Before I begin, it is important to note that when I visited Disneyland Paris a significant portion of the park was closed for refurbishment. There is a lot of controversy online about whether or not Disneyland Paris is a worthwhile park for overseas visitors, and I think a lot of this has to do with style of French customer service (very hands-off), the abundance of walk through attractions (reminiscent of a museum) and how similar the park is to Disneyland & the Magic Kingdom in America and Disneyland Japan. If you have been to other Disney Parks I think that Disneyland Paris is nice for a short excursion, but in my opinion it would be difficult to spend more than a single day there. Most of the attractions have either single rider or fastpass lines, so you shouldn’t have to miss out on anything if you start early.
As I mentioned in my other post, my ticket was purchased at the airport. The price was very reasonable (about 54 USD) and included a park hopper ticket. The same deal was available online, so if you want to save time at the box office or airport, you can take care of this before leaving home.
One of the things that I do regret is not fully understanding how far the park was from Montmartre. The trip took well over an hour using two train lines, and I was several hours late because of my miscalculation. If you want to make it to the park opening I would strongly recommend finding accommodations nearby so that you can sleep in and avoid the train transfers. To waste time I tried playing Pokemon GO, but only managed to catch a rattata before the train was moving too quickly to play.
Once I arrived I walked through three park entrances, and found myself in a vert familiar Mainstreet U.S.A. Almost all of the shops here are identical to those at the Florida location with the addition of a covered walkway behind the shops, and a serious lack of cast members available to help with directions or family photos. I was a bit dissapointed about this, since as a visitor I had to inturrupt other guests if I wanted a photo.
As I walked towards the castle I thought that perhaps I’d find more staff, but was disappointed to see that this area was also pretty empty. After asking a few people to take a photo (and recieving confused looks) I gave up, snapped a photo of the castle, and made my way to Tomorrowland.
Tomorrowland is my favorite place in all of the Magic Kingdom style parks, and Disneyland Paris is no exception. While most of the other parks take a more modern approach, the Tommorrowland at Disney Paris is decorated in a retrofuturistic style. The pavilion is home to Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain Mission 2, both of which had exceptionally short wait times (15 and 5 minutes!)
While both rides are different than their American counterparts, Space Mountain is something like an amped up version of the original. The ride features several loops, goes both outside and inside the building, and has different special effects. It also has a single rider line! While I did enjoy the ride, it is pretty rough on the rider, so please keep that in mind if you want to try it.
The view of the castle from Tommorrowland is quite lovely, so I snapped a few photos before heading to Fantasyland. I was lucky to find a family who needed a group photo taken, and they were kind enough to return the favor.
Though the layout is quite unique, most of the Fantasyland attractions are the same as those stateside. Instead of doing Small World or Peter Pan again, I decided to see what they had for Alice in Wonderland. I was surprised to see that in addition to the typical teacups, Paris Fantasyland has a walkthrough Alice attraction based on the Queen of Hearts rose garden. While I didn’t go inside (wait was over 30 minutes) I was happy to see some of my favorite characters featured – including the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit and Horn Bird.
Since Frontierland was closed, I decided to go check out the Indiana Jones ride at Adventureland. From what I could see it was an outdoor coaster quite different from the Disneysea version but unfortunately the ride was temporarily closed so I didnt get a chance to ride it. I snapped a photo of the Pirates ride before leaving, once again unable to find a staff member to take one for me.
At this point I was getting hungry, but none of the park food really appealed to me. I settled on some icecream since there were visible outlets in the seating area and my phone was nearly dead from playing Pokemon GO.
I also took that time to figure out exactly how to get to Phantom Manor. From what I can tell you must go through Frontierland, since there isn’t a USA area other than Mainstreet. A staff member was kind enough to take my photo, and once I was in queue, the other cast were very sweet and all complemented my outfit.
I feel like the first half of Phantom Manor is a bizzaro version of the Haunted Mansion. We learn the story of a young bride who was left at the altar and who murders her future husbands in revenge, but much of that is told through a mash up of rooms from the original Haunted Mansion rides. The ride does not change significantly until we leave the attic, at which point we discover where she has been hiding the bodies. The ride is a bit gruesome, but it is nice to know what the bride is doing in the Mansion versions. And, if you pay attention, you can hear the narrarator from the original!
After leaving the Phantom Manor I had planned to trek over to Hollywood Studios to visit the Remy ride, but like Indiana Jones it was temporarily closed. Instead I spent some time shopping for gifts. For the most part I think that the Disney Paris merch is cuter than what we see Stateside but some of it (like those plastic Cheshire Cats) is just plain strange.
At about 3:00 PM I was starting to feel a bit tired, so I decided to head home. On the way I stopped by my local grocery store and was pleased to see that the cat had returned, this time to take a nap next to the entrance. It was a very nice end to a calm and easygoing day at the parks.