Earlier today, Disney officially announced plans for a major expansion at the Disneyland Resort Paris. More specifically, an investment of €2 billion (about 2.448 billion USD with today’s exchange rate) will bring Star Wars, Marvel, and Frozen to the resort in an effort to revive the long-fledgling Walt Disney Studios Park. This news comes on the heels of Disneyland Paris’s 25th-anniversary celebration, which kicked off last April, and follows Disney’s move to take on full ownership of the resort.
Given the scope of today’s announcement, we thought it might be fun to see how this upcoming project compares to a few other high-profile theme park investments from the company’s (mostly recent) past:
That’s right — while the original Magic Kingdom was a massive gamble for Walt Disney, its $17 million price tag seems like pocket change by today’s standards. Of course, this was 1955, but even adjusting for inflation put the park’s cost at $157 million. Naturally, as the park gained popularity, it would undergo a number of changes and upgrades to become the destination we know today.
In 2007, Disney conceited that its second gate in Anaheim needed help. As a result, they proposed spending $1.1 billion to essentially redo major portions of Disney’s California Adventure, including the transformation of Sunshine Plaza into Buena Vista Street and the addition of Carsland. That money also brought attractions such as The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, the nighttime spectacular World of Color, and a handful of rethemings such as Goofy’s Sky School, Silly Symphony Swings, and Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Thankfully, this billion dollar investment paid off as attendance at the now-named Disney California Adventure has improved significantly as has guest satisfaction (even if we might still have a place in our hearts for DCA 1.0).
While many are aware that the Disneyland Resort is currently expanding — including Star Wars Land, the transformation of Downtown Disney, the addition of a four-diamond hotel, and a new parking structure — some might not recall that these projects are partially tied to a deal Disney made with the city of Anaheim. Back in 2015, the Anaheim City Council voted on whether to impose admission taxes on the Disneyland Resort. Disney proposed that, in exchange for the council voting against the added taxes, they would invest at least $1 billion into the resort within the next 10 years. The bill to forgo admission taxes for at least 30 years was passed by a vote of 3-2.
Hong Kong Disneyland Expansions — $900 Million, $1.4 Billion
Hong Kong Disneyland is also no stranger to disappointing attendance numbers. A few years after the park’s 2005 opening, Disney and the Hong Kong government announced they’d be putting more than $900 million (3.63 billion HKD from the government and 3.5 billion HKD from Disney) into the park. These funds were used to add three lands to the tiny park: Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, and the fan-favorite Mystic Point. Unfortunately, Disney’s opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort in Mainland China brought on a new set of problems for Hong Kong. In reaction, the resort announced it was putting another $1.4 billion into an expansion that will not only bring more Marvel to the park (Iron Man Experience became the first major Marvel attraction in a Disney park when it officially opened in January 2017) but would also add a Frozen area and transform the castle into a towering structure.
Tokyo Disney Resort Current Expansion — $867 Million
Unlike the Disneyland Resort or Disneyland Resort Paris, the Tokyo Disney Resort has not endured any major second gate problems. That might be because the Oriental Land Company (who owns the resort) is reported to have spent $4 billion on Tokyo DisneySea, which has become renowned among fans. Both parks continued to flourish — so much so that OLC once again looked to expand. After initially announcing a $4.6 billion expansion, plans were eventually scaled back. Still, the current expansion is estimated to cost 93 billion JPY and will include attractions based on Beauty and the Beast, Big Hero 6, and more. Meanwhile, rumors of a much larger expansion and potentially even a third theme park have been circulating, with cost figures in the neighborhood of $2.7 billion. We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.
Disneyland Resort Paris Announced Expansion — $2.45 Billion
Finally, we come back to the just-announced expansion in Paris. While we already knew that an Avengers coaster would be replacing Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith, it’s now been confirmed that other Marvel projects as well as those based on Frozen and Star Wars will be coming to the resort as well. Ultimately, while the price tag exceeds some other transformations like those of Disney California Adventure and Hong Kong Disneyland, the scope of these projects is massive and incorporates plenty of elements from other expansions we’re currently seeing at various Disney parks around the world. In all, there’s plenty to be excited for at Disneyland Paris and elsewhere as Disney’s parks business continues to grow.