Back from a four day trip at Disneyland Paris Resort. I had exchanged my Tokyo trip for one to the old Euro Disneyland for obvious reasons. And I will say that I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't fulfilled.
I stayed at the Hotel New York, and while I think it is in need of a bit of a refurb, in at least my room, it felt pretty standard as far as the mid level Disney Hotels go. Nothing special, slightly worn but close to the Parks--and that's the best part about it.
The Parks: I spent in total about a day in Walt Disney Studios Park mainly because there isn't that much to do there. While I like the idea of Toy Story Playland, I'm going to be blunt and say it is crap. With that, though, I did enjoy RC Racer, even though it was so short the illusion of going off the top of the track and the couple of stomach drops, made it worthwhile. I was there right when the park opened at 10am, and that was my first ride, so the wait time was less than five. But had it been over an hour as it was posted later that afternoon-I would've been disappointed. Slinky: definitely more for a kid, and Parachute Drop was a huge disappointment. They are, as people say, carnival rides... at best. However the decor of this sub-land is kinda cool, and I'm looking forward to the expansion for Ratatouille-if that proves true.
Because there are so few rides, and so few places to eat--long lines prevailed and hour after opening, which made the whole day tiresome. And it was hot and sunny with not a lot of shade. It was brutal, waiting for the Stars N Cars Parade-which unfortunately I didn't know was a whole show, and the brisk pace that the cars went by was surprising. I barely had time to snag a picture of each one before it was past me. The general sense, was that most people didn't know either, as there were a lot of grumpy people when it came to an end about five mins after it started. The show looked interesting, but couldn't get anywhere near it as the area they were performing in was far to small for such a presentation.
This Park is in need of more attractions and more uniqueness. It is just chalked full of other Park's leftovers. CineMagique is outdated and tired. Stitch is dull and slow. The Tram Tour is an embarrassment. Crush's Coaster is awesome and the Tower of Terror is good but a carbon copy.
I know all the complaints about things being rundown and in desperate need for a refurb, and I will agree. It wasn't what I expected from the Disney brand. And it was obvious--you didn't have to look for it--so many broken and potholed pavement issues, chipping paint, trash on rides and overgrown planters; it disappointed me, as I always expect more from Disney. It's possible to do it. Tokyo and Hong Kong are almost spotless. And even the US Parks have been cleaning up their act.
Disneyland Park could be the most beautiful of all the Parks in the world. I say could be, because it too is in desperate need of so many repairs. I was glad to see the Castle getting some tlc, and Pinocchio too, and can't wait for the replacement of the rotting Pirate ship--but there are so many other issues too. I would almost rather them spend their budget on refurbs than build a new attraction. It really, really needs an overhaul. Now, in their defense, I will say that I have never before (except at these Parks) witnessed people climbing over rails and sunbathing or picnicking on the grass, climbing trees, walking over flowers and basically abusing the hell out of the Park. So I must give marks to the Park for keeping it looking as mediocre as it does just based on this daily abuse. I even saw one kid pull down a limb of a tree until it snapped. Disgusting. And even the adults were pulling leaves off of bushes and plants. I don't get it.
I would hope though that someone from there reads this forum, and especially this post, because I want them to know that my favorite ride Le Pays des Contes de Fees really needs a good gardening. There are so many weeds that are taking over the miniatures and in such abundance that for the Fantasia display you couldn't even see it. SO PLEASE, SOME ONE GET IN THERE AND DO SOME LANDSCAPING.
As I said, the theming of this is Park is wonderful, and I love to just walk around it and take it all in. And that I did. So I give props to the Imagineers for creating such a beautiful place of fantasy. Now, someone earmark the budget to keep it that way.
Merchandise-wise the Parks are okay. Unlike Tokyo which takes first place in this area, these Parks lacked Paris specific type items, and a lot of it felt very Disney basic-except for the few areas that had Paris items with characters, everything else felt like it was imported from the US Parks. I swear that Walt Disney Studios had literally three small shelves worth of Park specific items, which says to me, that management thinks the Park itself isn't anything special so why would anyone want to buy something from it. The redundancy of merchandise is one area that I think the US Parks suffer from as well, and I'm sad to say that there isn't much uniqueness anymore.
My biggest complaint though is the "two Parks-one map/guide". I get it: saving paper, saving costs, saving the environment, it makes sense...but my gawd was it annoying. Every time I opened my guide, I always had the wrong map and had to flip and unfold and flip again and turn-I finally just stopped using it.
And my second biggest complaint is that the pavement between the Parks desperately needs to be redone. This is the first Disney encounter many have before they see the majestic Disneyland Paris Hotel and Fantasia Gardens. It was just a shame to see huge, huge parts of pavement missing, discolored patchwork and broken pavement like gravel littering the area. I'm surprised that someone hasn't twisted an ankle yet in one of those potholes.
With all of that, I love Disneyland Paris Park, and I want the very best for it. I want it to be Great, rather than just Good. And Walt Disney Studios Park needs more attractions and some intense theming to make it Good, because right now it is just Unacceptable and is hardly worth the price of admission.
Will I go again? Absolutely. It's a Disney Park after all and everyone should go!