General Information Walt Disney Studios Park

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Theme Park:Walt Disney Studios Park (since 2002)
Part of the Resort Disneyland Resort Paris
Address:77777 Marne-la-Vallée
http://www.disneylandparis.de
Operated by:Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Walt Disney Studios ParkWalt Disney Studios Park in Marne-la-Vallée near Paris, France is one of Europe’s most visited theme parks. The movie park is the second gate park of Disneyland Resort Paris. Since the year 2002, the park has been delighting the public with a solid selection of family-friendly rides, shows and lots of street entertainment. The drop ride Tower of Terror and the dark ride Ratatouille L’Aventure totalement toquée de Rémy are the main reasons for a visit to the park.

Fun Fact: The park was originally scheduled to open in 1995. Due to the resorts financial situation back at that time it opened at a smaller scale in 2002.

Rémy’s totally crazy adventure in Paris

I make no secret of the fact that I always liked the Walt Disney Studios Park more than the amusement park next door. After all, the park appeals to a much more adult audience, and moreover it offers a wonderful leitmotif with the theme of movies. Now it is unfortunate that movie parks all over Europe usually do not act as such and at best only attract attention with cartoon characters, but here in Paris this would be much more difficult. Of course there are some exceptions, but most of them are not theme parks or are located in Italy. Nevertheless the Walt Disney Studios Park manages to create a homage to the film and thus manages to entertain you wonderfully.

Although my last visit was almost five years ago and not much had changed in that time, it seemed to me that the park had doubled in size. On the one hand, this is due to the well-known extensions, like the Toy Story themed area, which was still under construction at that time, and the small themed area around the Pixar film Ratatouille, but also because nothing was closed this time.

Due to Rémy and his family, the Walt Disney Studios Park is admittedly much more frequented, so that not much remains of the once countless rides on the Rock n Roller Coaster, as well as visits to the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Provided you don’t want to miss any of the other sights in this park. The word sight fits much better than just the word attraction, after all it is not only the rides, as in most other amusement parks in Europe, but especially the shows that you should not miss, at least as a first-time visitor. And it can’t hurt as an already knowledgeable park visitor to watch one or the other show again to refresh his own image.

While I was less satisfied with the stunt show with the much too long name Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular at the last visit, it could entertain me much better now. Although the in-between scene with Lightning McQueen and the bad guy with the “very” secret weapon as an odd gap-filler is not much more exciting than Herbie.  On the other hand, the other stunts were more than enjoyable, especially since they were not underlaid with the usual embarrassing story like in most other parks.

The Studio Tram Tour next door may not be a real show, but what happens during the first stopover is really worth seeing and interesting at the same time. Already at the entrance to the Disaster Canyon one notices the huge pumps that transport the required amount of water. What follows now is first and foremost very impressive, at least from a technical point of view, because the cars are shaken a little to and fro over movable floor plates, a hell of a lot of fire breaks out, which is then extinguished with significantly more water. This is certainly not a cheap pleasure, but unfortunately it is the only highlight of the tour, because after that we go all the way back past the props of rather unknown films. On the way to the other turning point you drive along the set of Reign of Fire and are entertained again with a little fire. If the film had been successful, the scene would certainly have been much more impressive, since it is better known. This is followed by the way back to the station.

The Studio Tram Tour is clearly too short as a studio tour of the Walt Disney Studios Park. Unfortunately, the film sets and props you pass by are mostly not worth mentioning and only Catastrophe Canyon is convincing. Fortunately the actual tour seems to be much longer than the now demolished original of the Hollywood Studios in Orlando.

Viewed from a distance, the tour offers another gimmick, because the backdrop including the Hollywood lettering looks impressively large. In fact, the structure consists of several smaller individual fragments, which only create the necessary depth due to the spatial separation from each other.

Armageddon – les effets speciaux is just as tricky, because what would a blockbuster movie be without its special effects? In principle probably too boring for most cinema-goers, which is why here you get to know a little about the history of its creation, until you then interactively participate in the pre-show or enjoy it as others do. Another film with one of the main actors of the film later, yes this show is very long, you finally get into the main show. A few insignificant effects later, finally a lot of fire shoots out of the middle of the room and the visitors can leave the show warmed up.

After the homage to the special effects, we go straight to the homage to the film par excellence, namely Cinémagique, where the enemy of every cinema-goer suddenly finds himself in the film, crossing one genre after another. The film sequences shown in the process generate a rather long list of references and will certainly look very familiar to many visitors. The interplay between theatre and cinema also enhances the show and makes the simple story all the more entertaining.

The black light show Animagique in the studio next door could actually be just as entertainingm if the show would at least focus on the Disney classics. Instead, a very child-friendly show, starring Donald Duck, is offered, which, thanks to the catchy melodies, the constant clapping of the audience and the necessary dark lighting, is more likely to put you to sleep than entertain you. A characteristic I have so far only ascribed to Europa Park, but there the shows are usually rather bad than good, Animagique admittedly has at least a few interesting scenes and an interesting concept. By the way, even more annoying than the song of the same name at the end of the show is the sound effects just before the show, which is why you should enter the building just before the show.

At The Art of Disney Animation you get to know a little bit about the steps of creating an animated film. After a small preshow, in which a successful cut together of the different Disney and Pixar films is shown, you get into the main show where Mushu, the dragon from the Mulan films, takes the leading role. Through headphones you can now listen to the show in your own language, which results in Otto as the dubbing voice in the German version, or the best Frikandel joke ever in Dutch. Although this show always has the insipid aftertaste of a promotional event, at least the trailer of the current film of the Disney Animation Studios is always shown, I like the show very much.

Stitch live! is similar, even though this type of interactive show outside the Dungeons by Merlin Entertainment is far too rare in Europe. Even though the show is designed for children, it provides the right amount of flat humour, especially for older viewers. The joy you feel when a person of the innocent group you have brought along is the victim of the show, before they take you instead, is just as satisfying as the proper portion of shame when only the staff makes a fool of themselves. It’s just a pity that Movie Magic hasn’t been available at Movie Park Germany for several years now.

Friends of good music and good roller coasters will find what they are looking for in the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith as the laser and music supported ride through the tangle of tracks within the sound stages of halls 8 and 9 is more than successful. After visiting the Tour de Force Records, you will be welcomed by the US rock band Aerosmith, after which you will wait a few minutes parallel to the launch track until you can finally get into the limousine.

Depending on the train, the experience on this roller coaster is always different. For each train, not only the lighting effects change throughout the ride, but also the associated soundtrack. Provided there is no emergency stop because someone thinks it’s great to record a shaky video of the ride with a selfiestick. Then you have a wonderful sound for the first seconds before you stand on the same spot for minutes and finally the ride takes place without sound and synchronised light show. I also didn’t find it funny when my life went in slow motion for a short moment, as a camera flew only a few centimetres past my head during the roll overs on in on the Vampire roller coaster in Walibi Belgium. Sure, it was a headchopper par excellence, but one you can do without, as well as the shaky onrides of various self-horny social media victims.

The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is and will remain an all-round successful roller coaster, which I still have trouble to let go of my list of favourites. However, the ride is very much dependent on its music, because despite the more comfortable trains, the indoor ride loses its fun as soon as it doesn’t sound, while the outdoor ride Xpress from the Dutch amusement park Walibi Holland always shows itself as a solid roller coaster and in the meantime, combined with the additional title Platform 13, additional effects can be seen as soon as you enter the queue.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel is undoubtedly the most famous Disney hotel, at least among amusement park enthusiasts and those who want to become one. Although the story of the Tower of Terror is told every time as an episode of the Twilight Zone in the hotel’s own library, many connoisseurs of the hotel are unaware that “Disney’s Tower of Terror” is also an entertaining film about the events of the evening in question.

After leaving the library, you will find yourself in the engine room, where the three service lifts are located, as the actual guest lift has understandably been out of service since that night. Once in the lift, the events of that time seem to be repeated. From the starting position the guest carrier moves backwards and is coupled with the lift technology. Once set in motion, the lift rises a few metres and stops in front of a mirror that makes you disappear. One floor down, you meet the passengers of the lift accident of yesteryear, they disappear, the corridor becomes dark and shortly afterwards you see them crash again before you crash yourself. Although you should know it, this rather small drop is always very surprising.  Much quicker than before, you now climb up to get some fresh air and enjoy the view before you hit the ground again. The same play continues a little bit more powerfully, before it goes up again to the top for the final fall.

The Tower of Terror is certainly the most elaborate vertical dark ride of our time, especially since it is not a pure freefall tower compared to the ABC Rides Towers of the Dungeons or meanwhile also other Merlin Entertainment attractions, but still offers the same forces. The ride itself is outstanding, even if the last drop always falls out of the pattern. Only the storyline with the Twilight Zone is annoying during repeat rides.

Comparably annoying is the waiting time on Crush’s Coaster, which is now a little slower due to the addition of a single rider line without any real benefit. Here you should ask yourself before the ride, if you’re riding alone, if you want to spend most of the waiting time in the fresh air or inside the always very warm and stuffy hall. Although the idea of a single rider line on a spinning coaster is not wrong, it shows that almost all people willing to ride are mostly two or four persons and therefore the single rider line moves forward very slowly, while you are always moving in the normal queue. Of course there is an exception, namely in the English amusement park Alton Towers in the rain, because for some strange reason the cars are loaded with only three people.

The ride is similar to a ride of the spinning racer during the evening hours, only that with this ride the rotation is already released after the lift and the track has been extended by a few meters. On this section, before the already known layout, you leave the building after a small lift for a short time in order to do a small darkride part in the interior. Although the ride is quite good it is not worth waiting more than an hour for it, especially since the Walt Disney Studios Park now offers a lot more.

For example the Toy Story Playland with its music express Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin that offers an even more duller driving programme than the Flipper VolPaiute from the Spanish amusement park Port Aventura that is known to do its rounds in maintenance mode, the not very nice to look at Parachute Tower Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, and the Intamin Half Pipe RC Racer.

Although there are not too many similarities, the RC Racer can at best be described as an oversized boat swing with a terrible capacity. Although there weren’t really many people in the queue, one waits here for half an eternity, hardly imagining what it would look like in the main season with a full waiting area. And yet the ride offers nothing exciting at all, because as soon as it has started to be a little bit of fun, it ends again. Well, this is similar to Halve Maen from the Dutch amusement park Efteling, but that ride is at least an oversized boat swing of enormous capacity.

While the Toy Story Playland is not particularly conspicuous for its rides, the area that has been available since last year is all the more attractive because we are in Paris, the city of love and above all of rats. Even if Paris is not the cleanest city, it is mainly about the rat Rémy and his family, known from the Pixar movie Ratatouille. Although it sounds like rat and patootie, it is a more than successful animated film and with Ratatouille L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Remy it has been given a worthy dark ride.

Due to time constraints we always used the Single Rider Line, because if we had to wait beyond the 75 minutes in the normal queue, we probably could have made only one single ride. On the other hand, the rows of seats for three people each have created ideal conditions for single riders, because even if this waiting area were full, you would never be able to wait here for more than 20 minutes.

The station is located on the roofs of Paris and we are allowed to play rats. But before I act as a critic, in the sense of Anton Ego, there is a summary of the trip. After the cars have left their starting position, it seems as if they are driving around randomly. Shortly after that, however, they all drive along a narrower corridor. On the roof of the Gusteau’s, Rémy is pondering the current evening menu in his own restaurant and, oh, what a miracle, it will probably be ratatouille – a simple peasant dish served to critic Anton Ego just before the restaurant had to close.

Rémy crashes through the skylight and we slide along happily. A short tour through the kitchen of the restaurant follows, where the young cook Linguini, who actually should be a chef, helps us to escape unrecognised. The path now leads us through the pantry of the restaurant where Emile, Rémy’s brother, once again fills his stomach with grapes. Linguini is also able to successfully cover up the renewed route through the kitchen, before we are discovered in the restaurant’s dining room by Chef Skinner. Although Linguini helps us to escape quickly, Maître Skinner is always on our heels, but before he can grab us by the hand he prefers to reach into a mouse trap. We finally get to the kitchen of the restaurant La Ratatouille, which is the model for the restaurant Chez Rémy. After a small champagne shower we reach the other rats, whereupon we arrive at the final stop of our journey.

Despite the admittedly very loose adaptation of the film, Ratatouille L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy is an extremely successful dark ride, where even after the tenth ride you would always find new details. The dynamic of the ride is as exciting as the picture, which is very sharp from all sides and which, depending on the position in front of the screens, always looks different and therefore reveals new details. Just as interesting is the point in time when you see a scene, because this way you see either a little prelude or a little postlude. It is also a significant difference if you are sitting in the first or second row of each car, because the perception of the individual scenes can differ enormously, only in the scene with the champagne cork it is an advantage if you sit in the front row, because this effect is very surprising.

So you shouldn’t miss Rémy’s totally crazy adventure, and it’s also the reason why you should definitely spend your visit to Disneyland Resort Paris in the Walt Disney Studios Park, because nowhere else in Europe you will be as well entertained on a dark ride as here.

The Walt Disney Studios Park can convince a little bit more than the park already did because of its new perspective, mainly created by Rémy and his family. It would be nice to see if the park will be extended in the next years, so a visit to San Fransokyo in the near future would be an event I would be looking forward to years before.

 

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Rocking and Rolling in the Studios of Paris

We started our expedition through the Walt Disney Studios Park with some music, which was rock to be exact. Until now, our group only knew the route of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster from the Flemish Walibi Holland; but what is happening in the Studios 8+9 of the Walt Disney Studios Park tops the Dutch outdoor ride by far. The layout, the launch, simply everything looks perfect when you are in a dark hall with great rock music by the band Aerosmith as well as terrific effects.

In the course of the day, we managed to test four different trains of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which means that we had four different experiences. This turned out to be quite difficult in the beginning, because we got the same train about 20 times in a row. But since the urge always pulls you into this concept roller coaster or better said concert roller coaster – which couldn’t be better from the overall experience – this was not reprehensible, because what Vekoma has designed here is more or less perfect!

Now it was time to leave the dimension and enter the Twilight Zone. The Hollywood Tower Hotel was waiting for us, as well as its friendly staff. Especially the cleaning staff did their best to let everything gather dust. Once you have entered the Tower of Terror, you soon realize that the conventional lifts are no longer sufficient to take you to your room. So you have to cross the library of the hotel and take one of the service lifts in the engine room.

Once you have found your place in the lift, it starts to move backwards. The story is told on several levels and the (freefall) effects are sometimes very frightening. The ride has a lot of airtime, unfortunately the last drop is a bit disappointing. All in all the ride is quite successful, even if one would have wished for a different storyline, especially for Europe, because nobody here is familiar with the Twilight Zone.

Australia is far away on the globe, but not at Disney. Therefore, in the studios you can quickly take a ride on the back of a turtle. Crush’s Coaster is the name of the ride from the Munich roller coaster manufacturer Maurer-Söhne. The ride is just like Crush appears in the movie: Simply ingenious! The only weak point of the coaster is the much too low capacity. On the first day we had to spend 70 minutes of waiting time on this roller coaster, on the following (not so sunny) days the average waiting time was 45 minutes. It is recommended to start the ride backwards, as this way the lift is much more surprising. The following ride should be familiar to everyone who has ever ridden an SC-2000 like the Spinning Racer at a fair at night, with the small but significant difference that the spin is not locked for that long.

Right next door is the Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. The capacity is not really the problem here, only the absolutely lousy handling makes sure that the queuing time can quickly increase. The ride on the Zamperla Demolition Derby itself is quite amusing and nice for in between. It also looks quite appealing from the outside.

The flying carpets Les Tapis Volants – Flying Carpets Over Agrabah can also be found in this area. One of the few fast pass attractions in the park, which suggests that this ride is very popular. If you catch a good time, you can do a lap without having to wait for the fast-pass. By the way, the ride is definitely worthwhile.

What would a studio park be without shows? Probably not much. So the time had come to test them bit by bit. We started with the special effects show Armageddon. A far too long, partly stupid preshow with film scenes, which I didn’t expect in such a park, introduces the upcoming room. There you can see yourself on a space station, which is damaged by an asteroid. A lot of fire makes the people feel a little warmer, the other effects are not really worth mentioning in contrast to Port Aventura’s Templo del Fuego.

One of the more popular shows at Walt Disney Studios Park is of course the stunt show with the very long name Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. The scenery in which this show takes place is wonderful to watch, but the show itself is not as exciting. In the beginning there is a wonderful atmosphere, but somehow everything that makes this show spectacular was missing.

The Art of Disney Animation is not to be missed. First of all you are shown a film that captures the magic of Disney by showing scenes from different Disney films and language versions. In the second show you are accompanied by the dragon Mushu, known from the film Mulan, where the story of how a cartoon character was created is explained. It is also advisable to follow this event in Dutch, thanks to the joke with the Frikandel.

If you can’t get enough of the comfortable cinema seats, you should watch the half-hour film in the Cinémagique. I don’t want to give too much away, but one should take the mobile phone warning in cinemas seriously. Apart from that, the film is based on the Movie Switch principle, although it comes across much better here than at the show in Movie-Park Germany (which is by no means hard to do).

If you like interactivity and also like the devilishly evil experiment 626, you will love Stitch live. Whether active participation in the show changes the course of events I may doubt, in this respect I preferred the Movie Magic Show from the Bottrop Filmpark, as it was simply legendary for its flat humour and comical actions of the actors.

Thanks to the unfavourable times, we always missed the black light show Animagique. This will be tackled during the next visit, as well as the studio tour, which was closed at the time of the visit. Also, the Toy Story Land, which was still under construction at the time, needs to be examined more closely.

 

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