If you have a corporate client in a serious business the chances of you recommending Disneyland Paris as the ideal convention location are probably quite slim. Would your clients want to mingle with the general public? Is it appropriate for the chairman of a multi-national corporation to rub shoulders with Mickey and Minnie Mouse? Could a company used to providing family fun give you the technological back-up and service for in major business conference?
All these questions and more have been asked by conference organisers since Disneyland Paris opened its doors for business nearly five years ago. Today, with between 100 and 150 corporate events every month and a client list that includes IBM, SG Warburg, Coca Cola and Nestle, the sceptics are having their questions answered. And the UK is leading the way, only second to host nation France in the number of business events held in the resort each year.
The key to understanding what is possible with a corporate event in Disneyland Paris is to remember that whatever your size, you have an entire resort's worth of opportunities for your consideration, not just Europe's most popular theme park. The Disneyland Paris resort has a themed hotel including the five-star Disneyland Hotel, the art deco-style Hotel New York and the New England themed Hotel Newport Bay Club. The Hotel New York remains the favourite for conventions organisers as it houses the resort's state-of-the-art Convention Centre. If you need more than 550 rooms you can even have this hotel all to yourself and theme or brand it in any way you choose - where else would you be given that opportunity.
The hotels have excellent facilities and their restaurants, combined with those in the nearby Disney Village and the Theme Park, provide you with a choice of more than 50 different places to wine and dine your delegates - everything from tropical seafood banquets, Chicago grills or French cuisine. And each restaurant can be reserved exclusively for lunches or dinners.
Doing the business!The Convention Centre itself has been designed to host meetings and events of every size from 20 to 2,000 participants. It is equipped with 5,000 sq metres of fully modular meeting place, including a 50 sq metre reception hall - ideal for cocktail parties - and has the latest in audio visual and telecommunications technology. Disneyland Paris can provide everything from multi-image presentations through to global satellite links in conjunction with official partner France Telecom.
The space on offer can be used in any way you choose and Disney event organisers are on hand to make the impossible possible. A recent 2,000-person conference required 85 syndicate rooms, which resulted in the whole of the ground floor of one wing of the hotel being turned into committee rooms. While for IBM, the outdoor ice rink was drained, flooring laid and a marquee erected to house an exhibition!
Every possible business need is met, from multi-lingual secretarial and translation services the through to post office and travel agency. Computers can be made available for your organisers or delegates, and multi-lingual simultaneous translation facilities all ensure that speakers can communicate with international delegates with ease. Technical staff are on 24-hour call, working with client production teams to ensure a professional event and everything is undertaken with the quality and attention to detail that you would expect from Disney.
Hassle-free event managementOrganising a corporate event of whatever size is not an easy task and that is why Disney assigns a convention manager to each event who is involved at every stage from briefing, through to the planning of the event and managing on-site co-ordination. The Disney representative can create the whole event programme for you and make all the necessary arrangement from booking Eurostar or air travel, providing VIP meet and greet services through to arranging special programme and excursions for partners and families of participants. And, of course, if required, Disney characters can be on hand to welcome and mingle with your delegates.
Business and pleasure do mixAside from the obvious benefits of using Disney the its reputation for detail and excellent management, one of the key advantages for the resort and a world-class convention location has to be the ease at which business and leisure can be combined. Everything is on hand and within walking distance, making logistics simple and ensuring that when it's time to relax there is little effort required to do so!
Disneyland Paris offers a recreational activity for everyone: a 27-hole championship golf course; flood-lit tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, complete with Jacuzzi; ice skating, fitness centres with saunas, steam baths and exercise machines; beauty salons, and, of course, the famous rides and attractions in the Theme Park itself. Many people have played golf with their boss, but nothing can quite compare with hearing them scream as they turn upside down at heartstopping speeds on Space Mountain.
Group entertainment events are very popular with corporate customers and can range from Big Band style Gala Dinners to team treasure hunts in the Theme Park and, for groups of more than 150, special evenings in Park with any one of the five themed lands exclusively yours for the occasion (low season only). For example, you could have a Pirate Evening in Adventure Land, allowing delegates to explore the Temple of Peril and the Pirates of the Caribbean, before eating at the exotic underground Blue Lagoon restaurant to the sounds of a Caribbean band; alternatively how about a Western Evening in Frontierland which could start with a trip on an authentic paddle steamer and end at the Lucky Nugget Saloon watching a French Can Can show.
Getting thereThe Disneyland Paris Convention Centre has to be one of the best served meeting venues in Europe. Just 20 miles east of Paris it can be easily reached by plane, train or car. British Airways has regular scheduled services from London's Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as all major regional UK airports. Roissy Charles-de Gaulle and Orly airports are only three minutes away by car, coach or regular shuttle service.
The new direct Eurostar service from London's Waterloo Station, straight to the Marne-la-Vallee station to Disneyland Paris (running every day from next spring), only takes three hours and TGV links to the rest of Europe also start here.
New for New Year at Disneyland ParisTo meet the growing business demand, a second convention centre opens in October 1997, adjacent to the Newport Bay Club Hotel. The £20-million Newport Bay Convention Centre will have a 1,800 sq metre convention hall and ballroom, a 3,300 sq metre exhibition hall and 23 break out rooms - all with natural light and most with outdoor terraces. It will be able to accommodate conferences of up to 1,700 delegates and provide the same technological and support service frequently available in the Hotel New York Convention Centre
If you are involved in organising a corporate event of any size, from a seminar to a large convention, be sure to put Disneyland Paris on your short list and call Reina Herschdarer, conferences and incentives manager on 0171 605 1490 to discuss your requirements. We are confident that a briefing meeting and may be an early site visit will be all that is needed to convince you that this is definitely the year to hold your events here!