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Erik & Smisty & TPR do Germany, Belgium, and France

Part 4: America in France

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7 hours ago, OldJJman said:

Great job Erik!! Anyone who can get a “Galaxy Quest” quote in a trip report is a star!!!

The old man speaks the truth!

I also agree about bad karma = Boomerang. Really bad karma = SLC. Hideously bad karma = Golden Horse knockoff SLC.

I love this report--thanks for finally updating it.

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On 8/24/2022 at 9:16 PM, Electerik said:

I enjoyed this more than I thought I might. It was fun! The slow roll out of the station is a gimmick I could do without, though. Especially as I suspect that it's the reason they won't let you wear glasses on the ride even with a strap.

Which brings up a bigger issue for me. Like, I kind of don't like that they keep making more and more extreme rides but then you can't really enjoy them because the safety features need to be equally extreme. Like, I'd rather just ride Wodan, you know? I guess this is really just my RMC complaint put in a broader context, isn't it?

I'm with you on this, and I figured it was just me getting older. I think RMC has done amazing things for the industry, but some of the newer ride elements that enthusiasts seem to rave about (like outward-bank airtime hills and stalls and whatnot) do kind of baffle me. The first roll on this thing just looks really unpleasant, even though it's likely cool to watch from the ground. It probably won't be long before RMC does their first fully inverted chain lift or an outward-bank turn that slowly grazes you up against a cactus or something.

And, as always, great report!

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  • 2 months later...

I submit to you that I am not "slow," but rather a master of suspense.

Anyway, here it is, the fourth and final installment of our 2022 trip to Europe, in which I mostly complain about Disney.

So enjoy that.

And, also, there are people who started 2019 trip reports that still haven't finished them, so cram it.

Nah, I'm just joshin' ya'. I love you guys!

Part 4: America in France

 

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Welcome to Parc Asterix, a place I honestly knew very little about going in. In fact, I pretty much just knew they had Tonnerre de Zeus and Goudurix and that the park was themed around a French newspaper cartoon.

 

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When I heard you could ride an ass on their carousel, this isn't quite what I'd pictured.

 

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This park is actually pretty great. I really liked it.

Yes, that's my caption. I'm already out of jokes.

 

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I don't remember the names of any of these rides, but I'm definitely counting them both as credits.

By which I mean I'm giving the park credit for having a dark ride, even though it doesn't really have one, strictly speaking. This boat ride works, though.

Actually, most of the ride names in this park seem a bit unimaginative, even in French, mostly being variations of "Caesar's Spinning Thing" or somesuch.

 

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We interrupt this trip report to insert a random photo of Montu.

Actually, I liked this better than Montu. And quite a lot better than Black Mamba.

 

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You should know by now the kind of trickery I engage in when putting these trip reports together. This is a restaurant, and the next photo is of food. And yet...!

 

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...this food is not from that restaurant! In fact, I'm not even sure what this food is. Pizza? Or like quiche?

We'll just go with quiche pizza.

 

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I love these kinds of car rides. But while I do usually enjoy them, I am also frequently just a little bit disappointed that there isn't more to them. But not in this case. This thing was great. Scenery, animatronics, buildings you go through with scenery and animatronics. This might just be my new favorite car ride and I had no idea this park even had a car ride.

In fact, I liked it so much I'm going to go look up the name of it!

Hang on.

"Nationale 7"

Right. I did mention that the ride names were largely kind of bland, didn't I?

 

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The ride isn't bland though.

I just put "Nationale 7" through google translate and it shocking didn't come back as "driving past old people having sex in a barn."

 

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You've seen this photo, right? Or a version of it? Well, just in case you haven't, here you go.

 

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The park has a couple of these indoor areas that feel mostly abandoned. Which is a shame because they're really cool even without the shops, restaurants, and little attractions that look like used to exist within them.

 

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Goudurix is the one clear exception to the bland ride name rule, apparently translating as "the taste of danger." It's reputation, as I'm sure you're aware, is that it's maybe the most painful coaster in existence. It was closed most of the day, apparently for mechanical problems. Actually, it may have been closed all day. I have no idea. I never intended to ride it.

 

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We also didn't ride Tonnerre 2 Zeus, but did intend to. It just kind of ended up being later in the day for us, and right after we got it line, it went down. It probably reopened, but we never made it back.

It may seem strange to hear me be so blasé about it, but as awesome as these trips are, they can also sort of end up being like a Brazilian steakhouse. Yes, all this food is amazing and I'm paying the same amount regardless and I really would like to try this cut of meat because I've never had it before but also I'm about to fall asleep and I'm currently covered in bruises and you expect me to backtrack to ride something that may or may not be open by the time I get there? I think I'll just head to the hotel and take a nap, thanks.

You get the idea, I'm sure.

 

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We never skip a water cups ride, though.

 

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The park didn't even make them do this!

 

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This was the trip of madhouses and we rode all of them. This was the best, as the story involved some sort of experimental medieval submarine being attached by a giant octopus. (Maybe...? I mean, it was in French and I don't speak French, so I may have misunderstood some of the finer details. It was great though. )

 

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Yeah, Parc Asterix was quite good.

Thus endeth the last official park of the trip, but this report is just getting started!

Yeah, sorry, there's a whole bunch more.

 

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Back in Paris, where cars rule and there are no rules for cars.

 

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One of those famous Parisian street cafes you're always hearing about.

 

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We're pretty big zoo and aquarium fans, so we wanted to check out Paris's zoo. And...it was fine, but I'm just about ready to add zoos to the short list of things the US is better at (along with airports and desserts).

 

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Still, it's always fun to look at long-necked horsies.

 

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Chubby sea lions.

 

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Sometimes people are in the way of your photo, and sometime people make your photo.

 

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The Biozone Amazonie-Guyane. Or for those of you that don't speak French, the Amazonia-Guyana Biozone.

You're welcome.

 

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Statement.

 

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Maximum security. Reserved for large cats that have repeatedly escaped.

It's a perfectly pleasant zoo, but probably doesn't need to be super high up on most peoples' list of places to visit in Paris.

 

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Disneyland Paris!

 

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Okay, here we go. I'll try not to belabor the point, but I'm not a huge Disney fan. I used to be. I grew up with Disneyland and loved it. But I got older and Disney and I grew apart. Maybe the best way to explain where I'm at now is this: I love Disney's rides--especially the classic older ones--but I hate what I have to do to get to them. Which is to say, I dislike the Disney park "experience."

Still, we elected to visit Disneyland Paris because we'd never been and we wanted to see it. And we stacked the deck to give us every advantage we could, staying at an on-property hotel and buying their best/most expensive fast pass option.

Did this help? Yes, it dulled the Disney negatives a bit. So success. But...yeah, it didn't really change my mind about Disney parks overall.

 

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Sleeping Beauty's castle is quite nice, both inside and out.

 

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Hey, it's a famously unique-to-Disneyland-Paris thing!

 

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Just a quick visit that first night, and then we went to the Rainforest Cafe. Why? I don't know, man. Because it was funny...?

 

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Our first full day at Disneyland Paris began with the second gate, Walt Disney Studios Paris.

 

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Gross.

 

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This area is nice, though. I enjoyed the 3 little flat rides and the fun theming.

 

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Doesn't really look like a Disney ride, does it?

 

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These cuddle up whip things are always fun. Several cars out of commission for first thing in the morning at a park that should be able to afford the very best maintenance, though.

Hey, I'm just saying.

 

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A bold choice to include a map of a better area at a better park.

 

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Crush's Coaster is the big unique ride at this park, and it's fun. But it is mostly just a spinning coaster in a box, and its wait times are intense.

Of course, we had the pay fast passes, which still resulted in around a 20 minute wait. Which is not a complaint. Well, actually it is. But I'm not complaining about waiting 20 minutes after buying a fast pass. No, I get that. I'm complaining about Disney deliberately putting in a low capacity ride, knowing full well what kind of lines it would generate, when they could easily have created something similar or better with much better capacity by spending a bit more money that they obviously had. But they went cheap because they knew they could get away with it and pass that misery onto you.

And yes, I already knew all of this when I decided to go. But this is why I no longer go to Disney parks very often.

 

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Also note that staying on-site gave us 60 minutes of early access. But also note that you can't use your pay fast passes during that hour, and (especially at Disneyland Paris) many of the smaller rides aren't open during that hour.

It's just like, a bunch of weird math pop quizzes to negotiate at every turn.

I suspect that big Disney Park fans like the challenge. They're like couponers. They just really enjoy feeling like they outsmarted the system. Like people dropping $100 into slot machines in Vegas while patting themselves on the back that they got two free drinks.

Okay, okay. I'm okay. Deep breathes. I can do this. Keep positive.

 

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The best ride at Walt Disney Studios Paris, at least in my opinion, is not exactly unique. But I don't care. I'm always down to ride Tower of Terror. I don't even care that it's the "lesser" version without the 5th dimension scene. It's still great.

Interestingly enough, what really makes this one unique, is the strange focus on the little girl character. Do French people find little girls especially creepy or something? Is that a cultural thing? It's the same characters from the Orlando and original California versions, but the little girl becomes the centerpiece of almost ever scene in a way I found really weird and highly amusing.

 

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We experienced a breakdown about halfway through the cycle, sat for a few minutes, got cycled off, and were then given a proper full ride, so that was fun and interesting. (Not sarcasm, for clarity. I just don't know how to say it in a way that doesn't sound sarcastic. To be honest, I don't really know how to say anything that doesn't sound sarcastic. It's just who I am.)

 

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Ratatouille is a solid trackless dark ride that of course now also exists at Epcot. I quite liked it, but I have the same minor complaint that I had about Mouse au Chocolat at Phantasialand--which is that the 3-D glasses make the real non-screen scenery look a bit muddled, which is a shame because that all looks quite good if you take the glasses off. But then of course you need them on for the 3-D screens.

 

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Next door is the wonderfully themed and beautiful Bistrot Chez Rémy. The food is pretty good also, but really I'm recommending it for the decor.

And by "recommend it," I mean make sure you make reservations 2 months in advance or resign yourself to waiting in long lines to eat at a cart because this is a Disney park.

 

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Their disaster canyon tram ride has been rethemed to Cars Road Trip. It's pretty weak, but at least it has amazing capacity, so you shouldn't need to wait long.

 

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Back to our soulless hotel, the Cheyenne. This is themed to Woody from Toy Story. But also kind of not...? I assume they're trying to appeal to both children and adults by being both Toy Story but also just generic old west...?

 

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It did the job and it was close enough to the parks, so yeah, pretty good.

 

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This is outside the nearby Hotel Santa Fe, which is similarly kind-of-themed to Cars.

 

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You probably know that Walt Disney Studios Paris is a bit lacking in terms of number of attractions. But what you might not know is that Disneyland Paris is similarly afflicted--perhaps not compared to its second gate, but certainly when compared to Disneyland or even Magic Kingdom.

 

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Main Street has two side "hallways" that run the length of it, creating more footpath to get in and out from the entrance to the hub. No doubt hugely beneficial during parades and such. I'm for it, but one amusing thing is that Disney lists these pathways as attractions on the park map, and the symbol it uses for attractions is a little coaster car--creating the hilarious implication that Disney considers this hallway to be a roller-coaster.

 

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Buzz Lightyear's Laser Rangers or whatever is fine and fun and pretty much the same (other than being in French, of course).

 

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I was told I got the highest score in the park's history. Which makes sense.

 

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Autopia is fun. It's interesting to think that when I was a kid the entire point seemed to be to run into the car in front of you. But then again kids are jerks.

 

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Kids, but not jerks.

(Unless you own Disney stock. Then you probably think we're jerks.)

 

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The Nautilus was closed during the 3 or 4 days we were around. As was 'it's a small world,' the Disneyland Railroad, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Swiss Family Treehouse, the Pirate Galleon, and probably some other minor stuff that I've forgotten. But, hey, what do you expect when you visit in July?

 

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Here's a shot of Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain broken down. We did ride it a bit later and it didn't hurt me too bad but also isn't something I ever need to ride again. That probably says more about me than Disney, though.

 

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Smisty built her own droid in the Star Tours gift shop. Pretty much just a red R2-D2 with a sombrero. So basically the greatest droid ever.

 

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The best Pixar movie.

 

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A little snack stand in Fantasyland. So why include a photo of it?

 

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Because they had bitterballen!

 

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Storybooklandcanalboats. Casey Jr. goes over the stone bridge. I like that these are here.

 

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Another unique-to-Disneyland Paris thing is Alice's Curious Labyrinth.

 

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I was a bit worried about how this would work capacity-wise, but it wasn't too crowded when we went. Maybe it's just not that popular. I enjoyed it, though.

 

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Almost an observation tower!

 

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You know how I mentioned that Disneyland Paris feels pretty light attractions-wise? Well, it's in Adventureland and Frontierland that you really feel it. Adventureland has an Indiana Jones coaster and Pirates, and Frontierland has Big Thunder and Phantom Manor. There is a handful of other small attractions (most of which were closed while we were there), but what there isn't is: Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, Country Bear Jamboree, Enchanted Tiki Room, and/or Jungle Cruise.

Interestingly, this means that there are no rides at the resort that get guests wet. But I guess you can just go to Parc Asterix for that. And also to have fun. Zing!

Okay, okay.

 

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You can probably guess how I feel about this.

 

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Pirates of the Caribbean is legitimately interesting. It pretty much has all the same scenes as the one at Disneyland, but in a completely different order. Which is fascinating if you're super familiar with Disneyland's but have never been on this one.

 

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Featuring Johnny Depp speaking French!

 

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Looks cool.

Closed.

 

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This was open, though. Love a rope bridge. Or a bouncy bridge. Any kind of bridge really. If Disneyland Paris was one big bridge, I'd probably be singing a very different tune, is what I'm saying.

 

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Most people say this is the best Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And I don't know, maybe. The tunnels between the station and the island are cool, no doubt, but this one felt a big rougher than the others I've ridden. Lots of push/pull. Maybe I just caught it on a bad day or whatever.

 

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Phantom Manor might've been the highlight of the resort for me. I'm not saying it's better than Disneyland or Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansions. They're all sort of dynamically equal to me. But this one has lots and lots of unique elements that I really enjoyed, and I'm really happy I got to ride it a few times, because it's really good and also super interesting if you've been on the other ones a bunch of times. I almost want to say I like this one the best...but there are a couple of things missing that I miss.

 

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Oh, what the heck, I'll give Disneyland Paris this one. Sign me up as happy haunt #100!

 

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Ah.

Okay, sorry for being such a Disney hater. But, but, but...I really did enjoy the rides! Especially Tower of Terror; Ratatouille; Pirates of the Caribbean; Snow White, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan in Fantasyland--which I didn't mention but did ride; Buzz Lightyear; Star Tours; and Autopia. Crush's Coaster was fun, and all the little Toy Story rides were good.

They're all just hard to get to. And I don't just mean because they're in France.

 

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Delta One both ways, not because I'm rich but because I'm too old to prioritize money over comfort at this point.

Bonus points for anyone who can identify the movie onscreen.

That's it! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my visit to Walt Disney World next month! 😛

 

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Thanks for the report!  I always love them, especially for these foreign parks that I might never get to.  And you always seem to post just in time to remind me to get caught up on reports too!

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4 hours ago, Electerik said:

And, also, there are people who started 2019 trip reports that still haven't finished them, so cram it.

I have no idea who you're talking about. 🤐

Nonetheless, I'm glad somebody's documenting this trip, up to and including a tight squeeze on Vol d'Icare.

Definitely agree with some of your thoughts on Disney. The guest experience isn't quite the same as the US parks, but you hit on two of the things I love: the different versions of some of the key rides (better than the US counterparts in some cases) and some of the weird non-ride stuff. The whole skull island area is somewhere you could spend an hour exploring, and the labyrinth is cool too. Glad you found the bitterballen!

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so excited to see this!

great pics, and I too agree with much of what you said about DisneyParis. . . tho I really did enjoy many of the walk thru "attractions" - even tho they didn't offer much.

I found the food at the Marrakesh Buffet place to be pretty excellent too (same with the restaurant overlooking Pirates - tho service there was awful. . but the food was good). . .so I'd rank the food near the top of the DLP reasons to go as well - if you pick the correct restaurant.

I'm really happy to see the pics from Parc Asterix - you have pics of things I honestly do not recall seeing!  
(granted, I had other worries going on by that point in the trip) I do not recall that car ride.  how the heck did I miss that????    or the indoor sections?  maybe I saw them and don't remember?
 

and the Paris Zoo looks like a must visit for a zoo fan, even if not a super exciting one.    not the main reason to go back to France, but if I ever do go back, it's on my list.  thanks so much for posting, love it.    

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