Disneyland Paris – And what your business can learn from their mistakes!

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, or so it should be. I went for a 4 day trip to Disneyland Paris just before Christmas with a friend of mine who frequents the Florida Disney park every 2 years (ish).

Disneyland Paris has EVERYTHING it needs to become a great park. The rides are great, the park layout is good and well maintained as well as the detail is very much there. The park was DESIGNED to be fabulous, however the execution is lacking. Oh so lacking.

These are the main problems the park as a whole has that relate to the customer experience which I might add is EVERYTHING to a Disney park. You are supposed to be totally lost in the fantasy, it’s what you pay for. It’s what the kids want.

1. It’s not happy.

In fact, hardly any of the staff are happy and playing their role as ‘cast members’ at Disney. Most of the staff were reluctantly helpful or just plain rude. A few also complained and moaned in front of customers. We found TWO employees bar the staff dressed as ‘Characters’ who had any Disney spirit. Both loved the Florida parks and had bought back some of that sunshine in the way they worked.

2. It’s a French park for French people.

It used to be called ‘Euro Disney’ but maybe the name was changed as there is nothing European about it. It is a French park with a splattering of English and sometimes a weird mix of French and English as though at some point they tried then gave up. The car show was the best translated of all, but lets look at the example of the haunted house.

The haunted house story is supposed to be scary. However it is in French and only french – this means I had NO IDEA what was going on, neither did any other language speakers. This means despite the marvelous decor, the ride was lost on me. I can’t speak French.

It is a slow ride, so translation could be provided to make is scary for English, German, Italian & Spanish visitors as LEAST.

Quite a few workers spoke broken English – which is fine for me, but a family from Bahrain were VERY confused as they couldn’t find anyone to speak English and tell them what was going on. In fact my friend and I had to do a bit of that work for them on the Aerosmith ride (which is fabulous).

3. We couldn’t eat.

The food was horrendous in the parks. We tried to escape the pizza and burgers but it seems we should have just kept to the Disney Village where food was concerned. They kept trying to push you to expensive buffets, so we tried one to our dismay. All notion of hospitality was thrown out of the window and the food was horrid and a little stale at the end of the day.

The BBQ we had in Frontier-land was OK.  The hotel breakfast was bad pastries and bread. Bit of ham too if you were lucky.

4. Visible construction.

Parks need maintenance, but in Disney Florida it is done AFTER hours in the parks and any ‘scaffolding or workings’ are hidden by a themed facade as not to break the experience. We could totally see what was broken or being restored in Paris.

Disneyland Paris is rumoured not to be doing that well. I can see why!

So how can this relate to your online business?

Well, buying is a shopping EXPERIENCE. Just like Disney it is all about the experience. Think of giving your customer what they want by offering choice, be HAPPY when they contact you & don’t alienate foreign language speakers. The world is a big place, they are ALL your customers.

Happy New Year!


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