Saturday, July 10, 2010

Preview Center Discoveryland

I had been elected to rescue the Disneyland park, Paris (Euro Disneyland at the time) Preview Center. The main area of interest was the showroom lobby that would be filled with displays. The original layout for this space had been very chaotic with little consideration for audience flow thorough the space. Almost immediately upon entering the guests would have come upon a large project model. The model placement would have stopped traffic and created two dead ends at each side. A low ceiling was planned over the model for show lighting.

When I took over I was unable to raise the ceiling, but I made it work to the best advantage. Most of the displays for the various lands were under the low ceiling and this brought an intimacy to the space.

I had no budget to work from. All of the displays were considered to be ‘free’ since they would be actual props or models that would later be installed into the park, or that already existed. The problem is that one can’t just pile those things into a room like grandma’s attic. Displays need furniture to sit upon.

I came up with a very simple solution to the display-furniture problem. The pieces are all simple plywood boxes with wallpaper on the sides. This is the same wallpaper that was being used for the rest of the showroom (leftovers). The wallpaper would help to make the boxes blend into the background and not draw attention. Those boxes needing a top surface would use carpet remnants matching the carpet on the floor.

No one notices, until it’s missing, just how important graphics are. In addition to the lettering above the display each grouping of art and prop requires a descriptive plaque. Graphic designers furnished all of the signage and plaques.

C-3PO waited here patiently for more than a year before being installed in Star Tours, sometime just before opening day.

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