Disney Confirms: Walt Disney’s Legacy Controversially Eradicated from Park

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris

Guests look on inside the Magic Kingdom besides the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue, Partners, at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Disney

Things are changing at one of Walt Disney’s theme parks in a massive way, and with it, we have had to say goodbye to Walt Disney.

A lively day at a theme park with visitors milling around, a carousel in the background, and a stone well in the foreground.
Credit: Richard Perry, Flickr

After years of financial struggles, the European theme park giant announced a $51 million operating profit (€47 million) for 2022. This positive performance comes alongside record revenue of $2.6 billion (€2.4 billion).

This turnaround is attributed to two key factors: the easing of pandemic restrictions and the highly anticipated opening of a new Marvel-themed land. These elements fueled a surge in park attendance, with more guests than ever before pouring through the turnstiles.

Beyond Disneyland Paris, this news is a beacon of hope for European tourism. As a major player in the industry, the park’s strong performance suggests a positive trend for the entire sector, signifying a potential recovery from the dark clouds cast by COVID-19.

Disneyland Paris’ turnaround is even more impressive considering its historical financial challenges. Since its debut in 1992 (originally named Euro Disney), the park has rarely turned a profit. This success story highlights the significant impact of the new Marvel land and the pent-up demand from eager parkgoers.

Belle and her Prince meet guests at the Disneyland Hotel
Credit: Disney

The park’s location selection also adds a layer of intrigue. When choosing a site for the European Disney resort, then-CEO Michael Eisner opted for France over Spain, despite concerns about the French weather. In a recent interview, Eisner acknowledged these initial doubts, stating that Disney executives in California and Florida worried that winter would cripple the park’s business. Clearly, Disneyland Paris has defied those predictions and emerged as a major European tourism destination.

While Disneyland Paris has certainly grown in popularity, both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park must continue to evolve, and to do that, money has to be set aside for change.

As noted by Reuters , “The Walt Disney Company announced a 2 billion euro ($2.5 billion) investment to expand its French theme park Disneyland Paris after taking full control of the business [in 2017]. Chief Executive Bob Iger announced the spending plan after meeting President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, saying it reflected the US media group’s positive view on France and Europe more widely. “This investment…is the direct result of the growing confidence that we have in the economy of Europe and in France in particular,” Iger said in a video posted on the French Presidency’s Twitter account.”

Crowds outside the theater at Walt Disney Studios Park
Credit: MyFrozenLife, Flickr

So far, we have seen The Disneyland Hotel get a much-needed update. The flagship resort is now themed to princess royalty with rooms themed to Frozen, Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and more. The update has been so popular that the hotel has had to implement capacity limits and virtual queues just for guests wanting to take a look at the lobby and changes.

The main changes are expected to be made at Walt Disney Studios Park, which we are currently seeing take place. Firstly, the World of Frozen expansion is making massive headway behind the construction walls. The World of Frozen in Hong Kong Disneyland and the soon-to-open Frozen Kingdom at Tokyo Disney Resort’s Fantasy Springs, set to debut this June at Tokyo DisneySea, are currently also under construction.

Additionally, there are plans for a Tangled attraction. However, the anticipated Star Wars expansion has yet to commence, and neither theme park president Natacha Rafalski nor Disney CEO Bob Iger have mentioned it in recent discussions. There have been rumors that Discoveryland in Disneyland Paris will gain the Star Wars expansion with The Mandalorian coaster, making it unique from the Galaxy’s Edge locations in Disney World and Disneyland.

closed gates of Disneyland Paris
Credit: Travel + Leisure, Twitter

In addition, there are rumblings of an expansion of Fantasyland, an expansion of Avatar, and a possible expansion of The Lion King in the parks.

One major change that is certain, however, is that Studio 1 is about to undergo a massive refurbishment. As of today, walls block off the once uniquely themed entrance to Walt Disney Studios, and guests are forced to walk around the side of the building when they enter and exit.

Studio 1 set the stage for the park’s filmmaking theme, as it was a sound stage that looked as if multiple movies were filming, and you were walking right into it. Studio 1 also offered dining and shopping locations, all while creating a sort of Main Street, U.S.A. indoors, with a nighttime vibe all day long.

Now, Walt Disney Studios Park, which will soon be renamed Disney Adventure World, is going broader than keeping the park theme on filmmaking. It seems that it will focus on multiple stories. So, that means that Studio 1, as the park’s entrance, must change in order to set the stage. The new Studio 1 will still be highly themed with multiple movie theater facades, but we will not be walking into a set but rather a story.

The changes are planned to take a year, so this will be quite a lengthy process for Disney. 

In the meantime, changes have been made to the park map, which is not even handed out to guests due to the paper laws in France (guests are encouraged to use the Disneyland Paris app for a map but can request a paper one if needed).

Disneyland Paris reporter DLP Report said:

“The Walt Disney Studios Park Map has been updated in some printed materials:
– The Studio 1 logo and Partners Statue have disappeared
– Hollywood Blvd. is shorter + no cardboard buildings
– Theaters of the Stars logo + “Alice and the Queen of Hearts: Back to Wonderland” stage”

In this map, we can see that things have been updated to reflect how the park stands now. The Partners Statue, which once lived at the front of the park but was moved, is now gone from the map, as is the Studio 1 logo. It is interesting to see Mickey and Walt go, especially after Mickey Mouse has gone to the public domain as of January 2024. While it is not every version of Mickey that has been given to the public, we can see the park pull away from his likeness as well.

With Mickey and Walt Disney gone from the entrance, as well as the entrance itself being removed, a lot of the magical theming of the park has been removed. While this will not be a permanent change, it will be a long-lasting one due to the length of the refurbishment.

It will be interesting to hear what Bob Iger has to say at the Disney Parks and Experiences panel at D23 this year, as major announcements are expected based on the $60 billion expansion fund that The Walt Disney Company has promised over the next 10 years. 

What would you like to see come to Disneyland Paris? 

 

 

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