16th June 2007. This past Saturday, the morning of the Toon Studio Press Event, guests entered Walt Disney Studios Park under the shadow of cloudy skies - the Disneyland Resort Paris press event curse had struck again! Luckily, some bright new faces from Pixar's latest were waiting to welcome, and preparations for the evening's events added a buzz of anticipation...,
The first “buzz” of anticipation comes at the Place des Freres Lumieres on Front Lot, with the park’s attraction posters on either side of Disney Studio 1 now replaced complete by giant posters advertising this year’s original comedy from Pixar Animation Studios, Ratatouille. Following the Chicken Little and Cars “billboards” which have adorned the front wall of Disney Studio 1 upon their films’ release, this marks the third time Buena Vista International (Disney’s film distribution) have taken over Disney Studio 1 with advertising for an upcoming film.
The Cars billboard in question is still very much in place, now likely seen by guests as a huge advertisement for Cars Race Rally rather than the year-old film itself. Not content with only space for two modest rotating posters, then, Buena Vista have now taken to the back wall of the soundstage, slotting a slightly more pleasant banner than the Cars billboard into the area above its entrance doors. Posters on the Toon Studio wall of Disney Studio 1, previously featuring The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, have now also been changed to Ratatouille, completing the wrap-around.
The film isn’t due for release in France until 1st August 2007, and as for the new faces of Rémy and Emile themselves, they didn’t appear until the press event itself began, after park closure. As guests enjoyed the park one week on from the opening of its first new attractions, preparations for the evening’s grand opening events couldn’t be missed:
A huge temporary entrance gate for Toon Studio was constructed several days earlier beside the Sorcerer Mickey marquee, with a blue viewing platform directly opposite beside the Hollywood Boulevard construction walls, providing a picture-perfect view through the archway to Sorcerer Mickey and the land beyond. To the left of this platform – considerably smaller than that used for the 15th Anniversary launch – a large video screen was prepared for the event, showing 15th Anniversary and Tower of Terror trailers during the normal park hours.
Next to the canyon of Cars Race Rally, lighting rigs and signage was in place ready for one of the evening’s star entertainment attractions – The Radiator Springs Band, an authentic American rock band who would later perform road classics and motoring hits from the film itself. Over at the attraction, filming equipment was fitted to the front of one red vehicle, allowing the resort’s own Audio-Visual teams to capture photos and video of guests and VIPs enjoying the attraction later.
Toon Studio itself closed at 4pm to allow final preparations for the event to get well underway. This closure was announced every half hour across the park, whilst the closure of Disney Studio 1 at 5pm was noted on special signs at its entrance.
With “only” 700 invited press and VIPs for the Toon Studio Press Event, it was classed by Disneyland Resort Paris as only a “minor” launch, especially compared to the huge 1700-strong crowd invited to the main 15th Anniversary launch back at the end of March. With such a commitment to the event, however, and some truly fun and entertaining ideas (as we’ll see in following articles), this “minor” event gives great hope for what we might expect of a “major” attraction launch, such as a certain Tower in just over six months…
All photos by Photos Magiques.