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Disneyland and Other Disney Parks Discuss Disneyland Paris trip report October 5-8, 2008 in the Miscellaneous Disney forums; I posted a complete Paris trip report at The DPN which is the forums associated with my podcast, Meandering Mouse Club TV. I have included here just the part for ...
  1. #1
    coconut wireles is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    Disneyland Paris trip report October 5-8, 2008

    I posted a complete Paris trip report at The DPN which is the forums associated with my podcast, Meandering Mouse Club TV. I have included here just the part for the DLP portion of the trip.

    Wow, what can you say? Several years in the making, it finally happened that I was able to visit my 10th and 11th parks (parks 6 and 10 in the order of opening dates) to complete my goal of visiting all of the Disney theme parks around the globe and it was a thrill. First week of October 2008 was the travel time.

    It was a year of serious talking and planning. The trip happened with an 8 hour flight to Houston, where I met up with Jeff and then we boarded the same flight for a 9 hour flight to Paris. Before heading to the parks, we visited the City of Paris and my jaw was on the floor most of the time for several reasons. First, the city is amazing. The architecture and the art put you into visual overload almost instantly. For me, it had been 7 years since I was in fall weather and it just added beauty to the trip. The return trip home for me was tough with 8 hours from Paris to Newark, NJ and then 11 hours to Honolulu. That last leg was brutal.

    Day five, was transfer day to move to the Disneyland Paris Resort and checked into the Sequoia Lodge. We couldn’t get in right away so we had to drop off the luggage, grab what we needed and headed over to the Magic Kingdom style park. This day was the only day that the park would be open late. Ten o’clock pm (22h00) was the closing time this night where every other night was 19h00.

    The sequoia is rustic in nature. When you walk in there was a fire place smoke smell. The leaves were starting to turn color and it looked beautiful. When we went to the room, the paths with their trees, some covered walkways, and the beaver creek really added to the ambiance.

    The first day for me was really hard. I was so taken aback by how dirty and in disrepair the place is. Between the dealing with smoking in queue (not inside buildings), the cost of soda, the worn paint, things not working, the dirt, the cracks in and chunks of missing pavement, burnt out bulbs, dirty algae ridden water, gum laden surfaces, junk in the flower beds, overflowing trash and trash cans I was major league bumming. Three days of travel, 12 time zones and thousands of dollars to get there and I was greeted with this. As a former custodian CM, I wanted to tell someone give me a scraper and pan and broom, I’ll clean the place.

    At one point while waiting for Le Petit Train du Cirque there were two majorly overflowing trash cans in the queue. My eyes got wet and I was very disillusioned with the park. My anticipation for the excitement was just crushed. It took me a little while after that I decided that it was what it was and just to enjoy the fact that I was in Paris doing something that only a handful of people have ever done. There was no sense in pointing out every flaw as there were many of them. What I had to enjoy was the detail that was in the park and get over the other stuff that distracted from it.

    Effects weren’t working at many locations. At Space Mountain, they cannon was supposed to have movement but wasn’t. The clock at Small World was off by 5 minutes and sometimes the figures didn’t come out. In Phantom Manor when something was supposed to be in your doom buggie, it didn’t show. A good percentage of the lights on the back of tea cups were out. Path lights were out all over the place.

    One fun experience on day one was eating at Walt’s. It’s a restaurant located on the corner of Main and Center Streets up on the second floor. Steak was on the menu. The restaurant was a tribute to Walt Disney. Pictures from throughout his life were throughout the establishment. The dining room was split into sections that covered different themes of the park. We walked through the adventure themed area to be seated in the fantasy section. We saw other sections devoted to discovery and the frontier.

    The park has amazing details to it. In the castle, they tell the story of Sleeping Beauty with a bejeweled cover reminiscent of the old Disney movies as you enter the area. There is stained glass that tells the story. In one scene talking about the burning of the spinning wheels, there is the fireplace with the burning items. Outside of the castle you can see the back of the fireplace and the chimney. In the store attached to the Snow White ride, it’s themed like the Seven Dwarves’ house. There is a pick ax with a sock on the end, just like the scene where Snow White first enters their cottage. In the Nautilus walk though they have the huge organ just like in the “real” Nautilus had. Skull Rock…how cool was that??!! Over in the Cinderella area they had the well and shoes that she wore to do her chores.

    The walk thru fort with closing doors, Phantom Manor, Big Thunder Railroad, Space Mountain, most of Fantasyland, Small World ride, the Castle, and Pirates of the Caribbean were in my book better than their counterparts located at any of the other parks. Imagineering did a great job with this park. When you enter the park you pass under the Disneyland Paris hotel. When you are at the castle and look down Main Street, the hotel at the end really completes the scene. The castle completes and meshes in with Fantasyland better than any of the other castles. The park itself is awesome.

    We arrived on the second day of the Halloween festivities. Main Street USA and Frontierland were taken over by pumpkin people who were trying to paint the place orange. Everywhere in these areas were pumpkin people statues doing different acts of vandalism. Paint was spilled on the ground and orange foot prints were leading out of the “wet” spots.

    One item that I noticed here was the freedom of the characters. First, they have characters at the hotels. One on trip inside the DLP Hotel there were characters milling in the lobby with people. They brought a train float/parade down Main Street to the hub where it stopped. The characters got off, went to different spokes of the hub and mingled with people. There was a train toot and they got back on the train and back down Main Street. Characters would interact with people chasing them around as I saw real pumpkin people doing in Town Square. In Adventureland, Tigger and Goofy were playing with each other and guests. Tigger even tried to sit in a stroller. For the most part there weren’t queues of people to greet characters. It was awesome to see the interaction.

    The Walt Disney Studios Paris park was a small park to say the least. You would walk front entrance to the tram tour in the back of the park in about 4 minutes and about a 3 minute walk from Stitch Live to Crushes Coaster going sideways left to right as viewed from the park front. You could see how DCA and former Disney MGM Studios had a great influence on this park. This truly is a ½ day park. From 10h00 to 14h00, we did all but Armageddon Special Effects show, Lights, Motors, Action stunt show, Cars Road Rally and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. Another 2 to 2.5 hours and we could have had done them all. It was 10 minutes for Road Rally and Carpets. LMA was 50 minutes and 20 minutes for Armageddon. The tram tour had Catastrophe Canyon and costume shop like MGM with trams like MGM. Tower of Terror was DCAs version of tower. Stitch Live was like Hong Kong. Aladdin was from Magic Kingdom. Road Rally was Francis Lady Bug Boogie redone with Cars. Rock-n-Roller Coaster was like MGM. MGM got LMA from Paris. Animation had drawing your character like DCA. Animagique was like Little Mermaid at MGM or vice-a-versa as I don’t know which came first. Cinemagique was like Magic Lantern Theater in Disney Sea. So really there was nothing really new or ground breaking there. Crushes Coaster stood out in that it had the Nemo roller coaster theme with the turtle shell ride vehicles that allowed for front and back seating like Toy Story Mania and the craziness of Mulholland Madness/Primeval Whirl but this had angled/banked track instead of just flat.
    Host of the Meandering Mouse Club TV and Trapped in Paradise video podcasts.

    Hong Kong and Tokyo Disneyland Resort June 2007, Walt Disney World December 2007, Disneyland (Original Anaheim Kingdom) May 2009, Disneyland Paris Resort October 2008.

    Veteran of all 11 global theme parks

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    coconut wireles is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    The costumes were *WAY* more detailed than anything in the US. The pirates had hats with plumes. They got to carry guns and swords. The guys had brocade jackets and were having pictures and autographs just like other characters. Those costumes that needed it for completeness had spats. This was like Tokyo where they wore spats as well. Mansion had vest, jacket and top hat. They looked cool! Personally, I don’t know if American CMs would wear these detailed costumes. When I did Kitchen Kabaret, there were many times I had to get my jacket repressed to make sure the lapels were even. My other CM’s didn’t care and went out looking bad with uneven lapels.

    In general the CMs were OK. But other times it was bad. Twice we exited the park and there were at least 8 people there and not one Good Night, Auf Weiderzein, Auv riour or any other thing from them. Not helping loading people was another one. One area where I do give them big kudos is dealing with the multiple languages. BTW, two CMs that I talked to did make comments about how dirty the park was when I mentioned it. Back at the hotel, they didn’t restock TP and when I call about it they brought towels. When I said I needed TP, the guy went away and came back with 3 rolls and a pack of tissues. On the last day the bus to the Disney Village/train station stopped to let off people. I was waving down the driver and Jeff tried to get in the back door and he just drove away without any pause.

    The general crowd, during the trip I was moaning over them, but now that I think about it, they really weren’t all that different from crowds at the US parks. Crying babies, blocking paths, cutting lines…guests in the American Parks do the same thing. OH, they dressed in dull colors. Apparently I stuck out as one CM noted that my Mickey Mouse baseball shirt was very American.

    For food, didn’t eat any snacks in the parks. They had crepes instead of churros at multiple locations. Ate at two sit down meals at Walt’s and the Blue Lagoon which is their answer to the Blue Bayou. Had a Pastrami and Motzerella baguette and Coke Zero at Last Chance Cafe. Coke Zero and Coke Light were the diet colas available. Over at Country Cookout had potato wedges, BBQ chicken, BBQ brisket, mini churros and Coke Zero. Inside the DLP Hotel at the Fantasia bar I had a several non alcoholic specialty drinks. When you ordered they gave you marinated black and green olives and some cool ranch Doritos. Breakfast at the Sequoia was ham, turkey, cheese, breads, cereals and yogurts. The one morning we went to Chef Mickey’s for a character breakfast, they had bacon, sausage, eggs, chocolate mousse, in addition to what was found at Sequoia but no characters. Yup, we arrived at 07h30 and left at 08h00 and not a single character showed. BTW, the Coke Zero was 50cl or 16ozs for 2 Euro 50 which with exchange rate was about $3.50. It was more expensive at the sit downs, close to 4 Euro.

    Would I do the parks again? I’m not sure. Was it worth it? Kinda. The city of Paris was beautiful. The parks were part of a dream that became a goal but the reality of the condition of the place really put a damper on it. There were similar complaints against Anaheim before the 50th but they managed to get it fixed for the 50th. It’s a shame they couldn’t have done the same for DLP’s 15th anniversary. If they could get it fixed up and cleaned up it would be a not to be missed location within the cannon of the Disney global theme parks.
    Host of the Meandering Mouse Club TV and Trapped in Paradise video podcasts.

    Hong Kong and Tokyo Disneyland Resort June 2007, Walt Disney World December 2007, Disneyland (Original Anaheim Kingdom) May 2009, Disneyland Paris Resort October 2008.

    Veteran of all 11 global theme parks

  3. #3
    Tinker Bell is offline DisneyWorldTrivia.com Lifetime Pass
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    Thanks for posting your report, I am very curious about all the other Disney parks I haven't yet visited, Paris being one of them. Very sad to hear how dirty and unkept it seems to be, can't say I am that surprised though, different cultures run the different parks. Anyway, I'd still like to visit DLP but I don't think I would take a trip just for that, if I go to Europe to visit friends, in say, the UK, I would take the train and spend a few days exploring the park(s), are there not two parks there?

    I've visited Disneyland and I have noticed that guests make or break the place. In WDW you have people from allover the globe visiting along with some locals. Disneyland has mostly locals, that made a huge difference, it had more of a "Six Flags" feel to it for me. Lots of kids just hanging out everywhere. Cutting in queues, smoking etc. Definitely did not have the same feel as WDW. Still enjoyed DL very much, had been wanting to go since I was a child!


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    mini-V is offline Home at last near Mickey!
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    We were at DLP for Easter this year. I don't recall seeing as much trash as you reported, but maybe I was just so excited to be there that I didn't observe it as closely. We enjoyed Walt's. We had a great dinner there one evening. We were seated next to a window on Main Street and watched the crowds leaving in droves (it was pouring rain ...again.) We stayed at the Sequoia as well. I was surprised that the hotel seemed more European to me than Disney.
    mini-V What will you celebrate?

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