Walt Disney Studios Park

Walt Disney Studios Park (French: Parc Walt Disney Studios) is the second of two theme parks built at Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallée, France, which opened on 16 March 2002. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks, Experiences and Products division. It is dedicated to show business, movie themes, production, and behind-the-scenes. Though this was the original vision, in the 2010s, in a similar manner to its sister park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida, the park began to distance itself from the original studio backlot intention and entered a new direction of immersive theming and attraction development inspired by iconic Disney stories. In 2019, the park hosted approximately 5.2 million guests.[1] The park is represented by the Earffel Tower, a water tower similar to one that was installed at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California.

Walt Disney Studios Park
Previously known as Disney-MGM Studios Europe
Walt Disney Studios Park logo.svg
LocationDisneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, Paris, France
Coordinates48°52′2.28″N 2°46′44.43″E / 48.8673000°N 2.7790083°E / 48.8673000; 2.7790083
StatusOperating
Opened16 March 2002; 20 years ago (2002-03-16)
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
Operated byEuro Disneyland Participations S.A.S.
(Disney Parks, Experiences and Products)
ThemeShow business and Disney entertainment
WebsiteOfficial website

DedicationEdit

To all who enter this studio of dreams…welcome. Walt Disney Studios is dedicated to our timeless fascination and affection for cinema and television. Here we celebrate the art and the artistry of storytellers from Europe and around the world who create magic. May this special place stir our own memories of the past, and our dreams of the future.

— Michael D. Eisner, 16 March 2002

HistoryEdit

Initial plans for a second theme park, named Disney-MGM Studios Europe or Disney-MGM Studios Paris, were scheduled to open in 1995, though these plans were canceled around mid-1992 due to the resort's financial issues at the time. After the resort began to make a profit, these plans were revived on a much smaller scale. The park was announced on 29 September 1999.[2] Construction would officially begin a year later in 2000.[3] Walt Disney Studios Park opened on 16 March 2002.

In the 2019 documentary series The Imagineering Story, Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive (2007–2016) of Walt Disney Imagineering, described his reaction when he visited the park when it first opened:

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.[4]

In June 2007, a new "studio lot" opened in the Animation Courtyard area of the park, named Toon Studio. It is themed as a "toon backlot", representing the film studio workplace of animated characters, where they produce their animated films. The concept has been created exclusively for Walt Disney Studios Park and features two rides not seen in any other Disney theme park, along with small merchandising locations and many character meet-and-greets. In this expansion phase are Crush's Coaster, a custom-designed Maurer Söhne SC 2000 indoor spinning roller coaster, and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye themed after the 2006 Disney/Pixar film Cars, with the ride taking the form of an enhanced teacups ride. A similar ride is found in Mermaid Lagoon at Tokyo DisneySea. On 22 December 2007, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror soft-opened with the new Hollywood Boulevard on Production Courtyard. Stitch Live!, imported from Hong Kong Disneyland, replaced the Disney Channel Studio Tour.

In 2009, new entertainment opened at Walt Disney Studios to run alongside Mickey's Magical Party, which began in April 2009. Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! opened next to Stitch Live! and is presented in French, English and Spanish. Walt Disney Studios opened with a full-size parade called Disney's Cinema Parade, which was themed after popular Disney animated and live-action films. In 2008, the parade was replaced with Disney's Stars 'n' Cars, a smaller version of Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade, which came from Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World in Florida. In August 2010, Toy Story Playland opened to coincide with the new Disney·Pixar film Toy Story 3, "shrinking" guests to the size of a toy. The three attractions are a Half Pipe coaster named RC Racer, a parachute jumpstyle ride named Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, and a Music Express train named Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin, all themed intricately around the first two Toy Story films.

On 27 February 2018, Bob Iger announced a transformative multi-year expansion, opening in phases from 2021 to 2025 to coincide with the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, which will completely transform the park. The cost of this expansion is €2 billion. It will feature new areas based on Marvel, Star Wars and Frozen, all surrounding a new man-made lake.[5]

On 14 March 2020, Walt Disney Studios Park, alongside Disneyland Park, temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in France.[6][7] Both parks reopened on 15 July 2020 with strict rules such as limited guest attendance, social distancing, and mandatory wearing of face masks.[8][9] The park closed again on 29 October 2020 following a second nationwide lockdown,[10] the resort's original intended reopening on 2 April 2021 was ultimately deferred to 17 June.[11][12]

AreasEdit

Walt Disney Studios Park is divided into four "studio lots", representing various aspects of film production present at a Hollywood film studio.

Front LotEdit

Front Lot serves as the park's main entrance and is home to most shops and services of the park, the Earffel Tower is located here. The entrance courtyard, La Place des Frères Lumière, is designed in Spanish Colonial Revival style, a style common to 1930's Hollywood. It is loosely based on the design of the original Disney Bros. Studios on Hyperion Avenue. The central feature of the courtyard is a large Fantasia fountain. The name of the courtyard is a tribute to the French inventors of cinema.

Front Lot features Disney Studio 1, a covered walkway with shops and restaurants themed after a soundstage with a recreation of a Hollywood street inside.

Restaurants:

  • Restaurant en Coulisse

Shops:

  • Walt Disney Studios Store
  • Les Légendes d'Hollywood
  • Studio Photo

Toon StudioEdit

Toon Studio is inspired by Disney and Pixar animated characters. The lot features Pixar characters as Crush (from Finding Nemo), Mater and Lightning McQueen (from Cars), Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Slinky, and other characters from Toy Story, in addition to the other Disney characters present in the land's show, Mickey and the Magician.[13]

When the park originally opened in 2002, the land was known as Animation Courtyard but in 2007, as part of the park's fifth anniversary, two new rides were added (Crush's Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye). In 2009, the area was expanded with Toy Story Playland. In January 2012, construction began on a new Ratatouille themed ride and restaurant.

Attractions:

  • Animation Celebration is an interactive experience where guests step into the world of Frozen and meet Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven.[14] They can also participate in the Animation Academy where they will be taught how to draw Disney characters.
  • Flying Carpets Over Agrabah is a spinner ride similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant where riders sit in magic carpets and act as extras in Genie's directorial debut. The attraction is set against a large "movie set" backdrop of Agrabah. This is the only opening day attraction that remains open to this day.

Entertainment:

  • The Animagique Theatre plays host to Mickey and the Magician is a live show. Set in the atelier of the titular Magician in 20th century Paris, his apprentice Mickey Mouse gets into a little bit of mischief as he finds and explores his own magic.[15]
    • During the Christmas season, this show is temporarily replaced by Mickey's Christmas Big Band. Guests are immersed in Mickey's Jazz Club, where jazz and tap dance meet traditional Christmas songs.[16]

Restaurants:

  • Toon Studio Catering Co.

Shops:

  • Disney Animation Gallery

Worlds of PixarEdit

Worlds of Pixar features Pixar characters as Crush (from Finding Nemo), Mater and Lightning McQueen (from Cars), Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Slinky, and other characters from Toy Story.

Attractions:

  • Crush's Coaster is a spinning roller coaster where guests enter the beached sound stage and film set of Finding Nemo, where Crush invites them to climb aboard sea turtle shells for a ride through memorable scenes from the movie.
  • Cars Race Rally is a Zamperla Demolition Derby where guests spin at a Radiator Springs car service station. Their cars are located on four spinning plateaus and they change from one spinning plateau to the next.
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure is a motion-based trackless dark ride based on the 2007 Disney·Pixar animated film Ratatouille. It opened in a new Paris themed area of the park in conjunction with a new restaurant following the Ratatouille theme.
  • Cars ROAD TRIP is a much abridged version of the defunct Studio Tram Tour, themed after the 2006 Pixar film, Cars. This attraction utilises part of the Studio Tram Tour track, and the "Catastrophe Canyon" portion of the former ride. It has been designed as a "temporary ride to increase park capacity until the new expansions open".

Toy Story Playland

  • Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop is a parachute jump ride themed to the Green Army Men from Disney-Pixar's Toy Story movies. Another version of the ride also exists at Hong Kong Disneyland.
  • Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin is a Caterpillar-style ride where guest sit in a large ride mechanism resembling Slinky Dog from Disney-Pixar's Toy Story movies. Another version of the ride also exists at Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland.
  • RC Racer is a steel shuttle roller coaster themed around RC from Disney-Pixar's Toy Story movies where guest ride in RC on an orange, half loop track. Another version of the ride also exists at Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneylands.

Restaurants:

  • Bistrot Chez Rémy

Shops:

  • Chez Marianne (Souvenirs de Paris)

Toy Story Playland

  • Toy Story Playland Boutique

Production CourtyardEdit

Production Courtyard's theme revolves around the production aspect of Hollywood movies and the Hollywood mythos, including movie legends. The land contains two distinct parts: Hollywood Boulevard, which features Hollywood-inspired street sets and the ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - A New Dimension of Chills and Place des Stars themed around the production facilities of movie lots, containing Stitch Live!.

Attractions:

Entertainment:

  • The Studio Theatre, which formerly housed CinéMagique, hosts a rotation of shows during the year. These have included:
    • Marvel: Heroes Unite
    • Merry Jolly Jingle
    • The Lion King: Rhythm of the Pridelands (playback of recorded show from Frontierland in Disneyland Park for guests unable to secure tickets to watch live)
  • The Production Courtyard Stage is a semi-permanent outdoor stage, which also hosts a rotation of shows, some of which include projection effects onto the Tower of Terror. Past shows have included:
    • Stark Expo Presents: Energy for Tomorrow
    • Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
    • Goofy's Incredible Christmas
    • #SurpriseMickey
  • A number of shows have taken place in the open space including The Incredibles' Challenge and Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off.

Restaurants:

  • Café Café
  • Studio Fries Van
  • Studio Catering Co.

Shops:

  • Tower Hotel Gifts

Former areasEdit

BacklotEdit

 
The Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show.

The Backlot was an opening day lot themed after actual movie backlots with an industrial theme. This lot featured the attractions Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Avec Aerosmith, the Moteurs... Action!: Stunt Show Spectacular, and the special effects show Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux. The cafeteria service restaurant Blockbuster Café, the buffet Restaurant des Stars, and a small diner Café des Cascadeurs were also part of the Backlot. This area was closed in 2019 to make way for the upcoming Avengers Campus, opening in 2022.

Former Attractions:

  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Avec Aerosmith was the largest attraction of the area, and an almost exact clone of the ride found at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, with only a few story aspects changed. The attraction closed on September 2nd, 2019 to make way for Avengers Assemble: Flight Force, which will retain the previous track layout.
  • Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux was a special effects show which showed multiple scenes from the 1998 film "Armageddon. The attraction closed on March 31st, 2019 to make way for Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure.
  • Moteurs... Action!: Stunt Show Spectacular was a stunt show found in the land which was showing how action movies were filmed, using car and motorbike stunts. There was also a clone of the attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando which closed in 2015. This attraction closed on March 13, 2020 as the final attraction of the area. The closure was moved earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic in France, as it was initially planned to stay for a short time longer, but instead closed.

Future areasEdit

On 27 February 2018, Bob Iger announced that The Walt Disney Company will invest €2 billion into the Disneyland Paris resort. The Walt Disney Studios Park will be expanded with three new areas based on Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars. In addition to the three new areas, the expansion includes a new lake, which will be the focal point for entertainment experiences and will also connect each of the new park areas.[17]

Marvel Avengers CampusEdit

The first phase of the expansion will be Marvel Avengers Campus, a land themed around the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[18] Anchored as a transformed Paris-based secret location for S.H.I.E.L.D., the area's attractions and dining will include Avengers Assemble: Flight Force (an Iron Man re-theme of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith),[19] Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure (a clone of Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure from the Anaheim version of the land and taking over the location of Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux), Pym Kitchen, and Stark Factory. The land will open on July 20, 2022.

Arendelle: World of FrozenEdit

The second phase of the expansion will be Arendelle: World of Frozen which is scheduled to be open in 2023. Guests will be immersed in the kingdom of Arendelle (set after the events of Frozen and before Frozen II), where Queen Elsa has declared a Summer Snow Day for its citizens. A new and expanded version of Frozen Ever After will debut with the land as well as a restaurant and a shop.[20]

Star Wars-themed landEdit

The third and final phase of the expansion will be a land themed to Star Wars which is scheduled to be completed between 2024 and 2025. Multiple sources have claimed that this expansion will be a version of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge found in Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.[21][22]

AttendanceEdit

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Worldwide Rank
4,710,000[23] 4,800,000[24] 4,470,000[24] 4,260,000[25] 4,440,000[26] 4,970,000[27] 5,200,000[28] 5,298,000[29] 5,245,000[30] 1,410,000[31] 24

Sister parkEdit

Walt Disney Studios Park has a sister park at Walt Disney World, named Disney's Hollywood Studios, originally Disney-MGM Studios, which opened in 1989. Both are themed after show business, and have provided attractions to each other. The Earffel Tower, which represents Walt Disney Studios Park, is nearly identical to the original tower that existed on the backlot of Disney's Hollywood Studios from 1989 to 2016.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Disneyland Paris facts and information". Paris Digest. 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  2. ^ "New Disney park in Paris".
  3. ^ "Theme Parks Buzz Blog: TIME TRAVELING - Disneyland Resort Paris".
  4. ^ The Imagineering Story, Disney+ (2019). Episode 4: "Hit Or Miss"
  5. ^ "Disney Announces Transformative Multi-Year Expansion for Disneyland Paris – Disneyland Paris News". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  6. ^ Barnes, Brooks (12 March 2020). "Disney Parks and Cruise Line Will Close in Response to Coronavirus". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Temporary Closure of Disneyland Paris". Disneyland Paris. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  8. ^ Reuters (22 June 2020). "Disneyland Paris Set to Reopen on July 15". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  9. ^ Rafalski, Natacha (22 June 2020). "Disneyland Paris to Begin Phased Reopening Beginning July 15". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  10. ^ Ziady, Hanna (29 October 2020). "Disneyland Paris shuts down again as France enters lockdown". CNN. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Disneyland Paris Closure Extended as Covid-19 Takes Its Toll on Europe; Theme Park Portal". Theme Park Portal. 23 January 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Disneyland Paris reopens to visitors - Sortiraparis.com".
  13. ^ "Show Mickey and the Magician". Disneyland Paris. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  14. ^ Smith, Thomas (19 November 2019). "Discover the Magic of 'Frozen: A Musical Invitation' at Disneyland Paris". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  15. ^ "The Making of Mickey and the Magician". DLP Town Square - Disneyland Paris News, Guides and Discussion. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Interview with Mickey's Christmas Big Band Show Director Arnaud Feredj". DLPReport. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Transformative Multi-Year Expansion Announced for Disneyland Paris". 27 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Avengers Campus – DisneylandParis News". Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  19. ^ Fickley-Baker, Jennifer. "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Walt Disney Studios Park to Receive Marvel Transformation". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  20. ^ Sposato, Sean (10 September 2019). "Disneyland Paris offers breathtaking first look at Frozen Land". Inside the Magic. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Bob Chapek on Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Disney's IP Advantage, and More". LaughingPlace.com. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  22. ^ Newbold, Mark (25 May 2019). "New details on Disneyland Paris Star Wars expansion". Fantha Tracks. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  23. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  24. ^ a b "TEA/AECOM 2013 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  25. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2014 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  26. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2015 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  27. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2016 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  28. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2017 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  29. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2018 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  30. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2019 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 10 February 2021.
  31. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2020 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 48°52′2.28″N 2°46′44.43″E / 48.8673000°N 2.7790083°E / 48.8673000; 2.7790083