Today is the day! For the first time perhaps since 1994's Storybook Land at Disneyland Park, guests have a brand new themed area to explore... The skies over Marne-la-Vallée may be cloudy and overcast, but the sun is shining on Walt Disney Studios Park as the Toon Studio area finally opened to the public - today! The best part? One half of our partner site Photos Magiques was there to capture it all!,
You can hop over to Photos Magiques now and see all 40+ photos of the new land, or stay with us for a guided commentary of the area – the themes, the details and even a few in-jokes…
First things first – the attractions aren’t officially open yet. Unless you’re part of a special preview group invited to the park, chances of getting a ride on either Cars Quatre Roues Rallye or Crush’s Coaster are pretty hit and miss. Signs featuring the new Toon Studio logo have been placed at the entrances, similar to those used outside Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast last year.
The entire street between Disney Bros Plaza and Studio Tram Tour has now been enclosed by construction fences for Hollywood Boulevard, and so Toon Studio is currently simply the main through-route to the Studios’ current most popular attraction behind.
But that’s not to say Disneyland Resort Paris aren’t already using Toon Studio to its full advantage – the Toon Studio entrance gate area was already populated by some Disney Characters today, not to mention an impressive crowd of – what look like – fairly impressed guests. Heading toward the gate from the entrance of Cars, the planters and twisted lampposts surround the paths and give plenty of new walkways around the area – very different to the wide open spaces of the ‘old’ Studios.
The area currently features two simple photo locations, with backdrops attached to steel frames and canopies over the characters dotted with toon-style lighting. The Incredibles on the left, and a backdrop featuring Mickey’s Toon Town house on the right, both surrounded by permanent orange fences. You can also spot smaller details such as the new blue lamps installed either side of the Toon Studio gates and a familiar abode up in the Toon Town hills – just above Mr Incredible’s canopy, it’s Mickey’s house!
Walking around to the gate itself, we can see the forcd perspective in full effect. This is infact more than a flat backdrop – characters enter the park here for their meet ‘n’ greets – but with some clever design of the 2D buildings either side, it really messes with your eyes to give the effect of a road stretching toward the hills. Off in “the distance” then is Goofy, driving out of control along the street towards us. You can also see details like “Toon Town Skool”.
One detail that seems to bug fans already is that the ‘Toon Studio’ letters point inwards rather than toward the street as would be logical and was shown in the concept art. Remember, though, that the secuirty booth in front also technically faces the wrong direction – this entrance is clearly all for the cameras.
As are the characters themselves, populating the studio throughout the day…
…And when they’re done filming for the day, they head off back to Toon Town. A sign on the gate warns of the strange divide between Toon Town and the normal world – “Toons Only Beyond This Point – No Funny Business”. The Imagineers aren’t listening, though, there’s plenty of funny details to be found here…
The security booth is one of them, one of very few theme elements at the Studios that serves no real purpose other than a wonderful piece of placemaking. “Toons check in here – No admittance without pass” the notice reads, with a special ‘Toon Studio Security’ logo and a motorised barrier.
Inside the booth are even more details, including a new Cast Member costume that looks to be a funny spin on the familiar ones seen at CinéMagique, with brightly coloured buttons and a Donald Duck-styled shade on the hat. It remains to be seen if Cast Members will be lucky (or unlucky) enough to wear these somewhere else in Toon Studio.
To the left of all this area development, nearing the exit gate toward Studio Tram Tour, we can now find the old Studio Catering Co. van positioned next to Art of Disney Animation for the past five years. Its old ice cream-themed signage has been removed, however, so might be lucky enough to get a small spin on the Studio Catering Co. concept afterall.
And finally, a detail from the very first Toon Studio concept seen up-close in reality, over two years later. The new signage is themed as if painted wood, with a silver bolt on the corner. The Toon-styled hands holding the clapper didn’t make it from the latest concept, but the sign does help to build the idea in guests’ minds that this is meant to be a real Toon backlot, each corner filled with filmsets.
Beyond, Cars Race Rally sticks out of the desert canyon at an angle – an entirely different theme yet perfectly fitting in its surroundings. This area must not only be our dream but an Imagineering dream – anything is possible here. No wonder they left two empty slots on the shooting schedule!