Lightning strikes, Tower bolts ahead

Thursday, 12th July 2007 at 16:57

ImageOur updates for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror seem to have been lost in that infamous 5th Dimension lately. So, from now on, we solemnly promise to report every lick of paint, every terracotta roof tile and every piece of cracked brickwork added to the Tower. Well, almost. After all, it's not every year we have a $160million, 183-ft tall E-Ticket opening at Walt Disney Studios, is it?,

The Tower is big, easily the tallest building on this side of Marne-la-Vallée. It’s no wonder then that it was recently struck by lightning – not once, but twice – leaving two nasty purple scorch marks above the two elevator openings on its left side.

No, of course this is pure fiction, but the Tower certainly has “bolted” ahead recently, especially since our last update in May. Back then, we spotted the first cracks in the building’s Pueblo Deco façade. Guests at the park today can see broken brickwork, crumbling walls, scorch marks, balconies, terracotta roof tiles and more. It may be big, but right now it’s all about the smallest of details.

23rd June 2007

Let’s step back a couple of weeks to the last Photos Magiques update, before then getting right up-to-date with some July photos and seeing the kind of progress made in that two-week period inbetween.

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Steel frames were construction around each elevator opening a little similar to the ones used to construct the rockwork of Crush’s Coaster. Most of them covered with plaster and concrete, they’re now the fictional walls and floors of the hotel wing destroyed by the lightning strike. Each one has had the edges of a brickwork pattern etched into its design – a detail that will actually be hardly visible once the final coats of ageing dirt and scorches are added on top.

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Lower down, the roof of the showbuilding/boiler room/show scenes is showing what those brickwork patterns will soon look like. The bricks here, though, are real, with extra broken bricks and crumbling pieces added on top as if you’re looking at a pile of debris from the former wing above.

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Roof tiles have completely covered the front wing of the hotel, and the lobby roof below is slowly being covered. The real leap here is for the small art deco tower to one side of the lobby. Just a steel frame like the Hollywood Boulevard sets less than two months ago, it’s now a finished piece of the building, blended seamlessly in with yellow colour, window panes and dome. This certainly gives hope for the speed of Hollywood Boulevard’s façades.

The Finished Attraction

And interlude from the construction, and just incase the Twilight Zone has made your memory a little fuzzy, this is what we’ll be looking at in less than six months…

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Notice that the edges of the demolished wing around the elevator openings double-up as positions for the on-ride photo cameras, themed to split and torn drainpipes.

No word yet on when the famous lettering of “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” will arrive, but it probably won’t be at least until the themeing behind it on the front of the Tower is complete, and the current service lift and scaffolding removed.

8th July 2007

And now here we are two weeks later, the height of 2007’s wonderful Summer weather and with a Tower appearing ever closer to the finished article above in these photos by Disneytheque.com. The changes aren’t massive, but every time you look at the Tower, it always looks a tiny bit more like The Hollywood Tower Hotel we know.

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In two weeks, some of the last spots of bare concrete on the Tower were finally covered over, between the two sets of elevator doors on the left of the building. Like the rest of the flat concrete walls in this section of the building, false brickwork has been etched or painted into the design, to give the effect of peeled plasterwork on the Pueblo Deco architecture. The fact that it will be barely noticable once the heavy dark purple scorches are added shows a real commitment to detail.

Around the openings, the basic plaster and concrete of the building edges has been finished, now awaiting darker colours and blast marks.

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Below, the lobby roof has had its roof tiling completed and the small deco tower has an older yellow colour to its rounded centre. In the foreground of the photo above, you can spot the frame of the tunnel (Studio Tram Tour’s new entrance) to be featured at the end Hollywood Boulevard, showing its proximity to the Tower. The concrete construction at the bottom of the photo is likely the Fastpass area, themed to a luggage drop-off/bus stop. With the entire middle of the park now closed for construction, photos from this angle have become much harder.

The second photo shows a new art deco detail around the large dome at the front of the building, surrounding it with tall, stepped features in the unmistable modern deco style. Something that has been on the California tower all along but you might never have noticed.

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The Tower still has a few patches of bare concrete left, most noticably right atop the windows of the 13th floor and around the circular top of the maintenance staircase (lower left). The darker yellow colours strangely cut off just after the third window down, leaving a pale stretch that goes right across to the “overhang”.

The final photo is a new favourite spot – you might have thought with Toon Studio finished its time as a place for construction photos was over. Well, you’d be wrong. There’s something oddly nice about the view of the Tower through the telegraph poles and Leaning Tower of Tires at Cars Race Rally.

For once at Walt Disney Studios Park, you’re not in the world as you know it.

Photos by Photos Magiques and Disneytheque, you can see more at each source.

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