Wednesday, 2nd April 2014

New ‘Swing into Spring’ decorations take root on Main Street ahead of launch

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Less than three days to go before the first ‘Swing into Spring’ season begins at Disneyland Paris, the new decorations on Main Street, U.S.A. and Central Plaza are already taking root to add a burst of fresh colour to Disneyland Park.

Just days after they were officially revealed in final concept art, the first arrivals were the colourful Central Plaza “topiary” displays of favourite Disney animals, interacting with musical notes and instruments. Each one takes the centrepiece of one of the four Central Plaza flower beds, surrounded by a fresh display of much less synthetic blooms.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry
Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Bambi, Flower and Thumper, The Aristocats Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse, and The Lion King Simba and Nala are pictured here by @DisneylandBerry, who has been sharing these updates of the growing Spring decorations each morning. Three of the 101 dalmatian puppies are in place, too, completing one of the best Central Plaza overlays in many years.

Meanwhile, down in Town Square the theme is more Mary Poppins. The 1964 film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and is of course a natural fit for a springtime “Jolly Holiday”.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerrySwing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

As the concept art depicted, the two flower beds either side of Main Street’s gazebo have become home to full-size floral topiary figures of Mary, Bert, Jane and Michael.

The Town Square Gazebo itself soon followed, being decorated with colourful garlands of synthetic flowers, musical notes and a large butterfly for its “Balade Printanière”.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Perhaps a simple floral overlay would have been enough and more in-keeping with the time period of Main Street, but at least, thank heavens, the psychedelic multi-coloured music staff of the concept art was changed to a more subdued green.

Penguin waiters are even less in-keeping with Main Street, of course, but they add some fun to the scene and are by far one of the least offensive things ever done to the poor gazebo. And they’re penguin waiters, so it’s impossible to dislike them.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

Main Street, U.S.A. is home to almost all the Swing into Spring decorations, the furthest they spread into the park being only Le Théatre du Château. Here, the successful Halloween overlay of recent years has been echoed for Spring with daisies wrapped around the columns and a new green podium stage, ready for the main Disney’s Spring Promenade event which will take place both here and around Central Plaza.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry
Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerrySwing into Spring at Disneyland Paris © DisneylandBerry

It’s simple and tasteful enough, and again good to see the stage finding a new lease of life after some years of dilapidation and uncertainty. Now to see how it will be used…

PHOTOS @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

Tuesday, 1st April 2014

Video: Show Director Christophe Leclercq introduces ‘Swing into Spring’ (at last)

Swing into Spring Disneyland Paris season festival concept art

You’ve less than four days to get to Disneyland Paris for the opening of ‘Swing into Spring’, the almost mythical Spring Festival which now at last has been given its official English title, dates and some welcome publicity by the resort.

Released today is a new video featuring Show Director Christophe Leclercq, introducing the season of springtime decorations and entertainment. If not revealing any new details of the much-speculated festival, Christophe confirms again some important details, such as the main event featuring no less than 90 dancers, 22 musicians and a quite startling 33 characters, taking place “in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle”.

The video includes an additional piece of concept art for the Central Plaza “topiary” displays (above) which feature characters from Bambi, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Aristocats and The Lion King interacting with musical notes and instruments.

This is also the first time (besides a lone Belgian press release) that Disneyland Paris has confirmed the season will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014.

In French, the season will be known as La Balade Printanière, or “Springtime Stroll”.

An earlier version of the video mistakenly subtitled Town Square as Times Square.

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Thursday, 20th March 2014

Disneyland Paris swings into late Spring Festival promotion – concepts, details, dates!

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival concept art - Swing into Spring

Disneyland Paris has finally swung into action, confirming months and rumour and speculation with the first promotion of its upcoming Spring Festival season at Disneyland Park. While the calendar season begins today, Disney’s season of entertainment and special decorations will run from 5th April to 22nd June 2014, confirming the rumoured dates exactly.

Two new pieces of concept art lead the announcements, shared on the resort’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Above, the concept shows Town Square and its gazebo decorated with Mary Poppins-themed topiaries, flowers and decorations including Mary, Bert and the “Jolly Holiday” penguins.

Below, one of the new centrepieces for Central Plaza is shown, featuring One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Each of the four main flower beds in the heart of the park will have a different display of flowers, topiary and musical notes — a new official press release confirms the others will feature The Lion King, Bambi and The Aristocats.

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival concept art - Swing into Spring

So far, the press release has only been slipped onto the Belgian press websites, under the title “Disneyland Paris aux couleurs du Printemps” (Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring). Here’s a full translation of the key points from the French language version:

Disneyland Paris in the colours of Spring

5th April to 22nd June 2014

If Disneyland Paris was a garden, it would be the largest in Europe with 35,000 trees, 250,000 shrubs and more than a million flowers planted each year. Mickey and friends have decided to celebrate this legacy of success with a special theme for more than three months, in the colours of Spring. With new happenings, new decorations and the opportunity to meet the Disney characters in new costumes.

Disneyland Paris turns into a “springtime stroll”.

The new daily “Promenade Printanière” happening promises to be the event of the day. This ultra-colourful musical event will be enlivened by more than one hundred artists including 90 dancers. Not to mention the Disney characters in new, specially-created costumes. Mickey and Minnie, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Stitch, Pinocchio, Clarabelle and many more will delight park guests accompanied by the musicians of the “Jolly Holiday Band” and “Swing into Spring Orchestra”. The new generation will also be in the spotlight, notably Rapunzel.

In decorations, small and big dreamers will be able to discover their favourite Disney heros in versions more “flowery” than ever. Beside Sleeping Beauty Castle, topiaries depicting One Hundred and One Dalmations, Simba and Nala (The Lion King), the Artistocats and even Bambi and his friends Flower and Thumper have sprung up like magic. Elsewhere, landmarks will be transformed into showcases of flowers.

“Bienvenue à la Belle Saison”, at the entrance of Disneyland Park, will immerse guests in the magic of Spring, with butterflies, flowers, topiary and music.

Finally, children can play as budding explorers with an entertaining leaflet guiding them through the nature, ecology and diversity offered by Disneyland Paris.

While the English name “Swing into Spring” has long been associated with the season and/or its daily happening, the main event is confirmed here in French as “Promenade Printanière” (Springtime Promenade), with two musical acts named “Swing into Spring Orchestra” and “Jolly Holiday Band”. It remains to be seen how the season itself will be titled in English.

With no less than a hundred “artists” including 90 dancers from the auditions earlier this year, the event, which is rumoured to take place around Central Plaza, could be quite a surprise spectacle indeed. Having two confirmed musical acts is also great move, rather than the park’s usual erratic live music schedule. This release also confirms Rapunzel will be featured, with a meet ‘n’ greet rumoured for the spot near to Casey’s Corner in Main Street, U.S.A.

Very welcome too is the renewed focus on the park’s gardens, especially as Disneyland Paris always spends money creating fabulous flower displays every year in springtime anyway.

It’s reassuring to see the event should indeed include some real flora rather than just fibreglass decorations. Indeed, while the flowers and topiaries look lovely, it wouldn’t exactly be a shame if the rather garish, unnecessary musical notes and butterfly were dropped from the Town Square gazebo concept, would it?

But still, simply for Disneyland Paris to share concept art publicly like this is a positive step itself — not just promoting the event but showing the talent and artistry going into it.

Posting on Facebook, Disneyland Paris announced:

“As of April 5th, Disneyland Paris will be officially welcoming the return of spring! This brand new season will be bursting with surprises, so come and join all your favourite Disney Characters for a music-filled celebration of blooming flowers and glorious sun-drenched days!”

However as “product” launches go, this must be one of the most last-minute in the resort’s history, giving only just over two weeks notice before the events actually begin. This could be a way to reduce expectation ahead of a bigger investment and promotional push next year, when the concept is proven, but for now has Disneyland Paris confirmed these Spring details with enough time for you to actually plan a trip, or did you wish you knew sooner?

Previous updates:

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Spring Festival speculation blossoms with new logos, official text

Monday, 3rd March 2014

Disney’s Oscar-winning, billion dollar Frozen is not just for Christmas anymore

Anna Elsa Frozen Disneyland Paris Disney Magic on Parade

Such surprise, relief and excitement when, for the first time in forever, Disneyland Paris was right on the Disney movie schedule ball in featuring Frozen so heavily during the last Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, a perfect match for the season.

A landmark spot in Disney Dreams! of Christmas and a new redecorated float with Anna and Elsa in Disney Magic on Parade! were the talk of the season, appearing even before the film’s release. It felt like the old days of the ’90s, when Disney’s latest animation releases from Aladdin to Hunchback and beyond were always featured in the park through their year of release.

Fast forward to the thawing days of March, Frozen has just achieved an incredible double: two Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song, and — no doubt even better to Disney’s eyes — passing the heralded $1bn worldwide box office total.

Frozen: Disney Dreams! of Christmas
Frozen in Disney Dreams! of Christmas

Back at Disneyland Paris meanwhile, Disney Dreams! has reverted to its regular self — with new scenes The Lion King and Brave added last year.

Anna and Elsa still appear on their Disney Magic on Parade! float, shared with similar Walt Disney Animation Studios successes Rapunzel and Flynn, but they’ve still yet to step down from that float to actually meet and greet their increasingly adoring public.

That means, for all the hundreds of thousands of guests visiting the park during Frozen‘s finest hour, their one and only chance of getting a glimpse or even a photo of these new heroines is a blink-and-you’ll miss it appearance during the parade.

And would anyone thinking about visiting even know they’re there? The parade’s page on the official website, for example, doesn’t feature any photos of them or, err, any actual text whatsoever. There’s nothing official anywhere to actually tell people they’re there.

In classic style, they’ve seized an opportunity yet completely missed it at the same time.

Frozen Disneyland Paris Disney Magic on Parade!å
Anna, Elsa & Olaf in Disney Magic on Parade!

Disneyland Paris is constantly trying to create a pressing, immediate intent for people to visit. A reason why people, who’ve often thought about visiting but hesitated — until their kids are older, until *ahem* a new attraction date is announced — would finally get up and go.

Given the astounding success of Frozen and “Let It Go”, the sheer number of people who must have seen and loved this brand new Disney tale, could this not be a good enough reason?

Doesn’t that parade appearance deserve promoting? Don’t Anna and Elsa deserve an actual meet ‘n’ greet? Wouldn’t it be a fantastic draw to bring the Christmas “Let It Go” scene (or a new scene) to the regular Disney Dreams! show, if only for this year?

When there’s an opportunity like this, don’t let it go…

PHOTOS Photos Magiques

Friday, 28th February 2014

Europe’s largest LEGO Store opens its doors at Disney Village today – in pictures

LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris

After a long wait, it was with just two days’ notice that fans learned the LEGO Store would finally be opening today, 28th February 2014, at 9am — and open it really did.

Joined by the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors, the Vice President of LEGO Europe and a special walkaround “LEGO mascot” named Tom, the new boutique’s team of brick-building enthusiasts cut the ribbon and invited the first shoppers inside the store.

Using the same modern design scheme of other European shopping mall LEGO Stores, this flagship location can boast being the largest on the continent. That said, it’s not massively bigger — at almost 600m² only roughly the size of Hollywood Pictures that was there before — but with walls piled high with LEGO sets and a minimalist aesthetic it does look like a bigger, much more exciting retail space. And certainly a vast improvement on the tired Hollywood Pictures.

LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Ambassadors, Antonella and Jonathan met “Tom” the store’s mascot and Ward Van Duffel, Vice President and General Manager of LEGO Europe at the store’s opening this morning and shared a series of photos from inside the new shop.

LEGO’s all-glass shopfront is immediately the most modern in Disney Village, offering a full view inside the colourful store to passing customers. Brick murals of Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Hotel and Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups are featured centrally on the bright yellow podium along with a textured, LEGO brick logo.

LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris

Where most other LEGO Stores have just a single yellow brick ceiling feature in the middle of the store, this flagship has several, of different sizes, creating more unique areas within the store.

All the LEGO Store favourites are present and correct: the free building table, the build-your-own Minifigure display, and the clever augmented reality scanner that lets you hold a LEGO set up and see the finished creation on screen in 3D.

LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland ParisLEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris

Here, the popular trademark “Pick-a-Brick wall”, which lets you fill cartons with your choice of loose bricks, isn’t on the back wall of the store as standard, but a larger free-standing wall, with even more LEGO sets behind.

Despite not being as grand as the longstanding LEGO Imagination Center in Orlando or self-contained LEGO Store Anaheim, this new Disneyland Paris example does feature the same special models and customisations.

LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland ParisLEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris
LEGO Store Disney Village Disneyland Paris

A huge, stunning brick mural of Prince Phillip fighting dragon Maleficent sits just inside the door, with murals of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars line the walls, which are also criss-crossed by a long green monster.

Other full-scale models featured are Sorcerer Mickey, Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and R2D2.

LEGO Store Disney Village opens 9am to midnight, daily.

PHOTOS Ambassadeurs Disneyland Paris (Facebook)

Monday, 24th February 2014

Spider-Man photo location rumoured for Backlot in Walt Disney Studios Park

Marvel Ultimate Spider-Man

We really hope you like your Disney character rumours, because here’s another. Fellow fansite DlrpExpress.fr reports today that a Spider-Man photo location could be on its way to Backlot in Walt Disney Studios Park, occupying empty space next to Disney Blockbuster Café.

According to the rumour, the Marvel-themed “photo location” would take up space at one side of the counter service restaurant, in the corner of Backlot opposite Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Disney Blockbuster Café

This room was originally an outdoor terrace in 2002, before being enclosed soon after opening in order to add more capacity to the dining venue.

Despite this, it has rarely been regularly used and was most recently turned into a short-lived second Bureau Passport Annuel, Annual Passport sales office. Currently, it sits empty with just a few display cases and lonely High School Musical 3 posters.

Marvel Spider-Man Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Not just a welcome use for this wasted space, a Spider-Man location here in Backlot would be the first step in the long-awaited addition of Marvel characters to Walt Disney Studios Park.

Rumours have grown since Disney’s 2009 acquisition of the comic book company that this corner of the park could see a full superhero makeover. At one point, there was even speculation that Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux  in particular could be rethemed to Spider-Man.

Yet to date, the most the park has seen is the former “High School Musical room” of Disney Blockbuster Café replaced by an “Iron Man room” — a generous way to describe putting a few new posters up, detailed in Photos Magiques’ recent report.

Iron Man room at Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Around the world, only Hong Kong Disneyland has officially announced the first Marvel-themed attraction, a 3D motion simulator dubbed Iron Man Experience. Meanwhile California, as usual, has been at the forefront with the first Marvel characters taking up residence with special exhibits and meet ‘n’ greets for Iron Man, Thor and (soon) Captain America at Innoventions.

Rumour states Disneyland Paris could welcome Spider-Man as soon as mid-March, making it the first Disney park to feature the character in any form. So far, the live “Disney” character version has only appeared very briefly, at last year’s D23 Expo (see video below).

Disneyland Paris has now, for some time, sold a large range of Spider-Man comic book and cartoon merchandise, above other Marvel characters.

While Disney would base its theme park characterisation on Disney XD‘s successful Ultimate Spider-Man animated TV series (pictured top), it’s surely no coincidence that this year also sees Sony Pictures release its second “rebooted” film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, under its ownership of the movie rights, boosting the attractiveness of such a tie-in.

For Walt Disney Studios Park, having such a name on its books would be an incredible coup, massively elevating the park’s credentials. Certainly more so than its previous movie tie-in catalogue of Armageddon, Reign of Fire and Dinotopia, don’t you agree?

Video of Spider-Man’s D23 Disney character appearance follows… Read More…

Thursday, 20th February 2014

New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris

Spring at Disneyland Paris

Remember the “Festival of Flowers” (Festival des Fleurs) of 1997 and 1998? Park icons covered in colourful spring flowers, topiaries of Disney characters all around, beautiful displays decorating the flower beds? It was a beautiful way to see in season of “printemps”.

Well, those will remain memories… but it’s this classic event that has apparently served as inspiration for a new season rumoured to begin at Disneyland Paris this April: the Spring Festival, or “Swing Into Spring” if you want the latest reported title.

Disneyland Paris in its usual self-aggrandising style has announced nothing, but information and speculation has been trickling out for almost two months now from various sources.

The speculated season looks set to revolve around a central street event, which will reuse three of the cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars. The Monsters Inc and Snow White vehicles were removed from the Walt Disney Studios Park parade on Wednesday, 19th February, and are expected to be redecorated for the new cavalcade “happening”.

Joining them for the Disneyland Park event will be the Mary Poppins car, apparently leaving the Studios without a parade for the duration of the season — characters will simply perform a meet ‘n’ greet in the second park, instead. Update: @InsideDLParis informs that despite missing these three cars, Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars is planned to continue as a parade during the season.

Mary Poppins car in Disney's Stars 'n' CarsDisney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train

Other rumours suggest the long-running Casey Jr train (Disney Characters Express, Minnie’s Party Train, Disney All Stars Express, Disney Dance Express, Disney’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Train) returning in some form with a similar colourful, floral, spring overlay.

Only the Disneyland Paris Casting website has confirmed plans for special spring events, with a casting notice (below) advertising for an impressive 102 dancers. Even taking into account days off, reducing the numbers in each actual performance, that’s a healthy figure.

Disneyland Paris Casting Spring Festival Dancers

Meanwhile, the fresh festival could also introduce some new floral decorations and street animations or meet ‘n’ greet opportunities. Concept art suggesting these was leaked by a blogger in early January and swiftly removed at the request of Disneyland Paris, stating the internal documents were not meant for public release.

More recently, a Mary Poppins “Jolly Holiday” theme has been mooted, which would be a good choice given the film’s fiftieth anniversary and renewed popularity thanks to Saving Mr Banks. This could be confirmed by the appearance of chalk paintings being tested on the pavement outside City Hall on Wednesday, photographed by @DisneylandPfans.

Spring Festival chalk painting test © DisneylandPfans

Created by an artist using just chalk, water and masking tape, it’s not known how these colourful paintings, like those mastered by Bert in the 1964 film, could be put to use as part of a season (or avoid the footsteps of idle visitors).

Dates: the “Spring Festival” is rumoured to run from 5th April to 22nd June, possibly with a “soft opening” day on 4th April, nicely filling the void in the resort’s calendar left by the “summer” opening of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. Again, no part of this speculated festival has been officially announced or confirmed by Disneyland Paris.

Gradually turning “Spring” into its own annual season makes perfect sense, and though this year looks like being more a trial of the concept (hence the lack of a big announcement too far in advance?), with continued investment it could conceivably become a third pillar season as important as Halloween and Christmas, driving repeat visitors without the need for those increasingly desperate, largely irrelevant year-long “festivals”.

Bonus: “Festival of Flowers” 1997 programme Read More…

Thursday, 20th February 2014

Plans to transfer Disney Hotel characters into Extra Magic Hours confirmed

Mickey Mouse at Disney's Hotel Cheyenne © Photos Magiques

As reported on Tuesday, Disneyland Paris does indeed plan to cancel the long-running Disney character meet ‘n’ greet locations at its Disney Hotels, in favour of having these characters appear during Extra Magic Hours instead.

Mouetto, admin of the top French forum Disney Central Plaza, has been able to confirm the rumours as a genuine “project” with Disneyland Paris, providing the following points of confirmation:

  • Disney characters will indeed disappear from the Disney Hotels in late November 2014 and will be reinstated in Disneyland Park during Extra Magic Hours, with several opportunities to meet and take photos while they prepare the opening of the park.
  • Characters will remain at the Inventions buffet restaurant in Disneyland Hotel and at Café Mickey.
  • There will be a new experience with Disney characters during breakfast at the Castle Club in Disneyland Hotel.
  • Guest satisfaction surveys have indicated the desire to meet and interact with more and more characters, but not necessarily in hotels. The presence of characters only came eighth in the main expectations of a Disney Hotel.

Currently there is no word of any changes to the character appearances at the Empire State Club of Disney’s Hotel New York and Golden Forest Club of Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, where the Disney stars appear during breakfast.

Besides the easier logistics of characters not having to travel to each hotel, the logic can make sense too. Whereas currently guests have the chance to meet just one or two characters in their hotel lobby, if all these characters are pooled together into the park it means much greater variety — and much better photo backdrops, too.

Offering them instead during Extra Magic Hours might not be favourable with late risers, but it’s a good way to ensure the extra characters remain a genuine benefit of Disney Hotel guests (and Annual Passport Dream holders). What will be missed we’re sure, though, are those fun character costumes, unique to each hotel.

VIA Mouetto (Disney Central Plaza), PHOTO Photos Magiques

Wednesday, 19th February 2014

Linguini face character coming to Disneyland Paris for Ratatouille ride opening?

Linguini, Ratatouille © Disney

Could Alfredo Linguini, Rémy’s human accomplice, be on his way to La Place de Rémy this year, too? Disneyland Paris recently posted an audition notice (below) on its official Casting website calling for actors to interpret the Ratatouille role “as part of a new project”.

Auditionees are required to have a “strong artistic presence” and “lots of energy”, as well as measuring a precise 1.73m to 1.85m tall. A good level of English is required as well as French, plus a definite ability to improvise in the role, son of the late Auguste Gusteau.

Disneyland Paris Ratatouille Linguini face character casting notice

Applications were to be received by 16th February, but the casting notice doesn’t give any other dates. Often these notices will give a rough idea of employment dates for the roles being cast. So, as well as not giving any clues as to the attraction‘s definite opening, this can’t tell us whether the role of a live Linguini could be a regular feature around the new attraction or perhaps just a one-off for the grand opening ceremonies.

Nevertheless, a Linguini “face character” would be another first for Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park in the world of Disney parks. Up until now, only Rémy and Emile have become park characters, being regular favourites of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars in particular.

Meanwhile, in other online Ratatouille: The Ride news, the first mention of the attraction recently slipped onto the official Disneyland Paris website, on the main Walt Disney Studios Park page:

Disneyland Paris website - Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

Helpfully, the small feature box states: “The exact opening date is not confirmed. Please contact us.” It also surprisingly lists the name of the attraction as its full L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy moniker, no doubt infuriating for those Disney marketeers who probably spent fifty board meetings deciding on just calling it “The Ride” for all English advertising.

• Catch up on all our Ratatouille ride news and rumours here!

Tuesday, 18th February 2014

Disney Parks gain queues for characters; Disney Hotels to lose them altogether?

Disneyland Paris Disney Hotels characters - Minnie Mouse © PhotosMagiques

Here’s a double Disney Character update with both good and possibly not-so-good news, depending on your view. First, the unconfirmed rumour that from November 2014 character meet ‘n’ greet locations will be removed from Disney Hotels.

This information seems to have first appeared in a tweet by @DisneyCharPhot on 10th November, then reiterated without a date by @DisneyMoi the next day, followed by a more precise date of 3rd November by @DLRPWonders just a minute later.

Rumour has it that as from early November characters will no longer visit the hotellobbies at DLP pic.twitter.com/MPDOQBE37i
— Disneycharacter Phot (@DisneyCharPhot) February 10, 2014

Starting sometime this year, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at #DisneylandParis!
— Disney-Me (@DisneyMoi) February 11, 2014

Starting November 3th 2014, characters will no longer be appearing at the Disney Hotels at Disneyland Paris!
— DLRP Wonders (@DLRPWonders) February 11, 2014

Obviously we must still treat this as a rumour, since Disneyland Paris has made no comment, but given the number of supporting claims and the fact that the Entertainment department is usually about as watertight as a pair of Captain Hook’s tights when it comes to revealing information, it’s quite hard to dismiss.

Note that the rumours state character dining such as the popular Inventions buffet at Disneyland Hotel would continue, and that it is only the character locations in the open lobby areas of each Disney Hotel which would not longer be used.

Why would Disneyland Paris do such a thing? Isn’t being able to meet Mickey in your hotel lobby a real benefit of staying in those hotels? First, it might not be common knowledge that Disneyland Paris is something of an anomaly with having Disney characters in its hotels. Other Disney resorts around the world are more reserved: characters only appear at their hotels, if at all, in restaurants and dining events, with the only similar exception we can find being California’s Disneyland Hotel, which advertises occasional characters in the lobby.

Goofy - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Hotel New York © PhotosMagiquesMinnie Mouse - Disneyland Paris - Disney's Sequoia Lodge © PhotosMagiques

There’s another side to the story that’s more surprising, though, as apparently it has become a genuine issue that some non-paying visitors and locals walk through the resort and around its hotels, meeting the characters without paying a cent. With that in mind, it’s probably a good decision to reserve the characters to places where only paying guests can meet them.

The story might have a silver lining, too, as Poppy the Monkey on magicforum suggests character numbers will simply be displaced from the hotels to Disneyland Park Extra Magic Hours:

“Hotel Guests are not going to lose out too much, ALL the Characters you could of met in your hotel will now be ready to welcome you exclusively in the Disneyland Park during the Extra Magic Hours.  So instead of just having 2 or 3 Characters to meet in your lobby in the morning, you will most likely be able to meet alot more throughout the park – imagine all the Characters usually hanging out at the 6 hotels (Disneyland Hotel will not be affected) will now converge on the park to prepare for the day, before all the regular Guests even arrive.”
Poppy the Monkey, magicforum

And it’s in the parks that we find our really good news.

Since the start of this year, the Entertainment department has been trialling organised queues for characters. No more pushing, shoving or mobbing: guests are simply organised into a proper line and asked to wait their turn. And it appears to be working.

Disneyland Paris queue for characters © InsideDLParis

Just this morning, @DisneylandPfans captured a queue of visitors waiting patiently to meet Goofy on Main Street, PixieDust.be reported it working well in their latest update, while InsideDLParis has shared snaps (above) of numerous working queues since this initiative began in early January.

It’s fair to say that if you skimmed any number of Disneyland Paris reviews, especially those comparing with other resorts, the disorderly character appearances would always be consistently mentioned. Could it finally be a thing of the past?

This is without doubt one of the most welcome recent developments for the parks. And such a minor change: an extra character minder here, a polite “please join the queue!” there. If only park managers could continue through the whole experience of being in the parks with the same fine tooth comb and fix a few other similar niggles for us…

PHOTOS 1 – 3 Photos Magiques, PHOTO 4 InsideDLParis

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