LIZ HARROD

I’m Going to Disney World… Paris

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on June 3, 2011 at 3:07 am

Disney World!

Anyone who knows me well probably knows that I have a slight obsession for Disney World and all things Disney in general. I can answer most any bit of trivia, identify soundtracks after only a few notes, tell you all the secrets for how to get on which rides faster – yes there are ways, and share would could be viewed as a potentially unhealthy number of facts about the parks in general.

I’ve been to Disney Orlando four times, three of those after the age of thirteen, and now I’ve been to Disneyland Paris.

My quest to go began while I was in Baiardo – could I find a budget friendly ticket? Could I justify a non budget friendly ticket? Stéphane, being French said don’t go. So I let go of the quest for awhile, trusting him when he said it would not be worth it.

Then I got back to Paris, and Kelsey told me she, Justin and a couple friends were going to go. There was a slightly discounted ticket available….
Uh, heck yes I’m in!

So we got tickets. Kelsey’s French teacher was unimpressed when she shared the news in class. Kelsey’s so sweet landlord even said that it would be so busy and it’s not that great, but to have fun anyway.

Dear, naysayers…. You were wrong! Disneyland Paris is awesome!

Like a good theme park visitor – beware if you ever travel with me – I did my research before we left. Since I was unfamiliar with the parks, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios, I wanted to be sure we had a list of what we wanted to ride, and in which land it was located.

Lesson number one: Disneyland is like Magic Kingdom. It has all the traditional rides, plus the Magic Kingdom thrill rides – all the mountains, except Splash Mountain, as well as a few other thrill rides to be explored. Walt Disney Studios is like MGM with the Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n
Roller Coaster, and an entire land dedicated to Pixar, including the ever popular Crush’s Coaster, which is completely worth the wait.

Poor Kelsey and company, they didn’t really know what they got into when I decided to come….

We splurged on some mouse ears early in the day, to get into the
Disney spirit, and hit the first things on our list.

Space Mountain
Indiana Jones et le Temple de Peril (yes, ride names are in French because this is France)
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party aka teacups
Captain EO – 3D spectacular starring Michael Jackson
Buzz Lightyear Star Command

Hate to admit it, but with a space launch start and a few inversions, Space Mountain Paris kicks the pants off Space Mountain in Orlando. Indiana Jones was a fun rickety old coaster with the first inversion in any Disney park, also cool. The teacups ceased to amaze, but were still fun despite leaving us wondering if the ones in Orlando are more nauseating for some reason. I got the best score on Buzz’s life size arcade game; but the nostalgia award of the day goes to Captain EO – the 3D spectacular, directed by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, featuring a young dancing MJ who saves the galactic universe from Angelica Houston using only the power of song and dance. Think Star Wars meets Beat It. We’re not really sure what Francis contributed.

Lesson #2: Use the FastPass with care. Paris does have a few rides with FastPass lines. You use your ticket to pick up a FastPass with an allotted time slot for you to come back and jump cue. However, you can only have one at a time. So use with care, and if you are juggling two parks, be sure you want to be in the area when it’s your turn. We had a few issues at first with this but were experts by the end of the day.

After a jammed packed morning in Disneyland, we hopped on over to Walt Disney Studios to check out the some of the best rides I’ve seen in any Disney Park.

Crush’s Coaster
Tower of Terror
Rock ‘n Roller Coaster
Backlot Tour

Tried and true, the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster are nearly exact duplicates of their MGM counterparts. Sadly though, the Backlot Tour was an enormous disappointment with Catastrophe Canyon being a bit less catastrophic than I remember. The winner of the day, though, was Crush’s
Coaster.

Based on the Pixar masterpiece, Finding Nemo, Crush – the surf’s up sea turtle – let’s you hop in his shell for a ride on the EAC, the Eastern Australian Current. In true Disney form, you get a bit of a themed waiting area, with the Aussie turtle popping over the sound system with some funny sound bytes, and some fun decorations from the movie. The ride itself is awesome. Entirely in the dark, with black light jelly fish, sharks and sea weed, you coast along, extremely fast, while simultaneously rotating in the shell. So disorienting and so fun!

The moral of the day was simply this. It is not Orlando. There are not four parks with a hundred rides to try and get through in three days. The castle is a little smaller and the parks a little more compact. However, that all makes for a Disney World that can be done in a day. So….

Lesson #3: For cheese, wine, food and fashion, feel free to take advice from the French, but when it comes to Disneyland Paris, steer clear and listen to me… It’s loads of fun, and if you are a Disney fan and have the time when you’re in Paris, definitely go.

I’ve already told Stéphane, I’m dragging him next time. Clearly he just hasn’t done Disney Liz Harrod style.


In Walt Disney Studios playing with the Singing in the Rain facade.

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