The moments that define Disneyland Paris – A 2016 article series

There are moments in history that seem small and insignificant but somehow take on a defining role in a generation. In 2017, Disneyland Paris celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, but the history of Disney’s European resort stretches more than the twenty-five short years. In 1923, Walter Elias Disney arrived in Hollywood with a suitcase and a dream. That dream spanned multiple different medias and dimensions. Little did anybody realise in 1923 that this one man would change entertainment forever. Entertainment was silent, it was simple and took in but two of the senses. Later in the 1920’s film evolved and the era of the talkie arrived. Walt Disney would use dialogue in his short films before himself innovating and creating a new art form: The Animated Feature film. Snow White opened to huge critical praise in 1937; the gamble paid off and allowed Walt Disney to be given an honorary OSCAR award and saw the film being the highest grossing talkie at the time. Without this one film, the Disney universe could not exist as it is today; without this one film, much of the entertainment we enjoy today would simply not exist.

Carthay Circle Theatre. Snow White premiere: December 21 1937. Image: Disney
Carthay Circle Theatre. Snow White premiere: December 21 1937.
Image: Disney

To some, Disneyland Paris is home, to others a place to escape for a few days each year. Different people may have differing fond memories of the resort, but there are certain moments that everybody can identify as important to the growth of the resort. Moments such as the building of Space Mountain saved the resort from financial ruin, the opening of a second park in 2002 began an important new chapter. In 1987, the Walt Disney Company created a new resort and a new dream for many Europeans. This article series over the course of 2016 aims to take at least one event each year over the course of the history of Disneyland Paris and explore it in more detail, the resort’s Golden Moments. The story of the Parisian resort is a colourful one involving the study of past mistakes, the appreciation of European history and the love of Disney film.