/ Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

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I’ve been back from Disneyland Paris for about a month now, which has been enough time to collect my thoughts, while buying an unholy amount of The Force Awakens toys collectibles. The Galaxy Far Far Away was in full force (pardon the pun) at Disneyland Paris, and there’s no better place to discuss its presence than right here on the WDW Radio Blog.

20150812_141719Star Wars is not a new commodity to Disney Parks worldwide, as the original Star Tours opened in Anaheim in 1987 followed by its addition to the “Disney Park formerly known as Disney MGM-Studios” in 1989. Unlike references to Prince’s name change, Star Wars has managed to stay relevant over the multiple decades of its existence. Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris (DLP), a very much Jules Verne inspired version of Tomorrowland, sports the original Star Tours, which is set to be replaced by Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, like its American counterparts, next year. As someone who hadn’t ridden either Star Tours, I was thrilled by the opportunity to experience the original before it was gone for good. It’s like witnessing an endangered species in person, or grabbing the last slice of pizza, it’s hard not to appreciate something when you know it will soon be gone.

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From my knowledge of the old American Star Tours, the DLP version was almost exactly the same except for it mostly being in French. The queue had many of the great intercom pages in English and Ewokese (Ku channa, ku channa) that I have come to recognize from countless intros to the fantastic podcast WDW Radio (now that’s what I call synergy!).

Being the original Star Tours, its age was clear from the film grain in the ride video. The image quality, however, did not take away from how fun it was in the slightest. Proof that high-tech ride systems are not the key to a great Disney attraction. My biggest surprise during my flight on the Starspeeder 3000 was the voice of Rex, the droid pilot. It was pretty close sounding to the Paul Reubens performance despite being done by a different voice actor in French.

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Although Star Tours is the single biggest Star Wars thing at DLP, it was not the only “proof of franchise purchase” being displayed. Exiting Star Tours lead me into an arcade which featured some old Star Wars arcade games from the 90s along with some really out of place and dated looking games, also from the 90s. Star Traders was filled with Star Wars merchandise, which I ate up. It may have all been products found at other Disney parks like Jedi Mickey plush toys, but that didn’t change the fact that I hadn’t been to a Disney park since 2008, and it was all new to me.

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Inside of Videoplois Theater, a large indoor seating area that featured a permanent Jedi Training Academy stage, I got to enjoy a Jedi Burger and Yoda Cupcake from Cafe Hyperion while watching children trained in the ways of The Force take on Darth Vader. Highest compliments to the Jedi master leading the ceremony as she did it in both French and English, though English was clearly a second language. Still impressive, as I couldn’t do anything on a stage in front of a lot of people, let alone in two languages.

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Star Wars only continues to consume more acreage of Disney Parks worldwide. Now that I have been on the original Star Tours, I’m very much ready to check out the Adventures Continue along with the forthcoming lands set to hit Walt Disney World and Disneyland sometime in the next few years.

 

Zack Kaplan is a Disney fan whose love for the house of mouse is only matched by his love for video games.  While his recent trip to Disneyland Paris may have been the height of his summer, he hopes his post here can be the height of your day. You can reach him at zack@ofmickeyandmen.com or @ofmickeyandmen . For fun ask him if he liked Tomorrowland more than Avengers Age of Ultron! You’ll be sure to get a long winded answer.

Comments

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1 thought on “Lightspeed to France: The Star Wars Presence at Disneyland Paris”

  1. Ayrtone says:

    I’m glad that you had a good time in your recent trip. About DLP, did it reoprt a profit? That’s what I found about it on the internet: Parks and ResortsParks and Resorts revenues for the quarter increased 12% to $3.2 billion and segment operating income increased 9% to $519 million. Results for the quarter were driven by increases at our domestic parks and resorts, Disney Cruise Line, and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, partially offset by decreases at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney Resort. The decrease at Tokyo Disney Resort was driven by the impact of the March 2011 earthquake in Japan which resulted in a temporary closure of the two parks and hotels and a continuing reduction in volume after reopening. Results at both our domestic and international parks and resorts reflected a favorable impact due to a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday relative to our fiscal periods.Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was driven by higher guest spending and, to a lesser extent, attendance, partially offset by increased costs. Increased guest spending reflected higher average ticket prices, daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending. Increased costs reflected labor cost inflation, higher pension and healthcare costs, marketing and sales for new guest offerings, and expansion costs for Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort.Higher operating income at Disney Cruise Line was due to increased passenger cruise ship days due to a full quarter of operations for the Disney Dream, partially offset by the related incremental operating costs.The improvement at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort reflected higher guest spending and attendance. Guest spending was driven by increased merchandise, food and beverage spending, and increased daily hotel room rates. The decrease at Disneyland Paris was due to a prior-year sale of real estate and increased costs which were driven by volume related costs, repairs and maintenance and labor cost inflation. These decreases were partially offset by increased guest spending which was due to higher average ticket prices and daily hotel room rates.