Recently we had the time to tour the studios park of Disneyland Paris with the addition of Ratatouille in Place de Remy. Interestingly the Walt Disney Studios in Paris suffer from a fairly negative reputation, with polarised opinions on what the park is and isn’t. Taking into account the recent additions we shall take a look at what the park’s outlook is and where its come from.
“It’s an identity crisis”
This won’t be the first time this particular phrase has come up in reference to a Disney Park, in fact both Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s in Florida and Disney’s California Adventure in (yes!) California have been coloured previously by the very same brush. The theme of ‘working studio’ inside a park has now been tried three times and never particularly successfully on first shot.
The statement largely comes in reference to the way the park is setup, one side is the “Toon Studio’s” with mostly Pixar hits having little or nothing to do with a Studio surround, the other side is the “Backlot” with a smattering of attractions loosely linked to film making.
It was suggested that the park would in the near future see the sort of major turn around Disney’s California Adventure has seen with huge placemaking improvements, massive expenditure, and an overhaul of the lands. Upon inspection the new Ratatouille adventure attraction takes place inside a theatre, which seems to show for the meantime and future – we’re sticking with the studios theme (after all it might be rather difficult to rescind the dedication to Walt Disney now).
On with the show as they say, it seems the glitz and glamour of the film industry is here to stay. Toon Studios itself isn’t bad with several attractions in the land, sporadic gems of spectacular theme such as Place de Remy, Toy Story Playland and mini-Carsland. The backlot needs some work though, it works through the entrance of Studio 1, all the way forward to Tower of Terror, Backlot Tour, and Motors Action Stunt Show, off the the left theres a huge space though – with absolutely nothing to look at or catch the eye. It either needs something put in the middle to break up the vast empty line of sight, or like its twin American parks a red cable car or trolley show to break it up, add in some street actors and it might be passable as worthy to remain in the park.
“It’s not a full day park”
On a purely analytical basis, this is wrong. Walt Disney Studio’s is now, more than ever, worthy of being called a ‘full day park’. Once you’ve put in the effort to see the five ‘show’ attractions it has running; Disney Junior Live, Animagique, Cinemagique, Motors Action Stunt Show and Stitch Live you’d be looking at nearly three hours assuming no queuing.
Take a break for lunch, in one of five establishments; Studio 1, Backlot Cafe, Restaurant des Stars, Cafe des Cascadeures, and now Bistro Chez de Remy – add another hour in for lunch.
Time for some attractions, add in the four e-ticket spectaculars: Tower of Terror, Rockin Rollercoaster, Crush and The Ratatouille Adventure and your looking at another two hours even in low season queues.
Toy Story Playland, Cars, Character Meets and the Magic Carpets will take up another two hours of your day followed by an hour for wandering, shopping and catching the Stars in Cars parade.
Dinner again taking in another hour.
Finish the park off with a trip round on the tram tour, which can last a good half hour by itself.
So after ten hours, thirty minutes, we’re at the end of a long day in the Walt Disney Studios, a park only open 8 hours a day for the majority of the time. Not everyone will want to see everything but as you can see, given the time the parks open, there’s still a fair bit to do. Here’s where I believe it all goes wrong; you’re now done with the park – but without a conclusion.
You’ve had the story, the beginning of the shows and rides, the progression of the meals and the parade, but where’s the end? Where’s the night show? It’s only 6pm too – it’s likely not even dark, the only choice left is to head into Disneyland Park and finish the day there, making you loose the choice of having a “full day” in the Walt Disney Studio’s. Psychologically you feel let down, it’s been a distraction. However upon inspection it has live shows (Disneyland Park does not), it has spectacular E-Tickets (always busy!) and it has a fair number of attractions for such a small space.
How is it fixed? What’s next?
Part two follows!