In Disney’s calendar it’s very nearly the “most wonderful time of the year”, already! If you’ve already a Disneyland Paris trip prepared for the upcoming Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season, or you’re considering a last-minute booking to take advantage of the latest deals, it’s time to start planning the detail. Read More…
Planning to celebrate the exact date of Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary, on 12th April 2012? You’re not the only one. We’ve now had it confirmed that Tony Baxter will be present at the park, in person, on the heralded date. Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering and the original lead creative force behind Disneyland Paris, the legendary Imagineer will answer questions and talk about the history of the park during a special “Imagineering Masterclass” at Videopolis Theatre from 10.45am to 11.45am. Places are open to all but strictly limited to the size of the venue.
Given his legendary status amongst Disneyland Paris fans, having led the overall design of the park and its five key show producers — Eddie Sotto (Main Street, U.S.A.), Jeff Burke (Frontierland), Chris Tietz (Adventureland), Tom Morris (Fantasyland) and Tim Delaney (Discoveryland), it looks set to be an unmissable hour. After the presentation, which will include a Q&A for fans to put their own questions to Tony, video screens inside Videopolis will continue to play archive footage from the resort’s history throughout the day.
Also scheduled for the grand date is a special morning event held by Philippe Gas. The company CEO himself will welcome guests to the park with a personal ceremony on Town Square at 9.30am, to be followed by a much-rumoured — and now officially announced — Cast Member “flashmob”.
The exact details of this moment of music and dance remain a secret, but Cast Members have voluntarily signed up to give their time for the occasion. Park gates will open at 9.00am to allow guests into Town Square, in advance of the ceremony, with the park itself officially opening at 10am. Extra Magic Hours on this date will be held instead at Walt Disney Studios Park — but you’re not going to trade a one-off date in history for a shorter queue at Crush’s Coaster, are you?
Character fans should look out for special one-off happenings and surprises all around the park throughout the day, including appearances from some of the more rarely seen Disney characters. All of these events and times will be listed in a special edition of the park Programme.
For collectors, besides special editions of the free Park Guide leaflets which will only be available on April 12th, there will even be dated merchandise. On sale in strictly limited quantities, a “golden key” pin and both a male and female T-shirt design, pictured above, all with the 12th April 2012 date.
Those who took a gamble and booked trips to coincide with the date, having no guarantee that it would even be commemorated, have certainly been duly rewarded. And for those who hesitated, this surprising programme of events may well be more than enough to encourage a last-minute trip. But given the very late nature of this announcement, it could now be difficult — and perhaps expensive — for those who can’t easily jump on the next RER train to experience the date for themselves at just three weeks’ notice, especially as it falls within the busy Easter holiday period.
Do you plan to be there to mark the date, and experience these events for yourself?
We reported last week that, for three weekends in late November and early December, both parks would be opening at 9am rather than 10am, as has been custom since the introduction of those two Extra Magic Hours (EMH) at Disneyland Park.
Walt Disney Studios will be exceptionnally opened from 8am to 9am for Extra Magic Hours on November 28th and 29th, and on December 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th, 2009.
So, if you’re visiting on those six dates (and qualify for EMH), you’ll get to enjoy a world-premiere: one hour of exclusive ride time in the Studios, from 8am to 9am, before other guests.
Coming soon to a Studios near us?
The attractions to be opened for the trial haven’t been publicly announced anywhere, but it appears generally agreed upon that they’ll be the most prominent ride-based favourites: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, Flying Carpets Over Agrabah and of course, Crush’s Coaster.
Riding the EAC may no longer take an hour or more of queueing, but it remains to be seen what effect this has on regular, non-EMH-qualifying guests. Since it became the norm to run straight to Crush as soon as the park opens, how will these regular visitors feel if they arrive only to find the Crush’s Coaster queue already populated by more privileged ride fans?
Finally, park hours for the rest of December have now been published. Though they’re not as generous as these three weekends, we do see the opening time at Disneyland Park giving way slightly to regular guests — now set at 9.30am, rather than 10am, making EMH a still-respectable hour and half window. This is the first time in almost 10 years we’ve seen park hours go into half-hours, and the flexibility is very welcome indeed.
Bringing Extra Magic Hours (EMH) over to Disneyland Paris was a great bonus for a lot of guests and almost all fans of the resort, able to enjoy an extra two hours in Disneyland Park each morning thanks to their Disney Hotel or Annual Passport Dream.
However, those two extra hours, starting at 8am, caused the park’s regular opening time to be pushed back to 10am. Any guests not able to use EMH therefore actually lost an hour of time in the park. In fact, make that plural — despite not offering the bonus, the chance was also taken to save a little money by keeping the attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park closed till 10am, too.
Thank the record weekend attendance of last Christmas, then, because this December will finally see both parks return to full 9am opening times on Saturdays and Sundays. Park hours for the first two weeks of the month were published today, confirming the change. Last year, weekends in early December saw major traffic on roads leading to the resort and its main parking lot, with the amount of guests visiting to enjoy the special seasonal events even forcing the closure of Disneyland Park’s gates for several hours at the busiest point of the day.
But what does this earlier opening mean for those two extra hours? Well, they’ll be downsized to just one hour at Disneyland Park… but if wishes come true, they could become two again. Reports (posted by Mouetto, moderator on Disney Central Plaza) suggest that these days could also see Walt Disney Studios Park opened to EMH guests from 8am.
So far, however, the official website’s EMH page remains geared toward only Disneyland Park. If extra time is to be granted over at the Studios, the resort will have to work hard to reword their print and promote such a bonus.
It was during our 15th Anniversary Launch coverage in April 2007 that we discovered the updated park maps for the long-awaited celebration. With Disneyland Park bathed in gold and both parks sporting ’15’ symbols, confetti and streamers, they were a flashy welcome to the events that lay beyond the park gates.
One year on, and ‘The Celebration Continues’ with a brand new redesign, bigger than before. The covers of both guides have taken a darker approach with their pinks and blues fading to a neat black as rays of light shine out from each park logo. Mickey’s hand pulls the wrapping paper away in the bottom corner — the ’15’ now a much smaller icon in the lower right.
They’re an improvement not just in the beauty stakes, with the cover information now displayed much more clearly in a single bar along the top, with both a larger and clearer country flag and textual language title identifying each guide either side of the date period.
Inside, the maps are largely the same as ever. A few subtle tweaks have been made, however. In the excerpt from the Walt Disney Studios Park guide below, notice the small outline of the park and the colour fill showing the location of each land, just to make it even clearer. Of course, the new designated smoking areas are also marked — with a tiny cigarette symbol.
The key to the symbol reads “For everyone’s comfort and convenience, special areas have been set up for those who wish to smoke. Please smoke only in these designated areas.”
Also note that the Walt Disney Studios Park map itself has again had a small design update — the addition of a large Stitch Live! attraction sign to the Walt Disney Television Studios building. And, whilst Jiminy Crickett is your guide to Disneyland Park, Stitch is now fittingly your host on the Studios’ map.
One change to both guides is a new box stating very loudly “IMPORTANT! Pick up the Programme!”. We can only assume that many guests are taking the map and failing to realise all the entertainment times are in a separate leaflet. Talking of the Programme, those have also been given a modest update to match the park guides:
The back cover of both park guides gives us one final surprise — an updated Official Partners list, now looking bigger than it has done for many years.
New additions are Danone and Dole, which has been featured in-park for some time but never as an official parter. Kellogg’s is now a regular feature and IBM has returned following its disappearance several years ago. The Orange (sponsors of Studio Tram Tour) logo is now featured over France Télécom (sponsors of “it’s a small world”). Since they’re the same company, we’d assume this is simply because Orange is used worldwide and not just in France.
Finally, the Extra Magic Hours leaflets available in the lobbies of Disney Hotels have also been given a refresh, with a smart new logo and simplified information now that the hours are strictly morning-only.