Sunday, 27 July 2014

Disneyland Paris: the good, the bad and the ugly

I recently had the opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris for a few days. Be forint going I had been to both Disneyland and Disneyworld so I had an idea for comparisons on different things. I just left the other day and noticed a few things about the park. Some things were good, some things were bad, and some things were ugly bad. ( Side note: I don't mean to offend anyone with this post it's just my opinion)

The good:

1. Big Thunder Mountain. I normally wouldn't put an individual ride on this list but I have to say this is the best Big Thunder Mountain ride. It is nice as you actually start  at the river bank and go under the river to the mountain. The track layout was nowhere near similar to the ones at the other park so a nice surprise!

2. Space Mountain Mission 2. This is the only other ride that I have individually. I came into the queue with the expectation of this one being the best Space Mountain ride there is. And my expectations were correct! When I went it was relatively empty so never had to wait more than 20 minutes for it. The launch off at the beginning was weak but was really normal speed. Then you went into darkness and then into outer space where you could see planets. One word: WOW! In Disneyland you can barely even see anything but with this one they have illuminated planets and an asteroid! What a different experience!

3. Uniqueness. One of my favourite parts of Disneyland Paris is the uniqueness of certain rides. An example is Casey Jr.'s mine train. In Disneyland it is a small train ride around storybook land. In Disneyland Paris, it was the same train but more like Gadget's go coaster or The Barnstormer as a slower kids roller coaster but still fun for all ages. Another ride example was Phantom Manor. While very similar to the Haunted Mansion, (same stretching room scene just different pictures) it had a different technique and in some places were actually kinda creepy in some places. And the best one, as of right now, Star Tours is still the original one! I personally liked the old ones story line better but the interactive-ness of the new one. I have a feeling that it will change in 2015 when they incorporate the Cantina in a new Star Wars land. That's why Captain EO and Buzz Lightyear's Pizza Planet is closed for good.)

The bad:

1. The queues. The problem with the queues were how wide they were. If a ride was closed and just reopened it wasn't in an orderly line but more of a mob mentality while in Disneyland the queue is only wide enough for one or two people so people don't push past while Disneyland Paris had queues 3-4 people wide so you just went and hoped you were together.

2. Food. I know I can't really complain about the food and the prices as it is Disney but it is even more overpriced than other parks. We went to a cafe restaurant which would be similar to Taste Pilots Grill or Cosmic Ray's Starlight Diner. I got the chicken strips and fries and for 3 strips and a few fries it cost me 12 euros (approximately $16 USD). All in all not a good food experience.

The ugly:

1. Theming. To me, theming throughout a ride or a land is crucial and one of the most important parts of Disneyland to me with the imagineers. To me, it was lacking, hardcore. An example was Big Thunder Mountain. Even though I loved the ride the theming through the queue was awful. It may be hard as the ride isn't right there as they use that to their advantage in Disneyland. In the queue they have a small little shack and indoors a small collection of mining supplies. And outside at the Wheelchair entrance or you can see from the fast pass queue was a steam engine in the water to add to the age of the times. But that was it. Overall pretty disappointing with the theming as it didn't have that Disney magic.

2. Size. They promote that they have over 50 attractions and that's just barely the case. In the Walt Disney Studios park, which is similar to California Adventures or Animal Kingdom, there were much less rides. They only had 17 rides throughout the whole area that I'd say was a little larger than the World Showcase or the size of California Adventure without the Carsland expansion. Even the Disneyland Park only had about 40 rides with a majority of them being in Fantasyland.

All in all I was not disappointed but not impressed. I'm glad I went once and I don't know if I will go again (All though next year they will have the Cantina to join Star Tours).