My Mom’s must-do on her birthday trip to Paris? Disneyland Paris (EuroDisney for those not aware of the name change). Seriously.
Growing up in Southern California – the birthplace of Disneyland, McDonald’s and the Crystal Cathedral (you’re jealous, I know) – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Disneyland. Disneyland Paris is the same and yet worlds apart from its American cousins. For starters, Mickey speaks French and English, sometimes in succession, sometimes in a weird Frenglish.
And those Europeans must really love their “un 360 loop” – that’s upside down loops to us Americans – because they have been snuck into most every coaster in Disneyland Paris and its companion park, Walt Disney Studios. Have I mentioned that Kate and I je n’aime pas les 360 loops? In fact, we’re not big roller coaster fans to start with, so you can imagine our surprise when we hit the “Rock n’Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith” and we’re treated to not 1, but 3 upside down loop-de-loops.
Yep, that’s us in the back; yes, that pretty much sums it up; and yes, people were pointing and laughing at our photo at the exit. So imagine our surprise when we headed over to the Disneyland Paris park, waited in line for good ole Indiana Jones “and the Temple of Peril” and found this:
This is not my Indiana Jones ride. And guess what? It features “un 360 loop” – a fact we once again didn’t discover until we were past the point of not return.
Feeling a bit nervous, we headed to some old favorites to note the Paris spin. The Haunted Mansion – Phantom Manor – was both familiar and different, a perfect combo. The theme of the bride and her disappearing husbands was creepy and while the Manor wasn’t as elaborate as the one in California, it was still impressive.
Disneyland Paris also took Sleeping Beauty’s Castle up a notch with stain glass windows of the story and a full-on animatronic dragon in the basement.
In Walt Disney Studios, we were treated to the newest Disney ride, the “Crush Coaster” based on “Finding Nemo.” The ride, which mimics the turtles’ ride in the East Australian Current was full of dips and spins and luckily loop free.
Feeling pretty confident after Pirates of the Caribbean (California’s ride in reverse) and Phantom Manor, we ended our day at Space Mountain – Mission 2, and that’s when we discovered what it was like to be shot out of a cannon.
And yes, they snuck in “un 360 loop.” Merde.
If you’re planning on making a trip to Disney Paris yourself:
- Ask about Student and Senior discounts, they had them when were there but they were not posted on the prices next to the ticket counters. These discounts = big savings. Kate’s student rate was 43 euros – 24 less than the normal adult price of 67 euros for a 1 day park hopper (2 park) pass. The Senior rate was 53.
- Buy your tickets at Walt Disney Studios, the line is a fraction of that at Disneyland Paris.
- Avoid eating at the “Blue Lagoon” – seriously bad, amazed we didn’t get food poisoning from seafood that was no where near fresh.
- If you’ve ever been to Universal Studios or MGM Studios, avoid the “Studio Tour” tram – a disappointment if you’ve seen the others which are much longer and more elaborate.
Also, there are fewer rides at the parks than at the ones in the States. For example, instead of an Alice in Wonderland ride (like in California) Disneyland Paris has a labyrinth. Instead of Mr. Toad’s Wild ride there’s Toad Hall restaurant. But, you can drink wine in the park 😉