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