July 24, 2024

“Impressions de France” Returns to Evenings at EPCOT

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Sometimes, Walt Disney World does the right thing and fixes minor or major mistakes. Exactly that happened today, with the best film at EPCOT having its schedule (partially) restored. This post shares the updated operating

Sometimes, Walt Disney World does the right thing and fixes minor or major mistakes. Exactly that happened today, with the best film at EPCOT having its schedule (partially) restored. This post shares the updated operating hours for Impressions de France, and pats you all on the back for a job well done.

Earlier this week, we discussed the Distinctly Unpatriotique Changes for Impressions de France. I’m not going to rehash the entirety of that post, but in a nutshell, Walt Disney World updated its operating schedule, resulting in Impressions de France officially opening at 9 am and closes at 9:30 am each day. The Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along ran the rest of the day from 10 am until 8:45 pm.

That was the substance of the change, but naturally, we spent another 2,000 words complaining about the decision. That also included a call to action for fans of Impressions de France to voice their dissatisfaction to Walt Disney World. Many of you reported doing precisely that and, well, mission accomplished!

According to Walt Disney World’s latest operating hours calendar on both the official website and in the My Disney Experience app, Impressions de France still opens at 9 am and closes at 9:30 am, but it also reopens at 7:00 pm and continues operating through 8:45 pm.

In addition to that, Impressions de France is also listed as being shown at the Palais du Cinema during Early Entry at EPCOT for Walt Disney World on-site resort hotel guests from 8:30 am to 9 am. So this is technically an expansion of the showtimes for Impressions de France as compared to this same time last week!

The Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along is now shown from 10 am until 6:30 pm. On a totally unrelated note, we highly recommend avoiding the France pavilion’s Palais du Cinema between the hours of 10 am and 6:30 pm.

Superior alternatives include doing Mission: Space Orange even if you suffer from motion sickness or, I dunno, climbing the Mexico pavilion. (Both of those are jokes. Do not do those things, but also don’t do the atrocious sing-along.) If you need a nap, consider the Pixar Film Festival instead. That is, unless you need nightmare fuel! Then, by all means, see the stupid sing-along.

We’ll likely never know why Walt Disney World reverted to the prior schedule for Impressions de France so quickly. The company certainly will not come out and say it was a mistake, or this change was due to fan backlash. They probably wouldn’t even use softer language, like “due to feedback from our guests and popular demand…”

Any of that would open pandora’s box, giving rise to more letter writing campaigns and petitions at even the slightest changes that annoy fans. And it’s not as if that doesn’t already happen–if the change.org links that get spammed into random comments on this blog are any indication, Walt Disney World fans love their petitions!

I doubt Walt Disney World will offer any explanation for the Impressions de France showtimes restoration. If they did, it would probably be to minimize things. That there was a scheduling mistake resulting in Impressions de France moving to mornings and that it was quickly remedied once identified. That’s about the only lie statement I could see being offered, and even that probably will not occur.

Personally, my hope is that this is a precursor to the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along be retired entirely. No one should be subjected to that abomination, not even the people who say Dino-Rama is good because of its (allegedly) brilliant backstory. As a reminder/words of warning, this sing-along ranks #88 on our Rankings of All 88 Attractions at Walt Disney World. We gave it 0/10 in our attraction review; the next lowest attraction score is 3/10. There are only a handful of attractions that are below 5/10, and nothing else at any park in the world scores 0/10.

As we noted in the prior post, it’s not just a personal vendetta. The Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along is also not particularly popular, even with its target audience. It’s not drawing huge crowds or lines, and I refuse to believe it’s scoring well on guest satisfaction surveys or families are clamoring to see it late at night. Despite being relatively new, featuring a beloved animated film, and being one of the few family-friendly attractions in World Showcase, it appears to be underperforming.

In attempting to make sense of the showtimes shift, one possibility that was floated by readers in the comments to the last post is that there could’ve been corporate in-fighting about the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along. As a result of that, a “test” might’ve been conducted to see if the sing-along did better when presented at night. While I have no inside insight, I found this to be a plausible scenario.

However, I do not believe this would’ve happened over the course of less than a week. If Walt Disney World were actually monitoring popularity at different showtimes, the test would’ve lasted longer…unless the immediate results were very conclusive.

My strong suspicion is that respectful fan feedback is what actually made the difference here, and caused Walt Disney World to quickly restore the evening showtimes of Impressions de France.

This story gained a lot of attention in the fan community, and I would not be the least bit surprised if the number of people who sent polite emails voicing their concerns or who stopped by Guest Relations in EPCOT was in the thousands. For a 40+ year old film, Impressions de France has a strong and passionate fanbase. (I suspect it also has favorable demographics on its side–older fans who frequently do dinners in World Showcase.)

So kudos to you all on a job well done. It’s not every day that the fan community actually persuades Walt Disney World to walk back a decision. To the contrary, the success rate is pretty low on this sort of thing. Your emails must’ve been pretty convincing–maybe some of you have futures in the wonderful world of blogging! 😉

With that said, I’d caution you against feeling emboldened to complain about any and everything. Certain changes cannot and will not be undone, because there are larger forces at play. The key is recognizing where opportunities like this exist, and seizing upon them. If you complain to Walt Disney World about everything–but continue visiting and spending money–you will effectively silence your own voice. It’ll become easy for the company to ignore you, because you are never satisfied in word, but always appear to be in action.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that fans shouldn’t speak up when dissatisfied (that much should be obvious–I previously encouraged you to contact Disney about Impressions de France). Rather, I’m saying it’s important to not let this go to your head. Pick your battles, recognize what’s a lost cause, and only fight the winnable fights.

Finally, offer praise where it’s due. If the only time Walt Disney World ever hears from you is when you’re upset about something, but you take 4 trips per year and drop an obscene amount of money in the process, that undermines your words. On that last note, you might consider sending a thankful email after your next trip or dropping into Guest Relations when you’re leaving EPCOT after an enjoyable dinner and a show. Let them know just how much you appreciated being able to catch Impressions de France! 

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YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of the scheduling change for Impressions de France? Will this make it easier for you to watch the best film in EPCOT? Happy that this means fewer guests will not accidentally be subjected to the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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