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“We Haven’t Announced Anything For Paris”

They might not have, but they also might want to talk to the people making their park maps. The always-revealing site WDSFans has posted the official 2010 map graphics for the Disneyland Paris Resort and the Walt Disney Studios park itself. And it has a secret for you:

2010 Park Map of the Walt Disney StudiosOh poor Walt Disney Studios – no one will ask it to the prom

Do you see it? Unless the Rowlingesqe strategy Disney is trying to use to hide major construction in plain sight of millions of people has worked, you might notice the as-yet-unannounced Toy Story Playland hiding in the barren wastes of the Walt Disney Studios park:

Walt Disney Studios map with Toy Story Playland John Hench is sooooo mad at you right now

I continue to find this hilarious. First Bay Lake Tower, now this. At least that made sense – Disney was trying to unload all its unsold DVC stock before they announced a new resort. But why the secrecy here? To hoodwink the Hong Kong government into thinking their Toy Story Land is an original idea? Or to keep French farmers from burning tractors at the park’s gates when they find out that the park’s next much-needed attraction comes in the form of a trio of carny rides?

This isn’t the Da Vinci code, guys. We can see it on the map!

UPDATE: More information, pictures, and some amusing fan reactions can be found at Disney and More.

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27 comments to “We Haven’t Announced Anything For Paris”

  • Another Voice

    But think about the position you put the suit in when you asked the question.

    Here he was, a block from Disneyland – filled with the all the great ideas from Walt from Main Street to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to ‘Space Moutain’. The audience was filled with thousands of raveonous fans who have grown up on ‘Haunted Mansion’ and monorails and the Blue Bayou.

    Would YOU admit to being associated with a church parking lot carnival concept like ‘Toy Story Playland’?

  • this park looks ridiculous. I can’t believe there’s going to be a Buzz Lightyear colossus

  • Well, to be fair I was trying to be sneaky and ask about the Ratatouille ride which I’m legitimately excited about (theme-clash concerns aside). I don’t have any problem with them not copping to something that truthfully has yet to be announced; as the situation gets more and more ridiculous, though, their non-announcement just gets funnier and more bewildering. Secrecy is one thing, but by the time it shows up on the park map the cat’s pretty much out of the bad.

    And yeah, the park looks ridiculous. I imagine from the entrance seeing the Tower of Terror to one side and Buzz colossus to the other. TOONZ!!

  • Another Voice

    Go back and watch all those old ‘Wonderful World of Disney’ shows from the 1960s and see how much they showed of all the upcoming attractions. You had Walt himself going through detailed show models of ‘Pirates’ and excitidly pointing out the characters. He was playing with the dinosaurs for the World’s Fair, he was the proud father showing off the first bird from the Tiki Room. His passion and excitment for all that new shows was communicated from him directly to the audience. Walt made you WANT to go out and see the ‘Haunted Mansion’ even if it was filled with assorted Osmound Brothers.

    Today’s new rides are marketed with all the joy and excitment that comes with the launch of a new line of denture cream. No comments, no mentions, no plans, no drawings. Advertising harkens back to characters, trying to leech off the excitment from the movie rather than any excitment the attraction might have. The ability to market something as “New” is valued more than the ability to say something is “Good”. It’s like Disney is embarassed of themselves.

    Which, actually, might be the proper stance – but that’s not the point here.

    There is such a lack of joy, such a lack of passion and, most of all, such a lack of pride in Disney Parks these days. Great art sells itself. You don’t need gimmicks and hidden introductions – you need someone from WDI to stand up and thump his chest and yell “THIS IS SO COOL – NO ONE ELSE CAN DO THIS! COME SEE IT FOR YOURSELF” and actually mean it.

    You just can’t do that if all you’re doing is dressing up a bunch of travelling carnival rides.

  • That is all very true, and goes back to what I’ve said about Disney at its highest levels not having any faith in its own product. If Iger thinks he has to shop around for quality IP, it’s certain that a bunch of MBAs in marketing who have never gone to a Disney park outside of work don’t have the mindset to promote the parks. That’s why we get the frenetic, quick cut promo videos that don’t show the actual parks or attractions, but rather just lots of images of stock actors HAVING FUN OMG WE ARE HAVING SO MUCH FUN!!1! The suits don’t understand that the park sells itself, which is why it was so exciting to see that really cool stop-motion video the other day. It was just letting the park sell itself.

    I’ve been re-watching a lot of the old Walt specials lately, and he’s so sly. When he’s showing the Pirates model on the Tencennial special he totally plays it cool, and unspools this crazy attraction without ever resorting to hyperbole. The ride sells itself. “Well, we have you trapped down in this flaming city.” Never once does he say that “this is going to be SO AWESOME” or “kids and their parents will LOVE THIS.” Just make it good. Don’t tell us how much fun it is, or even worse tell us how much fun we should be having. Just make it good – that part has to come first.

    I do think there are some bright spots – the guys who are working on WDW’s Fantasyland were truly enthusiastic about the project at D23. And Joe Rohde is obviously always excited about his projects. I certainly think that most of the long-time Imagineers like Tony Baxter are trying really hard to do a good job with whatever they’re given to do, and with whatever resources they are allowed. I just think there’s a problem when people like John L. get excited and involved with their pet projects like Carsland, but bottom-feeder projects like this Toy Story land and so many others are allowed to proceed under the radar. Obviously they don’t get the publicity that the A+ projects get, and it’s obvious why. Sure they’ll have someone come out and issue a press release about how awesome it is, and there will be a single magic marker rendering of kids dragging their parents under Buzz. The problem isn’t that they’re A- or B-tickets; after all, I’m a firm supporter of the lower-ticket attractions and think that they’re far too often overlooked in the newer parks. But it’s 2009 and Disney should be doing much, much better than buying off-the-shelf carnival rides and slapping some light themeing on them.

    I’ve forgotten what I was talking about. I just want to eat a Handwich and ride Horizons.

  • Another Voice

    I’m holding my tongue about Princess Faire for the moment (although the phrase ‘thoroughly unambitious’ leaks out from time to time). Taking a look at what Disney is capable of doing at Tokyo DisneySea, for the “biggest expansion ever” of the company’s flagship park, it comes off a little…..I’ll stop.

    The original gang that created the parks were all movie people. Their first and primary concern was about how places create emotions. The second and third generation…they’re more technical, more set designers than storytellers. Yes, ‘Everest’ has a spiffy plate of yeti poo, but it doesn’t come close being able to create the fantastic mixture of excitement, anticipation and nervousness that is achieved in the queue for ‘Space Mountain’. Something’s been lost, a basic understanding of a themed attraction – how they work, what they’re good for, their limitations, the basic craftsmanship of creating a good ride. Rather than figure out the art again, Disney & Company seem to have just given up.

    I just came back from a quick swing WDW and the first thing I did when I got home was to watch the video of ‘Horizons’. Having faced a day at Epcot with ‘Seas with Nemo and Friends’, ‘Journey into YOUR Imagination’ and Martin Short, it was like taking a shower to wash the stupid off. Now if I can just figure out how to get that cone-shaped bread I’ll be set.

  • Another Voice

    P.S. Walt’s approach was low key, but you could sense his pride and excitment about those projects. You also got the feeling that once everyone else had gone home, he would stick around and play with the Pirate minatures like a seven year old kid with the world’s greatest set of action figures.

  • Well, where WDI is concerned I tend to think more as time goes by about how their output is constrained by directives and budgetary issues from above. From the (far) outside, it’s hard to discern how much something like Toy Story Land is the fault of executives wanting something super-cheap with a popular theme, or if someone at WDI came up with it by themselves, thinking that it was really a super idea. I tend to usually go with the former, seeing as something like DisneySea can appear and prove that WDI still has the chops.

    As to Fantasyland, I see the proposed concept as something of an achievement given the budget and directives they were probably handed. I’m sure they were tasked with expanding the princess presence and adding meet-n-greets, but they seem to have done that in a way that at least manages to bring the land together aesthetically in a way that it never has gelled before. We know for a fact that the people at the top don’t “get it”, and if they told WDI they had to add princesses and fairies with X amount of dollars I think that the team has about done as good a job as possible with that mission. When Rasulo talked about the project, it was all princess excitement. When the Imagineers talked about it, it was excitement about enlivening a dead area and really making a spectacular environment. I can get behind that.

    Is the project what I would greenlight if I were in charge? Absolutely not. But who knows what WDI could and would come up with if they were in the driver’s seat? Probably something bigger and better than what I can imagine, and I can imagine quite a bit.

    You mention the movie people, and I’ve long thought that WDI would serve itself well by moving people around more among disciplines like Walt used to do. I’m sure I’d hate it if I were an Imagineer and was suddenly put in a new department for a while, but it sure seemed to create some great attractions back in the day. I once heard Hench talk about all the different departments he’d worked in since Disney hired him in 1939. It was ridiculous. I think mixing it up like that again would aerate things a bit and maybe create some new connections and ideas.

    Re: Walt, you’re right that you could tell his excitement, but he was such a showman that he’d usually kind of play it cool and give you a little tease. I guess I’m thinking specifically about the Tencennial, when he’s showing off the pirates and ghosts like they’re just something you’d expect to see every day. “So, we’ve got this thing over here…” “You want to see a ghost?” You could tell he was excited (and extremely proud) and giving it the big build-up – but just enough to make you want more!

    I’ve no doubt he DID stick around and play with everything after hours! As great as he was at ballyhoo and playing showman, I really love it on those occasions when can’t conceal that he’s just a big kid. It’s even more funny when you know the guy could be kind of a hardass, and he’s just goofing around like crazy. I’m specifically thinking now about the Disneyland opening special, when he brings the train into the Main Street depot. If you go back and watch that, he’s so wound up it’s hilarious.

  • philphoggs

    ” Enchanted Forest Area” has been ringing in my ears; your comment theorizing on the Fantasyland expansion roots has really had me wondering AV. Mikes comments here have helped, but……
    No baiting, just enjoying the thread.

    Imagining Walt playing with those set pieces after hours is like, well strumming a happy heart… the thought brings instant joy.

  • Another Voice

    I’ve never bought the Internet mime that limited resources and short-sighted suits are the blame for today’s output. You could not have found a more resource chocked project than the original Disneyland nor a more clueless suit than Card “Build A Cheap ‘Pirates’ and cancel the Hotels” Walker. Yet Walt and company created a stunning masterpiece for pennies and the bean counter brought forth EPCOT Center (complete with a monorail expansion).

    Money in a creative process is only helpful to a certain point. Talent, skill and dedication are a hundred times more important than resources – you could have made 10 ‘District 9’s for what it took to make ‘Transformers 2′. Same thing applies at WDI.

    What caused the change? First off, the original Imagineers were movie people. They had spent their live in service of a story. They knew how visual and audible elements could evoke emotion in an audience, now they were adding the other senses of smell and touch/movement. Even though they were designing rides, their only frame of reference were films so they tried to build 3D versions of their stories

    The second generation (Baxter, Rhode, et al) grew up with theme parks rides. They were educated and studied rather than taught by experience. They are too self aware they are building amusement park attractions – so they became too technical, driven by rules and not gut. They were all about ride systems and technology and faster speeds. Story is lost and plot is used in its place; emotions are forced onto the audience rather than crafted and grown. They made “cool rides” rather than experiences.

    The queue for ‘Everest’ is filled with great little details and story, but it doesn’t have any power to create that tingling feeling, a mixture of excitement, anticipation and fear that the queue for ‘Space Mountain’ instills. Squirting water from a 3D movie will sure get and audience to jump – but to sheer joy of flying over London in ‘Peter Pan’ has had audiences lined up for more than half a century.

    This unfortunately coupled with the other big change at WED Enterprises – the change from a true creative firm into a contract management organization reporting directly to the parks. Instead of creating shows on their own, WDI processes purchase orders. Their productions are now engineering solutions to marketing directives. And you can feel it in the DNA of Magic Princessland.

    An arts-and-craft table to make birthday cards for Auroa or pretending to be a pretend dancing spoon for a pretend Belle serves to check off the PowerPoint action list for “Princess Interaction” but doesn’t work as a theme park experience. It’s lazy design and the public will sense it (witness California Adventure).

    P.S. I too can’t but smile when I think of Walt all alone in the model shop. I’m sure half of his comments to designs just came from his messing about with stuff. Disney needs a lot more of that playfulness back.

  • philphoggs

    Arts-and-Craft table,,, eyaaaa enough! Enough. P. Q. Public park goer (me) says we have marathon runners stumbling around, on the verge of extinguishing the torch.
    I absolutely cannot get over the destruction of 20k, which epitomizes what the effects of what ever forces are at work here. Handed over on a silver platter, laziness, shortsightedness, and possible treachery at all levels destroyed an evolved masterpiece, while everyone looked the other way.
    So while an earlier generation left me 20 K, my own kid gets poos playful skid mark. It’s hard to forgive and forget that.
    Uggg, too early, a rant before morning coffee is never good.

  • Good comments, all… And I miss that 20K lagoon more and more each year..

  • Another Voice

    Having just read the notes on the redesign of the Disney Stores, my simple mind has finally crystrallized around my central problem.

    Just like it did in the 1970’s, Disney is reverting to be nothing but a kiddie company.

    Meeting a dress-up princess is great for a five year old, but not for the rest of the family. Sequelling Jonas Brothers Happy Meals at the ‘Pixar’s Cars Land Cafe’ might but the interest level up to ten. Yup, it’s an easy sell. Kids eat dirt and stick crayons up their nose; getting them to watch ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ isn’t that difficult.

    But where are the grand creations of the imagination? – the ‘Haunted Mansion’ that can be enjoyed by many ages equally well. ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ (both the movie and the ride) makes both boys and men yearn for adventure.

    Just compare what was done with Tokyo DisneySea and the ‘tooning of the U.S. parks. Overthere are places that appeal to all ages in theme, in attractions, in story. Here…we get ‘Monsters Inc Laugh Floor’ and Tinkerbelle Fairies are the offical “adult” merchandise line?

    The promise of EPCOT Center, Touchstone and other projects that meant Disney was growing and expanding has been lost. We’re in a period of contraction, of small ideas sold to an ever shrinking group of people.

  • It does seem that way. I’ve been concerned for a while about the balkanization of fandom, with some things being specifically for “kids” and some for “adults”. This, to me, is the antithesis of Walt’s entire goal. Not that there can’t be some on either end, but Disney is abandoning the center entirely.

    You’re right, though. They’re tacking hard into kiddieland. The Disney Channel was an early indicator…

  • philphoggs

    I also saw that bit of business about the redesign of the Disney stores.
    Anyway you guys hit the nail on the head, the impression is of a kiddie company in every sense of the word. Particularly here in the US, and it’s frustrating. Yet the problem has seemingly been across the societal board: why doesn’t anyone see value in offering quality to adults, and to the kids as well? Syrupy sugar coated shh-tuff of empty calories with no lasting value, I guess that’s just the heralded way, right? A diet which surely didn’t spark the wonder or create any enthusiast today. Seriously, I really love the parks and what they are supposed to represent, and continue to drop a sizable piece of my income staying there at WDW. But when I hear things like arts and craft tables and gimmicky tech effects in the cards, well it’s truly infuriating. Certainly there is talent at Disney, how else do we explain word from TDL, bright spots in Paris, along with some of the theming of HKD- and the D23 event sounded fantastic. Here’s to the Fantasy that those good things can happen at WDW too.

  • philphoggs

    Just finished watching WDW 20k footage with my kid age 6. Then watched the TKD 20k footage.
    Duplicate TDK’s at WDW, NOW.

  • Another Voice

    The entire ‘Mysterious Island’ area at Tokyo DisneySea is probably the greatest environment in any Disney park. It is without a single misstep or compromise in theme, execution or effect. Even the cast members give the guests and each other the arm-across-the-chest Nemo salute from the movie. The ride vehicles for the 20K attraction show more care and design than ‘Monster Laugh Floor’, ‘Pixie Hallow’ and….just name the last three or four attractions – you get the point.

    I’m sorry, but Carny Toyland Paris and Pretty Princess Tents Orlando just don’t cut it.

  • I’m willing to give Fantasyland the benefit of doubt until it’s done, but the Toylands are truly awful and really don’t inspire confidence.

    I didn’t know that about the Nemo salute, and that’s ridiculously cool.

  • Another Voice

    Would you believe that even the dinnerware at the two restaurants inside Mysterious Island have Nemo’s “N” Crest logo on them. Special plates for an area; hell, in the U.S. we can’t even get special paper cups for a single park (that you Disney Parks branding!).

    The queue line for 20K is through Nemo’s office and has enough stuff and inside information that you could spend hours looking through it. And the queue for ‘Journey’ is so detailed that when the attraction is done for rehab, Tokyo DisneySea offers guided tours OF THE LINE to show off the exhibits and explain the story.

    Whispers are that the Princess Tents are going to be constructed in “phases”. ‘Mermaid’ is a definite go because Disney is simply cloning the DCA attraction. ‘Beauty’ is somewhat iffy, but probable as they need the restaurant space (free food is now a permanent part of WDW marketing). ‘Cinderella’ is pretty much a go too just because it’s super cheap and old gal still hocks a lot of toys. Aurora, Dumbo and especially Pixie Hallow are real dicey at this point. The Dumbo area and the Twinkies are already a “Phase II” item meaning they’ve been cancelled but it’s not yet announced. The Dumbo attraction itself is too popular and will likely be relocated somewhere. But the Fairies franchise is a flop and, as I wrote before, Disney Animation has been ordered to crank out more princesses (to wit the recent schedule change to bump up ‘The Snow Queen’). Look for the Pixie Hallow to be replaced with New Orleans and the Circus area to be replaced with the movie after that.

  • philphoggs

    Mysterious Island sounds incredible, I can totally envision what you’re saying AV. 20 years of working with a Japanese company afforded me a trip to Tokyo a while back. I was impressed not by the city, but by the people. Unfortunately my hostess’s itinerary did not include Disney, but the venerable Tokyo Tower instead. Even there they put on a very professional face, with pride in every corner. That pride was everywhere; have you ever ate a better McDonald’s breakfast? We could go on and on about high quality , limited waste, and one to many domo arigatos.
    I only wish that the Mysterious Island could be slated for Orlando, and yet I know all to well my own culture where waste leads quality hands down.

  • philphoggs

    P.S ~ thanks again for the “gossip” so to speak about whats going on with the Fantasyland expansion.

  • “a “Phase II” item meaning they’ve been cancelled but it’s not yet announced.” Haha, I laughed at that. So true. I’ve had doubts about Pixie Hollow for a while – anyone who’s followed Disney for any length of time knows full well that “Phase II” amounts to pretty much a death sentence.

    Thanks for the gossip. I’m sure we’ll get the BATB, because of the restaurant. They *really* need it, and it’ll make money. They really need to do the double-Dumbo as well, but I can see that not making the cut because that expansion is more about improving the guest experience and less about making money.

    But hey, I would have little or no problem with Pixie Hollow getting replaced by a Snow Queen area. Especially if they dust off those old Marc Davis concepts for an attraction……

  • Another Voice

    Speaking of odd things heard on the wind, don’t sneer too much at ‘Toyland Playland Land’. Disney already has two on order, and you know how much they like volume discounts. Take a few left over props from DCA’s ‘Carsland’ tossed around a “re-themed” Tomorrowland Speedway and boffo box office from ‘Toy Story 3’…and you too might be enjoying a whole new brand experience at the Magic Kingdom very soon.

  • acccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • philphoggs

    Ya know, you really know how to hurt a guy ;)

  • Another Voice

    The orcs are grumbling that ‘Toy Story Playland’ is picking up some steam, but it will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Go see the ‘Honey I Shrunk Our Imagination’ play area soon. Just saying…

  • philphoggs

    Pay my respects at the end of the month… kids bust loose while Mom watches American Idol and dad slugs through One Mans Dream ;)
    In reality, as corny as it sounds, the young kids actually enjoy the walk through Walts world, including the movie.

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