Thursday, December 2

Disneyland Paris is no longer (only) for children | The traveler


The magic stopped shining in October. Captain Marvel and Iron Man weren’t able to save the world. That power was only held by health personnel and scientists. Elsa, from Frozen, He stopped singing that “Let it go!” Disneyland Paris, whose eternal promise was to be the park that opened every day, was forced to close for the second time in a matter of months. And so it would be eight more. In 2020, Disney altogether it lost about 2 billion euros with its parks, according to what its shareholders were told. The question then loomed as to whether an amusement park would make sense in a world of masks, PCR and recommendation of social distance. In 2021 the reconstruction begins, and just two weeks ago the blind of dreams was raised again and the superheroes, this time yes, want to have the last word.

Julia and Camille, six and eight-year-old French sisters, get closer to the cowboy Woody, from the saga Toy Story. Still a fence separates them. At Disneyland, hugs will have to wait a while, but the emotion is still captured in the eyes of that childlike innocence. They make heart gestures to him and point gunslinger fingers. The look does the rest. Mickey, who for many years remains the undisputed star for the little ones, also looks out on a balcony to greet those who enter. Parents hold their children as if teaching Simba, The Lion King, to his prostrate kingdom. Since the iconic cavalcades have not returned and the dolls do not walk around signing autographs, a virtual hug from the most famous mouse in the world is enough. If you go through the entrance of the renovated Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, 10 minutes from the park and The traveler He has visited a Disney guest, perhaps Spiderman himself, boarded a New York yellow taxi, dedicated one of his jokes to you. Another novelty is the update of the application: now much more convenient to know the waiting time in each of the attractions.

Nobody said it was easy. Building a park of these characteristics was a challenge since Walt Disney decided to freeze his childhood forever in the fifties of the last century. Then they predicted that their dreams would never take shape. Californians viewed such a park as squalid, dirty, and unfriendly places. He and his designers, or imagineers, they managed to redefine the concept globally. The European headquarters itself encountered obstacles when opening, from economic to climatological (some always bet on the Spanish time that PortAventura was left with). Today this place faces a double challenge: the reconstruction and the largest expansion of its headquarters in Paris since its inauguration 29 years ago. Expand the meaning of the Disney brand, also in the parks.

Marvel comics exhibited at the new Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, at Disneyland Paris (France). Marc Piasecki

An art gallery

Sleeping Beauty’s castle is now cloaked in cubist scaffolding that turns it into a pop trompe l’oeil, and the restrictions are still being felt. The mask is mandatory, and although the closure is extended to 9 pm in July, the hotels will open throughout the summer. Of course, the emotions felt by visitors are the same and this summer season the first step towards a new era is being taken: the recent opening, a year late, of the world’s first hotel entirely dedicated to the Marvel universe, a huge art gallery with 561 rooms (including 25 suites double-deck) and 350 drawings by the publisher’s artists on the walls (50 of them exclusive). Comics are its epicenter. Whether on the Avengers basketball court or in the 255-pound, 100-kilo Murano glass chandelier that mimics the Asgard kingdom of the thunder god Thor in the Manhattan restaurant. Everything is bathed in superheroes.

“The hotel gives us the opportunity to receive young adults who are not the traditional family. People who would not normally come, but who will come here ”, explains its director, Pilar Hamil, thinking of the adolescents who perhaps before the idea of ​​Disney did not appeal to them. A step in a transformation that is already beginning to appear in the works that surround the Walt Disney Studios park, and for which in 2018 the French Government invested 2,000 million. Marvel, Star Wars and Frozen will have their independent lands. Hamil sees it as an opportunity: “With these universes we open ourselves to many people. With the attraction of the Avengers Campus there will be a connection between the park and the hotel ”. The little ones may not know the Black Widow and Black Panther, but for those who think they are older this is no longer just for children.

As the jackets of Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps flourish throughout the park, the hotel retains its verticality and elegant art Deco fused with columns decorated with drawings by the Spanish Carlos Gómez and the Skyline bar, bathed by a time-lapse New Yorker with the Avengers Tower on his horizon. Iron Man armor welcomes you, and in his store, the only superhero exclusive in the park, you can always take a 600 euro figurine (an eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange, what a precious diamond) or the unique fragrance of the hotel. Only the watchful eye will capture the connections to hundreds of characters, from Deadpool to Guardians of the Galaxy. “We wanted to emphasize that we are in New York, but also that we have the largest selection of Marvel art. It was challenging: mixing fun and comics with something sophisticated, ”Hamil explains.

Guide

  • Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel: from 390 to 1,130 euros for two people / night and with two-day park tickets included.
  • Disneyland Paris, after its reopening, has a schedule from 10:00 to 21:00. The capacity is limited to 50% and the mask is mandatory for those over 6 years old (disneylandparis.com).

The concept of Disney, its princesses and characters, is transformed, but the foundation remains. Perhaps the person who best defines the experience is Raimon, a 58-year-old Catalan who was unemployed three years ago, moved to the French capital and is now one of the 15,000 workers at Disneyland Paris, he as a street sweeper: reverse. Everyone passes by here once in their life. Maybe it’s someone who has saved just for this. You never know when is the trip of his life, so we have to show them all our illusion ”.

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