Tag Archives: Paris

DisneyLand Paris (NOT EuroDisney)

I am happy to announce that with my visit to DisneyLand Paris, I had the proud honor of having been to all Disney Park properties for a total of 13 days before the park in Shanghai opened. I also had the proud honor of having been to all of the properties within a year and a half (give or take) of each other. Although I have of course been to the U.S. properties many times before this year and a half feat. I wasn’t planning on visiting all of them within a couple of days of each other like some people have epically done. That just seems like a waste of money. I would have been to DisneyLand Paris in one of my 3 other visits to the city but it just never worked out. Thus our purposeful visit to Paris on this European trip. I’ve been given the unique opportunity in my life to visit Europe quite a number of times and I told my S.O. that I wasn’t going back without going to Disney. Fortunately he understands my Disney obsession and was willing to go along with it.

In case you were wondering, the property is now called DisneyLand Paris and not EuroDisney as it was previously known. To quote, Michael Eisner, “As Americans, the word ‘Euro’ is believed to mean glamorous or exciting. For Europeans, it turned out to be a term they associated with business, currency, and commerce. Renaming the park ‘DisneyLand Paris’ was a way of identifying it with one of the most romantic and exciting cities in the world.”

Disney Village

We visited Disney Village our first night in the area as we knew we probably wouldn’t get another chance. We chose to eat at a DTD staple , The Rainforest Cafe, so that we could have some “theater” with our dinner. We were both glad that we chose to eat early as the line as we were exiting was beyond long.

This is a standard DTD with your typical Disney shops, eateries, and a movie theater.

We stayed at the Radisson Blu which had a shuttle every half hour back and forth. It was also home to Disney Golf. We looked at staying at a Disney hotel but even the cheaper ones required a shuttle so we went with a nicer hotel for the same price.

Walt Disney  Studios

We made sure we were on the first tram to Disney! And of course we made sure to leave our selfie stick (yeah right, definitely not our thing) at home as they are banned in Disney parks (although we still saw a few). We only had one day to see both parks so this was going to be a fun and eventful day!

The gates opened earlier than the 10:00am opening time but not all rides were opened yet. We headed toward Tower of Terror where they told us to get a fast pass and go to Crush’s Coaster as the line gets long.

Crush’s Coaster had an app that you could play on your phone while standing in line. It was an interesting interaction. The ride was a blast! You are in a turtle shell mobile back to back with another couple. The shell spins around throughout the ride so it’s a mix of moving forwards and backwards. I chatted with a cast member who knew about Hidden Mickeys (Yay DL Paris cast members!) and found out there was one in the jellyfish right before the shark. And I saw it! No cameras of course since it was a roller coaster.

We wandered over to the Toy Story Playland and went on the Slinky Dog ZigZag Spin. It was a kid’s coaster but it was a dog so we had to do it. There was an RC Racer ride and parachutes, similar to Hong Kong.

We skipped Ratatouille but heard it’s pretty cool. I’m not one for 4D rides as they can make me pretty nauseous.

Next up – the Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic. If you’ve done something similar before, it’s not necessarily worth it. It has the standard fire, bridge, and water situations. There is a hidden mickey in the rocks during the fire/water/truck sequence though.

We managed to get right over to the Tower of Terror moment before our fast passes expired. A quick note about fast passes – they were only for a half an hour window where as typically its for an hour. I wonder if this is a change being made at all the parks. To me an hour is better as it gives you more leeway with lines and distances.

I normally don’t do ToT but my S.O. was keen to go. It was a lot more fun than I remember, however, we also both agreed that the Parisian version was not as scary as the two in the States. The drops didn’t seem quite as big. You still get the great view of the whole park from the top though. I do recommend you don’t use your camera on the ride as it will cause the cast member to yell at you during the ride and then again when it’s over. It was quite nice to see rules enforced as a camera in motion could leave quite a bump on the head on that ride.

Other notes:

  • The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was closed.
  • We skipped the stunt show.
  • The entrance funnels you through a sound stage full of restaurants and AC. It can create a bit of a bottle neck entering and leaving the park.
  • There are hidden mickeys in the fountain just past the entrance.
  • There was lots of smoking around the park despite designated smoking areas. Yay France…
  • We did the Armageddon Special Effects Show which was in French and English. It’s not a ride and you’re standing the whole time. Little kids might find it cool otherwise I would skip it. There is a cool hidden mickey hidden in the control panel on the way out though.

Look closely

DisneyLand Paris

It should be noted that here was a lot of construction occurring throughout the Disney properties, particularly at DisneyLand. The front entry way was all covered up but at least they had some cool signs to “explain” the construction. Unfortunately a lot of the items we were looking forward to seeing were closed.

After the obligatory photo with the castle, we headed for lunch. We did spot a cool 101 Dalmatians reference on Main Street at the Fire Department.

A high chair at the restaurant had a hidden mickey on the back of it.

To settle our stomachs before partaking on a big ride, we stopped at Phantom Manor. It wasn’t as “scary” as in LA but it was much better than Hong Kong which didn’t have the ghost mobiles. The view from the entrance to the manor showed the construction around the lagoon and the closed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.Next we strolled through the castle and found a hidden mickey in a planet hanging from the glass shop. Unfortunately my photo didn’t turn out too well.

It’s a Small World had some wonderful cultural comparison and displays including a slinky dog. There was even a female hockey player and  a female baseball player – Go Disney! There were not as many Disney characters as some other locations but there was a covered loading area! 

The fairy tale boat ride was a nice relaxing way to gaze at some of the miniature sets and even had some hidden mickeys!

I somehow managed to easily defeat my S.O. at the Buzz Lightyear Blast. We are talking 100s of thousands of points here! It was quite gratifying. The ride had the typical planet hidden mickey and also formed one with the tops of batteries.

Space Mountain: Mission 2 was the best space mountain experience I have ever had! It was in no way jerky and had 2 360 degree rolls! It was very dark and had a completely different ride experience than usual. It felt a little disorienting getting off the ride at the end.

Daisies formed a Mickey on a stage behind the castle. Most of the rides had a French name. Some were easy to figure out like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This experience led you through a small story line and was like a standard Snow White ride.

We stayed up towards the castle for a better view of “Disney Magic on Parade.” Floats were “double flats” with one story featured on one side and a difference one on the other. In the castle is a beautiful showcase of the story of Princess Aurora. The stained glass was divine! Below the cast is the Dragon’s cave but unforutnately it was closed…

Alice’s Curious Labyrinth was fun for all ages with beautiful design elements from the story. There was also an opportunity to go in the Queen of Hearts castle which had a view of FantasyLand from the top.

We embarked on a train, although not the Disney Railroad but rather Casey Jr’s train which wound through some of the elements of the fairy tale boat ride.Indiana Jones was a different ride entirely from the one in LA, as it was a roller coaster with a 360 degree loop. It was quite thrilling!

Nautilus made me think it would be a submarine ride but in fact it was just a walk through attraction.

We finished the night off at Pirates of the Caribbean. It was not as movie themed as the others and in fact did not have anything from the movie in it.

We decided to complete our visit to Paris at the Blue Lagoon Restaurant. It is a nice romantic area that overlooks part of the Pirates ride. Unlike in LA though, it is not in the boarding area so is less chaotic. The menu had a hidden mickey to show the language.

I must admit that our service wasn’t great and it seemed like they were overbooked and understaffed. It also didn’t help that our hostess forgot about us and seated us 30 minutes after our reservation. We then didn’t get our first course until an hour and a half after our reservation time… But we didn’t let that sour our time at Disney.

We made the most of our time at the “Happiest Place on Earth” and went home Happy!

Some more miscellaneous pics:

Look closely

Construction pics:

Paris (Pair-ee)

After arriving in Paris, we got settled in at our hotel before wandering around the gardens outside of the Louvre. We had purchased timed tickets for entrance so were passing the time until we could enter. I would highly recommend purchasing tickets by the way as the line at the Louvre can get very long! They also have late opening nights (such as the evening we visited) which is helpful for seeing the museum in the later evenings. We were fortunate to have gone our first day, as they actually closed the Louvre the following day to move objects in the basement and ground floor due to flooding on the Seine. The typical sightseeing boats weren’t on the river as the water levels were quite high and there was lots of rushing water.

At the Louvre, we started out seeing the three ladies – Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace- then just wandered. This was my third time at this enormous museum so I was open to seeing where my S.O. would lead us. Our first wandering spot was Napoleon’s apartments which I hadn’t seen before. They were magnificent! We of course saw the Egyptian section as well. Ever since I went to Egypt though, I’ve decided that nothing compares to actually being there.

One thing I’ve found fascinating in my different visits to the Louvre has been how the rules and the display regarding Mona have changed. My first time, she was just hung on the wall with a small barrier around her. Being taller, I could see her quite easily and I took photos for my friends. The next time, the Da Vinci Code book had come out and her popularity picked up quite a bit. They had a display that I believe was different from the existing one, however, photos were not allowed as everyone was shuffled through. Now they have a more open display and photos are allowed.

After wandering around the Louvre for 3 hours we were ready to eat (and drink!). I suggested the Hard Rock (I know, I know…) mainly because it has a fun atmosphere and wasn’t too far away. It turns out my S.O. had never been to one before! As always, there was a wait, so we grabbed some drinks from the bar as the live band set played and headed outside to the covered patio area. It was raining so apparently people didn’t want to be outside. We had a divine time just chatting and watching people while waiting for our table.

The next morning, we again took a free walking tour (here’s the link again). Here’s what we learned:

When Napoleon was redoing the city, or rather recreating the city, he was planning on getting rid of the Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s Gothic style didn’t fit into his vision for the modern, stylish city of Paris. Word of these plans reached the artistic community. A writer, Victor Hugo (do you see where this story is going yet?), wrote a story about the Cathedral so that it could be memorialized and loved by not only Parisians but all who read his story, thus meaning that Napoleon would no longer be able to knock down the beloved Cathedral. The story? The Hunchback of Notre Dame of course! Since made famous by Disney.

Our visit to the city of Paris was brief and we just saw the highlights right in the heart of the city. Of course there are many more place to see and visit! We were headed to a very important one next… 🙂

Hidden Mickey in Paris