Hollywood’s fractured façade

Saturday, 5th May 2007 at 14:27

The glitz and glamour of Hollywood is certainly on its way to Walt Disney Studios Park, but there's a fracture in that smile - a crack in the façade. With just over seven months to go until soft openings begin, The Hollywood Tower Hotel is already losing its shine...,

The damage and wounds of that fateful night in 1939 are finally beginning to appear all over The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, as construction suddenly hits a lightning pace to depict in full detail the blast of that fatal lightning strike. With the surrounding Hollywood Boulevard street set development set in the timeframe of the 1950s, the Tower also has over ten years of decay and dirt to cover its sandy exterior.

Early April saw the removal of the white tarp covering the front body of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, revealing the progress so far on the concrete behind. Well over half of the Tower, nearing around 80-90%, has now received full paintwork of pale yellow colours, with weathering and dirt on some sections finally turning this to the murky yellow we know from Disney’s California Adventure.

As for those fractures, they’re becoming clearer by the day. The separate right-hand tower is the first to receive cracks and breaks in its faux plaster, all filled with dirt seeping down across the previously clean paintwork. Below this, and at each of the metallic elevator door openings, steel frames have been added similar to those used in the sculpting of the Crush’s Coaster rockwork. These will be covered over with broken and ripped plaster to give the effect that a whole wing of the hotel collapsed into rubble when the lightning hit, leaving the elevator doors to open right onto a 13-storey drop towards the ground.

On the front body of the tower, above the indoor show scenes below, bricks have been built up to give the effect of the crumbled tower, bashed and knocked into pieces to give a real impression of the “blast” of lightning. Eventually, these will be further enhanced with more paintwork and weathering – plus a heavy dose of black and purple soot and dirt. Notice also that the extended room below the brickwork now has a fully finished pueblo tiled roof!

Elsewhere, other parts of the Tower continue to grow. The front tower, with the lowest dome, is finally beginning to grow with a full steel frame and the first additions of final plaster and concrete, whilst the sides of the main tower are now being given their balconies. You couldn’t ask for a better view – though currently the floorless balconies wouldn’t give you much time to appreciate it…

Not everything is dark and scary though, the Studio Tram Tour side of the lobby building is still being given its first coat of yellow paint and, with all of its classic 1930s windows, still looks like a fairly respectible Hollywood location. Even La Terrasse is getting a Hollywood touch-up, finally receiving a fresh coast of white paint (on the right) to prepare it for its supporting role in the new Hollywood Boulevard project.

Finally, two more photos from just this week kindly sent in by Kevin, the same reader who provided us with a look at Lightning McQueen yesterday. As the unseasonal hot, sunny weather gives the perfect climate for our Californian hotel, more progress can be spotted across the building – particulatly with the separate, small tower at the front, which now has a full concrete/plaster shell over one side of its steel frame.

Putting a 183-ft Tower at the heart of the park covered in such high detail was a clever move on the Imagineers’ part – as guests wander around Walt Disney Studios now, they can’t help but almost constantly gaze upwards to the 13th floor. An exciting bit of distraction, until the rest of the park catches up…

And don’t forget, you can see even more of the Tower — including a full archive of over 240 photos from the first blow of the shovel to today — at Photos Magiques!

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