Disneyland Paris Announcements–Implications for American Parks

Disneyland Paris Announcements–Implications for American Parks

Big new announcements have been made at Disneyland Paris and whole new lands and experiences are opening at Tokyo Disney Resort. We not only look at some very new ideas for what could be in a Disney theme park, but we see how some of this could be coming to Disneyland or Walt Disney World here in the United States. Perhaps not the show, but the concepts, the intellectual properties, special technologies and ride vehicles. We’ll look at resorts here at Disneyland Paris, happenings at Disney Village and the Disneyland Paris Park, and then go over to The Walt Disney Studios Paris park for what are massive and major changes. Lots of implications for the American parks, so join us for this Disneyland Paris announcements.

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Disneyland Paris Resorts

Disneyland Paris Hotel

The Disneyland Paris Hotel took its cues from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. It too has a Victorian/Hotel del Coronado Resort look and feel. It wasn’t as open and spacious, but it had a great location right at the front of the park. Staying in the rooms facing Disneyland Paris and actually looking right down Main Street, U.S.A. toward the castle is not something you get to do at Walt Disney World.

Then they chose to remodel the hotel, gutting it for the better part of two years. It is now declared as “the first Five Star hotel dedicated to Disney Royalty”. Included are

  • A lobby that takes its cues from the libraries of world-famous French castles
  • A wood and marble mezzanine where 15 exclusive dioramas are displayed
  • A chandelier made of bohemian crystal representing Sleeping Beauty Castle
  • 487 rooms and suites all telling stories from Disney’s animated film classics

The implication is that we should look for more There are two places this could occur.

A small boutique hotel could occur in the space originally designed for the Disney Venetian Resort. This is across the road from Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

A larger space could be found on the other side of the canal from where the Electrical Light Pageant is held at bay on the west side of Magic Kingdom. I had mentioned this earlier when I found that the property was one of the spaces allocated for resort development when the company was negotiating with Reedy Creek before its Governor DeSantis transformation.

Again, neither of these is facing down the front of Magic Kingdom like at Disneyland Paris. But they could be very proximate, very intimate, very deluxe and very pricy.

Davy Crockett Campground

Disney Davy Crockett Ranch

Just like Fort Wilderness Campground, the cabins of Davy Crockett’s are being remodeled. The remodel itself is not what we’re comparing. It’s the characters they use. The ones in Orlando have Mickey, Pluto, Chip ‘n’ Dale represented as if they were camping. It’s cute. The ones at Davy Crockett Ranch focuses instead on Disney characters such as the Junior Woodchucks, together with Donald Duck and his friends. Even Humphrey Bear is involved.

This is reminiscent of Camp Woodchuck Kitchen, which is this adorable restaurant tucked away behind Big Thunder Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland.

Why I’m mentioning any of this is that I think this theme of Junior Woodchucks with Donald, his nephews and the gang would be a great replacement for Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom.

I love Tom Sawyer Island, and other than some tender love and care, I’m fine with it as is. But the story it comes from is seen by some as problematic (though Mark Twain was an abolitionist and a friend of Frederick Douglass, see Your American Adventure). I wouldn’t want to change Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland–it was designed by Walt himself. Then again it has morphed into Pirates Lair at Tom Sawyer Island. So it already has departed from the original Tom Sawyer concept. In fact, the one at Magic Kingdom is better–and it just got its barrel bridge back! Perhaps that’s testament that the island is there to stay–with one theme or another.

By the way I would use the same characters and theming over at Disney California Adventure for Redwood Creek Challenge Trail out at Grizzly Peak. It has had a Brother Bear approach to it, but I never felt it really took. This would be much more fun.

Speaking of Grizzly Peak, can we just take a minute to talk about Big Al? Yeah, Big Al at Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure.

He showed up in statue form. And he talks! Mostly jokes you have to “Bear and Grin” Get it!? But he does interact when you use your Magic Band+ at the park. Very cool.

Disney Village

This shopping and dining village is connected to the parks just like Downtown Disney is connected to the Anaheim parks. And like Downtown Disney this is getting a makeover, but one much more serious than out in California. It’s under the knife, removing what legendary architect Frank Gehry had originally created for this area. That’s Frank Gehry who also created The Walt Disney Concert Hall. It had steel towers with lights stretched in every direction. Sort of a starry sky in Los Angeles look with the columns representing remnants of an old power station.


The new approach focuses on a mid-20th century makeover, is telling of how the newer sections of Downtown Disney are being done in Anaheim. Embrace the 1950s through 70s. They’re the Main Street, U.S.A. of the Baby Boomer culture.

Disneyland Paris: update on the transformation of Disney Village -  Sortiraparis.com

That mid-century look is a theme that doesn’t show up in the parks. But it has possibility in their shopping and retail areas. It also seems to have found a home in their new Story Living By Disney community of Cotino out near Palm Springs. Again, this is being marketed to an aging baby boomer culture.

Cotino Club Entry Front

One more little detail. During the 30th anniversary they had created these wonderful and whimsical mobiles of Disney characters. Hooray! They’ve kept them and are adding them to Disney Village. You can see a film at this link.

Disneyland Paris Park

Casa de Coco

Disneyland Paris had a Tex Mex place in Frontierland known as Fuente del Oro. The centerpiece was a fountain with gold emanating from it. Now it has been redone as Casa de Coco: Restaurante de Familia.

Casa de Coco - Restaurante de familia | Disneyland Paris

If you want to know what this restaurant could look like in Coco form, here it is. It really has many of the same qualities of Pecos Bill’s at Magic Kingdom. The rumor mill has repeatedly noted that Pecos was heading toward being re-christened as Tiana’s, and that the entire row of buildings following the Diamond Horseshoe was targeted toward having a New Orleans theme.

My counter to that has been maybe, but while the changes to the Country Bear Jamboree include a broader musical range from Pop-Country to Blue Grass to Nashville to Rockabilly, they’ve never named Jazz. We covered the bears and their evolution in a prior recent podcast.

Celebrating the Country Bear Jamboree As It Closes this Month & Re-Opens  this Summer – Disney Insights

And while a New Orleans port front has merit, I would think the theme would work better with a Port Orleans Riverfront style look rather than a Port Orleans French Quarter look. The French Quarter defines New Orleans at Disneyland, but its intimate streets weaving in and out is what gives that area out in Anaheim its charm. I can’t quite see that same charm working here. Still, that rumor has come back up after being dormant a year. With it comes the idea of no longer having the Liberty Belle in operation. But again, if you want New Orleans and all things Tiana, the riverboat works better than anything.

Les Pays des Contes de Fées–Storybook Canal Boats

I love Storybook Canal Boats at Disneyland. Disneyland Paris has a version of this as well, known as Le Pays des Contes de Fées. Their boats are not piloted like the ones at Disneyland. They run with a cable. But the attraction does have Casey Jr. running circles around it, similar to what you find at Disneyland.

Recently they announced that their would be three additions made to this attraction:

  • Up!
  • Frozen
  • Winnie the Pooh

They already have some unusual miniatures to include the village at the conclusion of Fantasia where Chernabog appears and the City of Oz. These additions would be more familiar to younger audiences. The following shows illustrations of what each of these will look like and the actual tree from Winnie the Pooh will look like. As you can see, these are larger miniatures than you see in Disneyland’s version.

NEWS: Disney Announces NEW 'Up' Addition in Storybook Land Coming SOON |  the disney food blog

With all that Walt Disney World has to offer, it’s interesting that this is not one of those attractions. And yet, it was planned for back when Epcot first opened. It was known as the Rhine River Cruise.

If you’re not familiar, the Rhine River is to Europe what the Mississippi is to the U.S. It flows not just through Germany but begins in the alps of Switzerland and continues through Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The original attraction would have passed by familiar locales such as the castle at Heidelberg and/or the Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle).

The attraction was intended to be an indoor and outdoor boat ride, with the indoor portions being somewhat like a dark ride with blacklight. All the guests would be facing outward or starboard. The building portion of the indoor part of the ride was built but then left empty. It sits right of the Biergarten Restaurant, and its entrance is covered up by a mural.

Rhine River Cruise Mysteries - Imagineering Disney -

Imagine if the ride instead went through Disney films that took place in those countries, essentially re-living what you see in Storybook Canal Boats, but with a focus entirely on Europe. It would not only add occupancy to the park, but it would provide a very needed attraction in that corner of the park, where there isn’t any. Again, if it’s something to focus on in Paris, why not Epcot? This is easy, incredibly doable, adds charm and builds occupancy.

Walt Disney Studios Paris is Now Disney Adventure World

New Name

What’s in a name? Well, the great thing about the previous name was it was named Walt Disney Studios Paris. I think a name with Walt Disney instead of just Disney made the name special. The problem was that this has been the worst theme park of all parks built around the world. So having Walt Disney’s own personal name ended up being a slam back at him. This park was built on the fly in the early 2000s, in order to not lose their right and privilege of building a second gate. They did the minimum to get this thing up and running, much like Disney California Adventure and later Hong Kong Disneyland. The amount of work on Disney Tokyo Sea at that time was perhaps more impressive and imaginative than all three of the other parks put together. Bruce Vaughn, who is not the Chief Creative Executive of WDI, put it this way when he first visited the park.

The first time I went to Paris’ second gate, it was after hours. No kidding, for the first ten minutes, I’m walking through, and I was like, ‘When are we gonna be in the park?’ And he turned to me, and he goes, ‘You’re in the park.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m on stage?’ He goes, ‘You’re on stage.’ Like, ‘This looks backstage.’ It’s a bunch of gray warehouses. He goes, ‘Yeah. It’s supposed to be like a studio.’ But again, it was this notion of, ‘Ah, the people… the guests will buy it. This is what a studio really looks like. The guests, they just want, you know,’ and it’s like talking yourself in at the highest levels of, the guests… the guests would just buy this stuff.”

The response sounded something that was out of Rizzo: “Rat, schmat, besides…they’re tourists…what do they know?”

So being built on the cheap was the first problem. The other more apparent problem was similar to the same issue Disney’s Hollywood Studios faced. Guests weren’t seeing movie and TV production, nor did they have an interest in doing so given how the industry has evolved.

So they’ve made a change to Disney Adventure World.

Disney Adventure World: Disneyland Paris Reimagines Second Park | Disney  Parks Blog

This means that there is a transformation underway that involves the overhaul of more than 90% of Walt Disney Studios Park from what it was in its debut in 2002. This is how this new attraction plays out:

Park Entry

The park entry remains the same.

World Premiere

The guests will be transported into a vibrant, contemporary open-air movie studio before becoming special guests of a glamorous film premiere in the heart of Hollywood on a starry night. To bring this all-new immersive experience to life, the interior décor of the “soundstage” — which currently depicts a filming scene on Hollywood Boulevard — will be replaced with crafted décor that pays homage to historic movie theaters in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole. 

Disney Adventure World: Disneyland Paris Reimagines Second Park | Disney  Parks Blog
Disney Adventure World construction updates

World Premiere Plaza

Once outside the building, guests will arrive in the heart of World Premiere Plaza, an area that brings together theaters, currently celebrating Disney Animation and Pixar stories, in a stylish Art Déco-inspired setting. The Walt Disney Imagineering Paris teams are working to turn the park’s former mish mash of a central square into a dynamic and warm environment with décor inspired by the famous facades of Broadway and West End theaters.

Disney Announces Transformation of Its Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris

They are also hoping to make it livelier at night. Note that the Mickey Sorcerer hat seems to be remaining. Both images suggest that an obnoxious Monsters Inc. Scream Canister Interactive called Scream Monitors may be going away. PLEASE!

Disney Adventure World: Disneyland Paris Reimagines Second Park | Disney  Parks Blog

From there guests can turn left to Avenger’s Campus, or right to a grouping of attractions largely based on Pixar–to include Ratatouille–similar to Epcot, a Finding Nemo Coaster, a Toy Story Land and Cars. The Cars section is separated into two parts, one a ride half the size of Alien Flying Saucers. The other an eclipsed Tram tour that takes guests to a revised “Carstastrophe Canyon”. No complaint about that change. At least they kept that attraction. But the to and from is not just boring, it’s kind of stupid. Other than the changes to the tram experience, this section seems to be remaining in tact.

The only Disney portion on this side is the tribute to Disney animation (under the Mickey Sorcerer hat) and a practically similar Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride. It’s not much better.

Moving to the left you get Avenger’s Campus. It is similar to the DCA version with Spiderman, but with a Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster now centering its theme around Iron Man. This section is new and probably what they meant when they talked about the percentage of the park being redone. It was something very different before–and even included an attraction based on Armageddon.

The Tower of Terror resides moving forward. The building is identical to the one originally at Disney California Adventure. It’s a good solid experience, with a slighter spookier family on board the elevator. At least I recall the little girl being creepier.

There are also buildings in front of the tower outfitting that entire area. But they are shells on the back side. Hopefully they will fill that out into more complete buildings and not facades.

Moving forward we evolve into an entirely new section of the park.

Raiponce Tangled Spin

Based on the movie Tangled, this attraction will invite guests to “take a spin” through the iconic floating lanterns scene. Essentially it is a Mad Tea Party style attraction, with a decor that mirrors so much of the film’s look and appeal.

Here is a ride vehicle with a center turn table.

This is sad, as what could be a land in and of itself–like the one now found at Tokyo Disney Springs, will simply be a ride. It does help set the stage for what follows moving forward toward Adventure Bay. That has implications for us in the United States as well. Mind you, we have great attractions like Pandora: World of Avatar, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Test Track and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. They have none of these in Tokyo or any other Asian park. But there are things we will never have. And some things we will receive will be lesser versions.

Adventure Bay

Continuing forward down a pathway gets you to Adventure Bay.

Disneyland Paris: details of Adventure Bay, the lake zone at Walt Disney  Studios - Sortiraparis.com

It is well under construction with the lake clearly shown, a promenade surrounding it, and a platform for a nighttime show. Adventure Bay is about 7,000 cubic meters of water. More than a scenic icon, Adventure Bay will serve as a unique entertainment stage with a 360-degree viewing area. It will be fitted with the latest technologies to provide water-based entertainment, complete with fountains, music, lights and special effects that are sure to delight guests.

Adventure Bay at Disneyland Paris

Surrounding the bay is plenty of space for development. The first thing guests will experience as they move toward the right around the lagoon is The Regal View Restaurant and Lounge, a stylish table-service restaurant that will offer guests spectacular views over Adventure Bay, along with a chance to meet some of their favorite Disney Princesses.

Adventure Way" To Serve As New Promenade At Disney Adventure World in Paris  With "Tangled" Attraction - LaughingPlace.com


At the back of the Bay will be Frozen. The area itself may be as big as Tokyo Disney Springs, but the ride itself will be similar to Frozen Ever After at Epcot, as opposed to the Tokyo one which is longer and tells the origin story. Land wise it will be smaller than Hong Kong, if for no other reason than it has another coaster as part of the land that is bigger than Goofy’s Barnstormer, but smaller (only one hill) and less theatrical than Seven Dwarf’s Mine Ride. What is certain is that it will be a much higher quality experience than Epcot’s version.

But what remains of the other parcels around the lake is where things get interesting. If you’re back is toward the entrance of the park, than an attraction originally considered was one portion of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. You can see it in the diagram. You sense it is the area around the Millennium Falcon, and thus holds that ride, but there is no Millennium Falcon, so it’s uncertain. What is certain is that they are no longer discussing that attraction, no depicting it in their depictions of Adventure Bay.

So what could be coming.

Disneyland Paris' 'Star Wars land' Possibly Canned In Favour of Another IP  - Daily Disney News

The Lion King

One fascinating possibility is a rumor put forth from Le Parisien where they are looking to build an entire neighborhood based on The Lion King. Apparently the French love that film, and the Disneyland Paris show, The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Land is very, very popular.

The weird part of this show is that it’s done in Frontierland. But what makes this attraction even more appealing is the idea that such an area like The Lion King could be very green and shade friendly–which this park does not do well.

If this is true, this could then be a real possibility for a new attraction at Walt Disney World. While Festival of the Lion King never disappoints, and while Kilimanjaro Safaris has a 30 minute ride through Africa culminating in a “Pride Rock” scenario, it would do well to put another ride attraction. The park does not have enough “ride” attractions–8 currently–and could truly benefit from a Lion King experience that builds specifically off of the animated film.

In short, there’s lots going on at Disneyland Paris, and that could mean lots of things for Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the days ahead. Join us in an upcoming podcast as we look at the opening of a new land at Tokyo Disney Resort and also study the implications to American Parks from it.

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