Imagine the scene… on the night of 12th April 2007, all of the resort’s attractions and famous locations join together for one amazing 15th Anniversary party. As Big Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean look as fresh as ever and Le Château shows off its new bling, the young upstarts of Walt Disney Studios (Aerosmith and Julie from the TV Tour?) really show how to get a party started. The Disney Hotels play the sleeping aunts and uncles in the corner, whilst those strange new neighbours from Val de France cause more than a few frowns from the Disney classics. Meanwhile, spare a thought for Disney Village – sobbing in the street. Those fifteen years haven’t been kind to everyone. Time for drastic measures? Well, only as far as the budget will stretch…
In truth, the Village seems to have been preparing for this dreaded event for quite some time. A series of refurbishments, repaints and redecorations began way back in 2005, and has since come in sudden surges every few months. Usually met by howls and scowls from fans (who disliked the original design yet appear to hate the new one even more), the refresh has sought to bring more colour, life and Disney atmosphere to the Village – whilst systematically moving every possible hint of the ’90s.
Short of demolishing the entire Frank Gehry-conceived distict, though, there’s only so far this can go. Recently, it means removing the tired old facades and replacing them with fresh paint and simple signs, such as the Team Mickey makeover. Last on the tick-list: Disney Store, which began its renewal around two weeks ago.
The original pastel-coloured Union Station and Grand Central Station façades have been removed and the building patched-up ready for repainting. Since the “Mount Disney Store” side (opposite Sports Bar) was repainted over a year ago now, this will remain in place.
It doesn’t seem certain that the Disney Store’s new façade will feature a similar American theme, though the design of the boutique has always been quite mismatched. Originally, the “Space” theme from inside continued into the street, with Mickey riding a spaceship atop a giant steel pillar stretching across the street.
Rumours spread several months ago, when the World of Toys and Hollywood Pictures received their new paint, that the buildings could be decorated in large murals of Disney characters. Since these have yet to appear, it would be nice to think Disney Store could be their host. But, as ever, we’ll have to wait and see. The surgery seems to have at least restored some confidence in the Village, which has finally joined the 15th with special window decorations throughout all of its stores (photo 4 above).
So, anyone planning a ’90s revival in Disney Village over the next two weeks had better think again. Put away your flourescent clothing, your Power Rangers dolls and your Cher cassette and enjoy a Disney Village that’s as hip and modern as it ever was. Just don’t mention the 90s are fashionable again.
Photos 1& 2: DLRP Today; Photos 3 & 4: Joel.