Written by Ben Mills
Published: April 18, 2005 at 12:16 PM
I sometimes think that I might be just a little too mean to this little park. Criticism is the most powerful weapon that we, the theme park fans have against the tight purses at the top of the company, but is it all that bad? There must be something to love, right?
Well actually, there are ten somethings to love. So here they are, in no particular order…
Unlike the majority of the park – which we’ll come to in good time – the entrance to the park is really quite attractive. Supposedly modelled on Walt’s original studio buildings, it provides an intimate yet majestic introduction, complete with fountains, boutiques and even the famous Earful Tower.
I’m sure you’ve all seen this statue in your local Disney theme park, with Walt standing hand-in-hand by his rodent creation. It’s really not all that fantastic. But does yours stand pointing towards the exit? No, didn’t think so. I only hope the irony wasn’t lost on the Imagineers.
To use the description of a fellow guest I overheard once, “it’s all like ‘woah!’ and stuff.”
And to be honest, it really is. While most of the park seems to take pride in disgracing the name of Disney, Cinemagique single-handedly shows the public that the Imagineers haven’t given up on smuggling creativity into their attractions. Martin Short and Julie Delpy journey through the history of cinema, paying homage to each genre in a way only Disney can.
Frankly, it’s fantastic. And alone, it continues to justify the existence of an otherwise unworthy park.
Armageddon is a seriously lame attraction. Stuff lights up, other stuff vibrates a little bit, and the Russian guy from the film shouts quite a lot. Oh, and there’s a moderate amount of fire. All of which pretty much adds up to one big yawn-fest.
However, the main show seems more like a masterpiece when compared with the pre-show. A tour de force of lame gags, boring information about the history of special effects, and the dreaded audience participation, it neatly sums up why the attraction doesn’t really work on any level.
But in the midst of all this crap, one part shines through and brings a false hope to all who are actually bothering to watch the screens... Michael Clarke Duncan! And if the fact that he’s on screen being all dude-like isn’t enough, you won’t be able to resist a good chuckle when he points himself out in a clip of the film. “That’s me… the cute one.” Seriously, how can you not love this guy?
Sounds like a kinda uninspiring reason to love the park, huh? An umbrella? Well, I can’t say it’s particularly marvellous, but in a bland park, it’s really quite cool to see a novelty gimmick like this. Attached to “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”, guests can stand under the umbrella – stuck on the wall – and create their own little bit of Singin’ In The Rain style movie history. Trust me, it’s incredible fun. Disney should be adding more elements like this to the park.
Doesn’t it look exciting?
Okay, so it’s not quite ready yet. Nor will it be until 2008. But when it is, and we’re going up and down, then down and up, you’ll love it. It’s the Tower Of Terror… how can it go wrong?
Rock ’N’ Roller Coaster might not have that much going for it – bland scenery and a slow, uninspiring ride being some of the highlights – but you’ve just gotta love that launch. 0 to 100km/h in less than three seconds, all to the delightful chords of Aerosmith. And hey, even if you hate the ride, you’ve got to love the photo opportunities.
Yes, this one goes out to those of you who love the grey, sticky stuff. For guests with a cold, hard passion, Walt Disney Studios Park is like heaven… it’s everywhere! Who needs to bother with making the ground look interesting, or even theming up some of the areas? If there’s a trade convention for cement, it needs to be held here. I swear, even real studio backlots aren’t this bland.
(No picture is necessary or worthwhile for this one. You’ve all seen concrete before.)
And you thought ‘It’s A Small World’ was bad.
It may not be the catchiest theme tune ever, but Animagique’s infectious song shows the Sherman Brothers how it should be done. It’s light, whimsical, and sung by children. And you’ll never forget it.
Even better, you can download a short sample of the theme here. Scroll down until you see ‘animagique.WMA’ near the bottom of the screen.
With my theme park experience outside of Europe being somewhat limited, I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that question. So now it’s time for my own little bit of audience participation, as I present TPI’s second ever competition! (How many of you remember the first, I wonder?)
Here’s the deal: you’ve got to send me evidence that there is worse out there than the drudgery generally referred to as the Walt Disney Studios Park. Think you’ve got a photo showing up another park for the shambles it hides? I want to see it! And while a picture of Superstar Limo might well deserve to win, I’m looking for something a little more obscure.
I look forward to seeing your entries. But what, I hear you ask, does the unfortunate park-goer win for their keen eye and sense of crap? To which I reply…
Ben’s Big Bag Of Worthless Disneyland Resort Paris Junk!
Okay, you got me. I’m cheap. But seriously, there’s some fun stuff in there. One word of warning though: even though some of it looks edible, it’s probably not. Just bear that in mind.
To enter, send your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll give you two weeks, so deadline for submissions is April 30th. Don’t miss it.
Photos used in this article provided by Photos Magiques.