First, scaffolding and the metal supports around the left-hand outcrop of the Tower were removed, revealing its colours and an interesting metal panel. Like the right-hand outcrop, this is yet to be finished underneath, with a final finish and false art deco supports still to come.

Art deco panelling has also spread further across the front of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, some of it with paint and some of it adding fine art deco details such as the small decorations on the panels of the tallest dome tower. With the main shell of the Tower complete, the final of the two towering cranes has now been removed.

The most interesting development recently has been the start of weathering and ageing on the back of Tower. Whilst it was believed this would begin with the final coat of paint or plaster, the first details of dirt and grime have appeared with the Tower still in its pale yellow state, a long way from California’s (Disney Studio 1-style) deep yellow. Whether this could be the final colour, or it is simply the first step in a long colouring process is still unknown.

More major progress slid into view earlier this week when, for the first time, elevator doors were spotted on the openings of the Tower. Disguised by themeing in the final design, these modern elevator doors slide open to reveal the vista into the 5th Dimension to riders of the attraction, before they plummet a second time into the Twilight Zone.

Some openings have thick wooden supports blocking the hole, whilst others are open to the elements and showing off the new doors. With almost exactly one year to go until the grand opening, this marks the very first visible “operational” part of the Tower’s many ride effects and systems, though the doors won’t begin full automatic operation for some time yet. In a similar way to fans watching the launch of repainted rocket trains before Space Mountain: Mission 2 blasted off, fans in California followed every second of the elevator doors’ movement as the attraction entered testing. So prepare to watch this space in 2007…

Photos 1-2 & 6 by Kyoto at DMI, photos 3-5 by thebatman_1 at MagicForum

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