My first visit in years and the first time with my 1,5 year old! So here my trip report.
The night before
To make the most of our visit, we decided to leave the Netherlands on Tuesdayafternoon, stay at a hotel near DLP, and be the first in line on Wednesdaymorning. After some internet research we decided to stay at the Campanile-hotel at Torcy/Collegien (near the junction of the A104/A4, about 12 kilometres from DLP).
After some car-trouble, I discovered that our two rear-tires were completely worn-out and needed replacement, and 300 euros lighter, we left our home town around 13.00. After a nice car-ride, with few traffic-jams, we arrived at the Campanile around 17.30. The rooms were small, but oke. Plus the hotel was located behind a very, very ,very large Carrefour-hypermarket, so we could do some last-minute shopping. And being from a country with very small supermarkets, a hypermarket is always a treat!
Our Disney hotel
Having visited DLP numerous times, this was the first time that we stayed on-site. We stayed at the New York Hotel, and I must say that I was impressed. Because of a very large convention of Price Waterhouse Coopers, they had no standard rooms left. So we got an upgrade to a suite!
The suite was really nice. A good-sized living-room, two bathrooms and a huge bed! We really enjoyed staying there! The room and the hotel were also perfectly maintained. No real need for refurbushment there!
Breakfast was no problem at all; every moring we were almost alone there! At one morning we decide to check out SL and NPB; lines as far as the eye could see for the breakfastrooms! Food and choice was very good. Cocktails at the bar were also great, but somewhat expensive (11 euros). Lunch at the Parkside Dinner was good, do try the New York Style Cheesecake!
The hotel does not look very Disney-like, but as long as the rooms, sevice and food/drinks are good, I don't mind!
The best thing about the hotel was the distance to Disney Village and the parks. Within 5-10 minutes you could be from your hotel-room tot Disney Village and the parks. Really handy with a 1,5 year old in need of a nap!
After all the stories about bad maintenance and neglect; I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it helped that all three days the weather was great; around 20-25 degrees celcius with nice blue skies. But most parts of the park and the attractions looked very fine to me. Some could need a little paint, a small repair or some general TLC, but overall my impression was good. One thing that does need maintenance, is the concrete flooring in the park! All cracks and quick-repairs. This is a shame I think. But most people (who are not the Disney-fans we are) will not even notice!
On all three days the parks were pretty busy. A lot of Brits, Italians and Spaniards. They were in their last week of vacation I think. So most popular attractions did have some waiting time. But never more than 15-25 minutes.
Being with a 1,5 year old, we decided to start in Fantasyland. And after Dumbo, we discovered that this visit would be very different from our last visits! Our son does only like attractions with a lot of colour, that don't go up or down, not too fast and that aren't in the dark....pretty much limiting us to It's a Small World, The Storybook Land and the playground in Adventureland! So we decided tot take it easy, walk around a lot, and take turns at the attractions.
A few observations; BTM still is the best of its kind, SM-M2 is still a great roller-coaster; but please fix the music and make it less bumpy, Buzz is super (althuogh a clone!), POTC is still the best of all POTC, the same goes for PM and..........It's a small world doesn't really get boring with a very happy 1,5 year old next to you with a big smile!
The new parade also is great. Really colourful and the scents are a nice bonus. The parade did stop a few times for a little show time. I must say that I liked the first 3/4 of the parade the most, the princesses and Mary Poppins etc I found a little boring, couldn't they think of something new, why not a Cars-car?? But all in all a great parade for DLP.
All in all we had a very relaxing and very pleasant stay at the Disneyland-park. We will surely return when our son is a little older and can go onto a little more attractions. But beacause of him, we really did do the pak in a very different way!
Btw: No problems with queue-jumpers, rude people in lines, smokers and rude CM's! The weather probably helped!
Walt Disney Studios
This was my first visit and I was not really disappointed. Because I had read so much about it, I was prepared for what I saw.
A few observations:
WDS has potential and some great attractions (Crush, RnRC, the Magiques) but it is too small and too bland. Toon Studios, TOT, Hollywood Boulevard and Stitch are a few (small...) steps in the right direction. But the park needs much more theming and attractions to be able to rival DLP or even MGM in Florida!
- The entrance-square and Studio 1 are what you expect of a Disney theme-park: they are themed!
- Toon Studios: a great area, but very small! Expansion please!
- Crush's Coaster: Fun dark-ride part, the roller-coaster is much faster than I had anticipated, but a great addition to the park. Waiting times from 30-45 minutes and unfortunately a lot of down-time....
- TOT: Really big in comparison to the rest of the park!
- Hollywood Boulevard: It look's nice, but where does it lead to? People are going tot be disappointed that it is just the street and nothing else. Plus; I am curious how they are going to bring the (more or less) real buildings and the facades together. At various points in the parks you can see the steel-beams of the sky-scrapers. This doesn't look very good in my opionion.
- RnRC: Still a great coaster, as I had already discovered at MGM. Outside the theming isn't very special, inside I think it is better than MGM.
- For the rest of the park; a lot of open spaces, a lot of concrete and very little theming.
It didn't look at it's best (especially the floor...)......but because of the great weather and a lot of people being there everey part of the day shopping, eating, drinking or just sitting in the sun......it did have some great streetmosphere! The place felt really alive with all the restaurants and shops packed with people.
So I really do think the place has got a great potential. Just give it a good and thorough refurbishment (especially the flooring!) and preferably some new restaurants and shops (aren't there some good distinguishable American-chains who want to open a restaurant/shop here?) and you have a really great area.
Btw the big balloon is really great! Looks good and is very popular. Please let it stay after the 15th!
Up to my next visit to DLP! Winter 2008??
A few photos can be found in a post down below!