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Paris' Walt Disney Studios Park - Part 4
Page 1 of 7

by Lee MacDonald
March 5, 2002
Lee MacDonald continues his tour of the new Paris park with a look at the The Back Lot.

Part 4: The Back Lot

If you missed it, Part One, Part Two and Part Three are still available.

Beyond the Art Deco-inspired buildings of the Production Courtyard, the Soundstages of the Front Lot and the attractions of the Animation Courtyard lies the industrial Back Lot. The Back Lot is split from the rest of the Studios by massive steel gates between Rendez-vous des Stars and the Armaggedon Special Effects Attraction. All of the attraction fronts feature huge three dimensional signs covering otherwise nondescript buildings. Gone are the warm and soft peach tones of the Front Lot, giving way to the hard shades of grey that project the feeling of being in the heart of an industrial plant. Here, guests find themselves behind the scenes with technicians, special effects designers, stunt co-ordinators and producers. This is the true heart of the WDSP with the three heavyweight E-ticket attractions that are simply designed to blow guests away with their technical wizardry and awesome design philosophy.

Armaggedon: Special Effects
For several years, guests of the two Universal Studios parks in the United States have had the opportunity to experience either Twister or Backdraft depending on which coast they were visiting. These special effects attractions are at the heart of Armaggedon at the WDSP. Walt Disney, Touchstone and the now defunct Hollywood Pictures brands have all embraced the latest digital technologies to develop plotlines and convey a fictitious event to audiences. Armaggedon was one such movie. The tentpole of Touchstone Pictures in 1998, this Jerry Bruckheimer movie broke box office records on its way to the number one slot at the international box office that year. Audiences from all four corners of the planet knew of Armaggedon. This made the production perfect for a European Disney attraction.

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The Armadillo vehicle greets guests approach the Back Lot.
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Prior to entering the Back Lot, guests stumble across a full scale model of one of the two Armadillo vehicles that featured in the movie. The Armadillos were instrumental to the storyline as the vehicles that took the miners and astronauts to the implosion site on the asteroid hurtling towards earth. At the WDSP, the Armadillo can be found on a bed of molten lava, flowing under the fence from the area that is to become home to the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror in a few months. The attraction front is obscured by a giant fascia featuring the Armaggedon logo illuminated by strobe light. Posters from the movie are framed on the queue area. Even on the preview days, it was clear that the queue area was insufficient to cope with demand as load capacity on this attraction is currently running substantially below estimates. Guests are gathered in pens prior to entering one of the two pre-show areas.

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The entrance to the Special Effects Soundstage.
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