Outside Paris, France
Walt Disney Theme Parks
Disneyland Paris: Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Disneyland Railroad Discoveryland Station - NOW CLOSED through March 13
Casey Jr - NOW CLOSED through Mar. 24
Le Pays des Contes de Fées - NOW CLOSED through Mar. 24
Star Tours - NOW CLOSED through March 25 (Star Tours 2)
Space Mountain - NOW CLOSED through May 5
Pirates of the Caribbean - NOW CLOSED through Summer 2017
Park News - (2/13/17) Very interesting news has come out in the past few days regarding the future of the Disneyland Paris resort. Over the years the former EuroDisney Resort has struggled financially for a number of reasons, starting with an overabundance of on-site resorts when it first launched and was struggling to fill all the rooms. Later when things seemed stable, they pushed ahead a little too quickly to build a small second gate park and immediately the financial problems began again, along with guest satisfaction problems regarding the second park.
While this second scenario sounds familiar, echoing a lot of what took place at the Disneyland Resort when the California Adventure park was also quickly slammed into place on a small budget, the ability for the corporate Disney office to drop a billion in improvements and fixes just wasn't in the cards for Walt Disney Studios Paris because of the unique ownership arrangement for the European park. Disney only owed a percentage of the French resort, with the rest held by various investors, which has caused some serious complications over the years in regards to how capital funds are approved and put into place, along with the matter of the constant debt the resort was in regarding to paying off their various credit loans, as well as paying off investors, and Disney itself for the use of their IP.
Over the past several years we have seen Disney steadily gaining more control over the Paris resort through means of buying and paying off some of the loans in exchanged for a greater ownership percentage of the park, and now it was announced that the Walt Disney Company is now purchasing an additional 9% ownership of Euro Disney SCA through a buyout of shares from mega-investor, Saudi Price Alwaleed Bin Talal. The end result has given The Walt Disney Company an 85.7% ownership of Euro Disney SCA, who has followed this up with an open purchase offer to buy up all the rest of the outstanding shares for $2.13 a share, which is said to be 67% high than what the shares were worth when the market closed that day.
Essentially, unless something unforeseen takes place, it looks like the whole of the Disneyland Paris resort will soon fall under sole ownership of The Walt Disney Company, which can only be a good thing going forward for all parties involved and finally bring an end to the past cash-flow problems of the European resort property.
(1/26/17) Disney & More has posted another quick update, going over the latest news regarding the start of the park's 25th Anniversary celebration on Mar. 26, 2017. This includes a look at some concept art for a new Frozen themed parade float along with a lot of new blue and silver anniversary decorations being planned.
(1/11/17) A collection of photos and a last video run-through of Space Mountain: Mission 2 and the original Pirates of the Caribbean experience from Disneyland Paris have been posted to Disney & More this week. Both attractions are now closed for transformations that will update the former into a Star Wars themed Hyperspace Mountain experience in the Spring and Pirates will add new animatronics based on the characters from the film series to the scenes when it reopens in the Summer.
(1/8/17) I'm told that "Space Mountain: Mission 2" came to an end on Sunday evening, and the attraction has now closed briefly for the addition of some Star Wars themeing that will see it reopened as Hyperspace Mountian: Rebel Mission sometime in Spring 2017. With Star Wars: Episode 8 hitting theaters in December 2017, it is likely that the Hyperspace Mountain version of the ride experience may hang around at least for the next 18 months, and possibly even longer.
It was also mentioned that Pirates of the Caribbean also closed at the end of the day for an extended rehab that will see Jack Sparrow and other characters from the films added to the ride experience along with some new special effects by the time it reopens in July 2017. Originally the plan was to have the ride reopen around the same time the latest Pirates film was to hit theaters, but the release schedule for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was bumped up from the original July 7, 2017 date to now hit theaters worldwide by May 26, 2017. Of course this could put a little pressure on Imagineering to try and speed up their rehab to soft open sooner if possible, so we'll just have to wait and see.
2017 - Big Thunder Mountain Restoration - (12/15/16) Big Thunder Mountain soft opened at Disneyland Paris after undergoing a complete refurshment, plus new added improvements. You can see a video showing off the walk-through of the queue area and POV on the ride inself, including a look at the new 'explosive' finale, in the video below.
(12/5/16) A collection of up-close new photos of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris are posted at Loopings this week, showing off all the new detail and restoration work that Disney has performed on the attraction while it was closed for most of the last year. Look for Big Thunder Mountain to soft open to guests as early as Friday, December 9th.
(11/14/16) After being closed for the past year, the reopening of Big Thunder Mountain is getting close to happening (now set for December 17), and as a major sign that things are moving towards the big finish line the waters of the Rivers of the Far West are being refilled at last. Check out some photos in the update posted to DLPToday.
(7/26/16) A new article and even a video going over the details of the Big Thunder Mountain renovation at Disneyland Paris has been posted to Disney & More this week.
(11/2/15) Disneyland Paris has begun the long process of rehabbing the Rivers of the Far West, Big Thunder Mountain and more. You can see pictures at Disney & More of the interesting setup they have already installed in Paris that includes a bridge across to the Big Thunder island area, as well as a modular "life base camp" building for the workers who will be on site through to January 2017. The article also confirms that Big Thunder Mountain will also be getting a similar projection-mapping explosive finale effect on the last lift hill, much like the one installed onto the Disneyland version in California last year.
(1/28/15) Disney & More reports that Big Thunder Mountain will go down for a complete overhaul that appears likely to begin around November 2015 and wont see it open again until Late 2016. Much like the long rehabs to the Disneyland and Disney World versions of Big Thunder, I'd expect to see some track replacement and in the case of DLP, new trains have long been rumored that may be a car longer to increase ride capacity. I'd also expect to see an enhanced version of the ride's queue added as well as new special effects to the lift hills and some tunnels.
(11/24/14) Look for Big Thunder to close for 6 to 9 months for a complete restoration and likely some track replacement. The exact timeline is not known yet.
Spring 2017 - Hyperspace Mountain: Rebel Mission - Under Construction - (2/1/17) A couple of photos of a new train car for Hyperspace Mountain / Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris can be found here. I'm happy to report that these appear to be Vekoma's newer train design that offer a soft vest style restraint, allowing riders to experience the coaster with much better viewing angles and virtually no head-banging since the bulky over the shoulder style restraints are no longer there.
Fantastic news to be sure for those who can't wait to experience the new Hyperspace Mountain in the near future! (Update: I’m now told that a photo of that same Vekoma lead car sitting on site at the park has been making the rounds for the past year or two, so this may not be the new train after-all.)
(9/16/16) Disneyland Paris has confirmed that Space Mountain will become Hyperspace Mountain, with added Star Wars themeing, sometime in March 2017. This is only a temporary overlay, though if they treat it like they did with the first one at Disneyland, it could stay up for a year or longer if it proves popular.
Spring 2017 - Star Tours 2 - (5/7/16) Concept artwork and plans for the new look of the Star Wars attraction building (complete with an X-Wing fighter parked on the roof) can be found in a new update posted to Disney & More this week.
(1/28/15) Disney & More has set a timeline for the update of Star Tours to Star Tours 2 which would see the ride close in early 2016 and remain closed until early 2017. The project may also mark the timeline needed to add a first phase of other new Star Wars themed projects to the land, one of which could be a Star Wars themed restaurant concept. Meanwhile the new Jedi Academy show opening later in 2015 is expected to keep the Star Wars theme alive in the park during the upgrade of the attraction.
(11/24/14) Going beyond just an upgrade of the attraction, I’m told that the Star Tours 2 experience would take over Star Tours, the Star Traders gift shop and the Captain EO building to allow for a bigger gift shop experience and some kind of new post-ride experience, that could include a star wars character meet & greet area.
(9/16/14) Forbes reports that Disneyland Paris may be making plans to open a new Star Wars themed investment into the park in time to celebrate the park’s 25th anniversary in 2017. They talk about updating Star Tours to the new version of the attraction, as the Paris park is the only Disney park to still have the old original Star Tours ride still running, but will they also add something more along the way?
Summer 2017 – Pirates of the Caribbean Upgrade - Under Construction - (11/24/14) The long rumored upgrade of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to feature some characters from the film series, like Capt. Jack Sparrow, is still said to be in the works. With the 5th film in the series (Dead Men Tell No Tales) slated for release in 2017, this project seems even more likely to be timed out to match up with that film’s release. However the Pirates makeover may extend beyond the ride itself and see additional Pirates themeing added to Adventureland itself, possibly brining the Legend of the Seven Seas interactive game elements added to Walt Disney World not long ago to the Paris park.
2017/2018 - MyMagic+ - Rumor - (11/24/14) I’m told that there is a loose plan to try and bring the MyMagic system to life at the Disneyland Paris Resort sometime around 2017 or so. This would see the whole rollout of MagicBands for ticket-free admission, FastPass+, wireless payment systems and more installed throughout both theme parks and the resort hotels.
Other Disneyland Paris Resort Projects
2016 - Villages Nature - (5/23/15) The current timeline for this project now has the first phase opening in 2016. You can see more at the official website.
(12/8/10) Disney and More has posted a few more pieces of art and explanation about what we should expect to see at the upcoming unveiling of the Village Nature project near Disneyland Paris.
(12/2/10) DizFanatic has posted some new concept artwork for the Les Villages Nature project, and I don’t believe I’ve seen anywhere else.
(11/29/10) According to NewsParcs, Euro Disney has announced a new project called Villages Nature, a mixed use resort themed to the harmony between man and nature. The entire resort is to be built around a huge geothermal lagoon, which will have a new waterpark placed next to it that is expected to be the biggest in Europe. The first phase of this project could open as early as 2015, located 6 km South of Disneyland Paris.
(9/16/10) In a most interesting follow up to the reports about a 3rd park being planned for Disneyland Paris, this article claims that one of the ideas for the 3rd park is to base it entirely around the concept of the Marvel Superhero universe.
(9/15/10) Disneyland Paris just announced their intention to build a THIRD theme park on the resort property as well as other projects as part of a deal extension with the French government good through to 2030. This will see an unknown 3rd park added, a new leisure village called “Village Nature of Val d’Europe”, a water park and the sale of 10,000 housing units on site. No timeline was given for the 3rd park, but it is thought to be at least 10 years until it opens, which is good because they have to finish “fixing” and filling out the Studios first I think.
2015 to 2020 - Convention Center Resort - Planning - (9/23/13) The latest report from Disney & More indicates that a new hotel with a convention center, as well as a new bus station will be built new the Disney Village and Vinci parking lot is planned to open sometime between 2015 - 2020.