It was clear that the 25th anniversary day would be one of surprises from the offset. The level of secrecy that surrounded the day was unprecedented for Disneyland Paris where leaks seem to be common. The reality of the day itself was even grander than expected; the day was full of magic and saw even more sparkle pumped into the resort. This was a day created for Disneyland Paris fans and, thanks to the live streams provided by the resort, the whole world was invited!
In the lead up to the event, all the talk surrounding the day was started by the time needed to be at the resort gates. 6am seemed to be the agreed time by all and so early nights were had and alarm clocks were set. April 12th was going to be a day like no other.
An electric atmosphere
A large part to the enjoyment of any big event is the atmosphere, and for the Grand Celebration it was electric. From the moment you arrived at the resort and queued for security, there was a feeling of excitement and anticipation the likes of which is rare to experience at Disneyland Paris.
Moving through to the turnstiles, guests sang Happy Birthday to Disneyland Paris in multiple languages with guests doing their best to join in with languages they didn’t understand. It was magical. And then once in the park this only continued with guests looking on excitedly at all the things before their eyes – characters and events that perhaps they never thought possible at Disneyland Paris. It truly felt like we were a part of a once in a lifetime celebration and that everybody there knew it.
The Grand Celebration
The main event was a show that took place at 9am exactly on Main Street USA. Nobody knew quite what to expect except ‘big’. There was a feeling in the air that whatever we were about to witness would be something sensational. The reality was even better, this was a show that Disneyland Paris (and Disney fans in general) could only have dreamed of. There were so many characters and performers that it was impossible to know where to look. Each time you felt like you’d seen it all, something else would come along to shock and dazzle you. Each time you blinked a new character would appear and occasionally very obscure characters at that.
The show was exceptional and gave each land it’s ‘time to sparkle’, after the VIP’s (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale, Clarice, Goofy, Max, Duffy and Shellie-May) introduction it was time to move onto Main Street, then Frontierland, Adventureland, Discoveryland and Fantasyland. Each symbolised by a set of characters that would be at home in these lands and each accompanied by some of the most incredible costumes that Disney has ever created for their dancers.
The grand finale of the show-based section was ingenious. The delight from fans as they heard segments of past shows mixed together to form a ‘Disneyland Paris megamix’ was infectious. This, combined with the sheer number of ultra-rare characters to the resort made this one of the most exciting few minutes of live entertainment ever produced in the resort.
The extra surprise of 1,000 cast members performing a flash mob down Main Street USA was a pure delight and added to the emotion and pride that fans take in the resort. This show was an absolute triumph for Disneyland Paris, it proves to the world that our entertainment teams are the best that Disney has to offer and once again made Paris the envy of the Disney world.
The next big landmark anniversary for the Disney parks community is the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World resort, the gauntlet has well and truly been thrown down. Disney have never before produced a show of this calibre and it is truly pleasing to see Paris be the recipient of this honour.
The Grand Celebration Cavalcades
For those who didn’t manage to see everything during the one-hour spectacular, two Grand Celebration cavalcades were laid on during the day for guests to enjoy the sight of these rare characters and beautiful costumes one more time. These cavalcades were bursting with fun and excitement and each second felt special and exciting.
The cavalcade really helped add some extra magic to the day as we were once again allowed to stand in awe of what we were in the middle of living. The energy coming from these special shows was infectious as confetti was flying all over the park as Everyday’s a Celebration blasted out of the speakers. Such was the emotion after the cavalcades that many people didn’t move wanting to secure their spot for the second showing which was an hour and a half later.
The kiss goodnight
Perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the day (which was full of emotion and celebration) was the kiss goodnight. This perfect ending saw the Everyday’s a Celebration song slowed down and the entire VIP gang back together on Main Street station to say goodnight to guests in their exclusive one day only outfits. Whilst there was not much to the show, it was a perfect farewell and closing of the day. It managed to stir some sadness deep down that such a special day was over and remains one of my favourite memories of the day.
An unforgettably magic day
When the history of Disneyland Paris is written, it is littered with amazing special events that are often billed as being once in a lifetime. It is to Disneyland Paris’s credit that they are able to pull over such magical big events; but the 12th April 2017 felt like a new chapter beginning. As lavish as an opening ceremony, this was a rebirth of Disneyland Paris and, as Catherine Powell mentioned in her moving speech, together we will help write the resort’s future. As new chapters begins, old ones must end, but this day didn’t end a chapter, it provided a nostalgia for what we have been so fortunate to enjoy at Disneyland Paris whilst also offering a small glimpse of what is to come.
The Grand Celebration was a day that made me immensely proud to be a fan, I was honoured to be in attendance and I know many at home were thrilled that Disneyland Paris live streamed the events so that many more fans could there virtually as well. It is a day that will live on in Disneyland Paris history as an extraordinarily special day and a day for Disneyland Paris fans to be immensely proud of.