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Opinion

Timing is everything to avoid Dazed Fans

If you’re reading this, chances are you have often called yourself a Disney fan. More specifically you’re probably a Disneyland Paris fan. Whether it’s the smell of fresh bakery in Discovery Arcade, the joy of meeting your favourite character or the thrill rushing through Big Thunder Mountain, we all share an unrivaled passion for the French resort, so much it has inspired us to share and read our thoughts and ideas online.

For long now we have called for Disney to represent our little niche community. In the States and Asia, The Walt Disney Company does exactly this the massive popular D23 and their regular conventions in Anaheim and Japan. It is a place where Disney fans can come together, celebrate their love and – biggest of all – get a scoop on what’s to come in the future of their beloved magic kingdoms. A European equivalent has been something dreamt by many a DLP geek; prayers that someday we will be able to express our fandom besides t-shirts and custom mouse ears.

That wish may very well have taken its very first step as Disneyland Paris has announced Disney FanDaze, a brand new “medley of magical experiences” catered directly towards fans!

Coming from the official DLP news site, we are promised “a new series of fan experiences, inspired by and created especially for Disney fans around the world. Disney FanDaze is a series of experiences designed to entertain and thrill those who know and love Disney better than anyone else: Disney fans.”

“Since Disneyland Paris opened its gates 25 years ago, Disney fans – from all over Europe and beyond – have been traveling from far and wide to celebrate anniversaries, seasonal festivities and other special events at the European resort. Thousands of fans come every year to relive their favourite memories and to make new ones, and many others revisit time and again to meet Disney Characters and immerse themselves deeper in the stories that have always delighted and inspired them.”

“Now is the time to launch entertainment experiences created especially for these Disney fans.”

It really is fantastic to see Disneyland Paris give the fan community some wonderful recognition like this, something I feel is no doubt down to CEO Catherine Powell. Since stepping in just over a year ago, the resort has seen guest and fan interaction increase massive with Powell herself meeting and chatting to fans on several occasions. We are very lucky to have this sort of communication between Disneyland Paris and its hardcore fans, it is something many niche communities simply don’t have.

Very little is known about these ‘Disney FanDaze’ events as of yet, though we have been promised the date of October 1 to be when the first of these experiences will be announced. It would be wise to give their new Twitter account a follow if you haven’t already.

So, as a Disneyland Paris fan and self proclaimed geek of the resort, what do I want to see from this new concept? First and foremost, I want to be able to attend them.

For some inexpiable reason that is beyond all comprehension to me, DLP has a regular track record of announcing new events, season and going-ons far too late for anyone outside of Marne-la-Valée to make it. The latest example of this is of course the Food & Wine festival which got an official, grand announcement just 3 weeks before kicking off. 3 weeks. That’s not even a month. If you lived outside of the Paris region and wanted to experience this, not only do you have to book time off work/school/college with embarrassingly short notice but then go through the nightmare that is late hotel and travel prices. Living in Northern Ireland, the only way I can realistically get to France is via plane. The frequent flyers among you will know trying to get a last minute flight, even on the so-called “budget” airlines is akin to having Dick Turpin roll by to say hello.

If Disneyland Paris truly want to make these events something for “all over Europe and beyond” as they state, proper notice needs to be accounted for. Telling us a few weeks in advance isn’t going to cut it, especially as this isn’t one we can take a stab in the dark regarding dates like Halloween of the 12th April.

No, I feel these must be handled with the same care and planning as your average fan convention. Using London Film & Comic Con as an example, their next convention has already been listed for July 2018. Ample time for those hoping to attend to plan all the necessary arrangements to make it possible. This is exactly the sort of approach DLP need to take with these events. By giving plenty of notice and warning through an official announcement it means everyone who wants to attend has the opportunity too, whether they’re in Paris or Prague, Bordeaux or Belfast.

As for actual content of these ‘FanDaze’ events, I hope and suspect every type of Disneyland Paris fan will be catered for in their own way, possibly through themed events. For example, there could be an event dedicated solely to meeting rare characters, and then another enabling fans to ride their favourite attractions as much as they want without the worry of a queue. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know I’m a sucker for DLP history, Imagineering and ideas that never made it to reality so I would love some events shaped around presentations or talks sharing hidden stories and facts of the resort. Something in the same vein of Tony Baxter’s amazing walk-around with fans for the 25th anniversary would be the stuff of dreams.

All in all, the announcement of Disney FanDaze has got me excited and eagerly waiting for more news next month. I can’t wait to find our what they have in store for us Disnerds and I love the fact such events will soon be a feature of the Disneyland Paris experience. My biggest hope is that appropriate planning will go into these and enough notice is given so everyone who wants to attend is able to. There isn’t a DLP fan on Earth who wouldn’t want to go to these events. Without notice however you’ll have most frustrated and stuck at home.