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TWO new attractions for Walt Disney Studios Park in 2014 with €150m investment?

Tuesday, 13th March 2012 at 23:47

UPDATE: Disneyland Paris has confirmed Le Figaro’s transcription was inaccurate — only one new attraction is scheduled to open in 2014.

We know Disneyland Paris has the money, we know they’ve finally started construction on the Ratatouille dark ride, and Brad Bird knows all about it, too. But now, in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Philippe Gas has let slip a surprising statement that Walt Disney Studios Park will see not one, but two new attractions opening within its gates in 2014. In the brief article headlined “Disneyland Paris ‘has learned from its mistakes'”, the resort president and CEO of Euro Disney SCA discusses the company’s tumultuous financial situation as it approaches its 20th Anniversary.

Asked as a final question “What will you do to avoid the park reaching saturation?”, he comments:

Knowing that a customer is satisfied when they can see at least six attractions in a day, we estimate our maximum capacity to be 17 million visitors annually. So we still have room for improvement, but we must grow. In January, our banks have given us 150 million euros in new funding to build two new attractions, which should open in 2014 in our second park, Walt Disney Studios. In 2010, we also obtained the agreement of the State to build a third park. We are looking at it very seriously, even if the decision won’t be made until 2020. We will also build new hotels, restaurants and shops.

Now, presuming Mr Gas doesn’t count the adjoining restaurant or those desperately needed new toilets which should be installed next to Ratatouille, this gives us an odd surplus in the new attraction count for 2014. So what are the possibilities? Again, this could depend on how you define a new attraction, but let’s throw Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic right out there straight away.

An expanded Tram Tour, perhaps a new show scene, perhaps even a relocated station — allowing the park to begin that announced “multi-year expansion”, expanding the current Hollywood Boulevard — could all be strong possibilities come 2014. Relaunching it as a “new attraction”, given changes like these to make it a worthwhile experience, would be far more appreciated than previous half-hearted relaunches such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: Backwards! and Space Mountain: Mission 2. The route itself has already been pushed even further back into the forest by current construction works, yet still desperately needs things to actually see along it. Those huge, people-eating trams are surely not reaching their full capacity with the disappointing tour which exists today.

We had assumed that €150 million would only just cover Ratatouille itself, so a second attraction would likely be a smaller, less expensive project. We’re not expecting a Soarin’ here just yet. So presuming CinéMagique is safe and Aerosmith still have a few years left in them yet, the only likely replacements for existing attractions are Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux and Animagique.

Armageddon suffers with its poor throughput and even poorer pre-show; having been the focus of a previous replacement proposal, to build a Chronicles of Narnia-based attraction in its place, could its time finally be up? Recent rumours have suggested that the licence to the 1998 Jerry Bruckheimer film itself could soon run out, further fuelling the desire for a replacement. With the more neutral Backlot location, this could be the perfect opportunity to introduce Disney’s recently-acquired Marvel characters to the parks, although the building’s small size would certainly be restrictive. It might not be the easiest way to add capacity to the park, as Philippe Gas desires.

Meanwhile, the live Animagique blacklight puppetry show in Toon Studio will be approaching its twelfth birthday in 2014. Popular though it is, that’s a long time for a live show, and considering the huge 1,100-seat capacity of Studio 3, the show provides the park with relatively little capacity. Finally going ahead with a long-mooted replacement by a certain 3-D film such as, ooh, Mickey’s Philharmagic would boost capacity in this part of the park enormously — and that’s precisely what Philippe Gas seems concerned about here, making it a very strong possibility.

Due to the live puppeteers involved, Animagique stages only around five shows per day in the vast auditorium, whereas a 12-minute projected film show such as Philharmagic is able to play continuously from park opening right to closing time; cycling through audiences every 20 minutes or so, and with lower operational costs to boot. The pair are practically cousins, conceived around the same time and both seeing Donald Duck getting lost in a series of classic musical scenes. But with 3-D films becoming passé again and Philharmagic due to be nearing 11 years old in 2014, could it still be viable as a new attraction? A belated opening at Tokyo Disneyland just last year suggests it certainly is.

As you can see, while two new attractions in one year may be a surplus, there’s still no shortage of possibilities in Walt Disney Studios Park to use that valuable credit on. Watch this space…

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  • Haven’t seen animagique yet, but going in 2 weeks and very excited to see it! I do hope they bring philharmagic to paris although could it not be put in the newly vacant space where captain EO was and maybe do a more ‘tomorrowland/ discoveryland’ version?

  • V. Excited about this. Agree with above, however, that Philharmagic could be a good fit to replace EO. Studio Tram Tour is very poor nowadays, wtg little to see. Any chance we could ever see something like The Great Movie Ride instead?

  • No chance of anything like The Great Movie Ride for this particular phase, the cost of all those animatronics would be astronomical today.

    Though Philharmagic would be an easy swap-out for Captain EO, there’s really no way it could be worked successfully into the theme of Discoveryland. And the benefits of having it replace Animagique would be far greater in terms of increased capacity, lower operating costs.

  • I hope it will be something new. I don’t want to see Philaharmagic at WDSP. That attraction is over 10 years old and every cinema has a better 3D experience. The money should be spent wiser.

    I would have prefered the Star Tours upgrade.

  • The license to use Armageddon will soon end (maybe in 2014 then ?). That could be the best reason to replace it with a dark ride.

  • Sparklesprestonia  14th March 2012, 09:42

    Not sure what I am more excited about the 2 new attractions or that a 3rd Gate could be opening. I agree I think its time that Armageddon should be replaced its a great attraction but I think it’s had it day at the Park and as for the studiotram tour the less said about that is better big yawn

  • I wouldn’t mind Phil…, but it would be terrible in Discoveryland!

    I think an Armageddon change out is likely. There would need to be very few changes to theme it to a Marvel property like Fantastic 4.

    If we’re looking at adding capacity, I’m guessing this will be something completely new that ties in with an existing area. Perhaps a Remy spinner (or similar) turning Ratatouille into a miniland?

    What disappoints me slightly is that this means Rat… isn’t getting as much spent on it as we thought.

  • Sir Donnerbold  14th March 2012, 13:36

    I hope they won’t replace Animagique. It’s magical, unique and still very popular. If they want to replace an old attraction, please let it be the poor, lame Studio Trame Tour. Or Armageddon. I enjoy it, but many people are really disappointed by this attraction.

  • gailytennant  14th March 2012, 14:06

    I love hearing about future rides and possible new attractions! Firstly im sooo glad that Armageddon is rumoured to being replaced… its awful and really puts a damper on the whole park! Surely nobody sees it twice!! Personally i would love a soarin but i dont think this will be possible with the budget but definately a tie in with marvel characters. I no at least one small boy who would love it. Also i was saddened to hear of the demise of Captain Eo as a big Michael Jackson fan, but I thought it would be temporary when it returned anyway. I agree that they should upgrade Star Tours ASAP to make it different everytime you ride like Florida etc. These are exciting times for the regular visitor and these new investments and rides/attractions will certainly keep them coming back (me included)!

  • u k fan — It might not necessarily mean Ratatouille is costing less. With the 2006-2008 expansion they kept announcing a €240 million investment, but miraculously got Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Crush’s Coaster, Cars, Tower of Terror, Hollywood Boulevard, Toon Studio and Stitch Live out of it. Tower of Terror alone was estimated at €180m!

    The Marvel retheme of Armageddon is something I had in mind myself! It wouldn’t add capacity, but it would make the attraction much more of a draw. I can’t think what else you could do with that building… it’s too small for most attractions.

    I can’t imagine any spinner or fairground style rides around Ratatouille. Besides lack of space, they will probably want that ride to stand alone.

  • And did you think about the Little Mermaid dark ride??

  • DisneyParisFan  14th March 2012, 14:27

    I sort of expected this.
    If we consider that it will cost roughly the same amount as Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, then we can estimate that it will cost around £84m or 101m euros. That leaves 49m euros for the restaurant, toiletry facilities, refurbishments and the other ride. So with my, highly improbable calculations, we can nearly conclude there will be around 30m euros for the other ride?

    Meaning a Tram tour remake is a bit too expensive, Armageddon maybe but I do believe they will-as you said-change one of those two shows. Or they could do another Cars Roundabout, type thing.


  • This is potentially very exciting, but my instinct is that it might turn out to be a let-down. Surely if there were some big plan for 2014 we’d have had a whiff of it by now?
    Of course, I would love to see Armageddon replaced by something more interesting.

  • samuelvictor  14th March 2012, 15:06

    I completely agree that Armageddon is pretty pointless. We’ve only ever done it once, and after a long que and pre-show were completely underwhelmed and vowed not to waste our time again. The outside of the building (with that cool tank thing) is more exciting than the inside!

    Once again I’d like to point out that this building would be easy and cheap (just like EO) to convert to Muppets 3D – the Muppets are riding high at the moment for Disney so it’d certainly be a pull, and I’m sure could be done easily for just one of that 150 million. The film and programming already exist, and the building already has sound and lighting systems in place, and the themeing would easily be converted to any other theme – rectangular frames and one big, flat sign! The animatronic Statler & Wardorf etc are comparitively simple and cheap, and could probably be recycled from old electronics from teh other parks – they certainly aren’t as expensive as the modern, more complex puppets (Captain Jack etc).

    The tram tour is actually my family’s favourite part of studio park, we always do it first when we arrive, and do it several times during our trip. Mostly because our kids like calamity canyon of course, but the Reign of Fire set is also very impressive, as are the Dinotopia sets and props. However, this last trip it was clear that it had been re-routed quite noticeably to make way for Ratatouille, and this meant there was a lot of times when you were driving along with nothing to look at but a few trees, so it felt very disjointed.

    The only thing that it would take to “fix” the tram tour would be some more cleared areas with that bark stuff put down, then filling them with some props left over from whatever Buena Vista film isn’t using them anymore – how about stuff left over from one of the POTC movies or something kids today are likely to have ssen? The only real cost to do this would be that of moving them. Then the only thing that actually NEEDS to be done is replacing the screens and sound systems in the trams themselves. I’m not entirely sure we’ve EVER had a set that worked properly for the entire trip. I’m never sure why they don’t do that, surely a couple of hundred quid per coach would fix the problems – I’ll even volunteer to do it myself for a free annual pass for my whole family! ;)

    Re-theming Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior needs doing really. It would be easy and cheap to do, just re-recording (or even dubbing the voices of the monkeys) of the pre-show – the cast members who talk live are already saying “Disney Junior”, its just the projected logos that need to be changed. Again, give me an hour in photoshop and I’ll fix that for em, them just a new sign for the outside. Another puzzle as to why it hasn’t been done.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m coming down on the Studio park though, we actually really like the park and spend a lot of time there. We probably spend more on merchandise/food in that park than Disneyland too.

    Personally I really like Animagique and would be sad to see it go.

    I’d love something Marvel themed in the park, but I don’t see this happening – it would be expensive to do it properly.

    I was pleased to see significant progress on the Ratatouille area, everything I’ve seen of the planning for that ride and themed area is excellent. With Crush’s Coaster, Cars, Toy Story and then the new area I feel the whole right hand side of the park will feel “complete” once there is a dark ride, shop and restaurant to match the Pixar theme.

  • I’m with you on The Muppets! They’d be a perfect fit for WDS and a relatively quick and easy swap for Animagique- high capacity, frequent showings, hugely popular and (compared to other options) cheap…. although it would be a shame to lose a show as good as Animagique

  • 100% agree The Muppets would be excellent in the Studios, really enjoyed it at WDW, but I really don’t want to loose Animagique – just love that show.

  • It would be better if Animagique could stay and Cinemagique will be replaced by the muppets.. I really don’t like cinemagique it’s the most borring attraction of the studios Park

  • @samuelvictor I’m pretty sure the muppets would cost more than £1m. Also the studio tram tour needs more than that, it needs the sand that used to be with the dinosaurs, it needs spacing out and it also needs more interesting stuff than just random statues. The televisions have nearly always worked for me but, yeah they could replace those. The Playhouse Disney thing is just trivial and they’ll get round to it eventually.

    I VOTE FOR TOY STORY MANIA IN THE PLAYLAND AREA. Although that most certainly won’t happen as it would be about the same cost of Ratatouille, so there.

  • I would be sad to see Animagique go, I love that show!! I agree that the Muppets would be a good addition and that if something needs replacing in the park it should be the Armageddon attraction. I’m most excited though to hear about the possibility of a 3rd park. What would it be? I think a smaller version of Animal Kingdom would be amazing with some water rides and a mini safari. It’s definitely possible, if you can have safari parks in the UK climate then you can definitely have them in France!!

  • Just want to add my voice to the crowd and say No! Not Animagique! It’s probably my favourite show :) really really good. However, tram tour is a bit stale Enjoyable, but stale.

    Armageddon is pants! Get rid! Muppets all the way, or something new? Pixar seems to get a lot of love in the park, why not a new 3d film based on one of those? Why not It’s Tough To Be A Bug?

  • I’ve got to say I enjoy Armageddon. All i think it needs, is a new theme, a better pre-show, and a much long actual show.

    Why not re-theme it to Fantastic Four? Give the machinery in the main show a new look that better resembles the feel of the film and make it that you’re in the Space Station during the solar flare that gives them their superpowers. It could even have a post-show where you pass screens/mirrors with webcams that show you with your new powers.

    Even better, the “feel” of the attraction could be a subtle cross between the shiny, futuristic look of the new films and the retro-60s comic-book feel of the original comic, letting it blend slighty with Production Courtyward.

    I’m getting far too ahead of myself for a comments thread.

  • Armageddon is pointless. An old film that wasn’t that successful in the first place.

    For a 3rd gate, I would love a huge indoor water based theme park (Paris does not have enough good weather for outdoor).
    It shouldn’t be a water park, it needs a Disney uniquenes. Aquariums built into the building, a 20000 leagues submarine ride (maybe a version of buzz lightyear), helicopter ride hanging from the roof, sealion shows, dogem boats, water based rollercoasters going through the aquarium, water cannon shooting boat ride, canal boats around the buildings zones, costumed characters around the pools etc.
    i.e. something nobody has done before that you could do all day.
    The only issue I can see is how to sell merchandise to people in swimming costumes :-)

  • samuelvictor  15th March 2012, 10:58

    I’m glad most people don’t want to see Animagique go, we all love it! Glad the consensus seems to be to get rid of Armageddon, and others like the idea of Muppets. I’ve always loved those guys and am glad to see Disney finally making the most of the license with the new movie, and to see it doing well for them.

    When I was talking about the TVs in the tram tour, what I was referring to is the picture often drops out, the sound is too quiet to hear, or in some carts there is no picture at all, or no sound, or both! I still think its a valid attraction, but the new route does give noticeable empty spots.

  • They could put a new 3D Movie into Armageddon like the Muppets or Tough to be a Bug making the two pre show rooms into one.

  • The studios can be quite boring after many visits (although still visit for the hell of it)not enough excting rides for the older age group ie: teens – grannies age. Cinemagique,Animagique, Armageddon are all good to see first time round, but after 10 years they have had their day; time to change. I would also love to see “The great movie ride” in place of cinemagique.There was a rumour many years ago that DLP may be getting Splash Mountain,any more news on this?

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