Palm trees over Disney Studios Paris

Friday, 19th October 2007 at 20:49

ImageHollywood just wouldn't be Hollywood without its palm trees. Yesterday, the first four of many giant palms were planted (or rather, "installed") in their new home at Walt Disney Studios Park, lining one side Hollywood Boulevard. It's remarkable what a few tropical trees can do to a skyline...,

Back in 1999, when the ‘Disney Studios Paris’ project was first finalised and announced, you could say they left something rather important out of those original plans. When the average European thinks of a movie studio, they think of Hollywood. When they think of Hollywood, they imagine tall palm trees, towering into the sky…

Yet, once past the smaller and more hardy Chinese ‘Trachycarpus’ palms (thanks, Wikipedia!) found throughout Front Lot, ignoring the two or three palms of similar species next to Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, the main body of the park lacked the lush exoticism usually associated with the world of moviemaking.

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Yesterday, the central, most important area of Walt Disney Studios Park finally took its climate beyond the bounds of Marne-la-Vallée, France. Along the left hand-side of Hollywood Boulevard, four giant palm trees now reach high into the sky as tall, almost, as the placemaking buildings they surround, seen here in photos by member Silver at Disney Central Plaza forum.

Immediately, if you can ignore the grey Marne-la-Vallée skies, the new developments are transported to an exotic, sun-kissed Hollywood setting. Finally, the heart of ‘Disney Studios Paris’ has the power to make us believe, for a second, that we might not be in Paris. And all acheived with four fake palm trees?

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Yes, they’re fake. But not only because species such as these (they appear most similar to Washingtonia robusta, found in both Southern California and Florida) would never grow in Paris.

Look a little closer and it becomes clear the trees have actually been “designed” to shrink in both their height and size as they go further along the boulevard, helping the forced perspective of the background sets at the far end of the street. The tree nearest to Disney Bros Plaza is much larger than those which follow, also providing a perfect silhouette against the façade of Tower of Terror to immediately evoke a more exotic climate when guests step into the park.

A matching series of faux palms should frame the right-hand side of the boulevard once construction on the Gone Hollywood storefront moves forward a little more. Not satisfied with fake palms? The developments will also include several new or redeveloped planters around the area, filled with real palms in the same variety of those surrounding Crush’s Coaster — a couple are already planted, behind the fences.

It might finally be time to say goodbye to our old, deciduous Studios and welcome a park which will have the glamour and greenery of Hollywood, all year round…

( Photos by Silver, Disney Central Plaza forum )

Look out for a major photo update of the latest Hollywood Boulevard contruction this weekend!

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