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.

Wednesday, 8th November 2006

New Walt Disney Studios Park plan

The front cover of the new plan matches exactly with that of Disneyland Park’s, featuring Jiminy Crickett sitting on the full park logo with tickboxes and the dates below. The colour is much lighter and fresher than the old map, and the cleaner feel is continued inside the guide.

Not only the layout and design has been copied from Disneyland Park’s new plan, however, since most of the tips and advice match exactly between the two guides with (in all but one case) City Hall simply swapped out for Studio Services. Thankfully, the numbering of the attractions has returned to its original form, with all attractions (such as Studio 7’s Armageddon and Studio 2’s CinéMagique) now featuring their correct studio number rather than the random numbering of the previous map.

One strange detail, however, is the lack of attraction number 8. The previous map featured numbering up to 10 attractions, whilst this features 11 with no number 8. A sneaky way to beef up the park’s attraction roster, or just a mistake? I’ll let you decide…

Again like the new Disneyland Park plan, this one features a separate Entertainment Programme. Originally light blue, Disneyland Park’s programme switched to pink during Halloween, perhaps suggesting the colours would match those of the Park Guide. Alas, as November arrived, Disneyland Park’s programmes returned to blue and Walt Disney Studios first ever Entertainment Programme is… purple.

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.

Wednesday, 25th October 2006

Mapping out The Twilight Zone

Despite the size and importance of this project, Euro Disney SCA remains silent – no hype, no press releases. So whilst at the moment we can happily see the Tower progress day-by-day with more details, more concrete primer and more false windows, the resort is preferring to keep quiet, likely for fear that the attraction will steal the spotlight from the Toon Studio attractions and new parade premiering before it. The small billboard in front of the construction site doesn’t even mention the name of the attraction.

Recently, however, a special flyer was handed out backstage to Cast Members giving a preview of the new attraction, including a run-through of its legendary story and some precise details about the design. According to the flyer, the height of the tower from its base to the top of the highest dome will be 55.17 metres, or 181 feet. The maximum vertical speed of the elevator shaft cars is an astonishing 31.6 metres per second, with ride cycles lasting around 4 minutes. If this wasn’t enough of a preview, a never-before-seen (at least in this detail) concept plan of the entire building was featured, now uploaded by to its growing Walt Disney Studios Concept Art database:

The biggest mystery of all about the project, and one that still hasn’t been solved, is the opening date of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Announced in January 2005 for an unspecific “2008” opening, rumours later spread that an earlier opening of October 2007 could be on the cards, pushed by Euro Disney SCA’s commenting that the attraction will open in “Financial Year” 2008 – ie. anytime from late October 2007 onwards.

This month rumours have changed again, this time pointing back towards 2008 and a more specific January opening, allowing the opening to be separated from the popular Christmas and Halloween seasons. Is there any proof of this? Well, it seems there could be – the 15th Anniversary preview trailer released a few days ago features an interesting disclaimer when Tower of Terror appears on-screen: “Ouverture début 2008” – Opening Early 2008. But now a new mystery – is that the year 2008, as in January, or the financial year 2008? Considering the video is destined for travel agents, cast member previews and other non-business or financial areas of the resort’s workings, it looks like this could be the first step to finally mapping out an official date for The Twilight Zone’s arrival.

You can see a large scan of the building plan at »

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.

Tuesday, 10th October 2006

Everything’s peachy at the Studios

Starting as every budding starlet does, on the Place des Frères Lumières in Front Lot, the refurbishment of Walt Disney Studios Store is progressing well. A few weeks ago the huge boutique was repainted in a basecoat of grey, but now its trademark yellows are beginning to return and, so far, they seem a shade or two deeper than before. There also now appears to be more contrast and detail between the different areas of paint, with the arches in the side walls receiving a darker yellow to the pale edging. Repainting has also been going on outside the park gates, across the canopy of Studio Services.

Further into the park, at the Tower of Terror construction site, everything seems to be going, ehm, “peachy” with the installation of fabricated windows and window frames across the front of the tower, whilst scaffolding has grown up around both sides of the main showbuilding as more details are added. The concrete panels already in place on the back of the tower, to give more detail and relief to the design, are now making their way up the sides of the tower.

At the back of the tower, the peachy base coat has now been applied to almost all of the bare concrete, giving a slightly more pleasant look to the imposing construction. The lower concrete building at the back of the tower, housing the large power grid needed to operate the tower and its three high-power elevator shafts, has also been given the same basecoat along with extra art deco touches on its corners. Eventually, the entire Tower of Terror will gain a colour more akin to that seen in Front Lot above, although with a few extra scorch marks…

As for the opening of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, nothing at all has been confirmed. In fact, apart from the small billboard in front of the construction site, Disneyland Resort Paris seem to want to pretend it’s not even happening. Why for? Well, with even only a vague opening schedule rumoured, people are more likely to visit for Toon Studio in June 2007, rather than wait a little longer for the fully expanded Walt Disney Studios experience.

The theme of prolonging things has spread further recently, though, since current favourite rumours indicate previews of the attraction in late 2007 and a January 2008 official opening. This would mean the attraction won’t clash with the popular Halloween and Christmas seasons, nor will it’s opening come too early in the timeframe of the 15th Anniversary year. With a large number of people traditionally booking their Summer holidays in January each year, could they be booking themselves into a visit to the Hollywood Tower Hotel instead? It’s possible. But then, so could be an opening of January 2208 at this point…

Photos by Photos Magiques / WDS Fans.

Sunday, 8th October 2006

Extra trees for Art of Disney Animation!

The trees are similar in style to those previously lining the fence where Cars Race Rally is now being constructed, with very long, thin branches and a box-like body. They’re similar even, perhaps, to those surrounding Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, and give a very stylised and refined look to the future entrance of Toon Studio, matching the nature of animation itself.

Today’s image by cameraphone.

This area of blue fences was erected back in late August, with the only sign of construction over the past month being a large hole. Now though, we can see the true start of the original Animation Courtyard’s placemaking, as more greenery arrives and the lands of Walt Disney Studios are finally separated.

Update (13:36 GMT): raptor1982 also reports that he believes the same line of trees may have also been added behind the green construction fences, next to Disney Studio 1.

Saturday, 7th October 2006

Stitch’s -Walt Disney Studios- invasion!

The attraction in question is Stitch Encounter, an attraction which opened on 13th July 2006 at Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. It uses the same technology as Turtle Talk with Crush at Disney’s California Adventure and Epcot (a video of which can be seen here), which allows an audience to interact in real time with Stitch through a highly advanced computer animation system. After a question or respose from the audience, Stitch’s animation and (mostly alien) speech is then generated and selected by a hidden Cast Member.

The following quote from Wikipedia describes the Hong Kong attraction, which is presented in Cantonese, English and Putonghua:

Guests are invited to visit Space Traffic Control for a tour. Space Traffic Control (or STC) is the nerve center for this quadrant of the galaxy and where all space traffic is closely monitored. The tour goes as planned until the host is interrupted by Stitch, a fluffy blue mischievous alien known also as “Experiment Number 626” in a ‘borrowed’ space ship. Stitch interacts in real time with the guests, plays games with the kids and even teaches everyone how to speak Hawaiian. Ultimately, Stitch’s nemesis, Gantu shows up and wants his ship back. It is up to the guests in the audience to help Stitch escape! The show is a combination of action and comedy, and never the same show twice.

And the location of this new attraction for Walt Disney Studios Park? Not Toon Studio as you might guess, but instead the old Zapping Zone production stage of Walt Disney Televison Studios Tour, which has been occupied by an interactive Art Attack exhibit for the past two years. La Rouqine on Disney Central Plaza forum confirms the rumours, which originated with this forum post, by stating there will be 4 shows per hour, presented in French, English and Spanish. A budget of 5 million euros will apparently be required to complete the installation.
Largely criticised since its opening with the park on 16th March 2002, the Walt Disney Television Studios attraction quickly lost some of its excitement when the actual, live Disney Channel production stage for Zapping Zone closed in its first year of operation. In late 2002, however, the Disney Channel CyberSpace area opened, offering interactive computer arcade games and the popular CyberSpace Mountain, allowing guests to create their own simulated roller coaster ride.

With the opening of a second attraction-within-an-attraction at this location, it would seem possible the attraction will become similar to Disney Animation at Disney’s California Adventure or The Living Seas at Epcot, which both feature Turtle Talk with Crush in a free-roaming attraction experience, allowing guests to choose which section of the attraction they wish to experience. Currently, the Walt Disney Television Studios gives guests a very brief “tour” through the “backstage” of the Disney Channel before they are allowed to enter either the CyberSpace or Art Attack stages. It remains to be seen whether this tour section will still be included in the updated attraction.

Whilst only an “attraction-within-an-attraction”, though, Stitch Encounter could definitely be marketed by Disneyland Resort Paris as a full new attraction, and will bring yet another highlight to the incredible lineup for the resort’s 15th Anniversary. With Toon Studio getting its first luscious greenery and Walt Disney Television Studios rumoured to be finally getting something worth seeing, it looks like the Imagineers are well on their way to ticking off every box on their “How to Improve Walt Disney Studios” checklist…

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