Tuesday, October 11, 2011
What's new about Disneyland Paris future? DLP fans are desperately waiting for an official announcement of the Ratatouille dark ride, Star tours 2, and more. Next year will be DLP 20th Anniversary and chances are that no new attraction will open in 2012. Of course the park have scheduled to celebrate the 20th and you can count on different events including a new show which is supposed to have dazzling never-seen-before visual effects but in terms of rides i will not bet on anyone, except if DLP execs change their mind very soon about Star tours 2 and finally decide to bring the ST 2 at DLP Discoveryland.
However, recently, two interesting rumors appeared on the web. The first one is basically saying that the banks - the famous banks who accept or not to deliver to DLP the needed amount of money to build new attractions - decided that they won't give anymore money and that it was time for the WDC to bring some cash to DLP. DLP fans discussed this rumor on forums and one of the reason - if this rumor is true as i remind you it's still only a rumor - might be because of the bank crisis. It's true that European banks, and specially French banks, are going through pretty difficult times right now so this might be a good reason, although they could also take this "bank crisis" as alibi to don't deliver new cash to DLP...
Anyway, here comes the second rumor and this one as you will see is more interesting. Apparently a Mice Chat member discussed about DLP - and specially WDS future - with a WDI Imagineer at the D23 Expo and here is what he's saying:
"I finally got SOME news on France after coercing (ok, waterboarding ) the right Imagineer. Turns out the situation is eerily similar to ours. You have a great park (DL) in some level of disrepair which is being plussed up at the approach of its birthday and you’ve got a second gate (WDSP instead of DCA) which has been under-performing and although it has received a few new ride (like ToT, we did too) and some smaller ones (the whole Toy Story playplace like we got Monster’s Inc) which triggered some ‘place-making’, it’s still not ‘winning’ like Charlie Sheen would say…
… so what do you do?
… well, that’s kinda why John Lasseter was visiting your WDS recently. He made the same argument about the lack of cohesive theming, the lack of character and the necessity for a large place-making project. In fact, the Imagineers already have an overall re-design similar to what they have for DCA. Yep, a big big deal
However, between the economic situation in Europe and the non finished work in the US (includiing the two major expansions on both coast), it is a matter of spreading themselves too thin. At the same time, the argument is being made for it being almost the best time for such an investment.
Bottom line: keep your fingers crossed for a major announcement from Tom Staggs closer to the end of the year, as the overall 20th of DLP gets on the way.
Or not .
But it is there RIGHT NOW, just laying on ice for a little while longer…"
If the story is right it will be indeed a good news, and if it's not that's exactly what the WDC should do as soon as possible, i.e a huge placemaking at the WDS just like they did one at DCA. In fact, i don't think there is any other solution, the WDS desperately need a kind of "Marshall Plan" to resolve the problem once and for all. Right now the WDC must pay for DCA placemaking as well as WDW New Fantasyland, not to mention Shanghaî Disneyland and the Avatar project so may be DLP fans will have to wait a bit more but next year DCA and WDW NF will be almost finished and in 2013 the WDC might have some fresh cash available for DLRP.
There is another good argument in favor of this placemaking rumor and it's the now official departure of Bob Iger in 2015 ( even if Iger will stay at the Disney board until 2016 ). My guess is that Iger will be pleased to resolve all the problems due the end of Eisner era before leaving the company. In two words, Eisner has been the one who almost destroyed the company and Iger the one who would have saved it. My feeling is that this rumor is true and that sometime next year Tom Staggs and DLP CEO Philippe Gas might announce this WDS placemaking, but considering the hard times for the world economy as long as it is not announced officially it's better to consider it as "one more rumor".
Now, do i have some news more reliable than rumors? Yes, i do, and the latest news i've got about Ratatouille is that a final announcement - read: decision - is awaited before the end of this year. Note that it doesn't mean that the decision will be necessarily the one expected by DLP fans, it means that a decision will be taken and announced and you better cross your fingers that it will be positive. However, even if Ratatouille was confirmed officially in two months don't expect an opening in 2012 and not even in 2013 as it was previously envisioned. DLP Imagineers need two years to build the whole Ratatouille area - and test the new ride - and this will put the Ratatouille opening in 2014 or late 2013 with a bit of luck.
About the WDS placemaking, now. Yes, the project indeed exist as well as a rendering showing the vision of WDI Imagineers ( don't ask me, i don't have it ) and apparently it looks great. All what the park needs now is money - as usual. About Star Tours 2, it's a bit more complicated. As i've told you in a previous update DLP execs are a bit reluctant to bring it right now at DLP, mainly because of the cost of ST2 ( estimated around $50 M ) as for the same price they can have a brand new dark ride. They're also afraid that the investment don't bring more visitors to the park, like it happened with Space Mountain Mission 2 or the comeback of Captain EO which has been for them a not-so-good experience on a business point of view.
All this is perfectly understandable and unfortunately a news that i had recently might reinforce DLP execs in their fear about the ST2 investment. Apparently - and although Star Tours 2 is acclaimed by DL and WDW visitors - the attraction update didn't bring more guests inside the parks. At least not enough to be considered as a major increase in parks attendance. If this is true - and it has yet to be confirmed - that's not only a bad news for DL and WDW but also for DLP as Philippe Gas might be more reluctant than ever to spend the needed amount for ST2. However, Tokyo Disneyland has apparently decided to update their own Star Tours so DLP will not escape to ST2 sooner or later, hopefully as soon as possible, and of course i will keep you updated. In the meantime, just pray that this WDS placemaking becomes a reality!
Pictures: copyright Disney