I have been studying in Paris for a month now and today is my last day here, but yesterday I was able to visit the Disneyland Resort Paris! Having worked both at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World, I was eager to see the differences of this Disney park. I hope that you enjoy this trip report and see it through the eyes of a first timer.
My friend and I left bright and early at 8:00 AM to catch the RER A straight to Disneyland Paris. The transportation system here in Paris is perhaps the best transportation in the world and getting to Disneyland Paris is fast and easy.
Waiting for the RER A for a great day at the Disneyland Resort!
We arrived at the resort around 9:30 AM so we had plenty of time to get inside the park before they officially opened at 10:00 AM. The entrance to the park is beautiful. I love how the hotel rests right above the gates. The Disneyland hotel really looks like a spectacular hotel from the outside.
The entrance of Disneyland Park
My new favorite Disney castle
Now the first ride I knew I wanted to ride was Phantom Manor. When I was in high school I created a movie based on the storyline of this attraction so I have sort of a special bond to it, even though I never rode it before that. I was really impressed with the attraction. Phantom Manor is not like any other Haunted Mansion style attraction and its stands on its own merits as a completely different experience. The two things that I did find odd were that the music needed to be much louder. The ride has such a rich score, but its useless if your not able to hear it. I also thought that the Madam Leota projection looked unrealistic compared to its American counterparts. Nonetheless, Phantom Manor was my favorite attraction in the park!
Thunder Mesa from Phantom Manor
After Phantom we ventured over to Big Thunder to get some Fastpasses and then headed over to Indy. I thought Indy was an alright roller coaster, the theme was mediocre and the actual ride actually hurt, but I thought that Big Thunder was a great attraction and made for a unique experience being surrounded by water.
After Big Thunder we headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean. Not sure what I was expecting going on this attraction, but I must say that its now my favorite Pirates attraction. Maybe its the lack of movie characters or just that the ride has a lot of unique elements. We ended up going on this attraction two times as many other rides since it seemed to be a somewhat slower day in Disneyland.
After Pirates we headed over the Space Mountain to get some fastpasses and then hit up Walt's for lunch. It was recommended by a fellow Micechater to go to Walt's and that's exactly what I did. I'm very glad I chose to go here, the food was wonderful, a good portion, not too overpriced compared to the rest of Paris, and had a great view of Main Street U.S.A! After our great lunch we headed over to Space Mountain. I like to call this version the Space Mountain on steroids. This was perhaps the best roller coaster I have ever been on and the best version of Space Mountain. I only wish the music was louder on the actual ride.
The view from our table at Walt's
After Space we wanted to go check out the other park next door. On our way out we caught Minnie's Party train. Short, precise, and cute...loved it. I didn't have much expectation going into the studio park since I've heard criticism about it, but for only two dollars more I was able to visit. The studio park has a lot of potential, but its in dire need of help. Not only is the park really small, the attractions and stores are placed in random locations. The setup itself is awful and everything looks really cheap. For some reason this park was really crowded and the only attraction we ended up doing was Crush which we waited 90 minutes for. Crush was a great coaster experience and I'm glad I did it, but the park itself is not worth visiting for full price, let alone two dollars.
Here comes Minnie!
So after the disaster that is studio park, I was eager to return to Disneyland. There we went on most of the Fantasyland rides which seemed to be mostly similar to the parks in the US, except for Small World and Alice's maze. I also really enjoyed how you are able to walk up the Sleeping Beauty Castle balcony area overlooking Fantasyland, as well as the stained glass portraits and props.
I had to do it
I love the side hill. It gives a nice depth to the castle.
After Fantasyland it was about an hour and 1/2 to Fantaillusion so it was important to get a quick bite to eat for dinner and do some shopping before the parade so we can head straight to the RER A after. I had a cheeseburger at Videopolis which was perhaps the most disgusting cheeseburger I've ever had. The food seems to be really subpar at Disneyland Paris, and I hope they fix this. Thank goodness for a great lunch! Then headed over to Main Street U.S.A to do some shopping. I felt like the park lacked attraction specific merhcandise and good merhcandise in general. But I managed to get some great things for friends and family back home. We ended up watching the parade near the entrance to adventureland where we saw two shop stops, Villians and princesses. I really enjoyed the parade and felt like it was a nice closing to what seemed to be a great day!
My overall persepctive of the park:
Disneyland Paris is perhaps the most beautiful and unique Magic Kingdom style theme park I have visted. Disneyland (Anaheim) and the MK in Florida being the other ones. Many of the attractions had some great new and refreshing storylines. I was very happy with my visit to the park, and I believe that it was well worth the money. There are some concerns that I had when I visited though, and some maybe cultural things. The first was SMOKING. I know its Europe and after being here in Paris for a month I realize that smoking seems to be more common here than in the US, but you are in Disneyland! I don't care who you are, everyone knows the health risk to smoking and in a crowded place with children, smoking should be in desigted areas only. There were countless times in line when people lit up and also while I was waiting and during the parade. These are locations that I cannot escape. The next thing was the Disney look. I'm really not sure if this exist at Disneyland Paris, but I noticed many castmembers who did not fit the look. Guys with long hair, tatoo's, guys with earings, sunglasses with logos, and that sort. The third and last thing was the state of some of the attractions. The teacups were looking really shabby and like I said before Phantom's music needs to be much louder. These were only minor things that I noticed my first time, but I felt that the beauty of the park and the happiness of me just being there outweighed any rude guests or things I noticed. Disneyland Paris in an amazing park, and I don't know when the next time I will be able to visit, but I'm glad that my experience was a great one! I hope you all enjoyed my trip report.
A couple more photo shots: