Now that the Walt Disney Company has completed its purchase of Disneyland Paris, it's time to look at what is next for the beautiful but struggling resort. First, let's begin what is not next...
New hotels are not on the way. Not only are the existing properties in various stages of being refurbished, the current visitor trends do not point to a need for any additional rooms. The overbuilding of resorts became the primary reason that the EuroDisney resort struggled in its earliest years. Empty but overpriced rooms were the norm - and still are to some degree. While you will see ongoing improvements to the properties, do not expect any new additions.
The Walt Disney Studios Paris still needs help to bring it increased attendance. Even with the fairly new Ratatouille attraction, the second park on the property remains a blight on the landscape. In place of a full remodel similar to what was accomplished (and sorely needed) at California Adventure, the suits will instead infuse Marvel attractions into the park. The rabid success of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout in the US park almost entirely assures the same transformation will occur in France. The Twilight Zone will be on its way out. Yes, Rock N Rollercoaster will be rethemed (an easy remodel to be sure), and the minimally landscaped and decorated area will become home to more superheroes. There's no restrictions for the Walt Disney Company is using Marvel in France, so it will come full bore. That has already been announced. This includes Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America and company.
Disney Village will see upgrades to keep it fresh, but the general structures and layout will remain. It is clearly not a highlight for visitors, and the place continues to clear out not too much after the parks close. It's difficult to choose night life here when the city of Paris is minutes away!
This leaves the biggest investment and improvements for the most beautiful of all Magic Kingdoms. The question remains, "What will be added?" More Star Wars in various forms. Perhaps not the large attractions from the US parks (at least not yet), but there will be additional enhancements to play off the popularity of the film series.
Now that the parc looks better than it has in years, crowds need to be spread out. This means the most likely place for a big expansion is in that huge old empty piece of next adjacent to the great Cowboy Cookout Barbecue in Frontierland. There are well known plans for a version of Splash Mountain, but certainly die hard Disney fans would kill for a brand new version of Imagineer Marc Davis' Western River Expedition. Imagine using some of the amazing technology from Shanghai's Pirates of the Caribbean in another form and theme! Instant home run- and an instant way to keep new folks coming back to a parc that hasn't seen a major expansion since Space Mountain.
The other option looks to be in Fantasyland in space originally reserved for Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast expansions. With the international success of the live action film, my money is on Beast. Done right, meaning better than in Florida and with a real "E Ticket" attraction, this is another way to make the French kingdom a fresh must-see. Does this mean it has to be the same as the Tokyo Disneyland attraction? No, it can be different- and just as good. Frozen is another option that would bring success, but Beast is just so French, that is absolutely belongs here.
Last thought- don't be misled into thinking or believing the suits and the Imagineers need time to figure out what to do. They have been planning this move for quite awhile. The braintrust behind the Walt Disney Company is determined to turn Paris into a hugely successful moneymaker. Something they should have done with integrity long ago.
(Photograph copyright The Walt Disney Company.)