Since March 2010, there have been rumours of Paramount building a large park in Murcia, Spain. Located in a warmer climate than Disneyland Paris and situated close to several airports served by budget airlines, it is in the perfect location for a resort to rival that of Disneyland Paris. This week the Murcian Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Pedro Alberto Cruz, announced that construction for the new park will begin at the end of this year or the beginning of 2012. He said that this is an “exciting and amazing project” and more information will be announced at the parks initial presentation held on March 25th 2011. It is believed that Paramount’s Executive Vice President Michael Bartok will be at the presentation.

Copyright Google Earth

But, how much of a threat is the park to Disneyland Paris? Let’s look at the locations of the two parks. Firstly, the two resorts are around 1700 km (1000 miles) from each other. As you can see from the picture above, the new park is in the south-eastern corner of Spain and will guarantee good weather all year. It is also a well established spot for family vacations. You are less likely to see people take a trip for a long weekend from further afield than Spain, Instead they are more likely to visit the park and more as part of a longer family vacation.

Copyright Google Earth

Disneyland Paris is located to the east of Paris in a region known as Marne-la-Vallée. The resort is easily accessible by road and rail from the rest of Europe and is only a short train journey from the airport which also has excellent links. The weather is very mixed with freezing winters and hot summers but is much more central for many people, certainly from the UK, to visit for a short break. It also has France’s capital, Paris as a major draw.

The distance between the two parks is around 1000 miles. Copyright Google Earth

What is is then that Paramount think will make it such a major competitor to Disneyland Paris? After all, Disney have such a major following that it will be very hard to compete with. Firstly, the resort will feature 4 hotels, a 36.5 hectare theme park plus an aquatic park covering almost 10 hectares.

The park itself, pictured above will be split into 4 distinct zones. One will feature an interactive fantasy woodland with children in mind and other areas will include characters and attractions from Paramount movie including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Titanic, The Italian Job and Congo. Paramount also own films such as American Beauty, Braveheart, Gladiator, The Godfather Trilogy, Transformers, Star Trek and Saving Private Ryan, so there are endless possibilities as to what they can create. You can find a list of all the Paramount movies made here

The idea of the park is that guests will become the characters from the movies in each of the attractions as they are immersed in the experience using the latest in ride and audio-visual technology. Architects have said that 90% of the parks attractions are already finalised although much of the information about the park is still under wraps. One snippet of attraction news that has been leaked revels a car chase attraction will be featured linked to the Italian Job. The designers have also said that they want everything to be brand new with nothing copied from other theme parks. Doesn’t the Italian Job idea sound familiar?

Restaurants, shops and bars are expected to stay open in to the earlier hours to accommodate the Spanish lifestyle and this will also mean the parks will open later (don’t expect gates to open much before 10am). Paramount’s US based designers are working very closely with the new park’s team and hope to bring in their expertise on developing a successful product. Paramount want the park to become the best in Europe and with the addition of the aqua park (still to be confirmed as being built), the resort will certainly rival its competitors but will it touch Disney? It’s going to have to be something special if it does.

What do you think?