At Disneyland Paris, you can find all means of transport – from horse-drawn trams to spaceships to cars, which hold a special place at our resort. Let us look for a moment at the most iconic cars at our destination, starting with Disneyland Park.
On the wheels of history
Main Street, U.S.A. has a particularly rich collection of vehicles.
The story goes that the streetcar line used in the early 20th century served wealthy customers from the newly built station to the Plaza Gardens Restaurant. This is how the Main Street Transportation Company invested in double decker Omnibuses, while retaining the horse-drawn trams that had a monopoly on transportation in this city.
Public services are equipped with a Paddy Wagon and a motorized Fire Truck.
To this were added the private cars of the wealthiest inhabitants: elegant limousine, luxurious Mercer 35R and the Curved Dash, the small sleigh that makes appears not far from New Century Notions – Flora’s Unique Boutique.
All of these vehicles were built for the park by English craftsmen under the supervision of Imagineers Eddie Sotto and Ed Johnson, and the choice of each model was influenced by the story they wanted to tell. The Mercer was chosen for its resemblance in the film The Happiest Millionaire (1967). The Paddy Wagon was created according to a Walt Disney World model as a souvenir of an alternative version of Main Street, U.S.A., imagined during the conception of Disneyland Paris, which was not at the turn of the century but in the years 1920-1930. This concept was inspired by jazz and the silent films that Europe discovered at the time, and in particular the films of the Keystone Cops. The words “Keystone Precinct” on the body refer to these characters and this version of Main Street, U.S.A.
As for the Fire Truck, it is a copy of the one at Disneyland Resort which Walt Disney had specially made to move around the Park.
Adventure is calling!
Adventureland vehicles assembled by Imagineer Chris Tietz are invitations to travel, even if it is often hectic! The first of them is in front of the La Girafe Curieuse store (Tout pour le Safari). It is a 1969 Land Rover “Station Wagon” which inevitably evokes adventure like that seen in the 1960s and 1970s in the Daktari series. According to legend, this vehicle belonged to a merchant who was traveling through the African desert. A giraffe was so intrigued by this all-terrain vehicle that it remained planted in the middle of the track, causing an accident in front of a ruined building. The merchant finally decided to establish his shop there and since then, the 4×4 has not left this location. This model was spotted in 1988 in an abandoned garden in southern California by Imagineer Bethann Brody who immediately bought it. The vehicle was then themed by adding the logo of the shop on the doors, a makeshift luggage rack, and all kinds of traces of wear and previous accidents, like the hole caused by the horn of an angry rhino, repaired by a tin can that the merchant would have flattened by jumping on it! At one point, it was even considered as a point of sale, as an extension of the store.
Further on, the excavation campaign in the Lost City of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril required different vehicles to transport men and equipment. A Jeep Willys was used to bring archaeologists to the site, while the truck with its hood sporting impressive horns was used to transport artifacts discovered on site. These vehicles date from the Second World War and were adapted by Imagineers Bethann Brody, John Gizienski and Pat Burke to resemble those used in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), especially the truck which transports the Arch of Alliance. Who knows what treasures are hiding inside today?
Highways of the future
With Autopia, young and old can take the wheel and drive their car of the future. The attraction’s “astro-coupé” sports a retro-futuristic design inspired by both the Disneyland Resort attraction and the 1958 Disney cartoon Magic Highway USA. From a technical point of view, this is “Autopia Mark VII”, the seventh version of the car developed for this type of attraction since the original version in 1955. It consists of a sporty body cast in a single piece of fiberglass which covers a tubular steel frame. On these futuristic highways, safety is key thanks to steel bumpers mounted on springs, padded headrests and dashboards.
As part of an extensive refurbishment program started in 2010, most of the vehicles are equipped with hybrid engines. The thermal part allows the batteries to recharge and cars to make a characteristic noise adored by parents and children. As for the electrical part, it allows fuel savings and less carbon emissions. This progress is all the more important when you know that each Autopia car can travel up to 2,000 km per day!
TO BE CONTINUED…