Disney has revealed that it invested $214.2 million (€202.6 million) in the hotels at its theme park complex in Paris over the five years to September 30 2022 with at least $62.1 million (€58.7 million) of it largely spent on theming one of them to Marvel superheroes.
Disneyland Paris is famous for its two theme parks – the fairytale-themed Disneyland Park and the neighbouring Walt DisneyDISDIS Studios. However, the resort is also home to two convention centers, a 27-hole golf course, the 44,000-square-meter Disney Village entertainment district and 8,500 rooms across seven hotels. They are all distinctly different.
At the entrance to its flagship park is the Disneyland Hotel, a pink palace that looks like it has come from the pages of a Victorian fairytale. A short walk away is a woodland lodge complex as well as five hotels inspired by destinations in the Americas.
The Santa Fe and the Cheyenne are themed to Mexico and the Wild West respectively whilst the Sequoia Lodge looks like a huge woodland retreat and the Newport Bay Club is in the style of a sprawling New England mansion with white clapboard walls and gleaming wooden decking inside. In June 2021 they were joined by Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. The hotel originally opened with the rest of the resort in 1992 and was initially themed to the Big Apple. Its decor hardly changed in more than 25 years until Disney closed its doors in 2018 to give it a multi-year makeover which made it seem like it is set in a world of superheroes.
The lobby of the hotel has the air of the atrium of an Art Deco American railway station. There are brushed steel floors, stone walls and mahogany display cabinets containing replicas of Captain America’s shield as well as Iron Man’s armor.
More than 350 pieces of artwork showing Marvel comics characters have been designed bespoke for the property and are scattered around it so that guests can go on treasure hunts to find their favorite heroes. Different areas of the hotel showcase the heroes in unexpected design styles from street art to giant murals made from the bricks in Rubik’s Cubes. The art tells the story behind the Marvel Comics characters who inhabit the Avengers Campus land which opened last year in the Studios park.
Although Disneyland Paris is owned by Disney itself, it is directly operated by French subsidiaries of the media giant. They have to file annual financial statements showing everything from their revenues and running costs to their staff numbers, salaries and investment. It gives a fascinating insight into the resort’s finances which isn’t available for Disney’s theme parks in the United States as their costs and revenues are part of its overall expenses and aren’t separately itemized.
Paris takes transparency to a whole new level as Disney has incorporated separate companies to manage different aspects of the resort. Its five destination-themed hotels and the Disney Village are run by EDL Hôtels (EDLH) and its latest financial statements show that in the year to September 30, revenue rose nearly six-fold to $603 million (€570.3 million) giving the company a $53.5 million (€50.6 million) operating profit. This helped to mitigate losses in other areas of the resort and ensured it had a happy ending.
As we revealed in the Sunday Times, last year Disneyland Paris’ overall operating company, Euro Disney Associés, made a $51 million operating profit which was its highest in a decade. The end of pandemic restrictions cast a powerful spell on the resort, especially as this was followed by its 30th anniversary celebrations in April and the opening of Avengers Campus three months later. The Marvel update to the Hotel New York gave Disneyland Paris even more punching power as 2022 was its first full year of operation.
According to data from Disney, the hotel’s average daily rate has increased by more than 100% since 2018. Spending per room has also increased more than 50% and, crucially, guest scores have more than doubled. It came at quite a cost.
EDLH’s financial statements show that over the five years to September 30 2022, construction in progress has increased by $214.2 million which “corresponds mostly to investment related to the renovation of hotel rooms.” The filings reveal that in 2021, $37.4 million (€35.4 million) of this investment specifically “related to the renovation of the Hotel New York rooms”. A further $24.7 million (€23.3 million) of investment in the Marvel refurbishment was billed the following year and Disney isn’t stopping there.
In January the Disneyland Hotel will also open after an extensive refurbishment though the cost of this isn’t shown in the EDLH financial statements as it doesn’t directly operate the property.
Future sets of financial statements should show a surge in spending as a renovation of the Sequoia Lodge is expected over the coming years and a redevelopment of the Disney Village began in September 2022 after Forbes broke the news about it in 2018.
Disney has been sprinkling pixie dust on its French outpost since it acquired it in 2017. As we recently revealed, over the past five years it has invested more than $1.5 billion (€1.4 billion) in the Studios park and there is more to come. A new land themed to the wildly-popular Frozen franchise is currently under construction in the park with one more on the way.
In 2018 the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that in anticipation of the crowds the new lands will attract, Disneyland Paris planned to build a further 14,700 hotel rooms. Although the pandemic may have held up these plans Disney is using every trick in its spell book, and its wallet, to ensure that its hotels in Paris continue to pack a punch.