It has always been a point of both positive and negative that Front Lot is by far the most beautiful of all the Walt Disney Studios Park lands. Fantastic that the second gate gives such a good first impression, a disappointment that the rest of the park doesn’t follow the same level. Of course, there’s a reason beyond the strict budget… movie studios have traditionally always had extravagant, glossy facades at their entrance and administration area, before quickly becoming simple soundstage complexes beyond.
And so, for this latest, large-scale refurbishment, only the best will do! It’s out with the asphalt and in with hundreds, thousands of coloured bricks. The work isn’t due to be fully completed until late May or June, and now we can see why. The flooring will keep a pattern (though not necessarily identical to the original), but the patchy and worn-out asphalt is now high quality bricks similar to those used on the new central esplanade in December 2005.
The new path meets up perfectly with the existing compass design of the esplanade’s hub, and begins with larger bricks around the security check area. Around half of the bricks have currently been laid, with the work breaking in half to allow guest glow before beginning again right at the Studio gates – this time with far smaller and different coloured bricks.
Similar work is expected to begin this week inside the park itself, as the black tarmac of Toon Studio is finally replaced with a lighter colour, reportedly actual paving and large flagstone tiles.
As we’ve been seeing for several weeks, the amount of construction walls throughout the resort is truly at an all time high. Most noticable of all are probably those surrounding the Disneyland Park entrance, Fantasia Gardens. Work here is centering on replacement of lamps, tidying of gardens and the refurbishment and repainting of the several tired gazebos.
The work isn’t necessarily as major as that in front of Walt Disney Studios, but the prominent location and design of the gardens gives it much more of an impact on guests. Luckily, the resort are well on top of their game – almost every construction fence (and that goes for those inside both parks, too) is now sporting a special sign proclaiming “More magic is being prepared for the 15th Anniversary” and to “Join us from 1st April 2007”.
Most (if not all) of the work around Fantasia Gardens is due to be complete by late this month, just in time for the anniversary launch, though it remains to be seen if the iconic Disneyland Hotel and busy esplanade area will get any hint of the anniversary. We’ve seen the number “15” pop up in almost every corner of the resort lately, yet the esplanade is still, for now, left out of the party.