Hi Guys! I just got back from a trip to the Disneyland Resort in Paris and I thought I should let everyone know how it went. There are definitely some tips in here I would check out and felt important to pass along for anyone travelling over the pond.
I was in WDW June 2-9 and then work was sending me to the UK and France for 13 days, so I thought I should definitely hit up the DLRP while I was there.
My coworker and I took the Metro to a train from Paris, we stayed in Montmarte which was a fantastic location. We were a 4 euro ($6 ish) cab ride from the Arc de Triumph and 1 block from the Metro station. Lots to do around here, lots of clubs and stuff.
OK back to Disney. So we took the Metro, this is my first tip, and asked the attendant what we needed to do in order to get to the Disneyland Resort. She sold us our ticket which got us from the Metro to the Charles de Gaulle station for the train. We took the train to Disneyland Resort (mount de cheesy is the stop), the train stops at DLRP and then comes back to Paris. About 5 feet before our train approached the DLRP stop, the train stopped and about 30 "police" type meter maid enforcement people came thorugh the train. An announcement was made in French which apparently stated to show your ticket to the "police". Most people on board the train spoke english as we were all international travelers coming to the Resort. HERE'S THE KICKER! Everyone on the train, and I mean EVERYONE had to pay an additional 25 euro ($39 ish) for a separate ticket as apparently the metro attendants sold the wrong tickets. You must buy a ticket valid for zones outside of Paris as the DLRP is located around 16 kilometers out of Paris. SO, needless to say, we were all a little miffed, but the magic was not ruined. Also, they take credit cards so this is clearly a regular occurence. Be sure to get the correct train ticket.
As soon as you depart the train you go up an escalator and then you are in the heart of the resort. Entrances to Disneyland and the Studios are to the right, and Disney Village (the DLRP version of Downtown Disney) is on the right.
I will start with the Studios. The entrance is wonderful and everyone walks through a huge studio building with shops and quick service lines. You go through the studio and you are greeted by the partners statue and the beauty of the park. There are only 3 major attractions here (I would say e-ticket attractions). Aerosmith's Rockin' Rollercoaster, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the brand new Crush's Coaster. Tower is also brand new. Aerosmith's coaster is cool and I would say a considerable amount more intense than it's WDW counterpart. Tower was the exact same as Disneyland in California, except it's in French! The pre show is in English but the ride itself is in French, so we missed out on a little there, but fortunately we had ridden it enough times in California and Florida to know the gist of what was going on. It was also great to ride it with the international crowd as most of them have never rode since it was just opened in late December. We then rode the studio tram which was not as good as the WDW version, but it was shorter and showed different sets than its Florida counterpart. You saw the set from Dinosaur and they have catastrophe canyon as well as some dragon burning London scene which was pretty neat with all its pyro.
We headed over to Crush's Coaster, which did not have fastpass, so we waited over an 1hr 15 minutes. It was SO worth it. You board a turtle shell and cruise along the EAC (from the Nemo movie). Your shell flips and spins and is so wonderful. After this we headed over to Disneyland.
Can I just please say DISNEYLAND RESORT PARIS IS BEAUTIFUL! The entrance is spectacular as you head in under a hotel with the ticketing area themed as a train station. NOTE! Buy your tickets online, you save 10-15%. Once you go through the turnstiles you will enter the courtyard preceding Main Street USA with the Disneyland Railroad above you (think the are at Magic Kingdom before the morning show). ANOTHER NOTE! If you buy your tickets at home you must request a fastpass card at the turnstiles! Don't forget!
Back to the park...Main Street USA is beautiful and wider than the Disneyland Park in California and newer and fresher than WDW. Sleeping Beauty Castle is jaw dropping. It's impeccable and there is even a dragon underneath. The themed lands are relatively the same as Disneyland with a few changes here and there.
I will go through some of the attractions we were able to hit (all the e-ticket ones) and then wrap up, I know it's getting long, lol.
Haunted Mansion at DLRP is titled Phantom Manor and may I just please say it is SCARY! There is no track playing as in the other parks so you are just riding though. The attraction focuses on the eveil husband of the bride and their wedding day and party. You then "fall" underground and go under coffins and skeletons and some other frightening scenes. I am 26 and told my friend, I am having nightmares tonight. It was a little crazy, but limited wait time.
Big Thunder Mountain is awesome. We rode it last and it was 9pm (PS, it gets dark later in Europe and it was very hot. 2 people passed out in line at 9pm due to the heat because there is NO A/C in the cues). In Big Thunder you wait in a cue and then board the "Wildest Ride in the Wilderness" as it goes underwater onto an island where the rie is located. It's FANTASTIC, so intense and SO much better than its US friends.
Indiana Jones is an actual rollercoaster in Paris, unlike in California. It was very fun and goes upside down. Another note here! You can smoke ANYWHERE. In line, around the park, anywhere. So beware. I am not a smoker, but usually am not bothered by it, but for some reason it was very noticeable to me here.
Next was Pirates of the Caribbean. The area around this attraction was called Pirates Beach and it was themed very well. A large pirate ship was there to play on and the entire area was great. The cue was extremely long to walk through, so I assume this is an extremely popular attraction. The ride itself was wonderful. The attraction went backwards from the ones in the US. You see the jailed pirates, the burning and all that first, then the dead pirates telling no tales.
Small World was next and it too was so great. Very well done and clean and just a joy to be in. The song didn't even get on my nerves as it normally does, and the North American room is very well done.
On to the Once Upon a Dream Parade. May I just say one thing. I love parades. I watch Disney Dream Come True at least 3 times every trip (I go every 2-3 months from Texas) and loved the Parade of Dreams at Disneyland. Once Upon A Dream unfortunately did not measure up and here's why. The Cast Members were just not as into it as they are in the US. The floats were AMAZING and would put the ones in the domestic parks to shame, but the cast was just not into it. At one point during a parade stop Tigger leaned up against a float as if he couldn't go on, and he basically didn't. The dancers barely participated and you could tell they did not want to be there. Just before the parade hit the area near City Hall a sole cast member tried to get the crowd pumped up simply by clapping very unenthusiastically. I was a political science major in college so I am very familiar with other customs and lifestyles, and I know not everything is going to be like the domestic parks, however this was a shock to me. I spoke to a friend who stated the lack of cast member enthusiasm comes from the French protection of employees stating that they cannot be fired unless the employer wants to pay their salary for 3 years. CRAZY, but a law, so this leas to cast members not being as energized as others. It was also very hot outside (I live in Houston and it was hotter than Houston). This still should not have hampered the enthusiasm but it did. I would love to see the parade with more enthusiam as it seemed like it had SO much potential. I would watch it again hoping for a better cast.
Next we were off to Space Mountain. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. This attraction is easily the most awesome rollercoaster at any Disney Park. It was impeccable, wonderful and left my coworker and I in shock! It was NUTS. So much fun and absolutely worth any wait time there is. This brings me to another note. Fastpass. My experiences at WDW and the Disneyland California Resort have taught me that you do not have to return during your assigned time, rather anytime following your assigned time. Our pass was for 6:10-7:10. We went around 8pm and the cast member turned us away. I explained to her what we were use to (as I said I go to Disney Parks ALOT and hold an AP to WDW so I am pretty well versed on park visiting, plus 4 of my closest friends are in guest relations and tell me the policies). She gave me lots of attitude (not very Disney) and then let us go through. I was shocked. It made me feel as if I had just done something so wrong. This was odd to me as I am use to being so courteous to cast members as I would hope they would be to me, but she definitely needed some more pixie dust in her breakfast.
As our night closed, and so did the park, at 10pm on a Saturday in summer, while it was still daytime out (strange), we headed to Disney Village. It was stupendous and so much better than either domestic park. There were shops, eats and clubs, it was great. A European football (soccer) game was taking place so big screens were set up for patrons to watch, a great idea in my opinion. We attempted to eat at 3 different locations and were turned away at each. Not politely. At one place, a steakhouse, the hostess kept leaving her stand, would not great guests and finally told me, and I quote "no less than 30 minutes...goodbye". My jaw hit the floor and I left with my head down as if I had been scolded. We did eat at Cafe Mickey which was great! Vintage Disneyana is playing on screens around the brightly lit restaurant and hey have combo meal type deals on the menu you may order that include appetizers, main dish and dessert. I had the tomato soup, pluto's steak and snow white's apple tart which were all great. 30 euro for the deal which is a great buy in my opinion.
There are also many happenings in Disney Village including dancers along the streets, trampolines and even a hot air balloon ride. The train runs late and we left the Village around 1 am, returning to our hotel around 2am.
Overall, Disneyland Resort Paris is fantastic. You will see many similarities to the domestic parks, but be warned it is not a domestic park. The enthusiasm level of cast members is not that of a local park, but you will still greatly enjoy your experience. My coworkers said they were let down because of the attitudes, but I didn't let that get me down. You will still have a great time. I just think the cast members should revisit their traditions class and understand the true meaning and spirit behind the Disney Parks and name. I had a blast and hope you do too!
See ya real soon!