Disneyland Paris

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We don’t know when they changed the name from EuroDisney, but it is now Disneyland Paris.  Adorably, all the signs on the RER to DLP have little mouse ears on them.  It’s the universal sign of Disney. 🙂  We woke up relatively early to get to the RER A, though we did not plan on making rope drop.  We ran into a group of folks from California on the RER train that were, like us, Disney completionists.  We chatted with them during the train ride.

It is true that the train station literally drops you off right in front of DLP.  The only point of confusion for us was that bag check seemed like the park entrance, and so I waited for DH outside bag check instead of outside the entrance as we had agreed.  That was resolved quickly enough, though.  DLP, unlike WDW, has bag scanners, which speeds up bag check immensely. 

B* had kindly e-mailed us the touring plan, and, as it suggested, we went straight away to Discoveryland (aka Tomorrowland) so DH could ride Space Mountain 2.  This version of Space Mountain is a real roller coaster, with loops, unlike the WDW version.  As such, I stayed outside on the benches and took photos.  Star Tours was closed, so our next stop was Thunder Mountain railroad for fastpasses.  DH also went to ride Indiana Jones (another coaster).  Then, we both rode Pirates of the Caribbean, which, unlike ours, has TWO drops.  They’re scary, too, though nowhere near the drop of Splash Mountain.  Also, unlike our park’s version, you can see the drop coming.  That makes me happier than when it sneaks up on you.  The Pirates at DLP is supposed to be closer to the Disneyland version (meaning longer and better), and it was definitely better than our version at WDW.  Our fastpasses were ready for Thunder Mountain next, so we headed over there.  I was a bit nervous, given that all the other coasters were of greater intensity.  This version was a bit more thrilling in that it had long sections in the dark, but it was kind of cool.  The first part in the dark is actually a tunnel that gets you from the boarding area over to a mini-island where the majority of the coaster is.

We had lunch at a nearby counter service (Last Chance Saloon), and it was about what you expect from food in the Magic Kingdom at home.  Actually, the fries were a bit better, and DH did enjoy the wings (though there were only a couple of them in the platter he got).  With our lunch, we got a coupon for a free beverage between 3-5:30pm on the same day.  That’s an interesting marketing trick that they do at DLP, it seems, to keep you in the park, I guess.  We got a second coupon later in the day when I bought a drink at a stand, so we both had free drinks waiting for us in the afternoon.

After lunch, we did the Pinocchio ride (which doesn’t exist at WDW but is vaguely close to Snow White’s adventures) and then headed to the Studios park.  We had not previously experienced being able to switch parks so easily, and it was very nice.  You don’t even have to re-do bag check when you switch parks.  Our first stop at the studios was Crush’s Coaster, but, as we had gotten a coupon for a free soda, we suspected the rides might empty out a bit later in the day.  Crush had a 45 minute wait, so we decided to skip it for later.  We headed to the Toy Story area of the park, where DH rode the RC racer, a ride a bit like those swinging pirate ships, except it goes on a track instead of swinging.  After that, DH did the thrill rides, and I took pictures for a little while.  Then, we returned to Crush’s coaster, which was still at 45 minutes.  I waited in the line for it with DH but chickened out.  It’s worth noting that the turnstile for Crush was almost too small for me to get through.  That was the only time I encountered a real issue due to my size in this park, but it was scary as I felt like I was going to get stuck.  That may be a result of my particular distribution, though, as I’m both short and fat and as such, my widest part is lower than planners tend to expect.

I should note that we both agreed that we should have waited to have lunch in the Studios.  When you first go into the Studios, you go through a large mall-like area with lots of food options.  We could have probably eaten better over there than trying to settle on a place in Disneyland proper.  Overall, too, it was startling how much smaller this park was than WDW’s parks.  DH didn’t notice, but I definitely did.  The landscaping and decorations are gorgeous, probably better than ours, and it hides the size of the park well.  But, you can tell just by looking down Main Street that it’s about half as far to the castle as you’re used to walking.  The studios were incredibly small as well.  That’s part of what made it possible for us to basically be done with both parks by 4pm.  (Well, that and the multiple ride closures as well as us skipping rides that were exact copies of the ones at home.)  I shopped for souvenirs and postcards while DH finished up the thrill rides.  I was able to buy stamps and mail postcards there, and in retrospect, I should have just bought twice as many stamps so I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now, where I have postcards from Paris but was unable to mail them because we never came across a Bureau de Post.

Animagique is a very French show at the Studios.  It’s got puppets kind of like Finding Nemo at Animal Kingdom, as well as people dressed as characters.  The plot is almost exactly the same as Philharmagic, but the scenes are acted out with the puppets and people instead of being onscreen.  It had an infectious melody along with it, as well as a little refrain that went, “Animajoke?  Non!  Animagique!  Animajack?  Non!  Animagique!”  DH and I have been repeating it for 2 days now. 🙂

Animagique was our last stop at the Studios.  After that, we returned to the main park, where we stopped at Casey’s for our free drinks.  Their marketing ploy worked, as we also split a chocolate bun (that was awesome).  Then, we toured Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, which was really cool and neat.  On a more crowded or hot day, it might be less pleasant, but we had a blissfully light and cool park day.  We next did the Storybook Land by boat, which exists in Disneyland but not at WDW.  Finally, we did Small World, which was a bit cooler than the WDW version but still what you expect.  DH thinks that the Fantasyland area in DLP is actually a good bit larger than WDW’s Magic Kingdom, but that it might not be bigger once MK gets the expansion.

DH went to ride Space Mountain again while I toured the castle.  It turned out that the dragon was closed (same with Haunted Manor, which is why I haven’t mentioned it yet), which was disappointing.  The stained glass in the castle was gorgeous though and tells the story of Sleeping Beauty.  We intended to then meet for the evening show, but it was not very well planned.  They had it on the giant circle stage in front of the castle, but all the action faces Main Street, which means you have everyone that is left in the park trying to lobby for position on the Main Street side.   If they had planned it to face multiple directions, it would have been more enjoyable. 

We left the park just after 7pm and headed to the Disney Village (like downtown Disney, though smaller) for dinner.  All the restaurants were American-themed (Sports Bar!  Western Saloon!  Soda Fountain!) and overpriced, so we ended up at the Earl of Sandwich, which was perfect and very reasonable.  As in most of France, wine was about the same price as Diet Coke.  This was also probably the only meal we had in France that I can honestly say was about the same price as we pay at home for the same quality and quantity of food.

We boarded the RER for home and ended up chatting with some exchange students from China that were studying “Mechanics” at the university in Paris.  (In retrospect, I’m wondering if they were meaning Physics?)  We started talking because the woman half of the couple noticed my Duffy and commented on him.  Duffy apparently hasn’t made it to Disneyland Paris.  None of the castmembers seemed to recognize him or know who he is.  Even a survey-taker castmember that I spoke with, who had worked at the parks for 15 years, had no idea about Duffy.  Getting back to the hotel was relatively simple and uneventful.

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