Monday, 22nd March 2010

Banners & marquees lead New Generation preparation

Another year, another set of sky blue banners? Spot on. For the fourth year running, we’re welcomed onto the resort hub — and again and again through Fantasia Gardens and Front Lot — by banners featuring the year’s theme logo and the word “Welcome” in a variety of languages:

New Generation Festival preparation

The almost identical in design Mickey’s Magical Party banners have been switched out for these new canvas banners on every lamppost in sight, alternating between the French and English logos.

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Are these just unoriginal, or is blue just a nice, neutral colour that works for both parks?

Either way, there’s one plus for this year’s batch of near-identical banners — they’re slightly less identical. In Front Lot, there are several designs featuring just the New Generation characters, such as Mike Wazowski, Buzz Lightyear and that ten-year-old alien who won’t ever take a break, Stitch.

New Generation Festival preparation New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Different designs or not, it’s quite an overwhelming invasion…

New Generation Festival preparation

What is this festival called again?!

Back at Front Lot, we’re seeing the Walt Disney Studios Store entrance being “toyed” with again, as the first temporary marquee in over a year has appeared to tempt more people inside the boutique. It’s the first New Generation Festival store decoration so far, coming just days after the old Magical Party marquee disappeared from The Emporium.

New Generation Festival preparation

Though the Little Green Men and Stitch are flat 2D designs, Slinky Dog is partially in 3D, his springy body wrapping around the entrance. Inside, you can of course pick up your very own Slinky toy.

New Generation Festival preparation

New Generation Festival preparation

Inside the park, the Monsters Inc. Scream Scene near the entrance of Toon Studio has been closed for several weeks to allow preparations for its starring role in the year ahead. The ‘Scream Monitors’ signage has been taken away and returned for refurbishment, and the fun yellow floor markings have been completely repainted.

New Generation Festival preparation

In fact, though the corner is being included in the “new” features for the year, it has been in place for so long (since 2006) that the “Child Detection Agency – Scream Scene” paint had completely worn away.

New Generation Festival preparation

As we reported at the end of January, the ‘Monsters Inc. Scream Academy’ listed in brochures and press releases was originally meant to be a brand new show that was cancelled just days before auditions. We’ve since leant that the show, which would have featured a live host inviting guests to dance and scream with the Monsters, was actually set to happen not in this tight corner but on a separate travelling stage, similar to the High School Musical shows.

Though the ‘Monsters Inc. Scream Academy’ hasn’t been removed from advertising, we now have to assume that’s the new name for the photo location, the preview videos have been made incredibly vague and all mentions are very careful never to mention the word “new”…

New Generation Festival preparation

At least with Sully (the only live Monsters character we’ve seen at Disneyland Paris since 2002), expected to be rejoined by Mike and — for the first time — Boo (dressed up in her Monster disguise) for the Disney Showtime Spectacular over at Disneyland Park, these extra characters could hop over in between to provide something “new” here after all.

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Monday, 8th March 2010

First Toy Soldiers parachutes touch down in the Playland

Now attached to the cables installed just last week, the frames of three “parachutes” can be seen over the construction walls, yet to receive their final parachute-themed canopy and finishing touches:

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction Toy Story Playland construction

Each parachute is currently attached to one arm of the tower by four cables, with the first three all sitting on the front side of the tower, facing the existing Toon Studio.

If the final design matches similar rides like Jumpin’ Jellyfish at Disney’s California Adventure, a further winch cable (or cables) should be added to actually pull the seats into the air, with these four cables serving only to keep them properly aligned and steady.

As mentioned previously, the parachutes have six seats — compared to just two on the jellyfish in California — allowing the ride to achieve a higher capacity of 36 riders with just one tower.

Toy Story Playland construction

The arrival of the first parachutes and the positioning of those cables appears to have also confirmed one important aspect of this towering ride that has changed relentlessly between almost every single concept we’ve seen: the direction in which guests will be facing.

And the good news is, it looks like we won’t be facing straight outwards (or inwards) like on the off-the-shelf versions of this ride (and as even shown in the final concept), but seated at a right angle (90 degrees) to the arm of the tower above (like on the model/maquette), meaning you’ll be facing other guests — and less likely to focus on what will surely be less than magical views of the Art of Disney Animation air conditioning system and empty expansion land beyond Studio Tram Tour.

Toy Story Playland construction

Meanwhile, the fences which squashed the path behind Art of Disney Animation last week, giving very little space to navigate this route between the back of Toon Studio and the (premature) end of Hollywood Boulevard, have now… closed the area off completely!

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction

The area between Crush’s Coaster and Cars Quatre Roues Rallye is now a dead-end, as work continues…

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Thursday, 4th March 2010

Playland engulfs Tram Tour, Parachute ropes drop

First though, a follow up to the topping-out of RC Racer in our last Playland update. We saw how this new orange halfpipe looked from within the park, from the Disney Village parking structure and from the park entrance, but what about the impact across the way?

As with the construction of Tower of Terror, there’s been much worry about these tall new attractions appearing as unwanted icons on the Thunder Mesa skyline. The main lift hill of Big Thunder Mountain is the highest guest viewpoint in Frontierland, and here’s how it looks:

Toy Story Playland construction

RC Racer is barely noticeable as you speed over the top of the hill, Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop stands out a little but not disastrously so and the Tower continues to dominate from every angle. In fact, it’s the hulk of the (in some places, unpainted!) 2007 showbuilding for Crush’s Coaster that blots the horizon the most. Once those trees have leaves, the newest additions will be even less visible.

And what about from the top deck of the riverboats, passing below here? Imagine the height of this lift hill against the height of the boats, and the Playland attractions should miraculously fall just — and really, just — below the berm there, right? Clearly Thunder Mesa already has planning laws about visual intrusion marked out for all but the biggest E-Tickets, and these attractions have been pushed right up to the limit.

From the main promenade of the Frontier town itself, none of these attractions are visible.

Still, it’d be nice to see this berm at the back of the land given a bit of “thickening up” to hide as much as possible… a few more fir trees wouldn’t go amiss. It’s an odd quirk of the Big Thunder lift hill that it offers such a view to break the spell of the otherwise flawless land. Perhaps the Imagineers of the early nineties just never envisaged plans for “Disney MGM Studios Europe”, as the park was originally going to known, encompassing any rides as tall as the Tower of Terror and co…

Anyway, onto the main news of this welcome midweek update from Walt Disney Studios.

We possibly haven’t mentioned the news on DLRP Today, but as the Closures & Refurbishments calendar over at DLRP Magic! has indicated for a while, Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic is set for a lengthy closure beginning 1st March. And just like that, the blue walls appeared…

Toy Story Playland construction

This is a really wide outbreak of walls, too — swallowing up the whole queue and loading area…

Toy Story Playland construction

…and even the old Fastpass distribution area, which hasn’t been used since 2002…

Toy Story Playland construction

Current schedules on the official website state the attraction is closed for the whole of March and April 2010, but other sources suggest it won’t reopen until as late as 31st May 2010 — a full three-months of downtime.

Details are sketchy about why it needs such a lengthy closure, though you can imagine it’s partly to ease construction of Toy Story Playland, which sits right up against the tour’s route. At the same time, these months will surely be used to do something drastic about Catastrophe Canyon, which has been in a frightening state for years. Completely blackened and lacking its ochre colour, effects often patchy, the truck itself completely washed out. Who knew it used to be red?

Refurbishments and clean-ups are probably all we can hope for besides the ongoing Playland construction, but wouldn’t it be nice if they surprised us somehow? How much would a few new props, a re-dressed Dinotopia set, an improved queue line really cost? Don’t hold your breath.

Toy Story Playland construction

Moving on…

That was no exaggeration to say the construction walls have engulfed the whole area. The path at the back of Art of Disney Animation has, at the same time, been squashed to almost half its size, providing a quite uncomfortably narrow link between Hollywood Boulevard and the back of Toon Studio:

Toy Story Playland construction

Soon enough, the view below will see not only two of the new attractions but the “giant” Buzz Lightyear figure planned to stand at the entrance of the mini-land atop building blocks.

The sandy-coloured floor of the land will also “spill out” slightly, according to concept art, but it’s a shame the path here will eventually reopen to its full size… looking pretty much a same: An unthemed “no mans land”, when there are so many possibilities for Hollywood/Toon transitions…

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction

The old railings and lights along it, which ended up lasting less than 3 years, appear to be long gone as we take a peek underneath the walls. The rest of the dull old asphalt has yet to be touched. At some point, planting of that tall bamboo “grass” needs to start here and new fences put in place around the future land.

Finally, Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop has just celebrated its own version of the classic Disney park “rope drop”. Yesterday, three of the six drop arms received their parachute cables — two each, dropping from the tower — soon to hoist the large six-seater parachutes into the air:

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction

Toy Story Playland construction

The cables are currently just dropping to the floor — there’s a lot of work still to be done before we see any movement and “test missions” from the Green Army Men here.

As an added “finally”, since so many people are asking… The vague official word from Disneyland Paris is that Toy Story Playland will open “late Summer 2010”. This is a slight rewording from the simple “Summer 2010” stated in brochures, the reason being that latest internal dates state an August 2010 grand opening — and no, still no exact date.

Perhaps a little disappointing given that it should be a big feature of the New Generation Festival year, and Toy Story 3 (released here in July) will already be old news in European cinemas by then. There will be a lot of people who haven’t checked the details arriving at the park from April to still find a construction site. All the more reason to visit again …or not?

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Monday, 1st March 2010

RC Racer adds purple, orange splash to the Studios

One week to build a single curve of orange Hot Wheels track would normally be a bit slow, but when you’re dealing with the new 25-metre steel halfpipe of Walt Disney Studios Park, this is certainly not bad going.

Looking sleeker and more playful than the slightly utilitarian structure of the Parachute Drop, RC Racer grew from purple/pink steel supports in the third week of February to its full orange height just last week.

Member mehdi5 on magicforum captured some great shots of the new ride being pieced together:

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

Whilst this weekend, Dlrpteam took to the park and assessed the impact for us:

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

Compared to the still very modest size of the Studios’ current floorspace, Toy Story Playland occupies quite a sizeable extension; this halfpipe positioned right at the back of the area up against the new curve in the repositioned Studio Tram Tour route. As such, it has a less dominating impact on the park at present.

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

Sitting between the other recent Toon Studio additions, the new attractions do appear to complete a very colourful palette of attractions — pink and orange for RC, green for Toy Soldiers, yellow and red for Cars and blue for Crush’s Coaster. But this attraction is what it is — a large steel halfpipe, similar to those produced for “regular” amusement parks by coaster manufacturer Intamin, with only minimal customisation above ground.

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

That customisation has actually yet to appear — if you thought the ribcage design of the track is a little strange, that’s because flat orange pieces will sit between those steel protrusions, to give the look of a flat Hot Wheels-style track. In fact, the 20-seater vehicle will really be running on this very Intamin-like triangular track hidden in the middle.

Heading around the park, the more slender track and distant placement of RC Racer gives it much less impact than the Parachute Drop. The wide base, where the covered station loading area will span the track, nevertheless plays a few perspective tricks, making the ride looks wide and expansive from Backlot (and particularly the raised entrance area of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster):

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

Yet rather more slim and subtle from Vine Street, which runs diagonally past The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror entrance:

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

From outside the main body of the park, Studio 1 completely blocks all visual intrusion from Toy Story Playland whilst in Front Lot. You’ve got to back up to the higher level of the main resort hub to catch a glimpse of the new attractions between Studios 1 and 3:

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

Finally, let’s climb the Disney Village parking structure to see how the two towering new rides slot into the wider park. Zoomed in, it’s still the plump tower of Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop which has the impact from this angle. Currently unlit, RC Racer has less presence all the way in the distance there:

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

And looking at the complete picture, the new land is completely dwarfed by Tower of Terror. As expected, the two attractions, both around 25 metres high, just about reach the top of the Tower’s front showbuilding, and no higher:

RC Racer in Toy Story Playland

Nevertheless, the ride presents a dilemma for the morals of Disney Imagineering fans. On the one hand, it’s a steel halfpipe that now towers over much of the park. On the other, the clever Hot Wheels concept might well allow it to justify itself — at least far more easily than past WDI creations such as Mulholland Madness (California), Primeval Whirl (Florida) or even mini coasters like Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster (Tokyo) and Gadget’s Go Coaster (Tokyo/California), all of which feature bare steel track and supports with little grace.

Photos by mehdi5, Dlrpteam.

Monday, 1st March 2010

Watch the full New Generation Festival TV spot!

If those stills from the epic new Disneyland Paris TV spot whet your appetite and you’ve yet to catch the ad on any of the major broadcasters in the UK, we’ve got a treat.

The full, 40 second commercial for the New Generation Festival. Enjoy:

Produced by Motion Theory — whose past credits include Honda, McCain, Nintendo and music videos such as Adele’s Chasing Pavements — for the resort’s agency EuroRSCG, this spectacular advert combines live action footage filmed in California with all-new animation of Disney and Pixar stars.

You’ll be seeing it for the next month across all the major TV networks. As well as this full 40 second version, you’ll see two 30 second versions and three 10 second spots, which we’ll be sharing soon!

In the UK, the commercials are trailing a new ‘Save up to 40% plus Kids under 7 stay and play Free’ offer, a quite unexpected return to such heavy discounting — the validity period even running right up to 8th November. Pushed with such a professional and genuinely exciting TV spot, Disneyland Paris looks set to be making quite a big impression in the UK over the next few months, as it attempts to win back the visitors lost through the credit crisis and poor exchange rates.

TV spots and advertising should launch outside the UK from next week, 8th March.

Video © Disney, Disney/Pixar.

Thursday, 25th February 2010

Explore the Art of Disney… only every half hour?

Now, if you’d like to take the tour through the three initial rooms of Art of Disney Animation, you’d better check your Programme times guide. The attraction is now listed alongside the likes of Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular with pre-determined “show times” for the start of each presentation.

This week, you can visit the attraction only at 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30 and 18:00.

Art of Disney Animation

Normally, Art of Disney Animation runs continuously right through the day, with guests waiting outside or in the pre-show area for the start of the next show around every 10 minutes, passing from room-to-room between the Disney Classics Theatre and Drawn to Animation theatres for a total show time of around 20 minutes.

These new scheduled times therefore cut the number of chances to tour through the attraction by around two thirds, not to mention leaving the attraction in the dark for the first hour of park opening, until 11am, and for much of the final hour of the day.

That said, Art of Disney Animation is far from bombarded by guests. Not really providing enough interest to most visitors for repeat viewings, the outdoor queue line, now hidden partly behind the Hollywood Boulevard façades, very rarely sees any real use. This new test for low season days could ensure that audience numbers are never embarrassingly low, whilst allowing cost savings with Cast Members potentially doubling-up roles for the first two rooms.

Art of Disney Animation

The continuous start times of each presentation have previously been confusing and unhelpful to visitors. Sometimes you can rush inside just as the doors are closing and end up missing the whole pre-show, other times you appear to be waiting for far too long. Even if it means fewer showings per day, this kind of transparency is probably a good step.

But isn’t it just highlighting a bigger problem with Art of Disney Animation? Looking at the concept of the attraction as a whole, switching to scheduled times means a vast amount of central floorspace in this very small park suddenly becomes useless for long periods of time, cutting capacity and adding yet another complication to visitors planning their day — if the scheduled times of Playhouse Disney, Stitch Live, Animagique, CinéMagique and Moteurs Action! weren’t enough.

Wouldn’t a much better way to present “the art of animation” be to restructure the attraction to work more like the Disney Animation pavilion at Disney’s California Adventure?

Warning, self-indulgent home-Imagineering ahead…

In California, guests enter into a central lobby area and are then free to roam through several different rooms at their own pace. In Paris, the current post-show area would be perfect for this, with a single wall knocked through (by the video screens in the pre-show, the Jungle Book artwork in the post-show) to open up direct access to the pre-show room and theatre. The post show is already accessed directly by a lot of guests, using the exit doors to drop in and out. The pre-show and Classics theatre are, however, completely cut off.

Art of Disney Animation

Drawn to Animation with Mushu also exists as one of those rooms in California, and is really the only part of this attraction concept which needs to be presented as a scheduled show. Its current exit in Paris, behind the Animation Academy drawing boards, could double up as a single entrance, with these new half-hourly showtimes posted outside.

Though emotional and enjoyable, the Disney Classics Theatre in Paris is largely quite pointless, simply playing a series of themed clips from Disney and Pixar animation. The theatre could be better used as a “Cinéma Mickey/Main Street Cinema”-style drop-in space playing classic Disney shorts, or ripped out entirely for other interactive exhibits.

While we’re at it, replace The Disney Animation Gallery boutique with an indoor meet and greet space, for Sorcerer Mickey. The returns on souvenir photo prints would surely be better than current sales at this tiny shop, which has recently had its original remit of animation books, prints and collectibles watered down to a samey array of High School Musical merch anyway.

Open up the current entrance and exits to traffic in both directions et voilà — an open, free-roaming covered walkthrough, exhibit and show space in Walt Disney Studios Park that’s open at all times. An equivalent to Videopolis, Liberty Arcade or the original Adventureland Bazaar. Shelter from the rain, something to fill-in between other show times and a real heart for Toon Studio.

Knocking through a wall or two here might not even be all that outrageous for the park, given all the knocking down and rebuilding that went on at Walt Disney Studios Store last year just to give that shop more light.

Rather than cutting back access to this great, covered, central space, open it up!

Images © Disney, Google Earth.

Wednesday, 24th February 2010

Animagique’s brief step into the home video spotlight

Since the blacklight trickery of this unique show relies on props being moved around the stage by performers dressed all black, making them appear to “fly” in thin air, all photography of any kind has been banned right from the 2002 premiere. This was taken up a step in recent years as the Guest Flow cast members who manage the audience were given orders to run up and down the aisles with warning signs showing a crossed-out camera flash. (Shame the same can’t be done on Pirates of the Caribbean, eh?)

Given as a cute warning by the recorded voices of children, the bid to keep the theatre camera flash free and “not scary dark, just really dark” serves to ensure the show isn’t spoiled for guests and (more importantly) that the performers’ retinas stay intact, since they have to prepare their eyes to move around on the pitch-black stage. A bright, dazzling flash could cause those magical Jungle Book palm trees to wobble for the wrong reason.

So, when our photo reporter Dlrpteam sent these photos over recently, it was a surprise to say the least. Real photos from inside Animagique? Why, you’d be more likely to get a photo of Disney Studio 1 without a tower of scaffolding stuck to the front…

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

Animagique

The explanation? When Animagique returned from its brief hiatus-slash-refurbishment on 30th January, the pre-show spiel had been changed to read more along the lines of the Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! warnings, which state nice and clearly that whilst flash photography is prohibited, you’re more than welcome to photograph and film the show.

Besides the great plus that the show’s many fans could finally capture it on camera, the move appeared to have other positive implications — no need for Cast Members to wave the warning signs; no need for them to patrol the audience with a torch, disturbing the show. And, with pictures or video on film, the show might be remembered and recommended by visitors a little more. Despite playing up to 5 times a day almost 365-days a year, it sometimes feels all but forgotten about.

Alas, pointless to continue with those positives. The spiel has now apparently reverted back to the original and all photography is now once again banned. The reason? Too many LCD screens floating around!

Hope you enjoyed your time out of the blacklight, Animagique!

Photos by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Tuesday, 16th February 2010

Parachute Drop adds more pieces to the skyline

Our previous construction update on the Parachute Drop of future Toy Story Playland provoked an unprecedented response. In one corner of the playroom, those apparently disgusted by the appearance of this steel pylon in a Disney theme park. In the other, those who are just pleased to see some new rides finding their way into the Studios.

A couple of weeks later, construction has progressed quite a bit more and our photo reporter Dlrpteam has captured some new angles showing how the tower fits into the existing park.

Stepping out of Disney Studio 1 into our mini Hollywood Boulevard

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

…no Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop here. Even as you continue up the short stretch of street already in place, the façades built in 2007 are thankfully towering enough to completely block out any visual intrusion from a certain structure behind Art of Disney Animation on the right.

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

In fact, you only see the camouflage-patterned tower once you reach the junction with ‘Vine Street’, the route which crosses diagonally in front of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Here it looms large ahead, yet to be joined by the 25-metre orange halfpipe of RC Racer.

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

Although, at least in the first photo above, the view could be completely hidden simply by adding another piece to the right of that flat cut-out backdrop.

Since the last update, all six of the winch mechanism platforms are now fixed in place atop of the tower, giving it a far more solid look — if not exactly “toy-like” at present.

They’re painted in a similar green to the camouflage spots on the tower itself and will hold the cables of each parachute, feeding them down the tower itself into the ride machinery which “bounces” the parachutes up and down. Note also in the other photos here that the steel framework of the Slinky Dog and Toy Soldiers queue buildings have been painted a similar dark green.

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

Speaking of those parachutes, WDSfans finally got confirmation of the actual ride capacity, which we’ve been unsure of for a while. While the main Toy Story Playland concept art showed parachutes with three seats back-to-back (total 6), other concepts and models showed a set-up more alike Jumpin’ Jellyfish at Disney’s California Adventure, with only 2 seats per parachute. Luckily, that original concept art was accurate — there will be SIX seats per parachute, in rows of three back-to-back, adding up to a grand total of 36 riders per cycle.

This means that with just one (unsightly?) tower, the ride will have a capacity much larger than the 24 riders held by two towers in California, which has to be a good thing. The ride cycle itself will run for exactly 1 minute in Paris, compared with 1 minute 30 seconds for Jumpin’ Jellyfish, increasing throughput and further shortening queue times, which had been a big concern for many.

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

With capacity perhaps not such an issue after all, that (for now) just leaves the looks and height of the tower to be questioned. Whilst the Parachute Drop is quite neatly hidden and almost unnoticable through the thick gardens of Tower of Terror (above and below)…

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

…The least flattering angle looks to be the view from the side of Tower of Terror, across the always-unappealing tarmac of the Studio Tram Tour loading area, as pictured below:

Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop

But what about when Hollywood Boulevard finally expands? Of course, that’s probably years away, but with a boulevard slicing through here bringing towering new buildings either side, the Parachute Drop would be easily hidden from this angle and many others. Think about it.

Just like the Toy Soldiers, Walt Disney Imagineering surely have their mission all planned out, right?

Pictures by Dlrpteam for DLRP Today.com

Friday, 5th February 2010

Riding INTO the Ratatouille Dome…?

Twenty-four hours later, we have our answers courtesy of the manufacturer themselves, constructor of the drywall dome known until now only as ‘Ratatouille Ride Element’. As they say themselves, it’s all about what the individual sees. Luckily, they’ve also provided some exciting specifics…

The extensive work to construct the metal stud framing we’ve all been looking at has since been covered in multiple layers of 3/8″ drywall. After that drywall was installed on top, the absolute highest level of drywall finish was applied — the smoothest possible. A complete “skim coat” to cover ALL the surface visible to the eye.

The reason for this extreme finish? It’s going to be a movie screen. Yes, it isn’t intended to sit on top of the building, but inside the building — as part of the ride. This dome is intended as a projection surface, to show specially-created footage as part of the attraction. Yes, really.

Ratatouille dark ride

In fact, the ride vehicles of the Ratatouille dark ride are apparently intended to “travel directly at” this dome/screen, making it seem as if the vehicles are travelling with the film footage being projected, “in 3D”.

The constructor knows no other details of the footage or the ride, but confirmed the dome is a huge 26ft in height with a 30ft radius. The photo we saw is just the prototype, the first dome created for the ride, which would explain why it’s been created so far ahead of the ride’s green-lighting or construction. When — or dare we say — if the ride is green-lit, Walt Disney Imagineering will want to know that the technology and effects they’re planning will truly work. This could involve setting the “dome” up at their own research & development facility in California, running test projections to ensure that whatever effect they’re going for is as realistic as possible.

Ratatouille dark ride?

Imagine the possibilities — if the story sees us at rat size, being chased around a kitchen, picture this dome presenting Pixar-animated footage of humans towering around you. The concave of a dome could create some classic Disney forced perspective. Or, taking that very first colander guess, we could ride toward this dome projection screen, be trapped and then “carried” (through projections) to a different area in the kitchen, only able to see through those tiny holes, just like Remy during the chase scenes in the film. An altogether very different dark ride experience.

…But now we’re into more speculation. And based on the last 24 hours, WDI have some tricks up their sleeve that we weren’t quite expecting and as yet probably can’t fully imagine ourselves.

As Anton Ego might say, “Surprise us!”.

Images: Davidmackeydrywall.com, Disney/Pixar.

Friday, 5th February 2010

Mysterious ‘Ratatouille Ride Element’ uncovered

STOP PRESS! The mystery has been solved — click here.

When was the last time you got excited about a steel cage sitting in a warehouse? Well that’s exactly what we’re all doing, folks. Found on this vague website about drywall construction based in Burbank, California, the image sits inconspicuously in the sidebar, labelled “Disney Radius Dome Construction” and then… “Ratatouille Ride Element”.

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

Follow a few links around that website, and you can stumble upon a photo of drywall construction for a “Disney Sound Booth”. Both short-lived blogs were last updated in December 2009, though it’s impossible to tell exactly when the photo was posted.

But what is it? A cage? A giant colander?

Maybe we shouldn’t think about it sitting there on the ground. Imagine it higher up, and suddenly…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…it seems…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…very…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…very…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…familiar…

Mysterious 'Ratatouille Ride Element' uncovered

…indeed.

Those domes on Tower of Terror arrived pretty much complete at the resort and were only lifted into place a year before it opened. If they were already preparing this “element” as early as November or December 2009, that’s some head-start they’ve got. Not to mention a little presumptuous since, as far as we know, the ride hasn’t been fully green-lit just yet.

But could Rémy really be bringing another dome to the Walt Disney Studios collection, as part of his Parisian attraction façade? Well, there are plenty to inspire in the city itself…

Tip of the (chef’s) hat to fcoyote on Disney Central Plaza, RnRCj on magicforum
Images: Davidmackeydrywall.com, DLRP Today.com

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