Monday, 4th April 2011
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
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…
Tuesday, 29th March 2011
All aboard! Here we go, after the perfect opening ceremony, on-board the Molly Brown riverboat for a special first-look at the rebuilt vessel. We rushed up through the stairs to the top deck for a complete overview of the new boat as the Hill Billy Trio played on the bow below and Buffalo Bill fired off his guns as we departed on this exciting, inaugural Western river expedition.
No less than 57 photos, an HD video and countless fun details await! There’s a lot to point out and a lot to see — as promised to us at the earlier presentation: new colours, new spiels, new story. This isn’t just the Molly Brown given a fresh coat of paint, this is a whole new chapter in Thunder Mesa. Read More…
Monday, 28th March 2011
So, Friday was an exciting day both for us and for Disneyland Paris. Our group of around 15 fan website owners and reporters met at 9am sharp inside Walt’s – An American Restaurant for the first presentation about all the refurbishment projects ongoing and upcoming in 2011. But first, let’s skip ahead to 11am and the main event of the day; seeing the fruits of one of those huge restoration projections: the re-dedication of the Molly Brown riverboat.
The night before, Molly Brown had been brought around to Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing for final checks, looking stunning on the waters with her new colours and every bulb perfectly illuminated (above). Technical crews rushed around the deck, wiping her down and making final preparations.
Note: Since we’ve a lot of photos and videos to share from these events, you’ll need to click “Continue Reading” below (only on the front page) for the full reports! Read More…
Sunday, 27th March 2011
Friday, 25th March 2011 — what a wonderful day! Not just because the sun was shining brightly over Marne-la-Vallée, nor because temperatures hit a delightful 20 degrees Celsius. No, this was the day a unique gathering of Disneyland Paris blog authors, fan website creators and forum moderators were invited to an exclusive presentation about all the current and upcoming developments in 2011 at the European magic kingdom. As the guy behind both this website and DLRP Magic.com, I was lucky enough to be invited along — the only attendee from the United Kingdom!
Peggie Fariss, the new head of Walt Disney Imagineering Paris led a fascinating meeting with contributions from several more key figures in the upkeep of the parks and resort, unveiling perhaps the most expansive programme of refurbishments and renewals ever seen at Disneyland Paris. With two presentations revealing umpteen pages of news and surprises, a tour of the projects and of course the re-dedication of the Molly Brown riverboat in a fantastic ceremony at Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing, there was a lot to take in and a whole lot to be excited about. So this week, DLRP Today.com will tell you what’s new and what’s next… direct from Disneyland Paris!
Wednesday, 23rd March 2011
It’s official: the Molly Brown riverboat will return to the Rivers of the Far West as planned this Friday, with a special re-dedication ceremony even planned to mark the occasion. Having been practically rebuilt during an extensive year-long restoration, the unique side-wheel riverboat will be re-dedicated by Disneyland Paris ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero at 11am this Friday, 25th March. The public event will take place at Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing in Frontierland, so be sure to drop by if you’re visiting the resort and witness a little piece of Disneyland Paris history.
As noted in the comments following our article last week, the riverboat has actually lost her “Queen of River” title during the restoration, with the side wheels now displaying the slightly more generic nomenclature: “Western River Line”. It remains to be seen what other smaller changes may have taken place. DLRP Today will be reporting back from the rebuilt vessel’s maiden cruise and might even tweet a few live updates on Friday — so follow us on Twitter, if you’re not already!
Tuesday, 22nd March 2011
Progress continues at Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant from every angle and we can begin to see even more “before and after” views of this extensive and much-needed restoration. The stone wall above, for example, has regained its rich colour tones, whilst the lighter pink beginning to appear across the tallest tower shows how the whole Castle will soon look — if not yet giving away the final “after”. It’s impressive that all of this work to the upper towers, and much elsewhere, is being undertaken overnight. Walt Disney Imagineering will need to return to those freshly painted walls later to add special paint effects such as weathering to make sure Aurora’s château looks believably, timelessly old, not like it was poured out of concrete just twenty years ago.
Scaffolding has also now spread over the two side wings of Sleeping Beauty Castle, reaching towards La Confiserie des Trois Fées and La Chaumière des Sept Nains boutiques on either side. From the front, the scaffolding covers the Castle’s walls to the right and so far has only a plain white covering.
Tuesday, 15th March 2011
Well, just look at this grand old dame! The Molly Brown riverboat is finally nearing the end of her complete bow-to-stern refurbishment, much needed after several years of problems and neglect. A refurbishment that has lasted almost an entire year and has seen the side-wheel riverboat, unique to Disneyland Paris, practically rebuilt from scratch. Indeed, back in July the boat had been stripped back to nothing more than a shell in the dry dock. This weekend, the dock is filled with water and Molly Brown has never looked better.
She’s even been given a refreshed paint design, with the old turquoise rim around the lower deck turned maroon and two more matching maroon accents added around the other two decks. The old dark green single funnel now appears more black in appearance, with a gold band around its top. If all goes to plan, the rebuilt boat will steam out into the Rivers of the Far West for her maiden voyage next week.
Thursday, 3rd March 2011
And, as if by magic… A decorative covering has finally appeared on Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant this very morning, the hide the major refurbishment works which began last month! We’ve just been sent this live photo minutes ago by discoponies on Twitter (click to see the full view), enjoying a beautiful blue sky over the park.
The new scrim, hiding the lower middle section of scaffolding which was previously covered by a plain white tarp for some time, features the three good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather hovering above the drawbridge and a stylised impression of the Sleeping Beauty Castle façade. A similar idea was used the last time the landmark of Disneyland Park underwent a complete renovation, in 1998, although then the fairies were pasted on a plain white background. Today’s new cover doesn’t yet hide the upper portion of scaffolding, around the feature window, nor the additional scaffolding which has grown around the Castle’s right-hand extension over the past week. This has caused the walkway next to the wishing well from Le Théâtre du Château to be closed, which joined with the ongoing repaving works past Pizzeria Bella Notte has severely limited access into Fantasyland. Nevertheless, as you can see this morning, the Castle itself remains completely accessible to guests.
This isn’t the only portion of the Castle being worked on, however. Nighttime works have brought the first fresh paint to the top of the highest tower, which has had its many holes and war wounds (from Anniversary decorations past) filled in. Look closely and you might just see the difference — Le Château is starting to shimmer again, already. In fact, as the fast pace of works so far might suggest, it’s looking hopeful that the refurbishment could be done well before the earlier September end date. Guest Communications are apparently now advising the work will “continue until June” — all done by July, ready for the Summer season!
Thursday, 3rd March 2011
That’s it — it’s the end of an era, for now at least. All the benches of Le Théâtre du Château, the open air theatre at the heart of Disneyland Park, have now been completely removed as expected, save for those few back rows said to be retained as general seating. Member tarf on Disney Central Plaza captured the first photo of the bare amphitheatre above and in fact, it’s not an entirely negative change. Having row after row of empty, disused seating here throughout the day (save for a little excitement around parades) did always look rather depressing after all. Had the park been more sure of the theatre’s criminal disuse, it probably should have happened years ago, just to put it out of its misery.
The next step is anyone’s guess. Repaving? Redevelopment? Are the stone benches being kept somewhere in case the stage ever has some Sleeping Beauty-like reawakening? Do drop us a note if you happen to know more…