Saturday, February 27, 2016

Breaking News: Chinese Billionaire Wang Announces he Wants to Build a $3.3 Billion French Theme Park at 10km of Paris. Now Updated with Video and New Pictures

Chinese Billionaire Wang announced today he wants to build a $3.3 Billion French theme park at 10km of Paris, and the above rendering was released. You'll read more about this below from a Bloomberg article but first let me tell you why this news is potentially an important one. First, Wang is a Chinese Billionaire who really has the money to do it. His fortune is estimated at $26 Billion, six times the estimated fortune of Donald Trump, to give you an idea. Two, Wanda, his group, is the one who built in Wuhan, China, the Wanda Movie indoor theme park, which was designed and built mostly by European or American people, including former Imagineers. See picture below of the Wanda indoor theme park.

Three, Wang has not only plans to open a dozen of new theme parks in China and also in Australia but he bought recently Legendary Pictures, the Hollywood company who did the last Godzilla movie and currently producing the King Kong Skull Island film. And rumor is saying that he might buy Paramount pictures anytime soon. In two words, not only we have a group and someone who have the money but also the will to do it, and to do it quickly, at least as fast as the French laws will allow him. A new theme park at 10, or even 20km from Paris IS potentially a bad news for Disneyland Paris - and as usual a good one for fans as DLP will need to invest in new rides to counter attack.

Finally, one more thing: the name announced for this theme park "Europa City" may indicate that Europa Corp director and producer Luc Besson might be part of the project, specially considering that the supposed location of the theme park would be at 10km north of Paris, more or less where Luc Besson already have his movie studios. This is a point which remain to be confirmed, though.

Editing: Thanks to Mark, d&M faithful reader we have a video showing the Europa City project. Not only it will include a theme park but also a water park and an indoor ski park in a edition of the usual retail areas.

The direct link to the Europa City website is HERE. Also read articles ( in French ) on Liberation HERE and La Tribune HERE. Note: the more i read about this project, the more i think it will be a serious competitor to DLP, not in terms of theme park but in terms of visitors that Europa City may "take" to DLP which may have a fall of parks attendance.

Also, last news from Deadline: Wanda confirm its investment in the Europa City project scheduled to open in 2024: Dalian Wanda Group confirmed today that it will invest $3.3B by 2024 in EuropaCity, wang jianlin oxforda mega-project near Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport that will boast a theme park, attractions, cultural exhibitions, retail shops, outdoor sports venues and restaurants over about 200 acres. It’s Wanda’s biggest-ever single project in Europe, which the company said will create about 14,000 jobs.“We have wanted to develop ourselves in France for a while, and particularly in Paris, as I had told the French President during his visit to China last November,” DWG president Wang Jianlin said in a statement. “EuropaCity allows us to finally reach that objective and we are pleased to collaborate with a famous French stakeholder to develop this ambitious and innovative project. For us, it is the most important project outside of China.”

Now, here is the Bloomberg post and more pictures of Europa City project:

"A partnership led by by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. plans to invest more than 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in a retail and leisure development project outside of Paris, taking on Walt Disney Co. in the euro area’s second-largest economy.

EuropaCity will be built 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) northeast of Paris. It will be the biggest single investment project in Europe to date, including a theme park, show stage, hotel, retail stores and conference centers, the company said in a statement. The project, which spans more than 80 hectares (198 acres), will also provide about 20,000 jobs during construction and 14,000 after it opens, according to the statement.

For Wanda, which runs theme parks across China, movie theater chains in the U.S. and a soccer club in Spain, the move represents a renewed overseas push, underscoring Wang’s increasingly global ambitions. The conglomerate agreed in January to buy “Godzilla” producer Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, paving the way for the tycoon to become the first Chinese person to control a Hollywood film company.

France-based shopping center developer Immochan is overseeing the project. Immochan is an arm of Groupe Auchan, a family-owned supermarket operator. Wang is also interested in potentially buying Amaury Sport Organisation, a company that runs cycling’s Tour de France race, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Wang, who vies with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma for the title of China’s richest person, has set his sights on beating Disney in the theme park business.

In January, he told executives that visitor arrivals and revenue at Wanda’s tourism projects in Wuxi and Guangzhou will beat those of Disneyland in Shanghai and Hong Kong, respectively, according to a transcript of the speech posted on the company’s website. Europacity may add to challenges facing Disneyland Paris, which needed a bailout in 2014 to upgrade its facilities and reverse a slump in attendance.

Already this year, Wanda announced a $2.3 billion investment in three hospitals, the formation of a financial group and the signing a $10 billion development deal in India, in addition to the Legendary acquisition. Wanda has said it’s planning five major acquisitions in 2016 -- three of them overseas.

Wang’s investments in Europe include the Club Atletico de Madrid soccer team and Swiss marketing firm Infront Sports & Media AG.
Wanda is seeking acquisitions to bolster growth as the group braces for falling sales from its main property business. That’s prompted Wang, estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to have a fortune exceeding $26 billion, to increasingly look toward expanding his entertainment business.

Wang’s film, tourism and sports operations all fall under Wanda’s fast-growing Cultural Industry Group, which saw revenue climb 46 percent last year and is forecast to climb 30 percent in 2016. By comparison, Wanda Group estimates overall sales rose 19 percent in 2015 and will probably decline 12 percent this year because of the slump in its property business."

Pictures: copyright Europa City

Friday, February 26, 2016

Shanghaî Disneyland Weekend Update : New SDL Aerial Pictures !

Here comes the Shanghaî Disneyland week-end update that you're waiting for, and we're in again for a new series of aerial pictures showing the whole park, and with a good light! The picture above shows SDL castle on the right with Fantasyland on the left. Some of the buildings in the foreground should not be visible by the guests...

The next pictures were shot - from a drone, as usual - probably two months ago from what we can see of the vegetation not yet in place and the scaffoldings still on some parts of the castle.

These next drone pictures are the most recent ones as they were shot on February 16, according to the caption of the Chinese site, and apparently at sunrise. Great views showing the whole park with Tomorrowland area generally in the foreground.

And one last drone shot for the road with this almost perfectly vertical shot over SDL Enchanted Storybook Castle!

And that's it for this week-end Shanghaî Disneyland update, see you soon on D&M for more SDL pictures when available!

Pictures: copyright, the

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters to Open March 7 at Disney California Adventure - First Official Video

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters will open March 7 at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland released an official video showing the ride with interviews of WDI Imagineers! 

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters replace Luigi Flying Tires, an attempt to reborn the technology of Disneyland legendary Flying Saucers ride. Unfortunately the "Flying Saucers" curse was on it and even if Luigi Flying Tires didn't had the same technical problems than Flying Saucers had in the 60's, the ride had to be changed. 

Luigi Flying Tires was the second try of a ride using the Flying Saucers technology, and believe me, there won't be a third one. That said, this new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters looks really fun with its cars ballet and the italian music and will most probably be very successful!

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Universal Orlando Release First Skull Island : Reign of Kong Image and more Details and Video

Universal Orlando released a first image for the awaited Skull Island : Reign of Kong attraction opening this summer. They've also released the press release below as well as a video in which Mike West from Universal Creative tell us a bit more about the ride, saying that it will be a massive attraction unlike anything you've ever seen before" and that it will be one of the longest ride Universal ever created!

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 25, 2016) – Soon, you will be transported to an island shrouded in mystery and legend. It is a lost world where adventure – and the unimaginable – will challenge you in unforgettable ways.

When it opens this summer at Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure, Skull Island: Reign of Kong will bring the next generation of the King Kong legend to life. You will be thrust into an exotic world filled with the menacing, the intense – and the wildly entertaining. A powerful storyline, a stunning 3D experience, innovative technology – and the unexpected – will pull you into one of Universal Orlando’s most massive adventures yet. This is a multi-dimensional experience filled with surprise – all wrapped into what will be one of the longest Universal ride experiences ever created. More first-ever details will be released soon. But today, Universal Orlando unveils details about the incredible journey guests will experience. The adventure begins as you set out to explore an island rife with prehistoric creatures of unknown origin –and the legend of a beast still undiscovered. You find yourself at a campsite of the 8th Wonder Expedition Company, the research team leading your adventure.

Once beyond camp, the menacing terrain shows signs of a native presence; beating drums draw you toward an ancient temple. Moving deeper into the ruins reveals a lost shrine – and proof you are not alone. You ignore warnings to turn back. 

You board a specially designed expedition vehicle that will take you deeper into the island. Mysterious sounds pierce the air and you hear chanting. And then – you confront an enormous temple wall, complete with carvings and images that seem to pay homage to something you cannot quite comprehend. The temple’s massive wooden doors slowly open, revealing a labyrinth of caves.

Inside the caves, you meet your expedition leader – and suddenly find yourself in the midst of a raging struggle between creatures of incomprehensible size and ferocity.
Then, as those creatures turn on you, there is an even more enormous, earth-pounding presence – bigger, closer and more overwhelming than you can possibly imagine. It is Kong. But is he friend or foe?  

More details about “Skull Island: Reign of Kong” will be revealed soon. 


Pictures and video: copyright Universal Studios

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gorgeous "Disneyesque" NASA Solar System Planets Posters

I've got something great for you today, especially for anyone loving attraction posters style, i.e probably each of you. These posters were not created by Walt Disney Imagineering but by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to promote space exploration but they are so much "Disneyesque" and "Tomorrowland" in style, that i'm sure you will love them.

Now, you have them below in 2000px high but the good news if that NASA makes the files available for download in huge "printing" size, between 8000 and 11000px in 300dpi high-definition which equal to a 50 x 70cm printing size! The download is free and all you have to do is to go HERE. And if you don't want to bother about how to print them there is also a page where you can order a print version of your favorite one directly to NASA. Please note that when i've downloaded the zip file including all of the posters i was unable to open the zip. So, if this happen, choose the option to download the files of each poster one by one by clicking on the ones you like.

That said, let's have a closer look at these wonderfully designed posters all promoting moons and planets in our solar system, and beyond!


Pictures: copyright NASA

Shanghaî Disneyland Adventure Isle Roaring Rapids Now in Test Mode

A short post about  Shanghaî Disneyland with these pictures showing the freshly painted geysers of Adventure Isle Roaring Rapids, and the mountain in the background. And yes, as you can see below, the ride is in test mode now and water is running so now it is real rapids! More Shanghaî Disneyland pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Disneyland Paris Update : What’s New, What’s Next for 2016 & Park Renovations Update


We'll start the week with a huge Disneyland Paris update as usual thanks to Max, D&M contributor and DLPWelcome webmaster. Also, i realized recently that the stock of the Disneyland Paris book is running low, so it's the right time to place your order for a copy of this gorgeous book before it'll be out of stock! Make sure to check the offer at the end of the article!
Here we go, and we'll start with Kat de Blois, Creative Director of Disneyland Paris who did a presentation of « What’s New, What’s Next » at DLP in 2016. 
From March 5 to May 29, 2016 the Spring season will include these three shows:
« Goofy’s Garden Party » on Central Plaza starring Goofy gardener, topiaries and dancers for 4 performances per day. 
« Welcome to Spring » at the Castle Stage.
« Minnie’s Little Spring Train » will be this year themed of the Chester cat from « Alice in Wonderland » and the caracter will be added in a new wagon. One wagon will be devoted to « Finding Nemo ». This year’s several dancers will be around the train. 
Below, Goofy’s Garden Party dancers costumes.
The arrival of old and new decorations one month before the beginning of the season was justified for a better synergy with the launch of the « The Forest of Enchantment: a Disney Musical Adventure » new show at Chaparral Theatre.
Dès le 2 juillet, « Mickey et le Magicien » prendra ses quartiers au « Animagique theater » pour 5 représentations de 28 minutes par jour, toute l’année. Cela dit, le spectacle ne durera pas aussi longtemps que son prédécesseur Animagique qui existait depuis l’inauguration du parc en 2002.
Le spectacle sera sur le thème des grandes illusions. Mickey sera appelé a nettoyer en une nuit l’atelier d’un grand magicien. Mais nous connaissons Mickey et sa curiosité légendaire, en découvrant tous les objets il ne pourra pas résister à la tentation de toucher un chandelier qui se transforme en Lumière (La Belle et la Bête), une lampe magique qui fera apparaître le génie ou encore l’arrivée de Marraine la bonne fée ! Tout dans cet atelier peut prendre vie et cette aventure s’offrira à nous toute une nuit.
Il est à noter que le spectacle regroupera des performances Live aussi bien chantées que de claquettes.
On July 2 « Mickey and the Magician » will start at WDS Animagique theater for 5 performances per day and lasting approximately 28 minutes each, each day of the year. That said, the length of the show will not be as long as its predecessor Animagique which existed since the inauguration of the Park in 2002. 
The show will be on the theme of grand magic acts. Mickey will have to hurry to clean in one night the workshop of a great magician. But we know Mickey and his legendary curiosity, and while he'll be discovering all the magician items he won't resist to the temptation to touch a candlestick which turns into Lumière (beauty and the beast), a magic lamp from which will appear Aladdin Genie or even the arrival of Cinderella fairy godmother! Everything in this workshop can take life throughout a night. 
It is worth noting that the show will bring together Live performed songs and tap dance. 
Disneyland Paris half marathon, runDisney will be from September 23 to 25, and will allow for the first time in Europe to link races for children and adults. The weekend will be organized by runDisney which organize since 20 years the events at the Disney parks in the United States. More detail here : Disneyland® Paris Half-Marathon
Let's have a closer look now at the park. Good news,the sun was in that day but not a lot of guests in the park. 
At Main Street station fences were installed between the track and the construction zone to hide at visitors the scaffoldings before the trains will be back on track within less than a month. 
The giant heart of Spring has been installed. 
Victoria’s restaurant exterior has been completely repainted. 
Countdown for the last days of Star Tours original version, Last departure to the Moon of Endor on March 13 ! 
As for the building, the blue and orange colors of the version 2 of the attraction are already in place since some months, visible from the level of the railroad station . 
New door to separate the parc and the backstage of Videopolis in the passage between Fantasyland and Discoveryland. This new door is less wide and hide less the view to backstage, guests can see easily the other side which is a bit a pity. 
Although Fantasyland water area was repainted, the latter has not been rehabilited, the concrete cover is totally exposed and you can see it... 
What about a little visit of the Toad Hall restaurant? 
Nearby, Peter Pan's Flight is always in renovation...
At Adventureland, scaffoldings continue to spread on Skull Rock and climb on Swiss Robinson's Tree. 
The problem of works in progress is for the basins that have not been emptied. Result, the vase invaded the lagon of the land, water is green and black. When weather will turn hot again, the smells will follow. 
At Frontierland, we can see on those pictures the progression of scaffoldings, the withdrawal of trees with the land turned over on small islands and the continuation of the cleaning of the canyon before being repaint. 
Big Thunder Mountain station is now covered by scaffoldings.
Near the Pocahontas playground for now closed, work happen currently for the installation of an equipment allowing the use of smoke for the new Big thunder Mountain final scene which will be the same as in Disneyland California. 
Currently Frontierland is truly empty with only a single attraction in operation. With the new show, the access is not really beautiful because of the corridors of fences despite their theming here and there.
And to finish this article, here are some pictures of the new show « The forest of Enchantment », best original creation of the park since more than ten years, as well as some merchandise at the exit. 
And that's it for this new Disneyland Paris update! Max will be back soon with a new DLP update but i remind you that the stock of the Disneyland Paris book is running low, so it's the right time to place your order for a copy of this gorgeous book before it'll be out of stock! You won't find a better gift for the one you love than the Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to reality" book! Price for the English updated edition or the French collector's edition is 75€ ( + 15€ shipping ) or 90€ for a signed edition.
To place your order please send me an email at:

Paypal or credit card payment are accepted. Paypal payments can be sent directly to: or you can use the Paypal button below.

Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality Book

You can watch below the video showing each page of the 320 pages of the book!

Pictures: copyright Max Fan - DLP Welcome