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    Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Disneyland Paris Resort trip report. January 11-13th.

    I would love to start this article with the bragging rights that, having visited the Disneyland Paris Resort this January, I have finally seen every Disney park around the world. Of course, that pesky little Hong Kong one just opened, and since I have absolutely zero desire to trek out there to see it, I guess I can’t really brag. So I rephrase: I’ve been to all the parks I’ve dreamed about going to, and it feels good to get one of life’s guilty pleasures goals out of the way.

    So yes, getting to Disneyland Paris. Oh, the joys of Disneyland Paris. This would be my forth Disney resort, having been a local at Disneyland Resort Anaheim, then visiting Tokyo, and finally Florida (considerably underwhelming after following Tokyo.) Anyhow, I must agree that Disneyland Paris is (like popular opinion seems to dictate) absolutely the most beautiful of the “Magic Kingdom” style parks. Despite worries of some sort of terrible upkeep reported on these boards, I found both parks to be very clean, and the cleanliness/attention to detail/effects up to the usual Disney standards. Not insane Tokyo standards, but very much to the level of the American parks (more like the current upkeep of Disneyland then Disney World, which is a big compliment.) Me and my partner stayed at the surprisingly fun Disney’s Sante Fe, and the cost of our 2 night/3 day package (which INCLUDES breakfast, 2 three day park hopper tickets, and room fee AND taxes) came to US $220 total. Yes, that’s not per person, that’s TOTAL. And this was booked directly through Disneyland Paris’ official website. It actually makes Disneyland Paris the cheapest of all the Disney Resorts (not including Hong Kong, which I can’t compare) at least as far as a package deal.

    That said, I actually really liked Disney’s Sante Fe. If you check out some pictures on Disney’s website, it may look kind of generic and pre-fab, which it most certainly does…at first. But the interesting thing about Disney’s Sante Fe is the bizarre way that, to me, the hotel stands out amongst Disney hotels. We’re talking brown, mesa-like, rounded squared-off buildings. Despite the freezing temperatures in Europe during our entire stay, the colors and theming chosen for Sante Fe literally make it seem eternally muggy, and helped offset the cold air. I didn’t expect the hotel itself to strike me as anything special, being prepared for a ‘value experience’, but it has a weird minimalist design approach that I’ve never seen in another Disney hotel. For something that has been written so little about, I found the need to compliment the rather bold choice to go all-out, well, all-out bland with the mesa design. For intents and purposes, the design works really well…and they didn’t cheat with it….the mesa complex itself is ‘dug’ I’d guess 40 feet or so below a grassy berm, giving the effect of being ‘below the grass’ and emphasizing the contrast from the grassy green surrounding walls, to the stark brown structures, several being whimsical contemporary spins on realistic mesa architecture. Definitely unique among any Disney hotel, and compared to the budget-priced, yet much more generic All-Star hotels, I feel this one is unfairly judged. The rooms, a bit bigger then the All-Star rooms, were American-sized, and adequate.

    Might as well get the bad out of the way: Disney Studios Paris. Good lord. I mean, good LORD. This has to be one of the weirdest, and most schizophrenic parks I’ve ever been to. It’s HANDS DOWN worse then DCA, although I have to say the surreal feeling you get while visiting (reminding me completely of the long-gone SuperStar Limo ride at DCA) was entertaining for it’s overwhelming lameness at times. Let’s start at the beginning: the entrance. Wow! This HUGE and IMPRESSIVE studio front in bright yellow… it really is a grand entrance and much nicer then either MGM or DCA. I could tell it was pretty beautiful, but unfortunately, during my visit, this, the only bright spot to this dreadful park was covered up by a GIANT CHICKEN LITTLE HEAD. It was not a good sign. Once inside the giant studio front, you’re greeted to a little miniaturized version of DCA’s Hollywood Backlot street, except with different LA buildings chosen, a bad static starfield type ceiling (static LCDs rather then twinkling fiber optics), and dozens of projected stars and words flying around the floor and walls trying their best to blind you from how cheap and ugly the cheap looking interior really is. A terrible food court, a terrible gift store, and a weird bar with the Tiki Room motif, but made to look like the bar at the Beverly Hills hotel in LA. Just strange. And what happens once you make your way through this brief street and out the back? All that buildup for….. nothing. Asphalt as far as you can see, with giant prefab ‘studio’ buildings dotting the landscape. Almost no trees, and no landscaping. DCA looks like the Ewok forest in comparison. An unfinished concrete DCA-version of Tower of Terror smack dab in front of me upon existing the entryway was the first sign that I was not inside a full-day park. And that’s an understatement. I must admit that by the time I got to Disney Studios Paris, it was after I had already spent a day at the lovely Disneyland Paris, and right away I got this horrible feeling of “god, don’t waste too much of your precious three days at the resort here” and I really did not spend too much time in the park. I missed two of the attractions, namely “Anamagique” and “Cinamagique”, not because I didn’t want to see them, but because their show schedules were positioned so I couldn’t see one right after the other, like an average parkgoer would want, but instead have to choose one or the other, with a good 2 hours between the next showtime for the other show, a way of guaranteeing you’ll spend longer in the park. Needless to say, I decided to pass on both out of sheer contempt.

    I made my way back to their version of Rockin’ Roller Coaster. The exterior theming was, like all of Disney Studios Paris, just crap compared to Florida’s (although, besides the oversize guitar in Florida, it wasn’t that inspired to begin with.) The ride is the same fun indoor Vekoma looping/corkscrew coaster that actually rides quite a bit smoother then it’s Florida counterpart, and is missing (a plus in my mind) the tacky and very Mummy: The Ride (Universal Hollywood version) lit-up billboards that you fly through. Actually, come to think of it, there isn’t ANY sets whatsoever in Paris’ version. You are quite clearly in a dark, unthemed warehouse, with plenty of strobes, lasers, and flashing effects to try and distract you from the lack of inspiration. A brief relief from the rest of the park, Florida’s lame Areosmith preshow has been dramatically cut in the Paris version, and is now quite amusing since, making no sense whatsoever, plays like the Areosmith guy is having a drug hallucination about loops and corkscrews, before being cut off by the preshow’s doors opening to exit and let you onto the ride with virtually no explanation/setup as to why you’re there. But, as it was a half-baked idea to begin with, it’s a fun rollercoaster in the dark that, despite not having anything to see besides a Spencer’s Gifts-style light show, actually rides smoother, and possibly faster, then Florida’s, putting both versions on equal terf.

    Next up was the Lights, Motuers, Action Stunt Show thing. Other then the finale, where the car drives through a building, this show was cheesy, boring, and unfortunately, very long. I had heard good things about this initially, and was sad to find that the show really didn’t have much to draw you in. Certainly, it’s leagues less interesting then the (now decade old) Waterworld attractions at the Universal parks. Yes, yes, the crowd being in the movie bits were fun, but only if you know the individuals that are selected. Maybe it’s the fact that I work in the movie industry, and look at everything with a very cynical eye, but this was just an hour of my life I wanted back.

    Another idiotic blow was the absolutely terrible Armageddon attraction. I have had a hard time finding any really good description of this one, and after experiencing it, I now know why Disney journalists have a hard time writing about it. The closest thing to it would be Backdraft at the Universal Studios parks, but it’s really unlike anything Disney has made before, and is much closer to a ‘walkthrough’ type of attraction, except with the walkthrough being replaced by two ‘stand and watch’ presentations, the first of which is ridiculously long and insulting to the audience, the second of which is sort of delightful and brief but, in effect, completely ruined because of the preceding 30 minutes of soul-destroying misery. The story here is that you’re on the set of Armageddon, playing the ‘role’ of people trapped in a space station coming into contact with the meteor from the movie. This is explained to you, and then rammed into your head again, and again, first in a embarrassing 10 minute video with the only actor they could get from the movie, then again by an inane CM who goes over and over how you should look ‘scared’ and ‘astonished’ by the sights you are about to see, as it’s being recorded (which it’s not, as there is absolutely no post-show where you will see yourself ‘on the set’). This section lasts ANOTHER 10 minutes, and I had to feel bad for the poor CM who was trying to get an extremely bored audience into the mood. There’s no effects here, nothing to get you into the concept. Not even simple cameras in the room that could be taking shots of the audience as the CM talks about being ‘ready for the camera’. After this unengaging, frankly, BAFFILING segment, you watch ANOTHER nearly 10 minute video about the ‘magic’ of Jerry Bruckheimer films before you are finally ‘cleared for the set’ and ushered mercifully from the pre-show room to a fake wooden paneled set corridor where you wait (for another 5 minutes mind you) to enter the very small show room, where you stand in circle-fashion around another circle (actually a funnel attached to the ceiling). This room is fairly detailed, and to give due credit, kind of cool with a unique very claustrophobic effect of being in a little space station. The attraction basically consists of sound effects of machinery breaking and people yelling as the comet approaches. As it does, lights go off and on, and nifty little effects like bolts of light shooting through the room and “blasting” holes in the walls (scrims with lighting effects) and equipment dangling from the ceiling starts to appear to fall on the audience. This leads up to rather impressive fireballs burping out from the funnel everyone is looking at, simultaneously timed with dripping water so the heat from the very real fire isn’t so hard to take. Another unique aspect of the fire segment is that it is very, almost disturbingly, close to you as well…which is rather impressive. Finally, the room almost ‘collapses’ around you, the height of the room cuts almost in half, and then you exit (or rather, ‘scene over, good job, please leave’). The major problem with the show part of the attraction is that everyone is looking at that big ‘what’s it going to do’ funnel in the middle of the room, unfortunately distracting people from all the many unique and cool effects that are going on along the sides and ceiling of the room. So, the average non-geek guest will just focus on the middle (like you are arranged to stand) and basically get a show consisting of a bunch of darkness and loud sounds until the ‘wow’ effect of the fireball finally appears, and it’s over. The rest of the effects are pretty much lost on the average audience by the simple fact that not everyone is turning around and looking at the whole room (and they pack it too close to really be able to even do that). Even as it stands, the 5 minute little show isn’t nearly as bad as people say, but the 30 minute buildup is so intense, so long, and so boring, it makes the very modest little ‘show scene’ seem like complete crap, because it is in no way worth the hell you were just put through. They could make this so much better simply by removing 25 minutes of the preshow, thereby making the entire attraction a 10 minute experience. Then, I bet ya, this attraction could go from being (as it stands now) one of the worst ever Disney attractions to ‘that was harmless fun’. Also, on a technical note, because I’ve never seen this mentioned anywhere, the ‘collapsing space shuttle’ effects, nearly all of them (minus the fireball) is EXACTLY the same design as the in-cabin effects on the Tokyo DisneySea attraction “Storm Rider”. It’s more insulting to know this, since it’s extremely obvious to a guest who’s been to Tokyo knowing that Armageddon surely was originally conceived as a “Storm Rider” clone, but for budget reasons opted to cut out the ride, and simply keep the collapsing building effect as an attraction in itself. Bad show, bad attraction, but very interesting to the Disney geek after you connect all the obvious dots of how this one went wrong. As a side note, “Storm Rider” in DisneySea has a preshow too. However, it’s only about 10 minutes and is made exciting due to the use of an extremely impressive animatronic robotic arm/laser weapon demonstration (not to mention a usually very hot Japanese guide explaining it to you in a very overly excited way.) To say I was not impressed with Armageddon is an understatement, but now at least I know where the failures came from instead of the very vauge reviews consisting of ‘it sucks’.

    Next up, well…. I didn’t want to see anything else. I had felt I was losing my IQ every second I was staying in this park. But hey, I’m here… so I checked out their Tram Tour. This has to be the stupidest, most embarrassing attraction ever designed by Imagineering (although I have yet to see Stitch’s Big Escape.) First off, everyone knows that there isn’t a real studio at Disneyland Paris. Even the little kids said so waiting in line for the tram. However, the onride video continually states how it IS a working studio, even though there is clearly no studios in sight. Boring, dated sets from Dinotopia are your first sight, and next on the tour is a direct clone of Catastrophe Canyon from Florida. Yup, it’s exactly the same, fun, little diversion. Nothing was skimped or trimmed here, which is nice. Then you turn around and, I wish I was joking, go BACK through the lame Dinotopia sets, back past the loading area (in clear view), and make a turn to go past 7 or 8 prop cars used in various movies. After nearly dying from boredom, you finally arrive in the London ‘set’ from Ring of Fire. Now, this was a surprise to me, as I hadn’t read about this portion anywhere. The set itself is immensely detailed and is a very cool little charred up London. It really stands out in a park where there’s absolutely nothing close to this level of detail. But uh oh, the video recorded actor says, there’s a DRAGON here. Oh boy! I said to myself, a big animatronic dragon…this should be fun. After all, even the artwork on the ride’s entrance clearly showed a dragon breathing fire in front of a captive audience. But nothing was happening. Hmmmm, I thought, well maybe just a dragon crane-head like they did for Fantasmic at Disneyland. Still nothing. Sounds now… a roar…. Okay…. here it comes!!! Suddenly a big gust of fire shot out from within a hole in the bottom of the set, near a bunch of burnt up cars. Ooooooo fire! Any second that dragon is going to rise up! Another burst of fire! Then the tram started to move again. “Better get away fast” the tram guy said, as the tram took a quick turn to the left and started it’s journey BACK PAST the 7 or 8 prop cars you had just seen. Wait a second. What? Surely that has to be a joke. THEY COULDN’T EVEN DO THE DRAGON? I mean, next door in Disneyland Paris they have a ‘living, breathing’ fully anamatronic beast that lives under their castle. And that’s a walkthrough. The tram pulled to a stop, having arrived at the exit gate, and people started unloading. I was in utter shock. It was beyond making your audience feel ripped off, it was just sad. The most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen at Disney park, made even worse by the fact that they hammer home the ‘it’s really a studio’ part throughout the ride.

    Still in shock, I stumbled to the Aladdin’s Magic Carpet dumbo ride literally shoved into the back corner of the park. There was not a single person in line and it was operating without people. Having not been on the one in Florida, I thought, hell why not, and climbed on. I suppose it is like the one in Florida, except it’s somehow made worse by a static, fiberglass “director’s chair” Genie (with sunglasses on) yelling pre-recorded “you look great! Smile for the camera! ACTION!” each time you make a rotation. That, not the ride, made me ill. Feeling ill, I walked into the Animation exhibit. No immersive screens like in DCA. I walked right out. I spotted the Disney Channel exhibit and walked towards it. Directly in front, clearly visible from within the exit of the attraction were 5 or so mini-simulators for Virtual Space Mountain lifted from DisneyQuest in Florida. Finally a good attraction!!! Then, to my horror, I remembered something I had read on a message board, where they said that in order to get to the DisneyQuest part, you have to wait through almost ONE HOUR of videos and preshows. Surely, on a day like the day I was visiting, when there were maybe (at most) 300 people in the entire park, and only 3 people, JUST THREE, in the line for the Virtual Space Mountain simulators, I could just (as suggested in another board) walk through the exit and get in line for the simulators (the last room you arrive at after the torture of the preshows.) I liked Virtual Space Mountain, and thought it could possibly wash the bitter vile down that I just had to endure from the last three ‘attractions’. A CM spotted me and started to (incredibly rudly I may add) yell at me in French. I politely said that I don’t speak French, and could they get someone who spoke English. I continued waiting in line for about 10 minutes (they were only operating one simulator.) Finally, it got to my turn, and I went to the console and started to design my coaster with Bill Nye. After I had finished, waiting for the simulator to be available, a CM approached me and asked me if I had come through the exit. “Yes” I told her. “I come all the way from the US, and I really didn’t want to have to wait through an hour of Disney Channel ads. I didn’t cut in line, I just didn’t want to have to do the preshow, because I have very limited time in Paris, is that okay?” Not only was it not okay, she told me, “you must see ‘the visit’, not seeing ‘the visit’ is forbidden.” I looked blankly at her, and looked for a hint of humor. After all, there was no one behind me. No one that had endured ‘the visit’ and was waiting for a simulator. It was just me, and two very angry French people. She then started escorting me, (actually pulling my arm) not to the exit, but towards the start of the Disney Channel ads. I literally screamed, escaped her grasp and darted to the exit. She yelled ‘I am calling security’. She didn’t need to… I was already leaving.

    I considered complaining to guest relations, but what would be the point? I went over it in my head. Yeah, I had walked through the exit. But I didn’t cut the line for the simulators. I waited my turn. What got me is that they deliberately waited until I had finished designing my coaster until they told me I had to do ‘the visit’ or leave (the English speaking CM I had requested had arrived about 5 minutes earlier and just stood there watching me) I can understand if that’s the rule, but you must understand that the park was beyond dead (there was literally no one cuing for ‘the visit’) and no guest deserves to be yelled at, especially when I was neither making a scene, nor were was there anyone cuing behind me. The best thing to compare it to would be going through the exit of a fastpass distribution area, which I’m sure most of you have done. Since we all know Disneyland so well, many times going through the fastpass distribution exit (and then waiting in line, like everyone, for a fastpass machine) can save the time of walking all the way to the sometimes very out-of-the-way fastpass distribution entrances. It’s not ‘cutting the line’, but rather an easier way to get to point B directly then going through point A. On crowded days, you couldn’t do this, as you’d clearly be cutting in front of people. But on dead days, well, why not take quicker closer route? I was simply trying to have fun in a park where, very much so, ‘it’s forbidden’. That the CMs couldn’t accommodate my request on a day where, very clearly, there was no one I was cutting in front of, is in my mind, extremely bad show. It’s just mean to have a guest wait 10 minutes in a line, design their coaster, and then be told to view an hour of commercials or not be able to ride. It goes to show you how low morale must be at that park, since they obviously do not care about a guest’s enjoyment in the least. In short, I will never return to that cesspool of a park.

    Ahem, now that Disney Studios is out of the way… my next post will be about my thoughts on the magnificent Disneyland Paris, and all of the underrated and hidden gems of this breathtaking park. I can now officially compare the dark rides of all four magic kingdoms, and will break them down for you. And what trip report would be complete without video and photos? All that and a much happier me, coming soon.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Thank you for this great trip report. I don't quite agree with all your statements, especially regarding the show "Moteur, Action Stuntshow Spectacular!", which is a great show IMO. However, I've seen it many times, and I found the quality of the show is not always the same. You were probably on a 'bad' day.
    And it's a real shame you missed Cinémagique, as it's probably the most magical and Disneyish attraction of the park... I'm also a huge fan of Animagique (Ô the song: la la la lalala la la la... Animagiqe c'est magnifique!), but it's just me...

    Can't wait to read the second part of you TR.

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    Thumbs down Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Thanks for your very interesting report. I TOTALLY THOROUGHLY COMPLETELY agree with your utter disgust for WDS. I try to visit DLRP at least once a year and since WDS opened we visited it just once and left the park desperately longing for a real theme park worth the ticket.

    I had much more fun reading your report than being in that park, weird isn't it?

    What can I say? Disney reserved us European the all-time best (DLP) and the all-time worst (WDS).

    I also think the whole theme of WDS is deeply flawed (a "real studios") and it was chosen just because it is just so much cheaper to buy real props than imagineering something. And if you deal with the idea of a real studios how can you justify attractions like TOT? If you say it's not a real tower but just a set, there's no illusion left; if you say it'a real building, everybody will wonder why it popped right in the middle of a real studio.

    Looking forward to hear more from you.
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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by kayoss
    That said, I actually really liked Disney’s Sante Fe. If you check out some pictures on Disney’s website, it may look kind of generic and pre-fab, which it most certainly does…at first. But the interesting thing about Disney’s Sante Fe is the bizarre way that, to me, the hotel stands out amongst Disney hotels. We’re talking brown, mesa-like, rounded squared-off buildings. Despite the freezing temperatures in Europe during our entire stay, the colors and theming chosen for Sante Fe literally make it seem eternally muggy, and helped offset the cold air.
    Wow. Very suprising review of the Hotel. In a good way though.

    Skippng the rest, I guess you didn't like the park.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayoss
    “you must see ‘the visit’, not seeing ‘the visit’ is forbidden.”


    HAHAHAHAHA. That is awesome. Sounds like the usual French CM American tourists seem to always run into.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    i staryed at the sante fe once, and it took half an hour to find my room. you wouldnt think a coridoor of numbers would just continue in the next building along, before starting again in the previous building. (if the makes sence to anyone else than me, then well done)

    the studios is bad in the winter, crowds and heat make it nicer. though disneyland is ace when its empty. Cinémagique is the best in the park for miles. its weird that they built a park around a central building, but the budget didnt streach to it.

    the studios is smaller than frontierland, dont think about that for too long, its just insaine, didnt anyone think to say anything?

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Does anyone know if Disney is planning to do anything to fix the second gate in Paris?

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist
    Does anyone know if Disney is planning to do anything to fix the second gate in Paris?
    Tower of Terror and Toon Studios and that's it. I strongly doubt this will add any kind of magic to that park thus making it a one-day park. To me a park is a one-day experience because you want to stay there and soak the atmosphere at least for a full day, not because you need 10 hours to do all the rides. Sorry, I know there are some who actually like that park, but I think it will seriously harm the already not so encouraging financial stability of the whole resort and steal money for the only park who actually deserve it, that is DLP.
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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    [quote=massimo]Tower of Terror and Toon Studios and that's it.[quote]

    With respect, Disney do have bigger plans for the park, but it depends entirely on how well the forthcoming attractions perform. There are already plans to refurbish the Tram Tour, with an entirely new route, more and bigger sets, and a few surprises not found in the Florida version. It could yet become an exciting attraction! (I never thought I'd ever say that...) And there's another E-ticket on the cards for the Production Courtyard...

    Anyway, thanks for the trip report Kayoss. Sorry to hear you had such a dismal day at the Studios park. If you ever return, rest safe in the knowledge that the Disney Channel tour doesn't last any longer than ten minutes. Ten mind numbing, intellectually insulting minutes, of course.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by soundtracker
    With respect, Disney do have bigger plans for the park, but it depends entirely on how well the forthcoming attractions perform.
    Well that would be very nice! Do you know anything more about those plans? I would love to hear some more about it. I only meant that's what we are going to have so far. And, but that's a personal thought of course, I think WDS must go into some radical makeover before becoming a real Disney theme park. One or two attractions will not change the overall lacking experience. DLP was a wonderful park even before Space Mountain was built, WDS will still be a mediocre park even with a huge TOT in it.
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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    That's trip report is fully and trully what i though when i went to that Park the very first day of it's operation in February 2002 and that's still what i think after almost 5 Years .
    HKDL : Done !!!

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by massimo
    Well that would be very nice! Do you know anything more about those plans? WDS will still be a mediocre park even with a huge TOT in it.
    I couldn't agree more! Although Toon Studios and ToT will undoubtedly have a huge impact, they won't quite lift the park to the "full day" status it so badly needs.

    As for the plans that Disney have for the park's further development, I can't speak with absolute authority. But I have just been made privvy to a set of Imagineering plans dating from 2003/2004, when it became obvious that the park needed some drastic work.

    CEO at the time, André Lacroix (everyone remember him?), asked the Paris Imagineers to come up with a plan for future expansion. So Peter McGrath and his team drew up a map of what the studios could look like in 2012. They only added four more attractions, but what a difference they make!

    The biggest improvement is the addition of a true hub where the Tram Tour station currently stands. The hub is based around an enormous musical fountain, built in a spiral pattern. Leading off from this, heading north, is a brand new Hollywood Boulevard, with the Tower of Terror at the far end. Although this is the DCA version of the ride, it is set in the midst of large elegant gardens, just like in Florida!

    The boulevard also includes the new Tram Tour station, on the left, while to the right, behind the facades, stand a number of street sets that look quite elaborate.

    There is also a Sony Sound Studio in the Production Courtyard, and the current site of the Tower of Terror is taken up by the Lion King Theatre! In addition, there is a surprising new E-ticket between Cinémagique and Disney Channel.

    I've spoken to the person who slipped me the plan, and it seems that Disney want to stick with as many of the ideas as they can. So expect the boulevard and street sets to appear before too long, along with the Production Courtyard's E-ticket. I'm not sure what will replace the ToT at the end of the boulevard though.

    And the best news is that we may not have to wait until 2012 for all this. If attendance picks up over the next few years (as is expected) then we could see at least some of the new additions opening in 2009!

    As I said, none of this is certain, but I heard a lot of talk about it when I was working in the park myself, and now I've seen the plans, I'm confident that Disney can turn the Studios around. Watch this space!

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by soundtracker
    I've spoken to the person who slipped me the plan, and it seems that Disney want to stick with as many of the ideas as they can. So expect the boulevard and street sets to appear before too long, along with the Production Courtyard's E-ticket.
    This is interesting I never heard that one before...and honestly I have to wonder...what E-Ticket could possibly fit between Cinemagic and TV sets?

    Another thing about that plan that confuses me...the Tram Tour station is to the left of the new city streets? So where does it cross everything to get to Catastrophe Canyon on the right of where the streets would be??

  13. #13

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    TDLFAN asked me a bunch of questions in another forum, and I answered them in such a nauseatingly detailed way, I thought I'd post it here too, seeing that I just spent an hour typing it (that's what you get when your job is a writer and you answer a message board question while your brain is in the middle of working on a project in 'full writer's mode'). It also follows very closely to the 'icky studios paris' subject header....


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    <<<Kayoss.. Very interesting perspective about WDSP and DLRP in particular. Thank you for taking the time to post on this. I really enjoyed it.

    Now on to some things you said that I feel like commenting on...>>
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    No problem, I thought I had such a surreal experience at Disney Studios Paris that I felt the need to get that experience out. It felt good venting…. Even to a forum.


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    You *should* make the trek to HK. Don't do it for the park, but do it to see one of this World's most spectacular cities..that now happen to have an added incentive with a new DL park on it's shores. HKDL is a little park and ot much is to be done there, but trust me... it's still a pretty decent little park in a beautiful setting. This park offers the promise of bigger and better things and it's off to a promising start. It can only get better. Just don't visit during New Year holidays... Too crowded.
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    I’ve always wanted to visit China (especially to ride the world’s only operating Magliv train…) and I’ll visit Hong Kong Disneyland as soon as they add some unique attractions (like the rumored Pirates of the Caribbean with the Splash Mountain-like ‘skull mountain drop’), but until then I’d rather visit TDL to get my foreign Disney fix.


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    <<
    This would be my forth Disney resort, having been a local at Disneyland Resort Anaheim, then visiting Tokyo, and finally Florida (considerably underwhelming after following Tokyo.)<<

    Careful... Singing the praises of TDR over lacking WDW can get you a lot of enemies on these boards... You don't want to be hated like me now, do you?? ;P
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    Well, I think internet message boards in general are interesting because you can read so many different points of view on the same subject. No one’s opinions should stop someone from making their own. Personally, I felt that the Tokyo Disney Resort was overall a much better value and experience then Walt Disney World, despite having only 2 parks vs. Disney World’s 4 parks, 2 water parks, and extensive recreation options. They are both VERY different experiences, certainly, but Tokyo’s parks combined just exude quality, and the service you get from the outstanding Japanese folks is just unbeatable anywhere. This plays a big factor. Walt Disney World has Epcot, which even though it’s much changed, is still one of my favorite Disney parks. But the other three (ESPECIALLY Magic Kingdom) are severely lacking with the exceptions of a handful of interesting attractions scattered around each. The most amazing thing when comparing these two resorts, is that, even with airfare and staying at the MiraCosta, a week trip to Tokyo Disney Resort is considerably cheaper then a week trip to Walt Disney World (probably because our dollar is stronger against the yen, but mainly because the food costs are not nearly as gouged in Japan as the US parks). This is the main reason I choose to go to Tokyo Disney Resort much more frequently over Walt Disney World… I just can’t bring myself to pay more money for, ultimately, a less satisfying and inferior product.

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    >>
    Not sure that DLP being to the levels of the American parks to be a good thing, but glad to know you feel DLP and WDSP was clean enough to merit a positive comment.. My experiences there in regards to cleanliness and maintenance have been hit or miss, with 'miss' being business as usual. But then again... I hold every Disney resort to TDR's insane standards, like WDW and DL used to be..say.. 15 yrs ago?
    >>
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    WDW is definitely dirtier then the Disneyland Resort. And I’d say Paris is just a bit more dirty then Disneyland Resort, but much cleaner then WDW. There were definitely parts of Disneyland Paris that needed a lot of attention (most severely being Alice’s Curious Labyrinth which had almost every interactive figure under rehab/construction/disrepair yet remained open for guests…. Ick) but overall it was clean, painted, and generally lovely.


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    >> I understand how you feel about the scheduling of these shows, and while "Animagique" is garbage, "Cinemagique" which is just a film with very minimal special effects..is one of those rare film attractions that deliver a solid storyline with an interesting premise... Please make a point of seeing this little film next time you go to WDSP..if there is another time.
    >>
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    I have calmed down since I wrote Pt. 1 of my TR, and despite the bad experience I had at the studios park (as well as an even WORSE CM experience I had at Disneyland Paris park, which I’ll get to later) I probably will still go back to Paris, despite the CM’s. Why? Because Disneyland Paris park is one of the most beautiful Disney parks in the world, and I love unique the spins the Imagineers did on several of the classics. Why should I suffer by denying myself their wonderful creations, just because it happens to be located in France with the nastiest CMs alive, and their Blue Lagoon restaurant literally crawling with rats? (I lost my appetite, there was no refund, three parties left like us, the CMs were fully aware of it, and you bet I have photos.) When I do finally return, which I’m sure will be several years from now, I will make sure to check out at least these two shows (and hopefully, by then, Toon Studios)


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    >>Also, on a technical note, because I’ve never seen this mentioned anywhere, the ‘collapsing space shuttle’ effects, nearly all of them (minus the fireball) is EXACTLY the same design as the in-cabin effects on the Tokyo DisneySea attraction “Storm Rider”.<<
    <<
    Interesting... I never made a connection on this... maybe because I have only visited Armagedon twice: first time I went to WDSP and the first time I took G-Fan with me to DLRP.
    >>
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    I’m a geek that way, always looking at possible ways finished, built attractions use elements of previous attractions. It’s just guessing, but I really do think that Armageddon was originally supposed to be a re-themed “Storm Rider”, and they just decided on doing the collapsing room bit. Like the feeling you got on “Rocket Rods” that there was just something there that was unfinished. It wasn’t until I rode Test Track later that I saw what it was. This time, I experienced the reverse, having been on Storm Rider first…


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    <<<
    >>THEY COULDN’T EVEN DO THE DRAGON? <<

    Same sentiments of being cheated I had the first time I rode this turkey tram tour.. makes you wish you were watching TDS' BraviSEAmo! doesn't it??
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    Astonishingly enough, I still haven’t seen BraviSEAmo. Yes folks, that’s how bad I am with making shows when I’m on vacation. I truly like to go at my own pace, soak in the atmosphere, and re-ride every attraction until I can mentally deconstruct how each of them work. As a result, shows always get pushed to the back burner. I caught “Illuminations” at Epcot purely by good timing (and I’m so glad I did), but seriously haven’t seen even ONE other scheduled show in all of my visits to Walt Disney World because, quite simply, I don’t go to theme parks for the shows.

    But when something is presented like “Mickey’s Philharmagic”, that runs all day, I’ll go check it out when I’m in the area. Which brings a VERY interesting question to mind…. What makes Cinemagique and Anamagique any different then Mickey’s Philharmagic as far as operation? Isn’t it just a movie? If there’s actors involved at parts… well… Muppets 3D at MGM and DCA uses them and still runs them all day, as does T2:3D at the universal parks. Why would a movie attraction need individual showtimes? It just strikes me as really odd if they’re truly “THE” attractions to see at Disney Studios. Hence my harsh use of the word ‘contempt’, when I saw how they schedule the showtimes. Like “Mystic Rhythms”, I put both attractions in the back of my head, and walked past the entrances to find I had always either just missed a performance, or had a significant wait until the next one… and with a beautiful park like Disneyland Paris to explore, with so many unique attractions to re-ride, it pained me (with the limited time I had in the resort) to hang around waiting for a show. Probably because when I was little, I always had to see the shows at Disneyland with my mom, and was always itching to get back on the rides. Now that I’m grown up and can see and do what I want, I still have the same ‘gotta ride that again’ feeling when I go to the parks.

    That said, I’m obviously cheating myself out of some great attractions by not making time for the shows. BraviSEAmo and Mystic Rhythms are way up on my priority list when I head to TDR next month in time to catch my beloved Castle Mystery Tour before it’s unjust demise. And next time I’m at MGM, I will make it a point to see their version of Fantasmic, because I’m curious of seeing the differences between Disneyland’s and theirs first-hand.


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    >>I literally screamed, escaped her grasp and darted to the exit. She yelled ‘I am calling security’. She didn’t need to… I was already leaving.<<
    <<<
    The Disney difference in France.. These CMs haven't got a clue. But I could tell you about the screaming match I had to endure with a latin-New Yorker CM in the MK's Pooh Ride... But the CM's pulled you by the arm... I would have filed a complain wih Guests Services and the police for assault!
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    Yes, but then that would be taking MORE time away from going back to Disneyland Paris park (which I did) and re-riding Pirates and Phantom Manor until my eyes bleed. To each his own, but my time is the most important thing to me.


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    <<<
    >>no guest deserves to be yelled at, especially when I was neither making a scene<<

    I agree, but when they hire trash, you get treated like such.. You should have been there to see how I was screamed at by that Pooh CM in front of dozens of guests...
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    Oh do tell. I found, much like you, that the most unruly CMs seem to be in the Florida and Paris parks. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING came close to the unimaginably rude way the Paris CMs treated us. With all the glowing reviews of the ‘magic’ of Paris, I am truly saddened to have to report this one….

    I was saving this for Pt. 2, but I’ll tell it now because it fits with the discussion, and I really want to focus on the positive things in my next report. On our first day, there was a certain particularly nasty CM me and my partner encountered while riding the beautiful Disneyland Paris railroad. To make a long story short, we were both exhausted (and freezing) after spending nearly 8 hours in the park. So, like any Disney park pros, we hopped on the train and rode it around a couple cycles. We were in one of the trains that had two rows of bench seating, and were sitting in the back row, all the way towards the end of one of the cabs. Again, Disneyland Paris was almost dead, and there were only 8 or so other people sitting around us in our cab, with seas of open seats for any new passengers. I turned around to lean back on the back of the cab part, putting my legs over my partner to stretch them out, hoping to get a brief little nap in to recharge my batteries. This worked for quite a few trips around the park, and eventually, my partner dozed off too (even though he was sitting up!). Happy and peaceful, we were awoke minutes later by a rotating CM happened to hop on to our cab and yell at us to wake up. We were so sleepy, it took us a while to come to, and by this time I must admit I was a little confused as to why we were being yelled at. Probably because, again, it was in French. He then began to yell broken English at us. I didn’t quite understand what the problem was. After all, the park wasn’t due to close for another 4 hours, and certainly there wasn’t a rule where you had to get off the train after a circuit. I looked around to see if the problem could be that my half-laying down position (which probably took the length of a single passenger’s seat) could be the culprit, but no…. the train was nearly empty. Finally, he stuttered out something that referred to me not being able to sit with my head against the side of the cab, and that I would have to sit straight, upright, on the bench. I still wasn’t exactly sure what he meant, so I sat up more, thinking it was because I was half slid down. It was then when he DEMONSTRATED how I should sit, by sitting down himself, in our row, straightening his back against the bench seat, got up then pointed to the seat, motioning for me to copy him. I said, “Okay, fine… you don’t have to yell.” And proceeded to scoot up, having to take the shopping bags piled on my legs and partner, and move them safely to the ground as I pulled myself up and moved into ‘proper position’. Apparently, this wasn’t fast enough since he starting yelling “move! NOW! Sit right! NOW! F***ing IMBECILE! You move NOW, sit right or OFF OF MY TRAIN” Yes, that’s right… not only was I being yelled at for my horrific behavior of leaning, but was apparently an imbecile. Not only a regular imbecile, mind you, but a FU**ING imbecile. He yelled this to us in plain sight (and ears) of several small children and their families who believe me, were equally horrified. One little girl actually started to cry. That’s when my partner snapped, yelling at the guy “Hey, I don’t know what your problem is, but don’t bring it here. There’s no reason to treat people this way. And watch your mouth in front of children.” This infuriated him, and he began to yell in French with the occasional “don’t tell me how to do my job” type of thing popping up in English. The train come to the next stop (in Frontierland), and my partner lept to his feet and went face-to-face with this guy who was still yelling. I cringed ‘cause I really thought my partner was going to punch him in the face, so I saved it by yelling back “Just stop, let the guy have his fantasy of being lord of the trains.” The CM stopped yelling and looked at me strange. Then I said to his face “After all, being conductor of a fake railroad in a theme park is the highest achievement you’re ever going to have in life. So, hats off to you sir, congratulations!” Then, looking at the kids, I said to them “Don’t you want to grow up and be just like the train guy?” The kids (and parents) all started laughing hysterically, and the CM ran off. Needless to say, our next stop was the guest relations office, where my partner gave a full report. We rode the railroad later in our trip, and guess what? We never saw that guy again. By FAR, the most insane thing I’ve ever experienced at a Disney park. In Tokyo, they’ll fire CMs for putting their hands in their pockets. Can you even IMAGINE what the Japanese reaction would be to an incident like this? And even with our complaint, they offered nothing as far as making up for this outrageous behavior. I am never one to ask for freebies, but the fact that they didn’t even OFF any condolences (besides apologies) in the form of a simple meal voucher or something similar, shows how completely different and out-of-touch the French staff is from the “Disney Experience”. Surely in ANY of the American parks, more would’ve been done as an apology. My partner wanted to leave after the first day because of this, and I didn’t even have the heart to tell him that they also should’ve done something special for us after being treated that way. I just made up some excuse for their behavior being related to low morale and low wages, mainly because I’m a diehard who didn’t want to leave the resort after a day. (Hell, I’d probably stay during a riot…) It’s still very very unfortunate that my partner (who is very new to the theme park scene) had to experience this guy on the very first day of our trip thereby placing a ‘scar’ of sorts on any enthusiasm on his part to accompany me to future theme park excursions. “Really” I’ve told him “Tokyo is just completely different… you’ll see.” He doesn’t seem to believe me, and I hope (after this) I’ll have the chance to prove that this was an exception, and not the rule.


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    >> And what trip report would be complete without video and photos?<<
    I'll be looking forward to that and your reviews and comparisons on the rides versus the other parks.. and I hope Bloona tunes in as well.. Hehehe!!
    >>
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    Bloona tunes? This a reference I don’t know?

    I’ve been slammed with work, so I haven’t had the time to finish pt 2 quite yet, with my full essay-like Disneyland Paris park TR and it’s accompanying photo and video website (literally over 500 photos to edit and sort…..) but I think it will be worth the wait. My main focus will be finally being able to point out the differences in all of the dark rides and cloned attractions between the four main resorts, as well as my personal opinions as to which versions are best.

    In fact, here’s a little preview: I was amazed that, despite all the hype, I didn’t find Paris’ Peter Pan to be, as a whole, better then Disneyland’s. Although Paris’ version is the newests, and boasts several newly added effects (such as steam coming out of that first chimney you fly over in the loading area and the projection of peter’s shadow in Wendy’s room as you ‘take off’), I was amazed to discover that the “starfield over neverland” sequence uses a combination of static, non-twinkling fibre optics and plain white LEDs, vs. Disneyland’s sea of shimmering (and, most importantly, twinkling) fibre optics. Because this single sequence is the most emotionally stirring to me in the ride (and completely absent from the Tokyo and Florida versions) I can’t rate it the highest of the four, although it certainly comes in a close second. There’s something unbelievably magical about the way Disneyland’s starfield room literally shimmers in hundreds of sparkling, magical stars that has never been recaptured in the clones. Since they even embedded sparkling fibre optics into the concrete columns of the “Sleeping Beauty Stained Glass Walkthough” in Disneyland Paris’ castle, it’s especially surprising (and puzzling) why they didn’t go all-out with the higher-end star effects in Paris’ Peter Pan. Surely, if this one show room was upgraded to Disneyland’s style, I would rate Paris’ version the best of the four by far, as it is an interesting combination of the Florida and Tokyo version’s more oversized show scenes and ride vehicles, combined with some of the more intimate touches of Disneyland’s (kicked up a notch or two in overall sleekness…). I’ll be curious to see if the rumored Hong Kong version ends up being the one that will incorporate the best features of every version and end up being the best.


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    <<<
    Anyways... final recommendations... If you hated the Auto stunt show...stay clear of the MGM version which is just basically the same as WDSP... And.. about the Santa Fe, I stayed there as well in Nov 1992 when the place was brand new and they used to charge about $150 a night. Not sure what they charge now... But I did enjoy it back then, the rooms were comfy and also because all of the fountains and rivers among the gardens were operational and gave the hotel an animated and enjoyable feel... However, I have to say that the last few times I have made my visit to the Santa Fe, I have been disappointed with how neglected it looked.. I sure hope this has changed by now based on your glowing review.

    Anyways.. Thanks for posting your views on this.
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    I’m just not that big a fan of ‘audience interactive’ shows. It creeps me out and makes me feel all ‘themeparky’ (for the lack of a better word.) Disney parks work best when they really transport you into their own little world, not when they treat you like a tourist (which is a negative trend I’ve seen in a lot of their stuff recently). In DisneySea, you almost get the feeling that the lands and attractions are going on when you’re not there. Ships transporting goods, volcanos erupting, Captain Nemo doing experiments…you’re more of a visitor ‘intruding’ on a secret world. All the great Disney attractions have this feeling. The exception to the rule are the Indy attractions, as even though they literally use the tourist angle in their storyline (although Japan’s isn’t as much in-your-face with it as Anahiem’s), it still manages to take you, for just a brief moment, completely out of reality and into it’s own world. And on vacation, the last place I want to be is reality.

  14. #14

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    Well you just seem to have great luck with CMs in France don't you?

  15. #15

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    Re: Disneyland Paris Resort TR Part One: Icky Studios Paris

    You can read my stories about the Santa Fe Hotel here :-

    http://www.miceage.com/ianparkinson/ip100305a.htm

    And my visit to the Studios here :-

    http://www.mouseplanet.com/paris/studio1.htm

    Ian
    "I'm surrounded by idiots"

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