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.
In the ill fated history of Disney’s Paris resort, the Walt Disney Studios park certainly is the darkest chapter. It has been designed with no ambition, no budget, no taste, no sense, almost no ride and technically no desire to build it. Nothing but the strict, contractual obligation to open a second theme park by 2002, as stated on the convention between Disney and the French government. Walt Disney Studios instantly became famous for being the worst Disney Park ever made thanks to its signature Basic Supermarket Parking Lot aesthetics. In my opinion, it’s not just the worst Disney park but one of the worst amusement parks ever made. But enough with the past. Those fifteen years of WDS nonsense have been painful enough. For more on the WDS fiasco, read my dedicated article.
This week’s highly anticipated announcement is the natural next step to The Walt Disney Company‘s recent buyout of the Paris resort. Now that Disney is the sole owner of Disneyland Paris, it finally has full control of what it can or cannot do. While we can’t be blind to the fact that EuroDisney minor shareholders have been pretty much robbed in the process, as a theme park nerd, I’m happy when I can visit a great, fully functional, profitable theme park. I’m even more happy when I don’t have to fly to the US or Asia and double my visit budget to do it. It’s been frustrating enough to be a European theme park nerd when the world’s greatest amusement park operator struggles so much do deliver quality investments where I live, to the point it became a joke. Yes, DLP is still Europe’s number one tourism destination but the the European theme park market leaders in terms of ambition, creativity and guest experience/service have become Europa Park and Efteling. Not Disney. *Awkward silence*
So, what’s in this announced investment plan? Two billion euro will… Wait. Let’s pause for a moment. Two. Billion. Euro. Two billion euro will be invested in Paris, *including* a transformation of the Walt Disney Studios park including new Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars inspired areas, rides and entertainment and also a new lake. These will open by phases starting in 2021 (while in an interview Bob Iger states from 2020 to 2025). The press release doesn’t go much deeper into details, but the concept art, as vague and purposely blurred as it is, maybe reveals a little bit more. Let’s now brainstorm and speculate on what hasn’t been detailed! Please note that the things presented as rumors next on this post come from reportedly insider sources from the ED92 forum.
Concept art: Disney
This might be the first phase to open to guests considering the recent announcement to revamp the stupid Rock’n’Rollercoaster into an Iron Man feat. Avengers attraction. DLP insiders also whisper that RNRC and the Moteurs Action Stunt Show are both set to close by the end of 2018. Bye Felicias. Looking at the released concept art, this new Marvel superhero land seems themed as a colorful fantasy-sci-fi futuristic land, like the overall aesthetics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as opposed to the long rumored New York style theme for this Marvel area. I’m curious and a little bit anxious to discover what it’s going to look like considering Disney’s attempts at doing Marvel theming so far. While the inside of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disneyland and Iron Man Experience in Hong Kong look fun and sleek, the outside of these rides is quite generic (Iron Man in HKDL) and over-the-top-tacky like it’s based on Power Rangers aesthetics (GOTG in Disneyland).
This new Marvel land seems to include Disney Channel/Stitch Live and Restaurant des Stars buildings, Blockbuster Cafe, the Armageddon soundstage and the stunt show seems to stay, but is rumored to be re-themed on The Avengers. While Tower of Terror appears untouched, some sources say it will keep the overall style and experience but get rid of the Twilight Zone IP, so it can fit the classic Hollywood entry land. And stop paying rights for an IP nobody realizes it’s here or even remembers. If true that’s a great news. Tower of Terror is badly located on the park’s map and theming it on Guardians of the Galaxy would make it look like the central icon of the parc, the one that defines the whole park is a Marvel IP. Phew!
Concept art: Disney
I just hope the Marvel area will not just use its most famous franchises as attractions and newer characters like Black Panther, Dr Strange and
Guardians of the Galaxy