Visit DLP 4-8 July
My last visit to DLP was in September 2009. Now that the kids (two boys) have become a little bit older (5 and almost 3), we thought it was a good idea to visit the resort once again! We combined this visit with a week stay afterward in a Center Parcs holiday village near Reims. I’ll try and give a short trip report, with a few pictures. Hope you’ll enjoy!
We had booked a room in Hotel New York for 5-8 July. To make the most of our stay, we decided to also book a nearby hotel for the 4th of July, so we could enjoy a full day in the parks at the 5th of July. Two years ago we had stayed in a Etap at Val d’Europe, and four years ago in a Campanile in Torcy. Nothing wrong with these hotels if you just want a bed near DLP, but with two kids, we looked for a little bit more. After some research, we decided on the Vienna International Dream Castle hotel.
We arrived there early in the afternoon on the 4th. The hotel and surroundings looked nice enough and the room (one KING-size bed and a bunk-bed for the kids) is also big enough. There is a small pool (with one slide for the kids), a decent (although somewhat expensive) buffet-restaurant and a (very understaffed) bar. The shuttle service brings you in about 10 min. to the parks.
All in all a decent hotel for family with kids, if you can get a good price, and don’t mind to take a shuttle to the parks. One overall complaint; the hotel seemed very understaffed!
On the 5th we rose early and had a nice buffet breakfast. Around 8.30 we were back in the car towards Hotel New York. This was a very, very long drive of at least 5 minutes! The check-inn was fast and before we knew it, we could visit the parks (but later more about that).
We had a lakeview room in the Midtown part on the 5th floor (or 6th as they count in the States J). The room has 2 Queen size beds and is rather big. At least big enough for a family of 4. The rooms look a little bit dated (but considering the hotel is about 20 year old, the rooms still look pretty good), but were very clean and everything worked as it should. Breakfast was good, swimming pool was open all day (on our last visit the pool only opened at 15u) and the bar still is a nice area to sit in! Overall we enjoyed our (third) stay at Hotel New York pretty much. It still is our favorite hotel at DLP to stay in. But…..a refurbishment (especially of the rooms) is needed I the coming years. For a 20yo hotel, the hotels looks still rather good, but the rooms are going out-of-date pretty fast.
Walt Disney Studios
On our first full day, we decided to start with WDS. This is my third visit to the park, and I still don’t really know what tot think of it… Some parts I really do like (the entrance plaza, Studio 1, the area around ToT, some parts of Toon Studio, some attractions), some parts I dislike (especially the area around RnRC/Moteurs), but in general, the park really misses cohesiveness (especially compared to the beautiful park next door).
I must say I did like Toystory Playland. The area at least has some cohesive theming to it. The area is much smaller than I had thought and the attractions aren’t really worth standing in line for. But I must admit, the kids liked them.
If this park would have been built anywhere but next to DLP, it probably would have received better comments than it is getting now. But it isn’t built anyplace else, so I really hope they find a way to ‘fix’ it and make it a better comparison with DLP next door!
Our other two days we went to DLP. And although the summer season had not officially started, the park was packed! Especially on Thursday the 7th, the park really was too busy. But since we were there with/for our kids and had more than enough time, we decided to take it slow.
What do I think of this park in comparison to two years ago? You can clearly see they are trying to make an effort regarding refurbishments. The Castle, Orbitron, the Old Mill, Colonel Haiti Pizza Outpost, Captain Hook ship, Family Robinson tree etc etc were all very clearly being worked on. Also there are large parts where there is a new kind of pavement (bricks instead of concrete). This are all good signs. But, there is a big but coming….especially when the park is very crowded, it still looks very ‘tired’. There are still large parts where pavement is broken, paint is missing or damaged, grass is brown, rocks are chipped off, toilets do not look and smell very clean and modern anymore etc etc. They probably have waited too many years to start up some serious renovation and now they are desperately trying to catch up. I wished they could shut the park down for 1 or 2 months and just start at the entrance with paint etc and work their way troughout the park. But at least they are refurbishing at a large(r) scale and to be honest, that also shows in the park.
I really did like the Tarzan show in the Chaparral theater BTW. Plus old time favorites like Autopia, BTM (got to ride it 3 times in a row with fast passes J), POTC and my kids really liked the two playgrounds (near the pirate ship and Pocahontas Indina Village). And the area around Pocahontas Village really is a nice and quit area to wind down a bit from the business elsewhere in the park.
Besides the (still) obvious need for more refurbishments, my biggest complaint is the fact the DLP has not had a real new attraction for many, many years. And attractions like Star Tours and Captain EO are really showing their age. Some fresh attraction blood is really necessary here!
View from Pocahontas Indian Village
Not really much to say about it. Despite the need for refurbishmenst here also (especially the pavements!) and the fact that here also some cohesiveness is missing, I still like the place. Especially when it is busy, Disney Village really comes to life.
Had a good dinner at Annette’s, the rest of the time we ate (pretty good I must say) at the parks itself. Wanted to try the Earl, but they were very busy and so did not succeed in eating there!
I (and the rest of the family) had a great time. Visiting DLP with kids, really gives it another dimension. And the rush to go from attraction to attraction disappears a little. It gives you more time just to enjoy the park on itself.
You can really see they are trying to make the parks better, but they are not there yet. WDS needs more attractions, more theming and overall more cohesiveness. DLP needs more refurbishments and above all; new attractions! The resort needs als more TLC, especially the pavements in Disney Village and the plaza between the parks. The hotels (and specially HNY) need to be updated!