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Spring Time at the Disneyland Resort Paris - Part One
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by Lee MacDonald and Lindsay Cave
February 21, 2003
A report on the Spring Time happenings at the European park.

Spring Time at Disneyland Resort Paris

Last month, a rather unusual invitation landed in my mailbox. A small silver canister, decorated with yellow palm leaves. The contents were simple; just a handful of confetti and a small card, inviting both Lindsay and I to be the guests of the Disneyland Resort Paris at the Spring media event to unveil the Jungle Book Carnival season. Then, it dawned on me that it had been over six months since we last visited the resort. Our focus had shifted towards the U.S. parks during the fall and winter of 2002 and we had little choice but to miss DLRP’s Halloween and Christmas season. We accepted the invitation and looked forward to an exciting visit to Marne-la-Vallee.

However, the weather was determined to conspire against us. Heavy snowfall in the U.K. brought the suspension of the Eurostar train service to the resort (a three hour link from London to Paris via the Channel Tunnel). The dedicated team of cast members at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in London were equally determined to prevent the climate from dictating the terms of this trip. A last minute flurry of telephone calls saw the media event switched to air transport on the Saturday morning.

As we descended into Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the snow began to fall and settle on the ground. Our taxi driver ensured our safe arrival at Disney’s Newport Bay Club Hotel, and we proceeded to check in at the Convention Centre. A few minutes later, Lindsay and I were heading to the Disneyland Park, fighting the bitter cold and the snowflakes that were determined to settle on our clothes.

The park was simply breath taking. In the quarter century of Disney vacationing that I have taken, I have never seen snow (except for the “snow? soap bubbles during Believe…in Holiday Magic!) in a park. The snow had rested in every available nook and cranny on every building, dusting the park with a white blanket that enhanced the fantasy, particularly in amongst the European-inspired buildings of Fantasyland. Our photo-essay of the remarkable experience has already appeared on Laughingplace.com.

Carnival Season

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The Carnival schedule. - (c) Disney
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The creation of the key Halloween and Christmas seasons was critical to the continued success of Disneyland Paris. In the early years, the low season was notoriously quiet with short operating hours, little entertainment and the cold winter of northern Europe. These seasonal experiences brought guests to the park in their droves, especially at weekends when the crowds are almost as high as during the peak summer months. 

However, there remained a lull between New Year and Easter, especially with few national holidays and little appetite amongst Europeans to travel during this time. Disney Entertainment and DLRP management, led by Jay Rasulo (who is still officially Chairman and CEO of Euro Disney S.C.A. as no replacement has been announced) were keen to encourage visitors to return during the low spring season. This saw the creation of the Carnival season, five weeks of festival entertainment, shows and processions in an attempt to dispel those winter blues and bring a new season to the park, that hopefully would lead to a new, continuing tradition.

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