The Trip of a Lifetime(Disney Paris)(7/28/02)

Associated parks:
None

Friday, September 27, 2002 7:49 PM
Part 18- Disney and the Eiffel Tower

“The A4 is my best friend!”…………

My alarm clock woke me at 6:00am. While I didn’t need to be up at this time, the main reason in waking up was to make my way down to the lobby to say good bye to many of the folks that were leaving to go home. I also wanted to say some words to Nigel as he was one of the highlights of the trip for a lot of people, including myself.

I knew this morning was going to be very difficult. Normally, I don’t have a problem with saying good bye to people but this was much different. I felt my friendship with a lot of these people went up a whole new level thanks to this trip. I still had two days left in Paris, but not seeing a large group of friends every day like I had been for the past 2 weeks was going to be so different.

I made my way out to the front of the hotel and talked with a few people. Nigel was pulling the coach around at this time so everyone either stood in the lobby or was waiting outside. I talked with a few people who I never really met until that moment and they were nice. I could tell by everyone’s reaction that going home wasn’t something they wanted to do, but you know how it goes, “All good things must come to an end.”

Once the Orange Coach was parked, everyone started taking their luggage over and helping Nigel load it. One by one, people started to get onto the coach for the very last time. I could tell a few of my friends were really having a hard time with this as I was. Once everyone was on board, Nigel finished locking up the luggage bins, and walked over to me. He explained to me a few letters that people on our coach had written him and what it meant to him. He told me he was going to miss everyone dearly. I decided not to write a letter but instead tell him in person what I thought his friendship meant to me, and to others.

I thought about what I was going to say from the night before. I honestly thought of Nigel as one of my best friends on the trip, if not the best friend. We got a long great and I enjoyed hearing all his stories, jokes, and information about the various towns we drove through. By the end of the trip, it was very apparent he was one of us. One of us in that he enjoyed having a blast on rides. One of us in that he enjoyed our company as we enjoyed his, and one of us as someone that was getting ready to go home.

I wanted to say many things to him and thank him for everything he has done for us, but I choked up a bit and decided not to say something too mushy as I know he was feeling as down as I was. We hugged each other and told each other we would keep in touch. As he was walking away, he told me, “I hope you like the sign.”

I was confused. I asked him what he meant. He told me that he slid the Orange Coach ACE sign under my door as he was leaving this morning. While the sign probably didn’t mean a lot to some people, it stood for something other than “just” a sign to me. He claimed that he slid it under the door for room #1415.

“Well, no wonder I didn’t get it. I was in room #404.,” I said.

I told him I would get it back and thanked him for the sign. He then said it was time for him to go and he was looking forward to getting back home to his wife and his little girl. With that, he boarded the coach and closed the door.

I wanted to get some footage of the coach leaving for the last time so I turned my video camera on and prepared to shoot. As I was waiting for the coach to leave, my camera started messing up again and producing an image that I couldn’t use. I frantically started to tap the side of my camera in hopes that it would clear up like it had in the past. Luckily, I did get a few seconds of the bus leaving before I turned off the camera.

As it turns out, that would be the last image I would ever get with that camera as the camera quit working for good that moment. That was it. Zero. Nothing. Never again.


I went back up to my room and just kind of sat around soaking up the whole realization that the trip was just about over. Normally when I do a big trip, I end the trip and go back to work the next day. When I am at work, I get a bit depressed thinking of the fun times I had. Luckily, I didn’t need to be back to work until August 4th so I was able to “ease” the trip down. I decided to go look for the sign that Nigel said he slid under my door. I knew it wasn’t in my room. Luckily, I had a list of all the rooms that our group was staying in. According to Nigel, he slid the sign under #1415. Looking at my list, I found out that Jerry Flemming was staying in that room.

I went up to the room and knocked on Jerry’s door for a couple of minutes. No one answered. I know he wasn’t on the coach that just left so I decided to call his room. No answer. I went down to the front desk and asked them if he had checked out yet. They said he was still registered for that room. They asked if they could help me with something. I told them that our driver had slid something under the wrong door and I wanted to get it, but I could wait until I figured out where he was. To my surprise, they instantly scanned a card key and told me to go check the room out. I could not believe this. Talk about a relaxed policy.

I went up to the room and used the key to open the door. Given that all I needed to do was to check the door area for the sign, I still felt creepy by doing this. Once the door was open I could clearly see Jerry had checked out as the room was empty, and no sign was on the floor. I went back to the front desk and gave them the key back. It looked like the sign was gone for good. Yea, it was only a plastic sign, but it was a symbol for our coach and I was glad that Nigel wanted me to have it. As luck would have it, I e-mailed Jerry once I was back home and he has the sign! The next time I see him he will give it back to me. Since I usually see him at CP almost every time I am there, it won’t be a problem. Woo hoo!

I called my mothers room and asked her if she was ready to leave. She told me to meet her down at her room. By accident, I went to the wrong room and ended up waking up some man who wasn’t happy about it (I wouldn’t be either) when I knocked on his door. Woops! After going to the correct room, I helped her with her luggage and we went downstairs and waited for a taxi to take us to our next hotel.

The taxi showed up in about 2 minutes and quickly drove up to the other side of Paris where we would be staying. We would be staying on Disney property for the next two nights. Once at our hotel, we checked in, but were told we wouldn’t be getting a room until around 2:00pm. This would give us some time to spend in Disney Paris. We were also to meet up with Matt, Steve, and Jonathan in an hour.

From our hotel, it was a quick 15 minute walk until we reached the front gate area of Disney Paris. The whole area looked nice. Because we purchased a Disney hotel package, we got two; three-day passes to enjoy both Disney Paris, and the new Disney Studios Paris. I am not the largest fan of Disney parks because they don’t offer a lot in terms of large thrills IMO. Yes, the whole area looked very nice, but I am more of a thrill fan than one that enjoys theming. If both can be combined, then that’s even better.

We had some time to spend before we met up with the others so we decided to go ride something.

===Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril===(#486)

This Intamin creation looked to have a very tight layout hidden among the rocky theming. Within the past couple of years, the park decided to turn the trains backwards to provide a different ride experience. For our first ride, my mother and I sat in the last row. This meant we were to be the last ones to crest the lift. Going up the lift in that position reminded me of my ride on Shockwave at Drayton Manor a couple of weeks before.

I honestly don’t know much of the layout, other than there was a very tight loop half way into the ride. The ride was pretty short also but that was a good thing IMO because of the brutality the ride provides. I really didn’t enjoy my ride on it because I was fighting to have a good ride. No wonder the line was so short. Hopefully our next ride would be better.

=== Big Thunder Mountain===(#487)

Like it’s cousins at other Disney parks, this mine ride consists of three lifts, some mild drops, and some nice tunnels. The ending surprised me with a long drop in complete darkness before arriving back at the station. This was a fun ride and made for a great family coaster.

We ran into Larry Scott, Marlon Scott, and Howard Gilloolly as we exited Big Thunder. They wanted to give the Haunted Mansion a ride so we went over there. This version seemed to be darker in nature to the other versions I have done. We had a good time on this one.


At this time, we had to meet the rest of our group. Marlon, Larry, and Howard decided to go the other way to check out some things in the back of the park. My mother and I went to the castle and met up with Matt, Steve, and Jonathan. We walked around a bit before deciding to get a Fast Pass for or next coaster.

===Space Mountain===(#488)

Within a few moments, we were walking through the dark queue before reaching the double loading station. The first thing I noticed was the strange head cushions the trains had. The only other time I had seen those was on another Vekoma creation, Goudurix at Parc Asterix.

The ride starts out with a quick turn, and a surprise small drop before the train stops on the launch area. This launch was strange because it moved us up a bit, then stopped, then moved us up a bit more, then stopped. Finally, we were launched up into the main ride building. While not a very strong launch, it was fun. I couldn’t tell you what happened after that because this ride is dark. I mean, there were no lights on and the only reference I had to what was going on was getting a slight glimpse of the train in front of us. I think there were 3 inversions including a cut-back inversion like Drachen Fire used to have. Unfortunately, I had to fight this ride as well as I was being tossed all over the place. So far, I hadn’t been totally impressed with the rides I have ridden in France.

After our ride, we walked around a bit more with the rest of the group before splitting up to get something to eat. I had made plans with them to meet at their hotel later that day so we could go to the Eiffel Tower. My mother wasn’t going to go so this would be the last time she could see her friends. She was quite sad as they were. We left Matt, Steve, and Jonathan and found a pizza place that had good food. It didn’t take us long before we were done. We wanted to get back to the hotel and get our room, plus I wanted to go to the park right next door.

As we exited Disney Paris, we made the quick 5 minute walk to Disney Studios Paris. I really enjoy MGM Studios in Florida thanks to the more thrilling attractions including Rock-N-Roller Coaster. Luckily, the Paris version has this attraction as well. We walked into the park and through a large building before reaching the heart of the park. Honestly, this area wasn’t very pretty. Just imagine one large concrete area, surrounded by shows and attractions, and you have an idea what it looks like. There wasn’t any shade either and it was hot. I know the park just opened but it just had a much unfinished look about it. Luckily, there was an indoor coaster to ride!

===Rock-N-Roller Coaster===(#489)

This coaster was themed much differently than the Florida version. The entire pre-show was different as well. The pre-show was very short and seemed to only last a minute or so. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I mean, I understood that Aerosmith had some sort of new “project” they were working on, and they had a model of a boomerang element set up, but I just didn’t “get” it for some reason. It was funny none the less.

The entire loading area was different as well. The trains had a kind of unfinished futuristic look to them. The same sound system was included in these trains. I think the sound brings a whole new feeling to the ride and I was glad this version had it was well. Space Mountain also had a sound system but it was hard to hear when I rode it.

Once we were launched, we made or way through the 3 inversion layout. The Florida version contains a lot of road signs whizzing by the heads of riders where this version contains a lot of fog and lights. I actually thought this worked out well and a couple times I had to figure out which direction I was heading. For some reason though, this version had a couple of brutal sections in. I liked the ride enough to go ride again though.

After my two rides, we left the park and walked back to our hotel. We got our card key, picked up our luggage, and walked to our room. We walked for 10 minutes before reaching our room, which was located at the very end of the building. We tried to get into the room but the card key didn’t work. My mother walked all the way back and had to have the key re-scanned as I watched the luggage. After she made it back, we opened the door and walked into the room. We weren’t going to be staying long as they had given us a single bed when we made sure we requested double beds. We walked all the way back to the front desk and told them we had the wrong room. The lady behind the counter said she could get us another room, but it would be an hour or so. This didn’t sit well with us so I demanded we get a room now or I wouldn’t be staying at this place. It just so happens they were able to get us a room within 2 minutes.

Once we were situated in our room, I took a quick shower and got ready to go into Paris. There was a train station near the Disney parks and I would be taking the train to La Defense, where I would meet up with Steve, Matthew, and Jonathan. I wasn’t totally sure how the train system worked in Paris but Matt said it was quite easy. I purchased a ticket and quickly looked a map. It seemed too easy.

I was just hoping I was going the right direction as soon as the train stated. As we pulled into the first stop, I looked at my map and was relieved to see I was headed the correct way. I stayed on the train as I made several stops before reaching my destination in La Defense. This downtown area is basically the only large downtown area of Paris. Everything else doesn’t stick up high with the exception of the Eiffel Tower and the nearby Arch. From my stop, I had a quick ten minute walk to the Ibis hotel where the group was staying at. Once I arrived, I called up to Steve’s room. He informed me they would be down shortly.

As I was waiting in the lobby, I met up with Mr. Bullock of the coach company. We talked for a good 15 minutes about the tour. I explained to him what Nigel meant to most everyone on our coach and he seemed like he was glad to hear that. I can’t be for certain, but I don’t think this will be the last time ACE deals with this coach company. I know I would certainly recommend them.

Once the group showed up, we walked back to the train station and hopped onto a couple of trains until we reached our destination stop. From there, it was a quick walk to the Eiffel Tower. Our plan for this evening was to get to the top of the tower. The wait to do so was about a half hour. While we were waiting in line, we spotted Tim Baldwin and Jeffrey Siefert up ahead. We also ran into two ACE members from California that was behind us in line. We talked about our favorite coasters on the trip as well as how excited we were to get to the top of this tower.

There were three different pricing structures for the tower. For what we wanted, it was 9.90 Euros to go to the top via an elevator. The first elevator we took went up to the first platform on an angle. It was stuffy inside the elevator and didn’t smell too nice. We were more than glad to get out of it by the time we reached the first platform, but we had to stay inside the elevator because we were going to the second level. Once we arrived, we walked around looking at the view before getting in another half hour line to take another set of elevators to the top. So far, the view was spectacular. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like at the top.

The ride up to the third and final platform went by fast. Once the doors open, we exited into an indoor area with windows. We wanted to go outside so we walked up to the outdoor level.

Check this out! WHOA!!”

The view from up there was amazing. We all became rather quiet as we took our first look. You could see for what looked like 50 miles. It was beautiful. The sun was also setting so we spent some time watching it fade off on the horizon. We also met up with Tim and Jeff who we talked to for a bit. Tim thanked me for my patience in handling the Orange Coach duties and I thanked him for putting together an amazing tour. While we were walking around, we spotted a carnival, about a mile away, in a heavily wooded area. We couldn’t see many rides but it looked like fun. We decided to pass finding it as we were about to leave the top of the tower and start heading back. Before we did though, I grabbed a quick group shot of all the ACE members that were present up there. We had a great time spending some time looking down on Paris. This was one of the things I have always wanted to do and now I can check it off my list. I won’t forget it anytime soon.

We took the elevator back down to the second level. I don’t remember who suggested it, but we somehow decided to walk down the stairs for the remained of our journey. I really enjoyed this. It was much easier than it looked and the view was priceless. Once we reached the first level, we took a bit of a break and looked inside a gift shop for souvenirs. We then continued our way down to the ground level. On the way, we noticed what looked like humans dangling from the girders, painting the structure. This was in fact dummies made to look like painting was being done. I will admit, it fooled me.

Once we had reached ground level, we walked back towards a train station. We stopped on the way and looked in another shop for souvenirs. I purchased a few things before moving on. Our train took us to a general stop where we would be splitting up and going our own ways. This was also the last time I would be seeing these guys on the trip so as we made it to the point in the station where we had to split, we said our good byes. As we were doing so, we hear, “Go back to America you fools!” behind us. We turn around and see Don Tuttle and his wife Carol walking our way. Don and Carol were on our coach and they made this moment very special by showing up when they did. I took another group photo before leaving the group.

I walked over to my train station and quickly boarded my train. The thing about the Paris train system is how well it gets you to your destination. While it took me an hour to get back to Disney, it was very easy to do so and it was very easy to learn. I only made one mistake when going home and that was because I wasn’t paying attention to the signs in the station. Correcting my mistake was a breeze and I was soon back at Disney at around 12:30am.

Walking back to my hotel, I had to walk through the Disney Village complex. This place was booming with activity. There was a band playing, people dancing, and all kinds of lights flashing all over the place. It looked like fun but I was tired from spending the last hour on a train so I decided to just head on off to sleep. From our hotel window, it looked over a large lake and the Village. The music was quite loud from the area but I didn’t mind and had no trouble falling to sleep. It was a bit hot though and the air in our room didn’t exactly work correctly so we just kept the windows open in hope a nice breeze would pass through.


Next up………

A solo day in Paris, and a surprise coaster.

Thanks for reading,

*** This post was edited by Sean F. on 9/28/2002. ***

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 6:11 AM

I got dizzy just looking at your photos from the top of the tower! Especially the one looking straight down. It reminded me of the vertigo I felt when going to the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas, and was why I have yet to ride the Big Shot.

I'm actually getting sad that these trip reports are going to end soon.

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I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 7:15 AM
Yeah, those Eiffel pictures are making me dizzy! :)

Right before I read your trip report, I read a review of Disney Studios Paris in First Drop. They also had a lot of pictures, and it sure looks and sounds like this park is pretty disappointing. Maybe it will take a couple of years to get going....but honestly it looks crappy compared to MGM in Florida (my favorite Disney park).
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TOGO!
Is AOL just trying to annoy me?

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 7:16 AM

Great TR! Those photos are awesome. How tall is the Eiffel Tower?

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-Sean

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 8:20 AM
In winter, it's 301 metres, that should be around 1000 feet. In summer on the other hand, the metal structure expands due to the heat and the tower "grows" an extra 2 metres (8 feet)

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Werner Stengel: Ich sprich, denke und traüme Achterbahn!

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 10:28 AM

When i was up there on Eiffel Tower it was pretty windy. So at the top you could feel very well that the structure was swinging from side to side a couple of metres. Felt like being on a boat. The view up there is really awesom...

Oh and i hope they will spend some money on WDS or else i don't think i'll ever visit that park.

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 10:53 AM

Those Eiffle Tower shots remind me of standing on the Glass Floor of Toronto's CN Tower.

I really enjoy your TRs, hope to go back and get a chance to read them all.

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My two favorite coasters are both named Superman.
Nitro, Gemini, Laser, Ice, Thunder...The American Gladiators!

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Saturday, September 28, 2002 4:44 PM

CPLady said:

I got dizzy just looking at your photos from the top of the tower! Especially the one looking straight down. It reminded me of the vertigo I felt when going to the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas, and was why I have yet to ride the Big Shot.

I have yet to ride Big Shot also. I have ridden the coaster but Big Shot was down the 3 days I was there for maintence. I did get to ride High Roller though.

I'm actually getting sad that these trip reports are going to end soon.

Believe it or not, so will I. These reports are the longest series of reports I have written. I honestly enjoyed writing them and doubt I will ever write a series this long again. I could be wrong though.

After looking at this pic again, I just noticed you can see the queue for the elevators near the left leg of the tower.

PT300,

I read that DSP review before I went to the park and I totally forgot about it until after I got home and read it again. I felt pretty much the same as the author of that First Drop report now that I think about it.

Helios,

Are you serious? It can move THAT much? That's pretty freaky if you think about it. Thanks for asking that Sean.

astrosgp,

If you can't find every report, let me know and I will send you the URL for all reports.

-Sean



*** This post was edited by Sean F. on 9/28/2002. ***

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Sunday, September 29, 2002 5:56 AM

Hey Sean-

It looks like we were around1008 feet in the air when we were there! Since it was around 97 degrees F ;-) Uggh, that day was H. O. T.

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Sunday, September 29, 2002 11:54 AM

Hey Sean-I have some questions:

Which disney resort did you stay at?

Are you going to PPP(Knoebels)?

And for a brand new park-I thought the Studios were awesome! Did you see any of the shows??? They were great too!

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chuckles-the cheeky monkey at pontins!

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