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  1. #1

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    Trip report 27/11/13

    Hello everyone!


    I just visited Disneyland Paris yesterday and I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences here .


    I was lucky enough to have friends in Paris who let me stay. They gave me very weird looks when I told them I was going to visit (24 year old male visiting "a place for little kids" alone), It was not my first time in Pares and I have already seen 95% of the city's attractions, so I needed an activity to keep me busy all day, Disney was the perfect idea.


    This was my second time visiting the resort. I left Paris at 8.30 AM and it took me around 45 minutes with the RER to get there. The day was a cold and gray wednesday... Perfect to keep crowds away . I rushed to the WDS ticket booth (sells the same tickets with less of a line) and proceeded to buy a 1 day 2 parks ticket. A very useful tip to know, and apparently unknown, is that upon presentation of a valid student ID you're entitled to a student discount! I paid just 47 euros for my ticket. Also, international ID's are accepted (mine is Canadian). The lady told me that actually all tickets are valid for both parks, whick makes sense and WDS is more of a Land than a park.


    It was around 9.40 AM and we were let into WDS. My first impression was honestly not bad, as the entrance is actually charming with the big yellow studio building.... But how did things change soon... The first studio is supposed to be some sort of Main Street. It is super short and has around 3 shop (or restaurants) on each side. It is not terrible, actually, but by no means a grand entrance. After walking out you can look left and see Cinemagique, Stitch Live, and Rock and Roller coastee, straight up and the TOT with the fake Hollywood set-up, and right towards Disney Animation, Crush's Coaster, Aladdins Carpets and Animagique... That is all. Seriously the place is tiny.


    I hurried to Crush's Coaster which was already operating and waited around 5 minutes before boarding. The ride is really fun, and effectively blends the coasters mechanism into a dark ride at the beginning (there is an accelerated lift hill disguised as a sewer which gives an amazing effect, as an example). This attraction would have been a gem of a replacement to Mullholand Madness at DCA, its a pity they went for the still lifeless Goofys Sky School.


    Afterwards I headed to TOT. It has sincerely the weeeeirdest position in the park ever. If they had the money to build it, why didnt they just located it in a corner where the TOT is meant to be! It is right in the middle which means you can walk around it, seeing its bare back part. The front looks good from the right angle with the fake Hollywood set-up, but as soon as you get in the line you can already see that they are just unnatractive metal structures from behind (honestly, they are just beams of metal with the façades printed in the front, looks terribly temporary. Being used to the Florida version, this version was a bit... Incomplete, but still thrilling.


    I then went to Rock n' Roller coaster, which yet again is just a metal block with a sign in the front. Inside it is an exact clone of thr Florida version, just without the plywood cutout decorations in the tracks.


    I left WDS at around noon and headed to Disneyland Park. As I entered the Christmas parade was coming down Main Street. It was cute but just counted with two floats (Mickey and Minnie float and then Santa Clause float). It was cute nonetheless. I hurried to Frontierland through the Liberty Arcade (what a gem!) and headed to the Phantom Manor. Oh my God, what a mess. The music from the Gazebo was turned off, and I noted that the locks closing themed doors in the garden were generic Master locks (the brand)... Not a huge issue but it'd be nicer to use at least older looking locks. The foyer looked ok, but the stretching room is looking rough. The wallpaper around the portraits is looking torn and dirty, which often reveals the illusion of the stretching. Leota looks teeeeerrible! The face projection is off the actual head. The ballroom and boudoir were ok, but the rest was the worst. Half of the skeletons of the descent into Phantom Canyon were static, and the movements of many of the phantoms of the canyon were off as well. The final scene of the mirror was ruined because the figures on the other side were off by at least a meter, making the ghost hug half of the Doombuggy and then float in the air. I explored Boot hill for a bit. The geysers were off and the worst.. the background music track was not working properly! For every three seconds of music the track would glitch and skip.


    I went to BTMR afterwards. This version is magnificent, but yet again many of the effects and figures were completely static. The worst part however was the ammount of litter in the queue and the bodies of water around the ride, many such as coke bottles already showing faded colours, hinting they had been for a long time (Ill talk about litter a bit more in a while...)


    I headed to Fantasyland. Alice's curious labyrinth has seen better days, with figures featuring huge patches of unpainted areas and the audio turned off in sections. The Windmill is no longer an attraction (I think it hasnt for a while, but the buckeyd which were filled with gifts 2 seasons ago are now gone). The darkrides are working find, but the teacups and carrousel could seriously use some paint.


    Pirates of the Caribbean came next. Several figures were static as well, which gave the attraction a very creepy feeling as they were just mannequins without any movement. The cannonball effects were off as well, and I am sure we skipped the whole explosion scene alltogether with our boats just rushing by.


    I will continue my trip report soon! I wish I could put some pictures tol but sadly I didnt take many as I was more focused in just riding stuff and enjoying.


    Cheeers!

  2. #2

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    Re: Trip report 27/11/13




    To continue, I returned to Fantasyland to ride IASW Celebration. As I boarded the boat, I was apalled to see some british guests throwing litter at the boarding area. A cast member operating the boats asked them to stop this (in french ) to which they laughed, and he had to come quckly to pick up their garbage. Sincerely thats another problem with DLP: why are sooooo many europeans guests so dirty?! They litter, smoke where they want and throw thr butts to the floor, show no respect towards the park or thr decorations... I really thought European guests would show some sophistication but sincerely American guests have a sense of pristineness and respect which really shows in the cleanliness of the parks.


    IASW was fine, but then again several dolls were broken. The worst part was the finale scene with seversl of the props including the ferris wheel and the carrousel completely stopped. I wonder why with the recent layout being installed these pieces were not made sure to work.


    I got hungry and went to the mexican themed restaurant in Frontierland (forgot its name) and had a terrible experience. I paid 18 euros for 2 chicken fajitas and rice and a large chicken salad. Being lactose intolerant I specified to the woman at the counter not to put ant cheese or creamy dressings on my food. First , the fajitas were given to me as the chicken in a container and 2 tortillas on the side.... What? I had to assemble my own fajitas? Imagine going to McDonalds and getting the bun the burger and the lettuce and tomato separetely for you to assemble. Then, the salad was given to me without chicken, and when asking about it the manager told me the salad didnt have chicken. When I pointed out to the picture, she apologized and gave me a salad with chicken buuut also with a bunch of cheese. I told them I had let them know about my allergies and they said they would prepare another one. When it was ready, I realized the chicken they had put was the same pre- prepared chicken used for the fajitas, but cold! Couldnt they have even microwaved it?! Oh my God. With the exhorbitant prices DLPR should really make an effort on the food. I can see how many people can feel frustrated and ripped off with service like this.


    I had ridden almost everything (Space Mountain was closed) so repeated BTMR a couple of times, as well as PM, then crossed to Discoveryland where I just explored the Nautilus walk through. And then I did the unthinkable..... Returned to WDS. ... It was abour 5 pm by this point and I wanted to see the highlyy recommended Cinemagique. Sincerely it was such a great show! I usually dont enjoy movie attractions that much but this one was fantstic. I really wish that they would get rid of DCA's Muppet Vision and bring this and Animagique to Hollywood Backlot instead of the out of theme Monstropolis they have in mind (they would just have to remake the filmas it features a cellphone as a recurring theme but it is evidently a 2001 model phone, but this is the only outdated part, and the show features superb special effects I had never seen in my life!).


    I rode the RARC and the TOT maybe 5 five times each taking advantage of the non existing crowds. I witnessed something however that left me stunned. In the TOT library there were some asian guests and when passing by the Cast Member there, he began mockingly calling them "Mr. Nagasaki" (or something like that) and then making racist Nintendo sounds to their faces. I had never seen this, but then again Europe is not nearly as politically correct as America is.


    The park closed at 6 and I headed back to Disneyland Park to watch Disney Dreams. I arrived just in time for the tree illumination ceremony which was heartwarming and technically impressive, featuring synched LED lights and snow falling! 45 minutes later Winter Disney Dreams began. It was a great show, just with a couple of borderline stock CGI here and there, but definetly a highlight of my day.


    I was very sad to see the disappointing merchandise offered. Sincerely ALL STORES of DL, WDS and Disney Village offer the exact same products. Also, how sick is everyone of Buzz Lightyear, Jack Skellington and Lightning McQueen already?! Does Disney not have any other characters? This is the same problem which hit the US parks around the time everything merged into "Disney Parks". I remember my visit to the World of Disney store in New Yorks 5th avenue in 2006 when all the merchandise seemed to be park and attraction specific. I had 60 euros to spend in merchmdise, out of which I ended up spending 15 because of the unimaginative and lame merchandise.


    Final thoughts:


    -WDS is not as pretty as dLP, but it definetly looks newer and better upkept.


    - All of Disneyland Park is in urgent need of paint and audio and technical effects refurbishment.


    - DLRP should not try to save money by skimping on maintenance of the park. Instead try little things for example light the Main Street and the Arcade's gas lamps only in peak season, dont show Disnrey Dreams on Weekdays, if theres a brand new World of Disney store and a Disney Store 5 steps away selling THE SAME MERCHANDISE, why not close the older one?


    I hope you've enjoyed my trip report!

  3. #3

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    Re: Trip report 27/11/13

    Thank you for your trip report. I would love to go back to Disneyland Paris again (last time I was there was during the 10th anniversary celebration during my honeymoon) but seems like most trip reports I read online now a days highlight the dire need of better maintenance and lack of proper Disney standards from employees and visitors' behaviors. Makes me sad because I loved this lovely park when we visited. Everything was so beautifully detailed and the rides were so much nicer over their counterparts at Florida's Disney World.

    This comment stood out for me "I rode the RARC and the TOT maybe 5 five times each taking advantage of the non existing crowds. I witnessed something however that left me stunned. In the TOT library there were some asian guests and when passing by the Cast Member there, he began mockingly calling them "Mr. Nagasaki" (or something like that) and then making racist Nintendo sounds to their faces. I had never seen this, but then again Europe is not nearly as politically correct as America is."

    That is so sad and embarrasses me terribly. We visited Tokyo Disneyland shortly after the tsunami and were treated like royalty. All the employees we encountered were professional, efficient and very graceful/helpful, even with the language barrier. They alone were "e-ticket" excellent. Not once were we ridiculed or made fun of just because of being from America of for our deficiency with language and Japanese culture.

    You also wrote: "
    Sincerely thats another problem with DLP: why are sooooo many europeans guests so dirty?! They litter, smoke where they want and throw thr butts to the floor, show no respect towards the park or thr decorations... I really thought European guests would show some sophistication but sincerely American guests have a sense of pristineness and respect which really shows in the cleanliness of the parks."

    One of my biggest disappointments while visiting Paris was the unclean conditions of the city and the excessive amount of graffiti virtually everywhere. With that said and done, I am not surprised to read that Disneyland Paris suffers from the same lack of judgement and respect from their visitors. Very sad to learn of this as it makes me less enthusiastic about visiting there again.

    Overall I did enjoy your trip report for being written from a fan's perspective and including commentary from all aspects of your whole day experiences. Thank you.

  4. #4

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    Re: Trip report 27/11/13

    Actually, I apologize for some of the negativity. If DLRP is to be judged it is with eyes of deep compassion. I was too young to know about the early turbulent years, and everything done is an improvement in the face of economical adversity. As a Disney fan I just tend to note these things a lot more, and having visited other European parks such as Efteling or Phantasialand, I can see how even if Disney lowers some of the maintenance standards, the diference is still a 180 degree turn to the average European fairs and theme parks. Yesterday I visited Winter Wonderland in London and the place seems like a garage band playing against the London Phillharmonic in contrast to Disneyland Paris. Most rides are grimey and with lots of references to alcohol and sexual innuendos (on kids rides). Disney is still Disney and as I said I still had a magical stay at DLP, tearing up with the events such as the Christmas Parade, character meetings and the finale of Disney Winter Dreams.

  5. #5

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    Re: Trip report 27/11/13

    Thanks for the trip report, really enjoyed it.I was at DLP for two days in later October staying at the Santa Fe and, while I don't think I had as overall a negative experience as you did, I was left a little surprised at how poorly run it seems to be from a business point of view compared to the US parks.

    For example, seeing as I'm now living in Germany, I was contemplating an AP after seeing they offered discounts with the park ticket. I queued up at the AP Centre and was told there are no discounts for people who have park entry as part of a package with Disney's hotels. For obvious reasons, it struck me as odd they don't offer any incentive to people staying in their overpriced hotel rooms to become more frequent guests. I'm going back to Paris in early January and won't be visiting DLP, but if I had an AP I almost certainly would be. Sent them a note just suggesting they look into this, but the only response 2 weeks later was a standard form letter apologising that my experience had not lived up to expectations.

    Service is also so inefficient! To get a coffee on Main Street you have 2 or 3 people working behind the counter but there's always a long queue as those 3 people can easily take twice the time 1 person takes at the US parks to serve a guest a coffee. I puzzle as to how a lot of those places can break even.

    They also seem to miss obvious opportunities. Why does the Gibson Girl close before the rest of Main Street while crowds are standing around directly out the front waiting for Disney Dreams? If people aren't likely in the mood for ice cream (though it does seem very popular in Europe whatever the weather…), then why not adjust their offerings to cater to all these thousands of people standing outside its closed doors for extended periods waiting for the show? The nice side of this is that merchandising is less obnoxious; for example, no-one hawking cheap plastic souvenirs along the parade route while everyone's waiting. Certainly also agree the range of merchandise is disappointing. I also expected to spend a fortune and ended up buying hardly anything.

    On the plus side, the Santa Fe has been recently refurbished to a Cars theme and they've done a surprisingly excellent job of it. I was very impressed. The park is still beautifully detailed and I didn't think exterior maintenance was too bad for the most part. I've never loved Paris' Pirates or Phantom Manor (don't like them much at all, actually), but perhaps this is just because they require regular maintenance that they just don't get which makes them appear, in my view at least, like inferior rip-offs of Disney attractions.

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