Usually, fashion makeovers are ruthless. Bin this, chop that, lift everything. Unfortunately, when you’re the entertainment district of a financially struggling resort still busy improving its two theme parks, it seems you’ll be left standing with a few balloons and some paint colours that can be seen from the Moon. A far cry from the postmodern, monotone designs of original architect Frank Gehry, recent works have attempted to all but eliminate the cold designs and “Disneyfy” the Village street.
After removing the central steel columns in late 2005, colourful illuminated balloons were added to the remaining pylons and along the row of stores on the left-hand side of the street. Next, the area of the former Central Stage was gutted and totally repainted to form a warmer undercover area for the Sports Bar, with new flat signage replacing the neons. The latest phase of work continues this project, with the remaining grey stores repainted neon colours and more new signage installed.
Team Mickey has seen the most change, with its name finally officially changed to “Disney Fashion”. The rebrand already took place inside the store over two years ago, albeit with a different, more modern style to this green and orange redesign. When originally opened in 1992, the store represented the American love of sports with a wide variety of Disney-themed sports items and clothing. Strangely, the various sports balls adorning the entrance arches have remained in place and been given a fresh coat of metallic silver paint, highlighting their design even more than before.
Further along the street, the new orange and pink colours of the Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys stores are nothing short of unmissable. The original large neon signs of the boutiques, previously positioned on the outside of the metal canopy, were removed in late 2005, leaving only 2D signage behind. Some rumours say the stores along this row will be further brightened with murals of Disney characters, any hints of whom are currently totally absent from the main avenue (excluding Café Mickey).
A stunning makeover or a fashion faux-pas? I’ll let you decide…
Beginning, like most guests, as the entrance to Disneyland Park, let’s take a moment to marvel as the fully completed refurbishment of Disneyland Hotel. With its original, warm, pink colour returned, the hotel is glowing with magic once again. The next job for the crew will be to replace the scores of blown bulbs across the rooftops, but aside from that, the envy of every other Disney Resort has never looked more stunning.
Deep inside the park at Fantasyland, those fences just won’t budge from the Wishing Well. Work has been going on here for at least two months, and, as you can see, there hasn’t been much of a rush to get it finished. Also in Fantasyland, Le Pays des Contes de Fées and Casey Jr. are closed during the low season, with walls in place whilst the usual Winter refurbishment goes on.
Over in Frontierland, it seems they’re having trouble ridding the park of the Pumpkinmen, with a gathering of green fences still to be found around the site of the Pumpkin Paint Tower. With a quick change of parks, the refurbishment of Front Lot’s buildings continues, with Studio Photo revealing its newly refreshed colours and Studio Services getting the white basecoat treatment. Once repainted, the refurbishment project should finally be complete, unless they plan on starting on Disney Studio 1…
And finally… the atmosphere in Disney Village feels a bit deflated recently. Can you find a reason why? Those balloons were less than a month old – it should only be a few more days now before the (rather sleek) new red ribbon decorations on the second entrance drop off aswell.
The new Cool Station snack kiosk opened back in July opposite Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, taking the concept of the recent “Coolpost” kiosk in Adventureland and applying a retro-futuristic design. Now, in a similar style to its Jungle-themed equivalent, extra Coca-Cola branded details have popped up around the location. A shiny silver coke bottle has been added to the Cool Station sign, whilst tall tables with small, futuristic canopies have been added nearby. A series of metallic crates has also appeared, showing the Coca-Cola logo in an alien language, similar to the (fake) foreign logos at the Coolpost.
Outside the park, at Disney Village, those love-them-or-loath-them balloons have spread a little further, with a cluster now decorating the Village’s second front entrance near Gaumont Cinemas. With text such as “Shopping Discoveries”, “Family Fun” and “Unique Restaurants” added to the balloons in a fairly unflattering typeface, it remains to be seen how long these will last once true Disney Village expansion and refreshment begins in a couple of years’ time.
At the old location of the Central Stage a more positive change has taken place, with the repainted buildings and cleaned-up space being brightened up further with new red and yellow banners, fairly similar to the decorations seen in 2004 and 2005 during the Chinese New Year events. These, however, seem permanent – unlike those beautiful Halloween stickers on the old column base…
More than 100 competitors will take place in the unique event, which includes training sessions, free-style competitions, a “night show” and, of course, the world-famous European Jet Ski Championship itself.
The first and second rounds take place on the 9th September, with the heated final round and splashy prize ceremony pencilled in for the 10th. You can see the full schedule and get more information about the event on the official Disney Village website.
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