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Questioning Re-Imagined Disney Adventure World Paris: Amazing or Abysmal?

Disney recently announced an interesting update to what I’ve (and a few others) have called the worst Disney Park in the world, Walt Disney Studio Park in France. If you want to know more about why it’s the worst Disney Park, be sure to read my article on the subject. However, as a brief overview the problem with this park is that it was created based on a concept that wasn’t very strong, with the main element of the concept being missing. It was a studio themed amusement park without a real studio.

In the late 80s Disney, under Michael Eisner, decided that they wanted to enter the world of studio theme parks. This was very likely because at that time Universal Studios became one of the main competitors with Disney Parks. Disney decided that they too could play this game and introduced their first studio park in Florida, MGM Studios. The park wasn’t a total failure, in great part because the theme park not only functioned as a place for people to ride attractions and see shows, but it also worked as a functioning movie and animation studio. I imagine that this park was profitable enough that they decided to build another one in Paris, minus the fully functioning studio. In fact, due to some budget cuts and problems with Euro Disney being profitable, the park opened up to a fairly lackluster performance.

There have been several attempts to improve this park, with a few successes and a few failures since the opening. However, Walt Disney Studios Park still ranks as one of the worst Disney parks, and pales in comparison to parks like Tokyo Disney Sea and Animal Kingdom when you’re looking at overall themes. The original concept was a place to give guests the feeling of being backstage at a Hollywood studio, however it just gave the feeling of being in the back of an industrial lot. The new attractions including Crush’s Coaster and Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy certainly give guests more options for attractions, but the overall theme of this park still felt like an industrial lot.

It appears that Disney has decided to invest in this ailing park, and have not only put up some money, but also decided to think about an overall re-theme (I hope). Over the last few years Walt Disney Studio Park has started to get some pretty high-end attractions and lands. This included Avengers Campus and will include the upcoming Frozen land. The initial problem is while these lands are great, they don’t really offer a solution to the overall theme problem at this park. A recent announcement has suggested that rather than shoehorn these lands into the studio theme, Disney is going to try and update the overall theme of the park as well. 

The true sign that something is truly in line to change is that they have decided to rename this park to Disney Adventure World. This new name strips the park of the concept that it’s some kind of movie studio and suggest that the park will represent various lands that collectively make up a world. Along with the name change came announcements about updates being made to the overall look and feel of the park, including the addition of a water area called Adventure Bay that will be surrounded by various lands. There’s also going to be a refresh of the front of the park that includes more gardens and greenery, and less large open grey buildings.

They’re not totally stripping out the idea of a movie studio, since the entrance will be an homage to classic movie theatres and the main front area will be turned into a place called World Premiere Plaza which will apparently celebrate Disney and Pixar movies. According to the descriptions, it feels like they’re turning the front of a park into a celebration instead of feeling like a place where people work. It seems like they’ll try and turn it into a party instead of a series of industrial buildings.

After you leave the main area, the concept seems to suggest that rather than entering studios that are creating Disney content, you’ll step into the worlds of the various films. Rather than showing you behind the scenes of how films are made, they’ll attempt to make you feel like you’ve stepped into the film itself. This basic concept seems to suggest the idea of magic, rather than showing people how magic is made. Having worked in the film industry, I know that film magic can be tedious, dull and feel really slow. Films take years to make and stepping behind the scenes in reality means watching the lighting department set up for 6 hours before filming a 30 second shot. Maybe it’s because of my background, but I find the studios parks to be kind of dull, maybe because they remind me of work. I also can’t walk into those parks without feeling like the peek behind the curtain is actually very untrue.

What I’m saying is, you don’t really want to peek behind the curtains of the film industry because it’s really slow and can be very dull. While there are moments of amazing, there is a great deal that goes into films that is just not that fun. This is why the idea of a park showing this off never really made sense to me. I do, however, like where this new concept is heading, instead of showing how the films are made, they’re using the movie theme as a porthole to walk into the worlds created on screen. This to me seems much more magical and less industrial, and I hope the updated design of this park shows just this.

My final thought on this park comes from a history that Disney has with grand updates. The history is not a great one, and while they’re allocating billions of dollars towards this great update, I’m skeptical that it will all play out as planned. In fact, I’d be blow away if even half of it come to fruition. Disney has a way of making huge billion-dollar announcements, and then cutting as many corners as they can when it comes to actually putting the park together. This worries me because the Walt Disney Studio Park needs some expensive upgrades in order for it to turn from the worst park to one of the best. I’d like to ask the Disney executives to please let the Imagineers do their magic and turn the park into something special, but I feel like it falls on deaf ears.

So, I guess I’m saying that this announcement is a great first step, but the promises of this are just being the beginning. This park may transform into an amazing entrance into the many worlds of Disney-owned intellectual properties, even if that sounds a little too good to be true. 2025 is when a bunch of these projects are expected to take shape, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Star Wars land – Rumor has it that there might be a land dedicated to the Mandalorian, and not just another Black Spire Outpost.

Cars Land – It could be a direct copy or maybe a special European theme.

Zootopia – They just finished building the one in Shanghai, why not build on in France, too.

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