It was the event within the event. A month after the opening of the 30th anniversary festivities of Disneyland Paris, the Ile-de-France amusement park celebrated a symbolic date on Tuesday April 12, 2022. Three decades ago to the day, the Marne-la-Vallée site opened its doors and was preparing to profoundly transform the French tourist landscape. Since then, it has received more than 375 million visits. To mark the occasion, some 2,000 “Cast Members” (employees of the park) formed a long guard of honor, from the entrance to the site to the castle of Sleeping Beauty.
At 8:30 a.m., the first visitors, some of whom had been waiting since early morning, rushed to Main Street, to the applause of employees, from restaurant servers to security guards, gardeners, managers and even firefighters. Of the 12,000 employees that Europe’s leading private tourist destination has today, 900 were already there on April 12, 1992, when the destination – which was called Euro Disney at the time – was inaugurated in worldview. Some have even already celebrated their 30th anniversary, since the oldest were recruited when Mickey’s kingdom was still just a vast construction site in the middle of the fields of Seine-et-Marne.
Report S. Feydel, France 3 Île-de-France, L. Barbier – France 3
“I first arrived at Disneyland Paris for a small summer contract in 2011, I sold waffles, pancakes and popcorn, and today I am an ambassador for the Parktestifies Carmen Lleó Badal, who will represent all Cast Members internationally for two years. We have more than 500 professions and 124 nationalities, there are a lot of opportunities here”.
“We are all members of the same troupe, and every day, we put on a huge show for our visitors, whatever our job.adds Quentin Rodrigues, the other 2022-2023 ambassador, in office since January. I worked behind the scenes as an engineer before, and as soon as I came to the Park and saw people’s smiles, I felt the role we had to play in bringing happiness to the public”.
For an hour and a half, the thousands of visitors who had blocked their Tuesday – while the school holidays have not yet started in the Paris region – were able to sing and dance in the middle of the Cast Members, waving little flags “J’ were there” distributed at the entrance to the park. An “anniversary” plan, offering a comparison of the 1992 area and that of today, also allowed fans to measure the evolution of the place, which has grown in thirty years from 29 to 59 attractions now spread over two parks in themes.
In order not to frustrate Disney lovers who could not have won a precious ticket for this anniversary day, the usual program of the 30th anniversary event – which will last a full year – has not been turned upside down. After a photo of President Natacha Rafalski surrounded by 370 children invited by associations, the daytime show “Let’s dream and the world lights up” was performed on the main square, under a bright spring sun. Contrary to custom, most visitors did not rush to the attractions, taking advantage of the festive atmosphere that reigned in front of the castle.
Because this day, it was above all that of the fans of the first hour, of the pioneers of 1992 who come today with their children, or of the collectors who came to snatch a souvenir of this historic day for the destination. Surfing on this phenomenon of rarity which gives each object its dose of prestige, Disneyland Paris had planned a few collector’s items for lovers of the most famous mouse in the world.
But they had to be patient to be able to leave with a t-shirt, a pin or a jewel marked with the date of the event, some queues stretching for several tens of meters. Others had to give up at the end of the morning, for lack of sufficient stocks in the shops. “I was there at 10 a.m. but there were already more than 50 people queuing in front of me.“, blows a mother accompanied by her daughter dressed as a princess.
Fans of superheroes will however have an additional chance to fill their collection: the Avengers campus, a space 100% dedicated to the Marvel universe, will open its doors this summer at Walt Disney Studios, with new attractions, restaurants and stores. What’s next? “The park will continue to grow and expandassures Carmen Lleó Badal, ambassador 2022-2023. A land dedicated to the Snow Queen is currently under construction, with a reconstruction of the kingdom of Arendelle and a large artificial lake which will bring a new experience to visitors.
As for Star Wars space, a time evoked, “no information has been recently communicated”, concludes the ambassador. But while waiting to explore more distant galaxies and conquer new territories, Disneyland Paris is indeed preparing to refuel, after two years of turbulence due to the health crisis.
Report G. De Florival, O. Poncelet, B. Veran, N. Leydier, L. Barbier – France 3