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Worlds Apart 6 - The Big Drop

Friday, July 11, 2008

In the centre of Walt Disney Studios Park, there was always an empty gap between Armageddon and the Studio Tram Tour. In January 2005, Disney announced that this space would be filled with the Tower of Terror, using the same ride system that had recently been completed at Disney's California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort.

Tower of Terror constructionIn mid 2006, the area surrounding the site was enclosed in construction walls, and vertical construction started on the attraction in late 2006. As the tower grew, the publicity for it started to gain momentum. A sign appeared in front of the new building advising guests to "Get ready for the big drop", and a pair of elevator doors appeared with a sign across the middle saying "Opening soon".

At around the time Toon Studios was opened for soft openings in June 2007, the Tower of Terror's construction walls were expanded to include the walkway between the Tower and the Art of Disney Animation. This forced guests wishing to ride the Studio Tram Tour to take a path through the new Toon Studios and around the back of the Art of Disney Animation. This area in the middle would become Hollywood Boulevard.

Tower of Terror constructionParis' Hollywood Boulevard isn't made up of real buildings, instead being facades similar to those of the Streets of America at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Designed to be the first thing the guests see upon leaving Studio 1 and entering the park.

In early 2008, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened at Disneyland Resort Paris. The grand opening utilised the projection technology used for Disneyland Park's version of Wishes to cover the entire structure in the image of a wrapping covering the building. When the time was right, a large hand ripped down the paper to "reveal" the tower itself, followed by Twilight Zone imagery and the "creepy" bellhop that's been used extensively in the advertising campaigns for the attraction. This was followed by some fireworks and some rides on the tower for the night's guests.

Tower of Terror constructionThe attraction itself is modelled on the version seen at Disney's California Adventure. French narration has been added, and it's the only Tower of Terror (so far?) that guests can walk all the way around the outside of. It does not have any side that is backstage. As a result of this, the theming on the building continues around all sides.

At around the same time, another new attraction in the park opened. Stich Live! is based on similar technology to Turtle Talk with Crush, guests come face to face with everybody's favourite experiment for a chat. The attraction is based on the "Stitch Encounter" attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland, and replaced the Disney Channel Television Studios Tour, which continues to serve as the home of France's version of The Disney Channel. The attraction is shown every 15 minutes, alternating between English and French showings.

Tower of Terror opening ceremony

And that brings us up to the present day. The Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris will no doubt continue to be developed into the future, and will surely become more and more popular and populated as the years progress. There's plenty of land around the park for expansion, and in the last few weeks Imagineers have been performing height tests behind the Art of Disney Animation using balloons to map out the four corners of a future attraction.Tower of Terror construction People in the park at the time reported that the balloons were roughly the same height as Crush's Coaster's building.

But what could the building be for? Rumours are around to say that Walt Disney Studios could be home to a copy of Disney's Hollywood Studios' Playhouse Disney Live on Stage in the near future, or a copy of Soarin'. Other rumours include versions of Muppetvision 3D or Fantasmic!

So which new attractions can we expect at the Parisian park in the future? Only Disney know for sure. Whatever happens though, I think we can all agree that it can only make the park better and better. And that brings us to the end of this series of articles - for now. I hope they've proveded an insight for those who've never visited the Paris resort, and hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing them. Please do feel free to send me comments, suggestions, flames, etc (my email address is at the bottom of the article, or alternatively you can find me on the StudiosCentral Forums under the name 'acp'). But for now, I'll leave you with the same words that you see as you leave Walt Disney Studios Paris...

C'est dans la boite! * That's a wrap!