After twenty five years of turmoil, it feels kind of surreal to write about it but this is finally happening. Earlier this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that The Walt Disney Company will invest two billion euro in Disneyland Paris. The new development mainly includes an important transformation of the infamous Walt Disney Studios. Three major additions have been revealed in the statement: new Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars themed areas alongside new attractions and shows. To make this announcement even bigger, Bob Iger met French president Emmanuel Macron (not related in any way to first EuroDisney ambassador and favorite gay icon of mine Sabine Marcon). But you don’t get to have brunch with a country’s president even when you invest two billion just to announce it. They probably discussed lobbying stuff like tax cuts, land and how to facilitate Disney’s buyout of EuroDisney. But for your convenience I’ll focus here on what you truly care about: attractions.
This year Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th anniversary. This is a big milestone so they’re giving their guests a mixed bag of a programme as a gift: new parade, new stage shows and nighttime castle projection show, attraction updates and also the end of ✨Project Sparkle✨: a massive program aimed at refurbishing the whole resort after two decades of absolute neglect. As I’m not a specialist of theme park entertainment, I’ll focus on attraction updates and refurbishments in general.
As a part of Disneyland Paris 25th anniversary celebrations, Disney organized a very special event for a handful of lucky DLP long-time lovers: a guided tour of the park with the man who supervised its design: Walt Disney Imagineering legend Tony Baxter.
He’s the person you should thank for making Disneyland Paris’ castle so elaborate and romantic, with square trees and a fire breathing dragon underneath. The one who decided to put Big Thunder Mountain on an island because why not?! The man who made the most spectacular Disney castle park ever made, with dozens of highly detailed walkthrough attractions. The list goes on and on.
We’re just six months away from the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris. In the ever-tumultuous story of Disney’s European destination, this might mean a little more than a typical birthday celebration, but also, maybe, a turning point.
Last week, Disneyland Paris press service announced the programme of the festivities:
- Celebration will start on 26th March 2017
- A new daytime pradade called “Disney Stars on Parade“
- The much anticipated ride update “Star Tours: The Adventures Continue“
- A new revamp for a classic ride: “Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain“
- A new show : Mickey Presents “Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris“
- Another new show on the castle stage: “The Starlit Princess Waltz“
- A complete show update on the guest favorite Disney Dreams Nighttime Spectacular: “Disney Illuminations“
Photos: Disneyland Paris
For a detailed look at all these additions and the unprecedented way Disneyland Paris announced the programme, I encourage you to have a look at DLPToday’s comprehensive series that breaks everything down.
As the last original version of Star Tours still in operation shut its doors a few days ago at Disneyland Paris, Star Wars mega fan and EndorExpress.net creator Kris Van de Sande decided to turn his sorrow into the most amazing tribute ever done to a theme park attraction. If you haven’t seen it already, stop everything you’re doing and watch this brilliant project called Star Tours: Before The adventures Continue.
Kris spent a lot of time and energy documenting and capturing the essence of Star Tours, from the queue line to the exit, as it was in early 2016. His immense talent and passion show in the videos he created. Kris was kind enough to answer a couple of questions I asked him about such a massive project, but before we get to the chit chat and of course, the video playlist tribute itself, here is an amuse bouche: a special trailer that the nerdiest Star Wars fans will definitely be familiar with :
Depuis une dizaine d’années environ, la politique de Disneyland Paris (DLP) s’est concentrée à la suppression de toute dépense ‘inutile’. A tel point que la qualité, l’essence même des parc Disney s’en est trouvée fortement endommagée. Pannes à répétition, installations en mauvais état dus à un entretien réduit au strict minimum, prestations hôtelières déclassées, nourriture et produits dérivés de qualité médiocre… Ces dernières années à DLP, l’expérience de haute qualité qui fait depuis 60 ans la réputation des parcs Disney dans le monde ne tient plus qu’au design original de 1992. Si bien que les fans de Disneyland Paris ont fait entendre leur déception il y a deux ans au travers d’une lettre ouverte signée par plus de 8000 personnes. Quand vos premiers ambassadeurs signifient leur confiance non renouvelée, difficile de ne pas reconnaitre l’étendue du problème.