It’s always best to get the bad news out of the way first – and the bad news this month is that there really isn’t much action at all regarding Disneyland Paris rumours. Sure things have happened, the upgrade for Star Tours to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has been confirmed for 2017 and a tiger has been seen roaming around the area near Disneyland Paris. (Actually on that story, I never heard the end of it. Did they catch it? Did it eat anybody? Was it just a Cast Member who forgot to remove his Tigger costume?) These things aren’t really rumours though; there’s been an ominous lack of speculation and debate even on Twitter this month. The good news is that this gives me free-reign to go a little more left-field and tackle some less current rumours and embellish my own thoughts a little bit. OK, well that’s good news for me at least!
Star Wars land
This is a great place to start! This rumour has been around a very very very long time, but I haven’t covered it because there hasn’t been anything recently which has suggested that it might be coming soon in any possible way. If you’re not familiar with the rumour, it’s the idea that the area of Discoveryland behind Space Mountain (where Star Tours, Captain EO & Pizza Planet are) will be turned into a Star Wars themed mini-land. Speculation has suggested that the Pizza Planet restaurant could be turned into the Mos Eisley Cantina and maybe there would even be a Millennium Falcon to wander around. Sounds amazing, right?
And there’s a few reasons to suggest that this rumour may have some grounding. Firstly, Disney now own the rights to Star Wars and have a new series of films coming out soon. Furthermore Discoveryland already has a decent Star Wars presence thanks to Star Tours and its shop, plus it is nigh-on confirmed that the Hyperion stage will soon feature a Jedi Training Academy interactive show for kids. There’s also the fact that the area of the park in discussion is pretty dead at the minute anyway: Captain EO is not a popular attraction (many of us classic Disneyland fans have great appreciation for it, but we have to admit that it isn’t a crowd pleaser) and Disney have already confirmed that it won’t be replaced by another 3D show because the 3D technology is so widely available in regular cinemas, so isn’t particularly magic any more. With this in mind, a re-theme could be just what the area needs. Rumours of a Star Wars land at other Disneyland parks across the world are also very prominent, particularly at the Californian Disneyland where rumours suggest that plans are very nearly ready to be put into action.
Despite all these great reasons, I still don’t believe that we’ll see a Star Wars land at Disneyland Paris any time soon. Disneyland Paris has made no moves to suggest that anything other than the Star Tours upgrade and Jedi Academy will be happening in that area any time soon, and I would think that this is because Disneyland Paris really doesn’t have the money to throw at an investment on the scale of the creation of a new mini-land. It might be a nice place for it, but realistically the area doesn’t need it, whereas the Walt Disney Studios Park is in real need of investment and Disneyland Paris have publicly said that this is their objective. With a finite pot of money, it really is only sensible that the investment goes to the place where it is most necessary.
On a more emotional level, I also don’t think that the Imagineers would be so quick to impact on the retro-futuristic theme of Discoveryland by potentially tainting it with Star Wars. Discoveryland’s heart is in its distinct and bold theme, having too much Star Wars puts that heart at risk. The worlds of Jules Verne which are so dearly indulged at Discoveryland are not really compatible with the world of Death Stars and lightsabers, the current Star Wars theming is subtle and unobtrusive and I feel that this is the way things must remain. Disneyland Paris also has a requirement as part of a deal with the French government to represent French history and culture, which it does primarily through Discoveryland’s Jules Verne theme – just a reminder, George Lucas isn’t French!
Studio Tram Tour
The end of the summer season in Walt Disney World was marked with the sad closure of that park’s original version of Studio Tram Tour, the Backlot Tour. I don’t want to suggest that our own Catastrophe Canyon will stop setting itself on fire and then drowning itself any time soon, but, well, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. I don’t believe that Studio Tram Tour really has a future at the Walt Disney Studios Park.
It seems odd to say that, doesn’t it? It’s an uncomfortable thought because it was an opening day attraction and it is in many ways the premier attraction at the park – it’s right in front of you once you exit Studio 1. It isn’t so prominent nowadays because of the large perspective sets between Studio 1 and itself, and Tower of Terror certainly draws the eye, but I can easily remember a time when the park was very bare between Studio 1 and Tram Tour; just by aesthetics it was a major focus for the park.
It isn’t such a major focus today though, and I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. To make way for additions to the park such as the Toy Story and Ratatouille mini-lands, Tram Tour has had scenes removed and its route pushed around. Disney seem fairly casual to do this and they’ve not even bothered to make sure that the in-ride video is still synced totally after all the changes. This stinks of a ride on its way out. The other major problem with Studio Tram Tour is that it is a serious barrier to park expansion. The spare land around the park is behind Tram Tour, and although it would be possible to bridge the Tour route, it is fairly unlikely that they’d do that. It would be much easier to just clear the attraction out of the way and give some much better breathing space. With all the space behind it, the current site of the Tour’s station is right where the centre of the park would be if they did expand behind it. They wouldn’t be building a caste, but Disney like to have centres to their parks and it has been suggested that maybe a small lake would be a good centre piece for the park.
As far as I’m concerned, Tram Tour is on its last legs. I can’t imagine the costs involved with running Catastrophe Canyon and the fuel for the trucks must cost a pretty penny too! Disneyland Paris have made it their mission objective to make Walt Disney Studios Park an ‘all-day’ park and that can only come with major expansion, which I believe will be at the cost of Tram Tour.
The big rumour: The 10 + 2 Updates rumour
And finally we’ll recap on the 10 + 2 Updates rumour. If you’ve not heard of this rumour before now, then you’re really missing out! The 10 + 2 Updates rumour is a well backed rumour which claims that in the run up to Disneyland Paris’ 25th birthday in 2017 – the Disneyland Park will receive 10 attraction updates, while the Walt Disney Studios Park will receive an additional 2. By updates, we’re assuming this means a proper refurbishment with major changes.
Walt Disney Studios Park:
– 2015: Tower of Terror (Source – @DisneylandBerry) A potential repair job on the exterior of the show building.
– [Unknown date]: Replacement for Animagique, which is reportedly closing this year.
– 2015: Space Mountain (@DisneylandBerry) A major upgrade including new trains.
– 2015: Frozen Show at the Chapperal Theatre.
– 2016: Big Thunder Mountain (@DisneylandBerry) “full refurbishment with surprises”.
– 2017: Phantom Manor (@InsideDLP) possible retheme.
– [Confirmed] 2017: Star Tours upgrade to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
– [Unknown date]: Cafe Hyperion to host Jedi Training Academy.
– [Unknown date]: Update to Adventure Isle area?
– [Unknown date]: Autopia to use hybrid engines.
– [Unknown date]: Parade update.
– [No conclusive rumour yet]*
– [No conclusive rumour yet]*
*You do hear bucket-loads of rumours which could go here, but I’m only interested in the ones that seem to have some sort of grounding.
And that draws this month’s slightly unusual Rumour Mill to a close. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these rumours so feel free to leave a comment below, contact us on Facebook or on Twitter @MagicalDLP (& author: @SIMCITYWEST).