Tuesday, 18th October 2016

Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary deconstructed: looking beyond the sparkle

Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary deconstructed: looking beyond the sparkle

The pixie dust has settled. The announcement has been made. Disneyland Paris turns 25 years old in 2017 with a line-up of new and reimagined attractions and entertainments. Looking beyond the sparkle, will this really be the resort’s time to shine? Read More…

Monday, 10th October 2016

Disneyland Paris teases first 25th Anniversary celebrations announcement

Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary celebration logo visual artwork preview

Is Disneyland Paris ready to share its first 25th Anniversary announcement? A veiled tweet sent this evening teases “a great announcement” to be made next Monday, 17th October 2016 by resort Présidente Catherine Powell. Read More…

Thursday, 19th November 2015

Disneyland Paris fully re-opens to visitors – including CEOs Tom Wolber and Bob Iger

Disneyland Paris has fully re-opened to visitors - including CEOs Tom Wolber and Bob Iger (@RadioDisneyClu)

Disneyland Paris has now fully re-opened to visitors, with both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park opening their gates to guests as normal from 10am yesterday, Wednesday 18th November 2015.

As the unprecedented four-day closure to respect the full national period of mourning in France came to an end, visitors returned to the parks — including several members of senior Disney management showing their support. Read More…

Tuesday, 7th October 2014

Press review: Euro Disney’s €1bn recapitalisation in news articles and quotes

Press review: Euro Disney's €1bn recapitalisation in news articles and quotes

Yesterday’s big news day for Disneyland Paris and its operating company Euro Disney S.C.A. saw the Parisian Disney resort make financial headlines again, as news organisations around the world seized the chance to see “Mickey Mouse in trouble” and struggled, like us, to get their heads around the finer financial details of the deal. Read More…

Monday, 6th October 2014

Euro Disney announces €1bn recapitalisation proposal to clear debt and invest

Euro Disney announces proposal for €1bn recapitalisation

Euro Disney S.C.A. has today announced a proposal to improve the financial situation of the operating group behind Disneyland Paris, backed by The Walt Disney Company, to “enable it to continue investing in the quality of the guest experience”. It feels like we’re been here before (several times), so what’s new this time? Read More…

Tuesday, 16th September 2014

Tom Wolber takes the helm at Disneyland Paris as Philippe Gas heads for Shanghai

Tom Wolber takes the helm at Disneyland Paris as Philippe Gas heads for Shanghai

CEO, president, head honcho — however you say it, Disneyland Paris has a new guy in charge as of yesterday, 15th September 2014. Tom Wolber has begun his role as Président of Euro Disney S.A.S., with outgoing chief Philippe Gas heading for Shanghai Disney Resort as its first General Manager, a sure sign of Disney’s satisfaction with his tenure here.

Tom is in fact making a return to Paris, having been a part of the Grand Opening team in 1992. Since then, he has held leadership positions at Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, most recently overseeing Orlando’s 28 resort hotels and transportation network. Tom is German and speaks 4 languages: French, Dutch, English and German.

It may be notable that Euro Disney badges Wolber as having overseen a number of expansion projections including the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise ships and the masterplan for Disney Springs, the revitalisation of Florida’s Downtown Disney. He arrives in Paris at a time of fevered rumour for expansion and revitalisation of our own resort, including attractions such as Star Tours 2, expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park and continued growth of Disney Village.

Departing president Philippe Gas will without doubt be remembered as one of the resort’s most successful and charismatic CEOs. Arriving in September 2008 just as the global economic downturn bit and 15th Anniversary expansions such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror dried up, he took on a resort that was still all too often unreliable and erratic in the level of “Disney quality” it provided.

Ratatouille: The Adventure Grand Opening Dedication Ceremony at Disneyland Paris

Six years later, the list of good decisions is so long as to be impossible to collate and attribute, but it certainly began in April 2009 with the renaming of Disneyland Resort Paris back to a strong and simple Disneyland Paris. The opening of the three lower-spec Toy Story Playland attractions in 2010 may have divided opinion, and gone almost unnoticed to the public, but this summer’s grand Ratatouille: The Adventure unveiling proved a pivotal point for the resort and its second gate, expertly led from planning to construction to opening. Meanwhile, the 20th Anniversary of 2012 provided a landmark with Disney Dreams! — both its stunning quality and the adjoining extension of Disneyland Park operating hours continuing to equalise Paris with its international cousins.

Two new websites, new apps, new technology such as PhotoPass+ and the rollout of free wi-fi leaves plenty left to achieve, but huge ground gained. Better understanding of and communication with the fan community has been an icing on the cake, including better merchandise such as The Art of Disney on Demand and more one-off events like the 50th Anniversary of “it’s a small world”.

An enormous campaign of “cleaning the decks” with endless and huge refurbishment in almost every corner of the resort has coincided with a quiet plotting of future courses — the Villages Nature, Disney’s own hotel expansion, Disney Village improvements and plenty rumoured for the parks. The horizon feels ever bigger, if not any closer.

What’s needed now from a new president is to actually, at last, see those plans through. Countless times, grand visions have been drawn up for Disneyland Paris and its parks only to fall by the wayside. If Philippe Gas’ reign was about steadying the waters and getting the ship up to standard, let’s hope Tom Wolber can finally let this resort set sail.

Bring us that horizon, Tom.

• Press release 15/09/2014: Tom Wolber to assume leadership at Euro Disney (PDF)
• Press release 1/08/2014: Philippe Gas named General Manager of Shanghai Disney Resort, Tom Wolber, from Walt Disney World Resort, replacing him at Euro Disney (PDF)

Below: Official corporate video introducing Tom Wolber Read More…

Sunday, 16th February 2014

New LEGO Store concept art stems wait for Disney Village opening date

LEGO Store Disney Village Concept Art

“Everything Is Awesome”, if you’ve seen The LEGO Movie; perhaps not so if you’re involved with the LEGO Store in Disney Village, which is still yet to open to its doors to customers.

While they search for that elusive last brick, the new concept art above has surfaced in the Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual Review, showing the full shopfront as seen from outside. Due to be the flagship of LEGO’s European retail chain, as well as being just that bit bigger than a standard high street example, the store has plenty of special “Disney” touches to set it apart.

The new store, which replaces the tired Hollywood Pictures, was originally announced for “Autumn 2013” and due to open on 27th September 2013, but suffered a major setback late in construction when much of the suspended ceiling collapsed. This was since refitted and final decorative elements begun to be put in place — including those elusive LEGO bricks in models specially commissioned for Disneyland Paris.

Peeking under the construction walls in late December, InsideDLParis managed to get a look at the installations, which include Sorcerer Mickey and figures of Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

LEGO Store Disney Village © InsideDLParisLEGO Store Disney Village © InsideDLParis
LEGO Store Disney Village © InsideDLParis

A second confirmed opening date of 14th January then failed to materialise, with Disneyland Paris sending out an official statement announcing the opening had been postponed “due to a delay in construction work resulting from new building regulations” and that we would be kept informed of further developments.

Just last week, the walls came down to reveal the full glass shopfront, blocked out by a temporary frosted covering.

LEGO Store Disney Village © InsideDLParis

Presuming the store still needs to be stocked and have its staff trained and prepared, an opening may not be exactly imminent but shouldn’t be too far away now, either.

CONCEPT Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual Review, PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

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)

Thursday, 13th February 2014

Tom Fitzgerald presents first Ratatouille ride sneak peek – concepts, models, construction!

Ratatouille: The Ride - Tom Fitzgerland Walt Disney Imagineering - Disneyland Paris

Besides the numbers, questions and voting, yesterday’s Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual General Meeting had just one thing on the agenda: finally lifting the curtain — if only a smidgen — on the making of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy from a Walt Disney Imagineering perspective.

Doing the honours was Tom Fitzgerald, the Senior Creative Executive who has been closely involved with the expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park in the past ten years, particularly Toon Studio and Toy Story Playland. Brand new, previously unseen concept art, scale models and behind-the-scenes photos from the making of the attraction were all revealed for the first time in Tom’s exciting five-minute presentation, finally satisfying the fevered desire for more information and visuals from the ride and restaurant amongst us fans.

Ratatouille: The Ride - Disneyland Paris - Concept Art Models ConstructionRatatouille: The Ride - Disneyland Paris - Concept Art Models Construction

Continues with video, 24 stills and full transcript… Read More…

Tuesday, 11th February 2014

CinéMagique hosts the 2014 Euro Disney SCA Shareholders Meeting, tomorrow

CinéMagique closed for shareholders meeting © InsideDLParis

Philippe Gas had better be careful he doesn’t stumble after George inside that infamous silver screen. The CEO of Euro Disney SCA will be hosting the group’s Annual General Meeting for shareholders tomorrow, 12th February 2014, at 9am inside CinéMagique in Walt Disney Studios Park.

As usual, it remains a closely guarded secret what exactly will be revealed at the event, beyond the usual questions and numbers. There’s a new attraction waiting just across the park, of course, and most are hoping the meeting will reveal a little more of Ratatouille: The Ride, perhaps a glimpse inside or even, the strongest rumour… an opening date.

For regular paying guests the meeting means the closure of one of the park’s star attractions, with no shows inside Studio 2 on the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th February. These dates weren’t even included in advance on the standard attraction closures calendar, only appearing on this week’s park programme. Is it time to revisit the Convention Centre plans for Disney Village yet, Mr Gas?

Studio Tram Tour repainting for shareholders meeting © InsideDLParis

In traditional “quick, the shareholders are coming!” fashion, InsideDLParis spotted railings around Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic being given a fresh coat of paint yesterday. And even better: despite being slated for closure until the 14th of this month, the ride will now miraculously reopen tomorrow, a few days early, before closing again for Thursday and Friday.

You can download a whole load of documents relating to the meeting here.

Follow us on Twitter tomorrow as we share the best live tweets and breaking news from the meeting.

PHOTOS @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

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