Today, we’re going to focus on the Disneyland Paris Craftworkers, who are currently bringing a new lease of life to the Sleeping Beauty Castle and decorations within the parks, hotels and Disney Village. There’s more than 250 Craftworker Cast Members, from prop decorators to upholsterers, who are working hard to preserve the heritage of Disneyland Paris.
Behind each decoration within Disneyland Paris is a craftworker, they often go unnoticed but are an essential part of the production process which creates the incredible level of detail Disney is famous for. With the continued work on Sleeping Beauty Castle, there’s no better time to take a look at these craftsmen and craftswomen, also known as the “guardians of the magic at Disneyland Paris”.
Bringing New Life to Sleeping Beauty Castle
To make sure the Sleeping Beauty Castle is perfect for the Disneyland Paris 30th anniversary year, they’ve started the first major refurbishment of the castle since the opening of the park in 1992.
To create those beautifully detailed lands within the Park, Disneyland Paris has worked closely with Walt Disney Imagineering and craftworkers throughout France and Europe. In total 9 french companies have been deployed to complete the large scale refurbishment of the Castle, this includes experts in painting, carpentry, metalwork, roofing and more. One of these companies is Le Bras Frères, who are known for their incredible work on the Notre-Dame, and are helping to refurbish the framework and roof of the Castle.
Disneyland Paris Craftworker Roles
Within the 250 craftworkers working in the Central Workshops, there are a select few who are responsible for identifying any set, prop or accessory that needs attention. They’ll regularly walk thought the attractions, shops and around the park taking detailed notes to ensure each part of Disneyland Paris provides the perfect guest experience. If a prop or accessory is identified, they’re restored in the central workshop following the very precise specifications provided within the objects restoration booklet or by the Walt Disney Imagineering Team. Some accessories within Disneyland Paris were found in antique shops nearly 30 years ago and in this instance the team have to complete meticulous research to make sure they are restored properly. In some cases, it’s not about giving an accessory a ‘fresh look’, some props are purchased new or are rebuilt, and the challenge is making them appear aged. Each year over 500 accessories and props are refurbished within the park.
One specialised team of craftworkers are the letter painters, who are responsible for the upkeep of any signage within the park. From shop signs to restaurant signs right down to the letters on the Disneyland Railroad. This team combine new and traditional techniques to achieve the best results and are often found working with oil paint as well as gold or silver leaf. In some instances, such as the horses on the Carrousel de Lancelot, they’ll use copper leaf that is then painted gold to ensure the longevity of the object and withstand the French elements.
Another team within the Craftworkers at Disneyland Paris are the many boilermakers. Working within the parks, hotels, Disney Village and even backstage they’re responsible for the maintenance and rebuilding of the rail sections of attractions and vehicles within the Parks. With the recent temporary closure of Disneyland Paris the team have had the opportunity to complete many refurbishments such as several sections within the Big Thunder Mountain attraction.
Disneyland Paris Craftworkers Training
Craftworkers go through many different types of training to make sure they understand and can master various production techniques, this includes modelling and the creation of moulding, which helps them gain the knowledge of different materials like paints, plaster and resins.
One of Disneyland Paris ideologies is that Cast Members are trained internally to help pass down the knowledge, capabilities and also encourage versatility in other crafts. Craftworkers tend to also hold the skills in welding, upholstery, carpentry, ironwork, cabinet making, rope-making, glassmaking and even seamanship – the creation of rope knots, which can be seen throughout Adventureland.
images provided by Disneyland Paris