Disney Access One to provide new ways to experience attractions

Disney Access One visual with Dash

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.

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Review: Season of the Force 2018

In 2017, Season of the Force made its debut in Disneyland Paris. The season was centred in the Walt Disney Studios Park and was widely regarded as a success by both fans and regular guests. In 2018, the season made its welcome return and featured activities in the Walt Disney Studios park and a number of (year-round) Star Wars attractions in Disneyland Park that were closed for refurbishment during the 2017 season.

Boosted returning features

The main features of Season of the Force were in fact the same as last year with shows including Star Wars: A Galaxy far, far, awayStar Wars: A Galactic Celebration and First Order March. These events are slightly modified this year either to take into account Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to increase the presence of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or to take best advantage of increased technology installed in the park since last year. These additions blended seamlessly into the shows and indeed sometimes allowed for parts of the shows to be reworked, the result was a more enjoyable show which takes better advantage of new additions to the saga that have proven to be so popular.

X-Wing in Disneyland Paris for Season of the Force

In the two main stage shows, Rey finally makes an appearance as a character on-stage which really does allow for Disneyland Paris to take advantage of this incredibly popular (and important) character in the saga. Also added were the Death Troopers from Rogue One which look incredible.

The First Order March has seen a significant boost in Stormtroopers parading which is also very welcome as last year was in some ways lacking in that department (although the show was still fantastic to watch). This has the added bonus of allowing more guests a better view of more Stormtroopers. The main element of the show has not been significantly changed and is still short although enjoyable (particularly when paired with Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far, Away which can take place just 2-3 minutes later).

First Order March at Disneyland Paris Season of the Force

Amazing decorations

Perhaps the biggest addition this year (both literally and metaphorically) is the addition of Star Wars vehicles in the Walt Disney Studios park. Words cannot emphasise how big some of these vehicles are; the Tie Fighter which hangs over the exit of Studio 1 is especially impressive and has a distinct wow factor, especially when paired up with the X-Wing which faces it. These vehicles are all fan creations, but the level of detail and quality is exceptionally strong.

Tie Fighter - Disneyland Paris Season of the Force

A special mention must go to the fact that Disneyland Paris has not forgotten Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the exhibition of vehicles, these little touches and explanatory plaques were a lovely surprise for the season and we can only hope that they return next year.

Combat Assault Tank - Rouge One Disneyland Paris

Star Wars: Also in Disneyland Park

Whilst not ‘special’ for Season of the Force it must be mentioned that this year Star Wars has a presence in Disneyland Park. Unfortunately this was lacking last year due to the refurbishment of Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain, we have also seen the addition of Darth Vader at Starport and Star Wars being included in Disney Illuminations. Whilst these additions are not special for Season of the Force, they do enhance the Star Wars presence in the resort and so can only be a positive for any Star Wars fans planning a trip.

Star Tours in Disneyland Paris

Looking forward to 2019

With Disneyland Paris focusing on these exciting seasonal events, it is quite likely that Season of the Force will return for a new round in 2019, it can also be assumed that Disneyland Paris will be tweaking what things during the preparation time as we run up to January 2019. The big missing thing from Season of the Force is the distinct lack of Star Wars character meet and greets; it is true that Darth Vader and Stormtroopers can be met, but we are missing characters from the new trilogy and any characters from the Light Side. We can only hope that this is something that Disneyland Paris can work on to win some easy points next year.

Final thoughts

Season of the Force is a very fun season that grows year on year, this year the modifications and additions are very strong. The season has a firm base on the Disneyland Paris calendar and it can only be hoped that it continues to grow and boost the appetite for Star Wars in Disneyland Paris in the years to come.

Is it time for a new attraction at Disneyland Paris?

Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong; the Disney resorts around the world (excluding Paris), but also all the Disney resorts that have large scale construction projects announced. It’s a time of rapid expansion at Disney parks and resorts worldwide, but the glaring omission from this list is Paris. That could be down to the fact that Paris typically announces its new developments exceptionally late in the day (don’t forget that Ratatouillle: L’Aventure totalement toquée de Rémy was only announced in January 2014, for a June opening after years of fans tracking the development of the construction of the attraction), but also perhaps that Disneyland Paris do not have any major plans green-lit.

A brief history of new attractions

Disneyland Paris has grown rapidly since opening, that much is certain and eventually the rapid growth had to slow. In 1993, just one year following park opening, Disneyland Paris opened Indiana Jones et le temple du péril. Major attractions since then include Space Mountain: de la terre à la lune in 1995; Honey I Shrunk the Audience in 1999; the Walt Disney Studios park in 2002; Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast in 2006; Toon Studio and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in 2007; Toy Story Playland in 2010 and of course Ratatouille in 2014. The time gaps in opening are rarely more than 4 years. The gap between Ratatouille and anything is currently sitting on 3 years and it’s likely to be a few more before we get anything.

Tower of Terror at Disneyland Paris

Does seasonal entertainment fill the void?

Disneyland Paris has been launching new seasonal entertainment as a way to attract new guests, and this really does work. For many parks, this long without a new ride (attraction) would see the park stagnating and begin to feel tired; Disneyland Paris has avoided this problem by creating unique seasonal entertainment and this does stand out on its own for being good quality and getting key franchises into the parks (such as during the Frozen Summer Fun celebrations in 2015 and 2016). Additionally new shows such as Mickey and the Magician have emerged which do delight guests. But a lack of new attraction does seem to be becoming increasingly apparent.

Swing into Spring at Disneyland Paris

Star Tours to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

What we have seen are new attractions being marketed such as Star Tours: L’Aventure Continue, and whilst these are new attractions, they also are not. The core of Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain remain the same regardless of ‘wow factor’ when riding them and rediscovering them as if it were the first time. The issue is that these are ‘reimagined’ attractions as opposed to something new, at its base you know exactly what to expect. Unlike that feeling when you, as a guest, step into a new land or new attraction with the anticipation and expectation that comes with it. These types of feelings are perhaps some of the most special for a fan of an amusement park (any amusement park, this particular feeling is not exclusive to Disney Parks).

La Place de Remy at Disneyland Paris

When can we expect a new attraction in Disneyland Paris, and what would it be?

Usually for a new attraction construction would begin at least two years in advance, so even if construction started tomorrow we would be looking at 2019. It’s unlikely that Disneyland Paris would be able to green-light the necessary funds for a while and this is OK. We’ve had a large scale project to update many of the classic Disneyland Paris attractions which is very admirable and vital for the future success of our Parisian resort. However, a growth will be needed in the coming years; it is perhaps unrealistic to expect this to happen prior to the 30th anniversary. It’s most realistic to expect this expansion to be Marvel-focused but many successful Disney properties would also be ideal such as Frozen.

Disneyland Paris is going through a period of transformation and it is unlikely that this new attraction would be arriving in the near future. Whilst this is disheartening to many fans – myself included – growth will be expected in the future and when that does happen we can start clammering over construction photographs and imagineering concept arts and blueprints once again.

Retheme or Expansion: A careful balancing act

Retheme or Expansion: A careful balancing act

With the opening of Star Tours: L’aventure continue and Hyperspace Mountain, Disneyland Paris has rethemed and repurposed two successful and popular attractions. Fans are divided on whether or not this is a good or bad thing. For some, any new experience is an occasion to be celebrated; others dislike how classic experiences are modified from their original design and that preference should be given to expansion.

Rethemes are not inherently bad

For many retheme=bad. But this is not always the case. Take the recent re-opening of Space Mountain with a Star Wars overlay which has opened to fan approval. There are other rethemes that have fans more sceptical such as the one that has recently taken place at Disneyland in Anaheim where the Tower of Terror has become Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. It’s difficult to take an emblematic attraction and change it. Space Mountain is one of those attractions that is beautiful on the outside and inside but was difficult to market. Hyperspace Mountain is still beautiful from the outside but has an intense marketability. 

If the idea is good, the retheme will also be good. The worry is purely on whether the retheme is purely for marketing reasons or if there is an plausible reason to change the story.

Why not expand?

The more complicated question is answer is why not expand? Expansion is quite simply expensive. In 2014, Disneyland Paris inaugurated Ratatouille: L’Aventure totalement toquée de Rémy which included the attraction, shop, restaurant and mini-land costing €200 million. Additionally there is a recruitment of new cast members to cover the cost of a new attraction and increased maintenance costs. This should not stop development but it does go someway to explaining as to why new attractions don’t come daily or yearly. Ideally new attractions bring an increased number of visitors to the resort and higher revenues; however this was not the case in Disneyland Paris for the Ratatouille development. Rethemed attractions are not only cheaper but allow marketing for new experiences based on popular franchises. Hardcore Disney fans may object to a franchise being shoe-horned into the park, but the average visitor simply doesn’t care – they want to see a film and characters represented.

But retheme and expansion can work harmoniously

The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not as if you can have one but not the other. In fact an expansion could work best when involving a retheme. For example, the previously referenced retheme in Disneyland with Guardians of the Galaxy involves a bigger plan, the plan for a Marvel superheroes land. One can assume that this will involve expansion. Thus an attraction has been used with the vision of becoming the gateway to something bigger. Something very similar could be happening at Disneyland Paris with the closure of Cinémagique; rumours are spreading that this theatre will become a Marvel-based stunt show. It is very possible that the Walt Disney Studios park will have a Marvel themed area and why not some of this being an expansion? It’s not entirely inconceivable after all.

Would this be a good solution to the loss of a beloved attraction? Potentially.

Are Disney prioritising retheme over expansion and new attractions?

Quite simply, no. Whilst the retheme of attractions seems to be recently prevalent it is certainly not new. The most known example in Disneyland Paris is the change from Space Mountain: de la terre à la lune to Space Mountain: Mission 2, but other things have been rethemed or renamed. Hakuna Matata and Agrabah Café have all been given new names over the past years at Disneyland Paris. Even looking at the trends in Disney parks across the world, expansion is still taking place. In Paris we have very recently had La place de Rémy, in Florida the expansions of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land are underway and in Anaheim Star Wars Land is also underway. The Asian resorts are also seeing extensive expansions from the major projects in Hong Kong and Tokyo to smaller projects in Shanghai.

Paris is simply following an international trend and it’s OK. Whilst we all want to see the Walt Disney Studios park expand, sometimes the price for a new attraction is a retheme, and that is not necessarily bad. Providing story exists and make sense a retheme can be just as good as an expansion.

Retheme or Expansion: A careful balancing act

With the opening of Star Tours: L’aventure continue and Hyperspace Mountain, Disneyland Paris has rethemed and repurposed two successful and popular attractions. Fans are divided on whether or not this is a good or bad thing. For some, any new experience is an occasion to be celebrated; others dislike how classic experiences are modified from their original design and that preference should be given to expansion.

Rethemes are not inherently bad

For many retheme=bad. But this is not always the case. Take the recent re-opening of Space Mountain with a Star Wars overlay which has opened to fan approval. There are other rethemes that have fans more sceptical such as the one that has recently taken place at Disneyland in Anaheim where the Tower of Terror has become Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. It’s difficult to take an emblematic attraction and change it. Space Mountain is one of those attractions that is beautiful on the outside and inside but was difficult to market. Hyperspace Mountain is still beautiful from the outside but has an intense marketability.

If the idea is good, the retheme will also be good. The worry is purely on whether the retheme is purely for marketing reasons or if there is an plausible reason to change the story.

Why not expand?

The more complicated question is answer is why not expand? Expansion is quite simply expensive. In 2014, Disneyland Paris inaugurated Ratatouille: L’Aventure totalement toquée de Rémy which included the attraction, shop, restaurant and mini-land costing €200 million. Additionally there is a recruitment of new cast members to cover the cost of a new attraction and increased maintenance costs. This should not stop development but it does go someway to explaining as to why new attractions don’t come daily or yearly. Ideally new attractions bring an increased number of visitors to the resort and higher revenues; however this was not the case in Disneyland Paris for the Ratatouille development. Rethemed attractions are not only cheaper but allow marketing for new experiences based on popular franchises. Hardcore Disney fans may object to a franchise being shoe-horned into the park, but the average visitor simply doesn’t care – they want to see a film and characters represented.

But retheme and expansion can work harmoniously

The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not as if you can have one but not the other. In fact an expansion could work best when involving a retheme. For example, the previously referenced retheme in Disneyland with Guardians of the Galaxy involves a bigger plan, the plan for a Marvel superheroes land. One can assume that this will involve expansion. Thus an attraction has been used with the vision of becoming the gateway to something bigger. Something very similar could be happening at Disneyland Paris with the closure of Cinémagique; rumours are spreading that this theatre will become a Marvel-based stunt show. It is very possible that the Walt Disney Studios park will have a Marvel themed area and why not some of this being an expansion? It’s not entirely inconceivable after all.

Would this be a good solution to the loss of a beloved attraction? Potentially.

Are Disney prioritising retheme over expansion and new attractions?

Quite simply, no. Whilst the retheme of attractions seems to be recently prevalent it is certainly not new. The most known example in Disneyland Paris is the change from Space Mountain: de la terre à la lune to Space Mountain: Mission 2, but other things have been rethemed or renamed. Hakuna Matata and Agrabah Café have all been given new names over the past years at Disneyland Paris. Even looking at the trends in Disney parks across the world, expansion is still taking place. In Paris we have very recently had La place de Rémy, in Florida the expansions of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land are underway and in Anaheim Star Wars Land is also underway. The Asian resorts are also seeing extensive expansions from the major projects in Hong Kong and Tokyo to smaller projects in Shanghai.

Paris is simply following an international trend and it’s OK. Whilst we all want to see the Walt Disney Studios park expand, sometimes the price for a new attraction is a retheme, and that is not necessarily bad. Providing story exists and make sense a retheme can be just as good as an expansion.

Star Tours: A new galaxy of adventures

Star Tours has reopened at Disneyland Paris as Star Tours: L’aventure continue. With it, a new experience of over 70 different combinations of ride meaning that there are so many reasons to do this favourite over and over again.

This new attraction takes the Star Tours experience that you know and love and expands upon it allowing for a more immersive tour across the galaxy. Whilst Disneyland Paris is the last to this arrive to this party, it certainly makes up for it in style as a Star Wars mini-land has seemingly opened up with a Darth Vader meet and greet location; a new look Star Traders and the newly opened Hyperspace Mountain experience. All these experiences, along with Season of the Force prove that Disneyland Paris is focused on being the Star Wars hub of Europe.

A slice of a Galaxy far, far away in Marne-la-Vallée

The whole rear of Discoveryland has been reimagined to create a veritable Star Wars vibe to it, this also serves a double meaning as for guests familiar with Star Tours at Disneyland Paris, it also indicates that this experience is different to what has come before.

The most striking element of the new land, aside from its openness, is that the X-Wing has moved from its plinth next to the entrance of the attraction to the top of the old Star Traders boutique (now Starport) . Certainly, this provides better visibility for the X-Wing as a ‘weenie’ and should draw more people into the area (as it it were needed) however when in the area the X-Wing is barely visible and impossible to take photos of. The previously active X-Wing is taken into a more dormant look providing an impressive approach but for no pay-off in the slightest.

It is at night where this area is most alive, the beautiful blue colours are exceptional vibrant and really does bring this outer-galaxy idea to life. It is an absolute joy to spend time in the area as it is but it can’t help but feeling like a few bits of Star Wars streetmosphere (such as the Stormtrooper patrol currently in the Walt Disney Studios park) would really help this area become much more believable as part of the Star Wars galaxy.

The queue area

The old starport aesthetic has been maintained and improved upon during the year long refurbishment. The colour is much more polished now and the darker look compliments the reworked land colouring. The new LED screens are crystal clear, the darker interior really helps bring out the colouring of these screens and thus the advertised planets. The advertisements for the destinations offered by Star Tours and the information videos on the Starspeeder 1000 are in plentiful supply and will allow for no repetition even on a slower moving queue.

The downside to the early part of the queue is C-3PO and his over-the-top safety railings. This ruins a perfect photo opportunity of the droid that is so famous from his appearances in all the films of the Star Wars franchise that people are very eager to take a photo of (or with) him. It hardly seems appropriate to have so many safety fencings around an animatronic.

The final room in the queue is a delight. From seeing RX-24 sadly boxed up, but still saying phrases from the classic Star Tours attraction, something that will bring delight to all Disneyland Paris fans, to the luggage control droid who checks each piece of baggage and talks to guests. The luggage control itself is ingenious, it is the perfect place to sneak in Star Wars and Disney references that delight fans. Only here is it possible to see Mickey’s Fantasia hat in the Star Wars universe or Buzz Lightyear’s wings.

Another not-so-hidden gem in this room is the walk way, here we see various Star Wars characters go past from each and every film. It is a small element but entertaining nonetheless and is a suitable replacement to the baggage carts overhead from the previous iteration. The final surprise is the ‘heat detector’, this is the ultimate gimmick but guests love seeing their heat pattern appear on screen and will start waving and having fun in front of the screens. It doesn’t feel like much, but it’s clearly very appreciated by guests.

The ride

The ride itself is phenominal. Whilst the clear selling point is the sheer number of scenes that can be enjoyed, the real sticking point after having ridden the ride is simply how fun it is. It is proper immersion into the Star Wars universe and a lot of fun as well. Personally, I came off each of my rides grinning from ear to ear with the amount of fun that I enjoyed. Perhaps what Star Tours: L’aventure continue does better than the original Star Tours is incorporating familiar scenes at a high intensity. Yes, the original had the Death Star trench scene which is as iconic as Star Wars comes, but this new version allows Darth Vader, Yoda, Leia etc to show up as well as the possibility to follow the Millennium Falcon.

Each planet follows a clearly different series of movements with the clear highlight being Jakku and the pausing on an angle for a few seconds. Fans of Hoth will be thrilled with the possibility to visit this planet and then zoom into hyperspace and go back to the Death Star (yes, the dream of fighting against the Death Star can still be lived in this new version). What makes this ride doubly exciting is that new scenes will be able to be slotted in with ease allowing for us to be surprised with some eventual The Last Jedi footage.

The 3D element was very well done and was utterly believable which was a nice addition as often 3D feels very gimmicky and not an enhancement to the story; here in Star Tours though, it slots right into the Star Wars universe and allows additional elements of the story to come to life.

The ride, which was already unmissable, is now even more unmissable as you will want to be riding it several times each trip in an attempt to see each of your favourite scenes. I cannot wait to return to a galaxy far, far away.

Star Traders

But the ride is not the end of the Star Tours experience. The reimagined Star Traders boutique makes a fitting ending to the experience and is Europe’s largest Star Wars shop. The selection of merchandise is sufficient for what it seeks to achieve however lacks exclusive items to Disneyland Paris. A lot of what is on offer is generic Star Wars ranges that can be found almost anywhere. Of the exclusive merchandise, there is a really nice Star Tours: L’aventure continue t-shirt, pin and keyring which each look fantastic. There is also a station where you can create your own droid which is inventive and really quite cool. A few more exclusive to Disneyland Paris ranges will make this store unique and one of the best in Disneyland Paris.

The decor is very well designed with Starspeeders in their port. Essentially the theme of this store is to look up as it is all above your head. But it exists and looks exceptional.

Starport: Meet Darth Vader

The final element of this new Star Wars mini-land is the Starport meet and greet space. There is not much to the queue area as it all takes place outside and is a simple out and back system around the edge of the old Star Traders store. Inside, however, has been themed to the Star Wars universe in a rather generic way but allows for great photos with the characters.

Darth Vader himself is a fun meet and greet from the outset. From the moment he comes to grab you from the queue to the end, it is a chilling experience. The addition of Darth Vader actually being able to talk to you is very well executed and has a wide range of phrases that allow for a fully-interactive meet and greet.

An exceptional addition to Disneyland Paris!

Star Tours: L’aventure continue is a wonderful addition to Disneyland Paris that places the resort at the centre of the European Star Wars universe. This alongside the newly launched Soirée Star Wars and Season of the Force provides guests with reasons to visit and revisit the park frequently. Even for the most casual guest, this area of the park is a welcome addition and completes the Discoveryland experience. Just like Frontierland feels strange without Big Thunder Mountain or Phantom Manor, Discoveryland really felt lacking without Star Tours – it is now back and better than ever and will allow for adventures for many years to come!

2016: Project Sparkle and change

The splashdown on the newly reopening Big Thunder Mountain at 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

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!