Midnight reflections on Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel

Early December, I traveled to New York City to soak up some holiday cheer and get into the Christmas spirit. I had already seen most of the city and many of the suburbs during my first visit in 2009. But I still had a tremendous good time. I'm not sure exactly why I'm so fond of this place. Even though the city is massive and sometimes noisy, it has a weird coziness to it. That is most probably due to the beauty of its historical buildings, the many mom and pop stores and the huge cultural scene. And there’re so many things you can do! That’s why I would love to visit New York City more often. But travelling from Europe to the United States can be quite expensive. As such, it isn’t something I can do all the time. However, I have found a delectable substitute…

As I have stated in many articles before, the Disney Parks and Resorts have the unique ability to immerse its Guests into experiences that appeal to the imagination of many but that are beyond reach of most. The original Disney’s Hotel New York at Disneyland Paris is a fine example of this kind of magic! It allowed you to experience what it was like to be in New York City during the Roaring Twenties, while just being a short drive from home. Guests were offered a vast array of services and amenities: a bar, restaurants, wellness, indoor and outdoor pool, tennis courts, ice skating rink, hairdressing salon… It’s a huge complex. In fact, its buildings are the highest in the Resort. But the hotel never felt unwelcoming because of its color scheme, interior finishes and exterior ornamentation.

On the night of 5 to 6 January 2019, I stayed at the original Disney’s Hotel New York. I wanted to enjoy it one last time before the hotel would close its doors the next day for an extensive renovation. In 2020, the complex will reopen under the name “Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel”. Somewhere around midnight, I started reflecting upon these forthcoming changes. What follows is a transcript of my nightly thoughts on the matter.

Let's start off with an indisputable fact. The renovation of Disney’s Hotel New York is an absolute necessity. Since its opening in 1992, the hotel has been enjoyed by millions of people. The wear and tear that inevitable resulted became slightly visible in the past few years. Furthermore, Disney’s Hotel New York is clearly a child of its time. It’s missing certain features that are now essential to a four-star hotel. For example, rooms don’t have enough sockets to run all the electrical appliances we are using these days. And there are no changing rooms in the pool area.

During my stay, I was given the opportunity to meet with some Walt Disney Imagineers. They told me how the refurbished Disney’s Hotel New York will look like. Apparently, the existing color scheme and all of the furniture will be replaced. With its rather distinctive late eighties / early nineties appearance, this seems justified to me. When you look at the current work of the firm that bears the name of the architect who designed the hotel, you can clearly see that their aesthetic has evolved as well.

New York City will stay the major theme of the hotel. But in contrast to the original version, the hotel won’t epitomize New York during the Roaring Twenties any longer. It will celebrate contemporary New York. The rooms will be airy and bright, with stylish modern décor and home-from-home comforts. Furthermore, the hotel will pay tribute to the skill and dedication of all those who were and are involved in bringing the exciting universe of Marvel to life. Their beautiful creations will adorn the walls of the public spaces and hotel rooms.

The addition of Marvel inspired elements to the hotel came as quite a shock to many Disneyland Paris enthusiasts. But I think it isn’t a strange choice. After all, there’s a clear link between Marvel and New York City! A little research on the internet taught me that almost 25 of their superheroes live and actively fight crime in this city. Besides, showcasing the art of the talented people at Marvel is not only a noble thing to do. It will also reinforce the contemporary and luxurious character of the hotel.

One might wonder if Disney’s Hotel New York will now loose its beloved design characteristics: a smart combination of color, high quality interior finishes and boldly geometric exterior ornamentation. Although there might be some impact, I presume that the new design will have similar qualities. The outer shell of the hotel will barely change. It will be repainted in reddish and yellowy hues. The interior of the lobby and restaurants will feature wood paneling, marble and chrome.

I've got mixed feelings when I walked out of the original Disney’s Hotel New York on that grey January morning. On one hand, it was hard to say goodbye. I’ve made many wonderful memories there. On the other hand, I’m aware of the fact that the only constant in life is change. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s the only thing that has brought progress.

There are many good reasons why the refurbishment and redesign of Disney’s Hotel New York is necessary and justified. I’m delighted that the Walt Disney Imagineers have chosen to epitomize contemporary New York. The addition of a touch of Marvel makes sense and will strengthen the contemporary and luxurious character of the hotel. Finally, the new design will have similar qualities as the ones I really liked in the original version. All of this makes me confident that Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will bring positive progress for Disneyland Paris and will keep on enabling new generations of Disney enthusiasts to experience the wonder of New York City in the heart of Europe.

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