It might be based on a land of whimsy and wonder, but the bridge across to Sleeping Beauty Castle is no less prone to wear and tear than any other. A fact learnt only now by the resort, as they threw it into a sudden major refurbishment last week.,
As the icon of Disneyland Park, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and its essential moat bridge are some of the most heavily-trafficked places in the entire resort. On a trip to Disneyland, everyone wants to walk over that famous bridge into the fabulous castle rising above. For the foreseeable future, however, their fairytale will be a little interrupted…
Scaffolding and white tarpaulins began to rise on the weekend of March 1st on the left side of the bridge, followed by a complete covering on the right side later last week. The works came unexpectedly for all, with no announcement or advance warning given through the internal park refurbishments calendar at all.
The walkway has had limited repairs and refurbishments in recent history, mainly to the wooden drawbridge section, but the damage and dirt along the concrete-built bridge section has long been a disappointment to fans.
The photo below, taken by mouetto (Disney Central Plaza forum) whilst the scaffolding was still encasing the bridge, clearly shows the various levels of decay and dirt on the bridge. The column on the left, in particular, clearly shows the main reason for these sudden repair works: freeze-rot in the concrete, also known as ‘concrete cancer’.
This is where small cracks in the concrete fill with water, which is then frozen — expands — and causes the cracks to become larger. Eventually, as shown above, large parts of the decorative top layer will be broken altogether. Reports suggest that similar problems are occurring with the bridge (probably no thanks to its unimpressive refurbishment history), that could eventually cause much larger structural problems in the future.
The walkway underneath the bridge to La Tanière du Dragon gives a revealing view on the repairs, which still appear to be in their early stages. From this viewpoint at least, the scaffolding is clearly only for workers to access the structure — it is not providing any kind of emergency support whatsoever.
As with the major refurbishments which sprung up back in early March 2007, in preparation for the 15th Anniversary, it will be hoped that this work on such a key landmark will be complete by the time the Spring/Summer season begins on 5th April 2008. Currently, however, no completion date is known.
Stay with DLRP Today for the latest news on this project as it breaks.
[Photos by Photos Magiques (more here) and mouetto on DisneyCentralPlaza.com]