Tuesday, 12th August 2008

Live music talent finally given its own times guide

Say a big thank you to Nicolas Gobin, the subject of our latest “behind-the-magic” Media Magic Interview. Because, not only has the resort’s Atmosphere Talent Manager brought live music back to the parks in a big way, he’s taken a future item off our Wish List by finally giving them their own proper showtimes guide!

Available now at Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park and the Disney Hotels, this brand new flyer presents the latest performance times for the resort’s live music talent.

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Download the original PDF version of the new flyer here (3.5Mb).

The design is colourful, clear and also surprisingly “extravagant” for the resort, using new graphics of musical intruments, new photos and even a proper logo in French and English for each act. Considering we’ve hardly even seen an official logo for Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, this is a job very, very well done.

Now, we can finally be right on-time to enjoy the five musical acts of the two Disney parks!

Click here to read the Media Magic Interview with Nicolas Gobin in full, about his history at Disneyland Resort Paris and how he came to introduce and manage the musical acts you see above »

[Flyer © Disney]

Tuesday, 12th August 2008

200,000,000th guest arrives!

Imagine the scene… it’s just any regular morning at Disneyland Park. You walk through Fantasia Gardens at a brisk pace, deciding where you’re going to head first. You get your park ticket ready for the turnstile and step under Disneyland Hotel to the entrance gates.

But, when you put your ticket into the machine and step through, you’re surrounded by confetti, cheering, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney officials and a giant placard proclaiming you as the 200,000,000th (200 millionth) guests!


Today, Tuesday 12th August 2008, exactly that happened. The Yernaux family from Salon de Provence in France were given the momentous accolade of being our European Disney resort’s 200 millionth guests!

After a festive welcome and photos with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Euro Disney Vice President François Banon, they enjoyed an unforgettable day at the park littered with special exclusives and VIP experiences. This evening, they will enjoy a special dinner at Walt’s – An American Restaurant in Main Street, U.S.A. and have been upgraded to a suite in the brand new Empire State Club at Disney’s Hotel New York.


With more than 14.5 million guests last year, fans with a calculator and a list of previous attendance records could well see that this occasion would soon arrive — as of 31st March 2008, overall attendance at the resort’s two parks totalled 194.1 million. And, as the Disney Hotels can now boast an occupancy rate of 89.3%, it all serves to confirm, 16 years on, that Disneyland Resort Paris is far and away the leading tourist destination in Europe.

The last attendance milestone, the 100 millionth guest, happened just 7 years ago in January 2001.


Today’s 200 million barrier also gives us an update on attendance so far this year. With first half (from October 2007) attendance of 7 million, we can now add 5.9 million — so far — for the second half. This gives us 12.9 million guests through the gates in financial year 2008 so far and therefore only 1.6 million more needed between now and the end of the year on 30th September to keep a steady 14.5 million, last year’s attendance record.

By comparison, last year’s second half brought us an incredible 8.4 million visitors, the highest in the resort’s history. A successful final month-and-a-half could well allow the resort to beat last year’s record. Beating the elusive 15 million mark, however — the annual figure Disney originally wanted after the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park — remains as challenging as ever.

[Pictures © Disney]

Wednesday, 6th August 2008

End of 15th Anniversary set for 7th March 2009

It began 493 days ago. The 15th Anniversary Celebration of Disneyland Resort Paris has certainly rolled on for longer than we all expected — being extended for another year as it was with ‘The Celebration Continues’ — but, as the final end date has now been announced, it’s a worrying concept.

No more Disney Characters’ Express, no more Candleabration. No more Lumière banners at every turn or ’15s’ on everything in sight. We are now really, truly in the home straight on this epic — and, we have to say, wonderful — celebration.

The date it all ends, as confirmed by the latest Autumn/Winter 2008/09 official brochure: 7th March 2009.


What will happen in the parks that day? Nothing is announced yet. It’s the days after, those three lonely weeks before the start of a new season in April 2009, that will be the most interesting.

Disneyland Resort Paris certainly feels to have settled nicely into its 15th Anniversary overlay, and so removing every tiny mention of the celebration — from merchandise through to advertising and all those napkins, cups and decorations between — will be a big task.

What won’t be removed? Well, unsurprisingly the expensive and incredibly popular Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade is here to stay. And don’t expect the Casey Jr. train and character meet ‘n’ greets of Disney Characters’ Express to go far. The concept of a main show on Central Plaza is also ready and waiting to be used again.

But, for the 15th Anniversary Celebration as we’ve known and loved it for so long, that we watched grow from those first logos and concepts through to the incredible launch night fireworks, time is running out.

You’ve got just 7 months exactly to “live your dream”, one last time…

[Images © Disney]

Thursday, 24th July 2008

Modest gains in Third Quarter results as Fiscal Year 2008 holds strong

The financial year of 2008 thus far has been nothing short of a fairytale success. For the nine months ended 30th June 2008, overall revenues increased an impressive 12% on the same period last year.

Revenues for the Third Quarter itself rose only 3%, however, which, despite the displacement of the important Easter Holiday compared to the 2007 results, could suggest that the resort is having to work hard this Summer to pushing itself beyond the record achievements made last year.

Here are the main points of this announcement, which does not include exact numbers for statistics such as park attendance, accumulating all the figures so far for the past nine months:

‘¢ Overall revenues for the nine months ended June 30, 2008 increased 12% to € 937.4 million from € 834.3 million in the prior-year period.

‘¢ Theme parks revenues increased 13% to € 498.4 million from € 443.0 million in the prior-year period, driven by increases in attendance and average spending per guest.

‘¢ Hotels and Disney Village revenues increased 10% to € 371.4 million from € 338.0 million in the prior-year period, primarily driven by increases in average spending per room and hotel occupancy.

‘¢ Real estate revenues increased € 16.8 million from the prior-year period to € 25.6 million, principally resulting from € 12.5 million of revenue related to the first quarter 2008 sale of a property in Val d’Europe which had been subject to a long term ground lease.

‘¢ Revenues for the Third Quarter increased 3% to € 331.9 million despite the shift of the Easter Holiday in some of our key markets from April in the prior-year period to March in the current-year period.

Commenting on the results, Karl L. Holz, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S, said:

“We are pleased with our continued solid results through the Third Quarter, as we move into the peak summer season. The Celebration Continues… Big Time!, particularly as our guests respond positively to our new offerings in the Walt Disney Studios Park. Our guests are enjoying the thrills of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the magic of an interactive experience with a favorite Disney character in Stitch Live!. High School Musical 2 is also creating emotional connections through high energy performances and sing-along dance routines.

Our teams are fully mobilized to provide a high-quality guest experience through a combination of new services, iconic attractions and immersive entertainment that only Disney can create.”

So, how are things looking? Overall, very good indeed. There are no horror stories here or any reports which might make a shareholder nervous for the full Annual Report in November. The waters are calm, the course steady. Euro Disney SCA’s position is getting ever stronger.

With the displacement of the Easter Holiday this year to the second quarter, however, it is hard to gauge exactly how well the resort is still growing. An overall gain of just 3% in revenues compared to the same period last year does on first glance seem rather worrying considering the vast expenditure just made to build and promote an attraction as large as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, especially when you consider park attendance itself increased just 1% in the three months.

Worrying on one hand, yes, but on the other, it is still a gain — and a gain compared to the record 14.5 million visitors of last year at that. The resort is well on course to post a brand new (if only very modestly higher) visitor record in its Annual Report for 2008. Compared to the launch of Walt Disney Studios Park in 2002, which brought only a tiny attendance growth and a severe drop-off the next year, this at least proves that the incremental series of investments and relaunch of the destination for its 15th Anniversary was well-formulated and has good staying power.

The record achievements of last year will be hard to build upon in a big way so quickly, true, but they weren’t a flash in the pan — that’s the most important thing.

— You can see the full report as a PDF download here.

— Find our previous report on the First Half 2008 results here.

Sunday, 6th July 2008

2 Parks, 1 Plan – Meet the new, single park map

Some might say it’s a way to save paper. Others might say it’s to coax more people across to the Studios. The more romantic might even say the “love” theme of The Enchanted Fireworks brought them together at last.

In fact, several months in the planning and design, yesterday saw the launch of a brand new park map ready for the Summer season. As expected for a while now, big changes lie in store for us. There are no more “Little Park Guides” and no more blue or pink covers. No longer will each park have its own, unique leaflet to guide you around.

Meet the new… Plan des Parcs. Two park maps… in one.


The pocket size of recent years is ditched in favour of a size more similar to the maps pre-2003, a regular leaflet size, which folds out across five sheets horizontally and double the size vertically. This seems like a big park guide, but then it does need to cover two entire Disney Parks:


It’s a landmark day for Disney theme parks, the first time two parks have ever shared the same plan. But why? Well, imagine this scene…

You’re visiting Disneyland Resort Paris just for one day. Naturally, you pick Disneyland Park to spend all your time in and stroll straight past the entrance to the Studios. What’s in there? No idea. As you pass through the turnstiles and pick up your map, you get a full guide to Disneyland Park, and nothing more. That other park across the way looked like nothing more than a series of giant yellow buildings — there’s no way of really knowing what lies beyond the imposing Disney Studio 1. You can’t be blamed for missing such top-rated classics as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, CinéMagique or Crush’s Coaster.

Now, with the two maps in one, a visitor just stopping by at Disneyland Park opens their map to find a whole new park at the top, with plenty of rather interesting sights. Attractions themed to new films like Cars and Finding Nemo, not to mention truly special experiences like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live!. You’d want to hop over and check it out, wouldn’t you?

Rather than keeping visitors in the dark about what lies within the park next door, it does indeed make much more sense to advertise it to all, make the most of its great guest satisfaction scores.

Are there bad points? Sure. Beyond the fact that converging the parks like this might make their individuality a little less special, the new design has for some reason completely dropped the descriptions for some of the major attractions. How are first-time visitors really meant to know what happens in Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom Manor or Art of Disney Animation? The restaurant listing also exposes a real horror for Walt Disney Studios Park‘s dining, listing its limited number of eateries in one category, alongside entire lands at Disneyland Park.

The good points and the positive effect this double park plan should have on guests’ awareness of the two, separate parks, especially now Walt Disney Studios Park has some top-notch themeing along with great attractions, will far outweigh any niggling negatives. Last month we consolidated our two cumbersome Entertainment Programmes into a single, simpler leaflet, and now we only have a single park map to carry around.

Not that we need a map to find our way around Disneyland Resort Paris, of course, but we still have that collection to think of…

[Photo credit: Mouetto, Disney Central Plaza forum]

Thursday, 26th June 2008

Prince Caspian: Official launch video

The official 15th Anniversary blog has shared this collection of clips and soundbites from the events last Friday, providing a look at the unique medieval ceremony in front of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and the arrival of the stars outside Gaumont Disney Village:

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Launch

The entire event was undoubtedly a huge success, bringing the magic of a brand new Disney film direct to Disneyland Resort Paris, raising the resort’s profile and providing a unique “I was there!” moment to guests on the day. We can only hope this is the start of more fruitful relationship with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (formerly Buena Vista Distribution), that leads to more events like this and less giant billboards…

« Part 4 of our Prince Caspian series ‘¢

[Video © Disney]

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is released in the UK today! Have you seen the film yet? Share your thoughts and reviews on the magicforum topic!

Wednesday, 25th June 2008

Prince Caspian: Character debuts, White Witch returns

Since the White Witch’s appearances in the first half of 2006, following the release of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Backlot has been the unlikely home of a little slice of Narnia magic — the frosty throne from her spectacular ice palace, housed within a covered black box as if a piece of the film set had been cut away and lifted here. To the side of the scene stands a figure of the Witch’s old assistant, Ginarrbrik.

We recently asked in our Question of the Week, “Which of the 2008 Disney Character would you most like to meet at Disneyland Resort Paris?”. Whilst an overwhelming majority of 79 votes to 21 voted for Pixar’s cute little waste-cleaning robot WALL-E to debut, the incredibly low likelihood of this means that, in reality, Prince Caspian has probably just won the competition.

Why? Because, he has arrived! The CharactersPhotos blog snapped the first pictures…


The new Prince Caspian is certainly a rather dashing figure of royalty, and surprisingly close to the Ben Barnes original as seen in the film. Whilst using the same costume of a green armour, black cape, brown boots and gloves and green sword sheild as the character, the Paris equivalent is rather more fresh-faced than the prince recently debuted over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

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As Prince Caspian signed autographs for the first time this weekend, soon the reasoning behind keeping the ice palace scene in place — rather than replacing it with, for example, something like the overgrown ruins set used in Hong Kong — became clear.

Not only has Prince Caspian debuted at Walt Disney Studios Park, the infamous — and very popular — White Witch has returned!

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Her icy glare is just as startling as ever, returning the exceptional costume introduced in 2006 to the park, complete with brilliant white (fake) fur coat, crystal-blonde locks, frosted crown and an icy staff. Note also the speckles of frost running down her cheeks, and the tiny white icicles on her eyelids.


The new guy Prince Caspian is going to have some competition for those autographs this Summer.

Exact times of the character appearances are not included in the regular park Programme leaflet, likely due to the small availability of these cast members that also affected the early appearances of Jack Sparrow. Keep an eye out next time you’re in Backlot, though — you never know when the door to Narnia might open.

Sooner than we thought, anyway — even if this isn’t yet the full attraction as rumoured recently.

« Part 3 of our Prince Caspian series ‘¢ Part 5 of our Prince Caspian series »

[Photos: © Characters Photos blog (more here) ]

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is released in the UK tomorrow, 26th June 2008.

Wednesday, 25th June 2008

Prince Caspian: Nighttime launch events bring Narnia to Fantasyland

Dramatic, colourful lighting, projections on Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and many strange Narnian-esque creatures roamed the courtyard to provide an extra after-party of entertainment for the assembled guests and celebrities from across Europe.

Such a party in this area of the park is quite unusual and certainly hasn’t been seen for many years. With plans for Paris versions of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to be held in Fantasyland this October, this could even give an idea of the special mood lighting of those upcoming events.

Effects included smoke from inside the castle and lights up inside La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant, changing colour to illuminate the stained-glass windows in spectacularl fashion throughout the show.

Fire artists and mythological stilt-walkers take over the courtyard, lit in rays of rich red light.

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The film’s logo is projected on the gallery balcony behind, with the stained-glass windows illuminated in red as the creatures and stunt performers roamed around, interacting with guests.

Dramatic lighting changes from fiery reds and pinks…

…to cool blues and greens, with the stained-glass behind joining in.

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Guests stepped through a wall of smoke inside the Castle to enter this live version of a Narnia-like world.

Whilst Fantasyland appears to have been seized as the perfect place to host Narnian events for the launch of Prince Caspian, the royal figure himself had already made plans to make his daily appearance elsewhere…

« Part 2 of our Prince Caspian series ‘¢ Part 4 of our Prince Caspian series »

[Photos: © Disney]

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is released in the UK tomorrow, 26th June 2008.

Tuesday, 24th June 2008

Prince Caspian: French Narnia premiere at Gaumont Disney Village

The wide resort esplanade in Paris is usually a place of guests rushing hurriedly from hotel-to-park or park-to-park, eager to begin their Disney experience. Last Friday at around 7.00pm, however, they were in for a shock — the gateway to Narnia had sprung open right there, bringing the stars of the film and their medieval extras on a long route all the way from Disneyland Hotel to Disney Village…

In the first car, William Moseley (Peter) and Georgie Henley (Lucy).

Following, Anna Popplewell (Susan) and Skandar Keynes (Edmund) made their way through the gardens, past the train station, to the newly-green (is “Narnia-like” pushing it?) Disney Village.

A large crowd was gathered well in advance of the arrival of the lead actors, thanks to plentiful publicity by the resort and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures — not to mention the many camera crews setting up outside the cinema doors. Each car, in fresh Narnia-like colours, was decorated with themed flags bearing the film’s logo.

The biggest star of the film arrives — Prince Caspian himself, Ben Barnes, joined by director Andrew Adamson.

Prince Caspian will likely be Adamson’s final time directing a Narnia film. For the third, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due in 2010, British director Michael Apted has already been signed on. Adamson will remain as a producer.

Many fans like those hoping for an autograph and photo here, will be glad to hear that all the principle cast have already been signed onto the third film.

For William Moseley, that means another long line of adoring (and mostly female) fans.

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But now, he has competition — Ben Barnes has been thrust head-first into the big time as lead character Prince Caspian, with Disney trumpeting its choice to begin promotion of the film with a single one-sheet poster featuring just this star. / Andrew Adamson asks if the throne (behind) is intended for him

Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Ben Barnes, Anna Popplewell

The young cast with producer Mark Johnson (left) and Vincent Grass (right), who plays Doctor Cornelius

The entire company pose for the bank of photographers and journalists in front of the entrance doors to Gaumont Cinemas in Disney Village, surrounded by actors from the earlier medieval ceremony.

Numerous French celebrities and personalities, such as Emilie Dequenne, Geraldine Pailhas, Jovanka Sopalovic, Clovis Cornillac, Antoine de Maximy, David Halliday, Richard Dacoury, Laura Flessel and Julie Gayet also attended the premiere, posing for photographs and interviews on the throne positioned in front of the giant ‘Prince Caspian’ backdrop.

« Part 1 of our Prince Caspian series ‘¢ Part 3 of our Prince Caspian series »

[Photos: © Disney]

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is released in the UK this Thursday, 26th June 2008.

Tuesday, 24th June 2008

Prince Caspian: Medieval ceremony and Narnia stars launch new film at Disneyland Park

In December 2005, Walt Disney Pictures broke box office records and enchanted millions when they took us through the wardrobe into the magical world of Narnia. Now, the stars are back, the budget is bigger and the stakes — for both the land of Narnia and Disney — are higher than ever.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is finally released in cinemas across Europe this week and, in an exceptionally smart move, Disneyland Resort Paris welcomed the actors to Disneyland Park last Friday, 20th June 2008 with a motor car parade along Main Street and a dazzling medieval ceremony featuring everything from jugglers of fire to birds of prey.

The sequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe moved much of its production to the Czech Republic, with the young actors appearing to take part in this special ceremony and sign autographs for fans less than 24 hours after they attended the film’s official British premiere at The O2 in London, where 10,000 eager fans in The O2 Arena and an enormous screen purpose-built for the occasion made history as the biggest ever UK film premiere.

We’re sharing the full series of official photographs from the daytime event at Disneyland Resort Paris, with a few from our friends at Photos Magiques thrown in for good luck. As the wise professor told us at the end of the first film, the door to Narnia will probably only open again when we’re not looking for it — for the unassuming guests enjoying a regular day at Disneyland Park last friday, quite a surprise was waiting…

At 5.00pm sharp, against a typically dull sky for a major press event, the Central Plaza Stage was overtaken by medieval characters carrying bows, dressed in orange, teal, green and brown, as the public became aware something special was about to begin.

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The archers performed a routine of practice fires and defence movements from the stage, before the first special guest was welcomed onto the stage — a live bird of prey, with its handler.

In Narnia, everyone needs to be prepared for battle.

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Jugglers of fire practiced their skills against a backdrop of the medieval bows and the magnificent Sleeping Beauty Castle.

A warm flash of sun brings out the brilliant colours of the archers’ costumes against the dark skies.

The routine featured a mixture of regular show and parade (EPC) performers with specialists brought in just for this occasion.

As knights and warriors carrying shields and swords joined the ceremony…

…A burst of royal golden, silver and red streamers joined a fanfare to herald the arrival of the real-life Narnia stars.

Even more medieval pageantry brought Main Street to life — horses dressed in full costume with knights of varying styles led the way for the suitably-coloured motor cars.

By this time, a sizeable crowd had gathered right along the length of Main Street, everyone clamouring to get a glimpse –and a photo — of the actors they saw step through the Wardrobe, along with a new addition…

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Georgie Henley (Lucy Pevensie) and William Moseley (Peter) / Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian) and director Andrew Adamson

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The medieval actors are spooked by the arrival of their modern Hollywood rivals / Skandar Keynes (Edmund) and Anna Popplewell (Susan) walk to the stage

From left to right: Vincent Grass (Doctor Cornelius), Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes

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Once on-stage, resort ambassador Arnaud Gayet joined the cast to answer questions about the film and their visit to Disneyland — most keen to take the microphone, and apparently as thrilled by the whole experience as her initial steps into the snowy lamp-lit forest of Narnia, Georgie Henley

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Colourful flags are waved behind the stars as the sky fills with glittering purple confetti. Second photo, far left, also shows Mark Johnson (producer) and Andrew Adamson (director)

Georgie Henley still has the “you’ve just stepped into Narnia” wonder in her

For guests at Disneyland Park on Friday, this was a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity — Disney (and Narnian) magic, known by billions around the world, live before your own eyes

In Part 2, see the events continuing with a second motor car parade to Gaumont Disney Village, where the actual French premiere of the film was held, along a red carpet stretching all the way from Disneyland Hotel to the entrance of the cinema itself…

— See the full Photos Magiques gallery from the daytime launch event here.

‘¢ Part 2 of our Prince Caspian series »

[Photos: © Disney and Photos Magiques]

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is released in the UK this Thursday, 26th June 2008.

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