Monday, 24th February 2014

Spider-Man photo location rumoured for Backlot in Walt Disney Studios Park

Marvel Ultimate Spider-Man

We really hope you like your Disney character rumours, because here’s another. Fellow fansite DlrpExpress.fr reports today that a Spider-Man photo location could be on its way to Backlot in Walt Disney Studios Park, occupying empty space next to Disney Blockbuster Café.

According to the rumour, the Marvel-themed “photo location” would take up space at one side of the counter service restaurant, in the corner of Backlot opposite Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Disney Blockbuster Café

This room was originally an outdoor terrace in 2002, before being enclosed soon after opening in order to add more capacity to the dining venue.

Despite this, it has rarely been regularly used and was most recently turned into a short-lived second Bureau Passport Annuel, Annual Passport sales office. Currently, it sits empty with just a few display cases and lonely High School Musical 3 posters.

Marvel Spider-Man Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Not just a welcome use for this wasted space, a Spider-Man location here in Backlot would be the first step in the long-awaited addition of Marvel characters to Walt Disney Studios Park.

Rumours have grown since Disney’s 2009 acquisition of the comic book company that this corner of the park could see a full superhero makeover. At one point, there was even speculation that Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux  in particular could be rethemed to Spider-Man.

Yet to date, the most the park has seen is the former “High School Musical room” of Disney Blockbuster Café replaced by an “Iron Man room” — a generous way to describe putting a few new posters up, detailed in Photos Magiques’ recent report.

Iron Man room at Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Around the world, only Hong Kong Disneyland has officially announced the first Marvel-themed attraction, a 3D motion simulator dubbed Iron Man Experience. Meanwhile California, as usual, has been at the forefront with the first Marvel characters taking up residence with special exhibits and meet ‘n’ greets for Iron Man, Thor and (soon) Captain America at Innoventions.

Rumour states Disneyland Paris could welcome Spider-Man as soon as mid-March, making it the first Disney park to feature the character in any form. So far, the live “Disney” character version has only appeared very briefly, at last year’s D23 Expo (see video below).

Disneyland Paris has now, for some time, sold a large range of Spider-Man comic book and cartoon merchandise, above other Marvel characters.

While Disney would base its theme park characterisation on Disney XD‘s successful Ultimate Spider-Man animated TV series (pictured top), it’s surely no coincidence that this year also sees Sony Pictures release its second “rebooted” film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, under its ownership of the movie rights, boosting the attractiveness of such a tie-in.

For Walt Disney Studios Park, having such a name on its books would be an incredible coup, massively elevating the park’s credentials. Certainly more so than its previous movie tie-in catalogue of Armageddon, Reign of Fire and Dinotopia, don’t you agree?

Video of Spider-Man’s D23 Disney character appearance follows… Read More…

Wednesday, 16th May 2012

First Ratatouille dark ride construction crane rises above the Studios — in pictures and video

Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity! dark ride construction crane

This week, the future Ratatouille dark ride made another highly visible step forward as a second tower crane began to rise above the Toon Studio construction site. The first, of course, made its mark on 11th April — a valiant effort by the second gate to steal the thunder of its partner a day before the 20th Anniversary events on 12th April 2012. Whether this date was chosen by chance or by reason, it was a fitting way to end one chapter with the beginnings of the next.

So what does a Disneyland Paris fan do, upon arriving at the resort after a long train journey on a blustery, rainy evening like that? Rush straight over to Walt Disney Studios Park, just 15 minutes before the gates closed, and photograph our exciting new landmark from every angle, of course. And then, a month later, actually find the time to post the pictures online.

But here we go, crane fans: over 40 photos and six minutes of video featuring “La Grue Ratatouille” — from Val d’Europe, Toon Studio, Backlot, Frontierland and beyond. This first crane alone was imposing enough on the skyline: this ride may be all about rats, but it won’t be small by any standard.

Continues… Read More…

Friday, 16th March 2012

Just one new Studios attraction for 2014: Disneyland Paris confirms journalist error

Ah, we’ve all mistaken an “une” for a “deux”, haven’t we? Putting an abrupt end to the hunt for a second imminent new Walt Disney Studios Park attraction, Disneyland Paris has confirmed directly to Mouetto, admin of Disney Central Plaza, that the comment was purely a journalistic error on the part of Le Figaro, which incorrectly transcribed its interview with Philippe Gas.

The article by Mathilde Visseyrias, which remains unchanged online, cites the Euro Disney group CEO as announcing that €150 million in credit agreed by lenders would be used “pour construire deux nouvelles attractions”. One likely explanation for the error could be that Mr Gas actually said a more vague corporate line of “de nouvelles attractions”, simply “new attractions”.

As Mouetto also points out, this isn’t the only error from this Figaro journalist regarding Disneyland Paris. A separate article also published on Tuesday states Philippe Gas as having been CEO since 1998, rather than 2008. Ironically, Visseyrias headlined the original interview as “Disneyland Paris ‘has learned from its mistakes'”.

So, yes… Happy birthday, Walt Disney Studios Park! While this confirmation couldn’t be timed worse, let’s try not to be too disappointed about an extra attraction which was never there to begin with. Ratatouille is still very much “on” for 2014, bringing with it the equally welcome trio of a full-size restaurant, toilets and possibly a new shop. And with the €150 million cited — which thanks to earlier announcements, we can confirm isn’t a mistake — that means one huge pot of cash to make Rémy’s world-exclusive ride something even Brad Bird calls “really cool”.

And those suggestions we shared for where the park could find a second new attraction: don’t forget those. They might just require a little more patience. It’s frustrating, because this extra-attraction-that-never-was could have been a great opportunity to tick one off the list early, improving at the same time as expanding the Studios. Investments such as Toy Story Playland have bulked up the attraction (and visitor) count but failed to add up to a more consistent, cohesive park. It largely remains a collection of top quality Disney attractions without the strong Disney glue between them. Merely sticking extra pieces on, however big-budget, won’t solve the overall production problems.

VIA Mouetto (Disney Central Plaza)

Friday, 16th March 2012

Happy 10th Birthday, Walt Disney Studios Park! Ceremony sprinkles welcome glitz

Happy birthday, Walt Disney Studios Park! The second park at Disneyland Paris has celebrated its 10th anniversary today in a characteristically somewhat muted day of special events. That wasn’t going to stop the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors giving it their all, though. Following their stint as Frontiersmen for the rededication of the Molly Brown and gentlemen of the royal court for the inauguration of the Princess Pavilion, Osvaldo del Mistero and Régis Alart raided the costuming workshop once again with an eye on Hollywood glitz.

The result looks superb for such an intimate event: dancers, singers, boom mics and rolling cameras — not to mention Osvaldo, Régis and Mickey Mouse all looking like they’ve just stepped out of the Oscar-winning best picture The Artist. A special clapperboard has been decorated with “Walt Disney Studios 10 ans” — the “10” made out out of a celluloid film reel. It’s a welcome throwback to the kind of Hollywood-that-never-was glamour which the still sorely-missed CinéFolies streetsmosphere shows in this same Disney Studio 1 used to provide.

Inside, the park’s Cast Members are wearing special badges to mark the occasion. From a paltry 10 attractions at opening on 16th March 2002, the park has grown to count 17 attractions within its studio lots, six of which are entirely unique to the park. After a lacklustre opening which forced the resort into a second financial restructuring, the first seeds of change were only sown in 2007 with the Toon Studio Placemaking project and two new attractions, Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye.

Though additions such as Stitch Live! and Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! have sought to revitalise initially unpopular areas, the park has failed to see the implementation of any kind of wider improvement programme. Piecemeal, self-contained developments such as the colourful Toy Story Playland have continued to create pockets of Disney quality while other areas remain unappealing and lacking. The cold, windswept asphalt of Backlot has seen barely a single change since 2002, besides the half-hearted redecoration of Disney Blockbuster Café.

Nevertheless with its very first dark ride finally on the way in 2014, in the form of the world-exclusive and by all accounts state-of-the-art Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity! (rumoured working title), the whispers of further change continue to echo around these fictional soundstages. By the end of this decade, as it’s twentieth birthday nears, the second park might just be nearing a more complete park…

In the meantime, the park’s Cast Members gathered for a souvenir photo.

Dix ans — c’est dans la boîte!

VIA Ambassadeur Disneyland Paris, Disney Central Plaza (Facebook), @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Tuesday, 13th March 2012

TWO new attractions for Walt Disney Studios Park in 2014 with €150m investment?

UPDATE: Disneyland Paris has confirmed Le Figaro’s transcription was inaccurate — only one new attraction is scheduled to open in 2014.

We know Disneyland Paris has the money, we know they’ve finally started construction on the Ratatouille dark ride, and Brad Bird knows all about it, too. But now, in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Philippe Gas has let slip a surprising statement that Walt Disney Studios Park will see not one, but two new attractions opening within its gates in 2014. In the brief article headlined “Disneyland Paris ‘has learned from its mistakes'”, the resort president and CEO of Euro Disney SCA discusses the company’s tumultuous financial situation as it approaches its 20th Anniversary.

Asked as a final question “What will you do to avoid the park reaching saturation?”, he comments:

Knowing that a customer is satisfied when they can see at least six attractions in a day, we estimate our maximum capacity to be 17 million visitors annually. So we still have room for improvement, but we must grow. In January, our banks have given us 150 million euros in new funding to build two new attractions, which should open in 2014 in our second park, Walt Disney Studios. In 2010, we also obtained the agreement of the State to build a third park. We are looking at it very seriously, even if the decision won’t be made until 2020. We will also build new hotels, restaurants and shops.

Now, presuming Mr Gas doesn’t count the adjoining restaurant or those desperately needed new toilets which should be installed next to Ratatouille, this gives us an odd surplus in the new attraction count for 2014. So what are the possibilities? Again, this could depend on how you define a new attraction, but let’s throw Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic right out there straight away.

An expanded Tram Tour, perhaps a new show scene, perhaps even a relocated station — allowing the park to begin that announced “multi-year expansion”, expanding the current Hollywood Boulevard — could all be strong possibilities come 2014. Relaunching it as a “new attraction”, given changes like these to make it a worthwhile experience, would be far more appreciated than previous half-hearted relaunches such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: Backwards! and Space Mountain: Mission 2. The route itself has already been pushed even further back into the forest by current construction works, yet still desperately needs things to actually see along it. Those huge, people-eating trams are surely not reaching their full capacity with the disappointing tour which exists today.

We had assumed that €150 million would only just cover Ratatouille itself, so a second attraction would likely be a smaller, less expensive project. We’re not expecting a Soarin’ here just yet. So presuming CinéMagique is safe and Aerosmith still have a few years left in them yet, the only likely replacements for existing attractions are Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux and Animagique.

Armageddon suffers with its poor throughput and even poorer pre-show; having been the focus of a previous replacement proposal, to build a Chronicles of Narnia-based attraction in its place, could its time finally be up? Recent rumours have suggested that the licence to the 1998 Jerry Bruckheimer film itself could soon run out, further fuelling the desire for a replacement. With the more neutral Backlot location, this could be the perfect opportunity to introduce Disney’s recently-acquired Marvel characters to the parks, although the building’s small size would certainly be restrictive. It might not be the easiest way to add capacity to the park, as Philippe Gas desires.

Meanwhile, the live Animagique blacklight puppetry show in Toon Studio will be approaching its twelfth birthday in 2014. Popular though it is, that’s a long time for a live show, and considering the huge 1,100-seat capacity of Studio 3, the show provides the park with relatively little capacity. Finally going ahead with a long-mooted replacement by a certain 3-D film such as, ooh, Mickey’s Philharmagic would boost capacity in this part of the park enormously — and that’s precisely what Philippe Gas seems concerned about here, making it a very strong possibility.

Due to the live puppeteers involved, Animagique stages only around five shows per day in the vast auditorium, whereas a 12-minute projected film show such as Philharmagic is able to play continuously from park opening right to closing time; cycling through audiences every 20 minutes or so, and with lower operational costs to boot. The pair are practically cousins, conceived around the same time and both seeing Donald Duck getting lost in a series of classic musical scenes. But with 3-D films becoming passé again and Philharmagic due to be nearing 11 years old in 2014, could it still be viable as a new attraction? A belated opening at Tokyo Disneyland just last year suggests it certainly is.

As you can see, while two new attractions in one year may be a surplus, there’s still no shortage of possibilities in Walt Disney Studios Park to use that valuable credit on. Watch this space…

VIA Le Figaro.fr

Saturday, 26th November 2011

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars officially drops stage production stop for full run of the parade route

They’re going the wrong way! It seems like the set-up for a classic something-goes-wrong Disney attraction, but the diversion of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars at Walt Disney Studios Park you see above is actually entirely planned. Since May this year, in fact, the plan has been for the part-parade, part-show event to become a simple linear cavalcade, passing on its original Production Number show stop at Place des Stars. From Friday, the “logistical issues” which had delayed the change were finally overcome when Donald and Daisy led the parade down Rue George Méliès toward Backlot for the very first time.

Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars now follows the park’s original parade route, entering in Toon Studio between Flying Carpets Over Agrabah and Animagique, passing past Disney Bros. Plaza and exiting between Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and Disney Blockbuster Café, without stopping. This is the first time the whole parade route has been used since Disney Cinema Parade ended its run way back in March 2008. Though guests no longer get to see the fun 10-minute musical production starring the cast of characters and their drivers, running the parade right through the park immediately allows almost twice as many people to catch a front-row glimpse of the stars.

We noted at the event’s arrival in 2009 how the small, low-level Place des Stars stage wasn’t really suitable for a “main event” like this, allowing so few people to get a good view, which must had led to many poor guest experiences. The only downside of this extended parade run is that the twelve cars appear exactly as before, only with Donald and Daisy taking the lead while Mickey and Minnie provide the finale behind 2010’s added Ratatouille car. Without any dancers or action in-between the vehicles, or a stage show to provide a raison-d’être, does the cavalcade stand up as a parade on its own?

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 23rd September 2011

Flying through light – another video of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s rockin’ new light shows

The new “light show” at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith has gone live with state-of-the-art equipment, but it’s actually light shows — plural — that we get to experience on the Backlot attraction: five of them, one for each “SoundTracker” train. Now, brought to our attention by Alan, another has hit YouTube courtesy of Deanrell and is even more impressive to behold than the multicoloured affair we previously saw for SoundTracker 3’s “Love in an Elevator” and “Walk this Way”. This show, for SoundTracker 1’s soundtrack of “Back in the Saddle” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady”, uses a blue and green theme and adds a particularly cool new effect, pictured above.

Now we know what the Imagineers meant when they told us to look out for “surprises” on the trusses the ride swoops around: When SoundTracker 1 nears the huge circular truss, a circle of 12 manoeuvrable lights form a ring like a camera shutter which “opens” just in time for the train to fly through! All through the ride, from start to finish, the lights are blinding, disorientating… and seriously rocking. It’s the rock comeback we’ve all been waiting for.

Video by Deanrell on YouTube follows… Read More…

Friday, 23rd September 2011

Brighter, more reliable new light show now live at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith

It’s Love on a Roller Coaster all over again. One of the best surprises when Disneyland Paris unveiled its 2011 Refurbishments Programme to us in March this year was the announcement of a brand new light show for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Ever since, the Backlot coaster’s many passionate fans have followed the progress of lights disappearing and reappearing, not to mention the tribulations of the legendary smoke effect, more fervently than ever. Now, as you can see from the excellent on-ride video attached below, the first of the brighter lights have officially gone “live”!

Smoke fans will notice the soundstage still has a fog-free outlook at this point, but this is still said to be a “work in progress” for the next few weeks. We were promised two “ultra-efficient” and “eco-friendly” new fog machines, pumping out “a special type of fog” to be installed as part of the improvements. All the work is being carried out after-hours — a progressive replacement of lights and effects throughout the ride, with no closure — and “new technologies in moving lighting design” were also promised, including some surprises with the truss lighting that riders fly past at all angles. Utilising LED technology, the new show is promised to be far more reliable — and energy efficient — than the 2002 version. Walt Disney Imagineering Paris modelled the new light shows in 3D using a CGI model of the ride before installation and programming began. There are five different light shows and five different Aerosmith rock soundtracks, one for each of the SoundTracker trains.

Unlike its Florida cousin which sends riders flying past 2D cut-outs of Hollywood landmarks, the Walt Disney Studios Park version of the thrill ride relies on a genuine synchronised stage lighting system to give life to the black void inside studios 8 and 9. In May this year, Gibson Guitar Corporation of Nashville, Tennessee officially put its name to the attraction in becoming its official sponsor; a more fitting “presented by” than most, giving additional, genuine rock cred to the ride.

On-ride HD video by Gilleke12 on YouTube follows… Read More…

Sunday, 31st July 2011

Tickets now on sale for Terrorific Night Halloween parties at Walt Disney Studios Park

Keep calm and whatever you do, don’t scream. All you budding zombies and vampires itching to get into one of the two exclusive Halloween party nights at Walt Disney Studios Park this Autumn will go voracious to hear that Terrorific Night tickets are now on sale! Priced at €32 or £28, the two dates this year as previously announced are 29th and 30th October.

You can buy tickets direct from the official booking website — click here for UK bookings in GBP or here for bookings in Euros (link takes you to the store for France). The booking pages also come with a few extra provisos and cautions, suggesting that the parties are not recommended for those under 12 years of age and warning that costumes and masks are strictly prohibited at this event.

If none of this sounds like your thing, tickets for the four very child-friendly Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights and the main Disney’s Halloween Party are also available to buy now. Don’t forget, annual passholders get great discounts of up to 30% on these Halloween party tickets and reportedly a huge 50% off Terrorific Night, cutting the price to just €16. To claim your discount you’ll need to buy via the telephone hotline or at the gates of either park. Read More…

Friday, 8th July 2011

Third “Terrorific Night” Halloween party at the Studios sees zombies multiply – over two nights!

Tickets won’t be available for a few days yet, but Disneyland Paris has just confirmed the return of the popular Terrorific Night Halloween party to Walt Disney Studios Park, sending over the first advertising visual above (click for the full image). The event was launched in 2009 by French entertainment retailer FNAC as a more “adult” antidote to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the original gate, but moved to full Disney control last year with a hugely well-received night that saw several Studios attractions given “Terrorific” overlays. Zombies, for example, patrolled a spookily-lit forest route of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic (where during the day, the only zombies are the bored guests on-board) while Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Crush’s Coaster featured special soundtracks.

Now in its third year, the event has become popular enough that 2011 will see not one but TWO nights of frights in the second gate, multiplying to cover both the 29th and 30th October 2011. This is in addition to the returning Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights at Disneyland Park on 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th October and the main event itself, Disney’s Halloween Party on 31st October, giving a grand total of seven Halloween party nights. Scary!

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