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.
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.
So Disneyland Paris did sell enough tickets to justify these four after-hours parties? That’s what their official statement sent to ticketholders suggests, with the official reason actually being that the “prolonged refurbishments” throughout the park wouldn’t have allowed the parties to go ahead to the standard of quality Disney originally wanted. With Sleeping Beauty Castle half-covered in scrims, areas closed for repaving and of course the icon of the park’s pirating land, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, also soon set to undergo a complete rebuild, that’s probably true — they couldn’t have picked a worse time in the history of Fantasyland and Adventureland to promote a Princesses and Pirates event. Whilst some refurbishment dates have slipped, the final schedules were surely known some time ago now.
An official statement (translated from French) reads:
Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party due to take place on 1st, 10th, 17th and 24th June in Fantasyland and Adventureland have been cancelled due to prolonged refurbishments underway in some parts of Disneyland. We are aware of your disappointment regarding the cancellation of these events, however this decision was taken because the current conditions would not permit the event to meet the Disney standard of quality. Disneyland Paris apologise for the inconvenience and thank visitors for their loyalty.
Visitors who have reserved tickets for the evenings can get a refund by contacting our reservation center at 01 60 30 30 30 or their tour operator.
For those who are still visiting the resort on the scheduled dates, in addition to a full refund of the ticket price, we invite you to join us in the space of Hurricane’s Disney Village between 5pm and 8pm on the day of the event originally planned, to spend a moment with our Disney Princesses and Pirates with a refreshing drink.* (*Details to be confirmed upon refunding of ticket)
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.
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:
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!
…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?
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.
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.
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?
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