So the next big new attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park will just be a straight clone of the Californian version, will it? No, not quite... This third edition of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has arrived in Paris via Tokyo DisneySea no less, and it looks as if a little of that Japanese park's infamous eye for detail has already rubbed off on the façade of our future Hollywood Tower Hotel...,
The attraction as a whole is still progressing well, gaining more yellow decay and stronger purple lightning bolts by the day. The space between the two collapsed corridors on the front of the hotel has been filled with pale yellow paint and brickwork details in its “cracked” plaster covering, and the final piece of the Tower yet to receive any paint – the far left section of its rear wall – has finally begun to receive the final Hollywood Tower Hotel treatment.
The photo above right above shows red tubes carrying the wires for the famous signage of “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” to sit upon its façade and be illuminated throughout each night, complete with several faulty letters. Everything looks right on track to give us the Tower of Terror we’ve known for over three years in California.
Well, maybe not… We already knew that the Paris tower being built using concrete rather than a steel frame was a big difference in construction, and that some extra support details under each wing of the 13th floor would help die-hard fans tell the two Towers apart. Then there’s Hollywood Boulevard, adding a whole different layout and surrounding area to the fictional hotel.
Now, further changes have been spotted across the front of the Tower, adding in extra details and reworking those already seen in the California original. Following their 1950s roots as movie-makers at heart, the Imagineers appear to be producing a nice little “director’s cut” of the quickly-built Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) production.
What’s in a director’s cut? Maybe some details you couldn’t stretch the budget to afford first time around, like these bright new turqoise tiles now surrounding the widest dome of the Art Deco building in its Paris form. Taking a look back to many of the attraction’s early concepts produced for Paris, the dome does appear to feature a tiled surround. Yet, like those Art Deco supports for its two wings, they were left on the editing room floor for California…
After five years, Walt Disney Studios is a much wiser little park. This place has seen the work on its Toon Studio, it knows what Imagineering can achieve, and apparently it won’t settle for “as good as California” anymore. When a director like George Lucas revises his work with better details the fans revolt, but comparing the details of the DCA and WDS Towers above, it’s unlikely the Imagineers will receive the same reaction.
The pale purple sides to Anaheim’s broken Tower walls reveal plain bricks behind the large pieces of remaining plastering. In Paris, scaffolding has been taken down to reveal an incredibly detailed new version of the same idea. Plain walls (originally constructed with grey breeze blocks, as in California) are themed to red and grey coloured bricks, dotted with pieces of plaster which look as if they’re about to crumble away any second. A dusty treatment has been placed on top, and the sides of the Tower appear overall far more believably derelict and subsequently far more frightening upon approach.
Perhaps all of these details were planned from the outset, but simply scaled back on the DCA version? Whatever the story, subtle details like the dislodged and eskewed bricks at the corner of the wing only add to the clever reworking of their first-build. It’s now no wonder that the Paris attraction has long been rumoured to hold a budget way above its 2004 predecessor, and not only due to the higher construction costs in France.
Although no major changes are expected inside the attraction, with an exterior becoming as rich in detail and quality as this, it’s no surprise they want it to stand as the Studios’ answer to Sleeping Beauty Castle.