Centre of events has been the giant, teetering canyon rock. Direct from the McQueen and Doc Hudson race scenes in the Disney-Pixar Cars film, the rock has been converted from CGI to reality, becoming a new icon for the future Toon Studio.
Beginning as little more than an unpromising steel and concrete frame on 29th November 2006, by 10th December 2006 the theme element had gained a thin wire mesh frame and a more detailed plaster shell.
The first colour arrived on 13th December, and just four days later on 17th December the main portion of the rock’s themeing was complete. Since the rock is part of a massive, wind-eroded canyon in the film, shrinking the icon down to Toon Studio size obviously took some planning. According to Dlrp.fr, the sculpting was completed by Atelier Artistique du Béton, whose past credits at Disneyland Resort Paris include Catastrophe Canyon and Le Pays de Contes de Fées. This new creation effectively mixes the two together, giving an authentic canyon look with miniturised detail.
Like some elements of Le Pays de Contes de Fées, the rock has been given an ultra-detailed sculpt to suggest it is much larger than it actually is. The small fallen “boulders” near the bottom and the incredible eroded detail of the tallest outcrop will create an optical illusion from the ride area suggesting the rock is larger and more distant from guests than they realise.
From the main entry courtyard of Toon Studio, the current Animation Courtyard, the rock will clearly also provide the classic Imagineering “weenie” effect, pulling guests towards the area and adding interest and colour to this part of the land. Interestingly, the multicoloured backdrop of Flying Carpets Over Agrabah matches the new themeing perfectly, with its purple edge next to the blue rockwork of Crush’s Coaster, it’s orange centre opposite the ochreous rocks of Cars and the final yellow edge next to its own oasis-themed entrance.