thought I'd share my recent experience of a day at Disneyland Parc on 1 May,hope you all enjoy / find it useful.
First up a bit of background, my family and I are Disney fans. We've been to all the resorts except Hong Kong. Saying that our last visit to WDW was in 99 and to Disneyland in 2003. We've been to TDR twice (2008&2010) & visited DLP for a couple of days in November 2002 when we had a great time although it was very very cold!
This time we decided to visit DLP for the day while we were spending a week in Paris (anyone going to DLP should make time to visit the city as well as there are so many wonderful things to see). Planning before we went we booked Fancilien tickets through the DLP website as these are 2/3 of regular entry tickets & you can print at home. The downsides are that you have to book through the DLP French website or FNAC (we used DLP through google translate), have to pick a day in advance (although you can upgrade to another day by paying the difference to a full ticket) & must book your tickets 5 days ahead. This was fine for us.
On the day we used our Metro passes (another tip if staying in the city if you can travel monday - Sunday, take a passport photo and buy a navigo decouverte smartpass for the transport system E39 for the week for zones 1-5 which cover all the city centre sites and day trip places like Versaiis and Fontanbleau). It took about 45 mins from Les Halles station to DLP on a clean double decker train. we got to the park at about 10am which was opening time.
Heading through the security check & gates were simple, although the check has spoilt the approach through Fantasia Gardens a bit its a necesary evil these days I guess & we were on Main st in a short time.
First impressions were great - main street was clean and bright and looked fantastic. First up was Fantasyland - we entered through the dragon's cave which was a great little attraction. One of the things I love about DLP is the attention to detail in every little area of the park. The main rides (Peter Pan, Dumbo etc) all had big queues so we headed to storybook land and Casey Jnr. Casey Jnr was a fun ride but I noticed the queue was very tired with peeling paint and rotting woodwork everywhere. The ride was fun but I was upset at the state of disrepair. Next up was storybook land which covers the same area (like in Disneyland but with no guide). Again the ride was nice but could have done with some TLC - when we arrived the cast members were manually emptying water from the boats using a vacuum cleaner - something I would have expected to be done before the guests arrived. Small World was next and was lovely but seamed to me a bit smaller than the other versions around the world - the facade was lovely though.
Next up we took a path through to Discoveryland which I didn't remember & which looked like a parade entry route (through big doors). Entering Discoveryland we got fast passes for Space Mountain and then went to the Nautiluswalk thoguh which was good. Generally DIscoveryland was in a poor state - the rockwork was badly damaged with large sections broken off and paintwork chipping, the outside of the nautilus & the star tours X wing was the same. Space Mountain didn't have the cannon smoke or recoil effects working and the water looked stagnant. By now our fast pass was due to we headed over to space mnt. Finding the fast pass entrance was a bit of a challenge but eventually we did - note the fastpass only let you a certain point in the queue - we still waited for around 45 min for the ride and only saved about 5 mins in total. As for teh ride I was really disapointed. When I visited last time it was great but now the ride was terrible - all the great theming had been replaced with some poor effects from a 90s video game, the ride itself was very jerky and the soundtrack was virtually inaudible to cap it off my Dad got stuck on the ride as his harness didn't open at the end. Both of us said that we felt sick and my Dad was.
After this we got a fastpass for Buzz then headed off to Frontierland, again the decay in the park was evident although the theme of Frontierland & Adventureland means its less visible than elsewhere. Phanton Manor was our next stop - the ride was fine but very dark and several of the effects were absent - the mirror ghosts at the end weren't working and their first appearance had been covered up with props so it was obviously an ongoing thing - if you didn't know what you were looking for then it would be Ok but to a Disney vet is was a bit sad.
Next up was some food - we only wanted a snack so had a cowboy platter at the Last Chance Cafe - Ok but not great.
By this time it was starting to get crowded so we wandered around the park for a while and looked in some of the shops - several had special offers (spend XX and get a YY for ZZ). Overall the shops were very expensive and the merchandise not that thrilling - the same stuff is generally cheaper in the UK Disney Store so look elsewhere before comming to the park.
Buzz was next - good ride nicely themed very similar to all the others. It was noticable that the queue and other areas looked clean so I guess they had been rehabbed recently.
Returning to Main St for the 'parade' was a Joke - a single float with a few of the fab five, if it hadn't been so pathetic it would have been laughable. We stopped off at the cable street bakery - the settting was lovely but the pictures in the frames were showing signs of mould and the coffee was instant not fresh brewed, on a plus the cookies were nice.
Adventureland was next and was quite nice to stroll around and spot the similaries to parts of DAK. It started to rain so we hit pirates - wow! Although the queue was a bit too dark the final section under the palms was great. The ride was good and the effects all appeared to be working - this really was like being in a different park & showed how the rest of the resort should have been if had been upkept. After pirate the rain was pooring down so we made our way quickly through fantasyland to the castle walkthrough. This was nice but very crowded (obviously with the rain). One pity was everything here was in French - yes I know its france but as an international park it would have been good to update the story books to change language - I'm sure with modern tech this would be easy.
Getting hungry we went to Pizzeria Bella Norte. This was a lovely restaurant with bags of theming you noticed soemthing new everything you looked at something - Chanti bottle lights, characters from Lady and the Tramp, bits of venice in the walls etc. The food was a bit pricey but two £15 pizza sets with salad, drink and fruit cup were enough for three adults.
It was lucky we ate when we did because at around 19.00 the cast members shut the door with a large chain and began to clear the place out - this also appeared to happen in most other places we passed, even through the park was open to 22.00hrs - very strange behaviour!
The rain was starting to let up a bit so we did a final lap of the park riding our favourite rides again (small world, pirates, Buzz, Phantom Manor); because of the weather we didn't do Big Thunder which was a pity. We ended up on some chairs by the ice cream parlor and waited for the 22.00 showing of Wishes. The show was good and finally we exited down main st - which had far fewer lights on the buildings than in other parks and back to the RER for our trip back to Paris.
Overall the trip was a mixed bag - It was sad to see the park in such a state of disrepair I wanted to cry at times. Good things like pirates were very good but too much had been left to rot and fall to pieces that I had to keep reminding myself I was in Disneyland and not a seaside funfair at times. The prices were ridiculous and far too expensive (E5 for a popcorn or E45 for a plush is extreme). I know Disney isn't cheap but here is the only place I've felt that no one cared about the quality only how much I was paying out for things - 'screw him while he's here' rather than 'make him want to come again'. If I hadn't wanted to see wishes I would have left the park early & that's something I just never do.
Would I go back? Maybe but not for a very long time and even then I'm not sure I'd go unless I'd seen substantial investment in the place. Until then I'll save up for a return trip to Tokyo.