Friday, 4th February 2011

Roof over the Earl, discounts for Golden Arches and Starbucks Siren

Earl of Sandwich construction

Just a couple of weeks ago we were celebrating the concrete core of Disney Village’s new Earl of Sandwich restaurant reaching its full height, and now the roof is already on! From high above on PanoraMagique, fan “manuchao” snapped this shot showing the simple rectangular steel structure already in place on site, showing the full dimensions of the future counter service deli. Curved pieces of steel for the circular corner section are also in place, as is the floor of the indoor mezzanine level, which will cover only a portion of the floorspace to leave a more open and airy entrance.

In other fast food news at the Village, admin Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza forum shares that a 10% discount is now offered for Annual Passport holders at both Starbucks Coffee and McDonald’s — although hardly advertised, as Disney naturally fear it will impact on their own business. Apparently, the same reduction has also been possible for a while at outside-run King Ludwig’s Castle and Rainforest Cafe. Saving euro cents on your Big Mac and Frappuccino — another AP perk! Now, will the Earl offer the same on a toasted Full Montagu?

VIA manuchao, Mouetto (DCP)

Tuesday, 25th January 2011

World of Disney’s ground floor store foundations near completion

World of Disney construction

Over the next year, the plaza at the heart of Disneyland Paris will be transformed in its biggest way since the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park — and here’s the first floor! Steel supports have now been pieced together to lay out the footprint of World of Disney, a new flagship store at the entrance of Disney Village, after the temporary top soil on the site was scraped off and trees replanted. This isn’t your average building site, either: the store is being built right on top of the high speed TGV train lines, on the huge concrete box built over the tracks during the resort’s construction, adding some unique challenges and complications.

These steel ground floor supports are very different to the method over at Earl of Sandwich, for example, and that huge box tower looming over the site is a ventilation shaft for the platforms below. The floor plan of the store narrowly avoids a second ventilation duct in the photo, above.

World of Disney store

World of Disney store

Final concept art for the store emerged last Spring, showing a slightly revised exterior which appears to reference a more Californian Art Deco — rather similar in style to the Franklin Department Store façade not far away on the Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard and very, very different to the existing World of Disney stores in Orlando and Anaheim.

It is expected the store, anchored by a huge blue globe topped by Tinkerbell and due to open in 2012, will completely replace the existing Disney Store in Disney Village, possibly triggering a series of refurbishments and replacements along the Village’s main thoroughfare.

VIA Grandmath, G-Force (Disney Central Plaza)

Sunday, 16th January 2011

Earl of Sandwich construction goes vertical at newly in-filled Disney Village plot

Earl of Sandwich construction

Just months remain before the projected May 2011 opening of Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village and although things are still looking a long way from completion at the construction site on the edge of Lake Disney, big progress is being made now that the building foundations are complete. In the latest photo above, from manuchao on Disney Central Plaza forum, the huge back “core” of the new counter service restaurant can now be seen at its full height and the raised outdoor terrace, built on land reclaimed from the lagoon, already taking shape.

It’s expected that the ground floor of the rear terrace will house the kitchens and service areas of the deli sandwich chain, whilst the towering rear wall will likely support an elevator, stairs to the first floor mezzanine and amenities such as toilets. Much of the other three walls will be glass and steel, offering a view out over the lake. Earl of Sandwich, founded by the actual 11th Earl of Sandwich, a descendant of the 4th Earl who popularised the sandwich in Great Britain, currently has 13 locations in the United States and is investing over €5 million in this, its first European branch.

Earl of Sandwich

Following several years of rumours, the restaurant was finally revealed in December 2009 and broke ground at a special ceremony with the Earl himself in June last year. With construction walls advertising the opening with a clever “The Sandwiches are Coming!” pun, it is hoped the location will breathe much new life into counter service dining at Disney Village — and perhaps the wider resort — with an emphasis on fresh, healthy, good quality food and, if the restaurant over at Walt Disney World in Florida is a template, some very competitive prices.

VIA manuchao, mouetto (Disney Central Plaza)

Wednesday, 24th February 2010

Hurricanes forecast cut to just 5 more nights

The closing date has been brought forward to 1st March 2010. Yes, this coming Monday.

Despite several previous planned closures of the nightclub, located above Rainforest Cafe, never coming to pass, it looks like they’re really serious this time. The kitsch relic of original Festival Disney will close for good just shy of its 18th birthday.

Hurricanes Discotheque

We provided a look back and some explanations for the closure in our previous article — along with a few rumours for the future. A Jules Verne theme pub? That long-awaited Italian restaurant?

Well here’s another, just for fun. Posted in the comments of that earlier article (always a good source, you’ll surely agree), the suggestion that Cast Members have heard the space is in fact being primed ready for another “long-awaited” Disney Village venue… an ESPN Zone, complete with big-screen TVs and comfy loungers, just in time for the FIFA World Cup! Meanwhile, that Italian restaurant would instead take the place of the current Sports Bar.

The ESPN Zone is a chain of dining/shopping/sports/arcade indoor entertainment venues owned and operated by Disney Regional Entertainment, using the brand of the ESPN sports broadcasting network owned by Disney. With a location at Downtown Disney in California as well as across the United States, they’ve long been rumoured to arrive in Paris in a brand new unit, to the left of the Walt Disney Studios Park entrance, near the Disney Village parking structure, opposite the rumoured World of Disney Store.

The Hurricanes space is nowhere near big enough for a true ESPN Zone, its first floor location hardly ideal, and it’d be strange to shutter the Sports Bar with its useful covered outdoor space, but you never know… Disney just launched ESPN into the UK in full force last year and the network has already become a very recognisable brand for British sports fans. Meanwhile, the additional ESPN Classic and ESPN America channels have been spreading across France and other European countries for several years.

Just another possibility to add to the growing list. Anyone going to offer a fourth?!

Thanks to @PhotosMagiques.

Thursday, 4th February 2010

Hurricanes Nightclub groove to end short of 18 years

And so, another attraction finds its way into Euro Souvenirland

The news came via trusty magicforum host Kristof, that Hurricanes Discotheque at the end of Disney Village will close permanently on 31st March 2010. The night club has apparently been scheduled to end its days for several years already, with nothing eventually coming of any of the earlier dates. Will the Cyclone Special cocktail be gone for good this time? Certainly sounds like it.

Hurricanes Nightclub

As improvements and additions have spread through the Village in recent years, Hurricanes has slowly become a final champion for that original Festival Disney spirit, sitting up there above Rainforest Cafe like Carl Fredrickson surrounded by skyscrapers. It’s a remnant of the early ’90s idea that the entertainment district should be a “hip”, “happening”, buzzing nighttime spot, the streets filled with party-goers until the early hours. An idea that never really happened.

The official 1992 Euro Disney Guidebook enthuses:

Hurricanes — Festival Disney’s disco nightclub is just above the Key West Seafood restaurant. Having climbed the spiral staircase, you’ll be swept up into the whirlwind of nightlife. Hurricanes boasts four different bars, including one in the indoor terrace, plus twenty video screens, cosy corners for talking and a dance floor that’s open until 3 am. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself standing there sipping on a Caribbean or Cyclone Special cocktail, dreaming of Key Largo.

Hurricanes was originally part of a small Key West district in Festival Disney, comprising Key West Seafood below (closed 1998), the Surf Shop opposite (now World of Toys) and the then-rainforest-animal-free lagoon behind. In what must be one of the kitchiest ideas in history, the dance floor was originally covered in sand. Which must have been fun in heels.

Why close a fun venue like this? The official reason: “repositioning” of Disney Village. What kind of repositioning hasn’t been clarified by Disney, but it’s not hard to work out. Just as the nightclubs and comedy clubs of Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World in Florida have been swallowed up by the wider Downtown Disney, to be replaced with new shops and restaurants, it seems a venue like Hurricanes simply doesn’t fit in their current focus on either side of the Atlantic.

Hurricanes Nightclub

Indeed, with its foam parties and “ladies nights” where women get in free, it’s not a surprise that Disneyland Paris have been thinking about dropping the venue for a while. And did you notice it’s a little dated? Would the cost of improving the nightclub, updating the staircase entrance (which has become rather tacky with subsequent additions, long after Frank Gehry left), really be worthwhile? Probably not, which brings the second element of the “repositioning”…

Stating the obvious, a nightclub like Hurricanes is useless during the day. Here we have a substantial, prime space right in the middle of Disney Village just lying empty for most of the day up until 8pm, when a café or restaurant could have tills ringing (for much greater amounts) right through from morning. Though we still mourn Buffalo Trading Co, just look how much better utilised that space is as a Starbucks café.

Whilst those plans for the Convention Centre and Disney Village extension are still many years from coming to anything, it’s bad business sense to leave this space as a faded nightclub.

Hurricanes Nightclub

What could be pushing Hurricanes out? No replacement has been announced…

However, the first floor location naturally points to a bar, café or restaurant, something which unlike a shop doesn’t rely on heavy footfall. Recent rumours that Groupe Flo, the group which operates almost all of the Disney Village restaurants, is interested in another venue could well ring true. The resort has experimented with promoting an Italian menu at Hotel New York’s Manhattan Restaurant in recent years, so could this space go from the Caribbean to Italy to permanently offer this much-requested cuisine in the Village itself?

Then there’s that possibility we picked up less than a year ago — the Jules Verne-themed pub/restaurant. Check it out — the hot air balloons in the roofspace, the blue sky walls and vintage lanterns. It’d seem right at home in the elevated position of Hurricanes, with its circular observation room. If they opened up some of the nightclub’s boxy walls with large windows, you’d have a superb view out to the “real” PanoraMagique balloon and the lake.

Intriguingly, the original article (which was a brief interview with the owner of the original pub in Nantes) mentioned that they’d been offered a floorspace of 500m2. Do some flimsy measuring in Google Earth, and that’s exactly what Hurricanes has to offer.

Hurricanes Nightclub

It’s not just the spirit and idea of Hurricanes which seems out of sync with the rest of the Village: The blank white exterior is one of the few remaining Frank Gehry boxes, which worked with the 1992 “party district” ideas but were ultimately diluted with later add-ons, certainly never looking all that pleasant on any but the sunniest of days. We mentioned with the Earl of Sandwich concepts that that new restaurant offered the opportunity to hide this exterior behind it, but even so this big white box will still be clearly visible. A change of tenant would surely fix this final piece.

As Disney Village has come blinking into the daytime, gaining its eco-clad Starbucks, planters and trees, time has finally caught up with Hurricanes. Finish up your Caribbean cocktail, put those Key Largo dreams to sleep. The storm is almost over.

Images: Photos Magiques; DLRP Today.

Saturday, 19th December 2009

World of Disney – from sketch upon sketch, to reality?

That patch of land jutting out between the IMAX building and its Gaumont Cinemas entrance has been waiting an awfully long time, after all. For almost a decade now, the spot has been earmarked for a large, signature store to anchor this busy corner of the resort centre, using the ‘World of Disney’ branding from the Florida, California and New York locations.

These huge department stores are rather like your ultimate, dream version of a regular Disney Store. Operated instead by the merchandise department of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, they attempt to offer the biggest selection of Disney products available, in a sumptuously-themed interior.

Whilst the New York store fits within its leased 5th Avenue location, the stores in the Downtown Disney areas of Disneyland and Walt Disney World share a somewhat similar style. Will the Paris equivalent continue the theme? Not at all…

World of Disney - from sketch upon sketch, to reality?
Photo: Alexandre Rosa via Disney and More

Even the first models and concepts from years ago depicted a very different style of architecture, one that appeared to almost be trying to fit in too hard with its Planet Hollywood and Gaumont neighbours, offering them a blue globe elevated above its entrance and similarly-curved canopies above the entrances.

And then all fell silent. Until, that is, earlier this year — when member MykeY on DCP forum supplied not only fresh hope that the project could be moving ahead but a brand new concept image. This time, depicting something altogether more fantastical:

World of Disney - from sketch upon sketch, to reality?

Inspired by the grand style of the greatest Parisian department stores, this World of Disney store seems to take its cues more from the Galleries Lafayette than any Floridian retail outlet. Beyond the large, open windows spanning its façade, the store sits below a giant central dome — with others above each entrance. You can never have enough domes in Paris, after all.

Mickey Mouse details are present and correct, worked into the side of the building, but with the monolithic “World of Disney” letters worked into the larger of the two entrances, which we have to assume will sit right on the corner of the site, the exterior is more Art Nouveau than Art of Disney.

The original poster added that the cost was estimated at around €14m, a substantial amount for a new store, however important. See, the location right here on the corner is practically — no, entirely — perfect. Guests leaving the park currently often skip right past the offerings of Disney Village, eager to get their sore feet into their car or hotel as quickly as possible.

Bringing a signature store right out here, addressing and opening out onto the hub itself, is about as guaranteed a way as possible to get those cash registers ringing. And, if you’ve been in the incredibly tired Disney Store just after park closing, the extra space alone will be more than welcome.

But just how much space will there be? From the looks of the imposing profile of our Galleries Disney, a second floor must be a possibility — or how about a grand atrium under that huge dome? The latest information, posted by RiverRogue on magicforum, doesn’t quite promise exactly what we’re wishing for, suggesting the upper floor (or indeed, “floors” plural) will just be for storage:

The design has slightly changed after the retirement of Wing Chao from WDI [link], but the project is still going ahead and construction ought to start relatively soon.

The retail surface will cover most of the ground floor, with upper floors used for storage. Judging from what I’ve seen and heard it’ll be the smallest of the World of Disney stores, but still rather big compared to other stores in the resort.

Nevertheless, using any space on upper floors for storage should mean more space saved for retail on the ground floor. With the comment here that construction should begin “relatively soon” and estimation from the original DCP poster that the total cost is no less than €14m, it seems when this project finally does get done, it’ll be done right.

As rumours point to Earl of Sandwich also starting up construction in 2010, it’s hopefully going to be an interesting year ahead for Disney Village. Not just for new additions, either — what about the existing locations?

World of Disney - from sketch upon sketch, to reality?

Think about it — the generic Disney Store surely can’t outlive the opening of a World of Disney too long, and even Earl of Sandwich encroaches more than a little on the market of Disney’s own New York Style Sandwiches (formerly Carnegie’s Deli). Then there are the other boutiques — with a World of Disney selling the biggest collection of merchandise on property, will there be much need for the arguably quite bland selection of Disney Gallery, Disney Fashion, Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys? With most of that block made redundant, this could be a real chance to turn it around into something a whole lot better.

Given a look at the some of the wonderfully diverse offerings from Disney itself at the American Downtown Disney districts — from Disney Vault 28 to the new D-Street and several more — we can’t but hope this potential domino effect leads to nothing short of a full-scale revolution in the Village.

Yes, they show us the World yet we’re still thinking of more. Bring on 2010…!

Credit to MykeY and RiverRogue.

Friday, 11th December 2009

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village approved & unveiled

If you thought Starbucks changed the vibe of Disney Village or at least gave it a fresh kick, this new British-themed sandwich shop should do the same ten times over.

Not only will it provide a desperately-needed rival to McDonald’s, it’s in a brand new building — an actual addition to the entertainment district — and, looking at these plans and concepts published online by Mouetto at Disney Central Plaza, it’ll have a great Lake Disney view…

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village

Yes, one of our theories was right!

“A more likely area of this inlet to be filled in would have been the corner between Rainforest Cafe and the bridge, allowing an Earl of Sandwich to use both this and the area vacated by the old carousel, becoming a part of the main thoroughfare.”

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village

And good thing, too — as the plans seen here confirm, carefully captured at Chessy’s planning department by Mouetto, this brand new, two-storey building will slot snugly into the corner between Rainforest Cafe and the Lake Disney marina, opposite Café Mickey. The footprint will include some of the area vacated by the carousel and then extend out, over the current square of water, in all providing two floors of seating and two separate terraces — one out front at ground level, and another on the first floor at the back, elevated above the water.

Design-wise, it’s a restrained affair, much more in the traditional IMAX/NEX style than the recent Starbucks Coffee eco-meets-Gehry boldness. That means circular corner sections, strong horizontals and a slight Art Deco flair.

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village

Rather than green, though, the palette here is more of oranges, reds and yellows. The Earl of Sandwich branding, modelled on a vaguely British theme, is modestly portrayed through the red and yellow squares and their placement between the window frames, almost mimicking a traditional Plaid style. The firm’s logo is equally modest, simply their red circular envelope seal design above each door.

The top of the circular section looks to be clad in separate brown pieces, rather than being a flat finish. Overall, it looks like a very successful merging of some very diverse styles, although the pale yellow finish (almost like bathroom tiles) on the exterior wall at the back looks like a strange choice.

From what we can see, the back wall inside appears to depict a giant map, with tables and chairs continuing a red/black theme. However let’s not forget, these smaller design aspects — particularly the interior — could still change from these planning applications. The general layout and footprint will be as seen here.

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village

Clever use of the space sees the kitchens and service area hidden under the first-floor terrace. This platform — and the whole first floor — will offer a great view over the lake and small bay behind.

Due to its location on the end of the main Disney Village street, this build offered the opportunity to hide the rather unpleasant side of Rainforest Cafe/Hurricanes Discotheque which faces the lake.

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village

Though the plain white building won’t be completely hidden, at least it won’t be the only thing seen from the opposite shore of the lake, outside Sequoia Lodge. And, placed on the corner here, Earl of Sandwich might just draw a few more people down this end of the Village — not to mention helping to kick-start any further expansion, onwards across the bridge…

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. With the above applications from the Earl stamped and sealed, construction should start in the New Year with the hope of completion by the end of 2010. And whilst that’s happening, nearby PanoraMagique will be the place to go for construction photos. Here’s our “before” shot:

Earl of Sandwich in Disney Village

Now, save us a place on that lovely first floor terrace and we’ll study the menu

Pictures: Disney/Earl of Sandwich (credit to Mouetto), DLRP Today.

Wednesday, 4th November 2009

Forget Shanghai, Paris lets slip major projects

As the official Disney Parks Blog posted a remarkably… unremarkable confirmation that the Shanghai Disneyland project is moving ahead, newspaper Le Parisien slipped out a fascinating article all about the future of our resort. Talking to Francis Borezée, Vice President of Resort and Real Estate Development, they summarise the next phase of development in the Val d’Europe district, from the expansion of Disney Village to the long-awaited new Convention Centre.

Most of this won’t shock or stun a keen follower of Disneyland Paris news, but one element certainly might: the addition of dates, the revelation that all this is finally due to be officially announced, very soon indeed. And, whilst a project being led by a huge Convention Centre doesn’t seem immediately exciting, the development and its surrounding expansions will change the landscape of the resort beyond recognition.

Where now, as soon as you reach the lonely IMAX cinema and games arcade, the old beet fields suddenly stretch as far as the eye can see, soon you’ll be at the heart of a whole new, very urban, Disney development, comprising the new hotels and Village expansion it so badly needs.

Here’s the article in full, skip down for the summary:

Disney dévoile ses nouveaux projets

Tourisme d’affaires, logements, extension des zones de loisirs et de commerces, le Val-d’Europe poursuit son développement sous l’impulsion du géant américain.

Qu’on se le dise : le groupe aux grandes oreilles n’a pas fini de laisser son empreinte sur le paysage urbain du Val-d’Europe. Fraîchement nommé à la tête des activités de développement urbain et vités touristique du groupe, Francis Borezée dévoile ses principaux projets pour le développement à venir de l’agglomération.

Des programmes qui dessinent les contours de la phase 4 du développement du Val d’Europe, actuellement en discussion avec les représentants de l’Etat et les élus locaux.

Des réalisations sur quinze ans. Chargé du codéveloppement de l’agglomération en vertu d’une convention signée avec l’Etat en 1987, Euro Disney SCA a rempli au- aujourd’hui plus de la moitié du contrat. « Nous avons d’ores et déjà développé 1 100 ha sur 1 943, ce qui veut dire qu’on a encore quinze ans de développement devant nous », résume Francis Borezée.

Actuellement en cours, l’achèvement des programmes de la phase 3 – finition de la place d’Ariane, du quartier résidentiel des Lacs ou réalisation de bureaux près de la gare RER — va coïncider avec le lance- lancement des nouveaux projets de l’opérateur privé.

Cap vers le tourisme d’affaires. C’est la grande nouveauté annoncée par le directeur général adjoint d’Euro Disney SCA. Un gigantesque centre de congrès devrait voir le jour aux portes des parcs Disneyland, pour un budget d’investissement d’environ 100 millions d’euros. D’ici 2015, une première phase prévoit la construction d’un centre de 20 000 ha sur ce terrain coincé entre le parking Vinci et l’hôtel Newport. Une nouvelle gare TGV dédiée et un hôtel de 750 chambres seront construits sur le site, qui pourra accueillir des groupes de 4 000 personnes.

Parallèlement, les activités touristiques classiques continueront de se développer, avec l’extension prévue du Disney-Village et la construction de nouvelles attractions dans les parcs… qui devraient faire l’objet d’une annonce à la fin de l’année.

De nouveaux logements en perspective. Le développement résidentiel reste une priorité pour Francis Borezée, qui prévoit la construction de « 500 à 600 » nouveaux logements, dont « au moins 20 % de logements sociaux » par an d’ici à 2017. Le centre urbain devrait s’étendre avec de nouveaux logements assortis d’équipements publics, au nord de la nouvelle mairie de Serris ainsi qu’au sud-ouest du centre de secours de Chessy et au nord du boulevard circulaire. Pour améliorer le cadre de vie, un nouveau bassin et des espaces verts devraient également voir le jour (voir carte).

D’autres constructions pourraient également apparaître en périphérie, à Magny-le-Hongre et à Bailly-Ro- Romainvilliers, avec un programme mêlant maisons individuelles et logements collectifs dans le quartier des Courtalins. A terme, Francis Borezée prévoit une croissance de la population « jusqu’à 55 000 ou 60 000 habitants », soit un peu moins que l’Etat, qui envisage jusqu’à 80 000 habitants au Val-d’Europe.

L’extension du centre commercial Val-d’Europe. Satisfait du succès du pôle marchand, qui « résiste mieux à la crise » que la moyenne des centres commerciaux, le développeur prévoit son extension, avec une « nouvelle ouverture inter- intermédiaire » de la galerie. Sans oublier l’inauguration, en mars 2010, d’un immense magasin Castorama consacré à la décoration d’intérieur, assorti de 600 à 700 nouvelles places créées sur un niveau intermédiaire dans le parking du centre commercial.

La poursuite du développement. Les entreprises ne seront pas oubliées par l’opérateur d’aménagement privé, qui table sur l’extension du parc d’entreprise Goodman, à Bailly-Romainvilliers. Sans oublier de « constituer une nouvelle offre de bureaux prêts à l’emploi près de la gare, dans le centre urbain du Val-d’Europe. » En effet, les bureaux déjà réalisés dans ce secteur sont déjà occupés «à près de 95%».

The reason none of these grand proposals come as a surprise? Because plans showing exactly these developments have been public for probably over a year now, showing the urban streets of Val d’Europe connecting up with the resort centre.

Forget Shanghai, Paris lets slip major projects

Francis Borezée notes that, after having developed 1,100 hectares of 1,943 ha available since 1987, the resort still has 15 years of development ahead of it. He confirms that Phase 4 of the Val d’Europe development is now in discussions with the state and local town councillors, and that the completion of various Phase 3 projects (housing and office developments, the town squares) will coincide with the launch of plans for the next phase of their private, resort expansion projects.

So here’s where it gets interesting: The Convention Centre, having waited to be green-lit for over ten years now, will see its first phase developed and built between now and 2015. For an investment of €100 million Euros, the “gigantestque” centre totalling 20,000 ha of floorspace will take shape on the land between the existing Vinci (Disney Village) parking lot and Newport Bay Club.

The article confirms a 750-room hotel will be included in this phase, stating “on the site”. As can be seen in the plans released, there are in fact plots for two new Disney Hotels nearby. It remains to be seen whether they’d choose the hotel next to the Convention Centre or the one across the road, joined onto the Disney Village expansion, to build first.

It also then confirms the new TGV Station, but — especially when you look at the plan they’ve drawn up themselves — seems to have the impression that this will be a whole new station. Technically, it won’t. Similarly stuck on the drawing board for a decade, this will merely be an additional entrance and exit to the platforms of the existing Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station.

Slotted in right next to the Disney Village multi-story parking, it’ll provide a new booking hall and facilities on the South side of the resort hub, allowing convention-goers and Val d’Europe residents far easier access to the platforms, without having to cross the resort hub.

Next, something we all want to hear — “Parallel to this, the resort’s traditional tourism activity will continue to be developed, with the expected expansion of Disney Village and the construction of new attractions in the theme parks… which will be the object of an announcement at the end of the year”.

Continuing on, the report discusses new housing at Val d’Europe, the creation of parks and lakes as seen in the plans, plus developments to the Shopping Centre, which is apparently beating the economic crisis more than most similar malls. Join the news recently that Val d’Europe will become home to a brand new swimming pool Aquatics Centre, and the rumours of the French Open, and things are looking good.

Forget Shanghai, Paris lets slip major projects

But you’ve probably stopped reading now, right? Knowing that a completion date has finally been set for all those expansions, and the promise of imminent announcements for Disney Village and new park attractions later this year…

Forget Shanghai, that’s the Parisian Surprise we needed.

Plans © Disney.

Saturday, 15th August 2009

Jules Verne theme pub in Disney Village talks?

Trust a Disney fan — particularly a Disneyland Paris fan — to spot a throwaway reference to our resort hidden amid a run-of-the-mill write-up of a Nantes restaurant. But, that’s exactly what tinkerbell7 did here, and it certainly makes for an unexpected new possibility.

Read French? Read on…

Image

Vu de l’extérieur, c’est un petit bâtiment cubique entouré de quelques palmiers. Rien n’indique que le French Pub, implanté zone des Gripôts, abrite un décor grandiose, à la hauteur de l’oeuvre de Jules Verne. «C’est voulu assure Ludovic Quefellec, le patron de l’établissement. Nous souhaitons surprendre le client».

Disney Village serait intéressé pour reprendre l’idée d’un pub consacré à l’univers de Jules Verne «Nous sommes encore en pourparlers confie le patron. Disney nous propose une surface de 500m2».

Find the full article here.

Alors… quoi? This is a place simply named “French Pub”, near the city of Nantes, which has been decorated inside to what looks like a quite lovely Jules Verne theme. They’re apparently having huge success, and the owner happens to mention — Disney Village are interested in taking up the idea of a pub dedicated to the universe of Jules Verne. ‘We’re still in discussions’ entrusts the owner, ‘Disney have proposed an area of 500m2 to us’.”

So, where is this 500 metres-squared? A replacement for the Sports Bar and New York Style Sandwiches? Perhaps even for Disney Store, when World of Disney eventually arrives? Or even a brand new building, sometime in the future?

Whether anything comes of these discussions of course remains to be seen, but it’s interesting to hear that they’ve been looking beyond the everyday Starbucks and franchised Earl of Sandwich to expand Disney Village. Should the Village ever finally expand into a full second street of restaurants and shops, they’ll certainly need a lot of tenants to fill the space.

And, between the German experience of King Ludwig’s Castle and the very likely upcoming British experience of Earl of Sandwich, it would be a shame not to have this new, international, Village anchored by something much more closer to home.

In the words of Jules Verne himself — “Nothing is impossible… only improbable.”

Picture: PresseOcean.fr

Friday, 14th August 2009

Earl of Sandwich next to seize land in Disney Village?

There’s no doubting the breath of fresh air Starbucks Coffee has given Disney Village. Time for another? Yes, it’s looking likely.

Back in 2008, we reported:

“But what for that second new eatery? The admin of Disney Central Plaza, Grandmath, promised that at least one of the two was already operating at Walt Disney World. Since there are no Starbucks franchises on Disney’s Florida property, the second location must surely be the Orlando import.

“Indeed, current rumours, again very strong and from reliable sources, point to an Earl of Sandwich opening at Disney Village.” … “No location for the second building has been rumoured, and no tentative dates for construction of either have yet been given.”

Ahh but now, with the benefit of Starbucks’ completion and around 18 months, some rather more precise rumours are beginning to surface about the possible Earl of Sandwich store. This new chain of restaurants, founded by John Montagu, 11th Earl of Sandwich himself, on the basis that his ancestor, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, popularised the sandwich in Great Britain in the 1800s, launched at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World in 2004 and has recently been expanding rapidly in the US.

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Various ‘Earl of Sandwich’ images, including artwork for a standard franchise outlet

Most importantly for us — they’ve got their sights set on Europe. This business plan was revealed due to a rather embarrassing start over here, however, when the Earl of Sandwich chain made news in the UK for taking incredibly fierce legal action against a small sandwich shop in Aberdeen, Scotland, unknowingly bearing the registered name.

The reason, buried inside the filling of those reports (hey, sandwich puns are hard), was confirmed by a spokesperson for the company:

We now have plans to launch in the UK and Europe and we have trademarks both in the name Lord Sandwich and the Earl of Sandwich in relation to various things, in particular sandwiches and the provision of sandwiches.

‘With the launch of shops in the UK and Europe we have to avoid confusion with similar businesses – that is essential for a successful launch.’

So, with Earl of Sandwich clearly stating UK and Europe, there’s certainly weight to these rumours. The latest of which are pointing to one clear fact — that the restaurant will be in a brand new building — and also offering some very interesting, perhaps unexpected, suggestions for locations within the Village.

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Naturally, with the long-awaited removal of the despised Rainforest Carousel this April, this big vacant space looked promising for the British-themed toasted sandwich restaurant.

But perhaps not, after all… An interesting snippet of information was posted by phantom247 on magicforum, stating simply: “By the end of the year Earl of sandwich preparations for construction should begin with the lake area nearest Steakhouse and the dome being filled in.”

So… by the end of the year, that’s good to hear. But wait a minute — the lake area nearest Steakhouse and the Dome being filled in…? Yes, we said these rumours were surprising.

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A more likely area of this inlet to be filled in would have been the corner between Rainforest Cafe and the bridge (above right), allowing an Earl of Sandwich to use both this and the area vacated by the old carousel, becoming a part of the main thoroughfare.

Alternatively, placing the restaurant on the other side, opposite The Steakhouse (above left), seems on the first hand incredibly unlikely, but could turn this forgotten corner into a more worthwhile second area of Disney Village, adding something more to the corner currently dominated quite negatively by McDonald’s.

However, whilst the area does currently feel a little run-down, losing too much of this precious water could take away the possibility of it ever becoming a nicer, but still sedate patch of the entertainment district.

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The size of the restaurant is completely unknown, so these are just guesswork — but the two general areas at least have been marked on the satellite photo above to help visualise the possibilities. Clearly this will be a much larger construction project than Starbucks, especially if any infilling of the lake inlet is required.

Though which area the Earl ultimately seizes — if any! — we’ll just have to wait and see.

Pictures: DLRP Today, Google Maps.

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