Okay so I’ve discussed Food & Characters and although I know those are the two MAIN reasons we all go to Disney…but believe it or not there are just a FEW rides to go on as well! Really!! There are, I promise!!
Let me start with Walt Disney Studios, where all the Disney movie magic happens. As you go through the Front Lot which has a couple of shops and Studio 1 which holds more shops and a quick service restaurant (which really only serves cheeseburgers & chicken nuggets), you will also see a Character posing for photos in front of a black Limo (last week it was Minnie Mouse). When you get past all the stops in Studio 1 like the face painting stand, airbrush tattoo stall, the shop, photo counter and toilets…you will enter Production Courtyard.
In the Courtyard you will find three indoor shows; Stitch LIVE!, Playhouse Disney and CineMagique. The Studios are great for rainy days because you can go and enjoy all the indoor stuff without feeling you’ve wasted a lovely day outdoors. CineMagique is a must for all as it incorporates the movies with real live actors. The film aspect stars Martin Short and puts the action all around you with interactive effects. Some parts of it scared my 7yr old but then again he was a bit of a yellow-belly that week…and I mean that in the most lovingly way possible.
Stitch LIVE! and Playhouse Disney are great if you have small kids or are a Stitch fan. My son doesn’t watch Playhouse Disney on TV much anymore, he’s moved on to Disney XD but he still loves Pooh Bear & Tigger and the Fab Five. When he was younger he watched Handy Manny and Little Einstiens who are also featured in this live show. So it was great fun and again there are some interactive features like bubbles and streamers coming down at certain parts of the stories. You do have a pre-show room which is hosted by the two crazy resident monkeys of Playhouse Disney, Oh & Ah, and it is quite entertaining, even for adults. The seating is on the floor so do be prepared for your legs and feet to fall asleep however.
Stitch LIVE is great I have to say…although I still prefer Talk to Crush in WDW, but our son loves Stitch (so he decided while on this trip) and so we did it a few times). You have a pre-show where Gantoo and the Counsel Woman inform you that Stitch has gone missing and so has Gantoo’s space cruiser and you must help them find him! Then you move on to the viewing room where the computer locates Stitch and the interactive fun begins! A few times we saw it, the script was pretty much exact but the last time was a little different which was nice. A few times when we went Stitch asked the audience to be monkeys and picked who was the best monkey and he picked Gage twice. So my son got up in front of the crowd and had to give his best monkey face so Stitch could take a photo of it!
Also in the Courtyard is the Studio Tram Tour which was cool to do last week as it took us around the yet to be opened, at the time, Toy Story Land. There is not as much to this tour as there used to be, no more Costume Department…the Tour lost a good chunk of land for Tower of Terror to be where it is. It is still a cool thing to do but personally I think it needs some updating or additions, there is still a good bit of land back there that could be used if it’s not already allocated for something else in the works.
Which brings me to my #1 Fave ride in the Production Courtyard which is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Hollywood Tower Hotel which is what is it modelled after. I won’t touch on this too much as I have done a previous post dedicated to this ride but I could not leave it out. There are differences between DLRP’s ToT and WDW’s ToT such as lighting…the queue area past the library I found was darker in WDW also WDW has the Fifth Dimension element; which I believe is covered at the moment due to the Summer Nightastic, Paris’s Tower does not have this. What Paris DOES have however that WDW does not is a visual effect once you are inside the elevator. I don’t want to spoil it too much for anyone who has not gone on this Tower yet, but basically you get turned into ghosts with a live, interactive video effect before you are sent on your way. One thing I also noted at DLRP, another difference in this Tower and WDW’s, is that the staff were rarely in character which really put a bit of a damper on it. No spooky, gaunt makeup, no eery personalities…True they were better once you were in the lift doing the safety speech and check, but they could’ve been better. Still, the ride itself kicked ass.
Moving on from Production Courtyard you have the Backlot which includes another one of my faves the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith as well as the Armageddon Special Effects Show and Moteurs!…Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. I’ve still never bothered with the Armageddon show but this time we DID check out the car stunt show, mostly because our son wanted to see it. WOW!! My husband and I both were just amazed and going “WOAH!” with our son at all the stunts these drivers were doing…well worth the time! Of course you still had your “oh we’re filming a movie” spiel but ignore that and just watch the stunts…just WOW!
I love Rock ‘n Roller Coaster…although I think the one in WDW has a better setup inside the ride as far as theming goes. We got our son onto the ride for the first time this year, he kept saying he wanted to do it and I kept telling him that it didn’t go too fast, etc. When we got there he asked a CM if it went upside down because he saw the ‘model’ in the pre-show room with Aerosmith. I stood behind my son gesturing to the CM “NO!” and he told him “no it doesn’t go upside down”. OKAY! So sue me, I lied to my son a few times on this trip to get him on rides that he is now big enough for but was a bit too chicken to get onto. He didn’t like it.
The second time I got to ride R&R I didn’t like…there was a guy two people in front of me in the queue and I thought to myself “there’s no way he is going to fit on this”…now I don’t want to offend anyone, as I myself am a *clears throat* woman of size and I have had to pass up a ride or two in the past because I could not fit into it (the swings at Alabama Adventure years ago…remember Jess & Randy? Which in Alabama you’d think it’d be more catered to those of bulk, but I digress) Anywho! But he does and sits in front of me on the same car. Now as much as I love thrill rides, I do get scared…I have the whole “if I’m not in complete control” issue I worry. On a rollercoaster you really have no control and I even worry about how much control the CONTROLLERS even have to a degree. Ok so we’re off and you know how it shoots you off straight into a loop as as we hit the top of the loop the lights and music all go off for a good few seconds and I thought…”oh shit we’re gonna fall”. This kept happening throughout the ride and I could not enjoy it due to worrying WHY it was happening. True I may not have worried AS much if a ‘normal’ sized person was in the car with me but I still would’ve worried. So much so that as I got off I had words with the CM at the control panel about the lights and music going on and off and he said that half the effects were down that day. When I reunited with my family I told my husband it wasn’t worth going on due to the issues because, let’s face it, the booming of Sweet Emotion or Love in an Elevator is the KEY to the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.
Now moving into an area that IS more my son’s speed…the Toon Studio which NOW has Toy Story Playland which was 2days out from opening when we left DLRP. I’ve now seen photos and videos of this and I got to see part of it from the other side of the construction walls and I’ve heard mixed reviews on it. As I’ve not been in it, I won’t give my opinion except this…from the photos it looks cool as it will make you feel toy size!!
We love Crush’s Coaster! Our son wasn’t too thrilled with it, but we love it. You’ve got the double-sided car which looks like a turtle shell and you zoom up and down through the EAC, it really is thrilling and relaxing at the same time. Very different to the Nemo ride at WDW where with that one its a slow, dark ride I guess, in which you go through while Nemo follows you through screens…very tame but still nice. This is a COASTER and a wonderful one as well. I suggest go for this one as the park opens because the queue is always HUGE and they don’t do Fast Passes for it yet, if they ever will.
Between Crush and Car’s Race Rally you have two photo areas set up and on this trip we saw Mickey and Buzz Lightyear there. Last time we were in DLRP, 2007, it was Emile & Remy with a lovely Paris backdrop. There is a photographer as well as a CM who is usually happy to take photos on your own camera as well which is always nice being as DLRP does not have PhotoPass yet!! (we love photopass)
Next you have Car’s Rally Race which we do love but it does have its drawbacks. It is such a fun little ride but does not last long enough especially when compared to how long it takes to load it each time. With as simple a set up it really is amazing at how HARD it seems to be for people to get in the car and do up the straps which is just a regular car seat belt across the lap. You’re whipped around with the car going round and round which goes in a figure 8 across two spinning platforms and you get SO close to the other cars it looks like you WILL crash into them. It really is great fun and the queue is never really too long.
You also have a personal fave of mine which is the Flying Carpets Over Agrabah…or just Genie to me 🙂 It’s a classic ride along the likes of Dumbo and Orbitron. You go around and around and can move your vehicle up into the sky and back down again. With the flying carpets however you can fit four people in it…two in front and two in back, and those in the front control the height of the carpet while the ones in the back can make it tilt backwards and forwards. I always thought this was a cool little added extra to set it slightly apart from its sisters back in the main park. The ONE complaint I have about the carpets is that it’s not Robin Williams doing Genie’s voice…its Dan Castellaneta who does a lot of famous characters including Homer Simpson.
Another indoor show we always enjoy is Animagique which shows Mickey & Donald working on some new cartoons and when Mickey leaves, Donald sneaks into Mickey’s vault and releases some Disney Classics. What I think is cool about this is that it uses black lights and neon colors, puppets and mirrors…it really is cool. I just wish they’d incorporate some more classic films into it as its been Dumbo, Pinocchio and Jungle Book for as long as it’s been open I believe.
Finally you have the Art of Animation which is GREAT! Firstly you go in to like a museum of the history of animation and then you go in a viewing room and see some key moments of Disney Classic films from Show White to Toy Story. After that you move into the final room where you meet an ‘animator’ and a favorite Disney character and learn how characters are thought and drawn up and how they come to life…and it’s pretty interesting. When we were at WDW and DLRP last we saw how Mushu from Mulan was brought to life. This room then empties out into, yes, a gift shop…but it is a little different as it has art areas where you can color cartoons and draw your own short to put into a phenakistoscope and watch come to life!
Last but not least, at the Studios is one of my favorite parades from WDW. I always loved the Stars ‘n Cars parade at The World and was happy to hear I’d get to see it again in DLRP however it has changed. For one thing the parade of lovely cars make their way from the gage next to Aladdin’s Flying Carpets to the Stage in front of Stitch LIVE to put on a show. So there are three places you need to sit depending on what you want to do; if you want to see the parade, anywhere along the road is good ideally in front of the info station at the front of ToT, at the front of the ropped off area facing the stage with the Road backdrop is good if you want to view the show and during the show while the offstage characters are waiting…they can be found on the backside of the stage signing autographs so be there if that is what you want to do. We saw this parade twice from the road and stage area and then my husband went back to get more autographs while we were in line for Stitch LIVE. Also another noticeable difference between this S&C parade and the one from WDW is that there are a few cars missing!! Mostly the Star Wars car which had Luke & Leia inside and R2D2, C2PO and Darth Vader walking in front and around it along the parade route and The Muppets car which featured Kermit and Miss Piggy riding inside.
And that is my report on the attractions at Walt Disney Studios Paris 🙂