Legacy Content

Opening Ceremony of the Walt Disney Studios Park
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by Lee MacDonald
March 18, 2002
Coverage of the March 16th opening ceremony for the new Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.

Grand Opening Day at the Walt Disney Studios Park

After the most comprehensive expansion program in Walt Disney Imagineering’s 50-year history, the last in the current spate of openings arrived on March 16 2002 in the Ile de France.

The day began with invited guests arriving at the Studios security gates at around 8am. Various categories of passes existed and security had a tough time trying to establish who to let into the ceremony and when. Even senior WDI staffers like Thierry Coup and Brian Schultz were left outside the gates while the rest of the invitees entered to take their seats in front of the main gates.

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The ceremony itself took place directly in front of the Studios Main Gates. The three huge arches of the Main Gate were shrouded in giant crystal white canopies, completely obliterating the view of the Plaza de Lumiere Bros, the newly christened entrance plaza and the Studio 1 soundstage. A small stage with two lecterns had been established directly in front of the gates. The number of invited guests was significantly less than that seen at Disney’s California Adventure Park last February. Recognisable Disney personnel included Roy E. Disney, his son, Roy Patrick, Michael Eisner, CFO Tom Staggs, Parks boss Paul Pressler, WDI guru Marty Sklar and executives from EuroDisney S.C.A. including CEO, Jay Rasulo.

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The ceremony itself was bathed in brilliant light from a watery sun clinging to the cloudless sky. This was of great irony to me as the two previous Grand Opening ceremonies had begun in poor light and drizzle. Who would have gambled on the best weather being at Disneyland Resort Paris (DLRP) in March! Even Patti Disney (Roy E.’s wife) commented before the ceremony that the event had been blessed with “Walt weather?!

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