Friday, 1st December 2006

Crush hangs loose at Toon Studio

Kyoto on Disney Magic Interactive forum brings us the latest photos of Toon Studio, showing off more progress with curbs and paths throughout the new area, plus more new paint for Art of Disney Animation.

The concrete curbs around the paths at the entrance to the new area of Toon Studio curve and wrap around the three key attractions in this area, giving us clues as to where more landscaping and trees are due to arrive. Scaffolding has receded further on the unique rockwork of Studio 5, revealing a clearer look at its detail, with the small tunnel for the attraction’s exit path now becoming more obvious.

Art of Disney Animation has also progressed further into the next phase of its recolouring, with pale blue paint spreading across much of the wall facing Cars Race Rally and a small strip of deeper paint, matching the final coat on the Disney Bros. Plaza side, also visible.

At Cars Race Rally, the most noticable progress is still with the desert landscaping being added to the ride’s exit slope and ride area, with more wire mesh and framework added to the teetering centrepiece canyon rock, which has also now been surrounded by scaffolding and tarp on one side.

Finally dude, the news we’ve been waiting for! Kyoto managed to catch on camera the first tests for the large billboard/mural covering that will eventually fill the entire front portion of what is widely dubbed the “dark ride showbuilding”, above and around the bright blue rockwork.

Since this is without doubt the first time the Disney Imagineers have themed a showbuilding in this way, they need to make sure they get it right, with the mural matching the colours and shape of the rockwork, piecing together correctly and passing the test of time in the Parisian climate.

A worker can be seen checking on the hanging banner from the roof of the lower showbuilding, giving a surprising sense of scale to what usually looks like a relatively average-sized project (at least compared to the Tower of Terror nearby). The final mural is likely still some way from its due date, especially given that the rockwork has yet to be finished and the bare concrete prepared. But until then dude, this is a totally awesome first preview!

All photos by Kyoto – you can see more by clicking here!

Wednesday, 22nd November 2006

New Resort Map adds more to the parks

With a dazzling, blue, starry background and all the elegance of the new 15th Anniversary brochure (which will be previewed in full very soon!), the new resort map is a stunning improvement on an already-popular design. Not least when you look at the two Disney Parks.

Whilst earlier versions saw the parks feature a jumble of their most iconic attractions, the updated map has added far more detail to this area, presenting the parks almost to their true layout and adding several new attractions to the mix. At Disneyland Park, you can now see Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventureland Bazaar, Phantom Manor, Disneyland Railroad and the Geysers of Frontierland. The existing attractions – Le Château, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, “it’s a small world” and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril – have all been updated with new, more detailed designs.

However, the biggest changes can be seen over at Walt Disney Studios Park – not only in real life but also on the map. The layout of the park is now clearly defined, with the entrance, Earful Tower and first three Disney Studios now featured, whilst Moteurs… Action! has been shrunk to make way for the guitar of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith.

Even details such as the Place des Stars Stage and sign are now featured, and the Reign of Fire scene from Studio Tram Tour has been hastily affixed from the main park map… dare we say a placeholder for the Tower of Terror next year?

Of course, the one location which your eyes will have been immediately drawn to is… Toon Studio! Featured on an official map for the very first time, and looking very much like the most recent official concepts. Flying Carpets Over Agrabah now has more detail and a deep purple backdrop, but the big additions are Crush’s Coaster and Cars Race Rally.

Crush’s Coaster features some details which appear different in the real design – for example, the map shows a grey building and purple rockwork, much like the concept art. Cars Race Rally is perhaps more accurate, featuring brightly coloured cars skidding around the canyon with the Cars showroom entrance (and it’s massive illuminated “Cars” sign) in the background.

The new magic doesn’t end there – even the Toon Town backdrop has been added! This version features the wall, hills and buildings of the latest concepts along with the smiling face of the sun, shining down from above the Toon Town hills!

And, as a final touch of mystery about the not-so-distant future of Toon Studio – the stars and moon of the Sorcerer’s Hat have now been painted gold.

Sunday, 19th November 2006

The desert before the Cars & Crush takes shelter

Dude! This Parisian climate is like totally cool, but totally not in a good way for my shell!

As Winter sets in, some welcome shelter has been given to the quickly progressing outside queue for Crush’s Coaster. Much like Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, opened at Disneyland Park earlier this year, Crush will be given an extended outdoor queue in addition to a smaller, highly themed indoor queue space. Unlike Laser Blast, however, this one will thankfully be almost fully covered.

Grandmath at Disney Central Plaza forum has just posted the latest construction photo, showing the new corrugated metal roof. Sure, it doesn’t look glamorous yet, but this is a Hollywood attraction – all the beauty will be on the outside… well, sort of. Preliminary concept sketches showed a queue themed to a dried-up Australian fishing pier (you can see an image of this at, but, as you can see the concept, the corrugated look is destined to still be there in the final design. Either this will be a way of explaining the attraction is only a filmset, or the fishing pier will be more industrial – the lights drawn on the roof appear similar to those at Armageddon: Special Effects.

The flooring of the queue has also progressed this week, with the outline of the path and some turquoise pieces now visible in the concrete foundations.

There has been a remarkable touch of progress at Cars Race Rally this week. Despite the ride system, vehicles and general attraction area still being a long way from ready, the first real signs of desert themeing have already arrived.

The brick wall reported being built back in October was later given an extra layer of wire mesh and themed to a sandy desert rockface in a similar way to the rocks at Crush’s Coaster. Now, before the ride itself or any real infrastructure (paths, etc.) arrives, the sandy canyon-side has been given a quick blast of warm ochre red paint.

Grandmath again presents the first photos, which show not only how this red colour scheme bounces well off the blue of Crush, but also a large new block of formed concrete next to the attraction. The purpose of this is currently unknown and it does not appear on any plans. Therefore, it is likely to also be a part of the themeing work, perhaps as the base foundation for the further, much higher, canyon hills to be placed on this spot.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that the recently installed arabian-style lampposts around the new Flying Carpets Over Agrabah oasis have been packaged up in a protective plastic coat, suggesting that the construction fences around this area won’t be receding anytime soon.

News originally posted by, all photos by Grandmath.

Monday, 13th November 2006

Still an Art of Disney?

First things first – when you see the “new” Art of Disney Animation for the first time, it’s truly bizarre. Infact, I can’t think of a single other instance when a landmark Disney building has had its colour scheme so drastically altered, it’s like painting the castle… well, blue. Disneyland California’s rusty Space Mountain springs to mind, but luckily it’s not that bad.

Stepping onto Disney Bros. Plaza with the new Studio 5 in the distance, you immediately begin to realise the thinking behind all of this. The major problem of Walt Disney Studios, and the key thing this “placemaking” work is actually trying to address, is that guests just can’t differentiate between the lands. Backlot stands out due to its industrial grey image, and Front Lot is separated, literally, by Disney Studio 1. The rest of the park (as much as we love it), though, merges into a giant mass of yellow buildings, large entrance signs and lots of asphalt.

So, in addition to new trees creating a dividing entrance, a drastic new colour scheme for Toon Studio seems obvious, and the first results are quite pleasing, especially against the nice ochre Autumn trees…

The old yellow animation mural perhaps looks out of place against its new blue surroundings, but the pinky-red bricks surrounding the entrance doors have been a surprising success, adding more of a “Toon” theme to the building and matching the existing signs around the area. Since these photos were taken last week, all the bricks have been painted this colour – you can see a photo here.

Unfortunately, if you were in the park last week and looked a little closer at Art of Disney Animation, it looked like anything but an artform. Did the old Ink & Paint department go crazy here? Not only was the front section of the building (which already strangely featured a more pale blue than the rear) sporting as thin a coat of paint as possible, but in various blackspots you could also see random patches and stripes of thicker paint.

These photos reveal a strange secret of the transformation of the building – unlike the buildings of Front Lot currently undergoing refurbishment, they aren’t repainting Art of Disney with a white basecoat before applying the blue. It’s all just going right on top of the yellow, hence the pretty awful state of the building for over two weeks during the busy Halloween period.

Last week, the wall near the toilets at the rear of the building featured a few strange spots of lighter paint (and still apparently does), whilst the low sun of the Autumn months doesn’t give a pleasant reflection off the walls of this circa-2002 Disney product.

So you’re longing for the old yellow colour scheme again now? Well, if you waited around a few hours last week your wish would have been granted, for one last time! As night fell, the bright lights on the building showed just how thin the paintwork at the front really was – the entire façade returned to its old yellow glow! Truly a quite remarkable effect.

The nearer you got, the more the new blue colours flooded through. Despite being caused by the bad paintwork above, this effect was actually rather impressive in reality. Colour-changing buildings – the next step in Imagineering? It’d be perfect for Toon Studio, but, with more paint progress made on this project since, it was probably only temporary.

Luckily, the past few days have been kind to the building, which now (judging by photos at least) appears to feature a thicker and more vibrant coat of blue paint around its frontage as well as queue canopy columns repainted to a more pleasing deep blue. But, whilst there’s hope, the paint isn’t perfect – those patches at the rear remain, and the yellow mural still appears out of place.

You can see photos of the old Art of Disney Animation colours here. It’s true that once you’ve got used to the new colours, they grow on you rather quickly. Whilst the yellows contrasted nicely with the blue Sorcerer’s Hat and fit perfectly into the Imagineer’s “warm colours for a cold environment” motto, the blue has its own charms.

Can it still be considered a “work of art”? Whatever you think, one thing definitely seems certain – this is still very much a “work in progress”.

Thursday, 9th November 2006

One week at Toon Studio (Part 2)

Sunday, 5th November 2006

A well-timed end to Disneyland Park’s Halloween season, the fog lasted all day on Sunday and gave some interesting views of Toon Studio, especially with Tower of Terror fading into the distance. In the first photo you can see two openings in the rockwork – one for the coaster and one for the attraction’s exit.

Monday, 6th November 2006

After a slow week during French holidays, Monday saw the fog lift and the first few pieces of scaffolding on the Studio 5 façade disappear as construction picked up at full speed again. The new colour scheme of Art of Disney Animation certainly separates the area from the rest of the park, and with the slightly whimsical design of Studio 5 next to the Sorcerer Hat – finally a true Disney feel.

Tuesday, 7th November 2006

Yesterday’s action was only a prelude to today, it seems. All the scaffolding on the front of Studio 5 was gone at park opening, giving us a glimpse at the final “look” of the attraction and a better view at the detail of our new soundstage.

Notice the shadow under the rim and plaque of Studio 5 above? It adds some good depth and distinction to the building’s features, and it’s actually just an Imagineering trick. The first one of the project so far? Hopefully the first of many.

On board the Carpets, the wise placement of Cars Race Rally stands out again now that the foundations and boarding canopy are complete. The attraction faces directly to Flying Carpets, whilst a tall canyon-themed berm around the back will shelter the entire area from the 2002 Animation Courtyard area.

And what of that 2002 Animation Courtyard area? The area that is supposed to currently be enjoying a full placemaking enhancement project? Nothing much to report, i’m afraid. Whilst a gap in the fences at Disney Studio 1 reveals the large amount of new trees are infact already planted, a look over and under the two sets of fences shows there’s still a lot of work to be done. During the week, the only changes here were a few plastic tubes being layed around the trees and moved around.

Whilst what appears to be a new maintenance ladder was lowered into place during the afternoon, the construction workers seemed to be enjoying their job – climbing up, over and around the rockwork, some of which (the finished section near the front) has now been covered in protective tarps.

And so there you have it – one week at Toon Studio, from all across the park and through sun, fog and darkness. There are still seven months to go until the official opening, but already the new studio is making its mark and a huge impact on the park. As every other guest stops to look at the concept art on the construction walls, we can only hope they’ll return to experience it for real… only 30 weeks to go!

Thursday, 9th November 2006

One week at Toon Studio (Part 1)

Bright blue skies one day, fog the next. Thousands of local French guests one day, scores of Brits the next. At Toon Studio, you see painting here, painting there, and endless games of scaffolding moving around all over the place. With more time, you can also appreciate more how the new construction fits into the park, such as from the arena of Moteurs Action or the backlot route of Studio Tram Tour…

Wednesday, 1st November 2006

Where else to begin than with that obligatory shot over the Art of Disney Animation fence? We have a lot to thank emergency exits for. Three trees have already been planted next to the dark ride building of Crush’s Coaster, and you can see even the metal surround waiting to be added.

Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, on the other hand, has an added advantage to its short waiting times compared to Dumbo next door – a great view over the construction site. Last week, the metal framework of the attraction’s outdoor queue canopy was added, which will eventually be themed to a fishing pier, with guests queueing underneath on the dried-up seabed.

Looking across to Art of Disney, you can see not only the new Arabian lamposts (similar but certainly not identical to Adventureland’s) but also the queue buildings and boarding area canopy of Cars Race Rally, which faces directly towards the Flying Carpets to create a reassuringly designed space.

Thursday, 2nd November 2006

No changes today, but a funny look towards Toon Studio from Disney Bros. Plaza to celebrate the Art of Disney Construction Fences. The time change earlier in the week also allows us to finally get a good view of Toon Studio in the dark.

Friday, 3rd November 2006

Before you even enter the park, the new construction is very noticable. And I don’t mean Tower of Terror – Studio 5’s height and vibrant blue colour really attracts your attention from the resort hub.

Inside the park, finishing touches were being made to the paintwork on Studio 5’s façade, whilst the deserted (no pun intended) Flying Carpets, hidden behind the sea of construction walls, are probably hoping more popular times are ahead.

The changing colours of Art of Disney Animation will be featured in an article all of its own, but for now this new unifying Toon colour scheme is already working well. From the top of the Moteurs… Action! arena, Studio 5 is a new icon on the surprisingly impressive Walt Disney Studios skyline.

Jumping onboard Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic, fans can now ignore Jeremy Iron’s increasingly frigid commentary and instead enjoy panoramic views from the lesser-seen side of Toon Studio. The left-hand side wall of Studio 5 was being painted last week and is now complete, leaving only the back wall of the coaster building without paint.

After enjoying Jeremy Irons in a jester outfit, the tram pulls out of costuming to give guests a great view of the new queue buildings for Cars. The curved façade is likely Luigi and Guido’s store, whilst the circular building is the entrance to Doc Hudson’s new driving school, with the large metal pole eventually holding a huge 3D neon version of the Cars logo high into the air – another new icon for the park. Back at the fan-favourite view, and some of the scaffolding and tarp on the rockwork has been removed to reveal over half is now painted in the final, deep blue colour.

Monday, 6th November 2006

Covered queue & a touch of Adventureland

In the mean time, more work continues on the revamped Animation Courtyard. Arabian light posts have been installed in the new Aladdin oasis planters and the Art of Disney Animation continues receiving new paint as the brickwall to the left of the entrance has been painted pink.

Saturday, 21st October 2006

Encore plus de bleu!

Studio 5 is where it’s at for those blue paint freaks. Two thirds of the Flying Carpets wall has now been painted in a second, more vibrant coat. The joins in the concrete sections are still very visable, but the building is beginning to come close to a Disney-quality finish. The front wall on the other hand, which has been primed and treated for many weeks now to make it as smooth as possible, now has a generous smothering of blue paint for itself. Currently, the paint appears slightly darker than the side wall, hinting a second coat may also be on its way here.

Last month we reported that one section of the rockwork at the front of the attraction had been given a new, much deeper shade of blue. Now, the same shade has been added to all of the rocks either side, showing just how vibrant and bright this new Toon addition will look when finished.

It’s also interesting to note that a thin strip of blue paint has even appeared around the top of the Crush’s Coaster dark ride building, probably to allow the Imagineers to assess how it looks against the (incresingly) grey Marne-la-Vallée skies. The sides of the building not visible to guests in the park (except those on Studio Tram Tour) have yet to receive any paint..

The blue explosion doesn’t stop at Studio 5, though, as seen by these new photos above showing Art of Disney Animation’s brand new coat of paint. The curved rear section and large toilets entrance wall of the building were painted in a very light sky blue colour last week, showing the first step from the Imagineers to integrate this building better into the “new” Toon Studio. It’s likely this is as much blue paint the building will see, however, since any more would clash with the blue Sorcerer’s Hat at the front. Currently, this sky blue gives a colourful and very “Disney” colour palette next to the other yellow and purple sections.

Photos by: Kyoto at Disney Magic Interactive forum;

Monday, 16th October 2006

Ever more Toon Studio updates

First, an up-close look at the new queue buildings for Cars Race Rally. Disney Central Plaza forum moderator Grandmath posted new photos today showing the current status of Toon Studio, including one shot from Art of Disney Animation towards the future Cars attraction that gives a good close-up view of progress here (photo 2).

The section of this series of buildings seen above is the circular main entrance and the long, thin, double-back section. You can see the circular centre of the entrance above, as well as the tall metal structure already in place to hold the large “Cars” logo seen on concept art. The thin rectangular building extending from this into the distance will also feature a “storefront” with Guido and Luigi, likely where the curved section of concrete can be seen extending from the building.

The thin metal supports in the foreground of the picture are for the queue section just before the boarding pens, which will be themed to Flo’s V8 Café.

Over at Crush’s Coaster, the side wall of the coaster building is now totally blue, whilst the dark ride section has been given a tester strip of blue paint along its rim. Blue paint has also recently spread to Art of Disney Animation. La Rouquine on Disney Central Plaza forum reported a few days ago that the section of this large building nearest Studio Tram Tour, including the tall toilets building at the rear, has been given a new coat of paint to welcome it into the new Toon Studio. It remains to be seen where else in the existing land will be given a spot of blue paint, such as Animagique or the remaining sections of Art of Disney.

Finally, WDS Fans confirmed some interesting new details about Crush’s Coaster yesterday. It appears that although the coaster section of the ride is an “off-the-shelf” design by its manufacturer Maurer Söhne, the track has been tweaked at almost every turn by the Imagineers and designers, to make sure it perfectly fulfills the requirements of their design. Whilst most of the changes to this section won’t be noticed by guests, one major change has been confirmed. Unlike normal models of this roller coaster, which feature the “spinning unlock” section (a track section which unlocks the vehicle’s free-spinning design) after the first drop, Crush’s Coaster will feature this section before the drop, giving extra “spin time” as well as a more exciting experience as guests spin whilst swooping down the 40ft drop.

WDS Fans also confirms that the submarine spanning the length of the lift hill will indeed be present, with the Bruce animatronic measuring 4 metres from head to tail!

Photos by Grandmath, Disney Central Plaza. Other images copyright Disney and Maurer Söhne.

Friday, 13th October 2006

Deep blue paint and extra detail

Starting at Toon Studio, after a modest start with the paint tests one week ago, the painters have truly splashed out. Since the photos below were taken, one entire wall of the massive showbuilding has been given its first coat of vibrant blue paint, which does indeed appear to be almost the same shade as the iconic Sorcerer’s Hat and definitely a deeper and more intense colour than that seen on the original concept model.

The curved edging around the building’s Studio 5 placard has also been given a spot of paint, the pale yellow colour obviously chosen to contrast less with the deep blue soon to appear below and blend nicely with the very vibrant yellow on the placard itself. The Disney-style number 5 itself has even been included, gaining a sky blue colour. It is still unknown whether Studio 3, Animagique, will follow Studio 5 and replace its current placard with a Walt Disney Script version.

A ray of sunshine from high above The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror gives us a good glipse through the netting on its towering scaffolding rigs. What was previously a bare concrete shell has been quietly gaining more and more detail.

Indented edging around the top of the building supplies the essentials for its terracotta tiled Pueblo Deco style, whilst right-angled blocks either side of the windows already give a discomforting, foreboding, Hollywood edge to the design.

All photos by Joel, more available here.

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