June 18, 2024

Walt Disney Studios Park Being Renamed


Disney has announced that its worst theme park in the world, currently in the midst of a massive makeover and expansion, will be renamed and enter anew era. This post shares the full announcement by

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Disney has announced that its worst theme park in the world, currently in the midst of a massive makeover and expansion, will be renamed and enter anew era. This post shares the full announcement by Imagineering and Disneyland Paris, along with new concept art for the reimagined park, as well as our commentary about the name change and future of the new-look park formerly known as WDSP.

Disneyland Paris announced that after transporting generations of guests into the magic of movie-making, the second park at Disneyland Paris is entering a new era marked by a fresh creative vision, brand-new experiences, an unprecedented expansion, and introduction of an all-new visual identity. To celebrate this new chapter, Walt Disney Studios Park (WDSP) will be renamed Disney Adventure World.

The renaming of WDSP to Disney Adventure World will occur when World of Frozen opens, likely in 2025. Even beyond that, the entire Disneyland Paris resort will continue to elevate its offerings in the coming years. This follows the addition of Avengers Campus and other stuff, and will coincide with further transformations to the back half of what’s currently known as the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Each anniversary brings its share of surprises, and 2024 is no different. On April 12, Disneyland Paris lifted the curtain on an ambitious future for the resort. The Disneyland Paris executive and creative teams took the stage to share information about entertainment that will debut in the coming months, the next phase of the ongoing transformation of Disney Hotels, and ongoing reimagining of Disney Village.

The resort has seen a number of projects brought to life to reinvigorate the guest experience and make Disneyland Paris a repeat visit and multi-day destination. One of the top priorities of this 2 billion euro transformation plan is a complete makeover of Walt Disney Studios Park.

This name change to Disney Adventure World is happening while continuing to expand the park with new themed areas that will join Marvel Avengers Campus, which welcomed its very first recruits back in 2022, as well as Worlds of Pixar. At the end of it all, the soon-to-be-renamed park will have roughly doubled its footprint and become an all-day park worthy of the Disney name.

When it opened in 2002, the original idea driving the creation of the second park was to give guests a behind- the-scenes look into the making of movies, animated feature films and television shows. The park concept has since evolved creatively to offer more immersive worlds, and in 2007 it embarked on an exciting expansion journey with the launch of multiple large-scale projects like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Playland, and Ratatouille: The Adventure.

From the recent opening of Worlds of Pixar and Marvel Avengers Campus to the creation of a Frozen-inspired land, the park continues to welcome beloved franchises, allowing guests to step into their favorite stories in a uniquely Disney way. And the fun is just beginning, as immersive worlds inspired by the most popular Disney movies of all time become the cornerstone of the park’s transformation.

“Today, we are changing the story of Walt Disney Studios Park, evolving from ‘how it’s done’ soundstages to celebratory theaters and adventures that come to life in immersive worlds. These fully realized adventure worlds will become the focus of the park’s new identity and appear as realms that guests discover as they navigate deeper within the park and are invited to participate in adventures inspired by our most beloved stories,” explained Tom Fitzgerald, Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Storytelling Executive and Senior Creative Executive for Disneyland Paris.

“Embracing a transformation that involves the overhaul of more than 90% of Walt Disney Studios Park since its debut in 2002, we’re unveiling a fresh creative vision that has completely redefined our second gate. Guests will embark on a journey that blends the magic and emotion of our beloved franchises with explorations into faithfully recreated new worlds. This significant evolution inspired us to rename the Park, heralding a vibrant new chapter for Disneyland Paris,” added Natacha Rafalski, Présidente of Disneyland Paris.

“The new name will officially take effect coinciding with the grand opening of our next themed land, World of Frozen, marking a harmonious start to this exciting new era. With our commitment to pushing the boundaries of immersion and innovation, we’re crafting breathtaking new experiences and spectacular moments at Disney Adventure World hat will resonate more than ever with our guests. It’s set to offer unique adventures in immersive worlds, serving as a perfect complement to Disneyland Park.”

The latest experiences delivered across the park already reflect this new creative vision of Disney Adventure World. Among the additions coming soon, World of Frozen is going to take guests on a journey to the kingdom of Arendelle with its colorful facades and remarkable North Mountain that are gradually coming into view.

The Frozen land will be well located on the edge of Adventure Bay, a 70,000 cubic meter body of water surrounded by picturesque banks and a promenade at the heart of the park expansion, serving as a gateway to the new themed universes that will surround it. More than a scenic icon, Adventure Bay will serve as a unique entertainment stage with a 360-degree viewing area. It will be fitted with the latest technologies to provide exciting water-based entertainment, complete with fountains, music, lights and special effects that are sure to delight guests.

That’s just the beginning! A brand-new themed land, the concept and design of which are currently being finalized by Imagineers, will further enhance the appeal of this reimagined park in the years to come. More details will be shared in the future. (It’s safe to assume this will occupy the plot adjacent to World of Frozen that was originally for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.)

Beginning this month, the transformation work at WDSP will extend to the entrance area to immerse guests in the brand-new story as soon as they step into Disney Adventure World. After passing through the turnstiles, guests will be transported into a vibrant, contemporary open-air movie studio before becoming special guests of a glamorous film premiere in the heart of Hollywood on a starry night.

To bring this all-new immersive experience to life, the interior décor of the “soundstage” – which currently depicts a filming scene on Hollywood Boulevard – will be replaced with crafted décor that pays homage to historic movie theaters in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole. The new entrance building, renamed World Premiere, will reopen in Spring 2025.

Once outside the building, guests will arrive in the heart of World Premiere Plaza, an area that brings together theaters, currently celebrating Disney Animation and Pixar stories, in a stylish Art Déco-inspired setting. The Walt Disney Imagineering Paris teams are already at work to turn the park’s former central square into a dynamic and warm environment with décor inspired by the famous facades of Broadway and West End theaters. The atmosphere will be even more vibrant and magical at night, with bright lights illuminating the whole experience!

To gain access to the park’s immersive worlds, guests will walk along Adventure Way, a beautiful promenade surrounded by lush landscape and themed gardens. As guests wander through this enchanting area, they will discover Raiponce Tangled Spin, an all-new family attraction offering a fun take on a classic ride, inspired by the beloved Disney Animation movie Tangled. It will invite guests to “take a spin” through the iconic floating lanterns scene that has touched the hearts of viewers of all ages.

Finally, before setting off on new adventures, guests will have the chance to treat their taste buds to delicious dishes served at The Regal View Restaurant and Lounge, a stylish table-service restaurant that will offer guests spectacular views over Adventure Bay, along with a chance to meet some of their favorite Disney Princesses.

Turning to commentary, I can already anticipate a bit of fan backlash to this renaming. Whenever there’s a title card before a movie that says “Disney” instead of “Walt Disney,” there’s a certain subset of fans that freak out. It doesn’t matter whether the film is by a studio acquired by the company and arguably being at-odds with the founder’s legacy. (It definitely won’t be as vocal given the substance, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone says that about the opening of Deadpool & Wolverine, of all things.)

Point being, it’s a sensitive subject, and I can appreciate the why of that, especially as there are substantive ways in which the modern-day Disney behemoth strays from Walt’s legacy, becoming bigger and less recognizable than the studio he and his brother founded. Disney is one of the few companies with the enduring legacy of its founder, a creative core that remains true to that, and a fanbase protective of it. That’s a rarity, and it’s something worth protecting.

The problem here is that absolutely none of that was in the Walt Disney Studios Park in the first place. In fact, I’d argue the exact opposite–that this was perhaps the worst example of ‘Walt-washing’ that the company has ever engaged in. The meaning of that term I just coined should be fairly obvious, but in case not, it’s using Walt as a convenient PR shield or corporate mascot when it so suits the company to further its own contemporaneous best interests.

I’ve discussed this before, most notably when it’s come to Walt Disney statues or quotes to justify business decisions. Have you ever stopped to think about when those quotes are employed? It’s never to support a great change about which fans are going to be excited. There was no “Walt would’ve wanted this” when it comes to Radiator Springs Racers, Mystic Manor, or Fantasy Springs. All of those are great on the merits, so they’re allowed to stand on the merits. It’s the controversial changes that arguably are not progress that invoke Walt, ironically, in the name of progress.

Exact same idea with the Walt Disney Studios Park. I never experienced the opening day version of this Parisian park, having first visited in 2012, but even after adding Crush’s Coaster and then the Ratatouille dark ride, it was still the worst Disney theme park in the world by a wide margin–where it has stood ever since in our Disney Parks Power Rankings, which are updated 1-2 times per year. In fact, way back in 2013, we questioned whether the Walt Disney Studios Park was deserving of the “Disney” name, arguing that it didn’t even have the defining characteristics to be called a “theme” park.

Point being, the original name choice had nothing to do with the park being something deserving of Walt’s name. To the contrary, that decision was probably made to paper over its many shortcomings and offer a bit of fan service because what else we’re they going to do to give that sad place any appeal?!

To its credit, the Walt Disney Studios Park has made tremendous strides since then. The current transformation of the park that’ll be completed in the next couple of years will further that. To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed that the front entrance isn’t going to be razed and replaced, but what they’re doing is still a massive leap forward in the right direction. Disney is investing more now on the transformation into the soon-to-be Disney Adventure World than they spent on the opening day Walt Disney Studios Park.

And really, the biggest issue with the park has always been reflected in the name: studios. A high concentration of generic looking soundstages is not a good design choice, and one that never even made sense. We’ve long argued that the Walt Disney Studios Park needs to drop the pretense that it’s somehow a “studio.”

The soundstage idea is neat in theory as it puts a roof over guests’ heads to shelter them from the elements, but execution is terrible, and it’s only a good idea in theory. (Arcades, by contrast, are a good idea in actuality.) Besides just looking cheap and tacky, it immediately raises the curtain and takes guests backstage, rather than setting a stage and introducing guests to the park in an awe-inspiring manner.

There’s no wienie drawing them further into the park, it’s just a cheap pass-through a mall food court with some slap-shod “in the movies” decorations thrown in for good measure. Here’s hoping all of that improves with this transformation. Deeper into the park, this sea of soundstages feels cold and impersonal–oh, and cheap. Very very cheap. Which makes sense, because the Walt Disney Studios Park was built on the cheap.

While these opening act sound stages will remain, at least Disney Adventure World is getting a ton of placemaking. Adventure Bay is a strong addition, especially given that our biggest complaint about the Walt Disney Studios Park felt like that it could’ve been built on a Walmart parking lot–it wasn’t just a sea of sound stages before, but also, concrete. Better landscaping and placemaking, with water features and lush gardens, will be as transformative for this park as added attractions. It’ll be a place guests want to be, instead of a place where you get in and out as quickly as possible.

That’s always been the biggest issue with the Walt Disney Studios Park–that it has no sense of place or themed design to speak of…and is directly next door to what is arguably the #1 or #2 park for themed design in the world, after only Tokyo DisneySea. It’s definitely the best-designed castle park, and it’s thus quite jarring to go from that exemplar of themed design to Walt Disney Studios Park.

I knew Walt Disney Studios Park was bad before going in for the first time, but after visiting Disneyland Paris, I was taken aback by just how bad it was. Disneyland Paris sets such a high bar, and the second gate falls woefully short of that. Or of anything, really. It’s somewhere between Six Flags and Universal quality in terms of placemaking and cohesive themed design. But I digress–this is a post about the new name, not the many issues with WDSP.

As for the name, Disney Adventure World is fine, I guess. Nothing special but also not as bad as it could’ve been. It’s certainly superior to Disney XL Park or Disney Storyverse Park, two names that were supposedly under consideration for a relaunch of Disney’s Hollywood Studios back around the time Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge were under construction.

While it would’ve been amusing for the new park to be named Disney France Adventure and for DHS to be renamed Disney Florida Adventure for continuity with Disney California Adventure—or perhaps Disney’s Adventure in France since only one of the lands is themed to France—I can understand not going that route. DCA’s theme versus its name is a bit jumbled, even if these are all studios parks.

One name I actually would’ve liked is Disney’s CineMagique Adventure (or Worlds…or Kingdom). I wish I could take credit for this, but it’s a name that has floated around for years–meaning it was one Disney considered. I mention that because I don’t know how you can debate between Disney Adventure World and Disney’s CineMagique Adventure/World/Kingdom…and not choose the later. It’s so obviously the better name, with much more personality. It would be a nod to the past of WDSP, and really rolls off the tongue.

Disney Adventure World is on the generic and bland side, but still okay. I’m a bit sympathetic to going this route, as Disneyland Paris is in relatively unique position–welcoming guests from all over Europe and trying to tightrope language barriers while juggling English and French, alongside a dozen-plus other languages. Perhaps it was determined that Disney Adventure World was relatively universal, whereas other options would’ve been tough to translate.

I do think it’ll be confusing to have multiple offerings with “adventure” and “world” in the name, and wish Disney would branch out a bit more with its naming convention. But all of the current “adventures” and “worlds” haven’t proven problematic or confusing to guests yet, so I guess this will probably be fine.

Among other things, Disney Adventure World offers a break from the past and sheds the “studio” concept, which was its weakest link. I wish it had a bit more personality and distinctiveness, but perhaps fans will grow to love Disney Adventure World. It’s entirely possible that it’ll just take some time to get used to—while also experiencing the vibe of the new park. I’m just glad they’re moving on from WDSP. Like Genie, that name has become forever tainted, sadly.

For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Find the best place to stay in Disneyland Paris Hotel Reviews. Check out 101 Disneyland Paris Tips for some (101, to be exact) of our best random tips for doing DLP like a pro. See Disney Park Tickets Tips & Tricks for ways to save on tickets. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. Finally, for advice beyond Disney, check out our Ultimate Travel Guide to Paris, France.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the name Disney Adventure World? Good, bad or indifferent to it? Would you have preferred keeping “Walt Disney” in the name, or is it time to make a clean break from the past? Regardless of whether you’ve been or just seen photos, what do you think of the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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