Forgot this new Disney Princess meet ‘n’ greet was even happening, did you? You’re forgiven. It’s been exactly a year now since the old “it’s a small world” post-show with its cute animations of children using technology to interact across the globe closed forever, and signs of the ongoing construction (or rather destruction) within haven’t been easy to spot. However, a sudden Summer rush has seen the old exit of the classic boat ride begin to take shape as the new entrance of this permanent Princesses encounter. The walls and two existing arches have been given a more stately pavilion look and even a brand new tower has sprung up to one side! Progress just this week has been considerable — compare the photo from today, above, to one from yesterday, below, both by @InsideDLParis.
We got an in-depth look at this new addition to Fantasyland — and even an exclusive walk inside its under-construction walls, with strictly no photos allowed — during the mythical refurbishments presentation back in March. Stepping through the green construction walls, our motley crew of Disneyland Paris fansite authors walked past the few last remnants of the old “small world” post-show, including the old exit sign partly ripped off the wall. Once inside, the old circular layout was still evident but, rather than being lower than the rest of the room, the centre is now raised up and walled-in as the main meet ‘n’ greet area.
From the old exit, pictured above, the queue for Princess encounters will climb up the gentle spiral ramp within, leading guests to one of two photo spots. On our visit, the bare breeze block walls were dotted with plans showing the new layout and several art boards showing (still unreleased) concept art for both the exterior and the beautiful interior, including “mood boards” and real examples of materials Walt Disney Imagineering have designed and chosen for the project. Stained glass windows, detailed carvings and rich fabrics inside promise to ensure this new addition to the kingdom looks like it truly belongs alongside all the land’s original tales-as-old-as-time. The extravagant signage due to be installed on those two prongs jutting out of the new pavilion roof will hopefully arrive with the clear and simple “Princess Pavilion” nomenclature that we saw in that concept art, rather than the obnoxiously over-branded “Disney Princesses: A Royal Invitation” name given to the temporary Magical Moments Festival tent, which has been filling the place of this (possibly delayed, possibly not) permanent photo location.
For all those still lamenting the loss of the colourful (and unique-to-Paris) Small World post-show, there’s one final detail that seals the deal, at least from an economic standpoint: the Princess Pavilion will have its very own photo purchase desk. So, rather than being given a ticket to check their photo at a boutique halfway across the park, Princess fans will see themselves posing with their favourite fairytale belle right at the exit, Big Thunder Mountain style, and be able to hand over their Euros right away. All progressing well, that could apparently be as soon as next month!