There was a time when I would defend the Backstage Studio Tram Tour attraction in Walt Disney Studios, but non working effects, dilapidated sets and stagnant themes led to not even I being able to stand behind it any longer. So the rumour coming from disneylandparisbonsplans.com that changes are on the way is a very welcome one, and one that I very much hope comes to fruition. So, what are these rumoured changes?
Star Wars in place of Dinotopia
Speaking to people I seemed to be one of the few people who knew of and watched Dinotopia, and part of an even smaller group that actually liked it. Seeing the set of Waterfall City for the first time was quite exciting, especially given the scale, and imagining Dinosaurs from the series coming through the gates. The only problem is that dinosaurs never did appear, and the whole area soon lost its appeal on subsequent rides. Its upkeep wasn’t at the top of the priority list and you would often ride past in the tram and see plants growing out of the pterodactyl statues.
Star Wars has been universally popular for almost 40 years, and is currently in a period of resurgence thanks to the upcoming 7th film in the series, The Force Awakens, which comes out on December 18th of this year. So, what set could they recreate in Disneyland Paris? As much as I’d like to start getting excited about the possibility of seeing Tatooine, Naboo, Mustafa, Hoth or other such iconic worlds, it’s more than likely it’ll be something from the new film that gets featured. If Walt Disney Imagineering are given some idea of what is planned for Episodes 8 and 9, then they’ll hopefully put in place a set that will stay relevant throughout the whole of the the new Star Wars Trilogy.
Marvel Avengers in place of Reign of Fire
Reign of Fire is another film that I always appeared to be in the minority for having both watched and enjoyed, so again, seeing the set in Walt Disney Studios was always fun. But aside from the fire of the dragon, it’s a very static set that is very indistinguishable from any other London disaster film if you don’t know the intended association with the 13 year old film.
Avengers on the other hand is one of, if not the hottest property in cinema right now, and is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is all set to keep breaking box office records for many years to come. Scenes of destruction can be seen in both Avengers film so the set should be easily changed, but we also need to see the characters. The big question is whether they will be models set in place, or whether we’ll see live action characters moving around the set. I’d obviously go for the latter, but that may not be the most practical, but would be far more appealing and marketable.
Cars in place of Catastrophe Canyon
There’s no denying the popularity of the Cars franchise, whose appeal to young boys comes maybe more from the associated merchandise than the films, though both are very popular in our house. But does a computer generated film really belong on a ride that recreates actual sets? I realise that most of Dinotopia was also CGI, but the actors were real and the impression of reality was there. Cars is a 100% cartoon world, with no actual people, no actual props and no physical sets. It feels, in theory, a bit out of place between human acted franchises such as Star Wars and Avengers.
Moving on, I can imagine they will keep the disaster elements that make Catastrophe Canyon so interesting, and then theme to Cars. It’s the most exciting part of the whole ride so to get rid of it would be foolish, and a waste of what I can imagine was a very expensive set to produce. I can’t think of anything in either of the films that lends itself to this setting, but having something inspired by rather than just a copy of something from the films would be better anyway – gives us something new. It will be nice to combine the great effects on show with something people recognise from an actual film.
The rumours don’t mention any dates, but with main Star Wars films planned for 2015, 2017 and 2019, with new Avengers films in 2018 and 2019, anytime in the next 4+ years would benefit from these franchises having huge press coverage. There’s also a third Cars film on the way, but as yet we don’t know when. These changes will most certainly turn an old, tired, and often ignored attraction into arguably one of the top must do tings in the whole of Disneyland Paris. While I don’t think Cars fits, I can understand it’s commercial value, and along with Star Wars and Avengers, Studio Tram Tour will have more mass appeal than any other attraction on the resort.