Season Wars: Revenge of the Twenty Fifth

Can you believe Disneyland Paris’ 25th Anniversary is now in its 5th month? It may seem just like yesterday, but we’ve been celebrating our resort’s birthday for nearly half a year now with magic and memories that will last long in the memory.

As summer slowly but surely begins to wrap up this is the time of year we are used to hearing news on the upcoming Halloween and Christmas celebrations. The early announcements to grab the attention of those looking to book a spook-filled or festive stay in Marne-la-Vallée. It is no surprise then that the rumour mill has been working overtime lately with silver spanner thrown into the normally seamless works.

With DLP’s Anniversary being celebrated this year, many are speculating, preparing for or in anger over the prospects of the Autumn and Winter seasons taking a backseat in a time they tend to dominate Main Street and the castle stage. Murmurs have been flying that the villains ‘It’s good to be bad’ show won’t return for exactly this reason, with others assuming the same can be expected for the Christmas Princess show. Most interestingly however are the shouts that Mickey’s Halloween Celebration – dubbed the ‘Halloween cavalcade’ by fans – too faces exclusion from the 2017 lineup.

I love Halloweeen. Many of you will be well aware how much I enjoy the season in Disneyland Paris and still firmly believe Vivre La Vie is the best parade song ever created for the resort. Despite this, I am completely onboard with Halloween playing second fiddle this year. In fact I encourage it.

The opening to this piece was made semi-ironic. The 25th Annviersary is only 5 months old. We are not even halfway through the celebrations – not even a quarter should DLP to extend it for 2018. Right now the only thing that should be coming out of the mouths of marketing is the anniversary and why it is the perfect reason to visit the resort. After so many refurbishments, the addition of two (sort of) attractions, a new parade and a new nighttime show, the resort’s birthday should be the star diva at its own party for all of the time. Nothing else should take precedent over this, not Halloween, not Christmas. Nothing.

Having the two caste stage shows – Happy Birthday Disneyland Paris and the Starlit Princess Waltz – go into hietus for the Villains and Princesses would be a diasaterous move. In the eyes of the average guest, 2017 is the time to visit the resort because of the anniversary. It’s been 25 years since Disney opened their European park and they’re throwing a massive celebration in aid of it. That’s a party people are booking trips to be part of. What sort of a message would DLP be sending to these guests, those who worked round the clock, saved up hard all year to experience everything the anniversary has to offer, only to be told “Oh, those two shows everyone’s has been raving about all year? You don’t get them. Here’s that show you watched two years ago instead.”?

Take the fans out of it for a moment, people don’t visit Disneyland Paris to see what they’re doing at Halloween and Christmas. Sure, it might help sway some in going later in the year but core reason is for Disneyland Paris itself. The attractions, the characters, the shows and the experiences and worlds built into the two theme parks and 6 hotels. The 25th Anniversary is a part of that experience this year, but only for a very short time. Every opportunity to use what is in the celebratory arsenal must be used as much as possible.

Yes, of course Halloween and Christmas are popular seasons in their own right for the parks. The soirée ticket sales and annual park capacity issues make that very clear. That however doesn’t give them a right to steal limelight from a year fans have waited half a decade for and management promised every decision would pay off with. If anything, it would give a message of no confidence in the anniversary if they’re using the same old, year in year out methods to attract people through the turnstiles.

Despite all of this, all the rumours and outcry and counter arguments, who has said Halloween and Christmas is cancelled? DLP certainly haven’t, the total opposite actually as it has been reported in the past both seasons will return to accommodate and compliment the 25th anniversary.

If you really love Halloween, I’m certain you will still be able to get your scare on in October. Even with the lack of a villains castle show there are more than enough locations throughout the resort for your antagonistic friends to meet under a well themed and fitting backdrop. The potential loss of the cavalcade would be a major blow I concede, but I’d be shocked if it’s gone forever. Should this rumour come to light I suspect its absence won’t last longer than the anniversary, with a welcome harvest return the following October.

As for Christmas, regular readers may recall my own prediction that the season is going to see its content park hop over to WDS this winter. I am only more sure of this as time progresses with more testing spotted upon Tower of Terror in the time between that article went up and now.

Whether you love the 25th Anniversary, hate it or just indifferent to the colours blue and silver, the festivities are here to stay for at least another 7 months. This has been a celebration hyped by fans for years and management has seen as the big one for just as long. Giving it even a temporary pause in favour of wheeling out the same old content we see every year would be a massive disservice not only to the anniversary, but in DLP’s belief in their additions. Rest assured, I am certain the final quarter of 2017 is going to be one filled with the ghouls, snow and candy canes you know and love. They may not necessarily be exactly as you remember them, but whats the harm in doing something a little differently? After all, it is Christmas (or Halloween, whichever you prefer).

What are your thoughts on the Halloween and Christmas rumours for this year? Has the possibility of a toned down season disrupted your trip planning, or do you just want to see more 25th stuff? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter!


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