Yours truly was lucky enough to visit Walt Disney Studios Paris last December 10th for my first ever ride on the parisien Tower of Terror.
Mind you... the weather in the Paris area was horrible. Low preassure storm system with lots of rain and strong windy conditions made it for a most difficult time to enjoy my visit at the Studios, much less take good clear pictures of the new offerings and facades, now in full display for the lucky guests visiting Disneyland Resort Paris this holiday season. Remember, I have a cheap camera.
As I braved the weather (rain and winds) and walking from the RER station towards WDSP's entrance with umbrella in hand and fighting the winds, I could see TOT in full working mode, complete with elevators dropping and flash photo taking high above the elevator windows. I also noticed that there was a little crowd in the Esplanade area.. and the Studios perse, were not that empty as I have seen it before. Quite startling considering the awful weather in the region.
Since it was rainy, the skies were dark and the ambiance to ride the new TOT was to say the least.. spooky. Perfect!
Upon entering the studios, walking thru the welcoming soundstage (I wonder why the Xmas lights in this area were all out) and exiting where "Partners" happens to be...the newly erected facades and TOT just amases at first look. The feel of this area now is one that has most effectively tranformed the Studios...in a very good way.
I made a quick detour pour la Tour. Most welcoming to me was discovering the new facades in front of the TOT have dual look in the front side AND backside as well, facing the TOT. They serve as a barrier to the TOT but also serve the purpose of enclosing the TOT area is if it had it's own separate street in front of the building, away from the Hollywood Blvd we see from "Partners". KUDOS! Curiously, the Fastpass distribution area is found a bit farther pass the TOT, next to the Tran Tour area. Well concealed from immediate view. Maybe a good thing..?
Today however, the TOT was a virtual walk-on, and I waited mere minutes to board the elevator. Entering the queue area..the ornated surroundings are a most welcomed sight, as opposed to other areas of the Studios where you can still experience the horrible cheapness of it all (Moteurs, R&R Coaster area.. yuk!) They did not go cheap with TOT's elegance and the new Hollywood feel. It's grand and elevates the Studio experience one notch. It's an optic illusion, with just the necesary dash of 3D magic to make it look nice. This as I said is a welcomed change at WDSP.
The front of the TOT is IMHO.. a bit nicer than what they did at DCA, considering it is the same ride. I like the faux street out front the TOT, the nice dry fountain fixture, fence and garden. The facade cutting thru the area gives the front of the TOT an immediate intimate feel missing at DCA and at TDS. WDW's TOT retains the best pre-queue setup. You purists can breath easily now.
While the preshow is not as ornated at TDS, the efforts are nice and the soft mood music, similar to that heard at the other TOTs.. is simply striking and sets the forebodding mood.
Inside the Lobby, the ligthing is bright but you can see see this place looks a bit abandoned with cobwebs here and there... Similar set up here to MGMs (DHS) and DCAs. We are led into the Library for the same preshow movie, as seen in DCA. Only this time, it is dubbed in french, with english subtitles. As a matter of fact... to me, that was the most interesting aspect fo the ride... listening to it in french, and is the only way you can tell this is not DCA.
The ride itself is similar to DCAs in every way, so not much differences there. The lighting thru the entire show and ride seems nicer and brighter, maybe similar to DCA's but do not recall that much. The drop sequence is fun and had it's air times. The view from the top, towards DLP is nice, but since the weather was bad, it was somewhat impaired today. One thing I noticed.. when I sat in the elevator, back row all the way to the right side of the elevator, I could see a set of service/maintenance stairs on the left that I found...unsightly out of place. Are we supposed to see that when sitting there waiting for the ride to start? I honestly have never seen such "backstage" features in the other TOTs so why is this so prominently seen here from my seat? Hmmm... Maybe someone forgot to turn the lights out in this area as we prepared to start the ride?
The ride starts and needless to say, it has it's ups and downs. Literally.
After the ride, we are led thru the corridor that leads to the obligatory gift shop. The exit corridor is actually nicer than TDS'..where they dropped the ball amidts the greatness. The gift shop is nice in decor, similar to DCA's I guess..with nice theming that matches the feel of the TOT. The merchandise however, was blah! They had shirts and TOT souvenirs that can be described as "generic" TOT stuff you can find at WDW/DCA. Lots of Stitch in TOT costume plushes, like TDS...
While some of the TOT stuff was labeled "exclusive to DLRP", the fact that "DLRP" was placed in very small letters on a tee sleeve hardle made it "desirable" to me. So I skipped on that stuff. I did buy the TOT pin which did say DLRP prominently, and it was a nice LE pin.
So how did the whole thing rate? Well.. if you like the DCA TOT version, you will pretty much love this one as well. No major changes or surprises here, which was a bit disappointing to me, since I believe Imagineering has had enough time to correct some mistakes from the DCA version, and even TDS' version as well. But in regards to this TOT, things are status quo. Mind you, it is still a fun ride...just don't make a special trip to see if you have been on DCA's.
Taking time to do other things, I rode Crush's Coaster again and the wait time was 25 mins. Fun little coaster. I was going to go over to DLP for the rest of the afternoon, but the weather was getting worst and I decided to cut my visit short and left the resort, deciding to take a quick side trip to visit the famed Champs D'Elysee Avenue in Paris, where they decoarte beautifully for the Holidays. I am sharing some of those pics from Champs D'Elysee as well at the end of the pictorial to follow.
Like I said before... the weather was bad and therefore, it was difficult to take good clear pics with my cheap camera, so many pics are kind of dark or blurry. My apologies in advance, but I hope you enjoy looking at some of these, even though others have posted nicer pics from Paris' TOT online already.
So here are the pics...enjoy.