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Oo la la! A look at Disney in France
Walt Disney Studios Paris - A photo essay and review by Ian Parkinson

Walt Disney Studios


Walt Disney Studios Shareholder Preview

Regular readers of MousePlanet know that I have been following the construction of the new Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris very closely over the last two years. I can remember walking down to the gates of Disneyland Paris and seeing a large empty field over a small fence where the new park would be built.

Then, during my year in Paris, I reported the progress of the park through numerous photo tours. I have known for some time what to expect as far as attractions are concerned, but I was never quite sure how the park would look, and whether it would be up to the high standard set by the first French Disney park.

Walt Disney Studios

Well this past weekend I got my chance to find out. At 9 a.m. on Saturday February 23 the gates of the new park opened to let in Disneyland Paris shareholders and their guests. Since I am a shareholder, it was a date I would not miss for the world.

Although I had been excited about the park for a long time, I always suspected that Disney might make the same mistakes they made at Disney's California Adventure park. I am sorry to say that the news from Paris is not good. I really want the park to be a success, and although I do not want to be the bringer of bad news, all is not well at Walt Disney Studios.

Main Entry

Walt Disney Studios

The first impression as you approach the park is good. It looks quite impressive and imposing, and the gates are very nice. You have the new icon for the park towering above you. Once you are inside the gates however, things start to go downhill.

Front Lot

Walt Disney Studios

The first part of the park is called the Front Lot, and it serves as the main functional part of the park. Here you find the Walt Disney Studios Store, the Studio Photo Store, and guest services.

Walt Disney Studios

The problem with this area is that it has no character at all. All the buildings are the same yellow colour and there are few details to be found. You find a very nice Sorcerer Mickey fountain, but that is the Front Lot's only feature.

Walt Disney Studios

In my eyes it feels like a barren open space surrounded by what could be described as outlet mall buildings. First impressions count, and here it's a bit of a mixed bag: some good and some bad.

Walt Disney Studios Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios Walt Disney Studios

NEXT let's take a look at the Studio One building, as we continue our tour.


Ian Parkinson may be reached at ian@mouseplanet.com


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