Monday, 31st March 2014

Ratatouille’s La Place de Rémy joins Walt Disney Studios Park and resort maps

Ratatouille Walt Disney Studios Park Disneyland Paris 2014 Map

La Place de Rémy has officially joined the Walt Disney Studios Park map. Pre-empting the expected guide map changeover on 3rd April, Disneyland Paris has released an early peek at the new, updated map for its second gate featuring the brand new mini-land.

Depicting the Parisian quarter to the right of Toy Story Playland in Toon Studio, the park map now shows the square, buildings, façades and all-important fountain of Ratatouille: The Adventure. The marquee logos of the ride, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, and the restaurant, Le Bistrot Chez Rémy, are both included, as is the logo-orientated style of the studio park map.

The map’s designers have chosen to end the façades immediately behind their rooftops, similar to several attractions such as Pirates of Caribbean on the Disneyland Park map, and not depict the massive showbuilding in any way. This makes the attraction the first to have a “hidden” or backstage showbuilding on the Walt Disney Studios Park map (even if in reality there’s no hiding it from within the park).

While Catastrophe Canyon and the Dinotopia set of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic have been moved to the right in order to fit the latest expansion on, the rest of the park map remains completely unchanged:

Ratatouille Walt Disney Studios Park Disneyland Paris 2014 Map

In fact, so much so that the version sent out today still features the Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! logo — the attraction has been rebranded to Disney Junior. The full map also inexplicably features Disney Village in the bottom-left corner, seen from the same viewpoint.

Besides the park, Ratatouille will also be featured on the general Disneyland Paris resort map, with a few of its façades pictured above Buzz Lightyear:

Ratatouille Walt Disney Studios Park Disneyland Paris 2014 Resort Map
Ratatouille Walt Disney Studios Park Disneyland Paris 2014 Resort Map

Looking back through the park’s previous maps, it is now relatively impressive to see the changes and expansions since opening day — though they have certainly been somewhat lop-sided, with Toon Studio getting much of the attention.

In 2001, perhaps the barest Disney Park map in history was released for pre-opening brochures:

Walt Disney Studios Park 2002 Map Disneyland Paris

This was thankfully soon updated with more of the park’s finer details (if not any of the numerous expansion rumours of the time, which would take five years to materialise):

Walt Disney Studios Park 2003 Map Disneyland Paris

Then, the first and still biggest change to date came in 2007, when Crush’s Coaster, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Hollywood Boulevard were all added to the map in one go:

Walt Disney Studios Park 2007 Map Disneyland Paris

In 2010, the map was updated with Toy Story Playland along with updated logos for Disney Blockbuster Café and Restaurant des Stars.

As with 2007, the early addition of Ratatouille will give the ride some much-needed advance publicity for guests visiting in the months before its opening.

While teasers have been shared online, the expansion must be one of the first in Disneyland Paris history not to see its construction walls decorated with even a modest teaser of what is being built within. With so many missed promotional opportunities already, it’s a relief to see this one seized, if only thanks to the traditional bi-annual guide map changeover…

Thursday, 6th February 2014

Falconer called in to ward off pesky gulls in the Disneyland Paris parks

Disneyland Paris falconer deters gulls

Please don’t “feed the birds”, as several notices around Disneyland Paris kindly request. Maybe it’s the large bodies of the water, the endless dropped food and crumbs, or perhaps even the allure of the Disney magic itself; over the years seagulls have become a frequent nuisance for the mouse in Marne-la-Vallée. Not just detracting from exotic vistas such as the legendary Rivers of the Far West, but causing a maintenance pain for cleaning and repainting too.

Time for some new tactics, then, as the resort unusually announces on its official Twitter the past eight days have seen a trial operation with a falconer and his trusty bird of prey, circling the Chessy skies to deter gulls from descending in the parks. One moment saw the falcon swoop right across the stained glass window of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.

Disneyland Paris falconer deters gulls

Disney_ParisFR later confirmed the effort had been a success and would be used again in the future. Coincidentally, seagulls only ever appear to be an issue in Disneyland Park and around Lake Disney in Disney Village. In Walt Disney Studios Park, you’re actually far more likely to see animatronic versions. Maybe they’re disappointed by the park, too?

With this trial proven, perhaps falconry could be employed to discourage other Disneyland Paris nuisances: the street sellers on the resort hub, that guest who blocks your view of Disney Dreams! just as the show begins, the lone smoker along a crowded parade route… What, no?

VIA @Disney_ParisEN (Twitter)

Wednesday, 5th February 2014

First Quarter 2014: Revenues, attendance, hotel occupancy down; guest spending up

Disney Dreams! of Christmas - Disneyland Paris

Euro Disney S.C.A. published its First Quarter results yesterday for the 2014 fiscal year, with the Disneyland Paris operating group announcing a series of disappointing drops across the board, helped only by some modest guest spending increases.

Covering the period from 1st October to 31st December 2013, the first quarter saw overall Resort revenues fall by 5% to €304.9 million, from €320.7 million in the same period the previous year. For the Theme Parks segment it was less severe, with a drop of just over 3%, while the Hotels and Disney Village saw the worst results with an almost 6% drop in revenues.

Disneyland Paris First Quarter Q1 2014 results

With a 9.6 percentage point decrease in hotel occupancy, equating to 51,000 fewer room nights old compared to the previous year, an increase of 6% in average spending per room might look like the only good news here. But even this rise was due only to higher daily room rates, and actually offset by lower spending on food and beverage.

In the parks, attendance decreased by 7%. Though this quarter marks the first results since the end of the 20th Anniversary on 30th September 2013, this figure must still be disappointing given the extra investments made to the Halloween and Christmas seasons, arguably now at their strongest for years. Average spending per guest increased by 4%, however, with Euro Disney S.C.A. pointing to not just higher admissions prices but (at long last) higher spending on merchandise, too.

In his standard statement, Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:

“In a still challenging economic environment, we realized lower attendance and occupancy as compared to last year, which resulted in a 5% decrease in resort revenues. However our strategy aimed at increasing guest contribution helped us offset some of the attendance and occupancy weakness as we achieved record guest spending in both our parks and hotels for a first quarter.

Even though we remain prudent given the current economic environment, we believe the fundamentals of our business are strong and we are confident in our long-term strategy focused on investing in the guest experience. The opening of our new Ratatouille-themed attraction this summer fully reflects this growth strategy.”

What appears evident, from the hotel results in particular, is that visitors are more careful than ever about how they spend their money and whether they actually get value back. For an experience like Disneyland Paris, visitors are probably more willing to splash out on a luxury like a Disney Hotel stay, even though they know the value-for-money is questionable. But only up to a point.

And after such a large initial outlay, most will inevitably then reign in spending on extras — meals, shows, merchandise — and scrutinise every Euro spent. Getting greedy with that initial booking price could mean a loss in spending throughout the entire trip. Or it could, more and more often it seems, mean that the initial hotel booking never takes place at all — another company gets the revenue and the room night — or, worst case, the visitor decides not to visit Disneyland Paris at all.

We have, at least, seen a slight shift in hotel package promotions away from huge discounts of up to 40%, which surely only eroded the perceived brand value, and towards “added value” offers like free Half Board Meal Plans or extra nights. More like this would be welcome — rather than taking Euros off a booking, why not offer that as “free” spending money in the parks on a gift card?

Could Ratatouille: The Ride be the saving grace of 2014? Intriguingly, this press release suddenly changes the wording to an opening date of “early Summer”. With results like these, the sooner they can get something of that “growth strategy” on the table, the better.

VIA Disneyland Paris Corporate (PDF Press Release)

Tuesday, 31st December 2013

Ratatouille ride: First official press release for l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy ride

Happy New Year! It’s officially 2014 at Disneyland Paris and we’ve got the perfect reason to celebrate. This is the year Walt Disney Studios Park welcomes a brand new, world-exclusive dark ride, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, and today is the day — midnight precisely — our embargo is lifted on a new official press release for this eagerly-awaited attraction.

Disneyland Paris published a press release finally announcing the attraction back in February, but since then we’ve been given an official name and an exciting marketing visual. Today’s press release for “l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy” therefore is the first to really get the attraction’s concept (much-discussed and well-known in fan circles) into official print… along with the all-important final names for its adjoining restaurant and shop.

The world of Ratatouille comes to Disneyland Paris in 2014

Next summer, Disneyland Paris will unveil a major new attraction and mini-land inspired by the Oscar-winning Disney•Pixar film Ratatouille. The film, directed by Brad Bird, tells the tale of Rémy, a young rat who has amazing talents in the kitchen and dreams of one day becoming a great chef.

This leads to a fun but perilous journey that eventually lands him as the head chef of one of the most famous restaurants in Paris. Now Rémy has arrived at Walt Disney Studios Park to share his culinary delights and crazy adventures with the entire family.

On the attraction Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, guests will shrink down to the size of a rat and join Rémy and his friends as they scurry through the kitchen, dining room, and walls of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant, all the while trying to avoid the nemesis from the film, Chef Skinner. This first of its kind Disney attraction will immerse guests into an animated world like never before as they experience what it’s like to be a rat in a human sized world.

The attraction is located in a new corner of Toon Studio that’s been transformed into a Ratatouille-inspired version of the City of Light. In addition to the attraction, this mini-land also features a shop, Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris, and a rat-scale themed table service restaurant, Bistrot Chez Rémy. The restaurant, which is the only one of its kind across Disney Parks worldwide, is directly adjacent to the attraction and serves the “little chef’s” famous dish, ratatouille.

After Crush’s Coaster, Cars Race Rally and Toy Story Playland, Ratatouille will be the fourth attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Park inspired by a Disney•Pixar film. Disneyland Paris will once again combine its narration skills with state-of-the-art technology to offer the best possible experience.

Next summer, join us for Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, only at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris.

So that’s “Bistrot Chez Rémy” for the restaurant, located in the same building as the ride, and “Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris” for the boutique, located next door in part of the former costuming workshops. The whole Parisian quarter at the back of Toon Studio has come along remarkably in recent months, its finely detailed façades now rich in colour and life.

Ratatouille dark ride construction (C) InsideDLParis
Ratatouille dark ride construction (C) InsideDLParis

If only we could take a peek inside those walls…

The attraction and restaurant open Summer 2014, with the boutique following in Autumn 2014.

Explore our past news articles here!

PHOTOS VIA @InsideDLParis

Sunday, 22nd April 2012

Park-exclusive ‘Disneyland Paris: 20 Years of Dreams’ book on sale tomorrow, 23rd April

Disneyland Paris: 20 Years of Dreams book

Couldn’t quite make it for the 12th April 2012 celebrations? You weren’t the only one. Slightly delayed from the shelves of Disneyland Paris boutiques was the new 192-page book all about the history of the resort. We reported its impending arrival late last month amongst the flurry of 20th Anniversary news, and it looks to be an impressive tome indeed. Available as a single 192-page book with both French and English text, it features over 500 images from the history of the resort, charting 20 years of progress and expansion from 1992 to today. And, though the publisher couldn’t quite meet the historic date itself, the book does now have a release date: tomorrow, 23rd April 2012!

The official blurb reads:

“Twenty years ago, Disneyland® Paris opened and Walt Disney’s dreams came to life in the place where the stories that inspired him were born. Since then, Imagineers, artists and Cast Members have worked together every day to share those dreams with more than 250 million guests. Relive, year by year, highlights from two decades of dreams and innovations at Disneyland Paris, through rare and never-seen-before artwork, photographs and interviews. From Walt Disney Imagineering to the expansion of Val d’Europe, peek into the life of a company that serves the area and those around. 20 Years of Dreams is both a must-have souvenir of Disneyland Paris and a family album covering the first twenty years of Europe’s number one tourist destination.”

Titled “Disneyland Paris: 20 Years of Dreams” (or “20 Ans de Rêves”) and priced at €49.99, it will be on sale exclusively at the following boutiques: The Emporium, The Storybook Store, Harrington’s, Walt Disney Studios Store, The Disney Animation Gallery, La Boutique du Château, The Disney Gallery, Disney Store, Galerie Mickey. You can see a glimpse inside here.

If you’re not planning to visit or revisit the resort again soon you can also get your hands on one of the 5,000 copies from the first print run via the official mail order service. Call +33 164744486 or +33 164744848 or email dlp.mail.order@disney.com. Note that Annual Passport and other discounts are not available on books.

Saturday, 11th February 2012

“Retro-Vintage” one of three promising buzzwords for 20th Anniversary merchandise

The ’90s are back, baby! What once was cast aside as garish colour and simplistic design could be set for a renaissance, if reports of Disneyland Paris’ merchandise ranges for the 20th Anniversary prove accurate. Alongside buzzwords “Celebration” and “Signature”, we’ll see a range titled “Retro-Vintage”, reports Cast Member @ulyssecuvelier on Twitter. Though some niche “Euro Disney” throwback pins were released for the 15th Anniversary, this could be the first time Disneyland Paris has truly explored its own past as a “vintage” idea to be resold anew.

However, with modern 2012 trends now looking back particularly favourably on this early 1990s era, what was garish or simplistic is now gradually being seen again as bold or refined instead. We’re all familiar with throwbacks to the 1950s design style of the original Disneyland, epitomised in websites such as Yesterland, with its colourful flags and block lettering. Even Walt Disney World mines its own past with much focus on Spaceship Earth and its original globe logo (examples below).

But what does “retro-vintage” mean to the relatively youthful resort in Paris? Well — take a look back at the first collage above! We’ve collected together just a few fine examples from our own Euro Souvenirland website, showing off the striking design style which saw Disneyland bombastically launch itself into Europe. A world away from the dazzling, multifaceted, but ultimately somewhat hollow, heavily photoshopped brand of 2012, the simple graphical designs of 1992 look ripe for revisiting.

Incredibly evocative of their time, any of these examples would work wonderfully re-applied to bags, T-shirts, keyrings and beyond. Just look at those paper bags and napkins — the illustrations on those are far more attractive than anything you’ll find even on the merchandise itself today!

It remains to be seen whether Disneyland Paris would want to reuse the Euro Disney logo specifically (unlikely), but it wouldn’t be hard to work the current logo back into this style… that’s if the merchandisers have the same idea of “retro-vintage” as us. We await 1st April 2012 to find out, if 12th April 1992 will come around again…

Also reported to be making up the range of birthday merchandise is a special Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary wine by Domaine Bertrand. A revisit of an idea from the 15th Anniversary, it will be available in a commemorative bottle as red, white or rosé.

• In the meantime, explore more “retro-vintage” memorabilia at Euro Souvenirland.com!

VIA @ulyssecuvelier (Twitter)

Tuesday, 7th February 2012

Resort revenues up 4%, attendance up 5%, not a rat to be found in First Quarter 2012 results

Disneyland Paris saw overall revenue growth of just 1% in the first quarter of its 2012 financial year, from 1st October to 31st December 2011. The results, published this morning by operating group Euro Disney S.C.A., make for unremarkable if somewhat reassuring reading given the economic climate. Resort revenues, for Theme Parks, Disney Village and Hotels, actually rose a good 4% in the quarter, brought down for the total figure only by lower real estate revenue compared to 2011. Park attendance itself grew a surprising 5%, due to higher numbers visiting from France itself, perhaps taking advantage of the mild late Autumn for last minute trips, with total Theme Park revenues up 7%.

Philippe Gas, CEO, comments that “improved attendance and guest spending are encouraging, especially in light of the challenging economic environment.”

However, average spending per guest in the parks was up by only 1% and average spending per room at Disney Hotels up only 2%. Total Disney Village and Hotel revenues grew by just 1% and room occupancy at Disney Hotels actually fell by 1.1 percentage points. It seems that, despite continued success in getting guests through the park gates, the resort still struggles at turning these numbers into anything more than negligible increases in revenue, probably driven more by price increases than additional purchases. It has to be said that, for a visitor, the resort’s casual dining fare remains largely out of date and uninspiring, while the merchandise range simply fails to engage for many demographics. At a time when a guest will consider and reconsider every additional purchase on top of their ticket, the resort certainly isn’t doing badly, but it is failing to make many consequential gains.

Nor is the dip in hotel room occupancy disastrous, especially after a sharp (and perhaps, unsustainable) jump of 5.6 percentage points in FY2011. Yet perhaps it reflects a growing feeling amongst visitors that the Disney Hotels do not offer the best value for their money. High standard room rates have combined with aggressive discounting over several years to suggest that “the price on the label” may not necessarily be the price they’re worth. A quick visit to any online trip planning forum will immediately bring up potential visitors merely biding their time for the next “big offer” or “flash sale” — hey, like this one! — which, while useful for propping up numbers, must surely be harming the brand value associated with Disneyland Paris. Will anyone ever want to pay full price again?

Signing off, Philippe Gas mentions only the 20th Anniversary: “In April we look forward to launching our twentieth anniversary celebrations with brand new experiences for our guests, including the Disney Dreams®! night-time show, an innovative light and color spectacular. It will also be
an opportunity to celebrate a two-decade journey with our cast members, our guests as well as our key public and private partners who have helped Disneyland Paris become Europe’s number one tourist destination.” Meanwhile the footnotes include only the same passing mention to the launch of a “multi-year expansion of the Walt Disney Studios® Park, which includes a new attraction.” So, despite construction having begun, no Ratatouille dark ride announcement yet; and all eyes on the 20th…

VIA Euro Disney S.C.A. Fiscal year 2012 – First Quarter Announcement (PDF)

Thursday, 24th November 2011

Fan Survey: Disneyland Paris asks its fans “How are we doing?” in exclusive online questionnaire

In a unique first, Disneyland Paris is launching an official online survey, right at this moment, seeking only the feedback of one particular group of visitors: the fans! The questionnaire aims to not only build more of an understanding about why we become fans and what we appreciate the most about Disneyland, but what we expect from our relationship with the resort.

Don’t expect any questions asking you whether you’d rather see Splash Mountain or Indiana Jones Adventure as the next E-Ticket, but do be prepared for some very intriguing questions about where Disneyland Paris may take its relationship with fans next. Suggestions throughout the survey include an official blog, perhaps similar to the existing Disney Parks Blog, or even an official discussion forum. The possibility of “fan events”, which could mean anything from simple gatherings to special events such as those for D23 in the U.S., is mooted several times.

On the subject of what would be most likely to draw us back to the magic, we’re given several options: from “New Attraction” right at the top (we’ll all click that one, right?) to more minor occasions such as a new character meet ‘n’ greet or even a new piece of merchandise.

You’ll also have a chance to share feedback on the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts for Disneyland Paris, which were only launched in early 2010. Do you think those accounts do a good enough job of communicating with visitors, sharing the magic of the resort and the latest news?

One particular section of the survey (above) asks whether you currently visit any websites related to Disneyland — and if so, which ones. There’s a “Dlrp Today” box on there which, once clicked, grants you our eternal gratitude. For extra bonus points — but of course only if you use the websites — you could add “DLRP Magic” or our friends “Photos Magiques” to the “Other” box at the bottom.

The survey only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on how much you write, but it’s open from now until 12th December 2011, so there’s no need to rush to fill it in if it’s not convenient right now. No personal details are required, but you can optionally give your email address to be informed of any future surveys. As an exclusive survey just for fans it won’t be communicated via the more “mainstream” channels such as the resort’s Facebook page (with its 1.3m+ fans), so we should all make sure to seize this unique opportunity to give feedback and tips direct to Disneyland Paris, which may lead to a better experience for us and even greater success for the resort we love.

Update: Some Firefox users have reported problems completing the survey. Use Internet Explorer, Safari or Google Chrome instead, if you can!

Sunday, 20th November 2011

Reductions across the board for park ticket prices — if you’re paying in pound sterling

We’ve no doubt become acclimatised to the biannual Disneyland Paris ticket price rises in April and November each year — a pound here, a Euro there — but this season holds a pleasant surprise for visitors from the United Kingdom, at least. Rather than ticket prices jumping up again, as they did with a big increase for the price of longer stays in April, almost all of the Adult ticket prices and even a few Child prices have actually been reduced by a pound or more.

This means that a 1 Day/1 Park Ticket will now cost you a rounded £50 bought in advance from the UK, rather than the £51 before 8th November. Likewise, a 1 Day/2 Park Ticket has been rounded down to a neat £60. And, perhaps realising they stepped too far up earlier this year, the top 5 Day/2 Park Ticket has been reduced by a whole £8 to £169 (although with the Extra Day Free offer, the real price is £152 — and even then you’d be mad not to just buy an Annual Passport).

Here’s the full round-up of price changes for both Pound Sterling and Euros:

Ticket Type — Adult/Child (3-11yrs)

  • 1 Day 1 Park
    £51/£45 to £50/£45 (-£1/+-£0) — €57/€51 to €59/€53 (+€2/+€2)
  • 1 Day 2 Parks
    £61/£55 to £60/£54 (-£1/-£1) — €69/€62 to €71/€64 (+€2/+€2)
  • 2 Days 2 Parks
    £108/£97 to £104/£94 (-£4/-£3) — €122/€109 to €123/€111 (+€1/+€2)
  • 3 Days 2 Parks
    £134/£115 to £129/£117 (-£5/+£2) — €151/€130 to €153/€138 (+€2/+€8)
  • 4 Days 2 Parks
    £159/£134 to £152/£137 (-£7/+£3) — €179/€151 to €180/€162 (+€1/+€11)
  • 5 Days 2 Parks
    £177/£141 to £169/£152 (-£8/+£11) — €200/€180

You can find a complete guide to Disneyland Paris Park Tickets here.

Friday, 18th November 2011

Disney’s PhotoPass system now being trialled in Paris for simpler souvenir photos

From rumour to reality: Disneyland Paris has just begun trialling its very own Disney’s PhotoPass-style service for souvenir character photos. Word spread across Twitter last month that it might be happening, now low and behold @InsideDLParis has provided the very first look at one of the new cards. The “Disney’s PhotoPass” branding is conspicuously absent (and so is some of the functionality — see below) but the essence of the system is there: By handing this card to an official photographer before posing for a photo with characters, they’ll be able to “link” all your souvenir snaps into a single “account” on the resort’s computer system, meaning you can view and purchase all your photos in one go. Currently, guests have to fumble around with a separate paper ticket for every single photo. This credit card-sized slip, being less easy to lose or spoil, should also translate into more photo sales for Disney — if guests bother to check out their photos at one of the nine boutiques listed on the reverse.

Because it’s the clever online element to the American parks’ PhotoPass which appears to be missing, at least from this trial. Over the in US, guests can actually log into www.disneyphotopass.com after their visit using the details on their card, where they can then order prints or photo souvenirs at their leisure.

Quite why Paris don’t simply jump in with the same smart functionality (and branding) of the US system is a mystery, but at least this is a welcome first step to a more user-friendly (read: sales-friendly), 21st Century system for photo sales at a time when the resort’s guest spending levels remain stagnant.

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

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