The official Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary holiday brochure is here! Well, if you know where to look. Though not accessible directly from the resort’s website, a simple change of a web address now suddenly reveals a whole load more “sparkling” secrets… Read More…
You can browse the 2013 Annual Review now online. Surprisingly, this year breaks with tradition and abandons the usual overblown website dedicated to the report (last year complete with Philippe Gas video intro) and presents it just as a standard e-brochure. We’d love to know the figure for how much cash that decision wisely saved. But instead, here’s our quick pick of the key figures and fun facts of 2013 at Disneyland Paris…
Disneyland Paris has now been visited more than 275 million times
Between 2009 and 2013, around €510 million has been invested in the maintenance and development of the destination
There are over 14,000 Cast Members working over 500 different professions; 6,454 employees were hired in 2013
Inclusivity: Over 581 workers are disabled, an increase of over 50% since 2007, whilst 53 “seniors” aged over 50 were hired in 2013
Climbing the ladder: 80% of Managers and Senior Managers present in 2013 had been promoted internally, while the group hired 458 local residents who had experienced long-term unemployment
Val d’Europe now has 30,000 residents and provides 28,000 jobs
Hotel refurbishment programme is on-going, covering all 5,800 rooms, with all 1,100 rooms of Disney’s Newport Bay Club to be completed in 2014
14.9 million visitors in 2013 (down from 16 million in 2012 and 15.6 in 2011)
Hotel occupancy down to 79.3% in 2013, from 84% in 2012 and 87.1% in 2011
Guest spending continues to grow: the average guest spends €48.14 in the parks and €235.01 per room in the Disney Hotels
According to questionnaires, 63% of guests were “extremely” and “very” satisfied with their visits; 89% of guests would “definitely” and “probably” come back
Disney Dreams! scored a 92% guest satisfaction rating for fiscal year 2013
4 million items have been sold at World of Disney since its opening in 2012
Staffed 24 hours a day by 200 Cast Members, the “Hercules” warehouse complex is more than 15 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool; in 2013 it was refitted with dimming, sensing, low-energy lighting by partner Osram
Scheduled for completion in late 2015, the fifth Val de France hotel, to be operated by B&B Hotels, will add 400 rooms to the resort
90% of the land at Villages Nature will not be built on; the Center Parcs joint project will be developed in several phases over the next 20 years
87 milion gallons of drinking water are expected to be saved each year once the new backstage water treatment and recycling plant becomes fully operational
Ratatouille: l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy will be “by far the most advanced and sophisticated thing we’ve ever done from a ride integration standpoint. It will offer guests a totally immersive experience into a Disney•Pixar adventure” — Joe Schott, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
“This never-before-seen family attraction will magically shrink guests to the size of the movie’s adorable star, Rémy. They will then be whisked off for a multi-sensory spin around the kitchens of Chef Gusteau”
Last, but not least, the geographical split of theme park visits, where France has broken 51% leaving all other feeder nations languishing. It’s fascinating to look back ten years to the results from the 2003 Annual Review and see how dramatically the breakdown has shifted.
Where once 22% of visitors were from the United Kingdom, now that percentage is a tiny 14%. Worse for Germany; its percentage share has halved from 6% to 3% in 2013. Italy and Spain meanwhile used to make up 9% together and have now increased to 11%, mainly thanks to a boom in visitors from Spain begun a few years ago, but which now appears to have ebbed away, in line with the country’s economy, to 8%.
Attendance figures in 2003 were 12.4 million, so 22% would give an estimated 2,728,000 British guests for the year. The same calculation for 14% of the 14.9 million guests in 2013 gives 2,086,000 guests crossing the channel. Far from a scientific, watertight calculation, obviously, but you could see it suggesting that roughly 654,720 fewer visitors from the UK went to Disneyland Paris in 2013 compared to ten years ago, a 24% drop.
Overall, with 49% of visitors now coming from outside France in 2013 versus 61% in 2003, you could estimate the resort’s entire non-domestic park attendance has actually fallen by over a quarter of a million guests in the past ten years, from 7.6 million in 2003 to 7.3 million in 2013. In the same period, meanwhile, you could estimate attendance from within France has grown by a huge 2.8 million guests, from 4.8 million to a strong 7.6 million visitors.
Clearly it is time Disneyland Paris took a few of its œufs out of its panier and worked on growing visitor numbers from other countries too, if only back to the levels they were ten years ago.
That’s not something even Rémy can do alone, or is it?
Les Villages Nature de Val d’Europe might not have the most catchy name, particularly for non-French speakers, but the project’s new website has just launched at a more succinct www.villagesnature.com. This is the 50/50 development between Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs, a huge new leisure and accommodation destination planned to be built on land surrounding Disney’s existing Davy Crockett Ranch a few kilometres south-east of the parks. A first phase of 1,730 accommodation units (710 apartments surrounding the main lake, 1,020 individual cottages further south) would also see the creation of a unique geothermal heated lagoon and the largest water park in Europe, along with restaurants, shops and other amenities. This new website seeks to collect questions and opinions from those affected in the local area, with a budget of €700 million “subject to public debate”. Of that, €430 million would be for accommodation units, to be leased to individual investors for periods of 9 years, whilst €260 million would be for the water park, leisure facilities, shops and restaurants.
The results of this public inquiry will be known in August, when the authorities are hoped to give the go-ahead. Marketing would then begin towards the end of this year with construction starting in the first quarter of 2013 for a first phase opening date of first quarter 2015. Don’t think this project will be a self-contained expansion, either — we’ll certainly see the effects back up at the main esplanade. The Transports page confirms some big changes, such as the long-awaited construction of a southern entrance to the TGV platforms, opposite the new World of Disney, allowing travellers from Val d’Europe and the south to access the high speed rail station without crossing the busy park entrances. Not only that, but a southern RER entrance is now also planned, and a southern bus station to be positioned in front of the Disney Village parking building.
Even more dramatic, Disneyland Paris would no longer be the end of the RER A line, with a plan to extend the line to join up with RER Line E at the town of Esbly to the north-east — currently very close but hard to access from the resort. Sadly for international travellers there’s no such rail extension in the pipeline up to Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (which would surely be both profitable with tourists and hugely useful for locals, better than using the TGV for such a short hop), but an “intensification of shuttle services”. The envisaged tramway system also appears to have hit a buffer-stop when Val d’Europe lost its bid for the French Open tennis tournament, meaning the super-eco-friendly project will probably be relying on shuttle buses. Although a stop at least looks to be provided for Davy Crockett Ranch, which will remain separate from the project, allowing trappers to leave their cars behind to get to the parks. Finally, the road network would be improved — in particular with an entrance to the Villages Naturethemselves branching south from the main Exit 14 of the A4 autoroute, visible in the map above.
Architecturally, many of the buildings revealed so far are certainly daring. In fact, you might worry that these are going to be the 2015 equivalent to 1992’s soon-dated Festival Disney. But a strong artistic direction at this stage could also be reassuring. The most exciting aspect so far is that Joe Rohde, the lead designer of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, has been mentioned as part of Walt Disney Imagineering’s artistic involvement, and it seems you can see that influence already in the buildings overgrown by plants, creating a mélange of man and nature. Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau are strong influences, with the styles of Frank Lloyd Wright and Friedensreich Hundertwasser quoted officially as inspirations.
On the other side of the A4 motorway, a patch of Disneyland Paris magic exists that you’ve maybe never experienced. Peaceful forest lanes and quaint cabins; a whole village of amenities and the best swimming pool on-site.
However, as surprised as new visitors often are to discover this whole other side to the resort, Davy Crockett Ranch often seems to collect some not-entirely-positive reviews. Worn-out cabins, mould in the bathroom… For some reason, these issues appear quite common.
Perhaps it has been attracting the wrong people, more suited to the glamour of, say, Disney’s Hotel New York than the rustic charm over here. Nevertheless, the ranch may now be answering their complaints — it’s in the middle of its biggest accommodation refresh for many years, adding some modern luxuries to its trappers’ lifestyle.
We mentioned this new accommodation option when reporting the Rio Grande, Eldorado and Buffalo rooms at Disney’s Value hotels, but now the Shareholders Club magazine (the November 2009 issue, but delivered to many addresses just this month) reports some numbers — there will be 139 new cabins — and the first on-site photos:
When these come into use from April, larger families will finally have a better accommodation choice at the resort. In addition to the extra beds, the cabins feature two shower rooms, a private terrace with barbecue, air conditioning… and no bath (except the bathroom sink, which can be used as a bath for babies). They’re also located on the “trails” (the loop roads around which the cabins sit) closest to the Davy Crockett Ranch village.
From the new photos, they’ll look very familiar to anyone who has stayed with camp site travel operators such as Keycamp or Canvas Holidays. They may even help to build up to the still-proposed Villages Nature, the Centre Parcs-style project which is still “just about to be green lit” for the forest area around Davy Crockett Ranch.
When — or perhaps if — Pierre & Vacances really do get going with that project and its far more luxurious accommodations, Davy Crockett will need to have lost its mouldy bath image. But hopefully, still have some rustic charm left.
And until then, any hope of a shuttle bus service returning? For all the “eco” claims of these new cabins, the people staying in them still all have to drive individually to and from the parks each day…
The development, covering land and forests surrounding the current site of Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch, is described as “a first-of-its-kind resort based on sustainable development”, developed in collaboration with continental Center Parcs owner Pierre & Vacances.
Covering an area of 520 hectares, the Center Parcs-style nature resort could eventually be home to over 5,000 tourism apartments and homes with 130,000 sq.m of leisure facilities, split into several zones based on the themes of water (a Center Parcs-style water park), sport & health (spas and sports activities), earth (farming, rural life) and forest (Davy Crockett Ranch).
The project could eventually create up to 9,000 jobs in addition to the 12,300 currently at the resort. The first development could be launched as early as 2010 with up to 2,300 apartments and homes, with plans also allowing the possibility of Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch to be expanded and absorbed into the resort. Currently, the resort features 8,000 hotel rooms across its Disney, Val de France and Val d’Europe Hotels, meaning the full build-out of the “Villages Nature” project would almost double the resort’s capacity.
Although it has been reported a separate company would be established by the two groups to run the proposed resort, it has so far not been confirmed how the collaboration would work from either a business or marketing point of view – would the Disney brand be utilised? How much does Euro Disney SCA stand to gain from saturating its market with almost double the current accommodation capacity?
The next steps, however, make clear that this project will not be born overnight, listing countless areas of consideration and feasibility still to be investigated before a general agreement can be signed and the project will truly begin development.
Pierre & Vacances already has a presence at the resort with its Val d’Europe City ApartHotel complex, but a development on such a vast scale as this could effectively take the resort segment of Disneyland Resort Paris one of two ways – help it soar to new heights, or strangle it before it even gets standing.
The press release in full:
The Villages Nature project has reached a new milestone with the signing of a non-binding letter of intent by the French State, Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances.
Paris, February 13, 2007 … The non-binding letter of intent signed today by the public parties, Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., and Pierre & Vacances, confirms the French State’s and local public parties’ interest and support for this project, which could potentially generate up to 9,000 direct and indirect jobs. This non-binding letter of intent allows the project to move forward with a new study phase where parties will work together to define the conditions for development and implementation of this project that could lead to a ‘general agreement’ (Accord Cadre).
The project would create, 6 kilometres from the Disney Theme Parks, a ‘˜first-of-its-kind’ resort based on sustainable development, which would be complementary to the existing European tourist destination Disneyland Resort Paris.
Exploratory phase by private and public parties (2003-2006)
Collaboration between public and private parties started in 2003 with several conceptual and feasibility studies that focused on the social and economic environment, sustainable development impacts, local development, and market studies.
Market studies indicated the high potential of the concept for families with young children as well as adults from France and throughout Europe.
A unique and innovative concept
Villages Nature is a pioneering ecotourism concept that is European in scope and based on harmony between man and nature. The main themes are water, earth, forest, and the recreational and leisure activities tied to these themes.
During the exploratory phase, world-renowned experts were involved to structure this innovative approach to sustainable development. The WWF/BioRegional ‘One Planet Living’ (OPL) methodology was used and resulted in a ‘Sustainable Action Plan’. This methodology would apply transversally to development, construction, and operation of the project, which constitutes a first for a tourism project.
If approved, the project would provide a low construction density (under 10%) on 520 hectares, and several phases with a total of up to 5,000 apartments and homes in tourism residences and around 130,000 sq.m. of recreational and leisure space, developed on 520 hectares.
Villages Nature aims at helping structure regional development.
The first phase of development would concern an area of 183 hectares (including possibly Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch) with up to 2,300 apartments and homes in tourism residences and recreational and leisure facilities developed in several lots. This first phase could be launched in 2010. Next Steps
Over the next two years, a steering committee made up of public- and private-sector parties involved in the project will meet on a regular basis to define the conditions for development and implementation of this project into a ‘general agreement’ (Accord Cadre).
Several studies and processes will be conducted before final approval of the project can be given:
– Feasibility of land acquisition process and legal framework of land use,
– Land development conditions,
– Definition of primary infrastructures,
– Public transportation access,
– Financing of sustainable development investments,
– Marketing, financing, and economic studies,
– Real estate, tourism, and economic environments.
Upon completion of these additional steps, the parties will decide upon final feasibility and opportunity of the project and, if so, set a timeline and terms of a ‘general agreement’ (Accord Cadre).
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