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Disneyland Paris: A snapshot of Val d’Europe’s growth

by Susan and Simon Veness

Val d’Europe in Marne-la-Vallee, France, was a collaboration between The Walt Disney Company and the French government, launching the creation of a Disney-style “city” anchored by two world-class theme parks.

disneyland paris imagineers
Photos courtesy of Disneyland Paris

Thirty years ago, the French government wanted to create urban centers on the outskirts of Paris, and the March 24, 1987 signing of the “Agreement for the creation and operation of Euro Disneyland” did just that. Disney’s European theme-park footprint was established, with all the necessary elements to draw guests to the area as part of the plan.

A Réseau Express Régional (RER) train station was built, extending the train line from Paris and linking the two major tourist destinations. Two years later a high-speed train station was built, and it became the first high-speed train interconnection hub in France.

Vallée Village mall and its selection of more than 100 luxury brand outlet stores, located in Ile-de-France, became the first building to rise up in the urban center, and it is now the third most visited location in Ile-de-France.

disneyland paris concept art
Early concept art

Disneyland Paris park opened in April, 1992, followed by the Walt Disney Studios Park in 2002. In between those two openings, the Euro Disneyland name was reimagined to Disneyland Paris, with the name change taking place in 1994.

Val d’Europe’s population increased seven-fold over the course of 30 years, with Disneyland Paris accounting for 36,000 jobs for the local residents and bringing in six percent of French tourism revenues.

Disneyland Paris resort now features two theme parks – Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park – plus the shopping, dining, and entertainment center of Disney Village, which has more than doubled since the April 12, 1992 opening of the resort.

Six themed hotels include Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, Disney Newport Bay Club, Disney Sequoia Lodge, Disney Hotel Cheyenne, Disney Hotel Santa Fe, and Disney Davey Crockett Ranch.

val d'europe early years
Early years at Euro Disneyland

The Walt Disney Studios Park is set to be reimagined, according to Disney, with a “new visual identity which will celebrate timeless and family-friendly environments.”

The former Disney’s Hotel New York was reimagined with a Marvel theme in June 2021, and Disneyland Hotel is currently preparing for a “royal” makeover.

To see all that’s in store for guests, visit DisneylandParis.com.


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