Merci Catherine

Catherine Powell

Catherine Powell is leaving Disneyland Paris to head up Disney Parks & Resorts Western Region. Let’s take a look back at her time at Disneyland Paris which has seen the resort radically transform.

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Villages Nature: A new direction for Disneyland Paris?

A Cabin at the Villages Nature project

As the blurb on the Villages Nature website details:

The seed of the idea for Villages Nature was planted in the early 2000s. Two major players in the French and European tourism industry, who had never worked together on such a large project, came together around a unique vision. Over the decades since then, Euro Disney S.C.A. and Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs have worked hand-in-hand with the community to develop this project, involving the public authorities at every level as well as the citizens of the host region.

The question that should be posed is why? Why would Euro Disney SCA join in with such a project? The first point to dismiss is that this is not simply another Disneyland Paris hotel. In fact, this is not a Disneyland Paris hotel project in any way. Villages Nature sits on the periphery of the resort. This is an investment by the Disneyland Paris operating company, an investment that is due to open in 2017. However, this is an exciting development and one that should excite you.

The Lake at Villages Nature
The Lake at Villages Nature

Villages Nature and Disneyland Paris

So what will be the link? Villages Nature will be located next door to the Davy Crockett ranch hotel just south of the A4 motorway from the Disney theme parks. There will be no Disney presence on the site and so it will not be much of a Disney product. Guests to the Villages Nature will be able to buy theme park tickets and take a day off the site if they so wish. So the link is slight, but it is an important development to Disney fans as it adds another revenue stream into the company.

An Eco Tourism resort

Villages Nature is a new style of resort, the focus is on being green. The project extends the scope of the East Parisian tourist zone and diversifies it. Euro Disney SCA have already committed their business to become increasingly environmentally friendly, this development permits the company to further extend this goal and become the European leader in this regard.

One of the core aims of the development is to preserve its natural environment and even to some extent enhance it, the idea is to allow nature and man-made environments to cohabit in a sustainable fashion. It is in effect a revolution in the way tourist destinations are created, and who better to initiate this than two of the biggest players in tourism: Euro Disney and Center Parcs.

A Cabin at the Villages Nature project
A Cabin at the Villages Nature project

Where does this align Euro Disney?

This development is a realignment of the Euro Disney company.  It also presents a unique opportunity to diversify its offering a gain an extra revenue stream from those who perhaps are unlikely to visit an amusement park. The development, whilst sitting on its own will also draw audiences to Disneyland Paris. If Villages Nature guests can be tempted to spend a day in Disneyland Paris during their stay, it can only be a good thing.

Euro Disney SCA have been a catalyst for investment in the previously deprived east Parisian basin. The Disneyland Paris theme park development has permitted a thriving town to grow on its doorstep and has transformed the area. Euro Disney are once again at it with Villages Nature is revolutionising tourism and especially green tourism.

Villages Nature can only be a good thing for Disneyland Paris fans. New money seeping into the company will improve the all around performance of Euro Disney as well as providing a new destination for European families. This is one to certainly keep an eye on.

Disneyland Paris launch new website – and we love it

Disneyland Paris website screenshot

For years we’ve been waiting for a new Disneyland Paris website that keeps up with modern website design patterns from recent years. This morning, Disneyland Paris have launched their new United Kingdom website with a brand new design promising ‘a better and more responsive’ design. Gone is the clunky flash, and instead we have a sleek design with large beautiful images.

It’s important to note that the embedded YouTube video is on a slider, along with beautiful promotional shots of the resort. I’m a little disappointed that a YouTube video has been used at all here, but it can’t be argued that video media is effective.

Moving onto the Parks and Activities tab, and we see a newly presented calendar and attraction closure offering a less overall view at a glance and a more personalised view. This is good for families who know when they are going, but for those yet to decide, there is now a lot of clicking involved to find your park hours. However, now a new page doesn’t load to tell you the attraction closures, in that sense this saves a lot of time.

We were promised pages for each attraction, now I envisaged extremely detailed pages such as those found on DLRP Magic! – Regrettably that is not the case. However what we do find is a fantastic guide as to who can and can’t ride the ride, as well as a brief synopsis as to what can be expected illustrated by fantastic, large images. This is a useful tool in trip planning and could really help families in deciding what is and isn’t suitable for their party. Nevertheless, it would be great to see a sort of wait time estimation, nothing scientific but, like DLRP Magic, the words ‘Long, Very Long’ etc. could be used.
Obviously an important part of booking your stay in Disneyland Paris is the hotels, these pages too have received an overhaul, again with beautiful images and more at a glance information using symbols (such as those on the attraction pages). The sheer amount of information available on one hotel page is fantastic, from GPS Co-Ordinates, to reasons to pick the hotel, detailed information about the room you are booking as well as entire pages dedicated to the hotel restaurant and bars. Disneyland Paris have finally provided you with all the information you need to make an informed choice of hotel.
We also love the extended information pages on what to do once the parks are closed, thanks to extensive Disney Village information, and other attractions in the region. Disneyland Paris certainly has always done its bit to provide information in the resort as to what other attractions are available to guests, but now the website has an extensive set of pages dedicated to it.

Choosing a place to eat in Disneyland Paris can be a difficult choice, especially with the lack of information available online. Not anymore! Disneyland Paris now provides a page for each restaurant which can be sorted into location, type of service and price. On each page you are given the restaurant location, brief background text as well as information about special dietary requirements and booking information (which unfortunately, still cannot be done on the Internet, only over the phone).

The big new feature is the map. Now, this could sound rather unimpressive, however on the contrary. In the new Disneyland Paris website there is no more useful feature for trip planners. Each item, be it hotel or attraction, always shows a button on its page asking you to ‘view on the map’, click it and you’ll be taken to its location on the resort map. It’s the advanced search feature that will really help the planning.Not into big thrills? Remove them, don’t want expensive food? Just take them away. What you are left with is a map that tailors to your requirements and budget.
If you have little ones, I know you’ll be sorting via the minimum height requirements. Planning a trip between friends? Click an item and copy the URL and they will be taken to the exact location on the map. You can add favorites and much more. This is singly handedly the most useful feature on the website, and one planners across the world are going to enjoy and find incredibly useful.

Finally, the ‘Trip Planning’ tab is worth a look as there are all sorts of useful pieces of information and commonly asked questions answered.

The new Disneyland Paris website offers useful tools to plan any trip, including a very impressive map function which I am sure will be used by many trip planners. This website will put a smile on every bodies face with the new sleek design, and well thought out features.

For the second time this week, Bravo Disneyland Paris!