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Focus on assistance dogs at Disneyland Paris

This August 26, 2020, we celebrate the International Day of Man’s Best Friend. We are of course talking about dogs! Our companions for more than 27,000 years, dogs are soft, doe-eyed and easy to fall for. Outside of the family setting, we can meet our furry friends (and we’re not talking about Pluto or Goofy) … at Disneyland Paris!

Mission: Support

Guide dogs or assistance dogs are always welcome at our destination. These essential partners help to bring more autonomy, safety and comfort to their owner’s movements, without forgetting their daily social role.

At Disneyland Paris, we regularly host the Association des Chiens Guides d’Aveugles d’Île-de-France and the ANM ‘Chiens Guides (national association of guide dog masters), which, thanks to its valuable advice, allows our company to study the best accessibility solutions.

Service dogs are welcome in our theme parks, hotels and even at certain attractions! We provide free animal care at Disneyland Paris and their stay at our hotels includes a welcome kit including two bowls and a cleaning mat.

A service dog also accompanies one of our Cast Members. His name is Lazer, and he joined our company at the same time as Laetitia in 2016. This inseparable duo has worked at Guest Relations ever since.

Although their faces makes us melt, refrain from touching them, calling them or feeding them. Only their owner can give you permission to pet assistance dogs!

Pluto poses with a new guide dog friend during the 40th anniversary of the Association Chiens dAveugles d´Ile de France (2016)

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One of the Largest European Solar Canopy Plants Coming to Disneyland Paris

Ambitious solar energy initiative will reduce Val d’Europe local territory emissions of CO2 by 750 tons per year, marking a new milestone in Disneyland Paris’ environmental commitment.

On World Energy Day, Disneyland Paris announced the phased development of one of the largest solar canopy plants in Europe – together through a co-investment with French company Urbasolar – as part of a continued commitment to environmental stewardship. Located at the resort’s main guest parking lot, the project will contribute to the reduction of Val d’Europe local territory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximatively 750 tons of CO2 per year* while providing additional guest enhancements, including shade and shelter from direct sunlight, rain or snow. Construction began in July and is expected to be completed in 2023, with a first milestone for the first phase in spring 2021.

“Environmental innovation and stewardship are a tradition that began with Walt Disney himself, and this ambitious solar power project is the latest in our commitment to the environment at Disneyland Paris,” said Natacha Rafalski, President of Disneyland Paris. “It is our responsibility as a business and leading tourist destination to contribute to the long-term sustainability of our resort and the region through environmentally responsible practices.”

The solar power plant at Disneyland Paris is in collaboration with French company Urbasolar through a co-investment and will encompass 17 hectares (42 acres) of solar canopies, using 67,500 solar panels for a production of 31 gigawatt-hours per year (GWh/year). While this is not only allocated to the resort, it is technically enough renewable clean energy to account for about 17% of the resort’s current electricity consumption and equivalent to the annual energy consumption of a city with about 14,500 inhabitants**. Once the full project is completed, a section of it will light up at night in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head, visible from the sky.

“This power plant is an unprecedent project in Europe from a major company like Disneyland Paris,” said Stéphanie Andrieu, CEO of Urbasolar, and Arnaud Mine, President of Urbasolar. “It will be a fully tailor-made project, integrated into Urbasolar’s strategy of innovation on system monitoring and on-site energy management. We are thrilled to be part of this project.”

The project will also contribute to Disneyland Paris’ environmental strategy, aiming for a significant reduction in GHG emissions and a full decarbonization of its energy supply.

The initiative is part of the constant efforts put in place by the company in six focus areas of the environment: reducing GHG emissions; moving toward sustainable waste management – for example, by reducing the use of plastics; preserving water resources, including through the establishment of a wastewater treatment plant; developing a responsible supply chain; preserving and fostering biodiversity and supporting global actions to preserve the environment for future generations.

Geothermal energy already feeds both Disneyland Paris Parks and the Disneyland Hotel as a result of an innovative plant located at Villages Nature Paris. It uses naturally occurring underground heat and steam to help cover the heating needs for sanitary hot water and heating system of the facilities.

Since 2018, Disneyland Paris Hotels have also been participating in the Affichage Environnemental initiative officially supported by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Agence of Ecological transition (ADEME).

For more information on Disneyland Paris environmental efforts, visit: https://disneylandparis-news.com/en/our-commitments/environment/.

*Estimate obtained according to the Life Assessment methodology recommended by ADEME and carried out by Urbasolar.

** According to RTE / CRE report 2018 and INSEE 2019

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Disneyland Paris to launch sales of the Wishes Come True Blue colour collection until April 29 in support of Make-A-Wish®

In honour of the 40-year relationship between Disney and Make-A-Wish, Disneyland Paris, and other Disney Parks around the world, began selling items from the Wishes Come True Blue colour collection today. For every item sold across Europe, the US & Canada, The Walt Disney Company will donate 25% of the retail price to Make-A-Wish® organisations (up to US $500,000) to help grant wishes for children. This marks The Walt Disney Company’s first colour collection in celebration and in support of its collaboration with a non-profit organization. Items from the collection sold at Disneyland Paris include spirit jerseys, Minnie Mouse headbands, and Loungefly backpacks.

Inspired by Make-A-Wish, this collection is the perfect way to recognize the life-changing power of a wish. Together Disney and Make-A-Wish have granted more than 140,000 wishes around the world. The Wishes Come True Blue colour collection is inspired by the official colour of Make-A-Wish and the stars on the collection are a wink to the organisation’s logo.

Since opening in 1992, Disneyland Paris has provided moments that matter to sick children, helping them to build emotional resilience and lighting up the lives of their families. Disneyland Paris has partnered with various organizations to fulfil the wishes of more than 20,000 children and is the leading destination outside of the United States for Make A Wish kids.

For more details plus Terms and Conditions, check out thewaltdisneycompany.eu/TrueBlueWishes.

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Disney VoluntEARS at Disneyland Paris Continue to Spread Magic

Nov. 17-18, the employee-volunteers of Disneyland Paris prepared more than 4,000 toys for non-profits and delivered 27 pallets of food to the Secours Populaire.

The Disney VoluntEARS’ actions to bring Disney magic to those in need continue this month, with the employee-volunteers donating their time to prepare and deliver essential supplies to non-profits throughout the region.

For the last two days, Disney VoluntEARS have been busy preparing more than 4,000 Marvel super hero toys to be delivered by local non-profits associations as Christmas presents to children in need. Members of Disneyland Paris’s leadership team came to lend a hand, including Natacha Rafalski, President of the company. “It’s so moving to see all this generosity and enthusiasm from our cast members,” said Natacha. “The comfort and moments of happiness they bring to the families in need are all the more important right now.”

Meanwhile, more than 27 pallets of excess food – enough to fill a 38-ton truck – were donated to the Secours Populaire de Meaux, following multiple donations already redistributed since the end of October. These actions are part of Disneyland Paris’s approach to social responsibility, in place since its opening in 1992 and especially during these unprecedented times to support non-profits and local authorities working with children and families. Since March, Disneyland Paris has made more than 6 million euros in in-kind donations.

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New details revealed for Cars Route 66 Road Trip at Disneyland Paris

Following a first tease last week, today we’re happy to share more details on Cars Route 66 Road Trip which is set to debut in 2021 at Walt Disney Studios Park.

The long-standing and great collaboration between Disney Imagineers and Pixar continues — together, they’ve designed a family-friendly journey, discovering some of the wacky roadside attractions along the famous Route 66 highway.

The attraction’s new boarding station, inspired by mid-century modern architecture, fittingly offers several nods to the automotive world. As your gateway to all the wonders awaiting you on Route 66, guests will enter the station through a tourist booth complete with maps, postcards and other decorative items (design details that Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering are known for and guests love – see examples below). The loading station, which stands halfway through construction, is actually the first building constructed outside the current perimeter of Walt Disney Studios Park, and once completed will be accessible to visitors via a new road extending from Toy Story Playland. Cars Route 66 Road Trip represents the first step in the expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park.

Stay tuned for more information about this attraction that we will share soon!

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Disneyland Paris win at the European Star Awards and shortlisted four times at the Park World Excellence Awards

As the end of 2020 edges closer, Disneyland Paris is delighted to share that it has won Europe’s Best Family Park and placed second in Europe’s Best Dark Rides, for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, both at the European Star Awards.

Organised by Kirmes Park & Revue, the awards recognise entrepreneurship, courage and innovation within the European theme park industry.

Additionally, Disneyland Paris has also been shortlisted four times at this year’s Park World Excellence Awards. Now in its third year, the Awards identify “the very best” operators, suppliers, manufacturers and entertainment specialists from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

  • Best Dark Ride or Media Based Experience: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: A New Dimension of Thrills at Walt Disney Studios Park, supplied by Walt Disney Imagineering

  • Best Large Park: Disneyland Park

  • Best Live Entertainment: Frozen 2: An Enchanted Journey; The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands at Disneyland Park

Winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 8 December. You can register to attend here.

The European Star Awards win and the Park World Excellence Awards shortlist recognise that Disneyland Paris is a place where magic comes alive and unforgettable memories are made. What sets Disneyland Paris – and every Disney Park – apart is our exceptional commitment to the ever-changing needs and interests of guests. The stories and characters from the likes of Frozen, to The Lion King, Marvel and Star Wars truly come to life here, continuing to fuel the unparalleled guest experience. Disneyland Paris has one single goal in mind: to exceed guest expectations. And despite a difficult 2020, it has remained committed to creativity and the heart of Disney’s brand DNA: innovation.

Paul Nichols

Magic Keepers: Meet Paul Nichols, Executive Producer Disney Parks Live Entertainment

A handful of Cast Members look after our destination during its temporary closure, some on site, most of them, working at home. Paul is one of those Magic Keepers.

Paul Nichols

Tell us about your background and experience…

I’ve been with The Walt Disney Company for 30 years. Before that… I was in school! I have a Master’s degree in Music Performance – Trombone, which led me to start my career as a professional musician with Disney. After several years, I joined the show production teams, first as a Production Assistant, then as a Production Manager and Producer, and now as an Executive Producer.

Tell us more about your current role.

I am an Executive Producer at Disney Parks Live Entertainment, the entity managing the creation and delivery of all entertainment products for the Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line around the world. At Disneyland Paris, I am in charge of the show offerings related to the expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park. I am also in charge of the Music, Entertainment Communication and Character Training teams.

What are your missions during the temporary closure?

My priority and that of my teams is to define the show offerings for the reopening of our destination. Which Disney characters will our Guests be able to meet? At what locations? What protocols should be put in place? These are just some of the questions we are working on in close collaboration with the Operations and Safety teams, with the aim of delivering the most immersive experience possible, while respecting health standards.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I’m continuing to work on the show program for the next few years, particularly for 2021 and 2022, and also, that for future Entertainment content in the Walt Disney Studios Park.

What is your biggest challenge related to the current situation and the positive things you get out of it?

The context is obviously difficult for many Cast Members and vendors. The challenge is to stay focused on our mission and the future of our destination. In spite of the current situation, the patience and positivity of the Cast Members at Disneyland Paris inspires me enormously.

 What’s a typical day for you?

There’s the one before March 2020: all day at the office, going from one on-site meeting and location to another. And then there’s the one nowadays: in front of my computer, video-conference after video-conference. It’s the new standard! The way we meet and work has evolved and shows that we can be productive from anywhere. I also think working remotely is less stressful in many ways as you work from a familiar environment and can more easily balance your professional and personal life.

Your philosophy at work?

“People first”, “Cast Members first”: I dedicate myself entirely to my teams. My goal is to create an inclusive environment where everyone is able to expresses their full potential.

What is your favorite experience at Disneyland Paris?

Without hesitation, Mickey and the Magician. It was the first show I worked on as Executive Producer at Disneyland Paris. It will always hold a special place for me. I recall all the great work done and the partnering and collaboration with the various teams. The show’s success with the Guests and the award it received* are my best rewards.

* Best Theatre Production Award in the category of parks with more than three million visitors at the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards.

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Disneyland Paris shares some holiday season magic to Pediatric Hospital Wings by offering 50,000 Christmas Ornaments

Every December, Disney VoluntEARS – employees at Disneyland Paris who volunteer their time – bring the magic of Disney and the spirit of the holiday season to hospitalized children through actions such as tree trimming, surprise visits from Disney characters, and other entertainment and activities. These efforts are a longstanding tradition and symbolize the very essence of the resort’s year-round commitment to ill and underprivileged children and their families.

Given the unprecedented nature of this Christmas, Disney VoluntEARS found another way to light up the rooms of pediatric wards. In November, they assembled, prepared and sent 50,000 Christmas ornaments to decorate children’s wards in 150 hospitals across France and Belgium. This is just one of the ways that Disneyland Paris reinvented its holiday outreach this year to bring the magic of Disney to those who need it the most.

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Since March 2020, Disneyland Paris has donated more than 10 million euros worth of food, medical supplies and Disney-branded products to non-profit organisations, hospitals, and local and national partners.

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Cars ROAD TRIP: Immersion Through Landscaping

In Cars ROAD TRIP, opening soon at Disneyland Paris, landscaping plays a key role in allowing our Guests to feel completely immersed in storytelling as they travel through the emblematic roads of the American West. Let’s meet with Walt Disney Imagineering landscapers, whose mission is to bring these new natural spaces to life.

Cars ROAD TRIP will take Guests right into the world of Pixar’s Cars for an unusual journey along the mythical Route 66, discovering natural – and mechanical – wonders. The transformation presented a challenge for Walt Disney Imagineering teams, as it involved completely rethinking the landscaping evocative of the American West. From selecting the vegetation, to transporting the trees, planting them and taking care of their daily maintenance, Walt Disney Imagineering teams pay constant attention to the flora on this attraction as it is an integral part of the Guest experience. 

Extensive research work was necessary to identify plant species that could adapt to the climatic conditions and soils of the Seine-et-Marne area, thus guaranteeing a feeling of immersion in the West, no matter the season. To bring Cars to life as much as possible, Walt Disney Imagineering teams at Disneyland Paris worked in close collaboration with the Creative teams based in Glendale, California. Landscape Architect Julia Malichaud says that she was inspired by the great national parks and the vegetation along those famous roads… and naturally, she admits to watching the Cars movies over and over again!

Another element the teams considered was the Livrain Woods where the attraction is physically located. They had to make sure that the species chosen would blend in harmoniously with those already present. Picea omorika (Serbian Spruces), Field Maples, Blood Dogwoods and Colorado Spruces, all easily identifiable by their bluish tint – the teams scouted out European nurseries selecting each tree, shrub and bush with the greatest care. As a result, more than 500 were planted for the attraction’s transformation! Among the most impressive are Giant Sequoias and three particularly large trees: a Metasequoia glyptostroboides and two Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ – one more than 14 meters high – all brought to the site very carefully.

As explained by Marc Boulanger, who is in charge of bringing to life the landscaping designed by Julia, the presence of each species helps to create a contrast in the passage between attraction scenes and advance the storytelling.

“Nothing is done randomly,” says Julia. “We chose each tree in the nursery and each one was planted in a specific place where it has a role to play in terms of scenery and also utility. Be it to direct the Guest’s attention or to support an element of the story, these plants also serve to naturally conceal what’s behind the attraction and invite Guests further in this experience as told by the Imagineers.

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Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel Cast Members Prepare for Opening

On June 21, after undergoing many months of transformation, Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will open its doors, with more than 500 Cast Members as part of the adventure! Representing more than 60 professions, they play a key role in helping make Guests’ stays unforgettable. With just a few weeks to go before the opening, Cast Members have followed an innovative, immersive and interactive training program designed exclusively by our Training teams. Everything is provided to help them take their first steps in the hotel with confidence.

In the same spirit of this unique hotel – inspired by a modern New York art gallery where more than 350 works of Marvel art will be on display for Guests – these teams have developed a unique day in the training program for each Cast Member, called “A Day at Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel.” Based on the principle of an escape game, this fun and interactive training course meets several educational objectives: understanding and knowing how to explain the concept of the hotel, knowing how to orient Guests, knowing the Marvel Super Heroes and knowing the main works of art exhibited in the hotel, as well as their artistic style. Throughout the day, Cast are divided into teams to learn about the hotel by solving puzzles. This innovative training is the result of a successful collaboration between our Training teams, Walt Disney Imagineering and the Marvel team.

Once completed, Cast Members take a guided tour of the hotel and discover the Marvel works of art that they have seen during the training. They also take a more in-depth look at certain areas, such as Marvel Design Studio and Super Hero Station.

The quality of service at this four-star hotel is reflected in the premium training experience offered to Cast Members. Gaëlle Marzin, Training and Development Manager, explains: “It’s an individualized experience which meets the needs of each Cast Member.” In total, more than 10,000 hours of training will have been delivered between now and the opening of the hotel, in hybrid learning format combining digital, face-to-face and on-site experiences.