Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday , Walt Disney Studios !



Seven years ago, the Walt Disney Studios, DLP's second park, was opening its gates. The park beginning was a bit difficult, but since then five new attractions were added, and more will open in the next years.

Let's remember how the WDS looked seven years ago with these high-res pictures released by DLP's press office at the opening of the park. Please note that DLP marketing office shoot these pictures a few weeks before the opening day. Also, and that's the gift for this WDS 7th birthday, all the pictures are "wallpaper" size!

Let's begin by the Front Lot and the Studio 1








Next is the Animation courtyard, now called Toon Studio. With Crush's Coaster, the Cars attraction and the upcoming Toy Story Playland, there is many more attractions, but at the opening guests could only enjoy the Art of Animation...






The Aladdin's flying carpet ride...




...And the Animagique show.




At Production courtyard, no Tower of Terror or Hollywood Blvd n 2002, but the Tram Tour was there from opening day...





...as well as Cinemagique - one of my favorite WDS attraction...





...and the Disney Channel Zapping Zone. Listed as an "attraction", Zapping Zone was not really one and is now the first WDS extinct attraction. Stitch Live! and soon Playhouse Disney live on stage! are the new shows inside the Disney Channel building.





On the Backlot, guests could find the Armaggedon attraction...





If you've never been at the WDS, don't think that Armageddon look like the computer rendering above, one of the very rare example of a WDI rendering (generally always accurate) which don't look like the real thing.

The Rock and Roller coaster is also located in the Backlot and has a different theming than the DHS version. Personally i prefer the DHS version, but i must admit that the imagineers did a real good job on the light show.




The Motors Action stunt show that DHS guests can enjoy was first created for the WDS. Don't miss the jet ski shot below as this part of the show was cancelled a few weeks after the park's opening.






The WDS have three restaurants, including the art-deco "Rendez-vous des Stars"...



...but in terms of theming, the winner is definitely the Backlot Express, decorated inside like a Props warehouse.





There is absolutely no doubt that the park's management will continue to expand the WDS with new attractions - Toy Story Playland in 2010, probably the Ratatouille dark ride in 2011 or 2012, and new decors. So the future looks bright for the Walt Disney Studios if what will be build is not done in a cheap way. Hopefully they will have learn from their previous mistakes!

All pictures: copyright Disney - Disneyland Resort Paris

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The armaggedon in the rendering would probably be an E-ticket, in reality it ended as an D-ticket

john321 said...

The pictures above show how easy it is to paint it nicer than it was on opening day and the years thereafter. If you liked grey tarmac, WDS was the place to be.

We probably all know what kind of underwhelming experience the Walt Disney Studios were when they opened back in 2002. But after all the problems at the "old" park, it's probably a miracle this park got funded and built during a time when the economy went south (for the first time in the last 10 years...). Some people say they only did it to keep the rights on the land, so they just had to construct something like a theme park.

In Anaheim, people were complaining about their new, underfunded park (DCA, which is still by far a better park than WDS if you ask me, even today) whereas Disney Sea (all but underfunded) entered its second record-breaking year. You would think that Disney management would get a clue, wouldn't you? And at that point, they had enough money in the bank...

Luckily, quite a lot has changed in the past seven years. The Tower of Terror, Crush Coaster, Cars and the Toon Studio, the closure of the Zapping Zone-tour nonsense and the addition of Stitch. They all make the park a nicer place to visit and more Disney.

The best attraction on opening day probably was Cinemagique, which is just a movie with "out-of-screen" special-effects, but it is obvious that quite some dedication and hard work went into it. Also, although the building itself is not really special, there are a lot of details you should note. For example: Did you notice that the soundtrack of the end credits continues once you're outside the show building?

But there are still some things that urgently need some fixing like the ugly exterior of the Rock 'n Rollercoaster. I actually like the interior, as soon as you enter the gates of the "studio", most things are just fine, I think the ride itself is even better than the DHS version (the track is exactly the same, the theming completely different), although the story is completely lost (or just stupid). But like I've stated it before, the local Carnival has better theming on the outside...

Let's hope they continue improving the park with the new additions. I'm a little bit worried of course, but we'll see in a year and a half or so. Disney is always in for a surprise.