Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It's the top of the high season for Disneyland Paris, and as usual in summer the park is more beautiful than ever. Those of you who like Disney's vegetation theming would be in heaven. There are flowers everywhere whether it's at the entrance and in front of the Disneyland Hotel...
Or in Main street and in Fantasyland...
One of the most amazing "vegetation theming" success at DLP is obviously in Adventureland. Frankly, when the park opened 17 years ago i would not have bet that a lush "tropical" vegetation was possible in Adventureland. The park is located in an place where it's reaaaaly cold in the winter but the genius of WDI vegetation specialists succeed over all expectations. Bamboos and other tropical trees are now so high that in some areas it's a real jungle!
Let's go back to Main Street where guests are now welcome again by the Main Street marching band. Quite a while since the last time i saw them, i think they're only here during summer season.
On Central Plaza the Mickey's Magical Party show is now entertaining the guests in the afternoon and it seems that DLP visitors really enjoy the show.
However, something less cool is also happening now at DLP. And considering that we are not in winter but at the top of summer season it was hard for me to believe that such a thing was possible.
Until last year, and just like in any other Disney theme parks, the attractions were open until the park's closing time. But this year a lot of attractions are closing before park's closing time, and considering that it was a week-end day in july AND that the park was closing at 11pm it was unbelievable to see that a LOT of attractions were closing at 6 or 7pm, i.e four or five hours BEFORE closing time!!! Let me tell you which one - the time indicated below is the closing time for each of them:
The Nautilus : 5.30 pm ( FIVE hours and 30 minutes before park's closing time! )
Honey i schrunk the audience ( and this one is not a "B" ticket! ) : 6 pm !
Frontierland's Riverboat: 6pm (it normally closes at sunset, but right now the sunset in Paris is not at 6pm but 9.30pm!)
River Rogue Keelboats: 7pm
Story Book Land: 7pm
Casey Junior: 7pm
Alice's Labyrinth: 7pm
Snow White: 6pm
Pinnochio's attraction which is next door close at 10pm but is NOT open before 3pm!!
Star Tours: 10pm
Swiss Robinson Tree: 10pm
And ALL Adventureland AND all Fantasyland are closed at 10pm, the "alibi" being that the areas must be clear for the 11pm fireworks.
Which means what? It means that from 7pm there is only Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor with also the Keel Boats open in Frontierland, POTC, Indiana Jones and the Swiss Robinson tree in Adventureland, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Dumbo, the Tea Cups and It's a Small World in Fantasyland, Space mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours and Autopia in Discoveryland. A total of 15 attractions. Which may seem okay as all the major rides are still open, but we must remember that we are in July, a week-end day, right at the top of the high season! Also, as the Walt Disney Studios are closing at 7pm it's not possible to move in the second gate for the rest of the evening.
And, believe it or not, from 10pm there is only 5 attractions open in the whole park! Incredible.
Of course it is deliberately done to save money but if we look closely, most of the attractions which are closing early do it at 7pm, i.e almost at "dinner time". And if visitors want to see - and wait - for the night parade and fireworks but already did all the big E-Tickets what can they do? That's right: just go to have dinner and spend money!
This would happen in january or february where park's attendance is low i will understand, but a week-end of July, it's a shame, really. Let's hope that enough visitors will complain at City Hall so this will not happen next year...
The only good news in all this is that all the money the park will save will hopefully be use in the next big attraction...which leads me to the second part of this update.
DLP 20th Anniversary E-Ticket Attraction
Forget about Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure or the Little Mermaid, the next Disneyland Paris big E-Ticket will be the Ratatouille attraction! This awaited E-Ticket which will be build at the Walt Disney Studios has been approved by the park's management and it's now confirmed - not officially, of course - that Ratatouille will be DLRP 20th anniversary E-Ticket.
For a cost estimate between $120 M and $150M this is a unique attraction which will exist only at DLRP, and that's good news. Located where stands now the costuming building or more probably right behind it, WDS guests will have access to the new facility thanks to two roads, one from the Toon Studio and the other one going through a small tunnel at the west exit of Toy Story Playland.
Of course expect on the outside some Paris decor, but also inside the building as the queue line decor will put the guests on the rooftops of Paris with breathtaking height feeling, thanks to forced perspective. I don't know why, but i'm ready to bet that Gusteau's restaurant sign will be include in the rooftop skyline - or on the outside facade...
Guests will then board in what will be probably LPS controlled vehicles - the same technology used at the TDL Winnie the Pooh attraction - and will be "reduced" at the size of Remy. No Mighty Telescope here, but a ceiling probably as high as the one inside Pirates of Caribbean as WDI imagineers will build giant decor to give us the feeling that we are as small as a rat.
The ride will begin inside Gusteau's restaurant kitchen where we will be chased by some of the cooks and especially Skinner, the chef. I don't want to tell you too much about the storyline to don't spoil you the ride, but what i can tell you is that the ride itself will not follow the chronological order of the movie scenes, although WDS visitors will be pleased to find some of the key scenes from the movie.
Of course we can expect Audio-Animatronics figures during the ride. As guests are supposed to have the size of a rat, any rat Audio-Animatronic will not be a problem (in terms of dimensions), but what about human figures which in all logic should be gigantic to respect the proportions. Well, WDI imagineers found an intelligent answer to this problem and sometime we will see - just like Remy in the movie - only the legs of a cook...
Or sometime only a giant face like the one of Skinner.
Considering that the LPS technology will allow the vehicles to don't follow a track and to have more freedom for the vehicle's movements including 360 degrees rotation i think it's fair to say that we can expect a real major E-Ticket, the great dark ride which was missing at the WDS.
Now, it's time to remember that 2012 will be indeed the WDS 10th anniversary but also the 20th anniversary of the Disneyland Park. The WDS will have a major attraction with Ratatouille, but what can we expect in the first park? Certainly not another big E-Ticket like the Little Mermaid as the park can't afford two $150 M attractions. Of course they can create new shows or parades but it's hard to imagine a Magic Kingdom 20th anniversary with no attraction at all. Nothing of course is announced yet so what will follow is pure personal prospective, but may be Star Tours 2 could be a good candidate for Disneyland Park 20th anniversary attraction. The cost will be probably affordable - not cheap, but certainly under $100 M - and in 2012 the new Star Wars live TV series will be aired on TV channels all over Europe which could be perfect on a marketing point of view. So, for now, i will put my bets on this one and we will see what the future will bring!
O-Kay, that should do it for today!
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