Mickey Mouse offers Urdd Eisteddfod winners part in Welsh Festival

Winners from this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod will get the chance to take part in a Welsh Festival at Disneyland Paris. Mickey Mouse dropped into the festival in Cardiff last weekend to announce an exciting deal between the Disney organisation and the Urdd.

Five of this week’s winners will be offered the opportunity to jet off to Paris next March to take part in the Welsh Festival. Eisteddfod Director Aled Siôn said the finalists will be selected from the best of Wales’ performers participating in song, drama, dance, poetry and arts.

“This is a very exciting collaboration and a wonderful opportunity for our members to display their talents to a new audience. The Urdd Eisteddfod is well known for the opportunities it gives the children and young people of Wales.”

“Here is yet another example of how taking part in this event can give those youngsters new experiences which will help them develop as individuals. This collaboration with a long-established name in the entertainment industry is something I’m looking forward to developing over the coming years.”

As Mickey Mouse was mobbed by exited children on the Eisteddfod Maes Peter Welch of Disney Destinations UK said: “Being a proud Welshman myself, I am delighted to be able to forge a relationship with the Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

“It celebrates the fantastic talent the youth of Wales has and make some of their dreams come true, by enabling them to participate at Disneyland Paris. This year is all about celebrating, with Mickey’s Magical Party taking place in the Park, so we are delighted to be able to bring some of the celebrations to Wales and would like to wish all the participants good luck today.”

For the past four years, Disneyland Paris has celebrated all things Welsh at its annual Welsh Festival, where Mickey and Minnie appear in their traditional Welsh outfits, St David’s day fireworks lighting up the sky over Sleeping Beauty Castle and guests can have their face painted whilst enjoying an extensive array of festivities over the three days.

The Urdd have organised trips to Disneyland Paris for several years. Mr Siôn said: “Two trips are organised and we take about 600 excited youngsters each time. This collaboration further cements our close ties with Disney. But the Urdd’s mascot, Mr Urdd, will not be making the trip to next year’s Welsh festival. He doesn’t travel very well.”

Yesterday’s Disney announcement marked the most successful international Urdd Eisteddfod for years. Mr Siôn revealed the Urdd are expecting competitors from as far away as Singapore this year. A regional Eisteddfod for competitors outside Wales was held at the end of March with preliminary rounds for those wishing to compete in the National Eisteddfod.

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DISNEYLAND PARIS lands on Google Earth.

DISNEYLAND PARIS lands on Google Earth: The next best thing to being there

Disneyland Paris in 3D takes vacation planning to new heights.

Disneyland Paris is harnessing the power of Google Earth to build an interactive, three-dimensional tour of the Marne la Vallee-based resort destination that brings you one step closer to a true park experience. With direct links to Disney’s online travel-planning tools, Disneyland Paris in 3D will re-invent how people plan and book vacations.

Following the successful launch of Google Earth for Walt Disney World Resort last summer, Disneyland Paris will be the first European Theme Park to be featured on the platform.

Beginning on May 25th and as part of Mickey’s Magical Party–a year-long celebration of everyone’s favorite Mouse–Disneyland Paris guests can use Google Earth, a program which offers a 3D digital model of the world, to virtually tour Disneyland Paris’ two theme parks, its 7 hotels and Disney Village Entertainment Complex.

“This partnership marks the first of many technology initiatives that will enable our guests to plan for and maximize their time while vacationing at Disneyland Paris” said Philippe Gas, President and C.E.O. of Disneyland Paris. “Guests and travel planners can now explore our world with just a few clicks of a mouse, and they can book vacations while being immersed in what the destination has to offer.”

“I have seen many amazing 3D models in Google Earth, but when I saw the new Disneyland Paris, I was blown away by how realistic it is. Disney’s artists have really outdone themselves. They have taken virtual tourism to a new dimension and are leading the way for photo-realistic 3D models in Google Earth.” said Brian McClendon, Engineering Director, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Sketchup.

The depth and vivid detail of Disneyland Paris in 3D project makes this a unique, truly immersive experience within Google Earth. Visitors begin their virtual tour of the Resort with a stratospheric view of the globe, a starting point familiar to anyone who has ever used Google Earth. A skydive takes visitors past the French countryside to a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle at the heart of the Disneyland Park. Guests can then fly through the streets of The Walt Disney Studios, the entertainment offerings of Disney Village and around each of the seven hotels and back Main Street, U.S.A..

An overview of Disneyland Paris in 3D, along with instructions on how to get started, can be found at www.disneylandparis.co.uk/googleearth3d. You can explore Disneyland Paris in 3D by enabling “3D buildings” in the “layers” panel within Google Earth and searching “Disneyland Paris” in the “Fly to” bar. The most current version of Google Earth is required to see Disneyland Paris in 3D. Existing Google Earth users can check they have the latest version of the application by selecting “Help > Check for updates online”.

In order to bring the magic of the Resort and Google Earth together in 3D, two photographers worked for 20 days to shoot all the visible surfaces of Disneyland Paris, including every building façade. A total of 85,000 photos were taken in all which became the start for some 1,587 3D models that populate the virtual tour. Disneyland Paris 3D creates a new level of usability for vacation planners and makes detailed information about one of the world’s foremost destinations available to Google Earth’s 400 million users, furthering the Google Earth team’s goal of recreating the world as it really is.

Mickey Mouse Plays Tennis With Gael Monfils and Stansilas

Visitors to Disneyland Paris today had a big surprise when they saw Mickey Mouse playing a game of doubles with invited children against professional tennis players Gael Monfils and Stansilas Wawrinka.
The court itself was a little short and had quasi-official dimensions, but that didn’t matter when the children had such a great event.
Disneyland Paris invited 200 children from the French “Fête le Mur” association, founded by Yannick Noah, to participate in this more than unusual exchange.
The Fête le Mur association is set up in the heart of 25 under-privileged Urban Zones, allows the children of those neighborhoods to practice tennis, to train and perfect themselves, and some of them to later find a professional opening.

Source:  The Tennis Times

Euro Disney S.C.A. publishes first half results for 2009

The first half results for 2009 have been published and here are the high lights.

EURO DISNEY S.C.A.
Fiscal Year 2009
Reports First Half Results
Six Months Ended March 31, 2009

• Record attendance at 7.1 million and strong occupancy at 86%, despite a shift in the Easter vacation period

• Resort revenues down 4% to € 554 million, due to lower guest spending and a 3 percentage point decrease in occupancy

• Real Estate revenues down € 20 million to € 5 million, driven by one significant sale in the prior year

• Net loss increased by € 42 million to € 85 million due to lower revenues, as costs and expenses remained stable.

Commenting on the results, Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S, said:

“We achieved record attendance for the first semester and strong occupancy levels in our hotels. Our sales initiatives are delivering results in an increasingly difficult economic environment.

Our revenues decreased this semester which negatively impacted our results. This decrease was mainly due to a decline in real estate activities as well as a shift of the Easter vacation period into the second semester. Our Spanish and English markets declined significantly during the first semester, partially offset by a strong performance from our French market. We reacted to these changes by increasing our sales initiatives, while at the same time continuing to pursue disciplined cost management.

We continue to improve the appeal of Disneyland Resort Paris. We recently launched Mickey’s Magical Party across both parks, with four new interactive shows and a new attraction. We remain committed to continuing this development of new content and attractions inspired by Disney characters and stories.”

Resort operating segment revenues decreased by 4% to € 553.9 million from € 577.6 million in the prior-year period. The Group’s Resort business is subject to the effects of seasonality with the first half of a fiscal year typically generating less revenue than the second half. Results in the First Half have also been unfavorably impacted by the shift of the Easter holiday in some of our key markets from March in the prior-year period to April in the current fiscal year.

Theme parks revenues declined by 2% to € 309.6 million from € 316.4 million in the prior-year period, primarily resulting from a € 1.66 reduction in average spending per guest to € 43.01. This decline was partially offset by an increase of 111,000 in attendance to 7.1 million. The reduction in average spending per guest reflects lower spending on admissions and merchandise. The increase in theme parks attendance was driven by higher guest visitation from France, partially offset by Spain and the United Kingdom.

Hotels and Disney Village revenues decreased by 7% to € 219.6 million from € 235.9 million in the prior-year period, due to a 5% decline in average spending per room to € 187.16 and a 2.7 percentage point decrease in hotel occupancy from 88.5% to 85.8%. The decline in average spending per room principally reflects incremental promotional offers.

The reduction in hotel occupancy resulted from 34,000 fewer room nights compared to the prior-year period primarily driven by fewer guests visiting from Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany partially offset by more French guests.

Other revenues, which include participant sponsorships, transportation and other travel services sold to guests, decreased € 0.6 million to € 24.7 million.

Disneyland Paris the 4th most visited theme park in the world.

The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) has released their rankings and attendance figures for 2008. The report covers all theme parks world wide.

Disneyland Paris came 4th world wide and topped the list of European theme parks showing a nearly 6% increase in attendance at 12.7 million visitors – three times the attendance of it’s closest competitor, Europa Park in Germany. Walt Disney Studios came in at 9th place in Europe with 2,612,000 visitors.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom tops the list this year as the most visited theme park in the world – drawing in just over 17 million visitors in 2008. As impressive as that number is though, it’s pretty much even with 2007. As for the rest of the North American theme parks – Disneyland Park in California was second with 14.7 million visitors – a 1% drop, followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to round out the top 5.

Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World topped the list of US water parks (as well as all international water parks) with 2,059,000 visitors in 2008 – a 1% drop. Blizzard Beach also saw a 1% drop in attendance with 1,891,000 visitors.

Here is the top 10 list for theme parks world wide:

1) Magic Kingdom (Florida) – 17,063,000
2) Disneyland Park (California) – 14,721,000
3) Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo) – 14,293,000
4) Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris (Paris) – 12,688,000
5) Tokyo Disney Sea (Tokyo) – 12,498,000
6) Epcot (Florida) – 10,935,000
7) Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Florida) – 9,608,000
8) Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Florida) – 9,540,000
9) Universal Studios Japan (Osaka) – 8,300,000
10) Everland (Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea) – 6,600,000

Here is the top 20 theme parks in Europe

1) Disneyland Park Paris (France) 12,688,000
2) Europa Park (Germany) 4,000,000
3) Tivoli Gardens (Denmark) 3,972,000
4) Port Aventura (Spain) 3,300,000
5) De Efteling (Netherlands) 3,200,000
6) Gardaland (Italy) 3,100,000
7) Liseberg (Sweeden) 3,050,000
8) Bakken (Denmark) 2,700,000
9) Walt Disney Studios (France) 2,612,000
10) Alton Towers (England) 2,520,000
11) Phantasialand (Germany) 1,900,000
12) Legoland Windsor (England) 1,815,000
13) Parc Asterix (France) 1,800,000
14) Thorpe Park (England) 1,7000,000
15) Legoland Billund (Denmark) 1,650,000
16) Mirabilandia (Italy) 1,600,000
17) Futuroscope (France) 1,600,000
18) Parque De Atracciones (Spain)
19) Duinrella Attraktie Park (Holland) 1,356,000
20) Heide Park (Germany) 1,330,000

To see the complete report visit http://www.themeit.com