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…
We’ve been waiting a long time for this. Nothing compared to Disney Studio 1 just across the way, of course, but with scaffolding going up back in early April and the first tarp sheets only coming down, the former Television Production Tour building has enjoyed a good — and much needed — 7 or so months of TLC.
First — remember how it used to look?
Arguably one of the nicest buildings of the park in 2002, with a smart Streamline Moderne art deco design, it nevertheless began to look more than a little out of place one the warm, detail-rich buildings and sets of 2007/08’s Hollywood Boulevard sprung up opposite.
Where they had intricate, saturated palettes of colours, realistic weathering and period features a-plenty, the old Walt Disney Television Studios had a whitewash — or rather a yellow-wash — of one single colour with cold turquoise details.
This contrast difference became especially clear when walking down the route (perhaps known as Vine Street) in front of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with the monotone, concrete building now forming a landmark at the end.
Add to these differences the fact that portions of the building had become dirtier than perhaps anything ever before in Disneyland Paris, the “fins” in particular looking as if they were about to crumble, and you’ve got the format of a desperately-needed refurbishment.
Fans could barely believe their eyes when Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza posted this photo last week… had it just blown down?
But their hopes came true — the refurbishment wasn’t stuck in the legal nightmare of Studio 1 but ready to go live! The first half of the building was fully uncovered by the weekend, as captured by NewsDLRP:
The new colours match exactly those on the covering used during the refurbishment. Under the windows and at the top, the sleek lines are now picked out in a light yellow with a darker gold-brown in between adding a further sense of detail.
The building’s main colour is now a slightly deeper orange, similar to that applied to Front Lot a couple of years ago, and the fins have warm red accents rather than turquoise, as spotted several months ago.
Pictures: DLRP Today, Mouetto, NewsDLRP.
We last reported on the plight of CinéMagique in March, when what began as a simple repaint of the theatre-based attraction’s exterior moved “onto its second reel” with several other alterations around the outside of the building. Though award-winning and still receiving an outstanding “guest satisfaction” score in its 6th year, the Walt Disney Studios Park attraction is apparently failing to fill up its 1,100-capacity theatre quite as much as the operations managers would like.
Indeed, this is almost the anti-Armageddon. That special effects attraction over in Backlot appears to be facing closure due to the negative impact it has on guests’ overall impression of the park. At the other end of the scale, CinéMagique is so highly regarded by those who actually see it that they’d like to make sure as many people as possible do so.
The problem to be overcome is actually quite recent. Let’s call it “Hollywood Boulevard syndrome”. Or, in other words, the Imagineers have just built a wonderful little pocket of pure themeing and escapism across the courtyard, joined with a hugely popular and immersive E-Ticket, that just makes the original Production Courtyard look a little… well… dull.
The first answer: letters! You can’t miss the new ‘CinéMagique’ sign, sitting in the spot where previously a flat artwork-style logo was painted. Though a nice enough throwback to movie posters of old, this mostly featured images which never appeared in the final film, despite appearing around two years after its opening. The new sign appears to jump out from the Studio Theatre façade, perhaps a hint to the things which burst from the silver screen inside.
Below this, a truly huge new show times board constantly scrolls across the façade with an orange glow. Through integrated well into the façade, its usefulness has to be called into question — particularly, as seen above, it shows all the showtimes for the day (sometimes as many as 8 or 9) even at 6pm in the evening.
Against a 10 minute wait displayed for Tower of Terror or the sign next door stating 12 minutes until the next show at Stitch Live!, a better system, indicating the times in this linear way suddenly seems unnecessarily complicated when they’re so keen for guests. Reconfiguring the sign to stay static and simply state “XX Mins to next performance” would likely be far more helpful. The smaller scrolling signs on either side of the entrance could continue to display showtimes for later in the day.
Elsewhere, the rectangles around the canopy of the waiting area have indeed taken on a movie theatre style as predicted by many. In the way a real cinema would display the films “now showing”, these hold words which read “The Magic of the Movies … Comes to Life … Before Your Eyes” on the left and “La Magie du Cinema … Prend Vie … Sous vos Yeux” on the right.
Most impressive, and unexpected, however, is that these are all surrounded by hundreds of small flashing LED lights, giving a real dazzle to the entire canopy. The white backgrounds are also illuminated at nighttime, flashing in sequence.
Indeed, like most of the original park, it’s at nighttime that the revitalised CinéMagique building really comes to life. The new posters installed inside the waiting area are not only bigger, more colourful and much more numerous than their predecessors — they are also lit from behind and link into a clever celluloid filmstrip motif across the wall, using the original lights above and new painted silver squares below.
Nighttime does bring one disappointment, however — those giant ‘CinéMagique’ letters are not illuminated. With the former artwork it didn’t necessarily matter, but now guests see the faint outlines and shadow of the letters without the actual word. Lucky we still rarely get to see the park in the dark, then.
As the curtain falls, are you applauding? It’s true this temporary revamp to increase footfall is a little less than the glitzy, authentic movie palace we all dream of — but, perhaps, it’s a stepping stone to bigger and better things ahead. The ‘Magique’ might still, one day, extend beyond the auditorium.
[Photos: DLRP Today]
It’s a modest refreshing of an equally modest entrance, sure. But, given that this area of Production Courtyard will be overrun by the press and VIPs in a couple of weeks to mark the official inaugurations of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live!, it’s certainly better than nothing to see the tired yellow walls repainted and a little darker purple to break up some empty space.
The green construction walls have now moved to completely enclose the right-hand side of the Studio 2 waiting area, extending out into the courtyard to allow workers to begin repainting the outer purple panels of the roof in a more traditional burgundy and magnolia, as already seen on the other side.
Underneath the canopy, walls have receded in the waiting area on the left, revealing the new two-thirds-purple wall, currently without its framed posters for movies featured in the attraction. The second waiting area is completely closed to guests, with more flashing “strobe” lights also added to its ceiling.
One noticeable change for CinéMagique fans is the sudden disappearance of the movie cell banners which previously hung from the metal beams of the roof, showing series of split-second stills from various films. Many, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and 102 Dalmations, were not even featured in the actual show inside.
Finally, the famous “Mickey holding a spanner” refurbishment signs began to disappear last year in favour of new signs announcing preparations for the 15th Anniversary (with a “join us from 1st April 2007” line remaining in place on many throughout the year). Now they’re changing again, adopting “The Celebration Continues” wrapping paper designs and the line “In this area, we are preparing even more magic”.
Well, it’s good to see that even with its new hit attractions, the park is still humbly proud of some fresh paint and a few lights.
[Photos credit: Dlrp Time blog]
Purists, fans… relax. Martin Short still bumbles his way through the delightful film, the rainy romance of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg still enchants and Julie Delpy still dashes out onto the Yellow Brick Road in the fantastical finale. But then, the film was never the problem.
The half-hearted “movie theater” entrance to Disney Studio 2 has just begin its first full refurbishment since opening in 2002, with green construction fences currently covering the pillars at the left side and back wall of the waiting area. This isn’t a simple retouching of the paintwork, however. They’re taking the rehab as a chance to refresh and renew the “magique” of this award-winning attraction.
With the rumoured ‘Theater District’ expansion of the Hollywood Boulevard placemaking still some time from being green-lit, the operations teams at Walt Disney Studios Park need a quick way to entice some of those new guests passing by to visit the Tower of Terror, Toon Studio or ‘Stitch Live!‘ into the 1,100-capacity theatre.
With their new and exciting exteriors, it might be easy for guests to try the new attractions and bypass a classic like CinéMagique. Which is, in fact, exactly what seems to be happening. And, with its rave reviews and countless fans, this is an attraction the people at Walt Disney Studios Park don’t want you to miss.
The new tips and wait times board at the foot of Hollywood Boulevard introduced a novel extra way to use the unique LCD screens which display the latest showtimes — they now also play brief video clips from inside the Studios’ show-based attractions.
The old tips board, now positioned at the top of Hollywood Boulevard, features new advertisements for CinéMagique and ‘Moteurs… Action!’, another show needing an attendance boost in recent months.
At Studio 2, the familiar purple and red exterior is now in the process of changing to a fresher — and, you could argue — more old-fashioned, “Hollywood” colour scheme. Whilst, inside the waiting area, the bare yellow wall has taken the purple instead, hiding the emptiness of the space and finally lending the area a slightly more atmospheric feel similar to real-life dark, plush cinema lobbies. Well, we can dream.
With only some hanging movie stills and old posters to give this area some visual interest, how do you improve that on a tight budget? Well, how about some flashing “strobe” lights? They have begun to replace the static bulbs at intervals throughout the ceiling of the canopy, adding a little “sparkle”… on a shoestring.
The refurbishment also makes sure that the attraction is looking its best for the upcoming press events over the first week in April, a big deal for the park as it relaunches with the two new 2008 attractions and completed placemaking works. Here’s hoping the all-important ‘2’ atop the building will also be given a clean-up.The works are reportedly completely unrelated to the proposed placemaking project in this corner, which, rumours suggest, would include a completely new, completely “Hollywood” façade for the theatre.
[All photos by Photos Magiques (more here)]
First a new satellite dish atop its mast and later the removal of the old, circular Disney Channel sign — changes to the exterior of Walt Disney Television Studios are coming surprisingly early for the March 2008 opening of Stitch Live.
Today, the most major change began to take place — the installation of a brand new entrance sign for the interactive CGI show. Not exactly a small or discreet piece of signage either, as the previous design, but a loud and colourful cartoon burst with an illustrated Stitch waving from his space station, remarkably similar to the design seen in the original concept art.
Studios’ fourth new attraction sign in one year! — Guigui, DCP
It may certainly be that, upon first look, the sign is a complete surprise. Neither refined like Art of Disney Animation nor glitzy and traditional as CinéMagique, closer inspection actually reveals the Imagineers have taken more than a few hints from the kitsch, happy, consumerist styles of the 1950s.
The red burst has a ’roundness’ as if right out of a cheap ’50s cartoon show, the illustration of Stitch rounded and colour shaded like the most classic advertisements of the time, and the black oval with small white stars inspired by many a ’50s neon diner sign.
Classic 1950s advertisements — Plan59.com
The only detail which breaks the surprisingly specific timestamp of the sign is the addition of a small, modern Disney Channel logo in the bottom-left of the Stitch illustration, as planned from the first concept. Clearly, the Disney Channel still wants to keep its branding here — and, with any luck, they’ll continue to use that same logo for a long time to come.
The lettering has yet to be installed, but from the white outline it’s clear to see that ‘Stitch’ will use the same font as the original logo of ‘Lilo & Stitch’, whilst ‘Live’ is a much bolder, blockier style — perhaps similar to the bold text of an “On Air” light? Note also the addition of an exclamation mark, missing in resort publications, but now making the official in-park title “Stitch Live!”.
The 1940s/50s style might be familiar to fans, either from the Coca-Cola advertisements near Café des Cascadeurs or larger details such as the “Treat yourself like a star!” Hertz billboard inside Disney Studio 1…
Similar styled billboard in Disney Studio 1
It’s particularly interesting here, however, because the original concept, though similar, called for a far more modern design of colours and protruding, square neons.
Positioned as it is at the heart of what is strongly rumoured to become a ‘Theater District’ expansion of the current Hollywood Boulevard placemaking, a place where film and television technologies are put on show, clearly the design has been taken back in time… to prepare for future plans.
— Images by Guigui, Plan59.com and dlrptoday.co.uk