It is an impressive site. Behind the scaffolding, hundreds of people are working to restore the largest hotel in Disneyland® Paris – and one of the largest in Europe – its former glory, and even improve it. A necessary task after 23 years of existence, which also requires a complete overhaul of the furniture. While Phase 2 of the work is in full swing in the central building and the west wing of the hotel, we met Corinne Epaulard, Project Construction FAM (Assets Management Facilities) in charge of the furniture.
You’re in charge of the furniture. What does that comprise?
In charge of the design of the hotel with her Walt Disney Imagineering teams, Sylvie Massara gave me a massive technical “handbook” in which each room has been catalogued with sketches, dimensions and type of layout. The hotel has sixteen different room types and therefore sixteen different furniture layouts (apart from suites). I’ve drawn up the list and amount of furniture needed for the entire hotel. It’s one of the things that purchasing will rely on for tenders. That was the start of a long process of exchanges with companies, site visits and technical fine tuning between suppliers of raw materials and manufacturers, as we have a very high standard of requirement. Three model rooms were set up about a year before the start of the works. These rooms have been used regularly by our Guests and visited by several Disneyland teams. The feedback that these people have given us has helped us in our final choice, while at the same time allowing us to evaluate the furniture over several months.
What kind of challenges have you encountered?
Compliance with the plans is our greatest fear. The furniture will be installed at the end of the whole process. We have to juggle with the enormous amount of co-activity going on in the hotel. Every delay has an impact. We do a weekly review with all the coordinators to ensure that there are no critical situations, yet we come up against the unexpected on a daily basis. We’re working not only with French but also with Italian and British companies. This kind of work needs coordination and precision.
How do you see the next stage of the project?
The next stage is the delivery of furniture for the 500 rooms of the second phase, as well as the Compass Club, which is already underway, and the suites, which I’m going to be even, more involved in – a new challenge for me.
The early feedback following the delivery of the first phase has been very positive. Visitors particularly appreciate the new development of their room, such as the new TV stand which has been completely redesigned and equipped with a flat screen, or the hairdresser, which with its curved design, has been a technical challenge in its purchase! As for the old furniture (eg 2096 chairs equipped the rooms), it finds a second life in the “Aladdin’s Cavern” resale sessions for Disneyland Paris Cast Members and charities.