As Disneyland Paris turns 25, and as a part of the park's opening design team, I thought it appropriate to relate a brief "war story" straight from the front lines. This is a tale of the schedule being so daunting, and the project "locomotive" moving so fast, that "laying down on the tracks" at times seemed like the only way to make things right.
I was on that bullet train and the park was moving like the French TGV toward April 1st, 1992 and nothing was going to stop it. My role was leading the design for the "Main Street USA" section, a "turn of the century" small town experience that recalled Walt Disney's own boyhood. Early on, we felt this concept would not translate well with our European audience, so we turned the clock forward a bit and styled the area more toward the 1920's "jazz age" period, something more familiar and exciting. After a year of design, I go on vacation and return to management having thrown the whole thing out, wanting to "stick to the formula," reverting to what exists in the Magic Kingdom in Florida. So... we were sent back to square one, transported literally back to the 1890's (devastating to say the least.)