Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodbye DLP Epcot , Hello Super-Heroes City ?

DLP announcement last week of an upcoming third theme park did a tremendous effect in fans community but it is DLP CEO Philippe Gas quote that the 3rd park might be a Marvel Super-Heroes park who keep the fans discussing if it's a good idea or not. Personally i've already told you my feeling: although there is enough material in Marvel's mythology to build attractions for an entire park i still think they should do no more than a land with it, even a big one, but not a full park. But that's just my vision...

However, this announcement had other consequencies and one of them is to let us know that previous DLP third park projects are now dead. What do i mean? Well, if you would ask almost anybody working at DLP if the addition of a monorail or an Epcot theme park has ever been planned for the resort they would probably tell you that, no, never.
Hmmm...may be, except, that ONE rendering exist, a very rare one, in fact the only one i ever saw showing both a monorail AND an Epcot "Spaceship Earth" icon.

If you look well at the artwork, you will see the facade of the Newport Bay Hotel, and in the background the one of the Disneyland Paris Hotel. But the silver silhouette of the Epcot icon is located exactly in that piece of land reserved for the third park. I remind you that the land for this third theme park - well kept since 18 years - is in front of the Newport Bay and Sequoia Lodge Hotels. DLP announcement of a Marvel Super-Heroes theme park certainly means that DLP will never have its own Epcot and even more certainly no monorail, but one thing is sure: somebody at WDI, many years ago, though about building it.

I've also read on the DCP forum that a Marvel theme park could be a good idea as the three parks would have a different "target", i.e DLP Magic Kingdom for families and children up to 12 years old, the Walt Disney Studios for teens between 13 and 20, and the Marvel park for people over 20. On the "paper" it may look like a brilliant marketing argument but the problem is that reality doesn't work like that...

When they opened the WDS back in 2002 DLP marketing office already used the same kind of argument: the WDS was a park for teenagers or people loving "strong" thrill rides. And guess what happened? That's right, families with young kids came at the WDS just like they go to DLP Magic Kingdom. The result? When DLP executives understood that reality was stronger than anything including intellectual fantasy they knew that all they had to do was to create as quick as possible a whole WDS area for children under 10. And that's what they're doing since then with Toon Studios, Toy Story Playland this year and the Ratatouille ride in 2012-13.

Do you want to know why DLP Magic Kingdom didn't had a new E-Ticket since 15 years - since Space Mountain opened? This original mistake is, for a big part, the reason why. Simply because the park must fix this pathetic mistake and spend all its funds in the creation of a land for kids at the WDS. You will understand better now why i hope they're not going to do the same mistake twice. Although a park entitled "Marvel Super-Heroes" means more obviously that we're not talking here about fairy tales it will not stop families with young kids to come, at least to see how will look the new park. And of course they will come back very frustrated - if not angry - if there is no attractions for kids.

Also, this 3rd park is not supposed to open anytime soon and may be in ten years from now super-heroes movies will be less popular than now for teens, who knows? And if they're still popular in 2020 - when this Marvel park is supposed to open - DLP executives should pray that they still will be popular for, at least, 15 more years, i.e until 2035 (!) to make sure the investment will be successful... Using Marvel Super-Heroes in a theme park is not stupid, they're is a lot of great rides that can be created out of the heroes mythology but they should built it as soon as possible, let's say in 3 or 4 years from now while the super-heroes hype still exist.

Your thoughts?

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Unknown said...

I agree with almost everything you say, but I think that superheroes hype will never be extint, since the superhero world evolves mostly within the comic books market rather than cinema. The proof: 70 years of billions of superheroes comic books being sold all arround the world. So it's not all in the cinema, even though Disney is a cinematographic enterprise.
As a Disney fan, of course I would prefer an Epcot Center or a Disney Seas, but when I think of the economic future of Euro Disney, I come to the conclusion that it need a more commercial approach in its upcoming projects. Think of how many comic book fans of all over the world will be eager to spend their holidays at Disneyland Paris and how many more visits the already existing parks will get. After all, the none of the other Disneylands in the world has the same parks, except for the magic kingdom, and even the Hong Kong version is getting its own personality with its second phase now under construction. I don't think people who are not into Disney Fan things will be much excited about an Epcot in Paris, because the great majority of the people don't even know what Epcot is!!
I still would like something like epcot or Disney seas, because it would be a much more gratifying experience for me as a Disney fan. So I think that making the superhero idea into a new big land in the WDS would have the same effect in the public, than a new park, because, after all, people don't even know how the resort is organised, many people would just see it as a new park, and this would leave plenty of imaginative ground for a real Disney theme for the third park.

DisWedWay said...

I believe there should first be a marriage between Disney and it's newly adopted Marvel Family before investing in such a vast kingdom or even just a Land for them as with Mickey and friends in Tune Town. Jack Sparrow was added to Pirates of the Carribean. See how the relationship works out. Perhaps if Pixar developes some animated features with the Super Heros, then there will be a tie in to the Disney family as they are doing in DCA now other Pixar related hits. Of course a TDS type park would be a sure hit and perhaps OLC would even like to invest in it as they have expressed going outside their box.

Anonymous said...

American comic books were/are/will never be popular in France. I speak from experience since I was one of the few people reading the X-Men or Spiderman there. With brand names such as Tintin, Astérix or Largo Winch, there is simply no space for superheroes. Disney is making a big mistake to even consider this. Again, it seems like they have not learned their lesson. Europe is NOT like the US, for better or for worse.

Juanpa said...

Well... Disney characters are even older and it's not an issue to include them on theme park. It's obvious they're ageless. The Marvel characters are pretty much the same, in my opinion.

I think a Marvel park is the chance to a new concept of park for Disney, focused on teenagers with thrill rides as its landmark. It could be the "Wizarding-World-of_harry-Potter" kinda success: something a huge community of fans around the world would like to visit.

If I had to choice between Epcot and DisneySea, I would have it clear. To me, Epcot is an extremely outdated, bizarre mix of theme park and World fair that maybe made sense there in Florida in its moment, just because they needed to do something with the Epcot project. Future World is an sneak a peek into... the present, with a poor storyline.

But first, I think it's necessary to rethink the mess WDS is becoming. I honestly can't see the theme: Is it supposed to be a movies studio? Are we supposed to be actually INTO the movies in production, or just around movie sets? Which sense makes an oversized backyard playground in the middle of this? Or a supposed hotel? But well, I think it's maybe asking for too much.

Anonymous said...

I also think WDS is still a terrible mess and won't become any better in the near future, despite the planned attractions, it's just plain ugly.
As for the third gate: Marvel Superheroes? Come again please? I like Disney for it's magic, super heroes are really cool, but not magic at all. I like watching the movies but I don't think they have the same appeal as the Disney characters and brand. Disney themed parks like MGM, Disney Sea and Epcot are created with the imagination and magic of Disney. I find it difficult to imagine how this can be done with superheroes. In my opinion it is a very bad sign for the creativity of Disney Imagineering or the people who make the decission of building a superhero park.

Brian said...

Epcot is a strange kind of themepark, which worked in the USA, but it's kind of a risk to try it again, lots of years later, here on the other side of the world.

Image them building DisneySea, what kind of themes can they use (if there copying from Tokyo)? Almost every theme is already used in WDS and Magic Kingdom:

I can't imagine a superheroespark is going to work. It too specificly directed to one thing, there are not much possibilities for different areas.

David N. said...

For the Marvel-Themapark: Why not, but I would opt for including Disney&Marvel Comics into the parc concept. Opposed to US, Disney Comics are still very popular in Europe and their characters are hardly anywhere or anytime seen in DLP (like the Little Woolf, Uncle Scrooge, Donald and the boys, etc.) and are anyway not really fitting to the fantasy settings of Magic Kingdom.
So, to serve the family segment: Lets go for a Toon Town (better: Duckburgh, i.e. the "real" home town of Mickey, Donald & Co.)
For the adults the Marvel Heros will do a good job - they are timeless too.

Marco Antonio Garcia. said...

Deciding the theme of a third theme park is not an easy task for DLP executives.
I think that the money would be much better spent on the existing parks, but they have the deal with the French government...
EPCOT is out of the question to me, I completely agree with Juan José about this park.
Disney Sea would not be a bad option, but a very expensive and not original one- besides, I don't know if the OLC would like the idea and if they have any kind of exclusivity contract with Disney for this park.
A thrill based Marvel park is not a bad idea for me, and it's original, but our anonymous friend came with an important issue, which is that American comics are not very popular in Europe (and the vast majority of the resort's public comes from Europe).
It's really not an easy choice and whatever they do is not going to please everybody- let's only hope that they are not going for a cheap option!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the philosophy to target some specific age level is not so simple as you explain it in your article.
Yes they made the mistake for the WDS in excluding totally a range of age (under 10), but now they know they have to change this categoric logic. It may be possible to attract a specific older age-target (>20 yo) for the 3rd park. But DLP will not have to create a park only for them but also for children. Because the guests would come with their children. The main rides could be for the targeted age and some other familiar rides are also needed to satisfy other guests, the children (as it exists in DP and in WDS today)

Jones said...

Marketing class 101: Do not dilute your brand... Disney is quite possibly the most famous brand in the world, certainly the most beloved - and people do not associate Disney with stupid superhero characters. People love all things Disney - there is no rival anywhere in sight, so Disney should not consider, not even for one second, a Marvel characters park. Spiderman is still one of the most amazing rides on the planet, and when it opened, Disney had *nothing* that was even close to it from a technological standpoint - but have a look at the attendance figures for IOA compared to those of MK, which is full of "outdated" and "old" attractions like Small World or Peter Pan...

Jack said...

I disagree! Every Disney Park in the world has the same target : families ! It's a not a brillant idea to say that they have different targets. I'm sorry.

Jack said...

I talk about people who say parks have different targets, I disagree with them but I agree with you.

Dylan said...

But Tower of Terror, Crush's Coaster and RC Racer are not attractions for kids.

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop is not for little kids.

The only rides* they created for little kids are Cars Quatre Roues Rallye and Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin. That's not enough.

* except shows (Stitch Live and Playhouse Disney)

Pierre Peeters said...

In my opinion Epcot will never work in Europe anyway. Future World has some great rides ok, but let's not forget World Showcase: Most of the nations represented there are European. What's the point of a pavillion when the real thing is almost around the corner? And Future World on it's own is just too small for a complete park. As for Disney Seas, I believe it would be a great idea to use the best rides in the other 2 parks rather than to built the Seapark. So instead of a superheroes park the only other option would be an Animal Kingdom Park. The only 2 questions are: Would this work in Europe and what would this cost?