Disneyland Paris recently shared an in depth look at the making of Super Diner at Avengers Campus Paris.
The Super Diner, formerly known as the Café des Cascadeurs, was re-furbished and re- designed by:
- Keith Rector, Field Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering Paris
- Sébastien Dhainaut, Set Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality
- Thomas Krause, Graphic Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering Paris
The Oldest Restaurant in any Disney Park Around the World
Walt Disney Imagineers conducted a significant amount of research to better understand the origins of the historical diner.
A long-withstanding rumor that Marylin Monroe had dined there could not be confirmed. However, Imagineers discovered that it was originally a local diner, built in 1935, located in New Jersey and called the Excellent Diner. It was then owned by a small family and at some point, in 1975, the diner closed.
“The diner was then shipped to Europe by a German collector who wanted some kind of nostalgic Americana” Thomas states.
During the development of Walt Disney Studios, it was purchased by Disneyland Paris to complete the initial offering of the park.
When the second gate opened in 2002, it became Café des Cascadeurs. Themed to a diner where stunt people would have a burger after a successful performance of “Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular.” With the closure of the show and the grand opening of Avengers Campus, Imagineers decided it was time to find a new theme for the diner.
The design team decided to honor its legacy while ensuring its future. Just like the rest of Avengers Campus the diners new aesthetic would fuse “old” elements with the new.
Sebastien was most notably in charge of the interior design. He explains: “We wanted to keep the essence of the place in the interior, while bringing it into the 21st century because the story of Avengers Campus is happening right now, today. All the furniture was redone, and we redesigned the space. We kept the open kitchen side while improving the comfort of the cast members and guests. In the end, the retro vibe is still here while changing the materials chosen and the colors which are warmer than before.”
Thomas then joined the team, he brought his graphic expertise to the mix: “For the outside, where we added a marquee, a big freestanding menu and some murals, we really wanted to evoke the 1940s American diner aesthetic to complement this amazing piece of history. I added lots of reds and chrome detailing to tie in with the adjacent Avengers Campus architecture, while the name Super Diner is, of course, a nod to Super Heroes.”
To make the final result as authentic as possible, Thomas researched as many 1940s/1950s American diner graphics as he could find. “Our perception of these diners is a little clouded because there have been so many revivals of that mid-century style, so many ‘back to the ‘50s’ diners and retro paraphernalia, and those are often not very true to the real thing. We really had to go past that and find real menus, real napkins, real signage, etc. from that era.
I came across a lot of beautiful matchboxes that had illustrations on them of the restaurant where they were given out and did a similar illustration for the Super Diner. It ended up on the menus, the placemats and the sandwich wrappers.”
Set in the 1940s, the new Super Diner was the place where factory workers from Howard Stark’s Accutech flying cars company, conveniently located next door, would go for a much-needed break and lunch. The place was then owned by Angie Martinelli, close friend to Peggy Carter, who had a dream to open her own diner. When Tony Stark decided to refurbish the whole place into the new Avengers Campus, he decided to keep the diner so that recruits could have lunch there.
Depth and Details
As a reference to its original name, the tagline became “an Excellent Family Diner.” “For me, this is a piece of history that has genuine authenticity at Walt Disney Studios Park,” explained Keith.
Since the diner was to be sponsored by Coca-Cola, both parties wanted to create a seamless brand integration. One of the best example’s of this is the ad located on the wall of the terrace. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s an actual ad extracted from the Coca-Cola archives. Imagineers simply upgraded the car that appears on it in order to make it a Howard Stark flying car.
Thomas added, “Due to its ideal location, we wanted to shine light on the diner itself and its history, and we found a nice tie-in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe developed in the movies and series through the character of Peggy Carter, who at one point worked at a mid-century diner called the L&L Automat. I should definitely give credit to Lorraine Huriet, production assistant and huge fan, who provided us with all this amazing input. This resulted in a few props you can see around the diner, such as newspaper articles and memorabilia from the L&L.”
Music also plays a large role in the diner. After considering various iterations of atmosphere set in the fifties, the decision was made to create a soundtrack in the likes of something Tony Stark would listen to while eating there.
“This extra layer of modern soundtrack on top of the old elements allowed us to also give the music the Avengers Campus twist,” Keith explained. Fans will easily recognize iconic hits that have created powerful moments in the movies from the “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin in “Thor: Ragnarok” to “Just a Girl” by No Doubt in “Captain Marvel.”
Dinner is served
After several months of hard work, recruits can now enjoy a selection of reuben style sandwiches in an authentic setting. A departure from the previous burger heavy menu offered at Café des Cascadeurs.
“I remember one morning near the end of the project,” Sebastien goes on. “I just sat there, looking at my pre-visualization concept and looked at the place. This was it. We had achieved what we originally envisioned.”
For Keith, the best part was to see all lines of business and partners really get behind the vision and story they had created: “I love the fact that we had the custom menus and custom wraps, all in service of the guest experience. Small details that make a difference.”
And Thomas concluded: “It’s the first time since I’ve started working at Disney that I’m seeing a project open its doors; it’s really satisfying to see people enjoy your work! It’s amazing to me how fans are picking up on these details. It’s a real incentive to keep striving for quality.”
Check out our complete review of the Avengers Campus as well as our podcast episode:
Will you be dining at Super Diner during your next visit to Avengers Campus? Let us know in the comments below.
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