A new name has just been confirmed for much of Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park, encompassing all of the Cars, Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Ratatouille attractions added from 2006 onwards: Worlds of Pixar.Read More…
If you’ve visited Disneyland Paris (and you probably have, right?), then the queue for Crush’s Coaster won’t need any introduction. Not just its perpetual length and duration at any hour of the day and on any day of the year, but it’s slightly soul-crushing lack of Disney magic or ingenuity in dealing with the low capacity of this popular roller coaster. Read More…
Streuth, it only took seven years after the attraction opened, this month back in 2007, but Crush’s Coaster has finally seen some major queue and entrance improvements to alleviate its problematic over-popularity. As reported previously, the main improvement is the introduction of a permanent Single Rider line, but there’s a more fitting new entrance building, too.
The whole entrance marquee has now been set back slightly, allowing more room for guest circulation in front. Designed as a wooden harbour-side shack like that you might see for a boat tour, with terracotta roof, peeling paintwork and rusted nails, the new kiosk and its improved queue lines came into use just this morning, captured by InsideDLParis.
Thankfully, InsideDLParis also reminds us that most of this isn’t the final signage. Concept art leaked by DisneylandBerry, below, shows how the final marquee logo, electronic wait time indicators and other signs (hopefully window shutters too) will soon give this development more of the expected Disney quality.
The original Crush’s Coaster signage, Crush figurine and spinning turtle shell all remain.
Perhaps it was planned, but it was always an oddity that the attraction had such a nondescript entrance, especially opposite the elaborate Radiator Springs façades of Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. At busy times, the narrow path was frequently blocked by guests bunching in front.
For the queue line itself, the “improvements” are modest, that is to say: disappointing.
A first phase was completed when the attraction re-opened from refurbishment in April, when the iconic blue rockwork was also repainted for the first time, basically squeezing more turnbacks and barriers into the existing space at the side of Studio 5.
The second phase, opened today, makes permanent the barriers next to Flying Carpets Over Agrabah with steel railings and a wooden fence around the perimeter. It’s certainly far less than ideal and does nothing to address how unattractive and, ultimately, boring the queue experience is; perhaps the worst in Toon Studio.
A saviour, then, could be the new Single Rider line. Leading from the left-hand kiosk entrance, this deposits you nicely on the left-hand side of the loading platform.
It remains to be seen what impact this will have on actual loading times, as Cast Members now have to both load groups and fill gaps with the turtle shells still moving. But it could suddenly put a ride through the East Australian Current back on the agenda for many fans, visitors and “dudes”, who have long not seen it worth enduring the crushing queues.
With Finding Nemo to be followed by Finding Dory in 2016, perhaps the next task should be to finally find a cameo for a missing Pacific regal blue tang…
Remember when Crush’s Coaster opened in 2007 and immediately couldn’t cope with demand? Well dudes, almost seven years later something permanent is finally going to be done about the capacity-starved Toon Studio coaster’s popularity.
During its four week closure from 17th March to 11th April, Crush’s Coaster will reportedly see the addition of a permanent Single Rider line, as well as an expansion of the regular queue line itself, something fans including ourselves have requested since opening.
Cast Member sources Pretty Wyatt, AnonyMouse and DynastyGo on Disney Central Plaza forum report that two options were presented to improve the standard queue line: making permanent the temporary ropes which wind their way in front of Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, and/or a genuine enlargement of the exterior queue area into what is currently “backstage”.
Thankfully, the second option has apparently been green-lit, leaving the installation of more permanent barriers around the Flying Carpets “oasis” area as an added possibility.
This is great news for visitors joining the queue and the area as a whole. The temporary ropes constantly clog up what is already a cramped portion of the land, especially now guests are also heading through to Toy Story Playland and soon to La Place de Rémy. Making the outside queue area at the side of Studio 5 bigger would be a long-overdue decision.
Single Rider is also absolutely the right choice to maximise capacity of the ride. We reported in-depth on the Crush’s Coaster Fastpass tests in 2008, quickly proven unworkable for a ride with such low capacity. Fastpass can obviously never add capacity to a finite ride, whereas Single Rider can at least maximise capacity to as close to 100% as possible, filling every empty seat in groups of odd numbers. Both Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop and RC Racer now work successful, permanent Single Rider lines, and one is planned for Ratatouille right from the start.
In fact, it’s probably Rémy we have to thank for this long-awaited improvement. With all the new guests expected to flock to Walt Disney Studios Park for the E-Ticket dark ride, some will inevitably also help to make the Crush’s Coaster queue longer. Leaving things as they are, with even longer queues spilling out into the street, would not present a good image.
In similar fashion, we’ve suddenly seen the front of Animagique get some paint work (if not enough work). And, from 14th April right through the whole of May at least, Flying Carpets Over Agrabah will be closed for a thorough top-to-bottom refurbishment that will reportedly see the aerial carousel completely dismantled and rebuilt, just as its cousin Orbitron – Machines Volantes has enjoyed at least twice in recent memory.
That’s a lot of very welcome spit and polish ahead of the land’s newest ride opening. (Let’s just pretend the un-themed pathway behind Art of Disney Animation doesn’t exist, shall we?)
If you follow the official Disney Parks Blog you might have already enjoyed the superb “Tilt-Shift” videos of Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World, which turned those grand Disney parks into something resembling a toy train set or stop-motion animated film. Well, great news Disneyland Paris fans — they’ve taken a trip across the Atlantic! A brand new Disneyland Paris tilt-shift video premiered just hours ago today, in honour of the ninth birthday of Walt Disney Studios Park. Take a look above — it’s a seriously beautiful piece of work.
As the Disney Parks Blog explains, “Tilt-shift videos like these use different photo angles, focus settings and color saturation adjustments to make the subject of a photo appear miniature.” And most awe-inspiring, “It took more than seven months and 4,000 photographs to produce this 2:38-minute clip.” The variety of attractions, events and locations captured is truly impressive, far greater than the two earlier single-park videos, successfully making everything from Disney’s Fantillusion to Moteurs… Action! look like a small-scale model magically coming to life. We even get to see the up-scaled Toy Story Playland attractions downscaled again to the size of a toy!
Nine years ago today, Disney’s tenth theme park worldwide opened its gates. For such a milestone, the original Walt Disney Studios Park of 16th March 2002 was perhaps not the best representative of the Disneyland ideals. Be it through desperate lack of budget or not, the park drastically missed the mark of what a European audience — or any audience — wants from a theme park. Forget the beautiful landscapes of Tokyo DisneySea, opened a year earlier; here there were almost no outdoor themed areas to speak of at all, just 25 hectares of freshly poured tarmac asphalt and 10 attractions housed in uninspiring “soundstages” of concrete. The bid to pay tribute to European filmmakers was noble but possibly misguided — Florida’s raining Singin’ in the Rain umbrella scene was changed to the barely known Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, for example — and the glitzy warmth of Hollywood was oddly missing. The park suffered from a complete lack of escapism, when what people really wanted was a whole park with the colour and spirit found inside, say, Disney Studio 1.
Because that’s the thing — the park has always had some great attractions. Nine years on, CinéMagique remains beautifully subtle and wonderfully entertaining, one of the best movie-based attractions ever. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith might not be pretty on the outside but the ride inside arguably beats its kitsch Florida cousin, whilst after 9,000 performances it’s easy to take for granted just how impressive the stunts of Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular really are.
Having dug itself a hole by ploughing too much (or, you could say, not enough) money into an unpopular park, it took Euro Disney SCA far longer than it should have done to begin expanding the second gate. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror should really have opened in 2005 (or earlier), rather than begun construction that year, whilst the Toon Studio expansion of Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye should have been there from the start, not five years after opening. No-one should have ever green-lit the Television Production Tour, now occupied instead by Stitch Live! since 2008 and Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! since 2009.
The modest Hollywood Boulevard turned out to be a great surprise and even Toy Story Playland, maligned by some corners of the fan community, is a marked step above any other themed areas in the park. To get the Ratatouille dark ride built in the years ahead would be an amazing feat: the first new dark ride at Disneyland Paris (ignoring Buzz) in all its 20 years and possibly the first real implementation of Audio Animatronics in the whole Studios park. But let’s just hope it doesn’t end there, that we see the park continue like its last four years rather than the first five. May the park continue to improve and expand, to revisit Theater District and fix the original areas, to add places to eat and places to buy things, and maybe, one day, rename Production Courtyard. We can but dream… Here’s to the future!
We reported last week that, for three weekends in late November and early December, both parks would be opening at 9am rather than 10am, as has been custom since the introduction of those two Extra Magic Hours (EMH) at Disneyland Park.
Walt Disney Studios will be exceptionnally opened from 8am to 9am for Extra Magic Hours on November 28th and 29th, and on December 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th, 2009.
So, if you’re visiting on those six dates (and qualify for EMH), you’ll get to enjoy a world-premiere: one hour of exclusive ride time in the Studios, from 8am to 9am, before other guests.
Coming soon to a Studios near us?
The attractions to be opened for the trial haven’t been publicly announced anywhere, but it appears generally agreed upon that they’ll be the most prominent ride-based favourites: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, Flying Carpets Over Agrabah and of course, Crush’s Coaster.
Riding the EAC may no longer take an hour or more of queueing, but it remains to be seen what effect this has on regular, non-EMH-qualifying guests. Since it became the norm to run straight to Crush as soon as the park opens, how will these regular visitors feel if they arrive only to find the Crush’s Coaster queue already populated by more privileged ride fans?
Finally, park hours for the rest of December have now been published. Though they’re not as generous as these three weekends, we do see the opening time at Disneyland Park giving way slightly to regular guests — now set at 9.30am, rather than 10am, making EMH a still-respectable hour and half window. This is the first time in almost 10 years we’ve seen park hours go into half-hours, and the flexibility is very welcome indeed.
New confirmations and reports from Disney Central Plaza forum, which has several Cast Members amongst its members, state that the accident occurred when Crush’s Coaster was being routinely evacuated, not during a normal ride cycle.
Furthermore, the fall involved an evacuation staircase and not a fall from a ride vehicle itself. The man did not fall seven metres, and did not fall from this staircase but on it, as he was being evacuated. He was able to drive home that same evening, Saturday, 28th November.
Clearly, a certain party here has severely exaggerated the accident which occurred on Saturday. And, though having a guest fall on a staircase is still to be regretted, it has no reason to be covered by the media in such a sensationalist fashion. No doubt the actual explanation of true events above will not be featured so far up the news agenda — or on it, at all.
One confusing factor, however, is that many the reports featured a quote “from a Disneyland spokesperson” who was contacted by the AFP news agency, stating the man was safe and well and due to return home. Either the spokesperson was not aware of the far more disastrous chain of events the media were reporting, or, if they were aware, for some reason did not attempt to completely invalidate them.
Nevertheless, it was announced that Crush’s Coaster would reopen Sunday morning as usual, but in fact visitors have reported that it opened even earlier — for a privatisation of the Studios that same evening.
[Sources: Disney Central Plaza members]
News first began to spread on French news bulletins and websites from 9pm last night, Saturday, 29th November, that a young man, in his 20s, had been “seriously injured” during the day at Disneyland Resort Paris.
Though details are not yet entirely precise, it is generally reported that the man was riding an attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park when he suddenly began to believe, for an unknown reason, that his harness (restraint) was coming lose. In his panic, he apparently struggled free and fell seven metres to the ground. It is now believed the attraction was Crush’s Coaster, the indoor spinning roller coaster which opened in Toon Studio in 2007.
The attraction was immediately stopped and evacuated following the incident, with the resort’s own emergency services treating the man on the scene before he was taken to the nearby Lagny (Seine-et-Marne) hospital.
Reports have clashed in describing his condition, ranging from the casualty having “a serious injury” (Figaro) to being in a “serious state” (Libération), to merely announcing it as a “serious accident” (SFR). A Disneyland Resort Paris spokesperson contacted by the AFP, however, has stated that he is “not in danger” and is “expected to recover his car in order to return home”.
Forum members on Disney Central Plaza forum have reported seeing the attraction listed as “temporarily closed” on the park’s Tips Board yesterday afternoon. We currently have no confirmation that the attraction has reopened this morning, Sunday, 30th November.
Stay with DLRP Today for more as this story develops.
We reported the introduction of a second crush at Crush’s Coaster in Walt Disney Studios Park with the testing of FASTPASS tickets for one week in July. Then, we gave it an analysis so thorough that even Jaque’s Boat Cleaners would be proud. Ultimately, we accepted that the introduction of some kind of FASTPASS system at the popular yet capacity-starved attraction might just be inevitable — if only to stop the tide of complaints and questions from confused, queueing guests.
And the operations managers of Disneyland Resort Paris? They’re not quite so sure. Which is why, from 18th to 24th August 2008, the full FASTPASS tests will return again!
This information comes from member Chti Greg on Disney Central Plaza forum, who provided the original forewarning of the July tests — and just happens to work as a cast member on the attraction itself.
So, if you’re headed to Marne-la-Vallée’s little piece of the Australian reef this month, you might just be able to test the timeslot system for yourself. Yes, that’s important — test it.
Operations are apparently just as hesitant about adding FASTPASS full-time as the fans who complain it will cripple the attraction’s regular queue. So, they’ll have another chance to test it fully again and perhaps, just perhaps, convince themselves once and for all that it will or won’t work full-time.
[Pictures: DLRP Today]