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that damn song

September 15, 2008

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Magne-le-Hongre, France

September 13, 14, 15

Since I checked in here at the Kyriad Hotel, It’s been pretty crummy weather, cold and rainy.  So I’ve been pretty much of a shut in.  A few times on this trip, it has been too hot, now it’s too cold.  But I have to say, most of the time, it’s been just right.  I couldn’t have asked for any better.  The first or second evening I was here, it stopped raining for a bit, so I bundled up and grabbed my umbrella just in case, and went for a walk.  I walked the length of the hotel row and back and wanted more so I headed for the Disney village two or three kilometers away.  The next day was a down day as well but I managed a hike to the Disney hotels and back.

Yesterday, it was cold and overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining, so I set off for Disneyland Park.  30 minutes after I got there, it turned great; blue sky no clouds and it warmed up a bit.  As many of you know, I’m a Disney freak so it was pretty neat for me to get to see a Disney park in another country.  Here in France, there is Disneyland Parc and the Walt Disney Studios.  In Tokyo, they have Disneyland and DisneySea and Hong Kong has a Disneyland.  Hey, there’s an idea for another trip during my time off…

OK, so my exploration of the Disney Village and Disney hotels on previous days left me thinking this just isn’t up to classic Disney standards as I know them.  Places were dirty, paint was peeling, it just didn’t seem right.  But, once I got into the Disneyland Park, it seemed more Disney, I was feeling a little better.  So here are my impressions and observations of Disneyland Paris for those of you who are interested.  BTW, the Disneyland Park, the Walt Disney Studios and the Disney Village are all co-located.  The entrances of each face each other; you just face a direction and pick a park.

dscn5328The Disneyland Hotel is the entrance to the Disneyland Park and is quite impressive especially in the early morning sun. Once in, it was familiar yet foreign; imagine that.  Main Street appears to be on the same scale as that of Disneyland in Anaheim.  The front view of the castle looks more like the castle at Disney World than Disneyland, but different than either of them.

dscn49551The layout of each land is very different than the US parks.  There is no Jungle Cruise or Country Bear Jamboree and of course no Hall of Presidents.  Phantom Manor is very different than the Haunted Mansion in either of the US parks and Pirates of the Caribbean has some classic moments but is mostly different.  It’s a Small World is classic but has sections for the US and Canada and that damn song is a little different but it sure sticks in your head like the versions in the US.

dscn5275Space Mountain: Mission 2 is very different; it’s a retro futuristic version with a magnetic induction launch upward and has loops and inversions.  It’s a pretty violent ride and I have bruises on my jaw from that harness thing that comes down over you; it was very hard to keep my head from banging into it.  I would not like to do that one again.

dscn5126The Sleeping Beauty Castle (le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant) is stunning in its Seuss-ian style.  All of Fantasyland has a different look and feel to it.  Discoveryland (not Tomorrowland) also has a different look and feel.  Frontierland is themed around a fictional place called Thunder Messa and has a different look and feel than the US.  Big Thunder Mountain has a different look and feel as well and is a longer more intense coaster than in the US.  Then there’s the Indiana Jones et Temple du Peril coaster which I was really looking forward to, but it was closed, jeez, don’t they know how far I traveled to see this thing.

I sat down on a street curb in front of the castle about 30 minutes prior to the start of the parade and got quite a show from the kids all around me.  Little girls skipping and twirling in the street in their princess dresses and boys in their frontier and pirate garb sword and knife fighting with each other and hacking at things like little girls in their Princess dresses.  One little girl was quite the dancer, she must study ballet because she was fantastic, very graceful.  I couldn’t take my eyes off this other little blond haired girl in a red dress.  She seemed like something out a 30’s classic film and she conjured up the most amazing facial expressions.


The parade started and as parades go, it was pretty nice, I’m glad it wasn’t any longer because my legs kept falling asleep.  I was crammed into my little spot with people all around me and one of the park cast members came along before the parade and told us we had to keep our feet up on the curb and off the street, so…  When it was over I had to ask for help to get up and then I limped to the nearest bench to give my legs time to come back to life.

The food selection throughout the park is pretty yukkie, it’s the same old thing at most places and they don’t know how to make a burger to save their lives, they were horrible.  For any of those meals, prices started at 10 euros ($15).  Buffets or table service meals start at 20 euros ($30).  Food is outrageously expensive here at Disney.  It’s not that bad even in Paris.

The stores and shops all along Main Street and elsewhere in the park all sold the same things over and over.  I remember the shops in the US versions as having some variety, especially along Main Street.  I noticed that the toy six shooters the little boys were carrying looked very real; I guess the French don’t have the hang ups about guns that we do.  The French really have surprised me on this trip.

All in all, I enjoyed the day at Disneyland Paris.  Now, I’m hoping for a decent day so I can see the Studios.

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