Wednesday, 27th April 2011

Villages Nature website launches with public debate on 259 hectare project …and a logo

Les Villages Nature de Val d'Europe

Les Villages Nature de Val d’Europe might not have the most catchy name, particularly for non-French speakers, but the project’s new website has just launched at a more succinct www.villagesnature.com. This is the 50/50 development between Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs, a huge new leisure and accommodation destination planned to be built on land surrounding Disney’s existing Davy Crockett Ranch a few kilometres south-east of the parks. A first phase of 1,730 accommodation units (710 apartments surrounding the main lake, 1,020 individual cottages further south) would also see the creation of a unique geothermal heated lagoon and the largest water park in Europe, along with restaurants, shops and other amenities. This new website seeks to collect questions and opinions from those affected in the local area, with a budget  of €700 million “subject to public debate”. Of that, €430 million would be for accommodation units, to be leased to individual investors for periods of 9 years, whilst €260 million would be for the water park, leisure facilities, shops and restaurants.

The results of this public inquiry will be known in August, when the authorities are hoped to give the go-ahead. Marketing would then begin towards the end of this year with construction starting in the first quarter of 2013 for a first phase opening date of first quarter 2015. Don’t think this project will be a self-contained expansion, either — we’ll certainly see the effects back up at the main esplanade. The Transports page confirms some big changes, such as the long-awaited construction of a southern entrance to the TGV platforms, opposite the new World of Disney, allowing travellers from Val d’Europe and the south to access the high speed rail station without crossing the busy park entrances. Not only that, but a southern RER entrance is now also planned, and a southern bus station to be positioned in front of the Disney Village parking building.

Les Villages Nature de Val d'Europe

Even more dramatic, Disneyland Paris would no longer be the end of the RER A line, with a plan to extend the line to join up with RER Line E at the town of Esbly to the north-east — currently very close but hard to access from the resort. Sadly for international travellers there’s no such rail extension in the pipeline up to Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (which would surely be both profitable with tourists and hugely useful for locals, better than using the TGV for such a short hop), but an “intensification of shuttle services”. The envisaged tramway system also appears to have hit a buffer-stop when Val d’Europe lost its bid for the French Open tennis tournament, meaning the super-eco-friendly project will probably be relying on shuttle buses. Although a stop at least looks to be provided for Davy Crockett Ranch, which will remain separate from the project, allowing trappers to leave their cars behind to get to the parks. Finally, the road network would be improved — in particular with an entrance to the Villages Nature themselves branching south from the main Exit 14 of the A4 autoroute, visible in the map above.

Les Villages Nature de Val d'Europe

Les Villages Nature de Val d'Europe

Architecturally, many of the buildings revealed so far are certainly daring. In fact, you might worry that these are going to be the 2015 equivalent to 1992’s soon-dated Festival Disney. But a strong artistic direction at this stage could also be reassuring. The most exciting aspect so far is that Joe Rohde, the lead designer of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, has been mentioned as part of Walt Disney Imagineering’s artistic involvement, and it seems you can see that influence already in the buildings overgrown by plants, creating a mélange of man and nature. Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau are strong influences, with the styles of Frank Lloyd Wright and Friedensreich Hundertwasser quoted officially as inspirations.

VIA Projet Villages Nature

Tuesday, 26th April 2011

Window arches in place for Disney Village’s grand World of Disney entrance

World of Disney

World of Disney has continued to grow following our big construction photo tour a few weeks ago. The latest additions to the concrete perimeter are three giant arches above the the future entrance, which start to bring the store’s concept art to life. Each arch will have several large glass windows, giving a view inside to the base of the giant globe sitting atop the hexagonal entrance. In reality it’s likely that the northern and southern hemispheres will be two separate domes, with visual trickery making them appear as one single globe “floating” above the space.

World of Disney store

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Monday, 25th April 2011

Blue sky look given to Rainforest Cafe wall – so no “blue sky” ideas yet, then?

Rainforest Cafe

Just a couple of weeks ago Rainforest Cafe in Disney Village lost two of its toadstools along with another of the original Festival Disney columns, exposing the bare white walls above its ground floor themeing. We wondered what was planned for the building, and now we have an answer: a “blue sky” idea, but perhaps not the “big thinking” type. Yes, the white wall started turning blue last week, pictured above on Thursday by @InsideDLParis. Initially looking like a gradient effect similar to the Crush’s Coaster façade, a look at the completed paintjob on Saturday by PanoraMagique frequent flyer “manuchao” below shows it to be more of a solid block blue, perhaps designed just to fade into the background.

Rainforest Cafe

Another “temporary” fix-up is the last thing Disney Village needs, though this is at least unlikely to provoke such a negative reaction as the coloured “balloons” which sprung up over the Village’s towers and buildings in 2005. Any improvements to this block will be complicated by the fact that Rainforest Cafe only occupies the ground floor, meaning that ideas to retheme the whole height as temple walls, similar to the Downtown Disney Anaheim location, are probably out of the question. Following the announcement of its use as a “consolation” venue for the cancelled Princesses & Pirates Parties, we now also know that no work on a Hurricane’s Discotheque replacement will begin before July at the earliest.

VIA InsideDLParis (Twitter), manuchao (Disney Central Plaza)

Monday, 11th April 2011

Earl of Sandwich gets an opening date, Disney Village loses two toadstools and another column

Earl of Sandwich

See anything missing in the photo above? Yes, they’re going to be serving up mushroom soup for months at Rainforest Cafe! Two of the Disney Village restaurant’s three giant toadstools have just been completely demolished to free up space outside the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant. Even more dramatic, another of Frank Gehry’s 36 industrial pillars has been toppled at the same location — the seventh to be removed overall, leaving just 29 remaining.

The view above from the PanoraMagique balloon was captured by “manuchao” on Disney Central Plaza forum and posted with a “before” view by “Festival Disney” on magicforum. Meanwhile Disney Gazette just shared the new, opened-up area as seen from ground level, below.

Earl of Sandwich construction Earl of Sandwich construction

You’d think opening up this view of the bare white building would mean there are impending plans to do something with it, but who knows. Rainforest Cafe currently only occupies the ground floor (hence why the themeing only extended this high) with the upper floor vacant since Hurricanes Discotheque closed for good over a year ago, signs and theming for which still haven’t been removed. The only rumours for replacement so far have been an Italian restaurant or an extension of the Sports Bar. Hopefully this signals some major changes are coming, either way.

As for Earl of Sandwich, the opening date is set: 1st June 2011. Recruitment ads are now up and a website launched, both featuring a new, finalised version of the concept art for the new eatery:

Earl of Sandwich concept art

Large “Earl of Sandwich” lettering is now featured in the middle of the glazing on either side of the building, with the letters due to be curved around the circular tower removed. The bronze band around the building, between the ground floor and mezzanine, now has the company slogans and “Since 1762” imprinted into it and there’s a greater use of red and brown. Rather than a grey wall, the roof is now surrounded by an open railing. We can also see the huge historic map of Europe centring on Great Britain which will fill one whole wall, from floor to ceiling, inside.

VIA manuchao (DCP), VDR (Disney Gazette), Earl of Sandwich

Wednesday, 30th March 2011

The World in 360 degrees – World of Disney store construction from every angle!

World of Disney store construction at Disneyland Paris

A quick break from our Refurb Roundup Day reports of the March 25th fan presentation now, for a bumper load of new World of Disney construction photos. The concrete walls of the resort’s future flagship store have grown incredibly fast since our last look just a couple of weeks ago. Now surrounding the site on every side, many appear to have reached their full height. You can see window openings and even the first doorway. The general curved shape of the building and its main entrance has begun to take shape, really making the concept art much easier to imagine in reality.

Here we go on our journey Around the World in 32 all-new photos! Read More…

Wednesday, 16th March 2011

World of Disney walls reach second level, begin to surround construction site

Concrete walls continue to surround our future oasis of shopping. Since going vertical last month, World of Disney has now hit its second level around the rear of the site. Walls are even beginning to slowly rise around the front of the site, to conceal the ventilation shaft for the railway line and platforms below, which is when the hub will really begin to enter a new era. Although the building will certainly be a towering construction, it’s not expected the trading space or shop floor will extend above ground level. Instead, any upper level(s) will be used for operations and storage, presumably to maximise space on the ground floor for all that glorious Disneyland Paris merchandise.

VIA Photos Magiques

Tuesday, 15th March 2011

More glass, a terrace and even some internal features for Earl of Sandwich

With only around two months to go before the projected May 2011 opening date of Disney Village‘s new Earl of Sandwich restaurant, the first internal features can now be spotted and the glass outer walls appear to have finished installation. These new photos taken this past weekend by Photos Magiques also show a new steel structure on the raised terrace to the left. Inside, the ceiling above the mezzanine level has been fitted, with a circular central feature and lighting arrangement visible from outside.

Even with the glass in place, there’s a lot of work to do for the exterior. Concept art showed a colourful red and yellow pattern in the spaces between the glass, and bronze Earl of Sandwich branding wrapped around the building. Hopefully with large-scale soon finished the walkway to Disney’s Newport Bay Club will reopen to guests as quickly as possible, who currently have to take a lengthy diversion around the other side of Lake Disney.

VIA Photos Magiques

Monday, 28th February 2011

Earl of Sandwich construction makes progress with a top hat and first glazing

Earl of Sandwich construction

Work continues to speed along at the Earl of Sandwich construction site. Less than a month since the new sandwich deli was given a roof, it’s already wearing a top hat! Circular steel pieces have been added on top of the restaurant’s protruding corner, which according to the concept art we’ll see the Earl of Sandwich name wrapped around. The initial rectangular construction has also grown with the framework for a small porch, next to the concrete core wall, and steam beams around the roofline of the future eatery. Most impressive, though, is the amount of glass already secured in place. The entire corner section and almost half of the wall facing Lake Disney has been glazed, with the gap between the ground floor and mezzanine filled with a beige colour not dissimilar to the construction walls in front — which, in a rather “posh” move for Disneyland Paris, even have their own lighting to go with the smart advertising. Well, the Earl won’t settle for any old construction walls!

Earl of Sandwich construction

…But he will have to settle for being next to two giant mushrooms. In fact, it’s surprising now just how much those Rainforest Cafe features impeach on the land around the new restaurant. Maybe, being British-themed, Earl of Sandwich can pass it off as some vague Lewis Carroll tribute?

Monday, 28th February 2011

Walls of World of Disney begin to rise, goodbye to grey old Gaumont

World of Disney construction

Great news for Disney shopaholics: the brand new World of Disney store at the entrance of Disney Village, scheduled to open in early 2012, just took a major step forward. Right as the huge steel sub-structure of the new flagship shop was completed a couple of weeks ago (see MagicEmotion’s 19th Feb photo below) the first concrete walls are already rising. And at last, that bleak grey façade of the Gaumont multiplex cinema is being hidden from the landscape of Disneyland Paris! At least… partly so. According to the concept art, the new store will mostly cover the wall above (will they take down the jaunty posters first?), but the side of the building seen below will certainly remain visible in the gap between World of Disney and the IMAX, added in 2005, at least until those resort expansion plans finally get going with a second Disney Village street, whenever that might be.

PHOTOS Dlrpteam for DLRPToday.com, MagicEmotion (DCP)

Thursday, 10th February 2011

Could Cirque du Soleil swing into Disneyland Paris, albeit seasonally?

It already has permanent shows based at Walt Disney World Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort — now, could Cirque du Soleil, the world-famous avant-garde circus, be looking to Paris? Founder of the company Guy Laliberté has suggested for the first time that a show based at Disneyland Paris could be a real possibility. When interviewed by Christian Sylt for a piece in The Independent, we can reveal that on the subject Laliberté commented: “We are having discussions with Disneyland Paris. It could be good but we have to be careful because this is an environment where it doesn’t have the same kind of traffic as in Orlando.”

According to brief details given, any Cirque du Soleil show at the Paris resort would most likely be seasonal, with performances only during one of the busier periods for the resort, similar to the Wintuk show held from November to January in New York’s Madison Square Garden — which just finished its final run last month. The location at Disneyland Paris would possibly be the site of the existing Crescend’O “dome” in Disney Village, though probably not the existing tent, which was built for the smaller aquatic circus show in 1999 and has since been used mainly for business events. Both the La Nouba show in Florida and Zed show in Tokyo are in permanent residence at custom-built theatres.

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