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:

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