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    Post Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Anytime you franchise your business, you run a risk of damaging the overall brand. Franchisees tend to focus more on the day-to-day solvency of their business, rather than on your "global reputation" or whatever. Disney's non-US parks are, in a way, franchises; they're owned and operated by partner companies, who work with Disney to operate the park - in theory - to Disney standards.


    As a frequent visitor to Disney's US parks, I have some specific expectations when I visit - and I naturally expect those to be met when I'm abroad, too. I don't regard that as cultural; Disney's operating standards are far from what most US companies would consider normal. Little things like pointing with two fingers, continually picking up trash, that kind of thing doesn't go on in most US businesses.


    On a recent visit to Disneyland Paris, however, I discovered that's Disney's "standards" can vary pretty widely.


    An Incredible Parc
    First, Disneyland Paris - the actual "Magic Kingdom" park - is incredible. It's like Disney looked at every sub-optimal element of the three Magic Kingdom parks in existence (Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland Tokyo) and sought to correct everything. Paths are wide. Buildings are over-the-top gorgeous. The castle has a built-in stage to the side, where it doesn't interfere with the sight lines of guests entering the park. Even simple attractions like Dumbo are elevated with extensive landscaping, waterfalls, and more. It's just amazing. It seems as if every building is themed to within an inch of it's life.


    Adventureland is utterly unique. It's huge, encompassing this park's version of a Tom Sawyer Island, called Adventure Isle. It has an African section, and a richly-themed Middle Eastern entry area. There are relatively few attractions (and no Jungle Cruise), and they're each fairly widely spaced, giving them each their own identity and presence. Pirates of the Caribbean is enormous, and makes you truly feel like you're in a Spanish fortress. The Blue Lagoon restaurant, attached to the ride in much the way Blue Bayou is in California, is amazingly themed.


    Discoveryland successfully executes the "past vision of the future" that Imagineers tried to overlay onto California's Tomorrowland - and later rolled back. It's a Jules Verne vision of the future, with a cannon-equipped Space Mountain, dirigible dock (in Videopolis), and more of that rich theming throughout. Even the Star Wars-themed area for Star Tours fits in well.


    Fantasyland is... well, it's Fantasyland. Many of the attractions here - Snow White, Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Dumbo, and so forth - are carbon copies (or close to it) of their US predecessors. The scenery in Fantasyland is better than in the US parks. There's more room to move, the castle actually encloses Fantasyland more (walls extend from the castle across the breadth of the land), and so on. It's a good-sized land - blink, and you'll miss Storybook Canal Boats, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and so forth.


    Frontierland is an interesting twist on the US version. It has relatively few attractions, one of them being "Phantom Manor," which is a much more serious version of Haunted Mansion that lacks on-ride narration (probably to make it more accessible to speakers of various languages). There are several restaurants (we joked about it being Foodland) and carry-away spots. Big Thunder Mountain is what you'd expect, and is incredibly well done - with massive wait times.


    Next Door: Less Incredible
    Disneyland's neighbor, the one-of-a-kind Disney Studios Parc, is less successful. For one, it's tiny. Tickets here are always sold as 2-park hoppers, which means Studios is, for all intents and purposes, simply a beyond-the-berm extension of Disneyland itself, which is more or less out of room for expansion. The park, however, seems to have been built on the cheap. Theming is minimal and inconsistent. There's little shade (notable on a rare August day when the temp exceeded 90F). It tries to have the spirit of Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida, but comes off as a Six Flags - each ride placed close to the next, with no attempt to blend theme or identity.


    Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, featuring Aerosmith, is an example. Gone is the "recording studio" pre-show and the "we need to get you to the concert on time" theme. Now, the band has a confusing and inexplicable 30-second intro that I think explains how they've invented a new roller coaster, which we're about to ride. Well, gee. Inside, the building is completely dark, filled with fog, and any thrill comes from a few colored beams of light projected from the center of the room. That's it. Add ten times as many lights, turn up the soundtrack (which was barely audible), and you might have a unique experience. As-is, I've ridden better at Six Flags.


    Weird - and Fun - Differences
    Some jarring differences are, in fact, cultural, and can't be held against anyone.


    Character names change, too. Chip and Dale are referred to as Tic and Tac; Lightning Mcqueen is now Flash. These differences are actually kind of fun to spot, and you can occasionally engage a cast member who can help you understand the differences.


    It's odd for an American to see people strolling through the parks with a cigarette in their hand; we haven't permitted that in a decade or more, I'm guessing. Every trash can in DL Paris has a cigarette receptacle in the side. That's cultural, though, and I don't mind that the French (especially) seem to chain-smoke - it's legal, and it's their country. But it's definitely different.


    You see less use of Disney trademarks. For example, while FastPass is offered, it's never shown with the familiar US logo. That may be due to foreign trademark laws. The system works the same as in the US, it's just not played up as much, and it doesn't use the familiar branding.


    PhotoPass doesn't exist, which is a bloody shame given the photo opportunities in this park. Several rides offer the usual on-ride photo, but there's no PhotoPass or even anything like it. The closest alternative: The Main Street photo shop will, for a fee, copy your photos from your camera's storage card onto a CD, so that you can free up space in your camera for more pictures.


    Language Barrier
    Communicating in English is easy - if you can find someone fluent in English (or your language), of course. Despite what many folks will tell you, not every Disney cast member speaks English fluently. Some are downright awful, and many comprehend the words but not the meaning. It means an especially tough time at food counters, where often as not you end up with the wrong items because the CM misunderstood. Worse, the English translations on many menus can be even more confusing. One sign offered, "child's meal in a collectible Disney box" for about 8 euro. Come to find out, at the register, the box actually cost extra. Various "menus" are offered - not unlike numbered meals or value meals in the US - but at the serve-yourself counter places, it's not clear which items belong to each menu. Rather than someone handing you a tray with "meal 3," you're left to assemble it on your own - often with inaccurate results and much back-and-forth from register to food stations. It really slowed down the checkout process for everyone.


    Anyway, back to the language barrier and the non-English of many CMs: I initially didn't mind this, because it is France, and as a visitor I made a special effort to try and get by in my horribly-accented, awful-grammar French. It's only polite, when visiting another country, to mangle their language rather than expect them to speak yours. After a couple of days, however, the language thing became frustrating. I'm clearly speaking English; if a cast member understands, "may I have a park map, please?" why would she hand me one in Dutch or Spanish? English was far more commonly-understood, and well-spoken, in central Paris, which was the opposite of what I'd expected.


    In fact, after a week in Paris we didn't run across a single rude waiter - in fact, everyone was encouraging. They'd often answer my bad French in their excellent English, so that they could practice the language, but continued to encourage me to try and speak in French. They were helpful, polite, and intelligent. I saw a lot of rudeness and flippancy in the Disney CMs - the one place in France where I shouldn't have seen that.


    And Now for the Bad News
    The most jarring differences - and the ones I can't accept - are the unimaginable departures from Disney standards. Here, I don't accept "cultural differences" as an excuse; as I pointed out, Disney's standards are hardly cultural norms in the US, either. Those standards exist to make Disney a better-than-normal experience; when those standards go missing, you're left with an amusement park, not a Disney theme park.


    Cast members point with one finger - if you're lucky. Janitors also point with extended brooms, almost bashing nearby guests. Sometimes you'll just get an, "over there" with the nod of a head. That's assuming you can find someone to ask.


    Not everyone has a costume - unless you consider "black park-logo tee-shirt and name tag, with jeans" to be a "costume." This was especially eerie. We even saw cast members without name tags, which was like heresy for me. I knew they were cast (who else would be carrying spray bottles and mops in the park?), but to not see a name tag or a discernible costume - bizarre.


    There are no spare cast members. In a US park, open a map and often as not a CM pops over to ask what you're looking for. In Paris, you're hard-pressed to find a CM, except operating an attraction or a shop or a food service location. The lack of (or inconsistent use of) costumes also make folks like street sweepers hard to identify.


    The dearth of cast members is keenly felt on some of the lower-capacity attractions, where one CM might be responsible for checking the seat belts on, say, every horse on the entire carousel. The labor shortage, whether intentional or due to market conditions, really slows down some of the rides. Couple that with an inherently low-capacity ride - like most of the kid-specific ones - and you've got some long wait times ahead of you.


    Hotel front desk staff are lethargic and apathetic. They just stand there staring unless they're actively engaged with a guest, and even then they're little more than efficient. We checked in when there was almost nobody else in the lobby, and while the process was quick, it was also pretty impersonal.


    CMs will correct guests, too - often harshly. Being told "no" isn't unusual. While you can purchase beer and wine in the France parks, you can't walk around with them; they must be consumed where they were purchased. Walk-up kiosks don't sell alcohol for that reason. There are, however, absolutely no signs or notices or anything to clue you into this. We watched a CM stomp up to a British guest and take his beer from his hand and throw it away while yelling at him. Astonishing.


    On the other hand, it was nice (if irritating) to see hosts in the shows, equipped with flashlights, enforcing the "no photos" rule. I hate that people just ignore that rule, especially when - as in a dark show - a flash can truly be dangerous for the performers. It was nice to see the cast given the power and responsibility to enforce the rule. It'd be nice if they had to do it less often, but people will be people.


    There were very few managers visible at any time. The one we saw - name tag, smart skirt, sport coat - was dashing through the park, eyes down, avoiding not only eye contact but any chance to be distracted from her mission. Not making eye contact is something we noticed a lot of. It may well be cultural, but it's such a departure from Disney norms - where mirrored sunglasses are banned specifically because they interrupt eye contact - that we found it a bit unsettling.


    I've become accustomed to the legions of Disney Research survey-takers as you enter and exit a park. Not so, here: One lone guy with a tablet computer, on one day, is all we saw. If any of Disney's "missing practices" are upsetting guests, they'll likely never know it without those surveys.


    I want to point out that - again - I don't buy the "cultural" excuse for these differences. We found that the waiters and shop workers in central Paris acted more Disney-like than the Disney CMs. They were more polite, more engaged, and so on. I'm sure Disney pays less, and gets a lower quality of worker in exchange. But management's job is to bring those kids along and enforce standards - something that clearly has been abandoned here. After all, Disney in the US is hardly a top-end employer when it comes to pay scales. One Irish CM we spoke with at a bar (in Disney Village) said that it was the "general sense of entitlement that the French have" (her phrasing, not mine). They pay exorbitant taxes by US standards, but receive a vast portion of life's necessities free of charge from the government - like health care and numerous other services and benefits. She suggested that that level of entitlement made it easy to find employees who simply didn't believe they needed to work that hard, or to follow rules. I've certainly run across that "entitled to a paycheck" attitude in the US, especially from younger workers, but rarely at Disney, where management works hard to maintain standards. That hard work starts with casting, where the company tries to find employees who are enthusiastic, and who will want to maintain the desired on-stage standards in the first place.


    The only US-consistent experience, CM-wise, were the characters. All of the "face" characters - princesses and the like - had American accents, though, so I think I know why they acted in a more familiar fashion. Disney may, in fact, insist that characters be hired from the US, since the characters are one area where Disney rigorously enforces its standards.


    As in the US, maintenance is a problem, likely due to penny-pinching. In Paris, everything is certainly kept neat - if not exactly clean. Dust and cobwebs were noted in most of the restaurants we visited, along with fallen curtain hems, frayed carpet edges, and so on. It's an especial shame here, because they've started with such beautiful, extensively-themed buildings... and just not kept up with the little stuff.


    And the pavement. Now, I recognize that the area between Disneyland and Disney Village is likely not Disney-owned or -maintained; it's a train station. The pavement there is in bad shape. But the pavement outside the parks, but still well within Disney's control, is appalling. Massive potholes. Huge chasms. It's freaking incredible. I've truly never seen such ugliness in any guest-accessible area in any Disney property, ever.


    Restrooms tend to be pretty disgusting. Again, they're initially beautiful - huge, well-equipped, and so forth. But through a combination of poor maintenance, gross cultural habits like not wanting to flush toilets, and what I suspect are poorly-designed fixtures, the bathrooms tend to smell like outhouses. Ick. They've also switched entirely over to hand dryers, which I'm fine with, especially the Dyson "Blade" dryers. However, if you have a men's room with ten urinals and ten stalls, and five sinks, one hand dryer ain't gonna cut it. They need to triple up on the hand dryers if that's the direction.


    One note: While exterior theming in Disneyland Park is 100% amazing, the interior theme sometimes falls down. In Space Mountain, for example, we were herded through some pretty generic, metal-girder-clad rooms. It's like the budget ran out when they hit the insides of the rides, and so they just punted. It's jarring - you're firmly "in the story" when you walk up to the attraction, and then you're jolted out of it when you're walking through what is clearly the load area for a roller coaster. Meh. The lack of interior theme isn't universal; some attractions and restaurants - Silver Spur Steakhouse is notable - include deep and detailed theming inside as well as out.


    Don't even get me started on the European guests. While they're certainly not Disney's fault, they do impact the experience. Man, you think the folks in the US can be pushy, rude, and inconsiderate.... We're told that this is fairly common, especially with visitors from specific countries who - culturally - are more prone to pushiness, rude behavior, and so forth. The only upside is that ECVs aren't popular in Europe, so we at least weren't being run down by inconsiderate scooter-drivers.


    Pricing
    As a note, prices in Disneyland Paris are about the same as in the US parks. 8 will get you a lunch, a bottle of wine is 30 or so, and dinner can easily run 60 or 70 for two people. Note that I'm not using an currencies there. An $8 lunch will cost about 8 euro. If you're ultimately paying the credit card bill in dollars, just expect to pay a 30-50% surcharge depending on the exchange rates at the time. Don't try and do that math when you're in France, though, because it's an artificial thing. France's internal valuations are consistent with the French people's income - a job paying 30,000 USD pays about 30,000 EUR, in other words. Conversion rates are a just a fact of life.


    Visit. You'll Enjoy It.
    None of this should deter you from visiting Disneyland Paris if you can. The "Magic Kingdom" park is truly wonderful. It's a combination of Florida's large-scale design and the more organic, charming layout of the original Disneyland. It's truly the best Disneyland, design-wise. Just come prepared for a less-than-Disney customer service experience. Don't try to be the "ugly American" and yell/threaten/bully your way to whatever you want, because the cast here won't respond to that. Be polite as possible, don't expect to have that politeness returned, and you'll likely get through fine. Come prepared with some basic French words (there are apps for that, if you've got a smartphone). Put a credit card down at the hotel and use the room charging feature for all of your on-property purchases, rather than messing with Euro. Yes, expect prices to be theme park-grade (meaning a tad high for what you get), but don't try to do the Euro-to-Dollar conversion in your head. It'll make everything seem more expensive. Yes, you're ultimately paying in dollars - but you need to accept it, and not complain to the cast about the pricing.


    And don't be afraid to get a little pushy with your fellow guests. Apparently, it's acceptable.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Everything is true

    If you want to get around in Disneyland Paris, you will have to use your elbows, otherwise you will end up last

    Some guests are rude, but from my 3 Disney visits in the US we as Europeans find the guests and CM's over there way to polite. After two weeks of Disney World I was glad to see some less polite people back in Europe

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    I was really shocked by the rude visitors of disneyland anaheim! And I had the rudest CMs ever over there under the californian sun. So I think most of this "Europeans"/"Americans" thing is a question of your personal expectations.

    So itīs odd for an european to see all this people in wheelchairs without any respect for a queue. And itīs hard to have CMs that havenīt any idea of people that arenīt from US (and couldnīt understand a dialect-english).

    The standards hasnīt to do much with culture: I remember well the first years. There were sooo many cast members that spoke five languages. No CM spoke less then 3. The park was clean everywhere, they had the best restrooms of every park in europe...I think thatīs mostly a HR problem. They donīt pay much and that means they canīt choose the high quality cms from the first years. And they cut most of the disney university where the new ones get to know all about disney parks and how they should do their job. Thatīs sad and I only can hope that will change again.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Thanks for the report, it's very interesting.

    I'm french and go to Disneyland Paris very often (never been in the US so far ). I quite agree with what you said. About cigarette : Disneyland Paris is a non smoking place but it's true that in France it's not usual so people seem to have problems with these rules...

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    What always amazed me with Disneyland Paris (or EuroDisney when I very first went there) was the multilingual support. When an attraction would go down, you'd have cast members organize different lines so they could explain to visitors in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, etc what the problem was. This is an enormous endeavor.

    If you ever go to Disney in Japan, you'll find even LESS CMs speak English. They are extremely nice, extremely polite and will mostly try to help you for sure but even in the nicest of hotel, such as the Disneyland Hotel, the second your Japanese is no longer enough for the conversation, they scramble to find somebody around to help you in English. And often, it'll be very broken English. When you go to the restaurants, they'll show picture menus and you'll point. And if there's ANY problem with your order, again, good luck. Not that they don't want to help you: they will actually feel SERIOUSLY pained not to be able to help you. But the language barrier is very strong

    Smoking is a big issue in France and I agree with that one wholeheartedly. And I use to smoke!!!! However, go to China and you'll see people smoke in the line for the attraction almost all the time (which hasn't happened too often for me at DLRP). And, although not as common, I routinely see people smoke in random non smoking section of DL or DCA Just recently with the new entrance through Condor Flats, I saw some people panic because they had removed a smoke section and they would now have to go... by Grizzly!

    Lastly, you're so very right on the maintenance side. I use to think it's because people in France won't respect it but it is the Six Flag syndrome: keep it clean and most people will to, if you don't care why would they? I routinely see large swarms of rude and quasi entitled people around DL but the park maintenance makes up for it in large part. Again, it's not Tokyo where people revere their surrounding to such an incredible extent that this, coupled with great maintenance, leaves it pristine. But still.

    All things considered, great report though!

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristof View Post
    Everything is true

    If you want to get around in Disneyland Paris, you will have to use your elbows, otherwise you will end up last

    Some guests are rude, but from my 3 Disney visits in the US we as Europeans find the guests and CM's over there way to polite. After two weeks of Disney World I was glad to see some less polite people back in Europe
    After one hour of the best service in the world at Tokyo Disney Resort I got furious just thinking about what the french call service at their stinky DLP.
    Many non disneyparkfans often say that it is the level of bad service they get in DLP that ruins the vacation and takes away that special disney feeling.
    Never mind building new things to see and keeping things looking good... never mind getting ridd of the stench... it doesnīt matter anyway if the CMs are unpolite.

    "we donīt have to do what the americans do!" ...nice DLP!
    Last edited by TimmyTimmyTimmy; 09-03-2011 at 06:43 AM.
    The world according me: http://www.youtube.com/user/TimmyME

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    I tend to agree with most of the OP.

    If you visited in August (as I did on my last visit), your problem with CMs may have had to do with a large percentage of temporary workers covering the summer (usually students between school and college years). I had very similar issues with this sort of CM and found it very frustrating. One place I never had an issue was in the hotels. Its a pity to hear that the disease is spreading into them now.

    Face Characters have American accents but don't be fooled that they are American! DLP do an awful lot of recruiting in the UK and they were more than likely talented Britons!

    You criticised the square outside the station (not Disney owned) but mentioned nothing of the multitude of street hawkers that position themselves around it to sell over priced junk. Have they been moved on or was that just an ommission?

    The restrooms are truly awful especially on hot, busy days. And although not a violent person by any means, I have seen the 'red mist' more than once thanks to inconsiderate guests and Europe's 'happiest place on earth'.

    Oh and my favourite French Disney name is Dingu (Goofy)!

    Great summation of our little park. And yes, despite all its (many, many) faults, it is still worth visiting.

    I look forward to repaying the compliment next month when this DLP regular visits Anaheim for the first time!
    WDW - 1987 & 1991
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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Quote Originally Posted by nathan detroit View Post
    You criticised the square outside the station (not Disney owned) but mentioned nothing of the multitude of street hawkers that position themselves around it to sell over priced junk. Have they been moved on or was that just an ommission?
    Oh no, they were there. It's gotta infuriate Disney, but of course there's little they can do about it. It's illegal (there were several signs to that effect, and we saw them around the Eiffel Tower as well), but obviously not well-enforced.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    Oh no, they were there. It's gotta infuriate Disney, but of course there's little they can do about it. It's illegal (there were several signs to that effect, and we saw them around the Eiffel Tower as well), but obviously not well-enforced.
    Enforcement of those kinds of law isn't the French's forte... and we're back discussing smoke everywhere How many different laws have there been about that?

    Yes, the Cast Members (Camembert as they used to call each others, having no clue what the heck a Cast Member was) make or break your day. And as I said, if the language barrier was even worse in Japan (but that's a personal thing), I've have nothing but compliments for the awesome CM over there going above and beyond to be helpful!

    Case in point: I forgot my cap in BTMRR. I went back to the ride about 20 minutes later when I figured it out. Tried to explain it but the CM didn't understand me. So they went frantically to find somebody which would who then organized everybody in a little army which systematically and while saying in character (loading and unloading each train, waving every tourist good bye and welcome back, always with a charming smile), searched every single train as it came back in station for my cap (it was dark as it is underground like in WDW, not over ground like DL). When one finally found it, they brought it back to the English speaking CM who ceremoniously returned it to me AND, as he was apologizing for keeping us waiting (Really?!? I mean, it took like 4-5 minutes !!!) gave us FastPasses for any ride ! Yes, Japan is definitely something else

    Oh, and Nathan, not nitpicking but it's Dingo, not Dingu (because 'Dingue' is gentle French slang for Crazy )
    Last edited by TreoFred; 09-03-2011 at 01:17 PM.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Thanks for your great trip report.

    I agree with many things mentioned here, but I get a bit angry when everyone thinks that US CMs and guests are perfect when they are not. We have been to WDW for two weeks in 2008 and there we have met rude guests as well.

    I admit that most US CMs are a lot more polite than their European counterparts, but I have never experienced an unfriendly or unpolite CM at DLRP.

    Unfortunately it is true that maintenance isn't the best at DLRP, but currently they are trying to fix a lot of things and I really hope they continue this was after the 20th birthday.

    IT shouldn't be an excuse, but ED SCA is facind big financial troubles which causes less entertainment, less CM, less new attractions and less refurbishments.

    WDSP is still away from being a real Disney park, but in my opinion the DLP was a lot better maintained in 2008 than the MK in Florida.

    I'm not a smoker, but as long as people don't smoke in queues and buildings I don't care about that. And until now I have never seen anyone smoking in queues in buildings. But I prefere a smoking free park as well.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    I have never had any problems with the language at the Tokyo Disney Resort. It's a non-issue.

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagobert View Post
    Thanks for your great trip report.

    I agree with many things mentioned here, but I get a bit angry when everyone thinks that US CMs and guests are perfect when they are not. We have been to WDW for two weeks in 2008 and there we have met rude guests as well.

    I admit that most US CMs are a lot more polite than their European counterparts, but I have never experienced an unfriendly or unpolite CM at DLRP.

    Unfortunately it is true that maintenance isn't the best at DLRP, but currently they are trying to fix a lot of things and I really hope they continue this was after the 20th birthday.

    IT shouldn't be an excuse, but ED SCA is facind big financial troubles which causes less entertainment, less CM, less new attractions and less refurbishments.

    WDSP is still away from being a real Disney park, but in my opinion the DLP was a lot better maintained in 2008 than the MK in Florida.

    I'm not a smoker, but as long as people don't smoke in queues and buildings I don't care about that. And until now I have never seen anyone smoking in queues in buildings. But I prefere a smoking free park as well.
    I was at Disneyland Paris in July and have to say that all of the CMs I came in contact with were great. Of course, I'm a very laid back person and probably didn't ask all that much of them. And being a former CM at Disneyland Anaheim I will go out of my way to follow directions, etc....so the chances of having a confrontation with any of them was slim to nil.
    I actually found many of them to be very friendly. When I would ask some of the Attractions Hosts if I could get a picture with them (CMs from the attractions I worked in Anaheim such as Space Mountain), they were very cool. For the most part all the CMs smiled and were very helpful.
    While I might see the occasional CM in Anaheim who looks bored, or is wearing sunglasses after the sun has gone down, or isn't exactly Mr. Smiley, I find Anaheim CMs to be, by and large, very helpful and friendly as well.
    I haven't been to the Florida park in many years, but I did find them to be a little more passive and less approachable when I was there. Quite a few of them who didn't have those smiles fixated across their mouths. Even my friends who were fellow CMs in Anaheim at one time themselves noticed it.
    Of course, I've been to Paris only once, so who knows how they are the rest of the time. I've only been to Orlando's park twice....so again, who knows?
    I thought Disneyland Paris was awesome, and I would place it behind Disneyland Anaheim as my second favorite Disney park.
    It was beautiful, and what refurbishments were clearly needed, were underway.
    I hope to visit again someday!

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    I just read your comment and I agree (overall)

    for cigarettes, it is normally forbidden to smoke in the park!

    and Goofy is Dingo and not Dingu

  14. #14

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    I am sorry for all your bad/worse experiences, however, almost every Cast Members (two-thirds) are always happy to help you and assist you. But I do not hide, I am ashamed of some CM and unfortunately as long as doing their job at least, Disney can not do anything (French labor laws in force).

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    Cast members point with one finger - if you're lucky. Janitors also point with extended brooms, almost bashing nearby guests. Sometimes you'll just get an, "over there" with the nod of a head. That's assuming you can find someone to ask.
    However, our standards are two fingers or the entire hand ! It's explain during our Tradition (first day).

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    Not everyone has a costume - unless you consider "black park-logo tee-shirt and name tag, with jeans" to be a "costume." This was especially eerie. We even saw cast members without name tags, which was like heresy for me. I knew they were cast (who else would be carrying spray bottles and mops in the park?), but to not see a name tag or a discernible costume - bizarre.
    If you see someone like-this without costume, it's sound like Duty Manager or certains area manager, or even Disney Business Solutions in case of events. It's not operational cast members. Concerning the name-tag, our management has to check every day if we wear it.

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    There are no spare cast members. In a US park, open a map and often as not a CM pops over to ask what you're looking for. In Paris, you're hard-pressed to find a CM, except operating an attraction or a shop or a food service location. The lack of (or inconsistent use of) costumes also make folks like street sweepers hard to identify.
    Every sweepers use the costume from the land where he from. We don't have a generic costume for that (and I'm sorry but I prefer that to stay in harmony with the land).

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    The dearth of cast members is keenly felt on some of the lower-capacity attractions, where one CM might be responsible for checking the seat belts on, say, every horse on the entire carousel. The labor shortage, whether intentional or due to market conditions, really slows down some of the rides. Couple that with an inherently low-capacity ride - like most of the kid-specific ones - and you've got some long wait times ahead of you.
    On that point, it's true, we are understaffed.

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    CMs will correct guests, too - often harshly. Being told "no" isn't unusual. While you can purchase beer and wine in the France parks, you can't walk around with them; they must be consumed where they were purchased. Walk-up kiosks don't sell alcohol for that reason. There are, however, absolutely no signs or notices or anything to clue you into this. We watched a CM stomp up to a British guest and take his beer from his hand and throw it away while yelling at him. Astonishing.
    It's bad show to write something like-this and against to sell, isn't it ? However, I agree with you about the usage of "no", but sometimes we don't have other choice due to the barrier language and the cultural differences.

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    There were very few managers visible at any time. The one we saw - name tag, smart skirt, sport coat - was dashing through the park, eyes down, avoiding not only eye contact but any chance to be distracted from her mission. Not making eye contact is something we noticed a lot of. It may well be cultural, but it's such a departure from Disney norms - where mirrored sunglasses are banned specifically because they interrupt eye contact - that we found it a bit unsettling.
    Our Guest Services Managers (called Team Leaders) and superviseur/coordinator wear the same locations costumes as the cast members. About the sunglasses, if we wear it, our eyes has to stay visible.

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    I've become accustomed to the legions of Disney Research survey-takers as you enter and exit a park. Not so, here: One lone guy with a tablet computer, on one day, is all we saw. If any of Disney's "missing practices" are upsetting guests, they'll likely never know it without those surveys.
    We have a team of about 20 people for the both parks and the hotels.

    Quote Originally Posted by swrdfghtr View Post
    And the pavement. Now, I recognize that the area between Disneyland and Disney Village is likely not Disney-owned or -maintained; it's a train station. The pavement there is in bad shape. But the pavement outside the parks, but still well within Disney's control, is appalling. Massive potholes. Huge chasms. It's freaking incredible. I've truly never seen such ugliness in any guest-accessible area in any Disney property, ever.
    All the esplanade in front of the Walt Disney Studios Park and the Train Station (outside Disney Village) are currently in refurbishment until July 2012.
    Last edited by Loïc Potter; 10-17-2011 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Spelling

    Guest Relations & Ticketing Coordinator @ Disneyland Paris
    English is not my mother tongue, I hope you would forgive me for my spelling mistakes.

  15. #15

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    Re: Disneyland Paris: For Better, For Worse

    I also believe that the service level at this park is the poorest of all the Disney parks (although I cannot speak about the Hong Kong park, which I've never visited), but boy, it sure is a beautiful park. I can't wait to go back.
    Fight On! Beat the Bulldogs!

    Tom Chaney Memorial Debate Lounge Quote of the Week:

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Speaking of "drive-by" my cousin just became the new drummer for -Train-
    This device kills fascists.

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