Disney announced today a massive, multi-year expansion that will bring new attractions, characters, and live entertainment to Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris Resort. Disney will invest €2 billion to open areas based on Star Wars, Marvel, and Frozen beginning 2021, arguably the biggest update to happen at this park since opening its second gate in 2002.
Concept art shows full areas dedicated to Star Wars, Marvel, and Frozen. A new lake will connect the new areas and serve as a central location for entertainment. Star Wars and Frozen will take the space currently occupied by the Studio Tram Tour, and the Marvel area appears to sit in the current Backlot space, home to Lights, Motor, Action, an Armageddon-themed special effects show, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, announced earlier this month to become a Marvel-themed attraction.
The news of this expansion comes seven months after the Walt Disney Company bought out Euro Disney to retain control of the park. In addition to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster makeover, Disneyland Paris previously announced a Marvel update to its Hotel New York.
Disney has already announced Marvel- and Frozen-themed areas for Hong Kong Disneyland, and combined with the plans for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, we wouldn’t be surprised if Paris’ areas are a rough copy/paste job of the work being done elsewhere. That’s not a criticism: While it would be great to see something unique, the amount of crossover between visitors to these parks is surely minimal, and these will still be major, must-needed upgrades to Walt Disney Studios Park.
For Disneyland Paris novices, Walt Disney Studios park is akin to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features some of the same attractions like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. They even already have their own Toy Story area, though it’s nothing compared to what will soon open in Florida. The park is a product of Disney’s Eisner years and was originally scheduled to open in the mid-1990s, but budget problems caused the company to scale back, and a watered-down version of the park opened in 2002. It is arguably Disney’s blandest park in terms of Imagineering details, aside from a Ratatouille area that opened in 2014.
The year 2021 is shaping up to be a huge one for Disney globally. Disney will mark the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in Florida with new attractions at Magic Kingdom and a massive overhaul of Epcot’s Future World. Disneyland will open its fourth hotel that year, and Disney Cruise Line will launch its first of three new ships.