I took a short vacation to Paris, so set aside a day to visit the Disneyland Paris park on December 11, 2009. My baseline park (or home park) is Disneyland in California.
Getting to Disneyland from Paris is usually an easy and fairly inexpensive RER train ride. Unfortunately for me, when I went to board the train, I discovered that the RER A train line workers were on strike. Rerouting myself to the park took a good part of the day, so I arrived later than I wanted and only had a few hours left for the park, which closed at 7pm that Friday night.
The train does bring you right up to the park entrance.
Since I arrived late, I opted for the single park 1 day ticket. They do offer a 1 day 2 park hopper ticket. They also were promoting a “upgrade your current ticket to an annual pass” program inside the park; overall, the price for the annual pass was less than 2 single 1-day tickets.
The Disney Village is similar to the downtown Disney district. The large balloon in the background took passengers up for a quick aerial view on the resort (and I was slightly surprised it wasn’t themed à la Up).
There was a small Christmas Market setup outside the park. These Christmas Markets are like flea markets, full of gifts, foodstuffs, and crafts.
Entering the park area we arrive at the bag screening station. I think one of the major differences in overall feel of this park from the other Disney parks I frequent is exemplified by this picture: Cast Members Only. No hidden backstage entrance, just a less-than-magical “cast members only” sign.
The Mickey garden is outside the ticket sales stands, located inside this building. Also, notice the Tickets Printed @ Home gate; immediately next to this was a “special invitation” gate. These gates are to the side, slightly removed from the main front entrance gates immediately by the ticket stands.
Classic American Disney flair at the entrance with Main Street U.S.A. and City Hall. I wonder if the steel-monogram on the railroad railings is ED for Euro Disney…
The Christmas Tree and a daytime shot of the castle and stage area in the hub. Notice the stage is pre-set with stick-ribbons for the show 4 hours later in the evening.
General Pictures from around the Park.
There was a small camera crew recording video of a woman (tv personality?) in the park.
Thunder Mountain Rail Road is different in that the load/unload is across the river from the main ride’s track, so the beginning and end of the ride you are travelling under the river.
Indiana Jones is “regular” roller coaster, not the full ride experience like at Disneyland. It is more like a mouse coaster, with short trains of cars (I think there were only 8 rows of people per train) [BeDay corrected to say there are 2 cars with 6 rows each per train]. I was a little surprised (disappointed?) when I realized that the roller coaster was operating in the forward direction… Last time I had ridden, they were running the cars backward. Apparently that only lasted for a few years (while they were revamping Space Mountain to mission 2 and then a few years after that). After riding, I was happy to have been going forward – the coaster was a little more intense than I was expecting. I think this coaster was the first inversion in a Disneyland park?
Pirates. The Blue Lagoon is like Blue Bayou… except it looked a little more efficient (less nice) than Blue Bayou in Disneyland. Also, a menu billboard shot.
Toad Hall is a dining area. However, we do have Alice’s Curious Labyrinth maze / adventure area.
Also, Fairytaleland boats are ready for quick load/unload action!
It’s a Small World appeared have the longest line of all the attractions in the park that evening.
A rare few of us have seen the back side of water. Now, almost as thrilling, I’d like to present to you the back side of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
There’s another show / auditorium area between the castle and discoveryland (tommorowland).
Discoveryland scenery… Note the light that is out in the VIDEOPOLIS sign.
Tout ce qui est dans la limite du possible doit être et sera accomplie.
Space Mountain Mission 2 was awesome. I had ridden it before, but really appreciate it more today. It was still adequately dark, but there seemed to be many more stars and asteroids, etc…. the only thing I missed was the ride music I love so much at Disneyland. [BeDay tells me the music should have been there, and in fact, was the first indoor coaster with synchronized music, so I must have either had a bad seat or been really out of it!]
For the uninitiated, the premise of Space Mountain Mission 1’s story is based on Jules Verne’s writings of blasting man into space with a large gun-like mechanism. I did not see the quote in the queue this time, but I believe it translates roughly along the lines of space exploration being possible for man by using enough gun powder to blast us to the moon. As such, the ride starts off in the barrel of a large shotgun mechanism, and the riders are “blasted” up into space with the same magnet propulsion used on the DCA California Screamin’ Coaster. [BeDay clarifies some of my errors: Mission 1 was based on Jules Verne's From Earth to Space with the shot gun, whereas Mission 2 you are catapulted to a supernova. Now that I think about it, last time I rode (mission 1) there was a drawing of a moon with a face on it we were rushing up to. Also, please note the mechanism for the launch is different from the CA Screamin' coaster. See BeDay's post for lots of good information.]
Marine vessels from around Space Mountain (more Joules Verne theme) and Autopia (sponsored by Ford).
Star Tours. Something I don’t usually see at Disneyland in California, cast members are helped maintain a positive body temperature with portable propane heaters.
Main Street and the Castle at night. There was a tree lighting ceremony show, where the tree lights up, then the blue street lamps light up, and it starts to “snow”.
Then there is a show with Mickey and Friends (and dancers), followed by the lighting of the castle. I situated myself in between the stage and the castle, so my pictures are washed out with stage lighting.
Finally, a few pics from the Fantillusion parade.
I put together some video clips of scenes around the park, the tree lighting, the castle lighting, and the castle lighting show.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2D4u9bLBLY"]YouTube- Disneyland Paris December 2009[/ame]
Hope you enjoy!