Disneyland Resort Paris 1/5/2007

Associated parks:
None

Friday, January 11, 2008 2:21 PM
While Kaley and I were in Paris, we figured we should spend a day at Disney Paris. Since we were staying down closer to the city center, we got on the RER A and rode it out to the park. In just over 30 minutes we were standing at the front gate of the parks. It was about noon and a Saturday, but crowds looked light probably because of the forcasted rain. As we went to buy tickets, a man with his family approached us saying he had a couple of friends who couldn't make it and offered to sell us their tickets for €30 each. We gladly took the offer and he even waited around while we verified with a ticket desk to make sure they were valid! I can't say enough how nice and helpful the French were to us. So anyways, we got into both parks for roughly $45, which is quite a steal in my opinion.

Once we got into the park, we immediately noticed that it was snowing on Mainstreet! We seem to always miss this effect while at Disney in California, so it was a nice way to start our day. Once we got some croissants for breakfast, we headed over to Space Mountain in their version of Tomorrowland- "Discovery Land." From the outside, Space Mountain (Mission 2) looks a bit on the plastic side. Trains get shot out of a "gun" instead of going up a lift, and then travel through the dark portion of the ride inside the building. The wait was outside short, about 10 minutes, and then they have you walk through the indoor portion of the queue. In my opinion it would be much more fun the wait inside, but I guess they do this to make it easier mixing Fast Pass riders and those who queued up. The station itself is outdoor, but covered. It actually is a lot like California Screamin's station. The actual ride was fun for me, but quite painful for Kaley. She is shorter than I am, so I was able to avoid the headbanging, but it really got her. She's not one to complain too much about rough rides, but she said this was "equivalent to Manhattan Express." Well, for me it was a really interesting and strange layout. Saying that, I much prefer both Space Mountains in the US to it.

After that, we headed over to the train station to catch a ride over to Adventureland. The train came quickly but took forever to leave (apparently they like to keep one parked at the front gate and this lead to our delay). Once we got moving it was a quick, relaxing ride. All the trees are bare this time of year, but if they were full, it would really feel like you were far away from the busy park. Once we got to Adventureland, we headed over to Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril. This is a small coaster located on a dead end, but the theme is well done. We waited 20 minutes and were on. What you see is what you get with this ride. A couple of good drops, a very tight loop, and then it moseys into the brakes. No too much to write home about, but at least it wasn't too rough.

Since Frontierland is right by, we decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain. I have to say, this looks like it is the star attraction at the park. The queue and station are on one side of the river, but the mountain and coaster portion are right in the middle. This means Mark Twain travels around the mountain. After a long 40 minute wait, we were in the very last row. As you leave the station, you immediately travel underground and under the river. Up a lift, and then it's a pretty typical Thunder Mountain with one exception. At the very end of the ride you go down a long drop into complete darkness (back under the river toward the station). I've heard they actually use LIMs to make the drop feel longer than it is- well it works! The speed through this portion is really great, and it's quite a surprise at the end of the ride.

It was about 3:30 at this point, so we decided to head over to the Studio park to see what was over there. Right as you enter the Studios, they have you go straight into a building. It's quite weird and I imagine awful if there are heavy crowds. We ate at the fastfood restaurant inside the building (American Burgers) and then headed out the back of the building and into the park. No joke, you could walk across this entire park in 5 minutes. It's really, really small. Their "major" attractions are Crush's Coaster, Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, Studio Backlot Tour (trams), a stunt show, and the recently opened Tower of Terror. Everything is right next together, and everything was 10 minute wait or less except Crush's Coaster which was an hour wait (lower capacity).

First thing we did was the Studio Tour. The narration is by some (unknown to me) British actor and French actress to cover both languages. To make it feel like a longer ride than it is, the trams move at a snails pace. There are (in order) some sets and props that aren't very impressive, a cool Universal-style action sequence, some cooler props from recent movies, a very disappointing fire/dragon sequence, and then you're done. Overall it was fun, but I'm glad I didn't have to wait for it. While on the tram, we realized we missed the stunt show, one of the only things I wanted to see since I had heard good things about the car and motorcycle stunts. Oh well, I wasn't too disappointed.

So after the "tour" we headed over to Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, which was walkon. The story line for this one is different than the one in Florida, but the actual ride is the same. Wow, I was quite impressed at how smooth this was! When I rode Florida's, it had a bit of vibration. This one had ZERO vibration and was smoother than most B&Ms. It was really an excellent ride! We would have rode again, but were on limited time, and wanted to ride both Crush's Coaster and Tower of Terror.

So off to Crush's Coaster we went, prepared to wait. Basically, this is Maurer Söhne spinning coaster enclosed in a large building (with a little extra track). Well the whole queue is outside, but luckily covered as it started to rain a little at this point. Even with everything else being walk on, this had an hour wait and no Fast Pass. Once we made it inside the building, the theme really comes to life. The whole station is themed very well to look like a dock from the movie. There are anamatronic seagulls, and the trains look like turtle shells. It's really great! We got the two backward facing seats and were off. I was just expecting Mulholland Madness in a building, but the experience I got was amazing! There is a surprise little lift with a couple good drops and a great story. Right before the regular lift you start getting chased by sharks so the lift goes incredibly fast as the shark attacks you. It is really well done. Then you get to the ride portion which is incredibly dark with get drops and spinning. You can't tell which way is up at first. It's all over too fast, but overall is really well done. It was one of the best rides at EITHER park and I would love to see this at California Adventure.

We then headed over to their Tower of Terror, which looks identical to the one at California adventure in all respects. I like the way they don't let the queue back up in the boiler room. It was also interesting getting all the spiels in French. As for the actual drop sequence, it was pretty weak and not as good as the one in California or even close to the better ones in Florida. Overall, a disappointment, but that could easily be fixed in the future.

At this point we headed finished Studios, so we went back over to Disneyland. First thing we did was observe the show they do down Mainstreet for their 15th anniversary. They have an amazing light show that concludes with the lighting of the castle and snow. The light show on the castle completely blew both of us away. You have to see it in person to believe it.

So then we went back to Pirates of the Caribbean. Theirs is built on its own in a large building that is well themed. The queue is really long and great, like a better version of Florida's. The ride starts with a lift, which was strange, and the scenes are basically the same as they were before Sparrow was added to California's, but everything is in a different order. Overall, a great ride.

Then we decided to hit one last ride for the day, Phantom Manor, their version of Haunted Mansion. It was a good ride, except it was a little bright between the elevator and the ride, and also the ride completely lacks narration. Other than that, it has a bit of a different story and some pretty gory effects. Good ride.

The day ended for us with dinner at a steak place right near Phantom Manor. I can't remember the name of the place at the moment, but it was pretty good as was the service. With the weak dollar, dinner was over $100 for the two of us. Oh well, how often are we in Paris?

So then we headed down and caught the RER A back to the city. I can't say enough praise about the public transportation in Paris. We could get anywhere and everywhere. Never needed a cab. So obviously we had a great time at the park, even though it seemed to lack the heart many of the other Disney parks, especially California. Lots of people smoked which was bothersome, but the parks were both spotless. I'd recommend you visit as well if you ever have the opportunity. Thanks for reading.

Here are some pictures of our entire trip in Amsterdam and Paris (only about 3 pictures from the Disney Resort in the second link):
http://picasaweb.google.com/parkerday/EuropeTripPart1
http://picasaweb.google.com/parkerday/EuropeTripPart2

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