Disneyland® Paris is original in many ways, among them its use of fine detail to immerse guests in the stories it tells, not only in the Parks, but also in each of its seven themed hotels. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with major international architecture firms, this 5,800 room site is the 5th largest hotel grouping in France. For this new series of articles dedicated to the Disney hotels, which are some of the largest hotels in Europe, Disneyland Paris News asked Laurent Cayuela, Creative Writer at Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Paris, to present the themes that inspired them.
Imagineering (a word popularized by Walt Disney, from imagination and engineering) has specialists in over 140 artistic and technical disciplines. Since it was created in 1952, its aim has been not to construct buildings, but to immerse Disney guests in a unique storytelling experience. The seven themed hotels at Disneyland Paris offer seven destinations in the U.S.A., without even having to leave Marne-la-Vallée!
The magic doesn’t stop at the Park gates
The Disneyland Hotel is an extension of the theme of Main Street, U.S.A. and shares with that area of Disneyland Park the late Victorian style of the early 1900s and its richly detailed decor in tones of cream, pink and green. The floral carpets, the wallpapers typical of the time and the gilded hand-carved furniture provide an elegant backdrop to a number of Disney Classic film references, such as the marionettes in glass cases in the hotel lobby, and the music from the 1940 film Fantasia, which covers the walls of the appropriately named Café Fantasia.
A breath of fresh air
The beauty of nature is the setting for two of the hotels, each with a very different style, but both providing a relaxing environment after a busy day in the Parks.
Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, with its lodges nestled in the forest clearings and its American Arts and Crafts decor, is a tribute to the Sequoia National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada. Its warm and cosy atmosphere makes an oasis of calm at the heart of a welcoming forest that bursts with colour when autumn comes. The adorable Bambi, hero of the 1942 Disney Classic of the same name, appears as prince of the forest, with his friends Thumper and Flower, in the decoration of the rooms.
Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch also invites you to enjoy the natural forest setting of its bungalows, set up in ‘loops’ similar to early American pioneer villages. The rustic country charm of this destination follows the career and close-to-nature way of life of famous trapper, hunter and farmer, Davy Crockett.
Wide open spaces
All lovers of Westerns and the story of how the West was won will feel very much at home at Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne, a reconstitution of a Far West town. The decoration includes all the essential elements of a cowboy outfit – boots, hat and lasso. The buildings, all named for great Indian chiefs, fearless outlaws or brave defenders of the law, run either side of the town’s main street where, at any moment, a stage coach (like the one at the hotel’s main entrance) might pass, or two gunfighters might decide to challenge each other to a duel. No wonder Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne is the Disneyland Paris hotel most used for TV shoots!
Other wide American spaces are the setting for Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe, a tribute to the legendary Route 66. The shape and colour of the buildings, as well as the vegetation and the neon signs, are all in the style of those found along Route 66 as it winds across the American South West. The hotel is dedicated to the love Americans have for their cars, from the restaurant that resembles a garage featuring real licence plates and a gas pump, to the giant screen on the hotel’s facade reminiscent of a drive-in movie theatre, where you can enjoy a movie from the comfort of your car. The link between Route 66 and the cinema is also enhanced by the presence of the heroes of the Pixar-Disney animated film Cars in the decor of the hotel rooms.
Family gatherings or professional meetings
The hotel offer is completed by two convention centres that face one another across Lake Disney and make Disneyland Paris Europe’s top business tourism centre. Their elegant and distinctive surroundings are equally appealing for family holidays and conventions or business stays.
Disney’s Hotel New York is alive with the stylish jazzy atmosphere of New York City through its beautiful Art Deco architecture, enhanced by a colourful pop art decor. The spacious geometrically designed interiors reproduce settings from the famous city, such as the authentic bar facade in the lobby and the recurring sky scraper silhouettes on the walls. All of these elements help immerse the hotel guests in the glamorous and luxurious atmosphere of the Big Apple from the 1930s to the 1970s.
To the North of New York, New England was the preferred vacation destination for rich and powerful socialites in the early 1900s. They entertained others of the same stature at their seaside “cottages”, which were actually large elegant mansions. Disney’s Newport Bay Club welcomes guests in the style of one of these Victorian showpieces, accentuating the seaside location with many nautical motifs, such as anchors, ropes and port holes. Some areas immerse guests even further; the Cape Cod restaurant is decorated with frescoes of children playing on the beach, while the Yacht Club restaurant, through its layout, its vaulted ceiling and its shining copper light fixtures, could persuade you that you were already at sea, if it wasn’t for the lack of pitch and roll! And finally, the hotel rooms are the height of travel luxury, worthy of a transatlantic liner, with their furniture in the shape of cabin trunks.
From New Mexico to New England, from California to New York, each of the seven Disneyland Paris hotels is guaranteed to provide a relaxing environment within an original storytelling experience.
Our thanks go to Sylvie Massara, Christine Tweedly and Laurent Cayuela for this American journey. Don’t miss the next episode in our series, which will look at the many quality initiatives designed to enhance the Disney hotel experience.