Like gold? Like bunting? Then this 20th Anniversary year Main Street, U.S.A. will be your kinda’ town! Despite the countdown clock still standing at more than a month before festivities begin, the town has already begun to receive its commemorative overlay. From tentative beginnings on the awning of Casey’s Corner, semi-circular gold and white bunting has begun to line the entire town. Coming in a large and small size depending on the location, these shimmering fans of fabric can already be spotted hanging from The Emporium, Walt’s – An American Restaurant, Lilly’s Boutique, Disney & Co., Boardwalk Candy Palace, Cable Car Bake Shop and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour.
This follows months of complete restorations to buildings including Walt’s and Gibson Girl, plus numerous ongoing clean-ups and repaints right across the street.
These decorations form part of the Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! event. Marketed as a “unique celebration of magic, lights and colours with even more twinkles and memorable glowings-on than ever before,” it sounds like this spot of bunting might just be the first of the street’s surprises…
It’s certainly a merchandiser’s dream come true — free reign of the most popular Pixar characters and plenty of toy tie-ins for Toy Story Playland (even there’s still debate as to whether the land itself will have a single retail location).
Whilst the 15th Anniversary and Mickey’s Magical Party souvenirs largely featured the same design splashed over everything, the New Generation Festival already has a much more varied and modern selection of items. From simple logo T-shirts:
To fun character mugs and bowls:
It’s the huge expanded range of Toy Story items which take pride of place this year, however — especially with Toy Story 3 arriving in July. We’ve got cute plush toys of Bullseye, Rex and other Pixar characters:
Alongside the expected action figures and plastic toys:
Of course, you can pick up an RC remote control car after a ride on RC Racer, or a real (and much more conveniently-sized) Slinky toy after a ride on Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin.
Bored of the usual Sorcerer Mickey hats? Try out a funny triangular Buzz Lightyear hat for size:
Or any one of the endless spin-off toys and souvenirs:
And, to tie in perfectly with the parachute-themed ad campaign, there are these special Disneyland Paris-branded “Parachute Sky Diver” figures of Buzz and Woody:
Several other new merchandise lines have been added recently, including this range of “attractions” souvenirs featuring images and logos of Indy, Space, Tower and Pirates against a red graphic backdrop of other attraction logos such as Phantom Manor, Stitch Live and Studio Tram Tour:
The “I Heart Mickey” range of merchandise has also been expanded, with fancy new cups:
And some new mugs which state more elaborately, “I Am Madly In Love With MK.”:
Indeed, you’re never short of ideas for your next coffee mug at Disneyland Paris:
But be careful — too much caffeine (and shopping) can send you Plane Crazy…
The big news of course is that Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, our beautiful castle, has finally lost itsMickey’s Magical Party overlay. Once again we can enjoy its golden spires and centrepiece window with not a single set of Mickey ears on its magnificent medieval façade.
It’s not a complete return to glory, however — look closer and the iconic building is close to worn-out. Its stone features covered in spots of dirt, roof tiles uneven and out of place and two large holes now visible either side of the main window, where the Magical Party centrepiece was fixed in place.
Above that, the roof has some light patches, like its paintwork has been scuffed or scratched by something.
The balcony to the left still has too few plants draped over it, and let’s not even check elsewhere. Stand on the rear balcony of La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant next time you visit and take a look upwards — this castle needs attention soon. We’ve been saying “before the 15th…”, “before MMP…”, “before the New Generation Festival…” every year now. So… before the 20th Anniversary?
There is also one omission from this decorations cull — Tinkerbell, and her spiralling trail which circles the tallest tower. Originally part of the 15th Anniversary overlay, she held on for Mickey’s Magical Party, continuing to provide confetti blasts from her wand for certain events. Now the lone remnant of these celebrations, she towers over the huge structure like a dainty fairy really ought not to, the confetti pipe looking like some poorly-integrated plumbing for Sleeping Beauty’s new ensuite bathroom.
With the Mickey ears now consigned to history for more than a week, the chances of the same installation crew coming back to pick up this one decoration is beginning to seem unlikely. We’ve heard that even departments within Disneyland Paris don’t know what’s going on with her. Can’t someone step in and scrap the fairy once and for all?
Any Tink supporters should perhaps remember that she’s already present and correct — and much more pleasantly sized — atop the Disneyland Hotel:
But for now, back to the positives — and another big one is Main Street also returning (almost) to normal. The refurbishments of the Disney Clothiers, Ltd. and Town Square Photography façades continue, but now there’s something — or several things — missing from the view…
No giant lampposts! Without those towering white columns and their enormous, identical banners, Main Street has been opened up. The buildings aren’t hidden away but clear to see and yes, correctly sized. Welcome back to the turn of the 20th Century!
It’d be interesting, in fact, to see if footfall in the various shops might increase with the removal of the banners, which were overpowering enough to just funnel guests straight down the street as quickly as possible, without looking left or right, all building façades hidden until you were stood right up in front of them. Now, that visual interest in every millimetre of the street is visible again, ready to pull guests to one side… and get them to open their wallets.
Another disappearing act has been pulled by the illuminated Mickey’s Magical Party decoration which sat above the side doorway of The Emporium. Before that, we had Lumière bursting out of the building for the 15th Anniversary… so how long until Buzz Lightyear or Slinky Dog shows up for the New Generation?
Here again, the removal unfortunately shows up some less-than-perfect paintwork behind.
And the removals continue, back into Town Square! Let’s compare this photo, from last Summer:
With this view from earlier this week:
Besides the elevation, weather and other seasonal changes, can you spot the difference? Yes, the trees on Town Square have magically shrunk! Previously reaching well above the rooftops of The Emporium and Town Square Photography (even from that elevated viewpoint on the railroad station), they now suddenly stand only just as high.
This is about as “Disneyland” an idea as you can get — when the trees get too big for the forced perspective of the buildings around them, replace them! The old maturing trees were removed last week (replanted elsewhere in the resort), leaving Town Square with an odd few days of just temporary grass coverings, to be gradually replaced with these younger, smaller trees.
If you’ve followed Disneyland Paris news for many years, you might remember the same happening to all the trees along Main Street itself in the first half of the last decade, when they were again replaced with smaller trees more in line with their quaint (and we have to remember, at the turn of the 20th Century — recently built) surroundings.
At the same time, the first flowers of Spring have arrived!
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