From the aerial vantage point of Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, the full ensemble of palm trees can be seen in a single glance. Spreading from the Flying Carpets entrance across the three new ‘oasis’ islands and now right around the queue line of Crush’s Coaster, it looks like the fan plea for more palms has finally been answered. The trees divide up the paths into smaller, cosier, more Disney-style routes, and finally add a sense of adventure and discovery to the Studios’ otherwise simplistic layout.
The outside queue line’s unpromising metallic canopy has been swarmed by more palm trees, filling gaps which lead through to the outside world or the Genie’s Flying Carpets set. It appears paths are now in the process of being laid, whilst a reinforced, vertical concrete block (which has been in place for several weeks) hints at more still to come. Curiously, work on painting the sides of the lower ‘dark ride’ building has not yet begun.
According to the only concept sketch available, the metallic roof will remain unthemed, with the only detail being lights similar to those outside Armageddon: Special Effects. Instead, in true movie-set style, the theme will only be found around the ‘stars’ (guests) themselves, with supports, signage and build-ups of sand suggesting a dried-up fishing pier.
Aside from the palm trees and setting-out of pathways in the area, a major change making the attraction begin to look a lot like complete is the removal of scaffolding on the rockwork. Now not only does the blue look a whole lot brighter, but the layering and detail of the rockwork becomes more clear. Photo 4 above shows that the highest points of the rocks are actually separate from the building, with the gap likely making the addition of the building’s giant poster mural much easier to accomplish.
The design softens the traditional hard-edged soundstage design seen elsewhere in the Studios, as well as very cleverly sheilding almost all of the ride’s track from view.
The rockwork features three holes – the first, on the right, is the attraction’s exit. Next, where the turtle shell vehicles will dive out of the showbuilding, and finally the third where they will re-enter after the small outside drop, heading into the dark-ride scenes of the ride.
It’s becoming clearer by the day that Crush’s Coaster – and infact the whole of Toon Studio – is a wildly imaginative piece of Imagineering, vastly different to anything else in the park, at Disney’s other studio park in Florida or even at any Disney park worldwide. Not only will Crush’s Coaster introduce European theme park favourite Maurer SÃ¶hne to Disney theme parks, but it marks a massive shift in style for Disney attraction design. With this project, imagination really has run riot.