Elysium City, a smart city that will include a high-speed train system, theme park, water park, hotels, an 18-hole signature golf course and much more, is set to be inaugurated in 2023 in the Castilblanco municipality in the Spanish city of Badajoz.

Cora Alpha, a US based international theme park, resort, and tourism development company, will be responsible for the construction. The smart city will be designed around the town’s river and will be finished in two different phases.


The first phase, which will be finalized in 2023, will feature a 5-star hotel with a casino, a theme park, a four-star theme park hotel, a water park, a conference center, a data center, an 18-hole signature golf course, a live sports and entertainment venue and a marina. The second phase will add another five or six hotels, a formula one track, an equestrian center and an array of other attractions that are still in the planning stages.

“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 worked for 30 years with The Walt Disney Company spearheading operational design, programming, development and pre-opening plans for the $1.6 billion Disneyland Resort expansion project. He also managed Disneyland theme park operations for 15 years. Spain was one of the locations the company was considering for its Euro Disney Resort, which debuted as Disneyland Paris in France.

Elysium City will integrate a water adventure park into the area’s natural landscape. “Our preface was we loved Spain… we studied it during my Disney days and it’s a great market," Cora said. "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.”

As a smart city, the theme park will feature technology that allows guests to curtail wait times, as well as a potential passenger drone system attraction. Cora, who along with a private equity firm has acquired Palace Entertainment, the largest operator of water parks in the US, hopes to build a revolutionary new water park in Spain.

Landscaping and rockwork, rather than fiberglass, will be used to integrate Elysium into the area’s natural environment. The city will feature recreational activities like mountain biking, hiking and bungee jumping. Additionally, Elysium will feature solar-powered infrastructure, such as light poles and kiosks that provide parking information and availability, traffic updates, public transportation schedules and weather forecasts and warnings.

The city will offer free, ultra-high-speed WiFi, and will allow residents the option to create profiles and provide information regarding favorite activities or locations, which will be used for future city development. Furthermore, users can receive regular updates on events and meetings, and access the local government online to report matters, give feedback, and submit permit requests.

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The city will run entirely on 5G, enabling users to access high-speed connections and download movies to their phones in as little as 10 seconds, chief innovation officer Sergio Fernando de Cordova said. The second phase of Elysium will start construction this year and is expected to be finished in 2028.