Monday, October 11, 2010

Disneyland Paris Update: The 20th Anniversary Projects

In this new Disneyland Paris update we will have a look to what DLP guests might expect for the 20th Anniversary. But before the future let's have a look at the present.

It may look like minor changes or additions but there is some new things at DLP. First, a great Wall-E and Eve statues appeared in Discoveryland, on the left of Space Mountain. It's pretty well done, Eve seems to be floating in the air and of course it became instantly a photo location!

It seems that the park envision to add more characters/photo locations in other areas next year, so keep your eyes open next time you'll come at the parks!

Outside the parks, other changes are happening in some of the hotels. For instance, at the Santa Fe Hotel the giant Clint Eastwood picture is now replaced by.....the big "Cars" picture who was previously over the entrance of WDS Studio 1. I suppose they thought that Radiator Springs desert could fit well with the Santa Fe theme.

Inside the rooms, the bedspreads now have a "Cars" theme (instead of a New Mexico style) as well as Cars renderings on the wall. These are minor changes and as you can see on the pictures below a big part of the previous Santa Fe style decor is still there.

Apparently the same kind of changes are done at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel with a "Bambi" theme. I've read on DCP forum that the Santa Fe will change its name and be re-named "Cars Hotel" but it seems that this is not going to happen, the hotel will stay with its current name.

At the Walt Disney Studios Toy Story Playland changes also happened but this time nothing was added as it's a decor element who disappeared just two months after the opening of the new land! The RC Racer car photo location was removed and apparently permanently, which means it should never return. From what i've been told it's because of small injuries due to kids climbing on the car and falling down. Considering that the guests had a direct access to the vehicle it was almost inevitable that kids were going to climb it and what had to happen happened. The only thing which is still there is the Hot Wheel orange track.

Here is how it looked before - with the characters...

And here is how it looks now.

Twenty meters from this now extinct RC Racer photo location, Rex - who had a part of him destroyed - is now repaired.

They've put a plastic plaque where the hole was, and although it's not the ideal at least they will be able to replace it easily if another kid destroy it again and guests can still hear the sound of Rex' voice. Let's hope that no accident will happen there too as kids are also climbing on Rex, most of the time with the help of their parents!

Okay, let's have a look now to the future and more precisely the 20th anniversary. As you know 2012 is the 20th anniversary of DLP Magic Kingdom, not of the WDS. And from what i know the park has decided that it was the right time to do a re-launch of the park and to update famous attractions. Phantom Manor should have an update of its special effects, probably the same way they did it at DL and WDW. Can you expect to see Mrs Leota crystal ball "floating" in the air? Probably...

But, due to Phantom Manor different story line DLP Imagineers might have some problems to introduce some of the new effects created at the U.S Haunted Mansions, like the endless stairs - below a WDI Imagineer with the model. That's why DLPI is apparently thinking to introduce changes in Phantom Manor's story line. May be it's the price to pay to have these new effects or the famous hat box ghost appearing in the halls of Phantom Manor in 2012...

Always at Frontierland, it seems that they also envision changes or additions on Big Thunder Mountain. I don't have more infos about this now but if this is true and if DLP Imagineers are looking to enhance some of the BTM effects they could begin by putting back the explosion effects which were designed for the last BTM lift, when rocks are moving and the gold mine appear. Originally there was light flashes effects as well as smoke effects and this is definitely not impossible to achieve.

In Adventureland, the main changes should happen on Pirates of Caribbean as Jack Sparrow Audio-Animatronics as well as Davy Jones ghost effect should at last be introduced. We know now why they didn't put Sparrow's AA before, they were keeping them fot the 20th...but better later than never, right?

Nothing is still confirmed yet for Star Tours 2 but considering they can change the ride in less than a year and that Star Tours really need these changes the 20th anniversary would be the perfect timing for this awaited new version. I still bet on it, mainly because of the reasons above and the reasonable cost for an almost new attraction.

Of course we can expect probably new shows or fireworks for DLP 20th but this "re-launch of the first gate" angle also mean that nothing should be expected for the WDS in 2012 and that the awaited Ratatouille dark ride should not open before...2013. Three more years is a bit long to wait for a new E-Ticket but that's probably what is going to happen.

However, outside the parks something new should open as works on the giant World of Disney store - located at the entrance of the Disney Village - are about to begin. As you'll see on the panoramic shot below palisades are now in place.

Behind the palisades nothing happened yet but they are bringing little by little what they need to build the store which should be ready for a 2012 opening.

Another interesting news is this project to have Paris Rolland Garros highly famous tennis courts relocated near the A4 highway exit. Have a look at the concept-art below showing the project, i've indicated where the park is. Rolland Garros tennis tournament is one of the most famous in the world and is the most viewed sports event after the Olympic Games and the soccer world cup.

The project would bring huge crowds during the two weeks tournament to the park hotels (even if the plan includes a new hotel near the tennis courts) and it's certainly a better idea than the Formula 1 race track envisioned last year. This last project, thanks god, is now dead and for sure the tennis players should make less noise than the Formula 1 cars. However, as the city of Paris really want to keep the tournament inside its "gates" it's not sure at all that we will see a transfert of Rolland Garros to DLP, but if it works it's scheduled to open in 2016.

Something else might happen in DLP future, too, but this is for an upcoming article!

In the meantime, if you're looking for a great Christmas gift for anyone you love - including you! - the "Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality" book with its 320 pages and 750 pictures - including 250 renderings from Walt Disney Imagineering - would be a GREAT gift for any Disney fan! I still have some copies of this hard to find book and, as i am one of the two authors of the book, each copy will be sign specially for you or anyone you wish. Of course, don't forget to tell me the name to whom you wish I dedicate the book.

Price for one copy of the english updated edition (with the text in english) is 87 Euros + 15 euros shipping to any country. Payment can be done with Paypal or by wire transfert if you don't have a Paypal account.

You can see some inside pages of the book on this D&M page HERE and to order the book please email me at:

Paypal payment can be sent to:

Pictures: copyright Disney, Disney and more, Disney Central Plaza


Anonymous said...

2012 is obviously the Magic Kingdom 20th Anniversary, but you shouldn't forget that it is the WDS 10th Anniversary too... So, I think we can expect Ratatouille to come in the Studios sooner that you think. I hope...

Alain Littaye said...

What you don't understand is that what i'm writing is not what "I" think, but what "they" think, at least at the present time.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to believe your rumours, but in August 2008 you said:

- Toy Story Mania is coming to the WDS
- The Little Mermaid is at the horizon 2011-2012
- Star Tours 2 will come between 2010-2012
- Indiana Jones Adventure will open in 2012

None of those attractions are going to open in 2012. Star Tours 2 is a possibility, but I highly doubt it.

un mec bien said...

I'm kind of afraid of these changes on classical E-ticket rides at the Disneyland Park.
Except for Tower of Terror, every new addition to DLP's parks are lame (see Buzz Lightyear Laserblast, Space Mountain mission II, this whole WDS thing, Last Chance Café's terrasse, Toy Story Plasticland...)

Alain Littaye said...

It's true that i've written this but how many time will i have to repeat that when i post this kind of news it's what the park have in mind at the time i post it? If anyone in this world could know EXACTLY what the future will be in 3, 4 or 5 years this would be perfect, but even DLP execs don't know precisely what will be done in five years, only what they wish to build.

If i take the post you're relating to, Toy Story Playland finally replaced Toy Story Mania - and believe me they DID had plans to build Toy Story Mania EXACTLY where TSP is built now. The Little Mermaid is still in the plans but was replaced by the Ratatouille dark ride, mainly because they need to expand the WDS in priority, and for Indiana Jones Adventure if you want to know the truth of its delay here it is: whether it's at DL or TDL they have huge maintenance costs on the vehicles. Now, they're going to create a NEW ride system on Cars Land Radiator Springs Racer ride and if this new ride system is reliable, which WDI Imagineers hope, then they will envision again to build Indiana Jones Adventure at DLP.
As for Star Tours 2 the only reason that could stop it to arrive at DLP would be that DLP executives suddenly become totally stupid, which i don't think they will.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

I think that these changes and updates to classic E tickets are great and are needed to keep those beloved attractions relevant to newer audiences, otherwise they would become outdated and would eventually be replaced.
Improving the technology and adding new characters is always welcome, but I am not sure about changing the storyline of the attractions, as changing the story of Space Mountain was terrible, did not add anything to the attraction and just made it worse (I just loved the Julio Verne theme and it made total sense in Discoveryland and in France).
The changes announced in this post sounds great though, and I hope you are right Alain, I'm looking forward to see them on my next trip to Paris!

Marco Antonio Garcia. said...

This new Wall.e statue is gorgeous!
It's nice to see that DLP executives are still concerned about these details, because they are vital to the Disney experience and to the feeling of the parks.

Vincenzo Mauro said...

Great post, Alain!

And if Phantom Manor, with the exit of th new film "The Haunted Mansion", turns his name in "Haunted Mansion"? With the HM soundtrack (with the narration of Paul Frees) and maybe they can add The Old Hatty, Constance and the pictures of her husbands. And they could add the original Leota projection and the Hitchiking Ghosts instead of the dead Melanie's animatronic. I know, it's far from the projects of the WDI department, but it would be a great rehab and finally, the atraction could finally have an accurate story!

Best regards,
Vincenzo M.

P.S: Sorry for my English, but understand, I'm only fourteen and I'm studying it at school :)

Anonymous said...

The French Open is more viewed than Wimbledon? Do you have a source for that statistic?

DisWedWay said...

It would be great to get the effects back in DLP's Big Thunder Mountain as you mentioned. You could hear them from the riverboat if you were in the right spot. There was talk of moving the distracting flashing photo booth into the overlapping last and fastest tunnel, where it would make sense to have mine blasts. I hope a million dollars can be set aside to repair the Geysers and get them going for the park trains as well as the riverboats. They could always finsh installing the boiling mud pots that were planned and FX equipment was made.

Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that Pixar is taking over Disneyland!
Wall-E & Eve look great but shouldn't they be stationed at WDS?Discoveryland is changing into something else, how long will it take before 'Cars' take over Autopia? Why would you change Discoveryland's Steampunk theming when Disney are practically the inventors of Steampunk?
The only things I'ld like to see for Disneylands 20TH are the original Mme Leota at Phantom Manor, (the present lady in the crystal ball looks second rate and stupid, Leota Toombs should be the only Leota in every Haunted Mansion or Manor!)the theming of Space Mountain should, no, MUST be restored to its original; it could still be improved but now it lacks storytelling, the wonderfull and exiting original music and the Jules Verne-atmosphere that made it unique, furthermore I'ld like a better upkeep of the park,( did anyone see the smalll birchtree growing on top of the Mark Twain?!)and yes, an Indiana Jones Adventure please!

Joseph, Tilburg NL

Anonymous said...

The video for Madame Leota has not been changed, it still is Leota Toombs.


Anonymous said...

I hope the update of Pirates of the Carribean to come during the 2011 season. Let me explain: it would be a not expensive update that would fit with the release of the 4th movie in theatres the same year.

Brian said...

The updates for DLP in this article don't sound bad, on the other hand'I doensn't get me excited either. It's good to update the bigger rides, so they'll be as good as new when it's 2030! But things go so slow in DLP, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Little Mermaid are mentioned so many times, still there's nothing new. In WDS a few big changes are needed in order to make it a real 2nd park. When they'd open a new ride every year, the park would be more complete within a shorter timeperiod.
Of course this is all about money, I hope that a financial injection from the USA is possible, the previous time it worked too.
Do you agree, Alain, that developments are way too slow in DLP?

Alain Littaye said...

Of course i agree, Brian, that DLP developments are slow, and yes, it's all about money as usual.

Marco Antonio Garcia. said...

I also agree it is very sad that Discoveryland is gradually loosing its Steampunk original theeming, as I think that the original Discoveryland concept was the best "Tomorrowland" of all the MKs- it was the most beautiful and the only one that do not become outdated in a few years.
I am also completely against Pixar characters taking over Tomorrowland, and I agree that this statue would be better located next door, but it is so gorgeous and Wall.e is my personal Pixar favorite, so I can easily "forgive" this "intrusion" (this one is at least futuristic).
And yes, DLP updates are FAR TOO SLOW and the resort needs desperately a capital injection from the US.

MakeItPink said...

WALL-E is appropriately placed in Tomorrowland, and IMHO, the ONLY appropriate Pixar tie-in for the parks at this point. It's also just a photo-op...

Many of the other parks have been dealt far more serious Pixar intrusions.

I'll be very disappointed if Phantom Manor and Pirates of the Caribbean receive US alterations/updates. Some TLC to enhance what's already there? Absolutely! And I'm not opposed to Leota's head floating. But Disneyland Paris has an edge of uniqueness. Phantom Manor's storyline is totally different from any other Haunted Mansion and that's the way it should stay. And Pirates has been deemed by true Disney Park lovers to be the one left that holds the spirit of the original, and with cooler effects (when working, of course). Not all Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion rides should be identical. Simple upgrades that make sense with their current storylines? Sure. But that's it. I love Jack Sparrow and the Pirates films, don't get me wrong, but I go to Disneyland on a regular basis and I miss the original Pirates of the Caribbean, the attraction that was so cool that it inspired a movie that turned into much more.

Maybe Jack Sparrow can get his own separate attraction instead. Right now, the majority of what is being mentioned for DLP is just copies of recent things for other's the most visited site in all of Europe! Let's see some new, origin al and creative attractions!

Unknown said...

hey im going to disneyland paris next sunday so i get to go on all the rides before they change but i hope that star tours in paris doesnt change because iv'e only been on it once when i was 5 but if it does then i can always go on it next sunday and have a last look before it all goes and i hope that all the automatics make it to the new version. i heard that it was in 3-D is that right

Unknown said...

its me again and i also hope that there will be no more changes to the pirates of carribean and great big thundermountain because i love those rides and they're classic and well you will disapoint loads of people who love those rides. oh yeah and the little mermaid ride is a terrible idea and i think its going to crash and burn just like that celebrity limo ride in america and thats coming from all the people i have asked.

i hope that you take this advice from a girl who has been to disney 8 times and about to make it her 9th if you dont take advice from people who has actually been to disney then your a crap company