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The Disneyland Paris 25th anniversary has come to an end. But what will be its lasting legacy on the resort? Let’s take a look back at this exciting year.Continue reading
Disneyland Paris have announced a new and unique way to access your favourite attractions fast and with minimal wait. Disney Access One is a one time use access pass to select Disney attractions which allows you to ride your favourite attractions at a time that suits you.Continue reading
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It’s 8:20am on Saturday 17th 2016 and like many people, I am waiting at the entrance to Frontierland. Excitement is building, it’s a big day; after 13 months of absence, Big Thunder Mountain is back!
The reality, however, is that Big Thunder Mountain has been back for a few days through soft openings. In fact, I rode it on the Friday although some of the new effects were not working. But today was different, it was actually opening and all the effects had to work or else it would be categorised as a failure.
The Opening Ceremony
At 8:35 we were lead slowly through to Thunder Mesa where we waited until 8:45 for the opening ceremony.
The ceremony was a very basic occasion but to fans, such as myself, was an invaluable moment filled with poignancy and delight. Daniel Delcourt, Chief Operating Officer of Disneyland Paris, who delivered a short speech about how important the attraction is to Disneyland Paris and how wonderful it was to have an integral part of Thunder Mesa returned. He also paid tribute to all the cast members who work on the attraction and the imagineers who have worked on the attraction over the past 13 months. Finally, Mickey and Minnie came out to cut the rope and that was that.
Then we waited for 9am and the opening spiel and to be allowed onto the ride.
9am, The return of Big Thunder
The spiel ended, the rope removed. Some guests opted to run. But I went for a nice walk past all the clapping cast members who were waving souvenir newspapers in the air. And then I joined the queue.
I say joined the queue, I walked all the way through it and straight onto the ride. The queue line sparkles and shines as if new, however the interactive elements have not made the jump from our American cousins meaning the queue remains one of the least inspiring in Disneyland Paris as you simply zig zag through to the trains.
The ride itself is looking beautiful, the newly refreshed colours make the ride seem as new and all the effects are working as they should.
My big surprise on the first ride on this special day was to come off the first lift hill and to turn the corner and see the geysers working! But the gifts kept giving, the splashdown effect was simply wonderful and then turning the corner to see smoke coming from the buildings on the lift hill.
The new explosive finale is a delight. As you enter the final lift hill there are warning signs plastered across the entrance, then as you continue up the hill the projection mapped fuses lead up to the top of the hill before a giant explosion and smoke filling the hill. The new scene is short, but thrilling and worth the 13 month wait.
The final delightful surprise were the bats on the final lift hill which have been newly repainted and look more 3D than previously and is a fitting end to a wonderful ride experience.
As I disembarked the ride, I was handed a souvenir newspaper. A unique souvenir which is to be framed and placed on my wall as one of my most prized Disneyland Paris possessions.
Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing
I then rushed immediately to Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing and was joined by a few Disneyland Paris fan sites to enjoy the newly refurbished rivers of the far west. The effects across the trip were amazing to see. A highlight was Smugglers Cove which has plenty of echo and sound effects which took me by total surprise.
As the final section of the crossing arrived, the geysers were in full force showing their might and beauty. I remember, as a child, running away from the geysers as I thought they would get me wet (and as a child, this was an odd fear of mine). Seeing them alive again brought life to this area of Frontierland and are absolutely mesmerising.
And then it broke…
And then Big Thunder Mountain broke. The ride was down the whole day Sunday 18th December and then the majority of the following days. But now it is back in its full majestic might and delighting fans once again.
Welcome back Big Thunder!
In conclusion, Big Thunder Mountain is back with a vengeance and looks and rides fantastic.
Project Sparkle is the best refurbishment schedule we have ever seen in Disneyland Paris and will make the park look at its 1992 levels and will ensure that 2017 is the year to visit Disneyland Paris!
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 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.
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 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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
“I’m delighted to reveal the first TV campaign of the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris! A great sneak peek.” — Catherine Powell pic.twitter.com/GqaFqWxZdG
— Euro Disney Group (@EuroDisneyEN) December 26, 2016
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!