Monday, August 31, 2015

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris was another highlight of the trip for the kids. Peri had been to Disney World and Donovan had been to Disneyland, so it's not like there were going to be many surprises. But apparently it doesn't matter, Disney is exciting for kids.

Actually, it's exciting for a great many adults, as well, who don't even have kids. I don't happen to be one of them. I've actually never been a huge Disney fan, I've only ever gone for the kids.  

Small World and the Haunted Mansion are about the only things I actively enjoy, and the Haunted Mansion was not as good as I remembered last time I was there.

So there was not much, as far as I was concerned, to make up for the horrendous heat we had to deal with while we were there. Summer in Paris is more likely to be cloudy with a slight chill in the air than experiencing a bad heat wave. But as I mentioned in a previous post, these freaky infernos are coming more frequently and lasting longer when they show up.

Still, in the Paris area at least, I assumed it would cool down somewhat in the evenings and we would be able to sleep comfortably with the windows open. But I was wrong. There was no breeze whatsoever. 

There were great windows in the apartment we had, which had no air conditioning, but there was no air for them to let in. It was torture. I actually took the lightest piece of clothing I had and soaked it completely in cold water to cool me off.

The next day was no better. We got to Disney pretty early, but it was already scorching. Thank goodness, the park was very well thought out, and there were canopies over the areas where people had to wait in line. 

Unfortunately, one of the first attractions we went into broke while we were waiting in line for it. They kept making announcements, in English as well as French, but they never knew just how long it would take to fix. 

We weren't far from the entrance at that point, so we hated to give up our place in line, but it was probably close to an hour before we got in. And standing is so much harder than walking for me, I'm pretty sure that's where I got the plantar fasciitis on my left foot. It would be several weeks before I could walk without a limp, and I had to get a new pair of shoes in order to walk at all.

So my memories of Paris Disney are not fond. However, the kids enjoyed it, and I will show you what was there.

It's actually divided into two parts: Walt Disney Studios, where they have the characters from movies, and a regular Disney park.

We went to the Studios first, but didn't spend a whole lot of
time there. However, one of my favorite attractions was there, Ratatouille.

It is a 3D attraction, and it is far better than any of the rides I saw at Universal Studios right before I left on my trip. Even the last part of the line before you actually entered the attraction was great. It was a mock up of Paris rooftops, and everywhere I turned, I saw someplace I wouldn't mind living. Then the attraction itself was excellent, I loved this one best.

When we got to the Disneyland park, we found some things were familiar, others were new and some were familiar with a twist.

For instance, the Mad Tea Party ride seemed exactly the same as you'd find in California or Florida.

But the Haunted Mansion is called Phantom Manor, and is
not exactly like Disney World. It wasn't bad, though. Small World looked different on the outside, I thought, but inside seemed pretty much the same.

Except, since America is a foreign place when you are in Paris, there is a Statue of Liberty! You won't find that in Orlando or Anaheim, but it seems there are more Disney properties than I was aware of, with a new one being developed in Asia. So there may be Statues of Liberty in all of them. 

Sorry for the quality of that photo, but it caught me by surprise.

Like Disneyland in California, there is a Sleeping Beauty
castle, rather than a Cinderella one like Disney World.

There were a couple of things I was totally unfamiliar with, and was too hot and hurting too badly to find out what they were. But one was some super futuristic thing we saw coming back from the go kart ride.

And I believe the other was actually something that the rest of them went into while I sat and waited outside. I think I was delirious from heat and pain at that point. Somebody's house.

Still, numerous times at Disney World in the heat served us well. We knew exactly where to go to cool off. So we went to Pirates of the Caribbean, which was exactly as it should be, and another one that I actually enjoy. 

But just walking around the park was weird for me. Often on this trip, we've compared things to Epcot. Disney does such a great job with replicating foreign lands that when you actually get to the foreign land, it feels like Epcot. But that's not the case here, maybe just because it's different people in charge.

Everything seemed just a little off. In no way did the Hollywood portion remind me of Hollywood, or even America. Personally, I found it a little creepy.

On the other hand, the food was noticeably better than either of the Disneys I've been to. Not so much better than Epcot, and I just happened to find out why when it came up in a conversation with Danielle when she was here. All of the eateries in Epcot are staffed by foreign exchange culinary students. 

However, that is not the case in the regular Disney parks. So
the little fast food place where we had lunch was better than we expected.

Strangely, though, the buffet in the park where we had dinner was not so exceptional. Go figure.

We were kind of surprised by a couple of characters being taken through the park on a random carriage ride. I don't remember that being a thing at any of the parks we've been to.

And let me just say how surprised I am to see so many carriages being drawn by a team of horses, rather than just one. Everywhere in America that you'd expect to see horse drawn carriages, all the big cities and tourist areas, I've only ever seen them drawn by one horse. All over Europe and the UK, it's two horses, and that takes a huge difference in skill.

Another thing I have to give credit to here, is the closing light
show. We've seen that more than once at Disney World, and the one in Paris has that beat hands down. It's much longer and more elaborate. 

On the other hand, they don't have the light parade that Disney World has, which is amazing.

So, in some ways it's different, some ways the same. Some ways better, and some ways not as good. On the definitely satisfies the Disney fix. And that's probably all that matters, really.

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