Will The New Paramount Park in Spain Jeopardize Disneyland Paris’ Future?

Written by Rick Wright. Posted in Features, Weekend Update

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SpanishParkToo

Published on May 26, 2013 at 3:00 am with 9 Comments

Alain Littaye, of the Disney and more blog, brings us part two of our virtual tour of Paramount Parks Europe’s new proposed theme park in Alhama de Murcia, Spain. He also shares his analysis of the economic impact on the Disneyland Paris Resort and the surprising reason why this new park might jeopardize any new attractions in the Paris park. ~~Rick

Paramount Park at Alhama de Murcia, Spain
Virtual Tour Part Two

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Here is part two of my report on the upcoming Paramount Park at Alhama de Murcia, Spain. If you missed part one posted yesterday, you MUST read it first to better understand what is proposed for this new theme park. You’ll find part one HERE.

Continuing our tour from part one, the next land is called “Woodland Fantasy”. It will be a mix of Fantasyland and Harry Potter land – in “spirit” only of course as the rides and attractions will be unique. In Woodland Fantasy “kids will find all the fantasy included in some of their favorite movies and it will be the headquarters for all young fans of magic. Thanks to the Stardust’s Magician Workshop, they will be able to improve their techniques to excel at magic.”

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The big E-Ticket ride of Woodland Fantasy will be “Spiderwick Chronicles” inspired by the famous children books and movies of the same name. It will be an interactive attraction using cutting edge technology. Visitors will use their magic wand to gain the most possible points as they ride through a series of 3D projected fantasy scenes.

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In “Fairy Tale Voyages” visitors will travel via boat to different places to discover whether fairy characters exist or not and where to find them.

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Woodland Fantasy will also include a play zone with a maze and other childrens rides including a carousel with fantasy creatures.

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The other big attraction will be Sleepy Hollow, a movie “in which 3D audio effects and holographic projections will join forces with the Headless Horseman so visitors will not be sure if what they hear is real or is the Horseman is in the room with them…”

I have the feeling this one might use the 3D audio technology previously used by WDI Imagineers in WDW “Alien Encounter” attraction.

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Let’s move on to “Plaza Futura”, the “Tomorrowland” of this Paramount park! Plaza Futura “will be dedicated to science fiction and to that uncertain future that many movies have described, with thrilling outer space adventures”.

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Special effects will have the major role in each corner of Plaza Futura. The big E-Ticket ride will be the Star Trek attraction, which will use state of the art technology and launch riders on a thrilling journey into the stars. Below, renderings of the pre-show and the show itself – it looks like it’ll be a big simulator ride.

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On the “Warp Speed” coaster, riders will blast through the most thrilling ride in the galaxy! A catapult launch seems to be guaranteed on this one.

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At “Quasar Force” kids will enjoy an activity where they will become space heroes in a more colorful and inviting version of outer space. The ride itself looks like a mad mouse coaster…

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That’s the end of the artwork report, but you can see more about the Paramount Park Murcia project in the presentation video below. The park was supposed to open in 2015, but I think it’s better to bet on an opening not before 2016.

The big question for DLP fans is “will this new park be a competitor and have an effect on Disneyland Paris attendance?” Considering that Paramount Park Murcia will be located in the south of Spain, more than 869 miles from DLP, and is smaller than DLP, it won’t be a daily competitor as Universal is to WDW in Orlando. But is it going to hurt DLP attendance? Yes, it probably will. I think Paramount Park Murcia is bad news for DLP, and here is why.

As you know, the Walt Disney Company made a huge cash payment to DLP – 1.332 billion euros – to allow DLP to refinance its debt with the banks. This was done to eliminate huge interest payments that DLP’s debt, but now of course DLP owes 1.332 billion euros to the WDC.

I have been told that there is an additional wrinkle to this deal that is not widely known: the WDC investment will allow DLP to pay for the WDS Ratatouille ride, but the park will have to finance all future attractions by itself. This is why DLP hasn’t announced an opening date for the Ratatouille ride opening next year. Now each visitor to DLP parks counts more than ever, and DLP definitely doesn’t want anyone to delay a visit to the park until the Ratatouille ride opens. If park attendance falls, then the resort revenues will fall, and it is these revenues each year that will allow DLP pay for future attractions.

Now that you know this, you can surmise why the Paramount Park in Spain might be a danger for DLP. Paramount is already a well known movie studio. When the park opens, they surely will do a big marketing operation all over Europe. You can be sure that the local Spaniards as well as some of the millions of tourists who go on vacation each summer in Spain will consider a trip to the new park as a “must do” since they will find plenty of new rides that they’ve never seen before. Sure, Paramount Park Murcia won’t divert millions of DLP visitors, but even if it is 300,000 or 500,000 fewer visitors each year, it could be catastrophic for Disneyland Paris as it is precisely these “last” 500,000 visitors on which DLP makes its profit.

And, as I said before, no DLP profits – no new rides. And this doesn’t take into account the possible opening of the other Paramount Park in London, which will make the situation even worse. DLP attracts more visitors from the U.K than from Spain, especially now with the big economic crisis in Spain. I would only advise that management at DLP not underestimate this new Paramount Park. Though not as big as DLP, it could very well be as good as a small Universal Studios park.

Your thoughts?

Artwork and video: copyright Paramount Pictures and Parks

About Rick Wright

Rick has been a long term MiceChat author and co-founder of the Weekend Update. You will often find Rick in the position of "Greeter" at official events due to his warm and welcoming spirit. If you've got photos, news or trip reports to share, Rick would love to hear from you: [email protected]

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9 Comments

Comments for Will The New Paramount Park in Spain Jeopardize Disneyland Paris’ Future? are now closed.

  1. Disneyland Paris, Disney California Adventure’s Carland and Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter prove the “Field of Dreams” quote: If you build it, they will come.

    So what besides Ratatouille should Disneyland Paris build?
    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-paris/182517-howd-you-spend-1-billion-improve-paris-studios-park.html
    Hollywood producers raise hundreds of millions all of the time. Just give people something incredible to invest in.

  2. If the new Paramount Park jeopardizes DLP, so be it. I say bring on the competition. As much as we love Disney here, none of us is getting paid by the company. We should all want the best for every park because that means a better Disney product. For nearly 20 years, the Disney Company has been complacent. They act like they are the big kid on the block which is really nothing more than saying the Mouse is “too big for his britches”. If Disney hadn’t built its second Europe park on the cheap, actually invested in the DL park, and performed regular maintenance, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    The last two times I’ve visited DLP I’ve been shown the door when I tried to take my family in to eat snacks in the big restaurant in Discoveryland. I hold 5 Dream passes, but I have to spend $10 on a salad to sit in a warm, dry location. DLP can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Disney in Europe is like Disney in the States–you are supposed to worship the company with them giving no thought to your experience. Think I’m wrong? Look at how all of us fanboys slobber whenever Disneyland’s 50th is discussed, or Cars Land, or World of Color. That’s the level of show and investment the entire company should be making. Us fans are so starved for quality that when one park finally gets around to investing real money, we’re excited. The reality is that DLP and WDW should both be at the same level of quality as Japan. Every picture shown of Japan on Miceage shows one packed park. Now those are results you can’t argue with.

    If Paramount hurts DLP, DLP has only itself to blame. Let’s not spend energy here acting like we’re personally invested in a theme park that doesn’t pay us to be. We consumers have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  3. I dunno. I get your points, but DLP is already competing with Warner Bros in Madrid, Port Aventura, and (to a lesser extent), Terra Mitica (which, incidentally, used to be a Paramount park). I think this will eat into the Mediterranean theme park industry more than it will affect Paris. I see British parks and EuropaPark being a bigger threat to DLP, as they share tighter transportation networks.

    Alhama de Murcia is in the proverbial middle of nowhere, even if Murcia itself is a sizable city.

    • I looked it up on the map and it sure is in the middle of nowhere. Do a lot of Continental Tourists drive there for cheap holidays?

      • No one goes to that part. The theme park would be the only draw. I used to live in Cartagena. The tourists stick to the coast.

    • Spain is definitely hanging out there. The benefit of DLP is the “P”…Paris. I’m not sure what else would draw me to that part of Spain other than the Paramount park. I’m interested in knowing what discussions took place in the Disney ranks to narrow down the potential sites for the EuroDisney park. Was any other location considered other than France?

      • Many locations were considered, but it was narrowed down to two in France and two in Spain. The French ones were Paris and some other site down by Toulouse. The Spanish ones were along the Mediterranean. I’m not sure on exact sites, but I know at least one of them was in Catalonia.

        Both countries offered attractive incentives to Disney. Most people think France just out-incentivized Spain, but Disney’s decision was more due to demographics and transportation infrastructure.

        Spain has well-developed road and rail links, but its touristy areas are just places that Europeans go to have cheap beach vacations. Airport access is decent, but even Barcelona is just not as integrated as Paris.

        Also, Spain’s rail network is on broad gauge and the rest of Europe is on standard. This makes rail travel feasible, but a pain, due to the need to swap out truck assemblies at the border. Only now does Spain have dedicated high-speed rail at the same gauge as the rest of Europe, making rail travel elsewhere around the continent much easier.

        Paris is also attractive for Europeans, but think about other things – it is centrally-located as far as Western Europe goes. It is much easier to access by rail for a much larger portion of the population. Germany is close by. There’s now Eurostar rail access door-to-door from London to DLP. It was much easier to get more Europeans into Paris than expect them to (likely) fly to Spain. RER trains run straight to the front door of DLP, as well.

        Disney didn’t really lose out. I lived in Spain for a few years and no one had a problem getting up to Paris to hit up Disneyland.

  4. I lost count of how many times you said “3D” or “simulator” in both parts of the article… Universal did amazing things with Transformers, but it sounds like this park will have a lot of projections instead of practical sets. Cop out?

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