Disneyland Paris

Sleeping Beauty Castle

We (my husband and I) were fortunate enough in November to make it to Disneyland Paris! We only got to spend 4 days there, 3 in DL and one in Paris proper, but it was such a fun time! Below are a trip report and some observations that we had while we were there.

There are two parks in Paris, Parc Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios, a very small Disney Village, and 5 hotels. All are within walking distance of each other, as is a train station which goes to CDG airport (11 minutes by TGV) and the city of Paris.

Parc Disneyland is set up much like the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland. There are five lands surrounding a central hub and a castle. Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle) there is amazing! It has the size and wonder of Cinderella Castle, yet the story of its sister castle in Disneyland. There is a great walkthrough, much grander than that in California, in the upstairs, told through stained glass and tapestry. My favorite part of Sleeping Beauty Castle is that there is a dungeon in the bottom, complete with a moving, breathing dragon. Unfortunately, the pictures I was able to get of this terrifying beast did not come out that great, but I don’t think the pictures would do it justice anyway! It was absolutely amazing and we went back to see the dragon several times each day.

The things I liked a lot at Parc Disneyland were many. The hub- it was a stage. This meant that there could be a show going on but the Castle wasn’t blocked. At no time was the Castle walkthrough closed. That was awesome! Space Mountain- take anything you know about Space Mountain and through it out the window! This one was more like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster than anything else- you are launched up a tube on the outside and into loops and corkscrews and it was terrific. Big Thunder Mountain- the coaster itself is an island, but the boarding is on the main land, so you go underwater to the ride proper, which was really cool.

The two attractions which stood out the most to me as different from WDW were Phantom Manor (aka Haunted Mansion) and Pirates of the Caribbean. The story line in Phantom Manor was one cohesive story rather than different stories in different rooms. It was eerie yet had the fun, friendly atmosphere I expected. Also, there was no ghost host. Pirates was really amazing! While some scenes were identical to WDW (except in French) many new ones were there and it was a lot of fun. This version has not been changed to suit the movie franchise.

The Walt Disney Studios Park was also neat, with a lot of similar attractions to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, Magic of Disney Animation, and Backlot Tour. The Studios had some distinctive things as well, such as Crush’s Coaster (which words cannot describe- really unique and awesome), Cars Road Rally, and two really cool stage shows (Animagique and CineMagique).

We stayed at the Hotel New York, one of the 5 hotels on property. It was nice but nothing spectacular. The hotel staff was great and everyone we met made sure that our stay was magical. We did walk around all of the hotels, and decided our favorites were the Sequoia Lodge and of course the Disneyland Hotel, but budget prevented us from staying there.

Overall, we enjoyed our time at Disneyland Paris but there were some things that were negative. First, the whole city of Paris was filthy, and while Disney property was cleaner, it was still dirty. There were cigarette butts and trash everywhere. Speaking of cigarettes, everyone there smokes, and Disney didn’t really enforce their smoking areas, so we had people smoking all around us, including the queues. There was graffiti on the wall leading up to Peter Pan’s flight and in some of the restrooms. One restroom I went into had no toilet paper in several of its stalls about 10 minutes after park opening.

Also, for example, in the Pirates queue there were electrical outlets visible to guests. I know outlets are necessary but they just didn’t fit in with the theme. There were dust and cobwebs (and not in places they should be like Tower of Terror). I just really expect more from a Disney experience than that.

But would I go back? In a heartbeat! I’d recommend it to anyone!

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8 Responses to Disneyland Paris

  1. Laura says:

    We were there for our silver anniversary last May, and it was fun to compare your impressions, which in many cases were similar to ours.

    We thought it was the most beautiful of the three parks we’ve visited (DL, WDW), especially that castle — wow! However, maintenance was very poor — trash visible on rooftops when we were in line for Big Thunder and the Main Street train station, for example, and poor bathroom maintenance. And I sure hope they’ve painted the teacups since then!

    Our other complaint was the food — being Paris, we were expecting excellent food on a par with the variety of good meals that can be found at WDW, and for the most part found it bland, with buffets top-heavy with cold cuts, chicken wings, and salads. And (this isn’t Disney’s fault) Coca-Cola Light is pretty dreadful, which was a shocker for this Diet Coke addict, LOL.

    But enough complaining. What an amazing park! The details on Main Street, for example, were fascinating — we spent ages just exploring the signs, windows, and the beautiful arcades (what a great idea). I thought the way the story was laid out in Pirates made more sense, with the ghosts coming last. We liked Thunder Mountain so much that we road it multiple times. We also liked their version of Small World very much. Little things like the Beanstalk in Fantasyland were wonderful to discover. I highly recommend Disney park fans visit if at all possible.

    P.S. We stayed at Sequoia Lodge and had an excellent experience there.

    Best wishes,
    Laura

  2. Roger Agness says:

    You spent three full days at a theme park and ONLY ONE at the most beautiful, most romantic city in the world?

    You’ve got to be kidding!

  3. Fernando says:

    Well, I am happy you got to Disneyland Paris… it is a very charming park, with very european flavors and styles… it’s basically like going back to the original fairy tales Walt and his team based their movies on.
    And I agree, some areas are not well maintained unfortunatly, not clean enough and a bit forgotten…
    so I hope they will do something about them.

  4. James says:

    Great report, I can understand about the cig butts because they smoke all the time and all over you said. So it would be hard to keep up with sweeping them up but the other trash should be kept up on. Is Disneyland Paris operated by another company like Tokyo Disneyland is. Anyway great summary of rides. Thanks

  5. Lars says:

    I’m pleased you realy like ‘our’ Magic Kingdom park. There are in fact 7 Disney Hotels on property, not 5. I’m an annual passholder and visit the resort 2-3 times a year. I’m still amazed by the beauty of Main Street and our Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is whithout a doubt the most beautiful Disney castle worldwide. Maintenance has been improved the last year, but you’re right, it still needs improvement. Unfortunately we’re also the resort with the most financial problems. I hope you also liked the two parades (Once Upon A Dream Parade and the amazing Fantillusion Parade). I hope to visit both American Disney resorts in the future!

    • Sharla Manglass says:

      Thanks for the correction on the number of hotels. We looked at 6 of them- leaving out the Davy Crockett Ranch. They were unfortunately not showing Once Upon a Dream while we were there, but I did enjoy Fantillusion!

  6. Samuele says:

    I’ve been to Disneyland Resort Paris since I was very young, and I have to say that I loved (and still love)it! But since I moved to Orlando, I discovered WDW that in my opinion is FAR, FAR, FAR better than Disneyland Paris!
    First of all, there are obviously 4 great parks (instead of only 2, and WDS is very small too); then, as you all said, Disneland Paris (even thought it’s not that dirty) is absolutely not as clean as WDW;and the rides are a lot more in WDW…
    But, I have to tell the truth, I really miss Pirates of the Caribbean of Disneyland Paris!!! It was another world FAR FAR better than the poor version of WDW… I also miss a lot the wonderful dragon under “Le chateau de la belle au bois dormant” (Sleeping Beauty castle) and their version of Space Mountain!
    With that being said, I absolutely recommend to visit Disneyland Paris!

  7. Lindsey O. says:

    We had the opportunity to go to Paris for our honeymoon (in June of 2005) and on our last day we went to Disneyland Paris. We were there during the hottest heatwave they’ve had in years – people died from the heat!! Needless to say it was scorching at disneyland.
    Fortunately when we were in Paris it was SO clean. They were up for nomination to hold the Olympics. Why can’t it be like that all the time? It was SO beautiful and everyone was SUPER friendly – everywhere.
    Side Note: We made the mistake by taking the Metro to DL Paris. There is a special ticket to get into the resort. I don’t know if they still do this now or not, but we had to pay 20 Euros each to get out of the train depot!
    We stayed for only a short time and if we ever get back, I would love to stay more than one day at the resort.
    Oh! One thing that we noticed at DL P was that the queues were so much wider that the ones in Anaheim. We experienced the lack of personal space that other guests give you and because of the wide queues – if you don’t hug the person in front of you others will cut in front of you. It was a little bit of culture shock! It was fun to tell our stories of the overcrowding queues, almost getting stuck at the Metro train depot, hotter than hades weather, how much more awesome Space Mountain is there, live roosters and chickens walking around the frontierland area, how much scarier haunted mansion was, and so much more.

    I would *LOVE* to go back in the early spring. Oh, and THE day we left it was the most beautiful and pleasant weather. ;o) Go figure.

    I <3 Disneyland,

    Lindsey O.

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