Sunday, 16th September 2007

The Twilight Zone means business, plus a new commercial

The Business Solutions (www.drpbusiness.com) department of Disneyland Resort Paris has long been a huge success for the resort, using its unique locations and high capacity venues to host countless themed events for internationally reknowned companies such as Ford and Microsoft.

Their best ideas (and no doubt the ones most fans wish they could experience) come in the form of special ‘Themed Evenings’, giving attendees entertainment, dining and attractions in select corners of the two Disney parks. Everything from ‘Captain Jack’s Treasure Hunt’ and ‘Witches of the Wild West’ to ‘Australian Crush Party’ and ‘Party on Sunset Boulevard’ can be organised.

So, it’s no surprise that the theme and story-rich Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is their latest (and from the sound of it, greatest) offer for a themed evening, now advertised across their website…

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Clicking on the special advertisements, all featuring the bellhop who has proven so popular already with the French marketing department, takes you to a page in the latest Business Solutions e-newsletter, given a full Hollywood Tower Hotel theme and featuring a run-through of what the evening offers, against the backdrop of the full attraction Key Visual…

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The text itself reads as follows:

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Dare to take the plunge… and reap the results!

The Hollywood Tower Hotel, which opens its doors in Walt Disney Studios® Park early in 2008, is no ordinary hotel. Don’t even think about spending a night here … you might be propelled into the Fourth Dimension, after plunging from the 13th floor!

When this magnificent Art Deco establishment was in its heyday it hosted the top society receptions and attracted the rich and famous … then, one stormy night, it was the scene of a mysterious accident, in which five people took an elevator ride and disappeared for ever…

Your guests will be invited to experience this journey for themselves in our new themed evening based on the latest attraction: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

They will be welcomed by a rather eerie lift attendant who will lead them to the elevator of this historic establishment and then, from the heights of the 13th floor, they will be plunged into the void and total darkness at astonishing speed … for a totally unforgettable experience!

To recover from their terrifying fall, guests will gather afterwards for a gala dinner accompanied by musicians playing jazz and film music from Hollywood’s golden age.
Calm returns, and the diners are diverted by a medium’s supernatural revelations, special effects and original entertainment.

But what’s that noise … there’s the rumble of another storm brewing … and maybe the lost victims of the Hollywood Tower Hotel are about make an appearance?

Are you ready to take the plunge?

From €110 per person excl. VAT, for groups of 150 to 320.

How does a night of exclusive Tower of Terror rides, jazz music and a gala dinner in Disney Studio 1 sound? Pretty unique, don’t you think? It seems all these new attractions and placemaking have benefits reaching far further than what the average guest notices as they wander the park.

The Business Solutions team must be quite taken with the Twilight Zone package — the page not only offers a themed background and enthusiastic text, but also a video commercial for the new attraction in both French and English. Whilst all of the footage will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever seen the advertisements for the Florida and California versions, these videos both feature new voiceovers and new closing logos. The use of a more British accent, for example, might suggest that these videos — certainly their narration — could be used beyond the confines of the DLRP Business website.

English Version – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Find this on Dailymotion | on YouTube

French Version – La Tour de la Terrur, Un Saut dans la Quatrieme Dimension

Find this on Dailymotion | on YouTube

This second version of the commercial also features one of the first glimpses at the full French logo of the attraction. The in-park name, as already seen on the current tips board, will remain The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with this lengthy French title used only for marketing, similar to Buzz L’Éclair Bataille Laser and Cars Race Rally, which were never used in-park.

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Hopefully Disneyland Resort Paris will really mean business when they come to advertise the new attraction direct to the public, whether they use these exact adverts or not — but until then, who’s up for sharing these new commercials on YouTube and Dailymotion with a few friends, on blogs or on forums?

There’s nothing like word of mouth to start the thunder rolling…

All marketing materials, text and video © Disney.

Tuesday, 11th September 2007

(Video) Take a tour of Hollywood Boulevard

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.

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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.”

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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

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From Studio Tram Tour itself, the Hollywood sets have an impressive height, filling the gap between Disney Studio 1 and Tower of Terror.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Wednesday, 5th September 2007

Elevator doors, drainpipes and fastpass

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Modern silver-colour elevator doors suddenly receive themed coverings, wood panelling completed
throughout collapsed corridors (walls are 2D, panel effect stuck on), turquoise walls have their
paintwork ripped, faded and even washed down onto the elevator doors.

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Bright colours and strong details — chipped plaster, decorated elevator doors, “art deco turquoise”
collapsed corridors and brown drainpipes forming a maze across the hotel.

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Queue roof getting paint and art deco details, appears to be at about the same stage
as the Fastpass area (see further below).

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Beautiful theming on a beautiful day. This one’s just for the picture.

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Turning the corner from the back of Toon Studio, Tower of Terror is an awesome sight ahead.

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Redbrick theming is now a touch more “purple-brick”.

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Drainpipes reach their end, the larger tubes above the doors enclose the on-ride cameras! Notice
the wires falling from them. Stairs between floors in the alcove have yet to be enclosed.

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Covered hotel entrance area finally started theming, Fastpass canopy (foreground)
now has paint and countless darker art deco details.

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The three domes of the Tower are infact now outdone in style and
beauty by the dome of the Hollywood Boulevard placemaking!

Look out for a full photo and video tour of the Hollywood Boulevard area following shortly, including many more angles on the Tower of Terror and its surrounding placemaking from across the park.

If you have not had the chance to step into the park recently and experience the effect of all this new construction for yourself, you won’t want to miss this!

Photos by DLRP Today; Dated 23rd-25th August 2007.

Tuesday, 7th August 2007

Five-star luxury, bright and airy rooms

The curse of -those details which have been on the California Tower all along but you probably never noticed- returns! For example — we know a whole front section of this deserted hotel was blown to pieces by the lighting bolt on that “fateful night”, but did you know the Imagineers would fully decorate the remaining corridors and walls as if real rooms within the hotel, before giving them their lightning-struck purple scorch marks?

Disneytheque.com brings the latest construction pictures…

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Hollywood Tower Hotel – ready for reopening? (Photo: Disneytheque.com)

The rooms are certainly bright and modern for the era – the Art Deco favourite of turquoise has arrived on the remaining walls of Paris’ front wing, with the completed Californian version showing the wood panelling, window details and — eventually — purple cracks and scorches still to come.

The design of the corridors matches with that seen in the two show scenes below — the elevator’s disappearance in a mirror and the ghostly corridor where The Twilight Zone takes hold of you.

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Corridors in Paris (Photo: Disneytheque.com) …and California (Photo: Sun-Mountain.net)

Currently looking a rather innocent shade of pale yellow, the completion of this corridor decoration will then allow for the heavier signs of the lightning strike to give the resort’s newest icon a quite surprising sense of devastation. This is no Sleeping Beauty Castle!

The cracked and broken wall around the front portion of the building has now nearly completed its purple lightning overcoat, jutting up across the facade to further push the “story” to guests that the Tower is missing a large portion of its original 1920s structure.

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More destruction, but rooms are bright are airy! (Photo: Disneytheque.com)
/ Rear paintwork completed (Photo: NeMo, Disney Central Plaza forum)

Finally, more signs elsewhere show the exterior theming project wrapping up remarkably fast — the vertical line of windows on the far left of the building’s behind has now been surrounded by a finished coat of pale yellow paint and 15 years-worth of dirt. The final piece of construction scaffolding — two small steel towers for the “real” service elevators — should be removed soon, finally marking the completion of the rear wall.

The opening date, you ask? The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is still most definitely on track for an official opening in January 2008, it’d be suicide for the resort to begin the full launch any earlier, but word from insiders continues to confirm that guests visiting from 22nd December 2007 onwards could be treated to a special “soft-opening” test ride during their visit. This would then put the attraction in line for a proper launch in the early weeks of January — exactly when many European families begin to plan their holidays for the year.

Will the five-star luxury and bright and airy rooms of The Hollywood Tower Hotel win them over?

You can see the rest of Disneytheque.com’s latest update here.

Wednesday, 1st August 2007

Years pass quickly in The Twilight Zone

Our thanks go to magicforum member Maarten for all the photos in this update, who has even sent us in a few extra pictures of construction progress in addition to those posted on the forum.

Facing toward the Castle and therefore away from the sun, it’s rare to see the sun’s rays across the front of Walt Disney StudiosTower. With the long days of July and August, however, the sunset just catches its Californian front…

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Sun sets on another day of rapid ageing

Inside the park, and the Summer season also works wonders for the greenery of Walt Disney Studios, framing the Tower and its nearby Hollywood Boulevard companions for a perfect snapshot. Not bad for the Studios, is it?

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Hiding behind trees and boulevards / All letters face inward

No doubt you’ve noticed the pesky letters – which, last time we updated progress, had just seen the letter ‘Y’ turned to face the park for testing, only to be swiftly turned back again. If you believe the latest rumours, it appears that not only do the letters still need to be wired up and installed properly before turning over, but the first few letters of the word “Hollywood” infact need to be taken down and repositioned several centimetres to the left…

There does certainly seem to be more of the walkway exposed on the left, but could a construction team working for Walt Disney Imagineering really make that mistake? At least if true it’ll make a good “fun fact” for the future!

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Tower of Terror from across the park

Despite the letters still facing inwards, it’s now much easier to get a sense of what Tower of Terror will bring to the park. Visible from every angle, plastered with detailed theming and Hollywood style, and most importantly set within its own miniature timezone.

The Twilight Zone is a strange place, where cracks and debris can form in just days. However, differences on the “lightning struck” part of the Tower continue to appear between the Paris and Californian versions. The red and grey brick design seen on the right of the building remains and is looking more and more to be the final design.

On the left side, the damage isn’t quite so severe but the purple blast marks certainly are. Overall, though, the strength of the purple markings on this Tower, perhaps a little over-done in California, are looking much more restrained so far.

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More purple “blast” marks / Tower Hotel Gifts given the gift of paint

Much of the recent progress on the exterior is now focusing on the walls and entrance tower of the Tower Hotel Gifts boutique, a part of the Tower previously far from completion both outside and inside. Circular art deco details have been added to the corner pieces of the tower, which will eventually be quite similar to that of Studio Photo on Front Lot, and the terra cotta tiled roof is finally going on, the final roof to be completed on the project.

Elsewhere, the balconies on both sides of the building have now been uncovered with only small sections of scaffolding remaining. We’ve now less than five months to go until opening, and square front section of the hotel is showing it. With its final coat of paint and final age details, it might not be too long before scaffolding comes down here too.

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29th July 2006 / 27th July 2007

One year ago it was just a concrete shell, today – it’s The Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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From Disney Village parking – Hollywood will now “always have Paris”

The years really do pass quickly in The Twilight Zone!

All photos by Maarten.

Thursday, 26th July 2007

Letters in place for Hollywood Tower… upside-down

…Apart from the ‘Y‘, that is. But more on that in a second…

“They’ll have to wait until the construction elevator is taken down,” we all thought. “They’ll be the very last thing to take their place on the facade,” we believed. Well, we were wrong. The iconic letters spelling out “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” are now all in place high above the ground of Marne-la-Vallée, installed in just a matter of days along with the service walkway hidden behind them.

You might be thinking “Ah, so now guests will begin to ask Cast Members when they can book a room in the hotel at the middle of the park?”, but we’re not there yet. All of these letters are still upside-down, facing inwards…

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Progress on Tuesday by Willi77, Dlrp.fr forum member

Fans of the the Tower of Terror (and in particular its existing Californian incarnation) will likely be well aware that a series of important maintenance and service walkways are hidden behind the famous letters.

Probably a lesser-known fact is that each of the neon-lit letters are connected to the side of the walkway on an axis, apparently allowing them to be turned inwards for maintenance. Installed piece-by-piece in this way, we’re now going to begin a second unveiling, as each of the terror-filled letters turns to face the public and finally reveal… “The Hollywood Tower Hotel”.

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Progress early yesterday by STS, WDSfans.com visitor

The words and walkways were only just completely fixed in place yesterday, following several months of preparation backstage, but already the letter ‘Y‘ has jumped ahead and been flipped over to face the park.

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Progress late yesterday by Willi77, Dlrp.fr forum member

Each of the larger letters spelling “H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D T-O-W-E-R” has its own independant axis, whilst the italic script words of “The” and “Hotel” are split into three sections – “The”, “Ho” and “tel”. They should gradually be turned to face Walt Disney Studios Park over the coming days, as their electrical components are hooked up. The final nightly illumination won’t come for at least several weeks, and may be held off even longer – perhaps with an elaborate ceremony, as at Disney’s California Adventure?

When illuminated at night, the second ‘O‘ of “Hollywood” is blown-out completely, whilst the ‘W‘, teetering at an angle, buzzing brighter and darker every few seconds. Standing 183-ft tall (as if you needed reminding by now!) and truly “tower”-ing over the entire resort, visible for miles around, the installation of these letters on the resort’s largest icon is a historic step in construction.

And when it’s done?

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Completed Tower of Terror by sun-mountain.net

Not only will the glowing letters and startling purple illumination of the Tower be a unique and rather bizarre new landmark for Marne-la-Vallée (don’t forget – it can be seen from as far away as Meaux!), but every time an elevator drops into The Twilight Zone, the bright flash of the on-ride photo cameras two-thirds the way up its facade will be like a flash of lightning over the region.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel wasn’t called a “beacon” for nothing!

Photos by Willi77, WDSfans.com, Sun-Mountain.net.

Wednesday, 18th July 2007

Spotting the details of a Twilight Zone redux

The attraction as a whole is still progressing well, gaining more yellow decay and stronger purple lightning bolts by the day. The space between the two collapsed corridors on the front of the hotel has been filled with pale yellow paint and brickwork details in its “cracked” plaster covering, and the final piece of the Tower yet to receive any paint – the far left section of its rear wall – has finally begun to receive the final Hollywood Tower Hotel treatment.

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Walt Disney Studios Park

The photo above right above shows red tubes carrying the wires for the famous signage of “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” to sit upon its façade and be illuminated throughout each night, complete with several faulty letters. Everything looks right on track to give us the Tower of Terror we’ve known for over three years in California.

Well, maybe not… We already knew that the Paris tower being built using concrete rather than a steel frame was a big difference in construction, and that some extra support details under each wing of the 13th floor would help die-hard fans tell the two Towers apart. Then there’s Hollywood Boulevard, adding a whole different layout and surrounding area to the fictional hotel.

Now, further changes have been spotted across the front of the Tower, adding in extra details and reworking those already seen in the California original. Following their 1950s roots as movie-makers at heart, the Imagineers appear to be producing a nice little “director’s cut” of the quickly-built Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) production.

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Disney’s California Adventure park / Walt Disney Studios Park

What’s in a director’s cut? Maybe some details you couldn’t stretch the budget to afford first time around, like these bright new turqoise tiles now surrounding the widest dome of the Art Deco building in its Paris form. Taking a look back to many of the attraction’s early concepts produced for Paris, the dome does appear to feature a tiled surround. Yet, like those Art Deco supports for its two wings, they were left on the editing room floor for California…

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Disney’s California Adventure park / Walt Disney Studios Park

After five years, Walt Disney Studios is a much wiser little park. This place has seen the work on its Toon Studio, it knows what Imagineering can achieve, and apparently it won’t settle for “as good as California” anymore. When a director like George Lucas revises his work with better details the fans revolt, but comparing the details of the DCA and WDS Towers above, it’s unlikely the Imagineers will receive the same reaction.

The pale purple sides to Anaheim’s broken Tower walls reveal plain bricks behind the large pieces of remaining plastering. In Paris, scaffolding has been taken down to reveal an incredibly detailed new version of the same idea. Plain walls (originally constructed with grey breeze blocks, as in California) are themed to red and grey coloured bricks, dotted with pieces of plaster which look as if they’re about to crumble away any second. A dusty treatment has been placed on top, and the sides of the Tower appear overall far more believably derelict and subsequently far more frightening upon approach.

Perhaps all of these details were planned from the outset, but simply scaled back on the DCA version? Whatever the story, subtle details like the dislodged and eskewed bricks at the corner of the wing only add to the clever reworking of their first-build. It’s now no wonder that the Paris attraction has long been rumoured to hold a budget way above its 2004 predecessor, and not only due to the higher construction costs in France.

Although no major changes are expected inside the attraction, with an exterior becoming as rich in detail and quality as this, it’s no surprise they want it to stand as the Studios’ answer to Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Photos by Photos Magiques, Sun-Mountain.net and Brraveheart on Flickr.
Special thanks to raptor1982 and WDSFans.com!

Tuesday, 17th July 2007

Tower = Castle for 2008 calendar

That poor Earffel Tower. As if being replaced first by the Tower of Terror and then by a monstrosity of a Sorcerer’s Hat in Florida wasn’t bad enough, its sleeker, more beautiful, 66-ft tall Parisian form has just been knocked off the “park icon” top spot for the first time, well and truly overshadowed by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror almost three times its size.

Since mid-2001 we’ve known Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant and the Earffel Tower as an unstoppable duo, splashing themselves across merchandise, logos and more as perfect icons for the two Disney Parks. Now, with Tower of Terror just six months away, the people behind the magic just can’t use it fast enough. Delayed by almost four years, their E-Ticket starvation has finally been filled, and they’re going to make sure everyone knows about it…

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And so, for this 2008 Calendar at least, the clean and simple lines of the Earffel Tower fall to the dark and menacing Tower of Terror, illustrated before a full moon with one of the ‘O’s in ‘Hollywood’ blown out.

Inside, the format of two pictures per month has returned, with the Tower of Terror (shown using the photo from Disney’s California Adventure featured above) paired up with Phantom Manor for the first time as a double-act of “atmospheric chills”.

With Phantom Manor’s lines falling more frequently of late, such a double-act could certainly work well, much the same as the way Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith appear to have thrill-seeking guests running between the two.

This “beacon for the show-business elite” is also, already, a beacon for the merchandising elite.

Calendar photo from the latest Photos Magiques trip report; Tower photo © Disney.

Thursday, 12th July 2007

Lightning strikes, Tower bolts ahead

The Tower is big, easily the tallest building on this side of Marne-la-Vallée. It’s no wonder then that it was recently struck by lightning – not once, but twice – leaving two nasty purple scorch marks above the two elevator openings on its left side.

No, of course this is pure fiction, but the Tower certainly has “bolted” ahead recently, especially since our last update in May. Back then, we spotted the first cracks in the building’s Pueblo Deco façade. Guests at the park today can see broken brickwork, crumbling walls, scorch marks, balconies, terracotta roof tiles and more. It may be big, but right now it’s all about the smallest of details.

23rd June 2007

Let’s step back a couple of weeks to the last Photos Magiques update, before then getting right up-to-date with some July photos and seeing the kind of progress made in that two-week period inbetween.

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Steel frames were construction around each elevator opening a little similar to the ones used to construct the rockwork of Crush’s Coaster. Most of them covered with plaster and concrete, they’re now the fictional walls and floors of the hotel wing destroyed by the lightning strike. Each one has had the edges of a brickwork pattern etched into its design – a detail that will actually be hardly visible once the final coats of ageing dirt and scorches are added on top.

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Lower down, the roof of the showbuilding/boiler room/show scenes is showing what those brickwork patterns will soon look like. The bricks here, though, are real, with extra broken bricks and crumbling pieces added on top as if you’re looking at a pile of debris from the former wing above.

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Roof tiles have completely covered the front wing of the hotel, and the lobby roof below is slowly being covered. The real leap here is for the small art deco tower to one side of the lobby. Just a steel frame like the Hollywood Boulevard sets less than two months ago, it’s now a finished piece of the building, blended seamlessly in with yellow colour, window panes and dome. This certainly gives hope for the speed of Hollywood Boulevard’s façades.

The Finished Attraction

And interlude from the construction, and just incase the Twilight Zone has made your memory a little fuzzy, this is what we’ll be looking at in less than six months…

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Notice that the edges of the demolished wing around the elevator openings double-up as positions for the on-ride photo cameras, themed to split and torn drainpipes.

No word yet on when the famous lettering of “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” will arrive, but it probably won’t be at least until the themeing behind it on the front of the Tower is complete, and the current service lift and scaffolding removed.

8th July 2007

And now here we are two weeks later, the height of 2007’s wonderful Summer weather and with a Tower appearing ever closer to the finished article above in these photos by Disneytheque.com. The changes aren’t massive, but every time you look at the Tower, it always looks a tiny bit more like The Hollywood Tower Hotel we know.

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In two weeks, some of the last spots of bare concrete on the Tower were finally covered over, between the two sets of elevator doors on the left of the building. Like the rest of the flat concrete walls in this section of the building, false brickwork has been etched or painted into the design, to give the effect of peeled plasterwork on the Pueblo Deco architecture. The fact that it will be barely noticable once the heavy dark purple scorches are added shows a real commitment to detail.

Around the openings, the basic plaster and concrete of the building edges has been finished, now awaiting darker colours and blast marks.

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Below, the lobby roof has had its roof tiling completed and the small deco tower has an older yellow colour to its rounded centre. In the foreground of the photo above, you can spot the frame of the tunnel (Studio Tram Tour’s new entrance) to be featured at the end Hollywood Boulevard, showing its proximity to the Tower. The concrete construction at the bottom of the photo is likely the Fastpass area, themed to a luggage drop-off/bus stop. With the entire middle of the park now closed for construction, photos from this angle have become much harder.

The second photo shows a new art deco detail around the large dome at the front of the building, surrounding it with tall, stepped features in the unmistable modern deco style. Something that has been on the California tower all along but you might never have noticed.

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The Tower still has a few patches of bare concrete left, most noticably right atop the windows of the 13th floor and around the circular top of the maintenance staircase (lower left). The darker yellow colours strangely cut off just after the third window down, leaving a pale stretch that goes right across to the “overhang”.

The final photo is a new favourite spot – you might have thought with Toon Studio finished its time as a place for construction photos was over. Well, you’d be wrong. There’s something oddly nice about the view of the Tower through the telegraph poles and Leaning Tower of Tires at Cars Race Rally.

For once at Walt Disney Studios Park, you’re not in the world as you know it.

Photos by Photos Magiques and Disneytheque, you can see more at each source.

Monday, 2nd July 2007

Official 2008 15th Anniversary Brochure Preview

If you’re in the UK, the new brochure is available right now. If not, you’ve probably got a little bit longer to wait, so here’s you’re first look at the Autumn/Winter 2007/2008 15th Anniversary Brochure. Before we look inside, why not look back at the first anniversary brochure, so you can spot the change?

And what a change this is. Once again, a new brochure brings another brand new design both inside and out for the official brochure, which has now ditched the minimal, stylish cover used for the past 3 seasons in favour of a much lounder and more attention-grabbing design…

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Front Cover

The recognisable red carpet of classic characters from the advertising campaigns throughout the year has been reworked with a new Autumnal backdrop. There’s no mistake this is a Disneyland brochure — something that was maybe a bit harder to realise with the first 15th brochure and its golden “15” centrepiece.

The general page layout remains similar to the past two brochures – a fold-out first page, price guides within the book and two double-page spreads for each park. However, the actual design has been totally renewed throughout, and is generally more professional, simple and modern yet again, going back to the clean and clear 2006 versions rather than the flashier (and slightly messier, in retrospect) Spring/Summer 2007 edition. The message throughout is that time is running out, the celebration will only last until March 2008.

How better to make that message clear than with the White Rabbit?

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First Page, Closed

Fold the page out, and you’ll find the four birthday gifts they’re proudest of – Kids Under 7 Stay & Play Free, A New Parade, More Characters and — here’s the big one — Four New Attractions. How many of us could have ever imagined to see an advertisement like that in an official Disneyland Resort Paris brochure?

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First Page, Folded Out

This is also the very first introduction of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. They’re making no attempt to hide the size and impact of the attraction, the dazzling key visual we revealed one month ago is clearly the biggest on the page. After all, this really is “it” now — the culmination of their huge investment programme, the biggest single new attraction since Space Mountain. They really can’t mess this one up. The logo used is the one we’re all familiar with, but Disneyland Resort Paris have altered it slightly from California with a darker yellow colour and some Photoshop bevel & emboss.

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Contents / Experiences

Into the brochure itself, the Contents page is now as simple and clear as can be. Only six sections are listed, on a red page bordered with gold — a theme then carried through all the introduction pages in the brochure. Opposite, a fantastic photo of the main anniversary characters around a giant “15” symbol. You might have already seen this on those “interactive” billboards in Paris, now also a great way to open the brochure.

The next double page (for the resort’s various “Experiences”) introduces the standard page design of the brochure, quite different to the first 15th Anniversary edition. Lots of “whitespace” and simple, small text bordered by colourful photos. They’re even branching into new territory here with a greater focus on adults and seniors in the photos and a large paragraph titled “Just for grown-ups”, something many fans have suggested for years. You’ll see more additions like this through the rest of the pages…

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Parks Introduction

The parks introduction page again uses the Castle and Earful Tower together, that most favourite of mistakes for fans, but certainly looks much more inviting than the previous edition.

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Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park already unveiled all of its 15th Anniversary events back in April, but they’ve stuck with the illustrations and visuals to advertise them, placing Dreams of Imagination and Dreams of Fantasy on a red carpet. Even Disney Characters’ Express has made its way into a prominent place on the page, listed alongside Candleabration to hint that — since this brochure is valid from now until March — both of these features will indeed continue right through Halloween and Christmas. The second double-page is more standard, still with Buzz Lightyear in the spotlight and all the usual classic attractions.

Walt Disney Studios Park is the real star of this brochure, finally coming across as the kind of qualified second gate that will make guests decide to stay an extra night. Apparently, there’s some new attractions opening at the park, too…

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Walt Disney Studios Park (1)

One page, four new attractions. Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally are still featuring using their same old key visuals and Stitch Encounter (or rather ‘Stitch Interactive Attraction’ for now) is hidden away in there, but the star of this production is undoubtedly The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. A full page is dedicated to its fantastic key visual and reworked logo.

Remember when no-one thought Disneyland Resort Paris would use ‘The Twilight Zone’ aspect of its storyline at all? Well, now that the first piece of advertising is shouting out at us, it looks like they couldn’t be more proud of it. As with Crush and Cars, however, that recognisable brand comes at a price — they’re now required to print “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is inspired by The Twilight Zone, a registered trademark of CBS, Inc.” (CBS being the US television network which originally aired the series) on every page featuring the attraction.

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Walt Disney Studios Park (2)

Another thing they couldn’t be more proud of is the actual theme of Tower of Terror. Whilst Space Mountain: Mission 2 was marketed for its thrill alone, they’re already hyping the unique atmosphere and theming of The Hollywood Tower Hotel. The second key visual included is therefore… a bellhop. This brand new image, never before used for the Florida or California Towers, looks set to become very familiar over the next six months. Despite this renewed interest in good theming versus basic thrills, however, there’s no mention anywhere of either Toon Studio or the Hollywood Boulevard projects, which is a shame considering the effort (and money) put into them.

This second double page excitedly lists almost all the attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park — quite an impressive list these days — and also features a glimpse at the very first (and very understated) advertising for Stitch, an image from Hong Kong. What’s more interesting is the small sentence next to its listing in the attractions guide — “Stitch Interactive Attraction — the chance to interview Stitch live”, confirming that the story of the attraction will be a live interview with Stitch in outer space, and that the television studio theme is definitely staying.

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Seasons & Events

The Seasons & Events page doesn’t have much to reveal this year, as Halloween and Christmas take a backseat for the anniversary. Next to a nice new image of Stitch to advertise Halloween, we learn only that this October will bring “special shows and events” and “special make-up and hair ‘boo’-tiques”. Christmas is equally vague, but the prominent use of a photo featuring the Enchanted Fairytale “Chandeliers” raises the question if they can be used at the same time as Lumiere’s banners, and if indeed they will return this November…

St David’s Welsh Festival and St Patrick’s Day are also confirmed to return in 2008, following huge success earlier this year.

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Disney Village

‘Fun Beyond the Parks’ brings us four double-page spreads showcasing Disney Village, dining, recreation and the Paris region, the introduction page featuring a rather nice new photo of Disney Village itself. The next page, ‘Taste the magic’, features options such as character meals, Half Board, Christmas meals and the restaurant reservations hotline. The new Disney Princes & Princesses meals at Auberge du Cendrillon are given a strong push here.

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Spa, Sports & Relaxation

Following on that trend of more adult-orientated features, a new double-page now lists leisure and recreation across the resort with some modern and fresh photos — one in particular not what guests might expect from Disney. The new ‘Celestia Spa’ at Disneyland Hotel seems to be the focus here.

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Disney Hotels Introduction / Disney Hotels pages sample

The Disney Hotels pages are another big improvement over the previous edition of the official brochure, with a nicer introduction page and massively improved pages for each hotel. The design is now far more modern and fresh, with new photos, better information and more emphasis on the features only available at Disney Hotels, such as Extra Magic Hours. Continuing their new love of good theming, the first large bullet point on the “why stay at a Disney hotel?” page is now… “Disney theming”.

Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch gets its own double-page, before the pages shift suddenly into the slightly dull pages entitled “Other Accommodation” for the partner hotels.

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2008 Resort Map & Official Partners

The 2008 Resort Map will be a bit of a disappointment to perfectionists. Even though they’d finally managed a correct illustration of the esplanade and hub area for the 15 years development plan revealed in February, the map to be used for 2008 is the same as that for 2007, with Tower of Terror simply replacing Reign of Fire.

More interesting, though, are the “official partners” now featured in the corner of this page — the regulars are joined by Ford and Unilever, Nestlé has now completely gone and right in the middle… IBM. They’re still hanging on!

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Special Offers / Price Guide pages sample

The special offers page is also new and improved, the calendar of offers shown via a red carpet wrapping across the top of the page. The usual ‘Kids Free’ offer in the early months of each year is now known by the snappy title of ‘Kids Under 12 Stay, Play & Travel for Free’.

Price guide pages use better photos and are generally simplified yet again. New features include more emphasis on the special benefits at Disney Hotels and the various offers and options available with each booking — “Add Half Board Plus for £16”, for example, similar to the new booking system of the official website.

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Eurostar / Mickey’s Holiday Dinner Show

This being the UK brochure, there’s a lot of extra space devoted to travel and transport, in particular the direct Eurostar which moves to St Pancras International from 14th November and will then enjoy journey times of less than 3 hours from the heart of London to the gates of Disneyland. There’s also photos and details on the new entertainments and privileges introduced to make the direct Eurostar a little more “Disney”, such as a jazz band at London and better activity packs for kids.

Finally, amongst the three double pages of “magical options”, one change stands out — it appears that the Christmas dinner show at Disney’s Newport Bay Club, formerly titled The Magical World of Tinker Bell, will change its name this year to ‘Mickey’s Holiday Dinner Show’. The vague description mentions “music and dance” with “Disney friends”, hinting perhaps that the only change may be the name.

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Back Cover

And there we have it, the second and final Official 15th Anniversary Brochure!

The world outside the gates of Disneyland now knows that Tower of Terror is on its way to Paris in just six months, that ‘Stitch Interactive Attraction’ will bring the new attraction total at Walt Disney Studios to four, and that — quite simply — this is one year at Disneyland nobody should miss.

All images scanned by DLRP Today, brochure © Disney.

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