Nearly two-and-a-half years ago, the twentieth anniversary of Disneyland Paris launched amongst huge fanfare and press attention. It’s quite easy to say that the celebrations were a game-changer. Before the 20th Anniversary, Disneyland Paris had troubles – that much we all know. The quality of theming was deteriorating and entertainment was dwindling. It was not so easy to be a fan. Then, Disney Dreams! launched – for the first time we had something the Disney community from around the world was jealous of. Since then, Disneyland Paris has gone from strength to strength. The re-invigoration of the Christmas and Halloween seasons have brought a fresh focus on high-quality seasonal entertainment as opposed of the ‘yearly celebrations’ of old, this is proved by the creation of a Swing into Spring season and a much rumoured Summer season launching in 2015. Walt Disney Studios Park has not been forgotten in this rapid expansion of high-quality additions, the launch of a “Diamond in the Rough” has re-invigorated the park in a way we could have only dreamed of 5 years ago.
A question at the Ratatouille launch was “What’s next?” – We don’t really know. Rumours range from Toy Story Mania, to Star Tours 2 and even stretch to a potential Marvel third gate. But the future is almost certainly bright. Today, fans have discovered a report published on the Disney Central Plaza stating that a variety of new things are coming to the parks. So, what can we expect?
- Free WiFi inside the Parks: All you live-tweeters out there will be grinning from ear-to-ear at this news. Free WiFi has been gradually rolled out in Disneyland Paris – and it’s actually pretty good. So far, all the hotels are covered as is Disney Village. But from as early as 2015, the parks should be too. Now, I don’t want this WiFi to be everywhere, but in a large area of outdoor space, this could be good. (And would significantly reduce my mobile data costs!). There could be a hidden reason behind this though, it’ll improve our interactivity with services such as PhotoPass+ and could pave the way to Magic Bands.
- RFID Passes: If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, you’ll have experience with Magic Bands but RFID passes could pave the way to having everything on one ticket (or band?): Hotel Room, Park Passes, Fastpass. So, MyMagic+ could soon be arriving in Disneyland Paris – and this wouldn’t be totally out of the blue. It has actually been rumoured that Disneyland Paris would be the second resort to get the technology.
- Disney Village and Walt Disney Studios Expansion: Euro Disney SCA and The Walt Disney Company could be working together to finance this, which is great news! A re-energised Disney Village is desperately needed, despite already been a reasonably pleasant place to pass an hour or two. Walt Disney Studios is a no-brainer, something has to be done – preferably before Park 3 arrives on the horizon.
- Hotel New York Refurbishment: The current refurbishment of Hotel Newport Bay Club should take it up to a 4* hotel (According to Disney’s ratings), and now work should start (once the former is completed) to make Hotel New York a 4*+ resort – this will mean the hotel will close its doors for a year. This will reduce occupancy but should bring in a ‘higher class’ clientele. Higher class, more money – simple right?
That’s all today’s news. But on top of all that, we already know that a large number of attractions will be getting an update before the 25th Anniversary, eventually a new attraction will appear (probably Toy Story Mania) and of course, that anniversary will arrive bringing us whatever Disney have in store for us – likely a new parade. Based on Disney’s worldwide recent additions, I think we can quite safely say that the imagineers and design teams really have returned to the quality that they are famous for – this mixed with the magnificent leadership team at Disneyland Paris should allow for a bright future. Next month Philippe Gas leaves Disneyland Paris for Shanghai, which is testament to his leadership to be given such a role in Disney’s biggest investment yet. He will be replaced by Tom Wolber arriving from Walt Disney World, let’s wish him luck and wait and see this brave, and exciting, direction we go. Yes, the future certainly is bright.