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…
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…
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!
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.
On a sunny day in the height of Summer, crowds bustling around the walkways, a calm breeze in the air, there’s no better place to be at Disneyland Resort Paris than aboard one of the riverboats.
However, fans will know all too well that the stories surrounding one of these two majestic ships could compete even with those of her namesake — Molly Brown. We learnt in March 2005 that this unsinkable grand dame was not immune to an engine overheating, and, as she sat paralysed in the middle of the river for well over six months, we learnt she was also at the mercy of the legendary Marne-la-Vallée weather.
Jump forward to June 2007, however, and we were heralding her return with a triumphant comeback article speaking of the lengthy refurbishment and bright new coat of paint all over. Now, in Summer 2008, how is she looking?
Generally, quite good. But look closer, and you see the cracks beginning to show again — or rather, things growing in them.
Because, whilst Molly Brown still looks bright and clean enough from her refurbishment in 2007, a steady collection of weeds growing out of her inner side could suggest it’s time for another quick refresh.
Whilst paint needs repainting, weeds just need pulling. The majority of them grow from the cover around her side-wheel paddle, but also from the edge of her lower deck, on the side which faces toward Big Thunder Mountain, away from Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing — but too far for a maintenance crew to reach? Apparently so.
Unfortunately, they aren’t even unique to the side of this riverboat which faces away from the mainland. Look at the photo below left, and the first plant life on her other side is also beginning to grow.
Climb aboard Molly Brown and you’ll probably never notice, we know, we know. Although it does seem even her on-board commentary now needs a little refresh too — Old Joe’s dog disappeared from his fishing pier many months ago, and now it seems Old Joe is missing too, though his fishing line remains!
It’s just a shame for riverboat fans that, in this case, that old “if it’s broken: don’t fix it, remove it” motto that plagued the resort in the early part of this decade doesn’t apply to simply pulling a few weeds. Don’t miss the boat again, Disney — nip it in the bud.
As already seen in brochures, the television commercials and the updated official disneyland15.com website, the original gold and blue colour scheme of the first year is out — instead, bright multicolours of pink and turquoise, green and yellow are in.
Now, for something we probably didn’t expect — those very colours are now illuminating every night across the Rivers of the Far West, thanks to a complete overhaul of the lights surrounding each of the Mark Twain riverboat’s four floors.
As shown in the exclusive photos here from a DLRP Today reader, the lower level is pink, then blue, then green, then the original yellow retained. All other lights on the boat have been left untouched.
With these new lights coming just days before the press events, when the park will naturally be privatised for an evening event, it is currently unknown whether they are a temporary decorative measure or a change that will last the entire ‘Celebration Continues‘ year.
The replacing or colouring of the lightbulbs is similar to that of many along the ceilings of the two Main Street arcades, which last year saw a scattering of blue lightbulbs to add to the lining of 15th Anniversary banners. These lights are still in place (pictured below).
Mark Twain itself was also a centrepiece of last year’s launch events, when characters rode it around the rivers carrying their ‘Candleabration‘ candles.
The multi-colour lighting will likely come as a blow to fans of Frontierland, already well prepared in putting up with unlikely changes to the make-up of their favourite land — such as the Halloween paint machinery and the recent arrival of Woody at Critter Corral.
Our thanks to cmflounder92 for sending in the following clearer photo of the multicolour lights:
The Mark Twain is based on the original boat at Disneyland in California, which Walt Disney mortgaged his own home to build back in 1955.
— Your News: If you’ve got new photos or news from Disneyland Resort Paris, send them to DLRP Today at email@example.com and we can report the magic as it happens! Our news service can only improve with your help!
[Photos by Nemo_Dory and cmflounder92 for DLRP Today]
Her return may be a little later than expected (original refurbishment schedules stated she would be finished by the end of April), but… here she is!
A sight many people worried would never be seen again, the park’s unique side-wheeler riverboat – like none at any other Disney park – has begun cruising the Rivers of the Far West once more! And, with gleaming new paintwork and a full refurbishment and refit inside and out across the entire ship, she’s now looking more unsinkable than ever before.
With her return to the waters, the Molly Brown’s partner at Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing – the Mark Twain – has now rested into the service dock for a well-earned rest and another full refurbishment, cleaning up and repainting the ship which has taken over service on his own for more than a year.
The full refurbishment comes after a serious incident on-board the ship during March 2005 in which her engine overheated, causing considerable smoke damage to much of the ship’s funnel area and rendering her immobile at the far end of the Rivers of the Far West. Guests had to be ferried ashore using the Raccoon and Coyote River Rogue Keelboats, with the “unsinkable” ship then laying dormant in the river until September of that year, when the Mark Twain’s dry dock refurbishment was completed and the ships could exchange places.
The Mark Twain didn’t resume even a limited service until early 2006, and the Molly Brown’s own refurbishment was not begun until as late as September 2006. We wrote an article at the time dicussing the appeal from a work union at the resort to fix the ship – and how they appeared to be unaware that the ship was already pencilled in for its epic refurbishment to begin on 4th September and last until 27th April 2007!
Now, the Molly Brown has returned brighter than ever, the Mark Twain is about to be given another well-earned refurbishment and – thanks to their heroic “rescue” of guests during the incident itself, the River Rogue Keelboats are even due to return in under two weeks from now. In her own way, the unsinkable Molly Brown has absolutely guaranteed that the river traffic of Frontierland will never be sunk.
The Cast Members have been given support from their union CFDT, and DLP.info also reports:
“The Photographers have taken place in front of the gates with flags and signs and are informing the incoming guests on the situation.”
This certinaly isn’t the first strike to take place at Disneyland Resort Paris. The resort has a long history of protests from Cast Members, usually regarding pay or work conditions, particularly in the early EuroDisney years. Guests may not notice the absence of a Cast Member to photograph them with Sulley or Winnie the Pooh at one of the increasing number of character locations at the parks, but they will certainly notice a line of Cast Members protesting at the park gates. It’s currently unknown what the resort are doing to solve this problem, but since it’s taking place in the busy Summer season the strike will not only give guests a poor first impression but will also be losing the parks countless Euros every day in photo profits. An agreement will surely be met soon enough.
The second piece of “bad news” comes, once again, from CFDT, but would seem to have a solution already in place. The image featured above was posted online showing the current state of Frontierland’s Molly Brown riverboat, a classic side-wheeler riverboat that is unique to the Paris park but was unfortunately damaged last year when the engine badly overheated. For months afterwards the boat lay covered in tarpaulin at the back of the Rivers of the Far West, before being moved into the service dock once Mark Twain’s already-in-progress long refurbishment was completed. Since then, the boat has been untouched as the resort waits for a budget to be available for the costly repairs, and, as you can see, the unsinkable Molly Brown hasn’t enjoyed her last few months one bit.
The CFDT is calling for immediate action to save the boat before it has to be scrapped, but, after a quick look at the latest refurbishment schedules for the park (released some weeks ago), it seems their wish has already been granted. The latest information available states Molly Brown will finally begin her huge refurbishment project on the 4th September, with the project not being completed until 27th April 2007. Then, on the 30th April 2007, Mark Twain will return to the service dock for another two month refurbishment, further confirming that the resort are infact still well-aware of the importance of this classic attraction and its two faithful ships.
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