Friday, May 24, 2013

Paramount Park at Alhama de Murcia, Spain - Full Review With All Artworks - Part Two

Here is the part two of my report on the upcoming Paramount Park at Alhama de Murcia, in Spain. If you've missed the part one posted yesterday you MUST read it before this one to understand better what this park will be and you'll find the part one HERE.

Let's move to the next land of this Paramount park, and this one is called "Woodland Fantasy" and it will be a mix of Fantasyland and Harry Potter land - in the "spirit" only of course as the rides and attractions will be unique. In Woodland Fantasy "kids will find all the fantasy included in some of their favorite movies and it will be the headquarter for every young fans of magic. Thanks to the Stardust's Magician Workshop they will be able to improve their techniques to become the best ones."

The big E-Ticket ride of Woodland Fantasy will be "Spiderwick Chronicles" inspired by the famous children books and movies, and it'll be an interactive attraction using cutting edge technology in which the visitors will use their magic wand to gain the most possible points as they ride through a series of 3D projected fantasy scenes.

In "Fairy Tale Voyages" visitors will travel on a boat all over different places to discover whether fairy characters exist or not and where to find them.

Woodland Fantasy will also include a play zone with a maze and others children rides like a carousel with fantasy creatures...

The other big attraction should be Sleepy Hollow, a movie "in which 3D audio effects and holographic projections will join forces with the Headless Horseman so as the visitors will not be sure if what they hear is real or is the Horseman is in the room with them..."
I have the feeling this one might use the 3D audio technology previously used by WDI Imagineers in WDW "Alien Encounter" attraction...

Let's move to "Plaza Futura", the "Tomorrowland" of this Paramount park! Plaza Futura "will be dedicated to science fiction and to that uncertain future that many movies have described, with thrilling outer space adventures".

The special effects will have the major role in each corner of Plaza Futura and the big E-Ticket ride will be the Star Trek attraction, which will use state of the art technology and launch riders in a thrilling journey into the stars. Below, artworks of the pre show and show itself and it looks like it'll be a big simulator ride.

On the "Warp Speed" coaster riders will blast through the most thrilling ride in the galaxy! A catapult launch seems to be guaranteed on this one.

At "Quasar Force" kids will have a space activity where they will come space heroes in a more colorful and inviting version of outer space. The ride itself looks like a mad mouse coaster...

And that's the end of the artwork report but you can see more about the paramount Park Murcia project in the presentation video below. The park was supposed to open in 2015 but i think it's better to bet on an opening not before 2016.

The big question for DLP fans is: will this new park be a competitor and have an effect on Disneyland Paris attendance? Considering that Paramount Park Murcia will be located in the south of Spain at more than 1400 km from DLP and is smaller than DLP it won't be a daily competitor as Universal can be to WDW in Orlando. But is it going to hurt DLP attendance? Yes, it probably will, i think Paramount Park Murcia is a bad news for DLP, and here is why.

As you know the WDC gave to DLP six months ago a huge amount of money - 1.332 billion euros - to allow DLP  to refinance its debt with the banks. The operation was done to avoid DLP to continue paying the huge debt interests, but now of course DLP owe the 1.332 billion euros to the WDC.

What you probably DON'T know is the other part of the deal and from what i have been told it is this one: the WDC gave 1.332 B € to DLP and DLP have the money to pay for the WDS Ratatouille ride but the park will have to find by itself the money to finance all future attractions. This is why DLP don't communicate yet on the Ratatouille ride opening next year, because from now each visitor to DLP parks count more than ever and DLP definitely don't want anyone to wait until the Ratatouille ride open to come to the parks. If the parks attendance is falling, then the resort revenues will, then the benefit will be smaller. And it's precisely on the benefit that, from now, the park will take - and save - some money each year to pay by itself the future rides.

Now that you know this you will understand why the Paramount Park in Spain might be a danger for DLP. Paramount is already a well known movie studios and when the park will open they surely will do a big marketing operation all over Europe, and you can be sure that spaniards as well as some of the millions of tourists who go on vacation each summer in Spain will consider to have a visit at Paramount Park Murcia, where they will find plenty of new rides they've never seen before. Sure, Paramount Park Murcia won't "take" million of visitors to DLP but even if it is 300.000 or 500.000 less visitors per year it would be catastrophic for Disneyland Paris as it is precisely these "last" 500.000 visitors on which DLP makes its benefit.

And, as i've said, no DLP benefit, no new rides. And wait, this is without counting the possible opening of the other Paramount Park in London, which will make the situation even worse as DLP needs - and has - more visitors from the U.K than from Spain, specially now with the big economy crisis in Spain. My only advice is that no one at DLP underestimate this new Paramount Park which, without being as big as DLP, could very well be as good as a small Universal Studios park.

Your thoughts?

Artwork and video: copyright Paramount Pictures and Parks


Anonymous said...

If these parks actually happen (after all, we've seen more movie parks announced and then cancelled, than actually built), DLRP will have to respond in some way.

I guess it will increase the pressure to build a Star Wars area in Discoveryland.

Good! :)

Armingus said...

I'm spanish. This project will never get ahead, in my opinion. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

There are dozens of these projects. I don't think it's going to happen untill I see a construction site with coasters being built.

David said...

Honestly, I think this is just another real-estate tragedy for Spain. The park is hundreds of km away from the rich parts of Spain (espec. Madrid and Barcelona). So, a train trip might be as expensive as a flight to Paris from the two major hubs. I do not really see how they are supposed to make money without having a metropolitan region like Ile-de-France to feed them with day visitors.

IMO it might take away some few visitors from DLP, but it will crash within a few years.

Robert /Cologne said...

Think the Sleepy Hollow attraction could be an updated version of Universal Orlando`s GhostBusters Show ,which was great fun .
Star Trek should be the same as Las Vegas which I also enjoyed .
Still dont think it will take the crowds from DLP but they do have to expand .

Xavier said...

DLP might indeed suffer on a short term from thoses Paramount projects. But IMHO there's no better thing like competion.

Just consider the development at DLP in the 90's with a handfull small european competitors. Just one E-ticket (Space). And the 2000's where DLP face several european parks that beef up to be big resort with hotels... (the string of new rides in the Studios).

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

The Walt Disney Co. should never "abandon" one of their own Resorts like you are describing.

They've built a Resort in Paris and now they need to take care of it and make sure it's popular, even if it doesn't bring any profit to them, because if it becomes outdated it is Disney's image that will be damaged in an extremely important continent.

Besides, Disneyland Paris has a lot of potential.

I think that instead of building new Resorts and create more competition to themselves Disney should take better care and invest more money on its existing Resorts.

Paterdave2 said...

Well I don't know if this will get build but I read on the internet a few weeks ago that this park will have some trouble when it gets build because Paramount wants to redraw the license.

Anonymous said...

This project will NOT be a competitor for DLP, because it will NEVER be built. You seem to forget that the financial crisis is still hitting Europe very hard, certainly the southern countries. So they may have the political approval, but this doesn't mean they will get the financial approval from banks or other investors ... unless they're suicidal. In short, very nice project, but on the wrong time in the wrong place.

spinatmaedchen said...

For me, this whole project seems like a huge bubble with a suboptimal situation. First: Murcia in Spain. I don't think that this region is more attractive than Spain's No. 1 PortAventura which is a bigger competitor to Disneyland Paris and has a lot more things to offer: It's near to Barcelona, an exciting world famous city, it's totally(!!) next to the famous golden beaches of Costa Dorada which is a huge hit for British and Dutch tourists, for example. Murcia can't beat this. Even with all those franchise stuff which sounds great - but I'm pretty sure that the reality will look a lot more 'cheaper'. I mean, Spain is in financial trouble. Parque Warner in Madrid also features a lot of popular franchise stuff and is not a huge hit than initially expected. And we don't want to talk about Terra Mitica which is also in trouble for years.

If there will ever be a 'real' competitor, I think it'll be Paramount Park in London - if it'll really come to life - or a REAL Universal Park in Europe. And don't forget all those existing theme park resorts like Europa Park in Germany and Efteling in the Netherlands. They're also investing in technical challenging and quite unique attractions - and they can go back to their existing good image and awareness they built over the last 20-30 years. Paramount Park in Murcia has to built this fame and awareness which sounds like a huge challenge to me.

Olivier said...

Good evening, several remarks:

"What you probably DON'T know is the other part of the deal"
There is a misunderstanding here. When TWDC stepped in to take over the DLP debts, the deal was primarily made between TWDC and the 60+ banks. DLP had no direct part to play in the restructuring, and was bound to conveniently accept the new loan specs far more beneficial. There was no new explicit deal between TWDC and DLP, and thus no counterpart as you suggest.

"the park will have to find by itself the money to finance all future attractions."
Nothing has changed there, DLP has always been in direct charge of its attractions' financing. The company has always been supposed to find the money needed for investments from its operating income, but has always been unable to generate enough cash to do so. Thus the revolving loans. Nothing indicates that the debt refinancing will allow DLP to achieve this goal. It's not a "new part of the deal", it's just a long term objective.

"This is why DLP don't communicate yet on the Ratatouille ride opening next year, because from now each visitor to DLP parks count more than ever and DLP definitely don't want anyone to wait until the Ratatouille ride open to come to the parks."
The second part is absolutely true, the first one isn't. The attendance is not the primary goal anymore according to Philippe Gas. DLP is ready to lose some visitors to improve the financial results. That's precisely what's happening right now in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

"If the parks attendance is falling, then the resort revenues will, then the benefit will be smaller."
Absolutely wrong. If the parks attendance decreases, the revenue obviously will, but the consequences on the income is far less obvious. From 2009 to 2012 the marketing costs have skyrocketed to promote the resort and lots of invitation (tickets or annual passes) have been distributed. The cost to simply make people come have exploded (around 10 euros per visitor). Every financial data indicates that a cut in the marketing costs will decrease the attendance but increase the profitabily. If the parks attendance is falling, the benefit could be bigger - and surely will if the fall is caused and not endured.

"Sure, Paramount Park Murcia won't "take" million of visitors to DLP but even if it is 300.000 or 500.000 less visitors per year it would be catastrophic for Disneyland Paris as it is precisely these "last" 500.000 visitors on which DLP makes its benefit."
For the same reason, your analysis is not relevant. 500,000 or even 1M less visitors wouldn't be necessarily "catastrophic" for DLP, for these "last" visitors are not automatically the lucrative ones.

DLP's profitability (and therefore its ability to finance the future rides) relies primarily on its high-spending customers, which are the main target and the main profit-making audience. Obviously the competition from the Paramount park will turn some away, but in an extent hard to characterize. And it's a safe bet to predict that DLP will focus on them, even at the cost of the loss of the local spanish market, reshaping its economic model from a volume to a value strategy. How surprising, it's the agenda officially supported by Philippe Gas from his first day in office.

Best regards

Alain Littaye said...

I'd like to take a minute or two to answer to the comment of Olivier, who seems to be someone working at DLP, which is fine as everybody is welcome to post his comment.

Olivier, I don't doubt, considering that the WDC is a major shareholder of DLP that they can talk directly with the banks and i suppose that the talks between the WDC and the banks happened "as" the biggest shareholder of DLP.
Anyway, when i was talking about "the other part of the deal", i was not really talking about the real "official", "spoken" deal. And by the way, in the end of your phrase "There was no new explicit deal between TWDC and DLP, and thus no counterpart as you suggest", the important word here is "explicit". So yes, in the "explicit" part there was no special deal between the WDC and DLP. But this doesn't mean that there can't be an "implicit" part, which by the way would be natural, because since when someone brings 1.330 billion euros without any compensation, or simply "having his word to say"... But we're going to be kind and say that there has been no compensation of any kind, and that the WDC is NOT unofficially controlling DLP in any way...

Yes, DLP will, as always, have to find the money by themselves for the future attractions. Except that in a not so distant past the WDC if my memory is good brought some little financial help. Sure, the money was not explicitly given to build attractions but at the end the result was the same. That said, considering that DLP will save a huge amount of money now that they don't have to pay anymore the interest on the debt like they had to do before it seems reasonable to think that the debt refinancing will help DLP to generate more cash than before, and we all sincerely hope that it will be the case.

I am happy to hear that if the parks attendance is falling it shouldn't be a big financial problem for DLP, and i can agree that the problem is not the number of visitors itself but how much they spend in the parks. I'm pretty sure that DLP will target the high-spending customers, but i have a mixed felling with that. It's of course natural that DLP try to have as many high-spending customers as possible, there is nothing wrong with that, but i hope it doesn't announce for the future a price policy like it seems to happen in the U.S.

Strangely, i was talking about this problem ( not at DLP, in the U.S parks ) last night with some friends former Imagineers - because of an article which has been posted on Conde Nast Traveller about "Lauren Lipton, author of "Adult Entertainment," who spent $3,263 over six days staying in four hotels and buying tickets for three parks at Orlando’s Walt Disney World". And what i was thinking was this: "If the Disney Parks become affordable only by the rich people or the upper middle class, then i'm sorry to say that there is something which is going wrong somewhere".
The entrance fees at Disneyland or WDW are going up more than ever ( and of course the non-Disney parks are following and increase their prices ) and this with many alibis starting by the new attractions investments, etc... but i just would like to be sure that this is not done only because they want to have at the end of the fiscal year their famous double digits of growth to please the stockholders...

Walt would have hate this, but i know, Walt is dead since a long time. Still, i think it would be a big mistake for DLP to transform the parks in a place for wealthy people only, but we didn't reach that point yet, thanks God.