Exactly four weeks from this weekend, a new, more explosive Big Thunder Mountain will open at Disneyland Paris! As these brand new pictures from the major refurbishment show, the landscape now glows in spectacular, rich colours.
The difference is evident as soon as you turn to enter Frontierland. A vibrant, rich ochre emits right the way from the peak of the mountain to its base on the lapping rivers.
Though the Rivers of the Far West have now been fully refilled after an entire year spent dry, construction walls still line the entire perimeter of the area.
In the distance, the huge stack of site offices situated on the far bank of the rivers behind Phantom Manor are suddenly more evident as the trees lose their leaves.
With re-opening for both Big Thunder Mountain and Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing due on 17th December 2016, it shouldn’t be too long now before these are also removed from the site and the area re-landscaped.
Climbing the steps to Phantom Manor, as the strong winter sun catches the mountain it truly glows — once again, looking like a genuine natural rock formation from the Far West.
The vision is so perfect, it’s hard to convey without seeing it for yourself. Even regular guests seemed taken aback, stopping to admire the stunning vista.
Alongside the red of the mountain, a clean turquoise green has returned to the Rivers of the Far West rarely seen since the park’s opening days.
The colour sits beautifully below the rich, warm mountain, making the landscape look even more like a real natural phenomenon.
Will this clean green colour remain, or will the rivers return to a murkier brown, as they usually have after previous cleaning projects? We’ll have to wait and see — but the still-gleaming appearance of other water bodies such as Discoveryland Lagoon and “it’s a small world” gives hope the resort has a renewed focus on keeping these sparkling.
Up-close, the new details and set dressing of the water splash feel equally rich.
The thorough and complete replanting of the island was also an important, overlooked task in this Experience Enhancement Programme refurbishment.
Taking out the old, mature vegetation, which in some places almost entirely obscured the mountain, and replacing it with new trees in the correct scale has returned the land to picture-perfect status.
Before — Taking a look back at pictures from summer 2015 (below), it’s now more evident how the rockwork lacked vibrancy and how overbearing the green vegetation had become in what should be a fairly arid landscape.
Boot Hill beyond Phantom Manor still remains completely blocked off by construction walls, making it practically impossible to get any view of what — if anything — has improved at the infamous geysers discussed in the last update.
Though we won’t miss the construction walls, many of us will no doubt miss the fantastic notices which have lined them, featuring a very classic style of Disney Imagineering humour sometimes not quite embraced by Paris’ own work.
Big Thunder Mountain re-opens Saturday, 17th December 2016.