“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” Walt Disney
Disneyland Paris was never on my agenda let alone the itinerary. Having owned a villa in the sunshine state for a while we have done all things Disney in Florida to death but the teenager had other ideas. In a well put together argument she pointed out that although she too had been many times to Disney and other related theme parks in Florida she was either a) too young and b) too short to ride any of the big roller coasters so she ‘needed’ to go in Paris to complete her experience (this tried and tested method also worked to swim with the dolphins at the Atlantis in Dubai having been too young at Discovery Cove in Florida and when partaking in the thrills and spills at Universal Studios in Singapore).
Big bro was enlisted again (having already been a bouncer at the Sweet Sixteen Party and Wireless Festival Chaperone), this time to embrace his inner child (not at all a stretch) and take her on all the big rides. I, of course took up my usual role of coat stand, bag holder and photographer and the other half was just relieved to be on a plane on his way to Paris after point-blank refusing to step foot anywhere near a theme park especially a French one!
So on an overcast and slightly gloomy Parisian Tuesday morning we set off on our little adventure with low expectations (me and the eldest who had been before with school years ago and got food poisoning) and excitement (the teenager). On a positive note the whole online ticket purchasing process was très facile, gave us a cheeky 20% discount and entitled us to fast passes for the big attractions. The Metro journey, although quite long, was direct and stopped right at the park entrance.
Despite our initial reservations we had a good day and apart from the intermittent showery weather and looking like complete fools in our see through Disney ponchos (another first for me) Disneyland Paris didn’t really disappoint but it’s still not Florida! Spilt into two adjacent parks, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios were both easily accessible from each other and apart from two rides with horrendous queues and no fast pass options, the teenager fulfilled her Disney dream on the eve of her sixteenth birthday. Not that you would have guessed she was fifteen as she flitted about all day in her Minnie Mouse ears and was just as excited as the little girls when the Frozen float went past in the Main Street USA daily Character Parade procession. ‘Do you want to build a Snowman?’ No I bloody don’t and neither to I want to hear that song again and I won’t “Let it Go” either!!
We started off with great energy and vigour (after the eldest was fed and watered for all our continued benefit and enjoyment) in Walt Disney Studios Park which was filled with Disney animation favourites and classics from the colourful Toy Story section to the newly opened Ratatouille attraction, alongside the backlot areas and stunt shows all set across five production zones.
Toon Town was first on the agenda and we wandered through the colourful Toy Story Playland attraction where the ‘kids’ rode the RC Racer coaster. With a 90-minute queue the Finding Nemo themed spinning Crushers Coaster ride was quickly eliminated from the ‘must do’ list.
Top of the teenagers list was the stomach churning Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and while they queued and were catapulted on the haunted elevator in an accelerated drop that plunged through the old replica Hollywood Hotel, I went to meet some characters. Another favourite was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith, being thrown around to the strains of ‘Love in an Elevator’ and ‘Walk This Way’ among others.
Next stop was the main Disneyland Park, a beautifully landscaped affair with Disney themed flower beds and perfectly sculpted hedges and lawns. Main Street USA looked like it had been picked up from Florida and dropped straight into its Parisian counterpart just without the Floridian sunshine.
This park is also divided up across five lands from the space missions of Discoveryland, pirate endangered waters of Adventureland, the Wild West of Frontierland, twee Fantasyland (location of its-a-bloody-small-world, my words not Disney’s) and of course Main Street, USA home of the daily character Parade set against the backdrop of Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
The big thrills of Space Mountain: Mission 2, the Big Thunder Mountain train, Indian Jones and the Temple of Peril were all ticked off and I even rode a teacup just to keep a certain someone quiet!
All photographs in this post are the property of Jo Brett (anexpatabroad) and cannot be copied or reproduced with the owner’s permission.