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A 30th Anniversary Look at the History of Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris - Mickey and Minnie in 2010

Disneyland Paris kicks off its 30th Anniversary celebrations today, March 6, 2022, so let’s take a look at the history of the resort.

The resort is located in Chessy, France, 32km (just under 20 miles) east of Paris, and it was the second Disney resort to open outside the United States (following Tokyo Disney Resort).

The last 30 years have seen more than 375 million visitors step through the gates of Disneyland® Park, since it first opened as Euro Disney to guests in April 12, 1992.

Disneyland Paris - Euro Disney map art

Euro Disney was originally owned and operated by French company Euro Disney S.C.A., of which just under 40% of its stock was held by The Walt Disney Company. Michael Eisner signed the first letter of agreement with the French government for the site in December 1985, with construction beginning in 1988.

It was renamed from Euro Disney Resort to Disneyland Paris in October 1994, and in 1996, Eurostar started running to Disneyland Paris from Paris, adding a stop at Marne-le-Vallee/Chessy station to make it easier for guests to get to there.

From March 2002 to April 2009, the resort was renamed Disneyland Resort Paris. It reverted back to Disneyland Paris after that.

A second theme park, Disney MGM Studios Europe, opened its doors on March 16, 2002. Its name changed to Walt Disney Studios Paris in 1999, and then to the current name, Walt Disney Studios Park, in 2001.

Disneyland Paris - Walt Disney Studios Park

In 2015, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park closed from November 14 to 17, as part of France’s national days of mourning following the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

In 2017, The Walt Disney Company took full control of the resort, when Euro Disney S.C.A. was acquired by The Walt Disney Company.

The following year, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would invest €2 billion into the Disneyland Paris resort.

On March 15, 2020, Disneyland Paris first closed for the COVID pandemic, reopening July 15 that year. It closed again for the pandemic on October 29, 2020, not opening again until July 15, 2021.

It has remained open since.

Disneyland Paris - Mickey in 2017

Today, in addition to the two parks, Disneyland Paris includes Disney Village (the dining, entertainment, and shopping district), and seven hotels:

  • Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Newport Bay Club
  • Disney’s Sequoia Lodge
  • Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne
  • Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe
  • Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch
  • and the recently opened Disney’s Hotel New York — The Art of Marvel, which includes an art gallery of more than 350 Marvel collectibles
Disneyland Paris - Disney's Hotel New York — The Art of Marvel

For 30 years, Disneyland Paris has continued to develop ever more immersive experiences, to bring stories and Characters from the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars™ franchises to life.

The role and talent of the 16,000 Cast Members is essential, states the resort, because their attention to detail, their creativity, their sense of service, and above all their passion, bring the magic of the destination to life.

Since 1992, more than 30,000 costumes have been produced in the Disneyland Paris Couture workshop, one of the largest costume collections in Europe.

Spread over 2,230 hectares (5510.44 acres), Disneyland Paris is also the largest garden in Europe, with more than 35,000 trees, 450,000 shrubs, and more than 1 million flowers planted year-round.

Whether through attractions, shows (nearly 200 have been produced by the Disneyland Paris Entertainment department since 1992), restaurants, shops, hotels, gardens, or even decorations, more than 500 trades all contribute to imagining the future of entertainment every day.

And that’s not all.

More than 1,000 Disney VoluntEARS, made up of Disneyland Paris employees, volunteer their time each year to bring joy, comfort and hope to those who need it most – in particular by welcoming 300,000 underprivileged children, and the fulfillment of more than 20,000 children’s wishes since 1992, as well as 40,000 visits by sick children to 500 hospitals in France and Europe since 1991.

Disneyland Paris - Disney VoluntEARS

Disneyland Paris - photovoltaic power plants in shade structures

Plus, based on the environmental objectives of The Walt Disney Company, Disneyland Paris’ environmental approach is based on strong initiatives, including the construction in the visitor car park of one of the largest photovoltaic power plants in shade structures in Europe, which is expected to be finished in 2023. I think all Disney Parks need these solar panel shade structures in the parking lots.

This installation will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 890 tonnes of CO2 per year at Val d’Europe, a Walt Disney Company owned shopping mall near Disneyland Paris, and to produce enough renewable electricity to cover the equivalent of 17% of Disneyland Paris’ current consumption.

When complete, part of the installation will light up at night to depict a Mickey’s head visible from the sky.

Disneyland Paris - photovoltaic power plants in shade structures

And on the eve of it’s 30th Anniversary, the resort has even bigger plans in store.

“For this 30th anniversary, we are entering a new era and are happy to continue to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation in order to accelerate the transformation of Disneyland Paris at all levels – from the implementation of new digital services, to the reinvention of our hotel offer and the upcoming launch of new immersive experiences,” says Natacha Rafalski, President of Disneyland Paris.

In conjunction with the start of the 30th Anniversary, Disneyland Paris recently released this video showing clips of the historical opening in 1992, along with highights of the resort through the last 30 years, and it’s fascinating to watch:

This afternoon we’ll have also more about the first day of the celebrations. Be sure to bookmark this blog so you don’t miss any of our Disneyland Paris coverage!

In the meantime, you can take a virtual stroll through Disneyland Paris via Google maps.

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