The anniversary now begins right as you enter the resort. After a limited number were added the day before, Friday 30th March 2007 finally saw the end of the circa-2002 dark blue Disneyland Resort Paris banners, featuring the Castle and Earffel Tower, now replaced by the familiar 15th Anniversary Lumiere designs. The base of the three new flagpoles, previously just concrete footers and earth, has now been filled with a bright array of yellow and orange flowers, guiding people toward the information sign and bringing some much needed colour to the hub.
Not all the last-minute changes were positive for the park, though. To accommodate the press photographers during the following day’s pre-parade ceremony and debut of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, a tiered viewing platform was installed in front of Town Square’s gazebo, covered in white tarp and also featuring an undercover area for the resort’s own cameras (lucky, considering the weather). Notice also the sea of yellow ponchos – now also featuring the 15th Anniversary logo!
More strange additions could be found in Frontierland, ready for the nighttime event following the 31st March fireworks. Whilst unnoticed by most normal guests rushing to Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor, the restaurants, boutiques and Thunder Mesa themeing were all covered end-to-end in anniversary flags featuring yellow lanterns. And the guests rushing to Big Thunder? They might have been disappointed – the attraction remained closed for several hours, perhaps also due to press event preparations.
Amongst all the new additions for the 15th Anniversary Press Event, there were also a few final changes to the already-familiar events and decorations. After losing his bouquet of flowers for several days, the Character Castle Makeover statue of Mickey now instead picked up his magic wand…
Original Mickey with flowers (Photo by Joel) / Mickey now with magic wand
Whilst Disney Characters’ Express began its rehearsal performances. Steaming up Main Street through the rain, its characters then ran off to their four Lumiere locations around Central Plaza, without their candles seen in the previous weekend’s trade preview but instead with their new 15th Anniversary medals…
Of course, there were also the expected clean-ups and repainting around the park. Best of all, the cleaning of Disneyland Hotel’s roof – from almost-black to its warm original shade of red.
With the Plaza Gardens Restaurant refurbishment completed a few days earlier, repainting continued (weather permitting) of the railings between its entrance doors and Central Plaza. The drained centrepiece fountain, still being returned to its former glory, was filled with temporary plants over the weekend to make sure not a single hint of the magic was broken for the press visitors.
The park was quiet for the most of the day, Walt Disney Studios Park even more so, definitely giving the impression of a “calm before the storm” (almost literally). And as the light faded, guests slowly left the park at 6pm, leaving it to get a long night of rest before its big, premature birthday bash the next day… Though, no doubt, its workers continued on long into the night.