So, it kind of been my goal since as long as I can remember to visit all the Disney parks in the world. Nevermind the fact that I am 31. Yes I know I am not a child but, I can finally afford it! I adult hard each and every day so if I want to take half a week and spend it in the Happiest Place on Earth with a talking mouse and princesses parading down the street then it is my God-given right to do so.
Anywho, quite simply put, both of us (the reader and writer) know that, at times, adulting is very stupid. It is also hard and tiring and OCCASIONALLY one must regress into their childhood a bit and enjoy a little bit of magic. Enter: Disneyland Paris.
Back in January when I was boarding a plane back to the Middle East after Christmas break, I decided that I needed something fun to look forward to over Spring Break. Lo and behold, there was a sale! You could stay at any Disneyland Paris resort and get two free nights added on to your stay of two days or more! Plus park entry for all days of your stay, including check in and check out days, would be included. They even offered some excursions to Paris during your stay. I decided that this vacation would be 60% Disney and 40% Paris the actual city.
Now if you want to read about my time in Paris, that will be written in a separate POST. This entry is all about that Disney Life.
For your reading pleasure, I have organized my experience into THE GOOD, THE NOT-SO-GOOD, and things some people might like and others may not, entitled UP IN THE AIR.
- Different merchandise than in the states. Mulan, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated Disney princesses. She kicks ass, saves her family AND CHINA, and then ends up with a cute guy. Couldn’t think of a better role model than that and Disneyland Paris seems to agree as she is much more represented on the shelves here than in the states. They also have more merchandise with a Marie theme from the movie Aristocats. I think they were French in that movie so I guess that kind of makes sense.
- You can preview some rides that Disney in the states doesn’t have (yet). For example, they have the Ratatouille Ride that EPCOT has started to construct in their World Showcase. The Ratatouille ride is super cute. You are basically taking on the perspective of a rat in a Paris kitchen where they are trying to sweep you out and get rid of you because, well….you’re a rat in a Paris kitchen. But, it has all the characters from the movie and is a 3-D ride, a lot like the Spiderman and Transformers rides at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- They also have Toy Story Land, which was just opened to the public this summer at Disney World in the USA. At Disneyland Paris, they have an RC Racer Car ride, a Slinky Dog ride, and a green Troopers kid-friendly free-fall ride. The Slinky Dog ride there is different than the new one that was just opened in Disney World. It basically just goes in a small circle and was too wimpy for me, but the Green Troopers gave you a good view out onto the country side and the RC Racer Car ride was fun. Think of it like those Buccaneer-ship rides that go back and forth like a pendulum.
- Mickey shaped macaroons! I am a macaroon-enthusiast and they were super adorable.
- Space Mountain is Star Wars themed and called Hyperspace Mountain. It is kind of a cool variation on a long lasting ride. It’s still in the dark, but think Tie Fighters and X-Wings shooting at each other. Also, the actual coaster track is really fun and because it has many more twists, turns, and loops than the original version, you have to be strapped in over the shoulders. Plus, you get the great Star Wars music and get to hear the phrase “May the Force Be with You” in French a bunch of times.
- You can go on rides that have been phased out of other Disney Parks. Old rides like Snow White (a.k.a. Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains) and Pinocchio that have been taken out of Disney World still have a home here at Disneyland Paris. I sort of get why they took them out though. The Snow White ride was deemed too scary which I always thought was crap but when I rode it this time, I realized the woods scene and attempted poisoning made up 75% of the ride with a rushed 5 second happy ending as you disembark the ride. So, while it was cool to see these rides again, the decision to replace them in the States sort of makes sense.
- Crush’s Coaster. This is one of the coolest Disney rides I’ve been on. It starts out like any other Disney ride where you are slowly moving through scenes from the movie Finding Nemo, but then it transitions into an indoor roller coaster. You are sitting in a car shaped like a turtle shell and your shell rotates as you go around the curves and slight drops of the coaster. The room is dark but with lighting effects making it seem like you are in the open ocean. The whole ride is designed to make you feel as if you are actually in the current, though it is so smooth that it isn’t scary. Its appropriate for kids and adults alike and I think this is a ride that should be brought to other parks.
- Way less expensive. Like I said, tickets and hotels were bundled together and with the sale, the rate was totally reasonable.
- When they’re out of menus in English, you become extra thankful for being at least proficient in another language. Spanish it is! My cousin loves Pirates of the Caribbean and I love Will Turner (aka Orlando Bloom) so I made dining reservations at their Pirates themed restaurant, Barbosa’s Bounty. If you have ever been to Disneyland in California it is like the Blue Bayou where you eat your meal as the boats on the ride go by. Now, most audio announcements and print materials are offered in several languages at Disneyland Paris but when I went, the English menus had all been given out. I was given the choice of Spanish or French. It was actually kind of fun to put my Spanish proficiency (not yet fluency) to good use.
- Easy to Reach. Disneyland Paris is not actually in Paris. It is in a French town called Chessy/Marne La Valle, which is about 40 minutes outside Paris city center by train. However, the train station literally drops you off at the entrance to the park and you can connect to it directly through the Paris Metro. If you are staying at the Parks, you can also get a ticket on the Magic Express Shuttle from Charles du Gaulle or Orly and they will drop you right at your hotel.
- Hotel rooms are rather “European” (read: small). It wasn’t a shoebox or anything, but definitely the smallest room of any Disney hotel I have stayed in. The hotel itself was actually themed really well. It had a rustic, woodland theme, like the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World. The decor in the room was Bambi themed but also seemed a bit outdated. Also, the bed was very hard. The bathtub was great though, so I didn’t walk away totally disappointed.
- Mystic Manor (their version of The Haunted Mansion) was closed for refurbishment. I would have liked to see how it compared to the States. There is a mystic manor at one of the Disneylands in China though, so I guess I’ll have to check it out this summer.
Up in the Air
- Location. Picture Disney in the middle of Pennsylvania and you’ll have an accurate description of the setting. I took the Magical Express Shuttle from the airport and I could easily have been driving through the Northeast United States. To top it off, there was even a car with a Yankees hat displayed in the back window.
- It’s all in French. Unless you speak French, you might enjoy it more if you’ve been on the rides in English and can get the general gist of what is happening.
Want more? Head over HERE for a post written just for Disney Enthusiasts and Fanatics (like myself) who want the real nitty gritty!