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Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Park
Walt Disney Studios Park
Disney Village

Resort hotels

Disneyland Hotel
Disney's Hotel New York
Disney's Newport Bay Club
Disney's Sequoia Lodge
Disney's Hotel Cheyenne
Disney's Hotel Santa Fe
Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch

Euro Disney S.C.A.

Disneyland Paris is a holiday and recreation resort in Marne-la-Vallée, a new town in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. The complex is located 32 kilometers (20 mi) from the centre of Paris and lies for the most part on the territory of the commune of Chessy, Seine-et-Marne.[1]

Disneyland Paris comprises two theme parks, a retail, dining and entertainment district, and seven Disney-owned hotels. Operating since April 12, 1992, it was the second Disney resort to open outside the United States (following Tokyo Disney Resort) and the first to be owned and operated by Disney. With 15.3 million visitors in the fiscal year of 2008, it is one of Europe's leading tourist destinations.

Disneyland Paris is owned and operated by French company Euro Disney S.C.A., a public company of which 39.78 percent of its stock is held by The Walt Disney Company, 10 percent by the Saudi Prince Alwaleed and 50.22 percent by other shareholders. The senior leader at the resort is chairman and CEO Philippe Gas.

The complex was a subject of controversy during the periods of negotiation and construction in the late 1980s and early '90s, when a number of prominent French figures voiced their opposition and protests were held by French labour unions and others. A further setback followed the opening of the resort as park attendance, hotel occupancy and revenues fell below projections. Partly as a result of this, the complex was renamed from Euro Disney Resort to Disneyland Paris in 1995. In July of that year, the company saw its first quarterly profit.

A second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park, opened to the public March 16, 2002.

In August 2008, Disneyland Paris was the most visited attraction in Europe.[2]

Contents

Background & development

Following the success of Disneyland in Anaheim, California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, plans to build a similar theme park in Europe emerged in 1972. Upon the leadership of E. Cardon Walker, Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983 in Japan with instant success, forming a catalyst for international expansion. In late 1984 the heads of Disney's theme park division, Dick Nunis and Jim Cora, presented a list of approximately 1,200 possible European locations for the park.[3]

By March 1985, the number of possible locations for the park had been reduced to four; two in France and two in Spain.[4] Both of these nations saw the potential economic advantages of a Disney theme park and competed by offering financing deals to Disney.[5]

Both Spanish sites were located near the Mediterranean Sea and offered a subtropical climate similar to Disney's parks in California and Florida. Disney had also shown interest in a site near Toulon in southern France, not far from Marseille. The pleasing landscape of that region, as well as its climate, made the location a top competitor for what would be called Euro Disneyland. However, thick layers of bedrock were discovered beneath the site, which would render construction too difficult. Finally, a site in the rural town of Marne-la-Vallée was chosen because of its proximity to Paris and its central location in Western Europe. This location was estimated to be no more than a four-hour drive for 68 million people and no more than a two-hour flight for a further 300 million.

In December 1990, Espace Euro Disney enabled the public to preview the complex.


Michael Eisner, Disney's CEO at the time, signed the first letter of agreement with the French government for the 20-square-kilometer (4,940-acre) site in December 1985, and the first financial contracts were drawn up during the following spring. Construction began in August 1988, and in December 1990, an information centre named "Espace Euro Disney" was opened to show the public what was being constructed. Plans for a theme park next to Euro Disneyland based on the entertainment industry, Disney-MGM Studios Europe, quickly went into development, scheduled to open in 1996 with a construction budget of US$2.3 billion.[6] The construction manager was Bovis.[7]

Hotels, recreation and restaurants

In order to control a maximum of the hotel business, it was decided that 5,200 Disney-owned hotel rooms would be built within the complex. In March 1988, Disney and a council of architects (Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Robert A.M. Stern, Stanley Tigerman and Robert Venturi) decided on an exclusively American theme in which each hotel would depict a region of the United States. At the time of the opening in April 1992, seven hotels collectively housing 5,800[8] rooms had been built.

By the year 2017, Euro Disney, under the terms specified in its contract with the French government, will be required to finish constructing a total of 18,200 hotel rooms at varying distances from the resort.[9] An entertainment, shopping and dining complex based on Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney was designed by Frank Gehry.

With its towers of oxidised silver and bronze-coloured stainless steel under a canopy of lights, it opened as Festival Disney.[10]

Euro Disney Resort's initial cast members pose.

For a projected daily attendance of 55,000, Euro Disney planned to serve an estimated 14,000 people per hour inside the Euro Disneyland park. In order to accomplish this, 29 restaurants were built inside the park (with a further 11 restaurants built at the Euro Disney resort hotels and 5 at Festival Disney). Menus and prices were varied with an American flavour predominant and Disney's precedent of not serving alcoholic beverages was continued in the park.

2,100 patio seats (30% of park seating) were installed to satisfy Europeans’ expected preference of eating outdoors in good weather. In test kitchens at Walt Disney World, recipes were adapted for European tastes. Walter Meyer, executive chef for menu development at Euro Disney and executive chef of food projects development at Walt Disney World noted, “A few things we did need to change, but most of the time people kept telling us, ‘Do your own thing. Do what’s American’.”[11]

Recruitment

Unlike Disney's American theme parks, Euro Disney aimed for permanent employees (an estimated requirement of 12,000 for the theme park itself), as opposed to seasonal and temporary part-time employees. Casting centres were set up in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt in an effort to reflect the multinational aspect of Euro Disney’s visitors.

However, it was understood by the French government and Disney that “a concentrated effort would be made to tap into the local French labour market”[5]. Disney sought workers with sufficient communication skills, who spoke two European languages (French and one other), and were socially outgoing. Following precedent, Euro Disney set up its own Disney University to train workers. 24,000 people had applied by November 1991.[5]

Controversies

The prospect of a Disney park in France was a subject of debate and controversy. Critics, who included prominent French intellectuals, denounced what they considered to be the cultural imperialism, or ‘neoprovincialism’ of Euro Disney and felt it would encourage in France an unhealthy American type of consumerism. For others, Euro Disney became a symbol of America within France. On June 28, 1992 a group of French farmers blockaded Euro Disney in protest of farm policies the United States supported at the time.

A journalist in the French newspaper Le Figaro wrote, “I wish with all my heart that the rebels would set fire to [Euro] Disneyland."[12] Ariane Mnouchkine, a Parisian stage director, named the concept a “cultural Chernobyl;”[13] a phrase which would be echoed in the media and grow synonymous with Euro Disney's initial years.

In response, French philosopher Michel Serres noted, “It is not America that is invading us. It is we who adore it, who adopt its fashions and above all, its words.” Euro Disney S.C.A.'s then-chairman Robert Fitzpatrick responded, "We didn’t come in and say O.K., we’re going to put a beret and a baguette on Mickey Mouse. We are who we are."[5] Topics of controversy further included Disney's American managers requiring English to be spoken at all meetings and Disney's appearance code for members of staff, which listed regulations and limitations for the use of make up, facial hair, tattoos, jewellery and more.

French labour unions mounted protests against the appearance code, which they saw as “an attack on individual liberty.” Others criticised Disney as being insensitive to French culture, individualism, and privacy, because restrictions on individual or collective liberties were illegal under French law, unless it could be demonstrated that the restrictions are requisite to the job and do not exceed what is necessary.

Disney countered by saying that a ruling that barred them from imposing such an employment standard could threaten the image and long-term success of the park. “For us, the appearance code has a great effect from a product identification standpoint,” said Thor Degelmann, Euro Disney’s personnel director. “Without it we couldn’t be presenting the Disney product that people would be expecting.”[14]

Opening day

On April 12, 1992, Euro Disney Resort and its theme park, Euro Disneyland, officially opened. Visitors were warned of chaos on the roads and a government survey indicated that half a million people carried by 90,000 cars might attempt to enter the complex. French radio warned traffic to avoid the area. By midday, the parking lot was approximately half full, suggesting an attendance level below 25,000. Speculative explanations ranged from people heeding the advice to stay away to the one-day strike that cut the direct RER railway connection to Euro Disney from the centre of Paris.[12]

Financial, attendance and employment status

In May 1992, entertainment magazine The Hollywood Reporter reported that about 25% of Euro Disney's workforce — approximately 3,000 men and women — had resigned their jobs because of unacceptable working conditions. It also reported that the park's attendance was far behind expectations. Euro Disney S.C.A. responded in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, in which Robert Fitzpatrick, claimed only 1,000 people had left their jobs. In response to the financial situation, Fitzpatrick ordered that the Disney-MGM Studios Europe project would be put on hiatus until a further decision could be made. Prices at the hotels were reduced.

Despite these efforts, in May 1992 daily park attendance was around 25,000 (some reports give a figure of 30,000) instead of the predicted 60,000. The Euro Disney Company stock price spiralled downwards and on July 23, 1992, Euro Disney announced an expected net loss in its first year of operation of approximately 300 million French francs. During Euro Disney's first winter, hotel occupancy was such that it was decided to close the Newport Bay Club hotel during the season.

Initial hopes were that each visitor would spend around US$33 per day, but near the end of 1992, analysts reckoned spending to be around 12% lower.[15] Efforts to improve attendance included serving alcoholic beverages with meals inside the Euro Disneyland park, in response to a presumed European demand, which began June 12, 1993.[16]

In January 1994, Sanford Litvack, an attorney from New York City and former U.S. Assistant Attorney General, was assigned to be Disney's lead negotiator regarding Euro Disney's future. On February 28, Litvack made an offer (without the consent of Eisner or Frank Wells) to split the debts between Euro Disney's creditors and Disney. After the banks showed interest, Litvack informed Eisner and Wells. On March 14, the day before the annual shareholders meeting, the banks capitulated to Disney's demands.

The creditor banks bought US$500 million worth of Euro Disney shares, forgave 18 months of interest and deferred interest payments for three years. Disney invested US$750 million into Euro Disney and granted a five-year suspension of royalty payments. In June that same year, Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud cut a deal whereby the Walt Disney Company bought 51% of a new US$1.1 billion share issue, the rest being offered to existing shareholders at below-market rates, with the Prince buying any that were not taken up by existing shareholders (up to a 24.5% holding).

1995 turnaround

On May 31, 1995, a new attraction opened at the theme park. Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune had been planned since the inception of Euro Disneyland, but was reserved for a revival of public interest. With a redesign of the attraction (which had premiered as Space Mountain at the Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom in 1975) including a "cannon launch" system, inversions, and an on-ride soundtrack, the US$100 million attraction was dedicated in a ceremony attended by celebrities such as Elton John, Claudia Schiffer and Buzz Aldrin.

On July 25, 1995, Euro Disney S.C.A. reported its first ever quarterly profit of US$35.3 million. On November 15, the results for the fiscal year ending September 30 were released; in one year the theme park's attendance had climbed from 8.8 million to 10.7 million — an increase of 21%. Hotel occupancy had also climbed from 60 to 68.5%. After debt payments, Disneyland Paris ended the year with a net profit of US$22.8 million.

2000 onwards

In 2002, Euro Disney S.C.A. and the Walt Disney Company announced another annual profit for Disneyland Paris. However, it then incurred a net loss in the three years following. In 2005, the Walt Disney Company agreed to write off all debt to the Walt Disney Company made by Euro Disney S.C.A.. As of 2007 the park was approximately US$2 billion in debt. In August 2008, Disneyland Paris was the most visited attraction in Europe, receiving more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower combined.[2]

Name changes

Disneyland Paris and its assets have been subject to a number of name changes, initially an effort to overcome the negative publicity that followed the inception of Euro Disney.

Michael Eisner noted,

As Americans, the word ‘Euro’ is believed to mean glamorous or exciting. For Europeans it turned out to be a term they associated with business, currency, and commerce. Renaming the park ‘Disneyland Paris’ was a way of identifying it with one of the most romantic and exciting cities in the world.[17]
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Entire complex Euro Disney Resort1 Euro Disneyland Paris2 Disneyland Paris3 Disneyland Resort Paris4 Disneyland Paris5
First park Euro Disneyland1 Disneyland Park (English)/Parc Disneyland (French)4
Entertainment district Festival Disney Disney Village

1until May 1994
2June 1994 until September
3October 1994 until February 2002
4March 2002
5April 2009

The complex

Disneyland Paris encompasses 4,800 acres (19 km2)[18] and contains 2 theme parks, 7 resort hotels, 6 associated hotels, a golf course, railway station and a new town: Val d'Europe.

Theme parks

On April 12, 2007, Disneyland Paris celebrated its 15th anniversary.

The Disneyland Park is based on a formula pioneered by Disneyland in California and further employed at the Magic Kingdom in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan. Occupying 566,560 m² (140 acres), it is the largest Disney park based on the original in California.

On March 16, 2002, the Walt Disney Studios Park opened its doors to the public. At 270,000 square metres, it is a continuation on an earlier, never realised concept: the Disney-MGM Studios Europe.

The April 2007 issue of trade magazine Park World reported the following attendance estimates for 2006 compiled by Economic Research Associates in partnership with TEA (formerly the Themed Entertainment Association):

  • Disneyland Park, 10.6 million visits (No. 5 worldwide);
  • Walt Disney Studios, 2.2 million visits.

Other recreation

An aerial view of Disney Village (centre), Lake Disney (right) and a fragment of Disneyland Park (top left)

The Disney Village entertainment district contains a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Dinner Show, and other venues and stays open after the parks close.

Golf Disneyland features 9-hole and 18-hole courses.

Hotels

Disney's Sequoia Lodge.

The complex features seven Disneyland Paris hotels. The Disneyland Hotel is located over the entrance of the Disneyland Park and is marketed as the most prestigious hotel on property. A body of water known as Lake Disney is surrounded by Disney's Hotel New York, Disney's Newport Bay Club and Disney's Sequoia Lodge. Disney's Hotel Cheyenne and Disney's Hotel Santa Fe are located near Lake Disney, Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch is located in a woodland area outside the resort perimeter.

Disneyland Paris includes six Associated Hotels which are not managed by Euro Disney S.C.A. but provide free shuttle buses to the parks: Marriott's Village d'lle-de-France, Radisson BLU Hotel, Vienna International Magic Circus Hotel (formerly known as Holiday Inn Magic Circus Hotel), Vienna International Dream Castle Hotel, MyTravel's Explorers Hotel and a Kyriad Hotel.

Transport

A railway station, Marne-la-Vallée - Chessy, with connections to the suburban RER network and the TGV high-speed rail network is located between the theme parks and Disney Village. Thalys no longer operates from the station, but there are daily services from London on the Eurostar. On June 10, 2007, a new high-speed line, LGV Est, began service between Paris and Strasbourg. Free shuttle buses provide transport to all Disney hotels (except Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch) and Associated Hotels.

References

  1. ^ "Plan de la ville." Chessy, Seine-et-Marne. Retrieved on 3 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b Sylt, Christian (August 17, 2008). "Magic results: Euro Disney plans new hotels". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/magic-results-euro-disney-plans-new-hotels-899529.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  3. ^ Lainsbury, Andrew (2000). Once Upon an American Dream: The Story of Euro Disneyland. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 070060989X-1. 
  4. ^ "Monsieur Mickey or Señor Miqui?: Disney Seeks a European Site." — BusinessWeek, July 15, 1985
  5. ^ a b c d Anthony, Robert (1993). Euro Disney: The First 100 Days. Harvard Business School. ASIN B0006R2N8Y-1. 
  6. ^ "New York Times, February 5, 1991 " COMPANY NEWS; Euro Disney Park"". New York Times. 2009-09-04. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE3DB1238F936A35751C0A967958260. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  7. ^ Outdoor Theatre: A spectacle in Progress Daily Press, 11 May 2005
  8. ^ "Disneyland Resort Paris in Figures". Corporate.disneylandparis.com. http://corporate.disneylandparis.com/about-our-company/the-narrative-of-numbers/index.xhtml. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  9. ^ Business America, 2 December 1991.
  10. ^ By RICHARD CORLISS MARNE-LA-VALLEE Monday, Apr. 20, 1992 (1992-04-20). "Voila! Disney Invades Europe. Will the French Resist? - Time, April 20, 1992". Time.com. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,975357-3,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  11. ^ “Disney Magic Spreads Across the Atlantic; Popular US Theme Park Prepares for Opening of Euro Disneyland Resort Near Paris in April, 1992,” Nation’s Restaurant News (October 28, 1991), p.3.
  12. ^ a b ""Thunderbird Case Studies; 'EuroDisneyland'"" (PDF). www.thunderbird.edu. http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache:_OZmL6CkLn0J:www.thunderbird.edu/wwwfiles/pdf/about_thunderbird/case_series/a15990007.pdf. Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  13. ^ By JEFF CHU/Marne-La-Vallee Monday, Mar. 18, 2002 (2002-03-18). "Happily Ever After? - Time, March 18, 2002". Time.com. http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/article/0,13005,901020325-218398,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  14. ^ Anne Ferguson, Maximising the Mouse. Management Today, September, 1989, pp. 60.
  15. ^ "Disneyland Paris (Euro Disney) Frequently Asked Questions - 1996, Andre Willey/Tom Drynda". Faqs.org. http://www.faqs.org/faqs/disney-faq/disneyland-paris/. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  16. ^ "New York Times, June 12, 1993 "Euro Disney Adding Alcohol"". New York Times. 2009-09-04. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CEEDF1E3FF931A25755C0A965958260. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  17. ^ daniels. "Individual Term Paper International Marketing, Dan Snyder April 30, 2002". 216.239.59.104. http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:-uFIMZUo3usJ:www.angelfire.com/alt/dansnyder/InternationalMarketing.PDF. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  18. ^ "Walt Disney Co DIS (NYSE), Reuters.com". Stocks.us.reuters.com. http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/fullDescription.asp?rpc=66&symbol=DIS. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 

External links

Coordinates: 48°52′7.39″N 2°46′54.48″E / 48.8687194°N 2.7818°E / 48.8687194; 2.7818


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Disneyland Resort Paris article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : France : Île-de-France : Marne-la-Vallée : Disneyland Resort Paris
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant - "Sleeping Beauty's Castle"
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant - "Sleeping Beauty's Castle"

Disneyland Paris (formerly Euro Disneyland and Disneyland Resort Paris) [1], located in the Paris suburb of Marne-la-Vallée, is the Disney Empire's European variant of their archetypal "Magic Kingdom" theme park. It was the second Disney theme park resort to open outside the United States, after Tokyo Disney Resort.

"To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Once upon a time, a master storyteller, Walt Disney, inspired by Europe's best loved tales, used his own special gifts to share them with the world. He envisioned a Magic Kingdom where these stories would come to life, and called it Disneyland.
Now his dream returns to the land that inspired it. Euro Disneyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration for all the world." — Michael D. Eisner, 1 April 1992
"To all who enter the studio of dreams, welcome. The Walt Disney Studios is dedicated to our timeless fascination and affection for cinema and for television. Here we celebrate the art and the artistry of storytelling from Europe and around the world to create the magic in a special place through our own memories of the past and our dreams of the future. — Michael D. Eisner, 16 March 2002

Disneyland Resort Paris consists of two parks, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Paris, and a shopping district, Disney Village. Disneyland Paris is the park everybody has heard of and expects, and Walt Disney Studios Paris has a more general movie making theme - but it's still very Disney. The Village is comprised of stores and restaurants.

Disney's theme parks are famous for their "Audio-Animatronics," attention to detail, service mentality, crowds,and high prices. The intention is to completely recreate the "magic" of the Disney franchise; employees are not "staff" but "cast members"; the park is kept insanely clean; and everywhere you will find a perfectly running machine. For example, you won't find the same Disney character twice within sight - there are no duplicates. Children are clearly the focus of Disneyland, but older visitors are not neglected either.

All the theme parks follow basically the same setup, but of course there are many regional differences.

The total commercialism is something you have to either accept, ignore or enjoy. Besides the merchandise stores at every corner, many rides are "sponsored" by various large corporations.

To make the experience even more magical and enjoyable, the City of Light is just a half-hour train ride away.

When to visit

With 12 million visits, Disneyland Paris has overtaken the Eiffel Tower as the most popular tourist destination of the Paris region, and is the fourth most visited theme park in the world, behind Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland. Likewise, it is infamous for its crowds. At all attractions all over the park you will see "barricades" and signs along the lines of "Waiting time at this point - 45 minutes".

It is essential for an enjoyable visit to Disneyland to plan for a good time. Ideally, you want good weather and as few people as possible.

The best times to visit Disneyland Paris is on weekdays outside public holidays and school vacations. The least-visited times seem to be September-October and May-June. Considering the French weather, June is likely the safest bet. You'll probably be able to get some very good deals during these times. (Example in June 2003: 3 days for the price of 2 days, including hotel, about €200/person.) If you are lucky, you won't have to wait at all except at very popular rides, and even then the waiting time can be as low as a few minutes.

Note that even when the park is not very crowded you will have trouble seeing all of the attractions. For a more or less complete tour, you will need at least two days.

It should be said quite clearly that Disneyland Paris is a lot of fun when you do not have to wait a lot - but waiting for a ride for 45 minutes or more can be stressing. However, see below for "FastPass" tickets.

Get in

After you arrive, first get to your hotel if you have booked one. You will get your tickets here, as well as information material (maps) and breakfast vouchers.

By plane

Disneyland Resort Paris is well connected to both of Paris' international airports [2].

From Charles de Gaulle International Airport (IATA: CDG), TGV [3] operates high-speed train service to the resort from Terminal 2. The trip takes about 10 minutes.

From Orly Airport (IATA: ORY) you will need to take three trains: Orlyval (from Orly Airport to Antony), RER B (from Antony to Chatelet-Les Halles), and finally RER A4 (from Chatelet-Les Halles to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy).

Alternatively, VEA [4] operates bus service to Disneyland Resort Paris from both airports, costing €17 for adults/€13 for children aged 3-11 per trip.

By car

One choice if you live in France or in a nearby region (Central Germany, Southern United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) is to take a car. The highway system of France is decent enough and Disneyland Paris is easy to find. You should keep a supply of cash and/or credit cards ready, however, as the French charge hefty fees for the use of the highways. A trip from Frankfurt, Germany to Disneyland Paris can cost approximately €30 in fees.

If you are driving from the UK, note that France drives on the right.

By train

The best way to reach Disneyland Resort Paris, which has its own railway station, is by train: they are reliable and run frequently. Note that when booking tickets the official name of the station is Marne-la-Vallee Chessy (this is useful for automatic ticket machines - the human ticket sellers will all know the station for Disneyland).

From Paris

  • Paris Transit Zone Map [5]
  • Paris Metro (Zone 1) Map [6]

RER A4 runs from central Paris to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy, with frequent trains taking 35 minutes for the journey. Be aware that a Paris Metro ticket is valid on RER only for travel within Zone 1 (Disneyland Resort Paris is in Zone 5). If you're using a Paris Visite Pass, make sure it reads Zones 1-6, and not Zones 1-3. In either case, using an invalid ticket will result in a €25 fine.

The seven main rail terminals in central Paris, the trains that serve them, and directions from them to RER A4 are explained in the chart below. All of them are served by the Metro and/or RER.

Station Services Directions to RER A4
Gare du Nord Thalys
Eurostar
TGV
Transilien Paris-Nord
TER Picardie
RER B or D to Chatelet Les-Halles
Gare de l'Est TGV
InterCity Express
TER Alsace
TER Champagne-Ardenne
Transilien Paris-Est
Venice-Simplon Orient Express
Paris Metro Line 4 to Les Halles
or Line 5 to Quai de la Rapee
Gare Saint-Lazare 23 Transilien lines
4 Grandes Lignes lines
Walk to Auber
Gare de Lyon 4 Transilien lines
3 Grandes Lignes lines
TGV
Served by RER A4
Gare de Bercy Auto trains Paris Metro Line 14 to Gare de Lyon
Gare d'Austerlitz Paris-Bordeaux main line
Paris-Toulouse main line
Elipsos
Walk to Gare de Lyon
Gare Montparnasse TGV
TER Centre
TER Basse Normandie
Paris Metro Line 4 to Chatelet
or Line 6 to Nation

From within/outside France

Eurostar [7] operates a daily service from London's St. Pancras station and Ashford direct to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy taking, on average, just 2 hours. You can then leave your luggage at the station and it will be moved to your hotel while you enjoy the parks.

Marne-la-Vallee Chessy is also served by four TGV train lines from destinations to the east and west such as Nantes and Lille.

Bear in mind that most international railways linking Paris with other countries arrive in central Paris - see the chart above.

Tickets

Visiting Disneyland Resort Paris is about as equally expensive as visiting any of the other Disney parks around the world. There are four types of tickets sold. The 1 Day 1 Park Ticket allows you to visit only one of the two parks for a full day. In addition, there are three Park Hopper tickets, which allow you to visit both parks on the same day, available in 1-, 2- and 3-day increments. The 3-Day Park Hopper ticket represents the most ecomomical deal; the ticket price per day is lowest.

These prices, taken from the Dutch version of the resort's website, were accurate as of May 2009:

Online Prices
Days ages 3-11 ages 12+
Total Per Day Total Per Day
1 Day 1 Park Ticket €43 €43 €51 €51
1 Day Park Hopper €54 €54 €62 €62
2 Day Park Hopper €95 €47.5 €112 €56
3 Day Park Hopper €118 €39.33 €139 €46.33

Children under age 3 are admitted free.

Also worth investigating is the Annual Passport - which appears to be cheaper for 12+ age groups than the 3 day park hopper. Buy a 1 day ticket and visit guest services once inside the park to get your annual passport (with its face price reduced by your 1 day ticket purchase price.)

Get around

Once you are in the park, your main mode of transportation will be walking. Disneyland is divided into four themed sections (Discoveryland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Fantasyland) and the central shopping and information area Main Street USA.

If you need to get from one side of the park to another, you can take the train which circles the Park and has a stop in each of the major sections.

If you find yourself at the back of the park during heavy rain, there is an undercover walkway that will take you all the way from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to the front of the park.

Bus services exist which can take you from Disney Village and the central entrance to the hotels. These buses are free of charge.

Accessibility

Wheelchair accessibility is very good, there are very few areas that have the usual obstacles, such as confined stairs, that make access impossible. A very good system of disabled access for most rides is in place, but for safety and evacuation reasons, some rides do require that the rider be able to walk or climb a ladder. It is a good idea to get a disability pass from the Information Center on arrival at the park; this makes it easier for staff to identify and assist disabled visitors. The pass will not grant a disabled person the right to jump the queue, but it does allow assisted access to rides via the exit gates rather then the more restrictive entrance gates.

See

Disneyland Paris is mainly a place for doing, not for seeing. But this doesn't mean there are no places with a good view.

  • The Castle (Fantasyland) is the dominating feature of the Park. While the cynic will notice the stark plastic construction, the castle's fascination cannot be denied by anybody who grew up with Disney style comics. Don't forget to visit the Dragon Cave through a side entrance; the sleeping dragon is one of the best Audio-Animatronics in Disneyland.
  • Disney Characters are spread liberally throughout the park. Many are available around the clock - usually the more famous characters like Mickey, Donald etc - and some are only available at certain times. Some characters move around. Care is being taken by the Disneyland administration that no character can be met twice at the same time. Inquire at any store or information outlet about the schedule of the characters. They will give autographs to children, and their main purpose is of course to pose for photos. If you have a favorite "must see", inquire as soon as you can on your arrival; some minor characters - like Stitch - are hard to track down. *** If you have a certain character that you absolutely must meet, then check in with CITY HALL at the entrance of the Park on TOWN SQUARE. They can help you with this information, and even organize a "Meet N Greet" with your favorite character.
  • Throughout the day there are various Parades - some of them are quite famous. They include various Disney and non-Disney characters, are held in different parts of the Park at different times. The park map will have a listing of the schedules.

Shows

There are many shows available throughout Disneyland Paris.

  • Tarzan (Frontierland) features acrobatics mixed in with music from the movie. It's well done and well worth the time. (cancelled as of July 09)
  • Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (Disney Village) combines horses-and-pistols action with food served to the audience. You have to pay admittance. The show may be interesting to some children, but it's overall rather tedious. The food isn't very good either. The service can be alright, but it really depends on where you're sitting. Spend the money in some other way (merchandise, time to smile or a dinner at the Blue Lagoon)... but avoid Buffalo Bill.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Audience (Discoveryland) is basically a 3D movie with "interactive" elements - and starring Eric Idle and Rick Moranis.
  • Animagique (Walt Disney Studios park) is basically a small musical number with dancing Disney characters and pink elephants. Well done if you can appreciate this type of entertainment.
  • CineMagique (Walt Disney Studios park) - another "interactive" show; the theme is a trip through 100 years of movie history. Very well done, and highly recommended.
  • Armageddon Special Effects (Walt Disney Studios park) lets you experience the destruction of the space station by incoming asteroids. Probably best suited for teenagers. Avoid if very crowded.
  • Moteurs! Action (Walt Disney Studios park) A stunt car show. Rather entertaining and definitely good for some photo moments. It's next to Rock 'n' Rollercoaster Avec Aerosmith. A little bit long but worth the time.
  • The Lion King (Discoveryland) Based on the musical and animated movie of the same name. Quite interactive and a good one for the kids.

The mermaid, a new ride that is recently in progress

Do

Most "activities" in Disneyland Paris consist of various rides. However, there are discos and bars in the village where people meet and dance.

Rides

Easily the primary attraction of Disneyland, rides can be quite crowded depending on popularity - even on otherwise empty days at the park.

Some notable rides are:

  • Space Mountain (Discoveryland) Space Mountain '2' is the park's current offering under the Space Mountain banner, an updated version of the old ride. The ride is tough and harsh and evokes strong reactions - some love it, some hate it. Fastpass available. Height restriction (1m40).
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Walt Disney Studios Park) Same as the Disney California Adventure version, astounding decors, amazing ambiance, great sensations (remains a Disney attraction). Fastpass also highly recommended. If you suffer from heart problems this ride is not reccomended.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril (Adventureland) is a nice ride but does have a loop and there is a height requirement.
  • Big Thunder Mountain (Frontierland) Also one of the better rides in Disneyland. Enjoyable but incredibly busy so fastpass is a must. Post-ride photo available.
  • Rock n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (Walt Disney Studios park) is probably the coolest ride in Disneyland Paris. The design (sound studio) is excellent, the acceleration awesome, the mixed Aerosmith music and "concert ambiente" of this in-doors rollercoaster contribute to the experience. Highly recommended. Wait until during the stunt show as this empties the park, then go on for little or even no queue! Or, if the stunt show is not on for another couple of hours, pick up a fastpass ticket — but generally the queue is not too bad and does not require a fastpass. Another tip, ask to ride in the front, you may have to queue a little longer but generally get on the next time. If you have waited 45 minutes, why not wait another minute for the VIP ride!
  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (Discoveryland) is an interactive ride — the only one in the whole complex? — which gives you a "laser pistol" with which to fire at targets, earning points that are totted up as you go along. (If you buy a post-ride photo, your point total appears on it.) Very good fun for all ages, with all the queueing under shelter. Busy: either get there early or take a fastpass.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland), probably the best known Disney ride, is a water ride with a piracy theme. It's pretty harmless, features a lot of Audio-Animatronic pirates and is suitable for all ages. Expect your clothes and gear to possibly get a few drops, though it's hardly a deluge. Features "The Blue Lagoon", an expensive "jungle ambiance" restaurant. Although it is usually busy, its quick loading technique shortens queuing time. Don't bother with a camera or camcorder - it's very dark. Post-ride photo of yourself on the ride (taken automatically) available.
  • It's A Small World is a stereotypical "cute" Disney ride. Designed mostly for small children, this is a perfect ride for those who can enjoy the most impressive kitsch ever designed. It's colorful, it has a catchy tune that will remain on your mind for days, and it's a lot of fun if you do not take it too seriously. Good for families with young children or silly adults. Sensible adults will enjoy if they've watched the first Shrek and recall the lyrics of 'Welcome to Dulac': "Please keep off the grass, shine your shoes, wipe your.. face".
  • Star Tours (Discoveryland) is a "Flight Sim" with a Star Wars theme. A must for every fan, but it's well done and should be enjoyable for most people. Pay attention for a few small jokes in the very well done set design. It can get quite busy so get a fastpass.
  • Crush's Coaster (Walt Disney Studios Park) is a very enjoyable roller coaster, mostly in the dark, themed on "Finding Nemo" in which you ride the East Australian Current on (in) a turtle. Height restriction (1m02). No Fastpass (Sep 08) and very long queues; get there early or be patient. In a 60-minute queue, only half will be under shelter.
  • Phantom Manor (Frontierland) A "haunted house" ride that is very well done. Pay attention to the fake cemetery on your way out for a few chuckles. However, it is in French so the plot may be hard to understand. The queue is ok but is more popular during Halloween. It may be unsuitable for very small children; it might not be a good idea to take along your baby, so leave him/her with some older member of the family.

FastPass

If you can plan your timing somewhat, you may wish to take advantage of the FastPass system. When you get to a ride, you can get a so-called fast pass that allows you to bypass the queue at a set, later time. Even when the park is only moderately crowded, it's a good idea to get fast passes for popular rides early (Big Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones for example). FastPass exist only for a few rides.

You first go in front of the ride to get a coupon with a time frame. You then have to come back in that given time frame to take the ride. If you don't like the proposed time frame, you need to come back later. You cannot take another FastPass ticket before the start of the time frame of your first fastpass. There is a limited number of fastpass so you should take them before they are all gone.

If you wish to do several big rides without having to wait a lot you should get FastPass for all the rides first thing when you arrived on the site.

Baby Switch

This is a great system for people with very young children. Essentially only one has to queue while the other waits with the baby and then is taken straight to the front of the line.

Note - if you are using the Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, the Baby Switch process is slightly different. Once the first adult has been on the ride, they collect a ticket at the exit. The second parent then has to queue through the FastPass entrance (although the ride attendants recommendation is merely to push your way to the front of the queue), which can take some time.

Buy

If there is one thing you will never have a problem finding in Disneyland Paris, it's stores. Various themed and general stores are spread liberally throughout the park, selling Disney merchandise and general memorabilia. They carry everything from pencils to books, from Indiana Jones fedora hats to Cinderella costumes. The sky is basically the limit on the money you can spend at Disneyland Paris - you can buy glass/crystal trinkets and sword replicas in the central castle. If you come to Disneyland Paris with children, be prepared to reach deep into your pockets; cowboy hats and pistols or knights' swords seem to be essentials for boys; Cinderella costumes for girls. Either way, a set of goodies for a child will probably set you back approximately €50. Add to this plush dolls, t-shirts and action figures ... it's easy to spend €50-100 a head on "souvenirs" - or more.

The main shopping area of Disneyland Paris is Main Street USA. The largest store at Walt Disney Studios Paris is Disney Studio 1, which you will see straight ahead after you enter the park. Disney Village has a large collection of retailers, including a Disney Store...

Eat

Disneyland Paris sports many restaurants and bars that have mostly one thing in common: They're expensive. Some are simple fast-food spots, others are quite fancy. The food is often expensive. Cafe Mickey is expensive (€130 for four people) but the characters came around and you may save some time not queuing up in the park to have the kid's pictures taken with the characters.

  • The cheapest food on the premises can be bought at McDonald's. Unsurprisingly, they are much more expensive than any average McDonald's. The McDonald's in Disney Village is the largest in France.
  • The primary place to eat, drink, shop and party is in the Disney Village, which contains some nicely-themed restaurants including King Ludwig's Castle, the very atmospheric Jungle Café, and a nice steak house.
  • Perhaps the most interesting ambiance can be had in "The Blue Lagoon," which is built inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Prices are steep, but the atmosphere is very nice. You can also look in on the ride itself which can be very entertaining
  • If you booked yourself into a Disney hotel, this includes breakfast - basically an all you can eat buffet of cereal, rolls, yogurt, and so on. The food is not fancy, but it'll feed you well. You should also get vouchers to eat in the Park at least once (they may offer more than once depending on the booking situation). The food is the same, but you are admitted to the park 1 hour before it officially opens, giving you a head start to the rides. Not all the themed "lands" are open for this, you can get a list of the ones that are from your hotel. For instance "its a small world" doesn't open until 10AM and Autopia (cars that the kids can drive) doesn't open to 12:30PM.
  • There is a large shopping mall a few minutes from the park by car. If you have access to a vehicle, you can go here for all your shopping needs. This helps if you are on a budget.
  • Bring something to drink into the park - if you walk around all day, especially when it's hot, you will need a lot of liquid. Don't forget that drinks at kiosks are very expensive.
  • There are signs at the entrance stating that there is no picnicking inside the Park. However, this rule is not strictly enforced.

Remember that the park closes early in the winter, spring and autumn so it is hard to eat dinner in the park after dark.

Sleep

Disney offers various hotels in and around the park. They vary in quality and style. All should offer a free safe to store your valuables during the day, including notebook computers (Laptops). Inquire at the reception. Most are within easy walking distance from the Park

An asterisk (*) indicates hotels that offer point exchanges to members of the Disney Vacation Club [8].

  • The Cheyenne hotel has a Western theme. It's a bit outside - you have to take the bus to reach the Village - and it's a little on the budget side. The rooms are nice and it's a good value for the money. A walk around takes 10-15 minutes but is not that well signposted, perversely the signposts to the Park are easier to see on the way back from the Park than on the way there, but it's a fairly easy level walk. The hotel is a little on the budget side, basic, clean sort of the average travel lodge type. They offer an "all you can eat buffet" which is actually some of the best food on the Disney site.
  • The Disneyland* hotel is the most lavish and famously expensive. It is situated over the main entrance so walking isn't a problem, however this means that there is a bit of a walk to the village and lake Disney.
  • The New York* hotel is situated on Lake Disney. This hotel tends to attract business customers coming for conventions.
  • The Newport Bay* hotel is situated on Lake Disney. The theme is New England. Due to its many balconies and a very large swimming pool, this is a great hotel to stay at in the summer and offers great views out into the lake and beyond.
  • The Sequoia Lodge* hotel is situated on Lake Disney. The hotel consist of a main block where most of the rooms are and a number of smaller blocks scatter through the woods surrounding the hotel, it is quite a nice place to explore.
  • The Santa Fe hotel is situated on the other side of the river beside the Cheyenne hotel. You can reach the parks by walking but may prefer to take the bus as it is a ten to fifteen minute walk to the park but its probably the cheapest of them all.
  • The Davy Crockett Ranch is situated 5 minutes drive away (you have to have a car as there is no shuttle). It is quite different from the other hotels and consists of separate motel style accommodation with cooking facilities. There is also a shop (open late) and a swimming pool, horse rides and a petting zoo.

As well as the above, there are several outer hotels, all of these offer transport to the park but they don't have a Disney theme and may not be included in special offer packages.

One such hotel is the Holiday Inn, which is situated alongside the official Disney hotels. It is also served by the Disney bus from Charles de Gaulle airport, and by the frequent shuttle buses to/from the parks. It has a circus theme throughout, and has good sized family accommodation.

  • PV-Holidays Adagio Val d'Europe [9] is another cheaper, self-catering option. Located minutes from Eurodisney- with a free shuttle bus to and from. Apartments spacious, comfortable and self catering. Designed on the model of a private mansion house, with decor combining an urban style with the spirit of an English garden-city, the residence is also ideally located next to one of Europe's largest shopping centres. Tel: +33 1 58 21 55 84.

Talk

Communication should not be an issue for English-speaking visitors. Although Disneyland Paris is mainly French, all menus and signs are also available in English and some in other languages. All Cast Members speak English; and as they are recruited from all over Europe, several of them speak over three languages. If all else fails, the visitors are from all over Europe and the world, and a bystander might be able to translate. Besides French, many sights are also written in English and possibly German as they are the three most commonly used languages in Disneyland. Maps are available in French, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and German while passing under the train tracks after you have purchased a ticket and entered the park.

Contact

Mail

You can buy postcards and stamps at most shops in the park. Mailboxes exist in some central locations. Ask the shopkeepers about the postage required to your destination.

Internet

The park doesn't offer Internet access to its visitors. Some of the more expensive hotels may offer an Internet Cafe though; inquire before booking. No computers are in any of the rooms but it is possible to bring a laptop as there are spare electric sockets and a desk space.

  • To get to Parc Asterix [10], take the TGV to Charles de Gaulle Airport, then take the shuttle bus (roundtrip: €7.50 ages 12 and above, €5.50 ages 3-11) to the park.
  • Val d'Europe [11] is the first stop from Marne-la-Vallee on RER A4.
  • Low Cost Airport Transfer to Disneyland [12], from Beauvais, CDG and Orly. Prices start from as little as €10 per person.

Or visit the other Disneyland parks worldwide at:

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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