Thursday, July 29, 2010

WDS Toy Story Playland Preview

Disneyland Paris had the good idea to organize for webmasters fans sites a special preview last monday of Toy Story Playland at the Walt Disney Studios. We couldn't shoot pictures during the visit inside the land so you still have to wait two more weeks for a full pictorial report, but i succeed to find on DLP forums pics posted by forum members to illustrate this article, not to mention videos filmed from outside the land.

Soooo, how is this new Toy Story Playland? Honestly, it's good, and it's even better than i expected, really. WDI Imagineers did, i think, a great job and those of you who were disappointed by TSP renderings or model pictures - specially the one for HKDL displayed during the D23 Expo - should have a good surprise when this new land will finally open on August 17th. By the way, it's also a good news for HKDL fans which will have their own Toy Story Land next year. My message to them is this one: don't worry, you will like it!

Why is it good? First, because it's bigger than we thought. And not only the land itself, but also the ride structures. Whether it's "Parachute Drop" or "RC Racer" DLP fans will be amazed by the size of these brilliantly themed carnival rides. Two, it brings a lot of vegetation in a park which desperately need some. Three, the theming of the whole land is very intelligently done and definitely give to WDS guests the feeling that they are reduced at the size of a toy.

The visit of the land was done by Imagineer Dominique Hammond but, first, Dominique shows us the giant TSP model which is currently backstage. Here is some pictures of it which were NOT shot during monday's presentation (as well as the other model pictures you will see below). As always the quality of WDI models is very impressive and i always have a lot of respect for the people doing these models as i know it's exactly the kind of thing i would not be able to achieve myself!

Then, we've been with Dominique Hammond - in two separate groups - inside the land itself and as i've told you previously a giant Buzz Lightyear stands at the entrance of the land. This four meter high Buzz will talk to the guests - but no Audio Animatronic face here. Buzz transparent dome will light up as well as the laser beam on his right arm, and a lot of different phrases were recorded so don't expect Buzz to say twice the same thing! In the storyline, Toy Story Playland is supposed to be Andy's backyard, where he put his toys, and Buzz will welcome WDS guests to enter it...while Andy is not there. That's why you'll find giant shoeprints in the ground - these are Andy "shoeprints".

Also at the entrance and all along the land guests will see these wooden structure like the one below - inspired by the famous Tinker Toys - as well as multi colored festive lights which should give an interesting lighting at night during the winter months when night falls at 5PM.

The first attraction on the left is Parachute Drop. The 80 feet high tower is really impressive and green toy soldiers are everywhere: inside the cockpit of the plane at the entrance of the ride - on which is painted the attraction name - near a giant talkie walkie, up inside an observation tower, and of course inside the army "Emery Camp" - a tribute to Emeryville where are located Pixar Animation Studios. Also at the left of the entrance a nice photo-location with a huge sky backdrop and a parachute.

There is six parachutes, in each one six WDS guests will be able to sit, which means 36 guests for each ride and in fact WDI have pushed the limits - technically speaking - as this kind of carnival ride usually takes "only" 18 guests. So, 36 guests at the same time for this kind of ride is a premiere.

Here is two high-res videos that i've filmed last monday from outside the land, on two different angles. These are high-def videos so definitely watch them in full screen mode. And all the sounds that you'll hear are from the attraction with the toy soldier yelling "Go, go, go!" as well as the sound of a plane passing by.

The next attraction, this time on the right, is Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin. Imagineers used big Lincoln Logs to theme the entrance of the attraction and a giant Slinky Dog toy box on which all paintings are nothing less than hand made paintings, beautifully done. Here too, everything looks bigger than expected and it's also at that point that the road which goes all along TSP have a gentle slope. Which means that the third and last ride - RC Racer - is on a slightly lower level than the two first one. This gives an interesting perspective when you look back and, again, reinforce the feeling that everything looks big - and you, small! Also close to this ride, a giant rubber ball, originally seen in Pixar's first short animated movie "Luxo Jr".

All this lead us to the last ride "RC Racer" which also have the tallest structure - and i mean really tall! RC Racer is a 80 feet tall half-pipe coaster with only one vehicle - a greatly themed RC Racer - in which 20 guests will load. The car will go up and down thanks to a magnetic field and, frankly, i'm sure that it will be very impressive when the car will reach the top of the track!

The queue line has been calculated for a 90-120 minutes queue - DLP Imagineers surely have learned from Crush's Coaster long queue line which is usually so long that it goes outside of the attraction. The floor of it is designed like a Skalextric race track and guests will also find in the decor a Dinoco gas station and inside the load/unload building elements like the one you find inside a model box.

There is no doubt that RC Racer is Toy Story Playland "thrill" attraction and we can expect long line on this one. Above and below, some pics of the track shot from the Tram Tour Station, and also one where you'll see the vehicle in test mode - thanks to Vrogui from Disney Gazette forum. Note that the top elements of RC Racer track themed like a Hot Wheel track will be added as soon as the tests will be over, probably next week.

The RC Racer area is also the place with a lot of vegetation as Imagineers used huge trees which are part of a hundred years old forest. Also, Toy Story Playland is surrounded by giant bamboos and as i've said, all this vegetation is very welcome. Outside RC Racer, and near the second exit, a giant Rex awaits WDS guests. Rex is supposed to have half-size of a real TRex and he is also talking and for sure will be a favorite photo-location. Guests will then exit TSP walking through a blue monkey barrel - in fact the monkeys are hanged outside the barrel. The top of the barrel is located nearby and inside guests will find a merchandise shop as well as cool drinks .

I've kept for the end these great aerial pics shot last week by Jolly Roger - a DLP fan who have his own plane!..

...and two videos shot from the Tram Tour where you'll see a bit of TSP through the bamboos as well as the RC Racer vehicle in test mode. The first one is in high-def.

One more thing (as Steve will say): we've also seen the "Paris street" located on the right of TSP. It's perfectly themed like a Parisian street with lampost, benches, cobblestones in the ground, etc...and there is definitely no doubt at all now that the Ratatouille dark ride is coming soon to the WDS. Not only the face of Chef Gusteau is engraved on the arch located at the other end of the blue monkey barrel but Remy's face is also everywhere on the benchs, etc... Dominique Hammond kindly refused to confirmed or even talk about the Ratatouille ride but the 20+ webmasters who were there last monday knew exactly what to think of all these not-hidden-at-all Ratatouille signs. See you in two years for this one.

So, i think this Toy Story Playland is very good news for the Walt Disney Studios and i'm pretty sure it will be instantly popular. My only concern is about the lenght of each ride. I think we can expect at least 45 minutes wait for each ride and the length of the new attractions will be one minute and a half for Parachute Drop and Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin and one minute only for the RC Racer thrill attraction. I know that you will think it's too short but, honestly, there was no other way for the Imagineers to have longer rides.

See you in two weeks with lot of pics of the land and in the meantime don't forget to check my special offer below on the great Disneyland Paris book!

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Pictures: copyright Alain Littaye - Disney and more, Vrogui, Jolly Roger, Disney.

Videos: copyright Alain Littaye, lowiic9


Juanpa said...

Hi! Higly appreciated your post, as usual ;-)

Said this, I have to say that this area looks like the ugliest addition in the history of any Disney theme park. And let's be clear: 3 carny rides, 2 of which could be found in almost every regional fair, are gonna boost the attendances? 90/120 minutes for Rc Racer?

C'mon, I have had a ride much like this available in my town (Valencia) last week, with an expenditure of €2 and no waiting times, and even with that I didn't ride it.

Maybe this area would help to loose a little more time on that messy park but I don't see the crowds waiting for it like WWoHP, sincerely XD I think it's becoming a carny fair with an effort on transvesting it.

Alain Littaye said...

I can understand what you mean, but again, TSP is not only about rides but a theming experience. And, honestly, they did a good job.

Anonymous said...

Did the imagineer explain, how Andy's backyard fits into a Studios park? For me it doesn't make sense to have Andy's backyard in the Studios Park.

Thanks for the article. The theming of TSPL looks bettern than expected, nevertheless I'm not a fan of it and I still think Disney should have saved the money to spend it on a "real" Disney attraction and not on carnival rides.

robert metzler said...

hey alian so after tsl what happening next i am hope they get toy story mania in toy storyland . they are readly need .it why it so much fun

Anonymous said...

The wooden structures the lights are hanging from are Tinker Toys

Alain Littaye said...

Thanks to have reminded me it's inspired by the Tinker Toys!

To Robert: no, don't expect Toy Story Mania at the fact WDI had a plan to built it exactly where Toy Story Playland is now but the park's management obviously preferred to built TSP, which also had a cheaper cost.

What's next? Definitely the awaited Ratatouille dark ride, a trackless vehicle ride with 3D projection effects. And this one is not cheap with an estimated cost around $ 130/150M.

Anonymous said...

If they pull out the Giant Tonka Bulldozer, they can bury this new adventure or put it back in the Toys box.

Marco Antonio Garcia. São Paulo, Brazil. said...

Hope that they at least put a fast pass in the RC racing, in fact I don't know why Disney don't put a fast pass in every attraction that have long lines, like Crush's Coaster, as long lines are the only thing for me that spoil a visit to a Disney theme park.
I am going to wait for the Ratatoille ride to open in order to go back to WDS, and I also agree that the theminng does not macht with that of a studio park, but I also don't think that, for instance, the little mermaid match the theming of a park made as a tribute to California, it should be in Fantasyland next door.
But this is not about theming, its about saving a cheap and unpopular theme park!

Anonymous said...

California Adventure is no longer a cheap theme park.
"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true!" Leon J Stuenes

Anonymous said...

It doesn't bug me that they're building Toy Story Playland.... what bugs me, is that every major addition to the park (except Tower of Terror) has been toon-based. The park's kid-friendly enough, now add Soarin' or something!

DisWedWay said...

Does Little Mermaid fit into DCA? It does if we think back to 1958 when Pacific Ocean Park opened and many first string WED Imagineers worked on the new "Waterfront" park and its better than carnival themed attractions. A more recent example would be Tokyo Disney Seas where it does fit in with the Nautical based theme and waterfront. Should be a Great addition to DCA.

DisWedWay said...

Wouldn't it be Great to add the Mark Davis originated "Western River Ride" to Disneyland's Fronteirland undeveloped space where Hunchback was formerly behind Big Thunder Ranch. It was to be part of Thunder Mesa which exists now in Big Thunder. A non- Toon attraction, it could incorporate Disney's famouse Western Characters as in "Tombstone" with the Earps, Doc Holiday and the Red sash gang like Johnny Ringo. Don't forget "Open Range" with Kevinn Costner and Robert Duval. Jerry Bruckheimer has yet to develope a movie on Fronteirland as he did with the other land attractions. "Culpepper Cattle Company" was his first western and considered an underated classic. Would love to see the Western River Ride flat bottom boats go through the reinstalled Big Thunder Falls, with guests looking out at Rivers of America.

DisWedWay said...

Actually I should have said the town of Rainbow Ridge is located next to Disneyland's Big Thunder, not the town of Thunder Mesa, which is located in Paris Disneyland's Fronteirland.

GURU said...

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Marco Antonio Garcia. São Paulo, Brazil. said...

Besides the fact that this does not have almost nothing to do with the post, I would also like to see this attraction DisWedWay, but we are probably not going to see it for a very long time, because the Disneyland Resort is investing everything in California Adventure, just like Disneyland Paris is investing everything in the WDS (they made the same mistake and are now trying to correct it).
Not that I really mind keeping Disneyland the way it is, I actually think that it is something good, because I would not want to lost my favorite classics like Mr. Toad Wild Ride on Disneyland due to updates (the park is almost perfect the way it is).
If Disneyland was going to get an update though, I think that the land that needs it the most is Tomorrowland, not Frontierland. It is also a land that sadly lost much of its original theming, as in the beginning it was a science fact land to showcase the wonders to come in the not so distant future, and now is full of Pixar carachters, it's becoming a Pixar Fantasyland.
The whole land needs an update for me, the architecture and the landscape are becoming outdated, and also the rides, Inovations, for instance, is seriously outdated and uninteresting.
Would love to see attractions like Mission Mars from Epcot in DL tomorrowland.
I would also like to see an update at Fantasyland, but one like they did at the Haunted Mansion, keeping the attractions but upgrading them with new technology, like they did in 1983 in FL, but I'm VERY afraid to see my favorite classics like Mr. Toad, Peter Pan and Alice gone, even though they need an update.
Just said too much things that have nothing to do with the post...

Anonymous said...

The soldier tower looks even uglier in real than it did on the renderings. It's also inappropriate for a theme park (outside the US maybe).

Juanpa said...

It's just a patchwork. One more, of course: the park is plenty of them.

I'm a little bit surprised when I read the comments of people from the USA when they talk about DCA. I was there a few months ago and, even being obviously a little chaotic park, with good and bad rides and themings all mixed in, it's thousands of times better than WDS where there's no theming at all.

It has just a couple of fake facades besides the nonsense theming of the Tower Of Terror (wasn't it a movie studio? what's doing a supposed hotel in the middle of that mess? Believe me, it hasn't the Sunset Boulevard background), Cars Race rally (a flat kiddie ride with a theming similar to a photo opportunity), and very very little more theming. That's all.

Well, and the nonsense Toy story Playland now, of course. You can bet DCA is an AWESOME park if you compare it to WDS.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

DSP have some good attractions also.
First time I've been there, I just did not hate it because of lights, motor, action car show (did I get the name right?) which I thought was awesome the first time I've seen it.
The other attraction that I really liked was the movie in which the guy with a mobile phone enters inside the movie and journey through cinema history in search of the pretty girl he liked, a simple but great attraction and a beautiful homage to cinema (at least for me, a cinema lover).
Later they added crush'n coaster and Tower of terror, two very good attractions.
Besides these four attractions there is nothing else worth seeing there and the park is ugly comparing to other Disney parks, but not that ugly comparing to non Disney Parks like Universal, that have great attractions but not a so great landscape, at least in the US.
All in all the park is not that terrible, but we always expect a lot from a Disney Park (and pay a lot to visit them), so it is below expectations and probably the worst Disney park in the world.

Marco Antonio Garcia. said...

When I said that landscape at Universal was not great, I was talking about Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando before the Harry Potter land, which I have not been to yet, but looks great on photographs.

Juanpa said...

Well, I was in U.S. Hollywood too and I think it has nothing to envy to WDS. USH has more and far more elaborated street sets, rides and shows at least as good as WDS (if not better), and the best of all: It's done in a REAL, actual movie studio.

I have been in many theme parks and to be honest (it seems like I hate that park or something and it's not, I love every park XD) it's the worse theme park I have ever been, Disney or not.

Anonymous said...

Are they able to build a second half pipe if the queue line of RC Racer is to long?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but the rides look really trite and carnival-like. The theming is cute but this reminds of Bug's Land in DCA, very cute land but with very poor off-the-shelf rides. They would have been better off with nice theming for the land with Toy Story Mania instead of the three cheapies. This will do nothing to add to park attendance. Do they really think we are this foolish not to notice these are cheap carny rides? Sheesh...

Anonymous said...

This quality or should I say lack of quality, really should be an embarrassment to Imagineering, especially after having seen the amazing quality and attention to detail Universal has created at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For the first time in history, a Disney competitor has hands down shown the world how lax and cheap Imagineering has become.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry... But Universal Orlando is not a competitor of Disneyland Paris (lol). Disneyland Paris has NO big competitor.

Dan Alexander said...

The Toy Story Playland is nice "eye-candy", but I think the park would have gotten more excitement and visitors with Toy Story Midway Mania.

The Playland has nice details, though. I like that the Slinky Dog ride has a box covering guests waiting in line, but it looks like a great deal of the the detail is on top of the roof--can this be seen from the ground at all?

Alain Littaye said...

I'll try to bring answers to two of your questions: No they don't have the room to build a second RC Racer, so we're stuck with one only (and the long wait which will go with it).

And about Slinky Dog Toy box: you can see part of the paintings on the box from the ground but of course the best view of the whole box will be when you'll ride Parachute Drop.

Anonymous said...

This expansion reminds me of Dinoland, U.S.A. area in Magic Kingdom that is "themed like a cheap loopking carnival".
I never enter that part of the otherwise beautifull park (with not so great attractions).

Adrien said...

You mean Animal Kingdom ? It seems this park is beautiful =)

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

The only competitor of Disneyland Paris is Park Astérix.
I think the problem in this case is that Disneyland Paris is not very profitable, so they have to go for the cheapest option.
In Tokyo, which has a very profitable Disneyland, you can see that imagineering have not become cheap at all, the American expansions, both in the MK and at the DCA also look as elaborate and sophiscticate (if not more) as the Harry Potter at Universal, and are not cheap at all.
Its all a question of money...

Anonymous said...

I for one am glad that the park got this instead of Toy Story Mania. It is so overrated in my opinion. You wait in an extremely long line and then just play little video games on screens. There is no story line or theming or ride at all. And what is worse is how they copy it at three seperate parks. Besides that hideous parachute toy soldier tower I think the land looks pretty great and will add to a mediocre park. I do agree with another poster about all the attractions they are putting there being toon heavy though. Instead of a studio/movie based park its starting to turn into a cartoon park. All in all I think it looks fun and will add to the park.

Anonymous said...

To a previous poster, Animal Kingdom is a beautiful park with some brilliant attractions and great theming. It is like no other park in the world. The carnival part in Dinoland is a less impressive part of the park but it is a very small corner, not a main attraction and it is themed to fit the park well enough. Animal Kingdom has 3 amazing E ticket rides that no other park has and is extremely intricately detailed. What does WDS have? Some generic rides and a few copies of great attractions from WDW in a horribly themed park.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the theming or quality is a matter of how competent Imagineers are, its simply a matter of how much Disney is willing to spend on the park or attractions.

Anonymous said...

Disneyland Paris has not a lot of money. I know people think they have to invest in the WDS park, but I think it's better to invest in the Disneyland Park because this park needs a new attraction. I mean a real new attraction, not simply Star Tours 2. My dream is to see Indiana Jones Adventure in 2013 or 2014 in this park.

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