Monday, 24th March 2008

St. Patrick’s Day brings Emerald Isle back to Disney

However, the park was distinctly quieter than the same day in 2007, which fell on a Saturday, when record crowds filled the pathways to bursting point and packed into Le Théâtre du Château to see the Irish dancing, musical groups and Disney characters dressed in Celtic greens. On a Monday in low season, the day was a quieter yet still unique occasion to experience at Disneyland.


Once again, it was Le Théâtre du Château which hosted the dance troupes, bands and face painting events throughout the day, swapping its recent St. David’s Day makeover for a return of the green and yellow Irish decorations.


The dance troupes and entertainers themselves were also familiar — many, such as The Lee-Byrne Academy Dancers returning to the resort for the third time. They entertained park guests four times throughout the day with traditional dance, joined halfway through the show by Chip ‘n’ Dale in similar costume.


In the morning and later into the evening, the Gatwick Caledonian Pipe Band provided live music on the stage (see first picture).


All of the performers from both the dance troupe and pipe band, as well as a marching band from Northern Ireland, also took part in the special St Patrick’s Day pre-parade, dancing, drumming and piping their way along the parade route, followed by the stars of the show: Mickey and Minnie in bright green “leprechaun” costumes, riding on the redecorated Main Street fire truck


The pair could be met by guests at their usual locations on Town Square and at Casey’s Corner throughout the morning.

To round out the day of celebrations, which also included Celtic music in Disney Village and into the night at Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, the St Patrick’s Day Fireworks exploded into the sky above Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. The fireworks were largely the same in formation as 2007, with the music remaining identical to the previous two years.

Video by arno-hh on Dailymotion:

[Credits: Programme from Scrooge on DMI forum; Photos by Willi77 on DisneyGazette forum]

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.

Friday, 14th March 2008

Disney Parks in Paris go smoke-free; New smoking areas announced

But smokers… no need to fret. Because instead, the two parks will follow their US counterparts by introducing airport-style “designated smoking areas” in secluded corners of each land.

This news, first rumoured several months ago, follows the introduction of a complete “smoking ban” throughout most public buildings in France last year, when England notably also joined the rest of the United Kingdom for a similar ban. Disneyland Resort Paris have wasted no time in taking advantage of this new-found French distrust of the smoker, banning smoking throughout all restaurants several years ago and now confirmed, from April this year, to be taking the brave step to outlaw to designated corners the legions of smokers amongst the millions who visit the parks each year.

Each park will have at least one Smoking Area in each land — 10 in Disneyland Park and 4 at Walt Disney Studios Park. The full locations list, as first confirmed by member HTH2004 on Disney Central Plaza forum via the new park maps for the April season, is as follows (and we’ve created a couple of maps to help illustrate the expected locations) :

Disneyland Park

Click to enlarge

‘¢ Entrance (outside of gates to the left of turnstiles, next to toilets)
‘¢ Arboretum (terrace outside toilets next to City Hall)
‘¢ Central Plaza (near Discoveryland entrance)

‘¢ Fort Comstock (covered walkway outside toilets on right of land entrance)
‘¢ Pocahontas Indian Village (outside the former Pueblo Trading Post store)

‘¢ Restaurant Hakuna Matata (unused terrace opposite the restaurant)
‘¢ Au Chalet de la Marionnette (covered walkway next to Adventureland exit)

‘¢ Les Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin (former queue area of the windmill)

‘¢ Autopia (near the toilets to the side of the attraction)
‘¢ Buzz Lightyear’s Pizza Planet (small square outside the entrance)

Walt Disney Studios Park


‘¢ Studio Photo/Strollers (next to the stroller rental building)

‘¢ Art of Disney Animation (between AODA and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye)

‘¢ Place des Stars (between Stitch Live! and CinéMagique)

‘¢ Piazza Sergio Leone (between Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Moteurs… Action!)

The Parisian parks will certainly have comparatively more smoking areas than their American counterparts, with Disneyland in California home to just three smoking areas and its neighbour Disney’s California Adventure park having four. Smoking laws and public feeling about the habit are, however, much stronger in California than much of Europe, and the two parks in Paris may well have a tough fight on their hands in keeping smokers to these designated areas.

It remains to be seen just how strictly they will be enforced by Cast Members, but large warnings will no doubt be placed throughout the parks in addition to new information and location markings on updated park maps. As for the smoking areas themselves, in the US parks these consist of some extra seating, bins with ashtrays and subtle, neatly-themed signs declaring the area as designated for smokers.

The areas chosen — or perhaps “condemned” — in Paris — soon to become “no-go areas” for non-smokers — should not cause too much concern for fans, largely placed in secluded corners and near toilets. It is particularly interesting to note that Fantasyland, the most popular land in Disneyland Park, will have only one smoking area — a brave choice, but one which will benefit the children enjoying its attractions no end. The designated areas should also bring an end to smokers lighting up in queue lines, during outdoor shows or in the middle of crowds waiting for parades. It should improve the atmosphere and enjoyment of the parks’ pathways, and in turn help to increase all-important ‘guest satisfaction’ even further.

From 1st April 2008, it’s the start of a great big beautiful smoke-free tomorrow…

Tuesday, 11th March 2008

Even fairytale bridges need repairs

As the icon of Disneyland Park, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and its essential moat bridge are some of the most heavily-trafficked places in the entire resort. On a trip to Disneyland, everyone wants to walk over that famous bridge into the fabulous castle rising above. For the foreseeable future, however, their fairytale will be a little interrupted…


Scaffolding and white tarpaulins began to rise on the weekend of March 1st on the left side of the bridge, followed by a complete covering on the right side later last week. The works came unexpectedly for all, with no announcement or advance warning given through the internal park refurbishments calendar at all.

The walkway has had limited repairs and refurbishments in recent history, mainly to the wooden drawbridge section, but the damage and dirt along the concrete-built bridge section has long been a disappointment to fans.

Image Image

The photo below, taken by mouetto (Disney Central Plaza forum) whilst the scaffolding was still encasing the bridge, clearly shows the various levels of decay and dirt on the bridge. The column on the left, in particular, clearly shows the main reason for these sudden repair works: freeze-rot in the concrete, also known as ‘concrete cancer’.


This is where small cracks in the concrete fill with water, which is then frozen — expands — and causes the cracks to become larger. Eventually, as shown above, large parts of the decorative top layer will be broken altogether. Reports suggest that similar problems are occurring with the bridge (probably no thanks to its unimpressive refurbishment history), that could eventually cause much larger structural problems in the future.

Image Image

The walkway underneath the bridge to La Tanière du Dragon gives a revealing view on the repairs, which still appear to be in their early stages. From this viewpoint at least, the scaffolding is clearly only for workers to access the structure — it is not providing any kind of emergency support whatsoever.

As with the major refurbishments which sprung up back in early March 2007, in preparation for the 15th Anniversary, it will be hoped that this work on such a key landmark will be complete by the time the Spring/Summer season begins on 5th April 2008. Currently, however, no completion date is known.

Stay with DLRP Today for the latest news on this project as it breaks.

[Photos by Photos Magiques (more here) and mouetto on]

Monday, 25th February 2008

The Celebration Continues… with spectacular TV ad

The original commercials for the 15th Anniversary Celebration saw a red carpet flying through neighbourhoods to bring children to Disneyland, passing by the new attractions and new parade along the way. As already seen in various promotional materials, the advertising campaign for “The Celebration Continues” year moves to wrapping paper and classic party decorations, with a brand new commercial produced especially for the event.


Reaching the end of the red carpet, Mickey Mouse stands again with the two children, looking along a Main Street, U.S.A. wrapped entirely in colourful wrapping paper and ribbons, Sleeping Beauty Castle wrapped in pink with a bow forming a “hidden mickey” above the “15″ emblem.


As Mickey Mouse stretches out a ribbon with a little pixie dust, children and characters run into Main Street, pulling giant ribbons and robes to unwrap all the buildings along the street.



We cut to a view from the castle for a spectacular shot of the children “unwrapping Main Street” as fireworks shoot into the sky. Finally, the pink wrapping and ribbons fly off Sleeping Beauty Castle, revealing its 15th Anniversary overlay.


Stepping through the Castle to a courtyard filled with characters old and new and Princesses atop a parade float, the two children set in motion the unwrapping of the most important presents of all — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, in deep purple paper against a stormy sky, and Stitch Live! in green paper, which sees growls exchanged between Stitch to the younger boy.



We’re reminded of the ongoing Kids Under 7 Stay & Play FREE offer before the camera zooms out of a final scene to reveal the Disney VIPs and Pixar characters dancing under the illuminated “Candleabration” castle, a beautiful twilight sky glowing above them.


The Pixar characters, such as Sulley, Mr. Incredible and Buzz Lightyear, feature heavily throughout — Paris’ very own Rémy can even be spotted hiding in the final shot.

The commercial launched on major UK television networks today, and should make its way, in translated form, to other countries very soon.

Bearing similarities in style to both the previous red carpet commercials and the current “Year of a Million Dreams” advertisements for Walt Disney World which play in the UK and US, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that they were all produced by the same people — over at Walt Disney World in Florida! This will perhaps explain the use of Florida’s Tower of Terror and a Princess parade float from across the Atlantic, rather than those in Paris.

Well, what a great little present from the creative teams of Walt Disney World! We’re getting out some DLRP Today stationary to write a thank you letter already…

Thursday, 29th November 2007

Celebration or Discovery? Tickets get new names… and prices

Since April of this year and the start of the 15th Anniversary festivities, the resort has been using two generous online special offers to help boost general ticket sales for the two parks — 15% off on the shortest ticket and extra days on the longer park hoppers. The latest official brochure now introduces new names for the two ticket offers, the first new ticket naming (for guests outside of France) since the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park.

The special offer tickets are now officially named “Discovery” and “Celebration“, making the offers easier to market and no doubt a little more attractive to guests than the offers which previously seemed a little unplanned.


The “Discovery ticket” offer, giving 15% off a 1-Day/2-Parks hopper ticket, is now advertised as “Ideal for enjoying some of the treats of our celebration, while visiting Paris”. Meanwhile, the top-class “Celebration ticket” offer, giving a whole extra day on your ticket for 3 and 4 day tickets (therefore becoming 4 and 5 day tickets respectively), is promoted as “Ideal if you want to fully enjoy the celebration in two Disney Parks!”. You can find out more about the offers on the official website.

Following the annual report earlier this month, it’s a new financial year for the resort and so time for the ticket prices to be updated for 2008. As has become tradition, prices have generally changed by only a Euro or two, the highest increases for Child 2-Day and 3-Day hoppers.

2008 Ticket Price Changes (Adult/Child)

1-Day/1-Park — 2007 : €46 / €38 — 2008 : €47 / €39 — (+€1/+€1)

1-Day Park Hopper — 2007 : €56 / €48 — 2008 : €57 / €49 — (+€1/+€1)

2-Day Park Hopper — 2007 : €103 / €84 — 2008 : €105 / €89 — (+€2/+€5)

3-Day Park Hopper — 2007 : €128 / €105 — 2008 : €131 / €111 — (+€3/+€6)

Special offer tickets for UK advanced sale:

“Discovery” 1-Day Park Hopper — Until 4/04/08 : £33 / £29 — Then : £35 / £31 — (+£2/+£2)

“Celebration” 4-Day Park Hopper — Until 4/04/08 : £89 / £76 — Then : £93 / £79 — (+£4/+£3)

“Celebration” 5-Day Park Hopper — Until 4/04/08 : £104 / £88 — Then : £109 / £93 — (+£5/+£5)

Remarkably, and quite unbelievably, prices for the full range of Annual Passports remain the same, now several years on from their last price increase!

— Head over to the official Disneyland Resort Paris website for full ticket details and sales.

Tuesday, 27th November 2007

Extra Magic Hours abandon late nights

Amongst the decorations, the refurbishments, the new parade and the Characters’ Express, it’s easy to overlook one addition for the 15th Anniversary which has changed a visit to Disneyland Park just as much — Extra Magic Hours, the extra time allowed in the park primarily for Disney Hotel guests since 1st April 2007.

First Extra Magic Hours guide

The 2006 trials saw generous extra hours to enjoy the park under darkness after regular opening hours, whilst the first months of the 2007 season gave guests a scattering of evening dates almost equal to the number of morning dates giving two additional hours before park opening.

However, as noted by many fans in recent months, whilst the overall number of Extra Magic Hours has been increasing, the number of evening Extra Magic Hours has been steadily declining. Now, Disneyland Resort Paris has updated the texts on its website and in brochures to state not that the offer gives simply “two extra hours” but “two hours before regular park opening”. Evening Extra Magic Hours are officially no more!

Excerpt from new Winter/Summer 2007/08 brochure

Getting out of bed two hours earlier doesn’t quite have the same magic as enjoying two extra hours in the park at night, so why the change? From the operational side of things, there’s quite simply not a single argument in favour of the evening hours.

Whilst morning hours require only a few additional cast members to check Dream passports and hotel EasyPass cards, evening hours required the coordination of a huge guest flow operation to hand out coloured wristbands each afternoon. Cleaning and maintenance crews had to extend their day and put off their work by two hours. Guests not staying at a Disney Hotel could easily stay in the park longer than allowed, whilst — although this probably wasn’t a factor — with morning hours they’d be forced to stand in line and watch as those paying extra for the hotels breezed straight into the park.

In short, it just makes much more sense to open the park earlier rather keep it open later, and the amount of Extra Magic Hours has benefited as a result — the latest dates for January, February, March and April 2008 now see Extra Magic Hours on almost every single day of the month.

— Check the latest Extra Magic Hours on the new DLRP Magic! Calendar >>

Monday, 19th November 2007

Minnie’s Jolly Holidays Show from Dec 1st

The real magic of this Christmas Season for a Disney fan is that it seems not a single corner of the resort is sleeping — everything, everywhere, is running at full steam. From the reopening of Agrabah Café to the daily Christmas streetmosphere at Walt Disney Studios with ‘Toon en Scène pour les Fêtes !‘, the constant improvements throughout 2007 have built to an overwhelming crescendo.

At Disneyland Park, The Chaparral Theater has Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Fantasy Festival Stage has Winnie the Pooh, Videopolis Theatre has The Legend of the Lion King, Critter Corral the new Father Christmas Village… the list goes on. Have they missed anywhere? Well, Central Plaza isn’t filled with too much life during the daytime…

Minnie in Mickey’s Winter Wonderland

No fear, it sounds like Minnie Mouse has a late Christmas gift for us.

We’ve received word from a reliable source that preparations are well underway backstage for a new addition to the Christmas entertainment line-up. Starring Minnie Mouse, a new show entitled ‘Minnie’s Jolly Holidays Show‘ is expected to premiere on the Central Plaza Stage from the weekend of 15th/16th December 2007, playing daily throughout daytime hours for the rest of the season!

With Minnie as host and Central Plaza as the location, it’s hard not to connect this production to last month’s well received Disney Villains’ Halloween Showtime for Disney’s Halloween Festival. No doubt the staging will bear more than a slight similarity, though so far it seems very little about the show is known backstage, where casting sessions for the production have just been completed.

Enchantment like nowhere else on Earth… just got a little bit more enchanting!

UPDATE – 25/11/2007

Our source brings new information for the show, final title “Minnie’s Jolly Holidays Show“. The show will begin earlier than expected, from 1st December 2007, and will be presented four times early each day!

Thursday, 15th November 2007

In Video: Christmas enchantment like nowhere else on Earth

Since the opening year of 1992, Disneyland Resort Paris has celebrated Christmas with bigger and better events each and every year. For the 15th Anniversary, we were promised an “exceptionnoël” season, and, with a Father Christmas Village and Enchanted Candleabration to discover amongst countless old favourites, this is truly the biggest and most spectacular Christmas season the resort has ever seen.

Click below to play the video — and chante, c’est noël!

The video is exclusive to this page and cannot be seen on our usual Dailymotion account, so please do spread around this link to share the sights of the most magical Disney Christmas on Earth!

You can find full guides, histories, photo galleries, fun facts and useful tips for Disney’s Christmas Season 2007/08 in the extensive DLRP Magic! Guidebook chapter for the season.

— Video footage and music © Disney/Euro Disney Associés S.C.A.

Wednesday, 14th November 2007

Agrabah Café re-opens with 1001 delights

The re-opening of the restaurant was first rumoured back in August, with work beginning inside the restaurant just several weeks later to return it to daily operations. Cleaning, repairs and new modifications to the area, which, prior to 1999, was actually an indoor alley with several small shops, were all scheduled, and the faded entrance sign was repainted in brighter and more exotic colours.

14-agrabahcafe-01sm.jpg 14-agrabahcafe-02sm.jpg

Speculated at the time of the first rumours was the possibility of the restaurant becoming the first “Half Board only” dining option at the resort — an exclusive location for guests using Disney’s discounted meal vouchers which have proven popular since their launch just 12 months ago. The final decision, however, will no doubt be more popular — the restaurant is available for all guests, with only a slight priority reportedly given to Half Board users at peak times.


The menu is an all-you-can eat buffet with oriental and Mediterranean specialties, including starters, main courses and deserts, but not including drinks (except for the children’s menu). Highlights include Shoarma, cinnamon rice, fish and baked spice potatoes, amongst regular fare such as pasta and lasagna.

Priced at €21 for adults and €10 for children, it’s an affordable addition to the park’s menu of restaurants and is expected to take some strain off Plaza Gardens Restaurant, particularly over the busy — and cold — Christmas season.


The atmosphere inside has been captured by our friends at Photos Magiques in a special video tour:

This enchanting location, locked away for over five years, has finally broken its spell cast by the early-2000s cuts. Coming as it does towards the end of the remarkable events of 2007, the reopening of Agrabah Café could be considered the crown on a magnificent turnaround for resort in recent years.

And those who’ve tried it say it’s rather delicious, too.

— You can find a full gallery of new photos from the restaurant over at Photos Magiques.

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