Some pictures can be found in a later post below!
I visited DLP from 20 till 24 September, with my family (wife and 3,5 yo son, our 1 yo was left home with his grandparents). Our last visit was in September 2007. I’ll try and keep the trip-report short and not give a day-to-day report. But a more ‘thematic’ one.
We left on the 20th from the north of the Netherlands. After a six hour trip we arrived at the Etap-hotel in Montevrain (just opposite from the Val d’Europe shopping center). We had chosen this hotel to be able to leave first thing Monday morning for Hotel New York and be able to have a full day at DLP and WDS.
The Etap-hotel was just fine. Nothing fancy but a decent room with tree beds (one bunk-style-bed) for € 61. Just outside the hotel was the ‘back-entrance’ tot the RER-station and across the street the entrance tot the Val d’Europe shopping center. Since it was a Sunday and the regular shopping center was closed, we unfortunately had to walk a long way (at least 15 min.) tot get to La Vallee outlet shopping and the restaurants.
I would recommend the Etap for budget conscience travellers who want tot be near DLP (just one stop by RER) and near some shopping/eating. The rooms aren’t big, but they are clean and clever (small shower and WC are in the room).
The hotel for the other three nights was Hotel New York. In 2007 we also stayed there and we liked it. Near Disney Village, near the parks, not as busy as Sequoia or New Port Bay. We still liked this hotel very much. The rooms are rather big (2 Queen size beds) and the amenities of the hotel are great.
I find it remarkable that the hotel after 17 years, still doesn’t like very aged. Yes there are parts where some refurbishment is in order (for instance the bathrooms and the cabinets with the non flat-screen tv’s), but all in all the hotel still looks great. No breakfast lines and a great bar.
The hotel was very busy with Brits, Italians and Spaniards. But despite the size of the hotel and the fact that it was rather busy, you don’t really feel it that way.
The planters that have rather recently have been installed, look like they have always existed there. In other words; they look good and not out of place. The floor of DV on the other looks horrible. Cracks and patches everywhere; please fix this!
DV was packed every night of this week. This does give it a great atmosphere, but makes it difficult to eat without reservation. Planet Hollywood was terrible, bad food in a run-down restaurant. Annette’s was great (both food and décor). Café Mickey and Rainforest are somewhere in the middle.
Starbucks was packed at all hours, but they do keep the place clean and organised. They had a very smart system of asking you what you wanted while in line and using PDA’s to get your order through.
Other Starbucks in Paris can really learn from this one!
Walt Disney Studios
This park is improving, but unfortunately not there yet. The square after the entrance, Studio 1, Hollywood street with TOT and Toon Studios do have (a hint of..) the Disney feeling and touch. But the other parts look even more grim compared to these parts.
To get on Crush required a lot of planning. Get there around 9.30/9.45 and there would already be a line. Just after opening (mostly before 10), the line was already about 60 minutes and only going up during the day. So getting there around 9.30 meant getting in without a one hour wait.
I still like this attraction. It is one of the better in WDS.
First time in TOT at WDS (I have experienced the one in Florida). Despite the differences (the drops seemed shorter than the ones in Florida), this is a great attraction. It is almost too much for WDS….
We also did like Playhouse Disney, even in Spanish my 3,5 yo liked it! The same goes for Animaque (really great!), Cars and Moteurs. But because of all the shows and not so many ‘normal’ attractions, lines are long and a lot of people walk around without a real goal it seems. Hopefully TSP will fix this a little.
Because of the extra magic hours, we could enter the park from 8.00. Unfortunately only part of Discoveryland and part of Fantasyland were open. This meant that there were still some lines for most of the attractions. Why don’t they open some more attractions?
What to say about this park… In general it still remains beautiful. Maintenance is definitely up since a few years. But unfortunately there are still a lot of areas where a refurbishment is needed desperately. For instance the floor on the central plaza and the entrance to the chateau, the teacups, part of Discoveryland etc. Normal guests probably don’t really notice…but that isn’t a excuse!
It had been ten years or so since I last visited the Tree House. It looks okay (even the water wheel worked). But why don’t they fix the leaves? There are a lot of them missing and the other ones look so dusty.
Further; it is a disgrace that a lot of the attractions open so late and/or close so early. Who gave the order to open the train at 11.00, or Autopia at 11.30? Storybookland and Casey did not open once all these days.
We choose not to eat in the park (except some croissant and small snacks) after a very, very bad experience at Hakuna Matata. Prices are high, service is low (they should fire all the employees there, what a lack of service they offer; very slow, un-interested, rude etc). And the food was only luke-warm.
No problems with smokers, line-jumpers or rude cast members (except at Hakuna Matata).
Despite it faults, this still is the most beautiful themepark I have ever visited! But I hope they will invest some more in maintenance and in some new attractions. The last real new attraction (not replacing something else) has been quite some while ago (SM?)…. So another request for Splash!
One afternoon we have spend shopping at Val d Europe’. This really is a nice, but huge shopping center. Let’s just say that our 3 yo was done halfway through the mall….
The Auchan hypermarche is also huge. Fun to look around and see what they have.
The outlet shopping at La Vallee was also packed with people. I really thought to myself ’where is the crisis’
That concludes my trip report. In general we had a great time.
Pictures can be found in a later post below!