Tuesday, October 14, 2014

All About Disneyland Paris Future

After the big Disneyland Paris recapitalization announcement last week you're probably wondering what Disneyland Paris has in mind for the future of DLP Parcs and Resort in the coming years. Well, thanks to ED92 and their good sources you'll have today a better idea of everything that DLP intend to change or add in the next decade. As usual, remember that these is supposed to be DLP plans NOW and we can expect probably some changes. That said, ED92 being the one that announced months ago what happened last week, i think we can give them the benefit of the doubt for what they reveal about DLP future.

Last April they already did a long update about DLP future - that you can read in my previous post HERE - but one month ago they've posted a new update with the latest infos they've got. As usual, the update of ED92 was written in a fairy tale style, easily understandable when you read french but looking almost "coded" if you don't. And Google Translate being what it is, i.e a really not perfect translation tool, i did for you a best-of of what ED92 reveal in their new update. Of course if you read french better than english you can read the french "fairy-tale" version directly on ED92 HERE.

Let's start by what is in the plans for DLP Disneyland park. One of the missions for DLP new CEO Tom Wolber will be apparently to restore the entire Disneyland park and gradually the Disneyland park will get back its original splendor. Although many decors elements of the park have already been renovated there is a lot to do before April 2017, which is almost tomorrow! Apart a few details, Main Street is a done deal. A Starbucks should come somewhere near the Market House Deli and reconfiguration works for some of the Main Street shops are already programmed, so Main Street should be ready in time for 2017. Let's just hope they won't do the same mistake they just did in the former Main Street Photography and won't destroy the wonderful original theming of the Main Street shops.

At Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain is the one which needs the most urgent renovation, but it is also the most popular attraction of the land and closing it for 8 months will be challenging. By starting the renovation in January, the impact should be less severe. But they will need something else in Frontierland to compensate BTM closure, and they will open again soon the Chaparral Stage for a Frozen show. To have a Frozen show in Frontierland may look a bit strange as the right location for it would have been in Fantasyland but, after all, a Tarzan show in Frontierland was also a bit odd... 
Nothing new about the fate of the Mark Twain but the geysers of Rivers of the Far West should finally be back, using the technology developed for Disney Dreams fountains - without colors, of course. The main question is for the Rivers of the Far West lake as they're really are afraid of the refurbishment cost as they'll have to empty and clean the whole lake. This is the only part that could be reserved to be done after 2017. About a refurb or an update of the Phantom Manor ride, rumored since years, ED92 have no specific details, and the timing to do it is still to be determined. There is talks, though, of doing an update of the show in two phases, rather short.

In Adventureland DLP has several projects such as the redesign of a whole part of Adventureland. They may bring some changes to Adventure Isle to make it "the island of Jack Sparrow", transform the Pirate Galion in Black Pearl, and add the interactive "Legend of the 7 Seas" game that guests enjoy at WDW Magic Kingdom. Not too forget the long rumored redesign of Pirates of the Caribbean with many new special effects. The cost of all this don't seems to be too high so chances are they will do it, and with a new POTC movie coming soon it should help to have all these ideas even more appealing.
Let's not forget too the plans announced by ED92 last April to bring Soarin' in Adventureland - instead than at the WDS where it was originally planned - a version probably similar to the one they are building at Shanghaî Disneyland Adventure Isle, i.e with a new theming and storyline to fit with Adventureland.

For Fantasyland you probably can put your bets on a similar Peter Pan's Flight update like the one they will do for Disneyland 60th Anniversary and they will change too the ride tracks as the attraction really needs it. It's a Small World too will have a renovation and a new show theater of 2000 seats located on the right of IASW is also envisioned.

In Discoveryland one of the major projects in 2015 will be the major renovation of Café Hyperion and Vidéopolis which should take almost 5 months with a reopening at the end of June. When Videopolis will reopen, a Jedi Academy will await DLP young guests with masters Jedi teaching them the art of laser saber. Space Mountain really need in the trains its long awaited new harness, but otherwise the attraction is in a less problematic situation. That said, a Space Mountain renovation is now official and will take six months, starting next january, and the park could take advantage of its reopening to celebrate the attraction 20th anniversary... The best they could do - but will they do it? - would be to bring back the original version of the ride, and it seems they will at least bring back the original music score, as well as resolve the usual problems on the cannon. I thought that the ride decor elements of the first version were removed and eventually destroyed when they did "Mission 2" but, good news, as it seems they are just hidden, the meteorites being covered by some black canvas, which mean they probably could bring back the first version easily IF they wish to do so.

And of course there is a project for the awaited big Star Wars Land with a first part that may open Summer 2017. Star Tours 2 3D should come at last for DLP 25th Anniversary and the Star Tours outdoor waiting queue will be removed to become a landscaped garden. And the entire Star Tours / Star Traders / Captain EO building will be transformed. A new area will be built where is currently the Star Tours post-show and the exit of the ride will be moved to where is the Captain EO theatre, which will become the biggest Star Wars merchandise shop in Europe. As for Star Traders, its layout will be perfect to create a new Meet & Greet where guests will be able to meet Star Wars characters - and its exit would be through the new Star Wars shop, too. They have not yet decided what will happen to the Pizza Planet restaurant. Although they agree they can't have anymore a restaurant built under a tent, they would like to convert this into a Tatooine area, with the Cantina restaurant and a walkthrough inside a real size Millennium Falcon. But they don't know yet whether this will be feasible in terms of budget for 2017 as they also have a number of projects for the Walt Disney Studios.

To avoid that during these works all scaffolding and fences makes the park not looking very nice DLP will do the works in a smart way, with not more than one or two buildings by land under works at a time, and will do them as much as possible outside periods of highest attendances. Smaller works will be done during the day, to go as fast as possible. But the biggest projects will be spread, and works on Adventure Isle for instance should not happen before the end of 2016. There are others more urgent things like different shops and restaurants, many of which needing a real update in terms of service. DLP has ambitious plans for the food in the park but it's still too early to uncover the plans. But they admit the food must be good, and the time of 100% burger is now gone. As for the park merchandise shops changes also will be done with small shops with "specialized items" and bigger shops with "generic" items. DLP merchandise dept design team is currently working on products with many new ideas inspired by the U.S collections and in 2017, the merchandise products at DLP should have nothing to see with today's products. 

Let's talk now about the Walt Disney Studios as they have big plans for its placemaking! But as some choices still have to be done, the Studios will have to wait a bit. Priority is for the Disneyland Park until 2017. That said, they'll give a little refurb to the original park buildings. Studio 1 will undergo an update with also changes in its lighting. The "Restaurant des Stars" will also have an update but the efforts will mainly focus on the Hollywood Tower Hotel to fully review its facades as well as on the Stunt Show. They will introduce new stunts, new effects... not yet the great transformation that the show needs, but something that will help to wait. Then they'll start slowly to complete Toy Story Playland by bringing to the WDS Toy Story Mania. But in a version with improved performances as they will do like in Orlando with the ride having 3 identical tracks instead of two. Thus, the waiting time should remain pleasant for WDS guests as the attraction is hugely popular in all Disney parks where it was built. 

You might remember they had projects to transform the Front Lot to have it look as the original Disney Studios in the 1930's, as well as the completion of a zone fully dedicated to Pixar and another one to Marvel super-heroes, with a journey through Hollywood to link everything. At the moment, DLP is currently seeing in what order they will proceed. As you've seen in D&M yesterday's update, the WDS logo was changed. It offers a slightly retro look in anticipation of the changes coming to Front Lot. The goal is to create a strong entity with the entrance and Studio 1 on the theme of the ancient Disney Studios at Hyperion Street. Just like they did at DCA with Buena Vista Street, they will add more "story" to the whole with more details and ironworks. The addition of posters and billboards should help, as well as a giant billboard like the one that can be seen in vintage pictures of the Disney Studios. Compared to DCA Buena Vista Street, they will shift slightly over time to immerse WDS guests in the early 40's, at the time Fantasia was released in theaters, to make the link with the Mickey Sorcerer fountain located in the center of Front Lot. Inside Studio 1, they should fully review the designs to give them more depth and credibility. Always in the spirit of visiting a studio, but in a much more realistic way to create a logical progression with the rest. They will also make changes to the Studio 1 shop and then to the restaurant to provide a more intimate feeling.

At the exit of Studio 1 we will leave the Disney Studios theme. The entire space surrounding the Walt with Mickey statue will be re-landscaped to give a better exit / entrance to the 1930's Studios theme of Front Lot and to really get into the streets of Hollywood. The Hollywood Blvd façades currently existing will be expanded to give the feeling of being in a city full of energy, with a focus on the late 40's, early 50's style. They once considered to have the red tram like the one at Disney's California Adventure, but the cost to run it would be too expensive and the plans now is to have a fleet of cars which will bring life to this simulated city. The Art of Disney Animation will stay but will be integrated in the new facades to give to WDS guests the feeling of entering a kind of cinema-exhibit, in tribute to the opposite Studios. Hollywood Boulevard will be extended with several shops and food outlets, so that eventually the street will become at the WDS an equivalent of Main Street and ultimately be able to host shows and parades in the best possible conditions.

The "city" will continue to the left, towards the "Place of the Stars" which will also have a major placemaking. The central stage will be removed to install a large fountain surrounded by a small but beautiful and enjoyable park. Another idea is to completely partitioned the Cinémagique waiting area to have it look like a realistic old cinema hall, with its thick carpet, wood paneling, etc... The placemaking  would extend up to the "Restaurant des Stars" which should be soon completely redecorated to make it look a bit like the Brown Derby restaurant at DHS. And eventually, why not transforming the rotunda in a reception area with the iconic giant hat of the Brown Derby building. 

At Animation Courtyard, facing Animagique, will take place the Pixar Studios. DLP plans to bring changes to all the area and to change as well the Animagique show, though keeping its concept but adapted to the different licenses. What seems to be sure is that the rear of the Art of Animation building will be changed to give the feeling of really entering into Pixar Studios. Meanwhile, Toy Story Playland would have grown a bit with the addition of Toy Story Mania in Summer 2018. The aim is to act in small steps to add history and coherence to the whole. And to do a transition from the real world to the fantasy worlds of Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo and of course Ratatouille. Ultimately, the Pixar area will be for the WDS the equivalent of Fantasyland. 

DLP Walt Disney Studios might also have its own "Adventureland" in the future as the wizards of Walt Disney Imagineering would like to bring the Avatar / Pandora land that they are currently building at Disney's Animal Kingdom. But this will require to be patient as it's not really DLP first priority at the moment. They want to see first how WDW guests will react when Pandora will open in 2017 in Animal Kingdom before embarking on such a project that will be particularly expensive.

As you've probably understood by now WDS equivalent of Discoveryland will be the Marvel Super-Heroes land that will be located where we have now Backlot. But rather than recreating New York, DLP will keep the same approach, i.e to keep the Studio style existing at the Backlot area - but of course not the one we have now with its bad look of industrial structures - and create the Marvel land with the same high standards they will put in the rest of the WDS placemaking. The opening of a Marvel superheroes land will be of course the high point of the WDS placemaking. In California Disney is currently doing a first test by building a Marvel super-heroes area with meet and greet and activities and this should come at the WDS where is now the Armageddon attraction. And the Rock'n Roller Coaster should be rethemed with a new Marvel storyline. By 2022, the WDS will have a huge Marvel land and the former Backlot should see its surface almost triple than what is now! DLPI already envisioned the creation of another roller coaster that should surprise WDS guests and will be partially outdoor to bring life and kinetic element to the area. It will not be the only major new attraction in this Marvel land as they also intend to make another one which will be more "family ride", though with plenty of thrills.

Still, all this is always under development and although some issues were resolved, it will be several years before all these changes or additions happen. By then everything could change dramatically but the hope is that with these, coupled with a complete restoration of the Disneyland Park and other works, DLP will finally break the curse by the year 2022.

Apparently the Walt Disney Company gave also to DLP another mission, crucial for the WDC own plans: the implementation at DLP of the NextGen project. In a win-win exchange, DLP will be able for a small fee to simply copy and adapt the different softwares developed for the NextGen program. It will be a huge work, though, to have all shops, restaurants, hotels room doors, and of course a selection of attractions be ready to work with the NextGen program and maybe DLP will create a specific team for this task as they would like to see the first launch in 2017 which does not leave much time. At worst, they will bring the NextGen at DLP in two phases.

For the Disney Village they have not yet completely decided what will be the changes, but the DV will have its older shops slightly updated while DLP take some time to think what they will do next. But the ground will be completely redone, like they did around Lake Disney. The current asphalt being only a backup solution as the state of the concrete slabs was too bad.

About DLP hotels, the renovations done during Philippe Gas era are good and DLP will  continue in this way, just trying to go faster. Once the Newport Bay Club renovation is over, the Hotel New York will be completely closed for a long transformation and, if they have the budget, they will start works at the Hotel Cheyenne in phases, closing a building at a time. The case of the Disneyland Hotel is a bit more complicated. The project they have is expensive and ambitious, and it was decided that small works will be done first, to keep the hotel at a comfortable level. They might do the works in 2 phases, before and after 2017.

On the picture above, shot at Serris City Hall August, 29, 2014, "R+6", or "R+9" mean that the new hotels will have 6 floors, or 9 floors, etc...

Talking about hotels, one last thing about the development of what is called the Phase IV as they have some surprising projects, especially the large number of hotels that DLP would like to add. DLP has not yet officially announced the Phase IV signing and will probably make an overall presentation anytime soon. In fact it all depends on many factors, and in addition to the rehabilitation of existing structures and the creation of various extensions DLP rely heavily on two main elements: a new huge convention center that will be built in two phases and which will be once completed the second biggest in France, and another major project that they hope to complete before the opening of the 3rd Park. Indeed, with the new convention center the eyes should turn towards the central part of Disneyland Paris Kingdom, which is why they want to develop several new hotels. Two new hotels are envisioned for the area of ​​the new convention center, two others hotels - one near Lake Disney opposite to the Sequoia Lodge and one on the other side of the road, facing the Marina, behind the Newport Bay Club. And another hotel that  will be attached to the Walt Disney Studios, located behind what is now Backlot - and in the future a Marvel land - with a rumored art-deco style, and probably a direct entrance from the hotel to the Walt Disney Studios, like the Grand Californian at DCA. Given their locations - see picture above - all these new hotels will be most probably 100% Disney hotels.

It's precisely this other major project which is intriguing and if one have a closer look at the blueprints, there is an entire area that appears in the preliminary plans but not those validated. We're talking here about the land located between the hotels Newport Bay Club, Sequoia Lodge, Santa Fe and the road leading to DLP main parking lot. It is on this land that DLP have plans, including something that no one is expecting anymore but that they want to dust off if the AquaLagoon at Villages Nature is successful as it is planned. But that's another long story for another day!

Finally, and before you get too excited, remember that we can expect some changes in DLP plans in the future depending how the recapitalization will be successful as well as the economy situation in Europe. 

Thanks again to ED92 for allowing Disney and more this translation of their post. For more news of the future you can  follow the french ED92 forum on their english section HERE although you might have to start by registering HERE.

Pictures: copyright DLPWelcome, Disney, ED92


Anonymous said...

From what i am Reading, no Great New rides for dip.
This is exactly THE problem, havent They learned Anything by Now.
Why cant they put à splash mountain, why not have country bear jamboree, THE one that closes at Disneyland ca, move to frontierland, instead of another show.
I Will say iT again, dlp needs more rides....

Colin Prijn said...

just Wow

K. Martinez said...

Even though I'm not sure what I think of all this yet, I greatly appreciate the updates you've been providing us readers. Thank you!

David said...

Merci Alain, super article (comme d'habitude) et bravo à l'équipe d'ED92 pour ses bonnes infos !

Thanks Alain, great article (as usual) and congratulations to ED92 for the sources !

Anonymous said...

What about the changes of BTM? Longer trains, special effects like Anaheim in the falling rock scene?

Tom said...

Thanks for the great story! As plans may change, it is already very nice to read (I couldn't wait to read it) this.

I really hope Disney will announce something soon, so we can "officially" look forward to these new projects.

But the future looks bright and that's very nice.

Merci!!! :)

Anonymous said...

are they crazy? why all that new hotels? the hotel occupancy keeps dropping, because the hotels are much to expensive, so why building new hotels? that is wasting money?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Alain, but I'm so tired of all the rumoured projects. There have been so many rumours in recent years about placemaking and other stuff and until now none of your rumours or of any other fan site ever turned into reality. And I guess most of the things you have provided here won't happen either. DLP is just too unstable.

I still hope you and ED92 are right, but I have a hard time believing that.

Alain Littaye said...

Well, Dear Anonymous, i suppose whatever would have been written in the article you would have had a hard time to believe it, but here, in this translation from ED92 post, i've heard what they say from others sources too, so it might happen for real... That said, and even if everything i've written in the past was also true - meaning that this was really what DLP wanted to do at the time i written it - i admit that it's hard to know which ones will happen for real in the DLP projects. The main reason for that is because during all these years they had tons or projects and almost no money to realize them, so in a way, they spent the last ten years simply doing wishful thinking... Now that the WDC looks apparently determined to provide DLP the necessary funds, may be we can give to all these projects the benefit of the doubt...

Esti said...

Thanks for the information!

It sounds like they'll keep doing what they've done until now: waste money. Because let's be honest, they've had lots of money, but they haven't used it. They've wasted it.

Space Mountain was nice, but tough. So they rethemed it. So Space Mountain 2 is nice, but still tough. Their solution? Reretheme it. Right. So it'll be just as nice and just as tough.

WDS' "movie studio theming" has proved to be a horrible idea. So what do they want to do? Make it bigger and more cinematic! More ugly pavements! Right, I'm sure that'll make WDS sooooo much more appealing. Also, I still don't understand how they're going to make the front of WDS bigger. Do they really have that much space? I know they have it behind Tram Tour, but in the front part?

And of course, Avatar land. God, Avatar is SO December of 2009. By January 2010 it was already old, boring and nobody cared. Oh, but of course, keep wasting money they don't have in retheming well themed rides, expanding ugly themes and bringing Magic Bands when we don't even have WiFi.

DLP doesn't have a bad reputation for not having Magic Bands. It's the awful quality cold food for 15€, it's rude CMs, it's absolutely unaffordable hotels, it's dirty sidewalks, it's long queues for embarrasing attractions like Tram Tor or Animagique, it's awful customer service. But yeah, I'm sure more pavement will make it more bearable.

Anton said...

The plans for the Studios sound very good... but they only involve the current park. No talk of any new lands or a lake. Which is disappointing. How can they expect it to grow visitor-wise, when it's barely a quarter the size of any other Disney-park? New scenery and new rides are great news, of course, but the park needs more paths, streets, lands. Cars Land would be amazing. Avatarland could work, o even consider moving all of the Star Wars stuff here, a New York streetset, etc. And build a lake in the middle of the park. Lakes always make a park feel a lot bigger than it really is.

As for Disneyland, I would remove all of the non-Verne stuff from Discoveryland. The guy wrote so many amazing stories, with many of them having Disney-movies. Use that. Buzz Lightyear doesn't even make sense if you're going to build Toy Story Mania. Star Wars should get a new land in the Studios. Autopia can stay, but update it with electric cars and give it an old World Exposition theme. Star Tours could be turned into a simulator-version of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
The American "Tomorrowland" areas are futuristic, ours should be retro/vintage. There will be enough futuristic stuff in the Marvel-land in the Studios.

Kali River Rapids would be amazing in Adventureland. That deforestation scene makes people think.

Splash Mountain could be built in Frontierland, but I would go with a Pooh-theme. Use some of the scenes of the Honey Hunt ride.

And maybe replace our Casey Jr. to the Seven Dwarfs?

And what themes will the hotels have? I think a Toy Story theme for the one behind the Studios would be nice, and a Hollywood-theme for the one on the lake, at the end of Disney Village.

verko said...

Great Post and some very interesting updates.

Thanks for the great job you're doing keeping us Disney fans informed :-)
And don't mind the negative comments of some of the guests.
People nowadays need to see the negative in everything instead of just looking at all the good they are doing.

Keep up the good work.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

Thanks for the update Alain, it's something really interesting to read!

The news are excellent and I think that are enough to bring DLP back to a good course.

My toughts on all this is that restoring DLP back to its former glory is something vital, and a Soarin' attraction is a very welcome addition to Adventureland (I wish that they woud add the DL Indiana Jones ride instead, but we can't have everything); by the way, is Soarin' planned for a 2017 opening?

They must bring the moon back to SM! It was a perfect theme. Yes, SM is rough, but the park needs a rough RC for the teenager and adult male guests.

I just think that a big original E-Ticket ride for DLP is something missing from those plans. They should remove Buzz and make an original e-ticket with a Steampunk/ Jules Verne theme in its place. I also think that Little Mermaid would be a great addition to Fantasyland and Splash Mountain to Frontierland (or maybe the Marc Davis Western River expedition concept, dreaming a bit more), just to have a significant addition in every land of the park, which would greatly improve it.

I loved the plans for DSP and wouldn't change them, except maybe for expanding a bit more the size of the park.

I don't hate the magic bands, but I do think that they are not really needed and wouldn't spend a lot of money on them.

The addition of the new hotels I think that is something really stupid to be honest. What Disney Resort, besides WDW, have more than 7 hotels? Let's be honest, DLP will never be WDW, so they really don't need more hotels! For me that's a huge waste of money that could be much better spent on attractions at the DLP. 7 hotels is already more than enough.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

By the way anonymous, I think that outdated attractions like the Country Bears is something that DLP really don't need.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely at favor of all these plans. I only miss a new e-ticket ride for DLP (Besides Indiana Soarin'). I really love the plans for WDS and i really wish that new Marvel rc and the family Marvel ride will be a reality.
The only thing I miss is Frozen. It is suppossed a sure money maker. Why not a new ride/miniland is planned?

Ivan J.

Anonymous said...

I agree that country bears Are not be THE best solution but as iT closes at dca iT wouldnt cost THE company à lot of money to bring iT over to us and we would have something New at frontierland. I do apologise for my bad writing but my iPad is stuck in dutch language and iT keeps changing THE letters
À big thanks though to Alain, please keep posting

Ps i was only THE first anonymous writing in this blog

Anonymous said...

Great GREAT all this text Alan! I Cant wait for all of this. DLPR need all of this new BIG things.

Richard Groves said...

I'm pleased that more attractions are coming but Soarin', MIdway Mania and Star Tours II? Screens, screens and more screens. I've been hoping for years for Indiana Jones Adventure. Looks like I'm going to be disappointed again.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Esti on several points. DLP makes decision no one understands over and over again. Why spend money on Indiana Jones for a complete re-construction without changing anything except the loop (which no one recognizes anyway)? They close the great photography shop and do something terrible with it. And Space Mountain is an issue for its own. And I have experienced some of the wrost food ever in this park, including the one in Manhattan Restaurant that was microwaved and made everyone of us sick the next day.

I really hope, DLP starts to understand WHERE they need to put their money. Service, Food and Maintanance first, new attraction and attraction updates second, lastly, go against the Cast Member rudeness, that is visible everywhere. It's exceptions, but these exceptions destroy the Disney expierence.

This said, there are some news in here I'm really happy of. Chapparel Theater needs to come back (Frozen is a terrible decision, but at least something) so that's a good thing. Star Tours 2 needs to come soon or they'll need to close the whole thing as fast as possible. To the plans of Re-Theming WDS: I think it's a good idea, while I agree that putting Avatar in can be a huge mistake as the franchise is not as strong as Disney believes...

Holger said...

Sound marvelous, but I didn't believe any more in all that amazing sounded stuff.

I had seen to often in to many years, that DLP turns something, that sounds wonderful on the paper into something cheap and stupid and at the end, they lost the track in nearly every field - from general condition of the park, the lack of detail infatuation in replacements and refurbishing to the realy bad quality of food in the last years (and yes, that includes - but not exclusively - the pojnt of choice between burgers, burgers and burgers in Disney Village) ... nothing seems right ... or magical ... in any way.

Violaine said...

As always, great article! I’m curious thoug, what are these ambitious plans for the DL hotel?

Anonymous said...

Why all these new hotels? Quite simple really. It's called planning ahead. Whilst the occupancy rates currently show a small fall each year they are always fully booked out for the busy holiday periods. If disney is really going to see through these expansion and renovation plans then they are hoping that it will increase demand. Thus they will need more hotel rooms.