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Rockefeller rink at Hotel New York goes synthetic

Sunday, 18th October 2009 at 13:51

Rockefeller rink at Hotel New York goes syntheticIt's been a staple of the Winter season around Lake Disney right since opening day in 1992 -- the Rockefeller Plaza ice rink at Disney's Hotel New York. Now, after some 17 years, it loses its cool...,

Such a proposal — to replace the real ice rink we’ve become used to with a synthetic version — might have seemed like the perfect opportunity for any jaded Disney nuts to blast forth about how the company has “lost it”. Luckily, there’s no example set here.

Check out the classic, real version:

Rockefeller rink at Hotel New York goes synthetic

Then this first photo of the new rink, taken by Chris44 from Disney Magic Interactive:

Rockefeller rink at Hotel New York goes synthetic

And it looks… fine, actually. Don’t you think?

Look closely and you can see the joins, but considering that this new artificial surface is cheaper, easier to maintain and better for the environment, it’s a decision well made and at first glimpse, well executed. The finish appears much better than the patio slab-style rink feared. From the thoughts of those who tried it, the quality of the old surface wasn’t much to shout about anyway.

The big possibility this new rink opens up is that of year-round operation. It’s a popular feature of the months from November to April, so why not extend that? Have a perpetual Rockefeller Plaza ice rink outside Hotel New York; surely that’d be vastly better than the truly hideous kids’ go-kart driving circuit that has plagued the space for so many Summers now.

Yes, check into your expensive, “4 star” Disney hotel, look out of your window and see… this:

Rockefeller rink at Hotel New York goes synthetic

Ouch. Not very “New York chic”. A permanent ice rink, provided it’s well-maintained, would finally remove this from the resort’s black spot list (Studio 1 billboard, etc, remain).

Of course, we’d all probably still much rather see a return of the wonderful, giant map of Manhattan which is still hidden under there and used to be opened up into a giant water feature, but you can’t have everything.

To add a bit of history from our soon-to-open Euro Souvenirland.com (the Memorabilia section of DLRP Magic! is becoming its own website, plug plug), you can see here how the whole of Rockefeller Plaza used to be full of atmosphere…

Rockefeller Plaza at Hotel New York

…especially come nighttime, when they’d serve a romantic dinner under trees filled with glittering lights, as music from the hotel’s now long-gone Manhattan Jazz Club echoed through the air.

With one of the plaza’s forgotten outbuildings re-opened briefly as a café location this Summer and now a re-think of the ice rink with the possibility of extended operation, perhaps things are finally changing for the better on this side of Lake Disney?

Photos: © Disney; Chris44; Nicolai.

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  • Spanish article confirms the manufacturer – Xtraice – and the cost: For a traditional rink of 200m: €60,000. For the rink installed at Disneyland Paris: approx €260,000! http://bit.ly/4wsNzM

  • Glad it doesn’t appear to look naff. Probably not as cold or wet when you fall over either !
    We skated there in the early years, when they had Characters on the ice as well. I think the go-kart track looks awful, it used to be a pool with a fountain I thought, at other times.

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