Thursday, 19th November 2015

Your Guide to Christmas 2015 at Disneyland Paris + 4 Brand New Videos!

Your Guide to Christmas at Disneyland Paris + 4 Brand New Videos!

Since 7th November it’s “already Christmas at Disneyland Paris”! This year’s Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season runs until 7th January 2016, with its own parade, illumination ceremonies and nighttime castle spectacular, plus the return of a certain hit stage show from this summer. Read More…

Monday, 9th November 2015

9 Things to Learn from the New 2016/2017 Disneyland Paris Brochure

New 2016/2017 Disneyland Paris Brochure

With every new Disneyland Paris brochure, every avid fan must scour the pages cover-to-cover for additions, changes and updates to keep their Disney resort knowledge fully up-to-date. From new room types to new seasonal events, price increases to (the occasional) price decreases. Read More…

Saturday, 27th September 2014

Frozen but Brave: Anna, Elsa and Merida to meet Disneyland Paris guests this Christmas

Christmas at Disneyland Paris featuring Disney's Frozen, Anna and Elsa

You wait for one new Disney princess meet ‘n’ greet and then two come at once. Alongside Anna and Elsa from Frozen, making their first appearance at Disneyland Paris outside of the daily parade, the upcoming Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season will also see the premiere of fiery-haired Merida from Pixar’s Brave, whom many assumed had been passed over by the Parisian resort. Read More…

Thursday, 3rd April 2014

Main Street Station becomes blank canvas for ‘Swing into Spring’ overlay

Swing into Spring on Main Street Station © DisneylandBerry

Welcome to turn of the 20th Century America! At least, that’s what Main Street Station was designed to say. In practice, it has suffered an innumerable series of seasonal overlays over the years that often do little to embellish its period style. The latest, for Swing into Spring, was completed this week ahead of the new season’s launch on 5th April.

Production quality looks surprisingly good for a fledgling season — the main “Swing into Spring” marquee is big but thankfully well-designed, compared to previous efforts. The way the typeface springs out of the oversized daisy is quite classy, the character illustrations are a welcome “Disney” touch, the flowers (albeit fake) give a feeling of life. From a distance it looks like a fantastic, bright, fresh welcome into Disneyland Park for Spring. Great job!

It’s just a shame it’s all over Main Street Station. After the 20th Anniversary overlay, Halloween, Christmas, and many more in the years before, you almost need to remind yourself what this landmark is supposed to look like. So here we go:

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

Now where do you begin? Let’s start with the windows. The four stained glass windows of the original station are beautiful and should simply never, ever be covered over. Definitely not with flat yellow backgrounds for 2D cut-out Disney characters.

Then there are the 20th Anniversary leftovers. The two plasticy gold garlands along the top of the façade, the three golden arches above the walkways and the four circular castle motifs are all still in place two years later. The thinking could be they’re yellow (ish) and vaguely fit the colour scheme, the reality is that they cheapen a building which, along with the stunning Disneyland Hotel, was designed to instantly tell guests they’re not in any old tacky theme park.

Also part of that overlay was the black “Disneyland Paris” sign. It seemed fitting for the 20th Anniversary, but isn’t it about time the old “Main Street Station”, with its higher quality embossed gold letters and warm red background returned?

After all that, the flowers and even the logo are rather inoffensive. Indeed, imagine how good the station could have looked if it was simply “plussed” with a colourful floral overlay, not just treated like a blank canvas — as if there’s nothing of quality there to actually work with and the only option was for the designer to cover it with their own, bright yellow, canvas.

Main Street Station Disneyland Paris

It’s been easy to shrug off the Halloween and Christmas overlays in the past because, besides the fact they’re well-established holidays, they’re only there for one and two months respectively, giving us nine more months to see the park entrance as it should be seen.

Swing into Spring will last for a record three months. If it returns with the same decorations next year (spending on these seems to suggest it will), that means only six months to see the station untouched: January to March and July to September. That’s provided they ever take the 20th Anniversary elements down. The situation is similar to the oversized Tinkerbell of the 15th Anniversary castle overlay, which outstayed its welcome (and spoilt the forced perspective of the castle) for several years after the anniversary ended.

At least, these days, it’s not the castle. That’s what we need to remember.

• Discover more Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station photos on the Guidebook

LEAD PHOTO @DisneylandBerry (Twitter)

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

Wednesday, 5th February 2014

First Quarter 2014: Revenues, attendance, hotel occupancy down; guest spending up

Disney Dreams! of Christmas - Disneyland Paris

Euro Disney S.C.A. published its First Quarter results yesterday for the 2014 fiscal year, with the Disneyland Paris operating group announcing a series of disappointing drops across the board, helped only by some modest guest spending increases.

Covering the period from 1st October to 31st December 2013, the first quarter saw overall Resort revenues fall by 5% to €304.9 million, from €320.7 million in the same period the previous year. For the Theme Parks segment it was less severe, with a drop of just over 3%, while the Hotels and Disney Village saw the worst results with an almost 6% drop in revenues.

Disneyland Paris First Quarter Q1 2014 results

With a 9.6 percentage point decrease in hotel occupancy, equating to 51,000 fewer room nights old compared to the previous year, an increase of 6% in average spending per room might look like the only good news here. But even this rise was due only to higher daily room rates, and actually offset by lower spending on food and beverage.

In the parks, attendance decreased by 7%. Though this quarter marks the first results since the end of the 20th Anniversary on 30th September 2013, this figure must still be disappointing given the extra investments made to the Halloween and Christmas seasons, arguably now at their strongest for years. Average spending per guest increased by 4%, however, with Euro Disney S.C.A. pointing to not just higher admissions prices but (at long last) higher spending on merchandise, too.

In his standard statement, Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:

“In a still challenging economic environment, we realized lower attendance and occupancy as compared to last year, which resulted in a 5% decrease in resort revenues. However our strategy aimed at increasing guest contribution helped us offset some of the attendance and occupancy weakness as we achieved record guest spending in both our parks and hotels for a first quarter.

Even though we remain prudent given the current economic environment, we believe the fundamentals of our business are strong and we are confident in our long-term strategy focused on investing in the guest experience. The opening of our new Ratatouille-themed attraction this summer fully reflects this growth strategy.”

What appears evident, from the hotel results in particular, is that visitors are more careful than ever about how they spend their money and whether they actually get value back. For an experience like Disneyland Paris, visitors are probably more willing to splash out on a luxury like a Disney Hotel stay, even though they know the value-for-money is questionable. But only up to a point.

And after such a large initial outlay, most will inevitably then reign in spending on extras — meals, shows, merchandise — and scrutinise every Euro spent. Getting greedy with that initial booking price could mean a loss in spending throughout the entire trip. Or it could, more and more often it seems, mean that the initial hotel booking never takes place at all — another company gets the revenue and the room night — or, worst case, the visitor decides not to visit Disneyland Paris at all.

We have, at least, seen a slight shift in hotel package promotions away from huge discounts of up to 40%, which surely only eroded the perceived brand value, and towards “added value” offers like free Half Board Meal Plans or extra nights. More like this would be welcome — rather than taking Euros off a booking, why not offer that as “free” spending money in the parks on a gift card?

Could Ratatouille: The Ride be the saving grace of 2014? Intriguingly, this press release suddenly changes the wording to an opening date of “early Summer”. With results like these, the sooner they can get something of that “growth strategy” on the table, the better.

VIA Disneyland Paris Corporate (PDF Press Release)

Saturday, 9th November 2013

First complete ‘Disney Dreams of Christmas!’ video hits the web — watch now!

Disney Dreams! of Christmas

Right about now, over 1700 invited guests will be wrapped up warm on Central Plaza eagerly awaiting the premiere of ‘Disney Dreams of Christmas!‘ (Disney Dreams! fête Noël in French), the brand new seasonal edition of Disneyland Paris’ award-winning, world renowned nighttime spectacular. If, however, you’re sadly not one of them — you can still experience the entire show right now form the comfort of your home with the first complete video of the show to hit YouTube.

Featuring segments based on Disney’s upcoming Frozen, along with moments of Toy Story, Bambi, 101 Dalmations and even classic Mickey Mouse shorts, the show utilises most of the technology from the original Disney Dreams! along with some new tricks, such as colour-changing lights in the trees of Central Plaza and garlands of Main Street. California has also developed a full seasonal version of its own World of Color show in tandem with this project, titled World of Color: Winter Dreams.

It performs exclusively from now, with its public premiere tomorrow, until the end of Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season on 6th January 2014. This early video was likely filmed during last night’s exclusive Cast Member preview. So draw those curtains, put an extra log on the fire and enjoy 20 minutes of all-new, incredibly festive Disneyland Paris magic…

• VIDEO: Watch the regular Disney Dreams! show, updated for 2013, here

VIDEO BY Fabien Marliot VIA @CafeFantasia

Tuesday, 22nd November 2011

“it’s a small world” Celebration adds new music, costumes and lights to returning festivities

The nations of “it’s a small world” are celebrating their end-of-year festivities again: “it’s a small world” Celebration has returned to the Fantasyland for its third year in a row. Revived with much thought and effort in 2009 after several years’ absence, the seasonal overlay brings back all its now-traditional “extras” to the classic ride. Redesigned signage, seasonal music, extra lights, special props and a vast wardrobe of unique “celebration” costumes — one for practically every animated doll in the ride — continue to make this one of the most unmissable experiences of the whole year at Disneyland Paris. Read More…

Saturday, 19th November 2011

Disneyland Hotel brings the Grand Floridian Christmas gingerbread house tradition to Paris

Disneyland Hotel is infamous for the signature fragrance that wafts through its hallways, but this Christmas you might spot a new scent in the lobby: gingerbread. And if you can’t smell it, you’ll certain see it — the huge new Christmas gingerbread house! Constructed on-site and piece-by-piece using real gingerbread pieces baked by the chefs of the hotel’s California Grill table service restaurant, the house is a first for Disneyland Paris, adopting a long tradition from Walt Disney World in Florida. Requiring 350 hours of work, it stands next to the hotel’s Duffy-decorated Christmas tree with a Duffy bear of its own perched atop the chimney. See below for a time-lapse video of its construction.

Over at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Florida, the house measures an enormous 16 ft high and comes complete with three floors, windows and balconies in a Victorian manor style. Since the Grand Floridian and Disneyland Hotel in Paris are often considered cousins, designed in a similar period style, it’s fitting that the tradition now be shared between the two hotels. The Floridian notably served as a stand-in for its Parisian cousin during much of the pre-opening publicity for Euro Disney.

We noted at the return of “it’s a small world” Celebration in 2009 how welcome it was to see Disneyland Paris adopting more annual traditions similar to those at the American resorts. These kinds of smaller events keep the resort fresh and visitors returning throughout the year. Now, we can hopefully add the Disneyland Hotel gingerbread house to our young resort’s annual calendar!

Time-lapse video of the Gingerbread House construction follows… Read More…

Tuesday, 22nd December 2009

Small World’s grand scale Celebration, in video

Just across the hub from that lifeless market and lacking tree, Disneyland Paris got something oh-so right. For the first time since 2003, possibly earlier, classic boat ride “it’s a small world” was completely redecorated to celebrate holidays around the world.

The fact that we can’t quite place exactly the year when this overlay stopped happening is a bit embarrassing. Perhaps as fans we should have missed it a bit more loudly, or perhaps in 2002/2003 we were worried about other things (like the serious financial difficulties, lack of future attractions for the Studios).

Nevertheless, it’s back — and wow, is it back. If the stupendous colours, music and movement of “it’s a small world” weren’t enough to leave you on a dizzy high for days normally, now the whole, dazzling show is just simply alive

The reason for this success is simple: respect. All the cultural celebrations, the festive music and hundreds of new costumes have been integrated with absolute perfection into the existing show. It’s a complete labour of love toward the Imagineers’ original creation. Where decorations like the Mickey’s Magical Party emblem on Sleeping Beauty Castle treat the park like a dead canvas, this overlay is something that brings it to life.

From the Candlelight Processional to the Star Wars Weekends and many more, one of the first things to notice about the American resorts for a Disneyland Paris fan is the sheer number of annual events which happen like clockwork each and every year. At the young age of 17, and probably no thanks to the countless changes (management and otherwise) it has seen over that short time, Disneyland Paris just hasn’t built up as many of these traditions.

Hopefully, the return of “it’s a small world” Celebration every November can now be one of them.

— And the good news is, if you’ve yet to book, had your trip interrupted thanks to Eurostar or otherwise, because this Celebration recognises everything from Sinterklaas to Chinese New Year, the overlay stays in place right up to 15th February 2010.

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