Go to Disney Village today and you can already shop inside World of Disney, but the new flagship store isn’t officially open until this Thursday, 12th July, so there’s just time to take a more detailed look at its design, construction and final fitting out. Disneyland Paris hosted a preview of the store and its merchandising last month, teasing fans with the first views of its beautiful Art Deco interior, sales displays and product ranges. The full 26-slide presentation is feature here and continues below.
But first, the construction. At 1,500 m² of retail space the new store is some way short of its cousins in Florida and California (at 5,000 m² and 3,700 m² respectively) but still more than double the 700 m² floorspace of the former Disney Store nearby. A further 1,000 m² backstage and on the first floor is reserved for offices and stockrooms.
Adding a unique challenge to its construction, it actually sits right on top of the concrete box housing the high speed rail lines and platforms of Marne-la-Vallée Chessy TGV station, which was built before the opening of the resort. A large ventilation shaft for the platforms had to be incorporated into its design, visible during earlier construction but now unnoticeable within the floorspace.
But that’s not the half of it: out went any idea of traditional building foundations and instead the entire store sits on a steel frame, able to expand and contract slightly as the temperature of the concrete box below changes.
All 8,000 tons of the finished store are spread evenly across its surface. This “floating foundation” also required the entire store to be built raised slightly above the rest of the surrounding area, requiring steps and ramps to meet its entrances. More a bonus than a problem, this also helps to give the store a more prestigious feel and keeps its entrances more accessible at times when crowds arriving or departing the parks reach crush level.
Of the ten pillars which encircle the domed centre of the store, only five are structural with the other five for decoration — yet they’re not purely decorative. Hidden grids allow them to become part of a complex heating and cooling system which has been designed right into the bones of the building for maximum efficiency. As a further enviromentally-friendly measure, 6 m² of solar panels have been hidden on the roof to heat water for backstage operations and break rooms, while LED lighting is utilised throughout the store to minimise energy use.
Departing for new destinations after an evening in Paris are Mickey, Minnie and Pluto, riding a hot air balloon within the starry-sky dome at the heart of the store. Below them, a cloud-shaped seat invites guests to sit and admire the spectacular space.
Ten spectacular Art Deco panoramas line the perimeter, designed exclusively for the space by American painter of Disney Fine Art and graphic designer Mike Kungl. Termed “21st Century Art Deco” by Kungl, the moderne-style artworks at World of Disney see groups of Disney characters traversing the four corners of the Disney world. A selection of large limited edition lithographs are available to purchase from the opening of the store, costing €99 framed or €69 unframed.
Kungl, who has previously created similar pieces of Disney Fine Art, was also responsible for the eight bas-relief artworks which have been visible around the store’s exterior for several months. These were originally sculpted to a finer scale before being scanned and cast in “reconstituted” stone which, with its warmer tone, actually makes up the bulk of the exterior cladding, rather than the solid granite used nearer ground level.
The signature globe roof dome, meanwhile, actually spins on its axis throughout the day. Turning at a rate of 2 km/h, it takes roughly 1 minute for a full revolution, during which time you’ll see stars marking out the location of the other Disney resorts — even including Shanghai, due to open December 2015.
But this is a shop first and foremost, and within the sliding entrance doors you’ll find no less than fifteen well-defined product areas, with 32 cash registers waiting to complete your purchase — 27 permanent, plus 5 more standalone and mobile stations. During the grand opening, you’ve the chance to pick up products not just exclusive to World of Disney but actually branded for the shops inauguration: a pin and two T-shirts mark the occasion.
More slides, floorplan of the store and video follows…