Book Review: “The Art of Disneyland Paris”

Hi everyone!

“The Art of Disneyland Paris” recently released exclusively at the Disneyland Paris Resort as part of the 30th Anniversary celebration. We received the book as a gift from InsidEars at Disneyland Paris and I wanted to share a review. Twenty years ago, I purchased six or seven copies of the highly regarded “Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality” for myself and friends, and I know we’ll be bringing a few extra “The Art of Disneyland Paris” books home during our Disneyland Paris trip next month. “The Art of Disneyland Paris” costs 50 Euros, which currently is about $50 USD.

The cover (there is no book jacket) of “The Art of Disneyland Paris” consists of photos and concept art that encompass the past, future and present. From Tony Baxter in front of a model of the Disneyland Hotel to concept art of “Mickey and the Magician” and “Avengers Campus”, to the future “Frozen” area at Walt Disney Studios Park, the cover celebrates the 30 years of Disneyland Paris and beyond. And the book itself covers the same – past, future and present.

Opening up the book, there is a 1992 Euro Disneyland map that spans two pages, from Sam McKim and Steve Cargile. “The Art of Disneyland” is authored by Jérémie Noyer and Mathias Dugoujon. The foreword is by Disneyland Paris President Natacha Rafalski, with an introduction by Tom Fitzgerald. There are sections for both parks, as well as attraction posters, Disney Village, hotels, and shows and parades.

The book is in both French and English, as the Disneyland Paris attraction books are.

Rafalski gives a nod to both Disney Imagineers and Cast Members in the foreword. And she not only looks back but also ahead, including mentioning the opening of Avengers Campus and looking ahead to the “Frozen” themed area of Walt Disney Studios Park.

Fitzgerald talks about how European fairtyales were a natural fit for Fantasyland and how H.G. Wells and Jules Vernes provided the design direction for Discoveryland. He focuses in on Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle) and the uniqueness. Part of that comes from local artisans – not only when it was built, but when it was recently refurbished.

“The Art of Disneyland Paris” includes a ton of great concept art, including from Herb Ryman, Eddie Soto, and Tim Delaney. The early 1987 Herb Ryman illustration from the Main Street Train Station looking down Main Street U.S.A. looks very similar to the final version, including the Town Square gazebo. Another piece of concept art from Herb Ryman includes an elevated tramway on Main Street U.S.A., which never was built at Disneyland Paris but was built at Tokyo Disney Sea. There are probably a couple of hundred pieces of concept art within the entire book, along with photos (but more art).

An interesting piece of concept art features an early version of the Disneyland Hotel. The Disneyland Hotel is at the entrance to Disneyland Park, but in this art, it also extends into Town Square.

Each land for Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park has a section in the book. There are about 200 pages in “The Art of Disneyland Paris”, and some attractions receive more space than others. For example, Phantom Manor takes up 6 pages within the Frontierland chapter. In the Phantom Manor pages, one of the pieces of artwork is by Julie Svendsen from 1990 of the Ravenswood Manor in its heydey. This artwork is at least partly inspired by a school in Nevada – something I had not known. But don’t expect a text-heavy book, there is a moderate amount but with interesting information I didn’t know.

The Walt Disney Studios section focuses pretty heavily on Avengers Campus and also Worlds of Pixar, including pages on Ratatouille : L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy.

Disney Village has a chapter, and includes artwork by Joe Rohde (including of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show) and there is a little bit about what is upcoming.

Other chapters include the hotels – very much featuring Disney’s Hotel New York – the Art of Marvel, which is the major, sleek redesign of Disney’s Hotel New York. I recommend a visit to the hotel for dining or the bars if not staying there. And the Disneyland Hotel renovation is covered as well. All of the hotels are featured but those two are of note.

Parades and spectacles, and costumes are included at the end. The book is very up-to-date and includes “Mickey’s Dazzling Christmas Parade”, which debuted last Christmas season (it is an amazing, wonderful parade). We are really fortunate to visit Disneyland Paris relatively frequently and have experienced so many seasons, parades, shows and more.

“The Art of Disneyland Paris” is exclusive to Disneyland Paris Resort. I hope that will eventually change, it would be nice to have the book available more widely. I’ve been visiting Disneyland Paris since 2002 and I love seeing concept art from the past but also I’m excited for the future of the resort, and the book really does honor the past, future and present very well.

Thank you to Disneyland Paris for sending us the book.