In the blink of an eye, the Series is almost at a close. Today at 20 Days to 20 Years, my co-hosts, Beth (Pursuing the Magic and The Magical Blogorail) and Manda (Mandas Disney Blog) and I are thrilled to showcase the talents of Disneygraphy; a blog dedicated to the sights, history and stories behind Disneyland Paris. For the year 2011, he is the time traveler…
20 Years ago a dream came true…
Before there was a EuroDisneyland, we could only dream of once being able to travel to the
United States or Japan to visit Disneyland the Magic Kingdom or Tokyo Disneyland.The world
was much larger then, distances were greater and travelling was more expensive.
Of course there were amusement parks in Europe, some even older than Disneyland Anaheim, but none of them was able to compete with Disneyland. Some of these parks shamelessly copied famous Disney attractions like The Haunted Mansion, Pirates or It’s a Small World. Despite their age or experience none of these parks ever came close to the Disney standards and some were even insulting to its guests in trying to give a low budget-Disney-esque experience. You can find one of the creepiest examples near my home town at theme park’de Efteling’; it’s called ‘Carnaval Festival’ and a,let’s say,
quite uninspired version of ‘it’s a small world’.
From 1988 rumours started about a Disneyland coming to France and in 1992 EuroDisneyland
finally opened it’s glorious gates. At last we could see and experience the real Disney
magic and, in our case, only four hours from home and near one of the most beautiful
cities in the world. The strange thing about Disneyland Paris, as it is called now, is
that, from the beginning, it felt like it had always been there. I’m sure it’s because of
the incredible work of Disney-Imagineers who know how to give even the smallest detail
history, a background and a story.
That eye for detail is not only to be found in the Disneyland Park but also in the Disney Hotels. Every hotel has it’s own level of experience from the budget class Davy Crockett Ranch to the fancy Disneyland Hotel, they all tell a story of a different part of the U.S.A.. Hotel Cheyenne is a Western village with even its own kitchen herb garden, Santa Fe exactly looks like Santa Fe, especially on a hot summer’s day, Newport Bay gives you the feeling of being in a luxurious New England hotel and guess what Hotel New York is made to look like..
The Disneyland Hotel is something different, luxury has been re-invented here. (do try the
Californian Grill restaurant for a gastronomic experience or have a drink at the Fantasia
My personal favorite is the Sequoia Lodge. This Californian lodge surrounded by a real
Sequoia forest is the ideal hotel for our traditional November visits. After a cold day in
the parks, nothing is better then spending a few hours with friends by the enormous fire
place that’s being fed with redwood. And for our summer visits you really feel like you’re
in a national Park lodge if only by the smell of the redwood trees.
The attention to detail throughout the park and the amount of hotels made
Disney go almost three billion over budget. EuroDisneyland was a financial fiasco of
proportion. Europeans were not accustomed to the all year round opening hours and stayed
away during winter and early spring. The, then largest hotels in Europe, were never fully
booked for the biggest part of the year. Some French critic even called it a ‘cultural
The ‘Eisner years’ made EuroDisneyland one of the most beautiful parks in the world but at
a very high price. The Walt Disney Studio’s had to be built and drove up the investments
but didn’t immediately produce more guests. All in all, things weren’t looking too good for
our Disneyland but you simply cannot close down a Disney theme park or let it go bankrupt.
Luckily the tides have changed and we’ve overcome these horrible years.
To mark this change for the better EuroDisneyland changed it’s name to Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Paris is not about escaping reality, it gives you a different one, almost like
an alternate universe where you can travel from a fantasyland to a long gone future, from
an American town to the Caribbean in just a few steps.
Disneyland Paris,like any other Disney Park, shows you the possibility of a better world
where dreams come true and you do believe in fairies…
Happy anniversary Disneyland Paris and many, many years to come!
Bravo! You have summed up 20 years (and the hopes for the next 20), so, so well. For more “photography extraordinaire”, be sure to visit @Disneygraphy on Facebook. We do believe!!
Alas, tomorrow our Series comes to a close, and what better way to sum up 20 years at the amazing Disneyland Paris park, than to hand 2012 to the amazing Amanda @MandaDisneyBlog.