Outrage over plans to build an £85million Disney-style ‘D-Day Land’ theme park complete with battle re-enactments near Second World War landing beaches in France
- Plans to build a ‘D-Day Land’ theme park in northern France have caused outrage
- The theme park would feature battle re-enactments and sound-and-light shows
- Opponents said park would be an insult to those killed and wounded on D-Day
Plans to build an £85million Disney-style ‘D-Day Land’ theme park close to the World War II landing beaches of northern France have caused outrage.
Hervé Morin, President of the Normandy region, said he wanted to see the tourist attraction in place for the 80th anniversary of the June 6th 1944 invasion by Allied troops.
‘All that’s left is to find building land, not on the D-Day beaches themselves, but very close to Juno, Omaha or Utah,’ he said, referring to three of five landing sectors.
American shock troops land on a Normandy beach, June 6, 1944. Opponents to the plan said the proposed park would be an insult to the thousands who were killed and wounded on D-Day, and during the ensuing Battle of Normandy
Mr Morin said he hoped a Hollywood director would help choreograph a ‘spectacular’ permanent show which would attract thousands to his region.
There would be battle re-enactments, cinemas, sound-and-light shows, and other attractions designed to appeal to thrill-seeking tourists.
But opponents said the proposed park would be an insult to the thousands who were killed and wounded on D-Day, and during the ensuing Battle of Normandy.
The new British memorial to the World War Two (WWII) Normandy landings by sculptor David Williams-Ellis, is silhouetted along Gold beach at Ver-sur-Mer
These included British and American troops who were involved in the Liberation of France, and then the final defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
A spokesman for France’s National Research Group, made up of historians who cover the war years, said: ‘The Normandy landings is a page in the history of France which should be respected’ and not turned into a money-spinning business venture.
The spokesman said the project ‘will seriously harm the ecology of the area, but also lacks respect for the veterans and those killed during the Normandy landings and the battle than followed.’
The group has launched a petition against the park, which by Tuesday morning had already reached more than 900 signatures.
Their fear is that the theme park – which has been nicknamed ‘D-Day Land’ – would be in the style of the hugely popular Disneyland Paris, which attracts more than 15 million visitors a year.
Olivier Paz, the Mayor of Merville-Franceville, where British parachutists were involved in fierce fighting to destroy a German gun battery before the D-Day landings, said the new project ‘should not be allowed to become Disneyland.’
D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy last year
Some five million tourists a year visit Normandy to view world famous historical sites, including the Normandy beaches, and the cemeteries, monuments and museums nearby.
A memorial dedicated to the British Fallen was inaugurated in 2019 by then Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
It is currently under construction in the coastal village of Ver sur Mer, just above the British Gold Beach, and will open in September.