On Jan. 5, guests visiting Walt Disney Studios Park were able to take one last ride on the Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic.
Located in the Production Courtyard, the tram tour took guest on an escorted behind-the-scenes tour of Walt Disney Studios Park. The 18-minute tour included close-up looks at actual movie sets, props, vehicles, and an exciting special effects display. Two international celebrities, Irene Jacob (French host) and Jeremy Irons (English host) narrated the tour through a video. When the ride first opened, it even took guests through the park’s Costuming workshop.
The attraction is based on its predecessor, which was at the then-named Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios), which opened in 1989. The version of the attraction at Disneyland Paris featured the addition of video monitors on each tram car that allowed for video presentations and film clips to be shown at key points along the tour.
Highlights of the tram tour included seeing parts of productions like “Dinotopia,” “Pearl Harbor,” and “Reign of Fire.” Guests also learned what “hot set” means, thanks to the explosive Catastrophe Canyon. This highly-specialized outdoor set showed just how large-scale special effects are staged for film, including fire, an earthquake, and a flash flood.
The attraction was divided up into six distinct scenes, where cast members would provide riders with information on how a studio works and how films are made:
- The Woods – An outdoor filming location that features many sets used in actual production. Before the ride closed, it featured a plane used in “Pearl Harbor” and a large-scale model from “Armageddon.”
- Prop Storage – Oversized film props were stored in this outdoor area. The props would change, depending on the most recent productions. On the ride’s opening day, the area featured props from “Dinotopia,” “102 Dalmatians,” and CineCatta Studios in Italy.
- “Dinotopia” Set – The art of “compositing” (mixing built sets with digital effects) was showcased in this area. Guests would visit part of the Waterfall City set, the main setting of the production. When it was built at Pinewood Studios in London, it was the largest set ever built in Europe. Videos on the tram illustrated how this set was combined with computer-generated imagery to create a mythical city populated by dinosaurs.
- Catastrophe Canyon – Here, a combination of special effects was unleashed to show how natural disasters are staged for the cameras. The canyon’s flood was created by releasing 265,000 liters (about 70,000 gallons) of water from three large tanks located at the top of the set, though some of the water was also shot out of air cannons. The hydraulic shaking tables used to simulate the earthquake were so powerful that a tram car could tip over the safety rail and tumble into the canyon if they were used at their maximum power.
- Star Cars – A collection of famous vehicles were parked in the “Star Car” garage. The vehicles there changed over the years depending on current productions, but this area typically displayed cars from “Runaway Bride,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Reign of Fire,” and more.
- Reign of Fire – Surrounded by sets from the film “Reign of Fire,” guests would get a surprise visit from a fire-breathing dragon. Guests would see the sets as they were before the dragon attack, and then witness the destruction left in its wake.
This summer, a new experience will replace Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic. Guests of all ages will buckle up for an exciting journey on Route 66 with characters from Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” as they discover the natural and mechanical wonders of the Mother Road.
Check out our video of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic below: