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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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…
The disjoined design of these two “value” hotels, with rooms spread out on fewer floors in separate buildings, would obviously make a rollout more expensive on a per-room basis than the other hotels, but it’s something which surely must be done in the future to ensure they remain competitive in the market and worthy of that Disney price mark-up.
Both Disneyland Paris parks also remain no-wi-fi zones, much unlike their American cousins. Complete blanket coverage would be expensive and you could argue unnecessary, so why not at least provide some key wi-fi “zones” within each park — Central Plaza and Disney Bros Plaza for starters. Forget spending millions on traditional advertising, if every guest could share just one live photo to their social network, it’d be a sound investment.
Yesterday was a special day for character fans, as troublesome kittens Berlioz and Toulouse from “The Aristocats” made their first ever park appearance at Disneyland Paris. The pair joined sister Marie, who has been sighted rarely at the resort before, for a special photo shoot on Town Square and a brief parade event aboard the Main Street Omnibus.
Unusually, some characters were out as couples: Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, Woody and Jessie, Peter Pan and Wendy, Stitch and Angel… even Chip ‘n’ Dale vying for Clarice’s heart together. Even more unusual, there was a chance to see characters including Bernard and Bianca from “The Rescuers”, Phoebus and Esmeralda from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and, over at Walt Disney Studios Park, Chicken Little and Abbey Mallard (remember them?!).
Disneyland Paris never usually celebrates Valentine’s Day with this much effort, so it was great for them to do this for their guests, right? Well, yes, and also the certain Prince with deep pockets who was reportedly visiting… but still, we get to enjoy most of the events too, so let’s not complain. Like we all said about the fantastic 12th April 2012 events, which were again presented mostly for a visiting VIP party: this is simply how Disneyland should feel all year round, for all paying guests.
Watch a complete video of The Aristocats’ “Be my Valentine!” cavalcade… Read More…
Your 2013/2014 holiday to Disneyland Paris might now feel a lot more like a 21st Century experience. Lagging behind for years in internet access offering, Disneyland Paris has made a surprise sudden move towards offering more widespread — and crucially, free — Wi-Fi access across the resort.
Announced late on Monday was that the prestigious Disneyland Hotel now offers free Wi-Fi access. Then, on Tuesday, the official Twitter feed of the resort followed that up by confirming free Wi-Fi would be rolled out gradually within the next year to all other Disney Hotels, along with convention centres, Golf Disneyland and even Disney Village.
Free Wi-Fi is now arguably considered as important as other hotel room fixtures such as a television. From previously offering only patchy and expensive Wi-Fi access in only the four higher tier Disney Hotels, this move will add some much-needed additional value back to those — many say — overpriced “on property” room nights. Guests have in the past been faced with the frankly absurd situation that, for example, the ultra-basic €52 per night Ibis Budget over at Val d’Europe offered free Wi-Fi, but the €459 minimum Disneyland Hotel did not.
The inclusion of Disney Village in these plans is interesting. Could that be a commercial decision, to make the entertainment district more inviting for visitors to “dwell” longer, or could it even be an easier test bed for eventually covering the whole of the resort — and both parks — by free Wi-Fi? Last year, Walt Disney World began offering free Wi-Fi to visitors within its Magic Kingdom park, with plans to roll it out to all four parks and Downtown Disney over there too.
Besides giving guests what they now see as an almost essential home comfort, providing free Wi-Fi will also exponentially increase the number of status updates, photos and videos posted to social media websites during guests’ stays, especially at Disneyland Paris where many guests have had to avoid “roaming” charges for foreign networks, giving the Disney Parks perhaps their most powerful ever marketing tool: us.
Videopolis Theatre in Discoveryland saw a packed house at 10.45am on 12th April 2012, as the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors welcomed legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter to the stage for a one hour discussion of its history, creation and progress “from concept to reality”. From broader points about the challenges his team faced in bringing a Disney park to Europe, he went on to discuss his favourite hidden details in the park, anecdotes of meeting Walt Disney, and even shares his very own version of the contested Phantom Manor storyline…
Couldn’t make it there yourself? We’re proud to present our own, exclusive video of the entire event for you now, above — including the special appearance of all the worldwide Disney Ambassadors from every resort to pose questions to Tony himself.
Disney Dreams! will have stunning projections, pyrotechnics, fire, a brand new orchestral score — the lot. But there’s no mistaking the most anticipated element of this 20th Anniversary spectacular: the fountains. And so the grand prize goes to Jérémy on Disney Central Plaza forum who, at 24 minutes past midnight, made Disneyland Paris history by posting the first clear photo of those 40-or-so main fountains shooting into the sky around Sleeping Beauty Castle. Taken from Disneyland Hotel, overlooking the park during nighttime testing, it’s the very first preview of what a Steve Davison fountain array looks like surrounding a Disney castle. Something you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
The height of the water erupting from those nondescript jets is incredible, easily as high as the main window at the top of the castle — and these aren’t even the most powerful jets. Twelve further nozzles, six on either side of the moat, will use a compressed air technique to intermittently blast water a good few metres more into the sky, apparently higher than the castle itself. And then we have to add the two enormous water screens on top, to complete the scene’s liquid special effects. The proximity to the castle is unusual and certainly dramatic, raising all kinds of questions — for example, what will happen to performances during high winds?
Lit here simply with a purple glow from below, the fountain array at this moment thankfully gives few spoilers for the actual show. It is simply an awe-inspiring glimpse of what’s to come.
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.
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…
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