Sometimes you just need a bit of magic in your life. Cheesy fake American magic, but magic nonetheless. I don’t know why but I thought that Disney was ages away from Paris, everyone I knew who had gone had stayed at the resort so that might be it. But when I looked into it Disney was actually on the metro map and a super quick half hour on a train from central Paris. Annoyingly you can’t use the standard single trip metro tickets so you have to buy a €7.50 each way train ticket to get you there. Compare the cost of the train ticket to a flight to Florida…and it starts to look damn reasonable actually.
I fully intended to get there for park opening. Then I got distracted by the bacon and coffee at Mama Shelter and well, I managed to get to Disney half an hour after opening which I was quite proud of under the bacony circumstances. There was a bit of a queue to go through security but that was the longest I had to wait all day, there is a real argument for going to Disney in winter.
I walked in and went a bit nuts. Disney nuts, but nuts regardless. I was like a three year old who had just been introduced to the magical combination of E-numbers and sugar. Everything was just so…DISNEY. There was the castle, the princesses, and there were Disney Christmas decorations everywhere. When I calmed down for a second I was hit by another emotion; panic. I HAD TO GET ON A RIDE. Remembering the long long lines of Disneyland California I was suddenly all aflutter that I would miss out of some of the rides because of the wait time. So I jumped in the nearest line and stood amongst the screaming French children as we waited for the magic of Peter Pan.
I’m going to be honest, it was seriously underwhelming. The animatronics looked like they were from the late 70’s and was just a bit crappy. The kids seem to like it though (not that I could understand them, they were talking in French, but they were smiling in a cool French sort of way) so maybe I was just not hyped up on enough sugar yet?
Next stop was Pirates of the Caribbean ride which was my favourite from Disneyland California. Again the wait time was super quick, maybe about 20 minutes? The ride was exactly as I remembered it from half a world away and over a decade ago. Except in French, so I may have missed a bit in translation. Again the technology was a bit dated, the pirates looked more like they were waiving off flies instead of a death defying sword fight, but sometimes you just have to stop being cynical and get in the moment.
I was seriously excited to see my other favourite ride, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (or Et Le Temple du Peril in the native tongue), had made it all the way to Paris. I raced over to the ride, got seriously lost, ended up on the set of Aladdin, found a Zazu hat and eventually made it to the Temple du Peril. The entire time I was lining up (only about 15 minutes) I was thinking how cool it was that they had built the Indiana Jones ride next to a classic roller coaster so there was something to watch while you waited. Now for those who haven’t been the American Indy ride is inside and you are essentially in the car with Indiana Jones as he gets chased by giant boulders and the like, so much fun. As I got closer and closer to the front of the ride I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. That roller coaster that they built next to the ride? Yeah, that was the actual ride. I couldn’t look like a chicken in front of the smoking French teenagers so I just had to go through with it, all upside down spiral loop-de-loop of it. Shudder.
Moving swiftly along I discovered my seriously rookie error, not eating early. Since it was winter only about half the food places were open and the lines even with a non-busy park were epic to say the least. Not wanting to stand for half an hour in a line I instead made the super smart decision to spend an hour walking all over the park trying to find food; all the while getting more and more hangry. I never learn do I? Luckily the winter parade was my saviour, as the crowds gathered around the castle to watch a snow covered Micky and friends I snuck into the Lucky Nugget for some live music and a pretty good attempt at American BBQ.
After lunch I went to check out futureland and the always terrifying Space Mountain. I mean, a roller coaster in the dark? What sort of sectionable thought that up? Its Disney though, so you just have to give it a try and scream along with the French teenagers. Then came the most entertaining thing of the entire day, the 3D movie. Now most parks are showing something along the lines of Shrek, but not Disneyland Paris. They are still on the Michael Jackson movie when he played a renegade space captain trying to save the world with an assorted bunch of muppet friends. You know a movie is really dated when Michael Jackson is still black in it.
Euro Disney is a bit of a funny one really, if you are looking for a Disney fix without the cost of going to America then you will go and have a magical time. But if you are visiting and expecting it to be of the standard of the American parks then you will be seriously disappointed. I mean even the food was alarmingly healthy with almost no deep fried options, that’s not Disney at all; there was even a fruit stand! I would actually also recommend going in winter when the park is a lot quieter even if it is freezing. I think my visit/opinion of the joy of the rides would have been completely different if I had had to queue for an hour or more for each