It has been a stormy day over at Disneyland Resort Paris, and for once it's not about the finances. Following Thursday's remarkable news of a mini tornado ripping through several North-West London streets, it seems the severe weather hopped across the channel for a bit of impromptu Disney magic earlier today, leading to a full closure of Walt Disney Studios.,
First reports appeared on DLP.info, who wrote:
“Early Friday December 8, 2006, winds up to 120 km/h were measured and resulted in closures of the Main Street, U.S.A. , it’s a small world promenade (the wide walkway in front of it’s a small world) and all open air attractions, such as Dumbo, Orbitron, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. Guests were guided around the closed areas respectively through the arcades on the sides of the Main Street.”
However, with a 183-foot tower under construction and hundreds of temporary construction walls, Walt Disney Studios Park was undoubtedly the first concern as the storm whipped into Marne-la-Vallée. Despite each wall section being held in place with breeze blocks and sand bags, construction walls for the Tower of Terror near Studio Tram Tour were first reported to have been blown from their fixings.
At our partner site the MagicForum, member Poppy The Monkey now gives a full run-through of damage to Walt Disney Studios Park from today’s events:
– Nearly all the movie posters on the lighting rigs have gone.
– The starry light effect on Studio 1 has blown away.
– Most of the hanging decorations at the entrance to the WDS have blown down.
– Cars poster is loose on Studio 1.
– Most of the TOT construction fences were blown down along with some in Animation Courtyard.
– The tarps on the TOT were blown loose too.
Poppy The Monkey also gives more details on the safety precedures put in place for guests, reporting “Guests were kept in all attractions for 1 hour from 1pm, and not allowed to leave. Resulting in 2 showings of Animagique and Cinemagique for the same audience or all you could ride RNRC.” Any guests outside of the Studios’ many soundstages were quickly ushered inside Disney Studio 1 and told to remain inside, with multiple performances from CinéFolies and the Edelweiss band entertaining the hostages of the storm. Finally, Poppy The Monkey confirms “Guests were evacuated from the park at 2pm through the backstage areas taking them directly to the Disneyland Park via the cast members entrances.”
At Disneyland Park, the berms and landscaping played their part in protecting the park, though guests were still kept inside as much as possible. MagicForum member thebatman_1 reports Liberty Arcade and Discovery Arcade became the main shelters for windswept visitors, whilst characters huddled outside City Hall amongst the sea of blown-over trash cans.
Whilst the move to close an entire park seems monumental, the presence of heavy construction walls throughout the entire park could have led to far more serious problems in such strong winds. As it was, the damages that were incurred appear to be mostly minor, with many likely due to be fixed within just a couple of weeks.
At this moment, the winds have reportedly subsided and so fears of a repeat of December 1999’s freak storm can be put aside. On 27th December 1999, an intense gale ripped through the resort, causing damage to the roof of Sequoia Lodge and destroying the glass statue of Mickey Mouse created for the Christmas and Millennium celebrations. Worst hit was Davy Crockett Ranch, with one particular incident injuring six guests when a tree fell on their log cabin.
Member EDM at Disney Central Plaza forum reports a special event at the Studios booked by Air France still went ahead this evening, and, should the troubles of the wind not have a 2 day ticket, the parks will open again as normal tomorrow morning.