I must admit that the residual parts of my childhood have a secret agenda for this trip: to visit all of the Disney theme parks while I am traveling to see the rest of the world. My second day in Paris consisted of traveling to an apartment along the express line connecting Disneyland Paris and the city center. After putting my pack in lockdown I spent the entirety of the day Disneyland! Perhaps not the most Parisian activity, but nonetheless an incredible amount of fun.
Part of the appeal to visiting the different parks are to see how each one changes, to see the choices that are made to fit region specific audiences. Noticing little details, like how the facial features of the Pirates in the Pirates of the Carribean are decidedly more “french” to the decor in the Discoveryland area being accented by science fiction writers with a French background. It provides a strange sort of Americanizes baseline from which to compare, and it’s fascinating.
The designers of the parks meticulously plan for aesthetics, which makes walking around the park and finding places to photograph particularly fun. As if certain areas are simply waiting for you to unlock the secrets of an image once the proper angle has been located. From the majestic pink castle (unique to this park) to the caves on Adventure Island, the park is full of interesting pockets of imagery.
For those of you interested in visiting the park, here were some of the highlights:
1) Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours, and the Phantom Manor
Many of the attractions in Disneyland Paris still maintain the designs that I remember when visiting Disneyland in California when I was young. Pirates of the Caribbean has not been updated to reflect the movies, and the Star Tours attraction remains in its original state as well (complete with a jaunt through the Death Star trench!) albeit in French.
While I appreciate the initiative and necessity of change, the nostalgic centers of my mind were celebrating. The phantom manor was also quite good (though the queue was missing some of the in-joke details present in other locations) and were where I spent most of my time at when going on rides.
2) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
The first of the Indiana Jones rides, it follows a more traditional coaster design outside. It also consistently had about a 5 minute wait to ride, which I most certainly took advantage of. The design is relatively simple, with a single loop, but has little in the way of atmosphere or substance. The other Jones rides, and the updated version of this ride with a different name at Tokyo DisneySea, are much more interesting.
Definitely worth the ride, especially if Space Mountain is closed.
3) Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Crush’s Coaster (in Walt Disney Studios Park)
Rockin’ Roller Coaster easily my favorite coaster that Disney does, I haven’t had a chance to ride it since I was much younger at Walt Disney World. Launching at 60 mph directly into a corkscrew, the ride rarely lets up.
Crush’s coaster is unique to this park, and as far as I know unlike any other ride by design in any of the parks. Sitting in a turtle shell that spins while you run through the mad current of the Australian sea, it comes as a close second for the park. It’s definitely worth the wait if the queue is less than an hour.