Disneyland Paris Review (2006)
This review was originally written in August 2006, so obviously a lot has changed at Disneyland Paris since then. Please bear that in mind when reading.
This write up is mainly for my own memory, but may help anyone thinking of going to Disneyland Paris in the near future. If you don't want any spoilers then do not read beyond 'The Attractions...'.
Fast Pass Tickets
This was initially confusing. Not all rides allow fast pass entry (ie. legitimate queue jumping). For those that do, here's how it works:
- You buy a quota of 'fast pass' options as part of your entry ticket.
- You walk up to the fast-pass gates of the selected ride.
- You insert your entry ticket in to the machine at the fast pass gate.
- The machine spits out a proper fast-pass ticket for that ride.
- On this ticket is an entry time (a window of 30 minutes) at some point in the future on that day.
- You return at that time, and go through the fast pass gate and jump the queue.
For example, on Space Mountain, swiping your entry ticket at 11am, would get you a fast-pass entry time of 12:00-12:30. In most cases however, the allocated time is no sooner than the normal non-fast-pass queuing time, you just don't have to queue for it.
For the big four rides, when we went (end of August) if you get to them before 10am, the normal queuing time is less than 15 minutes. We stayed in the Disneyland Hotel. They issued us with special fast-pass tickets. Again once we'd worked it out, these tickets allowed us to just walk up and queue jump ANY fast pass ride between 2pm and 6pm. We had one special fast-pass ticket per person per day.
Food (or lack thereof...)
Food in the park is basically in-edible, but there are scant other options. If your kid can live on bad chicken nuggets and chips, then you'll be fine. As an adult, all I know is that my digestive system was cursing me badly by the end of the week.
This is a list of the attractions we went on
, complete with my opinion. It is not a full list
off all the attractions in each park; there are about 15% of the attractions not listed.
Main Street, U.S.A. Disneyland Railroad
- Circular ride around 4 of the 5 parks with a get on/off station in each park. Not as much fun once on it, and long queues. Quicker to walk. Worth doing once.
Disney Character Parade
- We did the 10:30 showing on the Wednesday night. The night-time parades are MUCH better than the earlier daylight parades as the floats and characters are all lit up. People start camping along Main Street (on the kerbs) over an hour before the Parade is due to start.
- A ghost train on steroids, I believe that the plot in the film Haunted Mansion (with Eddie Murphy) is based on this ride. It's a slow-car ride with lots of scary imagery for young children. Recommended.
Big Thunder Mountain
- One of the "Big Four" rides. Roller coaster round Thunder Mountain. Quite good, but as with all roller coasters in the park, too short. no loops or corkscrews, just sudden drops and tight banked turns. Recommended.
- This was Closed. Apparently it's 'seasonal' - it's supposed to be a petting zoo type thing for younger children.
Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing
- Paddle Boat trip around Thunder Mountain. Good photo opportunity. Only way to see some sights (ie. Hot Geysers). Recommended.
Pirates of the Caribbean
- A log flume type ride, although you don't get that wet. Quite long (by Disney standards), very long queues. Part of the ride travels through the Blue Lagoon Restaurant! No Johnny Depp however.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
- One of the 'Big Four' rides. Very Long queues for a very short ride. It's a roller coaster with a couple of tight spirals, and one very small 360 loop. The only ride in the park to have a 1.4m height limit (the other coasters are 1.32m)
La Cabane des Robinson
- Tree house. Highest viewpoint in the park. Walkthrough attraction. Views are limited however due to many artificial 'leaves'. Worth doing.
La Plage des Pirates
- Play area for kids, next to the base of the Tree House. A good opportunity for adults to sit down and rub their feet for 30 minutes.
It's a small world
- Arrrghhh. This ride will haunt me forever. Think "Chucky" type dolls, millions of them, all singing manically at you as you float past in a shallow boat. This ride broke down while we were on it. We were trapped in the boat for an hour- and they DIDN'T even turn the music off! Tiny kids love it though.
Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains
- Story of Snow White. Slow-car ride (think ghost train in style), showing scenes from Snow White. Except that the mad French had focused on all the horror bits in the story!
Les Voyages de Pinocchio
- Same as Snow White. Same cars even, just different scenes. Only thing going for these two rides is the short queues.
Le Carrousel de Lancelot
- Classic Merry Go Round, complete with Pipe organ music and large wooden horses.
Peter Pan's Flight
- Similar to Snow While and Pinocchio, but with 'flying cars'. Follows the story of peter pan via flyovers of London, Neverland, and Hook island. Very well done. Recommended.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- This ride should be rebuilt. Every time it rains they have to shut it down. Queued 5 times for it, and only got to actually ride it twice! Circular ride with dumbo cars that the kids can 'fly' up and down.
Mad Hatter's Tea Cups
- You all know what tea-cup rides are. Large cups that you sit in, they go round and round, and optionally can spin via a crank wheel in the middle of the car.
Casey Jr. - le Petit Train du Cirque
- Mini-thunder mountain style ride for smaller kids.
Le Pays des Contes de Fees
- According to Google this is 'Country of the Fairy tales' - boat ride past miniature scenes of classic fairy tales. Made me think of Legoland, only less fun. Again good for smaller children.
- Worth queuing properly for. It's one of those 'virtual rides' where you sit inside a 20 person 'car' with a screen and hydraulics. The premise is, that you are in a passenger shuttle which has been caught in the crossfire between the x-wings and the death star. Totally Recommended, if only for the overly camp French animatronic C3-PO that talks to you while you queue!
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
- 3D Film. Auditorium audio is in loud French. Your language is via bad headphones stored next to each seat. 3D effects quite well done. Recommended.
- Drive a 50s style motor car round a track. The cars are 'locked' to the track, but you can steer them a bit until they auto-correct. Good for kids who think that they are really driving. One gripe tho, the track is a LOT shorter than it looks.
Space Mountain - The 2nd Mission
- One of the 'Big Four' rides. Fast roller coaster, with some nice spirals. If you go to Disney, you'll go on it anyway.
Walt Disney Studios
(This park is actually outside of the main Disney Complex, with it's own entrance gates. It's not finished, and there is currently a lot of building work going on behind hoardings. As such it has less visitors and the queues are shorter.)
Flying Carpets over Agrabah
- Circular up-down ride similar to Dumbo. Short queues.
Studio Tram Tour
- Open tour bus style ride round the 'back lot'. Complete with effects, fire, and a LOT of water! Good Photo Opportunities.
Armageddon Special Effects
- Oddball attraction this one. You are 'held' in a waiting room where you are told the plot of Armageddon (the film), and are invited to be 'extras'. There is a plasma screen with your language and images on it, however due to everyone standing, children cannot see it. After which you are led into a 'set' of the space station... where the 'ride' begins around you...
Rock'N'Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith
- One of the 'Big Four' rides. This ride is good. Nice tight spirals and twists, with a fast kick off.
- Seated show. Watch as stunt drivers demonstrate how car and bike stunts are done in films. Pretty good. Need a fast finger on that camera shutter. Oh, and don't sit too close.