Disneyland Paris Rewind #1
By Ashleigh L.
Welcome to the Disneyland Paris Rewind. A new (and at times, opinionated) series for the English ED92 site that will look back at what’s been hot, and not, at Disneyland Paris in recent weeks. For this inaugural edition, we’re kicking things off with a bumper focus on Marvel – because Marvel really is the word at Disneyland Paris right now!
SEASONS & EVENTS
Marvel Summer of Super Heroes Begins!
After months of teasing and promotion, the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes season kicked off. To open the season, press and media were treated to a special preview night featuring the arrival of then-Présidente Catherine Powell via a driverless car and the special delivery via helicopter. Although the preview night was all glitz and glam, the season itself has sadly been anything but so far.
The main draw, Marvel Super Heroes United, the highly-promoted stage show replacing Cinemagique, promised to be a spectacular affair full of stunning special effect and technology. Unfortunately, the show has been plagued with technical issues from the outset. While Disneyland Paris are working hard on resolving these issues, it’s definitely not the start they would’ve hoped for.
When functional, the special effects are incredible, and the show starts off on a very high note. However, the story does not translate well to the stage, and with random exposition of some characters and not others, as well as dialogue quickly alternating between English and French, the show is very hard to keep up with. It sadly falls into uncanny valley far too often. However, this author is looking forward to seeing how the new technology in Studio Theater can be applied and used for other shows in the future.
So, what about the other draws of the season you ask? Wonder no more!
Stark Expo Presents: Energy for Tomorrow, a show that takes place on the stage in production courtyard, is a fun, but short romp, featuring Spiderman, Black Widow, Loki, Thor and a CGI Iron Man – it’s probably guests only opportunity to take photos of any of these characters without booking one of the dining packages. While the show is okay, it feels like it could benefit from a slightly longer run-time.
Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off is a show that relies heavily on audience participation. Maybe after seeing the reaction to Festival of Pirates & Princesses, Disneyland Paris now think guests are willing to dance to anything! If you watch this show with people willing to participate – or even participate yourself – it’s a good laugh! With an audience that doesn’t feel like joining in, it can be rather awkward.
Meet & Greets
Despite being billed as the Summer of Super Heroes, the only regular Meet & Greet is with Captain America using the Lineberty app. The app has proven to be quite controversial, but more on that later. Guests who book one of the dining packages at the Hotel New York will also get the opportunity to meet other Marvel characters, but this comes at quite a hefty premium. Overall, I feel Disneyland Paris have dropped the ball big time here. I’d speculate that they are trying to position themselves as the “packages” resort of the western resorts, offering unique character and dining packages. But this shouldn’t come at the expense of day-to-day Meet & Greets, having only one character out for this season is (in my opinion) bad show.
Merchandise & Food
One area where I can’t fault the season is the themed food and merchandise available. Alongside the merchandise branded with Summer of Super Heroes, the Walt Disney Studios park has also seen an influx of Marvel merchandise from the US resorts. From Captain America shield cushions through to posters (with the usual collection of mugs, t-shirts, ears and toys inbetween) there’s really something to please most Marvel fans.
Disneyland Paris have also gone all-out with snack food for the season. A guest favourite so far has been the Thanos gauntlet and Groot sipper cups to store cold beverages in. Snack stalls throughout the Walt Disney Studios park also serve a range of Groot cookies, Captain America beignets and even Black Panther ice-cream – there’s probably a (sugary) snack out there to quench most appetites. For a bigger meal, you can tuck into the Spider-Web burger from X. If you’re a foodie and proud of it, be sure to check out Patrick’s review of the Marvel food here!
In my opinion the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes season is by no means bad, but it’s also not great either. All of the shows lay a solid foundation, the merchandise is on point and themed food is a definite win. The season has potential, and if the technical kinks can be ironed out, and some much needed story injected into the shows, it could very well become a winner in 2019 if it returns.
Soirée Marvel – Annual Pass Event
Following on from the success of the Tower of Terror 10th Anniversary party, Disneyland Paris recently held its 2nd Annual Passholder Event; the Soirée Marvel. The evening promised the chance to meet Marvel heroes, as well as experience two attractions in the Walt Disney Studios like never before. Attendees were also treated to a (free!) event-exclusive pin.
Rock’n’Rollercoaster was given a special Iron Man 3 soundtrack, a taste of what’s possibly to come with the retheming of the surrounding area to Marvel Land as part of the WDS Expansion Plan. Meanwhile, over at the Tower of Terror, the power was cut and riders rode the attraction in complete darkness accompanied only by the sound of music from Mission BREAKOUT! from Disney’s California Adventure. Unfortunately, this music was only turned on once the MBO projections had started on the ToT – meaning that guests who rode the attraction earlier in the evening just rode in silence. Ouch!
While there were Marvel characters out in the parks, it seems no lessons have yet been learned from FanDaze as queues to meet these characters were very long and had no provisions for disabled guests. Rarer Disney characters such as the Sultan, George Sanderson, Bullseye, and others, were also out greeting for the event. Their relevance to Marvel is beyond us, but everyone loves a rare character so… shrug.
Opinions on the event remain quite heavily split. Guests who treated the event with an “it’s AP night + Marvel” attitude seem far less disappointed than this who were looking forward to the Marvel extravaganza the event was billed as.
Annual Pass nights are still a new thing at Disneyland Paris so we can forgive a few misteps out of the gate, but with all eyes now firmly on the 25th Anniversary finale night on September 7th, we hope that Disneyland Paris have something special in store.
Iron Man VR Experience
A new, free, Marvel experience is coming to Disney Village from July 21st. Partnering with Orange France, Disneyland Paris invites guests to suit-up in Iron Man’s armour for a 4-minute, 4D VR experience where they will be shot up into space with a stunning 360-degree view before landing back in Disneyland Paris. More on this, next time!
New Menus at Various Quick Service Locations
Food, glorious food, food, glorious food! If you’re a foodie like me (believe me I have the belly to show for it) then you’ll be delighted to know that a few of the quick service restaurants in Disneyland Park have had their menus refreshed. Check-out the new menus, below. Don’t mind me, I’ll be salivating over in the corner…
Le Rendez-vous Gourmand to Return
If the above wasn’t quite enough food for you, then good news! The Disneyland Paris equivalent of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival returns from July 27th through September 30th! Guests in the Walt Disney Studios will be able to purchase food and drink from various chatelets based off popular treats and dishes from France, Spain, Belgium and Italy. This year there will also be a Vegan chatelet as well as a gourmet gift store. Le Rendez-vous Gourmand was an underrated gem from summer 2017, so I’m happy to see its return!
The vast majority of Meet & Greets in the Walt Disney Studios park now require the use of a third-party app called Lineberty. To say that this app hasn’t received the warmest of welcomes from guests would be an understatement. The app gives guests a return time at which they can see a character (similar to a Fast Pass in theory), which sounds great on paper but the implementation has been plagued with problems. Some Meet & Greets get fully booked as soon as the app allows booking, other guests have been turned away despite having a valid slot because the guests before them have taken longer and some guests aren’t even able to book because the geo-location tracking in the app isn’t always reliable.
One successful implementation of the app has been for return times for the Restaurant en Coulisse in Studio 1. This allows guests to book a slot at this location, turn-up at their designated time and place their order without having to join the main queues.
If the quirks in this system can be ironed out, it is in theory a good system to have. However, still, it doesn’t detract from the fact that forcing guests to download an additional app on top of the Disneyland Paris app isn’t really a great experience.
Spire Toppers Returning to Sleeping Beauty Castle
After months of absence, owing to some Imagineering magic being worked on the support structures, the golden toppers are once again gracing most of the spires on Sleeping Beauty castle! While a handful are still missing, our beautiful castle is nearly back in her prime again. Get ready for those obligatory castle photos!
Tower of Terror
The Tower of Terror is currently being enveloped in scaffolding ahead of much-need works to restore the crumbling façade of the attraction. Eventually a themed tarp will be coming, but for now, enjoy these sights of a rather different looking Hollywood Tower Hotel!
UNTIL NEXT TIME
There’s a whole heap of things going on at Disneyland Paris this summer. Join us next time as we look back on Electroland, Yog Day, the Ant-Man European premier, and more! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for all the latest from Disneyland Paris, as it happens. Until then… see you real soon!