Yesterday’s big news day for Disneyland Paris and its operating company Euro Disney S.C.A. saw the Parisian Disney resort make financial headlines again, as news organisations around the world seized the chance to see “Mickey Mouse in trouble” and struggled, like us, to get their heads around the finer financial details of the deal. Read More…
If you’ve visited Disneyland Paris (and you probably have, right?), then the queue for Crush’s Coaster won’t need any introduction. Not just its perpetual length and duration at any hour of the day and on any day of the year, but it’s slightly soul-crushing lack of Disney magic or ingenuity in dealing with the low capacity of this popular roller coaster. Read More…
The oft-criticised official Disneyland Paris website has seen a complete relaunch of its UK edition today, bringing it in line with the websites for its American cousins in perhaps the biggest update yet both visually and technically. Read More…
The Earffel Tower, icon of Walt Disney Studios Park, will soon have a brand new face. As part of a general (and as we seem to always say, much-needed) refurbishment of the water tower in the Front Lot entrance of the park, the opportunity is also being taken to replace the original 2002 “filmstrip” logo with a new-look design.
Based on current progress, the “new” logo appears to have more classic, maroon red-coloured lettering with a simple black outline on a plain background. Without doubt the look has the potential to be much more 1930s in style, boding well for any future changes to the entrance of the park, which lacks any definable time period setting.
In terms of its actual typeface and size, the logo is similar if not identical to before, with only the “Walt Disney” letters flattened out from their wavy design following the filmstrip in the original, which used a modern palette of blue, yellow and red. The typeface, similar to ITC Anna, remains the same as seen around the area, including lettering on Disney Studio 1.
A very rough current approximation of the new logo (typeface not fully accurate)
For Walt Disney Studios Park, it’s a wise and very welcome decision to come up with a logo design unique to the very prominent Earffel Tower.
The 2002 logo was created primarily for the promotion of the park in brochures and park guides, not to provide any kind of thematic detail within the park itself. Until now, adorned with just the standard modern park logo, the famous water tower hasn’t actually felt part of a specific period or place you’re being transported to. After all, you don’t see the garish pink Disneyland Park marketing logo on the entrance to that park.
Disneyland Paris has been named a three-star tourist attraction by the famous Michelin Green Guides, the highest distinction from the travel publisher. The accolade was accepted by ambassadors Jonathan and Antonella, dedicating it to the Cast Members who “offer daily hospitality and quality service to our visitors”.
Listed separately as Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios, the two Disney parks are now both marked as “Highly Recommended” three-star attractions on Michelin’s Paris travel guide. Looking at the competition, Parc Astérix to the north of Paris has only a two-star “Recommended” rating, though the mouse shouldn’t be too complacent — Disney Village is marked out by only a single star.
Many will of course remember the excellent series of classic Green Guides or “Guides Vert” and fold-out maps produced by Michelin in the early years of the resort. Providing concise and clear overviews of the resort — and now, a fascinating glimpse into its history — they’re well worth hunting down on places like Amazon Marketplace.
When you’ve got a big new attraction and a well-received expansion to your subpar second gate, you never have enough ceremonies to celebrate it. So the stage was set in front of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy for the fourth time this past Thursday, 17th July 2014, for the visit of Anne Hidalgo, Maire de Paris, and one thousand Parisian children through the Disney VoluntEARS programme.
After speaking at the ceremony alongside Disneyland Paris president Philippe Gas, the Mayor of Paris unveiled an oversized dedication plaque for the square with the date of the inauguration — also by chance the anniversary of the original Disneyland.
On Ratatouille: The Adventure, Anne Hidalgo said it is “the symbolic attraction to mark the link between Paris and Disney”. She later tweeted that it was the first time a Mayor of Paris has visited Disneyland Paris, and she wishes to strengthen their ties to improve tourism.
Official video — Parisian children experience the world of Ratatouille thanks to Disneyland Paris and Anne Hidalgo
Joining the mayor were 1,000 Parisian children who are members of leisure centres in the capital and aren’t lucky enough to be going away this summer. They got to enjoy a full day the park with 30 Disney VoluntEARS, volunteer Cast Members participating in Disney’s community outreach programme, showing them around.
Hidalgo even stepped onboard a Ratmobile next to Philippe Gas to experience the new attraction for herself — an important symbolic moment for Disneyland Paris, not least given the Parisian theme. In building a true piece of (fictionalised) Paris within its parks, has Disneyland Paris finally cemented itself as a positive force for the region?
Hosted by the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors, Jonathan and Antonella, the opening ceremony welcomed Fleur Pellerin, Secretary of Commerce, of Tourism Promotion and of the French abroad, to Disneyland Paris.
Once opened, lines quickly reached blockbuster levels with guests filling the exterior queue, a roped extension area in front of the Fastpass distribution, and lining the full length of Rue Auguste Gusteau, with the queue beginning somewhere back in Toon Studio. Good thing today was also the first day the park remained open until 9pm, extending its operating day by a whole two hours, a milestone in itself.
A 120 minute wait time was posted on the park’s electronic tips board, which now lists the attraction, simply calling it “Ratatouille”. However, at one point temporary signage advised guests that, from the entrance to La Place de Rémy next to Toy Story Playland, a wait time of 190 minutes was possible.
Wait times for other popular Studios attractions appeared unaffected, particularly Crush’s Coaster which continued to offer up to an 80 minute wait. Of course, as much as Ratatouille could draw guests away from those attractions, it will (hopefully) be bringing more people to the park altogether, unfortunately mitigating any dramatic change.
But here’s the important fact: those lines aren’t due to bad planning, at least with this attraction. Ratatouille actually (just about) has the capacity to cope with its popularity on a normal day. It’s not quite a Pirates of the Caribbean juggernaut, but the packs of Ratmobiles were thankfully specced pretty well in their ability to cycle guests through.
As we concluded on Twitter, Ratatouille is officially a “blockbuster” attraction for Walt Disney Studios Park, and that’s down to quality, not poor capacity.
Seeing guests queueing round the block, clamouring to experience La Place de Rémy for themselves, says a lot about the demand for investments of this scale or, perhaps even more so, the rest of the park which those guests are turning their back on.
Complete video: Ratatouille Opening Day Inauguration Ceremony
Fun facts from today’s opening day press release
Including the attraction, restaurant and upcoming boutique, the new Ratatouille area has created 200 new and permanent jobs.
The project required the skills of more than 4000 craftspeople, 80% of which were French. A total of 44 French companies helped to create the attraction, including 34 from Île-de-France and 11 from Seine-et-Marne.
A special ultrasonic cleaning system was developed for the attraction by Fisa, a company based in Essonne, which allows 22,000 pairs of 3D glasses to be cleaned in five hours.
With 370 seats, Bistrot Chez Rémy is the largest table-service restaurant at Disneyland Paris. 80% of the produce used is of French origin, and the meat is sourced from within Europe (Scotland or France).
Disneyland Paris has generated more than 55,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs since its opening. In 2014, the group signed 8000 employment contracts, of which 1000 are permanent. Almost 15,000 people are currently employed at Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Paris contributes on average 6.2% of the French tourism industry’s foreign currency revenues and contributes €50 billion in added value for the French economy.
Disneyland Paris is Europe’s number one tourist destination, with more than 275 million visits since its opening. Within a tourist sector elevated to the ranks of “national priority”, according to François Hollande during the Tourism Forum in June 2014, Disneyland Paris takes pride of place.
Over the past five years, investments centred on maintaining and developing Disneyland Paris have amounted to €510 million.
Positioned next to Disney Blockbuster Café at the very back of the park, the meet ‘n’ greet experience has been a huge success since opening on 19th April.
Primarily said to be funded as part of Sony Pictures’ European marketing of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it has nevertheless been keenly marketed by Disneyland Paris themselves, including on the front of the Studios’ weekly Programme guide. Disneyland Paris is the first and only Disney resort to feature the character.
Despite the off-route location, queues have been steady and strong to meet the masked Marvel hero. Inside, guests themselves surrounded by giant newspaper pages reporting his victories, before literally stepping into the front page of the Daily Bugle to pose with Spidey themselves. It’s a light but very polished experience which has at last breathed life into Backlot, perhaps the most characterless Disney theme park area in history.
Many had therefore hoped Peter Parker’s alter ego would extend his stay, and several sources report there is now no currently confirmed end date with Spidey definitely sticking around until 31st August.
Besides the current movie release, this integration of Spider-Man into the land chimes perfectly with longstanding rumours for a Marvel makeover of Backlot. Much grander than a simple meet ‘n’ greet room, most rumours point to a complete re-theming of the area’s three attractions to Marvel themes, with street sets and building façades (perhaps depicting New York or similar) finally providing a story between them.
In Paris, the Marvel redevelopment could be rather more ambitious, with three genuine (and already reasonablystrong) attractions to work with. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster setting your Spidey senses tingling? Marvel superheroes in the Moteurs Stunt Show arena? Perhaps they just need to sell a few more souvenir character meet ‘n’ greet photos to fund it…
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