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