Ten Disney Village New Years Resolutions For DLP
As the end of the year draws quickly up I got to thinking about Disney Village. Now, it seems that it’s someones job to develop the village and because of that I started to wonder what I would do if put in charge. So, I made a list of five things I think Disneyland Paris should consider for the Village in the next few years.
I’ve stayed pretty realistic factoring in the budget, scale of the village, but also the intended use which differs from those of Disney Springs et al. It’s intention is to attract locals as well as guests is something I’ve kept to the front of my mind. It’s easy to go ‘just build Downtown Disney’ but I genuinely don’t think it’d work in the space they have and might not appeal to a wider European market. You have to work with what you’ve got – and I think Disney Village has a lot. Much of what’s wrong with it is purely shop based and cosmetic and a few of these things would go a long way to improving the village.
- Move the security checkpoint on the left side of the village that serves as the exit to Five Guys and Vapiano. I completely understand the need to have the security checks but this is a silly place to have the security tent. It leaves those two restaurants – both quite popular – feeling very much outside the village. And I can’t imagine I’m the only one put off going through the security tent to visit them. You move the security checkpoint to just after the two restaurants and suddenly the whole thing feels far more inclusive. A quick, almost instant, fix. And the first thing I’d do.
- I’d have a wider range of food in the village. Especially if your looking to draw a local crowd you need to offer something a bit wider than burgers and pasta. Something that you can’t get easily in the parks – say Chinese or Indian or Japanese food. I’m sure that would go down well with a lot of guests. If your looking for a new restaurant spot then take out planet Hollywood and put something a bit more exciting in. It’d be a pretty quick fix to the Disney Village food problem and lower impacts on the park. Even if you just make use of the ‘Christmas’ food stands all year round and rotate what you offer – it’d be something. Which is why you need to combine it with point three.
- Bringing in outside chains is fine but you need a solid presence of your own as well. That’s the real way to make money and keep guest satisfaction in your control. So I’d work hard on renovating Cafe Mickey, bringing back the character dining there, but do something different with it. Offer an interesting menu and people will come. Even if you have to make it a buffet. Your dealing with a big crowd after all. It’s a huge building, great location, and it’s a fantastic advertisement for the park. It’s current neglect is shocking and it’s something that should absolutely be on their resolutions to fix next year. I get why they wanted to remove character dining – and force people into the park to meet Mickey – but come on! It’s a great advertisement.
- You need something else to do at night in the village. Now, this is one of the things that might cost you a huge chunk of change but would pay out in the long run. Have a family friendly night club. Open a bowling alley. I’d do something, anything. Especially in winter when the park shuts early it can be super difficult to find something to do around the village. Give visitors something to do.
- In line with number five i’d look at the Billy Bobs show. I love it, but it’s been the same since pretty much the beginning of time. I wouldn’t be looking to change much, because as a show it’s sound and the format works, but spice it up a little. Add in a new element. Give people a reason to come back and see the show again. I wouldn’t necessarily add more Disney characters to it but, you know, a new stunt or something would be nice.
- Take a good look at the shops – and the stock on offer. I’m not going to advocate for bringing in huge outside brands. I think, so far, they’ve handled that well. A few super big names but small enough that it doesn’t resemble the high street. But, then there’s another problem rising from that: most of the shops are selling the same stuff. And, well, you have World of Disney. So I think the big resolution for the shops would be try and be specific about what you sell where, keep it exclusive, and axe the Disney store. Oh, and open a few key partner stores, if you can. Pandora. Disney traditions. Keep the Disney Theme but just be a bit smarter about what you sell where. There’s no point in selling random brands after all – you can’t compete with Val D’Europe just down the road.
- Some street performers would go down a treat. Some bands, people interacting with the crowds, performing. Anything. Literally pretty much anything. It would do so much to bring the village alive without necessarily involving Disney characters and without being hugely expensive like, say, a parade or show would be. It’s a small touch but it’d go a long way to help with the atmosphere.
- I’d be clearer about the cinema timetables. It’s a huge cinema that does special events. They need to get better at marking clearly and carefully which are in English and which are in french. Please don’t misunderstand – it’s France. Of course most of the films are – and should be – in French. But help the audience out on both sides.
- Do something about the theming. I realise that this is potentially the most expensive thing on the list but it needs done. I mean, I get that to begin with we seem to have been going for an American route 66 thing starting at Annettes. But you either need to engage with that utterly or try and blend it better. I think it’s that there’s so much, a lot of it very, very, 90s, and there’s no coherent theme holding it all together. If your going to spend major money on Disney Village then this is where you do it.
- Actually care about the village. I think if one of my resolutions for the village was essential for DLP it’s this one. It has been neglected for so long that for anyone to actually care about it’s success – and how that might impact the park – would be something I’d love to see.
Do you have any other additional advice for Disneyland Paris on Disney Village? Anything you’d love to see them tackle next year? I really hope that now Disneyland Paris is owned by Disney proper the Village will be something they take on next. I’d have said that Walt Disney Studios was more pressing in the past but now they have a solid plan for that. I look forward to seeing what next year brings.