Friday, 20th May 2011

Castle scaffolding comes down to reveal a Sleeping Beauty almost awoken

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

For all the worry over Sleeping Beauty Castle being covered by scaffolding for its complete restoration, it all seems to have been over in a moment. Visitors have watched over the past couple of weeks as first the decorative scrim was taken down then, after a short delay, all of the scaffolding covering the front of the castle came down. While the scaffolding at the back, in the Castle Courtyard, has risen to new heights, the section covering the north easterly wing of le château, on its right-hand side, is now almost all gone. So, what does all this disappearing refurbishment detritus reveal? Well, a Disney park landmark still in transition… almost returned to its full beauty.

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Whilst the five new shades of pink have now become very clear, the brickwork a crisp new palette of pastels and clean ivory white, there are many remnants of the previous 1998 repaint remaining. The rooftop above the main window still has its grimy yellow gradient effect, the two golden spires have yet to return with their renewed shimmer and work continues on giving the previously blue/green turret roofs a stronger blue colour. Previously, we’d seen the rooftops painted in a solid, dark blue. This has now been softened with two additional shades on top, to give the same scattered pattern as before, although it’s still clear to see which rooftops have been given the new look against those which haven’t.

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Progress has continued this week with the removal of all the scaffolding on the castle’s north easterly wing, revealing a truly gleaming façade behind. On Twitter, @InsideDLParis has been charting the work and captured the photo below which really shows what a fresh coat of paint does for details:

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Following a much-needed clean and repaint, the waterfall on the other side of the castle was also been turned back on yesterday. There’s still much to do before the restoration is finally completed this August, but this will mostly consist of smaller-scale works and final touches done using moveable cranes and lifts. Rooftops to be completed at night and paint colours to be finished up in the daytime. And then, at long last, this Sleeping Beauty won’t be dormant any longer.

VIA Photos Magiques news reportInsideDLParis (Twitter)

Tuesday, 3rd May 2011

Lighthouse, windmill and Colonel Hathi’s latest to join long list of current refurbishments

Newport Bay Club lighthouse

The Old Mill

Here’s a word: unprecedented. We always hoped there would be a big effort to get the parks and resort “neat and pretty” for the 20th Anniversary, but no-one expected the refurbishments to come so early and so all-encompassing. Seeing each of the projects announced during the 2011 refurbishments presentation starting one by one is very exciting indeed, especially when they’re finally beginning to fix “black spots” such as the Newport Bay Club lighthouse. This prominent beacon on the all-to-often windswept Lake Disney has had its wood panelling literally hanging off for the past few months. Things weren’t so drastic at The Old Mill in Fantasyland, captured by @InsideDLParis with its sails removed for work to begin, but expect similar repairs to the panelling and roof.

Elsewhere, the Fantasyland repaving project has just hit the British quarter of the land. As seen in the photo by Disney Gazette below, the area around Toad Hall Restaurant behind Dumbo the Flying Elephant is now temporarily closed for work to replace the tired concrete.

Fantasyland repaving

Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost

And over in Adventureland, perhaps the largest project of all these — the complete restoration of the Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost exterior. Unlike The Old Mill, this walk-in counter service restaurant remains open, with scaffolding and tarp currently surrounding the entire first two floors.

VIA Disney Gazette, @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Sunday, 1st May 2011

Turrets go blue, towers go missing, scrim comes down and falls loose their fungus – a Royal update!

Sleeping Beauty Castle restoration

Friday might have been a big day for royalty in the United Kingdom, but across the channel it’s been a big week for the royal palace of Marne-la-Vallée. The complete refurbishment of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant rolls on at impressive pace, now seeing the first bold blue turrets unveiled following brief spells capped in white primer “snow”. When Peggie Fariss told us during last month’s refurbishments presentation (which we will conclude writing up this week!) that the previously blue-green turrets would see their blue “brought out much more”, that wasn’t an understatement. The photo above by Chouket on Disney Central Plaza gives a good overview of the change, with a half-done blue turret up front contrasted with several older, greener rooftops behind. This proves that whilst it was an easy way to headline the new colour scheme as “returning to the 1992 look”, that’s not the full story. The colours of 2011 will certainly be much closer to 1992 than the second 1998 era now being concluded, but they are really a completely new scheme, a brave new third era for the landmark.

While some turrets have gone blue, two have gone completely missing. They didn’t hop on Eurotunnel for the Royal Wedding — they’re the two thinnest towers (decorated with snails) which are due to regain their original gold leaf colouring, and the easiest way to do that is to simply pop them off and do it at ground level somewhere backstage. At the same time, this very Saturday saw the unveiling of the castle’s tallest rooftop, looking simply stunning in its new solid blue with gold accents:

Sleeping Beauty Castle restoration Sleeping Beauty Castle restoration

The first photo above was tweeted by @InsideDLParis just last Wednesday 27th April, whilst the second is from Saturday 30th, showing the remarkable speed that the castle is being given its new colours. From a white primer base coat, the roof now already has its final solid blue and another two rooftops to the right have swiftly turned white to continue the transformation overnight. No doubt you notice another big change, too — the removal of the decorative scrim! The whole tarp covering the front of the castle was removed this week to reveal what looks to be a practically complete façade behind. Edges and details are now a crisper ivory white, whilst the stonework has a bluer palette, richer again than the drab grey it had become and contrasting perfectly with the castle’s five new shades of pink.

Whilst the tarp has been removed, the scaffolding stays in place for now. We were told at the presentation that finishing touches to paint colours would require work in clear daylight, to ensure the right look is achieved, as well as that scaffolding would begin to disappear “by June”. Perhaps this front section will be taken down imminently before that date, but it’s not a given.

Sleeping Beauty Castle restoration

Meanwhile, don’t think this restoration is all about turrets and towers — one popular landmark has just been given a much-deserved makeover. Nicknamed “Fungus Falls” for far too long, there’s not a spot of green dirt in sight at the castle’s thundering waterfall now, turned off and completely cleaned up with fresh paint! Take a particularly close look at those three stone columns between the railings in the foreground — the one nearest the camera hasn’t been repainted yet on one side, giving a good idea of this dramatic “before and after”. The entire project is set to be complete by the end of August.

VIA Chouket (DCP), @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Friday, 22nd April 2011

“Prolonged refurbishments” official reason for Princesses & Pirates Party cancellation

Mickey's Princesses & Pirates Party

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 that? Along with a refund, ticketholders will get the chance of a drink and meeting with “Disney Princesses and Pirates” at… Hurricane’s Discotheque in Disney Village! The venue closed since March last year and still awaiting replacement. So, if you bought a ticket for Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party, you’ve actually just won a free ticket for what might be an exclusive last step inside that classic discotheque above Rainforest Cafe! (And sorry, no — tickets are no longer available to purchase…)

VIA Grandmath (Disney Central Plaza)

Thursday, 21st April 2011

Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party: Cancelled!

Mickey's Princesses & Pirates Party

It was confirmed today that all four Mickey’s Princesses & Pirates Party events, due to take place in June, have been officially cancelled. Originally scheduled for the 1st, 10th, 17th and 24th June, the new after-hours parties promised exclusive events and character encounters, with attractions open in Adventureland and Fantasyland, for €25 or £22. Anyone who has already bought tickets will be contacted directly by Disneyland Paris with an official statement.

We announced the details just last month and you can see the full list of events-that-weren’t-to-be on a guide page here. No reason for the cancellation has yet been given, although the obvious assumption would be poor ticket sales. The combination of Pirates, Princesses and exclusive after-hours rides might have seemed a winning formula, but for events costing €25 and beginning at 8pm, when most children are already tired or worn out from a day in the parks, they were perhaps pinpointed at a much too young demographic. Beyond the rides, the promised entertainment offered little for all but the most obsessive character fans, and even the attraction count was a meagre eight with Pirates of the Caribbean the biggest thrill. Similar events in the US have given access to the whole park and often a fireworks show, enticing adult visitors. Hopefully this won’t put off any future attempts for new nighttime parties at Disneyland Paris — but next time, perhaps some better audience research could be involved.

VIA Kristof (magicforum)

Monday, 18th April 2011

Fountain tests in Sleeping Beauty Castle moat hint at big splash for 20th Anniversary

20th Anniversary fountain tests

It may just look like a few pipes in the waters around Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, but this is the photo everybody’s talking about. Because those aren’t just pipes, they’re fountains. Tested for a short time last week in the water behind Castle Stage, exactly one year before the date of the resort’s 20th Anniversary, it’s our first hint that something big is in preparation for next year’s anticipated celebration. We may not be talking World of Color given the space, but we could certainly be talking about at least un petit morceau of that experience as part of a big nightly event.

There may be a whole year to go, but these tests have still come relatively out of the blue for the park. World of Color has been mentioned as an aspiration for Walt Disney Studios Park in the past, but given the huge costs of installing the show (not to mention building a lake for it to actually perform on) it’s exciting to see that the technology at least might find a way to arrive in Paris much sooner than expected. And with that, anticipation for the 20th just rocketed. Less than 360 days to go, folks!

Update 19/04 — Our photo reporter Dlrpteam has sent over photos of more temporary installations around the area, being used as part of the current effects testing. It’s likely they’re “testing the waters” so to speak, to see just what can be achieved here before working on more in-depth plans:

20th Anniversary fountain tests

20th Anniversary fountain tests

20th Anniversary fountain tests

VIA Dlrpteam, Characters Photos Blog (Facebook)

Thursday, 14th April 2011

Refurb Roundup Day: The Movie – Concepts and events captured on official video

As promised, here’s the official video of the Molly Brown rededication ceremony and the refurbishment presentation events of 25th March, when we were invited to see first-hand the ongoing and upcoming projects taking place across the resort in the lead-up to the 20th Anniversary next year. The Molly Brown’s full-time return to the rivers this weekend finally brought the video online, which also features a good look at some of the concepts and details we were shown during the presentation that morning. A map of Disneyland Park shows the areas to be refurbished in red, whilst photos show the original 1990s model of Sleeping Beauty Castle being re-touched with its new colours that “soar into the sky”.

Special credit to Kristof of magicforum and Photos Magiques for not only stepping up to the mic but slipping in that fun little tribute to the Molly Brown’s original “Queen of the River” title!

Disneyland Paris refurbishments
Map showing planned refurbishments in Disneyland Park for 2011 (annotated by DLRP Today)

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments
Katy Olsen applies the new colour scheme to the original castle model

Disneyland Paris refurbishments
Thomas Bardenat explains the logistics of the castle restoration

Disneyland Paris refurbishments Disneyland Paris refurbishments

VIA Disneyland Paris (YouTube)

Tuesday, 12th April 2011

19 Today – Happy Birthday Disneyland Paris!

Happy Birthday Disneyland Paris

Exactly nineteen years ago today, at 9.01am on 12th April 1992, Euro Disney Resort officially opened its gates to the public. Euro Disneyland brought a magic kingdom more beautiful than any other to a whole new continent, bringing home its tales as old as time; allowing a whole new audience to “leave today and enter worlds of history, discovery and ageless fantasy”. Festival Disney was a bold nighttime entertainment district designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, whilst a record number of five Disney resort hotels (the sixth, Sequoia Lodge, would open in May) and nearby Camp Davy Crockett would give the resort an impressive first phase… that revenues just couldn’t match.

With now less than one year to go before the 20th Anniversary, let’s not overlook how much the resort has managed to grow since that over-ambitious opening. A second park, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Toon Studio, endless shows, parades and seasons, numerous Disney Village additions, the busiest high speed rail station in France, seven more nearby partner hotels — even a whole town centre! — and so much more. Whilst we might be in a lull between new attractions, the next year will see the biggest slate of refurbishments in the resort’s history, polishing and embellishing this astonishing achievement of Walt Disney Imagineering’s own golden age. And further into this decade, we’ll see World of Disney transform the hub, the vast Villages Nature holiday complex and water park, a groundbreaking dark ride, hotel expansions, major Disney Village expansions and even, with luck and money, that second park becoming what we can call “a whole second park”.

Here’s to the ever-outstanding cast and crew, and here’s to the future!

Monday, 4th April 2011

Refurb Roundup Day: First look at Fantasyland’s new parade route paving

Fantasyland floor refurbishment

Alright, so, as we’ve said before in previous updates about the big Fantasyland floor replacement works ongoing for the past two months, a new bit of paving is not quite as exciting as a new dark ride or parade. But DLRP Today is not alone in its excitement for this vast stretch of new paving stones, oh no — as Peggie Fariss herself said to us, “sometimes there’s nothing better than a freshly-laid floor” in a Disney park. Couldn’t agree more! We were even taken for a quick “site tour” up to the Fantasyland Gate, where we got to exclusively step through the construction walls for a first look at the almost-finished paving project, switching dirty and crumbling poured concrete for real interlocking pavers.

Even better, we can now take a look at the finished product, too — as the whole parade route up towards “it’s a small world” re-opened right on schedule this weekend! Read More…

Saturday, 2nd April 2011

Refurb Roundup Day: Sleeping Beauty Castle’s new colours revealed, big photo update

Sleeping Beauty Castle refurbishment

Saving months of speculation, last week during the special fan presentation Disneyland Paris showed us exactly what’s ahead for the refreshed Sleeping Beauty Castle. No, no dramatic changes of story or style — in fact, if anything, a return to the grace and elegance of opening day in 1992. Ever since the enormous restoration project began, fans have been trying to predict what colours the new team would choose for Le Château‘s third era. Now we can reveal all, long before the scaffolding comes down, along with a big photo update on current progress! Read More…

Subscribe to the Magic!

Ad: Disneyland Paris up to 20% off all meals!

Tags & Archives

Twitter Updates

Ad: Disneyland Paris 30th Anniversary bookings now open!