Ah, the Disney Store. Not the one in your nearby shopping mall, but the generically titled store that used to be the largest in Disney Village. Now effectively replaced and superseded in both size, style and location by World of Disney, you might well think this rather tired location will be at a loss to find a raison d’être. But, reopening after a short closure on 14th July, it now sees a renewed focus to character groups and a new dedicated Christmas section — the first outside the parks.
Little else has been renewed, however. All the old 1990s props and decoration — including the large spaceship mobile hanging in the centre of the store — remain intact. The ugly dayglo-coloured flat signage outside is still in place, still carrying the generic “Disney Store” name.
Some effort has been made to tie the interior together better, with a smart new mural or “fresque” installed above the displays around the edge of the store, signifying areas for franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars and Cars or even individual characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. This is slightly different at least to the displays at World of Disney, which largely group items by categories such as homewares and favour resort merchandise over franchise ranges.
Meanwhile the small lower area of Disney Store, historically the original La Poste postal office, is now a dedicated Christmas space. Since the 15th Anniversary it has featured the current season’s merchandise, most recently changing to 20th Anniversary displays for a few months before this recent change. The modest decoration of lights, tinsel, trimmings and props isn’t bad at all, but only stuck-on snow in the window announces this as a Christmas shop from outside.
Presumably all of these changes are merely a stop-gap measure before it’s decided what to do with this space in the longer term. Perhaps split it into several smaller, well-branded boutiques? Or a large (and much-needed) new restaurant? Or why not demolish this whole oppressive, monolithic block and start again, using some of the empty backstage space to create more space out front? We can dream.
In the short term, the restricted opening hours, nondescript name (still curiously overlapping with the actual Disney Store brand) and dated interior almost give the feel of a cut-price outlet store. The store now only opens from 4pm onwards each day, an obvious sign that it’s living on borrowed time.
With rumours of a LEGO store to replace the similarly-inflicted Hollywood Pictures shop further along, let’s hope Disney Village’s true retail revolution is still to come.
It can be a beautiful piece of Disney architecture and filled with fun facts and details, but a shop is ultimately only as good as the merchandise its sells. How does World of Disney compare? DLRP Today.com reader Maarten has kindly captured a lengthy photo tour of the new store, showing us what’s on the shelves of this new flagship location for Disneyland Paris merchandise.
Though the store largely presents a kind of “best of” collection of merchandise available at an array of stores across the resort, organised largely by product type through hats, mugs, towels, and so on, it does also introduce a few of its own exclusive ranges. These displays, signified by special “World of Disney – Produits Exclusifs” placards, include items from the colourful Disney by Britto range, designed by pop artist Romero Britto.
One of the main benefits of World of Disney, besides perhaps not having to visit several stores to buy the merchandise that’s taken your eye, is that the aisles between the actual shelves are much wider and more spacious than in any other store at the resort.
Continues with 46 more photos… CONTINUE READING…
World of Disney is now already a familiar, unique icon for Disneyland Paris. But what went into designing and building this new landmark boutique? Via the Disneyland Paris Generations website, an official video allows some of the creators to speak for themselves, as well as giving us a glimpse at the always fun time-lapse video Disney sets up for most of its major projects.
As it happened, after over 10 years of planning and waiting, this new store rose from the concrete roof of the TGV platforms in just over 18 months. Here it rises in about six seconds.
Video follows… CONTINUE READING…
Since the first crane rose over the Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity (working title) construction site in April, a second crane has joined the effort to realise this much-anticipated dark ride and restaurant in time for 2014. With the second crane shorter, wider and less colourful than its cousin, it seems only fitting we call the pair, who now tower over both parks from several viewpoints: Rémy and Emile!
Their work so far has remained steadfastly at ground level, preparing the foundations for the vast future showbuilding. Piledriving, which steadies the ground and provides a solid foundation for the actual concrete base to rest on, has now been complete for several weeks. The latest work allows us to see the footprint of the new building at its clearest yet; each portion of the building marked out with solid concrete edges ready for the concrete base to be poured in sections.
Already in the first photo above, taken a couple of weeks ago by DLRP Today.com reader Maarten, you can see how the outline of the new building(s) will match the side of the Cast Member building opposite, creating a “Parisian” square around the future centrepiece fountain. This existing ImagiNations building, currently crudely themed as “Studio 4″, is expected to be dressed in new Parisian façades along its length, as well as possibly hosting the toilets or shop for the area.
Our last update included a video walkthrough of the construction site and pre-existing Ratatouille-themed road, which it turns out we caught just in time: days later, it was closed completely to guests. Wooden boards have been laid over the street cobbles and temporary fences and gates moved outwards to give construction crews more room inside the site itself.
This means Toy Story Playland is currently a dead-end for guests, the Barrel of Monkeys tunnel leading to nothing but an unthemed gate with no hint or tease whatsoever at what’s next.
World of Disney has now completed its first full week of regular opening. The new Disneyland Paris flagship store, at the entrance to Disney Village, was inaugurated on 12th July 2012 with a special ceremony hosted by resort ambassadors Régis Alart and Osvaldo del Mistero.
Just as the colourful globe and Imagineering-designed architecture of the building itself has finally brought a true “Disney” touch to the resort hub, the ceremony saw the rare sight of Mickey, Minnie and Disney pomp in view of the RER and TGV station.
A modest but dedicated crowd of VIPs and visitors awaited the opening ceremony at 3pm, as the ambassadors, joined by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, introduced Joe Schott, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Pierre Monzani, Préfet of the local Seine-et-Marne area. The pair of officials, Joe Schott in less fluent but admirable French, then officially inaugurated the new store by cutting the ribbon as Régis and Osvaldo declared “World of Disney is now officially open!”.
As confetti rained down, the heavens opened in perfect Marne-la-Vallée timing, coating the “World of Disney” marquee, statues and globe in a spray of golden dust. DLRP Today.com reader Maarten was there to capture the events — more photos from inside the store will follow.
Disneyland Paris also released a selection of official photos from both inside and outside the new location, showing off its sumptuous interior and beautiful nighttime illumination. The red marble-effect “World of Disney” signage truly does create a real, unique beauty of a marquee. Quintessentially American but European influenced, as all the best things at Disneyland Paris are.
Video of the inauguration by sebichou92i (YouTube) follows… CONTINUE READING…
Construction of World of Disney at the entrance to Disney Village really powered through its final months, with Disneyland Paris’ merchandising teams having the new flagship store stocked and ready to open its doors right on schedule for the first time last week. First came the Cast Members, always given the privilege of first previews, on Thursday 5th July, followed by two planned previews for both Shareholders Club members and Annual Passport Dream holders on Friday 6th.
Then, from this Saturday 7th, conveniently the start of the busy summer season when the esplanade in front of the store will be at its busiest with guests walking to and from the parks, the store opened its doors to everyone. This remains a “soft opening” period ahead of the official inauguration this Thursday, 12th July 2012, meaning the store could be closed at any time, but so far it is following its soon-to-be-regular 9am to 1am opening hours.
Inspired by the great department stores of Paris and beyond, World of Disney stocks a full range of Disneyland Paris merchandise. Clockwise from the main entrance, you can discover 20th Anniversary, collectibles, pins, candy, media, Paris, “Oh Mickey!”, adult clothing, kids clothing, costumes, plushes, toys and Disney by Britto ranges. The central domed area, where Mickey, Minnie and Pluto wave from a hot air balloon having enjoyed an evening in Paris, is dedicated to homewares and accessories.
Designed to present a “best of” from the resort’s other boutiques, World of Disney nevertheless still has some of its own exclusive products, indicated by special signs on each display. These include the limited edition T-shirts and lithographs, reproducing the beautiful murals which adorn the shop itself.
The entire store is both far better organised and easier to browse than its generically-titled Disney Store predecessor, having wide, clear aisles and a central concourse which loops right around the store connecting the three entrances. In the middle of the store, under the hot air balloon, is not another sales display but a comfy four-sided seat. Unlike other areas of the resort’s merchandising, where shop display rails fall, desperately, out into the pathway in a horribly tacky way, this is a store which draws you in and encourages you to linger. Pinging cash registers will surely follow.
And then there’s the design: Art Deco, 1920s/30s/40s inspired, nods to True-Life Adventures and even rare globe-trotting animations such as Saludos Amigos (find Pedro the plane!). The ten “21st Century Art Deco” murals designed exclusively for the space by Mike Kungl are a true asset to the store and the resort. Cast Members wear special period costumes, not generic off-the-hanger shirts, the entire interior and sales displays custom designed just for this space.
Outside, the public realm thankfully shrugs off, even completely ignores, the inhuman concrete warehouse architecture of Disney Village for something decidedly more “real” and town-like. High quality paving, steps, handrails and planters surround the exterior with its fun bas-relief panels featuring Disney characters restyled in Art Deco. Like the pleasing Earl of Sandwich, bookending the other end of Disney Village, this is hopefully the vision for further future development.
True, the striking, slowly turning landmark glass dome with its recycled castle Tinker Bell looks somewhat less delicately ornate than may have been desired after the addition of its colourful globe motif, which in strong sunlight gives the effect of flat stuck-on transfers rather than a real opaque stained-glass effect; but see it at nighttime, when illuminated from within, for best effect.
Even the slightly odd-looking, off-model Mickey and Minnie statues, borrowed from the former World of Disney store in New York City, can be forgiven when you cast your eyes on the simply gorgeous “World of Disney” marquee signage itself, styled with a luxurious blue and red marble-effect. Earlier concepts showed the “o” of “World” styled as a Mickey Mouse shape; thankfully, this was styled back to a much classier plain “o”, avoiding the “Mickey fatigue” which can plague projects like this.
Though significantly more “petite” than its American cousins, this World of Disney makes up for its comparably quaint size with its bespoke design. There’s no other store like it, at Disneyland Paris or beyond; the Imagineers have successfully created a store that’s a destination all of its own and gives the previously colourless resort hub area a much-needed feel of “place”.
World of Disney will be officially inaugurated tomorrow, Thursday 12th July 2012, with a special ceremony at 3pm (for 3.30pm) in the presence of Philippe Gas, CEO
Preview photo round-up and interior videos follow… CONTINUE READING…
Disneyland Paris has confirmed that a special Bastille Day fireworks will take place this Saturday, 14th July, beginning just five minutes after the end of the regularly scheduled performance of its new Disney Dreams! nighttime spectacular at Disneyland Park.
The French National Day, more commonly known simply as le quatorze juillet in France, falls on a Saturday this 20th Anniversary year, meaning the resort can no doubt expect bumper crowds for the occasion. Unlike previous years, where the regular fireworks event such as The Enchanted Fireworks has taken a one-night break with a special show in its place, this separate fireworks show will provide two nighttime spectaculars in one night, not to mention the seasonal return of Disney’s Fantillusion.
If the 22-minute Disney Dreams! remains scheduled at its regular time of 11pm, required due to the late sunset at this time of year, that means the special Bastille Day fireworks won’t begin until almost 11.30pm. It remains to be seen if the one-off show will be as grand as previous years or a cut-down pyrotechnic “encore” in light of the preceding spectacular. Could the newly-installed fountains, water screens and projectors around the castle be utilised? No word yet.
Though the related World of Color show in California has been given special scenes for holidays and film releases, the show’s creator Steve Davison was clear to state during our Q&A event earlier this year that Disney usually prefers to leave such shows for at least a year before adding new segments, to allow everyone to see the original show. Today’s tweet from Disneyland Paris seems to state the 14th July fireworks are a separate event and not a modification or even encore to the show.
Nevertheless ‘Disney Dreams!’ itself is already very patriotic towards France, with its Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (pictured above) and Ratatouille scenes coming in quick succession all with French lyrics, settings and characters. This Saturday night at Disneyland Paris looks set to be more “patriotique” than ever!
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… CONTINUE READING…