Disney Village Renovation Rumors

In a recent Forbes article Francis Borezée, who is Disneyland Paris’s Vice President of Resort and Real Estate Development commented on Disney village saying: “We have renewed a number of attractions in the parks, so the next step will be to renew the Disney Village.” This is, perhaps, no surprise really. It makes perfect sense. Especially with the studios having strong plan going forward. And there’s no doubt that Disney Village needs some work.

Now, I’m not as much of a critic of the village as some are but even I can admit that the place could do with some work and more than a touch of paint. We don’t actually know, for sure, what to expect going forward it’s fun to speculate on what they might do. I’ll hit on some thing’s I think are probably safe and what I think might be for the ax. If I don’t mention something It’s probably because I don’t quite know what they’re going to do with it. Obviously, though, this is all speculation anyway.

Whats likely to stay

I think it’s fair to say that some things are safer than others. Because they draw in a lot of money, work really well, or because they’re just had a refurb. On that vein I can see, for the shops, World of Disney and Lego Store being fairly safe. Disney Fashion is probably fine because it’s so focused but could do with a cosmetic upgrade. I also think the Disney Gallery will be fine because it’s so focused. And, to be honest, I think that’s the thing. The more focused, the more likely it is to stay. Which is why the cinema is, of course, safe.

Restaurant wise Starbucks, Vapiano, Five Guys, Earl of Sandwich and McDonald’s are all okay, I think. Either because they are new or run by outside folks which makes a difference. Annette’s I’m on the fence about. I think it’s very popular but if we’re losing the Route 66 theme then I can see it going, or at least changing heavily. It’d be a loss to lose it wholesale. I also think the Sports Bar is pretty safe for that reason too and it is one of the few places open so late. As for Rainforest Cafe? I think it’s probably on the safe list.

Cafe Mickey is the one causing me the most trouble here. It’s a prime spot, using a lot of space, and the one Disney Themed restaurant in the village. It’s hard to see it going in it’s entirety despite the huge amount of space it occupies for a few reasons. The fact it’s pretty well themed and offers character dining is a huge plus in it’s favor. But it’s quite outdated, doesn’t open for breakfast or lunch, and seems to have fairly set characters makes me wonder how much appeal it has.

What’s Likely To Go

This is almost definitely curtains for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It’s been around a long time and must be very expensive to run. I can easily see it being the first casualty especially because it takes up so much space and using animals in shows has become less and less palatable for a lot of people. I’d love a new show as well though.

Planet Hollywood might go for space reasons as well. It takes up a lot of space, the buildings old and tattered, and it doesn’t really bring anything new or add anything special to the village. If they keep it then it needs a swift fix. Restaurant wise I can see Ludwig’s going as well or at least getting a bit of an overhaul to bring it into line.

Now, the Disney Store is a thorny issue. Because, by rights, it should go. It takes up a huge amount of space but adds nothing that you can’t get in the parks or World Of Disney which is a much more impressive store. It’s basically obsolete at this stage. But – I imagine it makes a huge amount of cash. The lines are always insane in here and it’s always so busy. So, is it likely to go? Hard to say. Perhaps just a re-theme.

Themeing

I think, at this stage, this is anyone’s guess. However, I can see the place being repainted and re-pathed and some of the  stage areas taken out. I can see some of the, at this stage very outdated, 90s theming going – the huge pylons, the light balloons, the sign – in place of something a bit more modern and, hopefully, likely to stand the test of time. I think the less specifically concept themed the better. Something along the lines of Downtown Disney would work well if we’ve got money to chuck at it.

Initially the idea of Disney Village was, basically, for it to be a destination for the locals more than an advertisement for the theme park. I think the business decision behind this has shown itself to be a questionable one. I don’t think the locals have adopted it as a destination so a tighter Disney focus is on the cards if the other resorts are anything to go by. It would make way more business sense to use the Village as a way of promoting the park and integrate it with the same thematic integrity and attention to detail. It’s your introduction into that world, after all.

Going Forwards

It’s good to hear that Disneyland Paris has a firm eye on improving the village. At the moment, for a lot of people, it’s not an attraction it itself. It’s not somewhere you go specifically. And it should be – it should hold that draw. The other parks present a strong model for how this could be done well and I think Disneyland Paris probably have an eye to that with a European perspective.

It’s been amazing to see Disneyland Paris have such a strong drive and vision going into the future. Especially since that’s embracing both parks. It is something that the parks have needed, and deserved, since they opened. I have no doubt that any plan for Disney Village will be just as well thought out. And I can’t wait to see what they have in store.

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