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Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!


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Well I'm still a member of the Brit Crew despite my best efforts to vote myself out. Bad news for me but at least there's the positive of me still being able to go away on weekends with these guys. (Wait, I'm calling THAT a positive?! Times are tough, clearly).


This such weekend was to Paris, France. Seeing as there a few new attractions in the area we decided to an extended weekend that would take us around a few parks culminating of course in a few days at Disney. Burt we'll get to that later.



Part 1 - PARC ASTERIX (below)





First up we made our way to Parc Astérix. I hadn't visited this park since way back in 2008 with the TPR Europe trip. It's a really nicely themed park with a pretty decent selection of rides.


New for me since that visit is the B&M invert, OzIris. I'd heard really mixed things about this one so I was intrigued to ride it for myself. It's a weird ride. I like the length of the ride but as forceless B&M's inverts go I thought this one was pretty tame. It's a shame that not long after this they came out with Banshee, a much more intense (and fun!) invert (I'll get to Banshee in a future trip report. Someday). Still, the park did a pretty good job of theming it. Just don't go mistaking it for Montu, because Montu it is not.


Everyone thought it would be really funny if we all rode Gouderix so I got in line with them but managed to pull the old Larry Meisel "walk straight through the train to the exit" trick. No way was I touching the POS again. Given the reaction of the group I stand by my choice.


My favourite ride in the park is still the super cool Mad House. It's more the pre-shows and the theming than the Mad House itself but man, it's a lot of fun from start to end!


Anyway, I didn't take a great deal of photos this day but rest assured there's much more to come in future updates. Enjoy...


Yay, we're in France! Oh wait - it's CDG! Noooo! Still my least airport in the world...


For all it's awfulness at least CDG is close to this place...


That's right, we're at Parc Astérix!


New for me since my last visit is the B&M invert, OzIris!


There's really cool theming in the queue for this one!


Brad and Andrew are ready to do it like Tutankhamen did it.


It's not the best B&M invert by any stretch. It's really quite forceless but at least it's long and they did a decent job of making it look nice!


Here's this weekend's super fun group!


Oh dear lord.


Smile, you're on Goudurix!


You can almost hear the funeral march playing as you look at this.


It's only a Vekoma, right? Paint job or not I wasn't touching this thing!


OCTOPOOOSSS!!! Miss you, Erik!


At lunch TPDave was very excited to be able to get a beer with his meal. Although he didn't quite work out the translation of "Sans Alcohol" until he sat down! TPFail!


We're on a boat!


If you want to see large busted women washing clothes then Parc Astérix is for you!


AJ on the other hand just likes a long tongue on his bottom.




And now for my favourite ride in the park - the Mad House!


It's all about the crazy pre-show where they take your photo and attach it to these animated soldier bodies. So funny!


Caesar then looks down on all his minions.


Then, right before you go into battle on the boat you get to watch some naked women bathe. Gotta love Europe!


Sortie Provisoire = Tampon = confused Brad.


Oh yeah, we rode Tonnerre de Zeus too! It's still running okay but they really need to spray some WD40 on that thing, it grinds its way around the entire track and it squeals the whole way. I've never ehard a coaster like it.


Anyway, that's all from Parc Astérix - it was a fun day but the next one was even better - Nigloland is up next!

Edited by Divv3k
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Yay, we're in France! Oh wait - it's CDG! Noooo! Still my least airport in the world...


Sorry to admit, Divv - But after a recent trip to the Brit Crew's home country - I gotta say that airport of yours in Manchester definitely gives CDG a run for my least favorite airport in Europe!

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^The north is a wild and desolate wasteland to be avoided at all costs. LHR is where it's at!


And to all my friends enjoying the thought of my accidentally sober meal, I could explain myself but no one would believe me and it wouldn't be as funny. I'm glad you got your kicks. Bastards.

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Yay, we're in France! Oh wait - it's CDG! Noooo! Still my least airport in the world...


Sorry to admit, Divv - But after a recent trip to the Brit Crew's home country - I gotta say that airport of yours in Manchester definitely gives CDG a run for my least favorite airport in Europe!


I've heard that before about Manchester airport. In the three and a half years I lived there I only flew from it two or three times. I didn't have any huge issues but like TP would say, it's not T5!


With this visit to CDG on the other hand... It took an hour from the plane landing to me meeting up with the rest of the Brit Crew. A hellish place.

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Our next park was a couple of hours drive south of Paris – Nigloland! Before visiting I knew very little about this park – I remember it from Robb & Elissa’s 2005 Europe tour updates and then I pretty much heard nothing about the place until they built the Mack Megalite this year. So with that in mind imagine how surprised we all were to find that this is actually a pretty decent park! There’s loads of stuff here and they really did go all out for Halloween!


Well as “all out” as a European park with no mazes might go at least. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many pumpkins and Halloween decorations anywhere in my life!


Clearly, the main reason we were here was the new Mack Megalite, so how did it compare to the Intamin version? Very well! For me I’d say it’s as good as any of the Intamin Megalites and those Bluefire-style trains are just awesome! It’s very re-rideable and the park was very quiet so we managed to get plenty of rides in. I hope Mack make more of these and start changing up the layout – they really have a fantastic product on their hands!


The rest of the park is a lot of fun too – a really fun “Eurosat style” indoor coaster, a Schwarzkopf Boblsed which holds up really well and what is probably the smoothest and fun standard Wild Mouse I’ve ever been on!


There’s a load of other quirky attractions like the Dinosaur walkthrough, the African Boat ride (in a a park called Nigloand?! Yup!) and of course the infamous BENCH: THE RIDE!


Here’s some photos...


Good morning from Nigloland!


Unlike a lot of European parks this place is actualyl celelbrating Halloween!


A turd wearing a white sheet in a place called Nigloland? Sure, why not?!


We saw Halloween decorations like this all over the park!


Of course, the real reason we are here is for Alpina Blitz the new Mack Megalite!


Brad and Andrew are excited to get their Mack on!


AJ, however will have to wait as they have the weird Italian person counter at the gate! How does it feel, AJ????


The exit of the ride goes right over the lift hill so the lift hill enthusiasts can get a real money shot like this.


The ride itself is AWESOME!


I thought it was every bit as good as the Intamin version! (and I really LOVE the Intamin Megalites!)


Airtime filled from start to finish! More of these please, Mack!


Today's super fun group! (Including some apparent TPRelatives)


Ah, the Space Travel Agency. This must be where Richard Branson is operating Virgin Galactic from.


Spatiale Experience! This is very much n the style of EuroSat at Europa Park - complete with spiral lift hill!


Ooh, what delights will this pumpkin adorned building present us with???


Speaking of spirals, don't forget the Schwarzkopf awesomeness!


Oh okay, I guess we should ride the Wild Mouse...


This Wild Mouse mesmerised us all - the hairpin turns DIDN'T throw you into the person next to you! How is this possible?!


Hey Larry, I remember to take a photo of one ride sign at least!




Another oddity compared to other parks were these microwaves dotted around next to all the food areas!


AJ hadn't been on a Brit Crew weekend for a while so he had some catching up to do!


John Hammond RIP. No seriously, this is supposed to be John Hammond!


Dinosaurs Alive has nothing on this place!


The Jurassic Park theme was blaring out all the speakers in this section. Love it!


AJ utterly failed at feeding the Brontosaurus.


Raptors? You bred raptors?


And now for the ride that puts the Niglo in Nigloland!


They're on a boat! Yes they are!


Jungle Cruise hippos need to do this. Now.


Violent zebra death? You betcha!


You're next!


This spooky looking paths leads to one of the most renowned dark ride experiences in the world...


That's right, it's Bench: The Ride!


There's all sorts of creepy shenanigans going on in here.


But really, it's all about the Bench!


RACLETTE! Sooo good! Why can't we get this in more parks?!


Did I mention that the park was celebrating Halloween?


This is very high on the (long) list of "flat rides that Divv won't go near". Everyone else seemed to like it!


Shooting Skeeball! I've never seen this before. (Cue everyone telling me that it's been around for years and I just never noticed it). They had regular Skee Ball too. A a rarity in Europe!


It was just after lunch that our good weather luck ran out and we got hit by a pretty horrendous rain storm.


Good thing Brad brought his poncho. It's a poncho right, Brad?


Bears, pumpkins horses and carts. Welcome home, Andrew!


Powered coaster!


The powered coaster interacts with the log flume. mike Fudge would have creamed (up) himself!


Get your authentic Nigloland white hooded dolls in the Nigloshop!


Nigloland has to be TPR approved!


Infinite pumpkins of fun!!!


So that was Nigloland! Not only was the Mack Megalite fantastic the rest of the park is really good too! I thought this might have been a half day park at best but if the rain hadn't gotten so bad in the afternoon we could easily spent another few hours here. Don't miss it the next time you're in France!


Up next - Disney Studios and Ratatouille!

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The raclette was seriously good!! I was really surprised by this place, I think it's a great family park and it was so well presented. I'd be interested to look into the history a bit and see if they were purchased at some point or something because it seems they have a really good vision for the place!

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I encountered my first and only "Shooting Skeeball" at Mundo Divertido in Tijuana, Mexico. The balls came out at different speeds so you couldn't just aim it in the right place and keep shooting.


Also, I got a higher score than my friend but he got more tickets awarded.




I <3 Mexico.

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We spent the next two and a half days park hopping at Disneyland Paris Resort but I’ll split the updates between the parks so I can get straight into Ratatouille in this one and then finish with the Disneyland update.


Ratatouille was the reason we even put this trip together in the first place. When DLP indicated that they were gonna use the “Pooh’s Hunny Hunt” technology from Tokyo which got anyone who has ever been on that ride into a frenzy of excitement. It’s such an exciting and innovative ride system that it utilising it for a ride based on Pixar’s (very awesome) Ratatouille movie seemed like a no-brainer, especially in a park based in the same city that the film is set. Situating this ride in the Walt Disney Studios park seemed like even more of a no-brainer – the park has been crying out for E-ticket attractions since it was opened in 2002 with a paltry lineup of rides and shows (mostly shows).


I avoided all videos and photos of the ride before visiting in order to go in fresh and be surprised. So how was it?


It’s probably the best ride in the park but it’s no Pooh. It’s not even in the same league as Pooh. As a matter of fact if I wasn’t more well informed I might not have even realised that these rides utilised the same ride system. Ratatouille shares more in common with a Spider-Man or Transformers than it does with Pooh. After an elaborate (by WDS standards) queue which takes you through parts of Paris you pick up your 3D glasses and enter your ride vehicle. The ride vehicle is a rat but it’s stylised very different from how the rats in the movie look. I can only imagine that they tried a few versions of these vehicles and couldn’t get them to look right using the styling from the movie. It’s not a huge deal, the vehicles still look pretty good.


The vehicles leave a loading a area through some Parisian style buildings and then you enter what is essentially a labyrinth of video screens. There’s the pantry room which is a built from physical props and meshes a 3D screen in very well but the rest of the ride is essentially moving from one 3D screen to the next. Totally different from Pooh. It lacks the spontaneity and laugh out loud awesomeness of that ride too. Don’t get me wrong, the ride is good but don’t go expecting the grandiose sequel to a ride that opened in Tokyo 14 years ago. This isn’t it. Maybe Mystic Manor in Hong Kong is that ride (I haven’t watched any videos from that one either but I expect that one will have less video and more physical. We’ll see). So all in all, I like the ride. It’s certainly much needed in the park but it’s not something I would say you have to rush out and ride any time soon.


The area they’ve built around the ride is really fantastic looking. It’s not quite on the scale of Carsland but they’ve done a similar job in catching the feel of the movie and making something that feels authentic. It’s a hell of a lot more effort than they’ve put in to the other attractions in this park combined.


Of course, you can’t build a miniland based on Ratatouille and not have a decent restaurant in the mix too and Bistrot Chez Remy really ticks that box in fantastic fashion. Aesthetically the restaurant is brilliant, shrinking you down to the size of a rat and producing a restaurant similar in style to the one that the rats dine in at the end of the movie. There’s loads of incredible details inside and it seems that they really didn’t spare any expense in theming it. The food was very good too. When it arrived. Which just brings me to the biggest problem in this entire resort. Service. It’s just awful. We made our dinner reservations in advance of our visit, arrived early and it still took over two hours for us to have a meal. We waited thirty minutes from being seated to have our drinks and then even longer to receive our food. It wasn’t as if the restaurant was super busy either, it was maybe a third full. On top of that it’s not as if the menu was complicated – you can only eat from set menus in the place so there really is no excuse for a theme park meal to take over two hours. Anyway... The food was good, and of course ratatouille was served as s ide no matter what you ordered which is a nice touch.


Onto the rest of the park.... It’s still pretty terrible compared to every other Disney park in the world. It’s certainly a lot better than it was a few years ago but it still is utterly incapable of handling the crowds that it gets and the operations in the park doesn’t do itself any favours at all. Just a few examples of the frustrations on this visit, which was on a Monday in early October... The Fast Pass system was down the entire morning, Crush didn’t open with the park due to technical issues (sound familiar to anyone on the 2008 TPR trip?), the Toy Story parachute drop was closed all day, the Backlot tour had a line over an hour but every tram had at least two cars that were closed and there was a whole tram just sitting there not being used. On top of all this Ratatouille was closed for technical reasons almost the entire day. Luckily we anticipated the suckiness of the place and visited the night before to get a ride on Ratatouille and managed to get on quickly when the ride did eventually open. But really, after this visit if I hear anyone complain about a broken power outlet in Florida again I’ll punch them in the face.


I don’t want to sound totally negative on the place, they have Tower which is good, their Rock’n’Roller Coaster is great and I actually quite like the Cinemagique show. We certainly had a fun day despite all the frustrations too. I think it helps to be mentally prepared before visiting this park in order ot have a good day and we certainly were!


Here’s some photos...


Well hello, Walt Disney Studios! Of course there's a very special reason that we're visiting this park in 2014...


Woo! It's Ratatouille!


3D glasses are on. We are good to go!


They might not look like the movie rats but they're still pretty cute! Like I said above, the ride is a lot of fun but it uses too many video screens for my liking.


Disney really did a fantastic job at theming the Ratatouille area, it really does look like it's straight out of the movie!


Just check out all the little details they've added to the fountain!


Here's the ride entrance. There are three lines - one for Fast Pas, one for single riders and then there's a standby line. Fast Pass gets a loading station all of it's own which seemed to work pretty well.


Of course you can't have a a Ratatouille area in a park without a restaurant!


If you've seen the movie this little sign might look familiar!


The waiting room at the restaurant was somehow completely empty when we arrived so we took the opportunity to have a cast member get a group photo. Man, that floor looks good.


The walls in the waiting room are covered in all sorts of cool props for fans of the movie.


There are loads of items like this all over the walls of the waiting room.


Then as you enter the restaurant the cast member tells you that we have all been shrunk down to the size of Remy. So really, no need to be alarmed by this gihugic plates towering over you.


Well doesn't this menu look lovely?


Surprisingly, there's no à la carte menu just a range of set menus to choose from. You'd think this would help table service speed up. You would be wrong.


The chairs look they're made out of bottle tops. Very cool!


There are giant forks all around the place if you need to impale any members of your group. Quite handy.


Love the cocktail umbrellas over the smaller tables!


These wine cork stools were maybe my favourite thing in the restaurant. I kind of wanted to steal one!


An oversized version of Remy's cook book welcomes you into the restaurant.


Even the condiments and cutlery section is themed.


The huge Christmas lights on the ceiling aren't just a gimmick - they're the actual lights for the restaurant!


The pudding station looks pretty awesome.


Here's the wing of the restaurant with the windows that you can see out to the ride entrance. The big wine bottles are Anton Ego's. Another nice touch!


On to the food. You have to start with salad. If you don't eat it they won't serve you anything else.


A really nice touch is that with every main you get a side of ratatouille! Here's AJ's "Premium" ratatouille.


Here's my steak (it was good!) with the pleb ratatouille on the side.


Russ has clearly been spending too much time with Southern Steve...


We booked our table for 2pm and by the time we got out our fast pass was good to go. Yeah, it took a while in there. Unfortunately the ride was still down as it had been since the morning...


By 5pm though, it was up and running. TPDave demonstrates how the Paris version of the MagicBand works.


The Gusteau's logo inside the queue is animated. It works really well!


3D glasses are on. We're good to ride! Just don't forget your 3D glasses because there isn't much to see without them!


All in all the ride is really good. Just don't go expecting another "Pooh's Hunny Hunt". It's good but it's not that good!


Alright, onto the rest of what was quite a stressful visit to the Studios... Of course Tower of Terror is always a good place to start!


There seemed to be a lot less dust and cobwebs in the Tower lobby compared to the others. Weird.


Rock'n'Roller Coaster! The truncated pre-show that ends up makes no sense always amuses me.


I guess this must be our Super Stretch.


Right across from RRC is the Spider-Man meet and greet. It's still weird seeing this kind of Marvel presence in a Disney park. There were Avengers banners all around the RRC area too. Will we see more Marvel in this park in the future? It seems likely!


Andrew shows AJ how you pose in the rain.


We made sure to check out Armageddon, y'know because you don't want to miss a thing.


The Armageddon show is strange. You basically stand in a room and the ceiling shakes a bit. Then some fire blows around. I mean, it has fire so it's good but is it really relevant in 2014?


Toy Story Playland was crazy busy.


The parachute drop ride being closed doesn't help either. I've still never been on one of these!


This is how Ratatouille looked for the majority of our visit. Closed.


AJ prays that we might actually be able to get on a ride.


We did Stitch. I actually like this attraction more than I ever thought I would. I mean, it's no MILF but it's been quite funny both times I've done it here and in Hong Kong.


Florida people, are you jealous?! No??? Fair enough.


The line is only an hour so keeping random cars closed seems like a great idea.


No, really there were at least two cars closed on every tram. And then there was a tram not being used at all. The line was over an hour. Operations in this park are just awful.


At least that hour wait is worthwhile. I mean you do get to see the exquisite sets from Dinotopia. You all remember that smash hit production, right?


Oh look, it's a tram sitting doing nothing while every ride in the park that happens to be open has an hour plus line!


Fire is always the highlight of a backlot tour.


And this one has plenty of it. London never looked so good.


Yeah, the sign actually does say that the single rider line is longer than the standby. No, I don't understand it either.


But hey, some people count this as a credit (I don't) so we rode it. I like it. Mostly because it doesn't spin.


After being closed for the whole morning and having a ridiculous line all day we finally sucked it up and finished our visit to the Studios with Crush's Coaster. The station and pre-lift hill section are really great.


The coaster itself is pretty standard but those Maurer Sohne spinners are always a lot of fun. (Even to me!)


Yay, we've done everything. Now we can leave!


It took us longer than expected, but the Studios were finally conquered. Thankfully there's still a much superior Disney park to visit right next door...


Disneyland Park is up next!

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Although the Studios park has a way to go yet, it's good to see more improvement since my last visit in 2008. Even back then, it was a bit better than I'd expected it to be.


The steak looked excellent.

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Without spoiling too much, Mystic Manor had very little in terms of screens until the end and even then there was a good reason for them being there. Kind of like with winnie the pooh and the bouncing tigger section, the ride was mostly physical sets and if projections were used it was cleverly hidden.

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Aah Ratatouille, sooooooo.....


Like Divv said this isn't pooh. I like how they've squeezed an extra seat in the vehicles and the cars themselves are more slender and compact, I just feel the system was really under utilised given the amount of money spent on this thing.


It reminded me a lot of the penguin thing at SeaWorld. They made this great trackless dark ride system and then proceed to use it to move guests between a series of motion simulator screens, it just seems a shame and a bit of a waste. There was no interplay between the cars which I thought would have been a great use of the technology. I kind of imagined you being part of a group of rats running away from stuff together and darting around between each other but that wasn't really the case.


It's still a fun ride, the area looks amazing and it's all very well presented, but it certainly isn't the western worlds version of Poohs Hunny Hunt unfortunately.

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