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Building and illuminating three new attractions

Monday, 8th January 2007 at 18:11

The final two articles in Le Parisien's series of five, covering the people working on the 15th Anniversary backstage, first look at the co-ordination of the huge construction project, and then at illuminating the finished attractions. They don't divulge quite as many details as earlier articles, but I've fully translated them for you all the same.,

Article 4 is a quick look at the two main construction sites at Walt Disney Studios Park, whilst article 5 is perhaps more interesting – a look at the lighting design of the new attractions, in particular Cars Race Rally. Lighting engineer Tracy Eck confirms the small Radiator Springs reproduction will feature “lots of neons”, just as in the Pixar film.

It should be noted that the Tower of Terror story described in article 4 is incorrect – there is no fire, although the pre-show video does show a family entering the Twilight Zone. You can find the true story here.

Series: Backstage at Disneyland Paris (4/5)

Three new attractions this year

To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris, the park’s teams at Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) are assembling themselves ready.

For the 15th Anniversary, there are three names to remember. Cars, Nemo and Tower of Terror. The three names of the new attractions of Disney. Confirmed in 2004 as the gifts of a relaunch of the resort, the first two will be unveiled in June with the final following in late 2007 or early 2008. Construction is in progress, and, with Roland Kleve as our guide, we have exceptionally been able to visit two. For more than a year, this tall 43-year old Dutch man has coordinated the works, which requires knowing scores of companies inside and out.

“TOT” as the specialists on the project say (the attraction already exists in the US and Japan), promises some truly strong sensations. “In 1939, this grand hotel was hit by a lightning bolt” recounts Roland, whilst climbing the steps of the 57m high tower. “There was a fire on the 13th floor and a family remains trapped.” Guests are invited to step into one of three elevators. Possessed elevators. “In the US, we built it in metal, but in France this is not allowed” assures Roland. “A blow, since to pour the concrete structure, we had to keep going for 45 days without stopping” he bellows, himself amazed.

Several metres away, behind tall construction walls, a self-contained world is in the process of being made inside the Studios, the second park opened by Mickey for his tenth anniversary in France. Here we find a first, developed especially for France. Crush’s Coaster, from the world of Finding Nemo. Developed with Pixar Animation Studios thanks to a computer generated simulation, it promises to match the love for Space Mountain. “It’s a small roller coaster which hides countless surprises” announces Roland with his particular style. Seated in the shell of a turtle, we pass by coral before diving into the blackness of the ocean, where familiar fish lead you to places where undersea monters lie in wait amongst the wrecks. At the half-way point, the shell begins to spin on itself when, right ahead… drop! This is the key to the ride, and won’t be revealed!

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today, Scan: Narindra, DCP forum
Series: Backstage at Disneyland Paris (5/5)

She illuminates the world of Mickey

For the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris, which will be celebrated from 1st April 2007, today we conclude our series of profiles on those who, in the shadows, are preparing the festivities.

If there was a department happy with the thick cloud that regularly covers the sky over the theme park resort, this has to be the one. Tracy Eck is responsible for lighting design at Disneyland Paris, in particular one of those who will “theatricalise” the three new attractions inaugerated this year: Crush’s Coaster, Tower of Terror (see the previous article), and Cars. Unlike the themeing, which can be hidden by a grey blanket, thick fogs can be the accomplice of a lighting designer. “They define the lights” smiles the 45-year old American, educated at the Théâtre national de Strasbourg. “In fog, an illuminated neon produces an immediate effect. The only thing which annoys me is when it reveals a beam of light we tried to hide.”

“The most effective and economical lighting possible”

Being a lighting engineer at Disneyland Paris is equivalent almost to being a magician. To have the result without revealing the illusion. Of the 2,500 points of lighting being installed, two thirds will be invisible. For Crush’s Coaster, spotlights, bulbs and filters will go to recreate bubbles and swirls. The auto racecourse of Cars presents the difficulty of being entirely outside. Drawn from the success of the eponymous Pixar Studios, it is in the process of being constructed amongst rocks coloured with hot, ochre tones. “Cars is a gift to light,” exlaims Tracy. “We have specially conceived two large lights, and there will be lots of neons. Radiator Springs has all the charm of the time when Route 66 made dreams. It was the first time you could go from Chicago, my home town, to the West coast of the United States.”

To create this atmosphere, as well as the Art Deco walls lights and chandliers which decorate the interior of the Tower of Terror, Tracy spent nine months in California. “The majority of our materials are European, but some products are coming from the United States. We exchange a huge amount of information, and our data bank is communal for all the Disney parks. We work on the main design, making sure it fits with the time period, and then we study the lighting which will be the most effective yet the most economical.” With 300,000 lighting points, of which 100,000 for parades, they can’t have the bulbs burning out every two months!

Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today, Scan: Narindra, DCP forum

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