction. The ears were also only debuted in California last August, so the stated “Summer 2013” makes for an unusually speedy rollout to Paris — now only the second Disney resort in the world to have them.

Now watch “Glow with the Show” in action at Disneyland Resort, California… Read More…

Monday, 11th February 2013

New “Brave”, “The Lion King” scenes confirmed for Disney Dreams! from April 2013

Stills from Brave, The Lion King (Pixar, Disney)

Hurry, you’ve not got long left to see Disney Dreams! — the original show that is. Disneyland Paris has now confirmed that the show will be updated for its first anniversary with two brand new scenes based on the Pixar film “Brave” and classic Disney animation “The Lion King”. The new segments are believed to be replacing the original “Mary Poppins” and “The Jungle Book” numbers respectively, so you’ve only until around the end of March to sing along with “Step In Time” and “I Wan’na Be Like You” in person as fountains and projections fill the air. However the rest of the scenes — certainly the Peter Pan-themed “bookends” which tie together the various segments — are expected to remain the same.

Further information came to light today when it was revealed that the song featured from The Lion King will be “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”, certainly an ideal choice to replace the similar earlier Jungle Book hit. Six young finalists from the Dutch TV talent show The Voice Kids were given the chance to record it exclusively for the show at Abbey Road Studios in London (pictured below), where this time last year the entire Disney Dreams! soundtrack was recorded by Joel McNeely.

'The Voice Kids' finalists at Abbey Road Studios, London

Meanwhile the Brave segment will be the first for a single film that isn’t a musical. A short Ratatouille scene was included in the original show, but is really little more than a transition.

Steve Davison, who masterminded the show, was at Disneyland Paris along with Chuck Davis, Senior Technical Director, during the heavy snowfall last month, making it a strong possibility they were working on the new scenes.

Premiering on 31st March 2012 to worldwide acclaim, Disney Dreams! has scored an impressive 93% guest satisfaction rating and is now confirmed to be continuing daily at Disneyland Park until at least the end of September 2013, when the extended 20th Anniversary celebrations close.

Update: InsideDLParis reports The Lion King scene will come first in the show and be made up of three songs — “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” — while the Brave scene will utilise two parts of the film’s score by Patrick Doyle — “Remember to Smile” and “Fate and Destiny” — along with “Touch the Sky”, the original song by Julie Fowlis. It’s likely the scenes will officially premiere on 1st April 2013 but may be introduced shortly before then as a “soft opening.”

Watch our 4 different complete videos of the original Disney Dreams! here

• Watch the scenes rumoured to be replaced: “Mary Poppins” and “I Wanna Be Like You”

VIA Disneyland Paris Press, @HyperionPilot, @DisneylandNL, @Jorienvh_

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