Being a theme park geek I pick up on a lot of things in attractions. Not just the elaborate theme’s that are standard in Disney Parks but also the things that are there for other reasons, for example to help Cast Members get their job done. This blog is based around one of those features at the Armageddon Effects Spectacular at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Resort Paris.
After waiting outside of the attraction whilst the group before you finish their pre-show the doors open to the Studio for you to enter and have the same experience. After entering through the doors find your position in the pre-show room then turn around and look back at the doors, specifically above them. There you’ll see a small electronic billboard with scrolling text (in French) and as with everything in Disney’s attractions there’s a good reason why it’s there.
Continue looking at the sign throughout the pre-show. You’ll soon see why it’s there. The text on the sign changes in correspondence with sections of the pre-show. As this pre-show is a particularly elaborate one, with a number of effects in the room itself as well as video footage it’s important that the Cast Member ensures his spiel doesn’t over-run the time so he either gets interrupted by the automated parts of the pre-show or interrupts the pre-show features himself.
It’s fairly simple really, but highly effective. Each time the Cast Member needs to do a certain section of the pre-show a small phrase appears to remind him of the spiel he needs to do and there’s a timer on the side so they can know exactly how long the speil should take. This ensures everything runs like clockwork, as it should at all Disney attractions around the world.
So next time your in Walt Disney Studios go over to the Armageddon attraction and see for yourself some simple, yet very clever, imagineering in action.