2016: Project Sparkle and change

2016 was a year of immense change at Disneyland Paris. Indeed, Change is the world that will define 2016 for any Disneyland Paris fan. We saw the closure of Big Thunder Mountain in late 2015, the closure of Star Tours in March of this year. Who can forget the abrupt ending to the run of Animagique which was replaced in July by the mesmerizing Mickey and the Magician? We also saw a management change as Tom Wolber returned to the Disney Cruise Line and Catherine Powell got the top job at Disneyland Paris.

Let’s take a look back at the Disneyland Paris year month by month.

January

January started looking bleak for Disneyland Paris. Two of the star attractions in the resort would be closed for the vast majority of the year. But things soon started to look up as Disneyland Paris released their list of things to look forward to. The headline attraction was the launch of a brand new show Mickey and the Magician which would be launching in the summer. We also got more details about another new seasonal show Forest of Enchantment.

Mickey and the Magician Concept Art

Mickey and the Magician Concept Art

In the way of closures, Adventure Isle closed for a major refurbishment which would last until September and the Disneyland Railroad began a short closure. The railroad would, of course, reopen in March with Main Street station following in July and Discoveryland Station reopening in March 2017. On the 31st January 2016, Animagique ended its 12 year run at the Walt Disney Studios Park and left the theatre open to refurbishment and a new show.

In more exciting news, the B&B Hotel next to Disneyland Paris finally received its inauguration. The new partner hotel includes a shuttle bus to Disneyland Paris and a Disneyland Paris boutique.

February

February will go down as the month that Forest of Enchantment debuted in Frontierland. The show mixes live vocals and fantastic visuals to create a treat for the senses. The big feature of the show was that live vocals had once again returned to the resort after years of piped in music. Forest also included athletic dance numbers and a stellar cast. The show is seasonal in Disneyland Paris, but is due to return in 2017 during the 25th Anniversary celebrations.

On the 17th February, the annual Disneyland Paris comedy show took place, the AGM. The AGM features pointless questions in the main from shareholders, but some useful Disneyland Paris information comes out of this important event. The first being this video overview of Project Sparkle, the project for getting Disneyland Paris ready for its 25th anniversary:

And this video filled with key facts and figures from Disneyland Paris and is essential viewing for anybody who wants to understand Disneyland Paris better:

 

March

March, the month that spring fever made its return to Disneyland Paris. Swing into Spring made its triumphant return to the resort and mixed in the firm fan favourites of Welcome to Spring and Goofy’s Garden Party. The Minnie’s Little Spring Train returned and this year Cheshire Cat was included on weekends.

Disneyland Paris also celebrated St Davids and St Patricks day in the way that they usually do: a short firework spectacular, a pre-parade, special shows and a Mickey and Minnie meet and greet in traditional outfits.

The new Vapiano restaurant was formally announced by Euro Disney and Vapiano. Vapiano was quoted as being looking for 5 or 6 restaurants per year in attractive sites whilst Euro Disney were seeking a diversified dining option for Disney Village.

The biggest event in March, however, was the closure of Star Tours. The attraction closed to a big fanfare as Disneyland Paris hosted a large fan event to allow fans to say goodbye in their own way. Star Tours 2: The Adventures Continue is scheduled to open in March 2017 and forms part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations.

April

April is always a special month for Disneyland Paris; the resort celebrated its 24th birthday and for its birthday Euro Disney got us an exciting gift. Tom Wolber was announced as leaving Disneyland Paris and Catherine Powell would be taking over in the summer.

We also got more information about Mickey and the Magician which was due to launch on July 2nd as well as the first rumours of the puppet show in the Lucky Nugget Saloon.

May

A rather quiet month for Disneyland Paris news. The Disney – Pixar short film festival was announced to open in the Discoveryland Theatre from the summer onwards. The new puppet show also debuted in the Lucky Nugget Saloon. The show features 3 unique shows. Two featuring the Toy Story characters and one with Mickey and friends.

June

From the 4th June, Frozen Summer Fun returned to Disneyland park. Guests could once again enjoy Frozen themed snacks and meals, the sing along show, Elsa’s return to Disney Dreams! and the royal welcome parade.

Disneyland Paris announced that Moana would be hosting a meet and greet in Disneyland Paris during the Christmas season. Pineapple Whips finally debuted in the park after a wait of months to immense fan fanfare and hype and the Disney-Pixar Short film festival opened in Discoveryland.

Away from Disneyland Paris, The Walt Disney Company opened their Shanghai Disney Resort in China with a big celebration event. The new member of the Disney Parks family is headed up by formed Disneyland Paris chief, Philippe Gas.

With a unique blend of Disney magic and the beauty of China’s cultural spirit, the design of Shanghai Disney Resort is “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.” That guiding principle is incorporated throughout the resort – and it’s visible here with a scene from Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, an excursion that travels the waters of Fantasyland and through the Enchanted Storybook Castle. The golden dragon is found in the attraction’s “Mulan” scene. The special nature of Shanghai Disney Resort celebrates Disney stories, and also salutes Chinese culture and design, with Wandering Moon Teahouse in Shanghai Disneyland, the Shikumen architectural features in Disneytown and original Chinese fonts for themed signage. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

July

July was probably Disneyland Paris’s biggest month of the year. It all started with a big celebration for the launch of the Mickey and the Magician show, which opened on July 2nd to great praise from the fan community. The show blends live singing, with impressive magic tricks and illusions to create a real feast for fans of live Disney entertainment. It still stands up as being one of the best stage shows that Disneyland Paris has ever created. The show takes a brief break in early 2017, but returns in time for the big launch of the 25th Anniversary celebrations.

Mickey and the Magician Finale

Catherine Powell took over as Présidente of Euro Disney SCA ushering a new era of hope and optimism in the fan community. Indeed, Catherine has already presided over changes at the company and the resort is coming out of these changes in a stronger way with a better reputation among fans.

August

If you thought Disneyland Paris took the summer months off from announcing news, then you would be mistaken. A new dining experience at the Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne was launched allowing guests to enjoy a barbecue with Goofy and Chip & Dale, this would run throughout the summer.

Season of the Force was officially announced by Disneyland Paris to run in early 2017 plugging the gap between the Christmas season and the start of the 25th anniversary festivities. Finally, the Halloween season was officially announced. Whilst nothing had changed from the previous year, it still marks the beginning of the end of summer and a move into the winter months.

September

If July was the biggest month for Disneyland Paris, then September was the most exciting. Only one really big event happened this month, but it was perhaps the most exciting of the year and saw Disney fans from across the world descend on Paris to enjoy a run. RunDisney, the Disneyland Paris half marathon was a whole weekend of fun and excitement which culminated in a half marathon (or 5k).

The event was a huge success and has been expanded to include a 10km race in 2017 in addition to all the 2016 festivities.

Disneyland Paris also announced the names of their 2 ambassadors who would take over for the 2017-18 rotation. Laura Janice Gedigk (Housekeeping – Disney’s Newport Bay Club) and Michaël Giordano (PC Ops) begin their term on the 1st January 2017.

Disneyland Paris Ambassadors 2017/18

October

The long run into the winter months begins, as always in Disneyland Paris, with the return of the Halloween season. This month-long celebration is celebrated by fans of characters and villains alike as they get to enjoy days of singing in the fall and spooky, spooky nights with their favourite villains and the arrival of Cheshire Cat as a meet and greet.

However, the big news of the month was the official announcement of Disneyland Paris’s 25th anniversary celebrations which are due to begin on 26th March 2016. Announced were a new parade, a new nighttime spectacular, new shows, Star Tours 2 and Hyperspace Mountain. The time to sparkle tagline was introduced and it is widely agreed that the 25th will perhaps be the best for a very long time for Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Visual

November

November was a quiet month for Disneyland Paris. The Christmas season begun with very little in the way of fanfare, but retains all its quality entertainment spreading across the full day and the magical atmosphere takes over Main Street USA and the entire Disneyland park.

On top of this, another press release was released for Season of the Force whose arrival is hotly anticipated.

December

Whilst a quiet month in the way of news, Big Thunder Mountain finally reopened in Disneyland Park after a one year absence. The ride opened with a small opening ceremony and the first batch of guests to ride were gifted an exclusive, limited edition, newspaper from Thunder Mesa. A delightful keepsake for a momentous occasion.

The splashdown on the newly reopening Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris, along all Disney parks, commemorated the anniversary of the death of Walt Disney with a board for guests to write their memories and messages of thanks to Walt for all he has given them and to celebrate his legacy. A new line of cupcakes and macaroons were launched in Boardwalk Candy Palace designed by the Atelier des Gâteaux in Paris.

Finally, Disneyland Paris launched their first TV spot for the 25th anniversary:

2016 may have looked disappointing from the outset, but it has turned out to be one of the most exciting years ever to be a Disneyland Paris fan. The refurbishments look gorgeous and the park is looking almost as if it were 1992.

2017 will be an equally exciting year, and I’m very much looking forward to sharing it with you all – allow me to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and healthy 2017!

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Geoff
About Geoff

Since Geoff's first visit to Disneyland Paris in 1999, he has been captivated by the stories, details and experiences that can be experienced in Disneyland Paris. Now, as the founder of DLP Town Square, he takes you closer to the stories that he fell in love with all those years ago. More Posts