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Walt Disney Studios to stay up late for two test weekends in March

Friday, 11th February 2011 at 09:48

Walt Disney Studios Park

Approaching nine years old, the bedtime rules for Walt Disney Studios Park could finally be about to change. The latest Disneyland Paris park hours show an extended opening schedule for the second gate on the first two weekends of March 2011. As a test, likely to gauge demand and guest feedback, the park will now close at 9pm rather than the usual 7pm on the 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th March. This will surely be a bonus for any fans and if positive could give a tantalising glimpse at a time ahead when the Studios can be enjoyed until nightfall, without the need to join the daily schlep over to Disneyland Park.

The cause for longer hours will have been helped by the three new attractions in Toy Story Playland (not to mention their long queue times), as well as the five other permanent attractions that have been added to the mix since the park’s hours were brutally slashed in late 2002. Up until November in its opening year, the park had closed no earlier than 8pm and stayed open through July and August from 9am to 9pm, but this was cut back to a solid 9am to 6pm schedule from 2003 as guest demand fell short and a financial restructuring (largely due to the cost of the park) required cost-cutting. The situation was so bad, you might remember, that Disney offered guests with a 1-Day 1-Park ticket to the Studios complimentary evening access to Disneyland Park after 6pm. It wasn’t until the 2007 Toon Studio expansion that the park began to live a little with later 7pm closing times on busy weekends.

But is the park even ready to stay open until 9pm? With just two counter service restaurants and a buffet, and only three stores, Walt Disney Studios Park has a long way to go to match the offer of its neighbour, an important factor as guests stay in the park later into the day. If the demand is there for a later closing time, we have to hope Disney will satisfy the demand for better dining, retail and entertainment that will surely follow.

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  • I think that staying open for longer is a great idea. The queues are far too long so most of the day is spent queuing meaning you most likely wont cover all the attractions you wanted to. This will allow for people to queue for a few more rides and do all that they want.

  • This sounds good but will it cut weekend queue times??

    When we were there recently (end of Jan)it was simply just too busy in the park…maybe this is down to the size but it think the key issue is to address queue times at peaktimes and weekends.

  • Well, about time too! This is badly needed at busy weekends and during school holidays, especially in summer.
    We go every year in July / August and the queues are extremely long. You cannot do everything in one day at this time with the park closing at 7pm, and no EMH.From the moment they open the gates at 9.30am to let people queue early for the rides, Crush’s Coaster is 120 mins, and stays like that all day. The queue for TOT was 2 hrs, Fastpass entrance queue for it was 30 – 60 mins.
    Even trying to juggle the theatre shows between Stars N Cars and the rides, without wasting any time, it is impossible to do the whole park in 9 hours when there are long queue lines.
    Then everyone goes over to the DL Park until 11pm, so that gets even more crowded.
    9pm is great news, but later in summer would be even better!

  • Sorry, I meant to add…..
    Why does the dining situation matter? The Village restaurants are not far away, so easy to eat there.It doesn’t take long to exit the park, eat, then return.
    Many people do that from the DL Park anyway.
    The Village restaurants are usually less busy than the Parks’ ones during operating hours.

  • Great idea, the park looks very good when its dark, the lights give a better studio feeling than during daytime. However the park is still too ‘young’ to stay up this late, because – here we go again – there are not enough rides and restaurants. Another important thing it’s missing is a place to just walk around, like Adventure isle, making the park feel bigger and doensn’t make you feel hopping form one ride to an other!

  • I think keeping the park open until later is a brilliant idea! You will have more time to cover the whole park area.

  • Not enouth attractions to facilitate this most of the year this will only work on very busy weekends re revinue and Cast Member wages.

  • @Figgygirl – The dining situation probably doesn’t matter massively in the short-term, and if the Ratatouille dark ride is built with a restaurant alongside that’ll go a long way to help, but having people exit a theme park to dine in Disney Village is far from ideal. People are doing that already because they find the choice of three restaurants so uninspiring.

    It is going to be a fine balance here as they slowly expand the park and gently increase hours… You don’t want to expand before the demand is there, nor extend the hours before the infrastructure (rides, shops, dining) is in place, frustrating visitors.

  • Hopefully this is a sign of the not so distant future for the Studios. Is it possible we will see similar park hours this summer?

  • Hours will not increase significantly untill there is much more things for guests to look at and explore in WDS. This includes a range of facilities including Attractions and Evening shows as well as more Shops that have clearly identifyable individual ranges and are more focused on the Park rather than general Disney Merchandise found in most Disney Stores across the world.

  • I’m coming to Disneyland Paris this fall and I am a bit disappointed at how early the parks close. I’m used to Disneyland being open late til midnight (daily) in the summer, and on weekends other times. Staying late into the dark hours would be awesome. The whole ambiance is different. A welcomed change, I’m sure.

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