I couldn’t be at the official 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris yesterday for a number of reasons, but thanks to some live streaming from Disneyland Paris themselves and some excellent coverage from fans in attendance, I managed to see a lot of what went on. It all started with the Grand Celebration of 25 Years show in the morning, that rumour had it would be big, and involve a lot of characters. Nothing could prepare us for what we saw, and while I didn’t get to soak up the atmosphere of being in Disneyland Park, the multi angle live stream that Disneyland Paris put out was world class, and gave us fans at home arguably the best seat in the house. If you haven’t seen it yet, then stop reading (after the next few words) and watch the video below – right now!
It’s not just the sheer amount of characters, which is mind boggling, but the huge scale of the show, which included the Castle, Central Plaza, Main Street and Town Square – incredible. But the number of characters and the rare ones which made up the majority of them was like nothing we’ve seen before, anywhere in the world. The likes of Roger Rabbit, Oswald and Darkwing Duck seemed to be the favoirites when I asked on Twitter, with Tarzan and Jane being my own choice. Sure I saw them in The Tarzan Encounter for years, and I have seen Tarzan in The Forest of Enchantment, and will again this summer, but to see them out and about was a treat.
When CEO Catherine Powell came out, she showed once again that she’s not the kind of boss who’s going to just sit in an office 24/7, but she genuinely appears to enjoy being out among the guests, in a Disneyland Paris that she seems to be immensely proud of. So she should, Disneyland Park particularly, is looking and feeling better than it has in years, maybe ever? However, Catherine has spoken on numerous occasions about the Cast Members of Disneyland Park, and for them her pride surpasses even that that she has for the Parks, and beamed when introducing literally thousands of them, as they flooded the Park in a flash mob song and dance display that almost brought me to tears. Remember I was just watching back at home on a screen – there live it must have been an incredibly emotional experience.
Whilst I’ve never had any problems with Cast Members and have found almost every one full of smiles and always willing to help, I did notice when I was there last month a buzz among them that I’d never seen before. Whether that’s the Catherine Powell effect, the 25th Anniversary or something entirely different, it’s noticeable and for us guests it does make a difference, a hugely positive one. You only have to spend time on social media to see in what high regard certain Cast Members are held, and those that are less visible are not any less appreciated. It was so absolutely the right thing for them to come out last, for without those Cast Members and their hard work, there is no Disneyland Paris. They deserved their moment in the spotlight, and boy did they shine. Not every Cast Member could be a part of that, but they were a representative number,and any praise heaped on them goes also to every single one who does even the slightest thing which in turn gives us magic we can’t find elsewhere.
The day didn’t stop with the big morning show, as there were many characters out meeting guests, all in costumes created especially for April 12th 2017. There was also a special Grand Celebration Cavalcade which saw a ridiculous amount of characters making guests’ dreams come true once again.
At the end of the night Mickey did his usual waving from the Main Street Station balcony, and was joined by a whole host of his character friends, just to make sure the day ended as emotionally as it started.
Good night from Mickey, but tonight also from Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale and Clarice! pic.twitter.com/kWPYx3tmq3
— ED92 (@ED92live) April 12, 2017
So what does this mean for the future of Disneyland Paris? Well with the hopefully imminent takeover by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC), the dream for many is to have some of these characters out and about in the Parks, as the licensing costs have hampered Disneyland Paris for years. Though we hardcore fans knew that this was a one off special day of events, many casuals will expect to see at least some of the non standard characters in Disneyland Paris after seeing the video of the big show, and I’ve seen on social media many people hoping for exactly that after witnessing yesterday’s festivities online. One of the most regular topics of emails I get sent is about characters, and why so and so isn’t in Disneyland Paris. Well we had Moana even before the film came out in the cinema, and she’s back again this summer, so rumour has it, but we need more. If we could get even a tiny fraction of the characters we had yesterday on a regular basis in Disneyland Paris it would make a huge difference.
Will we have to wait another 25 years for a day like yesterday, or could we see more like this in the much nearer future, though maybe not quite to that scale? These are very interesting times and though nothing is certain, what we saw yesterday was a showcase of epic proportions that has well truly made Disneyland Paris the envy of the world, if only for a day. With all the new additions for the 25th Anniversary I truly believe that Disneyland Paris is worthy of that envy for every day after April 12th too, and feel that yesterday was the announcement to the world that the 25th Anniversary marks a rebirth of Disneyland Paris, with many more great things to come.