We don’t have an exact date in July, but this is the latest rumour coming from our friend @DisneylandBarry, who is really rather reliable when it comes to this kind of thing.
From July, Merida (from Disney•Pixar's Brave) will leave the Princess Pavilion for a new photolocation near the Pocahontas Indian Village
— DisneylandBerry (@DisneylandBerry) June 4, 2015
Merida last had her own meet and greet at Christmas, located just near the bottom of entrance of the Discovery Arcade on Main Street, U.S.A., and though it seemed like maybe an odd place at first, it looked fantastic and actually fitted in really well. Merida living in a Castle certainly helped to justify her Disneyland Paris location, not too far from our very own Sleeping Beauty Castle. I never managed to get a photo with her when I visited in December, as queues were long for my whole trip, but you can see the photo location set in this snap, and let this be my official audition for the part.
So how will she work in her new location in Frontierland, and is this the right thing to do? Well some may ask why she is the one being pulled from the Princess Pavilion when she has just had her own meet and great as we mentioned earlier. Firstly, she was very popular, and as the newest Princesses to come to Disneyland Paris, lots will still be wanting to meet her. Secondly, you have to consider the location, which is in a leafy woodland area, and has been picked as somewhere they feel can cater for a popular meet and greet. That’s not something that suits most Princesses, but if you’ve seen Brave you’ll know that Merida will be quite at home over there.
The other problem that some may have is that Frontierland is supposed to be the Wild West, where cowboys fight Indians, and really not the location for a little slice of the Scottish Highlands. The same was said of the Frozen Summer Fun area when that was announced to be in Frontierland also, and I can tell you from first hand experience that it fits in perfectly. In an ideal world we’d have just characters and attractions that suited the lands 100% and no others, but with only 5 lands and an absolute need to keep bringing in fresh and popular properties, Disneyland Paris have to do what they can. With both Frozen and Merida they have two films whose settings actually blend perfectly with the parts of Frontierland in which they are, or will be.
Meet and greets may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is no doubting their popularity has risen, and they are relatively cheap and quick to implement. It’s also far easier to market a meet and greet both on screen and in print than it is many of the big attractions. How many people do you think had any idea of what the Ratatouille attraction entailed from the adverts they saw? Not many I’d hasten to guess. But 5 seconds of someone meeting a character they adore or a photo of that moment, and you have a very strong selling point straight off the bat. I’m not saying we should have all character meets instead of new attractions, but at cash strapped times Disneyland Paris can only do so much. Once there, sold on the idea of meeting characters, the other parts will sell themselves, and that’s when word of mouth kicks in.
This an addition to what is already on offer, not at the expense of something else. For people that really don’t like it or its location, then I dare say they never went to that part of Frontierland anyway, and it now means more people in queues so you can enjoy the parts you do like with less people around. We have to have our Place de Remy, and it’s one of the most gorgeous parts of the whole resort, but we also need our Merida meet and greets so that Disneyland Paris offers something for everyone. I think I went a little off piste there, but for me, this is a great idea and in a very logical and fitting location.