Building mockups for scale is an experiential fundamental and something we strive to do on our current projects. Beyond computer modeling, simple mockups lend a tactile impression CGI does not. Having a sense of how a space can experientially feel can be overlooked, but when your success depends on how much people love it, it pays to focus on experiential massing. This image from the late 1980s shows Disney Imagineering Chief Marty Sklar reviewing a "mockup" of the enclosed arcades of Main Street USA for Disneyland Paris. We had never attempted to create an alternate route to the center of the park,let alone an indoor one. It had to feel just as warm and intimate as the rest of the park. Part of the scheme are the 80 or more flickering Gaslights (shown in white paper and styrofoam and pictured right) that highlight our path . In that dusty Imagineering parking lot within view of the Interstate 5 Freeway, Marty gave us his approval. The real arcades emerged in 1992 and the reviews have been great, thanks to the foresight of "mocking up" the height and width to great effect.
In fact, the Arcades were part of a mandate for the Paris park to allow the guests to warmly circulate during inclement weather. An initial proposal was covering the entire Main Street with a steel and glass roof as was done to ill effect in Tokyo Disneyland. To his credit, Tony Baxter, the executive in charge, did not want to cover the street or create an extensive network of porches and awnings, but rather to create alternate fowl weather route, which allowed the guest to experience Main Street the way it was intended, and the arcades developed from there as a way to avoid covering the entire street.