I’ve been gushing a lot about Disneyland Paris, but I have to admit that it isn’t for everyone. Out of all the parks, Disneyland Paris is the most divisive, at least among readers of this blog.
Frankly, it’s easy to see why. While it has some truly standout attractions, the lineup is not as robust as the parks in California, Florida, or Tokyo. Dining quality is mediocre and restaurant operating hours are frustrating. French hospitality differs from what you’ll find elsewhere.
If you’re a ride junkie or commando tourist who approaches the parks checklist style, someone who finds dining to be an integral part of the Disney experience, like being told “have a magical day,” or enjoy–to some degree–any combination of the aforementioned, Disneyland Paris may disappoint. However, if you’re big on details, like a slow-paced visit that savors the ‘sense of place’ the parks offer, appreciate a walkable resort experience, or enjoy–to some degree–any combination of the aforementioned, Disneyland Paris might be for you.
I’m not making a value judgment about either ‘type’ of guest (I’m a little from column A, a lot from column B), just trying to make some sense of the divided opinions when it comes to Disneyland Paris. I’m also (hopefully) trying to help those of you who are debating a first international destination choose the right one.
This would probably be more helpful as its own ‘pros & cons’ post, rather than something buried on page 2 of a multi-part trip report, but I thought I’d at least touch upon it here (and do something longer if there appears to be interest…?).
The good news if you’re on the fence: even if you go and discover Disneyland Paris isn’t your cup of tea, you still visited Paris. While I’ll take a ‘reasonable minds may differ’ stance on Disneyland Paris, I won’t on Paris, itself. If you don’t love Paris, you’re crazy. That one is totally on you. 😉
HalLOLween at Disneyland Paris is about as unfortunate as that text messaging song in Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration. Disney and trendiness mix about as well as my dad and an Ed Hardy shirt.
Back in the park, I spent some time taking photos of the Halloween decor on Main Street. I’m listening to Christmas music as I write this post, and it just sort of feels odd sharing all of these Halloween photos…
Nonetheless, here are a couple. I’ll probably do a proper Disneyland Paris Halloween post next fall. Or I’ll forget completely and the rest of these photos will never be seen.
First stop was Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for an impromptu photo shoot. I cannot recall the last time I rode this attraction without taking photos…
As late afternoon approached, the light was starting to get good, so photos became more of a priority.
I took dozens of photos of the attraction marquee. On the one hand, look at it…can you blame me?
On the other hand, it was always an awkward photo to take because a Cast Member stands near it, and probably got that same ‘weird sign fetish dude’ vibe that I gave the Omnibus driver. As the kids say, YOLO. (They still say that, right?)
Of course, we always make time for Phantom Manor…
Anyone recognize the mayor of Phantom Canyon?
The projection-face brides have not aged well. I think it’s time to rethink this effect.
Like their Castle, Phantom Manor is something I could photograph nonstop. There are so many different options compositionally, and even after taking tons of photos of it, I still feel like I’ve just scratched the surface…
For dinner, we headed back to Colonel Hathi’s, where we randomly bumped into some friends from the U.S. We knew there would be a lot of Americans there for the race, but still a wild chance encounter.
After dinner, I hung around Adventure Isle to get blue hour photos. With closing–and Disney Dreams!–time approaching, there were literally no other guests back here. It was perfectly serene.
Unfortunately, that meant that they wasted no time clearing Adventureland and Frontierland once park closing hit.
I tried to make it back up to Main Street for the end of Disney Dreams, but didn’t have time to set up for photos.
After it ended, we took our time leaving. Main Street is so beautiful at night, particularly when its devoid of guests, that we always try to savor the experience.
Perhaps that’s what the Disneyland Paris naysayers need…an hour of quality time just wandering that Main Street, soaking up the atmosphere and lavish details?
There are a few Disney experiences that I routinely miss/crave when I’m not at those parks. Near the very top of that list would be quiet nights on Main Street at Disneyland Paris.
The night didn’t end when we left the park! Even though we had to be up bright and early for the Disneyland Paris 5K, we decided to do a walking tour of the resorts. I “had” to do this because I needed photos for our Disneyland Paris Bar Crawl post. I’m not sure why Sarah and Mark tagged along.
OH YES, I AM. THEY WANTED TO SEE THE GLORIOUS VOLCANO OF HOTEL SANTA FE.
Joking aside, I love walking around Disneyland Paris’ Resort area. I think the way the whole resort is laid out is really nice, and under-appreciated by fans. Part of that under-appreciation is understandable; as mentioned, Disneyland Paris doesn’t do much to draw non-hotel guests to the hotels. Even still, I think it’s interesting to go look around (I mean, how many of you didn’t even know Disneyland Paris has that tubular “It Is Here” volcano?!) and the walk is really pleasant. It was a great way to cap off a great day at Disneyland Paris…