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Photo TR: Adam's Grand European Adventure


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Disneyland Paris Day 1 Photos

Disneyland Paris Day 2 Photos

Paris city photos! Churches, culture and CHEESE!

Huge Harry Potter Studio Tour London photo report!

London Dungeon, Fortnum & Mason & lots of food!

Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye & more!

Disney Magic - Dover, Embarkation & Stonehenge

Disney Magic - Cobh, Ireland - Blarney, Junnk & food!

Disney Magic - Four Days at Sea! Food, fun and more!

Disney Magic - Sydney & Halifax! Food, fun and Frozen!

Disney Magic - Bay of Fundy & Moosehead Brewery Tour!

Disney Magic - Final Sea Day & the Voyage into NYC!

New York City - Scott's Pizza Tours, Coney Island, shows & more!

 

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Original Post:

 

After my wife and I's Shanghai and Tokyo adventure last year, I thought we were done with bigger trips for a while. We took a very short trip to Disneyland in California but other than that we didn't have anything planned... Until the opportunity to take a transatlantic cruise from Dover, England to New York City, NY came up. And we figured, if we were going to go all the way to Europe to catch the ship, we might as well take some time in Paris and London, two cities that we hadn't had much time in previously to experience all that we wanted to... Our trip amounted to 24 days, with 3.5 days in Paris, 3.5 days in London, the 11 night transatlantic cruise on the Disney Magic (stopping along that trip in Portland, Cobh, Sydney (Nova Scotia), Halifax and Saint John (New Brunswick)) and then four days in New York.

 

Our first stop was Disneyland Paris... During my last visit to Paris I was on a high school trip and couldn't break away to visit the resort. This time around we had 1.5 days to experience both parks. With this in mind we opted to stay on property at the recently refurbished Hotel Cheyenne, getting early morning access to the parks (much like Extra Magic Hours at the domestic resorts). We honestly loved the resort more than we expected, between the unique versions of classic lands (the opulent Main Street in particular), the charming walk through experiences and some of the rides we don't have stateside... Plus we were there during Le Rendez-vous Gourmand de Disneyland Paris, the equivalent of Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival at the Walt Disney Studios Park Paris. There was so much to enjoy during our visit that we're definitely working on figuring out when we can go back!

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The long flight would lead us to Paris and after a short Uber drive we arrived at the Disneyland Paris Resort.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off show from California also runs during the Marvel Season of Super Heroes. Having seen it in California, it was fun to see it performed in French here.

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We have a strange habit of always going to the parks not equal to the ones we have in Florida first... We never plan for this way but in Tokyo we went to DisneySea first and in California we almost always go to California Adventure first.

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We were thrilled to find out that Le Rendez-vous Gourmand de Disneyland Paris would be running during our visit!

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I was also genuinely excited to ride this Tower of Terror, as it was the last in the world I'd yet to ride.

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The sugar waffle with caramel from the festival booth was a delicious start to our tasting experience in the parks.

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More food!

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It was neat to check out this Toy Story Land, as the one in Florida had just opened a few months earlier,

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It is charming in its own way... Not as spread out as the one in Disney's Hollywood Studios but it has some fun attractions for all ages.

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The Studio Courtyard area was Marvel-ized during the Marvel Season of Super Heroes event.

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Sadly, this unique attraction was closed for refurbishment during our visit.

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I was eager to experience the other Rock 'n' Rollercoaster... Especially knowing that this one will close soon to become a new Iron Man-themed coaster.

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At Disney's Hollywood Studios you ride to the concert... In this version, you ride through the concert!

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The Marvel Season of Super Heroes also brought a new seasonal show to Walt Disney Studios Park Paris: Super Heroes United.

 

This entrance corridor has some amazing lighting!

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Lighting envy!

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I genuinely appreciate how the resort accommodates their mix of English and French speaking guests.

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Everything is presented in both languages in tandem, which is pretty cool.

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I wanted to see just what a Marvel show would look like in a Disney park and I wasn't disappointed!

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All of the major Marvel characters are represented perfectly on stage.

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I didn't expect to see Nebula included in the show!

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They also used drones in the show, which was a cool surprise.

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The Hulk makes an appearance as well.

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Overall, it was a really neat experience!

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Still fun!

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Delicious falafel!

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CHEESE!!!

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And cheesy potatoes!

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The Ratatouille-inspired area is really awesome!

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And the transition to Toy Story Land is clever too!

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Time to head in!

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We ended up riding this one four times during our trip and we're super excited to get the ride closer to home at Epcot!

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Crush's Coaster was also a really fun coaster! We were able to ride it twice during our visit!

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Cute!

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I can't imagine this park before the addition of the Toon Studio Area.

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It amazed me that there was plush for Experiment 629 (Leroy) from the film Leroy & Stitch... Pretty obscure these days!

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Time to head to the other park!

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I enjoyed this park more than I expected overall!

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Absolutely gorgous!

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This entry experience blew me away!

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The park was still celebrating its 25th anniversary during our visit!

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I absolutely adore the grander architecture of this Main Street USA.

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Everything has been built out to more grandiose proportions and it really is overwhelming how different the land is by comparison to the others around the world.

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Just look at City Hall!

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Pretty sure the Ocean Steamship Co. is the company behind the Sailing Ship Columbia in the American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea.

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A deli on Main Street? Be still my heart!

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Hello beautiful!

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Even the entrance to Adventureland is different here!

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I would have loved to have experienced Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost when it was the Explorer's Club Restaurant.

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I was actually super excited about this one.

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I love the way the queue runs throughout the ruins.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(Continued)

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Time for something I've been waiting a LONG time to experience.

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Just a great show overall!

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The new trains on Space Mountain are really fantastic! I didn't find the ride experience to be rough at all!

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Hyperspace Mountain is a very fun experience. I would have loved to see Space Mountain: Mission 2, but as a Star Wars fan, this was still a fun first experience for a looping Space Mountain.

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I love the setup of the Star Tours corner of Discoveryland, almost as much as the one in Tokyo.

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Best vending machine design ever.

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Illuminations was one of the best castle fireworks shows I've seen (outside of Happily Ever After in Florida).

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I love the World of Color-style fountains in the show.

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And there was no shortage of pyro!

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The projections are great... Seeing Star Wars projected on the castle was something special for me!

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Loved every moment of it!

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I spent a lot of time exploring the Discovery Arcade on Main Street. Just a gem that I can't imagine would be built ever again.

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Time for my first Cornetto cone!

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Back the next day, we got to enjoy the park in the light.

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This castle is something special!

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I love the marquee for this version of Pinocchio!

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It amazes me that the hardware for the old ferris wheel-style Old Mill ride remains attached to the thematic Old Mill all these years later.

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I was in for a pleasant surprise...

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I hadn't done a lot of research on the parks to preserve as many possible surprises as possible... I'll explain why shortly.

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A closer look...

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They really took the Casey Jr. and Storybook Boat concepts from Disneyland and plussed them when they built Disneyland Paris.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf!

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A Night on Bald Mountain!

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Enter the Cave of Wonders!

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Belle's village with Beast's Castle in the background.

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Another surprise? Seeing The Wizard of Oz represented here.

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Most interestingly, it is the animated version of the story.

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I love the interaction between these two attractions!

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Remember when I mentioned a pleasant surprise? "it's a small world" in Paris was just that!

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While I love the Mary Blair style that makes the classic attraction so distinct, I really love the artistic direction they took with this version. Everything feels more grand and vibrant!

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Proper representation found!

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The winking hippo is still here!

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Just awesome!

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The America section of the ride is really fun!

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Miami Dolphins?

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Love it so much!

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The backside of this gorgeous castle!

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The dragon underneath this castle was as amazing as I'd hoped!

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The inside has unique fantasy architecture to distinguish this from actual European castles nearby.

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The Discovery Arcade is gorgeous, complete with its authentic gas lamps!

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The window displays inside are awesome!

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The futuristic poster art is wonderful too.

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So neat!

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We ran back over to Studios to get a few more things accomplished...

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Neat to see a drum band roaming the park.

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I love this fountain!

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The detail is great... Stay tuned for more photos from these parks as our Grand European Adventure continues!

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Wonderful report of your first ever visit to Disney Paris. I think i was nearly crying when I first saw that hotel above the entrance of the park, lol. Couldn't believe I was finally there. Glad to read you didn't read up too much on most of the attractions in either park, to make it more of a magical unexpected experience.

 

A correction though - what you called "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" in the Story Book Land cruise wasn't quite right. It's actually the tale of "Peter and The Wolf" which is also a classical musical piece, written for children to understand and enjoy.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our second day at the Disneyland Paris Resort continued with us taking in some more great food and more of the experiences not found at the other parks we'd been to... And by the end of our day and a half at Disneyland Paris, we regretted not being able to stay for another day or so. We found the cast to be incredibly friendly, the operations to be highly efficient, and the unique charm and beauty of Disneyland Paris Park enthralling. We're already talking about planning another trip back to the resort once their major expansion efforts are done in a few years.

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We had time during our visit for one table service meal and while Walt's was on our list, Bistro chez Remy seemed like the more unique option of the two.

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Time for a flash back to my youth...

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The interior decor is incredibly clever!

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You're dining in Remy's restaurant for mice seen at the end of the film (and at the end of the ride).

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We each got variations of the premium prix fixe menu... My wife started with the cold vegetable gazpacho.

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Duck foie gras! This was authentic and smooth--not my normal fare but there wasn't a drop left on my plate when I was done.

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We went with the premium prix fixe particularly because of the signature ratatouille and it did not disappoint!

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My dessert was a truffle-laced cheese and it was easily one of the best cheeses I've ever consumed!

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My wife got the Apple Tarte Tatin, and it was unbelievable--the best cooked apple dish we've ever eaten.

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Despite being stuffed to the brim after Remy, we did continue to force ourself through noshing at the food and wine booths.

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"Earily" familiar...

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While not a carbon copy of the version of the Studio Backlot Tour that existed at Disney's Hollywood Studios for so many years, there are many similarities.

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The set from the "hit show" Dinotopia... I had to look this one up to know what they were talking about.

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This seems familiar.

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Where have I seen this before?

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SKLOOSH!

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Something else familiar on the Horizon...

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Another set on the Studio Tram Tour is inspired by the "hit film" Reign of Fire... For those of you that remember that one.

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Cars from the live action 100 (and 101) Dalmatian films... These I actually recognized!

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Having just been in California two weeks earlier, it was a little strange not seeing the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout experience here...

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The Tanaleer Tivan statue would be here.

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Waiting for the Rocket animatronic to come out.

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Toy Story Land here is pretty cute!

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Though I prefer Florida's Slinky Dog ride...

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Oddly enough, RC Racer was the first halfpipe coaster I'd ever ridden...

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And it was quite fun!

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The queue is designed to look like slot car tracks!

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Mini Cars Land...

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Deju vu all over this park.

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So many flashbacks.

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Interesting to see the Partners statue here.

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The park's dedication plaque.

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TIKI!!!!

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Back in the Discovery Arcade in Disneyland Paris, I found this gem of a nook.

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Such a cool little thing!

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Sadly Phantom Manor wasn't open during my visit...

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But even the refurbishment signage was awesome.

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Love the nods to the other Frontierlands of the Disney Parks around the world.

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Nothing prepared me for how amazing Big Thunder Mountain is in Paris.

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The tunnel that brings you to the island where the coaster is based is unreal! Long, dark and fast and I loved every bit of it!

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Without a doubt, this ended up being our favorite ride in the ENTIRE resort!

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I see you Phantom Manor!

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Such a gorgeous mountain range!

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The Molly Brown is beautiful!

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The setting of this Big Thunder Mountain cannot be beat!

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TAKE THE TUNNEL!!!

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I haven't stopped thinking about this ride since our visit.

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Another look at the unique Molly Brown.

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Coco has found his way into Frontierland!

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TOAD. HALL. RESTAURANT!

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(Continued)

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I never thought I'd experience the Shanghai version of this attraction first, but it was neat to see the original inspiration after having done the more modern take.

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This is the most amazing Ewok plush I've ever seen.

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Some cool figures to be found in the maze!

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Considering how much land this takes up (and how long it took us to get through the maze), it always amazes me that the parks would yielded so much valuable real estate to a walk through attraction.

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Didn't expect to see the Queen of Hearts' castle here!

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Still love this version of the ride the most!

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Time for another ride!

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As a Star Wars fan, I was happy to experience Hyperspace Mountain... As a parks fan, I was a little bummed to have missed out on Space Mountain: Mission 2...

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And the chance to see the Columbiad Cannon in action.

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Tokyo's Star Tours has the best queue... I'd argue that Paris' Star Tours has the best gift shop.

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Love this!

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Love this even more!

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I was super excited to experience this walk through attraction!

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Flashbacks to Tokyo DisneySea...

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Some neat things to look at...

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And a few nods to the film that inspired the attraction.

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For the longest time I thought the Hyperion was something designed specifically for Discoveryland... I learned later in life that it was actually featured in the Disney film, The Island at the Top of the World.

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Next we checked out the Aladdin walk through attraction...

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I really liked this one!

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Super cool!

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Adventureland in Disneyland Paris is super unique!

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I loved seeing this from the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse!

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I love seeing the Disneyland Paris Hotel so prominently towering over the entrance of the park!

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There's a Disney Legends statue near the entrance of the park!

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Having witnessed three different Disney Legends presentations, this was cool to see here!

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The World of Disney store was neat to visit.

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This statue and the Minnie statue on the opposite side came from the former Times Square store in New York City.

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So many unique Ewok plush to find here!

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In the store that was equivalent to the Art of Disney in the stateside parks, we found this awesome model of the castle.

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I love that this LEGO dragon can be found in every Disney LEGO Store location around the world.

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Looks familiar!

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Also familiar! Time to head to the city to explore Paris!

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^ Yeah they still do it (until they start the expansion in that area) and for the most part, there's nothing memorable in it much any more. But it appears (in the recent concept art of the expansion) like the only thing they might be keeping, in the "new stuff" planned for the Studios, is Catastrophe Canyon, as a separate attraction in itself.

 

Awesome report, Adam! So much stuff you enjoyed there. Thanks for sharing all of it.

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You make Disneyland Paris look really great. Drooling over those Ratatouille photos....that prix fixe looks very much worth it. Stunning presentation, and if the quality is as good as you say (and I have every reason to believe it is), then that's a star attraction for this park.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After our time at Disneyland Paris, we spent a day and a half in Paris to explore the city. During my last visit, I had been able to visit Notre Dame, but didn't have the time to go in (I was on a school trip and not in control of my own schedule as a result), so that was a must do this time around. We also made sure to visit Sainte Chapelle and to have some incredible food (read: CHEESE) along the way before leaving France to make our way to London...

 

This update is shorter that most, only because the next one will be much bigger and more magical! ;)

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First stop in the city: Notre Dame! I'd seen the outside almost a decade earlier during my school trip but...

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I love this one!

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But I wasn't prepared for how gorgeous the interior would truly be!

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The stained glass windows are absolutely incredible and it is even more impressive when you realize that these were made centuries ago.

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Even if you don't have a religious affiliation with the church, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed with how much beauty is found within these walls.

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Absolutely stunning.

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Seeing the inside was well worth the decade-long wait... The next visit won't take nearly as long!

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We then took the (lengthy) steps upstairs to take in the view... Like something out of a Parisian postcard!

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Sainte Chapelle would be next on our list...

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Getting to go inside of the belltower of Notre Dame was a really awesome surprise!

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We were able to visit the famous "lock bridge" that many know from the film Now You See Me. It is no longer allowed to place locks on the bridge, but it was still neat to visit this film locale.

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Sainte Chapelle isn't as big as Notre Dame, but it has its own unique beauty.

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Wraparound stained glass windows that are overwhelming for sure!

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I spent a heck of a lot of time taking in this view.

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After our church foray, we visited a local favorite, St. Regus for lunch, where of course, we had French Onion Soup, and of course, it was the best we'd ever had.

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Some of the best tasting chicken we've ever had too.

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And I wasn't going to turn down a chance for a delicious Croque Madame!

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Easily the best eclair (salted caramel) I've ever had.

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Off in the distance is the Grand Palais... This structure has been very, very important to me since I was much younger.

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One of the more famous gardens in Paris--this was recently featured in a scene between Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson in Mission Impossible: Fallout.

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Just goofing around...

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TO THE LOUVRE! (Ok, not yet.)

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Dinner first at another local hotspot!

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ALL THE CHEESE. ALL FOR ME!!!

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And there was no way we were going to France without having authentic raclette.

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I still dream of this meal.

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My last trip to Paris was an extremely limited one, preventing me from visiting the grounds of the Louvre at night...

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My wife understood why I wanted to check it out, once we were here.

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And while we didn't go up in the Eiffel Tower this time around, we still had the chance to walk the grounds at night, which was beautiful.

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Just as there is Le Grand Palais, there too is Le Petite Palais nearby.

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Unfortunately the majority of Le Grand Palais was closed during our visit as it was in between exhibitions, but we did get to see the inside of one of the atriums.

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Why is Le Grand Palais so important to me? Years ago, when I was too afraid as a kid to ride most rides in the theme parks (Disney included), some of my favorite attractions were Circle-Vision films (hence my affinity for O, Canada at Epcot) and for this reason I would watch The Timekeeper quite frequently when I went to the Magic Kingdom. In the film, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells meet on the grounds of the Exposition Universelle (1900) in Paris, discussing the impossibilities and improbabilities of the future. I was enamored with the steel/glass architecture as pictured in the film and dreamed of visiting these grounds. During my High School trip I saw it from afar but I never was able to get close. And while we didn't get to go in due to the venue being closed, walking the grounds was still a dream come true.

 

Oddly enough, I discovered later on that the location used on film in The Timekeeper for the Exposition Universelle was actually a structure in Switzerland... So I've got to add that to my list for the future.

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Mary Magdalene is buried under here... At least according to Robert Langdon.

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The macarons at Laduree were incredible!

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A walk through the Maison Meunier was quite nice!

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While it wasn't a part of our original plan to actually go into the Louvre this time around, the fact that we had a few hours on our hands before our train left for London, and that my wife had never been to the Louvre was enough to convince me that we should go in.

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There are some really incredible artifacts in pristine condition here.

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We maybe got to see 10% of the Louvre, but what we did see was well worth it.

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It was neat to see a model of the Louvre Abu Dhabi here.

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The grounds we walked the night before we could see from the window inside.

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The corridors of the Louvre are incredible.

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And while we didn't wait in a long line to get somewhat close to the Mona Lisa, we did see her from afar, with enough of a zoom to get a photo.

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All the delicious pastries.

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And a French-style omelette...

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Many of my travel desires have been inspired by some of my interests from my youth... I already told you about my fascination with Le Grand Palais... Another one of mine was with the Eurostar/TGV... I'll let you guess why.

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Have you guessed it? I grew up watching the original Mission Impossible film, which features a fantastic finale aboard the TGV. When it was decided that we would visit Paris and London before our cruise, it was a given that we would be taking the Chunnel to get between these cities.

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A few hours later, we arrived in London!

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We ended up at the Founders Arms, a well known pub on the banks of the river Thames that wasn't far from our hotel.

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I might've had a drink or two while we were here too... We called it an early night, knowing that our next day would be busy! The next morning we would gain a new insight into a certain magical universe...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Disneyland Paris' Big Thunder Mountain is so incredible. I can't get over it. Those two endless tunnels...

 

Also I'm now kicking myself for not going inside Notre Dame. Your photos make it look absolutely beautiful. I can't even imagine how it looks in person.

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Our first stop during our time in London was the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter. We'd had little samples of this experience at the Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, but with my wife being a huge fan of all things Potter and me being a fan of the films and the moviemaking process, there was no question about us visiting while in Europe.

 

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter is a giant collection of soundstages and outdoor spaces playing host to set pieces, props and practical effects big and small that were used in the creation of the Harry Potter films. The experience continues to evolve with new additions and seasonal overlays of portions of the tour. The experience is self guided, though you have the option to pay for a deeper-level guidebook and/or a VIP tour with a guide (this is definitely something we'll get the next time we visit).

 

Many tour companies recommend three hours in the experience, but it is my recommendation for you to allow more time than that... We were only half way done as of three hours in. Depending on your degree of fandom/interest, you could easily spend closer to six hours there like we did. There are some interactive elements and a few neat photo/video ops (some free and some up-charge). But what is truly amazing about this place is just how much detail is revealed, not only in the making of these films, but in the attention to detail that was put into the design. In theme parks, we recognize the outstanding achievements of parks that bury little details in the background to be discovered... But in film, it almost seems gratuitous to take the time, money and effort to layer detail into the background of scenes that a viewer will never get close to... And yet, it is without question a feat that those involved in the making of these films gone the extra mile to pour writing, labels, background effects and overflowing detail in every corner. That is what makes this experience so surprising--the level of discovery to be had within.

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Quite the entrance statement... Some notable statues from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

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The age spell surrounding the Goblet of Fire is recreated here for guests to attempt to cross.

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Once inside, you walk down this long hall covered with notable quotes from the films...

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Most people know this one.

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The Triward Cup from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is prominently displayed at the entrance of the exhibit space.

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Harry's original room under the stairs is among the first things you see upon arrival inside...

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It has been preserved from the films.

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I won't give away the reveal that takes place before this moment (no photographs allowed) because it is honestly quite an amazing moment.

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The Great Hall is one of the most impressive portions of the entire tour. The detail within is overwhelming. The space receives various holiday overlays throughout the year but during our visit, it was set up in the normal way.

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It is doubtful you ever saw this fireplace up close in any of the films, but the detail on the Hogwarts crest and the fake fire effect is incredibly impressive!

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All of Hogwarts' most well known professors are at the front of the Great Hall, positioned where their actors stood when filming.

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It is always impressive to see how many different creative minds have been involved in these films.

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It is easy to forget the Chris Columbus, the director of Home Alone 1 & 2 was also the director of the first two Harry Potter films.

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It is amazing to see just how many props were created for single shots in these films. These props were used as a part of the decor for the Yule Ball scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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Fans of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida will recognize the Leaky Cauldron, which has been recreated in Florida.

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A full map of the total experience.

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One fact that surprised me was that the costuming team for the final two Harry Potter films (Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2) created a progression of faded costumes for Harry and Voldemort that represented their respective journeys from the start to end of these two films. Voldemort's robes are dark and defined at the beginning and faded at the end where Harry's colors are subtle at the start and bold by the end... The two characters switch the scales in strength from start to finish, a detail that most would not likely pick up on as purposeful when watching the films.

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The moving staircase and the talking portraits can be seen here.

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This practical effect makes it look like the water is flowing freely, but in reality the prop features a series of transparent colored pipes that contain the flowing water.

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The Gryffindor Boys Dormatory set is small and charming on the inside...

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But getting to see how it was assembled from the outside, shows that is a much larger set piece that you'd expect.

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There were no shortage of unique wands created for these films.

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The Mirror of Erised.

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One of my favorite pieces in the entire tour...

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It may seem obvious but the invisibility cloak effect was achieved by chromakey.

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Some of the details that were in the background in the films and minor points in the books have gone on to have a significant presence in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park lands around the world. Pumpkin Juice is an example of this, and the packaging is incredibly accurate in the parks compared to what was used on screen.

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Gorgeous!

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The entrance to Dumbledore's office...

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If you've experienced Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey's queue, you're likely familiar with this view.

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The set for Dumbledore's office is perfectly recreated in the parks.

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The Dumbledore family has a connection to phoenixes... This is elaborated upon in the latest Fantastic Beasts film.

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The memories Dumbledore extracts are kept in vials here in his office...

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Though you never get this close to them onscreen, it is amazing to see in person the written detail of the labels on each of the vials.

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Looking into my own memories...

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The egg prop from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is neat to see in person.

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Some key, smaller props from the films.

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The prop that started it all...

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Another major prop from the first film.

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Troll armor, something you see more of in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida.

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Skelegrow is another recognizable prop from the films.

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Voldemorts many horcruxes.

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Snape's potions class...

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Each vial has its own unique label and ingredients inside.

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Another look at how the talking portraits inside of Hogwarts are made.

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Hagrid's Hut is surprisingly a pretty small set.

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Though it looks bigger on the inside.

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A focus on the moving, practical props from the films.

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You have the ability to fly on a broom in front of a green screen to take pictures and to make a video...

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I had to get one.

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(Continued)

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A few more major props that were used in front of a green screen.

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The doorway to the Chamber of Secrets is an entirely practical prop, despite it looking so fluid. Seeing it move in person is unreal!

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The Womping Willow beating the car is another practical effect that is amazing to watch.

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The Weasley residence...

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The many set pieces were accompanied by costumed mannequins with matching the placement of their respective characters from the film scenes.

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Tom Riddle's grave.

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The Black Family tree.

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Dolores Umbridge's office...

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The iconic statue from the Ministry of Magic.

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I've seen these gates before!

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Time to go into the Forbidden Forest!

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Buckbeak is here in the form of a gorgeous animatronic.

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Aragog is here too.

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For guests looking for an extra souvenir, this passport and stamp experience can be enjoyed throughout the tour.

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It is a neat little takeaway for sure.

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Another huge space...

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Most people will recognize the image of the Hogwarts Express... This is the one used for all of the stationary filming for the Harry Potter films.

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Amazing how similar the end result was for the version at Universal Studios Florida.

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Neat little photo op.

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Time to go in!

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You can actually see the various passenger cabins onboard the train. The experience is perfectly recreated in Florida--I didn't realize it until I saw this in person.

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The costumes of Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron from the epilogue scene at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

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Harry and Ron on the Hogwarts Express during their first trip to Hogwarts.

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So many of these treats from the trolley are now available for sale in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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A recognizable piece of imagery from the chase through London scene.

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Halfway through the tour, you'll find a place to indulge in your inevitable craving for Butterbeer.

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Classic Butterbeer and Butterbeer Ice Cream are both available for purchase... I did find them each to taste a little different than their stateside counterparts but both were still great.

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There is an outdoor section of the tour that features full size sets from the films including the Knight Bus and the Privet Drive house...

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You can walk through the Privet Drive house where Harry grew up...

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Despite being a full size home on the exterior, only portions of the first floor are built out.

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Harry's cupboard under the stairs is here...

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Details...

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Such a cool scene to see in person.

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A behind the scenes look at how sets are built and weathered to look like brick homes...

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The long covered bridge from Hogwarts is outside and available to be walked for photo ops.

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Godrick's Hollow where Harry's parents were killed is also here.

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More chess pieces from the finale of the first film.

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John Cleese's prop head from his role as Nearly-Headless Nick in the first two films.

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There are informative digital presentations throughout the second half of the tour featuring Warwick Davis who played several roles in the Harry Potter film franchise (and in the production of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida).

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A look at how some of the creatures of the Wizarding World were created using animatronics...

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The decapitated head of the basilisk is mounted on the wall...

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Shades of the Monster Horror Makeup Show in Florida...

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The Hogs Head should be familiar to many fans of the parks.

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More animatronic creatures from the films.

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Animatronic innards.

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Having fun being Dobby.

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Park fans might recognize this dragon.

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Another prop carefully recreated in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

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Some Mad Eye Mooney props.

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I've officially found my spirit animal.

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(Continued)

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In the home stretch... Or rather, the hat stretch.

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Diagon Alley is one of the largest set pieces in the tour.

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Years ago when Diagon Alley opened in Florida, we had the chance to talk to the stars of the film franchise and they all expressed their amazement with seeing these very sets turned into a fully immersive environment. I didn't realize how much of a different there was between the two until I saw this set for myself.

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Interestingly enough, the facades and the placement of the shops isn't exactly the same throughout the land.

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Lots of detail to take in though.

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Florean Fortescue's is very different here... And sadly I couldn't get any Salted Caramel Blondie/Apple Crumble mix ice cream.

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This I recognize!

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One last look...

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Moving on to the paper craft and models section of the tour.

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Really neat to see the design part of the process here.

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I didn't realize this actually existed outside of the parks.

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Pretty impressive!

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Lots of cool things to see.

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These models helped the filmmakers to prepare for their cinematography in these scenes before the sets had been built.

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Sight lines are important.

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Having seen the full sized, practical set piece, this was neat to see the earliest stage three dimensional model.

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Detail.

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The scene conceptualized here looked pretty spot on in the final product.

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And now the grand finale... The Hogwarts Castle model used for all aerial imagery in the films...

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It is huge, the lighting is dramatic and the detail is unreal. You get to circle around the castle as you descend towards the exit.

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Another Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey locale.

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Just incredible.

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The exit is like the end credits to a film...

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Each of the wand boxes represents the name of someone involved in the films...

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See if you can spot the notable ones.

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Lots to be found here.

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Pretty cool.

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The smaller version of the Triward Cup from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is displayed at the exit.

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The gift shop features many of the candies from the parks plus a few that we don't have stateside.

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PYGMY PUFFS!!!

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BOWTRUCKLE!

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There was a small section dedicated to the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film as well.

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The Harry Potter Studio Tour does see several seasonal events and overlays to change things up throughout the year.

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It may surprise you to hear that the exhibit is growing significantly still. According to one guide we met, the tour will nearly double in size in the next five years!

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On the way back to London proper, I saw a credit... And I happily passed it by without stopping... Because credits aren't important.

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Stopping off at Camden Market...

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This is apparently a really well known place, but I really don't like cereal or milk, so I passed.

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POFFERTJES!

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After years of seeing Robb & Elissa hype these, I was glad to get to try this deliciousness myself!

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Back in Picadilly, we decided to catch a cheap show through TKTS... But before then, dinner! And no, I didn't go to dinner at Bubba Gumps... But I did buy a shot glass while I was there.

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If you're ever in Picadilly, I would strongly recommend going to Baby Bao.

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Time to see Matilda for the first time!

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Our cast for the night...

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And our Matilda!

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The show was really fun! The cast (primarily the kids) were all really awesome and the sets were fun and inventive. Definitely worth the visit if you have the chance!

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A great end to a fantastic day!

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