An interview with Daniel Delcourt — Part 1

Monday December 21, 2015 - Compass Club, Disney’s Newport Bay Club

On Monday, December 21, Daniel Delcourt, COO of Disneyland Paris, invited representatives of nine fan sites / pages to a Q&A session. A quick roundtable first identified the participants: in order of appearance: Disneyland Paris Bons Plans, DLP Welcome, DisneylandBerry, Tinkly, Radio Disney Club, Disney Central Plaza, ED92, Chroniques Disney and DLRP Express.

At the start of the Q&A, Daniel Delcourt starts with a light opening; announcing “I am here for you!”.

1) How was the decision to close the parks after the November 13 2015 terrorist attacks taken?

There was no debate. After the decision of the French President regarding national mourning, it was decided to respect it.

On an operational level, Guests arriving at the Resort had to be taken care of: artists that were scheduled in the two parks (Disney Characters, drawing artists…) came to meet the residents, which was well received:

2) What is the status of the Guests satisfaction during this wave of numerous refurbishments leading to the 25th Anniversary of the Resort ?

Daniel Delcourt first thanks the Cast Members for the work already accomplished. Indeed, the results of the satisfaction surveys “are almost all better” despite the closure of major attractions, and the results are even above expectations. He adds that this is only possible through the Cast Members, who are the “key to success”, a “bit of paint”, while necessary, is not enough.

On this topic, he shares a project that he is working on, called “Join the Disney Attitude”: it is based on the “Courtesy” key of the four Disney service keys (Security, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency) and involves 9000 Cast Members in order to consolidate these good results.

Additionally, the Disney Characters presence will be increased — when he arrived (June 2014), the satisfaction on Characters had been getting lower for over a year. “I went to have a look — I like to go on site — nothing better to see than go on the ground..”.

In the parks, he notes that there were only four fixed photo locations while other Characters “moved”. Now, the photo locations are fixed, and are clearly marked in the schedule and the official app for smart phones, to make it official. By January, there will be 15 fixed photo locations.

He then moved on to the return of the Disney Characters in hotels: “that’s what is going to make the difference”. A three month long study was done so that Daniel Delcourt could present his vision to bring back the Characters in the hotels.

Other entertainment and refurbishment highlights discussed include:

- A new show at the Chapparal between the two Frozen seasons, called “The Forest of Enchantment, a Disney musical adventure”,

- The Lucky Nugget will get a new stage show,

- A new show for Animagique,

- Improvements for the seasons — Last year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony was considered not up to expectations and without Characters by Daniel Delcourt. He finds this year’s more touching and successful. There are more performers. All of this is aimed at growing the seasons to offer the best possible experience to Guests. “It’s moving forward, going the right way”,

- The Main Street facades: it was a “shock” for him when he came back from California, so the Main Street and Lucky Nugget facades were redone, and the cleaning company changed,

- Attractions have been rehabilitated and renovated. Sometimes, some things don’t work. Daniel sees it and reports it to the teams right away. “Hard work will be needed for all this to improve”. “Attention to detail will make the difference”.

3) What time frame do you give yourself to get to the “perfect” Guest satisfaction level?

First goal: 25th Anniversary. Everything must have improved for this date. The park must be in shape, entertainment must be up to par, restaurants must have been upscaled, and higher satisfaction in hotels.

Currently, guest satisfaction is higher in Disney Village, Parks and Hotels, and Daniel Delcourt is proud of this.

After the 25th; there will be new goals, new innovations.

4) Walt Disney Studios : when will they get a Halloween and Christmas season ?

The first goal is to fix Disneyland Park.

But there are plans for the Studios for the 25th Anniversary. Seasons at the Studios won’t be until after the Anniversary.

5) Are you nervous for the 25th Anniversary ?

Not at all ! Tom and Daniel have the same vision. His time in California inspired him. The timing of his return was perfect.

6) When will you start communicating about Animagique ?

There is still a lot of work to be done, it is an ambitious endeavor. The artistic direction will be set in January.

The name will change and it will no longer be in black light.

Will it be in the Pixar universe ? No.

7) What about the Disney Village re-development ?

Disney Village is not in accordance to the vision that we have for it anymore. Work on a rehabilitation plan is in progress. A re-investment into quality and image, a “ family place where life is good, in a nice setting”, connected to the Disney Magic. No more discos and concerts.

8) Will the maintenance be increased ?

Yes. We can no longer recreate things and then not take care of them.

In Marne-la-Vallee, we must adapt to the weather (cold, rain, ice…). The Newport Bay Club Hotel, for example, was entirely redone in composite materials, instead of wood which gets old quickly.

The other hotels will be redone with similar materials instead of wood.

Read Part 2 of our report here: