Since the loud neon lights which protruded into the middle of the Disney Village street disappeared just a few years ago, the streamlined Frank Gehry architecture of the large Eastern building has felt more flat than ever before — save for the odd illuminated balloon or two. Today, this unusual stretch of Disney architecture is well on its way to being “humanised”.
Just over a week ago, construction walls surrounded the entire area of the former Sports Bar and New York Style Sandwiches terrace. This was previously an enclosed, slightly raised area before it met its end when much of the seating moved to the undercover area on the left.
Last weekend, all was revealed — more new trees for the Village! There continues to be a mix of evergreen and deciduous, with the fir tree between Disney Fashion and New York Style Sandwiches joined by these — currently skeletal — new trees.
Somewhat like Walt Disney Imagineering’s ‘placemaking’ works for Walt Disney Studios Park, the works at the Village will turn it from a vast expanse of concrete into a place where trees and planting invite you to explore slightly more hidden corners.
All well and good, but let’s not forget that the 2005 removal of the pylons in the middle of the street — which looked less than beautiful during the day — also caused one of the best things about Gehry’s original design to disappear: the starry sky. Long stretches of lights between the pylons, like a roof to Gehry’s “industrial factory” party space.
Now, many years later, a reasonable replacement has arrived — bright, colour-changing, fibre optic lights, laced along the branches of each tree! The ends of each wire light up throughout the day and change colour continuously. They are being fastened in place to illuminate the branches and should certainly add to the effort to help Disney Village feel a little more like an extension of the parks, rather than an unwelcome distant relative.
And what of those new terraces? At Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, the mysterious work continues to go on without much word as to what exactly will become of the bar/restaurant’s exterior. It is clear that more “relief” and texture is a likely addition to the flat, un-themed building, which was last year given a border around its roofline to begin the process, but no exact details are known about the redesign.
The terrace area, which often became nothing more than empty wooden pen during Winter months, has seen some destruction to provide a home for another new tree and planter. Some sources on the usual Disney Central Plaza forum have suggested a proper cover for the terrace could be a possibility.
At Café Mickey, meanwhile, it looks like a covered terrace is a reality. As the photo above shows, a new curved steel framework is going up around the edge of the building, where previously an uninviting tarmac terrace was bordered by temporary potted plants.