Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Star Wars land Coming to Disneyland Paris Discoveryland in 2015 ?

Since two months DLP fans forums are talking about something pretty exciting: a "Star Wars land" is supposed to come to DLP Discoveryland in 2015! Disney Central Plaza forum detailed what we might expect in this Star Wars land and so far it is listed on DCP as a "rumor". Of course, i tried to know what is true in all this and, yes, from what i've been told it seems that DLP Imagineering is indeed working on a Star Wars Land project for Discoveryland. I will explain you in details why this Star Wars land is very probably going to be build, but before let's have a look to what is supposed to be planned.

The plan is not only to bring Star Tours 2 at DLP Discoveryland but also to transform what is now the Captain EO theatre, the Star Traders shop as well as the Pizza Planet restaurant to create a "Star Wars land" and as you will see on the Google Earth screen capture below they not only have plenty of room backstage to do it but probably will even have enough room in the future to add new rides if necessary. The back of Discoveryland already don't have the same architecture than the front, so this Star Wars land shouldn't be a problem, esthetically speaking.

What you must NOT expect: I found back a Tim Delaney rendering - which is reproduced in my DLP book among 250 others WDI artwork and that you can find HERE - and in this artwork Tim had envisioned, a long time ago, a kind of Star Wars land with a full scale Millennium Falcon and a Space Mountain dome designed as the Death Star. This will certainly not happen, so don't even think about it as Space Mountain will definitely keep his beautiful dome as it is right now.

What you CAN expect: Of course, Star Tours 2 will replace the original version and the pre-show will have the same changes than in the U.S versions, but according to the DCP forum - and for a big part confirmed to me - the plans apparently are to do big changes in the Star Tours post-show, which will be welcome as since IBM is not anymore the attraction sponsor the great games which were there on DLP opening day have been replaced by arcade games. I don't know yet exactly the DLPI plans but a Star Tours shop will very probably take place in this quite large area, hopefully with great theming. Close to the exit the Star Traders shop might become a Star Wars photo location and what kid wouldn't be happy to have his picture with his favorite Jedi?

Young kids will also probably be happy with the plans for what is now the Captain EO theatre as apparently DLP is planning to replace it with the Star Wars Jedi Academy like the popular one at Disney Hollywood Studios. Sure, if you're 8 years old its more enjoyable to become a young padawan - a Jedi apprentice - but i think it will be a cute and fun addition even if DLP Jedi Academy may not be located outside as it is at DHS for obvious weather reasons. All of you have heard about the DHS Jedi Academy but some may have never seen it in real so i post below a video showing the full DHS show.

The next transformation is an exciting one as the idea seems to be to transform the Pizza Planet restaurant - located a bit backstage behind Space Mountain - by Star Wars famous Mos Eisley Cantina which appeared for the first time in the Episode 4, i.e the first Star Wars movie to have been released. Not only it's for sure the most famous Star Wars "restaurant", the one that everyone remember from the movies, but it shouldn't be too difficult too to recreate it. From the outside it looks like this - below a picture of a diorama model by Stefan Weber:

And here is the same model but showing the inside.

Here are two pictures, the first one is the original model for the movie, and the next one is another model, non-official.

I remind you that in the movie the Cantina is located on Tatooine, in a desert environment, which mean that DLPI would probably have to recreate a bit of desert landscape all around it, which is not the most difficult thing to do. And they have the space to do it. Some additional creatures like the one you saw on the diorama and a land speeder waiting at the entrance would be welcome, too.

To be perfectly honest, this "Cantina" addition is the one on which i didn't had confirmation yet but it'll make sense to build it and if this Cantina project is finalized you can be sure that Lucas Film will keep an eye on the theming to make sure that the restaurant will be faithful to the original one. This next picture will give you an idea of where is what in La Cantina.

Now, we all remember that the Cantina is full of aliens from all over the galaxy. In this case it's probably DLP guests who will be the aliens (!) but it would be nice if the cast members who will work inside the Cantina could be a little bit "themed" - if french regulations allows it, which remains to be proven...

And what about the Cantina musicians, by the way? They have to be there, right? DLP have the choice of real musicians wearing masks or audio-animatronics musicians. My guess is that DLP might prefer "real" one for financial reasons but WDI AAs would be welcome..

For those of you who don't remember the Cantina scene from Star Wars Episode 4, here is the video.

Is this Star Wars land going to be build at DLP? Very probably, yes, and here is why: One year ago, during a press event, a dinner was organized with a selection of web masters and Philippe Gas, DLP CEO. I was part of the dinner but it's another web master who asked him if DLP was planning to replace Star Tours 1 by Star Tours 2. To what Philippe Gas answered that they will be very happy to do so but unfortunately the attraction have a cost - read: an important cost - and for the same cost DLP could have a brand new attraction. One of the problem is that DLP had bad experiences with previous upgraded attractions. They did Space Mountain Mission Two and expected it to be a success as big as they had in 1995 when Space Mountain opened, and it hasn't been the case. And Captain Eo just brought in more guests than HISTA during one week or so. So, we can understand why DLP execs can a bit dubious with upgraded rides even if in this case i think they're wrong as everyone will agree that Star Tours 2 is considerably better than the first version.

But, at the time of this dinner we didn't knew the real price of Star Tours 2, and it was hard to understand why Philippe Gas thought that ST2 cost was high. Thanks to Oriental Land company who always reveal the cost when they bring a new ride at TDL or TDS we know now that TDL will invest 7 billion Yen to bring Star Tours 2 - $84 Million which makes around 63.5 M euros. Even if the costs are always a bit higher in Japan because of anti-sismic regulations, the price for DLP is certainly not under 50M euros, and probably closer to 55M. I can understand now why Philippe Gas thought that it's quite a lot of money to upgrade a ride, as popular as it can be. Not to mention that it's also harder for DLP marketing to advertise an upgraded ride than a brand new one.

But DLP have two problems: the first one is that Star Tours 2 will be introduced to all the others parks next year except at DLP, and the pressure by DLP fans would surely grow in the next years. And also, to put it more simply, the original ride is really getting old, so sooner or later DLP couldn't escape to upgrade it. The second problem is located next door to Star Tours. As i told you Captain EO is not tremendously successful and obviously they can't keep it for years and years. Captain EO closed on April 2 but the main problem for DLP is: what can they put in instead of EO? WDI don't do anymore 3D movies considering - and they're right - that because a new 3D movie is released almost each week in normal theatres it's better to use 3D technology in rides - like in Toy Story Mania or in the upcoming Ratatouille ride at WDS.

And it's at that point that someone probably came with this brilliant idea: what about having a Star Wars land in the back of Discoveryland? And this concept change everything as DLP marketing will be able to "sell" or advertise not only an upgraded ride but a whole new land, and a new land dedicated to one of the most popular movie mythology in the world! And God knows that there is a lot of Star Wars fans in Europe. Not to mention that, as i told you, there is still plenty of land backstage to eventually add a new Star Wars attraction in the future if needed. Honestly, if they do it for real i think it's a very smart move from Philippe Gas and DLP Imagineering as this Star Wars land is probably the best way to resolve both the ST1 and Captain EO problems at the same time.

For sure, this Star Wars land will cost more to DLP than a simple upgrade of the ride but the benefit on many points will be greater. For instance, once DLP will have this Star Wars land why wouldn't they organize Star Wars week-ends like they do at WDW? It's very popular, and for sure it would bring fans from all over Europe in the park...and in DLP hotel rooms, right? So, for all these reasons, i'm quite sure that a Star Wars land will come to DLP, and from what is said on the DCP forum it won't be before Ratatouille opening which is scheduled for 2014. But 2015 might be the year that both Jedis and Empire forces will land again at DLP Discoveryland!

Pictures: copyright Disney, Lucas Film, Mark Dermul

Cantina Video: copyright Lucas Film

Cantina pictures from


Anonymous said...

If a "Star Wars Land" opens at DLRP -- I think all the financial problems will be over! It would be HUGELY successful!

Anonymous said...

If they will build this and introduce Star Wars weekend with parade with lots and lots of stormtroopers. I will apply for a job immediatly! So cool!

Anonymous said...

This all sounds fantastic, but I would MUCH rather see this in the Studios - Discoveryland is now but a diluted shadow compared to it's original self, in my opinion ruined by Star Tours and Buzz, and is now out-shadowed by the lands that were inspired by it in DisneySea.

Put a Star Wars land in the Studios, and expand Discoveryland with a theme-apprpriate attraction, like Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. That way, the DLP suits don't miss out, AND it stays in theme.


Marco Antonio Garcia said...

This Star Wars area is a great idea overall!

To begin with, this area of the park is a big useless space, and it's a great idea to use it for something.

ST2 is going to be a huge success in my opinion and is much needed. It's a new attraction in my point of view, not just an upgrade and if DLP CEO compares it with SM 2 he doesn't understand anything about park attractions and should never be a Disney Resort CEO. Mission 2 kept the same track, the same everything and just destroyed one of the best themings in all Disney Parks, it was a downgrade, not an upgrade, of course it wasn't successful! And I used to love the games in the original Star Tours post show, so if they do something as good as the original thing was (updated, of course), it will be excellent!

The cantina idea is awesome! Would be a great original addition to the park, even if it already has the two best Disney Parks restaurants in my opinion (Walt's and Blue Lagoon). Replacing Pizza Planet is also something welcome, as it looks very cheap, even though they could have made something very nice from the source material.

The Jedi training academy is the part of the project that I don't like. The academy is very lame in my point of view, and they can use the theatre to make something original based on Star Wars. I know that a 8 year old boy might disagree with me, but probably in a few years, as there are no new movies or cartoons from the franchise on the horizon (at least that I know of), 8 year old boys probably won't be much into Star Wars anymore, as they are very much into fads.

Finally, I agree with you anonymous, it would be MUCH better and they would stay on the theme if they use that area to build the Disney Sea's Journey to the Centre of the Earth attraction in that space, I would add destroying Buzz and build Disney Sea's 20,000 Leagues, and build the Star Tours 2 and the Star Wars area in the Studios, but that would also cost 10X more and DLP would never do that, not even if they wanted to.

So judging by what is possible, it is a really great idea! Disneyland Park Paris really needs new rides, and I'm not talking about cheap ones.

Brian said...

First of all, I entirely agree with Marco Antonio Garcia (comment above). The only thing I'm not sure about is Cantina with its desert-theme, even though the interior would be nice, the outside would be a bit weird in DIscoveryland I guess. BTW, I never realized there would be so much unused space in Discoveryland!
Still, all updates and additions are welcome in DLP, definetely in Discoveryland. ST2 would probably be a new E-ticket ride. On other hand, this Acedemy thing would not be my preference. Of course, it is a cheap way of adding a 'attraction' and amking sure the theater space is not empty, but I would rather have seen something more spectacular.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

I agree with you Brian that a desert theme would look really weird in Discoveryland, but Pizza Planet is isolated, so as Alain said, it won't spoil Discoveryland's esthetic and it would fit perfectly in a Star Wars themed area.

I also don't think that Star Tours is an E-Ticket attraction, for me is a very nice D-Ticket, a nice addition to any park, but not an E-Ticket. Ratatouille will probably be an E-Ticket.

By the way, I don't know how they manage to spend USD 84 million on the "upgrade". The building is already there, the queue also, they just add a little to it, the simulators are also there, they just need to change the robot, the video and audio systems and reprogram it. The attraction development that is probably the most expensive thing was already done and paid for, the movie was already made... I know that the US Dollar is not what it used to be, but USD 84 is still a lot of money! Even if they are sharing the development cost with all the Disney Resorts (they probably are), it's still TOO MUCH!

Anonymous said...

Personally I think it's a very BAD idea, and also one that is very unlikely to happen (for financial reasons).

First of all, there are a lot of rumours on internet fora (like DCP) that are totally unrealistic ... just read on DCP the rumours about all "the amazing things that will happen in WDS after 2014" and you know what I'm talking about (by the way, weren't there the same rumours about great expansions in WDS after they opened ToT? And what did we get since then ... only TSPlayland!) Just one question for all the dreamers out there ... who's gonna pay for all this? WDS has only 250 million to spend! Not 1,1 billion like DCA!

Now let's assume that the rumours are true ... if the upgrade to ST2 will cost 55-60 million, than I think all the other projects (to turn Captain EO and PizzaPlanet into Star Wars Land) will be cancelled because of financial reasons. Let's not forget that 2015 is also the 20th anniversary of SM ... won't they have to pay for a new upgrade ... 'Mission 3' ... or better 'Back to the Moon'?

In my humble opinion the best move DLP can make, is opening ST2 (just the attraction, nothing else) in 2013 like Tokyo. And in a more distant future, they should put a brand new WALL-E attraction (which is rumoured to be in development, hopefully it's also true) in the Captain EO building. At least WALL-E will fit a lot better in Discoveryland than Buzz.

And the awful PizzaPlanet tent/building ... just tear it down!!! And build a beautiful Pizza Planet restaurant at the entrance in between Buzz and Autopia. If we have to tolerate Buzz in Discoveryland, than at least put the attraction, shop AND restaurant together!

DisWedWay said...

Star Wars themeing would really help Studio tours at DLP. Journey would be fantastic in Discoveryland as at TDS.

danielz6 said...

Well I've been saying it for years. Ever since they've been favoring film theme specific lands beginning with universals jurrassic park land and climaxing with the wildly popular Harry Potter, and also the soon to be carsland and avatar land ...that starwars is the best option to bring in the crowds as it has by far the biggest fan base spanning 2 generations and is of course the most influential and popular film franchise in all history. Its nice to see it happening as I never would've expected it in Paris...maybe if its successfull other Disney Parks will also incorporate it into their Parks aswell. This is exciting news.

James said...

I'm not averse to the idea. I don't know how eactly I feel towards it at present.
I agree that location is not ideal - I think it's gonna look quite bizarre having a desert area/building plonked in the middle of the surrounding modern metallic architecture, looking like it should be in Frontier or Adventureland.

I think we all are keen for a new Star Tours but in truth would much rather have a brand new ride, if money would allow it.

Nonetheless, I can say that sitting in the Cantina with the musicians playing next to you would be really cool. Must be AA! It would be like Rainforest Cafe except better. It would be a great atmosphere restaurant and it's likely their gonna bring a restaurant to this land because, well, Pizza Planet is an imagineering-all-time-low(if it even went through imagineering!)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't like the Star Wars Land idea, but I see a lot of potential in the previously posted WALL-E idea. If they also relocate the Pizza Planet restaurant and put it between Buzz and Autopia, then Discoveryland will start making sense again.

In my vision Discoveryland will then have 3 zones/areas that will form a beautiful unity (of course it will never be as great again as back in the days with Le Visionarium, but given the current Pixar-influenced situation ...)

zone 1: the toy-area (Buzz attraction + shop + restaurant + Autopia)
zone 2: the retro-futuristic area (Videopolis + Orbitron + Nautilus + Space Mountain.)
zone 3: the outer space area (Star Tours 2 + WALL-E + future expansion zone)

I even think this idea might be possible from a financial point of view. At least if they wanna do a small effort and invest in a nicely themed restaurant building at the entrance of Discoveryland.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

You're idea is not bad Anonymous, but they would have to bring the moon back to Space Mountain!

Anonymous said...

TDL's Star Tours is huge. 6 simulator cabbing, a cavernous indoor queue. Plus, everything in Tokyo is plussed over the american parks. I don't think DLP's Start Tours is that big.....

Anonymous said...

Why not do this in california, I think all the other projects (to turn Captain EO and PizzaPlanet into Star Wars Land)is so cool! we have the update star tours and the area needs an makeover!

C. Ling said...

I really agree with the fact that this should all go to the Studios, fits way better there and this would make the studios alot more interesting to visit!

Furthermore Discoveryland really needs the moon back (SM: Retourne a la lune, or something like that)and Buzz needs to got (maybe use the technology to add Midway Mania to TSPL (makes this area a real land as well)

Buildings should al be rethemed and they could add a simple darkride in the current Buzz Building or something that was proposed for Discovery Bay (Fireworks Factory or the Professor Marvelous ride). Last thing I think would really help put the Verne back in Discoveryland is a retheming of the train station and Autopia. Autopia should get Steampunk vehicles and the signs along the track should be about steampunk inventions. Later on (as this would all be really expensive already, they could consider adding a small Discovery Bay behind the tracks and retheme Pizza Planet.

Think this would make alot of sense for the Studios and Discoveryland and would improve both parks. This would also be great as an attendance booster. Four new rides: SM: Terre a la lune, Midway Mania, Star Tours 2 (plus miniland) and a darkride in Discoveryland.

Shame DLRP would never go for something this big. Seems they just seem interested in small cheap very temporary fixes, that lead to larger problems further along the road :( STIL, I LOVE THE PLACE THOUGH AND VISIT AS OFTEN AS I CAN :D

Anonymous said...

If France gets this before Disney WOrld does in orlando it will be a big mistake, everything SW related at Disney starts in Florida and radiates outward, that's why we got the upgrades first. Also why Disneys HQ is located here. If any place gets a themed area for their Star Tours ride it will be at Hollywood Studios first, then and only then would it be built elsewhere. I think you all forget, Star Wars may be known world wide but Star Wars originated and will always be an American product. We have the most fans, the best SW Costuming group in the world originated here, the 501st Legion and they march every SWW in May-Jun in the parades at Hollywood Studios. Having a SWW elsewhere could happen for sure but as for you guys getting a SW Land before we do, well good luck on that, Uncle Geoerge has to approve it and most likely he would want something like this in his country first.

Unofficial Disney and Universal News said...

It might be coming in some way to DLP but a land in this Paris don't think so if anything this will go to DHS in Orlando Home of star tours .

Anonymous said...

First, A big thank you for sharing the interesting news.
And taking the time. It will be interesting to see if it happens.
Now, no offense, but if you really want to be taken seriously as a professional blogger, you really need to brush up on your grammar skills.
There is a significant number of grammatical errors. (I'm no teacher, it's just obvious - sorry)
Makes it difficult to read, and take one seriously. At the very least, have someone proof read your stories/columns, before you post them.
Sorry .. Not trying to offend, but you really should know.

Linwë said...

When I found out that Disney bought Star Wars I was like OMG. Worst. Thing. Ever. But when I saw this, I realized that there is at least 1 goo thing about it. More Star Wars stuff in Disneyland!! I can't wait to see this :)