Friday, 7th February 2014
Exactly a year ago, a revolution came to the Victorian-styled walls of Disneyland Hotel in the form of free wi-fi internet access, requested for years by fans and visitors, as Disneyland Paris announced a complete rollout across the “resort” portion of its lands. One year later, it has announced certain locations in Disney Village are the latest to be connected.
Now you can cheer on your favourite team on Facebook from the Sports Bar, catch up on your email while joining a line dance at Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, Instagram a picture of your meal at The Steakhouse and even instantly tweet that selfie in your Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show hat. And never have to stand outside McDonald’s desperately trying to connect to their wi-fi again.
Completing the rollout, by the end of February, will be free wi-fi in the clubhouse of Golf Disneyland and in the bar and restaurant of Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch.
Throughout 2013, the service was extended to cover all of Disney’s Hotel New York, Disney’s Newport Bay Club and Disney’s Sequoia Lodge.
At Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne and Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe, the wi-fi only covers the main public areas — reception, bar, restaurant and boutique — and not the rooms themselves, as might have been presumed from the initial announcement.
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.
Wednesday, 13th February 2013
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.