Disneyland Paris | Opinion: How to fix Walt Disney Studios park

Disneyland Paris' second gate, Walt Disney Studios park, is widely regarded as the worst Disney theme park in the world. The main problem with the park is that it simply seems bare, the theme of a "Studio" has never worked. It does not work in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and it does not work here in Paris. The studio theme means bland concrete structures and facades - the very opposite of a Disney park. Walt Disney would never have allowed a place that was meant to immerse people in an environment to have so many flaws that removed this immersion.

The Attractions:
The problem with Walt Disney Studios is not so much the attractions that are currently there because for the most part these are of good quality.

  • Animagique and Cinemagique are two great stage shows both with a huge capacity. Stitch Live and Disney Jnr are also good quality but with a lower capacity. Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show also has a huge capacity.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Rock n Rollercoaster are two great attractions, though the theming on the outside of RnR could really do with some improvement.
  • Toy Story Playland (with 3 attractions), Flying Carpets of Aladdin and Cars are well themed areas but are fairly standard fairground type attractions - every park needs a few of these though.
  • Armaggedon seems a bit random but it is a unique attraction and also has a very high hourly capacity.
  • Art of Animation and Studio Tram Tour accomplish their roles well in a studio themed park.
  • Crush's Coaster is a great ride but unfortunately has a terrible hourly capacity meaning that queues are usually very, very long.

Whilst the sixteen attractions that are currently in the park provide a multitude of experiences, they are nowhere near the 30+ attractions offered at Disneyland Park.

If we're choosing attraction clones to come from other parks we would vote for the following: Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin' and if the money were really there, a Cars Land clone - which case the right hand area of the park could be dubbed Pixar Studios.

 

The key difference however is the theming which brings us on to the next point...

Theming:
Whereas in Disneyland Park you can stroll around the different lands and feel immersed in them, the same does not really apply for Walt Disney Studios - by looking around you what tells you that the area around Rock n Rollercoaster is any different to the one in front of Armageddon or Animagique. Nothing - the ground is the same with concrete, there's no visual elements (or 'weenies') designed to grab your attention, as such the lands all blend into one.

The theme of a studio needs to go - as mentioned earlier in the article this theme just doesn't work. Even Universal acknowledged this when it opened its second Floridian theme park, Islands of Adventure. The focus was no longer on seeing how movies were made but rather on creating immersive worlds, much like how Disneyland Park is.

The solution for this would to create something akin to the $1.2b re-theme of Disney's Californian Adventure, a theme park which is an "adventure" and filled with several differently themed lands. Studio 1 needs to disappear once the studio theme is gone - instead create a covered entrance walkway such as the one below at Tokyo Disneyland.


This photo of Tokyo Disneyland is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The other areas, need a new pavement that is not concrete, weenies to look at, vegetation and things to look at in between the attractions - scenery, props and more - Disney admittedly have accomplished this better recently.

Dining:

With the opening of the Ratatouille restaurant food is slowly getting there at the park, there will be a full-service dining option but more are needed. How about a higher class restaurant too? Plus, just generally more food outside of Studio 1 - there's no place to the right of the Tower of Terror at all (except the Ratatouille restaurant when it opens).

Entertainment:

The current state of the Stars and Cars parade is dire. A fully-fledged parade with floats is definitely needed at this park. Perhaps it could be supplemented by a second parade later in the day to keep people in the park and then... More random character meet and greets are also sorely needed at this park.

Nighttime:

After the second parade an hour or so later guests could stick around for a nighttime spectacular. A World of Color style fountain show would be perfect we think or even Fantasmic. Timing of a nighttime show would have to be carefully planned so that it ran about 30 minutes before Disney Dreams in Disneyland Park. This would mean guests would have to choose one of the nighttime shows and would be unable to see both in their entirety meaning that they would have to purchase a multi-day ticket. More importantly, however by not running both shows at exactly the same time it would mean that fireworks would not interfere with the viewing of the shows. The space for this? Say goodbye to Light's Motors Action, and get ready to a sit-down show or open up the area for a larger area and a stood up experience.