Paramount theme park set to debut in Spain in 2015

Los Angeles Times staff writer

The $1.5 billion Paramount Park in Spain hopes to rival Disneyland Paris as a European tourist destination when the movie theme park debuts in spring 2015.

> Photos: Paramount Park Murcia theme park in Spain

Located on the Mediterranean coast about 270 miles southeast of Madrid, Paramount Park Murcia will feature 30 attractions with an adjacent shopping center, hotels and casino.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2012 on a 100-acre theme park set around a central lake that will combine the themed lands of Disneyland with the movie backlots of Universal Studios.

While not an investor, Paramount Pictures will license movie properties to the developer and provide design direction for the theme park. The movie studio entered into a similar agreement in 2007 for Paramount Movie Park Korea.

Paramount operated several U.S. theme parks from 1992 until 2006, including King’s Island in Ohio, King’s Dominion in Virginia and Great America in Northern California.

Paramount Park Murcia will feature four themed lands based on adventure, fantasy, the future and the American Wild West as well as a main entrance promenade. Here’s a closer look at each of the areas, which continue to evolve:

> Paseo Promenade

Alternately known as Paseo Paramount and Paramount Promenade, the main entrance esplanade will feature a city streetscape that leads to a central hub sitting on a lake. Visitors will enter under a replica of the iconic Bronson Gate at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.

Among the attractions in Paseo Promenade:

A stage spectacular called Paramount Live will feature a rock ‘n’ roll show with a live band.

A ride or show based on the “School of Rock” movie starring Jack Black may be included in the entrance area.

> Adventure City

The action-oriented land will be set amid a small American town during the 1950s, with teenagers in period dress performing amid hot rod cars in the square.

Among the attractions in Adventure City:

Grease Lightning - Traditional bumper cars with vehicles designed to look like 1950s-era hot rods.

Titanic: The Exhibition - Visitors pass through a museum-like queue that tells the history of Titanic before boarding lifeboats for a special effects show depicting the sinking of the renowned ocean liner. Other Titanic exhibits include re-creations of key movie scenes and a display of the tools and techniques employed in the hunt for the ship’s remains.

Mission: Impossible - Visitors waiting in the queue are recruited as sleeper agents before climbing aboard a military-style vehicle for a 4D special effects ride through action scenes inspired by the Tom Cruise movies. The ride appears to employ motion based simulator vehicles similar to the Amazing Adventures of Spider-man at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Florida.

Italian Job Stunt Track - Based on the 2003 remake starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron, the themed coaster with three launch zones turns visitors into stunt drivers. Riders sit in Mini Cooper-styled train cars as they dodge near-collisions, narrowly avoid explosions and escape gunfire from a hovering helicopter.

Osteria Corleone - Inspired by the “Godfather” trilogy, the themed eatery portrays an Italian restaurant in 1940s New York City favored by the Corleone organized crime family.

> Rango’s West

The cowboys and Indians themed land draws its backstory from the Johnny Depp movie about a chameleon who becomes the sheriff of an American Wild West town. In parts of the land, visitors will “shrink” down to the size of a lizard as gasoline cans, oak barrels and moonshine jugs double as the town’s buildings.

Rango’s West continues the recent theme park trend of basing entire lands on a single movie property (i.e. the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Toy Story Land, A Bug’s Land, Cars Land, Avatar Land).

As recently as March, the Rango’s West area had a Lost Valley theme featuring a “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” interactive attraction and a “Beowulf”-inspired coaster called Dragon’s Legend. No word if those rides will show up in other areas of Paramount Park.

Among the attractions in Rango’s West:

Rango’s Rapids - The now-familiar raft ride takes riders down a churning white-water river through desert buttes and valleys. Landlubbers standing on bridges will be able to fire water cannons at already-soaked riders as they float past.

Rango’s 4D Theater - Rango the chameleon sheriff stars in “How the West Was Sung,” a musical journey through Paramount’s vault of classic American western movies.

Spirit of the West - The traditional mine train coaster travels through an American Wild West town and around desert buttes.

Poppin’ Corn - A children’s drop tower ride with a popcorn theme.

Water play area - Children frolic in water jets set amid oversized tin cans, frying pans and teapots.

> Woodland Fantasy

The magic-themed land set in a Medieval European village will feature an extensive hedge maze dotted with children’s rides.

Among the attractions in Woodland Fantasy:

Stardust’s Magician Workshop - A stage show set in a magician’s workshop sounds a whole lot like Ollivander’s Wand Shop at Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida.

Spiderwick Chronicles - Visitors use a magic wand to battle a hideous horned beast in this interactive dark ride based on the series of children’s books and the 2008 fantasy film.

Sleepy Hollow: Headless Horseman’s Revenge - Horse and rider come crashing through a window in this 3-D movie housed in a creepy village perpetually shrouded in fog.

Fairytale Journey - Families search for fairies on this indoor boat ride through a twinkling forest.

Carousel - A merry-go-round featuring whimsical imaginary creatures like sea dragons and winged horses.

Happy Tree - A play land for kids dominated by a large tree. A number of classic carnival rides stand nearby.

> Plaza Futura

The neon-tinged futuristic land focuses on science fiction fantasy and outer space flights of fancy.

Among the attractions in Plaza Futura:

Starfleet Recruiting Center - The “Star Trek” motion simulator ride takes recruits on a journey through outer space similar to the Star Tours ride at Disney parks.

War of the Worlds - A 4-D show based on the 2005 Steven Spielberg alien invasion movie.

Paranormal Activity - A 3-D show based on the 2007 supernatural horror movie about a suburban couple haunted by a demonic presence.

Warp Speed - This launch coaster rockets riders through a wormhole on a spaceship-themed train.

Quasar Force - An outer space-themed indoor coaster that appears to be based on a Wild Mouse-style track layout.