Sunday, 25th November 2007

Terror with a view – premiere on-ride video

Now, DLRP Today usually tries to keep up the illusion, stay away from spoilers, … But when you spy a video which not only reveals the long-awaited first-hearing of The Hollywood Tower Hotel’s French narration but a truly spectacular nighttime view over the resort from the top of said hotel… Well, who can resist that?

Can you?

Leave this page now if you don’t want to take an early drop into The Twilight Zone…!

Just released to the world less than 2 hours ago via video website Dailymotion, the video is labeled as “Tower of Terror Avant-Premiere”. The resort generally tries to stop video capture or picture taking during its Cast Member and various other attraction previews, but, in this new video sharing world, one inevitably slipped through the net – from the Imagineer family preview this weekend. It reveals enough to seriously excite, but not nearly enough to spoil the massive, immersive experience of an entire, real ride on the attraction, starting as it does just as the elevator “pushes away” and ending during the final drop.

The French commentary follows exactly that of the original English version with no room given for improvisation. “Your destination… unknown” becomes simply “Votre destination… inconnue”. Impressively, even this relatively low-quality still camera video picks up the sublime show lighting throughout the Tower’s scenes, along with one other major feature…

That view!! What can you say? If the Paris Tower wins in one field, it’s having the most spectacular, jaw-dropping Twilight Zone panorama of them all.

Your thoughts…?

— Video by Mustaleski on dailymotion.

Tuesday, 13th November 2007

New brochure, no Tower

Yes, “more of the same” quite literally, in fact. Posted on the brochure ordering system of the UK Disneyland Resort Paris website, this latest brochure cover is for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2008 edition, the third holiday guide for the 15th Anniversary following the original Spring/Summer 2007 edition and second Autumn/Winter 2007/08 publication.

The cover uses what is expected to be the “key visual” of the extended 15th Anniversary The Party Continues season — more specifically, one of the original anniversary visuals we first revealed ourselves back in July 2006, now simply re-dressed with Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse and a fluttering red ribbon or carpet.


And that’s it — “The party continues”. So, are Stitch Live and that little Tower they’ve been building for the past two and half years no longer opening during this season?

Casually perusing brochures in their local travel agent, the average customer has no idea whatsoever that this Spring/Summer 2008 season will, in fact, mark the official launch of — you guessed it — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Which, as we must echo once again, is without doubt the biggest single addition to the resort for over 10 years, since Space Mountain: De La Terre a  la Lune, infact.

Now would be a good time to dig up a little treasure from the past, then, courtesy of DLRP Magic!’s ‘Classic Brochures’ page. Long-time fans will remember the 1995 launch campaign of Space Mountain well, and the holiday brochure released in July of that year certainly didn’t disappoint — a dark and moody portrait of a rocket train being fired toward the moon, the mountain only vaguely visible as an ominous blue glow.


The holiday brochure isn’t the entirity of the campaign, of course, but it’s a good indication of where the resort’s marketing priorities will lie. The 2007 brochure covers made no mention of Crush’s Coaster or Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, two additions which would later be incredibly well-received by the public, and — would you believe it — practically no country other than France saw any promotion whatsoever for these two fairly major additions to Walt Disney Studios Park.

So, whilst The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will be given advertising at some point (in fact, it already is in some French locations), don’t immediately expect it to be the focus of next year’s campaigns. The best idea, it seems, is to stick with what works — regardless of any €160m attractions you might be opening.

What do you think? Should they be saying “The Party Continues” or “Drop In… if you Dare!” for 2008?

— Our UK guests can order the brochure here; Everyone else, look out for our usual preview soon!

Tuesday, 6th November 2007

Inside, on-board and backstage the Paris Tower of Terror …in video!

The Disney Filmparade has brought us some truly brilliant looks into the world of Disneyland Resort Paris in the past — such as the creation of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade or the Imagineering of Crush’s Coaster. Whilst basically a television promotion for the resort in the competitive German theme park market, nothing compares to the gems this show regularly throws up.

In their second special edition for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (following one many months ago), then, is there anything close to a “gem” worth looking out for? Well, the 58 screen caps which follow the video might answer that one.

It’s all in German, but, whatever your language, “enjoy!”…

Uploaded by mouetto

Now, if it’s the first time you’ve seen the video, pick your jaw up off the floor. Let’s start again from the very beginning, the images in this TV special are going to take a while to sink in…

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1. Tower of Terror street-level view, some months ago.

2. Pre-show video inside one of the two Library rooms.

3. Test riders (in costume!) superimposed on the screen.

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1. View from halfway, early 2006.

2. View downwards, early 2007.

3. Tower going vertical timelapse.

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1. Tower reaches full height at sunset.

2. Inside the hotel lobby, bare concrete, no ceiling.

3. (Almost) Completed ceiling with intricate paintwork and wooden carving.

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1. Lobby with details on arches and progressing floor – note the beautiful floor tiles.

2. Some of the artifacts and forgotten ornaments to be dotted through the hotel.

3. Read our article about the Tower’s accessories for more on these.

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1. Some of the real books to fill the bookshelves in each library, many by famous French authors.

2. Inside one of the libraries – note the wood panel ceiling, bookcases and countless accessories.

3. One of the boiler rooms (loading areas) during heavy construction.

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1. Inside the completed boiler rooms – see the stairs to upper boiler room (2nd loading floor).

2. Panning along the incredible detail of the boiler rooms, acclaimed in DCA (and no doubt soon in WDS) for their spectacular show lighting.

3. One of the infamous service elevator entrances.

Continued with MUCH more on Page 2…

Sunday, 4th November 2007

Forgotten lights of Hollywood flicker into life

Since “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” sign was finally completed back in early October, the thin, double strips of neon surrounding each letter were turned on mid-way through the month — all except for the second “o” in “Hollywood”, which is of course never illuminated (though it certainly has the ability).


Later in the month and, next to the spooky glow of a crescent moon, the “W” of “Tower” begins to flicker and fade every few seconds, completing the look of this neon signage broken by the lightning impact on that fateful Halloween night in 1939.


Our friends at Photos Magiques/ captured a video of the sign undergoing tests a couple of weeks ago, long after regular park hours:

Now, where’s the “spectacular light show” promised? Are these later photos, by, spectacular enough for you? In addition to the flickering neon letters, the entire upper section of the hotel is illuminated in purple light with aqua blue effects rippling and swirling across its front, bursting upwards from the front of the hotel as if the Twilight Zone has just been thrust open within the hotel.

04-hollywoodlights-03sm.jpg 04-hollywoodlights-04sm.jpg

Along with these brilliant, bright colours for the upper tower, the lower floors of the hotel will be lit in more subtle yellow light (in all similar, but not identical to Disney’s California Adventure), creating a — you guessed it — spectacular contrast between the two.

At 183-ft tall, the Tower is a rather unique new landmark for the surrounding area, now regularly bathed in purples, blues and yellows as the illumination tests and adjustments continue.

— Photos by Photos Magiques and

Sunday, 4th November 2007

La Quatrième Dimension, c’est en Français

Beginning 22nd October, the Tower opened its doors to the very first Hollywood Tower Hotel “guests” in Paris — the cast members of Disneyland Resort Paris. This marks the start of Disney’s regular 60-day attraction testing period, leading right up to the 22nd December public opening, and the start of what will no doubt be an influx of comments, reviews and descriptions of the ride experience in Paris.


Photos or videos are strictly forbidden, but two insightful reviews have already been posted on our partner website magicforum. The biggest news so far is that of the attraction’s languages, finally putting an end to years of discussion and speculation about how the Imagineers — and the resort — might choose to present the hotel’s engrossing story to an international audience.

No separate queues, no one-language-per-library — Tower of Terror’s two library pre-show rooms feature videos dubbed into French with old-fashioned English subtitles. On the ride itself, Rod Serling’s famous lines are spoken entirely in French. Oui, cette tour est vraiment français! However, the option for an English narration will, apparently, be included for bellhops operating the elevators, allowing them the choice of which version to play for each elevator departing for The Twilight Zone.

The Imagineers have therefore found a suitable “voice double” for the original French dubbing of Rod Serling when The Twilight Zone series was broadcast in France. It took years for Mark Silverman to be named as the English voice of Rod Serling, so there’s no telling how long until the French artist is unmasked!

First review, by Poppy the Monkey

I did Tower of Terror 7 times yesterday during the cast member previews. It is the best ride I’ve ever been on at DLRP, not done the american versions, but the theming, drop, and ride in general is incredible.

The library is in French with English subtitles, and the elevator itself is also all in French.

Great too that there was no queue all day, it was amazing.

All the ride itself is finished, just the shop and gardens and outside queue needs to be completed.

I’m still on a high!!

Second review, by experiment627

Now, about two weeks ago, I had the wonderful chance to test ride “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” at the Walt Disney Studios – and I wanted to share a few thoughts that I have about this attraction… (Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free.)

The work inside was about 99,5% done, while they still added the finishing touches to the entrance area of the “Hollywood Tower Hotel”.
The attention to detail of the whole experience is amazing: the hotel lobby looks beautifully (but then again, they still hadn’t added the dust to the props), the artifacts inside of the two libraries are amazing pieces and there’s enough eye-candy in these rooms alone. Same goes for the boiler-room, which has kind of a hellish-quality to it due to being two stories high. (Also, the detail in here is amazing…) The effects inside of the elevator shafts were all running and pretty impressive. And then: the view! Just breathtaking… One can see pretty much all of the Studios as well as everything at Disneyland from Big Thunder Mountain to Space Mountain.

I’d call the drop-program “Disney-thrilling”, as in: true thrill-seekers might be a bit disappointed, but just as thrilling as, lets say, “Rock’n’Rollercoaster”. But then again, it’s not about the thrill but about the whole experience…

And in this case… well, let’s put it this way: the “Tower of Terror” managed to transport me into another world. To a Hollywood that never was. To a place, that just existed in my imagination… It’s the very first attraction at the Walt Disney Studios to do so. And in my book, it reminds me of the very best Disney-storytelling (and story-setting) like DLP’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Phantom Manor”.

All in all – even if one should prefer the versions of the ride in California, Florida or Japan -, I view “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” as the best, most “Disney”-ride ever since the opening of Disneyland Parks 15 years ago…

I hope I wet your appetite.

Also revealed — or so we believed — during the Cast Member previews were the costumes for our Parisian Tower of Terror bellhops, identical to those of the cinema ushers at CinéMagique.


Luckily, several sources have since confirmed that the famous deep-red bellhop costumes with ‘HTH’ embroidery are in production for the attraction but simply not ready to be worn at this time.

Now, back to learning French for our journey into la Quatrième Dimension…

Thursday, 1st November 2007

Tower of Terror: 22nd December 2007

For weeks already, dates have been thrown around, rumoured and even “confirmed”. Running a news service dedicated to Disneyland Resort Paris becomes a bit of a challenge during times like this — to report the date, or not? But now, we give in. The rumours have become deafening, the rumoured dates narrowed down to one single day, the confirmations coming from all angles (such as here on our own magicforum).

It’s Saturday, 22nd December 2007. Yes, 22nd December 2007. Say it again — maybe a few more times — because, in years to come, this date will be just as special as 12th April 1992 and 16th March 2002.

Have Disneyland Resort Paris confirmed the date? Well, not exactly. But when was the last time they did something as helpful as that? It’s far more fun to keep the fans guessing! The most obvious semi-confirmation comes from the Pin Trading department, who — just a few weeks ago — published an announcement (below) for a Pin Event in December on the worldwide Pin Trading website.

Not just any Pin Event though — oh no. Even if you’re one of those Disney park fans who loaths everything about Pin Trading, you really might want to give this a look. Scheduled for the night of 22nd December 2007 (there’s the clue!), the event at Walt Disney Studios Park is set to include exclusive pins and pre-releases, entertainments and competitions, a buffet in Disney Studio 1 and… wait for it… privatised access to the attraction.


The reservations hotline opened on 19th October: +33 825 30 60 30. Prices are €33 for Adults, €30 for Children, or just €29 if you’re a shareholder or Fantasy/Dream passholder.

So, with lucky Pin Traders (and no doubt a few Pin Haters) getting the chance to ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror on the night of 22nd December 2007, we can be pretty sure it’ll be ready and open for the public by this date. The completion date of Hollywood Boulevard area is still undetermined, with work possibly continuing beyond the 22nd December unless this next month-and-a-half sees a continued push for the finish.

The press events for the attraction will take place in the first week of April 2008, allowing the resort to extend the lifetime of the initial 15th Anniversary offerings and make a maximum impact with their most important attraction launch for over ten years. This will also coincide with the opening of Stitch Live and the return of High School Musical On Tour.

As confirmed previously, the Tower has been testing on a daily basis for some time. However, a period of Soft Openings (tests with guests in the park invited to try the ride) will still likely take place before the 22nd December 2007, not least because this represents the start of the full high-season and an incredible influx of visitors to the two parks. Straying back into pure “rumour” territory now, we can suggest the weekend of 8th December 2007 is now looking most likely to begin these, running for brief periods across for two weeks as with the Toon Studio rides. The first weekend could also serve as the Shareholder and Annual Passport previews. As yet, however, this should be taken as speculation only.

The opening date of “January 2008” is still to be used in all official public publications, but this now simply means anybody already visiting over the key Christmas season will have a rather nice (or rather nasty) surprise waiting for them in the Studios… depending on their thrill level!

Sunday, 7th October 2007

Tower landscaped, christened, freed from scaffolding…

Our friends at Photos Magiques bring us the latest photos from The Hollywood Tower Hotel…


From outside Walt Disney Studios Park, the view we’ve waited over five years to see is finally there. “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” looming on the horizon, partnered with the Earffel Tower.


The neon signage was installed back in July, before “The Hollywood Tower” was turned to sit in its final position in September. It was only last Thursday, 4th October 2007, that the final word — “Hotel” — was turned and the Tower officially christened.


This hasn’t been the only signage to be completed on the exterior. Back at ground level, next to the developing Hollywood Boulevard, the Fastpass structure was recently completed with all its art deco details and classicaly-styled “Fastpass Tickets” text. Coinciding well with the refurbishment of all the Fastpass machines at Disneyland Park, the Tower’s are set to be themed as piles of luggage, as in California.

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The entire exterior of the attraction above ground level is now pretty much complete. Scaffolding has been entirely removed since the signage and purple “lightning blast” was completed. As it turns out, the purple paint effect appears just as intense as its Californian sister, despite early appearances suggesting it may be a little less heavy.


Work now continues around the ground level developments of the faux hotel complex, not to mention on the heavy detailing which is going into the interior — as with parts of the exterior, early word suggests much of the themeing has been completed to a higher standard than the budget-tightened Californian version.

The final balconies have been installed on the front of the hotel, paintwork completed around the entrance and Tower Hotel Gifts boutique, and — most noticable of all — landscaping has begun behind the fences…


At the heart of the park and with more space and money to work with than at Disney’s California Adventure, the gardens and greenery surrounding the Parisian version of the attraction are already much more developed and expansive. The area to the left of the attraction which was previously an empty grass lawn has been absorbed into the hotel grounds and filled with conifer trees similar to those found throughout the real Hollywood Hills of California.


Last, but most certainly not least — testing has begun. The sight which Disney fans in Anaheim enjoyed for countless months in early 2004 has finally arrived in Paris — the very first elevator drops, taking place throughout the day. Spend a while in Production Courtyard and you might just notice the doors on the front of the hotel “ping” open and a doomed elevator car plunge into the Twilight Zone.

A french fan, ice0ice, posted the following video on Dailymotion:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Tower of Terror is here.

All photos by Photos Magiques; dated 6th October 2007. Video by ice0ice.

Sunday, 7th October 2007

Oh happy day! First official trailer for ‘The Celebration Continues’

The trailer has been published online by Parisian post-production company nightshift, labelled ‘Disney Big Time’ and running for around 2 minutes, it comprises a series of footage and graphics introducing the extended celebration and its main attractions, set largely to the gospel choir song “Oh Happy Day”.

You can watch the trailer in Flash format here, before we take a shot-by-shot look at what they’ve created…


“The 15th anniversary celebrations… Extended by popular demand” reads the first graphics sequence, against a deep red background of ’15’ logos and the words ‘Big Time’, which is used throughout the trailer.


The the familiar 15th Anniversary anthem music of “Flying”, we’re reminded of the launch campaign for the 15th and its events so far through footage and, later, still images cut together at split-second overlaps, building to the grand finale…


…of the original television campaign, where a family watched the illumination of the Castle’s decorations. The music here suddenly dips, the footage seeming entirely separate to the new publicity campaign which follows.


A round of slow clapping, illuminating more stars againt the red background each time, eventually builds to a full applause and the full, sparkling ’15’ symbol seen on Disneyland Park’s LED banners.


As pre-recorded applause continues, the words “The party continues… big time” and “Ready for even more… Happy Days?” appear on screen.


As the title song fades in, the screen dissolves to black…


…And we’re introduced to a young girl, squinting in the sunlight on the Central Plaza stage, swaying her head from side to side and tightening her face as she reaches for the first notes of the song. Mickey clicks his fingers next to her…


…Before a man appears on screen to sing the opening “Oh Happy Day!”, shaking pixie dust from his fingers.


The same man then appears in a rather barren shot stood before The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, still shaking his fingers, with the first of three large letter effects used to introduce this “New Attraction”. The construction walls are painted over digitally with a plain yellow wall, whilst a neat effect of thunder and lightning fills the sky above The Hollywood Tower Hotel.


The shot is soon filled with the other members of the “family” who appear from behind him, as a “bellhop” leans in to give a menacing stare to the camera. The costume used here is actually that seen in the video introductions of — the actual bellhops have much darker outfits with plentiful ‘HTH’ branding.


The logo for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror appears on-screen with a starry black background.


Then, still to the words of “Oh Happy Days”, we’re shown a selection of footage from the terrifying, faster-than-gravity freefall of the Tower of Terror…

Continued on Page 2.

Thursday, 4th October 2007

15th Anniversary EXTENDED… “en grande!”

The confirmation comes not from Disneyland Resort Paris themselves but a third-party travel company, Thomas Cook. Their latest UK brochure, released just last week, continues to put the 15th Anniversary logos and promotions at the heart of its pages, despite the edition serving trip planning as far in advance as December 2008.


Brochures such as these primarily use images, logos and texts provided by Disneyland Resort Paris themselves, and so the official texts and taglines of the extended 15th Anniversary are also revealed already. With a double page dedicated to the events, the introduction reads:

15th Anniversary… Celebration Continues

Party on… the anniversary celebrations continue… Big time!

Disneyland Resort Paris is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the biggest party ever and you’re invited! It’s a celebration work celebrating even longer so they have extended it for 2008!

For French promotions the tagline is expected to use the words “En Grande!”, whilst English promotions have to settle for the rather less “grand” wording of — “The 15th Anniversary Celebration continues… big time!” The words “big time!” are to be featured throughout the texts and promotions.

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The second page features a large visual for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with the tagline “Drop In If You Dare” included above the Tower. As previously reported, confirmation of the ‘Stitch Live‘ name is given with a brief description of the experience, whilst High School Musical On Tour is now given a prominent placement at the request of Disneyland Resort Paris, following its exceptional guest satisfaction and feedback in the parks.

Elsewhere in the new brochure, official images show Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, Disney Characters’ Express and Toon Studio in their final, realised forms for the first time.


Also of note is the small amount of information given for Summer 2008 — with a photo of the spectacular 15th Anniversary launch fireworks, the text reads simply “…and for our grand finale, fireworks that’ll make a great day even more magical. It’s a summer worth celebrating… big time!”. With no mention of the ‘Wishes‘ name or even photography of the show, a return for 2008 looks very unlikely. In addition to this probable change of ‘feux d’artifice’, the Summer season is slated to run longer than it has for many years, dates confirmed as 5th July to 31st August!

The official brochure for the next Spring/Summer season is due to be released as usual in around December of this year, whilst additional advertisements and promos will announce the extention online and through media such as Disney DVDs.

An official closing date of the 15th Anniversary is now no longer confirmed — it could well be that the resort will be fast approaching its 17th year when the final pieces of the 15th are removed! It looks like Disneyland Resort Paris really hit the… “big time!” with this idea.

Brochure images © Thomas Cook/Disney; Scanned by DLRP Today.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007

Hollywood Tower accessorised with the art of Paris

The 14th issue of ‘Envie de +’ magazine is now making its way to Annual Passport (AP) holders across Europe, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror a significant feature. Refreshingly, the editors are obviously well aware that Annual Passport holders will already know a great deal about The Hollywood Tower Hotel.

In the age of the internet and with two years of construction passed, the spotlight is given not to a plain introduction of the elevator thrills (though this does have a brief feature) but to the art and accessories of the pre-show areas, many of which will apparently be more local than you might expect.

Those less fanatical AP holders who’ve searched for “La Tour de la Terreur” online might have stumbled upon the remarkably similar Californian predecessor — a version of the attraction which the folks in Paris (both Imagineering and marketing) now seem determined to trump.

Part of the Tower of Terror feature. Scan: narindra, DisneyCentralPlaza forum.

The feature “Quand l’Accessoire est essentiel” (When accessories are everything) features an interview with Imagineer David Fimbault, head of scenic decoration on the epic project. With the not-at-all-overly-confident introduction of “Attendance about to beat all records?”, the article says “Don’t fear!” because “Here is a waiting line where you won’t waste time — the scenes of the pre-show are as much a part of the attraction as the elevator drop itself.”

The Californian edition of the attraction also had a similar focus on its details and pre-show accessories (in the lobby, library video rooms and boiler rooms) upon opening, many of which were chosen to relate directly to specific episodes of The Twilight Zone television show itself. Here, David describes the hunt for a second set of brand new accessories, described as “a work of precision orchestrated by a true artist.” The Studios won’t know what has hit it…


All the artifacts we’ll see, are they from the period?

Absolutely, with the exception of a few Art Deco furnishings which were made to measure. All of these pieces are unique, they served their purpose through the 1930s and 40s and nowadays are the prize of collectors.

Where did you unearth these rare pieces?

Primarily in Paris. From the antique dealers comfortably positioned in the Quartier du Louvre to other, more popular dealers which we found at Puces. [An antiques fair in Saint-Ouen, North of Paris] Hunting for antiques is a grand adventure. I soon discovered my greatest finds would be in the most incongruous of places — an artists’ squat, a British factory about to be closed by its owner…

How did you go about creating a more eerie atmosphere?

It’s the combination of a multitude of details which give the general feeling. The mise en scène [production design], the lighting, a combination… All of it comes together. Of course some artifacts speak for themselves. For example, the bronze animals you’ll find the Library are quite frightening. Just as are the African masks or Asian statues — aquired from specialists in these antiques — which seem to reaffirm that there are secrets, supernatural feelings.

What makes this French Tower distinctive?

Even though the Pueblo Art Deco style is mostly inspired by the Californian attraction, the decoration, the accessories, are very different, because these are all unique pieces. We are lucky enough to have a fabulous art market in France and across Europe. We have found many authentic treasures, without ever falling into kitsch, bad taste. And then, there are also the hidden details — for example, among the books of the Library you’ll find several famous French authors, and along the shelves, the objets d’art sit amongst the books. It’s a kind of creative disorder, typically Mediterreanean.

Do any of the objects have a particularly interesting history?

They all have their history. The tea service in the lobby, the leather-binded books in the library, the antique telephone in the boiler room… I think also of the pairs of shoes from the period bought in a children’s size, to give the impression of perspective in the corridor which opens during the elevator ride. It was such a pleasure to make these discoveries.

Translation by DLRP TODAY; with thanks to narindra of DCP forum for scanning the magazine!

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