It can be said a thousand times more — stepping out of Disney Studio 1 to see the Hollywood placemaking couldn’t be a more different view to the lone Studio Tram Tour billboard if they tried…
Last October, fans were well prepared for a Tower of Terror sans area development, standing alone at the heart of the park. Luckily, someone stood up and dared to suggest — “shouldn’t we try to squeeze a little more budget?”, and as if by magic, less than one year later, the Hollywood hills have arrived…
The first piece of the boulevard’s “backdrop” stands on the exact location of the old Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic entrance, using a design identical to the ‘Cadillac Range’ backdrop at Cars Quatre Roues Rallye to hold its vision of lush green vegetation, two palm trees standing either side of the tunnel below.
The tunnel, even, has turned out to be rather a surprise. Not at all in the two-dimensional style expected by most, it’s a fully-sculpted 3D entrance with details at its centre matching those of the new Hollywood buildings enclosing La Terrasse.
The more two-dimensional developments also have their details, above the three separate signs placed on what can now be considered a hotel, department store and apartments building. As mentioned previously, Los Feliz was the location of the very first Disney Bros Studio, whilst Larchmont and Ivar have no clear connection to Disney but are certainly well-known Hollywood names.
The above photos from 6th October 2007, jump forward to this weekend just passed — Sunday 14th October to be precise — and the Hollywood hills are looking very much complete:
The hills appear very true to their real-life form, relatively flat on top with a small collection of trees to the left of the Hollywood sign. The hills, combined with the forced perspective of the buildings, certainly have a distant, towering effect on the development, bridging the gap between both sides of the street and closing off the rear of the park. From its hub, the park now immediately feels far more enclosed.
Looking closer at the hills, your eyes may take some time to decide whether the four/five elements here are indeed flat backdrops or actually real. Without the fake blue skies of the backdrops seen at Disney’s California Adventure, or the hand-painted style of many Disney-MGM Studios backdrops, the Hollywood hills appear more photo-realistic, again matching the qualities of the Cars background.
Stepping to the far side of the street starts to break the illusion the series of elaborate sets gives. The photo above is the first to show the hills together with the tunnel entrance, this portion of the boulevard appearing to thankfully have just the right balance between three dimensions and two. Notice also the forced-perspective awning of the Los Feliz Hotel, which extends into the street a little.
Now, what’s going on elsewhere on the boulevard?
Well, Paris’ version of DCA’s “Off the Page” store entrance has a completed facade and work now starting on its inner archway. The completely redesigned new version of MGM’s “Sweet Success” facade appears the same as our previous update (at least above the fences), with no signage yet. Progress can, however, be seen at that old favourite — La Terrasse — where, finally, a colour scheme appears to have been settled upon, grey with brighter turqoise/green details.
The facade of “Gone Hollywood” should become a popular new icon and photo location for the park, realised in full 3D and now moving ahead fast with turquoise art deco details and brown window framings. The park’s new version of DCA’s “La Brea Carpets” set is currently covered in scaffolding and tarp, like much of “Gone Hollywood”, making progress checks a little hard at this point.
Finally, an important new detail which sprang up relatively unnoticed — the new home of the park’s tips board! It’s due to be a wooden/concrete canopy with tiled roof almost identical to the tips board shelter at Disney-MGM Studios. The basic framework and roof is already in place, as seen above. The park’s recently-updated art deco tips board will simply be moved across to sit underneath this new Californian-styled structure.