Should I not be talking about the recent rumours that have surfaced about the detailed plan for Disneyland Paris developments that has apparently come from within Disneyland Paris and been made public by two fans? MAybe, but I won’t, because it appears to be a mixture of information we already know combined with a fantasy wish list, some of which has been categorically shot down by CEO Philippe Gas, as pointed out by DLRP Roundup. Instead I’m going to focus on what we do know and on what is actually going on in Disneyland Paris, well, apart from one tiny bit of speculation.
There was a time when each year Disneyland Paris would have a themed celebration which would traditionally run from April to April. As the resort first opened in April, back in 1992, it makes sense to have an operational year like this for big anniversary occasions such as the recent 20th and the upcoming 25th. It no doubt helps that the the financial year runs adjacent to this, give or take a few days. However, on years when there wasn’t a logical celebration Disneyland Paris felt the need to invent one, and we got the often maligned New Generation Festival and Magical Moments Festival in 2010 and 2011 respectively. These were very generic and didn’t seem to resonate with people. It seemed they only existed to have a logo and some branding to use in travel agents, which to be fair isn’t completely without merit.
In 2012 it was the 20th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris and the celebrations were fitting of such a milestone, most notably the introduction of Disney Dreams! In 2013 this carried on into what was called the 20th Anniversary Extended celebrations, which saw new scenes added to Dreams!, but little else. Fast forward to 2013 and we have the very first Spring festival, called Swing into Spring. Now while I was a bit sceptical at first, from the photos I’ve seen and from chatting to friends who have been, it appears to be have been a major success for those who have experienced it.
When you add in the new Halloween festival that started last year, and the new look Christmas festival that started the year before, it can only be a a matter of time before we get a summer festival, to complete the whole year. Given that Swing into Spring was very late in being announced, could we even get it this year? Summer is traditionally a time when people will visit Disneyland Paris regardless of what is going on, so it maybe wouldn’t need as much attention as Spring, but a cavalcade or promenade wouldn’t be out of the question. Some modest decoration around the Main Street and Central Plaza area with an infusion of sunshine, and the whole Park takes on a new and vibrant identity.
So what does this mean? Rather than having to introduce a new year long festival each year, Disneyland Paris will start to be known for its four seasons, and visitors will know that no matter when they go, there will be something going on, in addition to the growing number of attractions in both parks. Swing into Spring is only a few weeks into its first run in Disneyland Paris, and we know that there are plans to build on 2013’s Halloween Festival year by year, same goes for Christmas. It makes sense then for Swing into Spring to build upon what we have this year, and grow into an even bigger and better spectacle each year. This will make advertising a lot easier, as brochures, for example, can be designed with all knowledge and branding of all 4 seasons known in advance. Prospective visitors will be able to see details of these new seasons and return visitors will already know of their existence and the extra magic they offer.
Swing into Spring wasn’t advertised this year, and there could be a number of reasons for that. Maybe details weren’t known until the last minute, maybe entertainments weren’t finalised until near the launch date or maybe it was even a kind of soft launch for 2014, to gage visitor reactions and gain valuable input for a possible Summer festival, and for the assumed even bigger celebrations for Spring 2015. Word of mouth is running wild though, as fans seeing what is going on seem desperate to head over to Disneyland Paris to see the new character interaction opportunities, the new parade/show hybrid and the never seen before in Disneyland Paris decorations.
For some the nature of the park festival means nothing, and they’ll go regardless, in the knowledge that they will be able to meet Mickey Mouse and ride Big Thunder Mountain. For those that do like the extra touches, they can now visit Disneyland Paris with at least some idea of what will be going on, and can that make a more educated decision as to when to go. Of course if there are 4 distinct seasonal celebrations in Disneyland Paris, this could also increase repeat visits, as some will want to experience all 4, where as before there may not have been any difference in visiting in May as there was in July.
To answer the question posed in the title of this article, yes, I believe the four season approach is indeed the right thing to do for Disneyland Paris. It allows them to build on these celebrations year on year, while giving much more information in advance to potential visitors and making advertising a lot easier to plan and more effective in its execution. Imagine being able to book for June 2015, more than a year away, in the knowledge that you’ll be able to experience the Spring festival. We have Spring, Halloween and Christmas, it makes sense for Summer to be introduced next, but for now that’s just speculation, however logical it may be.