Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy 20th Birthday Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris marks its 20th birthday today. Having always wanted to see it (as well as the rest of Europe), I was finally able to make it out there in February of 2010.

In front of City Hall - yes it was cold

Being the 4th “Magic Kingdom” style park, Disney was able to take many of the lessons learned in previous efforts and apply them to the design of their first European park. They didn’t have the limited funds that Disneyland was saddled with, or the water table Disney World had to deal with, so how about putting the castle on a hill?

Yes, that is snow on the ground behind me

Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to traverse Main Street during the fireworks, or some other show or parade? Navigating through a throng of entrenched tourists can be risky business, and the ol’ “shortcut through the shops” trick doesn’t always work. Hey, how about a shortcut behind the shops, without going backstage?

Pic from

Maybe also design said corridors beautifully, make sure people can access the shops from this area, call it the Discovery Arcade, and hang awesome retro-futuristic posters of different American cities!

Tomorrow's City by the Bay, where zeppelins rule the sky!

While it’s true that the park was far from perfect when it opened, there were still plenty of terrific attractions available, and the park itself was considered to be the “prettiest” of all Disney parks (it still is to me, at least out of the ones I’ve visited). Controversial upon opening, 20 years, one name change and a second park later, the originally titled “Euro Disney” is now the most visited destination in all of Europe. At the end of the last fiscal year, Disneyland Paris recorded close to 16 million visitors. To put that into perspective, during that same span of time 8.4 million people visited Mona Lisa and the Louvre, and 6.6 million flocked to Paris’ beautiful 1889 World’s Fair remnant, the Eiffel Tower.

A Disney Project Field Trip

I am happy to say that while I wasn’t able to get there for the actual 20th, I am making my triumphant return to Disneyland Paris later this year. I’m making the trek across the Atlantic and meeting up with my good friend and fellow Disney nut, Bernice, from Magical Movie Reviews fame. We’ll be there in late September, in time to see the extremely well received Disney Dreams! show.

Bernice and I in front of my favorite DLP ride, Phantom Manor

Since I obviously don’t get to visit Disneyland Paris nearly as often as I’d like, I would like to take an early opportunity to field requests from any of my readers on a location/ride/restaurant, etc., to film or photograph. While it’s true you can find pretty much anything on Google or YouTube these days, if there is something specific in the Disneyland Paris Resort you just can’t seem to track down, please send me an email and I will do my very best to film or photograph it for you, and possibly make it the subject of one of my blog posts.

I can be reached at: keith (at) thedisneyproject dot com.

Bon anniversaire, Disneyland Paris. A très bientôt!