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Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic at Walt Disney StudiosLast updated by Adam on Wednesday, November 06, 2013 17:40
Submitted by Nick on Tuesday, June 05, 2012 12:51
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Walt Disney Studios
Universal Studios Hollywood popularised the behind-the-scenes movie studio tram tour, and it was inevitable that Walt Disney Studios would receive its own version. However, as the park doesn’t actually host a working studio, the tour is made up largely of transplanted sets from Disney movies and one major set-piece.
Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic departs from the Hollywood Boulevard area. Guests board trams that can hold up to 168 guests, each of which is equipped with video screens that play commentary in multiple languages (Jeremy Irons provides the English voiceover). These pass two large-scale sets. The first is from Dinosaur, a Disney movie released in 2000 that combined live-action with computer-generated prehistoric creatures. The second is a semi-destroyed area of London from 2002’s Reign of Fire.
The tour’s headline element is the Catastrophe Canyon special effects scene, which is a clone of the original at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This uses a combination of a moving platform, vast quantities of water and pyrotechnic effects to simulate a devastating flood.
The Studio Tram Tour previously featured a slightly longer route that included a trip past an aircraft hangar from “Pearl Harbor”. This was curtailed in 2009 in order to make room for the Toy Story Playland area.Review:
Inevitably, the lack of actual movie production facilities at Walt Disney Studios takes some of the magic away from this “insider” tour. The ageing nature of the two large sets (does anyone even remember Dinosaur these days?) doesn’t help, and when compared to Universal Studios Hollywood’s tour this is almost an embarrassment.
Thankfully, Catastrophe Canyon is a pretty decent attraction in its own right. While you’ll learn little about the art of movie-making from witnessing the carnage on show, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the sheer scale of the effects. You’ll also scratch your head in amazement that the entire scene is able to be reset between each tram passing through.
Really, though, the Studio Tram Tour is desperately in need of an upgrade. With the Disneyland Resort Paris promising to invest significant funds on new attractions at Walt Disney Studios, we hope its management will set aside some money to bring this past-its-sell-by-date tour up to standard.Top Tip:
The Studio Tram Tour typically opens slightly later than the rest of the park. Ask a Cast Member at the entrance gate when it is due to start operations, and ride as early as possible to avoid a queue.
Upcoming refurbishments, rehabs and closures
We are not aware of any scheduled refurbishment periods for Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic. Do you know of any upcoming "rehabs" that we're missing? If so - please contact us so that we can keep the list up-to-date.