Photos compiled late August 2007, click to enlarge.
This article could begin with a line such as “When you step outside the doors of Disney Studio 1, the full effect the Tower of Terror and its associated placemaking gives an instant ‘wow’ for the size of this project.”
In fact, when you step outside the doors of Disney Studio 1 during Summer months, a ‘wow’ is still there, but the plentiful green trees block out much of the new scenery, hiding the new locations and giving The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror an even more towering presence.
Where once Disney Bros. Plaza provided the uninspiring panorama of an empty space, Studio Tram Tour billboard and yellow Art of Disney Animation, the glorious little courtyard is now surrounded by the details of the placemaking and the colour of Toon Studio. With his back to Hollywood, Walt points to Disney Studio 1, inspired by his own Hyperion Studio, as if to say to Mickey “look what we acheived here.”
Through the early morning fog, the Tower nestles comfortably behind the La Brea Carpets façade, lost and forgotten in the backstreets of Hollywood. When 2007 began, most expected the only development between the plaza and the Tower to be the old La Terrasse. The Tower would have sat alone as a lonely beacon of theme and story…
The view along this miniaturised Hollywood Boulevard is certainly still reminiscent of the early-2000s era of Imagineering — the picture-postcard entrance of Disney’s California Adventure, and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot of that same park. However, with real, three-dimensional sets in the foreground, the chance for a little “exploration” is still there.
But who said the sets and buildings closer to the backdrop weren’t 3D? Whilst the brilliant colour and forced perspective effects on the First National Bank (above) make it hard to tell at this point what’s dimensional and what’s a flat backdrop, the teal tower and octagonal corners are certainly real. The windows are also recessed into the building and fitted with reflective plastic.
Details elsewhere are also far from fake. On the new version of California Adventure’s three-story La Brea Carpets façade, you’ll find window frames and even a wooden balcony door…
With its location right at the heart of Walt Disney Studios Park, the placemaking is also having an effect on various other views across the Studio landscape. We’ve spoken many times before on DLRP Today about how the Tower’s location at the centre of the park certainly takes some weight of thematic criticisms off the less exceptional buildings in the park, and with Hollywood Boulevard even more visual interest has been added, filling a vast void at the heart of the park.
The large use of yellow throughout the development constrasts strongly with the greys of Backlot and the blues of Toon Studio to finally separate the lands of Walt Disney Studios Park. It might sound a little like Imagineering for kids, but the effect is no different to the ochres of Frontierland or the greens of Adventureland.
And the development hasn’t just added to the park, either. Some of the original 2002 elements which never captured any fans are now gone for good. Case in point — the billboard of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic, now pulled apart to a single rectangular length of white metal, waiting for its new life in the Hollywood Hills…
From Studio Tram Tour itself, the Hollywood sets have an impressive height, filling the gap between Disney Studio 1 and Tower of Terror.
From behind, the steel skeletons can still be seen clearly by those entering the temporary Studio Tram Tour queue. The steel was painted white after construction, unlike the rest of the developments where it remained a natural colour, suggesting that it may remain visible from somewhere within the park.
Also here is the framework for the tunnel which will fill the problematic “horizon point” of the forced perspective film set (see Hollywood Pictures Backlot, DCA) — check the video on Page 4 for a look at the framework.
The set of the fictional Gone Hollywood boutique may give some hope to those who would rather not see steel frames, since the rear of this building has now been covered in dry wall similar to that given to the buildings surrounding La Terrasse, enclosing its inner framework.
The square structure which extends above the height of the storefront will eventually be home to a brightly-coloured art deco clock, previously missing from the main section of the park.
Continued on Page 2, as we stroll back around to Production Courtyard…