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Photo Trip Report: No Magique at Disneyland Resort Paris


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Okay, after criss-crossing the U.S. in 2008 and joining TPR on the S. Korea and Tokyo legs of the Asia Tour, we've moved across the pond and have started to hit the parks over here.

 

Our first park was a great experience: a winter day at Phantasialand in Bruhl, Germany. It was brilliant.

 

Here was our 2nd European credit run. Last weekend Cheryl and I hopped on an Air France flight from Amsterdam and headed to Disneyland Resort Paris. Brilliant? Not so much.

 

We had four major problems with the parks and many minor problems. It all added up to a very un-Disney experience. In fact, the experience was not really a Disney experience at all but for the rides and infrastructure. It was like Disney had built the park but had let some other company operate it.

 

The four big issues:

 

1. Garbage. You've never seen a Disney park with so much garbage and crap sitting around.

 

2. Smoking. Yeah, I know it's France, but, the park policies are clear that smoking is only permitted in designated areas. Nonetheless, this policy is universally ignored by guests and rarely enforced by cast members.

 

3. Ops. It was crowded so the queues were on the long side, but you've never seen more empty seats on rides. Operators were just totally unfocused. And you've never seen fast pass machines break down with more frequency.

 

4. No magic. No friendliness from cast members. A couple of the pin-trading guys were nice, but others seemed distracted, distant, rude, and gruff. FYI, don't try to go in the fast pass line if the time window on your ticket has passed. It's your fault, regardless of what you've been told, regardless of your experience at other Disney parks. This happened more than once with different rides and different cast members.

 

We did really enjoy a few rides: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was one of the best ever because of the extra tunnels that go to and from the island. Pirates was cool. Crush's Coaster was a lot of fun. And Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was definitely the wildest finale we'd ever experienced. More ups and downs and for a longer period of time than we'd ever had on a ToT before, and with tons of airtime.

 

On to the photos...

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Okay, sorry for the negativity. Just wanted to share. Here's Cheryl in front of the TGV. If you're going to Disney, the TGV is the fastest means to and from the airport. It rocks. See you soon; we'll be at Gardaland and Mirabilandia in 2 weeks!

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This view did not change during the entirety of our meal.

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No shortage of garbage. In addition to the countless cigarette butts everywhere, we encountered less than tidy dining areas.

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Crush's Coaster queue...amazing attention to detail...not.

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Amazing theming at Buzz Lightyear.

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Hole in the ceiling at Buzz Lightyear. Sorry, not a great shot. I seem to have lost the photo, but the full-size audio-animatronic Buzz in the queue area was completely out of commission and just standing with his head lolling to the side.

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We saw decline like we'd never seen in other Disney parks. Maybe we weren't paying attention in Anaheim, Orlando, and Tokyo. But here it was, just the same.

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There was even smoking with kids at night! I took the photo and stared off like I was shooting something behind them, and the mother turned to see what it was. Little did her smoky brain know...

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Kid in right hand, cigarette in the left.

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In the queue. As you can see, this wasn't a few isolated incidents, it was rampant.

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In the queue. With the kids.

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These guys are smoking around their kids.

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Note cigarette.

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Okay, I've just got to vent and show you the negative stuff. We can start with smoking. Walking around. In the queues. With kids. It bothered us.

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Just a little evidence of Frenchiness.

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Found the Crush's Coaster sign photo! This was a pretty fun ride. But I got a little deja vu because of all the indoor coasters (Space, Aerosmith, this)

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We'd never seen the Lights Motors Action show before at any of the other Disney parks so we gave it a try...Cheryl fell asleep!

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Spinning, wobbling animatronic model of a Crush Coaster Car. This queue was interminable, about 90 minutes. We saw line jumpers in action, but only one guy said anything to them, with no consequences.

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I have to say Okay Tower, but Orlando still wins.

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France's contribution to the stable of Disney rodents.

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I think we waited a good hour for this one. Let me give public thanks to the people in front of us and behind us who didn't light up (at my request) during the entire queue. Pre-show with Aerosmith was about 10 seconds long. No Ileana Douglas, unfortunately.

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Second day belongs to the Studios.

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Here's the new name for DM.

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Thanks to TPR for pointing out the Discovery Mountain leftovers!

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Some hot parade action. This is for Dave Lawrence!

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There was no queue when we came back to ride late at night and we actually walked past the building entrance because there was no cast member present. As you can see, I'm not a great photographer of rides, just a good photographer of signs.

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I loved this landscaping and terracing against the castle.

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Pirates! We liked this ride and thought it was one of the best in the park. Interesting to see it sans-Captain Jack. They have a Blue Lagoon restaurant in place of the Blue Bayou.

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Nice drooling skull! Must mean we're near...

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Rougher than Raging Sprits in Japan.

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Constant fast pass machine breakdowns had the cast members just handing out tickets, enabling us to collect quite a few in a short period. But like I said, cast members gave us a hard time about using them after the window had closed. And they weren't very nice about it.

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Like I said, pretty crowded today.

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No Magic Kingdom here, it's Disneyland Park.

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This seems a little heavy-handed for an amusement park.

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Bright sun, but quite chilly in the mid-low 50's.

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We stayed at the Radisson SAS. Unfortunately the cheapest Disney hotel was over EUR300!

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Yay!

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Cheryl waiting for the bus at Paris CDG.

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Schiphol Airport outside of Amsterdam.

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What a shame, the park looks so beautiful upon first glance! And the rides there look awesome. In fact out of all of the castles in the Disney parks, Disneyland Paris' castle is my favorite.

This is so strange to see, every time I've seen construction in a Disney park, it's been blocked by construction walls so it's not visible to the guests. Here, it's just out for everyone to see. It just seems very un-Disney to me.

 

Sorry to hear that your visit was less-than-average.

Great TR though, I enjoyed the pictures a lot!

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Our flight got in too late on Friday night to catch the last TGV train to the resort, and by comparison the bus took about 45 minutes or so. It can take longer if there's traffic. Late on a Friday, we were okay.

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DLP were great with our group regarding fast passes. We arrived 2 hours after the fast past line had closed becasue we didnt realsie it did and they walked us up the exit, very cool!

The staff were all cool aswell, shame you had a different experience.

And yes they do all smoke everywhere, we were hanging out with a couple of cast members and they said really people could just smoke anywhere.

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I understand that we might've hit the place on an off day. There were other factors that might've tainted my perceptions: it was very crowded, very chilly for most of the day, and I was catching a cold. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. If they put in a big new unique attraction or another credit, we'll give it another shot.

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Europeans smoke a crazy amount in there parks France and Germany are really bad we have always noticed it more in Germany to be honest.

 

Just seems the while stop smoking thing hasn't got there yet.

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No, your visit is about on par as of late. I have probably been to Disneyland Paris more than any other "international" Disney park as I spend quite a bit of time there during when I was living on and off in the UK. (I had a season pass for DLP I was going so often.)

 

In the mid 1990s this park was AMAZING! The attention to detail was great and the park was immaculate. I probably visited about 50 times between the parks opening year and 1999.

 

Then I hadn't been again until 2002, and something just seemed "off". In 2005 we had a better visit, but still not like it was in the mid-90s, and then in 2008 I really just felt like this place had nealy lost it. It no longer felt very "Disney-like" to me from the horrible hotel check-in experience we had to basically what you described. Trash everywhere, less than attentive cast members, and the place looking like it was in decline.

 

While we never had a problem with the FastPasses, I could certainly see this becoming a policy that has been implemented recently.

 

I'm sorry you guys had such a bummer visit and especially after just visiting Tokyo Disneyland you guys probably went from the best Disney park in the world to the worst. You needed at least a stop-over in Hong Kong or something first!

 

--Robb

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This is so strange to see, every time I've seen construction in a Disney park, it's been blocked by construction walls so it's not visible to the guests. Here, it's just out for everyone to see. It just seems very un-Disney to me.

 

What construction do you mean? I can't see anything under construction in the pictures - although the "beach theming" in the queue for Crush's Coaster looks a lot like it should be!

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^LOL, I had no idea that the "beach theming" was actual theming. I really thought it was construction... or at least being worked on.

But I mean more maintenance things. The stuff being worked on that was on the ceiling and other junk in the Buzz Lightyear queue... you'd think would be covered up, or at least be done after hours. Maybe it's just the times I've visited, but I've never seen things like that so out in the open for everyone to see at a Disney park.

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I totally agree with Robb. It's very sad, but the Disney Paris Resort very much seems to be in a steady decline.

 

The fact that they let humans ride Space Mountain in the condition it was in last summer was unforgivable! Seriously, worst coaster on the planet, I had a headache for about 3 days after riding.

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then it most have been very bad... the last time i rode it, about a month ago, it was actually pretty smooth for what i expected and told to my friends who did it for the first time

 

in 2 years that i'm visiting disney, this was my best ride ever from the 10-15 times i rode it up till now

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I'm sorry you guys had such a bummer visit and especially after just visiting Tokyo Disneyland you guys probably went from the best Disney park in the world to the worst. You needed at least a stop-over in Hong Kong or something first!

--Robb

 

It's cool Robb, we were in Orlando for Thanksgiving!

 

-Martin

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