Phew. Last March, when DLRP Today was invited by Disneyland Paris to preview the year-long programme of refurbishments planned ahead of the 20th Anniversary, this much-anticipated year seemed so far away. Now, after twelve months of constant, unrelenting work and investment across the entire resort, it’s almost ready for its close-up again. The final projects are wrapping, construction walls coming down and everything being made “neat ‘n’ pretty” for the year ahead. So for one final hurrah, let’s round up these final pre-20th refurbishments with help from @InsideDLParis…
At the Discoveryland Lagoon, water has flowed back into the Nautilus basin following the submarine’s top-to-bottom repair and repaint. The stone walls of the lagoon were also repainted, and for now at least the water is a colourful blue and bubbling once again.
In Fantasyland, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth has re-opened from a near three-month refurbishment project. The grand culmination of several shorter refreshes in the past couple of years, this closure saw almost every hedge in the unique maze replanted, paint refreshed and props and effects repaired.
It’s a complete reversal of the situation back in 2008, when we identified the decaying attraction as a real maintenance blackspot. Now, one of the best Paris “exclusives” shines again. The attraction even has two new, whimsically-shaped Cast Member shelters at its entrance and exit.
Over on the shores of Adventure Isle, scaffolding has now been entirely removed from around Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship. Ready to be declared sea-worthy again, the icon is a stunning sight next to Skull Rock in its new black, red and gold colour scheme with fresh flags and sails flying from its masts. The waters have been refilled to their regular height and Skull Rock’s waterfall is functioning again. Beyond, Pirates of the Caribbean has also just re-opened from a regular refurbishment.
Towards Central Plaza, another important rat-run around the outside of the area has re-opened. While the pathway near Plaza Gardens Restaurant was widened, here the covered walkway between Frontierland and Adventureland remains the hidden gem it has always been, the roof now repaired and re-thatched — apparently using a synthetic material for the top layer of thatching, now used in several locations around the park to better withstand damp weather.
Even after construction walls fell from around Central Plaza, they could still be found at Town Square for a refurbishment of the central gazebo. Now this unique Paris feature is back open, refreshed and decorated with gold bunting for the Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrates! anniversary overlay.
Even the flower beds have joined the theme with hundreds of matching yellow and orange flowers now in bloom here, while elsewhere literally thousands of fresh flowers have been planted all over the rest of the park and resort ahead of the new spring season.
Less dramatic than a ship or submarine but still important is the main esplanade across the hub of the resort. Following the desperately-needed repaving of the plaza in front of Walt Disney Studios Park, the work didn’t stop there: now, almost the entire central area of the resort has been completely repaved, replacing worn and crumbling concrete with top-quality stone paving. Matching the original flooring design, in several shades, this vast quantity of paving must represent a considerable investment.
The majority of the work is now complete, with walls only remaining around the World of Disney construction site. Flags have (for some time now) returned to the central planter, though the information board previously located here has currently disappeared.
Meanwhile above, what could be final piece of the lengthy parking area repaint of last year, when the entire parking lot entrance plaza and moving walkway between the car park and parks was given a revised colour scheme. Here, the rather dated pink pillars of the original Disneyland Park gates have now all been given a coat of dark green, to match the railings and security check tents. A much better look, though a properly integrated security checkpoint would still be a welcome improvement.
Once the 20th Anniversary gets underway, we’ll be taking a comprehensive look back at the entire programme of refurbishments and — with your help — attempting to list every single completed project from this exceptional year. If you’re visiting in 2012, you can be sure of one thing: Disneyland Paris has had one hell of a spit and polish, and hasn’t looked better for 20 years.
• Catch up on more recent Disneyland Paris refurbishment news here.