The Disneyland park, Paris (known as Euro Disneyland at the time) Preview Center was a very fun and challenging assignment. Management had not been happy with the original design and I was brought in to fix it.
Showmanship is an important Disney standard and when I first saw the Preview Center layout I knew exactly where the showmanship was lacking. The overall project model was to be the highlight, but it had been placed nearly at the entrance of the room. The cast members were expected to deliver a spiel near the model, but as soon as they were done they would have to be across the room to let guests into the theater.
My operations and design background helped me to solve the problem. The model needed to be at the furthest end of the room, right next to the theater entrance doors. There wasn’t room to place the model in this location if it remained flat, but that was to my advantage. The ceiling was higher in this area so I had the model raked up on a steep angle. This angle took up less space, gave a better view, and added some drama to the presentation.
Lighting above the model could illuminate exactly the part that was being described, or the whole model as necessary. When this part of the show started the guests were interested to gather around. The guests naturally formed rows in front of the model as the spiel was delivered. When the spiel was done, it was time to enter the theater; without knowing it, the guests were queued up just outside the doors ready to head inside. You’d think that we had planned it.