Tuesday, 6th May 2008

Losses halved; Revenues, attendance increased again in First Half 2008

The road to recovery for Disneyland Resort Paris and its complicated structure of operating companies, brought together as the Euro Disney SCA “group”, was never going to be quick.

Today, as the group publishes its much-anticipated First Half 2008 report, we get a first taste of the real “Tower of Terror effect” — since, despite the advertising just starting, it has been open since December — and a final claim to success for the first year of the 15th Anniversary Celebration.

Covering the six months which ended 31st March 2008, the report builds upon the First Quarter publication in January to announce in full the finances, attendance and operating margin for the period.

‘¢ Revenues increased 18% to € 605 million, primarily reflecting growth in Resort operations

Theme park revenues increased 17.5% to €316.4 million from € 269.3 million in the prior year, reflecting an increase in attendance and a minor increase of 2% in spending per guest, likely due to increased ticket prices.

Hotels and Disney Village increased 14.9% to €235.9 million, from € 205.3 million last year, driven by a 10% increase in average spending per room and a 5.4 percentage point increase in
hotel occupancy to 88.5%.

‘¢ Positive operating margin of € 1 million, against a prior-year loss of € 36 million

The operating margin between the increased revenues (as above) and the costs and expenses incurred by the resort grew by an impressive €37.6 million, compared to an increase of €24.6 million in First Half 2007. It built upon this prior growth to finally push the operating margin into a positive figure — of €1.3 million.

‘¢ Net loss reduced by 47% to € 43 million

The key financial figure also shows a strong continued growth, here impressive enough to divide the resort’s losses by two for the First Half, when compared to the same period in 2007. As they continue to work toward a resort which can turn a reliable profit, this figure is particularly exciting for the growth of Disneyland Resort Paris.

The net loss for First Half 2008 was reduced again by more than twice the amount it shrank in 2007 — €43 million compared to €19.8 million — suggesting that, should this strong growth continue throughout the extended second year of the 15th Anniversary, the First Half or Annual Report for 2009 could well finally see the resort announcing a (very modest) profit.

In an even more optimistic outlook, a perfect Summer season this year could even bring the net loss down to zero as early as this November’s 2008 Annual Report. Euro Disney is now, at last, in the home straight.

Most importantly, this growth has been strong and consistent for several years now, continually increasing with each financial report. This would suggest the recovery is steady and well calculated, the massively improved figures not merely a flash in the pan.

‘¢ Attendance increased 14.8% to 7 million

In first half 2007, Disneyland Resort Paris recorded a record attendance of 6.1 million guests, up 10.9% from 5.5 million in first half 2006. For first half 2008, it has the chance to claim an impressive 14.8% increase, bringing the attendance for the six months from November to the end of March to a full 7 million.

The record 14.5 million guests of 2007 was a real victory for the resort, and this second big step forward again suggests that the growth is steady and still ongoing. Rather than struggling to equal its record figure for 2007, the resort could instead be lucky enough to post a modest increase on that amount. The earlier placement of some holidays, such as Easter, could have benefited the figures slightly, suggests the report, but growth from French, Spanish and Dutch markets is credited with the 0.9 million rise.

‘¢ Hotel occupancy increased 5.4ppt to 88.5%

Room occupancy at the resort’s seven Disney Hotels is now a full 10.5 percentage points higher than it was for the first half of 2006 (78%). Between the first halves of 2007 and 2008, the figure rose by 0.06 percentage points more than it did between first half 2006 and 2007, giving another sizeable achievement (total 5.4ppt) despite increased prices and fewer special offers, which in fact also contributed more to the hotels’ large revenue increase listed above.

Commenting on the results, Karl L. Holz, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S, said:

“Our first semester of fiscal year 2008 was marked by an 18% increase in revenues and a positive first semester operating margin. This solid performance was driven by continued growth across all our key markets and throughout our Resort operations with increases in attendance, hotel occupancy and average spending per guest.

Our management team remains focused on the execution of our growth strategy as we continue to drive our business toward profitability.

Building on the success of our 15th Anniversary, filled with immersive Disney family entertainment and adventures, we have launched The Celebration Continues…Big Time! with the opening of the iconic attraction The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live!.

The entire Disneyland Resort Paris team is committed to delivering a quality Guest experience and building on our positive momentum as we head into the peak summer season.”

The words of CEO Karl Holz might be beginning to seem remarkably similar which each financial report, but his comments on driving the business toward profitability are now clearly ringing true. Whereas the results of 2007 showed the amount of hard work still required before the resort could announce a positive result, the figures here for First Half 2008 clearly show the drive is now reaching a plateau.

Continue along this path for another 18 months, Karl, Philippe, and Disneyland Resort Paris will not only be breaking attendance records and announcing positive operating margins — it could finally be allowed to use that most magical of words… profit.

Click here to read the First Half 2008 results in full (PDF, new window).

Friday, 11th April 2008

The Celebration Continues… with a new President!

The news of Karl Holz’ departure from the Paris resort has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time, and now it is confirmed. The popular Chairman and CEO, who successfully implemented several major new attractions, new advertising, refurbishments across the resort and the spectacular 15th Anniversary celebration will be leaving Disneyland Resort Paris on 1st September.

His successor, Philippe Gas, has a strong background in Human Resources for Disney Parks and a 17-year history with the mouse, more than half of which was spent in Paris.

Here is the press release in full:


Marne-la-Vallée, April 11, 2008 … Euro Disney S.C.A. today announced the nomination of Philippe Gas to the position of Président of Euro Disney S.A.S., the management company of Euro Disney S.C.A. and Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., the operator of Disneyland® Resort Paris. Philippe will take over the responsibilities of Karl Holz who has been appointed President, New Vacation Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

James A. Rasulo, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: ‘ Philippe’s 17 years of Disney experience, more than half of which was spent at Disneyland Resort Paris, along with his expertise in human resources ideally prepares him to lead Euro Disney’s team of 12,300 cast members. Together with the strong international management team, Philippe is committed to the Company’s long-term strategy and to its continued growth as Europe’s number 1 tourist destination’.

Philippe’s appointment will be effective on September 1, 2008. He will transition into this new role over the summer, working closely with Karl to ensure continued commitment to the Company’s long term strategic priorities : driving results towards profitability ; providing a high-quality guest experience ; and developing our cast members.

Philippe Gas, 44 and a 17-year Disney veteran, has extensive experience with both Euro Disney and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide. After having completed his master of law from the University of Paris Assas, he joined the Disney organization in 1991 as Finance Controller and was a member of the opening team at Disneyland Resort Paris. Over the next six years, he held a variety of positions at the Resort. In 1997, he was promoted to Director, Corporate Compensation and moved to The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California. In 2000, he served as Regional Vice President, Human Resources, The Walt Disney Company Asia-Pacific, overseeing the HR strategy in 13 countries in Asia … first based in Tokyo and then in Hong Kong.

In 2004, he returned to Disneyland Resort Paris as Senior Vice President, Human Resources, where he was responsible for all HR Operations for its more than 12,300 cast members. In 2005 he was appointed Senior Vice President, International Human Resources, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and in 2006, he was promoted to his current position as Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide. In this role, he is responsible for the Human Resources strategy and services for nearly 100,000 Cast Members.

Philippe said : ‘ I am pleased to return to Disneyland Resort Paris, where I started my Disney career to build on the solid foundation which Karl and the leadership team have achieved. I look forward to working with the cast to continue delivering high-quality Disney experience for all of our guests’.

Karl Holz joined the group in 2004 as Chief Operating Officer, following roles as Senior Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World and subsequently president of the entire Disney Cruise Line. Although unnoticed at the time, his move to operations at Disneyland Resort Paris was clearly a strategic one on the group’s behalf, with Holz swiftly moving to chairman duties as soon as brief former CEO André Lacroix had finalised the group’s financial restructuring.

His move to new opportunities within The Walt Disney Company makes clear the very positive current position of Disneyland Resort Paris — with record visitor numbers last year and increasing profits, it seems Holz is now better placed as president of an area still needing help — New Vacation Operations, which we understand to include their ‘Adventures by Disney’ travel programme.

Moving back to Disneyland Resort Paris and assuming top duties at Euro Disney SAS, Philippe Gas brings with him an undeniably strong background in Human Resources and experience with Disney Cast Members. After seeing out the 15th Anniversary, Philippe faces the heavy challenge of producing a successful follow-up and retaining the record figures brought in by those recent investments.

We wish him the best of luck.

Sunday, 16th March 2008

Resort wins highest worldwide attendance growth

2007 was a big year for Disneyland Resort Paris in many ways, but none more so than its phenomenal boost in visitor numbers. The figures for the year were first confirmed in last November’s annual report, and, as we announced at the time — they well and truly “smashed the 14 million”, with a spectacular 14.5 million guests stepping through the gates of the two parks.

The annual reports from the Themed Entertainment Association stack up all the attendance reports from every theme or amusement park around the world, with one of the most interesting aspects for a DLRP fan being the chance to see attendance figures for the two parks separately.


And, whilst Disneyland Park hasn’t climbed up the league table and Walt Disney Studios Park only by one place, they can boast the most impressive attendance increases of any theme park in the world — 13.1% for Disneyland Park and 13.6% for Walt Disney Studios Park, or 1.4 million and 300,000 respectively. The only park with a boost of a similar level was Heide Park in Germany, with a 16.7% increase helping its attendance by roughly 200,000.

Disneyland Park attracted a full 12 million guests of the 14.5 million total through its gates (5th place Worldwide, 1st place Europe) whilst, according to this study, Walt Disney Studios Park pulled in the other 2.5 million (1oth place Europe), putting it one place up the European leaderboard and ahead of UK rival Alton Towers for the first time.

Click to enlarge; (C) TEA/ERA

But Studios fans, you’re right to object — the second gate at Disneyland Resort Paris does attract far, far more people than this. The inaccuracy in these estimated figures is that Euro Disney SCA count their parks on what they call a “first click” basis, so if you bought a Park Hopper and visited Disneyland Park the first day and Walt Disney Studios Park the second, your “point” would go to Disneyland Park, and the Studios wouldn’t get anything.


Therefore we can only discover that, of those 14.5 million guests, 12 million headed straight for Disneyland whilst 2.5 million went straight for the Studios. The good thing here being that the Studios’ growth was 0.5% higher than that of Disneyland Park, suggesting the very first signs of guests’ priorities changing thanks to the new attractions in Toon Studio. If both figures were to be shown as the “true” number of unique guests which passed through the gates of each park, there is no doubt that Walt Disney Studios Park would easily be second on the list, just beating Pleasure Beach Blackpool, which, it should be noted, currently has no entrance charge.

Fans of Disneyland Resort Paris will no doubt await the 2008 figures with great anticipation, as we wait and see if the “Tower of Terror effect” can finally begin to readdress the imbalance between these “first click” park figures.

— You can download the full attendance report as a PDF here.

Saturday, 26th January 2008

Euro Disney revenues rise 20% in First Quarter 2008

The company’s announcement that revenues have increased 20% year-on-year to € 314 million compared a rise of 6% to € 284 million to the same period in Fiscal Year 2007 is an impressive step forward for the debt-troubled group. Whilst First Quarter reports do not include any operating margins or statistics, only a 3-month revenue report, the announcement does include some details behind the rise.

The Resort area increased revenues by 13.7% overall, a 14% increase at the Theme Parks and 17% growth at the Hotels and Disney Village. Higher guest spending (3%) at the parks can largely thank the ticket price increase last November, whilst the reported 10% growth in attendance is particularly reassuring, considering 2007 was a record year for the parks. The First Half 2007 saw an increase of 10% to 6.1 million guests. Should the difficult second quarter be as strong as the first, the results of April 2008 could take this over 6.7 million. Growth is reported to be mainly from Spanish, Dutch and British markets.

At the hotels, there were increases again in average spending per room and hotel occupancy, which rose 6.8 percentage points. Last year, the First Half brought only a 5.1ppt increase (no figures were announced for First Quarter). Unlike last year, however, visitors from the United Kingdom as well as Spain are attributed to the increase.

In its Real Estate dealings, the group’s revenues increased € 18.4 million to € 24.4 million due to a property sale in Val d’Europe.

Karl L. Holz, the Chairman and CEO of Euro Disney S.A.S., stuck to his line on enhancing guest experience to drive revenue growth:

“We are pleased with our first quarter results, with the growth in revenues reflecting increases in all our key business drivers. These revenue results show that our strategies, coupled with our team’s solid execution, are delivering and we remain focused on driving the business towards profitability.

Our 15th anniversary celebration, marked by the opening of the Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally attractions as well as the new Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, has created another level of emotional connections with our guests. In fiscal year 2008, the Celebration Continues, Big Time with the April grand opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in the Walt Disney Studios® Park. This iconic Disney attraction will add to the high-quality experiences we offer visitors to our Resort … the place where dreams come true.”

If a 14% revenue increase in the Resort is truly as good as it sounds, that glorious sunset horizon of profit might not be as far away as first thought.

The celebration — and hard work — continues… Big Time.

— You can download the full report in PDF format here.

Thursday, 8th November 2007

Euro Disney Annual Report announces losses halved by 50%, attendance smashing the 14-million

Without further delay, here are main points:

‘¢ Revenues increased 12% to € 1,220 million, reflecting volume growth in theme parks
attendance and hotel occupancy
‘¢ Operating margin at € 51 million, against a prior year loss of € 2 million
‘¢ Net loss reduced by over 50% to € 42 million
‘¢ Attendance increased 13.3% to 14.5 million, against a prior year figure of 12.8 million
‘¢ Hotel occupancy increased 5.8ppt to 89.3%

So, as widely expected, they didn’t hit a profit just yet, but future is certainly looking bright. With overall revenues increasing by a massive 12%, reflecting the growth in park attendance and hotel occupancy, the group can claim individual revenue increases of 14% for the theme parks division and no less than 17% for hotels.

Bringing the total revenues to € 1,220.3 million, this leaves a nice operating margin of €51 million between revenues and costs & expenses, swallowed, unfortunately, by the € 92.2 million of financial charges. Before depreciation and amortization (what we can basically read as “dealings to do with that whole load of debt they’ve got”), this operating margin was in fact even higher at € 205.7 million.


Operating Statistics

Always the most interesting section for fans of the resort, this year the stats give real reason to celebrate. The resort’s previous attendance record for its two parks stood at 13.1 million guests, for the opening year of Walt Disney Studios Park in 2002. Last year they reached a second-place high of 12.8 million.

Between November 2006 and October 2007? 14.5 million guests. Read it again, 14.5 million! That’s an increase of 1.7 million over the previous year and 1.4 million higher than the Studios’ opening year.

Driven mainly be an increase in guests from Spain (as we’re sure you noticed…), France and Italy, numbers like these are fantastic news on their own. When we now consider the resort has yet to open the big-hitter E-Ticket that is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (and its exceptional advertising campaign), unveil the full Hollywood placemaking transformation at the park and introduce the massively popular “Living Character” concept to Europe with Stitch Live… next year’s results might be an even bigger surprise.

Over at the hotels, things are just as good — if not better. Following a slump in occupancy from 2001 onwards, the hotels grew their room-filling figures from 83.5% to a touching-on-spectacular 89.3%, equivalent to 123,000 extra room nights across the year.


The Problems

Disneyland Resort Paris isn’t completely in the clear, though. Guest spending in the parks continues to be rather stagnant, from the looks of the figures driven only by the regular annual ticket price increases. At the hotels, spending per room increased 10% mainly thanks to price increases at certain hotels.

Of course, you can’t deny the fact that still having a € 40 million loss with guest numbers reaching 14.5 million is worrying. Regarding some of the exceptional costs relating to the 15th Anniversary celebration, however, it could be a loss worth… losing. The quality of the “Disney experience” here has never been higher, giving guests more reason to return, and special offers such as “Kids Under 7 Stay & Play Free” have clearly been a huge success in attracting new visitors.

Clearly, with a € 50 million operating margin, the resort is — or rather, could be — a profitable enterprise. The burden of its immense debt, however, continues to drain…


However, if there’s one person determined to squeeze a real profit from the resort, it’s Karl Holz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S.. It’s remarkable that this CEO hasn’t gained the cult following of say, Disneyland Resort (California)’s Matt Ouimet, considering the vast changes the resort has seen since his arrival as Chief Operating Officer, and subsequently CEO.

His message for the report reads as follows, again thanking the cast members themselves and speaking of the “experiences with only Disney can provide”, a favourite expression:

“This year’s results, marked by a positive operating margin, were driven by volume growth in parks attendance and hotel occupancy and an increase in average spending per room. In 2007, we kicked off the 15th anniversary celebration by introducing a fantastic new parade and compelling new attractions.

This year’s solid performance was made possible through the continued dedication and commitment of all our cast members, many of which celebrated their personal 15th anniversary with the Company this year.

We look forward to continuing the celebration in fiscal year 2008 with the introduction of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction and Stitch Live; new experiences which only Disney can provide.

In 2008, we will continue to execute our growth strategy and remain focused on driving this business toward profitability.”

Mr Holz, we’re behind you every step of the way.

— You can read the Annual Report in full here (PDF, new window).

Sunday, 29th July 2007

Third Quarter results: To infinity and beyond?

Revenues up 12%, attendance up 9%, hotel occupancy up 4.7 percentage points… have they been assessing the correct Disney resort here?

A quite significant “boom” is clearly taking place within the berms of Disneyland Resort Paris, and yet these nine-month results only show three months of the year-long 15th Anniversary Celebration expected to boost revenues and attendance. Their hopeful new E-Ticket, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, is still five months away. Can we begin to hush an early “to infinity and beyond” ?

Revenues & Costs – The Balance

It seems wonderful to think that the resort has increased revenues by an incredible 12% in one single year, but as CEO Karl L. Holz warned in his statement accompanying the results, costs and expenses have also increased.

One look at this Summer’s activity — two new attractions, a new parade, new decorations, three nighttime shows, shows and streetmosphere at every angle, Molly Brown and other refurbishments, River Rogue Keelboats — proves the amount of money currently being spent by Euro Disney SCA on boosting their two parks. Not only the initial cost of creation, but the continual operational cost of two extra new attractions, a year-long castle ceremony, for example, must be a worry to the bean counters.


Factor in costs such as 15th Anniversary advertising (noted to be their largest ever), secondary campaigns for Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally and a new website launch, and things begin to add up. But by how much? In 2006, costs and expenses rose by an agreable 1.6% — a long way from knocking down a 12% revenue increase. Things should be fairly sunny, unless the reopening of the Keelboats this Summer happens to be costing € 130m…

Attendance – Smashing the 14 million?!

We’re forever hearing of the impressive attendance Disneyland in California has been counting since its 50th Anniversary, so it’s refreshing, for once, that Disneyland Resort Paris has something in common. The attendance record in Paris is 13.1 million in 2002, the year of Walt Disney Studios Park‘s opening. Last year, in 2006, the two parks welcomed a pleasing 12.8 million guests, 500,000 (4.1%) up on 2005, when they actually fell by 1%.

No such disappointments this year. In First Half 2007 attendance rose by an unparalleled 10.9% to 6.1 million guests, and, proving that guests haven’t simply displaced their visits, Third Quarter saw an equally spectacular increase of 9%. Exact figures for the second half of the year aren’t released until the full annual report in November, but if you’re as committed as a few of the fans over at Disney Central Plaza, you can work out some of the maths for yourself.

Of its 12.8 million visitors last year, 7.3 million were in the second half. Should attendance increase by 9% in the fourth quarter as it has in the third, we would be looking at a 7,957,000 attendance for the second half and (plus 6.1 million for the first half) an astonishing 14.1 million for the year, one million higher than their previous record. Since Summer is already a busy season and less likely to see such growth, however, it’s understandable to hear that current attendance hopes are in the 13.5 to 13.8 million region.

So, that’s the state of the theme parks. What could this mean for the future? Such a strong increase in attendance would clearly mean their investment programme has been a success, and this time they seem far keener to keep the good times rolling rather than let them fizzle out, as the aftermath of Space Mountain


Therefore, if advance reservations are strong enough for The Hollywood Tower Hotel’s opening season, an additional new attraction is apparently waiting in the wings, ready to be Soarin’ into the corner of Production Courtyard as early as 2009. The most popular attraction at Walt Disney World, and the one which Disney Executives are most keen to open up around the world in the manner of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, could begin construction as soon as Tower of Terror is completed, should the good news continue into the first quarter and first half of 2008.

Sleep in the heart of the magic? You’d better wish upon a star!

If the theme parks attendance is looking like a dream this year, you’d better ready yourself for the Hotels & Disney Village. It’s no secret that the real kick to the success of Euro Disney wasn’t so much overspending in the park but Michael Eisner’s desire to build no less than seven on-site hotels for opening, with the hope they’d instantly see the same success as the then-booming Walt Disney World hotels. Needless to say, the sheer quantity of rooms (5,200 upon opening) crippled the resort for a long time.

When ready to expand in the early 2000s, during a time when occupancy at the Disney Hotels had reached the lofty heights of 88.2% (2002 figure) and higher, the explosion of on-site parter hotels came — MyTravel’s Explorers Hotel, Hotel Kyriad, Holiday Inn, Pierre et Vacances, Dream Castle and Radisson SAS. By 2004, room occupancy had sunk to a modern low of 80.5%.


Following a 2.8 “percentage point” increase in 2006 to 83.5%, first half 2007 brought an almost doubled increase of 5 percentage points, followed up by 4.7 ppt in this third quarter. Should this continue for an average of 4.8 ppt over the entire year, the Disney Hotels would once again be up at 88.3% — a dream for most hoteliers. To put this into perspective, the resort reported a hotel room occupancy of just 68.5% in 1995, the year of Space Mountain’s opening.

The Hotels and Disney Village can also revel in revenue increases of no less than 15% for the first half and a truly incredible 21% for the third quarter, all the time the partner hotels and their 2,500+ rooms enjoying continued success in the background.

What does this mean for the future? On the continually confusing side of a real Disney Village expansion it’s hard to say, but the boom that began with Buzz Lightyear and has taken flight in 2007 can tell us one thing — that the real big news from 2007 won’t be new attractions like Soarin’. It will be that Michael Eisner’s seven babies may no longer be enough to meet demand. After 15 years, an eigth (and even a ninth) could finally now be on the drawing board.


But — yes, there will always a “but” at this resort — we still have to hope for one thing: that the boom in business at Disneyland Resort Paris hasn’t peaked yet, continues to soar a little further and remains steady.

Should we be hopeful? Euro Disney SCA are certainly hoping for “The Space Mountain Effect” with The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The Space Mountain Effect, incase you don’t remember, meant 2 million extra visitors in a single year…

Thursday, 26th July 2007

Third Quarter results: Revenues up 12%, Attendance 9%

Marne-la-Vallée, 26th July 2007 ‘” Euro Disney S.C.A., the operating company of Disneyland Resort Paris, publishes its Third Quarter 2007 Results along with total revenues for the nine months ended 30th June 2007. Revenues for the quarter increased 12% to € 321.7 million from € 286.6 million in the same period in 2006. This reflects increases in both Theme Parks and Hotels revenues.

Revenues for the first 9-months of the 2007 financial year increased 11% to € 834.3 million from € 754.0 million in the period last year.

The key points summarised:

Theme Parks

  • Revenues increased 8% to € 173.7 million in the Third Quarter, from € 160.7 million during the same period in 2006. For the nine months of this financial year to 30th June 2007, revenues have increased 11% to € 443.0 million from €397.7 million. The increase this quarter reflects attendance increase. Guest spending remained “essentially stable”.
  • Attedance increased 9% in the Quarter year-on-year. This comes following a 10.9% increase in the First Half 2007, which pushed attendance in the first two quarters to 6.1 million guests. Exact figures are not announced for the Third Quarter, but it seems clear the Theme Parks will surpass the previous year’s 12.8 million guest count. The attendance increase this quarter reflects on-going growth in most markets, particularly France and Spain.

Hotels and Disney Village

  • Revenues increased 21% to € 132.7 million from €109.4 million in the prior-year period, reflecting a 17% increase in average spending per room 4.7 percentage point increase in hotel room occupancy. Occupancy increase here primarily reflects higher leisure stays, rather than corporate conventions as in the First Half.
  • For the 9 months ended 30th June 2007, revenues have increased 15% to € 338.0 million, driven by an overall increase of 10% in average spending per room and an increase of 5.0 percentage points in room occupancy. The higher room occupancy results in an additional 78,000 room nights compared to the prior year period.

Commenting on these results, Karl L. Holz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., appears confident yet realistic about the resort’s position, particularly highlighting the impact new attractions can have on the growth of the resort:

“Our third quarter and year-to-date revenues are encouraging, and both represent records for Disneyland Resort Paris for their respective periods. Naturally, the higher Resort activity and labor rate inflation have caused costs and expenses to also increase.

Clearly, the new offerings we developed for our 15th anniversary celebration are greatly appreciated by our guests. New attractions, like Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally at the Walt Disney Studios® Park, combine creativity and innovation to bring to life immersive experiences that only Disney can create and enrich the appeal of our parks.

Management remains focused on our growth strategy as we move forward into our fourth quarter of the year and we believe our growth in revenues indicates progress in delivering on this strategy.”

As Karl L. Holz comments, the third quarter and year-to-date revenues are already records for Euro Disney S.C.A. in their respective periods. Disneyland Resort Paris appears well on its way to a truly record-breaking 15th Anniversary year.

You can read the Third Quarter results in full here. (PDF)

The full 2007 Annual Report will be published in November 2007.

Thursday, 3rd May 2007

First half 2007 brings major 10% improvements

The results come as an incredibly positive step forward for the debt-laden group, showing an improvement and growth toward financial health right across the board – without any effects of the 15th Anniversary, since the results report only up until late March. Total revenues increased 9.7% from €467.4m during the same period in 2006 to €512.6m in 2007 – a positive figure indeed, but still only enough to reduce total losses for the period by €20m, due to other increased spend on marketing and operations in preparation for the anniversary year.

At Disney Village and the Disney Hotels, more good news and more growth. Over recent years hotel occupancy has fallen considerably, but this first half it has finally risen by over 5 percentage points to a satisfying 83.1%, whilst overall revenues for Hotels and Disney Village has risen by – you guessed it – over 10%.

For the fans, there’s one area looked to each and every time financial results are released – the attendance. This ‘First Half’, we’re in for a major surprise. Whilst it might have been expected attendance would slow in the build-up to the anniversary, with guests perhaps holding back trips, the results show absolutely nothing of the sort. From 5.5 million visitors in the first half of 2006, attendance at the two Disney Parks has increased a staggaring 10.9% to 6.1 million visitors from November 2006 to March 2007.

Add the huge marketing push and countless new attractions of the 15th Anniversary to this positive first half, and what can be expect for the next two quarters? If attendance continued at 10.9% above 2006 levels for the entire financial year, attendance would hit as high as 14 million visitors, the highest ever amount for Disneyland Resort Paris. More realistically, perhaps, the resort should aim for its current record – 13.1 million visitors in 2002, when Walt Disney Studios Park opened. Rememering that 2006 brought 12.8 million guests with only minimal advertising of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast though, and that 14 million suddenly doesn’t seem quite so far away…

Commenting on the results, Karl L. Holz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:

“We are encouraged by the improved results of the first half of the fiscal year and we are pleased with the positive response of our guests to the 15th anniversary celebration. We are looking forward to continuing the celebration with the opening of two new Walt Disney Studios® Park attractions inspired by our popular Disney/Pixar animated films, Finding Nemo and Cars.

“We continue to focus on improving our business performance and the overall resort experience. The continued enthusiasm and dedication displayed by our cast members is instrumental in maintaining and improving this experience.”

Update on upcoming events

On April 1, 2007, the Group launched the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Disneyland® Resort Paris which will last until March 31, 2008.
The Disneyland® Park’s Sleeping Beauty Castle has been decorated with sculptures of Disney Characters and 15 birthday candles. Each night, the candles are lit during Candleabration, a birthday show featuring favorite Disney Characters.

In the Disneyland Park, Disney Characters star in the all-new Disney’s Once Upon a Dream parade. Two new attractions are scheduled to open at the Walt Disney Studios® Park during the celebration. Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally, inspired by the Disney/Pixar’s hit animated films Finding Nemo and Cars, respectively. These attractions are designed to add to the appeal and capacity of Disneyland Resort Paris, further enhancing the core guest experience to drive both attendance and occupancy growth as well as increase guest spending.

On June 10, 2007, the new high speed train (“TGV Est Européen”) line to the East of France, Germany and Switzerland will be launched. With the opening of this line, the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station will become the largest high speed rail interchange in Europe. This line will allow more guests living east of our Resort quicker access to Disneyland Resort Paris. Once the line is running at full capacity, the French Rail Authority expects that more than six million passengers should transit through this station every year.

You can read the report in full here (PDF opens in new window).

Thursday, 3rd May 2007

Présenté par… Unilever, Ford, or no-one?

Official partners and attraction sponsors have been a part of the Disneyland machine since the opening day of Disneyland California in 1955. Whilst Walt had already signed up an impressive list of partners and backers for his ambitious project, it was when attention was drawn to Tomorrowland that the story really began. Unable to finance a full land for opening day, the area became an exhibition area for the park’s partners until the 1959 expansion brought some of its most famous attractions.

For Disneyland Resort Paris, the story is even more complicated. Following the 1955 model, a huge collection of partners from various product areas jumped at the chance to sponsor Euro Disney… though only a handful remain today. Coca-Cola, Esso, France Télécom, Hasbro, Hertz, Kellogg’s, Kodak, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Opel and Visa were the partners up until late March 2007, when the contracts were due for another shake-up after fifteen years in Paris…

The first change in-park came at the Disneyland Railroad, which has now lost McDonald’s as its sponsor. As Bob Iger and Jay Rasulo continue to spread a healthier feel through the menus of Disney Parks around the world, Disneyland Resort Paris have wasted no time in losing McDonald’s as an official partner, and the position they’ve held at Disneyland Railroad since 1999.

The restaurant at Disney Village will remain, but all signage and announcements at the railroad have been fully updated to remove the golden arches. One example, Frontierland Depot, now has a new entrance sign with larger text to fill the space left. And, of course, “your friends at McDonald’s” no longer welcome you aboard…

Railroad fans need not despair however, the grand circle tour will still be cared for in the same way. Whilst audio problems continue on almost every train, Frontierland Depot has also recently received a full “restoration” of its detailed interior.

A second loss can be felt in both parks. Opel, partner since the 2002 opening of Walt Disney Studios Park, when it replaced former partner Renault to help develop and sponsor Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular, has now left the resort. After five years, the Opel contract expired and wasn’t renewed, as simple as that. In Disneyland Park, the various hidden details of the brand around Main Street USA have already been removed or hidden…

…Whilst over at Walt Disney Studios Park, the Opel badges have been removed from every car at Moteurs… Action! and the giant entrance marquee updated to reflect the loss.

The loss of a motoring sponsor is a fairly major change for the resort, so who could follow on from Renault and Opel/Vauxhall? As already confirmed at Autopia, none other than Ford Motor Company, one of the most recognisable brands in the world, has signed on to partner with Disneyland Resort Paris.

The iconic blue oval has already appeared on the entrance marquee and “Astrocoupé” billboard of Autopia, now officially sponsored by Ford. It’s interesting to note, though, that Ford here replaces not Opel but another oval logo… that of Esso. The petrol giant still sponsors Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril, but there is apparently some doubt now over how much longer this will continue – the sponsorship is no longer listed on the latest park map, for example.

Finally, the biggest change in sponsorship perhaps since the park first opened. When you think of brands featured at Disneyland, Nestlé inevitably springs to mind. From water to baby food, ice tea to Nescafé, ice cream to chocolate, the food giant was a major presence at the resort. From April 2007, however, their contract is over.

To replace a motor company is one thing, but how to replace a brand like Nestlé will all of its sub-companies and neverending products? Well, it looks like Disneyland Resort Paris have found the perfect candidate – Unilever. The name might not immediately ring a bell, but a quick look at some of the brands and companies in their portfolio shows they’re a more than worthy successor to Nestlé…

So now it seems we can expect Lipton Ice Tea rather than Nestea, Bertolli Italian foods rather than Buitoni and Miko (Walls in the UK) ice creams rather than Nestlé’s own – bringing Cornettos, Magnums, Calippos and Twisters to Disneyland for the first time!

The Nestlé name hasn’t been totally removed, however. The resort still uses the company’s chocolate products, Nescafé and baby food. Only time will tell if other new partners will replace these, or if Nestlé will remain on as simply a provider rather than a partner. The current park maps – valid until July and May respectively – also still feature Nestlé advertising.

One of the most popular changes already comes at Main Street’s Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. Whilst The Ice Cream Company takes the more family-orientated Miko brand, the trendy Gibson Girl now takes the Ben & Jerry’s name – and serves a range of their most popular flavours for the first time.

The more “exclusive” Carte d’Or brand has also arrived, adding a golden touch to Fantasia Gelati in Fantasyland. With these positive changes to the products Disneyland Resort Paris can now offer at its restaurants and boutiques, the effect on sales will be interesting to watch.

Other possibilities are also opened up with the portfolio of companies – healthier Knorr foods at counter service restaurants? Dove soap and Lux shower gel at Disney Hotels? Or maybe – just maybe – Slim Fast at the Walt Disney Studios restaurants, for that true Hollywood experience.

More photos of the sponsorship changeovers can be seen at Photos Magiques.

Tuesday, 13th February 2007

From 1992 to 2007 – with a hint of Terror

The new 2007/2008 Resort Map comes from this special page on the official Val d’Europe website, which looks at the economic and social impact of Disneyland Resort Paris on its surrounding area after fifteen years of development. Perfectly illustrating the impact, and giving a truly unique gift to fans, is the presentation of two maps showing the resort firstly at its initial state upon opening in 1992, and secondly after fifteen years of development, in mid/late-2007. Even locations such as the Gaumont Cinema and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril have been removed to give an accurate look back at the resort in 1992.

The maps therefore take a different angle on the resort to the usual style, with Davy Crockett Ranch and Golf Disneyland no longer pinned on at the edge but fully mapped out with all their surroundings. Val d’Europe has been updated with far more detail than before, including the bar opposite the RER station and the circular Place de la Toscane, inaugurated just last year, whilst even small business parks and local communes have been added to the plan.

Fans of the Disney side of the resort aren’t left out either – if the sight of the hallowed Tower of Terror on a Disneyland Resort Paris map wasn’t big enough to turn this into an annual holiday, the entire esplanade hub area and Disney Hotels district has been re-mapped to be far more detailed and true-to-life.Compare these maps with the current 2007 version for a look at the improvements, which will hopefully be carried over to the true 2008 Resort Map later this year.

The Tower itself is seen from behind, with a bright red chosen for the roof of its lobby (likely just to add colour to the map) and “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” sign moved to compensate for the angle. The Disney Village parking garage has finally been added, but Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is now absent once again from the map whilst the left wing of Disneyland Hotel has been cut off by Toon Studio.

The page at the Val d’Europe website also features a press release about the developments of the past fifteen years along with several quite spectacular images, perfectly timed, too, for today’s earlier announcement that the Pierre & Vacances-partnered Nature Villages project is still on course.

As Disneyland Resort Paris prepares to face its most important year yet, it’s good to look back on how much has already been achieved…

You can download the maps in large PDF format here.

All maps and photos © Disney. Thanks to Japper on magicforum for the link!

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