Wednesday, January 14, 2015
That's it, friends, this is the last post of Disney and more, although there will be one more tomorrow to answer to some questions that i'm sure you'd like to ask me. But even if Disney and more stops the future is still ahead and today we're going to talk about Disneyland Paris future! And this very last article is also illustrated by great pictures from Maureen and Max Fan who have been precious contributors to Disney and more with great pictorial updates, so i'm very happy to have them here for this final article as i can't thanks them enough for their precious help among the years.
So, thanks to the good guys of ED92 and their reliable sources you'll learn all about Disneyland Paris secret projects for the years to come and we'll start by the complete list of major refurbs or upgrades coming between now and 2017, before giving you more details on the most important of them. Not included in the list below are the projects for Phantom Manor, previously unveiled in the article HERE and details about the Jedi Training Academy in Videopolis that you can read HERE. Don't miss too the previous "All about DLP future" update posted last October HERE. You can also have a read of the exclusive report on Disneyland Paris Shareholders meeting with DLP CEO Tom Wolber and DLP CFO Mark Stead where they talk a bit about DLP Future HERE.
- Casey Junior and le Pays des Contes de Fées : All January 2015,
- Space Mountain and the Nautilus : from mid-January 2015 till the end of July 2015,
- Dumbo : from mid-February 2015 till mid-April 2015,
- Phantom Manor : most of March 2015,
- Carrousel de Lancelot : from mid-April 2015 till the end of July 2015,
- Reopening of Chaparral Stage with a new Frozen show: end of May 2015,
- Reopening of Vidéopolis with the Jedi Training Academy : mid-July 2015,
- It's a Small World : from the end of July 2015 till mid-December 2015,
- La Cabane des Robinson and Adventure Isle : from late August 2015 till mid-April 2016,
- Disneyland Railroad : from late August 2015 till end of February 2016, but Main Street Station will remain closed until the end of August 2016,
- Big Thunder Mountain : from Novembre 2015 till mid-December 2016, but beware as a change in the dates could happen,
- Molly Brown and Mark Twain : from Novembre 2015 till the end of Avril 2016, a change in the dates is possible too,
- Captain EO : from mid-December 2015 till end of February 2016,
- Peter Pan : from January 2016 till the end of May 2016,
- Star Tours : from mid-March 2016 till mid-March 2017,
- Space Mountain ( Phase 2 ) : from January 2017 till end of February 2017,
- Pirates of Caribbean : from January 2017 till end of June 2017.
Please note that all above dates can eventually be changed by DLP. And now, let's go for more details, starting with Space Mountain which closed last Sunday for a six months refurbishment. Here is what ED92 has to say about it and what you can expect and you can read it in french HERE.
- "Space Mountain" as it will be its official name without "Mission 2" will reopen July 11, 2015 at the latest. This is the currently set dead-line - and by the way, on July 19 we can say bye-bye to It's a Small World which will close the next day for its refurb.
- The ride show or the trains will not be changed, but all projection systems will be replaced by new and better quality projectors ( DLP has bought a large package of them for different projects) and, as announced during yesterday's annual stockholders meeting, there should be new special effects.
- Space Mountain dome will be fully cleaned outside and its colors slightly modified for more flashy colors, like the castle, which went from pale pink to pink candy in 2012 ( Ndr: let's hope not too flashy... )
- The Canon will be rebuilt to finally work at 100%: door system, inclination of the sun, recoil system, smoke effects.
- The catapult sequence should be reviewed and will resume to its original format in two times.
- The queues will be fully reviewed to finally solve the many problems: too limited room inside the dome causing a large unprotected queue, the fast-pass entrance currently in the way of the future Star Wars Land will be changed to be located through the ride main entrance, and they probably will add a single rider line. It should be noted that in addition to all this the mezzanine should, after the works, be finally reopen again and that a cooling system should be added to the queue inside the dome.
- Also,the ride exit could be reviewed to direct the guests to the center of Discoveryland and not to the back of the land as it is right now.
- All the Space Mountain area should regain its original background music ( with among others The Rocketeer soundtrack )
- The interior of the dome should be fully cleaned and dusted.
- All computer systems of the attraction will be changed and upgraded: control computers, sensors, etc...
And it should stop there for this big rehab. The change of trains, the redesign of the ride show, for a ride story-line which will take guests back to the Moon but using the effects set up with Mission 2 will be done during another 6 months rehab currently planned for the first half of 2018. D&M Note: from my own sources, chances that they will put back the original "Voyage to the Moon" sets inside the dome are low. As ED92 says it above an below they'll probably put back the original score but still will use the projections effects with a Voyage to the Moon theme.
As for the original music back in the ride it's not yet firmly decided, but looking good so this could be done on this one or the other rehabs, if at all. "Time will tell" as they say.
Regarding Les Mystères du Nautilus, the Space Mountain works will require the closure of the road leading from Autopia to the Pizza Planet restaurant to serve as storage area. So, the emergency exits of the building which actually houses the Nautilus attraction could not be used, causing a ban to welcome guests inside the Nautilus. This is why Les Mystères du Nautilus will be closed too during the same period.
However, DLP should take the opportunity to fully clean and refurbish the many sets and effects of the Nautilus and to re-set the original show in Nemo's Grand Salon with the attack of the giant squid. A return that will greatly please the many friends of Captain Nemo!
There is more about DLP Discoveryland as the news was confirmed to ED92 by insiders source: Star Tours will close at the end of the 2015 Christmas season, so in January 2016. Logically, to support the release of Star Wars Episode 7 all versions of Star Tours 3D in all parks should welcome new "destinations" and characters of the new trilogy. We can therefore expect to have directly at Disneyland Paris this "2.5" version when the attraction will reopen.
Otherwise, but to be taken with a pinch of salt, the project is supposed to have a total budget around 150 million Euros. Which seems a lot indeed, specially considering that Tokyo Disneyland spent "only" 50 million euros for his Star Tours 2 upgrade. So, if this €150M amount for DLP is right it's a surprise as it is more or less a budget equivalent to what they've spent for the Ratatouille ride.
We can therefore, logically, expect that at least Star Traders and Captain EO will close for others additional transformations. In this case, the project would not only include Star Tours 3D, but rather the first phase of a Star Wars Land and DLP would be the first Disney theme park to open one - even if it'll be a small one in this first phase - and that would be more than enough to revive interest of European guests for Disneyland Paris.
I remind you that in one of their previous updates ED92 had talked about a Star Wars characters Meet & Greet to be installed inside Star Traders as well as the creation of a new huge Star Wars store instead of Captain EO. But again, the €150M budget seems a bit high for these 3 projects only... Is The Pizza Planet living its last hours to be replaced by a new Star Wars culinary experience? We'll see...
With the arrival this summer 2015 in Vidéopolis of an improved version of the "Jedi Academy" - all details HERE - to provide to DLP guests their "dose" of Star Wars during Star Tours closure, it becomes increasingly likely that the Force will be at the heart of Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary...
Let's move now to Frontierland with news about the upcoming rehab of Big Thunder Mountain and i suggest that we start by the dates and the length of the rehab. French version HERE.
Originally scheduled to begin in November 2015 and for a period of 13 months, with the first six months with the lake of Rivers of the Far-West drained, it seems that recent technical setbacks have led to a radical change in the schedule, a real last minute decision that was taken recently. This is why Big Thunder Mountain might close - but not totally sure yet - at the end of January 2015, or February at the latest. If not, then it'll be November 2015.
But the work would be spread in 2 stages, as a break would be scheduled to run BTM again during the very busy Halloween and Christmas seasons. So, the ride would be back just in time to celebrate Summer 2016, although for that you'll need to accept to have the park two main coasters closed during the first half of the year.
Now, about content much has been said, many rumors ... Well, let's say that almost all of them were probably true! Thus, the boarding room platforms should be lengthened to accommodate an extra wagon for each train. The entire track will be reviewed and corrected to allow trains to finally travel empty, thus simplifying the procedures in case of breakdown and it'll help to shorten the time when they have to restart the ride.
But that's not all, as the 180° turn just before the "LiftC" ( when we're going up and see a TNT explosion and landslides ) would be lengthened by going further over the water. Reducing the risk of having two trains in the same area and therefore a breakdown, but also to allow guests to be in perfect straight line before starting the last rise and to have a better enjoyment of the show.
Moreover, it is this extension that would have weighed in favor of draining the lake, which should allow, too, to finally renovate the Geysers, as well as the bottom and the banks of the Rivers of the Far-West. The two steam boats may not be restored before 2016, but the Mark Twain should come back, finally.
Incidentally, this draining would allow the early works of renovation on the mountain itself, as well as the areas on the river banks. But we'll have to wait for the second part of this huge renovation to see scaffoldings on Big Thunder Mountain, and the return of its beautiful original orange color.
You thought Disneyland Paris would stop there? Nay! As this second rehab will also be the opportunity to update the entire show! The program includes a new queue with interactive elements ( a Single rider file is being thought to be added, but is so far not approved yet ), the arrival of Big Thunder Mining Co boss portrait - Mr Henry Ravenswood - and especially new show elements in the ride itself like what WDI already did in California. In two words we can expect the lava wells during the first Lift to be brighter than ever, a striking TNT explosion with a mapping effect in the last Lift, and a cloud of bats particularly lively in the great final descent!
All-right, let's move to Adventureland for fresh news about what will happen there. French version HERE.
Starting from August 31, 2015, the Cabane des Robinsons should no longer be accessible to Disneyland Paris guests. The attraction should make its return on April 23, 2016. However, the question remains whether Adventure Isle will be closed too and, if yes, which elements will be added. It seems almost sure that the Galion will have a little refurbishment along the way.
Of course, we instantly think about the rumors of an interactive game such as Treasures of the 7 Seas at the Magic Kingdom, and part of Adventure Isle will be more than perfect for such an adventure in the world of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Talking about Jack Sparrow, on January 9, 2017, Pirates of the Caribbean should close its doors for a long renovation as the attraction shouldn't reopen before July 1, 2017, so just in time for the release in theaters of the fifth installment of our favorite pirates adventures. There is no doubt that Jack Sparrow will make several appearances in the Attraction ( three ) with several effects already in place in the U.S versions. We're thinking in particular to the mermaids effect around our boat or to the projection on a mist wall of one of Jack Sparrow enemies - Davy Jones or Blackbeard.
But our eyes should look in direction of Shanghaî as some elements of SDL Pirates of the Caribbean new version might be introduced too! And what about elements referring directly to the future "Dead Men tell no Tales" movie? Bob Iger has recently explained that he wanted that attractions reflect the movies that guests have watched.
Let's move to Fantasyland to learn what DLP has in the plans for Peter Pan's Flight! French version HERE.
Currently scheduled to close January 4, 2016, Peter Pan's Flight is expected to undergo a true reconstruction and upgrade! According to ED92 informations, the entire track system of the ride should be changed to bring back its original fluidity to the ride, which will be very welcome indeed.
But of course this is not the only change planned for this beloved attraction as Peter Pan's Flight should get "the best of both worlds". The ride show itself should have a complete update, similar to the one coming for Disneyland 60th Anniversary in California: Mapping projections effects will be added on some of the ride show elements as well as new Audio-Animatronics with the rear projection face effect like the ones introduced in Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster at WDW Magic Kingdom.
As for the queue, great changes should happen as well, since the queue will be completely redesigned and covered! Real progress for this ride which often exceeds a 60 minutes wait. While ED92 is not entirely sure yet it is highly likely that, along with Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan's Flight will feature an interactive queue similar to the one introduced at WDW Magic Kingdom. With a bit of luck, we should be able to visit soon in details the home of the Darling family...
But when Peter Pan's Flight will reopen, you ask? Well, be aware that the exact date is not yet precisely decided, but so far it seems to be scheduled for a date between June 1 and July 4, 2016. Chances are that it'll be a reopening in two phases starting with the ride and its new show, then some weeks later the new covered waiting queue - which could mean a period with a somewhat chaotic queue in front of the ride entrance with ropes. Of course, it's a safe bet that if they introduce the interactive queue these effects might be turned on only at the launch of DLP 25th Anniversary celebrations.
And what about the news for the Walt Disney Studios, you ask? Well ED92 not too long ago described what the future is made of for DLP second gate but they have a bit more to share. French version HERE.
First, in July 2016 spotlights will turn in direction to the Walt Disney Studios with something new that can be described as very cool though still mysterious. Yes, on July 4, 2016 the Walt Disney Studios should host a new show in the Studio 3!
You've probably already understood that on February 1, 2016 we will say goodbye to the Animagique show, which is played since WDS opening day. It will take not less than 6 months to develop a new show for this beautiful stage. But what will it be? Lot of rumors and among them:
- A clone of Disneyland "Mickey and the Magical Map" show, based on a stage in the shape of a giant screen,
- An adaptation of the "Golden Mickeys" show, the theme would stick perfectly with the concept of film Studios and the show is highly popular at Hong Kong Disneyland and on the Disney cruise Line.
- A Pixar show, "Finding Nemo - The Musical" comes immediately in mind in view of its huge success at Animal Kingdom, or "Toy Story - The Musical" from the Disney Cruise Line.
However the last news goes in a different direction, as the show might even keep his original title "Animagique." Thus, we could suppose that it is decided to do a big update of the show while keeping what makes its success: the presence of the Fab5 ( Mickey & Donald in this case ), a medley from successful films and a show using Black Light.
But with a totally Disney movies medley show envisioned for Vidéopolis in 2017, it'll be difficult to invite Elsa, Rapunzel or Tiana also at the WDS. The show also needs to be adapted to its location surrounded by Pixar rides! That's why the show could take a new turn while keeping the bases which made its success and see his main character live a fast-paced adventure in the heart of various Pixar universe.
We are certainly looking to learn more about this new show, and ED92 will keep you informed as soon as they'll learn more. But you'll need probably to be patient, as DLP Entertainment projects always change a lot and nothing is engraved in marble before the curtain rise.
But there is more for the Walt Disney Studios as another major anniversary will take place in 2017 : the 15th anniversary of the Walt Disney Studios Park! One would think that the arrival of a new show in the Studio 3 in 2016 and Toy Story Mania at the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018 would have been enough to celebrate WDS 15th Ann, but no as another surprise is quietly but slowly making its way. A surprise that will arrive just in time for the launch of the celebrations in April 2017. A surprise which would be ready to be officially unveiled soon? Yes, as from August 29, 2016, we will say goodbye to the Studio Tram Tour! Well, not really goodbye, but "see you soon", as the Studio Tram Tour will undergo an update which will be unexpected! French version HERE.
Let's start with the main course: the Tram Tour station will FINALLY be moved, back almost one hundred meters! Freeing space for a true and beautiful Hollywood Boulevard, and the first real hub of the park will finally see the light of day by joining Backlot and Toy Story Playland. Who says relocation of the Tram Tour station says a new route, right? And, yes, the itinerary will once again be deflected and it won't be a surprise for anyone as the upcoming Toy Story Mania will need some space, and seeing the Ratatouille backstage is not what is the more aesthetic. This time the tram road will go much deeper inside the forest, only to be surrounded by trees until the Tram arrives at Dinotopia before turning left to Catastrophe Canyon.
But still, why saying it'll be such an event? Nothing to rave about, specially for an Attraction considered as soporific from the second visit. Well, here is why: after the closure of the Tram Tour at WDW DHS in Orlando Disneyland Paris will recover many decor elements which will be displayed along the route of WDS Tram Tour. But it's still not what interests us the most because all these new decor elements would not be that exciting without new scenes... And, yes, three new scenes will be added to the Tram Tour! That's much better, isn't it?
What will be these new scenes? Where will they be located? Which films will they pay tribute to? Will Dinotopia and Reign of Fire - which will remain - be updated with another theme? So many questions and so few answers... but a little fairy told me that we should not have to wait too long to have more details!
And as a picture worth a thousand words, ED92 did the picture below to explain what you might expect in 2017 with a North block finally completed while some room will be kept to eventually some day extend the adventure beyond the gates located next to the Chez Rémy Bistrot...
Last but not least, ED92 has one more news for us - french version HERE - and it starts by an anecdote when in June 2014, Bob Iger went to Disneyland Paris for a short stay for the grand opening of the Ratatouille ride. It has been told that Iger thought that the Check-In waiting was incredibly long, that he and Tom Staggs and Meg Crofton ended up with no less than 48 different tickets / coupons between the Suites key, Parks entrance, VIP FastPass and other options, and that he was literally shocked by such a large amount of paperwork to manage.
It's from this small story - supposed to be true - that it was decided to introduce a variation of the NextGen project at Disneyland Paris as soon as possible, and at the expenses of the WDC. A little gift from the mother company.
For those not familiar with the NextGen project, it is based on the latest technologies of recognition and communication. Just like a social network system, called MyDisneyExperience, Walt Disney World guests can manage their entire stay: book FastPass and Restaurants in advance, organize their visit, know the Waiting Times, etc. But it is the now famous MagicBand which is its most emblematic element. This simple wristband, equipped with an RFID chip, can be linked to your MyDisneyExperience account and serve you as means of payment, Pass for access to the parks, key for your Hotel Room or PhotoPass card.
Many things handy indeed but the project will not stop there! Still being installed in Florida, the last phase will see the advent of the Magic + system. Thanks to MagicBand recognition capabilities, different places and attractions will adapt to you just like by magic. For example, one can imagine seeing an Audio-Animatronic calling you by your first name or a Welcome message displayed in a setting in your own language, or even you could appear in the picture close to your table during your dinner. The possibilities are endless and the future Star Wars Land and Avatar Land should widely make use of these little technological wonders for an extreme personalization of the guest stay.
Obviously, not everything will be adapted as such to Disneyland Paris, but according to the last news in 2016 Disneyland Anaheim Resort will get an adapted version of the NextGen program with the main functions available, but adapted to the Disneyland Resort's guests. Then, each year, another resort should get NextGen with Disneyland Paris in 2017 and Tokyo Disney Resort in 2018.
So, what can we expect from the Paris version of the NextGen system? The main functions will be obviously included, but you can expect something more in terms of potential adaptations ( such as number of pre-bookable Fast Pass, the date from which you can book them, etc... ). But it's another feature which seems to particularly interest WDI: historically, Disneyland Paris is the most polyglot of all Disney Resorts, having to deal with 6 different languages every day. So far French and English coexisted with more or less success. But imagine that tomorrow each menu or each attraction can adapt to your language in a natural and automatic recognition related to your MagicBand?
You want more? It is highly likely that in 2017, Mickey can finally welcome Disneyland Paris guests by speaking to them not only in French or English, but in your own language!
Would not it be magical?
Original Text: copyright ED92 - English Translation: copyright Disney and more
Pictures: copyright Hello Disneyland, DLP Welcome, Disney