Tuesday, 26th April 2011

Window arches in place for Disney Village’s grand World of Disney entrance

World of Disney

World of Disney has continued to grow following our big construction photo tour a few weeks ago. The latest additions to the concrete perimeter are three giant arches above the the future entrance, which start to bring the store’s concept art to life. Each arch will have several large glass windows, giving a view inside to the base of the giant globe sitting atop the hexagonal entrance. In reality it’s likely that the northern and southern hemispheres will be two separate domes, with visual trickery making them appear as one single globe “floating” above the space.

World of Disney store

VIA @InsideDLParis (Twitter)

Wednesday, 30th March 2011

The World in 360 degrees – World of Disney store construction from every angle!

World of Disney store construction at Disneyland Paris

A quick break from our Refurb Roundup Day reports of the March 25th fan presentation now, for a bumper load of new World of Disney construction photos. The concrete walls of the resort’s future flagship store have grown incredibly fast since our last look just a couple of weeks ago. Now surrounding the site on every side, many appear to have reached their full height. You can see window openings and even the first doorway. The general curved shape of the building and its main entrance has begun to take shape, really making the concept art much easier to imagine in reality.

Here we go on our journey Around the World in 32 all-new photos! Read More…

Wednesday, 16th March 2011

World of Disney walls reach second level, begin to surround construction site

Concrete walls continue to surround our future oasis of shopping. Since going vertical last month, World of Disney has now hit its second level around the rear of the site. Walls are even beginning to slowly rise around the front of the site, to conceal the ventilation shaft for the railway line and platforms below, which is when the hub will really begin to enter a new era. Although the building will certainly be a towering construction, it’s not expected the trading space or shop floor will extend above ground level. Instead, any upper level(s) will be used for operations and storage, presumably to maximise space on the ground floor for all that glorious Disneyland Paris merchandise.

VIA Photos Magiques

Monday, 28th February 2011

Walls of World of Disney begin to rise, goodbye to grey old Gaumont

World of Disney construction

Great news for Disney shopaholics: the brand new World of Disney store at the entrance of Disney Village, scheduled to open in early 2012, just took a major step forward. Right as the huge steel sub-structure of the new flagship shop was completed a couple of weeks ago (see MagicEmotion’s 19th Feb photo below) the first concrete walls are already rising. And at last, that bleak grey façade of the Gaumont multiplex cinema is being hidden from the landscape of Disneyland Paris! At least… partly so. According to the concept art, the new store will mostly cover the wall above (will they take down the jaunty posters first?), but the side of the building seen below will certainly remain visible in the gap between World of Disney and the IMAX, added in 2005, at least until those resort expansion plans finally get going with a second Disney Village street, whenever that might be.

PHOTOS Dlrpteam for DLRPToday.com, MagicEmotion (DCP)

Tuesday, 25th January 2011

World of Disney’s ground floor store foundations near completion

World of Disney construction

Over the next year, the plaza at the heart of Disneyland Paris will be transformed in its biggest way since the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park — and here’s the first floor! Steel supports have now been pieced together to lay out the footprint of World of Disney, a new flagship store at the entrance of Disney Village, after the temporary top soil on the site was scraped off and trees replanted. This isn’t your average building site, either: the store is being built right on top of the high speed TGV train lines, on the huge concrete box built over the tracks during the resort’s construction, adding some unique challenges and complications.

These steel ground floor supports are very different to the method over at Earl of Sandwich, for example, and that huge box tower looming over the site is a ventilation shaft for the platforms below. The floor plan of the store narrowly avoids a second ventilation duct in the photo, above.

World of Disney store

World of Disney store

Final concept art for the store emerged last Spring, showing a slightly revised exterior which appears to reference a more Californian Art Deco — rather similar in style to the Franklin Department Store façade not far away on the Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard and very, very different to the existing World of Disney stores in Orlando and Anaheim.

It is expected the store, anchored by a huge blue globe topped by Tinkerbell and due to open in 2012, will completely replace the existing Disney Store in Disney Village, possibly triggering a series of refurbishments and replacements along the Village’s main thoroughfare.

VIA Grandmath, G-Force (Disney Central Plaza)

Saturday, 19th December 2009

World of Disney – from sketch upon sketch, to reality?

That patch of land jutting out between the IMAX building and its Gaumont Cinemas entrance has been waiting an awfully long time, after all. For almost a decade now, the spot has been earmarked for a large, signature store to anchor this busy corner of the resort centre, using the ‘World of Disney’ branding from the Florida, California and New York locations.

These huge department stores are rather like your ultimate, dream version of a regular Disney Store. Operated instead by the merchandise department of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, they attempt to offer the biggest selection of Disney products available, in a sumptuously-themed interior.

Whilst the New York store fits within its leased 5th Avenue location, the stores in the Downtown Disney areas of Disneyland and Walt Disney World share a somewhat similar style. Will the Paris equivalent continue the theme? Not at all…

World of Disney - from sketch upon sketch, to reality?
Photo: Alexandre Rosa via Disney and More

Even the first models and concepts from years ago depicted a very different style of architecture, one that appeared to almost be trying to fit in too hard with its Planet Hollywood and Gaumont neighbours, offering them a blue globe elevated above its entrance and similarly-curved canopies above the entrances.

And then all fell silent. Until, that is, earlier this year — when member MykeY on DCP forum supplied not only fresh hope that the project could be moving ahead but a brand new concept image. This time, depicting something altogether more fantastical:

World of Disney - from sketch upon sketch, to reality?

Inspired by the grand style of the greatest Parisian department stores, this World of Disney store seems to take its cues more from the Galleries Lafayette than any Floridian retail outlet. Beyond the large, open windows spanning its façade, the store sits below a giant central dome — with others above each entrance. You can never have enough domes in Paris, after all.

Mickey Mouse details are present and correct, worked into the side of the building, but with the monolithic “World of Disney” letters worked into the larger of the two entrances, which we have to assume will sit right on the corner of the site, the exterior is more Art Nouveau than Art of Disney.

The original poster added that the cost was estimated at around €14m, a substantial amount for a new store, however important. See, the location right here on the corner is practically — no, entirely — perfect. Guests leaving the park currently often skip right past the offerings of Disney Village, eager to get their sore feet into their car or hotel as quickly as possible.

Bringing a signature store right out here, addressing and opening out onto the hub itself, is about as guaranteed a way as possible to get those cash registers ringing. And, if you’ve been in the incredibly tired Disney Store just after park closing, the extra space alone will be more than welcome.

But just how much space will there be? From the looks of the imposing profile of our Galleries Disney, a second floor must be a possibility — or how about a grand atrium under that huge dome? The latest information, posted by RiverRogue on magicforum, doesn’t quite promise exactly what we’re wishing for, suggesting the upper floor (or indeed, “floors” plural) will just be for storage:

The design has slightly changed after the retirement of Wing Chao from WDI [link], but the project is still going ahead and construction ought to start relatively soon.

The retail surface will cover most of the ground floor, with upper floors used for storage. Judging from what I’ve seen and heard it’ll be the smallest of the World of Disney stores, but still rather big compared to other stores in the resort.

Nevertheless, using any space on upper floors for storage should mean more space saved for retail on the ground floor. With the comment here that construction should begin “relatively soon” and estimation from the original DCP poster that the total cost is no less than €14m, it seems when this project finally does get done, it’ll be done right.

As rumours point to Earl of Sandwich also starting up construction in 2010, it’s hopefully going to be an interesting year ahead for Disney Village. Not just for new additions, either — what about the existing locations?

World of Disney - from sketch upon sketch, to reality?

Think about it — the generic Disney Store surely can’t outlive the opening of a World of Disney too long, and even Earl of Sandwich encroaches more than a little on the market of Disney’s own New York Style Sandwiches (formerly Carnegie’s Deli). Then there are the other boutiques — with a World of Disney selling the biggest collection of merchandise on property, will there be much need for the arguably quite bland selection of Disney Gallery, Disney Fashion, Hollywood Pictures and World of Toys? With most of that block made redundant, this could be a real chance to turn it around into something a whole lot better.

Given a look at the some of the wonderfully diverse offerings from Disney itself at the American Downtown Disney districts — from Disney Vault 28 to the new D-Street and several more — we can’t but hope this potential domino effect leads to nothing short of a full-scale revolution in the Village.

Yes, they show us the World yet we’re still thinking of more. Bring on 2010…!

Credit to MykeY and RiverRogue.

Wednesday, 4th November 2009

Forget Shanghai, Paris lets slip major projects

As the official Disney Parks Blog posted a remarkably… unremarkable confirmation that the Shanghai Disneyland project is moving ahead, newspaper Le Parisien slipped out a fascinating article all about the future of our resort. Talking to Francis Borezée, Vice President of Resort and Real Estate Development, they summarise the next phase of development in the Val d’Europe district, from the expansion of Disney Village to the long-awaited new Convention Centre.

Most of this won’t shock or stun a keen follower of Disneyland Paris news, but one element certainly might: the addition of dates, the revelation that all this is finally due to be officially announced, very soon indeed. And, whilst a project being led by a huge Convention Centre doesn’t seem immediately exciting, the development and its surrounding expansions will change the landscape of the resort beyond recognition.

Where now, as soon as you reach the lonely IMAX cinema and games arcade, the old beet fields suddenly stretch as far as the eye can see, soon you’ll be at the heart of a whole new, very urban, Disney development, comprising the new hotels and Village expansion it so badly needs.

Here’s the article in full, skip down for the summary:

Disney dévoile ses nouveaux projets

Tourisme d’affaires, logements, extension des zones de loisirs et de commerces, le Val-d’Europe poursuit son développement sous l’impulsion du géant américain.

Qu’on se le dise : le groupe aux grandes oreilles n’a pas fini de laisser son empreinte sur le paysage urbain du Val-d’Europe. Fraîchement nommé à la tête des activités de développement urbain et vités touristique du groupe, Francis Borezée dévoile ses principaux projets pour le développement à venir de l’agglomération.

Des programmes qui dessinent les contours de la phase 4 du développement du Val d’Europe, actuellement en discussion avec les représentants de l’Etat et les élus locaux.

Des réalisations sur quinze ans. Chargé du codéveloppement de l’agglomération en vertu d’une convention signée avec l’Etat en 1987, Euro Disney SCA a rempli au- aujourd’hui plus de la moitié du contrat. « Nous avons d’ores et déjà développé 1 100 ha sur 1 943, ce qui veut dire qu’on a encore quinze ans de développement devant nous », résume Francis Borezée.

Actuellement en cours, l’achèvement des programmes de la phase 3 – finition de la place d’Ariane, du quartier résidentiel des Lacs ou réalisation de bureaux près de la gare RER — va coïncider avec le lance- lancement des nouveaux projets de l’opérateur privé.

Cap vers le tourisme d’affaires. C’est la grande nouveauté annoncée par le directeur général adjoint d’Euro Disney SCA. Un gigantesque centre de congrès devrait voir le jour aux portes des parcs Disneyland, pour un budget d’investissement d’environ 100 millions d’euros. D’ici 2015, une première phase prévoit la construction d’un centre de 20 000 ha sur ce terrain coincé entre le parking Vinci et l’hôtel Newport. Une nouvelle gare TGV dédiée et un hôtel de 750 chambres seront construits sur le site, qui pourra accueillir des groupes de 4 000 personnes.

Parallèlement, les activités touristiques classiques continueront de se développer, avec l’extension prévue du Disney-Village et la construction de nouvelles attractions dans les parcs… qui devraient faire l’objet d’une annonce à la fin de l’année.

De nouveaux logements en perspective. Le développement résidentiel reste une priorité pour Francis Borezée, qui prévoit la construction de « 500 à 600 » nouveaux logements, dont « au moins 20 % de logements sociaux » par an d’ici à 2017. Le centre urbain devrait s’étendre avec de nouveaux logements assortis d’équipements publics, au nord de la nouvelle mairie de Serris ainsi qu’au sud-ouest du centre de secours de Chessy et au nord du boulevard circulaire. Pour améliorer le cadre de vie, un nouveau bassin et des espaces verts devraient également voir le jour (voir carte).

D’autres constructions pourraient également apparaître en périphérie, à Magny-le-Hongre et à Bailly-Ro- Romainvilliers, avec un programme mêlant maisons individuelles et logements collectifs dans le quartier des Courtalins. A terme, Francis Borezée prévoit une croissance de la population « jusqu’à 55 000 ou 60 000 habitants », soit un peu moins que l’Etat, qui envisage jusqu’à 80 000 habitants au Val-d’Europe.

L’extension du centre commercial Val-d’Europe. Satisfait du succès du pôle marchand, qui « résiste mieux à la crise » que la moyenne des centres commerciaux, le développeur prévoit son extension, avec une « nouvelle ouverture inter- intermédiaire » de la galerie. Sans oublier l’inauguration, en mars 2010, d’un immense magasin Castorama consacré à la décoration d’intérieur, assorti de 600 à 700 nouvelles places créées sur un niveau intermédiaire dans le parking du centre commercial.

La poursuite du développement. Les entreprises ne seront pas oubliées par l’opérateur d’aménagement privé, qui table sur l’extension du parc d’entreprise Goodman, à Bailly-Romainvilliers. Sans oublier de « constituer une nouvelle offre de bureaux prêts à l’emploi près de la gare, dans le centre urbain du Val-d’Europe. » En effet, les bureaux déjà réalisés dans ce secteur sont déjà occupés «à près de 95%».

The reason none of these grand proposals come as a surprise? Because plans showing exactly these developments have been public for probably over a year now, showing the urban streets of Val d’Europe connecting up with the resort centre.

Forget Shanghai, Paris lets slip major projects

Francis Borezée notes that, after having developed 1,100 hectares of 1,943 ha available since 1987, the resort still has 15 years of development ahead of it. He confirms that Phase 4 of the Val d’Europe development is now in discussions with the state and local town councillors, and that the completion of various Phase 3 projects (housing and office developments, the town squares) will coincide with the launch of plans for the next phase of their private, resort expansion projects.

So here’s where it gets interesting: The Convention Centre, having waited to be green-lit for over ten years now, will see its first phase developed and built between now and 2015. For an investment of €100 million Euros, the “gigantestque” centre totalling 20,000 ha of floorspace will take shape on the land between the existing Vinci (Disney Village) parking lot and Newport Bay Club.

The article confirms a 750-room hotel will be included in this phase, stating “on the site”. As can be seen in the plans released, there are in fact plots for two new Disney Hotels nearby. It remains to be seen whether they’d choose the hotel next to the Convention Centre or the one across the road, joined onto the Disney Village expansion, to build first.

It also then confirms the new TGV Station, but — especially when you look at the plan they’ve drawn up themselves — seems to have the impression that this will be a whole new station. Technically, it won’t. Similarly stuck on the drawing board for a decade, this will merely be an additional entrance and exit to the platforms of the existing Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station.

Slotted in right next to the Disney Village multi-story parking, it’ll provide a new booking hall and facilities on the South side of the resort hub, allowing convention-goers and Val d’Europe residents far easier access to the platforms, without having to cross the resort hub.

Next, something we all want to hear — “Parallel to this, the resort’s traditional tourism activity will continue to be developed, with the expected expansion of Disney Village and the construction of new attractions in the theme parks… which will be the object of an announcement at the end of the year”.

Continuing on, the report discusses new housing at Val d’Europe, the creation of parks and lakes as seen in the plans, plus developments to the Shopping Centre, which is apparently beating the economic crisis more than most similar malls. Join the news recently that Val d’Europe will become home to a brand new swimming pool Aquatics Centre, and the rumours of the French Open, and things are looking good.

Forget Shanghai, Paris lets slip major projects

But you’ve probably stopped reading now, right? Knowing that a completion date has finally been set for all those expansions, and the promise of imminent announcements for Disney Village and new park attractions later this year…

Forget Shanghai, that’s the Parisian Surprise we needed.

Plans © Disney.

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