Disneyland Paris, May 1999
Ok, so March is not the best time to be going to Disneyland Paris. It's friggin'
cold! But this was our first trip to a non-American park and we got a good
Internet fare (for the plane, that is) so we decided we would take a, sort
of, reconnaissance mission and see how the French handle such an American icon.
On the whole I think we would give it a solid 'C'. There were parts that were
fantastic, but there where those few, very predictable, moments when we knew we
just weren't in Disney's backyard.
We arrived to Disneyland by TGV from Brussels (that's where the Internet fare
took us, which wasn't bad because we got to see some of Brussels also). This is
probably the best thing about Disneyland Paris, the train station is right
between the park and the hotels! We were thinking of asking to switch hotels to
the New York so on the way to the Sequoia Lodge we went into the New York to see
what we thought. We were not impressed. The New York is styled very much like
the Dolphin in Disney World, which doesn't seem to fit with the theme of New
York. Also, some of the exterior was ruined (it seems that some of the Florida
building techniques to not work in Paris).
Needless to say we decided to stick with the Sequoia Lodge
. This is a very
standard hotel. It is defiantly not as grand at it's Florida cousin, The
Wilderness Lodge. It has low ceilings (more like a ski lodge), no seven floor
lobby here. It was check-in rush when we arrived and they did a very good job.
They had the usual extra staff out to handle the extra people. The only problem
we has was all the paperwork that had to be filled out to check in. The room was
also standard. It was very American in layout (although it didn't have the
two-sink Disney standard). Of course like most European hotels, breakfast was
included. It seemed to be a mix of German/French/English/Swiss type breakfasts
(with meat, cheese, cereal, yogurt, and a selection breads)
The next morning we went to the park. The opening procedures were exactly the
same as Disney World and Disneyland California. First, Main Street was opened
about 30 minutes before the published opening time. Of course most people went
strait to the entrances to each land. Teenagers and kids to the two lands that
have roller coasters. The only one worth waiting for was Space Mountain in
Discovery Land (Paris' version of Tomorrow Land). To make sure us 'Kids' don't
run to the first ride a line of Cast Members walks in front of you until you get
to the popular ride. This is a very cool idea that they should try in the
Space Mountain is, by far, the best ride in Disneyland Paris. The other two
roller coasters are, The Temple du Péril (sucks) and Big Thunder Mountain (not
quite as good as Disney World's). Other neat attractions in the park are Alice
in Wonderland maze in Fantasyland, The Mulan show and both parades
(remember this is were you can still see the Electric Light Parade). Also don't miss
Bill's Wild West Show
in The Disney Village. The castle
nice, designed in a style that reminds me
of something you would see in Beauty and the Beast, although it has weirdly
French styled square trees around it. I have to say the weirdest thing that happened
while we were in Disneyland was that it snowed. They did think of this though,
when they designed the park. On either side of Main Street
, behind the stores
are covered arcades
that take you back to the other lands.
Although the park is very nice, I wouldn't put it up to par with the beauty
and cleanliness of either of our parks. The four things that really brought this
point home was the trash and graffiti all the way through the line of Space
mountain, the rudeness of the French people (but you have to give the cast members
credit, they try real hard to put on a friendly face), and the smoking all Europeans
tend to do.