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Disneyland Paris

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Revision as of 13:52, 12 March 2004 by Nils (talk | contribs) (Added some rides and some other minor information)
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Disneyland Paris

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Properly named "Disneyland Resort Paris" and often simply called "EuroDisyney", this is the Disney Empire's European variant of their archetypical theme park.

Understand

Disney's theme parks are (in)famous for their animatronic puppets, the attention to detail, their service mentality, their crowds - and their high prices. The intention is to completely recreate the "magic" of the Disney franchise; employees are not "staff" but "cast members"; the park is kept insanely clean; and everywhere you will find a perfectly running machine. For example, you won't find the same Disney character twice within sight - there are no duplicates. Children are clearly the focus of Disneyland, but older visitors are not neglected either.

All the theme parks follow basically the same setup, but of course there are many regional differences.

Disneyland Paris basically consists of three parks; the Disney village; Disneyland Paris itself, and the Disney Studio park. The Village is comprised of stores and restaurants; the Disneyland is the park everybody has heard of and expects; and Disney Studio Park has a more general moviemaking theme - but it's still very Disney.

When to visit

Disneyland is infamous for its crowds. At all attractions all over the park you will see "barricades" and signs along the lines of "Waiting time at this point - 45 minutes".

It is essential for an enjoyable visit to Disneyland to plan for a good time. Ideally, you want good weather and as few people as possible.

The best times to visit Disneyland Europe is on weekdays outside public holidays and school vacations. The least-visited times seem to be September-October and May-June. Considering the French weather, June is likely the safest bet. You'll probably be able to get some very good deals during these times. (Example in June 2003: 3 days for the price of 2 days, including hotel, about 200 Euros per person.) If you are lucky, you won't have to wait at all except at very popular rides, and even then the waiting time can be as low as a few minutes.

It should be said quite clearly that Disneyland Paris is a lot of fun when you don't have to wait a lot - but almost no ride is worth waiting 45 minutes or more. However, see below for "Fast Pass" tickets.

Get in

After you arrive, first get to your hotel if you have booked one. You will get your tickets here, as well as information material (maps) and breakfast vouchers.

By Car

The obvious choice if you live in France or in a nearby region (Central Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) is to take a car. The highway system of France is decent enough and Disnayland Europe is easy to find. You should keep a supply of cash and/or credit cards ready, howveer, as the French charge for the use of the highways. A trip from Frankfurt/Germany to Disneyland Paris can cost approximately 30 Euros in fees.

By Train

Disneyland Paris has its own train station that connects the theme park to Paris.

Get around

Once you are in the park, your main mode of transportation will be walking. If you need to get from one side of the park to another, you can take the train which circles the Park and has a stop in each of the major sections.

Bus services exist which can take you from Disney Village and the central entrance to the hotels. These busses are free of charge.

See

Disneyland Paris is mainly a place for doing, not for seeing. But this doesn't mean there are no places with a good view.

  • The Castle is the dominating feature of the Park. While the cynic will notice the stark plastic construction, the casle's fascination cannot be denied by anybody who grew up with Disney style comics. Don't forget to visit the Dragon Cave through a side entrance; the sleeping dragon is one of the best animatronic puppets in Disneyland.
  • Disney Characters are spread liberally throughout the park. Many are available around the clock - usually the more famous characters like Mickey, Donald etc - and some are only available at certain times. Some characters move around. Care is being taken by the Disneyland administration that no character can be met twice at the same time. Inquire at any store or information outlet about the schedule of the characters. They will give autographs to children, and their main purpose is of course to pose for photos. If you have a favorite "must see", inquire as soon as you can on your arrival; some minor characters - like Stich - are hard to track down.
  • Throughout the day there are various Parades - some of them are quite famous. They include various Disney and non-Disney characters, are held in different parts of the Park at different times. The park map will have a listing of the schedules.

Shows

There are many shows available throughout Disneyland Paris.

  • Tarzan features acrobatics mixed in with music from the movie. It's well done and well worth the time.
  • Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show combines horses-and-pistols action with food served to the audience. You have to pay € 50.00 admittance per person. The show may be interesting to some children, but it's overall rather tedious. The food isn't very good either, and it is recommended that you save the 50 Euros and instead spend them on dining in a more fancy restaurant, like the one at the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Do

Most "activities" in Disneyland Paris consist of various rides. However, there are discos and bars in the village where people meet and dance.

Rides

Easily the primary attraction of Disneyland, rides can be quite crowded depending on popularity - even on otherwise empty days at the park. If you can plan your timing somewhat, you may wish to take advantage of the Fast Pass system. When you get to a ride, you can get a so-called fast pass that allows you to bypass the queue at a set time.

Some notable rides are:

  • Space Mountain is probably one of the best-known Disney rides. The version in Disneyland Paris is certainly taxing; however in comparison to other rides this is probably more because the system is old and worn; the author of these lines felt dizzy after leaving the ride. Not recommended.
  • Indiana Jones and the temple of death ("....Backwards!") is a nice ride that's switched so people ride it backwards. It's an interesting perspective, especially since you of course can't see what's going to happen next.
  • Thunder Mountain Also one of the better rides in Disneyland, this one had the author of these lines pull in his head more than once. Recommended.
  • Rockin' Roller-Coaster with Aerosmith is probably the coolest ride in Disneyland Paris. The design (sound studio) is excellent, the acceleration awesome, the mixed Aerosmith music and "concert ambiente" of this in-doors rollercoaster contribute to the experience. Highly recommended.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean, probably the best known Disney ride, is a water ride with a piracy theme. It's pretty harmless, features a lot of animatronic puppets and is suitable for all ages. Expect your clothes and gear to get wet, though. Features an expensive "jungle ambiance" restaurant.
  • It's A Small World is a stereotypical "cute" Disney ride. Designed mostly for small children, this is a perfect ride for those who can enjoy the most impressive kitsch ever designed. It's colorful, it has a catchy tune that will remain on your mind for days, and it's a lot of fun if you do not take it too seriously. Recommended for families with young children or silly adults.


Buy

If there is one thing you will never have a problem finding in Disneyland Europe, it's stores. Various themed and general stores are spread liberally throughout the park, selling Disney merchandise and general memorabilia. They carry everything from pencils to books, from Indiana Jones Fedora hats to Cinderella costumes. The sky is basically the limit on the money you can spend at Disneyland Europe - you can buy glass/crystal trinkets and sword replicas in the central castle. If you come to Disneyland Paris with children, be prepared to reach deep into your pockets; cowboy hats and pistols or knights' swords seem to be essentials for boys; cinderella costumes for girls. Either way, a set of goodies for a child will probably set you back approximately €50. Add to this plush dolls, t-shirts and aciton figures ... it's easy to spend 50-100 Euros a head on "souvenirs" - or more.

Eat and Drink

Disneyland Paris sports many restaurants and bars that have mostly one thing in common: They're expensive. Some are simple fast-food joints, others are quite fancy.

  • The cheapest food on the premises can be bought at McDonalds. Perhaps surprisingly, they are not much more expensive than any average McDonalds.
  • Perhaps the most interesting ambience can be had in a restaurant that is built inside the Pirates of the Carribbean ride. Prices are steep, but the atmosphere is very nice.
  • If you booked yourself into a Disney hotel, this includes breakfast. It's basically an all you can eat buffet of cereal, rolls, yoghurt, and so on. The food is not fancy, but it'll feed you well. You should also get vouchers to eat in the Park at least once (they may offer more than once depending on the booking situation). It is recommended that you take them up on it. The food is the same, but you are admitted to the park 1 hour before it officially opens, giving you a head start to the rides.
  • There is a large shopping mall a few minutes from the Park by car. If you have access to a vehicle, you can go here for all your shopping needs. This also helps if you are on a budget.
  • Bring something to drink into the park - if you walk around all day, especially when it's hot, you will need a lot of liquid. Don't forget that soda etc at kiosks is very expensive.


Sleep

Disney offers various hotels in and around the park. They vary in quality and style.

  • The Cheyenne hotel has a Western theme. It's a bit outside - you have to take the bus to reach the Village - and it's a little on the budget side. The rooms are nice and it's a good value for the money.

Talk

Disneyland Paris is mainly French, but all menus and signs are also available in English and some in other languages. All cast members speak English; and as they are recruited from all over Europe, you probably won't have a problem finding someone who speaks your language. If all else fails, the visitors are from all over Europe and the world, and a bystander might be able to translate.

Communication shouldn't be an issue.

Contact

Mail

You can buy postcards and stamps at most shops in the park. Mailboxes exist in some central locations. Ask the shopkeepers about the postage required to your destination.

Internet

The park doesn't offer Internet access to its visitors. Some of the more expensive hotels may offer an Internet Cafe though. Inquire before booking.


Get out

External links

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