As promised here is my trip report from Disneyland Resort Paris. Before I get into things I would like to mention that I have previously been to Walt Disney World three times before (last trip being Sep 2007) and Tokyo Disney resort in March 2007. I live in the UK and Paris is the closest Disney resort to my location at just being under two and half hours away from me via train but it's always been my least interested resort to visit on the past for various reasons. Things have now changed. (part two will be posted soon)
Pictures can be found here http://gallery.mac.com/peteranthonyw...lack&view=grid
We got the train from our home town early on Monday morning and headed down to London to catch the Eurstar to Disneyland Paris. Once we checked in and on board the train pulled away and was soon at full speed on the new fast rail track. We arrived at our first station to catch a connecting train at just under an hour after departing. We caught the connecting train that would take us directly to the resort at Ville Europe in France and it was just another hour before we arrived at the resort.
Arriving by train was magical. As the train pulled in the station you get a glimpse at some of the Disneyland Park weenies such as Space Mountain and Sleeping B's castle. A real nice way to arrive at the resort. We then proceeded to check into our hotel. We walked from the station to the Santa Fe hotel. It's quite a walk that takes about 15 mins from the station but we wanted to get our bearings so we talk the walk instead of getting the bus. Check in was easy and we were soon checked into our room. Since it's a Disney budget hotel it had all the basics such as bathroom and TV but it was not overly themed but it does not really matter as it's only a place to sleep for us. About this time it was around three o'clock in the afternoon so we decided to head on over to Disneyland Park since it was open till 7.00 PM that day and every day we visited.
From here on in I will be posting impressions and views about the parks instead of doing a day by day report.
Before visiting I have read various things about Disneyland Paris. Most of it was negative. People saying it was badly maintained, rude guests, rude cast members and not as impressive as the US or Japanese counterparts. After visiting the park I can truthfully say that I disagree with nearly everything I have read. The park looked amazing, the guests were not any ruder than others I have encountered in the US and the only issue I had was the smoking issue but it's more of a European (continent) and nearly all the rides surpassed the US and Japanese versions by miles. Disneyland Paris is the best Magic Kingdom in the world. Period.
Theming here is off the scale. I would say it's the DisneySea park of the Magic Kingdom Parks. Walking to the park you are greeted by the fantasitc looking Disneyland Hotel that looms over the entrance to the park and the move underneath onto to main street. The castle is again the best that Disney has produced, yes, it may be smaller than the WDW castle but it's beautiful and even features a moving dragon underneath the castle. See the video below
On to the land and rides.
Our first stop was fantasyland. Again, wow! It's like walking into a old European village. The land is huge and really puts the other parks in the shade. It's a Small world is actually a good attraction in my eyes now after riding the Paris version, the differences are really great and it's not nearly as freaky as the older versions. The Tea cups is hossed in a fantastic looking structure and other rides here are more or less the same as the ones you will find elsewhere but always plussed and themed to the Max. Fantasyland has alway been my least favorite land while visiting the Magic Kindgom at WDW but at Paris it's one of my favorite places to sit and watch the wold go by.
Discoveryland - Ever sine I saw the pictures of Disneyland Paris's Discoveryland (the Paris version of Tomorrowland) it has been my most anticipated land to visit. After all, it features one of the best Space Mountains in the world and after riding it I can say IT IS the best Space Mountain in the world. The ride is thrilling, intense and really great. After getting whiplash from the WDW SP due to it's age, the Paris Space Mountain is a true adventure. Yes it can be a little rough but at least there is no danger of getting whiplash from this coaster! One little niggle tho, the music on the coaster was not playing correctly and it seemed only the sub woofers in the coasters were working. But I was so impressed by the actual ride I will allow this to slip. Space Mountain mission two was my favorite ride at the resort. Other attractions in Discoveryland are carbon copies from the US parks but again it's the themeing of the area that goes that extra mile and makes it another WIN for Paris.
Frontierland - This area of the park contains on of the most popular rides at the resort and it's no wonder after riding it. BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN. If you dont know, Big Thunder at Paris is considered to be the best Big Thunder in the world. It's really great. As you enter the area to get a clear view of the mountain rage that is actually housed in the center of the lake. You board the ride on the shore and soon after dispatch dives into a tunnel and under the lake to reach the main island portion of the ride. The main part of the ride is almost identical to the US versions but its the start and end to the ride that sets the Paris ride above the rest. The returning tunnel is the most thrilling with a drop in the darkness, I am sure most of the train guests screamed during this part. Phontom Manor was also located in this area and features a new storyline that I think is perfect fit for the area, there are plenty of sites on the net that will explain it but I was very impressed by this plussed version of the Haunted Mansion.
Adventureland: To me, Adventureland was the weakest land. The land is huge but it only features two rides of any significance. Pirates and Indy Jones Coaster. There is plenty of land next to the Indy Jones coaster for expansion and I hope Disney adds something here, the land really needs it. Pirates was once again a plussed version of the US version but actually does allot of things better. For one, you get your picture taken at the second drop! It's a great ride and we went on it a few times. Indy Jones coaster was ok, but was also rather weak for a Disney coaster. The saving grace of Adventure land was once again the theming that was round. At a level again that is amazing. The land just needs more rides or shows really.
Ok so that should do it for today. I would also just like to add that we went during the UK half term and the resort was MEGA busy but not just UK guests but with French and Spanish too. I will be posting the second part soon.