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Walt Disney Studios Paris

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Bill, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. Bill

    Bill Guest

    I don't know how many of you have been there, but I was there a few days ago and felt like I had been had. The admission was $39. which allowed you to attend the last 3 hours of operation in DLP if you wanted to 'hop'. The only remaining question was what to do with the other 5 hours between seeing all 7 attractions in the studio and visiting all 5 shops.

    The studio was constructed in the barest, cheapest style...like a bad Universal park. The attractions were dull and uninspired. Even the Rock'n Roller Coaster was a cheap imitation of it's Florida counterpart. The Aladdin Flying Carpet was sadly out of place at the studio. And that's it for the rides.

    I have never left a Disney park feeling like I'd been had, but I suspect that the operating company dictated the budget and that in turn dictated the lack of quality. Disney should be ashamed for agreeing to it.

    I did learn one thing though....the French are responsible for animation and special effects and, indeed, life on earth.

    All I can say is stay away in droves. Closing is too good for this park...
     
  2. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member

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    >I have never left a Disney park feeling like I'd been had, but I >suspect that the operating company dictated the budget and >that in turn dictated the lack of quality.? Disney should be >ashamed for agreeing to it.?

    Never been to DCA, then?
     
  3. rob kilbride

    rob kilbride New Member

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    Wow, does California Adventure have a limited number of attractions too? When I went to Animal Kingdom when it first opened I felt ripped off too. Only 3 real attractions, the rest is all exhibits and shows which I usually do not watch in any of the other parks. Though I have to admit they were excellent attractions, Countdown to Extinction(now Dinosaur?), Its Tough to be a Bug, and the safari ride. I never thought I'd see the day where Disney didn't have the best attractions in the state. My favorites used to be in order EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Disney MGM, Busch Gardens, and Sea World (which I hadn't been to more than a couple times). Now they've ruined EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom, though it has its few good attractions didn't have enough to be a great park(hopefully what they've added will change my opinion). I think Islands of Adventure is a much better park than Animal Kingdom was when it opened. I'd probably rank them :
    1 Magic Kingdom
    2 Disney MGM
    3 Busch Gardens
    4 Islands of Adventure
    5 Universal Studios (though I consider 2-5 to be all excellent and could rank them in about any order)
    6 EPCOT
    7 Sea World
    8 Miami Seaquarium
    9 Metrozoo
    10 Cypress Gardens
    11 Silver Springs
    12 Swimming Hall of Fame
    13 Animal Kingdom (ok I'm just kidding about 8 through 12 but it probably doesn't take any more time to go through all the major attractions at Animal Kingdom than it does to go through any of these attractions and because of this it deserves to get dissed).
    By the way have they added enough to Animal Kingdom to get it more on track towards being a real theme park?
    Disney should be ashamed of the bad decisions it has made about its parks and I hope they get back on track. I have EPCOT ranked a clear cut 6th, when my all time favorite park/time period was EPCOT/80's when Horizon's was opened.
     
  4. Gurgitoy2

    Gurgitoy2 Active Member

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    Well, although people have bashed DCA too many times to count since it's opening; it's still got more going for it than WDSP. It had more attractions on opening, and it was more "complete". There weren't really any wide open spaces that had nothing in them. Sure, it was lacking in areas, but it wasn't like you could see the whole park just by standing in the hub area.

    DCA is already improving (although at the expense of it's strange California theme). Maybe after awhile they can change it's name, but the Studios is newer, and will need way more work than DCA to bring it up to the level everyone expects from Disney.

    I was talking to Bill about this and we agree that it was a big mistake to put something so cheap looking next to the crown jewel of the Magic Kingdoms. Who wouldn't go from Disneyland Pairs to the Studios and not notice a lack of detail and quality? The same can be said for DCA and Disneyland, but not on such a drastic scale.

    But as the old saying goes "Time heals everything". Given (a lot) of time, the WDSP park can be much better. Possibly like Disney-MGM. It's just going to take quite a few years. Even with the additions of Mermaid Lagoon and Tower of Terror, it's still going to need much more attention. There isn't even a body of water there. All of the other Disney parks have some kind of lake or lagoon, or river; some kind of kinetic, or serene place. It helps to make things less sterile, and I think that's one of the issues with WDSP.
     
  5. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member

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    I have been to DCA and I have to say it was almost a total waste of time and money for me. I did enjoy Soarin' Over California, and of all things, I thought the use of music throughout the park was excellent (I especially like Bruce Broughton's contributions). But I think it does have potential for improvement, that is, after the bulldozers have gone through and eliminated Paradise Pier...

    On the other hand, I love Animal Kingdom, more for the atmosphere and the educational components than for the "rides"

    :)
     
  6. rob kilbride

    rob kilbride New Member

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    I liked what was there too but I pretty much had done all the major attractions and seen most of the animals within about 3 or 4 hours.
     
  7. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    While surely the rating of any theme park pretty much depends on personal taste there is one point I want to clarify reagrding Bill's post:

    The financial restraints for the WDS were NOT set by EuroDisney SCA, the company owning and operating the resort. In fact the financial restraints were and are set by the banks. As is well known EuroDisney SCA had a pretty much troubled start in 1992 and is still paying off a huge pile of debt. Due to the restructing deals in the mid 90s currently all expenses and expansion plans have to be agreed upon by a comitee staffed by the banks. In other words: if EuroDisney SCA wants to build a new park or only a new attraction or a new restaurant or want to create a major new show, they have to create a concept, budget it and then go to the banks and get their approval. Without their approval nothing can be done. So the banks pretty much decided how much money could be spent on the WDS. Believe me when I say: EuroDisney SCA and Imagineering would have loved to spent more money, if only they could have found it....



    Yours sincerely
    Dirk
     
  8. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    I guess it's a trend that's been going on for about 13 or 14 years now...open a park with bare bones, spending as little as possible, then slowing adding more attractions so people will come back. They did it with MGM in 1989, with DCA and now with WDSP. TDS's funding wasn't by Disney so they had a more open wallet to play with. And I guess EDL/DLP had to make a good impression so they spent more money to develop that park. Problem is that nowadays they don't spend the big bucks that they used to...so they spend lesser than usual on a park, which gives them a reputation of being not up to Disney standards. People don't want to come back to a park like that. Then add sucky NEW attractions to a park that already had a sucky reputation and they wonder why attendance is down???

    -Sharon-
    (dilligently making her new house livable. Hey Mike, you know what my "local Chinese restaurant" is now? Nine Dragons, bwahaha. So how's the weather up there in Upstate NY hmmmm?)
     
  9. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    HI Bill,

    well we are going into the jungle of contracts and internal info which everybody outside the companies (and I'm outside too) has a hard time to grasp, but in fact there was something like a kind of obligation to construct the studios...


    The contracts the Walt Disney Company signed in the late 1980s with the French Government for the EuroDisney Resort (now: Disneyland Resort Paris) gave them a huge amount of land for nearly no money at all. But: this land is not yet really owned by the company the Walt Disney Company created to operate and own the resort, EuroDisney SCA. Instead only the land already used is owned fully by the company. Regarding the remaining land (and that is the bigger part of the land sigend over in the contracts) the contract has certain obligations forcing EuroDisney SCA either to open a second theme park or an expansion of the first theme park with the same scope as a second theme park would have to a certain date (which was (sorry, don't have my papers here right now) either 2002 or 2003 if I'm not mistaken). There is another deadline looming for a third expansion or park in the future. If a deadline is not met major parts of the land fall back to the state and are lost. Something neither the Walt Disney Company nor EuroDisney SCA want as it would hamper their future expansion possibilities and as the land is already included in the accounting books - and certainly something the banks don't want either as the land is part of the holdings of the company EuroDisney SCA which owes them quiet some money....


    Still couldn't they have constructed another Tokyo Disney Sea in Paris as a second gate? Well, the banks believed the presentations that with a smaller, simpler second park not only the deadline of the original contract would be met but also the profit would see a major increase allowing EuroDisney SCA to pay off their debt easier - don't forget that these presentations were made when the Walt Disney Company still had Paul Pressler and his visions, DCA was not yet opened and the managers of the banks could point EuroDisney SCA toward the USA saying "see, even the rich Walt Disney Company goes for a small park and says it will bring in money, and they should know their business, they are longer in it than you!".


    Was there a way around the financial restraints the banks placed on the expansion? Yes, there could have been some:

    1. offering more new shares as they did already anyway? NO, as this would have reduced the value of the existing shares and the banks wouldn't have agreed on that.

    2. more new credits on top of those granted for the WDS already? NO, the banks would have had to approve that and they wouldn't have, as they had to offer new credits already anyway.

    3. more sponsors? Well, there are already quiet a few sponsors in the new park, so it is questionable wether you could have found more sponsors willing to pay enough to really add something substantial to the park without adding to the bill for EuroDisney SCA at the same time too.

    4. more money from the Walt Disney Company? NO. First off all we were in the Paul Pressler time back then. He was sure small and cheap parks would bring in the money just as well as large, splendid once. So he certainly wouldn't have seen the need for more money to be spent on the opening phase of the WDS. Second: if the Walt Disney Company would have wanted to give EuroDisney SCA a hand (highly unlikely as I already said) the banks would have wanted to say something about this too. Every credit would have placed another obligation on EuroDisney SCA and therefor would have to be greenlighted by the banks who already lended money to the company (due to the restructuring contracts). As additional obligations in the not so wonderful financial situation could cause the banks to receive less money on their credit most propably they wouldn't have agreed if the Walt Disney Company wouldn't have done something like "no need to pay money back till in 10 years time" which again is highly unlikely to happen.

    5. A solution similar to the one for SpaceMountain in Disneyland Paris (as EuroDisney SCA couldn't afford that one but needed it, it was financed and constructed by the Walt Disney Company and is still owned by it, which has leased it out to EuroDisney SCA which can buy it at the end of the leasing time)? Most propably no. First of all: Paul Pressler wouldn't have seen the need for additional huge attractions he would have had to finance (see above), and second these kind of agreements include an annual payment for the lease so it would have had to be greenlighted again by the banks' comitee which most propably wouldn't have greenlighted it as they didn't see the need for more attractions either.


    So basically all we can do now is: hope that with the latest changes in the Walt Disney Company and the results / guest numbers coming in the banks will see where the failures lies and will greenlighted what ever way EuroDisney SCA and the Walt Disney Company choose to expand and improve the Studios.


    Yours sincerely
    Dirk
     

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