Today we spent the day at the Disneyland Paris Resort. Conveniently, the RER (the rural extension to the metro) stops right in the middle of the resort, so after leaving our bags with our hotel concierge, we arrived at the resort 45 minute later.
Being one of Disney's newest parks, I was looking forward to the changes/fixes they made to the park that they learned from Orlando and the Magic Kingdom. For the most part, the entry and Main Street are generally the same. A neat feature in Paris is that there are two internal alleyways open to the public to bypass the crowds and bustle behind Main Street.
After checking out the stores and merchandise (most of which was generally what you'd expect to find with the obligatory local flair), we were starting to get hungry so we headed for the buffet. The buffet was what you'd expect at the American resorts, but what stood out were the desserts which were simply outstanding. One thing France does not lack are quality pastry chefs, and it shows whether you find yourself in a back alley in Paris, downtown Marseille, or in a Disneyland Resort buffet.
After lunch we headed to Discoveryland (Paris' Tomorrowland), where we immediately set off for Les Mystéres du Nautilus (because it was new to us, and Space Mountain was temporarily down), a somewhat disappointing walk through Captain Nemo's submarine. By the time we made it out, they were preparing to open Space Mountain (Mission 2). This ride borrows heavily from the Disney "partsbin". The entry/queueing is very similar to Orlando and Anaheim. The boarding station is borrowed from California Screamin'. The ride itself is the most unique part about it, which I expected to be similar to the old-school Space Mountain ride, but it was, as the boarding area suggested, a magnetic induction coaster.
Jules Verne and 19th century "Discovery" is a strong theme in this part of the park, and unlike Anaheim and Orlando's "You might as well be queued up in some futuristic NASA/Star Wars launch facility", Space Mountain (Mission 2) presents it more as "You're in the late 1800s and the way we'll get you to the moon is to load you into a big ass gun and shoot you out into space!"
So, immediately after boarding (outside, in plain daylight with signs like "Montana Gun Club"), you're loaded into the "barrel" (again, akin to Tower of Terror, with views of the outside before you're shot off into the darkness), and before you know it, you're on a ride similar in style to the various dark magnetic induction coasters that Disney operates with its corkscrews and inversions... It was a blast, probably because I had no idea what to expect.
Skipping all the other rides with familiar names, we headed off to find the Haunted Mansion aka Phantom Manor. While not meeting my expectations in terms of the Orleans Square in Disneyland, at least it was an impressive manor on the top of a hill instead of an embarrassing pimple of a building it is in Florida.
Next stop was Pirates of the Carribean, and I think this is the best one in of the three parks I've been to. They dedicated a lot of real estate to the entry, the ride itself was standard fare, and I was glad to see you cruised in front of a themed restaurant as you'd come to expect.
The Indiana Jones ride was closed, so after strolling through Fantasyland (the Castle is great-- a dragon in the dungeon and a terrace with great themed stained glass windows), we headed for the Walt Disney Studios (akin in scope and design to California Adventure). Our timing was such that right after going on the Aerosmith Rockin' Rollercoaster (essentially identical to the stateside versions in style and theming) the last show of "Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular", the live action stunt car and motorcyle driver show was about to start. Apparently this has made its way stateside since its debut in Paris, but not having seen it stateside, I wasn't going to miss it.
It was a great show and one of the unique gems of the park. I loved finding the hidden Mickey on the license plate of one of the cars outside the attraction. (Typically European plates show the stars of the EU nation states in a circle configuration!)
Anxious about potentially missing our night train to Barcelona to catch the inaugeral 10-day Mediterranean Cruise, we left the park around 5pm with eager anticipation! (See the Flickr photostream