When you think of Disneyland, you think of Main Street leading to the castle. Before they visit Disney, few people even know that the Studios park even exists. The park has the most modern rides and some wonderful experiences, however, many people walk away feeling underwhelmed. The theming at the main park contains so much detail you wonder why many elements of this park lack character.
To be fair to Disney, the Backlot area is perfectly themed like a backlot of a working studios. Whoever thought that this would be a fun feature was a little misguided, as a working backlot is functional and dull by design. It is the equivalent of making you sit in the kitchen of a restaurant rather than letting you sit in the elegent dining room.
So how do we add life into the studios park. Here are my quick fixes to bring new life into the studios park.
The right hand side of the park has an identity crisis. The rides are based around animated films and have zones labelled Toon Studio and Toy story land. These dont feel in keeping with the studios concept and so this area feels disjointed, like a series of afterthoughts trying to improve the park.
A simple way to do this, would be to call this area Pixar Land. Pixar is a film studio so it makes sense to use it in the Studios park. They already have the rides based on Cars, Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Ratatouille. There is even a small Monsters Inc area. This simple change would give definition to this area. The meet and great area could focus on Pixar characters. Adding in some extra posters throughout the queue systems, showing concept art or the filming process would make people feel more engaged with the studios concept.
Restaurant de la stars is a buffet restaurant that unfortunately lacks stars. It is calling out for a character dining experience. When you go to Disney you are hoping for an experience that you cannot get anywhere else. Adding in characters from films would give new life to this dated restaurant. The restaurant is just bland looking, with no character or special features. Maybe in the future we could see a Restaurant de la Star Wars, especially considering the Season of the Force is looking likely to be a returning yearly feature.
The food in general is lacking within the Studios park. There is a fairly decent quick service area selling burgers and pizzas just after the main entrance, located within studio one. However the rest of the park is lacking in choice. The only place really worth visiting is Bistro Chez Remy, located in the newest area of the park, the Ratatouille area. With this Bistro Disney have hit the nail on the head. Truly amazing theming and a lovely atmosphere makes this one of the best places to eat at Disneyland Paris. The set menu may be a little restrictive but the quality of the steak makes a visit here well worth the extra pennies.
The tram tour is one of those attractions that promises much from the name but fails to deliver. Those that have queued for any amount of time over 10 minutes understand why the faces of those coming off the ride simply show relief that it is finally over. THe ride has one good feature, the first thing you see is the well known scene containing the downpour of water which even today is quite amazing and thrilling. The problem comes with the rest of the ride.
The narration is corny and outdated, almost boring. Sections have been removed, such as the costume department drive through, even though the commentary is still there, which makes no sense to the rider. The references to movies and movie memorabilia is pretty shocking, I doubt many people remember or even know of Disney’s Dinotopia to even care.
The tour needs drastic updating. The final part of the attraction is a devastated London scene from the Reign of Fire, for those that do not know this was a movie about dragons. I would like to see this area morphed into a new Avengers scene, something that would not be too hard to do and would atleast bring the tour up to date with newer more relevant movies.
You can instantly improve the atmosphere in the Studios park by adding some streetmosphere. Perhaps just by adding some interaction for guests would make a huge difference. During the Season of the Force, the sight of storm troopers marching and patrolling certainly added some excitement to the area. The parks atmosphere sometimes feels a little still and sombre and this is something Disney should address, particularly as closing Cinemagique has created a large dead space in the corner of the park.
Despite all of these suggestions the Studios park is well worth a visit. It may not be everyones cup of tea but it does have a certain charm to it and a few little gems that makes the visit worth while.