While the amount of news that came out of this year’s D23 Expo in Anaheim for Disney Parks and Resorts is massive, I believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Competition between Universal and Disney is at a fever pitch, not to mention the demand for themed entertainment globally is at an all-time high. Let’s take a look at some solid additions that we *probably* will see coming from the Disney Parks Blog in the near future, shall we?
7. Rebranding of Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris
Considering actual filming at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris came in went within the blink of an eye (yes, the Disney Channel briefly used a soundstage in the park), the “studio” has been more in theme than reality for quite some time. As time has changed and consumers are less interested in going behind-the-scenes of how movies and television shows are made, the more dated this park becomes. The Studio Tram Tour, Moteurs Action Stunt Show and even Armageddon Special Effects Tour have all been past their prime for quite some time. Now that the Disneyland Paris Park has received some much needed TLC for the 25th Anniversary, it’s time for the sister park to step up and become a worthy counterpart, much like the rebranding of Disney’s California Adventure did in the early 2000’s. Keep in mind, rebranding doesn’t have to mean a name change, but you could alter the identity of the park by breathing in new life. For starters….
6. Changing Tower of Terror to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout At Disney Studios Paris
This an absolute no-brainer. Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout has proven to be a massive success at Disney’s California Adventure. They’ve taken a very dated intellectual property and breathed new life into what has always been an extremely fun ride system. Disney even says it is currently the highest rated attraction at the Disneyland Resort. Not to mention, merchandise sales in that gift shop has to have tripled. Finally, the transition to change over the attraction at Disney’s California Adventure only took five months. If there’s anything on this list that’s a slam dunk, it’s this. Not to mention, it opens up another huge possibility for the park.
5. Marvel Land Opening at Walt Disney Studio Paris Park
Now that space behind the future Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Walt Disney Studios Paris taken up by the Studio Tram Tour sure is large. The tram tour hasn’t been relevant or even updated in quite some time. Demolishing that and adding the same Marvel Land that is destined for Disney’s California Adventure sure does make a lot of sense. Leveraging a popular IP, sharing R&D costs, and utilizing that land in the back of the park filled with attractions, gift shops, and food & beverage locations makes a lot of sense. Keeping my ear to the ground, I know the Marvel Land going into Disney’s California Adventure has changed several times internally (as these projects often do), so the specifics aren’t quite up for grabs yet. However, now that the Walt Disney Company has full control over the Disneyland Paris Resort, they can now utilize their resources far more efficiently than they could before and this makes total sense for that park. I fully believe there will be more changes coming to the Disneyland Paris Resort, but these seem to make the most sense. Let’s move on to another international Disney Resort that needs change for an entirely different reason.
4. Third Resort Hotel in Shanghai Disneyland
I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t been announced yet, but there is no question it will. Shanghai Disneyland has been mostly successful. When it’s busy, park capacity can hit nearly 60,000 per day which is unheard of for a park just outside of its first year in operation. While the park can definitely hit some pretty big ruts during slower times, the one constant seems to be hotels. According to a Disney shareholder conference call, Bob Iger admitted that the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel averaged occupancy levels of above 90% on average. Again, unheard of for a new theme park resort.
Believe it or not, the space for a third hotel has been earmarked for just below Adventure Isle. What theme could it take on? Not sure. However, considering that Toy Story Hotel is considered a value resort and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is a deluxe, it only makes sense for the next resort to be a moderate. However, this is nothing compared to the next Disney park to open in China.
3. Second Gate Opening at Shanghai Disneyland Resort
Considering Shanghai Disneyland is bursting at the seams on certain weeks out of the year, a second theme park for the resort has to be on the horizon. Again, the space for that second gate has already been earmarked before the first park even opened and it sits just north of Shanghai Disneyland itself.
Now, what could go in this park? Indeed, I think the Marvel land that is being created for Disney’s California Adventure (which is destined for Disney Studios Paris) makes absolute sense in a second gate for Shanghai Disneyland, since Marvel is barely represented within the first park presently. I also know that somewhere Bob Iger has mentioned that there could be another Pandora land being built outside of Animal Kingdom, and I’m going to call it going to the Shanghai Disneyland second gate.
In addition, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has to make an international presence and I believe an exact replica of what is being built in the United States Parks would be a great fit into a second gate at Shanghai Disneyland. It makes perfect sense and between Marvel, Avatar and Star Wars (and more) this park could be an incredible sister park to Shanghai Disneyland. Speaking of Star Wars….
2. More Immersive Resorts at Walt Disney World and Beyond
You know what’s crazy? The Star Wars Hotel at Walt Disney World seems to be getting more buzz than the Galaxy’s Edge going into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even though it comes with a hefty price tag, people are literally already saving up to stay at this mega fan’s dream resort. Assuming it makes buckets of money and sells out regularly, there is no doubt it will be cloned at other Disney Resorts around the world. Assuming I’m correct about Galaxy’s Edge at Shanghai Disneyland’s second gate, Disney executives would be foolish not to add a Star Wars Hotel into the mix as well.
However, let’s take this Star Wars Hotel idea and think about it for a moment. Again, we will assume that the Star Wars Hotel is wildly successful. Let’s take that core concept of having an all-inclusive resort which includes unique entertainment, dining, and interactive opportunities and expand upon it to other brands that people also go gaga over. I foresee other mega-popular brands and franchises such as “Frozen”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and even “The Haunted Mansion” being able to have a resort just for those mega fans. After all, Disney is the king of being able to take a winning idea and capitalizing on it to the fullest. If people are willing to pay that much for a Star Wars hotel experience, why wouldn’t they do the same for other popular franchises?
1. New Island in the Caribbean for Disney Cruise Line
If you’ve ever been on a Disney Cruise that has departed from Port Canaveral, it’s hard to imagine not having Castaway Cay as a part of your itinerary. However, Castaway Cay is being used five to six days a week now with four cruise ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. The island can’t really accommodate any more ships, yet 3 more are sailing on the horizon starting in 2021, guests will expect a private island experience comparable to Disney’s Castaway Cay. It only makes sense that a second island will be purchased by Disney in the near future to keep those cruisers happy.
Keep in mind, there are definitely more bombshells coming other than the ones I have listed here. Epcot has several major changes that haven’t been announced yet, we still don’t have specifics on that Marvel Land headed to Disney’s California Adventure and what about an entirely different park in China (not in Shanghai) that Bob Iger hinted at a few months ago? The point is, there is a lot left to come out of for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. What are some things you think I missed? Make sure to use #IReadTheEntireArticle on social media when commenting!
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