|A respectable spread|
Trip was going fine enough for much of it until we got to France. We had been in Nice for one night and then it happened. That morning I was walking down the stairs to breakfast, missed the bottom stair, and broke my ankle. How did this happen? Well in France apparently they don't believe in lights in their #*&ing stairwells. For years I thought it was just that hotel, but having been back now it seems a bit more widespread. What could have made a broken ankle worse? The story that caught on was that it happened because I was running for the last croissant at breakfast as if any place in France would ever run out of freaking croissants. So that's the story that followed me throughout high school. Not a good start to our relationship, France.
|I do <3 bacon|
I emerged from the train station completely lost. I knew that the hotel was a 20 minute walk from the parks but had no idea where to go. My first inclination was to drop my luggage off in a locker at the park and then enjoy my day there. Well...not so much. I got through security and went to find the left luggage area and it turned out it was inside Disneyland Park, which didn't open for 30 minutes. I didn't feel like waiting 30 minutes to leave my luggage when I could probably have made the hotel and back in less than an hour. So it was now time to find the hotel.
After wandering for about 15 minutes and losing precious time, I found a cab. The cab driver was the biggest asshole I've met on this trip. I can understand why in retrospect. The fare was only 7 euros and he lost his place in line, but he could have always instructed me to get back on the train and go one stop where the station was right next to the hotel. Instead he spent the entire time mumbling angrily to himself. Great welcome to Paris!
The hotel let me check in very early, which was much appreciated. This was at the Hotel L'Elysee Val d'Europe, a Disney partner hotel. I thought it nice enough and would stay there again. I dropped off my luggage and caught a bus to the parks. I found myself whistling the Sinbad song all day, which was quite enjoyable.
|I already feel like I'm not classy enough to be staying here|
|Oh wait, there's a pool table in the lobby? Alright, we're cool.|
|Bed. Very logical.|
|Smaller bed perpendicular to other bed? Less logical.|
My original plan was to spend the day in the smaller second park - Walt Disney Studios. Yeah, that didn't quite happen. The park is tiny and absolutely disappointing piece of crap. The theming in many areas is non-existent. The rides, with basically a few exceptions, are repeats from other parks. I suppose if I didn't live in Florida I might have found the park a little nicer as things like Tower of Terror and Rock n'Roller Coaster would have seemed more fresh. Anyway, I did the whole park in an hour as one of the two things I wanted to do (Armageddon) was down for the week. Here's the Studios in a nutshell:
|I know that water tower!|
|The quest continues|
|Wait...is that the entrance to a Disney park or a warehouse?|
|Ugh. Guess it's the entrance.|
|Still not convinced it's not a warehouse|
|Not the most inspiring of scenery|
|This is probably the only ride worth going out of your way for in the park - that being said, it is fantastic|
|Look, I already feel like a fat American as it is; no need to rub it in!|
|Hard to see, but this is the ride vehicle|
|That's an awfully personal question, Jacques.|
|Hopefully Carsland in DCA looks better than this|
|I feel like I've been here before. But where are the mountains?|
|It's hard to go back to this version of ToT after DisneySea|
|5 minute wait? Really? Does anyone even visit this park?|
|I heard this was neat, but of course I'll never know since it was down for refurbishment|
|What happened to Aerosmith?|
|Biggest douchebag in Hollywood? I say yes.|
|Is the rockwork peeling? Ugh.|
|Now that's an entrance to a Disney theme park!|
|On my account? Awww, you shouldn't have. Oh, you didn't? well then.|
|Other than Big Thunder Mountain the wait times were reasonable at this point|
|It's not Tomorrowland; it's Discoveryland. Yup. And these are freedom fries I'm eating.|
|Space Mountain looks way, way cooler in Paris than anywhere else. I'm not a huge fan of the classic white SM, but this is fantastic. It would fit in well visually (if not thematically) in Port Discovery in TDS.|
|Walk on? Don't mind if I do.|
|I have no idea how Light Speed Photography translates to Photo Magique|
I walked over to Big Thunder Mountain but the wait was already significant. I grabbed a Fastpass and decided to check out Phantom Manor, aka the Haunted Mansion.
|Whoa. Whoa. WHOA. Is that the Haunted Mansion?|
|It is! It is the Haunted Mansion. That is what I always pictured it looking like, despite what WDW/DL say. Fantastic!|
Phantom Manor has some substantial differences from the other Haunted Mansion rides. First of all it's located in Frontierland. The Imagineers carry this through by adding an entire (awesome) final scene in a Western town. There is supposed to be a coherent story about a bride or some crap, but I could barely follow it. Still, many of the rooms were very similar. Sadly the lack of maintenance showed here as well and was quite painful. The last room there were no hitchhiking ghosts - just mirrors. And at one point on my first ride through there was a bright light that was peaking through some curtains and completely ruined the room. Not good, DLP, not good.
|Hell, you call it whatever you want Paris, I don't give a damn. It looks amazing.|
|Well, except for this. Why is this open? If Walt was still walking the parks someone's head would roll for that.|
|I guess Ben & Jerry's is really big outside the US?|
|Not as cool as the pre-show area in the US|
|Some very cool theming in Frontierland. The entire area hangs together really well.|
Next up: Pirates of the Caribbean. The entire area is Pirates themed, which is awesome.
|This ATM? Not so great on the theming.|
|Of course you're closed, Indy. Why did I even bother walking over here? At least you'll be open at noon today, at which point I will have forgotten you exist.|
|By this point I was very, very excited to ride. Why can't the US parks have a Pirates area?|
|Not the most graceful of transitions between areas|
No worries - time for lunch. Where to go? Only one choice, really:
|This was the happiest moment of my life|
|No wait, this was.|
That's right, folks. No Mr. Toad ride, but there sure as heck is a Toad themed restaurant located in the friendly confines of Toad Hall. Greatest day of my life? Possibly!
|No this. Well, you get the idea.|
Fish and chips were fine enough. Nothing to compare to even a decent British pub but I'll take it for the surroundings.
|Sometimes the jokes, they write themselves|
|Ah, freedom fries.|
|Never really saw Toad as the mountain climbing type|
|A prop I could have done without, but still cool.|
|I see you over there, Toad Hall|
|Cheshire Cat: Creepy or cool? I say both.|
|I am a sucker for stained glass.|
|I really liked this one. I think it captured her perfectly.|
Even better, though, is what waits for you under the castle...
|Of all the castles, this is probably my favorite.|
|It's a giant animatronic dragon under the castle. Why doesn't every park have this? Well, every park with a real castle. I think the dragon might be bigger than the "castles" in Disneyland and HKDL.|
|Is it creepy to take a photo of someone else's kid? Yeah, pretty much. But come on this is adorable and it's melting your icy, icy heart.|
My fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain was coming due so I took the long way there through Adventureland.
|This was the moment when I realized that DLP was the closest Disney park to Africa|
|This was one of my first hints that Paris is a filthy place|
Big Thunder Mountain was, err, how did Kanye put it? Harder, better, faster, stronger? Well, it was at least longer and more interesting. Plus it had much better views. I think Mr. West would appreciate that.
|This cart immediately put me in mind of one of my favorite music videos of all time: this.|
One more run through Haunted Mansion? Sure!
|I could go for a knocker like that on my front door|
|The central figure in the pseudo-coherent HM storyline|
|I wish my work uniform included that kind of hat|
|Definitely liked the Boot Hill area|
|Do the French play baseball?|
|No Chandu :(|
|KILL IT KILL IT DEAD!|
|I really wanted a haircut|
|But they weren't open|
|A DLP exclusive shirt|
|I've been to Atlantic City many times. It looks nothing like that.|
|Am I in America again?|
|Damn straight I made a wish here|
|Hate to admit this, but when I saw this sign I thought "oh, they must have a French-themed Fantasyland...no wait, I'm just in France. D'oh".|
|The only thing worse than working at It's a Small World? Having to wear that uniform.|
I can't believe I'm going to say this but I really enjoyed this ride through. The DLP IaSW is really, really well done. There are some great animatronics I've not seen elsewhere and there's just more color and more going on to watch. If the WDW one was anything like this I might ride it on every visit. Either that or I've just snapped and lost it. I leave the final decision up to you.
|Who would ever wait two hours for that?!|
|Peter and the Wolf. Cool!|
|Someone identify this for me? I doubt it's 90's cartoon Gargoyles.|
|Definitely not Chandu|
|60 minute wait? Pass.|
|I don't think they even have these in America|
On my way out the park I wandered back through Discoveryland and remembered that there was still the old, pre-refurb version of Star Tours here. Sure it was in French but why not give it a go for old time's sake. It was literally the last chance I'd likely ever have to try out the old version.
|5 minutes for the old Star Tours? Color me not surprised.|
|I really liked these arcades!|
|Why isn't it still called Euro Disneyland?|
|I'll be the judge of that|
|On second though, no I won't|
|None of the other Disneylands have people selling cheap crap right outside the gate|
|Nor do they have security checks for Downtown Disney|
|Probably my favorite counter service type restaurant in the world|
|My go to order - not as good as in the States, mostly due to not enough condimentage. Condimentage is too a word, Blogger.|
By that time I was tired and ready to head back to the hotel. Despite having a multi-day pass I was content that I'd done what I wanted to at DLP. I could guess that I'd be back in the future so I thought it best to spend some extra time in Paris proper, having never been there before. Come back tomorrow to see how that went.