This New 'Smart City' in Europe Will Have a Huge Theme Park and More

Spain will soon be home to a massive smart city called Elysium City, complete with its own high-speed train system, theme park, water park, hotels, an 18-hole signature golf course and more. 

U.S. based international theme park, resort, and tourism development company Cora Alpha will be bringing the smart city to the Castilblanco municipality in the Spanish city of Badajoz.

The smart city, which will be developed around a river that sits in the municipality, will be completed in two different phases.

The first phase, which is set to be complete in 2023, will include the development of a 5-star hotel with a casino, a theme park, a four-star theme park hotel, an adventure water park, a conference center, a data center, an 18-hole signature golf course, a sports and entertainment complex for professional soccer and musical performances and a marina.

The second phase will include another five or six hotels, a formula one track, an equestrian center and several other attractions that the company is still determining at this time.

“It’s basically a city that we’re creating that will be a smart city from ground up, but the core will be the entrainment pieces: a Disney-level major theme park and an adventure water park that’s unlike typical water parks,” John Cora, founder and chairman of Cora Alpha told Travel + Leisure. “The goal is to have it be a place where you want to work, live and play.” 

Cora’s statement about a “Disney-level” major theme park comes from his past experience, having spent 30 years with The Walt Disney Company leading operational design, programming, development and pre-opening plans for the $1.6 billion Disneyland Resort expansion project. Cora also ran theme park operations at Disneyland for 15 years.

Spain was actually one of the locations the company was looking at for its Euro Disney Resort, which ended up as Disneyland Paris in France.

“Our preface was we loved Spain… we studied it during my Disney days and it’s a great market,” Cora said, adding, “the weather is conducive like Southern California and it’s at a spectacular location sitting on a hill, part of which overlooks the entire river, located just an hour and a half by car from Madrid.”

Being within a smart city, the theme park will include technology to limit wait times for guests and a possible passenger drone system attraction. 

Cora is also utilizing his background with water parks, having partnered with a private equity firm to acquire Palace Entertainment — currently the largest operator of water parks and family entertainment centers in the U.S — to create a water park that breaks the mold. 

Straying away from the yellow and red fiberglass commonly found in water parks today, Elysiums water adventure park will utilize heavy landscaping and rockwork, and incorporate the area’s natural environment to create adventure activities like mountain biking, hiking and bungee jumping.

Elysium also will include solar-powered infrastructure like light poles, while kiosks will be set up to provide parking information and availability, traffic updates, public transportation schedules and weather forecasts and warnings.

Residents and visitors will find free and city-wide, ultra-high-speed WiFi, with the option to create profiles and input information like favorite activities or preferred dining venues to play a role in future city development. In addition, users can get regular updates on events and meetings, and connect directly to the city government to report issues, give feedback, and fill out permits.

The city will run on 5G, allowing those in its perimeters to access high-speed connections and download movies to their phones in as little as 10 seconds, chief innovation officer Sergio Fernando de Cordova told T+L. 

The second phase of Elysium is currently set for completion in 2028, with the company planning to start construction in 2019. 

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