Thursday, 6th October 2011

Disney Village closes New York Style Sandwiches… but only for refurbishment

Is Disney Village seeing the first effects of Disney recently taking back control of some restaurants previously run by an outside company? The small New York Style Sandwiches shop, positioned between the Sports Bar and The Disney Gallery, closed on Monday 3rd for a refurbishment that will last until Friday 21st October. The windows have been completely covered over during the works. It’s currently unclear how big the changes will be: whether this is simply a freshen-up to get things back to Disney standards, or if changes could be on the way to the rather tired venue, previously operated by Groupe Flo along with Café Mickey, The Steakhouse and Annette’s Diner.

Opened in 1992 as Carnegie’s Deli with full table service, it was renamed after just a few years. In May this year, it gained some hefty competition from the new-build Earl of Sandwich just across the way and subsequently altered the focus of its menu away from sandwiches to pizza slices and other Italian-American snacks. Curiously, the signage notifying of the current closure (captured here by Mouetto on Disney Central Plaza) uses the New York Style Sandwiches logo but in its text calls the location by a new name: “New York Deli”. With the Earl now having the Village’s hot sandwich market wrapped up, will Disney further reposition the shop to offer greater variety?

This follows a major refurbishment of the Disney Fashion store nearby in June, which saw the formerly dull outlet gain a more quirky “boutique” feel. Of the retail units in Disney Village — notably Disney Store, Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys — that store was the least likely to effectively be made redundant by the opening of World of Disney next year, perhaps calling for an even bigger rethink of the offer along this side of the street, which has long been somewhat uninspiring.

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Tuesday, 28th June 2011

Earl of Sandwich inaugurated by John Montagu, 11th Earl of the same name

Earl of Sandwich Disney Village inauguration

It’s almost a month since Earl of Sandwich grabbed a slice of the fast food action in Disney Village, bringing an ample selection of freshly-prepared hot sandwiches to the banks of Lake Disney. The restaurant, the chain’s first in mainland Europe, was officially inaugurated back on Wednesday, 15th June with Euro Disney CEO Philippe Gas, Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl (second from right) and the 11th Earl of Sandwich himself, John Montagu (third from right). A predictably oversized ribbon and scissors were brought out for the occasion.

So far the restaurant already appears to be earning a loyal following of European fans, with many positive remarks for service, taste and the design of the new building. One negative, though is for the price of drinks: with a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola at €3.50 they’ve managed to make the €2.60 normally charged by Disney seem like a steal (although a 400ml cup is available for €2.50). For a family, it soon makes a reasonably-priced sandwich into a rather expensive fast food meal.

You can find the full Earl of Sandwich menu on our Restaurant Menus pages, which has also seen the menu for the nearby New York Style Sandwiches updated. In response to the new competition, this small Disney-owned eatery has changed its focus away from hot paninis to pizza and pasta.

What are your first impressions of the Earl? Got a favourite sandwich from the 16 on offer yet?

Friday, 3rd June 2011

Earl of Sandwich now open at Disney Village – first impressions, facts & photos!

Earl of Sandwich Disney Village

One year of heavy construction and several years of planning later, Earl of Sandwich is now open at Disney Village! The new counter service restaurant overlooking Lake Disney officially opened on Wednesday, 1st June after a special preview event on Monday. Photos here come courtesy of Xavier Triquet (full album), while you can see even more via NewsParcs, Matthieu Bernet and Disney Gazette. Stepping inside the huge glass box building, you’re welcomed by a warm wooden floor and a thoroughly modern interior — with plenty of nods back to the 18th Century. The ground floor has an airy double-height dining area with a suspended globe and a ring of modern ball lights, leading through to the ordering and serving area underneath the first floor mezzanine.

Here, you first join the queue to order your sandwiches and hot snacks, with a novel timer handed to you to indicate when they’re ready. You’re then free to pick up any extras such as desserts or potato chips, all well-presented on the counter, before paying and enjoying your meal. At the centre of the upper floor is a unique circular bench with two semi-circular tables wrapping around it –sure to become a popular dining place, especially with that stunning view across the lake to the hotel district. The outdoor terrace is more basic, with more modern furniture and a rather industrial-looking awning canopy.

Earl of Sandwich Disney Village

Earl of Sandwich Disney Village

Official figures cite the investment by Earl of Sandwich here, for its 15th restaurant overall, at 5 million euros with 80 jobs created. They hope to serve between 2,000 and 2,500 sandwiches a day, with a threshold of around 3,000 on busy peak days. The restaurant offers a choice of no less than 16 hot sandwiches — including three new creations for Disney Village such as the delightfully named “Le Frenchy” — all priced at a flat €5.50, while special breakfast sandwiches and kids sandwiches are priced at €3.50. Intriguingly, there’s no set-price “menu” that the Disney counter service restaurants are so fond of — where you have a choice of two meal combinations giving a slight saving — with the Earl instead preferring everyone to piece together their own meal for now, which can also include hot soup, salads and wraps. With this level of choice (roughly four times as many sandwiches as Market House Deli or Blockbuster Café), great presentation and cheaper prices, we hope the Earl also handed out a few free sandwich coupons to Disney’s own restaurateurs.

VIA Xavier Triquet / Vinylmation Disneyland Paris, Disney Gazette

Wednesday, 25th May 2011

Earl of Sandwich rushes to Disney Village opening with final touches, signage… and prices!

Earl of Sandwich

One week from now, you’ll be able to enjoy your very first Earl of Sandwich meal in Disney Village! It’s been a long wait for this new sandwich chain to open its Disneyland Paris location on the edge of Lake Disney, but now the final touches are being applied inside and out. As the photo taken on Saturday by @InsideDLParis on Twitter above shows, signage is up on both sides of the building, floating stylishly in the middle of the glazing. Pieces of the circular tower and other elements of the façade have finally begun to arrive, at last hiding the steel frames we’ve been watching for months. At the side of the building, the staircase up to the rear terrace is going in. Also of note, the relaid ground in front of the new restaurant. When this was dug up, fans wondered if it might mark the start of a new paving scheme for the Village, but no — it’s the same wavy coloured style as the rest of the street.

Earl of Sandwich

The first official photo from inside the restaurant also emerged recently (above), showing an Earl of Sandwich-branded construction helmet in front of the faux-bookcase positioned next to the mezzanine level. This shows good progress towards the final design, which we’ve not posted before, shown below. The main feature as you walk inside will be a huge historic wall map of Europe, centred on England.

Earl of Sandwich

And how much will an Original 1762 or Full Montagu cost in Paris? Apparently sandwiches will be set at a flat €5.50 each. That’s around €1.25 more than the $5.99 charged in the US (around $6.35 with tax), and a euro more (based on current rates) than what the Earl is charging in his first European restaurant. Yes, that’s right — although the Disney Village location was touted as Earl of Sandwich’s entry to the European market, it was beaten just this month by a restaurant on Ludgate Hill in the City of London, which is charging £3.95 per sandwich. That’s roughly similar to the many other sandwich and coffee chains lining the same street, which leads up to St Paul’s Cathedral. Still, even if the Disney Village outlet is the most expensive, Earl of Sandwich is still going to be beating Disney’s own counter service sandwiches (priced €6.00 and up) by a neat 50 cents — for freshly-prepared-in-front-you, hot snacks. Better watch out, Disney — the real sandwiches are coming.

VIA InsideDLParis (Twitter), Disney Gazette, Grandmath (DCP)

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

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?

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)

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)

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