Jewellery company Pandora has extended its Disney partnership with a new multi-year deal for Disneyland Paris, bringing exclusive new editions of its popular charms, a new boutique and sponsorship of Disney Illuminations nighttime spectacular. Read More…
After a 5-year relationship between 2002 and 2007, during which time the company sponsored Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular, German car manufacturer Opel has returned to Disneyland Paris as its official vehicle partner. There’s no comment yet whether the General Motors subsidiary could return to sponsor the Backlot stunt show, but it will certainly make its presence known across the resort — if only for backstage Cast Members. As part of the two-year agreement announced on 7th November, Opel France will replace the resort’s entire fleet of cars with brand new, more environmentally-friendly models such as the Opel Movano, Opel Vivaro and Opel Combo. One vehicle whose presence won’t be felt quite so much is the striking all-electric Opel Ampera (the European version of the Chevrolet Volt), a fleet of which Disneyland Paris will take delivery of for backstage duties in January 2012 — one of the first companies in Europe to do so. The entire fleet will also be fitted with Opel’s latest CO² reduction technologies “ecoFLEX”and “Start/Stop”.
The resort’s previous vehicle partner, Ford, ended its three-year partnership in early 2010. During that time it was the official sponsor of Autopia, helping some new investment at the Discoveryland attraction with a new marquee and photo location. Since Opel has only signed for two years, a sponsorship of either motor-based attraction seems unlikely. Now, Disneyland Paris will ironically be replacing its fleet of backstage support vehicles with electric cars while this “highway of the future” continues to belch out petrol fumes. Only Hong Kong Disneyland currently operates electric cars on the attraction.
It’s Love on a Roller Coaster all over again. One of the best surprises when Disneyland Paris unveiled its 2011 Refurbishments Programme to us in March this year was the announcement of a brand new light show for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Ever since, the Backlot coaster’s many passionate fans have followed the progress of lights disappearing and reappearing, not to mention the tribulations of the legendary smoke effect, more fervently than ever. Now, as you can see from the excellent on-ride video attached below, the first of the brighter lights have officially gone “live”!
Smoke fans will notice the soundstage still has a fog-free outlook at this point, but this is still said to be a “work in progress” for the next few weeks. We were promised two “ultra-efficient” and “eco-friendly” new fog machines, pumping out “a special type of fog” to be installed as part of the improvements. All the work is being carried out after-hours — a progressive replacement of lights and effects throughout the ride, with no closure — and “new technologies in moving lighting design” were also promised, including some surprises with the truss lighting that riders fly past at all angles. Utilising LED technology, the new show is promised to be far more reliable — and energy efficient — than the 2002 version. Walt Disney Imagineering Paris modelled the new light shows in 3D using a CGI model of the ride before installation and programming began. There are five different light shows and five different Aerosmith rock soundtracks, one for each of the SoundTracker trains.
Unlike its Florida cousin which sends riders flying past 2D cut-outs of Hollywood landmarks, the Walt Disney Studios Park version of the thrill ride relies on a genuine synchronised stage lighting system to give life to the black void inside studios 8 and 9. In May this year, Gibson Guitar Corporation of Nashville, Tennessee officially put its name to the attraction in becoming its official sponsor; a more fitting “presented by” than most, giving additional, genuine rock cred to the ride.
On-ride HD video by Gilleke12 on YouTube follows… Read More…
Turn over the latest Guide to the Parks leaflet, updated for the Magical Moments Festival, and there’s a surprise to be found amongst the resort’s Official Partners: Nescafé is no longer the coffee brand of choice for Disneyland Paris! The instant coffee brand owned by Nestlé has been superseded by Italian brand Segafredo Zanetti. Part of the Bologna-based Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group, which sells 120,000 tons of coffee worldwide annually, the Segafredo brand claims to be the Italian market leader and the leading espresso company worldwide. Disney has been criticised in the past for the perceived poor quality of its Nescafé coffee by fans and frequent visitors, who will now be hoping the dropping of this Nestlé brand brings a better-tasting cup to the parks. No changes to the coffee being served have been reported yet, but if your next café tastes more like a real caffè, do let us know!
The sole remaining arm of Nestlé on the list of Official Partners is now Nestlé Waters, suppliers of Vittel and Perrier branded water to the parks. The Swiss corporation was originally one of the most important partners at the opening of the resort. It was largely replaced by Unilever in 2007, the British-Dutch multinational which brought popular brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Miko ice creams to the resort.
In other beverage-related news, the standard prices for drinks at counter and quick service restaurants increased slightly last month to €2.60 for soft drinks (previously €2.50), €2.20 for hot drinks (previously €2.00) and €2.75 for hot drinks with cream (previously €2.50).
The orange halfpipe of RC Racer was always unmistakably inspired by the classic Mattel car series, but now it’s official. Several Hot Wheels logos have just appeared around the attraction, including one on the base of the travel carry bag at the entrance and another stuck on top of the one of the 2D illustrations on the side of the “plastic” station building. In all advertising for Toy Story Playland featuring the trademark orange track, Disneyland Paris has been obliged to print a disclaimer stating the Hot Wheels inspiration, but this is the first in-park nod to the brand.
Back in 1992, faithful Air France were one of the resort’s most important travel partners. After all, the high speed TGV rail connection was still two years away, and the UK’s direct connection to the magic via Eurostar and the Channel Tunnel not due until 1996.
But, as airlines such as itself focus more and more on long haul flights, it appears Disneyland Paris have looked to one of the successful low cost airlines, snapping up the short haul market, to give visitors more choice when booking a package.
As of 19th January 2010, Flybe.com signed closer links with the resort, effectively becoming one of its preferred travel partners. Compare the Autumn/Winter 2009 brochure with the updated Spring/Summer 2010 brochure, announcing the new options as available “soon”:
Flybe, the UK’s Number One Domestic Airline, has teamed up with Disneyland Paris® in a move that will pave the way for exciting promotions and added incentives for Flybe passengers to include flights, accommodation and theme park ticket packages. The deal builds on two successful campaigns that Flybe has previously run with Europe’s leading tourist destination.
Hugh Wood, VP and MD of Disney Destinations International says: “Disney Destinations is excited about expanding the business – this is very positive news for Disneyland Paris and our guests as it offers a wider choice of travel options for them.”
Flybe flights from Belfast City, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Glasgow, Jersey, Manchester and Southampton to Paris Charles de Gaulle can now be booked at the same time as your package via the Disneyland Paris booking hotline. In return, Flybe will be promoting Disneyland Paris more heavily as a destination for its Paris flights.
As visitors increasingly sniff at paying the higher prices of airlines like Air France for short hops, it makes sense for Disney not to be losing out on these booking commissions — at the same time making clear how easy it can still be to get to the resort for people who don’t live in the South East.
There are suggestions that Euro Disney SCA, operating group of Disneyland Paris, could be about to sign a landmark agreement with French energy partner EDF.
Currently, as visitors arrive at the resort by car or coach, they’re greeted by a pleasant — but exceptionally large — parking space. A huge expanse of tarmac poured nonchalantly over the former fields of Marne-la-Vallée, this has perhaps never been the best of first impressions for the French to become enamoured with Disney’s controversial arrival.
An unfortunate necessity becomes a publicity coup?
Creating electricity which can then be used on-site or sold back into the grid, the futuristic canopies also collect rainwater to reduce piped water usage as well as protecting people — and their cars — from the elements, be they a rainstorm or a scorching hot day.
Rather than your car burning up in the full heat of the Summer sun, that energy would be transformed into real power — possibly even to power your ride on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Phantom Manor!
The idea is not entirely new, already being in use at locations such as the E-Leclerc shopping centre near Montpellier seen in these photos. These canopies are manufactured by French company SunVie. Should the enormous parking surface at Disneyland Paris be covered by “solar panels” like these, it would apparently become the largest such energy plant in France and almost certainly one of the largest in Europe.
Naturally, after the initial excitement at such a prospect, thoughts are now turning to the visual impact of the “Ombrières” which, whilst actually functionally good-looking, would probably contrast a bit too much with the more whimsical structures already dotted around the parking lot, such as the canopies of the moving walkways.
To redesign them with a little more Disney spark certainly wouldn’t be hard, but multiplied over several hundred rows could amount to a restrictively large rise in construction costs.
Indeed, details so far are rather sketchy as to how such a project would be managed between Euro Disney and EDF — who would pay for the set-up, who would get the power generated? Nevertheless, this would be a sure-fire publicity winner for the resort, and hopefully more than just blue sky (solar) thinking…
Compared to the complexities of attraction sponsorship at other Disney resorts, Disneyland Resort Paris has always been far more reserved. And indeed, though its grand opening saw everything from Le Visionarium to Star Tours coupled with an official corporate partner, this decade in particular has seen many of them change — or disappear altogether.
So, it might come as no surprise to hear to hear that Disneyland Park just lost another attraction sponsor. But then again, this was perhaps the last remaining original sponsor from opening day (if we don’t count the shift of Kodak from Captain EO to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience) — France Télécom at “it’s a small world”.
When the attraction returned from its refurbishment in late November (17th to 28th), all signs of the national French telecommunications company had vanished. The most obvious, of course, being the large flag with the company’s logo in the attraction’s entrance fountain.
This was quickly switched-out for a new purple flag reading “Join the happiest cruise that ever sailed around the world”.
As you walk up the hill toward the queue line, the secondary attraction logo has had its “France Télécom” footer removed and replaced with a few musical notes, which appear to be those from the attraction’s famous Sherman Brothers theme song.
Though it’s the ‘World Chorus’ post-show with which France Télécom has always been synonymous, the branding of the company was never strongly present, at least in recent years, and so this land of animated video clips will continue to live on.
Now, whilst the France Télécom name may have apparently disappeared for good from the resort, that’s not to say the corporation itself has hung up completely. Besides continuing as a telecoms provider for the resort behind-the-scenes, they’ve got arguably an even more important brand somewhere else — Orange, at Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic.
One of the most easily-missed sponsors it may be (particularly since the Hollywood transformation of the attraction’s entrance), but for France Télécom this is a brand that doesn’t only have significance in France — you’ll find Orange in Belgium, Spain, Switzlerand, Austria and the UK to name a few.
But, for “it’s a small world”, France Télécom have made their call.
Like the similar recent food retail kiosks from other partners like Coca-Cola, this is financed in full by the partner. Compared to those exact locations (among which L’Arbre Enchanté and Hollywood & Lime), it does seem Nescafé are a little less willing to invest.
Inside, there are little clues as to how the kiosk will be run and whether this circular area is now completely closed for use by the restaurant — the park’s only buffet service location and growing in popularity since the addition of a faint Ratatouille theme. Just a few metres away to the left, another, larger patio left behind by a now-departed Studio Catering Co van remains empty.
The newly themed and named location, situated at a heavily congested spot of the park between Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight, features an endless array of pirate props, Disney details and subtle Coca-Cola references. Everything from barrels of the famous soft drink to pirates’ tankards hung on the walls and a giant sail in the colours of red and white.
What sets this location apart? It was already there, and already doing fantastic business. Passing through this crowded pathway from the Fantasyland/Adventureland border to Pirates of the Caribbean, the queue for the hot dog and refreshments kiosk frequently tailed off toward the attraction itself.
So, whilst the Cool Station, L’Arbre Enchanté and Main Street Delivery Truck all tap into a brand new (and now already very successful) market, this one has already been raking in the gold for Coca Cola’s drinks for many years as a simple, unthemed food kiosk. Which, after only a quick glance at the amazing detail here, makes the transformation even more impressive.
The location now also has its own name for the first time – ‘Le Comptoir du Capitaine‘, translating roughly as “The Captain’s Trading Post/Bar”.
Not only does the location feature hidden Mickeys and countless Coca-Cola bottles, but you might even spot a few details from the movie trilogy in there – such as E.I.C. (East India Trading Company) branding on several bottles, edging the nearby attraction ever closer to its big-screen counterparts. The only detail surprisingly missing from the location is the classic line “Drink up me hearties, yo ho!”, which has never had a more perfect time for its use…
A simple food kiosk themed to this quality would be hard to spot at the US Disney parks or even Tokyo – the same standard of immersive themeing and storytelling which made the original 1992 park so congratulated now appears to be spreading and seeping further and further into the general fabric of the lands. With the resort’s management on a keen mission to continually drive up guest satisfaction and that quality Disney “edge” you won’t find anywhere else in Europe, it looks like they unlocked a real treasure chest with Coca Cola’s more active investment recently.
The only place still lacking this new themeing touch (other than Frontierland, which is already quite well served for food), would be Walt Disney Studios Park. With La Terrasse retaining its place as a refreshments courtyard once the Hollywood Boulevard project is complete, could Coca-Cola’s money next spill over into a new food retail location that isn’t a Studio Catering Co. van?
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