At Disneyland Paris, an anniversary to settle the crisis

The owner’s quick tour ended without a false note: imposing and masked crowd, controlled choreography by Goofy and Pinocchio, cheerful greetings from Minnie and Snow White, illuminated floats and sweet music roaring over the loudspeakers. The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 seemed a distant threat, drowned in the magic of Christmas. Suddenly, the Disneyland communications manager, who was giving us the train, cried out: “Not very Disney, that! “ On the pediment of a souvenir supermarket, the first two letters of “World of Disney” were extinguished; intolerable hitch in these places, where nothing should protrude from the enchanted setting.

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Disneyland Paris is gradually turning on the lights, like its Sleeping Beauty castle, which has been refurbished for the first time since 1992. In time to celebrate its 30th anniversary, from March 6. The park is counting on this anniversary date to once again become the magnet for tourists in the Paris region and to find attendance figures consistent with its immense machinery. Already, the end of the year celebrations have brought back to Seine-et-Marne some familiar sounds and images, which have disappeared since the start of the pandemic: Mickey’s parade in front of three rows of spectators, fireworks, queues that meander.

Five capital increases

Polyglot cast members (employees) have found usefulness with the return of Eastern and European clienteles, apart from the British, the park’s main foreign clientele, due to border restrictions. Disneyland does not communicate its crowds, but several indicators show a gradual return to normal since the All Saints holidays. The park has reopened all of its hotels, except its five-star hotel, which is getting a facelift before its thirtieth anniversary. Waiting times at attractions, listed by specialized sites, are rising. Seasonal rentals are down 30% in the second half of 2019, and only 15% since October, according to AirDNA.

By 2020, closed for half the year, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios had lost nearly three-quarters of their visitors – four million admissions in total, according to the figure communicated to the Themed Entertainment Association. A drop more violent than the other large European parks, due to the dependence on foreign tourists, who represent half of visitors and more in terms of income.

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The pandemic has plunged the accounts back into the red, while the park had, for the first time since its creation, a chain of two profitable years. Disneyland posted a loss of 423 million euros for one billion euros of turnover in its accounts closed on September 30, 2020. With its hotel and real estate subsidiaries, the loss exceeded 600 million euros. As for the 2020-2021 financial year, the accounts of which have not yet been published, it is based on only four months of opening.

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