Walt Disney Studios Park was already putting up its Christmas decorations. This made little sense given that Disneyland Paris was putting up Halloween decorations, but in the context of WDSP’s “complete & utter clusterf—” theme, I guess it made some degree of nonsensical sense.
On my last visit, I had done Ratatouille: The Adventure (I wrote a lengthy ride review, so I won’t be rehashing much in the way of my thoughts on the attraction). Sarah and Mark had never done the attraction, so that was our top priority. I think both of them were underwhelmed by the attraction, which was no surprise.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad attraction by any stretch. Given its pedigree and the budget of this lavish E-Ticket, it should be better. It’s not as good as Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (almost 20 years old) or Mystic Manor. It’s also not as good as Universal’s stable of comparable 3D attractions. There are some solid moments, but the experience is sloppy, and leans too heavily on 3D without proper integration with the physical sets.
After Ratatouille, we headed to Crush’s Coaster, another overrated attraction. It’s too bad Walt Disney Studios Park doesn’t have Toy Story Mania, because then they could have the trio of most overrated Disney attractions on the planet.
Our next stop is where my bashing of Walt Disney Studios Park ends, as we decided to see Mickey and the Magician. This show was incredible–one of the best Disney stage shows I’ve ever seen.
I was drawn in from the very beginning, when the magician walked out onto a set that was illuminated by the warm glow of popcorn lights contrasting with the cool night sky of the city out the windows behind it. For whatever reason, this set alone had me sold on the show; it was inviting and interesting all at once.
I won’t get into nitty gritty details about Mickey and the Magician since it’s new enough that I’d prefer avoiding spoilers, but it’s similar to Mickey and the Wondrous Book at Hong Kong Disneyland in framing a musical montage with a loose narrative. Both are pretty effective in presenting a story that the audience actually cares about with segues into mostly unrelated musical numbers, but Mickey and the Magician works better.
I know I am probably going to oversell it–particularly because it provoked a strong emotion response from me and YMMV on that–but Mickey and the Magician had me feeling like a kid again. The illusions in it were effective and compelling (and certainly would be “magical” to a child) and the musical productions were satisfying. The conclusion of the show was emotionally satisfying, too. Suffice to say, I loved it from start to finish. For me, this is easily superior to both Crush’s Coaster and Ratatouille: The Adventure.
After this, we raced for the exit to return to Disneyland Paris. A little over 2 hours in Walt Disney Studios Park. Eh, that limited exposure probably wasn’t too hazardous to our health.
We decided to grab a spot for Disney Magic on Parade. I remember first seeing this back in 2012 as part of Disneyland Paris’ 20th Anniversary.
I recall liking it despite “not being a daytime parade person.” Four years and multiple Tokyo Disneyland (plus Festival of Fantasy) parades later, and I’ve realized it’s not that I’m not a parade person, it’s that I had never experienced a truly exceptional daytime parade.
In any case, the parades I’ve seen since have really raised my expectations, and Magic on Parade no longer did a whole lot for me.
After that, we basically did Phantom Manor on repeat.
The mirror in this scene is the most chilling imagery in Phantom Manor, I think.
I love the idea of the Phantom character, but the execution does very little for me. He is lacking in character, with a face that looks like a generic skeleton you could find at a pop-up Halloween outlet in a vacant Blockbuster rental store.
After racing around to photograph the sunset, I found myself back at Phantom Manor for some dusk photos.
I’ll have to put together a photo post of Phantom Manor shots, as I spent an inordinate amount of time outside here.
For sunset, we all had gone our separate ways, and without internet, that meant we wouldn’t be reconvening until after the park closed. I grabbed a spot for Disney Dreams about 10 minutes in advance, and was able to get a nice location off to the side of Le ChÃ¢teau de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
Since most of the fireworks are directly behind the castle, I was not concerned about being off-center. If anything, I liked this perspective for the way it showcased the grass and shrubbery on the left side.
Several shows have followed in the footsteps of Disney Dreams since its debut, but this remains the gold standard for me. I hope the new 25th Anniversary show is this good, and retains such an excellent mix of pyro, fountains, mist screens, fire, and projections.
It’s really a small miracle that they haven’t burned down Le ChÃ¢teau de la Belle au Bois Dormant in the 4+ years of Disney Dreams. As the above photo demonstrates, the finale is total chaos.
After Disney Dreams, it was time for some night photos.
Finally, I’ll end this installment of the Disneyland Paris trip report on the highest of high notes…
I don’t want to hype this up too much, but…this photo is my magnum opus. Channeling my inner Van Gogh and Ansel Adams, I created not only a groundbreaking self-portrait, but arguably one of the seminal landscape photos of all-time.
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What do you think of Disneyland Paris? Have you done Halloween here? What’s your take on the (Hyper)Space Mountain controversy? Any other thoughts or questions? Please share in the comments!