Kerr's Corner

Kerr's Corner is a regular feature in East Antrim and Newtownabbey editions of The Wizard. David Kerr would like to hear your memories of life in your own area. Maybe you'll trigger some thoughts for a future column. kerrscorner@ulsteronline.org.uk

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Walt Disney Studios Park

John Field visits Disneyland Paris

TOWARDS the end of last year, four of us – two adults and two children – visited Disneyland Paris. We stayed at the three star My Travel’s Explorers Hotel.

On the first full day of our holiday we decided to visit the main Disneyland Park. It was absolutely amazing. We had just never come across anything like this before - there’s almost too much to see and do. In the evening we visited the Disney Village. This is a vast area situated in the heart of the Disney resort. It’s full of shops, themed restaurants, bars, a nightclub and a multiscreen cinema. Like all of Disney, there was a fantastic family atmosphere.

On our second day we travelled into central Paris itself. Here we spent most of the day visiting the Eiffel Tower and travelling up and down the River Seinne on a tour boat.

We’d decided to set aside the third day – Wednesday – to visit he Walt Disney Studios Park. The main idea of the Walt Disney Studios Park is to give a ‘behind the scenes’ account of how films are produced. It was something that I, in particular, was really looking forward to.

The Walt Disney Studios Park is situated right beside the main Disneyland Park. Therefore, it’s just a short ten-minute ride from the Explorers Hotel on the free shuttle bus.

We found that the queues for the Walt Disney Studios Park were only about half the size of those we’d previously encountered at the Disneyland Park. We’re still not too sure if this is always the case - or maybe that we’d visited Disneyland Park whilst the Halloween celebrations were on.

As one of our group was a special needs child, we visited the information office at the Studios Park. Like the Disneyland Park, we had to show our Blue European Disability card and in turn they provided us with a Disneyland disability pass. This pass enabled us to get on the various rides and attractions without having to join the main queue.

Our first port of call was Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic. This enabled us to see costumes, props and vehicles from various Disney films. It also included a visit to Catastrophe Canyon, which is a full film set. This gives a fantastic insight into how disaster sequences are planned, produced and filmed. I’ll not give the Catastrophe Canyon plot away, but it features an petrol delivery truck, a fiery inferno and thousands upon thousands of litres of water!! It’s an experience not to be missed. It left our hearts racing – and this was just the first trip of the day!

There are lots of main attractions at the Walt Disney Studios Park, but keep an eye open especially for the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Armageddon Special Effects, Moeteurs … Action! Stunt Show Spectacular and Cinemagique.

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster is a tribute to Aerosmith. As such it’s very loud and brash: “Buckle up for the ultimate rock ‘n’ rolling adventure, a lightning fast journey through the high-amped world of rock music. You’ll ride the music with 120 onboard speakers and more G-force that an astronaut experiences! As the music rocks you’ll hurtle from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds, into hairpin turns and heart-stopping drops, upside down through a state of the art rock video. Awesome!!”

I can safely testify that this is one of the most hair-raising – yet thrilling – rides I’ve ever been on. And I was mad enough to do it twice!!

We visited Armageddon Special Effects next. This was a space station set from the film Armageddon. Again I’ll not give the too much away, but here’s a tip - just make sure you’re wearing a pair of shoes or trainers with a good grip on them!

For us, the greatest attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Park was Moteurs … Action! Stunt Show Spectacular. Set in the quiet streets of a small Mediterranean village, it shows how various stunts are produced and carried out. The stunts include exciting car chases, people falling from roofs and motorcycles crashing through windows. The professionalism of the stunt men has to be seen to be believed. We particularly liked how the audience was encouraged to participate – some actually become actors in the film! A running commentary is provided and all the action is shown on the big screen. This is an absolutely brilliant show; it really will take your breath away.

After the thrills and spills of Moteurs … Action! unwind for a while at Cinemagique. This is a film journey through time from silent to modern day blockbusters. We’d thought that this’d take the form of a documentary, but it’s actually a love story, which very cleverly uses clips from various films through the years. Keep your eyes out for some wonderful special effects – although you’ll hardly miss one involving a massive sword!

The Walt Disney Studios Park was not ‘full on’ as the main Disneyland Park, and made for a much more relaxed day. We returned tired and weary but totally happy to our hotel.
Are we going back? You bet!

Check out the main Disneyland Paris web-site at:http://www.disneylandparis.com/uk/introduction.htm?c=uk&l=uk

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