Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WDS Toon Studio opening part one : Crush coaster

That's it, the Toon Studio at Paris Walt Disney studios are open since last saturday, and it seems that every Disneyland Paris fan have rush to see it on opening day as at 10 a.m the new Crush coaster had a 3 hours waiting line - and still 1hour and a half at 3 p.m.

The good news is that the imagineers improved the coaster part where there is more things to see , which allow the eye to "lock" on something and avoid some nausea effects that i've unfortunately experiment one week before.

Anyway, here are a first set of photos of this new Toon studio.This first article is mostly about Crush coaster, but right before some changes happened at the entrance of the land with this brand new Mickey’s sorcerer statue - the second one in the park if we count the fountain one in the front lot . This one is supposed to mark the entrance of the Toon studio land, as you’ve guessed.
Talking about sorcerer, right in front of it, on the huge sorcerer’s hat three golden Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinkerbell are now in place. The “hat” was supposed to welcome other characters as we show you before from a WDI rendering, but it seems that finally only these three characters will be coming.

Now, about the Crush coaster. Because of the darkness inside the attraction, some scenes are impossible to shoot, so you'll find the renderings of them. Basically, the queue line is themed like a australian harbour at dusk.
The theming is certainly not bad, but not totally great, too - let’s say it’s okay and that the imagineers did a honest job - with the money that was at their disposal.

The control room is inside a small fisherman house, with the two sea gulls and their funny “mine, mine, mine” dialogue on the top. Right behind stands a big backdrop painting of the harbour.

It’s here that you embark in the vehicle , designed as we’ve said before like a sea turtle and where 4 guests are seated back to back. Here we go!

After a small lift, the vehicle goes outside of the building - so everyone standing outside can watch the vehicles going out and re-entering again. The theming here is very well done, a mix of rocks, sand, sea herbs, etc...and sound of wave and seagulls each time a vehicle is passing though.

As soon as the vehicle re-enter , the dark ride part begin. The first thing that we see is coral reefs. Always in the corals, Nemo and the baby turtle appear - and, thanks to the new projection system of WDI they seem floating in the air - uh, in the sea, sorry...

Right after this scene , the fish from the deep appear, and here is the first effect that doesn’t work as well as it should. First, the fish is only a sculpture, not a AA, so it don’t move , and two, it appears suddenly in a “flash”, and is place too low so you almost miss it, specially considering that the vehicles are moving pretty fast- a bit too fast, in fact.

The vehicle go then through some mysterious luminescent tiny sea creature...
and that scene is followed by the jelly fish sequence, hanging over your head . Two words about this sequence as it’s here that comes the second problem. If you’re sitting in the back - so, looking at the back - you will see them perfectly. But if you’re seated in the front, you’ll see them a fraction of second and then will have an surprisingly empty space in front of you with almost nothing to see, except some sea murals and few corals.

The vehicle turn then to the left and enter the sinked submarine where the sharks of the movie are living. You hear their conversation and see a nice chinese shadow projection effect.

It’s the beginning of the big lift that will bring your vehicle to the top. The speed of the vehicle in the lift is pretty fast - may be a little bit too fast to enjoy completely the submarine decor...Note that it’s not necessarily the fault of the imagineers, as it’s the normal speed of the lifts of this kind of roller coaster - the park bought a model already existing and themed around it.

On the right, nearly the top, Bruce the shark appears suddenly, and although he is totally realistic, i’m sorry to say that the effect is not as frightening as it could - should? - have been. The shark moves forward, but it would have been better if he would have move forward more suddenly, and from a longer distance . There , it moves forward on 10 inches, not more, from its starting point. Also, except if i’m wrong , the jaws are not moving, so there is not really any animatronic animation...not the worst effect, though, but a bit disapointing. Also, note on the rendering below that it seems that originally two sharks were supposed to appear. Only Bruce does, now - for budget reasons?

So, now your vehicle is at the top, going through a dark blue tunnel. At the exit, you can see - if you look closely - the projection on a wall of the baby turtle , and then begin the first drop in the australian sea current...

All around some dark blue bubbles are projected ( like the stars effect in space mountain ) and the baby turtle follows you ( it's a projection effect, too ) but there is nothing more to see until you unload. Of course there is a lot of sensations in this coaster part , as the vehicle is also spinning, and the good point is that it’s really fluid, with no head knocking.

Tomorrow we'll talk about the "Cars" attraction, with lot of photos of the fabulous theming!

Photos: copyright Alain Littaye and Disney

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