Rumours were strong last week-end, but it's now officially announced by Disneyland Paris: The Rock and Roller Coaster attraction at the Walt disney studios will close this fall and re-open in Spring 2010 with a brand new theme. The new name of the attraction will be "Rock and roller Coaster with Johnny Hallyday".
Now, for those of you in America who may not be familiar with this name i have to tell you that Johnny Halliday is a HUGE rock and roll star all over Europe since 40 years, and specially in France, Benelux and Switzerland. How huge? Probably as huge as Elvis Presley was when he was still alive. No Kidding. Just make a Google search for his name or go on You tube and you'll be amazed to see the results. It's important to know this to have a better understanding of DLP's decision.
The new re-themed attraction will open in spring 2010 and, so, will be one of the new attractions for the Walt Disney studios along with the Toy Story Playland scheduled to open in June 2010. New special effects and state-of-the-art projection system as well as a brand new attraction facade decor are on the program of this new version.
Here is the full press release as well as not-yet-officially released renderings for this upcoming attraction (i did the translation myself from the french press release, so sorry if it's not perfect).
EURO DISNEY ASSOCIATES S.C.A announces a future new attraction : Rock and Roller Coaster with Johnny Halliday will open at Walt Disney Studios, Spring 2010
Euro Disney S.C.A announced today a brand new version of one of the Resort's most popular attraction. famous Rock and roller Coaster, a high-speed rock and roll roller coaster will welcome super star singer Johnny halliday.
"The most successful french singer is as known by our European audience. It was a logical choice for us, and i'm sure that our guests will be delight by this new version of this favorite attraction. Rock and Roller Coaster with Johnny Halliday will be an immersive attraction in the world of johnny like never before" declared John Fitzgerald, Walt Disney Imagineering Vice-President in charge of WDS future attractions.
Guests will literally surf on the music of Johnny Halliday's biggest hits. They will discover new special effects, as well as projection system unique in Europe and a new exterior decor which will give tribute to the superstar. "With johnny, we can't do things at half. We were extremely lucky to get his approval and his ideas at each step of the project" declared Charlie evans, director of musical Projects at Universal Music Mobile. in addition, the fans will be happy to learn that a selection of rare Johnny Halliday collectibles will be available, including a photos selection with a one-of-a-kind Johnny's statue. Walt Disney Imagineering had a special consulting with some of the many Johnny Halliday's fans, and many of their expectations will be include in the attraction.
Rock and Roller Coaster with Johnny Halliday will open Spring 2010 and is part of an ambitious investment plan for the next three years that will be officially announce during the current fiscal year. (end of the press release)
I've never be a huge fan of Haliday myself but i must admit that he was an incredible showman. He will do his very last concerts this year, and considering this, i think that the idea of a new version of the RARC with him is quite brilliant. For the hundred of thousands of Johnny's fans, the RARC will be soon the last place on Earth to experience Johnny's magic almost as if he was on stage for real, thanks to the new projection effects.
The Travel Channel (who did brilliant documentaries about Disney parks attraction) was there last friday and did interviews with DLP imagineers working on the project. Here it is below.
A new pre-show movie will replace the one with the Aerosmith band. On the next picture Johnny is rehearsing with his long time friend (and superstar, too) Eddy Mitchell.
The big bus located in front of the entrance will also be re-designed, here is a first concept below (Personal note: i really hope that this is not the final design as in my opinion they can do much better than that).
Finally, as announced in the press release new merchandise products will be designed and sold in the RARC shop at the exit of the attraction.
For the millions of Johnny Halliday's fans i suppose that this announcement will put them in heaven, but for me i'm more interested by the words of the press release about this "three years expansion plan" that should be announced later this year. Count on me to let you know as soon as i know more about it!
All pictures: copyright Disney-WED Enterprises